Thursday, December 29, 2011


You have to meet UJ. Everyone knows that my favorite people are my my Man, my Blessings, and my Parentals...but outside of them, there is no one I like better in this world than UJ.
I first met him when I was very young and I thought he was probably the coolest man in the world (next to you, Dad). In 35 years nothing has disproved this theory.
Even now, as an adult if I run into a problem, I want to know what UJ has to say about it.
He knows a lot of important people in the KINGdom...probably because he is important people! Yet, he has graciously invested in teaching and training me in the things of GOD. I hang on every word he says.
So, why is this girl posting about UJ at 2 in the morning? It's because he told me something once...maybe more than once...that is affecting my reality right now.
He told me that we are to be motivated by faith and not fear.
That sounds fairly simple and I suppose as a point of belief, it's a simple concept. But, it is not a simple thing to live as one's my reality.
About an hour ago, I was startled out of sleep by my Little Man falling from his bed onto hard tile. What is a good mother to do but immediately rouse from her sleep.... and quickly wake her husband to go take care of it?
My Man left to kiss battle wounds and I'm guessing, fell asleep in the boy's bed. That left me alone with the whisperings of the quiet, night hours. Many mothers, I think, are familiar with these.
I was thinking about some decisions My Man and I had made. Perhaps I should say, re thinking.
Faith not fear.
Faith not fear.
Faith not fear.
There is a lot to be afraid of in Africa. So far, I haven't really felt much fear. Now, though, as we are settling in, and making decisions...important decisions about our children and our family...I can see all the things that could go wrong, the dangers, the real dangers, that lurk.

Faith not fear.

How does this truth become my reality? I walk it. I walk by faith...not by fear. This means that what I believe isn't important if it doesn't affect my reality. I think this is what the book of James teaches: Faith that isn't your reality, is not a real faith. It's useless, in fact.
Right now, fear tells me, "Change your mind! Don't you realize what could happen?! Let me just tell you all the horrible things that are possible!"
Faith says, "GOD is good, HE does good. HE is righteous in all HIS ways and kind in all HIS deeds(Ps 145:17). Now, let tHIS truth be your reality, for with GOD all things are possible."

Faith not fear.

I'm feeling sleepy....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Life in Conakry

Admittedly, it's presumptuous to write a post about life in Conakry when I have only experienced one week of life far. Perhaps I should re title this "My life in Conakry- Week One". Yes, that's much more appropriate.
We experienced a lot in just one week. Here are some of the highlights:
* My first trip to the grocery store. I use that term loosely, of course. The stores hardly resemble our grocery stores in the States. There is no one-stop shopping. You patronize one store that is best for vegetables, another for meat, another for get the point. The great thing about that, is that I have exponentially increased the number of Guinean friends I can make on shopping day! I spent most of my time in the stores deciphering labels, trying to determine what kinds of foods I am able to get here. My goal is that I will discover something to make for my family that is an improvement on the chicken (?) franks and olives we had my first night of cooking.
* I traveled to the very congested downtown of Conakry with a brand new friend. We had the opportunity to purchase cel phone chargers, maps of Africa, phone cards, towels, surge protectors and a variety of other things all conveniently from our car window. I was wildly impressed at the spirit of entrepreneurship buzzing around me. They almost sold me on a towel...
* Having church at home this Sunday morning with a new African friend. He asked a lot of good questions. My heart was rent when he confessed that he was afraid that if he got rich he would not love the LORD as much. Which touched and humbled me more: that the likelihood of him getting rich was so slim or that he loved the LORD so much he was afraid of anything that would draw his heart away? I am not worthy of these people.
* CHRISTmas was yesterday, or so I heard. We asked our friend how they celebrated in his house. He gave his wife a flower and his son a pair of shoes. Everyone was very excited, he relayed. I was glad that we had no presents. I love that they received more on CHRISTmas morning than we did...and it took us getting nothing for that to happen.
* Aaron dancing with orphans. Now, I am not sure who I was more jealous of. I didn't actually get to see it myself, though, I was home with a sick girl. Someone graciously took a video for us. I am glad. I don't think I would have been able to imagine it without it. I loved seeing the strength of my Man poised in gentleness toward the helpless of the world.

Life is good.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Now this gets tricky.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about gratitude lately. I have mulled the thing over and over in my mind like a baker kneading bread. Here's my conclusion--I have a distorted concept of gratitude.
Gratitude isn't being thankful for all that you have because you see people who have less than you. It isn't walking away from those who are suffering, with a renewed sense of pleasure that you don't have to live like that.
Appreciating that you have everything you need and want isn't gratitude in its truest form. Sure, it's a form of gratitude, but its probably more just a natural response to take pleasure when you get what you desire.
Look at this definition of gratitude:
In everything give thanks for this is GOD's will for you in CHRIST JESUS 1 Thessalonians 5:18

This gratitude isn't thankful for the abundance of groceries I used to have access to. It's thankful for the small block of cheese I was able to buy here and for all the food that I was not.
It isn't thankful for the electricity and air conditioning I had in the States. It's thankful for the sporadic and surging electricity I have here.
Gratitude isn't thankful for well educated doctors, advanced hospitals and available vaccines we have back home. It is thankful that my sweet little Curly Girl lies in pain and fever beside me right now where we have no doctor.
Give thanks in everything. This means that when I have, I worship. This means when I don't have, I worship. Not later, but now in the everything.
I belong to GOD, HE is always with me. So, I can know that everything---no matter how painful or difficult it looks to me, HE is working for my good.
This is the thankfulness I see here in this dusty land. Guineans have electricity....sometimes. Their children are often sick, some deathly. Many are uneducated, and many are without proper shelter. But, they always smile at me. They always say thank you. They appreciate every pitiful little kindness I offer. So, should my lesson in gratitude then be to be thankful that I have it better than them? Or is the lesson to be thankful when I don't?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Freedom Seekers

One of the very first things I learned about Guinea were the powerful words of former President Sekou Toure: "Freedom in poverty than prosperity in chains" It was a pivotal point in Guinea's history. Would they embrace the moment and claim their independence or take the safer road of allying with other nations at the cost of some of their freedom? I realize i have oversimplified an extremely complex history and that President Toure didn't turn out to be so great for his people, but he did utter words that I believe are practically prophetic. The nation is riddled with issues, grievous and devestating issues. However, this is a land of freedom seekers. I have been blessed to meet several in my few short days already.
There's Neena*- a beautiful woman who came here from a nearby nation where she lost her husband in a horrific civil war. She took her children and fled to Conakry for safety. She sings while she works.
Moses*- a man who always smiles except for when he told me how his country has all the resources it needs, but just can't figure out how to get it together to make it work. He hates that there is trash all over the ground. He loves this land.
Sty*- survived unimaginable horror in a nearby country. He came here to start a new life as a GOD seeker. He ended up a JESUS lover.

Everyone here has a story. I want to hear every single one.

Be Strong and Courageous

It's hard to love a wild man. I should know. I married one almost 16 years ago, and birthed another one in 2008. But, I'm not talking about either one of them. I am talking about my GOD. I love my UNTAMEABLE GOD and I am completely secure in HIS love for me. Yet, HE makes me uncomfortable...and HE does it on purpose! HE doesn't want us sitting on the beach sipping umbrella drinks, soaking in the safe life. HE is a mountain climber, an ocean diver, a fire walker. HE bids me to go with HIM to the dangerous places, the places where the cost is great...and so is the adventure. They are places where I have no certainty or security in anything but HIM. HE likes it that way. "This is where the fun is," HE claims. HE's right. I think I want the white picket fence, the consistent, scheduled, safe life....but I don't. I want HIM.
More than a year ago, my WILD MAN began priming my heart, filling it with thoughts and dreams and desires for Africa. Every beautiful African face I saw on television, or the internet or in a book, would cause a flood of HIS love to begin flowing through me for them. Then came the Rhema, the word HE kept saying over and over: "Be Strong and Courageous". I should have known HE was preparing me for our next adventure.
Should I be surprised at all then, that on December 17th, 2011 my feet made their very first footprints in the beautiful dirt of Conakry, Guinea AFRICA, my new home.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go" Joshua 1:9