Busy Monday... busy week staring us in the face... busy weekend from which it might take us all week to recover... but so much for which to be thankful today. First and foremost on my list, however, are my two biggest biggers... and how they really rose to the occasion yesterday...
Wanna hear the story? I so wish I had some pictures - I had the camera with me, but no time or opportunity to snap them.
Brendan and Rebekah have been teaching Sunday School at the African church service we attend throughout this school year. Sometimes we've had to encourage good attitudes and preparation with integrity, but for the most part, we've been pleased to see their willingness and the heart that they've developed for the kids with whom they've been spending their Sunday mornings. Let me clarify right from the beginning... when I say teaching I don't mean they've been assisting, helping the pastor's wife do the teaching. I mean they've been planning and choosing the lessons, preparing what they are going to say, figuring out any games to go along, leading singing and Bible verse memory time... I mean the whole kit and kaboodle while Tantie Amina (the pastor's wife) mentors, assists and translates... and even now, she is beginning to wean herself out of that role and her two children, Zacharie and Abigail are the primary assistants/teacher helpers/translators. Even Nadia has starting to help with coaching classmates on their Bible memory- when she isn't translating the lesson to English for Elsie Mae and some fellow mks that have been attending the church this year.
Normally, there are around 30 kids in this Sunday School class, ranging in ages from Mary Michelle (2 yrs) to some older girls, close to, or maybe even a bit older than Rebekah (14 yrs this week). However, resulting from an evangelization campaign the church has run the past week or so... plus an incentive for regular attenders to bring visitors, particularly from the neighborhood, 70 children showed up for Sunday School yesterday morning. They couldn't all even fit into the tiny storage room they use as a classroom. It was hot (110ish/44ish or so - we've stopped verifying because it is too discouraging), and it was a wild, rambunctious, excited group. Rebekah's weekend to teach, she had prepared a lesson on the 10 Commandments - but that wasn't going to be the best choice for children who'd never heard the Gospel message before... nor for boys from this culture having a girl/peer in the position of teaching. So the class was quickly divided into two: Rebekah and Abigail took the regular attenders. Brendan and Zacharie taught the visitors. Tantie popped in and out of their classes and gathered as much as she could from the service going on inside the sanctuary. And I kept poking my head in the classroom and around the corner into the courtyard just to be sure my "babies" weren't totally overwhelmed.
In reality? I think they were overwhelmed. They both said it was very difficult, but they taught their lessons (Bren's was a lesson on the fly - he'd not prepared to teach at all yesterday), they both were able to help share God's wonderful news - the fact that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, that the Savior has come and paid the debt to set us free from the bondage of sin and to guarantee us an eternity together with Him. Many children heard the message - some for the first time. Amidst the silliness and confusion, there were some good questions and careful answers given... we do think some understood.
After last year's evangelization campaign (according to Tantie), the Sunday School class gained two faithful older girls who are slowly coming to believe and accept the truth presented in God's Word, plus several more who attend sporadically and show up for special events.
Would you please join us in praying for those seeds that were sown?
- that God shows our two oldest how He works His mighty power with willing (even though they may be at times reluctant) servants who obey even when totally overwhelmed with the task before them.
- that the seeds scattered have fallen on fertile soil and that the Holy Spirit is causing roots to spring forth and small shoots of faith to appear in young and tender hearts.
- that those present will have seen something different, something that they want and something that they recognize they need.
- that changes in children lead to changes in families - that mothers and fathers want to learn more about what their children have learned.
- that our church is open, available and welcoming to these kids and their families as the Lord brings in His harvest!
this week's gratitude list
(#s 1136 - 1165)
an amazing experience for my two oldest
a hard, faith-growing experience for my two oldest
seeing once again that Brendan and Rebekah Joy do have a burden for their friends in our adopted homeland and are willing to work through seasons of discomfort and stretching to share the Gospel message and not just leave the "ministry" side of things to Dad and Mom
Zacharie and Abigail -- faithful "Jonathans" to our children as they seek to minister
Tantie and her faithful efforts mentoring these kids
God's grace to our family via proceeds from garage sales the past two weekends
serving as I translated for a lady trying to sell things at one of those garage sales
clutter that had accumulated passed on to those who can better use it
a friend returned from vacation
birthday parties galore
rootbeer float cupcakes
our one that used to be so afraid to venture out alone - delighted to attend a slumber party spa without any siblings present
20th anniversary celebration for Ecole Alliance
upcoming opportunity to minister via literacy work
hearing that my niece, Leandra, is making good progress in raising her support to come spend next year with us
looking forward to a roof on our house
3 weeks until we move to a second story apartment overlooking the river - and hopefully, prayerfully, we'll leave there and head directly into our new home
Evening Bible Institude classes these next two weeks
finding out that our sick kitty (Mickey) can be helped - if she's strong enough to survive the treatment
pieces falling into place
long holiday from school soon
students working hard for those challenging IGCSE exams
working internet, mostly working electricity
the Baneira church working towards organizing itself officially with the government here
safety for Tim and our friend Ayouba as they went out to the bush for the weekend
looking forward to and trusting we will continue to see God's hand in an infinite number of ways this week
packing suitcases as we begin to prepare to move
possible perfect sleeping solution for our girls when we move into our new home... we go check it out tonight
hearing good news regarding the medical situation of a sweet little girl back home - and the encouragement that brings to her mommy and daddy
the privilege of praying for friends facing challenging and overwhelming times - regardless of how big or small those situations may seem in the grand scheme of life