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Jewel in Cambodia Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beautiful Reminders on a Beautiful Day

Saturday morning I intentionally arrived early for a lunch date with a dear friend. I parked my car at the quaint tea room where we would be meeting, and I walked across the street to a small park and sat myself on a swing. I basked in the glory that was God revealing Himself in His Creation - the heavens and earth, the skies, and trees, and breeze. It was a beautiful day. It was SUCH a beautiful day!  I swung. I sang. I smiled. I took these pictures (from the swing) and found myself so so so grateful for so many things!

Marion General Hospital through the clearing of the trees
I am grateful for access to healthcare - something that is not available so many places outside of the United States.  It is not only easily accessible, but it is GOOD!  Also, I have wonderful medical insurance, making healthcare it more affordable.

The Mississinewa River
I am grateful for clean water.  I don't have to travel to where there is clean water.  I do not have to boil my water. I turn on my faucet, and there is clean water (hot or cold!) 

God's omnipresence. He is always with me.  Always. Always. Always. I am grateful for the peace, security, and that comes when I recognize that He is present with me through my sorrows and my gladness.

Psalm 19:1-6 - "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat."

As Spring approaches, the grass turns to green, flowers bud, and birds sing outside my window, I am reminded of God's promise, “Behold, I make all things new.” [Revelation 21:5]

Spring is coming, it always does.

I can see and feel the evidence of Spring approaching, and I am reminded that we have hope. For although the leaves wither and fall, we can have confidence that after Autumn and Winter pass, Spring will come, and with it, new life. God is faithful; He has always been and He always will be. Spring has never failed us; the leaves always return to life -- beautiful life.

Psalm 8:3,4 -  "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them."

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought

Love love love, 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Escaping the Stress

This week has been stressful at work.  My co-worker - who is truely my lifeline in this place - is looking at a potential move to New Jersey!  I honestly honestly honestly don't know if I can suRviVE this place without her!  I'm still so new and I would be absolutely LOST in a sea of puzzling tasks – drowning in unanswered questions – without her help.

So today during my lunch break, I escaped and made these:

Hand-made with love for a lovely friend
 These cards were made with only scraps of used paper and twine... so, recycled... and I'm pretty proud that I found a way to make the scraps so pretty!  I hope these cards bless my dear friends who have just returned from Uganda.

Love, love, love,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

and here I am, honest

I have some very dear friends on their way home from a missions trip in Uganda.  They will come home with incredible stories, testimonies of God's goodness and power, and changed hearts; and HERE I am.

Here I am.
Yearning to GO.
Yearning to SHARE.
Yearning to BE USED.
"...Understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here..." (Romans 13:11, 12). Christ is coming back and only 1.3% of Cambodia’s population knows Christ as Lord and Savior.

"You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, 'Here is your God!'"
Isaiah 40:9

the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:2,3; 10:1-3; 11:13,14:
"I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers... Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness... Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them."

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?..."
Romans 10:14,15

Trying to patiently WAIT for the door to open.
Looking for His PLAN for us here.
HOLDING FAST to His spoken Word in Jeremiah 29:4-7,
"This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 'Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.'"

I'm happy for my friends; proud of them, actually. I'm glad that all 12 ladies had the opportunity to go.  I'm excited to see them and to hear their stories and see their pictures. I'm anxious to hear how God used them and spoke to them, and what He's calling them to next.

Rachael at the orphanage where the team lived for a week

A few of the ladies on the team with Uthman, an orphaned, Ugandan boy that a family in our church is in the process of adopting; Uthman has not yet been blessed to meet his new family , but he knows each of them by name.

"Painting the Kwagala Prjoect’s salon today and through God’s provision blessing them with a business loan, aprons, capes, and supplies for their salon. Loved hearing from the director that because of God’s provision they will now be up at running at full force by the end of the week! All glory to God!" - Jade, women's team leader to Uganda

Joy in receiving [their own copy of] God's Written Word!

...but I'm anxious for my turn.  Lord HERE I am, use me.

Love, love, love,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What happens before Jeremiah 29:11....

This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon (Jeremiah 29:1...)

This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (29:4-7)

[vs 4: Note: If God caused them to be carried captives, they might be sure that he neither did them any wrong nor meant them any hurt.]

They cannot but weep sometimes when they remember Zion. But let not weeping hinder sowing; let them not sorrow as those that have no hope, no joy; for they have both.

Jeremiah counsels the Babylonian exiles to “build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.” In other words, Jeremiah is saying: “Folks, hunker down where you are right now; make the best of it because you’re going to be there for awhile.  Live as best you can and realize that God is with you there, even in exile in a foreign land.” The people had believed that God had given them the Promised Land. What were they to do now that they had lost it? Jeremiah says, “Keep on living, there’s much to live for right where you are.”

Dear friends and family in Cambodia,
"[We] thank our God every time we remember you. In all our prayers for all of you, We always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for usto feel this way about all of you, since we have you in our hearts and, whether we are in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with us. God can testify how we long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is our prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."
[Philippians 1:3-11]

Praying and waiting,
Jewel (and Pastor Titus)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."
 [Psalms 139:13]

"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world."
[John 16:21]

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him."
 [1 Samuel 1:27]

"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."
 [Numbers 6:24-26]

"From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another."
 [John 1:16]

"...when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."
[Proverbs 3:24]

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.."
[Psalm 127:3]

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!"
[Psalm 113:9]

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..."
 [Jeremiah 1:5]

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
[Mark 10:14]

"Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."
[Psalm 127:5]

"Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name."
 [Isaiah 49:1]

Praying and waiting,

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I eat fish because my husband is Cambodian

I've been trying to get more creative in the kitchen. I can't say that my husband doesn't enjoy boxed or frozen meals (in fact, Creamy Broccoli Tuna Helper has been one of his favorite meals in my kitchen,) but there's just something about browsing cookbooks, buying ingredients, and measuring and mixing that makes me feel like a better wife. Why on Earth is that??

So, about a week ago I tried this recipe:

Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce [Recipe HERE]

and it was delicious. So so so delicious!  It wasn't quick, but it was easy, and it may become a frequent meal cooked in my kitchen.  So last night, I tried the same recipe with frozen tilapia fillets.  Now this is interesting because I do not typically eat fish.  Only in the last few weeks have I been "brave" enough to try fish sticks and canned tuna. [Note: fish sticks are fine, tuna helper is good, tuna salad sandwich from Jimmy John's is NOT good.]

As I am cutting the fillets, I am gagging; and while I am breading the strips, I am asking myself, "Why did you think this would be an okay idea??!"  Because I love my husbandThis man traveled to [literally] the other side of the world, alone, leaving his country for the first time... and I can't even cook a fish for him??  [By the way, my husband brought a LARGE DRIED FISH with him on the phone from Cambodia.]

For those who are wondering, my homemade coconut fish sticks are not as good as Great Value frozen, breaded fish sticks, which do not taste like fish at all.  However, if you like fish, and you like coconut, you might would probably think that my homemade coconut fish sticks rock the house.

This discussion leaves me still pondering two potentially unanswerable questions:

1) Why do these filthy birds taste so much better than cute little fish?

and more importantly, 2) What am I going to do with 6 more fillets?!?

Love love love,