Monthly Archives: December 2010

My Early Christmas Gift

December 22, 2010

This week we decided to go to the township on Wednesday instead of Thursday.  I really did not expect to see any of my friends there since many had said they would be traveling to their home villages to see family during Christmas.  Doug had a meeting on Wednesday, so he planned to go with Larry on our usual day.

Four women (plus Larry who decided to spend the morning prayer walking) headed out around 9:15.  We made our way to our usual spot where we leave the car – on the “football field” in front of Gladys’ house.  We were surprised to find someone home at Sunday’s house.  Angelina and her friend were there waiting for Denise to come and study the Bible with them.   We were very saddened to hear that Sunday, who had traveled with her family to her village, was in the hospital.  Her incision had become infected.  We pray that she will recover from all she has suffered in the last few months.

I greeted Gladys next door and was told that Sunday’s husband’s little sister had drunk “paraffin” (probably kerosene) on Tuesday (at Gladys’ house) and was in the hospital.  Gladys got a call that the little girl was being sent home while we were still visiting this morning.

Palissa was finishing her laundry, so I decided to go visit Minky.  You might remember that Minky is the Sangoma.  I had not visited her in quite some time since it was apparent she was not really interested in studying the Bible.  A friend had seen her earlier in the week and she had asked where I was, so I thought it would be a good time to catch up with her.  I walked down the dirt path between the rows of tin shacks trying to remember which one was hers.  She called out my name when she saw me.  Godwill was sitting outside her house and invited me in.

Minky surprised me by asking what we were going to study!  I had prepared John 12 for Palissa, so that’s what I went with.  As has become the norm, a young woman, Margaret came in and joined us after awhile.  She sat across from me and seemed to listen closely.  When I finished the lesson, I asked her if she was a Christian (not sure exactly how I said it now).  She looked at me and said she was thinking that she needed a change; she wanted to live a different life.  We prayed together and God gave me a new sister in Christ!  What better gift to receive at Christmas.

 I told her about the group of women who are meeting to study with us and that I’d like for her to meet them.  As we walked across the football field I asked if she had a Bible and what language she reads.  She needed an English Bible and I just happened to have one to give her!  Last week I had found paperback ESV Bibles for R40 – ~$5.50 and had bought a couple.

Then later at Palissa’s, her brother Charles joined our study and Palissa left!  (Her little boy, Gift was getting fussy so she took him outside.  Gift is albino and had blisters on his neck from the sun.)  Long story short, Charles is not a Christian but he is very interested in studying the Bible. 

Larry and Doug went to the township this morning.  They met Charles who is very eager to study with them and he also mentioned gathering some friends to come as well.  They saw Margaret when they checked in on Godwill (who Doug and Larry know as Skumbuza).   She was reading her Bible and seemed very excited about our studying together next week.  

PS – I just love that the two people I met this week were Charles and Margaret – Doug’s Mom and Dad (who now reside in Heaven) are Charles and Margaret!

Life Death New life No Death

I spent the week working on my lesson – John 11 – the familiar story of Lazarus.  I am always amazed at how little details seem to jump out that I do not remember having noticed.  Maybe it was the wording in the ESV which says, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So, when He heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” (vs 5-6)  Because Jesus loved them so much, He stayed where He was for two more days!  Amazing thought that because Jesus loves us, He makes us wait and trust in His perfect timing.   And that was MY lesson for the week!

Planning a story about death, then getting a call the night before I was to teach it, that Sunday (the woman at whose house I was to teach!) was in intensive care at the public hospital.  She had given birth by c-section because of high blood pressure and the complications that follow.   There was no information on how the baby was doing.  I thought maybe I should just go and pray with the women who would be gathered at her house the following morning and save the story for another time. 

I sent out a prayer request to several people (my internet service informed me that I was “expired” so I had to hit send quickly).   As “prayer warriors” interceded, God reminded me of His perfect timing!  I knew it was a story that must be told.

Thursday morning, I found Sunday’s sister and two friends at the house along with many children.  I got to meet Sunday’s school age daughter, Eunice and her little boy. I do not think that the women have listened more intently than they did that morning.  I could see their joy as they heard about the compassion of Jesus and of His power.   These women know what it is to suffer death.  They know what it is to suffer period.  But they are learning that though suffering is a part of life on this earth, they do not suffer alone.  They are believing God and seeing joy in the midst of trials.  Two of the three women had such peaceful expressions.  The third – pray for her that she will decide to follow Jesus.

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