New Year

One of the best things about living in South Africa is that the country virtually shuts down during the Christmas season. Not only is it the holidays, but it is also our big summer vacation. Many people are off for the three-four weeks, including us at Growing the Church. For Americans, who struggle to get off for two weeks during the year, a month-long holiday is a treasure.

I thoroughly enjoyed my leave. I spent most of the time reading and sleeping, two of my favourite things. We had such a hectic year; the rest did me wonders.

I love to read, and I read these books over the break:

  • The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. A new friend recommended this book to me, andcircle-maker it was a godsend, giving me a fresh new look on prayer. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs new energy breathed into his/ her prayer life.
  • The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. It was the second time I read this book, and I loved it, depressing as it was. Yes, I still love my classics. The nerd is still in me.
  • Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev. I love the Russians, but I have never before read Turgenev. I will definitely be reading him again.
  • Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. I had to get in at least one Dickens’ novel. This was little-dorritsuch a good book, and I did shed some tears while reading it. If you don’t feel like reading the tome (although I would recommend it), the BBC produced a wonderful version of the book a few years ago. It stars Claire Foy, who is getting a lot of recognition for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in Netflix’s The Crown. Check out the book and the movie at Amazon. And if you haven’t watched The Crown, start that series today.

So, we’re back at work. It’s a new year and a new start. Come on 2017!

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Reading Time

I can’t remember my life without books. Reading has always been a huge part of me, and I have my dad to thank for that. When I was little, Dad always read to me. Even though I had books of my own, he would take me to the library each week so that I could pick out new books and get used to the smells, stacks and system of the library. I loved our weekly adventure.

Poky PuppyBefore reading a storybook to me, Dad would read me a Bible story. I didn’t like them that much. I found the stories boring, but I would bide my time so that we could get on to the old lady with the house full of rabbits, to The Poky Little Puppy, to Danny the Dinosaur, or to any of the Richard Scary stories. I was patient back then.

But there is one Bible story that I vividly remember; it was about the four friends who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing (Mark 2:1–12). I remember the blue-striped robe Jesus was wearing, the smile on his face, the four friends digging through the thatched roof to get to Jesus, and the happy faces of all the friends, especially of the one who was healed.

I don’t really know why this story touched me or why I remember it so well. I think in my child’s mind, it was the first time I had an idea of who this Jesus was—he was a happy and caring man. I could go to him; I could take my friends to him. I liked the friends who were so determined and the digging through the roof. This story has always made me happy, and it still does today. Thanks, Dad.