Bible Verse of the Month...

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Africa Calling!!!!!!

My husband was looking for a job. We had been living in a small country town where he had been preaching. Our family moved back to my husband's home town and he was busy trying to find another place to preach.

My husband had a friend who was on the Board for a Christian Secondary School in Africa. He asked my husband if he wanted to go to Africa. My husband had wanted to do mission work for years. He had tried to go to several different countries before we ever even met. My husband eagerly said yes. He'd love to go to Africa.

We had 3 children. Our boys were not to eager to go halfway across the world and neither was I. Every night at suppertime my stomach would knot up and I couldn't eat. The thought of moving so far away from my familiar world was frightening to say the least.

I'd only been on an airplane once and that was a short trip in the United States. Fly across the ocean. You've got to be kidding. What if I got too scared. It wasn't like I could get off the plane over the ocean.

What about the friends I had and my family. My mother and my husband's mother were not too keen on the idea. My mother said she'd be angry with me if I took her grandchildren so far away.

I talked to my husband and told him I just didn't think I could go. He told me that he understood and if I couldn't that was ok, but he thought that this was what God wanted him to do. How could I stay behind and yet how could I go.

I did what I should have as soon as we were asked to go. I did the only thing I could. I prayed. I asked God if this was really what He wanted me to do that He would take away my fear and help me be excited about the trip.

Of course, God came through. He answered my prayer; even more than I could every hope for. When I went to Africa God gave me other family and friends to love and to encourage me. He was always with me. My life is richer because of the experience of having lived in Africa for 5 years.

I learned so many lessons. I was blessed by the people there. It's amazing when you think you are going to be teaching someone or helping them that you end up being given so much more than you give. The people there were amazing.

Thank you Father for blessing my life and helping me over another one of the hurdles in my life.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bullies

Have you ever had to deal with bullies in your life? My teenage years were times I would not want to live over again. Why is it that some people think so little of themselves that they try to make everyone else's lives miserable by mistreating them.

Study Hall was a time I dreaded every day. Two guys loved to tease me and see my face turn red. It was horrible.

I had so low self-confidence and self-esteem already that it didn't take much for me to question my abilities. I felt so stupid.

I'm thankful that I lived through those times and yes I came out better for it. Though it took a lot of positive people in my life to help me believe in myself and realize I wasn't a complete idiot afterall. I had abilities that God had given me.

I can look back now and actually feel sorry for those guys. I don't really see how they could have very many friends treating people the way they did. Although, it seems that some of the most popular kids were really not that nice to other people. I haven't really heard anything about those guys and their lives; although my sister still lives there. I hope that they grew up and started realizing how to treat the people in your life.

Bullies! Have you got any stories to share about bullies in your life? Maybe you've got a story that ends great with the bully actually changing and being a supernice person. I'd like to hear it.

Remembering Mr. & Mrs. H

When we lived in Broken Arrow we were in a Brothers' Keepers Group. We were helping our friends, the Arledges. It was good for us to be involved in a group because there were people of different ages.

That's when I met Mr. & Mrs. H. I was able to go and visit them at their home. They were a really neat older couple; lots of fun.

One day when I went to their home, Mr. H told his wife to tell me what she had done. She had put her false teeth on a plate. Then later she went to feed her dogs and mistakenly threw her false teeth to the dogs. In a little while, she discovered what she had done and went to retrieve her false teeth.

We also had another older gentleman in our group. One time when we were all arriving, this older gentleman parked behind Mr. & Mrs. H and bumped into their car. Mrs. H had a hairpiece on so when she came in the hairpiece was standing straight up. We all had a laugh about that.

Isn't it great that throughout our lives we can have people wander through of all ages and races and we can enjoy them. Everyone we meet brings something different into our lives. I just hope that I managed to give them something, too. A part of myself.

That was something that I learned when we lived in Africa. People there no matter how poor always wanted to feed you or give you something (maybe some ground nuts or eggs). They always felt that their visitors gave them something from just coming to see them and they wanted to show their gratitude.

I have so many people in my life that I owe so much to. They each touched my heart and changed my life.

A Salute to Ba Sailas

When we were living in Africa we had a houseman named Sailas. He was always doing things that drove me crazy.

Sailas was a very small man. Maybe 5 feet tall and probably about 100 pounds.

He would come to work every morning by way of the school pond. One morning he came into the house quite excited and pleased with himself. He said, Madame, come see. There's a very large animal outside. I said I don't know if I want to see it. He kept urging me to come outside. He had killed a very large black mamba snake. They are one of the most deadly snakes. It was probably 6 - 8 ft long.

Ba Sailas could have been killed. I believe these snakes are called the 30 second snake because if you are bitten you have about 30 seconds to live. I couldn't believe he would take a chance like that. Of course, if he hadn't killed it, it probably would killed someone.

He got someone else to help him carry it and he went all around the campus showing off his prize.

While Ba Sailas did drive me crazy at times he really helped our family with a lot of tasks that would have overwhelmed me. I do miss Ba Sailas and am thankful for the work he did to help our family.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What a Difference You've Made in My Life

There's a Ronnie Milsap song that has been running through my head over and over. I've even been singing it in the shower. I'm sure it's supposed to be a love song, but it speaks to me of all the people who have come in and out of my life over the years. It also has a verse which reminds me of the change in my life because of God.

It's amazing how so many people can influence your life. I'm sure they don't realize the difference they make. I guess there would be pages and pages to this blog if I took time to think about every single person who has changed my life for the better.

I'm indebted to so many. There are those who believed in me; believed I could do things that I never thought about doing and they encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. They made me believe in myself.

There are friends who helped me when my children were small and I needed so much encouragement and the friendship of others who had children.

There are friends in Memphis who took us in like their family. Especially Brian and Virginia Lowery who invited us over about every Sunday night after services. We needed family at that time when we were away from home and newly married.

There were friends in Africa; both the Zambians and the other missionaries. We always felt loved even though we were far away from our families.

There were Toastmaster friends. Their encouragement gave me more confidence in my abilities and helped me to be able to get involved in prison ministry. Thanks, Debbie and Mary.

What a difference you've made in my life,
What a difference you've made in my life,
You're my sunshine day and night,
What a difference you made in my life.

What a change you have made in my heart,
What a change you have made in my heart,
You replaced all the broken parts,
What a change you have made in my heart.

Most of all thanks to my husband, my 3 children, my two wonderful daughter-in-laws. You all inspire me with your love and your talents. Thanks to my Sister and Mom for loving me all through the years. I love you. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't have the family and friends I have and all there support.

Most of all thanks to God who makes all the difference in my life.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Sianjinas

Though we were thousands of miles away from home, we found family waiting in Africa who warmed accepted us and loved us.

We would take students from Namwianga and they would help with worship services on Sunday. People would walk from miles to worship God at the Sianjinas farm.

I always teased their son Justin that he needed to fix the road for us. It was so bumpy. But the trip to the farm always made us feel great.

The Sianjinas always asked why we hadn't come in so long. They let us know we were missed. They always fixed us a wonderful meal with nsima and chicken.

Mrs. Sianjina and I could only talk with an interpreter. She spoke Tonga and I only spoke enough to greet her. She always was proud of my attempts just to greet her in her own language.

Once my husband turned our landrover on its side when he had gone to a funeral and taken a lot of our students. The next day the Sianjinas came and they prayed and thanked God that Mr. Wood was not hurt in the accident.

We spend so many wonderful times at the Farm. We were close to them and their children. Mr. and Mrs. Sianjina have both passed away now. I miss them. God has blessed us with a multitude of family down through our lives. Our experience in Africa was amazing and I thank God He blessed us with letting us know the Sianjinas.

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