Sunday, April 7, 2019

Crazy Experience

And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, 
he shall by no means lose his reward.  
Matthew 10:42



On any given day I have at least one person clapping at my gate.  Some are regulars.  Some are poor.  Some are homeless.  Some are jobless.  Some are street vendors.  Some are mentally challenged in some way.  Some ask for money, some for food, some for a cup of water.  Some I've learned their names.  Some are regulars.  Some I never see again.

I decided long ago when my boys were little that I wanted to be an example of kindness and respect to all the people that pass by.  It's not always easy.  Sometimes it's inconvenient.  And yes, sometimes I have little patience.  But I try.

Recently one of our all time regulars has been showing up every day.  Asking him his name was always complicated.  I had heard him say something like Belteshazzar?  He likes cars and always wants to know if I wouldn't like to wash mine.  He's not young, but not old.  He always asks about William and if he's in the United States now.  He always wants water and asks for a piece of bread.  He's dirty and he's crazy.

For about three weeks I'd seen this friend almost every day.  I began to wonder if something had changed in his life.  Conversations are always random, but one day he said something about a person dying.  I wondered if he had lost his caregiver and as a result was wandering more during the day.  Our little town has several wanderers.

Friday night we were coming home by car from a Bible Study at church.  It had been raining for hours which is super unusual in our semiarid region of Brazil, and was still every so slightly drizzly.  [Our weather is great for homeless wanderers.]  I spotted our crazy friend walking down the sidewalk towards our neighborhood.  I thought it was odd.  Night time, rainy and heading in what seemed like the wrong direction.  

We had to drop off some people and went home.  Sure enough as soon as we'd gone into the house, here he came.  He didn't stop to clap at the gate, but was standing right at the front door wanting to come on in.  He was asking for water and bread and started telling me he was coming in.  Something didn't seem quite right.

I called for Byron.  Byron saw what I had not, our friend had a huge gash on the top of his head.  Byron asked what had happened to him and called for me to come and look.  It was bad, long and deep.  I'm not sure why I hadn't seen it right away.  We started to think and thought we needed to take him to the little hospital in town.

We didn't have too much trouble getting him in the car.  He likes our car.  I took my documents in case I had to "register" him at the hospital and I was sure he didn't have any.  I wasn't exactly sure how we would be received with this dirty street fellow, but decided I'd try to act professional and keep my Yankee voice inflections in check.

Thankfully we were treat with respect and issued right into a room. The desk clerk knew the man's name!  Miguel!  I went with our pal with a name and noticed I'd lost Byron!  Byron has had bad experiences at this little hospital with blood and fainting.  He had chosen wisely to sit in the waiting room.

A male nurse began to clean the wound.  Mr. Miquel didn't want to lay down and didn't want to hold still.  I figured I was his best hope and went into Mama Mode.  I folded his hands onto his chest and held him down gently.  As he rambled about leaving and getting up, I told him I'd never give him another cup of water if he didn't lay down and hush.  It worked for a bit, but when the needle came out for stitches, it was all over.  Mr. Miguel went loonier than normal and jumped off the bed.  Doctor's visit over.

He began to ramble about going home to my house and told me to give them my address as his!  He would need to stay there at least three days he said... 

In the middle of all his shouting and jumping he quoted his own address three times!  Ah, could it be.  We were quite sure what else to do so we put Mr. Miguel back in the car he likes and he was quite content until we turned towards his address and not ours!

It took a couple of stops but we found his house and his sister.  The explanation of who we were and why we were bringing her brother home late at night with a cut that smelled like medicine was interesting to say the least.  I suggested that she call the town's only ambulance and ask for help.  Our friend, Miguel apparently takes some medicine that he had skipped that night and we may never know how he got hurt.

I can only hope he got some medical attention with his sister's assistance.  I can hope that Miguel's family noticed our kindness and concern as a result of Christ's love.  I plan to stop by and check on him this week, he, he, now that I know where he lives!



Let all that you do be done in love.  

1 Corinthians 16:14





Thursday, April 4, 2019

An Afternoon Off

Sometimes as missionaries we really just need a day off, but finding the time is hard.  Two weeks ago I was feeling that need for a big city grocery store.  Byron had a whole list of car parts and boat parts and project parts that he needed and could only get in the "big city."  I tagged along with a good book and my cell phone to wait it out while he hit the parts stores so I could have my hour at the mall in town.  It was worth the wait.  

We just can't get some things in the little interior town where we live.  A trip to the big city can be refreshing.  It can also be disappointing as even there often what you want to out of stock, no longer available, etc., etc.  It's like a snipe hunt and you never know what you will find.  Thankfully that day, our finds were good and "happy."

Taking off a day to just do nothing, now that's a rare thing.  It's also a hard thing.  Missionaries are paid to work, and we take that very seriously.  Staying on task and on target are important.  But down time is needed for reevaluation and for rest.   

Yeah, that might be my finger at the bottom of the pic!

This past week Byron needed to make a run to the other side of the big lake near us to check on the old camp boat.  It's being used by a group doing making underwater maps of the lake bed.  It's parked and utilized as a base.  From time to time Byron has to go and move it to a new spot and just make sure that all is well.  

He asked if I'd like to go along and we could stop at the dunes on that side of the lake on the way home for a picnic supper.  Off we went with snacks in tow.  It's a good hour and a half drive.  We spent about 30 minutes at the boat and had about an hour of time at the beach. I had never been there before and was impressed at how large the dunes were and how much it look just like an ocean beach.

  

I'm not much for swimming in the lake, but I went prepared and waded in.  We had a great time and even though it was just us (no kids to act silly and splash about), we enjoyed the moment.  It wasn't long.  It wasn't a whole afternoon.  We combined it with a needed trip.  But it was just what a doctor would have ordered.

Missionaries need little breaks and sometimes big breaks to keep going on all those other days full of activity!


Friday, March 22, 2019

Big City Finds


We needed milk.  At least that's the excuse I stated to my missionary man.  We live in a small interior town.  Our milk comes in boxes like the one of the right with Betania written on it.  It's long life milk.  Fresh milk is not available.  A liter of box of milk here in town is almost BR$5.00, but in the big city!  It's much cheaper, you know!

So off we went!  My hubby really knew that I just needed to go.  I needed to walk about the air-conditioned mall and eat at an "American" restaurant!  There are two malls within an hour of us. One with a big grocery store and lots of other neat shops, Burger Kings, McD's and even a Subway.  The other with some interesting stores, a BK and a Subway.  

We had our lunch in one at Burger King, cruised the stores and made some purchases at the big grocery store.  Then we stopped downtown to buy a new Bible for me.  Oh, I've been needing one desperately as James and Peter are falling out of the one I have.  Hubby made some stops at car parts stores along the way.  Then we crossed the river into the second of the two cities close to us and hit mall #2!  Whew!  A two mall day!  

We got subs from Subway to take home and hit the bumpy road back to our little interior town.  Sort of silly in some ways, but refreshing.  Even old missionaries need a little cultural boost from time to time.  

And look at all that good stuff I found!

This is my thankful for my good man face!

Well, I Miss 'Em!

March 2019
There's my babes!  Chase and Mariyah.  My Stateside grandbabies. When we travel people here ask about them and about my sons.  And I enjoy telling about them, but I don't say too much.  Just don't want to monopolize any casual conversations.  If the questions are specific and if someone seems genuinely interested, out pops the cell phone and I hunt for my file of photos.

Often I hear new grandmothers closer to where we live chatting about recent visits with theirs.  I keep quiet and enjoy the thoughts of my recent phone conversations and video chats.  I don't speak up too much about how I make YouTube videos for my babes, send them regular real paper cards and pray for them every day.  I don't share my hopes that when they are big enough they can spend their summers in Brazil with Mama and Papa.  

February 2018
Nope, I just wait.  That's the life of a missionary mama.  I can be patient.  I send gifts from time to time and rest in the fact that they know who I am.  They know where I live.  And they know I love them.  And I know we will be together soon enough.

I take great delight in knowing what they've been up to.  I enjoy seeing them grow and hearing their voices.  I am so grateful for the fact that their parents take great care to stay in touch.

I pray for God to guide their little hearts to repentance and acceptance of Him as Lord and Saviour.  I pray for their mommy and daddy to always have enough money, enough love and enough time.  Bless them, God.  Bless their parents.  Thank you for them.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Dirt Road Evangelism: Bicas


This past Saturday morning we geared up and headed down our route towards the interior town of Lage dos Negros.  We've been down this dirt road more times than I can count now.  We go by group after group of houses with no church at all.  Some little are little communities with 5 or 10 houses.  Some are small towns with 25 to 50.  The bigger places often have a small church of some sort. We're visiting the ones that don't.



Some of the roads have patches where years and years ago there was pavement.  Most are just rutted, sandy, sometimes rocky paths. Byron has mapped many of the roads and we have all the towns and spots where we have visited marked on our tracking GPS.  



Saturday evening we showed the Jesus Film in Bicas, a community with a primary school and about 50 houses in the main group and a few nearby.  They have a small Catholic chapel, but no priest of their own.  Someone tried to build a Seventh Day Adventist church once but never finished and there would have been no pastor to take care of it.  

There is a lady in town who is Baptist and travels about 30 minutes to the next village for church services when she has transportation.  The family above are Seventh Day Adventist.  The man has one of our solar powered Bible MP3 devices.  One this trip we left another as his invalid sister was using theirs on a regular basis.  The closest church is about an hour away.

Saturday night about 20 people watched the whole film about the life of Jesus from start to finish.  Another 15 or so came for some part of it but didn't stay until the end.  We show the film in new places and offer to come back for Bible studies if anyone is interested.  No one approached us after the movie.

Would you help pray for this little community?  Bicas is its name.  It's a pretty place at the foot of a small mountain range with rows of windmills for generating electricity.  Pray for the people there and for guidance as we visit in the future.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Can I Guarantee a Positive Answer to my Prayer?


November, 2012
Is there a magic formula that guarantees that God will answer my prayer?  Oh, if only there was!  I'd sure like to know what it is!  I remember very clearly the moment of this photo taken by a missionary friend, Renate Reiner.  It was at a ladies' rally in Juazeiro, Bahia in 2012.  My husband and I were in the beginning of problems with one of our three sons. It would turn out to be a long haul.  We had yet to really "tell" anyone.  But that day in this little group I asked for prayer for one of my boys and some problems in our family.

I would pray basically that same prayer over the next years... 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and most of 2016.  God, save my son.  God finally answer that prayer on a night in 2016.  Our son, all by himself in the woods, saw God for who He really is and asked forgiveness for his sins.  And God answered my prayer.


P It was in His time, at just the right hour and in just the right place.



Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
Ecclesiastes 8:6

So can I guarantee an good answer from God or not?  I'm going with NO as my answer.  But allow me to explain...


It seems to me that just like any good father would never just give their child whatever they want regardless of whether it's good for them or not, God does the same.


P God knows what is the best for us just like a good father does!



For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Jeremiah 29:11

Meu Paizinho
This is my Daddy.  He celebrated his 80th birthday last year.  My Daddy likes it when I call him on his cell phone.  He's not really the email type and he's never sent me a text message.  But he likes phone calls.  And I love to call him.  He's so funny on thephone.  When I call I ask about the weather, the neighbors, his cat.  He asks about Byron. It's just good to hear his voice.  It's not about asking for anything.  It's just keeping in touch.

P Prayer is talking to God, hearing from Him and His listening to us.


 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:John 10:27

RDU, Mom and Dad with our oldest, 2014


Fortaleza, 2012
My father is a simple guy.  He lives out in the country on land that belonged to his father before him.  He's always worked in the city as a diesel truck mechanic.  He traveled some while in the Coast Guard, but he's not a big traveler in general.  But when he found out about his first grandchild getting ready to be born in Brazil, he got his first passport and made starting making plans.  He knew it was important to see and get to know his boys in person.  He and my mother visited 8 different times while our three boys were growing up here on the mission field.  His visits were important.

P Prayer is spending time with our Heavenly Father to get to know each other better.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. 
Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, 
ye double minded.
James 4:8


But you know what, when I wanted something from my Daddy Dear when I was a girl, you know what I would do?  I'd talk to him.  I'd try to be a good little girl.  I'd give him a kiss or a hug.  And sometimes I'd get what I wanted!



P God loves to hear from obedient sons and daughters and is always ready to receive the repentant prodigals with open arms.


 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Psalm 66:18


Prayer is our connection with God.  When we have sin in our lives it makes simple conversation hard.  As a teenager in opposition from time to time with my father's principles, it wasn't easy to just sit around and talk about the weather or anything else.

We need to be in communion or fellowship with God to talk to him.  We need to be "good" with our Father to ask of Him.  I would have never imagined asking my Daddy for money for something that he would approve of.  But often we don't consider that when we ask of God.


P God gives in accordance to His divine will, plans and principles.



 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
  1 John 5:14

Back to our big question, can I guarantee a certain response from God?  God is not a magic genie who is obliged to give me what I want if I ask in some magic way.  Let's not fall in to the trap of believing if I ask with certain catch phrases that God must give me what I want.  There are many, many verses that give specific prerequisites for prayer.  Let's consider the big picture of all of scripture:

  • You must be a saved child of God.
  • You can be living in sin.
  • You need to be in communion with God.
  • Your request must fit in God's Will.
  • You need to have faith to accept God's best for you.

My father probably doesn't even remember but once I asked for a horse for Christmas.  I wrote it down on my Christmas wish list along with a belt and a certain colored skirt.  I got the belt and a nice skirt that year.  I never got the horse.  My Daddy knew better that I did.   



P God knows what is good for us.

God does know what we need.  He wants to hear from us.  He wants to hear about our day and our problems.  He wants to help.  Pray.  Ask.  And leave it for God to decide.


Mom and Dad with my middle boy and his wife, 2016


Let's rewind to the beginning of this post?  When I was praying like crazy every minute of every day for my middle boy,  I didn't understand why God was taking so long to do something good - turn my rebellious boy  around.  I knew that God was good, always.  But in the middle of the conflict I wasn't really trusting in God to take care of things.  I wanted to be the "Savior of the Day" with my own efforts and sincerity.  I was tried, messed up and I finally realized that only God could fix it all.

One night I gave it all to God.  I repented of my pride, of my lack of submission to my husband, and of all the sins I could think of going back to kicking my brother when my parents weren't looking and quite a few other things.  I literally put my hands up to God and asked Him to take it all.


My relief was deep and immediate.  Nothing with my son had changed, but I had changed.  I wish I'd known about the method of praying called Umbrella Prayers back then.  It starts with acknowledging who God is and leaves our problems in His care.  That's pretty much what I did that night.  Here God, You are Powerful, You know better, Do what You will.


Does God answer prayer? Yes

Can we get what we want when we want? No
Can we get what's best at the right time? Oh, yes!

God's timing was just right in our lives.  My boy got saved.  My own life was changed dramatically.  Thank you, God.




And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Luke 11:9-13



Thursday, February 21, 2019

To Go or Stay: Part 4




When your MK babes are little, you try not to think too much about THAT DAY.  That day when they will start to make life decisions that include GO or STAY.  When Greyson was little, he would often say that he would never leave me and would always help me...


Of course, little boys often tell their mothers that B.G.F. = Before Girl Friends!  Seriously, having our boys with us on the field was very important.  Our boys were mostly homeschooled and very involved in our work.  Greyson was the music man at our church here in Brazil for quite a few years.


 

Before he went back to the States in the fall of 2017, he left a legacy of trained musicians that continue what he started with faithfulness.  His vacancy in our work was huge, but filled because of his foresight at a young age.  And it left a huge hole in our home as the last of our nest to fly away...

Just before Greyson's senior year, good friends in the States offered to house and care for him if we would like to send him ahead of schedule.  We were all set to go on furlough around Christmas, but this plan would give Greyson a full year in an American high school.  It was a "sweet deal." We left it up to Greyson and he decided to GO.  That was the fall of 2017.  

We were apart for about five months.  Greyson learned to deal with a "little brother" and "sisters" in the house where he stayed.  He found out about American culture up close and personal.  It was a good experience.

Mama and Papa [me and missionary man] arrived in the States for furlough to meet a more mature and taller MK Greyson.  When the spring rolled around and all the seniors started applying to this college and that, Greyson had to start thinking about that GO or STAY thing again.  GO back to Brazil or STAY in the States?  Greyson had considered studying music in Brazil.  He visited a couple of Christian colleges and decided on one.  STAY was the choice.  

Greyson and Granny at Bob Jones University
When our boys were young, we worked for them to love Brazil.  All three were born here.  I think they do.  We hoped for them the freedom to choose well to GO or to STAY.  Now we pray for each one to know God's will for their future which might include:  COME BACK, 
GO SOMEWHERE ELSE, 
SERVE GOD WHEREVER YOU ARE.

Today is Greyson's first birthday ever that he is not physically with us.  His absence leaves a big hole in our lives.  We're not entirely happy about that, but we are content to know he is where he needs to be right now and that God is working in his life as he studies and prepares for the next big life decisions.



For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, 
to give you a future and a hope.  
Jeremiah 29:11



Crazy Experience

And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you,  he shall by no ...