Psalm 146:2 "I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live."

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Wedding

Hi Everyone,

Immediately after the events that transpired on Saturday morning, I began getting ready for my friend Myra and her husband Jose Luis's wedding. It was good to have a joyous occasion to celebrate.

Her father taking her down the aisle:


the couple listening to the message:


There are a few different wedding traditions here. One is that the groom will give to his wife arras which are 13 gold coins that represent that he is trustworthy and provide for her financially.(the coins are sometimes purchased by a close family friend or relative) The other tradition is that a " double cord" called a lasso is placed around the couple after they have said their vows, and it symbolizes their unity.


the beautiful flower arrangements on the pews


The very happy married couple:

Both the wedding and the reception were a very interesting cultural experience for me and I learned a lot of new cultural things.  It was really an honor to be invited and Myra's family received me so well.

Please pray for Myra and Jose Luis--I've been slowly having opportunities to share Christ's love with Myra for the last several months. Pray that the Lord would do His work in their hearts and lives--in His perfect time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hope

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the lack of blog posts this week. This week has had a few challenges.

I can't remember if it was either Monday or Tuesday morning that I woke up and found my birdie Hope on the bottom of the floor.  Hope---the most tame of the two, the one that molted and that changed to having all of these yellow patches on her after I had prayed asking God for a yellow bird, and the one that has brought me nothing but sweet companionship and comfort when there were other hard times in my life these past ten months.  Out of all of the cockatiels I have had---I have bonded with, and honestly loved her the most.

She had been starting to get sick about a month ago hen I took her to Maria--the lady and my friend that I bought her from. I had tried a medicine that she recommended and thought it had worked.

So on that day it got crazy-I snapped into action--I  took pictures of Hope and Grace together and took this video of me with her--trying to think of memories and all that I wanted before things possibly  "got worse."


video

Here is a photo of her yellow patches.


Here is the last picture of them both together :(  --not great quality,  but it is so cute!  I love it!


 A few more pictures:  (yes, Hope was outside for these-cool huh!)



The next day, she was still quite alive so I took her to the vet----they said she had a cold and was curable--gave me medicine--told me to hand feed her and I went running around stores buying some things----and began the hand-feeding process.

And somewhere along the way that intense agonizing decision became a burden--you know the decision about "oh no! I'm gonna have to put her down," and "I don't want to do it too soon-how will I know it is time?" and "Lord, I just don't want to have to do this!" The emotional intensity of it all was incredible--My previous birds had always died instantly without suffering for a week. In the midst of it all I was trying to remain  very calm (not cry out loud), because I didn't want Olga knowing I was upset---I think when I am upset it is challenging for her.

But I am amazed--amazed that God allowed the perfect times when I needed to "deal with it," Olga would just leave the house at the exact moment to go do something. I saw God's hand all over this in ways that meant the world to me---and God even provided someone from my sending church who ministered to me in the perfect way----and really deeply understood.

One of the things that God did is that yesterday on Friday, my supervisor told me I could work from home. Yesterday morning when I had fed Hope, she ate a lot and all of the sudden got tons of energy and then proceeded to climb up onto my shoulder and stayed there for several hours (and this was when she could no longer climb up to the perches)! If I would have had to go to work at the office, I would have missed that precious time with her--God is so good! Another thing is that someone had told me it was "time to say goodbye" on Thursday, but if I would have "put her down" then I would have missed yesterday also. At the same time while all of this was going on yesterday, I was amazingly able to concentrate enough to finish a huge project for my supervisor that I had been intending to get to her earlier this week.

What started out as a prayer of "God, anything is possible with you--you can heal my bird" was over the week changed to, "God show me when it's time." And He did exactly that. The time was this morning--and it was just unmistakeable that by putting her down I was doing the right thing that was the best for her.

I haven't buried her yet--partly because Olga has too many plants planted right now---so I am going to have to do that--not sure where yet.

I just wanted to thank the handful of people that knew about this for your prayers that lifted me up this past week-there were moments of amazing peace in the midst of it that weren't due to anything changing in the circumstances--but to God's presence with me in a very tangible close way.

My other bird, Grace is soo quiet this morning--but he let me hold him for quite awhile (that doesn't happen very often)

Lord-thank you for giving me Hope--so properly named. We were just seven weeks short of having our one year celebration together---but the last ten months with her were an amazing gift from you-thank you so much! I wouldn't exchange those ten months for anything.


(the flower I just decided to bury Hope by)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Awesome Missions Sunday

Hi Eveyone,

Thank you for your prayers for our missions Sunday. With the movie I picked and the sermon, it was perfect-and there are a few people in our church that feel called to missions. My prayer is that one day we will have missionaries sent out from our church body.

I got up and introduced the video we showed and mentioned that if anyone had interest in missions they could feel free to talk to the pastors or me and a lady came up to me after the service and said she wanted to talk. So this Sunday we are going to go to lunch together after the service and talk, Thank you for praying for our meeting together that it would go well, that I'd be able to answer her questions and such.

I am still working on the same project for my supervisors that I was working on a week ago-hopefully I can get it semi-completed today (Wednesdays are either team meetings or my day to work from home)

Hope to see Conhita tonight. Haven't seen her yet this week.

Olga went to a conference and came down with something when she came back. Thank for your prayers that she would get better soon. I think this is the first time in over a year that I have seen her under the weather.

Blessings to you all-have a great rest of the week.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hi Everyone,

The concert last night was good-it was also a good thing for my Spanish.

Today I am doing various office tasks and working on something for my field leaders.

Hopefully I'll be able to spend some time with Conchita tonight-it has been about a week since we talked.

Here is a picture of my church at our sports outing after church last Sunday. It was a lot of fun to play sports, eat lunch, and hang out together. I am in the back row.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Celebration Update

Hi Everyone,

The El Monte celebration that we had n Saturday was really neat. Over 900 people came to celebrate with us. There was worship and several testimonies. I was in charge of selling beverages, so honestly I didn't get to pay a lot of attention to the service--every time I would start paying attention, several people would come up to buy things, but it was a blessing to be a part of the celebration and to serve others as well.  Here is a picture of me working away :) It was fun to reconnect with some people that I hadn't seen in a long time-and have fellowship with a few people that i hadn't met before.


This week I've been busy continuing to work on a counseling manual that i am helping out together in Spanish for my supervisor and typing up some material for pamphlets to print for the sending base. I am also trying to figure out a tentative schedule for Janina-the short-term worker that arrives in September. Praise the Lord that her housing is all set up now.

Tonight I got invited to a Christian concert (My first one in Spanish ever since being here) so since I didn't take Monday off, I will be going to that--hopefully it will be encouraging.

On Friday we are having a "Prayer chain" day at church--I am hoping to get there early enough to participate for an hour and then head to work.

Sunday we have a missions vision video that we will be showing as a part of the service. Pray that God would use it in people's lives.

Last Sunday I had something cool happen. An eleven year old girl from my church here told me that she sees how I left my country to serve here and that she wants to follow my example and be a missionary someday too.  It was kind of meat because her and I hadn't talked much before. You never know the lives that God is using yours to touch. So I guess we will see what happens and what God's plans are for her life as they unfold.

Thank you for your prayers. Blessings to you all!