Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hallelujah, Christ Arose! ~

"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28: 1-6

God Is In Control ~

This has been a week of weeks for me! I find peace in being organized...not to say that I have mastered organization yet, but I try. I like to put things back in the same place so that I know where they are the next time I need them. I make lists to keep myself on track. I have maintained a life notebook for over 30 years now. I like order to my life. This week God pulled all my 'order' right from under my feet when he ALLOWED my wallet to be stolen. The wallet was no loss but in it was my passport, credit/debit cards, driver's license, military base pass, numerous other 'cards' and a substantial amount of cash. After the initial panic of realizing all those things were gone (and a little meltdown as well) God came to my aid with a peace and calm that only He can give in a crisis. He reminded me that there is not a sparrow that falls to the ground that He does not know it. And there is not a hair on my head that He has not numbered it. Matthew 10:29,30. Then He follows up those two verses with a "FEAR NOT!". God allowed me to lose a little control of my life so that He could remind me that He is still in control. And He has a good purpose for everything that He allows in my life. Already He has shown His goodness by allowing me to get a temporary passport so that Tom and I can fly to the states week after next. Old credit/debit cards have been cancelled and new ones are on the way. Driver's license will be replaced with little effort and my base pass can be replaced when we return from the states. God is good....ALL the time!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mission's Conference at Victory Baptist Church in Stuttgart, Germany ~

Tom preached a mission's conference at Victory Baptist Church in Stuttgart, Germany this past week. Here we are with the Pastor Mike Thornsley and his sweet wife, Judy. We enjoyed the fellowship with Bro. and Mrs. Thornsley so much. We also enjoyed seeing two alumni families from Rhein River Baptist Church: The Jason Vranes and the Emmanuel Lorenzos. Bro. Thornsley is courageously battling liver cancer and is seeing some amazing progress. We ask all our friends to remember to pray for him.

Our New Little T Ball Player ~

Our little three year old Haley Grace just started playing T Ball and she is loving it. Here she is showing off some of her equipment.

An Afternoon at the Mall With Emmy ~

Emmy and I had a good time together today doing some last minute shopping before we leave on her senior trip Monday. The mall was packed!! We shopped, ate lunch and had a white chocolate mocha and Java Chip Frappuccino at Starbucks.

Emmy and "Friends" Who Were At The Mall ~

These Beauties Are Growing In Our Mall ~

Well....these are not actually fact, they are artificial, but they looked pretty with my other two pictures.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Secret To A Great Day ~


I met God in the morning
When my day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.

All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O'er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I too had loosed the moorings,
With the Presence left behind.

So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way:
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day!

~ Ralph Spalding Cushman

What's Going On In Chattanooga ~

Bradley and Madison have been busy using their talents for the Lord this past week. Eight year old Madison sang at her school's talent competition. She was the only competitor who sang a Christian song. She sang the song "He Knows My Name" and the message of that song was heard by about 500 people. She didn't win the competition but she sure won in our book. Bradley is improving more and more on his guitar. He played "Amazing Grace" in church Sunday, accompanied by his mother on the piano. I'm not sure what Haley did this past week, but I am sure it was fantastic!!

Sunday Night Date With Emmy ~

We have a standing Sunday night date with our oldest granddaughter, Emily. After church we head to the place of her choice and eat, talk and laugh together. She will be leaving for college in about four months so these times are becoming more and more special. Last night her best friend, Danielle, came with us because she was spending the night with Emmy. It was such fun. I am so glad we do not have a generation gap in our family!!! (Here is Emmy with her beautiful mother, this picture)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our International Congregation ~

Rhein River Baptist Church is a military church with an international congregation. While our ministry is primarily to the U.S. military stationed in the Mannheim, Germany area, over the years we have seen more and more international people coming. Our base is drawing down and according to all the reports we hear, it will someday close. We are praying that the Lord will let us leave an international congregation when that day comes. I would say we have a good start. We love our international folks. There are several who we are praying will be saved and we believe they will. This is a picture of all the international folks in our service this morning. This group represents people from Kenya, Nigeria, Eritrea, Nepal, Germany, France, Philippines, Portugal,Iran, India and Angola. This does not include their children who were in Children's Church or some nationalities who were not present today. Below are a few pictures we made of some individuals after the group picture was made.

Our Kenyan ladies.

A sweet lady from Iran.

Three of our Nigerian men.

Eritrea, Africa. We have another Eritrean young man in Bible College in the states.

Filipino ladies.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Meet Kamala ~

Kamala is a native of Nepal with an infectious laugh and sweet disposition. She and her husband, John, who is a contractor, have been in our church for about five years I think....maybe longer. Kamala is very creative and has been an invaluable help to me on many projects. John is deployed now to Iraq and Kamala is learning to trust the Lord more than ever before. Two of Kamala's children were saved at RRBC and are now married and living away. I look forward to Kamala's laugh and hug every week.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MEMORIES PAST (People, Places and Events) ~ Dawn's College Graduation

Dawn attended Pensacola Christian College for four years, but was just a shy short of graduation before she and Mitch were married. After nearly ten years of marriage, two children, and while being pregnant with her third and teaching piano, she went back to Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, TN and finished her degree and graduated in 2005. It was a very happy day! Here she is getting a congratulatory hug from Bradley.

Congratulations to Bro. Larry and Kay (and Eddie and Ellie, too)

Bro. Larry and Kay Ferguson, RRBC alumni, missionaries to Korea and dear friends became grandparents for the first time on Monday, March 15. Her name is Evangeline (named after Bro. Larry's grandmother) and the proud parents are Eddie and Ellie Ferguson. Bro. Larry and Kay, welcome to the wonderful world of grandparenting!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wishing Bro. Larry Good Health ~

Bro. Larry Simensen is one of the missionary staff men here at Rhein River Baptist Church and a very dear friend. He has been very ill for several weeks with a severe kidney problem and was hospitalized last week. After some very painful procedures and strong antibiotics he was released on Friday. He is still not 100% and needs our prayers. Get well soon, Bro. Larry. (Here he is with his wife, Phyllis, and two of their daughters and granddaughters at a Rhein River Reunion in Pigeon Forge, TN, a few years ago.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010


We just got in today from a three week trip to Korea, Hawaii and California. We had WONDERFUL meetings, but it is so good to be back home. The only disappointing thing about this trip was that we didn't get to stop in on Dawn, Mitch and the children in Chattanooga, but it was simply too far out of the way. We talked to them several times on the phone and we will see them on our next trip back to the states. It was such a blessing to come through the exit doors at the Frankfurt airport and see Mark, Julie and Emmy waiting for us. When we got to our apartment we spent a little while visiting and "catching up", then saw some of Mark's videos and pictures from Israel. Afterwards we had some hot soup, a hot bath and headed to bed to sleep for a couple of hours. Can't wait to see our church family tomorrow. Bro. Larry Simensen, one of our staff missionaries, has been seriously ill and had to be hospitalized while we are gone, but was released yesterday. Good to be home!

The Final Stop on Our "Round the World" Trip - Mission's Conference, Faith Baptist Church, Canoga Park, CA

The final stop on our trip was a mission's conference at Faith Baptist Church in Canoga Park, CA. It was an amazing conference. Tom preached four times with great power. He not only preached in the main service, but also to the pastor's Sunday School class, the Spanish church and the senior high chapel service. I spoke to the Ladies' Sunday School class and felt so welcome and at home. This is one of the most mission-minded churches we have ever been in. The pastor, staff and people have a heart not only for missions, but for missionaries. There were three young missionary families there, all on deputation. The church took them all on for support. It was a blessing also to be with dear friends, Dr. and Mrs. Don Sisk and Dr. Charles Keen.

Pastor Tim Rasmussen, and his wife, Kelly, are two of the most gracious and kind folks we have ever met. He has a great church and staff with a tremendous heart for missions and missionaries. Tom and I agreed that we have never been in a more friendly church than Faith Baptist.

Our precious friends and one of our favorite preachers, Dr. Don Sisk, and his wife, Virginia. Bro. Sisk was one of the conference speakers.

Tom with Dr. Charles Keen, also one of the speakers at the conference. His messages were such a challenge.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tom preaching in the Spanish church at Faith Baptist Church in Canoga Park, CA, and Bro. Alfredo Cervantes translating. Six people were saved in the service.

A girl's quartet playing and singing in the Spanish church.

Here we are with the Spanish pastor and his family, Alfredo and Rosa Cervantes and their sweet children, Alfredo, Jr. and Issella. Little two year old Santiago was sick.

A picture of the Spanish church. Tom spoke to the Spanish church at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday morning. The Spanish pastor, Bro. Cervantes, translated for him.

Here are the staff and missionary wives. We enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship over lunch.

Dr. Charles Keen and his little great granddaughter, Katy. Katy's parents are on staff at Faith Baptist.

Unexpected Excitement on Mark's Trip to Israel ~

Mark has been on a trip of a lifetime this past week....a tour of the Holy Land. He and another one of our men went on the tour with Dr. and Mrs. Clarence Sexton from Temple Baptist in Powell, TN. Their otherwise pleasant and amazing trip was interrupted when they were visiting the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Palestinian youths began throwing rocks and soon a riot broke out and police were called with rubber bullets and tear gas. We praise the Lord that no one in Mark's group was injured and that God watched over them. All of that said, Mark loves being in the middle of excitement like that. Of course his wife, daughter and mother weren't as excited about it! We will be glad when he gets back home. (Isn't this a beautiful picture of Mark and Emmy?) Below is a link where you can see the CNN report. If you look closely in one of the frames you can actually see Mark.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What a Week ~

We fly from Honolulu to Los Angeles tomorrow morning, but it has been such a wonderful week made possible by our dear friends, Larry and Kay Ferguson. It was special being in Hawaii, but even more special to spend the time with Larry and Kay. I was so busy taking in all the beauty that I sometimes forgot to make pictures, but I will take many "mini-vacations" in my mind back to this week.

Miscellaneous Pictures From Hawaii ~


Kay and I and some of the magnificent flowers that grow everywhere.

Tom and I in front of one of the banyan trees near the hotel where we stayed.

Look at This Amazing Tree on the Island ~

One of the most amazing trees on the island and one that has me totally captivated is the banyan tree. They abound in Hawaii but did not originate there. The tree was originally imported from India and were often gifts to Hawaiian kings and queens of long ago. The trees generate their roots from their branches that extend down to the ground and create another tree without producing flowers, fruit or seeds to generate offspring. People have actually lived in the wide base of the tree. AMAZING!!

Tom Preaches at Ohana Baptist Church in Honolulu ~

Tom preached tonight at Ohana Baptist Church where Bro. Wayne Surface is the pastor. We had a wonderful service with many decisions. Here we are in the balmy Pacific breeze with Bro. Wayne and his wife, Dianne.

We had a sweet reunion with Bill and Sue Baker, former members of Rhein River Baptist who are now stationed in Honolulu and attending Ohana Baptist.

We were so surprised to find Dr. Russell Anderson, the co-founder of Hyles-Anderson College, at Ohana Baptist. He spends the winter season in Hawaii to miss the cold weather in Michigan.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Aloha from Hawaii

We flew about 8 hours from Busan, S. Korea to Honolulu on Monday, March 1. And we arrived before we left.....I am SO confused!! And I am SO thankful that we missed the tsunami scare. We talked to some locals who said they mostly experienced the shoreline receeding abnormally, but no danger or damage. It has been a wonderful time of R & R made possible by our dear friends, the Fergusons. We have been "strolling" for two days enjoying the beauty of this special place. Everywhere you turn there is something beautiful to see and explore. We stepped out on our balcony this morning and saw the beautiful Pacific ocean with palm trees waving, exotic birds flying and a magnificent rainbow in the sky. I could only say, "My great thou art"!!!

Larry and Kay Ferguson, our children in the Lord, who made this trip possible for us.