07 May 2012

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ How does your garden grow?

My husband preached Sunday morning at our church here in Niamey.

If I ever wondered whether or not God was working in our lives, the very fact that my favorite techie guy - the one who chose audio-visual ministries because he wanted to serve but he really didn't want to be the one up in front, the same one who delights in making those up in front look and sound good - willingly preaches in a second language on a regular basis is one of those things that helps convince me. Those of you who are friends of ours, who've known him for a long time - certainly you can say the same thing!

And a total aside... one of his favorite Zarma words is the word for preacher - "waazuko!" ...grin!

He used an illustration in his sermon that I didn't appreciate so much at the time (partly because I was being mauled by my 3-year old, had little Salamatou trying to hold my hand all while I was trying (and doing a poor job) to translate the service into English for my niece. It made an impact on one of the ladies, though, when I saw her today and we spent a little bit of time talking.

She was talking about one of the other ladies in the church who had promised to come to Bible study last Saturday - and didn't, because she had a family reunion. Today in the eyes of my friend, this other lady betrayed her church family showing loyalty to and choosing her Muslim earthly family first.

I've been encouraging these ladies with what the Bible has to say about judging one another and talking about each other behind their backs (i.e. slander and gossip)... and although I don't have the Zarma vocabulary to really try and redirect the conversation when this sort of thing starts... I'm just barely grasping enough of the language to have a small idea of what is actually being discussed... I did manage to communicate my discomfort today when the conversation took this turn - and by the Lord's grace, it must have been perceived in a culturally appropriate way or this lady was willing to extend me a ton of grace because all of the sudden, she stopped talking and started to laugh gregariously and contagiously like only she can.

Then she said (a very, very rough translation), "Don't worry. I did hear Pasteur Tim yesterday. He talked about how different trees grow in different ways and different speeds. I need to trust that God is helping this ladies' roots to grow, even if I can't see it."

Tim was preaching about spiritual health (which is the theme for the church this year) - and as part of his introduction, he talked about 4 different trees we planted in our yard when we moved into our house last September. One has grown several feet in height, has many broad leaves, and already gives the kids shade when they want to play underneath it. Two other trees, the same type, and while one appears to be thriving and is growing; the other looks healthy, has green leaves and buds for more, but has only grown a very tiny bit bigger (we think) and yet the two have received the same treatment: twice daily watering and regular fertilizing (the natural sort). The final tree we planted is a lemon tree - and it doesn't look any different than it did when we put it in the ground 7 months ago. It hasn't withered up and died, but it certainly hasn't exhibited any signs of robust health.

I think part of Tim's point was spiritual growth isn't always flamboyant and overwhelmingly evident to those just looking on - and we have to be careful of judging the spiritual health of others simply because we don't see exponential growth or change. Sometimes roots are pushing way down deep before exterior signs of growth become evident.

Based on my conversation with my friend today - I think she is starting to grasp that idea. I wonder if God just might use that new-found-still-beginning-comprehension to change the flavor of our ladies' group at church. I'm certainly praying that way.

this week's gratitude list

(#s 2168 - 2193)

testimonies of truth taking root

finding humor in the different sound combinations of a different language

Monday mornings at the pool

Life lessons from Winnie the Pooh

Women of Faith video conference - and seeing Angie Smith speak... after following her blog for so long, it was neat to finally see her in almost-real-life!

yummy cinnamon rolls at that conference - and then strawberry shortcake for dessert after lunch

thinking through the story of Gideon once again

Gideon's blunt and honest heart-cry question in Judges 6.13

burgers and fries birthday party with a chocolate cake disguised as a monster burger, homemade vanilla ice cream, a super sweet 19 year old birthday girl and great friends with whom to celebrate

accident that became an effective object lesson

getting to bed at a reasonable hour...

which meant feeling like actually crawling out of bed the next morning

our new and up-coming videographer - can't wait to share the video she captured of tonight's horseback riding lesson

surprising cool Saturday morning, a petite break from the oppressive heat of this season

friends in town for the week - meaning a nearby playmate for our little man and an excuse to go out for a dinner date later this week

m&m quotable quotes that keep me laughing

smurf jokes

kids who can cook... and I mean they can really cook!!!

short order chef enjoying his job

punting when directed by the Holy Spirit

listening to another pray from a humble heart

slow but steady progress

finally finishing a hard, sobering - even if not exactly what I first expected - read: Girl Soldier

amazing moon on Saturday night... Why didn't I snap any photos?

watching our garden grow - and looking forward to and trusting that someday our lemon tree will produce!



  1. Oh, this is my first time here (we are neighbors at Ann's), but I already feel like I can relate to you on so many levels!

    I, like you, know the thrill of watching God move in a husband's life . . . and I always thing my hubby has the greatest sermons!

    And I must confess, I was totally distracted by your MBTI types on the sidebar, b/c I've been (lay) teaching that profile for 10 years! Your personality is similar to my husband's (and many of my closest friends), while I am an ENFJ.

    Really great blog you've got going here! Glad to have met you! :)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Kelli!

      Glad you can relate. We've had fun with the MBTI profiles - especially seeing how the kids change and grow over time because their personalities do develop. One thing I've noticed is that little ones tend to be more EP combos - but as they grow, that sometimes changes towards the other end of the continuum. I've found it fascinating.

      Am looking forward to visiting your blog.



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