Thursday, October 27, 2011

Church Planters Conference!?!

O, I guess sometime around last October a preacher from Missouri came to Newport to preach at the prison here in Newport.  He stopped by our church and invited us to lunch. He paid!!!  (We like those type of preachers!).  He mentioned that his church was hosting a church planters conference and invited us to attend.  A church planters conference?  I had never heard of such a creature.  We filed it away in our little brains and went on with our lives.  We (at least I) half-heartily prayed that we would get to attend. 

Closer to the dates, my husband was reminded of that conference and we began to really {whole-heartily} pray that we would be able to attend.  My husband put in for time off at his part-time job and we started making plans "just-in-case".  Well, by some miracle he was granted the time off (Long story); but then we had a problem.  The weekend before we were scheduled to leave we had to pull over on the side of the road because our van started to overheat...really badly.  We have a little bit of experience in the area of car troubles (My dear husband has replaced clutches, brakes, two timing belts,  re-built an engine after the head gaskets blew, etc, etc) so we didn't panic; but perhaps we should have ~humanly speaking of course.

We have a policy about this sort of thing.  Replace the cheap stuff first; but if that doesn't fix it THEN, go ask for "professional" help.  Well, tomorrow we are going to go ask for professional help.  BACK TO THE STORY AT HAND.

We really felt that the Lord wanted us to go to that conference so we used our meager funds and rented a vehicle ( Honestly, it was kind of fun riding in style...with heat!)  We arrived a little late; but were excited to finally get there...and boy aren't we glad we went!!!!  I would recommend THIS conference to ANYONE. 

I LOVE missions and missionaries.  I graduated from OBC.  It is kind of hard to go to Oklahoma Baptist College for four years and not love missions and missionaries; but sometimes I feel that us church planters get overlooked.  If there are no churches in America, who is going to send the missionaries to other nations? The Lord has blessed America to be the leading country in this area; but that could change if we are not careful to evangelize those in our Jerusalem and Judea.  Enough about that!

I said all of the above as a pre-cursor to this...At the conference I was able to get re-acquainted with one of my dear former roommates from college ~Rachel Stene and her husband. 

They have a beautiful family and it was a lot of fun remembering old times and catching each other up on what the Lord is doing in our lives.  Also, I met a family who had just joined the hosting church the Sunday before the conference.  They jumped right in and were helping at each meal (Don't you just love people like that.  Every pastor covets members with  a servants' heart).  Well, One day we got to sit at lunch with them and talk.  They are an older couple.  He shared with us that he has a real burden for Jewish people.  What he didn't tell us is that he was on deputation to go to minister to the Jews in NYC.  He had over 85% of his support raised and was making preparations to leave for the field when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  Because of this, they are no longer able to go and serve the Lord in that capacity.  When I heard their FULL story, I was deeply moved. 

Lord, please remind me of this couple's story when I am tempted to complain when things don't go the way I planned or would have preferred here in this your ministry.

Until next time,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thank you (2)

In 1997, about 14 years ago, I was sitting at the lunch table at my Christian School when a young lady by the name of Emily Ross (now Emily Hansen) said to me, "Wow, you have piano fingers!". I had never even touched a piano before in my life; but I took her very seriously.  I went to a piano recital, heard her play, and thought to myself...I can do that!  I signed up for lessons the next semester. I didn't have any money and I didn't ask my mom for any either.  I guess I thought the lessons were free...well, they weren't; but my mom did agree to give me the five dollars a week I needed for the lessons.    My piano teacher, Ms. Sunny Yoon, was probably the toughest teacher available; but I liked her a lot. I sometimes need extra prodding :) 

It didn't prove as easy as I thought it would be; but I continued with the lessons for five years.  When I got to collage, she was no longer available to teach me and I got a little busy, so I discontinued the lessons.  I did practice a lot when I had free time and I agreed to play at a care home during my last year of collage and the year after.

So what is the point and who am I saying thank you too?!? First I would like to say thank you to Emily for commenting on my fingers : ).  You never know what affect the statements you make in passing will have on someone. 

Second, I would like to say thank you to Coach Price.   I like to be successful, and I like to be successful NOW.  I don't often have much patience with myself and I don't like to fail.  One day I was in the cafeteria practicing and he came downstairs and said to me, "Don't rush it.  Be patient, and just keep at it!"   That statement helped me to relax.  My skill would improve if I would just kept practicing and had a little more patience with myself.  Just for the record, he wasn't my couch.  He was the men's dorm supervisor.  I am not a man and I didn't live in the dorm; but he was willing to go out of his way to speak those words that have blessed my tremendously.  When I get all tensed up about some piece I am trying to perfect, I often hear his voice in the back of my mind.

Third, I would like to say thank you to My friend Maria's mom - Mrs. McNamar  .   One day I was practicing in the college chapel and she asked me to sing the song I was playing.  I told her that I couldn't sing and play at the same time.  To which she responded, " You could if you tried."  Well, about ten years later I was the pianist for the church where I taught in the Christian School  (Haughten Christian Academy/Haughten Baptist Temple in Haughten, Louisiana) and I was asked to sing and play at a dear Christian woman's funeral.   This lady was probably the godliest woman I have ever met and she was always so sweet to me.  Who was I to refuse?  So, I swallowed my pride and did it.  And do you know what?  I lived to tell about it and I have been singing and playing ever since.  This has been a tremendoud blessing to my husband in our ministry her in Newport.  I am not the greatest by the stretch of anyones imagination.  I desire to take lessons to improve for the glory of God; but I use this skill almost three times a week.  My encouragement to you is to 1.) Speak words to others that will challenge and encourage them. 2.)  Use your gifts and talents for the Lord as they are.  The more you use them, the faster they will improve. And,  3.)  Don't let fear of failure stop you from doing anything.  I am learning this lesson.  There are so many things that I didn't do because Ididn't think I would be good at that I wish I had started or stayed with.  I am adding these pictures of Aaliyah to show that I may not be the best vocalist or pianist; but I have a little girl who loves to imitate her Mommy at the piano, and another one who loves to hear me play.

Until next time, 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What a week!

(Originally from last week.)
Really it's more like two weeks.  Last week my husband conducted his first wedding.  It was such a blessing to see a young couple desire to be married.  So many people today are content to just shack up.  Then a few days later we went to Kentucky to visit with and preach at one of my husbands old friends and former bus captain's church.  It was a world wind trip and went off without a glitch (anyone who knows us knows that road trips for us are NEVER un-eventful) except for one minor technicallity...we forgot about time change.  We arrived twenty minutes ahead of schedule...or so we thought.  We were really 40 minutes late!  No problem.  Everything worked out fine. 
Raymond and I both celebrated our birthdays and Saturday I took Aaliyah and Cassidy to a duck race at the park.  The race was to benefit the March of Dimes Association.  She had  a blast and she got to ride her first horse!  Cassidy was pretty alert too!  To cap it all off, This past Sunday we had two visitors!  One of our faithful ladies in our church brought her "little cousin" - he is six foot three inches and seventeen years old and wants to be a professional farmer.  She also invited one of her daughters friends.  I have added some photos of the events that I have mentioned. 

Cassidy found her toes!

Aaliyah and the boys in Kentucky in "prison".

"On the road" photo

"Hello" from Aaliyah

Until next time,

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Wonderful Greeting!

One of the highlights of our week is to go the care home next door to our church.  We go once or twice a week depending on Raymond's schedule.  Every time we do go I always enter the cafeteria with the greeting, "Good morning!".  I get several responses from several people; but the most reliable and consistent one is from a gentleman who is about 50 years old and in a wheelchair.  He never misses a reading (I read about four chapters from the Bible).  Every time I have been there he has greeted me with, " Good morning, I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"  It never fails, and he doesn't whisper it either!  I always say Amen! then continue with the mornings activities.  Then yesterday it dawned on me...I don't believe I have ever heard that man say anything else.  I wonder how much he talks to others in the home or even his caretakers.  If I should ever be in his situation I hope that I am sane enough to declare as he does that I do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God...even if that is the only thing I can say.
Until next time,


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