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

Daily Bible Verse

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