Let us run the race

Sunday, December 30, 2012

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 sandals made of truck tires and had no sweater for the cold weather. We gave him a sweater to keep him warm and food for his tummy. 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.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Plugging into the Power

I've never done all the Christmas decorating by myself––until now. My husband was on his way back from the States, and I decided to have all the decorations up and glowing when he arrived. Thank the Lord that he won't be needing surgery as originally thought and has received some answers for his health issues.

So I trotted to the garage, sorted through the boxes and took out the strings of tree lights. I always trim the tree but never put the lights on the tree––that's my husband's job. They were all neatly rolled and easy to untangled. A sure sign it wasn't me that put them away last year.

I fiddled to get the bulbs in just the right spots, and Tah Dah!––ready to plug in. That wasn't so hard.

I was careful to first plug them into a transformer to convert them––thinking they were 110 volts. We have 220 volts here, and I wanted to be careful not to blow up the tree by blowing out the lights.

The lights were dim, barely shining––what could be the problem? After scratching my head for a few minutes, I realized the lights were 220, so no need for a transformer. I plugged them directly into the full source of power, and they twinkled brightly––how lovely to see them glowing in all their beauty.

When we're not plugged into God's power, our light is dim just like the tree lights that weren't drawing on the full power they needed––they weren't brightly shining. But, when plugged into the power source, they brightly glowed. So we too, when plugged into His power, will brightly twinkle with His radiance and beauty.

My tree is twinkling brightly, and I'm making it a daily goal to be plugged into the Power, so that I can brightly twinkle for Jesus this Christmas season and all year round.

Christ is born! Merry Christmas!

Psalm 147:5 "Great is our Lord and mighty in power; " (NIV)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Heavenly Hugs

Heavenly Hugs

Heavenly Hugs

Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms;”

   I have the blessings of many hugs in our ministry. We live in a rural area of Bolivia where we teach practical skills to underprivileged children, while reaching them for Christ. This picture was taken when I went to the local government school to register these precious children for our computer classes; they blessed me with heavenly hugs.

   Often we are asked what we miss most from home; that’s easy, family and friends. Our granddaughter recently celebrated her ninth birthday; we missed the party and hugs. But, there is a heavenly hug available. It travels through the heavens and comes out through a phone or a computer. We are blessed by the technology we have available to us today. Before the Internet, we got mail once a month and rarely made a phone call. Now we are blessed to have instant communication daily.

   God has blessed me with a ministry of physical heavenly hugs from children every day, and ethereal heavenly hugs from across the miles often. Even when I miss a birthday party, I am content where He has me. He is my refuse, under His Everlasting Arms of heavenly hugs.

To all my internet friends, hope you feel the hugs. Thanks for your friendship through the heavens!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Funny Face

When I was a little girl, my grandfather used to say to me, "Make a funny face." I'd crinkle my nose and scrunch up my face. Then he'd laugh and give me a hug––I loved that––making him laugh and getting hugs. Neither of us could have ever imagined that he was preparing me for a time when I would make children laugh in Bolivia. It gives me joy to see kids laugh and their parents also. Bolivians almost never smile for a photo, unless of course, I am taking the picture and making funny faces.

Last year was the first graduation ceremony at the Catholic school in our area. Finally, children here are able to have a high school diploma. There was a tornado the night of graduation last year––this year a thunderstorm. But in the wind and in the rain, the program continued.

I was honored to be asked to present two diplomas––one for a kindergarten student and one for Noelia, my student who attended Rumi Rancho classes for many years. All of the graduating girls were in my Bible and cooking classes.

Psalm 126:3 says, "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." What a privilege to share the gospel with girls like Noelia. I may be able to bring smiles to their faces by making a "funny face", but only Jesus can make their hearts smile and bring joy to their souls.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Content in All Circumstances

Bread for Children

This is one of my favorite pictures of my husband. He loves being involved in this ministry in the mountains. When he had back surgery a few years ago, his first question for the doctor when he woke up was, "Can I go on the mountain trip six weeks from now?"

Right now, he is in the states waiting to hear if he needs surgery again. One opinion says no, and we are waiting for the second opinion––hoping it is the same. I'm sure Chuck is already planning to be on the trip a few weeks from now––Lord willing.

Each December, we wonder how God is going to supply all we need for the many ministries we do at Christmas time. He never fails to supply for exactly what He wants done. Chuck told me about a discussion he had with a group of our supporters on the night of his birthday. They arranged a surprise birthday party at a restaurant and of course, gave Chuck the floor to speak. Everyone joked that he finally didn't have to share his time with me––there was no chance I could steal his thunder that night from thousands of miles away.

Then he told me of one question he was asked by the group. "How is your support?" His answer, "We're fine." This is one reason he needs me by his side:-) He is a man of few words when he speaks. I am the opposite. He never elaborates––I go on and on. Yes, we do compliment each other. We joke that we can't even remember not being married.

We are fine. God does meet our needs. We are blessed. But there are always needs for the ministry. If we don't inform about our ministry needs, how will God supply? One of the hardest things as missionaries is to tell of our needs, especially when so many today have needs also. But God's work can't go on if we aren't His voice for the work He wants done.

When our property paperwork costs mounted up, we didn't have the funds we needed. God supplied every need. This month, the month of December, it is always a matter of prayer for all we need for the Christmas ministry. Yes, Chuck and Peggy are fine, we have a roof over our heads, we have food in the cupboards, but many around us don't. Some don't even have shoes. We take hundreds of sandals to the mountains––typical ones that the people here wear. We take food, and medical supplies. We even take vets and vaccines for their animals. Gifts for the children and bread are the highlights of the trip. To see a child light up with the same smile when they receive bread as when they receive a babydoll or truck––it brings tears to your eyes. We also give to those around us in our village and over the mountain behind our house and our two churches. And the best gift we share––Jesus. How do we do all of this on our monthly support, we don't––but God supplies for this need.

The apostle Paul detached himself from nonessential things to concentrate on eternal things. Philippians 4:12 says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in every and any situation, whether well feed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (NIV) We are fine, whether abased or abound, because we know God provides for us and the ministry. We even have those nonessential things that Paul didn't. But, when we do need more support, God touches hearts. When we abound, we do even more ministry––more eternal things. That's why we are content––because God knows and supplies our needs!

 Chuck had it right––we are fine––in plenty or in want.