Sunday, March 29, 2009

Complaining Or Rejoicing?

The assistant pastor at my church sent this out in an e-mail last week. It was so good and encouraging that I thought I would share it here. It was written by a pastor out in the Midwest.



Devotion for March 24, 2009

"And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp." Numbers 11:1.

The children of Israel were guilty, on numerous occasions, of displeasing the Lord. In this example, "when the people complained, it displeased the LORD." Their complaining angered God. They complained about the general difficulty of the journey, the presence of giants in Canaan, the lack of food or water, the absence of Moses when he was away seeking God, etc. Complaining sometimes brought God's chastening hand against His people. Most people would not consider complaining to be a serious sin, but when "the LORD heard it; . . . his anger was kindled."

We all have, at some time or another, been guilty of complaining. Why would complaining so displease the Lord? For one thing, those who are complaining have usually been blinded to the wonderful things that God has done or is doing. God had delivered these people from their Egyptian slavery and given them hope and promise for the future, but those realities were momentarily forgotten. Having forgotten God's great blessings, they focused on their present lack, and the result was complaining.

Complaining also indicates a lack of contentment with God and His will. From a prison where Paul was rejoicing, he wrote that we are to be content with the basic necessities of life. Not only is complaining an expression of personal discontent, it also helps to spread discontentment.

Complaining discourages others and affects their attitudes and spiritual growth. Just as a grateful spirit can be contagious, a grumbling spirit can be infectious. Complaining demonstrates a lack of trust in God. God is trustworthy and He wants us to trust Him. He consistently met the needs of these Israelites by providing them with manna and water out of the rock, and by destroying their enemies. To complain is to forget all the ways God has guided and provided in the past and to assume that He has somehow become incapable of supplying now. Complaining is a serious sin and must be taken seriously. It displeased the Lord then, and we can be sure that it displeases Him now. Let us purpose to develop and maintain a positive attitude, free from complaining.


After I read that, I jotted down a simple note and put it where I would see it several hours each day: Am I complaining or rejoicing?

Just today, my co-worker and I caught ourselves complaining about something. Three of us are currently in a border town where boundless photo opportunities present themselves because many cultures and people groups are represented here. We were getting frustrated with our lack of ability to capture the moment and both voiced some discontentment with cameras. As soon as we verbalized it, my co-worker said, "I got this camera for free, so I really shouldn't be complaining." I agreed with her and then thought about the camera I'm using. Because my own camera is in the shop right now getting fixed, Pookie graciously allowed me to borrow hers. Not too much wiggle room to murmur and complain for the Lord has been very good to us!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wisdom In Watching Out.

I very rarely post about singleness because life is just too short and there's too much to do for the Master. Plus lots of other people cover that topic sufficiently, so I would just be adding to the chaos and confusion:).

I did, however, read an article on YLCF, and thought Lanier had a bit of wisdom when she posted about Watching Out For Wolves:

But romance is not a game, much as the standards of this world would like to convince you otherwise, and the things that might be somewhat niggling before you marry will inflate into giants of intolerability under the magnified intimacy of daily life together. You must be courageous enough to demand not perfection, but a rigorous, relentless honesty, in your intended as well as in yourself. You must be willing to walk away if the man’s professions don’t match up to what you know to be true of the character of the Christ-like. For at the end of the day, the only one who is going to have to answer for your choices is…you.

To read the rest, go to part one and part two.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inconsequential Details About An Airport Run.

After spending a month here with the team, Myra flew home this morning. We do airport runs every couple of weeks or so, and it was time to go again this morning:). I made the comment to Krinny that you know we go to the airport waaay too often when we know exactly where everything is! Anyway, here are some random pieces of information about the latest airport run:

  • Getting up and going to the airport at 5 AM is just a wee bit early.
  • The food vendors on our street are actually up and cooking by 5 AM.
  • Unfortunately, pork-on-a-stick is not available at 5 AM.
  • Check-in gate H at Suvarnabhumi Airport was hoping with 147 passengers checking in. We passed each and every one.
  • American Airlines did not have a line, for which we were thankful.
  • Starbucks on level 2 made a killing off of our team. 6 people + need for caffeine = lots of moola.
  • People wear some pretty incredible weird things in an airport.
  • Ditto on the hairstyles.
  • Suvarnabhumi Airport looks very different in the morning light. We don't experience this much since most flights arrive/depart at midnight. By the way, it's pitch black at midnight.
  • Because of the early morning airport run, a nap may or may not have been taken at 4 PM.
  • It's so nice to sleep in one's own bed again!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Ministry Highlights: Seeing The People.

As I write this, my co-workers have just shut down their computers for the day. Stomachs are growling - dinner has been ordered from a street vendor for those who want it. I'm opting to eat some left-overs in the fridge and take a nice long walk this evening. Our busy days flow together and we often "lose"...

(To read more, click over to the KJV blog directory)

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Drawn Out Answer To An Often Asked Question.

While going through some pictures this week, I found this on our network:

I can't really tell you who tweaked it in Photoshop; perhaps it was this girl or maybe even this one. Regardless, it now sits on my computer desktop and has been a constant reminder for me to keep my mind stayed on the Lord.

The Lord had placed a special burden upon my heart for missions when I was 16 and that burden didn't fade over time. When I came to Thailand in June 2007 on a short-term missions trip, it was with great anticipation and much excitement. I had such peace and knew I was right where God wanted me to be. When it came time to leave Thailand in August 2007, I didn't want to come home but knew the Lord was taking me home. That was a very real struggle for me, but ultimately I saw the Lord's wisdom in it all.

As I spent last year home in the States, the Lord continually pressed upon my heart Thailand. Time and time again, I poured out my heart to the Lord with my desire to return. I well remember a verse that Bro. Tom Gaudet (the missionary family I'm working with) shared with me in early 2008:

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think..." ~ Ephesians 3:21

He then said to me, "Let God do the exceeding abundantly part."

The Lord did that very thing (Each Step I Take records it all), and I began to share God's leading with family and friends. Invariably, one of the first questions I would be asked was this: "How long are you going to be gone?" My original answer was a pat, "until May and then I'm coming home to baby-sit my nephew while his parents take a missions trip."

That answer worked really well in Pennsylvania. Not so much in Thailand. When I returned to Thailand, I felt like I was coming home. Suddenly it didn't make sense to return home in May to baby-sit. You may laugh at this, but within days of returning to Thailand, I began to pray for direction as to when I should go home. No, it wasn't because I wanted to leave Thailand; it was quite the opposite! Within a couple of weeks, I was calling my brother and sister-in-law to say I couldn't come babysit my nephew while they went to Israel. My brother's response was very telling: "I didn't think you were going to come home in May." He was more perceptive than I was, and was very gracious in allowing me to back out.

The question of coming home still lingered, although most people didn't really ask it during my first couple of months in Thailand. Within the past two months though, it has really picked up speed. In fact, a couple of people have jokingly accused me of avoiding the question. Just last week, one of the ladies I used to work with asked me when I was coming home and I replied, "I'm really not sure... waiting for the Lord's timing. My timing is never, but I think the Lord's timing is a little sooner:)."

And that is, I believe, a fair assessment of where it stands. The Lord has given me the answer of wait regarding my prayer of direction. Wait is just as much of an answer as yes or no, but perhaps not as "definable" to my finite mind. Wait. Such a small word. Such a weighty command. Such a necessary task.

Tentatively speaking, my one-year visa expires at the end of July. If I exit the country and renew it again before it expires, 90 days are supposed to be granted to me. Anything is possible with the Lord and I have full confidence in His leading.

I found this a while back on Chantel's blog and thought it very fitting to share now:

The Call to Service

The call to Christian service
Is a call from God above.
He sends us forth to serve a world,
And save that world through love.
He calls for you, He calls for me;
‘Tis God’s own voice that says “Go ye.”

The call to Christian service
Is a call from men without.
“Come o’er to Macedonia” –
Can you hear their dying shout?
They cry to you, they cry to me.
Let’s go while still they plead, “Come ye.”

The call to Christian service,
Is a call we hear within.
Our own hearts seem to whisper,
“Go and save this world from sin.”
May your sincere response now be,
“I’m wholly Thine, Lord, please send me.”

~Adlai Esteb ~

That last line is echoed in my heart: "I'm wholly Thine, Lord..." If the Lord chooses to keep me in Thailand for an extended period of time or take me home to PA within a couple of months, so be it. I wholly belong to the Lord and am His to use.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Latest Find - "Tooth Utensil Hook."

After an exceptionally busy day dealing with the Nepalese language -- we have to work while the translator is here! -- we decided to go to Future Park, also recently renamed "Walmart" by us:). While walking through a store similar to a dollar store, I saw something called a "Tooth Utensil Hook." The English directions had me laughing so hard, and so I thought I would share it with ya'll! I promise you this is exactly what it says:

Suitable Places (smooth surfaces)
The Surfaces Of Ceramic Tiles, Stainless Steel, Metal Paint Surfaces, Combination Bathroom'S Plastic Cement Sufrace.

Non-suitable places (concave and convex. rough and ground surfaces) Wooden walls .plaster walls. concrete walls. flower glass and semifinished glasses.

The sucker will not damage the wall surfaces and it's easy to fix or dismantle. Due to the vacuum installation if the air goes in it will come off easily. In order to keep the sucking strength please follow the methods.

1. If the wall surface or sucker is clirty, it will come off easily, please clean it.
2. If the surface is easy to slide please put a little salad oil in the sucker. it can prevent the air or water from going in.
3. Dropping sucker or old sucker has weak sucking streng the please goak it in water for 5 or 6 minutes and dry it.
4. Don't put too weight on the hook.
5. Dont put the valuables such as watches .clocks. cameras or mirrors on it.

Gotta love it! My new word is going to be "clirty" instead of "dirty":).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wee Hour Happenings.

The sweetness of being right is so not enough at 3:43 AM.

Earlier today --- I should use the word yesterday, because that is indeed when this took place --- Pookie got up mid-afternoon and uttered some dangerous words: "Anybody want coffee?" Now you have to understand something here. We joke and laugh that Pookie is affected by coffee, but there are some pretty hefty reasons behind the joking. Myra discovered this first hand one night last week. Pookie had had coffee one particular day and was zinging around at night so Myra had taught Pookie new words to an old lullaby:

Go to sleep,
You little creep,
Close your red, blood-shot eyes.
Go to sleep,
You little creep,
And I hope your teddy bear dies!
(So that there is no character assassination going on here, Myra's older brother sang this to her during a sleepover with a friend many years ago as a joke. Said older brother is now a preacher:D)

Pookie loved it and has been going around singing it since then. Except she doesn't sing it as a sweet lullaby, but rather in a really creepy voice. But I digress.

So when Pookie uttered those fateful words in our office Monday afternoon, I turned to her and said, "Does that include you Pookie?" She giggled and said yes. With thoughts of who the victim is when Pookie has coffee (that would be me), I suggested maybe a half of cup instead of an entire. cup. of. coffee. As I turned back to my computer, I said, "Just as long as you don't jump on my bed."

Oooh, sometimes I hate being right.

With an extra person staying with us (Myra), I've been using a mattress on the floor as my bed because Myra's got some back problems. I'm also generally the first person in bed, so in the back of my mind, there's this subconscious fear that Myra or Pookie are going to step on me on the way to their beds.

So imagine my great surprise when I rolled over onto my side in the middle of the night and promptly ran into.... something. I was still 99% sleeping at that point, so I began to whack the thing because the last time I checked, my beady pillow is pretty soft. As I whacked at the object, I became more and more awake. I finally sat straight up in bed and to my surprise and astonishment, none other than Pookie was laying on my bed! I had been smacking her leg the whole time. Once I realized that, I felt a little bad that I was waking her up, but she was in my bed:).

So now that I was completely wide awake, I came downstairs. As I checked e-mail, I heard a thud on the stairs. Carolyn was as shocked to see me as I was to see her:). Soon after using the bathroom and returning upstairs, I heard another thud on the stairs. This time it was Pookie:). I said, "Um, so why were you in my bed?" And she replied, "Well, actually, I thought you were in my bed and I couldn't figure out why you were in my bed!"

So I'm not necessarily blaming it on the coffee-drinking episode from Monday afternoon, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to need coffee to stay awake later on today in the office!

And we all know how much I love coffee....

... or NOT!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Victory In Christ.

This afternoon I was reading "To Die is Gain" - a story about John and Betty Stam and was stopped by these two paragraphs. They are rather lengthy, but well worth the read.
Shall we beat a retreat, and turn back from our high calling in Christ Jesus; or dare we advance at God's command, in face of the impossible? .... Let us remind ourselves that the Great Commission was never qualified by clauses calling for advance only if funds were plentiful and no hardship or self-denial involved. On the contrary, we are told to expect tribulation and even persecution, but with it victory in Christ.

Friends, the task with all its attendant difficulties is enough to fill our hearts with dismay, if we look only to ourselves and our weakness. But the authority in our Master's command to go forward should fill us with joy and the expectation of victory. He knows our weakness and our lack of supplies. He knows the roughness of the way. And His command carries with it the assurance of all we need. Of course we want to be assured of our support! Who cares to go forward in any enterprise, secular or religious, unless he can be reasonably sure that it will not be dropped for lack of funds? Incomes are failing, men are losing employment and bank accounts are being wiped out. Do we, as Christian workers, want to be sure of support? Then let us not put our trust in men, or in any God-dishonoring methods of raising funds for the work. These are not certain enough. We have it on the highest authority that the promise is of faith, that it might be sure. The faithfulness of God is the only certain thing in the world today. We need not fear
the result of trusting Him

John Stam, martyred missionary to China

Thunderstorms And Bowling.

On Friday afternoon, the skies above Bangkok opened up and we had one gully washer of a storm! This exciting moment made all production in the office cease for a bit as we looked out and saw rain, rain, rain coming down. The last time it rained was at the end of October, so you can imagine our delight in seeing some wet stuff 4 1/2 months later. It's not even rainy season yet:).

We eventually went back to work, but were startled when we heard a loud "ka-boom!" of thunder. I leaned over to Carolyn and jokingly said, "God's bowling again!" because that's what I thought thunder was when I was younger. Carolyn used to think it was the angels bowling, so we all got a good chuckle over that.

A few minutes later all was quiet when we heard KA-BOOOOOOOOM!!!!! Without missing a beat, Carolyn said, "STRIKE!" Myra, Pookie, and I lost it and started laughing. Of course Bro. Tom turned to look at us girls laughing hysterically and just shook his head:). When the laughter died down, I asked, "So how can you tell if it's a spare?" and then Carolyn started laughing:). Good times, good times!

For the record, I was still chuckling about it when I went to bed several hours later. From now on, I think thunderstorms and bowling are going to be associated in my mind!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Ministry Of Encouragment.

I wasn't feeling particularly down; in fact, I was just in the middle of an intensely busy week! So my surprise was great when Abbey wrote on my Facebook and Rebecca chatted me through gmail. It was very nice to hear from them and I was so encouraged by their sweet notes.

Then the other day I was talking with Sarah, the wife of the computer tech working on our system right now, and I was asking her how they decided to come here to help us and she told me an interesting story. Apparently their church reads missionary prayer letters each week and prays over them. When they came to Bro. Tom's prayer letter, the pastor felt led to devote the entire service to a prayer meeting ~ praying about the computer needs we had here in our office!

I was baffled and just to be sure, I asked, "You mean, the whole service?" and she agreed. I don't think I can convey just how much that meant to me. To know a church in the heart of Texas devoted an entire service to pray for this missionary team was such an encouragement!

Between these three ladies, I was pretty encouraged. And the Lord knew I would need it, because we were going through one of the most trying weeks I've ever had in Thailand! His timing is always perfect:).

Now I get to go to work.... Sarah's husband spent a lot of time working on our computers and I think they are finally all up and running:D. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I am, by nature, a person who enjoys solitude. Don't get me wrong; I'm also very much a people-person, but I usually need some time to myself daily. Actually, to make that statement completely true, I use a lot of my time alone to pour out my heart to God. I tend to pray or sing out loud and it's just a wonderful time to worship and praise the Lord. The rest of my time I use to think, piddle, write e-mails, blog, read or ding around, as Krinny calls it:). Granted, it's not very exciting, but it's just a part of "me" :D.

In America I would often jump in my car and go for a drive or go walking at a local park ~ just ask my Mom:). Obviously I can't do that here in the Land of Thighs (to quote my friend Emily!), but thankfully it's worked out for the past six months that the early morning hours and late evening hours have been my "solitude" time. Pookie and Carolyn aren't early risers and at night Pookie goes over to her friend's house while Carolyn goes to her bedroom (and to clarify that last part - Carolyn did that from the very first day she was here... she wasn't forced to go; I think she wants some "alone" time too:D). I'm so thankful for that alone time I've had and appreciate it even more so now, as it's temporarily gone since we've added a new roommate for a month or so.

I was thinking about this today as I took a quick walk to the market across the 10-lane highway. I just needed to get "out"; I'm fairly confident we all have those moments! The walk was pleasant and as I picked out a watermelon and oranges, I was so thankful I live in a country where I can go by myself to a market and not be worried. I might not find too much alone time during the hectic week (we do have 10 people on our team right now!), but I thank the Lord for the gem of just going for a walk.

Of course that walk included being so incredibly hot and sweaty ~ 95 degree weather will do that to ya! A khaki skirt probably wasn't the best option to wear for my walk:). As the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers... :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Week Is Over!

I think we were looking forward to this week being over before it even started. That speaks volumes, doesn't it? :) We've been having some major, and I do mean major, computer problems in our office for about a month now. Bro. Tom put out a plea for help and we started praying! After several people wanted to come help but couldn't, we finally had a church in Texas call us up two weeks ago saying they were sending over a couple to come work on our system. There was some shouting going on that day!!!

Jeff and Sarah flew in last Friday night and after Jeff looked over our system on Saturday, he had some healthy fear for our system. He has done a marvelous job all this week, but (and this should tell you just how bad of shape we're in) he decided to push back his departure date by a few days. They were supposed to leave late Sunday night (hello midnight departure flight) but are now leaving Wednesday night. That gives Jeff a little breathing room instead of working until 2 AM every morning.

But in the mean time, this week is over and we're very happy about that! It's Friday night and four of us are sprawled out in our living room - laptops open! - while two others are down at the hair salon.

Yup, the party is right here:).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In The Morning.

Two team members sit in the early hours of the morning, laptops open. One is still fighting jet lag; the other is an early-riser. The clock ticks by as two other team members slumber on. Slowly the day takes shape. "Good mornings" are exchanged, followed by the oh-so-telling question: "Did you sleep?" The small house begins to stir and the kitchen becomes alive with activity. "Good morning" is shared across the kitchen wall with the missionary and his wife. The offer for coffee is made on the one side of the wall and gratefully accepted by the jet-lagged team member on the other side of the wall.

The aroma of bacon sizzling in the oven accompanies most mornings. The upstairs bathroom door squeaks as it is closed. The early-riser tiptoes into the bedroom, mindful of her roommate sleeping. Invariably the wardrobe door catches and slams shut. The early-riser cautiously peeks over at the roommate and breathes a sigh of relief when she continues to sleep.

The turtle makes a noise in his tank, indicating he wants breakfast. Team members buzz around the refrigerator and toaster oven, trying to scrape together something to eat. The ladies slowly gather in the living room, some with coffee mugs in their hands.

The next several minutes are spent talking and laughing over various stories. Eventually the missionary's wife asks, "So, has anyone heard from home?" Prayer requests are shared or updated. Some require explaining before heads bob in agreement.

And then? Then we pray. Each team member prays, asking the Lord to meet the needs of the day, to work in situations, to convict unsaved family members, to strengthen the churches represented in the room, to encourage the pastors of those churches, to call laborers into His harvest field.

And in that moment, the most important time of our day takes place.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Anchor.

The church our team attends every Sunday is a Thai church. The majority of the people are Thai (obviously:D), with the exception of the farang group, which varies from 5-12 people. Berm, the translator who works in our office, also translates for us, unless he's leading the singing.

I have grown to greatly appreciate any singing we get to do at church, simply because some of the songs are only in the Thai songbook. Such was the case Sunday morning, when we just stood and listened to the Thai people sing one song. I suppose that's why I paid special attention to the next song ~ My Anchor Holds. The third verse in particular made an impression:

I can feel the anchor fast
As I meet each sudden blast,
And the cable, though unseen,
Bears the heavy strain between;
Through the storm I safely ride,
Till the turning of the tide.

And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.

The words jumped off the page at me: "And the cable, though unseen, bears the heavy strain between." Just because I can't see the cable, doesn't mean the effects aren't seen. I am anchored in Christ - let the storms blow!

Those words are awfully easy to write when I'm not in a storm. But I've been through storms before and know that while it is hard, at times, to comprehend the unseen Cable, it is still true. His provision doesn't change, just my vision of it. He still promises to be there; am I going to claim that promise?

I have enough "experience" behind me to know that when the Lord teaches me about a storm, that usually means one thing: one is headed my direction:). A friend of mine once wrote these words: "For if I never faced a rainstorm, I would never seek for shelter; so if I never had a problem, Lord, I'd never seek you for an answer."

Whether a storm comes or not, I can definitely say, "I have an Anchor!"