Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 2011

Here's our Christmas newsyletter to all our friends + eagles flying into all 4 corners of the world!
The Schmidts are home this year for Christmas, returning after an almost 2 months' journey. It's taken a bit to catch up with things after so long an absence + the Schmidt family is having babies! Our next generation is growing + on Nov 24th, Ryan + Sophia had a baby boy, Aleksandre Ryan, a brother for Anastasia, our 1st grandson!
And soon Michael + Kelsey have more good news on the way for next year!
We are blessed!
Our family picture keeps changing. How’s yours?
Some depart, always missed, but leave an ongoing legacy for new arrivals who in turn take up the baton to run their lap in life’s race! Speaking of running... we’ve been doing a lot of that since our last Christmas letter... running all over the world:
2010 - May + June I was in Ghana, Nigeria + England;
September - in Bali, Indonesia;
November- in Saigon, Vietnam, teaching in an underground Bible School.
Between trips, we fought off a ‘demon-rat’ that attacked our house + chewed through our plastic water-pipes! Our downstairs walls + ceilings looked like a battleground: water pouring out, holes punched in, carpets pulled up -- a mess! But God sent angels disguised as Harry the plumber + James the renovator to fix it all up again! I am convinced it was a ‘demon’ rat: it didn’t take our gourmet bait - cheese, sausage or peanut butter! but then in the dark of night - 2:30am! I heard it chewing - right above our bed, right above my head! ... if I’d had a gun?!
But he finally took the poison… after $9,000 damage!
Even rats have vulnerabilities.
So with our house under restoration last Christmas, our family scattered around the globe: Ryan, Sophia + Anya to Brazil, Michael + Kelsey to Mexico, Amy, Erica + I
to Uganda. Definitely more fun munching papaya than shoveling snow!
It was a return-trip for us to Kampala where we had run a month-long Training Centre in January 2008. Some of our students had been from UJV (Uganda Jesus Village),
a home for over 60 orphans, victims of war (LRA - Lord’s Resistance Army atrocities) AIDS + famine. It was an extra-not-so-ordinary Christmas as God used us wonderfully to not only touch others’ hearts, but also refresh ours! We loaded up suitcases to ‘send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared’ and emptied them all!
When we came home at the end of January, our house was fixed, but winter was still happening: we thought we’d missed the cold, but our furnace had stopped working!
From Africa’s 30c to BC’s 0c in January + no heat! What is wrong with this picture?
We shivered through, got the furnace running in a few days + then kept running…
throughout the year: Prince George, Edmonton & Red Deer in May; we fled the Stanley Cup play-off riots for Iceland + England during June-July; and now we have just finished a return lap to Finland, Uganda & England from September to November -- almost 2 months!
‘Jesus, the Revelation of The Father's Heart, to a fatherless generation’ became our focus message throughout this last trip; not just in words, but in action. Unfulfilled commitments, empty words, every kind of confusion will come; but when you are secure in your true Identity as a son with a Heavenly Father who loves you, then you are free to run + fulfill your Destiny! Africa has more than ‘demon rats’ to combat: it pulls + pushes, attracts + draws you in, only to disillusion with its pot-holes, poverty, corruption + grief. But then, just when all seems lost, redemption + salvation appear! -- only as it can in Africa!
And that’s what we found at UJV! Years of insufficient funding + lack of workers have taken their toll on the mission’s resources + left it in an only ‘with God all things are possible’ state.
Some promised help, but then walked away; others, even worse.
The bottom line for us is: here are 61 'vulnerable/orphans’ who are not to blame, but candidates for James 1:27’s
‘pure + undefiled religion = Take care of orphans + widows in their trouble’
= the fatherless! Less talk + more walk is needed here!
Amy had returned to UJV in August & we joined her during October with a team of 4 others: our friends Marg, Larry, James & even Erica’s 82-year old Mom! helped do whatever was necessary. It was sad to see UJV in such disrepair. I felt much like Nehemiah must have when he viewed Jerusalem’s broken walls and after I’d seen the ‘demon’-rat’s rampage.
We found: a woodpile without a saw or sharpened axe to cut firewood; filthy showers & washrooms without running water; plugged sewage + drainage pipes that threatened the entire mission’s closure.
The questions: ‘What can we do when the need, obstacles + giants are so great?’
and ‘What is so little among so many?’ filled my mind.
But then I also heard God say, 'A LOT when I AM in it!’
+ remembered the 5 loaves + 2 fish!
With funds donors had entrusted us to apply towards the greatest + most pressing needs, we went to work. We found a tradesman who fixed the drainage problem (must have been trustworthy, his name was Henry!). We repainted the washrooms + showers (bright blue is a lot better than black!). Erica’s 9 suitcases (they were really overflowing treasure-chests!) poured out new underwear, pyjamas + shoes! We pooled resources + bought 20 colourful new mattresses to replace the old, stained, tattered + shredded remnants children had been sleeping on for the last five years. I wish you could have seen their faces when they got them!
Marg + Grandma taught pre-school; Larry + James preached on the streets; Erica + I shared in the Missions Conference & churches. Our message became clearer: Healed people heal people!
It’s time for sons + daughters of God to be whole + become fathers + mothers with a vision beyond ourselves! = clear demonstrations of The Father’s Heart in action
to heal this fatherless generation!
We returned home in mid-November doubly thankful: no demon-rat + our furnace worked! Neither of us had any jet lag; we slept right through the nights!
My own bed had never felt so good! ..almost as good as the UJV kids with their new mattresses!
Amy has just rejoined us at home for Christmas, but hopes to return to UJV in the New Year. So we're all back, resting...
‘The Schmidts are nestled, all snug in their beds,
With more than visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads.’
Please join me as I share more of these over the next year here on our blog:
-- archived DVDs of Revelation2Revolution are available: just click on Top Right button: 10-week Revelation StreamingLive
+ a just completed set of OT + NT Survey manuals is also ready:
just email me
+ more to come, as we await the Lord’s leading on how to run further in this coming New Year!
Thank you ALL for ALL your continued love + friendship, Merry Christmas!
+ we pray ALL God’s best for you ALL in this coming New Year!
ALL our love in Jesus,
Henry & Erica