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…
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.
for good reason joy is in our hearts | sara groves
I was listening to Sara Groves Fireflies and Songs album the other day (yes, it has become an all time favorite) and was so struck by the song Joy is in our Hearts. God has been kind in teaching me so much this year. I’ve learned that the hard things are for my benefit and good. The good things have become even sweeter as I realize that all I need I have in Christ. The past couple of months have really been a sweet gift. I’ve learned that I really do have good reason to be joyful. No matter what my current circumstances may be I have hope and joy because Christ has redeemed my life and I am His. I am learning, slowly, sometimes too slowly I fear, but still I am learning to love because He loved me first. I am learning to give because everything I have has been given to me and it’s not mine anyway. My heart is full of joy and hope this Christmas season.
An enlightened man is grateful to God for temporal blessings; but he is much more grateful to God for spiritual blessings, for temporal blessings do not last long; they are soon gone. Temporal blessings are not definite marks of divine favour, since God gives them to the unworthy, and to the wicked, as well as to the righteous. – CH Spurgeon
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all enjoy a lovely day giving thanks to the One who has given us all that we need in Christ Jesus. I will be spending the holiday with my family and am so excited about eating way too much good food. I missed the holiday last year and am glad that I’ll be here to over eat this year.
I went in to work today just like I do every week day. I dropped my things off at my desk and logged into my computer and turned on my little space heater so that my hands could thaw out and type at their normal speed. After that I grabbed my mug and went to the break area for round 3 of coffee. Yep, round 3 at 8:15am. Here’s how it goes; my alarm goes off at 5:30am and I get up and start moving and jump in the shower and get ready and then around 6:30am I head down to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee, then I usually read and catch up on the news while eating breakfast and then grab another mug to take with me to work. I drink that last cup during my short drive to work and during devotions. So, as you can see by the time I am sitting at my desk ready to work I am ready for my third and last cup of the morning. This morning I walked over to the break area knowing that my third cup would be a sad, flavorless mug of folgers that would have to be helped by a bit of sugar and maybe even some cream. I normally drink my coffee black, but when it’s as nasty as that pre-ground Folgers stuff that tastes like it’s been sitting around for years, you just have to enlist the help of some sugar and cream. Well there I was making my way to the coffee maker when I heard quite the commotion. Everyone was huddled around the counter looking at something. That something happened to be the end of me. I think I might overdose on coffee. Ladies and gentlemen, we bought a Keurig machine. Yep, I can now bring my own delicious, fresh blend of coffee and pop it into the Keurig and have a steaming hot cup of coffee in seconds. Not good. I can’t even bring myself to say how many cups I had today…S, would not be happy….
My birthday is in 10 days 6 hours and 10 minutes. Yes, I suppose I am getting a little bit excited. I love celebrations – I love my birthday, I love other people’s birthdays, I guess I just love a good excuse to party 😀 Last year I was in Brazil and spent my birthday running around Rio de Janeiro with Josefina. It was simply lovely and a day that I will never forget. Looks like I’ll be home for this birthday…I wonder where I’ll spend next year’s birthday. Maybe somewhere exciting and exotic!
What’s your favorite birthday memory?
fireflies and songs | sara groves
thirty years ago i was a little girl // riding in the back seat of the car // a woman sang you don’t bring me flowers anymore // i felt a sadness in my little heart
we’re looking for the music // in the music box // tearing it to pieces // trying to find a song
i was drawn to you in ways i can’t explain // we fought like crazy but i couldn’t stay away // piled on expectations and lots of blame // like we couldn’t do it any other way
we’re looking for a firefly // moving through the night // staring at the one place // swear it never lights
were you surprised our hearts were not like ticking clocks // with faces and hands easy to read // we both wished if only in the land of oz // longed for things we’d never really need
now we’re standing in the kitchen // all pretense is gone // you kiss me on the shoulder // fireflies and song
Today. 17 November 2011. Today was the day that I was supposed to arrive in Atlanta early in the morning and then catch a flight to Charlotte. Today was the day that was to mark the end of my 5 month internship in Liberia. Today was the day that I was supposed to…
- arrive back in the USA after 5 months away – I always love coming back into the US after being away for any amount of time
- have a happy reunion with family and friends after a couple of months away
- be looking back at 5 months of work and lessons learned in Liberia
- thinking of the friends that I had to say goodbye to in Liberia
- be tired from jet lag, but so excited to see everyone that I get kind of punchy
- know whether or not I want to stay on the field or stay in the states
- come home and have lots of pictures and stories to tell over the Thanksgiving Holiday
Instead, today I am sitting here writing this post with a steaming hot cup of coffee in my kitchen before I head off to work. Today I will go to work and come home and really, it’s just a regular old day, nothing special. Except, for me it still is a marker of what the last 5 months have meant to me. I might not have been able to finish my internship, but that doesn’t mean that these last couple of months have not been significant. Today is the day that I…
- look back at all that God has done in the last 5 months and see his faithfulness and his kind hand that upheld me through trials, confusion, and lots of waiting
- celebrate and praise God for all of his provision and grace
- thank God for sustaining me and giving me a job for the months that I have been healthy and here in Boone
- remember to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14
- will go to work and come home and try to remember to be faithful in the small tasks that are set before me
- watch my little brother’s basketball game
“All your circumstances are ordered in wisdom by a living, thoughtful, and loving God. Our heavenly Father knows what he is doing, even when his way appears to be involved and complicated and we cannot untangle the threads, the Lord sees all things clearly. His breadth exceeds the range of our vision; his depth baffles our profoundest thought.” – CH Spurgeon
I continue to learn and re-learn and remind myself of these truths. I just wrote a dear friend and described these past couple of months like this, “I’ve struggled with the waiting, but the Lord has called me to trust and rest and has increased my faith; I’ve been confused and felt directionless, but my good God has reminded me of his sovereign care for me and has provided at every turn and has made my path clear. It has been one step at a time and that’s been frustrating at times, but he’s been there to light my path. It’s really interesting to look back over the last year or so and see how he has worked everything out in his timing and how it’s been better than anything I ever could have planned.” I think that one thing I have learned for sure over the past couple of years is that I can plan and plan all I want, but I am not in control. I am looking forward to this next adventure.