Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mission Support 2008

April 27, 2008 • Dear Beloved Friends and Family,

Muraho (hello) from Rwanda. I am writing this letter as an urgent appeal for support funds. I confess that I have allowed myself to get so busy with work and ministry activities that I have neglected to consistently fundraise from afar. So, here goes.

In the past few months, I have incurred some large one-time expenses due to the blessing of acquiring a vehicle and a house that have drained much of my support funds. The car became a necessity for safety and reliability in and around the city, but also allows me to travel out to villages for ministry. The house allows me privacy to conduct ministry activities, build relationships, and room visiting ministers. These are truly an answer to prayer, but setup and fix-up costs have drained much of my funds (new tires, battery, clean engine, car insurance and registration, furniture and appliances, etc.). My monthly living expenses are now streamlined and I am preparing for my second year in Rwanda.

My goal is to raise the budgeted amount of $24,000 to sustain my living and serving in Rwanda for another year so that I can focus on the ministry without having to worry about the fundraising. Anything over the budgeted living expenses will allow me to further the efforts of building the leadership school and child advocacy organization that God has called me to build. Also, as my school summer break approaches, God has called me to venture out into deep Rwanda and surrounding areas to build more relationships and begin implementing His vision plan. This will all add some unbudgeted expenses for travel and supplies to my needs. God has brought some wonderful trusted helpers and guides who will direct and guide me in my travels. Nevertheless, note that petroleum in Rwanda is double the cost that of the USA, but I must reach out in order to progress God’s ministry. My mission is to build something of perpetual peace for God. I trust God “will supply all my needs.” Please pray with me for obedience and guidance to do His will.

Beloved Friends, it is my desire to share with you the blessings of partaking in this outreach endeavor. I appeal to you not only to ask you for your continued or increased support, but also for you to be my advocate. Please speak on my behalf about God’s mission in Rwanda to your friends, churches, and ministries. Use my blog. Hold collective fundraisers or ask for a special offering in church to collect funds for the mission. Every penny allows me to remain obedient to God and be His servant. I know that God will honor your efforts and place a burden into the hearts of those He calls to contribute. Refer them to my blog to contribute individually if they desire. It’s set up for a one-time or monthly giving. You can also sign people up to receive my newsletter. Help spread the news of God’s work to bless more people. The more I raise, the more I can do. Currently, the funds must still be counted as supporting an individual missionary, but eventually I plan to set up an official ministry or NGO to receive funds to build and operate the organization and school. But this can only happen if I stay in Rwanda and continue to seek out God’s will. As per my original agreement, I am also continuing a second year as a teacher at Kigali International Community School (KICS) to bless missionary children, local Rwandans, and children of other nationalities.

My focus is foremost to follow God where He leads me, to plant a strong seed on fertile ground that will sustain peace in this country, and to establish a model that will inspire seeds in other war-torn areas of the world. For “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor. 1:27)

Here are some of what my supporters have enabled me to do (and will continue to do) beyond my own basic cost of living:
  • Purchased clothes and treats for over 140 orphans in Nyabugogo district of Rwanda for Christmas.
  • Purchased a Projector and accessories that serves many purposes at KICS and Victory Mission Church, and elsewhere including bringing the Gospel to the orphans of Nyabugogo at Christmas.
  • To serve and teach in local Rwandan church - Victory Mission Church.
  • Purchased many DVDs to use as teaching aids at KICS and for Gospel ministry.
  • Purchased a few Bibles for some godly servants God is raising up.
  • Purchased, repaired, and maintaining (buying petroleum) of a double cab pickup truck that allows me to travel around Kigali and to remote villages.
  • Purchased teaching supplies for my KICS classroom.
  • Purchase of an internet connection allowing me to communicate and seek curriculum for KICS and other classes.
  • Allowed me to help in a music ministry with Enric Sifa (former street boy).
  • Allowed me to minister to 19 orphans in Ndera district of Rwanda (transporting them to music ministry events, teaching the Bible, teaching English, and leading them in professions of Salvation)
  • Purchased language lessons so I can learn the native language of Kinyarwanda to better communicate with the Rwandans.
  • Allowed us to contribute to some local disaster relief of a local Rwandan family of 5 children. House roof was torn off by storm leaving the family homeless for a few months.
  • Allowed me to furnish and rent a house that provides space for living and ministry.
  • Allowed me to travel to Kampala, Uganda to explore needs and build a relationship with Kisugu Christian Fellowship and Hope Prison Ministry. While there, we learned a lot and were given the privilege to minister to their congregation for a week.
  • And there are many more ministry involvements developing…
It seems like a lot, but I am very focused. Again, my focus is to FOLLOW WHERE GOD LEADS ME. And as God works through and leads me, He is teaching and developing me to implement His plan for Christ Is Our Hope International child advocacy organization and Christ Is Our Hope School Rwanda, a full scholarship Leadership School for orphans, with a specially tailored biblical leadership program that will shape and equip post-war children into future leaders of peace and progress in Rwanda.

This is God’s ministry in which we are called to participate. I am just a servant-leader. I am what Nehemiah was to the wall of Jerusalem, what Moses was to the freedom of the Israelites, what Abraham was to the promise land, and what Paul was to the Gentiles. We are just empty vessels that God pours into and called to serve and carry out His plans.

And besides funds, I always need prayer support. The enemy doesn’t like it that we are trying planting seeds on fertile ground here in Rwanda. I feel like Paul in that I am buffeted at every turn, but I also know that “greater is He that is me, then he that is in the world.”

I asked God why he chose me to come to Rwanda alone, without the backing of large ministries and funding behind me. With all the NGOs that are here and have huge funding and organizational pools, what is it that he wants a small person like me to do? Why would He take me away from my family, my students, my income, and my employment to come here? This is what he told me. “I have chosen to send someone like you who can only depend on Me for everything.” Yes, I am alone, but God is with me. And He must be foremost Above All that I Do. The Bible tells us not to despise small beginnings.

Please continue to support our efforts and ask the Lord if you can do more. If you are new to this mission, please join us on this journey to build something miraculous, to bring the impossible into being in the name of Jesus. The truth of the matter is that I am not sent here to share the Gospel, shake a few hands, and disappear in 2 years. I will be here to the end, or until God no longer wants me to serve here. I press on for the sake of those whom He has called me to serve.

For all of you that will send cash donations, please note that my funds are now being managed through my family until I can get a nonprofit ministry registered to receive funds. This move was necessary because World Relief is not set up to manage funds for a full-time long-term totally immersed missionary. However, I will still be a World Relief Ambassador and a commissioned missionary of Houston’s First Baptist Church.

Thank you for your love and support. God has called me to be bold in the midst of unfamiliarity. I am asking you to seek your heart for God and be bold in your faith for Him. I love you and keep you in my prayers.

Amahoro ibane namwe. (Peace be with you). Imana ibahe umugisha. (God bless you). Murakose cyane. (Thank you very much)

Love in Christ Jesus,
Linda Huang

Payable: Linda Huang (World Relief Missionary)
c/o Shirley McMillan
2027 NW Langley Ct
Portland, OR 97229

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter, Vol. 6

April 12, 2008 KIGALI, RWANDA – God is good! He is forever faithful. I witness this every day in my walk here in Rwanda. He keeps me strong and hears my prayers. Forgive me if there are not as many photos of people in this bog, but we went to visit sensitive and dangerous places where taking photos were not appropriate. [NOTE: To see larger photos, Click on photos enlarged and Backspace to return to blog]

As I enter another season of my mission in Rwanda, I asked God to refresh the vision and to stretch my understanding of the needs and solutions here in Africa. I asked God to show me the truth behind what seems. So, I decided to venture out of Kigali, to see more of Rwanda. I was on a week and a half mid-year holiday from KICS. I started out to places I have heard much about and had yet to see – Gisenyi (west Rwanda) and Goma (the Republic of Congo). My good friend Francis was my guide and guard. He was an appropriate guide because he grew up in Congo and Gisenyi area as a child and knows much about the locations as well as their past history and current status.

We drove about 3 hours out of Kigali, through beautiful rich green land covered with banana trees. We passed through Rhuengeri to Gisenyi. I had heard much about Gisenyi from many muzungus (white people) and Rwandans. Its been described as one of the most beautiful areas of Rwanda. Many muzungus travel to this area to visit the gorillas that Diane Fossey studied, but I did not go see the gorillas because it costs a huge fee to visit them ($500 for foreigners and $250 for residents) and I am on a modest missionary budget. Nevertheless, there was plenty for me to see as God led the way. I purposely did not make any specific plans because I wanted to allow God to lead me where He wanted me to go. I just asked Francis to take me out to see the land and visit the people.

Oh, this entire week turned out to be Genocide Memorial week. So the first day everything was closed. The rest of the week places opened, but in the evenings people gathered to watch movies about the genocide. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stop to see any of them.

This border area of Rwanda (Gisenyi and Rhuengeri) faces many physical challenges (volcano eruptions and land erosions) as well as continued frequent attacks by Interhamwe rebels (those responsible for the genocide) who hide along the border and sneak in to kill innocent people. Rhuengeri is heavily guarded 24 hours by military forces because of these attacks. Apparently, these and other areas of Rwanda used to be separated into Hutu and Tutsi villages, but today the government has mixed them up so that there is no distinguishing between the two – all just one Rwandan peoples.

We arrived in Gisenyi by early afternoon and after exploring several lodging options, which turned out to be very expensive, we checked into a quaint hotel called the Diane Fossey Lodge. Then we had just enough time to explore awhile before it got dark.

We visited the beach and then Francis showed me where he used to live with his brother, before his mom joined him from Congo. He truly lived less than modestly. Gisenyi is a beautiful place that is now growing into a resort-like area because of the beaches along Lake Kivu. But amidst all the wealth are areas of dire poverty. What would look to us like abandoned buildings with squatters is a normal home for them. The streets are unpaved rocky black volcanic rocks. Francis and his older brother literally squatted (claimed stake) on a small part of a building that was left after the genocide. He said after the genocide, many buildings and homes were left abandoned because owners were killed and some fled. So, everyone that came afterwards just staked a claim on the homes (rent-free). Francis and his brother came late so they didn't get any homes, but found a section of a building. They put doors and windows on it and called it home. He grew up selling candy and stuff at the taxi-park (bus park) kinda like a street boy, but Francis refuses to call himself an orphan or street boy because he always had hope and worked for his living. He said he lived in Gisenyi about 3 years. He did a few years primary school, which he showed me, then a year of secondary. Then, he had no school fees for a few years and had to sell candy on the streets for a few years without going to school.

In Gisenyi, I just told Francis to take me to see places and to meet people and that God would show me the rest. I told him I didn't want to be a tourist. I wanted to see the real thing. I didn’t want anyone to expect this muzungu or to prepare any kind of special welcome. I told him he could show me hospitals, orphanages, handicapped people, street boys, and stuff. So, we did just that.

On our second day in Gisenyi, we visited a hospital. I was a bit nervous because I didn't really know exactly what I was doing there. I had only ever gone where people planned and told me what to do. Here we were just walking into a hospital without any direction. But Francis gave me a bit of space and a moment to pray alone in the car and I just gave it to God.

Francis led the way as we toured the hospital. We toured parts of the hospital where they treat lepers (no one allowed to enter) and new moms. We visited the pediatric room and then two other rooms. We prayed together with mothers for their babies - some suffering from meningitis, malaria, etc. The environment was minimally sterile (not really at all). It was mostly beds and doctors and nurses. People bring their own food. Its pretty open, kind of like army barracks. We prayed for one little girl about 7 years old who had HIV and was abandoned to die on the street. A humble man found her and took her to the hospital. She was wasting away. I told the man that he was a blessing and God would bless him for his goodness and mercy upon this child. He was a true Good Samaritan.

We prayed for a woman whose stomach burst and she no longer has a working stomach. Her body literally looked like a deflated balloon. She's been in the hospital for a year. We prayed for an infant (1 year or less) who was suffering from malaria and had an oxygen tube in her nose because she couldn't breath on her own. We prayed with several elderly women who were paralyzed from unknown reasons (my guess is undiagnosed diabetes because its common here). One woman was paralyzed and could not hear nor speak for unknown reasons. There was a set of triplet newborns whose mother is mentally ill and keeps getting raped and impregnated. This is her second set of babies. The first was a set of twins. The triplets were being cared for without their mother. All these people I laid hands on and prayed for. Afterwards my spirit was very tired. I had to rest so we went to have lunch.

We also visited a Catholic run orphanage. This one was much more hopeful than some of the orphanages I visited in Kigali. The Director said the orphanage dates back to 1954. I was able to ask her many questions about how she gets her kids and how she identifies them as orphans, what she provides them etc. They used to take just babies, but after the genocide they had to take older children. They work with the local government to affirm a child's need and orphan status. Some have parents, but were abandoned because of poverty. She was very helpful. Then, we went to meet the kids. They were very healthy and loved. She gets trained staff from a catholic organization. She encourages them to be like nurturing and loving parents to the children. The children learn social skills and language etc. I was very pleased. They sang songs about the love of God and being rescued. They were happy children. They care for about 400 kids and even have a trades training business where the older children are trained to make furniture to sell. They also have a clinic and hospital with a doctor and full-time nurse to care for the kids. They also have partnerships with other hospitals for more serious needs and socialize with other orphanages. They send the older ones out to school, but have a real nursery for the little ones. I shared a little of my vision and she welcomed me any time and wished me well. We were going to visit an orphanage for street boys, but it moved to another location because of growth.

Francis showed me one of the two very first Catholic churches ever built in Rwanda. This church was also a place where Interhamwe murdered many who sought refuge there during the genocide war. Now it has been rebuilt.

OK, then there is Goma, Republic of Congo. On our third day we ventured into Congo. This place was scary. I almost got arrested and taken by thieves for taking a photo. So, I didn’t take many photos. Oh, it was horrible. For the first time since I have been here in Africa, I was truly scared for my life. And Francis was so busy trying to get us out of it that he didn't translate much to me and I got even more scared.

First, it took us four hours just to get across the border. We tried to go with the car, but it turned out impractical (you have to buy special insurance) so we walked. I believe the car would not have been safe there so God placed obstacles. Everything here in Africa takes multiple paper tracking and multiple fees. They also have separate visa fees for different colored visitors. The border patrol is unfriendly and intimidating to foreigners. They kept taking my passport and disappearing and then making me wait. Everything I touched or did was forbidden and I got screamed at a lot in a foreign language and looked at suspiciously. Thank goodness Francis was around. I realized that there was no way I could ever travel on my own in Africa, unless I did it the expensive luxury resort way.

Now, Congo is a place plagued by about 5 volcanoes (one which erupted only a few years ago) and rebel wars. There were many soldiers in trucks all around because they were having a rebel convention or meeting. So, the city of Goma looks like a disaster and a ruin. It actually reminded me of Juarez, Mexico. There are a few signs of wealthy builders coming in, but most of it was huge black lava boulders and dirty sewage. There is little sign of organization or modernity. Few paved roads, no traffic lights. And it’s infested with corruption that includes the police. The main language is Swahili and French plus many other indigenous languages. Francis actually grew up in Goma before going to Gisenyi. But when he lived in Goma, he was with his father who was a wealthy coffee producer. It was when his father dies that this little rich boy was thrown into dire poverty.

We began by visiting the hospital where Francis' father died. We met with the Director, who spoke French and Swahili, to ask permission to visit the pediatric ward. He was welcoming and commended me for my work and said that the need to care for street boys is tremendous in Congo. He said that he looked forward to seeing how i could help his country. I told him that I would do and go where God leads me and God has told me to start in Rwanda, but more will come out of it. We were escorted by a nurse into first the premie ward where all the premature babies are. They do not have incubators like US. The premie ward is a small room that is just kept very warm. Babies are bundled in multiple blankets and just placed on the beds, but kept in open air. Its sterility is very minimal. Many babies had their own mothers at their sides to care for them. Here, we joined hands with the mothers and prayed. Mind you, each time I prayed in English and Francis translated. We prayed special blessings upon each child and mother and families. The mothers had hope. We prayed over a few other babies in other areas and then we left.

OK, now came the trouble. Francis started just showing me the city and landscape and I started taking photos. He took me to the port area, which is a tiny water area with one boat. Then 5 people, including one old lady in police uniform, but led by other non-uniformed men came and started questioning us and screaming. They asked to see my passport and I showed them. Then, the non-uniformed man wanted to write an infraction on my passport. I pled with Francis not to let him write on my passport. They started arguing in Swahili and took my camera. I kept asking Francis what was going on. They said it was forbidden to take photos of the seaport. I told them we didn't know. There were no signs. I told them we could show them the photo and delete it in front of them. They insisted on taking us across the water to the police station. I kept telling them we didn’t know. Francis argued with them. Then, we started walking. I was scared and angry. Who were these guys and what did they want? We walked up a steep hill and I was ready to call World Relief and the U.S. Embassy. Finally, we stopped and Francis finally told me to pay them $5 to let us go (saying that the police would charge us much more), but it took a while for me to get clear with Francis what they wanted. I took out $5 and they said it was too little. They wanted $5 for each person. We didn't even know for sure where they were taking us, but the guy had my camera. I kept telling them they were evil and I was a missionary with no money. Finally, one man told them to take the $5 and let us go. So, we went. I was so furious with this country. I was now scared to take any photos. I was a bit angry at Francis for not translating, but he said he couldn't. They kept him talking and arguing. He said he was afraid for me and my camera. He wasn't sure where they would have taken us either and the police are also corrupt in Congo. I was also a bit upset that he hadn’t warned me enough how corrupt this country was. I guess I got my harsh warning. I was so afraid that I wanted to leave, but didn’t.

We got on a moto to ride to the market. As I was riding, I prayed. God reminded me that I was a bit spoiled by the safety and cleanliness of Rwanda. This Congo was actually what I expected Rwanda to be like, dirty and corrupt Africa. It was what most people imagine Africa to be. So, I was brought back down to the reality of whom I was. I have been protected from all this by God. I committed to live in a place like Congo, but God gave me Rwanda, much safer and more developed than Congo. So, now I was able to suck it up and continue to see Congo. I was no longer afraid and angry, just careful. Truly, this place is horrible. There are barely any muzungus around because no one will serve in a corrupt and unwelcoming place. The only muzungus I saw were riding around in UN trucks and one World Vision truck.

Francis took me to where his some of his relatives live. Most of them were at work, bu the woman we met was nice. They lived in a very slummy area. Later Francis showed me an even more slummy area. Houses are piece-mealed spare rusty found metal parts nailed together. Children run around barefoot on the ground that was a mixture of black lava mud and rocks with sewage. It was worse than the slum areas of Uganda.

Later we walked into the main area of town, which is a far cry from Kigali's town. There are no "gas stations". The gas stations were boys on street corners with large jugs and water bottles filled with petrol. This is their gas station. Besides cars and motos, the transportation included makeshift wooden bicycles which were wooden pieces held together by rags, tape, and pieces of tire treads. There are also old-fashioned wooden pushcarts used to carry supplies, but powered by human efforts, not animals.

This city (which is only a small portion of huge Congo) is even more of a paradox than Rwanda because its markets have newer and more modern products than that of Rwanda, but the physical city and the moral culture is far below that of Rwanda. Rwanda has very little corruption because it is strictly forbidden by the government. The Rwandan culture also shuns theft. Strange to hear from a country where people just started killing each other. Hugh?

So, as I returned from Congo and Gisenyi I got an alert from the US Embassy not to travel to Goma because of the ongoing rebel conflicts. Wow! Kinda late. And a good friend begged me not to go back because it was unsafe. Wow! I guess God allowed me to be ignorant because He wanted me to see the truth. Nevertheless, He covered me in His protection.

So, this was my April adventure in Africa. God continues to teach me so much. He brought me a guide and a protector in my friend Francis. Please continue to pray for our safety and our relationship as we venture out into other areas of Rwanda. Pray for God to lead me where He wants me to be. Continue to pray for this country as the reality that there are still Interhamwe rebels coming into the country secretly to kill and influence people is a harsh awakening that things are still not as safe as it looks. God says that it takes just a little bit of yeast in the dough to spread and ruin the whole bread. These are the same rebels that once influenced the entire country into mass killings – genocide. Pray for Congo as they get very little hope and help due to the ongoing rebel conflicts. There are still children in that country that need rescuing. Pray for them. I thank God that He allowed me to enter this area unknowingly, and protected me.

I am afraid that I returned with a fever, the chills, and other symptoms so I am going to the hospital to get checked for malaria. Pray that whatever enters my body shall disappear because it cannot live where Christ resides. [Praise the Lord! My blood test came out negative for Malaria and my fever is gone]

Please pray for my blogs as I send them out because the enemy attacks everything as I report on them. Truly! I do not exaggerate. The enemy does not like that I share the mission. But I will not stop him from allowing me to share God’s truth and miracles. God bless you for your support and for not forgetting me. Thank you for reading my newsletters and for all your prayers. I love you and appreciate you all! Imana ibane namwe (God be with you)!

Love in Christ Jesus,

PRAISES: Yesu ashimwe! (Praise the Lord!)
• God is strengthening me and my relationships
• God’s protection in Congo
• God continues to grow me and enlighten me spiritually
• God continues to protect wherever I go and whatever I do

PRAYER REQUESTS: Please help me pray for the following…
• Please pray for God’s Protection of my equipment (camera, instruments, appliances) as this is where the enemy likes to poke at me.
• Please pray for God’s Provision – for my Support Fundraising for my 2nd year so that I may continue to serve God here in Rwanda.
• Please pray for God’s wisdom and direction as to where to explore and how, where, and when to set up the child advocacy NGO and leadership school for orphans (Christ Is Our Hope School).
• Please pray for funds and opportunity to visit US to see my family and to raise funds to start God’s vision for the kids. For 2 round-trip tickets so I may bring a Rwandan friend to testify.
• Please pray for the spreading of God’s Word and maturing of saints – for donations of NIV/NASB Bibles for Rwandans who can read English and thirst for the Word of God.
• Please pray for Language & Communication – for me to learn Kinyarwanda faster. It’s a tough language with many irregularities. And to get more fluent with my French.
• Please pray for Help – for strengthening of Rwandan friendships and confidantes.
• Please pray for the remainder of the school year at KICS.
• Please pray for smooth transitions into my 2nd year in Rwanda.
• Please pray for God’s Direction – for God to continue to show me where, what, and how to accomplish His will, His vision.
Please pray for continued Protection in everything I do and everywhere I go, for my health, and for these blogs that I share.

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Journal Blog: Friendship in A Foreign Land

As I immerse myself deeper into the culture of Rwanda I discover great hardships in discerning trust and friendships. These are the same challenges that I would find in my homeland, but with the added difficulty of differences in cultural meanings and language. I have many Rwandan friends whom I have become very close to and we've come to a place in our relationship where I am examining truths. There is alot here in Rwanda that is quite misleading and one can be fooled or blessed without knowing which. So, in my turmoil, I always seek God's Word and prayer for some answers.

I began by examining friendship in the Bible and this is what I found in order to measure true friendship. JONATHON was a true friend to DAVID:

"After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." (1 Samuel 18)

"And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God." (1 Samuel 23:16-18)

"Saul and Jonathan—in life they were loved and gracious...I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. " (2 Samuel 1:23-27)

So, to summarize, a true faithful friend 1) loves you as himself and gives everything to it (Jonathan gave his robe, tunic, sword, and belt - literally the "shirt off his back" and his protection - to David) 2)helps you find strength in God, 3) is a love that is different and more wonderful than romantic love. With these I shall guage what I can.

Secondly, I was steered toward a faithful servant-friendship, that of Eleazar (the "faithful stewart") to Abraham. Eleazar was the most trusted servant of Abraham, whom He trusted to send out to find the right bride for his son Isaac. But there is more to this story. When Abram was barren, Eleazar was the first born male in the house of Abram, which in the Jewish law, makes him legal heir to his estate.

"And Abram said, ‘Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eleazar [Lazarus] of Damascus and lo, one born in my house is mine heir.’" Genesis 15:2–3

But Abraham sent Eleazar on an assignment which would disinherit him from the fortune and blessings of Abraham. Eleazar did this willingly and unquestioning. He was faithful and did not waver in his efforts. He trusted God and prayed for God to point him to the bride for Isaac. Later on in Luke 16, Jesus tells the parable of the Lazarus and the Rich Man. Lazarus is a transliteration of the Hebrew Eleazar which means "God has helped". Lazarus was the "beggar" who ate scraps from the Rich Man's table, while the Rich Man (Judah) inherits everything. In life, the Rich Man inherited "good things" while Lazarus received "bad things". But in Heaven, Lazarus ends up in the "bosom of Abraham" and is "comforted" while the Rich Man is in "agony".

So, from Eleazar I learn that a true faithful friend puts his own blessings aside for the sake of friendship, risks everything for his friend. And in the end, a true friend receives his treasures in Heaven.

This is what the Lord has taught me. Friends, I ask for prayers that God would show me how to use this knowledge to make decisions and discern who are my true trusted friends and who are not. I cannot exist in a foreign country without true friends. I need help to interpret the culture. I have to have someone to trust that will care to rescue me when there is danger, that will care about me despite what I can give them. I need some kind of safety. This is tough because my love language of receiving is giving time and actions. My love language of giving is things, time and actions. This is how I love people. So, I struggle and I focus my attention on Jesus, for if I keep my gaze upon Him I will be safe. I don't want my friends and family to be afraid for me, just pray for me. God will make a way for everything. He has shown me miracle upon miracle His great protection over me. Right now, my heart is being tested in strength, and perhaps I am being taught and taken further in my ability to discern.

You [God] will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, Because he trusts in You [God]. (Isaiah 26:3 NIV)

I welcome any encouragement and prayer. I thank you for your trust and support. God will bring me through this. I love you all sincerely. Be blessed by His Word and cherish true friendships. Please pray for me for I am here to serve Him to the end. God bless you all, truly!

Love in Christ Jesus,

P.S. Pray for this blog as its packed with truth as I perceive it and the enemy does not like the truth. I pray protection over this blog in the name of Jesus, that it would only bring blessings.