Thursday, February 28, 2013

In the Lord's Army

It never fails to surprise and amaze me to discover what is going on in the mind of my almost-four-year-old Martha!  Something came up yesterday about "The Lord's Army."  She picked right up on that thought and sitting at the kitchen table informed me that she "was in the Lord's Army, because I have Jesus in my heart!"  Oh, that we grown-ups would embrace those simple truths with that much joy and confidence!  How many times has Jesus told us in His word about the value and wisdom of little children, and the importance of becoming as a little child to enter into His kingdom!  Martha went on to give me a list of people that were in the Lord's Army, and one that was not.  On her list of "Ins" was Mommy, Daddy, Abuelo, Abuela, and herself.....on her list of "Nots"?  Her brother Ian!  What a joy it is to be able to teach her and encourage her to pray that her brother would also be saved and be a part of the Lord's Army!
As I was thinking about that this morning, the Lord gently nudged me to use that conversation to introduce you to two of the newest members of the Lord's Army!  With great joy and excitement I would like to tell you first about Rosa.  Rosa is the lady in the middle of this picture.  Rosa has been coming to church for quite some time now.  Her husband, Raul, had been saved when he was younger.  He was baptized in November.  We weren't sure if Rosa was saved, and there never seemed to be an open door to talk to her about her salvation.  We just kept praying for her, and showing her God's love.  Two Sundays ago, I was teaching the children's class (we now have 4 hearing children in our church!), and when I came back into our Deaf service, Matt asked me if I would witness to Rosa!  With joy I said yes!  I took her and Irene (another of our Deaf ladies) into another classroom, and shared the Gospel with Rosa.  After explaining God's plan of salvation, and emphasizing all that Jesus had suffered on the Cross to pay for our sins (The Lord led me to really explain that in great detail.), Rosa decided to ask Jesus into her heart.  With tears streaming down both our faces, Rosa prayed and asked Jesus to save her!  What a beautiful and precious moment - especially to our Saviour!  Lord willing, Rosa will be getting baptized this Sunday.  How wonderful it is to see a whole family saved!  Now Raul and Rosa can raise their daughter Celeste and the new baby that they are expecting in the ways of the Lord!  Isn't it wonderful to think of all the blessings that God has in store for them as they follow Him?
Elida, a Hearing young lady, came to church this past Sunday with her Deaf boyfriend and his family.  She is learning signs.  We had a birthday celebration for one of the other Deaf ladies, and as I sat across the room from Elida, I noticed how sad she seemed.  I went over to talk to her, and the Lord impressed on my heart to ask her about her salvation.  Now, I am not a bold person, but I have been praying for boldness when it comes to witnessing.  Well, let me tell you - when you start asking the Lord for something like that He is going to answer!  He gave me a boldness that I know only came from Him!  I was able to witness to her.  We waded through a lot of her thoughts and ideas and philosophies about how to get to Heaven.  We looked at each of those in the light of God's Word.  I kindly and tearfully told her that Jesus is the only way to Heaven - it's not our goodness, our ideas, or anything we can do.  I shared with her how the Lord spoke to my heart about talking to her about her salvation and that I wanted to see her in Heaven someday.  We both cried, and the best she knew how, she prayed and asked the Lord to save her!  How precious to know that while I may never see her again here on earth (She lives in Nazca - south of here), I have the joy and anticipation of seeing her one day in Heaven!
I think about the joy we feel here on Earth when a person gets saved...we talk about the joy in Heaven when a person receives Christ as Saviour...but we can't even begin to imagine the overflowing joy and happiness that our Lord must feel when He sees another soul accept His free gift of salvation that He paid for on the Cross!  Praise the Lord for the always open invitation to join the Lord's Army - no matter who you are, where you've been, or what you are doing with your life!  If you haven't joined the Lord's Army, won't you do that today?

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Way of Life

"Everything is going to be fine!"
You know, life on the mission field is always an adventure and very rarely dull!  We see this billboard every Sunday on our way to Callao - and it just makes me laugh!  It's my reminder that even when things aren't looking so bright, God is still in control, and "Todo va a estar
bien!" (Everything is going to be fine!)
I was thinking recently how many things we do here, that for my children are "normal", yet if they were in the States they would know a different kind of "normal"!  Some of the things are simple things that most of us would never even think about - like the packaging your milk comes in.  The milk that we buy here comes in boxes, which can be found on the shelf of the grocery store, or if you prefer, you can buy it in bags - we don't have gallon milk jugs found in the refrigerated section!  How funny it will be for my children to see milk jugs one day!
Martha never misses anything, and I praise the Lord for that (okay sometimes I'm not QUITE so thankful about it....) because it keeps me aware and careful of what I say and do.  I don't realize how often I say certain things, however, until I hear Martha saying them!  For example:  Two different times recently we were in the bathroom at the train station.  Most of the time, there is no soap in the soap dispensers in public bathrooms here, so we normally use a wet wipe to wash our hands.  This particular day, I let Martha try the soap dispenser (she's tall enough now to reach it!), and I heard her say, "Praise the Lord, Mommy, there is soap!"  I was shocked to hear her say, "Praise the Lord," but the Lord has shown me since then how many times I say the same thing!  I'm so glad I can teach my children to praise the Lord in every situation!  Have you praised the Lord today for soap in the public bathrooms?  The other time we were in the bathroom and again most of the time there is no toilet paper in the bathrooms - you learn to carry your own wherever you go, and it's not uncommon for a friend to ask you if you have any paper they can use!  This time, there was toilet paper and Martha started jumping up and down and shouting, "Yeah, there is toilet paper!  Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"  How many of us ever get that excited about toilet paper in the public bathroom?!
I know I've mentioned the train in the past, and it is one of our main ways of transportation here.  We take taxis or combis (small buses) or motos when we go somewhere close by, but for long distance - the train is the best and fastest!  Ian and Martha love the train - especially Ian.  He likes to see the other trains pass ours.  Matt and I were talking one day about how strange it will be for our children when we're on furlough - no trains to ride into the city or to church!
It is such a blessing to have a part in the Deaf Church in Callao!  It is so exciting to see the people growing in the Lord!  We have had two ladies saved in the past two weeks at church!  Rosa, who is Deaf, got saved last week.  Yesterday, Elida (Hearing) got saved!  I will share more about them both later this week.
This picture is not from Callao.  We recently went to visit Liz's family.  Liz goes to the Deaf school here and has been staying with her Aunt and Uncle during the summer break.  What a joy it was to have the opportunity to sit down with her family and share God's Word with them.  Liz has 5 other siblings - 2 of whom are also Deaf!  The young man in the blue and white shirt is Liz's brother Wilbur - he is Deaf.  What an honor and blessing it is to have a part in their lives!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Have you ever thought...?

"My Jungle"
Matt's loving name for all my plants!

Part 1 of "My Jungle"
Have you ever thought about how others see us?  I bought my two "jungle plants" up at the market yesterday!  I wish you could have been there - I'm sure it was quite a sight to behold:  A white woman speaking Spanish, trying to fit two rather large plant pots, two large "jungle plants," some avocados, a grenadilla (one of the many interesting fruits here), and some bananas into her shopping cart.  I fit it all in - although I had to carry the bananas in my hand.  I can't imagine what people were thinking as I passed by with my little red cart loaded with two huge plants!  It probably was as entertaining as the time I walked down the road in the Philippines with a live chicken tucked under my arm!  Oh, the crazy things we American missionaries do!
Part 2 of "My Jungle"
My Market Shopping Cart
Welcome to "My Jungle"

Last night in church, I got to pray with one of the ladies during prayer time.  God gave me a beautiful glimpse of what Heaven will be like someday with all the different languages of all the saved people singing praises and worshipping our wonderful Saviour.  It brought tears to my eyes as I listened to this dear sister in Christ pray.  Have you ever thought how beautiful it is to hear someone pray in their own language?   (I have to tell you though, I did miss part of her prayer because I was thinking about the beauty of praying in another language!)  I was telling Matt last night how blessed I have been to experience the beauty of hearing and seeing people pray in another language.  I have been blessed to hear (and understand) people praying in Cebuano, Sign Language, and now in Spanish!  One of my Deaf friends came by yesterday for a time of sharing and praying.  That was before church.  After church, as I was thinking about the beauty of prayer, the Lord brought a picture to my mind...a picture of my dear friend pouring her heart out to God in sign language!
Have you ever thought....who is going to have to do all the dishes after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?  Now you know what I think about while I'm washing my dishes at 10 o'clock at night!  I'll admit, doing dishes has never been one of my favorite things - unless it is someone else's dishes - is anyone else like that???  I have Philippians 4:8-9 in English and Spanish posted on the wall above my sink - I don't know if thinking about who's going to do all the dishes at the Marriage Supper fits into any of the things mentioned in the list of things I'm supposed to be thinking about or not, but.....I couldn't help wondering, "Who IS going to have to wash all those dishes at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?"  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kicking Against the Pricks

" is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."  Acts 9:5b
You know most of the time we read this story of when Paul got saved, and apply it only to his salvation story.  But do you ever find yourself in this situation?  I must confess that I do.  Circumstances and situations come into our lives that make us uncomfortable or that we just plain don't like, and we start kicking.  I've been reading through the Book of Acts this month, and the Lord has brought this verse to my mind quite often lately.
The more I thought about "kicking against the pricks," the more I realized that when I get my eyes off of Jesus and onto the things around me - that's when I start kicking!  Just like when Peter started sinking as he was walking on the water to Jesus!
Life is not perfect and not one person here on earth is perfect.  But praise the Lord, we have a Saviour who is perfect and has given us his promises - which are also perfect!
The other day, I'll confess, I was kicking pretty hard about some things.  Then the Lord brought me to my senses, and one by one I started giving all those things to the Lord.  One of my favorite solutions to my worries is something the Lord showed me many years ago when I lived in the Philippines as a single missionary:
My Isaiah Solution
Step 1 (My part):  Isaiah 37:14 "And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it:  and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD."  Hezekiah heard the bad news, he had the discouraging thought/problem/circumstances, but he spread it before the LORD.
Step 2 (God's Command):  Isaiah 37:6b "...Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard,..."  God told Hezekiah not to be afraid of the words he had heard (that discouraging thought the Deciever whispers into our ears).
Step 3 (God's Answer/Promise):  Isaiah 37:35 "For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake."  God was going to fight for Hezekiah - He promised and He kept his promise.  God will fight for us, too - when we let him.  Hezekiah had to let God be God, and allow God to use all those circumstances and situations (good and bad) to shape Hezekiah into the person God wanted him to be - to be the best he could be for the Lord and for those around him.
I don't know what you are facing today - I can only share with you what the Lord has been reminding me of these last few days.  I can only follow the Lord's leading and share these thoughts with you this morning....
Kicking against the Pricks?  Sometimes YES!  But praise the Lord, we have a Redeemer who is ready to help us, to save us, to comfort us, and to give us the wisdom and the contentment to go on joyfully for HIM - no matter what is raging around us!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tell me a story

 Martha and Ian love reading books!  We are slowing but surely building our library!  This summer, we have been borrowing books from the Efata Library.  Most of the books are in Spanish, but it doesn't matter to them!  And it's been good for me, as I read them in Spanish, or translate them into English while I read them to the kids!
Martha has been asking me lately to "Tell me a story, Mommy."  So, I've been telling her stories of "A Little Girl I Used To Know."  Sometimes I'll tell her that the little girl was me, and sometimes I don't (but all those stories are from my childhood).  Recently I told her about the "Little Girl" who used to ride on her Daddy's shoulders, but she would put her hands over her Daddy's eyes as they walked!  Martha thought that was pretty funny!  Last night, she wanted to sit on Daddy's shoulders, so when I walked into the living room - this is what I saw!  She had to be reminded not to put her hands over Daddy's eyes - like that "Little Girl"!
 Last night I spent some time "rejuvenating" books!
  The kids have a couple of books that they love, but were starting to come apart.  The Lord gave me the wonderful idea of "Rejuvenating"!  I carefully took the pages out of both of the books and put the pages into plastic page protectors.  Then I put all the pages into a
notebook (3/2 ring binder).  Now the books will last them twice as long!  Before we moved to Peru, I had taken my Dad's old National Geographic magazines and made picture books for each of the kids from the pictures of animals and places that were in the magazines.  I used the same method with those books and they loved them!  Those books kept the kids occupied for hours!
Ian especially loves these books, and since he is still learning to be careful and gentle with books - these are much sturdier for him!  I am thinking I will try to do this with other books in the future - as
they wear out - that way we'll get the most use out of them!  And I can just add to the binder I already have until it gets full, then get another binder!  Praise the Lord for God-given inspiration!
Quite some time ago, I mentioned that I was working on translating Evidence Not Seen into Spanish.  I am still working on it.  Yesterday I finished Chapter 3 and today I am hoping to find time to finish Chapter 4 (it's a short chapter).  I am so thankful for all the help and wisdom the Lord has given me as I work on this project.  This is one of my favorite books, and to read it again as I translate it - word by word, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, the Lord has taught me so much!  Praise the Lord for the Godly examples who have gone before us!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dragons, Helicopters, and Playgrounds

 As many of you know, we recently took a trip to Ecuador.  We had a great time there!  We are back now...ready to keep on going!  I thought you would enjoy some of the pictures we took while we were in Ecuador. 
On Tuesday, we got to go to the "Iguana Park."  By the time we arrived, most of the iguanas were already up in the trees, but there were a few still on the ground!  Martha calls them "dragons"! Martha just got done exclaiming, "I want to go to the Iguana Park again!"
 When we were done visiting the iguanas, we went to the riverfront.  Guayaquil is situated on the mouth of the Guayas River.  There was a play area there - much to the delight of the kids!  They had this helicopter to climb in, on, and all over!  Ian thought he had died and gone to Heaven!  He loves ALL things that GO!!!
 Martha and Ian had a great time playing on the playground at the Bradley's!
 The tires were especially fascinating!