On a recent foggy day, we took some visiting guests just outside the city to an ancient church located on a steep hillside. The misty air provided a haunting backdrop for the old, crumbling walls. We stood for several minutes looking at these bells and wondering about their usage. For each of us, the stark reminder was that if we are “clanging” without love, we are simply providing more useless noise in an already noisy world (1 Corinthians 13:1). As you “ring” in your local community, may you be filled with HIS LOVE that “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.
Crunchy, King, and Blacky arrived on November 17 from the village! They have adjusted well to their new home with Sam, Titus and Anna! Although the porch does offer some space to run around, we were all a little surprised that the rabbits could jump up, onto the grill, and flip small trashcans with their teeth. They will begin training for more “intentional” tricks this spring! Join us in welcoming them!
One of the hardest things about living in a foreign culture is the constant change that our children experience. Though they go to an International school, it is common for their classmates to move to a new country every few years. As you can imagine, this can be difficult. Despite this obstacle, our children have continued to strive to love well and develop friendships with those around them. As Hannah (Jim & Kathy’s oldest daughter) turned 15, she invited a bunch friends over for a Wild West mystery night. This group of girls are Hannah’s old school friends, new school friends, church friends, local friends and teammates. Please pray for the team children that God would not only protect them and care for them, but also help them to continue to grow in trust of Him through all the changes in their lives.
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.