Getting Settled

Welcome to my new blogsite!  It was supposed to be totally finished and handed over to me in February.  However, the young lady who designed it ran into some personal problems and wasn’t able to work on it for several weeks in a row. Even now there are things still not completed, but the basic working shell is functional.

The page tabs above, for example, do not have the code worked into them so they work properly, and in the meantime I’ve sought out another designer who hopefully can help flesh out what’s missing and get the site up to snuff.

It went against my grain to go ahead and move in, but I decided to use the new site with its apparent flaws. So please be forgiving, as you try to explore any  “extras”–they WILL eventually get fixed.  All the old posts and basic information as to what the site is about is here. I’ll be glad to give you a grand tour of the place sometime when everything’s finally in place. . .

I got back from Haiti on Saturday with our church mission group, and I’m still trying to process everything I experienced there.  The capitol of Port-au-Prince is a bustling, crowded city, with encouraging signs of growth everywhere.  Yet the neighborhood of Cite Soleil, one of Haiti Outreach Ministries’ campuses where we worked several days,  is still ranked as the most impoverished slum in the Western hemisphere. The poorest in our country are rich people compared to the little that these people have! Yet in light of the earthquake’s horrific devastation, even in that very dark place, you can see the abundance of God’s grace, from the churches that have strengthened their arms of inreach into the community, to the many organizations who have jumped in to assist the neediest of needy. God truly has taken the bad and used it for His good and the furtherance of His gospel! As I sift through the take-aways of my Haiti experience, I will write more about it in the future.

I am so thankful for the many good things God has given me. . . I know I have been changed forever by this trip and have been convicted and challenged in many areas.  I am stirred now, more than ever, to tell others about Jesus and His saving grace. I want to live life differently, so others may know more of Him. . .and the incredible hope and joy that He gives. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Everything else in life we fret over, that we occupy ourselves with, pales in comparison to the Bright Lord of the Universe. He is worthy of our very best. . . and all we can offer Him. Oh, that this may be a permanent change, Lord, and that I don’t waste this precious lesson You’ve entrusted to me. . . .

Our Father, we thank You that Your gospel is not a dry, archaic story that merely happened long ago but is a living, powerful, life-altering Truth. It changes ALL OF US, from the inside out! And that you gift us with glimpses of Your amazing transformations, how You establish hope where there is no hope. . . because You are the Great God of Love Who cares! Thank You, thank You! May we stake our lives on faith in the Son of God Who loved us and gave Himself completely for us. . .

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

 

 

Finding Common Ground in Kenya: Guest Blog by Betsy Vaughan

On February 12, 2012, our team departed for mission trip to Kenya.  This was my 6th time visiting/teaching the people among the tribes of Kenya.

We taught in each church for two days.  On the first day our pastor’s wife (JoAnne) and I taught on the stories of the Woman at the Well, the Woman with  the issue of blood, the Shunnamite Woman, and the Good Samaritan. The next day four of us went in to the desert to evangelize.  The first community we came to was very poor and all were very undernourished.  You can usually tell they are not getting enough food by the color of their hair, which will be brownish-red instead of black.  The ladies were all believers and were very happy to greet us.

We invited them to ask questions.   Someone asked, “What would you do if your 16-year-old daughter came home pregnant?”  What a profound opportunity I had!   So I shared with them the story of my own daughter who became pregnant at the age of 16.  She remained in our home where we loved her unconditionally, continued to take her to church, and supported her.   Our church family accepted her and loved her through this trying time.  Our first grandson is almost 30 now!  The ladies in Kenya were so glad that I do not believe in abortion but very sad to know that abortion is legal in America.

The third day JoAnne and I taught the same lessons at another church.  The ladies asked us to teach on marriage upon our return next year.  They want to be better wives, even though many of them have to share their husbands with other wives.   Many of them also have been abused and mutilated.  It is sad, but very true.  It is so amazing to see the joy they have in the Lord under those circumstances!  They love the Lord and their desire is to please Jesus and learn more about Him.  Most of them cannot read, but the ones who do share the Word with others.  The Bible (in the Maasai language) is a very valuable possession and is treated accordingly.  It brings tears to my eyes when I think about these beautiful women and how they love our Lord and Savior and treasure His Word.

Their final question was “Do men in America abuse their wives and abandon their children?”  I thought wow, if you only knew!  Then God urged me to share what happened to me as a child.  God wanted me to share about how my daddy had abused and beaten my mother and abandoned us.  Usually when I am talking about this, I am somewhat angry.  However, the Spirit came over me and caused me to cry.  Suddenly all were crying.  I thought I might be kicked out of Kenya!  As it turned out, the tribal pastor’s wife, Alice, had experienced the same thing.  It was very emotional for her and all the women who loved her.  This is how God works when we allow Him to work in our lives.   Alice needed to hear that this had happened to someone else.  Someone on the other side of the world knows what it is like not to have a daddy.  We comforted each other and loved on each other.

Another way that God used me was to encourage two young ladies on our team who had never been out of America or on a mission trip.  At different times, God seemed to bring Scripture to mind that fit the particular circumstances.  How thankful I was that God allowed me this wonderful opportunity.

Yes, I would have to say this was a very special trip. It is so amazing how God can use each one of us, no matter our background.  The important thing for us to remember is to always be available for God’s purposes

Betsy Vaughan has been married to husband Joe for 50 years and were members of Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Durham, NC, for 32 years.  Since moving to Clayton, NC in 1999, they have been members of Hocutt Baptist Church.  They have two children, 5 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren that they simply adore.  Betsy has been privileged to go on joint mission to Kenya 6 times with her church and Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Coming Soon. . . .

I will be moving into my newly-designed blogsite soon; the reins have finally been turned  over to me.

But the new place needs all the furniture hauled over (old posts) and some of the new appliances are not working quite right–the widgets have yet to be “tweaked.”

But overall, the blogsite is cleaner and less cluttered than this old one, with some great additional features. My new site is warm and homey, and I hope invites you to come in, sit down, and wander around a bit. . . .

My month-long theme for April is the Body of Christ, locally and abroad. I have a great blogpost from Betsy Vaughan that I’ll air this Friday. She’s had several chances to go to Kenya and minister there with her church. . . .I think you’ll get a wonderful blessing from what she has to share!

3 DAYS until my own mission adventure with our church group to Haiti. . .There are 27 of us going, flying out to Miami, then out to Port-au-Prince on Saturday morning the 7th. We’ll return the next Saturday the 14th. Although there is spotty internet service in the evenings where we are staying, I can’t promise a post until I return home. . .

That said, I have a couple of personal prayer requests for you to carry to the Father for me:

  • I’ve had vertigo problems lately and am concerned that even with the preemptive measures I’m taking, the plane ride over might “stir the pot”—please pray that this is not a problem.
  • Along the same lines, if you would pray that my digestive system stays functioning properly—I’d appreciate it!
  • That I reflect the Lord Jesus and truly am a flexible servant, focused on Him and what He wants me to do–
  • I pray I get to meet my sponsor child, Pierre, and give him his goodies in person. If this happens, there will be plenty of pictures to come!

May the Lord bless you greatly, my brothers and sisters.  He is worthy to be praised!

He is risen, INDEED! HAPPY EASTER RESURRECTION DAY!!

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn