rest.

“Rest at essence is God-entranced, God-magnifying, and God-satisfied.  Rest is a bold declaration of the over-sufficiency of the goodness and grace of God.  It is treating God’s promises as rock-solid and unquestionable.  Rest is a conscious relishing of God’s gushing generosity and a relinquishment of our own self-sufficiency.

In short, rest is the only human response to God’s engagement that honors and satisfies Him.  All else is both deplorable and unacceptable.

Rest is the garden, the Sabbath, the feasts, the land, the worship of God’s people in the Old Testament.  Rest is the promise of the Gospel and the only path to life.  ‘Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy-laden,’ says the Savior, ‘And I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Paul in the apostle sums up the Gospel simply, ‘Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is brought to you in revelation of Jesus Christ.’

There were two lost sons in the story of the Prodigals, one who offered to work his way back into his Father’s favor, and one who reminded the Father of the favor he deserved for the work he had already done.  Both offered work as a payment for the gift of the Father’s fellowship, forgiveness and feast.  And to both He said, ‘No.’

‘Come in!’ was the only offer of the Father. ‘Cease from your work and celebrate my lavish extravagance and prodigal generosity and you will have Me and everything that is mine.’

Everything good starts with rest, grows through rest, and is sweetly tasted in the feast of rest.  And then comes Heaven.” Don Shorey

beauty

Beauty was created by God for a purpose: to give us the experience of wonder. And wonder, in turn, is intended to lead us to the ultimate human expression and privilege: worship. Beauty is both a gift and a map. It is a gift to be enjoyed and a map to be followed back to the source of beauty with praise and thanksgiving. – Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything, Steve DeWitt

front porch of the staff house

I thought you all might like to go on a little virtual tour of my living space in Monrovia…this is the front porch of the staff house where I live when I’m in town. I love to sit in the hammock and read and watch the waves come in. And for all of you who I have talked to on the phone, chances are I was lounging in the hammock then, too. It’s so nice to just take a book and a mango smoothie out there and relax after work or on the weekends.

living room window

This is our view from the front of the house…this is the living room window — see the hammocks from the first picture?!

living room

This is our living room/dining room. It’s a pretty big area, so it serves as a gathering place for meetings and parties. We have lots of good times in this room. We got an HD projector so we are rearranging a little bit…the couches are going to be turned the other direction facing the opposite wall which is blank and serves as our screen!

eating area

hallway

Each hallway has three bedrooms and a bathroom at the end. My room is the first one on the right side. Eight of us live in the house, but we’re rarely all there except for the monthly management meeting. Only three are there on a regular basis. It’s fun when everybody is home though.  The left wall has two big bookshelves full of lots of random books and art supplies. I’ve been enjoying the paints and pencils…

my bed

Danielle is kind enough to share her room with me…we have a purple theme going on! This is my bed and corner of the room.

Well, that’s all I have today. I’m upcountry in Gbarpolu county right now. I haven’t been to Bopolu base since last summer when I was sick and had to hike out of the jungle with Joni and Nikelle. I’m enjoying the base this time around. Layblee, the base manager is wonderful. She’s a great host! I head back to Monrovia tomorrow and then Friday is a holiday — Prayer and Fasting day…

Later!

 

The Nations are HERE

I came to Liberia excited about the opportunity to serve and to learn about Liberian culture and to really get to know the people. And I have learned a lot about the culture and love the people. But God’s plans are always so much bigger, fuller, greater than anything I could have ever planned or imagined. I thought I was coming to Africa to get to know Liberians and tell them about Jesus. God has brought the nations to Liberia and has given us the opportunity to share the gospel with Pakistanis and Chinese! It’s been really neat building relationships with the UN Pak Batt in Foya and our Chinese neighbors here in Monrovia.

The Pak Batt is just a lifesaver. We love going there to eat — all of their food is flown in and imported, so they have what seems to be an endless supply of delicious meats and fresh fruit and vegetables. We’ve also really grown to love their company and have a mutual respect for each other. Really, they have become our friends. Major Javed is so kind and hospitable. I really love his candor. He is such a gracious and kind host. Anyway, we’ve had some really great conversations with him. He’s Muslim and I really enjoy hearing his opinions and thoughts on a lot of different subjects. We’ve gotten to know a few of the officers there and they’ve all been so kind to us. They’ve hosted us many times and had a special viewing of a movie on Pakistan’s beautiful geography. They know that we are Christians and respect that and when we eat dinner there they are very respectful and always tell us that it is fine with them if we want to pray and thank God before the meal. You can join me in praying for our Pakistani friends!

The Chinese are our next door neighbors. Their compound is right beside our office and we often see them jogging in the mornings or walking on the beach. Danielle befriended Lu several weeks ago and told him about Jesus. Then two weeks ago as we were walking to church we ran into him and invited him to come along. He eagerly accepted and seemed to treally enjoy the service. He asked lots of questions and we introduced him to Ben and Ken who talked in depth with him and a couple of his friends. We started a community Bible study on Wednesdays, tonight was the first, and Lu and his friend came very eager to learn about Jesus and the Bible. It’s so exciting! They have absolutely no concept of the Bible or Christianity and their English is not great, so sometimes it’s difficult to communicate clearly, but we’re trusting the Lord and I’m asking for the Holy Spirit to guide. Ken’s great because Japanese uses some Chinese characters, so he’s able to connect with them on that level and also just in understanding Asian culture. I made muffins and took them with me — Lu really enjoyed them and has promised to have us over for a Chinese dinner soon! I’m quite excited, their cook spent 8 years in culinary school mastering the art of Chinese cooking, so it’s going to be incredible. Anyway, it was a good evening and I’m excited about what the Lord is doing. Ben, Ken, Justin and I led them through John 1 at Lu’s request and it was really interesting explaining the trinity and creation and all of the questions that came out of that passage. Well, we didn’t really get past the first three verses actually.

Well, I gotta run, but more later…

J

Fragile

Do you ever just wake up feeling fragile and heavy at the same time? Like you could break into a million pieces on the one hand, yet so heavy you can barely breathe, and for no apparent reason? It’s a vague sensation, a cloud of emotions that you can’t quite identify due to the fog. But if you had to guess it would probably be fear, not of anything in particular though and perhaps some anxiety thrown in for good measure and just an overall sense of vulnerability. It’s days like these that I just want to bury my head in my pillow and dream it all away, but that doesn’t work. Life is hard. When I am weak, He is strong. He is faithful. I am up and down and all around, but he is steady and unchanging. Joy is mine in Him.

enjoy

i love living. i love to laugh, to enjoy and find pleasure in the little things. sometimes i’m probably a little bit overly enthusiastic about the little joys in life and i’m sure my cheery optimism gets annoying from time to time, but friends, i’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart! haha, oooh, but really, i do just love to discover things and to chase adventures and try new things. some of the things that i enjoyed this week…
CLP — we started men’s classes this year! i visited one on tuesday night. it was so encouraging to see their enthusiasm. i’m excited to see how the Lord uses these classes this year — we’re already hearing exciting testimonies from the participants and i’m hoping to see lots of growth!
Goats — we have goats on our compound up in Foya and they’re kind of cute! But they’re also kind of fast…Justin and I jumped in their little pen and decided to try to catch one. it took a few minutes and we had to do lots of running around, but we finally caught one.
Pak Batt 16 — They served up some delicious new dishes and the Major knows of mine and Eleanor’s great love for his chai tea and has said that we can come and get it to go any time we want! so exciting. i went on tuesday and picked one up for lunch. it was divine! just the pick me up kind of booster that i needed that day!
Lapa Dresses — I bought some fabric the other day and took it to the local tailor in Foya. I had a skirt and top made. Ooooh it was just too much fun. It only cost about $4 USD and it turned out so cute. I wasn’t sure how the quality would be up in Foya, I have a lady down here in Monrovia who does excellent work, but is more expensive. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and promised to come back and get more dresses made. Plus, the tailors are so fun to chat with and they’re teaching me the local language.
Baking — I’m on a total baking kick right now. Cooking is so therapeutic for me. I’ve been making lots of cupcakes and cakes and dinners with Danielle. So much fun. Tonight I am baking a cake for our expat get together tomorrow night. Oooh it was so funny, I put the second layer in the oven and set the timer and after 40 minutes went back into the kitchen to find a pan full of batter. Ha, the propane had run out after about 5 minutes in the oven.
Driving — I’m getting better at stick shift! Been cruising around Foya!
Motorbike — Got a new helmet — black with orange and red flames, yes, be jealous! I feel pretty cool with that thing on. i have been riding on the back of lots of motorbikes this week. i was a little bit freaked out a couple of times on the big hill going to the hospistal, but all ended well.
New Haircut — Joni is our official SP stylist and she brought her hair cutting kit up to Foya so that she could give me and Justin haircuts…well just wait for the video, but Justin ended up cutting my hair…it’s actually kind of cute and I like it!
Dinner at the Staff House — always something to laugh about!

xoxo,
J