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




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

PERFECT ENDING TO THE DAY

I just got off of Face time with PW. He said today went really well and seemed satisfied with the teachings and the class response. He said the students are asking excellent thoughtful questions and it has been fun for both he and PH to answer them.  It gives them time to really interact on a different level with them.  PH will be starting the teaching time tomorrow. PW said he has been very helpful giving input during the sessions so they have tag teamed some.  I am so thankful that PH is there with him since they have been friends for 29 years and enjoy bantering. It makes the time go quicker for them both. Plus the students are going to get excellent teaching since both of these men have a teachers anointing on them.  There is nothing like discipling young believers and seeing them grow.

Here are some pictures that PW just sent.  

Guilty- PW looks like a kid caught with hand in the candy jar
Paul's pizza had hot dogs and bacon as the topping
I love the way PH always looks like he is having a ball. Note his grin. 

Satisfied

Mauro and Julia Martinez
We have shared many meals at Chili Pizza with these two precious saints.

So as you can see PW will find Pizza no matter where he goes, but he was very proud of himself since this is his first pizza in over 3 weeks and he drank it with water.  He is obviously making progress.  LOL

Thank you for your continued prayers. Tomorrow the students will start the practical applications of the teachings so please keep all of them in prayer. This is usually a turning point for them as they grasp the concepts and begin learning how to apply the lessons.  

Much love, 
Sherry and PW and PH



TUESDAY UPDATE #1


Paul sent this just a few minutes ago about his day yesterday.  Sounds like things are going pretty well.

We were welcome to the school at 1115 am by 21 students.  Most of the students are from Latvia, with a few from other countries (England, Argentina).  As expected, it was a little cool at first; however, very quickly they warmed up to Wayne and his teaching style.  The students are are varying levels of understanding of the Scripture, yet it appears there is eagerness in all of them to learn more about the Lord.
Yesterday was an eyeopener that they will have a test at the end of the week, and that they have to perform a self evaluation on one sin area in their life. This morning the self evaluation was reinforced ... the the joy of some and the fear of others :-)
We had lunch with the Pastor Danny Pedraza in the cafeteria with the students. The lunch was sausage with either rice or pasta, salad and bread.  This was prepared by cooking staff. Dinner was prepared by the students and was leftovers. :-)  The students "volunteered" Paul to help in the kitchen tonight (he will do dishes !!!). :-)
Today Wayne and Paul will be teaching on counseling basics, counseling believers, counseling non-believers, how to gather information for counseling, and how to give the counseled hope.
Yesterday afternoon was so interesting.  Some of the students started asking really difficult questions showing they are deeply considering the mysteries of the Lord:  predestination (Eph 1:5,11) .. is God surprised by anything (e.g. Saul in 1 Sam 15:11) ... God is love but He told Hebrews to kill off people (e.g. Canaanites, Amalakites).  

Prayer requests: Please pray for the students to amass and learn this large amount of information. Please pray for Wayne and Paul for clarity of presentation. Today will be tag-team teaching.  Please pray for Pastor Danny who needs to move in May from Riga to Jelgava.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Finally the pictures for your enjoyment.

Paul' room

Paul's bathroom

Wayne's room

Class waving hello

Please be sure to read the blog post below 

THE WEEK BEGINS

Today was our first day of meeting the students and starting our teachings.  PW sweetly face timed Sherry into the class so she could meet everyone.  It made her feel apart of the things since she is not able to be here with PW this year.  


Paul was a great help giving input and helping PW see when he was on a bunny trail.  LOL

Here is a sample of the kinds of questions the students were asking. 

1. Is God ever sorry for doing something ie. He feels He made a mistake?

2. Can God’s will go against His Law? For example to kill people while occupying the promised land. It is against His moral/ethical norms.

Those of you who know PW and PH know that neither of them can give a short answer to questions like these.  So PW is meeting with the one student at lunch tomorrow to try to answer the question without teaching the whole bible from Genesis 1 in answering. 

PW moved into the apt. at the school today and PH decided to stay at the hotel so they are both comfortably settled for the week of ministry. As always the staff at BSM is wonderful and very helpful.  


Here is the wonderful room PH is staying in, you can see how roomy and clean it is.  For the  most part Latvians take great pride in how they show hospitality.  












By comparison this was PW's room, 2 beds in a tiny room and a very small bathroom.  Thus the move to the apt. at the School. 







Prayer requests for the week:
That both PW and PH can eat healthy food and stay well.
That both of them will be able to cover all the material.
That the teachings will bring life not just head knowledge. 
That God continues to grace Sherry and Melissa with peace
That we can figure out why the pictures did not post. Sorry.....

Much love, 
PW and Sherry 
PH and Melissa

Sunday, April 23, 2017

THE LORD'S DAY

Here is Paul's report about today.

Today is Sunday, and we went to the Russian Church that Danny cares for in Jelgava.  The people were very friendly and some knew some elementary English.  The worship time was very wonderful with a worship team of younger adults (3 men, 2 women) who sang beautifully.  The words to the worship songs were projected onto the wall - however, the words were in Russian :-)  One song was easy to sing, it was Paul Wilbur's Kadosh from the Jerusalem Arise album.  (side note from Sherry, we heard this group last year and they have the most glorious harmony and it is so easy to worship with them even though they sing in Russian.) 

The church was full, so maybe 80-100. Hard to count when on front row.

Special day recognizing April birthdays, and one couple that had 40th anniversary this week. 

Lots and lots of singing !!!

They fed us afterward (so hospitable !) but Danny and his wife had to run to Riga to another church, so our visit was short
The one thing that impacted me is that these folks really love the Lord. You can tell they really do. 

Pastor Wayne preached on the topic of choices.  He had an interpreter named Oxzana (also on the worship team).  He spoke of the liberty we have from God to make choices, and the fact that we are liable for the consequences of the choices. A central verse to the sermon was Joshua 24:14-15, and the fact that we have to make the choice regarding whom we will serve - God or man.  David made some excellent choices, and as we know regarding Uriah and Bathsheba, terrible choices that affected not only David, but Uriah, Bathsheba and the child. Shiphrah and Puah made a choice regarding a baby Hebrew (Exodus 1:15-16). Bartimaeus made a choice not to listen to the crowd, and kept calling for Jesus (Mark 10:46-52).  The principles that we should use to make choices include: (1) has God stated that something should (or should not) be done; (2) will the choice hurt my mind; () will the choice hurt my body; (4) will the choice enslave me to something (e.g  alcohol, drugs).

Several came up to Wayne and offered thanks for sermon.

Danny will pick Wayne and I up for breakfast (at school) at 8:30.  Wayne will move to school (room opens tomorrow afternoon).  Another room does not open until Tues or Wed, so I might stay here at the bomb shelter since I have Internet and my room is bigger than PW's.
Tomorrow starts the Bible School teaching.  Pray for us to have our biological clocks fully synchronized to the local time.

After a nice nap we had dinner at the hotel.  Here is a picture of PW enjoying his dinner and catching up on email and Paul doing normal faces.  



Hope you enjoyed Paul's report. Much prayer is needed as they begin this week of teaching.  Hopefully the guys will remember to take pictures for you.  
Pastor Bill did a great job this morning sharing the word in PW's absence. We love CCF and are so thankful for the support they offer us to be able to minister abroad.  
Much Love, Sherry and PW and Paul

Saturday, April 22, 2017

DID YOU SAY DRUMS?

Just talked to my husband on Face time again. He looks really good and alert.  He and Paul were at the School studying in the conference room today.  It was a good walk for them and will help them get over the jet lag.

Here is Wayne's rendition of their first night.......

"Paul and I are at the school now.
We may have to move over here on Monday.
The hotel is not practical. No fridge, no food, no coffee, no internet, no desk, no phone, but we have LOTS of heat which can’t be shut off and LOTS of noise which also can’t be shut off."

And This is Paul's rendition of their first night in Latvia. Enjoy......

"The "hotel" is part of a city complex with gymnasium, ice rink, restaurant, 6 room "hotel" and school with playground all rolled into one little complex.  After we arrived following hours of traveling with little sleep, we took short naps to try and 'readjust the biological clocks', only to awake with the sound of drums beating and lots of noise.  A men's indoor volleyball tournament was underway in the gymnasium and our rooms are almost under the bleachers. 

I have to interject here.......if I can quit laughing.  I just got a mental picture of the two men being jolted awake thinking bombs were dropping and bolting out of bed and taking cover.  Jet lag does strange thing to ones mind ya know.  LOL.  😁😱

There is a grocery store (like a small Aldi) across the street from the school, and we went there and got bottled water after dinner last night. It will truly be a convenient store for little things, and the prices are very reasonable.
Saturday is a day of further 'biological clock' adjustment and preparation for Sunday.  Wayne preaches at the local church on Sunday morning so please pray for him.  The sermon is translated into Russian for the congregation.  Paul will do the same on Wednesday evening.  The Bible school starts on Monday morning."

 
Russian Church

Saturday is a day of further 'biological clock' adjustment and preparation for Sunday.  Wayne preaches at the local church on Sunday morning so please pray for him.  The sermon is translated into Russian for the congregation.  Paul will do the same on Wednesday evening.  The Bible school starts on Monday morning.
So you can see things are off to a good start.  Having been there I can tell you that the city complex is a wonderful place for families and there is always lots of activity. Of course that never bothered us when we walked over there because we have never stayed there.  So thus the reason for them walking to the School today for a bit of quiet.  

I have begged Wayne for pictures so perhaps today sometime the "spirit" will move them to snap a few and I can post them for you to enjoy. 

Happy Saturday everyone. 
Much love, 
PW, Sherry, and PH 


Friday, April 21, 2017

The Eagles have landed

I just got off face time with my precious husband.  He looks good however very tired.  Not unusual for him since he does not sleep on the plane very well.  He said the trip was uneventful which always makes me happy.

I asked about the hotel and he smiled and reminded me of a tiny hotel room we stayed in years ago and said this was smaller but adequate and clean.  

Below is Paul's first impression of Latvia:

We made it to the Hotel. Natasha met us at airport and drove us to hotel. This would remind you a lot of Germany .. a lot. Flat .. ash trees and tall pines .. little houses with gardens. The hotel actually appears to be the town gymnasium, with about 6 rooms that serve as hotel. We are less than 1 km from school and across the street from school is grocery store. Spring is just arriving (buds on trees - no flowers yet).

I love hearing someones first impression of the places we minister. I know this is going to be a great trip for the guys and I cannot wait to start posting pictures and reports of the days.

Please pray specifically that they both get a good nights rest tonight and tomorrow night and that they are fresh on Sunday to minister the word.

Much love,
Sherry who has stayed behind.  :>((((

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our men are on the way

Wednesday we arrived in Toronto around 4:30 after driving in blinding rain.  The border was not too bad. We only had to wait about 20 mins. 



Paul and Melissa were following us about an hour behind and did not arrive until almost 6 since their phone service went out and they had no map. They are quite gifted to have been able to find the hotel without a map.  

Anyway we were all starving by that time so we headed out for a "fun date night" to the Mandarin Buffet. Oh my goodness there was more food there than any person can imagine. The place is amazing with waterfalls and huge salt water fish tanks and sparkly lights and the most delicious food.  
We had tons of fun talking about the bible and life and just being together.  Melissa and I are both a bit sad that we are not able to go on this trip with our guys so this time together was special.   

Paul and Wayne looking handsome

This is just a sampling of our desserts

You can see the pretty decorations in the background.

So this morning Melissa and I left our guys and headed home. What an experience to drive in a foreign country in driving rain once again, but thankfully the Lord got us home safe and sound.  We were able to Skype with the guys several times during the day as they waited for their flight.   I have copied what Paul sent following this so you can hear from them how things were going.  

The airport component of the trip begins !!!

Found the parking lot without much trouble.  It was raining like cats and dogs, so needless to say, we were fairly wet by the time we got to rail-transport. We had on parkas with hoods, but large puddles to cross :-(  When we got to terminal the rain stopped. Cannot get seat assignments and boarding passes until after 2 pm.

At a Starbucks waiting until 2 pm for ticketing. May go down to restaurant around 1 pm.


Update ... at gate with tickets and seat assignments.   Both of us got aisle seats, row 51, on a Lufthansa 747.  We ate lunch around 1 pm at a "Swiss" store (both got salads; Wayne's was Caesar with baked chicken; mine was Caesar side salad with cheese pirogi). 

The issue with the tickets was that we did not have enough information to use the kiosks to get tickets and seat assignment. We were actually booked on Lufthansa and not Air Canada (that's why the kiosks for Air Canada were not working).  Lufthansa does not have kiosks in Toronto - the good-ol-fashion face-to-face talking with agent.  We had to wait until about 3:00 for Lufthansa to open up their counter.  Then it was 45 min through security and here we are.

It is now 6:55 and they are in the sky on their way to Frankfurt then to Riga. If you think of it please keep them in prayer over this next week.  I will update as I get information. 

Thanking God for His faithfulness.  
Much love, 
Sherry

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Latvia here he comes

Wow it is hard to believe a whole year has passed since we ministered at the Baltic School of Ministry.  It is always a highlight of our year. 

This year PW is going with a friend of ours, Paul Howard, since I cannot leave my mom. Granny is 92 and her health is very fragile so after prayer neither PW nor I felt comfortable leaving her at this time. But God always provides and Paul is a perfect fit for the task.  

The guys will fly out of Toronto Thursday afternoon and arrive in Riga on Friday.  The schedule is as follows:

Thursday - Friday are travel days
Saturday is a rest day
Sunday PW will be preaching in Jelgava at the Russian Church
Monday - Friday teaching Biblical Counseling at the bible school 
Wednesday evening PH will be preaching in Jelgava at the Russian Church
Saturday the 29th return home

If you remember last year, PW battled health issues the whole time but God gave grace to accomplish the  mission.  Well the year has continued to be a challenge for us in this area.  After tons of tests and multiple visits to the VA hospital they still cannot find out what is going on in PW's body.  He is still having swelling and the doctors are stumped. The good news is that they have ruled out cancers etc.  So we continue to wait on God for the manifestation of the healing.  Please pray specifically for PW over the next week and ask God to keep him healthy.  Please pray the same thing for PH.

Please also pray for our Church while PW is gone. Pastor Bill will be watching over the Church and we want him to have an easy week, no drama, no deaths, not emergencies.  :>)))  

I will update daily if possible but might not have pictures since the men are not as apt to think of pictures as I would be.  :>))) 

Much Love, 
Sherry 






Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rejoicing over what God has done

While we were in Latvia we had two students who were new believers. They had been living together before they came to faith in Christ and when they repented they broke up and decided to go to Bible School for one year to get their lives in order and pray about whether they were to be together.  We had the privilege of talking and praying with them on several occasion while there for our two weeks and helped them come up with a plan to follow when they left school so they could investigate what they were to do for their future.  Anyway to make a long story short, we just found out a few weeks ago that they are engaged and going to get married.  We love them and are so thankful for the Lords faithfulness in blessing us in our obedience.


Please pray for Rihard and Eva as they begin their new life together. 
Aren't they adorable?  

Much love, PW and Sherry

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Long Good bye

It is a beautiful Spring day today, Oh I forgot to mention it is November 18, and it is 78 degrees and sunny. So I am sitting outside enjoying the weather as long as I can.  As I have sat here and prayed and meditated on the word, I find myself getting nostalgic.

As you know my (Sherry) mom has been declining in her health for some time and as the days progress into winter she seems to be slipping away from us. Not physically, but her mind is getting a bit confused these days. It is like a long good bye. Each day I wake up and wonder if I will be spending it with my old mom or the new one.  Now mind you, the new one is as sweet and funny as the old, but sometimes our conversations are rather basic due to her condition.  I love when she is searching for a memory of some conversation we just had and she announces with a twinkle in her eye, darn that short term memory.  I don't think I could handle this if her sense of humor was not intact.  God is so gracious to us.

I was thinking back over our lives together.  My mom was one of those moms who poured herself into her family. I was an only child and when I was 10 my dad died suddenly.  I remember as a little girl how unsettling that was, but mom was a rock for me during that season of life. Even with her own pain she always had time to spend with me and take such good care of my  needs.  We would talk for hours about all the good times we had with Daddy and it would somehow make it seem like he was still with us. She eventually married again to a wonderful man named George who had two kids.  So I went from being an only child to a middle child.  Oh my what a change. But mom was always there for me and we loved our new family.  

Mom always worked during the school year as a secretary, but arranged her house so she was home when we were home.  And the best part she made sure she had her summers off so we could be together.  We like so many families have tons of memories and most of them are good.

Mom was there for me when I had trouble at School, or was sick or when I got married and was having problems and then when our daughter was born and I knew nothing about kids, mom was there.  Always with good advice and stability.  And she was and is a fabulous Grandma and Great Grandma.  Ask any of our 5 Grandchildren.

After mom gave her life to Christ she got even better.  Her life was spent serving others and caring for those God brought across her path.  She loves to evangelize even now and so no one got away without hearing the gospel at least once.  She started a blog a few years ago title The Granny Grams where she continued to share what God was teaching her and also the need for each person to give their lives to Christ.

But I have realized that as mom changes, if I am not careful I look at her each day and wait for the old mom to show up and if she does not it makes me very very sad.  So I said all of that to say that the Lord has shown me how important it is to do as Paul said  in Philippians 3:13: Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;but one thing I do, FORGETTING WHAT LIES BEHIND and REACHING FORWARD TO WHAT LIES AHEAD, I PRESS ON TOWARD the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

As I tuck her in each night her last words to me are always,  I love you and thank you for taking such good care of me.  What a precious memory to add to my list of things I love about her.

So what I am learning, note I said learning, is to celebrate each day for what it is and not look back always wanting things to return to what they were yesterday or last year or farther back.  This is the season God has me in and it is to be celebrated. It will not be wasted with what ifs and I wish we could go back.   This is an opportunity for me to give back to mom all the love and care she gave to me for years without ever complaining.  This is my opportunity to model to others how a believer in Jesus shows honor to a parent and handles difficulty.  God will not give me more than I can handle. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

So as I say  my long goodbye to mom I will mediate on what the  Psalmist said in Psalm 33:20-22 My soul waits for the Lord; He is my help and my shield. For my heart rejoices in Him, because I trust in His holy name.  Let your loving kindness, O Lord, be upon me. According as I have hoped in you.

I hope this has been an encouragement to you to look at your life and see how you are handling the season God has you.

Much love,
Sherry


Friday, November 11, 2016

Times of testing

James 1: 2-4 says: Consider it all joy,  my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I just realized today that we have not posted anything since our return from Latvia in May.  Two weeks after our return, Sherry's mom had a stroke and was in the hospital for 2 long weeks then came home and needed extra care for most of the summer. Sherry is the primary caretaker so time was definitely taken up with her care.  If it had not been for our family and those from our Church stepping up to help it would have been overwhelming.  They provided respite, meals and just encouragement. It made such a difference.  God used each one at the exact moment they were needed to help carry the load.

PW was also battling health issues. The summer was spent going to specialists, having tests done and then thankfully in September we finally got a good report and all is clear, no cancer, no lymphoma no anything life threatening.  We definitely learned a lot about healing during this summer.  Learning to stand on the promises of God for His children and rejoicing when we saw the fruition of those things for which we prayed.

At the present time both of our moms are still with us but both are getting weaker and more needy of our care as the days progress. This is a season and we are so honored that God is giving us this time with them as they finish their race on this earth.




However in light of this, Sherry is not able to travel with PW for a bit.  That means we cannot visit Ukraine or Poland this year as much as our hearts would love to go.  The Latvian Bible School is coming up in April and unless things change PW will be attending and teaching alone.  This will be the first time we have not been able to go together.  Please pray that God will work out all the details and that we will wait patiently for His will to be accomplished in this season.

We have had a busy summer of ministry also.


Had the privilege of doing many baptisms like this one. 


Our Grandson, Nathan put on a concert of his original songs to earn money for his trip to Emerging Sound in July. 


WE said goodbye to our beloved treasurer, Cindy Easthom,  who was moving to Kentucky


Hosted our friends Roger and Josiah Harsh who are missionaries in Czech Republic


Hosted our friends Ebi, Jessica and Natasha Dudzhus from Ukraine


Went to Sherry's 50th class reunion


Participated in an awesome Prayer meeting, on our town square with over 250 saints from area Churches, crying out to God for our  nation. 

Did our annual Church free and living water outreach at the Chardon Arts festival


Here are some of our youth passing out tracts and water 


Had a family carnival for our community as an outreach


So that is our update so now you know how to pray for us.  May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you today and always.

Much love,
PW and Sherry



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