Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fancy Fi Fi

Fi Fi is excited. Her little rabbit heart is pumping. "What to do, what to do?" She decided on a bow––a pretty pink one. She's ready for her big conference in St. Louis. Chi Chi is ready too. He doesn't fuss as much as his sister.

We had a little rabbit excitement today. After waiting almost two months for the rabbits' book to arrive, today we saw Really Rare Rabbits for the first time. The rabbits did a happy dance while waiting for the envelope to be opened. But, happy tears turned to sad tears quickly.

The envelope had been cut open and taped again. Whoever opened the package between the States and Bolivia used a paper cutter of some sort and slashed most of the books in two, in the process. A few books were intact, and we are thankful they arrived––regardless of their condition. What a beautiful book from my publisher. Thank you Tracy Ruckman! Pix-N-Pens Publishing did a super job!

We're leaving for the States in a few hours and arriving in Miami tomorrow night. Just six weeks and we'll return to Bolivia to begin our kids' classes in August. A short trip and along the way there will be happy tears and sad tears. Parting with our people here and our loved ones there is never easy, but God gives strength and wonderful times in between. It's a blessing to have so many who love us and work along side us to spread the gospel to those still waiting to hear the Good News. We'll be meeting new friends in St. Louis, some awesome people who love the Lord and serve Him in the world of publishing. Some happy tears and sad tears, but wonderful times in between.

Also, this trip my husband will have a medical checkup, and we'll be spending time with our grandchildren. We haven't seen them for three years, can't wait!

We know God works all things for good, so maybe the sad rabbit tears will become happy tears in heaven one day. Just maybe, whoever damaged the books stopped to read one and found the Light of the world just as Chi Chi and Fi Fi did. Wouldn't that be great?! Let's pray to that end! Amen?!

"I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, 
but will have the Light of life."
John 8:12 (NIV)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Beautiful Feet

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, 
who proclaim peace, who proclaim salvation," Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)

Missionaries are sent to be the hands and feet of those who send them––those faithful servants who pray and give so we can be on the field proclaiming the Good News. But today, I want to highlight the rest of the body––those we came to reach who received Christ. Now they are taking the gospel to their own people. They are the national workers for God in Bolivia. You'll meet our Bolivian co-workers––missionaries to their own people.

Pablo, Nathaly, and Emily Grace

One of the blessings of being in Bolivia for 32 years is being able to see how God continues His work through the generations after missionaries leave or work themselves out of a job. Pablo, Nathaly, and little Emily Grace are God's blessings to us. Nathaly is the pastor's daughter of our city church. Her parents came to visit us in 1994 with a request that we help them start a church in their house. They had already begun a weekly children's ministry in their yard. Of course, we said yes. Church services began in their yard, then in a rented pavilion, and finally in a permanent location where a church building stands today as a testimony of God's faithfulness.

The beginning days of our church. Nathaly is seated beside my daughter––left-hand side by the pole.

Nathaly's parents––Charo and Pastor Fernando

Nathaly's college graduation––with her other parents :-)

But what happens when missionaries leave their field of service for one reason or another? Who will continue God's work? Of course, the national missionaries will continue the work––those burdened to take the gospel to their own people. Pablo and Nathaly have answered the call and are serving God in their church. They also help us in our ministry to the Quechua people at Rumi Rancho. Pablo is supporting his family as a veterinarian and also uses his professional skills to help poor farmers who can't afford to vaccinate their animals––another avenue to share the gospel. God is using this sweet couple to continue His work that was started when both were small children.

"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." 
Psalm 100:5 (NIV)

Kids' ministry in our beautiful church today.

Take a look at these "beautiful feet" serving in their country of Bolivia.

Pablo and Nathaly leading the church music group. Pastor's son on piano.

Pablo vaccinating animals in remote mountain regions while proclaiming the Good News.

Pablo and Nathaly helping with Rumi Rancho's Quechua couples' ministry.

Nathaly helping with my cooking and Bible classes for teen girls.

Egg white facial––we have fun too!

We know God will continue His work in Bolivia––with or without us. He is raising up His most faithful Bolivian servants to carry on. We're thankful He allows us the privilege to spread the Good News in the valleys and mountains of this beautiful country. We answered His call, and we've seen His faithfulness over the years. We hope that He will allow us to serve here until our last breath or until He returns to take us home––unless, of course, He has other plans! :-)

"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (KJV)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Time for Tears

Today I shed happy tears in our city church. I received a hundred plus birthday kisses. Next week will be a different story––sad tears. It will be our last Sunday before leaving for the States. We'll have to say those goodbyes and receive all those sad kisses. Sometimes I wonder why God called me to be a missionary. So did many others when my husband and I left our comfortable life, a thriving business and family and friends to follow God to unknown regions beyond. One friend even asked if I liked snakes.

No, I don't like snakes. I don't like to fly, and I never like to say goodbye. I avoid it if possible––snakes and planes too. Why wouldn't God call someone who enjoyed those things, or at least could do them with ease? Of course, I know why––so that He will get all the glory because it is only through Him that I can do all things.

Last week my sister-in-law called to ask what I usually say to friends when we are saying goodbye here and in the States. What kind of question was that, I pondered. "I don't know," I answered.

"Don't you usually avoid it and instead say, 'See you later?' At least that's what you tell us." She said that we always say, "See you later, because who knows if we might see you again for some reason before we leave." The memories rushed back, and tears filled my eyes just thinking of saying goodbye.

I'm about to embark on a journey of many miles, flights, hellos, and goodbyes. There will be happy tears and sad tears, but I don't want to miss the experiences that bring those tears. Ecclesiastes 1:1 says, "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven," (NIV). It's time for travel and new experiences. We'll meet new friends and old friends along the way and see our grandchildren––happy tears! Ecclesiastes 1:4 says "a time to weep and a time to laugh," (NIV). There'll be a lot of laughing when we see those grandkids, but a lot of weeping when we leave. I don't want to miss the blessing of being with them just because I don't want to cry when I leave.

Even though there will be sad tears, the happy tears will far out weigh them. How many can say they are blessed to have two "homes", one in their homeland and one in a foreign land––and loved in both. We are doubly blessed with tears also––happy ones and sad ones. But all result in the best for us––God's best!

God changed our travel destinations this summer, but we know His ways are not our ways, or His timetables our timetables. And, we know God's timing is perfect even though it may look illogical to us. If we wait for His timing, nothing could be better!

"God gives the very best to those who leave the choice to Him." Author unknown