Monday, January 30, 2012

Esita and Miriama

This morning was my last time to worship with our Church family here in Makalondi for 6 months. (It's always mind-boggling to me to think that I sit here snuggly with the women this Sunday and next Sunday I'll be sitting in my church in Georgia!) But this morning was a little more special.
What do you think that these two Jewish women had in common - Miriam and Esther. Two women from different periods of Jewish history...a nomad and a queen. What on earth did they share and what importance is that to this Sunday morning?

After church had finished and I stood up, a young mother seated just down the bench from me, tapped me on the arm and pointed to her newborn baby, asleep in her arms. I made over her and the mother handed her to me. A beautiful little girl all curled up in my arms. I went on outside to greet friends and tell others good-bye and visit with still others. Later I went inside to hand baby back to her mom, and I asked her, "What is her name?" A little discussion arose with Dama, a more mature woman...who then explained to me, "She wants you to name her baby."

Wow, what an honor. Since I wouldn't have the benefit of several days to think and pray over it, I breathed a prayer asking the Lord to give me a special name for this precious baby. The Lord brought Esther to mind, and the reasons for which I like it. I told the mother that I had chosen "Esita" and proceded to remind her of the story of Esther, in brief. I closed by telling her why I like, and chose, the name. As I stood to leave, Dama said, "You can't go need to name her sister too!" I looked at the woman beside the mother and she was holding Esther's twin sister! Now my mind was racing...whom else from Bible history did I admire? The Lord brought Miriam to mind. And for the same reasons. So I explained that I had chosen "Miriama" for baby sister and the special things about Miriam.

As God gave me those two names, the qualities that struck me about both women, was their courage and their influence. They weren't perfect women, but they allowed God to use them, and they learned to trust Him with their lives! And as a result they were indispensible to His plans for the nation of Israel...Women of influence and power, who in their courage and dependance on God, brought salvation to His people and Glory to His name! What wonderful qualities to pray upon these two new little Gourma girls... What plans does God have in store for them? How will they impact their own people and bring Glory to His name?...

Mom and the friends were all pleased and we had a little celebration over the two little girls. I kissed each of them on the cheek...the next time I see them they'll be 6 mos. old and more active! What a privilege to have a part in their lives!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Superhero Benjamin

My little Grandson, Benjamin, is really into being a Superhero these days...and one thing he really really wants is a Superhero cape and mask. Somehow our Christmas order got messed up and Ben didn't get that gift from Nana and Papa. So Nana decided to just make him one and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. An added gift: I get to hand-deliver it to him in about 1 week! It'll be fun to watch him open the gift and use it for the first time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

1000 + 11 Gifts

The internet has been a bear lately…in Niamey as well as in Makalondi! And once we’ve become dependant on it, it becomes one more burr in your waistband in an already challenging place to live. We’ve all tended to bemoan our fate: can’t get emails, can’t send emails, can’t use skype, etc. and the few days we have to work at the office just grinds to a halt. More than that, I ache to be able to get FB or email updates on my High School best friend who is leaving this life and going to Life with Jesus. I feel frustrated.

So we’re doing a book reading/study on "1000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp, and even from the first chapter with it’s Crushing story, I realize that I can choose to live in frustration, or I can remember to do what God’s Word urges us to do: to be Thankful in all circumstances. So I’ve begun to take time to reflect on my daily gifts from God…and they are so numerous, I can’t even begin to list them here( least a thousand!) They are part of my worship from a heart full of gratitude for the Life God has given me…here…every day!

I’ll share just a few of my recent Gifts:

  1. I was able to get a note to my girlfriend, Brooke, in time for her to be able to read it and know my heart for her before her final hours!

  2. I will see Brooke again one day and we’ll have more adventures together

  3. Visiting baby Jean Marie (a boy, I discovered), and having him sit on my lap and watch him grab at his feet and reach up and pull my glasses off – he is SEEING!

  4. My new clinic room is nearly done…the floor will be poured in the next two days, and then we get to move in.

  5. Hearing the men behind the building today listening to The Way of Righeousness; knowing that they are there, not for medical help, but just to listen to the Words of Life!

  6. These cold mornings, with a cup of hot tea, just visiting and worshipping with Jesus.

  7. Hot Fari Masa (like donuts?) with Spicy Squash sauce, fixed for me by my friend, Nuadiba, because I got hungry at clinic today - YumJ

  8. The way that Gary made sure I had hot water for my shower this evening!

  9. My nine healthy grandchildren and one on the way…what a gift each one of them is!

  10. The anticipation of seeing my children in a few weeks, and my parents and my siblings!!

  11. Laughing with my SIM colleagues – they are my “family” here.