Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Jesus loves me, this I know.......

Last weekend our family attended a retreat for missionaries on the beach.  It. Was. Awesome.  A church from Michigan, people who I’d never met before, paid for our family (and about 40 or 50 other missionaries) to spend the night at a nice hotel at the beach. They also paid for all our food!!  The team ended up getting stuck in Brussels so they couldn’t do several of the programs that they’d planned to do, but let me tell you.  Just getting to rest and hang out with our kids and go swimming in a swimming pool……it was so amazing.  

Marie got to play with some other missionary kids that she hadn't seen in awhile!

The team arrived on Sunday morning and we had a little church service, including communion.  Several of the ladies were quick to offer to take the kiddos so the adults could have a chance to listen to the message.  Since we don’t’ have a nursery at our church, this was an awesome blessing!!

As we were sitting there listening to the pastor speak and singing songs that were so familiar but never sung in our church services here, I just started bawling.  (Shocking, I know).  It was just so strange to me.  Who spends thousands of dollars to come over here and minister to people (missionaries) that they’ve never met before and will probably never see again, this side of heaven.  Their hearts and attitudes were just so humble and servant like. “Here, let me hold her for you.”  “How are you doing?” “How can we be praying for you?”  As I was standing there worshipping with some close friends, and a lot of strangers, I just felt the Lord saying, “Emily, I did this because I love you.”  All of a sudden it wasn’t the generosity of the people that overwhelmed me, but the love of my God.  He loves me so much that He would send some of His people thousands of miles away from their home, ask them to sacrifice a lot of money to come, just to show us that we’re cared about.  I talked to one woman after it was over and she said, “You’re not an island.  It may feel like it sometimes, but you’re not.”  I may never forget that.
It's amazing how comforting it is to sing familiar worship songs!!

We got back from the retreat on Sunday afternoon and that night welcomed a team from my home church.  They came to do a VBS with our kiddos at Grace Village.  It was such a fun week!!!. They did four days of VBS with our kids and then on Saturday, did a VBS with about 50 kids in the village while the Grace Village kids had a “serve the community” day.  The older kids were trained all week by one of the team members in leadership and how to lead a VBS and then on Saturday they each took charge of their station (games, crafts, story, etc). It was fun to see those older kids challenged and really taking ownership of their roles as leaders.

Story time!
Duck, Duck, Goose was a hit!! They thought it was hilarious to add in other animals and call each other "goat" "cow" "sheep"
Making birdhouses for craft time. We didn't have enough hammers so we improvised and used rocks.
Counting out the snacks.....just to make sure. :)
Nicole and I gathered all the younger kids together and explained that we were so blessed to have had these visitors come serve us all week and now it was our turn to serve the community!  They were really excited.  Then I told them HOW we were going to go serve the community.  We were going to…….. GO PICK UP GARBAGE ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!!!!!!  There was a little pause…and then they all started clapping and cheering.  I was shocked!  They had great attitudes the whole time!  ( I often use trash pickup around the home as a punishment when kids are naughty. They are not usually excited at that time). :)

I'm sure people thought we were crazy with 30+ kids walking along the side of the road with bags full of garbage :)
No complaining the whole time!

Proudly showing off their full bags of trash when we were done!!
I was a little nervous about the timing of the team coming, just because I’m in my third trimester of this pregnancy and wasn’t sure how I would be feeling.  But I must say, this team has been so incredible!!  They’ve helped with all the meals, dishes, crying kids and anything else they could think of to do to help.  The other day they had a couple hours between when they came home from Grace and when dinner was going to be served so they put on some gloves and went around the compound picking up trash.  Just such servants hearts! 

Several of the ladies went through my girls' clothes and pulled out all the stuff that was too small.  It had been on my list of things to do for months!! Thank you!!!
One team member brought a sewing machine for Marie that she's leaving here! She taught Marie to sew a skirt and Marie was thrilled!
The last few months have had quite a few unexpected events.  Surprise pregnancy.  Peter’s tourist visa renewal being denied when we thought it was going to be a slam dunk.  The decision to stay here to give birth instead of returning to the States.  A lot of these surprises have led to me feeling like my safety nets have been taken away.  The safety net of excellent medical care.  The safety net of knowing my husband could travel to the States with me if we had any issues here.  But in the last week, Jesus has used the Body of Christ in such incredible ways to love on me and encourage me that it serves as a powerful reminder of Who loves me even more.  I may feel vulnerable and even scared at times, but Jesus has reminded me once again that He’s there with me.  And that He really, really does care.  Thank you Jesus. And thank you to His many followers who have been His hands and feet!. So blessed.

1 comment:

  1. I just stumbled on your blog and I am astounded at how you can find the time to write such a lengthy post with all the activities going on in your life. But I am most astonished that you left the comfort of your country and sacrificed all the benefits of living there just to help the less fortunate and needy. Only God can reward you for this. Please keep up with your work notwithstanding the challenges that you face. Your blog is an inspiration to me. Today you have gained a new follower and I have added your blog to my feed reader.