Saturday, November 19, 2016

Over the River

Over the river and through the woods,
To grandmother's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through (the) white and drifted snow!
Over the river and through the woods,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ling!"
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Just a few verses of this old song sung often around Thanksgiving brings a picture perfect occasion to mind, doesn't it?

We head out to northern Minnesota for a white Thanksgiving with our daughter and family.  It's been a year since we all have been together so we are looking forward to great food, games, snowmobile rides and more food.   Just getting to where our daughter and family live takes some doing. A car ride to Las Vegas, over night stay, fly out early the next day to Fargo, North Dakota, drive three hours in our rented car  right to their place. Is it worth it, yes, yes, yes, are we thankful, yes, yes, yes.  So today when I read a post by Abby over at Chapter 37 titles, Give Thanks in Everything...the value of "In" my heart was shook by the words of this woman. Her world is not picture perfect by a long shot, yet through her not so picture perfect life comes these words.  It's the last paragraph that shook me. I have included  the link also to her blog post.  Click over there and read it all, you will not be sorry, you will be blessed.  

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Consistent thanks to God, for the unchangeable fact of God, offered in my current situation is the key that frees a person from ever being a captive to circumstance, to feelings, to any single thing I don’t like about myself or my life…God is bigger than those circumstances, God is bigger than those feelings. God is the center, God is the focus, God is the reason, God is the hope, God is the answer. Never mind what I feel about today! We aren’t discussing a sort of thanks that depends on today! “Today” doesn’t get me out of bed, but God does. Thanks in everything does not in anyway take the significance from the very real experiences we have, but it does take away the sting that may be in those experiences. The sugar added to your tea does not turn the water’s color back to clear, it turns the taste. Thanks is a gift we give to God, which He richly returns to us. Thanks is our personal invitation for coffee and cake with our Creator. Thanks meets us at the door of God’s throne room, it offers a seat, it fluffs the pillows, and adds a log on the fire. It is here, thanks tells us, it is right here, in this Presence in this place that there is fullness of joy. And that is the value of in.               /http://blog.chapterthirtyseven.com/about/
Psalms 16:11   Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence
 is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.


What are you thankful  "in"?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tara Story.

     (1994)  How different it feels to be completing our third year at the MK school in Bolivia.  Our daughter was in the 10 grade and our son in the 6th grade when we went  to the field. We were warned how hard it would be, especially on our teenage daughter, to take her away from the familiar to the unfamiliar.  Nothing could have prepared us for the months of crying and depression that came as a result of our move overseas.  Like a child with an open, bleeding wound, she told us, I know it is God's will that we are in Bolivia, but Gods will still hurts me.  All the fears of what this move could do to our daughter filled our minds those first few months.  Thoughts of going back to the states and returning to a ministry there kept crossing our minds.  Daily we prayed, Please God, do something,  ease her hurt. Replace it with your love. You can read what took place, as she tells it in  her own words.

      As I sit in the dorm, I look back over the past three years.  God has done a tremendous work in my life.  When Dad told us that we were going overseas, I wanted to run away.  I was just stepping into high school.  I was on the cheerleaders team and liked a boy.  Everything that a teen could want I was getting.  But Dad's decision tore my life apart.  Soon my anger turned to my parents, then to God. I stopped praying and having devotions because I felt like God had hurt me.  All though missionary training and language school as my parents went through the New Tribes Mission training program, my heart was hardened to what God wanted my family to do.

   When we stepped into the Miami airport I knew it was my last chance to run. I even prayed for the plane to crash, or for a hijacking just so we would not have to go.  Well, nothing happened, (only a few air pocket, and soon we arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  From the beginning I hated Bolivia. Not anything particulate, but the whole country. I DID NOT WANT TO BE IN BOLIVIA!!

   It was like that for the first semester. Then during our second semester, my sophomore class went on a camping trip.  We had to hitch a ride on a passing truck to get where we were going.  Sitting next to me on the truck was a Bolivian baby girl.  I'm known for loving babies and kids,  so started to play with her.  She kept smiling and laughing. Then it suddenly struck me, "Tara this little girls is why you are here".   "Who is going to tell this child about Christ when she grows up?"  Right then, I knew why God had called my family to Bolivia.  I will never forget that little girl's face and the need she had for a Savior.   Tara Draper
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We have shared that story many times with those taking their children overseas.  It is risky, no matter their age. One must count the cost of serving God this way in those kinds of locations.  No matter the location of your body, you must deal with your own children.  Tara was not in sin, she was just plain homesick. Oh, she was mad at God , we told her, He can handle it.  Our hearts broke with every tear she shed.

I have been told there  are a few children that look forward to a move, but let me say,  this is extremely rare.  If you don't believe me, just ask, wait, that is the wrong word, " tell" your teen,  we are moving!  Even if that child struggles in school socially, they at least know the rules and know the players. There is some safely in that.  In our passion to go, we forgot at times it was not their passion.  Missionary kids, MK"s as we call them will say good-by to more significant people by age 18 than the average person will in a life time. 

We ask her to start the second semester of school and if she still wanted to go home at the end of the semester we would go.  I think this gave her hope which left her heart open to hear what God was going to do through that little Bolivia girl on the truck.    

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” 
― David Platt

   

Saturday, October 29, 2016

SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE


Many have ask  me to write about  our time serving the Lord overseas.  So to do that I thought I would start with a prayer card.
There we are, fresh, excited, ready to begin the adventure of dorm parenting.

First, lets back up a little... we were heading to another country, not Bolivia, SA.  God changed our direction by a need in the New Tribes Mission boarding school, Tambo in Bolivia, South America.  After talking to our pastor about this possible change of direction he was confident God had trained us for this kind of ministry.  We had always worked with children and teens at our home church. This was April, 1991,  the leadership ask us to consider going to be dorm parents and they wanted us there in August 1991. We had two more months of training with New Tribes.  And two months to raise financial support...SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.

We arrived in Bolivia seven days before school started  We flew into Santa Cruz,  spent the night at our mission guest house.  Next morning we boarded a bus for about 40  people with over 60 people on it.  To say it was close quarters is an understatement. STILL SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.

Our daughter was a 10th grader struggling with homesickness already which took all the adventure out of that bus ride.  After six hours we headed down our last mountains,  we could see the lights of the boarding school.  Then just like that, they went out and one of the other missionaries said, oh the generator just went off at Tambo.   Hello, welcome to darkness...

Our daughter groaned and our son, 6th grade was quieter then usual as we headed to the boarding school.   And I was not feeling adventurous either.  Six hours on a crowded bus with all the smells, sweat , wood smoke, tobacco, chicken poop, other poop, urine, and unknown smells along with a  bumpy roads had my stomach churning  the chicken foot soup we ate at one of the bus stops. .

But at last we were there, Bienvendedo  Tambo, Welcome to Tambo the school sign said.  Our family along with about six other missionaries families got off the bus in darkness with only a few stars helping us see.    The only other light was the flashlight from the one  person who walked us to our houses.  We were six thousand feet above sea level in the foot hills of the Andre's mountain, it was cold.  The helpers on the bus threw our duffel bags down from the top of the bus along with everyone else bags.  The thought of looking around where we were going to call home for seven to eight years was not appealing and besides, remember, the generator was off, no lights.  We did the only sensible  thing, crawled into bed with our clothes on and tried to sleep. It was cold.  IT REALLY SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.

As I woke the next morning my eyes lit on a huge crack in our bedroom wall, running from top to bottom of the wall and all I could think about was, any kind of bug, critter could come through that crack which they did.  Another story , another time.

Ace I  roused the kids up and we went to a good breakfast fixed by staff who was already there. After a few instructions  we were finally able to view where we would live. I love to tell people I lived in a an 11 bedroom house during our years at Tambo. And that is the truth, it did have 11 bedrooms.  A huge bathroom with four toilets, and four showers off the back of our house for the high school guys that would live in those 10 extra bedrooms.  A huge living room with a great fireplace ( no furnance) to take the chill off in those cold evenings, a dining room and kitchen.  We had our own living room off our bedroom and bath.  And an extra bath in the hallway.  Ok, enough room for all of us, me, my husband, our son and, like I said 16 high school guys. The day the guys arrived our daughter went to live in the high school girls dorm, just a building away from us.   That part seemed the most impossible to adjust to, for us and her too.

The day finally arrive and off a huge bus and from cars and small single wing planes came all sizes of children.  All the high school guys arrived, from five different nationalities, some came with their parents, some came alone but they all came.  This was a Sat, just a week from when we arrived.  STILL SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.  But each guy and the parents who came made us feel welcome and before we knew it was Monday, the parents had left  and the first day of school started.  While the guys were in school some of the staff met with us to explain how Tambo operated.  They assured us we would get the hang of it and we did.  That first night with the guys we had devotions and a time of just getting to know a little about each other.  Our biggest concern was trying to remember their names.  Before we knew it the lights went out and we all went to bed, we survived our first day. We were responsible for 16 high school guys that year which was over whelming. Remember though we still have two children. Our son Jared could stay in our dorm in a bedroom closest to us.  Our daughter was in the high school girls dorm, being terrible homesick.  THIS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE.

The school was located 150 miles from a city either direction.  It sit off the Panamanian Highway which was only dirt road by the time it got to us.  Mountains were surrounding us, but they were not filled with green trees and foliage.  The Tambo Valley was a dry desert with cactus everywhere, much like Arizona.  If you ever watched the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, well they were killed not far from our school.   So we were pretty remote with only little villages scattered all over the valley.   We had to wonder why in the world did New Tribes locate the school there?  Well, when  land is given  free you just make the best of it and they had certainly did that.  Our buildings  were made with adobe bricks with plastered walls and floors were concrete.  Sounds kind of drab doesn't it and it would be if it were  not full of kids ranging from first grade to twelfth grade and probably 30 some staff, some teachers, their families, dorm parents, cooks, we even had our own farm run by a missionary from the states.  They pasteurized the milk, made all our cheese, raised pigs, cattle and the hay to feed the cattle. We bought our veggies and fruit from the local markets.  The place grew on us each day. It was a simple life, not complicated by what cities life bring and pretty soon it DID NOT SEEM IMPOSSIBLE, except for our daughter getting adjusted. But I'll write about that next time.

What are you facing that seems impossible?  

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Get up, try again...

For the past year we have been watching our one year old grandson, Reedley learning to walk.  His ability to fall, stumbled, get up, fall again, over and over and over has finally produced walking up right for longer periods of time with less falling.  There were times when he just screams in frustration when he wants help and it does not come fast enough or times when he doesn't want help.

Taking care of him is a challenge because he is able to get around so well without any fear.  Often, we put up a make shift barrier to keep him confined to one room but his wiggly body is like a mini contortionist, he always finds a way out.

His face shows the wear and tear of any  one year old boy fighting life battles with floor, chairs, siblings, objects. But the smile that burst out through the bruises and bumps is just about as close to heaven as one can get here on earth.

Soon, sooner they we would like, he will run through life,  gaining more knowledge from each fall and tumble, learning how to jump over objects in his way, like superman, able to leap tall buildings.

He'll think he can do it on his own and we who love him know some lessons are only learned by stumbling under the weight of self.  Unknown to him at this time of  his life parents and grandparents are watching out for him.  

Just watching this process has encouraged my heart for there is no age limit to falling and getting back up again.  To Reedley, a fall down a few stairs may be the biggest trial he faces today.  They will get bigger though, the wounds will go deeper and scars are not just for the one year old.


This song is a reminder to this older child of God, that I am not  alone in this journey, He is always watching me.   Sometimes  He put barriers out there to protect me, sometimes He  allows me to fall but He will always be there to pick me up with His promises. 
Romans 8:18 - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Saved


The pictures is not the clearest but the it's clear enough to give a strong message of how important what New Tribes calls, "holding the ropes" for our missionaries is.  

I wrote several things that came to me as I viewed it and  deleted it.  Why, because I want to hear your response to it.  


Ok, comments please. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wisdom on a napkin

Due to our ministry as Member Care Reps we travel a lot which means we eat out a lot.  As we meet with missionaries on home assignment (known as furlough), I gleam a lot of wisdom from each one of them.   As we sit over good food and cup of coffee, I am always looking for something to write on when I leave my notebook in the car. eager to catch a thought I will grab anything and start scribbling.   I no longer trust my memory and have been known to write even on my arm when there is no paper or napkin.

I don't know which couple we were meeting with when something they said caused me to write this down.
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"Work out your salvation, not work for your salvation".   

What a load that phrase lifts off my shoulders for I know I could never work enough to be pleasing before the Lord.  In the working out my salvation there comes failure to be obedient and then I become discouraged.  Th enemy of my soul would like for me to believe God is discouraged with me too.

Recently I read a message from Isaiah 42:2 that blessed my heart and made it easier to "work out my salvation". He is never discouraged because He is God and He knows the work He begun in me He will finish.  God does not, can not, will not fail so He cannot become discouraged when we fail in our progress of growing in Him.


Image result for quotes on working our our salvationHe has known from eternity past where the planets would be in their orbits right at this moment. He has known all along our  government and world would be in this mess, yet He is not downcast or  frustrated or uncertain how things will turn out. In fact, He has not only known these thing, but has ordained them.

I love this illustration:  When a parent stays calm during a problem their children will draw from that. But if a parent  is distressed, whining and fearful  those  children  will usually fall apart completely as they watch their parent come undone.  But a calm, confident, assured  parents speaks volumes to  the children.  Their actions and words  will remind them, it's ok, it will be alright,  do not be afraid,  I've got you,  those children will usually calm down even though the situation might not be the best. 

Our Heavenly Father has no fear about what is happening in your life right now, or in mine.  He is not callous or indifferent, He is utterly confident and competent to fulfill His promise to us, that the work He has begun in us, He will finish.  He will not be discouraged with us.  That calms my soul and brings freedom as I work out my salvation.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tears Will Never Stain the Streets of That City

  Loss involves change, change involves loss. Loss involves death of one kind or another.  In II Corinthians 4:11 Paul says, For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortals body.  "Every time we are delivered over to a death of any kind, we encounter a challenge to allow the loss to bring gain for Jesus sake.  

Our Father would never allow our hearts to break for trivial reasons. And He does not want us to waste it either or lose our faith because of a loss. And He does not want us to be in bondage to our loss to where we are rendered ineffective for Christ.  

The life of a Christian is never about sameness. It's always about change. That's why we must learn to survive and once again thrive when change involves heartbreaking loss.  We're being conformed to the image of Christ in our losses.  

"Joy and effectiveness may seem to pause for a while as grief takes it's course, but those who allow their broken hearts to be bound by Christ will experience them again. Our Savior is the God of resurrection life,   no matter what kind of death has occurred in life of any believer."
Beth Moore

Almost daily I am ask how I am doing since my mother died.  I always answer the same, "I am doing well most of the time.  But there are days I will on purpose listen to a song such as the one below to remind me this grief I feel is not forever.    Our tears are a gift from the Father for here and my goodness can I let them flow as I take in the precious truth of songs that remind me my loss is not in vain.   





What song or songs do you turn to when loss enters your life?