There are four seasons in GM, and I love the fall. Recently, I went for a walk and to lunch with a friend just outside of the city, and I enjoyed seeing the variety of colors on the trees. It’s easy to let the seasons slip by without really enjoying them. Take some time today to give thanks for the rhythm and order of God’s creation–the signs of the season.
The local fruit stands are rich in color during this season–a great reminder of God’s abundance, and the blessings that He has given each of us. Thank you, Jesus!
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. 15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’” 16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:14-17
Sometimes safety standards are a little different here. We kept a safe distance behind this overloaded and way off-balance trailer and the huge chunks of concrete seemed to be ready to fall off at any time. The taxi in front of me seemed equally concerned as he turned on his hazards, and acted as a volunteer escort.
This week we have a full house at the Center! Join us in praising God for what He is doing, and how He is using this wonderful space that He has given us. This week, besides English teaching and the weekly international student ministry (pictured above), two like-minded workers from other groups are also utilizing the space. One will be doing so long-term as he also teaches English to a group with a different heart language than the local GM language. The other worker is hosting a conference this week aimed at training and reaching people from a nearby, closed country. He also plans to hold a weekly gathering for believers from this same people group. Lift up these workers and those that they are ministering to as they share the love and hope of Christ.
” If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b]6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Smoking is very common in GM. In the last couple of years, we’ve started to see billboards that warn against its dangers. However, we often see people of all ages, men and women, lighting up. We are thankful that the education that we take for granted is starting to receive more attention in this place, and we pray that the next generation will have a different perspective.
Covid-19 has meant a lot of changes in how we do ministry. In the early months of the pandemic, our team ladies created an online group that was dedicated to sharing scripture. We invited 25 local women to join, and we engaged in Zoom devotions for a time. As things opened back up, we continued to use this online platform to share scripture.
Recently, a local, believing friend has joined us in creating a Facebook presentation of the Gospel in the local language. This series will follow God’s plan from creation to restoration. Please pray with us that the women who read the truth of God’s amazing plan will respond and be transformed.
I did a double take when I spotted this graffitied question…”You like your life?” Words scrawled on buildings aren’t always worth thinking about, but sometimes, they really get to the heart. In this case, I thought of our friends here, and all of the challenges that they’ve faced over the years. I thought of the aching that I often sense, and the yearning for something that’s sustainably better.
Then I asked myself this question and others…What are the hard things? What do I do with them? Do I sit with Jesus and hold them out to him, or do I try to figure them out on my own? Do I shine the light of Hope and Peace into the corners of my heart? Or, do I let bitterness, hopelessness, and unforgiveness settle in and get comfy?
Whatever the hard things are, Jesus is with you, He’s for you, and He’s not shocked. Go to Him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Visit any touristy area of the city, and you’ll find a plethora of art. The subject matter ranges from local fruit (remember the pomegranates from the recent “Guess that Fruit” post) to cityscapes and landscapes to people. While the subject matter is often the same, each artist finds their own unique way to express themselves. However, that wasn’t always the case.
Under former regimes, the artists of this country were often forced to paint commissioned pieces where creativity wasn’t welcomed. One student shared that her grandfather, a painter during that time, received threats of harm if every medal on a military leader’s jacket wasn’t rendered precisely. Thankfully times have changed, and while artists might be swayed by what sells best, they are free to choose their subjects and mediums.
On a recent visit to a famous church in GM, I was reminded of the power of redemption. The stone base (shown in the picture above) was once a place of pagan worship. However, when Christianity was declared the national religion, a cross* was constructed on top of it. The message was clear to all–this place would no longer be used for the worship of false gods, but it would be a marker of Christ’s reign and rule over this land. Please pray with us that the message of Jesus–His death and resurrection–would be clear in each church today, and that the message would be life-changing for all those who hear and believe.