Parking is hard to come by in this country, which is why many people look for a home that has a parking garage. Sadly, many times people will still choose to park in front of your garage, stoping you from using it. This usually requires a phone call, asking for your neighbor or a visiting guest to move their car and requesting for it to not happen again – occasionally leading to developing new relationships because of “parking wars”!
During a pit stop on a mountain drive we pulled over to take in the scenery. It was an established area and had some rustic places to sit; it even had a little stand to buy some coffee (left). While we were stretching our legs, we saw this compass (right) and LOVED the idea that someone had decided to make one! It didn’t take but one or two minutes to realize this was only a decoration. Without magnets and the correct dial, we didn’t really know what direction we were facing. What a great illustration of our life and the Compass we choose to live by! Will you pray for our team as we move forward this year – that we would be clearly listening and watching our Compass to see which direction He is leading?
We have several students that are aspiring tour guides. In this country, tourism is something that is really growing and will help boost the economy each year. We love finding out where our students are experts and letting them lead us around!
Last week, one of our students took us out to a village that was in the middle of harvesting grapes – it was beautiful! We had a delicious, rather gourmet lunch that was very special. This picture highlights the way salads are presented here. The red “roll” is a sweet red bell pepper with walnut and garlic paste inside, the tan “roll” is eggplant with the garlic and walnut inside and the green “ball” is spinach with walnut and garlic, finished with a pomegranate pod. This was one of many special excursions that our friends have taken us on, as they host us in this beautiful country!
This is a lesson that God has been teaching me over the past few years:
Since moving here I have lost my boldness in life. It has been replaced by a fear of imperfection. I have found that my curious nature has been sequestered because of my lack of boldness, and this applies to the area of language as well. Recently, I have felt that God has been encouraging me to step out in boldness and let my curious nature take over again!
Since I have made this commitment there have been many opportunities that have opened for me. A memorable one was when I was allowed to enter a church that was still under construction and talk to the artisan about his craft and beliefs. It was amazing and I am so thankful that God has continued to open these doors!
We were recently invited to the home of one of our students for a family dinner. As we arrived, we were introduced to her father-in-law who was clearly the family patriarch. He was the host for the evening and we enjoyed hearing his vibrant stories of life in this context over many years. At the end of the evening, he made a special presentation of his homemade pinecone art – he’s clearly got the golden “Midas touch”! These scenarios are always humbling for us because we can sense that our friends are giving generously out of relative poverty. May we all be “golden” in the way we share what God has so freely given us.
This past weekend we hosted a Leadership Institute Seminar at the Center. One of our like-minded American colleagues that lives in the city led the seminar on the subject of “capital”. He helped the seminar attendees think about what capital they have been given and how they are investing that capital or wasting it. He shared the “Parable of the Talents” from Matthew 25 and challenged the participants to be good stewards of what they have. This is a new way of thinking in this country and it was fascinating to hear the responses and dialogue in the group. Please continue to pray that the Leadership Institute would be an excellent avenue to deeper conversations with our local contacts.
During a recent visit from a group of partners from the US, we asked one of our creative local friends to come to the Center and help our guests make small magnet souvenirs out of clay in the shape of the famous local dumplings called khinkali. It was a great time for our guests to hear our friend’s story and get creative together! You can see our results above – displayed on the styrofoam trays – and then see what the actual dumplings look like in the picture below it. NOT BAD, RIGHT!?!? We did alright! 🙂
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Praise God for all that He is doing in this place, and for the harvest that is coming.