More To Worship

Most of us who went to church this past weekend participated in praise and worship and listened to the various sermons during the services. I wonder how many of us would God actually say

Tell my people Israel of their sins! Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.

‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers.

What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord? – Isaiah 58:1-5 NLT, emphasis mine

As if I were looking into a mirror, I look at these verses and realize how many times I scream out to God, “why aren’t you impressed with _________?” As I read these verses I have to wonder how many times I perform my acts of worship only for myself. I wonder how many times I simply roll through the motions in worshiping, praying, studying. I wonder if God would call me on these same issues the Israelites were struggling with. And I am challenged to continue to take what I absorb in my head and let it mold my heart to one that only desires to please the Lord.

“Dress”ing Up

Bechan has always loved to dress up, but her interest in wearing her play dresses and heels has grown exponentially over the past month. She wears her play outfits all over the place right now.

A couple of days ago I took Becs to WalMart with me. I lost the battle of the wills so I took her with me while she wore one of her princess dresses and play heels. In fact, I brought her tennis shoes along just in case, but she never needed them.

Yesterday, Ashe went to play with his buddies down the street and Becs wanted to be outside also. Becs and I hung out and she wore her princess outfit everywhere we went. Bicycling? No problem. Playing ball? No problem. Playing with Asher’s Star Wars Nerf rifle? Let’s do it!

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Leaf Pile O’ Fun

The best entertainment we could find for under $1 was the large number of leaves in our front yard. We were finally able to tackle the leaves today and, as is common with most families, the kids wanted to play in the giant pile of leaves.

Interesting Facts About Today
Asher suggested that we ask one of our neighbors if we could collect their leaves on another day so we could play in them also. I told him we could do it for free. He suggested that we pay them $1 so we can make sure they will let us.

Playing in the leaves is a much better motivator to rake leaves than extra allowance money. As the pile got bigger, Asher was excited and started raking with me to speed up the process.

Finally, yes, Becs is wearing a leotard while playing in the leaves. She put it on right before picking up Ashe from school.

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Email Subscriptions

If you follow the Charlotte to Senegal blog I recently changed over the email subscription service to utilize WordPress’ powerful email system and to try and reduce the number of plugins used on the blog.

I have been planning on doing this with my blog as well. That time is now. After this post’s email, you should see another email from me and WordPress telling you that you have subscribed to my blog with your given email address.

If you still want to follow along then confirm your subscription. If you think you have had enough and want to move on to bigger and better things then simply ignore the email and you will not be added.

If you decide this is the end of the road with my blog then I completely understand and thank you for the time you have taken to follow along with me and my thoughts! I have truly appreciated it.

Maslow In Real Life

Back when I was in school, I learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Essentially, Maslow’s theory was that as one need is met, people move onto their next need that is unmet. At the time, it seemed like a very sound concept and one that appeared to be true. Despite that, though, it was only a theory that had very little actual application in my life.

This year’s visit allowed me to see Maslow’s hierarchy lived out in real life. I had the opportunity to be able to talk with some of the leaders of our host organization and of Ndjemane. This year, their prayer requests were slightly different from in the past. When my church first arrived in Ndjemane, two of their major prayer requests were for water and for healthcare.

Over the years, God has answered those prayers. We have sent multiple medical clinics to the village and they now have accessible water.

When we first came to Ndjemane, the villagers had to travel for about an hour every day or two to get water from the closest water source. Just getting water had an incredible impact on their lives. Through donations, our church was able to raise enough money to provide the equipment and supplies needed to bring water directly into the village.

There are now four different water spigots located throughout the village. Nowadays you can walk out to any given water spigot and you will see dozens of five-gallon water containers waiting to be filled. The village of 2,500 now has easily accessible water. Basic need met; moving on.

This year, the needs had shifted slightly. The leaders of the village were interested in installing a grain silo. Obviously, the silo would allow them to better withstand drought situations like they are experiencing this year. I am not sure how or even if Forest Hill will play a part in helping Ndjemane get a grain silo. There are a lot of discussions between our host organization, Ndjemane, and other villages about sharing a common silo(s), etc. so they can figure out the best approach for the future of the area.

I hope they are able to get some type of grain storage system set up. I wonder if, as that need is met, what would be their next need that needs to be addressed. I will have to checkmout Maslow’s chart for that information. For now, though, I rejoice in the fact that a village very close to my heart can get water with limited work and effort.

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Senegal November 2012

I am back in Senegal again with a mission team from my church, Forest Hill. This trip we are assisting the village’s church by teaching the church members stories from Genesis and how they point to Jesus. This is valuable to the church because until very recently the Old Testament was not translated into Serere and many people do not know this part of Scripture.

As I write, we are driving from Dakar to Thies and the trip has been incredibly smooth so far. Our planes were on time and the wait times, both during the layover and during the flight, seemed to fly by. Everyone got through customs and to the bus without any issues. I am thankful to God for all of this and for providing such a relaxing way to begin our mission trip.

The verse I continue to hold close to me for this trip is 1 Thessalonians 2:8.

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.

I pray that the people in the village do see how much we love them.

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Fire Station Life

If you have spent time in a fire station then you have probably seen the guy(s) that are portrayed in this video. The people who made this video nailed station life perfectly. I have laughed every time I have watched this video.

My favorite part of the video is toward the end when they portray the firefighters who take the last pot of coffee and do not make more along with the firefighter who half-heartedly replaces the toilet paper. Seriously, does it take that much time to replace the toilet paper properly?

I guess no matter where you are in the country, we all experience the same things in the fire stations.

FYI, to my knowledge, this video will not appear on mobile phones due to copyright restrictions. Also, contrary to the warning at the beginning, there is no offensive content, unless you are one of the crusty/salty firefighters.

Update: In case the video does not work for you, here is the link to the I’m Salty and I Know It video.

Examples For the Next Ones

Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.

In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. (Titus 2:2, 6, 7 NLT)

This morning, as I read these verses, I thought about how fortunate I have been to have had two great fatherly role models in my life. The first role model was my dad.

Although Dad passed away over ten years ago, he still leaves a lasting impression on me. As if Dad had been given direct, face-to-face instruction by Paul himself, he led a life filled with these aforementioned characteristics: self-control, wisdom, love, integrity, and patience. Dad lived in a manner that was worthy of respect and his example still guides many of the decisions I make today.

The second fatherly role model in my life is Allen, my father-in-law. Talk about winning the jackpot. I married the most beautiful, creative, and talented woman of my dreams and also got a bonus in an rock solid father-in-law.

Like Dad, Allen also lives a life filled with self-control, integrity, and an inspiring faith in Christ. He sets a great example for me on how to treat others, live a integrous life, and how to continue to build a sound faith. I appreciate his continued example and guidance.

I hope that as I follow my Dad's and Allen's examples and continue to live out verses such as Titus 2 that I will also set the path for Asher and Bechan's future husband. I pray that the same example I have been given will be paid forward to them so as to teach them how to be true men.