Monday, June 30, 2008

How to Overcome Poverty

My dad sent me this quote from Thomas Edison, and it is so true that I wanted to share it on my blog.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Ever since we started our church in the city, right across the street from the city mission for the homeless, the Lord has all0wed us to minister to some people from the streets. We are thankful for this opportunity, as the Lord said that they that are whole need not a physician, but those who are sick. So we try to encourage these people to see that their biggest need in life first is the spiritual, and that the Lord can give them a new life, free from addictions and the lifestyle of sin.

Another great need here is for these people to become responsible for their actions. This is the difficult part. Many have no job skills, or lack legal papers to "officially" work in the Canary Islands, but must work in the underground economy doing construction, cleaning houses, etc. Sometimes it is hard to know when God would want us to help them by providing basic needs, or when we need to back off and let them learn how to become less dependent on others by teaching them the value of hard work and other life skills. We want to have the Lord's direction on this, and not have hearts of stone that becomes indifferent to the needs of the people God has given us to reach, yet also teach them that it is rewarding to work and see how the Lord can prosper those who are willing to obey Biblical principles.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dancing, Singing, and Shouting




There was a huge worship service tonight in Spain and its provinces. No, not the kind of worship service you would normally think of in church. This was a huge gathering, in the stadium, and in the bars, coffee shops, and homes of millions of Spaniards and Europeans. Tonight was the final game of the Euro Cup, and Spain won. The people are celebrating, filled with joy, dancing in the streets here, singing songs of victory. They are passionate about their team--just as many Americans would be at the Super Bowl or World Series. Too bad they don't get excited about God like they do something so temporal as sports. Unfortunately, that is the god they worship. I don't mean to sound self-righteous, as once in a while my husband enjoys a good soccer game or sports event. The sad part is that most of these people spend all their time and energy devoted to the temporal, and when you try to tell them the good news that Jesus died for their sin and rose again so they can have eternal life, it is very difficult to get them too excited.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Where is Everyone?




Last evening, Jenny and I went in to Santa Ursula where we usually take a walk in the park because it is the only place in town that is flat--and normally the beautiful walking park is filled with walkers and joggers--but last night it was totally empty. I didn't have to worry about men running me over from behind for once. The streets were empty too. Seemed kind of eerie and strange to me, but then I figured out where everyone was.

On our way home the streets filled again, but horns were blowing and firecrackers going off. No, it isn't a national holiday, but almost--you see, Spain just defeated Russia in the Euro 2008 Semi finals, and here in Spain and many other European countries, futbol, or soccer--is more important than anything. Now Spain will play Germany. Doug told me that he is rooting for Germany (remember his heritage) but he better not tell anyone here that. They may kick him out of the country!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

IT'S A BOY!!!


Yes, if technology can be trusted, Lord willing, some time in November, Nathan and Emily will be carrying on the Schwaderer name once more through the birth of their second son. They just returned from South Africa as they were looking for the right doctor and place for the upcoming event.


I didn't have a preference--our grand babies are precious and we love them all. For Nathan's sake though, I am happy it is a boy--because growing up he was the only boy among five sisters. That can be tough--although it did have some advantages, like getting your own bedroom, and not having to wear hand-me-downs. Nathan always wanted a brother, but learned to make do with sisters, teaching them to play soccer in the backyard.


Due to the lack of decent hospitals in Mozambique, they will be traveling three hours to a city in South Africa some time before the baby is born. They have found a doctor they really like, and they are discussing their options about where to have the baby, including a home birth which will be totally supervised by the doctor.


We were trying to think of possible names for the baby. Jenny came up with "Carl Lee" and my husband favors "Douglas Thomas" (Emily's dad's name is Tom). Of course, my dad still has an offer to give the first grand baby named after him $1,000--his middle name is Sigvard (due to his Swedish ancestry). I can't understand why no one has taken him up on it yet.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Seven Words

Today I read the headlines "Seven Words Comedian Dies" and another "George Carlin Dies--Counterculture Hero." George Carlin was no hero---he was a detriment to society. He leaves a legacy of debauchery.

For those of you who don't even know who George Carlin was, thank goodness. Keep your mind simple concerning evil. The only reason I had ever heard of him was because there was a time during my very young teenage years when some acquaintances at school were listening to him and I happened to hear one of his records. All I remember was his foul and vulgar mouth--the worst I had ever heard--using every four letter word you can imagine, and some I never even heard of until then. He was immersed in the drug culture, and a regular on the godless "Saturday Night Live" TV show. Listening to his filthy mouth was unbearable and would make you instantly sickened. George Carlin was a profane and blasphemous man who had no fear of God or His Holy Word--rather he made it the object of his ungodly jokes.

George Carlin mocked religion and Christianity:
Here are his own words toward religion: "The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition," Carlin told the AP in a 2004 interview. "There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have."

George Carlin openly mocked God, His commandments, and people who believed in God. He said religion was used to control people and mocked the idea of a heaven and hell. He wasn't afraid to say anything--I am surprised the Lord was gracious enough to give him 71 years of life.


Well, praise the Lord for His Holy word and His commandments that are pure, beautiful, and give life to those who seek it. The wages of sin is death, and those that hate God love death (I am paraphrasing Proverbs 8:36). The Word of God keeps us from evil--and God gives us commandments to protect us, and keep us from that which would harm us.



Proverbs 8:35-36 "For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death."


Now that Mr. Carlin is dead physically, I wonder if he still feels the same about God and His commandments....hopefully he accepted the Lord before he died. George Carlin made his living making people laugh, but the Bible tells us that "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."

You can be sure of one thing--that right now, George Carlin is not mocking God or the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our First Baptism




Today was our church's first baptismal service. Doug decided that the ocean would be as good of place as any, so we found a relatively isolated patch of shoreline and climbed down the rocks to witness this wonderful event in the history of our church.


One young lady, named Eva, has been visiting our services regularly and recently prayed to get saved. She said she wanted to follow the Lord in obedience and be baptized. That is always music to a pastor's ears!


While we were down at the water's edge, another man named Eduardo said that he had been saved but had not yet followed the Lord in believer's baptism, and that he would like to do it today as well.


Today the waves were pretty big, and the place where we did it has rocks and pebbles on the shoreline--not sand--making it a little difficult to walk down into the water. The waves were so powerful that another man had to go in with Doug just to help him hold the person being baptized up while they went under. It was a day we will always remember!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fifty Dollars



Morris and his wife Esther went to the state fair every year, and every year Morris would say, 'Esther,I'd like to ride in that helicopter.'

Esther always replied, 'I know Morris, but that helicopter ride is fifty dollars, and fifty dollars is fifty dollars'


One year Esther and Morris went to the fair, and Morris said, 'Esther, I'm 85 years old. If I don't ride that helicopter, I might never get another chance.'

To this, Esther replied, 'Morris that helicopter ride is fifty dollars, and fifty dollars is fifty dollars.'


The pilot overheard the couple and said, 'Folks I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and don't say a word I won't charge you a penny! But if you say one word it's fifty dollars.'

Morris and Esther agreed and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of fancy maneuvers, but not a word was heard. He did his daredevil tricks over and over again, but still not a word.
When they landed, the pilot turned to Morris and said, 'By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed!'

Morris replied, 'Well, to tell you the truth, I almost said something when Esther fell out, but you know, fifty dollars is fifty dollars!'

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day Dad!






I was blessed by the Lord with wonderful parents. I may have come to know the Lord when I was about 8 years old, when some dear friends of my mom and dad invited us to the Baptist church in New Lebanon, Ohio. When I was about 15, I made sure of my salvation when my oldest sister Laura came home from college telling me that she had asked the Lord to come into her heart and forgive her for her sins--and at that moment I knew that was what I needed.


Through a series of events, one by one all of my siblings trusted Christ as their Saviour, and eventually so did my mom and dad. I thank the Lord for what He has done in the lives of our family. Though saved later in life, the Lord has given us a godly heritage. Three of us are in full-time ministry today--my sister Laura and family are missionaries in Israel, Carla is a pastor's wife, and of course we are in the Canary Islands; the others are serving the Lord in their respective churches and work places, along with my youngest brother who is serving his country in the National Guard. The fruit of their labor will be carried on in the lives of their grandchildren as well--from Africa to the U.S. and who knows where else in the future.


In honor of Father's day, I would like to thank my dad for the many things that he taught me. Probably the main thing that sticks out in my mind is the character he instilled in all of us to work hard. We were expected to work in the family business, and were given responsibilities from the time we could hold a broom or pull weeds in the garden. I can just hear myself complaining to my dad about a job he had given me, and his response:


"This will build character in you--and you will appreciate it when you grow up, how to work hard, and handle responsibility. Some day you will thank me."


I am sure my dad learned to work hard from his father and mother too. His dad, Fred, was basically an orphan from the age of 10 or 11 and as a young man immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden, with nothing in his pocket but a few dollars--and made his way in the U.S. by working hard and eventually starting the family greenhouses and nursery business that my dad purchased when he passed away. My dad was the best grower in the Miami Valley as far as I am concerned--he was a plant expert and could cultivate anything. For over twenty years he taught horticulture at the Montgomery County Joint Vocational School.


Sometimes I was envious of my friends who could go home from school, watch TV, play with their friends, etc. I must have thought I was deprived. Although I did not like it at the time, he was right--it did teach me character, responsibility, and it helped me to enjoy work later in life.

He also taught us to go the extra mile. For example, when sweeping the floor, don't just sweep around things--move them and sweep under them. If you are going to do a job, do it right. When you finish a task, look for something else to do--without being told--just don't stand around and wait for the boss to tell you what to do.


Another thing he tried to instill in me was not to complain. I hate to admit it, but I was a whiner and complainer. Mind you, at six years old the greenhouses seemed way too hot--and I thought it was extreme punishment to be sentenced to pulling weeds under the benches when my dad didn't have anything else for me to do. My older sisters always got the "fun" jobs like transplanting and waiting on customers. It wouldn't have mattered what job he would have given me--I probably wouldn't have liked it. I remember sneaking into the flower cooler for a few minutes of relief and a can of pop. He stressed the importance of doing whatever job you were asked, without complaining or saying "it's not my job." Do whatever you are told--and don't argue.


He taught us the value of money, and how to use it wisely. We were all paid on an hourly basis for our work, and I was the only kid in the sixth grade with my own checking account. He taught us to save a portion of our earnings, but let us spend some money however we wanted. Some of us were wiser than others, saving money for a car, etc. This also taught us responsibility. We weren't just handed everything, we learned to work for it. We also learned to pay our bills, and not live in debt.


Working in the business also taught us the importance of treating our customers fairly, and it helped develop our social skills. I am sure I learned far more working in the family business about how to relate to others than I did in the public school. At an early age I was able to conduct a mature conversation with adults because I was used to waiting on customers in the flower shop, answering the phone, and taking orders. My parents could leave the shop for a few hours and entrust us to run the business in their absence without worrying about it. We knew exactly what to do and we actually enjoyed it.


Looking back, I took so much for granted and didn't appreciate just how much my parents did to provide for us and how they wanted us to have things to enjoy. On our 50 acre piece of land, we had animals, practically a zoo, from cows, sheep, goats, a pony, dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, lizards, ducks, geese, and even a peacock one time. Life wasn't all work either--We had a large pond stocked with fish, go carts, mini-bikes, bicycles and more. There was always something to do on the property, so we didn't need to go elsewhere. It really would be any family's dream.


My dad has always liked to stay busy, and even in his "retirement" from teaching his schedule is jammed pack--he is active in his church and several Bible studies, volunteers for various organizations, works for H&R Block during tax season, and for many years has faithfully donated his own blood and platelets on a weekly basis. He enjoys serving his community and fellow man.


Now as a my father has grown older, he has a greater gift to give us than he did when we were growing up, and that is his time. When we lived in Ohio, I always enjoyed meeting with my dad at Bob Evans for breakfast or lunch, and the fellowship we had together. My kids also loved going swimming with Grandpa, or working for him in the yard or in the greenhouses where he taught vocational school. He enjoyed attending their soccer games, school concerts and programs, and encouraging their achievements. It was a sad day indeed when we moved to New York and our visits became less frequent. But the distance didn't stop him from coming to the grand kids graduations and weddings. Even now, in the Canary Islands, I know that my dad is always just a phone call or email away...and we are always together in spirit. I love you Dad!





Friday, June 13, 2008

Here We Go, Again!


I can't believe we are doing this again....last time we did it we told ourselves this was the last time....for a long time. It will be the 12th time in 26 years of marriage!


No--I'm not expecting--we are MOVING!! Yes, we have made the decision to move to the south side of the island (actually it is just south of Santa Cruz, but on the east side of the island). For some time, I have been suffering with really terrible seasonal allergies, and from what they tell us, the dry, desert like climate of the south side of the island will help me. We currently live on the north side which is very green and lush, and more prone to molds and pollen.


We have also had some issues with neighbors, as I mentioned in my blog about the piano, and music is just too much a part of our lives to forgo--we have quit playing the piano in an effort to please our neighbors, but the girls also play violin, my husband the guitar, I play the flute, etc. and we don't want to feel we are always imposing on our community of neighbors. There are a few other issues, but we feel this will be the best for our family. We found a duplex, which only has one neighbor on the side, so it is pretty private. Here in the Canary Islands, it is difficult to find a house that sits all by itself--most live in apartment buildings or duplexes.


Jenny and Hannah are home for the summer, so they will be here to help : ) as I am sure they are more than delighted to help us (I am sure this wasn't on their "to do" list of summer projects, but they will get over it! Just kidding of course....). I jokingly told my husband that I was going to go away for a few days while they moved...maybe this would be a good time to visit my son in Africa! Oh, if money only grew on trees....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Which Kind of Christian Are You?

I got this tidbit from a friend--and those of you in the ministry will probably relate.


CHURCH MEMBERS

Some church members are like wheelbarrows -- not good unless pushed.

Some are like canoes -- need to be paddled.

Some are like kites -- if a string isn't kept on them, they fly away.

Some are like kittens -- more contented when petted.

Some are like balloons -- full of wind and ready to blow up.

Some are like footballs -- you can't tell which way they'll bounce next.

Some are like trailers -- they have to be pulled.

Some are like neon lights -- they keep going on and off.

Many, thank goodness, are like the North Star -- there when you need them, dependable and ever loyal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

People, Problems, Patience, and Prayer

Being in the ministry is a life dedicated to the service of people, for the glory of God. We do what we can to help others find the reconciliation to God that comes through putting one's faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior. We also try to teach other believers how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and how to bring others into the fold. Nothing is more rewarding--to see someone yield their life to Christ and grow in their personal walk with God. At the same time nothing can be more frustrating --as people don't always choose to make the right decisions according to the principles given in the Word of God.

However, people are human, and part of the human condition is sin, and with that comes the problems from lives that have been ruined by poor decisions and lack of godly wisdom. We deal with people's problems on a daily basis. Our church is in the city, close to a city mission--and no where is the effect of sin demonstrated more clearly than on the streets where we work. Men and women who can't hold jobs, have a history of drug abuse, sometimes mental illness, and every sort of problem imaginable.

One man in our church, Pedro, runs a refuge for men and he has been bringing men who are in his program to our services. Pedro must have a special calling to deal with the many issues that these men bring with them. He has a wonderful testimony of how the Lord has saved him and given him a new life in Christ, and now he dedicates his life to help others find the same hope that the Lord has given him. Daily he deals with men trying to get victory over the strong hold of drugs, and all the other destructive behaviors that come with it--broken families, loss of employment and credibility. Yes indeed, the ministry takes a great deal of patience, and much prayer...as we try to help these people get their lives on the right track.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend




When we moved to the Canary Islands we debated over whether or not to bring the old piano--we knew we were moving from a house to an apartment, but Jenny couldn't bear to part with it. Not that it is such a pretty or expensive piano, but it is special--we purchased it at an auction for $200; it was a school piano and has a great tone. All of my children learned to play on it. When we moved here, they put the piano on a crane to get it in our apartment. I will never forget that day.




I knew it would only be a matter of time until we would have to say goodbye to our piano--you see, playing the piano when you live in an apartment complex doesn't exactly make your neighbors happy. Just because we enjoy hearing Hannah, Jenny, and Rebekah practice several hours a day doesn't mean our neighbors do! Imagine that!




We do try to be good neighbors and maintain a good testimony with them but I guess baking cakes and cookies for them doesn't make up for our noise. Apparently, when they constructed the building they didn't put any sound proofing materials in the floors or ceilings, so according to our neighbor below, it sounds as if we are playing the piano in their apartment. They were very polite and reluctant to say anything, but I am glad they said something--I don't want to be the scourge of the entire neighborhood. Fortunately we purchased a digital piano with headphones when we lived in the states so we have an alternative, but I will miss hearing the beautiful selections played by my daughters, and it also makes it a little more difficult to keep track of how long the younger ones practice!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Life in the 1500's

My Finnish friend Kirsti sent me this article and I found it amusing. I realize it is an urban legend and may not be totally true, but I still think it is funny. I met Kirsti when we were exchange students in the Rotary club, way back when I was in high school--I went to Finland and stayed with her family, and she came to the US and stayed in our home. Now this is the interesting part--she lives here in the Canary Islands, on the island of Tenerife, only 10 minutes from our house!! I would consider that divine providence! Especially if you take into account the size of the world, and what a little dot of real estate Tenerife is. After nearly 30 years the Lord has our paths cross again.

Anyway, here is the article:

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way. Hence the saying a thresh hold.
(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat..

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust."

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a ...dead ringer...

Now, whoever said History was boring ! ! !