Sunday, September 25, 2011

Purpose in Prayer....

Living in a country with deficient libraries brings me to my old books on the shelf. One of my traits, good or bad, is the non-love of reruns! If I see a movie, I don't need a DVD to rewatch it. If I read a book my custom is to shelve it or give it away. Since being in Jamaica from lack of bookstores and libraries, I find myself walking to my bookshelf quite often and checking out those old treasures!

Funny thing..I volunteer at Renee's school and work in the library. It is a room full of antique books unfortunately. This week the librarian asked me to start sorting! Throw out all the old books. Now that is something I can handle! Only thing is I found myself throwing more than I was keeping. Books from the early nineteen hundreds. Found many from the thirties and forties. I thought ok this is gonna be fun! I was especially interested to see which book I could find from 1914 (when the A/G was founded) then after that one, I was especially interested to find one from my in-laws year, 1919. Then I got excited about finding one from 1956, my year! It was a cool day looking at the relics. I read pages before I would toss them. So interesting the words chosen, the style written, the author's take on the subject. I really pondered over which year to begin the "Keep" pile. I chose 1970. Anything before that I threw in the rubbish pile. When the librarian came to check on my progress she asked, "what have you decided on?" When I told her 1970 she looked at me really strangely. After she left I thought, oh man, she probably thought why 1970 they are old too, she was probably born in the late eighties! But for me 1970 was just a couple of years ago, wasn't it?!

So back to my subject! I am re-reading E.M. Bounds (1835-1913) book on prayer. He was a powerful writer and I learn something each time I read the book. Is there ever a day when you don't have to way. Just when you think everyone is doing okay you receive another prayer need via facebook or a phone call. It is a subject that we as christians will never tire of. We can't. It is our mission. It is our mandate. It is our life. Praying 24/7.. sometimes with words, sometimes with tears, sometimes with thoughts, it doesn't matter how, it just matters.

E.M.Bounds writes a story that makes me pause.

"A friend of mine in Cincinnati had preached his sermon and sank back in his chair, when he felt impelled to make another appeal. A boy at the back of the church lifted his hand. My friend left the pulpit and went down to him, and said, "Tell me about yourself." The boy said, "I live in New York. I am a prodigal. I have disgraced my father's name and broken my mother's heart. I ran away and told them I would never come back until I become a Christian or they brought me home dead." That night there went up from Cincinnati a letter telling his father and mother that their boy had turned to God.

Seven days later, in a black-bordered envelope, a reply came, and it read, "My dear boy, when I got the news that you had received Jesus Christ, the sky was overcast; your father was dead." Then the letter went on to tell how the father had prayed for his prodigal boy with his last breath, and concluded, "You are a Christian tonight because your old father would not let you go." (page 82)

Our purpose...pray.
Our people enough to take their needs as if they are our own.
Our purpose...pray about everything and everyone.
Our purpose...make prayer a priority rather than a last resort.

Prayer....not letting the prodigal go.....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Another special Sunday...

Some days are really special. This one was. Denny was invited to preach at Top Hill Assembly. Pastor Millens wanted to hear Renee play her violin again. Sheldon, one of our students, called and wanted to go with us. Top Hill is his home church. He got a taxi to downtown Mandeville to meet us and we went on our way.

Today Pastor Millens was spotlighting the youth so needless to say Den felt in his element and preached a great message about the family. Renee played beautifully, as a matter of fact the pastor asked her to made a CD and he would be the first to buy one!

There was also another special element to the day. Today was baby dedication day and 2 babies were dedicated to the Lord. One of the babies belongs to one of our married night students. The night students come to the college on Tuesdays and Thursdays and it takes them 5 years to complete the program. Clifford is one of those students. A couple of years ago he and his sweet wife lost their almost one year old after surgery and so little Rebecca is pretty special. She will never replace Ruthie, but she is a blessing from God. So to see her dedicated today set a beautiful stage for Den to preach.

Another element is Pastor Millens. He is a gem. I have told Den many times I wish we lived closer to Top Hill! I would love to attend the church more often! The pastor is Jamaican but his family migrated to England when he was a boy. He had a business in England selling Jamaican products. Drugs were put into one of his shipments from here and he was thrown into prison although he had nothing to do with drug selling and the like. He was also a pastor of a church and the story is quite riveting. Today he gave me one of his books and I read it on the way home and seriously can't take my nose out of it. It is a testimony of God's grace and forgiveness. He was cleared of all charges in 2001 so it is a recent testimony. He then came back to Jamaica to pastor and I am so glad he did!

Friday, September 16, 2011

No Surprise There!

Today's Gleaner responds to a CNN travel report that Dunn's River Falls is one of the worst top 12 travel destinations.

When we brought a missions team here in 1984 our free day was spent at Dunn's River Falls and eating at the Ruins. We saw it for what it was and enjoyed it. Nature at its best! Cool, clear water falls. Since we have lived here we have taken visiting family there and enjoyed it as well. It is one of those things that Jamaica is known for. If you don't have a shirt from the falls you just haven't had a complete Jamaica trip!

However, reading this report I understand how it made the top 12. There are some things that are just "givens" in the Jamaican culture. Since we live here we are used to those "givens" but when you are a tourist and not used to those "givens" uncertainty may arise and frustration step in.

There are going to be hagglers, there are going to be people in your face. There is going to be begging. There is a different English called patois. The impoverished and needy recognize that people who visit the falls are people of great wealth (in their eyes). Desperation will lead you to the tourists as will deception. A friend told me recently that in our town a particular beggar knows no other way of earning money and he has begged so long that he has a house and a car. He still goes "to work" everyday on the street to beg. Doesn't make sense does it?

So in thinking about the report this morning I wonder if we were down and out without Jesus and no means of support what would we do?

Den calls it culture shock confusion. Maybe people have to have an intercultural class before vacation!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seaside Therapy!

What a fantastic weekend we had! A few months ago our field retreat was scheduled for this past weekend because our stateside boss and his wife would be in Jamaica for a national meeting on Friday so after the meeting we would all meet in Ocho Rios.

Renee was so anxious to get through her school day because we planned to leave when we picked her up from school. We arrived at the resort around 5:00 just in time for dinner. It was great. Eventually everyone arrived and how sweet it was to sit around the tables and just BE, be with one another, be with people like us, be in a place where no one needed us, be with people with the same purpose and calling.

You would think that because the island is so small the missionary families would be together alot, but not so. Sometimes we don't see one another for months. One family has been here for a year and we had not met them yet. What a beautiful weekend for Renee to be a big sis to the two little ones that belong to that family!

Swimming, snorkeling, eating, sitting, laughing, crying, pools, ocean, sand, fun, fun! We had a Sunday morning service that was especially memorable. We sang and then our boss gave a devotional and then had prayer time together. It was so valuable to all of us. After a weekend like we just had, you kind of feel the energy to press on. You feel like others can relate to the struggles, the financial pressures, the work that is so great here in Jamaica. We encourage one another in the Lord. What a special time.

Friends that I have love going to the mountains and relax in solitude. Some I know prefer Disney and high strung activity. Some like to stay home and turn off the phone. What I like to do is go to the water. It refreshes me. The sound of the waves, the sun in all color and vibrancy, the magnitude of the sand, the never ending horizon, the shells, the sea life, it truly is a therapeutic place for my spirit! If only the Bible College was located on the seaside! Then I would be craving to go to the mountains for some cool weather!