Friday, July 30, 2010

Remembrance

It is always nice to be remembered. When I work with orphans I diligently try to recall their names each day and repeat them back. Of course they have a lot of fun with my antics of squinting my eyes, scratching my brain and finally coming up with the right one. I make a game out of it and it is one everyone enjoys -playing "Remember me?"

Each day I open the conference with an introduction of who we are, a bit about the ministry of Sunshine After Rain and then I tell them my name (Charlynn) and the name of my associate (Debi). They feel a bit more comfortable with her name because when they hear "Deborah" they know Deborahs, there have even been a few in the audience.

After a few more minutes of sharing I ask them what my name is. It NEVER fails. There is usually only 1 or 2 who actually stand and say "Charlynn." I give them a hug and a prize. Before I finish, I tell them the story of how I came to know the meaning of my name. I share verses from Psalm 139 and the first chapter of Jeremiah. Before I was born, God knew me (and them) and called me by name. It was a name that always embarrassed me because no one could pronounce it OR remember it. But God knew in advance, when my parents assigned me this unique name with the ancient meaning, "Encourager of Women."

Here under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, in the far and distant country known as Tanzania, I am fulfilling my "calling." We came here to strengthen and encourage the Body of Believers, especially the women; teaching of their value in a culture where they are seen as child bearers and water carriers. From the initial responses we have seen and heard it has been a successful endeavor. During these 6 days of conference, we have seen close to 700 women with 50 or so men thrown in for good measure.

"God saw what they were doing and listened in." Malachi 3:16

We have felt the presence of the Father, and tasted His good pleasure these last few days. What a treasure to be able to share and grow disciples for the Kingdom work planned here in East Africa. We have prepared "Certificates of Achievement" for each in attendance, and given the level of pride and joy they exhibit when they receive it - you would think they had been handed a degree from Harvard.

And that's just it. A Harvard or Yale Certificate means nothing to them. But to be "awarded" something that shows they have participated in a class for advancing the Kingdom, now that's another story.

"A Book was opened in God's presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God's name." Malachi 3:16 The Message

The first day we arrived we asked our hosts for a sheet of material the women could sign. As they have carefully printed on the fabric, we explained this was so we could take their names with us and be reminded to pray for them. The women have been excited to know they will not be forgotten. Their names are written down, they are more than a numerical record of how many people were served in the mission field. They are individuals - with names!

Our time here is over. Luke 10 accounts of the seventy Jesus selected to go out "two by two." We know you have prayed for the Harvest, and tomorrow these "two" return having reported the joy of our work.

When the "missionaries" told Jesus all that had been accomplished, He said the real rejoicing was not their work, but His.

Seven hundred names are recorded for our remembrance of the week we spent in the villages of Tanzania. They are written for us on a simple sheet of cloth. We rejoice for the coming day when together, all of our names will be read by the Lamb

from His Book of Life.

Adding to the list with a smile!
Charlynn and Debi on the way home
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is it a Sin?

On our way to the tribal community at the base of Mount Meru, we passed the International Tribunal for Crimes in Rwanda. I knew before our arrival in Arusha, this is the city where the trials were held after the horrific genocide in 1994.

Sabina's husband shared the cost of living is high here because of all the foreigners (brought in for the legal issues of the conflict). I was surprised and said, "There are still trials going on 16 years later?" "Of course," he said without hesitation.

Why does justice take so long?

"Attention! God calls out to the city! If you know what is good for you, you'll listen. So listen, all of you! This is serious business." Micah 6:9 The Message

Sometimes there is no sufficient human verbal answer to the God-sized problem of injustice, violence, and sin.

We took questions from the women during the conference break. Our experience has been they begin timidly, some will question Debi about parts of her testimony, but today was different. No one said anything. And then one woman sitting at the end of the row raised her hand halfway. The translation:

"Is it a sin to send my husband to
jail for beating me?"

She wasn't asking if her husband was sinning being physically violent. She was asking if she protected herself legally (it is illegal here for men to be violent against their wives) was SHE sinning?

You could have heard a pin drop and my heartbeat. I won't share all the scriptures I did with the women on the issue of violence and biblical marriage. But in this place, where tribunals are still working out the criminal and legal issues of the undisputed genocide it convicted me to think -

Is it a sin?

When we know about a horror and do nothing more than change the channel? What are we accountable for in the proverbial "Grand Scheme" of things?

The last part of each conference we pass out Gospel Bracelets and teach the women how to share the salvation message of Christ. I start by asking them if they know the verse John 3:16. Automatically all the attendants begin saying it in their language but understandable. It has the same cadence.

For God
So loved the world
That He gave
His only begotten Son
That whosoever believes in Him
Shall have everlasting life.

For most believers it is our first verse committed to memory. One of the requirements to learn in Sunday School. Like if that is the only verse we ever memorize, we're in.

There were several babies with their mothers in the room today. I asked if the attendants could tell me something about fire. "It is hot. It will burn you." And some other answers trickled in. I ask what the women would do if they saw the baby getting close to the fire? Of course the would pull her away. They chatter about the ridiculousness of the question that seems to confuse them.

Do you believe John 3:16?

Shaking their heads still a bit uncertain where this tall, strange looking women is leading. "Then why wouldn't you tell your neighbor, your cousin and all those you know don't understand the Salvation of Christ, "For God so loved the World?" Jude 23 says "snatch them from the fire (of hell).

Is it a sin?

To know
And do nothing?

Christ paid the penalty for the sin - but I grieve over knowing - and living. I am trying to do something. I praise God you have joined us. Your financial support got us here and your prayer support gives us the wisdom and discernment to share the hope of the Living God. The Truth, the Life and the only Way.

Seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking humbling in the jungles of Africa with my Lord,
Charlynn and Debi
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hunger

Outside the window of the Guest House I hear the sounds of traffic, people hustling and bustling in their routine before the end of the day. Cars start and stop, radio music filters off and on, but all of that has been converted to an inaudible "white noise."

Today, there remains an echo etched in my memory that still resonates in my soul. It is the sound 150 Maasai women made when they heard they were being given a Bible. They literally jumped up out of their chairs; whooping, hollering, waving and fist pumping with unrestrained joy. I have never seen, heard or felt anything like it.

I started to cry.

They started to cry.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6

I wish I could say what brought tears to my eyes was joy. But I must confess, a portion was shame. I have never felt that way about the Word. I read the Word everyday. I have read from cover to cover over 18 times, and yet - this joy was an exhibit of love and excitement at the true treasure the Word REALLY is. These women acted as though they had just won a million dollars. Their cheering drowned out every other sound I have ever heard. For a moment, I thought this must be what heaven sounds like when a soul is redeemed. It was other-wordly, it was God worthy.

I composed myself, the Lord quickly erased the shame and replaced it with shared rejoicing. I did confess to the women I live in a country where there are many Bibles, but few readers. I have more than 10 Bibles in a variety of translations and notes. But even with the obedience and discipline of reading every day, in all that excess and access I have never hungered the way these women hungered for the Word. I felt it would be like Lance Armstrong hated riding a bike, or if I was Michael Phelps who really doesn't like the water.

It changed me.

I know it changed them.

In 2008, I brought a team here to Tanzania. Our host, Rev. Sabina Lumwe asked for a group to go into a region where the witchcraft practices promoted killing women with "red" eyes. She asked if we would go to this village, AND to provide Bibles for them. We responded absolutely... not knowing all our affirmative reply entailed.

We were told there would be only women, but it turned out half were men. We asked the village chief if some of the men would be the ones commiting these heinous acts (setting the women on fire, hacking them to death with machetes). He said confidently, "Oh yes, you will shake the hands of the murderers today."

One of the women in our group taught a session on how to study the Bible. She then told the eager audience a story from her early years in Sunday School. Her teacher would announce to the class, "Swords Up" and the children would hold their Bible perched between their palms and repeat, "Swords Up." Our study leader had the villagers do the same. They enjoyed it. They understood it.

"Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord." Zechariah 4:6

I shared with the Maasai women today, who have suffered a famine of the Word (see Amos 8:11) what I told the villagers. "The Bible says, God's Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11). I emphasised He is watching over His Word to see it performs all He has for it (Jer 1:12).

The first day we arrived I asked Sabina if she had news of the village. She said, "Oh yes, and all through the region the killing has stopped because of your visit!"

Only God knows what these 150 Bibles will accomplish in the hands of those who hungered for it.

Blessed are YOU for getting us here
Blessed are YOU for purchasing the Bibles
Blessed are YOU for feeding His sheep
Blessed are WE who have the feet that bring the good news!

"Let Me tell you why you are here. You are here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth." Matthew 5:13 The Message

Filled in the Fields
And Smiling
Charlynn and Debi
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Monday, July 26, 2010

Believing in Change!

Today was our first full day of the conference here in Tanzania. The morning was filled with Sunday School teachers and the afternoon brought close to 100 women. I introduce the program, explain the ministry and give them a vision for the day.

There is much about mission work that seems very difficult. The plane rides, admittedly are long, the packing ten things you might need in a foreign country "just in case" challenges the zippers on my suitcase every time. We definately leave the "comforts of home" but do take a few with us. There is a lot of fun to be had in the midst of discomfort. You can imagine the implication of not finding your key too quickly when you really really need to get into your room.

What we leave behind can't compare with what we are privileged to witness. Today, it was better than the Texas Giant Roller Coaster seeing the attendees tie on the bracelets and name tags made by the children involved with YBC (Youth Believing in Change).

The children's lives were changed the moment they connected with Vincent and Angela Gaddis and heard how they could be changed by the Word of God and BE a CHANGE for the Word of God in their community.

I send testimony of the change they are making here across the dark continent! They are already doing mission work! Even though they would be put in the category, "Children at risk." Vincent and Angela Gaddis took the risk for them. Today was a testimony to all they have poured into the lives of the children that is producing a kingdom change in the hearts of Africans 20,000 miles away.

Sometimes I get feedback on "how hard my work and life is". I confess, I bring some comforts of home. I have essential oils that as far as I have experimented will cover smells as diverse as accidentally squashed bananas, to day old curry. About the only thing it will not cover up is wet french fries! And just how did my fries get wet? I was trying to flush them down the toilet.

I carry comforts from home to be sure. Good smelling hair and body wash and a scented candle - just to name a few. I praise God for HIS surprise comforts like a hot clean shower! With no monkeys fighting for my breakfast. But the greatest comfort I carry is the one I give away.

John 3:16

I had the attendees repeat it. I said, if you believe it you should share it.

It changed me
The rest just makes me smile
In His service of course
In the shadow getting sleepy
Charlynn

Pray for the rural tribal women who will be receiving 150 Bibles tomorrow for the first time
Pray for power of the Word
Pray for our protection and REST
Pray for the Stults Road congregation to be blessed
Pray for the children to be raised up evangelist;
Pray some ten fold, some hundred fold I believe God for 1000 fold coming into the Kingdom.

Nothing is to hard for Him
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Listening for Trumpets

"When you hear the trumpet call, join us there; our God will fight for us." Nehemiah 4:20

I love Nehemiah. He is often referred to as the "repairer of the breech." He had favor with the King in exile and hearing the bad news of the state of those living in Jerusalem, asked to return to his homeland (Israel) and do what he could to help his fellow countrymen.

He left a significant job for an uncertain one. All he knew was people needed help and he was not afraid to ask. When he arrived he was ridiculed and threatened while doing the job the Lord had assigned. No one thought it could be done. The damage was far too extensive. When those trying to halt the repair took up arms against those doing the work, Nehemiah gave the instructions for the workers to listen for the trumpet.

The trumpet has been sounding from the shores of Africa for some time now. There are the plaintive notes of poverty, the deep Blues wail of AIDs, the slow resonating tune of the despair of the orphan. But there is also the sound of praise. YOU have heard the trumpet and responded through your financial support and prayers for the workers. We are witnessing the Lord doing battle and winning!

Sunday, we worshiped with our brothers and sisters here in Arusha. We brought greetings to them from you and enjoyed the applause of thanksgiving. In the afternoon we held the first of many conferences. We were told there had been an increase (3-fold) in how many would attend, but it turned out to be the original number we had provision for.

It was delightful. The women were attentive, grateful, and edified. We shared photos of the children of Stults Road and Youth Believing in Change making their name tags and bracelets. The smiles on their faces were more than an a no-limit Mastercard could purchase. Priceless indeed!

We were repairers of the breech, builders of the wall; fortifying the Body of Christ to fight on and bring others into the Kingdom. At the end, as we gave them "Gospel Bracelets" and explained how to share the good news with the 5 different colored beads, they were ecstatic. I told them the parable about the seeds falling on good ground, and claimed a hundred-fold harvest. They cheered, they made their distinct African chanting sounds and they room was filled with the music of victory.

Today, we will have two conferences totalling close to 200 people. The Name of the Lord is being glorified. The battle is raging (I suffered from hellish nightmares all night) but our God is fighting for us!

I hope you are able to hear the sounds of worship from the attached files. "It is the sound of the redeemed rising from the African plains." (He Reigns)

When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there
Smiling of course
Charlynn and Debi from under the shadow of the Almighty

Praise God for His salvation
Praise God for His provision
Praise God for the interpretation of the teaching
Pray for strength and restoration
Pray for continued wisdom and discernment
Pray for our protection
And then stand by and see the power of the King we serve!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Message to Philadelphia

"Write this to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True - David's key in His hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open...." Revelation 3:7-11

We might be far from Philadelphia, but after 4 very short hours of sleep this morning, Debi found herself stuck behind a door no one could open. No one but Jesus that is. Apparently, in the daze of a 3:00 am arrival she locked the door with the wrong key - which led to her imprisonment as we were trying to be off for breakfast. I stood on one side of the door (frustrated to think "who can't unlock a door?") After five minutes we had to laugh realizing the predicament. "Glad there is not a fire!" "Good thing we're in Africa where on time means 30 minutes late." The list and laughter continued until it got scary. How was she really going to get out? After a few more wrangles and jangles the door opened - the key was stuck, but the captive was free (at last) on to discover the key was genuinely stuck, making it impossible to lock the door. Hunger and faith prevailed as we prayerfully walked away, shrugged and said, "it is what it is."

"I see what you've done. Now see what I have done."

We know even after the few hours we have spent speaking with our host, God has done a mighty work bringing us back. The daily numbers are being multiplied (more than the supplies) and we just keep marveling at what HE has done. Not to mention getting Debi out when the key was literally broken off down in the lock.

"You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word."

We have traveled half way around the world. We are tired but what we have we are using to bring light to the nations, to say to those living in darkness be free.

We drove through the countryside, went to the snake farm and Maasai center learning about the cultural heritage. It was fascinating but such a far distance from where we live, there were times we were holding back the gasps (circumcision rituals for boys and Female genital mutilation for girls). As we processed the excursion, we realized Western culture has very few "rites of passage" anymore - unless you count Fraternity House hazing. As bad ad discouraged for the harmful accidents that have happened, I'm quite sure any guy would opt for another round of humiliation over being circumscised with a sharp stone at 15!

Music is rattling the winds inside my room. There is a celebration of something outside - but then again Africans love to dance and sing. Soon I will be sleeping. I'm listening for the Master, I think I hear Him...

"I'm on My way, I'll be there soon,"

Smiling Maranatha!
Charlynn

Pray for rest in the ruckus
Pray for health with unfamiliar food
Pray for discernment for our lessons tomorrow
Pray for supplies - our "5 loaves and 2 fish" we found out today needed to be 100 instead of 30
Pray for the hearts the Master opens the people gladly walk through!
If He did it for her...
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, July 23, 2010

Toto...

...we are not in Kansas anymore.

We are no where close to anything familiar either. About the only thing recognizable from the airport lounge in Addis Abbaba was Sprite. But even that, served up in its miniature airport can, has English on one side and some undetermined foreign script on the other. I would guess Arabic from the curved lines with random dots, but it could just as easily be Greek or graffiti!

We are a long way from familiar. I had to smile when I heard Africans singing and chanting just outside the doorway. I'm not sure if they were "street performers" looking for tips from foreigners passing through or if they were just happy. No matter, it was a nice sound to welcome and remind me why this (Africa) is my favorite place on earth.

My companion turned and said, "Ah, there is something about the smell of the earth here. It is different, but it feels so "home." Birthplace of civilization indeed.

It wasn't until we had arrived in Frankfurt that our host in Tanzania sent the email with confirmation on our scheduled pick up. I had to share a nervous laugh about "not knowing where" these two "Abrahams" were going to wind up. Wednesday evening at the send-off prayer meeting the Pastor even quoted the verse. Prophetic? Well....

Now, several hours later we have arrived in Kilimanjaro and in the very dark night, on a very bumpy road we are making our way to Arusha. Originally, the email communicated we were going to stay at the airport until dawn. Apparently, the roads are dangerous to traverse after hours. However, the Pastor and driver decided there were enough other cars traveling into the town (60 km away) to allow safe passage.

There is what looks like a full moon in the night sky here illuminating our way. There was rain in Ethiopia when we landed, but it has passed and the night here is in the upper 60's.

We are 8 hours ahead of Central Standard Time. We have slept a bit, crumpled and cramped, but our luggage all arrived which is always a good sign.

This day (Saturday) we will rest, recover what we can of our time-shifting psyche and prepare for the 6 full days of conferences.

In that time we will have an opportunity to minister to over 650 women. We have Bibles and we have the love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts.

Praise God for our arrival
Praise God for the women we will be seeing
Praise God His Word does not return void
Praise God for the community of believers at Stults Road Church who sacrificed time by making over 700 Gospel bracelets for the attendees as well as the children of YBC Summer program who decorated over 700 name tags with scriptures.
Praise God we are One - here, there or anywhere the Lord sends.
More to come
There is always more with Him!
Charlynn and Debi in Africa
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way...

…to discouragement.

 

Monday’s are seldom pleasant; especially with the Texas triple-digit heat. The weekend’s can be spent relaxing inside an air-conditioned residence or shopping malls, good restaurants, and my favorite summertime way to escape, enjoying a nice (small) cup of Italian Gelato. Monday is the day when you have to “get back to work,” the real world, the papers piling up, the demands of the job, and whatever reality sends your way.

 

I engaged in my ritual morning routine of Bible reading, devotional and meditative thoughts and tried to prepare myself for what the week ahead has in store. Mainly, a 36-hour travel time to the other side of the world. Not a fun thought to be found in that. One of the internet devotionals that came across the reduced screen of my Blackberry was from Facebook:

 

God keeps speaking, "Get Up, Get Out and Get Going! Awake, Assemble and Attack! Awake to righteousness, Assemble with other Christians and Attack the strongholds of the devil! Get Up out of your discouragement and Heaviness! Get Out into the harvest fields and witness for Christ! Get Going to fulfill your God given Destiny! Stand Up, Speak Up and Shout the Victory! God is going to use you in a great way!

 

At the time I wasn’t facing any particular discouragement. In fact, I was in total agreement. I was “Getting up, getting out, and getting going.” I was pretty strong in knowing I was about to attack the strongholds of the devil in Tanzania. Discouraged? Who me? God IS about to use me in a great way.

 

Then came a knock at the door.

 

There stood my apartment maintenance man, carrying a clipboard in hand filled with signatures asking if I had heard the “news.” What news? He handed me the envelope notifying me I have 90 days to vacate my apartment. They are demolishing my sanctuary of 8 years. Not that I didn’t expect it (the property has been bought and sold several times in at least as many years), but with the current economic status and the real estate that surrounds us here on University – well… it was a thought I just put out of my mind.

 

I got discouraged.

And then I was sad.

And then I was worried

And then I was mad!

 

I remember what my grandmother used to say, “You might as well get mad and glad in the same pair of britches,” implying change in conditions was not going to happen. I quickly put things in perspective. The 650 African women God is giving me the opportunity to meet this coming Sunday – Friday have very few of the comforts I enjoy on a daily basis. Yes, it is hot here in Texas but I sit in the relative comfort of my hard-working air-conditioner. When I need a drink, I can pour a glass directly from the tap assured it is clean and FDA approved. When I need to shower, I am not standing with a bucket filled with river water; I am under the overflow of modern convenience. The soap I use comes in a variety of aromas meant more to soothe than to clean.

 

When I do have errands to run, I get in my own car, alone and go wherever I want to. This while enjoying all four of the vents pointed my way and pouring out a cool breeze to comfort me in the sweltering heat. Gas prices may be higher than we typically pay, but in other parts of the world (Africa just one example), gasoline can run as much as $4 a gallon.

 

I sent out a request for prayer, I visited my best friend and I waited for my children to come and enjoy our last “Monday@Mom”s” dinner for a few weeks. I ordered pizza from a new place. Why?

 

As I waited for the delivery, I looked around and thanked God for all He has given me; the haven of comfort and stillness that I have enjoyed when I return home from the field. I KNOW He has something better, but…

 

Then came a knock at the door.

 

I was expecting one of the children, but it was the delivery man a bit early. He peeked inside, and said, “Oh I see you are a collector of art.” A nice way to say, “You have a lot of stuff on your walls.” I laughed and said, “No, I’m a missionary and this is more a collection of my travels than anything of value.”

 

“OHHHHHHH,” he said. “Sister, I knew you were a woman of God the moment I saw you. As I was walking up the stairs, the Spirit told me I was about to meet one of the King’s special people. You know how the Spirit is?” I shook my head as he continued. “Sister, I don’t know what is happening with you, or where you are going off to, but rest assured in this God is with you. He is saying GO! You are favored. His Spirit is shining all over you. What a blessing God has given me by allowing me to be the messenger here today.”

 

A funny thing happened on the way to discouragement.

God showed up with a blessing

And a pretty good pizza!

 

Full and smiling

Charlynn

 

You can still participate with our trip financially by donating online:

www.sunshineafterrain.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Protest

I am surrounded!

At home, I have been invaded by a cyclical round of fruit flies in spite of my best internet advised efforts to defeat them.

Presently, I am surrounded by all ages and races of aggravated people waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles. We are passing time noting that no one has been called for the past 20 minutes. It is lunch time in the back rooms of bureaucracy and the masses are maddening.

A protest by the impatient could erupt at any moment now!

By cultural standards we are not a very patient bunch. When I have encountered or caused "waits" in the third world, I catch myself apologizing. The hosts are quick to point out they are used to waiting. Waiting for medical treatment, waiting for the electricity to come on, waiting for water, waiting for relief.

As I prepare my heart and soul to transition to another place, another culture, and another pace of life - I am taking these daily dilemmas as good training.

I have been fortunate to have real soldiers for friends. When I think of the training they endure, the physical and emotional rigors to learn to serve OUR country, maintain OUR freedom and "follow orders," I am humbled. If only the Body of Christ had 1/10 of the discipline and understanding of working together to conqueror and take back territory, our world would be a different place.

In preparation for working with the Marines Special Operations Command (MARSOC) the volunteers were given the book, "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon." The following excerpt could be instructional and good advice if the word military were replaced with the word "Church."

"The military (Church) is formed by taking the "average citizen" and making him or her into a soldier. This means the average citizen has to learn how to "think like a soldier" and be obedient to superiors. This strong chain of command allows the military to function ... To be effective, a unit needs to be a collection of soldiers who think and act in unison."

If believers acted "in unison" and were "obedient to the Superior" what a difference we could make. It is hard to walk in the faith of not "seeing" the money in the bank to make a trip halfway across the world. My team members and my act of "obedience" depends on hundreds of acts of obedience on the part of those who are supporting financially and with prayer. It takes us all to accomplish this mission!

Big news was made this week in Cuba. Family members of jailed political dissidents have been marching every Sunday for the last seven years. Known as the "ladies in white" these dedicated women openly protested against the regime and brought worldwide attention to the cause.


That is almost a years worth of Sunday's - spent walking the cobblestone streets of Havana. Their protest resulted in the release of their loved ones.

Millions of people around the world are imprisoned by lies of the enemy. Lies that God is not good (at best) and non-existence (at worst). We aren't functioning as a military or obediently following the great commission to "Go!" Even though I do go, the perseverance of these Cuban's made me realize I am nowhere near as committed to the lost - to see them released from the bondage of sin.

Let's protest.

In our hearts, our minds and souls for those the Lord has called us to seek and save! Let's give up a latte and contribute to getting "troops" in the field. We are ready to go. But we still need a great deal of financial support to get us there.

If you have supported us financially, bless you. If you are supporting us through the ammunition of intercessory prayer, God bless you. If you are waiting and wondering what to do - join the unit that is headed to the African plains. Think like a soldier and give what you can.

You can now contribute online with a credit card at: http://www.sunshineafterrain.org/.

Soldiering on
Listening to the General


"He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me." Psalm 18:19

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

From A to V - a.k.a. Foreign Reality


I admit it.

I confess it.

I watch movies and television shows I probably shouldn't. From Avatar to Vienna.

In case neither sounds familiar, Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all time filled with blue-skinned characters on foreign alien territory. And Vienna? No, I don't refer to the beautiful city in Austria, but the "winner" of The Bachelor reality T.V. show.

I watched almost salivating while the Bachelor and his betrothed broke up on national TV.

Come on! You knew it wouldn't last. No big shocker. True "everlasting" love found on a reality show? Evident throughout the "break-up" phase (being borne out on the entertainment shows chronicling the dissolution and dissolve) is that the characters we saw - were hardly real. There wasn't much "reality" on reality T.V!

We have been duped! We have been deceived! Allegations of lying, cheating and infidelity aside the truth is we were lied to. We were cheated on - infidelity was committed, but not by Vienna or Jake - but by the greatest liar and "media whore" of all time.

The enemy, constantly weaves his way into our heart and minds, trying desperately to rob, steal and destroy the truth about the "Lover of our soul."

"That we might know, the things that have been given to us freely by Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:12

The truth is not found through any media outlet, but in the Word. Faith, the thing "hoped for as yet unseen," isn't highlighted on the Discovery Channel. We have been given the Spirit to "know" what Christ gave us freely. We didn't have to charm, seduce, or fight to prove we were worthy of His affection. "While we were yet sinners..."

And even though the real circumstances of the world and life might make me cry like the heartbroken and jilted lover Vienna, Christ never sits in cross-legged distance or disgust. His cross proves His affection and devotion. His reality is THE reality. "For God so loved..."

The reality of the surreal world of Avatar made me realize the astonishment I will experience when I finally see heaven.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

I saw the film with a good friend, and as we walked out in awe at human creativity, we both said, "Can you believe how good heaven is going be? If this is what the mind of James Cameron can come up with - WOW, God is going to blow our minds!"

In two weeks I leave for Tanzania, East Africa. The reality the 650 women attending face, is far from our own. They deal with life-threatening circumstances each and every day; AIDS, malaria, clean water, education and diseases easily curable in other parts of the world. But not their world. THAT is something to cry about. THAT is heart-breaking!

We go to share what is life-giving! The hope in the promises of God Almighty. The Truth of the Word - "that they may know what has been given freely."

Join us on this world-changing mission. Here is the reality - "how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent."

Tax deductible donations can be made by credit card online at: www.sunshineafterrain.org

Keeping it real
Smiling of course

Friday, July 02, 2010

Fireworks


I love fireworks!

They are one of the things in life that make me stop, look up, and proclaim out loud, "Wow."

During my visit to Russia in May, we happened to be there during their May Day celebration. It is the commemoration of the Soviet victory over the Germans in WWII. The Hope House where we were staying was only a few short blocks from the riverside where the celebration was on full display. Once we realized we could not see the festivities from the balcony, we took to the streets and joined the masses looking up.

I am no fan of crowds but I love fireworks!

They remind me of God's grace. They are in wonderful variations of explosive color. They are unexpected and like grace "undeserved." Those watching (or receiving) don't "do" anything but enjoy the beauty and delight of those orchestrating the show. Our enjoyment is the reward for those who have invested such extravagance.

My recent experiences with soldiers and their families make me appreciate this Independence Day more each year. While we celebrate our freedom on "one" day, it took years of battle and bloodshed to gain the victory in 1776. Our daily freedoms outlined by the Constitution still come at a high price.

In a few weeks I will be returning to Tanzania East Africa. Along with a teammate we will be training and equipping over 650 women; a "battalion" fit for taking back enemy territory. By definition a battalion is generally the smallest military unit capable of independent operations. When we leave, those who have attended will return to their villages armed (with the Word of God) and dangerous (more than conquerors).

You still have an opportunity to join with us financially to embark on this mission. Not only does Sunshine After Rain cover all the expenses of bringing the women to the conference and providing their lunch, we will be supplying Bibles to one of the groups. This will likely be their only opportunity to ever own a Bible. Who knows the impact that Word will make in their village and community?

What Christ died to purchase He lives to provide!

He uses those servants obedient to His call. He has no regard for Wall Street.

"If you are free in Christ you are free indeed"

Celebrating Independence and
Waiting for the WOW!