Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Ideal Christmas?

A clean house, tasteful decorations (mostly made with the children), lots of special German Christmas-baking, food bought and prepared in advance, thoughtful gifts for family near and far, a Christmas-card/-newsletter, a lil creative program with the family to reflect on the meaning of Christmas, visiting and sharing of Christmas cookies with all of the neighbors, everybody relaxed, singing and enjoying ourselves together - including one or several people who don't have family.

That's what MY idea of a ideal Christmas would look like!


This year, like most it seems, is a FAR CRY from my "IDEAL" - and it bothers me.

And then, I think of MARY and try to imagine how she felt when she was giving birth to Jesus.

Talk about an IDEAL birth-day?


Traveling a FAR way by foot/donkey in the last days of pregnancy is definitely not IDEAL!
Giving birth in a town you've JUST arrived in
Where you don't know anybody
No family nearby to help out and give comfort - share the joy with
Getting turned down in place after place when you're sooooo tired
Having to resign yourself to staying in a dirty (may I add - undecorated) stable
Smelly (forget about the clean house)
NOTHING prepared for this MOST special baby EVER born - not even a bed to lay him in.



YET -  the less than ideal circumstances surrounding JESUS' birth didn't take a bit away from the awe-inspiring significance of his birth and what it was to mean for all of humanity - for eternity.


What a comfort for me today to keep perspective and don't allow my JOY to be damped!

I've got a little (almost 5-year-old) boy sitting next to me who is talking all the time (even now) about Jesus and how and why he came and died for us, sharing about Jesus with social workers, doctors and everybody we come across, singing Christmas songs all the time!

Shayden in between singing Christmas carols at our church's Christmas outreach - he was soooo adorable singing with great enthusiasm!!

I've got an 8-year-old who happily gives up most of her Christmas gifts so that orphans in Uganda can have a Christmas.

Miss Kylie

I've got a 16-year-old who's been serving tirelessly at "Christmas-Lights", an outreach from our church where thousands get to find out about the true meaning of Christmas, ministering every night for the last 11 days from 7:30pm-11pm+.

Leilani (with Kylie) in New York earlier this year

I've got a 20-year-old who just graduated from a "Leadership Training Course" with YWAM here in Tauranga, having grown in leaps and bounds, showing an exemplary servants-heart.

Jeremie with his girl-friend Austen (who's in Hawaii right now)
I've got an almost 21-year-old in Uganda who's just graduated from mechanic school. (sorry, no new photo of Richard)

I've got a 22-year-old, who with her husband just graduated from an internship in Christian Ministry with our church, both highly commended.

Nathalie, Lewis and our grandson Gideon

There are 33 orphans in Uganda who have just gotten sponsors from our church through a project I've been working on with our church in collaboration with YWAM in Uganda.
They will now be able to go to school, have some food for the family (widowed mother or other family), have minor medical needs covered and get to know JESUS!

Part of the display table for the presentation of the project
There are 16 orphans in a orphanage in Uganda who have just gotten "adopted" by little ones in our church (and their parents) for daily PRAYER - until they find a forever family.

An IDEAL CHRISTMAS? Not according to what my culture has taught me.

But according to the true meaning of Christmas - IDEAL all right!



Monday, December 5, 2011

Shayden's musings on poverty

This morning, Shayden started talking about "Baby Elizabeth in Uganda", who's got no parents.

He has been faithfully praying for her - and, by the way, she now does have a couple who are pursuing adopting her, but we are still praying until she's safely in their arms. 
Adoption is a LOOOONG process!

After talking about her, Shayden proceeded to tell me a whole bunch of things. It was too precious!

"Children are poor in 'Ganda


"have no mummy and daddy"


"have no food"


"have no money"


"no mosquito net"


"have no bed"


"have no television"


"no pyjamas"


"no swimming togs" (NZ version of swim suits)


"no swimming suits"(American version of togs)


no television


"have no barbecue"


"no trampoline"


"no movie for a week"


"no bunk-bed"


"no nose-ring"

This boy cracks me up!
I have no idea where he got all this from

Well - maybe some of the stuff I do have an idea where he heard it... :)

But some of the other stuff?

We do have most of the stuff he mentioned,
but no barbecue (would LOVE to get one, though!),
bunk beds 

and the nose-ring???

Give me a break!

How does this kids'  mind tick?

Not sure, but he sure keeps us laughing

and he was SO RIGHT about everything he said!

Just hit home again for me HOW BLESSED we are!

By the way, he got his cast off on Friday and all seems well.
He has 4 scars on his hand, some still look a bit "scary" 
so - photos are gonna have to wait for a lil while.

Love this boy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Prayer for World AIDS Day 2011

I am taking this prayer from Tom Davis' blog today and asking you to join me in prayer for World AIDS Day:

Magnificent Jesus…

In this season of advent, we ponder the great mystery of how you became flesh and lived among us.

You healed us with your hands.

You comforted us by your words.

You led us in your footsteps.

You shared our joys and sorrows with your tears.

You brought the fullness of God into our lives.

And you commanded us to do likewise.

Lord Jesus, send us to the hard places where HIV/AIDS destroys the lives of orphans and children.

Send us so that by the power of your name we would…

Bring the fullness of God into the lives of the hurting, the suffering, and the lost.

Share the joys and sorrows of our brothers and sisters.

Lead the world in radical obedience to your teachings.

Comfort the afflicted with the true Word of God.

Use our hands to heal the sick and brokenhearted.

In this season of advent we confess that we have not done these things sometimes because we are scared or distracted or busy or lazy or feeling insignificant and powerless.

And today, on World AIDS Day, we ask that in your mercy and grace you would forgive us for the times we have left your work undone.

Magnificent God, send us and use us to restore all that HIV/AIDS has taken from your children.

In the words of your servant, Isaiah, we pray, “Here am I. Send me!”

In the name of Jesus Christ,