Saturday, 28 August 2010

"And He determined... the exact places where they should live." -- Acts 17:26

"I can't believe [Y]ou chose me in all my fragility..." -- Nelly Furtado, "Childhood Dreams"

My grateful heart must share with you how my faithful God is providing for this little one of His here in Scandinavia.

Yes, He showed His crazy colours to me earlier this summer (as He often does-- the nature of my lifestyle might already scream it :)) when He answered my seeking heart by opening the doors for me to spend 3 months working with a brand new ministry in Uganda called Racham Ministries, started by a British friend of mine, at the beginning of 2011. He's asked me to come alongside her as we open up a brand new children's home for the vulnerable and abandoned children of Uganda. He has prepared this silly heart of mine for years, teaching me in all my smallness and fright to trust and obey regardless of how it feels. And so I said yes, having no idea how He would work it out practically and knowing I already live leaning on Him for day-to-day practicalities.

Then in the next 2 weeks from that momentous time of prayer, He landed a paying job in my lap for the interim between finishing with Rescue Mission and going out to Africa in January. He miraculously granted me a visa extention in less than an hour (unheard of in Sweden! I have a friend who applied in June and is still waiting to hear now and it's nearly September!). And not only that, but He landed a flat of my own to live in for that time. Rent-free...
Yep, you've read that correctly :) I'm still in shock and awe and I imagine He's smiling to Himself in heaven at my reaction :)

My new employers, a graphic designer and her husband, with two small children who first hired me as their babysitter and then asked me to stay on after the summer as the assistant to their fabulous high-end wedding invitation business (, have just moved to a bigger place and have their old flat standing empty til they sell it in the Spring. So, they've asked me if I'd like to stay in it. Which, conveniently, means I work across the street from where I live now :) And just when my time at the flat I've been renting from a friend all year was meant to be up. I don't think they'd mind me telling you that my new employers (& friends!) are Atheists. But they do know exactly what I'm about and want to help me help people... I joke with her about how she's such a God-send to me and isn't it ironic :) She jokes with me about how "blessed" they feel  to have me come along :) His ways are just so high above....!

I'm living in a part of the city known as "Old Town" in a building which is protected by the historic society :) (can you just imagine how much I love that?!) The family isn't finished moving out yet, and may not be while I stay here as they are keeping the flat til the Spring. But I have cleaned up and moved into the necessary rooms and I am on cloud 9 having my own space after a long year living in a 1 room space with first one roommate and then another. Oh, He is good!

In the little park right outside my new place

One of my favourite parts of this new place. Goodness, I love these beautiful windows!
Oh, the coziness! Did I mention I'm feeling blessed?

Me and my little 16-month-old Leona, the youngest of the 2 kids of this lovely family

Oh, how this all delights me so!
My Abba-Daddy is just showering me with His good gifts and my soul is finding so much rest after a very difficult year of waiting on Him in a season that stretched me beyond my own limits for far too long.

Whisper a thank you to Him for me for His faithful care and provision, will you? I jumped into this lifestyle of mission and ministry knowing that it would be difficult but never knowing HOW difficult til I was in it. But I also jumped in knowing that He is good, and that He promises to care for His servants. And I am so grateful!

See more photos of my new place here:

Thursday, 26 August 2010

There's a First Time for Everything...

So, my wallet was stolen from my handbag yesterday. I'm only grateful that this is the first time anything like this has happened in 5 years of living abroad on my own, and many many travels!

My lovely friend Amanda was here visiting from England and I'm so thankful for her presence! We had just spent some time at a favourite little French cafe in one of my favourite parts of town-- 'Le Petite Cafe'-- wanting to show Amanda around on her last day in Sweden, and trying to think of ways to do that while nannying for my little charge Leona at the same time. It was a very crowded place because it was a blustery, rainy day. When as we left the cafe I realized it was missing, her presence was a calming and helpful one, and as I dealt with everything in the aftermath, she helped me to laugh about it all instead of cry!

 (Amanda playing with Miss Leona at the scene of the crime ;))

I was able to get on Skype and ring my bank in the states and my card companies. Other things I was able to cancel online. All while Miss Leona had her afternoon nap. God is good!

Then after I'd finished work for the day, and after we'd retraced every step from when we knew I had last had the wallet, Amanda went down to the police station with me to file a report. New experiences, new experiences! She was delighted with the cops because of some old Swedish TV series about a cop named Wallander. She figured she might see him :) The officer who worked with me was typically Swedish and reserved, though I got him to smile a few times with my attempted Swedish :)

We joked the rest of the night about the suspects in the cafe that day. There was one uber-stylish, 50-something-aged man sitting in the cafe for the entire duration of our visit with a little brown chihuahua with a pink collar in his lap. Leona admired the puppy from the moment we entered and he was friendly with us, lifting up the little rat-sized dog for Leona to get a good look which elicited delighted squeals. Then later, after we were seated (my handbag on the floor beside my chair), he came over to us and plopped the little dog in my lap so Leona could stroke it. We joke that as a con artist, that would have been a great distraction! I asked him then, in my lousy Swedish, what the name of the dog was and Amanda and I couldn't contain our laughter when he responded, "Gucci!" :) :) :) So from then on out, despite him being very very kind, the evil camp purse-stealer and his villian Chihuahua Gucci became our prime suspects :)

Really, though, I'm just thankful for so much surrounding this major inconvenience. First, that Amanda was here with me when it happened, for that support. Secondly, that nothing irreplaceable was stolen-- though I have no idea how to go about getting a new license and SSN card??? I'm thankful that I was only carrying maybe 300kr in cash ($40 something), if I remember correctly, and that it happened now when I currently have a steady job rather than a few months ago when this would have meant struggling to see out the month. I'm thankful that I was able to call and cancel cards quite simply, even internationally, and that nothing had been charged to my account in those few hours between when I discovered it happened, and when I was able to get to my computer and do the sorting. So much to be thankful for. Including your prayers and I moved to sort this! Thank you!

If anyone has any tips for me in sorting out the license and SSN internationally, I would be very grateful! And just pray that nothing comes up that I should need a card for for the new 2 or so weeks while I wait to receive my new ones! Thankfully (anothing thing to be thankful for!) it's payday soon so I should be okay!

Hmmm, God is good. I do not know the heart of the person who took my wallet but I guess He does and even this is meant for the good of those who love Him! I'm just so thankful that it was this and not something worse!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Wait Quietly

I’ve been walking through a dark, difficult season. For so many more reasons than I can explain here.

Some of you have seen me through a few such times. Such easy discouragement, such long days working through it all, getting by at a ‘functioning’ level in the meantime, and learning new elements to depending on Him, waiting on Him. I learned in theory that following Him into full-time ministry is like painting a huge red target across your face for the enemy, but experiencing it during this assignment in Sweden has been another thing entirely. And I am very tired of the battle, and trying again and again to learn to walk upright in the midst of it, knowing that He carries it all, like the Papa He is, just letting His little one have the sensation of carrying it along with Him, but not really required to bear the weight. I tend to forget this. Learning to walk in His grace is a life-long journey…

Transitioning in this insecure lifestyle is particularly hard. He is good; preparing the way before me. He’s provided jobs to work my way to His next step for me, a flat to stay in after I leave mine the end of this month, a visa extension to stay on in Sweden, and so on and so forth. But I’ve been struggling with the way it feels to pour myself out on something in what He’s led me to believe is obedience, praying harder than I ever have in my life, and still be waiting to see the light break through.  And it’s been such a narrow, lonely road. It all just goes to let the enemy play on my own perception of my smallness. He screams at me of my not-good-enough-ness, while Jesus whispers that it was never about my ANYTHING-ness. Only His. All-sufficent One! Maybe this is all just to show me in a way that goes all the way to my core, my heart, what it truly means that You are all-sufficent… Help me to walk so humbly in the shadow of Your wing that I do not complain or lose heart,  but only dwell in the opportunity to know You more deeply through the sorrow and the ache of this season.

Last week, after a particularly disheartening situation with a friend whom I know didn’t mean for the enemy to use it the way he has, I couldn’t emotionally handle facing the issues at Rescue Mission. And I couldn’t properly pray. Only enough to say, “God, do you see how low I am? Please…” And I couldn’t seem to read His Word… So I found a recording of the entire bible. He led me to Lamentations, and then Psalms, and I laid back and listened as a strong, deep, British voice read out the ancient wisdom, ancient balm, until I could sit up and read for myself again. His gentle patience is more overwhelming than the darkness…

He wrapped my heart up in Lamentations 3:21-26, as He has done in years past. It reads, in NLT:
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The unfailing love of the Lord never ends!
By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction.
Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!’
The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for Him and seek Him.
So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…

In so many ways He has been reminding me to look back at the proofs of His faithfulness to find the strength to trust on regardless of circumstances. My bible study I’ve been working through on my own, ‘Believing God’ by Beth Moore, has just ‘happened’ to be about remembering the acts of His faithfulness in the history of Israel, and in our personal histories with Him. He planted a book in my hands last week called “The Jesus Manifesto” by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola which has been about simply looking back at the fundamentals of our faith, namely, the person, purpose, and work of Jesus Christ. I am struck anew at Who He is, and so, who I am. And slowly, slowly some light breaks in on this darkness.  And as I remember my foundation, as I cling to His faithfulness, I am given strength for my weakness to simply ‘wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord,’ knowing that “Christ is all and in all” (Col.3:11), to wait as faithfully, even it’s only the smallest drizzle of faith for a time rather than a pouring torrent.

And so I, again, reevaluate this “ministry thing” and my place in it. I take the beatings, and I dance in the joys. I ache over the current ministry I am finishing with soon, longing to see it all worked out but realizing, with a despairing heart, that I probably won’t. And I remind myself, no matter the difficulties and misunderstandings and unmet expectations and broken dreams, to look to Jesus; to never lose the wonder of the cross. To remember what it’s all about in the first place. And so, to walk stronger and step lighter, knowing that, “If Christ is in you, then the Christian life is not about striving to be something you are not. It is about becoming what you already are” and “Good works are simply fruit falling off a tree. If you will sink your roots deep in Christ, who is your life, you will not be able to stop the fruit from coming forth” (L. Sweet & F. Viola, ‘The Jesus Manifesto’). That I am responsible first to Him. If I please others in the process, great. If not… then that has to be great too. The fruit He’s dropping from this branch maybe isn't the way I hoped it would be? Or what others expect or desire? I don't know... But I guess I’m not responsible for the kind of fruit He chooses to bear from this branch of my life. I’m only responsible to abide in the vine (John 15).

He reminded me again what matters most through another quote from ‘The Jesus Manifesto’. They wrote,
“Jesus quizzed Peter with one ultimate question, and only one. And that one decisive question is the same one He asks us today.
It is not, ‘Are you ready to accept leadership status in my church?’
It is not, ‘How many people did you lead to Me?’
It is not, ‘Have you spoken in tongues yet?’
It is not, ‘Is leadership your passion?’
It is not, ‘To whom will you be accountable?’
It is not, ‘Are you doing better than the best you can do so God will be happy with you?’
The question is only this: ‘Do you love me?’”

I just want my answer to always be a resounding, ‘Yes! Oh, yes.”
And I want my very living to display it.
The rest just follows...

So I press on.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for me. You have no idea how He bends to hear your whispers to heaven and how He remembers me here and moves to show me so…

Remain in His unfathomable Love and live to love on, love on, love on--

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Featuring Racham Ministries!

I just wanted to share this great feature post about Racham and Gabi!:

If anyone would like to spread the word of this brand new ministry Racham needing support and prayers and funds on your blog, please let me know! It would be such a helping hand at the moment...


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Being Introduced with Racham :)

Gabi, the lovely friend starting Racham Ministries, asked me to introduce myself on her blog as we look toward heading out to Uganda in January! Feel free to have a read :)

And bookmark this blog to read updates about Racham in future! The Lord is up to things :) Mmmm, love Him!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...