Monday, July 24, 2017

Change that Changes

Going to Malawi, Africa

Can one person change the world? with change?
While we were staying in Beulah, we met two elderly sisters who had traveled clear across Texas to visit the Faith Comes By Hearing offices. One of them, Alice Walker, had set up The Widow's Mite Ministry*.   She collected pocket change to purchase Proclaimers. 
Loading Scripture onto Proclaimers
Proclaimers are nearly indestructible little digital players. Each one is loaded with an audio version of Scripture (usually the New Testament), is powerful enough to be heard by a group of 300, and can be powered through its own solar panel. Every Proclaimer also come equipped with a battery that works for up to 15 hours and can be recharged by the solar panel, a hand crank, or electrical cord.
Alice had collected enough donations, sometimes one coin at a time, to purchase and send out dozens of Proclaimers. She and her sister were very excited about finally visiting the place where these little machines were loaded with one of hundreds of audio recordings and sent literally around the world. Alice's sister hadn't just come along for the ride. She drove because Alice is legally blind.

Quechua language, heading to South America

*Jesus pointed to a widow who gave two mites, the smallest coins. She had given more than anyone else because she had given all she had to live on. Luke 21:1-4.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Beulah . . . Stayed on the Way

Did you ever sing some song about Beulah land in church? And wonder what on earth (or in heaven) Beulah might be? Isaiah 62:4 uses the term to describe Israel as "married" or "espoued." Various writers, including John Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress use the name for a refreshing place between earth and Heaven. We visited Beulah Ministries in New Mexico on our trek around the U.S. this summer and found it to be just such a place. Our photo scarcely shows how idyllic it is.
Christians come here from around the globe for rest, reflection, or to simply wait upon the Lord. We were there as guests of Faith Comes By Hearing. Beulah Ministries is separate from Faith Comes By Hearing, though the Jackson family were instrumental in starting both. Annette and Jerry Jackson did not intend to settle near Albuquerque, New Mexico. They did, however, intend to radically follow Christ. This is where their own pilgrimage led them. They currently live in an apartment attached to the Beulah guesthouse. If you go there, you can enjoy Annette's flower garden in person. Jerry may make you an amazing breakfast. And--unless you try hard not to--you will leave refreshed.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Water Keeper--Met on the Way

Have you ever stayed in a motel with one of those free continental breakfasts? We've gotten well acquainted with those, but we have not always mastered the art of opening the plastic packets that often accompany such breakfasts. So at a small motel in Colorado, a man at the next table offered to assist. He had on a T-shirt about being a Waterkeeper. Members of the Waterkeeper Alliance work to preserve and improve the water in their areas. He told us that, thanks to cracking, some people in Alabama have so much methane in their water system that they can light the water that comes out of their tap. Clean water isn't something to be taken for granted.
We discovered this first-hand in a village in Moldova. We were staying in someone's home where the main water source was a well like this one. We had some hand-wash to do, and did it in a basin on the edge of the well. The Romany woman who was looking after the house where we stayed got very, very upset. The basin of laundry water might have tipped into the well and made the water unclean.* We didn't grow up with wells and didn't know any better.
There are over 300 official Waterkeepers around the globe.  And, thank God, there are many, many more unofficial ones.

*We were washing things that go on the lower half of the body. That part of the body is considered unclean among many Romany groups. So this may have made the well ritually unclean as well as literally unclean.