Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Interceding for Alimitu

When she sat down beside us in the shafts of light coming through the mud window, I was startled to see Alimitu’s diminishing frame. As a joyful mother of eight, her physical decline is alarming. She and her husband have traveled to the best hospital in Bahir Dar and then Addis Ababa and nothing seems to help. She is slowly starving to death as she inexplicably cannot swallow all food and most liquid. Over the course of almost a year, the family has asked for help and prayer. 

(Not Alimitu in the photo)

Please pray with us for the miracle of healing in Alimitu’s life and for the glory and worship of our great God! We will visit her family again on Friday. 

And because I am on this learning kick, here's an extra tidbit.  :)

In my past, I was pressed to articulate the strategy of my prayer life. What underlying messages did I believe as I approached the King of the Universe? What did I believe my prayers were for? Why was I praying?  

What this challenging exercise revealed was surprising to me, as I would never have explained my prayer theology beseeching such a limited God. If I saw a need for intercession, I began to inform God of the need, praying for a certain outcome. Then he would influence the situation. 
Sounds kind of dumb, huh? (borrowed graphics from a worker in an undisclosed location) When I stepped away, I knew this wasn't what I believed of God and so why was I approaching him like this?

A different mindset on prayer has changed the way I intercede and it brings so much more joy instead of drudging along in duty.  
And then...
And finally...
I love it. Praise be to God. Join with us in prayer for Alimitu.

I would love to hear your thoughts? What is your prayer strategy? Do you agree or disagree with the ideas proposed in the graphics?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Our Best Frenemies

I am in denial that my computer is dying. As I slog through processes that should be quick, I hear it, grinding, trying so hard to still be up-to-date. I'm cheering it on and laughing as I realize this probably comes from my change-averse tendencies. Do you know that's a thing? 

Jon and I took this marriage assessment and met with a counselor and Jon is called, "Change-oriented" while clear on the opposite end, my score sits, "Change-averse". Neither is wrong but it explains why so often Jon is innovating and undaunted by change and I'm still clawing and trying to hang onto the way it has always been. We both are growing in our styles and with the self-awareness, working to give space and accommodate each other's style.  (Though, depressingly, in most American-worldview books, the people who succeed are high on the risk and change scale). 

Change usually feels awesome when it's my new norm. :)

A pop-by visit with a neighbor, sorting, washing and drying kilos of corn to prepare to make a homemade beer. The women working together had light-hearted attitudes while doing a tedious job and reminded me of the hubbub of applesauce day growing up. 

Speaking of change-averse and off-track, here is a picture of my cousins and brothers at my Grandma's funeral. It makes me proud and emotional every time I see it. I also feel old as I want to say, "How did you all get so big?".

Our good, good Father, is always pushing us into change, and my word of 2019 is ROOTEDNESS. I am praying for this and our kids, that our roots are so deep in Christ, no matter what comes, we will not be blown over with our roots deep in the only true stability, God himself. 

These two, they are among my greatest gifts. I call them "best frenemies" as they deeply love AND deeply annoy each other. I realize if I would have seen God's plan ahead of time, I would have been so scared to raise another set of "twins" far from family support. 

So thankful for a God who knows and loves me and sweetly and mercifully pulls me along, giving me so much more than I can ask or imagine. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

I'm Still Standing

Oh guys, I am back to using an old platform to host the blog...which feels like switching back to a flip-phone in a smart phone world and who has got time for that? 

Hello you faithful friends. I’ve been thinking about Ephesians 6 lately and rolling around in my head, verses 13.
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, the you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. "

Recent life in our family tribe has been sweet, busy, beautiful, exhausting, stretching, disappointing and gratifying…which is similar to Christian walks of life, the planet over. I keep thinking I will get to a place and get my family to a place where we are “mess-free” and shockingly, I’ve got a ways to go, starting with myself. 

The guests have been abundant and amazing. Ethiopian Christmas was met with all the invites and meat we could stomach. Such a special time. Here's a smattering of photos with hope of more to come.

While the Gerbers were still with us, we did the first drive-thru (to our knowledge) in Injibara. The "Panini Palace" seemed to be a hit.
Hiking through the "baboons' house" according to Tiger
 I love the look of Monay, deep in love with her first grandbaby!

Our first year in Ethiopia, we were majorly propped up by our neighbors and mentors and we were so incredibly honored by their visit as they plan to serve in 35 different countries in the next 8 months. And they decorated my house for Christmas, which is not a strong skill of mine. 
In this nomadic life we live, it encourages my heart that so many hard goodbyes are truly just a change in relationship as we cross continents and still find ways to sneak in good talks, some tears and times of prayer.
I still love to see Awi horses, in their splendid apparel with proud riders atop their saddles.
Attendees at a recent Master Tree Grower's training
And the Christmas ox, hanging out in our yard until Christmas. When we come into our gate, Tiger still asks, "Where is the Christmas cow?". We joined a neighborhood group to gather monthly and collect money so at Christmas, there was enough saved to buy this beefy guy. At the butcher, Jon ate with the men and as they butchered, he snacked on raw stomach, tongue (warm and fresh immediately taken from the ox) and liver. The kids and I were not sad that day we didn't qualify as men!
 My parents visited during meat season and within 4 days, we had visited 10 huts. Dad was dressed up like an Awi man for the photo.
 Miss T's awkward positioning makes me laugh every time. 
Such a sweet time with my parents. 
Sending love across the miles. 

May we stand firm and rooted deep in Christ, the only stable ground. 


Squirm Break

Still not able to work out the kinks with the blog, so I will try one picture at a time. It’s actually a great break time for me as I am currently reading a book, so convicting, challenging and full of new thoughts I am literally squirming as I read it and can digest it in chunks.  Do any of you read books that make you squirm? I would love to hear your recommendations and am enjoying the uncomfortable challenge and Biblical call, though not easy, discussions from different points of view spark life. I read a chapter to Jon and waited for his feedback. He sat still for a bit and said, “Wow, I don’t know how to respond as I don’t even have a shelf to put this information”. My current book is “Global Humility”. 

Okay, messing around a bit, I don’t think it is the text, just any photo…trying again.

Sigh. More fixing to do I guess. :)

I want your book recommendations, for real. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Today I have spent no less than three hours trying to revive this blog. My posts were touching, emotional with just the right amount of funny. Okay, maybe not but nothing will post. I’m annoyed and sorry to have to try and test some different combos here to see what will publish, my apologies for clogging your inbox with nothing but complaint. Onward and forward. Testing, testing…

Friday, December 21, 2018

For He Who Is Mighty Has Done Great Things

As we’ve had more Christmases away from our US home, we/ve pushed harder into Advent. It didn’t take many holidays here to realize how without intentionality, traditions and celebrations are skimmed through. 

While we dearly miss many elements of December in the USA, there is a sweetness of skipping the “hustle and bustle” with more time to focus on the miracle of God becoming flesh when he sent Jesus down among us as a baby. 

And if you follow on Instagram, you know we have several different families visit us. There are enough posts mentally backlogged to start another blog. Thanks for still reading. Your prayers and support are vital. 

While the Gerber family was here, because they were coming with four kids, we loosely pre-planned a “Camp Christmas”

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I remember last year when our neighbors were over and watching a Christmas puppet show. What amazement I felt as as we took a break between the two shows, the shepherd boys left, running out  to bring their friends. Shepherds, telling shepherds the good news. Kids who know what it feels like to sleep among animals. Children who can understand a tight financial situation. 

I see Mary and Joseph's strength and faith in God with new eyes. I deeply feel this little, middle-eastern baby coming to bring peace on earth while leading a beautiful and difficult life.

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We have a video of Friday. Our kids acted out the story in sections all week and on Friday, God brought just the right teacher to tell the children the whole story again and lead a discussion. The kids had never been a part of a drama before so acting it out seemed a stretch. We did not anticipate how much the kids had caught on and added their own sweet perceptions into the story.

IMG 0770Hopefully I can get the video uploaded before western Christmas, but to borrow Mary’s words, “My soul magnifies the Lord”. 

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Celebrate Hard

When Jon’s parents finalized their trip dates, we were not only glad to they were coming but also packed as much celebrating as we could into our time. By nature, when I have margin, I am a person who loves to celebrate the little things. You already saw a few pictures of them at Field Days, but we also celebrated by sharing our Awi neighborhood and then, an early Thanksgiving, Trick-or-Treating, J and A’s birthday, as well as Jon’s birthday. We were well-partied. 

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Airport pick-ups are so much more fun than drop-offs!

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Our neighbors love to see our parents out and about. We become a little more human, like we came from somewhere, besides an airplane. 

IMG 1521Grandpa and Grandma brought their love and great attitudes to make our day-to-day extra amazing. 

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Jon’s birthday!

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J and A’s birthday!

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Tiger and Miss T also benefitted as Grandma couldn’t resist bringing gifts for the littles as well. 

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While we were staying at a guest house in Addis Ababa, the kids trick-or-treated in the guest house and loved all the attention and funny adults. 

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Look at those teachers in the back. 

IMG 0153Enjoying Mark and Debbie’ visit and even blessed with a meal at their home. 

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And time to see them off.

Mom and Dad, thanks so much for your visit!  We cherish the time and memories.