“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Friday, March 17, 2017

The fragrance of my presence...

The Ethiopia/Uganda Chronicles
Chapter Seven - The Fragrance

Guest House, Gojo Ethiopia
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014


Written on Wednesday 2/12/2014
In Gojo, Ethiopia

Yesterday, I would sit with the Ethiopian widows for hours.  Just knitting.  No interpreter.  Just me and them.  Smiling.  Nodding.  Me occasionally giving a thumbs up which always made me feel silly, but I didn't know how else to show my pleasure of their progress.

No words.
Just me
and them
and the sound
of knitting needles.

A gift of my presence.  An American stay-at-home mom who flew half way around the world to sit with them.  To teach them to knit.  And to knit with them.  The gift of my presence.

But I wanted more.  I wanted to be able to use my words.  Because I am an encourager.  I thought words would be a gift.  But there would be no words.  Teaching knitting through wordless example.

No words - and so I was missing out.  I wanted... me... for me... just some words.

But for them I was a fragrance of Christ.


For we are a fragrance
of Christ to God
among those who are 
being saved and
among those who are 
perishing.

2 Corinthians 2:15

It was written on a 3x5 note card with a heart sticker that my precious 88-year old (now 91-year old) Jean B. had written and asked me to take with me on my trip to Africa.  And when I looked at it on Monday morning before it all began -- I knew it was a verse I would hold on to and cherish.  And so I did.

And this morning as I pondered an encouragement from my pastor, Ray Noah, that it was a gift that I could sit and work on the process of knitting all day.  That he himself could not possibly sit still and do the process all day.  "Just go buy a hat and scarf, why don't you?" he said.  And I finally realized that this Type B personality - which in the midst of many Type A personalities didn't seem to show much value at least to me - all of the sudden made complete sense.

There were no words.
But there was a fragrance.
A fragrance of my presence
"among those who are
being saved and among 
those who are perishing"
that would last longer
than the words I thought
I could offer.

No words.
Just me
and them
and the sound
of knitting needles.





For more of my thoughts on Ethiopia/Uganda visit here.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

This Jar is Cracked

Clay Oil Lamps similar to those used over 2,000 years ago 
photography by Anthony Kaetzel

We now have this light
shining in our hearts,

but we ourselves are like
fragile clay jars
containing this great treasure
.

This makes it clear that
our great power is from God,
not from ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

I marvel at the thought that God's light shines within me. And also through me... considering all the chips and cracks in this particular jar of clay. How easy it is to see God's great power when the gaps and crevices allow the light to shine through.


And so I was caught off guard when I came across this verse in Jeremiah:


"This is what the Lord Almighty,
the God of Israel, says:
Take these documents,
both the sealed and unsealed
copies of the deed of purchase,
and put them in a
clay jar

so they will last a long time."
Jeremiah 32:14 NIV

The beauty of the Old Testament. The beauty of scripture interpreting scripture.

I had only ever considered Paul's inference towards the fragility of a clay jar.  Not the durability of a clay jar.


photography by Anthony Kaetzel

Anthony took this picture when we were in Israel in 2008. These jars are similar in nature to the jars that housed the Dead Sea Scrolls when they were found in 1947. Jars of clay that protected ancient manuscripts for almost 2,000 years.

Although fragile in nature. 
They were used for preservation. 
Preservation of the word of God. 
Worthy of holding a treasure.

And that is me. 
And that is you.
"And what a awesome thought—
God has always put his eternal treasure
in fragile jars of clay,
and though the jars eventually break,
the treasure doesn’t,
but somehow makes the jars themselves eternal."
- Pastor Ray Noah