Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last Post of 2008

It is hard to believe that we are 1 day away from the New Year. It has been so evident this year that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. Our plans continue to change but we can rest assured that He who gives us each and every day does not change. Comfort secures our lives because of the sure foundation that we have built our lives upon. God’s love for us is ever-constant and never-changing. Even though circumstances may challenge our happiness, it cannot change our joy.

Zimbabwe Trip – Back in the middle of November, the boys and Dennis had the opportunity to go to Binga, Zimbabwe, for a food relief project. What a wonderful time that was – outside of the fact that people are starving, there is no food or fuel to buy, inflation is over 6 million percent (no, not a misprint!!), a cholera outbreak has taken the lives of over 1000 people into eternity and the country is months away from a total collapse.

It took us about an hour and a half to get past passport control to get into Zimbabwe. We had to fill out a form that they didn’t have. So, one of the guards told us what to write on a piece of paper and carbon paper – name, address, vehicle type, etc. We then took it back to the counter and they stamped it, gave us a copy and kept a copy. By the time we were finished, we had been to 4 different counters. We drove to the actual gate and parked. We needed Travel Insurance – filled out some more forms – let them see the forms we just had stamped and we were in. But I can tell you this, having all the correct forms and stamps helped as we travelled though the various police road-blocks they have throughout the country. We, 16 people traveling in 4 vehicles, had no harassment at all at any of the road blocks. This is definite prayer-cover from the many of you that were praying for our trip.

Our actual project was to distribute 500, 60 lb boxes of food and soap. The boxes were supplied through BGR – Baptist Global Relief. You can go to their website and see what the boxes contained and even donate to purchase a box or two. We left the house and traveled to Francistown, Botswana, - about 8 hours – on Saturday. We got up early Sunday morning, crossed into Zimbabwe, and travelled to Binga – another 8 hours. We arrived late afternoon and set up ‘camp.’ We met up with some other missy’s in Binga. Early Monday morning we loaded our trucks and went to our distribution point. Everything went as smooth as anything that I have been a part of here in Africa. By late Tuesday morning, we were finished. We were scheduled to finish on Wednesday. The boys did an incredible job. They worked hard and I did not hear one complaint from them. I was so proud of them!

Thanksgiving and Grandma’s 90th Birthday – About 40 people gathered at the house to enjoy Thanksgiving the Saturday after Thanksgiving – got that?!? But during all this, Jody had the opportunity to go back to the States to celebrate her grandma’s 90th birthday. God incredibly blessed us with the opportunity for her to fly back. She had an incredible time with her sister, family, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We were able to coordinate her return trip to fly with her parents who had longtime plans to come and see us.

Early Christmas – Jody’s parents spent the first two weeks of December here. The kids really enjoyed having them here – I did to! We were able to go to a resort-type area with water-slides and swimming pools. We had a fantastic time.

Baptism at Moshawane – While Jody’s parents were here, we had the opportunity to baptize 4 precious ladies at the village where Jody has been ministering for the past 3 years. As the picture shows, we took our luggage trailer, lined it with a tarp, bucketed 100 gallons of water into it and had a baptism out in the village. What a truly incredible moment. Both Jody and I are interested to see what will happen in the next couple months as a result of this baptism.

Christmas – One of the blessings of Jody being able to go home was she was able to bring back American stuff for Christmas. The boys got a Wii and they were very excited. Bethany got a bicycle and walked right by it on her way to the tree. We had to point it out to her! Melody loved opening all of her ‘pesents.’ For lunch, the other missionaries that live here in Mmabatho came over for a BBQ. With 90 degree weather, Christmas is not the time to cook a turkey in the oven – we do that at 4th of July when it is 60 degrees in the house!

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering – the first week of December was the Week of Prayer for International Missions. Many thanks to you that prayed, continue to pray, and have given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. As you know, this offering comprises 50% of the budget for the International Mission Board. Through this offering, you are supporting over 5000 missionaries around the world. Not only are you supporting them, but as you give, you are investing in eternity. This is not a bad investment and you don’t have to check to see if the Dow is up or down.

There are not enough adjectives that I could use to describe how thankful that I am of your prayers and support. Jody and I both know and realize that without our prayer partners – we could not and would not want to do this. Thanks to those that pray every day, couple days a week, once a week or whenever you think about us. Your prayers are vital and they are an incredible encouragement to us.

Blessings to you and have a wonderful God-centered New Years!!