Friday, October 5, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
We have some sweet gals visiting for a few days and before they left to visit Venice they prayed for me and my back pain. I was thankful and hopeful that the Lord heard the prayers and would be faithful to ease the pain.
About an hour or so goes by and I find myself in so much pain that all I could do was cry. I was frustrated and just tired of being tired of this back pain. As I got up from my chair with my heating pad I grabbed my Streams In the Desert Devotional to read for the morning. I opened to the page for today and before I could even read the entire devotional, my eyes went straight to the sentence with the words "Love permits pain".
I read the devotional through tears. Tears that acknowledged that God indeed hears our faithful prayers and doesn't ignore them, but for whatever reason, He allows us to endure pain. It's not always physical pain. It can be emotional, or some other type, but He will allow it.
The devo was talking about Mary and Martha when Lazarus was ill and they sent the news to Jesus. It says they didn't doubt that as soon as He heard the news He would come quickly-but He didn't. He waited. As you can imagine, even more tears started to flow. He heard, but He waited. How those words ring true for so many. We pray, we get others to pray and yet the pain, whatever kind it is, endures. It doesn't go away. And often we wonder why. Why, God, why aren't you healing me? Why are you allowing this to be?
For me, sometimes I get so frustrated with this back pain. Why in the world would God call me to be in a foreign country-to serve Him and yet be limited in what I can do? Why did I bother to exercise and want to be fit for so many years just to end up like this? Why when so many prayers go up to Him does He choose not to answer them. Sometimes I think...God, are you there, are you listening to these prayers?
Today's devotional was such a sweet and tender reminder that He does hear, He does care, He does remember. But, love permits pain. Why does love permit pain? I honestly can't answer that. We have all listened to tons of bible studies on why God allows pain, why He allows things to happen the way they do. But, for each person, the answer is different. People even say it's because God wants to teach us a lesson. I don't always like that answer-sometimes it sounds so mean the way they say it. As if God is punishing us or making us be in pain because we have to learn a lesson. You know, in some ways that is true. But our God is a loving God and He's not up in Heaven figuring out ways to inflict pain upon our lives just to show us who's boss. He doesn't make the pain happen, but He knows it is there and He will allow it to be there and He will use it for His glory if we let Him. He will get us through it.
For each day, for each task that God has called me to, I know that I have to rely on Him for every ounce of strength to be able to do it.
I am so thankful for that little phrase I read today. I think it will be a stone of remembrance for me. No matter how I feel physically I know that my God knows what I am enduring and He will help me through it and for that I am grateful.
If you are going through some kind of pain today, rest assured that He knows, He has heard your pleas, your prayers, the prayers of those who have prayed for you. He will be strong for you and help you through it.
Don't ever think that His delay means He doesn't care or He doesn't hear. Always remember there is something greater. It was in His delaying to go to Lazarus that Jesus spoke these amazing words:
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Now, if you want to hear a God story......he couldn't drive all through the night so he slept a few hours at a gas station/rest stop. He was about 1/2 hour from home and stopped in a gas station-saw a gal with an Italian city written on her arm-realized she was a foreigner. She was alone, had her wallet stolen, and had to hitch-hike her way around while busking ( you play an instrument and people put money in your case) to have money to eat.
She spent the last two nights sleeping outside in Venice and today 'just happened' to decide to leave Venice and head south.
Of course, being a father of three girls, and this gal happens to be the same age as our youngest...Jim couldn't leave her there. He phones me and tells me the situation. I asked if he was sure she wasn't a scammer and he felt such a peace about her and that she wasn't making the story up. Well, a couple things-number one, we have a rule that no gals ever drive alone with Jim. We learned this in the ministry a long time ago that it isn't something you should do. Two, no matter how much peace you might have, there is still that one part that is a little nervous-especially for me.
I told him ok-bring her home. Thankfully I had cleaned house yesterday. Actually, I was mopping at 1:00am because I couldn't sleep lol!! I had my shower and was dressed, knowing Jim would be coming home shortly so at least me and the house were prepared.
Twenty minutes go by and a little bit of panic starts to set in....that .05% of fear....wondering if he was being set up, someone might follow them to our home, etc. My imagination was going a bit bizurk. If you are a regular reader here, you know how easy it is for me to get my mind going :)
Anyway, they arrived here and I just looked at her and felt so sad for her. Of course I can't help thinking like a Mom and just wanted to hug her-but I had to hold back so as not to scare her.
Now she's here-a hoarse voice, hungry and thankful for a place to stay and able to have a shower.
What's neat is that today is the day that the Calvary Chapels around here have a picnic and baptism. It's always a great time together and I was sad that we weren't going to be able to go. But God....He had another plan and there are so many little things that happened to orchestrate the circumstances of this gal being here. Jim never stops where he stopped, she wasn't even planning on being at that gas station, we don't do the guy/gal driving thing and we even had a phone charger that worked for her dead phone.
I am in awe of how God works. He takes ordinary days and makes them extraordinary.
Of course me being me, I did write a note to my friend to tell her what was happening and to pray and if she didn't hear from us she would know something was up-but I laughed at myself after reading it and decided not to send it....Miss Paranoia. :)
I don't condone breaking rules, but in this case we knew it was okay.
Please pray for this gal and that we will shine the love of Jesus into her life-that she would see how much He cares for her and was watching over her.
Friday, July 27, 2012
We have all experienced fear and know the grip that it can have on our lives. Fear is a topic of many books, sermons and conversations with friends. It is real and yet it is something that as Christians, we have been told we can overcome. Fear expresses itself in many ways-sadness, tears, anger at times because we don't know how to express what we are feeling, and withdrawal.
The past month or so there has been so much sickness and death among people I know. Some I know better than others. Some were acquaintances, some friends, some parents of friends I am close with. Sicknesses with children, newborns, friends diagnosed with cancer and so on.
The other day I awoke to yet one more note of someone who is my own age who suddenly died. Someone who served the Lord faithfully on the mission field. The beginning of the month we found out another pastor friend, only 36 yrs. old with a lovely wife and 4 beautiful children just died suddenly. No warnings for these people or their families. In one moment they left this earth to begin spending eternity with Jesus. In one moment, their family and loved ones lives were changed forever. The summer plans, the kisses, the hugs, the snuggles, the joys they cherished and the tears they would shed together were to be no more. We know it, we hear about it, we at times think about it-death comes without warning so many times.
My mind had already been wandering the other week about our life. Two people in their 50's serving the Lord on the mission field. Every now and then, I think because we are getting older, I think about the future and what might happen. We all know that can be the worst thing in the world to do! Oh how imaginative our minds can be. Often, I would find myself in tears just because I would be sitting down and letting my thoughts go and next thing you know I am picking out songs for my funeral, wondering who would be in attendance and would they say nice things about me......please tell me I am not the only nutty one that does this!!!!
When Jim and I were called to serve on the mission field I was 40 yrs old and he was 44. We had a business and he worked very, very hard. He is not a lazy person and though obviously not perfect, he is an extremely hard worker and ran a successful construction business for quite a few years. Towards the end, things got difficult, but he continued to press on and looking back, we see how the Lord was allowing all of this to be taken away so that it was easier to say yes to His call to go. Our business was a union company-I say that only to emphasis what we once had. Insurance-medical, dental, vision....any doctor of our choosing. We had a pension -didn't necessarily mean anything to me back then because the future is always so far away. But, now.....oh how that word means so much more.
We were called to the mission field 6 months prior to Jim being 'vested' in the union. That means that if he worked for 6 more months our pension would be full and upon retirement we would receive the full amount. Six months!!! Half a year....I didn't know all this at the time. You see how God keeps me in the dark so I don't flip out :) Honestly it would have been so much more difficult to leave when we did had I known this. I probably would have nagged Jim so badly to just stay with it six more months and then we could go. It wouldn't have been a good situation.
You grow up being told to work hard, don't cheat, don't lie, don't steal. Do well and prepare for your future. If you work hard all your life you will be able to enjoy retirement-that's the thinking you grow up with. We all know it doesn't always work that way does it? So many unexpected things happen-especially nowadays in the economy we have. The future has become all the more unpredictable. Sometimes it's easy to feel like you are a failure-that you have nothing to show for your life. You don't have the bank accounts, you don't have the means to provide for your children or grandchildren the way you wished you could and you have nothing to leave them for the future. Okay-I am just being brutally honest right now so don't worry-you don't have to feel sorry for us- :) I don't think these feelings are just for people on the mission field either-many go through this.
While in Hungary, we had a couple visit us for an evening. A Pastor and his wife from New Jersey were visiting different Calvary Chapels and they came to meet us too. He began to share how he was a police officer for many years and a year before he would be fully vested or whatever it is called in that field, God called him to be a full time Pastor-to leave his job and follow Him. I cannot tell you how much that has comforted me through these times of the unknown. I see their lives and see how they hold onto Jesus and trust and follow Him and it sets my heart and mind at ease. I see what the Lord can do.
I have found myself thinking a lot lately about all of the 'what ifs'. What will happen to us as we get older? Everything is so focused on the young and being hip these days you wonder if you will fit in much longer if you don't have those qualities about you.
When we got married, Jim asked me not to work outside of the home. It was really hard for me because I had worked for many years and was a very independent person. We didn't marry until I was 27 yrs. old so I had plenty of years of work and made pretty good money for a single gal. But, I agreed and am very thankful that I could stay home and raise our daughter for all those years. There were times I wanted to at least go and work part-time, but it seemed I was pretty busy with plenty of other things.
Needless to say, my resume isn't one that would be pleasing to the eye for any company if I had to go and apply for a job nowadays.
I get worried at times-wondering what if something happened to Jim and he was gone-what would I do? How would I survive? I have no skills to work anywhere. I honestly can get into a tizzy thinking about stuff like this. It becomes so necessary to trust completely in the Lord. To know His faithfulness, His love and His promise that He will never leave nor forsake us.
There are times Jim and I chat about the future and I tell him that if I were to die first he could continue on-he could still be a Pastor and do what he does. But if it was the other way around, what in the world would I do....where would I live....how would I survive? Of course my husband just looks at me, smiles and says...'oh don't worry honey, you can find another husband'...really???? Not the answer I was looking for dear!
I don't know why I really wrote all this-hopefully it doesn't sound so morbid. I suppose that it's just another aspect of life and part of what we really go through at times. I don't want to live in fear of the unknown, of the future. I want to keep my eyes on my Savior. Knowing that He has called us, He will be faithful. He will take care of us no matter what. In Him is perfect peace. In Him is all the fullness of joy for each and ever circumstance. In Him, there is no fear because perfect love has cast out all fear and He is perfect love!
Thanks for bearing with me today :) I guess it doesn't help that Jim is away for a couple of days so it gives me extra time to think about such things.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Back in May, we were so blessed to go to VA to visit with Doug and Rose and with that, we were able to tour much of Washington, DC. It was an amazing trip. Living abroad for so many years and seeing all the different sites in different countries can cause you to forget a bit how much richness in culture and beauty there is in our very own country. It was good to go back and have the opportunity to see our country's capitol and all the history that goes with it. I fell in love with it there. It's probably safe to say that I drove my daughter and husband crazy with how many times I told them how much I enjoyed being on the East Coast!
One of the days we were there we set out to the National Cemetery and to see the Tomb Of the Unknown Soldier. I remember when I was just a young child and we lived in Philadelphia our parents took us to DC and I remember standing there watching the changing of the guard. Truthfully, at the time, it was probably not so exciting standing there watching these guys in uniform move about so slowly just to change positions-but we all know that once we grow up, we learn to appreciate things so much more.
That was the case with this visit.
I was first struck by the inscription on the tomb itself:
So, dear friend, do you feel alone today, do you feel like you are serving in the Lord's army and no one knows who you are, no one knows of the work you are doing? Don't let discouragement overtake you. Unbeknownst to man, but you are known by God!
In the end, it doesn't really matter if we were known to man in this life. In the end, all that will matter is that we were known but to God.
I have a bit more to share from this experience but will save that for later in the week :)
Monday, July 2, 2012
It was pure joy to see everyone while we were away. Meeting our two grandsons was awesome and seeing our little princess was wonderful. Marla graduated college and is now working 3 jobs part time-she's a trooper-we are very proud of her!! Rosalyn and Christina are doing well and it's fun to watch them be Mommys now. We're thankful for all of them! It was good seeing and hanging out with our family after such a long time-everyone is growing up, graduating, having babies-it's fun to see! It was a special treat to be able to there for Mother's Day and Father's Day too.
We were truly blessed on our trip-being able to go to VA to spend time with Doug and Rose and tour DC. We had the opportunity to meet the church body there and meet some really neat people. We thank them for a fantastic trip! Also, we spent some time in Modesto which was a very special time for both of us. It is always a joy to see friends and see the faces of those who faithfully pray for us and of course to meet new people too. We were able to spend some time visiting at CC Santa Barbara too. Not enough time, but we cherish the time we did have there. Of course being at CC Vista is always a treat...home sweet home and a place of refuge and refreshment.
It was nice to come back to some good news here-the couple many of you have been praying for, Greg and Alice, have found a flat to move into in Padova. They are to sign the contract next Sunday. This is a HUGE answer to prayer!! We have been praying alongside of them for them to be in Padova. It is going to be wonderful having them here to minister with, pray with and fellowship with. I have really had a difficult three years not having any women around that I can hang out with here on a regular basis. It was really a drought in my life that was getting unbearable. Praising God that He has answered this prayer! They both have the hearts of evangelists and desire to reach out to the university students.
While we were in the states Jim was able to meet with an attorney and get all the paperwork completed for his Italian Citizenship. Everything went well at the Consulate Office and we are waiting for his Italian Birth Certificate which will allow him to get his Italian Passport. I will have to do my paperwork from here but at least it can be done!
We are praying to rent a building closer to town soon. Where we are located is not very convenient to the city center. The bus schedule isn't very good on Sundays and it isn't near the train station. We spend a lot of time Sunday mornings before and after church shuttling people to and from the station to church. It would be much better to have a place close to the city where people can get to the church easier. Right now we use the Community Building and don't have to pay for it. They are probably going to start charging soon so it would be better to move somewhere else since we would have to pay anyway. Please pray that God would provide the funds for this. We aren't looking for something huge, but something with visibility and convenience. Some places we looked at are about 1200.00 per month.
Jim's been asked to play a couple of concerts this summer. Lino, the guy who manages the park here in Padova, has asked him several times to play-he will even give him a band to play with. Jim's been meeting with him weekly since coming back and it's neat to see a friendship develop between them. He is also going to Hungary and Serbia in August to play a couple of concerts.
As some of you know, I had to extend my stay in the states a couple of weeks. My back pain was getting to the point where I was having a lot of trouble standing up after a period of time. Thanks to a friend, I was able to go see a great Orthopedic Doctor. After viewing my X-rays, he gave me the news about my back. In 2007, I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis, being told my bones were like an 82 yr old-so I knew already that my back was bad. The X-rays showed that my bottom disc is gone so bone is rubbing on bone causing major pain. The nerve roots are also being squished which will eventually cause the pain to shoot down my legs. The upper part of my back is also showing signs of degenerative discs and bone starting to show through. I also have severe arthritis in upper and lower back. So......now you know how to pray for me. I have to take it easy, surgery is pretty likely unless God chooses to heal everything or just make the pain bearable. Obviously I am not going to just sit around-things need to be done, so I am going to look into different exercises that might help and also seeing about the possibility of joining one of the places around town that has a heated pool so I can swim.
Well, that about sums up the last couple of months. Please keep us and Padova in your prayers. We always appreciate it and love hearing from you when you have time to write.
Jim and Margie
Things to be praying for:
Greg and Alice's move
Alice and Bethany's pregnancies....Bethany is due in August, Alice in September
Greg's work to give him a contract -he needs this for insurance purposes, etc
Funding for a new church building
Air conditioning in our car broke-I know it's materialistic, but we still ask :)
Vision and direction for reaching the people in Padova
My meeting with the ladies in Vicenza-being able to reach out to the US Military wives at the base there
Continued filling of the Holy Spirit God's wisdom, guidance and strength with our church body Saved lives in Padova
Friday, April 20, 2012
Here was this phrase 'guilt offering'. It got me to thinking. I thought how many of us (at least I think there are many of us) would still like it if there were a 'guilt offering'.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Dear Friends and Family
Beautiful Spring greetings to all of you!! I can’t say we have had much of a bad winter this year but we still welcome Spring with all its beauty and warmth. Seeing new life all around us is always a great reminder of the new life that Christ brings.
It seems the parable of the fig tree in Luke 13:6-9 has come to light in our ministry again. In
We have been blessed as a church seeing God begin to add a few new faces to the congregation. As many of you know and have been praying alongside of us the past couple of years for the university students. God has heard all of our prayers and has one by one been bringing a few of them to Sunday service. Recently, a gal from the Calvary Chapel in
With the blessing of students comes the heart ache of knowing that their time here is temporary. Most will be returning to their home countries in June/July. It’s going to be difficult to say good-bye to them but we are thankful for the time we had together.
About a year ago, we really sensed that our church was going to be international and we have seen that come to pass. As much as we continue to pray to minister to the Italians, we are reminded of the parable of the Great Supper in Luke 14 and though we may have a strong desire to invite particular people, they are often found having an excuse why they don’t want to come and so we are encouraged to know to go to the highways and byways and extend the invitation to all who would come. So as much as our hearts want to see the Italians be saved, we realize that God uses us to minister to any and all who are in this area who want to hear His Word and grow in their relationship with Him.
With that, Jim has been meeting with a guy named Obbina for over a month now. Obbina is from
As some of you know, we had another couple over to our house last weekend. Guiseppe and his wife Stefania and their two daughters. Jim met Guiseppe last year at the park where his band played in Padova. Guiseppe works in a recording studio and is gifted musically. He plays jingles for the radio stations around here. Please continue to pray for their family. They are really nice and we would love to see them open up their hearts to the Lord.
Jim and I will be coming to the states soon. It’s the first time since 2006 we are both traveling together for an extended period of time. Jim usually travels for only 2 weeks. I am going to be gone for 6 weeks, Jim for 5. We are excited to see our family and friends and especially our newest grandson, Dylan, who was born in February. I also am anxious to meet Elijah, our grandson who is 15 months old. I haven’t seen him yet and he is already walking all around!
Marla will be graduating from college May 6th! We are so very proud of her and all she has accomplished. We can’t wait to hear them call her name watch her receive her diploma. Please keep her in prayer as she now has to find a full time job and a place to live.
We want to spend time with as many of you as we can so let’s try and work out plans and schedules. We would love to share with everyone how you can be praying specifically for the work in Padova also.
We will be in Vista,
Send me a note of Facebook or by email if you want to get together.
Some things to keep in prayer:
We still need help in Children’s Ministry
Jim scheduling pastors to fill in for him while he is in the states
For God to strengthen our church body
Our summer schedule –events and concerts in Padova
For Easter-it’s a little difficult when you are away from your family to be here and everyone leaves to be with their family and friends for the holidays.
Here are a couple pictures and a few short video clips from Sunday School:
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I went to the states about 1 year and some months later and brought along my little gadget. I used it to check emails and other things. I happened to use it to write a fb status and unbeknownst to me it leaves a little message that says "Sent by my iphone" Well, wouldn't you know that I get a reply.....it wasn't a reply to what I wrote, but 'YOU have an iphone?'. I immediately felt a knot in my stomach! 'No, I wanted to hurry and reply, of course I don't. I am a missionary, I would never own such a thing!' I was too afraid to write something back. Not surprisingly, my daughter responded something like "She so does not have an iphone". Anyway, I never sent another message with my little gadget again. It was one more thing I would put in the back of my 'make sure you never own one of these because you will cause stumbling' mind. (funny side note...they were writing from their iphone!!!)
Here's our group of ladies that met up in Paris!! A most delightful time was had by all!!! And yes, God provided so wonderfully for each of us to be there :)
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I promise to take some pictures in the next week or two and put them on the blog!!
Greetings to all of you from (finally) wintery cold
So much has been happening here in Padova lately. Once again, we are reminded that everything happens in God’s time and not ours. As we have felt like those tossed back and forth with the wind at times over the past couple years, wondering if indeed God was at work here, He has been faithful to carry us each and every step. Through every doubt and disappointment we have had His reassurance through His Word, through the encouragement of others and fervent prayers of many.
This past Missions Conference was one that God used in my own life to break things down that I had let build up-giving Him the disappointments and fears. He also used each teaching to encourage not only us but most of the missionaries as you go about day in and day out working, praying, believing and yet not always seeing the fruit before your eyes. Wayne Taylor talked about doing what you love and doing it with Jesus. So simple yet for me it spoke volumes.
Most of you know that Jim loves music. Well, God has been using that very love to bring us into contact with so many different people over the past few months. We had the Christmas concert in December. It was held in the Catholic church. The Commune picks the spot-well it ‘just so happened’ to be right in the area that the park is where Jim’s band played last summer and where we will have VBS this summer. That spot is the one we feel drawn to to look for a spot for the church. The concert was awesome!! Craig, Silvana , Maria and Jim shined for Jesus in that place! A guy that Jim met, Stefano, who is a really good drummer came and played percussion last minute and he really enjoyed being a part of the evening. He couldn’t believe Craig and Jim were pastors. He thought they were so nice and normal.
Recently Jim has been meeting with another guy from
I am starting to plan for the VBS in July. We are going to use the Gospel Light Prayer Safari theme. The theme for the week is the Our Father. We are excited about this event and have a lot of planning and work ahead of us to make it come together.
Jim continues to teach through the book of Acts at the moment. It’s such an encouraging book. I am still teaching Sunday School, but hoping to get some much needed help. Please pray we can work a schedule out to rotate helpers. It was supposed to happen this past September, but everyone’s schedules seem opposite so there isn’t always someone to rotate in with me. We also need two workers most of the time because we have one class with ages from almost a year to 11. I haven’t been able to sit in church for 3 years and it would be nice to start! Thankfully there is internet so I can at least hear messages online!
So you see, there is much going on and much to continue in prayer over. We look forward to a busy summer but want God’s guidance and wisdom every step of the way. We don’t want to run ahead of Him and His plans or timing in anything.
We will be coming to the states in May (I’ll probably come in April). Marla will be graduating college. Our new grandson is due February 14th, and I look forward to holding my not so little Elijah for the first time (he’ll be 16mos when I meet him) and of course Juliet our little princess will be 4 in May so that will be fun to be there for her birthday.
Thank you for your never ending prayers, your love and your support-financially and spiritually. Once again be reminded that all we write about you will see in Heaven! Your answered prayers, how God used your finances, how He worked in the lives you faithfully prayed for, the city you prayed for. It’s real!! You just have to sometimes wait til Heaven to see it J
To God be the glory for the things He has done!