Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Holy Week and Falconry

April 18, 2017
The three rafikis, "friends"
Holy Week Tragedy
This week started out with tragedy.  As we had returned from a church service on Palm Sunday, we read the news that two Coptic churches in Egypt had been targeted by ISIS bombings.  The liturgy had begun and the choir was chanting the Lord’s prayer.  “Our Lord who art in heaven.  Hallowed by thy name.  Thy kingdom come, they will be done.  On earth as it…..”  The remainer of the liturgy was completed by this choir “in heaven.”  This event really shook me up this past week.  I lived in worked in Tanta, Egypt, a few years ago.  I had Coptic friends and colleagues.  They told me how difficult life was, how they felt discriminated against.  The hospital recounted the challenges of starting up a Christian nursing school…My heart aches for Egypt and the many martyrs.  I kept thinking, Jesus must be coming soon.  This kind of thing is too dark and evil.

Suffering is not new in the church.  Jesus suffered as much as a man can suffer.  Humiliation, wrong accusations, separation, betrayal, pain, temptation, abandonment by those that loved Him the most.  Jesus knows the depth of the human condition and suffering.  Somehow this is a consolation that these Coptic Christians were not alone.  There are a lot of things that don’t make much sense on this side of heaven.  But regardless of what we are going through, our God, Emmanuel, walks with us.  He knows and He cares so much for people who are suffering.

The week ended with the hope of the resurrection and the celebration of Easter.  This year I was reminded how much I need to struggle to really understand who Jesus is and was.  I need to hear and receive the Good News regularly.  I am often slow to believe God’s promises even after hearing them clearly.  The disciples struggled to understand Jesus’ words when he talked about his death and resurrection.  Jesus appeared to people after the resurrection and many did not recognize him.  He was not what they expected.  After hearing his voice Mary called Him “Rabboni,” or Teacher.  Thomas needed to touch his hands and side and then calls him, “My Lord and my God!”  Everyone had different responses to seeing Jesus again, but what is common is that everyone had to experience His presence in some way. 

How do we experience the presence of Jesus in our everyday lives?  Through the poor…the needy…children…our spouses…through the Word of God.  We desperately need to seek out these experiences that bring us closer to Jesus so we can see, hear, and touch Him. 

On the homefront
There is always something new going on at our house.  This last week my husband has decided to take up falconry!  Last week we rescued a baby falcon who fell out of his nest, unable to fly.  All week we thought it was an eaglette, but on closer inspection it is definitely a falcon.  It is learning to fly, but does not yet have the ability to fly independently yet.  He tried to kill a mouse, but couldn’t quite do it, so the cat did it.  It seems that falcons eat only raw meat (and insects)!  In the US falconry requires a certificate acquired after two years of apprenticeship…in the Congo no such laws apply.  It should be an interesting process.  His name is Nimrod, a old testament character who is known to be a great hunter.  Stay tuned for more adventures with Nimrod as he learns to fly!

In other news, Emmanuel has a baby cat named Fiona.  He loves this cat so much and carries it around everywhere.  He likes to feed it milk and identify it’s ears, tail, and feet.  He hugs (more like squeezes) and kisses it until it runs away.

At the hospital
The nurses at the hospital went on strike two weeks ago due to delayed and reduced salary.  It has been a rough couple of months and the surgery department has not been very busy due to Warren’s absence in Iraq.  Hopefully things will be back on track soon and morale improves.  Keep Nyankunde Hospital in your prayers as we go through difficult economic times and the staff struggles to provide for their families.

Easter Celebrations

Yesterday we hosted an Easter egg hunt in the rain.  It’s funny because it hasn’t rained much for a couple of months and we are experiencing a serious drought.  .Just when it was time for the egg hunt, the rain started to fall!  The kids had a good time regardless.  It is my hope that they begin to associate spiritual meaning to the joy of searching and finding…to the beauty of the season of new life.  Here are a few photos from our Sunday morning service and Easter egg hunt…

Sunday morning sunrise service

Anna telling the resurrection story to the kids

Making rice crispie chicks

We'll miss you Martin family

Do you see any adults having fun?

He looks thrilled about the prep work!

Celebrating Victories in the Malnutrition Program
We recently had a special celebration of God's blessings in the malnutrition program.  Women and children were given the opportunity to give testimonies of what God was doing in their lives.  It was wonderful to hear about their special needs being met in the form of community, housing, farming, basic needs.  These women really see that God is their provider.

Specifically we gathered to honor women who were admitted and cured of malnutrition in 2016.  We had five graduates of the nutrition program, most if not all in the postpartum period.  Nursing their babies and pregnancy was too much of a stress on their bodies.  The ladies had new dresses for the occasion (see two of them pictured below).  We prepared mandazis (doughnuts) by hand and served drinks to all in attendance.  A good time was had by all!

Mama Ruth and Alice preparing mandazis

Ruth showing me how it is done

I rolled & fried these doughnuts myself

Noella and Bolini in their colorful new attire

We ask for your prayers as we continue to believe what God is doing here in Nyankunde.  
-Pray that we would provide spiritual care for people in great need.  
-Pray that we would be known for making Jesus known (and our good medical care).  
-Pray for the difficult financial times that we find ourselves in.  Pray for our colleagues who are struggling to put food on the table.
-Pray that the radical life of Jesus would cause us to live sacrificial lives for others.
-Thank God for the beginning of rainy season and hopefully the start of a good planting season.

Blessings and love,
Lindsey (for the Coopers)

Warren's other job...keeping this tractor running!
Mango season has begun!!!  I have no idea how many mangoes this kid eats while I am at work.😀

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