Saturday, April 26, 2014
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Happy New Year to you all! I am a little late with my compliments of the season and blog. My internet connection has been unreliable the past month or so, and I wanted to wait write about the holiday season here in Sierra Leone.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
This season of my life I am learning about suffering. I confess in the past, the suffering I experienced in life consisted of things such as a flat tire, hoping my depleted checking account would cover my bills, or a transient sickness would knock me out of pocket for a few days. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not trying to diminish or minimize various types of suffering, yet even in those situations, it has occurred to me that my past sufferings seem small in comparison to the war that rages around me now. I realize the blessing of having lived in a country blessed with abundant resources, access to a family of faith and the peace of mind knowing that safety and security is a priority. That stands in direct contrast to my current world where suffering and persecution is on a much larger scale minus the safety nets I took for granted. The truth is, we cannot empathize with the hungry unless we are hungry. We can’t understand a martyr’s allegiance in the face of death until we ourselves face a persecuting mob. In other words, we can easily rattle off scripture, but can never truly understand how that will flesh out until our own lives and faith are in the midst of those same circumstances.
As a believer, I have discovered that faith is a radical thing. In a culture of faith and freedom of religion, it is easier to exercise it and proclaim it. We often forget that the tests of our faith reveal the depth of our faith. We learn the right verses to quote, the correct blessings to pronounce and the cliché responses that are expected in the world of Christian culture. I have been humbled to examine my own religious culture and to examine if what falls out of my mouth is what truly is felt in my heart. This may be the last thing you expect a missionary to write, yet I would be a hypocrite to recite expected religious liturgy without acknowledging the truth about all believers…we are human and flawed.
I often think about John the Baptist and doubting Thomas on their quest of solidifying their faith. We may think of Christians who ask “Why” to be heretical. And God forbid if we question God and admit that we do not understand His ways or thoughts. Through this time of my life, I have come to relish the honesty of those who hurt, do not understand and who ask those questions. It is not a guarantee that God, in His sovereignty, will in fact give us all the answers, yet there is something beautiful about people being honest with themselves, other hurting believers and ultimately with God.
My faith started with the question “Why?”. Growing up in a Christian family, I learned the proper responses and church culture required of me. I thank God for Christian parents that exposed me to the Truth of the Word, yet we all know that faith is a personal journey and not an inherited way of life. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started asking, “Why do I believe what I believe?” I had to strip away much of my learned behavior and begin the solitary journey to discover Jesus for myself. This was a milestone for me.
Now is the season of testing. It is the time in the caves alongside David fleeing from Saul’s spear. It is a time when faith seems to slip, questions come, and yet silence. James reminds us that we should ‘rejoice in our sufferings because it yields perseverance’. This is when the providence and faithfulness of God’s hand reaches down in the midst of my ignorance and utter exhaustion to fulfill that promise.It is the time in-between that is the battle.
What would our family of faith look like if we were honest about our questions and doubts? How much more could we relate to those within the faith and those struggling outside the faith? How much encouragement and solace would it bring to us and others knowing that we are walking the craggy, narrow road together and not possessing all the answers? I write this today to remind us all to be honest, to remain steadfast in prayer, trust God and to never allow ourselves to be calloused to the sufferings of others and their battle to endure it.
I love you all! LG+LP
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Life on the mission field is filled with extremes. Sometimes work is overwhelming, fast and never-ending. Other times, the pace is slow and seems to creep by while the rest of the world spins out of control. I can say that the past couple of months have been more on the moderate paced side. I have been blessed to be settled in my new place and making new friends within my neighborhood. The place is very secure, yet I cannot say that it is extremely quiet. Of the four walls of the compound, outside one wall is a church, the other a mosque, the third a road and the fourth an entertainment center that plays soccer matches over a PA system. Though the area is full of activity, it is a blessing from God and I am thrilled to be there.
Our Tree of Life classes are doing well. This week I met with Pastor Emmanuel, the lead instructor for the Tree of Life branch in Freetown. He just finished up his latest class of 9 bringing our total of graduates up to over 160 since last October. He also has relocated to an area known as Deep Eye Water which was born out of a seeker from a previous class name “A”. “A” asked Pastor Emmanuel to come to the area and begin a new church since the area is lacking and very populated. Pastor has found a house and is meeting regularly with “A” and six others who have expressed interest in knowing more about the Christian faith. Please be in prayer for this new church plant and for Pastor Emmanuel as he teaches these seekers of Truth.
Tree of Life will also be beginning a second class in Makeni starting in the month of October. We are dialoguing and working with the Binkolo Growth Centre in Binkolo,, a village just north of Makeni. I am hoping this will be the site of the new class. We also are dreaming together with this growth center about developing it to allow a network of farmers grow and sell moringa for processing at this center. This will provide moringa to local and international markets. It also will create jobs and open more avenues for the Tree of Life curriculum in villages surrounding the Makeni area. Please be in prayer for all who are involved in these initial stages of planning and discussion.
I also am happy to announce that in November my sister and her husband will be visiting Sierra Leone for 10 days. I am so excited that I will get to see my family and have them experience life here in Sierra Leone. My prayer for them is that this vision trip will help them know more about the needs within Sierra Leone, the needs of missionaries and others working here, and to return as advocates for the work and people within the country. Please pray for them as they prepare to come.
I will keep this brief for now and will write more soon. I hope to have transportation by the end of the month, so that is another answered prayer. Continue to remember my team as we strive to work and serve here in Sierra Leone. With every victory comes a new challenge. I love you all and am forever grateful for your support, love and prayers. May God continue to bless you and keep you.