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Great Memories

It is Boxing Day.

We had a lovely Christmas with our daughter coming for lunch and we are looking forward to Monday when we will have all the family here including those from Liverpool.

As I was thinking about past Christmases I looked at the dining room wall and saw the painting of Ducks & Donkeys. (Sorry for the poor quality of the photo but it was taken with my phone in poor light. The actual picture is far better.)
Painting of ducks and donkeys
It was given to me as a Christmas present many years ago when I was still lecturing in Psychology. One of my students had a job as an illustrator for greetings cards and she painted this for me as a gift to say thanks for my help. It is about 16 x 12 inches.

She told me that I am the leading duck taking all my students on an exciting adventure into the study of the human mind. The donkeys? Well they represent those who could not be bothered to study. They may look good at the moment but unlike my students they will never fly.

I then went into the bedroom and saw the second painting. Painting of Bruniquel(Once again please forgive the poor quality of my photograph.)This was also a Christmas gift but from a home owner in France after we house sat for her some years ago. She is a professional artist and wanted to say thanks to us for looking after her home so that she could go away over the Christmas/New Year period. The painting is of Bruniquel a tiny fortified village of 561 inhabitants is at an altitude of 250 metres by the river Aveyron.  She painted it after we mentioned how much we had enjoyed exploring the fascinating local villages including Bruniquel.

Wikipedia reminds me that Bruniquel village is a picturesque mixture of old pink stone and red tile with a dramatic belfy, medieval gateways and defensive walls. Two feudal medieval castles dominate the village and the valley, one of which is the Château de Bruniquel. The ‘old’ castle was built in the 12th century and the ‘young’ castle was built-in the 15th century and occupied for about 200 years. It now houses a museum of prehistory exhibiting “treasures of Bruniquel” found in several caves near the castles.

Ahh good memories.

Would you like to collect memories of exotic places? You can.

Allow me to once again be the ‘lead duck’ and follow me to Christian House Sitters where you can enjoy rent-free vacations all over the world. Likewise if you need someone to look after your home (and pets) free of charge we can help.

For full details have a look at www.Christian-housesitters.com

God bless you,

Ray

We are part of the registered charity

TLC Children’s Trust

UK Charity number 1156786

www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

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September Already

Its September

Yes it’s true. We are already 9 months into the year.

Christmas and New Year will be here almost before we have time to catch our breath.

So if you are planning to get away for a break please remember that we can help you save a lot of money by finding you a suitable person or family to look after your home and pets FREE of charge while you are away

In the same way if you are interested in having a RENT-FREE vacation why not register with us as a House Sitter.

We have sitters and houses available all over the world.

PalmThe sooner you register the better the chance of finding the ideal sitter for your home and your pets or of finding you that ideal place to get away and relax without the expense of renting a home or a hotel room.

Have a look at our website for more details. We are a Christian Ministry NOT a business.

www.christian-housesitters.com

God bless you,

Ray

We are part of the registered charity

TLC Children’s Trust

UK Charity number 1156786

www.tlc-childrenstrust.org

 

WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. They are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation

 

Thank You – Enjoy the video

In my last blog post I mentioned that God had blessed the children at the Home of Peace Children’s Home in Kenya over Christmas.

I promised to post some pictures so near the end of this post you will find a short video made from photographs taken at Christmas. But first allow me to give you some background for those who do not know why we are involved.

My wife, Marilyn, and I run a ministry called Christian House Sitters. Through this we are able to offer rent-free vacations to Christians all over the world. We are also able to help people who are going on vacation and would like someone reliable to look after their home and pets while they are away. Again this is done free of charge.

Through this ministry we have been able to help hundreds or to be more accurate thousands of Christians to enjoy a much-needed vacation that they would otherwise have found hard to afford.

Our home owners do not pay anything to belong but our sitters pay a small fee (£25 a year) to join. For this they get access to the list of all available rent-free vacations during the year.

The money paid by sitters all (100% no deductions) goes to support Home of Peace.

Our Church first became involved with this ministry in 2004 when it was just a room with a few children sitting and sleeping on the floor.

In 2010 the church felt that they could not continue to support this work financially due to the many demands on the church finance.

After much prayer Marilyn agreed to take on the responsibility for all the finances and for the training of the staff.

We now have 80 children who would otherwise be living on the street, starving or stealing to stay alive. Marilyn is part of the management of the Home and is in contact with them a few times a week.  She knows where every penny is spent and exactly how the home is run.

Over the past 3 years we have been able to provide the Home with 2 toilet blocks (they used to use a field), we have built a nursery room, fenced the entire compound to protect the children, [provides beds, bedding and mosquito nets for the children, provided their food, clothing, school expenses (books, fees, uniforms etc) covered all medical expenses and given our staff a small monthly wage plus accommodation and food.

It is not easy! We often have to really pray for funds for food for the children. Over the next few weeks we again need to buy 80 school uniforms, pay school fees and buy books etc and we do not have the money.

Over the next few months we have been told by the local authorities that we need to erect another dormitory and build a proper kitchen. Again we do not have the money.

Our only income is from Christian House Sitters and from people who either sponsor a child or make a donation.

BUT we know God is in control! We believe He will provide as He has done every month for the past 3 years.

Please join us in prayer.

CLICK ON VIDEO TO PLAY

Also feel free to tell your friends, family and church about both Christian House Sitters and about the Home of Peace.

More details about Christian House Sitters. CLICK HERE

More details about Home of Peace. CLICK HERE

God bless you

Ray

 

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The Eye of the Storm

the eye of the stormThe Eye of the Storm

Those few days between Christmas and New Year feel a bit like the ‘eye of the storm’ The build up to Christmas is always frantic. So much to do, so much to remember and it all seems so far away until suddenly it is here and hardly anyone is ready.

Then the next build-up begins as we prepare for New Year. More parties for many people. More visits and visitors. More rushing around.

But between these 2 big events we do have a few days to catch our breath. Enjoy them! Try to relax a bit and enjoy the blessings of the Christmas week before you get caught up in plans for next Wednesday.

With Christian House Sitters the build-up to Christmas is always interesting. People contact us at the very last moment hoping to find a house sitter or a house to sit.

1 minute to midnightThe prize for 2013 goes to a new home owner who first contacted me on the 24th of December hoping we could find her a sitter to start on Christmas Day. I had my doubts but sent out the notice to our members and w got someone to look after her house and pets for 2 weeks starting Boxing Day. Both the owner and the Sitter were delighted. I was astounded.

Please, if you are interested in asking us to find you a sitter who will look after your home and pets free of charge do not leave it to the last-minute. God does provide in emergencies but if you know when you are going to be away let me have the details as far in advance as possible. After all it is a free service so you have nothing to lose and it really does ease the pressure and make the likelihood of finding the right person much greater.

Likewise if you are wanting a rent-free vacation during 2014 register as soon as you can so that you can have a choice of suitable houses. We have places available all over the world.

The other Christmas pressure we felt was because, as you all hopefully know, Christian House Sitters gives 100% of our income to run a Christian Children’s Home in Kenya. Every Christmas we like to give the children an added blessing by buying them each an item of clothing, providing a special Christmas meal and party and we also like to bless the hard-working staff who earn the princely sum of about £12 per month. So in December we ask our members to prayerfully consider making a donation towards this. Praise God, as always He provided.

My next blog post in a few days time will show pictures of the children in their new clothes, enjoying their meal, playing games and going to church.

If you would like to know more about the work in Kenya contact me or CLICK HERE and if you want to know more about Christian House Sitters then either contact me or CLICK HERE.

God bless you

Ray

 

 

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Can you Help?

Can you help us??Hand in a hand

As Christmas is only three weeks away we are making our annual Christmas appeal for the Home of Peace Children’s Home that Christian House Sitters supports.

We are asking if people could prayerfully consider giving at least £5 or £10 towards this work so that the children can each get an item of clothing and they can share a special Christmas meal.

At the moment we have 77 children and eight staff members at the home.

If you want to know more about this ministry please read the excellent report put out recently by Assist News. To read a copy CLICK HERE

The easiest way to make a donation would be via PayPal and you can do that using the donate button at the bottom of the web page. CLICK HERE.

Alternatively if you prefer to send a cheque or make a direct bank transfer please let us know and we will be happy to let you have the details.

Thank you,

God bless you,

Ray.

 

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Celebrating Christmas around the world.

Christmas all over the worldMarilyn and I have been blessed and have travelled to a lot of different countries. It has been fascinating to see how things that we take for granted in our own country can appear so odd and are experienced so differently by our neighbours around the world.

Because of Christian House Sitters we have been able to enjoy Christmas in France (twice), Italy and the USA. In addition I grew up in South Africa and we now live in England.

In South Africa  Christmas is a summer holiday. In December, the southern summer brings glorious days of sunshine that carry an irresistible invitation to the beaches, the rivers, and the shaded mountain slopes. Then the South African holiday season reaches its height. Schools are closed, and camping is the order of the day. I remember how carollers made their rounds on Christmas Eve. Church services were held on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve celebrations in larger towns often include “Carols by Candlelight”. Homes were decorated with Christmas fir trees (often artificial and covered in fake snow)Roast Turkey Dinner

Many South Africans have a Christmas dinner in the open-air at mid-day, it is usually a traditional dinner of either turkey,  vegetables, and plum pudding, crackers and paper hats.

Often followed by a dip in the swimming pool.

When we moved to England there was hardly any difference except that it was mid-winter not summer so no need for fake snow and certainly no afternoon swim.

The first Christmas we spent in central France we were frustrated. We really battled to find a turkey. Christmas pudding and Christmas cake were unknown to the local supermarket. We did some research and found that the French make a traditional Yule log-shaped cake called the buche de Nol, which means “Christmas Log.” buche de Nol

The cake, among other food in great abundance is served at the grand feast of the season, which is called le reveillon which is a very late supper held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The menu for the meal apparently varies according to regional culinary tradition. In Alsace, goose is the main course while the Parisians feast upon oysters.

Our Christmas in Italy was far from typical as we were staying high in the mountains and for 10 days could not leave the house because of a severe snow storm. So I read up on their Christmas traditions and discovered that On christmas Eve the dinner is called cenone which is a traditional dish of eel. Christmas lunch is Tortellini in Brodo which is filled pasta parcels in broth, also served is cappone which is boiled capon, or roasts are served in central Italy.Italian Christmas meal

Apparently in Italy the children wait until Epiphany, January 6, for their presents. According to tradition, the presents are delivered by a kind ugly witch called Befana on a broomstick. It was said that she was told by the three kings that the baby Jesus was born, she was busy and delayed visiting the baby. She missed the Star lost her way and has been flying around ever since, leaving presents at every house with children in case he is there. She slides down chimneys, and fills stockings and shoes with good things for good children and it is said leaves coal for children who are not so good.

Our American Christmas was fabulous with the traditional Christmas dinner of roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. Not unlike what we have back in England.

How do you celebrate your Christmas?

I am really interested to hear from people all over the world.

As you know we run Christian House Sitters for 2 reasons. Firstly it provides Christians all over the world with the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures. Staying in lovely homes rent-free. That is why we have been able to experience so many different international Christmases. Christian House Sitters also finds you someone reliable and responsible to look after your own home and pets while you are away. This is a free service.

The second reason for Christian House Sitters is to provide funds to run the Home of Peace Children’s Home in Kenya. We not only provide all their funds for food, accommodation, clothing, medical expenses and education but we are in daily contact and Marilyn ensures that the home is run properly and the money is used correctly. To read about it  CLICK HERE

Our involvement with this home brings home a couple of important biblical teachings. In Matthew 25: 41-45 we read “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

In James 1:27 it says: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress

Kenya 2010 051

As you enjoy your Christmas with the delicious food, exciting gifts and wonderful blessings will you take a moment to prayerfully ask if God would have you share something with these children. You can do so online at the bottom of the  Home of Peace News update webpage page CLICK HERE

God bless you and may your Christmas be filled with His love, peace and joy.

Ray

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Almost Christmas.

No Room at the InnCHRISTMAS IS COMING

You don’t need me to remind you that Christmas is fast approaching. There are reminders everywhere.

Every shop seems to be offering so-called Christmas Special Offers, the radio waves are full of Christmas themed songs, the TV is promoting their Christmas Specials and even the police are talking about their annual Christmas drink driving campaign.

Oh yes we know it’s Christmas.

But do we really stop to think about what that means?

Christmas has nothing to do with snow, cheesy films, mince pies, roast turkey or getting into debt.

Christmas is the time when we are reminded afresh that God loves us. In fact He loves us so much he came in human form to live as a man and then to die in our place. (At Easter we are reminded that His death is not the end of the story. He rose again!).

So as we approach this special time let us each ask ourselves if we are guilty of the same thing as the famous Inn Keeper. Remember he said he had no room for Jesus and sent Mary & Joseph to the stable.

Sadly we often do exactly the same. We push Jesus aside and allocate him a small outside annex rather than allowing Him the place He deserves as our Lord and Master.

This Christmas will you make sure that you make room for the King. Room in your heart. Room in your thoughts. Room in your actions and room in every area of your life.

No Vacency SignAs an aside I must naturally say that if you are thinking of going on a vacation you do not need to worry that there will be no room at the inn of your choice or that it will cost too much. Remember Christian House Sitters offers rent-free vacations all over the world and can find reliable people to look after your home and pets while you are away without any cost. See Christian House Sitters

God bless you,

Ray

P.S. WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. Seems they is not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation.

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