Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Do the Next Thing

So often in life we wake up to find ourselves facing the ordinary, mundane tasks of life. As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I have come to realize that life is made up of a lot of uneventful, ordinary days with some highs and lows mixed in between.

When I was in high school, I thought I would pursue a degree in journalism and become a television reporter, or perhaps a news anchor.  It sounded so exciting and glamorous. As it turned out, I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ when I was a sophomore, and the Lord showed me that He had other plans for my life. After graduation, I met my future husband who was called to missions, and we married and had six beautiful children and have dedicated our lives to the call of ministry--whether in the USA when my husband was a full time chaplain in the jails, or on a foreign mission field in Mexico, and now in the Canary Islands.

People sometimes look at missions and think, "Oh, that sounds so exciting!" You get to travel around the US and in foreign countries and meet a lot of people. Yes, I have traveled quite a bit and experienced living in foreign cultures which has enriched my life tremendously. But when push comes to shove, so much of our lives is about the simple daily tasks we do, which often seems so monotonous.

The past summer I was blessed to be able to spend some time with my mother who is suffering from ovarian cancer. She has lived with the disease now for over 1.5 years, and has seen improvements and setbacks. I spent several days at her bedside in the hospital and at home.  Caring for her I came to realize how much we need people in this world who are willing to do the ordinary, not so glamorous and downright "dirty" tasks in life.

The real heroes in my opinion, aren't the superstars--sports heroes, overpaid actors in Hollywood or on television--no, they are the caregivers. The ones who wake up every day facing sick patients who need someone to help them do the ordinary tasks of life--feeding them, cleaning up after them, changing their bed linens, and all the not so pleasant tasks that go along with it. Where would this world be without these caring and compassionate people?

The challenge is facing life with courage each day as we go through the motions of doing the routine and ordinary, especially when no one notices or appreciates what we are doing. It is difficult to approach each day with thankfulness and gratitude--but I tried to remind myself that at least I wasn't in the sickbed, incapacitated or suffering with cancer.

If you find yourself dreading another day of "the same old same old," take time to remember that you are not alone. God can give us strength to face another day of dirty diapers, loads of laundry, dishes in the sink.....whatever it is that you tire of. Where would this world be if no one was willing to care for the young, the elderly, or those who can't care for themselves?

I saw this poem today on Facebook, and the author is Unknown, but it might give you encouragement as you face your day today.

Do The Next Thing
From an old English parsonage,
Down by the sea,
There came in the twilight,
A message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend,
Deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me,
Teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
The quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration-
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
Let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity,
Guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
Tracing His Hand,
Who placed it before thee with
Earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
Be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
The rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
Be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,
-Author unknown

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Bus Ministry and my Family

I didn't ride a bus to church, but I did attend church as a child thanks to caring friends of my family's who picked my sister and me up each week....Stanley and Carolyn Arnold of the First Baptist Church in New Lebanon, Ohio. I received Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour at that church. I know that God used this as a springboard that would change our entire family. Through many circumstances, one by one the rest of my family came to know the Lord down the road. Had it not been for this couple in our community reaching out to our family, and many more people that I didn't even know about, as I would find out later in life, we wouldn't be where we are today.

People sometimes criticize bus ministries....they "disrupt" the service because the kids don't behave, the kids only come for the candy and activities, too many gimmicks, etc. Say what you will, but what are you doing then? Don't criticize a program if you aren't doing anything yourself to bring someone to the Lord. Do what you can, where God has put you. If you can't participate physically, you can give financially to help defray the cost. You can make a difference in someone's life!

Watch this video for some touching testimonies of how the Lord used the bus ministry to work in people's lives.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Staying Put

My husband and I encourage each other in the faith as we labor together in the Canary Islands. Due to recent events here, we have both been suffering bouts of discouragement and even wondering if the Lord would have us work elsewhere. The doors sometimes seem to shut in one area, then open in another......and sometimes shut again. This poem brought comfort to my soul and I hope it will help someone else as well.

Be thou there until I bring thee word (Matt. 2:13).

I'll stay where You've put me;
I will, dear Lord, Though I wanted so badly to go;
I was eager to march with the 'rank and file,'
Yes, I wanted to lead them, You know.
I planned to keep step to the music loud,
To cheer when the banner unfurled,
To stand in the midst of the fight straight and proud,
But I'll stay where You've put me.

I'll stay where You've put me; I'll work, dear Lord,
Though the field be narrow and small,
And the ground be fallow, and the stones lie thick,
And there seems to be no life at all.
The field is Thine own, only give me the seed,
I'll sow it with never a fear;
I'll till the dry soil while I wait for the rain,
And rejoice when the green blades appear;
I'll work where You've put me.

I'll stay where You've put me; I will, dear Lord;
I'll bear the day's burden and heat,
Always trusting Thee fully; when even has come
I'll lay heavy sheaves at Thy feet.
And then, when my earth work is ended and done,
In the light of eternity's glow,
Life's record all closed, I surely shall find
It was better to stay than to go;
I'll stay where You've put me.
Oh restless heart, that beat against your prison bars of circumstances, yearning for a wider sphere of usefulness, leave God to order all your days. Patience and trust, in the dullness of the routine of life, will be the best preparation for a courageous bearing of the tug and strain of the larger opportunity which God may some time send you.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hope Thou In God

Do you find yourself troubled, filled with anxious thoughts as you look at the serious, somewhat impossible situations going on in the world around us? I know I do. I often wake up in the morning, weighed down with the problems going on in the world--and they can be quite overwhelming if I didn't focus my attention on God's word to give me a bit of hope that He will take care of us in the midst of the trials of life.
What comfort we have afforded to us by looking into His Word for solace and comfort. God commands us to seek His face. Would we seek God if all in life was going well? We all enjoy the mountaintop experiences, but most of life is spent in the ordinary, everyday tasks and we need courage to face each new day with it's challenges. Daily we may ask ourselves the question, Where is thy God?
Psalm 42:11 says "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Keep seeking God in His word. The same God who got us through yesterday will be there for us today, and He also will guide us through all our tomorrows. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. The promises of God are so rich--but if we don't cling to them we will drown in our day to day sorrow.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Emergency Trip to the USA

It isn't the kind of call a grandparent likes to get.  

 "Mom, Stephen needs brain surgery."
I was shocked. My daughter went on to explain how they had noticed that their 18 month old son had a severe curve in his spinal column, so they took him to see their pediatrician, who immediately referred them to see a pediatric orthopedic specialist. The diagnose was that Stephen had scoliosis, a 40 degree curvature. There was talk of possible treatments, but first an MRI was ordered to see if there were any underlying issues that was causing the scoliosis.
The results of the MRI revealed that Stephen had a condition known as Chiari Malformation, and syringomyelia. I had never heard of it, so I googled it. The specialist sent them to a neurosurgeon, and surgery was scheduled immediately.

When my daughter told me the news, I knew in my heart that I had to go help, and do what I could to be present at this difficult time in my married daughter's life. They have three children all under the age of four.

We had just flown back to the Canary Islands six weeks ago after being in the USA for the summer, helping Rebekah to get settled into college. I had just started my new English classes, so it wasn't the best time to leave, but in my heart I wanted to be there. It was the right thing to do. It doesn't matter how much it costs or if it is a convenient time.

Being a missionary, you often have to make decisions that are difficult--you can't be there for every event--I have missed the birth of several grandchildren,family reunions, weddings, funerals... and when my parents have had surgeries or sicknesses--as much as I would like to be with them I can't always be present physically.

Stephen had surgery on October 24th, and was released from the hospital just two days later. The surgeon said it was a success, but time will tell how much of the scoliosis will be resolved from the surgery, and most likely he will need to wear some sort of brace in the future.

I am thankful for the few weeks I had with my daughter's family. I was able to bond with the grandkids, which I hadn't been able to do this summer as I was helping my mother in Ohio. If you don't spend time with them, they won't even know you and it becomes increasingly difficult as they get older to gain their hearts.
As an added bonus, I was also able to visit my daughter's family that live in Michigan. Hannah gave birth to a  beautiful baby girl while I was in the states. What an unexpected blessing to be able to hold a newborn baby once again, and be a help to my daughter when she was released from the hospital. She too has three children under the age of four.

Last but not least, I was able to see Rebekah for a very brief visit at her college in Chesterton, Indiana. She is doing very well, and seems to like her new "home" away from home.
Once again I am back in Tenerife, eager to get back in the normal routine--but I am so thankful for the opportunity the Lord gave me to spend with my older children in the US.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Home Sweet Home Again

It is good to be back in the Canary Islands, to our beloved home of Tenerife. We had a whirlwind of a summer in the United States. The highlight was having all six of our children and most of our grandchildren together in Rochester, NY for Rebekah's high school graduation. It was also an enjoyable time to reconnect with friends from our home church, and visit many of our supporting churches.
At the end of August we helped Rebekah get settled into her dormitory at Fairhaven Baptist College in Chesterton, Indiana. She seems to be doing really well and is keeping busy with her studies, part-time campus job, and ministries.
We were happy to see our church members once again, and when we landed at the airport here in Tenerife, they were all there to greet us even though our plane didn't arrive until midnight.
Leanna is starting her freshman year of high school, and with Rebekah gone I am now Leanna's Algebra tutor when she needs help with homework. It has been a few years since I took college Algebra so I am taking the course with her. It is a good time of mother/daughter bonding.....most of the time!
I have started teaching English once again, part time at the London School of English here in Candelaria. I really enjoy teaching and it is a challenge to keep up with all the grammar rules while making it interesting to the students. It stimulates my creativity and I try to make learning English fun for all of my students, whether they be five years old or fifty.
Doug is busy with his church work in San Isidro, and also his ministry in the Tenerife prison system. On Saturday we had a baptism in the Atlantic Ocean, with two of our members following the Lord in believer's baptism. What a glorious day we had!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Back in the USA

We recently traveled back to the United States for a three month mini-furlough and what a whirlwind it has been. We arrived in New York City and the transition back into our native culture began! There are many things that a missionary has to take care of the first few weeks it can be a bit overwhelming.
Doug hasn't been in the US for five years, and he had forgotten how things work such as paying for gas at the pump, and all the differences in technology. He is not a tech geek, and the less he has to do with computers,smart phones, and GPS the better. He is truly an old fashioned, flip phone kind of guy.
Rebekah graduated from high school, and we had a great time with all six of our children being together for the event.
Doug has been able to visit many of our supporting churches, and will continue to do so throughout the summer until we return to the Canary Islands in September. We appreciate all the work that Randy and Heidi Geiger are doing to take our place in our church on the island of Tenerife in our absence.
Here are some recent photos.