Over the course of my language study I became very close to my teacher. She lives a stone’s throw away and we make it a point to be in each other’s lives. Every year for her birthday she goes to an empty lake behind a famous monastery and celebrates her birthday with her friends and family. In this culture, relationship is important and the best way to show your love is to spend time together. This year as I joined in the birthday celebration I was reminded of the simplicity of spending time with people. God has called us here to do just that and the result is beautiful, growing relationships that bring us closer to the ones we aim to reach.
Weekly video calls to family are a little heavier around the holidays. Technology gives all of us an amazing gift to see and hear our loved ones at the touch of a button — how fortunate we are! We are grateful for these moments and opportunities to share about life — the joys as well as the hardships. May He continue to provide comfort on both ends of the connection!
Last month was part of the harvest season in this region. We were reminded of this not only in the rural areas, but also in our urban neighborhoods. Pray for our team as we ask Him to guide us as we work the soil and for His hand to show us how to plant the seeds. “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.” — Luke 8:11
The past few months have given us many opportunities to do life together as a team. Time with others who share similar values, goals & beliefs is often a chance to encourage as well as to be encouraged. May His plan for community be lived out faithfully and honorably.
I often sit by this window at the center and watch the people go by. Life in this neighborhood is chaotic and never ceases to provide entertainment to the casual people onlooker. However, many times I think, “Looking is not enough, I need to DO something!” Pray with me as we consider how we can connect with the people in our direct neighborhood in a meaningful way.
“He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact likeness of His being, and He holds everything together by His powerful word.” — Hebrews 1:3 We pass this lake on the way to our children’s school. Let the power of His word be reflected to all those who do not know the beauty of His mercy, amen!
This picture tells a story of friends sharing a relaxing meal together on a beautiful, sunny, fall day. While true invitations from locals come with their own cultural twists and turns, they can leave us feeling uncertain but so thankful for the gift of sharing time together. Here’s the backstory:
The initial invitation: Deciphering who’s invited and the location.
The date: 72 hours in advance, no location or time given
The other decisions: Who will drive? Will we take kids? What gift should we bring? What foods to bring?
The night before: Last minute gift item to purchase, store is closing, begging a worker to stay open for 2 more minutes. Still no address, not sure of the time.
The morning of: Time is communicated along with vague directions— “Take main road and drive toward the mountains.”
The drive: More directions— “Park near this intersection and let me know when you are there.”
The meet-up: We follow our friend to his home.
The first two hours: Catching up, holding the new baby, showing us around, playing with their two-year-old son, great conversation, fire for BBQ is started and takes work to make it just right. Hosts prepared several dishes the night before. Meat was purchased from local butcher that morning.
The meal: Meat is cooked, dishes brought out, table set, water brought in from the well, special juice prepared, guests served first, 2-year-old changing seats and deciding to only eat pastries.
Guests enjoying the meal together on a beautiful, sunny, fall day!
At our most recent leadership seminar the speaker had an opportunity, when answering a question, to share how a forgiving and merciful God continues to impact his daily life. Pray for the participants’ hearts to be open to the truth, especially the one who asked the question: “How do you stay motivated to motivate?”
Do you ever feel like you “get your lines crossed”? As many of you know, this idiom means to have a misunderstanding or miscommunication with someone else. No matter how many years I live in this country there are obstacles to communication. Perhaps it is the language, the culture, or some guy on the street playing with the wires. Though these are often good reasons for miscommunication, I have found that we often get our lines crossed because we just aren’t listening well. James says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Please pray for us, as we pray for you, that we would truly be listening to what people are communicating, so that when we speak, we speak words of hope, love, and truth.