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New Pictures

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Shannon and I are in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso for a week right now. One of the missionary couples from Mahadaga, the village we’re stationed at, makes a trip here to the city each month to pick up supplies that are hard to find out in the village. Since we were part way here already for a missionary conference last weekend, we decided to come along into the city as well.

While we’re here, we’ve been able to have access to the internet, which is really nice! We were able to use that to put a bunch of pictures online. To check them out, click here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=57828&l=e58df&id=502659080

An Update from Africa

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

  The CSPS: The clinic where I (Shannon) work, ?called the CSPS, has been busy over ?this last month. It started with a team of ?surgeons who came to restore sight to ?the near blind. Performed under local ?anesthesia only, I was astonished at ?how quickly the surgeries made a difference.  A day later and many of them ?could already see again! ?   After the surgeries, the coming of ?“winter” brought with it the cool, dusty ?winds of the Harmatan (a seasonal wind ?blown in from the desert) causing many ?to become sick with bronchitis. Cooler ?weather also means more fires which ?has resulted in many badly burned children coming to the clinic. Every week I ?spend a lot of time doing dressings with ?meager supplies.  Many wounds are ?terribly infected and often complex such ?as one young boy, Antoine, who has a ?wound of unknown origin from hip to ?foot and a man with gangrene on his ?face. Pray for wisdom! ?

The CSPS services 26,000 people a ?year with few supplies and even fewer ?staff.  The director of the clinic works 7 ?days a week and since there are no ?doctors, the nurses must diagnose and ?treat.  The closest hospital is 60 km ?away (on bad roads) and there are few ?ways to transport patients. ?However, despite discouraging ?odds, the staff have great camaraderie ?and meet three times a week for prayer ?and Bible study.  As well, the clinic pas?tor shares the Word of God with those ?who stay overnight in the clinic and he ?has seen many conversions!  Many ?people travel far to come to this CSPS ?because of how they are treated. Also, ?unlike other clinics, if they cannot afford ?the treatment, they are not turned away ?here. Pray that this CSPS continues ?to be salt and light to the world ?around it!

 

Noel in Mahadaga –

?How Christmas was NOT like home: ?

-Africans don’t decorate (we put snow- ?flakes on our door with pictures of snow ?in Canada and the children were per- ?plexed and mesmerized!) ?

-Everyone goes to Church on Christmas ?day, for the WHOLE day (including us) ?-Everyone lights firecrackers 

?-People have rice and sauce with meat ?for a change– (eaten without cutlery) ?

-Instead of Turkey dinner at the mission ?station, we had curry (on Christmas Eve) 

?-Literally, NO advertising whatsoever ?-No boxing day shopping (bummer eh!?) ?

 

How Christmas was kinda like at home: ?

-We sang Christmas carols! (although– ?while riding on top of a truck during a ?safari and looking for elephants!) ?

-It was “freezing” on Christmas (at 30 ?degrees everyone wears jackets and ?tuques and has the sniffles!)

 

Prayer Requests:

Pray for Antoine’s healing! Pray also 

for more clinic staff to help the very 

overworked director, Mambagari. 

Pray against famine– they are  afraid 

another one is coming this year.  We 

are trying to decide as a mission what 

we should do in advance. 

Pray for our SIM Burkina missionary 

conference coming up in mid-January. 

Pray also (of course) for Jason as he 

continues his work on the database.  

He is making good progress, but pray 

he completes it in time! 

December Stories

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

WHACK!  “Sinja!”  WHACK! “Sinja.” 

Jason with our two animateurs, Etienne and Alphonse

Jason with our two animateurs, Etienne and Alphonse

So for awhile, I had been wondering why it is that no one wears helmets while riding on the back of a motorbike.  “It’s SO dangerous” I said, upon watching more than one motorbike almost wipe out with people, stuff, and goats on the back.  I was told that actually, it’s illegal not to have a helmet here in Burkina; the government made it mandatory.  Except, I was told, no one obeys the law because helmets are too expensive.  But actually now I know that that’s not the REAL reason that no one wears helmets.  It’s because on a tiny seat, with two people crammed unconventionally together, there is no ROOM for too oversized plastic helmets.  With every bump on the road it is nearly impossible to, as the passenger, NOT smack one’s forehead into the unsuspecting driver’s head.

SO when Jason and I had the privilege of going out on motorbikes with the “animateurs” at the Handicapped Centre where Jason works, I spent much of the voyage on the back of the scary little moto, apologizing repeatedly for my inability to control my beast of a plastic helmet.  (At LEAST I knew how to say “sorry” in the local language.  I felt better being able to say “sinja” after every near concussion I gave my driver!)

Our day in the bush villages surrounding Mahadaga, seeing some of the front line works of the Handicap Centre, was exciting, encouraging, and educating.  The animateurs at the centre are like social workers, evangelists, and therapists all rolled into one.  They visit handicapped children living with their families and do any range of things.  Mostly, though, they pour out love and kindness on the children they visit, helping families understand that children who are handicapped are not worthless but are in fact priceless.  They play games with mentally handicapped children, using simple tools to help them learn.  They teach them how to dress or undress, or how to unwrap a candy and do functional things.  They equip malformed children’s limbs with necessary apparatus’ and teach them how to walk again.  They massage muscles that are weak and stiff from disuse or illness.  They counsel families on how to care for these children, bring medicines for epileptics, and decide when or if that child can attend the school provided at the Centre.  One animateur in particular captured our attention.  His love, patience, and kindness to these children was captivating and a wonderful example of Christ.  What a witness! 

Etienne working with one of the children

Etienne working with one of the children

It was neat to see the heart of this work, and to be reminded that the simplified paperwork resulting from Jason’s work will free up these animateurs to do more of this kind of work.

Some highlights included:  being given 3 chickens by 3 different families (we TRIED to give them back, but at least were successful in giving some to our animateurs!)  We also got to see what their villages and home lives are like.  I got to pound out the millet like the women do.  Most of the time on the back of the scooter I was afraid for my life, couldn’t find an appropriate way to sit with a skirt, and continuously searched for something to hold onto… but hey, I lived to tell about it!

Shannon getting to help sift millet with one of the women in the bush

Shannon getting to help sift millet with one of the women in the bush

 

Guinea fowl, antelopes, and hippos- OH MY!


After much deliberation, we decided to go along with some other short term missionaries here to see a local game park.  This was their last chance to go and they needed extra travelers to make it worth the cost – so they twisted our arms to go (shucks).

WHAT A DAY we had.  It started at 3:30 in the morning.  Yes.  That’s A.M.  With my coffee mug in hand (we’ll use that term loosely- it was a water bottle with a dishtowel and strips of cloth knotted around it to keep the coffee warm) we set out, 5 of us and the driver, crammed into a rickety truck.  Not that the coffee did me any good.  The CRAZY bumpy roads with acidic coffee in my tummy was more than a little nauseating.   But then- mornings here really are beautiful so the cool air along the ride made up for it.  2 hours later, with it still being dark, we arrived at the gates of the animal park.  We found out from the station that there weren’t many routes that could be taken in the park because the rainy season was profound and all the water ways had blocked the roads.  We decided to risk it anyways. 

To our surprise, our driver (an employee at the Centre where Jason works) told us to mount on TOP of the truck.  Yippee!  That was definitely the highlight of the day.  Watching the sun creep up the horizon, with cool air streaming over us, being tossed about and holding on for dear life on top of a truck!  What fun!  Every other minute we were shouting at each other “ATTENTION!” or “A gauche!” to inform each other to duck oncoming branches. 

We got to ride up on TOP of the truck!

We got to ride up on TOP of the truck!

We drove around for hours until cold air turned to hot air and the sun was high above us (still only 10:30 in the morning).  We sang, we chatted, we laughed.  My favorite was our wave of Christmas music.  Nothing like singing “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…” and “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” while riding the top of a truck and looking out over dry, hot African soil! 

However, we saw very few animals.  The highlight was the hippos which were really only eye-balls and ears swimming along a waterway off in the distance.  We otherwise only saw guinea fowl, antelope, a wild bunny, and a few wild boars.  Oh well!

Yup, that's actually a hippo head poking above the water.

Yup, that

But, after my crazy ride home on top of the truck (stretched out flat, on my stomach, holding on for dear life with my arms reaching forward like superman) I ended up with a terrible sunburn on my back!  I did however get a good view, had a few laughs, and got to ride through the busy marketplace and take some pictures!

Our day didn’t end there, though, as it was only about 1 in the afternoon!  One of the other missionaries arrived back from the capital with a HUGE truck of supplies they had shipped from the States.  Jason worked on helping with some of that while I was trying to organize all the food supplies he also brought with him.  Getting groceries for everyone here once a month is a bit of a nightmare organizationally!  I had to try and figure out who got how many potatoes or tomatoes.  AHH! 

After all that busyness I had yet to bake a cake and get ready for a Christmas party!  The clinic where I work had a Christmas party and I got to wear my new tailor made African dress!  The party was much different than we’re used to!  We got there at 7 pm, more than a little tired and hungry, only to sit for 2.5 hours before dinner!  We sang some songs, the director formally greeted everyone, handed out presents to staff, and the pastor did a whole sermon before we ate.  The food made up for it though!  We got to have our first REAL African meal of some couscous, chicken on the bone, and stew/curry.  The women served everyone and of course, without cutlery.  It was interesting eating hot food with your hand that’s for sure!  (We both quietly wondered exactly how many chickens had to lose their lives for that meal to be made possible.  The chickens here are very scrawny, so probably a LOT).  After the meal and the desserts we and other missionaries provided, everyone dispersed.  11:30 pm and TIRED we finally got to crash.  I was MORE than lathered in aloe vera because of my silly back burn but it WAS quite a day!

Christmas in Africa

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

 

From hot and sunny Africa, we want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

 

Shannon and I had a nice time celebrating with the other missionaries on the station last night. We had a big meal all together – of curry! (Yeah, not your ordinary Christmas meal, but one of the missionaries is well known for his curry.) We were able to read the Christmas story together and sing some Christmas songs, as well as do a little gift exchange. Shannon and I also spent some time in the morning doing our own little gift exchange, and making cinnamon buns (yum!). This morning we went to the church for a Christmas day service, and this afternoon we’ll be heading back to the church for a big meal with all the people in the congregation. That should be interesting!

 

I’ve attached a little picture of Shannon and I in our African Christmas outfits that we had made here J We wore those to a wedding here, which was an interesting experience! The ceremony part was very long and very hot in a cramped little church, with loads of people sitting outside the back door or peering in through the window. Some of the musical performances they did there were really neat, though! After the ceremony, most of us (probably about 200+ people?) went to the home of the grooms parents for the reception, where they had set up a big covered area with benches for people to sit for the meal. Shannon and I were taken aback when they invited us to sit at the head table! I work with the groom, and Shannon and I had both met and talked with him a few times outside work, but we certainly had done anything worthy of sitting at the head table! But, I guess that is part of the cultural expectation – that visitors who have come all the way from North America are honored guests.

 

We hope you all enjoy this special time of year, celebrating Emmanual, God with us. May God be especially near each one of you!

 

Love you all,

 

Jason & Shannon

 

Here are some pictures, mostly random for you all to see.

Under the mango tree

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

 

It’s Sunday afternoon, and Shannon and I are taking a bit of time to relax during the hotter part of the day. We’ve come to appreciate the “siest” time (between 12:30 and 3:00), where people break from work to nap or relax (or shower to stay cool for us missionaries!). A couple of Sundays ago, some kids from the church were hanging out near our house after church, waiting for one of the short term missionaries who does a little kids program in the afternoon. I pulled out a soccer ball we had brought along to kick around with them, and they loved it. This Sunday, there are about 10 kids in front of our house playing with the ball!

There are so many differences with life here, and I thought I’d share a few related to transportation. Very few of the people out here in the village of Mahadaga have a car. If they are pretty well off, they’ll have a moto (motorbike), and they buy gas for it in old glass alcohol bottles at the side of the road. If they’re not rich enough for a moto, they’ll buy a bike. LOTS of people ride around on bikes here! Or, if they need to transport goods like produce from their fields, their preferred transport method will likely be donkey cart. Or, if they can’t afford any of those, walking is just fine too. Right from the time people are kids, they learn to carry things on their heads, and I can’t believe what they manage to balance as they walk along! Actually, that seems to be another trend. Why take three trips, when you can pile things up sky-high and just take one? This works on foot, on bikes, on motos, on cars, vans, buses, and trucks. On the highway, we passed trucks so highly loaded down they were leaning precariously. We even snapped the picture below, of a pretty highly loaded van, with a person sleeping on top! (apparently he was tied in).

Last weekend there was an orientation for all the new short term missionaries (anyone here for less than 1 year) in Burkina Faso. There were 8 of us there, and it was nice to connect with some other people who have come to serve here and to find out what areas they will be ministering in. There were people from France, Switzerland, the US, and Canada, who will be doing things as diverse as carpentry, running kids programs, nursing, and computer work! It’s amazing how God uses each of us, no matter who we are or what talent He’s given us, to contribute to His kingdom.

After returning from the orientation, I’ve started more fully into the work of laying out the database that will help replace the paper forms and manual calculations. There are so many parts to it, it’s a little overwhelming! Please pray that I’d have wisdom, and be able to understand all the requirements they have.

Shannon has been exposed to some new experiences with her work in the last little bit as well. Recently, she rode on the back of a moto out to a village to give vaccinations. They basically waited under a mango tree for parents to come with their babies for the shots! She has also been asked to help out administratively at the handicapped centre and possibly even at a local Christian high school that just started last year and needs help with typing up curriculums. Pray for guidance for how she uses her time as well, and that we would both be very useful.

We’re so thankful for all of you who are praying for us!

 

Some Pictures…..

There…

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

 

Good day to you all.  My name is Jeffrey Thomas and Jason and Shannon have entrusted me with updating their blog with their travels/adventures/mishaps as they are in Africa.  This is quite the step of faith on their part (I owe them an act of revenge because of a prank they pulled).  Their trust in me is either an honor or completely mistaken.  I have attached a copy of their first e-update.  Read, enjoy, and praise God.
Friends and family,
 
We’ve sent a few e-mails to some of you along our crazy adventure to get here to Burkina Faso- but for those of you who haven’t heard…hope you enjoy our wacky story of our trip here….and the many God fingerprints on this voyage!
 
So we left from Ottawa, Ontario on this past Monday (the 27th) for a quick flight to Toronto, a 3 hour layover and then a red eye flight to Frankfurt, Germany.  PROBLEM #1: at the Toronto airport (when reviewing our ticket itinerary) we suddenly realized that we had read our ticket wrong!  From Germany we were flying into Brussels, Belgium (to arrive at 10:00 am) and then to fly out at 12:00pm SO WE THOUGHT.  But at more careful examination we realized that we actually were to fly out the NEXT DAY from Brussels at 12:00 pm, not 2 hours after our arrival!  So in Toronto we scrambled to look online and book a hotel for the night in Brussels.
 
After our long red eye flight to Frankfurt (with no sleep) we then transferred to Brussels.  Thankfully, after many prayers- we discovered that there was a storage place at the airport we could store our luggage so we didn’t have to take it to the hotel.  SO we took the train from the airport into the heart of Brussels and only had a 5 minute walk with our rolling luggage to the hotel.  Unfortunately though, we arrived at about 12 at our hotel and couldn’t quite check in.   SO we hit the town (after leaving our luggage at the hotel).  We saw many old churches and the really cool “grande place” area of Brussels- a huge square that has many many shops.  You wouldn’t believe the number of chocolate shops and the number of street waffle vendors!   (By the way, we had an actual belgium waffle from the street vendor and it was absolutely phenomenol!!!!   They are NOTHING like Canadian belgian waffles- very dense, sweet, and oh my goodness- fabulous!)
 
We walked until we thought we’d keel over from fatigue and lack of sleep, went to the hotel and intended to sleep for 1 hour and slept for 3!  Headed out for dinner and saw the city lights, and then back to the hotel to sleep.  It was actually a huge blessing that we ended up having this layover because we got to have a good night’s rest!!!
 
Next day we hit the airport again and flew from Brussels to Tripoli in northern Libya.  (It’s right on the Mediterranean).  PROBLEM #2: Ha ha- we got there and they were like ” oh no, we don’t have any flights to Burkina Faso today….” UMMM…..ow well! Opportunity to trust the Lord once again!  After much confusion and many employees rushing around us (they had like 100 too many employees for the size of that airport) an employee whisked off our passports from us and our tickets and told us to wait.  One hour went by….one hour and a half went by….they finally came back to tell us that they would put us in a hotel (praise God!) cause the next flight to Burkina Faso wasn’t until the next evening at 8:30 pm!  And they told us to keep our luggage at the airport AND our passports and the lady handed us a “receipt” and said that when we came back they’d return the passports to us… (what?)  But okay…we trusted and let go of all control.  They sent a taxi for us and we hopped in and waved good-bye to our passports and luggage!  (So- some few little known facts about Libya- it’s incredibly islamic (98%), it is THE hottest place on earth (in the south- it is mostly the desert and they have recorded air temperatures of 58 degrees CELSIUS!!, and everyone, I mean EVERYONE smokes….)  So we had actually a very pleasant stay at the hotel- minus the cigarette smoke, my sore throat and increasingly sore tooth (it’s in need of a new root-canal I found out 1 day before we left Canada- please pray I don’t need dental work here!!!!)  Meals were paid forand everyone there loves their cappuccinos (how can one argue with that??? they sell them for cheap at the hotel ‘mini capuccino bar’!)
 
The next day we decided to be brave and ventured out around town and stumbled upon the “old city” which apparently is an old ruin of some kind (the country is known for very well preserved Roman ruins).  In the old city there were TONS of little shops, men smoking bizarre looking and large pipes, and lots of women in hijabs.  Interesting.  Mainly middle eastern looking people- with only a few black africans.
 
Anyways (bored yet?) …we enjoyed another free meal at our hotel and PRAISE GOD our taxi shuttle arrived promptly at the time it was supposed to- at 4 pm to take us back to the airport……where, we simply gave the ticket people the name and number of the lady who took our passports the day before (an angel) and she came flying in with our passports, waves us through the MANY, MANY security checkpoints and brought us to the waiting area for our flight.  Phew!!!!!  It was incredible to see God’s provision in the circumstances- we had peace, we had an angel carrying us through the process, and lived to tell about it!  (We were told later that the issue was that they needed to give us a visa so that’s why our passports were held…and 6 months ago they didn’t give visas overnight like that and if your flight was delayed for 24 hours they would house you in the prison….HA!  That would have been interesting….)
 
Waited 4 hours in the smoke-thick waiting room and finally, 1 hour late, the plane took off for Burkina!  We were praying hard things would go well in Burkina customs cause we realized we didn’t have proof with us of our yellow fever vaccination!  But customs was a breeze, seriously, and the only problem was that one of our bags was missing (PROBLEM #4).  Please pray it arrives soon!  Apparently the next flight comes from Tripoli tomorrow at “around” 10 pm and we have to just ‘wait around’ at the airport to collect our baggage off the carousel- hopefully!   The only good thing about the baggage loss was the hour it took to get the forms filled out- I got to practice my french with the officials! 
 
SO we are currently staying in the guest house here at the SIM compound in Ouaga.  There are around 50 missionaries (long term) in Ouaga and this is their main office- so many come and go (as well as short termers).  We thought we’d be here for awhile but we leave on Monday for our 10 hour drive (which is SOO long because of the bad road conditions) to our new home in Mahadaga.  We’re a bit jealous because of the comraderie here, and the ammenities are lovely (air conditioned rooms and internet!) but we are excited to see how we adapt in Mahadaga.  For the first two days we have lunch and dinner provided by different long term missionaries which is AWESOME to get to know the staff and we’ve been really blessed by them!  Most of the long termers are Canadian or Australian which is interesting!
 
It’s hot here- despite reports of this being the ‘cool season’ and most african folks are wearing long sleeves or jackets (ha ha) it’s definitely going to take some getting used to!  It’s actually a lot more humid than I expected!
 
Please pray for our safe journey there, our baggage to arrive safely, and that we’ll adapt.  I’m most nervous about the daily living stuff!  There’s practically nothing (so we are told) in Mahadaga so we have to stock up on food in Ouagadougou for a month’s supply and I just don’t know how to cook here!  Washing clothes by hand here we come!  Please also pray we have good relationships with the staff on the field in Mahadaga.  Thankfully we have two young missionary couples out there each with two small kids and a few others- so we’re thankful for the company!
 
God bless and we will be receiving a new e-mail address in Mahadaga as well as possibly a change in the postal address we originally sent you.  Keep posted!
 
Thank you for all our prayer warriors!  Though our journey was 4 days- we are thankful to be here in one piece!
 
Love in Christ, Jason and Shannon

And we’re….off!

Saturday, October 25th, 2008
Finally!  Just about on our way.  We leave Monday afternoon- after a wonderful week with Jason’s family here in Ontario.  Lots of late night games and chatting, walks, fellowship, and just having fun. 
Ryan and Jason playing in the leaves with our nephew Kellon

Ryan and Jason playing in the leaves with our nephew Kellon

Shannon holding our new niece, Allie Grace Lincoln

Shannon holding our new niece, Allie Grace Lincoln

Shannon holding Jason's cousin Sheri's new baby

Shannon holding Jason's cousin Sheri's new baby

We were just reflecting today on some of the awesome stuff that God has done in all this preparation to go overseas.  We have pages and pages in our new “praise the Lord” notebook where we’re recording some of the answers to prayer (so we don’t forget)…and we just cannot believe how good God has been to us!  Wow.

It also kind of occurred to us just how odd it seems that we’ve prayed so much more over these preparation months when really, we need God just as much in our everyday lives in Canada as we do in Africa!  It’s just a different place!  Why do we not utterly depend on Him and continuously record God sightings in Canada when…we have just as little control over circumstances and are just as unable to depend on ourselves here?!  I pray all that what we learn over this trip floods into our lives back in Canada (that is, of course, if God wants us in Canada long term!)

Please continue to pray for us- especially as we travel on Monday- pray for safe travels, good health, and that our luggage comes along with us! 

We will miss you all!  Please keep in touch with us and let us know what’s new in YOUR lives also.  We have a mailing address there as well:

Jason and Shannon Brink
SIM Mahadaga
DIAPAGA
Burkina Faso
God bless!
S and J

Did you know…

Friday, October 10th, 2008

We wanted to update a bit about Burkina Faso to help inform those praying for the nation as well as just for your curiosity-sake!

Some random facts you may not have known about Burkina Faso:

-Burkina Faso’s high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens

-recent droughts and desertification severely affect agricultural activities…and since many children are now living longer due to some improved health measures (leading to larger and larger families)- there is an even GREATER need for farmers (which most people are) to produce more crops…leading to overgrazing, soil degradation, and deforestation (as forests are cut back for wood for fire as well as for farm land)

-life expectancy at birth is only an average of 52 years!

-much of the male population migrates to neighboring countries for work- because there is such little work available

-Islam is spreading rapidly in Burkina….and there are few to NO workers among Islamic people there (such as the Fulani group)…many rich Muslims also hire young laborers and will not hire them unless they turn to Islam…since work is so limited, many are forced to comply

-few converted Muslims to Christianity attend Church and receive MUCH public harassment

-there are many disputes along borders with neighboring countries- both ethnic and territorial in nature

-in 2005- Burkina Faso was ranked country number 175 out of 177 countries (being the 2nd poorest nation in the world)

-46.4 % of the population lives below the poverty line

PRAY WITH US for this nation!  Not just for development but for their Spiritual lives in face of many obstacles!  Pray for labourers to come and work specifically among the Fulani Muslim peoples….pray for protection for the Muslim converts to Christianity.  Pray for stability, health and new means of making a living.  Pray also for better ways to do agriculture that are sustainable and do not worsen the land condition.

(Facts taken from the CIA factbook and the CIDA websites)

We’ve moved!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

So it’s official- we’re really doing this whole “moving to Africa” thing!  We finished packing up our place in Surrey and have put all our stuff in storage.  Currently we are living in abbotsford in my dad’s basement until the 18th when we are flying out!  Our move went really smoothly- cause we had lots of amazing helpers!  And the place is cleaned and I’m turning the keys back over to my landlord today.  Praise God that it went so well- everything fit in our storage locker!   We are still taking care of the myriad of details with the trip- but we’re getting there! 

If you need to contact us for any reason- please feel free to e-mail and we’ll give you our address or phone number!  Although- for all of you who received our missions letter- the address while we are away is on the bottom (that’s where all our mail is sent)

shanny.brink@gmail.com

My refuge,my place of safety

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

SO I started to get a bit “worried” and anxious about our trip to Africa.  What trials might we encounter?  What diseases might we be infected with?  What if…?  What if….?  But then God did something wonderful the other day.  He reminded me of why I love Him so much.  It’s my favourite thing about Him: He takes even the broken pieces of our lives, weaves them with His grace, and makes a beautiful story.  (Ginny Owens said that- the blind Christian singer).  Looking back over my life- EVEN WHEN my hope was lost, disasters struck, the ground I was walking on fell from underneath me.  When the earth shook, the sky fell, and everything I knew changed- God did something amazing in my life.  During the valleys, the deserts, the storms and trials not once did they overcome me.  God brought peace and healing.  He was my safety, my security.  So why would I be afraid of what’s to come? Because EVEN IF there are trials and sorrows, losses, and struggles, yet I MUST Praise Him because He will do something beautiful from them.  We are not to be afraid of disease, sickness, death, suffering, loss or despair because God will carry us.  You’ve got to hear this song by Ginny Owens “If you want me to.”  What a testimony!

Psalm 91 was an incredible reminder again today “This is what I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.  For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease….if you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home…”

Remind me- friends and family- in struggles and trials of How this wonderful, beautiful God we serve will rescue us in trials, and provide us with His love and safety during life’s losses.

What a beautiful thing about You God!  Take every broken piece of our life and make it something valuable! “Just because You love me, the way that You do, I will go through the fire- if you want me to!” (Ginny Owens song)