April 30, 2012

Rolling with the Punches

The cell phone rings and we answer.  “Hello, Christopher, your car has been impounded!”  WHAT?  We had come into town to buy things for our house (which we are currently moving into). While in town, we had our car taken to the police headquarters to get a permit to cross the border, so we could go to South Africa on a little vacation/supply trip.  In the process of clearing our car, it was noted that something was amiss about the car and they said it looked like it had been a stolen car!  So we may have bought a stolen car!  We were able to get all our personal things out and are borrowing a monster of a car to get around town and continue our errands, but we have no idea what is to happen now.  Obviously, we aren’t going on any vacation!  We were just informed as well, that IF we ever get the car back, it could take months to several YEARS! 

Here’s a new prayer then for all you prayer warriors: that we can either get our car back in a short amount of time, or that we can find another means of transportation.  We certainly can’t afford to buy another car, but we do have to get around.  God is in control  and we trust His goodness.  So as long as you stick with us in this adventure, you’re in for a ride (no pun intended)! 

We will keep you updated.

So you can see what you are praying for :)

April 25, 2012

When Paths Cross

Being a part of a mission hospital compound brings a number of short term guests across our path.  These people give up vacation time, sacrifice money they could spend on themselves, and they come and work with us.  Having lived at the guesthouse here at Karanda, we've been in close contact with several shorttermers.  We are thankful that we've had this opportunity to gain new friends and rub shoulders with some incredible people.  I recently received a book, One Thousand Gifts, from such a friend.  I have only started reading it, but it has already powerfully affected me.  Maybe its the recent loss of a friend and her child in a fatal car accident, or maybe the humdrum of life on a mission station that has begun to get to me.  Whatever the reason, I haven't been able to tear myself away from the words of challenge and encouragement to live a daily life of gratitude.  So I will not share a list of one thousand blessings (that might lose some readers), but I want to offer some gifts I've received from living here at Karanda.

1.  Going to sleep at night to the sounds of a cooing bird.
2.  Seeing much more of Christopher than we have in a long time!
3.  Friday Family Night of movies and popcorn.
4.  Missionary family who make a birthday memorable and special.

Sharing the same birthday with fellow missionary Kathy Christiansen!

5.  The temperature has cooled WAY down and I actually wear my fleece jacket in the morning!
6.  Green grass because we won't have it much longer as the rains have stopped.
7.  My African violets blooming like crazy on my windowsill.
8.  A husband who comes home after a long day's work and yet plays ball with his sons because they ask.

Daddy reading books at bedtime.
9.  Beautiful walks through farmland and riverbeds.
10.  Friendships from long ago and newly found ones who make this journey meaningful.
11. A heart that feels such great emotions.
12. Supporters who send us letters, packages, cards, and e-mails of tangible encouragement.
13.  No T.V. (can you believe it!) and the gift of many more hours to read, talk, play games.
14.  Prayer meeting nights and hearing the faith-filled prayers of our local staff.
15.  Bright, happy curtains for our new home just waiting to be hung!
16. Electricity and water has been on for long periods of time.
17. Skype dates with family...we can't wait all week for those!
18. Two heartily growing boys who have learned to play together and are each other's best friends.

19. Being able to settle knowing our TEP was granted.
20. Being given gifts of food by those who have nothing.

These just graze off the top of the iceberg.  We are so blessed!  Thank you God for paths that cross, for however long, and friendships and memories that come from them.

April 3, 2012

Answers to Prayer

Every Thursday night, the missionary staff, as well as the heads of the various ministries of the hospital, meet together for a time of praise and prayer.  It is a blessing to come together and hear what God is doing and what is on people's hearts for prayer.  We spend time thanking God for the ways He has answered our previous prayers, and then we break into groups to pray for ongoing and new requests. 

One ongoing request has been the need for rain as this season just has not been good for crops.  Many peoples' crops are struggling from not enough rain or too long of a time between rains.  We live among a people depending on what comes from their fields to make it from year to year. 

The number of patients filling the hospital wards is also an ongoing request along with a very overworked staff.  For the past several months, our family has been held up in prayer as our TEP (work visa) had been denied and then, as we put in an appeal, we were going month to month on extensions. 

Well this week we have some HUGE praises!  We've had some wonderfully soaking rains (actually every day since our last prayer meeting) and our TEP was granted just yesterday!  After 5 months, we are so grateful that we now can move into our house and settle a bit more knowing this is where God has us for now.  We know many of you were praying along with us and we thank you for lifting us up faithfully.  We don't know why this took so long, but there was reason, and we trust His ways in all of this.  We're looking forward to our next prayer meeting!

Two weekends ago, Christopher and a couple of the nurses went for a rock climb up a famous rock in this part of Zimbabwe called Pulpit Rock.  It was a great time to get to know these two guys better and enjoy the beauty around us.  We are thankful for the friendships that have begun and look forward to new memories ahead!   Here are a few of the pictures from the day:

The guys before the hike!

Pulpit Rock

Yes, they climbed straight up!  Not for the faint of heart!

At the top and what a view!

What a musha (village home) looks like from above.  Often extended families live close to each other.  So one family is in one circled area, and maybe the grandparents or a sibling and his/her family live in the nearby circle of homes.