Sunday, November 18, 2012

Speed.The.Light...what a program.

Many years ago Ralph Harris had a vision. Why couldn't the youth of the Assemblies of God provide automobiles for missionaries? The women filled barrels and shipped them. BGMC was getting started for the children to provide written material for missionaries, things were becoming more departmentalized. Bro. Harris put the dream in motion and now many years later, STL is still going at full throttle. Praise the Lord.

Denny and I have a long history with STL. When we were youth pastors we constantly had STL events raising lots of money for missions. Lots of sub sales, lots of walkathons, offerings of all kinds. Then as district youth leaders, Southern New England's STL total went up each year. As missionaries we have been recipients of those automobiles and are so grateful. When teams come to the field we tell the students that they are riding in a STL vehicle. It is always a cool thing when they can see it with their own eyes, realizing their offerings and hard work is not in vain. We remind them without their work we would have to hail a taxi to do the work we do.

When Denny isn't preaching we attend Grace Assembly. Tonight the youth had their annual chili cook-off and dessert auction, raising money for STL. It was a blast. Crockpots came through the doors with competitors ready for battle! We voted, judges voted, then the desserts were auctioned. What a fun night!

We were so thrilled to be a part of the evening. We love being on the field but when we are in the states we love being in a setting where kids learn the gift of giving through a ministry that is far reaching. Tonight $1300 was raised, what a great night!

My Paula Deen contribution brought in $66! Fun Fun!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Operation Christmas Child..

Franklin Graham, through the ministry of Samaritan's Purse, started a program for children around the world.The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
And it all starts with a shoe box. How simple is that!
Valley Forge has beautiful students who give faith promises each month, do local community projects, bless missionaries who come to speak in chapel and do things like Operation Christmas Child.

At least 75 students met in Solomon's Porch tonight on campus to wrap and stuff the boxes. That is after the students went shopping for everything to put in the boxes. Last month they collected the shoeboxes from those on campus and the professors. There was $1000 worth of items in Denny's car trunk the last couple of days and tonight we unloaded, set up different stations, started wrapping and had lots of fun while listening to Christmas music.

I think some times it is really fun to get in the Christmas spirit before Thanksgiving!

One of the stations was writing Merry Christmas letters for all the boxes.
Let the wrapping begin!
Then the students would take the wrapped shoe box and fill it. so much fun! Little gifts for little people!
We had to take pictures at the end, many students came and worked, then left, some remained till the end.
The boxes are ready for the next stage. Loaded into a van.
160 boxes ready, packed and ready to be transported tomorrow to a church in Malvern.
What a beautiful expression of love, gift boxes for children we don't know, but love anyway.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

..scars tell stories, they also spell grace...

When Den isn't preaching somewhere we attend Grace Assembly, the place where I work 5 days a week! Love the church, love the pastor and Nina.

We started attending the church in July and shortly after that learned that Pastor Mason and Nina are retiring December 31, 2012. Sad.....yeh a bit. These are the kind of pastors that love love love. It doesn't matter who walks through the door. Their countenance says Welcome Here, We love you. Their words say the same.

Pastor Jack and Nina have been pastors of Grace for 46 years. Astounding, if you ask me. I am so sorry that for the rest of our assignment here they will not be in the forefront, but I am so delighted they hadn't retired before we got here! We get to observe their letting go, their release, their farewells, their celebrations.

This morning was the first celebration. There are three. Family, Community, and Church. Today Pastor Jacks six siblings and spouses were in attendance and they all sang around the piano! They sang two songs, The longer I serve Him and Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. Absolutely beautiful. Along with humorous stories on his family members, he said that when they were children they didn't have much furniture, but they had a piano. The father put money into the kids learning to play and when they were ready put them front and center! Pastor Jack said it didn't matter what was going on in interpersonal struggles, when they started to sing, all the evil forces had to leave. I love that. What a lesson.

When Pastor Mason preached the sermon, there were three points:
1. A God honoring thankful family is built on trust.
2. A God honoring thankful family is built on commitment.
3. A God honoring thankful family is built on delight.

In the middle of the sermon, he said something that made me stop. Our goal today is not to put on display a perfect family, but a family that has experienced His grace, His mercy.

At the end of the sermon and into the closing prayer he said, Be thankful for your scars.

Tears came down my face. I have begrudged my scars, I have tried to erase my scars, I have resented my scars, finally I am thankful for my scars. God trusts me with them.....


 In 1978 I married into a military family. Dad Seler served in WWII, Den's grandfather served in the Army, Den's brothers all served in the AirForce, one of his brothers brought an Air Force buddy home and Stan ended up falling in love with Denny's sister Norma and married her. Denny served in the Air Force as well. He studied in a language institute in Washington, D.C. reading, writing, speaking Arabic fluently. His aptitude for language learning was evident in his school years with 9 years of French, in the Air Force with Arabic and then in his mission career with Spanish.

At times I have wondered how Mom Seler handled those years. Her husband went to war when they were expecting. Her boys served in VietNam. Her baby then signed up and left for boot camp. How did she sleep knowing her boys were all over the world.

When I came into the family, Terry was stationed in San Antonio, Dave and Keith were stationed in Washington State, Elmer was stationed in Alaska. Maybe that is why she never struggled with our missionary career. She was used to her children being all over the place.

These were the days before SKYPE, before cell phones, before home computers for that matter. She was a tough lady who prayed hard.

Today when the pastor asked all the veterans to stand, I thought of Mom Seler. When we ate at Applebee's and Den received a free meal I thought of Mom Seler. She was a military wife and mother. I honored her today in my thoughts. She lost one son to Agent Orange from Nam and she has another son who struggles to live in good health probably from the same Agent Orange since he served at the same time as the one who has died.

Those who serve in combat suffer. Even when there are no physical scars. I honor the Selers today.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

...precious times...with precious little ones....

I love Grace Daycare. It is a joy to work at the church in this capacity. When Den pastored Calvary Assembly the church had a daycare. Had I known then what I know now, I would have applied to work at daycare years ago!

Last week in the spirit of the season there was a hayride and pumpkins in the grass for the children to choose and then for art center they painted their pumpkins. It was pretty special I have to admit. I haven't ridden a hayride in a while. The hay was hidden by a blanket but none the less there was hay!

....The Giver...

VFCC has a drama team called Curtain Call. Besides the Kremples Theater being a plus, the actors are also a serious group of students who use their acting in a Christ centered community.

Ryan read Lois Lowry's THE GIVER in elementary school. Jeff Bridges bought the rights to the book and supposedly is developing a movie. VFCC's Curtain Call is putting on the play this weekend and next. It is definitely worth the time.

The Giver shows the impact one person can make in a world without love, color or choices. We enjoyed our Sunday night date night. Renee was there but sat with her friends! what's up with that?

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. One reason is because I LOVE church. I have all my life and still do! It is not a chore for me to get up on Sunday morning and pretty up and get to church! Today we decided, since Denny didn't have to preach somewhere, to go visit a church near us. Just to see what is happening around the Phillie area.

I pulled up the church list from the district website and I also pulled up the church list from the HQ website. Just wanted to see what was 30 miles or less from Phoenixville. I found a Grace Chapel in Greenlane. The website said 14.5 miles from Phoenixville. I couldn't find service times so I called the number listed and when the voice mail came on, the voice said, "Hi, this is Nicole, sorry you missed me, leave your number and I'll get back to you." It didn't seem like a church voice mail so I hung up and we decided to leave the house to arrive at church at 10. Seemed logical to me, if the service was at 10 we were right on. If it was at 10:30, we had time to get a coffee!

We arrived at the church at 10:15 and there was not a car in sight. Well there were cars but they looked like they were parked for some houses nearby. The sign said worship service, 10:30. We were pleased, at least we wouldn't walk in late so we decided to drive back to a mini mart we saw and grab a drink. We arrived back at the church at 10:30 and lo and behold, no cars, only 2 people on the grounds with leaf blowers!

Wait, it's Sunday, could it be a work day at the church? or what is going on. I jumped out of the car and one of the leafblowers stopped his machine and walked toward me. I said, "what time is church?" He said, "Oh there isn't a church here anymore, my wife (the other leafblower) and I bought the property a couple of months ago and excitedly he said, and the house there came with it!! I didn't want to burst his bubble and say, oh yes that's called a parsonage! I just listened to his story and asked, "well, where did the "church" go? He yelled to his leafblowing wife, "HEY WHERE'D THE CHURCH GO?" She screamed back, "I DON'T KNOW, MAYBE DOWN 563."

The man said to me, "Do you know where that is?" I didn't. Renee and Den were sitting in the car, probably wondering what in the world we were talking about, never dreaming that the church was closed!

I remember one time in Jamaica we left early one Sunday morning to visit a church quite a distance from our home and when we arrived it was closed tighter than a drum, found out from the neighbors it was closed because of the rain. Since many Jamaicans walk to their destinations, it is impossible sometimes for a congregation to get to the meeting house.

This morning we left the church and drove down 563 and didn't find a church. Disappointed, Yes. The clock determined that it was too late to come back to Phoenixville for church so we missed it. Somehow I feel like it's another day other than Sunday.

I am puzzled though, are we the only ones who have shown up to church and found it closed? Did no one think to put up a sign that says SOLD, or WE HAVE MOVED? What in the world is up with that? don't know...and another question, why aren't the websites current!!