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 please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to:

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


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 please consider submitting your photo (jpeg, at least 600px x 400px) and verse (not on the photo) to:

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.


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