Monthly Archives: October 2015

News from Thorakland District, Kenya

The church without walls that meets near the ancient Baobab tree is thriving.baobab

Our friends and missionaries in Kenya have received an update from Pastor John in Tharaka!  The area is so remote, it is difficult to communicate. Sometimes they send notes by way of someone who is travelling that way and they simply don’t arrive.

All the medical patients we treated are doing well – they are improving and moving forward.  He also reported that they’ve had 11 adults and 12 children to join the new church since the team and the Associational Leadership is still working on follow up. Wanda_txt


Please continue to pray for them as the Association works to organize themselves to meet the needs of those in the area.  This is a new concept for them!  Pray for them to realize that they have the ability to do many things without a lot of outside help as this is what will continue to grow the work in the area long after we are gone.



The rainy season is approaching and the Tharaka Association has seen it necessary to put up a shelter under the tree in Gankamba so the church can continue to meet despite the rain (that they hope will come).  They are doing a fund-raiser for the whole Association on Nov. 1. Please pray for the church in Gankamba. Pray that God shows favor on each believer. Pray they will continue to be a bold witness and God will soften the heart of each person who hears the gospel and they will believe. Pray that this group of 45 will reach the 450,000 in the Thorakland District.

Thank you for your continued prayer support.

#friendshiphope&friedfruitpies #africanmissions #kenyamissions



Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs’ Famous Fried Apple Pies

Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs made fried apple pies for years to share with friends and to donate to various church and homemaker fundraisers in Allen County, Kentucky.  OvaletaIt thrilled me to learn that Janet Johnson, FCS Agent, Allen County  with the U.K.  Cooperative Extension Service recently taught a class on how to prepare Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs’ famous fried apple pies.  Ms. Ovaleta did something that demonstrates her generous spirit. She shared the recipe of her renowned fried pies. Many homemakers still prepare this heirloom treat at festivals.






Thanks to her generosity, the famous pies can still be enjoyed today.

Mrs. Ovaleta  also taught school in the Allen County School System for 27 years, and substituted for 17 years.  Most of that time was spent working with first graders. It would be interesting to know how many lives she’s touched, and the number of  fried apple pies she served during her long life.  God knows the number of hairs on my head, so we can rest assured He knows the answer. Someday, when I get to heaven, I hope to have the opportunity to thank Mrs. Ovaleta for sharing her recipe. If you take the time to try this delicious recipe, you’re in store for a tasty delight.

Dried Apple Pie Filling (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)


  •  2 c. dried apples (Golden Delicious)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1.c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • 1 T. cider vinegar


Mix 2 cups dried apples with 4 cups water in saucepan. Cook apples for 35 minutes until all water is absorbed. Let cool. Mix all ingredients together and set aside.

Pastry Crust (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)


  • 2 cups *White Lilly Self-Rising Flour (do not substitute flour)
  • ¼ cup CRISCO vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup milk (any fat content)


Measure flour in bowl.  Cut shortening in flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  With a fork, blend in just enough milk until dough leaves sides of bowl.  (Two much milk makes dough sticky, while too much flour makes dry dough.)  With floured hands, take dough out of bowl and pat into ball.  Put dough back in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Pastry Crust (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)

Cooking Directions:

Turn dough out.  On a floured surface flatten dough with hands or rolling pin to circle approximately ½ inch thick.  Using biscuit cutter, cut “biscuits” for pie crusts.  Roll each “biscuit” into thin circle.  On half of the pastry crust circles, place a heaping tablespoon or more of pie filling.  Fold the other half over, moistening edges and seal by pressing the edge with a fork.

Place ½ to ¾ cup cooking oil (corn oil has good flavor) into an electric skillet.  Heat at 350 degrees.  Place pies in hot oil, then lower to 325 degrees.  Brown one side, then turn and brown the other side.  Place pies on paper towels to cool.

#friedfruitpies #friendshiphope&friedfruitpies #theresafruitforeveryseason




Beach Blessing by Jackie Layton

Shelia, thank you for asking me to share about hope with you today.

God has always been a part of my life. He’s carried me through the valleys and rejoiced with me at the peaks.

The ocean is one place where I feel especially close to God. jackie's sunset2

For years my family visited Holden Beach, North Carolina. My husband dreamed of owning beachfront property, and one year we found a little two-bedroom condo up for sale.

Jackie's_beach_HomeWhen we bought it, we named it Beach Blessing. For years it was a blessing to us. Then we decided we’d outgrown our little three-bedroom house in Wilmore. Our Realtor introduced us to a builder, and we signed papers to build a new house. Weeks before we were to move in, the builder disappeared with our money. It’s a long story, but we didn’t own the land, so we lost a lot of money. And we’d sold our little house. So we had to move. After much prayer, we decided the time had come to sell our Beach Blessing. This was also the time the economy tanked around 2006.

Jackie_rockerWhile waiting for it to sell, we continued to rent the condo out, and God provided us with good rental years. Yes, years. We dropped the price and updated our unit. After six long years, we decided to paint the paneling, put in tile floors, remove wallpaper from the bathrooms, and make some serious changes. We fell in love with the condo again, and we began to wonder if we could manage to keep it.

Tim and I spent a week working on the place, walking the beach, and praying. We wavered. Renew our contract with the real estate agent, or take it off the market and keep renting it out to vacationers.

On the next to last day of our time at the beach, I asked God for a sign that we were to continue trying to sell. I asked for a conch shell. I’ve never found a conch shell on Holden Beach, but others have. The day was beautiful as I walked by myself. Tim stayed behind working on a project.work_at_Jackie's As I walked a wave crashed, and a conch shell appeared.

My heart stopped. God had specifically answered my question. Thanks be to God.

But now I had to tell Tim.

I turned around filled with joy and dread. Once inside I told Tim the story and showed him the shell. The disappointment on his face broke my heart. Then his face brightened, and he announced the shell was a whelk, not a conch.

In the end we decided to accept the shell as a sign from God, and we put the condo back on the market. After years of hoping and praying, Beach Blessing sold in less than a month from the day I found the shell.Jackie's_shell

God’s timing is not our timing. Keep believing and hoping, and trust God!

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)23  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

About Jackie: 

Jackie is not published yet, but she has written more than one story. Some writing awards she has received are Finalist in 2015 Genesis Romantic Suspense, Second Place Romance in the 2013 Writers of the Storm Category 5 Contest, 2014 Genesis Semifinalist Romantic Suspense, top 200 of the Family Fiction Short Story Contest in 2014, and Daphne du Maurier Second Place Inspirational in 2014. Jackie is a member of ACFW, ACFW Kentucky, and Bluegrass Christian Writers.

Jackie heard about a woman who bought a house with all of the belongings intact. The owner had disappeared, and his house was auctioned off. When the woman got inside, his closet was full of clothes. He’d even purchased new shirts and ties that had never been opened. Why had he never been found? Jackie began to wonder what horrible event would cause a man to disappear.

Jackie wanted to show that we need God, and each other, to live in this world, and nothing is better than God bringing a special person into our lives to love and form a cord of three strands.

On a personal note, Jackie feels blessed to be married to the man of her dreams, Tim Layton. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, Bill and Scott. If you’ve ever heard the phrase daughter-in-love, you know that’s how Jackie thinks of Bill’s wife, Amanda. Their daughters, Brooke and Allie, light up any room they enter.

Jackie is a pharmacist by day and author by night. She writes love stories that honor God and give hope to the reader. To follow Jackie, drop by her porch at:




A Ten Year Celebration

By Paula Mowery

On Wednesday, September 30th, my husband reminded me of a ten year anniversary. No, it wasn’t our wedding anniversary. That’s twenty-six years this year.

Ten years ago on that Wednesday my husband had heart valve replacement surgery. His faulty valve was replaced by a diamond titanium version that clicks each time his heart beats.

I will never forget the surgeon speaking to us after the surgery in the waiting room. He shook his head and said, “I don’t know how he was still going. His heart had worked so hard it was the size of a football. But he did fine and you can see him pretty soon.”

Later we were told that if he had experienced any kind of episode, help probably wouldn’t have arrived in time to save him. That’s comforting for a wife who watched her husband get in the pulpit every week and give it his all.

This experience has proven to me that God doesn’t waste any experience. My husband has a different perspective now as he visits those in the hospital. He has been able to specifically encourage other men who have undergone his same surgery.

Though the constant clicking is something he has had to learn to live with, I am glad that when it becomes really quiet, I can hear it. Because it clicks, I still have my husband here with me.

I feared losing him when I discovered everything that would happen during the surgery. What scared me most was the fact that they would stop his heart and then have to start it beating again after replacing the valve. Someone was in charge of keeping his body alive while his heart was still. We later found out that the man who did this asked for prayer for my husband that night at his church, not knowing we had friends there. Is that God, or what?

God let me know during this that my hubby would live. This surgery was necessary to free my husband to minister. It was as if God said that this heart condition had him reigned back and now he would be released.


God held true to the promise. My husband is a senior pastor and he ministers at about ninety-five miles per hour.

Sometimes we don’t know why something happens, but we must always be open to what God will reveal to us. He really does know what is best for us, and He is capable of working good from any situation.


Paula Mowery is an award winning, published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her new release, For Our Good, can be purchased by clicking on the link below.


Her first two published works were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group. Both are women’s fiction, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013, her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance and was a finalist in the Carolyn Readers Choice Awards in 2015.

Reviewers of her writing characterize it as “thundering with emotion.” Her articles have appeared in Woman’s World, The Christian Online Magazine, and the multi-author devotional blog, Full Flavored Living. She wrote a section for Join the Insanity by Rhonda Rhea. She has devotionals included in several collaborative books.

As an acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group, Paula particularly looks for romance stories with Christian values at its core. She’s especially attracted to those manuscripts that leave the reader mulling over the story long after turning the last page.

 Having been an avid reader of Christian fiction, she now puts that love to use by writing book reviews. She is a member of ACFW and is on the author interview team. She was a member of the 2014 and 2015 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference faculty.

Paula is a pastor’s wife and mom to a college student. She homeschooled her daughter through all twelve years, and they both lived to tell about it. Before educating her daughter at home, she was an English teacher in public school.

You can follow Paula at Learn more about Paula at her blog at or enjoy her monthly columns on

Facing My Own Meanness

By Peggy Trotter

I own the world’s meanest cat. Seriously. When I try to pet her, she bites me. Every time. When I hold her, she has a biting, scratching fit. Evil Minion And I have to admit, a few weeks ago I was ready to send her to the river with my shotgun-wielding husband with instructions to come back alone. The man, not the cat.

Oh, sure. You feel bad for the animal, but then she hasn’t repeatedly hung from your bare leg with her claws. Or climbed you as you were walked by. My skin is littered with her claw marks. I’m considering adding pin cushion pants and oven mitts as my normal attire. What’s her name, you ask? Let’s just say we now call her, “Minion.”

It wasn’t always like this. I got her when she was just four weeks old this past July. She was so tiny and so cute. She didn’t know how to feed herself yet, so I painstakingly fed her kitten-replacement milk through a syringe. I awoke in the middle of the night to care for her, cheered over her use of the potty box, let her sleep in the curve of my neck. I, in short, adored her.

She, however, had other ideas. Each day she became more and more independent and rough until she was quite unhandleable. And I cried. Literally. She wasn’t the pet I wanted her to be. And for some reason, this led my thoughts to something a little more serious. Is that how God views me? Not the human He wanted me to be?

Did I start out at first so small and so cute, and then grow more and more independent and tough until I was unhandleable? Unusable?  Did God adore me, hand feed me, and then weep at my self-indulgence? Would he have preferred a quick end of me to rid Himself of such a mean, ungrateful individual? Hmmm. I must say it gave me pause.

With much relief I can say, “no.”

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, —Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV

Praise God. He loves me despite my unlovable ways.

Well, I still have my cat. We’re, “retraining,” so to speak. Not an easy task. But then, God is constantly, “retraining,” me to love, forgive, trust, obey—just imagine an unending list. Yet with Jesus as a filter, I, a dirty sinner, look sinless to God. And you can too. Retrain, my friend. Every day. Sheath your claws and be adored by the Creator who gave you life.Sweet Minion

Look, Minion looks almost, well, tame.





Peggy Trotter is an award winning Christian author.12092149_1025257307524423_822597350_n

She has been writing something for over 30 years. The empty-nest syndrome set her to groping for a new direction, and wow, did God answer! Year of Jubilee, a Christian Historical Romance set in southern Indiana, debuted in April of 2015 through Prism Book Group. A second, a Contemporary Romance entitled, Reviving Jules, just released on Oct. 9th, 2015 as well. She loves to reveal God’s miracles through the world’s underdogs and mix in a little love, a dash of romantic heat, and of course, a happy ending.

She took third place in the Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest in 2013 in the Inspirational Category, and won the coveted Genesis Award in 2014 from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in the Novella Category with her entry, Spun, a Historical Romance.

God blessed her with a wonderful husband who cooks and helps clean while supporting her crazy dreams. She has two incredible grown kids plus two fabulous in-law kids, and two rays of sunshine, commonly called grandchildren. Seldom does she stand still, but when she does, it’s to praise her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Creator of all gifts and Bestower of all blessings!

Her new book, Reviving Jules Reviving_Julescan be purchased by clicking on the link to her website below.

To order her book and to learn more about Peggy, visit her website at:

I can’t wait to read Reviving JulesPeggy writes “Christian Romance with a Dash of Heat.”  Thank you Peggy for visiting my garden. Where seeds are sown, the fruit of His spirit blooms.





#friendshiphope&friedfruitpies, #catstories, #catlovers,  #godlovesusunconditionally, #facingmyownmeanness, #peggytrotter, #christianromancewithadashofheat