Friday, May 30, 2008

June Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors and Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This month has been a joyful one for us in two ways. First, Jenny and Hannah, our daughters that attend Fairhaven Baptist College have arrived safely to spend the summer with us. I am sure they will enjoy a well deserved rest, but will also be busy serving with us in the ministry here. They have already been a big help in our children's Bible club, assisting with the puppets, Bible memorization, and games. We also ministered in the nursing home nearby with them, as Jenny and Rebekah played the piano, Hannah the violin, Mom the flute, and Dad played the guitar and preached. Please pray for a resident there named Pedro to be saved, as he always listens to the messages very attentively.

The second highlight is that God has given us a building to hold church services in Santa Cruz. It is located just three blocks from where our Bible Study is and only costs 75 euros a month, which is about $115.00! (Most places cost over $1,400). It is part of a public service building which is used for different activities such as art classes etc. It is really a nice place for what we need, with bathrooms, a refrigerator, freezer, and a big area for church. The good news is that last Sunday, (the first service) eighteen people showed up! That included my family, another missionary friend who came and his sister, but we had nine first time visitors and one who came to the Bible study before. One was a Muslim, Abihud, who needs prayer for salvation, and said he is coming next Sunday. Another was Janeth, a Cuban lady, who received an invitation and a tract from one of my daughters, and said she would be coming this week as well.

A young man Juan, who I met two days before, and whom I referred to my friend Pedro, (a man who runs a refuge home for men) came to church all dressed up in a suit and tie and a big smile on his face. Well, pray for all of these, as well as Pedro, who indicated he may very well be bringing his men to our church if it is God’s will. Also, please pray for Regina and Nino for salvation.
We love you all, The Schwaderer family

Monday, May 26, 2008

Reaching Many Nations

After church yesterday, I was thinking about the variety of nationalities represented at our church services and Bible studies here in the Canary Islands. Yesterday in a small group of less than 20 we had people from Germany, Cuba, Brazil, a Muslim from Lebanon, a man who lived most of his life in Australia (although he was born in Madrid). At our friend's church we met people from Great Britain, and a young lady from China (she was asking for prayer for her family who live in the province where the earthquakes have hit). I find it very interesting the eclectic group of people from many countries, all living here in the islands and the opportunity we have to reach them for Christ.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Our First Church Service in our Rented Building

God Answers Prayer

Sometimes God sends a breath of encouragement in the ministry just when you need it. We have been planting a lot of seed, and continuing with our Sunday afternoon and Wed. evening Bible studies in downtown Santa Cruz, but we felt like we really needed a place to hold church services for things to grow as we would like. People might be a little reluctant to go to some one's apartment for church. We couldn't afford the rent of a store front, as prices here are anywhere from $800-1500 US per month--so we had no other option to wait and pray until the Lord provided a place for us.

The other day my husband was witnessing downtown, and a building he has noticed before in the neighborhood where we work that belongs to the city was open, and the president of the organization just happened to be there. Doug inquired about renting the building on Sunday mornings, and the man was open to the idea. He said for Doug to come back the next afternoon, to present it before the council. Doug was very positive that the Lord had opened the door, and of course, my skeptical nature kept me from getting too excited about it--I supposed that the others would vote against it when they found out we were a Baptist church--but God did the unexpected--and for us it was a great blessing--they said we could have it and it would only cost us 75 Euros per month!!

It is nicer than anything we could have imagined, and today we had our first service, with 18 in attendance. My husband is really encouraged and we are looking forward to seeing many souls saved and discipled in the future, for the glory of God!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Safely Home for the Summer

Praise the Lord, Hannah and Jenny made it safely home last night from college. Their flight was scheduled to arrive at 7:15 pm, and we were ready--Rebekah and Leanna had a bouquet of flowers for them, and I had my camera all ready to catch the much awaited moment of the happy reunion. The flight arrived on time, and many of the passengers passed through the gate...but no sign of Jenny or Hannah. We did manage to see them through a glass window, and through sign language figured out that their luggage did not arrive. One hour later, they finally passed through the gate--still no luggage, but we were just happy they were here safely. They delivered their bags today--for a few blissful hours Rebekah was hoping her new home school materials that her sisters were bringing over might have been lost somewhere in London!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rolling Out the Red Carpet

There is a great deal of excitement in the Schwaderer house today--Rebekah and Leanna are working heartily in anticipation of the arrival of their much loved and missed older sisters who are coming home from Bible college tomorrow. Rebekah loves to plan and create the welcoming party, and has a great deal of surprises waiting for Hannah and Jenny when they arrive. Of course, Mom and Dad are delighted too, as it has been 10 months since we have seen them.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Doug

Today I want to wish my husband a very happy birthday--he turned 51 today. He seems more like 35--he is so young at heart. He can run, jump, and play tennis just like he did when he was in his 20's. He has a joy for the Lord that exceeds his love for anything else--and enjoys telling others what his Saviour Jesus Christ has done for him.

I am blessed to be married to Doug--his devotion to the Lord has helped me through many difficult times and he has always encouraged me to keep my eyes on God and His promises. He is also a great dad--he loves his children deeply and always puts our needs above his own. I hope you have a wonderful day Doug!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

None Other Like Mother

It is Mother's Day in the U.S., here in the Canary Islands it was last weekend. Our church has a custom of honoring mothers during the Family School time (what most churches would call the Sunday School hour) and our pastor's allow everyone who wants to the opportunity to come forward and speak into the microphone and honor their mother with a short testimony. I will not be at my home church to honor my mother, so I am going to write a few things about my mom on this blog.

My mother had six children in about eight years, so for the next several years she changed many a diaper (no disposable diapers), made delicious meals for us and was a wonderful homemaker. She created pleasant memories for us. She taught us to appreciate culture--I remember how she would put an 8-track of classical music into the kitchen console (sorry, I am not going to explain to all you younger folks what an 8-track is) and I would do ballet (probably when I was 4 or 5) to Debussy. She would sit down at the piano and play Clair de Lune with such great expression.

She let us have fun--on the first day of spring she would fix us a picnic, and we would sit and have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on our back patio (still wearing our winter coats). We played outside in the giant sandbox, created forts and hideouts in the barn--and she never scolded us for getting our clothes dirty or tracking in mud. Our cousins always loved coming to our house because it was a fun place to be--acres to roam, trees to climb, and so much to discover.

Mom had her favorite chair by the fireplace, looking out the picture window in the living room, as she watched to make sure we got on the school bus safely. She was the first person we looked for when we got off the bus too. If we needed permission to go somewhere or wanted something, we always asked mom first.

As I have mentioned before, we grew up in the greenhouse/floral business. My dad purchased the greenhouses from his father, who was an immigrant from Sweden, and through much hard work (even through the Great Depression) achieved the American dream of owning a successful greenhouse/landscaping business. It was in the business that we were taught the importance of hard work and good character.

When we got older and were in school, mom was able to work more in the family business, which was right in front of our home--we all worked together and everyone had an important role. She was instrumental in expanding the floral aspect of our business. She is truly an artist, has an eye for color, balance, and made the loveliest arrangements. She also had a knack for knowing what would sell--she would go to the wholesale house, spot a particular container, and create an item that would sell like hotcakes. I was able to watch and learn from her. She allowed me at a very early age to experiment with making my own arrangements, and when they were good enough, she would let me put them in the cooler to sell. That is how I got interested in floral design.

My mom is a lot of fun to be with--and is a great spiritual encourager too. She loves the Lord, and enjoys talking about her Saviour. I am so thankful and blessed to have such a wonderful mother!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Deck is Always Cleaner on the Other Side

We all know the saying, "the grass is always greener on the other side," but when we moved to the Canary Islands, we traded in our lawn mower for a mop and bucket. Almost everyone lives in an apartment, and most have terraces, balconies, or patios in exchange for a yard. There really isn't a lot of grass over here--big yards like we have in the states are luxuries that only the super rich have, given the price of real estate here. Not to mention everything here is built on a slope. There isn't much flat land--and what usable farmland they have is used to cultivate bananas, grapes, and tomatoes.

This may sound like a man's dream, no more lawn to mow, but cleaning terraces on a second story apartment has its challenges which I learned early on. We have a great amount of dust and dirt, which accumulates rapidly on the tile surface of our balconies, and it creates a mess when tracked into the apartment. I learned quickly that you can't just go out and hose them down--that is what I did at first, then I realized I was spraying dirty water down on my neighbor's clean laundry below. Oops!!! Needless to say, my neighbor probably didn't appreciate that very much.

We recently looked at a house that was for rent that caught our attention because it had 2000 sq. meters of yard, which is practically unheard of in the islands (if you have a garden the size of a living room, you are lucky). We went to look at it, and it was so nice to see pine trees, lemon and orange trees trees, and lots of grass! No neighbors below--we wouldn't have to worry about making too much noise anymore, the girls could practice piano without the neighbors traffic.....We were so tempted...the girls could have a dog, a swing set, and a place to run and play outdoors. It was the same price as what we pay for our apartment, but the house was kind of dark, the bathrooms very old and drab, and not as modern as our apartment, so we would be making trade offs. I worried about plumbing that wouldn't work properly, old electrical wiring, etc. We told the man we would think about it and call him. Doug was so excited about it--even though I wasn't totally convinced about moving again.

By that evening the house was already rented to someone else, so the Lord must have closed the door. But for a few hours we were dreaming....the grass is always greener somewhere else, you know!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Good News from a Far Country

Don't you just love to get a good report? Our son Nathan called the other day from Mozambique, Africa to tell us they were having their first Bible study in their home this Sunday. They have been on the field a little over a year, and have been working diligently to learn Portuguese. I am amazed at how quickly he has picked it up (maybe speaking Spanish as a child helped). Nathan has been helping national pastors while learning the language, knocking on doors, etc. ever since they got there, and he decided that it was time to launch out on their own.

They purchased 30 chairs, painted the garage, and handed out 1000 invitations. What a blessing when 15 showed up on the first Sunday.

This takes me back about 23 years, to our dining room in Guadalajara, Mexico. Nathan was just barely out of diapers, and we were young missionaries. My husband had learned enough Spanish to start a Bible study in our home, and every week we would convert the dining room into our "church." All the chairs were lined up, and Doug built a small "pulpit" to put his Bible on, and we had a small group coming.

When Nathan was just a toddler, one of his favorite things to do was to "play" church. He would line up all the chairs, pass out the hymn books, and make his sisters sit down as he would proceed to lead the singing and preach. Somehow we just knew that Nathan would be called to preach someday.

Our hopes and prayers have become a reality. There is no greater joy a parent could have than this.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ocean Beauty

Rebekah is in the fourth grade, and is writing poetry in English. I liked this acrostic poem she wrote the other day, so am posting it on my blog.

Over the rocks

Clear to be seen

Evening comes, sparkles skip.

Always a shade of blue.

Never ending beauty.

Always Check the Price First!

Today I went into town to get my hair trimmed, and walking back from the hairdresser I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up some tylenol. I saw some blistex sitting on the shelf, which I haven't been able to find (here you have to purchase these type of items at a pharmacy, and everything is behind the counter, not on the shelves like in the states), so I told the clerk I wanted a tube. I didn't even bother to ask the price, figuring it couldn't be more than a few Euros. I was shocked when she told me said "Ocho euros, por favor." Yikes!! To put this in perspective, the box of tylenol contains 16 tablets (about 3 euros--$4.50 approx. US) and the small tube of blistex was 5 euros ($7.65 US). Ouch! Later I discovered why--the blistex was imported from the U.S.--no wonder! I am going to have my daughters bring me a supply from the states when they come. Next time I will be sure to ask the price first!