The Time and Weather is for Hua Hin, Thailand where we currently live

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Are You Prepared?

Below is an excerpt from the sermon, “Are You Prepared?” that I gave at All Nations Christian Fellowship International Church on December 6th, 2009. It’s a little different than most sermons as I presented it from the viewpoint of Forrest Gump, with the best rendition of a Forrest Gump accent that I could muster. I hope you find it both heart warming and meaningful.

Earlier today, Li’l Forrest asked me when we were going to start to get ready for Christmas. He wanted to make sure we had everything we needed to be prepared for Christmas Day. I think li’l Forrest was concerned with making sure we had the typical things that many people throughout the world associate with Christmas. Like having a Christmas tree, havin’ the house decorated, makin’ sure we had Christmas cards to friends and relatives written and mailed, gettin’ gifts for all the relatives, bakin’ Christmas cookies, and havin’ our stockings hung with care, as Santa will soon be here.

I tried to explain to li’l Forrest that while these things are all fun to do, we need to be prepared for Christmas every day, not just during Advent. Li’l Forrest asked me what I meant by that. I told him that Jesus told us in the Bible, that he is coming back to earth again one day and that while no one knows when that will be, except our Heavenly Father, we need to be prepared for his second coming or we will not be able to spend eternity with God in Heaven. We also have to be prepared that in the case that we die before Jesus returns, that we are ready to go to heaven at a moments notice.

I explained to li’l Forrest that people make and break a lot of appointments – doctor appointments, dentist appointments, appointments to have their hair cut, and to get their cars fixed. But there is One appointment that we are All goin’ have to keep. Doesn’t matter who you are, or what kind of name you have in this foolish world. Everybody is go’na show up for this appointment. From the richest woman in the world to the poorest man in the world. From the wisest man in the world to the biggest fool in the world. From the most famous man in the world to the most obsure and unknown woman in the world. The best lookin’ man, your daddy, to the best lookin’ woman, your momma, everybody is going to die one day and face judgment day. I recently read the between 150,000 to 300,000 people keep this appointment every day now. Mama always said, dying was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn't, but it is.

27Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9: 27-28

Li’l Forrest said to me, “But Daddy, I’m a good boy, Jesus will look upon me kindly on Judgment Day won’t he?” I said to li’l Forrest, “Yes, you are a good boy. You don’t steal, and you don’t lie very often, and you say your prayers each night before you go to bed, but that is still not good enough. We are all sinners in one way or another, even you li’l Forrest. I asked him if he knew what the greatest commandment in the WHOLE Bible is? He stared at me and said “What is it Daddy?” I told him that Jesus said this in Mark, Chapter 12:

29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[f] 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[g]There is no commandment greater than these."

I asked Li’l Forrest if Jesus was the number one thought in his head? Did he wake up with him on his mind? Did he seek to do God’s will everyday? Did he worship Him? Did he keep his commandment of loving him and loving others? God wants us to Love Him and he wants us to want to spend eternity with him.

By Bill

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Puppy Like Passion. . .

A little over a month ago we got an auburn colored toy poodle puppy. Because of her coloring, we named her 'Sweet Pumpkin Spice', but we call her 'Pumpkin' for short.

When we got Pumpkin, we had to teach her how to get up the stairs to reach our front door. Before we got Pumpkin we had decided to combine our yard with the neighbors (our ministry partners) so that they would have more room for their sons to play. So at that time we moved the 2 foot high chain link fence very close to our house to protect their dog from getting in our driveway and accidentally getting out our front gate.

We soon found that when we are on the other side of the fence, Pumpkin has a deep desire and almost a desperation about getting to us. In the beginning she taught herself to climb the chainlink fence, dangle on the top, and then push off dashing over to us.

To keep her from climbing the fence Bill attached plastic fencing to the chainlink so that she could not get her paws in the links to climb it. We thought this did the trick . . .

Well, the other day, Bill and I were on the other side of the fence talking with our neighbor and Pumpkin was crying on our side of the fence. The next thing we knew, there was Pumpkin at our feet wagging her tail bouncing from Bill to me. We laughed and picked her up, then carried her back to our side of the fence wondering all the while how she had gotten over the fence. Before we were even back to where we were standing and talking, Pumpkin was already at our feet again wagging her tail and bouncing around just thrilled to be with us. Her whole countenance just oozed joy. The neighbor said that she had climbed a large flower pot in our garden and then flung herself onto the fence where she dangled for a moment before pushing off hitting the ground and dashing over to us. I have to say that our hearts were full seeing how much Pumpkin wanted to be with us. She would not let anything deter her. She just had to be with us. She wanted us to pick her up and hold her, all the while she covered our faces with kisses.

The next day we were planting some vegetable plants in our garden. (Let me just say that it has been interesting for us to try and plant a garden in Thailand. Seeds that we took for granted in America, are very hard to find in Thailand. We bought some tomatoes and ate all, but the seeds which we planted. We did the same with watermelon seeds. :-D )

Pumpkin stood crying on the other side of the fence as we worked in the garden. She has been known to pull out plants so we could not let her in the garden with us. We talked to her as we worked. We told her it is okay, we will be with you soon, etc. Well, in her mind, soon was not soon enough. She wanted to be with us now! Before we knew it she was in the garden with us. We scooped her up and again wondered how she had gotten over the fence. We placed her back on the other side, she immediately scampered to the corner where the house and the fence came together at an angle. She then pressed her back against the house and proceeded to press her way up and over the fence. It was amazing! This puppy was so excited to see us. Yes, we had just been with her, but it was not enough. She wanted to be with us all of the time.

The Lord spoke to my heart, asking me what would our lives be like (that is the lives of Christians) if we had the same passion to be with Him that our puppy had to be with us. How would our lives be more rich, how would we bless the Lord if every morning we woke up and said “Yes, I get to be with Jesus.” What if we did not let anything get in the way of being with the Lord. Not our busy schedules, not chores, not family or friends, not work. Nothing.

Oh, I pray, that my heart would have the passion and desire to spend time with my God and Savior above all else. To get to know Him better. To rest in His warm embrace. To listen to the still small voice that whispers in my heart. Never feeling the I have spent enough time with my Lord, always thirsting for more time with Him. Always joyful and passionate about spending time with God.

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14

By April

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is the Brake On? . . .

Yesterday, Bill and I went with our neighbor and ministry partner, Mark, to Bangkok for a Pastor's meeting. Mark drove his van, and we left at 8:00 a.m. for the noon meeting. Traffic actually flowed nicely and we made it to Bangkok a little early. The meeting, lunch, and prayer time were really great.

After the meeting, Mark offered another pastor a ride, as we were all going to the Sky Train. We pulled into the parking lot and started searching for a parking spot. The pastor we had given a ride to, called out that he saw a spot one row over, so we went down and around and started up the next row. He stated that it was the third spot from the end. We all craned our necks to see the approaching spot. I looked in disbelief, well yeah, there was an empty spot, but there was a vehicle double parked completely blocking the spot. As Mark slowed the van, the other pastor jumped out saying that he would move the car that was blocking the spot. I got a knot in my stomach as I imagined the car alarm going off as he pushed it, or worse yet, that the owner would approach indignate that we were moving his car. To my surprise, the car moved with ease. No one came running to yell at us. In fact, another man wondered if we needed help moving the car?! Hmmm, I am trying to imagine this scenario in America. :-)

I had heard that it is common practice for drivers to put their vehicles in Neutral when parking someone in, but experiencing it was another thing altogether. As far as the emergency brake goes, they do not use it because they never know when someone will have to move their car.

In Pennsylvania, we always put our car in Park, the emergency brake on and set the car alarm.

The Lord started to stir in my heart . . .

Oh how our lives can be like a parked car. When we decide to do something, do we leave ourselves in Neutral with the emergency brake off, in case we need to be moved by the Lord or by someone else? Or, do we dig our heals in 'putting ourselves in Park, with the emergency brake firmly in place, and our alarm set' just in case someone tries to change our course?

There are of course times to stand our ground and dig our heals in. That is when the Lord has clearly told us to stay the course no matter what. But, what about when the Lord tries to get us to change our direction? How willing are we to release the brake, turn off the alarms, and allow Him to move us? Yikes, this sounds like we have to leave ourselves vulnerable to change. Sometimes it can seem so logical to follow the plans that we have made.

However, I have found that in order to be in the Lord's will, I need to 'leave it in Neutral, the emergency brake off, and the alarm off' so that I can be movable enough for the Lord to use me.

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
Place Your Life Before God
“So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

By April

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ping Pong . . .

So, we are trying to get a youth group up and going here in Hua Hin, Thailand. The Wimble boys, Bill and I have met and have many ideas on how to reach the youth of Hua Hin.

Bill and I decided to buy a Ping Pong table to use under the carport (it is not like we have a car or anything). The table is actually in two pieces so we can use it as two tables for events at our house. Such as, this past Sunday the Asian Summit was being held in Hua Hin, and we were unable to have our church service at the Hilton as we usually do. Okay, so the question was where can we have church – we were only given one week's notice. Did someone say “How about the Reeser's house?” We decided we could probably fit the average number of people in our house for church. Then someone suggested we have lunch afterward. Our new ping pong table and the chairs that we bought for the church service worked wonderfully for the luncheon after church. There was lots of fellowship as people ate and got to know each other better after the service. What a blessing.

Well, we have been praying for months for the Holy Spirit to go before us and open hearts and minds to hear the Good News of Jesus. We have prayed that our lives would be a testimony to the Lord and that people would see a difference and be drawn to us.

The other night, two of the Wimble boys asked if they could play ping pong, so Bill setup the tables. They had been playing about ten minutes, when four neighborhood boys stood outside our gate, asking to come in and play. I welcomed them in and laughed to myself as one boy displayed his own ping pong paddle. The boys all took turns playing and they all seemed to be having fun. As I watched, I prayed that the boys would come to know Jesus as their Savior. After some time one of the boys suddenly looked at his watch and they all dashed home.

One of the Wimble boys and I started to play ping pong when all of a sudden two more boys were standing at the gate wanting to play. I invited them in and as they played, I prayed.

Wow, Lord you are so amazing! We were trying to think how to reach out to the youth, and instead you brought them to us. We wanted the church to grow into a more cohesive group and they did. Praise God!

Do you know that the boys have come back each day wanting to play some more? What an opportunity! Thank you Lord!

How wonderful that the Lord could see so much potential in the purchase of a ping pong table.

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!” Psalm 47: 1-2.

I am humbled again by His might and creativity!

By April

Thursday, October 22, 2009

YES!...Yes?!...yes?...maybe...well, I'll think about it...

I've started a ladies Bible study here in Thailand, and we are studying the book “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst. In the first chapter of the book she challenges us to say Yes to God before we even know what the question is. As she puts it “What God says to do, do it.”

It's kind of like giving God a blank check to our life. It's like we are saying “Lord, I've signed my name, You fill in the rest. You don't have to tell me what the “what” is, I give you my life in full. In other words “YES, YES, YES Lord.” How many of us are willing to do that?

Thankfully the Lord is patient, because sometimes instead of saying a definitive “Yes” I come up with counter offers or I tell the God of the Universe why I do not have time to do what He asks.

Yikes! When I think about it, how dare I respond to the Lord that way.

Sometimes my immediate response is Yes, and other times I waffle, but thankfully I usually come around to Yes.

One time I was coming out of work and the Lord put it on my heart to go to a little store nearby. As I got into the car I began to reason with the Lord that I had been to that store the day before, and I just had enough time to run home let our dog out, gather my stuffed animals and my Winnie the Pooh costume to get to the nursing home on time. I continued to feel strongly that the Lord was telling me to go to this particular little store. As I approached a traffic light I put on my left turn signal (left would take me home), then I switched and put on right turn signal (that would take me to the little store) back and forth, back and forth. Do you know that the traffic light stayed red until I finally decided to make the right turn. As I drove the short distance to the store I told the Lord “All right, but I have no idea what to say. I am putting this in Your hands.” There were three people in front of me in line, and I just kept praying for guidance. Finally, I was up. The clerk said “Hey, weren't you just here yesterday?” I answered “yes”. “What can I get for you?” the clerk asked. As I silently cried out to the Lord for an answer, I heard myself say “Oh, I was going to get a soda next door, would you like one?” The clerk said “No, thanks.” I started to what? When all of a sudden the clerk started to openly talked about something that was on her heart. We talked for about 15 minutes, all the while it appeared that the Lord had locked the door to the store because not a single person came in while we talked. After we talked, I prayed with her, and as I turned to leave she said “You know, it seems like God sent you.” I smiled and thought “You have no idea.” As I headed for the door a stream of people entered and business returned to normal.

Well, as I got in the car and traveled home I thanked the Lord over and over again. I was so thankful that He had used me, and that I had said “Yes”.

I got home, let George (our dog) out, gathered my bag of stuffed animals and my Winnie the Pooh costume and drove the half an hour to the nursing home and made it on time. As I went around visiting the nursing home residents, giving out stuffed animals and praying with them I continued to rejoice.

As I drove home nearly two hours later, I chided myself and asked myself why I don't always just say “Yes” right away when the Lord asks me to do something. His plans are always so much better than mine, and I am always so glad when I say “Yes” to the one True, Living God of the Universe.

So, would you like to join me in a renewed resolve to say “Yes” to the Lord; before we know He is asking, without having seen the full set of Blue Prints. Lord, I say Yes to whatever You ask of me. YES!

How is that for definitive?

“YES, Lord, Yes!”

By April

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lukewarm . . .

It hit me today as I was washing dishes in lukewarm water, how I have had to adjust to things being lukewarm since I have come to Thailand as a missionary. You see the sinks do not have temperature controlled water. All of the water is… well, lukewarm. The water sits in a huge holding tank under our front porch and it flows through the house and out the tap at one temperature…yes, you guessed it…lukewarm.

It has taken some getting used to on my part. The first time I did laundry here I was trying to find the dial or button to choose the temperature of the water. Ha, ha, ha. Okay, so there is only one temperature…lukewarm.

Often the word lukewarm has a negative connotation, and I can see why.

Have you ever:
*Wanted to go for a cool dip in a pool or the ocean, only to find out that the water felt like lukewarm bathwater?
*Thirsted for a refreshing drink of cold water only to find it lukewarm; and not so refreshing?
*Longed for a nice hot bubble bath and stuck your toe into a lukewarm, not so inviting abyss of water?

I remember going through a time of complacency (lukewarmness) in my Christian walk years ago. I would go to church, sometimes read my Bible, but pretty much not seek to serve the Lord unless the opportunity dropped in my lap. I look back on that time with deep regret, and so I try to actively avoid becoming lukewarm ever again in my faith walk.

And so as I have to deal with lukewarm water everyday here in Thailand, it is a wonderful reminder to me that I do not want to be lukewarm in serving the Lord.

“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16

By April

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mud, Weeds, and . . . Beauty?

We moved to Hua Hin, Thailand as missionaries less than a month ago, and moved into a charming house with nice high ceilings and a small yard. A lot of homes in the area do not have any grass, so our yard is actually considered spacious. During the last few weeks we have had hot (up to 120 degrees in the sun) weather followed by periods of fairly hard - sometimes flood producing - rains daily. In front of the house that we are renting is a small muddy area that turns into a water filled mud pit as water cascades like a giant waterfall off our roof during the rain.

Well, my husband, Bill, looked at the mud pit (aka front yard) and saw the potential of a beautiful, tranquil garden area. He ordered 300 bricks and asked me to buy some flowers. On Saturday morning he got up and started digging out along the border of the mud pit and placed bricks in at an angle, creating a beautiful border. (We found out that Thai bricks are different than what we are used to. They are thinner, have a groove down the center and two holes that go through each brick vertically.) While I was out getting flowers, he designed and created a winding brick path through the mud pit. I was stunned how the much the mud pit had been transformed, and that was before a single flower had been added.

Bill then started planting the flowers in pots, and placing them inside the border around the garden. What a transformation!

Jonathan, our ten year old neighbor and son of our c o-workers, caught the vision and said he was doing a project in our garden. He worked and worked as we cleared debris from the yard. Jonathan called us over and proudly showed us his project. Here he had spelled out in decorative white stones “His Glory Runners” and he had placed a smiley face  below it.

I was stunned! You see, the Lord had placed the name “His Glory Runners” on our hearts after he had called us to be missionaries. Jonathan had seen it on our prayer card and thought it would be perfect in our garden. People can now look through our fence at our beautiful garden and see that we are “His Glory Runners”.

It is amazing to me how Bill looked at a mud pit and saw the potential of a beautiful lush garden.

Is that how the Lord looks at us? Instead of seeing flawed April, does He think “oh I can use April in showing the love of Jesus in wonderful, amazing ways that she cannot even imagine?”

I am so thankful Lord, that You blessed me with a husband who can look at waste land and see past the mud and the weeds, and see potential beauty.
Thank you Lord, that when You look at us, You see past our flaws and iniquities and see potential beauty in us.

Thank you Jesus!

By April

Friday, September 18, 2009

We Can Tell We Are Not In Pennsylvania Anymore Because . . .

No one drives on the right side of the road.

None of the houses or buildings have heating systems.

Stop signs are virtually non-existent.

There are more prostitutes in the country than there are Christians.

The geckos we see are climbing on our walls and ceilings rather than talking on television trying to sell us insurance.

There are nearly as many motorcycles and motor scooters as there are cars on the roads and there are a lot of cars on the roads.

There are more brothels in the country than there are Christian churches.

Tile floors are the norm in every room in most modern homes and wall-to-wall carpeting is basically non-existent.

The men’s rooms in the airport are clean, have live orchids on the sinks, and actually smell good.

The “cold” running water is so warm that sinks and washing machines do not even have heated water. We only have hot water in the showers.

Stores actually have cashiers and baggers at all the check-out lines.

Our front and back doors open out and not in.

We watch and listen live to the Phillies play in the mornings rather than the evenings even when they play games in California. However, when the Phillies play in sunlight, we are asleep in bed.

But, no matter where we go, our God is with us!

By Bill

Monday, September 14, 2009

So, How Do I Look. . . ?

One of the things the Lord has really been making me aware of is…how do I look.

Oh, I don't mean “how is my hair” or “does this outfit look good on me”. I mean, when you look at me next to the world, can you see a difference. Do people notice something different about me, or do I look and sound just like the world?

One time I put on a white shirt and wore it around the house all morning. I thought I looked fine. In the afternoon I left the house to run errands. As I stood outside in the brightness of the day, I suddenly noticed that the white shirt I was wearing was not nearly as white as I thought it was. When I was inside where the lighting was somewhat dim, my shirt looked fine. I thought it look perfectly white and fresh. Outside, under the scrutiny of the bright sun, my shirt looked well. . . dingy. Like maybe some pizza grease had not come out completely in the wash, and frankly, all though it could still be categorized as white – it really was not really white.

So I started thinking, what am I comparing myself to? Am I looking at myself thinking, not bad…not bad, I am doing pretty well in following the Lord especially if you look at some other people. But, wait! To whom am I to compare myself? Who am I to strive to be like…everybody else…or Jesus?

When I hold myself up to the standard and purity of Jesus. . . I am but as a filthy rag. Wow, what a wakeup call! The Bible tells us not to think to highly of ourselves.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3

When the Lord is trying to teach me something He almost always has the message come to me in more than one way. Yesterday our Pastor challenged us to look at ourselves and evaluate whether people would be able to tell that we are different than the world. Would people see the light of Christ shining through us?

So, I am taking the Lord and my Pastor up on the challenge, and I am seeking to live more like Christ. I am praying that when you look at me, there will be no question as to who I am serving and seeking to be like. Jesus my Lord and Savior.

So, “How do I look?”

By April

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ready for the ride…

Our lives have felt like we have been on the rush and tumble of a roller coaster. As we face each new activity we find ourselves holding onto the Lord for His stability and strength as we rush by turn after turn, the ups and the downs.

This summer we spent two and a half months down at CIT (the Center for Intercultural Training) in Union Mills, North Carolina, where we learned more than we knew there was to learn about being a missionary. It was a wonderful two and half months, filled with information, fellowship and fun. We met so many precious missionaries that we are praying for and hoping to stay in touch with.

Then back to Pennsylvania, for a whirlwind two and a half weeks spent trying to see family and friends, along with sorting and packing, getting visas…before flying out to our new home, Thailand.

Whoa, thirty hours and three airplanes later, we were in Bangkok, Thailand trying to get acclimated to the 11 hour time difference.

And now here we sit in our room at the Guest House in Bangkok that we have been staying in, sleeping in yet another unfamiliar bed, looking forward to tomorrow and what it will bring. Tomorrow we will move into our new home in Hua Hin, Thailand, a house that we have only briefly seen from the outside.

Our lives have gone from most things familiar, to almost everything and everyone being new and unknown. A new culture, new language, new people and surroundings. I am happy to have the comfort of the familiar...the Lord, my wonderful husband, Bill, and our co-workers that God has joined us with.

We are so grateful to have the constant guidance of the Lord in every new step we take. As we meet new people daily, we are trusting in God’s Word: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6.

So, as we continue on the roller coaster known as life, we say “Thank you Lord for always being with us!”

By April

Friday, August 21, 2009

Am I Thankful Enough?

We had the pleasure of having dinner with Bill’s brother and wife, as well as their son, his wife, and their three year old daughter, Ruthie.

After the food was passed, we stopped to pray. Ruthie said she wanted to pray. So she folded her hands, closed her eyes, and this is what she prayed: “Thank you Jesus for this food. Amen.”

After eating the food on her plate, someone asked Ruthie if she wanted some more. She said, “yes” and was given some more to eat. However, before she picked up her fork she folded her hands, closed her eyes and prayed “Thank you Jesus for this more food.”

I thought wow, am I that thankful to my Lord and Savior, constantly giving thanks?

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

I think I have some thanking to do!

Thank you Jesus!

By April

Monday, August 17, 2009

Watch Your Light

I was blessed to be able to spend an evening at Montreat, NC with our church youth group and leaders. After singing and hearing a message, we were each given a candle as we went outside. All 1,100 plus people (mostly youth), crossed the street and surrounded Lake Susan. The candles were lit by passing the flame from one to another until all of the candles were lit.

My heart was touched to see so many youth holding their candles singing worship songs into the night. The light from the candles reflected in the lake, creating even more light.

As we stood singing, a soft breeze blew periodically blowing some of the candles out. When that happened people would share their flames and relight their candles. Every time the wind would pickup, I would cup my hand around my flame so that it would not blow out…and it never did.

The Lord spoke to my heart, saying “See how easy it is for your light to go out?” He impressed upon me that we need to protect our light, so that it does not go out.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

I started to consider what things could cause my light go out. Well, the first thing I thought of was sin. If we fall into sin and turn from the Lord, our light dims or goes out. If we get self involved, always looking at things as to how they affect us; instead of caring for others...our light can dim. We can seriously endanger our Christian witness if we let our light flicker or dim. Hmmm, I better watch my light and beware of the things that threaten to snuff it out.

What can I do to protect my light? I can read God’s Word daily. I can ask the Holy Spirit to convict my heart of sin in my life, and then repent. I can keep our eyes on Jesus.

So, I am praying that I keep my light burning brightly for all to see!

By: April

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Privilege...

I saw an amazing video clip in team building class at CIT (the Center for Intercultural Training), that just grabbed my heart. The tears ran down my face, as I saw a father participate in a triathlon all the while pushing, carrying or pulling his adult physically handicapped son along with him.

Years earlier the son had told his father via a special computer that he uses to pick out letters by moving his head, that he wanted to participate in a 5 mile benefit run for a paralyzed lacrosse player. The father ran the race, all the while pushing his son in a special wheel chair. After the benefit run, the son told his father that during the race he did not feel handicapped.

The father and son have been competing in marathon races and triathlons ever since.

Wow! What love!

I started to think about my Heavenly Father, and how He pushes, carries and pulls me along in doing His work. I thought about how He allows me to join Him in His work on earth. Let’s face it, does the Lord need me to help Him accomplish His work on earth? The answer of course is no. However, He lets me come along, allows me to join in His work. Why? Because He loves me. He wants me to feel free in a way that I can only know through Him.

Just as parents allow their children to help around the house, God allows us to help with His work. Would it be quicker and easier for the parents to do the work themselves? Of course. But they let them help, so that they can learn and grow.

When I think about Mr. Hoyt and his complete dedication to his son, and his desire to help his son feel free, I think, what amazing love. But how much more does Christ love us? His love is limitless!

And what about the attitude of the son? To see the joy on his face, his arms spread wide, as he joins his father in the races. You can see the enthusiasm and joy he has just for the privilege of being able to join his father in the races. Hmmm, is my heart filled with joy and enthusiasm as I face each day hand in hand with the Lord? I am praying that I have that enthusiasm and joy overflowing and that people will see it, just because I have the privilege of serving the Lord.

We think we know what good is, and what will satisfy us. But God has such amazing plans for us. When I follow His plan for my life, my life is so incredible. It is so much more than I ever could have imagined.

As Bill and I prepare to go to Thailand as missionaries in August, we are so excited to see what the Lord is going to do through us.

Thank you Lord, for giving us the privilege of serving and working with You!

*Please click the link to view the video.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My WinShape Experience

Bill and I are here in Union Mills, North Carolina at the Center for Intercultural Training (CIT) preparing to go to Thailand as missionaries in August. As part of the Team Training, CIT brought in a group from Georgia called WinShape Wilderness. They are affiliated with Chick-fil-A.

These are my reflections on the team building experience. I hope you enjoy reading about my experience. April

My WinShape Experience...

As I signed the waiver for WinShape
I felt uneasy as I read climbing and repelling tower.
Yikes! What was I in for today!?

I decided right there and then,
to choose to be open and childlike
and to fully participate.
I challenged myself to be open
to what the Lord wanted to teach me
through the WinShape Experience,
and I knew I could not do that from the sidelines.

So, the Trust element was started in me
before I hit the classroom.

I found it interesting that at least
four of the people in my general vicinity,
had the same one sentence definition
of Team that I had.

The Blind Walk, was an exercise in trust.
I felt completely at ease
putting my trust in Bill,
even as I heard cars flying down the road.

The Zoom Activity started with
much talking and little order,
but someone quickly turned
our chaos into order.

In this activity and others,
it blessed my heart to see
person after person step up and
lead, encourage and challenge.

We always seemed to work together
for the common goal.
No one seemed to be looking for
accolades or the spotlight.

The Zoom Activity helped me to analogize
that God can see the big picture,
and that He has called us to work with others on a team.
We need to trust Him and strive to make the team work,
even though things may not make sense to us
with our limited vision.

Stepping away and coming back together as a group
gave us a fresh perspective,
and I think that is a valuable lesson
I want to take to the field.

In Wild Woozy, I found out that
not only is it okay to lean on others,
but that it is necessary at times.
Just as we care for people and want to come along side
and help them through things,
we need to let others do the same for us.

I also found that I had a lot more confidence
in the activity, knowing that I had supporters
and encouragers all around me.
I am going to remember that in the field.

In the Shepherd’s Staff Activity,
it was imperative that we
worked together and communicated,
for the safety of everyone involved.

We openly shared concerns with each other,
when we saw the need for someone to
hold their line more tautly or loosely.
Nobody got their back up (at least openly),
at the request for correction.

As people encountered problems,
warnings were relayed about potholes
and tree branches.

When one person on our team found themselves in a hole,
they sounded the alarm,
and as a team
we immediately talked through a solution
and executed it, literally, step by step.

I thought, wow, wouldn’t this be a great
openness to be able to share in the field.
To be able to say...
‘Listen, I noticed you are headed for a pothole
and I care too much to let you just fall in.’

Instead of getting our back up
wouldn’t it be wonderful to have those words
be received with gratitude.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if my heart
accepted these words without self condemnation,
but with gratitude that someone
cared enough to say something?

I learned that we need to be pliable
when the pace is different than what we anticipated.
Or, when we end up in a position
that we did not expect to be in.

I also learned that I need to be willing
to both lead and to be led.
That there will be times for each.
I will be trusting the Holy Spirit for guidance in this.

Time and again throughout the day,
I saw true caring and love for each other.
I truly appreciated that today was not competitive in nature,
that we were all there to encourage each other.

I prayed my way through the day,
for safety, for fun and for learning
about ourselves and the Lord.
Throughout the day
many things were celebrated.

I end today with a joyful heart.
Blessed for the things I have learned.
Blessed for the way in which I learned them.
And blessed by seeing Christ in so many
people around me.

Praise God!