Wednesday, 19 December 2012

life with Kingdom Life

Seems like birthday parties kind of mark out the year for us.  It was a birthday party early in July where we got together with several of the ladies and children from Kingdom Life.  And again, this past Sunday, we celebrated another birthday among the children of our church.  Andre was turning 5.  and there must have been at least 20 children and their corresponding parents all under one roof to eat, fellowship and sing a Bahamian-style Happy Birthday to this little guy.  On the menu was chicken curry (A Bahamian staple), conch fritters, steam conch, steam fish, rice, coleslaw, corn, and or course, cake and ice cream.  We provided drinks.  (I try not to take it personally that they don't ask me to bring an entree!)  I really wish I could have recorded the Bahamian style Happy Birthday...just picture EVERYONE...adults and children, drumming on the table, and in a syncopated rhythm singing "Happy Birthday (Da da Da) to you (Da da Da) Happy Birthday (Da da Da) to you, ...."  I think you get the jist of it.  So cool.  Way cooler than the American style!!

Kara and Katie

Andre the birthday boy

some of the crew...
Ve'ondre, Keaton, Darnell

Doni and Ve' ondre

Kendall and the litte chicks she mothers...Darnell and Aniah
Here are some pictures to document the event.  Sorry they aren't clearer.  I was using Kendall's camera, and I think she had it on a setting that didn't fit the indoors.  Enjoy.

Friday, 14 December 2012

all is well...even when it isn't

In the Bahamas, it is very common to be asked, "All is well?"  And then you can nod and affirm, "All is well."  I love this.  It asks so much more than the usual, "How are you?" which people often quickly rush through with a "Fine, thanks...and you?" 

All is well with us.  Even though outwardly there is news we are not rejoicing over...  Keith's mom is being sent home from the hospital, possibly today, but not because she is all better.   Her leaking gallbladder issues are not going to be fixed by man's abilities.  Perhaps God will miraculously intervene and heal.  A nurse will be at the house on a daily basis to care for mom.  Chemo has ceased due to the gallbladder issues.  And her inner state?  All is well.  She knows the Savior.  She's walked with him all her life.

Last night at choir practice we rehearsed with gusto.  This little choir of 18 or so, singing to their fullest ability, was singing the praises of God as we reflect on Christ's nativity.  One of the songs we're singing is a modern, somewhat somber version of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."  I've only ever heard this song done the old way, Bing Crosby style.  But read the words and see their beauty:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on earth," I said
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth good will to men."

But the bells are ringing, Peace on Earth
Like a choir they're singing, "Peace on Earth"
Does anybody hear them? "Peace on Earth...
Goodwill to men."

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep!...
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on Earth, good will to men."

Then ringing, singing on its way
The night revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men."    poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In our presentation, this song will be packed in between a dramatic monologue of a modern-day believer questioning the world he sees around him.  This song is a bit veiled in it's gospel proclamation, but the truth is there in the next to last stanza.  "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.  The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth good will to men."  This is a summation of redemption's plan.  We find these words echoing the angels announcement to the shepherds in the field, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased."  Luke 2:14

Peace on earth, among those with whom God is pleased.  And with whom is He pleased?  All those who take refuge under the cross of His Son, Jesus.  All those who believe that salvation is found in Him alone.  It is with them that there is peace, with whom "All is Well." 

Friday, 7 December 2012

some improvement and...perspective

Now it's Friday and we have heard there is a measure of improvement with Mom B.  On Wednesday afternoon the doctors were able to put in a better drain.  This seemed to help with some of the pain Mom has been going through.  This is only a temporary fix, but at least it's an improvement.    We thank God for it.  And we thank you for praying!  We know we have felt buoyed up the last few days, and we trust our Florida family has as well. 

Perhaps one of the best lessons we have learned in our 6 months here has been the impact of the prayers of the saints.  Many times, amidst a problem, "road block" or other form of discouragement, we will suddenly feel a shift in our hearts...a measure of faith gets added to our overall perspective, and we are able to move forward as we look to Christ.  This makes all the difference!  Thank you.

As we look forward to this Christmas season, we realize we will be missing family and friends, the Crossway Christmas Eve Service, and the cold temperatures and snow that help to signal the onset of the holiday season.  We spent last Christmas in Orlando with Keith's family, which helped to prepapre us for a "tropical" Christmas.  Looking back, we are glad we did that for several reasons!!
But as we continually remind the girls, Christmas is not about the "feeling" we get by seeing the snow or spending time with close friends and family.  It is about our Savior, who is ever near us.  He more than anyone, knows what it is like to leave his home, enter into another "world" and live apart from all He had known in heaven.  It is because He left his heavenly home and entered our world that we can now go to another land and tell His story.  He is our example.  And whatever we left behind is not even a drop in the bucket compared to what He left. 

Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown
When thou camest to earth for me
But in Bethlehem's town there was found no room
For thy holy nativity

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for thee.

Heaven's arches rang when the angels sang
Proclaiming thy royal degree
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth
And in great humility

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for Thee

Thou camest O Lord, with the Living Word
That should set thy people free
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn
They bore Thee to Calvary

O come to my heart Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for Thee.

When the heav'ns shall ring and her choirs sing
At thy coming to victory
Let Thy voice call me home, saying "Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee."

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus
When thou comest and callest for me."
                                                                              Thou didst leave thy throne by Emily E.S. Elliot

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

update on Mom B.

Yesterday Mom B. was scheduled to have attempt #2 at inserting a much needed stent in her gall bladder connector tube (I really need the term for that!).  But it couldn't happen, again.  And this morning, Keith has already been on the phone with his mom finding out that they also cannot put in a second drain, which was at least a temporary fix.  A "No" on all sides?  And what is this lady's attitude in the midst of all the "not possibles?"  She is at peace, greeting people warmly on the phone and speaking of how she must just take one day at a time, one hour at a time.  This is all of grace.  When she, Dad B., and our nephew Jesse visited here in July, we were amazed at her energy and resolve to make that trip happen, no matter what.  She wanted to make sure she made it to Nassau before any resurgence of the cancer came.  God was giving her that desire.  As the old saying goes, "Mama knows."  And what else does "mama know?"  She knows her Savior will be with her every step of this journey, and has been there for the 74 years of her life.  She knows life is precious and short.  She knows that family is priceless.  She knows that keeping a good attitude in the midst of trials is crucial.  She knows that there is a purpose in our suffering, even though we can't see it clearly.  She knows God is sovereign.

And with that, I'll close for now.  Please continue to pray for Jackie, Paul, and all of the Buntings.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

a time for prayer

Hello friends.  This post is made with heavy hearts.  We've been watching and waiting the last few weeks as both sets of our parents have gone through some alarming heath trials.  Kristin's dad is now doing well after being taken by ambulance to the hospital and having his gall bladder removed.  The scare at first was that it might be his heart.  We are thanking God for sparing him any more trauma in that area. 

But the much heavier concern right now is for Keith's mom, Jackie.  Please pray for her today if you are reading this.  After many, many issues with HER gall bladder over the last 18 months or so (which they've been unable to remove due to it's extremely inflamed and unhealthy state), she underwent surgery yesterday to have a stent put into one of the connecting tubes from gall bladder to ....?  that was leaking toxins into her body.  But when the surgeon went in, he found a tumor and could not put the stent in.  Today they will try again to insert the much-needed stent.  Jackie is in an incredible amount of pain right now, and this is in the midst of  enduring 7 years of ovarian cancer, innumerable surgeries and procedures, several rounds of chemo and the resulting effects it takes on her body: hair loss, weight loss, extreme fatigue, nausea, the list goes on.  Pray today that Jackie will know the peace of God, the love of God in the midst of yet another major setback.  Pray for the surgeons to "find a way where there seems to be no way."  We serve a God who does the impossible.
Pray for Keith's dad, Paul, as he watches his life-long sweetheart undergo further pain and trial.  Pray that God will encourage his heart, and fill him with peace.

Thank you, dear readers and friends.  We thank God for the benefits of things like the internet, where we can share a prayer request from as far as another country and know many will see it and pray. We will post here again when we know more results.  To God be the glory.