Sunday, September 29, 2019

Night of the Frogs


“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; 
for he acknowledges my name” (Psalm 91:14 NIV).

I sipped tea while looking at a frog––he’d caught my eye when I glanced across the room. There he sat on top of my lamp. I couldn’t stop my lips from turning upwards––then a burst of giggles. Memories returned of frogs on an eerie night in a foreign field––actually miles of fields around the little mud house we called home for a while. Unlike my ceramic frog atop the lamp that held the lampshade from going ajar, the frogs that night were real.

We’d arrived at the mission school to join the staff after less than a month in Bolivia. We’d lived for a time in the attic/guestroom of the school library, and then prepared to move to the “farmhouse.” Before you form the image of a sweet stateside farmhouse, let me paint a picture of this “farmhouse” in Bolivia.

The school rested on a flat landscape atop a valley. A short walk on a winding dirt road brought you to a curve where a breath-taking panorama of acres of fields came into view. At the bottom of the hill sat the “farmhouse” that we had eagerly awaited to inhabit. There it sat, a little mud house in the middle of nowhere. Our barrels hadn’t arrived from the States so many household items were on loan to us, but we needed a refrigerator. 

My husband left for the city eight hours away to buy a frig, leaving our five-year-old daughter and me alone in that tiny house. Our son had settled into dorm life with boys his age, and we quickly became good friends with his dorm parents––also recently arrived missionaries. So, no neighbors, no lights outside, and no way to communicate with anyone at the school.

On the second night alone in that secluded little abode, I heard a noise, a strange noise. The hour neared that the school generator would shut down, leaving only candlelight. The noise continued. I looked out the kitchen window where the sound seemed to be loudest. Pitch. Black. It resembled the sound of a motorcycle trying to start. After listening to that sound for what seemed like hours, my imagination kicked into high gear. What if there were more motorcycles than just one. Hell’s Angels came to mind. Could there be similar gangs in this remote area? Were they waiting for the generator to shut down to make their move? Fear took over. Who could come to our rescue?

Fear held me hostage. But, more scared for my daughter than myself, I had to get a grip. Couldn’t God take care of her––of us? We were in the youth of our ministry, and just as Timothy was in the youth of his life and ministry, the enemy certainly didn’t want him (or me) to continue spreading the gospel. This would be the first time I confronted my fears on the mission field, but not the last––if I were to continue in the ministry God called me to.   

Scriptures came to mind. Why did Paul write this to Timothy? “I call to remembrance the faith that is in you…” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV). Paul encouraged Timothy by reminding him of the faith he’d seen in him. Maybe that statement today would sound like, Hey, Tim, you can do this!

Paul reminded him, “to stir up the gift of God in you through the laying on of hands,” (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV). Go get ‘em, boy! I remembered hands laid on me only a few months before this night. And, then these powerful words of exhortation to Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy1:7 NIV). Fear paralyzes our ministry. Faith in God powers our ministry. Believe. Pray. A calm settled over me. I trusted God to take care of us. Peace.

Then, a knock at the door. I inched to the door. A familiar face looked back. It was our son’s dorm parent, Mike. My sweaty hands turned the doorknob. Telling him my scary story, he took his flashlight and ventured out into the darkness returning quickly. Nothing. But there was a noise. We both listened intently. “There, do you hear it?” Mike burst into laughter, then trying to control himself but to no avail. What on earth was so funny?

“Those are frogs making that sound.” No way! Eventually, I found the humor in it all, but with a bit of embarrassment. 

Gathering my dignity, I asked Mike, “Do they have little motorcycles?” We both burst into laughter until our eyes wept.

Do you know what I learned that night? I learned that God is always with us and never leaves us alone. He watches out for us and rescues us–-even from frogs with little motorcycles.

There will always be fears to face, but when we trust God, He will take us from fear to faith. He promises to rescue us. What are your fears today? Will you let God stretch your faith in whatever circumstance you find yourself? We can go from fear to faith daily and stir up the gift of God in us so that He can use us for His purpose.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Everlasting Rock



"Trust the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock." 

An annual celebration is underway here in Cochabamba. The festival of the Virgin of UrkupiƱa is celebrated with dancing, parades, and rituals that take place this week. During this time, the traffic is so dense on our road that it takes us two hours to advance a few miles––if for some reason we need to venture out during this mad rush. Recently our main road was paved, bringing with it more traffic than the years before. Looking out our windows at 6 a.m., we can see a steady stream of busses, taxis, and cars racing by on our main road a half mile from our house. They are rushing to reach the mountain 5 miles away.

This mountain is the location of the ceremony that takes place each year. It was here that the legend behind the festival began. The legend tells of a poor shepherd girl who met a young girl on this mountain while tending to her sheep on a hillside near a town outside Cochabamba. The young girl gave five stones to the peasant girl. When the little peasant girl returned home, she took them out of her pocket to show her mother. The stones had turned to precious gems. The girl's family was rescued from poverty. 

Today, this celebration will attract hundreds of thousands of people to our city. They come from all over the world. Many Bolivians who live outside the country will return to visit family and participate in the festivities. They will climb the hillside where the peasant girl received the rocks and then break off their rock hoping for prosperity in the following year––the bigger the rock, the more prosperity.

Reading my children's book, you'll travel to UrkupiƱa with Chi Chi and his sister, Fi Fi and learn more of the rabbits' dangerous adventure to this mountain. 

Chi Chi and his sister Fi Fi visited this celebration one year. They tell their story in Book 3 of The Really Rare Rabbits Series, Over the Winding Wall.





Flapping! And screeching! And, a terrifying shadow.
 There they were––giant geese--and very real!

Chi Chi watches as Fi Fi slides down Al Alpaca's fuzzy back. They bid farewell to the new friend they met on their adventure through Peppermint Pass. Now, the brother and sister head down the yellow dandelion trail to the Winding Wall where Grandfather Rabbit waits for them. But, first they must venture through the mysterious jungle of Selvaland.

They've heard a scary story about giant ghost geese who live in Selvaland. Chi Chi shrugs it off, but Fi Fi is frightened. He assures her it is just a story. After all, their friend Al wouldn't send them into Selvaland if danger lurked there. 

Chi Chi soon changes his mind when they meet Hotchie, a strange looking creature guarding the entrance of Selvaland. But, Hotchie is not the scariest creature they will meet along the way. When the rabbits stop to rest, their fears mount. Fi Fi trembles, but Chi Chi encourages her to believe God's Word that says, "Trust the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock." Chi Chi doesn't know how much he and Fi Fi will need to trust the Lord all the way to the Winding Wall––and beyond!

Available on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2TM1Mp1  



Thursday, July 11, 2019

Antique Aunt



 "Dear friends, let us love one another, 
for love comes from God" (1John 4:7 NIV).

When I was a child I spent many hours with my great aunt, Aunt Flora. She was in her golden years and loved to crochet. I like to think of her as my antique aunt, cherished, valuable, and not forgotten. 

The beautiful dress in this picture was crocheted by Aunt Flora, just for me. Actually, it was for my doll, but now it is on my bear that was given to me by a friend. Both are reminders to me of lasting friendships.

Many children in Bolivia call me aunt. It is a form of respect for your elders in this culture. I often wonder if they will remember me as I remember my aunt. Aunt Flora was more than an aunt, she was my friend. When I had a problem I could go to her house, and she would take time to talk, sometimes for hours. Looking back, it was love that came from God. 

Aunt Flora is gone now, but her memory is lasting. She was a mirror of God's love for me when I was a child. I hope I am a mirror of God's love for children––an antique aunt like Aunt Flora.

How about you? Are you a mirror for God's love?


The tiny book sitting on the bear's lap was a gift from a close friend. In it is a quote that sums up Aunt Flora's life. She left a lasting impression of God on my heart.

"Some people touch our 
lives only briefly...
while others leave a
 lasting impression and
 are never forgotten." 
                            
 from...  FRIENDS
 are the family we
 choose for ourselves.
A Book of Quotations For Friends