Sunday, June 17, 2012
One upside about spending so much time in bed is that it gives or should i say forces you to stop and reflect. Being a Martha as many of you know there is not much more difficult for me that doing nothing. As I lay here my mind goes a million miles an hour over all the things that I could/should/need to be doing....where is the cat, is nili up from here nap,were the seedlings put in water, did the yogurt get take out of the container on and on my mind spins. All these small details of life seem so critical at the moment to me yet I wonder if anyone else is even aware of them. I have to force myself to shut my mind off and go back to sleep...
Later the next morning I hobble around to see that all those things I was so concerned about were taken care of with no assistance on my part... Amazing fact..the world in fact goes on spinning even when clea wootton is down for the count. It made me take a step back and thank God for all the wonderful, caring, and very capable people in my life. Why is it that I see them daily yet do not appreciate them more often....most likely because I am too wrapped up in everything that I am doing to notice all they too are doing ... so please indulge me as I take a moment to brag on a few very special people to me....
ISAAC....he really is the most Godly, hard working man I have ever meet. He is the first to rise and last to sleep most days. He pushes himself harder than often I would like and rarely takes even a moment for himself. He constantly amazes me by his ability to make Godly decisions especially when it's difficult and consistently pours into the guys often with little or no appreciation. Honey, you amaze me! I am so thankful to have you as my husband, partner, friend and covering.
MOM (Connie)....it is hard to imagine that all these years I had such an amazing woman for a mother and did not really notice or appreciate what was right under my nose. She is one of the most steadfast people I know. Her age does not seem to slow her down a bit and often has stamina beyond those youth (myself included) around her. She unselfishly gives of her time and talents ... teaching/serving both my children and the SOM guys. She is a constant source of joy and smiles to everyone around and is a living example of denying self. She has given up so much to be here serving alongside this family and ministry. She is an amazing friend and a huge source of accountability and companionship to me. Mom, thanks for all you are and do..I appreciate it all!
MARGARET ... Most may not know her yet she is a vital part of this compound. She daily serves doing the cooking, cleaning, and shopping for our household yet she is much more than a mere worker... She is a friend. She is gifted in hospitality and has a true servants heart. She is trustworthy and really does her work as unto the Lord. She is an invaluable source of advice and assistance in a sometimes very deceptive culture. She is a constant reminder that God has his remnant everywhere. Thank you, Margaret for all your love and service.
These are just a few of the amazing people that God has put around me. It is a shame that God has to knock me on my back in order for me to take my eyes off myself long enough to see just how much I have been blessed. He really has given me SO MUCH! Let me encourage you to take a moment and look around for your blessings....it could me your mother, or spouse, or co-worker, or friend...and make sure they know how much you appreciate them!
Monday, May 2, 2011
It has been one of those seasons when it just seems they keep coming one trial, test, disappointment, after another. One of the biggest trials and thus testimonies for me personally came a few months ago (could it really have been that long ago – yikes). Those who follow us on facebook are aware that our vehicle got broken into last time we were in Kampala and our luggages, including our passports, were stolen. I want to again thank you all that interceding on our behalf during that trial and feel compelled to testify of what God did on our behalf for HIS glory. So as promised here is the rest of the story………..
In general Isaac and I really try and limit our trips to Kampala since it is both usually expensive and dangerous but sometimes they are really unavoidable; this was one such trip. We both had to get our passports renewed, get a cashiers check for 6 months rent and the vehicle needed some repairs so we planned on coming in on a Thursday running around and getting the errands done and making a 8am appointment with the Embassy Friday morning. So we packed up the car early Thursday morning and were on the road by 6.
We made good time to Kampala and headed right to the Forex to get the rent check and cash a check for spending money and money for the vehicle repairs. That stop went without a hitch and we soon found ourselves in one of the big shopping centers to catch lunch and buy some groceries. When we entered the parking lot we were surprised by all the security in place. Not only were the police on hand but an additional security company was checking inside all the vehicles. We found a primo spot just next to the police station and heading in.
Everything was going according to schedule until we headed out to the car to find that the doors were unlocked. At first Isaac was shocked to think he would have forgotten to lock the car and it was not until I noticed that both of our bags were missing from the back seat that we even noticed the damage to the drivers side lock. It was quite the surreal moment when you almost can not believe that it is really happening to you. You shake your head and immediately start praying …"Lord help me to not freak out, you are in control, I trust in you, give me wisdom and peace that goes beyond what is happening here.” Contained in our bags were both our passports, filled out paperwork for our new passports including the necessary US cash, our rent check, a blank check from our US checking account, multiple bibles including ones we both have had over 10+ years and our bible journals.
We right away go over get the security and police and begin going thru the process knowing fully well that there is nothing that they can really do. As it turns out as we are talking to all the parties involved we were able to catch one of the security guys in a lie and now are fully convinced that he was somehow involved with the burglary. While Isaac was sorting out how to proceed, I sat near the car praying and the “suspect” guard came by…. I looked him in the eyes and told him I knew that he was involved and to take whatever they wanted but please to just drop off the passports to the US embassy. It really was one of those moments were you know that he knows that you know but you both know that police are not going to do anything about it.
Anyways we all go down to the police station to file a report about the theft and the missing passports (which is necessary to bring to the embassy). We finish the paperwork and have to rush back to the shopping center to get new passport pictures, print out the new necessary passport forms and post on facebook for prayer support. We barely finish all the tasks before the shopping center closes. Needless to say this was not how we pictured our day would turn out.
We wake up reminded that His mercies are new every morning and head out to catch our 8 am appointment at the Embassy. We arrive a little bit early so have to wait but when we finally get up to the window, we begin explaining the situation when the embassy worker tells us to hold on a minute. He excuses himself and a few minutes later returns with both our passports in his hands! Upon seeing our passports again, we are both shocked and amazed and begin thanking the Lord. The Embassy worker does not know much about how they even got to his department but that they were turned in as having been found.
Oh but wait there is more, I will try and keep to the short version as this post is getting long…… Okay so we finish our business at the Embassy still in shock and in awe of God and decide to go get the car worked on especially since we need to have new locks installed. While we are having the car worked on we get a call from the US Embassy investigation division who begin asking us about our stolen bags and they ask us to come back to the Embassy. Since the car is being worked on we can’t drive over so I stay with the car and Isaac takes a boda-boda (motorcycle) back over to the embassy.
As it turns out the Embassy has two “boys” in holding regarding our passports that they turned in and this suspicious bag they have in there possession. When Isaac gets there the embassy staff decided to take everyone down to the police station where they go thru the bag which is actually Isaac’s and inside find most of our missing items. The truly amazing this was that on the car ride over to the police Isaac gets a chance to talk to the thieves and one of boys named Robert shares with Isaac that once some missionaries had helped him with school fees and how he wants to be a good Christian and record Christen music. It was nothing less than the power of the Holy Spirit at work to convict and prompt to active repentance.
After hearing Roberts’s testimony, Isaac decided to not press charges and instead spin the idea of “how could a true thief return what he has stolen”; knowing that what Robert needed now to draw him back to the Lord was not judgment but mercy. Everyone seems to agree with this logic and even all the police were amazed. They said this type of thing never happens and that we must pray hard for such a miracle to happen. All glory to God!
They way things ended up the only things not returned were a little US cash, Isaac’s iPod, some of his clothes and toiletries, and a blank check from our US account. At first we were really worried about the blank check but this is not an infomercial but a God-fomercial so yes people there is more….
Isaac finished all the business at the police station and the Embassy staff dropped him off at the car repair shop within a few minutes of the car being finished. We cleared our bill with the mechanic and drove home to Fort Portal the same afternoon.
When we got home we immediately went to work trying to deal with our US checking account being compromised. We were all too familiar with this process having just had 6 months ago close our account and open a new one when our account was defrauded out of $7000 from a place in Botswana. Needless to say we were more than bummed to once again be in the same boat.
I called the fraud specialists for our bank and told her the situation but when I gave her the bank info for that stolen check she seemed confused and informed me that that account was already closed. As it turned out I had by accident taken the checks from the account that had been closed because of fraud instead of our current active checking account checks. Never had such a big mistake turned out to be such a blessing in disguise. The next morning we called the Forex bureau and explained to them that the check that we wrote them was from a closed account and that we would send someone on the bus with a new valid one. Even they could not believe our testimony.
Even as I type this and remember back I am speechless at the sovereignty of the Lord. Let me encourage you that no matter what trial you might currently be in know fully and confidently that God has given this struggle, trial, situation, hardship, persecution, test to you not to crush you but because He knows you can withstand and overcome it. He is using you in ways that you can not begin to see or maybe even understand but continue to preserve and you might just get a glimpse at his purpose…. God knew and Isaac and I would not be overcome by this trial but that we would be able to be faithful witnesses to Him, a tool in which to use to reach a wayward son, named Robert.
1 Thessalonians 3:3 “so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.”
Monday, November 29, 2010
So it has been WAY to long since I posted last. I hope most have read my various God Stories via email but still it is no excuse…. I am sorry… please forgive me…..
Many may already know my big news but just incase you missed it…We are expecting another child in July of next year. The thing that you may not know is that this was in no way planned. In fact quite the opposite…We have been taking all necessary measures not to have any more children. So how can this be? That was my reaction anyways. I love my children dearly but Isaac and I had both agreed that we were done.
The week leading up to the official test was excruciating to say the least. It did not even seem right to be praying that I would not be pregnant. All the logistics filled my head and I found myself drowning in all the reasons I did not want this. But then God…
He began to confirm my suspicion thru his word, a book I was reading and then a third time by news from a friend. The test was a mere formality for God had already spoken.
As the shock began to ware off and the news began to sink in I asked the question so common in times of trial… “Why Lord, why?” And then that still small voice of the one who created not only me but this child spoke, “for I know the desires of your heart, daughter”. You see when Elijah was younger I said that if I could know for sure the child was a girl, I would want to have another so that Hosanna could have a sister. Of course knowing that I could never control such a thing I reasoned that if God had wanted her to have a sister then He would have and since He did not then He knew best and that was it…we were finished.
There are many things as a Christian that we willingly surrender or at least should, our time, our desires, our finances, our goals, our dreams, but with this latest news I quickly realized that I was not FULLY surrendered. Isaac and I always said we would have our kids young and close in age and be done, we had our plan. But you see what God was reminding me was that ALL my ways need to be not mine but His… it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20). He is giving me a greater opportunity to trust in, rely upon and cling to Him is so many different ways and I know he won’t let me down ... its just not in his nature!
So what area does God want you to surrender more fully? Are you willing to let go and let God? Mediate on His word, His very character… lean not on your own understanding (Psalms 3:5-6), He knows what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13), He has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11) fill your heart and mind with truth and take captive all the “me” thoughts. Allow Him to be who He is … I am that I am. Who can argue with that...I sure can't!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I have been wanting to post for a while but was not sure what to write,
then today a God story happened that i wanted to share ....
Margaret (our house help since February) today informed me that her cell phone battery was no longer keeping a charge and asked me if we had one that she could use. I told her that i was not sure and i would ask Isaac. Now with employees, you have to be led of the Spirit when giving assistance. We as Christians should desire to bless others but here if you give too much too often it can easily become an expectation instead of a blessing. Anyways, Margaret really was an answer to prayer (hey that might be a good post too) and so far has not been demanding and usually very appreciative. I felt this was a reasonable request and i knew that we had been given some cell phones that we currently are not using. I went to go ask Isaac and look to see if any of the unused phones had the same type battery as Margaret's. When i talked to Isaac about taking the battery from one of the unused phones, he said that he had plans for the phones that were currently not being used and that without the batteries they were not that useful. I was starting to protest when out of nowhere he proceeded to pull out a battery from his computer bag. Of course this battery just happened (yeah right) to be the exact one that Margaret needed. Oh but wait there is more....
I asked Isaac, "where did this come from?" since i was not even aware that we had a spare battery and he began to tell me the story of how he got this battery....
Isaac's phone is from 2006 and its battery is also starting to not keep a charge so he was praying about buying a new battery while in the states (here it is very difficult to buy "genuine" electronics). Anyways before traveling to Tallahassee, He stopped in Lansing, MI to visit the Dunn family and share with the church family at Calvary Chapel Lansing. He was giving the message on Sunday and before church was in the Lobby greeting people when he saw a young black guy with two cell phones, one in each hand. Isaac made some comment about the 2 phones when the guy explained that he actually had 4 phones and was transferring his contacts from one to another. Isaac commented that it was the same type of phone that he uses in Africa and began to introduce himself believing that his guy was a church member. Anyways at the end of the conversation the black guy offers Isaac the cell phone he is getting rid of. It happens that it is a prepaid phone which won't work over here and Isaac says that he can't use the phone but would love to have the battery at which the guy takes it out and hands it to him. Isaac thanks the guy and then moves on to welcome another church member.
So Isaac teaches the Sunday service but does not see the black guy in the congregation. After the teaching, Isaac wants to tell the guy how he has been praying for a new battery and again thank him but can not seem to find Him. Unsuccessful in his search, he ask Pastor Jim Dunn but Jim does not know who he is and has never seen him before. Since the black guy was kinda young Isaac proceeds to asks the youth teacher but she also has never see him before. He keeps asking around until one church member explains that the man in question actually does not go to the church and had only stepped into the Lobby to get out of the cold and make a phone call!
I tell you this story as i told Margaret to remind you that as Matthew 6:23 says (paraphrased by my kids bible like this), "Your heavenly father all ready knows your needs." Whatever you may need (not want but need) whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, remember that our Papa already knows! That provision may in fact come from the most unlikely way , ways the we could not even imagine! We truly serve an AWESOME God!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
OK so i am sure some of you wont even remember whose blog this is and i could give a million reasons why i have been MIA but i wont and i guess it is too late for a new years resolution ... so all this to say i am going to try and keep up on my posting especially now since we have a better internet!
I did have a really wonderful God experience a few months ago that when it happened i thought to myself i need to blog that one so here goes...
As many may know our family took our first real vacation since moving to Africa this past Christmas and spent a few weeks in Mombasa on the coast of Kenya. It was a wonderful time of refreshing and just good o'l beach fun. Anyways one of the times at the beach i was out in the water with Yahoo (now just a little over 2 years). He was having the best time just splashing around and crashing against the waves. I took him off of my hip and held him with both hands under the arms so he could experience the water to the fullest and to my shock he just started freaking out. I kept telling him "you are ok" and "I got you" but he would have nothing to do with it and kicked up the crying and screaming. Finally i gave up and just took him back to my hip and almost immediately he was totally fine and back to having a great time.
At that time it was like the Lord was speaking so clearing i could almost hear him chuckle. "Clea, you are just like him. Yahoo only thinks he is safe when HE is holding on to YOU but that is not his real safety; it is YOU holding HIM that keeps him safe, whether he feels it or not. You see Clea, in the same way, it is not whether you feel me near to you or not that matters; is who I AM that gives you your security. Relax and trust in who I am not in yourself."
In that moment i was once again reminded of the character of the God that i serve. He is truly worthy of my complete surrender and trust. He will be faithful for that is who HE IS! May this encourage you when you find yourself feeling very distant from the Lord, that whether you "feel" it or not He cannot and will not contradict his word which says "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20b)
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Papa being the every faithful father heard my cry and though his word again reminding me of the truth. Feelings are deceitful but His word is always right. So as is my habit i picked up my bible to continue in my chapter a day study finding myself in Luke chapter 17. Verses 7-10 are as follows:
"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "
All to often i feel empty because i am looking to man for appreciation only to find disappointment. But as Luke states giving, serving, loving, forgiving, being poured out is just my duty. It is what the Lord has called me to do as a christian and a follower of Him. In an easy to read version of the bible the last sentence reads "We are not worthy of any special thanks. We have only done the work we should do." Ouch! I don't know about you but i do not like hearing that. But whether or not it "feels" good i know the bible speaks only truth.
One of the only areas of my life that this seemed natural is in relation to is mothering. Mothering is NOT an easy task or does it ever seem appreciated by the kids. They ever want more - more time, more grace, more food, more cartoons etc but as much as they suck everything out of me i never once consider not being their mother. The idea has never entered my mind to not feed them, not read to them, not teach them, not clothe them....those things are my given duty as their mother. So why is it so difficult to joyfully fulfill my duties as Christan without looking for special thanks?
Needless to say it reminds me of how truly wicked i am and totally incapable i am of pleasing him on my own. i don't know where you are today but if you are tired of being poured out, whether at the work place, at home, among friends, in ministry, in marriage, wherever you may find yourself let me remind you that as Christians it is merely our duty to be loving, forgiving, humble, kind, long suffering, patient, to stand for truth, to be bold, be above reproach ..... to be salt and light. And NO you cant do it, not alone...cry out to Him to fill you again with the Helper, to bring to remembrance the joy of your salvation, to help your unbelief, that we maybe workers in the harvest pleasing unto him. It will all be worth it when we finally standing in our masters very presence hear the words "Well done, good and faithful servant!".
Friday, July 24, 2009
Since mom's return a few weeks ago we have again started our weekly bible study with the "Ladies" (Susan from Kenya, our worker, and Kelen a Ugandan neighbor). We decided to go deeper with the ladies and begin a discipline of a daily bible reading of a chapter a day with ONE application that the Lord puts on your heart. This is a real stretch for the ladies but are very excited to see how the Lord will work. We began in the book of Mark. You begin by praying then read the chapter, then read it again and mark it and then pray for God to show you one thing (the Navigators program). Often the hard part for me is narrowing down the rebuke and correction to just one things.
It has been really amazing how God is using the unusual portions of scripture to speak truth to me. Having a good bit of familiarity with the gospels I have been so blessed to see the deep truths in the small phrases. The Bible is truly living and applicable to EVERY situation of our lives.
Anyhow... one of the things the Lord really impressed on my heart was the passage in Mark 3:2 which says "And they [being the Pharisees] watched them closely whether he would heal him [man with a withered hand] on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him." So here the religious are carefully watching to see what Jesus is going to do but the really important part is WHY! There are so many that are watching us a Christians whether they are Christians or not to see what we are going to do. They examine our lives, our families, our marriages and even more so here where you can can't help but be under the microscope. The interesting part to me was the motivation behind the examination. The were not looking at him to learn or even to consider him with and open mind but only to find a point to accuse him.
This has really been a point of struggle for me lately. I find myself constantly looking even examining the lives of those around me whether family, friends, fellow missionaries, or even our workers. But what is MY motive? That is where I all too quickly find myself in the shoes of the Pharisees. It is not to encourage or lift up but to criticize. It is believing the worst and looking to see it confirmed instead of believing and hoping in the best. How quickly I become so self-righteous and forget the way of Jesus is love. The motivation is EVERYTHING. Please pray for me as I seek the Lord to change my criticism to compassion, my examining to exalting, and my judging to rejoicing.
So my question to you is what is God saying to you? What area of your life is God wanting to correct? What personality trait is He wanting to speak to you about? Let me encourage you get in the word and listen. He so desires to speak to you. Just one chapter a day. Pray and listen for just ONE thing that he would have you hear.
"Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul" Psalm 66:16