Greetings from Burundi!
I wanted to say another MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of you for your support over the last year, and wish you a happy new year – may 2013 be a great one for you!
This time a decade ago, I wrote the following:
“The start of this year has brought some fairly seismic developments for me. I have had a miserable time with my health recently with amoebic dysentery, flu and malaria over the festive period. As I write this, I am still weak and feeble with malaria. But my best friend came out to see me and we had a great street kids’ party on the beach, as well as a youth camp up-country and a trip to Rwanda! That was when I was knocked out with malaria. But on New Year’s Day, I gingerly crawled out of bed and the two of us borrowed a friend’s motorboat for a trip on Lake Kivu. We headed out into the distance, surrounded by an eerie quiet in the early morning haze. After a while, far out in the deep, we came across a random red balloon floating on the surface with an envelope attached in a plastic bag. My friend fished it out of the water, opened up the envelope, and tried reading the message, only understanding the last line of the scrawl in English, which read: “Lizzie Corfe, will you marry me?” I then got down on one knee, proposed to her, we hugged, and then prayed a prayer of radical surrender to the Lord for the rest of our lives together. Afterwards I went back to bed feeling rough and sorry for myself!”
Well, a decade later, three kids later, having lived on three different continents, the good news is that I still love her, and I think she still feels the same way about me! We look back and are so grateful for all that God’s allowed us to be a part of, and are excited for the coming decade as well. Truly following Christ is life to the full!
So at the end of an old and beginning of a new year (I’m having to post this today as tomorrow we’re traveling back up to Rwanda to that same holiday spot for a few days where there’s no internet connection), I guess it’s a good time both to look back and to look forward and evaluate where things are at in our lives. May you know God’s guiding hand throughout 2013 and beyond. And if you want some ideas for resolutions, here are Shoedel’s 7-UPS for the New Year (whilst remembering that you only have to deal with them until the end of February and then you can give them up for Lent!):
‘The first is wake-up – Begin the day with the Lord. It is His day. Rejoice in it.
The second is dress-up – Put on a smile. It improves your looks. It says something about your attitude.
The third is shut-up – Watch your tongue. Don’t gossip. Say nice things. Learn to listen.
The fourth is stand-up – Take a stand for what you believe. Resist evil. Do good.
Five, look-up – Open your eyes to the Lord. After all, He is your only Savior.
Six, reach-up – Spend time in prayer with your adorations, confessions, thanksgivings and supplications to the Lord.
And finally, lift-up – Be available to help those in need – serving, supporting, and sharing.’
See you next year!