Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Rebekah and David Get Married

 I do believe there is such a thing as a match made in heaven, and Rebekah and David were definitely ordained by God to be together. They met as freshmen in Bible college, and after knowing each other and courting for four years, they were married six weeks after they graduated. We weren't sure if they would be able to have a wedding with guests in attendance, but the coronavirus restrictions were lifted just in time! I introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. David Crego!

First time since 2016 all of our children were together.

Maid of honor and sister Leanna telling how special her relationship is with Rebekah.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Back in the Canary Islands

 Back in January, I traveled to the USA to be with my mom who was battling ovarian cancer. I was blessed to be able to spend the last two weeks of her life caring for her. I wouldn't trade that for anything. I felt torn as it meant leaving Doug and Leanna in the islands by themselves for several months, but those are the types of difficult decisions missionaries often face. Above is a picture of the minister talking about the hope we have of eternal life in Jesus Christ, and I am confident my mom is now in heaven rejoicing with her Saviour.
We are back at work, and one of my favorite ways to engage myself with the locals is to teach English. I teach 15 hours a week, in addition to homeschooling Leanna. This is my way of getting to meet people, and serve them in a practical manner. I am reminded of the lyrics of the beautiful song,
"How can we reach a world we never touch? How can we show them Christ if we never show them love?"
The Lord has opened many doors through my teaching, and I've met many wonderful people on the island of Tenerife that I wouldn't have met otherwise. They are a very friendly people, but I didn't use to think so until I got to know them on a personal basis, and it has taken many years to gain their friendship and trust.
Language is the way God communicates with us, and the way we share God's message. Fortunately I enjoy language and was an English major at Wright State University back in the 90's. By force I had to become a learner of the Spanish language too. This has helped me be a patient language teacher as I appreciate how difficult it is to learn a foreign language, and I respect my students--many of them study three, four, or even five languages in school.
During the summer while in the US,  I was able to attend Michigan State University who hosted an Oxford Seminar for certification to teach TESOL/TESL/ TEFL. It worked out rather nicely as it gave me some extra time to visit my daughter's family who live in Lansing, Michigan. We also had a great time renewing friendships and visiting a few of our supporting churches.
One of the things the Lord is teaching me about the ministry is to be patient. We can't follow our own timetable or expectations when it comes to dealing with people. Learning is a process, and even though we would like to see people miraculously change overnight, it doesn't happen, and often there are setbacks and we get discouraged.
With that in mind, we keep plowing. We stick at it. Like anything else in life that is worth achieving, it takes time and patience. Sometimes I think the Lord is more concerned with changing me more than about me teaching others. This goes along with the idea of leading, or teaching by example.
My son-in-law recently preached an excellent message on gentleness. It challenged me to remember to be gentle with people. Be kind, courteous, and try to put yourself in someone else's situation. Be empathetic. Be genuine. The world is truly lacking in these qualities today. Do we communicate God's message with gentleness, or like a bull in a china shop? Take Psalm 18:35 to heart,
"Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great."

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Emotional Intelligence in the Church

I recently came across an article in Forbes Magazine about being a great employee, and realized that many of these same tips apply to pastors, missionaries, and to the church in general.

I Cor. 10: 31...."whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
What makes a great employee?

1. They’re willing to delay gratification. One thing an exceptional employee never says is, “That’s not in my job description.” Exceptional employees work outside the boundaries of job descriptions. They’re neither intimidated nor entitled; instead of expecting recognition or compensation to come first, they forge ahead in their work, confident that they’ll be rewarded later but unconcerned if they’re not.

2. They think before they speak and wisely choose the best time and place to do so.

3. They’re in control of their egos. Exceptional employees have egos. While that’s part of what drives them, they never give their egos more weight than what is deserved. They’re willing to admit when they’re wrong and willing to do things someone else’s way, whether it’s because the other way is better or it’s important to maintain team harmony.

4. They recognize when things are broken and fix them. Whether it’s a sticky desk drawer or an inefficient, wasteful process affecting the cash flow of the entire department, exceptional employees don’t walk past problems. “Oh, it’s been that way forever,” simply isn’t in their vocabulary. They see problems as issues to be fixed immediately; it’s that simple.

5. They’re accountable. If you’re a manager trying to decipher a bungled report, “It’s not my fault” is the most irritating phrase in the English language. Exceptional employees are accountable. They own their work, their decisions, and all of their results—good or bad. They bring their mistakes to management’s attention rather than hoping no one will find out. They understand that managers aren’t out to assign blame; they’re out to get things done.

6.They’re marketable. “Marketable” can mean many things. Inside the organization, it means “likable.” Exceptional employees are well liked by co-workers. They have integrity and leadership skills (even if they’re not in an official leadership position) that people respond to. Externally, it means they can be trusted to represent the brand well. Managers know they can send these employees out to meet with clients and prospects without worrying about what they’ll say or do.

7. They neutralize toxic people. Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Exceptional employees control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Do the Next Thing

So often in life we wake up to find ourselves facing the ordinary, mundane tasks of life. As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I have come to realize that life is made up of a lot of uneventful, ordinary days with some highs and lows mixed in between.

When I was in high school, I thought I would pursue a degree in journalism and become a television reporter, or perhaps a news anchor.  It sounded so exciting and glamorous. As it turned out, I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ when I was a sophomore, and the Lord showed me that He had other plans for my life. After graduation, I met my future husband who was called to missions, and we married and had six beautiful children and have dedicated our lives to the call of ministry--whether in the USA when my husband was a full time chaplain in the jails, or on a foreign mission field in Mexico, and now in the Canary Islands.

People sometimes look at missions and think, "Oh, that sounds so exciting!" You get to travel around the US and in foreign countries and meet a lot of people. Yes, I have traveled quite a bit and experienced living in foreign cultures which has enriched my life tremendously. But when push comes to shove, so much of our lives is about the simple daily tasks we do, which often seems so monotonous.

The past summer I was blessed to be able to spend some time with my mother who is suffering from ovarian cancer. She has lived with the disease now for over 1.5 years, and has seen improvements and setbacks. I spent several days at her bedside in the hospital and at home.  Caring for her I came to realize how much we need people in this world who are willing to do the ordinary, not so glamorous and downright "dirty" tasks in life.

The real heroes in my opinion, aren't the superstars--sports heroes, overpaid actors in Hollywood or on television--no, they are the caregivers. The ones who wake up every day facing sick patients who need someone to help them do the ordinary tasks of life--feeding them, cleaning up after them, changing their bed linens, and all the not so pleasant tasks that go along with it. Where would this world be without these caring and compassionate people?

The challenge is facing life with courage each day as we go through the motions of doing the routine and ordinary, especially when no one notices or appreciates what we are doing. It is difficult to approach each day with thankfulness and gratitude--but I tried to remind myself that at least I wasn't in the sickbed, incapacitated or suffering with cancer.

If you find yourself dreading another day of "the same old same old," take time to remember that you are not alone. God can give us strength to face another day of dirty diapers, loads of laundry, dishes in the sink.....whatever it is that you tire of. Where would this world be if no one was willing to care for the young, the elderly, or those who can't care for themselves?

I saw this poem today on Facebook, and the author is Unknown, but it might give you encouragement as you face your day today.

Do The Next Thing
From an old English parsonage,
Down by the sea,
There came in the twilight,
A message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend,
Deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me,
Teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
The quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration-
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
Let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity,
Guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
Tracing His Hand,
Who placed it before thee with
Earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
Be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
The rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
Be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,
-Author unknown

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Bus Ministry and my Family

I didn't ride a bus to church, but I did attend church as a child thanks to caring friends of my family's who picked my sister and me up each week....Stanley and Carolyn Arnold of the First Baptist Church in New Lebanon, Ohio. I received Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour at that church. I know that God used this as a springboard that would change our entire family. Through many circumstances, one by one the rest of my family came to know the Lord down the road. Had it not been for this couple in our community reaching out to our family, and many more people that I didn't even know about, as I would find out later in life, we wouldn't be where we are today.

People sometimes criticize bus ministries....they "disrupt" the service because the kids don't behave, the kids only come for the candy and activities, too many gimmicks, etc. Say what you will, but what are you doing then? Don't criticize a program if you aren't doing anything yourself to bring someone to the Lord. Do what you can, where God has put you. If you can't participate physically, you can give financially to help defray the cost. You can make a difference in someone's life!

Watch this video for some touching testimonies of how the Lord used the bus ministry to work in people's lives.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Staying Put

My husband and I encourage each other in the faith as we labor together in the Canary Islands. Due to recent events here, we have both been suffering bouts of discouragement and even wondering if the Lord would have us work elsewhere. The doors sometimes seem to shut in one area, then open in another......and sometimes shut again. This poem brought comfort to my soul and I hope it will help someone else as well.

Be thou there until I bring thee word (Matt. 2:13).

I'll stay where You've put me;
I will, dear Lord, Though I wanted so badly to go;
I was eager to march with the 'rank and file,'
Yes, I wanted to lead them, You know.
I planned to keep step to the music loud,
To cheer when the banner unfurled,
To stand in the midst of the fight straight and proud,
But I'll stay where You've put me.

I'll stay where You've put me; I'll work, dear Lord,
Though the field be narrow and small,
And the ground be fallow, and the stones lie thick,
And there seems to be no life at all.
The field is Thine own, only give me the seed,
I'll sow it with never a fear;
I'll till the dry soil while I wait for the rain,
And rejoice when the green blades appear;
I'll work where You've put me.

I'll stay where You've put me; I will, dear Lord;
I'll bear the day's burden and heat,
Always trusting Thee fully; when even has come
I'll lay heavy sheaves at Thy feet.
And then, when my earth work is ended and done,
In the light of eternity's glow,
Life's record all closed, I surely shall find
It was better to stay than to go;
I'll stay where You've put me.
Oh restless heart, that beat against your prison bars of circumstances, yearning for a wider sphere of usefulness, leave God to order all your days. Patience and trust, in the dullness of the routine of life, will be the best preparation for a courageous bearing of the tug and strain of the larger opportunity which God may some time send you.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hope Thou In God

Do you find yourself troubled, filled with anxious thoughts as you look at the serious, somewhat impossible situations going on in the world around us? I know I do. I often wake up in the morning, weighed down with the problems going on in the world--and they can be quite overwhelming if I didn't focus my attention on God's word to give me a bit of hope that He will take care of us in the midst of the trials of life.
What comfort we have afforded to us by looking into His Word for solace and comfort. God commands us to seek His face. Would we seek God if all in life was going well? We all enjoy the mountaintop experiences, but most of life is spent in the ordinary, everyday tasks and we need courage to face each new day with it's challenges. Daily we may ask ourselves the question, Where is thy God?
Psalm 42:11 says "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Keep seeking God in His word. The same God who got us through yesterday will be there for us today, and He also will guide us through all our tomorrows. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. The promises of God are so rich--but if we don't cling to them we will drown in our day to day sorrow.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3