Thursday, 18 July 2013

Gospel for Asia ~ Revolution in World Missions

It was about a year ago on a particular Missions Sunday at our church that I picked up a free book by GFA's KP Yohannan. Revolution in World Missions is a book every Christian should read because it makes a point we must grasp with all our heart.

It is also downloadable as a free audiobook.




Between the pages KP explains the old adage that if you give a man a fish he'll eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he'll eat forever. Spiritual blindness has overtaken the world. When we open our mouths and be bold and speak God's words of truth and freedom and continue to walk in love, we will reap a harvest.

I strongly urge you to check out the GFA website because it is one of the few organisations in the world today that give aid AND preach Christ, rather than only giving aid. This is why they resonate with me, and why we chose them.

Time is short, and we need to be teaching people how to fish, not feeding them just for a day.

GFA's fruits are amazing, and they are real.

If you're not supporting anyone presently (and even if you are), I urge you again to consider what you are doing and compare it with the ground these guys are making and gaining every day because you can be a part of it. It will bring you untold joy as you aid their harvest work.

One of their latest videos brought tears to my eyes :)

Pray about your part in the Great Commission, and remember it is not merely a great suggestion.

 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Alf.

Yesterday we travelled to the city for the funeral of a friend of ours who finally succumbed to the long kiss goodbye that is Alzheimer's.



I was fine when we parked, fine when we walked in, fine when we sat. And then Judy Garland started singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I started to cry against my mightiest willpower and felt frustrated more than I felt sad.

Did funeral places do this on purpose? Was it engineered like the soundtrack from a movie to make you emote a scripted way? Darn you, tears! Why was I crying? I'd been fine.

The man who led the proceedings talked about Alf's life, his wartime achievements, his overwhelming love for family, and the gentleness that made him unlike anyone else we ever knew. Photos were shown, poppies and rosemary were placed atop the flag-draped coffin, and more music played, right up until Vera Lynn sang We'll Meet Again as Alf's earthly self was taken out to the waiting car.

Mr Valley and I cried along with the others as the hearse made its way off, and on the way home he reflected to me the exact same thoughts I'd had as we'd stood there watching:

Is this what life is reduced to? Being wheeled out in a box and packed in the back of a car?

In that moment I wanted so much more for my life, to leave the kind of legacy God would be proud of. I know we can't all be famous or win the Nobel Peace Prize. That's not what I'm talking about. We all want a life of significance, but I want mine to be significant in the light of Eternity. I have no doubt people will say nice stuff about me after I die, yet what is that worth?

Among other things and surviving active service for his country (and a serious shelling), Alf has left a legacy of real love and uncanny gentleness.

Funerals are great. I don't enjoy them, but I do appreciate them. They're a moment for last respects (as they say), and a chance for farewell from this mortal coil. In this case, there was a window of joy for those of us who believe. In his final weeks very little could bring a true smile to Alf's dear face, but at the mention of the Name of Jesus, he beamed like the sun. Somehow deep down he knew.

What a way to end his long kiss goodbye.





Q: If you have anything to say about it, how will your days end? What do you hope to have achieved? Do you ever think about death in a healthy way?


Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you. Psalm 84v4


 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

16 years...

Recently Mr. Valley and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Each year I reflect on where we started, where we've come from and what we've been through that brought us to the point where we are now.


We don't get out on as many evening ventures as we did when we were dating, but our 'annual' night out always proves memorable (because we go somewhere lovely or because it's our only real night out for the year I can't say ;). This year was no different. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was warm.

Ironically, we scratch out heads when it comes to recalling our first anniversary. Our second is easy. I'd been diagnosed with cancer and we went back to the hotel of our honeymoon to celebrate our second year. The dinner at their prestige restaurant that night felt stiff and awkward because the restaurant was SO posh. I'm talking silver service, linen napkins, and the kind of wait staff who discreetly throw themselves at your table to refill your water glass because you just took a sip.

Until one of the waiters dropped a tray on the tiled floor near the kitchen.

Crash.

Everyone took a huge sigh of relief and so did we. The whole place relaxed after that and the voices became just a teency bit louder, happier not to be whispering as if we all knew what we were doing.

(We mostly knew what we were doing).

Back when I was studying fashion I had the brief distinction of having one of my designs being paraded on the catwalk alongside those of a nationally known designer. Mr. Valley and my parents were present for the night. It was so much fun, and afterward we went out to celebrate at one of our favourite 'treat' cafes (I say treat because it was expensive and prestigious, claiming the King Street address alongside Chanel, Gucci and Tiffany & Co.). We ordered coffee and cake, which included their infamous "Death by Chocolate" cake with double cream. Lush.

At dinner during those first years we'd talk about all sorts of things. My study, his work, my work, families, dreams, frustrations... In that years that followed we only ended up talking about our kids and how much we love watching them grow, what they might be, and all they are capable of through Christ and their giftings.

These are just three examples, but since we've had children we've been back to that hotel only a few times and have also taken the little Valleys (and they LOVED it).

Last weekend we also decided on the spur of the moment to go back to the King St. Café for a treat (seeing as it was the two of us) only to find a demolition order on the door! A peep through the historic building's dusty windows showed everything we remembered that had always been the same every visit was now gutted. Gone. Up for lease. Complete with ancient floorboards.

Sigh.

At our anniversary dinner last week we ended up chatting with the couple next to us about their kids and the griefs, pleasures, and pains they bring. Yes folks, it's all true. As time passes so do the facts, Love may not be as gushy as it used to be, but the maturing makes it so worthwhile.

These sixteen years have been busy, wondrous, crazy, and only part of what we expected. Going through the unexpected keeps it interesting, and I'm rather quite pleased we haven't fit to our own status quo. I'd rather be in step with what God brings our way. in the next sixteen years, I hope it continues and that we can keep bringing glory to Him.

That's my heart's desire.

And if you have a Death by Chocolate cake recipe, please send it to me.


Q: How long has it been since you stoke the time to reflect on life? Did the reflecting bring you grief or a grin?


I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
    I will praise my God to my last breath! Psalm 104v33



Je chanterai l'Éternel tant que je vivrai, Je célébrerai mon Dieu tant que j'existerai.




 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Out of the closet

I love it when things gets found after many years of being deemed lost forever. There have been manuscripts by famous authors found in boxes at the bottom of closets, scenes from movies and even whole movies found in attics, costumes and sporting paraphernalia brought out into the light of day after years under wraps...



I just love the nostalgia of it, and the stories waiting to be told of the past and how it affects the present.

One of my favourite 'found' items is Audrey Hepburn's Oscars dress from 1954. It was an era of undeniably chic and glamorous fashion that remains to be surpassed. As you can see, she really is an absolute waif...

 

Audrey gave the dress to her mother, Ella, who passed it on to a friend years later. Audrey always referred to it as her 'lucky dress', possibly because it was worn at the time of winning her first Oscar for Roman Holiday - which turned out to be her only Oscar.

 


The dress was found after many years in the dark in a box at the bottom of a closet and was auctioned off in November 2011, fetching $131,292. It went into a private collection.

 Drat.

 Perhaps the dainty dress will never again see our light of day...




“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal." Matthew 6v19-20