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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Hope Springs Forth

It's that time of year again...(at least in the parts of our country that have four seasons) where the sun is sneaking out and blossoms are bursting forth and muddy trails have the brightest green coming up from the ground!  One of my favorite questions that I always receive from my sponsor children is, "What season is it there for you?" and they go on to tell about the rainy season and dry season and how so much of their lives, as well as their crops, depend on the weather.  It is amazing...we don't realize how many around the world truly have to trust God with the weather every day, to know if they will make a living or even have food on the table.  I tend to take for granted the weather, the seasons' changing, and the food on my table!  The part about the letters that makes me always laugh a little bit, is that often it takes a few months to receive their letters...and then a few months for them to receive mine.  Let's say my sponsor girl, Namata, writes to me at Christmas from Uganda...and I receive it in February and write back...and then she receives her letter in April.  There is much confusion about the seasons and when it is winter, spring, summer, and fall here!  And then there is the way we date our letters.  I would date mine 3/10/16 to signify March 10th, 2016.  Well, for many people in other countries, including Namata in Uganda, the date 3/10/16 would signify October 3rd, 2016!  I had to figure that out a few years ago when the seasons and the dates were really baffling me in our letter exchanges!  All this to say, writing letters back and forth with my sponsor children has been a joy...ever since I first sponsored Mercy in 4th grade!  I wish I could go back and see what I wrote to this dear sister-like pen-pal across the ocean in Ghana then.  We had a special relationship that launched a passion deep inside me for this sponsor-a-child thing...and led me to meet my children/students in the Dominican Republic, Uganda, and The Philippines!  (It's hard to always call them children, when some of them have been my peers or just a few years younger!)


Speaking of season, I wish my sponsor children could step into a real North Eastern United States springtime!  It is so lavish with life.  The great outdoors teeming with warmth and color, and gracing it all, there's a breeze that refreshes the soul.  Jamie and I took a walk on one of our favorite trails recently...and I felt the signs of spring all around me- signs of hope that warmth would return and bright days would be ahead.  Last year, in a way, we felt like we missed out on spring, due to my recovery and Jamie's bout with cancer.  We spent most of our time convalescing inside...but those days when we could get out and take walks (both of us hobbling around- we were quite a sight to behold!), the fresh air revived our souls like never before.  It was really our one highlight if we could get out and take a walk.  There is something about God's creation that is so healing, so filled with hope, especially when it is the spring season which births incredible life again!


This spring, my spirit stirs within me, with an expectancy of all that is renewed and all that is born again.  With my window open, I hear birds singing.  Yesterday, I even heard cicadas singing at the park.  There are buds outside our kitchen window that have opened in the past few days and begun to bloom (I believe it is a tulip tree!)  The beauty of these blossoms has captured my attention.  The cold and dark and silence of winter is evanescent- hope springs yet again, and with seasons' change, we are reminded that God makes all things new.


"Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!...
Each day proclaim the good news that He saves!
Honor and majesty surround Him;
strength and beauty fill His sanctuary...
Recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong!
Worship the Lord in all His holy splendor.
Let all the earth tremble before Him...
Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout His praise!
Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord,
for He is coming!"
(Excerpts from Psalm 96)

"And He who was seated on the throne said,
'Behold, I am making all things new.'
Also He said, 'Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true.'"
(Revelation 21:5)