Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When It Pays to Have a Sense of Humor!

I have learned to be very thankful for the sense of humor God has given me - especially since I live on the mission field.  The events of the following story are completely true.  Names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent.  This is a story that will not only have you rolling with laughter, but will also send shivers up your spine!  Without any further ado, I offer you the true story of...."When It Pays to Have a Sense of Humor!"
Life on the Mission Field is many things.  One thing it is NOT:  Dull and boring!  We missionaries each face our own set of challenges, fashioned and given to us by our loving Heavenly Father.  Recently the Lord chose to challenge me (and my family) in the area of ....well, let's just say "Pesky Critters" for now....
As some of you may know, about a month ago, we found a rather large lizard trapped in a corner of our bedroom.  This wasn't one of your cute, ordinary, insurance commercial geckos!  Nope, this was a bonafide lizard.  He was kind of pretty, actually, but he had to go.  Between the two of us, My Beloved and I humanely disposed of him, and it is to be supposed he has joined his own beloved and they are now living "happily ever after".... far away from my house!
Then one calm, quiet evening a few weeks ago, My Beloved and I were startled by SOMETHING scrambling about in the ceiling above our beds! Cue Mysterious Music, please.  After that I started noticing odd things in my big kitchen cabinet.  This cabinet is home to dishes, cups, pots and pans, and all our dry goods items.  First I noticed some rice spilled on the shelf.  Hmmm.... then it was a packet of dry soup mix. (Thankfully, my stash of Ranch Dressing Packets sent to us by a dear family friend was undisturbed!)  One morning we found milk (we get the milk that comes in boxes and can be stored on a shelf) spilled in the cabinet. ????????  My Beloved requested rodent bait when I went to the market that week.  In the meantime, we got plastic containers in which to store everything.  We had our suspicions, but had seen nothing....After my trip to the market, My Beloved strategically placed the bait in a package of cookies.  Did I mention that I had found some torn-open packages?  My poor Beloved, I blamed him!  I have since offered my most humble and heart-felt apology!
Monday (a week ago) night:  We are eating supper and I go to the cabinet to get some cookies for the   Little Persons - they had eaten all their supper.  As I slid the doors open, I heard a thumping noise.  Thinking it was the doors bumping together, I held them still....and still heard thumping.  I calmly called My Beloved over to the cabinet.  Just as I was explaining I heard thumping, I turned and started to reach for a container.  As I did so, a gray pointed face popped up over the back side of the container!  For a split second, everything stopped.  Then I came to my senses, and screamed!!!!  I ran screaming from the cabinet and just about knocked My Beloved flat in my haste to get away!  My Beloved stood in shock as he watched the acrobat hop up onto the container, flip himself up to the next shelf, and disappear.....we closed and secured the cabinet for the night.  Not sure where he came from or where he went, we called the "Handyman" to come in the morning to take a look!
Tuesday morning:  We found the hole where the beggar had chewed his way into my cabinet, and patched it up.  My Beloved set out more bait, and life went on....no more sign of the dirty rat!
Wednesday afternoon:  Two of our Deaf came for our Wednesday service.  Thinking about it now, I don't know why I did it, but I put Chula in our laundry area.  After a few minutes, I thought better of leaving her back there.....I had clothes hanging on the line, and we are still teaching her not to bite and chew on everything.  When I went to get her, I found something that had been chewed up by my precious puppy!  I was speaking rather unkindly to her on the subject as I opened the door to her "room" and deposited her onto her own blanket.  The last thing I remember saying was, "There!  If you want something to chew on, chew on your own towel!"  As I looked down at the towel, my eyes caught sight of something bunched up in the corner where the door closes.  I bent slightly for a closer look, wondering what that wad of fuzz could be.  (I am SO thankful now, I didn't try to just pick it up or kick it!)  When I bent over, I suddenly realized that it wasn't "fuzz" that I was looking at - the eyeballs staring up at me was a dead give-away!  Once again I started screaming!!!  When I screamed, the rat moved - toward me, then away from me!  I slammed the door and the last thing I saw was the rat's tail sticking out under the door!  In my panic, I didn't even think about bolting the door so it couldn't come in - I just ran pell-mell through the house, screaming like a mad woman back to My Beloved, who was on the patio!  I tried to explain in voice and signs what had just happened!  Suddenly, I realized that Chula had followed me back through the house - the door wasn't latched!!  Where was the rat?!?!?! My Beloved and the Deaf man went to see.  Thankfully, the rat was cowering in a different corner of the back porch!  My Beloved tossed some more cookies and bait out to it, and a day or so later, we realized the culprit had permanently expired!  Has there ever been a more thankful missionary wife?  In the middle of all the excitement, we had 4 more Deaf show up for our Wednesday service, giving us a total of 6 Deaf!
While I will admit I was far from pleased about having a "marauder" in my house, I can only imagine how hilarious it must have been to see me - both times - screaming and running through the house like a crazy woman!  Truly it pays great dividends to have a sense of humor - especially when God asks to you serve Him on foreign soil!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Living the Dream Part 3

Iquitos, Peru...what is it really that fascinates me about my city?  Is it all the neat and intersting things to do and see?  Is it seeing the Iron House, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel?  Is it the Boat Museum, which tells the history of Iquitos during the Rubber Boom?  Is it all the neat little shops and restaurants with delicious regional food, like "juane" and "tacacho con cecina" and "chonta" salad? Do I love my city because it has the distinction of being the world's largest city inaccessible by road and the world's farthest inland ocean port?  Each of those things is just one of the many bonuses God has allowed me to enjoy.
I love Iquitos because My Saviour loves Iquitos. He loves every single person who lives, works, or even just visits here.  My Saviour died for each person here. He wants them to be saved and grow in Him.  People like my friends Laly and Maria, who work hard every day to provide for their families.  People like the guard who works across the street.  People like Jessy, who is one of the cashiers at one of our grocery stores.  People like the men and women of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force who help keep our city and country safe.  People just like me.
Yes, I may have a goofy grin on my face when I think about how I get to live here in Iquitos, the city of my prayers and dreams.  But my heart is full...full of love for the other people here who also call Iquitos home.  Yes, Iquitos is my home.  I am a local. And I love it.

Living the Dream Part 2

With my coffee cup beside me, I would like to keep telling you about where God lets me live!
The Amazon River...there are times when I feel like I'm living in a National Geographic documentary!  My house is about 15-20 minutes away from the Amazon River.  After a trip down river to see La Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island - yes, there are really monkeys there and you can play with them!) recently, I decided I needed to learn more about the river I live near.
Back in July, we went to visit Pilpintuwasi (The Butterfly Farm), the river was still up fairly high.  About two weeks later, I was on the river again, taking a couple of young ladies to visit the river.  I found myself thinking, "Is the river really lower, or does it just seem that way?"  About a week after that, our family was walking along "The Boulevard," the street/walking area that overlooks on of the the rivers.  I was shocked at how much lower the river was!  I don't know how to describe that feeling to you...it was absolutely astounding!  It is such a noticable difference!  Then just recently, when we went to Monkey Island, the river was down even lower...and noticably rougher, I might add!
As I did some studying about the Amazon River, I was startled to learn that the river actually rises and falls about 30 feet each year!  We saw the lines on the trees at Monkey Island that show where the rivers reaches at its highest point.  Incredible!  Those lines were higher than My Beloved's head, and he is 6'2"!
The Amazon is also home to some of God's most amazing creatures.  We have all kinds of fish that live in the river...from the famous Piranhas to the giant Paiches (Arapaimas), the bull sharks, the mantees, and the pink river dolphins!  Incidentally, we got to see some of the river dolphin jumping out of the water in front of our boat on that way back home from Monkey Island!
Because of the rivers, Iquitos is almost an island - it is blocked in on three different sides by the rivers.  Our main form of transporation is the mototaxi - a motorcycle with passenger space behind the driver.  There are also the "Colectivos." They are the "city buses."  They have certain routes and pick up or drop off people along the way.  Personal vehicles like cars and pick-up trucks are definitely in the minority here!  I love riding in the motos!  They are much like the "tricicads" I used in the Philippines.
We have two major supermarkets where I do most of my shopping.  Now please understand, when I say "major supermarkets," I am not talking about Krogers or Safeway or Price Chopper or any of those types of stores!  But they have what we need, and I love them!  Our meat is fresh, and you can purchase almost any part you want!  We have a bread company just down around the corner from my house....it smells wonderful if you pass by about 10 a.m. or 3 p.m.....fresh-baked bread!  We have certain streets in the city where certain businesses are located.  For example:  most of the pet/feed stores are located on Avenida Grau.  If you want medical supplies, they are on a different street, etc.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Living the Dream Part 1

Two of My Little Persons are in Science class with their Professor (a.k.a. My Beloved).  My third Little Person is playing with her brother's truck that he gave her to play with this morning while he is in school!  So I thought I would spend a few moments with you and a delicious cup of coffee!
You know, recently I talked about being normal (enough with the snickers of laughter, already!).  There is something liberating about realizing you are normal.  It relieves a whole mountain of pressure to know that you are normal - you are exactly who God created you to be, and that it is okay!  Honestly, I think we missionaries struggle the most with feeling "normal."  We feel bad because our "normal" is not the "normal" of main-stream Americans.  Our kids don't grow up playing football (mine play soccer), going to Walmart or Taco Bell (one of my Little Persons was recently talking about going to Taco Bell!), or getting their driver's license the moment they turn 16!  But they have their struggles and triumphs just like every other child - whether they live in America or not.  We recently celebrated Martha losing her first tooth!  On a recent field trip, we discovered that Ian has a wonderful sense of direction!  Phebe tried to join in with us as we did the Pledges this morning before we started school.  To be sure, we could hardly keep from laughing as she put her hand on her tummy instead of her heart, but let's give her some credit....she's only one and a half years old!
In honor of being normal, I have been thinking that I would like to share with you what is "normal" for us.  To do so, I would like to start with where we live.  We live in Iquitos, Peru, South America.  Let me tell you about our city....
Almost 10 years ago, I was introduced to and fell in love with the city of Iquitos, though at the time, I had never been there nor had I any idea that one day God would let me live in Iquitos.  You see, almost 10 years ago I began praying about a certain young man who was going to be a missionary to the Deaf in Peru.  Since I already had assurance from the Lord that this young man would one day be my husband (I'll tell you that story sometime soon, don't worry!), I decided I had better start learning all I could about Peru.  I was living in the Philippines at the time.  I can still remember sitting at my computer, with a notebook in hand, writing furiously, and trying to learn all I could about the country that would one day be my home.  It was during that time that I read about Iquitos.  "The world's largest city inaccessible by road...accessible only by boat or plane."  How it fired my imagination!  I began to wonder about the people.  Were there missionaries there?  What was their religion?  Did they have any Baptist churches there?  What would it be like to live in such a place?  I began to pray for the city of Iquitos along with that young man.....
Almost 10 years later....here I am, LIVING in Iquitos!  Not visiting, not just passing through, but LIVING in the city of my prayers and dreams!  Wow!  Now let's be honest.  Would I call Iquitos the most beautiful city on the planet?  No.  But to me it is beautiful, because this is where God has put me.  He has given me one (of the many) of the desires of my heart - to live in Iquitos, and try to reach the people for Him!  I find myself riding down the road with a goofy grin on my face when I think about the fact that I get to live here - a place most people only dream of visiting!
Iquitos sits on the convergence of three rivers:  the Itaya, the Nanay, and the Amazon.  We have military bases for all three branches of the Peruvian military:  the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Iquitos sits right in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest.  I read recently that Iquitos is the northernmost city in Peru.  It is hot all year long - oh, how I love that little detail (I hate being cold!)! We have people from all over the world either living or visiting here!  There is even a Jewish community here!  We have all sorts of interesting things to see and do - like the Manatee Rescue Center, La Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island), the Iron House - just to name a few!
Since this is almost a ridiculously long post, next time I'll tell you some things that I have learned about the Amazon River!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

We Are Normal

The Lord showed me a couple of  very profound things recently, and I would like to share with you what I learned.  Are you ready?  Here it is....Number 1:  I learned that I am normal!  Now I realize that those of you who know me best are throwing your heads back and howling with laughter!  Sarah.....NORMAL?!?!?  WAH HA HA HA!!!!  I told you I learned something profound.
Yep, I am normal.  I feel hungry, sad, frustrated, worried, tired, happy, and silly just like you.  The only difference between you and me is that I don't live in America.  Other than that, I am the same as you.  I have to go grocery shopping, pay bills, feed My Beloved and My Little Persons who are "dying of starvation"!!!  I homeschool my children.  I now even have a dog! (Her name is Chula, by the way, and she is a lab-boxer puppy.  More on Chula later....)
Lesson Number 2:  I learned that not only am I normal (I hear those stifled snickers of laugher....), but my family is normal too!  My Beloved doesn't work in a factory or office from 9-5.  My Beloved is a Missionary Pastor.  I stand back in amazement at how God works in his life, so he can faithfully deliver God's message to needy sinners - hearing and Deaf.  I am grateful for My Beloved's obedience to the Lord - even when it is the most unpopular thing to do!
My Little Persons are normal.  They struggle - just like any other child.  They play, they fuss with each other, sometimes they disobey.  They surprise me with little notes of love, sweaty hugs and hearty kisses.  They dirty their clothes, they learn to make their beds.  One of my Little Persons delights in putting things in containers - clothes in the laundry basket, toys in the toy box, and trash in the trashcan.  I have to watch out though....sometimes things get scrambled, and the toys & books end up in the trash can - not in the toy box or the book shelf.  Oops!
My Little Persons go to school.  They learn, they struggle, they might even be an average student and not an exceptional student....and that is OKAY.  God made them.  He gave them their own special strengths and weaknesses.  One of my Little Persons struggles to make the words and letters on a page do what they should, but writes beautifully!  One of my Little Persons reads like a pro, but sometimes gets sloppy with handwriting.  As a teacher, I swing between joyous praise over concepts learned, and gloom and despair from wondering if that certain concept will ever penetrate into their minds!  I agonize over how to help them better, how to encourage them, and yes, sometimes how to motivate them!
What am I saying exactly?  I am saying that I am normal.  My Beloved is normal.  My Little Persons are normal.  We make mistakes, but with the Lord's help we get up and go on - striving to do better for Him!  We go through trials and temptations.  The Master is trying to make us more and more like Him, as we allow Him to work in our lives and change us.  We are not "Super-Spiritual Beings" who never struggle or fail.  We are human.  We grow in the Lord, sometimes just one jump ahead of the people we are trying to reach for the Lord, but we keep on trying.  We are normal, and that is okay.  God made us that way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Learning to Be a Mary (When You Are a Martha) Part 4

So what is the key?  How does a "Martha" learn to be a "Mary"?
1.  Salvation
Isaiah 45:22 says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:  for I am God, and there is none else."  For Martha's testimony, please read John 11:25-27.  It all starts with salvation.  A "Martha" can never be a "Mary" without salvation.
2.  Remember
Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them."  Martha had to be reminded about "that good part." (Luke 10:42)  She had to be reminded of God's promises.
(John 11:40)
3.  Submission
Martha submitted to the Lord's correction.  Luke 10:41-42
Martha submitted to the Lord's salvation.  John 11:25-27
Martha submitted to the Lord's reminder of His Words.  John 11:40

With these three things, Martha learned to be a Silent Servant - busy serving, yes, but even busier being silent and listening to every word her Master had to say.  She went from calling Him "Lord" to calling Him "Master."

Salvation happens one time, but every day we must remember God's promises.  Every day, we must submit and listen carefully to what He has to say.  I want to be like the Martha we see in John 12:1-2. Martha the Brave, Martha the Organizer, Martha the Submitted Servant - always listening to hear what the Master has to say.

Learning to Be a Mary (When You Are a Martha) Part 3

When Martha complained to Jesus about Mary, Christ never said, "Martha, sit down, be quiet, and listen!"  Instead, He gently showed her a picture of herself - as if holding up a mirror for her to gaze into - then reminded her of the One Thing that was needful.  He gently challenged her to accept that needful thing, as Mary had done - salvation, then submission.
I can see Martha now...standing before the Lord - her hands on her hips, perhaps even with a stomp of her foot, like a naughty, little child.  Blurting out the words of hurt and frustration, even hot anger, "Lord, dost thou not care....????  Don't you care, Lord?  I'm over here breaking my back to serve You and Mary's sitting over there doing NOTHING!!!  Selfish thing - why don't You make her get up and help me?!?!?"
Isn't that how we act so many times?  I know I have.  I spit out venomous words to my Saviour - demanding an answer, demanding a solution, demanding that others come down to my level - instead of remembering that times with Jesus cannnot be replaced.  The dishes can wait.  The laundry will be there.  Those lesson plans are not top priority.  My relationship with my Lord must be first!  I must sit at His feet and take all His words into my heart - only then can I serve with the proper humility.  Only then can I call Him "Master."  ONly then can I serve Him quietly and with full submission.  Only then can I be the right example for those around me - my husband, my children, our church family, the Deaf, my friends, and the lost who live all around me.
Martha the Brave, Martha the Doer, Martha the Organizer and House-Keeper Extraordinaire!  How I love Martha!  I may not be the housekeeper extraordinaire, but am just like Martha the Doer - always busy about something.  How grateful I am that God chose to show us Martha's whole story - how she went from Martha the Insulted Servant to Martha the Silent and Submissive Servant.  Still serving, still busy doing, but listening to what the Master had to saay.  That's the Martha I want to be like.

Learning to Be a Mary (When You Are a Martha) Part 2

Martha loved Jesus - of that there is no doubt.  But it was hard for Martha to just sit still and listen.  She listened while doing, but this led to missing valuable lessons from the Lord.  It caused her to be resentful of Mary, who sat and listened to every word Jesus spoke. (Luke 10:39-40)
If you skip ahead to the end of Martha's story, you will find her still serving (John 12:1-2), but here we see a change in her heart's attitude.  By this time, she had witnessed the resurrection from the dead of her beloved brother, Lazarus.  Here in John 12, while she is still serving, we see a softer Martha.  We see her, not as a busy, bustling servant, but as a listening servant.  What changed?  What made that difference in Martha?  The rebuke she had received from Jesus the first time He had ever visited her house?  Maybe.  I believe the real change happened the day Martha met Jesus on the road to her house, after Lazarus had died. (John 11).  She accepted Christ for Who He was.  In other words, I believe Martha got saved.
Oh, she was still the opinionated Martha we saw in Luke 10, but here in John 11, we see her learning to follow the Lord - learning to trust Him completely.  In John 11:40, we see the Lord remind her of His promises - gently and lovingly.  While we don't have a written record of Martha's response, I believe she humbly and sweetly submitted her will to the Saviour.
John 12:2 isi the last mention of Martha that I can find, but she had obviously learned the lesson of sweet submission to the Saviour.  She was still busy serving, but I believe this time she was hearing every word that fell from the Master's lips.
Martha had called Jesus "Lord" in Luke 10.  In John 11, after sh me Jesus on the road, she called him "Master."

Learning to Be a Mary (When You Are a Martha) Part 1

When I started this blog, I made a promise to the Lord.  I promised that I would share with you whatever the Lord gave me to share.  A couple of days ago, God gave me the following post.  It's quite lengthy, so I'll break it up into parts.  I pray that it will be a blessing to you as it has been to me.
Have you ever thought about which Bible person you are most like?  I don't mean the one you wish you were, or the one you hope to be someday.  I mean the one you are right now.    For me, it is Martha.  She reminds me of me - always busy doing, working at something.  Here is how I see Martha....Martha the Brave, the Valiant, the Organizer (I can organize myself right into oblivion!).  Martha the House-Keeper Extraordinaire - however else I might be like Martha, here is where we are definitely different.  A House-Keeper Extraordinaire I am NOT!  I can barely keep all my plates spinning, but not Martha!  She had it all together!
Yes, I admire Martha - her strength of character, that ability of hers to "keep it all together."  It was probably Martha to whom Mary and Lazarus turned in a family crisis.  Perhaps Martha had even raised Mary and Lazarus.  There is no mention of their parents in the Scriptures.  We have no idea how long they had been without parents before they met Jesus.
Then one day, they met Jesus.  We don't know exactly how they had met Jesus.  The Bible only tells us in Luke 10:38, "and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house."  Martha was obviously the oldest.  She carried the burdens of the household.  the Bible says she "was cumbered about much serving."  She couldn't sit still and do nothing.  Modern doctors would say she had RLS - "Restless Leg Syndrome" or maybe even that she had OCD - "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder"!  Whatever it was, Martha was driven - driven to always be doing.  Maybe it had become a habit born out of necessity.  If she had raised Mary and Lazarus, then the full responsibility of getting things done had always fallen to her.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Between the Rain Drops

First let me say that I LOVE living in Iquitos, Peru!  In so many ways it reminds me of General Santos City, Philippines, where I lived for 7 and 1/2 years as a single missionary.  But I love Iquitos most of all because God has brought us here.  I giggle to myself sometimes as we ride down the street in a mototaxi.  I giggle because I get to live where most people only dream of visiting!  So many people all over the world, spend thousands of dollars to come visit here - yet God allows me to LIVE here....WOW!  I pray I will never lose the wonder of living here in Iquitos.
It rains here regularly - sometimes every day, sometimes every couple of days.  I love the sound of the rain on our tin roof!  So what do I do between the rain drops?

Between the raindrops, I hang up laundry on my clothes line.  I love hanging my clothes up on the line - the sun dries them so quickly!  I am enjoying praying for whoever God brings to my mind and heart as I hang up my clothes - between the raindrops.  Thankfully, I am learning exactly how many loads of laundry I can get washed AND dried in one day!  Sometimes, (like in the picture here) I have to hang my clothes under the partial roof because the raindrops come before my clothes are dry!

Between the raindrops, we have school.  We are learning all kinds of interesting things this year - everything from nouns, verbs, and learning to read to tracing our shadows on the ground to see how the sun moves across the sky!  We are studying geography this year (always my favorite topic!) and learning a little about each of our 50 States!  I think later this year, we will dive into World History!  Math and Handwriting are always on the menu for the school year.  And who can forget about Art Class?!?  I can't - Martha and Ian won't let me.  I think they live for Fridays - Art Class Day (plus the end of the school week)!
Between the raindrops, we live.  Just like everyone else.  We live in the place God planned for us.  And we love it - living between the raindrops!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Merry Heart

This morning I would like to share some of the humorous things we have experienced.  Life is never dull, especially when you live on the Mission Field!  It is a privilege to raise my children on the Mission Field.  It is also a great responsibility - I don't take it lightly that my children's attitudes concerning the Mission Field are formed by my attitude concerning the Mission Field.  I praise the Lord for the sense of humor He has given me!  These stories happened when we were here in Iquitos in May......

One evening we were getting ready for baths, when I discovered that not only was the water cold, but also there was no electricity in the bathroom.

Mommy (speaking excitedly, but groaning inwardly):  "We're going to have an adventure!  We get to take a bath IN THE DARK!!!  The water will be cold.  This is an adventure!!!"
Remember, I have a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and a 1 year old.  Their reactions as the cold water touches them......

Martha (speaking in the tones of an army cadence - trying to convince herself):  "This is an adventure!  This is an adventure!  This is an adventure!"

Ian (in mournful tones):  "This is NOT an adventure!"

Phebe:  "WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!"
One day during the week, as Ian was putting on his shoes, he told me, "Now I'm putting on my sandias!"  "Sandias" is the Spanish word for "watermelons."  What he meant to say was "sandalias" ("sandals")!  I gave him an A for effort!  Besides how many 4 year olds know 3 different languages?  Even we grown-ups make hilarious language blunders at times!
A conversation with Martha....

Martha:  "Mommy!  Look at the mosquitos!  They're HUGE!!"
Mommy:  "Those aren't mosquitos, Honey.  Those are dragonflies!"
Why God made bugs......

Martha & Ian:  "Mommy, why did God make bugs?"
Mommy:  "So the spiders and lizards would have something to eat."

Later that day....

Ian:  "Mommy!  I know why God made bugs!"
Mommy:  "Really?!?  Why, Ian?"
Ian:  "God made bugs so we could SQUASH 'em!!"

I LOVE his reasoning - don't you?

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."  Proverbs 17:22

Friday, June 19, 2015

The View From My Front Door

One of the first blog posts I ever wrote was called "The View From My Window."  Now, three years later, that view has changed.  On June 9, 2015, after much praying and waiting on the Lord, we moved to Iquitos, Peru.  The Lord has given me a different view that I would like to share with you this morning.
This view isn't one of the hustle and bustle of a big, capital city.  This view is of a small city which sits on the convergence of three rivers:  the Itaya, the Nanay, and the Amazon.  Iquitos has a couple of unique distinctions:
1.  It is said to be the world's largest city inaccessible by road.  You can get here by plane or by boat.
2.  It is said to be the world's furthest inland ocean port.  Large ships can come all the way up the  Amazon to Iquitos.
For one thing, my view has changed from a window to a door.  From my front door, I can see the spiritual need of about 440,000 people - Deaf and Hearing.  I see people who need a Saviour, not a new church - People who need restoration.
My house sits at the end of a dirt road.  It may not be the place I would have picked for my new house, but it is the place God, in His wisdom, has picked for us.  It is amazing to me how many people pass by my "house at the end of a dirt road."  God has given us a secure place to live and serve Him.  I am grateful.
My view includes the adventure of having children who are adjusting to a new way of life.  Children who are adjusting to all kinds of bugs, birds, and other wildlife! The excitement of "There's a dragonfly IN the house, Mommy!!!"  The excitement of a tree frog on the patio wall.  The blessing of children who love to pass out tracts.
My view includes my husband - who loves the Lord, who loves the Peruvians, who loves the Deaf, and who loves me - even when I'm a grouch! I sat and watched this dear man witness to a family yesterday afternoon. I watched as he listened patiently to the Patriarch of the family. I heard the compassion in his voice as he encouraged this man to forget the past and go forward for the Lord. I saw him hold my littlest girl, so I could witness to my friend. I was grateful for his words of love and encouragement to me, because I felt sad that my friend is still not saved.
And so, I sit here this morning with my coffee cup in hand, watching the new view from my new window, trying to find the words to help you feel like you are sitting here beside me......enjoying the view from my front door.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

At Home in Iquitos

We are home. On June 9, God allowed us to move to Iquitos, Peru.  We have been busy getting settled, waiting for our shipment, and getting to know our new home city.
We visited here in our neighborhood this past Saturday.  On Sunday, we had the first service for Iglesia Bautista Puerta Abierta (Open Door Baptist Church). We had our family, a neighbor lady, and 3 neighbor children. We also had two gentleman listening in from across the street.
We are excited about all the opportunities that are before us!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"The Story of Dinosaur Jack"

"Dinosaur Jack"

There was a dinosaur, his name was Jack -
And he went to Sunday School - on the railroad track!
And he got on the train at Parque Industrial -
And he got on the train, and he sat down.
And he rode, and he rode, and he rode, and he rode,
And he rode, and he rode some more!

And he got off the train at La Cultura - 
And he walked down the street - to find a combi!
And he found a combi - a "Sol y Mar"
And he got in, and he sat down,
And he heard the cobrador say.....
"Sube, sube, baja, baja, 
La Marina, Faucett, Aeropuerto..."
And he rode, and he rode, and he rode, and he rode,
And he rode, and he rode some more!

And he got off the combi at Santa Rosa - 
And he got off the combi, and walked down the street.
And, Oh! the people he did meet!

And he invited them to come to Sunday School - 
To learn about Jesus, and how He died for our sins.
How He died on the cross, and was buried,
How He rose again - on the third day!
And how He is coming again someday - 
And the people were glad they had come to Sunday School!

And Dinosaur Jack walked back down the street 
And got on a combi - a "Sol y Mar"!
And he rode, and he rode, and he rode, and he rode,
And he rode, and he rode some more!
And he got on the train at La Cultura -
And he got on the train, and he sat down.
And he rode, and he rode, and he rode, and he rode,
And he rode, and he rode some more!

And he got off the train at Parque Industrial
And he got off the train, and found a moto.
He found a moto with a driver named Fidel - 
And he rode all the way back to Efata.

And he went inside, and he went up the stairs, 
And he went in his house, and he changed his clothes
And he got into bed, and slept all night....
And that is the story of Dinosaur Jack!

First and Last

This past Sunday, we got to go as a family to the Deaf church in Dulanto, Callao.  The entire day, my mind was flooded with memories made with those dear Deaf!
2012....It was the first time the kids and I ever got to go to the church there in Dulanto.  Matt had been going for a month or so, and finally the kids and I got to go, too!  The train ride was exciting!  We got to ride on the "red train."  I made up a song for the kids - so the train ride wouldn't seem so tedious.  "Dinosaur Jack" has become one of my children's favorite songs!  You might even say he has been our mascot the last couple of years!
The crowded combi was wonderful!  I don't think I'll ever forget that trip - the combi was so crowded, I had to stand the whole way - but I loved it!  A dear, sweet, older Peruvian lady offered to let Martha sit on her lap.  Ian was with Matt.  I was thrilled to be a part of the "Public Transportation Culture"!  It seemed as if my eyes looked everywhere - trying to take it all in - not wishing to miss anything!
2015.....Our last trip as a family to Dulanto, Callao - at least for now.  This time we got to ride on the "green train."  The "green train" is much more sleek and modern than the "red train."  My children miss the "red train."  This time the train was full, but in keeping with our tradition, I sang "Dinosaur Jack" one more time.  I ended up singing it again later in the day, because Ian didn't get to hear it as he had been sitting with Tio Frank when I sang it that morning.
The combi ride was fairly quiet.  Phebe fell asleep on my lap.  It still seemed as if my eyes looked everywhere - trying once more to take it all in - all the changes that had occurred over the past 2 years - yet all the things that were still the same.
As we walked down the street to the church, I thought of how GOOD the Lord has been to us.  In all the times we made that trip, we never were threatened or harmed in any way.  I never felt like a stranger or out of place.  It was like coming home - like I belonged.
What a blessing it was to see our dear Deaf members!  What a joy it is to see how they have grown and matured in the Lord!  How grateful I am that God has given them a Deaf Pastor!  How special it is to see them love and support their Deaf Pastor!
For me, life is like a beautiful tapestry.  God is the Master Weaver - He puts strands in, and pulls others out.  Most of the time, I only see the ugly back-side of the tapestry - but every once in a while, God gives me a glimpse of the beautiful masterpiece He is creating.  I often wonder what God is doing when I see that "ugly" strand being woven into place.  I wonder how it could possibly fit into God's picture.  Then a flash of a golden strand being inserted into just the right place.
As God moves us to Iquitos, He gives me a glimpse of that beautiful masterpiece.   Who, but God, could have known that sending me to the Philippines was the best preparation I could have received for living in Iquitos, Peru?  Who, but God, could have known when He put us in Callao, that many of the Deaf we have worked with the last couple of years are from Iquitos?  He gives me that glimpse that assures my heart of the blessed fact of Romans 8:28!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Leap of Faith

In about 3 weeks time, I will be living in a new house, next to new neighbors, in a new city, helping my husband start a new church.  Exciting? Incredibly!  Nervous?  Absolutely!!! Scared (out of my mind)?  Yes.
On our recent trip to Iquitos, Peru, God gave us a house.  While it doesn't have the yard and the avocado tree we have been praying for, it has exactly what God wants for us to have for our house - a place to start a church.
Exciting?  Incredibly!  We have neighbors.  We have neighbors who have children.  We have families all around us who need Christ.  We have the opportunity, the privilege, and the command to reach out to these families for Christ.  And the Deaf?  Absolutely! We have the opportunity to reach more Deaf and their families for Christ.  We are so excited about all the possibilities!
Nervous??  Scared??  Yes.  I battle with the fears of the unknown.  I struggle with the anxiety of packing and shipping our things to a new location.  I feel concern for my children as they leave behind friends and playmates.  I worry about bugs and other creepy crawlies (Note:  How is it I could be so brave and invincible towards bugs when I was a single missionary, but now that I am married and have my own children "every thing that creepeth upon the earth" sends me into an orbit of panic and terror?!?!?!?)  I feel sad to leave behind people who have become as dear to me as my own family.
Yet in the midst of all these feelings, my mind echoes with the beautiful verses of Romans 8.  It is no accident God led me to study this precious chapter during this month.  He knew I would need those verses - those verses of comfort and strength.  Verses of hope and encouragement.  Verses that remind me of His unfailing love and grace.  Verses that tell me that no matter what happens, He is in control and He allows everything for my good.  Verses that remind me that I am MORE than a conqueror through Christ!
I rest in the comfort of knowing that as I take this step leap of faith, God is with me.  He is holding my hand and walking with me.  He is already there in the future, waiting to catch me as I take that leap....yes, into the dark unknown.  But more than that....into the next part of His perfect plan for my life and the life of my family.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

When Negatives are Good

The day before yesterday, I finished my study of Psalm 18 (along with 2 Samuel 21-22).  What a blessing those chapters have been to me!  So full of God's eternal goodness, love, and care for His people - whether those people be Jews or Christians!  As April drew to a close, I began thinking about and asking the Lord where I should go next for my "Chapter of the Month" study.  He directed me to Romans 8.  Earlier in April, while I was still studying Psalm 18, the Lord showed me how Romans 8 (especially the last 5 verses) connected with Psalm 18.
I began counting the days until May 1st.  Yesterday morning, I read Romans 8.  It is not an unfamiliar chapter to me, but God gave me "new eyes" as I read the 39 verses that make up Chapter 8.  My eyes (and thoughts) were arrested at the fifth word of verse 1 - "no."  I made a list of all the "negatives" (no, not, none, etc.) I could find.  Did you know there are more than 30 negatives listed in those 39 verses?
I began thinking about how "negatives" are so unacceptable in today's culture.  No one likes the word "No."  No one wants to be "negative."  Society frowns on correction.  "Negatives" are bad - according to our human thinking.  Yes, I know.....there are things in life that must be negative.  Sometimes (okay, many times) we must tell our children, "No."  We consider "negatives" to be bad things. But here in Romans 8, we have a whole list of "negatives" that really are good things.
Let me give you an example:  Romans 1:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."  NO condemnation - that's a good thing - a very good thing!  Isn't a blessing to rest in the fact that no matter what our past has been, when we are saved, we are NOT condemned?!  I don't know about you, but that makes me want to grin like crazy!
My favorite part of the chapter is the list Pual gives at the end of all the things that cannot conquer us or separate us from the love of Christ.  I sure am thankful for that list of negatives - aren't you?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Because He Loves Me

Yesterday my right hand hero man went with me up to the market.
We stopped first at the "Yarn Shop" (I'll have to get a picture of that for you sometime!), to pick up a crochet hook and some yarn for one of my students. (Did I mention that I am teaching a crochet class to the High School Deaf Girls?)  Then we had to go see Rosie.  No trip to the market is complete without stopping by to see Rosie!  Who is Rosie?  Rosie is the lady who sells fruit.  She is an expert at picking out the exact fruit you want - just tell her if you want it for today (ripe and ready to eat), or for tomorrow or the next day (not quite so ripe).  She especially loves my children!  She always has an orange or a banana ready for each of us when she sees us coming! (Another picture I should get for you!) After buying some bananas and savoring the oranges she gave us, we said "Ciao!" (Traditional Peruvian good-bye), and continued on our way.  We were finished with our shopping and  were headed back out to the street to walk home.  Ian chattered as we walked along looking at different "shops" and stepped around sleeping dogs.  On our way out, we passed a "Plant Shop."  I just had to stop - I love plants and flowers, even though I'll probably never win the "Most Successful Gardener" or the "Gardener of the Year" award!  The lady had all kinds of plants and flowers - and to my great joy - SEEDS!  I was so excited to see those seeds!  I didn't buy any at that moment, but decided I would certainly return to make a purchase.  Ian and I looked at and admired all the flowers and plants.  Suddenly, Ian pointed to a particular flower and said, "Mommy, I would like to buy that flower for you, because I love you!  Can you call Daddy and ask him if I can?"  Ohhhh!!!!  Talk about your heart melting right into a puddle at your feet!
Well, what else could I do except call Daddy?!  So we called Daddy and Daddy told him that if it wasn't too much, Ian could by the flower for Mommy.  We went back to the "Flower Shop" and Ian showed the lady which plant he wanted.  He gave her the money, and we started for home - very pleased with our purchase.  On the way home, Ian told me the flower was because he loves me and for my Spiritual Birthday (which isn't until August, but that's okay with me!)
So my beautiful plant is sitting in a place of honor - right between my coffee things and my tray of spices!  It is right where I can see it from any place in the kitchen or when I look behind me while I sit at the desk working on the computer!  It is my special reminder of how much I am loved.  It is a reminder to continually pray for my little son - that he would always be so thoughtful and so loving to those around him.  
This month I have been studying Psalm 18.  Wow!  What a "truck-load of blessings" that has been!  I found myself thinking about all the things God does that David listed in that chapter.  Did you know that 2 Samuel 22 is almost identical to Psalm 18?  And when you read 2 Samuel 21, you understand exactly why David wrote chapter 22, which also became Psalm 18.  Then you fast-forward to Romans 8, which tells us "we are more than conquerors"!  See what I mean?  As I was thinking this morning about all those wonderful things God did for David, and does for me (and you - if we'll just let Him!), I find myself asking, "Why?"  The answer is so simple.....
Because He Loves Me!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Teach Me Thy Paths

Shhh!!! It is quiet time and two of my three kiddos are actually sleeping!  Phebe and Ian are snoozing peacefully, and Martha went with Daddy on an adventure to the Post Office!  So here I am typing as fast as my little fingers can go, so I can post this before someone needs me!  Hee!  Hee!
Today I would like to share with you about a brand new website.  It is a website that is designed to help Sunday School teachers, missionaries, or anyone who finds themselves teaching a children's class or needing a visual for a lesson you already have prepared.  My dear friend Sandra Means (whom I admire and respect and love greatly!) has put together a website called Teach Me Thy Paths.  She has Sunday School lessons, visuals, coloring sheets, and other resources.  I am so excited to have a website I can go to that already has materials with verses in the King James Version!  She has even graciously added a section of coloring pages done in Spanish! (I can hardly wait to put those to use!)  She is still adding information to the website, so check back often!  If you have questions for Sandra about something you are looking for, please feel free to contact her.  I trust her website will be a blessing to you as it already has been for me.
Have a Beautiful Day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Martians and Dry Soup

A friend of my recently said, "Language is beautiful!" I agree. Language is beautiful, but sometimes it is just plain funny - especially when you have learned another language besides your own! When I lived in the Philippines, I learned Cebuano.  Then God brought Hubby into my life, we got married, and moved to Peru. I'll admit was was nervous about learning another language.  I had fears of being confused and I had visions of my tongue being completely twisted into knots as I struggled to find the right word or the right conjugation of a word!

So here I am three years down the road of speaking another language. Are there times of confusion? Yep. Do I sometimes find myself with a twisted tongue in the middle of a conversation? Absolutely! It has been a challenge to keep Cebuano and Spanish straight in my head sometimes. There have been times when I say something, and the person I'm talking to suddenly gives me a blank stare. I scramble around in my mind to try to figure out what I just said that caused that look. Then I start laughing, because usually that look has been caused by the fact that I just used the wrong language! Oops! I often wonder how in the world Hudson Taylor kept all his languages straight!

Then there are the comical moments, where my English brain just doesn't quite get it. Or I (Hubby included) suddenly realize the English equivalent of a word! For example: here in Peru they have a dish called "Sopa Seca." My Translating-to-English mind tells me, "Dry Soup." DRY SOUP?!?! To an American, soup is soup. It has liquid. It is not dry. If it's dry, it's not soup. So I ask, "What is dry soup?" As it turns out, it isn't really a soup. It has noodles and other things, but not really a lot of broth.  Hubby (my personal chef) explains that it is like a braise. Hmmm. I smile.

Then there are the hilarious moments. For example: my children love eating "marcianos." Translated into English (literally)? Martians. By now you are asking, "What in the world are those poor MK's being given to eat? Popsicles. Really?
Marciano (Martian)
American Marciano (American Popsicle)

Peruvian Marciano (Peruvian Popsicle)


So....what are my children eating anyway?  I'll let you decide.  Remember, it all depends on which language you are eating in!  

In the meantime, I'll praise the Lord for the sense of humor He gave me, and thank Him for the beautiful gift of language He has blessed me with - four times over!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I was Challenged - Are you?

If you ask my Hubby, he can tell you how many times I get irritated with the "news" on the Internet.  I get frustrated because sometimes it seems like all the media can talk about is Hollywood gossip, and not real news.  I have grumbled more than once about this fact.  Yesterday, Hubby called me into the living room to see a certain article.  I reluctantly agreed.  The article and video he showed me not only touched my heart, but it challenged me.  I hope it will do the same for you.
If an entire neighborhood can learn sign language just to show a Deaf man a new video service for the Deaf, to what lengths should I be willing to go in order to show a Deaf person that Jesus loves them and died for them?  What am I willing to do to show a Hearing person the Gospel?

Friday, March 6, 2015

No Rights

In this day and age it seems that people clamor for their rights.  If you listen to the news, it won't be long until you hear about this group or that demanding their rights.  Even as a Christian, sometimes I get to thinking abut my own rights, and what I deserve.  And the reality is....I deserve nothing.
For the month of March, I am studying Isaiah 53.  What a blessing it has been already, and it has only been a few days.  As I am reminded again of how much Jesus suffered so that I can have my sins forgiven, I am also reminded of Philippians 2:5-8.
The Lord has convicted my heart concerning offenses and being offended.  Offenses will come.  People do and say things that hurt my feelings.  Recently I was explaining to the Lord how offended I was about a certain circumstance.  (Let me just add something here.....Did you ever notice how far you get when you start "explaining" things to the Lord?  If you're like me, you don't get very far at all!  Not only that, but that "certain circumstance" was something that will have absolutely no value when I stand before the Lord someday!)  So....I'm standing there "explaining" to the Lord why I have the right to be offended.  The Lord patiently listened to me, but I didn't get my answer until the next morning.....
The next morning I was again reading Isaiah 53, and thinking of Philippians 2:5-8.  The answer was so glaringly obvious - it was like running into a brick wall at full speed!  It was one of those, "Whoa! I have to stop and take a moment to absorb the gravity of this truth!" moments.  Am I the only one who ever has those moments?  Something that is so simple - yet so profound - that it is absolutely staggering to the mind and heart!  Yep, that's where I was at that moment.
The answer is simple:  I have NO RIGHT to be offended.  When I got saved, I gave up my rights to my Saviour.  I have NO RIGHT to react.  Psalm 119:165 tells me that nothing is to offend me!
I am supposed to be like Jesus - that's what it means to be a Christian.  That means when offenses come (and they will), I am not supposed to do anything.  What's more - I don't have to do anything - Jesus will take care of it, if I'll let Him!  The Lord reminded me of Jacob and Laban.  How many times did Laban wrong Jacob?  Yet, we don't see Jacob doing anything to defend himself or get even with Laban.  Then the Lord directed my eyes to Isaiah 53 again.  Over and over that chapter explains how much Jesus suffered for us (can we use the word "offended"?) yet He never said a word.  He was hurt deeply, yet He forgave much.  Never did He tell the Father, "But I...."  "But my rights...."  "Did you see what they did to me????"
Philippians 2:5 says, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"  If I want to be like Christ, then I must have the mind of Christ - think like Christ, act like Christ.  That means I give up my rights.  The verses 6-8speak of being a servant, of not having a reputation for oneself, of being humble.  I heard it said once, "Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you, even though you have hurt me."  That little quote has been such a help to me.  It is a blessing and encouragement when I am tempted to be offended or not forgive.
As those truths seeped into my heart and began to take root, I felt such peace.  Peace that Jesus does understand me.  Peace in knowing that I can be like Christ. Peace in the knowledge that I have no rights and that's okay.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Back Home and Inspired

We arrived home safe and sound on Tuesday night, February 24.  It is good to be back.  We are looking forward to all that the Lord has in store for us in the coming months.  I must confess I haven't been very energetic about unpacking.  Probably quite a few things will stayed packed since, Lord willing, we'll be moving later this year.
I would like to dedicate the rest of this blog to my friends Sandra and Jessica.  They'll both laugh when they read this, and probably deny it, but to me they are Cooking Divas!  Sandra and Jessica are my sources of inspiration when it comes to the kitchen!  I am convinced they can cook anything!  I on the other hand.....well, my Hubby is always so gracious when he eats my cooking, but let's face it -  a gourmet chef I am not!!
We were at the store recently and I bought a couple of loaves of bread.  I saw a package of yeast, and almost bought it, but changed my mind.  Yesterday I was at a different store, and by that time I had changed my mind again about the yeast.  I found NONE in the store!  So yesterday evening I pondered the yeast situation.  I didn't really feel like making a trip to the store just for yeast.  Getting to the store here is kind of complicated - I can't just hop in the car and go.  As I was mulling things over in my mind, the Lord reminded me of Sandra and her yummy sourdough bread.  Yeah!  I thought, "Why not?  I could give it a try, and I wouldn't need the package of yeast, and a bag of flour is cheaper than a loaf of bread!"
Well, I found a Sourdough Starter recipe on the internet (isn't it wonderful to be able to just Google something?), and I took the plunge!  It is obviously a momentous occasion when I undertake old-fashioned cooking, and it certainly was last night!  As I was mixing up my sourdough starter batch, we had an earthquake!  Welcome Home to Peru!  I dropped everything and scrambled to get the kids and get out the door!  We are all fine - I don't think the kids even remember it!
So, now I'll have to start a side-line blog called, "Sarie's Sourdough Chronicles"!  I am on Day 2.  I fed my starter this morning (just that thought conjures up a picture in my mind of something kind of creepy hanging out in my kitchen, lurking on my countertop, waiting to pounce on me if I forget to feed it!).
As I was reviewing my starter recipe and steps this morning, an article about making your own ciabatta bread caught my eye. I remembered Jessica writing about making ciabatta bread, and again I thought, "Why not?"  That is on my list of things to attempt in the world of bread-making.
Last night Matt asked me why I decided to do this.  I gave him my list of reasons including flour being cheaper than loaf bread, and homemade bread is better for you.  But I think my number one reason is that I want to teach my girls to bake bread.  I can't teach them if I don't know how, and I want my girls to be accomplished in arts of "Bread and Button-Holes."
And so it begins.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Little Places

Slowly, but surely the day for our return to Peru is coming.  Less than a month - wow!  As I look back on these past few months, there is something particular that stands out in my mind and in my heart.
Written on the pages of my mind's Memory Book are memories of "The Little Places."  Little places where people are faithfully serving the Lord and reaching their community.  Little, out-of-the-way places that we missionaries pray over and long to reach for Christ.  Little places that don't seem to have any light for Christ at all - in America.
In December, we were in New England.  There are so many places there without a church that preaches the Gospel!  We drove through the quaint little village of Woodstock, VT.  On the west end of town, almost the first thing that meets the eye is the building that is for a Jewish Congregation.   After that, you will see the Christian Science building, the Congregational building, and the list goes on.  Maybe I just didn't see it, but I wondered, "Is there an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church here?"  I wished I could spread myself out and be in more than one place at a time!
Recently, we were in California.  We had a blessed time there.  The Lord allowed us to see the Redwood Trees.  How beautiful our Saviour's Creation is!  As we drove along, we drove through many "Little Places."  One place in particular stuck in my mind and heart.  As we drove into Orick, CA, I noticed that the sign said, "Population 650."  There really isn't much in Orick.  No Walmart, no McDonald's - I don't think there was even a Dollar General!  But what left the greatest impression on my heart was....No Independent Fundamental Baptist Church.  Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought about those 650 people.  Where do they get to go to hear that Jesus loves them and died for them?  Don't they deserve a chance to hear the Gospel?  Don't they deserve a church of their own?  Again I wished I could spread myself and my family out - you know, kind of split us in halves or quarters - just to stay and give those people a chance to hear "Jesus Saves."
We went to the Zoo today.  While we were there, we got to experience a "Gem Dig."  It was great fun, and we came home with all kinds of treasures.  The funny thing is, we don't know enough about gems to know whether something we have is valuable or not!  The Lord reminded me how the "Little Places" are like those stones.  "The Little Places" are precious to the Creator.  He knows the value of each "Little Place" far better than we do!
So while I am praying for the little, out-of-the-way, unimportant places in the country God has called us to, I feel the Holy Spirit pricking my heart to pray for the the little, out-of-the-way, unimportant places in the country God has called us from.  Won't you join me in praying for the people who live in "The Little Places" - in America and on the mission field?