This past week I celebrated the 24th anniversary of my birth. While the fiesta my parents gave me for my 21st (complete with my 30 best friends, enchilada pizza, and a piñata) birthday will always have the honor of being the best birthday ever, this year was probably the second best of my life (or at least in memory). It is beyond me how much love was poured on me this past week. On Sunday after a church lunch, the congregation members sang Happy Birthday to me (so cute for these wonderful Czech and Polish speakers to sing this song in English!) while they brought out a cake (with a fire cracker in place of a candle!), a flower arrangement, and a food gift basket (with pineapple juice, instant cappuccino, and menthol-eucalyptus hard candies-- VERY important to me this week!-- among other things). One of the elders, a good friend of mine, got up and said a few words about how important it is for them to show me this love because of the sacrifices I've made of being away from my family and working hard to serve their congregation and the community. He also said that he wished for me the blessing of Psalm 37:3-5
"Trust in the LORD, and do good;I was overwhelmed with happiness almost to the point of tears. I really felt SO loved. And that wasn't all. On Tuesday morning, the delightful 2nd graders (see last week's post) sang Happy Birthday to me before prayer time, they thanked God for me in their prayers, and they even had gone all together to get me a small birthday present. The gift was delivered to me by one of the boys, Pastor Klus' eight-year-old son. When he handed me the gift, he shook my hand and said to me in English "Happy Birthday. Jesus bless you." So cute. During the rest of the morning, so many of the children and all of the teachers wished me a Happy Birthday. I received more chocolate bars on Tuesday... The most incredible thing of all this is that I had no idea how they had all learned that it was my birthday, as I hadn't been advertising it.
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act."
Ashley Angerman took me out for lunch, in the afternoon the Klus family showered me gifts and words of blessing, and then it was time for my conversation classes. My teenagers each gave me one long-stem rose and as a group they gave me a Czech Republic soccer scarf. Two of the girls together had bought me a beautiful little necklace. The adult conversation class gave me a bouquet of flowers and brought a honey cake (YUM!!!) with 24 candles to class.
It was overwhelming how much people poured their affection over me on Tuesday. I just can't believe how blessed I am and how it could be possible that they would love me so much.
Please pray that:
- the Lord would heal me of this illness, and that He would also grant health to all who are sick with colds and with other, more serious ailments
-I would be as much of a joy in the lives of the people I'm here to serve as they have been to me, that I may serve them with all the strength that the Lord will give, and that I would faithfully proclaim to them the words of His Gospel.