Thursday, February 24, 2011

Get 'em Saved!

I was born to a full household, which included my father, a Minister, my mother, and 5 preceding siblings. So you could use that old term I "teethed on the church pews", I suppose. I grew up in church - every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and any and all additional "special" services or events - I was there, along with the family.

However, I didn't give my life to Jesus until I was 9 years old. This seems like a late age, considering I had likely heard the gospel a thousand times by then! But, it was that year, in August of 1971, at Canby Bible Camp, in Canby, Oregon, that I responded to the altar call, while the song "Just as I am" was played. I remember walking so bravely up the sawdust aisle, so focused on that wooden altar. "Just get there..", I remember thinking. I did. I cried, and repented of all the sin a nine year old could harbor, and asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. I meant it. I told Him, "I'll follow you, always".

I loved every minute I could steal away with my mother, alone, for her to read me Bible stories from the "blue" set of volumes published by Pacific Press. She would read to all of us, but I would sneak back downstairs after all the others had gone to bed, and beg her to read me "just one more"... which usually ended up being three or four more. I loved how she read, and I loved those wonderful stories! I still do.

Shortly after my conversion, I was baptized by my dad in our little church in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. I remember tearfully testifying, that "I just love Jesus.". It wasn't too long after that, that my dad requested that I play a "special offeratory number" on the organ. I had been taking piano lessons, but was not yet comfortable with the organ - or even playing in front of anyone. So, as I played "Faith of our Fathers", I fainted in the middle of the song, and fell backward off the organ bench.

Thus were my humble beginnings in ministry.

At the age of 10, I remember leading my friend, Lorie, in the "sinner's prayer". My first convert! I was so excited! It made me feel so good inside, I wanted to do more.

Later I asked my dad if I could teach the beginner's Sunday School class, as the church was small, and we were short-handed. After some time, and I'm sure debate with himself and my mom, he agreed. I leaped, joyously, into this new role! I was constantly trying to find new ways to tell these young preschoolers all the Bible stories that I so dearly loved. I had my brother help me make some wooden blocks, and also a "kitchen center" out of cardboard boxes, for their "play center". I remember I wanted them to remember that Easter was not about Easter eggs, but about Jesus' resurrection. So I found several small, stiff pictures of Jesus in the garden, so I cut them all into egg shapes, and framed them with tin foil, and colored paper. The kids made the connection. I was a good teacher, and I loved to tell the story!

My little brother, Donnie, seemed to share much of this same passion. Around that same time, he and I used to double up on my sting ray bike, and ride down to the empty playground at our elementary school on Saturdays, to play. We happened upon 2 or 3 "hoods" (teen-aged hoodlum boys) hanging around the fire escape, just looking cool and smoking. We decided we would try to get them saved! We began right then and there. We preached our little hearts out, and told them how much Jesus loved them. We met them there every Saturday, bringing along our "Gideon" New Testaments in our back pockets. They would scoff, mock, blow smoke at us, but they humored us some too. One Saturday, we were out of town and didn't make it. The following week, we showed up, and the boys asked "Where were you last week? We were here waiting for you!".

I don't know if those boys ever made a decision to follow Christ, but I do know that this experience was instrumental in stirring up the passion that I had to evangelize the lost. I still have that same passion, and I hope I never lose it. I want to be so tuned into God's call that I will go wherever there is a heart that will listen.

Here am I, send Me!

My heart is burning within me as I begin to write this article!

One month from today, I plan to be on my way back to Egypt! Since visiting that country last year, my heart, life, perspective, ministry, and passion has never been the same. I remember telling the congregation in Shousha "I have fallen in love with Egypt!". Little did I know how true that was.

After returning from Egypt, last year, I was given numerous opportunities to share my experiences with many audiences - large and small. I was passionate about it, each time I spoke. During this time, I decided to proceed with my education, and completed the required courses to obtain ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God. My calling to preach, and to reach the lost became stronger and stronger. I literally flew through my courses, and completed all of the steps to get my ministerial license in just a few months! I'm not sure why I felt such urgency, or if I was just bored, but I enjoyed every second of each course - feeling the entire time that it was preparation for opportunities for ministry.

During the summer, I was privileged to stay with my daughter, Sarah, in Spokane Valley, as she was preparing to give birth to her first child, Gibson. I attended her church with my other daughter, Bekah, while I was there. This particular Sunday, the church had a guest missionary, from Africa. He was very dynamic, and enjoyable to listen to. While he was speaking, he simply made a statement in a story he was telling, about some Arab muslims coming into a service. Right then, my heart felt like it literally flipped over in my chest - simultaneously shouting to me "those are my people!". I began to cry. I tried to hold back the tears, as I was completely uncertain as to why I was crying. Bekah turned to me and asked, "What's wrong, mom?". I wasn't sure how to respond then, and I am still uncertain as to how to respond.

During my time there- as I was diligently working on my Bible courses - I was working on the "History" of the Assemblies of God. This course included information on Lilian Trasher, one of the A/G's first missionaries. I had heard her name many times, however for some strange reason, I didn't know anything else about her. Mainly, was the fact that she was a Missionary to Egypt! Just south of where I was! She had felt a call to missions as a young lady, but didn't know where. Through a series of unusual events, God led her to Egypt. Long story short, she started the "Lilian Trasher Orphanage". This is one of the world's largest orphanages - housing over 650 widows and orphans. I spent the next several days researching Miss Trasher, and weeping as I read about Egypt, and her call there. I couldn't stop reading... researching... crying... praying... yearning. What was this all about? I had no idea.

I tried to push all of these feelings aside as just emotions from having gone on a missions trip. I figured this must happen to everyone that has gone on a missions trip, right? Well, I researched that too. I asked numerous people, who had gone on trips before, if they had those same passionate feelings about the place they had gone. All expressed they had felt a warmth, and a loving emotion for these places, but not the way I had described how I was feeling. Now, understand that I was called to the ministry when I was eleven years old, and I really am familiar with hearing God's voice within a "calling". So I knew, deep inside, that is what I was feeling.

Now came the bigger questions: Why me? How? When? The answers to those are still unfolding.

Why me?

I guess because my heart was so open to those people, that God simply poured His love for them inside me!

How and When?
We're not sure yet, but I'm taking opportunities as they come. It may just be a few short trips here and there, and my sharing the need with people here. It may be someday when we're retired. It may be from here, and corresponding with people there. I really have no idea, but I know that God is much more creative than I am!

For now, I am preparing, with anticipation, for my upcoming trip. I've learned some Arabic, including some verses about the love of Jesus. Something that is rarely heard there.

Although we realize the hesitations many people have in the idea of my traveling to Egypt in light of the recent events there, we feel like this is God's timing. We had prayed for God to break down strongholds in that country, and for God to bring revival there. We feel that this time may be a small window of opportunity for exactly that to happen.

We also realize a lot of people would look at all of this and wonder: "Hmm... she can't be called to Egypt - she has family here. A church here. Grandchildren here. Friends here. People who need her... here." I admit, I don't understand how this will all work. I am realizing more and more, however, that God doesn't think like I do... or like YOU do. He often does things that go WAY beyond MY understanding.

I DO know, however, that when He called us years ago, that we told Him we would serve Him wherever, however, and whenever He wanted us to. Everything else is just details.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


That's it... I've made my decision. I am going to do it.. no more putting it off, just talking about, or dreaming about... I'm gonna do it! I'm going to write a book!

I had the opportunity this past weekend to share at a Pastor's Summit, about adventures in ministry. It got me thinking, and remembering COUNTLESS stories of ministry that have been oh so challenging and exciting! I was able to share a few of those in my talk, but I was so stirred myself, I realized: I'm just getting started!

So, my goal is to remember them all and to write a book! I'll start small, of course, and try to blog them all. So... stay tuned for "Adventures in Ministry"!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Messages from Heaven

There is a wide variety of emotions that show up this time of year... spurred on by memories of the past, and hopes for the future. Christmas time is kind of an enigma... hard to understand the full scope of feelings and emotions that come with this celebration. Of course the perfect joy that comes in knowing this is the time we celebrate God's plan for our salvation, is incomparable!

I love to hear the Christmas story from the book of Luke. I'm always amazed at how the angels came to announce this upcoming event to the different characters. I've enjoyed the many stories in the Bible, when God used an angel to bring a message to people He was ready to use. I have, many times, desired to receive such an angelic message to help me understand my steps!

I think of the angel's greetings to Gideon, Zacharias, Mary & Joseph, Shepherds, etc., and noticed that all include a similar phrase: Don't be afraid. This phrase reminds me of my parents' comforting me, or my comforting my own children when there was hurt or pain.... "shhh... It's all ok". This is a message we need to hear frequently in our journey. Whether we are a "seasoned" Christian, a new believer, or maybe not a believer yet... we need to know what God's perspective is - what I call a "heavenly perspective".

Since my mom died, (basically in my arms), when I was 21 years old, I have had a different outlook on life. I had a new realization of the fact that life is short - very short. I also was aware that my mother is now in heaven, along with a "great cloud" of others who have gone before me. This helped me to realize that this life is not all that is going on! I have tried, since my mother's death, to keep a heavenly perspective. Sometimes it's easier than others, but it does help me when I realize God sees things from a clear perspective, unlike my very clouded view.

I've noticed that the angel's messages in the Bible typically brought three things:

-Comfort in time of Crisis
-Clarity in time of Confusion
-Confirmation in time of Conflict

Just a few years ago, my sister found a note written by our mom, tucked away in her jewelry box. Mind you, this was over 20 years after mom's death! She shared that with all of us siblings. For me, personally, it came at a perfect time. A time where I needed Comfort, Clarity, and Confirmation. Here's what was written in mom's handwriting:

Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God. God alone is sufficient. - Mom

I realized that God had just given me a message from heaven! He reminded me He knew who I was, where I was, and what was going on, and He was still there. His Word brings those messages over and over.

COMFORT: We are in times of crisis - as a country, as a church, and more personally as families, marriages, relationships... we need to know that God is still holding us, and saying "Be not afraid.... it's all ok".

CLARITY: During times of confusion... which seem to be almost daily for many of us! We are confused as to what is happening, and what is not happening.. what we are supposed to do, where we are supposed to go, what we're supposed to say, etc., etc. Confusion drains our energy, as we try so hard to see clearly what is ahead for us. We must remember that God has that clear perspective... the heavenly one! He sees the full picture of what is going on, and how this little "puzzle piece" fits into His whole picture. I'm reminded of the story in 2 Kings 6, how the entire Syrian army came to attack God's prophet, Elisha. Elisha's servant was terrified, as Elisha stayed calm. He asked God to open his servant's eyes, and as He did, the servant saw a massive host of fiery chariots and horses surrounding the Syrian army. There are more for us than against us! God opened his eyes, and allowed him to have that heavenly perspective. We need to have that daily, to be reminded that what's going on is much bigger than what we see, and that God is in control.

CONFIRMATION: Before the angels left their message recipients, they left them with words such as "Now go!...", or "Nothing is impossible.." or "it will be as I have said.." or "you will see.." Those words of confirmation are so needed to give us that push we need to take one more step toward the plan God has for each of us. Confirmation in times of conflict. We are often struggling in our mind, with the flesh & spirit, with each other. We need that confirmation, that assurance, that God has our back. He has laid out a plan, and is going before us, behind us, and beside us to get us through!

How was Mary able to make it through such a difficult time in her life? Or Joseph? or Gideon? Or you or me? Because God continues to give us those "messages from heaven".

Now, "go in this might of yours"! For the Lord your God is with you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Wow! How fast this past year has gone! Christmas is almost here, and I'm still thinking it's summer time!

This year has been a very different one from any I can recall. I've had an "empty nest" for the entire year, but have managed to keep my life full and busy.
-I've enjoyed several visits with my near by sisters;
-my first out of the country visit.. to Egypt!;
-a summer vacation seeing my brother and my in-laws;
-welcomed two more granchildren;
-took the required courses, finished and past the test for my ministerial credentials; -had a few speaking engagements;
-enjoyed friends, my church, and my home.
-had some minor, unexpected health issues,
-I'm getting "re-acquainted" with my husband, of almost 29 years,
-and looking forward to new adventures in 2011!

Whew... it's been quite a year. One thing has always been constant: my Lord, my Savior, my best friend, my reason for living, my life: Jesus! How grateful I am for His faithfulness, His mercy, His unfailing and unconditional love!

So, 2011: God & I are ready for you! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Super Nana!?

I recently had the opportunity to babysit three of my grandkids for a week, as their parents (my daughter, Rachel & her husband, Kyle) had to be out of town.

Fully aware that it had been quite a while since I "ran a household" with three young children, I arrived a day early to watch Rachel's routine. She was very organized, and had a daily schedule made out for me, which included the routine for each child. "Girls up by 7:45 a.m., fix breakfast, dress them, make school lunches, check backpacks for homework, jackets, walk them to the bus stop". Seemed simple enough.

Did I mention I was also dog-sitting their young, yet large, golden retriever, Charlie? He's house-broken, but I found out the hard way that you can't just let him out to go potty, you have to chain him up (as their is not a fenced yard). So... first morning on duty, I awake early, as my 2 year old grandson, Connor, slept with me... (correction: I didn't "awake", I had been awake all night). Anyway, I arose, with Connor crying for mommy. I patiently took him downstairs, made him breakfast, gave him a big hug and set him in front of "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse", while I held Charlie's collar to take him outside to go potty. Being a bit wiser now, I took the "shortcut" through the garage, and chained him up in the back yard. I ran, barefoot and in my pj's, back through the garage to go back inside... low and behold- I locked myself out!

"You're just a super grandma!", I thought, sarcastically, as I stood in the garage pounding on the door for little Connor to hopefully open it up. My first full day on duty, and I have just locked all three children in the house, without supervision! The girls were still sound asleep upstairs, and Connor was enjoying his juice and cartoons. After about 15 minutes of pounding on the door, and praying, I heard Connor's little feet patter across the floor, he opened the door with "Hi Nana! I'm hungry!". I was SO glad that door didn't have the childproof knob cover on it, like the front door did!

The week went better after that, (except for Connor stuffing his coat in the toilet), but I definitely realized how much my daughter does, and how glad I was that I had my children at a young age! I was exhausted by the end of the week, but oh so blessed to spend that time in their home with those three amazing children!

I'll rest up a while, then hope I get another opportunity soon. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

God's Chosen People

Since traveling to Egypt, my heart hasn't been the same. If it's possible to fall in love with a whole country, I believe I did.

I remember being overwhelmed, one evening during the worship time in a church in Egypt, with the feeling of God's passion for His people. He spoke to me in that moment - as I scanned the congregation worshiping with all their hearts - He said, "Angi, this is just a glimpse of what heaven will be." It was clear to me that He was showing me a picture of HIS children... all together... worshiping Him! I fell in love, at that moment, with His children.

There is a lot of discussion, controversy, debate, and varied teachings on who are really God's children. Especially in the "Christian" and political worlds, this is a hot topic.

I, being raised a staunch Republican, have adopted some preconceived views that I never really studied for myself. As an evangelical Christian, in America, we try to be very careful to follow the Bible for our views. Along with that, we have taken God's Word to heart, as it states in the Old Testament, that the Jews are "God's chosen people". So, then, end-time prophecy comes into play in a big way! There are literally thousands of books on this topic alone.

All believers, and most of America, are standing by watching what will happen to the Jewish people, to see what the future holds for the rest of us. America has historically taken a "Christian stance" to ally with Israel - which has been of some comfort to Bible-believing Christians. Along with that fact, we are eagerly watching the events in the middle-east.

Of course, since 9/11, some of our views changed or escalated, as some Muslim terrorists attacked our homeland. We've taken this to an extreme as time has gone by. These "Muslim terrorists" have been changed to simply "Muslims"... including all people of this religion. We have, then, made all "Muslims" out to be terrorists, and enemies of Christianity and America.

My heart broke the other day, in having a conversation with a fellow minister. The statement was made that "if people knew how horrible Muslims were, and how awful they treat people, we wouldn't be tolerating them so much!" I bit my tongue. How is it that we have come to this conclusion? Media? Internet stories? Pictures? My mind goes back to my short time in Egypt. In the midst of Christian Arabs in the church, and in the midst of Muslim Arabs, outside the church, not once did I feel threatened, looked down upon, or mistreated in any way. Quite the contrary! Within the church, of course, I was treated with great respect, as I was their guest, and we shared the same God. Outside the church, in the taxis, hotels, marketplaces, and on the airplanes, I was also treated with great respect. Although, it was known that I was not only an American, but a Christian.

I have to stop and ask myself... what is God's view of these people? The answer comes quickly: HE LOVES THEM!

Jews? He loves them!
Muslims? He loves them!
Hindus? He loves them!
Buddhists? He loves them!
Atheists? He loves them!
Murderers? He loves them!
Me? He loves me!

Does God see our political views the way we do? Does He favor a government over another? When we ask "who are God's chosen people?" The answer needs to be, as God's word states: "For God so loved the WORLD..." The New Testament makes it clear that a Jew is no longer one who is circumcised physically, but those who are circumcised of the heart. The ones whom have had God cut away the old heart, and has made us new. This is not a "physical nation", this is God's kingdom... those who have humbled themselves to Him, and called on the name of His Son, Jesus - still the only way by which man can be saved. He chooses that everyone has an opportunity to hear this hope, and become His child. Those, are God's chosen people.