Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sam's Home - Finally

Some of you know that Sam was gone for a while this month. He was in Ethiopia at meetings for the Global Disciples Training Alliance. It's a big mouthful but it's a group of people who run short term discipleship training programs like TREK or Action. Here's a bit about what Sam said in an email he sent out to our prayer supporters.

Who are we again?
The GDT Alliance is a member-governed strategic alliance. The representative Members Council is elected by Alliance Members by region and meets once a year in conjunction with one of the GDT Alliance Annual Meetings. This group carries the responsibility for decisions about GDT Alliance policies and membership we met for a 1.5 days before the main group arrived.

Amazing Growth!
In 1997 the GDT Alliance began with 5 programs who trained and sent out 273 workers. Now, ten years later, in 2007 there are 90 programs and there were 1,750 workers sent out. If this multiplication continues at the same rate till 2012 there will be 6,320 workers trained and sent out. God is doing amazing things!

He was in Ethiopia in 2000 and the meetings were about 25 people total including all the countries that were a part of it. This year there were 125 participants at the meetings and that was just for the participants from Africa!

The meetings started out with these words:

“We are here for only one reason, to exalt Jesus” It is out of relationship with Jesus that good news flows. “The tribes may fight in Kenya, but here we are one body. We are one family. We are blood brothers in Jesus.”
We want this to be a week of refreshment. We want the Holy Spirit to be flowing into your lives like streams of living water. So as we walk around here this week, I expect it to be as common to see you praying with each other as talking to each other. Come and drink deeply of what God has to offer.
This alliance is about relationships. We want this to be a safe place. You may feel like you are in a room of strangers now, but we want that to change by tomorrow morning. And by next week we expect to see a few tears as you say ‘goodbye.’
We live in a changing world. The methods we used in the last decade will not work today. When I was born, there were 3 billion people in the world; today there are 6.? Billion. 29% of these have never had the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus. Many of these live in difficult places. Some of us and some of those we train will lay down our lives so that they may hear.
Early missionaries to Africa were told to pack their belongings in coffins because the average life
expectancy for new missionaries was less than two years. Yet, look at what God has done in the church in Africa.
It’s time for a new wave in Africa. It’s time for the African church to rise up and send forth
missionaries. And its time for people with white faces like mine to stand behind and cheer and to wash your feet. (by Galen Burkholder - Director of GDT Alliance)

Well needless to say that set the tone. And the rest of our meetings were a sweet time of learning, prayer, repentance and fellowship together.

Here are a few of the people Sam got to see and meet while he was away.
Claude (from Congo) His wife worries that there might not be enough food for her and their five children while he is gone.

Alex (from Uganda) he has seen a lot of suffering. Five of his brothers
died of fighting or malnutrition while living in Congo. Pray for healing for
him. He directs a discipleship-mission training program that goes to the
refugees in western Uganda.

They spent a lot of time worshiping and praying for each other.

Eating and enjoying each other's company around dinner tables

and of course, lots of meetings!

Benson’s story
The following is a testimony from Benson.
Some of you have seen the video "Just a Desert Boy" that was made from the Benson story. Benson is at the meeting in Ethiopia and the following is his testimony of what God is doing, here is a journal
We re-played the Benson video and then he came to share his testimony, a powerful story, almost unbelievable. If I didn’t know his story, I would doubt a lot of what he reported.
• His goal was to plant 100 churches in
10 years as he stated on the DVD. So far he has planted 73 in 6 years.
• This year he planted two churches in Somalia and 30 in Turkana.
• He baptized 3000 people last year and wants to go to Uganda this year.
• In one village he was shot and still has a scar above his heart. He didn’t want to go back to that village and felt that after what they did to him they ‘could
die in their sins.’ But God worked on him and he returned to preach the gospel. 5400 people came to the Lord. (I think this was the same village.)
• As he went to another village, the local witch doctor determined that he would not make it to preach. He slaughtered a goat and put some poisoned meat on a tree where Benson would pass. Benson came after a three day journey and was very hungry when he saw the meat. He took it, gave thanks and ate it…then went to the village to preach. The witch doctor was the first to receive Christ that afternoon.
• Another time he was walking for several days and fainted 17 times. He felt like he was dying and told God, “Just allow me to lead one more soul to you and then I am ready to die.” He reached the village and preached. 300 came to the Lord!

As you can see Sam had a pretty full 12 days. Our days were not quite so busy but we made it through anyway. It's always hard when Sam goes. I have to be consistent with making meals and getting the kids to eat enough fruits and veggies! It's very easy to just make Mac n Cheese every night since I know that's the one thing they won't complain about.

I also managed to stay fairly active this time (usually all exercise goes out the window when Sam goes away!). I would put on an exercise dvd every night after supper and me and the kids would do it together. I only had to turn it off early twice due to excessive complaining! It's very funny to watch the kids do pilates!

One thing I didn't maintain was my 5 am wake up call to write before the day starts. But I'm happy to say I'm back at it this week. On the topic of "the book" - I put all my writing together in one word document to see how much I actually have. After all is said and done I have about 104 thousand words which is about the size of a normal book. I was encouraged by that - that's a huge feat but also discouraged because I can't quite see the end in sight - so this book promises to be a big one! And one that will most definitely need excessive cutting during rewrite number 1.

The kids missed daddy a lot. Zachary spent all day yesterday with Sam. He refused to go outside to play with the neighbour kids, he only wanted to be with daddy. They even made a great supper together.

As for Ana - she is turning into such a big girl - yikes when did this happen. I have to listen to her read every night now. She has beginner books that she is learning. I think she mostly memorizes them and figures out the words by looking at the pictures but I am assured that that is the beginning of reading. I hope she grows to love books as much as her mom!

We have a few birthday's coming up. Zachary is turing four on Friday. Anyone know where I can find Lightening McQueen cake decorations? I'm not trusting my ability to ice a cake to look like Lightening!

This is quite the long post - Hope you made it through!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy New Year

So I haven't blogged in a long time. I never said I'd be consistent! I meant to post some of our Christmas pictures a couple weeks ago but I guess it's better late than never! I tried to upload a video but it was taking hours (like 6) so I wasn't even sure it was working. I think it may be my internet speed (we have lite speed) so maybe next time I'll be able to do it.

We actually had a great Christmas this year. Sam took a whole week off and we just relaxed, read books, played games, and went for walks. It was so wonderful.

We usually open our presents on Christmas eve but decided to save it for Christmas Day so the kids would have lots of time to play with their gifts. I made a whole Christmas dinner including a really yummy pie. I realized that I love making pies! It was so fun.

Pre-oven. It's apple cranberry.

...and post oven. Ana absolutely loved this pie (she really loves any sort of dessert!)

We had a bit of snow over Christmas including on Christmas Day so that made it even more special and more exciting for the kids. Here's Ana watching a princess movie with her new princess barbies.

And Zachary and Daddy putting together his playmobile airplane. It took about 2 hours but he loved helping to build it.

And the finished product!

So now Ana is back at school and we're back into our routine. It was very hard for me to get out of vacation mode but I guess that's good because it meant I really relaxed!

More soon about how our weeks without Sam were. Thank goodness he's coming home soon!