Joy In the Little Things

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Christmas time is probably one of the hardest times to be away from home, but we are trying to find joy in the little things.

We love sitting outside our compound watching the big trucks doing road work.  Even though this construction caused us to not have water for the past month (at least not water flowing in from the city.  We do have water, but it has become a great task of my very fine house workers hauling jerry cans from a nearby water source.)

We love singing with our team here on Friday nights.  They are a lively bunch and one even sings opera style.  We also occasionally break out in pearl jam versions and gospel versions and Johnny Cash versions of many Classic Christian choruses.

We love watching Esther enjoy playing in dirt and being awe struck by all the animals that roam the streets.  We love that Esther’s favorite words are kaka and fassa (that means poop and fart in amharic).

We love that every time my phone rings, no matter who is crying or fighting, everyone drops what they’re doing to break out in dance until the tune stops.

We love that Jordyn B. a friend from Indiana is here with us now, and that she is a good artist which means we now have paintings of a fire place and a Christmas tree hanging on our wall.  She is supposed to be doing an entire winter wonderland.  We will see.

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We love that there is now one hotel in our town providing free high speed internet.  It is so nice to actually download something every now and then.
We also love that another hotel in town has a nice swimming pool that we can enjoy.  Yes, even though it is “winter” here it is still warm enough to swim.

We love having 3 children now, and love sharing advent stories with them each evening.  We love that they look forward to this and take great joy in coloring a picture each day that goes with the story.

We love the work that God has provided us with, and we are so thankful and grateful for our supporters.

To be honest, it has been a difficult month for us.  It is the most homesick we have been since being here.  Our hearts have been heavy for our co-workers who are battling with government offices concerning their adoptions, which has delayed their plans to be back in Australia.  Our adoption process has yet to begin as the process has become a mystery.  Different offices saying different things about the proper way to do a local adoption.  We are fairly convinced that corruption (people wanting “tips”) has a lot to do with the confusion.  In addition, apparently what people say is law is greater than what the written law says.
And Carrie has been battling sickness, causing her to be able to work very little.

So often it seems like the holiday season (which we expect to be full of joy) becomes a season of suffering or grief.  Death and sickness are always crouching at our door, but is it possible that God knows exactly what we truly need at all times, even if it is a sickness or loss.  Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior can only be a celebration if we know why He came.  To suffer and die a gruesome death in order to atone for our sins and bring forgiveness to anyone who believes.  But although His death was absolutely necessary, His resurrection is what brings us life and hope.  Joy to the world, The Lord has come!

So even though we may be suffering this season, for various reasons for each of us, we are praying that the Prince of Peace will lead us through the times of suffering and we are confident that the final outcome will be glorious and perfect.

Merry Christmas!

Revelation 1:4-8

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and fromthe seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

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Twiddle Your Thumbs and Mountains Won’t Move

Sitting in “The Book” study with our senior staff the other day, I realized how much the understanding of context gives us a deeper understanding of scripture.  I’ve always known this, but usually I have to learn the context first.  Here in the Horn however, we are living in many of the contexts.

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.  You also, be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.           James 5: 7-8

The farmers here spend all year plowing and planting and praying for a rainy season that will nourish and not destroy their crops.  They must be constantly working towards the harvest.  They know they must work the fields in order to see the fruit, but it is up to God to provide and to bring forth the fruit from the earth.  But they must be patient until the time is right to harvest their fields and glean their grains, working diligently towards the end goal.

We to, must be working consistently towards the harvest, the end goal.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”                  Matthew 24:14

If the farmer sits back and twiddles his thumbs, the Father could still bring forth fruit from the earth, but He won’t.  He blesses our hard work and it glorifies Him.  If we sit back and twiddle our thumbs, waiting for the Lord to return, He could still move mountains, but He likely won’t.  He delights in us as His children, as His laborers.  He will bless our work and gives us the privilege of taking part in His work.

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My children are always wanting to help me.  Most times, it would be easier to do things without their insistent help.  It is a privilege for them to assist their mama and makes them feel valuable, loved, and useful.  If only our hearts were always as eager and insistent as our children, to help our Heavenly Father in His work.

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.  And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.         Matthew 21:43-44