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29 February, 2012

A season for entering in!

Continuing to meditate during Lent leads us to discover Lent is not as much about leaving behind as it is entering into. It is not as much about letting go or giving up as it is grasping a hold of and receiving. Our thoughts/intents should not be what will we “give up during Lent ,” but rather what we will “enter into during Lent.”

Jesus’ disciples were NOT expecting him to be crucified. Jesus’ death was a great finality to them. The unexpected end to their assumptions and hopes plunged them into profound sorrow. They could not believe what transpired! Jesus was dead. It was difficult, at best, to comprehend the finality of Jesus’ death. Gone. Lost. Dead. They entered into deep grief, sorrowing from the core of their beings.

Then Resurrection burst into their experience and changed everything! What? Jesus is alive? What? Excitement built and realization dawned. The impossible was reality! Dead was Living! What joy!!! Out of their profound sorrow was birthed indescribable joy!

We see there really is no other way to joy, save through grief. And Christ is telling us that if we desire to experience joy in his work in Uganda, we must choose to experience genuine grief in preparation for joy. God is teaching us about the profound sorrow of Ugandans. Grief is the preparation for joy. We cannot rejoice in a Savior if we don’t grieve sin. Joy rises from grief. If we want Easter joy we must experience genuine grief.

Truthfully, we feel hesitancy and move to enter in tentatively at first, but we do desire to experience Easter joy. And so we choose to follow where God leads, even into profound grief, in preparation for joy. Our hearts are breaking in need of our Savior. We open ourselves to love God’s people in Uganda and elsewhere. We open ourselves to sorrow, that we might be prepared for joy.

24 February, 2012

A season of preparation!

Lent is a time of preparation, a time of contemplation, a time of reflection.  There is always lots of discussion by folks related to what they are giving up for Lent.  We don’t usually hear much talk about what is being given up for Jesus, or given up to make time for God, or given up to increase our awareness of God.  So much of the conversational mention of Lent is centered on what one has the “strength” to do without for roughly 40 days.

Yet, Lent is a time of preparation, a time of contemplation, a time of reflection,  it is intended to be a time of entering into Christ in such a way that we can gloriously celebrate Easter.  We prepare so we might celebrate with a deep understanding that our very lives depend on the victory of Easter, or rather on the Victor in Easter.

Some of our friends are going to celebrate Easter in heaven this year, and then for all eternity.  We celebrate their lives with joy, knowing they now fully understand Love and his victory.  We long for that knowing.  We pause to prepare, to contemplate, and to reflect.

We also smile and talk with Hope, asking that these friends have a chance to meet one another during worship around his throne.  We get excited thinking that Don would really enjoy talking with Joseph.  Don sacrificed resources so we could work with our dear Kenyan friend, Joseph, in connecting Kenyans to Jesus.  We are confident Patsy would delight in conversations with Peter and other former students of ours.  Oh, so many fun thoughts during contemplation of our Victor and his preparation of heaven.

This Lent we pause to prepare, to contemplate, and to reflect.  We long for the knowing God intends us to experience!

21 February, 2012

A bag of carrots and so much more!

We opened a bag of carrots from Bolthouse Farms today.  For most people, this wouldn’t mean anything.   It reminded us of meeting one of those Bolthouse men when we first arrived at Tenwek in 1990.  He was there as a doctor-in-training.  We felt a kindred spirit with him from California and us from Oregon.  He and his lovely wife were very welcoming to us and we enjoyed hearing their stories during our first days at Tenwek.

Opening that bag of carrots opened a flood of memories, including  arriving in a new place,  missing the familiar,  feeling welcomed,  finding a connection and reflecting on God’s provision. 

Some years before our arrival at Tenwek, God brought a son to the Bolthouse family.  The son grew and went to college and then to medical school.  He married a lovely young lady.  They decided to do a rotation at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya.   God called a young couple from Oregon to serve him in Kenya.  He planned it just so they would arrive when the Bolthouses were there.  God plans ahead-- way, way ahead.  He works for our good.  We can’t be reminded of that too often!

We opened a bag of carrots today.  It is amazing the ways God reminds us of his faithfulness.