I Must Tell Jesus

Yesterday as I was practicing this morning’s hymns, Gwen overheard me and asked if I was playing this hymn, “I Must Tell Jesus.” I don’t blame her for being confused, because the tune is quite similar to the one I was playing. And of course, having been reminded of this hymn, I decided to feature it today.

I Must Tell Jesus

Elisha A. Hoffman

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.


I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
Make of my troubles quickly an end.


Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior;
One Who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.


O how the world to evil allures me!
O how my heart is tempted to sin!
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
Over the world the victory to win.



A Legend is Born . . .

Today was a very busy day for our family. Jasper had his three friends who had spent the night, and they all went to the donut shop this morning to get donuts for breakfast.

I had to make a run to the north side of town to get glow bracelets for the chai part tonight. Well, I didn’t “have” to go, but I do like to get glow bracelets for the party closest to Halloween, and Michael’s still has the best deal. I was a little disappointed to see that the deal was not as good as in the past. Instead of getting 15 bracelets for a dollar, you now get only 12 for $1.50.

I came home expecting Walter and Jasper to be gone working, but they were still here because the Suburban was blocking in the van. Spencer has lost both his car keys and also Walter’s, so Mercy is the only one with Suburban keys and she had her phone turned off because she was on campus doing orientation for her new school in Russia!

Eventually, Walter had to drive the van over the lawn so they could get to work. I did a little more of my reorganizing before realizing I wouldn’t be able to finish. I grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading out to Spencer’s rugby game at noon. This time I took my silver umbrella to stay shaded in the glaring sun.

The team played the best they have played so far this year. Spencer started for the first time and played until the last 15 minutes! For a little while they were even ahead, but they ended up losing by one point. And yes, they feel robbed–because the ref didn’t allow a try which everyone thought was legal, including Mercy, who was working as line judge.

But anyway, as I sat watching under my silver umbrella, I was next to a mother and daughter who were cheering the team on. Their husband/father is also on the team. I listened to their conversation as the mom explained that she was in the process of choosing nicknames for all the team members. She seemed especially enamored of the one she called “Bonecrusher,” and as she described him, I realized he was my very own son. She was tickled to find out I was his mom.

As the game wore on, she taxed her vocal chords cheering for the team, especially for Bonecrusher. At one point, after she’d screamed his name multiple times in a row, she turned to me and said, “What’s his real name?” So I said “Spencer” and she changed to screaming “Spencer” in case that might be more effective, I guess. I talked to Spencer about it afterwards, and he said the “Bonecrusher” moniker is catching on. Not too surprising as he is the biggest guy on the team!

Walter and Jasper got back in time for Walter to take a hurried shower and dash off to a wedding. One of his employees is getting married, and she really wanted him to come. Meanwhile, I stayed here to greet Don and Gwen, who arrived shortly after Walter left. I was so glad I didn’t have to bake for tonight’s chai party. This is the one time in the year when I just go out and buy Halloween candy.

Walter got back from the wedding, Mercy got back from orientation, Spencer got back from rugby, and we all managed to get set up for the chai party. It is still very warm here. We had a small turnout due to other events happening on campus, but I think those who came had a good time.

Parting Shot:


I stole this photo off the rugby club’s Facebook page, since Spencer is in it!

An Observation About Cutting Apples

You may have noticed that I have virtually ignored the upcoming election in this space. You’re welcome. I will not be airing my political opinions here—or elsewhere. However, lately as I see my newsfeed flooded with other people’s strong opinions and bitter recriminations, I keep thinking about something that happened many years ago, when Lina was a preschooler.

We were traveling for what used to be called “deputation,” wherein we visited friends and churches in hopes of raising financial support for our missionary career. Along the way, we stopped to visit our college friends Rick and Dawne, whose son was Lina’s age (4). One afternoon, the kids got apples for snacks, and Lina watched as Dawne cut the apples up.

Lina: “That’s not the way MY mom cuts apples.”

Dawne: “Oh? How does your mom cut them?”

Lina: “The RIGHT way!”

Fortunately Dawne thought it was hilarious. And we had to explain to Lina that there was more than one way to cut up apples!

What concerns me at the moment is that so many devout Christians are yelling all over Facebook and other social media that their take on this election is the “right” one, and that anyone who disagrees is not only stupid, but also a bad Christian. How did we, as Christians, get to this point where we can’t disagree with someone respectfully, even if he or she is a brother or sister in Christ? Why do we judge their commitment as Christians based on how closely their political views mirror our own? I can’t tell you how this grieves me.

Imagine what this looks like to the older, more seasoned civilizations in Europe and elsewhere. We Americans must look like a bunch of unruly children brawling in the grocery store, while all the adult onlookers roll their eyes and wish someone had the guts to smack the kids into submission.

What I wish people could do is to recognize the one common concern we all have: we want the best for our country. We may disagree on how to achieve that, or even what that would look like, but I honestly believe that all of us, no matter where we are on the political spectrum, want the best for our nation. Why can’t we accept that? No matter what your political views are, surely you can see that those who disagree with you are not hoping to see our country go down in flames, any more than you are.

My high school government teacher used say, “Democracy is messy.” That is supposed to be one of the strengths of our political system. Everybody gets a say, even if you think their opinion is stupid or misguided or even evil. And, in the end, the majority opinion is the one that wins, even if you think it is a disaster. (And of course, it really could be a disaster!) That’s how the system works.

What worries me is that no matter how the election turns out, there will be finger-pointing and recriminations both inside and outside the Christian community. One of my cousins has said he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to tell anyone how he voted this year. Christians will accuse other Christians of “wasting” their votes, of contributing to catastrophe. Friendships will end. (I think some have already.) People will leave their churches—or be forced out. And a certain supernatural being will be filled with glee—but it won’t be God.

Harvest Festival Day 3

Today marked the end of our involvement in the 4-H Harvest Festival, which will continue until the big auction tomorrow night. Friday is traditionally the day that our 4-H club mans the concession stand at the livestock arena. I drove Jasper over there bright and early to help with the breakfast rush, and then picked him up on my way home from Aldi, right as the lunch rush was in full swing, as was the goat show. Although he complained about having to go this morning, he ended up having a pretty good time.

I had told him a couple of months ago that if he got consistently good grades in math, he could have a sleepover. Well, thanks to my tireless efforts to make sure he masters each day’s lesson, his grades have been great! So I had to make good on my promise. His three neighborhood buddies came over this afternoon and they went on a bike ride before settling down to eat pizza and watch a movie.

Fortunately the smoke wasn’t too bad by the time they came in from their bike ride. I think I got a little too much oil in the pizza pan and some of it dripped into the oven. Smoke billowed out and kept on billowing. I turned on the vent and we also had to open two outside doors and turn on some fans, but eventually the smoke dissipated and the pizza was done!

Mercy spent the day getting “oriented” for her new job in Russia, and will have more orientation tomorrow. She also hit a road block in the form of her passport. Remember how we looked and looked for her passport and couldn’t find it? Well, she couldn’t find it either, so for the second time she had to order a replacement passport. The new passport came, but there’s a problem: it’s only good for one year. Apparently, if you can’t hang on to your passport, the State Department gets a little testy. This could be a real problem when it comes to getting a visa for Russia . . . so we would appreciate prayer.

P.S. It’s a good thing I got a photo of Jasper’s pumpkin sculpture last night—because someone vandalized it tonight while Jasper and his buddies were hanging out in his room. Who would do such a thing?

Harvest Festival Day 2

Today was our first “normal” school day of this week, so I tried to make the most of it. However, I am also reorganizing our erstwhile “schoolroom” so I worked on that some of the time when Jasper didn’t need me.

This afternoon at the appointed time, we took off for the fairgrounds to see how his projects faired. We looked at the Chocolate Hazelnut (Nutella) Bread first, and were somewhat stunned to see that it only scored a red ribbon and a comment that said “it didn’t seem to have any flavor.” (They did give credit for the beautiful presentation.) We were both rather indignant. Our family has happily scarfed down all the trial bread that was made first and didn’t find it at all lacking! Oh well. . . as Jasper said, the winning entries seem to be extremely rich and sweet, and admittedly the nut bread was more subtle. But still . . . chocolate doesn’t count as a flavor?

His helmet and pumpkins faired better. Both won blue ribbons, with the pumpkins tagged as “creepy” and Jasper’s effort and patience mentioned in regard to the helmet. Overall, he was pretty happy. He now has a helmet that he loves, and he was able to set up his pumpkins on the porch and put lights inside:



Harvest Festival Day 1

Today was the big day. This morning was all about making one more chocolate hazelnut bread. Jasper did it all by himself and he did a great job! It looked so good when it was done.

This afternoon, at the appointed time, we headed over to the convention center with Jasper’s three entries. I’m sorry, but I totally forgot to get a photo of the nut bread until after I had covered it with wrap:


You can still see that it looks awesome, right?

He reassembled his pumpkin creation and set it up for display too:


He got the idea from a picture he saw of a pumpkin carving another pumpkin.

And finally, we pulled out “Sheila” my foam head and displayed Jasper’s helmet on it.


Sheila has been surprisingly useful over the years, far beyond her original purpose which was to block a hat I had made!

Here is another photo of Jasper’s helmet. He had to cut out countless little pieces of foam, fit them together and glue them, then paint it with three different kinds of paint before attaching the visor. I am so impressed. He had never done anything like this before.


Tomorrow, we find out how he did!


A Looming Deadline

Today was all about preparing for Harvest Festival, once our friends left just before lunch. The first thing was to get Jasper to make the nut bread by himself. I think we finally got the recipe tweaked so it is correct. (In the recipe we found online, the liquid amount called for was way off.) He did a good job and I was proud of him. The finished product looked professional, and according to Walter it tasted better than our first attempt. Tomorrow, he makes it for the actual competition.

Once the nut bread was out of the oven and Jasper had left for Terrific Tuesday, I made a run to Walmart to get the last few supplies for his pumpkin creation. He is only entering three things in this Harvest Festival, but all three things are very ambitious. The only thing I have helped at all with is showing him how to make the nut bread.

I had my writers’ meeting tonight, so while I was away Jasper worked on his pumpkin project. You will see photos tomorrow I hope. He did a great job. He is a creative kid and enjoys working in three dimensions.

Meanwhile, we had only seven people at our writers’ group, but sometimes it is nice to have a smaller group. I had taken a poem to read, but when I saw that our “real” poet was there, I chickened out.

Tomorrow, after Jasper makes another nut bread, we have to haul everything over to the convention center and set it up. I hope nothing breaks!

A Dallas Adventure and an Independence Day

Saturday was a long hard day for me, still struggling as I am with my seemingly interminable sinus infection. At this rate, I will be reeking of garlic for the rest of my life!

I got up on Saturday morning and had to leave the house by 8:30 to get Jasper to his 4-H service project. Then I headed toward Dallas to spend time with my friend Susan. I got to her house right at lunchtime and we went out to a Thai restaurant we’ve been to before. Then we went back to Susan’s house and spent the afternoon visiting while Susan sorted through some of her late mother’s papers.

I thought that at about 6:15 I’d leave to pick Spencer up from the airport, but at 4:30 or so I got a text from him saying that he had missed his flight and would have to wait a couple of hours before finding out if they could fit him in on the last flight from Denver to Dallas. Susan had a bunch of other things she needed to do, and I realized that I would be a distraction if I stayed, so I decided I might as well kill time by getting some fabulous Ethiopian food.

I drove to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant and enjoyed a delicious dinner while waiting to hear from Spencer. Finally I got the good news that he was on the flight he’d hoped to get. I headed to the airport, found a space in the parking garage, and napped in the car for a while. I had no idea when Spencer’s plane was due to land, but I made a wild guess and headed on in to the terminal after an hour or so.

I had less than half an hour to wait until Spencer showed up, but we still had the long drive home ahead of us! Spencer volunteered to drive, and I was happy to let him. We finally walked in the door a little after midnight.

Of course this meant I hadn’t so much as looked at my autoharp all day, so on Sunday morning I had to get up early and pick a couple of hymns and play through them a couple of times before leaving for church.

During the afternoon I had a lot of cooking to do to get ready for our Zambian Independence Day celebration. I made a huge batch of “relish” and some mango/pineapple/guava cobbler. I made mandazi dough and Janet came over to fry them for me, since Mercy had other plans for the whole day.

Our friends Don and Gwen and their son arrived in time for Don to help stir the nshima before supper. Two of Janet’s friends came, and our other “regular” student, who is an MK from West Africa but is quite happy to eat Zambian food. It was a delicious meal and we all ate too much.

Don and Gwen spent the night, and this morning Don and his son were able to go out and get their Texas drivers licenses. Jasper and I went on a quest for the rest of the things he needs for his Harvest Festival projects. We needed hazel nuts, dowel rods, and pumpkins!

Today, by the way, is the real Zambian Independence Day, so happy 52nd birthday, Zambia! And as Don pointed out, it’s also only two months till Christmas Eve!

Don and Gwen will be with us another night before heading back to Dallas tomorrow. The next few days are going to be so busy and I am still really not feeling well, so it’s going to take a lot of determination to make it through.

For All the Saints

For All the Saints

William W. How

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!



Today being Friday, it was my least favorite day of the week. This morning I went to Aldi while Jasper mowed the lawns. Although I am on the mend, I am far from being 100 percent, so I made it through Aldi, loaded the groceries into the car, took the cart back, and was just getting back into the car when I wondered where my quarter was. I didn’t have a pocket, and I didn’t remember putting in my purse. I realized I must have returned the cart and failed to retrieve the quarter. I wasn’t parked that far away, but I had no interest in going back for my quarter! Just then, as I was about to shut my car door, a man walked up and said, “I found something of yours.” He handed me my quarter. I felt like such a doofus.

Because I’ll be gone all day tomorrow, I had to cook a couple of chickens today so the meat will be ready on Sunday. Now I’ll be honest: I have yet to become an Instant Pot fanatic like some of my friends, but it sure is handy for cooking chicken. I cooked the first chicken, then after removing it I cooked the second chicken in the same liquid. Then, after picking all the meat off the bones, I made bone broth in the Instant Pot using the same liquid, augmented with some vegetables and more water. I’m thinking that’s going to be some very good broth.

Jasper worked some more on his helmet but had to stop when he ran out of the glue, so I took him with me on an errand this afternoon. We stopped by our credit union, which was celebrating its 70th anniversary today. Jasper got a free hot dog, free popcorn, and a free pen! I couldn’t have any of the food but I got a pen and a calendar. We have been members of that credit union for 32 years.

Walmart was out of the glue Jasper needed, so we’ll try again tomorrow on our way up to another 4-H activity. Meanwhile, he’s got plenty of work to do cleaning his room.

Sounds like Spencer had a great last day in Colorado and got to go to the top of Pike’s Peak. I’ll be picking him up at the airport tomorrow evening. Mercy left for Dallas this afternoon and won’t be back till late tomorrow, so there are just three of us in the house tonight.