Thank you to each of you who read my blog and pray for us. I love hearing from you, and knowing how the posts I write are a blessing to you. That is always an encouragement to me.
Due to a 3-day stay in the hospital (I had a bad infection and contractions, which the doctor feared could conduce to a pre-term birth), and many days on bed rest, I have not been able to post photos of our Christmas Banquet.
I know that many of you prayed for us that evening, and I wanted you to know how the Lord blessed that evening.
Mom always plans, saves her money, and works hard all year long preparing for this Annual Banquet. I can say that all her time and money that she sacrificed was rewarded as the Lord blessed in a great way. I know that the years to come will reveal more fruit from this ministry.
The theme of the Banquet was "Christmas At Home," and as every year, the decorations were so beautiful. (Great job, Mona, on planning and working so hard on all the decorations!)
We had special music, sung by 9 of Mom's grandchildren, as well as a special presentation by the children in an orphanage in a nearby town. Our hearts were blessed by the music presented by all the children that evening.
We also had a very special surprise that day: Philip and Liz had to make a quick, unexpected trip down, and they were able to be here for the Banquet. That was such a pleasant surprise for all of us. Liz sang that evening and it was a sweet blessing to me to get to accompany her once again on the piano. (I miss you, Philip and Liz!!)
Pardon the glare in my eyes!
Our special speaker for that night was my uncle, Tommy Ashcraft (Mom's brother). It had been about 12 years since he had been here, and it was such a treat to have him and be able to fellowship with him once again. I snapped this picture of Mom and Uncle Tommy the night he got here.
His message ("Anxiety") was a blessing to all, and several ladies told me afterward that the Lord spoke to their hearts through the message.
Another grand treat we enjoyed that night was hearing
a special song by Mom and Uncle Tommy. They both sing so beautifully,
and hearing them sing
"Down From His Glory"
together was just so special!
"Thank you, Uncle Tommy, for coming.
It was so wonderful having you here!"
Something Mom does every year at the Banquet is to recognize and honor the mayor's wife, or any former mayor's wives. If it is their first year to attend, she gives them a Bible with their name engraved on the front.
This year, we had 5 special ladies present:
2 former mayor's wives, a representative of a mayor's wife in a near-by town and the wife of a mayor in a near-by village, and the mother of the new mayor in our town. Each was honored with a special gift.
The wife of the mayor in the near-by village wept as she thanked Mom for having this banquet. She said it was the first time she had ever attended an event of this type, and that her heart was blessed to have been able to attend.
**Just a note**
~~The village where this lady and her husband serve is one of the villages where Dad took the Gospel by donkey 36 years ago. This village, which now has much easier access, has a Baptist church pastored by one of the Indian men won to the Lord through Dad's ministry 30 years ago. This Indian pastor now has 6 other works in surrounding villages, and other churches have been started by 5 of his preacher sons.~~
The church choir worked hard for over 4 months, preparing a special cantata and Christmas play. All the hard work and sacrifice paid off, as the Gospel was presented through song, and a clear salvation presentation was presented through the play.
~~Great Job, Mona, organizing and working so hard on this cantata!!~~
There were 2 ladies saved that evening, and the following Sunday, one of the ladies came with her family and has been faithful to attend the church services and other church-related events.
Once again, thank you, THANK YOU to all who prayed and sent encouraging notes. I know you have a big part in this banquet, and we do appreciate it!!! May the Lord bless you for your investment in this Banquet.