Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kevin's Trip-Part 2

Here are some of the other pics. that Kevin took on his trip. During the week he worked very hard on his seminars. We are so thankful that on the weekends he was able to go out and explore some. There were so many American type restaurants and fast food places that he was able to enjoy while there also. I tried to not be so jeolous!

After our tour in Ephesus we went to an authentic Turkish Resturant.
It was very cool sitting on the floor, reclining on cushions and eating traditioinal Turkish food.

Near the Ruins of Ehpesus is St. John's Basilica. This is the castle that was built near the basilica in order to protect the holy site from Arab invaders.

These pictures are the ruins of St. John's Basilica. After his exile on the nearby isle of Patmos, John returned to Ephesus to work with the church there. After he died he was buried here and early Christians later built a memorial on his burial site. A few hundred years later the Basilica was built around the site of his tomb. Some of the ruins date back as far as 400 AD

The site of the Apostle John's tomb

Baptistry in the floor of the Basilica

On another day we travled across the Bosphoros which is the channel of water that separates the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. We travled from the Asian side on a large ferry to go and see some of the ancient sites on the European side. This is a picture of the Blue Mosque.

This is the Hagia Sophia, which is one of the most ancient sites in all of Christendom. It was built around 350 AD and was the seat of Christendom after Rome fell. It was destroyed on two other occasions and the current building is actually the third one on the same site and was built around 500 AD.

When Istanbul fell to Islamic invaders in 1543, the great church was turned into a Mosque and many of the beautiful mosaics were covered over. The building is now a museum and while it still resembles a mosque they are restoring some of the acient mosaics that are hidden underneath plaster.

This is inside the Blue Mosque which was built near the site of the Hagia Sophia. It is still a working mosque and an architectural marvel as well. However, it is inferior to the Hagia Sophia even though it was built about 1000 years later.

On the streets of Istanbul, headed to the Grand Bazaar

This is a picture taken from the balcony of my hotel room in Beirut. It was fascinating and sad to see some buildings that have been completely untouched by the former years of fighting and others (like this one) that were almost completely destroyed. Beirut is now a peaceful place, but the ravages of violence and clashes with Israel still hang in the atomosphere.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kevin's Trip to Ephesus

As many of you know, I (Kevin) was recently in Istanbul, Turkey working on my Ph.D. studies. While there I had the opportunity to make a trip down to Izmir which is near the ancient city of Ephesus. Turkey is full of ancient historical sites right out of the book of Acts. All the churches in the first few chapters of Revelation were located in Turkey as well and you can go and see most of these places. However, many are just ruins of ruins. Ephesus is the one that has been, by far, the most developed and studied.

This is the view from the balcony of the apartment where we spent a couple of nights in the city of Izmir.

This is traveling on the road from Izmir to nearby Ephesus. As you can tell it is very Mediterranean. This is a grove of Olive Trees.

This is near the entrance. There is not much, mostly old bath houses, tombs and minor housing.

This place is called the Odeion and was a meeting place for the town council and for minor concerts.

This is a monument erected to Memmius in the Domitian Square and dates back to the 1st Century B.C. Now that is old!!!

Perhaps the most memorable part of the entire trip was standing on this spot in the Great Amphitheater. If you read Acts 19, you will remember that the craftsmen's guild who made idols of Artemis were very unhappy with Paul and his companions for preaching the gospel of Christ and turning people from idol worship. Two of Paul's companions were taken by the mob and brought to this very place because of the riot. It is a fascinating story of how the Lord moved in Ancient Ephesus, but it is even more powerful when you stand on the very spot where those brothers (Gaius and Aristarchus) stood and defended their faith almost 2000 years ago. As I stood there it was easy to imagine the mob and the place filled with angry people.

This is a relief of the goddess Nike (the Greek God of Victory).

In its heyday, Ephesus was quite a modern city. There were aqueducts that supplied the city with water and people even had piping running into their houses. Notice the piping in the wall.

They also had running water in their public bath houses. Water used to run under the latrines to take the waste away from the city. This is one of the public latrines and it was also a bath house. They say that the marble gets so cold that there were people whose job it was to sit there and keep it warm for you. Then you would come, give them a coin and they would get up so you could sit down. This is one great reason why I am glad I didn't live back then. :-)

The street leading to the great library. Certainly Paul and his companions walked down this very street.

This is the road leading to the sea. This is the road Paul and others used when leaving Ephesus and going to the harbor. It used to be very close to the city, but now after 2000 years of terrain change, earthquakes and rivers leaving silt deposits, the sea is almost 3 miles away from the ancient city of Ephesus.

Many of the sidewalks and homes that were excavated show incredible craftsmanship in mosaics. These are tiny pieces of colored stone that are arranged and put together in order to make a picture. They are everywhere. The one above is simply a sidewalk, but it has survived over thousands of years.

Another highlight was seeing the ancient temple of Artemis, but not for the reasons you might suspect. Historians tell us that the temple of Artemis was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world and was an engineering marvel like none other. The people of Ephesus were so proud of their temple and their goddess of fertility that they even stood in the theater and shouted "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" for about two hours straight at Paul and his companions. (See Acts 19) Yet in the end, one can see that neither the goddess nor her temple were that great. This pillar is all that is left to show where the temple of artemis was. In fact, a bog developed right at the very point where the temple was constructed and most of it has sunk out of sight. In order to mark the spot for tourists, people have assembled this sad pillar and put it up. To me it is a testimony to the futility of false religion and that no matter how much we try, the things that we make with our hands and minds will only last for a time, but God is eternal. In the distance, rising above the remains of the temple of Artemis one can see the Basilica of St. John. While it is just an ancient church building that has also crumbled, it is still more vibrant and alive than anything that remains of the temple of Artemis. The followers of Artemis are no more, but those who followed Christ and built the Basilica still live on through us as we continue to follow Him. God is greater than any temple (or church building) built with stone, mortar and pillar. He is the true and living God and His kingdom is advancing through us, the church... a living building, being built up in Christ to the glory of God.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Daily Work

"Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ."
Colossians 3:23-24
At Chimusanya yesterday I taught on the verses from Col. 3:17-25. These verses are written to families. It specifically mentions wives, husbands, children, and fathers. Sometimes family members can be unhappy with their work that they are supposed to do. They may feel that their work is not important and may complain about doing it. They may even get angry at the one who caused the work. So as a result we may do our work carelessly, or even fail to do it all. We should all do our daily work as if we are serving the Lord. That means for us women that as we cook, clean, wash clothes, and care for our children we need to do it as if we are doing it for the Lord. One thing I hate to do is iron. However, my mother loves to iron. She once told me that as she would iron she would think of that person for whom she was ironing. I told this to the ladies yesterday and told them that as they were cooking for their family they could be praying for them or as they are washing clothes(by hand) they could pray for each individual in their family. They liked this idea and said they would try it. At the end of the lesson I challenged them to think about these questions: How have I been doing my work? Do I do it in any way just to please myself? Do I do it carelessly because I do not like it? Do I do it in an angry way? Do I do it to please the Lord?
What about you? How are you doing your daily work?

Monday, January 25, 2010

What a day!

Our day started this morning with a phone call from a friend asking if Kevin was home yet. When I said that he was home she then proceeded to tell me that there was a flight from Beruit going to Addis Ababa which had crashed into the ocean early this morning. We immediately went to look it up on the internet. It was then that we saw that it was the same flight that Kevin had been on just the day before, probably even the same airplane. There is only one flight from Beruit to Addis each day at 2:00am. Kevin's flight from Turkey had been delayed so he missed his flight from Beruit to Addis. The airline put him up in a hotel which was nice but he would not be able to fly out of Beruit for 24 hours. If he had gotten there that night and been told that they were booked and there was not room for him he would have been on this flight that crashed. We are so thankful that he made it here safely. We are however, so sad for all those who died in that crash and for their families who are now grieving. I just keep thinking how different my day could have been today had Kevin been on that plane. Let's remember to pray for all those families who are grieving right now because of this crash.
On another note, there is an outbreak of H1N1 virus at RVA which is where Zach and Justin go to boarding school. We got an email today that Justin has been sent to the infirmary with the symptoms of this virus. As of this morning there are 69 students sick and 8 staff. Please pray for this virus not to spread any further. Pray for the health care workers who are there and all the dorm parents as they take care of all these sick children. Pray they will have strength for the job ahead.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kind Words

Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14
Yesterday, I taught the women of Chimusanya: 1-a Christian family must use kind words, 2- We can get strength from God to use kind words, 3- Psalm 19:14 shows us how to have kind speech.
After the lesson the women had lots of good questions. One in particular stood out to me. One woman asked, "If your husband is not a Christian and then right as you are leaving to go to church he tells you to do some things and that he doesn't want you to go to church, what can you do?" Many Zambian families to not worship together. You will find most often that the wife will go to one church and the husband to another. Then sometimes you will find where one in the relationship won't go at all. Because I mainly work with women it is their side I always hear. There were two single women in the group whom I encouraged to make sure that they married a Christian man. I wanted them to learn from these other women who are not happy or having trouble with their spouse because they are unequally yoked. It can cause much hardship later on in your relationship if you are not both like-minded. It made me truly thankful for my Godly husband(which by the way is coming home finally tomorrow!). After all the questions, we memorized Psalm 19:14(above) by using some hand motions. They liked doing that a lot. We talked a bit about memorizing scripture and how difficult it may seem if you can not read. So we used hand motions for this one and then we talked about another way by making a song out of the verse to help us learn it. I even sang a song for them which was based on Matt. 22:37-39 to give them an example. As soon as I finished one of the women in the back raised her hand and said that she all ready knew of a song based on what we talked about that day. She is going to practice it this week and share it with us next week.
May we always ask God to daily help us to speak kind words to others especially in our homes where unfortunately it can be more difficult at times.

Monday, January 18, 2010

She still speaks

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. Hebrews 11:4

Sunday afternoon I got news that my friend Amai Banda had died. She was my friend from Silver Rest Baptist Church where I was teaching about one year ago. She is the woman who had diabetes and had to have her leg cut off at the knee. Evidently, last week two of her toes on the other foot had fallen off and when she went to the doctor they said they would have to cut off her other leg as well. It was after her surgery that she got worse and then died.

This morning I went with some of my other Zambian friends to visit the home of Amai Banda. We entered a room about 10 ft wide and 12 ft long. All the furniture was taken outside where the men sat. Only about 25 women were in this room plus the two men that came with us. We all sat on the floor bunched together. There was much wailing. We all greeted, sang, prayed, and then wailed some more. Then they turned it over to me to share. I brought the book, Voices of the Faithful II with me because I had written a devotion in there regarding Amai Banda. I read that days devotion and then shared Heb. 11:4 mentioned above. I tried to encourage the family and friends that even now after Amai Banda has died her testimony will still live on.

I can’t copy that devotion on here but if you have the book it is found on Aug. 16th. Now, on that day, people all over America will be praying for Amai Banda and won’t even know that she has passed away. While that is sad to me, I know that people will be encouraged by her testimony and perhaps even challenged to be a witness for Jesus. Amai Banda was a good friend, mother, grandmother, church member, and wife. She sacrificed much to serve God with one leg. I feel sure she is doing some kind of African dance praising Jesus even now. Many will miss her presence but hopefully they will be encouraged that even though she is dead she still speaks.

She will be buried on Wed. Please pray for Amai Banda's family during this difficult time. I gave the family the book, Voices of the Faithful II. They were so grateful to have this book.

Amai Banda is the one in the middle with a green head wrap on and a gray shirt.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's Great to be out teaching again

This past Thursday I began teaching at Chimusanya Baptist Church. Leslie went with me for the afternoon. After driving 1 hour and 15 min. we reached the church and all the women came out singing to greet us. There were 22 women that came that day and 4 of them were from the New Apostolic church. I think they just came to see the white woman and hear what she had to say. I taught on giving tithes and offerings and used the story of the poor widow who gave all she had, found in Mark 12:41-44. Leslie read some verses for us in Chichewa from Malachi 3:8-12 and did a great job. Leslie and her husband Kenny are living in Chongwe for a year studying language before they move to their place of service in Luangwa in July. Anyway, I asked them some questions concerning what the difference is in tithing and offerings. They understood that pretty well. But when I asked them if we should give money in order to get money from God they were a bit confused. They said yes to that question. I wasn't that surprised by their answer because there is such a TBN mentality among some of our churches. While it is true that the bible says he will bless us it does not say we will get rich. Also, even though God said he would bless us, it doesn't mean that we give just so that we will get. I think that the verses in Malachi are saying that if we choose to be generous in our giving, God will keep giving to us so that we can continue to give to others. Giving our tithes is our way of worshiping God, its like we are saying that we trust in God to provide for our needs. I also asked them if they believed this scripture that we had just read. When they all answered yes, I challenged them on it because in our churches at offering time so little is given. There may be 75 people in church and the offering will be k9,000 which is about $2.00. The truth is that our people are not tithing. However, if there is a wedding or a kitchen party(like a bridal shower) people will spend about k50,000 on a gift(about $10.00). I challenged them to think about how much their church gives during the offering time. If they really believed these verses they would cheerfully give so much more. I asked them to do a skit on the verses we had read from Mark. They did a great job on that. It was cute how they used lots of leaves to represent their money in the offering plate. When I finished they sang some songs for us and then loaded us down with gifts of mango's, bananas, and a drink called Monkoyo. They were such a blessing. Please pray for me as I continue to teach there for the next few months.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What to do when....

......nothing seems to be going right. I have had a few days where I have felt like that since Kevin has been gone. Just to name a few: Hannah has been sick, 3 rabbits got out of the cage and our smallest dog killed them, our toilet seat broke off, two of our security lights went out, I had to mow our yard, and huge black ants have invaded our yard and decided to live in it(a lot of diesel took care of that). Another one of our dogs killed a big puff adder(poisonous snake) in our yard but got bit in the process. I'm not even a dog lover and hardly even touch the dogs but I had to pick this 45lb. dog up and put her in the back of our truck and seek medical attention. When I looked down at my shirt and saw lots of dog hairs and dog slobber I said, "I have got to win mother of the year for this one!" This has all been since Sunday, but really, every other day has been just fine. I sure do miss Kevin and not just when things are going wrong. It does make me appreciate him even more though when I have to do the things that he normally takes care of. Also, I appreciate the fact that his love language is Acts of Service. I have realized this past week that I sometimes take him for granted-what a mistake! I know that women can do all these things that men usually take care of but I just don't enjoy those kind of things. It doesn't bother me one bit that God created men to do some things better than women. I also know that God designed women to do some things better than men. I personally think that God knew what he was doing when he made men and women. Do men actually enjoy those kinds of things like I mentioned above? They must or either they just want to please us women. Either way, I am thankful for the husband that God gave me. What a special gift from God he is to me!

So what do you do when nothing seems to be going right? Do you just hide from the world? Do you just stay in bed and cry all day? No, you just have to relax and take a breath, trust God, and pray. I have learned something about myself this week. That is, that I don't always handle stressful situations too well. Especially if Kevin is not around or if things happen first thing in the morning before I even have time to have a QT and breakfast! Another thing I have learned this week is that God is faithful in any and every circumstance.

I find rest in God; only he gives me hope. Psalm 62:5
So our hope is in the Lord. He is our help, our shield to protect us. Psalm 33:20
I wait for the Lord to help me, and I trust his word. Psalm 130:5
My God will use his wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need. Phil. 4:19
I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength. Phil 4:13
Praise the Lord, God our Savior, who helps us every day. Psalm 68:19

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Burned Biscuits

Here's a short little story with a great message!

When I was a little boy, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite! When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Baby, I love burned biscuits." Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned.. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired.. And besides - a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!" You know, life is full of imperfect things......and imperfect people I'm not the best housekeeper or cook. What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults - and choosing to celebrate each other's differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship. And that's my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker! -- Author Unknown

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just to make you smile.....

I got these as a forward and thought I would share them with you. Hope it makes you smile like it did me!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

MK Camp

MK Camp 2009/2010

Last week the boys were able to join their friends from all over Southern Africa and attend mk camp. Zach has been going every year since he was 12. It is a time that they both look forward to so much. A group of volunteers from the states usually come and lead in worship and teaching. This was Zach's last camp since he will be graduating in July. It was so hard to say bye to his friends that he has grown to care about so much. I wrote recently in a blog about giving to Lottie Moon that this next year all of our meetings will be canceled because of the lack of funds. This also includes the camp for all the missionary kids. The boys told me that while at camp they made a video to send to churches to help promote Lottie Moon. I think that was a fantastic idea and I'm so proud of all of our mk's to take part in that. If it goes on Youtube I'll let you know in another post. None of these are my pics. since of course I was not there but I have gotten them off of Facebook. Enjoy!

Justin, KB, and Zach

They had a masquerade party one night and they made their own masks. Zach is in the middle with the blue shirt on.

They do lots of fun activities outside in groups. They also get to swim some.

Zach enjoys helping with the worship times. This girl had written a song about mk's and asked Zach to play his guitar along with her.

sitting around the campfire.

After camp is over all the kids go to McDonalds for lunch. Can you imagine about 60 kids all in blue camp t-shirts lining up at McDonalds? What a treat for them to be able to eat there!

Zach hanging out at a friends house waiting to fly back to Zambia