Sunday, July 29, 2012

Just had to share

I rushed to church this morning in my usual manner...late (although, here it is referred to as "black man time" ...for real.) I was excited to see what God was going to do on this Lord's day, however. During our family devotions the night before I had specifically prayed that we would see souls saved in Bambili and Bamenda. Much seed has been planted recently, and I was excited to see God give the increase!

I arrived at church and went into the Sunday School room to get my picture cards in order. The song service had already started, and I was so excited to hear Jude leading, "Look and Live" since that was exactly what my story was going to be on! It was almost as if God were orchestrating the events of the morning! (ummm, duh! Of course He was!) :) We have been going through the life of Moses, and today was the lesson on the fiery serpents that God sent because of the Israelite's sin of murmuring, complaining and unbelief. You know the story of course, how God instructed Moses to lift up a brass serpent in the middle of the camp. Anyone who had been bitten by a snake and looked on the brass serpent would live. Of course, we also discussed the passage in John and of Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus and how he referred to this particular story in the Old Testament. (John 3:14) I love this story since it gives way for such a clear presentation of the gospel. The kids were very attentive this morning, as well. I didn't ask for them to bow their heads, or give a show of hands. I simply told them that this was the most important decision they will ever make in their lives. If they were unsure of whether they will spend eternity in heaven or hell, then they needed to come and talk to me. I instructed them that after church was over, I would remain in the children's church room and they could come and talk to me privately. I didn't want to push anyone, but wanted to watch the Spirit work. I could see that a few of the kids were really thinking. We finished our lesson, colored a picture that went along with the story, had a review time and sang a few more songs (Ben was long winded this morning!). Church was finally finished and I dismissed the kids.  I waited...

The room emptied and out, and I waited. Finally one boy (about 8 years old), named Junior, came in and said he wanted to ask me about the lesson. Of course I knew what he meant. I asked him if he knew if he would spend eternity in heaven and he said he didn't know for sure. I asked him if he wanted to know for sure, and he said that he did. So, for the next ten minutes or so, we went through the gospel. The group from Florida that was just here, left a great gospel outline written on the chalk board. It was perfect! We stood in front of the chalk board as I went through each point and read the different scripture verses supporting them. He was ready to accept Christ. The Spirit was obviously at work in his tender heart. So, we sat down, and I prayed for him first. He prayed then. I will admit, when I listen to a prayer I am usually analyzing it. I want to know whether the person I'm counseling truly understood the message of the gospel. A person's prayer is  revealing. Sometimes when someone is finished praying, I'm not always certain they understood everything clearly. But Junior's prayer was the clearest sinner's prayer I have heard! He put his faith and trust in Jesus this morning for his salvation! When he said Amen, I asked him a question. I asked him if he were standing at the gates of heaven, and someone there asked him, "Why should I let you in?" what would he say. His response was, "Because I believe in Jesus!"  It doesn't get much clearer than that!

So, I just had to share. I loved that he had the courage to come back and talk to me. His friends outside the room were waiting for him, but he didn't care. It was so thrilling to see the Spirit at work!
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Monday, July 23, 2012

So much to say...

So much has happened in the last few months. Of course, that is what happens when you don't blog for an eternity! I have been kind of dreading sitting down and writing an update, because there is so much to share - and I want to keep it as concise as possible so I don't lose you. I'll do my best! :)

I last left off as we were anticipating our annual family camp up at Tom Needham's home in Sabga, Cameroon. We had an awesome week. Dr. Rick Flanders was our guest speaker and the Lord used him in ways I wouldn't have even imagined. God specifically worked in my heart through the passage of John 15 and I know many other decisions were made that week. It was one of the most memorable family camps I've ever been to. I think because the Spirit was at work in me in a way that I haven't experienced in a while. And while the conviction hurt - I was so thrilled to know the Spirit was working in my life through the Word of God!

Emma is 8 years old!
After Family camp, we struggled to finish up our schooling. We didn't get to the end of all of our subjects. Each of the kids were at different points in their curriculum because of the first semester being in the states. I did my best to squeeze in what I felt was important. I'm anxious to begin this next year fresh and am praying that I can be organized to get everything done. We also had the joy of celebrating Emma's 8th birthday during the month of June! What a joy she is. We had a fun party for her and invited the Needham family down to celebrate with us at the request of Emma. Grilled pizza was on the newest favorite meal! Seriously, you have to try grilling your pizza! It is absolutely DELISH! I found the information on Best Bites website. You have to give it a try this summer!

The next big thing on our radar was the group of 20 people from First Baptist Church of Land O' Lakes, Florida that was due to arrive on July 3rd. We were all excited and anxious for their arrival. We have never hosted a group this big - the biggest group we have ever hosted was a group of 7 adults. 20 adults however...a big percentage of them hungry teenage boys and men! Wow! I was in for a load of kitchen duty! haha! I don't think it really even occurred to me what a work load it would be, but I was ready for them! It was definitely a learning experience on how to prepare enough food for 26 people. The team members were extremely gracious and complimentary of every meal that I made! They made me feel like a cooking rock-star! :)

There is absolutely NO way I can summarize all that happened during their visit. It started out very frustrating for me at first because Murphy's Law had to kick into effect. We have had amazing water since the Anderson's visit in April. The pressure has been perfect, and I was growing accustomed to my morning shower! lol! Then, a few days before our huge group was due to arrive, the water pressure began to decline. I was worried a bit. Finally, it went out the day before they got here, and it didn't take very long at all for our reserve supply to get used up either. With 26 people in the house washing hands, flushing toilets, washing dishes...we went through a LOT of water. I had nowhere else to turn to but the Lord. Anyone who knows me, knows that our water shortages are the biggest frustration for me. To be without water with 20 people here to visit us was just more than I could handle alone...seriously. I couldn't deal with it. But, God promises us that He won't give us more than we can bear. And I found that promise ever true as God gave me the grace to deal with this situation. The Lord provided most of our water through the rain that we collected into trunks, and on days that it didn't rain, we paid Hilary to carry water for us from the nearest clean water source. We were filling toilets with buckets...washing hands with pitchers...washing laundry by filling each rinse cycle pitcher by pitcher. It was a LOT of extra work. I won't try to downplay that, but God truly gave grace to deal with this inconvenience. On one particularly frustrating day, I was on the verge of tears...drowning (can you drown without water?) in my despair! (really?? because of water??? seems so silly now). I turned on some music, the Galkin Evangelistic Team to be exact, and one line of a song really spoke to me. The song is about seeing the world through our Savior's eyes..."Let me rise high above my petty problems, and grieve for men, hell bound eternally..." That was me - I wanted to rise above my petty problem, and remember why this group from Florida was here - to reach lost souls. I absolutely did not want to get in the way of that! Thank the Lord for His grace! We were without water the entire time they were here! They were absolute troopers. I never once heard a complaint from them, and in the wise words of my Mother - "Now they know how to pray for you."  So very true! ;)

The entire time they were here, they blogged. Sometimes they posted several times a day. So, to get a full picture of what they did check out the Destination: Cameroon 2012 blog.

One of the members of the team, Shanna Thompson, was an amazing photographer. I want to share a few of the photos she took. This first one is a photo of Shanna with Faith Ann (Pastor Joey Quilty is in the background). I really love this shot!

Here is another photo of one of the members of the team, Savannah Eller, along with Diane, a member of our church.

Savannah created an amazing video update of this trip that you should really watch. She did an amazing job of summarizing the trip and sharing how God used this visit to Cameroon in her life.

If that video doesn't stir you to missions in Cameroon...nothing will! Savannah did an amazing job putting it together and it gives you a glimpse into our lives here in Cameroon, as well. Here are some more pictures of their time here in Cameroon:

LOTS of kids! A total of 401 kids registered. 320 of them attended on the last day!

Love this picture of Faith Ann and Daddy!

Pictures just don't do it justice, but we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

One particularly precious experience for us was the life changing decision our almost 6 year old, Faith Ann, made while the group was here. Every day she was hearing the same gospel message that the Cameroonians kids were hearing, and the Holy Spirit was obviously working in her heart. On the way home from Holiday Bible School one day, she asked her daddy, "Am I going to go to heaven when I die?" Ben promised to talk to her later. That evening Ben and I spoke to her privately and she said that she wanted to put her faith and trust in Jesus and be saved. She knelt by our bedside, between Ben and me and trusted Christ as her Savior.

Two days after her first spiritual birthday, Faith Ann celebrated her 6th physical birthday! What a party she had with 26 people in her house!!

The entire team the morning they left to head back to Florida :(
We were certainly sad to say goodbye. The house was indeed chaotic while they were here, but in a fun way! When we got home from church the Sunday that they left, everything seemed so empty...and quiet. Kate kept crying off an on that entire day - she never does well with goodbyes. Sunday was a blessing though because I had the privilege of leading two ladies to Christ after the morning service. The fact that they attended Faith Baptist Church that morning was a direct result of the parent's program that the team organized that Friday evening before. Mirabel took two ladies out to counsel with them, Derek took a man out for counseling and Cleopas took a handful of children out for counseling. The seeds that were sown during this team's two week trip might not be harvested right away, but I am confident that God's Word that went forth while they were here, will not return void because He promises us in His Word that it won't!

I spent this past week cleaning and doing laundry. We finally got water on Tuesday (two days after the team left) and that was a huge blessing as I had mounds of laundry to do! :)  The next thing on my agenda was to make a wedding cake. This was something I'd never done before. I spent a lot of time on the internet and on youtube watching videos and this is what I came up with for the bride and groom, Eunice and Godlove:

Not too bad for my first wedding cake, but I'm definitely no cake maker that is for sure. It took me ALL day to make this. And the weather wasn't helping. I kept waiting for the frosting to crust...and it just got softer and softer as it sat. I had to improvise some things too - like the stabilizers for inside the cake. I needed dowels from what I read, or the weight of the layers would sink down in to each other. Well, I didn't have any wooden dowels, so I had Kate and Emma go and cut me some bamboo! Worked like a charm. :) Now I want to build up my cake making supplies and try some more stuff! This was fun!

So, what is in the near future? We are going to have a Holiday Bible School here in Bambili within the next couple of weeks. I plan to begin school August 15th if everything goes as planned. Hopefully we will have some more people come out to visit us as well. How about it?? You are invited!!
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