Friday, December 28, 2012

THE BLESSINGS OF SERVING ~


I can hardly believe it has been five months since the military base where we served in Germany closed and we returned to the states to continue our ministry with the U.S. military on a broader scale.   Leaving Germany and our 20 year ministry with the soldiers and their families was one of the hardest things we've ever done, but God closed the door and so we know it was His will.   We arrived back in the states on Monday, August 30 and were met at the airport by a delegation of family and friends.  That was such a surprise and blessing.   We were very humbled.   Dawn, Mitch and the children were there to welcome us home.  Dawn has been so supportive of our ministry and has never complained about us living in a foreign country 5000 miles away from her for 20 years, but I know  she is so happy to have us on this side of the Atlantic.   We went straight to Pigeon Forge, TN for our biennial Rhein River Military Reunion.   The dates of the Reunion were very timely this year because Tom and I  were both emotionally drained from leaving Germany. Reuniting with former soldiers and their families who at some time in the past twenty years had been a part of our church in Germany was more rewarding than usual.  It reminded us of the joy and privilege it is to serve these wonderful men and women who serve our country.  It was like an extra big hug from the Lord.  We had folks attend from all the way back to our first year on the field in 1992.

The next couple of weeks we spent at our home outside Chattanooga just trying to get caught up on some needed rest.   We were blessed to have our granddaughter, Emily Joy, with us for three weeks before she returned to Crown College for her junior year.  We filled in for Mark and Julie getting her settled in the dorm and that was a special blessing.


The next few weeks we reported to several of our supporting churches in the Chattanooga area. On October 10 we boarded a plane for Portland, OR where we were in a mission's conference at Timberline Baptist Church.   This was a special time for us because the Associate Pastor and his wife were both saved at Rhein River Baptist Church.   To see them serving the Lord and making such an impact in  so many lives is a joy beyond compare.


From Portland we flew to Korea where we spent a little over a month ministering in two military churches.   God blessed in a mission's conference at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Pyeongtaek where Bro. Bruce Rosko pastors.  After one of the evening services Tom was able to lead a man to the Lord who had been invited to church earlier in the day while the men were passing out tracts.


Our last three weeks were at Calvary Baptist Church in Daegu, S. Korea, where our beloved friends,  Larry and Kay Ferguson serve.  They are also products of our ministry at Rhein River Baptist Church in Germany.  We filled in for them while they took a short furlough to the states to visit with his father who has cancer.  It was such a blessing to serve there.




We were thankful to be able to be with our children and grandchildren for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It was the first time in 20 years that we had all been together for Thanksgiving.   We certainly had much for which to be thankful.


                                Some Of  Our 2012 Rhein River Reunion Folks

Kristen, who was saved at RRBC presented us with this
 beautiful gift at the reunion.  She put many hours in this
 crosstitch of "Amazing Grace".  It will be treasured.

                                       Calvary Baptist Church, Daegu, S. Korea

                                               Tom enjoying some yummy Korean food
                                             Tom preaching at Calvary Baptist

                                                       Christmas 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Traveling and Posting (Lord, help me!!)

I am having the hardest time finding (....excuse me,  MAKING the time)  to post on my blog while we are traveling.    Not that that matters to anyone but me, but I do want to journal our travels.    Lord, help me!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mission's Conference - First Baptist Church, Milford, OH

In October Tom preached at the annual mission's conference at First Baptist Church, Milford, Ohio, and it was one of the best mission's conferences we have ever been in.  Tom has spoken  once before at one of their mission's conferences and has taught a modular class on military missions in their college.  Dr. Bill Duttrey is the good pastor and the heartbeat of the church is missions.  Tom shared the preaching responsibilities with Bro. Walter Stevens, missionary to the gypsies in Romania and Bulgaria.  I was especially blessed to see how they included the children in the conference.  The children ages 4-12 actually had their own conference while the adults were having theirs.  The speakers and guest missionaries took turns speaking to the children each evening.  Their program was first class, informative, inspirational and a lot of fun.  Tom and I both agreed we would have been happy to stay in the kid's conference.   God blessed the entire conference in a tremendous way and we were so thankful to be a part of it.   The conference messages can be downloaded on the church's website:  www.fbcm.org.
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The conference featured Europe
The beautiful lake next to the auditorium
Another view of the lake (Tom fished, of course)

Children's Choir
Beautiful music at every service
I just had to post this picture of the church duck who
 greeted folks for every service.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cranberry Spinach Salad ~


I recently ran across this recipe for the most delicious salad.  I am especially excited about it because Tom raved about it.  I served it with a chicken and rice casserole and the flavors really complimented each other.  I highly recommend this receipe!!  (I also suggest adding some diced red onion to taste.)


  • CRANBERRY SPINACH SALAD

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
  • 1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving

Tom Speaks at Military Function in Chattanooga ~


2012-08-18 008

Tom had the unique opportunity to present the gospel to the 327 Chemical Company Reserve Unit in Chattanooga at their annual "Dining Out" banquet.  The opportunity was arranged by our son-in-law, Major Mitch Moss,  and three people responded to the invitation at the end.   

Mean What You Say and Mean What You Pray ~


 I Samuel 12:23 a - 
 "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you:..."

Has God ever convicted you, as He has me, of saying to someone, "I'll be praying for you", and then not following through?   This phrase is so often just a casual statement much like, "talk to you later."

How many times have we said these words? Do we actually follow through? Or has it become a statement used as a conversation piece to make someone feel better? How serious is this phrase to God?

As you read the verse above who does Samuel say we sin against when we fail to pray for one another? The Lord! God calls us to pray for each other, lift one another up, and to cry out in pray for the needs of others. This was instilled in Samuel at an early age. Hannah, his mother, was unable to conceive a child. She cried out to God for a son and made a vow to Him...
 O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, ........ 1 Samuel 1:11
God heard her cry and answered her prayer.  She then went through with her promise to God. Samuel's mother was a real example to him.  Throughout the scriptures we find example after example of Samuel praying for others. I love the fact that when he said he would pray, he did it right then... read 1 Samuel 7:5 

Understanding the importance of following through with "I will pray for youis the beginning.  Do we believe our prayers make a difference? Do we mean what we pray or do we just say the words out of duty?  Here is an amazing scripture -
 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed (my emphasis).  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16
Pray for each other so that - you - may be healed?  I never thought of that before. When I take the time to pour out my heart on behalf of others, I am affected.  My relationship with Jesus deepens.  I pray that the Lord will help me when I tell someone that I will pray for them to do it!  And better still, when I tell someone that I will pray for them to pray for them right then...in the grocery store...on the phone...at work...at church....  Lord, help me to mean what I say and mean what I pray.

We'll Never Say Goodbye in Glory


2012-07-27 007.
Here is the cake that was made for our farewell fellowship at Rhein River.   We always sing the little chorus "We'll Never Say Goodbye in Glory" when folks move so it was very special to have those words written on the cake.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Last Days At Rhein River Baptist Church ~

We shipped 109 boxes and four pieces of furniture back to the states

It stills seems a little surreal that our military base in Mannheim has closed and we have left Germany and our beloved Rhein River Baptist Church.  As you can imagine we have experienced many different emotions over many months.    Over two years ago when the rumors of the closing of our base became more substantial we began praying that we would be able to leave a strong German/International church when the base closed.  Usually when a military base closes the church that ministers to the military will close as well.  But over the past few years God has brought more and more International folks into the church.    By the time the word became official that our base would close in August of 2012  we had a good congregation of German/International folks so we also began praying for a pastor to replace Tom.  We love our wonderful international church family, but God has called us to serve the U.S. military and that is what we must do.   God was so good to send us Bro. Walter Clark and his sweet family.  The Clarks served in German works in northern Germany for about ten years.   The Clarks came to work with us a year ago as the director of German ministries, with the goal of becoming the pastor when Tom resigned.   Tom spent much of the year mentoring Bro. Clark and preparing our people for the transition and consequently it was a very smooth transition.  

The Walter Clark family with us on an outing at Luisen Park in Mannheim.

We were blessed during our last days to be able to spend personal time with many of our families to say our last goodbyes,  On our last Friday night the Clarks planned a church-wide farewell fellowship which was a tremendous blessing. But perhaps the most moving thing we experienced in our last days was our final service.   In addition to our precious German/International family, over 30 of our former members who are now stationed at various other military bases around Germany came back to be a part of our last Sunday.  The service was such a blessing, filled with beautiful music, testimonies, joy and of course, lots of tears.   We enjoyed a church dinner and then an afternoon service instead of the Sunday evening service so we were able to travel the hour to Wiesbaden to be with Mark and Julie in the evening service at Grace Baptist Church.We flew back to the states the next morning and were thrilled and surprised to be met by a delegation of family and friends at the Chattanooga airport.   During August we will have our biennial Rhein River Reunion in Pigeon Forge, get settled in our home outside of Chattanooga and report to some of our supporting churches in the Chattanooga area.   On September 8 we officially begin our traveling with missions meetings in Missouri and Ohio.


Our Bradley's Special Day

Happy 16th Birthday, Bradley
Sixteen years ago on August 19 we welcomed our grandson Bradley into this world.  We didn't know it then but he would be our only grandson and we are so thankful for him.   Growing up he was an energetic little guy and kept his mom and dad on their toes.  He has grown into a loving and caring young man.  Even though he is a "cool sixteen year old" he will still come up to me sometime, without any reason, and say, "I love you, Oma."   That melts this grandmother's heart.  He loves sports - especially the Tennessee Vols.  He loves the Lord and is very active in his church.  We love you, Bradley and are very proud of you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Great Summer for Europe Teens ~

Euro-Youth Conference

Four years ago God laid on our son, Mark's, heart to begin a youth conference for the military and missionaries young people here in Europe.  It has been greatly used of God to impact the lives of many of these kids.  It is first class all the way!  The preaching is excellent, the standards are high, the music is fantastic and the program is jam-packed and fun-filled.  There are usually about 12 countries represented in the attendance.  Three teens were saved at this year's conference and 8 teens and 3 adults surrendered to full-time Christian service. Our granddaughter, Emily, a junior at Crown College, was here for the summer and served as a counselor.  She took these  pictures that give a great overview of the week.  The past three conferences were held at our church, Rhein River Baptist, which presented a good many challenges in accomodating and housing  75-100 teenagers.  But Mark was able to locate a beautiful camp ground in Bad Orb, Germany.  Bad Orb is a spa town in the Main-Kinzig district, in Hesse, Germany.  It is located 32 km east of Hanau.  Bad Orb is between forested hills in the Nature Park Spessart, on of the largest forested areas in Germany and it proved to be just perfect for a youth outing.   
The Main Services
 Mark does such a great job directing the conference and also speaking.
Bro. Kurt Skelly has preached at all 4 of the conference and is always a blessing.
 In the main service
 Beautiful special music.  Here is a trio from Crown College.  That is our Emily on the right.
Tom spoke at a morning session on "Getting the Dirt Out"

 PICTURES OF INDOOR ACTIVITIES






PICTURES OF OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES







WHAT IS A YOUTH CONFERENCE WITHOUT GOOD FOOD?
 Benita Willard (left) headed up the kitchen team.  Yvonne and Torsten Weigt were helpers.

 Tiffany Schultz helped in the kitchen as well

MUSIC COMPETITION
 Bro. Keith Klaus, the music director.  What would EYC be without him?
 And what would EYC be without Julie?  Her music adds so much!




FRIENDS FOREVER