Sunday, April 27, 2014

Where Words Fail the Word Speaks...

The last 9 months represents one of the steepest learning curves in our spiritual life as a family.  Refinement and a focus of vision has been a painful process but we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.

Our family is moving from MAF to Helps Ministries on June 1st.  Our affiliation with Helps will enable us to more effectively carry out the call that God placed on our lives to come alongside the local church and impact an unbelieving community for Christ in South Africa.  Through Helps, Sam will use his background in contracting, remodeling, and vehicle and aviation maintenance to strengthen the outreach efforts of the Genesis projects.  We are excited about how the Lord is using Genesis in a variety of creative ways to pour his perfect love and hope into a body of Christ to the point that it overflows into the community!   

Behind the excitement about the future we know that the call to this transition has been difficult.  Where words fail me on what the Lord has taught us in our recent experiences, His Living Word speaks on my behalf through scripture that friends have sent us the last few weeks.  Please do not read anything into these scriptures that is not pure and true.  The Lord used these to breathe life and truth into us.  Indeed, praise the Lord for He is good!

Jeremiah 33:3

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Revelation 2:3-4

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 

Psalm 116:12-19
12 What shall I return to the Lord
    for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
    I serve you just as my mother did;
    you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord
    in your midst, Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.[a]

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Holy and Sacred...

They came out of the woodwork of wrinkled mountains.  They came in ones, twos and threes.  All 18 of them.  Cloaked in heavy blankets and surrounded by hundreds of sheep.  Badisana is their name.  "Little caretakers of sheep" in Sesotho, because truly, some of them started shepherding as children.  

They emerged weekly from the nooks and crannies of this harsh land to a lone standing building that served as a church, an elementary school, and a parsonage for a Mosotho pastor who knew their names.  They came because he had told them of a Savior, one who loved them more than they would ever know.  This love drew them in.

Sam and I drove 2 hours with missionary friend, Jayne, to come to see the badisana's Bible lesson on Saturday morning.  We had no idea what God actually had in store.  But these boys did.

You see, 8 of them knew what it meant for their eternal hunger and thirst to be quenched by the love of their own Shepherd.  Their lives had been changed.  And they were ready.  Ready to go public.  And we just happen to show up in time to see it.

Gorgeous smiles flashed at us between their blanketcoats and winter caps as they trod past us on the withering grass down to a rocky riverbed.  "Lumela!".  Good day.  Indeed, a good day this was going to be, we realized, as the Mosotho pastor and a South African missionary explained to us what the shepherds had asked them to do today.  We followed in powerful silence.

These shepherd boy's knowledge of their Heavenly Father, their Almighty Shepherd, was so basic, so simple, so pure.  Yet they had tasted the sweetness of His love and they knew they loved Him back.  You could FEEL the sacredness in the air.  

The boys stripped off their blankets.  The wind was crisp but their skin displayed no goosebumps.  Mountain air was their home.  As they pulled off their rubber boots, I saw what they used as socks.  Burlap bags tied around their legs to stop the boots from rubbing on their skin.  One by one, they untied the bags and began to wade out into the river and into the arms of the Mosotho pastor.  He asked about their decision to follow Christ and lowered them to new life in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Their comrades who had not yet made an eternal decision stood and watched in reverent silence.

All I could think and pray was, "This is holy.  This is sacred." 

Jayne prayed in closing at the end.  
After the baptism, we sat in on their Bible lesson about how sin entered the world.

I asked this friendlie to show me how to crack a whip :)

A few of the badisana and the chief's wife

This guy's name was "Tsehla" ("Yellow")

Jayne and her two friends drive 2 hours to do the bi-monthly Bible lessons for the badisana.
And this little guy just wanted his picture taken :)

Heading back home

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death
in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the
glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
Romans 6:4

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Village Visit and the Bread of Life...

5 days in a village in Lesotho is hardly enough time to glance at language and culture through the eyes of a newbie.  But God can show you a lot about Himself and the people He loves in 5 days.

Remember Jayne, the AIM missionary who Sam and Sawyer installed solar panels for in October?  We asked if we could spend some time in her village for more exposure to Basotho language and culture.  We walked away amazed by her love for the people, her love for the Lord, and God's love for His creation.  Jayne started pursuing missions when she was 57 years old, finally fulfilling the call she felt as a little girl.  Over the last 7 years, Jayne's love for Christ and for the Basotho people has made her beat all odds.  She speaks Sesotho with fluency and the people in her village of Molumong have embraced her as their own.  We learned so much about the fulfillment of immense possibilities if you set your heart to what God is calling you to do.

Jayne set up for us to work with students from a local vocational school on our second day there.  Sam worked with the young men on a shelter for Jayne's truck to keep snow off of it during the harsh winter months.  I gave my testimony and read from John 6 before teaching some new recipes to the 35 girls who are learning how to cater.  We talked about what Jesus meant when he said, "I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty".  It adds a whole new dimension to explain this to friendlies who DO have hungry tummies.  How can Jesus be telling the truth if he says one won't go hungry?

We talked about hunger in the tummy and hunger in your soul, the type that makes you hunger to know why you exist and what your purpose in life is.  That type of hunger, for me, was satisfied when I was 16 and Christ changed my life.  Yes, my tummy may be hungry.  But my soul is not hungry for the answers to those questions anymore.  Christ satisfied that life hunger when he saved me and when he made it abundantly clear to me when he said, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." John 6:63.

MAF pilot, Justin Honaker, hooked us up with a smooth flight out to the village. 

Jayne's home and her truck, Tarzan.  Jayne has no running water and gets her drinking water from a spring behind her house.  The solar panels on her roof give her enough power to run her fridge and charge her computer.
Jayne's guest house has sometimes been shelter to the neglected and homeless.
Making my mama's rolls! 
Creating Tarzan's shelter.

The catering students take a break :)
Each day ended with a 2 hour language lesson from Abuti Lebohang.  He was an excellent teacher! 
Goodnight, Molumong.

"For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him
shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40