Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Beginning Of the End

Or is it just the end of the beginning? I’m not quite sure just yet! Today marks exactly two weeks before I leave for Johannesburg debriefing with the rest of the Hands On Africa members. Honestly, it’s quite weird to even think that I’m writing this now! Time has seemed to move so slowly at moments, but here I am feeling like my head has been spun around and I’m about to come to a screeching halt in my journey in Africa! I haven’t really had time to “reflect “ on my time here, 1- because my time is not over, and 2- because I am trying my hardest to fully live in every moment I have here. Before I give you a run down of my last two weeks, let me update you on the Jesus Retreat!

What a day! Filled with so much food, too much laughter, and a whole lot of learning! I have enjoyed watching our friends throughout the week following the Jesus Retreat and see the lasting impact Jesus has imprinted on their lives so far! Some of my favorite quotes from the day were,
“I have never learned these things!”
“My stomach, it is asking me, is this Christmas?!”

“I will never forget this day, not for as long as I live.”

The Lord continues to amaze me with His goodness. The day we got back to TAYO (after our safari weekend full of elephants, zebra, hippos, and more!) we were each blessed with wonderful conversation with our friends about what they have continued to learn as they’ve chewed on the events and topics of our Friday. I particularly loved my conversation with our friend Francis as he told me the two things that have stuck with him the most. “The ACTS way of praying, I have never thought of this; and this wonderful idea of praying while I walk, intentionally! It is so simple, but it has so much power! I want to do this more! And Laekan, as you talked about nailing our bad stuff to the cross with Jesus, because He will take our burden. I have never thought like this! I feel so much lighter all week… because I know I laid down all my evils on that cross that afternoon. Jesus has freed me!”

I stand amazed at the goodness of God, our Savior.

There are several other stories like our friend Francis’, and I can tell you all about them when I am home! But as for now, I will try to keep this relatively short. This next week is our last week of “regular” ministry here in Thyolo. Tuesday and Thursday we will be visiting some schools and doing different ‘life skills lessons’ with our TAYO friends, Wednesday we will lead TAYO Bible study for the last time. Josh, Shaila and I will each lead a little segment and have a sort-of commissioning service for our friends. We want them to understand that as they are identified in Christ more and more, they are to serve each other and their community more and more. That means not only telling Bible stories along with their HIV/AIDS awareness programs, but becoming real with people and telling them the Truth, the Good News, even when they feel like it’s hard. We will end our Bible study with a time of service commissioning as we get the privilege of washing their feet and sending them out as Jesus did with the disciples before He left them.

Please pray that our TAYO friends will have understanding
hearts, open ears, and automatic obedience to the Lord as He speaks to them
this week and in the coming months ahead.

Please pray that we may continue to speak boldly,
love with reckless abandon,
and serve this community whole-heartedly
these next two weeks.

A team of three girls, and the Brownfield’s youngest daughter will arrive May 19th. This is also the day of Malawi’s presidential election, which leads to two more prayer requests.

Pray for these girls safety as they arrive.
And please pray for peaceful elections here in Malawi.
Pray God will allow a leader who serves Christ to continue leading
this country.

We American’s will be laying kind of low around election time here, as we are not sure of the outcome and actions of the people in Malawi. Democracy is still a new idea here. After elections, we will be showing this team of girls around Thyolo and helping them get oriented to our ministry before we hand it over to them.

Please remember these girls as they
continue what we started
and also build on that foundation!

Monday, May 25th, we will be flying out of Malawi and heading to debriefing in Johannesburg! And who, but the Lord, knows what happens after that! “Every ending is a new beginning,” and I’m excited to see what new chapters the Lord has written in my life here and back in America!

Thank you for sticking with me, praying, and serving alongside me!

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