Friday, December 18, 2009

God moments part 2

Last week I told you about one of the times recently that God had redirected my path despite my busyness. The two situations that I am going to tell you about this week are times when God met me in my busyness and turned some things around.
The first one happened this past week when we were in Ghana with our director Dan Sheffield. We went to observe and shadow a team from Barrie that are working with the Ghana Mission District to help them move toward their next phase of development. During the day-long meeting I was sent with Loralie from the Barrie team to pick up lunch. Loralie had spent two years in Ghana working with the church and she suggested we get egg sandwiches from one of the ladies that had set up a microfinance business with her when she was there. Unfortunately when we got there Mama had gone to the market and left a young girl minding the shop. The young girl hesitantly started to make the sixteen sandwiches that we needed, but when we realized that she intended to use 4-6 eggs and almost a quarter of a loaf of bread for one sandwich Loralie stepped in and started helping her make the sandwiches. I wish that we would have had a camera with us to capture the moment. Not only to see what we looked like but to capture the expressions on the faces of the people in the neighbourhood that watched these two white women make street food over and open fire with a young girl.
Then the day after Dan returned to Canada I had to take Susan to the lab to find out if the medication was working to thin her blood. She was terrified of the needle and was getting really worked up about it and having seen how much trouble she had had in the past I could understand. I was praying in the waiting room. While Susan was telling the lab technician that she couldn’t go through with it. Just then a psalm jumped into my head, so I went into the room where they were trying to take her blood and told her that I was going to read a psalm to her and that she was going to look at me and concentrate on what I reading while the technician did his job. So, I started reading and I stopped to tell Susan to give the man her arm and then continued reading. About six verses later I said to Susan that he was done taking her blood, but the technician just said keep reading. That is when I realized that there were six other people in the room who had stopped what they were doing to hear me read the scripture (and Susan said there was a little Islamic man that kept peeking his head around the corner to see what was going on). I don’t know how many of them understood what I was saying (because it was in English for Susan), but I do know that the three nurses that had previously taken Susan’s blood (or at least tried to) were all present to hear me.
Neither of these moments were exceptional or earth shattering, but sometimes it is the little things that God uses to touch the hearts of those around us. It is my prayer that God will continue to use these kinds of moments in each of our lives to show his love to those that need it most. And that each of you will become increasingly aware of how God is working in your life, even in the seemingly small things.

Last Saturday, the church that just affiliated while Dan Sheffield was with us had a baptism. At the last minute I was asked to get in the water with them--I'm not sure if that was because it was deep or cold but the water was both--they dropped a table in the pool for some of the candidates to stand on because it was over their heads. It was a privilege to participate. Please pray for the three new believers as baptism sometimes begins a season of persecution.

Jennifer and I are now in Canada for the holidays. Cole is getting new orthotics for his feet, Ben and I are getting new glasses, and we've all been to the dentist. Looking forward to being together with family for the holidays. We've scheduled an open house Dec 27 for any who are interested in St Catharines at Grapeview Church from 2-4 PM.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God moments

It doesn’t matter how busy we are when we open ourselves up to be available to what God would have us do in any given day he arranges things that we don’t expect. I have had a few of these God moments over the last few weeks despite my hectic schedule.
Two weeks ago, I was taking the woman who was living with us to meet our language teacher so that she could do some language instruction with him while she was in Niamey having medical treatment. Part of the way to his house we were stopped by some friends that I had made at the last wedding in our neighbourhood. They were going to visit the bride, who is a friend, in her new home and invited us to come along. I explained that we were going somewhere else, but that I would like to go sometime soon because I didn’t know where her new house was. Susan, the missionary looking for language lessons, told me that I couldn’t miss out on an invitation like this. So we changed our plans and went with the young girl and older woman. Along the walk we chatted and as is customary here I greeted the ladies that we came across. What I didn’t expect was that the older woman rebuked a number of the other ladies on route for not greeting me back! When we got to the new bride’s home she was somewhere else so the young girl went to get her and we visited with the older woman and a neighbour. After waiting quite awhile we decided that we needed to keep going if we hoped to find our house before dark (and also because of Susan’s condition she shouldn’t sit for long periods of time). As we left we met the bride and the young girl and I apologized that we couldn’t stay longer and needed to head back. So they walked with us some of the way and then the young girl was sent with us to make sure we made it home. Along the way back, we saw some teenagers that were painting their feet with henna. They asked if I wanted mine done too. So, I slipped my foot out of my sandal and let the girls paint my feet. The only problem I had is that for the rest of the walk I had to carry my sandals in one hand and hold my skirt in the other, to allow my feet to dry. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of the other people we meet on the way home, I must have had three different ladies stop me to ask if I was ok, --did I break my shoes, --was I hurt. When I explained that the henna was still wet because we didn’t have time to let it dry (because my friend needed to keep walking for her health), they laughed and wished me a happy new year and I laughed and wished them a happy new year too (Happy New Year or more literally “And the same next year” is the greetings that you use around the time of Tabaski or Ramadan and this was close to Tabaski).
You never know when God will redirect your path and what will come of it when He does. Please pray for these women that I am trying to connect with in my neighbourhood, that God would be using these moments and others like them to reveal Himself to them. And pray for me that I would continue to make myself available for whatever diversions that He would have me go on.
Susan is improving with the treatments that she is on and will be house sitting for us while we are gone. I will tell you about another God moment with her and in Ghana next week while we are in Canada (I was going to put it here, but thing this is getting a bit long) and then we might let our blog lapse for two weeks while we are on holidays—unless some interesting things happen in Canada. For those of you in Ontario, we will be having an open house in the fireside room at Grapeview FM Church in St. Catharines on Sunday December 27th from 2-4 pm and would love to see you there!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Time Flies When You Are on the Run

This has been a really busy week! Just before Dan arrived we had to have Ben’s glasses repaired and a lens replaced. We had been trying to hold out until we made it home, but decided something had to be done when the one lens was not only missing a chip but had finally split in half.

Also just before Dan arrived, Susan the missionary that had been staying with us while receiving medical treatment, decided it would be best to move somewhere else while he was here. Cole’s teacher at Sahel was very gracious and offered her a room. So we made arrangements with a Nigerien friend who is a nurse to administer the medication and check up on Susan especially while we were in Ghana. We also had the opportunity to meet a new set of twin girls that were delivered to Pastor Etienne and Marie. Please pray for this pastor and his family as he works full time and cares not only for these newborns, but a set of twins that are 3, a daughter 8 and another teenage daughter in addition to his responsibilities in the church.

We had meetings with Dan and some church leaders here about the next step toward becoming affiliated with the FM church and then left for a three day whirlwind visit to Accra, Ghana. Dan was meeting with a team from Barrie FMC who is overseeing the mission district in Ghana for the FM Church in Canada. Having worked there for 15 years and with Ghana being much more receptive to the gospel than Niger the church there is much more developed. As a result we were able to get some insight into the process of church organization and development that we will eventually be working towards. It was great to sit in on their discussions and to learn from some of their experiences.

We are very thankful to our friends at SIMair (part of the ministry of SIM here in Niger)who made our trip to Ghana possible in their little four seater plane. Please pray for us as we finish up our time with Dan and as we return to Canada for holidays. Those of you in Southern Ontario may wish to connect with us on Sunday Dec. 27th we will be having an open house. More details will follow!