Thailand Mission Trip-Photo Journey

Dear Blog Readers,

It has been a while since updating! We are currently on a missions visionary trip to Thailand. Wow, what a land!

Thailand-a land with many gods. So few who know the true God who sets people free!

Monk Chat-Buddism is one of the main religions. Well indoctrinated, well-educated, but without hope in the saving power of Jesus Christ!

My beautiful girlfriend who is currently serving the Lord in the red light district of Chiang Mai Thailand. Notice the joy and peace of the Lord in her eyes!

Ahh, this coffee haven! Each morning that I go to the coffee shop around the corner from our house, the barista’s eyes light up! The coffee above, was black enough to “walk” on! I’m sure there must be coffee in heaven, don’t you? 🙂

This lady was eagerly and aggressively selling her wares. Here she is showing off how her wooden toad croaks. Are we this interested in telling a lost world of Jesus?

Impact one life-it may change a family, a village, and/or a nation!

“At the end of broken dreams, people need the Lord!” Our sungtowl driver fell in love with Jordan. He was experiencing much difficulty in his marriage our meeting was God-ordained.

And yes it rains for it is currently rainy season! Rain also happens in the lives of missionaries. The fight against evil for the hearts and minds of the millions is REAL! “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of darkness in high places.”

Pray!

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What Are You Packing?

I won’t soon forget the first time we went away after our honeymoon! We were going to the cabin a number of hours away. When we were part of the way there much to my chagrin I discovered in my love-sick mind that I had left much-needed shirts and pants and dresses at home! We got to the cabin only to discover that the generator that was there to produce the electric was broke so we couldn’t even wash what we were wearing. This produced a good laugh!

How many times do we forget the important things in life? Like forgetting to take time to smile. It’s amazing how much a smile can make difference! As Christians, we especially have something to smile about-our God!

How about complimenting a job well done? Or a job that was given one’s best effort? I know how it makes a day when you receive a blessing from someone! Like just the other week when a friend offered to babysit my children. Then my husband and I could go for a date! We enjoyed being down by the river with a picnic lunch!

What about taking time to play with a child or with a spouse or with a friend? All these reap enormous rewards! Recently between shopping and the different stores, I stopped at the park and let the children play. How they loved that! Yes, it did lengthen my trip to the store but it was worth it.

The most important is time with HIM! How easy it is to neglect our relationship with God! Find something that works for you! My husband finds it easiest to have his personal time with Jesus in the morning. If I did that I would fall asleep because I’m not a morning person! Some people find that if they wait till the night that they are so tired then that they crash when it comes evening. I find that having my “Jesus time” as I call it, works best in the late afternoon.

I’m curious how you, my readers remember to pack in all the important things in life? What tips do you have for fitting in the things that truly matter? Remember the object lesson of filling a jar with stones? Is it full with the rocks? The small stones? The sand? And/or the water?

I would be thrilled to hear from you!

I Was Confronted For Being Immodest

Thanks to Courtney from womenlivingwell.org/ for this guest post!

I Was Confronted For Being Immodest.

It was 2003, my husband had just become a deacon at our church and I had just given birth to my first baby. I remember thinking that a lot of my clothes were too tight after having my baby but I really wanted to squeeze back into them rather than buy new – so I kept wearing my old clothes. The only problem – when I bent down at church to get my son out of the carrier – my skirt was WAY too short for bending down! But did that stop me – nope – you know what stopped me – a phone call.

So the phone rang and on the other end of the line was another deacon’s wife. She and I had only had 1 or 2 brief conversations before (and sadly none since :( ) but she was someone I respected and who I had heard through the grapevine had high ideals.

I cannot remember the exact words she said – but I do remember she asked me a lot of questions. “How do you feel about the dress you wore to church Sunday?” Ummm…fine. “Do you think it was too short?” Ummm…no. “Do you think wearing your shoulders out is okay for other men to see while they are trying to worship?” Hmmm…I guess. “Don’t you think your high heels with your toes out are a bit much?” …haven’t really thought about my shoes before (and by the way I did not agree with her on this point – I kept my shoes :) ). Then she said she could see my slip…well I had not worn a slip with that dress because my slip was not short enough to go under it -so she was wrong on that one detail. That was one point for me. lol!!!

We talked a bit longer – she explained that being a deacon’s wife meant I would be held to a higher standard. I felt AWFUL and embarrassed and I apologized and we hung up. I quickly found the dress and threw it into the trash can and cried.

I was humbled and learned a lot that day. I was forced to grow up and take seriously my clothing choices. I was no longer the teeny bopper I once was – I was a mother, Bible study leader and a deacon’s wife. I sensed God nudging me towards holiness and in his graciousness he allowed this woman to speak into my life and wake me up.

So what did I learn from this woman:

1. Confrontation is NOT easy to receive but she was right AND she had done it in the right way.

I appreciated that she called me (confrontation is not easy) and talked to me about it rather than going to other deacon wives and gossiping about me or worse going to the pastor. (If you have a problem with another woman never go to the pastor first about it – go to the person – it’s Biblical – see these instructions in Matthew 18:15-20). The only thing I would have changed about her confrontation would have been in the coming months. When I saw her I felt shame…we would pass in the hall and she never asked me how I was or how my baby was – I would have liked for her to befriend me but that friendship never budded and eventually her family would leave our church.

2. My heart is reflected in the way I dress.

Though my heart did not have bad intentions that is not how I was perceived. I was perceived as immature and as not loving my brothers in Christ purely. Since my clothing was misrepresenting my heart, I needed to change the way I dress.

3. Young moms need to test their clothes differently than the typical woman.

When I buy clothes I look in the mirror and check – is it too short? too tight? or too low cut? I test all of this standing up in the dressing room in front of a mirror. BUT young moms can end up in strange positions when caring for our children. We have to bend down to pull our kids out of carriers – which means skirts go up even shorter or necklines can hang down open. Babies and toddlers pull on shirts – which means there’s potential for a shirt to be pulled down or off the shoulder…in front of the dads who are dropping their kids off in the nursery. I have worked in the nursery every other Sunday for nearly 5 years – so I do the shirt and skirt check regularly. If a dress is loose on top, I just put a tank under it – if it’s a little short for bending down I wear leggings. I encourage you to test your clothes before wearing them! :)

4. Be on guard against the lies and deception that the world feeds us through magazines and media

In Genesis 3:1-7 we see Satan tempted Eve to take the fruit. He did not put the fruit in her hand and he certainly did not put the fruit into her mouth. All Satan did was tell Eve lies and she became a believer of those lies. Then Eve saw the fruit with her eyes, took it with her hands and then ate it. Then she became Adam’s tempter.

So often we as women – first see the fashion trends and in our desire to be attractive begin to buy into the lies that immodesty is attractive. So just as Eve, we see the clothes and desire to have them. Once we have bought into Satan’s lies it won’t be long before the clothes are hanging in our closet and we are tempting men to have impure thoughts by our sinful choices.

So what do we do?

Summer is here – this is when the most skin shows. I encourage you to really pray and ponder the clothes that are hanging in your closet. If the Lord is convicting you about something you should not wear – do not wear it – be bold and toss it in the trash can! God will be glorified!

Walk with the King,

Just 4 Fun

Personal Hygiene for Kids-Oral Health

The importance of taking care of one’s teeth can not be over estimated. Teaching children oral health starts very young. The American Dental Association actually recommends that a child visits the dentist by their first birthday or as soon as the first tooth appears. With young kids, it can be very difficult to get them to cooperate by opening their mouths widely, etc. Conrad is the one who takes care of the children’s mouths each evening which includes flossing and brushing. He has come up with many schemes by telling them stories and the like. It gets especially interesting if you name the toothbrush. Here is an easy, low-cost experiment to do with your children who will understand this at a very young age.

Take two apples. Explain that these are two “teeth”. The apple peel is like the tooth enamel. Take a fork and stab it into the one apple numerous times telling them that these holes are bacteria. Now set both apples on the counter for the next few days and see what happens. You will soon discover the one apple who was poke numerous times with a fork will have begun to rot. Explain that this is exactly how it is with teeth. If you don’t floss and brush your teeth will soon rot.

 

The Cry of Cambodian Children

My heart is full tonight! I must write! There are millions of children without parents in the small country known as Cambodia. Millions of these children have been abandoned. Millions of these are forced into child labor and prostitution. Male children are trafficked for forced labor into industries such as agriculture, fishing, and construction. Female children are forced into prostitution and forced labor in factories and house servants. Many of these children are obligated to be part of begging rings, soliciting, and street vending. Pimps imprison virgins and then auction them off to the highest bidder. These girls working in brothels are sex slaves. Did you read that? Slaves. They are given no money, sometimes food, and armed guards to prevent them from running away. Children who don’t want to cooperate are imprisoned, beaten, and starved into labor. Children as young as five are sold or kidnapped into slavery. Think of it! Age five! That is younger than my daughter is! This is tragical! The children that are sold, are sold for as little as $10!

Can  you hear them crying? Crying because of the violence they witness on an everyday basis. Crying because they have been sold so that their selfish parents can buy something consumable. Crying because of the shame and the pain. Crying because they know of no escape. Crying for someone to care. Crying for love, for hope.

Tonight, what will you do with those cries? Can we afford to be silent about things that really matter? What is more important, a big retirement fund or saving one life from child slavery? As Christians, what should our response be? If this doesn’t break you heart, ask God for His heart on the matter. How would Jesus respond?  I don’t know exactly but I do know He would  NOT be living a lavish lifestyle while others are dying without hope. Jesus wouldn’t be afraid to get involved! Jesus would jump right in reaching the children, hurting with them, crying with them, and rescuing them. What will you do?

Please take the time to watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/GS7O8a4UO4w?rel=0

Moments on Marriage

This week we celebrated our eighth anniversary. In some ways it seems like yesterday that I married my best friend. In other ways, it seems as though we’ve been together forever.

We had planned to go to Olive Garden for dinner but… Kristyn had a well baby visit with the doctor at 3:45 which should have still worked out but then the doctor had to go do a delivery. In the meantime the nurses changed shifts and then we had to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. The pharmacy kept saying they didn’t have the script and kept telling us 15 minutes. You get the picture. In the end we enjoyed a light supper at a coffee shop and then went shopping. We got home late. Then we laid in bed together and laughed!

Here is a peak into our marriage:

My husband is easygoing and more quiet and carefully thinks through ALL his decisions. He is tall and handsome with black hair. He is skinny and hard-working. On the other hand, I am a Type A personality. I am talkative and outgoing. I make spur of the moment decisions often ending up in “flying by the seat of my pants”. I love adventure. Although I am tall, I am rotund as well, very much sporting a mommy shape. By the way, don’t they say that opposites attract? We are classics, then 🙂

Being opposites can also bring tension. The key is to find ways of blessing each other’s differences. We both have some strange idiosyncracies. For example, Conrad’s showers isn’t complete till he has thoroughly rinsed off his feet before hopping out. This niggles at me especially when we are rushing to get somewhere on time. My theory is that the water has been rinsing your feet through out the whole time you were showering. My must have idiosyncracies is that I need my covers on the bed shaken out nice and straight (even if the bed was made)  before I can go to sleep otherwise I simply don’t sleep as well. Conrad thinks that the covers will get messed up sleeping in them. I tell him that after I’m gone, when he is an old man, he will stand up on the bed and shake them out just to remember me.

It’s important to find common ground in marriage. Our common ground is spiritual. We both have hearts that are hungry for God and we both have a desire to be actively involved in God’s work. When we got married, I was sure physical intimacy was going to the biggest common ground we’d have. I think that is funny now. It’s called newlywed syndrome! Physical intimacy depends on much more than just connecting bodies. We’ve found that with young children it is especially simple to pass one another by in all the busyness. And with young children, parents are often weary from lack of sleep and hard work. Some of the things we’ve enjoyed is attending seminars together, mini golfing, nature hikes, and picnics.

Marriage is very much like a garden. If you want a beautiful one, it takes HARD work. You have to invest time, money, and most of all one’s self.  Have you ever noticed how divorced and remarried couples act as if they are so in love? I’ve often thought that if they would have invested that same attention and care to their first marriage, their first marriage would still be in tact.

How will you choose to invest in the love of your life? How will you bless your soul mate today? What are your tips on keeping your marriage alive and thriving? I’d love to hear from you my readers! And if you are single, invest in the relationships around you! Some of the things that pertain to marriage also pertain to many other relationships.  

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And in celebration of our anniversary and  the half-year mark of blogging, look for a GIVE AWAY in the next couple of weeks!