Peace, quiet (and mosquitoes)

We’re back from our silent retreat on the Vaal River. It was a pleasant break from the noisiness of living with 18 children (who are actually not that noisy at the moment as most of them are playing quietly.)

I managed to keep silence from 7.30pm on Friday until noon today (with the exception of shouting at a gecko who wandered into my room, but I think that’s allowed as geckos don’t really understand sign language). I also managed not to check Facebook for 24 hours, which is progress for me ;-)!

The retreat centre is situated on the banks of the river, which is very pretty but the proximity to water also meant mosquitoes and midges abounded. It’s a miracle in itself that I didn’t get a single bite, thanks to copious coverings of ‘Peaceful sleep’ (a miraculous insect repellent that actually smells quite pleasant) and the fact that I sprayed my room with ‘DOOM’ at least twice a day. With that amount of pesticide it’s actually a miracle I’m still alive, but needs must…

One of the other guys on the retreat was regaling us with tales of snakes before we stopped talking to each other and on one of my walks around I kind of wanted to catch one on camera but there were none to be seen. On the drive in I’m sure I saw a small group of meerkats in one of the fields but he assured me that it must have been squirrels.. I know my meerkats and I went hunting for them too but I think it was too hot and they were hiding!

some of the pictures from a walk around, most of the birds were the boring kind although there were a good number of herons and storks, and a lot of jumping fish (impossible to photograph!) 

On Friday night I felt like the Holy Spirit led me to re-read 2 Corinthians so I set about that. This verse stuck out the most:

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I spent some time considering what it is to be free in Christ and how we are God’s ambassadors to people, sharing with them God’s kingdom of love and that His ways are good.

On Saturday, this was my verse of the day – Ephesians 3:14-21

“14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

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And this morning I had a lovely hour or so by the river with a soundtrack of ‘Let it Be Known’ by Worship Central (I may have been silent but I needed some worship music to get me in the listening to God zone!) pondering on this verse:

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In terms of getting some answers, I felt like a lot of what I wanted to know specifically is not ready for me to know yet, but I did get a very strong sense that God has it all under his control and so I don’t need to worry, I will know at the right time. I wrote down A LOT in my journal that I will be revisiting over this week, but this morning was exciting.

This morning I think God gave me more of a vision for the area I should be focussing on when I return to the UK. I have a strong sense that I am only here for the 6 weeks that God specified (and who am I to argue with the Almighty when He is so specific) and when I return I have a starting point for the next season. However I’m not going to go into more details yet, I want to process it a bit more first and see what comes of it and what doors open so please pray for confirmation and for open doors.

DSCF2698the naughty gecko / skink that caused me to utter a choice word or two during my silence! 😉

DSCF2718the best photo I got of a dramatic storm last night 

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and finally,

this would be more amusing it if weren’t for the hideous grammatical error carved into stone!!! 

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