Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jenny and Michael's Visit

Jenny reminded me that she will be leaving Tenerife in a week--I told her that I don't want to think about that yet. I am enjoying every day that they are here. Yesterday we went to Puerto de la Cruz and had lunch with a missionary family who are good friends of ours, followed by some friendly ping pong competition. Later in the afternoon Doug, Rudy, Jenny and Michael drove to San Isidro where we have our Friday night Bible study, and did some door to door visitation and gospel tract distribution. We are praying about starting a new work down there.

Today I got up early and prepared a picnic lunch for Doug and the kids to take up to Mt. Teide, the highest point on Tenerife, and all of Spain with an altitude of over 12,000 ft. They had a good time, and came home for about 15 minutes then headed off for a Bible study with a young lady who has been visiting our church for a few months, then after that we have a Bible Club for kids. I imagine they will be pretty exhausted when they get home tonight, and I will have a special meal of Chicken Cordon Bleu, homemade macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, and corn pudding awaiting them. We are definitely making some good memories!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Family Time in the Canary Islands

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day here in Tenerife, and we decided to take advantage of the good weather to drive up into the mountains and show Michael and Jenny the pine forest. You have to take some pretty narrow, curvy roads to reach the recreational park, Los Brezos, and I wasn't sure how I would handle the drive--I am not especially fond of heights and sometimes get car sick, but I did just fine. Doug kept looking over the edge to admire the flora, but I kept insisting that he keep his eyes on the road! I think he does it on purpose to get a reaction out of me!!

Once we reached the park, we got out and hiked up the mountain. There were glorious views of the pine forest, ocean, and gorges. Michael was really impressed with the scenery. It is so much fun showing a first time visitor the sights--it can be really breathtaking. We are looking forward to the next 10 days!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Those Were the Days

I was flipping through some photos of the 1950 era, and like they say "you've come a long way baby!" Men wore suits, ties, and a hat when going out, and ladies dressed up. I remember my Grandma getting dressed up just to go to the grocery store.

The other day when we went to pick up Jenny at the airport, the girls and I put on nice outfits to greet her, afterall, we hadn't seen her for a year and a half, so we wanted to make it a special occasion. While we were waiting at the airport, I noticed how sloppy and casual people have become. I get tired of looking at faded, ripped up jeans, tight t-shirts that don't cover what they are supposed to, etc.

People were actually staring at us because we were in dresses. I don't like it when people stare, but that is one thing that I have had to get used to here in Spain. I just try to smile at them but occasionally, I feel tempted to ask them what they are staring at--but then I realize that to them we are somewhat of an oddity. They aren't accustomed to seeing it, and occasionally an elderly person will walk up to us and say how beautiful our girls look. It probably reminds them of the good old days!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Treats in Spain

Jamon Iberico (Spanish cured ham)

Suckling Pig (baby pig)

Jenny has never spent Christmas with us here in Tenerife before, as she has been at college and this is the first time she has been able to spend Christmas break with us. Today we went grocery shopping because she want to do a lot of cooking over the holidays, I suppose to impress her boyfriend who is coming Christmas Eve. Jenny and the girls had a lot of fun browsing through the meat department, checking out the Christmas specialties here. I thought I would post a few of the Spanish Christmas favorites. The girls want to "welcome" Michael to Spain by making him try all of their culinary delicacies.

Some people might be sickened by the images of a baby pig, as the thought of seeing an entire animal on a plate might turn off your appetite. I am assured that these baby pigs are absolutely delicious if you can get past the psychological aspects of what you are eating.
One of the most famous foods here in Spain is Jamon Iberico, or Spanish ham. If you go into the grocery store, you will see (and smell) them hanging. The most expensive hams are a special breed of pigs (black pigs), and are fed a special diet of acorns, and grain. They are salt cured for up to two years. The most expensive ones can cost hundreds or up to a couple thousand dollars.

Rebekah and Leanna always enjoy making a trip to the seafood department to see the octopus, large fish, and lobsters. Seafood is also an important part of the Christmas Eve meal, which is the largest meal here in Spain.
So, what are we having for Christmas dinner? I decided to try the pata de cerdo asado, which is roasted leg of pork. Jenny wants to try and make a Spanish tortilla, which is kind of like a potato, onion, and egg omelette made in a skillet. That is about as adventurous as we get!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Jenny is coming to Tenerife for her Christmas break, and we are all so excited! Rebekah and Leanna keep a countdown on the chalkboard in our kitchen, and we are down to 2 days!! Leanna keeps asking me how long she is staying.

"Jenny will be here until June, right?"

"No, I reply, til January, about three weeks."

It has been a year and a half since we have seen her, and we are thankful for this opportunity to see her again. Rebekah and Leanna have great expectations of things they want to do and see with her, and the challenge will be getting Jenny to put down her books and projects, and get her to RELAX!! She is always so busy at school, and every minute is scheduled, so we hope we can slow her down a bit--she is like the Energizer Bunny. Please keep her in your prayers as she travels.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Days Gone By

I recently went through my stacks of loose photos that I had stashed away in a small wood chest, putting them in photo albums so that some day I will actually take the time to go back and look at them. They were taken back in the earlier days of our marriage, when we still used real "film" and developed them. Now I rarely develop the pictures I take on my digital camera--I just look at them on the computer and share them with family and friends via Facebook.

It reminded me of holidays in the past, and how much our family has grown up--now I have grandchildren the same age as when Nathan, Amy, Hannah, and Jenny were growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico. We were missionaries living on a shoestring budget, and we had to be creative and resourceful to make ends meet.

I remember one particular Christmas feeling homesick for our relatives, and way of life in the states. I wanted so badly to decorate the house with some pine greenery as a reminder of Ohio and my parent's flower shop I grew up working in--but didn't know where I could get it in our part of Mexico. One day we were driving by a Christmas tree stand--they imported pine trees from Canada--and the workmen cut off the bottom limbs to shape the tree, or sometimes they just broke off accidentally. My eyes spotted the collection of pine limbs all over the ground--and I asked my husband if he could find out what they were going to do with them. Sure enough they were just going to throw them away, and they said we could have them--so we bundled up as much as we could load into our van. It was a treasure for me!

What fun we had turning our pine greenery into garlands, swags, and wreaths! God had given me the desire of my heart, and it didn't cost us anything!

People often say that when they look back at their life, sometimes the leanest years were the best, as they saw the hand of God supply every need. My kids didn't wear designer clothes or tennis shoes, but they had plenty. They enjoyed the second hand toys that were either given to them or purchased at garage sales. It taught them how to be content with what they had. They used their imagination and learned to be creative. They used to set up the dining room chairs in a row, and Nathan would preach to his sisters as they "played" church. It was their favorite pastime.

We didn't have a TV, VCR, DVD, or computer to "entertain" them. They found better things to do. We also didn't have to worry about paying off credit card debt after Christmas--because we didn't even have a credit card! Talk about living by faith--when the van broke down, we had to pray for God to supply the money to fix it--and sometimes we rode the bus--but God was faithful and someone sent us a gift of $500--and we never told anyone we needed it--we knew it was the hand of God supplying our needs.

Someone recently said that it seems that the children with the most "stuff" seem to be the least happy or content with what they do have. As parents we have to be careful not to indulge our children with every whim that suits their fancy, even if you can afford it. As they grow older, they will appreciate the values that you instilled in them, in teaching them gratefulness and contentment, and that it truly is more blessed to give than recieve.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where is Happiness?

Much of my life I have been on a pursuit of happiness. I remember in college various professors speaking about the subject in my classes, from Humanities, Philosophy, Psychology, to English Literature. I would venture to say that most of us seek it, and many define happiness by different things, mainly in circumstances.

As I was reading my Bible today, I came across some verses in the Bible that specifically use the word "happy." It is my belief that God must want his children to understand the true source of happiness, and that it is obtainable. But just like many things in this life, we don't always choose to believe God and take Him at His Word. God's ways are not our ways, and it doesn't always make sense to our human reasoning.

I did a word search in the King James Bible with an online concordance, and here are some verses I found dealing with the word "happy."

PSALM 144 15 HAPPY is that people, that is in such a case: yea, HAPPY is that people, whose God is the LORD. Happiness comes through a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

PROVERBS 3: 13 HAPPY is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. 18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and HAPPY is every one that retaineth her. Wisdom from God's Word gives happiness.

PSALM 146 : 5 HAPPY is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: We can be happy when we realize that God is our source of help and our hope!

PROVERBS 16:20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, HAPPY is he.
Trusting God brings happiness. He will also teach us how to handle our affairs in this life.

PROVERBS 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, HAPPY is he. Obedience to God's word brings happiness.

JOHN 13 17 If ye know these things, HAPPY are ye if ye do them.
The passage is talking about Jesus being Lord and Master, and his example of serving his disciples by washing their feet, and how we should follow His example of serving one another. In essence, happiness comes from serving others.

PROVERBS 14: 21b "but he that hath mercy on the poor, HAPPY is he." Giving and showing mercy to others in need will make you happy.

JOB 5: 17 Behold, HAPPY is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not the chastening of the Almighty: As a parent loves his children and corrects them, God lovingly corrects and chastens us to lead us in the right way.

PROVERBS 28: 14 HAPPY is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

I PETER 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, HAPPY are ye:
I PETER 4: 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, HAPPY are ye; suffering and bearing reproach for the cause of Christ brings happiness in a way which we can not always fully understand, but it brings glory to God.

PSALM 128: 2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: HAPPY shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Working makes us happy, and we can enjoy the fruit of our labor.

PSALM 127: 5 HAPPY is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. If God has blessed you with children, BE HAPPY and enjoy them! God has given us the most precious gift in our children. Sometimes people see children as a burden, but God says they are a blessing.

ROMANS 14: 22b HAPPY is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. Having a clean conscience before God, and in the sight of others will make you happy.

This is not a conclusive study on the subject, and I could go even deeper into the Bible by studying the words gladness, joy, blessed, contentment, etc. Do I always "feel" happy? No, not by any means. Proverbs 16: 3 teaches us to "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." First by faith we have to obey what He tells us to, then later the feeling, or thoughts, will follow. When I put my faith in what God tells me, and trust Him with my life, I can rest in His promises that whether I feel it or not, I do indeed have a happy life in God.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. It reminds us to have a grateful attitude for the blessings that God has given us, and how much we really do have to be thankful for. It isn't tainted with the commercialism of Christmas; however retailers do their best to take away from the Thanksgiving holiday by pushing special sales, and now stores are opening on Thanksgiving in an effort to boost sales--how unfortunate. To me it takes away from what we should be emphasizing the most, spending time with family, and thanking the God who gives us all things.

Every year I dig out the Thanksgiving decorations. Leanna got so excited to find some pilgrim figurines I had purchased at the dollar store in the states (you gotta love the dollar store in the US) and had a great time playing with them. I hung up the pictures that Nathan, Amy, and Hannah had made way back when they were in elementary school. I am so happy that I have kept them all of these years. It really brings back some pleasant memories, and even though they no longer live with us, or can celebrate Thanksgiving with us, they are with us in spirit.

We had a great day with our German missionary friends, Rudy and Sara Thomas and their three children. The Lord has blessed us with good friends, and it is especially nice because they have daughters around the ages of Rebekah and Leanna. The food and fellowship was enjoyed by all.

Best of all, I got to communicate with my children, and some family members who are half way around the world. Thank the Lord for the technology that allows us to do that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Refugio de Esperanza

Pedro cooking a big skillet of Spanish paella, as we are celebrating after a baptism.

Doug giving a Bible study at the refuge, Pedro is the man with the beard, sitting next to his wife.

One of the most faithful men in our church, Pedro, is in charge of a men's home here in Tenerife called "Refugio de Esperanza" which means Refuge of Hope. Several years ago land was donated and a house erected for men who are transitioning from jail or prison, recovering from addictions, or just fallen upon hard times and need a place to live. Some men are immigrants who are working and need temporary housing until they get on their feet. Over the years it has ministered to hundreds of men who have passed through its doors.
As the name implies, its purpose is to offer hope to the men through the preaching and teaching of God's word, and the "good news" of the gospel, which has the power to change a man from within. Every morning Pedro meets with the men and teaches from the Bible, discipling them and giving guidance. He also tries to help them find work. They are also working on a project to build workshops where the men will learn skills from experienced tradesmen, which will help them gain employment. Right now unemployment in the Canary Islands is about 25 percent, so it is very discouraging, even for men who already have skills and have a strong desire to work.

The refuge operates by faith on a shoe string budget. Some of the men are working and contribute to the monthly expenditures. Pedro solicits food donations from grocery stores, food pantry ministries, and the Salvation Army. Some months they eat kilos of donated bananas--and in a good month they might have dozens of chickens or fish donated. It is either feast or famine depending on what is available.

Pedro is an excellent chef, so when they do have an abundance he makes restaurant quality cuisine. He has a vision to someday open a cafeteria where the men could work to supply the needs of the refuge, and build more housing--and even open a shelter for women which is a much needed ministry.

Pedro really has a heart for these men. He also has a burden for the homeless. He goes out every Saturday with Doug and ministers to the people on the street near the city mission. Occasionally he will make churros and hot chocolate and serve it to the people waiting outside the mission. He uses his own finances to supply needs, and gives his time freely to help those who are less fortunate than himself.
We are blessed to be a part of this endeavor, and Doug has helped in giving Bible studies on a weekly basis, and doing whatever he can to help lighten Pedro's load. He serves on the governing board which oversees and makes recommendations. It isn't always easy, as it takes a great deal of patience and at times there are setbacks and some of the men go back to their old way of living. Please pray for these men and for Pedro and his family; that the Lord will continue to bless and supply all their needs.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Musings from the Field

"Joyful the Clown"

The Mickey Mouse cake I made.

The happy birthday girl

Not much is new to report, but this is what has been going on, from my perspective on the field.

October 31st we celebrated Leanna's much anticipated 7th birthday with a small party of girlfriends. We had a Mickey Mouse theme, and everyone had a great time, especially Leanna!

We are looking forward to Thanksgiving, and have invited our German missionary friends to celebrate it-- "American style" with us. We are truly thankful for such good friends here on the field. They have been such an encouragement to us, and Rudy has been a faithful coworker in the gospel with Doug.

The big countdown is on for the arrival of our daughter Jenny, who will be visiting for three weeks in December. We haven't seen her for over a year and a half, and are all looking forward seeing her again. We will also get to meet her boyfriend from Bible college, Michael. Doug figures it is high time we get to know this young man and put him to the test!! Kidding aside, we are really looking forward to spending time with both of them.

Last Sunday we were blessed to meet a missionary/pastor and his family from Ireland who visited our church--it is so nice to meet people from all over the world who have the same Lord, Bible, and see how God is working on different mission fields.

Two men in our church have gotten jobs, which is a tremendous blessing and answer to prayer. In this time of "crisis" where unemployment in the Canary Islands is estimated at above 25% you start to think it is nearly impossible for someone to find employment--and yet we know that with God all things are possible! Praise the Lord for His provision. We are praying that the U.S dollar would recover some strength against the Euro, because currently we are losing a great amount every time we change our dollars to Euros. It would be nice to see the dollar go in the opposite direction for a change! I would like to be optimistic, but judging by the direction our country is heading, it doesn't look good--especially if the current trend of spending money that we as a nation don't have doesn't stop. Well, enough of that.......until next time, sending God's blessings from the Canary Islands.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

November Newsletter

Here is the latest update from Doug regarding ministry.

Doug baptizing Reuben in the Atlantic Ocean
Luis, Lourdes, and Laura

We thank the Lord for allowing us to serve Him here in the Canary Islands. We have seen some growth in the people we are discipling, and our church is growing slowly and the Lord is adding to our numbers. We had about 33 people in attendance two weeks ago, which may not seem like a large number to those of you in the states, but here in Spain it is an encouragement to us as it is not easy to get people to come to a Bible preaching church. We were blessed with a number of visitors during the month of October. Chesster and his mother Merli brought 3 of their Filipino friends to church with them, and they have visited several times.

I decided to go back and revisit some of the apartment buildings near our church; I had canvassed the area a year ago when we first started the church. A few weeks ago I met a Cuban family at one of the doors, and they told me they were saved in Cuba many years ago, but were looking for a Baptist church here in Tenerife. They received our literature at their door over a year ago, but for some reason never came to visit until recently. They have been coming to Sunday services and Thursday evening prayer meetings.

Last Sunday I preached a message from Luke 16:19 about heaven and hell, and asked the people where they were going to spend eternity. One man was visiting for the first time—we met him the day before on visitation. Reuben told me that he wanted to be saved after hearing the message, but for some reason waited until Monday, praying with Pedro, the man who attends our church who heads up the men’s home. Reuben wanted to be baptized, so this past Friday we baptized him in the Atlantic Ocean.

Please pray for R., he hasn’t been coming to our church for a while but showed up last Sunday. He says he has been off drugs and alcohol which is a blessing. Another young lady V. is having some struggles and could use prayer as well. M. J. has been faithfully coming to church, and has H1N1. She is a single parent and works many hours and really can’t afford to be sick.

I have had some good visits with a young woman named Melane and a man named Ricardo, and another named Pietra. Please pray for their salvation. We also ask prayer for Pedro and the Men’s home—they recently were notified they are going to receive grant money from the government so they can build workshops to help the unemployed men gain skills.

Thanks for your faithful prayers and support, the Schwaderer Family

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fiery Trials

I remember way back when we were missionaries in Mexico and we had four young children all under the age of six, thinking to myself, "I can't wait til my kids grow up so they can be a little more independent." I suppose I felt a little overwhelmed at times with the constant needs of my little ones, in addition to raising them on the mission field and the additional stresses that can add to family life. One of the trials we dealt with in Mexico was trying to keep them healthy--I had to be careful about what they ate, drank, and put in their mouth or else they would end up with parasites, or some other ailment.

Now as our first four children have reached adulthood, I find myself "worrying" about them in different ways. I find myself taking their trials upon myself, feeling their pain as they experience the everyday problems of life. Parents don't want to see their children suffer--so we want to fix every situation and do what we can to deliver them from the unpleasant circumstances in life. The trials of can be fiery at times, and who wants to see their children go through the fire?

The problem with this is that God uses these situations to grow and mature them. Suffering is sometimes necessary in our lives to purge us, and make us stronger. I have to somehow look aside and realize that God is working in their lives, and not let my emotions become too deeply involved--something I haven't been too successful at because of the love I have for them.

I have been meditating a great deal in the book of Philippians lately, where the apostle Paul instructs us to "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Phil. 4:6)
Moreover, I Peter 5:7 commands us "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."

How often do we fail to turn our worries into prayer, and cast them upon the God who cares for us and for them, and promises to make intercession for us according to the will of God, and work all things together for good to those who love Him. How often do I pray for God to work in a specific situation, then five minutes later take the same problem back upon myself, and let it steal my joy and peace?

Philippians 4:7 tells us that if we are diligent to do what is written in verse six, then "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" will follow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cesar and Marisa's Baptism

Cesar and Marissa

Today was great day at church, first of all, a couple that we have been studying the Bible with on the south side of the island got baptized, and after church we had a special dinner at our house with most everyone in attendance. Pedro cooked a delicious meal of rabbit (Canary style), white lasagna, and fried potatoes. Best of all, I didn't have to do any cooking, I just made punch and made sure everyone had everything they needed. The ladies (and Pedro) all pitched in and did the dishes afterwards.

I thought I would post a few pictures from the event. One picture is of the couple being baptized, and the rest are random photos of the fellowship.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Foods You Can't Find in the Canary Islands

This post is mainly for fun, I thought I would compile a list of foods that are not available here in the Canary Islands, or extremely hard to find, and if you did find them they would be really expensive.

I have learned to live without, make do, and be creative in my substitutions. I don't really miss anything from the states, but there are a few items I have my daughters bring me when they come to visit.

Anyway, here is the list that I have compiled:


Vanilla Extract (they have things like essence of vanilla, but it has other flavors mixed in)
Other extracts, such as almond, mint, and flavorings

Crisco or vegetable shortening (they do sell animal lard in the meat dept. but I do fine without it and it is probably much healthier to cook without it)

Non-stick spray oils, such as Pam

Chocolate Chips (we substitute baking chocolate bars cut up into chunks, so we make choc. chunk cookies instead)
Any type of baking chips such as peanut butter, butterscotch, white chocolate

American cake mixes, brownie mixes, cookie mixes

Corn syrup (they do have a syrup imported from England which is similar, make from beet sugar)

Soft light brown sugar--nothing here resembles the texture of good American brown sugar

Bagels, english muffins, soft pretzels

Canned goods and various staples:

canned pumpkin

canned pie fillings--(Rebekah really misses cherry pie filling, the kind you put on top of cheesecake)

Soups like Campbells--(you don't realize how many recipes call for canned mushroom soup, or cream soups)

pancake syrup

cranberry sauce (Miss this at Thanksgiving)

salad dressings (they do have a few very small bottles, but very expensive, and not much variety)

certain diet foods, like sugar free puddings, sugar free jello

Flavored coffee, flavored creamers, and flavored syrups made for coffee
Drink mixes like Crystal Light, Kool-Aid
Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew
Instant Hot Cocoa mix, like Swiss Miss, and sugar free cocoa mix

Spaghetti sauce like Ragu, or Prego (they have a few things in jars about the size of baby food jars, really cost prohibitive for a family)

Pizza sauce

Misc. items:

Frozen juice concentrate


Cool Whip

Sour Cream

Ice cream toppings in a jar like hot fudge sauce

Certain boxed cereals, like plain cheerios (they have sweetened ones), fruit loops (Leanna is just dying for some)

Certain candy bars--Reese cups (hard to find, but sometimes can find), Hershey kisses, butterfingers, peppermint patties (Doug's favorite)

Stuffing mix, such as Stove Top

Macaroni and Cheese Mix (such as Kraft, or any brand for that matter)

French fried onions (can't make green bean casserole without them!)

Seasoning packets, like Chili or taco and Hidden Valley salad dressings, Italian salad dressing mix, seasoning items such as Mrs. Dash, Molly McButter

Frozen convenience foods such as Tater Tots, hash browns
Prepared frozen dinners, such as Healthy choice, Lean Cuisine and many of the convenience prepared foods we have (they do have a few, but most aren't worth buying)

Velveeta Cheese

I am sure this is not a comprehensive list, but the things which came to mind. We do just fine without these things, and I am sure we are much healthier too. Is there anything on this list you just couldn't live without?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good News from Mozambique

A few weeks ago my son Nathan and his family packed up their belongings and made the long trip back to Mozambique, Africa for their second term as missionaries. They were home for a short furlough, due to some problems with visas, and now will be reapplying for residency there.

I was able to speak with them yesterday, and was surprised that they had already found a house to rent, in the same neighborhood as their old house. It is also a few houses down from where the church they started last term is meeting. Emily said they can walk to church--how convenient! It was encouraging to hear that the church is still going, with about 30 people. Some of them were even at the bus stop to greet them when they arrived in Maputo. I am sure that was a great encouragement to their hearts.

I had many questions for Emily, as I am very curious as to what their new home will be like. She said the new house is all on one floor, an old Portuguese style home, with a porch on the front, and a place for the kids to play outside, albeit much of it is probably dirt rather than grass. It is a constant challenge to keep the floors clean in the house, and I imagine a challenge to keep the kids clean as well! It is much smaller than their previous house, but Emily was hoping to get something a little smaller as it will be easier to clean.

The people who lived in the house before them took the water tank (not the hot water tank, but the storage tank, perhaps it would be called a cistern) with them, so they didn't have the necessary water in the house for bathing, laundry, etc. Fortunately they are able to shower at a friend's house until Nathan is able to connect the new water tank, and hook up the washing machine. Nathan is becoming quite a jack of all trades, by necessity......from plumber, electrician, mechanic, carpenter, painter and all the things that come with living on the mission field.

The house is in great need of deep cleaning, there are no closets, and a fresh coat of paint will do wonders. The people who lived there before left behind a lot of built of grease in the kitchen. The bathtub is very old and the paint worn off. I give Nathan and Emily a lot of credit for being willing to take on this challenge. I can't wait to see pictures. I know Nathan and Emily will be working hard to make this house a comfortable home.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October Newsletter

Dear Churches and Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The month of September has flown by. One of the highlights was when Maria Jose, a lady who was saved a few months ago after receiving one of our gospel tracts, and has been coming to church regularly, followed the Lord in believer's baptism. It was quite a night--I had to make two trips in my van to help some of the other church members arrive at the ocean where we were going to hold the baptism, and as it usually goes when I went to pick everyone up, not all were ready, setting me behind by an hour. When we got to the beach where there is easy access to the ocean pools where we usually baptize, the city had roped off the shoreline due to renovations, so we had to walk several blocks down to a new spot where we could get to the water. It was starting to get near dusk, and I knew our time was running short if we wanted to baptize in what was left of the daylight. Pedro had prepared a short message, we sang a hymn, and we proceeded toward the Atlantic ocean. This part of the shore was filled with rocks, not sand, so walking was treacherous. As we neared the water, the rocks were covered with a slimy algae, making walking without slipping nearly impossible. It was one of the most difficult baptisms I have ever had--but praise the Lord we made it out alive! We celebrated afterwards with some tortilla wraps Carolee had made for the event, and it was an evening we will always remember!

We are continuing our Friday night Bible study on the south side of the island with Caesar, Marisa, and their two daughters. They both would like to be baptized as well, so we are planning another baptism this month near their home. I am also planning on doing some door to door visitation in the area where they live to see if there is any interest in possibly starting a new church plant in their town. According to Caesar, there are no good Bible preaching churches near their home. Please pray that the Lord will open doors if it is His will.

I have been doing some door to door evangelizing in an area called Anaza, and have had some very fruitful visits. It seems that the people there are fairly receptive, or at least a little friendlier to the gospel. I consider it a success here when people will give me a chance to explain the gospel--so many times people won't even let you get a few words in, so in this aspect I have had some good witnesses. Please pray for the people in this city and that our efforts would bear fruit.

This reminds me to be patient--over a year and a half ago a hotel gardener gave me a small bird of paradise plant--I had expressed to him how much I love these colorful, exquisite flowers. He told me to be patient because it would take a long time until it bloomed. Every month I would check to see if any blooms had sprouted, and every month there was nothing, but lo and behold, this month it finally bloomed. It is a gorgeous gift from our Great God, Designer and Creator of the Universe! Sometimes we have to be patient in the ministry as well, as we don't always see fruit as quickly or as often as we would like, but each soul is worth it.

Our son Nathan and his family have recently returned to Mozambique for their second term. Please pray that all would go smoothly with his visa/residence papers and that they would find a suitable house to rent at an affordable price. In His Service,Doug and Carolee Schwaderer, and family

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why We Better "Wash" Their Brains

Christians are often accused of "brainwashing" their children. It strikes me as odd, because the media, the government, the public school system does the same thing--they decide what they think the public needs to know, what constitutes a "good citizen" and proceed to teach young children those ideas and philosophies. I just saw an article about school children singing the praises of our president, chanting his name to the Battle Hymn of Republic. Isn't that "brainwashing?" They also sang another song about Obama to the tune of "Jesus Loves the Little Children."

I was listening to an interview on the internet of a 50 year old woman describing her upbringing in the 1970's, during a time when the "anything goes" attitude was rampant. Her father was a famous rock and roll star, and she a child actress. It was her father that gave her the first shot of drugs in her arm, and then proceeded to molest her, and the downfall into a perverse lifestyle goes on and on. But it struck me to hear her describe her upbringing in a world where no one taught her what was right, and what was wrong. The interviewer asked her, was there anyone around you that told you that this incestuous relationship was wrong, evil? And she basically said no.

As Christians we are faulted for teaching our children the difference between right, and wrong, good and evil. We are "brainwashing" our children and not allowing them to make decisions for themselves. The lady I just described in the above paragraph is a good example of what happens when children are left to themselves. I hope she is able to recover from her past.

What values are we trying to indoctrinate in our children? The ten commandments is a good place to start--things like "thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill, honour your mother and father, don't lie, work six days, rest one, don't covet (basically, be thankful for what you have and don't go into debt to get what you don't.") Given the headlines in the news, couldn't our society use a little bit more of that?

We teach our kids to love one another, share, think of others first, be polite and respectful to others (including authorities), forgive, work hard and don't be lazy, tell the truth, don't gossip, and be thankful. Aren't those all commendable character qualities? Which type of person would you rather have working for you, if you owned a business? What type of neighbor would you rather have?

We also educate them against the dangers of this world--and do our best to protect them from the things that will harm them. Stay away from drugs and alcohol which alter your mind, cause you to do things you wouldn't normally do, lower your inhibitions, and in many cases lead to addictions and ruin many lives, not only yours but often innocent lives as well.

We believe that marriage is sacred, between a man and a woman, and that they should save themselves for the person that God has for them. This includes learning to discern character--what type of person would be the best for them to marry, and the consequences for failing to do this--sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, the heartache of divorce, etc.

Most people don't have a problem with the character qualities that Christianity tries to instill in young people. It is the God of the Bible that they have issue with, and the idea that we are created by God and are accountable to Him. But it is impossible to live righteously without it, or His power. The public schools have tried it and failed--we have all seen the tragedies taking place in our education institutions where God and the Bible is not welcome. The principles that do "work" to make successful citizens are all borrowed from the Bible.

Next time you are tempted to criticize Christian parents for "indoctrinating" their children, perhaps you better try to be a little more open-minded and realize that we are trying to train our children to love and fear the Lord, and to do good works, and to stay away from the sin that will destroy them. Consider the alternatives.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Joy in Heaven

Saturday we had the privilege to baptize Maria Jose, who has been attending our church for a few months and recently asked Jesus Christ to be her Lord and Saviour. Doug and some of the men from church had given a gospel tract to a friend of hers, and for some reason the friend said to her "here is something for you, I think you would like it more than me." Maria Jose got our church address off the back and visited. We also studied the Bible a few times with her in her home, and she has been coming ever since.

The baptism was a real adventure. The natural pools in the ocean where we usually baptize were closed to the public for renovation, so we had to walk several blocks down the shore to find another spot to access the ocean. Unfortunately, it was all rocks rather than sand--and they were very slippery from the algae growing on the surface of them--making it very precarious. Maria was a very brave soul--and was a good sport about it. We enjoyed a small time of refreshment afterwards--tortilla wraps I had made ahead of time. Praise the Lord for Maria and her decision for Christ!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Impressions of the United States

It saddens me when I am speaking with my neighbors and friends and they ask me questions about the United States, like "Aren't you afraid to walk the streets there?" and "Is it really as violent as the shows on TV?" Most of their impressions of the United States are negative. And why not? Everyday I read the headlines on the internet--school shootings, mall shootings, babies abandoned, kidnapped children, college students being raped and attacked, elderly being abused, and on and on it goes.

The most popular shows on television here are movies and serial dramas from the United States dubbed over in Spanish--murder mysteries, police detective dramas, emergency room scenes, and CNN with all the latest headlines--it is no wonder their only impression of the US is so negative.

It is difficult for me to convince them otherwise, that there are many upstanding citizens in the US who would never dream of doing the things that they see depicted on TV. But it does make me realize the evil days we are living in. The Bible says that in the last days we would see perilous times like never before, and the violence and lawlessness will increase yet more and more as we leave behind the truths of God's Word. At least it has given me an open door to explain to them how America has taken God out of the schools, out of our government, and the repercussions of doing so.

I do believe that the United States is a great country in the aspect of it's Bible preaching churches and God fearing people that want to do what is right, and for the gospel preaching missionaries that they send out to all parts of the world. May we who claim the name of Christ work diligently to preserve our heritage and pass it on to the next generation, and to all nations.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

El Beso and the Gripe A

Here in the Canary Islands, it is tradition to greet one another with a kiss on each cheek. When you see a friend or acquaintance, they offer you their cheek and you put your cheek next to theirs, then turn to the other side and do the same, making a slight kissing motion, but it really isn't a true kiss. The Spaniards do this as a way of saying hello, and it is probably just as much a sign of courtesy and respect just like the American handshake. Failure to do so would be an insult to some.

In our church, only the women greet one another with the traditional kissing ritual (although in many circles it is common for men to greet ladies with the kiss as well). Honestly, I would feel very uncomfortable greeting a man that wasn't my husband in this way. It doesn't come natural for me to even remember that the women are expecting me to greet them this way, but fortunately they take the initiative so it serves as a reminder for me. However, sometimes during the rush of greeting one another and making sure everything is set up and taken down properly for our Sunday services, I often forget to make it around to everyone to "kiss" them goodbye.

This past Sunday, I must have had my mind on something else, and when Doug shook a woman's hand goodbye, without thinking I pulled my hand out to shake her hand as well. She took a step back, and obviously offended, she asked me if I was afraid of catching the H1N1 Virus (called Gripe A here). I had to stop and think for a minute, asking myself, "What is she talking about?"

Then I realized, there have been a lot of public health commercials on TV and in the newspapers urging people to cut down on close contact, including the custom of greeting one another with a kiss. I had to explain how in our culture it wasn't customary to kiss one another, and how I sometimes forget. Just another example how sometimes you can offend someone by not respecting their culture, no matter how innocent you think the matter. Not only do we have the extra challenge of speaking their language, but also the body language and signals we give without even saying a word!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Showers of Blessing

Sometimes months can go by and nothing seems to happen on the mission field; you do what you are supposed to be doing, faithfully going to church, visiting, inviting people--but not much fruit to show for your labor. You may even begin to wonder if anyone is being helped by all your effort. Then every once in a while the Lord gives you a boost to spur you on, or just enough encouragement to help you press on in the battle.

Recently, the Lord gave such encouragement in the form of two young women. One, named Vanesa, visited our church a few months back and responded to the invitation afterwards to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour, literally weeping at the end of the service. She kind of disappeared for a few months, but recently returned, and we have been discipling her, and last evening Doug had the privilege of baptizing her in the Atlantic ocean. She is excited about what the Lord is doing in her life.

Also this month, we had a young woman, Maria Jose, visit our services a few times, and she expressed an interest to study the Bible with Doug and I, so we went to her home last week and opened up the scriptures. She also had been reading some things on the internet about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and took nearly every piece of literature we had on our table at church and devoured it. Today she came to church and gave a testimony about how the Lord has changed her life, and wants to be obedient to the Lord in believer's baptism.

Doug and our German missionary friend Rudy were visiting on the south side of the island, in a city called San Isidro, and were leaving John and Roman's in a neighborhood as well as knocking on doors. A few weeks later Doug received a phone call from a couple who are already believers, but don't have a church to attend. We told them about our church in Santa Cruz, but it is a little bit far for them to come, so for now we are driving there on Friday nights and giving a Bible study in their home. It has been a lot of fun to find a mature couple in Christ with whom we can have fellowship, and they also have two little girls that Rebekah and Leanna can play with.
Praise the Lord for His blessings!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sweet Memories of Summer

I feel so blessed that we were able to have Hannah home for the summer. Yesterday we took her to the airport so she could go back to college. Every time I go to the airport it brings back memories. It seems like only yesterday we were taking Jenny and her to the airport for their return to college last year. And now they are both starting their third year at Fairhaven! Where has the time gone?

I tried to hold back the tears, but as we waved goodbye through the glass I could not contain them any longer. I think of missing their birthdays, not spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, and how much I want to be a part of their everyday lives. But I also see how God is directing their paths while they are at Fairhaven, and using it to help them mature into young adults and the future he has prepared for them.

Nathan picked Jenny up in Auburn NY, where she finished her summer of traveling with the ensemble, and Amy surprised Jenny by showing up at the church too. Jenny nearly fell over when she saw Amy. Then they all went back to Rochester for a day. I wish I could have been at that family reunion! Jenny is spending the week with Nathan and family, as he is preparing to return to Mozambique.

I will be counting the months.....hopefully in nine months Jenny and Hannah will be coming home to spend the summer with us.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shutters Always Closed

When my husband and I drive through the neighborhood, one thing we often discuss is why the people here always seem to keep their shutters closed. Nearly all the houses and apartments have them on the windows, and when you look around, nearly everyone keeps them closed, all the time.

I love light. I liked the house we rented for that reason, it even had a window in the bathroom which I really wanted. I don't like to feel like I am living in a cave. So we always have our curtains pulled back, and windows are usually open as well, to let in the cool ocean breezes (well, most of the time they are cool).

I asked my neighbor why everyone keeps their shutters closed, and she said to keep bugs and dirt out. That would be a good reason, but we don't have that big of a problem with bugs, and I don't think my house is any dustier than others. She said she that cockroaches could fly (well, I googled that, and apparently they can fly, but I have never seen that). When cockroaches start flying in my windows, I will indeed close the shutters.

Another good reason would be to keep it cool inside, which I understand, as the sun heats up the house. But most of the time temperatures are in the 70's and low 80's, so even with the shutters letting in the sunshine I feel comfortable.

The sunshine is one of the greatest assets we have here in the Canary Islands. We may be the only strange ones on the block, but I am going to enjoy every minute of it!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Stayin' Cool in the Heat

As for weather here in the Canary Islands, I can't complain too much. Most of the year it is in the 60's-80's, depending on whether it is winter or summer, with a cool ocean breeze blowing much of the time. But the past week or so we are in a heat wave, caused by a storm know as "calima" which is sand from the Sahara desert caught up in the atmosphere, then blown over our way here in the islands. Hot air gets trapped in the air above, and the temperatures can rise to high 90's or 100 degrees. Everything is covered in a layer of thin dust--Doug just washed the cars only to find them dirty again within hours.

So, while it is hot, the kids and I have found a fun place to escape the heat. I bought this little pool for a very good price when we moved into our house here, and it is the best investment we have made, considering the heat and lack of air conditioning. So when we need to cool off, we make a little trip into our backyard pool, and then back in the house in front of the fans!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Preach the Gospel to Every Creature

Being on the mission field is full of interesting moments, unexpected events, and you never know what to expect. Lately my husband has become very attached to our dogs, Billy and Petunia. Doug is such a devoted master to his pets, praying for them as he puts them out every night to sleep. He has even gone so far as to say that he hopes there is a heaven for dogs.

Well, at least someone is responding to the gospel over here, as yesterday during the church service we had an unexpected visitor. Right when Doug was in the heart of his Sunday sermon yesterday, a brownish, terrier mutt decided to join our services, coming in the door, and sat down, listening and behaving perfectly for the rest of the service. Maybe the Lord is answering Doug's prayers.......maybe there will be dogs in heaven after all!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Never Say Never

How many times have you said to yourself, "I would NEVER do that." There are some things that I hope I never do, especially when it comes to obeying God and the Bible, I hope I never displease my Lord in committing a sin which I should never do.

But I am talking about another kind of never. The kind where you whisper to yourself, I hope I never will have to do that again. For example, we have moved 11 times in 27 years of marriage, and each time I say, I NEVER want to move again!!

One day when my kids were little, and attending a Christian school in Dayton, OH, I was following a big yellow school bus and watching the kids on the bus jump up and down, moving around, and said to my kids..."I would never want to drive a school bus." Not to long after that, I saw a position open at the Christian school to drive a school van back and forth to the campus my children attended. It sounded perfect, I would get to keep the van at my house, and take my kids to school, which I was doing anyway, and get paid for it. Best of all, I would be with my children, and be home when they were home.

I got the job, but there was a little more to it, I would have to get a commercial driver's license with a passenger rating because I was transporting more than nine students, and that test had to be done in a bus! A big, yellow, school bus.......the kind I said I would never drive! I took the training, and nervously took the practical driving test which involved various maneuvers with the bus. I managed to pass somehow!

Then one day the bus captain called and said, "Carolee, we have 70 students enrolled at the new will have to drive a bus instead of a van." I remember thinking, how did I get myself into this? I felt committed to the job since the school paid for my training, etc. so I did it for one year. Sometimes I would be in tears at the end of the day (after all the kids got off) but somehow I got through it, maybe the Lord used it to give me more patience.

When we moved up to Rochester NY for my husband's new ministry in the jails, we visited a church that I never really wanted to join. I didn't think the ladies were like me, they all baked homemade bread (so I thought) and were willing to have large families, if that is what the Lord wanted. I didn't think I would fit in. Worst of all, they almost all home schooled their kids, something I told my husband I would NEVER do!! I actually made him promise to find a Christian school before we moved for the kids to attend so I wouldn't have to home school. Only weird people did that!

Not only did we end up making the church I never wanted to attend our home church, but the Lord worked in my heart to start homeschooling my girls. I taught for a year at the Christian school, which the Lord used to prepare my heart and show me that there was a lot of wasted time in the classroom, and the attitudes weren't always so "Christian" among the students. I am now thankful that the Lord dealt with my attitude and changed my heart.

When we were missionaries to Mexico back in the 1980's, I recall telling my husband "I never want to do deputation again." We had three small children under the age of three, and it wasn't easy traveling across the US, staying in different homes. When Doug accepted a position with a full time jail ministry, I was relieved that he would have a starting salary, with health benefits, and although he would still have to preach in churches, they would be local, with no out of state traveling.

Fast forward five years, to 2003. My husband was attending a mission conference to present his jail ministry, and the Lord called him during the meeting to go back to the mission field. I wasn't even there to share in the moment. He came home and told me (although I knew it was coming, he always had a burden for missions) and I knew that big changes were coming.

We would have to do deputation again! I knew how rigorous it would be, but somehow, perhaps because I was a little older, I was more prepared for it the second time around. The Lord was so gracious with me....he took my NEVERs and made me willing to do what I would never have wanted to do if it were left up to me. Most of my NEVERs were based on fear. I was afraid that God would ask me to do something that I couldn't handle.

God can make you willing to do what you never thought you would want to. Be careful when you say may be just the thing God has planned for your life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Making the Field Your Home

I pick up missionary biographies when I need to be encouraged, and as I have mentioned previously I have been reading about Adoniram Judson and his three wives, as well as some modern missionary books that contain advice for missionary wives.

One of the key elements I notice in their writings, is how they made the decision that their new field of service was their home. I realize some missionaries have to leave the field for various reasons, and that is not what I am talking about. But while you are on the field, you must make the field your new home--and quit thinking about what you have left behind, from friends, family, church, etc.

When I am constantly thinking about what I miss the most about the states, it only makes me more discontent with my life here on the mission field. I do miss my family, grand kids, and way of life in the US, but now Tenerife is my home, and I must learn to appreciate the positive things about it and adjust to the things I don't care for.

Some people used to say that Mexico was a "graveyard" for missionaries because you had to return to the US every six months to renew your visa. When we were serving in Guadalajara Mexico, and would cross into the states, we would indulge in the delicious American hamburgers, make shopping trips to Walmart, and enjoy the way of life we missed. While in the states we didn't have to worry about getting sick from drinking the water, or deal with the filthiness and poverty. I wonder if I ever really allowed myself to adjust and enjoy my life in Mexico--rather I was often looking forward to the next visit to the states.

It is not feasible for me to visit the states now, because it is very expensive and we have used our spare resources in bringing our college age daughters home during the summer months. In some ways though, I think it will help me adjust to the idea that this is our new home, and by God's grace need to make the best of it, and become connected with the people that the Lord has put in our paths here to minister to.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Update from the Islands

Hard to believe we are almost at the end of June. The public schools are just letting out over here, and we finished our home school nearly a month ago, so I have been supplementing our Bob Jones curriculum with Spanish grammar, vocabulary and spelling. Rebekah is also learning how to crochet, and continues with piano and violin. Recently we purchased a small trampoline for the backyard, and it is a great place for Leanna to expend some of her boundless energy.

Hannah has been home for a month, and she brought a friend home with her for a few weeks, David Helzerman. They have been corresponding since last Thanksgiving, are courting and seeking God's will for the future. He is called to be an aviation pilot to Papua New Guinea, and has completed his pilot training (he even took Hannah on a ride in Michigan for a family reunion) and now has two years of training in aircraft mechanics. I am sure that will be valuable since he will have to service the aircraft himself on the field. Lord willing, he is coming back in the middle of August for another week. We enjoy his fellowship, sweet spirit, and sense of humor. We would like to keep him here if we could.

Hannah was also blessed to get a part-time summer job here, working for our next door neighbors who just had a baby. She will be cleaning and babysitting a few hours per day. This will help pay for her books when she returns to Fairhaven in the fall.

We had a bit of a scare a week ago, when one of the men living in the Men's home disappeared without telling ANYONE! He had just been baptized a week ago, and has been faithfully doing the Bible studies with Doug every week, and attending church faithfully. He left his cell phone and all his belongings in his room, so naturally we were fearing the worst. We contacted the police, hospitals, but no one heard anything from him for several days. Finally about five days later he came back. He had admitted himself in the hospital but couldn't contact anyone. We were so relieved to see him again.

The Lord has been blessing in our church services, and yesterday we had two new visitors. One woman just got here from Argentina, and doesn't live too far from us. She seemed to enjoy the services and wants to continue. Doug has been having some good studies in our Sunday School hour, and everyone is learning a lot of Bible truth and we are seeing spiritual growth, which is always encouraging.

Doug is planning a short mission trip to the island of El Hierro this week with his German missionary friend Rudy Thomas, and a few men from our church. So far they have taken trips to Gran Canary, La Gomera, and La Palma. El Hierro is the smallest island and perhaps one of the least evangelized.

Jenny is having a good summer, traveling with the college ensemble from Fairhaven Baptist College. So far they have been to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan,Alabama, and soon will be in Canada, and then heading east for the remainder of the summer. Jenny plans on spending her final week of the summer in our home church in Rochester, New York, before heading back to college in the fall.

And me? I continue to do the same necessary things, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping...........................and when I have free time I am reading a biography of Adoniram Judson, To the Golden Shore, by Courtney Anderson. I highly recommend this to anyone considering missions, or who desires to have a deeper appreciation of the price others have paid to give the gospel to foreign lands.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Something to Think About

Parents, imagine receiving a letter in the mail from a potential "suitor" for one of your beloved daughters that reads something like this:

"I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter
early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from the heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?"

That was a letter written by the young missionary Adoniram Judson, taken from the biography of his life, To the Golden Shore" by Courtney Anderson. The father, John Hasseltine, left the decision to his daughter Nancy (also known as Ann), giving her his blessing. She would later die on the field of Burma, making this letter a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This was back in the 1800's, and a lot has changed in missions since then, but dying on the field isn't necessarily out of the question, as we have seen missionaries killed in such fields as the Philippines, Mexico, and South America.

Back at a missionary conference at our home church in New York, I surrendered all of my children to the mission field, if that is what the Lord would see fit to do in their lives. After all, their entire upbringing centered around world missions, first in Mexico, then in Rochester NY as they saw their father work tirelessly in the jail to preach the gospel, and then as he surrendered to return to the foreign mission field later in life. Our children always had world missions in front of them, whether attending mission conferences, or serving as missionaries themselves, holding backyard Bible clubs, taking mission trips, and sacrificing financially to support missionaries abroad. It was as if it was in their blood, and what drove our family and gave us purpose.

I am reminded of the late Jim Elliot, who gave his life trying to reach the Auca Indians of Ecuador, who wrote in his diary:
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Also, the words of Jesus Christ himself, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16: 25,26

So as Christian parents, it is not wise to hinder your children in pursuing God's will for their life. If you think being a missionary is too difficult, too dangerous, too much suffering, remember, the safest place for anyone is in the center of God's will.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Deputation Experiences

When we married twenty-seven years ago, my husband was called to God's service as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I knew that I was marrying a missionary, and at the time we were headed to the mission field of Mexico, although I didn't fully understand what all that would entail--I kind of had "on the job" training.

I was nineteen when we married, and was very insecure. I worried about what everyone thought of me, our ministry, and our children. We were doing what is known as "deputation," which basically is traveling around the United States, presenting your ministry to other like minded independent Baptist churches with the intention of raising financial and prayer support for your ministry. I wasn't sure what was expected of me, and in fairness to all missionaries out there doing deputation, it is impossible to be everything to everyone, as every pastor and church has different expectations. I did my best to represent our family and the Lord in a way that was pleasing to Him, but many times I felt inadequate, inexperienced, and not spiritual enough. I always looked up to the older missionaries, wishing I could be more like them.

They call deputation kind of a "boot camp" for missionary preparedness, because if you can survive the rigors of traveling and being in a different church several times a week, you can probably survive on the foreign field. Nothing I had ever experienced in my life prepared me for deputation--we were a newlywed couple living on a shoestring, and in a matter of three years had three young toddlers. It was stressful to say the least. I always felt like my children had to behave perfectly, not touching anything, just sitting quietly, etc. I am thankful I had good kids, but even so, they all need time to play, run, explore, let off energy, etc.

Sometimes you would travel in the car for hours, arriving at a church for a meeting, with frayed nerves from crying babies, or sometimes even sick babies, no family doctor in the area, etc. I remember meeting pastors smelling like sour milk or even worse if our kids were throwing up along the highway. Or maybe your car would break down on the way, or you would get lost--(this was in the day before Map Quest and GPS). Ever try sleeping in a different bed every night? I don't think it is possible to ever feel totally rested on deputation.

You felt the pressure to always "put your best foot forward" so to speak, and rightfully so, because the short time that you spend in a church is their only clue to what your true character is about. They want to invest their hard earned missionary dollars in a family who is going to represent them in a way that reflects their values and convictions. People work hard and give sacrificially to help missionaries make it to the field, so I understand completely how they have to examine the missionaries they support carefully.

Even still, I always felt blessed to be in a church that allowed missionaries to "be themselves" and didn't put pressure on you to be "perfect." Some pastors have the ability to make you feel like you can relax a little and be real. Of course more is expected from the families of missionaries and pastors because we are to be examples to the flock, and that is Biblical--but at the same time we are human and want to be given a little room to breath and make mistakes just like anyone else.

Doing deputation the second time, for the Canary Islands, was much easier than the first time back in the 1980's. Most of it had to do with the fact that we were in our forties rather than our twenties. I had matured a little, and realized that most pastors do understand how difficult it is to be on the road, and do everything they can to understand what we are going through and make us feel comfortable when we get there. I was able to be myself, and realized that you can't please everyone, but just worry about pleasing the Lord. The most important thing is that people see Christ in you.

Missionaries have to make difficult decisions at times. As much as we wanted to always travel together as a family, sometimes circumstances dictated that I stayed home. Some churches required us to be there as a family, and we tried to comply with the pastors wishes. But sometimes missionaries have to make decisions based on the needs of their families. Being on the road made it difficult to maintain some normalcy of routine in home school. It was sometimes impossible for all of us to go. It is easier to travel as a family when all of your children are young, in my opinion. As they get older they often have activities that they want to be involved in at their home church. Sometimes health reasons would keep me from traveling all the time as well, as my allergies often made it difficult to go into different homes all the time. Some missionaries have special diets that are easier to follow if they can cook for themselves, so traveling makes it much more difficult.

One of the things that I have learned is not to criticize missionaries for the decisions they make, even when you don't think you would do it that way (and I am not referring to things that are sin, rather preferences). It amazes me how Christians like to criticize others for the way they do things, but have never "walked in their shoes." Have you ever tried doing what they do? It isn't as easy as you think. It sounds adventurous and exciting to be a missionary, but most of the time it is just plain hard work and requires much endurance. Missionaries need our prayer, support and encouragement, not our criticism.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Baptism in Candelaria, Tenerife

Today was a really great day here for us in the Canary Islands, as two people followed the Lord in Believer's baptism. Margarita received Jesus Christ about a seven or eight months ago, after her husband had been praying and fasting for her. She has been coming to church and studying the Bible with us.

Doug met Joakim near our church one day on visitation, and invited him to our services. He received the Lord and has been coming faithfully ever since, and is also doing a Bible course and attends our Friday Bible study.

After the baptism we went to the Men's home and Pedro fixed us all a huge dish of Spanish cuisine--all kinds of seafood-- prawns, squid, and other types of fish with noodles. We had a great time of fellowship.