Friday, July 29, 2011

Survival mini-handbook: The Bible College

In 2011 some of my friends from church went to college, and I wanted to send them some loving words.  This is what I would tell myself if I could go back to when I went to college.  Now a couple of my precious nieces are headed out to various Christian colleges, and I wanted to share those thoughts with them.  I love you both!  I'm stunned and thrilled to see what God is doing in your hearts and lives, and I can't wait to see you again.

Hey you! Getting ready to go to Bible College! I want to talk to you! Are you excited? I remember getting ready to go, and I was excited, a little nervous, a little fearful. Once I got into the swing of things, that first year, I had so much fun. I hope you do to! I talked to my husband (Who I met that year, by the way.) and asked him that if he could talk to himself from back then, what would he say to himself. I know I would like to have a couple words with myself from that year! Here are a few tips we came up with, and my post was getting long, so I organized them into separate posts with tips on the school, tips on myself, and tips on other people.

1. If you are going to the same school I went to, try to start out with a hair do that can get blown to smithereens and look decent with a finger-combing. I started out with a pom-pom shaped perm'! Big mistake. (No, I will not be posting pictures of it.) You may whine about the wind. Everyone is going to be doing it, just don't overdo it. And don't overdo the hairspray. You'll regret it every time. Also, memorize Proverbs 30:4, and every time you go out there into it you will get an object lesson on the power of God. And when you go into a building, hold your skirt. Just sayin'. (Wind going sideways hits the building, and then blows up right next to it.)

2. Get over the rule book. It's a Bible college. They have to have rules, and some of these rules make certain folks uncomfortable. If God wants you to go there, then it makes sense that He will want you to follow the authorities. Even if the rules don't make sense to you, you should just do it as long as they aren't asking you to do something wrong. Who knows, you might learn that some of them have actual reasons behind them. Don't whine about the rules.

3. The cooking will be different than your mom's. Your mom doesn't have to cook for hundreds of people.

4. You will get preached at. A lot. Enjoy it! You'll never have a time like this again. Just don't forget to bring your heart to the altar before the service. If God impresses on your heart to make some changes, write the changes down in the journal you will get. If you are struggling in an area spiritually, write that down too, as a prayer, in the same journal. Later, you will be amazed at how faithful God is to answer and teach you just what you need.

5. If you never struggle spiritually, and never feel God pushing at you to make a change here and there, there are only two options. Either you are so very far away from God that you have no idea what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you, or you are not saved. Get that matter fixed! This is a spiritual battle, and it is no place for half-hearted Christians, or lost people. I remember coming to that question during a lukewarm time at school, and God showed me that I wasn't anywhere near where I thought I was, spiritually. The decisions I made that day gave God the freedom in my life to lead me to the place I am today, and I believe firmly that if I had continued to resist Him, I would be out of His will today!

6. If there are conflicts between you and an authority, go read Hebrews 13:17 and think about how God wants you to deal with it. He does not want you to tell all your friends. He does not want you to quit. He does not want you to self destruct because you are fuming over it all the time. He wants you to A.) Pray for them, because their duty is to God, not you. B.) Obey them. If they aren't asking you to sin against God, why not? C.) If someone is abusing their authority, the school authorities ought to be notified. If you don't think it's that serious, then it's not serious enough to gossip or get bitter over. Ok, it's never serious enough to gossip or get bitter over. That will just make their problem ruin you, which is unprofitable for you, my friend.

7. You are there to study and learn. Have fun, but apply yourself to the subjects. Get everything you can from them. You will need it later. Prepare your projects ahead of time, and make time to study. You are learning to balance work, recreation, and ministry. If you are like me, you will probably fall out of balance in each of these areas from time to time. The important thing here is knowing when to correct the problem, not being perfect all the time.

8. Take a typing class the first year, if you don't know how to type, not the third year like a certain young lady I knew. Duh? (that was me.) It will make some things much, much easier. Also anything else that will help you prepare projects, like computer courses; first year!

9. Also take time to develop your soul winning skills. You need first to depend completely on the Holy Spirit. A formula, or list of verses is useful, but the Holy Spirit knows the need of the heart, so get connected with Him. Also you need to know your Bible. Prayerfully studying the Word, just so you can have an answer for anyone who asks is vital. Don't depend on classes to do this, or your church background. If you are from my church, I know you have a solid understanding of doctrine, but you still need to study for yourself.

10. Enjoy the school! Enjoy the ministry, the church services, the spirit, the work. No place is perfect, but soak up all the blessings God has for you there. I've known some young people who do nothing but whine when they go to school. Honestly, most of the whiners drop out, or stop whining. You need those blessings to make it through, and if you are complaining all the time, they will pass you right by. So have fun, and enjoy yourself!

I've got a couple more posts on this topic up my sleeve. I hope it's a blessing to someone! I sure did enjoy my time at Bible college. God used it in too many ways to count so He could put me where I am and shape who I am today.

Friday, July 15, 2011

May-June prayerletter!

As you can see, the bottom floor is mostly finished, except for painting.  On the other side of the building is a doorway that needs a door, but all is secure.  You can see the top floor where the nursery and offices will be.

Two vehicles God provided to bring people to church.  Most of our members don't have cars, so this ministry is needed.
Here is our beloved church family.  Every family unit has a story, a burden, and a victory.  Many of them have seen miracles as God changes people and provides for His people.  It's truly a priviledge to serve here!
Thank you for your faithful prayer and support! God has blessed us during the last two months, and I’m excited to tell you all about it.

The theme for May was Missions. Two missionaries came to present their work during this month, and we took them on for support, representing Christ for us in Spain and Israel. Our church congregation also attended a three-day mission’s conference at a church in Pachuca, and their hearts were touched to serve God and commit to His will. Many also committed to faith promise missions giving in our Mission’s Sunday. Families from all over Mexico presented the need for missions in their home states, and we presented the need for missions and revival in the United States. It truly encourages my heart to have my brethren here join in my burden to pray for my homeland!

The fruit of this emphasis is readily seen in the faithful attendance to door-to-door soul winning on Saturday, with an increasing number of new believers getting out of their comfort zone and starting to testify. It is great to see new Christians going beyond the ‘silent partner’ stage, to begin giving the wonderful gospel of Christ, and see souls saved! Several men have also approached me asking for prayer about a calling to service. Pray for them as they seek God’s will for their lives.

We have seen much advancement on the building. As of last week, we now have a building that we can leave chairs and pulpit in, and we can lock it up when we leave! Doors, windows, and bars on the windows make a secure place to meet. A new need has come up however. The funds provided by several brethren here in Mexico have come to an end, having been used on the building, so now the church is working to raise money weekly to finish the project. While we don’t know how God is going to supply this need, we are confident that He will provide. He is the One who has done all of this work up to this point, and if He wants it finished, it will be done. Continue to pray for this need. The work to be finished is mainly on the second floor, finishing the walls and roof of the nursery, offices, and bathrooms. The nursery is currently being accommodated in an unfinished storage area, with a ceiling at 5’4”. My wife, who works in the nursery stands at 5’8”.

Please continue to pray for our discipleship programs with several individuals. I am working with three groups right now.

  •  Brother Jesus is struggling to keep his discipleship times, because he is looking for work. He’s been faithful to Saturday soul-winning, and he has not had a relapse into alcohol or drugs since the incident I wrote about several months ago.
  • Juan and Paty have temporarily discontinued their discipleship because Juan’s mother is gravely ill. She was a follower of the Watchtower and Tract Society, and had a bleeding problem in her arm. She refused for weeks to receive a blood transfusion, and finally changed her mind after frustrated doctors sent her home, since there was nothing more they could do without a transfusion. Since then she has received the operation, and several transfusions. She has been cast out of the Kingdom Hall, and we are praying for her salvation. I beg you to intercede for her, that God will have mercy and continue to call her heart while there is still life in her. Pray for Juan and Paty, who are new to the faith, and faced with such a difficult trial.
  •  David and Yolanda are also struggling to find enough work to put daily food on the table, but they are so hungry to learn and grow more that they are coming twice a week for discipleship sessions. They are actively involved in ministry as well. Pray for them as they learn this faith walk, and that their zeal remains steady.
Thank you again for your prayer and support! God bless you and your church family as we labor together with God to reach the world.
God bless you all!

Sincerely Yours,

Missionary Ryan Case

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Facebook Funnies!

I went through my facebook account from last year and copied all the funny stuff I want to remember.  One of the things I love about facebook is how easy it is to pop on and type out something hilarious a kid just said or did.  Maybe I do it too much, because yesterday I laughed at something Ruth said, and Elisabeth piped up, "Mom!  You've got to 'face' that on facebook!"  
Why does a child who does not hesitate to pick up gooey freshly squished spiders think a gooey glop of cheese that dropped off his plate is too gross to touch?
My daughter is loudly singing "Away With the Manger!" Gonna have to correct that one!
Quote for the day: "I like to wiggle my toes together when they are clean." (Ruth, 8 yrs old.) so many people are posting wonderful, life-changing quotes, I thought I'd include one that made me stop and think about the deep things of life.
A child in my house was heard belting out, "Who wants a friend like the lonely Jesus? No not I! No not I!" Oh, my word, we need to work on theological education!
Yesterday the toilet backed up, and I had to plunge the daylights out of it to get it back in "running" condition. Today, my son came to me in tears, asking me to get his favorite underpants back.

Yes. These two items are related.
My law of children: Children are not naturally makers of neat places, but they are drawn to neat place. They are drawn irresistably to neat places, with their minds filled with all kinds of plans about what to do with the neat places. None of these plans involve neatness.
Sticky mouse traps. I have not caught any mice, but I have caught my dog, three of my children, and my foot. The dog finds where I put them, and she drags them out and leaves them for us to step on. When she steps on them, she slaps around the house like she's got flippers on her feet.
I'm getting pigtails put (ouch) in my (ouch) hair by a five year old.
There is a stripey blue and yellow frog hopping around the house and saying, "Wibbit! Wibbitwibbitwibbt!

No mother enjoys hearing this from their three-year-old:
"Um, mom? I get the toe-lit, um, bigger. Yeah. It's bigger..."
Something I never expected to say as a mother: "R___, we do not suck oatmeal with a straw."
This morning David woke up and attempted to give me a kiss right away. "Oh, Mama! You lip smews YUCKY!"
Conversation from my house today
David: "Mommy, my thtummik thez 'gimme a thandwich!'"

Me: "Tell your thtummik it needs to learn to say pleath!"

Apparently he thinks bad manners are acceptible if they are vicariously acted out through a third party. (thtummik)
The little bench is a little heavy, I won't deny it. But it is not too heavy to pull out of the corner I put it in, turn upside down, and use as a motorcycle for a small body, and then leave at the bottom of the stairs for me to trip over. It is apparently way too heavy, however, for that same small body to drag back to the corner, turn right side up, and put away.
Heard in my house today: No David, do not chew on the table.
Heard in my house today, singing: "Superclalafradulisticexpialid​otious! Even though the sound of it is something HALITOSIS!"

They make me laugh, thought I'd share.
Heard in my house today: (earnestly) "A infinito! Y máth allá!" Translation:  To infinity! And Beyond! (with a lithp)
So I was knocking doors for the church today and a grasshopper jumped on my foot. My young soulwinning partner told me she likes them fried with lemon. That's a first for me!
Heard in my house today:
Me, sending Elisabeth on a mission-"Quick! Like a bunny!"

Elisabeth, hopping away-"Ribbit! Ribbit! Ribbit!"

Me-"That's a frog, not a bunny!"

Elisabeth-"Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!"
I noticed part of my son's ninja outfit hanging out from under his cloths after we had arrived at Bible club this morning. Luckily, no-one was hurt by the undercover ninja attending class, and the his secret identity remained intact.
My kids are playing with a jalapeno. It is quite amusing.
So I just found the hairbrush and comb that was missing. Both were filled with plastic pony hair. Suspicious.
Well apparently the doctors have it all wrong, and all you have to do to make a sick, feverish child feel better is feed it marshmallows every now and then!
Note to self: scratching eyes, nose, or ears after cutting serrano peppers is a very, very bad idea.
Necessary qualifiers: "Elisabeth, go wash your face and hands."
"With my skirt?"
"With my tongue?"