Sunday, November 27, 2005
It’s been hard simply because the holidays evoke memories with family (do you like the way I used the two different “vokes” in the past two paragraphs?) We are both very close to our families and we enjoy family traditions that we miss during this time of year. Perhaps we fall prey to the ol’ “grass is always greener” missionary syndrome in which, at times, everything seems better back at home (this is the opposite of the “honeymoon” syndrome when everything in the local culture seems ideal and far better than the home culture). We both find ourselves talking a lot about “what would you be doing if you were home.” No signs of the holidays around these parts, so that always makes it harder for us who are very much Christmas people (is that a term?) We are fierce in our combating the hum-bug and our house is fully decorated in Christmas. We’ve pulled out every Christmas movie or DVD that we own, including some Lifetime TV Christmas specials from 2003 (thanks Mom!) Tonight, we decorated Christmas cookies (great recipe Aunt Kendra) while listening to Amy Grant’s Christmas album.
Around the Thanksgiving table, I asked Tori something specific she missed about Thanksgiving at Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house in America (Kelly’s folks). She said very plainly, “I miss the noise.” She went on to explain that she remembers all the talking from various tables and rooms…no one voice in particular, just “the noise”…Kelly and I thought that might explain some of our feelings, too. We miss the noise…we miss sharing the holidays with family and friends.
As well, we’ve been without running water 7 out of the past 10 days. I don’t have to tell you that a person can become a little irritable in that kind of situation. The power has been intermittent the past week…it was off all day Friday as well as Saturday. Thank God for the generator.
A huge windy rainstorm cancelled my Friday night meeting (that’s what happens when you conduct your meetings outdoors). Saturday was the usual end-of-the-month leaders’ meeting…a long day for me (8:30-4p)! We’ve had these meetings off and on for more than 4 years and we’re in the stage of transitioning the leadership from me to the Aja people. Surprisingly, they are not too cool on the idea…they don’t trust themselves to be able to lead. But several are rising to the challenge and the meetings have begun to take on a strong local flair, much different than an American would do it…Aja people simply find it obligatory to vehemently “argue” with each other as a way of reaching a decision…an outsider would naturally assume there’d be bad blood in the end, but to my amazement, there are no hard feelings, but consensus. For a self-aware conflict-avoider as myself (I’m a work-in-progress), such an atmosphere creates some internal stress that I’m having to learn to just discount. Haven’t seen any Roberts Rules of Order being practiced and I don’t think I’m going to even try to suggest such a thing (trying to avoid the “missionary, you’re a fool” look that I’ve gotten numerous times since arriving over 6 years ago). HA!
Today was our monthly convention of churches. We did have a good turnout from most of the congregations…many who had to walk or ride bikes 5-10 miles or more. My lesson was based on Hebrews 11, speaking about faith: believing in that which we cannot see. My lesson culminated in a look at the new heaven (Rev 21), our new Jerusalem where there are no more tears, no more dying, no more mourning…and where the streets are lined with purest gold! For all of us, but especially when you are ministering among the poor, the destitute, the oppressed, the persecuted…these people need the hope of heaven! Kelly was under the weather and kept the girls and Jonathan at home while I got to spend the day with my Timo! I love having father-son moments like this…but I tell you, this was no ice cream run…no way! Timothy is a real trooper…we were out in the heat from 9a until well after 3p! For those of you who have or have had a two-year old boy, you can imagine the stressful environment…but again, he was great. Well-behaved and even took an uncharacteristic morning nap on my shoulder during the early part of the service. Being an outdoor assembly, during my teaching slot, he was able to go with our family’s friend, Sossa, on an exploration of the village, seeing all kinds of pigs, goats and chickens and eating oranges under the mango tree. Then once the worship time concluded, I was called upon to go with some other men to pray for an old man who had dislocated his right femur over a year ago!! They said he “broke” it but I’m wondering if it were truly broken how he’d be doing as well as he was (walking with a walking stick). They tried all kinds of traditional methods of healing (cannot imagine how many voodoo sacrifices have been made), but someone told the man we were having our meeting today, so he asked for prayers. Believe me, I was shocked upon hearing the awful story and then seeing him “flex” his upper thigh in a highly abnormal position, and then seriously perplexed how this prayer team might pray for him…then who might the team decide should pray? Yep, me! Lord, forgive my unbelief, and do a miracle in that man’s leg anyway for the sake of your glory!!
After the prayer, we were also going to visit a woman who recently gave birth to a beautiful little girl. A couple of the other men from the Kaiteme church had gone a few weeks ago to the baby dedication where they pronounced the baby girl’s name to be Deborah (we were out of town that weekend). Well yesterday at the leaders’ meeting, these two men explained to me a “small problem.” It seems that everyone in this newborn’s family wanted to spare the two Christian leaders some embarrassment, so they waited a week and then sent word to them that the newborn girl has a sister (same father, different mother) also with the name Deborah! Who knew?!! So we had to go today and give the new name…this time, Ruth was selected and upon confirmation, we determined that no one in the close proximity of this family shares that name!
The next several weeks, leading up to the Christmas weekend are jam-packed with events and meetings…we are looking forward to Tuesday for some proactive rest in advance and in anticipation of the exhaustion facing us down the road! Our bodies need to recuperate from some sickness we’ve had in the family, as well as a need to rest up for the month to come! We’ll probably not blog again until next weekend sometime, so enjoy your week. We’ve missed some of our favorite bloggers over the holiday week, so we’ll enjoy getting back to reading some of your posts.
Please pray for the village of Aflantan (ah-flah-tahn)…the church has been simmering on VERY LOW heat for years now since its inception in 2000. They need a shot in the arm, and this coming weekend, the leadership group decided to focus our prayers on that village for the week and the weekend coming up. One of our Christians in another village runs a DVD business (sells DVDs and sets up a television in his village…using his personal generator because there’s no power there...to show movies and charge for viewing). This brother has agreed to use his equipment (I’m buying his generator gas) to show the Jesus Film at Aflantan on Saturday night. We are praying that a viewing of the life of Christ will be an important element of the renewed evangelistic efforts in that village.
FUNNY THING YOU CATCH YOURSELF SAYING:
I’m sure some of you could share your own stories (hint: another appeal for comments) of times when you think about what you just said to your kids and you gasp! Tonight’s was straight from my mouth (remembering the Christmas activity we did tonight as mentioned above):
TIMOTHY: Dad, can I please have an orange (aka, “fresh healthy fruit”)?
DAD: No, son, you just had a ton of cookies!
TIMO: (looking puzzled)
DAD: (thinking to myself, “did I just turn down my son’s request for a healthy snack because I fed him too many sugar cookies with powered sugar icing with red sugar sprinkles?”) OK, yes, I’ll get you the orange….
Have a wonderful week!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Sunday, November 20, 2005
- Randy & Kelly
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Here are some pictures! I (Kelly) am new at this and the pictures are a bit out of order. All of these things took place…you will just have to use your imagination as to what order they fell into the program! :)
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
More Than $1 Million Donated for World Evangelism
God is a very gracious Father! The RHCC Family gave and pledged more than $1,173,544 on Harvest Sunday, November 13. Traditionally alot more is given over the next few months, too, so this number will go higher...and it doesn't count all the loose change that the kids throw into the wheelbarrows each year...that adds up!
UPDATE: As of Wednesday, Nov 16, the new total is: $1,183,331
We're so thankful to not only to enjoy a wonderful partnership with RHCC, but to call RHCC our church home!
Another baby naming ceremony tonight...this time for a man named Gabriel...we chose to name the little girl, Miriam. Both Gabriel and his wife were both familiar with Moses' deliverance story, but neither had heard the remarkable way Miriam rescued Moses as a baby. After that, they were thrilled with the name! They immediately started calling her "Mi-Mi" (mee-mee). Cute.
Believe it or not, but we're putting up CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS the day after tomorrow! With little signs of the holiday around these parts, we decided years ago that we'd start after mine and Tori's BD...we're just big on Christmas around here and we thought we'd celebrate for over a month....we're a little late, because Tori is having a party for one of her best Aja friends, Bensha...they are just a few weeks apart in age and her mother has worked with us for over 6 years. We have a birthday party for them each year. So the day after the party, the tree goes up!!
Everybody's different...when do YOU start putting up Christmas? We always did it Thanksgiving night while watching the 2nd half of the Cowboy game (first half was at Granny's house). Some families wait until at least the month of December....and still others (I can't imagine this) wait until Christmas Eve to trim the tree. When do you start?