Saturday, June 30, 2012

Switzerland & many thanks!

Due to technical difficulties I was unable to post this last week.  I hope you enjoy it anyway!

This week I am spending time in Switzerland for a missionary retreat called Breathe.  It has been a wonderful time to just spend soaking in God's goodness and taking time to breathe before jumping into work for my furlough/ home assignment.  The week has been full of times to worship, spend time with God in His Word, meet with a doctor, a counselor and to get a massage.

I have had many things to give thanks for this week and I can't number them all.  So, this is just a numbering of a few of them.  Enjoy!

568. A good time to catch up with Tammie Harvey.  Neither of us thought to take a photo.  We were having too much fun chatting :).
569. No delays on the plane leaving Nairobi.
570. I was able to sleep a little on the plane!
gifts bent, beautiful and loved
571. Bent - my mind after 24 hours in airports, planes, trains, a van and finally here.
572. Beautiful - This place with a view of His majestic mountains.

573. Loved - Me by so many people who gave up vacation time to come serve us here!
574. I met the Harrises in Bern unexpectedly and we navigated the last part of the train trip together.
575. The sound of the wind rustling in the leaves of the trees.
gifts in light
576. The mountains by morning light.
577. Light on the trees seen on my walk today.

578. Tiny strawberries and flowers along my walking path today in the afternoon light.

579. The light of his love sung together this morning in worship.
580. God's provision to feed our souls is so valuable and yet comes without cost to us.  Isaiah 55; 1 Kings 19:5-7
581. A fun game with folks at the retreat.
582. A quick car tour of Wilderswil and Interlaken West with others on errands.
583. I wandered around Wilderswil today - such a pretty little town.

584. A nectarine!  So sweet to taste.

585. around a table - about 100 other people gathered here for meals at the Breathe conference.

gifts in water, words and white
586. Beautiful waterfalls on our day trip up into the mountains of Switzerland.

587. Ps. 121:1-2 - Such beauty in the mountains, valleys, wildflowers and waterfalls today.

588. White snow on the mountains and white/ gray river water from glacier sediment and melt.

gifts in someone older than you
589. Lisolette - a retired nurse who learned massage and gave her time today to give me one!
590. Larry and James - two volunteers who had errands to run, but let me ride along.  They even made sure that I got a magnet for my fridge magnet collection.  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The gifts from His hand...

"The authentic worship of a Christian is the surrendering of any notion of independence from God and an acceptance of everything as a gift from God." Ann Voskamp

This week has had several hard things in it.  I packed up my house, took pictures off the walls and books off the shelves, cleaned cabinets and got ready for furlough.  In the process, I also had to say many goodbyes to good friends and people I love.  As I did these things, I wondered what the future might hold.  Just like when I come here from there, I learn of people who have died or suffered a tragedy.  This has happened in  past furloughs and I wondered what I might hear this time.  I wondered what might happen in the next few months in this 'home' as I am in that 'home.' I grieved the loss of the daily living with these folks even as I anticipated the daily living with others in my other home.

I traveled to Nairobi on Thursday.  I hoped to fly stand by on Sunday night.  I will be attending a missionary retreat in Switzerland on my way home for furlough.  This will be a time to relax and breathe.  It will give me a time to reflect on the last three and a half years and consider how to tell the story.  I recently found out that one of my cousins and his wife are also in Switzerland.  It was too late to change my ticket without paying a very hefty price increase.  So, I decided to try flying stand by a couple days early so I could visit with them.  

I went to the airport a little early and went to the check in counter with my bags ready to get on the plane.  After all, I am just one person.  Surely there would be an extra seat.  Well, it was not to be.  There were some seats, but because I had purchased my ticket several months ago and gotten a missionary discount, I could not get on the plane.  There had to be a "missionary discount" seat available.  This is the high season for tourists in Kenya.  There were no "missionary discount" seats available on the flight and there were none for the next night either.  So, I went away very disappointed.

Hard things happened this week as you can see.  Even so, I have to say that I am thankful.  I am thankful that the Lord has brought me to this place.  I grieve the loss of friendships that I would have never made if it wasn't for Him bringing me here and helping me to love.  I am disappointed that I don't get to see my cousins, but I am excited to go to this retreat in the Swiss Alps and be able to spend some quality time worshipping His majesty surrounded by His beautiful creation.  Because I didn't get to fly stand by, I got to see a friend from Uganda and meet her fiance.  I will also get to see some old college friends that I would otherwise have missed.  Everything is a gift from the Lord.  Even the things that disappoint and grieve us can be things for which we give thanks.  There are things in this life that are really horrible.  Even in these, God is good and helps us to see the things for which we can give thanks.  Our very lives are gifts from his hand.  And so I continue to look for His gifts even in the hard things, give thanks and worship Him.

gifts full
546. My full canned goods cabinet was able to bless several others as I cleaned it out to leave.
547. My suitcase is so full!
548. Empty walls and a trunk full of pictures to store.
549. Trunks of books packed away until I return.
550. I got the house in a bit of order before leaving tomorrow.
551. Happy kids with popcorn as a snack - a hard goodbye to them!

552. The plane was only 40 minutes late instead of two hours they had said!
553. A restful place to stay with friends in Nairobi.
554. The "other" Lynn (Cazier) is recovering well from sinus surgery this week.
555.  I was able to close my Kenyan bank account with only a few problems and in only two hours!  The fees are too high, so I will get an account at a different bank when I return.
556. I picked up a new pair of fun trousers that I had made.  Oops!  The front and back don't quite match in colors, but it is close enough and makes them even more fun!  :)
The lighter side is the front and the darker the back :)
557.  I found the things I was looking for quickly at the handcraft market.
558. gifts moving - me up and down stairs as I rearrange things in my suitcases to get ready to go.
559. I found an adapter for Switzerland so I can charge my computer and phone while there.
560. A fun lunch of pizza and ice cream with the Caziers and their interns.
gifts in my Dad

561. He loves me unconditionally!
562. He loves the Lord and serves Him faithfully.
563. He shared with me a great love for God's creation.
gifts from my Heavenly Father
564. He loves me unconditionally!
565.  He adopted me and made me his heir.

566. He created a beautiful world full of amazing people, places, animals and things for me to enjoy.
567. He gave me a chance to catch up with a friend and meet her fiance' today. 

That is my small list of the many gifts from my Heavenly Father's hand this past week.  I hope you have had a great week and are keeping your own list of gifts that He has given to you.

I'm linking up here today.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Goodness of the Lord in the land of the living...

I have had a hectic couple of weeks.  I was in Tanzania and had a wonderful time.  As soon as I returned to Kenya, I jumped into packing and getting ready to go on furlough.  It takes a lot of time and energy to pack up a house, decide what to pack and what to leave (and pack that away) and get things in order to be gone for a long while.  So, writing here has had to wait.  Even so, I have kept on counting the goodness of the Lord to me and want to list my thanks for the last two weeks.

(Just as a side note, I wrote this on Tuesday.  I had problems getting my internet to upload the pictures.  I uploaded one Tuesday night and one Wednesday night.  Finally, today (Friday) I have been able to get them uploaded because I am in Nairobi and the internet is better.  Thanks, Lord, that it worked! )

gifts at 8 am, 12 pm, 8 pm
500. Pumpkin bread for breakfast.
501. Seeing drama's about blessing children in culturally appropriate ways in Wendy's class.
"Hannah, baby Samuel & Eli" - child dedication
502. Dinner & prayer at Woods' house with a group of single ladies living in and around Arusha, TZ.
Gifts blue
503. Baby and Mom in blue at the training.

504. Mt. Meru against the blue sky.

505. Blue beaded trivet.
506. A prayer service with the families training at the center.  So cool to see the children laying hands on each other and agreeing in prayer with their parents!

2 gifts given
507.  A smile.
508. Asante - thanks!
509. My niece's 25th birthday is today.  What a blessing she has been in my life!
last Nov. when she came to visit me in Kenya
510. A visit to Wild Hope's bead shop and the Cultural Heritage shops in Arusha.
Isn't this a really cool building?
511. Colobus monkeys.

512. Fig Tree Arch.

513. Giraffes!  My favorite African wild animal.

514. A wonderful day celebrating and viewing God's creation at Arusha National Park with Wendy.
515. Some new clothes - African style :).
516. A sweet gift from Mama Susie who made my clothes.
517. Wendy sacrificing her Saturday of rest to take me around town again when she really did not feel well!
gifts in conversation
518. Lunch and catching up with the Russels

519. No problems getting back into Kenya - even welcomed home :).
520. A wonderful host and friend - many good chats over the days I was here!

gifts found in Christ (all from Zeph 3:17)
I loved this picture of God dancing.
521. Forgiveness - He is mighty to save.
522. Love/ acceptance - He quiets you/me with His love.
523. Being sung and danced over! He rejoices (sings and dances) over you/ me with gladness.
gift of peace, hope and love
524.  Peace in the waiting even when I am impatient.
525.  The God of Hope fills me with Joy and I abound in hope! Rom. 15:13

 526. The sadness of a friend when I told of my coming leave to the States for several months - love.
527. A fun celebration of Aidan's birthday.
gifts "ugly-beautiful"
528. A chance to sort my plastic ware cabinet.  Ugly all over the table, but beautiful when stored properly with extra containers/ lids thrown away!
529. Ugly sinful me made beautiful and clean by the Savior!
gifts in what I'm reading
530. At The Still Point - a devotional to help draw me closer during this 'ordinary' time.
531. The Word that speaks to me each day as I seek Him.
532. A fun novel that lets me imagine my Chewy being able to speak and tell me what he is thinking. :)

gifts empty
533. Empty syringes - 2 of my animals successfully vaccinated with Eric's help.  1 to go on Monday.
534. An empty coke bottle - a refreshing break from quicken entries!

535. Me at the end of the day knowing I need to make 'space' for Him once again.
gifts that made you really smile
536. "My kids" came for lunch!  Spaghetti and Turkana kids are an interesting mix.
after watching the movie
537. The giggles as the kids watched 'Peter Pan.'
538. Ikai and Nancy walked with me before going back to boarding school after lunch and the movie.
539. The kids skyping with my parents.  The smiles were so wide on both sides!
540. A not so big smile - oh how I will miss these kids!!!
541. A day to rest and worship.
542. Kakalei's smile coming from church.
543. A large part of my financial reports done!  I really don't like doing them, so I'm always so glad when I get them done :).
544. Dinner and Euchre with Gene and interns.  What fun and so good to see Gene back here!
545. I won something really fun!  A Joy in a basket!  My smile is wide and enduring :).

Thanks for taking the time to read my list!  I am going to try to fly standby on Sunday night (17th) to head to Switzerland for a missionary retreat and then on to the U.S. for furlough.  I am hoping to spend the extra two days with some long lost cousins (our many times great grandfathers were brothers) if I can get on the plane.  I'd appreciate your prayers that this might happen.