Friday, December 19, 2014

Kids Camp!

I had an awesome time with the kids camp this 3-day weekend, and was reminded WHY kids are the Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Part of the Royal Tongan family came,and although we had set aside a special seating area for them, as part of honoring them and setting them apart...a little prince and princess ran around and joined in with the other kids.  I was so touched to see them dancing that evening with my kids and lots of other kids who went up to the front of the chapel during worship, singing and dancing, hands in the air praising Jesus! 

That's how children are, they are uninhibited by propriety and protocol.  When asked questions they answer honestly,they don't worry about sounding intelligent or holy.  When they pray they do it with a simple faith that whatever they asked for will actually happen.   Its no wonder why Jesus said  "Whoever humbles himself, like this little child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."   Matthew 18:4

Evangelism ki ai!!!

Awesome time of outdoor evangelism on Sunday, in the village of Ha'atafu. 'Osi did a fantastic job sharing his testimony, and also one of the students.   The students' led in drama and music, which was very powerful, and the Holy Spirit moved the hearts of the people... Afterwards 20+ people stepped forward to receive Christ! 

Now our DTS students are totally fired up for outreach - 3 months of divine appointments just like this!

Check out our video!

Pastor Greg asked us to record a video greeting from our family to our church in Texas. and upload it onto youtube....If you would like to see a glimpse of our life and discipleship ministry in Tonga, you can check it out here
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Why pray for patience when you can pray for humor?

Lately I have been asking God to help me face stressful situations gracefully by giving me a fantastic sense of humor.  I think it will be great having the ability to "laugh at the days to come".  So many of my friends (mostly Mothers with small children) say they are "praying for patience".  Praying for patience...Yes, it sounds nice, but what does that mean exactly? 
When I ask God to do something in me I need to be as specific as possible, because I truly believe He will answer in that specific awesome way, so I can give Him credit for it later. 
That said...Lord, please help me to laugh when I discover we're on "Island time" and absolutely nothing happens when and how I planned for it to happen.  Give me great joy, when all of a sudden with no warning, various Tongan relatives show up at our house (Surprise!) and announce they will be staying with us for weeks....or indefinitely.  Gleefully I will receive them, and delight in the way you ALWAYS provide enough for all of us.
Help me to count it all joy when facing challenges in ministry and the occasional back stabbing....Finally, help me not to compare my life to other people who look like they have it easier, because Erma Bombeck says "The grass is always greener over someone elses septic tank."  I am so excited for what today will bring...the good the bad and the hilarious. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Umu anyone?

On Sunday, we have a tradition in Tonga, to cook food in an underground oven. 
'Osi loves this tradition, and is pretty much the only one on campus who makes the oven every Sunday, then other families bring their food to throw inside too.  Its alot of work, but tastes great! 
   We gather our supplies on Saturday night, because the shops are closed on Sundays.  Also on Saturday we pick all the "Lu" taro leaves we need, and dig up the root vegetables, because Tongans are not supposed to break the Sabbath by doing this kind of farm work on Sunday. 
Early in the morning 'Osi digs a huge hole and fills it with big rocks, then builds a fire on top.  He lets the fire burn for at least an hour to heat the rocks.

  Meanwhile I layer about 6 taro leaves on a square of aluminum foil, and pour chopped meat, onions, and coconut cream in the middle.  We wrap it all up, and after putting out the fire we pile the foil packages and peeled root vegetables on the hot rocks. We cover it all with coconut stalks, banana leaves big old blankets, and a mound of dirt .
And an hour later we feast!

He gives good gifts to His children

I know its cliche but I can't think of a better way to say it  =)  "Life is like a box of never know what you're gonna get."  Right? 
Serving Jesus is like that - and in all the mystery you know He wants to give you something delicious.
We experienced this lately.  In our December newsletter we finally worked up the courage to ask our friends/family to consider giving toward a car.  We said we would need to raise about $3,000 U.S. for a reliable used car, because that is about the going rate in Tonga (almost everything here is as expensive or more than what it costs in America, including food and cars because it all has to be imported.)
So we waited, excitedly, full of faith...and then the days and weeks went by and we were surprised that, out of 70 or so friends and family we sent letters to, not a single person gave a donation for the car.  So we started thinking maybe it was presumptuous and wrong to have asked, after all its not a basic need.  And of course the enemy tends to kick us when we're down, and make us feel like we don't even deserve a car.  After all we were not even good stewards of our bicycle, (a thief came last month and stole the wheels right off our bike in the middle of the night!)
But then on Monday 'Osi said he wanted to visit a cousin in a far away village whom we had not seen all year.   So he did, and turns out the cousin had a mechanic neighbor who was selling a car super cheap because he's in a rush to move back to New Zealand!  He only wanted $250 U.S. for it, because the engine was shot, but the crazy thing is 'Osi's cousin happened to have the exact same make and model engine in one of his cars that had a beat up body! 
Apparently there were a few other people who wanted to buy the car too, but the owner still lives with his Momma  who laid down the law.  She said "You WILL save that car for the nice missionary kid with the pregnant wife."   So then we had to find the money, which God quickly provided in its entirety through my college roommate who had just recently heard from God that she needed to donate to our ministry.  (Another cool story)  Plus we also had some savings to pay for the mechanic's labor...  
So they swapped the engines out and we have a fantastic car now....and a great story to tell of God's goodness and compassion.  God is so good friends, so generous. 
Never give up praying, God loves to bless you and He is able....but often it comes in a way we don't expect.  So that He will get the glory for it.
"'Its not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." Zechariah 4:6b