We had a guest speaker in church yesterday who encouraged us to think this year of 20 things that we’re thankful for… and to make them a little deeper than “clothes.” 🙂 So, here’s my list of 20. I’d love to hear yours!
- My husband. I feel I’ve been truly blessed by the man God has given me. He truly completes me and he is leading us into ministry. I could not do this without him! He keeps my feet on the ground and my mind clear! 🙂
- Our financial supporters. The economy is horrible and there are hundreds of demands on people’s finances, everything from necessities to benefits and charities. And yet, the Lord has provided us with around 17 monthly supporters who remember us each and every month, regardless of their own personal circumstances. So incredibly humbling.
- Our prayer partners. I never realized what a discipline prayer was until I started praying for specific requests and people on a daily basis. Being a prayer warrior is really a gift and I’m so grateful for the many people that uphold us in prayer on a daily basis.
- Our mission organization. We’ve both been involved in a couple of different organizations and never have we felt so at home with any organization like we do with BCM. We love going down to headquarters and just talking with the people down there. They’re so encouraging, welcoming, and loving. A true family!
- My dog, Gunther. We had to leave a lot of stuff behind in SD and Gunther was one thing that I wanted to bring with us! We had to give away my two cats (both of which I really did love), but Gunther came with us. Unfortunately, he won’t be going all the way to Peru. So, I’m enjoying my time with him here, while I can. I’m sure gonna miss that little dog.
- Friendships. Moving around teaches you who your true friends are. When you up and leave someplace, it’s the ones that keep in touch, that want to know how things are going, that can carry on conversations that are more than “so, how are you?” – that are true friends. Sometimes it takes leaving before you find out who they are. We’ve also built friendships here in PA that we didn’t think we’d have. When you’re without friends, you also realize how much you need them!
- My Bible School education. Even though I grew up as a PK, I didn’t really know a lot about the Word of God, besides typical Sunday School answers. My two years at Bible school really helped me learn so much more about doctrine and theology than I would’ve ever known on my own. I also learned how to study the Word for myself and how to present Bible studies and lessons. I didn’t realize how invaluable this information was until recently when I found out others who grew up in the church are really clueless about some basic Bible knowledge.
- An entire extended family of believers. Everyone on both my mom’s side and my dad’s side are believers. That’s a lot of people, in case you were wondering! My dad comes from a family of eight… there’s a lot of cousins. 🙂 But, to my knowledge, everyone has accepted Christ as Savior, including most of my cousins’ children. What a legacy! Brian is one of only three believers in his entire family (the other two are two of his younger brothers), which means that we are the start of a new legacy. We’re quite excited about bringing the Gospel of Christ into this family!
- My health. This has been a good year for me, healthwise. I had some major problems with my thyroid a few years ago and it’s taken me about six years to get it regulated and under some kind of control. This is the first year in five years that I haven’t been to the doctor every few months and had to have blood tests every three months! My thyroid seems to have finally regulated; I have finally found a doctor I like (albeit, in SD); we have a doctor waiting for me in Peru who is a bilingual believer; and I have a pharmacist friend here in PA that can help with perscriptions. I think these should be numbers 10-14! 🙂
- The birth of my best friend’s baby in July. Braden Joseph Conry was born 24 hours after we left SD this summer. We were so disappointed that we didn’t get to meet him in person! We’ll meet Braden for the first time in two years, when we’re home on our first furlough. I’m thankful for his birth, though, because I love his parents so much and I’m so incredibly happy for them. They will make wonderful parents and they were so excited to have this little boy join their family. Her pregnancy was easy and the birth went well – it doesn’t get much better than that. Our family has had problems with miscarriages and family members unable to get pregnant, so seeing how easily her pregnancy and birth went just reminds me that it all really is a miracle and babies are a gift from God.
- My friends’ adopted baby girl they brought home in April. This story is an amazing journey of God’s sovereignty!! Our friends waited 15 years to be parents. They waited over a year to bring home an adopted child. They brought home this little girl two days after she was born in January. But, 24 hours later, the birth mom asked for her back. We rejoiced with them when they brought her home and literally sobbed and ached when they gave her back. It felt like a death in our family. Then, three months later, they got a call saying the birth mom wanted to give the baby girl back to them. She has some pretty serious medical issues and the young mom did not feel she could keep her. So, our friends brought Sadie Lynn back home in April and decided in July to adopt her officially. She becomes their little girl on paper in January 2009. She is their precious, beautiful, blind gift from God who even looks like them! God is so faithful and so good, even when it doesn’t appear that way all the time.
- The opportunity to lead about 25 children to the Lord in January. I taught three Released Time classes in January and part of February for a friend of mine who needed to have her hip replaced. Long story short… the week I stopped teaching, I gave the Gospel message and was able to see right around 25 kids total from the three classes accept the Lord as Savior. My favorite part was this one little boy who definitely knew what he’d done tell me after I explained the Lamb’s Book of Life to him that his name was written in there and he would see me in heaven. Praise the Lord!
- Our cultural training this spring. We attended the Center for Intercultural Training in NC for nine weeks this spring. We had no clue what to expect when we got there! It was a long, wonderful, amazing nine weeks. We feel so much more prepared for ministry overseas now! I’m so thankful for our professors, our mentor, and all the training we received.
- The friends we made at CIT. We really needed some friends who understand what we were going through and who would be right there with us on this journey. We met those friends in CIT. We now have close friends spread out all over the world – Morocco, Somaliland, Ireland, Romania, Guatemala, Kazakhstan… the list could go on. We have no idea when we’ll see these friends again. It might be in glory, but that’s okay. That’ll just allow us to not have time restraints on the reunion.
- The internet. I think about missionaries of old who left home, family, and friends for the mission field and were gone the rest of their lives – with no or very little communcation the entire time they were gone. Now, we can talk to friends overseas for free – and even see them with webcams! We can send updates, prayer requests, and letters via email and have them delivered within just a few minutes. Amazing.
- Freedom. I read a lot on WW2 and I am so grateful that I live in the era that I do. I have freedom of religion, freedom of speech… many, many freedoms. I am also safe! The terror in India is ongoing and that’s just one of many places around the world where persecution is running rampant right now. But, I am safe and free and my biggest worry is still miles smaller than what fellow believers are worrying about right now around the world.
- Loving parents. Even though living with my parents this past year has, at times, been really long and, shall we say, trying… I am so grateful for parents that love and support me and my husband the way they do. I have never been abused, neglected, or abandoned. I love my parents and I am so grateful for them and all they do for us.
- The talents God has given me. I am so grateful that the Lord has given me multiple talents that I can use for Him. He gives everyone talents… I’m glad He gave me the ones that I have. 🙂
- My Bible. I love having my Bible accessible. I am learning, as I grow older, to not take my Bible for granted. I love reading the Word. I am so thankful for this letter from God Almighty!
- My salvation. Without Christ, my life would be meaningless. To Him alone be glory forever and ever Amen! He has given me all the things I just said I’m thankful for, plus so many more.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! No matter where you are in the world, I hope you take time this week to thank the Lord for all He’s done for you this year. If you’d like, feel free to share some of them here. I’d love to hear them!!
[FYI, I put a different option for the prologue to my book under “My Writings.” Check it out and let me know what you think! 🙂 ]