Archive for March, 2009

Todd-Thoughts

March 31, 2009

What shall we do when news from afar is weighed more heavily toward the bad than good? Phone calls, emails, and face-to-face conversations bring news of another, and another, and another marriage failing. I hear of another unwanted pregnancy, a drinking problem, a church torn in two, a suicidal mother.

 

Hold fast to Jesus. This is what we do in the midst of the storm, or the economic downturn, or the unraveling of the culture’s fabric. Following and Jesus-cherishing faith is like a tractor’s flywheel; its inertia can carry one through boggy patches and up steep slopes.

 

Yesterday a man asked me how I started each day. It wasn’t difficult to describe. Years ago I developed a routine:

First thoughts: Remind myself that I am His.

First prayer: Thank you Jesus, that I am yours; feed my spirit with your Word.

First activity: Open the Scriptures, and, like a professor trained me to do many years ago, look not at man, but at what the Word tells me of my God.

 

We don’t walk with Jesus because we are “holy” missionaries, because we are on some different plane, or because it has become easy. We abide in Him for survival. Living cross-culturally in a spiritually-dark land just makes an already desperate need seem more desperate, more obvious.

 

We walk with Jesus when we pray, and when we meditate on the Word, but we also abide in Him as we sit at the table, as we say good morning and goodnight, and as we do everything in between.

 

Christ is the substance of our lives, because we have seen our dire need and because His voice is so familiar and so beautiful.

 

When the news is less than encouraging, we renew our affection, we review the ubiquitous stuff of our gratitude, and we cherish one another. It is so good to know all of you who share this unbroken trail.      

 

February is Paid in Full

March 29, 2009

George Mueller Report:  After an extremely lean February and March, God sent three delightful surprises this week:  two by mail, one by paypal…and in one quick week, the entire month of February’s bills are paid! 

On the Ice Fields

March 29, 2009

 

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Hearts of Gratitude

March 24, 2009

Hearts of gratitude to God for this little survivor who popped up out of the ice at our feet this morning.  In the distance, we can see the seal-hunters’ boats, the men walking on precarious frigid slabs, the reddened ice.

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Today’s Catechism Question

March 23, 2009

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     The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!

Spiritual growth

March 18, 2009

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The fellow standing became a follower of Jesus Christ about 2 years ago.  He grew up on these islands. Now he meets regularly with a handful of atheists, and shares his faith with them. Please pray for continued spiritual growth of the few believers here. 

The Neighbour at the Red House

March 16, 2009

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I have had a  neighbor on my mind for some time, feeling certain that I wanted to meet her, and that I was supposed to meet her, but I was unsure how.  I have prayed about it many times. Days, weeks, have passed without my coming up with a socially acceptable and genuine way to make her acquaintance .  This morning, before breakfast, I went for a walk, and just as I came up to Leo’s barn, I saw that the cows were out of their fence, milling about.  A number of them were trotting up the hill towards Dune-du-Sud.  Turning from the little farm, I headed straight across the snowy fields to the one person who would know Leo’s telephone number.  I went to the red house.

 

And I met my neighbor. 

 

Thank-you Lord.

Pray for Eric and Joanne

March 13, 2009

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Eric and Joanne grew up on these islands, spent many years in Ottawa in their early twenties, and returned here about 7 years ago to work alongside Joanne’s brother in starting a church.  A few people came to their home to hear about the gospel when they first came, but once they bought a building for a church, few would come and no one would stay.  Last fall, the pastor’s family and Eric’s family sold the church building, and left the islands with broken dreams, but with hearts still bent toward God.

 

This is a very difficult field in which to minister.  We miss these two families, their cheerful presence and their love for stories.  Eric we knew perhaps best of all because it was he who donated his time (hours!) to proctor exams for us.  He is someone we could always count on to fix an engine, or to stop what he was doing for a cup of coffee.   We miss his hearty laugh and his many stories, and his genuine love and zeal for Christ.

 

We pray, as Paul prayed, that he, “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with his whole family, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that  they might be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18ish)

Quietness and Contentment and Focus

March 12, 2009

Over breakfast,  one of the boys brings up the concept of perseverance of the saints and all chime in with their views.  Todd and I want them to dig down deep to the reservoir of stored verses, to the precept upon precept built up in their souls.  Do they know the critical texts, have them moved beyond a basic catechism, can they respectfully present both sides of a theological issue?

 

Laundry calls, and the seminar I am working on, and the ritual shuffling of the jobs that fell to this morning threaten to upset my tidy schedule, and I do not even stop long enough to breathe, to pray, to ask myself if I am content.  

 

 “Mmm hmmm, I definitely  see a clean room…sinks dried…faucets polished.  Tomorrow I’ll teach you this next part.”  We plant a silver sticker on her chart.  She is learning mastery of her world.

 

“Let me hear you say yesterday’s verses.”  Three verses into the memorized chapter and her older sister and I, our voices as one, finish reciting the chapter, with smiles all around.  “It won’t be long before you’ll say the whole thing with us!”

 

I move into discussion with another daughter.  There are questions about how to express her thoughts in writing, how to motivate the reader without preaching.

 

“Honey, dig down deep. There’s strength in there. You can do this thing”.  We are talking now about something she is trying to overcome, a small thing in the scope of the world’s problems, but gargantuan to a teenage girl.

 

And so the day goes, discussing principles of life, checking jobs, talking theology at breakfast with a lingering few after-thoughts as the dishes are being removed from the table. 

 

It has taken me all of this morning, from dawn till almost noon, to quiet myself from the whirl of motherly responsibilities, enough to remember God.  Enough to think about Him, to thank Him (for what? – the winds that are shaking the house?, the unnavigable roads to the post box for that one letter He will surely send?), to trust Him, to turn my inward swirl into still waters. 

 

To be quiet. Rested. Ready to serve more, sing more, sigh more over the things that make Christ sigh. To not get so lost in my busy world that I lose sight of what really counts in life.

 

To thank Him with a joyful, overflowing heart.

 

Thank-you for your prayers.  You guys mean the world to us.

 

 

 

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The Blessing of the Bicycles

March 10, 2009

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It’s back to bicycles for us, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Todd is in Cap-aux-Meules for meetings until lunch today, when we will pull the plug on driving until we can afford to get repairs done to the vehicle.  I remember a time in our second year here when our vehicle (the one we had at the time) no longer worked, and we hadn’t the money to fix it.  We walked everywhere, met new people, and eventually made a great contact with the fellow who owned the garage. This time has happened immediately after a week in which Todd was without the vehicle (while I had it on off-islands on our trip to the doctor), and in which we saw how wonderfully the ministry could continue without the benefit of being able to drive.  What’s more, we’re grateful that last summer we brought a couple of bicycles back to the islands with us, which, added to the bikes we have cobbled together from dump parts, we can use to go to the village as a small group activity.

 

I am reminded that there is a good side to every event God puts in our path.  Walking and cycling take more time away from our already busy life, but they force us to slow down and to redirect our energies in ways we would not if we were allowed to run our own lives. 

 

“Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.”  Psalm 18:36

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