Molding a lump of clay

Molding a lump of clay
I am a work in progress, molded by my Maker, refined by His fire, shaped with His love. Walk the journey with me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter puppies (not bunnies)

Our dog knew the perfect day to give birth to her puppies...Easter Sunday! And the perfect number...7!

Of course the kids are already conniving ways to keep the puppies, but with 2 dogs already, I'm afraid all the puppies will have to go.

Sorry, kiddos!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WFW - helping them to hear

"How, then can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"
Romans 10:14

This Easter we had the perfect opportunity to tell people of different religious faiths about Jesus and why He died for us. Sharing the Good News can be intimidating at times, but if we don't do it, how will others get the chance to believe in our wonderful Saviour? He chose us to tell the world about His love for us...let's take courage and pray for more opportunities to lead others into His arms.

To see the photos and read more of the Easter weekend story, just scroll down to "Easter Roller Coaster" post.

For more Word Filled Wednesday, head over to Amydeane's at the 160 Acre Woods!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter roller coaster

Easter weekend was a bit of a roller coaster this year.

Everything started well on Saturday when all the kids from the base and various friends and visitors came to our house to decorate eggs...

Jimmy, Junior and Deborah get started

Noah designs with crayon before coloring

Aidan and Joanna dye their eggs AND their fingers

We colored about 150 eggs, then had fun playing the Wii and running around the house.

Mid-afternoon we realized we hadn't seen Noah for awhile, so we looked around and eventually found him in his bed, fast asleep but with a fever. So I gave him some Ibuprofen when he woke up and he seemed to perk up.

Sunday morning dawned a bit windy and cool, but we didn't think too much about it. Noah slept on John's lap throughout the whole church service, and then I realized he was burning up again, so we took him straight to a lab to get a malaria test. The results were '0 to 1', which we didn't really understand, but after talking to a doctor friend, we decided to go ahead and start Noah on the malaria treatment.

Back at home, John and I quickly hid the kids' Easter baskets, making Noah's really easy to find. I didn't get any photos of Noah because he was too sick to do much...John ended up carrying him to get his basket and then putting him back on the sofa to rest. Poor little guy!

Noah's easter basket

Kezi and Aidan had fun finding their baskets...

We hid Aidan's in the tree

and put Kezi's next to the water tank...

She had so much stuff it wouldn't fit into the basket...

...but she was determined to carry it all for the photo!

They enjoyed all the goodies inside, including Lego sets sent from Granny and Grandpa in England,

and adorable baby doll clothes made by Granny. They were a perfect fit for Kezi's dolls.

Meanwhile, the sky was darkening and just after lunch a serious tropical storm hit. The rain came fast and furious, and I thought, "Good, let it rain now and then dry up in time for our Easter program at the base." Sometimes these African showers are hard and heavy for 20-30 minutes, then they stop suddenly, the sun comes out, and everything starts up again from where it left off.

Not this one. The heavy storm passed eventually, but the rain continued slightly less ferociously, and by 2:30 we knew we'd have to cancel our egg hunt. I was seriously bummed, but there was no way we could scramble around on that muddy, sodden ground. Reluctantly we sent out the word that the programme was cancelled.

At the same time, I was thankful that we could stay home and concentrate on taking care of Noah who was alternately shivering..."I'm freezing, Mommy!"...and trying to take off all his clothes 'cause he was too hot. It was good for all of us that we could stay home and look after him.

Just after the rain, though, a large crowd turned up at the base, ready for the programme! Some of our staff told them to come back at 10 the next morning. So the programme was back on!

I believe God was at work with the rain storm, not only because of Noah's sickness, but also because several of my Hindu friends would not have been able to attend if it had been Sunday afternoon as planned. Since it was rescheduled for Monday morning, however, Laksmi and Meena, and Meena's kids were able to come, which was a big blessing for me.

We started the program with a couple visiting from England, Nick and Claire Bradshaw, who sang a lovely song about Jesus being alive.

Then we had the opportunity to explain the story of Easter with our friends and acquaintances from town, many of whom have never heard the story of why Jesus died and the hope we have since He rose again. We used the Resurrection eggs to tell the Gospel story to a crowd of about 50 visitors.

And then we had the big hunt!

We divided the group into 'littles'...

and 'bigs'

and off they went to find the eggs hidden around our base.

Afterwards we shared snacks of popcorn, peanuts, chocolate eggs, and of course...the hard-boiled Easter eggs.

Thankfully, Noah was doing much better by then, and although he didn't participate in the egg hunt, he did perk up enough to go swimming later in the afternoon with Nick and Claire's family.

The animal lover in him came to the fore when he realized many of the flying ants that come out after big rains were falling into the pool and drowning. So 'Ant-Saver Noah' spent the rest of the time rescuing the drowning ants.

From rainstorms and cancellations, to reschedules and successful programmes; from being quite sick one day to saving ants the next, it has been a weekend of lo's and hi's.

Just like it was for the disciples, who watched their Saviour die one day, and three days later, to walk with Him and talk with Him and know that He was risen! What a miracle...what a promise! Things aren't always as gloomy as they seem, and we have hope because no matter what disappointment, what tragedy, what failure...Jesus already won the victory, and one day there will only be hi's, hi's and more hi's. Praise the Lord...He is alive!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Getting ready for Easter...

Whoo hoo hoo! We are in chocolate heaven!

Over the last week we've had 4 teams arrive at our YWAM base from various corners of the world...Lausanne (Switz), Colorado Springs (USA), Coventry (UK) and Capetown (South Africa).

Here is the combined bounty of the Easter chocolate and goodies they brought...

We'll be hosting an Easter egg hunt at our base on Sunday afternoon that will hopefully attract lots of friends from around Arua, be they Christian, Muslim, Hindu or who knows what else. A couple on the team from Coventry will sing a song, and we'll be doing the gospel presentation using the Resurrection eggs. Then we'll hunt for approximately 150 hard-boiled and decorated eggs!

After that, we'll have some snacks and hand out the mounds of chocolate eggs, bunnies and other Easter goodies that the teams brought. I can't wait! It's gonna be so fun, and hopefully some people will feel the touch of Jesus as we minister His love and the hope we have since He died and rose again!

Please pray for that program and for those who join us.

To follow the various activities of the teams, check out our updates on the YWAM Arua blog.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Aching, breaking, remaking my heart

I have a heart condition... I struggle to love.

Achk!! And she's a missionary?!

It's heart is deceitful above all else. Wicked. Nothing good in it. (Jer 17:9)

I used to think I was loving, but I've known my love is conditional. If I'm honest, I have to admit that my love is fickle, springing from expectation and performance, inconsistent and easily withdrawn.

And God, in His faithfulness, is showing me how unloving my heart really is.

Yikes...this is not a pleasant ride.

As I was starting to get depressed about the state of my heart, Beth Moore pointed me towards a verse that lifted my spirit immediately...

"God is greater than our hearts." (1John3:20)

Hallelujah! There is hope after all! God is greater than my self-seeking heart! He CAN turn this heart of stone into a heart of flesh! That's Good News, indeed!

But how does it work?

I believe all the truths and the promises in the Bible...I believe God pours His divine love into me through His Holy Spirit, but somewhere that agape love gets stuck and doesn't seem to come out, at least for certain people.

I believe the Holy Spirit lives and reigns in me, but then why is it so hard to love in that sacrificial, lay-down-my-life kind of way? And why do I have to grit my teeth sometimes to be cordial to one particular person that seems to push every button I have? If this is the iron sharpening iron thing, fine...but shouldn't I be reaching a smoothness eventually where that agape love overcomes my selfish heart and all of a sudden I realize I actually DO love this person? Or is it a continual choice to love, rather than sense of love?

Love is so important to God, that without it, everything else is meaningless. (1 Cor 13:1-3) The prison ministry...a waste of time without love. The Alpha courses...same. My very presence here as a missionary...I might as well go home if I don't have His love giving meaning to what I say, do, think and live out.

So you see how this issue is important to me? If I don't have God's agape love, working in me and through me to others, I am wasting my time out here and a lot of people's money, and so I am desperate for that heart transplant. I don't want my life to be a series of meaningless efforts to do God's will...I want it to be full of the life-transforming power of agape, so that the people I minister to will see that there really IS hope because they will feel the touch of Love Himself. Somehow, when they look at me, they won't see me, but will see their Heavenly Father reaching out to them saying,

"Come, my beloved. I love you so much that I sent my own Son to die for you and rise again to bring you back to me. Come...I love you!"

Oh Father, that You would shine through the cracks in this weak jar of clay, transforming me even as You redeem the world around me. Let Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on this earth, in my life, in my heart, as it is in Heaven. Because You are worthy.