Friday, May 18, 2012

16 Years and Counting
    On May 13th, our church celebrated their 16th anniversary.  It seems like only yesterday that we arrived in Simferopol -- I can remember every detail as we stepped off the train.  There were about a dozen deaf that met us at the train station and asked if we were going to stay and start a deaf church. You should have seen their faces when we answered "YES!"  
     As we rode on a trolley through town, I couldn’t take my eyes off the hopelessness expression of the people walking down the street.  There was no joking, no smiling.  I thought, “Oh Lord, how do we reach these people?”
Deaf Church - 10:00 every Sunday
  Through these years, we have seen hundreds of souls saved, lives changed, marriages re-united, alcohol abuse abated; and what’s even better - we have experienced a family fashioned to love and serve together.  A WORK THAT ONLY GOD CAN DO. 
     Last month, I flew to the states for two weeks to visit my mother.  While I was in the Chicago airport, I had a conversation with a Christian man and his wife (they said they were Baptist).  He told me that he and his wife were called to Azerbaijan in 2001.  He said they sold their house and car and were ready to depart when 9/11 happened.  He said they changed their mind and decided to stay.  He said at that time, their two daughters had recently married.  He said that he was thankful for the 11 years that he did NOT go because God had bless them with 11 wonderful years with his grandchildren. 
   I was speechless.  I didn’t know what to say.  I wanted to ask, “Were the 11 years with grandchildren worth the 11 years worth of souls that were not evangelized? What about the lives that could have been changed had you only gone?”   All I could do was shake my head and walk away.  I will have to confess (because I am a mother and a grandmother) that I did cry later.  I cried for the 16 years that I have not had the opportunity to be there for my children and grandchildren.  But I would not have traded places with this man - nor would I go back and do anything different.  I know that we are right where God wants us.   
   I can’t begin to fathomed how missionaries many years ago handled the separation of family and friends where there was no internet - no phones.   I know that back in the early years of mission work, missionaries would ship their belongings in wooden caskets because they knew they would not be returning.   BUT I praise the Lord I have a phone, the internet and I have SKYPE - so that I can talk with my children and grandchildren and see their beautiful faces.
     Thank you Lord for allowing me to serve you here in Ukraine.  Thank you Lord for the 16 years that you have given to us.  To God be the glory for all He has done!
Hearing Church - 3:00 pm every Sunday
Act 26:18   
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A tribute to my Mom
   Mother’s Day is coming and I wanted to tell you about the unique mom I have.  

 Proverbs 31:28  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

      On April 16th I flew to America to spend some special time with my mom.  She has been such an inspiration in my life.  My father began to pastor when I was only 14 years old - but before that he was also a deacon and a Sunday School teacher.  He worked hard and he worked many hours.  My mother was always by his side through thick and thin -- so supportive and this has molded my life. 
     When I was young, my mother would take simple jobs in order for me and my sisters to take piano lessons.  She was busy in the church: from keeping the nursery and cleaning - to teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible Schools. My mother was concerned for our soul.  She made sure that we understood the importance of salvation.  You see my mother for many years thought she had been saved at an early age but she had been blinded by Satan.  It wasn't until she was in her 30's that she accepted Christ as her Savior.  And now, she eagerly tells everyone her testimony - on how Christ saved her.
      My mom loves the Lord and she loves her Bible.  When my father died nine years ago, my mother continued to do what she has always done.  Every week, mom teaches a Bible Study for women in her home (a low income apartment building complex).   Last week I was privileged to teach the 10 women that faithfully attend.  Every other week, my mother also teaches a Bible Study at a Women’s Prison there in Mississippi.  Last week, she came home so excited because she had been privileged to lead a young mother to the Lord there at the prison.
    My mom loves her church and her pastor.  Even at almost 81, she is still very faithful and active in her church - Goodman Road Baptist Church.  Plus, she teaches a monthly Bible Study there. 
Jan, Jackie, Me & Mom - taken last year at Mom's 80th birthday.
  My mother, although she is almost totally blinded by macular degeneration, reads her Bible through at least once a year.  I believe she has read her Bible through over 45 times.  Every day she gets out her LARGE PRINT KJV Bible and a large, lighted magnifying glass to read God's Word.  She continues memorizing verses (which puts me to shame).  She is currently memorizing another chapter of the Bible. 
     Thank you Mom for your faithfulness in helping to mold my life and for giving me a godly pattern to follow.  I love my mom and my sisters!