Sunday, May 3, 2015

Truths grown deep

My heart is breaking over Samuel's grief because he hates to leave the U.S..  He doesn't seem to remember much good about living in Brazil, is sad about leaving his friends and church here, and is scared he won't make good friends in Brazil.  Please pray for his heart.  This is one of the hardest parts of being a missionary.

Michaela told me the other day that she's excited but also scared.  That's how I feel.  I feel like I've been mourning a loss, a loss of independence, a loss of conveniences and having some time to myself.  More on this later...

When praying about becoming missionaries, the 'leaving' was the hardest part for me to overcome.  How could I put my kids through the pain?  As a kid, every time we would go home on furlough, I'd have to say good-bye to all my friends.  Then I'd come back to the U.S., have to face making new friends at a new school, but then have to leave them soon after.

As a kid, I remember thinking that I didn't want to do it anymore, but then the Lord whispered truth into my heart.  He said, "Love is worth it."  It might be painful, it might require sacrifice, it might be scary.  But it's worth it.

So everywhere I went, I threw myself into making friends, in getting involved, in loving people and enjoying the experiences God gave me.

So tonight as Sammy cried and we held him, we tried to remind him that Jesus loves him and chose him for this life.  We tried to remind him that it won't be the same when we go back; he's grown and will be making new friends.  We tried to remind him that God wants us in Brazil and He proved it by providing almost all of our support, so He'll help us to be able to live there in joy.

But some truths take awhile to grow deep roots into our hearts.  So long, that I don't think these truths have grown into my heart until this last year.  I would hold all the grief in for a long time and then watch a movie that would make me cry, then I wouldn't be able to stop.  I would mourn my life of separation and good-byes.  Of all the loss.

When Todd and I got married, after a few weeks, something really important hit me.  I would be with this man for a long time.  Wherever the Lord led me, it would be with him.  I was finally home and it was stable.  For many years, I've longed for stability.

And this year, I finally figured it out.  God has allowed this life of separation and through it the hope of heaven, the joy of heaven's reality, has become incredibly important to me!  I am so grateful that in heaven all those I love will be together.  There will be no more good-byes, tears, separation in heaven.  I praise God for that.  And every time I start getting that overwhelming feeling of sadness, God reminds me that Jesus knows how I feel.

He left his Father and left His home.  He suffered.  He was in incredible pain.  Just read about the Garden of Gethsemane.  And Jesus' cry, "My God, My God why have you forsaken Me."  Jesus knows exactly what I'm going through. He knows Michaela's fear and Sammy's pain.  He loves them even more than we do. Jesus is our high priest who understands everything we're going through.  And you know what, Jesus says, "Love is worth it!"  Through His sacrifice, we have the hope of heaven, eternal togetherness with God and fellowship with believers.  How awesome and amazing is that!

It motivates me in evangelism and our work in Brazil.  But even more than that, it motivates me as I minister to my children.  The pain we have here on earth, the Lord knows.  And if we learn to be eternally minded, and we truly believe in heaven, it gives us comfort and hope.

But this momma's heart is hurting for my little ones who are needing to learn this truth.  Please pray for all our hearts as we say good-bye and face the unknown.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

As a child

It has been at least a couple years since I've written anything here.  So much has happened.  The lows have been very low.  Burnout, depression, anger and disappointment.  So I avoided writing because I believe in the teaching, "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all."  But there have also been many highs.  Levi, furlough, fellowship with believers, knowing people love us and are praying for us.

I have to say that this furlough did not go as planned, or shall I rephrase that, as I planned.  God knew all along what His plan was and it was beautiful, but I sure didn't know the future, and I was pretty upset with the way God was doing things.

Our last year in Brazil was difficult.  We had setbacks in ministry, we were straining on our finances, we were tired and ready to come home and couldn't just yet, we had a toddler.  I was so looking forward to a year in the States.  A year of rest.  Some conveniences, some comfort.  Our own little haven of rest.  Family and Friends.  Church.  Lots of church and fellowship and singing in English.  I dreamt of the kids having the opportunity to have a true American summer participating in sports and swimming, hanging out with their cousins.  I had planned to get some of my long-term medical issues, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and other hormonal imbalances, taken care of and work hard on losing weight and getting into shape.  We had planned our visits to different supporting churches across the U.S. to be spread out so it wasn't too stressful on the family.

The first month in the U.S. was a time of rest.  We didn't contact too many people.  We just needed to sleep.  I was so exhausted.  We were living with Todd's parents and they were so kind to us.

Then February 24th, I went to the doctor to start the process of getting my hormones evaluated and try to get my PCOS under control.  As a matter of routine, they had me pee in a cup as I was checked into the office.  When the doctor came in, she asked me what my concerns were and I started explaining my history of PCOS and infertility and that I wanted to find a way to balance my hormones. Then there was a knock on the door, and a nurse handed her a piece of paper.  I waited for her to leave and continued my explanation.  The doctor looked at the paper and said, "You're pregnant."  I just kept talking, it didn't register.  She interrupted me and said, "No, I don't think you understand.  You're PREGNANT."  "It's impossible!", I exclaimed.  And she said, "After four kids, I think you'd know how it works by now."

Needless to say I didn't continue to go to that doctor.  Her bedside manner left much to be desired.  But what started that day was the beginning of the turmoil in my desires, a series of realizations that all my plans and wants were not going to happen.  I was so disappointed.  Instead of the rest and spread out travels, we needed to push them all together.  My kids didn't get to participate in sports, they only got to swim for one month.  I wasn't able to concentrate on getting healthy and in shape.  I spent most of my time going to doctors because of my high risk pregnancy.  I even had some hemorrhaging which led to a month on bed rest, right at the beginning.  Can you hear the complaining in my spirit?  I was awful!  I was already upset that we hadn't been able to find a place to live without living with someone, and now this!

But then as the year went by, I started seeing why God allowed the timing.  First of all, I can't even imagine life without Levi now.  He is such an important part of our family.  We got to spend wonderful times, almost the whole summer, with my parents in Maine, getting to know them and our family better, and also developing a deeper bond with our supporting churches there. Living with Todd's parents was so good for us.  Little did we know that Todd's dad would be promoted to glory.  If we hadn't lived with them, the kids wouldn't have developed such a bond with him.  If we hadn't had our travels pushed to the beginning of our furlough, we wouldn't have been around when Todd's family needed us the most.  We were already planning to be in Brazil.  What if that had happened!  And to top if off,  Bob got to meet Levi.  

Another benefit from not living in our own place during this furlough was with my attitude.  I believe I would have become much too attached to the U.S., to living here.  The Lord used our "nomad life", as a dear friend called it, to keep my affections, my heart, in Brazil.

God used many situations and opportunities to encourage us.  He brought fellowship, encouraging prayer times, counseling opportunities, a beautiful camp experience and a homeschool conference, besides our encouraging meetings with churches and our fun side-trips during our travels.  This furlough has been a real blessing.

This morning as I was doing my devotions Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18: 3-4).  I was pondering what it takes to "become as little children" in God's eyes.  Jesus gives us a clue when He says that we need to "humble [ourselves] as this little child".  Jesus was addressing the heart issue of the disciples, their desire to be great.

Isn't that what we all desire?  I know that's what I want.  I want to be a great wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, missionary, friend, homeschool teacher, ad nauseum....  There's nothing necessarily wrong with wanting to do well in the tasks God has given us.  Actually, God wants that.  What He doesn't want is for us to try to do it in our own strength, following our own means, and insisting on them.

The question is, "How do I become like a little child?"  The answer comes in observing children.  I have four of them, so it should be easy.  What are the characteristics of a good parent/child relationship?

First of all, children need parents.  Their needs, their well-being, is wrapped up in the provision and care of the parent.  Do I need God?  Yes!  Absolutely!  But do I act like I need God?  Do I act like my well-being is wrapped up in God?  Do I look for Him to provide my needs or do I try to do that on my own?  One of the reasons I faced burnout was because I was trying to do it all on my own, in my own strength, in my own wisdom.  How does that need to change?  What will it look like in Brazil when we go back.  Honestly, I'm completely overwhelmed with the prospect of homeschooling and caring for two little ones, while maintaining our house, cooking from scratch, and all the ministry things that need to be done--teaching Sunday School, developing the Princesses program, visitation and evangelism, etc.  But I need to remember the priorities God has given me.  My marriage, my family and my health need to come first.  Then homeschooling.  Then ministry, then cooking, then house.  So how am I going to deal with it.  Can God supply my needs in this area?  I believe so.  I need God to take care of this.  And so I lay all of these concerns at His feet.

Secondly, children know their parents.  They spend their childhood years, studying and imitating their parents.  Everything they've learned, or most at least, are from their parents.  I think of the sponge that Lily and Levi are at this age.  They watch us.  They study our emotions, our reactions.  If I startle at something, Levi will respond by getting startled or crying.  When we talk with him, he responds.  He's figured out that conversations are a back and forth between people.  And Lily, Todd always says, is my "mini-me".  She is a very empathetic child.  She feels what others are going through.  Her most common question is, "Mom, are you okay?"  Do I study God?  Do I spend time getting to know Him?    Am I trying to imitate Him?  This is hard to admit, but I have really struggled with having a consistent time in the Word and prayer.  With all the babies and ministry, trying to exercise and all my other responsibilities, God took the back seat.  Then I was kinda mad at God.  I didn't want to admit it, but I was, and that made spending time in the Word a very convicting activity.  So I avoided it.  I still struggle with finding the time, with making it a priority, but I'm definitely on the right track now.  And God is so good.  He's forgiven me and has welcomed me with open arms.  Now, my goal needs to be to study God, to try to me more Christ-like, to imitate Him as His little child.

Thirdly, parents expect children to obey them.  Just the nature of a parent/child relationship requires obedience.  When a parent sees a car coming down the road and sees their child running to get the ball that went flying out into the road, he expects his child to stop when he yells, "Stop".  I know that's extreme.  But isn't that one of the reasons we require obedience in the little things, "Go get your shoes," so they will know to obey when it's the most important?  Isn't that why God requires our submission and obedience to His will?  If we practice obedience in the little things, we will obey Him in the big things.  If we can't be faithful in the little things, will we be faithful when it's really important?

Finally but not lastly (because there are many other ways that we need to be like "little children"), children trust their parents.  They know that their parents want the best for them.  They know that their parents love them and will do anything to protect them, to direct them, to provide for them.  And they know that even when they don't understand what is going on, or why something is happening, that it is all right because mom and dad are there with them, or because mom and dad will help them through it.  They trust their parents because they are Mom and Dad?

Is that how I act with God?  Do I trust Him completely?  Do I trust Him as my Abba Father?  Do I trust that my well-being, my growth, my good is His goal?  I know the truths of Scripture.  I know He allows only good to come to those who love Him.  I know his name is Abba.  I know that He only gives us things that will be for my growth.  I know He'll supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.  Then why did I rail against God when He didn't give us a place to live?  I honestly believed it was the best thing for our family.  I prayed earnestly for God's provision for over a year.  I trusted He would do it. And honestly he did.  But only when we needed it.  He gave us a place to live when we came back from Maine, in preparation for Levi's birth and we've lived on our own for over six months now.  But He had a purpose in having us live with others for the first 7 months, and I know now that it was good.  Obviously this is a big one for me.  This is a long paragraph.  But the question I ask myself is this, "Was I trusting God in Brazil?"  Did I know that all He allowed was for my good, that He had a purpose in it??  And how will I proceed now in ministry.  God has shown me unequivocally that He is trustworthy and even if I don't understand why or how in the world He's going to do it, I can trust Him.

He will supply our support needs; He already is little by little in His way and timing.

He will help me grow in my walk; He will remind me to make Him a priority and help me to understand and trust Him more and more.

He will supply my need for help and strength in our life and ministry in Brazil. He will grow the church, in His timing, helping us reach people for Christ, one person at a time, as we live one day at a time in obedience and trust in Him.

He will protect our family.  And even though I fear something bad happening to us, I know He will be right there with me, helping me through it.  I don't need to live in fear anymore, because I know the One who loves me and He is trustworthy and good.  He is with us every step of the way.

So how are you "becoming as children"?  Do you trust God?  Are you trying to do things in your own strength or depending on God? Are you spending time studying God so you can be more like Him?  Are you living in obedience?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So much has happened since I last wrote on here, but I feel like life is calming down and that I would benefit from sharing what is on my heart, even if no one reads it.  I don't know how consistent I'll be with this, but here's a start. 

Last time we sent out our general newsletter, I wrote about a friend that seemed very close to come to know the Lord.  She seems to have turned very cold toward the Lord and us since her sister passed away.  Please pray that we can continue to share the Gospel with her and her heart would be soften.  But this was very discouraging to us because it wasn't just her but her whole family (including brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews) that seem to have rejected our friendship and won't do any Bible studies with us anymore.

I personally was devastated and don't feel like I've fully recovered from it.  We have been together quite a few times since, but there is almost a visible wall between us now. 

I've struggled with wanting to give up and believing that the almost two years of Bible Studies and sharing have been in vain.  But that is our human perspective and we have to remember that God's Word does not return void and that we work first for the Lord.  And nothing is impossible for Him. 

Back when we were raising support we had a period of time, about 8 months, where we called people 5 days a week and had meetings and we did not move beyond 70% of our support.  Not one penny.

Then at the end of the "dry spell", God showered His abundance on us.  Meeting after meeting were encouraging and people starting promising their support.  Within another 8 months we were on the field with 95% support.  It was amazing!  

During that time, we always sang a little song with the kids that goes like this, "My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow.  Strength for today, is mine all the way, and all I need for tomorrow.  My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow."  Sometimes I sang this with tears streaming down my face because God just wanted me to follow, trusting Him that He knows the way through our wilderness. 

 That is how we are feeling today, that we don't know the way, how to start a church where all our efforts are met with resistance and disdain.  But the Lord reminded me this morning of the song, and reminded me that He knows the way that He will start His church here in Croata, bringing people to heart transformation through His Good News. 

All we have to do is follow.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's been almost a year to the dates since I last posted.  I didn't realize it had been that long!  And since it's Thanksgiving month I think I'll just make a list of blessings summarizing this last year...I may leave some out but that just means that there are so many!

  1. Recovering from surgery from the tumor last November and the doctor was able to save my right ovary.
  2. Amazed and grateful for our mission family who each helped us out through our crisis, calling doctors, taking care of our children, loaning us money to pay our bill at the hospital (hospitals only accept you in when they see you have enough money to cover your stay) until we could pay them back, even a local pastor who took a bus to Guaraciaba to drive our car back for us. 
  3. God's timing in selling our car only a few weeks before the crisis, allowing us to have enough money to pay the medical and surgery bills until they were reimbursed by our insurance.
  4. Good medical insurance and staff at Avant who helped us through this crisis with prayer and financial flexibility.
  5. Headed to the U.S. for furlough--so nice to experience family, friends, supporting churches, the cold, good roads, sleeping under blankets, carpet between the toes, wearing socks, warm showers, American home cooking, American stores
  6. Had time to rest for the first month and completely recover from the surgery.  Todd said that every time I sat in a car, I slept while in the U.S.  A mixture of physical exhaustion and good roads.
  7. Met with every supporting church plus two non-supporting churches.  Tried to meet with every supporter but wasn't able to.  A Goal for next time we're in the States.
  8. Returned to ministry in Croata to the good job our friends Nathaniel and Jordana did in our absence.
  9. Kid's Club attendance is going strong.  God always brings new children to share His Gospel with.
  10. Several Bible studies with children and they are making decisions and growing.
  11. Working on getting to know the parents of the children.  Have developed some good relationships with a few, others don't desire it but haven't stopped their kids from coming.
  12. New Baptist Pastor and wife move into town--our first close Brazilian friends here in town.
  13. Miss Neuma accepts our invitation to come work with us here in Croata.
  14. God preserves my health through several minor procedures.
  15. Our beautiful children complete one school year (3rd and K) and start the next year and doing well. 
  16. Michaela has struggled with spelling and writing but is coming along very well with two new curriculum I bought to address the issues.  
  17. Samuel has learned to read very well and very quickly!
  18. God protected Samuel from head injury during a recent fall.
  19. A kind couple we met while visiting one of our supporting churches was coming to Fortaleza for their son's wedding.  They put together a suitcase and sent a package in the mail containing supplies and prizes for our children's ministry.  
  20. Stable support even during the financial crisis in the U.S.  We have averaged about 80 to 85% of our required support for last 2 years.  
  21. My parents' visit in June.  So wonderful to spend time with them and reconnect, show the Croata and Dad even helped with the negotiations on the land.
  22. We received a loan from Todd's parents to buy land and build a house here in Croata.  
  23. God provided a good location and good price on land through an acquaintance.
  24. We have found a builder with a good reputation in town.  And the building is coming along pretty well.  We hope to be in the house by the end of the year or beginning of next.
  25. We were very surprised to find out that I am pregnant!  After 5 years of trying, after being told this year that we needed to give up our desire to have more children, God in His wonderful timing has given us another blessing.
  26. I praise the Lord for a good doctor who has helped me keep the baby so far.  This is a high risk pregnancy, so I have to be careful and the Lord has helped me so far.
  27. A wonderful husband who takes care of all us even while his plate is full with Bible Studies and house construction.  He is my biggest blessing!
  28. The internet to be able to keep in touch with family and friends in the U.S.
  29. A new openness with our relationships with our neighbors.  They are not afraid to ask questions about the Lord with us anymore.  Very encouraging!
  30. I'm on my 5th lesson with the new Ladies' Bible Study that we have started.  It's been very encouraging to see how open they are and telling me they are inviting their relatives to come. 
  31. My God who supplies all our needs, who gives us strength from day to day and renews His mercies every morning.  Great is your faithfulness, Lord!  I am so glad to be your child, redeemed and forgiven.  I want to live my life always loving and trusting You!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I have a great family

One of the main things that has hit me over the last few weeks, while going through this sudden health issue, has been my love for my family, and their obvious love for me. So often, we get caught up in the everyday-ness of life, and forgot to purposefully show our love to the ones we love the most. Then, scary things happen, things that upset your whole routine, and you see the depth of the relationship you have with people. Proverbs speak of this, a rich man whose friends all disappear when he loses his money. This can happen sometimes with relationships that are seemingly strong, but when tragedy or crises strike, the relationship seems to fall apart. Like a building that looks strong from the outside but crumbles in an earthquake because the foundation lacks depth.

Well, I'm glad to say, that's not true in my case. I just realized I might be scaring you--not my intention. Just pondering...

Todd has taken on a lot because of my semi-bed-rest situation. I can sit for a little while, then I need to lie down. But I'm not much help! So not only is he trying to keep up with his work, but he's also cooking the meals, trying to keep up with the house, taking care of the kids, and doing all the running around (groceries, milk, errands) that I normally do. He even did a few days of home school with the kids while I was in the hospital!

And he's such a trooper. Every night he falls into bed exhausted, but he never complains. And he's always smiling. That's something special about Todd. I don't have to worry about him falling apart or turning on me, because I know his foundation is in the Lord. I know his habits of personal Bible study and prayer--the most consistent person I've ever met. And, I also think he was scared through the situation. Because he has been so tender and caring--trying to meet my needs before I think of them.

Then there's my kids. My biggest fear, when I was discovering the problem and fainting in Guaraciaba, was for my kids. It was not only safety and well-being (i.e. who was going to take care of them), but also their emotional trauma through seeing mommy so sick and not knowing what was wrong. When we realized that I had to go to Fortaleza right away, the ambulance drove me back to Molly's house and she went upstairs to frantically pack hers and our things to go to Fortaleza. Someone brought the kids down to see me, and they got into the ambulance to talk with me. Sammy just held on to my hand and asked me why I wasn't getting up. But Michaela got this tremble to her lip and I held onto her hand and told her that God was going to take care of me and that she should pray for God to help us. But she was almost crying (which was okay but she didn't want to cry), and so I asked what she was thinking about and she said, "But whose going to take care of Biscuit?" I just cracked up. Right there, in all that pain, and I laughed! Not at Michaela, but because it was unexpected. And that relieved the situation for all of us and I was able to tell her that our neighbors would continue to feed him until they hear from us.

My point is that my kids feel the stress of the unknown as well, maybe even more because a lot of their security is bound up in their parents. I've always noticed that as long as the kids are with us they seem happy and secure--even in the middle of the boonies in a foreign country. But God really calmed my heart and helped me realize that God uses these difficult times in the lives of children to mature them and help them grow in their trust and relationship with the Lord. And my job is to point them in that direction. It's my job to share Scripture that is comforting to me, to pray with my kids and encourage them to read and pray on their own, and to talk and hug and kiss a lot. The first time the kids visited me in the hospital they both climbed in bed with me and just cuddled and didn't want to move. I didn't either.

Since then, Michaela has never failed in praying for me multiple times a day when we pray together (meals, devotions, bedtime). And Sammy always says things about it being too bad that mommy's sick, but God's going to make her better. I know the road to healing isn't nearly over, the pain is diminishing but still present and I still face surgery. But I have seen God's hand through all of it, not only the circumstances but also the life lessons that He is gently teaching us through this difficult time. As the Bible says so tenderly, "He gently leads those who are with young." I praise Him for His gentleness in leading us, even through the valleys.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here's the Scoop

Hi guys,
I've had a whole bunch of people asking what's going on/how am I doing?

First of all, I'm doing quite a bit better today than last week. The Lord has been so good and really taken care of us. This was not a total emergency, but was very serious. If you're not interested in hearing about women's health issues, do not read anymore. Here's what happened.

Two Sundays ago, we went to Guaraciaba so the kids and I could spend Monday and Tuesday with Molly Goossen while the men (her husband James, her son Nathaniel and my Todd) went 5 hours away for a men's leadership conference. I was feeling a little uncomfortable on that Saturday before, but really thought I just had the cramps. Then Sunday, I was pretty uncomfortable sitting down. I thought, "this isn't normal for me", but if you know anything about me, my womanly health is anything but normal.

By Monday, my stomach was really upset and it hurt to bend over. On Monday afternoon, we all went for a walk. I got about 4 blocks away and suddenly turned completely pale and shaky. What in the world! Molly noticed and sent me straight home. By the time I made it home, I could hardly walk and it hurt to touch my stomach. I fell asleep and when she arrived (she had to go downtown) I felt a little better. I was really uncomfortable that night and still couldn't hardly touch my stomach. I woke at 3:30 in the morning with extremely sharp pains, and knew instantly that something was seriously wrong. I got up and took my temperature and I had a fever. Molly woke up then, and we prayed together for wisdom. We were in trouble.

This is what we were facing: The men were away (5 hours away), they had left both trucks (pickups), but Molly's truck had bad tires, and Todd had accidentally taken our keys with him (out of habit). So we were alone, 5 hours away from the city, with two little ones to take care of, and to top it all off, Tuesday was a national holliday--nothing would be open.

This is how the Lord takes care of us, though. We tried to sleep until about 7 a.m., then Molly woke up with an IDEA. The next door neighbor was a doctor! So she went to his house and he came over to look at me. He suspected a tubal pregnancy or appendicitis. He left to try to call someone to open a clinic to do an ultrasound, and when he came back I had fainted and was throwing up. I had tried to get up and get the kids ready to go, and just the act of standing was too much. My blood pressure went completely down. He got an ambulance to come (more on ambulances in Brazil another time) and took me to a clinic.

Instead of his two theories, what he found was a large mass where my left ovary should have been. Behind that mass was an amazing amount of infectious fluid, which was causing the pain. The mass is larger than my uterus. I'll spare you the details of the decision making. The doctor wanted to rush me to surgery in a small hospital in a town nearby, and Todd and the other missionaries put their foot down and arranged for me to come to Fortaleza. They contacted my gynecologist in Fortaleza who opened his clinic and met me there. We had two trucks and no way to get to Fortaleza, the ambulance couldn't take me (not that I'd want it to). So, the Lord provided a neighbor of James and Molly's who not only offered his car, but also drove us here. The 5 hours trip took less than 4 hours ! The doc interior gave me tylenol with codeine and it hardly touched the pain.

When we arrived in Fortaleza, Todd had just arrived in town 5 minutes earlier. We went to the doctor's office and he did another ultrasound, confirming what we saw. I started fainting again and wanting to throw up, so they rushed me to a hospital nearby. It was actually a very good hospital, clean, confortable, room for Todd to sleep comfortably, and the staff was very professional and kind. I was in the hospital for 4 days and on complete bed rest and constant IV antibiotics.

I got out last Friday night, and saw the doctor on Monday. On Tuesday we came back home. I'm on bedrest still and really need it. The pain is diminishing daily, though it is still obviously there. The reason it's not so bad is because the infectious fluid is gone, but I do still have some infection. I'm to go back to the doctor on the 22nd after I finish this round of antibiotics. He will probably schedule laparoscopic surgery to remove the ovary Thanksgiving week, but I don't know that for sure. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers. It's been amazing to see how God has taken care of us and cleared the way for us. His grace is sufficient! And He is the amazing provider!

I'm all tuckered out! So I'll sign off. I've been thinking of other things to write but it will have to wait!

Love you all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Exciting Day

After the hard night last night and time before the Lord this morning (see previous post), there was such a peace. Perfect rest in the good and powerful God who is in control of our lives. And it was a good day.

First of all, while we were doing our morning devotions with the kids we were talking about how important our work here in Croata is, so that we can tell others about Jesus, so they may learn to live like Christians and go to heaven to. And Sammy said without any promptin by us, "I want to be a Christian." Wow, we've been praying for awhile for him to understand. We'd ask him what it means and he would say, "Being good" or something like that.

Over the last several weeks we've been reading "The Lamb" for our Sunday School time. (By the way, I would highly recommend it for giving a clear presentation of the Gospel that any child can understand. And it's beautifully illustrated.) The last couple lessons have explained about the Old Testament system of placing the man's hands on the head of the perfect lamb, thereby a picture of transfering your sin on something else, and then killing the lamb, the one paying for the sin of the man.

We've talked quite extensively over the last few weeks that Jesus is the Lamb of God who took the sins of the world and died in our place. He paid for our sin so that we can be forgiven and live with Him. Only perfect people can live with a perfect God in His perfect home. So we have to accept Jesus sacrifice and He will make us clean, so we can go to heaven.

Well, Sammy was able to explain that today, and He asked Jesus to come take his sins away, and forgive Him, so He can go to heaven if he died today. He told Jesus thank you for dying on the cross for his sins. It was beautiful! And he asked God to help him be good and serve God always.

Just this morning, I surrendered to the Lord and released control of my children's lives, and He brings my son to saving faith that same day. What an awesome Lord! My children are in His hands, for certain! Not that I doubted it, but the Lord really confirmed it in my heart!

Here's the link for "The Lamb". Look under resources, ages 4 and up. This is the same Bible study we went through with Michaela when she was 4 and she clearly understood the Gospel while going through it. We're also using the Portuguese version with our Bible clubs right now.