Thursday, June 27, 2013

Prayerletter, May 2013

May 2013
Dear Pastor,
                We thank God for His blessing and care of us this past month, and for the faithful prayer and support from our family of churches that care for us.  We appreciate your prayer for these requests, and consider it an honor to represent Christ for you in Xochimilco, Mexico City.

                May was Family Month, and we focused on encouraging families and teaching the Bible in regards to the family.  Our church was invited to a family conference at Antioch Baptist Church in the Federal District of Mexico City, and a good portion of our church attended every service.  It was a help to each of our families, including mine!  We are seeing some of our families making good decisions in regards to serving and honoring God.  We were also blessed to see old friends there, because this church hosted us nearly ten years ago on our survey trip to Mexico City, and the missionary who established the church had flown in to preach with his family.  We were delighted to see Bro. Roberto Ramos and his wonderful family again!

Another pastor ordained to lead God's flock
Giving a message on the responsibility of the sending church
Just a couple of weeks later, I was privileged to participate in the ordination service of one of the men we worked with while establishing the church in Tizayuca.  Bro. Pedro Morales has served God faithfully for years, and now he is going on to pastor a church in Northern Mexico.  It has been an honor to serve with him and his wife, and see their dedication, faithfulness, and genuine love of God.

Praise God for spiritual victories along with the fun!
On the last Saturday of the month, we had a teen youth activity, a water fight.  There’s nothing like a good water war to get the adults wanting to participate in the youth program.  In fact, we had just as many adults as teenagers!  Before we began hostilities, I preached about our enemies as explained in the Bible and encouraged everyone to fight the good fight of faith.  Then, we had an epic battle.  The next day, one of the teen girls got saved after the morning service!  She knew she was lost, even though she had made a profession of faith when she was a young child.  Now she knows she’s on her way to Heaven!
Urgent Prayer Request:
Please pray for us as we are trying to raise the funds needed to travel to the border and renew our passports in Texas.  Gas, highway fees, passport fees, and supplies for the ministry and homeschool all add up to about $2000.  Please let us know if you feel God leading you to be a part of this need. 

It has been a wonderful privilege serving with these brethren.
We are eternally grateful for your prayer support, most of all.  Thank you, and God bless!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Father's Heritage

Dad enjoys a new grandbaby's smile
Yesterday was Father's Day, and I called my dad, and told him how thankful I was for him.  He was a great dad to me, and my siblings.  I married a man who is a great dad, and so did my sister.  My brothers who are fathers are also great dads.  None of us have the same parenting style, although we all do our best to parent following the precepts of the Bible. I told my dad we had a good example of a man who taught us what a real man is.  A real man of God.  My dad didn't really know what I was talking about, because we both know he doesn't float on angel wings.  But I don't either, and I don't know anyone who does.

I just know that my husband and I have, nearly every month of our ministry, tried to counsel a woman weeping over the broken dreams of the man she chose, who turned out to be a selfish, spoiled man-child.  I've had my shoulder dampened by the tears of hurting women, and their hurting, often angry kids, because a man thinks he is the center of all things, and can't imagine that he has any obligation to the women he's used or the children he's fathered.  As we try to help these women pick up the shards of their girlish dreams, grow up, and take on the heavy burden of providing for their growing families by themselves, I am struck by a gratitude in me that gets stronger with every suffering woman we try to help. These kinds of men are everywhere.

Playing computer games with the girls
A real man sees these things as a no-brainer.  He can't imagine being able to live with himself without taking care of the basics.

  • I thank God my dad has always loved us and is still faithful to and loves our mother.
  • I thank God that he took care of us, that he prayed for us, that he sought our hearts, and that I know he still does pray faithfully for us.
  • There were men who flattered me, flirted with me, and tried to buy me things, but they did not interest me in the least, because I had received enough wisdom from my dad about how a real man thinks, and how a godly man seeks out a wife.  I had also received plenty of loving attention from my dad, so I wasn't looking for that attention from someone else.  These girls get all that from a man, and it's as if their brain suddenly flies away.  They go after that attention like someone dying of thirst goes after a drop of water.
  • I thank God that He led me to a man who would fast and pray, and make a decision to love me forever.
  • I thank God my nephews and nieces are getting the same blessings from their dads, and so are my children.

David and his favorite buddy
Psa 16:6  The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
It isn't good luck.  This verse was written by a man  who received a godly heritage from his father, grandfather, and great-grandparents. I pray that we pass on the blessing God gave us through our father to our children, and that they pass it on to theirs.  I hope my kids are able to look past our errors, and receive this wonderful blessing of the goodly heritage of God.

God truly blessed us!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Birthday to my little freckled tiger lily!

Rebecca Joy

Please ignore clutter.  Here she is cleaning!

sharing a laugh

squinting in the sun

thoroughly enjoying herself

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Heart This Kid!

This morning this little man woke up with a bound and yelled, "It's Valentine's Day!"  He ran to the fridge and brought me a sandwich he had made the day before, wrapped in a paper napkin and tied with a clumsy bow.  Tucked inside was a note with two hearts drawn on it.  It was a little stale, but it was the best sandwich I ever had.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Beautiful Fragrance of Unity

Ruth and Rebecca, in a not-squabbling moment.

Being a mom has taught me many things, and one of them is how to better relate to God as my Father.  I've also learned much about myself as I see reactions and behaviors that are typical of human nature being acted out as openly as only a child can act them out.  Children are less concerned about appearing perfect and righteous to others.  Adults, on the other hand, frequently have layers of motives behind their actions, and it can be hard to tell why they do what they do.  But if you understand more about children and why they do what they do, you will see that adults have the same feelings, and often respond in the same way.

Let me make an example.  When I noticed that two of my little angels were at odds with one another, I put them to work to do a job together, hoping that the comraderie would help them to see things the same way.  They didn't trust my judgement on that.  Both of them believed with all their hearts that the other was at complete fault, talking about it would resolve nothing, and that the other child would take advantage of them and make them do more work than they needed to do.  Needless to say, they did not complete their job.  With both of them on the defensive, pushing the other to work, nothing happened. This made a problem for everyone as we had to endure their work not getting done, and the tension they caused in our home.  As I looked at them, with their arms crossed, chins jutting out stubbornly, blaming the other person, and taking no blame for themselves, I was reminded of adults (sometimes me!) with the same attitude.  (Note, the correction of this problem not being part of my point, I am leaving it out, but it was corrected!)

We might not take that posture, but in our hearts we despise others.  We are always on the alert to see that others do their fair share, and when there is a problem, the last place we look is our own hearts and our own actions.  When God gives us clear instructions that we ought to go to the person we have conflict with alone and talk, then go with one or two to judge between, we get uncomfortable, and come up with all kinds of reasons why it's better to talk to all our closest friends about the matter, and why trying to talk to the person in question just won't work.  (Read Matt. 18 for a step-by-step how to on personal conflict.) God knew all the circumstances that could happen ahead of time when He gave us these instructions, but we don't see His wisdom when we are justifying ourselves.  We end up believing that God is wrong, and that belief comes out in our actions.  It also creates a mess for the people of God around us since the work that God wants to complete through us does not get done.  We usually end up hurting ourselves and others and damaging the environment of God's house.

When David thought of how the unity of brethren made him feel, it reminded him of the anointing of the servant of God; that holy day when a person is separated unto God for service. (Psalm 133)  It reminded him of the fragrance of the anointing.  When we live in unity, it is a testimony to all of our holy separation unto God.  It means we are willing to lay aside our own preferences, to humble ourselves at times, and to do it for the sake of the kingdom of God.  It means that at times we will need to not stand up for our own rights, because we love Him, and we know that He is grieved when we are not in united.

As a parent, I understand a small portion of the hurt God feels when His children treat one another hatefully and with pride.  I can see the end of this, and am compelled to correct it.  My children do not look that far, and need to learn to trust me that learning to work together is way more important to me than the washing of a few dishes. God also sees the end of our squabbling.  He sees the good He can do if humble ourselves and follow His word, and He sees the destruction that will come when we resist His wise command.  As His daughter, I want Him to experience the fragrance of unity from me and my relationships!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Homeschool: spelling relief!

All of my kids who have spelling started out this year having trouble with their spelling.  We have been making extra time each week where we focus only on spelling, and I've come up with some fun games that can help the words and rules stick more fully in their heads.  Kids learn in a variety of ways, and while rote memory has its place, it doesn't excite my kids very much.  Quite frankly, if they don't care about it, it doesn't stick.

One of the best games I've come up with is to sing the Spelling Song.  To the tune of "Bingo is his nam-o", we sing, "I've got a word it's name is ______, and this is how we spell it:  ______"  This gets them to repeat the spelling of the word three times to a catchy tune. We then sing it again, with the child saying only the first letter and me singing the rest; then we sing it again with the child singing only the first two letters, etc., until the child is saying all of the letters by herself, preferably loudly!  An added benefit is, the longer the word, the more times you have to repeat it.

I'm also teaching the kids to finger spell letters in sign language.  It's a bit slow, but getting the body involved in any way uses a different part of the brain, and thus gives the child another copy of the information to access in case one copy fails.  It's really fun to try to finger spell and sing the song at the same time-but not at all easy!

Then there's the old-fashioned way: write out the word in question a gazzillion times.  This also works, and can improve handwriting if the child cares about improving her handwriting. (I'm saying "her" because all my children who have spelling are the female variety.)  A side effect of this process is hand cramps, and in our case, some complaning.  I use this method for the really unsticky words.

It's also important to talk about the word list and how the words relate.  They usually have two or three different sounds or spelling rules they are working on.  "That's a 'wa' sound too, and they're all spelled the same way."  If the curriculum doesn't mention the spelling rules being used, I do it!  Any way that I can get them to think of their spelling words with interest and relate them together activates their brain, increasing stickability.

I'm no education expert.  Like most homeschooling moms, we just keep trying new things till we find something that works, and this works for us!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

At Looooooooong Last!

One of the things that a missionary faces is finding things that they like and are not easily available in their host country.  A big one for me is books.  I love to read, to learn, and yes, even to study.  When the kindle first came out, I drooled.  Imagine having all the books you could want at your fingertips, and at thrift-shop prices!  Drool, drool.  I had to lay that desire down though, because we couldn't afford it.

Well!  I got a kindle for Christmas!  What a blessing! (Pardon the triple exclamation points.  I'm excited.) 

Some of books I've really enjoyed have been the Canadian West series by Janette Oke. I read them all when I was a pre-teen girl, and enjoyed them, but they take on an entirely new light now that I'm a missionary in a foreign country, with my own language problems and feelings of isolation.  These books encouraged me to keep ministering patiently and let the Lord fulfill my unrequited desires in His time. (Which He did with my kindle!)

I'm enjoying the free books available on the kindle Amazon store, but I've learned that you need to be choosy about what you download!  Not everything listed under "free Christian fiction" is suitable for Christians.  The reviews are valuable, here, so I don't download a book without reading enough of the reviews to know it's not smutty.

One book that was very favorably impressed with was, Gods and Kings:  Chronicles of the Kings by Lynn Austin.   I haven't read any other books in this series, but since the first one was free I tried it out.  I've never read biblical fiction that was so "right on".  It clearly brings out the fact that there is nothing new under the sun.  Following the life of King Hezekiah up to the moment he decides to be "that" king; the one who leads his people back to God. You can see the temptation of God's priests to compromise their convictions for the sake of people, trying to draw them back into the temple worship, as they make a transition from serving God, to serving the people, to serving idols. God's plan is evident as He protects Hezekiah and His own faithful prophets, while devout Jews find the temple abhorrent and defiled. There are adult themes, though (Worship of Molech described in graphic detail.)  I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series!

Well, enough of my jabber for now.  Thanks for reading!