Monday, December 27, 2004

Coming out of church, Mrs. Smith asked her husband, "Do you think that Johnson girl is tinting her hair?"

"I didn't even see her," admitted Mr. Smith.

"And that dress Mrs. Davis was wearing," continued Mrs. Smith, "Really, don't tell me you think that's the proper outfit for a mother of two."

"I'm afraid I didn't notice that either," said Mr. Smith.

"Oh, for heaven's sake," snapped Mrs. Smith. "A lot of good it does you to go to church."

 Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas presents at last! Sarah and Kristin enjoying their presents. Posted by Hello

Our Best Christmas Present: having all our girls together again! It will be hard to let Bethany and Rachel go back to college in January! Posted by Hello

Waiting for Christmas. The calm before the storm! Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 25, 2004

What a Whirlwind of activity! After Rosendo and Sugelys' wedding, we jumped right into Christmas shopping. All the girls had a great time and even I enjoyed myself a bit.

The activity level is really picking up around here. Our sound system had a failure of two microphones. Luis, my deacon, and I are trying to figure out how to get it working again. A girl cancelled out of our Christmas play at the last minute and Bethany jumped in to take her place. Rachel is going over lines and may take a part if any more bail out. The play is about toys in a toy store who learn the true meaning of Christmas. We have costumes that Tina made: a clown, a toy soldier and even a black panther (the bad guy in the play) complete with tail. Tomorrow is the first performance, which we will give at a church up higher in the mountains, about 40 min from our town. Next week we will put it on again in our town.

We plan on sleeping in Monday and enjoying time with each other and maybe playing a little with our new presents! Merry Christmas!
Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Assistant Pastor marries. Our daughters come home!

We picked up Bethany and Rachel at the airport and rushed to a wedding reception about an hours drive away. We stopped at a gas station on the way and the girls changed out of their travel clothes and into their wedding garments. Rosendo and Sugelys' wedding had a Mexican flavor, as Rosendo is from Mexico. In Mexico, the groom marches down the aisle first and stands with his back to the congregation and does not look at the bride until she stands by his side at the altar. The reception was great. They even had a Mariachi group with big sombreros sing love songs!

The 2 hour drive home afterwards was filled with stories from our daughters' six months in Pensacola Christian College in the state of Florida. It was great to see our assistant pastor happily married, and wonderful to have our daughters home for Christmas. Tomorrow we hope to sleep in, bake Christmas cookies and enjoy their company !Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Good News and Sad News

The sad news is that the little old lady (80 yrs) in this picture had a heart attack Sunday morning. Her name is Bienvenida, which means "Welcome!" in Spanish. She is scheduled for an operation today to unblock a 90% clogged artery. She is about the sweetest woman I have ever met. After church Sundays, we have refreshments and Bienvenida is always saying, "Make sure the Pastor gets some! Leave some for the Pastor!" The love she has for the church and her positive spirit are a real treasure. Please pray for her recovery.

The good news is that the older man in the photo (behind Tina) made a decision this Sunday to be baptized. His name is Felipe Soto. Some of our college students met his brother during visitation about three months ago. He heard about us and came to check us out and has been attending regularly since then. This last Sunday he said, "So, when am I going to get baptized?" Now that's the kind of question I like to hear! We hope to schedule his baptism within the next few weeks. Posted by Hello

Monday, December 13, 2004

'Twas The Night Jesus Came
'Twas the night Jesus came and all through the house,
not a person was praying, not one in the house...
The Bible was left on the shelf without care,
for no one thought Jesus would come there...
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
not once ever kneeling or bowing their head...
And Mom in the rocking chair with babe on her lap,
was watching the Late Show as I took a nap...
When out of the east there rose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter...
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutters and lifted the sash...
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but Angels proclaiming that Jesus was here...
The light of His face made me cover my head,
it was Jesus returning just like He'd said...
And though I possess worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself...
In the Book of Life which he held in his hand,
was written the name of every saved man...
He spoke not a word as he searched for my name,
when He said "it's not here," my head hung in shame...
The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to his Father above...
With those who were ready He rose without sound,
while all of the others were left standing around...
I fell to my knees but it was too late,
I'd waited too long and thus sealed my fate...
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight,
Oh, if only I'd known that this was the night...
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear
the coming of Jesus is now drawing near...
There's only one life and when comes the last call,
We'll find out that the Bible was true after all..

B Basic
I Instruction
B Before
L Leaving
E Earth

 Posted by Hello

I couldn't email my photo directly to our Bible college to be used in the student yearbook, so I am posting it here. You are welcome to print it out for prayer or for your dart board, as you wish! Posted by Hello

Friday, December 10, 2004

Puerto Rican Christmas

Christmas is very different here: Here is a web page the sums it up pretty well and has some pictures:

Christmas is so loooong here! From the week-end after Thanksgiving till the Sunday following Jan 6 is Christmas! The kids keep shoe boxes under their beds filled with grass for the horses of the wise men. Then their parents sneak in at night and take the grass out and put the presents in the shoe boxes. In the morning the kids find the grass gone, proof that the wise men came and fed their horses the grass. The presents left behind are in gratitude for the kindness of the children for feeding their horses. I like this because at least it is more from the bible than Santa Clause. But because of the Untited States owning Puerto Rico, they are now celebrating Dec 25th and Santa Clause too. Of course all the kids want presents on BOTH days!

We have an unusual custom called Matutinos (Ma too TEEN ohs). It invloves sneaking up on houses in the middle of the night and singing until they invite you in for a snack. Our church people do it every year and it is a lot of fun. We used to do it till 4 AM some weekends, but I guess I am getting older, because I am ready to head for home after midnight! Of course, if you stay at home, they may sneak up on you! Nothing like having 25 or so surprise guests drop by in the middle of the night for coffee and snacks! Of course we read the bible story of Christmas and sing Christmas hymns. It is a lot of fun, but it does take a little getting used too! Posted by Hello

My former assistant pastor, Rosendo, is getting married to Sugely Dec 18, 30 Minutes after Bethany and Rachel come home for Christmas vacation! We are going to get them at the airport and drive staight to Rosendos' reception. I guess they will have to fly dressed for the wedding or change in the bathroom at the airport. We are busy this Christmas season, but most of all happy with the anticipation of seeing our daughters return and seeing Rosendo, who is like a son to us, getting married. Rosendo is from Mexico and Sugely is a Puerto Rican girl that was one of my students.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 04, 2004

My Surprise Party!

I turned 50 yesterday. Tina invited a new missionary family to our home and we had dinner and played some board games. Our guests, Mark and Stephanie Sage, asked to see our church, so we all drove down to give them the tour. When I got in, the lights went on and everyone shouted, " Surprise!" Two other missionary families and my church members decorated the church and brought food and games. We played "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," Musical Chairs and had a Pinata filled with candy. The kids whacked it with a stick until it broke and spilled out its contents for all of them to scramble after.

Tina made a "Mud and Dirt Cake" (Chocolate with chocolate pudding) topped with candy worms. It was to go with a "Little Boy of 5" birthday theme (50 minus the zero) in order for me to feel young again. I said she made me a graveyard cake, but she insists it is a little boy playground cake! Thanks to Tina, my fellow missionaries and the people of our church, I had a very nice birthday.
Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Comfort In the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Saturday, Adrian (one of our bible college students) and I visited a bedridden woman. She has diabetes and is morbidly obese so she cannot leave the hospital bed set up in her home. She told us a sad story of her drug addicted son who was beaten to death by his friends behind a local tavern two weeks ago. We read her words of comfort and prayed with her.

Tuesday night I went visiting with my deacon Luis. We visited an elderly man who has been suffering form cancer. I never realized the loneliness suffered by some cancer patients. The elderly man is Felipe Soto, a retired government worker who has been attending our church for the last two months. He was in the hospital for 4 days undergoing chemotherapy and was all alone the whole time. He was very glad to pass a Tuesday evening studying the bible with us.

Wednesday morning I went visiting with our Adult Sunday School teacher, Miguel Nieves. We visited Miguel's cousin, a woman who has suffered much loss. She just lost her father, her pregnant daughter died from abuse and this woman had just got out of the hospital after having colon cancer surgery. We counseled and prayed for her and her mother who was present during our visit.

Three sad people full of pain and loneliness, but they all were much better for having spent time studying the greatest source of comfort, God's word and praying to One who cares for our suffering. I have spent a lot of last week holding the hands of people passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I am touched by their grief, but glad to have brought them some light and hope. Posted by Hello