Our friends, Dave and Sasha Bliss, posted some encouragement for our hearts! Take a look, by clicking on the link for their blog post: Being Cared For
God had some encouragement planned.
Slipping through the doors, with Brian right behind me, I was thankful to see an empty seat. The airport bus would soon be full; and to actually have a seat as we crossed the tarmac to the waiting plane, was a treat.
During this trip, our time had been spent in former Eastern Europe Bloc countries. While the people are slowly breaking away from the influence of communism, the demeanor of most people is somewhat reserved and quiet. Overt friendliness is not displayed often and there is certainly no attempt at conversation. So, it was with a bit of surprise, that I noticed my seatmate was actually happy to make room for me.
And then. Noticing my American passport, she tentatively began asking questions in English. Where was I from? What was I doing? Where was I going?
In turn, I asked questions. Her answers were careful, but her manner caused me to wonder. To wonder if she knew Jesus. I felt like I knew her. Warmth and openness drawing me in.
So. I asked her. And. On that short ride two believers in Christ found each other. A Romanian traveling from Malaysia. An American traveling from Bulgaria. Carmen and Diane. God’s encouragement on the tarmac.
There. Do you see?
No, not the Bulgarian mountains.
Nor the beautiful, translucent geranium petals.
There! The tiny hummingbird moth, hovering barely in sight.
We almost missed the tiny creature as we ate our morning breakfast of scrambled eggs dotted with ham. Sipping coffee, mountains capturing our attention, we were distracted by the bigger picture.
But. Petite fluttering wings drew our eyes down. Down to what was near. To the pleasure of color and life just a few feet away. To the consideration that what seems inconsequential in light of sizable vistas may not be so insignificant after all. Small things, which aren’t so small. God-signs.
Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders. Psalm 119:17
The 36th week of 2017. A photo a week. Telling the stories of our lives.
This week. Sharing life in Budapest, Hungary.
A week crowded with the stuff of missionary life. Some ordinary. Some not so ordinary. Joy. Sadness. Saying hello to a family new to missionary life, coming to fill the need of division business manager. Saying goodbye. A young woman going back to Minnesota, knowing it is time to go. But, leaving a portion of her heart.
More crowding! Celebrating the anniversary of Montázs Art Café. Three years. Once a dream. Now reality. Jesus in the community.
The lovely crowding of conversation. Over coffee. Sharing a pizza. On the patio. At the kitchen table. Around the fire. Scattered. Sharing life with our missionaries. Sweet. Dear. Sometimes difficult. Always blessed.
The 36th week of 2017!
Sometimes. In our ministry travels. We find ourselves in the sweet spot of sharing celebrations.
The second of September. A birthday! Time for a gathering. A party. Will there be gifts? Cards? Flowers?
A birthday celebration in Ukraine does mean there will be gifts. There will be flowers. But. No cards. Birthday wishes are given verbally. Birthday wishes. Formulated with great thought. Offered with deep sincerity.
It was our honor to witness this Ukrainian birthday tradition. Remarkable! Pam, a Pennsylvania gal, lives and works in Kiev. Allowing the love of God to flow through her hands in ministry.
The second of September. Pam’s birthday. Gathered were her friends seeking to honor her with gifts, yes. But, more so, to honor her with birthday wishes expressing their gratitude for her ministry. Desiring God’s continued blessing on her life. Offering their invocations of God’s grace. This is no small matter. Memorized for the offering. Given face to face. Heart to heart.
In receiving, Pam celebrated. And. We, with joy, celebrated also. On her behalf. Thankful to know the love which surrounds her.
Ukrainian birthday wishes. Good for the heart!
As the week drew to a close, God provided a hinge. A pivot. A renewal of soul.
Cousins, of the Harris clan, gathered near the original family homestead. While rain made the day cozy, steaming coffee helped the stories along. Childhood memories. Laughter. Relationship.
By suppertime we were with our good friend, Maggie. Over salads and sandwiches, more of life was shared. Memories. Laughter. Relationship.
And then. As night fell, we wound our way through the Wisconsin woods to Hunter Lake. To good friends. To Randy and Diane. Memories. Laughter. Relationship.
In one day. A Saturday. A hinge. Soul renewal. God’s provision.
This week. Small personal pieces of sadness. And. Large corporate portions of grief.
Surprised in the middle of a sweet summer, my soul struggles. Plain old sadness. Disappointment.
Punctuated with fear. Worry. Not so small. Not so plain.
My soul struggles.
Samuel, Old Testament prophet, knew the struggle of soul. Sadness. Disappointment. He was inclined to do something I am not.
He prayed his anger and disappointment all through the night. I Samuel 15:11.
May I be so inclined. Prayer.
Answers for the soul.
We serve on the Member Care Team of ReachGlobal. It is not often this team is able to be all together in one place.
All together we serve our Lord in caring for His workers scattered across the globe.
All together we meet via technology.
All together we join in prayer.
All together we care, love and minister.
But. This week we were all together in one place. To be all together physically is a gift to our souls.
We touch each other. We laugh. We go before God. We cry. We challenge. We learn. We stretch. We grow. All the while praising our Lord. Together. All together. In love.
Regarding life together…Just love one another! You’re already good at it…Keep it up; get better and better at it…Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this. I Thessalonians 4:9-10; 5:11
All together. A sweet, sweet gift.
Deep sigh. Quietness. After days of activity and noise, the bucolic Slovenian village was a gift to our souls.
Seeking even more quiet we wandered past vibrant gardens, village farmyards, and rows of tasseled corn, accompanied by the sound of ringing church bells. Another sigh. So good for the soul.
Just past the fields of beautiful corn stood the strong trees of the local forest. Crossing the threshold into the shade we lifted our eyes to encounter an elderly man. The simple words he offered seemed to be another blessing.
“Dober dan,” fell upon our ears. A quiet greeting. Given with a soft smile. “Good day,” we extended in return. Goodness for the soul.
At a busy airport.
“Are you with him?”, was asked of the woman ahead of me.
“Yes. Unfortunately.” was her reply.
His poor soul! And mine, too, for having even heard her words.
Our words. My words. Your words. Together may we bless the souls around us. Life, rather than depletion. Goodness for the soul.
Twenty minutes. Just a bit of a walk.
Twenty minutes turned into forty. Then sixty. The walk became a climb. Steps and more steps. Stairs.
Breathing hard, we stopped frequently. Each bench giving respite.
Until the last bench.
Azoz bounded up with a wide grin. And the most encouraging words: “Look at you! You both are amazing!” Suddenly we had energy. We could keep going.
At last. We climbed the final stairs. Turned the corner. And, there he was. Azoz. At the end of the journey. Beckoning. Calling, “Grandma!” “Grandpa!”
There. Just beyond Azoz. A magnificent waterfall. Gorgeous.
At the gate. Azoz. “Grandma.” “Come here!” Waving me toward a spot near him, Azoz wanted to make sure I knew he called me Grandma with only the greatest respect. Somehow I already knew that.
Azoz. Of Saudi Arabia. A friend on a Slovenian trail.