Monday, June 22, 2015

Twins x 2

Two sets of twins born this month in Obulle - to brothers too yet!
This is Sam's wife Esther and their twins.
She didn't know she was having twins til she delivered (at home)!

These are Pastor Robert (also a twin - runs in the family!) and Penna's twins.
Penna had a c-section because the first baby was breach and the second had the cord around it's neck.
We praise God they are healthy and safe!

Just a note, I think the twins make 8 children for each family. 

This is baby Mandy!

Friday, June 19, 2015

16 Years!

God sure loves us!
  After being sick for days, I thought our anniversary was going to go by without celebrating. 
But yesterday, June 18, was my first day on the mend.  Josh had to teach all day so the kids and I decided to surprise him with an anniversary supper -- a family anniversary supper!
Lydia helped by making the dessert -- individual cheesecakes with blueberries on top (we used our special, use  once and gone, ingredients -- it was a celebration) and with the bread.
We had the nicest, simple, but special family anniversary meal.
The kids asked us about our wedding day, how we met, how Dad proposed...
They knew the stories but they love them and it is special to them too.
I am thankful God allowed this wonderful evening to happen, 
for children who enjoy special things, and for a marriage of 16 years to my best friend. 
I love him more today than our wedding day.   

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sick of being Sick

June 17
As some of you know I have been sick for the last five days.  I really don’t like being sick.  In the last six weeks I have been sick three times (thankfully the others were shorter).  Unfortunately, one or two other family members were sick each time I was.  This seems to sum up our year.  I hate to say it but since moving to the village I don’t think we have had more than four weeks straight without someone or multiples being sick.  This has been a discouragement we continue to pray about.

We are not getting sick from food or water (or we’d have more bathroom issues), other than a few of us we aren’t getting crazy African sicknesses; it is mostly fevers, headaches, and flu like stuff.  We are pretty careful people. We live freely here but wisely.  It is our home and you can’t worry about everything all the time.  People in village seem to be sick a lot and must share a lot.  It is pretty communal living but outside in the fresh air.  However, even our close friends here feel back for often we have sickness in our home.  This year I have recognized all the sickness as a spiritual attack.  The enemy has some pretty big strongholds here and that means there is a spiritual battle going on.  The enemy loves to discourage in anyway possible – to win.

It can almost work.  I am still lying on the couch to write this but it is one step better than being in bed where I have been for three days.  We finally tested for Malaria and it was positive.  I quite mad at myself.  We have lived in Africa since 2001 and this year we couldn’t get the preventative medicine I do best on.  I fell into the lie that others aren’t on preventative and are fine.  I haven’t been on anything for two months and got Malaria for the first time.  I have always said I would rather take a little medicine everyday and not get Malaria than be sick in bed and take a lot of medicine.  I am eating my words.  It was not worth it.  I was miserable and Josh was caring for everyone best he could.  Needless to say, I am going back on preventive.

I am on my five day of not feeling well and still have to get rid of the sick taste, feeling not myself, and gaining strength.  I am down, lonely, (when I feel well enough) bored, I want to do something, go somewhere but am not up to it yet, I am homesick for MI… We had to cancel the Marriage Bible Study we were going to start Monday and tomorrow is our 16th wedding anniversary which we were going to celebrate yesterday because Josh teaches the next two days.  Lots of bummers.

However, now that I am thinking straighter and have hope of feeling well soon, I still know how very blessed I am.  My husband was fully capable of caring for our children, making meals, and holding the mother and father role.  Our children are so positive. Lydia and Luka were both sick for a day or two too, but everyone cared for one another and helped out.  Our neighbor Charles came and prayed over me.  Some of you emailed and prayed for all of us.  God is with us, faithful, and healer.  So many people hurt every day…that must be so very difficult.  May I always have compassion for those who endure sickness and pain as part of their lives.  

As soon as I get back to drinking coffee, I should be feeling better and life will be back to a normal.  Thanks for praying with us and for us.  God hears and answers.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Friendship with the World

Do you hate God?

That is a question we don’t ask.  It is shocking.  Of course we don’t hate God!  He is our Father, Savior and Lord.  But here is what His Word says,

You unfaithful people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

Whoa!!!  Make you uncomfortable?  Does me.  Am I a friend of the world?  I like things here and enjoy my life…but at times I really hate the sin in this world.  I could just rationalize it but it is God’s Word and that is truth.  So what do we do with this?

1 John 2:15-16 says,

Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes’ and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.   

Let’s be honest.  I see a lot of God’s children loving the world and things of the world.  So that means many Christians are also missing out on the love of our Father (vs. 15).

Let that sink in.  Our love for worldly things is causing us to not have God’s love in us.

I don’t want that!  The world will pass away but if I do God’s will I will live forever.  Everything in the world – does not come from God.  Wow.  Our sinful desires/wants, lust to look and want what isn’t good or right for us, and pride of what we have or what we do are the ways of the world.  We should not love these because they do not come from God.

So why do we do them?

We need to check our attitudes.  Are we preoccupied with gratifying physical desires, craving and accumulation things, bowing to materialism, obsessed with our status or importance?  We are focused on the wrong things, wrong values, and wrong truths.

Friendship with the world (James 4:4) and loving the world (1 John 2:15) are when we seek pleasure, self, things…the world at the expense of obeying God.  When we choose the world (all our cravings, lust, and boasts) instead of God’s will we are living in disobedience.  When the world keeps us from God it is sinful.

Truth hurts.

But, we know God and His character.  He don’t love us less – His love is UNCONDITIONAL.  It doesn’t depend on us and what we do, He will always love us!  He longs for all to be saved.  He grace is a gift not earned.  He has already purified us, given us victory and offers it to us to accept and live in. 

James 4 goes on to say,

Submit yourself, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
James 4:7-10

We need to come near to God.  Say no to the world and devil’s ways.  Even run from it!  Cry out to God in repentance; grieve your sinful ways.  Be cleaned from living as a child of Christ and part of the world (God’s enemy).  Submit your whole self, every part of your life, to God.  When we are humble God lifts us up.

This is God’s will for you.  He desires for you to be close to Him.

For Jesus said we are not of this world.  Because we are not a part of this world and all it does and believes, we will be hated by it. 

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.
John 15:18-19

So, my dear brothers and sisters, may we not love the world and so show hatred toward God.  But let us be hated by the world and show love to God.