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Monday, February 27, 2017

TRYING HER HAND AS AMBULANCE DRIVER

(This was written up for the Univ. of Nations Communications Team for a semi-regular posting about local outreach in our community.) 

YWAM staffer Kris Richards felt like a real missionary on the Big Island last week.  Within the Micronesian community, she has attended funerals and baby first-birthdays, Christmas banquets and Gospel Day celebrations.  Now she was the main transport to the ER.  Last Thursday Kris showed up with Brazilian buddy Andreia Deca to pick up kids from a local housing project in a Salvation Army van.  She was surprised that no kids were able to join them that day, and drove back to Salvation Army puzzled.  

                 (Andreia plays with some boys in the housing project)
When they pulled up, Joshua Bouley, husband of the youth pastor Tersey Matto Bouley, ran out of the building looking concerned.  “My wife just called. She’s at Kahalu’u [a different housing project] and is feeling ill.  There’s no van here.  Can you drive me to her?” Realizing the gravity of this situation--Tersy has a hole in her heart--Kris quickly complied.  

                     (Tersy reffing a game for the kids at Salvation Army.)
  
En route, Joshua spoke to his wife on the phone, who was having problems breathing and was quite weak.  Kris and Andreia prayed for Tersy on speaker phone. When they were ten minutes out in the heavy traffic, Tersy announced, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”  Frantically, Kris and Joshua called 911, but the nearest ambulance was much further away. Kris realized she’d have to be the transportation.  As she pulled into her stomping grounds of Kahalu’u Housing (where she has tutored and mentored children and adults), dozens of children, parents, and grandparents stood out on their front lawns, concerned looks on their faces.  Kris signaled to Marmaline, a teen mom and long-time friend. “Pray!” she mouthed, holding her hands up in a praying sign.  Marmaline nodded.  Grandmothers called to their children to get out of the way as Kris quickly drove to the end of the lot.  


                                  (Marmaline and her son and friends)
The door to the Salvation Army bus was open, the large vehicle still in the middle of the parking lot.  Tersy was half sitting, half lying inside.  Teenager Mo'o Keju was trying to keep scared children back.  She held Tersy’s newborn baby while Joshua scooped his wife up in his arms and placed her into the newly arrived van.  Andreia jumped out to calm and entertain the 30 or so children.    

Kris maneuvered the van past the families and up to Keahou Urgent Care, where a doctor came running out.   Checking her blood pressure and oxygen levels, he said she was OK, but beyond their help as Tersy’s heart was under enormous pressure.  She’d have to get to the Kona Hospital in Captain Cook—about twenty miles away.  

Since the ambulance was still far away, Kris and Joshua strapped Tersy  and her infant in and sped away towards the hospital.  As Tersy struggled to breathe, Kris prayed aloud, willing the van to get there faster.  At one point, Tersy called for her husband, who climbed out of the front seat and cradled his wife in his arms while Kris navigated her way through the rush hour traffic.   

A half hour later, they arrived at the Kona Hospital, where a triage nurse bumped Tersy to the front and checked her vitals.  Kris tried to hide her surprise as one of the digital numbers approached 200.   
With her baby in her lap and her husband at her side, Tersy was in good hands.  Kris texted the lieutenants of Salvation Army, who were on their way and would pick up Andreia from the housing project.


Entering the parking lot, Kris was relieved to see Chemeni Matto, Tersy’s brother and a good friend.  He introduced Kris to their mother, a Chuukese grandma visiting from Oahu.  She was happy to be there to assist her daughter and the baby.  After taking a few kids home, Kris pulled into Salvation Army well after dark.  “You were our angel today,” said Lt. Richard Wang.  He hugged Kris and prayed over her.  They both thanked God for God’s speed and protection that day.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE

(On vacation to the NW from Hawaii in early July.  Realizing how much I miss the foliage of the Northwest.)


A short stroll to the edge of the yard here at a friend's guest house becomes a walk down memory lane for this NW-raised girl.

First, there are the tall cedars, then the fringe of horsetail ferns across the lip of the yard. To the right are giant Foxgloves, their purple blossoms swaying in the breeze.  Dandelions dot between Alder saplings.  I head into the woods and catch  well-worn paths traversed by children not long ago.  There are huckleberry bushes next to old stumps, and baby maples for the under-story.

I am temporarily taken back to "the woods" by our Bellevue house, banana seats on Schwinn bikes, friend on the back, white knuckles gripping the upright bar, boater shoes pedaling like mad over hills and through dales, sun dappling on cedar boughs as we careen by, shouting and laughing, unzipped windbreakers flapping in the wind. We fly along well-worn paths carved by other kids on Schwinns, skirting large cedar trunks and shadowed by adolescent maples.
It was freedom and a patch of nature near our suburban cul de sac.  

Now 40 years later, I am transported to a different woods, skirting a different suburb and different economic bracket. I am comforted by the same sounds, the same smells, and the verdant memories. 

Seattle Sensory Scene

(July 2nd, staying in the guest house at Millie's)

God, thank you for the smell of cedar trees.  Thank you for the shape of hydrangea balls. Thank you for the sound of chickadees, flitting through the woods to my right.  Thank you for the gentle wind hitting my face from the left, where Mt. Baker lies to the north in the Snoqualmie Valley, which is stretched out before me.  Thank you for sun shining today in the Seattle area, long morning shadows on soft grass.  Thank you for bouncy deck chairs to sit in and giant pink Starbucks cups to sip from, and three guys upstairs who love me and patiently wait for a fancy breakfast that You have provided.  You are good.



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A ROLL-BACK HEAVEN STORY: A HURTING LIFE, CHANGED

               

                            I wondered when this would happen.  We are a small town on a small island.  I help set up outreach with YWAM students in identified areas of our community. We place them in housing projects, various schools, senior centers, on the streets, and at Salvation Army.  I wondered if the people from these areas would ever overlap.  This last week they did.  Kona Town just got a little smaller.  I just got a God’s eye view of ways He is working in the life of one troubled young man.  I call this one of my “roll back heaven” stories.

Wednesday afternoon at Salvation Army, one young man I’ll call Rob decided to visit during our Kids’ Corps time. 
Some of the girls from Salvation Army Kids Corps
Rob used to go to Salvation Army about three years ago when he was still in high school.  He sang in the SOSA Boys Gospel Choir.
The Sons of Salvation Army (SOSA) Gospel Choir
Only, this was not the Rob that we remembered.  This young man wasn’t in his right mind.   It soon became apparent that he was on some major drugs.  He wasn’t drunk; he was strung out. Several teens caught my eye and shook their heads.  They knew what was going on.  It was a bit scary and quite sad. 
The lieutenants gave some grace to him, invited him to come in and get water, and offered to pray with him. I guess Rob had been in on Monday and had said he’d been kicked out of his house, lost his job, and asked for prayer.   He didn’t hurt any of the kids, but he was asking if anyone had any ice or meth.  I believe he was on meth.  Lieut. Richard was on high alert and was following Rob wherever he went.  
After he left, we had to debrief with the kids.  We had sensed confusion and chaos when he was there, and we prayed against that and for peace and order.  Something shifted after we prayed. The new lieutenants documented what happened that day, and called up their prior lieutenants to find out about Rob.  They were told that he was not a bad kid, but he often hung out with kids who were up to no good.
Today I had a conversation with a YWAM student and friend, Andrea (Teka) Lima.  She is Brazilian mom whom I am overseeing for outreach for 2-3 months.  She explained to me that this morning she was volunteering down at Mokuikaua Church. (This is the oldest church in Hawaii. Teka tells tourists about the missionaries who came here from Boston a over hundred years ago.)
She recounted the following to me:
“A young man was walking back and forth in front of the church.  He seemed disturbed.  One of the volunteers said that if anything goes wrong with him, I could tell the office and they’d deal with it.”  Teka found out nobody was in the office, so she went on prayer-mode, asking God for wisdom with this guy.  He marched into the church and went up to the pulpit and acted like he was preaching.  When she recalled this, I thought of Rob.  He had marched up to the Mormon temple and climbed up the outside stairs on his quest for drugs on Wednesday.  There seemed to be erratic behavior of a young man in both of these stories. 
Teka asked if he needed anything.  He said he didn’t.  Then she asked if he knew Jesus.  “Yes, I know of him,” he would no longer look at her.  She sensed she was in a spiritual battle.  She began to pray in Portuguese.  She asked if she could pray for him, and he said no.  She kept inquiring of the Lord what to do. Then, He showed her that this boy was not a bad kid, but had been hanging out with bad kids and made a few bad choices.  She gently told him that the Lord loved him, and she shared what God revealed to her. Rob began to weep.  “I want to pray with you.  I want to ask Jesus into my heart!”
Teka looked at him and realized that she knew him from the homeless survey she’d done the week before with Hope Services (yet another overlap). She said he was softer after that prayer.  He seemed more in his right mind. 
I hesitatingly asked Teka what the name was of this young man.  “Rob,” she said, confirming to me what I knew.  It was the same person who wandered in to Salvation Army!  I believe he is crying out for help.  He is Marshallese, where most of the life revolves around the family’s church.  Only, he’s been kicked out of his family's home.  Now he’s pacing back and forth and then entering Christian organizations. 
Teka was in the right place at the right time.  She asked God what to do, and she did it.  Though she was a bit afraid, she could see that this was a hurting young man who needed love. 
Teka and Kris at a special Valentines Dinner we enjoyed with our hubbies on campus


Together we marveled of how God brought all of these pieces together.   I can see God is rolling back heaven for him, revealing to us scenes in this story, a story that will one day see a young man come home. 
Please join me in praying for “Rob.”  I can see that God is so for this young man!! Though he has chosen to return to Christ, he has a long road ahead of him.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Kahalu'u Prayer Walk: Letting the Locals Lead Us

We were asked to come do a prayer walk last spring at Kahalu'u Housing Project.  My friend Lilo, a resident there who understands spiritual warfare, told me of three suicides that had happened with young people in the last six months at that very housing area.  She asked if I could gather people from the community and Univ. of Nations to come alongside them and to pray.  

That morning in prayer, I sensed I was to “let them speak.”  I was to start by asking the people of Kahalu’u what they had noticed was going on in their community.  What patterns had been happening, and what would they like to see change?  We were to ask them to lead us in the praying, and the children and their completed art projects (from the art therapy time on Monday) were to start us off.

So when we got there, we simply did this.  I walked forward in this simple, clear path the Lord had shown me.  And it worked!   This is what we found when we arrived: 

  People from town had arrived and were already calling out to the Lord for this place. 
I noticed that one gentleman from the community was on the other side of the stone wall, and the children were about 20 feet away, hunched down together on the sidewalk.   When I walked up, I called the man over.  His name is Ikaika, and he told me he was from Kosrae, another island in Micronesia.  He was happy to be there.  I told him we were glad to have him.   We called the children over, and asked that they sing one of the songs that Tonyson used to sing.  (Tonyson was the boy who had most recently died, right next to the property.) They did. The kids sang enthusiastically, and I joined in as I knew the song from one of the Salvation Army gospel songs that Tonyson used to be part of.

“I’ve got my mind made up, and there’s no turning back.  Cause I’m going to see my Jesus, one day!  I’ve got my mind made up, and there’s no turning back.  I’m going to see my Jesus one day.”

With Betty (Auntie Be) the art therapist assisting, we gathered the children and their butterfly-shaped paintings, and let them lead us up to the area where Tonyson had taken his life.  They staked their pictures in the ground, or tied them in the trees.  Our friend Kalani, a skilled canoe carver, found ways to set them into the rock wall and into the branches. 





I asked Kalani to pray over the keiki.  It was important to have a Hawaiian brother or sister—from this land—to bless these people. It was a long while before Kalani could speak.  This humble grandfather wept as he prayed over the children.  He prayed for hope in them, and then we all prayed against fear from this suicide.  Merlitha, the youngest sister of Tonyson, was there, receiving these prayers and blessings from this loving man.
Listening to the locals of Kahalu'u as to how to pray for their land
From the top of the property, we asked the people to tell us how to pray.  One lady shared of the need for order and wisdom for the parents.  She shared of how the kids run all over the parking lot and how they are in danger of being hit by cars pulling in.  The gentleman shared that he’d love to see better behavior in the families, of watching their children. 

Equipped with these prayers from the people of this place, we began to pray.  We walked around the project, and met one of the women who lost her husband to suicide a few months earlier.  Shyly, she let us pray for her and her children.  

Other people emerged from their apartments, and—with translation from our friend Lilo—asked us to pray for them as well.  A couple people began to pick up litter, prompted to beautify physically as they asked God for order spiritually.  
Later, Lilo told us that at the churches of this culture group, the regular people do not have a voice—just the pastors and deacons. The women are never asked for their opinions on how to pray.  So that nudge earlier in the day from the Lord to “let them speak” was powerful!  I remember as the time neared an end, Kapuna Fay Williams, long-term YWAM intercessor for this island telling me, “This was right.  You let these people lead you in this.  That’s just how it should be.”  I love it when I don’t know how to do something, but God shows us how to go!  


Friday, February 6, 2015

SIDELINED

SIDELINED.  Out of commission.  That’s what I’ve felt like the last five weeks.  Sidelined from teaching, from going out in the community doing things I love, and from exercising.  It hasn’t been easy. 

I think I’ve left our condo six or seven times since my ankle surgery Jan. 2nd other than for doctor appointments.  Each time entails having to be carried down three flights of stairs to the elevator, where I’m put in a wheel chair or manage crutches til I get to the car.  I saw my first sunset at the beach a few nights ago.  It was heavenly.  I keep thanking my husband for that.

You know how when you are camping how you miss certain foods so much that when you taste anything close to them it’s so much better?   The sunset was superb the other night.  I sat on a picnic table perched above the sand and drank in every second of it. I watched the way the sun illumined  the waves, and how the people and the  palm trees were colored gold.  As the red orb  sank below the horizon, I lifted up both hands, worshiping God.   Just to be at the beach, to hear the waves, to smell the salt, to watch my boys playing with my husband as he knelt down for the thousandth time to get just the right angle on his camera...priceless.

I’ve been discovering layers of benefits during this SIDELINED season.  

I see more clearly.  I usually sit out on our lanai each morning with my coffee and a bowl of cereal.  I read some of the Word, pray over my boys, and look out at the surf.   But now I do this differently.  It’s sweeter out there in that fresh air.  I no longer take it for granted.  I can’t carry my coffee or my cereal to the table, so usually rely on my younger son to do this as Evan and Randy have already left for school.   That’s hard.  Jo Jo has been on it though. So what have I seen from my lanai?  I use the binoculars daily.  I notice colors in the waves that I haven’t perceived before.  Today I watched a mother whale and her calf surface and play in the bay at Queen’s Bath.  I watched ten different boats circle up, like me, taking in every spout, every fluke, every magnificent breech.  It was fabulous. I quietly observed them for a half hour, sipping my coffee, and exclaiming aloud to nobody. 

I dig more deeply.  Like I said, I usually read some part of the Bible each day.  Usually there is no order to it, other than maybe following a little devotional  I’m on.  It’s usually pretty quick as I’m grabbing something to stand on before heading out the door to teach.  Not now. I can read the Word for hours if I want.  Sometimes I have.  After a while I decided to read a Proverb a day.  It’s perfect as there are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  I read through it slowly because I can.  Then, I cull a handful of verses that jump out at me.  They may be completely different ones than I’ve underlined in the past.  Sometimes it’s stuff I’ve been praying for my boys, sometimes it’s just what strikes me that day.  But it’s all good.  I ponder it, write it, think or jot a few thoughts down, and then turn it  into a prayer.   I’m digging deeper than I have in a long time.  I’m finding scriptures  on wisdom and understanding are spilling out of me.  They kind of hafta.  They’re piling up in there.  Here’s a new favorite:  
                “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a [person] of understanding, draws them out.”  Proverbs 20:5

I’m resting. Like most Americans, I’m probably guilty of not keeping the Sabbath . Now I do.  I usually collapse onto my bed about 10:30 each morning, as it is so exhausting just eating breakfast, hopping around the house, making my bed, attempting to put away clothes from the night before.  My mind says I should not be tired, but my body begs to differ.  I rest.  I lie there in my fleecy blanket  and doze.  Or I read a chapter in one of three books I’m reading.  It’s heavenly.    I know I’m gaining weight from not being able to get up and out.  My doctor has commanded me to be a good patient.  “Thou shalt not do stairs.”  So, I am and I don’t.  Pounds are being put on, but it’s not that bad.   I joke with my husband how I’m getting one of those curvy figures like the classical artists used to paint.   He seems to be enjoying this new curvy model of his previously-slim Kris.   J

Layers are coming off.  Though pounds aren’t coming off, layers are.  Last night I scraped off layers of dead skin from my foot, now freed from its cast.  I could see there was so much more to come.  I took a bath this morning, and used a rough wash cloth to scrape and scrape and scrape.  My orange-tinted toes from the hospital antiseptic became pink again.  I swear I lost a pound of flesh into the tub and waste basket as I scraped all that gross stuff away.  I couldn’t help thinking of Aslan and Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when that selfish boy-turned-dragon allows the lion to scrape off his old self and bring out the tender boy underneath.  A symbol of baptism, Eustace cringes but allows for the scraping, the removing of the binding for that which is free underneath.  I want to be like Eustace.  I know there are many more layers of pride and selfishness still to go. 

I welcome the season.  Hey, I’m in good company.  My hero Heidi Baker had the break-through in her ministry in Mozambique when she was sidelined for health reasons.  I realized this morning how Paul was sidelined when he was tossed in prison, or tossed on a remote island after a shipwreck.  Yet, he still plugged into God.  He still wrote letters of encouragement to people in his life.  I want to be like that.  I wrote one letter today, and know I have more to write, thanking people and speaking into their lives. 


One old friend called from Portland the other day.  She and her family were having a hard time adjusting in their new church.  It struck me that they are a unique couple, and need to find just the right niche for their giftings.  I reminded her of her gifts of evangelism and extra grace for people on the streets.  She had a talk that evening with her pastor, and found out they did have a whole department for street ministry.  They’d plug in the next week.    Even though I was stuck at home doing nothing, even on crutches and SIDELINED, I could still listen and draw out the purposes in her heart. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

INUNDATED WITH BLESSINGS--EVEN ON CRUTCHES

Something cool happened last night, Night #3 after surgery, as I got up in the dark and grabbed my crutches to use the bathroom.  I was in a fair amount of pain and didn’t want to wake my hubby who had served me so much since the surgery. 

As I hobbled out of the bathroom, grimacing in pain, I suddenly had a realization.  It was like a landslide of recollections of where everything came from—like one of those back-to-basics talks we often have around the holidays about how every good gift we have comes from God.

Starting with those crutches that held me up.  I recalled Alison, the campus nurse, meeting me after hours in the health clinic to secure those for me, having already positioned them to my height.  She got me the wheelchair as well, even though I didn’t have my checkbook on me for the $100 deposit.  It would have been OK if that hadn’t worked out because my neighbor, Ralph, called to offer his wheelchair, having seen Randy’s post on our in-house website. When I pondered how many people had gone out of their way just for my equipment, I  pictured the text that had arrived that day from David, a guy on our campus who had had a foot procedure days earlier from the same podiatrist.  He was just checking in with me, making sure I was recovering OK. 

Speaking of that podiatrist… Dr. Mark Senft, is a renowned foot doctor, who happened to have gone to the same high school as my dad and who was recommended by two other friends.  That’s not normal to have an excellent specialist in any medical area on this island.   Other than an occasional cast or baby delivery, most people go to Oahu for advanced health care.  But I didn’t have to.  God provided that.   As I rounded the corner on my crutches I glanced at the huge tropical bouquet that my sister in-law and mom had picked out, full of my favorite flowers. There was also a basket on the floor of  fresh fruit and chocolates from my friend Ingrid who’d stopped by hours earlier to show some Aloha. 


I resolved to shift my perspective from how-hard-this-is to how-good-God-is. 

It is He that provides all that I need in the easy times and through the hard times.  It is He that has given grace to my husband and boys to tirelessly serve Mom, bringing me water and pills, my phone for the hundredth time, or a blanket. 

A common phrase today is, “You got this!”  I say it to myself as I balance my cast on the waste basket each time I lower myself onto the toilet.  But I need to change my chant to “He’s got this!”  He has it, like cattle on a thousand hills, hand-picking just what I need from the hand-picked Bird of Paradise my mom got me, or the hand-picked muscle ointment my friend Dee delivered on Day 1.  God’s got this!

While I’m writing this, I am interrupted by a knock at the door.  Ingrid, my Norwegian downstairs neighbor, decided to deliver some freshly-baked raisin rolls.  Just what my queasy tummy needed from this pain medication!  God is good!  It occurs to me that He doesn’t just have it, he has it in the perfect timing! 

“My God shall supply all of your needs, according to His riches in heaven.”  Riches like steamy-warm rolls, and lovingly-scrawled cards, and hugs, and chick-flick movies from my hubby who would never watch “Moms’ Night Out.”  God has it. 


It reminded me of what happened when I was pregnant with Evan and needed to transform our office into a baby nursery after my brother in-law moved out when I was seven months along.  Only, Randy wouldn’t let his pregnant wife wield a paintbrush with strong paints that we were using to seal up the paneling. So, I had to trust God as he prompted friends to step up to get the job done.  I realized just before the baby arrived that something like 17 friends and family members had pitched in to help get the room completely ready.  It was a wild recollection!

Last week when I was preparing for surgery and really had no idea what to expect, a girlfriend from Portland called to fill me in on the O.R.  “It will be really cold, ‘cause they have to keep the machinery cool.  Oh yes, you don’t have to leave right away.  If you aren’t ready or feel  sick, request to stay longer.”  So I did.  These perfectly-placed pointers landed in my ears hours before surgery-time. 


Another insight came before surgery.  It was a “still small voice” over a couple days reminding me that my husband is absolutely worthy of my trust.  He is so strong in the laid-back and taking-care-of dept., that I can trust him when my own life seems out of control.  I just needed to recognize those little reminders from my Father, that Randy’s got this.  That God’s got it, working through my husband, and neighbors, and girlfriends, and family x a thousand hills. 

I WANT TO BE AN HERB

I WANT TO BE AN HERB                                Written in November, 2014                                          
           No, I’m not touting reincarnation, but I just wonder how I would do as an herb.  
This morning I was on “kitchen duty” in our cafeteria.  That meant getting up quite early to scan ID cards of breakfast-goers by 6:15.  I found myself enjoying the morning.  I hadn’t been to breakfast before in the new cafeteria.  The view was splendid.  There was a cool breeze.  I watched the sun approach Hualalai volcano, pause and stretch the edges of its rays over to the south and north, and then climb over, inch by glorious inch.  The expansive floor and round tables were bathed in golden light, causing the green plants in the centerpieces to pop with color. 
I tried to be cheerful for the bedraggled college students and families as I took their meal cards and scanned them.  I thought, “If I’m cheerful in staff meetings and while teaching, why shouldn't I be cheerful here right now—even if I’m not a morning person?” 
When my shift was over, I strolled by bush after bush of fresh herbs, intentionally placed by the landscapers of the Aloha Lanai Cafeteria.  I plucked off a couple favorites:  fresh basil and lemon balm.  I rubbed them in my fingers and breathed in their fragrance as I climbed in my car.  It occurred to me that whichever leaf I pulled off that basil bush would smell like basil. Each tiny or large scalloped-leaf on the lemon balm tree would smell like minty-lemon.

I got thinking about those herbs.  They had multiple uses:  they were attractive greenery.  They embellished our meals, and they were healing agents.  Recently I invested in some essential oils, and I know their healing effects: oregano helps with foot fungus.  Lavender minimizes stress.  Lemon oil increases a sense of well-being and can clean up gunk and residue on the arms of my wooden chairs. 
I’d like to be one who whatever way you catch me, or rub up against me, you get a fragrance.   You get Kris all the time as one who is helpful and cheerful and enthusiastic.  You don’t smell complaining or whining, you smell Jesus. I’m not saying I’m there yet, but I don’t want to be someone who hides my face when things aren’t going well.  
David Hamilton, one of the Bible scholars in our ministry, talks about integrity.  He says it’s an unbroken line from the very roots of what someone believes to the fruit that yields from those beliefs.  They are consistently the way they are, not sometimes on, sometimes off.   But like a mint leaf which emits its smell more strongly when crushed, I believe my fragrance will come through those difficult circumstances.
Paul and David talk about similar concepts:  “…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances: whether well-fed or hungry, whether in plenty or in want. For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 3: 11b-13) I don’t think it’s just doing the all-things, it’s being able to be content whatever the circumstances.  “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of Christ.” (Phil 1:27) Even if you have morning kitchen duty.  Even if you work with people who are not doing well and you have to wade into their issues a bit before you get through.  “He shall be like a tree  planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalms 1:3)

GOD, HELP ME TO BE AN HERB.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson

Everything in its place--in the puzzle we just completed and in (most of) our condo!

                                                                                                                                     Inspired by a Poet's Mother                                                                          

At the birth of our first child, I received a classic book from an old friend:  A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson.  As I pored over those beloved poems, like “The Land of Nod” and “My Little Shadow,” I discovered a sweet poem that reminded me of myself.   The title of the poem escapes me now, but not its substance.  Stevenson was ill as a child and often bed-bound.  No doubt that was the catalyst for much of his imaginative journeys.  But he wrote about his mother quietly moving about in the evening time, straightening things that were out of line, and re-setting order each night. 
That’s what I want to be about.  That first-born son is now 14. As a mom on the go raising kids on the mission field, I want to be that person who sets things in order.  In our house back on the mainland, that would have been loading the dishwasher and starting it each night.  In our small condo in Hawaii, that would mean washing a few dishes by hand and re-ordering our glass table.   When we lived in Tonga it meant reading the favorite chapter book to our boys each night, keeping an element of consistency despite natural disasters and crowded bus rides to different villages. 
(Reading to Evan on the bus in Tonga,
en route to a village for outreach)
But there’s something else about that nightly ordering.  Today as I softly step about our small condo, I pray.  My mind runs through a check-list of loose ends.  I make notes for the next day, and I pray for things left undone.  Concerns that push their way to the front of my mind I gently push up toward heaven.  Like pieces of laundry that I shake out and carefully fold, I present each request—hopefully with thanksgiving—to my Father who sees all and knows the end from the beginning.  That’s more truly what I want to be about.  If I can faithfully remember to pray at the end of my day, I can go to bed knowing He who never sleeps will perfect that which concerns me. 

My sons can awaken each morning to see a home—and our lives—in order.


These pictures are infrequent glimpses  of our condo looking very much neat and in order.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Evan's Easter Essay: Peter's Perspective

Peter’s Perspective
4/19/14
            Anxiety hung in the air like criminals on the cross. No one spoke. No one moved. Peter was leaning in the corner, blending with the shadows. The ten other disciples along with a handful of Jesus’ followers, were scattered around the dimly-lit room as the lone candle flickered back and forth, casting eerie shadows throughout the windowless room.
          Each loomed silently, contemplating, and comprehending the horrific series of tragedies that had occurred in the past few days. Peter mentally recalled the arrest of Jesus and slicing the soldier’s ear. He recalled the words he spoke denying the Son of God, followed by the rooster’s crow and Jesus’ countenance as he stumbled by, shrouded in disappointment and splattered with blood. And he thought of the Lord’s limp body maimed and lacerated, dripping with warm crimson as he hung in agony on the  cross, along with the blood- stained wrappings on his body as he was gracefully placed into the tomb. He realized that he wanted revenge on the Romans, on the Pharisees, on anyone for what they did to his teacher. But he thought of what Jesus would say, to “forgive and bless them who have wounded us.”
           Suddenly they were all jolted out of their self- brooding sessions by a hurried pound on the wooden door. John stood and cautiously opened the door. Half a dozen frantic women came bustling into the room, chattering and crying out in a hurried confusion. They were shouting and crying something about the tomb being empty and Jesus being gone, and men in white robes appearing out of nowhere. But it was hard to tell in all the confusion and chatter.
          Yet, a thought flashed through Peter’s mind while everyone was arguing that the women were hallucinating. Peter spoke up, “I will go and see the fabled empty tomb,” And go he did. Before anyone could argue he leapt out into the dusty, crowded streets and sprinted to the tomb. Leaping over carts and dodging crowds, scenarios, ideas, and memories rushed through his mind faster than he ran. The crowded streets whizzed by and became the near-deserted country roads.
          Then the elated Peter finally arrived, winded, yet excited near the mouth of the tomb. He slowed his pace as the mammoth boulder which was covering the entrance of the cave came into view. He noted that the large stone was off to the side; the tomb was gaping open like the mouth of a waiting lion.
          Peter slowly stepped out of the already warm morning sun into the cool, musty interior of the cave. He rushed to the spot where Jesus was left lying when they entombed him, only to find nothing but stained burial shrouds.
          His first thought was grave robbers. But then something clicked in the back of Peter’s mind and he remembered Jesus saying that he would be killed but rise in three days’ time. Now Peter understood it! Jesus had risen, and is alive. He leapt from the tomb and sprinted to his fellow followers of Christ to spread the good news.
          He jogged back through the dusty country roads, to the crowded city, then back into the house where his fellow disciples were waiting. He bounded into the house and told his story to his companions. Some believed him and others didn’t; but they would all believe soon enough…


By Evan Richards