How to begin, I don’t know. We have been through a lot. May God, who has begun a good work, keep us faithful until the end.
There is the hardship and oppression of poverty, and the lack of resources that surrounds us wherever we are and wherever we go. There is the lack of resources in the hospital, and precious children of God are suffering. There is a lack of outrage and compassion by the Christians here that is expressed in the lack of joy and sadness and action to what is going on around them. Yet, there are Christians who pray without ceasing, who understand that the grace of our Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit changes everything!
The carpenter that was helped by your prayers and donations has continuous praise to God, sees the work and grace of the Almighty in all things. The carpenter is ever thankful for the tools he was able to purchase. He is thankful to God to continue his carpentry and his mentoring and discipleship of his workers. He is committed to sharing Christ with them and to the growth of their carpentry skills; committed to God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. He is thankful for how God has worked through you. Thank you for your generous help.
The other challenges for me are more internal and spiritual in nature — questions, the struggle of how to live in fellowship of the Spirit in the midst of ……… The challenge of what Matthew 6:10 means for us: “May God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” What does this really mean? How does this affect the way I live? The challenge of being a light, of being salt. Many Christians in the past and present live with daily persecution and pain and the consequences of their decision to follow Christ. I don’t like pain, I am a big baby when it comes to pain. These are some of the questions Chuck and I, and our bible study with a Christian couple from the seminary, are wrestling with.
Yet, Even though we are a continent away, and in every continent, there is the pain of broken relationships, of greed, of illness, of inadequacies, of self-centeredness, of sin and …… All the above things are still there, yet by the grace of God, God is working. What a blessing when, from time to time, the peace that passes all understanding has occasionally sparked my imagination and effort to give back to God in ways made possible by God’s grace and gift-giving in our lives. God is working in our lives.
I find it very stressful and hard to go anywhere without being surrounded by 2-3 children or more begging for money. We don’t have a car (and don’t need one), so we walk, and we I walk, there are always children saying the same three words: “Give me money.” If it isn’t children asking, there are adults asking for money both on the street and privately in our little apartment. It makes me think that this is nothing compared to what other Christians experience — beatings, being jailed unjustly for their faith, or kicked out of their home or…..
I have become bolder in my witness. Depending on the situation, if the children are begging I will ask them if they know Jesus. For the adults, I have been able to speak a prayer of blessing over them. This week I was walking with two friends to go up a small mountain to pray. On the way there were 5 children followed us continually asking for money making it difficult for the three of us to converse. To our surprise, the kids followed us all the way up the mountain!!
I told my friends that they should go to a quiet place on the mountain and that I would talk to the children. I talked with the children; I also told them why I was on the mountain. I was there to pray and asked them if I could pray for them. They said yes. So I prayed! After I was done praying, I said that I was going over to pray with my friends. I said that I would appreciate if they would be quiet and let us pray. However, I said that if they would like to pray some more with me that they could quietly come over to where we were and we could pray more. I went over to my friend; I had not finished telling my friend the whole story when I looked back. There were the 5 children quietly standing wanting to pray more!! Can you imagine?! So, allowing my friend space, the children and I separated ourselves and sang together. I taught them the only song I know that would be easy to teach children whose second language is English. The song was my God is so Big. We prayed. Then the children went home. God is working. God is working in me.
This has been an emotional week for me because of the above, but also our dear friends and nursing students who have been with us for the last 4 months have left. We arrived at the Guest House about the same time in January and have shared a lot. They were exceptional Christian young people and I will miss them.
This week we also had an intruder in our house. Chuck and I were in bed. I was waking up and heard a noise in the apartment. Then, I saw a shadow of a person on the wall just outside our bedroom. Now, most of you know Chuck has restless leg syndrome which forces him to get up and down during the night to get rid of the pain in his legs. I quickly looked to see if Chuck was next to me and He Was!! So, I saw the shadow of a person on the wall. Then I saw him look into our bedroom, then continue past our doorway into the kitchen area!! I started to yell. The yelling woke up Chuck, who started to yell. Giving the person enough time to leave, I got out of bed to see if could see him as he was leaving the complex. I did not see him. He was so silent, coming and going, leaving the front door open as he fled. Thankfully we were not harmed and nothing was stolen, even though he walked right by our lap top in the living room. We have no idea how God is working and upholding us through your prayers but we are thankful. Please continue to pray for us.
So, we have been here 4 1/2 months with 4 and half months more to go. On the lighter side, I have learned to make bread and rolls. I have become known for my desserts with the ex-pats. Chuck and I have more to learn and more to share. There is an old hymn that is my/our prayer, Spirit of the Living God. May God continue the work God has begun, keeping us faithful until the end, molding us, and making us into God’s image.
Thank you for you love and prayers,