Monday, January 30, 2012

Monkeys in the Mornings, Terrible Insects at Tea Time and Bushbabies awakening at Bathtime

Life goes at its own pace here in Africa, it has its definite cycle starting early in the morning and this morning, as I was trying to enjoy the cool of the sun (that arises at 5am) I encountered a troop of monkeys foraging for breakfast in the trees above me as I disrupted their morning routine.  Tea time comes around 10 every morning, with all sorts of interesting insects buzzing about enjoying the sun and clamoring over the faucet for a drink of some life giving sustenance … round bath time in the evening the rescued bushbaby (seen with Alistair in picture below) in the front yard comes awake and continues the cycle of life to watch over the night as we all power down early to rest before the hasty sun arises again at 5am.

bushbaby ZackTo say the kids are getting the full Charlotte Mason experience here in Southern Africa is an understatement!

Yesterday we spent the day getting acquainted with the camp and all the staff, and having a very sweet time of prayer with everyone up at the highest point on the property here, they call Everest, as we prayed down over the canopy stretching towards the water in the distance, you can only marvel at the work the Lord is doing here and in this beautiful land, and you cannot help but be compelled to pray for the Lords protection and growth in this place, and for it to stretch out like the canopy of the trees and to penetrate the lives and families of all those that come through this place.

Its so exciting to see my husband come alive, and to watch the kids interact with those of the very varied cultures you encounter here, just like they are old friends never having been apart and watching George and his hard working helping hands, to the sweet ladies who are our hands and feet, that feed and clean, so we in turn can be those hands and feet to others, so the cycle goes and you get that settled and thankful knowing that this is where you are to be, this is your time.

The cultural diversity you see here is so diverse, some have so little yet so much as they fully embrace life and all the Lord has for them.  This morning, I struggle to find my place torn between two worlds, not wanting to serve two masters, seeking the Lords face for how He would have me serve as the mom He has called me to be, yet not forsaking the heart He has given us as a family for the people of this country.

So our prayer today is to seek His will in all we do, and then Lord so graciously ushers us into the routine of homeschooling (with two extra kids in tow) today, as David labors on in the workshop-using his God given gifts to pull two vehicles apart to have them become one, as beloved ones go off to a funeral to mourn the loss of friends, we realize our place of service for the day.  Just like David in the workshop learning to make two vehicles out of onw, this African country, where the two are learning to become one and the people wrestle side by side doing foreign things and being stretched into new boundaries, to become one nation under God, one nation that can serve Him and be transformed into what He has called this land to be.

Today, in the stead of those who need time to grieve, we welcome our first camp of high school seniors, and we thank the Lord for placing us here for such a time as this, for giving us our daily bread and showing us the path He has for our day, for showing us He alone is to be our Master, and that as we follow Him so He will lead us day by day.

The boundaries are being stretched and the relationships are being deepened, and the name of the Lord above all is being praised.  Thank you for allowing us to be here, to be the extra hands, and mouths and feet where needed.

May those who wait upon the Lord, renew their strength, and mount up on wings like eagles, as they run and walk and do not grow weary or faint….today lean not on your own understanding, as you follow the path the Lord has for you, seek His face in all you do, and use every good and perfect thing He has given you from above for His glory.

We love you…

Jackie for the Grays

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We've arrived!

We have been enjoying the our first few days in Harare with the Beautiful Bekars, its been a really sweet time connecting with old friends, making new ones for the kids, and great fellowship in the Lord.

The Lord knitted our hearts together with the then 4 Bekars on the very first trip our church took to Zimbabwe backing 2007,  since then they have added 3 more beautiful children to their home and become the first African Homes of Love.

We have had a wonderful time with them getting to know their family on a deeper level, and seeing how they do life here in Harare, we have been blessed with being able to go round Harare some, seeing giraffes, zebras and wildebeest in the middle of this now very green city (we usually come in the dry season), going to church with them, getting to meet some of their extended family and friends, and enjoying shopping at the now very stocked grocery stores, compared to a few years ago, when shelves were empty and people had to travel many miles to neighboring countries just to get basics like cooking oil and flour…

Although much now is still available in the stores, it does come at a price, which is still very unaffordable to the majority of the local people, so it has been fun cooking and allowing them to try different foods that they normally do not eat, simple things like salsa and chips which is a staple in our house back home – Millie and Jackie have been having many great conversations round their kitchen table preparing and cooking together.

David has been building some furniture and helping with car repairs and getting to spend time with Shadreck doing all this, which has been sweet to see them get some time together and to know each other better.  Which in turn led Jackie and Millie get a girls afternoon out today, to get some supplies and have a mini Mom’s retreat for the afternoon.

It’s also been to have family prayers and singing in the evenings before bed, and listening to Abby in her bed at night singing my favorite Shona song.  Its so sweet to watch the children form their own relationships – regardless of the language barrier with the younger girls, and watching the boys skating out in the road and playing with the neighborhood kids, and just carrying on like children and enjoying life where they are at regardless of the fact that we are 6,000 miles form home in a completely different and colorful land.

Tomorrow we head of to Lasting Impressions for the next two weeks to serve alongside the Croudaces.  Jackie will be visiting with the ladies from the Croudaces church for their monthly tea on Saturday afternoon – so please ask for the Lord to guide her in her talk, and tea parties are right in her comfort zone, so the Lord will be putting in her comfort and in her uncomfortable zone all in one afternoon!

David is excited about getting to work with Al on the many projects he has going.

We love you all and thank you all so much for your prayers and support to allow us to be here…

Much love in the Lord,

David, Jackie, Daniel, Timothy and Abby…

Psalm 52:8 – I trust in the loving kindness of God forever

Monday, January 16, 2012

The heart of the Mission

Dear friends
As we enter our last couple of days before we leave, we would just like to say how grateful we are to all of you who have come alongside us in obedience to what the Lord has put on your heart to be a part of for this venture we are on with the Him.
We have tried to thank each and every one of you personally or via email, but if we haven't thank you so much, this past week we have been so overwhelmed by the Lords provision for this trip, and know He is using us to be His hands and feet to go and bless many with your gifts of prayer,  finances and supplies.
We have been given the freedom to go into all the world and bless the very least of these and to say we are excited is an understatement!  We are still walking around not quite believing how the Lord has met us in meeting the very deepest desires of our hearts for this trip, so many details that have had our head swimming, are falling into place like a well oiled machine, it is such a privelege to literally be able to just watch the hand of the Lord move all around us.
Please be lifting us up in prayer these last two days:
For Abby not to be anxious
For good rest before our long journey
For any last minute details not to be overlooked
For the 'laundry pile' to majically and without much fuss make it into the suitcases waiting its immenent arrival! :)
For our luggage to arrive safely and for us to pass through without incident
For our host families, that we would be a blessing and not a hinderance to them
For safety on the roads
For us to be sensitive to the Lords leading each day we are there
For restoration of broken places and relationships
For quick adjustment to the time zone
For health, and no adverse reactions to malaria meds
For the hearts of those we are going to serve to be open to what the Lord would have us do and share with them
May the Lord bless and keep you all and make His face to shine upon you, may he be gracious to you and grant you His peace...
If you would still like to make an online donation, now or when we are away you may do say anytime at:
Much love in the Lord
The Gray Family

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pictoral prayer requests

Your word is alamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?

Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.

Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
                                          And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning