Sunday, August 30, 2009

That Book

I've meant to make this post for 2 weeks. My excuse for not getting it done? Same as always - NOT ENOUGH TIME! School started three weeks ago and I believe it's shaping up to be our best year yet! My class is wonderful! I truly, honestly wake up every morning looking forward to going in and seeing them. I'm privileged to be a part of the most close knit faculty. I quite simply go to work with my family. It's a very special, Spirit-filled place.

In addition, edits on The Heart's Journey Home are almost done! We are getting closer to our destination on this road to being published. Some of it's been a blur. Some of it's been a struggle for me. ALL of it has been a satisfying experience. I've learned more about myself while on this journey, but, most of all, I've grown in my faith. I pray every time I open my document to work more on it that something that I'm writing will touch somebody's heart and lead them on a closer walk with the Lord. Kinda like what happened to me when a speaker came to our church two Sundays ago and told us this story:

"I don't want that book in my house and I don't want you reading it." That's what a father said to his daughter after he found her reading the New Testament that she'd received from a Gideon who'd visited her school earlier that day. The next morning as she sat eating her breakfast, she took it back out and got caught again.

"I thought I told you I don't want that book in my house and I don't want you reading it!" The father snatched the Bible, slipped it into the breast pocket of his shirt and left for work.

He never returned.

You see he was a miner and that day the mine collapsed. Rescue crews worked tirelessly to get to the men before their pocket of oxygen ran out, but they were too late. When they recovered the bodies, they found that miner father holding the small, Gideon Bible in his hands open to the Confession of Faith that is found in every Gideon Bible. It states: Confessing to God that I am a sinner, and believing that the Lord Jesus Christ died for my sins on the cross and was raised for my justification, I now receive and confess Him as my personal Saviour. After that confession of faith, the rescue workers found the SIGNATURE OF THAT MINER FATHER. Under his name, they found the NAMES OF THE SIX OTHER MINERS AS WELL!

I'm sure I didn't tell this story as effectively as Gideon Jess Dillon did, but how could you not be moved by this story? By the obvious way in which the Lord worked through the Gideon and the daughter, but also what struck me is that the Lord met those 7 men at their deepest, darkest hour. He was there when they signed their names and He was there when they took their last breaths. He didn't give up on them. There wasn't a time limit.

Shouldn't it be our constant mission as Christians? To reach out to the lost? To do our best to help them reach for Jesus before it is too late? It's not always easy to do, especially if they are even remotely different from us. We're so much more comfortable reaching out to fellow believers, but Jesus Himself said that he didn't come for the believers but for the lost. The Gideon people reach out to the lost. Missionary families like the Whited family that I wrote about in my last post are actively pursuing that goal, too, in a big way. I recently met the mother of a little boy in Olivia's Kindergarten class and am blown away by how the Lord is using her as a prayer warrior. She is reaching out to anyone who is seeking the Lord in a beautiful way. (Please check out her blog. It's wonderful and uplifting. For your convenience I've added the link below - A Journey to Freedom & Opening the Door.) I pray that in a teeny tiny way I can reach out through my writing.

PRAYER REQUESTS & UPDATES: There are several and I'm probably forgetting some. I'm so sorry. I need to keep better tabs and get them in sooner, but I'm just going to inform you of the names and briefly what their need is today.

First, please pray for the family of Jeanette Johnson, the mother of my very dear friend Jana Iwanowski, who passed away this past Wednesday. Jana is incredibly strong in her faith, but please pray for her in the days, weeks, and months ahead that she will have peace and rest comfortably in the Lord's promises.

Also, I need you to pray for the family of Ned Oeder who lost his battle with liver cancer and passed away recently.

Also, please pray for fellow author and MTCW member, Tamera Alexander, who recently lost her mother to cancer. Similar to Jana, Tamera is strong in her faith, but I don't guess it's ever easy to lose your mother.

I ask you, dear friends to pray for a friend from high school, Crystal Winkler, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and it preparing for surgery. Pray for peace, strength, and, most of all, complete healing.

Update on my Olivia: As of August 7th, she was up to 190K platelets so she has been released from further monitoring. Yay! No more "poinky shots".

I want you to pray for the husband of one of my friends. The Lord knows their names, and I want to protect their privacy. She is a strong Christian and he is unsaved. Also, pray for her as it must be so hard to know the one you love so much doesn't have a relationship with Christ.

Lastly, for now, as I'm sure I've forgotten some and will be adding them soon, pray for Romney McLellan. A young mother who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Hopefully I'll have more info on her soon, but for now pray for complete healing and the strength she needs day by day.

I pray for all of you to somehow reach out this week. Reach out to the lost, the hurting, the downtrodden. Let them see Jesus is you!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Getting the WORD Out!

I just LOVE when the Lord brings people into my life and I know it RIGHT THEN! Yep, you guessed it . . . story time!

Last week, I was up at school preparing my classroom (and my brain) for the rapidly approaching new year. Well, after quite a while of working I decided that the L-O-N-G walk from my classroom to the snack machine would be worth it for some much needed M&Ms. I came around the corner just a few feet from my destination and I almost ran into this lovely woman and her sweet daughter. Of course, since I've NEVER met a stranger, I said hello. She said hello. Amazing how in ONE WORD you can tell the level of a person's spirit, and I could tell that this woman was Spirit-filled. So, again, NEVER turning from an opportunity to "visit", I asked her what she was setting up. And she proceeded to tell me that they are a missionary family. Her husband works on airplanes and these airplanes are used to take Scripture to remote areas of this world. Right now they are in the States but hope to be going over seas soon. I proceeded to tell her that I've been wanting for our class to "adopt" a missionary family so badly for two years now. My classes in the past have "adopted" soldiers which was a wonderful experience, but the Lord just put it on my heart to take care of a missionary family. The Lord brought this family to my class! And what makes it even better is the sweet little girl with her that day is a third grader! My Alison met the little girl and everything so this year they will be able to write back and forth and I'm expecting a very wonderful experience through all of this. This is a photo of Dano and Melinda Whited and their beautiful family. Please pray for them with me, my dear friends. They are doing the Lord's work in a mighty way! I may be naive but I didn't realize how many groups of people DO NOT EVEN HAVE A PORTION OF THE SCRIPTURES! These people do not know about our Jesus! They don't know anything about Him! That makes me want to cry! Not just for them but to think that Jesus actually hing on the cross and died for those people, too! And without men and women like Dano and Melinda, so many would never know. I hope that through my writing I may touch a life or two, and bring people closer in their walk with the Lord, but, folks, really that's just a drop in the bucket compared to what Dano and Melinda and others like them are doing. I have very dear friends that have spent time as missionaries in Malaysia and Alison's teacher last year had spent many years as a missionary in Puerto Rico. These people are the most humble, warm, Spirit-filled people I know. And the world IS a better place because of them!

I didn't do a very good job writing this article. My heart is full, but my brain is mush right now. Editing for The Heart's Journey Home is coming along amazingly. It is so fun to go back and reread what I've written . . . and then make it better. School starts on Monday so we've been getting ready for that, and, on top of everything else, I am trying to get back into some kind of an exercise routine. I've always considered that the one "extra" thing, but I have since figured out that it should be one of my top priorities. My health is a precious gift, and I want to treat it like that. Still . . . it's a struggle to get on the treadmill everyday when my sleep schedule is, well, what it is. So, I said all that to say that though I didn't write it as eloquently as I'd intended, my heart is with the Whited family and I hope that you will print their picture out, hang it up somewhere in your house, and pray for them, too.

OTHER PRAYER REQUESTS: Please, please, please pray for Kevin Burris. Kevin is the husband of a wonderful woman that I teach with. Patty taught Alison Kindergarten and she will have Olivia this year. She is a dear friend, a wonderful co-worker, and one of the most godly women I have ever met. She and her Kevin are still in so much love after, oh, I'm just guessing about 23 or 24 years of marriage. Kevin was diagnosed with MS several years ago, but just recently it has gotten worse. Long story (and many medical details that I will get wrong) shorter, he will go in for a monthly treatment that may stop and even REVERSE the progression of his MS! My dear friends, please pray specifically right now that the Lord will indeed REVERSE the progression of Kevin's MS. Please pray that the Lord will ease his physical pain and the pain that I know is in my dear sweet friend's heart. I know it's so hard on her to watch her husband, her best friend, hurting like this. Pray for Kevin's doctors that they will have a divine wisdom and a compassionate heart in dealing with Kevin's illness. Pray that every financial need will be met for them. Pray, my friends, for the most precious peace to descend on Kevin and Patty and that they will find rest in our precious, precious Savior.

Please pray for my friend, Erica Foster. She is the mother of a former student and has recently been diagnosed with MDS, which according to my research is a "pre leukemia". She has to go through chemo, has lost her hair, the whole nine yards. Friends, pray for healing! Pray that Erica can have a super natural strength. Pray for peace, a peace that passes all understanding. Pray for Erica's doctors that they, like Kevin's, will have a divine wisdom and a compassionate heart in dealing with Erica's illness. Please pray for Erica's children, 10-year-old Josh and 5-year-old Erin. The fear that must be in their hearts, I can't even imagine. Please, lift Erica and her children up to the Lord!

Please pray for the family of Zelma "Pat" Rose, the grandmother of a friend's husband, who recently passed away. Pray that they will have peace and hope in the promises of the Word. Pray that memories will be abundant and will comfort the grieving hearts that she left behind.

Please pray for my friend, Sharon Chill. Sharon has had a myriad of health problems including a stroke and she is awaiting test results on a cyst in her throat. Please pray mightily that she will be healed. Period. That she will gradually experience better and better health until the doctors can no longer find anything wrong with her. Pray that the test results will come back that she does NOT have throat cancer. Pray for her girls. It must be so hard for them to see their mama so sick. Pray for her husband, Bob, that he will experience peace and comfort in knowing that his wife is safe in the hands of our Lord and Savior. Pray for her doctors, like Kevin's and Erica's, that they will have the divine wisdom and compassionate heart in dealing with Sharon's illnesses.

Also, please pray for Melinda Whited's daddy, Richard "Jim" McDonald, who has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins, B-Cell Lymphoma. From what I understand, this is an aggressive but treatable cancer. Pray for complete healing. Pray for peace for Mr. McDonald and his family. Pray for his doctors, just like we prayed for Kevin's, Erica's and Sharon's, that they will have divine wisdom and a compassionate heart in dealing with Mr. McDonald's illness. Please pray for Mr. McDonald's strength to increase and for his pain to decrease everyday.

UPDATES: My heart is very heavy to tell you that our sweet young friends, Katie Leach and Ethan Bibb, both going through treatments for cancer, have experienced some complications recently. Please pray for these two young people like you have never prayed before! Pray for HEALING! Complete restoration of health to their little bodies. Pray for their parents who are beyond exhausted, mentally and physically. I can't even imagine what they must be going through. Pray for their siblings who I'm sure must have questions going through their minds and a certain amount of fear in their hearts. Pray for their doctors, that they will know just what to do, what treatments/medicines to incorporate so that these two young people will once again experience life cancer free! I believe that this can happen with the help of the Lord! Please, make this your specific prayer request for Katie and Ethan!

Always remember that if you or someone you know is in need of prayer, I will be happy to add them to this list. Just let me know. I believe that there truly is power in prayer!