Inspired

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You inspired me….
– when you climbed up into my lap and curled up next to me
– when you followed me and tugged on my skirt so that I would lift you up
– when you looked at me through my glasses and wrinkled your eyebrows
– when you came to find me
– when you held my hand
– when you smiled at me
– when you looked into my big blue eyes and wondered why they are so different from yours
– when you asked why my hands and feet were “like that”
– when I looked into you black eyes, deep pools of color
and realized you had reawaken something within my soul.

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Are You Concerned with Us?

Excerpt taken from CHASING THE DRAGON
A biography about Jackie Pullinger: missionary to the “walled city” in Hong Kong.
Page 87

A gangster speaking to Jackie…..
“We’ve been watching you. Many missionaries come to Hong Kong to help us poor people. They put us in sociological boxes and analyze us. They take our pictures to shock the Westerners by our living conditions. Some men get famous because they’ve been here. But inside the walled city we usually get rid of them within six months.” He spoke maliciously. ” We find ways to discourage them until they have no heart to continue-had you been a man we would have beaten you long ago.”
…..”we could care less if you have big buildings or small ones. You can be offering free rice, free schools, judo classes or needle work to us. It doesn’t matter if you have a daily programme or hymn singing once a week. These things don’t touch us because the people who run them have nothing to do with us. What we want to know is if you are concerned with us. Now you have been her for four years, we have decided that maybe you mean what you say.”

Faithful Friend

A few weeks ago, when my mom came to visit, she brought a few pieces of paper which she had found in the piano bench at her house. As I began to read them, the events within became vivid memories of a time long ago. It described a trip which I had taken to Greece & Turkey, with my aunt when I was in college, just before Rodney & I were married. As I continued reading there was one theme that stood out above all else…….My need for sleep!

For a lifetime one word could consistently sum up how I have felt……Tired! Over the years I’ve grown to dislike that characteristic, and even more so, the curt responses of others…”Oh, you’re always tired!”

There are many stories which family and friends enjoy telling which “highlight” my fatigue. One of which was a bus ride from Tennessee to New York. Not only did I sleep the entire bus ride, but upon checking into the hotel, I returned to sleep until the next morning (24 hours total). High School & College vacations were always inaugurated with a sleeping binge. I have slept in countless major cities all over the globe. Once the girls were born, sleep became ever fleeting & their first few months of life was always a blur. Our family has even coined the phrase “airplane mode” which refers to the head tilted back-mouth gaping open sleep that only comes after a day of hard airline travel with a restless toddler. (It is usually only enjoyed 30 minutes prior to the landing of the final day’s flight.) The year after starting the Hope House I became so weak and tired that there were days on end where I literally could not get out of bed. Eventually I recovered and began to feel more healthy and strong. But like always my faithful friend did not stay at large for very long. Recently I hear him knocking on my door. Oh- how I do NOT want to answer his call. I don’t want to sleep my life away! There are so many things to do, needs to meet, people to help….

So God and I have had some long talks lately and He has been working in my heart……He has been talking to me about thankfulness.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the Apostle Paul encourages us….to be thankful in ALL circumstances…..he even says that this is God’s will for us.
Wow that is not easy!

It doesn’t seem to be in our nature to be thankful when everything is going smoothly, let alone when things are not going as we would like. So I guess that this in and of itself is the true test, not only giving thanks when life is easy, but also giving thanks during the difficult times.

So during this season, I have decided to have a different outlook…a different attitude. I have decided to not only be thankful, but to cultivate thankfulness in my heart!

Did you know that fatigue has benefits?
It gives us that much needed push to cut away all the extra business and really focus on the truly important things. It also makes us so much more appreciative of health and energy when we have it. It makes us sensitive to the weaknesses of others and truly aware that life is fragile and miraculous. Fatigue helps cultivate compassion in those around me. It creates a longing within us to spend time in God’s Presence and reminds me that The Lord is my strength.

So on days like today when my pillow is calling my name I have determined to cultivate thankfulness. And today I am especially thankful for being reminded of the words Jesus spoke to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness,” to which Paul replies, “therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness……For when I am weak, I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

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Celebrating 11 Years living in Mexico

It seems like a lifetime ago when we packed up our little green truck and made the 6 day drive to Ixtlahuacan de Los Membrillos, Jalisco, Mexico. When we could not speak nor understand Spanish. When we were unable to effectively communicate with our neighbors and struggled just to make simple purchases in town. Directions were impossible to follow and with cultural differences our common sense was put to the test on a daily basis. We have now lived here so long that what used to seem strange is now the norm and what, eleven years later, is American norm, is completely foreign to us. We have missed out on fashion and more than a decade of pop culture. There are musicians, TV shows and actors we have never heard of; and I know that if Trivial Pursuit still exists, you would not want us on your team. But we have had the blessing of expanding our worldview and sharing Jesus with those around us in ways that seem improbable, perhaps unrealistic to others. We have survived times that we didn’t know if we would be able to endure the hardships before us. And we have come through amazed and grateful for the life that we get to live, the God that we have the privilege to serve and the children who have benefited and now have a Hope of a Better Future, because of our faithfulness and yours. And so we say “Thank You! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are grateful for your prayers, encouragement and financial support without which we could not celebrate 11 years as full-time Missionaries in Mexico.”

Loving School

We have always been a little different from the norm, but I don’t have to tell you that. I mean who really takes their 2 children, under age 2, sells almost everything they own, packs up the rest in the back of their truck and moves to a small town in Mexico just because God told them to.?.? So it wasn’t really a surprise that we didn’t fit the “missionary norm” either. Everybody knows that missionary kids=homeschool. We, however, figured it was good for our children to be a part of the culture, learn the language and make friendships with the locals, so instead of homeschooling we sent them to public school. (After all, I was a public school teacher and so were my parents.) Until 3 years ago we endured the strange looks from other missionaries when they discovered our deep dark secret. Then we found ourselves in a place where homeschooling became a necessity. We set out to find the best educational program, providing structure, professionalism and, of course, quality education. For two long years we dredged through the 24/7 school work, trying desperately just to get through the scheduled assignments, without going stir crazy. But it didn’t take long before cabin fever set-in. And finally our grand experiment worked! We have determined that in fact, homeschooling is NOT for us. So this year we are ALL pleased to announce that all 4 girls are wrapping up their 1st year back to school and Loving’ it! (We are too, by the way.)