Days gone by

A few of my favourite shots from the past two months.

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I am watching the opening night of the Olympics as I edit pictures. Made me think of Paul, one of the Bibles writers and something that he wrote:

 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Watching the show has got me thinking, do I have goals or am I just living? What dreams must I keep holding on to? How am I embracing discipline in my life? and am I really running my race in such in a way that says, ” Yes, I am running to win this ?!”

Good night friend.

 

Peace, my soul be still.

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Be still and know that He is God,untitled-4

Be still and know that He is Faithful,untitled-2

Be still oh restless soul of mine,

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Consider all that He has done, stand in awe and be amazed.untitled-3

Be Still.

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Be speechless.

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Words by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Today

It’s a: “Dear diary kinda post!”

This morning was spent teaching grade fours; in one, we had a game of tic tac toe  so that the class had a fun way of learning how the Bible is divided and how to look for books and chapters. In the second class we had an epic game of musical chairs, I look for fun ways for kids to memorize scripture, they have been working on Psalms 23 and are one verse short of memorizing the whole chapter. We had lots of good laughs.My final class was the most fun!

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They have enthusiastically taught each other Psalms 23 when I am not there, even insisting that their teacher make a chart of the Psalm to stick on their wall so that they can memorize it quicker. I was so glad to hand them the freshly baked tray of choc chip cookies that I had promised them. We read about King Josiah, the boy King who loved God and His Word and I encouraged them to stand out and be positive difference in their community. One does not need to be an adult to change the world!

After classes, I visited with Colleen for a bit just catching up on what is going on in our lives and in Pik, we always try to find a few good laughs!

On my way home I realized that I had not heard my youngest sisters voice this year even though we text each other regularly. So as I prepared to make bread, I called her, we talked and laughed. Have I told you how much I enjoy making bread? Kids were happily playing by the lake, birds were singing like there is no tomorrow, a gentle breeze cooled my trailer as the sun shone gloriously. A fine day to make bread if there ever was one!

After talking with my sister and leaving the bread to rise, I had my lunch (Don’t judge, its leftovers) and worked on my newsletter, it usually takes me two days to put it together and I finally sent it this afternoon. Then it was back to the bread.

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Seeing as it had risen perfectly, I shaped it into a cinnamon wreath left it to rise a second time and went off to visit my friend Virginia. I was meant to be there for 30 minutes but time flew by and I ended up staying an hour, thankfully the bread was still in good shape.

Then it was off to have dinner with friends and enjoy this yummy, yummy bread!

All around good day wouldn’t you say ?

Best cinnamon wreath EVER! I had some left over cream-cheese frosting that I made last week and it accompanied the bread wonderfully!

How was your day ?

Hearing screams from a smiling face

I wrote this over a year ago but only last night did I think about sharing it, maybe someone out there is inneed of encouragement 🙂

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Though the mountains may fall and the hills turn to dust, yet the love of the Lord will stand, as a treasure for all who will call on his name, sing the praise and the glory of God! (Dan Schutte)

I met Sarah* at a missionary get together a couple of years ago, something about her drew me to her and we started to talk. As she spoke about life as a missionary wife and how much she was enjoying her work my heart heard otherwise: pain, loneliness, depression. So I asked her how she was doing, immediately she went into describing her ministry. I stopped her mid sentence and firmly told her that was not what I wanted to hear, I wanted to know how SHE was doing. It seemed I touched a raw nerve because she immediately started to cry. It was not as if we were in a private room talking, right in the midst of a group of people Sarah unashamedly cried. It was as if she had been waiting for someone to really see her.

As I prayed and spoke encouragement to her, I wondered if maybe God wanted me to find the time to have her visit me so that she could have someone to unburden herself to. I struggled over what to do as already my plate was so full, were would I find the strength to encourage her when I too had just enough energy for the day? When I am weak, then I am strong…by the time she was leaving we had shared contact numbers and I had told her she was welcome to bring herself and her kids once a week to spend the afternoon with me. And so began my friendship with Sarah.

For two months once a week Sarah came visiting, my heart went out to her as I began to know her more. The amount of pressure that is placed on missionary wives is sometimes unimaginable add to that the high expectations that women in ministry put on themselves, it’s no wonder that so many of us secretly struggle from depression, sometimes not even aware that we have depression. This was the case with Sarah, each Tuesday she would end the visit crying hopelessly over how she could not take it anymore. We slowly worked through some of her issues as best as I could, gently making her realise that most of the pressure she was experiencing was her own doing and maybe she needed to have a different perspective on who God was and her role in ministry. In the end (as an answer to my private prayers) Sarah and her husband decided for her sake to cut short their mission mandate and go back home. There is so much I learned from my time with Sarah, but I really want to concentrate on one aspect.

For most of us in ministry, if we are not careful we gradually begin to view God as a tough taskmaster with no mercy and all about getting the job done come what may. Compassion is for the people we are serving there is no room for failure or showing people weakness. Once we enjoyed a carefree relationship with Christ now its just a list of things to do to show the world that we are very spiritual people and above reproach.  Yet inside we are slowly dying, inside we are growing cold to the very One who gave us the call to serve Him. There is a need for each one of us in ministry to ask from time to time: Why am I doing this? What does the Word say about God’s expectations of me? If He asks me to let all this go and spend the rest of my life only worshipping Him, will I be alright? Maybe if we get into the habit of regular soul searching we can conquer despair and depression on the mission field before it conquers us.

(* not her real name)

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. Jesus.

Signs of Life.

Forever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

The Bible.

New born baby

New born baby

 

Inca, this puppy had the biggest and most adorable personality but she died just after staying 3 weeks with us. She caught the horrible parvo virus. Soo sad! She loved her sleep, you couldnt wake her up when she decided to sleep!

I find African sunsets come close to filling the void that I have for my love for mountains :D

I find African sunsets come close to filling the void that I have for my love for mountains 😀

 

The great Baobab Tree, I am no ecologist (and please correct me if I am wrong) but these must be Southern Africas largest trees. This one is a medium sized one.

The great Baobab Tree, I am no botanist (so please correct me if I am wrong) but these must be Southern Africas largest trees. This one is a medium-sized one.

 

Whatever it is that they were looking at must have been fascinating.

Whatever it is that they were looking at must have been very fascinating.

 

It doesnt happen often but once in awhile a meerkat takes center stage. This one lapped up all the attention it got!

It doesn’t happen often but once in a while a meerkat takes center stage. This one lapped up all the attention it got!

 

My moms friends grows pineapples in her small garden.

My moms friends grows pineapples in her small garden.

 

In Zambia, these flowers can be seen beautifying peoples homes. In Mozambique these flowers are only used during a funeral. No one in their right mind grows them in their garden unless they are going to be sold at the local cemetary.

In Zambia, these flowers can be seen beautifying people s homes. In Mozambique these flowers are only used during a funeral. Since they are associated with death, no one grows them in their garden unless they are going to be sold at the local cemetery.

 

Some little girls know how to work an Afro!

Some little girls know how to work an Afro!

 

God, you have dissapointed me.

Sometimes I like to think my heart is like a house with many rooms and expansive walls where pieces of art of various sizes are hung. In many of these rooms I enjoy inviting people to freely roam as I share with them the meaning behind each piece. My favorite pieces are the huge ones that represent amazing logic defying God moments.

If you came visiting friend you would find a large piece of when I was 15 being told by one neurologist and 2 doctors that I would live the rest of my life with epilepsy because of scarring to a certain part of my brain(another story for another time). You would see that after 6 months of constant fits and taking up to 9 different medication a day I got tired of it all and told God, I could not, would not accept what the doctors had told me and expected that He would defy them and heal me…He did! My life has never been the same since then.

You would find another of when all I had left was 2 days before 200 children would come to my house to get fun, christmas presents and food( 2 meals per day) for 5 days and we had no money to cover anything. Without sending out emails of desperate pleas for help we quietly asked God to fix the situation and oh how he did,  20 mins after praying we received a phone call from friends saying they wanted to cover all the costs. The children had the time of their lives. God came through for us!

Then there are other rooms where the pieces are still being painted, history being made and more amazing logic defying God moments just waiting to happen.

Still, there are other rooms that are difficult to visit. No matter how far away I throw the keys, from time to time I find them back in my hand, stuck like glue forcing me to open the door to what I can only describe as the dark basement of my heart.

Here you will find portrait’s covered in dust, some slashed, torn or burned others covered in black paint all feeble attempts to cover what once was beautiful but turned into something too painful gaze upon. The air in this room hangs heavy with disappointment, pain and dare I say … failure. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to destroy a canvas little tell-tale signs always remind of what it used to represent.

Here is the piece of the little boy with crippling cerebral palsy that I visited and poured my love on, praying that God would change his sad difficult life. A week later the mother fed him boiling oil because she got tired of looking after him. He lived a life of constant pain and left this world in excruciating pain…he was only 7. God let me down, that’s what the black paint covering the portrait represents.

This one is after praying and fasting for 5 days pleading with God that he protect the few girls under my care against the horrors of rape only to be presented with the toughest rape case I have yet dealt with. My little girl was so badly raped by two men that she could not walk for 2 weeks. ..she was only 8. God bitterly disappointed me, that’s what the shredding and the burning state.

If you look more carefully in the darker corners you will find pieces that not only are torn, burned and covered in black paint but are also stuffed away so that if my eyes wander around, I don’t accidentally see them. These are the times when I was 110% sure I was doing what God wanted and that even when it became impossibly difficult to stand firm eventually I would come out victorious. Only in these paintings, a sense of complete confusion and failure complete the piece. God you hurt me, that’s what my heart says.

I don’t have proper answers for all the difficult situations I have met that make me question on many occasions if trusting in Jesus is really worth it.  After spending time in the basement I always come out knowing this, my God is perplexing and unpredictable and He is no genie that will do my bidding. Even when I cannot see it He is always working everything to His glory.

Question is, can I continue to put my trust in the  God who reserves the right not to explain to me why ?!