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Friday, November 9, 2012

The Evolution of Ears

The other day I was thinking to myself "I wonder where my 'Desiring God' book is?"  So I went on a minor escapade to find it.  Since we lived in a rental house for 2 years while we were building The Village, then only moved into our house here a few weeks before our return to the States, we still have quite a few boxes that haven't been unpacked since 2009.

I am happy to report success in discovering my Piper books, along with a half dozen other boxes filled with Ryrie, Hamm, BDAG, commentaries, etc...  Papa Revival is pretty excited to dig into the books too.

I also made a fantastic discovery - the Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary Student Directories from 1999-2002.  This book was generally referred to as the Hog Log, for reasons that shall remain undefined...except for the following bit of folklore-
Q:  Three Faith girls, a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead, are standing on the gym.  Which one falls first?
A:  The gym.
(I can pass on such a joke since I am happily and proudly married to a Faith alumnus)

Amber and I haven't looked through these books since Judd Pietsch came to visit us in 2009.  I'd forgotten how much fun it is.

Amber (Litke) in 1999

Yours Truly in 1999
By far the best and most exciting rediscovery is the pictures of my beloved brother, Tony.  Here's a photo collage, one from each year.  I've titled it "Uncle Tony - The De-evolution of Ears"

Tony 1999

Tony 2000

Tony 2001

Tony 2002

I also want to congratulate Tony and Theresa on the birth of their fourth child, Riley Louis O'Tool.  He is a handsome little guy and is blessed with awesome parents, a great older brother and two lovely sisters who will be sure to have a big influence in his life.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Meredith & I were just having a Geography/History lesson using our globe. She points out Antarctica and says "Can you imagine walking upside-down all the time?" She's 7.

Meanwhile, my cousin Thomas Heiderscheit, during his visit here last summer had the following famous quote: "It's a good thing for gravity or we would fall off the earth down here." He was like 21.

It's better to learn these lessons early in life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's Never Too Early To Learn

Every Tuesday night is Bible Study night for the kids at The Village.  The teenage girls do Bible Study with Lois or Mallory, but the younger kids do it at the O'Tool house.  The houseparents even send Tumi, who turns 2 years old this month...I think because it gives them a chance to rest more than anything!

Tumi has something of a sweet tooth, and since I give jelly beans to the kids who can say their verses from weeks past Tumi has become especially motivated to learn the verse.  You can imagine that he needs a little assistance, but he's coming along.  This is Lerato helping Tumi with his verse:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Small Blessings

Ever wonder why it doesn't seem that God works in our lives the same way He did in Bible times?  One interesting fact is that Scripture covers a period of thousands of years, yet most of that time wasn't filled with miracles.  The main periods of miraculous working was during Creation, the time of Moses, the time of Elijah, the time of Christ and Acts.  The rest of the time oral history of God's working was passed from one generation to the next.  Often there would be centuries between God's miraculous intervention in the lives of His people.  There is a reason Deuteronomy 6-8 so emphasizes the act of passing on stories of God's work.  Because we as people are prone to forget.

We are also prone to overlook the little blessings, the seemingly insignificant things that God is orchestrating daily.  Psalm 103 encourages us to instruct our soul to "forget none of His benefits", and then goes on with a list of benefits.  Interestingly enough, those benefits are all spiritual.  But we are so caught up in the physical, the here and now, that we take our eyes away from the Gospel and place them squarely where they should not be - on ourselves.

That is not to say that God is not intimately concerned with our physical needs.  But let's not forget that the Gospel isn't about our comfort and convenience.  It is about our relationship with God.  The Gospel is about us growing into Christ-likeness.

With that said, I want to testify to one of the small tangible benefits that He poured on us this past week.  As an orphanage, we operate almost exclusively on donations.  And you can imagine, the budget can be tight at times.  God has always blessed with faithful provision.  This past week He once again showed grace to us.  The photos below help tell the story:

Our good friends, Pops and Banana Trish, watch Meredith and Drake each Monday while we shop.  As we dropped the kids off at their place I happened to pick up their newspaper.  It's a free weekly, so interspersed liberally throughout the news articles are advertisements...advertisements which I frequently overlook.  But God drew our eyes to one particular advertisement from a local butcher shop. They were running sales on both Stew Beef and Mince (hamburger).  We try to feed our kids healthy, yet economically too.  So good meat is a blessing.  We were able to buy enough to last probably through the end of the year, and in doing so saved about $45.  Maybe it seems small, but that's enough to send a kid to school for over a month.

Of course, those who know Tumi's history know he likes his sugar.  Even though sugar wasn't on the list, Amber "just happened" to notice that it was selling for less than normal, so we saved almost $10 on sugar to last through the end of the year.

Eggs are a great source of protein and relatively inexpensive.  One store was running a sale and we saved about $15 on eggs.

And the best part of the story was formula.  We have 2 babies right now that both need formula every week.  But last week the housemothers, normally very responsible about this sort of thing, forgot to put it on their list.  After I had finished shopping they came to me and told me they had run out and needed more.  The store where we normally purchase formula is across town, so I decided to pay a bit extra to save myself the time and expense of a cross-town formula run (gas is about $6 per gallon).  When I entered the store I found they were running a 40% sale on I bought them out.  You should have seen the looks I got when I purchased 12 boxes of formula.  But I saved $7 per box and it doesn't expire until Sept 2013.

All told, God allowed us to save around $150, which is almost 2 weeks of groceries for the two houses.  And all of these through circumstances that normally wouldn't have happened.  Anyone who has served with us here for any length of time will tell you that interruptions are part of daily life.  This time, apparent interruptions ended up as tremendous blessings.  God is active in even the smallest details of our life.  Let's stop overlooking that.

P.S. - The first Sunday we were at Welkom Baptist Church, Pastor Joshua Bolaji was speaking on the story in Mark where Christ is on his way to heal the daughter of the synagogue official.  On the way He was interrupted by the woman with the issue of blood.  While he dealt with her, the official's daughter passed away.  As the father it would have been so frustrating to think that this woman, whose issue could have waited (after all, it had been like 18 years already) prevented Jesus from healing my daughter.  But Pastor Joshua pointed out that not only did Jesus stop to heal that woman, He had actually planned the interruption in the first place.  Everything God does is for His own glory...even the supposed interruptions in our lives.  How great is it to know everything is in His hands!