Thursday, March 31, 2016

Up in Flames

Today I heard screaming and people were running.
 I went out to see our neighbors cooking hut in flames.
Everyone was trying to keep the fire from spreading to the other hut and drying roofing grass.
It is so dry that it didn't take long and the hut was gone.
Thankfully, TaTa (Grandma) who lives there was ok and no one hurt.
We hugged TaTa who was quite upset and she just kept thanking God she was safe.
It is very sad but it was good to see everyone help and care.
We were glad to hear talk of the church helping rebuild TaTa's house.

Pray for TaTa.  She is one of the sweetest grandmas who enjoys working hard and serving her Lord.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Celebrating Jesus' Life, Death & Resurrection

Our Easter was definitely different than most of yours, but we had a meaningful week remembering and celebrating Jesus' death and resurrection.  For school the kids and I talked about Passion week and were able to have it come alive as we learned.  Friday we had a small service with our church.  Saturday we had friends over for a potluck and worship.  And Sunday we thanked Jesus with singing, drama, dance, and a celebration meal.  
As we talked about Jesus example in washing His disciples feet we also served one another.

We saw how Jesus washed away all our sins by writing our sins on a white cloth then watching it become clean as we washed the writing away.

We remembered the Last Supper

Easter potluck and worship with friends

Easter was a big day.  We were at church from 8:30am to 4pm.  Everyone helped clean up, prepare, and serve.  Emalai and the girls swept the compound.

Bringing water for cooking, washing and drinking.

Cutting the meat

Sorting the rice

We were able to help the kids do a drama on Jesus.  They did a great job and we had a good time preparing for it.

Lydia, Grace and I dancing to "At the Cross"
There were many choirs for Easter.  Lydia and Grace joined their friends in one.


Buffet style

Lydia and Grace helped open sodas for everyone (the drink of celebration)

Washing hands before eating

Let the feast begin!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Isaac's view

Lydia is a great writer. For Bible one day she was asked to write the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac from Isaac's perspective. I was once again touched by her thoughtful, expressive and faith filled writing. It is a great way to really think about scripture through the eyes of the person in the story. They were real and so was the emotions.

A hard kind of Trust
Genesis 22
By: Lydia Shaarda

It was a dreary day.  Clouds hung in the air creating a grey atmosphere.  Dad and two servants were saddling our donkey, Hanah.  They placed a bundle of wood on Hanah’s back.  

Yesterday, Dad told me we were going to sacrifice.  I’d gone with him to sacrifice and worship God many times!  And what’s more, he’d always been glad to take me.  But this time something was different.  When Dad told me we were going, he seemed to have to force the words out.  His eyes shone with fear brighter than the sun shows light!

Now, Mom was crying over me and hugging me like the minute she let me go, I would be gone; blown away by the breeze.  I tried, unsuccessfully to pry myself away from her grasp.  She never did this!  Ever!  When we let it was usually just a wave goodbye.

After a time, Dad walked up.  I noticed his cheeks were red and blotchy from crying.  He laid a gentle hand on Mom’s shoulder, who reluctantly let me go.  I was relieved to be away from all the cuddling, but at the same time, wanted to run into Mom’s loving arms like a little child and beg to know what was going on.  Little did I know how scared I would be if I knew what lied around the corner.  

We traveled for a full day before Dad told the servants to wait at the foot of the mountain with Hanah well he and I went to sacrifice.  I heaved the wood off of the animal’s back and followed Dad up the mountain path, confused.  While we trotted on, I picked up enough courage to ask, “Dad, we have the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb  for the sacrifice?”  I didn’t mention that we could’ve taken Hanah and slaughtered her, it was obvious enough that we didn’t have an animal.

Dad sighed, long and hard.  He turned to look into my wondering eyes.  If you could’ve seen his face!  It was the biggest picture of fear, like someone was waiting around the corner ready to kill us and he knew it.  His calm voice I knew for a fact was more fake than the time my friend bragged he had just killed a lion with his bare hands.  “God will provide, son.”

The words kept ringing in my ears.  Even as we built the altar, I continuously looked around, expecting an animal to emerge from the greenery.  

I was peeking in a thick bush, just to be sure I hadn’t heard a sheep, when someone pinned my hands behind my back.  I braced myself to punch a thief.  But, totally to my surprise, Dad was tying my wrists together.  I quickly tugged my hands away, preparing to make a run for it.  The only thing that stopped me was a tiny whisper in the back of head, scolding, This is your Dad!  God commanded you to always honor and obey him, no matter what!

Reluctantly, I moved back over to Dad.  A few minutes later I found myself on top of the altar!  My thoughts screamed so loud I was sure the servants at the bottom of the mountain could hear them.  Look at what you got yourself into!  Why didn’t you run for your life when you had the chance?  Now your beloved Dad has become your worst enemy! You’re going to die!

Tears cascaded down my face as Dad pulled his knife out.  Looking at it this time, it was much scarier than when I saw it on a hunting trip or during other sacrifices.  I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for the quick, but fatal, pain of the knife. Seconds seemed like hours!  I could hear Dad choking out sobs.  I comforted myself, knowing it would soon be over.  Dad wooshed the knife into the air.  Nothing.  Nothing happened.  No pain searing through my body, no blood oozing out and no fire leaping into flames.   

I peeped one eye open.  There at the foot of the altar stood an angel.  “Don’t hurt the boy Abraham!”  The bright and brilliant stranger commanded.  “Now I know you love Me more than anything else!”  He disappeared as fast as he’d come.  Dad and I stared at eachother for a good amount of time.  The bleating of a ram stopped the silence.  I laughed.  It had been a sheep I’d heard after all!

Dad untied me and killed the ram in my place.  Even as we walked down the the mountain an hour later, our eyes were flickering a candle of laughter and tears of joy were splashing onto the path.  I looked looked up at the stars, which seemed to be dancing.  The lesson God had taught me today would never leave me heart!  I’d always trust Him, no matter what!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

God will Heal

Emalai came down with Strep or tonsillitis yesterday and her little tonsils are almost touching!  She has such a stuffy nose along with it that she can't breath at night and has some sleep apneea (sp?).  I was concerned and awake too much helping her stay up on a pillow to try to breathe.  We are thankful God will heal this too!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Yet I will Praise You!

Lydia wrote her version of Habakkuk 3 today in school. God continues to be teaching me the same lesson. Her words could have been mine and brought me to tears.

Habakkuk 3:17-19  (in my own words)

Though there is no wi-fi in the house
Though the car is not working
Though the fridge is broken and freezes everything
Though it’s super hot
Though we’re all sick
Though fears linger
Though anger flares
Though friends are far
Though family is not near
Though there is math to be done
Though there are square roots to figure out
Though i stand amidst non believing people……….
I will praise the lord!
Praise be to his holy name!
I will not complain, for he has a perfect plan for my life!
I will trust him with all my hopes and dreams!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Blessed Rain!

We are so grateful for your prayers!  Josh and Lydia are both recovering from tonsillitis and no one else has gotten sick!

As a bonus, God sent rain to cool us off!  We are enjoying our second cloudy, rainy, cool day.  This is rare here so I hardly know what to do with myself and how to enjoy it to the max.  I woke up this morning and put on long sleeves because it was cold enough (yeah!).  When I looked at the temperature it said 76 degrees.  I guess when you start at 96 degrees twenty degrees less feels very cool.  It is about 70 degrees now which is about as low as it gets and the people are cold!

I just wanted to share and put a few pictures for you to see.  I have blogs running around my heart and head every day but with teaching and cooking (from scratch) that is enough to fill my day.  Hopefully some day I will have time and feel like writing.  God has been teaching me so much between His Word, our Bible class, and the people here.  He is my joy!

I just had to add our Malai who keeps us smiling!

Sunday, March 6, 2016


I really did not want to write another blog asking for prayer because for sickness, but here we go again.

Last night Josh said he ached all over.  Sure enough during the night he was cold (even though it was NOT cold) and feverish.  This morning Josh AND Lydia did not get out of bed.  They both have fevers, sore throats, and just don't feel well.  I asked Jennifer, missionary nurse, if she could come and look at their throats.  She came and confirmed that they both have tonsillitis (maybe strep).

Oh bummer.  We are trying not to be discouraged.  We were all well for a nice long week and now we wonder if we will ever live here without sicknesses.  Is it just a part of life here, is it attacks and discouragement from the enemy, or testing?  Both times Josh taught since we have been back in Obulle he got sick the next day.  

So we continue to pray and persevere.  We know God as our Healer and Protector.  He is with us and faithful.  Pray that the tonsillitis is not passed on to anyone else and that Josh and Lydia heal and recover quickly.  It is 95 degrees in our house each day right now so it is difficult not being sick.  One more note, my ear drum has healed but there is still fluid in the tubes that is causing it be to plugged and not hear well.  I am at higher risk of another ear infection if we don't get rid of the fluid so I am on decongestants trying to get rid of it.  Praying I can hear again soon!

Thanks once again for joining us in prayer for heal for our family.

Oh, Luci who helps us has also been sick.  She was told she has Bursilosis.  We are praying for her recovery.  And one more prayer request, our solar refrigerator is not working properly.  It says it is 99 degrees inside but actually everything is frozen inside.  Just another frustration.  We are waiting for a part to arrive that will HOPEFULLY repair the problem.