Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Booksneeze review: When God whispers your name

I have read quite a lot of Max Lucado's books, and enjoyed every one, so when this one was available to review I decided to grab it. It is a collection of unrelated stories which weave together through the common theme that God cares for you, and wants to be closer to you and lead you, you just need to have faith in Him.

For example, the first story is of a man who used to be some kind of high-powered executive, but because he committed a big crime has been working as a humble janitor in a school the last 20 years. And then one day God comes to him and talks to him out of his mop bucket... Using this illustration to explain the story of Moses totally brought it alive for me. And using this modern day version, Max really brings it home how God does talk to us and even if we have to wait a long time for God to come through to use us: "God ain't finished with you yet"!

I took it slowly while reading, and I really enjoyed reading one story at a time, and contemplating on each story. It was very encouraging in my walk with the Lord. I was sorry to only discover that it actually has a study guide once I was already through the whole book - but I think that one day I will go back through each story and use the study guide to go even deeper than I have now.

If you are looking for a good devotional book with a lovely theme running through, then I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reading can be fun!

So, after going to the library last week, last night it was time to run the "Book Club" at the Children's Home. First the kids wrote a postcard to a friend about the book that they had been reading: The 5-8th graders take this quite seriously:

As do many of the 1-4th graders (here are Danijela and Gaga with new volunteer, Milica): They had the same assignment, but then could also draw about the story as the picture on the postcard, the 5-8th graders are too serious for drawing :-)
Two new members of Book Club: Kiki in first grade (who is still learning to read) with Aleksandra, a new volunteer: 
And two old ones: Mira with Milijana:
And two of my favourite old members, Tanja, who leads the 1-4th grade group, with Luka, who is already in 3rd grade!
And just to prove that we do have some fun in my 5-8th grade group: here we are playing the game I made up for them... shhhh don't tell them they are actually learning while having fun!
Two more new volunteers: Sandra and Jovana asking a riddle or a question during the game:
And somehow this group all managed to land on one square!!
So, as you can see, reading (or at least book club) can be fun!! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nick Vujicic in Serbia and Croatia

I did a book review in July of one of Nik's books "Your life without limits" and so I was so excited to hear that he was coming to Serbia and Croatia. I didn't have a chance to hear to any of his speeches live, but my colleague Sinisa went to Novi Sad last night and my colleagues David and Irena will hear him tonight in Zagreb. Our friends in Belgrade and Novi Sad were doing the organising for his trip and so it has been fun watching them on TV and in the news and all kudos to them for their great work. Ljilja and I did watch a lecture he gave at the Law Faculty on Friday which was live on TV and streamed on the internet when it was live - amazing stuff (some of it he actually does in Serbian, which he knows a little of from his parents and grandparents).

He is also bringing out a new book in October, so if you have a chance buy a copy! Here is a little bit more about it: "Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action:"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Don't blink!

This week has passed by in a FLASH... Mom left on Monday after a great week here - and of course I didn't get any pics of her as she has them all on her camera, so you will have to take my word for it!

A highlight of the week was definitely going to the library with the littlies from the Children's Home: I arrived as arranged to pick them up and they were all lined up at the door waiting for me :-) They knew for sure I would be there when I said I would come! Aren't they cute?
We also went took the older kids on another day - but of course I don't have any photos of them, as they aren't quite as cute :-)

I started up 3 groups of English: beginners, elementary and intermediate/advanced (conversation). I have photos of two of the groups: Here is the elementary group (well some of them) working hard, some of my old beginners have come back, but there are a lot of new people too!

And some pics of the conversation group: Here doing a getting to know you activity:
And here playing a discussion game: And this group seems to really be enjoying it:
This group is a little bit more serious, but still enjoying it:
It has been a great week, but now it is time to get ready for next week :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blogging for books review: I exalt You, O God


Jerry Bridges wrote this 31 day devotional gem of a book back in 2001, but it is now available in e-book format. The book looks at different ways we can see God, and worship Him for the different parts of His character. Divided into 4 parts: (greatness, holiness, wisdom and love) with 7 or 8 daily devotionals in each part, it is meant to be used as a month long journey into deeper worship and understanding of who God is and what He does for us.

As I was travelling, it took me a lot longer than 31 days to complete, but I am glad that I decided to go through it slowly and enjoy each chapter, digesting the insights, using the verses at the end as a way to worship the Lord each day. And I know in a couple of years I will be able to go through this again as it is something that I will always be able to learn from and use as a tool for daily devotions.

There is so much good stuff throughout the book, but I want to share one of the insights that really struck me: under the Greatness section the author took us through Isaiah 40. In verse 12 it says "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand?" (referring to God). The author then tells of how he measured how much water he could hold in his own hand (have you measured, it isn't a lot!) and yet, the Lord holds ALL the waters of the earth (which is covered 2/3rd by water) in His hand... It is just such a wonderful thought as to how GREAT the Lord actually is. And these kinds of little insights really bring home the greatness, holiness, wisdom and love of the Lord, and allowed me to enter into deeper worship.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in deepening their relationship with God, and wanting to spend quality time worshiping Him for who He is and what He does.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the Blogging for books program of the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. The opinion is completely my own. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Prestik/Blu-tack!!

When I first moved to Bosnia almost 12 years ago, I was privileged to spend a great chunk of my time in language learning. I went to classes in the morning, and the rest of the day I was meant to spend using the language I was learning. We focused on learning language that we needed: so I would learn the sentences "Do you have a battery for my watch?", "How much does it cost?" and the possible replies. I would then go out and try and find myself a watch battery. It was sometimes fun, other times really hard.

Now, yesterday, while shopping with Mom (who leaves tomorrow, wah), I saw prestik/blu-tack here in Banja Luka for the first time! I am sure it has been around, but I haven't seen it before... I was so excited, we had to take a picture of it (which I am sure people found really strange, but not as strange as they thought I was in my following story...)
I remember trying to find it in Zenica within about 3 months of getting to Bosnia. I went to every shop that could possibly sell it (from stationers to building suppliers) and asked my question: "Do you have something like putty which I can use to stick pictures to the wall?" They all understood my question, (which was evidenced by the fact that they tried to sell me other things that could stick pictures on the wall), but NONE of them had EVER seen prestik before, so they all looked at me like "poor thing, is she right in the head?" Seriously, it was hard to keep going, but I was determined to at least TRY to find it... but it was pretty hard when everyone was thinking that I was completely barmy... I finally got some sent to me by a friend, and I was tempted to go back to each of the stores to show it to them, and prove I wasn't mad, but in the end figured it was better to leave well enough alone!

At the time I wrote an article for my Church newsletter, using the analogy for the good news of Jesus Christ. Many people in the world haven't seen prestik and don't know what it is like at all. And so, they look at you like you are crazy when you are trying to explain it to them. The same thing is true of the good news: it doesn't really make sense to those who haven't experienced it. And so, people who have experienced it, go and live in places where people don't know about the good news and put life to it: showing God's love to those who are searching for Him.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Key of David Painting

Throughout the week of the GLG we were blessed by the fact that the Key of David scaled painting was the backdrop for our stage:
It is a scaled version of a much bigger painting which was on display during the Olympics. It was made in collaboration of 70 artists and is magnificent! Each little panel, even in this scaled version is exquisite and I took a few pictures of my favourite ones:








It really was wonderful to look at as a whole as well. Here is a video explaining a little bit more about it:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day out in London...with a twist

So, before travelling back to Bosnia with my mom (who is here for a week's visit!), we had a lovely day out in London planned... We were to meet up at Victoria and go and see two shows in one day. But, it almost didn't happen at all.

The first hiccup was when Mom got off the bus from Oxford at Victoria train station and I was waiting at the bus station... but luckily we both had cell phones with UK numbers, so I was able to phone her and figure out where she was and went and got her...so that disaster was averted.

We dropped off our luggage at the hotel and because the Paralympic wheelchair marathon was on, the plan was to walk to the theatre. We had 2 hours, it was a lovely day and so we wandered along from Victoria until we hit the marathon route. Wanting to take a picture, Mom opened her handbag, and it was then that she realised that her wallet was not in her bag... At the hotel she had put the tickets into her wallet and the wallet back in her bag, so we knew it was there when we left the hotel... So, we knew that some lucky thief had her wallet with her credit cards, some money, and OUR THEATRE TICKETS!!!!!!!

We found a nice bobby (UK police officer) and he told us to go to and report it at the nearest police station (which was back the way we came, and beyond our hotel, oh well...). We got there and they were super super nice, and gave Mom the phone (and looked up the number) to cancel her credit cards so that was one thing we didn't have to worry about anymore. And they said we should try at the theatre because luckily I had booked the tickets on my credit card, and we still had that, so they would probably give us replacements...

Now with time running out, we decided to take a taxi to the theatre... the cab driver took us most of the way but because of the marathon in the middle, dropped us off as close as he could and told us where to go instead of driving us all around London and charging us a huge amount - thereby restoring our faith in humanity!

And luckily we made it to the first theatre with 10 minutes to go, and with a bit of convincing got our replacement tickets for... see if you can work it out from this photo:
Yes, you got it, we went to see the AMAZING performance of the LION KING!!!!!!!!!!!

Words cannot describe how wonderful the show is, and after all the hoopla with the wallet, I had a real sense of God's blessing coming through despite the devil trying to ruin it all for us. I was reminded of this during the show, when little Simba was completely surrounded by the hyenas and is trying to roar at them with their pathetic little roar and then you suddenly hear Mufasa's HUGE roar coming through... it is like that in our lives: we can feel surrounded and trying to conquer all in our our own strength, but when God comes through for us, nothing will stop Him!

Then it was just a short walk up the road to the Shaftesbury where we watched a wonderful (but completely different show from the Lion King!) performance of ROCK OF AGES!
And our claim to fame is that we found this great little cafe to have dinner in round the corner from the theater and were sitting at a table next to a fairly large (and charismatic - you couldn't miss her!) black lady. She was obviously a regular there and later we figured out why - when we got to the show, it turned out that she was one of the main performers!!!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

YWAM Global Leadership Gathering

Being at Harpenden for the YWAM GLG has been a life changing experience. It will be a milestone in my life where I look at things and think "before" and "after". I was privileged to be amongst almost 300 leaders from around the world from YWAM - part of what they called the "emerging leaders track" (although many of the leaders were very definitely emerged!). The whole conference met corporately every morning and evening and some afternoons, and our track met in the "free" afternoons, so it was a BUSY schedule, but it was amazing... amazing...

The founder of YWAM, Loren Cunningham and many of the main leaders were with us:
And besides YWAM speakers, we were really blessed with some amazing speakers from outside, challenging our thinking in many areas...

And blessed in other ways as well, for instance, Graham Kendrick led worship times on a couple of the days...and the rest of the time we had fantastic YWAM worship leaders, so the worship times really were a blessing!
Our emerging leaders track was taught by many different people including Loren's amazing wife, Darlene:
We wouldn't be YWAM without praying for the whole world: here using a map to aid us:
The weather was uncharacteristically sunny and warm for England:




And being in England, we were blessed on the last afternoon with a High Tea:
Complete with cucumber sandwiches:
I don't have a photo of all 5 of us who came from the Central European region, but we had a good time being here together, including a couple of outings to the pub :-). Doris who works in the Czech Republic and I stayed in the lovely home of Nigel and Sally, which was such a blessing! And it was great that each evening we got to spend a bit of time with people not in YWAM and debriefing a little bit by telling them what amazing things had been going on that day:
And the things I love the most about these big gatherings is being able to connect with people (below I am with Penny my ex-roommate...who is now serving in Thailand, and we haven't seen each other in almost 13 years). It is the reason we make the effort to come together in every level of YWAM, and even though it isn't always easy to get to the places, it is definitely worth it!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Lay me down in Green Pastures...

I decided that after a hectic summer and before the hectic rest of the year, that while I was in England for a conference anyway, I would have a little bit of a time to rest and "retreat". {and the fact that the plane tickets were way cheaper a week earlier helped a bit in the making of that decision as well} Online, I discovered Green Pastures in Bournemouth and it sounded idyllic, so I booked to come here this week. And it has indeed been a fantastic time of rest, restoration, full of good input and spending a lot of time with God... it has been exactly what I needed!

The gardens are lovely and I have felt like the Lord was leading me beside still waters while I was here:
I did get out and about in the area and took some photos which summed up the week: This place was like my little "island" of sanctuary like for this little guy:
And my calm before the the storm:
I don't think they will make a plaque for me like they did for John Wesley who only stayed ONE NIGHT in this cottage (which was then destroyed in WWII)... love it!
Two unusual things in Britain: red telephone boxes that work and SUNSHINE:-) But after 40 degree weather this summer in Bosnia, the 20 degrees that held sway this week in the UK were quite a welcome change. 
So, having decided to come this week for a retreat, completely by happenstance, I was actually in Bournemouth when the Air Festival was on...
And one afternoon, I took a little walk through some lovely gardens, and happened to arrive in Bournemouth just in time to see THE RED ARROWS!!!!! (completely unplanned, but so much fun!)



They really are amazing!!! And I am still pinching myself that I got to see them live!

Today I took the bus down to Swanage which goes across the Sandbanks ferry (which is run along chains under the water). My friend Helen Scott (nee Bennett) and I went on this ferry on our grand tour of the British Isles 15 years ago, so it was a real trip down memory lane for me...
Now, the cool (literally) thing about the bus to Swanage is that it is open top... and I wanted a picture of me on the ferry in the open top bus, so I asked someone to take a picture of me in the open top bus in the ferry... and this is the photo she came up with of me in an open top bus on a ferry (you will have to use your imagination, as she proved why I prefer using self timer where possible - where is the open top bus? where is the ferry?? I look pretty good, but well not really the point now is it?)...
But luckily I checked the photo and so we came up with this slightly better one, you can at least see the open top bus and the fact that it is on a ferry (well if I tell you...and you use your imagination still...). Yes, self-timer is definitely the way to go...
So, instead, I give you my arty picture from the open top bus, looking through the ferry window and out onto Brownsea Island: not a bad shot on a fast moving ferry ;-)
Now, just to prove I didn't spend the whole week alone, here is a self-timer pic of me with some of the other residents of Green Pastures: the Maize family from London and Ruth from Bracknell on Bournemouth beach...we walked down together after dinner one evening:
And talking about self-timer pictures, I have to show off this one of me in Alum Chine (which is one of the many forest/garden walks which are all around Green Pastures...): As I say: self-timer is definitely the way to go!!!
So, I hope you enjoyed seeing the week that was as much as I was blessed in having it ;-)
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