Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 11 comments


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Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand-- Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God…    ~Joel 2:1, 13
This morning I asked God what I should post about today, not because I didn't have anything to write about, but because I have SO MUCH to write about. To date, I have over 50 posts started plus a few more clamoring around in my head just waiting to be set free!

But God didn't choose something already floating around in my head; He chose something that had crept into my mind only to fly right back out. (Please tell me I'm not the only one that happens to!) 

On July 1, Anne Graham Lotz is starting an initiative to pray for our nation. Her website invites us to "Join Anne Graham Lotz and thousands of other followers of Jesus Christ across our nation and around the world, as together we return to the Lord our God, rend our hearts, repent of our sin, and cry out to God for His mercy on behalf of our nation.  Before it’s too late.   
Pray! in the 7th month, July
Pray! on each of the first 7 days of July
Pray! and fast on July 7th for 7 hours (of your choosing)
The Purpose:
  • For God the Father to restrain, protect, and deliver His people from the evil that has come into our world.
  • For God the Son to be exalted, magnified, and glorified in His church, in our nation, and in our lives.
  • For God the Holy Spirit to fall on us in a fresh way, compelling the church to repent of sin and our nation to return to faith in the living God, resulting in a great national spiritual awakening."
Will you join in praying for our nation today? If you go to her website here you can sign up to receive a reminder email for each day of the initiative.

photo courtesy of http://www.iwuspectrum.com/

A great place to begin is to praise God for the Supreme Court 5-4 ruling that came down Monday June 30th in Hobby Lobby's case against the Obama administration. The ruling protects religious freedom and states "that closely held corporations with religious objections to the "contraception mandate" in President Obama's health-care law cannot be forced to offer birth control coverage." You can read more about the decision here.

Personally, I was quite surprised to hear all the discord after this ruling. I saw a graphic on Facebook on the day the ruling came down calling for a boycott of Hobby Lobby for "supressing women's rights and basic health care." That statement is far from true. Out of 20 birth control options, Hobby Lobby was morally opposed to 4 of them because those four abort a fertilized egg. That means that employees of Hobby Lobby still have 16 options when it comes to birth control covered by the insurance policies they are offered. That doesn't sound like "supressing women's rights and basic health care" to me.

What ever happened to personal responsibility? Hobby Lobby isn't denying any of their employees anything; they're just saying that there are some things they refuse to pay for. If the employees want those services they most certainly can have them, they'll just have to pay for them themselves. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure when insurance companies even started paying for birth control, let alone abortifacients.  It used to be something that was always an out of pocket expense.

Believe it or not, insurance companies are not required to pay for everything. Last year I shared about the "perfect storm" of health issues I was dealing with. One of the major contributors to my health problems is TMJ. I live in Michigan, and a few terms back Governor Blanchard declared that insurance companies in Michigan don't have to cover treatment for TMJ, so they don't. I could have a problem with any other joint in my body and the treatment will be covered, but because my problem is with my jaw, it's not covered. 

Is that fair? I don't think so, but as my dad always said, "Life isn't fair." If I want treatment for this condition that is the root of debilitating migraines, I have to pay for it myself (and it's not cheap! My last appliance alone cost $600 and took only a half hour to make. I felt better thinking it took 2 weeks to make and that's why it was so expensive...) Sure, it's not a "fun" thing to pay for, but if I want the treatment (which I feel is more of a "basic health care" need than abortifacients) I may need to bypass some of the "fun" things I'd rather be spending my money on to pay for the treatment I need. It's my choice.

I'm by no means an expert on this topic but if you'd like to hear an intelligent report from someone who knows far more than I do, you can read a very helpful article here.

Father, we thank you for your great love for us regardless of what stage of life we're in. Thank you for the companies willing to put themselves on the line to stand up for what is right according to your Word. Thank you for the wisdom of the judges as you guided them to their decision. Lord hear us as we cry out to you and humble ourselves in the next days and bring a revival sweeping across this land to draw our nation back to our foundation in you.

Lisa

I've been known to link up with: Monday's Reflections, Inspire Me Monday, Living Proverbs 31, The Beauty in His Grip, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Playdates With God, UniteM,M and MMonday MusingsWhole-Hearted HomeSoli Deo GloriaTell Me a StoryTitus 2sdaysGrowing HomemakersWomen Helping WomenWise WomanTell His Story, Works for Me WednesdayWinsome Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday,   Wednesdays Prayer GirlsThree Word Wednesday,  Whimsical WednesdayMessy MarriageA Little R&RWholehearted WednesdaysFrom House to HomeThe Girls Link UpDoing You Well Wednesday, God's Girl, Think Tank ThursdayThriving ThursdayThe HomeAcre Hop,  Little Things Thursdays,  Thursday Favorite Things,  Mama Kats Losin’ it,  Thrive at Home, Cozy Book HopInspire Me PleaseThrifty Things FridaySpiritual SundayFaith Filled FridayFriendship FridayHeart-Filled Fridays #Fellowship FridaysEssential Things, Best Blog Post Ever, Make My Saturday SweetThe Weekend BrewWrite on EdgeFrugal FridayThink Pink SundaySunday Stillness   
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 12 comments


"If God calls you to it, He will see you through it." - a nice little platitude often spoken by well-meaning people who have not walked in your shoes.

While it is true, that doesn't mean it's going to be easy.


Malaria is not easy.


Neither is food poisoning.


Given a choice of one or the other, I'd take the malaria. Since I wasn't given a choice, I experienced them both on our third trip to Kenya. With malaria I felt horrible, but because I was already on anti-malarial medication and was treated as soon as symptoms started, I only had one day that was really bad.

The food poisoning, however, was horrendous. But didn't come from the tea I consumed after seeing a dog drinking from water in the tea kettle (pre-boiling so I figured it was ok.) 

It wasn't from the omena either (think minnows.) ONLY for Jesus would I eat minnows!!! In all honesty, they didn't taste all that bad. It was hearing their bones crunching as I chewed them that grossed me out. Thankfully, I've been successful in avoiding omena since that incident.


No, the food poisoning came from the airline food! Specifically the food from the flight leaving Nairobi. In hindsight, I think I had a check in my spirit when I went to eat some sort of chilled white soup, and had I followed that instinct I would have saved myself a lot of trouble. Actually, I would've saved myself a lot of throwing up. EIGHT HOURS of it! I first got sick in the Amsterdam airport before boarding our flight to Detroit, and it continued the ENTIRE flight. 

I was pretty sure I was going to die; I was also pretty sure that if I did the flight attendants would not have noticed or cared. (One reason why I'd like the fabulous flight attendant from my trip to Kansas to accompany us on my our next flight to Kenya!) Initially I thought perhaps I was having a relapse of malaria, but fortunately for me there were some nurses and a doctor on the plane. The doctor reassured me that I would not be dying anytime soon (which really didn't seem like good news at the time) and suggested I drink Coke with salt in it which, suprisingly, helped.

I was weakened to the point that I had to be pushed in a wheelchair through the Detroit airport as we went through customs and then boarded our final flight home. 

We were met at our hometown airport by a somber face informing us that Bob's dad was not doing well and not expected to live much longer. 

He died the next day.

Three weeks earlier, on the morning of our flight to Kenya, Bob's dad had fallen and was taken to the ER. We stopped by to see him on our way to the airport and were relieved to find him in good spirits despite the worst black eye I had ever seen. 

Communication on that trip was sporadic, and we were shocked to receive an email informing us that Bob's dad had taken a turn for the worse. Bob felt his dad would want us to stay in Kenya, and since his sisters were back home with his parents, we did. We asked everyone we met in Kenya to be praying for his dad and checked for updates on him whenever we had a chance, which was not often. 

Talk about opposition!

And I didn't mention the fact that we had to postpone our trip by 8 months because just before our originally scheduled departure in January 2008, all hell broke loose in Kenya.  Their normally peaceful presidential elections turned violent after it was suspected (and later confirmed) that they were rigged.

All over Kenya, roads were blocked and people were hacking each other to death with machettes. I saw pictures not seen on the news, and the image of the cart heaped with bodies strewn on like rag dolls will forever be seared in my mind. Because the violence was so widespread and the airport was closed, we made the decision to postpone the trip. 

The truth is, we have not been on a trip to Kenya without opposition.

If we had not gone to Kenya we wouldn't have these "smart" outfits!
On our fourth trip I experienced a Kenyan ER after passing out due to a bacterial lung infection.

On our fifth trip I stayed healthy while we were in Kenya - a first! - but was sick in bed for a MONTH before we left and two weeks after we returned. (Not to mention totally stressed out when our credit card company lost our $10,000 payment for the team's expenses!)

So why do I keep going?

Because God keeps sending me.

And why does He keep sending me?

I believe it has something to do with the school. You see, if we hadn't gone on the first trip with people we knew, we never would have gone on the second trip; and if we hadn't gone on the second trip we never would have met Pastor Elisha, who invited us to his village for our third trip.


Education is not free in Kenya, so while there is a school in the village, many of the children cannot afford to attend it. Pastor Elisha shared with us his dream of starting a school in his village for the children who could not afford public school, and on the final day of our third trip to Kenya (and the first to his village) he dedicated this land behind his home.

And as he spoke at the dedication he kept saying "we."

Afterwards I said to Bob, "I think "we" have a school." 

And indeed "we" did.

"We" didn't go looking for one. God just gave it to us.

In 2010 "we" had a building with three classrooms.



By 2012 "we" had added another classroom, a kitchen and latrines.




"We" also constructed a grist mill, and in 2013 "we" added two more classroom buildings.




In 2014 a donation came in specifically for teacher's desks. (Prior to this they had none.)




This same year Corinth Reformed Church gave a grant to build an 8 unit modern bathroom complete with septic system.




And now, instead of the downcast looks we received in 2008, we see smiling faces.



Children are receiving a hot meal every day and learning about Jesus.

And I am learning that I'm capable of far more than I can imagine;

that God is indeed trustworthy;

and I really can do ALL THINGS  through Christ who strengthens me! ~ Philippians 4:13


As we prepare to go on our 6th trip to Kenya in less than a month, would you be praying for our trip? And praying that I will be able to report that this was the trip where I was healthy before, during and after? Thanks, friends!

Lisa

If you'd like to hear more of our adventures in Kenya, just type "Kenya" into the "search this blog" box in the right column.


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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 10 comments

I've found this little guy hiding in my hosta on more than one occasion. 

I can't help but think of Psalm 139 every time I see him.



Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?


If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.


If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,



even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.



If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

    and the light become night around me,”


even the darkness will not be dark to you;

    the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you ~ Psalm 139:7-12

    
Lisa

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