Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An enemy might be able to defeat one person, but two people can stand back-to-back to defend each other. And three people are even stronger. They are like a rope that has three parts wrapped together – it is very hard to break (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

Last night I was given one of the nicest Christmas presents I have ever received. It was from a missionary. It is a picture. Inside the frame is brown matting with cutouts for three pictures. On the left is a cut-out that takes up the left part of the frame. On the right are two smaller square cut-outs, one on top of the other. Around the inside edge of the frame is glued a thin,narrow, very well made rope. It’s quite attractive.

In the matted, left hand cut-out is a picture of a very thin, bare-foot, weathered African with bowed head. In his hand is some rope that falls and wraps around his feet. In the top right hand smaller, square cut-out are the words in bold print, “Blessed be the tie that binds” (John Stewart). In the bottom right hand smaller cut-out is the verse at the top of this blog, taken from Ecclesiastes 4:12.

The significance of the picture is found in the letter on the back of the picture. This is what is written in that letter:

Kuv ba ter zie.

“Death has no place of its own, but it visits us all.”

Meet your brother, Kuv ba ter zie. His name means, “Death has no place of its own, but it visits us all.” He is a Dagara who lives in Nakar, Burkino Faso. He made the bit of rope that is on your frame. He makes it by running the strands in his mouth to moisten them and then rubbing them between his legs that are about as big around as baseball bats. His inner thighs have calluses where he does this everyday. He is blind so he cannot help the family with their fields and other jobs he would normally be expected to work. So he makes rope and sells it. He doesn’t make much money at all. He sells a bolt of it normally for about 50 cents. The first memory I have of Kub ba ter zie is when he asked me for a ride to his house after one meeting. He got in the truck with me and we started going down the road and then I realized that he is blind. “How am I going to get directions to his house? I’ve never been there before,” I thought to myself. But, amazingly, he asked me if we had hit the big dip in the road yet and we were about to hit it, then after that, he asked me if we had rounded the corner. After we did he said, “Do you see the corn field? At the end of it there is a path to the right that goes to my house. Do you see that?” I said, “Yes,” He said, “That’s my house.” You may notice that he is not wearing any shoes. That is not because he can’t afford any. He uses the bottoms of his feet to feel his way around the village of Nakar. He gets around quite well on his own. I asked him once if he could say something to the folks that support me, what he would say. He said, “Tell them that I was blind, but now I see the light.” He is one of the most enthusiastic and cheerful Christians we have in the Nakar church. Anyway, I just thought you might want to hang this up somewhere to remind you of how big God’s kingdom is, to remind you that you are simply a strand in a strong cord that will hold us all together for eternity, because of how much God has loved us all.


Aaron D. Burk

Perhaps, now you understand why this is one of the nicest gifts I have ever received. I share it with you so that you, too, will appreciate our common bond with Christians everywhere – all because “God so loved the world…”

Love’s prayers,


Monday, December 18, 2006

2006 has whizzed by, but I will have to confess that for me, 2006 was another wonderful year.

I feel my work is going well at Missions Resource Network. I have held eight workshops this year on different topics – all concerned with missionary care. This allowed me to meet with members of missions’ committees from over 70 different churches. One of the workshops was very special, however. It was held in Brussels, Belgium at the Pan European Lectures. Dr. Steve Allison from ACU and I conducted it together, but what was extra special was being able to be with my children, Rachel & Michel, who live in Holland. It was special to spend a little extra time with them and my granddaughter, Trinity.

I also attended several lectureships, workshops and conferences this year – all of which edified me spiritually and/or helped me maintain/improve my skill level. I taught a short course at Abilene Christian University. It was great to be in the class-room again. And what is even nicer, I got invited to come back and teach on another missionary care topic next summer. Of course, my favorite thing is my involvement with missionaries at every stage of the missionary life cycle. This gives me JOY!

I have finally moved all my stuff to Texas. Moving is some of the most exhausting work I have done in a long time. I couldn’t have done it alone. Good people here and good people in York went all out for me or I would still be moving. It was hard to sell my York house, but God gave me a lovely house only two miles from my home church, Richland Hills Church of Christ My house is very “homey” and welcoming.

It’s good to be near grandchildren in Texas, too. This is Jordan’s last year of high school. She is a beauty and plans to attend ACU and be a part of their new developing soccer team. I went with Parker to his school this year (Grandparent's Day). He is a freshman. I’ve only gotten to do that twice because I have always lived so far away, but it was neat to be with him and meet his teachers. Parker is one good looking boy and will soon be taller than me. Reba has her own business. If you need a meal, she has one for you. Russell still works as a General Account Manager for his company. Reba and Russell are normal parents – they are involved in everything their children do at their two different schools and doubly involved with the Skillman church community where they worship. I don’t know how they do it.

Steve has been down twice to see me already and will be back at Christmas time again. He is partners in a new business – putting cabinets in new homes – and is busy with the band he plays in. They practice at his house in Omaha. They are recording a CD sometime before Christmas. Steve has gotten to be a pretty good song-writer. He wrote a poem just for me at Thanksgiving.

Michel continues to work as a graphic artist and Rachel has decided to go free-lance with her marketing expertise. Trinity began school this month – she turned four on December 12th. School begins around 9 in the morning and lets out at 4 p.m., but there is that two-hour lunch break in between. That means a parent needs to be home. Rachel & Michel are such good parents – when they adopted Trinity, they both went part time so they could be there for her. Trinity’s favorite activity: She loves to put on her princess dress and play princess.

I feel very blessed by God this year. I keep waiting for something bad to happen, and I’m sure it will someday, but I have to say that the good has certainly out-weighed the bad this year. I am sending this to those I think a lot of. I wish you a very blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year.

Love’s Prayers – Dottie Schulz

P.S. I want to pass on something I heard this morning. I hope you appreciate it as much as I: