Monthly Archives: March 2014

Bible Quizzing

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It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m at home enjoying some rest and relaxation. (Do you sense my sigh of relief?)

For the past 3 months, I’ve spent my Sunday afternoons with 8 local kids for Bible Quizzing. It’s an annual event here at Tenwek, and each year it’s bigger and better than the previous year! When I first heard the announcement, I wasn’t interested. Sunday afternoons are for naps and family time, and I didn’t want to sacrifice this ritual. But then, as the announcement continued, I heard that the focus was I Samuel. Well, needless to say, I knew that was a sign from God that I needed to invest in the lives of some kids so that they could fall in love with the story of Hannah (and many other stories in I Samuel) for 3 months of my life.

The last 3 months were busy and sometimes tiring but very rewarding. We studied selected chapters in I Samuel. We covered the story of Hannah conceiving a much-wanted son and later giving him, Samuel, back to the Lord. We studied how God called to Samuel while Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, turned away from God. We learned how God sometimes answers our prayers even when it’s not what is best for us as we studied how Saul became the first king of Israel. Then, we saw how God chose David to defeat a giant named Goliath and also anointed him king over Israel. So much good material to learn and study and hide in our hearts. May the Holy Spirit call these stories and lessons to mind when it would be most helpful to the hundreds of kids who spent the past 3 months in the Word.

Quiz in action

Two teams are competing. The one at the microphone is answering the question.

Here is how it worked: we were divided into teams of 8 kids and 1 coach. We met every Sunday afternoon for a big group devotion. Then, we broke into our teams to study. Each week, we had one or two chapters to learn. The kids studied situation questions (who said it to whom), general questions, and finish the verses from each chapter. Every several weeks, we compete to see who knows the material better.

One Sunday afternoon of studying I Samuel with my team.

One Sunday afternoon of studying I Samuel with my team.

Then, last weekend was our big finale. We finished the regular season on Saturday. My team did really well and won both of the quizzes!

My team competing on Saturday.

My team competing on Saturday.

Our wins put us in the finals, which were held the following afternoon. Somehow, we lost our spark overnight and we lost our first quiz. My team was eliminated from the competition. It was quite disappointing, but I was so proud of the way they studied and learned the material. Congrats to my Pillars of the Earth!

The afternoon was filled with Bible Quiz after Bible Quiz to determine who would receive the trophies. The last quiz, the one to determine first and second place, was so close. It came down to the last question! The teams were tied on question #19. As the girl answered the last question correctly, the audience lost control. Everyone was so proud of both teams and so excited for the winning team!

The audience goes wild at the end of the final quiz!

The audience goes wild at the end of the final quiz!

Once the audience settled down, we began the awards ceremony. Five of my team members received medals for memorizing Scripture. The first, second and third place teams were awarded ribbons. And then the individuals who scored the most points were given trophies.

Awards!

And no Kenyan ceremony is complete without two things: showing proper appreciation to those who helped and speeches! We extend our arms to measure the appreciation. Then, we make a big, loud clap. Finally, we direct it toward the person we are appreciating.

Kenyan Appreciation 1

 

So today, as I’m staying in bed all day with terrible nausea, I’m thankful that Bible Quizzing is over. I’m also thankful for the 3 months spent with these students. It’s time well spent to teach the Word of God to children!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God for his Word! I love how it is alive and active, sharper than a double-edged sword.

2. Pray that the memory verses and information the kids learned will penetrate their hearts. Pray that their efforts will be rewarded by God. Pray that the Holy Spirit will use their head knowledge to teach them how to apply it to their lives.

3. Pray for all the WGM missionaries in Kenya who are gathering at the coast for the annual retreat. Pray for safe travels, rich fellowship and spiritual renewal for all of us attending.

4. Please pray for my tummy. It is not liking the malaria medicine I’m taking. Thanks!

“and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.” I Samuel 17:47

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1 Year

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Here it is. The time to stop counting by months and start counting by years. The time to begin a new year of celebrating holidays and living daily life without our princess. It doesn’t seem possible, and yet we have come so far.

Love those eyes, those cheeks, those lips, that chin,...

Love those eyes, those cheeks, those lips, that chin,…

I usually don’t re-read my blogs. Quite honestly, I’m as close to being an anti-blog-reader than a blogger can be. I just don’t read blogs, especially my own. But I thought I’d go against my norm and re-read some of my March/April/May posts. My hope was that I’d be able to get a good assessment of how much healing has happened this past year, and I’d have even more confidence in my God.

Well, the truth is that I’m jealous of that time, at least in some ways. I grieve that heavy presence of the Holy Spirit. I miss my boldness and confidence to speak the Truth. I’m sorry that my heart isn’t as tender as it was in those months immediately following Hannah’s death. Mostly, I hate how much I’ve moved on with life.

The boys enjoying snow day pancakes. (By snow day, I mean a day the teachers declare a day off school...There was no snow.)

The boys enjoying snow day pancakes. (By snow day, I mean a day the teachers declare a day off school…There was no snow.)

But that is the proof of healing. Most days are happy and full of joy. Yes, I’m still struggling with boredom. Yes, I’m still missing her sweet presence in my house and her girly role in our family. But I am learning how to live without her. In fact, I’ve done it. I can manage the boys, the house, school, my ministries, etc. with joy and thanksgiving. I can find blessings in the midst of everyday life. I can sing praises to God (at least in my head…no one wants to hear my singing voice!) all the day long. I can be bold in my faith, but it’s just a little more censored now. My heart is still tender, just not so deeply wounded. I still hear the Holy Spirit speak directly to me.

In fact, I heard a sweet word from the Holy Spirit this morning. I have to share the story…

The story begins yesterday as I was talking on the phone with a friend. I told her, “I want her birthday to be the celebration day. March 14 is not a day to celebrate. I want to be sad and to miss her.” In line with that reasoning, we requested to be left alone today. Aaron and I just wanted to stay inside and look at her pictures, watch home movies, and remember her…without people watching or worrying or giving speeches or hovering. (Can you tell we’re introverts??)

But this morning, as my running partner was praying over me and my family, she asked God many things. She asked that His presence be felt in a special way today, that He would comfort us like only He can, that we would cast all our cares upon Him, etc. All that seemed normal. The thing that got me was when she praised God for the way Hannah is celebrating in heaven. Wow! That is when the Holy Spirit spoke, “You may be sad today, because this marks the end of your time with her. She, however, is celebrating because today is the anniversary of the beginning of her new life.” Wow! That’s true! While I’m wanting to celebrate her life on her birthday, January 22, and mourn on her death anniversary, March 14, Hannah may not even remember January 22 and may only celebrate her new and eternal life beginning on March 14, 2013.

I’m not sure why this seems so revolutionary to me. I’ve been looking forward to my new, eternal life in heaven for a long time. I can’t wait for that day when I am face-to-face with my Creator. I can’t wait to be whole and perfect and complete. I will surely rejoice that day! I just never looked at heaven from Hannah’s perspective. I was too busy grieving to actually realize how much she must be enjoying heaven. I’ve considered that she’s healed and happy, but it’s been more like a passing thought than a serious consideration. I’ve asked lots of questions about her in heaven, but those were selfish as I wanted to peak into her life. So, this morning, the Holy Spirit prompted me to really envision her there. I need to go past that vision He gave me a year ago, for she is passed the pearly gates. She is fully engaged in life in heaven. She has met countless family members, both biological and spiritual. She surely has danced with Jesus on numerous occasions. She probably has met lots of new friends. Her smile doesn’t fade. Her eyes always twinkle. She is forever happy.

And because of this new reality, and for so many other reasons, I can praise God today!

2 Peter:2-8, 10 (NLT)

May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better. 3 As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! 4 And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature. 5 So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. 6 Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. 7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away. 11 And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Another part of my friend’s prayer was that God would allow Hannah’s presence to be felt today. While I never expect to see Hannah in a vision or to physically feel her again, I was intrigued by this portion of her prayer. I wondered if God would answer it…And He did, right away! As soon as I got home from my run, the boys bounded out of their room. I explained what today was and what we were planning to do. The morning moved along at a nice, slow pace. Then, Noah disappeared into the school room only to return with a drawing of Hannah saying, “Hi, Mom and Dad!” So precious! I love how God used Noah to allow Hannah to speak to us. I love Noah’s sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. I love his love for his sister. I love how God answers prayer is such unique ways.

Noah's drawing of Hannah

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God because He is the Healer and Comforter!

2. Praise God because He is the Keeper of promises, He is close to the broken hearted, He is the Holder of every tear.

3. Please pray with me for anyone reading our blogs that does not yet know the redeeming love of Christ. May more and more people come to a saving knowledge of salvation! Please pray that we would be transparent for the purpose of people seeing Christ through us.

4. Please pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on those who desperately need to hear God speak.

Waterfalls, Bike rides and Hail! Oh My!

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Well, it’s March already, and I think a little update is in order…Here is a rundown of the last 2 months complete with prayer requests and praises.

January and February tend to be dry here in Bomet, which means the river is low. A large part of our electricity is produced by a hydroelectric plant, so when the river is low our power supply diminishes. Therefore, we have suffered many power outages over the past weeks. No electricity also means no internet…Thus, the lack of facebook and blog posts! Sorry. Please pray for the engineers who are volunteering their time and expertise to install a second turbine so that we have more power.

Most of these rocks are usually under water.

Most of these rocks are usually under water.

The waterfall is so, so low.

The waterfall is so, so low.

Aaron is participating in the prison ministry today, so I took the boys to the river this morning. The river is so low that it isn’t going over the dam. It has been channeled through this opening you see in the above picture. Regardless, the boys loved playing in the water this morning. Levi was drenched in minutes and came close to death multiple times…He’s so clumsy, impulsive and crazy! Praise God for a safe and fun morning! Pray that Levi will learn how to control himself and make wise choices. 🙂

The boys are rowing their boat.

The boys are rowing their boat.

Everyone is enjoying the warm, sunny weather. (Sorry to all my friends getting slammed with snow storm after snow storm!) The boys are still enjoying and thriving in school. Noah’s reading has improved SO much this year. Praise God! Jacob has discovered his need for alone time and is reading quite well for a 5 1/2 year old. Levi, the social butterfly, loves his preschool class no matter what’s happening in it.

Both Noah and Jacob have learned to ride bikes. They aren’t experts yet, but they learned so quickly and are enjoying it. Just stay out of the way! Levi is a speedster on his bike too. We’re not quite ready to take the training wheels off his bike though.

Jacob is getting quite good!

Jacob is getting quite good!

We moms are already busy planning next school year. With 25+ kids involved in the co-op here at Tenwek, it’s quite the process to figure out who is teaching whom, where the classes will take place, which curriculums are best, and the schedule to make it all work simultaneously! The process has just begun, and it will take months (probably until August) until it’s all settled. Please pray for us! And please pray that God will provide the teacher(s) we need to make the co-op run smoothly and at its best academically, socially, etc.

As for the current school year, I am busy teaching 3 math classes! I’m still teaching 2 boys pre-Algebra. And now, I have one-on-one instruction with one girl who is learning Algebra I and another girl taking seventh grade math. Plus, I am responsible for teaching Noah most of his core classes. Needless to say, my mornings are busy! Please pray for these students as they learn the fundamental concepts of math that will serve them well throughout high school and college. Praise God for the maturity and academic progress I’ve seen in Noah this school year!

We had one surprise snow day this year. (We teachers usually plan one to surprise the students, and that day took place in February.) God provided this one. Right at lunch time on Thursday, the rain and hail poured from heaven. It was deafening and painful. The hail was only pea-sized, but it hurt when it hit bare skin. Despite my warnings, the boys begged and begged to go outside. I, being the meanest mom in the entire world, made them finish their lunches first. Fortunately, the storm ended just before they ate dessert, and then they were released to play in the ‘snow.’ It really did look like snow, because the hail gathered into piles. It was cold but no one seemed to care. They loved it!

Hail or snow??

Hail or snow??

This is how we play in the hail...in shorts, with water guns, loving every minute.

This is how we play in the hail…in shorts, with water guns, loving every minute.

Clearly, overall, life is good here. We are privileged to serve in such a beautiful place. However, we do have some other prayer requests:

First of all, please pray for us as we quickly approach March 14. I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m trying to prepare myself for an emotional roller coaster. Pray a special prayer for the boys’ hearts. They have been expressing some sadness lately. Even Levi is getting upset at random times and asking for Sissy.

Secondly, please pray for all of the missionaries in Kenya. Pray that God will allow us to stay here and finish the work we’ve begun. More importantly, though, pray that we are hearing and submitting to His direction.

Lastly, pray for our friends and family back home. Pray that the God of all comfort will comfort them this month as well.

Psalm 91:14-15 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.”