Gord & Brenda Nickerson, Josiah Venture, Canada/ Eastern Europe/USA. Over the last few months, I have been at taking my Doctoral Thesis and rewriting it into a book on Engaging in Global Youth Ministry. Pray now for guidance as I begin the editing and publishing process. The summer camp ministry throughout Central & Eastern Europe has looked quite different from previous summers due to COVID restrictions. However, the ministry has continued, and we hear many stories of many young lives introduced to Christ, and leaders being trained and equipped through music and sports camps, online training, canoe trips, and lots of one on one or small group meetings.
Thanks to everyone for their prayers for my library assistant and her husband. They made a trip to Ontario over Thanksgiving to return a car that needed to get back there, but mostly to spend time with family and their support team. I have not seen Gisela since their return to get the details of that trip, but she has told me that it went well. Thanks for continuing to pray for Gisela in her library responsibilities and for her and her husband in this time of home assignment.
Hanneke's thoughts and experiences on systemic racism.
"My personal belief as a Christian is that this is real, and it is caused by our sinful human nature that can only change once we have the Holy Spirit convict us and guide us. We are responsible for the choices we make in life. (Psalm 51:1, Eph. 4:22-27)
God created us in His image. Race and colour are not mentioned. We are all created into His image, and therefore we should all respect one another.
I grew up in Holland right after World war 2. My father had suffered much under the Nazi’s as many Dutch people had. We were often told different stories about these horrible “Moffen,” as many of the Dutch people called them. This attitude changed over many years as healing slowly took place. We stopped using this name and became more friendly and forgiving towards the Germans. We also were told more positive stories about Germans who had rescued some Dutch people and Jews.
My dad came from an aristocratic family, while my mom came from a “Blue-collar” family. We, as kids, grew up in two separate worlds. My dad’s family disliked my mother, to put it mildly. We were somewhat accepted because we were related. At my mom’s family, you could drop in at any time. At my dad’s family, we had to make an appointment. With my mom’s family, you could plop on a couch and have a chat about anything. At my dad’s family, we would sit straight and converse.
As my dad came from this old fashion, well-to-do family, he felt that boys were more important than girls and one day, he told us this. It was like a knife went into my heart.
In Holland, we grew up making “Belgium jokes” these were usually put-downs of the other culture. Belgium’s made similar jokes about the Dutch.
Around the age of ten, my family started to take in students from different countries Nigeria, Sudan, Kongo, Chad, etc. This was a bold move on my mom’s part as we had very few black people in our community and many people felt uncomfortable with these people. They could not be understood as they spoke different languages, and being black was seen as unfavourable. I remember the first black students coming into our home. We kids were shy at first, but as those students were very kind and gentle, we soon felt OK. We were all allowed to rub their skin o their arms to see if the black would come off. I had the same thing happen to me when I came to Tanzania.
At one point, my mom became a “Marriage counsellor” when a student from Suriname wanted to marry a young Dutch woman. The parents of this girl came to us expressing their concerns. My mom became very pious and assured them that aside from the black skin, there was no difference. They got married. Unfortunately, the man had come from a family where his sisters lived in prostitution and had helped him with his studies. He expected his wife to have the same lifestyle. The marriage ended in a divorce.
When I was 17, we had a very handsome, lovely young student from Chad. We became just friends. My parents ended up making some excuse for getting rid of him…it was his smelly feet! This made me think, and one day after school, I confronted my mother. I asked her how she would feel if I married a black man. She came up with all kinds of reasons why it would not be a good thing. I finally said:” He is a doctor living in Holland, but he is black!” “Because he is black, would you approve or not?” My mom became furious but finally said with a lot of anger: “NO!” I thanked her for her honesty and walked away.
Once I finished my studies, I came to Canada, where I became a Christian.
After becoming a Christian, I had to deal with the anger of my family. Most of this anger stemmed from the fear of the unknown. They immediately thought I had entered a cult, and I am not sure if they have changed their mind yet. At that time, I worked as a social worker in a home for troubled teenage girls. There were several black and native Indian girls in the house. One day as we went shopping, I was called a “Nigger lover.” I was shocked and angry with these ignorant people.
Then one of the girls was a victim of incest by her mother’s boyfriend. The child was 12 when this happened, and she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, which she gave up for adoption. A year later, she had to go to court to testify. I was to go with her to support her. Her Social worker from the Children’s AID society was not to come. Michelle was very anxious to see her “Dad” She felt she loved him. The police lied to her and told her that he was not there. She had, however, seen him in a police car. She pretended to have to use the bathroom and ran out a back door. In her anger and frustration, she started to damage the police vehicles. The police caught her and put her in handcuffs tied to a chair. They said:” All these black women are the same!” The child became hysterical and started vomiting. I demanded to talk with her Social worker, who came right away. The girl was taken to hospital and needed to stay for a day.
When I came to Tanzania, I found another attitude of discrimination or “systemic racism”: The lighter coloured black people are seen as more valuable. A bride who is light in colour receives a higher bride price. A very light-coloured Tanzanian is called: “Mzungu” (meaning: a Caucasian). The albino people are looked down upon, and disabled people often do not get their rights and needs met and are suffering much.
One day I met one of my friends who had given birth to a beautiful baby. She showed the baby to me and told me how disappointed she was as the baby was so black!
Once I started taking in orphans and discarded babies, I found that among these children, there were racists remarks, especially by one child who I had taken in after he was 10. He pointed out how two of my kids were Arabs. He said it in a way as a put-down. I have tried to combat this attitude in my kids. However, one day they came with ridiculous stories about the Chinese…. Oh, such ignorance!
Now I am working with a tribe whose reputation is very discouraging. When I tell Tanzanians where I work, they usually say: “Pole”
With all these experiences, it proved to me that there is something within us that likes to judge and misread those people we do not know and or understand. So, it is essential to test ourselves and try to make a difference by lovingly correcting and educating others.
May our Almighty God help us in this process."
We are grateful for the online meeting we had, on October 10th, with Latin American Christian leaders from across Canada, guests from the USA, leaders of Mission agencies and churches to officially launch a Latin American Mission’s Network in Canada, La Red Misionera. The purpose of this network is primarily to network and cooperate with other leaders in Missions in Canada and outside Canada, to pray for each other, to pray and reach out for unreached peoples, immigrants, to share resources, to equip, to document the ministry. Please pray for this initiative.
We continue to happily meet at Celebration PC with all due protocols in place. Psalm 133:1.
I am stuck in the hospital again. I have had a small repeat episode, so they’re sending me to a cardiologist at another hospital. Just pray for wisdom for the doctors as they figure out what to do.
It’s been okay with Sandra. She sure took on a big job.
If you have a few minutes to watch our global connect call that we had this morning.
Boots…….How they did it
Nehemiah’s call to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem was fully (almost) subscribed and initiated. From the High priest and the priests to the merchants and the daughters of households, stones were sorted (burnt stones were unusable as heat destroys the integrity of the stones), hand carried, placed by groups stretch by stretch along the wall, gates set up and some roofed. The plot by salamander (sorry) Sanballat, Tobiah, and a new entity Greshem the Arab pretended to want to participate and are roundly rejected. Their plot to attack and kill the builders is discovered and the builders arm themselves and sleep in the streets.
Within the Jewish community nobles and officials were taking property and enslaving some people in return for providing wheat to the impoverished general population. “We have redeemed our brothers the Jews who were sold to the nations…and will you even sell your own brothers…..?” “So they kept quiet and didn’t find an answer”. All properties were returned and all debts cancelled. Nehemiah made the priests swear that this would be enacted.
Repopulating Jerusalem was accomplished by calculating the total number of people who had originally returned from exile (42,360), plus all their servants etc, and designating 10% if each tribe to volunteer to move into the city.
Was this a democracy? Definitely not. It was a Theocracy entirely governed by the Law of God as read by Ezra, the consummate scribe,
and repeated and taught to the people and subsequently to the leaders of the nation. It covered Sabbath behavior, tithe collecting, intermarriage (forbidden), debt cancellation in the seventh year, i.e. social, fiscal, authority, commercial, and religious behavior in detail.
On oath, the people subscribed, along with their priests and Levites.
A huge celebration of choirs and praise was organized to celebrate the establishment of the restored theocratic order, and its noise could be heard from a long distance.
Tobiah and Sanballat had decided that ‘ if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em’ and had managed to insinuate themselves into the social fabric of Israel by marriage. Tobiah had managed to acquire living space in a large room in the temple, displacing storage for priests’ supplies. Nehemiah physically threw out Tobiah’s stuff and replaced the supplies of the priests and Levites. Also, when he caught men maintaining foreign wives, he struck some of the men and pulled out their hair. A grandson of the high priest was attached my marriage to Sanballat, and Nehemiah drove him away. The gates of Jerusalem were locked and guarded until after the Sabbath.
Thank you, Nehemiah. He begs God to remember him for what he has done.
There’s a lot more to tell, but that’s it for now.
I'm doing fine. Still some pain as I expected. Mark was here for 3 days and others brought meals for me. I was about ready to flee the hospital before surgery --at pre-op visit they said time had been changed from 10 to 8 --so got there before 6 and they said it was for 10. I had asked about x-ray at the pre-op visit and they said it wasn't scheduled. then the day of surgery they wanted it. It began to feel like an unsafe place to be! However the surgeon seemed to have his act together and I haven't fallen apart.
This is to invite you to join our missionary gathering on October 25 from 1-3pm with a very special speaker. Held on ZOOM.
We haven’t made a pre-selection of groupings for the breakout session yet as we are still waiting for confirmation from other missionaries.
I hope that you are available to be one of the breakout room facilitators.
The facilitation is to guide follow up discussion of the message and the prayer for the missionaries in your breakout room.
I just got off a call with 70 Christians from the tech industry in Ethiopia about to begin their hackathon this weekend. Amharic is a fast sounding language!
Bill got home from hospital on Sunday evening and is doing quite well. He ended up having an extra week in hospital which turned out to be a good thing, because it helped him over a big hump a week after the surgery. He was very discouraged that he had to be readmitted after his first discharge home, but realizes now that it was the best thing. He wants me to let friends know that he is so thankful for his progress thus far and trusts God for continued healing and strength in the days and weeks ahead.
Thank you for all your concern and prayer on his behalf.
Home progress today with Mfaume.
That is not me on the top.
I had a brief meeting with my Community Health Team recently and was able to give them their new uniforms. I am thankful that they have been willing to continue teaching our neighbours throughout the past seven months about how to protect each other from COVID-19.
Lodim, Kocho, Leah, Nakut, Akol, Naduk, and Opie. Lomuria is missing because her child was sick. Lodim is working temporarily at the clinic gate to make sure everyone washes their hands and wears a mask.
Over the past two months, my team has also been joined by some young men being discipled for the ministry of the Word. Two of my ladies and two guys have been going to the villages together twice a week to teach health and a Bible story. This is an answer to prayer to combine efforts on our mission and support each other's ministries. I'm thankful for a new pastor that joined our team in December last year.
A friend connected me with a Ugandan lady last month who is a professor of public health, has her doctorate, and has also been doing lots of research. Agnes has agreed to Zoom with Nurse Tinah and I on Wednesday to discuss our research ideas. Please pray that we can organize our thoughts and questions well to benefit from her advice.
Praise God that Kocho gave birth to a healthy baby boy four months ago. His name is Iriama. She has been married for many years and thought that maybe she couldn't have children.
Please pray for our 60+ cities around the world hosting tech labs in their cities? These are called hackathons, where Christians in the tech industry come together to solve issues that are experienced by the church, in their cities and around the world.
They will be meeting together either this weekend or next, and will be developing technical solutions all day, all night and lots of coffee! We would really appreciate your prayers as we use the talents that God has given us.
Yes, very nice up here with Sandra Whittall.
A long and pleasant drive yesterday from Savory Road.
She followed the wrong end of Savory Road and went over
the sand pit and all the rocks, but I got her out the right way.
You know all about that.
Sandra's dog and I went for a short walk in the rain this morning.
Student enrolment surpasses goal of 2,000!
At first, we were just shocked. We were gearing up to have the 2nd largest number of students in a Perspectives Movement, only after the USA, in history. We anticipated this would yield many new missionaries in the next decade, especially because we also made the Sumaré Pact, an agreement with mobilizers from all over the country. Momentum was really building, even more than before. Then, like the rest of the world, unexpectedly, everything stopped. Every class had to be cancelled. Everyone had to work from home. One thing was very clear: this mobilization work, and our time, is not ours; it is from God.
This all caused us to bend our knees. Since then it has been a time of dependence. In this we realize, even more clearly, that God has full control of the mobilization of the Brazilian church for unreached peoples. Moreover, our new reality is showing us a church that is even more open to mobilization than before the pandemic. Our mobilization tools are better than before the pandemic. And, our lives are more in line with the Lord than before the pandemic.
Be encouraged by these numbers, for the glory of God:
• Nearly 2,200 Christians study missions through the Perspective content and practical discipleship making course (where they are - in their own cultural context.)
• Of these, about 300 are pastors.
• 38 Pastors from Angola are taking Perspectives.
• Scholarships have been distributed to pastors from: Amazonian Peoples (indigenous and Ribeirinhos), Sertão Nordestino, Angola (Africa) and probably São Tomé and Principe (Africa)
Seeing that everything is out of our control made us bend our knees and look to the Lord. All of this is from Him!
How Perspectives Online works:
God has allowed us to work with a good platform, and with the teachers we most trust for the 12 Perspective lessons. This required our whole national team to work on content production, including a complex and intense recording plan in several studios from different Brazilian states. The rest of our network of mobilizers (we call this the Perspectives family) prepared themselves through an internal course that we created. Now, all students have access to the lessons through an online platform and have been divided into Zoom classes, which are coordinated by our local teams. All of this to facilitate the course safely by distance!
New Opportunities for Growth and Improvement
For the first time, we are introducing 6 study meetings on “discipleship practices” into the Perspectives students program. Our desire is that, at the same time, the student is “immersing himself in the global purpose of God,” he will also be immersed in the privilege of making disciples where he lives. We consider this to be perhaps the most strategic step in mobilizing Perspectives for the coming years. This is being done in partnership with Frontiers Brasil.
We took advantage of the fact that our local volunteer teams were waiting for the start of Perspectivas Online and created the “Mobilization Academy,” another online course, which has continuous access to train each volunteer mobilizer in our network. We introduce new modules throughout the year.
Guess what the first module was? “Discipleship practices!” We are all studying biblical principles of making disciples where we are. We will also start reading joint missionary biographies. We believe that in addition to Bible studies, biographies will enrich our hearts. Our entire network of more than 800 mobilizers are reading the same missionary biography!
It is clear that God is doing something. We expect many Christians from the interior of Brazil who now have access to the course to be mobilized. We hope that every student makes more disciples where he is and also lives the habits of the world Christian. We hope to reach thousands and thousands of Brazilians and see thousands and thousands going to the Unreached in the coming years. We dream of seeing, for example, tens of thousands of Brazilians planting churches among the various peoples of Arab and Turkish origin in the next decade (Did you know that research shows that Brazilians share many cultural similarities with Turks ?!)
We understand that this work is from God. We pray, “Thy Will be done.”
1- We have had a time of distance. Please pray for wisdom and patience, personal renewal and growth; For the Grace of the Lord to work in us according to His power and love.
2- Pray for our grassroots team. For strength, for our families, for rest and wisdom in the face of the volume of work. We are just 5 people full time in a movement with almost 1,000 volunteers! We are always grateful for what we get to do. In the pandemic, everything intensified because none of us had experience with online courses. We had to create almost everything from scratch and with many tight deadlines.
3- Pray for the 2,200 Perspectives Online students. May God mobilize the lives of these people and reach many unreached peoples by missionaries who will leave these classes.
4- Pray for the family of volunteer mobilizers of Perspectives Brazil. May the Lord allow us to honor him at this time as all of these students will be taken care of by our local team mobilizers. May the Lord continue to work in the lives of all mobilizers who are renewing themselves in the mobilization academy.
God bless you, may He be glorified amongst all peoples through our partnership!
We invite to you join us as we celebrate the inauguration of the Latin-Canadian Missionary Network, October 10, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. (EDT), via Zoom!
We are very grateful to be the local expression of COMIBAM International in Canada. The creation of this network for missionary cooperation in Canada is the fulfillment of a vision that has been twenty years in the making, with the support of COMHINA and COMIBAM International.
Our vision is to see the Latin-Canadian church participating in the Mission of God. We invite you to be part of our local, regional, national and global plan.
The event will be in Spanish, with translation into English and Portuguese.
Please set aside a space in your calendar, October 10, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. (EDT). Details of the Zoom link will be sent by email on October 7, to those who sign up.
The roof rafters are almost complete. Monday the roofer will measure the steel roofing. It is precut to size. You can see one of the guys in the rafters nailing them together.
The steps and ramp for handicapped people and ....(maybe for when I get older) have been built.
Since my return to Tanzania, I have been busy with getting our family house built. It is a lot of work as we don't have building equipment like Canada, Europe, etc. Everything is done by hand. Contractors are often people with little training, and you have to be on top of what is happening, or you will get the wrong ratio for cement and, in short: a poorly built home. I have to go regularly to ensure all is going well. At one point, a door opening was put into the wrong wall. Another time one of the lazy workers just piled rocks together without any cement and wanted to cover it up with cement on top. I was just in time. I called the contractor, who took one look at this and told the guy to take out all the rocks so he could build adequately. This guy is no longer one of the workers. Despite all the frustrations, things are moving along well. We will have a 3-bedroom house, and two self-contained rooms in a separate building as older boys cannot stay in the place where the girls are. The boys will share one room, and the other is for guests. (You are very welcome for a visit...Karibuni sana!)
I want to thank all of you who have been donating towards this project. I probably have enough to get it finished by the end of the year—electricity, plumbing, roofing, floors, tiles, ceiling, etc. God is so good!
The kids are all doing well. Jacky is doing fine, and I am sure that it is due to all the prayers that have gone up on her behalf! Thanks so much! Even her school work is improving, and she is happier.
Faraja is writing his final exams for primary school and will finish on Thursday. I am to pick him up on Frida. Another long drive to Kahama. I don't enjoy driving here as there are so many obstacles like speed bumps and police checks that driving is very tiring. There are zebra crossings in the middle of nowhere where you are allowed 100 km per hour. However, if you happen to go over 50 per hour, you may find a policeman handing you a fine one km down the road. They will show you the picture with your car and the speed. Now I know where they are, but it isn't enjoyable.
This past Thursday, I had to go to visit Ngassa. With all the busyness and sweltering weather, I was too tired to drive myself and decided to take the bus to Mwanza and stay at a small hotel and use a taxi. The 8-hour bus ride went well and cost me 15.000 Shillings… just under $10/- Canadian. The taxis are cheap, and the hotel was about $ 15/- It saved a lot of money as driving alone would have cost me about $100/- Ngassa is doing well and may pass his grade and get into a university. He can apply for a government grant. I had brought him school supplies and had his eyeglasses repaired. I took him out for lunch, and I had a long talk with him about his previous behaviour and his relationship with the Lord. I hope he listened and will repent. Up till now, he has not shown any remorse about stealing from me. Pray that the Lord will take hold of him!
The next day I took the bus back to Tabora. The bus was to leave at precisely 8.30 am. I had arrived on time, and already many had found their seats. It was already getting hot, and was relieved when, after half an hour, the driver took his seat and started the engine. Then he got out again. As we kept waiting, an endless stream of salespeople came into the bus with items to sell. As I watched this carryon, I thought I should write about a bus trip in Tanzania (probably very similar in other countries). One needs patience and endurance! I made a list of salespeople who came and went selling: Jewelry/watches, popcorn in small bags, sunglasses, candy, biscuits, juice and sodas and water, battery charges, USB sticks, radio's, study books, fruit salads packed in plastic containers, apples, Samosas, rice cakes, sandals, soaps, pens, etc. At least 60 of them squeezed themselves through the narrow aisle making few sales. They stick their items in your face, and you have to e clear that you don't need them.
At some point, a 300+ pound man came in, and I prayed he would not have the seat next to me! (I thought of my sister who came a few years back and sat on the bus with me when this massive woman sat next to her. My sister was squashed, and with the heat, it was quite an ordeal for her.) The man ended up sitting a few seats behind me.
After another half hour in the baking sun, the engine stopped. After a while, another fellow came who started the engine again and left. Finally, at 10.30 am, we started our journey. The driver sped to Shinyanga, which we reached in record time: just after 12.30 pm! Shinyanga is halfway, so I thought we would get to Tabora in a decent time. In Shinyanga, there is a bus station with some toilets that are not up to our western standards, but I am just thankful that we have them. At this vast bus stand, they sell chips and other food items, water, sodas, etc.
The driver wanted to leave asap. He started to drive off when some passengers came running. One of them was a woman who had taken off with food and had not paid. The cook followed her into the bus. In the meantime, the ticket man kept taking in other passengers who had no seat. This is illegal, but they try to make more money this way. The driver just started to drive while these passengers were hoisted onto the bus. About 5 km out of town, we were stopped by a police check. An officer came into the overcrowded bus and asked one guy standing what he was doing.
"I am selling soaps, but I have not started my business yet!" "OUT!" said the policeman. The next one was the guy who wanted to get his money for the food. The officer told the women to pay or come together with this man to sort things out. She chose to pay, and this man left. Then six others who had paid but were to get off the bus. They wanted their money back, so the police took them and the ticket man off the bus. After half an hour, the police told us we could go, but the ticket man was to stay—what a relief. By the time we reached Tabora, it was around 4 pm. I thought that it went quite well. Three km before I was to get off, we were stopped by the police and had to pull over. The vice president was on his way to Tabora. After about 40 minutes, they raced by, and we were finally allowed to continue our journey. I went to bed after a nice bath! Mfaume, who is home, boiled the water and filled the bucket for me. (Yes, our new house will have real showers!!)
As these situations are quite familiar here and I am used to these situations, I usually don't think about them and go along. Knowing the language and knowing what is going on is a huge plus! I thought about those who enter a country like ours, not knowing the language and not understanding anything. So, I wanted to share it for those who are planning to come for a visit! 😊
Finally, a residence permit has been authorized. Thanks to all our friends. We appreciate your constant prayers for both of us. We have another extra year for Hil, and Xerggyo has his work permit.
Bill has been having increased trouble with shortness of breath over the last 36 hours , so to make a long story short he is being transferred back to Newmarket as we speak, to get the fluid drained from around the heart. He spent a few hours in Bracebridge hospital this afternoon but there was no tech to do the necessary echocardiogram, hence the transfer . Not out of the woods yet!
Dom's mother passed away suddenly today.
Boots on the ground.
Contemporaries, but completely different professions. Nehemiah had joined the political and social activity of the new regime, and like Daniel and Mordecai with previous kings, had found trusted and elevated employment in government.
Brother Hanani had trekked in from Jerusalem, people seemed to come and go a lot, and Nehemiah was all over him for news of home. Bad news, disgrace, economy shot, people in terrible shape and most of all the wall of Jerusalem broken down..
Like Ezra, Nehemiah throws himself in tears on God, and begs forgiveness for his own sins, his ‘fathers’ sins, and the sins of the people of Israel which are enormous. He is so depressed, that it shows on his face.
His responsibility as cup bearer to the king gives him direct access and he finds the Queen there for a family dinner. Uncomfortably, he is questioned by the king about his obvious depression, and Nehemiah is frightened. Quick prayer, and then he opens up: my home, my fathers’ tombs. King is very direct: What do you want? How long will it take? How long will you be gone?
Ezra had gone to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes. Nehmiah set out in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes.
Nehemiah requests letters of free passage, of access to the garden of the king i.e. his forests for timber for construction, for beams for residences and the wall of the city. “And the king gave to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.”
Nehemiah took plenty of security, captains of the army and horsemen.
Salamander, sorry, Sanballat, the Horonite and Tobiah an Ammonite servant were more than slightly displeased. But we’ll get to them later.
Nehemiah plays it close to the vest, goes at night with a few men, he on horseback, and examines the destroyed wall of Jerusalem. He returns without anyone knowing what he was up to.
To be continued……
For several years, I have had a desire to see the world and discover new ways to serve people who live vastly different from me. During my studies at St. Augustine University, I had many opportunities to present various scholarly works in East Africa. After graduation in 2019, I looked for ways to go out into the world and work. I considered teaching, project managing, leading in any organization, serving children, among several other things. In my heart's desire, I always asked God to guide me and show me a way that would be glorifying to Him and not myself. God was quick to close some of the doors, and I continued to trust His will.
On September 3rd, 2020, God allowed me to become a part of Kazima Children's Home. Kazima Children's Home is the most intentional and holistic organization I have been honoured to serve with.
As soon as I arrived at Kazima, I was welcomed with many hugs, cheers and smiles from John, Pauline and the children. Since the day of my arrival, the children have been snuggling on my lap, telling me that they love me and that we will be friends forever. Children are eager to learn English and are thankful. They pray so genuinely and love everyone who shows them kindness. I love all of the children, and the people here are amazing and supportive. We work together, sing songs together, study English together, play together, have in-depth conversations about faith etc. We are God's big family, and I pray that this relationship we are developing will be a part of our hearts forever. Every day I get up and realize that,
Children are the future,
Every child is special,
Every child is different,
Every child deserves to grow up in a loving and stable home,
Every child has the potential to achieve optimally.
Every child deserves the best, and every child matters.
My only job is to love and embrace these children and let them be whomever and feel loved and cared for. I believe that: They need our love, and they need Jesus' love. And that's something we can tangibly give.
Watching these children love each other is incredibly humbling. These children may be called orphans to everyone around the world, but they are not. They know God, who is their Father, and He takes care of them every second of every day. Many understand that their home is not here on the earth but in Heaven. To the world, they are orphans, but, to the orphans, they are not even of this world. They are the children of God. They are chosen, cared for, accepted, loved and adopted.
As time flew by, I encountered what was quite possibly an angel. This angel was much different than what I imagined an angel to look like. As I looked down at her, the big brown eyes staring at me with that giant smile under her tiny nose. Her t-shirt said 'Shower Me with Love,' and I couldn't think of a better word to describe her. She broke eye contact and started tugging me towards where the words on her t-shirt were. She looked up at me through with that big smile and wrapped her arms around me. I don't know how it happened, but at the same moment, my heart filled with so much love for this child. As I focused on what she was trying to say, I realized she wanted to be picked up. Her smile grew even bigger. I asked her name, and she said, 'My name is Julie" As I looked at her again, I learned that she is well behaved. I felt compelled to let her know that Jesus loves her and wants to provide for her. I could feel that something spiritual was happening meeting with Julie. I asked her if I could pray for her to know the love of Jesus Christ in her heart. Before she accepted me to pray for her, she asked me if I pray to God, who is in Heaven. I said yes, and she accepted. I am so thankful for meeting Julie that day. I don't know if Julie was an angel, but I do know for sure that God used her as one that day. As time goes on, I keep noticing that Julie is the sunshine in every room she enters. Her smile brings peace. When you have Julie's attention, time no longer matters.
Dr. Bertice Berry, "To know your place, you have to create it. We’re not done, we’re not dead, we can create new spaces to exist in. Choose your place. Choose it wisely and make sure you find a space that makes this place a better one."
Through our forced self-quarantine and heightened strife from our racial reckoning, I’ve been thinking seriously about creating a space to learn from important and diverse voices. The time is ripe to launch Ann_ecdotes Live, a series of interviews to interact with movers and shakers from around the world who are powerfully effecting change in their contexts.
From my ventures and travels, I have had the privilege of sharing life and laughter with a wide variety of inspiring people and now I have the joy of introducing them to you. I hope you will grow to love these wonderful humans as much as I do! These friends are my teachers, helping me better understand the world from their perspectives and experience.
My upcoming interview with Rev. Dr. Sam D. Kim on the topic of loneliness is this Wednesday at 2pm Eastern. At that time, come on over to my Instagram page, click on 'My Story' and say hi! I've been uploading past interviews on my new YouTube channel. Hit the subscribe button, interact with me through your comments and questions.
Hero Makers Podcast:
Hey all, my friend Laurie Nichols & I just launched our newest project together, the Heromakers Podcast! Laurie is such a gracious and fun human; the perfect co-host! I’m sure you’ll love her as much as I do.
We levelled up our friend game to bring you stories and people who inspire us. Our hope is to do the same for you, and look forward to engaging with you too. You can find us on your favourite podcast platform.
Click here to listen to our introductory episode and learn the definition of a hero maker. We'd appreciate your follows and encouraging comments on our page. Heromakers can be found on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Heromakers Movement website.
Jesus & Justice // The Relentless Pursuit of Justice
I continue to be inspired and amazed at the work of International Justice Mission in Canada and field offices around the world. Last June, participants from the Global Workplace Forum, partnered with IJM Manila to learn about the reality of online sexual exploitation of children that is prevalent in the Philippines and spread throughout the world.
This October we will hear six Canadians teach powerfully from Luke 18, the parable of the persistent widow, with their own applications to both the Canadian context and global realities of injustice. We will also participate in a live question and answer session and close with worship and prayer together.
Jesus & Justice 2020 is a free, three-day online event that grounds the work of justice in the life and teachings of Jesus. Read about our amazing speaker line up and register to join us!
Click here to watch a video about Jesus & Justice 2020.
Please uphold Albert in prayer. He had a knee replacement today.
Please pray for Mary Jane, who is back in the hospital since Wednesday after fainting on herlawn.
Enter Ezra: He had a focus and intention---he had set his heart to learn
the Law of the Lord and to teach it to the Israeli people. That means that he had copied
the law, counting every letter, making sure that his copy was exactly like the one from
which he had learned. He worked out the meanings and knew the writing in detail. He
was a consummate scholar, priest and scribe.
Imagine, Artaxerxes wrote this:” From Artaxerxes king of kings to Ezra the priest the
perfect scribe of the Law of God of heaven, etc.”
By royal decree, Ezra is to return to Jerusalem with all who will go with him, he is
supplied from the Royal Treasury with millions in gold and silver which Ezra is to
expend at will for the supply of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the authorities on the
other side of the Euphrates are to supply Ezra with whatever he requests. What is
going on here?
‘Whatever the God of Heaven has commanded.’ Artaxerxes wants vehemently to be on
the right side of God. No taxes for priests, Levites, singers, gate keepers, temple
servants! This king is going overboard. Those who do not know the Law of your God:
Teach them! Sanctions for those who disobey this command: death, banishment,
forfeiture of wealth, imprisonment. Nothing by half measures.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers who has put it in the heart of the king to
beautify the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
So Ezra gathers the leaders and all the people who have been designated by name
to accompany him, and sets up a fast and prayer for knowing just how he should go
about this. Ezra was ashamed to ask for security and horsemen because of his witness
to the king of the greatness of the God of heaven. So off they went without escort,
the priests andLevites carrying untold wealth in gold and silver and vessels, no enemy
could touch them, no ambush overtook them: clear from Iraq to Jerusalem, across the Syrian desert,
I wonder, did they skirt west along the coast or did they plow right through the
Mountains ?, landed in Jerusalem and counted out and recorded all the wealth they had
brought, many camel loads.
True to his intention, Ezra organizes a program of teaching the Law of the Lord from a
raised platform from nine to noon, flanked by priests on either side, and the people
stand to listen, and then are instructed by designated priests. The Succoth is
reinstituted and the Law taught for a quarter of each of the seven days of feasting and
partying, the eighth day designated for fasting and prayer.
Sylvia is scheduled to have an operation on her seond shoulder on October 5
Thanks to everyone for their prayers for the new CanIL family transitioning to Langley. They were refused entry into Canada (from the States) a week ago. It took several days and working with higher up personnel at a different border crossing to sort out the problem, but all is well now.
Thanks as well for praying for the Rapid Word Collection Workshop. The team of linguists worked very well together. However, as the Haisla language is an endangered one and the best speakers are few and quite elderly and nervous about catching Covid-19, only about 4,000 words were collected. The First Nations attendees were clearly very encouraged by the workshop that brought them together and gave them a vision for a revitalized language. My colleague was struck by how much healing was taking place for many of them. He continues to pray that this people group would discover their identity in God.
Some of you may know Jack Freer, the barber and former member of Knox. For many decades he cut the hair of the ministers of Knox Church. He remains an avid supporter of KWM workers. Here is an article on his retirement from the Toronto Star.
So we sit here waiting patiently (?) for the election to happen, for a vaccine to be found, for the baby to arrive………..
And around the world, things are happening, nothing new, just repeats of history.
Try this one: a chemical bomb blasted Beirut, took down the city harbour and front, rubble and trash everywhere, lives lost.
Nebuchadnezzar didn’t have chemistry to help him destroy Jerusalem, just human resources and animals. But he did a thorough job. Temple and buildings destroyed, many lives lost, huge displacement of the population. A couple of men placed unlikely in a king’s service took the matter personally and placed themselves in God’s hands. They were well trained high end A types, and they threw themselves before their God and begged forgiveness for themselves and their people.
God can move the heart of a king: Cyrus, king of Persia, possibly the son of Esther, who notable said “If I perish, I perish” in response to an impossible assignment, decided to rebuild the temple, loaded a million dollars worth of gold from the temple and sent as many people who would go back to Judah/Jerusalem: 42,630 people. Cedars of Lebanon (where else)were brought by permission of Cyrus for the construction of the temple. The Foundation of the temple laid, and trouble is brewing.
Frustration through the rest of Cyrus reign and Darius, and along comes Artaxerxes.
Politics, letters, accusations of rebellion (language change, Aramaic) resistance of the foreign population to the Jewish nation’s resurgence.
“City shall not be built until you get a command from me.” Enemies arrive in Jerusalem and use force to stop building.
Defiance rebuilding pursued, and eventually recourse to the record of the first decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple.
Darius finds the records and decrees impalement to any obstruction to the rebuilding, all at the king’s expense and the resources of the officials obstructing the building.
Built and completed according to the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes. Enter Ezra, priest and scribe in the seventh year of Artaxerxes. King of Assyria (!)
To be continued…
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