All posts by feleciamunson

Angry or Just Plain Mad

imageTo all of us who at times feel hurt and anger because of the dealings of life I have a little life line to throw to you. Having recently found myself in such a state I have been seeking God for my own life line.

We’ve all been there, it’s in fact what 1Corinthians10:13 refers to as “temptations common to man”, angry about things that have happened, hurt and angry about loosing a loved one prematurely, disappointed and angry over a relationship, angry about unfair treatment at work or home or school, how about angry because of unanswered prayer, yes there is that too. The Word (Psalm 4:4) says

“Be angry and do not sin, meditate and pray on your bed and be still, make the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in God.”

It’s ok to be angry, we don’t have to pretend to be super saints as though we were not deeply affected by what just happened, the loss, the injustice we experienced, even about the prayers that seem to remain unanswered. God’s Word even acknowledges this, we will get angry! Don’t let the enemy condemn you, anger is a natural human emotion. The Word says be angry and do not sin! But how?? The Bible has much to say on that subject, but in this Psalms He directs us to
“meditate and pray” on your bed, and
“be still” and
though it may be a sacrifice, do the right thing anyway, “make the sacrifices of righteousness” and then finally He tells us to put our
“trust in God”.
It’s ok to be angry about loss, and disappointment and even unanswered prayer, it’s ok. It’s ok. The Word says climb into bed, meditate and pray, and be still, and lastly, even though it will probably be a sacrifice, DO THE RIGHT THING, make the sacrifices of righteousness and trust God!!

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Mix It With Faith

Heb 4:2 For indeed the good news was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

Think of the amazing things God has done for you, there are so many, and yet often when I cry out to Him my need I fret and worry and wring my hands for fear that He won’t answer. And a long trial, is the most challenging! But lately I’ve been remembering Heb4:2, mix it w faith. The promises of God are yea and amen to those who mix them with faith. In the wilderness, when the spies returned with their report and Joshua and Caleb rejoiced that though there are giants we need not be afraid, everyone, nevertheless chose to walk in unbelief …that cost them the Promised Land. Heb4:2 “… the word they heard did not profit them, not being mixed w faith by those who heard it.” Unbelief kept them out of the Promised Land, away from the rest of God He has promised. In our lives, has He made great and precious promises? Don’t let unbelief rob you, don’t let the enemy of our souls rob us. Mix it with faith!! Mix the promises of God you are claiming with faith! Without faith it is impossible to believe God!

Furlough

So here’s the thing, when you return to your home country there are a few things that generally happen.

You pack for several days, several days! After which, of course, your home in Africa is pretty much turned upside down, so you clean for a couple of hours. You’ve stocked the freezer with dog bones to last Sam and Frodoe, our German shepards, for a while. In Awassa, they don’t sell dog food, you make your own… yeah I know. So you go to the butcher and ask for bones and offal (disgusting) and because you’re from the good old USA and didn’t see an FDA certificate on the steaming hunk of meat you cook the bones. The smell is so bad that it has to be done outside (lol)! But I digress.

You wrangle your 8 pieces of luggage, including 5 massive trunks into the van and drive 5 perilous hrs to the airport. Why perilous, well it’s torn up in some spots and there are deep potholes that entire families could live in. And dare I forget the donkey carts, crazy Isuzu drivers, (I’d tell u what we call them but I might get kicked off social media), cows, motorists, trucks with trailers and children… Let’s just say perilous is a fitting description!

It turns out that the airport in Addis Ababa is a major hub for all of Africa, and believe me when I say, there are people there from all over the world! There are Indian’s going to India, Germans “on holiday”, Ethiopians headed to the Middle East and on and on and on. People are everywhere!! This airport is not for the faint of heart!

And we’re off, 8 hrs to Frankfurt with a 7 hour layover, and then 11 hrs more to SF. After traveling for about 30 hrs, you can understand, we were more than a little tired. We get on the wrong shuttle with our 8 pieces of luggage, drive to the hotel we thought was ours only to find it wasn’t that location, climb back into the shuttle and circle back to the airport, onto the right shuttle and to the right hotel, and reception asks “How was your day”, Gary’s tight lipped response “Fine.”

We arrive at my daughter’s house only to be greeted by these 2 lovely Angels, a.k.a. Grandchildren! And they have so much to tell me, so much they want me to see, and then there is the mention of ice cream, wow, is this real or am I dreaming?

We run to give a quick kiss and hug to Bobby (our most recent grandson) and we’re back at our home away from home. My granddaughter and I are listening to Corey read her a story, when I here him say, “leave her alone, she’s sleeping”, and I realize I’ve literally “nodded off” to the gentle press of my granddaughter’s nearness and her Dad reading us a story about, oh I can’t remember.

Furlough, Day 1.
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Love of God overflow

  • imageI was at Dorcas yesterday… How do you pray for people so destitute and in need? So scorned and forlorn, how do you pray? One woman who I remember as strong and powerful, but now has lost a lot of weight, was just resting on her side… When we began to pray I laid hands on her side, but she moved it to her belly and raised her shirt so I could lay hands on her skin. As I continued to pray she kept lifting her shirt. Finally I saw a very serious problem on her breast… I lowered her shirt and just continued to pray. They have meds for HIV which are free, but what of the accompanying maladies? Some feel a real stigma about taking the medicine, what about that? Some live in the streets, many have children (thanks for the clothes donations) but all live in squalor and unbelievable poverty. How does one pray? What came to mind was standing in line at Aushwitz and praying for your line mate… Not for nutritious food, a warm bed, or even the kindness of others. No, you pray love of God overflow permeate their souls, comfort them, bring peace and comfort in this great affliction. Visit them with Your presence Jesus because in Your presence is fullness of joy. It is not easy being here sometimes.

Oh, how abundant is your goodness…

Psalms 31:19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you…

We have friends here working in a certain ministry, and they learned of a 20 yr old, named Adam (not his real name), dying of cancer on his leg. He is from a village far away, but his father brought him to Hawassa, to a “Sisters of Mercy” outreach where he could be taken care of until he died. His friends in the village said their goodbyes and even held a funeral for him.

Sadly his father had lost his wife and daughter to a similar illness and was totally without hope. At the Sisters of Mercy Adam received a cursory examination and they felt also that there was no hope for the young man as it appeared the cancer had spread to his lungs. One of the Sisters wanted to go for a 2nd opinion, but was told it was hopeless and permission to seek a 2nd opinion was denied. Adam was very poor, and actually had no money to seek a second opinion. But this particular Sister continued to pray that somehow the Lord would send someone to bless Adam. All the while, Adam continued to grow weaker and weaker.

Maria (not her real name), a Polish volunteer heard of Adam and began praying w the Particular Sister, when along came another Priest. He gave permission for Adam to be taken for a second opinion. They learned that there was some respiratory issues but it wasn’t cancer. In our weekly ladies bible study Maria shared this prayer request, it was last Wednesday and we began to pray for Adam. The husband of one of our members is a Surgeon, and he agreed to see Adam. Though very busy and about to leave town he examined Adam. Another doctor had offered to take Adams case in a week, but Adam was dying and would not live another week. This was Friday, and Adam pleaded with the Surgeon to remove the leg and he agreed to amputate the leg the next day.

However the proper tools were not available. The Surgeon began to pray, and felt directed to go and buy a band saw… This is not standard medical equipment, this is the kind with the thin narrow blade… Yes, I know, INCREDIBLE! With this he amputated Adams leg and Adam testified that for the first time in months he could sleep without pain. He was so excited. He was overjoyed, so relived to have that painful appendage removed! His relationship w his father has been restored, his fathers faith has been restored, and Adam will be recovering at the Sisters of Mercy for the next 3 months! I want to meet him, I think God has something special in store for that young man!

This was the testimony that was shared 4 days later at our next ladies bible study, and we all rejoiced. So many miracles had to take place to give Adam his blessing, so many roadblocks and obstacles overcome, but we serve a mighty God!

Psalms31:19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you…

Unto the least of these

I bought my granddaughter a sparkly pair of Hello Kitty shoes, they were so cute! Sadly, they did not fit, so I just tossed them into my suitcase to take to ET, they were very cute and needed to be given to someone special. My friend Rachel, who operates an orphanage in the town where I live had a special someone in mind, Lantu. So I tuck them away and plan on giving them to her for her Bday! This same Lantu who, when playing make-believe-family, and everyone has called “dad” of “mom” or “sister” or brother” yells “I’m going to be Felecia, ‘come on guys'” in a perfect American accent, is the special someone Rachel has in mind. But God in His infinite wisdom took sweet Lantu home with Him that summer. She was born in an ET village with congenital heart disease, and was too old (she was 9 when she went to her Heavenly Father) by the time she was placed in Ebenezer Grace Children’s Home to be sent to the US for surgery. Surgery that, had she been born in the west, would have been easy to secure! She was an absolute blessing to everyone she met.

Months later a friend shows up at my door soaking wet, and she has two precious children w her. The boy has a hoodie, which is soaking wet but the little girl has on a t shirt and summer skirt… Oh Lord, they are going to catch “the pneumonia” as they would say in the country! It’s very early, around 8am, you have to know my friend, Sister Donna… Anyway! I make 2 heaping bowls of oatmeal, add raisins and my precious brown sugar. (It’s precious because it’s C&H and comes from America), and pray this will warm them up. They are soaked to the skin, and my friend asks if I have a change of clothes for them. The boy, a skinny teenager and the little girl aren’t the size of my kids so no, I don’t have anything. But this is ET and a little can go a long way. I find a hat for him and wrap a scarf around her and ask myself, is there anything else? And the Lord reminds me of the Hello Kitty shoes, Lord could I find them? Could they fit her?

Of course, they were a perfect fit!

Pictured above is a pair of shoes my 5 yr old granddaughter gave me “to give to the orphans”. I wonder what the Lord has in mind?

When you’ve ministered to the least of these, you’ve ministered to me. Jesus

I am so blessed to be here!

True Religion Pt. 2

I’m out for a stroll. I do this often, in the cool of the day, but before it gets dark. I pass this little cafe, which is basically a hole in the wall, and I notice these two little boys standing off to the side of the cafe entrance. They’re pretty dirty, like unbelievably dirty and they have no shoes on. Most everyone wears shoes, but they were pretty dirty and barefoot so immediately I thought street kids. Maybe they are 5 and 9, but I have no way of knowing.

The Lord just dropped it in my heart, buy them dinner. My natural reaction was, “really Lord?”, after all we can’t communicate, and Lord knows I don’t frequent hole in the wall cafes, but ok Lord. I’d walked passed them so had to double back. In my poor Amharic, which they may or may not have spoken, I asked if they wanted to eat. Walking into the cafe I got the waitresses attention, and told her we would like injera and wat for three. She looked at me then looked at them, then the entire restaurant turned around and looked at me then looked at them. I have known folks to treat street kids like untouchables, and I didn’t know if this fine establishment aka “hole in the wall” was going to decline service to them.

But no, God had this. I guess she spoke with the manager or someone, who smiled at me and the boys and asked if they wanted vegetables with their meal. Soon she brought out a large plate, one for them family style and one for me. I smiled, said “Grace” and dug in. They were a little tentative at first but no Ethiopian worth his salt is going to pass up a meal of injera and wat. We ate in silence except that there was a scary movie playing on the TV. I wondered should I distract them or something because I didn’t want the images to frighten them. Then I realized the images on the TV screen were probably incomprehensible to them. It was a story about a little boy afraid of something in his closet so he hid underneath his bed. These children sleep on the street or in a mud hut, they don’t know what a closet is, and the bedroom shown on the screen is something they have never seen and probably would have a hard time imagining. I guess I felt they couldn’t even understand what they were watching.

They ate and ate, then the waitress, realizing that I’d finished my meal, motioned for me to give the leftovers to the kids. She asked the older boy if he had ‘plastic”, a plastic bag, and he pulled one right out of his dirty pocket. She added my left overs to theirs, shoved it all in the bag, reminded him to say thank you, and we waved goodbye. The waitress tried to tell me the meal was on the house… But this was my blessing, so I paid the $2.50 for the three meals and walked home.

I trust God to grow and water the tiny seed that may have been planted into the hearts of those precious boys tonite. I was just obedient. So often we get an “urging”, or “prompting”, or “idea” or “notion”. Though it doesn’t make sense at the time, God may be in it so do your part to be obedient. “True religion is to minister to the widows and orphans “

Hello 2015!

my camera 132This is a new year 2015, and I am believing for many better things. 2014 was a doozie, it started off very badly, with the loss of my husband’s father, and its end was terrible, pretty epic! Oh, 2015 could not have come fast enough.

So how do we deal with trauma? Of course for physical trauma you see a doctor, and for some emotional and psychological trauma you seek professional help. Then there is the everyday garden variety betrayal, or ambush, or backstabbing… These are very common occurrences! Oftentimes the betrayal is innocent or unintentional, then other times it is deliberate and strategic! Ouch!

Well, this what God says about it “in everything give thanks”! Yes, that’s what God calls us to do! And He calls us to forgive! “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us,” yes, something else the Lord requires of us!

I’ve written about forgiveness before, it is a common theme in human circles, a product of the human condition. And God requires it if we are to move forward and be healthy! It is also true that He will help us, and is long suffering when we must make the decision again and again to forgive when we are hurt. Forgiveness is a choice, choose to forgive, it will bring His peace like a river and His joy like an ocean!

Pound of Flesh

When someone has hurt you, intentionally or unintentionally, directly or indirectly often our flesh is the first to react! Swiftly and “with a vengeance”… It’s human nature. Then there’s God, yeah, He’s trying to give us a new nature! A nature full of the Holy Spirit and Grace, and dare I say it, the “F” word, Forgiveness! This is where the battle rages.

In my journey to become like Him I have had seasons in my life where I have had to make a choice, follow God and live or hate the person who harmed me, give into my flesh and die! Sadly, for me, this is sometimes a difficult choice. I am not always the beacon of “godliness” I want to be😣. Sometimes, I want my “pound of flesh”!

But because I am His child, albeit sometime His “wayward child”, He is faithful to send along a prophet, scripture, counsel or circumstance etc. that will help me find my way back to Him and forgive and move on. Sometimes this is a process.

Feelings like vengeance and unforgiveness are so damaging to us, on so many levels physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are not built to manage these powerful emotions, they can lead to mental and physical illness, damaged relationships, stress and more. That’s why God says “vengeance is mine, I will repay.” He wants us to know He will take care of the matter, but in His time and according to His will. This leaves us free to move on, to forgive, to walk in peace! Much, much easier said than done, right… At least sometimes.

Am I withholding forgiveness, friendship, approval, kindness etc as a form of vengeance? Censure in my every word and deed, is that another way I am exacting my “pound of flesh”?

“He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Lord” Job6:14.

Lord, help us to forgive, have mercy on us!

So is the Glass Half Empty?

This is an American expression that is often used to describe how you perceive situations and circumstances? Is it a glass half full day, “filled with promise”… or a glass half empty day, or situation, “things just keep going from bad to worse”!

Personally I’m something of a pessimist, a glass half empty kinda girl. I’m more than a little risk-adverse, maybe even a scaredy cat… I know, I live in Ethiopia, how could I be a scaredy cat (lol)!

I don’t think I was always like that, when you’re young you think you’ll live forever and have all the time in the world to accomplish your dreams and goals. Somewhere along my journey, as I’ve experienced the joys, privileges as well as the responsibilities of raising 4 children, “the responsibilities” were much of the focus! We had fun, of course, but keeping them safe, and protected brought added reality to my otherwise care free world.

Somehow, I became a glass half empty person! I wonder about the 12 Spies Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land. All but 2 gave a bad report, and that “unbelief” resulted in 40 years wandering in the wilderness and the death of an entire generation! It just occurred to me, wow, would I have been one of the “nay sayers”, yikes! “Great land, but full of giants, no way, no how!” Or, is believing God or having “faith” more than having a positive attitude in the face of crisis! The Bible says, “Faith, is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” And later it says, “…by (faith), men of old obtained the promises (of God).” That sounds like more than positive thinking! Check out Hebrews 11, there are a lot of folks Moses, Jacob, Rahab, Samuel, David and Daniel just to name a few, none of whom strike me as the happy go lucky type. No, I get the feeling these were serious minded men and women who “believed the promises of God, and went for it!” And don’t forget Gideon, talk about a scaredy cat (lol)! Pretty much, they were all determined no nonsense individuals who believed God in the face of impossible odds, that’s faith!

I submit (lol) therefore those of us extremely risk adverse, who take responsibility very seriously, and sometimes see the glass half empty are not excluded from the promises of God, and are not destined to while away in some desert because of “unbelief”! Even scaredy cats believe God, I am proof positive!