Tuesday, January 29, 2008

worship with Karen kids

This past weekend, several of our clients moved about 8 hours from Fort Worth. I was close to two of the families since I had previously taught them ESL and was currently tutoring 5 of their elementary school children. Daniel and I went to say goodbye on Saturday night and ended up staying longer than we had planned. We sat with both families on the floors of their apartments and prayed over them. It was a sweet time with them...and a sweet time between Daniel and me as well - getting to bless these families in the Lord together.

A little history about these people - they are from Burma, but are not Burmese. They are the Karen people (pronounced pretty close to the female name in English, with an accent on the second syllable rather than the first - ka-REN). These particular families are believers, and they have begun having a Karen house church in their apartment complex as well as have been going to a nearby American church. They are sweet, sweet families.

Anyhow, when we went to say goodbye to the 2nd family, I was asking if they would continue to have house church in their new place, since the family who had been leading the house church is staying in Fort Worth. I asked this question mostly with gestures rather than words. And what transpired was one of the boys getting his guitar out of its case and the children herding together to sing this beautiful worship song. The best we can figure is that they thought we were asking to have church right then and there! :-) Later we learned the meaning of the song is something along the lines of, "The earth is filled with light. The earth is filled with love. Don't keep the light for yourself. Give it to the people. Everybody needs the love of God."

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

They asked us to sing a song after that, so Daniel strummed on the guitar and we sang, "I Love You, Lord" and "Your Love Is Amazing." When we got to the chorus of "halleluiah, halleluiah, halleluiah, you're love makes me sing" they joined in with us, singing "halleluiah!!"

Have you ever thought about it? The word, 'halleluiah' is univeral - everyone in every country of the world sings 'halleluiah' to our God! Won't it be beautiful one day?!! One day when we meet our Savior in the sky and we all cry out, "HALLELUIAH!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

World Mandate

"Be still and know that I am God; I will be axalted among the nations; I will be praised in all of the earth." Psalm 46:10.

I have a confession to make: I often don't know really what it means to 'be still' before the Lord.

Does anyone relate?

I mean, it's so hard for me to sit and to still my heart and to wait on the Lord, to wait for His voice. Doesn't Scripture evidently show, though, that God IS in the business of talking with His people? I don't believe that has ever stopped. I just believe many of us are not trained to really still our hearts before the Lord and wait to hear from Him. Daniel grew up in a home where his father regularly encouraged his 5 siblings and him to ask God for answers and to wait to hear God's voice. His dad has recently published a book, He Who Has An Ear (for sale on amazon.com), with some background teachings and examples from the Old Testament to the New Testament of God speaking to His people. The book also includes tangible guidelines as to how to practice hearing from God. Because of Daniel's being raised under this teaching, he regularly says things to me like, "Kim, I was talking with God and He was saying ....... and so I asked Him ....... and then He replied ......" I know my husband isn't a fake. I know his testimony of hearing from the Lord is true. How I long to converse with God like that! And, I'm learning. I mean, I'm not where Daniel is, but I believe that God is speaking to me and I am learning to discern His voice.

Jesus taught us that He is the Good Shepherd and He said that His sheep know His voice (John 10). Jesus DOES have something to say to His people. He IS still speaking.

Well, this weekend we were 2 of over 3,000 men and women in Waco, Texas, at World Mandate, an event where the Spirit of God is so strong and the voice of God is often very clear. World Mandate is a missions conference given by Antioch Community Church.

This was our third year to go to World Mandate together. The entire conference is focused on how and where we can be involved in God's plan for the nations. He does have a plan. No, He doesn't NEED us to spread His glory. But He INVITES us, rather COMMANDS us, to be a part of His glory being made known among the nations. But, it's not just about sharing Christ, period. It's about sharing Christ out of the love and passion that you have for Him because you know Him intimately. Afterall, can you really share Christ in the Spirit without first walking passionately and intimately with Him yourself? I don't think you can.

This is getting long, but I want to share one highlight of our time there. A man named Keith Wheeler was a guest at the conference. In 1985 God called Keith to carry a cross around the world. Yes, literally, carry a cross around the world.

His story is amazing and God has literally opened door after door to allow Keith to be in countries, carrying his 12' x 6' cross into the Middle East, into Asian countries that are hostile toward the gospel, into nations at war, even into Antarctica. After all, Keith reminded us that there are no countries that are 'closed' to God. God's Word says that "The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains; the world, and those who dwell in it." Psalm 24:1.

If you're interested in hearing any of the talks at World Mandate, you can download them off of Antioch's sermon website.

May we learn to hear the voice of the Lord at an even greater capacity than we are able to now. He IS speaking.

What is He saying to YOU?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

a proper dinner together...at last

If you've ever lived with me or have been around me after I've re-positioned the furniture in whatever house I'm living in, you know that I have a fettish for moving around furniture. Last week while Daniel was off work for the New Year, we woke up and I had a desire to change things around again. We've changed around furniture in our house now 8 times, most of the changes being in our living room. I guess since we painted the kitchen wall red and we know that for now, we're not immediately moving overseas, and we don't feel like buying a house is something we're supposed to do right now, we feel like we can settle in a bit more in this house. What you need to know before reading the rest of this blog is that we don't have a dining room in our house, so when we eat meals, we eat sitting the couch using TV trays or on pillows on the floor around a Morroccan style octagonal coffee table.

About a month or two ago Daniel began talking about really wanting to have a dinner table to share our meals on. Well, with this most recent arrangement of the furniture in the living room, there was a possible place for a small dinette set. I was at Target with mom over Christmas and saw what I thought would be perfect for us. Daniel and I went back to Target together and after several discussions about it, we purchased a 3-piece dining set (some assembly required) today! And now, we can have 'a proper dinner together'!

working on the table assembly

a very proud display of our hard work on the table

now, on to assembling the chairs

And here we are, enjoying a peach smoothie, at our new dinner table!

visitor from Egypt

In mid-December we invited a couple from Egypt to come visit the US at Christmas time. Because of scheduling conflicts with our travel to Louisiana and their availability to travel because of work, we didn't think we were going to get to see John and Rania. They flew into NY before Christmas and also visited friends in Tennessee. Rania's plan was to leave at the beginning of January and John was going to be able to stay an extra week. As of Friday morning, the 4th, John called saying that he wouldn't be able to make it down to Fort Worth. Around 7 p.m. Friday night I received a text message on my phone saying that he would be flying in alone on the following day around noon. WHAT?!?!! We had little food in the fridge and the guest bed's sheets hadn't been washed since our last visitors, I had a birthday brunch with some friends on Saturday morning, and we were on our way to enjoy a movie with friends that night. Well, thanks to my fabulously helpful husband, we got the house ready, sheets washed, I went to the grocery store, and we got to enjoy the movie and I enjoyed the brunch...all just in the nick of time for our guest! Oh, did I mention that Daniel also checked on the internet to see what we could do to entertain John and show him a bit of a cultural view of Texas?!!

Daniel found...a RODEO! It was a first for John, and he was amazed by it all! He was thrilled that we had a spare cowboy hat for him to don. That was Saturday night. Sunday we went to church, where he shared a bit about the work of God in Egypt, then that evening we took him to Cattleman's Steakhouse and walked around downtown. He only stayed a couple of days, but hopefully we showed him a good time here in the big Fort Worth!

bringing in the new year

Daniel bought a grill with the money his parents gave him for Christmas. We set it up New Years Eve afternoon so that we could fire it up with our friends for a New Year's dinner. On the menu:

-grilled 'bring-your-own-meat'-
-grilled vege kabobs-
-chips & salsa-
-birthday cake-

Caleb celebrated number 26 on December 30, so what's a birthday without a 2-day-belated-birthday-cake?!!!

We celebrated the new year with good friends - our 2nd annual celebration with these folks! We played a game that was introduced to us last Christmas by the Audis - Settlers of Catan. If you have a spare several hours and a competitive group of friends, you'll love this game. We highly recommend it - but be careful, it's addicting! We had to set an alarm so we could watch the NYC ball drop at 11 p.m. our time. We set another alarm to officially celebrate the New Year at midnight again!

wedding bells.

I stayed in Ruston for 9 days over the Christmas break - the longest I've been home since I lived in Ruston in 2004. The biggest reason I stayed so long was because Seth and Vanna's wedding was the weekend after Christmas.

Yes, my cousin Seth has finally married his Vanna! Their wedding was beautiful - Vanna was stunning, Seth was handsome, their wedding party was classy, the church was beautiful. And the reception was elegant - lots of fancy dressed folks, fancily presented food, and fancy dancing!

Meredith even had a great time!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Christmas highlights

We spent Christmas in Louisiana with my family this year. We won't be seeing Daniel's family this year for Christmas - being a part of a 22 member family makes scheduling a bit difficult sometimes and it just didn't work out this year for us to all meet up for Christmas. :-( We're hoping to all get together sometime in 2008, though!

As for our 2007 Christmas....

We were so good in 2007 that SANTA came to visit US - we didn't have to go find him!

He looks a bit like my Papaw...actually, more than a bit! He IS my Papaw!!!

Much of the holiday centered around the little ones in our family - it's so fun to have Meredith, Annie, Allie, Sydney, and Abbie around. They are our niece and our cousins' children, and they range in age from 6 months to 4 years old. So cute! Our family Christmas surprise was that Meredith was walking. She took her first steps the Thursday before Christmas and we got to watch her grow in confidence in her walking as the week progressed!

Meredith's first debut of opening gifts was in November at her first birthday. However, she didn't really get the concept very much then. Almost 2 months later, though, at Christmas, she was way more into the opening of the gifts. Here she is about to rip into a present.

She got a jack-in-the-box from my parents and loved it!

And, well, amidst all of the excitement, she pooped out!

At Granny's house there is a big framed picture of the cousins when we were around ages 11-16. Someone commented on the picture while we were at Granny's and we decided to recreate it...14 years later! I wish I had a scanned picture of the original one - maybe I can get that next time we go home. But for now, here's the updated version.

And finally, our family with Mamaw and Papaw in front of the Christmas tree at Mom and Dad's house in Ruston!

our 2nd Christmas together


We got a new computer for Christmas and are in the process of changing over all of our information from our old one. We're hoping to blog this weekend...from the new laptop! :-)