Monday, January 18, 2016

Trash to Beauty

Flowers are beautiful. Every time we go in to Ziguinchor we are reminded of Gods beauty through flowers. The hotel we stay at has beautiful flowers. Our children love to look at them, touch them and smell them. When one falls they are so excited to collect it and often they give me one. The flower that falls away from the plant that is rooted in the ground and surrounded by others will wilt and eventually dry up and need to be thrown away. As I type this I sit with a single flower in my lap that is starting to wilt. 

This flower made me realize Christians are the same. If we are removed from other believers, we will fall, wilt and eventually die. We need each other, the nutrients from the soil and to be watered. 

When we drive into Ziguinchor we pass a trash dump. This trash dump was used up until maybe 6-9 months ago. It was constantly being burned and having more trash dumped into it. It was foul smelling an so ugly to look at.

 However, when we drive by it now, there are beautiful flowers growing out of the pit. 

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This trash dump reminds me that no matter the trash in our lives, He can make us beautiful.

When we put our faith in Him, he makes us new. He takes away the trash and makes beautiful flowers grow. 

Humility in Marriage

Marriage is on our hearts and minds a lot here.  It always seems like there is a problem and a need for prayer. In this culture, there isn't much privacy. Most all work is done in their yards and as you pass by, you can see clearly what people are doing.  It may be wash day and the women of the house are bent over a washboard and big bucket scrubbing laundry. Each morning and evening you can walk through our village and see women bent over with a broom sweeping their yards. Some mornings we can hear the thud of women pounding rice for hours.  On one particular day Michael was walking through the village and he saw a husband and wife fighting.  It wasn’t just any fight, but an all out physical fight.  Michael was taken back by the fight, not only because he saw a husband hitting his wife, but the wife was also hitting her husband with an equal amount of strength.  Michael, along with other men that were around, interceded and were able to calm the husband and wife down and help them to reconcile.  This is the normality of life here. 

We had a woman recently come to us for prayer.  She told us that she was coming secretly and she did not want others to know she was coming.  She was worried of what others would say.  This woman is an older woman, a mother, a grandma.  She wanted us to pray for her child who is making some horrible decisions.  This child has already had one divorce and was on her way for another one.  The mother was devastated.  She told us she came because she believed the only thing left to do was to pray.  She said only God could help her daughter. The woman continued to tell us she couldn’t understand why her daughter was acting the way she was.  This woman proceeded to tell us a little bit about her life story.  One sentence has stuck with me. She said, “I was married to a mean man who treated me badly, but I endured because he was my husband and my family.  I didn’t run away, but I endured and now God has blessed me.” The strength of this woman amazes me.  She sat there beside us with tears in her eyes, begging us to pray for her daughter.  We all three started praying together, her in her tribe language, Michael in English and me in Creole and God heard all three of us.  The faith of this woman is humbling.  She cannot read, will never understand the depths of the Bible, she will never be a theologian, but her faith is the same. One day we will be together in heaven.  Our education is not what matters, our profession will be nothing one day, but our faith will remain.  The verse that comes to my mind is 1 Corinthians 1:27, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”

We, Michael and I, are so thankful for God leading us to serve in Guinea Bissau.  We have learned so much through our time here and God isn’t even done yet! One thing we have learned is humility.  If I were to say one thing that makes our marriage a happy marriage it is humility.  Being humble to admit when we are wrong, being humble to allow each other to speak without interruptions and being humble enough to be quiet when you know you are right, rather than fight.  The woman that came to our house in secret for prayer was filled with humility.  I can only pray that God will continue to fill me with humility and with love for others.