1. I’m thankful for a great assembly this morning where we talked about how God’s Word is the “Maker’s Manual” for our lives.
2. I’m thankful for lots and lots of dirty dishes, which means lots of people here for graduation this weekend.
3. I’m thankful for time in the kitchen with my Aunt Laurel and Carlene. What a blessing it is to travel to the other side of the world and have the opportunity to serve with family.
1. I’m thankful for the chance to be here for ZEBS graduation, which you can read more about here. What an awesome picture of God’s faithfulness in this ministry!
2. Dancing. I don’t dance, but I’m beginning to wish that I did, or think that maybe I should? Worship isn’t about how I feel. It’s not about me at all!
The Bible is full of dancing. There’s something about an outward, physical expression of joy before the Lord. When I watch the amaZioni dance, I witness their love for God.
Psalm 149:3 “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”
3. I’m thankful for the satisfaction of absolute exhaustion.
4. My Uncle Dick’s cookies.
5. Watching the first half of the first Christmas movie of the season with everyone here at Sunbury. The most climactic kiss of White Christmas was interrupted by a power outage, which we all thought was perfect.
6. The power outage also meant an early bedtime, which was much, much needed.
1. An awesome sermon this morning by Paul Esteves at Community Connection. The gospel, the true Christian life is not about rules; it’s about grace lavished upon your life. When you understand this grace, you will leave the old self. We are free; let us not continue to live as though we are enslaved to sin.
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” – Colossians 3:5-10
2. Coffee and conversation with Uncle Dick, Aunt Laurel and Kyle at Zara’s, a cute little Greek cafe, after church.
3. Uncle Dick treating everyone to a delicious lunch.
4. Simple roasted vegetables.
5. The Piano Guys. The joy they experience through their music drives me to worship our Creator.
6. The other half of White Christmas. Any excuse to have popcorn again….especially stovetop popcorn.
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 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:
1. The Choose to Wait Curriculum. It’s so, so good. More importantly, I’m thankful for God’s perfect design for marriage, sexuality and family. We’re using the CTW curriculum as a framework for teaching God’s plan for the family at school assemblies each week. Then in December, we’ll present the whole program to the upper grade kids.
2. Waking up to singing birds.
3. God is still sovereign, regardless of who wins the election. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
4. Hot soup for dreary days.
I discovered this recipe last week. I may or may not have already made it twice…
Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup
– 2 roasted sweet potatoes (peel and roast with a splash of olive oil, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves and a dash of nutmeg. I don’t think I’ve actually measured yet, but it’s been great both times.
– 2 roasted carrots
– 3 cloves roasted garlic
– 1 1 inch piece of ginger
– 1 can coconut milk
– 1 small apple, peeled and sliced
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/8 tsp. ground cloves or allspice
Blend until smooth, then heat until gently simmering. It’s excellent with cracked pepper. I’m sure it’d also be amazing with crusty, hot bread.