Friday, December 28, 2012

Home Again

I am sorry for my lack of updates on my blog, but now I am back in the Canary Islands and have some time to sit down at my computer and write. In November I was able to use many of our credit card points to purchase an airline ticket to the United States and visit my three married daughters and meet my newest granddaughters.

When I arrived in Chicago at the O'Hare airport, I was greeted by my son-in-law Michael. My first thought was that Jenny was waiting in the car, as she would be great with child. My plans were to time my arrival close to her due date. Michael greeted me, and I jokingly said, "Where is Jenny? Did she have the baby yet?"
I was surprised when he responded, "Bethany is here, 9 lbs, 2 ounces. Jenny had a c-section an hour ago and mother and baby are doing fine."

It wasn't exactly what I had planned, but it confirmed the reason and timing of my trip. Jenny would need my help for the next week as she recovered from her surgery. I was happy to be "needed." I had a good time cooking and cleaning, not to mention all the baby holding time--something I haven't had the pleasure of doing in years.

On my 50th birthday I left Indiana and made my way to my mom's house in Ohio. I had an enjoyable stay with her--we have a good time shopping together and we always make memories together. It never fails that something funny will happen to us in the stores. My mom is the queen of getting good deals and she makes me laugh the way things work out for her at the check out lane. It just takes patience as one night in K-mart I went to the car so I could pick her up when she exited, and after waiting 30 minutes I went in to see what was going on when she didn't appear. It is a long story, but she ended up with a coat she loved for less than $12.

                                                        Amy, and her two youngest.
                            My three sisters and me. Can you guess which one of us is the oldest? : ) Hint, it is not me, I am actually the youngest of the four girls!

                                                       Jenny, Michael and Bethany

                                                          Hannah, David and Vanessa

One of the highlights of the trip was at my sister's house in Ohio, where for a brief few hours I was able to see all of my sisters together, something that hasn't occurred in many years. It was a great time and I insisted on taking a photo of us. I had hoped to come for a visit in August to celebrate my dad's 80th birthday and a family reunion, but the Lord had other plans.

While in Ohio I visited with Amy and her two youngest children. After three boys she had a baby girl, and Amy is having a lot of fun dressing her. With four children six and under, Amy has a very busy life and it was nice that she could get away for a few days to spend with me.

From Ohio I drove to Michigan where I met another grand baby, Vanessa. She is such a happy baby and always smiling for the camera. Reluctantly I made my way back to Chicago, although I was eager to see my family back here in the islands. After the long flight and twelve hour layover in Madrid, I realized I probably wouldn't be going back to the states any time soon--but I am thankful for the opportunity the Lord allowed me.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


September disappeared as if it was caught up in a whirlwind. Each day brought new challenges as Rebekah, Leanna, and mom adjusted to the new rhythm of our school week.

For Leanna, perhaps the biggest challenge was waking up! It is a very early day and somehow she manages to roll out of bed, throw on her uniform, and get in the car. She is unable to eat so early in the morning, and has had daily stomachaches and when she gets to the school she has experienced nausea and vomiting. The teachers believe it is nerves and eventually will resolve itself.

Otherwise Leanna seems to be happy, making new friends and learning many new things. She seems eager to learn German, which I thought would only confuse her with so many languages to master, but the young mind can absorb it. I like the fact that she is learning to become more organized and pay more attention to detail. In our home school it was easy for me to let some things slide as often it takes outside pressure and tests to teach us accountability and the consequences of being forgetful, careless, etc.

Rebekah has spent most of her evenings doing homework, from almost the minute she walks in the door til bedtime. I am hoping that as the school year progresses she will be able to get things done in less time. She is a perfectionist and is very conscientious. The school puts a lot of emphasis on writing, so many of her subjects require thoughtful essay answers and for the classes she takes in Spanish it forces her to learn a lot of new vocabulary and pay careful attention to Spanish grammatical rules.

She also has two Science classes, Biology and Chemistry/Physics. Usually in home school we would only teach one concentration per year, such as one year of Biology, then another year would be Chemistry, etc. Fortunately her science classes are in English which helps.

Finally, the transition and adjustment for mom has been somewhat stressful as my role as teacher/school administrator has changed to more of a support person. I get up early each morning and take the girls to school, and then when they come home I am there to offer assistance with homework. Doug also takes an active role in the same. We have attended the parent teacher meetings, and the staff seems very helpful in making sure our children adapt smoothly.

The biggest loss for us is the control we lose over the content of the curriculum. We miss the Bible centered education we were able to use in our home school. It is also difficult to lose control over our schedule. Home school allowed us the freedom to have the girls get their school work finished during the day, so afternoons and evenings were used to pursue other interests such as music, sewing, arts and crafts, and ministry.

It also makes me appreciate the United States and other countries where they have allowed home school as a legal option for parents who are concerned about the best interests of their children. We don't realize how dear freedom is until you lose it. I am hoping that Spain will eventually make a provision for home school, and there are groups working toward that end.

Friday, September 7, 2012

School Days

Yesterday was Leanna's first day of school, and her first day at what I call a "traditional" school. After being home schooled their entire life, we enrolled the girls in a bilingual English/Spanish school here in the Canary Islands. Leanna was a little nervous at first, but she did fine and made friends quickly.

The starting of school is so nostalgic. I recall those first days of September, the cooler air coming with the promise of Fall right around the corner. I loved wearing my new outfits and saddle oxford shoes. Each year my mom would take us to JC Penney for school shoes--all six of us children. We each got one pair of every day "school" shoes, and one pair of gym shoes. I felt sorry one year for my parents as we checked out--spending what seemed like a small fortune just on shoes--and back then it was quite a bit of money. My mom always said September was one of the slowest times in the flower shop because all the parents were broke from buying school clothes and supplies.

My mom would sometimes fry us cheeseburgers for breakfast--she realized the importance of a high protein breakfast and knew we would feel better eating that than something sweet, like pop tarts or donuts. To this day some of my siblings still order a cheeseburger when they go out for breakfast.
We had to catch the school bus, and our house set back from the road quite a long way so we couldn't see the bus coming from the house. My worse fear would be to miss the bus, knowing my dad wouldn't be too happy to have to run us up to the school. My brothers learned that they could sleep a little longer if they wore their school clothes to bed--all they had to do in the morning was wake up, brush their hair,  and run out the door. My mom was thrilled when a line of clothing came out called "Garanimals" because they came prematched--all  you had to do is match the same animal figure that was on the tag of the shirt and pants--so no need to worry if your kids clothes coordinated. Today I doubt it would be much of a problem anyway--it seems to be the style not to match anymore.

Entering the school there was a distinct aroma of the school cafeteria. Back then they still hired cooks and they made most of the food. Some menus were more popular than others. Usually spaghetti came with peanut butter sandwiches on cheap white bread that stuck to the roof of your mouth (that was before they worried about food allergies.) The canned spinach made my stomach turn and made the whole school smell--did anyone actually eat that slimy stuff?  Pizza day was the favorite (usually Friday), even though it was just a little cheap frozen, cardboard pizza. Everyone loved the no bake cookies.

It will be interesting someday to hear what memories my own children have of their school and home school experiences.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Being Thankful

The other day I was talking to our son via skype about his mission work in Mozambique. He was telling me about taking some of his church members to a government hospital in Maputo to visit another member's child who was sick with a bad case of malaria.

The scene he described was heartbreaking: two children per hospital bed, all in a room with other sick children-- sharing the infectious germs. Children were crying in pain from malaria, lacking the necessary medicines to treat it. Nathan said that the hospitals were known as "death traps" because once you go in you probably won't make it out alive. In order to receive care you must "pay" the health care workers a little something (in other words--bribe) and even that is no guarantee. It really isn't a place you would want to go if you were sick, but these people have no other option.

The image he described has stuck in my mind--I can visualize a small child in pain--and wish there was something I could do to help these people. There are probably so many people in this same condition that it becomes overwhelming. It really makes you thankful for what we have.

It convicted me as I recall sighing to myself the other day about "having to go grocery shopping again." Can you imagine?  I have a refrigerator and freezer full of food.....plenty to eat, and I grow weary of shopping? I imagine there are many in other parts of the world who would long to have the money to buy the food we so often take for granted.

I don't live in fear of my children getting malaria, or that the water we drink will make us sick. I do recall when we lived in Mexico what that was like. A Mexican friend of ours had a baby born with spina bifida and swelling of the brain, and what would have been treated immediately in the United States was left untreated, causing her head to swell to the size of a large watermelon, and now she has irreversible brain damage and paralysis--all because of the lack of resources.

May we all learn to be thankful, and do what we can to help alleviate someone else in need.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August Update

If I need an excuse for why I haven't updated my blog I will blame the heat......I know that is a poor excuse but somehow hot weather diminishes my motivation. As in many parts of Spain, we are having a hot, dry summer with a lot of calima (sand storms from the Sahara desert which blow over the Canary Islands.)

June and July brought several blessings--the birth of two grandchildren--our son's family in Mozambique welcomed their fourth child, and our daughter Hannah and son-in-law David welcomed their first baby in July. We are looking forward to two more on the way; Amy and Greg are having their first daughter in October (to add to their three boys) and Jenny and Michael are expecting around Thanksgiving. I am collecting our credit card points in hopes of  earning a free/inexpensive airplane ticket so I can meet some of my new grand babies.

We were busy looking for a school for Rebekah and Leanna during July as we will have to put them in school for the time being. We hope this is only temporary and can continue home schooling at some time in the future. We found a bilingual school and half of their classes will be taught in English, and the other half in Spanish. It will be a major change in our schedule as they will be in school from 8 am til 4:30 pm. The Spanish have a long break in the afternoon for lunch, 1.5 hours--and they serve the large meal of the day in the school cafeteria. If you stay on the premises they require that you purchase the school food (no sack lunches) and we live too far away for them to come home. I hope the girls like the Spanish/Canary Island food. At home we eat American style--so this will take a bit of getting used to on their part. I imagine if you are hungry enough anything will taste good!

We are thankful for many visitors at our church in San Isidro the past several weeks. It is always encouraging to have new people come. Rebekah is doing a good job as our church pianist, and on occasion I play my flute with her for special music. Leanna is also studying piano, and is looking forward to the day when she can play in church as well.

That brings us up to date. I hope you are having a blessed summer as well.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Nothing Can Happen

"Nothing can happen today that the Lord and I cannot handle"

A dear friend of mine gave me this little frame before I left for the mission field. It is an amazing piece of handiwork, as the person cut it out very intricately. My husband really liked it, so I have kept it over the sink in our bathroom so he can glance at it every day while we are preparing for our day.

 At first I was a little unsure about the meaning of what it said and thought it was just a tad prideful--I wanted to scratch out the part that says "I cannot handle". I really wished it read, "Nothing can happen today that the Lord cannot handle." Perhaps I thought it was boastful, but my emphasis was on the second half of the sentence, not the first.

We all have days when we feel like we can't handle what God is putting before us, whether it be trials of our faith with family, sickness, job situations, finances, or relationships.
On second thought, it does agree with scripture, as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." God gives us the strength, supplies the necessary grace to face each new day and situation. He only gives us what we need to face today.....and promises to be with us for all of our tomorrows.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pictures of the New Land

I received these pictures from my daughter in law Emily--they had their first church service on their new land Sunday, and it is amazing to see how the Lord provided for their need for a place to meet. Thought I would share these with my readers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pictures from Mozambique

 These photos were taken when I visited in May, 2010. This is the old building they rented.
 Church service back in May, 2010
 Walking home from church.
 The old church building they rented.
The Nathan Schwaderer Family, December 2012

Good News from Mozambique

We are encouraged to get reports from our son Nathan and the work that is going on in Mozambique. By God's grace they have been able to accomplish much since their arrival about 5 1/2 years ago. They have two works going, and now a building project underway. Their family is also growing, Emily is expecting a boy and they plan to travel to Nelspruit, South Africa around the end of May for the birth sometime around the first of June. Please pray for a safe delivery, as Emily will be having a doctor and midwife attend the birth at Mercy Air, in a guest house they rent for the occasion. We are excited about the new grandchildren that are coming into our family in 2012. Emily is having a boy, while Hannah and Amy are having girls. Amy is finally getting a girl after having three boys!

Here is Nathan's latest newsletter:

Major Victory!

This past month God has given us a major victory. For the past three years we have been renting a small
home here in the capital area for about three hundred dollars a month. Perhaps that sounds like a lot of money for a place in Africa, but when you consider that we are ministering in the capital area, and that to buy a decent piece of land here is usually around 500,000 USD, it was actually a good deal. This house served its purpose while the church was just beginning. But because the capacity is about 30 adults, we have been praying that God would provide a larger space for us to meet. I was approached by a family that was selling their property close to our church. The men of the church went to look at it with me and saw that it had a great location right off the main road! The only down-side was that it was a little small but still large enough to build a structure that can sit about 150 people.

At first, it seemed like it would be impossible for us to purchase it but, after some negotiations, I was able to trade my Toyota Corolla as a deposit with about 6,000.00 USD due by the end of the year. They needed my car and the church needed land. What a victory for us here as we will have plenty of room to grow and we will not be renting. I have challenged the members of the church to sacrifice and give generously as we now need to build. In the meantime, we will be holding services under the trees! Most of our church people that work make about 100- 200 USD per month. It could take some time to have enough money before we can build as we will need about 5,000 USD to build a good structure. Pray that God will work in the lives of our people to give and that He will supply the need. It is such an answer to prayer for the work here to own a piece of land! God is working in the lives of the people here. The work that we have recently started is going well.

 After I finish preaching, I allow the people to ask questions which usually takes about an hour more. It is a blessing to have people hungry and searching for answers from the Word of God. Please, keep this group in prayer as we hope to develop this Bible study into a church. We are currently working to evangelize the neighborhood and we are praying that many souls will be saved there.

Please keep Pastor Martinasio in prayer. I have mentioned him before in my letters. He is a genuine man
of God and one of the national pastors here. He has a cancerous growth protruding from his stomach. Pray that God will heal him according to His will. We are praying that God will give him many more years of service for the Lord!

Nathan, Emily Grace, Micah, Jeremiah, and baby boy (making his appearance in June!) Schwaderer

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Depending on God

As Christians we have often been accused as being weak for needing God--that we use Him as a "crutch" because we can't deal with life and the problems we face. Some have gone as far as calling religion an "opiate" of the people, something we use to cope with life because we can't deal with reality.

I feel sorry for the person who is living their life without God. As I wake up each morning, I see His hand in creation, the glories of the sunrise, the birds singing, the flowers in my garden. I read about His goodness and mercy in my Bible, and am encouraged. Sure, I have trials and temptations, just like everyone else--but I often wonder how the person without God gets through life without Him. What joys they are missing!

The Bible tells us the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. It is not intelligience that will keep you from seeking a relationship with God, but rather pride. Saying, I don't need God because I can handle it on my own is rather foolish. Every breath we take is a gift from God. Do you really want to die without God? Perhaps you have convinced yourself that the Bible is a good book, but only a good book--but what if you are wrong? Have you considered what happens after you die? Is there a small chance that you could be wrong, and the Bible is true? I wouldn't want to die without God and be separated from Him for eternity. If you have chosen to ignore God and make your own set of beliefs (everyone believes something) then God will give you exactly what you have asked for--He will not force himself upon anyone.

No one ever told me that the Bible was different than any other book ever written--somehow I knew it in my heart and it was sacred to me. It is powerful, and can change your life. Don't worry about the parts you can't understand--focus on the parts you do understand. If you seek God you will find Him--because He is standing at the door of your heart and would like to come in and have fellowship with you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

So You Want to Be a Missionary?

Being a missionary has lots of benefits and blessings. Having said that, mission work, and ministry in general, is not for the faint of heart. Most of us will never suffer like the apostle Paul, but if being a missionary was an easy "job" we wouldn't see such a big turnover. Many people set out to become a foreign missionary, and if you survive the arduous task of raising the financial support you will need to sustain your family on the field, once you have arrived on the field it will take the grace of God to stay there.

Look at the legacy the apostle Paul left us in 2 Corinthians 11:23--28. Whenever I am tempted to feel discouraged (which can be more frequent than I would like), I am comforted by the fact that there is a purpose in our suffering. Paul was beaten, to the point of death....often. He was put in prison, stoned, suffered shipwreck, in perils during his frequent travels suffering robbers, troubles from his own countrymen, false brethren, heathen, in hunger, weariness, painfulness, cold, naked, and fasting often--all while caring for the churches he started. He admitted his own weakness, and knew it was the power of Christ that sustained him.

When Paul besought the Lord three times that he would take away a "thorn" in the flesh--an infirmity, the messenger of Satan used to keep Paul humble and dependent upon God, the Lord responded...."My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" 2 Corinthians 4: 16-17

Of course this applies to every believer with a desire to live for God's glory, not just the "full-time" missionary. We all have afflictions, trials, and temptations which will require the grace and power of God upon our lives. But if you are considering missions, you can be assured that your faith will be tested in ways that will go beyond your "comfort" zone."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Helpful Tax Information for Foreign Missionaries

I always get a little confused when trying to understand tax rules, especially for missionaries living overseas. I found this article helpful. It seems to explain some of the complicated issues we face.

I am not endorsing the church group or their beliefs.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Prayer Letter No One Wants to Write

As missionaries, a valuable tool of communication we have with our supporting churches and partners in the ministry is the prayer letter. In this age of technology, it has become even easier to share what we are doing, the progress, and requests we have for prayer as we labor together for the Lord.

There is also a temptation to feel the need to report all the positive reports that we all like to hear--conversions to Christ, baptisms, lives being changed, etc. It seems the seal of a "good" missionary is the fruit and visible results that can be seen.

We support several missionaries as a family and receive various prayer letters via email. While we are happy for the churches that are doing great, seeing many people come, etc. it can also be discouraging when you compare what is going on in your field to what is happening in other seemingly more fruitful fields of harvest.

We read of ministries in Africa where they are bursting at the seams with many in attendance, or a first service in Central or South America where 70 people showed up the first day, or in the Philippines where souls seem to be flocking to church, etc. We've all seen the slides and presentations of the "fruit" we can see. But what missionary ever takes a picture on the day when it is just him and his family that shows up? Yes, it happens.

Some of us are laboring in fields where the soil is as hard as a rock. We plant, we water, we do everything that we know to do. We have children's Bible clubs, we try doing good works, such as feeding the homeless, ministering to the inmates in jails, putting up public announcements on billboards with scripture, going to nursing homes, public schools, finding every open door of oppportunity to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. We try to shine as lights to a dark world, having a good testimony among our neighbors and yet we can't see where it is doing any good. We see a few people respond here and there, get saved, baptized, and endure for a time, but in the whole scheme of things we are tempted to feel like we are not gaining any ground.

I wonder if our prayer letters seem as "exciting" or encouraging to read. What if we were brutally honest, and told of all the days we labor, feeling discouraged about the lack of interest, the coldness and complacent attitudes, the indifference, etc. Maybe our prayer letters would read a little differently if we could be more honest about our trials that we are facing without fear that we would be judged or lose support if we revealed what we are really experiencing on a day to day basis.

We love to read missionary accounts of the great men of old, like Judson, Taylor, Carey, Livingstone, Brainerd, etc. They labored through the most difficult circumstances and often worked many years before they saw visible results. Were they "bad" missionaries because they didn't see a new soul come to Christ every week? Did their churches immediately bloom and grow overnight? Then why should we expect the same of the modern day missionary?

Pray for your missionaries as you never know what they are enduring. We are all subject to the same temptations of discouragement, loneliness, heartache, disappointment. As a missionary living far from "home" we often feel isolated, forgotten, and tempted to think we are not making a difference. It is vital that we communicate the whole story and present an accurate picture.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

The Lord has blessed us with five daughters and one son. They all have their special qualities that endear them to my heart. Four of them are married, and you never quit worrying/thinking about them even after they have left the home.

Today we are celebrating Rebekah's birthday, and I think back to when we found out I was expecting our fifth child. I had returned to college to finish my degree--I was a junior at Wright State University and had won a full academic scholarship upon graduating from Edison Community College. My first four children were in a private Christian school, and my dream was to get my teaching degree so I could teach at their school. I really enjoyed going to college and the atmosphere, along with the challenge of having a family and studying full time. Even after Rebekah was born, I was able to teach Spanish in their school until I decided to stay home full time and home school my children instead.

Unknown to me, my husband had been praying that we would have more children--and one of our daughters was praying for a sister, I believe it was Jenny. My sister allowed us to babysit her toddler (at the time--now he is 16!) and the baby bug bit, and God answered their prayers. Children are so delightful to have in the home. I remember taking a statistics course during the summer, and feeling the urge to sleep all the time. I managed to make it through the course, and finished my semester.

Jenny was nine years old when Rebekah was born, so it had been a long time since I had a baby. It was like starting all over again. We were living in Ohio at the time, so I enjoyed having family around. I remember feeling like the oldest woman in the church nursery, and I was! Having a baby when you are a little older is so much fun--you are more relaxed, and the older children were a big help to me--something I didn't have when they were little.

Rebekah's middle name is Joy, and is so fitting. She has only brought joy into our lives. She has a servant's heart, and prefers others. She is soft spoken, patient, kind, unselfish, and loves the Lord. I am thankful the God has given us such a beautiful young lady in our home.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Musings

Mr. Philbrick joked he was on his 56th plate!

Eating at the Japanese Buffet

Hard to believe it is March already! I love spring flowers, although here on the island of Tenerife we are in a bit of a drought. Farmers are concerned, along with environmentalists because we usually have most of our rain during the fall and winter months and there has been very little rainfall. Normally Mt. Teide is covered in snow during the winter and there hasn't been any to speak of. We depend of fresh water here to fill the reservoirs for crops and drinking water. Along with the drying out of trees brings heightened threat of forest fires. The tourists may have enjoyed the sunny weather this winter, but the rest of us are longing for some rain.

Speaking of Drought.....of another sort

You would think that on an island known for tourism that it would be easy to find good restaurants to recommend. While I am sure that there are some that do exist, our experience here has been disappointing. In January we had a group from the United States visit, and they wanted to experience the culture by eating out. First of all, we don't eat out very often, mostly because we are usually disappointed--why pay a lot of money to eat out when you can make it better at home? So we had a difficult time coming up with places we could recommend. There are plenty of places where you can get a bocadillo (sandwich) for a few euros.....but to find something really fantastic and worth raving about is really hard to come up with.

There are tons of Italian, Chinese, and International offerings, but most are not authentic. One day the group decided to go to a Mexican restaurant and we ordered the only thing they had to offer that day--a mixed sampler plate. They must have been low on groceries as nearly every taco, burrito, and enchilada was filled with ground luncheon meat ham! Doug and I lived in Mexico for nearly 7 years but we never had ground ham in a taco! I would liken it to eating spam on a tortilla. Not the most appetizing food for sure. There were very few beans, rice, or salsa--what you would consider authentic Mexican cuisine.

Another adventure was when for lack of a better alternative we ended up at a Japanese buffet. That was a real novelty--all the dishes traveled around the tables on a conveyor belt covered with a plastic lid--so you really couldn't "see" what you were getting. It kind of looked like food from outer space. One plate might have a piece of pork on a stick, or another a piece of sushi, etc. Someone joked they were on their 56th plate! One dish, a soup of some sort was reported by the group to smell like finger nail polish remover! Others called it dishpan water soup, or dish soap soup......we couldn't really decide what was so odd about it but that it was really ODD! Well, it made for a lot of laughs and memories.

Our family has three places we go when we want a bite to eat......McDonald's (only for what is on the euro menu--a small cheeseburger or chicken burger) Burger King, and Telepizza. They just opened a Subway in one of the malls but we haven't tried it yet--but from our experiences in eating out, we'd rather play it safe than sorry!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Resourcefulness and Creativity

We made a wreath from vines we found in a vacant lot when we couldn't find one in the store premade.

Rebekah made this patchwork bag, using a pattern from the internet. Her older sister Hannah taught her to use the sewing machine.

Leanna likes to paint.

One of the things I enjoy with my daughters is making crafts and cooking special treats for the various seasons. Many times we can't find the ingredients or materials though that we take for granted in the United States, so we have to learn to make substitutions, or create things from scratch. We don't have a Walmart, JoAnn Fabrics or any craft store for that matter, so I am continually scrounging for ideas and materials.

I am thankful to my mother, who at an early age allowed me to use the resources we had available in our flower shop. I had access to all types of ribbons, paints, glue guns, spray paint, flowers, etc. and she graciously let us make things--some might have thought it wasteful or too messy--but my mother knew better than to squelch our creativity. Now I can see that the resourcefulness she encouraged prepared me for the mission field.

Around the age of ten I developed an interest in cooking, and while my mom was working in our flower shop, I would call her on the telephone (even though our floral business was on the same property) and ask her how she made certain dishes. She wasn't afraid to let us try new recipes or afraid we would mess up dinner. She was very patient with me as I called her for advice and instructions. She didn't follow a recipe but everything she made had a delicious taste--she knew all the secrets to "doctor things up" and make things flavorful.

When I look at my dining room table, covered in "projects" that my daughters are in the middle of completing, I am tempted to complain about the mess......but remind myself and rejoice that we are making memories and preparing them for their future, whether it be homemaking skills, or perhaps just inspiring their creative juices so they will have the confidence to try improvising when the need arises.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Statistics about Spain and Gospel Preaching Churches

Marvin Robertson has been a Baptist missionary in Spain for over 35 years, and in his latest prayer letter he gave the following statistics which I found interesting. I am not sure the source of his statistics, but from our personal observation about the spiritual condition of the country it seems to be accurate.

"The total number of independent Baptist missionaries in Spain continues to grow, but the country is far from being evangelized. Out of the total population of 47 million, only 200,000 are members of some kind of protestant/evangelical church. There are thousands of towns and villages with no Gospel witness at all as there is only one church for every 18,000 people!

When we talk about Gospel preaching churches (correct doctrine of salvation), there may be 300 in the whole country which means that there is one Gospel preaching church for every 150,000 people! And when you talk about fundamental, independent Baptist churches, the ratio goes down to one church for every 800,000 people!

For the last fifty years we missionaries have been doing pioneer work in Spain; that is, working the soil to remove rocks and thorns and thistles in order to plant the seed of the Word in the hearts of the people. Therefore, we have hope to see a harvest as God's people are faithfully giving witness of their personal relationship with Christ through faith in Him.

Keep praying for Spain that the Holy Spirit would do a mighty work among the Spanish people! "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Amen!" (Marvin Robertson)

With this in mind, I try to encourage myself that Spain is not an "easy" field--I don't believe there is such a thing anyway, but sometimes the lack of visible fruit can be discouraging. We must remind ourselves that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What's New in Tenerife

I apologize for my lack of updates on what is going on in our ministry. When we returned in October, we had a lot of work to do getting our homefront set up again, so to speak......after being away for nearly six months we are now back in full swing. We lost some families, unfortunately, during our absence so we have to work even harder now to bring in new people to disciple.

January was a great month, with many visitors. First we enjoyed a visit from two young men who are stationed in Germany with the US military, followed by a group from Wings Bearing Precious Seed ministry under the direction of Allen Johnson. We passed out 15,000 John and Romans, along with gospel tracts and invitations to our church services. Three of the eight in the group spoke Spanish, which was a tremendous blessing.

Here is a link to the webpage of Wings Bearing Precious Seed if you would like to view the slideshow of pictures.