Sunday, September 30, 2012

....preacher man!

The Missionary in Residence at VFCC traditionally speaks in chapel the day before the 3-day Missions Convention starts for the students. Denny had that honor last week. There have been many affirmations to his ministry in that chapel and God was pleased. I had to be at work but my parents and Ryan watched via the webcast!

During the 3 day event the students are challenged to reach the lost in chapel services, they experience powerful times of prayer, sit with missionaries, hear the heart of God and then actually make a faith promise. These monies are collected during the school term and then sent for a specific project.

$117,000.00 was the grand total. Isn't that amazing? These students are passionate about reaching the lost and being a participant in it. VFCC offers many ways to reach out. This 3- day event happens in the first month of school and I think that is a great planning strategy. It is not designed just for the missions majors, but for the entire student body.

Renee said, "Mom, I made a faith promise and I am so excited about it." God is so good! matters...

There are some occupations that have as their theme song....All we Do is Say Goodbye. Military Personnel, Oil Riggers, Government Embassy positions, Missionaries and many more! While we were in Jamaica, we missed Ryan so very much that at times we wondered if we could manage. The longing to be with him was so deep.

We are a close four-some. When Renee would experience home-sickness, it was most likely related to missing her brother. Saying good-bye frequently is one of those things that come with the territory. We have ministry friends that have had to bow out of the missions appointment for this very reason. They realized after approval that they just couldn't continually say good-bye to family, friends, relationships that mattered so much to them. They didn't want to miss weddings, funerals, neices and nephews, etc. They realized that to count the cost it would mean saying good-bye to missionaries leaving their field to return to itinerate, saying good-bye to their ministry site to come home to itinerate, then after being in the states saying good-bye all over again to parents and family. A vicious cycle for the missionary couple and compounding that with their own children living that kind of life.

This morning Denny preached in a church and afterward the pastor and his family took us and our family out for lunch and this topic came up. He was called many years ago to be a pastor, his wifes major in college was missions. Before their relationship became serious they had to come to grips with if it was God's will to marry or not. The pastor knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would not be able to live life as a missionary. He said I could pray, I could send, I could drive the one going to the airport, but it would not be for me to have that kind of ministry. They must have made the right decision! They are a beautiful pastoral couple.

Now that we are state-side and on the same side of the ocean as Ryan we treasure our times together. He drives down from Boston or when we have services in New England, we get to see him. Precious moments. This week was one of those special times. He came to do some recording in the studio and some time with us in our new apartment. He didn't even mind sleeping on the sofa!

Before we even turn around it will be time for us to depart once again for the field, so when we have moments together we are making them count. He left this afternoon, back to his ministry.
We took the kids to a raceway where Den went with his family growing and even into his adult life! Lots of fun!

 When he left, Denny said, "Son I wish you could stay with us, but I know you are right where you are supposed to be." What a great feeling to know he is obedient to the call of God on his own life and is fulfilling the desires that God planted in his heart a long time ago. God is so good.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

...something about a mac...

Nope, not talking about technology! talking about apples. Something Renee missed very much while in Jamaica was MacIntosh apples. I am not sure if they are just an East Coast apple or not. I just grew up on them since birth and thought everybody did. My kids love apples, all kinds, but especially Macs. In Jamaica we feasted on Otaheite apples...they are kind of squishy and sweet...

Today was a beautiful 85 degree kind of day. Almost too warm to be in the apple orchard but we took advantage of a free Saturday and off we went to Weavers Orchard in Morgantown, PA. What a place. It didn't just have apples and pumpkins but also whoopie pies and cider donuts, all kinds of veggies and fruits. They were giving out samples of kiwi berries. Really really yummy!

This pumpkin was called a cinderella pumpkin! shaped like her coach to the ball!

We continued our journey through Amish country and really enjoyed the sites. Even saw some of these!

The only thing we didn't see but expected to was the turning of the leaves. At the apple orchard we found just one!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

...rain puddles remind me....

It is a crazy, rainy day here in Phoenixville. Makes my mind go to Jamaica...There is a rule in the island that says if you drive through a rainpuddle, you can be fined 5000 Jamaican dollars for getting people wet.

I was thinking about this rule when I left work to drive home this evening. The only difference is I didn't see any people to splash! Here in the states few people walk. In Jamaica the streets are loaded with people and there are no sidewalks or if there are they are few and far between! This is a picture of our town, Mandeville on a rainy day....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

....what if.....

We think of our Jamaican Bible College students every day. We hear from them via phone, facebook and email. We miss them so very much. Four years of teaching in one place can do that to you. They get into your heart and so does their land and culture. We still miss driving on the "wrong" side of the road, shopping in their places, eating their food, and living in their land, having them in our home and listening to their passionate prayers.

When we first drove on the VFCC campus, all we could say was, "What would our Jamaican students say about this property?" "What would they say about living in one of these dorm buildings?" "What would they say about having all this campus to walk and pray?" "What would they think about having a sports field to play futbol?" What would they say? They would probably think they had died and gone to heaven!

Years ago Jimmy Swaggart bought the property that houses the Jamaican Bible College. It is a tight space. The dorm is small. The cafe is a little one room. There is a chapel upstairs in the dorm room and there are 3 classrooms down below. For Jamaica it works. For the American, we think, what if?

What if? I know those are dangerous words, words that can get a person into a lot of trouble. Words that usually depict some sort of regret and wishing "whatever" could be done over, or "whatever"
could be changed somehow.

What if I could transport this college campus to Jamaica if even for a moment? What if our students could attend VFCC for even a day? What if, what if, what if?

I guess instead of saying what if, I need to accept what is and realize that God does all things well and has every people group in His hands.... Someday maybe I can ask Jesus, what if this had happened and what if that had happened, I am sure at that point it won't matter, but in my finite mind I sure would like to know!


...the daycare life.... mom worked for a state daycare for many many years. I have to admit, I never thought about falling into those daycare shoes! It is really is quite surprising. When I talked to her about it the other day, she said, "I could have never done it at your age!!"  thanks MOM!

I have always preached the verse, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it, with all your might." I guess every preacher has to eat their words. During our term in Jamaica our work budget was hit hard due to the economic situation for people everywhere, which meant churches were hit too. Our salary comes from that budget, so when the set budget doesn't come in, the paycheck doesn't either. I have no choice but to work while we are stateside.  I applied to a dozen places and the only callbacks I got were from daycares. Different for me, I am used to an office setting. Not to be! Daycare is the life for me.....well I hope not for life!

I work in a place without computers, no phones ringing,  no printers printing, instead babies crying, toys buzzing, wipes wiping, and co workers loving little ones, big ones...all the way to kindergarten.
I am a floater, so that means I can be anywhere there is a vacancy or more kids than the teacher and assistant can manage easily.  I was hired for the infants so I am always there in the afternoon, but in the mornings I have been with the young toddlers, the older toddlers, and the kindergartners. The only class I haven't assisted are the two preK classes. I must admit I really enjoy the kindergarten class. That age is a trip!

I am really grateful for employment. I was starting to worry a little bit especially when hearing the nightly news, but God is faithful and helped me find Grace DayCare. I have gone back to the basics....Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see!! Ring around the I didn't know kids still did that! You never know what kind of situation you may find yourself in, but for sure I am learning to be grateful and enjoying the moments of lifting, lugging and loving on kids.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

....the flying mattress on the way to church...

When we left Jamaica we didn't realize that our king size bed wouldn't fit in the apartment sooooooo all parts of it have been leaning against the living room wall since July 27th.  I advertised it for sale, a couple came to look at it, I passed the word around and it just wasn't moving.

It would be too cumbersome to set up at the yard sale so a couple of weeks ago I contacted our dear pastor friend in Emmaus and asked if he knew of anyone who needed a bed. He said give me a couple of days and I will ask the church and some other churches that I am in contact with.

We were so excited from his call later on saying that there was a lady in his church that unbeknownst to him and others was sleeping on the floor. She has 3 daughters and he was quite surprised. He asked Lily why she had never mentioned it, her response was humbling. "There are others worse off than me"....needless to say we were delighted to give her the bed.

Since we had borrowed Pastor Bill's truck for the week we loaded the bed on it to return the truck, preach in the church and just have a great reunion. Bill and Sue, Denny and I were in Zion Bible Institute together in the seventies. Denny was in their wedding and I sang at it. Lots of memories to rehash!

We loaded the truck early this morning after praying that God would give us a clear day so it wouldn't get wet. We started on our way, leaving plenty of time to drive slow and even stop to get some breakfast the nearer we got! Forget all those good plans! We were late to church.

We were going along, me following to be sure all was well. About 40 minutes into the trip on the expressway, no less, I thought I was dreaming! The mattress let loose and came flying at the car. Because of sheer surprise I stomped on the brakes, squealing and swerving, I was worried about the mattress hitting me in the front and the car behind me hitting me in the back.

The strangest part....Den in the truck kept driving with half a load! I was sitting by the guardrail, trying to find my phone and he is still be-bopping along!

Because I was shaken, I couldn't call him fast enough! He called me. Hey what's going on back there. I see you swerving, (later he told me he thought I blew a tire) I said, WHATS GOING ON IS A FLYING MATTRESS CAME AT ME LIKE A ROCKET!!

Oh brother...what to do? I couldn't get out of the car on the whizzing expressway, I wasn't safe to back up and try to find where it landed. I just prayed!

Den was able to go up and get off and loop back around which took about ten minutes. I finally saw the truck in my rearview mirror and saw him searching. He kept calling and telling me he couldn't see it! I thought, wow some person is going to wake up and see a mattress in their yard, they will think they had a tornado! Finally it was found. It was in a creek, on the other side of the guardrail, Den was in a suit, how in the world is this going to work!!

I asked God yesterday to bring us an angel to help us with the yard sale, it didn't happen. Today I asked again. I saw a truck stop and a young man jump out and later found out he was on the way to the farm to work so he didn't mind getting wet. While they were struggling with the mattress a huge frog hopped across it. I guess that was quite humourous.

They strapped it back on and although soaking wet, it was saved! Den called the pastor and apologized for our late arrival and told him the story. He told us later he was relieved it was just the mattress and not the truck in trouble!

We arrived at the church, had a great service and just prayed that the mattress would dry out some before we needed to deliver it to the lady!

Den had me tell the story in the service and unbeknownst to me the lady was sitting in the service and the part that troubled her the most was the frog!!

Well we are thrilled that Lilly will have a bed and a story to remember of its arrival!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012 of my least favorite things!

I didn't grow up in a "yard-saling" family. To this day I never remember my mom going to one. I don't remember having any growing up. I asked her today if she likes them and she said, "No, I never enjoyed them! If I went I felt like I had to buy something, even though there wasn't anything I wanted!"

So I guess that explains why I didn't grow up running around with her on Saturday mornings to everybody's garage! I think the real reason was Saturday morning was cleaning time and she knew if we started going here and there we wouldn't get our housework done! Such a smart mom!

Denny and I have moved many times in our 34 years of marriage so I guess that is why we have had tons of sales. I have never enjoyed them. I don't like the lugging and the lifting. I don't like the worry of bad weather pending. I don't like to price things. I don't like it when people pick up your treasures and say, "will you take a quarter" and I really don't like the clean up of everything you have pulled from the house and now since it didn't sell, you have to lug to goodwill!

As you can see I am not a good yard-saler! But alas, today we had to do another one! We did so poorly we have to do it again next weekend!

When we left Springfield, MO in 2008 to make our way to Jamaica, we had a sale. We thought we had cleaned out and could live with the stuff that remained and we put it into a storage unit in PA. For the last four years that is where it has lived!

When we left Jamaica, we had a sale. I must say it was the best way to do one! Here is why. Everything remains in the front room of the house and people walk into that room and buy what they want. There is no weather problem, no lugging problem, no finding table problem! It was the best, that is if having a sale is something that is the best!

There again, we thought we sold everything we needed to sell and could live with what was left. Not to be. When we arrived in Phoenixville, we learned very quickly that the stuff remaining from our Springfield move, and the stuff we shipped from Jamaica was not going to fit in a two bedroom apartment!

We came to a wise decision! Why are we storing or carting all this stuff all over the world? What can we do to get down to bare bones living? You guessed it. It required another yard sale!

One problem, we can't do it in our yard here in the apartment so we asked Pastor Jack if we could have it at the church and so today was the day!

Thanks to Grace Assembly for the use of their tables and yard! I forgot to pull out my camera when everything was up and going strong but here are a couple of pictures after the first load was brought out!

Rain and storms were predicted but thank God the rain didn't arrive until we actually arrived at our doorstep. Now we have to pray for good weather for next Saturday!

Monday, September 3, 2012 little friends...

My lizards have come back!

Funny story...when we itinerated for the first time in 1985-6 we booked a month in the panhandle of Florida. We stayed at the campground and were booked solid. In those days you could get Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday and Thursday nights. We had some weekend missions conventions as well. We had a full month to look forward to.

We started out on our journey one clear morning from Selinsgrove, PA to Marianna, Florida. The superintendent of that A/G district was great. He loved on us and encouraged his churches to have us. I remember great treatment in every place we ministered and to this day have wonderful memories of our time there....except one!

After driving a couple of days, we finally arrived at our new home, at least for a month! We jumped out of the car, so happy to be in the warmth and in carrying our stuff through the cabin door, I noticed some friends....when I saw those ugly creatures, I screamed, I jumped, I refused to go inside.

After some cajolling from Den, I tiptoed in, very cautious of where I placed my hands, my feet and my eyes. They were snuggled in the curtains, they roamed the walls, they frightened me to death. Those ugly lizards were nothing to be happy about. It was a cabin with a kitchen so when we brought the groceries inside, I put everything in the frig. I thought those lizards would be like cockroaches and go for the food. I wouldn't take my shoes or clothes out of my suitcase. I kept it zipped tight. Those ugly creatures could not nest in my things. Denny had a lot of patience with me! Good thing our first assignment was in Europe. I wouldn't have to worry about strange creatures!

Today....well today is another day! I miss those precious things! In Jamaica they were everywhere...little ones, nothing like the ones you see in the Cayman Islands! They were on my clothesline, on the grates that held the trash. On the walls, on the rocks, everywhere and they became my friends! Well. sometimes they were my friends. The closer our departure came, the more I said, I wouldn't miss those crazy lizards, but funny thing, I do!

Yesterday in spending time with Denny's sister, she gave me this bookmark. Just to remember those precious creatures that eat the mosquitoes I guess! They are good for something. I need to apologize to all those West Florida lizards that I cursed a long time ago!