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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jesus Is Risen. He Is Risen Indeed.

This is from The Father's Business. Sylvia Gunter has been an encouragement to me for years. Enjoy the insights from Sylvia and her daughter Elizabeth.

This Easter season, I have been thoroughly blessed by Luke 22:15. It has drawn me deeper into the heart of Jesus. Jesus told his disciples, "I have earnestly and intensely desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Amplified Bible). He used a strong word for "earnestly and intensely desired." He was saying, "I long eagerly to have communion with you. My affections are deeply directed toward sharing this significant holy feast with you." Jesus passionately wants our fellowship. Jesus yearns to intimately share a special meal with us, in the long leisurely custom of those days (see also Rev 3:20).

This is my watchword for this Easter season. This is a great time to pause and remember the ways Jesus has shown his love to you during the past year. What are the times or situations since last Easter that you have sensed his presence or received his passionate covenant love and kindness or basked in his intimate goodness? Thank him for those moments and journal your great gratitude for him alive, present, and active in your life and in your world.

There can be some seasons in life in which it can be hard to really "see" Jesus. When Mary Magdalene met Jesus at the garden tomb after he had been resurrected, she didn't "see" him (John 20:11-18). Of all people, she knew him so well that she should have recognized Jesus immediately, but she didn't. She thought he was the gardener. Jesus was there for her, but she just couldn't see. But then Jesus said her name "Mary," and she immediately knew it was Jesus.

This Easter be blessed to know and appreciate the many ways Jesus is present for you, even if you think he is just the gardener. Ask him to open your eyes to know him as his words burn within you on your road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Remember a time when you were toiling away at your ordinary duties, and Jesus addressed you gently as "Friend" and then did something so awesome that you knew immediately that it was he (John 21:1-7).

Read the Easter week narratives in your Bible from your spirit, as if for the first time. Ask God to immerse you deeply in some of the other rich imagery of Easter... "be there" as the triumphant King enters to waving palm branches,
"be there" at the Passover meal, "be there" in Gethsemane with the agonizing submitted Son, "be there" at the cross with your crucified Savior, "be there" seeking your Lord in the garden.

Be touched by the thought in a song from decades ago: He paid much too high a price for you to be merely inspired but not truly changed.

For reflection:
Ask God to help you remember times when he was with you. Remember the emotions and stirring of your heart in those times. Ask him to give you a glimpse into his heavenly realities concerning those times. Ask him for fresh eyes to see him in the dailies of life, when he crowns them with his glory. Ask him if there is anything he wants to say to you today. Open your heart and your spirit to hear him afresh.
© 2011 by Sylvia Gunter and Elizabeth Wallace

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Jewish Jesus: Lamb of God - CBN.com

A video to remind us Who and what this Holy week is all about.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Little Humor

A friend posted this on FaceBook and gave me a good laugh. I'm just recovering from bronchitis. I could have used this contraption.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Amazing Achievement

This video may force us to examine the excuses we make not to tackle those major challenges in our lives.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Google Exodus

This is too clever not to share. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Heavens Declare! Supermoon Tonight

"It is all a matter of keeping my eyes open. Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will sense them. The least we can do is try to be there…so that creation need not play to an empty house. " Annie Dillard Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek

Let's keep our eyes open to the beauty of God's handiwork!

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's a full moon Saturday, but it won't be just any old full moon. It'll be bigger and brighter. It will appear larger as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 18 years.
Scientists estimate the "supermoon" rising in the east at sunset will appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter at its peak.
Full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of its orbit, with one end closer to Earth. On Saturday, the moon will be 221,565 miles away — the closest to Earth since March 1993.
This celestial phenomenon should give people an excuse to take time out for the moon.
Usually, "most people are completely oblivious to its presence," said Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Super-full-moon-to-shine-on-Saturday-1193286.php#ixzz1H2gseDT5

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This and That

Since Monday this has been the view from my front porch and back patio. Really beautiful and because I have been sick, I have felt free to enjoy and not fret about what isn't being accomplished. Since we are empty nesters and our grandkids aren't near by it has been very serene. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have kids sledding and building snowmen, running in and out, tracking in snow, creating more laundry than usual, but that's not what's happening. I have bronchitis and an fluid in my ears so life has taken on a different rhythm and I'm just resting and enjoying what is. Every season of life has its joys, jobs, and challenges.

One benefit of the snow is the delightful way it amplifies the beauty of the birds at our feeders. Rufous sided towhees, cardinals, purple finches, tufted titmice, wrens, and chickadees all contending for their time at the feeders. One poor little wren flew into a window and knocked herself out. We brought her in and placed her on a pad, put a little water in a flat container, and covered her with a large mesh strainer so that if she survived and revived she wouldn't fly about and sustain another injury. It took her about half an hour to move from her side to her feet and another half hour to finally hop a little. We released her and off she flew into a large tree. Felt great.

The only other excitement we had was after my return trip from the doctor's office on Tuesday. My husband had cleared the sidewalk and positioned the truck so that I could step down onto the sidewalk. We had used the excursion to restock some groceries and it made it easier to be right at the sidewalk. However, that meant the back tires were on an incline and not on the large flat part of our driveway. Even though it was in park with the engine off a short time later Rell discovered his truck had slid down the driveway into a ditch. We were really grateful because it stopped its trajectory toward the side of our garage. Fortunately he was able to drive it out. Thank heavens for 4 wheel drive. Of course a neighbor we call, "The Mayor of Hanging Dog," had seen our predicament and offered his assistance if Rell's attempt failed. Love it when that happens.
Hope whatever season or circumstance you find yourself in that you will also find as Matthew 11:29-30 The Message says, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly." Even sick and home bound.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Religion is Basically Guilt

I am a collector of good quotes. I found one this morning that I absolutely loved.

All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays. ~Cathy Ladman

Cathy is a comedian and I am sure she was trying to be funny as well as speak the truth as she has observed it.

You may be surprised that I agree 100 percent. I was raised in a Protestant church. I grew up filled with guilt. That really is all religion is good for.

· I knew the stories but not the Great Storyteller.
· I knew the basics of how to be saved, but I didn’t know the Savior.
· I knew the list of do’s and don’ts. I didn’t know the One who canceled out the written code consisting of decrees against me and which was hostile to me; and He had taken it out of the way, having nailed it to His cross. Colossians 2:14

The kindest thing the Lord ever did for me was allow my religious veneer to be stripped off so one day I could come into a true relationship with Him.

Romans 8:1“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” His Holy Spirit will convict us when we fall short. He will be specific and empowering. We confess that we have blown it and allow Him to wash our feet from defilement. There is no need to be weighed down by guilt or condemnation. No one is perfect. Our right standing with God is still dependent on what Christ did for us on the cross.

The blood that Jesus shed for me, way back on Calvary, the blood that gives me strength from day to day, it will never lose it power. We find mercy and grace continuously as we look to the finished work of Christ on the cross. No guilt. My sins not in part, but the whole are nailed to the cross and I bear them no more, praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, Oh my soul.

If you are reading this and you do not know the beauty of a relationship with Jesus Christ I ask you to enter in. There is only one way. Jesus said, “No man can come to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 Repent, admit you have sinned and gone your own way and made a mess of things. Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent to live a sinless life and to give Himself for us. He paid our debt so that we may have peace with God. Enter into a love relationship with Him. Read his letter to you. Talk to him in prayer. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. No condemnation. Receive His forgiveness and cleansing. No religious guilt needed. Walk with the Master. He said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He meant it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Two Great Prayers

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I went to a Jason Gray concert last Sunday and was so glad I had the opportunity. He quoted someone who said the two greatest prayers we can pray are, “Help me, help me, help me!” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Today my granddaughter and I experienced how true that is.

She’s eight years old and has beautiful, thick, brown hair. We decided to eat dinner out and everyone was going in different directions getting ready. Her mom told her to brush out her freshly shampooed hair. We are visiting in their home and I am sharing the bathroom with the children. She picked up my small cylindrical hairbrush meant for styling short hair. She got her long hair tangled in the brush and couldn’t pull it out. She thought the logical thing to do was rotate it in the opposite direction which only wound it more tightly until it was firmly affixed to her scalp. I wish now I had taken a picture of her predicament, but she wouldn’t have appreciated it. She was afraid the only solution was going to be a haircut. Honestly, that thought crossed my mind too. I told her that we needed to pray for help in untangling the mess and we did. Approximately 15 minutes later with a few, trying to be brave tears, flowing down her cheeks I had her untangled. She bowed her head with no prompting and said, “Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you.” I loved it and I’m sure He did too.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

More Like a Love Affair

Went to His Place Church in Burlington, Washington today with our daughter. Jason Gray did a concert and it was absolutely wonderful. Right up there with Michael Card and Rich Mullins in depth and the ability to express the deep heartfelt things of God. I enjoyed it so much because even though the church early service was packed Jason seemed to talk heart to heart. The Holy Spirit was so tangible. Jason wrote More Like Falling in Love from this G. K.Chesterton quote, "Our Christianity should look less like a theory and more like a love affair." I can only say, "Amen, may it be so Lord." I've included the video of the song with the lyrics. If you don't know the words please listen and read along as Jason sings.