Thursday, November 30, 2006
The girls came traipsing over on Sunday after the service and immediately asked what we were having for dinner. I had thought of tacos so each girl got to work doing various things. My parents weren't home, so it was just the four of us happily chatting and laughing in the kitchen.
When we finally sat down for dinner, someone started tell a story. That led to someone else saying, "Wait til you hear this!..." On and on the stories went until our sides and tummies were aching from laughing so hard. The tacos were long forgotten as each girl tried to "one-up" the previous storyteller. It was in that moment when the thought hit me: these girls are reachable! Just because they grew up in a Christian home doesn't automatically mean they're saved. But as we sat around the kitchen table, I saw each girl for who she was.
In a group of 6 or 7 with their friends around, they seem very hard and give off a "go-ahead-and-just-try-to-approach-me" air. But get them on their own, and they open right up. I had so much fun on Sunday that I invited the girls (plus one more) over between school and church yesterday. And I smiled as the girls shared giggles and had a good time chasing each other with an empty soda bottle. I would rather cultivate giggles in these girls than a bad attitude.
A couple of us single girls just started something last night: meeting before church to specifically pray for the teens and the Winter Camp that is coming up in January. My heart aches for these teens as I see many do their own thing and ignore God. But maybe, just maybe, "the effectual, fervent prayer...availeth much."
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Of course when *I* went to school, there was only one field trip we talked about all the time: the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. But we didn't talk about it in glowing terms with lots of happy memories. No, if Mr. Anger (btw, how's that for a principal's name?!?!) mentioned the words "field trip" and "Franklin Institute" in the same sentence, there were groans. Literal groans. I think a field trip to a factory where they make push pins might have been more exciting. There wasn't anything wrong with the Franklin Institute, it was just that we went there every year.
So it somehow became my responsibility to be in charge of field trips this year. Today we finally took our first one of this year; not bad considering we're 1/3 of the way through the second quarter! We tried to plan a trip before this, but between volleyball and soccer practices/games, special meetings at church, and a special junior/senior trip to DC, it just wasn't possible.
We happen to live in a very historical section of our state so for this field trip I chose The Moravian Museum in Historic Bethlehem. I grew up in Bethlehem and passed by this museum several times since it was on the way to the library, but never went inside. I am very interested in history and figured if it got the kids out of school for the day, they wouldn't mind :o). The bonus was we had never taken the kids to this place, although a long time ago a teacher took one of the grades there.
I realized once we got there that this specific tour was probably geared for 4th-6th grade students (it was funny to see tall 18-year-old Eric trying to fit on a carpet square:D), but I enjoyed learning about a culture of long ago. I don't think the teens took too well to being called "boys and girls" by the tour guide, but they eventually warmed up.
The thing that struck me the most about the Moravians was their passion for God. True, they did things very differently than we would today. We learned how everyone was split into a choir: Young girls choir, Young boys choir, Single girls choir, Single guys choir, married choir, etc and lived with that choir; gender-separated of course. They also took an 18-month old child and put them in a house where the single and young girls would raise them. From 5 years old and on, boys and girls were separated until they married and the way they got married was by choosing lots. Once you were married, your basic goal was to be a missionary. If you had a child, you left them behind and went out into the world to evangelize. I realize that this is not ideal at all to leave behind your child(ren) (nor Biblical, I might add), but their passion is admirable.
Another practice they had was to divide everyone up into two groups: the home group and the pilgrim group. What this meant was the home group stayed behind to build the buildings, work the land, and give all they earned to missions while the pilgrim group learned the languages and customs of the Indians (or whomever they were going to minister to) and actually went out as missionaries. Imagine that! They were intent on sending out someone from their group to go to a foreign place with a foreign language and actually live with the people they were evangelizing!
A guy in my group, Ben, got tired pretty quick of being told "he" was John so-and-so (they were given name tags of people who lived back then and found out about their lives) who was a missionary to the Ohio territory for 50 years. 50 years! The tour guide never said if he came back during that time, but I seriously doubt it for travel was hard.
I got to thinking about missions from this perspective. True, they were twisted in their child-rearing thinking and a few other things, but each of them knew they had a job to do in order for everything to run smoothly. Everyone worked together; there were no paying jobs. A lot of the money they received for goods they made went towards missions.
So if it was assumed and understood then, why do we have a struggle with it now? Jesus gave the Great Commission; end of story. Just go do it. There was a man baptized on Sunday night who made the comment, "This church helps me to fulfill the 'go ye' part of the commission". Missions is personal; throwing money towards Faith Promise isn't enough. I wonder if we have too many today sitting in the "home group" when they know they're supposed to be in the "pilgrim group".
Monday, November 27, 2006
Don't you love candid shots that catch you with your mouth open because you were talking when you thought the person behind the camera really wasn't going to take a picture.... yeah, that's what happened here. My friend (who shall remain nameless:D) couldn't get her camera working and then she was having problems turning it on and meanwhile Tiana and I were just sitting there. Tiana's look is one of "please take the picture" while mine is one of "you're not really going to take that picture, are you?" I suppose this is aunt-niece bonding...
This girl is Kelita who goaded me into wrestling on the living room floor. I figured we were both modest so I would share the picture:o). Kelita is a 15 year old girl who has three brothers and a dad and she just lost her mom last year. Kelita provided some very humerous moments for me for she was feisty, boisterous, and a big talker. The only reason why I got goaded into wrestling was because she insisted she could take me down. I was planning on minding my own business (read: go to the store like I planned), but then she came along and stole my sneaker. I was not about to go out into the cold November air (much less a store!) with one sneaker on or worse, dress shoes with culottes! Uh-uh! So I gave in to Kelita and put her down and we both had a good time;).
This is a happy Hammond family if I ever saw one! It's my own dumb fault for not taking a picture earlier in the week, like right after Sunday morning services. Nooo, I waited until 15 minutes before we left to go home to get a family photo. Apparently we wore them all out (except for Jack... he had nothing to do all week besides sleep, eat, and work;)...kidding!) so that's why their not exactly looking their best. But like it or lump it, this is my Indiana family.
And hopefully, I saved my sister-in-law a rant ;).
Friday, November 24, 2006
Today's might not appear as dumb as some other ones I've done in the past (go here if you want to know what I'm talking about!), but it was pretty silly. Two girls and I were decorating the large chapel/Learning Center school room/fellowship hall/Sunday school classroom/etc. today for Christmas. All we did was drape some garland at the top of the walls all around the room and then put garland and lights on some stair banisters. It sounds simple, but it wasn't!
You see, we originally started on the one wall just pinning and draping, pinning and draping. But then I looked at the 5 swags we had done and realized that they weren't even. Well, that drove me nuts to no end so Sarah offered to run home and get a tape measure so we could measure the walls and garland and figure out how much drape and swag we would need to make everything look even. It was quite the production.
So we had everything measured out and our in-house mathematician (read: Amanda) did the math and figured out the specific drape and the specific swag. It was very scientific which is kinda odd that *I* suggested it because I am anything but math and science!
Sarah climbed up on one of the student's desk and pinned the first one. When she was satisfied that it was held securely, she started to climb off the desk... and managed to fall backwards with the desk falling on her leg since it was so wobbly. Amanda and I alternated laughing and being sympathetic, because it was funny to see Sarah fall backwards with her arms flaring and her saying "ahhhhhhhh" but we also knew she was hurt. So after making sure she was *ok*, we continued on with me saying, "I'm glad that wasn't me!"
It must've been 5 minutes later when I was on a desk and pinning the garland up. After I was satisfied that it was held securely, I started to climb off the desk.... and managed to fall backwards with my arms flaring and me saying, "ahhhhhhhh!!!". Sarah and Amanda alternated between laughing and being sympathetic because it was funny!!!!
My Indiana family spent time with Kim's side of the family in Wisconsin and my one brother went to my sister-in-law's aunt and uncle's house while my other brother and his wife enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving at home, just the two of them. They did that last year and had a great time just being home that they'll probably do that most years. So we invited a couple and another man from church over for dinner.
During dinner, we asked David (who is from India) about his recent engagement and how he met Sirithia (that's a poor shot at spelling her name, but at least you get the idea!). For starters, David is in his 30s and his future wife is 28, so they're not exactly fresh out of high school. But their story is so neat and it's evident that God put them together.
Our pastor was keeping an eye out for a single, Christian, Indian young lady for the past few years. David was also looking, but the few he found he disagreed with on some issues, so they parted ways. But then one day in April 2006, the lady who runs the church's bookstore got a phone call from a pastor who had a question. Mrs. P. couldn't answer it, so she turned it over to Pastor, who happened to be in the building for once!!! After Pastor answered the question, he asked the pastor on the other end where he was from and he replied India. Pastor immediately asked if there were any single girls in his church, since he had a single Indian guy in his church.... no sense beating around the bush;). The pastor on the other end was a little flabbergasted, to say the least (!) but asked Pastor to send some information on David while he and his wife prayed over it.
Pastor did and after praying about it, the other pastor approached one of the single girls with the situation. She agreed to pray about it and after a little bit, she and David e-mailed for 4 weeks and then talked on the phone for 2 months. David made a trip to India in September and from there on out, they did a lot of things according to Indian custom but they maintained a Christian testimony through it all. They got officially engaged and now they are waiting for her to be able to come to the USA. Hopefully all this will happen in the next 1-1 1/2 years, instead of the original 3! God provides!
Yesterday morning after I dropped Andrew and his parents off at the airport, I returned home but decided to stop at the gas station and get the newspaper in order to save my mom a trip. They didn't have any left, so I continued home, grabbed some coupons I needed for a few items and then went to Weis to get the items and the newspaper. No paper. So I went to Eckerd to get the paper. No paper. Seven-Eleven. No paper. CVS. No paper. Turkey Hill. No paper. I was getting discouraged because I was traveling farther away from my house and my gas tank registered empty. But then the Lord popped the thought in my mind to go to Don's, a little convenience store that I have never shopped at, although I do pass by it occasionally. I drove my way across town and pulled into Don's. Two people stood inside: a clerk and a police officer standing by the newspaper rack. As I approached the police officer, my heart sank when I saw what looked like an empty newspaper rack (again!). But it wasn't. There were two left: one for me and one for the police officer to read! God provides!
And that was my Thanksgiving blessing. Whether it is big (finding a spouse) or small (finding a newspaper), GOD PROVIDES. All worry, anxiety, fear, and fretting that I do so often during a day can be neatly wrapped up in the thought that God will provide!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
But this is where I belong for now...
(Lehigh Valley Baptist Church in Pennsylvania)
It sure was good to get home on Sunday morning and be in services again, even if my eyelids were a little droopy!!! I'm *sure* my Pastor heard a conversation I had in the car on Saturday night as we drove home, for the message was what I needed... don't you love it when your Pastor "hears" your problem and then preaches on it in the message?!?!?! (That was said very tongue-in-cheek!!!). I'm struggling with making sure I know God's Will for a big decision coming up and my Pastor said this: "If you thank God, then you are in God's Will." Hmm... that seems to be pretty easy. As we approach Thanksgiving on Thursday, remember 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
I am so glad to be home!
Friday, November 17, 2006
One thought that struck me is that I was blessed to come out here and now it's my responsibility to take what I learned and go back home and share it with those back there. So as we leave tomorrow night and prepare to slide in just in time for service Sunday morning, I go with a heart that is full and blessed. I am concerned about some things I see at home, but it's not my responsibility to make sure everyone makes right decisions. I just need to tell what the Lord has laid on my heart. It's been a good week and I pray the results will have an eternal impact.
You know, the one teenager said to me today, "I wish we were staying through Sunday so we could be in church." Wow. This coming from a lost girl who doesn't really like church can only go to show that God is working on her heart. She even wants to come back next year. So if you think of it, keep this 14-year-old-girl in prayer. If this conference brought her one step closer to salvation, then it was definitely worth it even more!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The preaching on Sunday in both services was excellent, especially the night service. Bro. Whitaker (the principal of the school) preached about the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Consider this:
- Sin looses its cover when you put it next to the Holy Spirit.
- All sin is wicked; can any sin be tolerated then?
- Sin is wrong because God is holy.
- Sin originated in the wicked heart of Satan.
- Sin is exceeding sinful because it is destroying everything around us.
- Sin isn't partly "ok"; it is all poison.
- Christians aren't intent at routing out sin because it doesn't seem that bad.
- There is a roaring lion behind each sin.
- I color code my sin.
- Every sin is exceeding sinful.
- There is no credit in trying to get rid of sin; it has to go.
It has been so good to spend time in God's Word and not have to worry about getting to school on time. It has been so good to sit around talking about sin and dealing with it. It has been so good to hear the preaching and to pray for the teens here at this camp. I know only a handful of kids out of 250, but God knows each of their hearts. I don't need to know them to pray for them. Teenagers are teenagers, no matter where you go. Last night as I sat in the car with my brothers and nephews waiting for my sister-in-law, I noticed a guy and a girl standing outside "just talking". I made a comment about that and my brother said, "How do you know they are not brother and sister?" Well, because brother and sister act differently and these two were not acting that way. It was the classic "We're-just-friends-who-happen-to-spend-alot-of-time-together" act. Sure enough, one of the pastors here sauntered over to them and broke it up. Yes, teens are teens and they do the same things no matter what youth group they're from.
It has been good and I'm looking forward to the preaching today and tomorrow. God can do anything, but the question is do I believe that he can?
Thursday, November 9, 2006
Sometimes I Wonder.
Teenage girls. The thought alone can strike terror in a person's heart! I'm around them often enough (read: every day!) that I have a pretty good handle on their quirks and habits. After stepping out of the school room momentarily, I returned to find Jessica turned around in her seat and towards the direction of Eliza. I also happened to notice Eliza smiling and laughing, a good indication that Jessica had said/done something funny. As I came up behind Jessica I said, "That's a demerit for talking." The excuses began to flow quickly so I went over to where Eliza was. I asked Eliza to honestly tell me yes or no to the question "was Jessica talking?". Eliza looked up at me, and said, "Well, what do you mean by talking?"
Eliza is in 9th grade and my frustration was evident as I wondered why in the world she asked such a silly question! As I shared this incident with the principal, he gave a knowing smile, and then let me in on a little secret: rather than ask "were you talking?" ask "were you communicating?". Communicating includes sign language, mouthing words, irrating noises and anything else, but not talking!
Ah... I see :o). There's a difference when you put it like that. So apparently the girls weren't talking; they were just *communicating*!
Argh! Teenage girls!
Along the same lines, we're experiencing a major problem at home with a pesty little animal which is anything but cute: a mouse. I am not a big fan of anything that can hurt me (you should've seen me dance away from the bee that flew into a room at work today!), and this mouse is no exception. While it is not "hurting" me, it did devour some beans that were going to make a bean soup. I was a little bummed because I never had a chance to make this recipe a few weeks ago, and it looked good!
Mouse: 1. Hammonds: 0.
So my mom had this creative idea to kill it and the method she devised seemed to be harmless enough (read: poison). But I think we have a smart mouse. My mom cleared everything away from the half-eaten bean bag and set the posion bits all around the bean bag. Now if I was a mouse, warning lights would probably be jumping off in my mind: "hmm.. last night all this clutter was on top of the microwave. Tonight there's nothing but the beans and these little green beads. I bet they're trying to kill me!"
So I checked the microwave this morning before leaving.
Mouse: 2. Hammonds: 0.
Would you believe that all the green beads were gone??? I started laughing as I thought about that poor mouse. I'm starting to have sympathy for it, because it does not know the determination of Mom to be rid of this mouse. I'm not sure how this whole escapade will turn out, since I'll be gone for the next week-and-a-half! I have a feeling the score will be
when I come back ;).
Today at lunch, one of the 8th grade boys leaned over and said to another boy, "You are sooo stupid!" Wanting to put an end to that, I called Andrew over and explained why we don't condone name calling. Andrew walked away with a shake of the head, which I hoped indicated that he learned his lesson.
About 5 minutes later, Andrew calls out across the lunchroom, "Miss Hammond, may I tell him that his actions are stupid?"
What's In A Game?
I have never seen a game that requires skill, brains, and flexibility like the game that goes on in our school lunchroom every day. You know what I'm talking about:
Apparently you need a degree in Geometry, for getting the angle just right is important. You also need to make sure you brush up on your intimidation skills, because using a scare tactic on the person in square D is an important detail in making sure you get them "out". Plus it won't hurt if you take a class called, "How To Make The Other Person Mad And Lose While You Smile And Win". It's amazing that some of the most polite kids in the school are also the most vicious when it comes to this *innocent* game. I've seen it happen with my own eyes.
The sad part is, it's an endless cycle: you get in square D and get the person in square C out. Then you move to square C where three things can happen:
- you get out OR
- you get someone else out in one of the other three squares OR
- someone else gets out one of the other two players and you get to move to square B.
After that, chances are (if you are a girl) you will get out OR you will make it to square A only to get"out" after one turn. You would think this never-ending cycle of a game wouldn't be played after the first few weeks of school, but no, it's still going strong! Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi.....
Was He Blonde? Seriously!
My parents had our computer fixed this week. They brought it home, and anticipation was mounting for my dad as he thought about checking his Ebay bids. Their excitement was short-lived though when they found out the guy who fixed the computer never thought to check to see if it worked. Cooooome on! Are you serious?!? *Sigh* It takes all sorts of people....
There I Go.
Tomorrow night I'm heading out to Indiana with (get this for a cruel joke) two teenage girls!!! But we do have a few cards up our sleeves, including driving through the night;). But if posting is sparse around here, you'll know why. Seriously though, I would ask you to keep these two girls in prayer. They both need to be saved and they're going to camp while we're in Indiana.
I'm hoping to get in some good family time with my brother and his family and the plan is to be back next Saturday. So until then, have a great week!
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Just looking at that face, you know that Mr. Bayley-boo is a handful! He's probably devising ways to get into mischief;). But God never gives us more than we can handle. I'm so thankful to God for my dear, precious family and that includes my sister and her family! Happy Birthday!!!!
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Monday, November 6, 2006
Yesterday was a great day! In the morning I got to teach 2's & 3's since the regular teacher is on vacation in South Carolina suffering through 70 degree weather while we get to enjoy 40 degree weather. Anyway, during our joint singing time with the 4's & 5's class, I noticed how the kids sang (and in some cases shouted!) "Deep and Wiiiiide! Deep and Wiiiide!" and how they did it with zeal. Have you ever stopped to think that Cavalry's fountain is "deep" and "wide"? So "deep and wide" that my sins can never not be covered! Wow!
Then during the morning service we had some great congregational singing! Sometimes the song leader will joke and say that down here on earth is just choir practice for the real thing in Heaven... it gives me the chills just thinking about that. It gets good sometimes, so Heaven must be perfect all the time!
Both the morning and evening messages were so timely. The youth pastor preached in the morning about the rich fool who told himself he would pull down his old barns and build new barns and that he would eat, drink, and be merry for many years. But there was one thing he hadn't counted on: that very night his soul would be required of him. Bro. Ronnie then said this: "where will you be in 100 years? If you plan half as much for eternity as you plan for this life would there be anything waiting for you in eternity?" Hmm. In 100 years I'm guaranteed to be long gone.
Then in the evening Bro. Reeder preached on "One Needful Thing" from Luke 10:38-42. You know the story. Martha was said to be cumbered about much serving. It struck me that I usually stick "with" in between "about" and "much" but that's not what the Bible says. It says she was cumbered about much serving. She was doing a good thing (serving) but it took much. Much what? It took time. It took effort. It took away from her spending time at the feet of Jesus, where Mary was. Wow. Again, that message hit me right between the eyes as I realized that nothing, nothing, is nearly as important as doing that "one needful thing".
The local newspaper will often run a full-page advertisement that says "Sunday mornings they go to church, but Sunday afternoons they worship here" indicating a football game. Oh no! May it not be said that something else (a game, a family get-together, school, a nap, etc) got me more excited about Sunday than meeting with my precious Saviour.
Sunday, November 5, 2006
"I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
Refrain: "Than to be the king of a vast domain,
"I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
"He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
Saturday, November 4, 2006
But in the meantime I do a little post here and there on my work computer, but not while I'm working :o). I'm also getting ready to head to Indiana Friday evening, but I will try to post before then. God has been so good with the preaching during the Bible conference and then my Pastor preached a great message on "How To Know If You're Hearing The Voice Of God" during the Sunday AM message. It's been good folks. But anytime God works, the devil is not far behind and that was true this week too.
So consider this my wave hello to y'all! Enjoy the beatiful fall weather out there and get ready: Sunday's comin!