Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! Isaiah 43:1 NAS

It seems I have been doing a lot of confessing lately. Here comes another one...I am terrible at remembering names. It has nothing to do with getting older. I have always been really bad at remembering. Now it has morphed into a fear of making introductions.  I've prayed about it from time to time. I've even read a few articles with tips on "How to Remember Names," but I guess it has just never been a priority with me.  I believe this time God is bringing it to my attention that I need to repent, and start applying the power and sensitivity of His Spirit to correct it. If I have to tell someone I need to be reminded of their name, I am going to humble myself and do it.
Sunday my pastor called me by name to make an announcement to the congregation. Right after my announcement was our time to greet one another. I saw a visitor on my left that I wanted to speak to and headed in his direction. A teenager on the right side of the aisle looked at me, stuck out his hand and said, "Hello, Carol." I was really taken aback that he had remembered my name especially since from his speech pattern it appeared he was handicapped in some way. I shook his hand and welcomed him. As I turned to walk away he said, "My name is Josh." I was cut to the core that I had not asked his name. I mean I was smitten in my heart. I was so aware that I am handicapped as well. There was something so plaintive in the way he said it. He knew my name and he wanted me to know his. I should have asked and at least this time I remembered.
We are human beings made in the image of God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that I will never get things down perfectly, but if the Supreme Ruler of the universe has bothered to know my name should I not make a genuine loving effort to remember people's names?
The morning after my encounter with Josh I opened a book I was reading and the chapter title was, "He Knows My Name." God has no problem letting us know what He wants to help us work on does He?
Lord, please help me to consider others as better than myself. Help me to make every effort to look at them,  really listen, and esteem them highly enough to remember their names. I want to be like you. You have called me by name and I am Yours.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Calm and Quiet Soul

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.

I love this short Psalm; so much said in so few words. In my Bible I have verse one marked with a Matthew Henry comment about haughty eyes, "Don't look with envy at those who are above me, or disdain those perceived to be below me." Thoughts are as loud as words in heaven and pride is a fearful enemy.

I am not one who struggles with a lot of "whys." It isn't because I haven't been blindsided nor had unexplainable loss, because I have. Early on I was taught about the sovereignty of God. This passage from Job pretty well sums it up for me. It has kept me from occupying myself  with things too great for my smallness and limited view.

 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." Job 38:1-4

God is God and His ways are past finding out. He has made many great and exceeding precious promises to His people. As the song says, "When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart." So it seems in the big things I tend to trust him.

It's the smaller things that trip me up. As it says in the Song of Solomon
"Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom."
It's my plans not working out or someone laying something on me that I didn't expect. It's the volunteer not showing up when they promised they would. I find myself going into "what now?" mode. That always makes me vulnerable to losing my peace and slipping into an attitude that doesn't reflect who I am in Christ. It is a sudden jolt that makes me forget to send up a prayer for wisdom and insight for a solution that will help me to move forward with a good attitude. It is here that we are working hard right now. "A calm and quiet soul," weaned from thinking it must all be under my control or work out the way I planned it. What a stress reliever it is to know that He is sovereign over this as well. It makes me lean in, take a deep breath, and know that it will work out. It may not be pretty, but it will be taken care of, and I can stay calm and more importantly quiet. No murmuring or fouling the air with my petty remarks. I so want to walk in this perfectly consistently. Don't you? Just picture a child weaned and content being born along by a loving parent who knows growing up can be hard.

My prayer: Lord, you knew these surprises were on the horizon. It has not caught you off guard.  Help me to stay calm and quiet with full trust that You've got this, and I don't. You want me to turn to you in quietness and confidence and there I will find strength. In Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mercy's Eyes
            The Lord will perfect that which  concerneth me: Thy mercy O Lord, endureth forever:
 forsake not the work of Thine own hands. Psalm 38:8 KJV
 This is a confession. There is a godly woman in my life, and I don't like her much less love her. I need to say that she has never done or said anything mean to me. I just find her annoying. She is what I would call a sandpaper sister. She rubs me the wrong way. There was no "They will know us by our love," going on. I think because we don't go to the same church, and just occasionally cross paths in social situations I haven't dealt with my attitude. Oh, but the One who will perfect that which concerns me didn't let it slide, and I am so grateful.
Yesterday I was driving into town having a conversational prayer with the Lordwhen seemingly out of nowhere, she came to mind. This question came to me,"What do you think she was like as a little girl?" I tried to imagine her carefree and playing. I know it must have happened, but as an adult she reminds me of the Veggie Tale© song “I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy; you've no idea what I have to do. Busy, busy, shockingly busy; much, much too busy for you." It was hard to think of her unencumbered. Then a second question came to mind. “Do you think she was praised and loved just for who she was?”  I think the answer was, "No." I realized I was seeing her through Mercy’s eyes. I cried for her brokenness and mine. My heart was grateful that He will continue His work on both of us. He will not forsake the works  of His hands. I don't think I will ever view her in the same judgmental way again. Mercy led me to look through His eyes, and it changed me.
Am I the only one? Is there anyone you need to view with His eyes? Lord, be Thou our vision.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Answered Prayer

Mark 10:27 Looking upon them, Jesus said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."

I really have to give praise to the Lord even though I can't be specific. I have been praying over something for 15 years. It has troubled my heart on several levels. I know that God is sovereign, but right alongside is the truth that man is responsible. When human beings with free wills are involved, they can choose to obey or disobey. His leading and His word can be ignored or implemented. So, I prayed for God to act, and those involved to yield….for 15 long years. I have seen Him answer in a way that I would never have guessed or figured out if I had tried. I am grateful, humbled, and not a little amused at His orchestrations of events to bring about the change. Like a master craftsman He brought all the circumstances and motivations together to bring it to pass. I stand in awe. Truly I do. I am compelled to give Him grateful praise.

This is from my nephew serving in the Philippines.

Dear Rell & Carol,
Greetings from Dakuton Base. It is a sultry 89 degrees outside, the barometer is low at 28.90 inches, and big waves are rolling in from the Sulu Sea. Typhoon Quiel is a powerful category four storm, and has just passed to the North of us. Last week, Typhoon Pedring made a mess of our base, but fortunately caused no major damage. Another storm is now forming to our West. Quiel is the 17th typhoon to affect the Philippines this year, and the season doesn’t end until December!
Some pretty amazing things have happened in our area in connection with these storms. Two weeks ago, the residents of a village to the north of us, awoke to discover that twelve Vietnamese fisherman had washed up on their beach. The fishermen’s boat had sunk during a typhoon and they were very fortunate to have survived. Last week we awoke around daybreak, and were astonished to see a huge waterspout (tornado over the ocean) descending from the clouds. We have seen dozens of these waterspouts but never one so big or occurring so early in the morning. For several weeks now, Billy and Christine have been working with the reality TV show,” Survivor Philippines.” The show’s cast experienced more reality than they bargained for, when the boat they were riding in, sank in huge seas generated by Typhoon Pedring.
On September 10th, we received the news of the passing of Karen’s father. He had been in poor health for some time, and passed away peacefully at his home in Wisconsin. Open Door Bible Church graciously provided the funds for Karen to fly home to be with her family. I am sure they would all appreciate your prayers during this time.
This month we will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the founding of The Youth Center. It hardly seems possible that we began a decade ago, teaching a small group of children, gathered on an overturned fishing boat. Government officials advised us,” to focus on the children of the village because of the rampant drunkenness and violence common among the adults.” They confided in us,” that they were seriously considering demolishing the entire village.” Through the years, we have continually marveled at how God has worked in the lives of the fishermen of the village Pagkakaisa. As individual lives have been transformed, our village has also changed dramatically. It is now considered a model of development, and we have seen an explosion in growth these past several years. We continue to call ourselves,” The Youth Center” but are actually a functioning church; with as many adults attending as youth.
In our last newsletter, we mentioned that the son of our opponent in our court cases had begun attending church at The Youth Center. Many of our members were apprehensive because some of them had had violent encounters with Bisoy in the past; including a shooting incident. Some of them had also been present when he had slapped Pastor Ongcal, only two weeks earlier. Well, Bisoy has not only faithfully attended church these past three months, but has been an extremely positive influence. Men of our village that we have been unsuccessfully urging to attend church for years are now are regulars, because Bisoy ordered them to come! We are currently having record attendance in our adult Sunday school.
We are also celebrating the tenth anniversary of our Dakuton Base and Camp ministry. Originally, our idea was to have a place to serve as a base for missionary work in Northern Palawan. At that time, the area had almost no churches, and was very wild and undeveloped. As our base developed, a pastor friend encouraged us to try hosting youth camps at our facility. At first we were hesitant. We had no funding, no experience with that type of ministry, and no one to staff it. Also, we felt we would be getting sidetracked from our normal church planting focus.
After much prayer, we decided to try hosting a small camp. It was a simple affair with the campers using tents. It was successful and fun, in spite of the disruption of having two helicopters crash nearby! The next camp we hosted attracted over 200 people. We were surprised at the amazing variety of people that came to these camps; many of which would not normally attend church.
In the following years, whenever we had extra funds, we would use it in construction of cottages. The variety of people that continues to come to these camps is remarkable. Primitive Batak tribal people, missionaries from 11 countries, numerous transvestites, members of the Tagbanwa tribe, a famous anthropologist, Muslims, a group of Chinese doctors, college students, prostitutes, Palawano tribal people, fishermen, a group of young people that arrived with their own military escort, a Dumagat tribal person, farmers, members of the Muslim Molbog tribe, hundreds of members of various street gangs from the city, and Bajao tribal people.
These past ten years, the ministry at our base has evolved into something that is not easy to describe. We thought of using random statistics to give a glimpse of some of what has occurred here.
Number of people that have participated in the camp ministry: 20,000+. Number of meals cooked using firewood: 300,000+. Number of languages and dialects that have been spoken here: 19. Nationalities of visitors: 17. Unreached People Groups taught: 4. Number of people that have entered our facility carrying automatic weapons: 50+. Number of hours spent by campers in Worship and Bible teaching: 15,000+. Units of medicine (tablets, capsules, suspensions, etc.) dispensed from our medical clinic: 60,000+. Number of terrorist attacks that have occurred within a mile of our base: 3. Number of basketballs and volleyballs worn out: 11. Number of live pigs that have been brought to the facility: 23. Number of live pigs that have left the facility: 0. Number of death threats Scott has received: 3. Attempts by individuals, to cause our facility to close: 8. Criminal cases filed against our workers: 12. Number of mission works we have assisted in starting in Northern Palawan: 14. Number of times our facility has been seriously damaged by typhoons: 3. Number of full time workers working with the camp ministry: 0. Number of people that have died at our clinic: 2. Cost to use our facility: 0. Christian bands that have performed here: 50+. Maximum number we are allowed to host per camp: 250.
We are eagerly looking forward to the arrival of Ariel, her husband Robert, and new baby Kaelyn, in November. We are excited not only about seeing family again but also welcoming co-workers.
In spite of the fact that the work here has grown so much in size these past ten years, we have only been able to add one full time worker. None of our six ministries has workers that can focus solely on their specific work. On Sundays, Pastor Oncgal travels to teach in three separate places! As in the time of Christ,” The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.” Our camp ministry in particular is only reaching a fraction of its potential, because of having no full time workers. Please pray for Robert, Ariel, and Kaelyn as they prepare to join us.
What’s the latest from Hanging Dog? Rell, it was good to hear that you have some prospects for new houses. Because of the guys we have had come here to do projects, we hear from all over the country about construction. You are the only one we have heard from that has new building prospects.
Rell you asked about the lady that is harassing us. She is 62 and definitely not mellowing much with age. It is like dealing with a very naughty, but dangerous child. She addresses me as Pastor Demonio and loves to stomp on my foot, when she gets a chance, in court! Yes, her kids (except for the one that attends church at The Youth Center) are also opposed to us, and in addition are regular users of methamphetamine. Amazingly, the one attending church with us was at one time, the worst of them all; there is hope.
Carol, that was a nice picture of Taz on your Blog sight. It is amazing how attached you can get to a dog you have had a long time. While we were on furlough, someone (probably our neighbor) poisoned one of our dogs, and he died on Christmas Eve. The dog we have now is in very bad health after being poisoned twice. Speaking of your blog sight, we recently received an e-mail from a guy that read about us there.
Well, I’ve got to sign off and get back to work. We are trying to get a new roof put on the house Ariel will be living in, in between storms. Rell, the roof is made up of shingles, consisting of palm leaves sewed onto bamboo. The shingles are attached using split rattan. A roof for a small house costs about $30 and lasts for about three years. We are also trying to get the mowing done. We have about an acre and a half that has to be mowed weekly, with a small push mower. The lady that is mowing right now has thirteen kids!
Because of the financial crisis in the U.S., giving to the work here had fallen by half in the previous two months. Normally, such a shortfall would be would be devastating to an organization, but by God’s Grace, we are doing just fine. It is so encouraging to all of us here, when God touches people like yourselves to meet our needs. Everyone sends their love.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hallelujah Chorus -Quinhagak, Alaska

This is a wonderful video; especially when you realize it probably took the whole village cooperating to accomplish it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Quite a Little Mister

One of God's many blessings on mankind.

We lost our faithful little companion, Taz. We acquired him 13 years ago when he was 3 years old. I would never have tolerated having an inside dog had we not been taking care of my dear, sweet, mother-in-law. It occurred to me that she might really enjoy having a dog, and she did. We had no idea that our desire to bless her would bring such joy to us through such a little mister.

Taz was a Chihuahua Pomeranian mix. He was extremely laid back, but could cause our much larger outside dog, Lola, roll over and submit with his self assured strut. Nothing made him happier than to see his dog bed going into the back seat of our car. He was an amazing traveling companion. All he asked was an occasional walk and treat. If we stopped to eat he would be on high alert for a table treat and highly insulted if we forgot to bring him something which rarely happened. If he got to stay in the hotel room with us he was a perfect little gentleman. If for some reason that wasn’t possible then he would spend the night quietly sleeping in his bed in the car right outside our door. He just went with the flow whatever was going on.

Our granddaughters loved him. When they were toddlers and would give chase he wasn’t such a fan, but once they got older he returned their affection. Whenever we would Skype with our granddaughters the highlight for them was the obligatory appearance of Taz. We put him front and center and they would call his name and try to get his attention. Taz merely tolerated the whole strange procedure.

Taz developed a heart murmur and went on medication. That kept him enjoying life for a year and a half. Then he started having what we would call “spells.” They came out of nowhere and were over quickly. On the evening of Good Friday he had a really bad one. We thought for sure we were losing him. He rallied and had a great Saturday. We had just started carrying him up and down our outside stairs. He could still do it, but we could see it was getting to be a challenge for him. It was a beautiful day and I was going to clean out my car. I put him under the shade of our maple tree with Lola. At one point he decided that maybe I was going somewhere so he came over looking up expectantly and wagging his tail. I think he was trying to reassure me that he was up for one more trip if that was what I had in mind. That evening he ate a good dinner. My husband carried him and his little bed up the stairs to our master bedroom for the night. When we got up Easter morning Taz was lying on his side in his bed and he was gone.

We were so thankful to the Lord for the easy way he went out. He enjoyed life to the very end. We wept many tears for the loss of his faithful companionship. We loved him and he loved us. We miss him terribly.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~Casting Crowns

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sings far away; Rising, He justified freely forever; One day He's coming, O glorious day! How I pray you know the reality of His redeeming love.