Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

Retreat on the Coast

We were blessed to have a retreat at Diani Beach on the coast of Kenya with our FIC directors, Howard and Aileen.
Honestly, the whole trip could have been a disaster but we chose to make it a blessing.  The girls were recovering from serious colds, I got it and had plugged ears the whole trip from flying, and the others all got it too to various degrees.  And it rained every day!  We were told it never rains on the coast - until we came.  Some day were cloudy with occasional showers and some day were all day rain.  It really could have spoiled our time, but we have amazing kids and positive directors and we were able to have a great time.  We swam in the rain, walked the beach while it sprinkled, played games, eat great food, and chose to be thankful for our VERY MANY  blessings!  What an attitude change when you focus and how blessed we are.  God is with us and so we are blessed.  His world is amazing, creative and big - and we get to see and experience it.  I have a loving husband and we have thankful, fun kids to be with.  Our director and his wife shower us with encouragement and we enjoy being together.  We had a great time in a beautiful house with a pool and a great cook who make us lobster, shrimp, fish and other Kenyan treats.  The kids loved playing on the beach - and we loved playing with them!  We collected sea shells, make sand castles, and swam in the Indian Ocean.  The tide is crazy there, the beach is beautiful white sand, and the water clear.  The dark clouds make the sand and sea even more beautiful with the contrast.  It was low season and with the rain we had the beach to ourselves.  Lots more I could share but I will let the pictures tell our story.  I praise God for His world and my family that I get to share it with.       

Howard and Aileen are our kids African grandparents.  They love and encourage our kids so much!

Our house for the week - across the street from the beach.

Kenya beaches are different from other places.  You have lots of people sell you things, ask to take you on boat rides, or camel rides.

Masai sellers and now friends

We had so much fun swimming with our kids!

Swimming in the rain!

We had fresh lobster being on the coast (and affordable).

Fisherman (snorkel and spear gun) came in with blow fish and octopus! 

Grace found this adorable turtle she really wanted to pay to take with her on the plane

We really enjoyed our meal times together!
We went on a tuk tuk for some fun on our rainy days

Even had hermit crab races

Rain, rain go away come again in Obulle!
You just had to laugh so you could enjoy.

Thanks be to God!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Our Easter Celebration

I know this blog is a bit old but I still wanted to share our meaningful Easter celebration.  For school we had a special passion week devotions each day and Luka memorized Matt. 28:1-10.  Good Friday we went to church in Apapi.  Josh gave a beautiful message.  The people were very encouraged by the fact that Simon of Cyrene was from Africa and that God chose an African to serve Him in His time of need.  Josh challenged then that God still wants to use Africans to serve the Lord.  Saturday I was able to go with Josh to teach in the prison and to do their first Lord's Supper in prison. The girls and I did a dance to Glorious Day for Easter day church service.  Always a joy to praise the Lord with my girls!  The church service was lively and worshipful.  After church we all had lunch together - posho, pork, and cabbage.  Then for evening Bible study we did an active Bible study on Christ's death and resurrection (kinda like Resurrection eggs only using bags with objects in each one to tell the story).  Easter night we had a wonderful supper with our old team and friends; Sliedrechts, Becky and Rudy, Jennifer and Karen.

It was a wonderful Easter remembering our Lord and Savior and celebrating what He has done for us.  I love hearing Emalai now continue to talk about, sing about and tell others about Jesus who died on a cross and now there is an empty tomb.  She is really starting to understand!  What  Good News we have to share with the world.  What an awesome God we serve.  He is the Savior of the world!  And He lives in me today!  

Bible study at church - group activity for Easter

Charles had the children's group

I made an Easter banner

Praise and Worship

The kids said Matt. 28:1-10 in church

Our dance in church
Our art from our passion week devotions in school

Easter lunch

Friday, April 28, 2017

Women's Bible Study

I have been really enjoying women’s Bible study the last few months.  We meet every Wednesday.  It really isn’t anything special, women usually come an hour or so late (so I go about an hour after the time they say), we have anywhere from three to eight women come, we simply read a passage and study it together…but when we read and learn from God’s Word the Holy Spirit moves!  In God’s Word we find truth, hope, peace, life!  God opens our hearts and we understand.  We receive from Him.  In a world that is hurting, angry, hungry, filled with lies and worries…we come apart for an hour into God’s truth and are refreshed, refocused, empowered.

Margaret and I are often at women’s Bible study long before others finally show up.  This used to annoy me – what a waste of time!  But now I enjoy my time with Margaret.  I find we have the same passion – Jesus and His Word.  She testifies of God and all He can do.  She talks about how women here used to be slaves before we came and taught God’s truth.  She used to worry all day long how she would feed all the kids, have money for school, how she could get a permanent home (not a hut)…  She would read her Bible on Sunday in church then it would stay in her bag until the next Sunday.  Now she knows she is to seek God’s kingdom first and then everything else will be added (Matt. 6:33).  She now reads her Bible every day and doesn’t worry.  She knows the Lord and trusts Him to take care of her.  She desires His kingdom.  She has been empowered to teach and knows God has equipped her to share His truth.  She mourns over the women who don’t come to women’s Bible study.  If they are too busy to be with the Lord for one hour, then they don’t know the Lord.  One Wednesday she shared that she wasn’t going to come.  She had grabbed her bag and was going to do her work, but on the way she realized her Bible was in that bag.  She decided to go to church first then do her work.  She testified how thankful she was that God brought her to Bible study because she was so encouraged by His Word.  It was the very word she needed.
I can relate.  So often I go because I should, but I come away energized by God’s Word.  The truth in it overwhelms me!  It is all there, so clear, so good.  I am filled by it.  Encouraged and challenged by it.  I love God’s Word!  We have been going through Philippians in our Bible study.  Most weeks no one has prepared to lead so I am asked to lead, which is fine.  I found I like to lead because I learn so much going verse by verse with them through the passage.  Growing in the Lord together with my friends is a blessing to me.

I walked home after Bible study with Kristine and she shared how her mind has been free because of the Freedom in Christ teachings.  Her mind use to go!  She could worry, fear, over think, scared…and her mind would go.  But now it is quiet and there is peace.  She knows how to control it when it wants to go back to worry.  God’s truth has changed her life.  I love hearing their testimonies.  I have a similar one.  Truth changed how I think and live.  Romans 8:6 says, “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”  Amen!

Last week Margaret, Kristine and I were invited to go to Pingere and meet with the women’s group there.  I don’t know what it is but I get so fearful about preparing to teach, especially in a village an hour away at an all-day conference.  I really want to share God’s Word, so I prayed about my fears and chose to go and teach in faith.  It isn’t the teaching I don’t like; it is the preparing what to say and how to explain, share and show it.  Does that make me lazy?  As I wrestled over this I went through the first lesson of Freed to Lead course with people here.  In it they used the passage from 2 timothy 1:5-7 that says we have not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.  I felt God telling me to give Him the fears and take the Spirit I was supposed to have. 

I knew the day in Pingere itself would go well.  I do enjoy teaching (sharing) I would just rather do it than prepare.  My problem usually is talking too long!  It took a little while for me to get into it and for the ladies to get it or interact, but we got there and the Lord taught us.  I went through Titus 2.  We are called to teach by example, so we must first have it and live it to be able to teach others.  Teach women to love their husbands and children, to be kind, homemakers, pure, and to submit to their husbands.  Then the Word of God will not be spoken of badly.  I really enjoy being with the women – the fellowship, being a part of them, worshipping and seeking the Lord, growing, sharing…

I think that is what it is; my first love, my life, my favorite topic, my joy…is Jesus and that is what my friends here talk about and live out too.  We have unity.  We build one another up, spur each other on, encourage…  Before you think it sounds too good to be true, I am not saying all women here love the Lord like this.  I am saying that my women friends from the church encourage my faith.  It isn’t one way.  I need them and they need me.  We grow together in the Lord.  We serve together.  It is a beautiful thing that I am so thankful for and blessed by.

Achia Update

 We appreciate all your prayers for Achia.  God has been at work.  He has provided a temporary home for her right now.  Our friend Lusi who works for us opened her home and heart to Achia.  Lusi was concerned for Achia’s safety so we asked her to pray about taking Achia in.  It is beautiful to see her love and care for Achia.  Others have seen how Achia is improving and now also share Lusi’s love for her.  (Lusi has agreed temporarily but has concerns about providing for her long term.)  Achia’s parents told probation and the social worker they cannot care for Achia and signed off (can’t write so they finger printed) all their rights for her.  The clan also signed off and said Achia would die in their care.  God has put a calling on Mandy’s parents’ hearts to try to adopt Achia.  Adopting in Uganda is a very long and difficult process so please pray for Dave and Mary Beute.  They are walking in obedience and faith.  We continue to see God has a plan for Achia and we can trust in Him to provide for her.  We have also been working with a couple organizations in Uganda to help us with information, physical therapy, doctors, and other care

for disabled children.  Achia has gained about 4 pounds in the last three months.  She is now almost 25 pounds (at six years old).  She is gaining strength too and we all believe she will learn to walk.  She is blind but can see some light and shadows.  Achia can hear but has never spoken.  We believe most of her disabilities come from brain damage (from Cerebral Malaria as a baby?), malnutrition, and neglect.  God has saved her life and we know it is for a purpose; He has used it to touch many people already.