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"!