Saturday, February 25, 2023

Growing in God


First Touch Down Bolivia February 14, 1981

Growing in God

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13, 14 (NIV)

Oh, the blessings I have seen while walking this journey. The One Who guides me never fails. Yes, Jesus never fails. I minister joyfully to those we came to share the gospel with––from that first day in Bolivia, Valentine’s Day 1981, to now. Classes are wonderful––little ones and older ones learning about God.


Want a personal senior citizen story? Here in Bolivia it would be called  a "tercera edad" story.

Last week, I went for my yearly checkup.  I took the elevator as I left the second floor.  I always walk the steps, but due to my accident-prone life I convinced myself to take the elevator. The elevator was dark, and the lights weren’t lit for the floor buttons––my vision is 20/20. As I struggled to see in the dark, a nurse came by. She asked if I needed help. I said please and thank you. She answered, “de nada, Mamita”.  Oh, my! Mamita is an endearing word for senior citizen ladies—you know, older ladies. Well, that hit me in the gut. I should add it is also used regularly for ladies not so old. That makes me feel better, but I know who I am. Mamita—the endearing older lady word for me. I just don’t see myself with that title—except in the mirror. Ha! Serving in old age with white hair. (Isaiah 46:4) Can’t help but laugh here.


I rarely buy clothes here in Bolivia—too tall, and never buy shoes here—feet too big, never in my size. Time for a new look? I set off to find a “cute older ladies’ sporty outfit. And I did that after seeing a cute “older” lady in the grocery store wearing a sweet, classy jogging suit—skinny legs and all. I decided I could wear that too. I found one, and the legs are long enough. So next week, on grocery day, I will be the cute older lady in the grocery store—if I muster up the courage to wear those skinny pants. It’s more of an exercise suit (pink too) which helps me change my older lady look. And I found the outfit in the grocery store––ironic, isn’t it? Thought you might like a personal “old lady” story. 

* Looking to improve not only an outward look but inside look too. Both are important as we walk this journey of life in the living.

Oh, God's sense of humor is so healing and comforting. And how comforting is that song, Someone is Praying for You.

I wait to see God's will for me unfold each day. Content in every circumstance––some days not easy, but there is peace that passeth understanding that comforts me. I am not alone. 

Note: The precious little ones and teens I teach aren't the only ones growing in God. I am too. I see God's goodness in the land of the living––even in my tercera edad.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Old Seasons ~ New Seasons


Old Seasons and New Seasons


"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" (Ecclesiastes 3:1a NIV)

First paragraph is an excerpt from an old blog a few years back...


'Some of my "angel cookies" (aka my teen students) sprouted their wings and flew on to the next phase of their lives. It was time to go, but soon, it will be time for me to guide a new group in God's ways––new classes with new "angel cookies" will start soon."


Now to the present day. I'm looking forward to storing up eternal treasures this new season of classes. If you missed this blog, you can read it here... just look for the post titled "Cookies that Don't Rust."


I am now in a new season of classes. First, I must tell you what happened a few weeks ago. I was beginning new classes. Almost before every new season of classes, I have had something happen to me--an accident, sickness or something that delayed classes. This year is no exception. We are in a battle, the enemy lurks.


Last week, we were running from one thing to another in town and had to wait until after the lunch hour to complete all we needed to do. We ate a hamburger and continued on our way to our destinations.  


The next day, I got sick and had to be in the clinic for two days because of dehydration. Diagnosis was wrong (they first said Typhoid), but I only had a stomach infection, probably because of the hamburger. It was the first time I had eaten anything outside the house since the pandemic. We get little stomach bugs from time to time here, but because my system was so pure, this bug got the best of me. It is dead now!


Yes, a whopping antibiotic treatment and IV replacement of fluids, and in one day's time, I was much better. I’m recovering my strength and thank God for healing through it all. No Covid, and nothing serious as first thought by the doctors.  So, I am rejoicing that God heals, protects, and takes care of His own. I’ve been through many “firsts” this past year. And now, I have “sicknesses” under my belt and saw God take care of me in wonderful ways to get me back to 100%. He is always with me. He heals! I’m never alone!


But now, I am slowing my pace a bit, learning to rest. I had no choice for a few days. I am reminded God knows we need to rest, He even gave us a day to come apart. During the week I am constantly busy, so I catch up on my other responsibilities on the weekends. But now, I’m trying to actually rest on Sundays. Yes, I always think I am doing that, but somehow, I have a need to be busy. Still learning in old age with grey hair, to spend more time with the Lord. Resting in His presence brings strength. “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NIV). Sweet rest!


“In quietness and trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 39: 15b). A time to rest…Yes! We all need it in this stressful world we live in today. Thankful for the peace God gives us in Him. Thankful for you!


 PS No more hamburgers except at home. Promise! PS Jasmine plant a gift from my ministry workers!


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Back in the Saddle Again


 "If you make the most High your dwelling––even the Lord, who is my refuge––then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, they will lift you up in their hands..." (Psalms 91:9-12 NIV).

Over a year of sitting idle, this old girl--the quad in the photo, not me--came to life this week. In 1999, I sat listening to Chuck's vision of Rumi Rancho as he presented it to one of our supporting churches. I have to admit, I slipped down a bit in my seat when he told the congregation that we needed a quad, and he knew God would provide it. Faith! Not mine, but his. 


The next day, we were shopping, and he received a cell phone call. He couldn't hear well--cells were new to us then. All he heard was someone on the other end of the call had a quad for us. It was blue, was that okay? Smile. And it was four-wheel drive. It was the husband of the wife who heard of our need in church the night before and told her husband. I still thank God for them when I look at that quad.


That was 23 years ago. This precious gift has had repairs and new tires over the years but has always been a faithful worker in the ministry here. What a blessing! God supplied as He always has and still does for me. Miracles––we have received many. Am I growing in my faith? I hope so. And do I still fight fear of the uncertain? Yes. But, I can be certain God is in control of it all. God is my strength, and He is teaching me as I go. "Do not fear; I am with you." My strength. My hope. My God.


When I heard that quad roar, I felt it in the pit of my stomach and cried. But, it is a sign of life and ministry here on the property. It has helped many, and it has helped this work of the Lord daily and does still. I felt those angels hold me that day and every day. The Lord is my refuge and strength daily. Prayers also lift me. I have stories to tell––many stories to tell of God's goodness and faithfulness to me daily. My tent is safe!

Friday, July 22, 2022

Encouragement from Afar


Proverbs 25:25 “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news 

from a distant land.” 

This week, I received a message from someone who encouraged me to keep on to the task God has for me. 

The following is from a special someone we ministered to as a child––and now as an adult. 

This story is one of those special blessings that happened to me this week.


The Bible says there is a time for everything. I am carrying on and doing the tasks before me each day. I see ministry unfold each day. And, this past week, God encouraged my weary soul that my labor is not in vain.


I received a message from Spain. Yes, Spain! It was from Peggycita—named after me when she was born here in our village 30 years ago. She is the daughter of our ministry worker, Guichi. She is now in Spain working and studying and ministering in a church as the media person and teaching teens. 


As you can imagine, I reflect on the ministry Chuck and I did together for so long here in Bolivia. I thank God for allowing us the privilege of being in His work for so many years, and now just me. Was it, and is it worth it? Let me quote Peggycita’s words for you—I’ll translate Spanish to English for you. Smile. 

*Note: Guichi’s children have always called us Abuelita and Abuelito––Grandma and Grandpa. 

Let me quote her words:


“Grandma, I am so happy to hear you are still teaching classes. Keep going because many will be blessed through them, as I was blessed for my life.


Grandma, I now understand what the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 (train up a child) because one day you and Grandpa planted a seed in my life. And, now that I am older, I understand it all. For that and much more, I will always be thankful to God for your lives. For that, I encourage you to keep teaching classes because I know the seed that one day you both planted in me, you also will plant in others.


I am so happy you are continuing to teach classes. I love you very much, Peggy--your namesake!”

I am humbled by these words from this sweet child of God.


I hope this encourages you that YOUR work isn't in vain for the Lord. I know it encouraged me to keep on keeping on in God’s work until He comes for us or takes us home.


Monday, April 6, 2020

Cookbook Comfort

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:8 NIV).

Looking through cookbooks is always like being on vacation for me. I also like to watch exercise videos. Sometimes that's as far as it goes––looking and watching. Smile. We all need to cook or have someone cook for us. Neither can we live without moving––a form of exercising without realizing we are exercising daily. Moving––that's the kind of exercise I like––walking, bending, scrubbing floors, and washing windows. But, one Sunday in church, I learned a different type of exercise––a life-changing exercise.

During this hard time for all, it's good to remember how God has taken care of us over the years and present-day included. Last week, God encouraged me through my cookbooks. Many memories leaped off the pages and flooded my soul with the hope that He will take care of me now, too.

To not mislead you, I do bake but just not using all those fancy recipes. I have my favorites––like carrot cake and apple pie and cinnamon rolls. I use the same recipes every time and for many years now. Maybe because I teach little girls and teens to cook and bake, I keep it simple. And, I am an active person, just not an exercise guru--far from it. I also have exercise classes with my girls––keeping it simple also.

Where is this story going, you ask? It started when I began moving cookbooks from one location to another. As I looked at each one, I realized how many cookbooks I have from churches––churches that support our ministry. In each cookbook are recipes from beautiful Christian ladies (and men, too) who not only inspire me to cook but also to emulate their godly lives.

While visiting a long-time supporting church one furlough, we saw Jesus through these ladies and all the people who call this church home. We'd been trusting God for supplies to ship to Bolivia to start classes for underprivileged kids––this was before computers and printers were available in Bolivia. God had supplied ten computers to ship by the time we showed up for the Sunday morning service at this lovely church.

After sharing our vision for our ministry, we shook hands at the door after the service. One sweet church member leaned over, and in a low voice, said, "Do you have printers for these computers?" No, we didn't. We hadn't even thought that far ahead, but God thought of it. Then, surprising us said, "Well, you do now." God had supplied printers before we prayed for them. He knows our needs.

Without even realizing, my husband and I exercised our faith by going step by step with Him to provide for the ministry he'd put on our hearts. We knew we wanted to give computer classes to children with no opportunity to learn the technology of the times but somehow not seeing the need for printers also. But God! Yes, but God was a step ahead of us. We'd stepped out in faith to follow Him and do His will--teaching underprivileged kids in remote parts of Bolivia. We exercised our faith, and He provided all we needed––even printers we hadn't yet asked to be provided.

God will supply what we need. And He already knows what we need before we ask. He will do that now, too, in this pandemic. God has used our classes to bring children to Him. Let's pray many will open their hearts to the gospel message during this world-wide pandemic. And, that a cure will be found soon.

Are you exercising your faith?

What is God doing for you today even though you haven't asked Him?

The church in this story has a pastor who is a super cook––we know because he's cooked for us every time we are home on furlough. (He even allows us to fall asleep on his sofa.)
Thank you, Pastor Barry!

Hash Brown Pork Bake

From Pastor Barry's kitchen:

2 c. (16 oz.) sour cream
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 pkg. (32 oz.) frozen cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 c. cubed pork
1 lb. process cheese (Velveeta) cubed
¼ c. chopped onion
2 c. crushed cornflakes
½ c. margarine, melted
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
3 green pepper rings

In a large bowl, combine sour cream and soup. Stir in the hash browns, pork, process cheese, and onion. Transfer to a greased 3 qt. baking dish. Toss cornflake crumbs and margarine, sprinkle over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F. for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Garnish with green pepper rings or parsley. Yield: 8 servings.

And, we also visit with a family of this church who opens their home and Amish dining room table to us. There is always a delicious home-cooked meal served with love. They are faithful workers in the church and a blessing to all who know them.

Pigs in the Blanket (Easy Way)

From the kitchen of Jean and Marty:

1 large head of cabbage shredded
1 lb. hamburger
1 chopped onion
½ c. rice (uncooked)
1 (15 oz.) tomato soup
1 (15 oz.) tomato juice
½ c. water

Put cabbage in casserole dish. Brown onion and hamburger. Mix rice, soup, juice and water. Pour over cabbage. Do not stir. Cover and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 F.

"He makes grass to grow for the cattle. and plants for people to cultivate––bringing forth food from the earth:" (Psalm 104: 14 NIV).

Friday, January 24, 2020

"Cookies" that Don't Rust

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, 
where moths and rust destroy," (Matthew 6:19 NIV).

My Eternal "Cookies"––I’ve known them since they were born. Some were in my Sunday School classes, some in youth group and children's programs, and most in our computer classes.Then, they became young ladies and entered my Bible and cooking classes. 

We baked chocolate chip cookies--they'd never had one. They learned many things, but most importantly, everyone accepted Jesus as their Savior. They are my eternal "cookies" that won't rust. I used God's recipe (His Word) and saw Him mold them, little by little, to His image. Finally, I watched them fly out of the nest to make "cookies" of their own that won't rust. 

This new year, I'm contemplating the things I will invest in for eternity and eliminating those things that will rust. I'm striving to share the things God has given me––flour, sugar, chocolate chips––to see them from a heavenly perspective to invest in "cookies" that last forever––eternal treasures.

Young Girls––now some are mothers

We Made Cookies

We Baked

We Studied

We Prayed

We Had Serious Conversations 

 We Laughed 

And Received Prizes

We Made Angel Dolls

My Classroom is Quiet Now
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" (Ecclesiastes 3:1a NIV)
Some of my "angel cookies" sprouted their wings and flew on to the next phase of their lives. It was time to go; but soon it will be time for me to guide a new group in God's ways––new classes with new "cookies" will start soon.

I'm looking forward to storing up eternal treasures this new year––"cookies" that don't rust. 

What will be your eternal "cookies" this year that won't rust?

Need a lift and a laugh today?

*If you liked this post you might want to read more about eternal treasures in my article published on Heart Wings Blog. I hope it will give you a lift and a laugh today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Step into the Future

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; 
he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB
David was on the run. Saul was bent on taking his life, feeling David to be a threat to his throne. Weary from the tense pursuit, David cried out to God. “Keep me as the apple of the eye,” he wrote, “Hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8 NIV).
The phrase “apple of the eye” is an idiom. At the time of David, people thought the pupil of the eye was actually a solid object (much like an apple). The pupil is at the center of the eye. It is a part of us that we instinctively protect. Asking to be the “apple of [God’s] eye” was to request that God guard him as a cherished child. He wanted the kind of protection that was akin to a chick hiding under the wings of its mother.
God is “keeping” us in the same way right now. I’m the apple of His eye, and so are you, child of God. I slip into bed every night knowing, when I wake up (Lord willing), I will step into the next day and all it will bring. None of us knows what tomorrow will entail, but we do know whatever it is, God will be with us and keep us close.
Recently, I experienced that presence and protection in an instant. It’s a known fact that seniors fear a fall because we know what the results could be—broken hips, broken shoulders, and sometimes even a fatal fall. So I am usually pretty cautious as I move around, especially steps.

But that particular day, I was anything but careful. Feeling all joyful with our new puppy in my arms, I carelessly traipsed down the stairs. Our puppy got the shock of his life when my ankle turned about half-way down the steps. I stumbled, lost my balance, and squeezed the poor dog so hard, he squealed.
A vision of an almost certain trip to the hospital danced in my head as I went down. I cried out to God to rescue me. I instinctively grabbed for the railing with my left hand, and all my weight landed on my left foot. While I sustained a serious sprain, the Lord kept me from broken bones or an even more tragic ending. There’s no question in my mind that God, in that moment, kept me as the “apple of His eye.”

Traveling this journey of life with God, we’re never alone. We’re cherished, favored, and loved beyond measure. Protected. It’s a trip of a lifetime. No pun intended––okay a little intended. It’s better than a vacation, because it never ends. Never. And, when our life on earth does end, guess what? It was only the beginning of being with Jesus forever.
We may wonder what the new year will bring, but we don’t need to doubt Who will be with us. Let’s step into the future, the new year, with confidence that we are the apple of His eye, and rejoice because God is with us always.