Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pondered Thoughts

 I have thought and pondered what is happening around the globe. I’ve watched and observed as America is dealing with this Corona Virus. Then it came to Ghana, we heard March 12th  that we had our first two case of the virus. Then I was fearful of the unknown. Then our President said, “All Americans should come home or be prepared to stay indefinitely.” More fear of the unknown. Then, I had to stop. I had to quit listening to the news and people. I had to stop and listen to what God was saying. As of right now Ghana has a low percentage of people with the virus. However it can spread quickly in our small country. 

I’ve thought, why? Why is this happening? We as Christians need to be out there telling people how to miss an eternal hell. Then I thought we are not out there anyway. We are not out in our communities we don’t know our neighbors. We as Christians have already been in isolation, we already have been social distancing. 

Then I thought if anyone wants to hear the message of Christ surely they could hear it on Facebook. Suddenly everyone is online. Then I thought if Christians won’t do their job, God would use whatever means to get His message out. If we are hiding behind our church walls and never going out to invite and witness Christ to people then what does He need us for anyway. He will get His job done with or without us. Ezk 28:22 “...and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.”

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo has done a good job. Because Ghana is a few weeks behind the U.S. he has been on top of things at the start of any virus. We had our first two cases on March 12, 2020. Schools and churches closed, as of March 17th.  We in Takoradi are not in lock-down yet. Some parts of the country are. The schools and church are our main ministries. I was looking forward to a break from the schools; in Ghana the schools break for the month of April. I was gearing up towards my Easter lessons, asking the kids why we celebrate Easter, getting them prepared for my lesson to come. They call it Resurrection Sunday. Then school did go on break, before I was ready. I was disappointed, I wasn’t going to be able to do my lesson on Christ’s Ressurrection. We also planned a VBS for Easter Monday-Friday. That has also been postponed. We as a family still have church services on our front porch. Pastor Prince has been recording his message on Sunday and sharing them on WhatsApp. School for my kids has not closed. Actually they only have 12 days of this school year left. Joseph is eager to begin his senior year of high school. We will probably begin t in May for the next school year. We are stuck at home anyway. April is the beginning of rainy season here in Ghana. Our well is pretty low, we pump up enough water to take a quick shower and flush the toilets. Some things have been put on hold (our dogs need a bath) due to no water. I am looking up, for Christ, but also the rains.  

Check out our siekbertnewsletter.blogspot.com Making progress on the church property. Check out the pictures. 



Monday, January 20, 2020

Encouragement Along the Way

I received a message from a friend saying, I am praying for you as you are without Naomi, and Matthew for the Holidays. We love you and miss you. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I was feeling sorry for myself and missing my children. My kids have been away for some time but it has hit me hard because they are growing and I am not there to have a part in that growing. "It’s not fair", I cry to the Lord. Yesterday was just not a good day. This morning I woke, read my Bible and prayed. I listened to a sermon as I was hanging up the clothes. In his sermon he said, he would obey God, whatever that meant. Then I went into the kitchen and started preparations for our Christmas Eve Pizza tonight and breakfast preparations ready for Christmas morning.  I was listening to Tricia Crabtree and her song, “Bury My Heart On The Mission Field”. She sang the part of “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, whatever the cost. I just cried. It’s easy to sing the song, but to live it, it’s not so easy. God has a plan not just for me but for my children. I will trust you. 

Prior to the above message, three individuals sent me notes of encouragement. When Mack brought in the mail, I thought, oh, some Christmas and Birthday cards. No, they were notes saying they are praying for us and wanted to send a note of encouragement.  That meant a lot to me. Especially feeling sorry for myself being here when I want to be there. They had lifted us up in prayer before I realized I was going to need it. God already knew, obviously, but those people didn't know how much I needed it. 




We had a nice Christmas and Birthday's on either side. We had a break from home school and got to take the boys swimming for Nehemiah's birthday. Nehemiah's birthday was on Thanksgiving Day, so we had cake and went swimming on Friday. We had missionary friends join in our celebrations. It was a good distraction and also to focus on our boys for their birthdays. Joseph's birthday brings in the new year on January 3rd. 








I am excited about the New Year, 2020. I am feeling encouraged and want to thank those of you who pray for us. We all need lifted up in prayer. I pray for many of you and our church families each week. 




Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Is Comfort Your King?

 No one wants God to be Lord, but everyone wants Him as Savior. You don’t want Him calling the shots to have ownership over all that we are. Sure, we want the Lord to Save us from Hell, but be on the throne in our lives? We don't want anyone telling us what to do. We are not here for ourselves, to acquire my preference, my wants, my desires. We are here for His Glory. That is what follow me means you put it all on the line, you leave all behind, you drop everything and follow. Your good name, your comfort, you lay in it all down. To take the Lord we take Him as Lord or we don’t take Him at all. Savior, comforter, friend, helper and the list goes on and on, all that comes with the Lord. Will we suffer, probably. Suffer or not suffer is Comfort your King. We can't give up our $5 coffee or surely not our every day convinces to follow Him, we just want Him there to rescue us. What about rescuing someone else? Warning them of hell, taking time to help them understand the Bible, maybe you don't understand it much either. We need to teach them. That will take dropping what you want to do to serve them, not yourself. 

The "Sun" or "Son"

For the past couple of months it has rained every day in our part of Ghana. The ground has been wet and soggy. Puddles left behind after the rains have ceased. Ghanaian’s rely on the “sun” to dry their wet, dripping clothes. The “sun” is still high in the sky, but is not fully beating down upon the land. It is covered by the rain clouds.


As I was washing my clothes, I rely on the “sun” to dry my clothes also, but because of all this rain, I have been using my clothes dryer. One day I was relying on my dryer and it did not turn on. Due to the rain, I hung my clothes all around the living room under the fan and it got me thinking of this subject. How we rely on the “sun”. Then I thought, no, we rely on the “Son” for the “sun”. 


Just like we need the “sun” to come up everyday and provide for us light and warmth and to help our clothes get dry. We also need the “Son” everyday. God provides for us, He is our light and He is our help through our day. I rely on the “Son”. Some days the “Son” is still high in the sky but is blocked by our sin or by not seeking the “Son” daily, so it seems it is covered by a cloud of gray. We need to remove the sin cloud and have access to the “Son”. 


The "sun" does shine again. 




Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Do You Want To Cause Trouble?

I taught the last two weeks at the Deaf School, before they left for break for the ending of the school year.  I have the little kids K-5 thru Class 3. I am learning and putting my signs to use. I guess you have to start somewhere. Yikes. I wish I could explain in detail the lesson. I introduce the lesson and the individuals of the story and the basic lesson, then my interpreter, Joyce (a deaf student) goes more into the details of the lesson. Joyce is one of the students I was placed with when first learning sign. It’s neat that she is the one helping me. Prince and Koasi have the two other classes right now. The schools here in Ghana will finish the school year by the end of July. They will be on break until September. Once they resume we will then break up the oldest class into two classes and Prince will have one and Mack with have the other half. Joseph will then help in Koasi’s class. 




I was not quite ready to begin school, but we began on August 5th. Joseph is in 11th grade and Nehemiah is in 8th grade. We are currently doing our last VBS for this year. It is at CBBC in Sekondi. School means things get busy for us. Break over, back to work. I’m not sure it was really a break, moving across the sea. It was a hard couple of months. 

We spent our July 4th, with another missionary family. We had a nice time, even shot off a few fireworks. Our new puppy “Duke” and our old man, “Ringo,” are becoming friends. It has been good for “Ringo” to be moving and annoyed with the new puppy. He has been on vacation for far too long, he must get back to work and show this puppy how to be a guard dog. We have another addition to our dog family, Duchess, we got her about a month later than Duke. 




July 18th is Linda’s birthday. I was asking Prince, “When is Linda’s birthday?” I knew it was coming. He said, “Do you want to cause trouble?” He then said, “I don’t know.” Hahaha I said, “It’s coming, you better find out.” I was laughing. I was just trying to help him out. I am so thankful for Prince and Linda and their testimony. People are watching. They know our church is different and their lives show it. To hear Prince and Koasi now, years later, saying where would they be without this church? It has been a long journey to get where they are, even scary at times. To see them now, and to listen to them talk and realize where God has brought them. Time will tell the impact of these two preachers. The journey is not over, it will continue to have its bumps along the way, we must stay close to God and hold tight to his hand. Life gets messy at times and He is my help. 


Linda & Matthew

Koasi & Prince

Friday, June 21, 2019

Steady Source of Water

We’ve had a hard, busy two months. Packing up our house and getting our suitcases ready to leave is an overwhelming task. In the midst of that we as a family took a week and went to Gatlinburg TN, for our last all four kids together vacation. It felt like a whirlwind of activities. It went by to fast. 





As we got down to the last week before we left. I was sick with anticipation. I was not ready to go back. I was not ready to leave. I was struggling. Mack preached a messages our last Sunday, June 2nd, about “Binding the Sacrifice”. I or we as a family had to tie ourselves to the altar as a sacrifice, because we wanted to jump off. Two of my kids are back in the states and I still need to be mom. That was very hard to walk away and board the plane. I said, to my mother-in-law, who has 3 sons on the mission field. “Now I know how hard it is to say goodbye to your children.” Once our luggage was all checked in, I felt a little bit of the weight lift. 




The first week of arriving in Ghana, June 4th, the weather was so nice. We spent 3 days in the capital before heading home. We had 15 trunks of luggage and 1 didn’t show up. It was Mack’s every day clothes. So, we stayed the third day hoping his luggage would come. It still hasn’t come. When we first got to the house Mack tried getting the water pump hooked up and running. It was not working. No water. I couldn’t do anything. We slept in the living room our first two nights back. Saturday I cleaned our room took the bags off the mattress and got our bed made. Sunday night we were finally in our room. The boys spent one more night in the living room and Monday we got their room ready. The guys from the church came over Thursday, to help clean up the yard. It was beyond overwhelming. I just wanted to pick up my things and move to a different house. Thankful our lawn mower started, with a little encouragement. Our yard is a disaster. The lawn mower has helped a great deal. Our car is also up and running, thankful for that. 





This last week as of June 17th.  it has been sweating hot. Yesterday, Wednesday we finally got the water to stay in our poly tanks on the roof. We had a leak or two that are now fixed, and all the water we pumped up to the tanks, would empty out just as quick. Which means no water unless the pump was on. So we had many buckets of water around the house to wash our hands and flush the toilets. It’s been a hard couple of weeks. My washing machine hasn’t stopped since we have a supply of water.

We will be going to the Deaf School this Sunday. We also have a VBS coming up the end of June. Prince is letting us know Saturday. It has been really hard this time, getting our house in working order. Progress is being made, especially now that we have a steady flow of water.

Our first Sunday back we sang this song at church.

Thanks to God 

Thanks to God for my Redeemer, Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory, Thanks to Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime, Thanks for dark and dreary fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten, Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou has answered, Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered, Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain and thanks for pleasure, Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure, Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the way side, Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside, Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow, Thanks for heavenly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow, Thanks thro’ all eternity!


Please send our greetings to everyone and keep praying for us!! 

On a lighter note, it was good to be back at our church. This little guy, Matthew, is too cute. He is one busy guy. He says, “Madame Jackie” and  “Pastor”. Prince and Linda have done well, he knows us and is not afraid. Some of the ladies came over on Thursday when the guys where working on the yard to help me prepare lunch for everyone. That was a big help, because I have nothing in the house. We have been eating peanut butter and jelly I had in my suitcase, our fast food. The other missionary came by to help Mack with the car and his wife asked me what I needed, that’s a loaded question. I said, can you just bring us some bread? 












Also, meet “Duke”. We picked him up Monday. We are waiting to get another puppy from another liter, in a few weeks. Ringo our “old” (best dog ever) has tolerated him so far. We kept them apart the first two days and slowly have introduced them. I hope they hurry up, because I don’t like being on dog duty in the middle of the night. 



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Looking Forward


The sun is shining. The trees are budding. The chill is still lingering, but you can feel the sun wanting to take over. It is exciting to see new life. Greener grass and trees. People are shedding their layers and putting away the winter hats and gloves. It feels good to have the sun warm you and penetrate your skin. I've missed being warm, okay, hot. Soon I'll be nice and hot, sticky hot.



We have had a great month of April with two Missions Conferences and one last one next week. The churches take such good care of us. It will be remembered for years to come as we are on the field. We will remember when...the wonderful Hershey's Cake was made for us. When we went to play Disc Golf and got to see Niagara Falls. Many, prepared meals for us. The fellowship of seeing old friends and making new ones. The churches that reach out to our kids and make them feel welcome and that they are not forgotten. To those who have sent our college kids cards with a little gift card thrown in. Some have sent them boxes when they remember their churches college kids. Thank you!






As we celebrated Easter, we saw 2 baptized here in Ohio and received news of 2 being baptized in Ghana. It is exciting to see the work continuing and growing in Ghana. We are finishing up here with doctor/dentist appointments and getting the needed items to return to Ghana, June 3rd. We have much to do as we prepare to leave. School is officially finished, well the small minute things still have to be done, but will have that wrapped up by the end of the week.





I am looking forward to; squishing baby Matthew's cheeks (hopefully, he isn't afraid), seeing my girls Sunday school class, going to the Deaf School and interacting with them, getting new puppies, losing weight (furlough weight is awful), having summer year-round, teaching, growing, serving.

Matthew turned 1year old on 3/30


I have helped where I can here, but my place is there.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

New Pains Come With The Exercise



The snow has melted, it is cold outside but inside the fire is warm. There is just a week before Christmas. The Christmas tree is full of memories from all the ornaments from over the years, some branches are bowing with the weight of them.  The Advent calendar is counting down the days until Christmas. The manger scene's are in place. Mixed nuts are on the table. Christmas movies are on hold at the Library. The kids arrived home, back from college. Going to put the Gingerbread house together tonight and I made some cookies.We remember a special birthday this time of year, the birth of a Savior.






Reflecting back to the last 8 months, they have gone quickly. This furlough has seen many changes. Growing and stretching in new ways. New pains come with the exercise.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with family. It was hard not having our two oldest kids with us, it seems strange. We had a yummy dinner with all the fixings. Mack's mom cooked the Turkey and all that goes with it. In the evening we (30+) walk across the bridge from Cincinnati into Kentucky and stop and White Castle (ick). Then we turn around and walk back. It's been a tradition well since before I came into the family. I did ask one time, why do we walk across the bridge? My mother-in-law said well it's free. Having 7 children of her own, they had to find cheap/free things to do. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same if we didn't trek across the bridge. We had the opportunity to go to the Ark Encounter over Thanksgiving. Our last furlough, I heard they where going to build the Ark, I was so excited. I thought, well on our next furlough the Ark should be completed. We enjoyed the day with Mack's parents coming with us. I've read many times about Noah building the Ark. The dimensions of the Ark, the calling of the animals, the one door. I think about what they ate and what they feed the animals, I also think about water. How did they get water? What about light? How about the air circulation? Waste, human waste and animal waste as well. On the Ark they showed how the Ark was built with all this in mind. It was truly amazing. The Ark was ahead of it's time if you think about it. Something else caught my attention was the clay water tanks to water and feed the animals. Then I realized, necessity is the mother of invention, if you need it, you will find a way to make it or rig something up to meet the need at hand. Being in Ghana you see the need of something to hold water, whether it is a bucket or jug or to a bigger storage tank. In the States you forget about that because you always have water and we don't think of storing it. In Ghana, that is always on your mind. You hope to always have water, but you better have a reserve, a holding tank of water for those times there is no water, due to the dry season or they shut off the water pipes. If you get a chance to see the Ark, I recommend it. This time of year the Christmas lights where lit all around the Ark, it was so pretty. They also have an ice skating rink.








  

                                                                    

 

Nehemiah had his 12 birthday at the end of November. He had a friend and a cousin come over to spend the night.






It is now 2019!! Joseph had his 17th birthday the 3rd. Joseph had his friend Joe come over for the evening. Macks birthday is on the 18th.



As the new year begins our focus turns to Ghana. We need to start focusing on what we need to take back to Ghana. Each furlough it gets harder to go back. Not that I don't want to go back, that's not it. It just gets harder to pack and unpack. I know what faces me upon my return. Being finally settled here, now it's time to uproot once again and be unsettled for a couple more months over there, as we settle back into a routine. Not Looking forward to our piece of a vehicle that bumps along the roads. You have to laugh to keep from crying. However, I can't wait t get a hold of the little boy (Matthew) and mush his chubby cheeks. I can't wait to see the girls, Prince, Linda and Koasi. To get back to the Deaf School and the students. To see our dog and get some new puppies. I am looking forward to it, it's just a big job to go back and leave two of kids here, an ocean away.  It kind of stinks, to leave them. I feel like I'm abandoning them. It's been nice to have them here for Christmas break, although it makes it that much harder to leave. Did I say it stinks?














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