Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ossining Gospel Assembly

Gospel Assembly was founded in 1914 by independent Methodists who experienced Pentecost. The house next door to the church was a missionary house. Since Ossining is close to New York City where the missionaries would leave the USA by ship, they were housed at Gospel Assembly. The pastors family lives in that house today. They told us that when they moved in 36 years ago there were still barrels and wrapped bandages and such there ready to ship! As a matter of fact, there is still a missionary room on the third floor for visiting missionaries.

The Assemblies of God was founded in 1914. It is an amazing thing to walk into a place with such history and realize that many of our founding fathers either pastored Gospel Assembly or have been there at one time or another. Soon after the Methodists founded the church it became Assemblies of God.

In two years Gospel Assembly will celebrate 100 years. I am hoping that we hear of the celebration so we can attend and rejoice with this very special body of believers. This morning Denny was the guest speaker. He preached missions and then took faith promises. It was a great morning. There are Nigerians, Jamaicans, Dutch, so many nations represented in one place. It was a really special place!

Pastor Ardouini and his family have been there for 36 years. Over lunch they told us some of the history and the missionaries that have passed through the doors. What history and what a legacy the church has. They told us of the ministries that have started from youth that grew up in the church under their ministry. Talking about the history of the church always makes me excited! It was a great morning!



Each day on my way to work on a certain stretch of road  I see green fruit laying along the side, even falling from the tree and some even run over by cars. I had never seen this fruit or nut or vegetable before and they certainly had the strangest bright green brains. Whatever could they be?

For a month now I have been wondering about these things and lo and behold I walked into the young toddler room this week and there were some in a basket! I learned that they are hedge apples, one of the teachers call them hedge balls. I learned that they are good to put in a basement or wherever you have spiders, roaches, ants, insects and crickets! Since they are a repellant I decided to try it out! We have crickets. They sing us to sleep and keep us awake at the oddest times. They are loud little critters. So hedge apples to the rescue, I hope!

They are not poisonous and they actually come from the Osage orange tree. What puzzles me is that they come from the orange tree and they are neither orange or even citrus. The Osage orange tree is actually a cousin of the mulberry tree. Having grown up in Pennsylvania I am puzzled as to why I have never seen them before. Maybe they are a Phillie thing! When I googled the hedge apple, I learned they are seen in Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia can boast as to having the largest Osage orange tree in the nation.

I just wish I had them in Jamaica. We dealt with thousands of ants, hundreds of cockroaches and little critters there! It is rumored that WWII soldiers ate these hedge apples because of food shortage. Martha Stewart has even made autumn crafts from these man I just don't know what to call them! I think I will stick to calling them green brains!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

..the hurricane scare...

Since living in a hurricane zone for four years, I will never look at them the same. We weathered Hurricane Gustav, Tropical Storm Nicole, and many scares of hurricanes that changed course and didn't hurt Jamaica.

Today Hurricane Sandy came to Jamaica. I have to say, I would rather be there in the thick of it, knowing what was going on, then sitting in my warm house on this side of the ocean, worrying about our college students, their families and the many churches that we love.

I finally heard from two of our students tonight. They said all is well at the college in spite of lots of wind and rain.

City of Refuge suffered damage high in the Blue Mountains. We need to pray that all will be well there when everything is assessed in the light of day.

Storms come and storms go. In any kind of storm there is destruction left behind. I think of the storms we have weathered in our lives, fear and scars can remain and take precedence in my mind if I let them. The thought occurred to me today while praying for the island, "it won't rain always, the sun will shine again," and this thought is true in the "non-weather" storms we go through as well. It won't rain always.

Sunday, October 21, 2012 the window...

An itinerant missionary travels to raise the budget so they can go back to the same field or transfer to another field like us. We know we are not returning to Jamaica, however we are not sure where we are going after itineration.

When we first started our missionary career in the eighties a missionary would call the pastor and ask for a service and in that service you would present your field, your calling, your present situation (how much money the budget was lacking) and then preach the Word.

Today, 27 years later a window may be the only option for the missionary in the morning service. Since many churches have stopped Sunday evening services and Wednesdays are smaller crowds, the pastor guards the Sunday morning service tightly since he only has 4 preaching times in a month. When a window is offered, the missionary takes it! A window is better than nothing. Without the church/missionary partnership, the missionary might as well kiss it good-bye.

In that window, you have to watch the clock closely as it may be only three minutes. If you are given a seven minute window you are really blessed! In those three minutes you talk really fast and present your life! Sometimes you wonder if it was even worth it! The most important thing a missionary can tell a church is "thank you" certainly you can do that in three minutes!

Today Denny was given a six minute window and guess what, he talked really fast and had one minute left over! Love those windows, of course, a missionary loves windows and doors! We are passionate about our calling! We will use anything to love on the churches that support us. Couldn't do anything without the partnership of the local church! like a nomad.....

Last week in the missions banquet, Pastor Mason asked me to share how this missionary calling happened in my life. I publicly stated that my calling was actually to be a teacher. When I was young, somewhere around 9 years old, an evangelist preached in our church and in a prophetic manner spoke over my life and the gist of the prophecy was that I was called to be a teacher and God would lead me to many and varied places as a teacher. Now many years later I am able to attest to the fact that the prophecy was right on and God has used me as a teacher in many places and with many different responsibilities. I have taught in  public schools, Bible Colleges, private instruction, piano and voice, speech, now the daycare, etc. etc.

When I graduated from high school at 17, I left for Bible College in Rhode Island and basically never lived at home again! When Denny and I married, I never really dreamt that my life would be nomadic.

A nomad is commonly known as an "itinerant." They move from place to place rather than settle permanently in one location. Of course I don't herd animals, or eat off the land. I don't live in a desert or hunt for food, but this word, "nomad" has come into my thinking alot this week.

At work I am around people with deep roots in the area, deep friendships next door, things that have remained the same for most of their adult lives. I look at my life and see something so very different. Lots of miles on this body, lots of transitions physically and emotionally, lots of luggage and boxes, lots of selling houses, posessions, and stuff, lots of going from place to place. Is it bad? I sure hope not, because I can't do my life over!

Missionaries are nomads. Raising the budget has to happen in different places. Missionaries leave the land of their birth and make a difference in another place. Missionaries partner with others to fulfill their calling. Some are called to have deep roots, others like me are called to be "nomadic" and together we are the "senders" and the "go-ers."

What a life!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I have come to the conclusion that I really love the name Grace. It encapsulates all kinds of meaning, emotion, deep gratitude and love to the one who extends the grace. It also makes me real mindful of giving grace to those around me. It causes me to be humble. It also causes me to be sensitive. There are people all around me that desperately need a measure of grace, so many times I stand in the need of grace and want that same kind of sensitivity extended to me.

We spent nearly the entire day in Grace. Grace Assembly that is! I work at Grace Daycare, but today Denny was the guest missionary for the faith promise giving services, so I spent my Sunday at Grace too!

Pastor Jack Mason and Nina have pastored the church for 46 years. He testified today to the fact that not one year of those 46 have missionaries ever been neglected in the churches monthly giving. That is an incredible statement. We rejoiced with the church on a personal basis as we have been one of their missionaries for years. We have been partners with Grace for a very long time. We are grateful.

This evening was the International Banquet and the focus was all about missions. It was fantastic. Great food, Great word from a Wycliffe Translator, and great testimonies. It has been a power packed day.

The story of missions never grows old. The Gospel will always penetrate the unrepentant heart in whatever land it is preached. I am so grateful for the partnership all of us missionaries have with the local church. Without it, our calling is useless. Without that partnership a missionary would not be able to even consider fulfilling that call. As Denny says, "a faith promise isn't about the money, it is about listening to the voice of the Spirit and watching what He will do to send the money through your hands and you being faithful and obedient to the cause of the Kingdom."  Grace. It's all about His grace.


Friday, October 5, 2012

good things come from pain sometimes.....

The night before we left for Jamaica in 2008, we dropped Ryan off at college and as a matter of fact, he drove us to the hotel near the airport and that is where we said good-bye. Tough night for sure.

Four years have come and gone. Hard to believe. While Ryan was a VFCC student, we couldn't afford to bring him to Jamaica. Of course Christmas was a given, but in an actual semester, there are quite a few long weekends and breaks. We were just so sad to realize that he was hiding in his dorm room and didn't have access to the cafe. We would send money for him to go to the grocery store and he would buy cereal and bread. OJ and peanut butter. Tough days for sure, for him, for us.

While we were in Jamaica knowing that we would be coming to VFCC as MIR, we committed to each other that we would find those students and feed them at least one meal during a break.

Tonight was the night! We have been dreaming about this night. Already we are planning our dinner for the next break!

We made sloppy joes, had chips, brownies and sodas. The students learned about our little gathering by word of mouth, Den's and Renee's! Because of security I can't walk into the dorms and knock on doors. That is what I really want to do. So word of mouth had to do.

35 students showed up at the Anvil (the student hang-out) and eat they did! It was a fantastic night. I am so thrilled. The students were so very grateful. I am pleased. I think God is too. may not have it tomorrow...

The sweetest thing happened this week. It made me chuckle. Renee literally "grew up" in Jamaica. She experienced many growth spurts there and looking back we see how so many of her critical developmental steps took place there in another country.

As a matter of fact, she has been experiencing some speed bumps in the classroom. Some of the concepts that the professors refer to (because it is the normal reference  for an American student) Renee is missing. She is really working hard to connect in some areas that are foreign to her. Thank God, daddy is there to guide her through those steps.

Anyway back to what made me chuckle. I took her to her dance class last night and she said to me after the class, "Oh mom I feel so bad. I forgot I would have dance tonight and I took a shower this morning. I can't take two showers today, but I have to, I am so sweaty."

See, in Jamaica we had to conserve water especially in those times when we didn't have any to begin with. We learned to conserve in alot of areas because of economics but this water thing brought a smile to my face.

My little girl will be a different American because of what she experienced in Jamaica and I am so very grateful. She is JaMerican!