Tuesday, 26 August 2008

“The Lord is my Shepherd...

...I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters.”

The words of Psalm 23 have been playing through my mind a lot of late, since the death of my nan. I’m not sure why this Psalm is so often sung at funerals, but whatever the reason, it is full of wonderful truths. And as I took a trip out on Saturday to a beautiful riverside spot, those first few verses played over and over in my mind like a record that’s got stuck (that makes me sound old – who listens to records these days?!). Not that I was really beside still waters…

We (the Wisbeys, Karin, three other colleagues and I) headed out into the middle of nowhere, along a bumpy dirt road, surrounded by dry grass and leafless trees until suddenly, over two hours later, you’re there… ahead of you in the near distance is a beautiful waterfall, and coming from it a lovely river, winding it’s way round into places just perfect for swimming (except for its temperature which was positively chilly).

We also enjoyed walking to another waterfall, snoozing on great slabs of rock heated by the sun, reading good books (I’m into John Grisham’s ‘The Testament’ at the moment) and having good food. And we never saw another soul the whole time we were there. Perfect!

Such days are wonderful escapes from the usual run of things. Work has been rather dry for me lately, I need some of those refreshing waters to flow through my attitudes, my days at the office and my relationship with God, to bring them new life and purpose and to make them fruitful.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A crazy July

July was a very full month. There was our annual conference – a wonderful time on the coast of Kenya, with some great times of Bible teaching and singing, together with good friends, good food and moonlit strolls on the beach with the sound of the surf pounding in your ears. Then it was back to Mbeya, where we took in a couple of friends to stay for a week until their new house was ready. I can’t begin to tell you the nightmare it is trying to get good housing here and getting it all in shape for habitation – handymen are the same all over the world it seems, not turning up when the say they will, and here the quality of work is not quite what you’d hope for either. Who ever heard of having things straight? If a window frame can be crooked, let’s do it!!
Anyhow (put that in just for you, Matt!), Matt & Liz Wisbey are great friends, so I loved having them to stay, and though they’re now ensconced in their new home they still aren’t far away – just a couple of minutes up the road. (If you want to meet them too, check out their blog, which includes a cool link to a Google Earth map of where we live and our trip to work each day: www.wisbeys.blogspot.com/).

Out for a picnic with the Wisbeys

So, conference, friends and, of course, work. Most of my working life is spent in the office, but that doesn’t make very exciting writing. However, last week I headed out to one of the language areas that we work in, together with some colleagues, to hold a seminar. God really helped me out in making the seminar go really well, to His glory. So here I am holding forth in Swahili (spot the glasses).

And yes, it is as cold as it looks! But the views round about were beautiful.
The two hour journey there is not quite so pleasant, the roads are thick with dust as it’s the dry season, dust that gets in every crook and cranny of your car and body. When we arrived, they didn’t quite follow the Biblical tradition of washing our feet, but they did heat up water for us to wash our hands and faces and refresh ourselves after the dirty journey!

The new look KJ

Yes, I have glasses! After a month or more of headaches just on one side of the head, I eventually took the wise advice of friends and got my eyes tested and finally landed up at this opticians shop to get fitted out with my new specs for a mere £14 – and they’re ones that react to sunlight!