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