Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Family Service Opportunities

Are you looking for Summer getaway ideas for you and your family? Why not consider a short-term ministry opportunity? See below for two different organizations looking for volunteers.

Note:  I know of one family who recently returned home from a trip to Voice of the Martyrs, and am looking forward to hearing about their experiences there. If she shares on her blog, I will be sure to direct you to it. In the meantime, read the descriptions below and, if you would like more information, click on the name of the organization to be directed to their volunteer page.

Bartlesville, OK

Short-term volunteers (including families of various ages) work at the Operations Center doing various tasks. They fold, count, sort, stack, stuff, shrink wrap and sticker, just to name a few. This area is clean and climate controlled. Volunteers are seated while they work. There are a few other jobs that require standing and lifting. This is to be determined by the individual volunteer and the work schedule.

VOM does have furnished housing available to volunteers that work an average of 5 hours/day for every night in the VOM housing. The housing has all bed linens, a working kitchen, and living and dining areas. Housing is subject to availability.

~ ~ ~

San Antonio, TX

Staff and volunteers are responsible for the preparation, packing, and shipping of materials for class operation. Preparation involves filling orders and assembling materials, manuals and forms. All of these items, including the lessons, are packed and shipped to classes around the world.

Volunteers include anyone who is interested in participating in the ministry of BSF. Volunteers must be 13-years-old to serve in the Hertzler Press, and 16-years-old to serve in the kitchen. Teenagers must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.

· Volunteers may serve in the press from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
· Volunteers may serve for half days or whole days, depending on their schedules. Each day includes two (20-minute) breaks for rest and fellowship as well as a one-hour lunch break. First-time volunteers will be scheduled to take a tour of headquarters from 1-2 p.m.
· Please contact the volunteer coordinator at least one month in advance to schedule your visit.

Housing is available on campus for only $10-$15 per person per night, with certain other requirements. Others choose to find hotel rooms on their own off-campus, depending on schedules and other needs.

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I would love to hear from anyone who has already volunteered at one of these places with your family, or if you know of any other great service opportunities that are not listed here! Please feel free to e-mail me:  HERE 


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Here to Help Each Other and Bear the Load (GUEST: Janice Luyster)

Awhile ago, I sent out an e-mail to some of my friends and family, asking for testimonies or stories of how God has worked in their lives. I gave 5 options for them to choose from, and one of those options was to share about a specific time in their life when God sent someone to be an “angel” to them. Earlier this week, I shared a story from Charity Vanderhoof about how God delivered her husband from seizures. She had mentioned the “angels” that were sent to her and her husband to help them. Now, today, I have a short story from

Janice Luyster

Jan is a relative of my husband, David, and a friend to us both. She enjoys traveling, flower gardening, reading and photography. She is also active in her church in various positions, one of which is writing a monthly library news article for the church newsletter. Here is the story Jan wanted to share with you all.

A gal from church who, I didn't know too well at the time, was sent to me about three days before my husband passed away. She stopped in where I was working and said she would come over to my house the next evening and help me, and that way she would be able to meet my husband. When I got home from work the next evening, things weren't going well. I called her and told her that she might not want to come over. She said she still would, as she had helped to take care of her mother when she was ill and passed away. She came that evening and the next evening. The following evening, when she came over, he had passed away about an hour before. Since then I've called her my angel.
Thankyou for sharing, Jan! It is encouraging to see how God brings certain people into our lives to help us at just the right time. He definitely uses average, everyday people like us to do HIS work. Your “angel” is an example to all of us to keep our eyes and our hearts open to other’s needs, and be willing to reach out to them in their time of need. Here is a beautiful old hymn that speaks of us being a servant to one another, just as Christ has been a servant to us.

The Servant Song
by: Richard Gillard

Will you let me be your servant;
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
We are trav’lers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow,
'Til we've seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony.

If anyone reading this has a story YOU would like to share, please e-mail me at: medicfam@frontier.com


Monday, May 23, 2011

REVIEW: The Take Action Bible

The Take Action Bible, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, is a full-length Bible in New King James Version. The difference between this Bible and others is that it is interspersed with 48 full-color pages that include 15 true stories from real people. These stories give us examples of how to “take action” with God’s Word.

The theme of this Bible is: Together we can change the world.

You will “meet” people who have answered God’s call to GO, SERVE, GIVE, HEAL and TEACH. However, it is not insinuating that every Christian must be an overseas missionary. The idea is to help us understand that every Christian should be serving the Lord in some way. Even children can answer this call. In fact, there is a story included in this Bible that tells of 9-year-old girl who set up a lemonade stand to raise money for local flood victims. She raised $34, which is quite a lot for selling lemonade!

After each story also comes a Bible reference to look up. (How convenient to already be holding a Bible in your hand.) And, it also includes a couple of thought-provoking questions, as well as a place to write notes. Then, in the back of the Bible, there is also a list of 52 ways to “take action.” The reader is challenged to do at least one action per week, filling an entire year’s worth. A couple examples of these ideas is to (1) hold open a door for everyone you can during the week, or (2) volunteer at a soup kitchen. These could be considered small actions to some, but it could mean a world of difference to the receiver.

It’s definitely a neat little concept for a Bible and, in my opinion, would make a nice gift for a young graduate of High School or College. However, ANYONE could benefit from reading it.

You can find it on Amazon.com for around $11.00.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

GUEST: Charity Vanderhoof - Sharing About Her Husband's Deliverance From Seizures

My friend, Charity, is the guest blogger for today. She is sharing how God sent some “angels” to help deliver her husband, Vic, from a severe seizure disorder. Thankyou for sharing this, Charity! It is wonderful to hear how God worked this situation out in your life!

On January 31, 2003, at 9:06pm, Vic and I had just gotten home from going out for pizza on a Friday night. Vic had his first grand mal seizure after a 23-year absence of them. We had only been in our apartment for 5 minutes. While Vic was driving home, just as we were getting off our exit, he complained about a ringing in his ears. Then after being home only a matter of minutes, Vic had the seizure. This was the first of many seizures and we learned the ringing of the ears came before seizures for Vic. He continued to have seizures for five years. It was like walking on eggshells. You never knew when the next seizure would come and you never knew what, if anything, would trigger one.

We lived through a lot during that time until, one day, by a set of circumstances I will not go over right now, we ended up with a different doctor. It turns out that my husband was a candidate for brain surgery. He had the surgery February 19, 2008, and Vic has been seizure free ever since. He also no longer takes medication. Furthermore, he had always had these unexplained “episodes.” It turns out those were undiagnosed petit mal seizures and Vic could not remember even one day of his life not having one of these episodes, prior to the surgery. These petit mal seizures are completely gone as well. To even further share the miracle of this, Vic had learning disabilities that reversed as he healed from surgery.

God sent a team of “angels” to us that absolutely revolutionized our lives when He led us to Dr. Kahlil, Dr. Roof, and Dr. Niemat. We had no quality of life, and had no hope of a quality of life. But, then, the Lord delivered us from our situation. This past December, Vanderbilt (where the surgery took place) used Vic as an example of a changed life from this type of surgery. At that time we figured up some of his statistics. On average, Vic had 3 violent grand mal seizures per week for a period of five years. He also had daily petit mal seizures since infancy. To God be all the Glory that Vic, and our entire family, has been delivered from these seizures.

You can read more from Charity over at her own blog:


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Investing Your Time As A Wife

When you want to improve upon something, or even just maintain the level of strength you currently have in a specific area, it takes a commitment and an investment of your time to do so. Wouldn’t you agree? Well, one of the BEST investments of a wife’s time is to work at strengthening her marriage.

“But, what about HIM?” you might ask. “Why doesn’t HE just do what I want, then we will get along just fine!”

I once read an article by Lorrie Flem of Eternal Encouragement Magazine that said something like, “Don’t focus on your husband’s part in the marriage, and what he is or isn’t doing. Instead, just focus on YOUR part as a wife, and ask God to help you be the kind of wife He wants you to be.” That’s hard to do at times, isn’t it?

Well, this month’s GABBY MOMS product review can help you to invest your time wisely in your marriage. It’s a “marriage bundle” from Lorrie Flem called, "Marriage - To Have and To Hold," and it includes:
  • 31 Prayers for Husbands
  • Marriage quotes from well-known names
  • 75 Inexpensive Romantic Rut Cures, by Lorrie Flem
  • Several other e-books on marriage
  • short stories and reports
  • Magazine articles
  • MP3 audios
  • and, lots more...
When I was sent this month’s review material, I was not especially thrilled. The zip file I received was loaded - and I mean LOADED - with at least 15 PDF documents and 2 MP3 files. I thought, “My goodness.... how in the world am I going to get through all of this material in time to write my next review?!” And, to be completely honest with you, I STILL did not completely get through it all. There was just wayyyy too much material for me to read in just a few short weeks. However, what I WAS able to get through was definitely good stuff! I can assure you that I will be investing some more of my time to continue reading the rest of the bundle.

In “75 Inexpensive Romantic Rut Cures,” Lorrie said, “Next to your relationship with God, your mate should be your number one priority.” I encourage you to take a moment and do a check-up on your priorities. Are you doing YOUR best at keeping your marriage alive and healthy? If not, then this MARRIAGE BUNDLE might just be the thing you are looking for!

Disclaimer: I received The Marriage Bundle as an official member of The Gabby Moms blogging program for Eternal Encouragement Magazine. I did not receive compensation for this post and all opinions are solely my own You can find the Marriage Bundle, and many other great resources at: http://www.eternalencouragement.com/ 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Whole Bible Story

When I first saw “The Whole Bible Story,” by Dr. William H. Marty, listed as one of my review choices from Bethany House, I was really excited about reading it. For one, the author was one of my professors while I attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I enjoyed the class he taught: Survey of the New Testament. Dr. Marty always had a way about him that made learning the facts of the Newt Testament interesting. So, I was really curious to see what this book was like.

The other reason I wanted to read the book was because it sounded like something I would enjoy reading... and, I was right! This book is considered to be “a Bible story for grown-ups.” It is not a translation of the Bible, and it is not a paraphrase of the Bible’s 66 books. It simply tells the story of the Bible, as if someone was just talking to you and giving a narration. It is meant to be used as a tool alongside the Bible, to help readers better understand what they are reading. It would be great to give to a new Christian who doesn’t really know anything about the Bible, or to someone who is curious. But, it is also good for anyone to read who desires a better understanding of the stories that happen in the Bible.

You can read more about the book, and see a preview, by clicking here:

Disclosure: I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions I have expressed are my own. If you have a blog of your own, and are interested in receiving review copies from Bethany House, here is a link where you can sign up: www.bethanyhouse.com/bookreviewers

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

His Presence Brings Rest

It was awhile ago when I first read this verse...

Exodus 33:14 -
And He said, "My presence shall go {with you,}
and I will give you rest." (NAS)

I liked this verse, because of its comforting tone to it, and decided to ask a few friends what it means to them. Here are some of the comments I received:

Patricia Rod:
Before [my] acceptance and surrendering of all to Jesus, missionaries would come to visit and I saw radiant faces and smiles and quiet loving spirits. I wondered what caused that and could I learn of it.
God said, "I will make all my GOODNESS pass before you. However He said NO man may see Me and live. Moses was able to see God’s lingering image after He passed by, and even that caused Moses’ facial skin to shine with God's passing Light. WE shine because of God's promise of His "presence" to go with us.
Daneille Snowden:
I love the pronoun "He" here. He is My God, my Father - who is indeed omnipresent (everywhere)! Sometimes, I am in places not just physically but emotionally that seem so dark and lonely. Yet, there is that peace in the midst of the dark storms knowing HE SAID He is with us, and with Him the storms do cease - mostly in our spirits (where it really matters anyway). When God says it, like many a preacher has said, "that settles it!"
Mary Lee:
It seems to me that God agreed to go with [the Israelites] and not only to do that, but in His mercy and wisdom to give them rest also (which I take to mean defeat of their enemies).
James McIntosh:
It seems that the God and Creator of this world was telling His chosen people to relax in Him and that He would help them and take care of them. He only wants them to choose to follow, no matter how bad things would look or become.
Overall, the focus of this verse is primarily on two important words: presence and rest.

PRESENCE: The state or fact of being present, as with others or in a place. If someone is present, that means he is right here, right now, able to be communicated with in some way.

REST: to settle your mind, put you at ease, give you comfort.

When GOD is present in our lives, HE gives us his love, companionship, comfort, & support. This is what brings peace and rest to our souls - just knowing He is there to help us and carry us when the going gets tough.

Here is a video about resting in His presence that you may appreciate...

Monday, May 9, 2011

CHERYL'S STORY: You Deserve A Break Today

I had the privilege of reading this STORY last week on the blog of MANY HATS MOMMY (a.k.a. Jenny). I asked permission to share it with you, as I feel it is a good reminder to us all to be more open to the Lord’s prompting, and to try to understand how another person might be feeling in a difficult situation.

This true story is about a mom named Cheryl and her two boys on the autism spectrum. The oldest has Aspergers, the younger was severely damaged by vaccines and also has cerebral palsy. It took place about 14 years ago when Cheryl was two hours from home, dealing with her boys after a big disappointment. Her son, Eric, was 11 years old at the time. Her son, John, was 4.

The story is a bit longer than my usual posts, but it will definitely keep your interest! So, PLEASE.... take the time to read it! You won’t regret it...

You Deserve a Break Today

I walked out to the van where the boys were waiting with news about meeting Dad. Rain started to fall making a cold day even colder and my spirits as damp as the day. I knew Eric would be disappointed that his Dad was not joining us, and I was not looking forward to handling John alone in a strange place where nobody knew us. At least at home, even though people didn’t understand, they had grown familiar with seeing us around town. People who worked in the local restaurants knew us and had compassion.

I drove around looking at the layout of fast food restaurants. I knew I needed a place with a back door where I could come and go without John having to pass a crowd of people. I knew I needed to be in the back left alone to cope with John and not be bothered or bother others.

A McDonald’s fit our needs perfectly. Eric was not happy as his Dad had promised we would eat at Back Yard Burgers, but I knew that was not a place where I could slip in and out with John. I promised Eric he could still go there when we picked up his Dad and the two of them could go together. For now, I needed to feed John and pass some time

I went through the drive thru and placed our order, two happy meals, extra order of fries, nothing for me. My job was to hold and feed John.

“I thought we were going to go out to eat but inside!” Eric said as I pulled into the drive thru.

“We are, it’s just I can’t hold John, carry a tray of food, juggle paying and all, so this works best. We will circle the building, and go in that back door, sit down and eat. If we need something, we will be inside.” I spoke as I dug for change to pay the lady at the window.

This plan worked well for a few minutes. I managed to get both boys in and the food in one trip and find a table in the far back. To help John cope with the noise, lights, and general atmosphere, I placed him in my lap backwards so that his face was facing mine.

Eric sat across from us and kindly opened both Happy Meals and placed John’s fries and chicken nuggets in a location that was easy for me to reach.

Rain pelted the glass window beside us and I leaned back in the bench and breathed a sigh of relief. John was quiet, and eating one fry after another. Eric was happy talking endlessly about a book he had been reading and ideas he had. I felt normal and happy for a few minutes, like a normal Mom out with her kids.

I relaxed and looked around and then back down at John’s sweet face. I looked back at a happy Eric and thought to myself, this must be what it is like to be a Mom with normal kids out to enjoy the day.

It didn’t last long, our perfect world shattered when John ate his last French fry.

I tried to switch to chicken nuggets and he was having no part of it. He tossed his head backward and slammed it forward into my chest. His blow knocked the breath out of me, and the next sound I heard was John’s ear piercing scream as his head went back a second time.

“Fries, hand me fries NOW!” I said as I struggled to hold John back from falling back into me a second time.

“MOM, gosh, they are MINE! You said I could have extra! Make him eat his chicken, I ate mine,” Eric said as he handed me one fry.

“So help me son, this is not the time or place to argue over fries, I’ll get you more in the drive thru. But now I can’t move, and I have to keep John quiet in a public place. Come on, hand them over. Once he is quiet and no longer stiff, I can move and we will leave.”

John grew quiet and turned around in my lap once the fries were within reach. For a minute, things went back to happy. So happy, I grew confident that I could make a mad dash to the counter for more fries and maybe even a sandwich for myself. “Do you want to go order some fries?” I asked Eric.

“No, I can stay with John. We will be okay. He is happy, and I can feed him. You go get what you want.” Eric said as he reached for a fry to hand John.

I weighed the situation for a minute. It was a straight shot to the counter and back. If I timed it where there was nobody at the register, I might just pull it off. I stood up and stood beside the table. Eric’s plan was working; he was handing John one fry at a time, and John was taking them from him and eating slowly. I looked over my shoulder at the counter; the last customer was walking away.

I held my breath and started walking backward, eyes glued to the table, when I was about seven steps from the counter; I turned around and turned my back on the boys for the first time. No screaming. This was going to work! I was actually going to walk up to a fast-food counter and place an order alone!

My heart was beating fast, and I found it hard to breathe. Yes, I am a normal Mom. I can order food and pay for it and wait for and carry it……

I turned quickly when Eric yelled, “I can’t hold him!”

John had slid out of the seat and was on the floor. He looked like a puddle of jello, he was so limp. Eric was reaching under the table trying to catch John who was strangely quiet, but moving. John stood up and headed straight toward me. I leaned down and spread my arms to catch him, when out of nowhere, John reached up onto a table and pulled down a cheeseburger, took one bite and dropped it to the floor, all this without stopping and still headed right into my arms. I was horrified as the burger rolled across the floor. Now I knew why John had screamed at the chicken nuggets, he had wanted a cheeseburger.

The burger belonged to a well-dressed business man who had a news paper spread out on the table and was sipping coffee. Out of the corner of my eye I had seen him unwrap the burger when I was walking backward.

“I am so very sorry, I’ll pay for it.” I said breathlessly as I walked back to where the man was sitting. To my surprise, he was laughing, big hard fully blown belly laugh and shaking his head no. When he finally caught his breath, he reached up and touched my arm.

“I am sorry, I am not laughing at you or your son. It’s just he was so quick, and caught me off-guard, it’s nothing, really, I don’t want you do buy me one or pay for that one. I didn’t need it, I just bought it to have, my wife will be thrilled I didn’t eat it. You have your hands full, let it go. It made my day, I was stressed at work and came here for a break, and boy did I need to laugh. Thank you for making my day.”

He stood up and began to clean up his area. “Go on now, it’s okay, really, I need to get back to the office, and you, you need to get back to your son.” He smiled at John and chuckled again as he walked over to a trash can.

I slipped back into the booth with John in tow. I was embarrassed for having left John for a minute, and yet, knew if I had picked him up to carry with me to the counter, he would have screamed violently. It was a no-win when it came to trying to know what to do or not to do when you had to navigate the public with John.

“Mom, what about the fries?” Eric asked.

“You have got to be kidding me. Let’s just finish up. You eat John’s nuggets and we will do the drive-thru. We got off lucky, don’t press your luck son.” I said as I hugged John close.

I looked out at the rain and listened to John hum and thought about how lucky I had been that the man had been so understanding. Suddenly the silence of my thoughts was interrupted by an employee holding a tray full of food.

“Your order.” She said as she sat it down on the table.

“NO, NO, NO, not mine, quick before my son gets that!” I said to her.

She put her hand on her hip and looked a bit out done. “Listen lady, you are the only Mom with two boys back here. Now this is yours.”

“But I didn’t order it. I didn’t pay for it.” I argued as John reached for the tray and began to slap the food.

“Yea, I know. That man did, that guy in the suit. He said to tell ya, thanks for the laugh, and take time for yourself to eat, does that mean anything to ya?” She said as she started to walk off.

I bowed my head and whispered to nobody in particular, “Yes, it means the world to me.” This stranger, who had been watching us, saw I was not eating and had bought my lunch.

The tray contained two cheeseburgers, a coke, large order of fries and ice cream for us all. In one minute my faith in humanity was restored and I knew that no matter how hard the days, God had everyday angels watching over us. The rest of the day went smooth just because I knew, someone did care.


Thankyou, Jenny and Cheryl, for allowing me to share this story. We may never know what a small act of kindness did for someone, but the receiver will remember it forever. .

Monday, May 2, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: God Gave Us Two

I recently had the opportunity to review another one of Lisa Tawn Bergren’s books for children. It’s called, “God Gave Us Two.” I love these books, with their sweet, colorful illustrations of a polar bear family. This particular one isn’t my most favorite, but it definitely has a special purpose. It is about Mama polar bear being “with child,” and addresses the questions that Little cub comes up with:

~Why do you need a new baby?

~If we don’t like the baby, can we send it back?

~Will she go iceberg hoppin’ and puffin pouncin’ with me?

~Will the new baby look like me?

~Will you forget about me?

All of these are questions that a young child might ask when mommy is expecting number 2. It is a good book to share with little ones to help them accept, love and appreciate their new siblings.

You can find a hardcover edition of this book on Amazon.com for $9.99.

Disclaimer: Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions I have expressed are my own.