Tag Archives: Christmas

The Massive Meatball Massacre of 2015

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow let’s go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit.” Whereas you don’t know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. (James 4:13-14 WEB)

I like Christmas parties. They usually are festive, fun and have lots of tasty food available. When it comes to departmental work holiday celebrations it’s one of those chances to see a colleague’s family and enjoy some fellowship not related to a work project. The IT department often held an evening of celebration with food, fun and an expression of thanks from our supervisor. Many times, the gathering was in the supervisor’s home.

It’s an interesting prospect when spending time in your boss’s home. You get a glimpse of their private life. You learn something of the things they enjoy not related to the ministry. Looking at family pictures, on the wall or in frames, can be fun and at times the source of some interesting stories. Checking out their books gives insights into their penchant for fiction or nonfiction and in the case of ministry their favorite theologians and preachers. Then there is the quick perusal of the music library, assuming they still have CDs or records and haven’t gone entirely digital, these things tell you a lot about your hosts and what decade impacted them the most.

2005_11_Thanksgiving_136A few years ago, we attended the IT Department Christmas Party at our boss’s home. It was a wonderful time. We laughed, we ate, we were entertained by one another. The children present provided an additional layer of fun and excitement as we chatted or played with available toys. Our boss read his annual poem about each one of the department and their unique skills expressed in a unique and humorous way. When the evening was winding down Beth and I packed the car.

We brought meatballs to the party in a crock pot. This made things easy to heat up for the evening. There weren’t many left in the pot by the time we departed. I carefully placed the cock pot in the trunk surrounded by a few items. It was almost empty so the center of gravity was low on the device. Things looked good, we were bundled in our winter coats and headed out of the neighborhood.

Pulling out onto the main road can sometimes be tricky. There is a lot of traffic even at night in December. After waiting and appropriate amount of time for the stream of cars to whisk by I saw my chance and pulled across the road turning left toward home. Perhaps I accelerated a little faster than I anticipated. As we completed the arc to enter the lane we heard a tell-tale thump from the rear of the car. Oh no! At the first chance, I pulled into a side road on the right and stopped the car.

Cautiously I moved to the back of the car and opened the trunk lid. I couldn’t see a thing. Of course not! It was dark outside and there’s no light in the trunk. I pulled out my cell phone and clicked on the flashlight. That’s when I saw the carnage. There were meatballs everywhere covered in the requisite red sauce. The remnants of unconsumed sauce were oozing out of the pot across the trunk. Some meatballs were intact, having rolled clear of the pot, while others apparently were trapped with other trunk objects and smashed or sliced into meatball oblivion. It was not a pretty site. I up righted the pot and corralled the wayward contents as best I could back to its still hot embrace. It would be a long time, with lots of cleaning, before the trunk would be restored to a non-Italian food condition.

As Christians, we sometimes put things away carefully hoping they’ll make the trip through the rest of our life. But then there’s an unexpected turn in life and things start rattling around and making a mess. We corral the pieces we can reach in a futile attempt to put them back where we had them. They never seem to fit back in their original packing.

I’m glad God doesn’t have this problem. He knows where everything fits and how to keep it in place in our life. If I can remember he’s the one in control, then I can put all the pieces in his hand. Once he has packed them where they belong, they stay put. I think that is a better way.

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Pieces of Christmas

Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 NET)

Once we moved overseas it was 25 years before we were again in the USA for Christmas. That was quite a while. During most of those years we had children at home to celebrate the incarnation, the fun, the songs, and the family time.  Over the years, the children have grown up, left home and established their own homes in the USA. Along with their new homes and families, our children are married and have their own traditions.

I love family traditions, especially for holidays. There are good traditions like candy and presents I think everyone enjoys. There are the “not so good” traditions such as one of the children being sick every holiday season. Christmas probably has more traditions than any other season. I love special decorations which bring back enjoyably memories. I love the smell of Christmas cookies baking. I love the smell and look of a “real” and perfectly decorated Christmas tree. I love to throw tinsel at the tree while the family tells me to stop.

Our first Christmas on furlough in the USA with our children married and grandchildren was an exercise in diplomacy, bartering, and great joy. Just about every Christmas I remember someone was sick. That year was no different. I don’t remember who was under the holiday weather but someone was. Maybe it was me. Nah.

Diplomacy was the first skill to be exercised. Now that Mom and Dad, those missionaries who lived overseas, were in town the routine of spending the holidays with the “other” in-laws was in jeopardy. Who would go where, when and with whom so no one was left out or hurt that the “norm” was being interrupted. This worked out just fine with a little shifting of our children’s holiday routines to squeeze us in.

2009_12_21_treecookies-004We then moved to bartering. God provided a small home for us to occupy during the holiday season. Since it was normally used by families with terminally ill children in local hospitals it was a bit lacking in holiday spirit or decoration. So, we started bartering. We borrowed a tree from our daughters in law along with some decorations. We borrowed more decorations and stuff from our son’s family and Beth even picked up a few new items. In the end, we had a very “family” oriented tree decorated with stuff from everyone we were related to in town.

 Beth baked cookies with our daughters and there were plenty of goodies to go around. There were too many and I was hard pressed to eat them all. We found presents for all the children, in-laws, grandchildren at the various shops around town. And they even put some presents from themselves to us under our tree. It looked very festive.

Christmas day the traveling began. Two of our children and one of our grandchildren came to our little borrowed house in Kentucky. We opened presents, ate cookies, had fun, had a nice meal and enjoyed family.

It was great to see most of our children for the holiday. There’s a sense of relief and calmness in revisiting traditions now and then. When we arrived in town nothing was in place. We had to piece things together from family, friends, and shops to attempt building a touch of tradition while living out of suitcases. I think it worked pretty good.

Along with family holidays I find I’ve developed traditions in my Christian walk. Traditions (some call them habits) can be found in my prayer life, my study life and even how I approach worship on Sundays. I think it’s our human nature that finds comfort in things we understand and things which hold good memories. We need to take time to build our traditions, to find those places of comfort which help us press forward in our walk with Christ. Jesus grew up surrounded by traditions which impacted his earthly life. The same is true for us. What are our traditions?

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Almost Full

‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’ (Revelation 2:7 NASB)

As I write this Beth and I are only a few days away from celebrating twenty-seven complete years serving the Lord overseas. In all those years we took care to remember many of our homeland celebrations and introduce them to our children. There’s Independence Day, New Years, Easter and Christmas and there is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was and is a big event in our home. Last fall, during furlough, we celebrated Thanksgiving in our homeland for the first time in twenty-five years. It was great.

We were in Kentucky where most of our children live. Pies were made, turkey was cooked to perfection and almost everyone was available to enjoy the celebration. James and his family were conspicuously absent. He was overseas with the Army and his wife and their two month old daughter couldn’t wrangle the trip. We missed them. The place was definitely almost full but more would’ve been better.

A couple days before Thanksgiving we were at Ellice, Brad and Laurana’s for a pie day. Beth helped Ellice and one of her friends make a whole passel of pies. Laurana made comments from her seat on the counter.

On Thanksgiving Day Evan picked up some rolls and side stuff. Beth, Joel, Sonya, and Hayden cooked the bird in their apartment. Hayden is a hoot when it comes to helping in the kitchen. Maybe he’ll become a chef.

The family:Laurana, Ellice, Brad, Me, Evan, Beth, Joel, Sonya, Hayden.We gathered at the apartment with all the goodies and breathed deeply the wonderful smell of a perfectly prepared turkey turning a beautiful brown. While the bird was simmering in its sauces we enjoyed cookies and playing with our grandchildren. Joel has a nice big screen TV which provided a marvelous display of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It’s been a long time since we watched a parade live on TV. Beth and I both remember those special Thanksgiving mornings watching the parade as children. Beth watched the parade and cried. I didn’t cry but it was a wonderful feeling to see old familiar floats wafting along with some of the newer renditions.

Meal time was a blast with everyone passing fixin’s and food around the table. Needless to say, we were very thankful to be in one place to share with most of the family. There were plenty of leftovers to be sure but they wouldn’t last too long.

After the meal, it was football time! I didn’t really care who won or which team played. It was nice to watch a “live” game and pick a side to cheer on without already knowing the results. Watching a live game on Thanksgiving brought a tear to my eyes. Beth didn’t cry. To each his own I suppose.

When the game concluded, we gathered everyone for some family photos and to divvy up the leftovers. It was a full day with full bellies and full schedule of events. How fulfilling is that? We were just about full up.

There was only one piece missing. That was James and his family. More than once my mother has commented on not seeing all her family in one place for many years. I’m beginning to understand this more and more. It’s all part of life I suppose and should be expected.

Me, I’m looking forward to a grand reunion one day.  It’ll be at an unbelievable banquet held at God’s dining table. The dining table won’t be in an apartment in Kentucky but in the Paradise of God. The main dish won’t be a succulent turkey but fruit from the tree of life.

Until then, I’ll settle for a great Thanksgiving celebration with as much of the family as possible.

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Light in Darkness

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it. (John 1:4-5 WEB) 

I, Beth, know there’s debate about when to celebrate Christmas. I don’t know all of the scholarly research and although I haven’t read all of it I must say I am thankful for the choice of December 25th. I’ve read that part of the reason for picking December 25th was because of the darkness and winter solstice. 

For fourteen years our family lived on the island of Guam. Bobbing around the ocean at thirteen degrees north of the equator, Guam was wonderful with plenty of sunshine and summer weather all year round. Each December we gathered at the beach to celebrated

Christmas with snorkeling and a barbecue. With copious sunshine, and sometimes forgotten sunscreen, tropical winters gave a whole new meaning to Santa’s red suit! We were soon use to the warm winter weather of the tropics. However, things change. Jingle Bells, Coconut Shells, Santa ‘s coming now

Instead of driving eight reindeer he rides a caribou!

The next assignment, with the mission, saw our family move to Vienna, Austria, forty-eight degrees north of the equator. That put an end to the tropical winters and December barbecues on the beach. We traded our flip-flops in for furry warm boots, our t-shirts for sweaters, and our raincoats for thick warm jackets. Instead of snorkeling in December we made snow men and battled the world with snowballs.

Sunburned noses were replaced by cold winter red noses. It became a new lifestyle with new traditions. As our first November in Austria rolled around we experienced seasonal changes and a lack of sunshine. Not just sunshine, but daylight appeared to disappear.

It’s amazing what you forget when you live one place long enough. You know this, as do I, but the implications didn’t fully sink in for a while. One thing I forgot was the darkness of the winter months.

I grew up in Maine and upstate New York. I realize some people object to Christmas being celebrated around the winter solstice and its possible relationship to pagan rituals. Still, I again say, I am thankful! When it is darkest and the days are the shortest I can understand “light in darkness” better. It lifts my spirits greatly.

When Jesus walked the earth His light was so different many didn’t believe but shielded their eyes. They were familiar with the darkness. Even today, when people see what Jesus’ light reveals, people turn their heads so they don’t have to look. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in the land of the shadow of death, on them the light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2 WEB)

Believers, when they are in the midst of trials, search for the light. Once you have experienced long, consistent, days of light a shorter day seems oppressively dark. When a believer finds himself in the darkness his love for the light of God takes on a more profound understanding.

Praise the Lord for Christ’s birth, the Word incarnate. In the short days, in the long darkness of winter, I am reminded and reflect more on the sacrifice of God in sending His Son. When darkness is greater than light I’m anxious for each bit of light, each ray of sunshine, I can find in a day. When the darkness rolls away I thank God again for His love. Of course this awe and celebration and worship can happen all year and anytime we reflect on His saving power!

Again I rejoice! In our home we celebrate with colored lights, candles, decorations, warmth and family at the darkest time of my year. We get up in the dark and it gets dark early. When the winter darkness is here we have lots of snow and fog. We seldom see the sun. I am glad the celebration of light in darkness is shown clearly in my roots and traditions with colored lights, candles, decorations, warmth and family to celebrate! How do you celebrate in the darkness? Do you see the light shining?

Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 WEB)

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28 Steps

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: (1 Peter 3:15 WEB)

“I have a headache.” I said to my wife Beth.

“No!” she responded without looking up from her work.

“I’m tired?” I purported.

“Too bad!” she replied unsympathetically.

“Someone needs to stay home. The boys are sick?” I attempted with a Cheshire grin.

“We are only two doors away! Whatever the excuse it won’t work. You’re going!” she said looking up. Her eyes said it all. The discussion was over. I was going.

It was an annual event. Our neighbors invited us to their Christmas party along with a number of other friends. We knew some of the folks. Others were strangers. All of them spoke German. Only a few of them spoke English. Those who spoke English didn’t do so well.

For me this was part of the issue. I was not excited about several hours mumbling through my poor language skills with strangers. Besides the language, the food was usually strange and often unidentifiable. There was always a lot of fish stuff and I don’t like seafood. I’m a meat and potatoes man. Good southern fried cooking was my preference.

But, regardless of the cuisine, language or additional creative efforts I applied in an effort to stay home, no excuse satisfied Beth to save me from the ordeal. With slouched shoulders I bathed, dressed, curved my lips in a coerced smile and shuffled the long walk to our neighbor’s flat. Step, step, step, I walked down the stairs like a condemned criminal.

You need to understand. I like my neighbors. I like their friends. I like to get together with folks. But, I don’t like crowds and I don’t like being put off balance by not being able to understand most of the conversation. We finally arrived at their door, knocked, smiled, said hello and entered. Beth was thrilled. She likes large parties and busy get together times.

Inside, fighting against my party pooper attitude, the festive air began to cheer my spirits. But, they were quickly dampened as a barrage of unintelligible words were cast in my direction. I’m sure it was some human language but to me it sounded like nonsense. Occasionally, I would capture a single word I understood but too few to construct a complete sentence.

2003_Shoenbrunn_019I found a comfortable chair at the table and settled in for the evening. I would smile, nod my head when someone spoke to me and make it appear I knew what was happening.

Food and drink flowed about the table from hand to mouth as the evening wore on. Locating a couple of recognizable morsels, not from the ocean, I kept my mouth sufficiently occupied to reduce conversation to the six words in my German vocabulary.

Beth, the more adventuresome linguist, was delighted with the short conversations she held. What a marvelous help-mate God provided. I just smiled and nodded my head . . . a lot! I’m sure I imitated one of those dogs in the rear window of a car.

Unexpectedly the view from my rear window on the evening changed. Susan, sitting to my right, turned to me and said, “We know you and trust you. You broadcast religious programs. Tell me the difference between what you teach and believe and what we believe in our church.”

With all the intellectual presence I could muster I stared blankly back at her and said, “Wie bitte?” (Loosely translated “Huh?”) Not suave and polished but an honest reaction to an open window of opportunity God dropped in my lap. This was not what I expected of the evening.

I have a saying which deals with the unexpected. A Christian should be ready to preach, pray or die at a moment’s notice. I have my preferences on which of these three I would like to do and not do, but, I try to be ready, none the less, for all three. God was checking up on me. How would I deal with an obvious opportunity regardless of the language or delicacies present? God has a tendency to test our resolutions in the most unexpected ways. It was time for me to put up or shut up.

We took up the challenge. For the next two hours, together, Beth and I used the opportunity to explain the Gospel, faith, and the grace of God. Stumbling over the pronunciation of some words, mumbling those we weren’t sure about, and working through the gaps in our vocabulary turned an otherwise straightforward conversation into a mental marathon. When we reached the end we were out of words and exhausted. God worked through us to bring His word into their lives.

Struggling back up all twenty-eight stairs, to our flat, we returned home, ready for a good night’s rest. Doors were opened. Opportunities created. Hearts pointed in the right direction including mine. It just goes to prove God can, and will, at times, use us in spite of ourselves.

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Choir of Angels -074

I will be glad and rejoice in you. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (Psalms 9:2 WEB)

Music has and continues to be a major part of my life, our family and our ministry. The right melody, the choice poetic rendering, the appropriate tempo can move a person’s thoughts toward God in a way ten thousand words will never accomplish.

One year Beth and I put together a small ensemble of missionary colleagues for the Christmas holiday season. Using parts of a cantata we assembled a presentation of songs to worship God and proclaim the incarnation of Jesus to any who would listen.

Church was one place to share this musical message. One evening we shared our few pieces with the congregation in preparation for a time of communion and remembrance of Jesus work in our lives. Another less conventional presentation took place at the Governor’s mansion. The governor at the time was a Christian and permitted a number of religious events.

One of these was a Christmas gathering at the official mansion overlooking the Philippine Sea. Christmas gatherings were not unusual. They were held each year. However, allowing an “evangelical” group, non-Catholic was outside the norm. We gathered for the festivities and shared God’s love and salvation through song with the dignitaries and invited guests.

Christmas wasn’t only a time for special music and ensembles but it was a time for church choirs to gather and present the annual Cantata! Our church, Bayview, was no exception. For months I directed the choir through rehearsal after rehearsal to reach the point I thought we were ready for a public hearing.

Cantatas are interesting pieces of work. In most churches, ours included, everyone practices for months to be prepared. Then, one fine Sunday morning or evening, or maybe on Christmas Eve, the presentation is made before the congregation. An hour later it’s finished, not to be repeated. The works of months of preparation are poured into one hour of concentrated ministry to proclaim the wonder of God to those present.

During this concentrated presentation things can become rather tense for the choir on the platform, the accompanist, and the director. Regardless of careful preparation things can, and will, go wrong.

I love to see my choir smiling while they sing. In fact, I believe they sound better when they’re smiling and enjoying the music they’re singing. If it becomes too laborious then it becomes a task and not praise to God.

Since the director faces away from the congregation there are opportunities to do things only the choir can witness. I like to put on a big smile and poke my cheeks with my fingers to get the choir on the verge of laughter. It helps to get everyone relaxed and ready. One year I borrowed a Christmas tree pin with little lights. I pinned it to my shirt. Unknown to the congregation I turned it on just before the choir sang. They sounded happy and cheerful that year.

Another year I purchased a bowtie with flashing lights which became a regular part of my Christmas attire, especially for the church choir. Not all activities to get the choir’s attention come from the director. Sometimes the music, if pre recorded, can glitch or someone can forget the melody to their solo. I figure, if you start right and end right what happens in the middle can be forgiven by the congregation.

One Christmas this was tested to the max. We were performing one of my favorite cantatas with a marvelous missionary message woven into the arrival of our Savior in Bethlehem. The choir was pumped up. We knew the music, the intros, the exits and the cut offs. Everyone was smiling and the music began to play.

Things went well. My son was operating the sound system and knew my hand signals. Ellice was one of my altos while Beth was busy with the sopranos singing their hearts out for the Lord.

Ellice was an old hand with church musicals and presentations. Starting when she was about four she took every opportunity to sing, dance or act her way across the platform. She has an excellent voice, and a very outgoing personality which is important in any musical or play. Singing a Christmas cantata, after singing in the youth choir, the school choir, and singing with mom and dad, was routine.

About half way into the cantata I noticed Ellice looked a bit pale. Sure enough, near the end of the song she swayed one way, then the other, and then . . . collapsed on the floor.

Normally this type of activity will stop things immediately. My choir, bless their wonderful hearts, looked at me, watched me direct and keep time and completed the song we were singing with an amazing crescendo.

I motioned for Joel to stop the music and then looked at Dr. Vince. He was one of my tenors and also the family doctor. He and Beth helped Ellice through the side door into the small classroom just off the platform. The choir faced the director. I lifted my hands in preparation and Joel started the music once more.

We sang the next piece right on cue. A few minutes into the song Dr. Vince came back and resumed his position in the tenors smiling to indicate everything was just fine. Ellice was just a bit too nervous and it was a hot night.

The choir sang the remainder of the cantata with renewed energy and careful attention to detail. The final piece was as spectacular and moving as any other Christmas cantata I remember. When the cantata was over most people forgot about Ellice’s swan dive. We finished well and that was important.

I’m reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:12. “If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we deny him, He also will deny us.” We make mistakes along the way to our heavenly kingdom. However, it’s not every step along the way which counts but the direction we’re heading and how we end the race. Paul reminds us to run to receive the prize. If we stumble, we need to get up, brush ourselves off, take a bearing on the direction of the goal line and enter the race once more. In this eternal race there’s more than one winner. All who finish well will win an eternal prize in God’s new heaven and earth.

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Visitors – 066

Our friends, you yourselves know that our visit to you was not a failure. (1 Thessalonians 2:1 GNB)

Living on an island far from anywhere had advantages and disadvantages. One advantage was a lack of visitors. One disadvantage was a lack of visitors. Family, friends, pastors, and tourists, with the exception of the Japanese tourists, seldom considered flying to a small island they could barely locate in a National Geographic world atlas.

In December of 1990 Beth’s parents decided it was time to see just what we were doing out in the Pacific. Their grandchildren were growing up and they wanted to experience island life in the tropics. Plans were made, tickets purchased, accommodations in a local hotel reserved and bags packed. We were ready as well. Our home was in order; the children were excited that Grandma and Grandpa would be with us for Christmas. Things just couldn’t look better.

Then four days before Christmas, on December 21st, typhoon Russ made its dramatic visit to Guam. The island power went out. Water became scarce. Severe damage was inflicted on the mission transmitter site. We scrambled to work during daylight hours to repair antennas and transmitters and restore the Gospel programming quickly. Things weren’t looking so good.

Programs prepared for Christmas broadcasts lay unused in the control room. All the able bodied staff worked with us in the mud and heat to gather the pieces of equipment spread across the property and into the neighboring countryside.

Two days after the typhoon Beth, the children and I were at the airport to pick up Grandma and Grandpa. It was Sunday. They arrived on an island struggling to restore basic services. As a staff, we interrupted our repair work to worship the Lord and celebrate his provision through the storm. With all the damage across the island not a single life was lost.

Beth’s parents were introduced to the realities of island and post storm life. They sought the quiet of the hotel in the evenings. It was sure quiet. No power to the hotel. Situated on the beach they listened to the quiet lapping of waves each evening.

The first few days of their stay I worked at the transmitter site to help restore the broadcasts. Not only were the antennas and transmitters damaged but our emergency generator also failed and needed repair. I, along with my colleagues, was called upon to do things we never did before. All of this was to get the Gospel message back on the air.

In the months following the storm we received numerous letters from listeners praying for us because they knew something was wrong to prevent the airing of the programs. Programming resumed the 26th of December.

As I worked Beth and the children enjoyed fun times with her parents. The generator at our home kept the fans providing a cool breeze and the food preserved in the fridge. When things were desperate we’d visit Denny’s. They had electricity and air conditioning!

Air conditioning is important after a typhoon. When the storm completes its damage to the island and departs  it takes all the associated weather, and clouds with it. So, after supersaturating the island for several days the sky became clear, the sun came out and we lived in a tropical sauna. No breezes to counteract the heat and humidity except what was created by the generator powered ceiling fans. No fresh water to cool off since the electricity was out stopping the water pumps from filling the pipes with fresh water for our homes.

Beth took her parents on a drive around the island. Everywhere they turned the evidence of the storm’s destruction was visible. Many homes lost their roofs and their Christmas trees were now part of their yard decorations. Some lost everything and others only suffered minor damage. Beth and her parents were heartbroken as they witnessed people picking up pieces of their homes to start over.

While the lack of electricity and water was annoying, Beth’s parents experienced it in full each evening. The pair was experiencing reduced sight in their old age. They couldn’t see things in their room or read by the insignificant candle light. The day before their departure from Guam the power was restored. However, by then they were accustomed to the evening darkness.

Two visitors came at Christmas, one we wanted to come, the other uninvited. With Beth’s parents we enjoyed the visit in spite of the weather and living conditions. Our family fellowship was delightful and the children were thrilled to have their grandparents about for the holidays. Russ, on the other hand, wasn’t invited but crashed the party anyway. Despite his attempts to hinder the ministry it was only stalled for a few days and then the word of God continued to reach into the Far East.

One visitor without the other would never have created the memories and excitement we experienced that December. In fact, one visitor, Beth’s parents, enhanced the unexpected arrival of the other, typhoon Russ. Their visit provided an encouragement in the midst of extra work, under uncomfortable conditions. God’s timing was perfect.

Sometimes, when I think things are just not going right, God surprises me with little gifts of encouragement. Our Lord encouraged us in the midst of what many might consider a catastrophe. When we stop and listen to what the Lord is saying, when we look at what the Lord has provided we find He can bring success to what we cannot. We, as His servants, need to listen, watch and learn.

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