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Sandlin Poth is a WorldVenture global worker living in Western Ireland, where the rain constantly falls, and the sky is gray. Sunshine is a celebrated event. Sandlin, an Arizona native, does what she can to capture the essence of summer – in the form of Elderflower Syrup – to enjoy later, especially during those dark, cloudy days of winter.

Kirk and Sandlin Poth serve people in Ireland through church planting, discipleship, and leadership training. They are surrounded by rolling green hills, shepherds, sheep, and the region’s famous Elderberry trees. The present darkness of post-modernism hangs like the gray clouds of winter over this beautiful land.  “Preserving sunshine and summer for dark winter months” is something the Poths do literally with Elderflower Syrup and spiritually with the sweetness of the Gospel.

The other day, Kirk was scrounging the field behind their house where sheep graze, looking for the beautiful elderflower blooms while Sandlin sliced lemons into a metal bowl for their Elderflower Syrup Recipe. Kirk came upon a lamb in need of rescue and helped the lamb’s shepherdess rescue the poor creature. It became entangled in barbed wire within the hedges and couldn’t get out by itself. It needed the help of its shepherd and the kindness of the shepherd’s friend.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (Psalm 23:1)

That moment was a perfect illustration of what God has called Kirk and Sandlin to do in Ireland. The Poths seek to show people in Ireland how Jesus – our Shepherd – can rescue us from the spiritual entanglements in our lives. For many Irish people, the entanglements are atheism, New Age beliefs, the hopelessness of sin, and the emptiness of materialism. They need the Good Shepherd and the sweetness of the light of the Gospel.

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” (Mark 6:34 NIV)

The Poths continue to share the sweetness of the good news of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, with others, even as they preserve the sweetness of summer in delicious Elderflower Syrup.

Try out Sandlin’s recipe for Elderflower Syrup below! She says this is “Instant summer in winter! Something this Arizona girl needs from time to time!” And while you’re out looking for the elderflower blooms you’ll need, be on the lookout for any ‘lambs’ that our Good Shepherd might want you to help Him rescue.

Elderflower Syrup

  • 30 elderflower blooms (shake out bugs and snip off stems)
  • 4 unwaxed lemons, sliced.
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 kg. Sugar
  • 40 grams of citric acid

In a large pot, add 8 cups water, 2 kg sugar, and 40 grams of citric acid. Bring water to just boiling, stirring to make sure sugar is dissolved. Pour over the blooms and lemons and stir. Let stand until room temperature and then cover tightly with cling film for 48 hours in a cool place, stirring 3-4 times daily. Strain and reheat the filtered syrup again just to boiling (see safety note). Pour into prepared sterilized jars and/or keep in your fridge!  Safety note: “In the recipe, when the syrup is reheated for bottling after it is filtered, it should be on a low boil for 10 minutes.” 

Photos courtesy of Sandlin Poth.

 

Discussion Questions: 

On your social media or in the comments, share an answer to the questions below…

  • Why does the Bible talk so much about sheep and shepherds?
  • Did you make the syrup? Tag us on social media and share your pics with the link to this blog.

 

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