Saturday, February 28, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
No matter what age a person is, everyone loves receiving mail! Right? I know I do! There’s something exciting about opening the mail box and finding an envelope with that distinct handwriting of a friend or loved one. I can’t wait to get inside to find out what’s in their letter! In fact, I usually start ripping open the envelope as I walk up the driveway and have finished half the note by the time I step foot in the door. A handwritten letter or card carries with it the concept of care. Someone has cared enough to take time from their busy life to send greetings and news my way.
Then, there’s the wonderful world of e-mail! Although it’s not quite the same as receiving a handwritten note with a stamp on it, finding an email from a friend waiting in my inbox never ceases to bring a smile to my heart! And I love the fact that I can type a response that will reach that person instantly. Yes, electronic communication certainly has its benefits.
Receiving mail may mean a lot to me, but I know for a fact that it means the world to missionary kids. MKs are a special group of people. Because of their parents’ call from God to serve in a foreign country, MKs by default grow up in that country, experiencing the best and worst of two worlds. For missionary kids, getting mail from friends and family “back home” isn’t just a nice addition to their day. It’s like getting a cold drink of water on a hot day! Refreshing! Invigorating! “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” (Proverbs 25:25)
I’m not an MK myself, but I’ve lived with a couple different missionary families as well as observed many others. From this perspective, I’ve learned that MKs (and their parents for that matter!) need the connection of communication. They need to know that they are not living in some far-off, forgotten speck on the map, but that people from their home country think about them, pray for them, and care about them. People who care enough to keep in touch…and stay in touch.
I remember being in a missions conference at my church and hearing the missionary speaker from Ghana, West Africa, tell how his little girl had gone to bed with a stomach ache the previous night because she was so excited to finally meet her pen-pal of several years the next day! I don’t think it’s possible for us in America to fully understand just how much genuine friendship and caring communication means to MKs. All too often they have the discouraging experience of meeting new friends while on furlough who *promise* to keep in touch, only to discover that these good intentions get swept away by the characteristic busyness of American life.
For those of you reading this article who live in the United States, my guess is that most of you know missionaries personally or attend a church that supports missionaries. I’d like to encourage you to “adopt” at least one of those families as your own special interest. Devote time to building a relationship with them and let them know you care!
Five years ago, God gave me an adopted missionary family whom I absolutely love and adore to this day! I was 18 when I went to live with the Earnharts in Peru for six months. My purpose in being there was to teach school to the Earnhart kids (who at that time ranged from 6-12 years old) as well as assist in their church in whatever ways possible.
Those were some of the best six months of my life! We became very close and have worked at keeping in touch ever since.
However, you don’t have to visit a missionary family on their field in order to strike up a friendship and be a blessing to them! Here are some ideas for keeping in touch with MKs that I’ve learned from the Earnharts as well as from personal experience. (By the way, the same ideas apply to adults serving on the mission field!)
~ Write them letters or cards on a regular basis (international postage on a letter costs 94 cents). Or send emails to let them know you’re thinking about them. Either way, share news from your life, happenings at your church, book recommendations, poetry, quotes, pictures, and things the Lord has been teaching you lately.
~ Remember their birthday with a card, a phone call, a little gift, or all of the above! Gifts that fit into flat envelopes include tea bags, Kool-Aid, stickers, gum, perfume samples, jewelry, CDs, baseball cards, bookmarks, etc.
~ Send e-cards just for fun!
~ Cut out magazine or newspaper articles you think your MK friend might enjoy reading, or if they’re younger, color a picture they can hang on their wall.
~ Ask them for prayer requests, be faithful to pray for those needs, and then care to find out how God chose to answer that need.
(As a note to all MKs reading this article, those of us who send you mail or make phone calls your way also love to hear from you! I can speak from personal experience that anytime I send a package to Peru I really appreciate hearing whether it made it and how the contents were enjoyed. It also totally makes my day to receive a phone call or email from one of the Earnharts, and know that they care to keep in touch with me just as much as I do with them. So if you are an MK who is blessed by correspondence from others, make sure you respond!)
God’s Word tell us, “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16) I know life gets busy for all of us, but let’s not allow that to be an excuse for neglecting to communicate with missionaries. Your letter or email will certainly bring a smile to their heart, and may even be the highlight of their day!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
And everywhere He traveled He spoke with words of love
He picked up a rugged burden so one day I would see.
In answer to the call of love, He loved me with a cross.
Though I could not imagine what knowing me would cost,
Jesus went to Calvary and loved me with a cross.
Lyrics by Joel Lindsey and Sue Smith
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Isaiah has been the book of study for the past several months, and I'm currently working on the final assignment which is an expositional outline of every chapter. (Gulp!) "Slow and steady wins the race" is proving to be true, though, and I'm hoping to be able to mail off my packet of homework by the end of February.
As I was typing out a summary of chapters 24-27 today, I came across several verses that especially struck a chord within me, and I thought I'd post them here!
"O Lord, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy Name; for Thou has done wonderful things; Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
For Thou has been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
The desire of our soul is to Thy name..."
Saturday, February 7, 2009
~ Psalm 103:1-5
May we all live today in such a way that we are a blessing to our God!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
All in all, it was a GREAT day!
Pastor Taylor makes a point as he introduces missionary John Lawrence to preach.
Following the sermon, a young ladies' ensemble that we organized closed the service with a song about God's provision. (We thought it would be fitting for the kick-off of our Faith Promise missions giving program.)
Later that night, we started the farewell party for John with a rousing game of 4-square. (My dad is picture in the background serving as the official referee.)
We love to fellowship together!
Saturday morning afforded a pefect opportunity to slip away from the busyness of home lives and gather for a ladies' brunch at La Madeleine. With delicious pastries at hand, an edifying devotional given by Mrs. Lawrence, and live music in the background (compliments of JB and John), we had a delightful time!
Mrs. Lawrence gave a wonderful devotional entitled, "The Ministry of Reconciliation." It was all about communicating as a Christian with truth, meekness and fear, careful words, wise reproof, wisdom and kindness, grace, compassion, and the goal of reconciliation.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
My family loves to engage in hospitality whenever possible. This past week was a time of just that as we were privileged to host a family sleeping at our house, several friends who joined us for meals and activities, and half of our church who attended one of the mission conference services in our living room. :-)
We met the Dana ladies during the Bandera Maiden's Quest retreat this past fall. Recently, when Mom and I traveled to San Antonio for the film festival, we stayed at their home, and enjoyed getting to know their whole family better! Last week, we had the opportunity to return the favor and host Mrs. Dana, Sarah, and Samuel while they were in town for a home school speech and debate tournament. They came in on Wednesday evening and left Sunday morning. Even though we didn't get to see them a whole lot during their stay, due to their long days at the tournament, we enjoyed our limited time with them very much!
Also on Wednesday night, our missionary friend, Nathan Day, arrived in town for our church's missions conference. (Nathan is pictured above - on the right - with Richard, the fellow he stayed with. ) Katelin and I have both gotten to know Nathan during our experiences in Ukraine, so we had a blast catching up with him and taking him around town on fun excursions.
Needless to say, we had a full dining room table on Wednesday evening as we re-connected with far-away friends from all over!
On Thursday, we took Nathan rock climbing along with Brian (a really great 14-year old guy whose faith and Godliness is an inspiration!). Rock climbing is one of my favorite sports activities, and I love any excuse to go! Since Nathan has only been outdoor-climbing in Ukraine, we thought it would be fun to take him to an indoor gym. It was certainly a good workout for all of us! :-)
Brian and I take to the rocks! (Well...you know. The pretend rocks.)
Way to go, belayers! We couldn't do it without you!
Howdy from the top!
"Okay, dirt me!"
A fun day indeed. :)
The rest of our week to be continued...