Thursday, December 5, 2013


Don't you just get tired sometimes? I sure do! This post may relate to more of my "M" friends more than others, but I will let the Holy Spirit encourage whomever He chooses. The bottom line is that all of us get tired. Whether we are a working mom, stay at home mom, serve in full time or part time ministry, or in my case in overseas ministry. As followers of Christ, sometimes we just get tired. Life is hard, even when we live in so called easy places. Don't ever let the place fool you. Satan is a liar and a thief no matter where we live. The grass is not always greener in a different pasture, as a matter of fact, if it is greener, that just means there is more manure.

Well, whoever my audience is, this girl is tired. I'm tired of sickness and death. I'm tired of Satan's lies. I'm tired of my stupid feelings and emotions trying to dictate my joy. I'm tired of inward and outward battles (so grateful I don't have many, cause they sure wear me out). I'm tired of being away from people I love (physically, not emotionally). I'm tired of hearing all the bad in the world. And I'm sick and tired of sin, that so easily entangles me and those I love. When a southern girl says she is sick and tired, not just sick, or just tired, but sick and tired, you better watch out. So watch out Satan, you are the enemy, you are defeated and you are going down!!!

Okay enough, I didn't begin this post to rant, but to rave. To rave about God. To rave about His grace and goodness, especially the unexpected graces and mercies. I had an amazing time with the Lord in His Word today. I surrendered a few things that I have been holding on to, cleared out a shkaff or two (we don't have closets, we have wardrobes or shkaffs)in my heart. But that is a whole 'nother blog of it's own. I wish this auto correct would stop trying to tell me what I am trying to say. This Mississippi/Russian girl has a language all her own. Lord have mercy! (It's perfectly okay for southern women to say, "Lord, have mercy", so quit yer judgin')Especially if you follow it up with "Yes, He does."

Anyways, back to the purpose for my post today. Michael went to the post office and we had something super duper special in there. A letter from our girl. If you don't know our girl, then you are truly missing out. Our girl is Grace aka Gracie...Grace Marie...Gracie pie...Gracie poo...princess...girly girl...mess pot...sunshine...well, you get the idea. Grace is our 20 year old daughter. The most important thing you need to know about Gracie is that she is the ultimate servant and encourager. I mean seriously like you have never seen. She loves people, but she loves Jesus more. She is passionate about Him and those she loves and those she has never even met. She is just plain passionate. She hurts, loves and lives deeply. I'm sure if you look really hard really long you could find her faults, but don't tell me if you do, cause I will fight you over my kids (that's another southern thang.) Again, that is also not why I am posting today.

So back to the purpose...Grace is a Junior in college, so she has been out of our home now for over 2 years. We just had our first holidays without her, and actually one of the first without our older boys and our first without our grandboy, Eli. Our kids have seen,experienced, and done more than most adults my age (or your age if you are older than me). They were 12, 10, 6 and 2 when we left the states for the mission field. That was some 14 years ago. One of the things that I was most thankful for this year was/is our adult children's attitude to our life of service overseas, when they were here with us as children, and when we abandoned them in the states to return to the field without them...for over 7 years now, this has been our life and our feelings at times, and yes, I still well up with tears every time we leave, and every time I think or write about it. It's just not gonna go away, ever. One by one, we have taken our children back to the states to college. We still have Caleb until 2015 and don't you think this mama ain't already crying about it, being intentional with the time we got and feeding my soul with truth for the ensuing battle. We have experienced missed holidays,weekends, washing their dirty clothes from college, birthdays, spring breaks, missed big events (not many), watching them struggle in various ways, and even sometimes listening to Satan's lies that their struggles are our fault somehow (the joys of parenthood, right?) I am really trying to put into practice what my mama once said to me (after raising six of us hoodlems) "No credit; No blame" she said it joking, but I don't think she was joking. I am blessed to say that If I wanted to, I could really have a problem with pride and brag like no other and take alot of "credit", because we really do have the most amazing kids. His grace is so marvelous, and I know this very well. So back to the point...

I asked Grace if she minded if I shared part of her letter as an encouragement to someone who might need it, like I needed so much today. If you know me, you know I love to give and share (unless it is a pack of chips or some sort of salty snack; I will buy you your own, but I will not share mine, sorry) She said if I felt like it would be an encouragement to others, of course. It was written 2 months ago, and we just got it in the mail, this also makes it super special, when she could have just emailed it: I pray it is encouraging to your heart as if she wrote it specifically to you !!!

Mommy, Daddy and Caleb! AHHHH! :) <3 (HEART) and MWAH (something I made up years ago (it's a kiss) I love y'all so much! Thank you for serving the Lord faithfully! Remember to not ever forget the urgency for the Gospel to be spread among all the nations and tongues! Thank you for teaching me what this kind of obedience looks like. I really don't think words could ever express my gratitude. Praising the Lord for y'alls lives and the things He has done in and through y'all and what He will continue to do! I miss y'all so much...I miss being with a family and in y'alls home...I miss all of us all together and the classic moments we would all have. I think, though, that how much I miss you must attest to the fact that we have the best family in the world. PRAISE THE LORD! Three months has actually flown by so 6 more will do the same...Keep pushing on to the goal and the prize...There is nothing else to live for on this earth, except that people may hear, repent, live and have everlasting life with Christ. She ends it with 1 Corinthians 9:24-27- RUN THE RACE AND FINISH WELL; SO OTHERS MAY HEAR AND LIVE! lOVE YALL BUNCHES <3 (HEART) Forever Gracie <3 (another heart) FEEL BIG OLE HUGS (I think she managed to get just a little southern in here even though she was raised in Russia) And to think I was worried about that at one time BAHAHAHA!!

I know, isn't it precious? I can't tell you how many prayers I have prayed for our children to grow up to love Jesus, love people, love telling people of all tongues about Jesus, and for them to have a clear understanding of why we did what we did and do what we do.

After I read this letter, I had a really long good cry (yes, it's okay to have a "good" cry) I have alot of "good" cries. I wanted to share it today, because I want you to understand that when we are obeying the Lord, wherever we are at, or how old our children or, or whether you have children or not, It is going to be OKAY. He is going to do above what we could ever hope or imagine and whatever is necessary in our life and the lives of those around us, especially those we are telling about Jesus, wherever we are. If by chance your young or adult children aren't at a place in their lives where they are able to tell you, then just know that God is speaking TRUTH to you through our girl: There is nothing, absolutely nothing more important than your relationship with Jesus, continuing on, finishing well, persevering for the cause of the Gospel.

I read this in my Bible study this week: "Mercy morphs into depression when we take God's responsibility instead of our possibility."

It doesn't lessen our responsibility as parents, as believers, as servants, but it also doesn't put us in the position of God. We simply cannot choose for others, but we must choose to obey ourselves, and leave the rest up to Him. He is trustworthy. He can and will handle it.

A note to those doing hard things for Jesus or considering it: If we have young children, or teenage children or adult children, the best thing we can do for our children is to live a life of obedience to Christ. There is no greater joy. He is enough! He is with us and He will never forsake us, or our children. I get sick and tired (uh oh, watch out) of reading blogs or notes from missionaries talking about being sorry about what their children had to give up or go through. That's baloney. That's ridiculous. My daddy didn't ask my permission to be a mechanic. Our parents didn't have a family meeting and ask us if it would be alright with us to buy a 30,000 laying hen egg farm, or a 3 acre stumpfield for a garden, or ask my husband if it would be alright to run a dairy farm. For heaven's sakes, parents, be parents and quit compensating for the choices you are making, especially the "following Jesus wherever He leads" ones. And while you are at it, stop apologizing for it too. It's really embarrassing, especially for your kids. Someday they will thank you, and if not, just come back and read Grace's letter. Better yet, just imagine Jesus' words: "Well done, my good and faithful servant." He is our reward !! FINISH WELL, MY FRIENDS


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

God Always Gets It Right


When we worry over things, circumstances, or people in our lives, we are testifying to the fact that God might not get something right, or afraid He will get it wrong. This is an indication that we have not totally surrendered every area of our life to Him. No matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise, It is really a trust issue with God, not our circumstances, choices those we love make, finances, government, or bosses. He is ready to forgive us of distrust, worry and fear, but we first have to admit them as sin, and walk in obedience to believe Him in all.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” Jesus Christ in John 14:1

When we are bitter or unforgiving toward circumstances, or people in our lives, we are testifying to the fact that God got something wrong, or afraid He can’t make it right. We especially struggle with things that are beyond our control, like harmful actions of others, accidents, illnesses, tragedies or even death, and if not careful, they can make us bitter and unforgiving. We must remember that God is sovereign, and He has allowed whatever has come into our lives. We live in a sinful world, we are sinful people. However, He is not capable of mistakes, and He is able to redeem all situations and people to Himself. In His strength, He can heal bitterness and our unforgiving hearts, by confessing them as sin, and asking Him to help us walk in obedience putting away bitterness and living in forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:31-32: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Next time we are tempted to worry, fear, become bitter, or unforgiving, let’s remember these verses, and confess that even in a sin filled world, where sinful man gets things wrong, God gets everything right, and is able to make everything right. Let’s all learn to only trust Him. GOD IS ALWAYS RIGHT!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to be Content


If there is discontentment in our life today, what makes us think we will be more satisfied tomorrow? When our lives are full of grumbling or complaining, it simply shows our lack of trust in God. Contentment will never be dependent on our circumstances, but will always be dependent on our reactions and responses to them. Things may get better, but they could get worse. Make a decision today to seek true contentment. It will not be found in a location, wealth, poverty suffering, blessing, job/wages, stuff, pleasures, good deeds, health, pleasing others, Join me in reading and meditating on these verses and asking God to help us to find perfect peace, which can be found through a surrendered life to Christ alone:

Philippians 4:11-12 “Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”

Luke 3:14 “And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."

Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without grumbling or disputing."

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 “And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.”

Hebrews 13:5 “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,"

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pine nuts for the lost

Today was the monthly brothers (pastors/leaders) meeting for "Z" Region.  Michael brought me some pine nuts from one of the pastors, Ivan N. (grandfather age 63) There are 10 pastors serving in different places scattered all over our region, the size of MS, AL, and GA. Pastor Ivan is the pastor of a small church of about 20 members. They have a passion to reach out to surrounding villages, and have been burdened and doing this for some time. They realized they could do much more if they had a vehicle to get to these places. The men of the group came up with a plan. They decided to harvest pine nuts and sell them. This is hard work, besides their regular jobs to provide for their family. We are unsure how long it took, but they harvested enough of these Pine nuts to earn $2,000 and bought a used Dzhugili (Russian car) to take the Gospel to the surrounding villages. This made me laugh, cry, rejoice, and brought conviction.

How valuable is the Gospel to us?
How long has it been since we were truly burdened for those who have never heard?
Are we praying for the lost?
Are we praying for more laborers?
What are we willing to do to share Christ with others?
What are we willing to give so others can hear and live?
Where are we willing to go to take the greatest news ever told?

Give and go, give and go, so that all the world may know, give and go, give and go, Jesus loves them so !!!
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Friday, August 2, 2013

A great Adventure

Caleb Elias- Age 16

Our son, Caleb, will be heading out on a great adventure soon, though it won't be his first. In reality, his whole life has been one great adventure. He has lived overseas for over 14 years of his life. In that time, he has traveled to almost all the 7 continents, and been to many countries: Russia, Slovenia, Poland, Czech Republic, South Korea, Mexico, Grand Cayman, Latvia, Ukraine, Greece, Turkey, name a few. However, this will be his first great adventure alone.

He will be the first of our family, probably any generation on either side, to travel to the Holy Land. The first to walk where our Saviour walked, as well as his "namesakes". We named him after two Hebrew names: Caleb - Col meaning whole Lev- meaning hearted- faithful, devoted, wholehearted, and Elias- meaning Jehovah is God. His name fits him well. He is faithful, devoted, and sincerely wholehearted, and he boldly proclaims that Jehovah is his God. If I weren't so "over the moon" excited for him, I would be super jealous. Well, to be completely honest; I am quite a tad jealous, jealous yet proud.

Of all of our family, I am pretty sure that I can safely say that it will mean the most to him. He has truly been in love with God's Word since he was born. We always read God's Word to all of our older three children, but he was by far the most excited, anxious and eager to hear God's Word. It was the first book he read, and he hasn't stopped reading it since. From a very young age, I would walk in his room and see him reading Bible story books, His Bible. He wanted to see the places on maps, always a very special connection on his own. He especially enjoyed reading his Bible all those years in "Russian" church. Anyone who has ever visited a Russian service knows they are no shorter than 2 1/2 hrs. He has read the Bible through at least once, maybe more. In the last several years, he has not only enjoyed reading God's Word, but studying it as well.

I am so grateful that he loves God's Word and pray he will continue to love God's Word and obey God, wholeheartedly until he is old and gray (and just as strong in his faith in his old as as in his youth) like Caleb of the Old Testament. I am so grateful that he sought out this opportunity, specifically to visit the Middle East. I hope that all he sees, hears and experiences will draw him even closer to his Lord, and the places he has loved since childhood will "come alive" for him. I pray that he feels an extra special closeness to Christ, the people he may get to meet. I pray he will be bold, strong and courageous, and full of faith, devotion and wholeheartedness to God, in whatever situations he faces, always remembering who he is and whose he is. And I really hope he will take lots of pictures, treasure every person, place and memory in his big ole heart, and bring his mamochka back a really cool souvinir from her "dream" place, and NOT lose his passport.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Man Cannot Live by Bread Alone

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

I promised my readers a story about the Armenian Business men in my post a couple of days ago.

We were doing door to door evangelism in a village near our city. Michael had gone to get the car, so Caleb and I walked up to the next house off the main road. However, it wasn't a house but some sort of business. The metal door was unlocked, so I thought, why not? I slowly pushed open the metal door, and half stepped inside.

To my right, was a large open space, but male voices were coming from my left. I stepped in a little more to look in the direction of the voices. There was a small room off to the left side, and the door was ajar.

At a glance, I could tell there were several men sitting around a table, which sort of surprised me, and my heart jumped a little (Caleb was still out at the gate, so Dad would know where we were) When I looked more closely and they also saw me. I didn't feel a dread or fear, so I said a quick prayer and walked on into the doorway of their small room. I spoke to them, and made eye contact with each of them, and they all spoke back. I was then inside the room. I quickly made a few observations. Well, we were trained in security and contingency. These things come back in situations like this.

They were all men. They were not Russian. The table had some money laying around an one larger stack. There was one man at the head of the table, who had a ledger or some sort of accounting book in front of him, and he had the biggest stack of money, so I spoke directly to him while glancing at the others. I told him that my husband (my big tall, strong protective husband) hahaha-nah, I didn't say that)and son and I were going to every house in the village to give out Bibles, and I saw your business and wanted to give you one too. He quickly said, "I'm Armenian, do you know of Armenia?" I said of course I did, and told him that I knew Armenia was very proud to be a Christian country, and that we had several Armenian friends when we lived in Moscow. Then he said, "Well, I don't read Russian" (with a sheepish grin). I glanced down at his notebook in front of him and said, "Well, you sure speak and write it well." He held out his hand and too the Bible I was handing him. I asked him if he had children and he said he did, so I gave him Children's Bible. Then he waved his hand around the table and said to give them one too. I told them that God had a plan for them, and it is written in His Word, and told them to read for themselves. He said he would love an Armenian Bible and to come back next week and bring him one. I told him that I knew we had some other languages, but that I would tell my husband, and if we had one at our church that he would be happy to bring him one and come and talk to him more about Christianity.

There was one guy standing in the doorway, and after I gave him a Bible, he spoke to me. He said come in here and give her one, walked past me into the open room. At the end of the room, was a Russian lady. By this time, I could smell the fresh bread, and realized it was a bread bakery. He led me over to the lady and she was very cold and distant. (I still think their business was something other than a bread business, but Michael assures me that my imagination has run wild and that Bread is a legitimate business)

I introduced myself and asked her how she stayed so thin, working in a bread factory, the smells were so tempting. She smiled and I talked with her a bit, gave her a Bible and children's Bible.

As I was leaving, the guy asked me to wait, ran over to the bread cart, and got me a loaf of bread, and thanked me for the gifts.

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

We are praying that we will be able to find an Armenian Bible to take back and for those dear men to read the Bibles and have a hunger for God's Word, and see Jesus as the "bread of life" and believe in Him.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Don't Believe in God

A picture from the cemetery overlooking the village where we shared the Gospel Saturday. (notice the graves: the ones with red stars are those who died, and wished to be remembered as loyal communists (unbelievers in God) the ones with Orthodox crosses, wished to be known as Orthodox (believers in God).

During our door to door witnessing in a village near our city Saturday, we met a man who said he was communist.

When he came to the gate, he was smiling. We introduced ourselves and told him we came to his village to make sure he had a Bible and to tell him that God loved him.

He was still smiling, and said, "Oh I am a communist." I said, "Really, great, well, God loves you, and we would like to give you a Bible?"

He looked at me strangely and said, "No, I am a communist, (I guess that had worked for the Jehovah's witnesses who had come before giving out their literature) He continued, "I don't need a Bible."

I said with surprise, "Well, everyone needs a Bible, you just don't know you need it yet." I said, "Does you being a communist also mean that you don't believe there is a God?"

He looked dumbfounded again, and said, "No. I don't believe in God"

I know it is hard to convey in written form, but it was a very pleasant, friendly conversation, with all of us grinning.

Michael jumped in and said, "You know whether you are a communist, or Athiest, or whatever, we are all going to die, and the Bible teaches then there will be a judgement, and you will face God, whether you believe in Him or not."

He said, "But I don't believe in God."

Then I said, "Oh, now I understand, you don't believe in God, ooooh, that is very dangerous for you."

He looked at me, then at Michael and then said,"Well, give me a Bible then." He smiled and thanked us and we walked away.

I love people, I love that man, and I think God will be able to persuade him however way He chooses. "Lord, bless this man with truth as he reads Your Word."