Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Baptism Day

Hey everyone.  Sorry, it's been a while.  We have some exciting things to share.  Sunday we spent the afternoon with the boys, as we often do.  After lunch, we talked some more about salvation and really tried to get a feel for their level of understanding.  A month or so ago they had expressed interest in being baptized.  Geoff found a good children's video clip on YouTube that helped to illustrate the A,B,C's of salvation and another that talked about baptism.  We also had Roberto on hand to help with translation, because we're never sure of how much is getting lost.  Though they are young men of VERY few words, we felt confident of their basic level of understanding and their desire to be baptized.  I asked if they'd like to pray together, which they wanted to do.  I prayed, Roberto translated in Damara, and the boys prayed together aloud in their language.  Let me tell you, that was one of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard!

Yesterday was the big day.  We were thrilled to have two of the boys' past teachers join us, as well as our friend Monica who runs the multipurpose center.  The boys brought an older brother and two friends along, and Malcolm, Roberto, and Heidi also joined us, making for about 20 in attendance!  We were able to use a friends' pool for the baptism and then celebrated with cake and ice cream at our house following.  

 Geoff shared a bit with everyone before the baptism.  Martha (below) helped to translate and make sure the boys were understanding all that was being said.  She is so wonderful!

 Ok, this pool was ICE cold.  Can you tell?
I'm SO sad our video didn't work, but trying not to dwell on it.  

In all, eight boys ended up being baptized, even those who we thought were coming as guests.

Love this one.  They are showing their new necklaces we gave them.  They would never smile like this for me, but Geoff was behind me dancing around like an idiot…it worked.

This morning when Geoff and I returned from the store, they were all waiting at the gate with their grades from last term (we are now on school holiday).  There is LOTS of room for improvement, but three of them had one B and the two oldest had near perfect attendance so we were pleased with that.  Thankful for all that God has done, and continues to do.  Please pray for these boys, that God would continue to draw them to Himself and that they would grow in their love for Him.  I know that many of you have prayed for them, and all that has happened in the past week is surely a result of your prayers. We are so thankful that the Lord allowed us to be a part of this.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy Sunday

I'm realizing that it must look like we have a lot of parties at our house, and that would actually be true. There is a good reason for that.  Not only is it a good bridge for building relationships with our Namibian friends, but having friends to our house is also pretty much our only source of entertainment.  That being the case, it doesn't take much for us to find a reason to invite friends over.  For instance, Thursday night we rented Frozen on iTunes and it also happened to be Namibia's Independence Day the next day…sounds like a reason for a party!

Two Herero friends sporting their traditional dress.  Everyone wears their tribal outfit on Independence Day, so fun!
Seeing "Frozen" for the very first time, AND got a surprise visit from Roberto.
 Tomorrow is Davis' birthday, but Friday night he celebrated with his friends, Sheldon and Cameron.
This is how they looked much of the night…video games, ugh!  I'm glad Davis said he enjoyed his party though.  Cannot believe this is his THIRD birthday in Africa!
This Sunday morning we had a wonderful devotional time, our family and the boys having church together at our house.  We started by talking about Lent and the coming of Easter.  Together we read and discussed the story of Jesus's baptism and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  I am overjoyed to say, I think they are REALLY GETTING IT! After talking about Jesus's baptism, we talked about believer's baptism and shared how Geoff and I had been baptized together in a swimming pool and Sophia in a hot tub!  They thought that was pretty funny.  After talking about what baptism is, what it means and doesn't mean, we asked if they'd like to be baptized and we got an enthusiastic, head nodding, eyes big, 'yes'! We are overjoyed at this prospect and will continue to talk with them more about it.  Geoff and I are going to talk with some friends in town who might be willing to share their church or swimming pools with us for this purpose.  I would love to make it a really special occasion for them…more to come.  We concluded our time together by going through our Resurrection Eggs for the second year in a  row. They absolutely love doing them.

In the above photo the boys are hard at work on thank you cards to their pen pals in Atlanta, GA.  I love the effort they put into them.

Happy Sunday from rainy Otjiwarongo!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Something to celebrate! (And prayer request)

I thought I'd share a few photos from recent weeks.  We've been doing a little celebratin around here.
Our friend, Waymuvada.  We met him when we first arrived.  He's often helped Geoff in our yard and over the past two years he's become a treasured friend.  
Last weekend while Geoff and Waymuvada were hauling the clippings from our palm trees out to the dump site, they came upon these cuties who were happy to help with the work for N$1…
"Cheers" to a great morning of soccer!
I love these ladies, Martha and Beneliza!  They were Sametime's and Albert's teachers last year.  Every Monday morning all year long, Geoff and I would go to their classrooms and bring snacks for the boys for that week.  Over time, I got to know them and LOVE them!  We enjoyed a special lunch together at our house last Friday.  They both love the Lord and are such an encouragement to me.
Fritz turned 16 last Friday.  We went to his school at break time and I yelled, "Hey birthday boy!" out the car window.  (I love to embarrass these guys).  We picked the gang up for a special supper at Wimpy, complete with a serenade from the employees.  I think it was a birthday he'll remember.  We made a point of celebrating each of the boys' birthdays this year, and his was the last one.
YEAH!!  Courtney is here!  You may remember our teammate Courtney, who served here in Otji with us for a year and a half and returned to the US a year ago.  We are so excited to have her visiting with us for a week…just like old times.  Man, realizing she's been gone for a year now, makes me realize just how long we've been here!
The boys were happy to see her and she brought candy and silly string, something new for them.

Prayer Request
We continue to wait on a response from US immigration regarding Esther's immigration status.  We've been told we should hear from them within the next few weeks.  That response will determine when we can return home and if we are able to return permanently to the US at this time.  Please be praying for a favorable outcome, that God would guide those reviewing our case, and for peace for us as we await their decision.  As you can imagine, it is difficult for us to make plans regarding our return when this outcome is still uncertain.  We appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oh how He loves me! Oh how He KNOWS me!

This morning I woke up missing Godlieb.  I told Geoff, "We should go find the boys today.  I miss Godlieb.  I wish he'd show up for supper tonight." I was making a roast and mashed potatoes and gravy and knew he'd love it.  It had been almost a week and a half since we'd seen them, with the exception of Saturday morning soccer.

Our day was busy, and though we began the morning out in the location, we didn't make it back in during the afternoon to visit Godlieb and ask him to join us for supper.  As I was starting supper the rains began.  About 5 o'clock I asked Geoff to open the front door to let the breezes in the house (still pouring outside).  When he opened the door, I heard him say, "Godlieb!" I couldn't believe it.  I met him at the door and said, "Godlieb!  Did you know this morning I told Uncle Geoff that I was missing you and wished you'd come for supper today? Did you hear me all the way out in the location?" 

"Yup," he mumbled, looking down and trying not to smile too big. Our family has a special bond with Godlieb, since he lived with us for ten weeks last summer.  I haven't shared a whole lot about that, since it is such an emotional story. The Lord has been so good to keep us close after all we've gone through together.  For that we are very grateful.  Tonight he enjoyed his fill of beef roast and mashed potatoes, then took a hot shower and put on some clean clothes.  He and Geoff played Go Fish and Yahtzee.  I asked why he and the other boys hadn't joined us for church last Sunday.  "The clothes was dirty, no wata." I feel that familiar knot in my stomach, and then am reminded, I cannot meet every need.

The rains kept coming as it was getting dark and we knew it was going to get real interesting trying to drive him home.  The location floods with big rains and roaring, impassable rivers suddenly appear.  So we loaded him up with sandwiches for tomorrow and headed out into the storm.  I must say that trip through the location was the most excitement I've had in a while.  We got him as far as we could, then flagged down a bakkie (pick-up) and asked if Godlieb could jump in the back to get across the "river".  We watched to make sure they got him across and then turned around (much easier said than done) and headed for home.

It was a sweet night and a very sweet reminder of how intimately my God knows me. After Godlieb walked into the house, Geoff had laughed, "Wow Leah, God sure loves you!" I was reminded of Psalm 139:1-6.

"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."

It was as if God was saying to me, "I know what matters to you, I know what you desire.  Don't ever worry that I am not listening, that I do not care.  I KNOW."

Thank you God for today's reminder.  Thank you for sweet Godlieb.  Thank you that you love me and you know me and I that I never need to doubt that.  And thank you for the RAIN on the roof that keeps on coming.