Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out
Usually at 6:45 am when we get the kids out of bed for breakfast at 7:00 we hear the complaints of “I’m tired”, “I don’t feel good”, etc. and today was no different. We recently have taken a different approach to the morning, if the kids don’t want breakfast that is fine, so we wake them up and if they don’t come down for breakfast it’s their loss. But I have to be honest, I was quite irritated and upset that Anjali did just that; she stayed in bed during breakfast because she “didn’t feel well”. I know that I may sound mean and heartless, but I really thought her complaints this morning had to do with her just being tired or not wanting to get out of bed. I checked on her throughout the morning and she was either asleep or laying in bed curled up under the covers. By lunch time, I felt absolutely awful. I didn’t believe her this morning and was actually upset that she was “acting this way”, but when she didn’t show up for lunch and was still in bed when I checked on her I realized that she really was ill.
This whole situation reminds me of the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and my kids do this a lot, especially in the morning when they are needing to get out of bed. As a result when they say the “don’t feel good” it is hard to know whether or not they are being honest or just trying to get out of getting up. But this time, she was honest and she was sick. She ended up sleeping all day so I made her some ramen noodle soup for dinner and then she was back to sleep. I always feel terrible when this happens (this isn’t the first time) and I just wish that I could believe them when they said they didn’t feel well, but if I did they would never get out of bed for school or breakfast or do any chores. I pray that I can find some happy middle ground with this situation some day.
Otherwise, today was not very eventful. David and Lucia completed school, Jeff took Rocky on several walks, and we ended up picking up some garbage around the mission. I have also been helping in the office by sending thank you emails to people who donated to the Christmas campaign, a fundraiser that will financially support the mission’s goal of providing a memorable Christmas celebration to the children who call this place home, as well as for those who grew up on the mission and come back to celebrate the holidays. It was a huge blessing to learn that the campaign was successful and they were able to raise the money needed. This was a huge relief for the staff, knowing that their greater community of supporters were able to band together so those who call GSAM “home” will be able to have a great Christmas. God always provides and today was just further proof of that.
I don’t have any pictures from today. I need to work on taking more photos. We are just enjoying the moments so much that we are forgetting to take pictures to capture them. Oh, well. Here is a picture of our Christmas tree that now has a few gifts under it for our family!
Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die—there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!”
Christmas preparations were underway again today with wrapping the rest of the boys’ gifts and after most of the day I finished all that I could. It brings me so much joy to think of all the smiling faces on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to celebrate with these children and this large family. Here are some pictures of the gifts wrapped thus far!
Jeff has been so wonderful to hold down the fort as far as teaching our children, while I wrap. Unfortunately the room where I have been wrapping is on the girls side of the mission and he is not allowed without a female staff member, so it is just not conducive to have him back there with me (plus I don’t think 3 people will fit in this small storage room).
I forgot to mention yesterday that Clifton and Pricilla got a new dog yesterday, the same day Clifton left for a work trip, which meant that there was a need to have the dog walked a couple times a day in order to burn off some of his energy. He is a very sweet dog and Jeff happily took on the task of walking him. Although while walking him this morning he realized that a new chain and harness would be very helpful, so we stopped at the pet store in town this afternoon. Jeff is planning on walking him at least twice a day. He is very rambunctious, jumping and barking at everything, but the fact that he was living on top of a hospital explains it. Going from the solitude which he had there to life on the mission, with kids running around screaming and playing, it is no wonder he doesn’t know what to do!
Reflecting on today’s scripture is a reminder of my commitment to Jeff. Sharing this journey of life with him is such a blessing and there is no one else on earth I would rather walk beside through it all. We have had ups and downs, but even through them our commitment to each other has never swayed. He will always be the one who makes my life better by just walking next to me and I thank God everyday for bringing us together.
Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Ah, Sunday. I think that Sundays will very quickly become my favorite day here on the mission. I love seeing all the kids pile into church and then singing praises to God and listening to the message of the week (in celebration of Advent, the lesson this week was Peace). It is so refreshing for my soul and I have very much missed this in my life.
The whole mission just rests on Sundays, no work is done, except cooking very simple and quick meals and cleaning the dishes. We spent the morning praising God and the rest of the day enjoying the Sabbath. We took absolutely no pictures today (sorry). We took naps, the kids watched a movie and played with the other kids, we ate breakfast and lunch together as a big mission family and then had dinner with the adults. This was truly an uneventful day, and it was totally wonderful.
I really believe this is what God had in mind for the Sabbath and in the past I have fallen short. At home, I always find something to do after church, whether it is laundry, cleaning, cooking a fancy meal, grocery shopping, etc. I rarely do what the Lord is asking me to do, rest. Seeing that this is what happens on Sundays here on the mission, I imagine that I will get some good practice over the next 6 weeks!
Zachariah 10:1 Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, who gives showers of rain to you, the vegetation in the field to everyone.
I am not sure how to describe today, other than totally wonderful. After breakfast everyone got dressed and the kids went outside for the day. The pictures speak to how the kids have gotten along here; they have all found friends and seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.
There have been games of Pass the Pigs, Uno, and Sleeping Queens (all games we brought with us), as well as playing on the swing sets and playground. Today the mission kids had the day off from school and it was a lot of fun to just spend the whole day with them. We all ate breakfast and lunch together, which I really enjoy. As soon as the meals are done, the kids are back outside to play, except after lunch when the whole mission seems to shut down for rest time (not everyone naps, but that is definitely encouraged; those that don’t nap are usually watching movies in their hostel). Anjali and David both ended up watching movies with their new friends while Lucia hung out with the girls in the kitchen. They all seem to be finding new friends and it is great.
After dinner, Jeff practiced with a few others for worship tomorrow; he will now be singing on Sunday mornings. This will be his first one, but he seems to be happy singing again with a group on Sunday morning.
Anjali had asked to eat dinner with us tonight, so the kids all joined us for dinner tonight and while they were well-behaved, I must say that I would much rather them eat with the kids so Jeff and I can have some adult time. I know this may sounds selfish, but we get so little time away from our children and I have come to really enjoy this time that we have together, as adults, with the other staff. Plus putting them all three to bed at 8:30 pm is not very easy and left very little time for Jeff and I to have some down time as parents.
Isaiah 11:1-6 The Peaceful Kingdom
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
Today was just a routine day. I spent the day wrapping Christmas gifts for the all of the small boys on the mission while Jeff taught our children. I can’t believe how many gifts the mission will need to purchase to provide a Christmas for all of these children. Here are some pictures of the wrapping done thus far, but there is still a lot left–this will be an on-going task until Christmas morning!
Wrapping these gifts that were hand selected by the staff for each of the children, just brought me so much joy. The gifts were selected because they knew the children would enjoy them and I can’t wait to see all these happy faces on Christmas. The Lord is blessing the place every day. This is a community who worships God with all they have and the cherish and teach these children the loving grace of our Lord, giving them hope for a better future. It is just beautiful.
Lucia helped out making chapatis again tonight and had a blast! After the kids went to bed, Jeff and I headed over to Uncle Rick’s house for a staff dinner, which they do on the first Friday of every month. This was a great opportunity to meet all of the staff and really get to know everyone. It was very casual, just a wonderful opportunity to share a meal on a cool winter night.