Sunday, February 27, 2011

Giving Thanks in the hard things too!


This month I have been trying to have an attitude of gratitude.  It really does help one to focus on God when we are thankful for the small things in life that bring pleasure and beauty into our lives.  At the same time, there are sometimes really hard things that happen and if we are thanking God for the gifts he gives us to see him in the small things, then we also should be thanking him for the gifts he gives us in the big things.  Yes, even in the hard things.  I am learning that it is all a matter of perspective - do we see God's grace even in the horrible, evil things that happen.  It is there.  How will we react to the hard things.  Will we give him thanks for even those things that bring us pain?  Will we allow him to work in us and through us to eventually be able to give thanks?  Hard questions to be pondering.

This week a I heard of a YWAM missionary family that had one of those hard, evil things happen.  A father was murdered.  A mother was traumatized and abused.  Children lost a father and a sense of security.  I did not know this family, but they lived and worked here in Kenya.  I came to Nairobi yesterday and went to church this morning.  I didn't know this was the church they attended regularly.  What was the response of the congregation and this family?  We worshipped and praised God for being merciful and giving grace.  Sometimes through tears, yes, but we worshipped God.  We gave thanks for a life given in service to him.  We prayed for a grieving and hurting family.  We affirmed that no matter what Satan meant it for, God was there.  He was in it all and He is good.  He gives grace and mercy and we gave thanks.

It is a matter of perspective.  Do we look at the world with the right lenses?  Do we look through God's lens and his heart or do we look through the eyes of the world?  Is it easy to give thanks for these hard things?  NO.  No, it is not easy, but His word says to give thanks in all things.  All things - not just the easy things but the hard things too.  I don't know this family, but I wept this morning because of the pain they must be feeling.  I also wept to see the family of God be the family of God.  To lift their voices in praise even in the midst of grief.  To sing out that God is good and worthy of praise even when this family might not have been able to do it themselves.  God was glorified today and I saw his word being lived out in that congregation.  "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Please pray for this family - the Kremers.  Pray for the things they will face in the coming days, weeks and months.  They have lost a husband / father and their sense of security.  They will also be going back to their sending country - so in a sense they have lost a home.  Pray that they would feel their heavenly Father's loving arms wrapped around them...that they will know his peace...that they will know that their security is found in him...that he is their home.  Pray for the mother...that in her trauma she will be able to see what she needs and what her family needs...that she will be able to ask for it and that God will provide those who can help her and help her family.  The Lord knows the needs.  Thanks!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The goodness of the Lord

Continuing on with the attitude of gratitude I have to say that this past week has been a real blessing.  I finished up my English class.  I am so happy by how well my students are doing at trying to communicate coherently in English :).  They are making some very good progress and I am so thankful that they are seeing and hearing that as well.

Here are a few more things I have seen to give thanks for.  1) Four little kids holding hands none older than 5 walking off to see the wide world - within the bounds of home :)  2) My english students spelling in chorus and getting it right the first time!  3) A woman walking through a yellow-green rain of leaves unaware of the beauty  4) The simple joy of cleaning and accomplishing several small jobs  5) For life and drawing each blessed breath- after hearing of someone I tried to help who lost a battle with Malaria  6) A particularly radiant display of God's splendor seen in the smile of a child  7) Adults learning to read - joyful faces at getting it right  8) Procrastinated work finished and a lifting of the weight of not having it done  9) Making plans for group meals and thinking of the yumminess to come  10) A glorious, ordinary yet ornate red-gold sunset  11) Seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  God's hand is in it all!  Praise to the one to whom we give thanks!

How about you?  What have you been thankful for lately?  I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Enjoying some African ingenuity


Today as I was enjoying chai time with my students, we happened to see a very unusual sight.  There was a wheelbarrow missing its legs.  It was attached to the back of a motorcycle somehow.  That motorcycle was moving along at a pretty good pace on the sand road near our school.  A wheelbarrow as a tailer - who would have ever thought of that?  Someone who had the former and needed the latter I guess :).

My students are learning about sentences this week - among other things.  We played a game where one student came up with a subject and tossed a ball to another student who had to come up with the verb and the rest of the sentence.  It took a while for them to get going and really catch on to what they were supposed to do.  One of the students was given the ball with the subject "women."  He quickly responded "are good for cooking food."  He and the rest of the class burst out laughing and another added, "and washing clothes."  I was a bit appalled, but also happy because they actually made a good sentence.  Well, I did tell them they could use any subject and any verb as long as they made a grammatically correct sentence.  So, I guess I can't complain too much.

Just a few fun things from my week.  How is yours going?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011



As I stated in my last post I am trying to have an attitude of gratitude this month.  I started with being grateful for teammates.  Here are a few of the things I have been grateful for this last week.
1) teammates, good food and water
2) That God is good no matter what shocking things may happen - he is with us through it all
3) good meetings, short & sweet, spending time with friends, praying with one another
4) hot, windy & dusty days of storms - they make me appreciate the only hot days :)
5) School kids, laughter & play and books that make me think.
6) Chatting with my bff & college roomie, having little boys seek out my lap for church
7) prayer wariors, seeing God's work from a distance & praising him, making cookies
8) getting stuff done and still time for relaxing

So, there you have it so far in February.  How about you what are you grateful for?

Interested in the books I was talking about?  I am reading In the Presence of my Enemies by Gracia Burnham - about her & her husbands captivity in the Philippines.  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is where the attitude of gratitude idea started.  I am reading both of these books as part of online book clubs and I highly recommend both of them.  Another one I am reading slowly just because I know the author is Approaching God by Lisa Repko Borden (she was a former teammate in the late 90's here in Kenya).  This one has made me think and has ties into something I taught in my last ESL class about Adam & Eve in the garden after they sinned.  I read it the other night and am amazed how God ties things together for us even in what we are reading :).

How about you?  What are you reading that you would recommend?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


My 2 tanks

Today I am thankful for teammates!  You see, I live in a desert.  There isn't always water coming through the pipes because the town pump is down or they are low on water and rationing.  So, I have a small tank up in the air and a bigger one on the ground.  These store my water for those times when there is no water from town.

Last evening, I turned on the faucet (or tap for some of you) and no water came out.  So, I went outside and pumped water from my big tank to my upper tank so that gravity could bring the water into the house.  All was well.  I fixed my dinner, washed off the table and then went to my teammates' house for a time of Bible study and prayer.  When I returned I was looking forward to a shower because it had been pretty hot that day.  When I turned on the faucet no water came out again!  That upper tank can usually get me through 3-4 days if I don't do any laundry.  So, it should not have been empty after only a few hours and very little water consumption.

So, my teammate, Gene Morden, came over today and spent most of the morning working on my pipes. One of my backflow valves was messed up.  Probably a small rock or other object had gotten into it and broken the valve.  So, it had to be replaced.  He replaced it for me and we tested the tank system.  There is still a small leak of water where there shouldn't be, but for now, the water is staying in the upper tank where it belongs.  The other problem will have to be tackled some other day.  It is a faucet that isn't closing all the way - again there is probably some small hard object keeping it from closing.
backflow valve & faucet that may still need to be fixed

While Gene was fixing the pipes and I was watching and bringing out the tools that he needed, his wife, Melba Morden was fixing our lunch.  Yum!  A great meal and I didn't have to fix it!  So, today I am thankful for teammates.  :)

This month I am trying to have an attitude of gratitude.  How about you?  What are you thankful for today?