27 December 2014

lakeside rejoicing

The waves beat rhythms against the sand in repeating patterns
more than one would expect from a lake 
that is so often glassy and silent. 
Motorized boats for tourist amusement 
or local fisherman at work 
move around the islands at varying speeds 
surrounded by the much smaller wooden dugout canoes 
and kayaks moved by paddles and arm power. 

The air is thick with moisture 
the sweet scent of frangipane blossoms. 
Here, both on the beach and inland, the pace is slow.  
The visitors seem to always have time 
for another beer, another cigarette.  
The only rush I sense 
is how fast people seem to be running 
away from their lives. 

We come here and find God’s glory 
tropical beauty, painted skies.  
We rise early to dive into His word as the sun rises hot
then we cool our fevered skin in the waves.  
From rooms next to us others emerge eyes blurry 
staggering, looking far too rough for coffee to cure.  
They never make it any farther than the bar 
or a lounge chair where collapsing
with no appearance of happiness 
they begin another day of nothingness.  
Another beer.  Another cigarette.  
Laughter loud, echoing falsely.

Some are passing through
others have made this place their home
living off the profits of tourist trade. 
In the shadow of their lost lives
we walk, we swim, and we feast on local fish.  
I open my senses to reel in all that I can contain
ever aware of this vitality
this wanting to be awake and alive.

It was not that long ago 
that I too sought and savoured the numbness. 
So this day my heart and spirit rejoice 
whispering, singing, shouting with thanksgiving. 
What wondrous redeeming grace.


25 December 2014

Christmas glory

Christmas eve, Lake Malawi
the sun set glory blazing
in the Southern skies
a cross shining
like Bethlehem's star
as God once again
announced His coming


21 December 2014

to the lake

Mid-August we left the comfort and routine 
of our secluded and peaceful Manitoba acreage.

We spent ten days of training and orientation 
in The Netherlands with two hundred others
from all corners of the world.

Then we moved on to Kabwe, Zambia 
for nine weeks of intensive discipleship training
living in community with many others on the mission’s base.

The beginning of November 
we finally arrived in Ntaja, Malawi
the spot we believe God has called us to serve.  
Our field leaders have had much time away 
which has made for a more difficult than usual 
period of settling in and adaptation.

From December 20 through January 5 
the Malawi base is shut down
so we have come to Lake Malawi 
to relax, rejoice, pray and prepare 
for the year ahead of us.  
We will have private time 
to connect with each other 
and seek closer communion with our Lord 
as we celebrate this Christmas season.

Day one has left us sun kissed, tired and thankful.

His glory surrounds us 
as He stirs the waters and paints the skies.

14 December 2014

nkhuku - can you say chickens?

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! 
Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! 
How often I've ached to embrace your children, 
the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, 
and you wouldn't let me.

We are in a season of new birth
nervous hens squawking
proud roosters strutting
baby chicks abounding


07 December 2014

fill the earth

For the earth will be filled 
with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord 
 as the waters cover the sea

06 December 2014

an embarrassment of fruit

We're living in a land 
of mangos green
yellow, rosy blush
fruit hangs heavy on boughs
pits scatter
littering the dusty roads

baskets mounded high
blazing bright in the sun
line the streets
next to tomatoes, onions
almost an embarrassment
of fruit, beside buckets filled 
with fresh fried fritters

sticky fingers rich 
with juice beckon flies
but oh, the sweetness
of ripe perfection

And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so.  The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

02 December 2014

prayer for a stranger

I saw you stagger, hesitate
almost fall
as you stepped slowly
on the dusty red sand road
just outside our gates
you passed first one direction
then the other
and back yet again

while some laughed
and jeered
saying you were drunk
others believed you were blind
and only one
stepped out to help
giving you a long stick
to help you walk

I pray tonight
that if you have a home
you found your way there
unharmed and whole

I pray tonight
that when you fall
it will be into arms
that have waited long 
to embrace you

I pray tonight
knowing there is a God
Who loves you
in your confusion
blindness, despair
Who never loses sight of you
even when you can not see
no matter how lost you are

I pray tonight for you
for me
for the scoffers
for His mercy
and His grace
to drench us all
and leave us shining
with His love

30 November 2014

life upside down

work in the fields
continues here
in plus 30C 
sizzling sunshine
praying to plant
before the rains

news from home
speaks snow
cold knocking bitter
as winter proclaims itself

life for us
is upside down
much the same
as Jesus preached
His Kingdom was
is, will be

then we are right in His midst


22 November 2014

Saturday road trip

road trip Saturday
to a village we're reaching out in
about one hour away
on red rutted roads
that may soon be impassable
when the rains come
in earnest

the area is Yao
and to be born Yao
is to be born Muslim
even if they don't understand
what that means

but children
are children
hamming it up for the camera
wanting a bit of attention
affection, love

love is what He has given us
love is what we can share

Freely you have received; freely give


17 November 2014

lazy in the heat

Malawi heat
sun baked
the day feels slow
lazy, but work continues
the boys, Jonty and Bruce
have it figured out
naptime all the time


16 November 2014

Three in One

I am working through a book gifted to me by my Discipleship Training mentor called The Path of Celtic Prayer.  In the first lesson on praying Trinity prayers the assignment was to write poetic prayers of our own.

Glorious Father, Three in One, Holy Trinity

Today I am Yours
surrendered and submitted
to all You have planned
may the fullness of Your desire
unfold from sunrise to sunset

To You, Holy Father 
I promise to worship
all that You are
and all that You created
sun, moon and stars
the Heavenly Host
designed by Your hand
and everything that has breath

To You, Holy Son, my Lord and King
I promise to ponder Your great love
so vast that sacrificed all
for me, even if it had been only for me
May my heart be eager for reunion
to gaze into Your eyes
and walk by Your side
alive and abiding in You

To You, precious Holy Spirit
I promise to listen
as You whisper in the wind
strumming ever so gently
the strings of my heart
reminding me of all that is holy
all that is true
blowing away the chaff



10 November 2014

east to west

Malawi in the morning

and at day's end

there is glory

 Blessed be the name of the Lord 
from this time forth and forever
 From the rising of the sun 
to the going down of it 
and from east to west, 
the name of the Lord is to be praised!
The Lord is high above all nations,
and His glory above the heavens!

04 November 2014


breathing room
and beauty
this afternoon
before leaving in the morning
for Malawi

03 November 2014


and who can say
there is no God?

last sunset at the Zambia training base
off to Lusaka today
spending tonight at missionary guest house

tomorrow ---MALAWI


30 October 2014

village church

the church walls 
are simple bricks
window openings 
shaped but no glass
pews made from dried clay mud
being removed
as concrete begins to cover
the dirt floor
we carried our own chairs
from the base
only a ten minute walk
to the small village
we were greeted warmly
welcomed, honored
and blessed to worship
with such faithful ones
this Sunday 
our last in Zambia
we shall return
to fellowship with them
once again

When they said, “Let’s go to the house of God,”
    my heart leaped for joy.


26 October 2014

prodigal daughter

This is supposed to be quiet time, yet even with music pouring in through earphones there is the distraction of other noise.  It is a picture of the distraction I have felt in our relationship Lord, during a time when I should be closer to you than ever.  Help me to carve out time, to hold it sacred and not allow anything to take me from Your presence.

I am so sorry for losing my way.  I am left feeling like there is no solid ground – for it seems I have chosen not to stand on You and in You.  I have forfeited all the promises that come to those who dwell in your secret place. The vine has not moved but my branch has wandered.

I have been grumbling and complaining, focusing on what is negative instead of looking for Your hand.  I have been looking to the future and missing the moment at hand.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him
Psalm 37:5-7a NIV

The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
Psalm 37:23-24 NIV

I know You are holding me Lord, it leaves me humbled and astounded.  Why would you have such patience with a wandering heart like mine? I am in Your hands, moment by moment brought back to the need to surrender, but there is still such struggle left in my flesh, trying to hold on to what I perceive as my rights, even as I know I have no rights.  It is all You and how can I rise up against You?  Forgive me, again and again and again Lord.

I am crawling back, Your prodigal daughter, longing for reconnection to the Vine, to drink deep, to be filled afresh with all that You Are as I pull the plug to drain away all that I am.  May I let go, allow my life to be poured out like a drink offering on no other altar but Yours.

You treat yourself harshly, little one.
Do not allow the voice of condemnation to crush you, 
for My love is sure, 
My voice soft as I sing over you to draw you home.  
I know you hear Me so I need not shout.
You are closer than you imagine 
and I hear your heart for it stills beats with Mine.  
Your peace is here.  
Your joy is here. 
 I Am here. 
 And here you are again.


20 October 2014

opportunity knocked

no classes today
I was feeling useless
wasting time with nothing to do
though many were relishing free time

opportunity knocked
certainly not by circumstance
but design as we joined several others
riding via public transport
to the large city hospital

the wards were large
nothing close to privacy exists
I was almost embarrassed
to think of the richness
of our facilities at home

I gazed into eyes shining with pain
or fear, hollow above sunken cheeks
limbs stick like, lacking substance

we ministered side by side 
with the chaplains
encouraging new believers
praying for the sick

I helped one young man
who was sitting at his mother’s bedside
pray a prayer of surrender
to the Lord, releasing his old life
for new, reborn
angels were rejoicing today

we stopped for an ice cream cone
after the return trip home
the taste refreshing
but not nearly as sweet
as heaven’s salvation song

happy to be backed at Kelli's where the rhythms are all His


18 October 2014

hopping free

there was
a sparrow hopping free
without doubt
or fear
taking in the morning light
and how much more
will He care 
for me?
in my weakness
who have I but my Lord?
as I lean broken
and weary
into arms willing
to carry me in love
I need not be able
no, I must be
nothing, that He
might be all
if there be any glory
in this dying
may it all be unto Him
here am I, Lord
use me as You will
the shattered pieces are Yours
as I am willing
to be willing
to be rebuilt
by Your hands

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday
back resting with Snady


14 October 2014

mambo sawa

These are the last weeks of discipleship training in Zambia.
Flight is being booked to Malawi for the first week of November.
Our hearts are longing to be where we feel God can best use us

We sing a song here - Mambo Sawa
"when the Lord is on the throne, things are getting better"
that is my prayer for you, for me, for all of us


08 October 2014

a quick hello

A quick hello while ailing laptop is briefly functioning
Less than four weeks of classes left here in Zambia
then we are finally off to Malawi

We appreciate your prayers and encouragement
we are far from home but in His hands

21 September 2014

beauty here

there is beauty bursting forth
contrast of colour
against red dirt
weaver birds blazing 
yellow feathers and blue bills
jacaranda trees stretch 
lavender blooms against the sky
and the frangipani opening fresh
dripping sweetness
there is beauty bursting forth
here, and something new
being birthed
in our hearts


13 September 2014

empty eggshell

Here at the Zambia base, one Saturday each month is devoted to prayer and fasting.

Today is the day.

We gathered corporately at 9 to worship before splitting into smaller groups to declare and pray The Word.  We began with Luke.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:8-1-8 NIV

We were then given thirty minutes of personal time with the Lord, to pray about the condition of our prayer lives, repent of any prayerlessness or discouragement and ask that He would give us new strength, vigor and perseverance.

I took my chair out into the morning sun, and as I quieted myself before Him I saw my prayer life as an often empty shell.  Like an egg, when there is nothing inside to stand against external pressure the shell will shatter into tiny shards.  Yet when the shell is filled and solid, pressure from outside may crack but not destroy it.

I asked that the Lord would remind me to continually fill myself with His Spirit which He freely pours out to all who would receive   It is indeed my part to drink, my choice, my pleasure.

May I stay ever firm, solid, filled with His truth, His love and His light.

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday
being still with Sandy