Tuesday, May 25, 2010


As I have traveled to work with children in several countries, I have noticed that many do not know how to use their imagination. It has never been encouraged, so, it has never been developed. Oh, the children will do whatever you ask them. They are excellent at learning by rote, but, they have never been encouraged to think for themselves. They have been taught to listen to their elders and to learn whatever has been presented to them in the exact way it has been presented.

Many times, when given manipulative toys to build with, to play "pretend" with, the kids have no idea what to do with them. When I took some toys to the Lawra orphanage this happened. The children didn't know what to do. So, I built a cube. Then, everyone wanted me to build a cube for them or they built one themselves. I finally said, "No, now it is your turn. Think of something else to build." It took them quite awhile. Eventually, they did begin to use their imagination and built other things.

How sad not to have an imagination. When I am in Ghana and the temperature is over 100 degrees, I like to imagine one of those freezing days similar to many of the days this past winter. Using your imagination helps one think for themselves in a positive way. I pray that children everywhere will be given the freedom to use their imagination for fun, for good, and, I know that some will use it just to help them survive. Pray for these children!

"Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere."
~Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Create in Me a Clean Heart

This morning, while I was doing my Bible study time, I came upon the above scripture..."Create in me a clean heart O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 It caused me to reflect on what is a clean heart? I knew it did not mean that God was going to scrub my physical heart. No, it is much more than that. It is a prayer asking God to change me on the inside.to make it more like His. It is a prayer to remove the selfishness, the uncaring, the self pitying, the fearful, unbelieving part of me and to replace it with caring, serving, praying, praising and glorifying God in everything I do.

Some days it is hard for me to do. I want to enjoy my little world, believing that I don't belong anywhere else except in my flannel pajama pants and sweatshirt curled up with a good book. Some days I don't want to answer the phone when i am making a card or watching Judge Judy. But, I need to. I need to take every opportunity God presents me to reach out to others, to worship with others, to live for Him whether it is in the privacy of my own home or in public. I need to fill my head with thoughts that glorify Him.

Life is so exciting, so worthwhile, so enriching when I look to Christ, when I live for Him in all I do. Satan knows how to get to me. I'm learning to call out to the Lord more and more often. And, those times when the right spirit is within me is increasing. As I become closer to Christ, He brings to light the areas of my life that need to be given over to Him to be cleaned, to be redeemed for His work. I am so glad that God loves me just as I am, but loves me so much that He sticks with me and helps me to see what needs to change to live a fuller, more abundant life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." God is what is within me. Life in His Son, Jesus Christ is what matters in my life. And, through the power of the Holy Spirit I pray that I can live my days for Him.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Cost of Discipleship

This morning I was reading and studying Luke 14. There is a lot of good stuff in that chapter. But, the one verse that has caused me to think about, to ponder over the most was verse 33. In the NRSV it says: "So, therefore, none of you can be my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions." I wonder, what possessions am I holding on to? My stamping stuff? The time period of 4:00 - 5:00 in the afternoon to watch Judge Judy? My root beer barrels? THE projector? My stuffed dog I sleep with or Mr. Mooey?

Am I willing to give up my time, all of it, to further His Kingdom, no matter what time of day OR night? If I need to spend time with God, or do something for Him and it is 4:15 PM on a Wednesday, would I do it? I hope so! Am I willing to give up all my stamping stuff? That's a little harder. I love making cards and sending them. But, again, if that is what is keeping me from following Christ, taking the time I should be spending with Him, then, it has to go.

In the past, I have given an awful lot to follow Christ, to be His disciple. But, I didn't look at most of those things as something that "costs." I looked at them as something I would gladly do. I embraced the opportunity. There was one thing, though, that was costly, very costly, and, it wasn't easy. But Christ was with me through it all. And, He chose to use me for His glory since then.

It all boils down to this: "Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good bye, you can't be my disciple." The Message Mark 4:33

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today is Mothers Day. And, as I sit here, I can't help but think of the children at the Lawra Orphanage. They have never known the love of a mother. They were very young when their mothers died of HIV/AIDS. Today, I long to be with them. Not, to "mother" them, but to love and nurture them with the love of Christ. I want them to know that they can have a hope for the future because of Him. They can be the change for the better in their community. If they live, if they are nurtured, if they are loved, if...

Thursday, May 6, 2010


It's hard to communicate with people, to develop a relationship with them, if you don't understand their language and if you can't speak their language. You don't even have to be in a foreign country to misunderstand what is being said, a generation or two difference between people can at times be worlds apart in the vernacular!

When I live in Ghana, I will have to learn how to speak Dagaare in order to develop relationships with the children at the orphanage and with the people in the community. Dagaare is not a wide spread language. It is spoken only in the Lawra region and in southern Burkina Faso. You can't go to a school to learn Dagaare. You learn it by being totally immersed within that language group and by possibly hiring a language helper.

So, in order to get a "jump" on things, I decided to open up the language booklet to see if there is anything I can learn on my own. Of course, there are letter combinations I have never seen in English! I started out this morning with something simple, "Fo wa song," which means "I bid you welcome" when talking to one person. The response is a little more difficult, "Oo, sori waa maarong." I'll try that when I know the greeting without having to stop & think about it.

As I looked through this language booklet, I saw the heading In the Home. I thought that might be helpful, so I looked at the list of words:bedspread, brush, chair, fan...gun! Axe! Now, those are two things that I don't use here. The axe would be used to cut firewood. But, a gun? I'm thinking for hunting, maybe?

OK, I'll try the list In the Chief's House. The chief is kinda like the mayor, he is the head of the village. Here is part of that list: drum, servant, throne, palace, gong, head gear...executioner! Hmmm. I think I better make friends with the chief rather quickly!

Anyway, many times, communication is not easy. And, it may include words, phrases, idioms that we would not normally use. But, in order to have a deep relationship with another, communication is of the utmost importance whether you are speaking to your friend, spouse, or child. We all need to learn to communicate so that we can hear and respond appropriately, in love and help that person come into relationship with the One who loves us the most!