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Monday, July 24, 2017

If you're ever in an African village..

If you're in an African village, and you don't speak the language, it can be awkward.  Of course, if you're important enough, or organized enough, maybe you'll get a translator, but if not, here are my tried and true ice breakers for making friends with smaller people from the village.
1.  Painting toenails.  Or fingernails.  Happy moments here!  I discovered this one on the side of a road in Kenya, many years ago, when we had a flat tire on the way to church. 
2.  Taking pictures and then showing your new friends their pictures in the back.  A Polaroid is even better!  A really nice part of this one, is that you have the happy memories afterward. 
3. Share Tic-tac's.  I suspect any little snack would work, but I want to put what I have actually tried and found successful.  You might want to be discreet on this one, or you WILL be mobbed.   
4.  Share hand cream or hand sanitizer.  Again, you will be mobbed.  Some of the Mommies got in on this one, and we all had a good laugh, but my hand cream ran out too fast. 
5.  Shake hands with everyone.  That doesn't run out! 
6.  Start learning words in their language.  I felt like I had a comedy act ready to go on the road with the laughs I got as I tried to mimic Sotho words when we were in Zebedeilia earlier on this trip.  I mean, move over Tim Hawkins, I had people with tears running down their faces, just at the way I pronounced words!  It's a heady feeling.  
7.  Whip out a Frisbee!  Those are a thrill when they're a rare commodity.  In our most successful  village using Frisbees, the people watched and said, "Oooo," the noise rising or falling as the Frisbee rose or fell.  Come to think of it, that same village loved watching our boys sword fight.  I can't claim that one, as I've never done it, but I know it was a hit.  





Cutie pies!  My friend Hilary said, "If you love people they can usually tell, and that makes up for a lot of awkwardness."  "This is love, that we walk according to His commandments," God tells us.  I'm glad He made little people easy to love. 

 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What's going on?

 God's answering prayers! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOjjltuFGlg  
is the link to see this chalk talk.  It's one of those sermons that can keep on growing as the Lord answers. 
 On Tuesdays when we're in Cape Town, we got to kayaking.  It's about a 30 minute walk from our house, and is one of highlights of our week. 
 Sometimes is just the four of us, Josh, Daniel, Connie and I, and other times we add in some Vats and a Labuschagne for fun, or some Johannekans for even more fun, but it's always a pretty walk around the vlei (that water you see there.)
 Connie and I have been doing a little cooking.  We enjoyed her turtle. 
 Daniel and Connie (otherwise known as "the cousins") have been joining Josh for some art lessons many of the days while we're home.  We use a book called Joseph The Canada Goose for the first part.  I'm getting some good goose artists!  Our goal is to be done before we leave for Malawi, so we are hurrying, and doing several lessons a day. 
 Speaking of Malawi....
 Paul preached in an area of Cape Town called Samora Machel (who was an interesting man.  I was just checking him out a bit on Wikipedia, in case anyone is interested.)  to a Malawian congregation. 
 His topic was Psalm 126, preaching about revival, and the link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0F49JYXDZQ 
 Their church was meeting in a school, and then after church they were going to pitch in to work on their block building they are building. 
 As part of our art classes, we're using Jon Gnagy on You Tube, and getting some good results!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQyXzwJRUN4 is for one of the lessons, though I'm not sure it's the one they are doing. 
 As always, we're hoping they can use these skills to Draw Others to Christ, and the boys are taking it seriously.  Connie declared it too hard.  She's six, and I agree with her.  She's doing a couple of easier books or cooking with me.  We may have serious hopes for these skills, but our classes are not somber, serious time.  They're loving them, laughing a lot, and hopefully, by the end, we'll all be saying "I drew..." instead of "I drawed..."





Saturday, January 14, 2017

Blogging = Good Health

Have you all heard that my Darling Paul had a little stroke last week?  We suspect it had something to do with preaching 31 times in the open air on the first three days of 2017. 
 We have been very busy, pushingly busy for probably too long.  I've had a few little health issues of my own, and I have reached a conclusion:  If I don't have enough time to write an occasional blog post, I'm too busy!  It's not healthy.  So from now on, I'll check the life of my blog to check my own health. 
 One of the added busy things I've been doing, an unusual thing for me, was working on Evangel's quilt.  I rearranged our bedroom so that I had a little sewing corner, with space to lay it out on our bed,  and this became my go-to thing to do for the month of November.  My goal was to finish by the first of December, which didn't happen.  I was about a week late. 
 I learned new words like "shwe shwe" (an African cotton material, rhymes with "Hey, hey!") and the phrase "stitch in the ditch" and I'm sure my character was improved with the vast chunk of patience required to make a quilt.  I sure hope so! 
I learned the theory of mitered corners, though I failed in the application, I'm afraid. 


The Lord provided me with another Connie, right near the beginning of quilting.  I was in over my head with this thing, having no pattern, just some raggedy squares decorated by Evangel's friends.  The other Connie was at a conference I went to in October.  She went to my room with me, and in 45 minutes had me organized!  She drew a pattern, told me what size to make the squares, and helped me organize the colors.  She has a quilt shop in Texas!  I had been praying about organizing that thing, and once again, the Lord did  above and beyond what I asked or thought.



 You've got to grow in endurance, courage, skills, and love to make a quilt. 
 


And one grand day, it was finished!  I called my Mom, I sent a picture to Evangel, and I celebrated!  What a weight off!  Then I could throw myself into Christmas preparations. 

Josh is the guest appearance in the quilting plot, showing I did get out there and organize some fun Christmas gifts. 



Here's the whole Drawing Others to Christ team/family on Thanksgiving, and they're my main ministry.  When I'm sorting out "Love your neighbor as yourself,"  these are my nearest neighbors when we're in Cape Town. 

So if you notice the weeks going by, and I'm not writing, maybe you could drop me a reminder to take the time to blog.  I want to share what great things God is doing with us.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

People and patience

Five months is a long time to wait for a meal!  But that's how long it took me to make that one.  I'm shocked with myself.    When we came back from Peru in July, I told my friend Margie that I'd have her and her family over and serve them a Peruvian meal, never dreaming it would take me until November to get my act together! 


As if in punishment for my procrastination, things began to go wrong with this meal.  The main course was to be Lomo Saltado (a beef stir-fry), with a guacamole salad, (not Peruvian really, but definitely Latino), and some dessert using manjar blanco (similar to caramel).  Sounds simple!  What could go wrong?

The cake refused to unstick from the foil I had greased to take the place of the parchment paper we didn't have, the substitute dessert, alfajores, refused to stick to themselves and crumbled because I used whole wheat flour instead of white, and the avocados were too hard to make guacamole.  It was  discouraging! 

Josh came along and peeled the foil off the cake and it became usable. I added a little more butter to the cookies and they were OK, though not a bit pretty.  And we got a plain ol' American/South African salad with a little crunchy avocado thrown in for interest, or something. 

We had a good time!  The big thing was time and fun with Nick, Margie, and Oliver Collins.  Tim remembered they wanted to see some clips from a Bible Institute social, and that brought a lot of laughs.

  Yes, it was annoying when I thought my desserts failed, two in a row, but I've had things like this happen before, and I could remind myself, "Once they're here, it will be fine and worth it." 

"Keep Calm and Cook On" was the motto. 

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:  knowing that tribulation worketh patience,  And patience, experience, and experience, hope"   Romans 5:3, 4

I just looked up Patience on my Bible on my phone, My Sword.  I need that virtue, and a little stress in the kitchen is worth it to see that virtue grow in me. 


Friday, October 21, 2016

Thriving!

I want to write to my Mom, and my sister and my sisters in law and my nieces and my friends Nancy and Margie and Pippa and Sharon, and I really wish I could write to Margaret and, and, and...it's time to blog, so here I am.  When you've got a lot to tell, a blog is a wonderful help.

I came back yesterday from my first real, over-three-nights ladies' conference!  Many months ago, my friend Hilary Ker invited me to this ladies conference.  I was immediately interested and excited.  It was a missionary conference intended to refresh North American missionary ladies.  I just wanted to meet all these other missionary ladies, and make friends, and hear their stories.  Of course, I had to check with our preaching/touring schedule to see if it would work, and Paul came back with a disheartening, "I don't know." So he prayed for guidance, and the Lord guided with a clear yes!  Yippee!  It was on the schedule. 

Hilary and I don't see much of each other, in spite of the fact she lives a mere kilometer or so away, but when we passed occasionally, we'd point at each other and say, "October!" as we were going to be roomies at the hotel, so figured we'd have plenty of time to catch up. 

Glorious!  I've been living with my three big guys in Muizenberg, and missing my girlies in Heaven and in Maine, respectively, so this was a great time of fellowship, or rather, girlowship.  Or something like that.  I warned the ladies that large overnighters with girls make me think of my boarding school days back at DCA and I might start acting like a high-schooler again. 

The worship times were sweet, kind of tear-jerkers sometimes, in a good way.  I had sort of forgotten I could be moved so much by music.  It was precious. 

We had a speaker who has been a missionary in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Spain, and now Ireland, so she was REALLY experienced and could empathize with just about everything.  She is Sarah Wetzel, and she gave us her book which I am reading as fast as I can so I can put it in my book club.  It's called Growing Down, and is good stuff. 

 I like the reminder I'm a work in progress!  This retreat did some good work on me. 
 The singing was a delight!  Just the right volume (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That's remarkable for me!!!)
Every morning, our table was decorated with flower and American chocolates.  The Reese's were/are my favorites.


 Hilary Ker was my fun roommate. 
 The hotel had a gorgeous pool complimenting the amazing view of the Atlantic.  Sunsets on that side are special to us there because we have a mountain in the way of sunsets on our side of Cape Town.  The sun never "sinks into the ocean" it just goes behind the mountain without much fanfare, so it was fun to see it "sink" for a change.  We were only about a half hour from home, if there was no traffic. 

The food needs a mention.  NINE all-you-can-eat buffets in a row!  Temptation Ally.  It was delicious. 
Here's a peek at the hotel where the conference was!  But for me the highlight was meeting the ladies, both missionary and volunteers, and hearing their stories, and getting to know them.  That's a little slice of Heaven when we'll get to spend time (or eternity!) getting to know all kinds of followers of Jesus through all the ages.



After the conference, four of us buzzed over to an ostrich park.  We met and fed Tom Thumb, the world's smallest full grown ostrich





We got sit on a real ostrich too. How'd you like to do that for a living--people sit on you and take your picture.  But I guess there's not a lot of jobs out there for ostriches and some of them end up in a package at the grocery store, so maybe this one's not so bad. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

She being dead yet speaketh

Yesterday was a little rough, with lots of "gotta get there on time" tension.

We had to leave home well before six, to race across town to Paul's first school with him scheduled to speak at 7:30 AM.  That's normal, but all three of us had to go with him which is not the norm.  I made breakfast tortillas the night before, filled with bacon and eggs.  I made one apiece for the boys and me, and two for Paul.  Note to self:  one apiece is not enough for teenage boys.  So on top of other tensions, tummies were growling. 

From school #1, we raced to the thickest part of Cape Town, downtown, to the Absa Building, a skyscraper where we had an appointment on the 21st floor.  I wish I had a picture because the view of Table Bay is pretty from up there, but we had other things on our minds.  Finding parking was a priority, then the sprint to the Absa building, passing security in the lobby, and going up the elevator to where we get to wait, get told we blew it, and leave. 

By then we're late to school #2, so we have to jog across streets and sidewalks, all in the shadow of skyscrapers, back to the car, and head off to find this second school. 

Tummies are roaring by this stage. 

Tensions were tamed though, every time we got into the car.  We had Rosalind Goforth's book, How I Know God Answers Prayer playing in the car.  I downloaded it from here at Librivox.org.  The exact page is this one. 

How thoroughly refreshing!  Hearing her problems, and the Lord's answers to her prayers, put our own pressures and problems in perspective.  Their family very nearly were killed in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.  They were beaten bloody, lost everything they had including some of the clothes they were wearing, and were very grateful to escape with their lives. 

Just after one of the Chinese attacks, their son Paul exclaimed, "This is just like a Henty book!"  Our boys have read some Henty books too, so the 100 year gap in our two families was bridged by knowing we read some of the same books.  We follow the same God, we have the same goals to lead many to Him, and to make our time count.  Cool!  History lives! 

I just felt the tension seep out as we listened in between each rushing session.  And then today I got into a conversation with another Mom, telling her about some answered prayers in my own life.  It was good to look back on what the Lord had done and remember, and share with another person. 

I saw on Wikipedia that Rosalind Goforth went to Heaven in 1942.  I mean, Wikipedia didn't mention Heaven, but you know what I mean.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to leave things behind that could still be helping people all these years after death? 












Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Homeschooler's Nightmare

Imagine the scenario.  You've been graduated from homeschooling for months.  You're enrolled in higher education, and suddenly, without warning, your mother has an attack of conscience!  She is convinced she didn't do enough crafts with you when you were a sweet little homeschooler, so she calls your 6'7" self into the dining room, where your 6'5" brother is dutifully waiting.  There before you is a slightly juvenile craft. 

Choices loom in your mind (I'm guessing).  Is there some way out of this?  Should you protest, "I'm a man now?"   

Maybe that verse pops into your head, "Despise not thy mother when she is old."  That's such a good verse. I'm valuing it more with every passing year.

So with all good grace, you cave in and make a little glass jar to look like a Lego man head.  Because of the good grace, it's a good time, a good memory, and not an ugly confrontation.
Still, I imagine you hope this isn't going to happen too often.