Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Love Does

Love does marvelous things.
Love changes the world.

When I think of Jesus, I think of love. And when I think of imitating Jesus, I think of loving people.

But that is much easier said than done. Giving up of oneself is one of the hardest things a human will do. Becoming humble, being a servant,'s all part of love; love for our Savior or love for other people. When Jesus sent me to Tanzania, He sent me to learn how to love. In the midst of learning how to love the people surrounding me, my love for my Savior grew deeper and deeper.

The first time I walked into Hisani Orphanage, I decided then and there that I never wanted to return. It was chaotic inside as construction was being done and children ran free. Their clothes were falling off and they were all shouting "mzungu!" I went home and said, "Surely there's another orphanage around here. I'll do anything but go back there." And I'm sure God, in Heaven, was chuckling since He knew what was to come.

We did return to Hisani, Monday through Friday, for five months. Our first day was crazy and chaotic and a huge mess. We were supposed to have orientation from the director, but when we arrived that morning we were simply informed that he was gone...and no one else knew English. Every day for the next two weeks I came home at lunch saying "This is awful. It's too hard. The kids are so lost and hurt. I can't do this!" But my sisters and I kept going back. Something was just not letting us quit. Determination. Strong will. Call it what you want, but I think it was the Holy Spirit alive in us keeping us going because I know that we could have never made it without God. He carried us through.

We thought we'd be teaching English and math and playing sports and doing all sorts of stuff like that. But God had a different plan. We thought we'd be teaching them, but really they were going to teach us. My days were filled with holding broken (hearted) children and loving them. My days were filled with giving piggy-back rides and swinging children around in circles. My days were filled with playing card games and learning a new language. We sang songs and did homework and washed clothes. I laughed with the joyous child and cried with the broken. I told them everyday that I loved them. Because I really did. I learned all 40 names. A million lessons and moments filled these days that I cannot even begin to fill in these pages. But the greatest of these was love.
Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout Your name in majesty
When we love the least of these.

Moody was sad for months, but then he became happy. Sieda was rather hostile, but then she became one of my dearest friends. Junior, well you never knew when he was laughing or crying and drool dripped down his face all day, but his joy brought me joy. Jackie was mean to the younger kids, but then she became like a big sister and was loving. Ashya was always rude and testing, but then she became polite and loving. Esther always had a smile. Irina was so happy. Ralente was so polite and a dear boy. In the months we were there we saw so much happiness enter into Hisani. Happiness that wasn't there in May. 

We went to Hisani and Jesus came with us. 
And His love transformed the lives of the people we met.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I'm trying something new for this post and am posting from my phone. All of these pictures are from my phone as well, hence the not as good quality. However, some of my favorites are what's captured on here. So here you are. Blessings to you on this beautiful day!

1. Neglected 
Stinging Nettle is is full bloom now! This herb has many health benefits, but can often be overlooked and neglected because of the sting it gives when touched. Always use gloves with this one! 

2. Signs of Spring 
I always say when these gorgeous flowers, along with the lovely yellow ones beside this bush, come out then Spring has officially arrived. And I just spotted my first sighting of these this week. I'm happy. 

3. Last Thing You Bought
I really don't know what the last thing I bought was, but this is the last thing I made; gluten-free, no-knead sandwich bread. Be on the lookout for a recipe post soon! 

4. Shadow 
I think it's actually reflections in the glass, but for the sake of this prompt and having nothing else I'm calling them shadows. :) I ran across these adorable little vases in a glass shop last week. Aren't these so perfect for those first spring flowers, especially if you have a toddler around? 

5. Four Things 
How about this for a twist to the prompt: 
1. I missed Africa and cooking over a fire. (Yes, I just said I missed cooking the hard way)
2. We had a gorgeous few days.
3. So my sisters and I sat outside and cooked like we did in Africa.
4. It was awesome and I can't wait to do it again soon! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rambles of Spring

I wake to the rushing waters of our little creek far below my upstairs picture window. Birds chirp good morning and roosters let us know it's time to be up. The sun is rising through the trees surrounding our home. "Thank you, Jesus, for another beautiful day." I say. I am in constant awe of my God's unfailing love and grace. Winter passes and Spring shoots forward.

The golden sunlight shine through morning fog is a sight to behold. It's almost as lovely as the summer night sky of stars. I walk around our little nook of the woods and the baby cow notices me. He comes over to say hello, just barely missing a taste of my camera. The chickens are scattered, busily hunting their food. The cats run through my legs, excited for the morning.

Winter is dying off. That's sort of an oxymoron since winter is a season of when things die, but when Spring comes and birds begin to sing again and the days get longer and we dig our hands in the soil Winter itself dies off. And it is beautiful. Watching the season turn and time pass. It seems like yesterday I was 16 and preparing for a trek around the world, but now that time has long passed.  

The sun creeping in is my favoritest thing. And yes I can use a grammatically bad word because it describes the loveliness of it so much better. I like Anne Shirley kind of words. She makes me smile. "Pretty? Oh, pretty doesn’t seem the right word to use. Nor beautiful, either. They don’t go far enough. Oh, it was wonderful—wonderful. It’s the first thing I ever saw that couldn’t be improved upon by imagination. It just satisfies me here”—she put one hand on her breast—”it made a queer funny ache and yet it was a pleasant ache. Did you ever have an ache like that, Mr. Cuthbert?"

I walk into the barn and see the tools lined along the metal walls. A ladder to climb up the tree and build a fort, barrels of food for the animals to eat the whole winter long, pitchforks just waiting to be used in the Spring garden, and a rope hanging for good measure. The barn is where there's a hammock to sit in and watch Dad milk the cow and a bunny rabbit to bring the carrot scraps too. Hay lines the floors and the loft is filled with straw. The chickens come and go and it smells like "country." 

I see this life the Lord has given me and all I can do is praise Him. Maybe I want to be in another part of the world with other people doing other things, but He wants me in here. And I know it's because He loves me. My life is far from perfect and I am far from perfect, but I strive to be like Him - my Savior; selfless and compassionate. Soli Deo Gloria! And welcome, Spring. I hope you'll stay a while.