Joyeux Noel

Last night we hosted our major Christmas outreach party that included Senegalese students, Congolese staff and us American STINTers. We had five female students show up and eight-plus male students. We sang Christmas carols, told the Christmas Candy Cane story, danced, played games, shared how God gave us the best gift of all over 2,000 years ago, and even did a gift exchange. It was a so much fun.

It’s crazy to know that at all of our Christmas outreaches, every single woman that has attended has never celebrated Christmas. Making ornaments, decorating cookies, White Elephant, hearing the story of Jesus’ birth from one of the gospels is all new to them. It’s so exciting watching these women be given a childhood again, even if only for a moment.

Here are some photos for you to enjoy:

Rach, Whit and I
We're missing two other women students from this photo, but here's most of the women!


Mercy and God’s Faithfulness

My devotionals blew my mind this morning! The Tiegreen devotional I mentioned two posts ago made me think about how little I really understand God’s mercy. I think I’ve come to expect His mercy instead of realizing that I don’t deserve it. I deserve condemnation, but God, so lovingly and so freely, gives us mercy. Often times, I find myself holding onto that mercy instead of extending it to others.

Having been abundantly blessed with God’s mercy-the unmerited grace and forgiveness we’ve received for our rebellion against the Most High-do we stand in judgement of others?- Tiegreen.

This is me. I fail to extend the same grace that has been so sacrificially given to me. As hard as it is to see my sin, it is humbling to know I’m not perfect. And this summer I’ve both hated and thoroughly enjoyed being humbled! As much of a pain as it is, God is able to work wonders in the meek and humble.

For the other part of my quiet time I go through a Psalm and one chapter of another book (right now it’s Ecclesiastes). It was so funny how God orchestrates how often the Psalm study and Tiegreen’s devotional to correspond with one another.

My favorite verse of Psalm 40 was verse 11,

As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!

Mercy again! 🙂 I wonder sometimes if I miss what God has to say to me. Today is one of those days where I know I’m in tune with Him. And that’s awesome because what God has to say is awesome!

Mercy is extended from God. He alone saves. He is faithful to do what He’s promised because of His steadfast love for us. God’s steadfast love for us is the reason why Jesus was sent. And that is a beautiful thing.

Caitlyn, Jasmine and I had plans to go to the water hole today, but it was raining so instead we watched Monsters, Inc. Slightly childish I know, but there was something super sweet about all of us cuddling up on the couch in our pj’s to watch a Disney movie. After the movie, we went to Aretha Frankenstein’s. That’s seriously one of the most amazing breakfast places to eat. They specialize in freakishly large pancakes. 🙂 If you’re ever in the ‘Noog you should eat there! After Aretha’s we went to The Knitting Mill.

Here’s some pictures from today. Enjoy them!

Scary much?
too excited!