Estaylin

We recently mailed out January sponsor letters! Whew! While it’s always a lot of work to print the papers, pull kids from class, double check student work, stamp and stuff envelopes, and send 240ish letters off, I love looking through the cute messages and drawings that our students create for their sponsors. Lots of “I love you’s” and “Thank you’s” and “Please come visit me’s”. Relationships are growing!

A couple weeks ago, I pulled out our 3rd grader Estaylin so that he could finish up his sponsor letter. We sat in the hallway together and chatted while he worked. After he wrote his little note, I told him to turn over his paper so he could add some details to the drawing of his house and family.

Last year, Estaylin’s dad passed away in a tractor accident in the villages. Estaylin now lives with his mom and his little brother. As I looked down at his picture, I saw that he had drawn 4 little people.

IMG_1793

I asked Estaylin who those stick figures represented. He started with the second one. “There’s my mom. And that’s me. And Eliangel.” My heart hurt as I realized the significance of that first little figure. It had to be his father – his older siblings don’t live in the house with them.

“That’s cool, Estaylin. And what about that one? Is that your dad?”

He quickly gave me a gruff response. “My dad died.”

“I know, buddy. I’m sure you miss him a lot. But I think it’s cool that you drew him here. It’s always good to remember him and the good times you had with him.”

He gave a brief nod. And with that, the exchange was over. I gave him a hug and sent him back to class.

While I don’t get to interact with Estaylin every day, our teachers and staff do.  I’m thankful that people who love the Lord are able to pour into his little life all week long. And in the midst of the pain that he’s probably still experiencing even months after his dad’s death, I’m praying that he sees the love of Jesus in the faces and the hugs and the words of those he interacts with.

 

Advertisements

January 2018 in Pictures

A full and fun first month of 2018! Click on the pictures below to learn more about our January happenings.

At school

 

At home

On to February!

Ang’s January Reads and QOTMs

Autobiography of George MullerI’ve been in a serious biography/autobiography kick recently. This book has been on my “to read” list for awhile, and I’ve been pushing it off. But when reading Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, I saw that George Müller had given to Taylor’s work in China. I was amazed. Wasn’t Müller the man who took care of thousands of orphans, not with his giant pocketbook, but through his faith in God alone? How did he have any money to send to overseas missions? Incredible story. Honestly, the book was a bit difficult for me to wade through in some parts, mostly due to writing style. But the way this man trusted the Lord is something I envy.

Below: some of my favorite “quotes” from my reading this month.


Money is really worth no more than as it is used according to the mind of the Lord; and life is worth no more than as it is spent in the service of the Lord. ¹

Of late I have seen, by God’s grace, more and more how entirely unworthy I am of being used by God for this glorious and honorable service, and I can only say: “Lord, here is thy servant, if thou art pleased to use such a one as I am.” ¹

How blessed to have the living God to go to! Particularly precious to know him in these days of widespread distress! ¹

But the riches of God are as great as ever. He knows that our expenses are great. He knows that a little will not do in these days, when provisions are so dear…. My soul is at peace. ¹

Six hundred and seven days I sought the help of God day by day, before we came so far as to be able to commence the building; yet at last he gave me the desire of my heart. ¹

I find the great help, the uninterrupted help which the Lord has given me for more than fifteen years, a great reason for going forward in this work. And this, trusting in him, I am resolved to do. ¹

But I desire more than this for the orphans. I cannot be satisfied with anything concerning them short of this, that their souls be won for the Lord. ¹

We can only give to him of his own; for all we have is his. When the day of recompense comes, the regret will only be that we have done so little for him, not that we have done too much. ¹

When Jesus called his disciples to “walk after” him, he meant the word in both ways [halakh and halakhah]. First they would follow in his literal footsteps; later they would follow in his teachings, taking his message out to the world. ²

…we find Jesus’ words call us beyond what is going on in our brains. We are not just to “hear” but to take heed, to respond, to obey. And we are not just called to believe in the oneness of God, but to place him at the center of our lives. ²

Love is both inward and outward, both the warm fuzzies and the actions that result from them. ²

If there is one thing you can learn from Jewish culture over the ages, it is an utter passion for learning one’s religious faith…. You might think that an education that revolved around memorizing the Bible is excessive, but in most societies from ancient times up to the present, people have been far more literate in their sacred texts than we are today. Indeed, our modern Western culture is one of the most secular in the history of the world. ²

Loving God with all of your life is the exact opposite of our culture’s expectation that you’ll wedge a few moments for God in between work, hobbies, sports, TV, and the latest movie. ²

If you are generous, your whole life will show it. And if you are selfish, it will infect your very soul. ²

Caring for those around us isn’t merely a nice habit to cultivate; Jesus says that it is central to our character as a whole. ²


¹ George Müller, The Autobiography of George Müller
² Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus

November/December 2017 in Pictures

Could the months fly by any faster?! November and December in pictures.

Freedom

 

Family

Ang’s November/December Reads and QOTM’s

I was hoping for lots of reading time with the coming of the holiday season, but reality hit instead. I moved forward in a couple of books, but I only finished one book completely: C. S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed.

A Grief ObservedWow. What to say? My heart ached as I read of the pain and anger and sadness that Lewis experienced after the death of his wife. But empathetically reading about someone else’s sorrow isn’t the same thing as living it. While I didn’t completely understand his pain, I appreciated Lewis’ descriptions, word pictures, and his raw honesty through it all. I’ll keep this one tucked away on my bookshelf for the time when my own grief will be observed. My biggest take-away from this read: I will not be immune to death’s touch forever. Life is a mist.

Some of my favorite quotes from the last two months…


You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it? …. Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief. ¹

… there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it…. It doesn’t really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist’s chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on. ¹

You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. ¹

God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. ¹

… bereavement is not the truncation of married love but one of its regular phases–like the honeymoon. What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too… ¹

Not my idea of God, but God. Not my idea of H., but H. Yes, and also not my idea of my neighbor, but my neighbor. For don’t we often make this mistake as regards people who are still alive–who are with us in the same room? Talking and acting not to the man himself but to the picture–almost the précis–we’ve made of Him in our own minds? ¹

Lord, thy servant is a poor man; but he has trusted in thee, and made his boast in thee, before the sons of men; therefore let him not be confounded! Let it not be said all this was enthusiasm, and therefore it is come to naught! ²

Our hour of trial continues still. The Lord mercifully has given enough to supply our daily necessities; but he gives by the day now, and almost by the hour, as we need it… I have besought the Lord again and again, both yesterday and today. It is as if the Lord said: “Mine hour is not yet come.” But I have faith in God. I believe that he surely will send help, though I know not whence it is to come. ²

This way of living brings the Lord remarkably near. He is, as it were, morning by morning inspecting our stores, that accordingly he may send help. ²

The words in the prayer of Jehoshaphat, “Neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon thee,” are at this moment the language of my heart. I likewise know not what to do, but my eyes are upon the Lord, and I am sure that he will help this day also. ²

I labor because I am the Lord’s, bought by his precious blood, and he commands me to labor. ²

But he grimaced and blurted out, “Why on earth would you want to go there? Those Jews never did nothing good, except give us Jesus.” Wouldn’t that be enough? ³

Ironically, as our world has become more sensitive to embracing ethnic differences, some have done exactly the opposite with Jesus. ³

Just as rain water comes down in drops and forms rivers, so with the Scriptures: one studies a bit today and some more tomorrow, until in time the understanding becomes like a flowing stream. – Song of Songs Midrash Rabbah 2:8 ³


¹C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
²George Müller, The Autobiography of George Müller
³Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus

October 2017 in Pictures

Ang’s October Reads and QOTMs

Seeking Allah Finding JesusThis month, I enjoyed reading a book by Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim who chronicled his journey from Islam to Christianity in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. I may have shed some tears as he shared about the pain of disappointing his family because of his conversion. He passed away in September after battling stage 4 stomach cancer. I found his vlogs on YouTube, and I was impressed with his desire to know God and trust Him through the difficulties of life. His book helped me to gain a clearer understanding of how and why Muslims believe what they do. An excellent read!

The Hiding PlaceI also finished Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. I’ve generally known her life story for some time. I probably read a children’s version of the book when I was younger. But, wow. Seeing how the Nazi invasion and her time in German concentration camps completely changed her way of living – I was blown away. Her faith in God kept her grounded during the incredible difficulties she faced. My advice? Drop everything and go read this book now. The way her awe-inspiring story is written will draw you in from the very beginning.

If you like quotes, you can read some below that I particularly enjoyed this month. Or you can check them out for yourself in context by grabbing the titles above!

—————————————

There is nothing like the one true God! If I had known just how boundless is the love of God, just how transformative His grace and mercy, just how liberating His exemplary life and death, I would have run to Him years sooner with all my might. ¹

… Effective evangelism requires relationships. There are very few exceptions.¹

A rift was beginning to form between my heart and my head. What I wanted to believe was fighting a battle with the evidence for the New Testament. I was torn.¹

But they [my Muslim parents] were so adamant, so devoted to God, so genuine. Could they really be wrong?¹

Would it be worth it to pick up my cross and be crucified next to Jesus? If He is not God, then, no. Lose everything I love to worship a false God? A million times over, no! But if He is God, then, yes. Being forever bonded to my Lord by suffering alongside Him? A million times over, yes! Now, more than ever, the stakes were clear, and I needed to know who He was. Everything hinged on His identity.¹

“Why, God?” At that moment, the most agonizing of my life, something happened that was beyond my theology and imagination. As if God picked up a megaphone and spoke through my conscience, I heard these words resonate through my very being: “Because it’s not about you.”¹

… they kept coming, the people who considered themselves Father’s friends. Young and old,  poor and rich, scholarly gentleman and illiterate servant girls – only to Father did it seem they were all alike. That was Father’s secret: not that he overlooked the differences in people; that he didn’t know they were there.²

Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.²

Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam–when do I give you your ticket?” I sniffed a few times, considering this. “Why, just before we get on the train.” “Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need–just in time.”²

“Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings, Corrie. It’s something we make inside ourselves.” – Mama²

“Do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked, that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so it stops hurting…. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.” – Father²

Mama’s love had always been the kind that acted itself out with soup and sewing basket. But now that these things were taken away, the love seemed as whole as before. She sat in her chair at the window and loved us. She loved the people she saw in the street–and beyond: her love took in the city, the land of Holland, the world. And so I learned that love is larger than the walls that shut it in.²

“There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety–Oh Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!” -Betsie²

“… books do not age as you and I do. They will speak still when we are gone, to generations we will never see. Yes, the books must survive.” – Harry de Vries²

“The truth, sir,” I said, swallowing, “is that God’s viewpoint is sometimes different from ours–so different that we could not even guess it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things.”²

“Corrie, if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love! We must find the way, you and I, no matter how long it takes…” I slowly took in the fact that she was talking about our guards… I saw a gray uniform and a visored hat; Betsie saw a wounded human being.²

Have I really permission to commit all my little affairs to a God of infinite wisdom, believing that he will take charge of them and direct them according to the promptings of boundless love and absolute omniscience?³

… the Lord may begin his work in different ways. For I have not the least doubt that on that evening he began a work of grace in me, though I obtained joy without any deep sorrow of heart, and with scarcely any knowledge.³

… for with all my weakness I had a great desire to live wholly for God.³

How differently does the Lord judge from man! ³

My chief help is prayer… For neither eloquence nor depth of thought makes the truly great preacher, but such a life of prayer and meditation and spirituality as may render him a vessel meet for the Master’s use…³

We leaned on the arm of the Lord Jesus. It is now twenty-five years since we set out in this way, and we do not in the least regret the step we then took.³

I would offer here a word of warning to believers. Often the work of the Lord itself may be a temptation to keep us from that communion with him which is so essential to the benefit of our own souls.³

… we are never losers from acting according to the mind of the Lord. For had I had my regular salary, humanly speaking, I should not have had nearly as much…. I have not served a hard master, and that is what I delight to show.³

Ignorance of God is the great enemy of mankind, and the testimonies of the saints, experimental and grateful, overcome this deadly foe.4


¹ Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
² Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place
³ George Müller, The Autobiography of George Müller
Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Psalm 67:2