The Art of Gratitude Life is a vapor

Hello friends! Yet another week has come and gone. It was a good week, but spiritually challenging.

Our topic this week was the book of Ecclesiastes. Have you read that book lately? In English, it starts out in one of two ways, either Meaningless, meaningless! Everything is meaningless or Vanity of vanities. (In Hebrew the word is Hevel, which translates to vapor or smoke) How depressing is that? But that's not the point of the book. What is a vapor or meaningless is everything apart from God. Wisdom apart from God, work apart from God, and Pleasure apart from God, they are all meaningless. The answer to these meaningless things is a life of simplicity. Enjoying the simple things and the gifts that God gives us, to learn to enjoy God in everything and enjoy everything in God. Giving thanks. Changing our perspective to an eternal one. We must also learn to fear God. The knowledge of God produces the fear of God which produces obedience to God. Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 says, "That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad."

Our teacher said, "God is a gentleman…he always gives you what you want, but if you want the things of this world you will never be satisfied…and if you reach out to satisfy yourself with the things of this world they will always go out of reach and you will never be satisfied" Hevel, hevel, everything is hevel. It won't last, it clouds our view of life, and it will never satisfy us.

If you are interested in viewing my notes the link is below.

On Friday I, with a few other students, got to hand out Operation Christmas Child boxes at a school in a town an hour away. We didn't get to watch them open them, but it was a unique experience to get to be on the other side of the project! To all of you who pack boxes I can tell you that they make a difference. They allow for outreach that wasn't there before. In that town they had 3x as many children at their children's program the next day. Here in Ersekë a children's program was started because the boxes were handed out. God uses these boxes. An even greater testimony is that one of our students received a box when she was young and that was the start of her faith journey. So thank you! (We couldn't take photos of the students, but here are a couple of the process)

I also did my Sabbath yesterday! It was another good day. Here is a posed photo, but gives a little glimpse into my day. It really is a benefit to me. One of my classmates at lunch today said, "I'm really glad you're practicing a sabbath. You seem a lot more happy." I would say that's so true! I feel so much more joyful during the week. All the more reason I urge you to start to find rest in our Creator.

To urge you even more I would like to share this text from Hebrews chapter 4.

"God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.” So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall." Hebrews 4:1, 4, 6-7, 9-11

Knitting, reading novels, and warm drinks are all a part of my sabbath!

Lastly, last night we had our family group night. This time they had a progressive dinner planned for us. All the host families of the family groups had a part of the meal. It was a really fun time with my family group members, but I think most importantly with the families. Being able to be in a home with a family is such a blessing and different from our normal here. Family and home(s) are such important parts of life. And being able to be invited into these families homes and to be a part of family was such a great blessing! I will be taking advantage of these families invites to their open doors this semester. :)

Our first stop was soup at the Stoscher house...the pumpkin soup was fabulous!
Second, salad at the Hamzai house (Not pictured: Asimi)
Third, tea and Desert at the Lilo house
Fourth, dinner (meat and potatoes!) at the Gundy house
Last, appetizers with Liz and Anxhela (our family group)

Here are some fun photo's from the night! :)

Haha...test photo, Sarah!

Lila rockin' the glasses!

Cuties!

Little girls make for slightly blurry photos

That's all for this week my friends. I hope this finds you well. Feel free to send updates on your lives my way!

All my love, Charissa

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Charissa Forsythe
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Charissa Forsythe

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