Have you ever gotten yourself in a pickle? Or a jam? With a single wrong turn, what should have been a 30 minute errand turned into a potential disaster. I drove away chastising myself. I know that things always take longer here, that parking is going to be an issue, and that I will almost assuredly need to come up with and initiate plans b, c, d, e, and possibly f to accomplish my task. And yet, here I was–on a dead end street. I had been here before–not in this specific location, but in this situation. The way was extremely narrow–cars behind mine and others trying to squeeze through the too small space to continue on their way. I’d like to say that I handled it all with grace and smiles, but I didn’t. However, even in my frustration and fear, God gave me a glimpse of something–the hearts of the people around me. Not one, not two, but four people helped me. They guided me, they encouraged me, and in the end they got me out of a sticky situation. It took some time for me to see the gift that He had given me, but it was there. He’s always there turning dead ends into hope.
We are surrounded by amazing artisans. Take a look at these wooden figures–carved and painted by hand . It seems that Merab can make anything. Our favorite is a nativity set, which are surprisingly rare here, with shepherds wearing local traditional hats. A visit to his workshop was so much fun, and another glimpse at the talent and skill in this place.
While Christmas is still a month away in GM, you’re probably preparing for time with family and friends. We live in a place where guests are believed to be sent from God. Hospitality and community are highly valued in this place, and we desire to honor our local friends as we serve them!
—Pray that we would continue to enjoy great times of connections with local friends, and that we would show Christ’s love through our words and actions.
—Pray that we would take the posture of learners in the culture as we experience hospitality and community in this place.
—Pray that our events and communities of faith would be places of community and hospitality that glorify God and honor our friends.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:8-9
One attention-getting scheme–repetition. As we walk through our neighborhood, this is a common sight. Each day many different things are competing for our focus. We have limited time and limited energy. What are my priorities today? Do they line up with His? Where will I choose to put my attention? May God’s unlimited love, power, and mercies perfectly guide and bless us.
Recently, a student’s Aunt died from a long battle with cancer. He explained that she was a like a mother to him and helped raise him and support him. Throughout that English lesson, he spent time sharing about his love for her, and how his family is dealing with her passing. He felt open to sharing with us, because we are not just his English teachers, but we have become friends. With news of her passing we went to the church to be there for him, so that we could mourn with those who mourn. While at the church, I spent a long time praying for the people here and reflecting on the conversations I have had with this student about God and my relationship with Jesus. Please pray with us for this student and his family, and also for the many other locals we interact with–that they may know Jesus and the hope that He brings even in times of grieving.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
One morning, driving my children to school, we witnessed a great reminder of God’s faithfulness. This beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky throughout our commute. In today’s world, people wonder if God still speaks, but God’s message was clearly on display, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:13-16
We are praising God for the opportunity share “Thanksgiving Pie Night” with our students. From apple to pumpkin–and several varieties in between–everyone enjoyed tasting this traditional, American food. However, the BEST part was a time of thanksgiving. Each of us took a leaf, wrote down what we are thankful for, and then some in the group shared. Our “thanksgiving tree,” was full of life by the end of the evening–praise God!
I recently had the opportunity to go to a vineyard where we could pick grapes off the vine, then take what we gathered and stomp them to make our own fresh juice. Later as I sat and sipped the sweet juice it produced, I thought of how sometimes the sweetest moments come after we have endured what can feel like we’re being “stomped.”
God is doing some amazing things in the lives of our students here, and I believe our enemy is feeling threatened. I personally have endured some pretty intense spiritual warfare lately. But in His goodness, He drew me back to His promises that “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair…..” Therefore we do not lose heart…for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all!” 2 Corinthians 4
Every first Friday, our team hosts a university event at our Center. This month, we had an egg theme complete with egg games, an egg drop, and the chicken dance. Take a peek, and mark your calendars with a reminder to pray for our next even on December 1st!