4. That we worship the one true God. Today, Zandi, who works here at Sunbury, was explaining to us that her husband is training to become a sangoma (or witch doctor). Zandi is actually planning on starting ZEBS (Zion Evangelical Bible School) in January, so it will be interesting to see how she handles the collision of contradicting faith and culture. Without the Lord, wouldn’t it make sense to turn to the only “hope” you know? How scary and uncertain and confusing our lives would be without the hope of the gospel! Please pray!
1. Waking up to the sunrise.
2. A full, long, productive day taking care of fried routers and printers in Durban. The damage could always be worse!
2. Cold coffee on hot drives.
1. God’s divine appointments in my life- the way He can take a situation that seems at first a disappointment and turn it in to incredible blessing.
2. Hot-from-the-dryer laundry (and neighbors who let me use their dryer, particularly on rainy days when my nifty laundry tree isn’t an option).
3. Dinner and coffee with friends.
1. This reminder from James 1: 26-27
“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Sobering.
2. Any chance to “talk” to John. I’m thankful that God cares about even the little details and answers prayers about quickly passing lightning storms and cooperative (albeit terrible, which really makes the cooperative part all the more impressive) internet connections.
3. Lively games and fellowship with the Seghers family and my Uncle Dick and Aunt Laurel.
1. Freshly baked muffins that make my kitchen smell wonderful.
2. Being able to finally finish calendars for ZEBS with minimal frustration!
3. Precious time each day with Carlene.
4. Homemade happy chicken soup for chilly, quiet evenings.
5. For unique demonstrations of God’s creativity.
|Almost missed this guy.|
|This palm-sized spider was, thankfully, very dead.|
1. Mornings that begin with God’s Word and coffee. Every morning should start like this.
2. Sunshine! It seems so very rare lately.
3. The opportunity to serve by organizing Sunbury’s library. Vuvuzelas, anyone?
I came across a bunch of very old, illustrated children’s songs, including this gem from the fifties. Fitting, don’t you think?
3. The truth of Philippians 1:6 which says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God isn’t finished with us. He is working good in us. Sanctification is a process.
1. For families I miss dearly.
2. For a morning “away” in Ballito to run errands and restock my kitchen.
3. For comfort in a foreign country. I could feel at home here.
4. For simple pleasures, like the discovery of free range eggs and poppyseeds at the grocery store.
5. Running into familiar faces unexpectedly, especially when you’re the foreigner with very few potential connections in the first place.
6. Friendly conversations with the checkers at the grocery store.
7. For homemade pizzas and the community of brothers and sisters who gather each Wednesday evening to share a meal.
8. For my mom’s willingness to help with an online order I couldn’t place myself. Birthday shopping: check!
9. Perpetually muddy feet.
10. The smell of fresh basil.
|The storm rolling in.|
|Sphelele and Lihlethemba|
|Saying goodbye to Zinhle in May 2011.|
|Sweet Zinhle today.|
Today I am thankful for:
1. Our veterans- for all who have given and all those who continue to give. I am forever humbled and grateful.
2. A great worship service with the camp at Sunbury this weekend. The body of Christ is global.
3. A clear, warm, summery day to read for classes and regroup before the new week.
On Saturday, I had the opportunity to enjoy Hluhluwe Game Reserve with Ryne and Amy and their friends Tarryn and Josh. We left at four in the morning and arrived home again after eight in the evening, but it was well worth it!
On Saturday, I gave thanks for:
1. Ryne, who drove ALL DAY! He also managed to spot things before anyone else. Impressive!
2. A super rare sighting of African painted dogs almost immediately upon arriving.
3. Safety on the road. We managed to change a flat without getting eaten or kicked out of the park for being out of the car. I’m also very thankful for safety on a very harrowing drive home again.
5. Each unique display of God’s beauty and creativity.
|birds relaxing on the zebra|
|We saw so many rhino!|
It was a great day!
1. Friday was a long day. After assembly in the morning, Amy and I drove into Ballito (about 40 minutes away) to run some errands. We made it back just in time for my back-to-back tutoring sessions. By the end of the first, I was tired. Just really, physically tired. I love being with the kids, but I wasn’t sure if I could muster the enthusiasm for another group without a few more cups of coffee.
The coffee wasn’t going to happen. I breathed a prayer for miraculous energy as I drove back into San Souci and loaded up the next group.
My prayer was instantly answered. The entire way back, the voices of the children drowned out the roar of the bakkie and instantly lifted my spirits. How could you listen to a chorus of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” followed by a harmonious rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” and not have an immediately improved mood?
As we pulled into Sunbury again, they sang the song we’d sung that morning at assembly. I learned the song when I was last here and taught it to the first grade Sunday school class back at our home church in Zion. Then, just a few weeks ago, the South Africa team from this summer introduced our congregation to the song during their convocation report.
“Akekho Ofana no Jesu” — There’s no one, there’s no one like Jesus. There’s no one, there’s no one like him!
2. My grandma, Neda Petreman, who is celebrating her birthday today. Decorating the church, working on craft projects, having sleepovers, games in the car, eating popcorn, birthday lunches, trips to the beach, trick-or-treating, campfires in the backyard– so many wonderful memories over the past 21 years!
1. The chance to help a child learn to read.
2. A healthy body. I worked out this morning and was quickly reminded of my ungrateful neglect. Ouch.
3. Piano music. I’m so thankful for my husband’s ability- I can’t imagine a life without music!
4. Banana “ice cream”: blend 1 frozen banana with 1/2 cup coconut milk. Add cinnamon and nutmeg or a spoonful of cocoa powder. It’s delicious.
Today I am thankful because:
1. King Jesus is on the throne. Always.
2. Wednesday night is pizza night with the Sunbury family. I’m thankful to share life with these people, even for a short period of time.
3. Kids that make me smile. Today in the car:
“Miss Kirsten, are you from North America or South America?”
“North America,” I reply, “but I’ve been to South America before.” We talked about South America for a few minutes before one girl in the back seat asked, “So, have you met Will Smith?”
4. I am unfairly blessed. Sometimes, this truth is especially difficult to swallow. Why was I born in the United States to a solid Christian family? Why is it that I have never gone a day of my life for want of food or clean water or acceptable clothing? Why are some born into prosperity and others into destitute poverty? Why is it that I have had every opportunity to tease out the questions and implications of my faith with every resource at my fingertips when thousands of amaZioni pastors are pleading for someone to come and teach them the Word of God? Or, what’s more, what about those who have never heard? Why me and not others?
The truth is, it is unfair. Any goodness, any blessing, anything except hell is unfair. It’s grace.
And so I am challenged to live by these words: