Saturday, December 26, 2009
Our grandkids did not get their Christmas package even though I mailed it on November 30th. Now I am just hoping that it gets there at all. There being Lithuania in eastern Europe. Good thing they are used to having Christmas at odd times of the year. They have had Christmas in November in time past and also in January. If there is a time when all of us can get together, that is when we have Christmas. This year we decided to send actual gifts instead of money. Probably won't do this again. The cost of postage was almost as much as the cost of the gifts. Oh, well, you try different things and eventually sort out which works best.
We had a white Christmas here in Fort Worth. The first one in 80 years, I'm told. It was nice to be able to stay inside and just look out and enjoy it without having to get out and drive. I really hate driving on slick roads. I got my share of that living in Denver, Colorado, for 10 years. I don't miss the snow. Once in a blue moon works fine for me, and if it happens to be on Christmas, that is a plus.
Right now we are enjoying eggnog lattes that are much better than the ones Starbucks makes. Myra Noel gave us an espresso pot. The coffee is Blue Mountain Garoka from Papua New Guinea compliments of Ken and Velda Black. Ahhhh...the simple pleasures. Gotta get to Wal-Mart and grab a couple more quarts of eggnog before they are gone for another year.
I am so glad that Al Gore invented the Internet. It is so good to receive texts and photos instantly when your family lives half way around the world. It is good to send greetings around the world at the speed of light to those you can't be near for the Holidays. We really have so much to be thankful for. No matter what happens with the economy, health care and everything else, just remember that the Lord Jesus is still in control, in charge and watching over us.
Oh, yeah, and Al Gore didn't really invent the Internet, and I am not the Queen of England.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I dreamed that I was in the huge Cabelas Sporting Goods store here in Fort Worth. I was carrying a watermelon under one arm. (Now, Tom will immediately know where this is going as soon as he reads it.) Anyway, I was carrying this watermelon to the side part of the store where they had an indoor shooting range. The man behind the counter handed me a rifle, and low and behold it turned out to be my own customized 270 elk rifle. You know how dreams are; I ended up with my own gun. At some point the watermelon got set up down at the end of the range and I aimed and pulled the trigger. Just as the watermelon exploded wonderfully and in slow motion, I woke up smiling. It was so fun. Something I have always wanted to do.
It's Jesus' birthday celebration, but He gives us the gifts. Remember to take time to give Him thanks for the many blessings He gives both great and small; eternal salvation, family, friends, a real nice hunting rifle...and watermelons. Don't forget the watermelons.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Yes, we all know that we should be thankful every day. That is a no-brainer, but we still need to be reminded on this special day of the year to be thankful for the people in our lives that matter, and for the blessings that God has sent our way.
By the way, if you really want to make me mad, here's how; call Thanksgiving "Turkey Day." It really won't make me mad though, because I will just consider the source and I will understand that you are just celebrating your own holiday. You are the Turkey!!
By the way; Happy Birthday to our Daughter, Lisa, who was born December 12th. She and her husband, Brian Johnson and their 4 children, are missionaries in Lithuania for the last 12 years. These are the things I am thankful for. Family, friends, and most of all, a Saviour who paid a heavy price for our salvation.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Now I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. It is sad to see Thanksgiving skipped over and mostly ignored today. In the stores this time home, I noticed that Halloween and Christmas stuff were up and for sale at the same time. Not one mention of anything to do with Thanksgiving. Sad that people are unthankful, uncaring, and unholy. No wonder our country is in the shape that it is in.
I have had to fast forward to Christmas myself though. We have to ship stuff to Lithuania and it has to leave ASAP. Our son-in-law and daughter are missionaries there for the last 11+ years. The grandkids are getting older and the price of their "toys" is getting higher, but our goal is to buy stuff while our money is still worth something! Our grandkids appreciate our financial goals to help keep the economy moving. By this time next year, they may each get a greeting card and a pencil set.
Tom's October meetings went very well and now he is home. I dusted off the stove and started cooking again. He does not seem to appreciate popcorn for supper like I do. Cheese and crackers doesn't work for him either. And they say women are complicated creatures. I wonder where they get these weird ideas.
We are both finally living on US time again. We are sleeping at night and waking up in the morning. It took me a lot longer this time home to get situated. There was something about waking up at 3AM and not being able to get up and vacuum the bedroom that messed me up. I usually couldn't go back to sleep, but come about 2PM I had to take a 3 or 4 hour nap. But I think I am OK now. I am as OK as I get anyway. For some people my version of OK and their version of OK is 2 different things. There are some who say that I am not OK. What's with them?
My Dad always used to tell my Mom, "You and I are the only sane people left in the world, and sometimes I wonder about you." I am beginning to understand that more now that I am getting older.
At any rate, I and I alone am fine. The rest of you need some work. And right now I need to get to work. Rest period is over. I love you all, even though you are all a little off kilter. Pray for us as we pray for you. Let us hear how you are doing and most importantly remember that life is uncertain, eat dessert first.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
To all you who have been asking, yes I have been to Wal-Mart. Several times. In the past 3 weeks I have eaten Cheetos, drank Dr. Pepper, and been to the local Thrift Store. We have been wined and dined by many. Well, not wined, but to say we were Dr. Peppered and dined wouldn't rhyme.
I am really enjoying the cool temperatures. The perpetual heat of Thailand is very draining for me. I am even enjoying the rain. Actually, I am enjoying everything about being home. The thing I miss the most being away from home is hearing my own Pastor preach and being around my church family. I miss them very much. The mission field would be much easier if I could take them all back with me. How I thank the Lord for instant messaging, blogs, e-mail, Skype and Facebook.
No matter where you are, you always miss someone. Right now I miss Pook, Noah, Nakon and Bunga. They are holding the fort in Bangkok while we are here. We really are blessed to have a good staff. They work hard and have many struggles in a land where 2 of them are the only Christians in their whole family. Please pray for them. Pook is the office manager, Noah is the Burmese Project Manager and he handles all things Burmese, Nakon is translating the Bible Curriculum from Oak Harbor into Thai, and Bunga is working on the Good and Evil Project. They are busy and they have heavy responsibilities to carry.
Tom leaves in 2 days for a group of meetings and will be gone for 2 weeks. There are several things to be done here before he leaves and not much time to do them. So what else is new? This all falls under the heading, "normal." He has recovered from the fall down the stairs that he had in Thailand right before we left, but he is still very tired and not recovered from the trip.
He will be doing a lot of driving during this trip, so please pray for his safety on the roads. Pray for Carolyn and me as we get back to work. There is work to be done and we do it wherever we are, whether in Thailand or Texas.
Many thanks to all of you who have prayed and have given to see this ministry go forward. We appreciate it very much.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Tom is still recovering from his fall, but is doing well. We are all still dealing with varying degrees of exhaustion and jet lag, but things are improving slowly but surely. It certainly was wonderful to be back in our home church. This was the most important and blessed thing. Hearing our pastor preach (in English) and be with friends that have stayed by the stuff on our behalf. I want to thank you all for your prayers and help. Special thanks go to Judy McKinnie, who handles our finances. Without her we would be in a mess for sure. I will miss dog-sitting Tootsie while I am home this time. Tootsie was Judy's Boston Terrier who passed away while we were on the field this time.
We have already picked up a new supporting church and we are so thankful for that. Tom has meetings planned in many different places. Sunday he will be kicking off our annual Missions Conference here at Metropolitan. This is the first Missions Conference that we have been home for in several years and we are really looking forward to it. Mostly I will be looking forward to it. Tom will be traveling some of the month and will not be here for all of it.
Many changes are evident during our absence. Since we were home last time, several of our young people have gotten married, several children have been born, and several of our older members have gone home to glory. We will miss them, but not for long. There are new faces that we don't recognize and haven't had time to meet yet, but look forward to that.
All in all and the end of the matter is this: we are very glad to be home in Texas for awhile.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
We are all very tired and are all still battling different sicknesses. It seems that none of us can remain well for very long and for months now, none of us have all been well at the same time. One week one of us is sick and the next week it is someone else. Tom is really tired and we are all really looking forward to going home for a rest.
Today was Mother's Day here in Thailand. Mother's Day is celebrated on the Queen's birthday and Father's Day is on the King's birthday. The Thai church services were dedicated totally to the celebration of our mothers. Thai culture is very much dedicated to the veneration of parents. There is no Social Security system, so the children are expected to care for the parents in their old age.
It is funny that where my daughter lives in Lithuania, (eastern Europe), Mother's Day is on one date and it is different in Thailand, and yet again different in America. Every country that celebrates Mother's Day has it on a different day of the year. Depending on where I happen to be and where my daughter happens to be at the time, I get Mother's Day greetings at really odd times. Anyway, today I was Pookie's mother and we had a good day at Lat Phrao Baptist Church.
Anyway, to all you mothers out there, no matter where you are or what day it is celebrated in your particular country, Happy Mother's Day.
All of the Americans here on our team are really looking forward to coming home for a much needed rest. Carolyn will be staying with us in Fort Worth for a couple of weeks rest before heading home to Tennessee. Anne will be heading home to Pennsylvania and will be looking for a job. Please pray with us about this. Anne worked for a year and saved all the money that she could in order to come to Thailand and work with us for a year. She will need to find a job in order to support herself upon her return and as of yet she has no leads.
Carolyn's church in Tennessee is without a pastor. It is very unsettling to be in a foreign country without a pastor at the helm of your church. This leaves her not knowing if she will be able to come back to Thailand with us when we return. We certainly need her and are very much hoping that she will be able to return with us. All of these things need prayer, so please continue to pray for us as things are unsettled for all of us right now. We have quite a few loose ends to tie up so that the office will run smoothly while we are away. We are looking forward to seeing many of you when we return.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Right now we are trying to get a lot of loose ends tied up before leaving for the US. There are several languages of the "Good and Evil" book that are very nearly finished except for a few tweaks. We are waiting for just a few words to be translated here and there in 4 or 5 languages. The Japanese is stalled out for lack of 4 words that the translator hasn't finished. It is very frustrating when people drag their feet toward the end of a project.
We are trying to get a couple of videos published and uploaded to the web before we leave for the US also. Ben Hall from Lehigh Valley Baptist Church is here with us and he is working on that now but as usual, we are having a lot of computer trouble at the moment. The router for the office computers went out and they are trying to replace it even as I write this. The internet at the office is down because of said problem, and several of the computers are off the network and we can't get them back on. Basically, we are still in desperate need of a computer geek to join the team permanently. It will be a full-time job for some individual. What we have been praying for for the last almost 5 years now, is a young couple to come along side us and learn to take over this ministry when the time comes that we are either too old or too dead to carry on. If you are that couple, please get over here and make it soon!!!
We had a water leak at our facility up on the Thai-Burmese border and it flooded the floor where the literature is stored. Several boxes were damaged and we were going to throw them away. But God is good and His word will never return void. We sat the boxes out on the sidewalk to be picked up by the trash collectors, and within a few hours people had passed by and saw them, opened the soggy boxes, and took it all! This is not the best way to do literature distribution, but nevertheless, wet and soggy, the literature got into the hands of the people. These few boxes were all that remained of the Burmese tracts that we had on that boarder. That was last week. We have a 40-foot container that will be here next week sometime and that will be immediately transshipped to restock the facility up there and also to stock another facility that we have rented in another location. Oh yes, and as a wonderful side-note: the family who paid for the rental of the facility for the whole year has already sent the money to pay the rent for this next year and also for the other facility in the other place. Praise God and thanks to these folks. They have been a blessing to us for many years in more ways than one.
There is a lot happening here in Thailand, but much of it can't be reported on in detail because of the instability of the region. While Thailand is free and relatively safe, the countries surrounding us are not. Those of you who know about our ministry understand this. We appreciate your prayers for us and for sending folks our way to help and minister for short terms. We have had many quality people over the years who have come and lent a hand where they were needed and because of them our work has gone forward.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Another really glamorous thing is going on right now. It's rainy season here in Thailand. Every time it rains something happens in the electricity. If you try to turn on the lights on either end of the house it blows the breaker. We have to wait till the rain stops and things dry out a few hours before we can use the switches. If the electricity is on it will usually stay on, but you can't turn it on if it is off, unless it dries out a little. So we have a choice. If we see it getting dark outside like it is going to rain, we have to turn on all the lights we will need for the next several hours and leave them on while it rains. Thomas Edison could probably explain this, but he's dead.
And for the "coup de grace," for the last three weeks most of the team has been sharing a rather nasty viral infection. Six of us have passed it back and forth more than once and Carolyn and Pook have both had to visit the local resort, better known as Bumrungrad Hospital. Gary Karle and I know where every bathroom in the largest mall in Bangkok is located, and Tom has taken enough Imodium to last a year. As of today, none of us are over it completely and Tom and Gary had to go to Nepal. I hope they stay well enough to get the printing done that they went there to finalize.
Romance and glamor. Ya just gotta have it!!!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Our grandchildren are doing well and the two oldest are now fluent in the Lithuanian language. Maybe too fluent. There are words that they do not know the English equivalent for. My granddaughter wanted permission to go to "Lithuanian word." I asked her what it was in English and she couldn't tell me. You know, the place where the animals live. The "zoo." Ah, yes, the Zoo. At summer camp in Latvia last year, the counselors did not believe that they were Americans, when they asked them where they were from. They speak Lithuanian without an accent. They speak English at home and Lisa is homeschooling them in English language, spelling and American History. The 2 older kids both go to Lithuanian school and the third one starts in the Fall. Brian and Lisa have been in Lithuania for 11 years.
When we arrived, Brian asked me what we wanted to see and what we wanted to do. I told him "I don't want to go anywhere and I don't want to do anything. I want to do absolutely nothing for the whole month." That is exactly what we did. We stayed at home and did absolutely nothing and I loved it. Both Tom and I needed the break more than we realized. This was the first time in several years that we really rested. There were several days when Tom and Brian didn't even get dressed. Lisa and I got dressed, because we went to the store almost every day. They have a store called Maxima that is the equivalent to a small super-Walmart, where they have clothes, food, housewares, etc. Utena is a small town, so driving to Maxima every day was just enough work for one who is "on vacation." Wow, Europe is veeeery expensive!! Food and clothing are outrageous.
If there is a downside to our ministry, it is for me, only getting to see my grandchildren once every year or two. In the life of a small child, a year makes a big difference. The oldest three knew who we were, but of course, the baby will not remember us when we see him again. By the time the month was over, we had barely had time to reconnect and then it was time to leave. I am really thankful for the ability to talk on skype and at least see them and let them see us on camera when we talk to them. Modern technology has made things so much easier for us in the 21st century.
While we were gone, things ran well here in the office. We have a good staff of people with us now and they kept things moving. We are very thankful for Anne, Carolyn, and Pookie. Without them here to hold the ropes, there would have been no way we could have been gone for a month. Thanks, guys.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
We will be out of the office for a month, but now we have a way to do stuff on our office computers without even being there. Don't ask me how all this works. It is some kind of virtual networking stuff that is way over my head. Please pray for our staff as they will be here fending for themselves. None of them drive except Pook and she doesn't have a driver's license. So they will have a perfectly good van sitting here and all they have to do is talk Pook into going to get a license. She can and does drive, but she really needs to get her license renewed. It expired about 3 years ago, and she never got around to doing anything about it.
Noah will be back in town today sometime. He has decided to work with us full-time here at the Bangkok office, and we are really excited about this. There is also the possibility of hiring another young man who lives on the border, who can't leave there. However, and this is really nice, we have the translating office there on the border for him. God is good and many of these Burmese translating projects are really coming together.
The laundry is all done and hanging out to dry. All that is left is the packing and that will be the tricky part. Now travelers are only allowed one 50 # bag and a dinky little carry-on. This does present a problem when you have to carry computers to keep the work from grinding to a halt while you are gone, video equipment and cameras for filming and taking pictures of the grandkids, a ton of gifts, and another ton of stuff our daughter wants us to bring her because it is much cheaper to buy here. Good thing she has a washing machine, because we aren't going to have much room in our bags for unimportant incidentals like clothes :)
Monday, March 30, 2009
I will try to catch you up on things now, so that you will know, at least what I am up to. I am working on getting a prayer letter out. It will be both electronic and paper. (Paper, what is that!) I found out recently that some of our friends actually don't believe in having Internet. Which is kind of like not believing in food because some of it is bad for your health, or clothing because some of it is immodest and revealing. OK, you guys, so go naked and starve. Not Me!! I have Internet!!! I can say this with impunity because of either 1 of 2 things. The people who don't believe in Internet won't be able to read this, or else they are reading it and have gotten over whatever problem they had. Either way, I HAVE INTERNET AND I AM VERY HAPPY!!!!
Oh wow!! I digressed there for a second. Had a little funny party all by myself. The other guys in the office look at you when you are laughing all alone. They want to laugh too, so I tell them what is funny and they just look at me. I don't think they get it. Oh, well. Now I will return you to the regularly scheduled program.
Tom is returning from the Burmese border today having spent a few days up there getting very valuable translating and proofreading done on the Burmese New Testament. It will be ready very, very soon and we are really excited about this. The devil has fought tooth and claw, but victory is in sight. The reprint of the Thai Good and Evil is done, and will be shipped to us from Chiang Mai and will arrive tomorrow. We have a container load of Burmese stuff coming from America. I can't exactly say how much of how many are coming, but there are 400,000 Burmese John/Romans printed and ready, 10,000 New Testaments, and 2000 Bibles. I am not sure of the quantity of each that will be in the container, but we are really excited about this. The John/Romans are printed off of the new, clear negatives and they will be wonderful. The New Testaments and Bibles are printed off the old negatives, until we are finished with the re-typesetting and proof-reading of the New Testament and Bible. It is this New Testament that is in the final stages now. Please pray for Noah and the translating team. They will be staying at the shophouse that we rented on the border while they do this work. They are not safe. Some of the team members are illegals and prayers need to go up they don't have any trouble with the border guards and police. Noah has a passport and he should be OK, but you never know.
We also need prayer about finances to rent 2 more small storage depots on the boarder for this literature when it arrives. We already have the large facility, but the year is almost up. (One individual paid for the whole 1st year in advance.) The other 2 only need to be very small. Just large enough for the literature and room for 2 people (Tom and myself) to stay when we go up. Basically one room and a bathroom. Or maybe just one room and we stay at a hotel. I'm not sure about this yet. The large shophouse has been a great blessing to us. It is being used as guest housing, translation center, literature storage facility, and training center. We really need to be able to keep this one, so please pray for the financing of it as well as the 2 we have yet to rent. By the way, the other two will be in two other unnamed cities on the border. The border is too long to keep everything in only the one location. The folks need to be able to come over the border clandestinely, get the stuff, and get back quickly and without getting caught. They can't travel far. Most people have absolutely no concept of what life is like for these folks. They lay their lives on the line to get the Word of God to their people. How many of us would do the same.
While you are in praying mode, please pray for another van for the team here in Thailand. The one we have is underpowered for the mountains where we travel, falling apart and uncomfortable. When you are old, comfort matters a little more than it did even 10 years ago.
We are also in need of housing for guests; the invited ones. People keep showing up on our doorstep in need of a place to stay and assuming that they can stay with us, without ever bothering to ask ahead of time if we have accommodations. Believe it or not, we have had several people come over here on vacation expecting us to provide housing and taxi/tour services at no cost. These are not the ones we are concerned about. These vacationers can stay at the literature storage building also known as "the Cage." It is really crummy as a place to stay, unless you are a box of literature. But then again, maybe this is a good thing as it will discourage freeloaders from returning.
Who we are concerned about are the legitimate folks who are coming to help and do internships. Both the ladies and men's dorms are full with our semi-permanent staff. We need some kind of divided facilities, or 2 facilities to house single men and women, separately. If there is any way possible, we would like to be able to consolidate and have the publishing office and guest quarters housed in one large facility. As it is now, we are spread up and down the street in 5 separate facilities, but because they are all very small, we still do not have enough room for everybody. At the moment, a young man is sleeping among boxes of "Good and Evil" books on the bottom floor of the boys dorm, which is also doubling as a storage facility. This guy had surgery last week and can't walk up and down stairs. As one can imagine, this is pretty unacceptable and inhospitable, to put a semi-invalid in a storage room. At least I find it most unacceptable, so help me out with this one and really pray that the Lord will open up a larger, affordable facility here on the street so that we can accommodate the folks who really need to be here.
Also pray for the health of the whole team here. We are all experiencing mild to serious health issues. For the three of us who are pushing 60, they are pretty serious. For the others, under 40, they are still ranging from mild to moderate. At least the health care over here is high quality and cheap. We have Bumrungrad International, an excellent hospital and I should know, I've spent time there on 5 separate and miserable occasions, one time lasting a whole month.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Only 2 of these folks are members of the same church. Berm and Pookie belong to the same local church here in Bangkok. So that means that there are 8 churches represented here. Each morning at prayer time before our work day begins we go before the Lord and commit our day and our work to Him. It is a blessing to pray for the various things that take place from day to day here, but also for things that each one of us receive each day via e-mail and phone calls from other places around the world.
Tom and I leave for Lithuania on April 7th. We will be gone from the office for a month. Myra leaves to go back to America in 5 days. She is the closest thing we have to a computer geek at present, so we pray that all the computers stay up and running and virus free since there will be no one here to do any maintenance on any of them while Tom is gone.
We look forward to seeing our daughter and son-in-law and our grandchildren. We haven’t seen any of them for over a year, and we haven’t seen our oldest grandson in almost 4 years. He did not come over to Thailand last year with his mother, brother and sister, because he was in school. That is the hardest part of being on the mission field, not seeing your family for long stretches at a time. However, we do get to see them from time to time unlike the early missionaries who left for the field knowing they would probably never see their families again. Travel, technology and the advent of things like telephones and e-mail have made life so much easier for most missionaries today. I can call my grandchildren and see them and they can see us with the help of a tiny camera mounted on the computer. We have no real concept of what the early missionaries sacrificed to serve the Lord in foreign and many times, hostile lands.
Almost immediately upon returning from Lithuania, there will be people coming for various periods of time to work with us. A man from our church who has been coming over for the last 3 years during his vacation time from work. He has been a great help and blessing. There are several folks from a Bible college who want to intern for a specified period of time and then there are the unexpected folks who stop by and lend a hand for a few days at a time. Right now, we need to rent some additional facilities to house these folks. We have need for guest quarters because what we have now are full. Three ladies are sharing the second side of our small duplex townhouses, the men’s townhouse has 1 permanent resident and maybe another soon. We have some tragic facilities in our resource center, that can only be used for men. No sane woman would dare stay there. What we need is some type of facility that can be used for both men and women and possibly couples. Where the trouble comes in is that sometimes we have single men and women and they can’t share the same house. Please pray with us that something can be rented that will meet all the housing needs.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Myra Noel has taught Noah some more pagemaker skills and he learns very quickly and has good understanding of what he is doing on the computer. He is very savvy with the computer and as a translator. He is 25 years, but looks 12. The first time I ever saw him I thought that the Burmese translator had brought his son with him. But, he was the Burmese translator! We hope to be able to hire him to do some other translating when he finishes the job he is doing now. He is a humble servant and works hard and carefully at his job.
Today Pook, Anne and Bunga all worked on the Nepalese "Good and Evil," so that we could print out a proof copy for the translator to take with him to the conference and have some other Nepalese folks proof-read it. He has also said that he can find us a translator for the Dzongkha language of Bhutan. This people group was one of the main target groups at the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. For the last 9 years we have been struggling to get some things into print for these people and up until now have not had good success. The opportunity to get the "Good and Evil" book translated into Dzongkha is once again a prayer focus of ours. Please pray with us that this will come to fruition soon.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Our next prayer request is on the horizon. A man from Nepal is coming on Saturday to finalize the last few things on the Good and Evil book in Nepalese. Pray that this will be completed in the time we have. He will only be here for 3 days.
A great blessing to report is that one of the languages that we have been working on for a long time and for a very dark and evil regime is printed and already getting into the hands of the people who desperately need it. Can't say anything else, sorry, but just pray because God knows where they are and all the details that we can't share. Pray for the safe arrival of the books to the said country, and for the distribution of same. There are folks risking their very lives to do this.
Please continue to pray that the Lord will send us a computer technician that will be able to stay here and work with us. No matter how hard we try, the computers will only work well for so long until they need maintenance and we aren't the ones that know how to do it. Tom doesn't have time to do it, and the rest of us do not have the technical skills.
The team over here are all very tired. The weather is getting hotter by the day and the devil is fighting against us. We are taking turns being sick, not sleeping at night, and various other digs he is getting in. Please pray that he will be bound and that the work will go forth in power.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Yes I am lonesome…Tonight, Today and most days. It is the life of a Soldier; to be away from family, and other loved ones, for long periods of time. However, I wasn't forced into this position. This privilege was offered to me by a mighty King, and I accepted of my own free will, fully knowing what I was getting myself into.
Yes, Lisa is far away. She left and took my grandson with her. She is a Soldier. She is the daughter of Soldiers. She is raising my grandson to be a Soldier, I hope. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I miss them. I miss my baby. I long for the feel of his little skin and the sounds of his little voice. But then I see the other multitudes of little babies here in the
God will do what God will do. He will do it with or without us. He doesn't need any of us, but if we will let Him, He will allow us the privilege of being there when he does something. God is doing something here and He has graciously allowed us to be a part; tools in His mighty hand.
There is too much emphasis today put upon some kind of a mystical “call.” There is a plain command in the Bible. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Period. Nothing mystical. A plain and simple command from this same King I keep telling you about. I've known you long enough to know that you've probably guessed Who this King is I keep referring to, so there is probably no explanation necessary.
Some people spend all their lives waiting for a “call.” While they wait for the call, they don't do much, just wait. People are falling off into hell by the thousands while they are waiting around. Waiting for a call is nothing more than an excuse invented by old slewfoot himself, to paralyze. I have found that the ones who actually even hear the call are the ones who are already serving the King on some battlefield somewhere.
My advice to those waiting for a call is this: find someplace where God is moving. Go there and get right in the middle of it. Live like the King is coming today; work and pray like He won't be here for a long time. Jump into some battle just like you know what you are doing. You know full well that you don't know squat, but act like you do anyway. After all, the King is there and He does know what He is doing, and that is good enough. He doesn't need you, but He will let you be there and stand on His mighty feet while He dances. He will sometimes put the sword in YOUR hand and your hand in His and let you put in a few swings. He will let you watch Him do exploits. It is a glorious time and an awesome thing to be there when the King does stuff! While you are in the heat of one of these kinds of battles, you usually are in a position to hear the still small voice and the “call.” You can't hear someone else's call, only your own. The still, small voice is so still and small that it is sometimes difficult to hear even your own “call” and it is not possible to hear somebody else’s.
To miss this, is to lose the reason to live. To miss this, is the greatest tragedy that a Christian can suffer. The only thing worse in the universe is to reject the King entirely and end up in Hell.
So, in answer to your question, Yes, I am lonesome...but not for long. I am weak...but not for long. I am tired…but not for long. I am poor…but not for long.
A Soldier…But not for long.
This was written several years ago, while we were living in the Philippines, but its truths still apply. Now I have 4 grandchildren. My daughter and her husband are still missionaries in Lithuania. They are training 4 soldiers now.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Tuesday is Pookie's birthday. When anybody has a birthday over here, they get to pick where they want to eat their birthday meal. Pookie has chosen the Oishi Buffet. Lots of raw fish. She and Psalm used to eat so much sushi that I had to sit at the other end of the table. I don't eat raw stuff and sometimes I have trouble even smelling raw fish and watching other people eat it. Fortunately for us, they also have lots of cooked food and also you can pick your own stuff and they will cook it for you and bring it to your table. Pookie turns the big 21.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
A BIG answer to prayer: We have an IT guy and his wife who are ON THE WAY!!! Thanks to Bro. Mike Lewis and the Faith Baptist Church in Temple, Texas. This will be a very big help to us as our computers are glitching all over the place and we are just hanging on trying not to lose anything until somebody gets here who can get the computers and servers stabilized and doing what they were meant to do.
Myra Noel made it here safely from Texas. Safe, but very tired. Pray that she will get over the jet lag quickly, because she has a big job ahead of her. Please pray for Carolyn. She got a bone scan a few weeks ago, and she has osteoporosis with a high risk of fracture. They put her on Boneva, but one pill costs $60. She takes one pill per month for 6 months, and then goes back to the doctor for another scan. Pray that her bone density improves greatly.
The rest of us are all doing well, I think. At least we are still up and running. We are praying for another 2 workers, whether we hire them or they are volunteers. Tom would like a Thai man to travel with him to the neighboring countries.
Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. We can always tell when people are praying and we can also tell when they are not. Keep on keeping on. It will mean the difference in whether the job gets done over here or not. The battle is won or lost in the prayer closet, not on the battle field.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The Judson picture tract is still having art work retouched. It is taking longer than expected also, but when it is finished, it is going to be a great tool for Burmese people. People have asked us if we plan to translate it into Thai. The answer is NO. It is a tract that is only culturally relevant to Burmese people. This is the reason it is important to train folks in these other countries to write their own materials: so that they will be culturally sensitive to the needs of that particular culture. There are many tribes and ethnic groups in Burma as there are in China, Thailand and other countries in this region. They need their own people producing literature for their own particular group and they need to be taught how to do it. Please pray for the funding of these regional training facilities, and more importantly for personnel to help us run them.
The Hmong are all headed back to Laos very soon. Please pray for their safety as they face a very uncertain future in their homeland. The church leaders have vowed to spread the Gospel message thru Laos. Pray that God would give them everything they need to do just that. We love these folks. They have become personal friends and fellow labourers for the Lord. Pray that the country of Laos will reap the benefits of their testimony and evangelization efforts. They may well pay a very high price for serving the Lord in that hostile country.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tom returned from the left country yesterday and it was a very good and profitable trip. There were divine appointments and that is about all I can say because of where and who, etc. God is still in control, no matter who doesn't like it. Nanner, nanner, nanner.
Several of the computers are offline or in some way not operating properly. We need a geek to come over here for a few weeks and get us situated again. I say again, because maintenance of the computers is an ongoing thing and we are having a hard time keeping things going smoothly with no one here to maintain them full time. Please pray that God would send us someone to help us in this very important area.
Monday, February 9, 2009
After leaving the Hmong camp, we journeyed to the Burmese border and spent a couple of days with the Believers there. We were taken to a garbage dump, where many refugees are living, while they pick through the stuff for things that can be recycled. Many children, some just infants live in these horrid conditions. The ground is literally crawling with flies. Dysentery and other diseases threaten their lives every day, and yet they would rather live here than in Burma. Freedom comes with an unbelievable price for these folks. They would rather be free to live in total poverty and squalor than to live in the country of Burma. Many of these people are ethnic tribespeople. The Karen people are being hunted and murdered with impunity in southern Burma every day. The military regime that controls the country offer them no protection, but rather they are the ones who are doing the killing. Americans have no idea what these countries are like. None of these statistics ever hit the news media. You have to be here and see it for yourself.
After leaving the border, we traveled to Chiang Mai for a few days, to meet with translators and printers. We did all this traveling in our van. There were 7 of us in all. Pook, Anne, and Carolyn all accompanied us, but by the time we got ready to leave Chiang Mai, the 5 of us "old folks" had had all we could take. We hired a driver and let the 2 young ladies, Pook and Anne, bring the van home to Bangkok. Like I have said many times, "getting old is not for sissies." We came home on Friday or Saturday, and Sunday morning and evening, Bro. Larry preached at the church They really liked his preaching style, although it was different from their own. Once he shouted and everybody jumped about a foot, then everybody laughed. Nobody knows but me how much I miss Larry's preaching. It was so good to have them here for almost 2 weeks.
Larry and LaRue left on Monday night and Tuesday morning, Tom and I flew back up to Chiang Mai for a missions conference sponsored by one of the missionaries up there. It was a very excellent conference and we met a lot of real nice folks. We came home Saturday the 31st, and went back to work on Monday, Feb 2nd. I had to begin sorting out the finances that I hadn't touched in almost 3 weeks. On Thursday, our daughter, Lisa Johnson, gave birth to our 4th grandbaby, Levi Taylor Johnson. Both of them are doing well. Our daughter and her husband, Brian Johnson, are missionaries in the country of Lithuania. They have been there 11 years.
Oh, yeah, I missed something in here. On the 1st of February, 2 young men from Lehigh Valley BC came. They will be with us for a few days, then they move on to Indonesia, and then back to us for a few more days next month. Tom and these guys left Sunday morning for a trip out of the country to a place that shall remain anonymous. This brings me up to date. Today is Monday, February 4th. Pook, Anne, Carolyn, and I are all taking the day off. Last week was very busy and stressful and today we crash. At the moment, I think they went to the bowling alley. Me? I'm blogging.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
By Ron Graham
“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” Ezekiel 18:23. Are you wondering why Jesus is tarrying and not retuning right now for His Church? The answer is stated above by God Himself. God takes no pleasure in knowing the wicked perish.
God knows who will come to a saving relationship with His Son Jesus and who won’t. Each day that passes is another day that someone becomes a new creation in Christ and will join the rest of us in the Rapture. You and I can’t see all those who are being saved on a daily basis, but know this, not one day passes that there isn’t rejoicing in Heaven because someone has accepted Christ as their savior.
Think back, if you will, to the day you were saved, I’m sure most of us who are born again can remember that exact day. Now go back one more day, what if the Lord would have come for His Church on that day? Where would you be right now? I’ve often asked myself that same question whenever I sit and ponder why He tarries. It’s humbling to come to the correct conclusion of just why Jesus hasn’t returned yet. There are still those who will be saved, and thank God for that.
I have many family members and friends, as I’m sure many reading this commentary have who still need to come to the truth of the Gospel of Christ. My prayer is that all of those I’ve mentioned would be saved before it’s too late, but I know there’s a time coming in the very near future when God will not allow any more time to pass. That’s a sad thing to contemplate when we know so many aren’t ready. We rejoice in the fact that the Rapture of the Church can happen at any moment, but what about all those who have continued to reject Christ to that point?
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Romans 11:25. Although we don’t know how long it will take for this complete fullness to occur, all the signs point to it happening very soon now. God alone knows who those individuals are who will make a profession of faith in Christ before it’s too late. Perhaps the next person you approach with the Gospel of Christ will be that last person God is waiting for. We should all appreciate the fact that there is an exact number of people who will be saved before Jesus Christ pulls His Church out of harm’s way, and only God knows that number.
“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water,” 1Peter 3:20. God waited 120 years after telling Noah to build the Ark for that evil generation of people to repent. We know, historically, God sent the flood to destroy them. Why? His patience had run out. Only eight people were spared the calamity that befell earth.
God gave the Assyrians four-hundred years to repent; He stayed His mighty hand and allowed Israel to become slaves under Egyptian rule. Alas no repentance from the Assyrians was forth coming so God finally freed the Israelites and instructed them to take the land of the Assyrians and put them to death. Israel, by disobeying God and not wiping out the Assyrians, were given a “thorn in the flesh” as the Assyrians continually harassed and warred against them.
God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them of the coming wrath of God. They repented and God stayed His mighty hand. In time Nineveh returned to the evil it once embraced and God finally followed through with His promise and wiped out that once great city.
We know that the Israelites were time and again disobedient to God, and God chastised them for their disobedience. They would return to fellowship with God for a while but only to fall back into their old wicked ways and down would come the hammer again. “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked,” Nahum 1:3. The Israelites are Gods chosen people, the apple of His eye, but they too are running out of time.
Through all this rebellion it’s obvious God is longsuffering, and patient. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.
Old Testament or New our God is always the same, and He’s patently waiting to accept His Children into His Kingdom. But one day that patience will run out, and then the Church will be raptured. Left behind will be all those who tried God’s patience to the furthest extreme, basically pushing the envelope just a mite too far.
Life doesn’t need to end that way for anyone. But there needs to be a change in people’s hearts, a change of mind and of direction for those who are perishing. Today we see coldness in the hearts of many in our society. The uncaring, unfeeling people with one intent in mind–it’s the pursuit for that gold cup of wealth and prosperity to the exclusion of all else. Why is it so very important to obtain so much wealth that we can’t begin to spend it, just to leave it behind when we die? God on the other hand is waiting for us to lose interest in earthly riches and pursue the riches that can only be spent in Heaven. Where is your treasure?
Jesus is waiting for everyone who is procrastinating to come to that point where they turn from the love of self, riches, and fame, and turn to the love of God. How long will He wait? Those who have made it their purpose in life to disparage God’s word, or to completely disregard the warnings of their pending destruction are increasingly playing with fire, the Lake of Fire that is. People have turned their backs on God to live a life of debauchery, fornication, homosexuality, greed, hate, malice, you name it. If it isn’t something God’s word promotes as righteousness then it is an abomination to God. Yet He’s patient to wait for those who seem to be stuck in these lifestyles to come out and begin a new life in Christ.
It’s a scary thought to think of anyone going to Hell. Family members who have come to the erroneous conclusion that there is no God, or that they have been basically good all their lives and so God won’t send them to Hell, heard this lie perpetuated by those who follow Satan himself, and they’ve fallen for it. I know many in my family are living under that same delusion. What a burden this places on the hearts of believers. God’s waiting because He doesn’t wish that any should perish. But how long will He wait?
God is patient and longsuffering, we understand that, but at some point we must also realize He will have had enough. He’s shown us many times through His favored nation, Israel, as well as the other nations that I mentioned previously, that He can and will run out of patience. What will that mean to those who haven’t put their faith and trust in His only begotten Son? For the majority of those individuals left on planet earth to cope, there will be utter destruction as a finale. A few will come to repentance and believe, but most certainly Satan will get the lion’s share.
When we read that God wants none to perish we must realize that it’s not His decision to send anyone to Hell. That decision lies in the laps of each individual on the face of this planet. So many have cursed God because they believe He’s at fault, that He damns people to Hell, that He is unloving and unfeeling. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. That scripture verse doesn’t sound unloving or unfeeling to me, but full of love, God’s love which transcends all love.
God loves everyone in the world, not just those who are already saved. We humans are at fault for our disobedience to God and consequently at risk of eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. The world blames God for every little stubbed toe, not realizing that it’s God who holds the universe in the palm of His hand. The world portrays God in an erroneous way, and people must come to understand that the world’s view is not correct, and the sooner the better. The sooner the change of mind (repentance) happens, the result will be everlasting. After all tomorrow may be too late.
I know many have a very difficult time believing in a God who has created a place like Hell, but God didn’t create Hell for human kind. God created Hell for Satan and all the fallen angels that rebelled against God. They have no choice where they will spend eternity, but we have. God makes it clear that we must make the correct choice. It takes a little thought, it takes a little understanding, and it takes a heart changed for God. All one must do to be saved is “that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29.
The Greek word pisteuo, which is translated “believe” in English, is used in the Gospel of John ninety-nine times. Believing in the One God sent is the only prerequisite for salvation. People have had access to the English Bible for some four-hundred years now. There is no reason except for unbelief and disobedience, that anyone still living should reject the truth of the scriptures. “And He marveled because of their unbelief,” Mark 6:6. Unbelief is a difficult thing to comprehend, even so, quite prevalent in all societies today.
Where do you stand? If you’re a born again believer in Christ that’s wonderful, praise God! But wait just a minute, where do your family members and your friends stand? God won’t wait forever.
God bless you all,
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Our pastor and wife will be here on January 13th for 10 days and we are looking forward to seeing them. Alex Coats will be leaving us on the 12th and we so are sorry for that. He has been a real help and blessing to us here in Thailand for the last 3 months. Anne, Carolyn and Pookie are all doing well and working hard. They are a real blessing to us.
I want to thank all of you who have prayed for us and for the many Christmas cards and letters of encouragement that we received. We miss you all very much. Speaking of Christmas. We had a very non-traditional holiday. We didn't exchange any gifts and for Christmas dinner we had hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans and other picnic foods. It sounds really weird, but it was a wonderful, stress-free time and all of us enjoyed it very much. It was so different from the hassle that Christmastime usually is. I liked it so much I may do it again next year. Last year Tom and I had Christmas in November, while our daughter and 2 of our grandkids were here. Christmas has never been "traditional" in the American sense of the word for Tom and our family anyway. We have it when we are together, whenever that happens to be. One year it was in January. That was a great time to buy gifts because everything was on major sale.
Now that I am feeling better, I will try to keep everyone posted on what is happening in my world. Do pray for us. Getting old is not for sissies.