Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Beulah . . . Stayed on the Way

Did you ever sing some song about Beulah land in church? And wonder what on earth (or in heaven) Beulah might be? Isaiah 62:4 uses the term to describe Israel as "married" or "espoued." Various writers, including John Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress use the name for a refreshing place between earth and Heaven. We visited Beulah Ministries in New Mexico on our trek around the U.S. this summer and found it to be just such a place. Our photo scarcely shows how idyllic it is.
Christians come here from around the globe for rest, reflection, or to simply wait upon the Lord. We were there as guests of Faith Comes By Hearing. Beulah Ministries is separate from Faith Comes By Hearing, though the Jackson family were instrumental in starting both. Annette and Jerry Jackson did not intend to settle near Albuquerque, New Mexico. They did, however, intend to radically follow Christ. This is where their own pilgrimage led them. They currently live in an apartment attached to the Beulah guesthouse. If you go there, you can enjoy Annette's flower garden in person. Jerry may make you an amazing breakfast. And--unless you try hard not to--you will leave refreshed.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Water Keeper--Met on the Way

Have you ever stayed in a motel with one of those free continental breakfasts? We've gotten well acquainted with those, but we have not always mastered the art of opening the plastic packets that often accompany such breakfasts. So at a small motel in Colorado, a man at the next table offered to assist. He had on a T-shirt about being a Waterkeeper. Members of the Waterkeeper Alliance work to preserve and improve the water in their areas. He told us that, thanks to cracking, some people in Alabama have so much methane in their water system that they can light the water that comes out of their tap. Clean water isn't something to be taken for granted.
We discovered this first-hand in a village in Moldova. We were staying in someone's home where the main water source was a well like this one. We had some hand-wash to do, and did it in a basin on the edge of the well. The Romany woman who was looking after the house where we stayed got very, very upset. The basin of laundry water might have tipped into the well and made the water unclean.* We didn't grow up with wells and didn't know any better.
There are over 300 official Waterkeepers around the globe.  And, thank God, there are many, many more unofficial ones.

*We were washing things that go on the lower half of the body. That part of the body is considered unclean among many Romany groups. So this may have made the well ritually unclean as well as literally unclean.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Met On The Way--Part 1

Bernadette, left, with translator Dona, right
Keith and I have been trekking around the U.S.A. since April 17. We've heard extraordinary stories along the way, including this one about  our long-term friend Bernadette. Here she is enjoying a meal at a Romany home in Moldova.That's fitting, since she has served so many meals herself. When the flood waters hit Baton Rouge, LA, last August, Bernadette and her sister Nora Beth sprung into action. Bernadette's table seats 14. Every night they filled that table with people who had been flooded out. Bernadette told us those people either walked in the door crying or burst into tears sometime during the evening. It was a relief for them to find a dry haven and sympathetic listeners.
Friends from as far away donated towards the dinners.  At one point, her sister asked, "How long are we going to keep fixing supper like this?"
"As long as we can," Bernadette replied.
After two months, Bernadette and her sister went down to about two nights a week. They stopped counting dinners served (not diners but dinners) at 94. Extraordinary the things that ordinary Christians do!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

For Moms and other interested parties--Parent-Child Club

Did your mom read to you? Did she show you how to work puzzles? Did she give you crayons and coloring books? Did she play games with you? Let's back up a step--did she have games to play with you, crayons to give you, and books to read to you?
These moms don't. But they can teach their children all those literacy-related things your mom taught you through a Parent-Child Club.

What is the Parent-Child Club?
Fun activities that help children learn. Young children participate together with an older person from their family. This person could be a mother, grandma, an aunt, a sister or a father, uncle, brother or grandfather.

Why use the child’s first language as much as possible? 
Children learn best in their own language, partly because they feel more at ease when their own language is spoken. Also, it improves a person’s sense of self-worth when their language is considered important enough to be used in activities like this.

These photos are from the first field trial. We would like to do at least two more this coming year. Interested in helping? Or leading one yourself? Let us know! 
Activities: available at Davar Parent-Child Club.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Searching for More than a Pink Ribbon

How many people do you know who've had breast cancer? In recent years three close friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Scary. They went through various treatments and surgeries. Thanks to modern medicine and lots of prayer, they have all been declared cancer free.

Maricica's sister with child
Maricica had breast cancer, too. Unlike my cancer-surviving friends, Maricica happened to have been born into a Romany family in Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe. Her family did not have enough money to pay for the necessary operations. In the words of her pastor, "after some great pain she died." This 35-year-old mother left four children. Her mother now looks after them as best she can.
We're praying for someone who can do community/economic development among Romany in countries like Moldova. So that families like Maricica's can pay for necessary operations, and children like Maricica's can have a cancer survivor as a mother instead of being victims of cancer themselves.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

Prayer:  Roma and Dom in the "holy lands."

Jerusalem--the scene of the drama of Good Friday, the triumph of Easter Sunday, the birth of the Church on Pentecost, and the first persecution of believers. Christians still live in Jerusalem. Jewish Christians, Palestinian Christians, traditional Christians, new converts, Dom Christians. Thousands, perhaps millions, of Dom and their distant Roma "cousins" live through out the Middle East. Want to learn more? Or become involved? Contact the Dom Research Center.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Living Stones . . . to build up the Kingdom

Prayer:  Romany Christians leaders.

Sergio, right, building church building
Radj, right, inspecting church building
These Romany believers are building the church in their village. The photos date from a couple of years ago when the church building was being completed. Two of these believers recently returned home to their Romany village in Moldova. They had been working abroad for several months as many Romany and as many Moldovans do and came back filled with enthusiasm. They wanted to start prayer meetings and Bible studies. Almost daily. Their pastor encourages them. This church building has been finished (see below), but the church is always under construction.