Several days this week the Lord has brought me to the scripture about the planter, the waterer and God.
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9
Jeremy and I have set a personal deadline with the Namibian government for Friday, February 10th. We have waited for 3 months now to hear about our appeal for 2 year work visas. We waited and waited and waited to go into Namibia in 2015 and we find ourselves waiting again. It has been a hard decision to set a deadline for the waiting. We know God is totally in control and He could do anything this week.
I am brought to the scripture where the planter and waterer have one purpose. Yet only God makes things grow. Jeremy and I were allowed a year to live among the San and plant seeds. We would love another two years to water those seeds. This may not be what God has planned for us. It may not be our job to water or continue to plant. Letting go of Tsumkwe and the San is difficult. It has been frustrating to wait. I love how the scripture says “God has been making it grow.” This means He is already making things grow. It is not a future thing to happen. Just like God is growing things in my life; He is working. He is always working. I can walk confidently that God will do His part. I just need to be content in the part His has for me.
We are co-workers in God’s service, God’s field, God’s building.
We have received word that the Immigration Board will be meeting on Tuesday, January 24th. They took more than a month off for the holidays. This is the first time they will be meeting in 2017. We hope that on this date that our appeal will be looked at and a decision made. They likely have a large stack of paperwork to consider. Just because they are meeting does not mean we will have an answer on January 24th. It will likely take some time for their decision to get to us.
After 3 months of waiting, we hope an answer is coming. Please join us in prayer Monday and Tuesday of next week for the government of Namibia to grant us a 2 year Work Visa. We will update when there is news.
A BIG thanks for all of you who have prayed, spoken an encouraging word or typed an email to us over the past 4 months. We couldn’t take this crazy journey without each one of you to encourage and pray for us along the way. Our desire is to return to Tsumkwe. Let us give thanks in advance for a clear answer to be given soon.
Jeremy and Claudia Hazel 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
As a child, my mother would read The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis to my sister and I in the afternoon during our summer break. Only three of the books have ever been made into movies. I like to watch The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe during Christmas because Father Christmas comes to bring the children gifts.
Jeremy and I have been snowed in for 3 days now. I know it is not forever winter, never summer but it feels like it could go on. Tomorrow the temperature will start to raise and we have hopes of getting out. I wish the same was true about our visas. It seems forever waiting, never going. This morning my devotional took me to
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I am reminded that this temporary delay that seems to hold us back is nothing compared to eternal glory. No, I don’t understand yet another delay. It is an unseenwhy? Thankfully, the eternal Father knows the why. But I have a choice, what am I going to fix my eyes on? Am I willing to keep on, holding on to what is unseen or am I going to quit and go back to the seen?
This time of delay has not been for void. Jeremy and I have been about to go to two trainings: Colour Me Healed and Oral Bible Storying. We have been able to see many of you all who have been supporting us in your prayers and giving. Thank you for continuing to stand with us!!! We have also been to counselling. It has helped us move beyond the hurts of this past year. We have not shared the hurts publicly but anytime you go to stand on the frontline with the Gospel the Enemy will do anything to take you out. The Enemy worked overtime this past year but Jeremy and I are still standing for the Truth. We are not willing to take a bite of the “Turkish Delight” which the White Witch offered Edmund in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We have been in the United States now 6 weeks. We are thankful for the opportunity to be home for the holidays. There is such a difference here from where we have lived for the past year. We are experiencing what is called reverse culture shock. It was a shock to go live in a different culture and now to come back to our own culture has been a shock. Just walking the cereal aisle at Wal-Mart is overwhelming. America is a land of abundance. We have been living in the dry and barren land of the Kalahari Desert. And for us to come home during the holidays has added another layer to our culture shock.
As I, Claudia, sat through church services and listened to the Christmas story again this year, there were two things that came out more than ever before.
Luke 2:7 says, “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” We live in cluttered houses and full schedules, and yet we try to fit more and more things in. There is no room available for Christ to come stay in our lives. It was the same in Bethlehem. No room for Christ. As I look to this coming year, I personally am looking at how I can make more room for Christ.
Matthew 2:13 “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”” Herod ordered all the baby boys under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed when he learned that the king of the Jews had been born there. This past year we have experienced spiritual warfare like never before. The thief truly does “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” John 10:10. Herod tried to kill the One who came to give abundant life. What things do I allow into my life that are stealing, killing, and destroying the abundant life Christ intends for me to have?
Just sitting here processing the story of Christ’s birth and how it applies to my life today. I hope you do the same and the Holy Spirit breaths afresh into your life.
Merry Christmas from in the United States. We are here in Statesboro, Georiga celebrating Christmas with Jeremy’s family. Below are a few pictures from last year when we celebrated Christmas in Tsumkwe, Namibia. The tempature was 100+ and we had fresh steak, danced, and played games there. Tonight we will attend a Christmas Eve service and tomorrow church here. Such a vast contrast between the two. We still haven’t heard any news about our visa appeal and have delayed our return flight to Africa a month to allow the government to return from holiday vacation.
Merry Christmas and may your time this year wherever you are on this planet be blessed.