Funny thing . . . .
This July marked 10 years serving with ABWE. We just didn't know it.
They had a recognition service at the Missionary Enrichment conference we attended in July.
We were supposed to have read the notice in our registration packet . . . . we were supposed to be at the service early . . . we were all supposed to sit in the front . . . . (noticing a pattern?)
Needless to say, we were late, sitting in the back row and didn't even know we were part of the service until they called our name. All I could do was laugh. Next time, maybe we'll read all of our registration packet!
But, this past month I've taken time to reflect on 10 years of ministry. What has God taught me? Have I changed and grown any? What do I look forward to in the next 10 years?
I think I can sum up what God has taught me in one verse,
Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD."
This verse can unpack so many hidden sins and stumbling blocks for being properly used by God.
This verse also holds incredible joy and peace!
In my limited thoughts, my plans are just that- limited. I can't see through the valley or even understand why the valley is there. BUT, my Lord knows. He made the valley and has a beautiful purpose for it. In my thoughts, I'd rather skip the valley. This last 10 years has brought several valleys and out the other end of it, we've been able to praise God.
Praise Him for His goodness.
Praise Him for His faithfulness.
And, praise Him for the valley itself.
Other thoughts or surprises . . . .
- never really thought I had the gift of hospitality, but now it is a big part of our ministry and an absolute delight.
- I don't think I'll ever be able to live again without Indian spices to cook with!
- It never gets easier to say goodbye to family.
- I really can live in harmony with ants :)
- It surprised me that I could so easily forget the brands and products that I liked in America. Buying laundry detergent or cereal at Meijers is overwhelming
- Being behind the scenes to support and encourage others is truly fulfilling.
- I STILL LOVE WHAT I DO!
Praise God for continuing to work in us all and we seek to honor Him with our lives.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
I'm sure most of you have heard me mention Pastor Clement- a long time friend who has helped us in so many ways here in South Africa. Below is a picture of his wife, Thuli. A dear friend of mine.
She worked for us at the Care Home and then worked as a private care giver in Richards Bay after the Care Home closed. But, her heart really wanted to be at home with her husband, helping with the Christian School on their property, ministering to church members and taking care of her children.
Since she had acquired an oven, she spoke to a tuck shop on the main road (small store that sells coke, candy, chips, cell phone minutes, etc) about selling some baked goods. This would give her a small income and allow her to stay at home.
Most homes out in the rural don't have ovens. The ladies cook on electric/gas burners that sit on the kitchen counters or table. So, baked goods are a real treat! The shop was very keen to sell her items, but she knew she needed practice first. She had lots of questions, like- how to cut in butter, how does a tooth pick tell you when something is done? And, she couldn't wait to watch me separate an egg yolk from the whites.
So, we've been pouring over recipes. The criteria- easy, yummy and cost-effective.
It has been a lot of fun to bake with her and watch her confidence grow! We've tried multiple variations of scones, cookies, and muffins. She's already been baking lots of bread.
This is her kitchen space. No running water and we can only run one electric appliance at a time. The tubs on the table are for washing dishes. But, isn't the oven in the back beautiful?!
Below are pictures of my drive out to Thuli's. She lives about 35 minutes outside Richards Bay. We've been traveling there for so many years, that most people on this road know our vehicle and smile and wave. But, I do like having the 4x4 for when the road is flooded or I need to "push" through a crowd of guys hanging out waiting for a taxi.
This is Thuli's youngest son. I spend most of my time there trying to get him to smile . . . so far no luck!
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
How do you sum up a 3 week trip back to the States?
. . . . . . lots of family, lots of food, lots of fun, lots of airplanes and one big Missionary Enrichment conference with our mission board.
The trip was everything each of us needed (whether we realized it at the time or not). Hugs from family, opportunities to share our ministry at two churches, encouragement from our ABWE home staff.
There were so many pictures to choose from, but these are a few of my favorites.
Meeka meeting her cousin Abby for the first time
Bubbles with more cousins
Natalie kayaking with Kyle and Uncle Mark
Great picture of my parents with all their grandkids
Natalie being silly at the zoo
Emily being silly at the zoo
Aunt Sherry and me