Encouragement

Yesterday a man who I met during my first trip to Bradford came up to me at church. He is a very gentle man who spent a little time with the team I was with in 2010. I was one of three women who ended up spending time praying for him one day — that God would break into his situation and free him from oppression which was weighing him down. Particularly, he had been unable to play musical instruments, something which had been a great joy all his life. It seemed difficulty in his spirit prohibited him from expressing himself through his musical gift.

He told Kagi and me that he still remembers me because of that time of prayer. God began working toward restoration in his life at that time. He has been able to play music since and spoke of great intimacy in his walk with God. He thanked me for being a part of it.

To be honest, my memory of that day is vague. I was not the leader in that situation and I am very aware that whatever part I played was very small as God brought healing in his life.

What a blessing, though, to hear that from him. How wonderful to know that over two years ago God began healing which still growing and going deeper in him, which I got to be a witness to. What a beautiful thing that in the family of God we can have moments of joyful remembrance and praise for what He has done in our midst!

Spokane

Now, for some of you, the thought of me at my parents’ house probably evokes an image of me sleeping in, watching movies, taking long walks, and having all manner of time on my hands.You visit your parents for vacation, right?

Well, in my case that is not exactly how things are going.

We are all working very hard around the Fritz house, seemingly around the clock. We’re excited, a little stressed, and working to focus in one direction at a time.

Here’s what we are up to…
1. Trying to get their rental units filled with college students. I just made this web site about the housing: bereahousing.wordpress.com. We have three units empty now, which has never happened. Apparently the housing supply went up drastically this year for students at the school they have been working with for several years.
2. Working to put together the necessary planning documents, communication tools, and raise funds for the ministry we have already started. More about that will come soon, but in brief terms my dad has already begun working with social entrepreneurs to cultivate good leadership practices and effective structure for their organizations.
3. We have a consulting appointing starting this evening in Seattle, so we’re headed back there. We’re going to go camping in the Cascades this weekend with Allison. Yay!

And actually that’s not it, but since we are leaving in just 20 minutes for Seattle, I need to get moving. I have data on my phone, so hopefully can keep up with things even while gone, but we shall see. For those of you praying for us, thank you so much. We need it. I feel confirmed that I did actually need to come home, as I thought, for more reasons than I even knew. It is really good to be here.

Uma

Tamara and I walked through the checkpoint later than usual recently, at the same time as the evening call to prayer.

As we walked through the area between the gates, a man faced Mecca. Others ran to join him and they bowed, perfectly aligned and moving in sync, prostrating in prayer. I was struck by the beauty of the togetherness of it — likely men who do not know each other joined in their common faith and brought together in a ritual demonstration of submission to God.

As I watched them, humble in posture and bold in declaration of their faith in the middle of the checkpoint, I was a little bit jealous. How often do I spontaneously see a brother or sister and pray with them, especially in public? In fact, how many brothers and sisters do I walk by without ever knowing we have the most important thing in common?

In my church tradition, we seem to equate ritual with perfunctory behavior — assuming that people are forced into the effort and are going through meaningless motions.

We will never be saved through ritual behavior. But I don’t think our assumption is true.

Women’s Meeting

Friday I had the opportunity to attend a Musalaha women’s event which was excellent.

When I got there, I was met by a very nice Messianic Jewish lady with a New York City accent. After finding out who I am and why I was there, she told me the strategy of the women’s program. “We’re just friends,” she told me definitively. “That’s why we come.”

The time was much more like a women’s meeting at a church than I expected. We spent the first half hour mingling, and it was fun to see the women finding good friends who they hadn’t seen since the last event and catching up. The conversation was “How is your new grand-daughter,” and “Have you lost weight?” instead of “What do you think about the current political situation.” By the time the twenty-five of us sat down around a big horseshoe table I was writing the following in my journal:


Women, because of such common life journeys/concerns may have more natural bridges to reconciliation.

The rest of the meeting worked to confirm that idea.

One woman welcomed the group. “Please give a brief update on how you are and how we can pray for you.” Whew, it was cool. Women of many generations opened up about where they are now. Joyous over a new grandchild, weeping over breaking relationships with children or husbands, testimony of God’s grace during times of difficulty — pain, sickness, lost life, new life, joy… seasons of life for every women.

Then we got into smaller groups and went before the Lord and prayed for each other. Three languages lifting to heaven the lives and concerns of our sisters.

After our time of prayer, we gathered again in one group for teaching. Louise taught on the Good Samaritan, expounding on cultural issues at play in the story. The main point that stood out to me was that in Jesus’ teaching the answer to the question “who is my neighbor,” was essentially another question: “Whose neighbor are you?” It is what we do for them that makes us a neighbor.

We finished with a nice lunch. I felt embraced by the group — I guess they are accustomed to meeting new women and accepting outsiders. I wrote in my notes:

Praise You, Lord, for Your faithfulness through all life situations. Thank You for other women to walk through life with. Thank You for Your work in all nations, and for bringing us together in purpose and unity because of Jesus! Amen…

Bradford, Day 22

I had an absolutely wonderful day today. I went to Haworth today with the intention of spending some time alone with God and taking a nice walk into the moors near the Bronte house. I got to do that and God surprised me by having different plans for my time than I did, which was really good. In the evening I went to the youth group meeting for the church I’ve been attending here. I really enjoy the students:-)!

I’ll have to post some pictures, but at the moment I’m too tired. Tomorrow if I can get on the internet. I’ll be traveling to London tomorrow.