Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tea for Ten

Tea in the village is always a delight. Terry Earl and I were blessed to welcome eight women from Genesis Bible Church for an orientation about our missions program, Overflow Ministries. We met in a conference room at Clarkston International Bible Church. Afterward, our guests also enjoyed teatime in the home of a young refugee woman from Burundi.As the orientation began, we chatted with the women about why they were interested in refugee ministry and which special gifts the Holy Spirit had given them. Many had questions, and we offered answers as well as an array of opportunities in which they can serve.Following the meeting, a young refugee wife and mother welcomed us -- yes, all ten of us! -- into her apartment. She enjoyed her visitors, and we all appreciated her generous gift of hospitality and service. Terry had helped her plan for the group's arrival. Tea and mandazis were the menu for the event. Mandazis are a type of fried bread eaten in eastern and central Africa. I grew up eating mandazis. Yum!But our sweet hostess had gone the extra mile by preparing another special dish from her homeland. We all relished the delicious mix of stewed plantains, onions, and tomatoes. The women from Genesis wanted to meet our friend's son. He enjoyed seeing pictures of himself in a digital camera. His mother is pregnant and soon he'll welcome a baby brother or sister. A new American to add to the family!
Outside, we met several other African friends who were eager to greet our guests. A young man who loves the Lord and is a regular soloist at our church enjoyed meeting the women.
He introduced his friends, a mother with several children. Afterward, one of the women from Genesis accompanied me to the apartment of one of my neediest students, a single mother from Burundi. I am deeply distressed by this young woman's situation. I find it hard to sleep at night because I cannot stop thinking about her. I'm praying that the women from Genesis will step in and help support my student and other refugees in the village. They need a lot of love in order to heal from the past and look forward to a brighter future.
This time of chatting, sipping tea, sharing about our families, and discussing the past and the future laid a strong foundation upon which God can build a ministry. I can't wait to see what He will do!

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