Welcome friends, old and new, known and unknown! It has been my desire to share with you how the Lord is working in my life as I serve the Lord on the mission field of Kabwe, Zambia. There is an old black and white movie called The African Queen. It is about a boat that travels down river. This blog is not about a boat. It is however, about my travels on the mission field of Kabwe, Zambia. By the way, did you know that my name means queen. For many years I have been burdened for souls in Africa. That is why some of my friends call me African Queen.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tidings of Comfort & True Joy

During this Christmas season, I have been learning a lesson about true joy.
The world, things, and people around us sometimes bring us sadness and hurt, but they also bring us happiness.
Did you know, that all of those things fail to give us true joy?

Happiness is a feeling, 
but joy is something that you carry with you
 regardless of things or circumstances.

As I have read through the Christmas story numerous times in the last few weeks,  I cannot help wondering what feelings and emotions 
Mary and Joseph carried with them on that journey to Bethlehem.

 Why would God plan to have them travel so far
 during Mary's 9th month of pregnancy?

When they arrived, there was no welcoming committee, 
not even a bed to lay thier heads on.

Why would God not have planned a better welcoming 
for this virgin to miraculously give birth to the King of Kings?  

Mary might have even wondered what she had done wrong 
to deserve such a lowly time in labor - no midwife to help, 
no family or friends to encourage her on, 
just some smelly animals in a crowded stable.

Things happen in our lives that are out of our control.  
We find ourselves in circumstances where there seems to be no hope, 
but yet God has a plan!

How can I be happy amidst a time where circumstances 
seem to have turned my world upside-down?  

The truth is, I can't be happy.

 BUT I can have JOY!!!

True joy comes from knowing and walking with the Lord.

"Joy to the World" the Savior has come!!!
The other day, I spent some time doing a word study on "joy/rejoicing".
Below are some of the highlights from my study.

There is joy in Salvation-
John 16:22 
"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." 
~ noone can steal the joy that we receive when trusting Christ as Savior.  That joy is constant because we have tasted of the Lord's grace and mercy in not being worthy of Him.

Psalm 13:5 
"But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation."

Psalm 33:21 "For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name."

It is good for me to be joyful -
Psalm 32:11 
"Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all [ye that are] upright in heart."

Psalm 33:1 
"Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: [for] praise is comely for the upright."
~ i like that thought! "praise is comely for the upright".  No matter what happens to me in life, I am not alone.  I am His and He is mine!  I can praise God regardless of hardships, because He loves me, He knows, and He cares!

My daily walk with Him brings joy -
1Chronicles 16:10 "Glory ye in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD."

Psalm 40:16
 "Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: let such as love Thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified."

Nehemiah 8:10 "...for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
~ This verse is so helpful, because I find that if I put on joy, I have the strength to carry my through the day.  Where does that joy come from?  It comes from the remembering of all that the Lord has done for me, reading His word to remind me, and being faithful where He has placed me.

Witnessing & bearing fruit brings joy -
John 4:36 
"And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together."

His provision makes me rejoice -
Deuteronomy 26:11 
"And thou shalt rejoice in every good [thing] which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that [is] among you."
~ He gives me all good things!  What else can I do, but rejoice!!!

Trusing He will be there with me brings me joy -
Psalm 5:11 
"But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy name be joyful in 
~If I trust Him, He promises to defend and care for me.  The verse says it wil cause me to shout for joy!

Joel 2:21 
"Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things."

~ I can claim the truth that He will do great things in my life!

1Peter 1:8 
"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [Him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:"
~ My joy & rejoicing is evidence of my faith in His love and care for me.

Joy during trials and adversities-
Psalm 31:7 
"I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy: for Thou hast considered my trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities;"
~ What s precious verse! He considers my troubles and knows how my soul hurts during adversities. How comforting to know that he cares for me so personally.  When noone else may know the deep hurt of a situtation, my Loving Heavenly Father knows it ALL!

Psalm 51:8 
"Make me to hear joy and gladness; [that] the bones [which] Thou hast broken may rejoice."
~ What a plea, to ask to be made to hear joy and gladness.  I have experienced some deep hurt already in my lifetime.  Some hurt is so deep that you do feel that your bones are broken.  your body feels so sick and weak, you sometimes just wish to give up.  Your hope is like the Psalmist's.  You long to hear the sound of joy again.  When that sounds hit your ears, it lifts your spirit.  God sometimes brings joy into our lives to life our heavy hearts and to relieve our brokeness.

Psalm 63:7
"Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice."
~ His protection makes me rejoice.  Like a bird sheltering her young with strong, protective wings, God is our help and shelter int he time of storm!

Isaiah 61:10 
"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels."

Matthew 5:12 "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
~ Persecution or trials may come, but we can rejoicing in knowing that we have a great reward awaiting us!

1Peter 4:13 "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
~ Our own sufferings for the cause of Christ, make us fellow partakers in Christ's sufferings.  I have found that trials and sufferings draw me closer to my precious Lord.

Maybe, you are experiencing some things in your life 
right now that seem to steal your joy.

It is your happiness that is gone, 
but you must remember where true joy comes from.

True Joy comes from God!

When I am feeling weak in joy,
I try to take some extra time to study His Word 
and rest on His promises.

Very soon, you will find that even amidst your trial
God has given you true joy.

"The Joy of the Lord is My Strength"!!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS from sunny South Africa !

Well , some of you have probably been wondering
 what Christmas is like in South Africa.

Christmas is HOT!!!!

Most South African Christians celebrate Christmas 
by attending a Christmas service.
Our church
(Enjoy a few pictures I took in my neighbor's garden on Christmas Day,
 while I tell you more about Christmas here in South Africa.)

We had a Christmas Morning Service at 9am.
During the service, we sang the Christmas carols 
and read the Christmas story from Luke 2 & Matthew 1&2.
Our service was packed and it was very hot in the building.
I wonder if this guy is any relation to the Christmas beetle? (heee, hee!)

After service, the families exchanged a few homemade presents 
and we went our separate ways for  Christmas dinner.

The Demarests and I enjoyed Christmas meal together 
since we are the only family each other has on this side of the world.

We ate - turkey breast, mashed potatoes, green bean cassarole, 
corn pudding, stuffing, sweet potatoes,
 and had cream cheese pie with cherries (from the States) on top.

After lunch, Robbin and I played a round of Phase 10,
while pastor enjoyed watching some football in between his cat naps
(Shh, don't tell him I told you that!   :)   )

The afternoon meant that our families in the States 
were just waking up on Christmas morning.
So we parted ways to talk to our families.

My family lives on the East Coast, 
but the Demarest's family is West Coast and MidWest.
 So, I had to wait a little longer to talk to my family.
That was okay, because I got to take a nap.

What a blessing it is to see and hear your family on Christmas Day!
I got to talk to my mom, dad, brother, cousin, aunt & uncle.
I felt like I was there with them!
Thank the Lord for modern technology and that my internet was working!

Most South Africans celebrate Christmas different than us.
After church, they may gather with family, 
each family bringing part of the meal and all contributing a different meat to the feast - one will bring lamb, another turkey, ham, gammon, duck,....  
They cook their meat ahead or brai (barbeque) there
 and bring cold salads to share.  
They know how to enjoy a hot day by eating cooler things 
and going swimming in the afternoon!

Christmas Cracker
Some South Africans open Christmas Crackers at mealtime.  
The first time I heard of Christmas crackers,
 I thought it was special crackers to eat at Christmas, but it is not. 
 They are little tubes filled with sweats and treats, wrapped in pretty Christmas paper and then "Cracked" open by each pulling an end. What a fun tradition!!!

Well,that is all I will share for now about Christmas here in South Africa.

Wishing you a very
from Gina in sunny South Africa!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

PEACE, JOY, LOVE : Our Nursing Home Ministry

Welcome to our nursing home service!

Peter always does such a wonderful job with leading the music!

Miss Margret playing the piano.

He is accompanied by the very talented Miss Margret.
She is one of the residents 
and can play about anything without any sheet music.

For this service, I had the priviledge of playing a flute prelude of Christmas carols.
The humidity made some of my keys stick, but the people enjoyed it.
There is nothing like the singing the songs 
about the Saviour to get your heart ready to hear the Word!

Pastor Jeff preached to us about -

PEACE: True peace comes from God~

Luke 2:14 
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

John 14:27 
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, 
give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

 John 16:33 
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. 
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; 
I have overcome the world."

JOY: Joy comes from knowing Christ and living a life glorifying to God.

Luke 2:10 
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold,
 I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 15:10
"Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence 
of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

 Nehemiah 8:10 
"Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

LOVE: God loves you more than anyone ever could!
His love can be perfected in us, if we show His love to others.

John 3:16 
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

1John 4:12 
"No man hath seen God at any time. 
If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us."

Please pray with us, for the dear people at the Winston Park Rest Home.
Christmas can be a very lonely time of the year for the elderly.

Also pray that the Word of God will help some to find 
the true PEACE that only comes through knowing Christ as Saviour;
and for others to have the encouragement 
that God LOVEs and cares for them and will bring them JOY
even in the lonely times.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Day Away- trip to Tala Game Reserve

Since university is over for the year, 
I have had some extra time.

Now, if you know me well,
you know that I am always busy with something.
While, this break has given me a chance to catch up on some needed projects,
it has also made me feel a bit like a hermit (only going out for ministry stuff).

Our minsitry has changed alot in the past months.
During this time of year it slows down a bit 
because families are doing holiday things, people are out of town,...etc.
The rainy season also adds to the feeling of being a hermit,
 because you are indoors too much.

Finally, on Saturday, there was a break in the rain.

When I woke up and saw that the sun was shinning,
I decided it was a good day to get out and enjoy God's creation.
(Living alone in South Africa, limits me in what I can and cannot do,
 because of the crime and danger of doing things alone.  
So when I go on an outing I have to plan wisely.)

The Tala Game Reserve is within an hour drive from where I live.
So, I packed up a picnic lunch, my camera,
 binoculars, a map (oh, and some Christmas music), and headed for Tala.

Would you like to go with me?
Hop in the car and lets go for a drive through the South African bushveld.

Impala (maybe they think if they stand still, I can't see them).
Impala rubbing his horns in a thornbush.
Here comes a Blesbok.
Blesbok crossing the road.
What else do you see?  I see some Impala in the bush.

Egyptian Geese by the water's edge.
An Oribi eating at the greens on a tree branch.
One of my favorites- a Zebra.
Mama Zebra eating with her young.
A small water hole with Weaver birds nests in the trees.
One of the beautiful Weavers.
I sat and watched the birds for a while and then saw something in the water.
When I zoomed in, it looked like a large snake.
Its head was the size of the palm of my hand
Let's drive around the corner.
Look!  What is up in that tree?
Its a huge bird!
On closer look, it looks like a Long-Crested Eagle.
This bird is a predator/raptor.  I wonder what he is hunting?
Here come some Kudu, grazing in the meadow.

This Kudu is pretty big.
My dad would say he would be a good one to hunt!

Mama Impala and her young (I think she is the babysitter.)

Lets go see what we find by the water's edge!
Sorry for waking you, Mr.Hippo!
Hmmm....bottoms up!
Oh, there you are - an Egyptian Goose!

Wildebeest taking a walk down the road.
This Impala appears to be lost.
She was calling for help - maaaaa, maaaa, maaaaa.....
Listen!   What else do you hear?
The sound is coming from that tree.
Its a Black-Shouldered Kite!
What a beautiful small predator/raptor it is!

The giraffe is also one of my favorites.
I love to watch him move!
This is the first time I ever saw one laying down.
He just laid there watching me shoot his picture.
This beauty, is as tiny as a finch, but with a long wispy tail.
He is a Pin-Tailed Whydah.
His tail is too long for his body so when he flies,
he swoops up and down through the air.
This was the first I have ever seen them up close!

Baby Giraffe are cute to watch.
Look how cute he is.
His horns are so fuzzy!!!!
Did you ever see a giraffe drink?
They have to split their front legs to get to the water.
Watch out!
Mrs & Mr Ostrich are crossing the road!

I liked this Nyala!
She made me think she was very old and wise
(and dad would say, "she would be pretty tasty too!").

Oh, the life of a lazy Blue Wildebeest!

Thank you for coming for a drive with me!
I hope you enjoyed our day away.
If you are ever in the neighborhood again, please stop by!
It was nice to get out of the house.
We don't realize how good it is for us to do relaxing things sometimes.
When your mind is always caring for other people's needs, 
it is important to get out and have some special time with the Lord.
I enjoyed having my quiet time today
 out in the sunshine in the beauty of God's creation!

As Christmas or busy times of your life draw near,
be sure you are making time to draw near to Him!