Thursday, September 21, 2017

Numbers


The last few weeks in our work we have been quite focused on numbers.  Joe has been working on several projects for Alabaster Funds, as well as the budget for the new year.   I have been working to prepare for the upcoming assemblies; lots of reports to complete and figures to verify.  It is easy to get lost in the to do list and checking items off the list.  But each of the figures that we are working with are attached to a person. Each Dollar, Rand, Emalangeni, or Pula was given by a person.  Each new member received into the church of the Nazarene came with a story.  Every new church that was organized is filled by people. 

The reason we are doing what we are doing is not only about numbers, although we spend a lot of time working with those.  The reason we are doing what we are doing is about people.  It is about the lives that are changed through the ministries, churches and outreaches that we help support. 

A number is never just a number, numbers are connected to lives and stories. 

September has flown by.  We were home for most of September which was nice.  It allowed us to get caught up on some work projects and some things around the house as well.  The last week in September we are going to a week of vacation in our caravan in the mountain about 45 minutes away from our home.  The camp ground is along a river and we are looking forward to hiking and exploring those trails.  There is also a pool and playground on the grounds and I am sure Peter will spend lots of time using those. 

October will be busy with 9 assemblies happening, as well as various other meetings and the installation of a new leader for the Africa Region.  Thankfully we are almost done preparing for the assemblies. 

Peter continues to grow and change.  He has an amazing ability to melt our hearts and raise our blood pressure in a short span of time.  He has moved to sleeping in a twin bed and Is making other strides away from baby-land and straight into little boy world.   He has moved to an older class at school and loves it.  He loves being outside, playing with his friends, playing with play dough, and sand, reading books, coloring, riding his bike and playing with cars. He is learning new words everyday and most of the time we can understand what he is trying to say. J Since this blog started off talking about numbers Peter is 2 years and 3 months old now.  He usually sleeps 11-13 hours a day.  I would love to have a step counter on him to know how many tens of thousands of steps he takes a day.  One day in particular he ate a muffin, string cheese, 2 yogurts, 2 fruit and veg pouches, 2 bananas, 3 hot dogs, 3 pieces of pizza and who knows how many cheerios and pretzels.  Thankfully (for now) a day like that is an exception not the norm.  

Until next time: Never show your 2 year old something you aren’t willing to repeat 100 times.  I would list examples but there are too many to list. 


Thursday, August 31, 2017

W&W and Peter

Recently we returned from a week with a Work and Witness team in Botswana.  It was a great week together seeing God work in, through, and around His children both young and old.  The team spent the week in a village of Bokaa about 30 minutes outside of the capitol city of Gaborone.  They were working on a house that will be used when teams return to build the church. They also held afternoon children’s outreach and evening revivals. 

Occasionally Joe and I talk about how raising Peter as a Missionary Kid with our roles is different than it would be to raise him in the States.   For us raising a child in the US is the unknown.  And granted not every week is like this but here is a small picture of Peter’s week last week.  

Peter’s days were filled with playing outside with new friends.  Friends from the W&W team, who loved playing with him, spoiling him and giving him bites of food especially sweets and dessert.  Friends like Muruti Oboy (the local Pastor at the Church we worked at) and others from the church.  Friends like Uncle Peter/Driver Peter/Big Peter who is our field bus driver and a great friend of little Peter’s (and ours).  In fact Uncle Peter let him “drive” the bus, which he loved. 

Peter also thoroughly enjoyed playing with the children from the church and the village. There was a small pile of rocks near where we were working and Peter spent lots of time climbing to the top of the pile and running down or sliding down with the other kids.  He also liked collecting the rocks and sharing with the other kids.  At one point he wanted to go for a walk and at first he wanted my hand and then quickly dropped my hand and grabbed onto the hands of his new friends.  For awhile one afternoon he just wanted to move a chair around the yard.

Peter also enjoyed chasing after the chickens, goats, and dogs that wondered around where we were working.  He also liked “helping” with the work project.  He “helped” measure and hammer and checked to see if the team needed water. Peter got to build and knock down towers with the leftover wood from one of the projects.  And he didn’t understand when I wouldn’t let him play in the mud (aka mortar and grout) that the team was mixing.  I mean to him it looked like they were “playing” in the mud so why couldn’t he.  He also enjoyed the various buckets of waters he would find and thought he should be able to play in.  Thankfully he loves being a helper and so he would help us carry the empty water container where they needed to go.  Which was usually the way mom distracted him from any of a host of other “adventures.”   

During the children’s outreach that we did in the afternoons Peter would try and do the motions of the songs with the kids and enjoyed watching the games they played with the balls.   During lunch (if he wasn’t already napping) and during dinner, Peter would eat from our plate and then wonder around to the different team members and eat anything they would give him.  Of course those bites were taken on breaks in between climbing in the wheelbarrow, playing ball with the other kids, playing in the dirt or trying to coax the dog from under the van. 

Needless to say each evening we had a tired, very dirty, but happy little boy.   After the team went to the tent for the evening revivals.  We would change Peter into his PJ’s, read him a story, pray with him, sing a song and then lay him down to sleep.  Then Joe would stay with him and I would go over to the tent to the revival.  After the service the team would come back to the house and have a team meeting and devotions.  Once the team loaded into the bus we would pick Peter up load him in our van, load up the packn’play and head back to the hotel for the night.  Peter would wake up briefly during all the transitions but then would quickly return to dreamland. 

We didn’t pack any toys for Peter and he didn’t miss them.  We did pack some books that we read to him on the long car ride to and from Botswana and at bedtime.  He was not a huge fan of waiting in line at the border but then who is. 

As he gets older I am sure there will be some times that he doesn’t find the weeks we spend with W&W teams as adventurous but for now he does and so we will enjoy it while it last. 

We are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Global Church and allowing our brothers and sisters in Christ from different places and cultures get to know each other, work and serve alongside each other and love and pray for each other. 



Until next time remember- If you leave a curious toddler unattended for a short amount of time (no matter how short) he will find water and play in it.  Thankfully his parents weren’t the only ones keeping him out of mischief.  And I would rather he find the water instead of the power tools.  (Don’t worry Grandma and Grandpa he never even touched the power tools only the boxes they came in.) 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mission Immersion Malawi

For 10 days a group of 19 young people from South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi gathered for training, orientation and practical activities of missions. Joe had the opportunity to join this group and help to lead some of the sessions/activities.
This was an amazing time for these young people to learn, grow and to focus on the ministry that God is calling them to be a part of. For some it is to missions, for some it is pastoring and for others it is to serve in ministry in a local church. God was working and moving in the lives of these young people.
Many in the group were very musically inclined and so they would start singing and praising God all throughout the day. It was great to see God working and moving through these young people who have a great heart for His Mission.
They were able to experience many things of different cultures including language, food, custom and attitude. They did service projects and outreach as well as preaching and ministry to the community. One of the projects was to paint a small church building that a local church had recently purchased. They worked together with the local church to improve the building, but more importantly to build relationships and help them connect with the community around them.
They participated in a short Amazing Race around the city of Lilongwe that involved many challenging tasks and transportation opportunities. Although it was a race they were also encouraged to be intentional with the way they engaged with the local people and represented the Church.  It was difficult for some to not be so focused on the task at hand and to be more aware of those around them and the others on their team.
The group was stretched and through this they bonded very well together. Everyone said that they were amazed of what all they learned and experienced through this event and said that it would have a positive impact on their ministry and walk with God.
Please be in prayer for these young people as they go back to their communities and share what they experienced and how they were changed. Pray for their continued growth and development in their Call from God.

Until next time: when traveling to another country it is not always best to ask what food you are being served before you eat it.  Ignorance is truly bliss sometimes.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Nazarene Family Reunion aka General Assembly

In about a month there is going to be a large family reunion of sorts in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The family reunion is also called General Assembly and Conventions for the Church of the Nazarene.  There will be representatives there from many different countries and speaking many different languages.  We gather together every four years.  There will be times of worship, teaching, preaching, business, and meetings.  But there will also be great times of fellowship.

I have been thinking a lot about fellowship lately.  Mostly when we fellowship we tend towards fellowshipping with people we know, or people that look like us, or talk like us or have the same views as us.  We are unsure about what to talk about when fellowshipping with people who are different from us.  There is awkward small talk, it is not comfortable.  It is just easier to catch up with old friends and talk about the good memories. 

Wouldn’t it be great if all of us that are attending General Assembly stepped outside of our comfort zone and tried to make friends with someone you don’t know?  We are all excited about seeing old friends, college buddies, and people we went to church with.  But also be intentional about making friends of people who are not from your Country or Region.   Make friends with someone from a country you have never been to and maybe never even heard of.  For those of you attending the whole event there are lots of meal times, consider going to lunch or dinner with your new friend.   If you see someone sitting by themselves at a restaurant around the convention center ask if you can join their table and find out more about them.  Talk about all the things that are the same and different in your countries, talk about similarities and differences in your churches. 

Many people who are there have saved for four years to be able to come.  Some have never been to the US before.  Some have never been on a plane before coming to General Assembly.  No matter how well traveled or where they are from we can all learn from each other.  All of us have testimonies of how God has provided for us, protected us, …

We can encourage and enrich each other by sharing our stories of God’s faithfulness.  That is part of what General Assembly is all about.  If we say we are a Global Church then we have to get to know our brothers and sisters across the aisle, across the border and across the ocean.



I have been so enriched by being a part of the Global Nazarene family.  You can be too.  We will all have nametags on, so go up and introduce yourself and find out more where others are from.  You never know you may walk away from that time with a new friend that you can look forward to seeing next time we gather together again. 

Until next time, remember pouring cinnamon on the ground is a good way to keep away the ants. (sometimes it happens by accident when you drop the cinnamon container and is shatters on the floor by the trash can)