This is just a random post to show you some cool Africa animal pictures. Its just been another awesome week here in Africa. I have so many things I could blog about I just didn’t know where to start so I figured I would just avoid the whole thing. Honestly though I am just a whole lot sad today after finding that the food situation in Zimbabwe continues to worsen, in fact to the point that children in droves are beginning to die from starvation. Please pray for every precious person (men, women and children alike) in Zimbabwe who does not have enough to eat. Thanks to all of you for your love, support and prayers for Africa.
Archive for October, 2008
1 Thess 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
A whole lot of our walk with Jesus (or at least it should be) is contained right here in these 3 verses, don’t you think? It just about sums up what it takes for a joyous Christian life. Of course thats not to say there are not going to be trials coming your way but I think the way we view these storms of life (and how we react to them) has a lot to do with how we think about prayer.
God’s been messing with me about prayer lately and has given me some new ways of thinking about it. Prayer should be our lifeblood, like the air we breathe and the blood pumping from our heart, it needs to be without ceasing. What happens to our body if blood stops pumping or we stop breathing? We will wither and die. Prayer is the same lifeline for our spirit man. It keeps us in tune with God, the more it becomes part of us, the more HE becomes part of us. Prayer is not an exercise. It’s a LIFESTYLE.
Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He said “everyone who asks receives”…. Math 7:8. God answers prayers in the best way even if the evidence of answered prayer may not always follow in the time frame or the way in which we expect it. Our job is to believe that God answers. Do you???
The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the cushion of the sea, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble and disturbance; and he who enters into the presence of God, becomes partaker of that undisturbed and undisturbable calm.–Dr. A. T. Pierson
I read this in one of my devotionals the other day (Streams in the Desert) and thought I would share it with you. It just amazes me how God will always grant us His peace and joy unspeakable, even in the midst of all the confusion and turmoil life tends to bring to us at times. Spend some time in His presence today and every day. Experience the calming peace that can only come from time spent with Him.
And the peace of God, which transcends all our powers of thought, will be a garrison to guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7)
I suppose it’s time for a Zimbabwe update. That IS the reason I am in Africa in the first place, however I am so enjoying my time here in Swaziland with the Childrens Cup family. What a great bunch of people to do life with!! Pastor Ben and some of the staff here recently returned from a trip to Zimbabwe and it does not appear that the food shortage situation is getting any better. In visiting the grocery stores the only items on the shelves were sugar and condoms. Yes, an ENTIRE grocery store with totally empty shelves, nothing but sugar and condoms. I’m not even gonna try to figure out if there is some significance to just those 2 items, I’m sure there is a sermon in there somewhere!! I will leave it to your imagination. Please let me know if anyone gets revelation on this one.
One thing that has not changed is the incredible power and presence of God that is all over the work that Pastor Dixon and the Celebration Zimbabwe team are doing there. I did not make this trip so as not to endanger my permanent residence application process but it is obvious that the hope and love I saw on my last visit there continues to abound and overflow. Even in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation God is showing himself strong. Attendance this past weekend was over 1400 across all the locations in Zimbabwe. What an awesome testimony to the power that is in the simple message of the Gospel as we present it in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. Take a look at the pictures. These are from our services in Masvingo as well as some of the children that are being fed in Chambuta. I stand in amazement at the work God is doing in and through Celebration Church all over the world. I am excited and ready to go to Zimbabwe. Everything seems to be falling into place. All of my papers (and there were a LOT of them) have been accepted and certified by the Chief of immigration in Bulawayo. Final approval from Harare is all that we are awaiting. Thank you Lord for a relatively smooth process up to this point. I know that You continue to walk before us and prepare the way.
I spent a lot of time this past week at the Fonteyn CarePoint working with a group from Oasis Church in Atlanta. Pastor Troy Shaw, what an incredible group of people you sent, I wanna come to your church one day, it’s gotta be a cool place!! Although we got a lot accomplished (constructed about 75 ft of retaining wall) I have come to realize that we accomplished so much more than just the physical things that you can see. Even if a single block of that retaining wall did not get put down, we built something so much more important and long lasting. We built relationship with the hundreds of precious children that come daily to this “safe place” in the midst of poverty, decadence and hopelessness.
Because Children’s Cup is here, because so many great churches have chosen to partner with them, because people give of their time and resources I am so blessed to see firsthand the transformation that is taking place in the lives of these children. We are not here just to feed children. Feeding children in itself may seem like a noble effort, but at the risk of sounding crass, if that’s all you do you end up with a community of well fed prostitutes, drug addicts and broken families. The enemy has had a far too solid grip for far too long here. Transformation of a generation has begun and in the name of Jesus this is the beginning of a groundswell that will roll back the darkness not only in Swaziland but across the entire continent of Africa. It has already begun not only here but in Zimbabwe and Mozambique as well.
Look at these pictures. These are but only a few of the 10,000 children that not only got fed this week, but got to see the love of Jesus that shines in the incredible network of people that works first hand with them each and every day. The little girl at the top left was one of those “special connections” of the week. After spending just a few minutes helping her with her schoolwork, asking her about her day and if she had gotten enough to eat she later came over, climbed up in my lap, wrapped her arms around my neck and said “thank you for coming here. I love you”. It just doesn’t get any better than that!! Children’s Cup has a guiding principle, “It’s all about the children” Truer words could never be spoken. This is the generation that is daily being transformed by the power and love of our Lord Jesus Christ working in and through us. Nothing we could ever do in our own strength could begin to rival the change that is taking place here daily. Thanks to all of you for your love, prayers and support.
O.K. So I made my first foray to the grocery store the other day. As I expected it was an interesting experience. The first thing one notices is the definite lack of the huge variety of products we are accustomed to seing in the U.S. Instead of the usual full length aisle (or more) of breakfast cereals, the Pick n Pay has only a couple of shelves dedicated to this product. Of course there are not dozens of boxes of each kind either, only a few of each selection. There were a couple of recognizable brands which I saw, the first of these being an official box of Grape Nuts. Well I kinda like these, seems harmless enough, theres one box left on the shelf, must be my lucky day. Then I looked at the price, E85.45. Thats around 10 dollars U.S. at the current exchange rate. Those went back on the shelf real quick. Somebody here must eat them although I’m not sure who at that price! So I settled on some “Swazi brand” Raisin Bran. E28.95 About $3.50 in the terms i am used to.
Think I need to take a calculator with me to the grocery store next time. I suppose I will learn to think in terms of the Emalangeni (Swaziland unit of currency, its exchange rate is the same as the Rand of South Africa) but for now it keeps my math skills sharp changing prices back to dollars. Thats only the beginning. Nothing is in pounds and ounces, its all in kilograms. 1kg=2.2 pounds. Lucky for me I have a background in engineering. Some of these conversions I actually remember, others I have to look up.
Heres one I had to look up. Instead of calories everything is listed in kilojoules (kj) NICE!!! I have no idea what that one is. Looked it up when got home. 1calorie is equal to about 4 kj. (4.18 if you wanna be exact, 4 to 1 is going to work just fine for me). Heres another fun fact if you’re interested, if you’re not I’m gonna tell you anyways. The calorie unit we commonly see in the U.S. is really just another American “shortcut” The actual unit of measure being reported is a kilocalorie. (1000 calories) 1 calorie is actually a very small unit of heat energy. How they determine calorie (oops i mean kilocalorie) content of food is an interesting process, they simply burn it and measure how much heat energy it puts off. O.K. There’s your science lesson for today. Sorry I had to chase that rabbit for a moment, back to the grocery store adventure.
Here’s some other highlights:
milk-E10.59 is sold by the liter(of course) and sits on the shelf with all the other stuff. It’s “long life” milk. Keeps for like a year as long as its not opened. Then you have to refrigerate and use like regular milk. I did see some fresh milk in the dairy section though, made me feel a little better.
tuna fish-E9.45 Theres something i recognize. In water too. They do add a lot of extra salt though. Tasted pretty good but probably not the greatest for sodium intake.
Escargot in a can- Snails in a can. Yummy. I didn’t even look at the price on these, figured I would pass. The picture on the can was priceless though, reminded me of the big snails I had in my aquarium.
Fresh bread-E7.95 Good stuff. I got a loaf or cheese and onion bread. Still warm!!
Shampoo- E33.95- Pretty darn expensive. I need to find a Dollar Store!!
Goat meatballs- in a can. I passed on these too. I may try some one day. Who knows?
Animal part of ALL kinds were available in the meat department. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time here, it was not the most pleasant display I have ever seen.
Apples, banannas and all kinds of fresh fruits were in good supply and reasonably priced. Some of the fruits I had never seen before. Thats an adventure for another day!!!
1 Cor 2:9
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
I spent a lot of time looking at this verse today. It’s amazing the things we can learn from the Holy Spirit when we take the time to REALLY see what the Word is saying to us. I know I have read this passage quite a number of times (1 and 2 Corinthians are 2 of my favorites) and always had the thought “well of course, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts,His ways are higher than ours”
After reading the whole chapter thru a number of times and in a few different translations (thank you Jesus for PC Study Bible) I know that Yes, my eyes have seen, my ears have heard and it’s IN my heart. The Amplified Bible really said it best for me. God, thru His Holy Spirit does reveal to us the things He has prepared for us. Not in one “fell swoop” but in a steady process, day by day in small bits as we continue to seek Him and spend time with Him through His word and in prayer. I’m sure i would have been terrified if God had laid out some of the things I have been given the opportunity to do if He had shown them to me all at once.
But in His infinite wisdom God has a process of development of His vision that He gives to us. Kind of like a piece of film, God imprints a vision as a negative, then He “develops” the picture as we walk in obedience to His plan and purpose. We can know the Word in our head, but its not until we get it into our heart that God can really go to work on the development process. The last sentence of chapter 2,verse 16 tied it all together for me, “But we have the mind of Christ”
What an incredible blessing!! We have the mind of the creator of the universe. What more could we ask for? I can’t wait to see what He teaches me tomorrow.