Thursday, April 17, 2008

SWAP AND HOP



Lysa TerKeurst is hosting a SWAP AND HOP at her website as well as my favorite Karen Ehman. Karen is my favorite because I just saw her speak at Hearts at Home in IL!! I went to her, 'Keeping your Ducks in a Row' seminar. I even bought the 'Brain in a Binder' which I have implemented but I still need some serious help. Karen and Lysa please help me...plus I have a chance of winning a FREE BOOK!!!! They might not give it to me because that is my PROBLEM. Books!! What do I do with them all!?!

My main concern is in the kitchen. The desk where the phone is (there really is a phone behind the
kleenex box). Do you see it?? Do you see my 'Brain in the Binder'?? I really do love that binder. Back to my desk. We have a kitchen table near by the desk and when we get ready for dinner; guess where all the stuff from the table goes to??? YES, the desk that holds everything. Holds the mail. Holds the kleenex. Holds magazines. Holds whatever the kids make during the week. Keep in mind I homeschool. So, they don't make a lot of stuff but they make stuff! Do you see the fruit bowl?? Why is it on the desk??? Plus, my husband would like to get rid of the magazine rack on the wall! Why is there a magazine rack in my kitchen?? Books from the library, a bowl to return, my knitting bag for when I run out of the house, books that I like to read with my coffee in the morning (when I can), books I borrowed, dust, and coupons (that I don't use). LYSA AND KAREN PLEASE HELP ME!!

BTW-I have 1 husband, 2 kids and 3 dogs. Starr (in the photo) is our new addition!! I hope you are laughing. I just like to go through the numbers, starting with my helpmeet!! My number 1!

So, I am sharing this with you,
Lysa and Karen in hopes of getting some help from them and if possible to win another book for my collection!!!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

WHICH SIDE OF THE STREET ARE YOU ON?

There is another rally coming up this month in Aurora. A planned parenthood abortion clinic opened up last year and there has been monthly protesting since the opening.

IT'S A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH RALLY is quickly approaching on April 26th. Click on the caps and it will take you to the Families Against Planned Parenthood home page. Please check out their video, it is amazing and you will need your box of tissues!!

I have never really taken a stand before on abortion. In the video it shows people on one side of the street, PRO-LIFE and on the other side, PRO-CHOICE. It was interesting to see only 17 standing on the Pro-Choice side and 1,000 standing on the Pro-Life side.

Since, I have CHOSEN to have a relationship with GOD (a year ago I was baptized) and NOT CHOOSING to lead myself in life BUT to be LED by GOD has changed my life forever. GOD has changed my perspective. GOD has changed my understanding to be able to discern what a true Christian is. I thought I was Christian. I went to church. I knew some of the bible stories. I taught Vacation Bible School (for 10 years). What else was there?? Boy, there is a whole lot more to it!!! Don't get me wrong I am not telling you that you are not a Christian. I am saying that I have taken it to the next level and I have developed a RELATIONSHIP with our Father in Heaven.
Mark 8:34-37
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?..."
Now that I understand truly what that verse means I cannot go back to the way I was. I have been renewed, empowered by prayer and faith. GOD has led our family to homeschooling. This was our first biggest step to listening to the LORD. Since then our eyes has been opened up to things that we would of missed. If I was still in control I would of missed: hugging my children more, reading to them, teaching them spiritually, learning how to be patient, staying home more, learning what it truly means to be a helpmeet to my husband and the list can go on and on and on.

I shared this with you because GOD has led me to choose LIFE. HIS MIRACLE OF LIFE. HIS LOVE OF LIFE.

Thank you Lord for my 2 miracles!! Thank you for your patience and love. Thank you for your SON! We are here to share HIS love, HIS mercy, HIS faith, HIS miracles...Thank you for giving me that chance. AMEN!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

GOD IS FAITHFUL

I have just received a newsletter from Brazil and I posted its contents below. This made me think of my trip to Brazil almost one year ago. It brings back such great memories and some sadness as well.
Last year I went on my very first mission trip through my church (and I pray that it won't be my last!) and I met some wonderful people. On this trip I left my home thinking life is good (and it is good) but I also came back a different person. I had changed, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I went there with my team thinking that we were just going to teach VBS (Vacation Bible School) to the poor children of Niteroi, Brazil. God had other plans...

I went all excited and couldn't wait to see the children and have some fun. I thought I knew what to expect and I was surprised. Brazil, embraced me, I fell in love with this wonderful country of wealth, poverty, gangs, homelessness, beauty and most of all the children of Reencontro! It hard to sum up into words but I will try as I share some photos.

This photo is my ultimate favorite (above). It captures joy, beauty, a bond of friendship. Emily is the third one from the left and just look at those smiles!!! Emily was my roommate and we had a blast getting to know each other and the children. Just look at those faces!!! Do you see the 2 on the right, hugging??


My sweet Nathiely. This little girl was God's plan for me. She touched my heart in ways that I just cannot explain. I did not have her in any of my classes. We met on my last day of teaching at the school right before I had to get on the plane to go home.

On Thursday we were all singing and putting on a play from the bible. We just ended and I heard a young girl screaming. This is where I felt time had stopped for me. No one was moving or they didn't hear her! How could they not hear??? I saw this girl holding her neck and yelling out in pain. I immediately ran over to her and pulled her hand away from her neck. There I saw a thorn, it looked like a thorn and it was big! At first I was afraid to touch since I had no idea what it was. Then I just told her not to move (remember they didn't speak English and I didn't speak Portuguese), well she didn't move. I took my fingers and tried to remove it and wouldn't budge. I tried again and I had to tug real and it came out. Her teacher took her away and I didn't see again that day. I did ask how she was doing and they said that she was fine. I did not give it another thought about the incident.

Now, I am giving you a quick shortened version of the account of that day.....Alessandro (our translator) was going back to his office and I told him that I was interested in sponsoring a child. He asked who and I just couldn't pick a child. I wanted them all. I actually felt bad that maybe I had to pick one and just couldn't hurt their feelings. I told him to let God lead him and I will be happy with any of these kids. I did tell a 'big sister' would be great for my daughter, Anna. She has always wanted a big sister. Later that day he said he picked a girl for me. I was so happy that I wanted to meet her right away. She had left for the day and I could meet her on my last day there.

Impatiently I waited. The very next morning I sought out Alesandro and asked where is she? He brought me over to a classroom and went to get her. When I saw her I couldn't speak. All I could do was burst into tears and cry. I grabbed that little girl and just held her tight in my arms. I did not want to let her go. It was the girl from the day before. The girl that I pulled out the thorn from her neck. Keep in mind Alessandro didn't know about the incident with the thorn, he wasn't there when it happened.

It has been a year now and I can't wait to hold her in my arms once again. We will not be able to go back to Brazil until 2009. One more year to go! I write to her and send photos monthly.

THANK YOU, LORD

Here is clip that I took of the children singing in there native language.
They are singing, "Thank you, Lord"

video

Let us all thank our heavenly Father just like these children.
Heavenly Father, thank you, thank you for life, for your love, for your Son. Thank you for these children that we are able to minister to them. Thank you for allowing us all to pray together! Thank you for the opportunity to be able to travel to Brazil. Thank you! Amen!



Below is the newsletter that I received from Brazil.


From the Heart of the Starks ~ BGC in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ~ Spring 2008

God Is Faithful!

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant to a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love Him and obey His commands. ” (Deut. 7:9)

GOD IS FAITHFUL IN WELCOMING CHILDREN – 1By1 Rio Update:
Many of you sponsor children via 1/By/1 Rio Child Sponsorship. Thanks for your faithfulness! As part of our compassion ministry, each week we spend time with these children and their teachers located in two day care centers. Natalia, (not pictured) age 12, a student in the Boa Vista day care after school program, lives with her mother and three brothers and sisters. She and her siblings each have a different father, none of whom live with the family. Natalia lives with the constant pain of rejection because her mother refuses to allow Natalia to call her “mother”. Instead, she coldly insists to be addressed by her first name. Natalia, longing for love, sometimes forgets and for this she is severely beaten. Yet, at the BV center, Natalia not only is loved by her teachers, but she has come to know the love of Jesus. Twice a week Natalia participates in a Bible class where she recently gave the following response when asked: what is the Bible? “The Bible is my sword to fight against evil”. Natalia was overjoyed when she received a Bible as a Christmas gift. Thank God for His wonderful transforming work among needy kids! Please pray for children, teachers and administrators involved.

For more information about the 1By 1 Rio program contact Pam Putnam/BGC 1(800) 323-4215 EX-3235.

GOD is Faithful in Building His Church:
In partnership with the First Baptist Church of Niteroi (FBCN) church planting vision, we are helping to plant a church in the community of Jockey, an area of urban poor about 20 minutes from Niteroi. Together with Pastor Izaias and a team of other Brazilian leaders, we are witnessing God’s faithfulness as He builds His church. We joyfully give thanks that several have trusted Christ as their Savior in the past month and are participating in a new believers class. Pray for their spiritual growth and fruitfulness!

The rental house where Baptist Mission in Jockey (BMJ) meets (which is getting smaller and smaller as we grow) is right across the street from the property where BMJ, Lord willing, plans to build a muilti purpose covered sports court. Our leaders recently submitted a request to FBCN for R$60,000 ($35,000 USD). Please pray with us that God will favor BMJ with a positive response from the mother church and that construction on this project will soon begin!

We rejoice in that after the land was cleared in late March, BMJ hosted a one-day Children’s Bible Club. Thirty-five energetic boys participated in an enthusiastic soccer competition and approximately 100 children and adults shared a meal and heard the good news that Jesus loves us so much that He died to rescue us from our sin. Please pray for whole families to come to Christ in the Jockey community.

God is faithful in embracing the company of the lowest:
Jesus commissions His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” this includes following His example of suffering and humility by “embracing the company of the lowest” (from Isa 53:12 The Message). While reading Isaiah 53 in his daily time with the Lord early morning Jan 28th, Rick sensed the Holy Spirit saying: “Go and embrace Ricardo, a drunk living among the lowest”. Invite him to Carnival Camp. Go! Even if it is raining hard and the hillside of the slum is muddy trails!” We went, hugged, and prayed with Ricardo. He came to Carnival Camp (photo), quit drinking & smoking (for 2 weeks) & was clean from booze for almost 2 months, bringing several families to our Baptist Mission in Jockey. Ministering to Ricardo began a series of requests for help from other believing men crying out for deliverance from addictions. Please pray for Luiz Carlos, (young man in background, photo below), Afonso and Marcelo with whom Rick is doing a weekly study called “Celebrating Recovery” based on the Beatitudes and AA’s 12 steps. This ministry is an up and down experience that calls for desperate prayer and confidence in our faithful God Who is always in control.