Friday, January 27, 2012

Prayers of Thanks

Today my husband, a dear friend and I had an experience that was like no other.  We stopped at a shop to take care of something and when we started to leave our friend, who was driving, put the car in drive and started to pull away from the curb.

Suddenly, the car jumped into reverse and very rapidly began to jerk backward.  He quickly put his foot on the brake and grabbed the emergency brake.  It seemed the car had a mind of its' own.   We slammed into a car that had turned into the street behind us and then the car jumped into drive and was propelled about 20-30 feet.   Needless to say we were in shock.

After checking to make sure we were OK, our friend got out to check on our car and the other car and driver.   Fortunately,  no one was injured.......just sore!

NONE of us has ever seen a car do this before.  It is unexplainable.  Even the tow truck driver saw it as bizarre.....and he is not a Christian. 

We are not in the States.  We are on a mission trip.  We are in a place we have been working for over 10 years.  God has blessed the work here in SO many ways and we have been honored to be a part of it.  But, one of the very real situations we deal with regularly is the opposition of Satan.  WHOA......I probably just lost some of you!!!

Most people find this thought bizarre, strange, ridiculous.........or some other adjective!  I know it to be real.  I have experienced it several times.  I am not trying to make a believer of you.  There was a time I was skeptical of those who shared similar experiences in my presence.  But, it has only taken having a few of these experiences to change my mind.  Satan is real.  He does not want Christianity to spread.  He will do anything to stop it.  Don't underestimate him.

But I have great news.  My God is MORE powerful.  He is in control and today He protected us and we give Him ALL the praise.  We know the work that is done here is bringing glory to Him.  That is the mission and nothing will stop that!  Praise be to God!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Off to Venezuela!

We are headed to Venezuela.  We are so excited.  We haven't been since August so we are anxious to return.  We were supposed to have gone in October but had to cancel due to Warren's mother being ill.

Warren will be teaching an extension course in a town about a hour from the seminary.  This is very exciting and holds a great deal of possibilities for the future.  He will also be preaching. 

One of the exciting things will be beginning the planning for the medical clinic that we are building at the seminary.  There is no medical care close to the community where the seminary is located so this will be a wonderful ministry.   Offering affordable medical care in the name of Jesus will offer us an opportunity to be a witness to those who live nearby.  We are so thankful for this opportunity God has given us.

Going to Venezuela means more to us than just "doing mission work", it is working along side brothers and sisters in Christ, it is family, it is our heart.  God has caused us to fall in love with the people and the country of Venezuela.   We are blessed beyond measure to have this opportunity and we thank God for allowing us to be a part of this work.   What a joy!  Thanks be to God!


Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Leaf

Well, another year is drawing to a close and a new year lays before us.  This past year has been full of joys and sorrows, good times and bad.....but we have made it through.

When this year began my husband was in a wheelchair and we were hoping that his knee replacements would enable him to walk.  He was also on the road to losing a great deal of weight.  Both these goals have been accomplished.  He is almost at his goal weight and he can walk!  He is not walking great distances yet but he walks a good bit and for that we are VERY thankful.

We lost some dear friends this year:  Dan Fadgen, Beth Vassallo and Phill Ellington.  Grief is not an invited guest but one that does visit sometimes.  These three precious friends are now strolling the streets of heaven free from pain.  For that we are thankful but our human hearts grieve.

We have experienced seeing wonderful things happening through the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.  The students and those who have graduated are putting what they have learned into practice in their churches and communities and remarkable things are happening.  Many are coming to Christ and we rejoice in this.  What a privilege to work along side such saints of God.

We have enjoyed seeing our wonderful grandchildren grow this year.  They both are very happy children with ready smiles.  Watching them grow and relishing every moment is such a gift.  Nothing can compare to their hugs and kisses.  It is beyond description!

Watching our son and his wife grow in their ministry at Ball Ground UMC has been a source of great blessing to us.   Seeing how God is using them is such a humbling experience.  God is so good!

Warren is preaching at Due West as needed and truly enjoying it.  He gets to do what he loves without the responsibility of meetings and all the other things that come with being the senior pastor.

Tomorrow a new year begins....2012!   What will this year hold?  No one knows.   I am sure there will be sadness, joy, conflict, happiness, loneliness, love, friendship, heartbreak...........that's life.   I am also sure of something else.  No matter what this year brings, my God is able to see me through!  Like the song says, "Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand.  But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand."   You know......for me, that's more than enough!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

While You Were Sleeping

This is Christmas Day!!!   Children are awakening this morning to open their gifts and parents are relishing another family memory to cherish.  What a glorious time!!  Later today we will enjoy that same wonderful time with our son and his family.  There will laughter, joy, gifts, food and marvelous memories to last a lifetime.

Because of this cold I have been nursing, I am staying home from church so I have the energy for the family time later today.  So as I was sitting here alone I was listening to a Christmas album by Casting Crowns, entitled "Peace on Earth".

A song began to play named "While You Were Sleeping".  I had never heard it before.   Suddenly I found myself in tears.  In this song the story of Christmas is told.   Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem.  There is no room for them.  So while Bethlehem slept......a bright star appeared in the sky, shepherds saw angels, and God became a man...born in a manger.  Bethlehem would be remembered as a city with no room for its' King....because they were sleeping.

What have we missed "while we've been sleeping"?   The song goes on to ask America that question.  We have saved trees and killed babies; we have heard the cries of the needy and ignored them.  Then there is a trumpet sound in the Eastern sky and Jesus is coming....AGAIN.   How many will be sleeping......and miss everything.

I am not trying to bring us down on the wonderful day.   I'm just reminding us that the birth that occurred on this day was just the beginning.   Christ has come!   We need to shout it from the housetops!!  Wake everyone up!!  Tell them the Good News!!   Don't let them sleep through it and miss it all!!!

Merry Christmas.......everyone!!!   Joy to the World.....the LORD HAS COME!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NOT FAIR!

I love Christmas!   It is my FAVORITE holiday.   I love the lights, the decorations, the music, the family time and........the gifts!   It's just a wonderful time of the year.

Well, for the past few days my husband and I have both been very sick with colds.  I think this has been the worst cold I have had in years.  Poor hubby has even had sinus issues with his cold.  It has just been a lousy few days.

So, I'm thinking, "THIS IS NOT FAIR"!   Why do we have this cold now......I have gifts to finish making, gifts to wrap, cookies to make with my granddaughter and my husband has sermons to prepare......this is TRULY inconvenient!!!!

Then, we hear that a pastor friend of ours has received news no parent wants......their son has a brain tumor.   Talk about not fair!   It's Christmas.......this should NOT be happening.  

Needless to say......the fact that we have colds pales in comparison.   I know that the Savior whose birth we celebrate this season did not come to promise us fairness.....or problem free living........or worry free days.   He came to give us hope, peace and eternal life.   

I have no reason to complain.   I will rejoice in the joy of the season.  I will enjoy the laughter of my grandchildren.   I will relish the gifts I receive.  But, I will also remember those who have recently lost a loved one, those who will spend Christmas in a hospital room with a sick child, those who can't be with their families, those who are alone with no family to celebrate with them.  

Life is not fair.....never has been......never will be......BUT God is real and He gives life meaning and walks with us through every valley we travel through.

Merry Christmas to you all.........

Friday, December 16, 2011

All Done!

It's official..........I am FINISHED with my Christmas shopping.  I am so glad to have that done so now I can wrap and get everything under the tree!!

Now, I have finished with the gifts that I needed to purchase BUT there are still some gifts to make but that will be a fun task.  I am making a couple of fun things this year.....which I will not mention here for obvious reasons!!!  For some reason my crafty gene surfaced this year and I have had the most fun making stuff!!

One of the things I made was a wreath out of red and white straws!!  It really turned out well.  I have gotten several compliments on it and, I have to say, I did a darn good job on it!!  There is a real sense of accomplishment when you fashion something with your own hands.   Now, I'm not saying my stuff would win any awards but I put my heart and soul into it and I hope those who receive them will appreciate that and overlook any imperfections.

Come to think of it........I think that is the way we should look at people.  God created ALL of us in His image.   Some of us might look a little more "polished" than others; some might look a little thinner; some might be prettier or more handsome; some may be smarter; some may be more talented.......but they are all created by the same God.   SO, maybe we should try to appreciate those around us regardless of rough edges or jagged seams or tacky decorations.   We were all created by the same loving father and, in His eyes, we are perfect.

MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Things of Value

This week has not been an easy one.  Our friend mentioned in the earlier post died and her funeral was yesterday.   What a glorious service it was.  The choir was 100 strong and the music was truly heavenly.  The ministers (my husband being one) offered words that were comforting and uplifting.  There were tears and laughter and joy at all the memories of our precious friend.

Since the service I have been giving a lot of thought to the question: "What things are of most value?"   Of course, my relationship with the Lord is very important and then my family and then my friends.   At any moment, any of the people I hold most dear could be gone......in a heartbeat.   I have experienced the cruelty of  the sudden loss of someone I hold dear......twice.  First, my brother and then my oldest son.  I know how precious each moment with loved ones is.   I know.......but I don't always ACT like I remember.

We are not promised tomorrow......only today.   I vow to do my very best to value the time I have to spend with family and friends.   When I come to the end of my life, I want to have many precious memories and I want to leave precious memories behind.  What about you?