Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mi casa, su casa

hospitable - 1a: given to generous and cordial reception of guests  b: promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome  c: offering a pleasant or sustaining environment  (the word hospital comes from the same root word)

This past weekend I had such wonderful company!!  Christina's family from Texas came again!  We love to have guests come and stay.  It saves them hotel costs and I want my home to be a place they can relax and enjoy themselves and have a good night's rest. 

Christina's family knew we were going through a trying weekend with Aunt Millie's funeral and they took time to comfort and to pray with me.  I just LOVE these women!!

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Many, many years ago, as a young mom, I remember reading a book called "Open Heart, Open Home" by Karen Maines.  Here is a quote from that book:

“We think in terms of entertaining as a woman's chance to demonstrate her skill and the quality of her home, when actually entertaining has little to do with real hospitality. Entertaining says, "I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating, my gourmet cooking." Hospitality, however, seeks to minister. It says, "This home is not mine. It is truly a gift from my Master. I am His servant, and I use it as He desires." Hospitality does not try to impress, but to serve.

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My mom was the hostess with the mostest and I think I learned about hospitality from her first.  We had company at our home a lot in Japan.  Mom would dig out her china and we learned manners from her.  What fork was for what, etc.  Below, we are eating a Japanese meal though.  They love to serve sukiyaki!

Sometimes missionaries from other countries would be passing through on their way back to the States or to Canada.  Often times it was people from America touring Japan.

Sometimes it would be a world traveler coming through our town.  We spotted foreigners (gaijin) a mile away!  In our part of Japan, we gaijin were an oddity.  Mom would make sure to invite them over for dinner and the night. This was Fritz, from Germany.  He told us tales of his travels through India and around the world. 

 A couple of times mom invited the whole school over for the weekend.  We had a church bus for awhile and we were able to all go to the Cactus Gardens on the Nichinan Coast.

When we came to the States, my parents became host parents for a college student from Ethiopia who was attending Bethel College.  Mom still has this huge ostrich egg that she gave us.  We learned that Ethiopian food is VERY spicy!!
And Grace Community folk, do you recognize this couple with their children?  They visited us in Japan and then also when we moved to Pretty Prairie.  Hint:  they go to China every summer to teach English.
Isn't this a fun 1970's picture of Jim and Shirley??

1 Peter 4:8-10
Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins. Open your homes to each other, without complaining. Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God's various gifts of grace.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Farewell, Aunt Millie!

We had our memorial celebration of Aunt Millie's life this past weekend.  On the table we put pictures of Millie and Uncle John who passed away some time ago, and a picture of my Dad's 3 sisters who are now in heaven.

The plaque says "Sei gefreu bis an den Tod, so will ich dir die Krone des Lebens geben."  Offb.2,10
"Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life."  Rev. 2:10
That verse marked her life - her faithfulness to the Lord.  

The Lord went before me and graciously orchestrated everything to fall into place for a service just like Aunt Millie would have wanted.  Ruth Miller called to ask if we wanted her to play the piano (she was incredible!!  Aunt Millie had asked her ahead of time if she would do this), Pastor Mace officiated, Adam sang Aunt Millie's favorite song "Jesus Paid it All"and also gave a wonderful sermon just like she wanted, a granddaughter, Tina, read the obituary and I was able to give my reflections of her life without breaking down.

You, Lord, are all I have,
and You give me all I need;
my future is in Your hands.
How wonderful are Your gifts to me;
how good they are!

I praise the Lord, because He guides me,
and in the night my conscience warns me.
I am always aware of the Lord's presence;
He is near, and nothing can shake me.

And so I am thankful and glad,
and I feel completely secure,
because You protect me from the power of death.
I have served you faithfully,
and You will not abandon me to the world of the dead.

You will show me the path that leads to life;
Your presence fills me with joy
and brings me pleasure forever.  ~ from Psalm 16

My cousin Sandy (right) and my Dad's only remaining sister, my Aunt Betty with Uncle Bill.

This is my Aunt Millie's family and my cousin Tom (beside Sandy).  May God bring comfort to them.  Aunt Millie prayed for each one every day.

I am standing on the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs
                like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says:
                              'There!  She's gone.'
Gone where?  Gone from my sight that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side,
      and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in  her;
and just at the moment when someone at my side says:
                               'There!  She's gone.'
there are others watching her coming, and voices ready to take up the glad shout
                               'There she comes'
And that is dying.

~Charles Henry Brent