Rainbow Connection

June 14, 2004

Dear Jane,

I trust the time with Nancy and David Writebol was good for all, they seem like such a devoted missionary couple.  I told Mike I hope you heard stories of people impassioned for Christ.  I look forward to seeing them at Enrichment Week in San Antonio.

DSC02405 (Small) I went to Owino Market on Monday and bought 57 T-shirts, 2 pair of sandals, 42 pairs of shorts and 5 book bags for under $100.  Each outfit for the children costs 75 cents!  For the last two days I have been culling worn out, too little clothes from the cottages and replacing them with “new” things.  The children are thrilled and are colorful as rainbows.  When I give new clothes to the children, I have to first take the old ones away.  If I leave them in the cottages, the mamas continue to have the children wear them no matter what the condition.  This is not a culture that has the luxury of  “throwing things out” — it just is not done here.  They really do not have any understanding of why I come and take things away!  It is very difficult for them and they continue to tell me that a pair of shorts or shirt is still good–regardless of the holes or faded look.

When I do get clothes out of the cottages, it is when they are in better condition than what most children in the surrounding areas are wearing.  I take the clothes that are recyclable to Central Baptist in Wakiso and let Susan distribute them to the children in her congregation. I will never forget the day we went there for Sunday School and a little three year old girl came in by herself totally naked except for a string tied around her waist.  I actually bought her a church outfit and knickers which she was so proud of she lifted her dress for everyone to see!

DSC02113 (Small)I had a fun morning with the aunties and children.  It is Hero’s Day and so all the children were home doing chores from 9-10.  At 10 the aunties had promised them that we would go get mangoes.  Kasmiri our gardener got a long pole and jabbed at the mangoes until he had knocked about 15 out of a tree. We had a feast. DSC02136 (Small) They like to eat their fruit before it is ripe here so the taste of an unripe mango is about like a Granny Smith apple.  We sat and laughed and enjoyed those mangos and it was a sweet time of fellowship.

Later, Mike and I went to town for groceries and we found my favoriteDSC02139 (Small) cracker in stock so I am a happy woman!  It is difficult to find crisp things here and I get so hungry for that.  Mike discovered a cracker made in Malaysia that is really the ticket! I can’t tell you how thrilled you can get when you find something like what you loved in the States–it makes a party!

It is Marsha’s afternoon to cover the activity time and dining hall so I am in with Casey who is off from school. We gave Edith a ride home from work and she took me to her place to meet the 2 orphans that she raises along with her own 3 children. John and Norbert are from 2 different women who have died of AIDS and named Edith as the caretaker. Edith’s countenance about this is never that it is burdensome or out of the ordinary to pick up a couple of extra children.  She cannot imagine that there was any other response than to joyfully take these children in.  One of the boys is infected with HIV but Edith has kept that from the other children so that he will not be ostracized.  In material things, this family is not rich but in love and care they are most blessed!

Well it is the end of the day and I am going onto the porch with a glass of tea, my Bible and watch the sun go down…..

I hope the Lord is very near you today my friend.

with much love,

lissa

Nazarite Vows

Jesus…cried in a loud voice, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink!  He who believes in me–who cleaves to and trusts and relies on me–as the Scripture has said, ‘Out from his innermost being springs of living water shall continuously flow.'”   John 7:37-38 Amplified Bible

The real question, however is this: Where are we to find our fresh springs of life? 

Glorious things are said of you, O city of God…All my springs [of joy] are in you!”  (Psalm 87:3, 7)

water_fallb Can you or I say the same thing truthfully?  Or is it not a fact that quite without realizing it, certain forms of “recreation” have taken hold of us and hinder rather than help?

A Nazarite was one who made a special vow—the vow of one who is willing to be separated from worldly pursuits and snares—to separate himself totally so he may be put to service by the Lord.  The special vow meant total abstinence, even from certain things which were not wrong in themselves and which, to other people, might actually be beneficial.

Those of us who are God’s emissaries are to treat the world (not just its corruptions, but its legitimate joys, it privileges and blessings also), as a thing to be touched at a distance.  We must be aware at all times that, if we are caught by its spirit, or fed by its meat, we lose our sensitivity to the very breath of the Highest and will no longer receive the manna that falls from heaven to feed our souls.

Therefore, we may bind ourselves to God with the kind of vow that commits us to this: to look upon the world, in all its delights and attractions, suspecting that traps are set there for us, reserving ourselves for a higher way.

We are called to live daily in a higher Kingdom, where we are touched and our souls drink from the Spirit of God. ((Amy Carmichael, God’s Missionary,p. 4-5))

My Father, so often I feel restless.  Unsatisfied.  Wanting something more.  I try to satisfy my inner thirst for life in ways that don’t satisfy–they only leave me thirstier still.

Maybe underneath, I don’t really believe you are what you say you are: Life itself, pure-flowing.

Today, Father, help me to “cleave” to you–to embrace you fully with my trust.  To see the things that draw me for the mirage they are.  And to drink more deeply from your spring of living water. (David Hazard)

Candle in the Dark

 Amy Carmichael is for me a hero of the faith.  Elisabeth Amy CarmichaelElliot wrote a wonderful biography of this woman entitled “A Chance to Die”.  She was serving as a missionary in India rescuing young girls from being sold as temple prostitutes when she suffered a terrible fall.   That fall left her confined to her room for the last twenty years of her life.  She was in constant pain and yet her letters and devotional writings composed during that season of pain continue to strengthen believer’s hearts and reveal the riches of a life whose roots are sunk deep in Christ.  I awoke with some melancholy this morning and immediately thought of this friend who sought a candle in the dark.

“All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness.”  Psalm 25:10 RVcandle

All does not mean “all but the paths we are in now” or “nearly all, but perhaps not just this specially difficult painful one”.  All must mean all.

So your path with its unexplained sorrow, and mine with its unexplained sharp flints and briers, and both with their unexplained perplexity of guidance, their sheer mystery, are just lovingkindness, nothing less. 

I am resting my heart on that word.  It bears one up on eagle’s wings; it gives courage and song and sweetness too, that sweetness of spirit which it is death to lose even for one half hour.  God bless you and utterly satisfy your heart with Himself.  I remember in old days almost desperately repeating to myself these lines from Tersteegen; 

 Am I not enough, Mine own?  Enough Mine own for thee?… Am I not enough Mine own?  I forever and alone, I, needing thee?” 

It was a long time before I could say honestly “Yes” to that question.  I remember the turmoil of soul as if it were yesterday, but at last, oh the rest, “for in acceptance lies peace”.  

Amy Carmichael, “A Candle in the Dark“, p. 46