Friday, December 20, 2013

Psalm 107

As I read through Psalm 107 this morning during my Quiet Time, the Lord brought some things to my attention.  Verses that I have read countless times jumped off the page at me - as if my Bible was suddenly in 3D!!  I just wanted to share what jumped off the page at me this morning.  I hope it is as much of a blessing to you as it was to me!
Did you ever notice that in Psalm 107 there are 2 verses that are repeated 4 times in that one chapter?  Out of 43 verses, the Lord chose to repeat 2 of those verses 4 different times.  Now I know that when God says something one time it is important and we should take heed.  But when God says something repeatedly, it is a definite "Hello???? Are you paying attention to what I am saying?" moment - at least for me!  Verses 6,13, 19, and 28 say almost the exact same thing:
Psalm 107:6 "Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses."
Psalm 107:13 "Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses."
Psalm 107:19 "Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses."
Psalm 107:28 "Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses."
Notice also verses 8, 15, 21, and 31:
Psalm 107:8 "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
Psalm 107:15 "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
Psalm 107:21 "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
Psalm 107:31 "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
Each one of those 8 verses are marked in my Bible - and what a help and comfort and blessing they have been to me through the years!  But this morning, the Lord drew my attention to the fact that there are verses in between that I often overlook!  Oh yes, I get excited about the "Problem and Solution" verses, but how many times have I actually paid close attention to what the Lord did to solve the problem?  As you read the following verses, let them sink into your heart.  Think about exactly what the Lord did and why.
Psalm 107:7 "And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation."  He led them - not just any which way, but "by the right way."  Why?  "That they might go to a city of habitation."  For those of us who are saved, God led us into the right way, and someday we will go to a city of habitation - Heaven!
Psalm 107:14 "He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder."  What darkness has the Lord brought you out of?  What bands has He broken for you today?
Psalm 107:20 "He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction."  How many times has the Lord brought His Word into our hearts and minds to give us help and comfort in times of need?
Psalm 107:29-30 "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."  Has He calmed any storms for you lately?  If so, then you are glad - aren't we always when the storms of life pass?  "…he bringeth them unto their desired haven."  God's ways are perfect.  We can rest in His plans, and know that He will help us in every area of our life.
The very last verse of Psalm 107 sums it all up for us.  "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD."  Psalm 107:43
Do you want to understand the lovingkindness of the Lord?  I do.  Here are the conditions the Lord gives me:  Be wise and Observe the things God has written for me in His Word.
"Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"  Psalm 107:8,15,21,31
What are praising Him for today?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

From My Perspective

Learning a new language can be frustrating, but it can also be one of the biggest blessings of the missionary's life.  Many times I remind my children how blessed we are as a family to know more than one language.  I often marvel at God's goodness in my life in allowing me to learn more than one language!  I have cried tears of anguish and tears of joy and hilarity over learning new languages!  Tears of anguish - wondering if I will EVER understand the people around me!  Tears of joy and hilarity at the humorous mistakes I have made!  Please keep in mind, I am no expert, and I am still learning, but let me try to better explain what I mean…..
I woke up the other morning (okay, we're talking about a week or two ago…) to the sound of the "town crier" making his daily announcements on the loud-speaker across the road from my house.  There isn't really anything so unusual in that - it happens frequently.  But as I sat on the edge of my bed, trying to clear the fog from my brain, I suddenly realized something….something very profound, something very special, and something very exciting - at least to me!  As I sat there, I suddenly realized with startling clarity that I understood everything he was saying!  Until that moment, it had always been kind of like the Teacher's voice on the Charlie Brown Specials….wah, wah, wah, wah, wah……but that morning I understood every word he was saying!
Now, I am NOT saying that I became an expert in Spanish overnight - oh no!  I still have LOTS of moments where I just give the person talking to me that blank stare of absolutely no comprehension!  I will say that learning a third language has presented its own sets of challenges!  I am still trying to figure out how those old-time missionaries who knew 5-7 different languages fluently kept them all straight in their heads!  My comfort is that they too were only human after all, and while we may not have any written record of their mistakes and faux pas, they MUST have had some!
I remember when I first started learning Cebuano, which is what I spoke in the Philippines.  My first year at Youth Camp (the year 2000)….I spent the whole week trying to figure out what the preachers were saying.  I kept hearing one word in particular - I heard it from every preacher.  To my ears it sounded like they were saying, "Brad."  I used up a lot of my time pondering over that word, and came to the conclusion that it must be someone's name!  I also concluded that the Filipinos must really like that name, because it seemed that every preacher had that name!  Here's where I confess to being rather slow at making connections sometimes - it wasn't until the next year at Youth Camp - I suddenly realized that "Brad" wasn't someone's name - it was the Filipino short cut for the word "Brother"!  Not one of those preachers were named "Brad" - but they were "Brother So-and-So" and "'Brad' So-and So"…..!
Fast forward to the year 2013…I now live in Peru and I'm learning Spanish (which I technically learned in Bible College, but now I'm learning it in a much more profound way).  My biggest struggle has been the similarities between Spanish and Cebuano.  Speaking to Matt one day at home (thankfully I was talking to Hubby and nobody else!) I made a blunder.  (Don't worry, I've made plenty of public blunders here - in Spanish and in Sign Language!)  I had noticed the ants crawling across my kitchen floor and said, "Look at the 'amigas'!"  Matt looked at me funny, then started laughing!  He gently corrected me (although how gently can you correct someone while laughing at them, I don't know!  Ha!  Ha!) and said, "Hormigas…the word is 'hormigas'!"  Oops!  The word for "ants" in Cebuano is "amigas."  In Spanish, "amigas" means "friends that are girls/ladies"!  So I had just said, "Look at the friends (feminine)!"
There is one thing that the Lord has taught me through all of this.  This is the one piece of advice I would put high on the list of things to tell a new missionary - especially a missionary wife.  "Use the language."  Yes, you will make mistakes - we all do.  Yes, you will be laughed at - we all experience it.  The key is to be humble enough to laugh at yourself.  The Lord taught me a valuable lesson when I was learning Cebuano - if I would laugh at my own mistakes (which really are funny when you stop to think about it!), it wasn't nearly so painful when those around me laughed at my mistakes too!  Having that sense of humor has been a help, not a hurt.  It has turned awkward moments into treasured memories!  Yes, I still roll my eyes and groan over mistakes that I have made, but I have learned from those mistakes.  I have been privileged to see how much it means to the people I am working with when I make the effort to use their language - mistakes and all!  I have received so much encouragement to keep on working to get those words and accents right!  Oh, I am still learning, and yes - STILL making mistakes, but that lesson learned from my dear Holy Spirit and Heavenly Father has sure made learning another new language a lot easier!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Little By Little

 "Little By Little" is my theme for the next 18 weeks!  I have been trying to get something done every week for Baby!  Today we were able to get the crib, sheets, bumpers, and even a tiny pillow! We still don't know yet if the Lord will be blessing us with another boy or another girl.
Being rather non-traditional, this crib set caught my eye the other day….I love the farm!  Some of you will shake your heads in amazement at me, but I've never been a real fan of the traditional "everything pink for girls and everything blue for boys"!  Please understand, I WANT Martha and Ian to be as girlish and boyish as God made them to be!  And naturally I want Baby to be all that God has planned as well!
I had so much fun putting the crib together this morning!  Yes, I was very careful, and the kids helped me!  They were excited to have a part in putting the bed together - their part was handing me the bolts that hold it all together!  It will take some time to get used to seeing a crib in Martha's room!  Lord willing, we will get to find out next week if Martha gets to stay and share a room with Baby or we have to swap rooms and Ian will be sharing a room!  Seeing the crib is funny to me, because we never had a crib for Martha or Ian.  We were on deputation with both of them, and they got to enjoy the fun of a Pack and Play!  With Martha, we had a "Jungle Animal" theme, and with Ian, we had a "Camouflage, Hunting, Fishing" theme.
I really wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go in for Baby, but when I saw this crib set (at the same store where we bought the crib), I knew I had my answer!  I grew up in the country, and if the Lord had never called me to be a Missionary (which I am extremely happy in doing and being), I would have been happy having my own farm!  Martha and Ian are both so excited about Baby coming!  They are so full of wonderful plans that it seems at times as if they are going to burst!  I showed them a newborn diaper today to help them have some idea of just how tiny Baby will be when Baby arrives!  It was so funny to see their faces - I should have had the camera at THAT moment - as their little minds tried to absorb the tininess of Baby!  Almost every day Martha will ask me when Baby is coming - April is Sooooo far away when you are 4 years old!  She and Ian both love to give Baby hugs and kisses - several times a day, and always at night before bed!
 So here is my farm….I have a garden on my front porch for my field of crops, but the most important crop I am cultivating at this point in my life is not my plants on the porch….it is the two "tender plants" (Isaiah 53:2a) God has already given me and the one that is coming in April!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lessons in Parenting (or Who is teaching Who?)

As a Mommy, one of the greatest joys (and yes, sometimes one of the greatest heartaches!) is teaching and training my children to serve the Lord.  As I write to you this afternoon, Ian is in his bed.  It is rest time, but it doesn't sound like much resting is getting done at the moment.  From the sounds of it, Ian is passing on his small store of knowledge and wisdom.  And to whom might he be passing such a treasure trove?  His "creatures" - Monkey, Bear, Dog Pillow, Rhino, and Uff (the stuffed doggie)!  I can hear him imparting the "wisdom of the ages" on to them all.  You know, the important things in life like…"You need to say 'Yes, Ma'am'"….."You need to obey."  You know, all those things his Mommy and Daddy are constantly telling him?
As a parent, I have learned to be very specific with what I say or ask.  I walked into his room recently and caught him jumping on the bed.  We have a "No Jumping on the Bed" policy.  When I asked him what he was doing wrong, he admitted to jumping on the bed.  I went on to explain that it doesn't please Jesus when we don't obey Mommy and Daddy.  I asked him if he remembered what the Bible said in Ephesians 6:1 about what he had done wrong.  This was his reply, "Ephesians 6:1…Children don't jump on the bed in the Lord, for this is right." !!!!!!!!!  That wasn't the exact answer I was looking for, but I had to give him credit!  It served me right for asking that question the way I did!
I really do love to hear Martha playing with her dollies.  Occasionally, she will come to me and explain that "Dolly did _________ (whatever the current offense might be)."  Then she will tell me that Dolly must be disciplined.  In our little family, we make it a point to pray with our children after a time of discipline.  I always remind Martha to pray with Dolly after the discipline.  I usually hear something like this, "Dear Jesus, please help Dolly to obey.  In Jesus name, Amen."  
It is always a fresh reminder that even in play, my children are learning, preparing, and setting the foundation for their entire life.  How many habits do we grown-ups have that can be traced back to some childhood play or habit?  And my children aren't the only ones who are learning - I am learning too - if I'll just pay attention!
It was a joy and blessing today to see Martha at the sink washing dishes.  She didn't get very many washed before I came to take over, but she was making an effort!  Normally she is the official "Dish Dryer," but today she was promoted to "Dish Washer"!  It makes me laugh every time I think of those two words, "Dish Washer"!  As a young person, I used to beg and tease my parents for a dishwasher (you know - the machine).  Inevitably my Daddy would grin and say, "We already have one……YOU!"  This was never the answer I wanted to hear - especially since I am an only child!  Now I can pass those words of wisdom on to my own daughter - Hee!  Hee!  Hee!  Thank you, Daddy!  They rank right up there with, "Not everybody's doing that, because you're not!"  (I've already had the privilege of using that one with my own children - in case you were wondering!) 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homeschooling Fun

I have been busy the last couple of weeks.  And what have I been up to this time?  Making a workable homeschool schedule!
Martha and Ian are both doing really well - I praise the Lord for their eagerness when it comes to school!  Martha is starting to read and Ian is rapidly following in her footsteps!  He isn't reading yet, but we've been working on his letters and numbers, and I am always surprised when I realize how many he already knows!
I have found some websites just for Homeschoolers!  They are a Homeschooling Mom's dream!  One of those websites is saved as a "Favorite"!  I have found and downloaded many things that I am using right now - mostly with Ian, but some with Martha also.  I found them from "Confessions of a Homeschooler"  I have found so many wonderful ideas - and they are fun!  Yes, I want my children to learn; but I have discovered that children learn best when they are having fun!  I have also learned that when the students are having fun, the teacher has fun too!  I know, I know….there must be serious moments - not just fun!  Believe me, we have plenty of serious moments!

I found the clock on a different website
Ian is learning his ABC's, so the chart is great for practicing!  Because the kids (Martha especially) are so excited about Baby coming, we are working on calendars - which naturally leads to time and seasons!  We have had a bit of confusion with the seasons….since we live below the Equator, our seasons are opposite of North America!  I guess I'll have to make another Season chart - one for Peru and one for the U.S.!  In the next picture, you will see a model of the solar system.  No, we aren't exactly studying Science full-time just yet!  Here's what happened…I decided to start teaching Martha and Ian the songs from the hymnal.  I have my Mom's hymnal.  I was praying about which song to start with, and the Lord led me to "This is my Father's World."  "The music of the spheres" is a phrase that comes up in the first verse.  Martha wanted to know what "spheres" were.  I simply explained that it is all the planets in the universe that God created.  I explained that the planets are "spheres" or "circles."  This naturally led to a little lesson on the planets and the model.  So, not only have the kids learned the first verse of the song, but they can also tell you there are 9 planets!  That's what I call fun learning!

These are the numbers that I downloaded - aren't' they fun?
I add new letters as Ian learns them!
Ian chose to stand under the "F"
Martha chose the "B" 
All too soon they will be 5 and 6 years old!
In the desks the Lord provided!
So, we are getting settled into a routine.  The routine still needs tweaking, but we'll get it all worked out…then our routine will change because Baby will be here (in 21 weeks for those of you who are wondering…)!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Merry Heart

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:  but a broken spirit drieth the bones."  Proverbs 17:22
In the past few days, Ian has given us many reasons to have a merry heart!  Martha has added to the fun as well!  Who says "Life is boring"?  They should come visit us for a few days - they would discover that life is FAR from boring - at least at my house!
This past Sunday night, we enjoyed watching the Live Stream service of our home church, Windsor Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, OK.  It was Old-Fashion Sunday.  I think the kids enjoyed it.  Martha didn't say much about it, but certain parts of the service left more of an impression on Ian than I realized at the moment.  When he saw the Ambassadors (the men's singing group from the college) singing, he informed me, "I want to go there and sing behind the cross."  The guys were standing behind the pulpit, which is shaped like a cross.  I told him that maybe someday Jesus would allow him to be part of the Ambassadors singing group while he was in college.
The fun really began when we were watching the "Hallelujah Offering."  For those of you who don't know what the "Hallelujah Offering" is, let me explain.  Several men are chosen for taking up the offering.  Before the actual offering begins, the men have a "practice."  For each monetary denomination put into the offering bucket, a different phrase is shouted.  For example:  a 1 Dollar bill - the men shout, "Amen!" and so it continues all the way to a 20 Dollar bill - which merits a "Hallelujah!"  I didn't realize how impressed Ian was by all of this until I sent him to the bathroom.  After being in there a few minutes, I heard him hollering.  I thought he was yelling for "Daddy!" and it sounded rather disrespectful.  When I asked Matt about it, he told me he was shouting, "Amen!"  Then I heard him very clearly shouting as loudly and deeply as he could muster, "Amen!"  I wish you could have heard him - it was hilarious!
Martha asked me recently what I would do if there were spiders in my house.  Apparently she was referring to a "plague of spiders" as I realized later.  I casually answered that I would have Daddy kill them.  I thought the matter was closed.  She asked me again, "But if there were still spiders in your house,  what would you do?"  Again I answered, "I'd have Daddy kill them."  After asking me the same question about 3 or 4 times, she finally said, "But if Daddy couldn't kill them all, what would you do?"  Seeing that I wasn't answering quickly, she solved my problem for me.  "I'd squash them for you, Mommy!" she calmly replied.  Now THAT's the kind of daughter I like having!
Homeschooling brings its joys as well as its struggles, as you Homeschooling Moms well know!  Today Ian apparently had an identity crisis, because instead of calling me "Mommy!" every time he needed me, I heard, "Teacher!  Teacher!"  And Daddy wasn't exempt from the identity change…today he was "Pastor Matt!  Pastor Matt!" instead of "Daddy!"
I am trying my hand at Container Gardening this summer.  This has been so exciting for the kids to watch!  They have loved planting the seeds and watching them sprout.  Their excitement knows no bounds when they notice more plants sprouting!  We are growing tomatoes, beets, spinach, and pumpkins.  I also have cilantro, oregano, basil, and mint that I am growing - with parsley still to plant.  We have a bucket on the back porch with a potato plant in it.  I look forward to more "merry hearts" for my children as they watch the plants grow!  I am excited about the lessons they will learn from this and carry with them throughout their lives!
Silicon cupcake pans make places for starting plants in for your garden!
Pumpkins planted by Martha and Ian

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Joy of Being

I would like to share something with you this morning concerning which the Lord has been working on my heart.  It isn't anything new or something we don't already know.  I've heard this principle preached and taught many, many times in my life.  Until recently, however, I didn't realize I was thinking about it, but not actually doing it.  We are all familiar with the phrase "Bloom where you are planted."  Now, I am not particularly crazy about that saying, but it is true nevertheless.  
As I was thinking about that quote, I got to wondering if there was Bible verse to support it.  Well, my faithful Saviour gave me the verse I needed.  Notice I said He gave me the verse I needed - not necessarily the verse I thought would prove my point!  
Psalm 39:7 says, "And now, Lord, what wait I for?  my hope is in thee."
Here is where I started arguing with the Lord.  Why?  I had several reasons (excuses) I offered to the Lord.  "Aren't I living on the mission field like You asked me to?"  "What in the world will people think if I share these thoughts with them?"  "People won't understand, and I hate being misunderstood."  "Do I have to, Lord???"  Let me be perfectly honest....even as I type this, I am fighting the urge to hit the delete button and get rid of this entire post!  I cannot escape the Lord's promptings, however.
The Lord directed my eyes to my house.  "What do you see, Sarah?" the Lord whispered to me.  The question demanded an honest answer.  "I see a house with a family living in it.  A family who has decided to follow You, Lord.  I see a wife/mom who is waiting....."  And that's where the Lord stopped me!
It was exactly what my Lord wanted me to see.  He was trying to lovingly and gently correct an error in my life.  Yes, I am on the mission field.  Yes, praise the Lord, my heart is even here.  I love Peru.  I love living here.  I love the adventure of being a foreigner in a foreign land!  I dearly love the people God has given us to love and to teach.  But at that exact moment in time, I realized I was existing, not being.  Do you see the difference?  
Like the Psalmist said, "And now, Lord, what wait I for?"  I realized that I have been busy "waiting," not busy "being."  I hadn't settled completely.  I've fallen into the trap of "What's coming next in my life?"  I realized that I must "BE" before the Lord can do anything with me or even bring me to the "next thing" in my life.  I thought of my children - what kind of example have I been to them?  Of course I want them to think and plan and pray about their futures, but I want them to be content with the "Here and Now."
So...the next question is, "How am I going to correct my error?"  Good question.  Here's what the Lord has given me for an answer.  I am going to put my hope (my future, my plans, my desires) in the Lord.  With the Lord's help, I am going to have that little garden I've been dreaming about this summer.  I am going to get those pictures framed and hung on the walls.  Naturally, I think..."Well, Lord, I'll do all this and then You'll move me!"  While that may be true, that is still somewhere in the future, and that's where it should stay.  
...And then there was joy!  Joy filled my heart as I thought of how easy it really is to just "BE," and allow the Lord to have my future, as well as my past.  I thought of how we love to quote, "...forgetting those things which are behind...," but what about letting go of the future?  Please understand that I am by no means saying to forget about the future, don't have any plans...just "live for the moment!"  No, we need to have plans and goals and dreams.  I am saying that sometimes we get so wrapped up in those plans, goals, and dreams that they become more important to us than where we are at the moment.  They consume us until we cannot just "BE" what the Lord wants us to be right now.  
The joy of being.  Do you know that joy?  Are you letting the Lord give you that joy every day?  I'm trying, and with the Lord's help I will succeed.  You can too!
Psalm 39:7 "And now, Lord, what wait I for?  my hope is in thee."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Moments of Time

A "snuggle" moment!
Does it seem like sometimes that's all you have - just a moment of time?  Just when you sit down to work on a project of your own, Hubby or Kiddos need something desperately!  Yes, I'll admit, those moments are often moments of frustration to us.  But what about those moments when your son or daughter comes "tearing" into the room like a tornado, rushes up to you and gives you firm (if not rather sloppy) kiss on the cheek?  Those are counted as moments of sweetness.  As we all know, life is made up of moments of time.  Some days we fail and don't use our moments wisely.  Other days, our moments are useful and blessed.  At this moment, my children are playing together, my Hubby is investing in the lives of the Deaf Institute students, and I am using my moment to share some of my thoughts with you.  I had a different topic in mind for this blog, but the Lord hasn't given me license to share that topic with you I'll save that for another moment!  So here are some snapshots of some recent "moments" in my life and in the life of my family!
Martha practicing her witnessing skills
Moment of Silliness!
Reading His Bible
A moment of celebration - Ian is now 3!
A moment of giving - Martha giving her present to Ian
A Moment of Hilarity - the well-deserved reward of the Chef -
finishing the last squirt of whipped topping in style!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Childhood Memories

I would like to preface this blog by saying, "I am NOT old!"  What I am about to share with you, however, might prove to the contrary!
Matt and I took a stroll down "Memory Lane" this afternoon.  After all, that's about all the strolling I'm doing right now - Hee!  Hee!  Hee!  We got to talking about different things we watched and read as children...Matt grew up with Comic Books and Sci-fi movies; I grew up with "Little Women" and Westerns (you know...John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, etc.)  Naturally, the conversation turned to some of the games we played (here is where I start telling my age)!
When I was little and we still lived in New York State, one of my favorite pastimes was to play games with "Pama" (my Grandma).  She had a closet full of things to keep us grandchildren entertained.  A couple of games that I remember in particular were "Uncle Wiggily" and "Shopping Center."  Matt is convinced the only reason "Shopping Center" was one of my favorite games was that it involved shopping!  Well, maybe he's right!  Pama also had "Chutes and Ladders" (yes, back then it was still "Chutes and Ladders," not "Snakes and Ladders"!)  
Anyway, I got to thinking about how much fun I had playing those games with Pama and my cousins.  I also thought about how fun it would be to play those games with my own children!  Then I started wondering if "Uncle Wiggily" and "Shopping Center" were still in existence!  (I have no idea what happened to the ones Pama had.)  Well, thanks to Google...I found both of those games!  I was so excited, and Matt was so good to let me buy them both, and they were good prices!  My excitement was dampened by the realization that those games are considered "Vintage Board Games."  Am I THAT old?  I am NOT that old!  I was able to purchase two "Uncle Wiggily" storybooks and the game for one great price!  I found "Shopping Center" on Ebay!  (I was also able to buy a book for my sweet Hubby too - a book about one of his ancestors, Bishop William McKendree!)
Now I am counting the days until they arrive in the mail, and I can start playing those games with my own kiddos!  What games do you remember from your childhood?


Sunday, September 15, 2013

What to do when you can´t do anything

Greetings!  What a strange title for a blog, right?  Well, I´ve been thinking about this topic for several days now, and thought I would take a few moments and share with you what I´ve been doing since I can´t do anything!  By now you are wondering WHY I can´t do anything.....well, I´ll tell you.....we are expecting our third baby!!  Everything is going fairly smooth.....I am delightfully nauseated (like a good, pregnant lady should be!), not walking about much (Doc´s orders), and resting (also Doc´s orders)!
So...what am I doing...?
1.  Learning how to type on Hubby´s computer. 
     Now why would that be something I need to learn?  He bought this computer here in Peru - the keyboard has all the English characters plus the Spanish characters!  This means that the keyboard is differently arranged - all the punctuation marks are in different places from what I´m used to!  Talk about a challenge!  But if I can learn to wash my clothes in Spanish (all the words on the washer and dryer are in Spanish), I can learn to type on a Spanish keyboard!
2.  Sewing projects
     Now I have time for all those sewing projects that I want to get done.  I´ve been crocheting and cross-stitching - not at the same time of course!  I haven´t graduated to that level of talent just yet!
3.  Reading
     I´m rereading old favorites, and working on new books.  Now I have time to study my Ham Radio Operator´s Manual - with the goal of getting my Ham Radio Operator´s license. 
4.  Praying
     I didn´t put prayer last because it is the least important.  I put it last because it has become the most precious use of my time.  Since I´ve had all this time, I got to asking the Lord what I could do - something profitable for the benefit and blessing of others.  Naturally, I considered what I could do with my hands for others...all the while the Holy Spirit was nudging me to see the obvious.  All right - let me be completely honest here - I made the mistake of thinking that praying was not doing.  The Holy Spirit nudged harder until I saw my folly - what could possibly be a better use of my time to be a benefit and a blessing to those around me?  Right now I can´t go to Callao with Hubby, but in prayer, I can go with him.  I´ve been often reminded lately of the precious hymn ¨Little is much when God is in it.¨  One of the verses says, ¨Are you laid aside from service, body worn with toil and care?  You can still be in the battle, in the sacred place of prayer.¨  And that is exactly where I want to be - in the sacred place. 
Yes, I´ll admit some days seem to drag by, but I know my Lord is walking with me, teaching me things now that will bless the rest of my life - and hopefully those around me!  Some days my attitude is raunchy - sad, but true.  Praise the Lord for His love and patience - it never fails.  Psalm 91 is my constant source of comfort and strength.
You know, I don´t have all the answers, nor am I a ¨super-Christian¨ by any stretch of the imagination.  I just wanted to share my heart with you this morning.  Hopefully, the things I learn will be a blessing to someone coming behind me, or to those who walk beside me.  I pray you will have a blessed day with our Saviour today! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Jesus Loves Me...This is How I Know

On August 23, I celebrated my 27th birthday in the Lord!  It just makes me say, "Wow!"  How good God has been to me, and still is!"  One of my kids' favorite songs is "Jesus Loves Me."  I have sung it to them since they were born.  I've always tried to make it personal to them, so that it is more than just a "Sunday School Song" to them.  I want them to know for a blessed fact that Jesus DOES love them - it isn't just a song we sing!  The personalized version goes something like this....

"Jesus loves you, this you know,
For the Bible tells you so.
Martha Jean (Ian Matthew) to Him belongs,
Ian (Martha) is weak, but He is strong!
Yes, Jesus loves you!
Yes, Jesus loves you!
Yes, Jesus loves you!
The Bible tells you so!"

Well, I honor of my Spiritual Birthday, God gave me some words to make it personal to ME!  

"Jesus Loves Me...this is how I know,
He sent me flowers from a Bible student I know!
He sent me Lemon Cake - what a treat -
Especially after craving it for nearly a week!
(I saw a recipe on the Baptist Missionary Women Blog!)

How did those Dear Deaf know,
That Lemon Cake would please me so?
They sure didn't, but my Saviour did!
Jesus loves me, and that is how I know!"

Yes, Jesus loves you!
He'll show you too!
Yes, Jesus loves you too!
How does He show it to you?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Projects, Family Pictures, and Reworded Songs

I guess in order to get you caught up, I'll start at the latest and go back from there!  I just finished this afghan yesterday!  It is the first time I have ever crocheted a round afghan, but it was so much fun, and it went quickly!  Way back on Christmas Day 2012, I started the
following afghan.  It took me until July 2013 to get it finished, but finish it I did!  I worked on it during spare moments, and actually got a lot done when we took our trip to Ecuador!  What else are you going to do on a bus for 48 hours?!
Here is the young lady who was the recipient of the afghan.  Olga LOVES green, as we found out
when she stayed with us this past Summer!  It was so much fun to surprise her for her birthday!  She remembered me starting to work on it, but I had refused to tell her what it would be and who it was for!
There is nothing like working on three or four projects all at once!  I made scarves for Martha and Ian on our trips back and forth to Callao!  I had seen women on the trains and combis crocheting or knitting, and finally I thought - I might as well put my travel time to good use!  It's easier to crochet something without a pattern while riding on public transportation!  I did however, have another project to work on once we got to Callao.
Martha was so excited with this dolly backpack!  She loves it, because it is just right for whichever dolly or stuffed doggie she chooses!  It really is designed to be worn on the back, but it works just as well turned around to the front.  Now I'm working on a wardrobe for Dolly!  I'm not sure which dolly will end up with the wardrobe, probably they will all share!
We recently had some new family pictures done! Enjoy!
Between all the silliness, we actually ended up with some really great family pictures!
One final bit of humor for you children have reworded some classic songs, and I thought you would appreciate their versions...
"Yankee Doodle" has now become "Yankee Noodle" according to Ian, and Martha likes to sing "...stuck a feather in his head...!"  This morning Ian was in the bathroom, changing clothes, and singing the "Wiggle Worm Song" from Patch the Pirate.  His version was, "Never wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, never giggle, giggle, giggle, need to 'quash the wiggle worm, when you feel the squirms!"  Oh, if he would only practice what he sings!  I can't complain, however....after all he was just following the Bible commandment to "Make a joyful noise..."  Thankfully, God never told us we had to get the words right, too!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In The Way

How many times do we think of being "in the way" as a bad thing?  We feel insulted when people are "in the way" at the store.  We feel frustrated when people are "in the way" while driving down the road.  We feel annoyed when we find our children's toys "in the way" because we just tripped over them for the umpteenth time.  I know.  I've had those feelings many times!  And on the mission field, sometimes those feelings are magnified.  The Lord has been showing me something the last few days, however.  I have so much I want to share with you this morning, and I struggled to know what I should say.  So, I'll just share my heart with you this morning and let you in on what God has been teaching me this week.....I've been learning that when you serve the Lord, being "in the way" is a good thing - a very good thing!  Do you remember the story of how Rebekah came to be the bride of Isaac?  The servant declares in Genesis 24:27b, "I being in the way, the LORD led me..."
 The lady in this picture is Mistrely.  Raul (standing next to her) invited her to come to church one Sunday.  She had been a member of Efata many, many years ago.  At some point she became involved with the Seventh Day Adventists.  After she came that first time with Raul, she would come every once in a while.  Recently, she has been coming every Sunday.  When we would ask her about her salvation, her testimony was never very clear.  We couldn't tell if she was just doubting or wasn't saved at all.  About two Sundays ago, I asked the Lord for an opportunity to witness to Mistrely.  It didn't happen and I was disappointed.  In my own reasoning, I couldn't think when I would get another opportunity - Anniversary Sunday was coming up, and I was sure I would have no time to witness to her.  I was sad.
Anniversary Sunday came (more about that later).  It was a busy and blessed day - we had 70 Deaf come!  I asked another lady to witness to Mistrely.  When it came time for the invitation, I saw the other lady leading someone else out to witness too.  More disappointment.  Then the Lord opened the door of opportunity so wide that I couldn't miss it!  I began to talk to Mistrely - just talk.  I watched as she expressed her doubts and obstacles to me.  I then had the glorious opportunity to offer her the only solution I know - Jesus.  You see that space over there under the stairs in this picture?  There was not a bicycle there this past Sunday, but a bench.  I don't think I've ever before witnessed to someone amidst so much distraction!  But with the Lord's help, I did it - "I being in the way, the LORD led me..."  In spite of all the distractions and interruptions, Mistrely sweetly and humbly prayed asking God to save her!
This is a picture of the original members of my ladies class!  My, how the LORD has grown my class!  I am so thankful for each of the ladies God has placed in my life!  I watched them this past Sunday - each one as different from the others as can be - but together they were serving others, witnessing to others, and just serving the Lord however they could!  I thought about how blessed I am - the privilege that is mine to be their Pastor's Wife (It scares me to death, really!!!)  How precious it is to see them growing in the Lord!  I thought of when I first visited Peru.  I wasn't really sure I wanted to be here - even though I knew God was already leading my Dear Husband grateful I am that I chose to be "in the way" of God!  Are you "in God's way" today?
"I being in the way, the LORD led me..."  Genesis 24:27b

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Adventure

Shhh....the house is quiet at this very moment....don't let the tea kettle whistle - you might wake someone up....creep through the hall and very carefully open the bedroom door - and don't let your pantuflas (slippers made from alpaca) scuff on the floor!!!  Better yet....sit very still and quiet at the computer with your cup of coffee and try to get caught up on your blog (which is exactly what I am doing at the moment!)
I am on vacation - woo hoo!!!!  Yes, for the next two weeks, I am on vacation from school - okay, okay - I will probably still have school with Martha, but all my other students and I are on vacation!  This past week I was talking with the school children about how we were going to spend our vacations.  I told them (as solemnly as I could) that I was going to spend my vacation hiding under my bed - after I clean under it first, of course!  The twinkle in my eye must have given me away, for not one of them believed me!
So....why "The Adventure"?  Because that's what life is - an Adventure - even more so on the Mission Field!  Let us consider the area of transportation...I don't have a picture of a combi or the train (more about the train soon!), but living about two hours from our church certainly has its challenges!  We are Americans - never doubt that - but we have become Peruvians in our mode of travel!  We take public transit, and for the most part...we love it...the only exception being hubby turning green from motion sickness - poor fellow!  The kids think it's great - especially when we see "our" gold robot (street performer that our children have claimed as their own personal possession)!  Are you starting to see "The Adventure"?
I got to thinking about "The Adventure" last Sunday while our combi was careening down the street at a break-neck speed of about 30-45 mph!  I have no idea how Interstate travel will horrify me in the future when we are on furlough!  Then again, I will expect everyone to drive like the Peruvians - He who arrives at the intersection first, goes first - unless the light is red and the traffic police are present!  I found myself laughing as the combi dodged in and out of traffic, performed abrupt starts and stops, and the cobrador (the guy/gal who collects the fare) hustled people on and off the combi just as fast as he could!  Woe to the person who takes too long getting on or off!
Never in my life could I have ever imagined living in a huge (doesn't quite describe it...) city - much less becoming accustomed to it!  My idea of bliss is quiet days in the middle of nowhere in the country - 20 miles from the nearest town!  Now my idea of bliss is a coveted seat on the train or the combi with my hubby and my children next to me, and not across the aisle!
Included in that idea of bliss is being able to take a little nap while riding from point A to point B.  When the kids and I first started going to Callao with Matt, I marveled at all the people I saw sleeping on the train and on the combis!  How could they sleep through something so exciting?!?!?  I have since learned takes a long time to get from point A to point B - especially if traffic is bad.  You might as well spend your time doing something profitable - like sleeping!  I have started bringing my crochet projects with me - there are times when I can't sleep, and I can't bear to just sit still!  I finished a scarf for Martha in about 4 trips to Callao and I am working on a "carf" for Ian - he forgets the "s"!
Another aspect of "The Adventure" is seeing people saved and lives changed!  How I love to see the Deaf in Callao growing in the Lord!  How I love to see my children have a part in the lives of others.  Do you remember me telling you about Martha praying for her friends Mateo and Benjamin to be saved?  Mateo asked Jesus to live in his heart this past Wednesday, July 24, 2013!
What an "Adventure" the Lord has entrusted to us!  I am so incredibly glad to be part of "The Adventure" God has given to me and my precious family!  What is "The Adventure" God has given you?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Faith Rewarded

"But without faith it is impossible to please him:  for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and
that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  Hebrews 11:6
I want to tell you about Celeste, Ian and Martha's friend from Callao.  Ian has been praying for Celeste's salvation for quite some time.  About a week or so ago, Martha started praying for Celeste as well.  Saturday night, she told me she would like to use her "Witnessing Book" and talk to Celeste about how to be saved!  Can you imagine what that does to a Mommy's heart?  I still marvel at how God is working in the life of my little girl, and how He uses her!
We talked to Celeste on Sunday.  Martha started out, but got stuck (it was her first time to witness to anyone after all!).  I had the joy and blessing of finishing witnessing to Celeste.  Today Celeste is a member of God's family, because on Sunday, she prayed and asked Jesus to save her!  What a special joy it was to see this 6-year-old girl ask Jesus to live in her heart!  The added joy is that now her whole family is saved - Grandparents (her Dad's parents), Dad, Mom, and now Celeste!  I look forward to the day her baby sister (who is due any time now!) gets saved as well!  My heart was certainly full, as God rewarded the faith of both my children, and Martha in particular had a part in sharing the Gospel with her friend!
Daniel on the left holding the small boy
Ian is still praying for Daniel to be saved.  Daniel is a Deaf man in Kenya, Africa.  I copied this picture from my friend Jessica's blog!  What a blessing to see my son praying for the salvation of others - even though he's not yet saved himself!
Martha has been faithfully praying for Mr. Nishio (or as she says, "Mr. Nishi-OH!") to be saved.  I laugh sometimes - not at her prayers, but at the way my children think!  You know, we work with the Deaf, and so Martha's natural question to me was, "Mommy, can 'Mr. Nishi-OH!' talk?"
My Two Little Missionaries
How I praise the Lord for the tender heart He has given her.  She has added her classmates from school, Mateo and Benjamin, to her salvation prayer list.  She was praying for a couple of the girls recently also, and one day very boldly asked them if they were saved!  I think they were a little shocked at the question, but they both said they were saved, and I rejoiced at the boldness of my daughter!
I count it a joy to teach my children the blessing of praying for others!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Faith of a Child

Last night we took turns praying as a family before bedtime.  Do you ever stop to think how precious the prayers of children must be to our Saviour?  All prayers are precious to Him, but I think the prayers of children must be extra-special.  And oh, the faith that children show!
Martha has been praying for Mr. Nishio to be saved.  Mr. Nishio lives in Japan.  Last night when I reminded Martha to pray for him, she asked incredulously, "He's not saved YET?!?!?" It was so sweet to see the attitude of expectation, the attitude of the whole matter is already settled, the deed is done.  Wow!  What faith!  To be convinced that our prayers are already answered!  We should be convinced! But so many times our "grown-up reasoning" overrides "child-like faith"!
Last night, Ian prayed for Daniel (a Deaf man in Kenya, Africa) to be saved.  Today when I thanked him from Aunt Jessi for praying for Daniel, Ian immediately prayed for him again.  As soon as he had finished praying (he always gets right to the point in his prayers), he informed me, "He's (Daniel) saved now."
How convicting it is at times to see and hear my children pray!  How precious it is to see their faith and know how pleasing it is unto the Lord!  Oh, that I would always come to my Heavenly Father with such simple, child-like faith!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What I've Been Doing...

How do I look?
June has been a crazy month!  There's been so many times I've thought, "I need to update my blog!"  Then time slips by, and know how it goes!  So instead of trying to tell you about everything that's been happening, I thought I'd show you!
Missions Conference was June 12-15.  We did a play about Jonathan Goforth, Missionary to China.  One of the parts Matt had required a beard, so I made a yarn beard.  After the play, Ian begged me to let him try it on!
Map of China
Chinese Temple
 My friend Elena, who is Deaf, made this map of China for our play. I copied the images that are on the map, and glued them on, but she did all the rest.  She also painted this picture of the Chinese temple!  She is so talented!  I have two paintings in my house that she painted - I'll put them on here some time so you can enjoy them with me!
Uncle Sam visits Morocco!
Representing Morocco
Chinese Cart for the Play
Sharing Morocco with others
While we were preparing for the play, we were also preparing for the International Banquet!  The banquet was on Saturday of the conference.  We had the privilege of representing Morocco for the banquet.  So for a while, my house was a mixture of Chinese and Moroccan culture!

Before Missions Conference Elena and I started a project of making "Witnessing Books" for the Deaf to use.  She already had a book.  We made
copies and now were are in the process of covering them with contact paper and putting them onto rings.  So now we are back to work on that project.
Making Witnessing Books
In the middle of all this, we have made certain to have time for fun, and of course time for coffee and chocolate!  My honey certainly knows how to win my heart (as if he didn't have it already)!  He recently bought me the coffee cup in the last picture.  Most girls swoon over roses....I swoon over coffee cups!  What a sweetie!  I love him SO much (and not just because of the coffee and chocolate, either)!!!
Ahoy there, Mateys!!

Chocolate, anyone???
Two of my favorite things -
Coffee and Chocolate!