Saturday, April 23, 2011

Uncle Lloyd and Holy Saturday

My Great Uncle Lloyd died last night at 9:30 pm, just after his minister had finished saying a prayer with him and the family.  It was expected, as Aunt Nancy was told about a week ago that he would be gone within 2 weeks.  Family members were able to visit him the last few days.  Even so, the pain of the parting is still there.  Please pray for my family as arrangements are made and this time of grieving commences.

So, he died on Good Friday.  By ancient Jewish reckoning he died on Holy Saturday, since their days start at sundown the night before and go to sundown the next day.  It seems appropriate to join these two thoughts together.  Holy Saturday was a day of grief and hopelessness.  The Savior was dead.  The believers still didn’t understand what Jesus had told them.  How could they?  They had never seen someone come back from the dead by his own power.  They saw Jesus raise the dead, but now Jesus is dead and he can’t help himself – they thought.

So many people live their lives in Holy Saturday.  Even believers find themselves here.  Life is hard.  There are sorrows and there are catastrophes.  Grief and struggle seem to be a constant part of life for most people.  Everyone trudges through the same old same old days.  We just try to make it to the next day, only to repeat the trudging.  Sometimes there is joy and happiness, but the sorrow and crises are bound to return.  These are “lives of quiet desperation.”  This is exactly where Jesus’ followers were on Holy Saturday and again, where many people remain their whole lives.

But it is not where Uncle Lloyd is.  He was the last of my Grandfather’s siblings to die.  There is a reunion going on in Heaven today – Holy Saturday!  Good Friday is done and Sunday is just around the corner.  Saturday is just a day of waiting – of expectation for those who know the rest of the story.  Death is just a parting and a waiting for the reunion.  Yes, there is sorrow and very real grief.  Uncle Lloyd will be missed by so many people!  But, there just below the surface is joy as well.  Joy that Uncle Lloyd is healthy and whole now.  Joy that this is not the end because this sorrow will one day be replaced with the joy of reunion. 

How can this be?  Because Good Friday was not the end for Jesus!  We have a Holy Saturday because of what happened Sunday.  Jesus had “the authority to lay his life down (and die) and he had the authority to take it up again (and live again!)” on Sunday.  He rose from the grave and because he did, all who believe in him, though they die, will live forever with him.  Holy Saturday can be sad, but because I believe in the rest of the story, I know that it is sadness tinged with joy.  So, I say goodbye to my Uncle Lloyd.  Even so, I am expecting to see him again!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

"I am the Good Shepherd...and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.  They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again."  Jesus

"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."  Jesus

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."  Jesus

Father, forgive me!  Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Long, long ago in this Galaxy on this planet...

On this very night long, long ago in this very Galaxy and in fact on this very planet, The Lord inaugurated the very first “Lord’s supper.”  Many people have wishful thinking about this night and the days to follow.  They say there is no God and therefore this night and the following days never really happened.  They think it is just like “Star Wars.”  A story to entertain the masses. 

Others think that this night long ago and the days that followed have a huge impact on this planet and this Galaxy for all time and into eternity.  It has that impact because it is true and not a story to entertain the masses, but The Truth to change the masses and redeem them forever.  You see, it was on this night that The Lord revealed in word and deed what he came to do for all people.

Before the “supper” even started he was teaching.  He became the servant.  He washed his followers’ feet.  He told one that he could have no part in him if he didn’t allow him to wash his feet.  Was he teaching him (and us) that we must recognize that we need to be clean, that we need him before we can be part of him?  That we must see our overwhelming need before he can cleanse us?

Then He gave thanks.  He knew what was coming and yet he gave thanks.  Then he broke the bread to show how he would be broken.  He poured out the wine to show how he would be poured out – his very blood.  He even told them this was his blood that was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

The night didn’t end there.  He and his followers celebrated the rest of the meal and they sang some songs and then they went for a walk to a garden.  There, while they rested, he prayed and waited.  He knew they were coming.  He prayed for God’s will to be done not his.  He agonized over this prayer knowing what it would mean.  And then he went to meet those who came for him with swords and clubs and didn't resist when they arrested him.

And the night didn’t end there either.  He was beaten and mocked.  He stood trial and another trial and another before the night was over.  The verdict was a foregone conclusion to those who had him and even to him.  He even helped them by being silent and then giving them the very words they wanted him to speak when they failed to have any witnesses agree against him. 

And so that long, very long night was ended and the days that followed began…  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Birthday Bash!

I told folks on Facebook about my birthday bash, but thought I would share it here as well.  I made a lunch for my workers and friends.  It was a Mexican style lunch, but I improvised a little.  I made some corn bread and cut large slices of it as the base.  Then I cooked up four pounds of meat (they like meat!), with some onions, tomatoes, beans and corn and added in some taco seasoning along with a bit of chili powder. I poured this slightly soupy "concoction" over the corn bread and viola - we had lunch!  :).  It was pretty tasty even if I do say so myself.  I also baked a cake.  That was a little disappointing as it didn't rise like a cake should.  It must have been an old mix.  Even so, it tasted pretty good.  I made the cake into a two layer cake just to make it look a little more normal.

The best part of the day was that I was given a present by my guards.  Giving presents in Turkana is not a real common thing - especially for birthdays.  They don't know the actual day they were born.  Many of them can only guess at the year.  So, celebrating birthdays is a very foreign thing to them.  Even so, one of my guards decided that they should give me a present.  So, after the lunch bash, he went to town and came back with a necklace and earrings and gave them to me.  This really is a case of it being the thought that counts and I still get a huge smile on my face when I think of it!

All in all, I had a great birthday.  I was overwhelmed at the number of birthday greetings I received by e-mail and Facebook.  I must say that getting another year older does have its advantages sometimes :).  If you want to see more pictures from my birthday bash, you can find them on my Facebook page.  I hope you have had a good week as well!  Blessings from one who feels truly blessed! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The old adage says "April showers bring May flowers."  Well, that isn't the case here in Turkana.  We don't get much rain and I pretty much have a brown thumb with most plants.  I love to see flowers, but have had problems getting any to live for very long for me.  Part of that is because when I travel my flowers don't get watered and so I return to dead, brown things.  This year, I have been so happy to see a couple of plants doing well in my yard.  So, I took some pictures for you to see them :).

The first is a plumaria plant.  It was planted by my former teammate, Katy Lines, sometime around 2006.  It has had a troubled life.  Small children have used it as a play thing and broken off budding ends.  It was just the right size for them to reach and they wanted to look at it.  So, it has taken a long time for this plant to bloom.  Finally, this year I was pleased to see some flowers on it.  There are only a couple, but I am so excited to see them.  They smell nice too :). 

The next is a desert rose that was also planted by Katy.  It was planted down by their house in the same yard as my house.  This beauty has been blooming for a few years because I have given specific instructions on how it is to be watered.  

I just wanted to share with you that not all is brown here in Turkana.  Every once in a while I do see a little color and I thank the Lord for sharing it with me!  Here is hoping that I can keep both plants alive and well for future enjoyment.

This is my "snake" plant.  I don't know its official name but this is what I am told it is called.  It has to be protected because my dogs like to dig in wet soil and lay in it.  They have knocked this plant down and dug it up a few times.  So, one day I decided to put a little fence of sticks around it.  It has really grown well since then.  The dogs can't get to it, much to their dissatisfaction.  I am happy to see it finally doing well.  This is just outside my bedroom right next to where I park my truck.  So, I see it every time I get in my truck.  It is fun to see something growing there!

How about you?  How is your spring looking?  Any flowers blooming yet?  I miss the beautiful new greens mixed with the colorful buds of spring.  Enjoy them and give thanks to the Lord for creating such beauty for us to enjoy!