Category Archives: African Missions

Blessed in Africa

If I had to use one word to describe my recent mission trip to Niger, Africa, it would be blessed.  For weeks I worried about being stranded in Istanbul for two days. We had sixty-five minutes to make our flight connection and if we missed it, the next plane to Niamey would be two days later. We made it to the gate in fifteen minutes. The Istanbul airport is huge, chaotic and bustling with people. I consider this feat a miracle. When will I learn to trust Him completely? “Depend on the Lord; trust Him, and He will take care of you.” Psalm 37:5.

Our plane circled the Niamey airport for an hour due to a thunderstorm and the Muslim man sitting next to my sister asked her to hold his hand and the two prayed together. It’s unusual for a Muslim man to touch a woman not a relative, much less to ask her to hold his hand and pray. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44.

Attending a church service in a remote village that held fast to the gospel when the missionaries left was one of the highlights of my trip. We don’t know who first visited this tiny village, but a missionary I will call John Smith stumbled upon them and now visits regularly to teach them more. More than fifty people attended the church service and stayed all afternoon for more training while the children learned Bible stores and colored outside. “So then brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions, which you were taught, whether by word of mouth of by letters from us. 2 children_coloringThessalonians 2:15.

girl_workingThe women of Africa always touch my heart. They work from before dawn until dark gathering water, cooking over an open fire, cleaning, and caring for children. A baby is usually strapped to a mother’s back as she works. We are always treated as honored guest and welcomed to sit in the best chair if they own a chair. A mat is also pulled out  for us to sit on. These women and men show respect and listen to our testimonies as we share God’s plan for salvation. Many people fear visiting a Muslim country. The people wandering the aisle of my local Walmart scare me more than the people in Niger.  All the people I met in the villages were kind and generous.  We have many things in common, especially that we want to spend eternity in heaven. Unless something drastic changes, most will die never having heard the name of Jesus. I pray many more will answer the call to go to Niger so that all may be saved. Don’t let fear stop you.

What a blessing to be allowed to travel to Africa again. I am the most pitiful of missionaries and I often wonder why God has allowed me to be a part of his plan when there are so many more qualified. An example that will make you laugh out loud is a picture of my tent. When I purchased an air mattress for camping, I had no idea of what I was buying. The kids in the village got a kick out of seeing the size of my twin mattress grow higher and higher. It wouldn’t fit inside my tent, so I placed the tent on top of it. I might have floated away during the rainstorm. Believe me, if I can travel to Africa, you can probably do it too.

For those of you who prayed for our team, THANK YOU. Everything went smoothly and our team had a spirit of unity and love.

If you ever have the opportunity to join a foreign mission team, I hope you will grasp it with joy. I’m always reluctant and just like Gideon, I ask for signs. God never lets me down. Even though I am inadequate, He supplies me with everything I need. I can’t do anything without God. It is He who will reap a harvest.

BibaThis is a photo of me with one of the best blessings of my life. She is my Sister in Christ who interpreted for me, cared for me and treated me like royalty. I won’t  post her name for fear of persecution. I cannot imagine the number of people who will be in heaven because of the seeds she and her family have sown. Of course it is God who will reap the harvest. Pray for her health and safety and that God will continue to bless her and those she loves.

Maybe the reason God calls me to go to Africa is so more scales will be removed from my eyes.  I pray God will help me bless others as he has so generously blessed me. I am a weakling, but He is strong.   “So that, Just as it is written, Let him who boast, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31.

 

 

Our African Mission Trip Schedule

africa_team_2016It’s hard to believe the African mission trip we penciled on the calendar in March 2014 is days away. This is a picture of everyone on our team except Melanie. My bags are packed, weighed, and stored. Each team member is allowed to check in two 50 lbs. pieces of luggage and carry on the plane one 16 lb. bag.  Any extra luggage space is used to deliver supplies to the missionary families living in Niger. Food takes up the most weight, but it’s a necessity. We’ll be camping for five of the eight nights so I packed an air mattress and folding chair. Bible school supplies also take up space, but we’ve learned that it’s fun to visit an African market to buy cookies and snacks for the children in Africa. market

A trip like this isn’t inexpensive but our church family and community are supportive. We hosted a fish fry fundraiser last week to help pay for our supplies and thanks to my Sunday School class providing deserts and another church member donating ten lbs. of white beans, we cleared over $3,500. The most money we’ve ever raised at a fundraiser is $1800.  I feel this is another affirmation from God that we are to go and not worry.

In case you’re wondering how we’ll spend our time, see below our schedule.

Day 1 and 2: Leave for Atlanta Noon. Flight departs Atlanta 10:00 pm and
arrive 23 hours later.

Day 3: Morning – Breakfast and orientation. Afternoon – Souvenirs & Market Shopping

Day 4: Morning – Pack for village. Afternoon. Travel to village A and set up camp.

camping2Day 5: Morning – Attend Church Service. Afternoon. Evangelism training with adults &
Children’s Day Camp.

Day 6: Morning: Men farming with believers. Women Children’s Day Camp. Afternoon: Return to Niamey.

 

Day 7: Depart 6:00 am for Village B. 10:00 – 4:00 Women/Children’schurch
Malnutrition Clinic. Return to mission compound.

bible_schoolDay 8: Travel to Village C. Evangelism training all day. Show the Jesus film Camp.

 

Day 9: Evangelism in villages(s) 10:00 am travel to Village D. 2:00 Children’s Day
Camp. 5:00 Evangelism Training. Camp.

parachuteDay 10: Children’s Day Camp. Overnight in Village D.

Day 11: Women/Children’s Malnutrition Clinic. Morning. Afternoon depart for Mission
House, Pack and catch midnight flight to USA.

Day 12: Arrive home.

Please keep our team in your prayers. Pray that we will remain healthy, safe, and there will be a sense of unity and love among us as we are tired, hot and dirty. Pray that God will prepare the way. Pray that God will soften the hearts and minds of those who hear the name of Jesus and that His sheep will hear His voice. Pray for a bountiful harvest. We covet your prayers. And so I invite you to travel with us. Please cover us with your prayers and be one of the most important parts of our mission team – a prayer warrior. Thank you.

A Hard Row to Hoe

This summer has been unusual in that it’s rained almost every day in June and July. One afternoon in June, it poured 4 inches in less than an hour, which led to flash flooding and part of our road being swept away.  A new bridge is still under construction. As a result of the excessive rain, I’ve not been unable to weed the garden and I’ve lost the battle.  It reminded me of a time in my childhood when the weeds almost overtook our tobacco crop because of wet weather. Losing the cash crop to weeds was not an option. We called this task, “chopping out tobacco.”AdobeStock_99823358_WM

I remember those long, never-ending rows, filled with thick grass, almost choking the plants. Mama and Daddy both had full-time jobs, plus garden and farm work, so chopping out tobacco usually fell to me and my three siblings.  But on this occasion, the weeds were so fierce it took all of us. Daddy sang as he worked. If one of us got to the end of our row fist, we’d help the next person until everyone finished together and started a new row together.

Daddy would say, “Just keep your head down, don’t give up, and before you know it, you’ll be at the end of your hard row to hoe.” And he was right. There are seasons in life when we all have a “hard row to hoe.” I’ve learned that this is the best time pray. One favorite passage in the Bible comes from Paul, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

Lately, I feel as though I’ve had a hard row to hoe. I’ve suffered a minor health issue, signed a contract to write ten devotions with a deadline, had over three-hundred children registered in our summer reading program, and I’m planning a mission trip in a few weeks. With the latest coup in Istanbul, terror attacks in France and Germany, I’ve lost more than one night’s sleep. For a brief instant, I considered cancelling my trip to Africa, but as I prayed about whether to stay or go, a song from my childhood Bible School days played in my head, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I whined to God. But I don’t want to be a soldier.

Then I remembered Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” Luke 22:42-43. What if Jesus had said, “No” to what God asked of him? None of us would have hope. Surely I can live in difficult  conditions for a week. After all, He suffered and died on the cross to redeem me.

Please keep our missionary families, the national believers and my Africa team in your prayers. We will be travelling to a remote area, camping where temperatures might reach 120 degrees during the day with a low of 90 at night. We’ll be teaching a Bible School for children. These same children might someday be asked to join the terrorists. I believe the best weapon against terrorism is the love of Jesus. We’ll also be training national believers how to evangelize. I feel strongly that the window is closing and someday in the near future, we will not be able to travel to this remote area. But if we teach the national believers how to become fishers of men, then God’s kingdom will continue to grow without the American missionaries’ support. Africa_a Please pray that they will not grow weary. Pray for the missionary families in Niger and the national believers. They are the ones who truly have a hard row to hoe. The national believers are often persecuted, and rejected by their family and friends. Many of the Songhai who we will be seeking have never heard the name of Jesus. Thank God for the missionaries who have left family, friends and the comfort of an easy life to share the ‘Good News.’  Pray that they do not grow weary. We are simply going to support their efforts. I know in due season, God will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Thank you for your prayers and support. #africanmissions

They Go Where I Cannot

20160415_080856_resizedA couple of weeks ago, my sister was sifting through Mom’s pictures and she ran across this old photo. It’s a picture of the missionaries with whom we worked last year in Kenya. This picture was taken over twenty years ago when they first entered the mission field. I had no idea my mother knew them.  On the back of the photo Mom wrote, “Pray every day. They go where I cannot.” 20160415_080907_resized

I often wonder why God called me to go to Africa and keeps asking me to return.  If someone had told me ten years ago that in 2016 I’d be planning my fifth short-term mission trip to Africa, I would have rolled my eyes. I’m a librarian, not a Bible scholar, and there are many people more qualified than I to share the gospel. Maybe Mom’s prayers for the missionaries had an influence on God calling me and my sister to go to Africa. Mom went to heaven thirteen years ago, and I wish I could tell her about our experiences Kenya and Niger. Perhaps, she can see it all from heaven.

Mom never had the opportunity to travel on the foreign mission field, but she still served as a missionary at home. For years, her little church rented a trailer in a large trailer park in our community, and she visited weekly to teach children about Jesus.  She loved each and every one of the children and taught them that Jesus loved them too. Many came to know Christ through her teachings.

If you are a Christian, you too have a calling. You may be someone’s only hope to hear God’s plan for salvation. As I said, there’s nothing special about me, other than I have a Savior, and I want others to have the same hope that I have in Him.

Please pray about where God will have you to go to share the gospel. It may be to across the street,  across town, across the country, or across the ocean. Only God knows, so you must listen to the Holy Spirit to discover the answer.site-logo

#africanmissions, #kenyamissions, #friendshiphope&friedfruitpies

 

Is My Brand Accurate?

After reading a few of my blog posts, a writer friend suggested that my brand, Friendship, Hope, & Fried Fruit Pies, may not fit my writing style. I appreciate her honesty, and I know her intent is to help me.Dollarphotoclub_64670043

As I consider the stories I write, and the books I hope to publish, I feel strongly that my brand is accurate. I write stories of women’s friendship’s, hope, and the women in my books often enjoy desserts together (usually a fried fruit pie.)

Mississippi_Mud_cakeThis habit stems from my personal life in that,  if someone I care about is sick, the first thing I consider is their favorite foods, and I do my best the prepare something I know they’ll appreciate.  I’m currently looking for a recipe for Mississippi Mud Cake because a family member, battling a serious illness, recently reminisced about his grandmother preparing this chocolate delight. It makes me happy to do this small thing.

I wonder if this is a habit of someone who’s lived her entire life in the South or if it’s a common instinct women share. We long to comfort and food, to me, is a comfort. Do you like to share desserts with friends in a time of crisis?  If not, what do you do? I can’t wait to read your responses.

My blog post might fall outside my brand because I tend to post personal stories about things that are important to me, such as African missions. Sometimes I share about concerns or current hot topics on the news. So I agree with my writing friend in that my blog post might not fit my brand. I suppose you will have to wait until my book is published to determine if my brand fits my stories.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Many of you write comments that encourage me. I hope you feel uplifted and cheered after reading something I’ve written. May God bless and keep you.

Warm regards,

Shelia
Friendship, Hope, & Fried Fruit Pies
There’s a fruit for every season.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.

Do You Love Our Muslim Neighbors?

A friend posted a picture of himself holding a sign that said, “I  love my Muslim neighbors.” It surprised me, but I’m grateful for his bold witness because it inspired me to write this post. I usually avoid controversial topics, but Christians must take a stand and demonstrate love. God commands us to love our neighbors, and our enemies. (See Matthew 5:44-48).  If I didn’t love Muslims, would I travel to Niger, a country that is 99.9% Muslim, camp in primitive conditions, endure the Sarah sun, when I could be enjoying a beach vacation?

Some of the news stories that unsettle me the most involve politicians, their rants, their actions, and promises. I understand the desire to protect Americans, but the sad truth is, there is no safe place.  If I ask a bully to protect me, who will protect me from the bully?

I’m not naïve. I understand there are Muslims who would like to convert, enslave, or kill Christians. Just read, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali or In the Land of Blue Burqas by Kate McCord. The Muslims I’ve met in Niger, Africa are gentle, gracious, welcoming, and more concerned with feeding their family than anything else. Many citizens in Niger have not had the opportunity to learn to read, so they’ve not read the Qur’an or the Holy Bible. Do you consider all Americans, to Christians, because America is called a  “Christian” nation? People are in Niger are considered Muslim, because they live in a “Muslim” nation, yet many have never read the Qur’an and don’t receive religious training. They participate in some of the rituals, but how many people in America exchange Christmas gifts with little knowledge of the birth of Jesus.

Women in Niger spend their days gathering water, pounding millet, and caring for their children. They don’t seem to be concerned about world politics, or religious differences. When visiting compounds in Niger, women graciously remove a mat from their home and spread it in front of us. If they possess a chair, they offer the very best seat to us. We share our names and ask them their names. As we begin telling them the purpose of our visit, the group usually grows in number, as others become aware that Americans are visiting. They listen, with rapt attention, when we tell them about God’s plan for salvation. I’ll never know if the seeds planted will be harvested, but I pray for God to soften their hearts.

When I was in Niger, and passed people on the road, I felt heartbroken. Many will die never knowing there is a God who loves them so much that He sent His son to die for their sins, and well as for my sins.

I love Muslims, and if you’re a Christian, you should too. Not everyone will have the opportunity to travel to a third world country, to share the gospel. But we should all love our neighbors, and that includes Muslims (and politicians with whom we do not agree.) No one is perfect, especially me.

Burning a mosque will never bring someone to know Jesus. Removing a Muslim from a group setting will antagonize other Muslims. Asking Muslims to register will not protect us from the evil people who wants to harm us. That activity reminds me of Hitler requiring the Jewish peoples to register, and makes me shiver.

My experience of showing respect, grace, and love has opened the door to friendship, love and a heart open to receiving the Holy Spirit. I’m NOT perfect, and I struggle to love everyone, especially politicians who treat others disrespectfully. Thank goodness, I have a Savior who intercedes for me.

Let us all strive to love our neighbors, and our enemies.

But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (47) And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (45) You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’” Matthew 5:44-48

#africanmissions #missions #loveyourneighbor #loveyourenemies

Meru National Park – Kenya

Not all our activities in Kenya revolved around mission work. On the first day in Nairobi, we visited a mall and had the opportunity to see how the middle class live. I could have closed my eyes and imagined I was home, in America.  However, we were required to go through metal detectors and our bags were searched for weapons before we entered the  mall.

It took us about two hours to drive from our camp site in Tharakaland to the Meru National Park. I learned that travel distance is measured in time, not miles in Kenya.  The Meru National Park is about 870 square kilometers or about 540 square miles. We spent one night at the luxurious Elsa’s Kopje Lodge and enjoyed a guided game drive through the Meru National Park. Considering the size of the park, we might not have seen any wildlife, but God blessed us as you’ll see by the photos below. The only animal on my list that we didn’t see in the park was elephants. We were very close to a herd, but I could only make out a trunk because of dense brush. Maybe next time I’ll get to see elephants in the wild.

We had little time to relax by the pool. After days in the wilderness, this seemed like a dream.

 

shower

Our shower.

Another team members room. Notice there are no walls, only screens that are closed at night.

 

The dining room.

 

This walkway led to the dinging room from our room. Guests are required to have a guide assist them to navigate the pathways after dark.

After camping, this bathroom was a dream come true.

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This is a view of the dining room and bar. Dinner was served to us on tables set up on the lawn on the previous evening.

This is the truck we travelled in while we visited the park.

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The signs as we left Elsa’s Kopje and entered the park.

A view of Elsa's Kopje as we start the drive.

A view of Elsa’s Kopje as we start the drive.

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This is a view of other team members in their truck.

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This is Judy. Notice the white rhinos in the background.

We saw many zebras in the park.

I love seeing the zebras too.

I love seeing the zebras too.

A herd of cape buffalo.

The giraffes are my favorite.

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I was not brave enough to cross the swinging bridge.

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We saw a few monkeys.

A kudu, according to my husband.

The cape buffalo have been know to wander onto the lodge grounds.

The cape buffalo were have been know to wander onto the lodge grounds.

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A beautiful sunrise and then we loaded back into the truck and drove for eight hours to Nairobi.

We spent the morning in Nairobi visiting an elephant sanctuary.

We spent the morning in Nairobi visiting an elephant sanctuary.

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We spent the afternoon in Nairobi visiting a giraffe sanctuary. This is my sister kissing a giraffe. I believe I am the only one on our team who took a pass on this activity.

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After a day of touring Nairobi, we loaded the plane, travelled about 22 hours, and arrived home, safe and sound. Thank you Jesus and thank you to those who covered us with prayers.

 

 

Highlights of Kenya – August 2015

One of the highlights of 2015 was our mission trip to Kenya.  We planned this visit for for almost two years and prayed often for God’s hand to guide us. God was faithful and answered our prayers.

Our flight plan included leaving Nashville, to Detroit, to Amsterdam, then Nairobi. On the morning of our departure, I received a text message from American Airlines that our flight from Detroit to Amsterdam had been cancelled. All but two of our team members were re-routed through Paris, and the other two were re-routed through London. The group I travelled with arrived as scheduled, but two of our team members faced a storm in Atlanta, and their London flight was delayed so they missed the connection to Nairobi.

We went straight to the Heart Lodge in Nairobi and went to bed because we had traveled for 28 hours.  Scott and Wanda arrived while we were having breakfast the next morning. They had traveled for 38 hours without rest.

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With a quick shower we were on the move to the home of our missionary host family.  We attended orientation, reviewed our schedule,  then enjoyed lunch at an outdoor restaurant. We napped during the afternoon and planned to leave for  Tharakaland District on Saturday morning.

Heart_Lodge_AThe grounds at heart lodge.

 

Our room at the Heart Lodge

Jeff_Kathy_HomeThis is a picture of the home of our host missionaries.

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Lunch in Nairobi.

Time to load the truck and head toward Tharakaland District.IMG_3082

 

 

 

 

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The trip to the Tharakaland district was long.  After four hours of travel, the paved roads turned to dirt. Most locals travelled on motorbikes, called piki pikis. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed a box lunch.

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This tree has a bee hive.  Can you imagine climbing so high to harvest the honey?

After another 3 hours of rough roads we reached our destination and we exited from the truck and walked the last bit of the journey because the road had huge gullies and it was jarring.

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We walked the last stretch of road to the tree where the believers worshiped because of the rough terrain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took us about thirty minutes to set up camp.

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Our camp. 20150825_084326

Some of the believers brought benches form their homes and visited with us.  I could only see one home within seeing distance. I don’t know how far people had to walk to visit with you.

We spent the first morning working in small groups to teach the local Kenyans how to share the gospel using salvation bracelets and “From Creation to Christ” cards.

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This is a picture of Scott with his team.

And this is a picture of Wanda with her team.

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I was on of the lucky ones who had the chance to visit people on a piki piki.piki piki

Others had to walk in the brutal heat across difficult terrain to visit with families.

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Chris had to fight his way through the thorns.

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This may be a home or a storage building.

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On the second day, the children came for VBS. We realized that the adult were just as interested in the stories as the children and did our best to include the adults in activities if we had supplies. Judy and I entertained the kids with Bible stories and puppets while the women attended a health class.

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We are telling the story of Creation.vbs

The parachute served double duty.

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DSCN3915We also had a small parachute for the smaller children thanks to Judy.DSCN3991

Everyone loved Play Dough

girls play dough

During the evening we showed the Jesus film.  The actors spoke in Swahili.

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This is a picture of women who arrived early for the  movie.  You can see the project and screen to the right. I don’t know how many attended the film but over 60 accepted Christ as the end of the movie.20150825_194003

This is a picture of the fly trap for cattle that Chris demonstrated.

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Mike is demonstrating how the water purification using clear plastic water bottles.

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Two of our team members treated minor medical issues.

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One of my favorite pictures under the Baobab tree, capable of living thousands of years. Just think, this tree might have been alive when Christ walked the earth.

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And how shall they preach, except they be sent. as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15

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#africanmissions #missions #friendshiphope&friedfruitpies

A Divine Appointment with a Shoebox Child

Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta with a group of forty from my church. We signed up to work a shift at the Operation Christmas Child Distribution Center in Atlanta. Some refer to this as the ‘shoebox ministry.’

It’s always fun to travel with this group of teens. Most of these youth were my students in Sunday-School class in first grade. It thrills me to see them active and serving.

When we arrived at the hotel, God had arranged a divine appointment. I was waiting for the elevator with our group when a young man asked me, “Where are you from?”

I replied, “Franklin, Ky. We are here to work at the Operation Christmas Child Distribution Center.”

His eyes sparkled.  “I was a child who received a shoe box.”

Tammie was standing next to me. She is our church’s Operation Christmas Child team leader. She works tirelessly through the year to collect items for the shoe boxes. Thanks to her efforts, our church put together over 700 packages.Tammie_image (1)

The young man introduced himself to us. “I am Renan and I am from Honduras.”  I love how God pays attention to details when arranges meetings. Tammy is passionate about missions and has been called to serve in Nicaragua and Honduras. She and her family led a mission  team to Honduras in 2014.

“Every shoebox represents a person,” said Renan. “When I first opened my box, I saw a note and it said, ‘I love you.’ I lived in a village surrounded by people controlled by alcoholism and poverty. Because of the shoebox, I learned about Jesus and his love.”

“Don’t worry about what to put in the box,” said Renan. “Go to Walmart or the Dollar Store and pray as you shop. God will lead you. And pray over the box that a child who receives it will receive Christ.”

Today Renan is married to a missionary and lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I am thankful that God allowed me to be standing by Tammie’s side when he arranged for us to meet Renan.

There are nine distribution centers across the United States. It’s easy to work at the distribution center. First they train you. It takes about 10 minutes. There are six positions on the team. The warehouse is large but well organized. On the Saturday we worked, the distribution center processed about 108,000 shoeboxes.

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I encourage you to make a shoebox for a girl or boy. Popular items to place in the shoe box include: a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, comb, soap, washcloth, pencils, notebook, rubber balls, toothpaste, metal spoons, hard candy (candy that will not melt), plastic cups, sewing kits for older girls, and tool sets for older boys, knitted caps, ponytail holders, and small toys. I hope you’ll follow Renan’s advice and wander the aisles with a shoebox and pray as you fill it.

My position on the team was “inspector.” I had to pull out countless bottles of hand sanitizer, liquid glue, and lotion. My trainer told me, “If it wiggles or giggles, it can’t be in the shoebox.”

handWhile we were working last Saturday, the entire processing center took a break and heard a testimony from a young woman who had been a shoebox recipient. She too was from Honduras. She had grown up in an orphanage when she received a shoebox, and was thrilled to get a toothbrush. Before she had her own, she’d had to share one toothbrush with 25 other children.  She also had a package of 10 pencils in her shoebox. A treasure, because she was given one pencil a year, and it was expected to last her through the year. She hid her pencils in fear that someone would take them. It was through this shoebox that she realized that someone cared about her and that Jesus loved her. God has big plans for this little girl who lost her family. She earn a soccer scholarship to attend college in the U.S. and is currently enrolled in medical school.

Terra with children recieving shoesboes in Niger.My niece, Terra served as a missionary in Niger, Africa last year and she has participated in the shoebox ministry for several years at home.  She was delighted that the children she was working with in Africa. They were chosen because they were attending her Kid’s Club and learning about Jesus.

I hope you’ll consider putting together a shoebox next year. You will bless someone. Remember each box is for a person. A child who has next to nothing. But the most important gift he or she might receive is Jesus.

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.

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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.

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