Saturday, October 9, 2010


Tonight at Chin-Zo worship service, one of the elders read and spoke on the passage in Matthew 13:18-23, which is Jesus' explanation of the parable of the sower. The elder, Mr. Paul, spoke mostly in Zo, with a few English words thrown in for my benefit. At one point, he said this phrase and had the group repeat it over and over: "Zah-Nah-Pih!" I repeated it, because he said it slow enough that I could mimic it, but I had no idea what it meant. I am trying to learn the language, but all I've been able to get so far are simple commands for the kids and family member names... which is not helpful in this particular parable. I squinted my eyes, strained my ears, and prayed for God to bless me with the gift of understanding other languages, if just for a few minutes. But He let me continue to exhaust my brain with trying to focus intently throughout the message.

Near the end I could tell by Mr. Paul's gestures that he was challenging the group to share God's love with those around them - to sow the seeds of good news. Then a powerful prayer time followed, in which everyone laid hands on one of the couples. I couldn't make out why it was for them specifically, but I prayed for the Holy Spirit to be present and at work in their lives. Then I quietly prayed again for God to open my ears to hear and understand this Zo language.

After the service, we ate pork, rice and soup - nothing too strange this time! - and I sat next to Mr. Paul. I asked him about the phrase, "Zah-Nah-Pih!" and what it means. He pointed to his ear and said, "We are listening."

"But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." - Matthew 13:23

Father God, I pray that in whatever language your word is spoken, I may always be receptive - I may always hear and understand, and allow it to produce a great harvest in my life. Lord, I am listening.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jo-Lien on guitar

I thought this was so cute I just had to share it...

One of the little boys in my house, Jo-Lien, has a toy guitar that is his very favorite play item. He carries it around and strums and bobs his head, like he was a real musician. So tonight I popped in one of my all-time favorite films, "That Thing You Do," for him to watch. It's just a fun, clean movie about a band in the 1960s with great music. Jo-Lien loved it! Every time the band started to play, he would strum away on his guitar. Isn't he cute?! He's the fifth member of the Oneders! It was so much fun to spend the evening with him.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Night with the Chapmans

I have to take a minute and share with you the awesome experience I had the other night at the Steven Curtis Chapman concert at a local church. I'm pretty sure the last SCC concert I attended was in 1993... and as much as I still love his music and admire his ministry, another concert was long overdue. Anyway, Pam and I went together and half hoped/half assumed he would sing some of our old favorites that would take us back to middle school. We were not disappointed.

But before he came out, guess who the surprise opening act was? Three clues... he still doesn't play his own guitar on stage, he still has a mullet, and he still sings my favorite song by his band, "I've Got a Friend Like You"...

Geoff Moore (as in "The Distance"!) What I didn't know about Geoff Moore was that he and his wife adopted two baby girls from China and have partnered with the Chapmans as advocates for international adoption. How cool is that?!

After Geoff, there was Caleb. Caleb is SCC's oldest son, and he is a spitting image of Mr. Chapman himself, twenty years ago! Especially when he's playing an accoustic guitar...

Then old Stevie arrived, and as I said we were not disappointed. It's hard to pick one favorite song, but I'm pretty sure he covered most of my favorites. Then he sang some from his new album, "Beauty Will Rise," which was not at all bad either. His wife, Mary Beth, came out for a while and spoke about things that have happened in their life in the past few years, and the journey that God is continuing to take them on. It's actually a pretty amazing story that you should read about on their website, if you don't get a chance to hear it yourself in a concert coming soon to a town near you!

It makes me excited to hear their story. Show Hope and Maria's Big House are changing lives and spreading the hope and love of Jesus all over the world. I love that SCC isn't content to just be a million-award-winning music star, but that he wants to be elbow-deep in Kingdom work as long as he can. God bless the Chapmans and the families that are touched by them!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fruit of the Spirit, from the Spirit

Friday night Pam and I witnessed "The Harvesting of the Watermelon," an epic event by Jayne. For a simple scissor snip, it was quite ceremonious, and this is why... this watermelon was planted by God (see this post for details). Jayne has been very diligent in tending to it, watering it, turning it over, etc., praying that it would be a fruit that brings glory to its Gardener, as a symbol of his work at International House. After she cut it from the vine, we trooped into the kitchen and watched her cut it, all of us holding our breath, hoping it would be ripe inside (none of us have ever harvested a watermelon before!).

Praise God! The inside was a beautiful red, perfect in every way, and its sweet scent filled the kitchen. It looks good, and smells good, so now for the final test....

and it tastes good too! In fact, I think it may be the best watermelon I've ever had.

Brenda and Ron stopped by and the five of us feasted on sweet, crisp, juicy watermelon. Ron took a bite and said, "Wow, this is really fresh!" Pam and Jayne and I laughed, telling him it is about as fresh as a watermelon can possibly get - straight off the vine. Jayne gathered the seeds, and decided that next year she would sow them and see what happens. The backyard may be a watermelon field next year!

I was thinking of that watermelon today, and thinking how it is a fruit of the Spirit... It grew because of love, it brought joy to those who watched it grow, it gave peace by reminding us that God is in control, it required patience, gentleness, and self-control to not harvest it too soon or water it too much, it was a gift shared in kindness and goodness, it represented God's faithfulness to us.

We're praying that this is a sign of more "harvesting of hearts" to come this season to our beloved International House!