Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Valentine's Day View 1981

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord 
who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful,
  putting me into the ministry,” 
 (I Timothy 1:12 NIV)

Early on the morning of February 14, 1981, Valentine's Day, we touched down for the first time in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The view of the Andes Mountains from the plane's windows was breathtaking; they made Pennsylvania mountains look like molehills in comparison. Tucked into the mountainside and throughout the valley, we saw little mud huts; that also was a view that made us realize we were in a foreign land.

We were met at the airport by a mission representative, then climbed into the back of a truck and headed to the mission home. This was Cochabamba, the second largest city in Bolivia, but to call it a big city was a stretch. We felt the dust from dirt streets on our tired faces, and bounced around when an occasional pig or cow darted in front of the truck. Our kids, then ages four and 12, were taking it all in and loving every minute. I was wondering why we were told Cochabamba was a big city, it looked more like a town in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I had no idea this trip would seem like a "kiddie ride" compared to our next few weeks.

Our first bus trip to the mission school eight hours from the "city" confirmed that Bolivia had some of the most dangerous roads in the world. I tried not to look over the cliffs; they had no guardrails and a view of 1000 feet drop-offs. And I can't forget to mention the drunk bus driver who drove as if he were in the Indy 500. 

In our first month in Bolivia, Chuck was arrested in the market place for not having ID (his passport was in the capital city with our visa applications), a bomb went off down the street from the mission home where we were staying, and the president of the country threatened to cut the fingers off all missionaries in the country. Before having to be evacuated, there was a government overthrow, and a new president was chosen who was more sympathetic to missionaries. We still have all our fingers.

Our life has continued to have the same thrills for 38 years. So why do we stay here? There can only be one answer; God put us in the ministry. And, in fact, God has opened a new ministry for us through Worthy Words Press––printing books in Bolivia to gift my children's books in Spanish with Bible principles for underprivileged kids––kids with no resources to buy books and who live in remote areas of Bolivia, many who have yet to hear of Jesus.

For God so loved the world... Someday we'll have a view in heaven of those we came to serve and accepted God's free gift, Jesus. 

   Happy Valentine's Day

We're thankful God enabled us and put us in the ministry, 
so we can share the
 Greatest Love Story of all time. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Valentine's Day Words


Worthy Words or Just Noise?

Valentine's Day is here, and images of hearts emerge everywhere. But, how is my heart and yours? Missionaries tell of how we came to our respective fields of service to love the people. Sounds easy, doesn't it? And, of course, it is what every supporter (and God) expects of their missionary. It's truly the desire of most of us. If I had to guess, I'd say most missionaries won't admit how hard it is at times to love the people they serve.

So let's examine the myth (the traditional story). You know the one. "We love the people we serve." Let me say; it's only God's love that allows us to love the people we serve. We love them because of God's love. However, you don't have to be on the mission field to find it hard to love others. Let's face it; some people are hard to love––maybe I'm one of them.

 On the field, we serve the unwanted, the poor, the not so clean, and sometimes even the wealthy who want nothing to do with God. But, God loves us all and desires for all to hear His Word and know and love Him.

How many times have I said, "These are the people we came to love." When I see a two-year-old child playing on a busy road with little clothing my first remark is, "Where is that mother?" And, not with loving words do I spit those words from my mouth. It's heartbreaking. Or, how about when the people I came to love don't want to hear about God and despise me? Do I love that person? It's not easy but possible. But how?

If we're honest, most of us know people who unnerve us. It may be a family member or even a good friend, but they are there to stay--stuck in our lives. So what can we do about these unlovable ones in our lives?

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (TLB)

"If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn't love others, I would only be making noise...If I gave everything I have to the poor people, and if I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn't love others, it would be of no value whatever."

There you have it--just making noise. I must love that mother who doesn't care for her children, and cuddle the dirty and unloving. That is God's love--not mine. So instead of making noise with my words, I must speak with God's love and show His love. Only then will I make lovely noise with worthy words.

The world begins the big love celebration in a few days, Valentine's Day. Let's celebrate God's love every day with a year-long Valentine's Day. The noise we make can wake a soul to find God but only with lovely noise that is from God's heart! Let's make lovely noise this Valentine's Day and not only love the lovable but the unlovable also. They too need God's love that flows through us.

Let me add one thing to clarify how much missionaries love the people we serve--no matter how hard. We know that we love them when we cry as much leaving them behind to go on furlough as we do when we leave our family and friends after furlough. We do love the people we serve. It's not always easy, but with God's love, it is possible.

Celebrate God's heart this Valentine's Day–-with chocolate too. I'm sure God loves chocolate! He made it for us. He loves us that much--and much, much more.

Let's be of value and make lovely noise with worthy words.

Happy Valentine's Day––all year long!





Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Fairies Making Beds?


New Year's Desires

Up early this morning and accomplished a lot by 10 am. Suddenly, I thought I'd forgotten to make the bed. I walked into the bedroom and discovered the bed perfectly made. The bed-making fairies? No, I was ahead of myself this morning. LOL

This year, I'm working daily to do what pleases God without thinking because I'm reading and memorizing His Word more, so it is hidden in my heart and becomes a part of my character.

Just like making my bed automatically without thinking, I want to automatically look to Him and His Word minute by minute, day by day to please Him more! #WorkInProgress #HisPower #MyDesire.

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is––his good, pleasing and perfect will."

How will you please God this year?



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Andes Mountains Ministry


Every Christmas, our Bolivian church group and the Rumi Rancho staff travel to remote mountain villages in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, taking with them gifts, food, and medical supplies for needy children and people. Our church has a vision to reach these people and start churches where there is no gospel witness.
Last year, after three days of hard work, our group was exhausted and ready to go home. They waited patiently for the rickety old bus that would take them back down the mountain road where hot showers and a warm meal awaited. But the road was washed out by a torrential rainfall. They were stranded. The youth pastor and young men decided to walk for help. They left the women and teen girls safe in the village. After walking five hours in the pouring rain, they reached the main road where they called for help. Two men from our church headed out in a four-wheel drive vehicle to rescue the women.
Meanwhile, after waiting for many hours, the ladies began walking down the mountain hoping to meet a bus or car to take them to the main road. After a few hours of slipping and sliding in the mud, a small car stopped. Gratefully, they accepted a ride. But after a short distance, the road was washed out making it impossible to continue. They were left standing alone in the rain. Except for the birds tweeting and the rain pouring, silence loomed.
In the distance, a house stood alone in a field––the women ran for shelter under an overhang. The man of the house saw them and invited them inside. He offered hot drinks, food, and shelter. He built a roaring fire and began telling his story. After receiving Christ on a trip to the city, he believed God directed him to construct a large room onto his house for church meetings. But he had no one to teach the people who came. He prayed that God would send a preacher. It was not a coincidence that the road washed out at this location. It was God's stop sign.
Help finally arrived from the city. Hugs were exchanged, and plans were made for the beginning of a mountain ministry year round. God prepared a way to begin a church. The gospel is being preached where it never was preached before.
This week we are ministering in a different mountain area. Children's eyes light up as they receive their only Christmas gift this year and hear the Christmas story for the first time. Unreached people in another remote area are being reached––where we minister and bless many with gifts, food and medical help, and the most wonderful gift of all––Jesus.
Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish;"
This mountain man had a vision. Our Bolivian church has a vision. God brought us together so the people won't perish.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Merry Christmas from Bolivia

Rumi Rancho Reindeer

"There really are reindeer in Bolivia,"
said Abby to her sisters, Ellie and Olivia.

"They seem to me just a little bit strange.
Aunt Peggy says it’s because they’re open range.

I’ve seen them and they are strange indeed
Because their funny antlers are red and green."

Many kids walk far to go to Rumi Rancho to play
They hear stories of Jesus and always want to stay.

They heard that Jesus was born a long time ago
  His birthday is on Christmas day and He loves us so.

Missionaries travel the whole world wide
To tell the Good News that Jesus is alive.

He was born in a manger on Christmas day
So that we might learn of all God’s ways.

The way to heaven is still the same
Believe in Jesus, He knows us by name.

We know we celebrate because you are the reason
So Happy Birthday, Jesus, this Christmas Season.

From Rumi Rancho you can hear the kids cheer
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!
  
Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
     who is Christ the Lord.”

And before you go, check out this recipe all the way from Bolivia!

BOLIVIAN BUÑUELOS RECIPE:

Buñelos are a popular snack throughout Latin America. While they can be eaten at
anytime, Bolivian tradition sees them eaten on Christmas morning with syrup and hot
chocolate.

Buñuelos are a soft doughy sweetbread that is deep-fried in the same way doughnuts are
made, with a similar flavor but a slightly more chewy texture, traditionally served
drizzled with a syrup or honey. The buñuelos are often puffy with a crispy crust and air
pockets on the inside.



Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fresh yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 cups butter
Molasses to taste
1/2 cup sunflower oil to moisten hands

Preparation:
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in water, add the fresh yeast, let it stand for about 7 minutes,
then add the salt, anise, eggs and flour, mixing it slowly with your hand until you obtain a
watery dough. Let the dough stand and rise twice before you start frying in hot butter or
oil.

To fry, first spread oil over your hands, take a handful of dough with the fingertips and
stretch it into a 4-inch round; rotating the dough occasionally to form a circle. When
about to fry, poke a hole in the middle, and put in the frying pan with a stick or the back
of a wooden spoon through the hole. Let it acquire a golden brown color on both sides
before retiring and leave in a colander to drain away excess oil; then put all in a bowl to
serve.

Serve with a jug of hot sugar cane syrup, molasses or honey for each person to add the desired amount on the buñuelo. Note: Some Bolivians prefer to eat their buñuelos covered in sifted powdered sugar.



Monday, December 3, 2018

Buñuelos with Jesus




This week, I am participating in a fun holiday recipes blog hop with friends. Every day, one of us shares holiday recipes with our readers. Today is my turn with this post. I'll include some links at the end for my friends' posts, and will update the list later this week to add all the others.

Almost 20 years ago, our mission started Christmas trips to remote villages high in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia where we are missionaries. My husband and Juan, a Quechua young man who was born in the Andes Mountains, began going to villages high above the tree line. These trips had to be made on quads because the roads ended before arriving to these villages. Then by foot, they reached the final destination––small
communities where life is hard, and the people are precious. Twenty years later, we still continue doing this ministry each Christmas, but now with the help of our Bolivian church.

Bread is a delicacy in the mountains. The highest regions don’t have firewood, but a little further down the mountain where there is firewood, flour is scarce. When the kids see bread their eyes light up––just like they do when they see toys. But, just as they readily accept the bread, they also accept the Bread of Life. They are hungry for both––bread to satisfy their tummies, and Bread to satisfy their souls. Every year we share the Christmas story in places where many hear it for the first time. Many now know the Lord.

In the valley and cities below the mountains live the more fortunate––although many still wait to hear of the Savior. But, bread is available and other delicacies as well. Here in the valley where I live, many wake up on Christmas morning to the aroma of Buñuelos frying I hot oil.

What’s a buñuelo, you ask? The sweet aroma in your kitchen of the finished product of this recipe will transport your thoughts to Christmas in the Andes Mountains. Can you imagine presenting a Bolivian donut (buñuelo) to a mountain child deprived of even bread? But, better yet, presenting the gospel to that child for the first time. Buñeulos with Jesus on Christmas morning!


BOLIVIAN BUÑUELOS RECIPE:

Buñelos are a popular snack throughout Latin America. While they can be eaten at
anytime, Bolivian tradition sees them eaten on Christmas morning with syrup and hot chocolate.

Buñuelos are a soft doughy sweetbread that is deep-fried in the same way doughnuts are made, with a similar flavor but a slightly more chewy texture, traditionally served drizzled with a syrup or honey. The buñuelos are often puffy with a crispy crust and air pockets on the inside.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fresh yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 cups butter
Molasses to taste
1/2 cup sunflower oil to moisten hands

Preparation:
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in water, add the fresh yeast, let it stand for about 7 minutes, then add the salt, anise, eggs and flour, mixing it slowly with your hand until you obtain a watery dough. Let the dough stand and rise twice before you start frying in hot oil.

To fry, first spread oil over your hands, take a handful of dough with the fingertips and stretch it into a 4-inch round; rotating the dough occasionally to form a circle. When about to fry, poke a hole in the middle, and put it in the frying pan with a stick (when in the mountains) or the back of a wooden spoon through the hole. Let it acquire a golden brown color on both sides before retiring and leave in a colander to drain away excess oil.

Serve with a jug of hot sugar cane syrup, molasses or honey (or maple syrup) for each person to add the desired amount on the buñuelo. Note: Some Bolivians prefer to eat their buñuelos covered in sifted powdered sugar. Enjoy!


Recent Posts:



Come join the fun in our Holiday Recipes blog hop!

Holiday Appetizers – Tracy Ruckman
Holiday Beverages – Rachel Hartsfield
International Holiday Foods – Peggy Cunningham
Holiday Breakfasts & Brunches – Betty Thomason Owens
Holiday Main Courses – Sheryl Holmes
Holiday Sweets – Rachel Hartsfield
Holiday Recipes Master List – Tracy Ruckman