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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Back Scratchers




“All the Christmas presents in the world are worth nothing without the presence of Christ." -David Jeremiah



I love this quote for it reminds me of the Christmas's in my life where I found myself disappointed.  


As a child my Dad was always drunk on every Christmas's which meant we kids and my Mom lived in fear of a beating, which usually came.  Had it not been for a couple of relatives and the American Legion Christmas party along with a few churches who did things for low income kids we would have not got much  Christmas. 


This disappointment I took into my adulthood so it was always a struggle for me to get excited over the traditions of Christmas. 


 We were married 12 years without children which also makes for disappointment. I mean, isn't that suppose to be the greatest joy, watching your children open their presents.  Then came the  food that took a couple of days to prepare, eaten in 20 minutes.   And It never failed that one of the children's toys broke that very day, disappointment again.  


Before you get sad for me I want you to know I do not look back in sadness at past disappointments.  I believe they are the stepping stones I needed to instill a hunger for something besides the earthly to fill that disappointment hole inside of me.
 Disappointments come to everyone, believers and non believers alike.  In this world you will have trouble, it's a given.

At age 35 I became a believe in the sweet gospel and from that point on my perspective of Christmas change. We still give  gifts, cook tons of good food,   enjoy what ever family that comes around on Christmas but the meaning behind all that does dim in light of the love of God for us as the Christmas story is read.

My Grandma and Grandpa were believers so I know at some point in my life I heard that Christmas story read but when a heart is living in disappointment it's hard for truth to get through.  Disappointment saddens us and even can makes us so angry we make others pay for our past and present disappointments.  Disappointment focus is all about me, what I did not have, what I did not get, what I think I deserve. When we focus we sit ourselves up for disappointments.

One way to get over personal disappointment is to get involved in others lives.  You find out rich or poor,  everyone has disappointment.  Even though my childhood years were rough I have met many who have had it worst and still having it worst than I did.  My past does not own me, God owns my past, He knew how often I would be disappointed and He knew if I turned them over to Him He would make something beautiful with them.

I can get excited over Christmas now, and I don' t mind not having a lot of money to buy everything I want to buy for my Grandchildren.  God has never let me experiences having too much money, not sure I could handle that. But I can handle a little money and the challenge in trusting Him to give me ideas for fun gifts.  This year I bought everyone, from our 3 year old grandson to the oldest a back scratcher for one dollar apiece.  I am going to put their names on them.  You might think I am cheap and do not have enough money for  more then a dollar gift, trust me I do.    Here is the fun part.  Everyone uses my back scratcher and when they do, they will say, I need to get one of these. My grandson gave me one a couple years ago.  What better gift to give then something they need.  And as we sit scratching our backs around the tree, the sweet beautiful Christmas story will be read....the cheapest and richest gift blessing us at the same time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

God waste nothing....not even our sin.




     They said it would never last when we got  married at 17 on Oct. 20th,  54 years ago. Guess we showed them, whoever them is. 


A few weeks ago we were sitting on 
a bench outside a Mexican restaurant waiting for our friend to come out. A couple approached us and ask us how long had we been married.? We said, 54 years. They went on to ask, how have you stayed married so long?  I (Betty) answered, "being
committed to our marriage". Ace replied,  "being willing to forgive". Had that been just head words and not heart words I am pretty sure our marriage would not
have lasted because there were certainly some rough years.



In talking to this couple we found out they were only married a year and already struggling.  


Lets see, our first year Ace was gone a lot due to his job, he worked on a rig in the oil field so I was alone most of the time.   We moved twice, I had two miscarriages.   The next 12 years that followed were some of our worst, full of insecurity, loneliness, changing jobs, moving to another state, more miscarriages, adultery, several separation, drinking, searching for answers, retaliation, more moves, lots of tears, lots of hurt.   


During that time, at
26 Ace had a massive heart attack.  After a month in the hospital the doctors told him to take a medical retirement from his job, he should not lift over 20 pounds, or push a lawn mower.  The heart attack had left a fourth of his heart useless.  At that time, 1973, they were experimented with bypass surgery and after much discussion they decided to try it on Ace, it worked and he went back to work a few months later.  That bypass along with five stints keep his heart working.  

This major event was the catalyst that turned our lives around for he was a believer since age 13 but did not grow in his knowledge of God.  While in the hospital a women stopped by from a church and ask him, sir what can I do for you? He replied, I just need to get right with God.  She said, I'll send someone to talk to you, no one came.  But, from that point on we started the process of cleaning our lives up. 

Not only did Ace have a scar on his heart from the attack there were emotional wounds from the past that God wanted him to deal with.  

Having our first child after all those years was the next catalyst for a life change.  I begin to read the bible, searching for how to fill that hole up in my heart that the American dream did not fill up.  God was dealing with His prodigal son at the same time. 

In 1980 due to a diligent church pursuing us I got saved and Ace rededicated his life to the Lord.  For the first time he knew and understood the  scripture I John 1:9.  From that point on it was perfect...you do know I just lied there.  Of course it was not perfect, but for the first time things begin to have meaning , our past, our future, our present, our failures, our mistakes, our sin even.  Seeing all  through the eyes of God perspective gave peace, contentment and joy but did not stop the struggles.  I am totally convinced without pain one cannot grow, mature, or for that matter cannot live out the truth of the Bible with conviction and boldness.  Rick  Warren says: "We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it. "   God wanted us to walk in freedom despite our past. 

God was going to test that truth.  In our 40's we were challenged to go into overseas mission with New Tribes Mission.  Huge step of faith, one we have never ever regretted.

Several years into our mission life one of those past mistakes came crashing  in on us.   God had impressed upon Ace heart years before someday he would have to deal with it.  

From those 12 bad years of our marriage came an email from  a young man who was looking for his father.  He ask  if Ace would be willing to do a DNA test.    So sitting in Papua New Guinea, half away around world we made one of those profound decisions that changed our lives again. 

Ace was totally honest with me and I was crushed but not surprised.  We both felt strongly that the request for Ace to take a DNA test was the only way to help this man know truth.  I found myself sitting up at night crying over stupid thoughts put there by the enemy of my soul.  Ace was in his own torment of guilt which knows no time limit.  40 years had passed since those bad years. 

There are tons of details, but the most important thing I need to share is:  yes, Ace is  the father of a son born from another women.   Knowing that set off a series of events, the first being bringing our two children together and sharing this with them, which was not easy since we lived on the other side of the world but we knew it was important to be face to face with them instead of telling this by email.    It was a precious time  because through this we became more real, especially to our son.  By the time they were born we were walking with the Lord so they never knew us as worldly parents.  Our past did not diminish their love for us one tiny bit.

And, during all this, Ace says he never felt the love of God  as strongly as he did then.  

We have formed a deep relationship with Ace son and family who are believers. Everyone in our family has met him and his family.  It would take writing a whole book to put all the details of the hand of God in this. God has used this in our lives, and in others in the area of forgiveness. Remember He waste nothing.

As I read back through what I have written I want to add and add lessons we learned through our 54 years.  One that rises to the top is this, yes, couples need to be committed to each other. Yes, couples need to forgive each other,  but first individually they must at all cost be committed to Him, the keeper of their soul, and forgive themselves.   We get disappointed in each other, in ourselves, in the world but we have no reason to be disappointed in Him. I am reading a book titled, A Quest For More by Paul Tripp....Living for something bigger than you.  That's it!!!!   That is where we must come to every day, living for something bigger than ourselves, then and only then can our messy lives impact others and bring glory to God.  


I have Ace permission to write this post.  That part of our married life no longer holds us captive.  We set it free for God to be used as He pleases, which is why I decided to write a little about it.  God prompts us often to tell some of our story in order to help someone trapped in their past. The truth sets us free.  

Committed to each other and forgiving each other can help in the worst times which will make for some good times to remember.  Happy Anniversary to us...



Monday, August 13, 2018

Two G's, Gina and Grief

Image may contain: 6 people, including Gina Naldrett Stockstill, people sitting, tree and outdoor
Gina and family 
Blogging has become a source of joy and frustration when an idea is in my head but cannot put it all together for whatever reason.

Today I am experiencing pure joy because at last the idea took on shape as I read my friend Gina post.  
www.anonymitydesireslight.com
 I met Gina and family in 1991 in Bolivia, South America.  We served with her family at the New Tribes boarding school as dorm parents. She and my daughter hit it off right away as they lived life in the high school girls dorm.  These are the things I remember about her.


Quiet...
A reader...
A loyal friend...
Respectful...
One who studies people...
Thinks deeply...
Hurt deeply...
Never drew attention to herself...
A great writer ...

Gina graduated the same year our Tara did, came back to the states, went to nursing school. 
She and her husband, now have four children, a full plate.  But life happens and it draws Gina into writing not only about past life but the today. Her father died about six months ago and her raw, honest, deep pondering thoughts made their way from her heart to her blog. I have read several books and blogs on grief but this women words have caused me to think outside myself about dying and death.

It's been two years this past April since my Mother died and the grief has taken on different roles.  So much of Gina's insight has put words to my heart feelings.  In her July 26 post titled, Slow and Steady she made a statement, only 6 words about grieving that lit up my heart.

God is not in a hurry.....

He also is not afraid of disappointing us.  
When I feel disappointed by God, it’s because at that moment there’s something I’m longing for more than him, whether it be healing, employment, a child, a wife. As good as healing, employment, children, and marriage might be, none of them will come close to satisfying me as much as God himself.
Psalm 34:10, “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

Wait a minute God, what is the "good thing".  It does not feel good to lose a love one.  Paul helps us have the proper view of what that good thing is in Philippians 3:8  , I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. 

Knowing Him is the greater good, not just knowing about Him but actually knowing Him.  He is the only all-satisfying good, the greater good.  Those we have loss are not coming back to us but here is the good in our loss.  If we know Christ we will see them again but even deeper than that we will see Him.  Some cannot get past losing someone, they become stunted in their growth, sometimes become a recluse, their life defined by their loss instead of being defined by Him.   

Gina called it right, God does not get in a hurry.  He could have created everything in one day but He took seven, I mean He is God, not bound by time or pressure to hurry by anyone. 

Someone ask me the other day about how long has it taken me to grieve my mother. Oh, I said, I am still there. Just recently I found some pictures of my mother with our daughter lying beside her grandma, just a few days before she died. I had not seen them…it stunned me, literally, she looked like she was dead yet I know she was alive then. I transferred them to my phone so I could study them, that did not work. It caused such mixed emotions in me. I don’t remember her looking so bad. Then I look at the picture of her in her light blue coffin, in her red plaid blouse that she loved so much and she looks alive, well sort of, but not like death. They puffed her face up, put make up on her, combed her hair, put soft lights on her, she looked pretty but those nine days before she died, she looked dead.  But here is the greater good,  I will someday see my Mom  again and it will not be earthly lights that will transform her face but the light of Jesus. No more sickness, no more pain will cloud her face, just the glow of His love for her.  

Sunday, July 22, 2018

They traveled 8888 miles!



A few years ago we met up with this couple, Mark and Lauren Duc and son Leo.  As you can tell by the below picture they have added a sweet little girl, Talia.

We listened to their story of how God moved on their heart to become foreign missionary  also heard concern about their son, Leo health issues.

God was working to relieve their concerns.   Indonesea has some great doctors and hospitals.    Truthfully, they were putting their trust in the Lord for all their lives

It's never easy leaving family, friends, especially
Image may contain: 4 people, including Lauren Duc, people smiling, people sitting, child, outdoor and naturetaking a grand baby with health issues to live overseas but by the grace of God Duc's soon found themselves learning a new language, making friends in another culture.

On this side of the big pond as we call the ocean
were some Grandparents needing a grandchild
touch.  There is nothing any sweeter then to see
family step off that plane after countless hours
of flying and waiting in foreign airports.


I know you will enjoy the smiles and tears of this Grandma as she and Grandpa see where those precious grand children live everyday.  Their understanding will become richer as they watch God work through their children and grand children.  Ace and I have been a part of encouraging several parents and grand parents to take a risk and go visit their grown children and grandchildren and see them live a life in Christ outside their comfort zone.  They say our eyes affect our hearts, I think you will be able to hear and see that on the face of these grandparent.  Enjoy.

                


 If you get a chance, go visit a missionary in the country they serve in.  It does not have to be your children, could be a friend living in a foreign country, a missionary from your church.  Maybe you can't go due to time, health but maybe you can help pay a parent or Grandpa and Grandma way to go see their family.  There is nothing , absolutely nothing like seeing them get off the plane and receive the best hugs in the world.  Walking in their world leaves the message that you care beyond yourself about your family or friend.

When James Calvert went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying, “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages”. To that, Calvert replied, “We died before we came, he said.

I have permission to share this post from the Duc's.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Time has only one Lord--God

 Seeing the date of April 23rd as the date of my last post kind of shook me up.    Where in the world did the time go????  We are in Ky. at this time, house sitting for some friends as they spend a couple of weeks on a mission trip to Uganda.     Our sending church is close by and several of our supporters so we get to connect and take a little rest time.  All that to say I am glad God does not put me aside and forgets the time.                                                           “Time has only one Lord-God.”   a
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We were especially blessed on our trip to Oregon lately to meet a couple that encouraged our hearts to just to sit with them and hear their stories.  They left for Japan in early 1950’s and served for over 60 years. They had an album of pics and testimonies of those who they had ministered to over the years.  Eleven churches planted on a peninsula that is 100 miles long in Japan. Please join us in praying for the Cliff & Fannie Leonard.  They are in their 90’s now and do have some health issues.
The Young's

It's always a joy to meet those preparing to go to different countries for their first term of service.  Some are going overseas and others are planning on serving here in the USA at one of the Ethnos360 training centers. No matter where, it's with the thought of, how is this all going to work? We met two of those couples on our recent  trip. The Young's are heading to PNG after having served at one of our Bible schools for a number of years.  

The Reeds's (sorry no picture) are heading to Ethnos360 Missionary Training Center in Missouri.  There are needs they will fill to be a part of the team equipping others to go.  Talking to them reminded us of ourselves as we heading out in the late 80's . Pray for them as they are in partnership development phase. 


One family we want to introduce you too.  We met them a number of times through the years.  Danny & Philippa Brooks, they serve in the Philippines and recently had finished one work and moved into another.  Shortly after the move, Danny was diagnosed with cancer and is now receiving chemo treatments in the states.  Please join us in praying for them . 



Ryan and  Laura returned from Papua with their daughter.  Praise the Lord that all the adoption paper work was accomplish before they returned to the USA. Pray for them as they trust the Lord for future ministry and location as to where to live.





Nate and Elizabeth serve in PNG.  Their location was the last tribe that Betty and I were able to visit before returning to the USA, which makes it a special place in our hearts.  The church that is located in this people group is growing.  Pray for this family as they update their churches and spend time with family.


Pray for Aimee as she prepares to return to PNG.  We’ve enjoyed meeting her and hearing about the work that she is involved in. Pray for the team there as they work on translation & literary programs.


Others that we met with on the last couple of trips are in the USA on home assignment.  Pray as they reconnect with their churches and family.  We’ve enjoyed hearing what the Lord is doing at their places of ministry.  We desire to be an encouragement and a help to them.


Thank you for praying and giving toward our ministry, serving to see the gospel go to the least reached language groups around the world.

Ace & Betty Draper
Ethnos360-Southwestern Regional Member Care

Send support, if by check to
Ethnos360
312 W. 1st St
Sanford, Fl  32771-1487
(On a separate piece of paper, write, to the ministry of Ace & Betty Draper):
Go online to :  Ethonos360.org for other options/of giving,  thank you

 
4021 Peoria Ave
Simi Valley,, CA 93063
805-501-6998(Ace)
805-915-8740(Betty) 
June 2018




Monday, April 23, 2018

Make It Count...

This is a re-post from 2015 that I felt needed to be put out there again.  I am still asking God to make my burdens count, help me to see His glory as I walked through a trial, give me peace and wisdom as I have to make decisions everyday that affect others. 

Lately I've had a burden that seems to put me in a downtrodden state because  my focus is the burden.  Needing a lift I turned  to a song by Gordon Mote.  I am going to miss His glory that surrounds this  burden if my perspective is self centered.   

One thing for sure, my burden is not going to go away over night, in fact there is no guarantee it will ever go away.   A friend sent me a great post yesterday containing three words that kept rattling around in my mind.  Powerful words that lifted my spirit as I reverted back to them in the middle of my burden.  "Make it count".


As I listen the to the words in the song, I begin to pray those three words combined with the title of the song.   God, make it count, this burden that I carry, make it count and please don't let me miss your glory in the midst of it.                             

  1. If you don’t see the greatness of God then all the things that money can buy become very exciting. If you can’t see the sun you will be impressed with a street light. If you’ve never felt thunder and lightning you’ll be impressed with fireworks. And if you turn your back on the greatness and majesty of God you’ll fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures.
John Piper

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tone it down....

Image result for picture of boldness
Do you think we should live bold for the Lord the way Peter and John did?

 My personality has been pretty bold all my life so when I got saved at 35 that boldness went into my journey with the Lord.  I talked to everyone about Him and it was mostly my religious friends who told me to "tone it down, I was going to offend".  A couple of them  were Sunday School teachers at different churches. 

Oh, I know it important to live right before others so hopefully they can tell I am different,  but while I am living right I want to let my light shine with the words that come out of my mouth.  God did not leave the task of telling others about Jesus to the rock and trees or animals, He left it to those of us who claim to be His. 

Boldness about Jesus is not red faced passion or impenetrable extroversion. Rather, it has to do with speaking--which is not so much about how we speak, but in what we say about Jesus, even when we presume our hearers won't be happy with it.

In Acts 4: the Jewish leaders were disturbed because this Jesus who they killed proclaimed to be the long awaited Messiah.   Peter and John boldly carried on with that truth,  Jesus was the long awaiting Messiah who  was crucified, died and resurrected and any one who believes that will  have the same blessing of being resurrected from the dead. Oh, that made those religious leaders furious. 

What made it worst  in the Jewish leaders eyes was the ones teaching this were fishermen, uneducated, not leaders in the Temple, common men and they were doing it boldly without fear.

Peter and John continued to heal people, preached the gospel and were arrested and escorted to stand trial before the same court that condemned Jesus, better known as the professionals of that day. 

The religious leaders fired one after another questions at Peter and John.  At one point, (Acts 4:11-12 Peter answered, "hear me loud and clear, Jesus is behind this work."  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you the builders, which has become the cornerstone . and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  

I love this short video clip  and re-watch it often because it gives me courage to be bold and clear about my Savior, Jesus Christ.



                 
                   
Anybody need a pair of sunglasses???