Wise Wednesday ~ 3/8/17

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”‘
Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

Time With Carson

My soul can get weary.  Been there? For me, it’s the striving I think.  Maybe it’s the same for you or maybe something else takes its toll on your soul. No matter how it gets that way, having a drained soul weighs you down. Joy is hard to find. Peace seems out of reach. And the energy to love as we should? Not there, disconnected, out of order.

I found myself in just such a place not too long ago. While blessings abounded around me, inside that most sacred place I felt hollow. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for all I have or don’t recognize God working in my life: I am and I do.  It may be those very things that shout and echo against the walls of my tired soul; “God has abundantly blessed you so Do more! Be more!” And then I don’t……I’m not…..My soul sighs.

It so happens that at the very time my soul felt depleted, I was privileged to babysit my wonderful grandson, Carson!  It may have appeared that I was taking care of him, but from milk and Mickey first thing in the morning until bedtime stories and goodnight prayers at the end of the day, Carson was mending my soul.

“And he said:  “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

Who’d have guessed that playing at the park, throwing sticks in a pond, or a walk along the creek would revive my tired soul? I watched as he stooped low to get an up close look at moss growing on a rock, spotted a bird gliding high across the sky, laughed at leaves on the wind, nestled in a pile of well loved blankets to fall asleep, and when afraid to go down the slide alone? He kept his eyes on me, let go of the sides, and sailed down into my waiting arms!

“Change and become like little children.” My time with Carson reminded me to: like him, engage in the world around me, find joy in little things, rest in the knowledge that I am loved, and most importantly:  to take my eyes off myself, loosen the grip I have on wanting control, and trust that even when I’m not sure what’s waiting for me; I know WHO’s waiting for me!

Children really DO heal our souls if we’ll only watch, listen, and learn to humble ourselves to become more like them.  Of course, this MiMi thinks Carson is the cutest, smartest, strongest, most talented child of all! (I’m sure you know one of those too!) When he puts his little hand in mine and looks up at me with his perfect tiny toothed grin my heart overflows with unconditional love and I want nothing more than to be sure he knows he’s treasured! And isn’t that just like God? He waits for us to put our hand with childlike wonder in his, look to him, and to know without a doubt that we are precious and loved.  To become more like a child, HIS child……now that’s refreshing to the soul!

M’m! M’m! Monday 2/6/17 ~ A Gathering Place

“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:20 (NIV)

Time has passed. It’s been months since my last M’m! M’m! Monday!  A lot has sure happened.  And now, here I am at one of my favorite places in our new house:  My “sit down, catch up, tell stories, laugh, play games, decorate cookies, dine, and type a blog post table”.  OK, ok, we’ll just call it the dining room table for short.

I love everything about this spot!  I love the long table, comfortable chairs, the inviting colors,  rustic textures, and the soft light that filters through the curtains.  I love that it’s the center of our home.  But most of all, I love that it beckons to be gathered in.

A gathering place. A place where friendship is offered, love is shared, and memories made.  Where new recipes are served, celebrations had, and plans are formed.  A place to talk over the day, remember times past, and hope for tomorrow. A place where hands are held, heads are bowed, and prayers are said.

There seem to be so many things pulling people apart these days. It saddens me. I worry about our future.  What if instead of moving further apart, we made more of an effort to get together, to create more gathering places? What if the line at the grocery store, the bleachers in the gym, or the waiting room at the dentist office could become a place of camaraderie and encouragement?  It doesn’t take a “sit down, catch up, tell stories, laugh, play games, decorate cookies, dine, and type a blog post table” to create a gathering place; it just takes a smile, an outstretched hand, or a kind word to draw others in.

Our new home is such a blessing to us.  I don’t want it to stop there though.  The desire of my heart is for it to be a gathering place; a place where others feel served and treasured, find respite and renewal, and feel just as blessed to be here, as I do!

And now here is an easy recipe that’s sure to bring them to the table!  You can’t go wrong with Oreos!

Oreo Cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • 22 Oreo cookies
  • 2-8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  • Place 16 paper liners in muffin tins.
  • Put one whole Oreo in the bottom of each lined cup.
  • In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the cream cheese until it's smooth. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Mix in the vanilla and the add the eggs until blended. Beat in the sour cream and salt. Do not overmix.
  • Coarsely chop the 6 Oreos that are left and stir in to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Divide the batter among the cookie-lined cups filling each almost to the top.
  • Bake until the filling is set, about 22 minutes.
  • Transfer to wire racks to cool completely inside the muffin tins.
  • Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
  • *I topped each individual cheesecake with some whipped cream and a little crushed Oreo to serve.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2017/02/06/mm-mm-monday-2617-a-gathering-place/

Stanley’s Dream

 

Miracles of Living Hope

Marilyn Uhl will be the first to tell you that establishing and running Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya couldn’t happen without God.  She will also tell you that the longer she’s in Africa, the stronger her faith grows.  Marilyn has seen God work things out in strange and powerful ways when even she didn’t believe He would.  “I don’t know why we don’t have total faith because He never lets us down.” she reminds us.  “He might not answer us the way we want or when we want, but He always has our good in mind.”  The Living Hope journey continues with true stories of the miraculous ways God is working in the lives of Marilyn and her students.

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV) Pixabay

Stanley’s Dream

It’s unlikely that you or I could navigate the narrow, winding paths that lead through the bush-covered interior outside Bungoma to find the small, isolated house where Stanley’s story begins.  He was the first born of four children to proud parents who encouraged them in all they did. The family worked hard on their small farm to survive and while they were rich in love, there was very little money.

Stanley enjoyed school and excelled in his high school courses but as the time drew near for his final exam, he faced a cold, hard truth.  As much as his parents desired to help him, they just didn’t have the funds; so Stanley did the only thing he knew to do: he prayed.  He prayed fervently.  He prayed continually.  He prayed right up into the evening before the registration money was due and still he had no answer.  As the family sat down that night for supper something unusual happened.  They were startled by a knock at their door.  Much to Stanley’s surprise, and an answer to his prayer, there stood one of his teachers. This teacher recognized the potential in Stanley and told him that he would pay his school registration fees enabling him to finish high school and take his exam.  Stanley immediately began praising God and thanking his teacher.  Songs of rejoicing filled the tiny home.

As often happens in life, rejoicing turned to sorrow as Stanley experienced a crushing blow.  His father unexpectedly passed away.  Seeing an opportunity, Stanley’s uncle swooped in and offered to help the family by taking Stanley to live with him.  Stanley’s life would never be the same.  Outside the uncle’s kitchen was an old side shed that at times had been used to house cows and chickens.  It was small, dark, had a stench, and now was Stanley’s room.  He soon learned that he was expected to be his uncle’s house boy receiving no pay in return.  He worked all day: cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and caring for his small cousins.  The only food Stanley got each day were the few sips or nibbles he was able to sneak as he prepared the family’s meals.  Stanley was now a slave but he never stopped praying for the dream he held deep in his heart to somehow come true.

Days turned into weeks and weeks became years when one day while Stanley was doing chores he noticed a woman moving into the duplex next door to his uncle’s.  He soon learned that Marilyn was a teacher and administrator at her own school: Living Hope. They quickly became friends and he shared with Marilyn that he’d been with his uncle for six years and in that time he’d prayed every single day for God to provide a way for his dream to be realized.  Having never shared the words aloud with anyone before, they felt strange crossing his tongue as he confided in Marilyn that his dream was to be a teacher too. He revealed  that somehow he’d always known he was supposed to be a teacher even though he could see absolutely no way for it to happen.

Other than praying, Stanley had no idea what it would take to make his dream of teaching a reality; so Marilyn sent him on his bike to the small teaching college in town.  The trip home seemed to take much longer than the trip to the school as he now carried the heavy burden of knowing he’d never experience the joy of being a teacher.  Up until now, he had no idea what college would cost and it was just too expensive, especially for someone who had nothing!

But “nothing” didn’t describe what Stanley had because He. Had. God.  AND God had a plan! We’re promised God hears our prayers so when Stanley needed a miracle a teacher arrived on his doorstep. When Marilyn needed a place to live, she miraculously found an answer in the duplex next door to Stanley.  Now, Stanley needed a way to make his dream of being a teacher more than a dream and he was about to find his miraculous answer in Marilyn!

When Marilyn saw the look of defeat on Stanley’s face her heart was moved. It didn’t take her long to offer to pay his tuition for the first semester and buy all the supplies he’d need; but she told him that after that God would have to handle the rest. And handle it He did!

Stanley flourished at college but at the end of the semester, as expected, he was out of money and at the time so was Marilyn.  Prayers were lifted once again, and Marilyn’s sister stepped in when she realized how troubled Marilyn was about Stanley’s situation and her inability to continue to help him.  She provided for Stanley so that he could finish his two year program and receive his Associates Degree.  It was a bittersweet achievement as Stanley found himself in the exact spot he’d been in time and time again…holding on to the dream of being a teacher, having no money, and praying fervently for God to make a way.  Meanwhile, Marilyn was home in West Virginia traveling from church to church speaking about Living Hope High School.  While at Faith United Methodist Church, she felt compelled to tell Stanley’s story.  As church dismissed, coming up from the back of the church, a couple approached Marilyn.  They’d been so moved by Stanley’s story that they pledged to support him through his final two years of college.

Knowing his teacher, Marilyn, her sister, and the family from Faith Church were answers to his constant prayers, Stanley never took their gifts to him for granted.  He worked diligently to make his dream come true and graduated with his teaching certification!

Some would say that Marilyn’s moving next door to Stanley’s uncle was a coincidence.  Marilyn, Stanley, and now you, know differently.  God works out His plans for us in miraculous, unexpected ways.  They may not happen just as we imagine or on our time table, but He works them out for our best.  You see, Stanley’s story doesn’t end here….He is now the Head Administrator and Marilyn’s most trusted employee at Living Hope High School! God sent Marilyn to Stanley and she will tell you that Stanley is a Godsend to her. Neither could do what they do without the other. Now, I’d say that’s a dream come true!

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma, Kenya

For more information on Living Hope High School, go to www.livinghopehighschool.org or call Helen Markwell at 304-567-2254.

Wise Wednesday 10/19/16

img_2774

“One of the gifts of being a Christian, is being content where you are.” I was in a conversation this morning when I heard these words.  They weren’t spoken about me, but they sure spoke TO me! Loud. And. Clear. And, I have no doubt I was meant to hear them.

Content: “satisfied with what one is or has”  May I be honest with you?  I don’t know the last time I’ve felt content!  In my mind, there always seems to be something lacking: in my circumstances, my relationships, and myself! It hadn’t occurred to me, until now that is, that trying so hard to be a good Christian has caused me to miss out on a gift of being a Christian!

 Striving is second nature to me…..striving to always do better and be better. That’s good, right? I’ve been telling myself it’s not only good, but it’s necessary! Now I’m wondering, is it? Constantly attempting to improve, worrying when I don’t, and the negative words that I repeat in my head DON’T feel like rewards at all. 

It took another conversation for me to see that I’ve been depending on…..wait for it…..ME! I don’t want to admit it, but all that striving is really my attempt at pleasing God through my efforts, my works!  Whoa!  As much as I’d like to deny it, and believe me I tried, this striving girl has been struggling so hard I’ve ignored the Giver and the gift!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NIV)

What about you? Are you as ready as I am, to stop the striving? It isn’t going to be easy.  There’s a part of me that’s scared at the thought of not constantly monitoring my progress but there’s also a sense of relief that comes with the knowledge that in my weakness, God’s power is made perfect. So, I say it’s time! Let’s open the gift! First, untie the ribbons that bind us to our performance. Then, let’s unwrap ourselves from the belief that we have the strength to do anything on our own. And finally, let’s  open our hearts and know there’s true contentment found in the “presence” of God’s grace. 

P.S. Thank you to my mother-in-law for sharing her wise words and to my husband, whose patient guidance helps me in this journey of life.

Wise Wednesday 10/12/16

comparison-001

“Oh, I wish I had long, straight hair like her instead of my wild, curly hair.” “How could I let myself get this heavy when they look so slim and fit?” “I can’t speak in front of them. They know much more about the Bible than I do.” Why would anyone want to read what I write when there are so many better bloggers than me?” “They wouldn’t be my friends if they knew how many more times I fail than they do.”

Comparison. To be honest, it’s been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember and I always end up feeling I come up short.  It’s easy, especially with social media, to find someone who appears prettier, thinner, smarter, wiser, or more talented and successful than I am. Ever been there? Jumping in and spending time in the comparison pool is just like treading water.  It gets you no where fast and is exhausting!  The longer we stay there the more shriveled our souls feel and our joy truly is swept away with the tide.

Try as I might to avoid immersing myself in all the ways I don’t measure up, I somehow seem to dip my toes in and before I know it I’m being pulled under. Why? It’s hard to stay afloat when I’m weighted down with me, me, me.

“Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

I’m not there yet, but I am beginning to realize that God never intended for us to compare ourselves to one another.  He created each of us, just the way we are, to do His perfect will. Stop for a minute. Just think about that…..The things that we may wish to change are the same things God gave us with a purpose.  Switching our focus from “me of this world” to “God has a plan for me in this world” offers us relief from drowning in comparison. We’re not supposed to be like anyone else! Let that sink in.

I had to take a break from this post and come back today because as I wrote these words on Wednesday I became disappointed with myself for not being able to tell you I have this comparison thing whipped.  I. Don’t.  Knowing comparison is not what God wants for me and doing it anyway makes me just plain frustrated with myself! Do you have similar struggles? I’m glad to say that since beginning this Wise Wednesday post, God has reminded me that our transformation doesn’t happen quickly.  It’s a lifetime process.   My prayer today is that we become more aware of those things, like comparison, that keep us from seeing who we really are and that we’re able to change the way we think so we can joyfully splash in the good and pleasing will of God!

M’m! M’m! Monday 10/10/16

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook--try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun. ~Julia Child

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun.
~Julia Child

It’s the Little Things

Challenging times can cause me to have vision problems. Oh, I can see just fine… but I find myself focusing on the big (or perceived big) hurdle ahead and I miss the gift of little things. Ever been there?  So today, I’m trying to take notice of those little things God has recently brought my way:


~A
friend’s offer to sit with me during the demolition of our house
~Familiar birds at my newly moved bird feeders

~Offers to help with my laundry
~An entertaining chipmunk outside my temporary kitchen window
~Kind, reassuring words
~The support of our children
~A car that’s dependable (ever think about that?)
~Safe travel
~Time with my grandson
~A patient husband (and believe me, he’s needed to be)
~Answered prayer
~Brightly colored leaves against an even brighter blue sky
~Music that touches my soul
~Time to type a list of little things…

It occurs to me as I reread my list, that maybe these things aren’t so little after all; for it’s through these gifts that we recognize God’s presence. Whether you’re lost in the midst of a storm, finding your way in the dark, navigating a hard road, or in a time of wait and see like me; seek out the little (or not so little) things that remind us that when we are blinded by worry, we’re not walking alone.  We have a guide who will see us through!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)

And now for a “little” recipe….

Little because it has few ingredients, takes little time to prepare, and there’ll only be a little left because it’s so good!  I know when you read this recipe you might question it, but I promise it’s my husband’s most requested dish (even on his birthday!) and everyone I’ve ever served it to has cleaned their plate. It’s been in my family since I was a “little” girl (that’s a loooong time), given to my mom by our neighbors, the Irons family.

Iron Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. lean hamburger
  • 0nion, chopped
  • 1 can Campbell's Tomato Soup
  • 1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • 1 soup can full of milk
  • Hamburger Buns

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, brown hamburger and chopped onion over medium heat breaking meat apart like making sloppy joes.
  • Drain, if necessary. (I like to use hamburg with 7% fat to avoid this step)
  • In bowl, combine soups and milk. Stir to make smooth sauce.
  • Pour sauce into skillet over meat. Stir.
  • Simmer until bubbling, stirring occasionally.
  • Lay opened hamburg buns on a cookie sheet, inside up. Place in oven under the broiler until golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they can quickly burn. (You can also use your toaster if you have a bagel setting)
  • To serve: lay bottom of bun on plate, spoon meat mixture over bun. Add top of bun and place another spoonful of meat mixture over it all.
  • Eat with a fork to get it all....you won't want to leave even a ....little!
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/10/10/mm-mm-monday-101016/

 

A Little of Both (M’m! M’m! Monday and Wise Wednesday) on Friday…

fall-reminds-001

Letting go is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last several months: of clothes, of stuff,  and of bits and pieces of my life that I’ve clung to so tightly. As of last week, I’ve even said my goodbyes as I let go of my beloved pine tree and old blue house. To be honest though, “beautiful” is not how I’ve been looking at any of it. Exhausting, emotional, overwhelming, just to name a few, would better describe my attitude…..That is, until I came upon these wise words which got me thinking……

I don’t know about you, but it’s way too easy for me to fall into the trap of “woe is me”. As I’m purposeful in reflecting on this crazy house process, I’m beginning to see it a little differently. Shifting my focus has revealed the fact that every day I’ve spent letting go leads me one step closer to making memories in a brand new house. There is beauty in this chaos.

 Sorting and sifting through everything we own opened my eyes and let me see that we’d collected so many things we didn’t use or need anymore. What’s a pack rat to do? It took a while, but I finally recognized that maybe there was someone else who needed exactly what I didn’t.  While emptying drawers, closets, and storage spaces was hard work; I’ve come to realize something. There’s beauty in giving.

I’m pretty sure those close to me (and maybe even you reading this) are more ready for this stage of my life to end than I am. Let’s just say my thoughts, worries, conversations, and yes, my blog posts have been pretty much like a broken record, but despite it all, my family and friends have prayed for us to let go of our fear, cheered us on to let go of our doubts, and urged us to let go of the past and look to the future.  My biggest lesson about letting go?  There’s beauty in encouragement!

The calendar shows that it’s officially fall.  Nature proves it true.  The sky is a more brilliant blue.  The Hummingbirds and Monarchs are migrating. And yes, the trees are “letting go” of their leaves.  As they float on the breeze, let them remind us that there IS beauty in the act of letting go, not just of things, but of all that hinders us from living our best life; the one God’s designed just for us!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

Since it IS officially fall here is a super simple dessert/snack that’s perfect on a cool, autumn day!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 40 large marshmallows (I usually add one for the pot to make 41)
  • 4 Tbls. butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  • Spray 9 x 13 pan generously with Pam. (I spray my spatula as well)
  • Over medium heat melt the butter in a large pan. Add marshmallows and stir until smooth.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add pumpkin pie spice and blend well.
  • Stir in Rice Krispies until all are coated with marshmallow mixture.
  • Put in the prepared pan and using spatula, spread and smooth to fill the pan.
  • Cut into squares while warm.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.myseaofthought.com/2016/10/07/a-little-of-both-mm-mm-monday-and-wise-wednesday-on-friday/

Wise Wednesday 9/28/16

next-chapter-001

It’s funny how different, members of the same family can be. Growing up, my mom, youngest sister and I loved to read.  My middle sister on the other hand wanted nothing to do with it and often tried to “rescue” us while we were lost in a book.  (Annoy us may be a better way to say it!) And in my own family, my better half, son, and I of course, love to read.  My daughter would rather do almost anything else than pick up a book.  The differences don’t stop there though….when my son and husband find a book they love, they’ll read it over and over until the cover is worn out.  I on the other hand, only want to read a story once……

Uhhhhh……unless of course, it’s the story of my life! Then, I want to immerse myself in those chapters which were set in my comfort zone and had happy endings. I long to linger with those characters who’ve meant so much to me.  I’ve survived all the adventures, challenges, disappointments, and triumphs that have been woven together to create my story. Rereading it is safe.  I like safe!

Then….the page turns. A new chapter awaits. What’s a “play it safe, memory hoarding, stay on the sidewalk, status quo” kinda gal supposed to do?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 

 We know there are volumes of things that can go wrong….cliff hangers, plot twists, surprise endings….and they can make us want to slam the cover shut and demand a rewrite! But, I’m learning (slowly) it’s exactly those things that help develop OUR character and make our story richer.

 A chapter in my book of life came to an end yesterday.  Perhaps one is ending for you as well. It leaves us with a choice. Are we going to reread the pages we know so well or are we going to trust with all our heart, turn the page, and start discovering the paths that await us in our new chapter of life?

Sisters ~ Wise Wednesday 9/21/16

image

It’s been there from the beginning.  That bond. The connection. Stronger at times than others, but always there…..sisterhood. I’ve recently returned from seeing my sisters. It was a quick trip, but being in their presence, even for a short time, fills an empty place in my heart. I’m lucky, no, blessed to have the two beautiful (inside and out) sisters that I do. They get me. They challenge me. They support me. They cheer me on.  We may be separated by miles but we share a relationship so close that when one of us is suffering, we all three experience the pain. Celebrating? Joy abounds! Sad….tears are shed in unison. My sisters are part of me as I am of them. We walk through life together sharing experiences, observations, frustrations, and victories. And laugh?  Oh my! Do we ever laugh! (mostly at each other and ourselves)  As the big sister of the family, I couldn’t be prouder of the women my sisters have become!  They truly are my “Gifts from God”!

“Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Proverbs 31:25 (KJV)

Murunga’s Miracles: The Secret Weapon

Miracles of Living Hope

Marilyn Uhl will be the first to tell you that establishing and running Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya could not happen without God. She will also tell you that the longer she’s in Africa, the stronger her faith grows. Marilyn has seen God work things out in strange and powerful ways even when she didn’t believe He would.  “I don’t know why we don’t have total faith because He never lets us down.” she reminds us. “He might not answer us the way we want or when we want, but He always has our good in mind.”  The Living Hope journey continues with these true stories of the miraculous ways God is working in the lives of Marilyn and her students.

Pixabay

Murunga’s Miracles:  The Secret Weapon

At times, Murunga still worried that he would wake up and the life he now knew would be nothing but a dream.  No longer would he be a graduate of Living Hope High School or a Hospitality Major in college. Thinking back to where he was just a few years ago to where he was now, felt almost too good to be true.

But here he was, on his detachment (internship) at the museum.  Murunga enjoyed the work and had so impressed the museum manager that he’d left Murunga in charge while he was away. Things were going smoothly until Murunga looked out the window.  What he saw sent chills down his spine and put fear in his heart.  FIRE! Smoke and flames rose from the grass down the hill from the museum and were headed his way.  Not knowing what to do, he picked up the phone and called the only person he knew he could depend on.

Marilyn listened to Murunga’s panicked voice on the other end of the phone line.  He quickly reported that he thought someone must have thrown a cigarette down and now the grass was ablaze.   She heard a click on the other end and Murunga was gone.

Not five minutes later Marilyn’s phone rang again.  The pitch of Murunga’s voice told her that the situation had worsened.  Words spilled rapidly as Murunga described what he saw out the museum window.  Not only had the fire grown but now the wind was whipping the flames in a path that led directly to him and the museum he’d grown to love. All he could think about were the ancient artifacts and precious pottery that would be lost, never to be replaced, if the fire reached the walls of the museum. Murunga needed a miracle and he needed it at that very moment!

Rushing outside, Marilyn found a large group of girls sitting together washing greens for supper.  She recounted all Murunga had told her.  They immediately put down the greens and with Marilyn, they began to pray together: some in English, some in Swahili, and still others in their own tongue.  They prayed fervently in unison, their voices becoming louder and louder with each word.

The ringing of Marilyn’s phone sent a hush through the group.  It was Murunga. In disbelief he announced that for no reason at all, the fire had died.  He couldn’t understand why the flames that had been furiously consuming the dry, brittle grasses had suddenly gone out.  His confusion didn’t last long however, as Marilyn explained that she knew why the fire had been extinquished; they had used a “secret weapon”…..prayer.

That day has significant importance for Murunga, Marilyn, and the students.  Not just because God provided the miracle of extinguishing the fire, but also because it was the first time the “secret weapon” had been used.  Oh, prayer is a regular part of the day on the Living Hope campus, but on this day there was nothing regular about that prayer!  Those Spirit filled words lifted to Heaven-when everyone was praying for the same thing, at the same time, and determined not to stop until something happened-changed everyone. They gained a new understanding that together, their prayers are powerful!

The Secret Weapon is now a vital part of life at Living Hope High School.  Murunga continues to learn much as he works in the once threatened museum. But the most important lesson he’s gained is the knowledge that God offers us great power in prayer; a power we don’t use often enough; a power that can put out a fire in a field and at the same time light one in the souls of those who accept it.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma, Kenya

For more information on Living Hope High School, go to www.livinghopehighschool.org