Tag Archives: missions

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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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…

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!

Fire Over Africa 5K Walk/Run (CA)

Yesterday, in Oakland we held a 5K Walk/Run, and it was a blast!. Over 100 Walkers registered, gathered sponsors and raised tons of money for Fire Over Africa our NGO, and the programs we support like, orphanages, leadership training, and medical missions outreach. Our 5K committee was inspired!! They invented fresh and fun ideas for making the day incredibly memorable for us all. We had an amazing treat, Gete, a young Ethiopian woman, who runs a 6 minute mile was part of our event, and boy was she fast!

The day was perfect for a walk or run, it was overcast and a little chilly, so as we began to move around we warmed up quickly! Our welcome tables overflowed with sweet treats while balloons and the sounds of rockin cool beats made you want to dance or “walk” your cares away! There were groups of young professionals, moms pushing strollers, entire families, grandmas, and grandpas, you name it they were there!! Even our very on Pastors David and Marilyn walked! We had runners, joggers, and  walkers galore. Lake Merritt is a naturally beautiful site for this kind of event and its wild life includes pelicans, geese, lunes and many other birds. 

Laughter was everywhere, and excitement was in the atmosphere! Everyone was excited to be walking or running for such an amazing cause but also to be having so much fun hanging out at the Lake with friends new and old. It was a great day and a great event, from the Bubble Machine Station, I know, go figure… to my personal favorite, the Photo Op Station!! Thank you all for making the Oakland 5K a great success, we are already planning others for the future, and the NY run is just around the corner. Thank you all so much, for joining us as we bless the people of the land of “13 months of sunshine”, Ethiopia!!

Kansas, it’s way overrated!

gif-monkey-family-2a
I loved the Wizard of Oz, and Dorothy’s comment to Toto, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…” has become my “go to” phrase when I think about my life in Awassa, Ethiopia. One day I decided to go adventuring so I changed my clothes, grabbed my umbrella and a few Birr, and was off.

Immediately I stopped short…I had to wait for a monkey to run across the street. He looked just like the “Outbreak” monkey! Now that’s something you don’t see everyday in the States, but in Awassa it’s an everyday occurrence. After he scurried across the street, with something resembling a loping gait, I began to notice he was on all fours carrying a baby that was curled up and holding on for dear life. Suddenly I realized, what I thought was a “he” was probably a “she”! On top of all this she was balancing this really long tail. And I thought, for the umpteenth time, yup, no Kansas around here. Sure, life in Ethiopia is pretty unusual by our western standards, but the Bible tells us “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” Matt 28:19. Yes, He even intends for us to go to those nations which force us to move outside our “comfort zone”. So, I may not be in Kansas, but I’m where I belong… Kansas, it’s way overrated!

Water… /whä/ … ውኃ (in Amharic)

Last year we had been waiting for our senior pastor and a team to visit us for a while.  About a week prior to their scheduled arrival, we had problems with the city water, but we weren’t concerned, we have 1500 liters in reserve and rarely have to worry about water. A well would cost $20 thousand US dollars, we’d gotten a price from a well building non-profit, so we’d gone the other route, keeping enormous tanks in reserve. So, when problems surfaced, we did a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and voila we were back in business.

Our team arrived and we were so excited.  I’d made tons of meals in advance, decorated, and anticipated their every need and want… we were ready. The first night of their visit, my husband notices the water pressure is pretty low.  No way, that’s not going to happen, we’ve anticipated their every need and want, how can this be?

That morning our 5 guests woke up excited about their African adventure, only to discover there was no water. Of course, they mused, it’s a very odd thing to have happen, but hey, for most of them this was their first time in ET, so what the hay, and we thought, it will come on tomorrow.

But by the 2nd night, we learned the cities new schedule for our area was water every 3 days! Our collective disappointment verged on disbelief… I was so bummed.  It’s hard to get enough water to wash a few dishes, let alone give one of the nine people staying in our home a shower.  I couldn’t believe this was happening. We’ve had donkey carts deliver water into our reserve tanks, but not this time Lord.  Instead, we hauled out buckets for every bathroom, and used all our reserve for washing dishes and cooking.

Yes, Lord I wanted our guests to have a true African experience, but no water? I learned upon becoming a missionary to a developing nation, you need water of course to take a shower, but even to flush the toilets, even if you’re doing it manually, which is your only choice when the toilets don’t work b/c there is no city water!

What will the missions report back at our home church read… those Munson’s how can they call that a guest house when they can’t even deal with the water situation. We sure don’t want to stay there again! Of course the enemy was trying to sell me that bill of goods. But God!! Why had they come, they’d come to encourage us, and they had, to hold a pastors conference, and it was amazing, and to stir two thousand college kids to action, and they were super stirred!!

In light of the amazing things that were accomplished on this trip, going without a shower for a few days is a pretty small price to pay. The team enjoyed every bit of it, and had a few funny stories to tell about their experiences in the Motherland… God is good!!

Scriptures I used to encourage myself during this time:

Romans 8:28, Paul’s experiences as a missionary

5K Walk/Run for Fire Over Africa

English-Christmas-2

We’re a non profit and naturally fundraising is a large part of what we do. Its not really possible to do that in ET, it is a developing nation and so we have to do fundraising in the US. We have some experience with this, but to continue the projects we already sponsor we have to begin major fundraising for our programs. Thank God we don’t have to raise funds for our living expenses, which means all the money we do raise goes to support the programs and people of Ethiopia that we have grown to love and appreciate.

I’m bushed now because for about 6 hrs today I talked to people about the 5K, and even signed up 30 + Walkers. God is so good, I think this event is really going to be a success and we are going to raise a lot of money for Fire Over Africa!

Also, special thanks to those of you who have started following me. I always wanted a blog and many friends encouraged me to do it… I just didn’t know how! Thanks Kirsten for all your help! Hopefully I’ll really get the hang of it and share with you some of the crazy things about life in the Motherland.