Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reflections after 4 years at Zion Village

Psalm 57:2  I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. 

After serving Christ at Children of Zion Village, Namibia Africa, for four years, we still say that there is not a day that we would call “just another day.”  Every day has something new, some kind of opportunity or challenge (depending on our attitude about it), dirt and sand, items breaking, many blessings, beautiful sunsets, smiling children, crying children, sickness, healing, songs, visitors, singing and dancing, animals, bumpy sometimes flooding roads, slippery roads, spiders, bugs, termites, snakes, someone knocking at our door at any time of the day and night, many prayers and HOPE, the HOPE that only GOD can Give

Through your prayer and financial support and with God's guidance, here are a few of the updates that have been achieved since 2010:

5 babies have been placed at Zion

1 child has been adopted by a local national couple

1 young adult is finishing her first year of college

2 young adults are planning to attend college next year

5 learners have graduated from secondary school

26 learners attend 4 different secondary schools

7 children have been reunited with family

10 children have been discharged

7 boys are residents of the Genesis house. We are planning to build additional single family homes to continue this model

The staff included 28 local nationals (teachers, inside workers and outside workers).

30  come from the nearby village for Saturday afternoon bible study

105 are enrolled in the Children of Zion Village primary school, 85 come from town and pay tuition

The Ebners arrived in 2013 as missionary partners from The Mission Society

Donations are being received from the business community and individuals

Discipleship activities include the staff and members of the local community as well a 2 Spiritual Retreats for staff. 

Working toward increased self-sufficiency to include: school tuition, sales of garden produce and trailer rentals

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.                                           If you push against the pace of grace you will loose the mysterious grace and joy that God has for you.  So many times we have tried to take control because it seems God is not listening or at least not answering.  It seems that we might miss something if we don’t have an immediate answer.  But with God it is just the opposite.  God is never late and His timing is always perfect, even, if it is the hour or the day before we need it.  We don’t have a problem having faith in the darkness of night because we have faith knowing that the dawn will always come. We must have faith in the same way, through the difficult times, knowing that God will get us through the storm to the rainbow. It is faith from something, through something to something that is much more glorious.  No matter how fierce the storm, God is at work. Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.

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In what appears to be bleak and dark can be the most incredible outcome of the mystery.  At some point you will be able to say “Oh Happy Night!!”  This is because the most beautiful, most glorious dawn has come. 

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If we are in too much of a rush and push against the pace of grace, and if we are not following the guidance of God, there will be no long lasting fruit and you will collapse from burn out.  When we take matters into our own hands rather than waiting for God to work in His time, disaster follows. Burn out in ministry, burn out in joy, burn out in fun, burn out in life. Do not run ahead of God today – though He is not early, He is NEVER late!

Prayer is the glue that holds everything together.  We have learned that we don’t go anywhere or say anything out loud before praying.  Otherwise we might be making decisions on our own and not with God’s lead.  Sometimes it is hard to “put people off” but without God’s wisdom, we cannot be confident of the outcome.  Breath is to the body as prayer is to the Spirit. And we all know that when our breath stops, our life stops.  When prayer stops, the Spirit is not present.

Psalm 139:9-10  If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me.                                   God’s call is not over 2 or 4 or 10 years.  It is over a lifetime.  Just like we are to be teachers and learners all the days of our lives.  We all need godly examples and we all need to be spiritually fed and we all need to make disciples.  It is over a lifetime. 

Believe on God’s Word and expect peace and joy.  By being positive and believing the best of everybody, we release peace and joy in our lives.  We get what we believe and what we think.  People may forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.  Spend quality time with others and encourage them.  Listen with interest.  God gave us two ears and only one mouth.  So, should we not be twice as swift to listen and learn?  Be gentle, patient and loving to each person you meet.

The thing that makes God’s Grace so amazing is that it is both completely undeserved and completely free.  His grace is given to us because of His great love for us.  Rather than focusing our attention on ourselves, the grace we receive should cause us to glorify and praise Him. 

There are disappointments everywhere in the world but it is how you deal with it.  Trusting God completely and believing that His plan is infinitely better for you than your own will prevent you from being disappointed with God.  Run to God. The ONLY One Who can help you and truly comfort you in your time of pain.  Dr. Tom Malone said, “When God is going to do something wonderful, He starts with the difficult.  When God is going to do something miraculous, He starts with the impossible.” 

We used to think that we would never want to repeat the first 3 years at Children of Zion Village – probably the hardest days of our lives.  BUT, now we are convinced that these were the BEST days of our lives because we were drawn closest to God and our faith grew so strong and our prayers and appreciation were/ are so different.  Why?  God’s Grace and promised Faithfulness!!  This is God’s work.  It is NOT US!  We could never do this work without HIM!!!  Thank you God!!!!!

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Romans 15:13 May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing (through the experience of your faith) that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing with hope.

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Psalm 121:1, 2, 7, 8  I lift up my eyes to the hills – where doth my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life: the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore!

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We thank God for YOU!!!  We thank Him that He has touched your heart to partner with us in His Mission in Namibia.  WE cannot be here without your prayers, support and encouragement. 

Philippians 1:3-6 I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I 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. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Love, Love, LOVE and a lot of CUTE too!

I Corinthians 13:2  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not LOVE, I am nothing. 

God fills us with Love so that when the children are misbehaving (yes they do that too) then we try to reflect Jesus’ love while also teaching what is right and wrong.  As all of you parents know, it is difficult.  Please pray for us and our staff for wisdom, patience, grace and that we would be an example of a godly parent.  We must all pray for each of our children so that they:

  1. Will grow up and learn from their mistakes and make good decisions.
  2. Will know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
  3. Take their education seriously.
  4. Go out into the world full of temptation and be strong enough to say “NO”
  5. That the light of Jesus will shine through them so they can in turn teach others the Gospel.

We are so blessed with so much cuteness. 

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Ephesians 1:18  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you…

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Baby Boys at Zion

Our ministry partners, Lena and Johannes left for Windhoek where their first baby, a boy,Elias, was born August 12 with 50 cm and 3480g.

Then, a boy was born in Katima Mulilo on August 15, General Sebastian, 49cm and 3300g.  Five days after General was born, he was placed at Children of Zion Village. 

                         Baby General              IMG_0620

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We are sure these two will be great buddies growing up. 

              

Thank you God for giving us your precious children to care for.  We pray we will raise them as God would have us – teaching them the love of Jesus every day so that they will grow to be good Christians and the love of God will shine through their eyes.  Amen. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Race Around the World

Each year churches in the states organize a Fun Run/Walk to raise money for Children of Zion Village.  The organizing church is Mt Zion UMC in Bel Air Maryland.  They let us and others know when their race is and then we hold the event either when a Mt Zion team is there or close to the date they are organizing in the states.  So, the children from Zion run/walk/be carried, around a track.  At each lap, they receive a small piece of candy to keep them motivated and also so we can count their laps.  At the end, the ones with the most laps get a lunch out in town at the fast food place called the Hungry Lion.  Then we send the lap numbers back to the states and people pledge toward a child a certain amount of money per lap before they know how many laps were completed.  It is really fun on both side of the water!

Ready.  Get set.  GO!!!!

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  P1000383          And the winners are: 

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Just a piece of our wonderful God made family who we love very much:   PS: This candy was very good!!!

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Thank you to all who donate to us, to the Children of Zion Village and who sponsor a child or who pledged to a child in this race!  God Bless you for your faithfulness!!                

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Zion Sports

We are always proud of our children as they skillfully play sports.  They love to play almost any sport, although most have a favorite, and are also very athletic.  They play soccer and basketball and run quite frequently.  They are newer at net ball and volley ball and very new at rugby.

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Life is like a sport.  Always do your best.  Be kind to others.  Do not get angry.  Push on even when you are tired.  Be honest and do not cheat.  Encourage others and if one falls, help him to get up.  Have fun.  There will be challenges and God will not always take you out of the challenge but He will get you through the challenge if you only trust and obey. 

Termites and water

Sometimes we just have to laugh.  We have many critters from snakes to ants to lizards to spiders to flying bugs and stink bugs and on and on.  Some times of the year we have begun to expect what will come based on the temperature and if it is raining or dry.  But sometimes we are shocked at what we find.  So, we just have to laugh and figure out what to do. 

This time we came home and there were termites building mansions everywhere.  They were around the door, in between the door and under our bath tub coming out the bottom and under the sink eating the entire under part of the counter top. 

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                                Then we run the water in the sink and this is what we get. 

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So, it reminds me of how much I used to not appreciate.  So much that was just another day.  So much that I did not talk to God about because it was just there.  Now, I am thankful for every day I take the car and return safely without the car breaking down.  Thankful every time we are not having the house fall apart because of termites.  Thankful every time we can filer and drink water and not get sick.  Thankful for safety and protection from theft and snakes.  Thankful for each day of health and for all that pray for us and support us financially. 

We are so blessed in spite of bugs, dirty water, power cutting off, car problems…  Thankful that we serve a God that is always faithful and keeps all His promises and He never fails and always loves us in spite of the days that we forget to thank Him. 

Hebrews 13:16-17  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.  Focus on what matters and what is eternal, and you will complete your mission with success.