Friday, August 9, 2013

Fourth of July Service

Tom preaching the special Fourth of July service at Moriah Baptist Church in  Ft Oglethorpe, GA.   He wore his Marine Corp dress blues that the soldiers in our church in Germany presented to him several years ago.  

  

New Missionaries To The Military

We have given the rest of our lives to raising the awareness of missions, and in particular the field of military missions and to also challenge young men and couples with the need of missionaries who will take the gospel to our troops stationed on foreign fields.  Tom spoke at Bethel Baptist Church and Tri-State Baptist College in Walls, MS a couple of years ago and Patrick Wolfe, who was a married student at Tri-State at the time, surrendered his life to military missions .  It has been our privilege to encourage Bro. Patrick and his wife, Sheila, as they have pursued this commitment through Baptist International Missions.  We were especially privileged to be able to pin their official BIMI pin at the conclusion of their first year of candidate school.  They would love to go to the  U.S. military in Germany if the Lord opens the door.

The Patrick Wolfe Family

 





Happy Birthday, Tommy ~

My sweetheart celebrated his 73rd birthday on May 9.  He is the most energetic and passionate person I know.  He is more excited about serving the Lord than he has ever been.  Happy birthday, sweetheart.  I love you.


Mark's Physical Issues


Mark after his first surgery to try to eliminate the nerve pain  - a neck fusion.  

We are so grateful for all the prayers that have been lifted up on behalf of our son, Mark.  Mark recently had his 10th surgery - 9 of them in the last two years:  2 hernia surgeries, 4 heart ablations and 4 back related  surgeries. His heart rhythm issues are much better for which we are so thankful.  But none of his back related surgeries have eliminated the debilitating and excruciating nerve pain in his leg.  As I am writing this article he has an appointment in a couple of weeks with a neurologist to see if he can help find the answer since the orthopedic route has not been successful.  Please continue to pray for Mark.  He has had the sweetest spirit through all of this -- always smiling even when you know he is in severe pain.
Julie has been his rock through it all, always close by his side to help and encourage him.  Their heart has been with their people at Grace Baptist Church in Weisbaden, Germany.  Our former associates at Rhein River Baptist Church, Larry and Phyllis Simensen, are filling in for Mark.  Please pray for the church and that the Lord will give wisdom as to the future.




Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Lord Is My Shepherd - Ps.23:1

         From "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23"  by Philip Keller

"It is no accident that God has chosen to call us sheep.  The behavior of sheep and human beings is similar in many ways... Our mass mind (or mob instincts), our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are all parallels of profound importance.

Yet despite these adverse characteristics Christ chooses us, buys us, calls us by name, makes us His own, and delights in caring for us."

Alex Graduates From Bible College


About 7 years ago a young man from Eritrea visited Rhein River Baptist Church. We had many English speaking international people visit our church because they were curious about an English speaking church.   But the gospel is powerful and many times that curiosity turned into conviction and we saw many Germans and other nationalities saved as a result.  That was the case with Alex.  After he was saved he had some ups and downs, but soon he got on track and wanted to serve the Lord.  God worked out all the details for him to be able to attend Crown College in Powell, TN,   In May we were thrilled to be able to attend his graduation.  He is doing some grad work at Pensacola Christian College and then wants to take the gospel back to his country.  

A Special 50th Anniversary Treat ~


I never cease to be amazed at God's love and care for His children.   He not only gives us our daily needs but many times He showers us with such extraordinary love and care that we cannot help but be amazed.   He did that for Tom and me recently.  We were scheduled to be in a mission's conference with Pastor Greg Boyle and Faith Baptist Church in Spokane, WA the week of our 50th wedding anniversary.  We had made the decision that we would celebrate our anniversary after the conference was over.  But to our surprise and amazement  the church presented us with a special anniversary gift:  a stay at the gorgeous Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane.  Our children got in on the surprise and we were able to spend three fantastic nights at this beautiful hotel.  Thank you to Faith Baptist and our sweet children for giving us this special memory.  Here are some pictures.  Gorgeous, huh??




       

Going Back 50 Years ~

Fifty year ago we spent part of our honeymoon in Gatlinburg,  TN.   On our last morning we ate breakfast at the Pancake Pantry.  That started a family tradition to always have breakfast there on our last day in Gatlinburg.  As part of our 50th anniversary celebration we went back to Gatlinburg and, of course, had breakfast at Pancake Pantry on our last day.

                                  Gatlingburg 2013 2013-05-07 003

My Sweetheart and I at Pancake Pantry ~

We sat right here 50 years ago.    I love my sweetheart more today than I did then.

                      Gatlingburg 2013 2013-05-07 002

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Celebrating 50 Wonderful Years

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart



On April 5, 1963, I married a tall, thin, outgoing southern guy who was the epitome of a southern gentleman.  Sad to say I married him ahead of the Lord.  I was a young, struggling  Christian and Tom was unsaved.  I hear Tom give his testimony from time to time and I don't recognize the man he is talking about.  I am very thankful for that.  When we met he was still trying to cope with his mother's tragic suicide and trying to 'turn over a new leaf' in his life.  He was successful in hiding much of his past from me.  But praise the Lord that He watches over foolish young girls.  One month after we married Tom was gloriously saved and I surrendered my life completely to the Lord.  Shortly afterward Tom surrendered his life to preach to gospel. There certainly were challenges in the early days and we like all couples have had storms and valleys, but mostly we have enjoyed the blessings of God on our home and our marriage.  I am so thankful for a husband that loves the Lord with all his heart and serves Him passionately.   And I am the beneficiary of that love and passion.   I love you, Tommy.  Thank you for 50 wonderful, wonderful years.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

More Fruit of Military Missions ~

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."  
Mark 16:15


Serving our U.S. military is so tremendously rewarding!   For the last 20  years we have served our military stationed in Mannheim, Germany through Rhein River Baptist Church.   The rewards in terms of soldiers and members of their families who were saved and  impacted during those 20 years are immeasurable. We saw many soldiers surrender to full time Christian service who are now serving as pastors, missionaries and Christian educators.  There are BIMI missionaries serving our U.S. military stationed on foreign fields around the world who could give this same testimony.   But there is another reward of military missions on foreign fields that is not as widely reported, and that is the opportunity to reach nationals and internationals with the gospel.   Our military base at Mannheim, Germany closed in August of 2012, but because we had preached the gospel to every "creature" there are men and women of various nationalities who are serving the Lord today.  And we praise the Lord that we  were able to leave a strong, international independent Baptist Church when all our military were gone.  Here are a few "more fruit of military missions".

The Stefan Calin family.  Stefan, who is Romanian, and two of their children were saved at Rhein River Baptist Church.  His German wife, Sandra, was saved before they came to RRBC but she did much of her growing there.  They both were right arms to us in ministry.  God has called the Calins to take the gospel to Stefan's homeland of Romania.  They have already completed their deputation and are on their way to the field.

The Sever Astancia family.  Sever and Mihaela are both Romanian .  They became a part of our church as a result of other family members who were in our church.  They are now planting churches in Romania.

Alex Abraham is a young man from Eretrea who lived and worked in Mannheim. He started attending RRBC with a friend and was s saved and called into full time Christian service at RRBC.  In May he graduated from Crown College.  His desire is to take the gospel to his homeland.  


Marina Francisco and her family were all saved at Rhein River Baptist Church.  Her family was one of many international folks we reached through our military church.  Marina's father is Angolan and her mother is French.  She was in my junior Sunday School class for several years.  When she started coming to church she could not speak English and I spent one afternoon a week helping her with her English and studying her Sunday School lesson.  It was at one of those sessions that Marina received Christ as her Savior.  She is now a junior at West Coast Baptist College.

Patrica Lentz is a sweet German young woman who was attending Mannheim University.  She was invited to Rhein River Baptist Church by an American exchange student.   It was on her second or third visit that she received Christ as her Savior.  She began growing immediately and became a happy, excited Christian.  She just finished her sophomore year at West Coast Baptist College.

Benedict Efionayi was a Nigerian living in Mannheim, Germany.  He was invited to Rhein River Baptist and soon after got his life right with the Lord.  He began growing in the Lord and was soon enrolled in our Faith Bible Institute and teaching our African Sunday School class.  God began to burden his heart to take the gospel to his own people back in Nigeria and that is where he is today.

                              

Micheal Nnavick is also a Nigerian who was invited to Rhein River Baptist Church.  He became one of our most faithful members and also enrolled in our Faith Bible Institute. Micheal, or big Mike, as we called him because of his height, became a excellent student of the Word of God.  He also became burdened for his people and is now back in Nigeria doing ministry in remote villages and wherever he can preach the gospel.

Happy Birthday To Our Maddy ~

On May 5 our Madison Nicole celebrated her 12th birthday.   Tom calls her a "twelve-ager".  She is our middle granddaughter and the most outgoing of Dawn's three children.   Maddy is such a blessing to us.  She loves to spend the night with Opa and Oma and we love having her. We cook,  play games, watch videos, and read books.  We sometimes have to rest after a visit from Maddy. (smile)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Chappells~

This picture was taken on the Alaska Cruise sponsored by Lancaster Baptist Church, Lancaster, CA.  We appreciate the friendship of Dr. Paul and Terri Chappell.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our West and Northwest Trip ~

In March and April we were in mission's conferences and military emphasis Sundays in California and the Northwest.  We saw God do some marvelous things in the meetings as folks were challenged about mission's in general and in particular the need for military missions and missionaries to take the gospel to our troops stationed around the world.  We saw two older teenage girls saved in a church in Mousula, Montana and an Enterprise Car Rental agent saved in Canoga Park, CA.  I regret I didn't make pictures at every church we were in, but below are a few.  In addition to the churches mentioned below we were also at Grandview Baptist Church in Beaver Creek, Or, Greater Portland Baptist Church in Portland, OR, Galilee Baptist Church in Stevensville, MO, Lighthouse Baptist Church in Mousula, MO, Liberty Baptist Church, Republic, WA,  Harvest Baptist Church, Moses Lake, WA and Faith Baptist Church, Spokane, WA
 Our friends, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Keen, were also at the mission's conference at Faith Baptist Church,  Canoga Park, CA

Our new mission board

The pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Canoga Park, CA, Bro. Tim Rasmussen, one of the kindest and most thoughtful people in the world.

We spent four days on campus of Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College March 12-15.  Tom spoke in chapel at the college on Friday and we were able to spend some time with some of our RRBC kids and some missionary kids from Germany during the four days.

We stayed at the mission's house at Lancaster Baptist Church and invited over all the kids at West Coast Baptist College who had come through Rhein River Baptist Church during our 20 years there, plus a couple of missionary kids from Germany.  It was a very special time for us!

Pastor Rick Donley, his wife, Debbie, and their boys.  We had a great meeting at their church, Willamette Valley Baptist Church, Aumsville, OR

These two girls were saved in the meeting at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Mousula, WA.  They were visitors in the service but responded immediately to the invitation.

An extra blessing on this trip was beinable to see some of the most beautiful and slendous scenery God ever made.

                     


                     





THANK YOU, LORD!

I was recently challenged in a message about sharing our personal testimonies wherever we go.  I posted my testimony on my blog several years ago, but I am reposting it.  I never want to forget the place from which the Lord brought me and how good He has been to me down through these years.  I am reminded of the little chorus I learned as a teenager:

"Thank you Lord for saving my soul.   Thank you Lord for making me whole.

Thank you Lord for giving to me, Thy great salvation so rich and free."  AMEN!

My Testimony

When I was fourteen years old a dear Pastor, who was to become one of the major influences in my life, knocked on the door to our apartment in Memphis, TN and gave me the first clear presentation of the gospel that I had ever heard. I listened and prayed, but I did not truly received Christ as my Saviour that day. The events that led to that day are a story of God's amazing grace. From as far back as I can remember as a child there was violence and turmoil in our home. My mother was a preacher's daughter who married an unsaved man and paid the consequences of that wrong choice for seventeen abusive years. She was a loving mother who did her best to make a home for my younger brother and me, but my father, who was a drunkard, kept our home in constant turmoil. With the exception of only a few, every weekend that I can remember my dad would leave us on Friday night for a weekend of drinking and carousing. And as far back as I can remember every Sunday night was filled with fear knowing that when he came home he would become violent. As the years went by his violence was directed not only at my mother, but to my brother and me as well.

God brought into my life a best friend who came from a Catholic home, but lived across the street from a little Bible-believing church. Because her family were not strong, practicing Catholics they allowed her to visit the little church across the street. She invited me to go with her and to my amazement my dad allowed me to go. It was there that I met the Pastor who later visited me in our apartment, and his precious wife. The two of them were to make the greatest impact on my life of any others. I visited the church on the weekends that I would spend the night with my friend. Pastor and Mrs. Comfort (isn't that a wonderful name for a Pastor?) reached out in love to a young teenager whose life was filled with fear and turmoil. The love of Christ was so evident in their lives. In the wonderful and amazing providence of God my family moved into an apartment right next door to the little church. My dad's drunkeness was escalating to the point that he was drinking during the week and missing work. My sweet mother had to work to keep food on our table. Home was becoming more and more tumultuous. But in the midst of all this turmoil a Pastor and his wife kept reaching out in love to me and my family. My girlfriend and I would spend the night with the Pastor's wife when he had to be away. I never had felt such serenity and love in a home. I knew that they had something that I wanted desperately. An evangelist came to our church when I was sixteen years old and I was so arrested by the gospel that I went forward and gave my life to the Lord. Shortly after that my dad left us and I was to see him only one other time before he died in 1969. My mother rededicated her life to Christ, my younger brother was saved and our house became a home. The little church next door became our life. When I graduated from high school I went away from the Lord for a while. It was during that time that I met Tom and we were married. God was so good to draw me back to him and to save my husband. For so many years the words that best described my life and my home were "NO PEACE". But when I came to know the Lord He gave me the peace that passes all understanding and I took as a life verse Romans 5:1 - "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Life That Counted



Here is a "profound"  truth:  we are ALL getting older.   Our oldest granddaughter just turned 21.    I can’t believe it.  She was just three years old yesterday and now she is getting ready to go into her senior year of Bible college .  Time flies, doesn’t it?  I won’t even talk about how fast time flies when you turn 60.  Do any of you relate to me when I say that I am … well, um.m..…over 60,  but mentally I feel about 45?  But the “itus” brothers bring me back to reality - you know...arthar. and burse  The truth is we are all getting older and someday we will come to the end of this journey called life.  When that time comes what will be said about you….what will be said about me?  If you know Christ as your Savior and when you stand before the Bema seat will there be ANYTHING good that God can say about you,.”  When your pastor stands before your grave will he be able to say one thing that you have done for the cause of Christ?   One hundred years from now what will they say about you?   Mothers, will your children be able to say that you were a great influence in their lives?    Will our lives have any lasting value?

There is a woman in the Bible who had a life that counted.  How do we know?  The Lord said of her, “wheresoever this gospel is preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”  Mark 14:9.  She is the only person that has ever had her life memorialized by our Savior.  Not Moses, not Elijah, not Paul…but this insignificant woman named Mary.  She is someone worth getting to know better, don’t you think?

Mark 14: 3-9
3.  And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.  4.  And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?  5.  For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor.  And they murmured against her.  6.  And Jesus said, Let her alone;  why trouble ye her?   she hath wrought a good work on me.  7.  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good:  but me ye have not always.  8.  She hath done what she could:  she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.  9.  Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.


Who was this woman whose life counted for Christ?  She wasn’t a beautiful, courageous Esther or a valiant Deborah.   She was just a simple, plain, village woman.  Jesus said, “She hath done what SHE could.” (vs. 8)  Aren’t you thankful that we don’t have to be talented or beautiful or intelligent  or organized or a score of other things to be able to please the Lord?  Mary didn’t compare her gifts and abilities with anyone else.  She had a sister who was a power house … a super woman…. But Mary simply did what SHE could.  The comparison game is one of the most insidious ways the devil uses to discourage women today.   II Corinthians 10:12 gives us a clear warning about comparing ourselves to others.  “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” God can take that which we have to offer him and multiply it and use it for His honor and His glory.  Don’t worry about not being able to sing or play or stand up in front of women and teach – what can YOU do.   Mary simply did what SHE could.  The little boy only had 5 loaves and two little fish --- BUT GOD multiplied them to feed thousands.  The widow only had 1 mite, but offered to God in humility and love it was just as good as a fortune.   Give God YOUR best…. If you teach a Sunday School class do YOUR  best…pray, study, prepare.   “Ecclesiastes 9:10 – Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might….”   That is all God expects of you.  You might say….”I can’t do anything!”   WRONG!  Ministry doesn’t always have to be a highly visible thing.   And it isn’t always the woman who seems to “be perfect” that has the greatest impact on lives.   The woman who had the most influence on my life was my first pastor’s wife.  She wasn’t a perfect model type… she was a short, plump woman and she and her husband lived in a  small, modest parsonage behind the church.  She was also my Sunday School teacher….and my how she loved the Bible.  Many of the bedrock convictions and knowledge of the Bible that I have now were learned in her Sunday School class.  I was a shy girl from the home of a loving mother and an abusive, drunkard father.  My home was not a safe haven by any means.  Many times Mrs. Comfort (isn’t that a great name – she comforted me many, many times) would invite me and my best friend to come and spend the night with her when her husband had to be away.  Such meager furnishings…..nothing fancy about her home, her food or her decorations.  Many times we sat down to beans and potatoes and a bowl of jello, but she offered to me what I needed more than anything……..peace, love, direction, encouragement…TIME.  There was always pleasant conversation, quite sacred music playing, love and harmony. She made a difference in my life.   Her husband went on to become the president of the denomination they were in and she became a college professor.  I’m sure she must have affected other lives for Christ, but if she never did, I know one girl whose life was changed because of her. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?  WHOSE LIFE CAN YOU AFFECT?  BE A MARY AND DO WHAT YOU CAN. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dawn and Mitch

I found this picture of Dawn and Mitch made at a recent military function.  Mitch is a major in the army reserves and he arranged for Tom to speak at this function.  I just thought this was a beautiful picture of them.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Faith For the Family Couple's Retreat~




Dr. and Mrs. Eddie Lapino

It was my and Tom's honor and privilege to speak at this year's Faith For the Family Couple's Retreat in Gatlinburg, TN.  This is the annual retreat sponsored by Temple Baptist Church in Powell, TN    Also speaking this year were Dr. Eddie Lapino and his sweet wife, Jamie.  Dr. and Mrs. Clarence Sexton were such kind and generous hosts and we thoroughly enjoyed the Retreat.

Saying Goodbye to A Dear Friend

In the twenty years we have been serving our U.S. military and their families Tom has never had to perform a funeral.   Thank God we have never had one of our soldiers lose his or her life in combat, or under any other circumstances.   The bodies of military personnel are always sent back to the states for burial.  But one of the finest soldiers it has ever been our privilege to pastor and serve recently died after struggling with cancer for a couple of years.  A military memorial service was held in Germany for SFC Emmanuel Lorenzo and then his body was sent back to the states for burial.   His sweet wife wanted Tom to conduct the stateside funeral but we were to be in meetings in California at the original funeral schedule.  In an amazing demonstration of God's providential Hand the time of the funeral had to be changed and our schedule had us within two hours of the city where he was to be buried.  Tom was able to preach the funeral and we were able to be there to love, comfort and support a precious friend.






FROM MY SWEETHEART ~


I have the most thoughtful husband in the world.  He NEVER forgets a special occasion (and he really doesn't have to have a special occasion to show his thoughtfulness and love).   Here was my surprise on Valentine's Day.

Opportunities to Serve

I praise the Lord for recent opportunities that God has opened for me to share lessons He has taught, or is teaching me.  On February 24 I spoke to the ladies Sunday School class of our sending church, Open Bible Baptist in Valdosta, GA.
On March 1 I spoke to the ladies attending the Faith for the Family Couple;'s Retreat in Gatlinburg, TN.  And then on March 3 I spoke to the Kindred Spirits Ladies' Sunday School class at Faith Baptist Church in Canoga Park, CA.  I am grateful to the Lord for each of these opportunities.
Speaking at Faith Baptist, Canoga Park, CA

Haley Grace

Haley Grace (6)

Since I have posted two articles about our other three grandchildren I couldn't leave out our adorable Haley Grace.  She is such a cutie!

Grandparents Day at Grace Baptist~

Bradley Thomas 16
Madison Nicole (11)

One of the blessings of being back in the states is being able to participate in some of our grandkids activities.  Bradley and Madison's Christian school recently held Grandparent's Day and we were there with bells on.  Both Bradley (16) and Maddy (11) sang in their respective choirs and it was outstanding.  Afterwards we took them out to lunch.  Love my grands!!