Ok, I am fully aware Kevin took this picture on Christmas Day and the snow has all melted and I can no longer use the excuse that I am snowed in for putting off stuff I need to do.... BUT, be proud of me because I did actually organize the pictures on the computer and just found where Kevin put these photos to share with you.
This picture is priceless. (Not of me as hair is pitiful.) This is the picture of Monika and I with the four ladies that rode by bus (all night) for 11 hours to get to our teacher training session last Friday in El Tambo, Ecuador. (They came from Amazon jungle area.) I was amazed at all the lady's hunger to learn and desire to win others. (Would I have taken an 11 hour bus ride??umm) The 'monkey' in picture is puppet as we taught how to use them (thank you, sister for yard sale finds) and the pink bear is a beanie baby used in memory verse game. (It is official - I am begging for these to take next year's trip. In other words, free or super cheap.) Thanks to all of you for the prayers for our health and safety and God working in the Teacher Training time last Friday. This was truly the highlight of my trip. Our interpreter was great - every detail God orchestrated. The only problem was we did not take enough of the materials as there were 9 churches represented and we only took 6 of the Wordless Book's visualized, so we had to coordinate how some groups could share when finished. We gave out packets and door prizes and you name it to be sure everyone received enough tools. Of course, going into the schools was great and we did not have a single teacher turn us down. We presented the gospel to 267 kids in four days. Each child received a wordless book bracelet and tract and the ones who could read received a New Testament. Of course, in the afternoon the balloons got the highest attention. Once again the gloves were begged for. You would have thought I was giving out gold. (Here we go again to Dollar General for winter clearance sales next year.ha)
Thank you sweet Anna for coming out Monday night to get bulk of things packed for Ecuador. The picture does not do justice to the weight of each of these 'packed-to-the-limit' suitcases. Also, as you look at the suitcases, you cannot see all the Bibles, gloves, school supplies, balloons, clothes for precious little Israel (thank you again sister). The two tiny suitcases will be our carry on luggage which means everything for nine days. I know it is hot weather here but I have no room for coat so am going to have to wear it on plane. (That will probably look suspicious - great!) Another thing you do not see by just looking at picture of suitcases is my heart for the people in Ecuador. God has graciously allowed me to serve them as this will be my 5th trip. The reason for this post is to give you 4 specific prayer requests while we are there. Pray for our health, safety, open doors into each classroom and village. The fourth request is for specific time of Friday morning on October 1st. Monika and I will be teaching a group of women how to teach and lead children to Christ using the wordless book. We will be teaching how to do memory verse games, review games, Bible stories, songs. Our prayer is that as we disciple them, they will go into the schools and into their neighborhoods. Pray for the Holy Spirit to challenge them to go out and teach. Pray for our interpreter (I talk fast). Pray for good attendance. Even though I would not even teach in Scottsboro without God's help, I can guarantee you that I would not go all the way to Ecuador without His help. Please pray.
I cannot believe that we will be leaving for Ecuador in 3 weeks and 2 days. I would be more excited if I were packed!ha With Kevin going with me this year, I am sure you can do the math - that is double the dollars for trip. Kevin who loves gardening (yes, we are opposites), felt like he could raise extra vegetables and try to use that money toward our mission trip. Well, we did sell some to the produce lady in our community, but the rest we gave away (and gave away and gave away). A few weeks ago, one of the couples we have been giving okra to, gave us a check for $100 for our mission trip! I was overwhelmed by such a great gift and then another lady finished out the rest of our money for tickets. I have said all that to say this ----- Don't expect God to give unless you are willing to give. And don't be surprised at how He gives! Who would have thought okra would sell for $100? (Only God could do that!)
Ok, I know you kind of had to be there to appreciate this story, but see this boy in picture with me? The day before, he got choked on a piece of ice and I had to to do the Heimlich on him. He was at the VBS I went to with the youth group in Memphis at Impact Ministries. I love this 'after' picture (trust me the present with him vomiting in trashcan was not a pretty picture). It just occurred to me, this great method of saving a life when someone is choking is amazing. But, who are we kidding, the best way to save a life is to introduce them to Jesus Christ. Yes, this young boy was introduced to Him.
This past weekend, we took a short, tiny, mini vacation to Mountain City, Georgia. (Get the point?) We went on many, countless, winding roads and landed at one of the craziest races. Why, of course the sanguine in me says it was to have fun, and that we did. But the real reason is that crazy boy in the middle with the warrior hat on. It was a 5K race through mud, fire, water - only for a true warrior. (Notice, I did not participate in this race.)ha Caleb finished and we have great pictures, but this one is my favorite because it is us as a family, all together supporting him. I guess he looks back at the mud, fire and the water and the fun of the race. I look back at a young boy turning into a warrior - a different phase of his life. (Although, he has always loved playing in the mud.)ha The reality is that I pray everyday that he will be a great warrior and have great victories in his Christian walk.
This first picture, is what you might say the 'before' picture. The second one is the 'after'. I wish I could post all the kid's reaction, but this one is my favorite. This was my last night with 'counsel' time before the summer break. At the beginning of the school year, I started with one diet coke and mentos. I encouraged them to never miss a night because all through the year I would surprise them and each time I would double the amount (went to 2, 4, 8 and then this final night of 16). They all got to have their own bottle and mentos. They had so much fun - it was so exciting for them! (Don't think they realize how cheap this activity is.) I wonder when they look back on all the lessons I taught them this year if this one will be their favorite. (Who am I kidding? It will be!)
Wanted to post couple of pictures from yesterday's VBS training clinic of my room. Hope you can tell enough from the pictures (too bad you can't see all the hard work I put into it).ha Do you see the 'Cowboy Tenny'? They liked that a lot. I couldn't take a picture of the nine 'boots' hidden throughout room (like the 'hidden mickey's' at Disneyworld). Also, the 5 baskets contained all the visuals from each day. Although I am still recovering from all the work, this slave/servant (ha) is thankful for how God helped me. I am thankful for how He has gifted me because I sure would not do this on my own! Did I mention that crazy footwork on the song that nearly got the best of me? Signed, Cowgal Karen
Finally, rummage sale season is here and it officially opened with the Jr. League of Nashville's big sale which just so happened to be when I was there this week (coincidence, I think not). I got so many great buys. Most things still had the new (not just new to me) price tags. I love my brand new Dolce and Gabbana purse. Ok, I love it all. Anna, do you see your White house/black market skirt?
As most of you are aware, with my recent setback with difficulty in walking, blah blah blah blah, I thought that the Wegener's disease might be coming back (so did Dr. Hunt which proves I can self-diagnosis.ha) But thanks to God (just making sure He gets the glory) and the steroid Prednisone I am kicking and taking names! Now, you may be asking (I will tell you whether you or thinking it or not) - Why did she post this goofy picture of herself? It reminds me of such a happy time I had with my sister Sandy, and her daughter, Rachel, and my daughter, Anna at Tybee Island on our girls weekend out to Savannah, Georgia. Life is not filled with just happy moments (deadgum!) For a sanguine that is not so easy of an adjustment. For you melancholy folks, guess that is typical day!ha There are days when it is difficult to walk without pain and there are days filled with laughter and spirit of a marathon runner (that is the prednisone talking). What makes it all worthwhile? A faith that all my steps are ordered by God. (Psalm 37:23 "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives."
OK, I know you have seen my Ecuador pictures, but yesterday I had lunch with my dear friend, Monika. This is a picture of us on our second mission trip (Ecuador) where we served together. (Great memories!) Our friendship began almost 5 years ago when we worked together at a CEF afterschool program at the Boys and Girls club in Huntsville.
We are so much alike in so many ways although she has a german accent and I have a very southern accent. I believe God sent her into my path as she challenges me in many ways especially in my service.
She gave me a great quote yesterday from Thomas A'Kempis - Hope you enjoy it as much as I did -I have it in my kitchen window - "JESUS HAS MANY WHO LOVE HIS KINGDOM IN HEAVEN, BUT FEW WHO BEAR HIS CROSS." I told you she challenges me! Thank you God for sending Monika - I know it was not by chance!
I am computer challenged but refuse to be beaten up by an electronic device. (I can unplug it and run.) I love to laugh. I love my family (which provides me lots of reasons to laugh (OK, tears, too.) I love to worship.