Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bosnian Evening 2011

Starting with food, fun, fellowship and followed by a quiz and dancing, this year's Bosnian evening was a great success. I got a LOT of help, as usual, and I love that it is something that people can all enjoy by helping out as well! 
Me with the boys!
My mom (right) with some of her cell group

Getting friendly at the tables
Enjoying the food!

The food this year was "Krompirusa" (Potato Pie): below centre, "Carska slana pita" (Emperor's savoury pie): below right, and "Svekrve Oci" (Mother-in-law's eyes): below left. The Mother-in-law's eyes are a dessert made with figs and walnuts and it is delicious despite the name!
The Quiz this year was a "Pub Quiz" format with teams of 5 competing to answer 10 questions correctly. Thanks to Nils for doing the "Quizmastering"!! The questions were about me and my ministry and Bosnia and Banja Luka. The winning team included many in my prayer-team, so it would have been embarrassing if they had lost. Although my mom's team was a close run 2nd!
Me with the winning team (and baby Talyah in the background!)
After the fun and frivolity (I am going with the "f" theme on this blog it seems) we had a time of prayer in groups:

And then it was time for the DANCING:
The brave giving it a go!
Before cleaning up and heading home...
A great big thank-you to Keren - pictured above with her husband Nils (centre) and Andre - who did the kitchen for me and a whole lot more besides... and thank-you to everyone else who helped with everything: you know who you are!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ihtus opened!

As I couldn't be there, here is what my colleague from the Czech Republic, David, has to say about the opening:

"The Educational Cultural Centre 'Ihtus' was opened in Banja Luka  on Saturday night. About 50 people including us workers attended the opening ceremony and the introduction concert of a local rock band "Važno obavještenje"=Important Notice. The Centre will serve as an atypical café with a library and place to study. We will hold seminars, English classes, movie nights, etc. in here."

"When I was introducing the band I said "welcome guys" and I completely forgot the female member of the group, a small embarrassment:) The other picture shows Neven, Jakub from Brno (visiting for one week) and Irena [who is David's fiance!]."

-taken from David's blog, thanks David!!
Pictures from the opening: 

Ljilja translating for Rami at the opening

And of the club:

Outside view

Inside view of one of the rooms
Even though I missed all of the really hard work, and am grateful to a wonderful team who pulled this all together, I do look forward to getting back and hosting teams, teaching English and doing Business Training at the Centre, amongst other things...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Johannesburg - Joburg - Jozi

I went up for the weekend to Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, to stay with my friend Kirsten. I managed to catch up with quite a few people as well and also see a lot of the sights... I was taken to places ranging from the bohemian Arts on Main near Joburg downtown to the cheesy, italian-style Montecasino Mall in the north, where I met up with friends:  Rina and her children, Cloe and David in front of the authentic Italian police car:
 And David, Carol and little Angie in the Italian "street" complete with fake pigeons...

Besides spending time with other friends, including the Stacks (my former minister, John and his wife, Nora), Kirsten and I also went to the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto township: For those that don't know, Hector Pieterson was the boy killed in the 1976 Youth uprising, depicted in the iconic photograph, being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo and mourned by his sister, Antoinette Sithole. The picture became a symbol of white oppression under apartheid and the museum deals with not just the death of Hector, but is a memorial to all the youth - over 600 - killed in the struggle.
We also saw lots of other "lovely" parts of Johannesburg... And I must admit that despite my Cape Town prejudices, there are quite a few lovely parts - Joburg is actually part of the largest man-made forest in the world...
Here we are in front of a "pretty" mine dump - for those of you that don't know, Jozi, as it is affectionately called, was first populated because of mining...
And for Football/Soccer fans: here we are (in a self time photo) in front of the Soccer City Calabash: made especially for the 2010 World Cup!
I bought the tickets to fly to Joburg on a "special" last April (even before I bought my Cape Town tickets!) and thought it would never arrive, and now I am already on the other side...that is how fast time flies when you are having fun :-)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Methodist Covenant Service

Here in Cape Town, I attend a Methodist Church. I started at the church, attending Sunday School, in 1981: so I have been going now to the same church for 30 years! When people ask, I always say that I am a Christ-follower who happens to attend a Methodist Church: not really a "Methodist". I have never really known what being a Methodist was all about, but one of the things that I enjoy about Methodism is that once a year (since 1755 when John Wesley instituted it) we pray through the "Covenant Prayer" as a way to dedicate or re-dedicate ourselves to God.

The prayer is simple, but powerful, and each year I have a renewed sense of how awesome it is to be a Christian who happens to go to a Methodist church. Here is the prayer (updated from John Wesley's time a little bit):

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you or laid aside by you,
enabled for you or brought low by you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
you are mine, and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

Wow, powerful stuff. And I thank God that even as I am praying it, I am fully aware that I do not have the power within to be able to fulfil the prayer - it is only as God works in me and gives me the strength and grace that I am able to give myself over to God in this way.

I had an awesome illustration of this this morning. I was sitting out by the pool reading my bible. It is so great to be able to do that while I am at my folks' place that I am taking advantage of it as much as I can! I noticed that the leaf cleaner sunction thingie was working, which meant that the pool pump was working. However, the automatic pool cleaner wasn't going at all. I knew this meant that it had come loose from the pool pump, so I got up and attached it again and off it went cleaning away. And it just struck me that is how it is often with God: we come loose from His awesome power (usually through something we do!) and are unable to function the way that He has designed and purposed for us to function. We need to stay connected to the power in order to produce the fruit that He has for us...

And that is something that the Covenant service reminds us every year: to whom we are attached. To whom we are connected. And as we dedicate our lives again to staying connected, He will come through and give us all the power we need in our lives to carry out His purpose in them.
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