Don’t you know?

Don’t you know there are consequences to every choice you make? If you choose to eat junk food all the time you will find your energy level and your weight will bear the consequences of that choice. If you choose to love alcohol, your liver will show it. If you choose to smoke, your lungs will show the results.

I see a couple men who are reaping the results of their life choices. One is dying slowly of AIDS. He is not at death’s door yet, but his energy and strength are low and he cannot do a whole lot. He made many bad choices in life. One choice was to marry a second wife whose first husband had died of AIDS.  What was he thinking?  Now his family is suffering taking care of him. He is not worth a whole lot to anyone right now because he cannot work and needs people to give him food to eat.

Another man left his wife and kids for another woman. She was young a beautiful. They decided not to have kids since he already had children from his first marriage. Now he is at death’s door and the kids whom he left are leery to help him. His wife will be alone and her step-kids are loyal to their mother. Some may visit but not often.

Another man decided to love alcohol and came home daily drunk. He began to abuse his wife and kids. He quit working and would steal food from the house which his wife and children had gathered in order to buy more drink.  Eventually his wife had enough of the abuse and left. His kids talk to him only cordially, but he has no one and no home. He is living on the floor at a friend’s home but he has nothing to call his own.

These men had some years of joy, but in the end what do they have. They are cared for by those they hurt because these loved ones are obeying God. But they made wrong choices and they eventually caught up to them.

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changes

I sense change is in the air,

the signs are all around me.

But change is not what I must fear,

although I dread it greatly.

Years ago I made a pledge

to go where He would send.

If that should me I leave this land

which I have grown to love so dear

or leave this region, home and friends

to live in a new place,

then I should heed my Saviour’s call

and pack up all my things.

Yet my heart breaks to think of it

as I have settled in this place

I’ve learned the language, the dress,

the culture, the attitudes and needs.

I’ve found a niche in which to serve

that fills a need so great.

Though I trust my God and His plan

it seems counterproductive.

So change is coming, but what it is

I do not yet comprehend.

Will others leave and new ones come

or will I too move on?

Give me peace, Lord.

Give me hope, and comfort in the unknown.

Let me trust Your plan and know it’s best

even when I don’t understand.

Don’t you know?

Don’t you know there are consequences to every choice you make? If you choose to eat junk food all the time you will find your energy level and your weight will bear the consequences of that choice. If you choose to love alcohol, your liver will show it. If you choose to smoke, your lungs will show the results.

I see a couple men who are reaping the results of their life choices. One is dying slowly of AIDS. He is not at death’s door yet, but his energy and strength are low and he cannot do a whole lot. He made many bad choices in life. One choice was to marry a second wife whose first husband had died of AIDS.  What was he thinking?  Now his family is suffering taking care of him. He is not worth a whole lot to anyone right now because he cannot work and needs people to give him food to eat.

Another man left his wife and kids for another woman. She was young a beautiful. They decided not to have kids since he already had children from his first marriage. Now he is at death’s door and the kids whom he left are leery to help him. His wife will be alone and her step-kids are loyal to their mother. Some may visit but not often.

Another man decided to love alcohol and came home daily drunk. He began to abuse his wife and kids. He quit working and would steal food from the house which his wife and children had gathered in order to buy more drink.  Eventually his wife had enough of the abuse and left. His kids talk to him only cordially, but he has no one and no home. He is living on the floor at a friend’s home but he has nothing to call his own.

These men had some years of joy, but in the end what do they have. They are cared for by those they hurt because these loved ones are obeying God. But they made wrong choices and they eventually caught up to them.

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Mary or Martha?

Luke 10:38-42  Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Clipart Illustration of a White Person Holding His Arms Out With A Green Check Mark And A Red X In His Hands, Symbolizing Approval And DenialSo what are you? I’d like to think of myself as a Mary. I know the Scriptures and like to teach them. I love to join the discussions around the table when company is over. I don’t like to cook or take care of minute details in decorating a table or the like. 

And yet, I’m afraid I often fall into the Martha role.  I take on too much and work for God way more than listen to Him.  I am  a missionary after all and that means that I should be close to God.  Or that’s what everyone thinks. But I find it very easy to get too busy for God and not busy with God.

Martha was doing good things. She invited Jesus into her house—hospitality is a lost art in the North American society.  She planned food for the Lord and all that were with him.  But she got too focused on the prep and started accusing her sister.  I do that too. When I’m busy and someone else is just sitting there, I get “jealous” and want to boss them around and tell them about some job they should do. 

Do this, Do that, ….  Rather than Be Still, Sit down, Listen, Read, Take notes, Journal, ….

Don’t let your ministry make you a Martha.

How to celebrate when it hurts?

I don’t know the answer, I just see the difficulty for so many right now.  Somehow I have not been as sensitive to this in past years as I am this year. I know of many people who are celebrating their first Christmases without loved ones.  A husband, wife, grandparent, daughter, son, or friend have passed away this year.  Christmas is a time full of memories and traditions for most of us. We remember Christmas how it used to be and try to imitate the best of those memories. But that is hard to do when our loved one isn’t around.

That first holiday alone is hard for the widows. Who will they have their morning coffee with this year? Why even cook a special meal?  The widowers didn’t even take time to pull out the decorations because their loved ones aren’t around to care.  Or the grandma in the nursing home how is very forgetful, somehow knows that her kids didn’t take time this year to visit and she tries hard to hold her head high.

We must celebrate at Christmas because it isn’t about us or traditions, it’s about our Saviour being born in fulfillment of God’s plan made so long ago. He set in motion this segment of His great design so that Christ would humble himself and come to live as a man for 33 year so that he might die to save you and I.

We must celebrate Jesus’ birthday, yet many will mourn and remember their loved ones. Those who died in Christ will be mourned in a hopeful way and that should bring comfort.  But wounds of love take time to heal and we must allow the tears of healing to flow and the memories to wash over us as treasures from the past.

Thus as we celebrate our Saviour, we must be sensitive to many in pain.

multi-cultural interaction

Over the past few days I was travelling. I was amazed at how many different people I interacted with from different countries.  It’s a big world out there.

Some are people that I’ve known for years and met up with again. Others are people that I met for a day and others are people who crossed my path for a few weeks.  These interactions are cool to me.  Yes there is a language barrier many times, but still we communicate.  I am thankful to be a native English speaker though.  Some of them share similar cultures in dress, food, lifestyle. While others come from a very different background.  It doesn’t take long to figure out that those I find the most in common with are fellow Christians.  We have a bond that is strong.

In missions, there are many hellos and good-byes.  It’s fun and sad at the same time.  Some times you know that you will never meet again on this side of Heaven. Other times you feel like you’ve made a contact that could be useful in the future for a visit to another country.

Sometimes you pour your heart out in explanation to them about life and missions. Other times you remain reserved and say very little knowing that most of it will be too hard for them to understand.

Short term teams

7873748So I strongly believe in short term missions.  Most of the missionaries I know became missionaries because of short term mission trips.  It is a life changing experience for the teams that come.  They should be challenged in their faith and encouraged in their walk with the Lord. They should also be motivated to serve the Lord whether at home or overseas.

Each year I host 2-3 teams.  It is a long journey to come from the other side of the world to the bush of Africa.  They raise a lot of money just for plane tickets.  There is also transport within the country to get to where I live.  Because it can take 4-5 days of travel one way, we want our guests to come for at least 3 weeks. Sadly the funds and length of stay prohibit many from visiting. 

But we still host many. I’m thankful for those whom the Lord brings my way.  Sometimes they are here to meet a specific need while other times they are hear to serve in general.  If it is a pastor or Bible teacher then we certainly plug them into preaching and teaching seminars for the local leaders who still need to better understand the Scriptures.  Some come with little skills and big hearts, others come with hard hearts and are fearful to try new things.  God works in each one.  Some visitors come and are a true blessing to me, others are pure work.

But how can I cope with hosting guests?  It means my schedule has to change, it means I need to travel in order to meet them at the airport and escort them into the bush.  It means I need to plan budgets, book hotels, taxis, safaris, bus and plane tickets.  It means I need to calculate the fuel costs for their stay here and the costs of certain ministries they may do.

This is  a lot of work. I often feel like a travel agent!  It also means other ministries I have must be set aside for a time while I host the team. It means I need to make sure everyone is healthy and eating well.  It means I play “mom”, “nurse”, “teacher”, “captain”, “translator”, and “tour guide”. 

I am happy to do it, but it is exhausting. I am an introvert.  How can I spend all the hours of my day with people? I live alone. How can I spend all my hours of the day with people?  I just want to hide in my room sometimes so that I can recharge. I want to watch my own videos without finding a group consensus. I want to spend time with my National friends without constantly translating and explaining culture. I want to know which cup in the kitchen is mine, bathe when I feel like it, wake up without planning what time breakfast will be, …  Sometimes I wish I were married so my spouse could entertain while I cook or bathe. 

I need to take time with the Lord. I need to budget alone time to recharge. I need to watch my frustration threshold as I am hosting.  But I truly am thankful for short term teams. I pray the Lord continues to enable them to come and learn and help out.