February Blues

Many of us spend our whole lives discontented with our everyday routine. We constantly are told to live ‘in the moment’; nevertheless it seems impossible, especially when this ache for more, for something that’s missing gnaws away at us. It’s a distraction, becoming nearly unbearable to ignore and live ordinarily. Our search for fulfillment isn’t to be found anywhere, not in alcohol or drugs or sex or impulse shopping or speed. And during these long months of winter, it becomes even worse; the ache cannot be forgotten, not even for a moment, driving some people mad. It seems that no cure can be found.

If you’ll allow a brief moment of ‘nerdiness’, we find this same longing in the dwarves, elves, hobbits, and men in Lord of the Rings. The dwarves sing a song of better days and glories past before the fall of their people. We see here their yearning hearts for something long lost, something missing. Yet even in their longing, the inhabitants of Middle-Earth have hope that a day is coming when what is missing will be restored.

We can certainly identify with their ‘yearning hearts’ and with the hope of regaining what was lost. C.S. Lewis explained: “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

So, as we can see, this discontentment is actually quite natural and I would go so far as to call it a gift, ingrained into us since the first sin. It is a reminder of the goodness we have never known but once existed and will someday be restored. This is the goodness of God that we rejected in our covetous appetite for rebellion. However, this rebellion will not always rule. Our world has been broken but it will not always be so. God’s goodness still rules and our hearts yearn for it. His goodness is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we allow Him to break the everyday routine, He makes that ache disappear and becomes the moment we live in.

Author Ruth Elizabeth Gaucher

Bravery and sacrifice

A friend of mine who witness the events that took place in Niamey on January 17, 2015 wrote, “Today was a day of bravery and sacrifice in the name of free speech. The bravery was in France, the sacrifice was in Niger.”

Another missionary living in Niamey wrote, “It’s easier to count the churches that were NOT attacked rather than those that were. But adding to our sadness is the large number of Christian schools that were burned. Schools where we were holding our trainings this month and last month—all gone, completely burnt. We are in shock.”

A third missionary penned, “It is quiet in town, but not in the heart of the people. My housekeeper is extremely sad today. I have no word to comfort her. It is a very difficult situation to live.”

What should we think of all that destruction?

Niger being such a poor country, those churches buildings represents years of saving and hard work; and in only 24 hours it’s all gone. Tragedy and pain can come our way at any time. A similar story took place over 3000 years ago to the nation of Israel living an exodus in Egypt. A new political leadership took control of the office; overnight Israel went from freedom to slavery. Their futures look hopeless! Perhaps some start thinking “Does God Care?” Many Jews during the holocaust began to doubt that God cared about them. Typically we do not consider pain as a gift. But a tooth ache can be a gift telling you it’s time to pay a visit to the dentist before it is too late. The thing we most despise can in fact be our best friend. But behind the sad news concerning the hardship Israel was experiencing under that new king, there was good news. God care for them, we read “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew” (Ex. 1:12). Does God care about the misfortune of these Christians living in Niamey? You better be sure that He does. Does God care when adversities come your way? Yes of course! Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

niamey

What type of fruits falls from your life?

Summer is great because freshness is displayed either at the Farmers Market, grocery store, or in a fruit basket. Who doesn’t enjoy a juicy cherry, refreshing watermelon, or tasty Ontario peach? At spring time, novices like me have difficulty to discern what type of fruit tree he is looking at; and without the help of a more knowledgeable person, the person is never sure if he is looking at an apple, cherry, or pear tree. But late summer things look different, because you can see the fruits.
Jesus used the metaphor of fruit to describe the produce of our lives. “A tree is identified by its fruit. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Luke 6:43). Pay attention to “a tree is identified by its fruit”. Fruit is the direct result of whatever controls our hearts (Matthew 15:19). The fruit of a life not surrendered to Jesus includes “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage,” and many more evil acts (Galatians 5:19–20). In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit of God is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).
The question is rather simple: What type of fruits fall from your life?
John O Gaucher

Guapiles is a tropical town is located in the province of Limon

Guapiles is located on the Caribe side of Costa Rica. Being tropical it is much warmer and humid compare to the high altitude location of San José (the capital), or the Orosi valley. Ginette and I were invited by a local pastor to visit and help this newly started local church (about two years). The weekend was ‘busy’ but fruitful and full of God’s blessings. As the guest speaker, I was involved in two main events; bringing a gospel message at the Youth Rally and Sunday preaching. What a blessing to see a young man of 18 and a young girl of 7 years old responding to the invitation to receive Jesus as their personal Savior. 

On Sunday morning, about 95 people, including then children, were present. Church service lasted only two hours, instead of three, as usual. God moved in the life of the people. After service, a middle age business man came crying asking prayer for his adult daughter that doesn’t follow the Lord presently. Pastor José and is wonderful family, and this church will remain very closed to my heart. I would not be surprised that God would call me back to visit them again.

After Church we were invited into Don Cambronero’s house; there we tasted some very typical Tico’s meal. I also learned that coo water is very good to lower high blood pressure. Costa Rican are very joyful people, probably the happiest in the world. We will certainly miss these great brothers and sisters in the Lord. But thank God that for all eternity we will live together in heaven. Next time you buy a pineapples from Costa Rica, it came from that part of Costa Rica.

 costa-rica-banana-tree.jpg

Our Weekend in Guapiles Costa Rica

Guapiles is a tropical town is located in the province of Limon. It is located on the Caribe side of Costa Rica. Being tropical it is much warmer and humid compare to the high altitude location of San José (the capital), or the Orosi valley. Ginette and I were invited by a local pastor to visit and help this newly started local church (about two years). The weekend was ‘busy’ but fruitful and full of God’s blessings. As the guest speaker, I was involved in two main events; bringing a gospel message at the Youth Rally and Sunday preaching. What a blessing to see a young man of 18 and a young girl of 7 years old responding to the invitation to receive Jesus as their personal Savior. 

On Sunday morning, about 95 people, including then children, were present. Church service lasted only two hours, instead of three, as usual. God moved in the life of the people. After service, a middle age business man came crying asking prayer for his adult daughter that doesn’t follow the Lord presently. Pastor José and is wonderful family, and this church will remain very closed to my heart. I would not be surprised that God would call me back to visit them again.

After Church we were invited into Don Cambronero’s house; there we tasted some very typical Tico’s meal. I also learned that coo water is very good to lower high blood pressure. Costa Rican are very joyful people, probably the happiest in the world. We will certainly miss these great brothers and sisters in the Lord. But thank God that for all eternity we will live together in heaven.

“Our plan B are often God’s plan A”

At the beginning of my trip in Costa Rica, my blood pressure went quit high. As a result I had to cancel a few engagements, modify my medicine prescription, and rest! When you are away from home, very easily we can become concern. After you’ve been praying and planning, and not able to achieve your goals can be frustrating! But we need to remember that God in His sovereignty had already everything under control. To begin with I must admit that the health system here in Costa Rica is really good. What surprises me the most is how the doctor treats you; I didn’t feel like a case number, but a person. Dr. Salgado truly cares for their patient.

So how did God manifest His sovereignty? Well-being in a Bible school environment, you take for granted that most people would have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. But that’s not the case! Suddenly in the midst of a group of wonderful young people, there was a young 18 years old German young man. We invited him to go come joint the group in the living room. After introducing each other, the conversation rapidly turn about the person of Jesus. He shared that he came from a Protestant background family, but that he moved to become a Humanist instead. Frederic (fictive name) obviously didn’t seem to have a personal walk with the Lord Jesus; but was a very delightful person.   The discussion was respectful yet very open; Frederic had very intelligent and honest questions about Christ. We’ve made certain that it was more about a relationship with Jesus than simply observing religious rituals.

In his book ‘Show and Then Tell: Presenting the Gospel through Daily Encounters’ Kent Humphreys comment that, “He (God) placed you where you are and He knows why He put you in that place”. That helps me accept my limitations and understood that God kept me from traveling to my appointments, because He had plan a time for me to have time with that young German man. I could easily be upset! Yet, instead it is so encouraging to see God’s hand leading our life in so many details, details that we don’t always understand. Lately I read that <Our plan ‘B’ our often God’s plan ‘A’.> Is in it good news?

New shirts