Tuesday, May 29, 2012

8 Days to Go

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

from the song "Great is Thy Faithfulness"
written by Thomas Chisholm and music composed by William M. Runyan
In just eight days, I will be leaving to go to Thailand. In three days, our two older sons will also leave to work at a Christian camp in Dryden, Ontario. Between their leaving and mine, our packing up of our things in the house, my online course homework, blog postings, doing the day-to-day stuff, and saying our “goodbyes” to family and friends, it’s been an exceptionally BUSY few weeks. There are days when I don’t know if my energy will get me through the day. My only constant is the Lord who has been so faithful in helping me and in carrying me through each day.

A few weeks ago, I posted about the Lord pouring out His blessings on us. I entitled it “All in Place” because of our son’s prayer then. I might have given the impression that there isn’t anything that is a cause of concern. On the contrary, the following are just three questions that we pray about for answers:

- Where Evan and Eric will live after they get back from the Christian camp in early August. There is talk about Evan sharing a duplex with his two cousins. For that to happen, all three of them need jobs. Eric hopes to also stay with Evan until he leaves for college in the fall. Our prayer is for Evan and his cousins to find jobs and a place to live in.

- I will be on my own in Thailand until the rest of my family join me in early August. I was looking forward to being kept company by our cocker spaniel “Fudge”. Last week, we found out that she was bitten by either a toad or snake and had an allergic eye reaction. Her one of two eyelids had to be surgically removed which resulted in her left eye being partially or totally blinded. I am grateful that she’s alive but am praying that her healing and adjustment to her condition will go well for her. I wonder about how we’ll do living together and what life looks like with just her for company.

- My parents presently have a caregiver that takes care of them 5 days a week. I’d been going there to look after them the other two days. I’d been more than willing to look for my replacement after I go but my 91 year old diabetic father insists that he’ll be fine with just my 88 year old mom who has Alzheimer’s. My mom being agreeable and cooperative will greatly affect how they will do,

We don’t have answers yet until we get there but our loving and good God is surely, already at work. My brother and his family were here for supper yesterday. As they were leaving, they offered their place for Evan and Eric to live in after returning from camp. My sister-in-law and their two daughters will be away for a few weeks so they’ll have room. I wonder how many more ‘just by chance’ scenarios we’ll hear and recognize as answers to the above?

Yesterday was my last Sunday at our sending church, FBCM, who happened to be celebrating their 35th Anniversary. As I sat there during the service, I wondered how I could say “goodbye” and thank everyone for their prayers and the church’s support of our ministry since we became missionaries 13 years ago. We were at a different church the week before so we were unaware of their day’s program. All of a sudden, the microphones were opened up for anyone to give thanks for anything! Just like that, I had my chance to speak and to thank the church for being there for us since Day 1.

And just like that, the Lord will keep providing answers and be our constant help. He continues to bless us and is our source of strength. I know He will keep doing what He does until I get on that plane and I also know He will be just as kind to me when I get there. Our forever reliable, loving Papa God, we thank you, for not ever changing like shifting shadows. Love you!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

23 Years and Counting

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has passed away, behold the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:17
Last Wednesday was a special and significant date for me as it was my 23rd spiritual re-birthday. The day itself was different from all the other re-birthdays because for the first time in many years, I actually (my phone reminded me) celebrated the day. I was able to share communion with our sons and covenant with them to speak into my life if at any time in the future they find me straying from the Lord’s ways and becoming unfaithful to Him. Before them, I also acknowledged that accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior and inviting His Holy Spirit to live inside of me was the best decision I’d ever done in my life.

I can still remember May 16, 1989 like it was just last week. I was part of a lunch Bible Study at work and the leader invited me to pray to accept Jesus as my Savior. I thought about it and didn’t think the process would harm me as I already believed in Jesus. I prayed to Him then, asking Him for all kinds of help in whatever trouble or dilemma I found myself in. I also read my Bible every night. I even periodically attended a service at the church next to our work place. That’s where my officemate saw me and thought to invite me to join their group. I wiggled my way out of joining them but he persistently asked me until I ran out of excuses not to. Since I read my Bible regularly and attended church every Sunday, I thought I'd join them and teach them what I knew about the Word. Instead, I was puzzled by them when I first attended their study. They were so earnest and sincere in applying whatever they read and studied, into their lives. In my nightly Bible reading, I never once thought to do the same! Needless to say, I was the one who ended up learning a LOT!

I don’t recall that I felt anything during and after praying. However, after that time, I became convinced that God was watching me. It was as if I suddenly became aware of Him with me. Come to think of it, it was very true! Because of that awareness, I could no longer cheat on my income tax filing nor take anything that didn’t belong to me. I used to rationalize my wrong actions as correct but it no longer worked. I gave back extra change and my white lies stopped. What was most surprising was that after I said the prayer, I could no longer willfully do anything that I knew would grieve God. I knew He didn’t like my sins and I actually began to care about what He thought. I prided myself on being
religious but since then, I didn’t want to go through the motions about anything. I didn’t want to just do right for the sake of doing it. I did right because I cared about what He thought of me.

I am so glad I became His follower. Life became much more interesting and exciting. I still had problems but I no longer had to agonize over them. He's always there to consult with and to tell me what I should do. Life is truly better with Him in you. If you’re reading this and He’s not your Lord, please invite Him into your life. You will never regret it. He loves you and already died for you. What won’t He do for you? Furthermore, there is no other God with an incomparable love like His. Obedience and belief in Jesus results in salvation and eternal life. What could be better?

No one really knows about my spiritual re-birthday except God and me. I’d even been forgetting to celebrate! I’d always remember after the date is over. I was so amazed then when a card arrived by post and it was from a friend who greeted (?) me for my birthday (which is in August!). She sent money. She told me to never give up on my dreams. She thought she greeted me in advance for my birthday. I know better. =) The Lord, who remembers all we do, prompted her to send that to me to bless me. Life will be just as exciting for you as it’s been for me since that glorious day. If you haven’t yet, it’s probably time to invite Him as your Lord and Savior. You’ll be glad you did. =D

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

We do not know what to do,
but our eyes are upon you."

2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV

This past week-end was particularly special because Evan graduated from Houghton College in western New York on May 12, 2012. He finished his BA degree majoring in English and Writing with a minor in Psychology. We attended his baccalaureate and commencement exercises which were both God honouring. They also had a talent show called "Spot" which we enjoyed watching because Evan not just danced but performed two well received funny skits with his friend Luke. To say Evan was blessed and truly thrived in his last four years at Houghton College is an understatement. We are grateful. =)

Part of the seniors’ verse was the above which served to remind us of where we find ourselves sometimes with regards to what we need to do as we prepare to go back to Thailand. We get stumped and feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do, BUT, our eyes are fixed on Papa God as He’s the only one who can see us through our situations and help us.

For Mother’s Day, we went over to my parent’s house and celebrated with our extended family. It was good to just hang out and be with loved ones. Above is a picture with my mother and sisters-in-law. There are other mothers in the family (2 more sisters-in-law and 2 sisters) but they are not in the picture.

As mothers, what a wonderful privilege we had/have in bearing, giving birth, loving, nurturing, playing with, disciplining, coaching, advising, and eventually letting go of our children. They do grow up so fast! Moms, let's enjoy them while they're around.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A God Who Pampers

pamperto treat or gratify with extreme or excessive kindness or care.
from Dictionary.com
Just over a week ago, I visited with two close friends while we sat in our living room. We chatted for a bit and then ended our evening praying for one another. It always blesses me when I pray for and with people. Prayer times become even more special when I pray with and for people I care deeply about like family and friends. If, during prayer, I begin to have a sense of what the Lord specifically wants to say to the person I’m praying for, or God reveals something about Himself, then that time of prayer becomes extra spectacular. That’s exactly what happened that night.

I should first point out that during that week, I felt extremely blessed. The majority of the reasons can be found in the posting last week (All in Place) but on top of those, many other events happened. My friend was here visiting from Wales so I took the time to take her shopping. We went several times and at places I wouldn’t ordinarily go to. The intention was for her to shop but I ended up with the entire shopping I wanted to do before going back to Thailand. I don’t particularly like shopping so it was a treat for me that I actually enjoyed it and that it happened without much effort. My friend being here was already a blessing. Being able to do what I needed to do while spending time with her made it doubly special.

I was able to take my parents out for a drive to enjoy the lake and the bluffs. My 90-year old father doesn’t usually want to go anywhere so it was a gift to me that we were able to spend time together. What a blessing it was!

Last week, the Business class of the seniors at the school where Eng volunteers put together a fund raiser luncheon for us. It was well organized and quite enjoyable. The friends we invited also said they were blessed to be there. The food was excellent and many people attended. To top it off, the event raised quite a bit of money which allowed for us to get our financial clearance to leave for the field. We didn’t expect any of that attention and fuss but the Lord was very kind to let it happen. Later in the day, the students and their teacher ate at our house so we were able to thank them and pray for the Lord to bless them. We can’t repay them but we knew God would!

That same night, I was quite concerned about my friend but she allowed herself to be vulnerable and related what she was going through. Seeing what the Lord was doing in her life made all my concerns vanish. She left quite elated after our prayer time and my understanding heart felt just as good.

I have more I could share but suffice it to say that I just felt the Lord pouring His goodness on me. While my friend prayed, my heart was overjoyed and I asked the Lord, "Why? Why are you so good to me?" That’s when my eyes fixated on the box in the corner of the room. As if He laid it on my heart, I now know that it is because He is a God who pampers. He is just too exceedingly kind. And why He would talk to me through a box of diapers is beyond me! =) It’s just the way He is. What a God we have!
The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3