Two days ago it seemed like our little country of Northern Ireland came to a standstill. Children stayed at home from School, shops closed and people arrived home early from work. There was an eerie silence around our home and the FML office as people stayed indoors. The normal cars going in and out of the street could not be heard. Looking across to the nearby park and the only movement was that of leaves blowing rather than the normal dogs running and children playing. All in anticipation of ex hurricane Ophelia.
The advice was to stay indoors and avoid unecessary journeys. People were warned of the dangers and told how to prepare. But for some people that wasn't possible. Emergency services, medical staff, electricity workers all had to be out in the storm....but closer to home....William was out in the storm. I was anxious and while I tried to work in the office as normal, I felt unsettled and uneasy. Every now and then I would hear of another tree down on the roads he had to travel. He wasn't far from home...but at that time he was just too far away for my liking. Near, but yet so far. Yet, I knew he had to finish what he was doing and I just prayed he would be kept safe. But I found it hard to let go completely and only really relaxed when he arrived home.
It made me think of how we face storms in our lives. I think of the dear people that we love in Kenya and Uganda. They may not be facing the wrath of Ophelia, but there are other difficulties. In Kenya, the elections are so different to here in Northern Ireland. These are tense times as the next voting day draws closer. Demonstrations have made travelling difficult for some team members. Bus fares have doubled, making travel to the ministry more challenging. Businesses have been affected and have had to close at times. This has resulted in people sometimes not being paid and they then fall behind in house rent payments and school fees for their children. The challenges are great.
Across our world people are experiencing many storms in their lives. Storms of sickness, the loss of loved ones, debt, family problems and so the list goes on.
As we look back on a physical storm and perhaps comment that for us it wasn't as bad as expected, let us always remember, that, for some people the storms of life are just beginning. Troubles and trials will still come, but how much easier to heed the warning and go through the storm with Jesus at your side.
For those of us who are saved; we have a responsibility to warn the lost. Like those emergency services who worked during the storm...we must be prepared to risk our lives for the Gospel. We can never assume that others will do it for us. When William was working in the storm he had no idea that shops and businesses were closing until I called him. Internet wasn't working on his phone and he had no radio with him. Had I just assumed that he had heard the situation from someone else, I would have been wrong. Out of love for him, I had to make sure that I warned him, even if it turned out he had already heard.
People may tire of preaching the Gospel...but out of love for their souls, we are required to tell them that Jesus died to save them. It is our prayer that even the boys and girls of Africa will heed the warnings and be prepared.
The Word of God reminds us about the story of the wise and foolish builders. The foolish man built his house on the sand but Matthew 7 : 25 reminds us of the wise man..."And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." The wise man's house stood firm because it was built upon a firm foundation. How important it is that our lives are built upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Please continue to pray for ourselves and the FML team as we continue to support needy families and teach the boys and girls to build their lives on the one who can keep us standing in the storms.
We are so thankful that we have had a number of meetings to speak at recently and it has been a privilege to share about the work of Feed my Lambs. We have another 4 meetings over the course of the next week. Pray for us as we prepare; for each meeting to be fresh and of the Lord and for safety on the roads. Our next meeting is actually a Sunday School here and so we are really looking forward to teaching the children about Africa.
It is amazing how little can make such a big difference in the life of a child. We recently received a gift from someone with the request that it help a needy child in Kenya. That gift was able to pay school fees for a child for a number of months. The mother of the child and indeed the teacher were delighted. As someone once said, "we cannot change the world, but we can change the world of one child"
Over the past week another 36 Bibles have been allocated and new centres from Western Kenya have enrolled. Another church has registered with our library and 5 books/visual packs have been borrowed which is really encouraging.
Please pray for Joyce as she is travelling this weekend. Pray for safety and for help for her in the coming days. Some of our Nairobi team have been unwell, please pray for strength for them.
We appreciate your ongoing prayers.
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regular updates and thoughts from Northern Ireland and Africa...