I still weep when I look at the pictures from Uganda. How can a trip to another continent render one so utterly speechless? Maybe it’s the culture shock, but, would you believe culture shock is harder coming back home? If you have running tap water in your house, then you have more than most people in Third World countries. You are wealthy!
One of the home visits we made was to a widow’s in Gulu. She takes care of her grandchildren because their parents, her children, have died of aids. Her home is a tiny mud hut with a thatch roof. Inside, she had a rocking chair and a fire pit. She was thrilled to invite us in, and brought a bench inside, just so she could host us in her home.
There’s no welfare from the government in Africa. People survive off the land and the love of others who have compassion on them. We brought gifts of lotions, soap and shirts, and small toys for the children, as well as beans and rice. You would have thought she received great riches, her gratitude was so profound.
One organization that is making a difference in their lives is Children of Promise, a child sponsorship program of the Church of God. The program they developed for the widows is called TAPP, and is described this way,
“Tumaini Aids Prevention Program is a holistic social program that reaches out to those infected and affected with HIV & Aids. It provides training, Home Based Care, income generating projects, education and social support for a hopeful life which encompasses the entire community.
The Church of God child sponsorship office is located in the Kasubi area, in the city of Kampala, Uganda. As the office doors would open each morning, more and more families were showing up needing assistance. The need to care for families affected by HIV was overwhelming. Soon it was obvious that a separate program should be created. They called this program TAPP. ‘Tumaini’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘hope’ and became the vision of this program.”
We have long been associated with TAPP through the beautiful beads made by the widows. They create the beads with strips of paper rolled into tight balls and strung together, and this is one of the ways they support their families.
Take a look at their work here: http://tapphope.com/
Read more about our home visits here: http://www.bustichog.blogspot.com/2014/07/monday-july-282014.html
In his book, Something Beautiful For God, The Classic Account of Mother Teresa’s Journey into Compassion, Malcolm Muggeridge says this about encountering impoverished people:
Accompanying Mother Teresa... to the Home for the Dying, to the lepers and unwanted children, I found I went through three phases. The first was horror mixed with pity, the second compassion pure and simple, and the third, reaching far beyond compassion, something I had never experienced before – an awareness that these dying and derelict men and women, these lepers with stumps instead of hands, these unwanted children, were not pitiable, repulsive or forlorn, but rather dear and delightful; as it might be, friends of long standing, brothers and sisters. How is it to be explained – the very heart and mystery of the Christian faith? To soothe those battered old heads, to grasp those poor stumps, to take in one’s arms those children consigned to dustbins, because it is His head, as they are His stumps and His children, of whom He said that whosoever received one such child in His name received Him. (pp. 52-53)
Indeed, we met our brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews in those huts. And we were blessed.
Vision for Africa http://6497855.bravejournal.com/entry/137730
To Uganda or Bust! http://6497855.bravejournal.com/entry/140960
What difference can two hours make? http://6497855.bravejournal.com/entry/102005
Quizzes, tips and personal examples punctuate a new book by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. The topic? Letting go of unrealistic expectations and perfectionistic attitudes.
Think you don’t have those? Think again, and delve into the deeper issues of the heart where anger can simmer and bitterness stews. The authors remind us that such a deadly combination can be difficult to swallow.
So, what’s the cure? The Cure for the “Perfect” Life breaks down complicated issues of Perfectionism, People-Pleasing, Performancism and Procrastination into manageable tasks. I found out my personal bully belief system and how it expresses itself in crisis mode. I learned about my underlying motives and how they sneak into unrelated situations. I also found epiphany moments of Try Harder Living and the obstacles it presents “to leave the life that’s been expected… and to start living the brave, not so neatly tied up life that God is calling (me) to.” (p. 7)
Perhaps that thought was jarring to you as well? Aren’t Christians supposed to live “perfect” lives? The authors strive to prove Christians aren’t perfect, nor are we expected to be so, by the One who made us. In fact, the less we strive to be perfect, the more we shine as imperfect tools in God’s hand. (“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-11) And I have felt the impact of that truth in my own life, when the Lord has brought people alongside to help in my crisis points.
Imperfection strengthens authenticity. (Click to tweet: https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Imperfection strengthens authenticity.@SallyJFerguson http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/entry/141213)
One of the many things I like about this book is the fact that it doesn’t just point out faulty belief systems, it goes into detail with positive action steps and illustrations of what braver living looks like. What is brave living? Taking the first step to change self-defeating behaviors and learning to validate the strides you make toward healthier attitudes. I appreciate the multiple examples because they flesh out responses I might not have recognized in myself.
The authors tell us, “Love is at the heart of Braver Living.” (p. 49)
If love is invited in, it dispels fear, and freedom from the bondage of fear enables us to fully experience God’s heart of love. (“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 29-31)
We are also reminded, “Loving myself also means obeying God. Obedience starts with lots of listening… The more we learn to hear God’s voice and take him to heart, the better we will understand what he’s leading us to do.” (p. 52)
Isn’t that one of the things we yearn most for? To know God’s will?
Do yourself a favor and get this book. Here’s a free chapter to get started: http://www.thecurefortheperfectlife.com/downloads/chapter1.pdf May it launch you on your own road to recovery from a limited belief system that prevents you from being the best you God created. “God is telling us not only to stop ignoring our talents, but to stop postponing our talents. Stop waiting until you’re fearless – you never will be – but do as much as you can with what you have. That’s brave living.” (p. 101)
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher for The Cure for the “Perfect” Life Blog Tour. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I Need Some Help Here! Blog Tour http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/entry/140739
Book Review: Unquenchable by Carol Kent http://6497855.bravejournal.com/entry/138758
Book Review: I Saw The Lord http://6497855.bravejournal.com/entry/137990
Today’s the day. We’ll pack the vans and head to Toronto.
Are we ready? Checklists double-checked, extras packed, suitcases weighed.
But, are we ready? Hearts in tune? Prayed up?
Our Team of 13 will conduct Eye Clinics, Hygiene Clinics, Workshops for Pastors and their wives, and share the love of Jesus as His hands and feet in Africa.
Right now, I feel like Martha; busy with details but missing the point. But the light bulb came on for her at the tomb of her brother, when Jesus asked her to trust Him. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+11%3A38-40&version=NIV
Okay Lord, open the tomb of my heart and bring forth new life.
Now I’m ready.
I’ll be blogging with the Team here for the next three weeks: www.bustichog.blogspot.com
Join us for the journey!
Vision for Africa http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/entry/137730
Travel Tips http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/entry/47176
A Visitor From Africa
"Ears that hear & eyes that see-
The Lord has made them both."
We try to do everything right as parents, and then find out we still miss the bull’s-eye. But author Kathi Lipp says there are gifts to be found, when we’re in the dark days of parenting. Gifts? Like me, you may find that to be an incredulous idea when you’re in the midst of another child-rearing crisis. But Kathi reminds us to hold on and look for the priceless treasures along the way.
Those treasures may come in the form of a group of supportive moms who can relate to where you’re at, or in a new perspective on the important things of life, when your child doesn’t arrive in the package you had hoped for. Kathi relates stories of moms who struggle to find the perfect formula for raising kids, and instead find the God of perfect grace. And she reminds us, “When you are brokenhearted, you are broken open for other people to see into you and see what they need. When you are broken hearted, God can do so much more with you than with the one who thinks they have this whole parenting thing down. You are teachable. You are humbled. You are attentive to the workings of God in your life and the lives of your kids.
And this, my friend, is a priceless gift.” (p. 26)
Kathi’s book is a priceless gift, where she uses Scripture to reignite hope in this mom’s heart and provides examples of prayers that have calmed her own anxiety in the turmoil of raising four in a blended family. Haven’t I wanted to protect my kids from bad days? Kathi reminds me that God is their provider. God wants to provide for my kids in more ways than I can imagine, and when I step out of His way, He can grow them into the adults He wants them to be. That means I have to let go of control and choose instead to be “a strong advocate, a prayer warrior, an encourager, a hoper.”
Kathi has met her goal of letting me know that I am not alone. She has provided not just a parenting manual, but stories from the trenches of life and practical steps to turn my desperation back to inspiration from the heart of God. That puts me, and my kids, in the best possible place we can be: in the hands of God!
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher for the I Need Some Help Here! Blog Tour. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Am I the only Mom to cry during Toy Story 3? http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/entry/49909
Is your child a follower or a leader? http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/entry/36926
Fundraisers, Concerts and The Lawn Social http://sallyswords.braveblog.com/entry/31482
To purchase on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Need-Some-Help-Here-according/dp/0800720784
An artist travels to the home of the Italian grandfather he has never met, and becomes embroiled in a family secret that endangers them all. Weaving present day stories with medieval ones, Cheryl Colwell has produced a mystery that draws readers into the characters’ inner turmoil and the moral dilemmas they face. The suspense raises interesting questions for a Christian, in the relevance of ancient artifacts and their importance to the faith. It also highlights the role of greed, in altering the course of history, and the struggle for power, even within the walls of the church.
The author makes good use of dialogue and descriptions to propel the story forward. You experience the hairpin curves of a mountainside in
I picked this book for its medieval settings, but any reader will be drawn into the connection of history with the present. It has exciting twists, clear to the end!
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
The Lord says,
Your sin has been paid for.
What sin? The sin that says, I don’t need God.
How was it paid for? Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Make straight in the wildness of your heart
a highway for our God.
He wants to walk with you!
The glory of the LORD will be revealed,
And the whole human race will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Do you take an emotional plunge after a retreat?
Anticlimax is really not so unusual. Elijah had a big showdown with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, but when confronted by one woman, he ran. What happened to that powerful man of God? Didn’t he just beat out 850 false prophets? Didn’t he pray until God ended a drought?
Take a look at how Elijah made it back to the land of the living.
Read more here.
What do you do, to ease back into your daily routine after an emotionally-charged, high-energy event? Leave your comments here!
Unquenchable asks honest questions about disappointment in God and uses illustrations fleshed out from Scripture to look for purpose in suffering. It doesn’t try to resolve disillusionment with pat answers, but provides reflections on suffering that draw the reader deeper to the heart of God and to a faith that is unquenchable.
I could not put this book down. It brought a soothing rhythm to the ebb and flow of faith and a reassurance that God’s love for us remains strong when circumstances state otherwise. (Click to Tweet) Carol Kent shares from her own heart-wrenching story as well as that of others who encounter the unthinkable and have to find a new way to carry on with life. She provides steps to feed your faith and to overcome our natural inclination to complain in the midst of strife. She illustrates the importance of tending the fire, in order to have a faith that can step into the unknown and trust that God will be there. Kent reminds us that the Refiner’s fire is life-giving, though painfully so, and that suffering drives us to our knees, where we can find the secret of wildfire faith.
Get this book! It will be one of your cherished go-to-books in times of despair and for times of growth!BookLook Bloggers
Why do I participate in the Bible Study Expo? I am a teacher of God’s Word, and am constantly on the lookout for tools that will facilitate that study. So, when asked to help get the word out about new books on the market, I am an eager participant. At the last Expo, I tested the waters on a new-to-me author, and ended up using two of her studies with my women’s group. Yes, it was that helpful! So here are a few of my top reasons to jump in and get involved with Marnie’s Bible Study Expo:
How can you participate in the Bible Study Expo?
Come to the party, we’re expecting you!
We are 10 Days and counting
to the 2014 Bible Study Expo
Thursday, April 17
You'll get to MEET 9 authors of the newest Bible Study books + enjoy worship music and live interaction with other Bible Study leaders and enthusiasts through the Facebook + Twitter parties.
You'll LISTEN to live interviews with each author and Marnie as they share the story behind the study and who each one is for... plus its format and intensity level.
Even if you can't attend, we'll be giving away Bible Study Books & worship music CDs all afternoon during the expo and you can listen in to the recordings afterwards at www.BibleStudyExpo.com
It's often hard to decide what to do for your next study... Let us help at
Join the FB Party Page:
Invite your Bible Study friends!