Friday, January 8, 2010

Hope beyond the grave...

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year! Here in Zambia we brought in the New Year at one of our branch churches in a place called Chawama. We had a service and then we watched an impressive display of was a great time. The church here in Lusaka is growing and growing and it has been amazing to watch God draw people to's all such a mystery, but what a privilege to be a part of it.

A few days ago one of the men in our church passed into eternity and yesterday we all attended the burial.I cannot put into words the scene we saw as we arrived to the burial is one of those moments that even pictures cannot capture. We traveled on foot down a long and muddy path that was swamped with people who's destination was all the bury their loved ones. The atmosphere was charged with sorrow, and those who tried to drink their sorrow away. We walked down this hot and muddy path for about a mile until the road ended to an large open field, all filled with graves. The graveyard here was far removed from the clean, and tailored graveyards, that us in the first world are accustomed to...but this open field was filled with dirt mounds topped with small flowers,no names, no gravestone...just a flower or a leaf. As we walked into the graveyard, I could scarcely believe my eyes...I saw small caskets carrying small children, and mothers crying for their baby who had left for their true Home, it seemed, far too soon. As we walked we arrived to the place we would be gathering for the burial of our friend. As I came closer I saw this sea of faces, just filled with sorrow...I couldn't help but break. Unknown to all of us there was missing paperwork in order to proceed with our friend's burial right away, so we all took a place on the ground, and waited for four hours till everything could begin for our service.

As I sat there I couldn't help but thank God for the hope we have in Christ. For many of these precious people, who encounter death far more frequently than we could ever imagine, do not know Christ as the hope of glory...and the mark of despair that leaves on the soul is an indellible one...In that moment I understood more deeply the privilege it is to spend our lives proclaiming that what Christ did was for that moment when you are lowering your loved one into the grave...for the grave could not hold our God..."grave where is your victory, oh death where is your sting?" Christ took the victory out of the hands of the grave, and removed through His death the sting in death..To know what Christ accomplished when He said, "It is Finished", and rose from that grave, is most precious when we come face to face with the reality of death. Eternity comes so close, and we see that what Christ did was to give us Hope....hope beyond the grave. We were not made for anything less than Hope...and this is what we spend our lives whatever cost God determines for us. How can we stand before a sea of people burying the ones they have loved so deeply, and not be so compelled to live our lives sharing the truth of the hope that is found only in Christ? Once our service began, the words from this Book we love so much, slowly changed the sorrowful faces by calling them to remember that this is not the end...but just the beginning.

This has been probably the most compelling moment God has given me here in Zambia, and I will never forget the faces I saw, the tears, and through that the golden thread of Hope. Our God has defeated our greatest enemy...the grave... and has given us Hope..Christ, the Hope of Glory!

Love you all....God Bless!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wheelchairs..Snakes..and Bold faith!

Wow! I can't believe Christmas is upon us! Life here in Africa has been a time of unexpected adventures and God speaking expressly to us as a church and personally in our lives. What an amazing thing to live with a personal witness of truth from God, and to be afforded the privilege to share that life with others!

So, do I have some stories for this blog! I will try and make them as concise as possible! Let's start with the wheelchair story! So, about a month ago now, I was sitting outside at the internet cafe on a wednesday afternoon waiting for these four girls I had met to meet me for church. As I was sitting at my computer (and keep in mind the cafe was packed with people, every table was taken), so as I was sitting there in the corner of my eye I see a man in a wheelchair approaching me at high speeds. By the time I looked up I found this older, Scottish man in a wheelchair right in my face, asking me, "What's your name? What's your name?". So, this man obviously had some sort of speech difficulty or something, which made the whole encounter that much more disturbing. So, as I refused to respond the angrier he became! By this time he was saying, "I don't bite, just tell me your name!" The waiter became aware of the situation and as he was approaching us, the man in the wheelchair got so fired up, that he fell backwards in his wheelchair!! So, the waiter quickly grabbed him, and wheeled him away. I was like, "feewie!". I continued on at my computer, and after about five minutes I see the man coming back again, but this time he was moving with a fury! He got right up to my table again and started screaming at me, and demanding I tell him my name! As I refused, he began swearing at me and spitting! ahhhh! So, the waiter came over but was trying to be all diplomatic about the situation and wouldn't move him away! So, as I was demanding that the man be moved away, the whole cafe is locked on us! Then all of a sudden these two young British girls came running up to my table and ask me if I'd like to sit with them. Of course I agreed and gathered my things quickly and moved over with them. With me out of sight the wheelchair man gave up the fight!

Wooowee! But this is where it gets good...So after about a couple of minutes, and the girls asking me a couple questions of what I was doing in Zambia, it became apparent that God had orchestrated that whole bizarre situation to give the gospel to these girls. So for about an hour I sat with these girls and answered question after question about Jesus, faith and heaven. At the end of the conversation one of the girls mentioned that her boyfriend is a believer and has been looking for a church for a long time now. So, before I left I gave her my number and the information on the church and made my way to church. As I walked away from these girls I was just in awe of God's ways. That man could have harrassed any girl outside that cafe, but God directed him to me, so that would cause these girls to ask me to sit with them, and God could reach these two girls with the gospel. Amazing. BUT it doesn't end there! So, a week later I get a text from the girl's boyfriend asking where the church was cause he would like to visit! So, the next day was Sunday, and there he was with his brother! Later that night he met with P.Chris and he has been faithfully meeting with us at church! God's ways I tell ya! We can never take our lives at face value, because faith sees through the surface of things and discerns God's all encompassing plan to reach the lives of others with the truth of His Son. P.Renaldo always says that God's plan is for you, but always beyond you! I love that.

So, real quick..I would just have everyone know that a couple days ago I successfully killed (with a stick) the most deadly snake in Africa which was sitting comfortably outside our kitchen door!!
As Carol was opening our back door, she almost stepped on it! So I hear her screaming for me to come and see the snake on our back step! So, we had no other choice but to take matters into our own hands and kill it! I grabbed our stick, put on my boots (meanwhile I was in the middle of blow drying my hair so I had half of my hair dry, half wet and the rest up in a bun!) haha It was quite a sight! So, with fear and trepidation I approached the snake, and after getting enough courage up I start wacking it and screaming! But as I was hitting it, it was getting verrrry angry and hissing at me! I just kept hitting it when finally I got its head and then Carol took the stick and finished him off! Later that day we asked our gardener what type of snake it was and come to find out, it is a Black Mumba, which is one of the most deadly snakes in all of Africa! bahaha!
He said, if it bites you, the venom will go straight to the heart and you can imagine what happens to you then! yikes! I'm tellin ya, our angels have been working overtime!
Anyway, a message P.Renaldo preached this past wednesday really spoke to me, and it was from Proverbs 28:1...that the "righteous are as bold as a lion." He said that we are humble because of who we are and bold because of who he is! God really is challenging me to be bold in my step out like the children of Israel did with the enemy behind them and the red sea before them, but stepping out in the confidence of a mighty God and a faithful Word. We go forward in faith toward the most trying and difficult situation in our lives, and we find that God splits the waters and we go forward on dry land. Psa 126 says that when God brought the captives out of captivity they were "like those who dream"....and that those who "continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall DOUBTLESS come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him." What a promise! Our tears are seeds sown with the sure expectation of a harvest of joy! Our tears, our faith is never in vain..they are seeds for sowing, and what we sow we shall surely reap!

I love you all and pray for you often...lets believe God for the impossible and watch God move mountains and split seas for us!


Friday, November 27, 2009

I thought it was a bird?

I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving! The team here in Zambia went all out, and by the time we had all finished desert we all felt like we were gonna die! A few of the guys just laid on the ground hoping that would help them digest their food quicker so they could eat more..haha it was a great time though.

Well, we have had an adventurous couple weeks here in Zambia starting with the craziest ride to visit one of our church members...So, there is a young girl in our church who has been very sick, so a few of us ladies decided to go visit her and her mother. Knowing the roads into this compound were very bad, we decided to park at a local bakery and take a taxi instead. To preface this, it has begun rainy season here in Zambia, and when I say rainy season, I mean it just pours all day, leaving inches and inches of water and mud just about everywhere. With our faithful taxi driver we started on our journey into the compound, and as we got deeper, and deeper into the compound we realized that there was about a foot of water to travel through in order to get to the house; but we decided to keep on...As we were driving the water was coming up to the windows and to make it even worse there were rock boulders hidden under the water, which were just scraping the undercarriage of the taxi...our taxi driver was having a small panic attack as each rock was just tearing away at his poor car. So, after about an hour of traveling through these crazy conditions, and almost turning back about ten times, we reached our destination; which proved to be God's perfect will to encourage this precious family in the church.

So, after our visit, we did the same thing again, just laughing in the back and hoping the car wouldn't give out on us. After reaching our car, a couple of us decided to use the restroom. We got the key, walked into the bathroom and about five seconds later, we hear, "OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD RUN!" As we heard this, we turned to see poor Sophie being chased by three masive rats! So, of course in girl style we all started screaming hysterically and running as fast as our little legs could take us! But as I started running and screaming Carol didn't know what was happenning cause she didn't see the rats, so she grabbed on to my shirt as I'm trying to run out and started screaming too! Ha! It was quite a sight, and by the time we got out of the bathroom alive, a huge group of Zambians came running to us, thinking someone was trying to kill us or something! As we are all trying to catch our breath from running and screaming, we tell them, "There's three rats in the bathroom!" So, in the calmest tone, the lady who owned the bakery and bathroom, laughed at us and said, "Oh they don't bite." So, after the Zambians had a good laugh at the crazy American girls running from the rats we got in the car only to hear Sophie's take on her meeting with the rats which made the whole thing so much funnier! She explained that when she walked into the stall she saw something that looked like a bird, and then she saw the tail and thought maybe it was a snake, and then once she got a good look, the rat jumped out at her, and sent her running for her life! Ha! We had a good time laughing at that one...but that night it only got crazier!
As Carol and I are about to go to bed that night, we hear a knock at the door to find our guard explaining that he has just killed a black Mumba outside our door. He continues to explain that it is the most deadly snakes in Africa. So, he asks Carol and I if we'd like to see it, and Carol exclaims, "No way!" and of course, I say, "yea!" So, he brings the snake over on the tip of a stick and as we're looking at it, Carol says, "that snake does not look dead", and just as she says that, the snakes head starts moving around at it tries to jump of the stick! So, as we're screaming, the guard calmly but quickly takes it away and takes the head of the snake right off!! Needless to say we were both a bit shell shocked from the whole day, but all in all we just shook our heads and said, well, thank God we have been protected." :) Well, all that said, I can honestly say that all the trappings of the third world are well worth it, because of the treasures of the people here. I was soulwinning the other day, and God brought that scripture to my mind in Matthew that the kingdom of God is like a man who sells all that he has to buy a field, because there is a treasure within the field that is so precious. Also, in the same moment the Lord brought to my mind the verse that says that Christ endured the cross, despising the shame but all for the joy that was set before Him. We are that treasure in the field that Christ laid his diety down for, we are that joy that was set before Him, which He endured the pain and shame of the cross for. God is showing me that very same heart He has, is what He offers to us for others. There was no price too high that would have kept Christ from the cross to redeem the crown of His creation. We see our value in that sacrifice, and to be able to communicate that to others is the highest privilege.

The churches are really growing here, and God is leading us to people who He has prepared, which is so exciting! I love you all, and know that God is leading us in our lives, no matter what comes against that truth, we have confidence in that God who promises to lead us in this life of faith!

Isa 41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."



Saturday, November 14, 2009

South Africa & Botswana!

Thloki and I

Wow, what a time we've had the past couple weeks! A group of us here in Zambia just recently returned from one week in South Africa and Botswana! It was such an awesome time with the body in South Africa! We arrived last Thursday in SA and had an awesome first meeting in a small Lutheran Theological Seminary about Eph 1..Praising God for His Character and Nature, Blessing Him for His Word, and Thanking Him for His Eternal Purpose. You could just see the burdens just flying off was a great way to start the conference. Then, of course, we went to have a late night rap at the local McDonalds, and to P.Chuck Heidenreich's surprise he had a little visitor in his french fries! Ha! Just as he was grabbing the next fry he noticed that it wasn't a french fry at all but it was a cockroach! So, after we got ourselves together from laughing so hard, he marched up to the counter and got us all some free (and cockroach free) french fries!

So, the next couple days we had our services in a place called "Nelmopelius" (I have a feeling that's not the right spelling), which is a government funded compound where we have one of our churches. So, without a building we held our services under a tent, but the presence of God was very powerful everytime we gathered together. Some of the messages P.Scibelli spoke were being in the hand of God, speaking of Joseph's life; Jeremiah 15:16 "I found your word and I did eat it, and it became unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." And then the rest of the conference P.Scibelli stayed on the theme of Perfect Love. Then after our time in South Africa we took a five hour bus ride into Botswana where P.Scibelli was in "rare" form! Somehow, someone had given him a plastic trumpet which became a beating tool to poor Dion who was driving the van. haha it was great cause everytime P. Scibelli thought he was falling asleep he would blow the trumpet in his ear and loud as he could, and he would just freak out! (I guess we had to do something to keep ourselves amused:)

Anyway, the next day we went to this small village, and as we walked through the streets and talked to the people living there, you quickly saw that though they were very open to the gospel, and though some knew and agreed with what we shared, they had given up on a life that was bigger than the circumstances that surrounded them. One lady explained to me that half of the population in Botswana are HIV positive, and they have had church groups come in and out of their village but no one has stayed, and they have seen no changes in their village. After soulwinning in the morning we came again at night before the meeting to invite people to come, and by God's grace 27 people came and 12 accepted Christ as their Savior! Their is a real desire in the leadership here in Zambia to start a church there in keep that in your prayers! Talking on Grace Hour while walking the streets of Nelmopolius

P.Scibelli with the infamous trumpet
One message that was spoken during our time in South Africa was from Isa 26:3 "Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." P.Scibelli explained that it is God who is responsible to keep us, and even the keeping of our minds on God is a work of His grace. I have been thinking a lot about that...Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to arrive a certain place in our lives, and we feel that if we could only get ourselves there, God could give us the things He has promised. We find ourselves striving to produce something that we are not able to produce. We want to trust God, be content, be free of certain things, but we find a great abyss standing between us and the things we desire for our lives. All of this has served to bring me to a place where I find that it is God's grace that carries me from the place we are, to the place He desires us to be. I was thinking about contentment a lot and God is showing me that as we are available to God's grace, that very grace is what carries us to the place of contentment, which is simply experiencing our position of being complete in Christ. So, as we find ourselves completely unable in any area, let us also see that God's grace carries us to the place of freedom and change. Praise God that we don't ever have to strive or try and produce something we cannot...we simply lay ourselves before the all sufficient grace of God and that very grace and love is what becomes the bridge and the vehicle to carry us to the other side.

I love you all and you are in my thoughts and prayers!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trust in God

It seems there is always so much to say when I try and organize what to write! are some updates from what's happenning here in Zambia. We were excited to have Jami-lyn and Dave Ryan, Pastor Chuck from Ghana, and P.Scibelli come over for a conference. We all gathered at the airport at an ungodly hour in the morning with all the African pastors here in Zambia with a banner which said "Welcome Pastor Scibelli-the father of Africa!" and as he came out we started singing one of the Zambian worship was hilarious cause the other people coming out of the airport were looking at us like we were from a different planet! It was great :) Anyway, having Pastor Scibelli here has been a great blessing and refreshment to all the churches here in Zambia. A couple days ago we all piled ( and when I say piled I mean PILED) on a small bus to travel to Kitwe ( a city about 5 hours from Lusaka) to visit P.Adam and Melinda. Once we got to Kitwe we went straight to the streets for evangelism, and then met later for a rap with P. Scibelli. The couple days spent in Kitwe were a great blessing, and a great encouragement to P.Adam and Melinda. Oh and just for good measure, as we were leaving the Methodist guest house (where we had our raps and where P.Scibelli was staying) one of the African pastors jumped on the bus laughing and saying how he and the others had just killed two black mumbas...which is one of the most poisonous snakes in Africa. We all looked at eachother in disbelief thanking God that we hadn't come in contact with it, since us Americans would have probably just fainted or something. So, P.Scibelli is still in Kitwe, and in a few days we will all take a trip over to South Africa to be with P.Manny and the church there, which I am very excited about!

On a different note there were just some thoughts God has been sharing with me that I'd like to share as I've been thinking about P.Scibelli's messages and reading about the life of Job...There is this poem I read today that shares some of what God has been showing here it is.

“He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat,
As He watched by the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mould as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire
Tho’ we fain would have said Him ‘Nay,’
And He watched the dross that we had not seen,
And it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw but the fire—not the Master’s hand,
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a form above,
That bent o’er the fire, tho’ unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment’s pain?
Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat,
Than was needed to make it pure.”

The book of Job is filled with questions, and pleadings from a man who could not understand the ways of His God. Job 33:13 says “Why do you contend against Him? For He does not give an account for any of His actions.” God did not explain to Job what had taken place in eternity concerning him. You find in Job's story that trust in God must supersede our natural longing for understanding. As long as we are searching for understanding outside of an illumination and impartation from God we will be completely unable to trust in God. We find in our lives that there are times when God does not explain himself or else his plan to refine our faith would be compromised.

Abraham in Heb 11:8 “…Went out not knowing where He was going..” Trusting in God sometimes means I don’t have the understanding my natural man longs for, and as long as I stand on the precipice of natural understanding I will never obey God’s call to faith, and enjoy the peace which comes in trusting God. God does not disclose his plan when he wants us to walk in faith or else it would be sight and no longer faith. Understanding can be a vain pursuit in a trial. If I am pursuing understanding in my trial I will be like Job “darkening counsel by words without knowledge…rashly uttering what I do not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I do not know.” Man yearns for the type of security which comes through having everything explained and understood, but God calls us to a security which is found in knowing Him, while the things in my life (for seasons at a time, some longer than others) are not explained and I don’t understand what is happening or what God is doing. God baffles my understanding so that I will find my security in trusting Him, receiving from Him, and waiting on Him. As long as we search after understanding in the trial of our faith, we can never experience rest and peace. God offers us a “peace that surpasses all understanding, and a love that passes knowledge.” Trusting in God means I don’t always know or understand, but that I know HIM and that is enough for me. This is God’s character on trial in my life…Is God trustworthy, trustworthy enough that I don’t need to know or understand? When Abraham was told to offer his son, did he understand? No, not at all, he simply “concluded that God was able to raise Isaac up even from the dead.” Faith requires trust, and without trust I cannot obey what God commands for me. To trust I must relinquish my longing for understanding..the longing that is lusting against faith…”anything that is not of faith is sin.” Understanding and explanations will come, but in the trial of my faith they are an enemy to trusting in God for they lock the door which opens to God. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all your ways and He shall direct your paths.”

We sense everyday in a trial that our soul is cleaving to the dust of the circumstance we cannot change or understand, but God's word lifts us up into heavenly places, seated above with Christ. We learn to relinquish natural understanding and settle in our minds that trusting God means that we don’t understand and we don’t have all things explained to us, but it is in those times where God is asking us to trust in His character and His word. Leaning on our own understanding is a vicious cycle that leads us nowhere, but trusting in the Lord will lead me into a broad place where I find peace and rest while I wait on God. Psa 66:12 “You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; But you brought us out to rich fulfillment. God does not leave us in the trial just as God did not leave Job in his…weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. BUT in the time when our faith in God’s character is on trial, to trust Him we must relinquish our yearning and longing for understanding because it will only trap us in doubt and unbelief. Understanding will come, but not until God sees fit. Trust Him when we don’t understand, when things are inexplicable, that is the preciousness and value of our faith in God…I remember Elisabeth Elliot said that "our faith works in the dark. So, we let go of trying to understand, seeking explanations; for trust in God requires of us to let go of those things and cling to the hand of God…walking in the dark, but finding that true security is found in clasping His hand. Like a child with his father, be content to know He is holding my hand and he will lead us out to the light.

Hope this wasn't tooo long! I am just so blessed that God speaks to us when we are seeking a word from Him! I love you all and will post some more pictures when I get a chance!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Way to Life..

These are the two girls I met on outreach who have recently accepted Christ and are now on the worship team! The girl on the left is Justina and Chelisita is in the middle.

The teen girls from Greater Grace Zambia

So It's Thursday evening here in Lusaka, and I have officially had my first encounter with a Zambian Hospital :( I've been sick for a few days and this morning we decided to take a trip to a local hospital here to find out what was wrong..nothing too bad, just an infection which gave me a fever the last few days, but i should be on the mend now! BUT since the last couple days I've been a bit out of commission and for the most part stuck in the house, I decided to take a taxi to the local internet spot here in Lusaka to read for a bit. Even here, where there are churches on every corner, I felt the eyes of everyone around me as I took out my Bible, and started reading. Not even ten minutes into reading I had a guy from Ireland come over and, of course, as he was approaching me I was reaching for my chocolate milkshake (with much excitement :) and I was so startled from his tap on my shoulder that I spit it all over myself and him! haha...oh boy I made quite the first impression! Anyway, he said that he had come over to ask me a question about a Bible verse that his friend had told him about not long ago, but couldn't remember it. He said he saw that I was reading the Bible so we started to try and find the verse he was talking about. This led into a very interesting conversation about God, as he is from Ireland and has had a lot of "religious influence" in his life, but he said he's always had a difficult time really making a conclusion about the whole thing. As we were talking he said that he had read many Christian authors, including C.S. Lewis but confessed that it was his pride that has kept him from really believing. We talked for some time, and I left him with this verse "He who keeps his life will lose it, and He who will lose His life will find it." As we were talking I could see in him a desire to believe but, like all of us, he harbored so much doubt and unbelief about the way of salvation through what Christ did. After he left I remembered that earlier that day God had put the story of Naaman on my heart from 2 Kings 5 to read, and before he came over I had started reading the story...which after meeting this young man seems that much more applicable. So the story goes like this...

Naaman is described as a "great and honorable man" who was also a mighty man of valor, but was plagued with leprosy. One day he heard from one of his maids that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal him of his leprosy. So, with this information he had the King of Syria send a letter to the King of Israel that he would be coming to have his leprosy healed. The King of Israel responds, "Am I God, to kill and make heal this man of his leprosy?" So, enters the prophet Elisha who heard Naaman had requested this of the King. So, Elisha sends back word for the King to send Naaman to him. So, Naaman comes to the door of Elisha's house, and Elisha doesn't even come out to greet him, but rather sends a messanger to Naaman with this word...

"Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean." At this word Naaman was irrate, for the Jordan River was known to be the most filthy river in Israel, and to be told to dip in it seven times was not just an insult but complete foolishness to him. Naaman declared to the messanger that couldn't he dip in one of the other rivers of Israel, wouldn't they be more suitable then the filth of the Jordan? And shouldn't Elisha at least come out to me and call on the name of God and wave his hand over me and I would be healed? So as Naaman was about to leave his servant stopped him and said, Wouldn't you have done anything, even a great and difficult thing to be healed of your leprosy, and the prophet simply asks you to dip in the Jordan and you refuse? So, Naaman heeds the words of his servants, dips in the river seven times and it says that "his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean..."

So, after speaking with this guy I thought that the way of salvation through Christ looks much like the way Naaman was told to be cleansed from his leprosy. The cross was messy, it looked foolish..the law even stated "cursed was anyone who hung on a tree". The way of salvation through faith on Christ looks like complete foolishness, and our natural man hates it...we think it should be a more "sophisticated way, a more glamourous way" but the way God chose to redeem man was through the complete humiliation and death of His Son. We tell people this..and its foolishness to them, and they walk away saying it must be a better way. But the moment Naaman dipped in the river he was "restored and cleansed". And the moment we believe in the work of the cross by faith we are restored and cleansed. I Corinthians 1 talks about how the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God...The cross is the foolish thing that has put to shame the wise, and the weak thing that has put to shame the thing that was mighty...that no flesh should glory in His presence...Just like at the point of salvation it looks like complete foolishness to believe, God asks us time and time again to put our trust in Him when it looks and feels like complete foolishness to do so...but when we do we find peace and freedom. Its never the way we think it should go, it's God's way...but God's way always leads to that we could never secure for ourselves.
Sooo I could go on and on but I just wanted to share that thought with you all!
Below I'm gonna post some pics of outreach and a recent baptism we had!
Love and miss you all!!

The Baptism with the Greater Grace Churches in Zambia

Pastor Joe Roche and a couple of the Zambian guys

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Adventures of our new home...

Wow! Time is just flying right by here in Zambia. It will be a month that I have been here in just a couple days..amazing! Well, God has shown Himself so incredibly faithful with providing Carol and I a new home!! We did some serious newspaper searching and when it was God's time he swung the doors open for our new home (literally ;) Its really amazing how God works because when we called to inquire on the house advertised it was way too expensive but the man said "Well, I wasn't planning on renting our other house, but I would like to show it to you." So, anyway to make a long story short, the landlord had been dumping money into the small house (which we are in) in the hopes that HE would be moving into it, but when he met us he said that he prayed and sensed God was leading him to rent it to us, and HE would look for another place to live instead! He also has two daughters that are very interested in Bible School...P. Renaldo said the other day at Bible School that the plan of God is for you but always beyond you! I really sensed that in this!

So, yesterday we got to our new house and started right to cleaning and I jumped right on cleaning the floors..So after about four or five hours of cleaning I looked at my hands and noticed that they were all swollen and red...I was like hmmm that definitely does not look normal..So, I asked Carol to look at my hands, and right when she did her eyes bugged out of her head! I was like "Oh God what's wrong with my hands!" She said, "Ummm, Barbara, what cleaning products did you use?" and I was like, "well I used this one and bleach?" She was like "Oh my God, you used ammonia and bleach together?!" I was like.."ummmm yea?" So, I had a nice little chemical reaction on my hands and they blew up for a few word to the wise...don't mix your chemicals (unless I am just the only one who doesn't know that..which is very possible! :) So, along with the chemical reactions, last night we got home from shopping to discover the MOTHERLOAD of cockroaches!! It was like a whole tribe of them! So, while Carol was chanting "Oh my God, I can't handle this, I can't handle this", I attempted to spray and squash them while screaming and jumping up and down...oh yea it was a sight. But aside from the bugs and the chemicals the house God has given us is so beautiful and we are so thankful for it!

Soulwinning, church and Bible School has been such a joy...I met two girls on the street a couple weeks ago and they came to church and accepted Christ, and have joined the worship team! They are so sweet and the church is having a baptism this Saturday and we'll be going together so they can get baptized! You really see this is God's work...we are just the privileged vessels to carry the message of grace. In the Bible School classes we are studying the book of Romans and Galatians...P. Renaldo is an amazing teacher! I feel as though I am hearing about grace for the first time...I realize how little I this earth we truly will only scratch the surface of the unsearchable riches of God's grace. I was thinking of the verse in Hebrews the other day which says "It is good for the heart to be established in grace..." And God started speaking to me about what His grace really means in relation to every other area of my life..especially my walk of faith....

God is teaching me that to walk by faith I must live a life of grace. Faith says “I’m trusting another to do what I am unable to do”, and grace is the way and the means by which God accomplishes His plan. That is the reason why God has to bring His people to places of “human impossibility”. If there were options which were available to us that, if we tried them it could fulfill God’s plan then we would certainly try them. But God wants me at a place where there are no more options but to trust God to fulfill His promises. I'm also learning that impossibility is the most important element to enlarge my capacity of faith and also in learning grace. We were “dead in our trespasses and sins.” Eph 2:4 “But God..” Grace is given when there has been an offense, a hurt, an insult; not when the person has treated me fairly. If fairness was a prerequisite for grace then it would cease to be grace. Grace is revealed when we are unable to be something, fix something, or change something. If the heart is established in grace it will not be “driven or tossed or carried about.." Unbelief comes or has an affect on the heart which is not firmly established in grace. I am seeing the need to be rooted and grounded in grace and God’s love so that when the winds and waves of unbelief and doubt come we won't have to be so shaken.

It's amazing cause Grace reveals our complete inability and then gives us the divine resources of God’s strength to walk in something we could never do! As our hearts are established in grace we will not be unbelieving, but believing (our faith will be strengthened). As our hearts are established in grace we will receive more grace because we're living in humility...we'll have roots to keep us grounded when the winds and waves of unbelief and doubt come..we'll be able to love beyond all human capacities to love...we can forgive the unforgivable. Grace is the key to appropriating all the attributes of God in our lives, and the only thing that can deliver us and keep us from a heart of unbelief. Praise God for His grace!

So I love you all and hope everything is going well at home!