Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coconuts in the Kitchen

This afternoon we had a coconut from our yard. My favorite!

An Afternoon Walk

Well, if this works, it will be my first post with pictures! Yay! To those of you who know me well, you should be very proud (I am neither a photographer, nor a computer savvy person. It has taken me until now to figure out how easy it is to put pictures on my blog)!

I took these with my phone on a stormy afternoon when Miguel, Avô, and I went for a walk after school.

 Storm clouds gathering over the hills behind our compound.
 The coconut trees at our compound have the lowest coconuts I've ever seen! Some of them are so low that I could lie down on the grass and still reach up and grab a coconut!
 Our lovely pool.
 The muddy road we walked on. Can you tell that it is the rainy season?
 A corn field.

 Miguel has a new interest in bird watching...

 More road and trees...
 I think those red roofs are part of our compound...maybe.

 Cute, little goats.

 A pretty rooster.

Avô at the end of our walk. And yes, all that stuff on the ground is garbage...it's everywhere here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ," (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Though I cannot share with all of you the struggles that have faced me in these last few weeks, I do want to share with you the joy that our Lord has given me through them. 

Praise the Lord for His work of transformation. At vespers/prayer meeting on Friday night, I started to cry when the pastor asked me how my week went, but by vespers on Sabbath evening I was singing and full of joy. Jesus truly poured out His Sabbath blessing on me. Through church service, Sabbath school, united prayer, and nature He gave rest to my soul. He took my sorrow and traded it for joy. Psalm 126:5 says, "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy," and it has been proven true in my life. 

As I watched the sun set and the full moon rise, as I felt the strength of the wind and and the power of the sea, as I sang with God's people to end God's day, He created a new heart in me, and wiped my tears away. Worshiping in the wonders of creation filled me with love for my Creator, Who not only made me, but also sustains me. 

"For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations," (Psalm 100:5)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Look to the Light

I posted this on Google+ and thought I should stick it here too for those of you who don't have G+. God bless!

When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ's love and under His protecting care. When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ's grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace...                                                                           

     "Ye that have been borne by Me from your birth, 
      That have been carried by Me from your earliest breath, 
      Even to your old age I am the same; 
      Even to hoar hairs I will carry you; 
      I have done it, and I will still bear you; 
      I will carry, and I will deliver you." 
                                 Isaiah 46:3, 4, Noyes.  {MH 250.1} 

Praise the Lord! He never changes. It is only when we turn from Him that we loose sight of Him and the light that He is in our lives. To regain that closeness with Him, we need only look back to where we last saw the light!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wind, Rain, and Trees... x2

Here are a couple examples from my life that have led me to believe that the Lord has a plan for me and the devil doesn't like it.


For a few weeks this summer I worked at Young Disciple Youth Bible Camp as a counselor. The first week I had the wonderful privilege of assisting in the Literature Evangelism class with Eugene Prewitt. On day one I helped campers memorize their canvass (and memorized it myself), and the rest of the week we went door to door spreading the gospel. God truly blessed. We broke several records, and the weather was perfect for canvassing. Even on our last day, when we did get a little rain, the bad weather didn't damage our books and I think it actually made people more sympathetic and generous.

Once we got into the van on our last day, however, the drizzle that had been helping us earlier became a menacing windstorm. Trees bent over dangerously and leaves swirled across the road. "They may close the ferry with a storm like this, but I think we can make it,"  said Mr. Prewitt as he stepped on the gas. Speeding down the country road at 60mph we noticed a white mist above the surface of the water heading our direction. None of us knew for sure what it was, but Mr. Prewitt decided it was a wall of rain. "We'll be in the rain in 3, 2, 1...," just as he finished the countdown a big black thing flashed towards the windshield and there was a loud bang. Glass sprayed through the van all the way to the third row. Somehow my eyes closed before the shards hit me, but I felt them skim my face and blow through my hair.  

Later, as we looked back on what had happened and praised the Lord for laminated glass, I marveled at the Lord's protection. The log that dented in our windshield should have dented in my face, but I came away without a scratch.


Now, it is the rainy season in Timor, and you don't have to look at the sky to know it. The earth is completely saturated with water. Puddles, little upstart streams, and new lakes and ponds fill every depression in the ground. Today I saw a puddle-maker coming, but I wanted to get home before it hit, so I headed out in a hurry. As I was speed walking along, the wind started to blow sharp raindrops right into my face. They kept coming into my eyes so I couldn't really see where I was going. No longer was I trying to make it home before the rain, I was trying to make it home before the flood (well...maybe that's an exaggeration, but I was soaked within seconds).

To make things worse, the local men in their shops were laughing and calling at this silly "malai" who got herself stuck in a rainstorm. As usual, I ignored them and kept plowing ahead, but then one man wouldn't stop calling. His calls turned to yelling. Then there were two men yelling. I was rather disgusted and just kept heading home without looking back. I was almost there, I could even see my house. Crack! I almost jumped when right next to me a tree started to fall. I don't know how tall it was, but I don't think I could have gotten my arms around its trunk. A quick prayer flashed through my mind. I don't think it was much more than an, "O Father..." but He heard me. Somehow, with the wind blowing the rain right in my face, the tree fell away from me. Women in the fruit market on the other side of the tree screamed and ran. Their booths were crushed and splintered like a pile of toothpicks, but praise the Lord, no one was hurt.

Looking back on today, and my life in general, I know that the Lord has me here for "such a time as this," and I know that He has you where you are for a reason too. The devil may not be trying to throw trees at you, but if you are doing the Lord's work, he'll throw discouragement, exhaustion, excuses, temptation, and all kinds of trials your way. Yet, don't focus on the logs or trees or your shortcomings or fears. Our Lord uses weakness, hardship, pain, and even the devil's plans to bring glory to His name. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me," (2 Cor. 12:9). "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing," (James 1:2-4).

Through all things, may our Lord work that perfect work in me, and may His divine strength be showcased by my helpless dependence on Him.

Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Heavenly Encouragement

Sometimes the Lord calls us to do work that is bigger than ourselves so that we learn to trust in Him completely. Often though, when I see the job He has for me, rather than trusting Him, I get discouraged or intimidated or scared. Today, when I was feeling scared, He sent me some songs to remind me to trust Him. I thought I'd share them with you...

A Mighty Fortress is Our God
M. Luther

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper He amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabbaoth, His name,
from age to age the same,
and He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us, 
we will not fear, for God hath willed
His Truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

It Is Well
H. Spafford

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin - oh, the joy of this glorious thought -
my sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; 
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Another thing that helped me today...

"Courage isn't the absence of fear; it's acting in spite of fear."
(A thought from a good friend of mine)