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Monday, November 30, 2015

Just a thought: A Home for the Father

Leaves nip playfully
At each other
As they scamper across the yard
Without a thought
Dancing to the wind’s melody.

I watch
Wistfully wondering
When I last
So unconsciously
Moved with the music
Of God’s calling.

I fall to my knees.

Is. 66:1-2
Thus says the Lord:
"Heaven is My throne,
and earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
For all those things My hand has made,
and all those things exist,"
says the Lord.
"But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and who trembles at My word."

A few weeks ago we hosted a couple in our home.  Roy and I were both excited as we prepared for their stay.  We cleaned their room, added fresh linen and shook out the curtains. We dusted behind, underneath, even in little nooks and crannies. The bathroom sparkled and new soaps were put out. We laid a basket on the bed with towels, washcloths, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Roy added shaving needs & Popular Mechanic as I put in chocolates, water, their favorite snacks and small welcome gifts. We were assured when they arrived they would be comfortable and cozy.

The Lord is asking us “Where is My place of rest?” and I had to stop to ask myself what I have done to welcome Him?  Just as we find out what makes our friends feel comfortable in our homes, we much also learn about heaven to welcome our Father with a home-like atmosphere.  Did I lay the chocolate on the bed, clean the bathroom, and change the sheets? In other words, have I cleaned up my life, watched the way I’ve spoken to others, the language I’ve used?  Have I offered a hand in love for no other reason than it is what Christ would do?  Have I set aside foolish thoughts and set my mind on Heaven.  Have I made my life to be an invitation for Jesus to abide with me? 

When Jesus said “on earth as it is in Heaven”, He was telling us that He longs for places on earth that reminds Him of heaven and where He feels at home. Bill Johnson says, “Prayer and radical obedience make such places possible. Everything we do, from raising healthy families to preaching the Gospel, from praying for the sick to leading people to Christ, is all done to complete this glorious assignment: Pray and obey until this world looks, thinks and acts like His world.” There is no amount of cleaning, no gifts; nothing we can build that will impress God. He created the entire universe.

It seems though that there is one thing Isaiah shares with us that will attract His favor: “On this one will I look (esteem or respect)…Him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at My word.” Fear and Awe of the Word. Showing true reverence.

In John 14:23, Jesus replies, "All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them." I read that this is one of the few place in the Bible where the plural pronoun is used to describe God.  So, in other words, when we open up to His Word, seek to be reverent, develop a sense of awe and begin to tremble as we breathe it in, the Triune God Himself will come into our lives, willing to make His home with us. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Just a thought: A Transformed Life

Luke 7:36-38 Mary of Bethany

Esth 1:6 “In the King’s Palace….There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise and white and black marble”.

She heard of Him on the streets, but how could she get to Him? No-one would let her, a town harlot, close to such a man. She looked at herself in the mirror. What a mess. Who would receive her? But this was not an option. She had to find a way. He was the only One who could save her.

I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve looked in that same mirror.  I’ve witnessed that same face gazing back at me; searching for someone or something to fill the void. I spent years running away from God. Though there were circumstances that led me to that point, I also knew it wasn’t what I wanted or needed. One day, I had enough and I turned back to the One who loved me most.  It wasn’t easy to break away from that lifestyle and I grieved the friends and family I left behind, nevertheless there was imminent death in staying.   CeCe Winans says, “You don’t know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box.” I beat myself up for wasting all those years…but Jesus was waiting with open arms and forgiveness.  That image in the mirror was altered that very day.

Mary knew if she could just get to where Jesus was she could turn her life around. She gathered her cloak around her and grabbed her Alabaster Box. Night after night she poured her worth into that incredibly beautiful vessel.  It was valued at a year’s wages, yet it would be worth it to know freedom from this pain; to be of significance to someone. Mary of Bethany ran to the home of the Pharisee where she heard He was having dinner. She stopped, taking a deep breath. Fear gripped her. She stood at the entrance until she got the strength to burst in, race across the room and fall at His feet. Shame flushed her face as she heard the whispers around her and humbled, she lowered her head to pour out everything she had from her treasured box. Her tears rained down as she kissed His feet and dried them with her hair. His affection wrapped around her as He forgave her and bid her to go in peace. She raised up to see eyes that burned with joy at her sacrifice and she turned to leave…a life transformed. Her empty jar filled once again; this time with hope, faith and love.

Sometimes we just need to pour ourselves out until there is nothing left but an empty vessel, get low enough to grab His feet and allow Jesus to fill us back up again; that we can become like the woman with the jars of oil…and never run out of His Spirit to share.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Rock

The Legend behind Kit Mikayi, which in Luo dialect means "the stone of the first wife" is that long time ago, there was an old man by the Ngeso who was in great love with the stone. Every day when he woke up in the morning, he could walk into the cave inside the stone and stay there the whole day and this could force his wife to bring him breakfast and lunch everyday.  The old man became passionately in love with this stone to the extent that when people asked his wife his whereabouts, she would answer that he has gone to his first wife (Mikayi) hence the stone of the first wife (Kit Mikayi). An explanation of the shape of this unique stone in that the structure represents the Luo cultural polygamous family which had the first wife's hours (Mikayi) built further in between on the right hand side was the second wife's house (Nyachira) while the third wife's house (Reru) was built onthe left hand side of the homestead.

This rock is also seen to have a nuclear family whereby the father (Ngeso) being the middle stone followed by the bulky Mikayi (first wife), then Nyachira (second wife) followed by Reru (third wife) and further in front they have the child which is representing Simba (which is the house for the first born boy in the homestead). From a long time, this stone has been a sacred place for the villagers to worship in times of trouble. (Wikipedia)

A rock sounds like an easy climb. But 40m high takes a bit to get there. Especially for 2 city dwellers in flip flops not used to climbing! Confident I could do anything my 30 year old counterparts could do I set off, arms swinging as I started the ascent. Soon the little path ended and all that was ahead was rock and a few little branches from the bushes around me. Concerned for Roy’s knees, which are not good, and with the hope he would need to turn back I looked behind me. But no, there he was head down and forging ahead. I sighed. I was doomed to hike the distance. One foot before the other, my eyes clinging to the highest rock like a child to her mother I grasped and stretched on. We passed intercessory groups on ledges, praying for Kenya and her people. It gave me strength as their voices filled my senses. I felt arms pulling me, hands pushing me; I was scraped and bruised and laughing hysterically when I finally heard the sweetest of sounds. “We are there”. I straightened, determined to look like it was no big deal and a sight such as I’ve never seen captured me and rendered me silent.
We stood, taking in the beauty, until we could be silent no more. We praised God for His Glory, His creativeness, for His love and worshiped over the land spread out before us.
Isn't that just like our walk with God? Our call, our purpose seems so lofty when He first presents it to us. We cast our eyes to the Kingdom we are from and hold on for dear life. god is always opening up a new level to us and we must stretch, beyond our endurance sometimes. Along the way, we meet those that encourage, pray and invigorate our hearts that we may continue the climb. There are those times we feel them pushing and pulling us so we don't get weary in the well doing. And as we reach each new point we hear the sweetest of words, "We are there". Time for a breath; time for worship ad thanksgiving as we ready ourselves for the scramble up the next set of rocks.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Memories of New Beginnings

Today I was remembering the reasons we began providing certain things through ESM for the missionaries to share with those they serve. When we first began this ministry, we weren’t sure what God was asking us to do. It seemed too lofty, too out of our hands & too ridiculous to assume we could do it. Of course…it is! But God. Little by Little, year by year He has led us into new fathoms of helping missionaries with supplies for their people.
The very first thing I remember was Roy waking up one day and telling me he dreamed of handing out IPods filled with an audio Bible, worship music and sermons. Without wasting a moment he bought a book called “IPods for Dummies” and an old Ipod and learned how to refurbish them. That began a ministry which has spanned country after country and supplied the Word of God to many that would not hear it otherwise.  Many of our missionaries ask to have one for their own possession (which we happily provide) and after 2 years will finally have gone through everything and ask for it to be updated. That one item grew into providing laptops, computer centers for orphanages or women’s centers, E-readers with a 200 book library & now IPhones are beginning to replace the antiquated IPods.
Our 1st mission trip together after forming ESM was to Uganda.  While there we visited a village called Bombo.  We took medicines and held a clinic. We visited the school and then the new hospital where we were shown around by the doctor. He was so proud of the ‘birthing room’ where they had just received electricity, a table and a bed.


When we returned from this trip, we knew ESM was to supply a comfortable, safe and sanitary way for these people to have babies. We began collecting medical supplies from hospitals and local clinics as well as meeting with a mid-wife to secure information on midwife kits. Eventually God brought creative teams that added baby blankets, onesies, booties, hats, rattles and then recently a momma’s bag with a bible, journal, grooming and fun girlie supplies.
One day innocently reading through an old missionary book of letters, I came across one that forever changed me. It touched my heart in such a way that I have not forgotten in these past many years. After reading it, I have always tucked a doll in every box we ship. 

One night, in Central Africa, I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all that we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying, two-year-old daughter.
We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive. We had no incubator. We had no electricity to run an incubator, and no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts.
A student-midwife went for the box we had for such babies and for the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly, in distress, to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. “…and it is our last hot water bottle!” she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk; so, in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over a burst water bottle. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. All right,” I said, “Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can; sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.”
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with many of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chilled. I also told them about the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt consciousness of our African children. “Please, God,” she prayed, “send us a water bottle. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, the baby’ll be dead; so, please send it this afternoon.” While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of corollary, ” …And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?” As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, “Amen?” I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything: The Bible says so, but there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time that I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large twenty-two pound parcel! I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone; so, I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then, there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children began to look a little bored. Next, came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas – – that would make a nice batch of buns for the weekend. As I put my hand in again, I felt the…could it really be? I grasped it, and pulled it out. Yes, “A brand-new rubber, hot water bottle!” I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!” Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone: She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, “Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?”
That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday School class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. One of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child — five months earlier in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it “That afternoon!” “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24  
One year after reading the story, Roy & I went to work with missionaries in Uganda (again) and I met a little girl named Rachel. Rachel had a bag of rocks. She took that bag everywhere and was kind enough to share them with me. When I came home, I showed my friend Mechelle the pictures and told her about Rachel’s Rocks. She decided all young children should have a doll rather than a bag of rocks and started sewing Little Scraps of Love from left over material. We put one in each backpack as well as shipping one in each box of medical supplies or midwife kits. 

One of our biggest dreams is that through our website, blog and even Facebook page, our missionary friends will begin to share not only their testimonies, but their dreams and concerns and that by connecting they will be privy to many new or untouched resources available to them. At the same time Roy & I will expand ESM by providing as many resource options as possible!

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Dad

(I wrote this a few years ago but some things never change - they just get better)

You have taught me
the honesty of George Washington
the unprejudiced of Abe Lincoln
the forward thinking of JFK
the fight of Eisenhower

You have shown me
the brilliance of Einstein
the character of Christ
the heart of Mother Teresa
the unconditional love of a Father

You have encouraged me when I was disheartened & been the shelter I could run to in times of hurt and loss.  You have always been there for me during the laughter and tears.  You have shown me through your actions how to be a true friend, parent and spouse.  Though I’ve not learned the art of portraying the unconditional spirit you love us all with, I continue to pray that one day I will.

You have been an incredible example of how a man should live and love and play and pray.  Your strength of character – steadfast in goodness – is unsurpassed.  I am continually thankful to a God who would give me such a leader in my life.  You have taught me that people are more important than tasks.

We have had the greatest discussions and solved so many world problems in the middle of the night.  You’ve enthralled me with stories of our family’s history and we’ve grown together through the character of your ancestors.  We’ve counseled each other –good or bad- it was all fun.  I pray that this year you will receive as much as you have given and more. You are an excellent Dad.  I have learned more from you than anyone in my life and have loved you with the same intensity.

My Dad’s been visiting this week. I have been blessed to have known him for over 50 years now and I’ve laid everything aside to spend every minute I can soaking up the stories and listening to his voice.  I remember once Dad telling me that when Grandpa passed away the one thing he missed was hearing him tell the tales he had heard a million times before; I don’t want to miss a thing.  We’ve been great friends all my life.  I can tell him anything and visa versa.  He is proud of everything I do; he champions all our causes, gets behind the ministry and cheers us on from behind the scenes.   We don’t always agree on politics but we wax eloquent for our ‘side’ and laugh as we move on to the next thing.  What we have no control over doesn’t matter.  What do matter are our values and how much we love each other.  In 3 days he will leave again for another year.  We’ll cling to each other’s voice over the phone, knowing that if anything happens we have loved unconditionally. 

I am blessed, to know an earthly love that exemplifies a heavenly love.  And yet…not as much still.  God loves us even more.  How can that be?  I marvel at God’s heart for us.  It is so all-encompassing.  We can enjoy His presence in every step of our lives.  Wherever we go, He is there.  He IS love (1john4:8), and that love is ‘manifest in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him’ (1john 4:9) Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39).  That is enough, yet there is more.  More love, more forgiveness, more kindness, more provision…He is omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresence and omni-more!

Two Fathers, Two incredible Loves – one temporal, one Eternal.  Thank you to the One(s) who loves me most!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stones of Remembrance

Lately, the Lord has had me go back through the Words He has given me over the years. Encouraging me to continue to race; exhorting me not to give up, comforting me in my weariness. It has been a month of pulling up my boot straps, reminding myself this is HIS call on my life as well as HIS timing. I've worn a path in the road between I'm all in and I just want to be one with the couch. IT's never just about learning the task part of the call; I've also had to learn how to run this race without being the one in control. 

Well, we've all been there.

When I read this blog today, I realize WHY He took me back; WHY He reminded me of the WHY. Going back over the "Stones of Remembrance' set me on my face again; weeping for the nations, crying out for the missionaries daring it all for the sake of the Gospel; embracing the mantel placed on my shoulders and choosing to get on with it! As it says in The Message, "Strip down, start running and never quit.  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - He could put up with anything along the way..."

So I share it with you...just in case you are also in a place of needing to remember the WHY!

Marilyn - 6/14/15
When I was four years old, my parents thought they may not be able to continue living in Pakistan.
They were tired. They were discouraged. They felt they had seen so little, for so much work. Mom and Dad were getting ready to go on a furlough and wisely decided not to make a decision until they had reached the United States and had a chance to process and rest.
It was while at a summer linguistics course that my dad had a renewed sense of purpose, a reawakening of his ‘call.’ While reading the book of Acts, he was struck by this work that began so long ago: The work of reaching out with the message of the gospel.
I learn this as I begin to reread my mom’s book. It is a book about the mission work that was started in the Sindh area of Pakistan by my parents mission, soon after Pakistan’s birth and independence. It is a fascinating history full of names and people who I know. Not only does it read as a historical account, it also gives me insight into my parents as a young couple, beginning with a journey by ship to this new country.
I read about my dad building a septic system with one page of simple instructions; about how three couples with five kids between them lived in two rooms; about a Hindu friend bringing them keys one night to a new house, urging them to “Quick, come put the lock on so Muslim neighbors don’t take it!
I read about death and discouragement, about times of miscommunication and trial, about raising a family in a country far different from the one they left.
I read, and I remember.
There were times when my parents were deeply discouraged, and I see that through the book. Sometimes discouragement was soul deep; so deep that they felt they could no longer live overseas. But then they would remember – remember what brought them there, remember what had transpired, remember the day-to-day strength as well as the extraordinary miracles that happened. There was strength in remembering.
In the Old Testament book of Joshua, the Lord tells Joshua to choose 12 men, one from each tribe. They are to go and pick up a stone from the middle of the Jordan River, at the spot where the priests were carrying the Ark of the Covenant. They were to carry the stones to the place where the people would spend the night. There they would put them down to serve as a sign. These were stones of remembrance. They served as a sign to the people present and to future generations.
“In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever….Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.” Joshua 4:6,7,9
I don’t know where you are today or what is going on in your life. I know that it is the end of the school year and many of you are packing up and saying goodbye. Others are staying, you are the ones left behind. Some of you may be wondering why you’ve wasted your life in the hard places, others may be weeping that you have to leave those same places. Some of you may be facing a difficult decision, a decision that demands head and heart: “Should we stay? Should we go?” Others may have no choice in the matter, a crisis demands that you leave what you love.
No matter where you find yourself today, I urge you to remember.
What are the stones of remembrance in your life? What rocks can you point to, stones of surety that declare “God was here.” What can you list that point to a life of faith, built on a stone foundation? Was it a visa that came at the last-minute? A job that fit your gifts and skill set that you know laid the foundation for you to be able to go? Was it that sense of dread, and then peace, knowing something wasn’t quite right and finally finding out what it was – and you knew God had prepared you? Was it a time of meditation, where you knew beyond doubt that you were in the right place, making the right decision – whether staying or leaving? What are your stones of remembrance?
Gather those stones, put them down in writing, so that you too can tell future generations “This is why we are here.”Because it’s good to remember.
“But first, remember,remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain. the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the sign which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay not attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.” CS Lewis in The Silver Chair from the Chronicles of Narnia Series. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A New Day

Well, after taking a couple of months off of blogging I've decided to try this again. 

Roy & I initially set this page up so missionaries could share ideas, suggestions and information with each other, however facebook has created an incredible outlet for that to happen, so we haven't needed this blog. 

However, while deciding what to do, I found I love to write and it gave me that outlet as well so you may get a taste of both!! 

It's also a great way to share the many resources that I find with those of you not on FaceBook!! So, now I am going to take a bit of time to redesign and in the meantime share some of the great thing I come across willy-nilly. 

You can help, by posting your own 'finds' that may help short or long term missionaries - especially great if you are a missionary and by default have tried such 'finds'. 

Here are a few links I'm adding to our Resource page on the website. website provides a plethora of information on resources (in many different languages).  The resources are listed in alphabetical order by topic. impact offers hosted Oases of rest and renewal for International Workers, Pastors, and other Christian leaders. Here is the link to the Oases of Rest:

If you have never visited our website the link is at and the link to our facebook page, ESM beCAUSE is at

Saturday, February 7, 2015

10 Things Missionaries Won’t Tell You

This may not pertain to everyone...and some may be a little overboard; however I love the tongue in cheek approach as well as the honesty!

This post from Adam Mosley has been making the rounds online, spreading like wildfire. I appreciate the honesty within this article. There is really a lot of truth to it. Although I cannot say that I agree on every point, it does bring to light some of the many difficulties we face on the mission field.
Being a missionary is hard work. Everybody knows that. But the things we think of as the hard parts—lack of modern amenities, exposure to disease, and the like—only begin to scratch the surface of the difficulties of real missionary life. Often, it is the things left unsaid that really begin to erode the passion and soul of a missionary. Here are just a few of those things…

Have you read my latest newsletter?
Newsletters, blog posts, website updates – all the “experts” tell me that I need to be sending you fresh content on a regular basis so you won’t forget about me. But here’s the thing…writing is hard, especially for those who aren’t natural writers. You know what else is hard? HTML, CSS, PHP, and a bunch of other tech-geek stuff that you have to learn about just to make a decent-looking website or email. I really want to tell you what’s going on, but it’s hard to turn out gripping narratives while I have a sick child asleep in my lap. And if I have to look up how to code a “mailto” link one more time, I’m going to scream!

Thank you so much for the encouragement!
I’m glad that you liked my Facebook status. I really am. The thing is, when I say we need $1,200 by the end of the week to pay the school fees for orphaned children, I’m talking about actual dollars and actual need. Contrary to the rumors, Bill Gates doesn’t donate a dollar for every Like. That part is up to you. So, the next time you Like my status, consider sending a few bucks my way too.

I’m trusting God to provide, and I’m so thankful for our donors.
Lest you think #2 sounded a little whiny and money-hungry, you should know that I truly despise asking for money. I always have. And now I have to ask for it almost all the time. Even when I’m not asking for it, I’m thinking about asking for it. There are never enough funds to do all the good I’m trying to do, and I live with a nagging feeling that the one person I don’t ask is the one who would have written the big check. So, when I ask for money, know that I do so with fear and trembling.

Please pray for me. It has been a challenging week.
Things are pretty bad here. If I told you what’s really going on, you would either come rescue me, or think I was exaggerating. If you heard some of the things I’ve said out loud, you might question my salvation. If you knew some of the thoughts I’ve had rattling around in my head, you might question my sanity. Sometimes good days are hard to come by, but I don’t dare tell you the worst. If I did, you would probably tell me to throw in the towel.

I just need a time of refreshing.
After 2 or 3 years of hard work, most people feel like they deserve a little break. Take the family to the beach. Visit a theme park, a national park, or Park City. I would love a vacation, but honestly, I feel guilty “pampering” myself, rather than putting all my time and resources into the ministry. On top of that, I know some people will judge me if my vacation is “too nice.” If I scrape and save pennies for 5 years so I can spend a week on an exotic island, you’ll never hear about it, because I can’t handle the snarky, “It must be nice” comments (the ones you’ll say to my face), or, “My donations paid for your vacation” (which you’ll think, but not say out lout – at least not to me). So, I keep some great stuff to myself for fear of being judged.

I’m so excited about your team coming!
Bless your heart. You think you’re doing me a favor. Thirty people show up at my door and expect me to provide transportation, food, lodging, sight-seeing, and a list of service projects a mile long. You’re here to “help.” The thing is, the other 51 weeks out of the year, we manage to do what needs to be done here just fine. That is, except for the time we spend working on the logistics for your team. You come over and want to help build a fence, when I can hire local workers to build a fence for a tiny fraction of what you spent to come here. I appreciate your desire to help, and I even love having visitors, but consider the size and expectations of your group before you plan your trip. A team of 3 or 4 highly skilled people is much more valuable to our ministry than a gaggle of mission tourists.

It’s great to be back home.
Please understand, I now have two homes. When I’m at one, I’m away from the other, and there is a lot of emotion involved in that. On top of that, my life is absolutely crazy when I go “home.” I have to see relatives and friends, visit with partner churches, and take care of any number of issues that have arisen with my health, my electronic devices, and my government paperwork. Whether it’s a few weeks or a few months, I spend my time living out of suitcases and hustling from one appointment to the next. Is it good to be home? Sure. But when I get on that plane to go to my other home, I breathe a sigh of relief that life is almost back to “normal.”

I’m not very good at self-care.
Let’s face it, I’m no saint. I’m not any more spiritual than you are. I don’t start my day with three hours of devotional reading and prayer. I typically just get up and get to work. And there is a lot of work to be done. In fact, there is so much need here that it’s really easy to become so focused on doing things for God that I lose sight of God himself. In pursuing my calling, I’ve somehow forgotten about the caller. My spiritual life is almost nonexistent, other than the occasional desperate cry of “Why God?”

I’m just looking for some good strategic partners.
There are good people here, there really are. But I have seen the worst of humanity in my work here – much of it from people I worked with and trusted. Other missionaries and pastors can be the worst. Just when you think you know someone, they stab you in the back, the front, and both sides. I’ve gotten to where I simply don’t trust anyone. My guard is up, and it’s not coming down. I refuse to get burned again. If that means I have to do everything myself, then so be it.

I’m OK – just really busy with the ministry.
Having neglected my relationship with God, and given up on people entirely, I’m left with just me. I hate it. I want to quit. I have dreams about what my life would be like if I went back to my old home town, to my old church, and my old friends. I could get a normal job earning a salary – with healthcare and paid vacation. I could shop and eat at normal places. Most of all, I could have normal relationships. But here? I’m all alone. I don’t know if there’s anyone like me here, and I know no one back home understands. I want to feel wanted, invited, and loved. I want someone to pour into me the way I’m pouring into others.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Resources: Financial Advice from Christian Organizations, Websites and Books

Crown Financial Ministries

Equipping people worldwide to learn, apply, and teach God's financial principles so they may know Christ more intimately, and be free to serve Him. 
Crown Financial Ministries has many resources regarding financial principles for Christians.

Dave Ramsey 
Dave Ramsey specializes in advising people on how to get out of debt. He has a lot of good resources regarding financial advice. I hear he is an elder in his church. He has a program on secular television and radio stations. 

The ABC's of Financial Freedom 
a book by 
Barry L. Cameron 
The book may also be bought at

Carolyn Castleberry 
Author, broadcast journalist, TV co-host, investor, and multi-faceted speaker, Carolyn brings a unique biblical perspective to life's everyday issues.

Christian Financial Advice 
James L. Paris 
Christian Financial Counseling, Financial Resources from James L. Paris 
Help for Christians With Money, Financial Issues, Investing and Debt Reduction

Christian Financial Counseling, Inc. 
Mahlon Hetrick 
Family Money Management God's Way 
a book by Mahlon L. Hetrick 
may be found at

Christian Money Sense 
The purpose of this web site is to give you information and insight into the World of Investment and Finance from a Christian perspective. The purpose of this web site is to provide its users with pertinent information in the confusing world of finance always remembering that God is in control and through Him all things are possible.

Dwight Nichols 
"God’s Plans for your Finances" is a book by Dwight Nichols. Read it and see why freedom from debt has value in todays society. Yes we all struggle and fail. But God does have a plan and when we accept this then he can help us through the painful honest feeling about debt and recovery.

Eldorado Financial 
This web site has some useful information and advice.

Eternal Perspective Ministries 
Randy Alcorn 
Randy Alcorn has written some books on finances including 
"The Treasure Principle."
Five-Star Living on a Two-Star Budget: Living Big on Only a Little by Margaret Feinberg and Natalie Nichols Gillespie 
This book may be bought at

Frugal Homemaker 
This website’s purpose is to encourage you with creative and practical strategies for managing your resources, including money, material goods and time.

Generous Giving 
Our mission is to motivate followers of Jesus Christ toward greater biblical generosity. (Why should we give?) 
Our vision is the hearts and minds of God’s people transformed for revolutionary generosity. Our message proclaims the joy of giving—not out of duty or guilt, but out of gratitude for salvation in Christ. We are guided by these key verses, and our teachings are summarized in Randy Alcorn’s book The Treasure Principle or the audio CD Generous Giving 101.

Generous Giving Links Please see the different links on this web site. There is a lot of usefull information on finances on this web site. Please see the links: Audio Video, Books, Curricula, Links, Periodicals and others.

Living Rich for Less 
is a book by Ellie Kay. 
She has about six other books on finances.
Money, Purpose, Joy: The Proven Path to Uncommon Financial Success a book by Matt Bell

Money Saving Mom is an upbeat and encouraging blog dedicated to helping you find great deals, stretch your hard-earned dollars, and live on less than you make so you can save more and give more. I'm glad to have you here! 

The New Economic Disorder, Revised and Updated a book by Larry Bates 
It is available from 
America is in the midst of a serious financial crisis-unemployment is
up, homes are going into foreclosure, and every day it costs more and more just to get by. Economist Larry Bates understands the serious problems we face and in The New Economic Disorder he reveals the five powerful, dangerous, and unstoppable forces that are causing it. But with clarity and confidence, he turns to the Bible to help us to understand that there is a permanent, lasting solution to all our chronic economic ills.

Regency Foundation 
Dan Celia is a financial counsellor with some financial resources for Christians. He also has a radio program on finances.

Ronald Blue & Co. 
Ronald Blue has some good books on financial advice for Christians. 
Please see his resources link on his home page. 
Please also see the link “Books recommended by Ronald Blue” at 

Sound Mind Investing 
Sound Mind Investing is an online and printed newsletter for Christian families regarding investment advice.. 
Larry Burkett of Crown Financial Ministries used to recommend Sound Mind Investing over a period of years.

Stewardship Solutions 
A ministry of Back to the Bible on Stewardship - Advancing Biblical Principles of Stewardship Our purpose is to advance the biblical principles of stewardship and to assist your estate and gift design. On the web site are many excellent resources you'll enjoy looking into. Stewardship Solutions Update is available by e-mail after subscribing on the web site.

The Storehouse Principle: A Revolutionary God Idea for Creating Extraordinary 
Financial Stability by Al Jandl, Van Crouch 
This book may be bought at

Resources for Solving & Preventing IRS Problems 
Dan Pilla is an advocate of taxpayers' rights, IRS abuse prevention and cure and problems resolution.