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Fairy Balls

Buford Highway, a suburban mecca 30-40 years in Atlanta, GA is now an international mecca of culture, language, food and custom. Situated in the middle of  “DeKalb International Village,” a person can spend all day sampling food, shopping in unusual and interesting international stores while hearing language and steeping in culture from around the world. Recently, I was in the area on a mini-mission trip with some of our 4th and 5th graders from church and ran across this cute little gem:

otherwise know as Fairy Balls!

Fairy Balls

For 99 cents, I snagged several packs of “Seven Color Crystal Ball” at an Asian market shop. For those of you are into this kind of thing, here are the directions for use:

1. add water (400 g) on the product, about 4 hours it will grow up

2. one clear beauty satiety face will grow up

3. when the flower want to oxygen and nutrition I will help you too much

Clear as a Seven Color Crystal Ball? Or maybe clear as mud! Who writes this stuff? Someone who learned English from a book, I guess. We got a good laugh out of the instructions. But immediately I thought this would be a fun little project for Nora and Lydia. They spent the night with us and I told them we were going to make “Fairy Balls.” Initially, they were less than impressed. All we did was take the label off a water bottle, pour in the tiny package of Seven Color Crystal Balls, filled it with water, capped it and set the bottles on the kitchen counter over night. But the next morning…well…look at the results:

They loved it! It was magical.

Darrell surprised me with the prettiest flowers for our 36th wedding anniversary yesterday. He always sends me flowers in the colors of our wedding. These were especially pretty, I though. Thanks, honey! Click here for the wedding photo (don’t get scared!!)

This morning in church, we combined our two services into one for the holiday weekend. Combining is always kind of fun and makes for a less stressful Sunday in the Children’s Ministry department! We decided to do our typical first service ministry format, ending with a  short (30 minute) large-group gathering. We related the red, white and blue in the American flag with some characteristics of Jesus.

As we celebrate our country’s birthday, the colors of our flag could make us think of these qualities:

RED reminds us of the courage of soldiers as they defend our country

WHITE reminds us of purity and the right decisions we pray our leaders are making on our behalf

BLUE makes  us think of “justice for all” and the opportunities and freedoms we’ve each been given

And when we think of Jesus, our flag can remind us:

RED stands for the red blood of Jesus shed for us on the cross

WHITE shows us that only the blood of Jesus can cleanse our hearts from the dirt of sin

BLUE makes us think of the true-blue faithfulness of Jesus when he tells us He will forgive our sin when we ask.

OK….now all that said, all I wanted to do at the end of this devotional time was to hand each child a mini-American flag to wave as we sang “God Bless America.” And since we do live in America and it is the 4th of July weekend-no problem-right? WRONG!! There is not a small flag in Atlanta. And not because they are all sold out- but because the stores aren’t carrying them. Not Wal-Mart, not Party City, not Walgreens, not Kroger. I didn’t see a single Happy Birthday, America sign or poster or red, white and blue bunting or hat or FLAG in any of these stores to celebrate the 4th. I did see a few fireworks…whoo-hoo!

I guess what makes me mad about this whole thing is the obvious, dis-heartening, sickening lack of enthusiasm for the principles upon which our country was founded, the patriotism of a generation ago and commonality of  honoring our country as the absolute best in the world is quickly waning. I suppose a lack of small flags at WalMart is not the end of the world- but it just seems like another indicator that the country I knew until really quite recently has changed drastically and quickly for the worse.

One bright spot of this 4th of July weekend was the patriotic celebration at our church, Mount Paran North, on Friday night. The Cobb Symphony played a patriotic package of music with our choir joining in on a few songs. Nearly everyone had pulled out their red, white and blue clothes which added to the festivities. The evening was fun, patriotic and full of pop style orchestral pieces of music. Best of all though was the obvious honoring of our country and the veterans and current military for sacrificing themselves on behalf of the citizens of our country.  At a point in the program, the theme song for each branch of the military service was played while veterans and currently enlisted service persons filled the front of our sanctuary. It was a moving reminder that these men and women have experienced and been through situations I can’t even imagine. Take a look below:

Well- all said, I still continue to pray, “God Bless America!”

 

 

 

Friends at Children’s Pastors Conference wish my cute-pie granddaughter a Happy 4th Birthday. Featured are the Donut Man, Yancy, Jeff Smith and puppeteer Todd Liebenow, owner of One Way Street. Thanks everyone!

Here’s a peek at Camp Primo 2009. Our campers earned lots of award badges. Here are the requirements they accomplished and the badges they earned:

PET CARE                                                                                                                            Watered and fed Charmin                                                                                         Cleaned Charmin’s paws                                                                                            Walked Charmin                                                                                                                     Fed ducks, peacocks, goats, rooster                                                                           Slept with a pet dog

BIBLE EXPLORATION                                                                                                   Crossing of the Red Sea                                                                                                    Jesus Cooks for his Disciples

BIBLE PROJECTS                                                                                                                   Red Sea coloring sheet                                                                                                       Fish on the Beach snack project                                                                                       Red Sea snack project for our parents

HIKING BADGE                                                                                                                   Learned safety rules                                                                                                        Used a bandanna and whistle                                                                                       Found a stick in the woods                                                                                              Sanded and decorated sticks                                                                                         Went on a hike with sticks                                                                                               Extra Credit: hiking in the rain

SWIMMING                                                                                                                   Swimming three times                                                                                                   Noodle fun                                                                                                                              Extra credit: swimming in the rain

Take a look at some of the highlights!

We don’t know who has more fun- Grandmama and Papa or our two campers!

Fresh Bread

This has been an interesting week! Several of us took 7 4th/5th grader kids on a short term mission trip right here at home! We brought the “fresh bread” of God’s Word to children living in an apartment complex in Clarkston as well as at our own SqPeg Ministries apartment in Roswell. Our first day of ministry was at an apartment complex in Clarkston. We visited the mission housed in the Leasing Office which is directed by a wonderful, big-hearted bear of a man named Bennett

We brought some games, a puppet song, an interactive Bible story and a stick song named “Arise My Love” with which to minister to the children.

Following are a few photos to give you the flavor of the day. The first one is our team at Tim Cummins’ office. He gave us an orientation about apartment complex ministry to refugees and other immigrants. Tim is an awesome man of God and made our trip possible.

our team

Two Muslim teenagers Two Muslim teenagers

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A variety of enthic groups live together in this apartment- all of them refugees from war torn countries. Although the children I’m speaking with look Hispanic, they were Asian- mostly refugees from Bhutan via a refugee camp in Nepal. Notice the three women in the background.

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The kids in the complex were SOOOO excited we were there. However, that excitement turned to craziness in their behavior as in stealing much of our equipment right out from under our noses: microphone, squirt guns, my sunglasses and more. We finally had to send half our team to play games with the children while the other half of us (see the orange shirts in the background?) quickly set up. We recovered most of our stuff by chasing down the guilty parties.

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Notice the different ethnicities of children- all sitting on the same beach towel!

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Bennett is the director of this mission. He runs a full after school program for his kids every week day during the school year. During the summer he feeds children two meals a day. He is a precious man.

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Two refugee moms watched our program. 

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I loved the dicotomy of color between the boys we were visiting and boys on our team.

DSC01865Staci graciously agreed to join our team on this trip. One of the things she did was to teach our group the stick choreography to the moving song “Arise My Love.” 

 Bennett had asked us to not be too overt in our Christianity, simply beacuse of his work in developing relationships with the Mulims living in his complex. It takes time to develop trust with those of a completely different background. He is using the tools of his after school programs to develop the relationships necessary to introduce families to Jesus. So, in order to respect Bennett’s wishes, we closed our program with the “Arise My Love” ministry in place of a salvation call. After the song, which tells the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the little boy in the following picture questioned one of our team members. He asked if Jesus was still dead, giving our team member a great opportunity to tell the little guy the truth of what Jesus did for him. You can see the interest on his face!

DSC01884 by you.

After the ministry, we of course gave our kids a chance to cool off in our hotel’s swimming pool. We didn’t know until then that Cece could actually levitate!!

Cece levitating