Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless HIS HOLY NAME.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sarah

This morning before I sat down to read my Bible, I lit a scented candle and set it on the table next to my chair.  And I thought of my oldest sister, Sarah.

Sarah has the ability to create a relaxed atmosphere wherever she is, no matter who's around her.  I've watched her.  She lights a scented candle, pours her favorite drink in a fancy goblet, sits down amidst 12 small children, and relaxes as if she were in an expensive beach resort.  And in doing that, she sets a calming effect on everyone around her.

Today is Sarah's birthday.

From her baby book

Sarah is 22 months older than I am.  Although she is my oldest sister, she has never been bossy.  She was always the perfect playmate, and she was my best friend.

We did everything together growing up.  We graduated from High School together and went to Bible College together.  We took the same major, so we were in every single class together and spent our free hours together.  We studied for our tests together, and after our exams, whoever finished first waited for the other in the hallway to "see how you did."  She was a great source of strength and encouragement to me during those years. 

We graduated from College on the same evening and returned home to help Daddy in his mission work.  We were married the same year and had our first babies a month apart.

Although the Lord has led us to live in different cities (7 hours away), we still keep in close touch and our hearts continue to be knit together. 

Sarah and her husband are missionaries in the southern state of Veracruz, Mexico, in a very small town.  She is the mother of six children (very close in age), and yet she finds the time to be involved in their mission work.  She homeschools her children, is an excellent house-keeper, and is a loving wife.  She has a discipleship ministry and reaches out to lost women in her little town.  Her quiet time with the Lord in the mornings is a priority to her.

She is such a godly example to me.  When we are able to spend a few days together, I am always inspired and encouraged just by watching her.  She calls her children into her room individually every morning to brush their hair.  After they're dressed and ready, she prays with each child, that God would watch over them and protect them, and that they would be obedient.

Sarah and her family are surrounded by danger.  They are at risk physically, due to drug gangs and constant kidnappings (that usually end in death); their health is at risk, as typhoid and dengue are rampant in that area of Mexico; and there are spiritual dangers because of the witchcraft and demon activity.  Some of the stories that Sarah has told me have literally made the hair on my neck stand up.  I know there have been times that she has wanted to gather her precious family and flee to another place.  Yet they remain faithful, serving their Lord where He has placed them.  And they are starting to see the fruit of their labors.

Sarah lives in a small corner of the world, never demanding attention or recognition.  But since today is her birthday, I wanted you to know about her, and I want to let you know how blessed I am to have her as my sister.

I love this lady, I admire her, I respect her, and I thank God for putting us in the same family.

When I have done wrong, she has never been judgmental, but has stretched out a helping hand, lifting me up.  She's never harsh, but quietly and sweetly encourages me.  She prays for me.  I recently was having a hard time with something and sent her a message, asking her to pray for me.  She replied:  "I will be praying that God will send you a blessing today."  I prayed to the Lord, "Thank you for my sister.  Please help me to recognize the blessing when you send it."  Later that night, there was a knock on our door.  My husband said, "Anna, you're wanted at the door."  When I opened it, Sarah's youngest child was standing there with a beautiful red rose in her hand, and a smile on her face.  Sarah told her husband, "Anna needs encouraging," and she packed up her children and drove to see me. She spent over one week with us. To me, that shows an unselfish love. 

I have a treasure in this lady I call "sister".

So to you, Sarah, may your day be special.  I hope you're made to feel special, because you are.


Monday, March 23, 2015

And She Became His Wife

March 23, 2002.  The day I became Mrs. Andrew López.

Besides being given salvation, the man I married has been my greatest gift from my Lord.  It has been my privilege to be his wife.

Being his wife has given me experiences that have enriched my life.  Last night I sat down to jot down some things that I've experienced as Mrs. López.  The list is too long; and I could really write a book of all the exciting things we've lived together.

I will say that life with him (seven years living in a remote our first year of marriage in a small room in the clinic...then moving to the more "spacious" house built by the natives...learning to live with no running water, no commodities or luxuries...being surrounded by the Indian rebels who were in constant unrest...) has made my life richer, more meaningful, more selfless. He has taught me to appreciate small things, and our journey together has been one of learning and growth.

Watching him nurse sick ones back to health, pray over and plead with the lost to be saved, teaching poor village children, and having compassion on the less fortunate have made me admire this man and love him more each passing day.  His love and concern for the orphans and widows have shown that this man's walk is genuine, for he delights in helping those who cannot repay him.

Watching him father our three children with such love and devotion have further bound my heart to the man that I call my husband.  How easy it has been for me to teach them honor and respect for the one they call "Daddy."

In unexpected change and disappointment, I have watched him trust the Lord for our next step in our lives.  He has sought the Lord and waited on Him, and together we have seen God provide.

Heart-wrenching hardship and trials have helped us grow together.  God is our Light, and His Word waters and refreshes us as we grow stronger in Him.  Growing closer to Jesus has drawn us closer to each other.

This man is patient and caring, yet firm.  He is gentle, but determined.  He's a leader with the heart of a servant.

So do you see why I am privileged to be this man's wife?

I iron his clothes and set out his shoes for him every morning.  I prepare his coffee and test that it's just right for him. I'm the one he gently kisses before leaving for his day's work, and I smell his cologne on my cheek all morning.

A phone call or a phone message tell me he's thinking about ME, and it is with great anticipation that we await his arrival from work.  Our 2-year-old squeals, "Daddy!" and it is I who watch his enthusiasm as he lovingly greets this man.  Our children wait in line for hugs from Daddy, and then it is my turn.  Yes, this man comes to my house, his car is pulled into MY garage; it is his key that opens my front door.

And it is I with whom he shares his activities of the day.  I watch him bear the weight of providing for his family.  He does it well, without complaint.

I am blessed to be his wife, to fulfill his needs as his help meet. 

13 years.  4,742 days.

And I look forward to the next 13 years!  I don't know what they may hold, but I know that if we seek to follow in the steps of Jesus, the years to come will be full of blessings, and of watching Him provide and care for us.

"And she became his wife; and he loved her."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lift Up Your Eyes

"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white, already to harvest." John 4:35

This week, my heart has been tender as I have been praying for a little 2-year-old baby girl who is in the hospital in Intensive Care.  She was in a terrible accident last Saturday, and my heart has been so burdened for her and her family.  I put myself in that mother's place, and imagine myself sitting day and night next to my baby's hospital bed, begging God to spare her life.

I think that all too often, we get so involved in our petty problems, our little corner of our world, and forget to look out to others who are truly hurting.  Satan is a master at inventing fears and cooking up "what-ifs" in our minds, and we become preoccupied all day worrying about and focused on that one thing.

I look out my kitchen window every single day and watch people go by.  I see mothers rushing their children to school; I see young people walk by, with no clue of how much their decisions today can impact the rest of their lives; I see ladies carrying burdens...I can tell by the look on their faces.  I hear my neighbors arguing and fighting nearly all day long, the mother always yelling at the children.  I have become acquainted with the routine of some of the people in my neighborhood as they pass my window day after day.

And I pray, "God, save that young man."  "Lord, give her peace that comes through a personal relationship with you."

But sometimes, when MY burden seems the heaviest, and MY problem just got bigger than everyone else's (or so I think) then I lower my gaze.  I begin to look inwardly and become focused on my own petty problems.

Not long ago, our family was parked on a busy street.  We were waiting for someone to meet us.  I dug through my purse looking for my phone.  I checked for messages, and laid my phone aside.  When I looked up, I saw 2 men at the door of a business giving false doctrine to someone inside.  (I could not see the people that the men were talking to.  They were there for at least 10 minutes.)  The Lord spoke to my heart and said, "You know the Truth.  Go tell them."  I told my husband, "I must go speak to them."  After the 2 men were gone, I went to the door of the business, and there were two ladies was a young lady, and one an older lady.  I told them that we were sitting waiting in our vehicle, and that I felt impressed to go speak to them.  I began to tell them that the Word of God is the only truth in this world, and that we can trust God's Word.  As I was speaking to them, the older lady (the mother of the younger lady who was there stood up and began to weep. She said that this past year was one of hardship and complete material loss.  She said her husband lost his job; they lost their home and their vehicle.  They had it all...and from one day to the next, they had nothing.  She poured out her heart to me, a complete stranger who just stopped in to tell them that God loves them, and that His Word is truth.

When I prepared to leave, they both (mother and daughter) gave me a hug.  They said, "I feel like God sent you here at just this moment to tell us that He sees us, and that everything is going to be okay."

If we lifted up our eyes more often, I think we would truly see people as God sees them.  People are hurting everywhere.  People who live without God also live without hope.  If you'll focus on them, you'll see hurt and desperation.

One evening last month, my daughter and I ran down to the corner store to buy some milk and bread. A very young man came into the store and asked for a "six-pack," and I thought how young he looked to be buying beer. When my daughter and I left the store, I saw that the young man had gone around the corner down a dark street and there were three VERY young girls with him.  Oh, how my heart broke when I saw them light up a cigerrette to share.  "Where are these young people's parents?" I thought.  I felt like I NEEDED to say something to them!!  As I passed them, I handed them a Gospel tract.  One of the young girls approached me to receive the tract.  I said to her, "Please don't do anything tonight that you'll regret later."  She lowered her gaze, as did the other three young people.  I continued, "And before you do anything, think of your mother!"   I went home and begged God to make them read that tract, and to get in contact with me through the contact information.  I went to bed that night with a heavy heart.

There's no telling how many times we pass people just like that every day.  They're just one step from making a terrible mistake.  Some are just one step from eternity.

But we don't notice because our eyes are turned inwardly. 

My husband and I went out together on Valentine's Day to walk around the town square.  It was a cold night, and we passed an old Indian lady who was standing on a sidewalk next to a cardboard box.  When we walked back around the square toward her, we saw that she had gotten inside the box, had put her hands inside her thin cotton blouse, and had fallen asleep.  How it broke our hearts to see her!  We went to a nearby bakery and bought her a bag of bread.  My husband tapped her on the shoulder and spoke to her.  She opened her eyes and gave us a toothless grin.  She was so grateful for the bread to eat! 

Vendors come to our doors.  How often do we realize that God sent them so we could share His love and the Gospel with them?  We ride in a taxi, and we're so engrossed in our own thoughts and errands of the day, that we don't even think about sharing Christ with the driver.

Hey...get your nose out of your phone.  Take your eyes off of your electronic devices, and lift them up to look at lost souls that pass you every day. You rub shoulders with lost people every day, and yet you have no spiritual interest in them.  When did we become numb to the hurt and the needs of others around us?  There's more to this life than social networks or a "good deal" that we might miss. And I believe we'll give an account one day for all the time wasted on insignificant things that have no eternal value.

Lift up your eyes.  Look at your children's faces when they're talking to you.  Try to see through their little eyes and into their souls and find out what's bothering them.  Talk to them.  Pray with them.

Lift up your eyes. 

"But when he SAW the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them..."  Matthew 9:36a

Thursday, February 19, 2015

There Is Romance

(I wrote the following on February 14, but did not have access to the internet to be able to post it.)

After 12 years and 11 months of marriage, I can say that there is still romance.

You may imagine then, that we always have a weekly date; or that we spend all day in each other's embrace.

No, that is not true.  In fact we rarely have a weekly date.  I get a quick hug and a kiss as he's walking out the door in the mornings.  But there's still romance.

We don't spend every day together all day, and some days are so busy that by bedtime, we're so exhausted that we can't even have a sensible conversation.

But there's still romance.  When the room is full of people, and he gives me that look that makes me feel like he and I are the only people in the room.  Or when I pass his chair and give him a loving pat on the shoulder: that's our romance.

Baby is crying, and I'm feeling completely overwhelmed with the stress of the moment, and he takes the baby for a ride in the car.  That's romance. To me, that says, "I care about you."

This week has been one of the busiest for us as a family.  My husband's relatives are staying in our home due to a surgery.  I've been busy keeping everyone fed and comfortable, and besides my husband's very busy work schedule, he has shuttled people to and from the hospital as turns are taken to stay with the patient.  We have hardly had time to sit together for a meal.  I blow him a kiss as he's leaving again.

Today, I took the time to go with him to make another trip to the hospital.  Whew!  Finally, some alone time.  We can "catch up" on each other.  But he gets a phone call from a mommy with a sick baby who needs to know what to give to her baby for diarrea.  I listen as he gently speaks to this troubled mommy, calming her fears and reassuring he that her baby will be OK.  I listen with admiration.  I look over at this handsome man that I call my husband.  He is constantly going, giving, caring.  Such a compassionate man. 

When he hangs up the phone, he squeezes my hand and says, "You're doing a good job.  I know it's a lot of work, but it's not forever."

To me, that's romance.

Not necessarily if he takes me out once a week.  We hardly ever go out alone.  But there's still romance.  My time alone with him is in the evening when we have our cup of coffee together at our table and talk of the events of the day. He shares his activities and happenings of the day; and I ramble on (and sometimes on and on) about mine, while he patiently listens.

A sweet text message here and there that tells me, "I'm thinking about you."

Now, perhaps your expectation of romance is higher than mine.  But I choose to be content and let the normal happenings of a normal day satisfy my need for romance.  A coy smile; a loving pat; a call from him on his way home:  "Can I bring you something from town?"  Those are every-day things that I treasure.   My heart goes pitter-patter at the sound of his voice; I thrill at the sound of him opening the front door.  I don't want to let those little things lose significance in my life.

So, can romance still exist in marriage nearly 13 years and 3 kiddies later?  Can love still be in the air, even with a toddler who interrupts nearly EVERY conversation you try to have?

Yes!  Take the time to wink at him from across the room.  Give each other a loving squeeze every time you pass one another.  Steal a kiss when you think no one's looking (or even when little eyes are watching).  Romance is not only made of romantic outings in fine restaurats, or trips away, just the two of you.  (Honestly, we don't have the money to make frequent get-aways.)  Romance consists in the knowledge that "I'm here for you."

So to my handsome, ever-cheerful Sweetheart, "I love you, my Valentine.  I've loved you for 20 years, and I look forward to loving you the next 20 years!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Things

“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”  Isaiah 42:9

Happy New Year to all! 

Aren’t new things fun?  Like when you buy a new pair of shoes, and you can’t wait to get up in the morning and put them on?  Or like when we ladies get new makeup and can’t wait to try it out? I like getting a new hair cut, and can’t wait to style it in the mornings!

And when we get something new, we tend to take special care of it…no scratches, no soiling, no bending or dropping it.  We take time to shine it, wash it, clean it, and put it away carefully.

When we were newly-weds, didn’t we try our hardest to keep everything perfect?!  And when we had a new baby, the wonders of holding a new-born in our arms was so thrilling!

But eventually, those new things do become old.   We live in a world where things deteriorate, hair turns grey, and shoes eventually do get dirty and torn.  One day you wake up and realize your spouse has imperfections, and a few days after delivering that perfect little baby, you’re so tired you can’t even remember what a full night’s rest feels like.

And the new wears off.  And as the new begins to wear off, you stop trying so hard.  You stop shining, caring for, cleaning.  You give up on styling.  You eventually show your grumpy side, and a few remarks that you later regret come from your mouth.  That sweet little newborn is SO precious, but I need some sleep; and grouchiness becomes a thief that steals that awe and wonder of the amazing feeling of motherhood that you felt only a few days ago.

And so it tends to happen in a New Year.

Remember only a few days ago, when you and your family gathered together and reflected on God’s wonderful blessings in 2014, and you purposed in your heart that you are setting new resolutions, and everything will indeed be different in 2015? 

May I urge you to keep the “New” in this year?  Keep the scratchiness of nagging out of your voice.  Don’t soil a perfectly good day by selfishly wanting all to go your own way.  Remember that flexibility is the key to contentment, and seek to bend for the benefit of others.  Drop all negativeness and criticism from your attitude. Shine that attitude every morning with some refreshing time with our Lord. Wash away all poutiness when things don’t go exactly the way you think they should.  Put aside all conflicting thoughts and think only on those things that are virtuous and praise-worthy. Don’t forget that every morning, His mercies are new.  Keep the freshness and the awesomeness and the excitement of a New Year all year long.

And those New-Year Resolutions…remember that you CAN do all things through Christ which strengtheneth you.  We can, and with God’s help, we will.

Monday, November 17, 2014

We Are Held In His Hands

Two weeks ago, on a Sunday morning, my husband walked outside, and when he came around the corner of the house, he saw a hummingbird fly into the wall and fall to the ground.  There was a flock of crows chasing her, and when she fell, they all flew down, wickedly hovering over her.  My husband moved toward her, and the crows scattered.  He picked up the feeble bird and laid it in his hand.  She lay very still. In her long beak was a bit of cotton.  My husband figured she was building a nest, and thinks the crows wanted her spot. 

We watched as she lay there, so still, so unlike a hummingbird!  We marveled at her beautiful green feathers, shining in the sunlight.

After 15 minutes of lying so still in my husband's hand, she gained strength and stood, perched on her feet.  She then stood, looking around.  She didn't seem frightened at all.  Once, she tried to flutter her beautiful wings, but was unable to fly away.

About 15 minutes leter, as someone else approached my husband, she fluttered her wings at an amazing speed, and flew about three inches above my husband's hand, testing her wings.  Ten seconds later, she flew up onto the roof.  She stayed on the roof another five minutes, or so, and then flew away, fully recovered from her fall.

As I watched that helpless bird in the palm of my husband's hand, I thought of how we are held in our Heavenly Father's hand.  He picks us up so tenderly and holds us.  And those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up with wings as eagles.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  I was reminded that not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father seeing.

I think God that put my husband right there to shoo the bad crows away from that Mama hummingbird, and to pick her up and to sustain her until she had the strength to fly away.  And doesn't He do the same for us?  He often puts people in our path to help us get back up, to shoo away the discouragement and depression.  Don't doubt it for one minutes.  He sees you today, no matter what you're going through. 

Isn't that a blessed thought for today?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

His Eye Is On The Sparrow (A Guest Post from a Missionary Wife)

"Anna, come here and listen to this."

Mom called me to her office one evening when we were at her house in mid June and read to me an email that my brother-in-law, Ulises Martínez had written to her.  He wrote that the roads that lead to the small village in which they live had been blocked off on all sides.  They had not had food nor water for a couple of weeks; there was no money in the banks; the shelves in the grocery stores were not being stocked with more food.  They were literally living from meal to meal.  The water supply had been cut off to the village.  "Please pray for us," was his earnest plea.

My heart sank, and I prayed, "Oh, Lord, please be with my sister and her family!  Provide for them, comfort them, and help them to feel Your presence!"

The days following, Ulises and my sister, Elizabeth, were not off my mind.  I woke up during the night and prayed for them.  I wrote to my friends and family and asked them to please be praying.

Knowing they had no food, we wanted to drive down the mountain to take them some; but we were told there was a danger that they would confiscate any vehicles that were even driven to the edge of the village.  Feeling so helpless (as we certainly are as humans!), we placed them in our Heavenly Father's hands and trusted Him to take care of them.

In early July, I was able to visit with my sister, Elizabeth, for the first time since their traumatic experience.  We stayed up talking until the wee hours of the morning, and I couldn't hold back the tears as she told me about what she had lived and seen and felt during those weeks they were "taken hostage" in their little village.

I was so touched by her account of what she told me that she and her family went through, and I thought that others might be encouraged to take heart when the going gets rough.  I asked Elizabeth if she would write about her experience, so I could share it on my blog.  I appreciate her taking time to write to me the following, so that I could share this with you.

So, with a prayer on my heart that the Lord will take this and use it for His honor and glory, and that someone's heart somewhere might be encouraged, I share with you the following that she wrote to me.

Ulises and Elizabeth have three children, Sophia Grace (10), Paul Laymon (8), and Emily Ruth (2)

"Thank you, Anna, for letting me share with you what God has taught me these past few months. When you asked me to write what God has taught me, I could not find a place to start, because God has done so much!  I think, then, the most simple and brief way is for me to write small excerpts from my journal.  I pray this will bring God honor and glory.  I pray this will be an encouragement to some weary, struggling missionary lady.  Yes!  It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!

June 3:  I got up at 4:40.  Ulises went to men's prayer meeting.  I drove up to town with Hermana Elvira to the mission to ladies' prayer meeting. Hermana Pili gave a sweet devotional on Ecclesiastes 3, a time for everything.  As we drove back home, I noticed a lot of Indian men on the sides of the highway. Any time there is a big group of Indians on the side of the highway, it can't be anything good.  Fog covered the mountains.  I marveled at the beautiful sunrise, and forgot about the trouble I knew was coming.  Ulises came home from men's prayer meeting.  He told me the awful news...the roads are blocked.  About noon, the day turned cold and rainy.  I gave the children their school.  Faithful few walked down the mountain through road block to church.  Thank you, Lord, for these precious, faithful people.
Indians put up banners with their demands.  They want fertilizer.

June 4:  Roads still blocked.  We do not have food.  Precious folks walked around the road block.  They brought us our food, so lovingly.  Yes, I ate (cow) stomach and feet soup today.  The kids didn't seem to mind.  Thank you, Lord, for lemons and jalapeños to cover up the taste and smell.

June 5:  Herds of rats and mice.  One ran into the house.  Ulises and Hermano Emanuel killed it in the kitchen. It is hard to cook; I can't keep the flies off the food.  They swarm in through the opening in the roof.  Men keep sending Ulises messages, telling him not to go out, to stay inside with doors locked.  Things in town are not good.  Indians are protesting.  They did not get all the fertilizer the government promised them.

June 6:  Ulises and Hermano Jorge walked up the mountain around road block.  The roof at the mission leaks, and there are worms falling through the holes.  They cleaned it...Ulises didn't have an appetite at dinner.  I was sick today.  My stomach hurt, headache.  Ulises and children took care of Emily.

June 7:  Cold and rainy.  Roads still blocked.  Our roof is leaking.  Our bedding is damp and cold.  When we get in bed at night, it takes a while for us to go to is so cold.  I sense the children are scared.  A thief came in, stole Sophie's beautiful black dog.  I feel unsafe.  Ulises gets up a lot during the night to look out the windows.

June 8:  No money.  Ran out of water, gas, diapers.  When Ulises and I walked over to church, there was a sparrow that had fallen from its nest. It took my breath away, my eyes filled with tears.  Yes, Lord, you saw when he fell from his nest.  You see me, you see the danger we are in.  Thank you, Lord, for the delicious papaya from the tree in front of the church!  That was our dinner today.  Thank you, Lord, for the faithful people who came to church today, in spite of the rain and road blocks.
Papaya Tree outside the church

June 10: Roads blocked.  Thank you, Lord, for Bro. Manuel bringing us fresh cow milk for Emily.  I am still learning how to keep my floors clean.  Sprinkle it with water and dip the broom in a bucket.  Seems to keep the dust and cement at a minimum.  Sarah and Jason's family have Typhoid. Emily woke up from her nap with fever.  Thank you, Lord, for the Motrin I had!  Ulises and I sat up after the children were in bed, listening to gun shots, men shouting.  Those people are getting tired of sitting out in the rain day and night, demanding their fertilizer.  They are getting restless, bored, and violent.  I am learning the power and sweet relief of prayer.

Fresh cow milk every morning

June 11:  Paul's wheezing is getting worse, I am sure because of the damp walls next to his bed.  Girls and I stayed home while Ulises and Paul walked up mountain around road block in their rain coats.  Ulises preached at the mission.  Sophie and I had a devotional. I did my best to listen to her sweet devotional she worked so hard to prepare, but I was uneasy.  Indian men were running back and forth on the highway, shouting.  How wonderful to see the men's flashlights as they came down the mountain.  Paul told me how he fearlessly walked by the cliff around the road block. Thank you, Father, for letting us be together again.

The blessing of rain boots!

June 12:  Roads still blocked.  No water. The Indians have taken over the town's water supply.  Thank you, Lord, for the rain you sent.  We put buckets along the edge of the roof outside, gathering rain water.  We all put on our rain coats and mud boots.  Walked up the mountain to the mission.  I carried Bibles and flashlight.  Ulises carried Emily.  As our family was singing a song, I was holding Emily, and she would give everyone thumbs up.  "Aren't we singing so pretty?!"  I got tickled and couldn't sing.  God gives joy and laughter in the midst of fear and trials.  We walked back down the mountain in the dark.  Thank you, Lord, for the moon light and my Mother's prayers.  Made it home safely.  I am praying for curtains.  I felt we were being watched as we ate supper.

The invaluable gift of water!

June 13:  Roads still blocked.  God sent us water!  As I was bathing Paul, I said, "Raise your arms."  He said, "Please don't shoot!"  He hasn't lost his sense of humor.  Washed all our clothes!  Ulises went soulwinning.  I stayed home with the children.  I was very uneasy.  Kept children busy with a drawing contest; they both won.  Hid their prizes and had them hunt for them.  So very thankful to see Ulises' flashlight as he walked down the mountain.

June 14:  Roads still blocked.  Used the last of our gas baking two cakes for Father's Day.  All stores in Ixtapa closed.  Store owners threatened with being ransacked if they opened or sold to anyone.  Heard gun shots.  Hermano Emanuel brought us a jug of drinking water.  He told Ulises to stay in the house.  Sarah called.  Anna and Mom sent messages; several churches in the States are praying for us.  Our dear friends in Decatur are praying. How comforting to know we are not forgotten by our friends!

June 15:  Father's Day.  Men enjoyed chocolate cakes.  Hermano Ramón licked the plate.  He said he had never tasted chocolate cake before.  It was worth using the last of our gas!  Anna called me today.  Thank you, Lord, for my dear, precious sister. We walked up the mountain to the mission.  Lightening and rain.  Tin roof on mission leaks.

June 16:  Stayed home all day (...duh.)  Ulises worked on our water supply.  Joel called with wonderful news: someone sent us a love offering.  But we have no way to get it.  We are held hostage, 3 road blocks toward Bochil, 4 road blocks toward Cañitas.  And even if we had money, there are no stores open.  During the night I sat up in bed.  I heard a truck driving long has it been since I have heard a car drive past on the highway?!  Can it be, Lord?  The roads might be opened!

June 17:  ROADS OPENED!!!!  What a feeling of freedom!  And we got water!  The sun shined today for the first time in so many days, and it didn't rain.  Jumping up and down, embracing, someone knocked on the door.  Hermana Elvira brought delicious breakfast, and homemade tortillas.  We had, perhaps, the sweetest family devotions we have ever had.  we each wept as we gave testimony of God's protection, faithfulness and goodness.  Thank you, Lord, for letting my children really SEE you.

Since that day, we continue to see God's miracles, His protection, His blessings!  We now have running water in our home!  I could write many more stories!  About the children saved during Bible School, and the families that have been added to the church because of Bible School.  Our trips to Soyalo, the blind Indian man and the old widow lady who attend the mission there.  The people God brings to our door for us to witness to.  Sicknesses.  Earthquakes.  Rain and wind storms under a tin roof.  Our house flooding.  I could write about Bro. Beltran and Aurora, the loss of their baby, and his ordination as pastor.  I could write about Angelita, Susana and Sany's salvation.

His blessings are endless!  Just when I think I could not love Him more, my Precious Lord does more miracles and I fall in love with Him again!

If I could resume all I have learned into one phrase, it would be this:  Serving Jesus is a privilege.  There is no higher calling.  No sacrifice is too great.  No burden is too heavy.  This light affliction works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!  And all I could possibly go through, at the end all I will be able to say is, 'We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.'"

Will you please take time to pray for this missionary family?