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It has been a while

I was reading about John the Baptist this morning.  The bloke was arrested, imprisoned and kind of abandoned by Jesus, his cousin and Lord, whom he had faithfully served.  Then, still in his early 30’s, he was abruptly informed that he was to have his head cut off and that was that.  I find it fascinating that so many Christians, despite stories like this, refuse to give credence to the thought that God has the right to use our lives in whatever way He sees fit to bring about His will.  In fact, we should really want God to use our lives in any way He sees fit, even if it does mean suffering.  It sure goes against the pull of our natural “fleshly” inclination.  But when we understand this truth and live it, our lives shine very nicely for God’s glory.  So if I may be permitted:  Trust in God.  Trust God.  Trust in His perfection.  Be wary of caring too much about your own comfort/pleasure/health.  When you suffer loss, take a leaf out of Paul’s life and thank God for the opportunity of suffering for His glory.

Last night was the first real cold’un for this new season, (minus something).  I’ll forgo the privilege of using this update to have a gripe about the crouching big freeze.  We haven’t cranked up our faithful gas furnace yet… too expensive to justify the comfort.  We ward off the freezing with a few logs on the fire in our lounge room each morning and then a few more in the evening.  It’s a good system.

IMG_0021Angel and Elle have gone off to visit Pris’ parents in Rovno for the week.  The last couple of days have been really painful ones for Angie health-wise… but as she is wont to say, “This too will pass.”  She’s managed to do a decent job at keeping up with her schoolwork, but is pretty wiped when it’s bad.  I enjoy her playing the keyboard for church meetings and she enjoys the distraction of music when she’s struggling.  God is glorified.

Something which gives us joy is Elle’s Bible study.  She is meeting with three or four young friends each week, teaching them some lessons she’s learned and studying the Bible with them.  Elle revels in the responsibility and has a real care for the girls – maturity which I’ve only seen in a few her age.  She’s befriended the ladies who sell flowers at the market and gives them a lot of joy when she visits.  She often comes back with a new plant or two and I’ve wondered more than once if God will use this to reach one or two of these ladies with His salvific love.  The photo is of us sharing a meal in the cubby she and I made for her. 

Pris is mostly well.  She said to me this morning that she loves all that is involved in teaching the ladies.  She’s practically-minded and when that is applied to her love for the Lord, good lessons are the result.  She’s just baked some chocolate slice for me to feebly resist eating… I’m guessing for some meeting/s coming up. 

Whoa!  I forgot about kids club today and a heap of kids just walked in the door.  With the cooler weather, they’ve just moved up to our home for the winter.  I can hear Jemimah’s voice enthusiastically drawing the kids in.  There’s a handful of volunteers who assist Stone and Morgan with this and the 10-15 kids who come get blessed.IMG_0150

We lost our rehab centre sauna to “the fire that devours” last Saturday.  The boys didn’t cry, but they weren’t bubbly with excitement at losing it either.  A neighbour and I drove out at about 5:00 and shook hands with the men who were setting up to watch a dialogue between some Christians and Satanists… (not much of interest for me there).  I had a job to do down the well with some pipes, so I went out and climbed down the hole.  While down there I heard a shout and I looked up to see a concerned look on the face of the bloke who was helping me.  I quickly shimmied up and was shocked to see a long streak of flame flying out the door of the sauna.  We tried dousing it with water… but it had taken ahold of the interior too well and it was pointless.  The fire brigade was called and they put it out over the course of an hour. 

A funny incident occurred which gave us a lighter moment.  One of the firemen who was walking around in the ashes called out and asked if we had a VILLO (pitchfork).  One of the young men eagerly ran off and brought back MILLO (soap).  We appreciated the moment of mirth.  Oh!  The purpose for the pitchfork?  To shove it into the piled ashes to check to see if there were any bodies underneath all the rubbish.  We were grateful for God’s mercy in not giving us the extra burden of a death.

IMG_0108The weekly sauna is a highlight for the men out there, (and for some of us who go out from town), and I suspect we’ll set to building it again at some stage.  It’s ironic that just this last week, we’d made the decision to use it more purposefully as a means of hanging with those not yet in a relationship with God.  Funnily enough, it was immediately suggested by some people that it was a sign that we should close the rehab ministry.  Hmmm…  You’ve got to love those who see signs in everything.  It’s a Biblical commandment.  …We didn’t see that sign.

The men who are in rehab are doing well.  We added to their number a middle aged man yesterday.  And tomorrow, we expect another to join us fresh from jail.  It’s a privilege to live life as friends of these men.

Joel and John came to visit!  We enjoyed a week with them on their way back to Oz after a soccer training camp for John in Spain.  We visited Kiev and didn’t get nits.  (My word!  My apologies to all who feel as if that was a bit random.)IMG_0086 (1)  Spending time with both of them was great.  Over the years, Joel has allowed God to fill his heart with grace and love and again being reminded of that was encouraging.

Next Saturday, we will be going to Kiev with a number of couples in our church to listen to some lectures from Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding Your Child’s Heart.  A few weeks ago, I was able to jump up on the balcony of the civic centre as Pasha preached and took a photo from there.  Having people express their enthusiasm for coming to church and Bible study night is a real good thing.  Noticing how they are expressing their faith and love… well, not much is more exciting.  We are growing spiritually and numerically.  I look forward to the day when we have a few more elders, but for now, men are preaching and teaching and leading in different ways.  Women are taking responsibility for different events and conferences.  Lots of people are serving sacrificially.  God is good.

Time to post this and get off to bed.  May God bless you, the reader, with wisdom as you make decisions for His glory.