Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Heart's Desire


Thank You, Lord, for giving me a glimpse into my heart's desire. For so long, I merely existed, and You pulled me out of that. And, very slowly and carefully You put me back together. And, when You did, there was this One Thing within me, the One Thing that I was afraid to wish for, afraid to hope for. You knew what it was. And, again, very slowly and carefully You allowed me to see it, to hope for it, to believe for it and even to speak it out loud. And now, I own it, too, along with You...my heart's desire.

Ghana...Lawra...Children orphaned because their parents died from AIDS..."my kids." Thank You, Jesus!

Is there still something deep within my heart? Yes. Will I ever speak it? I doubt it. But, God knows and that's good enough for me!

The Seventh Day of Christmas


On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Seven Swans A-swimming

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving,

6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Sixth Day of Christmas


On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Six Geese A-laying

The six days of creation that confesses

God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Fifth Day of Christmas


On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Five Gold Rings


The first Five Books of the Old Testament,

known as the Torah or the Pentateuch:

1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy,

which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace

in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Fourth Day of Christmas



On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Four Calling Birds

The Four Gospels:

1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John,

which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself

in Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the Third Day of Christmas...

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Three French Hens

The Three Theological Virtues:


1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Second Day of Christmas


Two Turtle Doves

The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The First Day of Christmas





On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God is Doing a Good Work in...Me?

This morning I realized that God really is doing a good thing in me. For years I didn't like the Christmas Season because of the emphasis on family. It was everywhere (and probably still is.) Going shopping for family, family dinners, decorating as a family, going to church as a family where the Advent wreath was lit by...a family! Now, I'm not against families, but even after years it still hurt that I was divorced and that I was never blessed with children. Living at least 2 hours from family didn't help either. I ached to be part of a family at Christmas. (I want to stress that I loved the Reason for the Season!)

Then, two years ago, I made my first trip to Ghana. I prayed that God would work a miracle within me that Christmas season. I had taken a Bible with me, but it wasn't a study Bible. And, I didn't have a computer with me. I preached 10 times while there. At least 5 times were during the Advent/Christmas season. God and I had several long talks that year. I knew He was with me. Christmas in a Ghanaian village is very different than here in the US.

Last year, I had knee replacement surgery in December, so I didn't make it out for all the Christmas festivities. I was basically home bound most of the month. I was able to make it to church Christmas Eve, but that's all.

Now, it is Christmas 2009. And, I have realized that the family thing doesn't bother me! I volunteered to light candles & read at the Christmas Eve service tonight at 10:00. I thought I was volunteering to light the altar candles & read the Scripture. The reality is that I will be lighting the Advent Wreath and Christ candles and read those readings...and, on what I beleive to be my last Christmas here for several years. Praise God! He is so good to me!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family Christmas


I'm getting ready to travel to visit my family for Christmas. It's just my two brothers and my sister now. And, I live at least 2 hours from them. That isn't bad though. It gives me a chance to visit every so often. But, this year will be different.


This year will be my last Christmas to spend with my family for several years. At least, that's what I'm believing. I am planning to move to Ghana in 2010, specifically in the spring. I'll be there for four years working with AIDS orphans in one of the poorest areas of the country. So, Christmas with family will be bittersweet. I'm so happy to be able to share this time with my siblings and look forward to next year when I'll be celebrating in a very different way. Yet, I'll miss my family.

But, there is one thing that makes me glad...in Christ, we are never far apart from each other!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12 days of Christmas

Contrary to popular belief, the 12 days of Christmas do not end with Christmas, but begin with it!

The Twelve Days of Christmas is probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians who are not part of liturgical church traditions. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th with the following day considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th). In these traditions, the twelve days begin December 26 and include Epiphany on January 6.

Watch for the meanings of each day, beginning on Christmas Day!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Prayer


I sit down alone,

Only God is here;

In His presence I open,

I read His books;

And what I thus learn,

I teach.

-John Wesley

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Prayer and fasting

Today is the day that The Mission Society has put aside for prayer and fasting. It is the desire of the president of The Mission Society to spend a day of focusing on the Lord and seeking is face. Seeking God's will and vision for The Mission Society as a whole and for the various departments will be a part of the day, as well as praying for specific needs of the mission fields worldwide.

Fasting is a Christian discipline that I have not practiced much in my life. I know I should. And, whenever I set my wants aside and seek the face of the Lord, I know that I have been blessed. When you combine prayer and fasting, great things begin to happen. But, what, specifically, is prayer and fasting? Prayer and fasting is defined as voluntarily going without food in order to focus on prayer and fellowship with God. Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. You can pray without fasting, and fast without prayer. It is when these two activities are combined and dedicated to God's glory that they reach their full effectiveness. Having a dedicated time of prayer and fasting is not a way of manipulating God into doing what you desire. Rather, it is simply forcing yourself to focus and rely on God for the strength, provision, and wisdom you need.

Today, I will spend time in prayer as I fast. I will seek God's strength, provision and wisdom that I need as I prepare to move to Ghana. Even though I look forward to the move and wish it were soon, it is not easy. I need and want all He has for me, especially in this time of my life.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Evil Eye

Throughout Turkey, you'll see a blue, yellow, and white ornament which looks roughly like an eye. They are often displayed in shops, houses, and even on vehicles. It's believed that some people have power in their looks that can harm other people, domestic animals, goods, and properties. To have the "evil eye" is not the person's fault, it can come upon anyone. Once a person has the "evil eye" he or she can unintentionally bring harm to whoever or whatever he or she looks at. It's also believed that this power comes from the eyes, the two exit points of the soul. This ornament is worn or displayed as a protector from that "evil eye."

The history of the evil eye goes back before the Muslim religion's emergence in the Middle East, and is seen among the Arabs, Iranians, Greeks, Indians, and even in Ancient Egypt. Blue bead eyes are attached to children, to valuable animals, houses, vehicles, and properties. A chain of blue-bead eyes is attached to the forehead of larger animals. Lovers also give each other blue-beads with the hope that these beads will protect their loved ones. In addition to blue beads, some other objects are also used for that purpose. To protect fruit trees and fields from the evil eye, an animal skull is placed by the tree or field. Horseshoes, garlic, and children's shoes can also be seen hanging in trucks, buses, and houses. Eggshells are also used as protection from the evil-eye, but they're only used for beautiful flowers.

Some framed inscriptions hanging in houses and painted on large trucks and other vehicles are used to avert evil eyes from the houses and vehicles, or to bring the protection of God. Of those inscriptions "Masallah" means "what (wonders) God has willed," "Allah Korusun" means "may God protect from all evil."

As a Christian, I do not put faith in "The Evil Eye." Yes, I believe that spiritual forces of darkness exist, but I also believ that my God, the Lord God Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth is the One True God. He IS stronger than any "Evil Eye." He protects and provides. I do not need a man made amulet to protect me from evil forces. I need the Lord Jesus Christ, as we all do.

I urge you to pray for those people throughout the world who are in bondage because of this type of practice. Pray that God would send people to form relationships and share their faith with others so they can be delivered from this type of bondage. And, pray that once delivered and partakers of the new life in Christ, they would share with others the freedom that they have found in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Advice for "Running the Race"


I have been part of a small group that has been studying Charles Swindoll's book, A Man of Grit and Grace: Paul. The last chapter is on 2 Timothy. In it, Swindoll gives a list on how to run the race as a person of grit and grace as written by Paul in 2 Timothy 2. Here is the advice that I know I could definitely use:
  • Be strong in grace (2:1)
  • Be faithful to entrust truth (v.2)
  • Be as brave as a soldier (v. 4)
  • Be as disciplined as an athlete (v. 5)
  • Be as hardworking as a farmer (v. 6)
  • Be as diligent as a workman (v.15)
  • Be as gentle as a servant (vv. 24-25)

Isn't this what we all aim to do be in life? It's all in one small chapter! I pray that I can take this advice and apply it to my life!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saints in My Life


Tomorrow, the Christian church will celebrate All Saints Day. As I was driving home from errands this morning, I asked myself the question, "Who are the people that have influenced my life?" Who are those "saints" that have gone on to glory?

My mother was one. In the midst of a "soap opera" situation in her life, she showed love, grace and mercy. Those were qualities I learned from her.

Albert Steiner was another. I learned as I watched him loving his children and loving his wife. I learned to begin to trust again. And I learned it wouldn't hurt.

David Potts, a missionary to Central Asia, introduced me to The Mission Society. I am now preparing to move to Ghana to love and nurture children orphaned by AIDS.

There are others, too. But, today I remember and am grateful for these three. I loved them and I miss them. They will never know how much their examples have impacted my life. Someday, we will be together again as we worship before the throne of God.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's a WAWA Kind of Day

I was reading the blog of a friend of mine who lives in Ghana. She was talking about her day when nothing seemed to go right. It was no one's fault, it's just the way it was. Whether the electricity was off for most of the day, or a flight was delayed for 5 hours, or the drill for the bore hole (well) wouldn't work. That's life in Ghana! The saying is it's a WAWA kind of day. (West Africa Wins Again)


Here, in the US, I am so used to electricity working, water running out of the faucets when turned on and the phone working when it is picked up. Lately, I have had so much trouble - router died, speakers on my laptop not working, motherboard needing replaced, printer dying and replaced & dying again and no phone serrvice for 4 days. I quickly forget that these non- essentials are not to be expected, but are gifts from God. It is a privilege that I have any of these things.


So, for me, I need to smile and quit getting upset, and be grateful that all these things can be fixed or replaced. I can choose to be thankful that I have the friends that can fix things and I have the means to replace the itemsthat need to be replaced. Today, I am waiting for Verizon to come and fix my phone line. I am also packing as I will be speaking at a church tomorrow. And, as I do both, I can say with the Psalmist, "I will praise You, O Lord with all my heart; before the gods (or when everything that goes wrong) I will sing Your praise.


For me, it's been a WAWA month. The good news, God is good and He is still in control!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lessons From Mark


I am in the midst of an inductive Bible study with my friend, Sally. We live 2 1/2 hours apart, so we talk to each other once a week on what we have studied. We are in the midst of studying the book of Mark.

There are so many things that I have learned from this study. First, the day is a lot more peaceful and a lot more fruitful if I begin with studying the Word of God. Second, God really does speak to me if I will listen! (When I move to Ghana, I will not have access to the numerous Bible Study helps that are available here. So, I am practicing now to look & listen!)

One of the first things that really struck me in this book was in Mark 1: 11. The Father said to Jesus, "You are My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." The Father, Abba "Daddy" loves Jesus just because He is His Son. No other reason. He didn't have to earn it. The love is there just because, with no strings attatched.

We're in Chapter 7 now. And, the lessons learned keep coming. Some days I am blind to them, other days I see them. But, I am changing for the better because of the lessons in Mark. Why don't you try it? You just might change, too!



Friday, September 25, 2009

Sabbath Rest Revisited

Not too long ago I wrote about Sabbath rest. Well, I guess I need to listen to myself. Since presently I work from home, it is easy for me to do "just one thing" here and "one thing" there instead taking one day and using it for what it was intended - REST.

I have found myself tired, stressed out, not able to really concentrate on anything like I should and the thought of having to do just one more thing has put me over the edge more than once. Classes, reports, phone calls, newsletters, etc. will still be there tomorrow. I NEED to take time - time to rest, relax, reflect, renew. If I don't, I won't be good for anyone or anything!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Missionary Eyes


Missionary Eyes
by Wayne Talley

Lord, give me missionary eyes
To see the lost and dying,
To see their pain and crying.
Lord, give me missionary eyes.

Lord, give me missionary hands
To selflessly serve in any way I can.
Knowing that my reward will be
Eternity spent next to Thee.
Lord, give me missionary hands.

Lord, give me missionary feet
To take your precious gospel down the street
To those who need to hear today,
To those who need to know the Way.
Lord, give me missionary feet.

Lord, give me missionary zeal
For there’s a dying world that needs
To feel that someone cares about their soul.
Loosen my tongue, Lord, make me bold.
Lord give me missionary zeal.

Lord give me missionary eyes
To see the lost and dying.
To see their pain and crying.
Lord give me missionary eyes.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sabbath Rest

Scripture tells us that God created the world in six day, and on the seventh day He rested. It also says that the Sabbath was made for man...

As human beings, we need a day to rest, reflect meditate, spend time with the Lord and be renewed.

Today, I finished 1 lesson of my Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages class and did the entire next lesson. Six down, fourteen to go!) Plus cooking,dishes, and all the other stuff I do day to day. I know I am in need of a Sabbath rest. I need to relax my mind and my body and I need to spend time with God.

And, I'm looking forward to it. How about you?

Monday, August 31, 2009

All I Can Do Is...

Lately, I've been receiving news about those I love. The news oftentimes is tough for me to handle, like the death of Jacob. There have been other things, too, that have been bittersweet. I walk around looking as if I might cry any moment. I don't know how to pray. My prayers go in about a million directions. Then, finally, I give up and do what I need to do...I lift my hands in worship looking not at the problem, but at the unique "gift" that the Lord has put before me and I sing:
I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
I'll stand my soul Lord to You abandoned
All I am is Yours
Words by Michael W. Smith from the song The Stand
From the Album Stand

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Memory of Jacob


I recently received news that Jacob, one of the babies of Lawra Orphanage had died. Jacob was sick. His illness could have been treated. But, he was not taken to the doctor soon enough. Now he lives with His Heavenly Father.

I pray that people will answer the call to "Go" and work among the least, last and lost of this world so that in the future other children will live to be mighty men and women of God in their villages.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What Zone Are You In?


This mornig I woke up, reached for my glasses, and...what? They aren't where I put them!

I was in the panic zone. I looked on the bed, under the bed, in between the pillows, on the night table, on the dog bed, in the dog crate (just in case), you get the idea. I was blind without my glasses!

Then, I stopped and prayed. I prayed that God would show me where to look for them. I was now in the learning zone.

I went back into the bedroom, and something shiney caught my eye - my glasses! While I was flipping the sheets looking for them, they must have flew off the bed, lining up next to the dog bed, not easy to see at all. I put them on and now I am in the comfort zone.

Not one zone is bad or wrong in itself, it's what you do while you are in it. Are you too comfortable that you aren't being challenged, aren't growing? Are you in such a panic that you can't hear the voice of the Lord, the voice of reason, or the voice of trusted others?

Or, are you in the place where you are open to learning new things, new experiences, new "aha" moments from God?

What zone are you in?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rain

It's raining today. I find it very refreshing. The temperatures are a little cooler and the plants are getting watered by God.

When I was in Lawra, Ghana, it rained twice. It felt so good because of the extreme heat. The kids loved it and they played in the rain feeling the cool water on their skin. It was if everyone was revived by it. We all felt renewed and refreshed, ready to face whatever came our way.

The Lord does the same with us. He rains His love, His mercy and His Holy Spirit on us to refresh and revive us. He prepares us to face today, tomorrow and whatever the future holds for us. We need to soak in His presence and allow Him to work within us. His rain is always good!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Is It Necessary?


It is necessary for me to go; but it may not be necessary for me to live.

~ Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman

Missionary to Ghana

1837

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A New Family for Alice


This is my buddy, Alice. She lived at the orphanage in Lawra, Ghana. Her parents died of HIV/AIDS. I say lived, because she was adopted! Adoption in this area of Ghana is unusual. I am so happy for her and her new American family. I pray that she will grow up to be a young woman of faith, knowing how much Jesus loves her. I pray that she would know Him as her Lord and Savior. I pray that He will be the most important person in her life and that she would give Him all the honor and glory due Him. And, I pray, that when she grows up, she, too, will return to Ghana for a time, to help her people.

Alice, I love you and I'll miss. As the Sankofa reminds us, remember from where you came. God bless you!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day


Today is Father's Day. It's the day when we Americans honor our fathers, for who they are, their impact on our lives and the love they have for their children.

During our prayer time in Sunday School, I couldn't help but pray for those children who don't have fathers. I prayed for those whose fathers are dead or have chosen not to be a part of their child's life. And, I prayed for those who take the time to be a father figure or a Godly male influence to the countless orphans throughout the world. It isn't an easy job.

I pray that God would give wisdom, patience and unconditional love to all fathers. And, I pray that God would send men out into the world to "step up" to fill in the gaps where fathers should be. Every child needs to know the love of a father.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's That 5 Letter "T" Word Again


It's that 5 letter "T" word again - TRUST. I have tickets to go to Brazil on July 2nd, but my visa has not arrived yet. And, I am getting a little concerned. I am so used to sending my passport overnight to a consulate for a visa on Monday and having it in my hand by Thursday. But, that's not how it is working this time. First of all, the Consulate of Brazil does not accept requests for visas by mail. So, I had to use a travel document agency. It's been over two weeks now. And, I won't be home most of the week (again) to sign for it. Ugh! So, what can I do? TRUST God that all will happen in His perfect timing. Until then, I'll stay home as much as I can (two days), hoping that it will come and I will be here to sign for it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

God Knows


Today is the day before the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church begins. It was a day of prayer and healing. Tonight there was a healing service in the chapel. And, as I was sitting there praying and thinking, God knew...He just knew. He knew what I needed! I never voiced it, but He knew. A friend came up to me and said, "Sue, I'd like to pray for you. I'd like to pray something specific that the Lord has put on my heart. As this friend spoke to me and prayed, we both were crying. I was crying because every word of that prayer was what I needed, was what I was thinking, was where in my spirit I needed to be touched. And, I praise God that He knew and He took care of everything even beter than I could have imagined. Thank You, Jesus!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What is It Really About?

Kolongo Church (Under the Tree,) Ghana

My Church, Concord UMC

Today I attended a meeting at my church. One of the things we talked about was how we do church & how should we be doing church Our speaker was very serious when she said there was a group of 20 somethings in her church that were very pregnant and were trying to impress on the decision making body of the church that they needed lounge chairs in the back of the sanctuary for the pregnant women and even little refrigerator/freezers between them equipped with ice cream.

I had a really hard time with this. I guess I'm becoming more and more Ghanain. My favorite church is the Kolongo church in the upper west region of Ghana. It meets under a tree in the midst of a cornfield, but during the dry season there is no cornfield. There are no creature comforts - no bathrooms, no cold water, no padded pews or air conditioning, no hymnals and no Bible in their own heart language. Mothers come to worship, pregnant or not, some nursing babies during the service. People bring benches, stools or whatever they have at home on which to sit. They don't argue that there is no building to worship in during the rainy season. They come to worship, not to be entertained. It's about God, not about me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for going to where the people are and meeting them on their ground. We need to put aside our comfort zone to reach out to others at the point of their need. But, I have to admit, I had a rough time with this one!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The New Love of My Life

The boy pictured here is the new love of my life, Eric. When I met Eric in April, he was 10 months old. He had just recovered from maleria, but was not released from the hospital because his family couldn't pay the hospital bill of 45 Ghana cedis which is about $32.

I would visit him at the Ankaase Methodist Faith Healing Hospital and hold him, play with him and pray for him. Unlike most children his age, he readily came to me. Others would cry because of my light colored skin. When I gave him back to his mom, Beatrice, he would reach out to me again. So, we would play more. He even fell asleep in my arms!

Eric reminded me of the trust we need to have in our heavenly Father. We need to constantly reach out to Him, be comfortable in His arms and not waver. We should be able to trust Him to be our security and be able to quietly rest in Him.


Thank you, Eric. I will never forget you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Things I Learned in Ghana


~Boiled okra is slimy.

~There are different kinds of mangos just like there are different kinds of apples.

~Bananas are sweet, but they are even sweeter given to you by a friend.

~How to tell sheep and goats apart – goats’ tails go up. Sheep tails go down.

~Walking through a herd of cows is a great time to pray for protection.

~Water and electricity should not be taken for granted. They are gifts from God.

~Be prepared – church can last anywhere from two to six hours.

~The Muslim Imam can be VERY loud, especially ay 4 AM.

~Get up at dawn, be home by dark.

~The further north you live, the less food choices you have.

~Fu fu tastes better than teezert.

~There is only one letter difference between the Dagaare word for grace and the word for trouble. So, if you pray for God’s grace, make sure you end the word in an o and not an a.

~The richest people I know have very little material goods.

~Relationships are more important than schedules.

~God has given me a Ghanaian family, Ghanaian friends and a Ghanaian “home town.”

~There are not one, but two Ghanaian Albert Steiners!

~“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Genesis 28:15

~ A chief can be enstooled (in the south) or enskinned (in the north.)

~ You can buy anything from your car window while waiting at a red light, especially in Accra. Things for sale include, but are not limited to water, eggs, apples, yams, biscuits, books, belts, ties, toilet paper, shirts, paint brushes, posters of Ghana, stickers for cars, apples, puzzles, super glue...

~ To carry a live chicken, pinch it's wings together behind it's back.

~ You can order hand sewn shrouds made to your specifications AND you can order a coffin any size and shape you want.

~ Trust. I learned that God is teaching me to trust. He used a Ghanaian pastor to open my eyes to this lesson.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Safe In Ghana


I safely arrived in Accra, Ghana on Wednesday morning after forgetting what time I was being picked up for the airport and my luggage attacking my big toe. Going through immagration, my passport was stamped for 30 days and not 60, so I had to get a visa for Burkina Faso where I will go and re-enter. Then I attended a Bible study with about a dozen of ladies from different backgrounds and countries. It was a Beth Moore study and the discussion was great! Then, we went out to lunch and each of us shared about our ministries and what brought us to Ghana. I ended up at a friend's house for the night. At 7 PM, the husband kept harping, "Go to bed, Sue" because I was so tired from traveling. So, at 7:30 I went to bed. At 8:30, they were robbed at gun point in another area of the house. Everyone was safe, no one was hurt and I slept through it. Praise God! It was His grace that kept me safe.

Thursday, I met the presiding bishop and went to get my Burkina visa, went out for lunch and to another friends office. I spent the night at their house and went to the bus station this morning to go to Ankaase. But, I had stomach issues, so I went back "home" to rest, relax and sleep. I'll go to Ankaase tomorrow.

I may not have internet for several weeks. Be blessed! I will update when able.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hanging Out with Friends

Tonight I'm hanging out with friends. I've been doing that a lot lately. I was in Corry, PA and spent 3 wonderful days with friends up there. Plus, I spent three days in Erie, PA with my sister who is my friend, too. I had dinner with my brother, another friend. This afternoon, I spent time with a friend from Ohio whom I haven't seen in at least three years Now, I'm in Cranberry Township, PA spending time with teenaged friends. Tomorrow, I'll be having home made waffles with other friends. God is so good to me!

I'm leaving on Tuesday for Ghana. I'll be gone for two months, so it has been wonderful to see all these people before I leave. They have been a blessing and an encouragement to me, as I hope I have been to them. I'll miss them, while at the same time I look forward to seeing my Ghanaian friends.

Isn't it nice to know that we are never far from each other when we are connected by the love of the Lord?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Remember Where You Came From

Yesterday & today I have been working on a talk that I am giving Sunday. It is for a Sunday School Class and it is my testimony. And, I am having a really hard time concentrating and staying on task. I find my mind wandering. Sometimes things I write have been such a good part of my life and other times, not so good. When that happens, I get teary eyed and want to walk away from my computer.

The carving pictured above is an Ashante symbol, a Ghanaian symblol. It is "Sankofa" which is a symbol for remembering where you have come from and learning from it. I have learned so much from my life. God has been so gracious and merciful, at times I am overwhelmed by it all.

I think right now, I will thank God for life, His life and keep on typing. And I pray that He will be glorified as I share where I have come from and the lessons tat I have learned from it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Finished It!


I just finished an online course in grantwritng. I took it in hopes to someday write a grant that would be awarded to Lawra Methodist Orphanage in Lawra, Ghana. It breaks my heart that these kids don't even have fresh meat, fresh fruit or fresh vegetables to eat. They live a VERY modest lifestyle because there is no money for extra clothes, shoes, toys, etc. At times there isn't even money for the necessities like dried fish or rice or school supplies. So, my prayer is that someday, they will have more than enough, that their cups will be overflowing!

To learn more about the orphanage, check out my web site at www.suekolljeski.com

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Seasons of Life


Seasons of life...I've seen so many of them lately. I have been invited to a baby shower. I went to a wedding. Friends of mine have died. Others have had surgery, some doing well, others having a harder time. New neighbors are moving in.

As I prepare to travel to Ghana, I wonder how different life will be when I return. Life is always different, for one cannot be the same person after experiencing the joys and sorrows of life in a poverty stricken area. But, I wonder...who will be married when I return? Who will have died? Who might be expecting a child? Who will be preparing to move?

Our lives are always in the midst of change. There is only One who stays the same, no matter what season of life we are in at the moment. Scripture says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hope


hope verb to wish for something with the expectation of its fulfillment; to have confidence, trust
-The Free Online Dictionary


Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and
certain of what we do not see.
-Hebrews 11:1

Friday, February 20, 2009

Teenage Friends


I just returned from having lunch with two teenage friends. I almost didn't go because I had "stuff to do." I am so glad I went. I feel so privileged to have teenagers in my life that aren't embarrassed to be seen in public with a 55 year old woman. I did a couple of errands with them in addition to eating out. I am so glad I went. They keep me young. And, in some small way, I am impacting their lives. One of these two - the boy - even called me up on Saturday to wish me "Happy Valentine's Day!" How sweet is that?


Also this week I had the opportunity to shop with another teenager. I needed something for my trip to Ghana and needed her input. We stopped at three stores to find the best item, then went to Starbucks. It was such a good couple of hours.


So often I tend to stay home by myself. Once I'm out, I'm ok, but it's getting out that's hard. Maybe it's because right now it's so cold out. Maybe it's because I travel so much I like to stay home when I can. The problem comes when I don't go out to be among friends for more than a week or so. Then, depression can set in. I tend to sleep too much at those times, and shun others.


That's not how God made us. God made us to be relational beings. And, even though it might be hard to step outside some days, I'm always grateful I did. So, to my "Favorite Four Teenages"...keep calling!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Psalm 62:11

"Stregnth comes straight from God."
Psalm 62:11 The Message

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Grantwriting Class


I am taking an on line grantwriting class. It is my hope that I will be able to use what I learn to find some funding for the orphanage that I will be working with in Ghana. As I read and study, the more I realize what I don't know. The Ghanaian culture is so different than ours. I doubt if this little orphanage has a mission statement or a list of goals and objectives. They only have 3 paid workers who spend their time taking care of the kids. Right now, their goal is to make sure there is food and clothing and clean water.I return to this orphanage in a month. I'll try to find out the information I need. I'll talk with people, ask lots of questions and see where it leads. Maybe there will be an opportunity to fine tune some of these items that would be needed if I ever write a grant. Money for food, clothing, electricity and worker's salaries is so desperately needed. Before they are taught to "fish for themselves" they need the basics of life. I pray that I may be used to help make this happen.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Prophecy?

About 12 years ago, a dear friend of mine gave me a Scripture verse that was matted and framed. It was Jer. 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future." I clung to that verse for quite a long time.

Yesterday, while working on a project for work, I needed that verse. But, I was being lazy and didn't want to look it up. So, I took the framed verse off the wall and copied it. As I did, something struck me that was totally amazing. The background of that verse is an old world type map. And, the part of the world depicted was Africa! Was God beginning to prepare me for something 12 years later? I have to believe He was in a very quiet consistent way.

I wish my friend were alive so I could share this with her. I had to settle for calling her daughter instead. We were both amazed at God's plan and how it is unfolding.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Who Holds Your Future?

I live in western Pennsylvania where Puxsutauny Phil is a hero. He is a much loved groundhog whose sole purpose in life is to do a yearly weather forecast on February 2nd. People gather around his groundhog hole, some many party, but all want to know the future of the weather.

I have to admit, I like the folk lore of Phil although I don't trust him with my future. When I was young, if I was told if Phil saw his shadow there would be six more weeks of winter. If he didn't, there would be 42 days of winter. What's the difference? Phil really can't forcast the weather. I know the One who made the sun go still, the One who calmed the storms and the One who caused the sun to go backwards.

Phil is a legend. He might be correct in his forcast, he might not be correct. But, you can always trust the Lord God Almighty. He is always right, not only in dealings with nature, but in all the ins and outs of our lives. He is the One to trust for the future - not a groundhog!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thoughts

I have a friend in another city who is dying of cancer. Her daughter has started a blog to let people know how her mom is doing, how the family is doing, about the various phases of life they are facing. My heart hurts for them. They are strong. But, I can't imagine how hard it is for a daughter, son, husband, parent must feel as they watch their loved one suffer for so long. Each of these people consider it a privilege, a blessing to take care of their loved one. They do it joyfully, even with lack of sleep. But, now they are waiting for mom to let go, to leave this shell of a body and receive a new one. It won't be long now. Maybe not even days until she wakes up in heaven. Maybe her room there isn't quite ready.

Scripture tells us that Jesus said "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:2-4 (NASB)

We also learn from Scripture that there will be no more crying when we get to heaven. Rev. 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. "

So, in just a short time, my friend will be singing praises to her Lord, running around the streets of gold in no more pain. Rev 21:3-4 (KJV) May God give us the conviction to believe His word when we are too weak to do it ourselves. May we allow Him to help us through those tough times that live in the depths of our hearts.

And when all is said and done, to God be the praise and honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

See You Later


Yesterday I said "Good Bye" to a friend of mine, a neighbor and a brother in the Lord. He had many health problems and his body just couldn't fight any more. He fell asleep here, and woke up in Heaven. I will miss him. Already it doesn't seem right to go to his house to visit with his wife and not see him sitting in his chair.


The events of last week make me think of my own mortality. Yes, I am a Christian. I believe that when I die I will be in Heaven. I will see my Lord and Savior and I will see my neighbor again along with many others who have gone to their eternal reward. But, I have to admit it, I don't want to die yet. I am ready if the Lord calls me home, but I pray that He won't call my name for many, many years.


In the meantime, "Ro, I'll see you later."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Web Site


Check out my new web site at http://www.suekolljeski.com

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why Ghana?

1 "Take a good look at my servant. I'm backing her to the hilt. She's the one I chose, and I couldn't be more pleased with her. I've bathed her with my Spirit, my life. She'll set everything right among the nations.
2 She won't call attention to what she does with loud speeches or gaudy parades.
3 She won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt and she won't disregard the small and insignificant, but she'll steadily and firmly set things right.
4 She won't tire out and quit. She won't be stopped until she's finished her work—to set things right on earth. Far-flung ocean islands wait expectantly for her teaching."
Isaiah 42:1-4 (MSG)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inch By Inch

Two weeks ago the magic number for the bend in my left knee was 90 degrees. Well, as I said, that was two weeks ago. This week the number was higher. As my therapist measured, he kept saying, "Can you bring your foot back a little more?...Some more?...Just a little....Try just once more...." I finally got it to 110 degrees. It was far from easy. But bit by bit, inch by inch (or shall I say centimeter by centimeter...) it happened.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Sunday, January 11, 2009

God's Word


Last night I was reading one of my Bibles, the one pictured here. The "See with Me Bible" is a great book for both adults and children. I first saw it while in Wa, Ghana. Friends of mine had this Bible. I used it when I shared God's Word at the orphanage and at a village church. The great thing about this Bible is that it has very few words - the title of the story and a sentence to sum it up. The pictures are so expressive and colorful. The downside is that there are not "multi cultural" people in the book, maybe one or two. The other downside is that it is out of print although you can still buy it online. If you want a unique Bible reading experience, this is the book for you!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Praise God!

Last week I was so discouraged. While at physical therapy I was able to bend my knee at a 87 degree angle independently. So, as a "therapy flunky" I did some extra credit work and started going to the YMCA on my non therapy days.

This week, as Wednesday approached, i was filled with fear and trepidation. It was measurement day. My therapist measured me sitting up, then again laying down. The measurements were both the same...105degrees! Praise God! The hard work and tears paid off.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Sanity Saver

Last year I started a new hobby, or as some would put it, a new obsession. It is making cards - greeting cards. A card for a friend to make her smile, birthday cards, thank you cards, Christmas cards, just because cards. Sometimes I barely know the person I send a card to, they may be from church or some place else where I know of them, but don't really know them.

The past two weeks, making cards has kept me sane. I haven't been able to concentrate on things for a long time because of the meds I'm on, or maybe they are starting to wear off...you get the picture. But, making these cards has kept my mind busy and off what is or isn't happening with my knee. Sometimes I need the sentiment on the card for myself just as much as the person to whom I am sending it. So, I make the card and read it and try to keep up a good attitude.

Sometimes I just need to know that God really does understand and care.