Thursday, March 26, 2020

Ace and Jack

This picture was taken about four weeks ago before we knew how dangerous this latest virus was going to be. We were leaving on a ministry trip to northern California to visit some missionaries. Driving back to southern Ca. we had no idea how life was going to change for us. Right off the bat we were told to stay away from large groups of people, then medium groups, then even small groups. Unless it was a matter of life or death, just stay home, no grocery shopping, no movie going, no church going, no going, period, be safe, stay sequestered.
Ace and I have been sequestered before. Once in S.A. when the Shinning Path rebels crossed the border from Peru and rumored to be hiding out in the mountains near where we lived. Thank God they were never found so that passed. Several times we were not able to travel due to unrest in the country.
In another country a village next to us was being burned out by what they call rascals, or as we say in the states, a bunch of hoodlums. Now that was a scary time too, we were told to stay in our houses, to not go out, or get involved, that was a hard one. That one passed quickly and no one was killed.
I thought about the many earthquakes we’ve experienced. One big one hit Ind. which was suppose to cause a tsunami that would even hit us. Everyone at the support center went to the highest place on the property and we sequestered ourselves in that house. There was a small going out of the tide and even smaller wave coming in. A lady from the nearby village wanted to stay with us since we had a ham radio to call out on and get news. Again, no one was killed in our area.
I could fill this page up with story after story but I think you get the idea. We get being sequestered and how it can save our lives. The USA is a first world country and yet we’re being impacted by a virus that is very dangerous and taking lives.
Ace and I have stayed busy touching base by phone, text, emails, and even sending a letter or two. Watched a lot of TV, news, learning new stuff from YouTube. Ace is helping me switch to WordPress. As of today I am going to start back working on my book. It’s easy to get so lazy when one is house bound most of the time. Since we share a house with out son and family, the three grandchildren keep things from getting boring.
Ace has gotten a new friend who lives next door in a care house. Jack is 96 years old and twice a day Ace takes him coffee and he listens to Jack stories. Honestly if we were not sequestered to our house and yard he would not have got to know Jack so well. We were suppose to be gone the last week of March and all of April on a ministry trip which now is cancelled.
This relationship between Ace and Jack has been good for both of them. Ace feels useful visiting Jack daily. He has no family except a nephew who does not live close and we share a house with our son and family so we are surrounded by family daily. Jack is alone except for his care givers who are too busy to just sit and listen to Jack. They are practicing the six foot rule when visiting, no handshaking, no hugs. Sometimes Ace comes home from his visit with Jack in tears because Jack was in tears as he tells story after story about his life. He is a book just waiting to be written. Ace ask him what did he contributed his long life too. Eating dark chocolate, put lemon in his orange juice and eat honey instead of sugar.
This sequestered time will be known as the “Ace and Jack” time. just as Shinning Path will remind us of S.A., a village burning will remind us of another time. It’s the stories in our life, especially the hard times that God sends to teach us there is never a time He does not want to use us.
What stories has come your way during this trial of a new virus that is killing some, and sending shockwaves all over the world? Will you look back on it as an opportunity to help someone, learn a deeper trust? It’s in these times of troubles God calls us to stand firm in our faith and don’t waste our trials.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Dropping Out and Then Back In Process

Do you ever feel like dropping out of everything and just doing nothing, no cleaning, cooking, going anywhere, talking to anyone, no going to church, bible study, shopping, eating out, meeting with a friend, ETC? 

I don't get that way often, thank God, but actually it's gotten more often in the last few years.  A few days ago I talked to a friend about some of my feelings, she suggest seeing  a doctor which I thought was good advice.

Today I walked into my doctor office determined to be so honest and raw since I always say I am fine when ask.  Which is so dumb cause who goes to the doctor when they are fine?

Since I have come this far I need to put a middle to this so you won't start wondering what terrible thing has happened to Betty.  I do have some family that have some serious illnesses.  I do have friends who are struggling with illness, heartaches over children, marriage issues.  In fact, as I think about it, most folks I know have something going on in their life that could make them feel like, 'dropping out."  And by "dropping out", I don't mean doing any harm to myself but just not being bothered by life.  But I don't often feel this way. So when I do, I know it's time for some deep soul searching. 

If I could put one  word to where I am right now, it would be aging.  I hate even spelling the word...but I hate worst what it means to me or has done to me personally.  Woe is me, the victim of aging.  I hate that look I get from the doctor right before she says, things change as you age, she is 40 years younger than me.  Or that look my husband gives me when I cannot for the life of me remember something or fell again, or don't move as fast as I use to.  It's that, nursing home look or tone which he coined because its the reason we no longer serve overseas.  At that time it was him everyone was using that tone with.  Now it's me...I hate it.  I hate aging.  I know we are not suppose to use the word "hate" but dislike does not match my feelings right now.  Maybe by the end of this post I can get back to that kinder word.

Just gonna throw this next paragraph in to give more understanding to my context of this post.  


In Philippians 1:6 Paul say, I  am confident of this  very thing, that He, who begun a good work in you, (me ) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  I find a lot of feeling wrapped up in this verse.  When I was younger, say about 8 years ago I felt excitement at starting new stuff, doing old stuff, just plan doing anything the Lord wanted.  And 8 years ago I could pretty much do anything or at least felt like I could. I have lost that excitement about change I know the Lord is bringing into our lives which is brought about by "aging".  

Today I read part of a sermon on Phil. 1:6 which stirred my depressed heart.  

God always finishes what He starts.   We, on the other hand, do not always finish what we start.  Our lives are often filled with loose ends—home improvement tasks begun but not finished, books begun but not finished, promises made but not kept, intentions begun but not followed through on.  Our lives are often replete with would-have-beens, should-have-beens, and could-have-beens.

God’s work of salvation does not depend on whether or not you hold onto your faith; it depends on the fact that even if you can’t hold onto your faith, He never stops holding onto you.  That’s why Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this” (I Thessalonians 5:23

I turn to music often when I am struggling.  Today I found the song that fit the Lord's heart in me.  And nobody can sing it like Mahalia Jackson. 

Lord don't move the mountain
But give me strength to climb
Lord don't move my stumbling block
But lead me around

You didn't say, Lord, that it would be easy
For when our tribulations get too light
We tend to stray from Thee
Have mercy

Lord don't move the mountain
But give me strength to climb
Lord don't move my stumbling block
But lead me around

After listening to this about 10 times I can say without a doubt I don't hate aging, I do dislike it, but no hate.  This day is almost over and I am one day closer to seeing the one who is finishing His work in me on a daily bases.

Got a mountain you want moved? 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Just wait, the best is yet to come.

For the last five years we have been making trips to Arizona because it's one of the states we cover as Member Care Reps for Ethnos 360 Mission, formerly New Tribes Missions.  Several times I contacted this blog brother, Floyd to see if we could connect.  Either he was gone or we had too many meetings or for what ever reason it did not work.  The Lord would always whisper, just wait.  

When you want something really bad it's so hard to wait for it.   And ever since we moved back to the states from Papua New Guinea I have wanted to meet up with  some of those folks whose blogs I follow. Just to say to them face to face, thank you.  Thank you for the wise words you wrote that pulled me out of a struggle, or gave me courage to continue to write, or deepened my walk with the Lord.  Honestly, after reading their blogs, those who are real about life and me sharing my life you feel like you have known them for years.

The waiting finally came to an end this past January as we made our way to Phoenix, Arizona where my brother Gary lives, he kindly puts us up and we just use his place as a base to travel out of.   

This time we had about four planned visits but actually was able to connect with several more after we got there. Our main goal is to meet up with missionaries on home assignment from many countries.  Just to see how they are doing, listen to their stories, see if we can help them in any way.  No agenda really, just to be an encouragement, to Member Care them as our mission calls it, to say thank you for being a part of reaching the unreached. 

This blog friend, Floyd, who I had never met  was able to come apart from his busy life for lunch.  He is a contractor of several companies and we had a lunch time free and there we were finally, meeting face to face.  Ace was with me which was a huge blessing to me for I wanted them to meet.  I sense so many times in Floyd writings he was a man after my husband heart.  Ace does not write a blog but I read many of Floyd's to him.  It was like meeting someone we known all our lives.  So much in common, especially our love for our family.  Our conversation was easy, it flowed into one thing after another, and the common ground was Jesus and His love for us despite all our failures. I felt no separation as one was better than the other , we stood on the same ground at the cross and on the other side of the cross. 

All too soon we had to part, Floyd to work, us to our next meeting.  I think we were all three glowing from being together because of the fourth one who had joined us, Jesus.  Meeting Floyd, has deepen my goal to reach out to others I blog with when I am close.  Oh I know we will meet in heaven but why not enjoy life here.   As much as I love reading Floyd's post the best was sitting across from him face to face, seeing him smile,  hearing his voice as he talk about his family.  He is not just words on paper now, he is real in my mind and heart and Ace and I are grateful to the Lord to have someone like him praying for us.  Thank you Floyd.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Big Picture

I often say, if I was younger I would study to be an astronaut because then I could see the earth from a distance.   It's beautiful hanging on nothing surround by the darkness of space.  The bible talks about how God hangs the earth on nothing and that is an awesome thought that has helped me during hard times. He does not have to spend any of  His time keeping it hanging on nothing either so I know He cares for me more then the creation.

The farther out in space you go the more you see...or do you?

Those space pictures do not show people even though we know for sure God put humans on earth, along with the animals.  Flying in a jet is as close as I will get to space travel.  Once that jet is at its cruising altitude you see God creation, a bigger picture, the tops of mountains become visible, the colors of earth change, the rivers wind their way through the colors of earth, green, brown, blues, whites.  But no people.

Then that jet starts to descent and you can see cars on roads, houses as it goes through clouds at different levels.  Then before you know it, the biggest picture comes into view, people, kids playing in yards, people driving their cars and you before you know it, you are down and hugging the big picture.

The farther out one goes from earth the big picture get smaller because it leaves the most important thing to God out of sight, people.  He did not send His son to die for the ball of earth we live on, or the suns, moons and other planets, it's people in His big picture.

I am so not against going into space, love watching any space documentary, but I am more excited when I hear someone got saved.  When I hear that, my world picture  gets bigger.

God has a plan for all of us and when we come to know Him through His Son it starts to be revealed. For us it was foreign missions, two countries we were privilege to work in, and now we serve stateside with Ethnos 360 as Member Care Reps.  But before we did all that we were involved in a local church, taught a Sunday School class, sing in the choir, my husband taught children church, was a youth pastor.  We were involved in mission, always taking them out to eat when needed, giving them a place to lay  their head at night and financially supporting them.

What I hope these short clips do is show you the need, how God is fulfilling it through people just like you.  Ask Him what part He wants you to play in the big picture of seeing those tucked away in remote place hear the gospel.  Blessings.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Leave Your Boots

Today is my 73 birthday which is hard to believe. Lots of things have changed as I have aged. As Paul said, I am who I am by the grace of God, comfortable in who God has made me. He even knows what kind of music I love to listen to. 

If you  know me you know I am country. As soon as this man started singing he was my choice to win the Voice. He’s got that pure country sound and does a love song that makes you want to be with the one you love. I am glad that age does not dim the glow a great love song gives. I’ve been leaving my boots at the same man bed for 55 years. 

Because I was a country singer when I got saved it was natural for me to go into country and southern gospel music.  Country tells a story, some of them are heartbreaking stories but the heart understand them because we have all had our heart broken a time or two. Which is why we are in need of someone to mend our hearts.  

Now with southern gospel there is a story too. The story is always the same, God's love for man, man is a sinner in need of a Savior, God sends His Son to die for man sin. Here is the best part, He did not stay dead , love for us brought him out of the grave.   At age 35 I believed the story of the gospel and I have parked my boots in heaven and someday when He is ready for me, the lover of my soul will call me home and I shall see Him face to face.  Now that's a divine love story that never fails.