Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving









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.