Let us run the race

Sunday, November 20, 2011

" My Girls"

Graduating Class 2011

     I’ve known them since they were born. Some were in my Sunday School classes, some in youth group and children's programs, and most in our computer classes. Then they became young ladies and entered my Bible and cooking classes. They learned many things, but most important every one has accepted Jesus as their Savior. In a few weeks we will participate in their graduation ceremony at the Catholic School in our area. This is the first graduating class from the school, finally they have teachers for all four high school grades. I will miss them, but I know they are ready, for life and for eternity. 

Younger Girls

We Cooked

We Baked

We Studied

We Prayed

We Had Serious Conversations 

 We Laughed 

And Received Prizes

We Made Angel Dolls

Ecclesiastes 3:1a "To everything there is a season,
 and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"

My Classroom is Quiet Now

     Some of my "angels" are sprouting their wings and flying on to the next phase of their lives. It is time to go; but soon it will be time for me to guide a new group in God's ways.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Greatest Gift

John 6:35, “ I am the bread of life;
 he that cometh to me shall never hunger,
 and he that believeth in me shall never thirst."

     Bread is always welcomed in the mountains. The highest regions don’t have firewood and a little further down the mountain where there is firewood, flour is scarce. When the kids see bread their eyes light up, just like they do when they see toys. But just like they readily accept the bread they also accept the Bread of Life. They are hungry for both, bread to satisfy the stomach and Bread to satisfy the soul. Every year we share the Christmas story in places where many hear it for the first time. A few weeks from now we will be heading out again to spread the Good News in these remote mountain villages.  The following pictures are of past trips, regions once without the Gospel message but now have the light of Jesus shining in them.

The Road Up the Mountain

They Heard the Bus and Ran to Greet Us

Chuck Arrives on the Quad

That Night Supplies Arrived

In the Morning We Begin Washing Hair and Cutting Toenails

The Girls Look Pretty

We Tend to Medical Needs

Vets Vaccinating Animals

Feeding the Crowd

Clothing the Needy

Receiving Gifts

Receiving "The Greatest Gift"
Romans 6:23b "but the gift of God is eternal life through
 Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Matthew 25:35,36 " For I was hungry,and ye gave me food;
 I was thirsty and ye gave me drink;
I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked and ye clothed me;

"Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least
 of these my brethren,ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sandals with a Voice

Philippians 4:19 “ But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

     Pablo lives in the Andes Mountains of South America. He is a shy, little Quechua Indian boy.  Just like everyone else in his village, Pablo wears sandals every day. They are made of rubber from old truck tires and they have a voice; but whose voice is it?

     To visit Pablo’s village you have to drive up a winding, bumpy, mountain road.  On the way you can see llamas, sheep, and goats roaming the mountainside. Pablo’s family is very poor; they live in a house made of mud bricks with a grass roof. His parents plant potatoes and tend to their animals.  Pablo and his brothers and sisters help to milk the cows and work in the fields with their parents.

      One Christmas everyone in the village was very excited because missionaries were coming to visit and bringing gifts, food, and a doctor to help the sick people. Pablo got up early that morning so he could finish his work before the missionaries arrived. He climbed up the mountain with his sheep and goats, and patiently waited as they ate the green grass. When they finished eating he scurried to move them towards home, thinking only of the presents awaiting him.

      Halfway home it began to rain.  Spotting a cave in the mountainside he bolted towards it, his animals following behind.  When he was almost there he slipped on the wet grass and landed on a sharp rock, narrowly escaping a dangerous fall down the steep mountain. Lifting himself up, he limped to the cave; his foot was hurting and one of his sandals was missing. He was wet and shivering; he just wanted to get home.

      The storm soon passed and he continued on his journey, hoping to find his sandal as he walked. In a distance he could see a skinny, black dog running towards him. As the dog got closer Pablo could see his sandal hanging from the friendly dog’s mouth. He offered it a piece of bread in exchange for the sandal and the hungry dog happily accepted the trade.

       Pablo slipped the chewed sandal on his sore foot and hobbled homeward.  He was crying and thinking about his parents; they had no money for new sandals.

      Limping into his village he was surprised to see the missionaries had already arrived.  The doctor and nurse ran to help Pablo and carried him to a table to clean his wounds. What nice people, Pablo thought; they talked about how much God loved him. They said God supplies everything you need and God sent them to his village just in time to help him. Pablo knew he sure needed a doctor just then.

      The next day Pablo received new clothes and toys from the missionaries and one very special gift. They brought new sandals for everyone, including him. He needed new sandals and God supplied his need again.

      Pablo ran to tell his parents about the sandals; he said his sandals told him something. Of course they laughed because sandals can’t talk, but Pablo had learned something about God. He told them,  “Jesus loves us so much he does things that tell us He loves us.” Pablo’s sandals didn’t speak to him with words; they spoke with love, and said to him, “Jesus loves you.” If we listen we can hear God’s voice through many things, even through sandals. The Bible says God will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

  How do you hear God’s voice telling you that Jesus loves you?

Mountain Ministry Moments

Mark 16:15 “And he said to them,Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature.”

      It has been ten years since we started the Christmas trips to remote mountain villages. Chuck and Juan began going to Juan’s village, high in the Andes Mountains above the tree line, where Juan and Amelia grew up and still have family. These trips have to be made on quads because the road ends before arriving to their village; from there it is an hour by a mountain trail to reach the final destination, a small community where life is hard and the people are precious.

     We also give gifts and food each Christmas in our village where we live and over the mountain behind our house.

     Our city church caught the vision; every Christmas they go to remote areas of the mountains that can be reached by bus or 4-wheel drive, taking many from the church to minister. We do medical work, dental work, and veterinary work and even delivered a baby last year.

      Above all we take the Good News to those who still haven’t heard the Gospel message. Each year God provides to do more ministry at Christmas; many have been blessed and now know the Lord. We are privileged to have a part in building God's Kingdom with our churches, friends and supporters. 

     Look for my children's story in my next blog about a child's  life in the mountains and how he met Jesus.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Strawberry Shortcake Prayer

Philippians 3:10a "That we may know him
 and the power of his resurrection," 

      I can still envision the pretty tablecloth, fine china, and beautiful red strawberries as we sat around the table with dear friends and Jesus. Yes, He was there among us, in the invisible chair, but we could all see Him.

      The year was 1977…we were just beginning our first year in full-time Christian service at Sandy Cove Bible Conference in Maryland. It was there we met and worked with Horace and Carol Sue Perkins and Bill and Dorothy Montgomery.  They ministered in music and many other details for the ministry; such dedicated, talented, and precious saints who taught us much of our wonderful Savior. They were also instrumental in our transition into mission work many years ago.

      I remember that day so well. It was a humid Chesapeake Bay evening when Horace and Carol Sue, Bill and Dorothy arrived at our home for dinner. Dorothy wrote the Countdown song, still sung by children everywhere; we all sang that song around the table that evening, such precious memories.  Between them, they had decades of service to our Lord; we were truly in the presence of greatness, in a heavenly sense.

     As we bowed to give thanks Horace led in prayer. His sweet, soft voice calmed the air around us as he spoke to the Lord. “Oh, Lord, he said, thank you for these wonderful strawberries, they are so big and we can’t wait to eat them.” Everyone chuckled and dug in.

     Horace taught us something that evening; it wasn’t what he said but rather how he said it. He talked to God as if He were sitting right there with us, in that invisible chair. It was a loving relationship between them, like best friends who talked frequently, laughed together, and knew each other well. God desires that kind of fellowship with us daily; he wants us to include Him in every aspect of our lives, even our strawberry shortcake.

     Horace is with the Lord now, probably enjoying heavenly strawberries. He made a difference in many lives; by his example he gave me a desire to know more of God everyday and also make a difference in lives.

     As we strive to know Him better daily, through studying His Word and prayer, Jesus will shine through us, so others will come to know Him as Lord and Savior, and as a friend with whom they, too, can eat strawberry shortcake.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bread or Candy?

   Mark 10:15 “ I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive
 the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."

        Can you imagine asking a child if he wants more bread or just candy, and he answers, “Just bread, please”? We minister to Quechua children in the valleys of Bolivia and in remote mountain villages. Every Christmas we travel to villages high in the Andes Mountains, above the tree line; we take gifts, food and the Good News to children living without even the basic needs, and without Jesus.

      Little Paco met us coming into his village. He was wearing little sandals made of truck tires and no sweater for the cold weather. We put clothes on his back and food in his stomach. His eyes lit up when he saw the gifts and candy but what he wanted most was the bread; a real treat where there’s no firewood to bake bread. When he heard the story of Jesus he accepted the gift of salvation joyfully and without hesitation. 
      Paco is just a little guy but with a big story that points the way to heaven; trust the Father, believe in Jesus and enter the kingdom with childlike faith. Paco may only have bread when we visit but he will always have the Bread of Life.