This tow rope system looked a little antiquated, but it still pulled each sledder up the hill–a good alternative to the long walk up. It’s a good reminder of the opportunity we have to rest in the arms of God. While there will always be hills in life, we serve a God who understands each challenge we face. Please join us in praying for our friends here who are facing hard times–that they will find rest along the way, and know the peace that can be found in holding on to Him!
“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth– the Lord God Almighty is his name.” Amos 4:13
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! These are traditional Christmas trees are carved from a walnut tree branch that has been dried for 2-3 days. The skin is carefully removed and then the wood is shaved, making it curly. Some people put their “tree” near fruits and sweet things, in hopes that the following year will be sweet as well. At the end of the holidays, this decoration is either stored until next year, or it is burnt, with the belief that all of the past year’s hardships will be destroyed along with it.
“For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.…” Psalm 96:5-7
The Christmas and New Year season bring a lot of glitz to our large market area. We see a lot of artificial trees, Santa, tinsel, and this year–monkeys! Our area of the world has an interesting mix of East and West, and the year of the monkey is fast approaching. How many can you spot on the table?
Can you see it? This morning, sunlight was dancing on the side of this building, and it looked like birds flying! It was a good reminder that:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
Have you ever craved for something? Recently, one of our students had a craving for a famous GM snack that is especially popular this time of year. Locals string various types of nuts, usually walnuts, hazelnuts—and some say even almonds— then they dip the nuts into a pot of boiling grape juice, sugar, and flour. After dipping, they are hung to dry. It’s a traditional process that creates a modern-day protein snack to take along with you as you explore this beautiful land.
We often see things that we haven’t seen before, which gives us great opportunities to ask questions and learn more about this culture. This man holding a sheep in the middle of the city definitely turned our heads. Was he lost? We learned that sheep are often part of a particular religious holiday here. The animal is led around the church building three times, and then is either slaughtered or released. The tradition is meant to echo the Old Testament story of Abraham and Isaac. Please pray that people will understand deeply the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
This is our neighborhood “florist” getting ready for the day. I watched her as she carefully selected different colored blossoms and assembled something beautiful from the pile around her. Her tired, thorn-scarred hands worked diligently.
Each day, she stands on the street corner, hoping someone passing by will choose to buy one of her bouquets. She reminds me of another one, who with his nail-scarred hands, makes beautiful things out of our lives, in hopes others will see His glory in us & desire to know Him.