Sunday, December 23, 2012

When your husband is the pastor...

it is a very special thing.  He shares his messages with you before he preaches them.  He asks you how it went after the service.  He is always there to answer any Bible question you have and give Biblical counsel day or night.  And as a man of the Word, God uses him to convict your heart right when you need it.  Like today for example...

The Sunday School study was the usual 'let's reflect on the birth of Christ' study that most every Sunday School has the Sunday before Christmas.  This time it was different.  One of the questions in his study was to put yourself in Mary and Joseph's place and think about how they felt with all the events surrounding the birth of Christ.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks!

At this time of year, we read Luke 2, look at beautiful illustrations of Mary holding the newborn Son of God and reflect on what a wonderful story it is. 

This time I looked deeper as the pastor urged us.

I looked and found a life of humiliation for Mary among her neighbors and friends as she was forever labeled as the 'the girl that got pregnant before marriage'.  I found Joseph being talked about behind his back and even accused to his face as 'the man that did it'.

I found a very uncomfortably pregnant Mary travelling to a far away city.  I saw best laid plans for a birth in the comfort of her own home traded for that of a birth in a stable most likely with animals nearby and most likely without the midwife. 

I saw a young father and mother fleeing with their young child into a foreign land, from a king so mad with power that he ordered the death of every child under the age of two.

What was that I was complaining about?  The future ministry plans that aren't seeming to go the way I was sure God wanted them to go?  That we are getting a hot and muggy Christmas instead of a cold and snowy one?  The ants I had to pick off of my freshly baked Christmas cookies?

And so over an afternoon of washing dishes I confessed my complaining heart to the Lord and when the pastor came in for a Christmas cookie, I looked him in the eye and told him thanks for the message, it was just what I needed to hear. 

And it felt like I could hear Mary say,"It was worth it all and really, it was only a moment that life I lived on earth.  Keep on keeping on!"

Merry CHRISTmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Tea

We had a wonderful ladies Christmas tea this month.  No, there was no snow and temperatures in the frigid zone but we made do with Christmas decor in the air conditioning and it worked quite nicely!

We had our biggest group out yet and that was so exciting to see!  We enjoyed a time of Christmas carols and then a testimony and devotional from Dawn, our co-worker who recently arrived back in Brazil with her family after their furlough.  One of the ladies brought her unsaved neighbor and she really enjoyed her time.  Please pray for Kelly that God would do a work in her heart and show her the true way to Him. 
As always, a dear lady in the church brought us a fun Christmas craft to do together.  Each ladies meeting she provides a fun craft that she leads us in and then sends us home with the finished craft as well as instructions and diecuts for us to make more at home on our own.  This is a special ministry gift that she has.  There is something about a group of ladies doing a craft together that creates bonds of friendship and generates conversation.
And of course our time would not be complete without our "lanche da tarde" (afternoon tea or snack).  Each lady brings something to share with the group and we enjoy trying each item and of course more conversation!
Merry Christmas or Feliz Natal as we say here in Brazil to each and every one of you.  May the Lord Jesus be our focus this Christmas and always!