Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Foretaste of Heaven!

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 12/27/10
It was a Sunday afternoon in November 2003. My husband, Jim, and I were driving back home to Nairobi from Tigoni in a tea-growing area just above the city. Even before we rounded the corner, we could hear people singing. Then we saw this colorful cluster of people spread out before us. We stopped the car to watch and just enjoy the public displays of faith in Jesus Christ among a local church congregation. They gathered at a wide place in a river, maybe not too different from where Jesus’ disciples baptized people in the Jordan. We didn’t want to disturb their sacred moment. What a delightful glimpse of the joy, the spiritual life and growth of the Body of Christ in Africa-- a foretaste of Heaven!

photographer: Sue De Vries, Kenya. "We worked with Africa Ministry Resources (now One Challenge) in Kenya until 2006, over 20 years, with a goal of building up the Body of Christ through encouraging and training rural pastors. Like the rich red soil in this photo, Africa has been such fertile soil for the Gospel. We love Africa, and raised our 3 daughters there. All three are now married and missionaries themselves."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

All is Bright

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 12/20/10

The story behind the picture is - I live and work with orphans in Taraz, Kazakhstan and had actually just moved there May of 2009 when this picture was taken. My director, Beth, was driving to Shymkent about 3 hours away and asked if I would like to see some of the countryside. I had been to Kazakhstan on 7 short- term trips working in the orphans but had never traveled around much.

The day was beautiful with the blue sky and perfect temperature. Beth was so kind as to stop around every bend so I could jump out of the car and capture the magnificant beauty all around. This is one I captured on that trip. A normal 3 hour drive took almost 6 hours. I got many amazing shots that day but this has been my absolute favorite. I hope all enjoy HIS artwork.

Victoria Charbonneau, Kazakhstan, serves with Interlink Resources, Inc. Visit Victoria @

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Time to Plant

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 12/13/10

I am Magdline Walter (Maggi) from Pakistan and am working with Caritas Pakistan Multan. I am involved in animation trainings for poor Massesand, humanitarian aid, and work with the local Catholic Church. I have been here almost 10 years. This photo was taken when I was leading the farmers (male and female) group toward Bio Agricultural Practice (Bio Fermenter system). Iit was an exposure visit to learn how the small farmers manage their lives in limited source. I am the Master Trainer regarding IntegratedPest/Crop Managment as well as environmental issues.

What's NEW this Week @ WOTH:

*What's in your "Fruit of the Spirit" Basket?: Ever struggled with any aspect of Galatians 5:22-23 while serving on the field?

We have a great article in the first issue of 2011, Alight with Kindness, that will launch our encouraging feature to show how God can work in our hearts, first, and then move on to change the world in a very fruity kind of way. Could it really be as simple as showing kindness to a weary world???...find out on January 6 when the next issue comes out!

Sign up today to receive the encouraging, free, bi-monthly onlineMagazine that gets your cross-cultural life.

If some of your fruit is a bit rotten or even completely out-of-season, I'm putting out a CALL FOR ARTICLES to talk about that very issue in the 2011 WOTH onlineMagazine. Submit your articles to: editor@womenoftheharvest.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Every Knee Shall Bow

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 12/6/10

This picture was taken at a school feeding program in a village in Niger, Africa. Our desire is to see not just physical nourishment, but a spiritual nourishment as well. We are starting the second year of this feeding program and have seen registration double as more kids come, and we have seen a huge increase in girls as well who were never allowed to come to school before. We pray one day all these children will kneel before the one true God!

photographer: Chantelle McIver, Niger. Check out Chantelle's blog: www.chroniclesofourjourney.blogspot.com

What's NEW this week @ WOTH:

*Editor's Choice: Read my all-time favorite cross-cultural Christmas story,
A Doggone Christmas, from our WOTH Archive Library. Here are other seasonal stories I've dusted off from past WOTH onlineMagazines that may bring joy to your holiday season:

Christmas at the Bottom of the Well, by Judy Schulz, Burkina Faso Christmas in the bush started with my son falling into a deep well...

Christmas Without the Trimmings, by Pat Estes, USA
What do I do when it doesn't feel like Christmas?

The Christmas Agenda, by Susan Lansing, France
Why am I so blue, in a red and green season?

Poverty at Christmas, by Tina G., West Africa
Baby Jesus came in poverty...he lived a poor man's life.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Reflection of Him

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 11/29/10

I am a nurse at an orphanage in the Philippines. We take babies and young children who are unwanted, abused, or neglected. I am constantly amazed at how the Lord brings little ones handpicked by Himself. We see them come in malnourished with sores or other maladies. He allows us to care for them, love them, feed them, and watch them grow. We are "Jesus" to the little ones as well as to our staff and anyone who walks in our gates. While we love caring for the orphans, our greatest desire is to see they are placed in a Christian family where they can grow up knowing the Lord. We have opportunity to share Jesus with all who enter our compound.

Since I am to "be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus" I find it necessary to have my time alone with my Lord each day. I cannot be a reflection of Him unless I spend time in His presence. This picture was taken on an adjacent island to where I live, during a time of rest. The reflection of the sunset reminded me of how each of us need that time in the presence of God in order to reflect His love and goodness to those He brings our way.

photographer: Karen Tellefson, Philippines

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eat and Be Satisfied

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 11/22/10

The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him.
~Psalm 22:26

This is from a school feeding program in Niger. Over 150 students are fed two hot meals a day. They also receive solid instruction and have access to school books. These children are visibly stronger, fatter and happier than our visits last year as the program was just starting; the health agent says he sees a lot less injuries, cuts and scrapes from the children now. They are all too busy attending school!!

The mothers of the children also get health teaching about how to keep their families healthy and free from illness. We desire to see this village grow holistically and take care of one another and grow in their knowledge and understanding. We pray Jesus would appear to this Muslim village in dreams and visions and make a mark on the heart of these people!

photographer: Chantelle McIver, Niger Visit her at http://www.chroniclesofourjourney.blogspot.com/

What's NEW this Week @ WOTH:

*DOWNLOAD a boat-load of Thanksgiving Treats that would sink even the Mayflower: Debbie Peck, our globally-good WOTH Chef, has put together a Thanksgiving Day package to make it a true celebration of gratitude. Share it with your global neighbors!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Can't See the End

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 11/15/10

"I am a South African, working in Bosnia with YWAM. I am involved in English teaching and Humanitarian aid and work with the local Protestant Church. I have been here almost 10 years now. In October, I went on a retreat for single missionaries in England. While I was on the retreat I took this lovely picture. It perfectly summed up how I was feeling: that even though I can't see the end of the road that I am on, I know the one who will be with me and leading me on the way..."

photographer: Belinda Chaplin, Bosnia.

What's NEW this week @ WOTH:

*Ever wonder about the organization behind the initials?: Watch Women of the Harvest's Year End video. We are once again getting the message out to "Value Her [your's!] Voice."

*onlineMagazine: Sarita Holzmann, co- founder and President of Sonlight Curriculum, has a fresh new article, just for WOTH: Will They Learn? The home education dilemma. It's a balanced resource to help you make the important decisions regarding your child's education on the field.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Necessity is Still the Mother...

Picture Praise, 11/08/10

The photo was taken at a workshop for training and evaluating potential literacy teachers, in Tanzania. The lady had to bring her baby along for the week, and managed to work very hard despite the distractions.

photographer: Leila Schroeder, Kenya: “I'm a literacy consultant, and mother to two grown daughters. My husband, a software developer, and I live in Kenya, but we travel a lot. I was a bilingual teacher in the U.S., and God has really used that past experience and training in what He called me to do here in Africa.”

What's NEW this Week @ WOTH:

*WOTH Writer's BLOG:
"A Good Story is Hard to Put Down" Contest...
write a piece of fiction, submit, and possibly win the first-ever fiction spot in the onlineMagazine. See this week's post for details!

*Weekly Word e-Bible Study: We're studying the gospel of John...get out of the boat (see John 6) and join us. This study will be going on way into 2011. Come, get fed (see also John 6)!
  • If you'd like to start receiving Weekly Word in your inbox every Wednesday (it's free), go to "My Account" on the website (upper right corner after you've signed in) and check the box.
  • If you'd like to become a registered user of the WOTH website, go to SIGN ME UP! page.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Peace I Give You

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 11/01/10

I took this picture on itineration when I was out on the peninsula of Washington state. I was on a walk with a friend and this scene spoke such peace to my heart. Peace. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you." ... Jesus.

photographer: Tammy Swailes, Ukraine

What's NEW this Week @ WOTH:

*WOTH onlin
NEW! Nov/Dec '10 issue is out.

Holiday-inspired cover story," Love and Lava," erupts with God's message of joy to the world; homeschooling article, "Will They Learn?" from the president of Sonlight Curriculum; Thanksgiving recipes, CDs, movies...and so much more.

Are you getting it? Sign up now.

Sign your friends up to start receiving this gift of encouragement--it's free!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pudgy Fingers

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/25/10

This picture I took in November '09. It was the day before I was to leave for a 6 month furlough, and one of "my kids" was sitting on my lap. He was two and I just loved his pudgy fingers and thought to myself, "He'll be all grown up when I come back - no more pudgy fingers!" It made me feel melancholy about having to leave the field (Ukraine) for 6 months and missing out on so many moments in the lives of those I loved. I decided to snap his hand in my hand (discretely, while sitting in church). Then the scripture, "May the Lord richly bless you and your children," Psalm 115:14, came to my heart. Indeed! Let it be!

photographer: Tammy Swailes, Ukraine. "I am a missionary in Eastern Europe working with INSTE Bible College. I live in Ukraine, but travel and work in Hungary, Romania, Spain and France also. I love working with churches, making disciples and training leaders! I also love photography and the stories that can be told in a picture."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spiritually Nourished

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/18/10

My husband and I are members of Wycliffe Bible Translators, working as Scripture Promoters in the Andes Mountains of Peru for the past 12 years. After hiking through the mountains for several days, we arrived in the picturesque village of Quitaracsa, beautifully situated in a fertile valley below the mountains. Although the Quechua people had abundant crops and healthy herds of animals, the children all showed signs of neglect and malnutrition.

Apparently the villagers were selling the best of the crops and animals in a market several days' walk away in order to make a small amount of money so they could buy staples that could not be grown in their own fields. In a like manner, these Quechua people were neglected and malnourished spiritually, for until recently, they only had access to God's Word in Spanish, a language that none of them spoke from their hearts. What a joy it was for us to have the privilege of hiking into that village with New Testaments and beautifully illustrated Bible story books in the heart language of these little boys and their families.

photographer: Rachel Yanac, Peru.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sheltering Strength

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/11/10

The picture I sent in was taken at Cesky Sternberk, in the Czech Republic which is a castle which was built in 1241 near Sazava, Czech Republic. The massive walls and huge doors and gates up at the castle are amazing to me as they were constructed so long ago without the aid of modern construction tools.

photographer: Dora Becker, Czech Republic. "My husband and I, along with our five children, have lived and worked in the Czech Republic for the last 13 years. We just left our first church plant in the hands of a national pastor last January and are moving into a larger part of our work being with the Roma (gypsy) people in the Czech Republic, as well as in Slovakia, Hungary and trans-Carpathian Ukraine. This people group has a heritage of traveling which stems from the racial discrimination they suffer. Working with them brings many joys and challenges. We seek to serve them in practical ways such as finding housing, helping with heating in the winter, teaching basic health skills and we are planning on teaching them skills and loaning them tools needed to start micro-businesses so they can earn their own income, especially the young mothers who are often left alone with their children without a source of income. God is moving in the hearts of these people and drawing them to Himself in such tender ways and we are excited to join Him in what He is doing!"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ancient Gate

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 10/04/10

We’ve been living and working in southwestern China for over four years, and the more I get to know about the dominant cultural worldview—the rhythms of life, the foundational beliefs that govern how people live out their daily lives—the more my heart breaks. In a culture where saving face is prized above all, where work takes priority over family relationships, and where people (including children) are valued primarily for their academic achievements or outward behavior and success (not for their intrinsic worth as individuals created in the image of God), people’s hearts are isolated, lonely and oppressed. We so long to see some of these “ancient doors”—closed doors within the cultural worldview, even within the church—fling wide open! To see the King of glory enter in, bringing His transforming Kingdom with Him—that is what we pray for earnestly.

photographer: R.H. "Our primary focus is to walk alongside the local registered Body of Christ and help encourage, equip and disciple leaders to better minister to their flocks and communities in the areas of biblical worldview and holistic outreach.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Delicious Waterfall

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 9/27/10

We live in a desert, hot, dry, and dusty. The people around us are in a spiritual desert as well, and have just come off a journey of fasting in search of God. On a recent break to another country we came across this delicious waterfall, a reminder that Jesus is the Living Water. He is refreshing, life-giving.

: Erika, West Asia

What's NEW this Week @ WOTH:

*10,000 Charms Contest ends on Friday
Submit one friend's name to start receiving the WOTH onlineMagazine and get entered to win a KINDLE DX to be given away on 10.10.10. (October 10, 2010). DO it NOW (or by OCTOBER 1!). Go here for all the details---takes a minute to do: 10,000 Charms Contest sign-up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Children of the Needy

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 9/20/10

The story behind this photo was a medical visit to a very poor home. This little boy came and sat near us playing with his brother. His grandmother kept shooing him off her lap since she was busy talking with us about a problem her daughter had. He and his brother were enjoying sitting in the warmth of the sunshine in the window when I took this picture. The spring had been very cold and people were running out of fuel and food, so any warmth was thoroughly enjoyed.

photographer: anonymous, Afghanistan.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The God Who Sees Me

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 9/13/10
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:
"You are the God who sees me..."
~Genesis 16:13

We love sharing the story of Hagar with the women we serve for this very reason- He sees them and delights in them- even though their society tells them they should be ashamed of being seen!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nearing Eternity

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 9/6/10

The lady in this photo was standing across a steeply-sloped street in a small mountain town in southern Ecuador, high in the Andes Mountains. We were there with a small medical team holding mobile clinics in more remote villages, as a means of sharing the gospel. Many receive medical care, but even more hear the gospel. Seeing this lady reminds me that Christ died for people of all ages, and some of these are nearing eternity. In this particular village there is sadly no church that preaches salvation by grace alone, which demonstrates the shortage of long-term missionaries in so many areas of the world.

Joy Anglea, M.D. – organizes short-term medical mission teams to various parts of the world, from her home base in Cleveland, OH.

What's NEW this Week @ WOTH:

*Weekly Word e-Bible Study:
New series on the gospel of John, written by Donna Jeffries (past studies for WOTH: Romans, Nehemiah), starts this week...get signed up to start receiving it. It's free.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Isaiah 58:10: In Behalf of the Hungry

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 8/30/10

There is a school feeding program in a little village in Niger. This part of the country is rocked by famine and malnutrition numbers are staggering. The children who attend this school walk as far as 5km to get there and often arrive hungry. Knowing there is food at school has seen enrollment double in the school, with even numbers of boys and girls. With full bellies (this is their morning porridge being served) they are able to learn and grow!

: Chantelle McIver, Niger. "Check out our blog at

What's NEW this Week @ WOTH:

*NEW ISSUE of the onlineMagazine:
Comes out on Thursday, September 2!
Sign your friends up during our 10,000 Charms Contest and be entered to win a Brighton Charm Bracelet and/or our grand prize, a Kindle DX!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

No Eye Has Seen

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 8/23/10

Meet Bredi. I found this adorable little boy joyfully running around in a village without a speck of clothing. This village has been created to teach about one of the many tribes in Namibia. While there are many real villages like this one scattered about the country, this was a unique opportunity to walk through the life and history of the Damara people. They welcomed us with song and dance and tried to teach us some of their craft making and hunting skills.
Photographer: Hannah Sterling, Namibia.

A round of applause for a great run of photos (last 3) from Hannah! Send in your global shots, along with an accompanying verse (not on the photo) to: editor@womenoftheharvest.com.

Picture Praise receives rave reviews and is being used globally for worship services. We love that! ~Cindy, Editor

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

River of Transformation

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 8/16/10

After an incredible Transformational Development workshop, our minds and hearts were filled with new ideas and challenges. The group concluded our time together by taking a boat ride along the Okavango River. All was quiet and still as the sun set and we began to process what we had learned. My prayer: God, teach me how to give in such a way that positively transforms, without hindering, the Namibian people.

photographer: Hannah Sterling, Namibia. "I have been living in Namibia for over a year and enjoy spending as much time as I can with the children in the community. I mostly work with orphans and vulnerable children on an educational level but also give psychosocial support and help to build their self-confidence through creative writing and other avenues." http://hannahsterling.blogspot.com

What's NEW @ WOTH this Week:

* WOTH Writer's Blog: 2 Contests converge this week: Are you a winner of Robin Jones Gunn's newest book, Under a Maui Moon? Are you the winner of the "Write a Memoir" Contest? ONLY IF YOU ENTERED!!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You Who Hunger

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 8/09/10

I work with orphans and vulnerable children in the township outside the capital city of Namibia. This little girl came to our center one day with her big brother. She would watch him as he played with the other kids and I could tell she wanted to join in the fun. When I look at all of these precious children, I hope for them a very bright future. Often, the first step in that direction is getting them to also have that hope within themselves.

Hannah Sterling, Namibia. "I have been living in Namibia for over a year and enjoy spending as much time as I can with the children in the community. I mostly work with orphans and vulnerable children on an educational level but also give psychosocial support and help to build their self-confidence through creative writing and other avenues."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Be Colorful

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 08/02/10

While Trujillo (where I live) is a beach town on the Pacific Coast, I also work in the mountain town of Cajamarca. My job is to wear many hats, one of which is Short Term Team Coordinator. I coordinate all of our teams that come to visit from the states. This photo was taken while I was in Cajamarca with a team of medical doctors. We were actually doing some "sightseeing" after a full day in a medical clinic and had just finished a hike through Cumbe Mayo when we came out by this house and I saw this lady walking by. She is on her way to tend to her one cow that was on a nearby hillside. I like the contrast of her bright and colorful dress next to the dullness of the home. It is a reminded me that as women, we always like to look our best . . . no matter where we are, we are really the same kind of different.

Alleen Mclain. "I serve in Trujillo, Peru working with Peru Mission (see www.perumission.org)."

What's NEW this Week at WOTH:

*Robin Jones Gunn, author of the Sisterchicks books, is in the house! Drop by the WOTH Writer's Blog and read her post today (8/3) . She'll be with us for two weeks and would love to meet you ~ really!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Psalm 139:17

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 07/26/10

This picture was taken in Poipet, Cambodia (on the border of Thailand) when a teammate and I went out to chat with people and take some photos late one afternoon in a slum area of the city. Lots of children came around, as they often do, and loved our cameras and the fact that we were able to communicate with them.

I had never met this little girl before, but her quiet and sweet nature made for a photo that captured her personality perfectly. Her little red bracelet (ties with Buddhism) reminds me of how we have a Father who knows us intimately-- when we are young and old-- and when we have not yet even heard His name! Thank you, Jesus.

photographer: Gretchen Zens

What's NEW this week @ WOTH:

Enter the "Memoir-writing Challenge" @ the WOTH Writer's Blog : win a $15 iTunes card and get published in the WOTH onlineMagazine.

Enter the "10,000 Charms Contest" just by signing up ONE friend who is not receiving the free, encouraging, and award-winning onlineMagazine. Go here for details and get entered to win a Brighton Charm Bracelet and/or a KINDLE DX!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Enter the 10,000 Charms Contest!

With every 1,000 new Charms (subscribers) added, we'll give away a Brighton Bracelet: prize includes bracelet with one Charm(s) = $50.00 value

The Grand Prize will be a drawing of all contestants on 10-10-10 for a Kindle DX!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hospitality for Introverts

A continuation of Carol B. Ghattas article: "Accessing God Through Hospitality," July/August '10 onlineMagazine.

I am an introvert who lives with an extrovert. People are part of our life, and I have had to adjust or die! Each country we lived in had its uniqueness:
1. We lived in an apartment on the 4th floor. Sometimes we just did not answer the door! Use that peep hole; it's there for a reason.
2. We had a house that was a typical American ranch layout with lots of windows. If a person didn't find you at the front door, they would walk around the house until they saw you through a window--even the bedroom ones! We could never hide.
3. In another country we had more privacy, but people felt more at home with us there and came over a lot, so our place was very busy.
4. In our last country of service, life was somewhat slower and visitors usually came with an invitation or warning. I cooked the least in this country.
5. In the USA, even I am longing for visitors!!

So, how did I adjust in this people-friendly environment? God has taught me a lot about stepping out of my comfort zone while at the same time offering opportunities of quietness and renewal. Perhaps He will use some of the following to help those of you like myself to see your potential even in hospitality.

1. I allowed my husband to visit alone with male only visitors. This gave me time alone too. Of course, this was after I served coffee and cake. As a woman, I was not expected to stay in the room.
2. I gave myself the opportunity to go in and out of the room during a visit. Many times this was to check on the children or food, but it allowed me a breather from conversation and people.
3. I stopped worrying about time.
4. I allowed myself to have a ministry of interruptions and to look for God in them.
5. I did not feel obligated to have someone come in, if I did not have to. There are some people that came too often and for no intended purpose. Many times I just talked to them at the gate or door and did not offer to let them in.
6. I gradually extended my limits--it comes with time an practice.
7. I made time for down time. Make sure your extrovert husband understands this need. This hit especially hard after children.

If you are a single introvert, it is important to find an extroverted ministry partner to help you get out of your comfort zone. When I served as a single on the mission field, one of the ways I did hospitality best was to have planned events. This works well but does not always allow you to practice hospitality with the stranger. Having an extroverted roommate will open up your world and allow you to connect with the non-scheduled guest. Be prepared for challenges, however, and then refer to the above list for helps!

God has chosen people to share with people the Good News of Jesus Christ. While I would prefer handing someone a book, I need to stretch my wings and allow the stranger into my life for the sake of the Gospel. God can use you, Introvert! Take heart!

What's NEW this week @ WOTH:

July/August '10 issue is out! Submit a favorite recipe and be entered to win a cookbook that works in most global kitchens, O Taste & See Some More!, by Debbie Peck. Details are in the sidebar of Globally Good Recipes.

*10,000 CHARMS Contest
: WIN a KINDLE DX! WIN a Brighton Charm Bracelet! Let's add 10,000 more readers/subscribers to receive the free WOTH onlineMagazine and get you entered into our fab contest in the process. It's easy. Click for contest details!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To Cook or Not to Cook! That is the Question.

A continuation of Carol B. Ghattas article: "Accessing God Through Hospitality," July/August '10 onlineMagazine.

When we got married, I joked about how my cooking ministry began. I can cook, but have always relied on recipes to guide me, and I would much rather be sitting behind a computer writing. So, there has always been a kind of struggle in me about hosting. Thankfully, I have a husband who does not put much importance in food. Together we have developed some guidelines about how we will host others.

I have had every scenario happen in my life overseas in relation to cooking:

1. I cooked a big meal -- the guests didn't eat! They had eaten before they came.

2. I cooked a big buffet meal for seminary grads -- they walked around the table evaluating whether or not to eat. They heard American food was terrible. Finally, after one was tempted by how the others liked the food, he tried it. He ended up sitting at the table and ate three plates full.

3. I've cooked a meal and the guest could not swallow it! It didn't matter what I cooked; she couldn't eat it!

4. I've provided any kind of food and they will eat it!

5. Without cooking, they come and open the frig themselves.

When it comes to food, these are my guidelines:

1. Occasionally I have to fix a meal to entertain an important guest (i.e. the landlord). These are purely social occasions, and we don't put much value in them. Keep them to a minimum.

2. If our purpose is to share the gospel or have some real quality time with someone, we serve only coffee cake/cookies. A big meal can get in the way and limit the time we have to talk. We also use this in the reverse. If we want to go to visit someone, we make sure they do not fix a meal, but only have cake and coffee. (It doesn't always work, but we try).

3. When the believers were meeting in our home, I did not cook for them unless it was necessary. We did not want them to get into the habit of someone cooking for them. We served only cookies and coffee. We also did not want them to think they had to cook if they hosted church in their home.

4. We take time to share with people that food is not the important thing in the visit, but the conversation and time together. This helps to put them at ease about our custom.

5. If I know that people are very picky about food (like the Lebanese), then I never cook for them. We take them to a restaurant or order food. Why kill yourself, if they are not going to be happy?

Food can bring people together, but it can also distract them from quality conversation (remember Martha). As you adjust to your host culture, work on developing a "third" way to blend your ways and theirs to make Jesus evident in your culinary offerings.

[next week's Hospitality topic: Hospitality for Introverts.]

Author bio: Carol Ghattas has served with her husband, Raouf, for 20 years in ministry to Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa. They have just recently returned to the USA, where they will continue to train others in how to share with Muslims both here and abroad. They have co-authored a book entitled, A Christian Guide to the Qur'an: Building Bridges in Muslim Evangelism (Kregel, 2009). Carol has also authored three novels under the pen name of Um Daoud. Two Sides of a Coin: An Egyptian Story has just been released by Xulon Press, and gives an inside look at the complicated society of Egypt. She has been guest host for the WOTH Writer’s Blog (Jan.19-Feb.16).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red Ochre

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 06/28/10

My daughter had made friends with a young Maasai lady who was blind. We were invited to her village for a meal. It was a fun day, but also very humbling as they gave us one of their precious goats. They had a thank- you gathering for us, because we sponsor Margaret, the blind girl, in school. They usually put the red ochre on for special occasions like weddings, but this day everyone had it one for US! Sooo humbling!

photographer: Vera Steury, Kenya. "My husband and I have been in Kenya now for 24 years. We work with the Maasai tribe in a remote area of Kenya. We do community-based health care (immunizations, HIV/AIDS counseling, clean water projects). I teach Sunday School, homeschool my own kids, and run a small guest house. My husband was born in Kenya as a missionary kid. All three of our children were also."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hidden Flower

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 6/20/10

I was out walking one morning enjoying the cool air after a brief rain storm. I came around the corner and ran into a group of young girls just returning from washing their clothes in the nearby marsh water. Many of them were excited to see me and jump around and they all wanted their picture taken.

But this young girl shied back. She smiled timidly and when I began to talk with her, her eyes shone with joy. She was the hidden flower amongst all the other children who were anxious for attention. Eventually they went their way and I went mine, but her face is still in my mind, and thankfully my camera!

photographer: Chantelle McIver, Niamey, Niger

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On the Prowl

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 6/14/10

We were in Maasai Mara Game Park which is near where we live. This lioness was very close, as she was stalking a herd of buffalo just on the other side of our vehicle. So she was about 15 to 20 feet from our vehicle when I took the shot. We watched her come through the tall grass. The next shot on my camera is of her passing just behind our vehicle. It was taken by a Canon Powershot S5 IS. (focal length 72mm). I remembered it striking me as just menacing. Thankfully, I was not out of the vehicle.
On this trip, my daughter's almost-fiance was with us. He had traveled to Kenya from the U.S. to ask us if he could marry our daughter. He was on top of the Landrover...it has an open hatch and when the lioness came so close, my daughter was telling him that she strongly suggested him getting back inside! (He did ask her to marry him on that trip.)

Photographer: Vera Steury. "My husband and I have been in Kenya now for 24 years. We work with the Maasai tribe in a remote area of Kenya. We do community-based health care (immunizations, HIV/AIDS counseling, clean water projects). I teach Sunday school, and my own kids and run a small guest house. My husband was born in Kenya as a missionary kid; all three of our children were also. "

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

For the Hungry: Body, Mind & Soul

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 6/7/10

We run a Grain Aid program in Niger, the poorest country in the world where there is also currently a famine. A woman came to pick up her husband's ration of oil, milk and millet and she was taking a little bit out of the grain to see its quality. I was struck by the beauty of her painted hands with the grain in the middle!

photographer: Chantelle McIver, Niamey, Niger, www.chroniclesofourjourney.blogspot.com.

What's NEW this week @ WOTH:

*Circle of Encouragement: Encouraging You to Encourage Others
We are celebrating 5 Years of the onlineMagazine with a HIGH FIVE: We have 5 gifts waiting for you!

And if you'd like, we have an opportunity for you to keep the ministry strong with this annual campaign of paying it forward...

*Weekly Word:
Just started a new study on June 2 : James/Jude.

*Book Club Blog:
Just started a new book this week: Gilead.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 6/01/10

This is a small part of how God is healing the sick and how the gospel is being told in a RAC.

As a nurse, I go up to small mountain villages giving disabled children and adults physical therapy. I teach them and their families to do what they can rather than what they can’t do, to help with their daily activities. Together, we find tools and equipment in their local area. My daily thoughts go something like this:

How can I best help this mother and her child who has Cerebral Palsy? I could give him a wheelchair, but there is no room to put it on the side of a mountain. If we make a ramp for it, where would we get the cement? Can the house be remodeled for wheelchair access? Maybe not, I am told that if we take out the large beam in the doorway, the whole house would fall down. The child is getting heavier as he gets older, the mother is cheerfully willing to carry him on her back, but agrees that he needs something.

I pray for new ideas, and try to involve the family in any decision-making. At times, we have brought in used baby car seats from Canada, and have made some specialized seats from local bamboo. I show the parents and the caregiver who I am training, how to give the new exercises, draw pictures for them to follow, and have them show me back that they understand them. This is often done in three languages with two interpreters. They are so happy to have the help. We sit on low stools and have a prayer of thanks to the Lord. They know He loves them and are so grateful.

They usually want to prepare a meal for us before we go back down the mountain. But we don’t want to take their chicken, and say we have to go. Instead, they fill our pockets to overflowing with dried sunflower seeds and we keep saying “enough”! I think of that song “A Pocketful of Miracles,” knowing we have touched many lives today with the Love of God. We get back down the windy mountain trail, tired, our knees wobbling, so thankful to Him for this wonderful opportunity!

photographer: Lynn, RAC

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Marco? : Polo!

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 5/24/10

This shot was taken on the Marco Polo Bridge outside of Beijing, China. The bridge is famous because Marco Polo mentions it in his 12th century diary. Hundreds of carved stone lions from different Chinese dynasties line both sides of the bridge. I saw this precious little girl standing behind the rope barrier walking along the bridge. As I snapped the photo, I thought, "What a contrast between ancient and modern China!"

photographer: Nancy Todd. "My husband, Terry, and I are staff members of Barnabas International, and we travel in Asia, Central Asia, and Africa where we encourage global servants. Photography is a passionate hobby of mine, and my husband is a writer."

What's NEW this week @ WOTH:

*Picture Praise:
Start receiving Picture Praise, your weekly dose of encouragment, every Monday via email. It's Free! Click on this link and get signed up! We need your global photos too! Submit an attachment of your gorgeous 300 dpi photo and enclose your inspirational verse separately in your email. If chosen, we'll contact you for your "STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO"!

*HOPE of the Harvest:
Have you watched the NEW! HOPE of the Harvest video (sidebar)?
It is a discipleship program disguised as Microenterprise. It's a great way to enter into the lives of the women you serve. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What's Brewing: The Coffeebean

Editor's Note: this is not the Picture Praise photo. But there is a "STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO."

For those of you who have been coming to this blog since Coffeegirl was offering her fresh brew, you know that she "retired" because she was going to have a baby.

Guess who came for a visit? Little Miss Coffeebean and her mommy.

For me, it was a happy moment worthy of my own "Picture Praise." (That's me with Coffeebean.) It was our first time to meet. She looked fabulous in her soft coffee-brown shirt with pink pants, pink hairband, and little pink shoes that kept falling off. So deliciously cute.

Oh, her mom sends greetings to you all. It was so good to see you, Coffeegirl, and drink in your sweet little girl! --Cindy, WOTH Editor

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Art Brings Life!

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 5/10/10

I teach art in the prisons in Thailand and take a lot of photos so that I have source material. A young man from a prison in Thailand painted a painting of this boat picture. The painting is a little stormier than the photo, but then his life has been stormier too. When he first came into my class he showed no emotion on his face at all. Now, after one of the other students befriended him and led him to Christ he has a sweet, shy smile as the love of God shines through.You never can tell where the Spirit is working!

photographer: Charlotte Blanford. "My husband and I have worked with the Christian Prison Ministry here in Thailand for almost 6 years now. We are long term self-supporting volunteers.I teach Art in prison, both men's and women's. It all started because of a mural I painted on the wall at language school, and a prison warden happened to see it...."

What's NEW this week @WOTH:

*WOTH Book Club Blog: The next book selection, Gilead, and its lively discussion starts on Monday, June 7! Be a part of this fun and stimulating conversation!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

He Leads Me Beside...

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 05/03/10

I took this photo because it was so sweet; but looking at it, God reminds me that He gently leads us in new paths. Never in my wildest dreams did this stay-at-home soccer mom (now grandmother) ever possibly think I would end up teaching art in prisons in Thailand--my degree is in Nursing! I didn't come here with this in mind, not really trained in this; but I have seen God move in mighty ways! Drug lords and gang leaders have changed lives, changed behavior and softened hearts as Art has opened up the door to receiving new life in Jesus.

photographer: Charlotte Blanford. "My husband and I have worked with the Christian Prison Ministry here in Thailand for almost 6 years now. We are long-term, self-supporting volunteers. I teach Art in prison, both men's and women's. It all started because of a mural I painted on the wall at language school and a prison warden happened to see it...."

What's NEW this week @ WOTH:

*onlineMagazine: the NEW May/June '10 issue goes out TODAY! It's a must-read if you are struggling with contentment, guilt, feeling deprived, muddy shoes, and writing your monthly newsletter. Plus, there are great recipes, current book/music/movie listings.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meet Your New Sister

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 4/26/10

This picture was taken earlier this year in India. I was there for about a month and one of those weeks we held tent meetings. The first night of the meeting competed with a Hindu holiday celebrating Lord Shiva and the change of the seasons. It broke my heart to see the mass of people on the riverbank, wading into the cold, polluted water believing that they could wash their sins away. Our meeting was set up within 5, maybe 10, miles from there proclaiming the Truth that only Jesus can cleanse us of sin. Needless to say our meeting was not well attended that night. This picture was taken the third day of the meetings. Praise the Lord, that day we had a crowd of about 800 with 65 receiving Christ as their Savior. This precious woman is now a sister in Christ! A true miracle in a place of such spiritual darkness. Gory be to God, Amen.

photographer: Pam Campbell, India

What's NEW @ WOTH:
*onlineMagazine: Do stateside people think you lead a 'romantic' cross-cultural life? Well, shoo away the cockroaches, click through on the link and commiserate with your in-country colleague --"Dinner at Eight: Serving Cross-cultural Fare with a Side of Reality."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mothers : Daughters

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 4/19/10

One can readily imagine the attentive face of this little girl as she listens to the instructions of her mother. As I walked by and saw this mother and daughter outside their home in a village in Veracruz, Mexico, I couldn't help but get more than a little choked up. I have experienced seeing this same upturned look from each of my 5 children when they were small and I was a young mother instructing them. The little girls just love to imitate...even as young as 2 years-old, they are patting out tortillas, just like mommy!

photographer: Denise Aulie, working amongst the indigenous Nahuatl in Mexico. "Sometimes I make cards of [my] photos with verses on them. I have liked that for sending to people who pray for us, and sometimes I have even received a request for my photos which has surprised me to say the least. I guess we all have a 'creative' side - - mine seems to be photography and I am grateful to the Lord for any opportunity to honor Him this way. I give all my photos away to anyone I take a picture of and most to people who will never have the opportunity to own a camera let alone the opportunity to develop their own pictures. What a privilege to be able to even do this. Photography has opened, literally opened, doors of friendship and ministry for me."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Honoring "The Ancients"

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 4/12/10

In the high mountains of Veracruz, Mexico, the elderly are valued as sources of care, of warmth and of wisdom. When I went into the cooking hut, this older woman was just reaching to get a cold tamale as the fire had long since gone out. She sat down and stared, almost as if it just took too much energy to unwrap it -- that is when I took this picture. I have a special place in my heart for the elderly, knowing that very soon they will encounter eternity and the Lord. Some of my best friendships and memories have been with "the ancients" as they are called -- dear people who despite all their beautiful wrinkles, continue to be absolutely young in spirit and in heart.

photographer: Denise Aulie, working amongst the indigenous Nahuatl in Mexico. "Sometimes I make cards of [my] photos with verses on them. I have liked that for sending to people who pray for us, and sometimes I have even received a request for my photos which has surprised me to say the least. I guess we all have a 'creative' side - - mine seems to be photography and I am grateful to the Lord for any opportunity to honor Him this way. I give all my photos away to anyone I take a picture of and most to people who will never have the opportunity to own a camera let alone the opportunity to develop their own pictures. What a privilege to be able to even do this. Photography has opened, literally opened, doors of friendship and ministry for me."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Who Can Stand, Read or Write? YOU.

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 4/5/10

My husband took this one. (Of course. :-) After not having seen the sun much for a while, we went out to see the sun set. That's me on the ice with our two older children. The frozen body of water is what everyone around here calls "the sea," although it's really not a sea. It's a huge reservoir where the Dnepr River has been dammed up. This "sea" is the biggest physical blessing of life here for me! I love how beautiful it is, all the different colors I see in and around it, and swimming there during the incredibly hot summers. Before Ukraine, we lived in Russia, and that's where our hearts still are. When I start wanting to complain about having to be here, I thank God for "my sea."

Photo submitted by: Phyllis Hunsucker, Ukraine

What's NEW this week @ WOTH:

* WOTH Book Club Blog has just launched with Cries of the Heart, by Ravi Zacharias! Venture to the blog and join in! Linda Swanson, our moderator, has chosen the next book for the summer months too.

*Read a funny, snarky piece on Newsletters: The Top 10 Pet Peeves. Are you guilty of committing any? Find out how NOT to write a boring newsletter @ WOTH Writer's Blog.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Creating Community for YOU!

What's NEW @ WOTH:

*Book Club BLOG:
  • Starts next Monday, April 5!
  • Get the book: Cries of the Heart, by Ravi Zacharias (discounted @ the blogspot).
  • Join us with our expert moderator, Linda Swanson.

Go to the WOTH Book Club blog for all the details!

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 3/29/10

I took the picture at the dedication of a new church building in the interior of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Watching these women do a joyful traditional dance, I thought of the sacrifices of the missionaries who came sixties year before, bringing the gospel to this unreached people, and how I was able to witness the fruit of their labor. The Dayak community of believers, now fully self-supported, is continuing the work of the pioneer missionaries started.

Photographer: Natalie Holsten. My husband and I are with Mission Aviation Fellowship and have been in Indonesia since 2001.


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