Monday, January 29, 2018

Final Goodbye

The Final Goodbye

We knew this day was coming for 2 1/2 years but one is never truly ready for the final good bye.  On January 15 Sherry's mom had a massive stroke which left her paralyzed on her left side.  She spent 3 days in the hospital and the doctors all agreed that she was not going to recover so we made the decision to move her to Hospice House for her final days.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I treasured those 5 days as I stayed with her 24/7.  I was able to minister to her in ways that I hope gave her comfort and alleviated any fear she might have had.  Our family came daily and each one of them was able to say goodbye and spend time alone with her along with multitude of friends from Church and elsewhere.  We read scripture to her, prayed with her, laughed with her as we shared memories, told her how much we loved her and held her.

I want to leave you with a glimpse of the kind of woman my mom was through life. I am going to use Proverbs 31:10-31 as my jumping off point because as I read these passages today I saw my mom.
These are the qualities that made Dorothy P. Witt.

She was a faithful wife to my dad and to her second husband George. Never once did she flirt with other men or give them anything but loyal support in their life work or care for our family.

She was frugal and the best bargain hunter ever. She would go into a store and end up getting the items for even less than the sale price.  We all loved to shop with her.

She was excellent with finances and just knew how to make a dollar stretch. She helped so many people with their budgets that I cannot count.  She worked as a book keeper until she was 90 years old.

She taught me to be content with what I had.  Mom grew up in the depression and did without so much but enjoyed the things she had and never felt slighted that she did not have more.

She loved to feed us.  Whenever I was struggling she would go into the kitchen and whip up a cake or pie or some other goodie because that is just what she did.  She also would get up and fix us breakfast, a quality I did not inherit.

She was willing to work hard and long.  Her work ethic was exemplary and no matter what she set her hand to do she did it with excellence.

She loved to help people and was always looking for someone who was in a difficult place so she could come along side of them and minister.  It was not unusual for  her to anonymously go pay off a lay away Christmas or electric or other bill for a single mom or widow or sometimes a family that was just going through a  hard time.

She was great at planning out what she and everyone else would wear or what we would eat or where we needed to go the next day or week or month or even year sometimes.  She was great and remembering birthdays, anniversaries etc and always had cards in advance to send to people.  I did not inherit this trait either. LOL.

She was kind and thoughtful to everyone and loved to share bits of wisdom with each one.  Even last week as she lay in the bed paralyzed she was writing down last bits of wisdom for her family.  One of which was to couples,  you should always save the wife income because the husband can't get pregnant and lose his job.  She was amazing.

My dads coworkers were all jealous of him because mom was such a good wife and they were always wanting to come home for dinner with my dad.  She loved it because she loved people and loved him.

She set the tone of our home.  She was consistently happy and cheerful. And if she was having a bad day, she would get over it quickly after spending time with the Lord.

She taught me to look ahead not back.   She would say to me "Sherry, let the past stay in the past, today is a new day and we need to live in the present."  Great advice especially now.

She was fiercely loyal and protective of her family and friends.

She was never idle so these past few years were very difficult for her because she could not do too much physically.  But she wrote devotions and was working on her life story when she died.  You can access her writings at thegrannygrams.blogspot.com.

Her main focus in life was telling others about Jesus.  Her spiritual gifts were Evangelism, Giving, and Service and she was faithful in each.

I want to end this post by saying what an incredible privilege it has been to not only be raised by mom but to care for her these past few years.  I am rejoicing in my heart that she is now with her Savior and enjoying the fruit of her life work.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Proverbs 31:30.




Saturday, October 14, 2017

POWER OF WORDS

I was recently talking to a lady who is in her 90's and she was telling me that she is ugly and has been her whole life.   I asked her why she thought that and she told me of an incident when she was 7 years old where a friend of her moms had come to the house for tea, while there this little girl was playing in the next room and the lady said to the mother, how can you stand having such an ugly child?  This little girl heard it and immediately believed the lie this woman had spoken.  The sad thing, she is a beautiful woman but for 80 years has believed the opposite due to the unkind words of one person. She gave that woman power over her without even realizing it and has continued to live under that power.

I met man who was in his 50's and said he would never amount to anything in this life. I asked him why and he said his dad told him so often while he was growing up that he guessed it was true.  He has jumped from one job to another all his life constantly feeling like a failure.

I was talking to a young person who said they had no friends, I asked why and they informed me that one person started telling others falsehoods about them and everyone believed them and so avoided them.  The consequence was a lonely young person who was hurting very badly.

I overheard a woman tell another woman out of the blue "that dress does nothing for you".  The other woman looked shocked because she had not asked this person what she thought. I later asked the woman who had been hurt if this other woman was a close friend and she said no, they had only had a casual relationship and seldom saw each other.  Really who needs friends like that?

A friend was recently telling someone about a medical issue they were having and the other person immediately began to tell them about every person they knew who had a bad experience with that same issue. Not one word of hope given just all the negatives.

A mom of 8 was telling me that she is often told by others, even complete strangers, that they are so glad that they don't have that many children, or that she is nuts to have so many.

A guy I know decided to get a new haircut and people who hardly knew him would come up and say what on earth have you done to your hair ?  Really? What business is it of theirs anyway.  Relax people it is just a haircut, it grows back.

I remember once hurting a dear friend by my careless words about a dish she had prepared for her family, instead of asking for a sample to taste, I informed her it looked like dog food.  I cringe now remembering how badly I hurt her. Those words can never be taken back even though I asked and was granted forgiveness.

Our nation today is bombarded with careless words.

I could go on and on of things people have said to others that are just plain hurtful or at the very least unthoughtful.  

The bible addresses this issue quite clearly in Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

I do not think we truly understand the power our words have in the lives of others.

So my encouragement to all of us is to think before we speak.  It is better to remain silent unless someone asks for our opinion and even then we need to season our words with grace and be kind.  Lets be a people who encourage others, who are like a breath of fresh air because we say things that edify and do not tear down.  Try it this week, you will find that the fruit is much sweeter.  And the best part...the Lord will be pleased.

Grace and Peace,
Sherry

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

GOT SIN?

Well who doesn't?  

The Scripture says in 1 John 1:8" If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us." Pretty clear isn't it?  I know it is hard sometimes to admit that we sin.  Think about yesterday for example, maybe you didn't do one of the BIG sins, ya know the ones you think of when you think of sin, but did you have a bad attitude? Gossip? Tell a lie?  Judge someone?  You get the picture.  The problem as I see it is that many of us like to think we are better than so and so.  Or we focus on our sin and the result is we live in shame and condemnation and defeat.  

Well I have good news for you............are you ready?  1 John 1:9 says," If we confess our sins, HE is FAITHFUL and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness."  WOW  

Brothers and Sisters, we can have Victory over our sin. We can live an abundant life full of joy and peace.  Don't be afraid to humble yourself and ask God to forgive you and then accept His forgiveness.

I love the old hymn Victory in Jesus, absorb the words as you read it.  If you know it, you will find yourself singing it.  

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

Chorus
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and bro't
To me the victory.

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory. 

So today as you go about your day, meditate on the truth.  We win brothers and sisters, through the blood of Jesus.  Focus on that not your sin. And then share this good news with someone.  You won't be sorry.

Much love, 
Sherry




Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lessons Learned Truth reaffirmed




The Lord has taught me some lessons about myself and Him this past year and a half that I could not have learned any other way.

Lessons about myself.

1.  My heart is desperately wicked ( I am  more aware of this then ever.) That is why I need a Savior.
2.  I am extremely selfish.
3.  I am impatient.
4.  My identity needs to found as Fathers child, not in the things I do or don't do.
5.  I love being home and caring for my family.
6.  I love giving hospitality.
7.  Family is important to me.
8.  My husband is truly my best friend.
9.  I can have victory in my life when I walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
10. I fight my situation without even realizing it.
11. I whine a lot. :<((((  and need true friends to point it out to me when I do.
12. Ministry outside my home had become an Idol of sorts to me.
13.  I am satisfied and at peace, when I focus on Him and am thankful for the season.




So these are some of the things that He has taught me about Himself.

1.  God is good all the time - I always knew this but now I really know it.
2.  He assigns us to things that we don't even know we need.
3.  He is conforming me into the image of Christ.
4.  He gives us do overs when we fail.
5.  Nothing is wasted with Him.
6.  He loves me unconditionally.
7.  He loves to spend time with me and I don't need a conference or anything else to be in His presence.
8.  He refreshes my soul.
9.  He gives joy unspeakable.
10. His grace is sufficient
11. I don't have to go anywhere, He sends those whom He wants me to minister to, to my home.

This season has been difficult and challenging, but it has been such a blessing.  I am so thankful that God exposes in me everything that is not like Jesus so I can repent.  I am so thankful that God has given me this time with my mom to make more memories.   I have always tried to take care of my home, but did not realize how much I was gone and how many things I had let go so I could "minister".  I have enjoyed being home and cleaning and doing laundry and cooking and working in the garden and making a home for my husband and family. God knew what He was doing when He told us to be keepers at home.  I no longer feel guilty for not having my calendar full of appts. each day.  I am learning to just BE.....what a gift God has given me.



I pray that as you find yourself in different seasons of life that you will embrace the season and realize God is the one assigns the season.  The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord.

The day will come when He releases us to travel again but until then I am going to enjoy this time and not feel guilty. His grace is sufficient.


Much love, Sherry



Monday, September 18, 2017

The Nations are coming to us

As you know we have not been able to travel lately because of our mothers, so the Lord is sending the nations to us during this season.  We so love our mission trips and getting to fellowship with saints from all over the world.  This past week we were privileged to host our friends from Poland and in a few weeks we will be hosting a friend from Costa Rica.   Now we only need the Ukrainians, Latvians and Czechs to come and we will have had our fix.

Mary Jill Callery, Michael Wielgus and Pastor Jan Skarbek were coming to the states to attend a conference and we were the B and B on the way. We had 3 wonderful days of fellowship on their way to Branson and then 1 night and half a day on their way back to New York where Mary Jills family lives.

They have their heads in the clouds it seems. LOL


Obviously selfies are not my strong suit, but MJ looks great. 

MJ had cut her thumb in Poland and needed a nurse to remove the stitches so our dear friends Paul and Melissa Howard came to the rescue. This was in the operating room.  

Sherry, MJ and Granny 

I love this picture of our friends.  They love to laugh and have fun.

Doing some serious You tube viewing. Men bond differently I guess. 

Granny enjoying a little visitor during their stay.

Just chilling on the deck enjoying the beautiful weather.

Michael translating for Jan

This is Brooke and her daughter Jocelyn, a cousin of Jan's whom he had never met so they made the trip and spent the morning with us.  Such precious time as Jan shared with Brooke all about her family in Poland.  IT proved to be a divine appointment and we got to pray with Brooke and her boyfriend Andrew before they left.  Don't you love when God arranges something unexpected?

For some reason I was not able to download the picture of Jan, Michael and PW at the shooting range. But I can tell you that Jan loves shooting and was giddy with joy when he found out PW knew someone with not only a shooting range, but owned a company where they actually make the guns.  PW arranged a tour and then shooting.  If you go to our FB page WayneandSherrySanders  you can see the picture of them with their guns.

These three were wonderful guests. We laughed a lot and talked at great length about the things the Lord is doing in our times.   Some guests feel like family from the first time they walk through our door and the Poles fit that category.  We look forward to the day when we are able to join them in Poland. 

I wanted to give an update on the moms also. Both are doing well, it is amazing to me how love makes a difference in someones life.  I think back to a year and half ago when my mom was so sick and her doctor told me she probably had 6 months to live at most.   Well God is the one who decides and meanwhile we have been making tons of memories.  God is good. 

Thanks for dropping in. We covet your prayers for us and would ask that you ask God to give us clear direction on our mission trips. 

Much love, 
PW and Sherry

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Update

It has been months since we have posted.  Life has been busy for sure.  Sherry's mom continues to need more and more care.   It truly is a long goodbye but we are thanking God for each new day we get to share with her. Her sense of humor has been intact so we laugh a lot in our home.

Since April we have focused mainly on our congregation. We sensed the Lord was reassigning things and so we wanted to be sure to be seeking Him and hearing clearly.  In the midst of it all, the Lord has been so faithful.   We have had baptisms, outreaches, joint worships, bible studies and love blooming in our grandchildren. Our two oldest granddaughters have accepted engagements from two of the most wonderful young men.  We are very excited for Christopher and Hannah and Will and Leah.  Both plan to marry this coming year so weddings will be a major focus.

Oh and we took a 3 week stay cation. We were tired and in need of rest,  We took our Leah for her graduation trip to Williamsburg Va. in the midst of our 3 weeks which so much fun.  God provided sitters at night for Sherry's mom and Jen and her husband watched her during the day so we could go.

Wayne and Sherry on our last day of vacation 
 Our Church joining with 7 other Churches for worship on our town square
Jesus said we will be known by our love for one another and this visibly demonstrates to our community that truth, it is always the highlight of our summer.
 Christopher and Hanna as they announce their engagement
 Two of our Church members passing out water at the Annual Arts Festival 
 Ladies summer bible study 
 One of many baptism this summer
 Will and Leah happy about their engagement
 Leah in Williamsburg- we take all the kids somewhere for their senior trip
 Granny waiting for her milkshake and burger, she loves to eat out
 All of our Grandchildren and Granny 
 Praying for our Grandson Nathan as we send him off to another year at the Emerging Sound Music Camp
Sending a group of our young people, including our two youngest grands, for a summer mission trip

Adrian and Jen....we are so proud of them both.  They are awesome parents and a wonderful example of a godly Christ centered marriage

We continue to pray for a spiritual awakening in our nation which is so divided. We know that the Lord is the only answer to the turmoil.  Our prayer is that the body of Christ will be walking epistles so that the world may know.

Thank you for taking time to read our update.  We anticipate a busy fall with international visitors and special speakers at our Church.  We hope to be able to travel together to Latvia this coming spring and of course we want to be able to visit Ukraine this coming year as well.  God will order our steps according to His plan though so we wait on His direction.  

God bless you. 
Much love, 
PW and Sherry

Friday, April 28, 2017

FRIDAY

Good morning from Latvija (their spelling).  It is -2C this morning (28 F). Nice and crisp with freshness in the air.

View from PW's room on this crisp morning
The trees are budding, the tiny flowers in the grass are popping out, birds are singing, and students look sleepy  :-)  They have been incredibly attentive all week - several students who looked glum and detached on Monday, have been attentive and smiling at the end of the week.  These students have had lots of fundamental teaching over the past 11 months, and as several have confided in me, this class (counseling) brought a lot of the teaching together.
You can see light bulbs going off when counseling topics are taught, probably because it touched their life.

One young lady confided about her family life in her country.  Terrible situation with father, but Christian mother, and lots of personal emotional pain.  She is determined to overcome the family obstacles and work in ministry  :-)

Today we are teaching on the importance of homework.  Jesus gave homework (for instance, the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-22). Today is the day they take the test (this morning), and before we began class, the students were quizzing each other on information that was taught this week :-)


Yesterday the students had the afternoon off (after 2:30 pm). They had a bar-b-que (Latvian style) with grilled chicken legs and beef, and boiled potatoes, sliced cucumbers and white bread (treat!).  They surprised Wayne and Paul with a plate of food.  It was an honor and treat !!!!  Then .... they brought us ice cream ... made with real cream !!!  What this told us was they appreciated the teaching.  For the most part, they have moved from glum students to smiling students.

The translators: we have had several translators during the week. Ilva is on staff, was a student several years ago, and translates most of the day.  She also uses her notes from her student days to follow the points as she translates into Latvian. Alex (student 2 yrs ago), on staff, translates from English to Russian. In the afternoons the students translate. This is impressive!!!  When Ilva gets stuck on a translation, some of the students quickly offer translation solutions. The real interesting thing about this ... when you have to translate a concept from one language to a totally different language (English to Russian or Latvian) you are pondering the concept twice.  That improves memory of the concept. 
Ilva was a prized student of ours
Her note book has very detailed notes and often she will ask if we are going to cover a certain point which she found helpful in  her time at BSM or she will point out we forgot to add something.  She keeps us on our toes. 
Alex is the guy with the ear contraption
This is Jesus....he moves around the classroom daily, one never knows where he will land
Test time
This evening PW and  PH are meeting with two former students of ours. Rihard and Eva were our students last year and are now newly married. Their story is amazing and if given permission I will post it soon.  It is always a special privilege for us to continue relationships with those we ministered to and this couple is no exception.  They contact us regularly asking for advice etc. 


Other information: please pray for this school and the ministry.  The building was built in the Soviet era. The walls are thick (1 foot thick concrete) and sound. The students room are adequate, and the kitchen is sufficient. Please appreciate that the facilities are spartan; however, adequate for the purpose.   The biggest concern is the heating system and the facilities for the visiting teachers.  A church team from Florida is coming this summer to work on the apartment for visiting teachers (pray for their safety and that all the materials are ready when they get here). The school director (Pastor Danny Pedraza) informed us that the heater system is the next critical issue. It is old (Soviet) and in the winter, they have to turn off the building heater to have hot water for showers (too inefficient for both hot water and heat).  Please pray that (1) the school will get a reasonable price for the replacement and (2) that churches would feel impressed from the Lord to help with the support for a new heater.
Danny and Damaris Pedraza



Please pray for safe travels for Wayne and Paul to the US, starting Friday night in the US. They leave the school at 4 am Latvian time on Saturday, catch a 6 am flight to Frankfurt, then arrive in Toronto at noon on Saturday. They drive to Chardon from Toronto arriving Saturday early evening.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

THURSDAY

Today is Thursday, and we have a full day of classes.




Wayne and Paul in their element




Interesting story - during one break, two of the students were talking with us.  One was in the workforce and had a flat, and left it to attend this school for 1 year.  The other out off a career, and is at school.  They are here to get a better biblical foundation before continuing with life. Also, yesterday one of the students was talking with us about his life, the troubles in his life, and his fears.

Here are some pictures of the small groups working questions to ask a counsel



Ilva our translator

Last night we attended the church Pastor Danny Pedraza pastors.  The church service is conducted in Russian, that includes worship songs, and the Michael W. Smith 'heart of worship' song.  Paul (Павел) taught on spiritual warfare using Ephesians 6:10-18 and James 1:2-4 to explain how spiritual warfare interacts with our armor.  (no one threw tomatoes :-)  ). PW said PH did an excellent job

The students are getting teaching today on change - understanding it and committing to it.

If you are wondering about the food: breakfast is at 7:30am and is slice of bread with meat, slice of cheese, or slice of tomato, with thin slices of fruit, with coffee or tea; lunch (1:30am) is a soup (maybe), and meat (boiled chicken drumstick, sausage, etc) with shell pasta or 'rice' dish (barley), and a cabbage or beet root salad; the bread is a dark rye bread (rupjmaize); evening dinner (6:00pm) is left-overs, however, Wayne and Paul have used dinner to meet with school staff and eat differently than students (Tues-Thurs).  The students are responsible for cleaning the cafeteria and washing the dishes.  

Prayer request - please pray they continue to apply the life changing principles in their life to effect change.

This was from Paul and as you can tell they are having fun and seeing good response from the students.  PW said that PH has been a tremendous help and that he is thankful that he is there with him.  PTL for providing what we need.

Much love, 
PW, Sherry and PH

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

WEDNESDAY

My precious husband called me and Face Timed me into the class today. I will share my insights at the end of the report from Paul.

This is from Paul about today's classes
He was laughing at me and I snapped the picture
Tuesday afternoon ended with students really engaged with the teaching. On Tuesday evening, Wayne and Paul took Mauro and Julia out to dinner (Latvian Pizza). They will be moving to near-by town (60 miles) and start a church.  Please pray for them because this is a huge undertaking and they will need income to do this.


Today, Wednesday, the teaching started with exams, then teaching on what information is needed to help (counsel), teaching on the heart, and how to give hope. What was a really wonderful experience, was the morning worship time.  This was student led, and then a sermon from one of the Argentinian students (they rotate each week).  The sermon was really good, and afterwords, the students and staff critiqued the sermon. :-) !!!!!!  The favorable comments and critique were lovingly given and well-received.  This is not seminary or actual Bible school, yet, these students are getting a one-year crash course in Bible, theology, personal relationship with God, prayer, hermeneutics, homiletics, and from the CCF team, counseling (definition: counseling is 'joining with Holy Spirit in His work to affect someones life'). The students "got it" that any interaction with another person, where you are providing advice, can be counseling.



If you would like to help, please pray for student A.A.  He is really struggling with life issues and not engaged at this time. Pray for wisdom for the school staff (Pastor Danny and Mauro).

Today the students will also have to develop a counseling answer for a theoretical situation, and do it as a group. 

Paul shared with me that before he taught his session on gathering information he gave an illustration to show the importance. A Church staff member was left alone at the Church while the rest of the staff went somewhere, and while there a woman came in all flustered, her hair was a mess, her eye was black and she was bruised up and she said "my husband" and then burst into tears. The staff member immediately assumed that her husband was beating her and she was running for her life.  But no.....in reality the husband had just been diagnosed with cancer and when she heard the report she fainted and hit her face.  In desperation both of them started to look for support and when she saw the Church she ran ahead of him and came in the door in that condition......This powerful story and illustration shows why we need to always get information before we pass judgement if we are going to be able to help people. GOOD JOB PH.

Tonight (noon your time)  Paul preaches at Pastor Danny's church, with an interpreter.  Prayers would be appreciated.

What is impressive?  Spring is arriving, the students are in 11th month of 12 month program, and they are in class most of day ... yet ... they are on the edge of their seat with the teaching since the examples and issues being presented by Wayne and Paul relate to their life, either with parents, friends or themselves. 

What is scary?  They take great notes and challenge you if they think there is a contradiction :-)  Have to be on your toes. 


Paul clarifying the small group reports

They actually tag teamed which was fun to watch
Kind of like Laurel and Hardy in action
Can you guess which was in which?

It was fun to be apart of the class today.  I cannot begin to describe to you the joy it brings me that I can be there even though not in person. 

The students came up with names for their groups 

A. Disciples of Christ 
B. Popcorn
C.Cocoa Nuts
D.Worship Team

After their small group time each group chose a leader to come up and share what questions they would ask the family they were to counsel.  For the most part they did a good job, however as is usual  they jumped ahead and tried to give counsel before gathering all the information.  Paul did a great job clarifying to them what he was looking for and why.  I think they will get the hang of this by tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a long day so their will be more teaching and more small group work.  

Prayer is so appreciated on these trips. Please continue to pray that the teaching bring life not just more head knowledge. There a few students who are not engaging at all since they are tired and there are only 3 weeks left of school. Would you pray specifically that tomorrow the Holy Spirit gets hold of their hearts? 

I have no idea why the font sizes are different, gotta love these technological devices.  

Much Love, 
PW, Sherry, PH




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