Monday, April 8, 2013

Great Glory


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 04/08/13


We were on a flight from Malawi on December 27th, 2012, where we’d just enjoyed two weeks of a total family reunion with our kids, to Nairobi.  We were just about to land at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport when the pilot pulled up and headed toward Ngong Hills.  The announcement came over the PA system, “We will not be able to land just yet: the plane ahead of ours had a burst tire upon landing and they do not have any equipment big enough to tow that plane off the runway where it is sitting.  So we’ll have to circle for awhile.”

That’s what we did! But it was a fabulous delay, actually, because there were rain clouds and storms and pockets of sunshine and shadows on the Rift Valley below us.  We could clearly see the rising elevations where the land had been lifted during some prehistoric cataclysm when the Rift was formed.  We could all see how green and lush the back side of the Ngong Hills are just now, due to lots of rainfall.  These hills are famous, not only for hiking and breathtaking vistas and Kenyan professional runners who jog along the crest for exercise, but also as the site where Denis Finch-Hatton was buried as told in the movie “Out of Africa”.  Though there are circular Maasai bomas (homesteads) scattered around, one may also see giraffes grazing on these hills if you look early in the mornings.  They are such a favorite sight for all who love Africa. 

The sight of God showering down rain and sunshine, in equal portions, just reminded me so much of how carefully God portions out our joys AND trials, “traced upon our dial by the Sun of love; we may trust Him fully, all for us to do—those who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.” (Like a River Glorious, by Frances Ridley Havergal)

And yes, after almost running out of fuel and making a diversion to land at Mombasa, we did eventually get to our destination in Nairobi, just about 4 hours late. We enjoyed a 2 week visit with old friends and our church family, Nairobi Baptist, for 2 more weeks.

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

Photographer:  Susan Bergman De Vries, Cyprus. “My name is Susan Bergman De Vries.  I left the United States in 1968 on my first summer missions trip, left again as a young wife in 1972, and have since then lived in Ghana, Costa Rica, Mindanao (Philippines), Kenya, and now Cyprus in the E.U.  We have 3 daughters, born on 3 different continents, and now all 3 and their husbands are working in 3 different missions, in Mozambique and Brazil. All 10 of my grandchildren speak Portuguese (or will when they learn to talk) which my husband and I do not.  Bummer, huh?” 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Connection

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 04/01/13

One thing I love about Mexico is the community of believers and the oneness I see in the body of Christ.  They truly know how to “be of one heart and mind” and serve one another in sincerity, all stemming from their love for God.  I saw this displayed in our vacation Bible school as well.  The jovenes (young people) pretty much make up the people in my church.  Because of this, the jovenes are the ones teaching the Bible studies, leading worship, and are the hardest workers when it comes to events.  A team of about 10 jovenes planned and ran the entire VBS, which included up to 40 kids on some days.  It was hard work, but I think we all felt blessed to have served God’s smallest disciples.

My role within VBS was first to share a daily devotional and lead a prayer time for the teachers each morning before the kids arrived.  Secondly, I worked with one particular girl who has autism and is partially deaf.  This little girl stole my heart over the week I spent with her.  Initially, Linda was often frustrated and was fearful in the new environment she was in.  At times, she would hit me and try to run and knock things over.  I prayed for patience and struggled to find things she would be able to, or even enjoy doing.  By the end of the week, Linda started to enjoy riding the toy car, would help me sweep, and could even sit in a class for a few minutes.  She even began motioning to me when she wanted me to pick her up and hug her, and gave me great smiles!  It seemed that we had managed to form a genuine connection, and God gave me the gift of seeing these milestones come to pass in her.  When VBS ended, I found myself missing Linda greatly.  Even though she wasn’t able to memorize a verse or understand the Bible stories as the other kids did, I know she experienced God’s love in her own way through the love and patience of the children and teachers.

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

Photographer:  Jackie Obert, Mexico.  Jackie was born in El Paso, Texas but spent most of her childhood through college years in Boise, Idaho with her parents and brother. In 2007, Jackie took a year off from college and completed a year-long ministry/discipleship program through her church. This experience pushed Jackie to examine God’s call on her life and developed a heart of service in her. Throughout this time, she realized she was called to Social Work and missions and began pursuing a social work degree at Boise State University. She completed her BSW in 2011. Jackie also worked with her church serving in the youth ministry and continues to love working with teens.



After graduating with a Master’s degree in social work at Baylor University in May of 2012, Jackie spent her summer in Mexico City with the Avance Immersion Program. Her time in Mexico City was incredibly impacting as she lived with a host family, learned the language, received cultural and ministry training, and served alongside a local Mexican church. The transforming growth she experienced and the fruitful relationships she developed gave her a stronger passion for missions and the Mexican people. This led her to make the decision to return to Mexico for a year’s time to continue serving under Latin America Mission's Avance Year Out Program. She is currently working with children and teens in the area of social work and ministry and is excited to be a vessel for the Lord in Mexico. Jackie hopes to touch people’s lives with the love of Christ and see God bring healing and hope to those in need.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Strong Tower


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 03/25/13

During holidays, we were able to visit many cities along the Rhine and in the Black Forest. Most of these places have castles or palaces and towers. They beautify the area but I felt they represented the vast majority of those in Western Europe who have no time for the Lord. The towers and castle ruins remain, but the zeal for the Lord has fallen along the wayside. This particular picture was taken in Bad S├Ąckingen, Germany

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

Photographer:  Betsy Salt, Germany. “Until this summer, I taught at Black Forest Academy in southwestern German. I taught journalism and just retired.”

Monday, March 18, 2013

Open My Eyes


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 03/18/13

I was blessed to be a part of the church service at Children of Hope Orphanage outside of Leogane, Haiti. I sat beside Esther, a playful little girl with such a tender heart. She had her Bible open and was intently following along with the pastor's teaching. It is my prayer that these children will hide the Word of God in their hearts and use it as a lamp for their feet to guide and encourage them along life's journey.

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Hannah Sterling, Haiti.  “Hannah Sterling is currently serving with Children's Nutrition Program in Haiti.  Read more about her life and ministry at www.hannahsterling.blogspot.com.
 


Monday, March 11, 2013

Breath of God


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 03/11/13

This little girl (now a young lady of 19) entered our lives like all children do. Through prayer, anticipation and love she was pushed into this world. She turned out to be from another Kingdom. Someone once called her, ‘The Breath of God.”

Feeding herself, dressing, taking a bath, going to the toilet proved to be almost impossible tasks for her. But what comes naturally to this gentle spirit is loving people unconditionally.  She would enter anyone’s private space and start up a conversation in her own foreign language. Strangely, people allow it. She is greeted in shops, on the streets, in the forest, in the ladies toilet at the hospital, on the bus. And so we end up having interesting conversations.  

Journeying together, at a slow pace is more important than reaching the destination. Her enthusiasm and joy are contagious. She would giggle at the dog, at paint spilling when the pot is knocked over or someone swatting flies. 

She will never grow up to be a teacher or a doctor or a professor. Her gift is to be alive, demonstrating the art of exuberant living in the moment. Tomorrow does not exist. Someone will take care. 

She is her ministry.

We assume to know the answers to life but she shames us at the simplicity of the important. Love. Life. Our  neighbour. 

The missionary: a breath of God.

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Amanda du Plessis, Belgium.  “Eleven years ago we came to Belgium with a message. But Belgium presented us with a message which we were not ready to receive. To unlearn our Africaness, took time. The Father used us in our brokenness. We now share encouragement and hope as we receive on our personal journey.  Our time is divided between our local church and the mission organisation we work with.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Child’s Praise


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 03/04/13

This little boy is the son of some beloved friends of ours in the Wanca Quechua speaking area of Peru. His parents helped us learn their language and way of life and were our friends when many others were not sure what to do with us. I am thrilled to see him growing up speaking Wanca Quechua when traditionally children are discouraged from speaking it once they begin school. Here he is singing from the Quechua song-book during worship time at a women’s workshop. The participants at this workshop were learning from some newly produced Bible study materials designed specifically for women. They were learning how to use these materials in order to teach other women the Word of God in their own language!  

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Maria Ayala, Peru. Maria and her husband work with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Peru.  They first worked as Literacy Specialists among the Wanca Quechua speakers, and now work in Leader Development to help build up the Bible Translation Movement in Latin America.  They have 3 children on earth.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quench My Thirst


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 02/25/13

There are essentially two seasons in Nicaragua (Central America) -- Dry Season and Rainy Season.  The rain comes almost as if on cue during the month of May.  The last month before the rains come is the hottest month out of the entire year.  Everything is begging from within its core for rain.  Once the rain starts, it almost seems that overnight the landscape is transformed from dry, dusty and brown to glistening, green and lush!   

I believe that there are times when we feel dry, dusty and thirsting for nourishment.  Like the rain that comes to quench the dry earth, God provides thirst quenching nourishment through His Word.   Thankfully, no matter what day, month or season it is...God's Word is always available to be poured into our thirsty souls.

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Bethany Bracht, Nicaragua.  Bethany is a wife, mother and friend living as disciple of Christ in Managua, Nicaragua where she and her family seek to serve and obey God in whatever ways He asks.



Monday, February 18, 2013

Pray in Faith

STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 02/18/13
This photo was taken as we were leaving one of the Sundarban Islands off the Ganges River in India after a short term medical, evangelism, and children's mission trip. We were on motorized carts to get us back to our boat and the kids were running barefooted behind us on the rocky road yelling "Halleluiah."  Halleluiah, indeed!


We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Marsha Kemp, USA.  “As a retired teacher, I never dreamed God would call me to work for Him in India and fall in love with His kids there!”

Monday, February 11, 2013

In Its Time



STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 02/11/13

The life of a Hmong woman is full of toil and hardship, but in the midst, there is creativity and beauty. This is mostly shown in their brightly embroidered clothing. A person has to have new clothing for New Years and other special occasions, the mother has to embroider and sew two outfits for each family member each year. This lady was behind on her sewing, so she brought her embroidery project to church with her and worked on it through three hours of Sunday school and church. 

I watched in fascination as she deftly plied her needle, but when I took a closer look I was amazed to realize that she was working from the back side of the piece. She was so skilled and confident in her plan and her sewing ability that she didn’t need to see the front of the work. She just kept working from the back. 

It occurred to me that this parallels our lives. We are a work in progress and at times when our life doesn’t make sense, we want to see the big picture of what God is doing in and through us. But God is the master craftsman, working out his plans and purposes for us. From our perspective we only see the tangled threads of the backside, and it isn’t particularly pretty, but God sees things from an entirely different perspective. What may now seem an unattractive confusing mess, will be a work of beauty when I finally get to see the finished work from the other side. So I rest in the hands of God, the skilled, wise, all-knowing master craftsman who ‘makes all things beautiful in his time’.


We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Grace, creative access country.  “Called to be a missionary, released to marry, a trailing spouse who’s lived in 4 Asian countries, now retired in Asia and serving in member care.  Who would have thought it!  God’s ways are amazing. “

Monday, February 4, 2013

Generations


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 02/04/13

We have had ministry in Peru's Amazon for over 40 years.  Passing on values takes time, and is the process of spending time and speaking of God intentionally, sharing His Love and His Grace each day.  We love taking the grandchildren out to this lake, which was built by my husband with an earth dam, and stocked with fish.  It is one of many projects for the community in this area.


We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Janette Hocking, Pucallpa, Peru.  “We are Janette and John Hocking, missionaries with CMML (Christian Missions in Many Lands), Pucallpa, Peru.  We came as a couple in 1971, but my in laws were also missionaries in Pucallpa and my husband was born here.  Our daughter and her husband live here also, serving with Kids Alive International, since 2005.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Prepare the Way


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 01/28/13

I took this picture during a journey to South Gobi desert area last November. I went with Mongolian leaders to share the Gospel and plant the churches.  This highway was made just to transfer coals from Mongolia to China. But God has allowed use to use this highway in the dessert to spread the Good News. During outreach, God allowed us to plant three new churches. Praise The Lord!


We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Esther Yim, Mongolia. Esther has been a missionary to Mongolia with the Christian and Missionary Alliance since 2003

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pray in Faith



STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 01/21/13


Sherman Bible Church in Texas took three teams to one of the Sundarban Islands off the Ganges river in India:  Medical, Evangelism, and Children.  The Children's team told the kids about Jesus through a simple drama.  This picture was taken when we told the kids they could have the 'special gift' of Jesus from the one and only True God if they wanted to pray along with us.  

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Marsha Kemp, USA.  “As a retired teacher, I never dreamed God would call me to work for Him in India and fall in love with His kids there!”

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spirit of God



STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 01/14/13


My precious, “apostle” husband and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary when I took this picture at a small hotel in the South of Mauritius. More than rejoicing in so many years together as a married couple, our hearts were filled with gratitude for being in God’s service for that same amount of years. We remembered how His Spirit moved in our hearts, drew us to each other and also poured out in our hearts a passion for the islands. Today we are privileged to witness Him at work in and through us on this beautiful, yet needy little rock in the Indian Ocean. How humbling too when we sense the truth of the words of that old song – “All over the world His Spirit is moving...” as a reality right here in our midst. It may be in small ways, and feel so slow at times, but our God is great!!! 

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Cecile Sander, Indian Ocean Islands. “I was raised on a sheep farm where Jesus was the center of family life. I gave my life to God at age 5; called to be a cross cultural missionary at age 19. Trained as a Biblical Counselor – see self as “Barnabee” (female of Barnabas). Find great joy in discipling women and seeing them grow into their full God-given potential. Served with my Pastor/Missionary/Church- planter husband in Lesotho; Madagascar; different parts of SA and now in the Indian Ocean again. We’re currently serving in a little English Evangelical congregation with nations from all over the world. I’m using my gift of hospitality to love and serve whomever the Lord sends to my door. As an empty nester and mom of two young adults living in another country, I still have a passion to pray for them regularly and inspire others to intercede especially for loved ones. I am growing in my gift of teaching and writing as I get opportunities. My life motto is to know God and to make Him known. What an awesome privilege to be co-worker with Christ!!!”

Monday, January 7, 2013

Beauty for Ashes


STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO: Picture Praise, 01/07/13

We were on a bus trip and had pulled into a rest stop.  The food was iffy, the washrooms were worse!  So, we stood out in the drizzle beside a large pile of coal.   Then I spotted this butterfly which stayed there the entire time we were there.  Later I had time to reflect …

Coal …. If you touch it, some of it will attach itself to you and your hands or clothes will become dirty.  Despite its dirty nature, coal has value as fuel for cooking or heat. Despite its dark, dirty colour, there is a beauty in the shapes, the cracks and the shine.  The butterfly was not deterred by the dirty nature of coal … it chose to alight there for reasons known only to itself.  And the butterfly stayed, despite the wind that was buffeting it.   Somehow its tiny feet were able to cling to the surface of the coal.

Sometimes we look at a situation and all we see are the ashes, the dirt of the coal, the mess … and we shrink back.   But in God’s economy, everything has a purpose, even the things we view with despair, thinking there is no value.  In the midst of the brokenness, the grit and grime, God has his redemptive work in process, if we will but allow him to show us things through his perspective.   Sometimes, it is a matter of waiting for things to blossom in the fullness of his time, for the beauty to emerge.  Sometimes it is seeing things through His eyes, seeing the beauty that already exists.

Why did the butterfly choose to rest at this particular place?   It didn’t just land and then flit away on the wind, but it stayed, clinging to this piece of coal even when the winds might have carried it away.  There are times in our lives when we are in messy, uncomfortable places, and we can’t wait to get out of there.   Yet, God has us remain there.  Do we look for the beauty in the midst of the ashes, or do we merely close our eyes and endure it with frustration and impatience?  

This is a promise, a promise of redemption, renewal, new life, transformation, hope.  Can I believe God to bring beauty out of the ashes in my life at this time?

We'd love to see your corner of the world and the people who live there...so please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to: info@womenoftheharvest.com.

photographer: Grace, creative access country.  “Called to be a missionary, released to marry, a trailing spouse who’s lived in 4 Asian countries, now retired in Asia and serving in member care.  Who would have thought it!  God’s ways are amazing."

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