Friday, June 13, 2008

Miracle Birds In Alaska - June 2008

As a child I grew up admiring the life of St. Francis of Assisi. I was especially drawn to him and his way with animals. They apparantly had no fear of him. I have always been intrigued by this and desired the same for my own life. Throughout my years, as I would spy a deer, squirrel or bird, I would yearn for the gift of St. Francis, but to no avail. That is until my last trip to Alaska.

I traveled to Alaska May 19-June 2 to speak and minsiter. I had spoken at a church one Sunday morning decided to go outside and spend some time with the Lord that afternoon. I would be speaking again that evening. I took my Bible along with me outside into the cool Alaska air. As I made my way to a comfortable spot on the stairs of a friend's house that led to their second story wooden deck, I opened my Bible to read Acts chapter 2.

I was about ten minutes into my study when all of a sudden there was a flutter. And instantly there was a bird perched next to my feet and a second bird perched on the handrailing near my head. I dared not look at the bird near my head for fear I might scare it away. I was astonished. I studied the black and white headed chickadee at my feet for a few moments. Then, another flutter. The sound of wings and a suddenly there appeared a third bird. It was soft and gray with black, charcoal eyes. It landed on edge of the open Bible in my hands. As quickly as it landed, it cocked its head and stared directly at me as I stared back in disbelief. There we were looking at each other, natural enemies, for many seconds. Then a terrible, yet comical thought filled my head.

"This bird is going to peck my eyes out." (Strange thought I know)

As soon as the ugly thought entered my mind, there was another flutter and just as quickly as they appeared, the birds were gone. I quickly ran inside to ask my hosts if the birds in Alaska were different somehow of birds in other places.

"Are your birds not afraid of human beings?" I sasked. I shared what had just happened. TMy hosts smiled and informed me that they were no different in Alaska than anywhere else.



Monday, June 09, 2008

Report from Sue in India - June 2008

Report from India...

The town is called Ananthavaram, but is probably not on any map you can find. If you had been with me and met the grandmother who lives in a small room behind a cow stall and had her pray for you, as she did for me, you would not be in a pit. You would be praising God for your home, your family, your clean kitchen and your beautiful clothes. We hosted a dinner for the widows of the village and gave them each a cotton sari. Cotton is grown in this area and also woven locally and often dyed with natural dyes, so they are cheap, less than $2. Grandmother's sari was woven with two different colors of thread giving it an iridescent look. It had a beautiful green border. We went to visit her the next morning and she had SLEPT in it! She is quite bow-legged and arthritic, but ambled slowly to her grinding stone outside to prepare some chutney for us. Roasted peanuts, oil, salt and a few small peppers were slowly ground to a paste requiring about 30 minutes with the ancient stone. Her daughter in law made hot dosas (similar to a thin crepe) and we used the dosas to sop up the chutney. Heavenly!

Grandmother was born Hindu in a village only a few miles away, an extremely poor village. There were many children in the family, so when she was old enough she was married off to a man from Ananthavaram. Their custom is to move to the husband's village and she has been here since. She was only blessed with one child, a son, but he grew strong, became a village and church leader and had four sons and one daughter. The third son, Suresh, is the man I met on the train last year.

Every morning grandmother arises and starts singing and praising God. She sometimes sings for hours, they say. I have promised to return in October and take her to her village to visit her extended family who still live there.

Please continue to pray, as I will pray for you. I am sitting in the Calcutta airport at a small cybercafe waiting to board my flight to Imphal. Only one week and I have already had an amazing time with God.

We are planning a medical clinic for Ananthavaram in October, hope to continue the feeding of the widows and are praying for funds to complete the church. So much already planned for only the first stop in my journey.

My prayer: may God bless you, wrap His arms around you and lift you to new heights in Him. May He send His Holy Sprit to reside in you and guide you and encourage you. May he send Christian friends to your side and, each day, show you His ways.