Friday, March 25, 2011

A Lesson and a Bless'n!

Our AWANA ministry has grown into more of an outreach then a ministry within the church. A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that the children from the bus ministry would not be going anywhere for Spring Break! Our church family would visit family and vacation but those kids would have zero plans. In fact, their being home would be a financial hardship on most families. They would have to feed the children 3 meals a day instead of just one.

I mentioned an idea to a couple of ladies and as always they responded, "Let's Do IT" and more!

A grocery list was established and we asked for volunteers within the church to fill them. We requested foods that the children could prepare for themselves knowing that many of them would be home alone. Bread, PBJ, fresh fruits and veggies along with cereal and milk were presented to families! A few of us meet to pray and go deliver. As I was driving a church van, I looked at my co-pilot Janet. I asked her if she remembered where we were a year ago? She said, yes and it had been heavy on her heart as well that just a year ago our lives were changed forever on a mission trip to Vietnam. As we rode in a van with our 5 children, about 10 gallons of milk and a bunch of groceries rolling around I asked her, "Do you think we would be doing this if we did not do what we did this time last year?" Janet and I both felt sure, that we would not.

There is so much that we learned from that trip! In fact, over half of our Vnam team is involved in the AWANA ministry and the outreach it has become. Upon delivering groceries, we were able to talk with families, bless them, share their burdens and surprise them all the same! This week has been its own little mission trip right here in our own town! I will post more on that later but I want to leave you with what God showed me HUGE while in Vnam!

He is GOD, He does not need our help! But, He invites us to join Him for our benefit!

Just like Janet said, we would probably not be where we are today if we had not been in Vnam last year. God invited us to go so we went! He filled us with a deep desire to serve Him by serving others. We have, and still struggle with the "American Dream," the price of eating out a meal, and spending money on "stuff" when we have seen how little others have and with so much more happiness! He has shown us "our Vnam" and it is right here in our little town!! A whole "nother" world! Oh how He has blessed us by allowing us to serve in "our" Vnam!

So, I challenge you! Stop and watch where God is working and join in! He will have a lesson and a bless'n all wrapped in one!

More to come about our Spring Break outreach!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Now or Never Weekend

My Dear and I were college students when we got married. Two other couples, our friends, married the summer before. They were students too. My childhood best friend had prearranged my friendship with Christy before I transferred to this college, she knew we would love one another and she was right! Christy's best friend was Nancy-I won her friendship by default, lucky me!! It just so happened that My Dear was friends with the men who became their husbands. We were poor, married students. We were one another's entertainment-livin' on love!

These 2 couples were a STRONG support for us as students, as a couple, and as followers of Jesus Christ. They were such a blessing to us and provided such sweet memories and accountability. They asked the hard questions.

Facebook and blogging have made it easier to keep up with one another. Last summer, we were able to get together for the first time in at least 10 years. Among us we have 11 children, we all homeschool, all of our husbands are in ministry and seeing that they are all in ministry means that ............we will likely never live near one another again, a girl can dream!

This weekend, I did something I have never done. I flew on an airplane all by myself. There was no sweet husband like on my honeymoon, no toddlers like when I went to visit the parents, and no mission team, just me. But it was a now or never situation! We girls had talked about a girls' weekend last year and it never happened but it HAD to happen this year! You see, my friend Christy, her husband and their 5 children recently sold their home, got rid of the majority of their possessions and have moved into what they lovingly refer to as the cottage. In two weeks, they will leave the cottage and rid themselves of more possessions before completing training to move. Yep, move again. This time the move is to Africa to once again do what God has called them to do.

It was a now or never event. We isolated ourselves in a hotel to talk, laugh, encourage, and got to love on the youngest of the 11 children, 6 month old "Jr.!" We ate without preparing or cleaning up, had dessert, watched what we wanted to on television, toured a landmark, worshipped, dug through treasures at Goodwill and looked for long skirts that were acceptable in Africa, in sizes for mama and 3 sweet girls.....but we did them together! The pace was slow and company was perfect!

I had no idea how much I needed this weekend. We talked marriage, ministry, Jesus, schooling, children....all of those things that you do with girlfriends who speak truth in your life. When I think of these ladies, I sometimes get sad that we do not live closer. But they would not be the friends that they are if they were not obedient to God's call on their lives and for that, I am so thankful. When Nancy and her family moved farther away once again after a few years living closely, the song When We All Get To Heaven played through my head as we cried and hugged in my front yard. For now, we will keep up when we can, but know that we will have eternity to catch up. In the meantime, we will be working to see that a bunch of other folks are there with us! Will you be one of them?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Joyful Giving

What if we all approached the offering plate to give as UNDIGNIFIED as this guy?