Saturday, October 29, 2016


Who through faith... enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Hebrews 11:33-34

The above passage is describing mighty heroes of the faith from the Old Testament. Yet to me it could just as well describe the women of southern Africa. Over the past few weeks I've been richly blessed to be allowed to do in-depth interviews with 35 South African women from various communities. The trust they gave me in sharing their most painful memories, hard stories, and ultimate victories in Jesus is something I cherish. I love each and every one of them deeply; we have all grown together over these past few years as we've studied God's Word together in depth. However, these hours and hours of interviews were also one of the most difficult times I've ever faced. As a professional social worker and counselor for many years, I have heard many stories of hard lives. But what these women, and the 65+ women I interviewed in Swaziland in past years, have faced in their lives boggles my mind. Almost all have faced racial oppression, physical/verbal/sexual abuse, hunger and poverty, untimely death of at least one loved one (and usually more) due to violence or disease, sexual discrimination, poor medical care, lack of education though desperately wanting it, single motherhood, political violence, and hard physical labor for inhumanely little pay or as virtual slaves. By the end of each day I was ready to quit, feeling I couldn't face another day of interviews. Story after brutal story was almost more than I could bear. I kept going only through God's grace, my husband's tender loving care, and the encouragement from the women themselves, who said they really wanted their stories to be told, and not forgotten. Most of all, I pressed on because of admiration for these African sisters of mine. In spite of multiple blows throughout their lives, they pick up the pieces, and endure. They are strong and work hard. They have forgiven. They serve others. They have joy, and praise the Lord with a passion. Their hope is in Jesus. They are MY heroes.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weapons of Our Warfare

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

I have NO doubt in my mind that the single most important human facet, the imperative unheralded sacrificial contribution, the most powerful yet often overlooked and unseen strength of any mission endeavor, is prayer. I thank God profusely that He not only impressed this upon us from the very beginning of our call to mission work in Africa, but also provided a virtual army of prayer warriors to be a vital part of our work with the Lord here. I am no theologian, and even they don't begin to agree on how prayer works. All I know is that God commands prayer and that God answers prayer. Countless times when I felt weary and unable to go on, I suddenly would experience a breakthrough in the spiritual realm, and I KNEW it was the result of faithful intercessors praying for us. We have been able to bodly go into communities considered extremely unsafe, where we are threatened constantly, without fear or harm. Only God's host of angels, summoned by prayers, could provide such strong protection. With no altar call, no stirring music, and no prompting, many have asked to receive Jesus; doors and hearts have been opened, I am convinced, because of saints pouring their entreaties out on the behalf of lost souls. Far from family and home, we have never been alone, but have been carried on the persistent prayers of intercessors, to whom we will forever be indebted and grateful.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ten Years Old Today


Ten years old today
Mama's fever burning—Mama can you hear me—Mama don't leave us
Start the fire
Stale mealie for little Brother and Little Sister but it is warm stale mealie
Ten years old today


Little Sister fetch water, Little Brother fetch firewood, play
Games with rocks, soccer with a ball of rolled up bags
Singing, oh how we love to sing
Drunk uncle coming--Brother, Sister, run, hide, be safe
I am not


Orange-red fireball sinking
Elephant silhouette
Grass mat early sleep better than hunger pangs
Hush baby girl, don't show pain
Cicadas and toads singing lullabies

Friday, November 27, 2015

AIDS Has a Face, and The Healer Has a Name--Jesus

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that bought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

She was 18 years old, painfully thin, with downcast eyes and shoulders that drooped. Sores were already breaking out on her dark brown skin, and her ragged and faded dress hung on her fragile frame. She'd run away earlier this year to live with a boyfriend, an older man who promised to love and cherish and care for her, but who likely abused her and gave her AIDS before moving on to another young victim. It is a scenario that is repeated countless times here in Sub-Saharan Africa, and one with which we've become all too familiar.

I met her because she'd returned home ( a tiny two-room concrete structure) to her mother and seven siblings with nowhere else to go, and no hope. Time will tell if she is pregnant. Her mother was hosting our regular Bible study in front of her house, and was running late from her job as a housekeeper, so the daughter was obediently there to greet me, which gave me some precious time to engage in small talk with her in an effort to help her to relax in my presence.

Praise God she decided to stay for our Bible study. Afterward, with no altar call, no soft music, no prompting, she asked to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Her mom and I joined together in leading her in a simple sinner's prayer, and then praying over the new creation that she now is. She still has a hard road ahead, but now she has eternal hope.

Image result for images of hiv aids symbol

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Blessed Hope

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for , the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

It is spring here in beautiful Mpumalanga, South Africa, and my favorite season. Gorgeous flowers are blooming everywhere--on the ground, on the bushes, and on the trees. Everything is beginning to get green after a long, drab, brown winter. However, I've been watching one enormous tree just on the other side of our fence.

This tree towers over the others, a giant over all the other lush burgeoning greenery. My heart has been sad as this tree alone has remained bare, a stark image echoing the feelings of hopelessness I sometimes feel faced with hard trials in my own life and the lives of so many others for whom I care deeply.  

For several months now, I've pestered my husband John about this tree, asking countless times if he thinks it's dead. I'm not sure what answer I expect, but deep down I know I wanted him to give me some hope that those magnificent, hulking gray branches would spring back to life. His answer was always the same stoic, "Just wait and see." And each time, a tiny spark of hope pierced through my forlorn disbelief.  

JOY! Yesterday John encouraged me to look up, and brilliant yellow blossoms have begun to burst out all over!

And just as my husband's steadfast faith in the resurrection of this tree did not disappoint, so the hope we have in Jesus is the anchor for my soul.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. Psalm 62:5 the hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began...Titus 1:2

...waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ...Titus 2:13

Sunday, September 13, 2015


These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:13-16

My great niece just had her 2nd birthday, and the photos are so cute, and my heart cries because we are missing so many precious family milestones.  

My country just came together to remember that horrific day meant to destroy us, but rather which united us for a brief and shining moment.

Here in South Africa we've had recent terrorist threats towards Americans and American interests on this foreign soil.

Most days I'm joyfully and gratefully and wholeheartedly doing the ministry God has given us here in Africa, and knowing how blessed I am.

But every now and then, I am just a homesick American, loving and appreciating my homeland as only an expat can. God bless America.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Master's Voice

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Many years ago I learned a lesson that I have put into daily practice. I wish I could give credit to whomever imparted this valuable nugget, but my memory is not what it used to be! Anyway, the analogy was given of a soldier receiving his marching orders from his commanding officer first thing in the morning. So I began asking my Commanding Officer, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for His direction for the day every morning before I get out of bed. And He is faithful—if we ask, He answers. Many days I receive sweet encouragement, or needed chastisement, or just a word like “hope” or “love” or “boldness.” And then there are those rarer days when I get something so specific that makes absolutely NO sense at the time, but as the day progresses, I can only marvel that truly the King of Kings loves me enough to guide me in those still small hours of the morning.

A couple of mornings ago, this was the case. On the schedule for the day was teaching two Bible study groups. One of these groups is one to whom I regularly minister. The other was one I'd only met once, several months ago, and they had invited me back for this day. Since it was only my second time to meet with the latter group, I had definite ideas about what I should teach. Yet the Lord kept persistently nudging me towards another topic, completely unsuitable in my opinion! Since I have learned the hard way that it pays to listen to His All-Wise counsel, I acceded, through still with grave misgivings.

Of course He was right. I learned en route to the second group's location, with about 10 minutes to spare, that I had misunderstood what the invitation was all about. Instead of just a regular Bible study, I was to be the guest of honor and main speaker at a special Women's Month event with a large gathering of ladies. And of course the message God Himself had patiently given me was exactly right for the occasion, and at the end, many precious women were on their knees and in tears repenting and turning back to Him with all their hearts. I am NOT a powerful speaker, but the Holy Spirit is! SO grateful that He leads me and guides me and even miraculously uses me!
If only I would have consulted him on my wardrobe! I was a little underdressed in my simple blouse and skirt amongst all the beautifully garbed South African women!