Monday, July 25, 2016

Mountain Firm

Gently rising from beyond our house is a tall, strong mountain.  Its graceful, curving slopes are covered with trees, while its ridge line is a rugged, jutting grassland.

On beautiful, clear days, it stands there, a sentinel of constant repose.  Patiently watching, a testimony of strength for all who look upon its curves.

Yet, at times, the days grow gray and the clouds move in.  Thick fog swirls and swallows all evidence of the grand giant.  No matter how hard one stares, the mountain cannot be seen amidst its thick cloak of gray.

Yet, we know, the mountain, while hidden briefly from view, still stands.  The clouds break, the fog rolls on and the mountain, as always, remains faithfully on its foundations.

And so it is with our God.  

Although it may be hidden for a moment, the mountain does not gather up its slopes and move away on those cloudy days...nor does the God who loves you with an unending, never moving, unfailing love.

On clear, bright days, He is there with you, rejoicing and exclaiming excitedly over you.  And on those dark, cloud-filled days, He is there, faithfully waiting, strong on His foundations.

As the mountain stands firm, even more so does the God who created that very mount.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Echoes of Thanks

The house seemed strangely quiet as we entered.  Walls that had echoed the laughter and joy of thirteen extra guests, now seemed to echo back only a sense of loneliness.  Even as we got busy clearing the reminders of our visitors (and starting the first of several loads of laundry), it became clear that we would not quickly clear them from our hearts.  “I am so glad they came, but I wish they were still here,” whispered Nathan as he gazed up at me, tears welling in his eyes,  “I am just so thankful.”  

Thankful. A simple, but profound word that defines our hearts' response to the past two weeks.  We are thankful for the team that sacrificed their time and finances to come thousands of miles to love on the children of our branch.  We are thankful for their willingness to use their unique skills and talents to serve the Kingdom of God through the myriad of ways they served our colleagues, our family and the people of Tanzania.   We are thankful for the individuals who remained back in the United States who helped provide funding and supplies, took care of family left behind and who faithfully prayed for our time together.

Thankful.  We are thankful for a week of rest in a beautiful location.  We are thankful that it served bacon for breakfast each day and that it had hot, high pressure showers.  We are thankful to see friends who serve in different parts of Tanzania.  We are thankful for our all that our children were able to experience; for friendships renewed and memories made searching through tidal pools, diving deep in the pool and singing at the top of their longs about “the God of WOW!”  

Thankful.  We are thankful for each of you, for your prayers and encouragement.  As we welcomed the team, we once again were reminded that this journey is so much not about us.  We were honored to have taught five of the team members in fifth grade Sunday School years ago.  This journey is just as much about them, about the seeds God has planted in their hearts to serve Him how and whenever
He calls them. This journey is just as much about you, who faithfully pray and sacrificially give so that His word can bear fruit in the heart languages of Tanzania.  Ultimately, this journey is about Him.  It is about the glory His name will receive as the different tribes of the Mbeya region learn that God speaks their language.  

Thankful.  A simple word, that will echo through our hearts and fill the quietness of our home long after the last reminder of the team is picked up.  
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