Before going on from here and not being sure about the internet connection in the next place (I was given a stick to use here), I can't resist to upload this short video clip of the first night I was here.
One of the things the father of this beautiful African family told me, and I have thought of this, too, many times, in raising our children:
"We look at the end result of how we want our children to turn out - and then we invest what is needed."
I can see it in their older children - they are all lovers of God and strong yet gentle leaders, hard working and serving joyfully.
Rich and I have kind-of been raising our children with the end-result in mind, too.
But when it comes to developing our children's relationship with God, I admit it's been a struggle over the years to really invest what is right, good and necessary (and our kids love the Lord now, don't get me wrong).
Yet - why have I/we given in and gotten discouraged when feeling the resistance of the kids to spending time in God's Word, prayer and worship as a family - and it's felt more like a drudgery than the highlight of the day?
Yes, we've done some, but doesn't the Word of God tell us to
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Col.3,16
Can't say we've done that.
It's been barely, just enough not to "bore" them and get them all fidgety, even with different devotional books for kids.
YET - how many hours do we spend as a family doing things like reading wordly books to them or letting them listen to whatever songs, watch movies (nothing wrong with them, but if they memorize THOSE and NOT the TRUE, LIFE-GIVING spiritual FOOD that ALONE can make them strong and whole INSIDE - something is wrong.)
It's been stirring in me for a while now, but I think there are going to be some changes in Betts-house when I come back home.
Get yourselves prepared, family!
It's really SOOOO MUCH BETTER!!!
Our Western families have so many distractions - we diligently run our kids around to all kinds of sport, music and church activities, and at home they're doing Wii, playstation, video and other games, TV, movies, ipads and iphones, facebook and other internet stuff - and once again, in and of themselves, these are not bad.
But seeing the contrast from our lives to theirs here - I am convinced now that as Christian parents we are actually ROBBING our kids from the GREATER TREASURE! The RICHNESS of GOD and HIS WORD becoming deeply ingraned in their hearts and spirits, FILLING them to overflowing with REAL LIFE!
May I suggest that we have fallen into a trap???
All these exciting and FUN things are STEALING the real treasure from our kids!
Do we want our kids to be entertainment addicts when they've grown up,
yet empty in their hearts?
Having a form of godliness, but no power? (and once again, I am not saying my kids are like that - just talking generally)
Or do we want them to be so FULL OF GOD that HE IS THEIR TRUE SOURCE OF LIFE - and no matter what comes along for them in life, they will stand strong, because their "house will be built upon the rock" - in a VERY REAL WAY!!!
I was so humbled last night, as the kids kept quoting many different Scriptures by heart, including their references - spontaneously.
And it was no rigid, religious exercice.
They were enjoying themselves, having a different sort of FUN!
I would have been hard pressed myself to come up with half of them...
I'm glad they didn't ask me to quote a Scripture, although they did invite me to share - and the Lord had put something on my heart that I was able to give them - although I had to get my reading glasses out and read it from the Bible rather than quoting it - but that was alright :)
One of the things I told them is that they many times think that the white people are rich (in Uganda, if you are white, you are automatically rich in their eyes). I told them that the REAL RICH people are THEY, not us! You get what I meant...
What an IMPACT these words of truth, exhortation and comfort that they memorize will have when they go back to school and face all kinds of challenges, issues from their past creeping up, lies from the enemy attacking their minds etc.
The Word of God is POWERFUL and VERY EFFECTVE!!!!
And we have neglected it - I admit it and feel DEEPLY sorry for it.
Kids, if you read this - I'm sorry for robbing you of the BEST!
We have many times treated it as an accessory ~
Not a necessity!
Here, dinner is eaten only AFTER the spiritual food is eaten -
and yes, it's been 9pn (I'm not sure - the kids may have had their porridge or beans before family devotions at 7pm - but definitely not the older ones, or the parents)
And no, I'm not saying we'll wait til 9pm til we eat dinner from now on :)
There so much more to say, but I've got to go now. Here's the short clip, taken without them realizing I was filming.