Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Just about 21 years ago, I graduated from college and began my first journey to Africa. A passel of my college and church friends threw me a surprise going away party...and let me tell you, it was TRULY a surprise! My roommate Darla was convinced that I had figured it out or at least was highly suspicious but she gave me more credit than I deserved. I was totally oblivious til the very end when I arrived at the party venue, escorted by my then "just friends" pal who would later become my beloved hubby.
What a sendoff...and what a life God had planned for me. I'm so thankful for those sweet, sweet friends from my W years, and I'm so grateful for the amazing adventure He started me on when He sent me to Mbabane, Africa as a 22 year, fresh from college grad. I can only imagine what He's got in store for the future. If the past is any indicator, it's going to be well worth the price of admission.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
My man for life is on his way home from San Francisco. In honor of his homecoming, here's a song from the past. We've been slow dancing to James Taylor's HOW SWEET IT IS for nearly two decades now. And yeah, marriage to this man is awfully dang sweet.
Can I just stop and thank you, Baby?
Thursday, May 14, 2009
...okay, a virtual one, but still.
I'm reading Tom Davis' new book SCARED this week. It is SO good! It's set primarily in Swaziland and though it's fictional, the story is true one! Tom follows the life of one girl and accurately portrays for you what life is like for orphans in the nation with the highest HIV/AIDs rate in the world. Besides keeping the story very real as far as what struggles and dangers they face, he's also keeping it real with background elements. For instance, one character in the book is Pastor Walter. I've actually mentioned Pastor Walter here on this blog before and when I visited Swaziland last year, was able to spend time with him and even heard him preach. Tom references that sermon, in fact, in SCARED.
Another true life element mentioned is THE MOUNTAIN INN. When I lived in Swaziland, I spent a good bit of time there. One year our Baptist mission family held a retreat there. I still remember the subject. I also remember the monkey gland sauce served. Yum! During another period of time I was a regular babysitter for a Campus Crusade family. The Oakes were actually living for a few months in a two-room suite at the inn with their children (3 or 4 of them) while waiting for permanent housing problems to be worked out. Trying to feed a baby who did NOT want to eat while in a public hotel restaurant is a memory I'll never forget! Gracious waiters and nice surroundings don't help one bit to get a spoon past the tight-pressed lips of a reluctant eater, I can tell you that!
Anyway, after seeing The Mountain Inn mentioned in Tom's book, I got curious and did a google search. I found a link to a virtual tour on YouTube....is there anything NOT on YouTube? I digress. Anyway, there is a nice part on the video with traditional Swazi singing and dancing plus some lovely shots of the hotel and the view from the back of the inn.
So take a little trip with me, via YouTube, and enjoy some of the beautiful side of Swaziland:
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Growing up in church, I have heard all my life that the greatest command is to love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength and my neighbor as myself. And I accepted that and lived it to the point that it didn't really cause me to change too radically. In all honesty, I loved only to the extent that it didn't require too much sacrifice or pain on my behalf.
Then, as most of you know, I went to Swaziland last year and my world was abruptly turned upside down. God had started working on my heart the year before. He'd already told me that it was time to get out of my comfort zone and start fighting to free those oppressed by sin and poverty and abuse and disease and addiction. But seeing the stark reality of Swaziland...a nation literally dying from AIDS and starvation...well, it really made that command real for me. And then God used people and books to cement for me what He was calling me to do. Francis Chan's book CRAZY LOVE was a big nail in the coffin of my selfish living. He squarely hit me with the questions of "can I accept Jesus as Savior but not have him as LORD? And if He's my LORD then that means I'm following Him...doing the things He does? Am I living a life of sacrifice?"
The answer was a big fat NO! And I'm still not. I'm still so selfish in many, many ways. But I want to change. I want my life to be lived as an offering to Him as I love others in practical and powerful ways. I've still got such a frightfully long way to go. But He's steadily working on me and though it hurts at times, it is also amazingly glorious.
I found this at Shaun Groves blog. It's good.
08.07.07 Chan and Change
Francis Chan is just a guy who pastors a large church in California. He’s not the smartest, most famous, most respected, most anything...I’m guessing. He’s just a guy. But the direction he lead his church in, or so the legend goes, is remarkable and unheard of. Or perhaps it wasn’t lead as much as allowed. Anybody know?
The story is - correct me if I’m wrong - that his church was on track to spend 20 million dollars to build a new building. What happened, and I don’t know how, was that the decision was made to build an outdoor meeting place instead. Much cheaper. Much much cheaper. And the money that was saved would then go to the truly poor around the world. And, the story goes, meeting outside on rainy days or hot days would serve to remind folks in the church of the discomfort others live in every day.
Spend less. Create empathy. Mobilize to show mercy. Sounds like church to me.
I’ve never met Francis Chan. I saw him in the hotel lobby in Austin a couple weeks ago and didn’t want to interrupt to say hey. But this weekend I’m looking forward to interrupting him just long enough to say thanks for the story and to get more details. Even if it’s not entirely true - what do I know? - it’s inspiring. What could church become? How does it become it? What is the pastor’s role in that becoming? Can it happen without him?
Here’s the video reportedly created by Chan’s church to explain why such a radical financial decision was made:
To read more of Shaun's writing and to learn about his work with Compassion, visit his blog at: http://www.shaungroves.com/shlog/
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'