Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Pictures

In my devotions this morning I read this...

A mark of true thankfulness is that we love the giver more than the gifts. Frans Bakker

My this be true of me!!!

Mick and KoKo early Thanksgiving morning. I'm sure he is thanking the Lord for his precious, darling, wonderful wife!

Mick carving up Tom, the Turkey...the Butterball Mick brought back from the USA (land of Sonic ice!)

The Ragains and Stockwells

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I do have a THANKFUL heart this evening. And it is nothing of my own doing…Scripture teaches us that He gives me the WILL to do what is right (what is required!)
For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13
Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:17, 18.

I’m thankful for the WILL to be thankful.
This has not been a painless year for me…I feel selfish writing that last line. Because the reason for the pain has mostly been that the lives of my loved ones have been affected…causing me to feel loss and hurt.

People have moved out of my life (physically)…our supervisor and family. Other dear friends who we worked with closely are no longer serving with us.

Precious Teri Tarleton has gone to Glory…we had two wonderful Thanksgiving meals with the Tarletons in the past and I am really missing her this year. I know that Teri is having a GREAT time with our Father, but I feel sorry for myself and I feel for her precious family.

And last, but not least, Kenny Pope is a different man today than he was a little over six months ago. Teri is a different woman too. My “family” has been through more than I can imagine (even after hearing about much of it) and I’ve not been able to be there to walk beside them for most of the time…this has caused me pain. For the first time ever (even with our men in the states) I did not want to return to the field after Kenny’s fall. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do…leave them on the 4th of July…knowing that there was so much ahead and wondering how they would do it.
If you have kept up with the Popes through CaringBridge then you know that they are doing wonderfully. Life is different but the one constant is the presence of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ…who has bestowed on them…THANKFUL HEARTS.

So, as tomorrow approaches and I finish making the pies and getting everything else ready to celebrate, with friends, God’s graciousness to me DAILY…I want to THANK HIM for giving me a THANKFUL HEART…
Because a Thankful Heart is what guards my heart and my mind. It is what gives me the strength to carry on. Daily, I want to THANK HIM…who gives me the POWER to do so!

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, November 24, 2008

I don't belong

I’m cleaning apartment today!
Getting ready for my Thanksgiving guest.
I was popping in CDs to play and came across Mark Lowry’s.

You may not know that Mick and I had the privilege of going to college with Mark. I didn’t know him, but Mick did. Mick says that he (meaning MICK) was funnier than Mark back then…so, why are we not rich Mick???
I really don’t know if Mark is rich or not, so I don’t want to start a rumor…just a little FAMILY humor!

Anyway, back to the CD…there are several songs on this OLD CD that I love.
“We Fall Down”…powerful song if you ask me!
“It Wouldn’t Be Enough” but the one that got my attention as I was cleaning was:

“I Don’t Belong”…the Chorus goes like this:
“I don’t belong and I’m goin’ some day home to my own native land. I don’t belong and it seems like I hear the sound of a welcome home band. I don’t belong I’m a foreigner here singing a sojourner’s song. I’ve always known this place ain’t home and I don’t belong.
Don’t belong, but while I’m here I’ll be livin’ like I’ve nothing to lose. And while I breathe I’ll just believe my Lord is gonna see me through. I’ll not be deceived by earth’s make-believe. I’ll close my ears to her siren song by praising His name, and I’m not ashamed ‘cause I don’t belong.”

While listening to the song (for the hundredth time) I realized that I do not (and have never) felt weird because I wasn’t like the Ukrainian people (or any other people when I’ve visited other countries!) I’ve never tried to be exactly like them…to look exactly like them…to act exactly like them…WHY???
Because I know I’m not an Ukrainian…I’m an American who gets to live here and serve…but I do not belong here…I have an American passport and citizenship!
It is Okay when I do not seem Ukrainian…’cause I’m not!!!
It has never bothered me.

HOWEVER, I also realized that sometimes it bothers me when the world seems to look on me differently because of something I’ve said or done. Why is that?
I’m not of the world…I’m bought at a high price and my citizenship is in Heaven. Philippians 3:20
It shouldn’t bother me at all to be different.
I should not feel peculiar when I do not fit in? I Peter 2:9
Why should I want to fit in???

I don’t want to be deceived by earth’s make-believe…I want to be listening for the sound of the welcome home band on the streets of gold! Revelation 21:21
I’m a sojourner…no need to get tangled in this world.

Lord, help me remember I’m not home...yet!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Hope's Anniversary

Happy Anniversary, Hap---py Anniversary!!!

Today is the seventh anniversary of NEW HOPE church in Kharkov, Ukraine.
When Linda Gray reminded me this morning I couldn’t believe that it had been seven years.

Many of you know the story of how we lived and worked in Kharkov for six years. Mick, of course, worked all over the area…but from the time we moved to Kharkov the boys and I worked mainly with the church which became the “Mother” church of New Hope.

We started out doing Sunday School for them. The boys played a MAJOR role in this. They often helped with the story telling and Bible memorization AND always helped with discipline (as they could speak the language better than me!)

As time went on Christopher became concerned about the fact that there was truly no YOUTH group in Kharkov. He began praying that the Lord would use him in the establishment of a youth group.
We were beginning to see the fruits of those prayers RIGHT when Keith Byrd asked us to move back to Kiev and take on other responsibilities.

Mick and I both knew in our spirits that the move to Kiev was what the Lord had for us…but we also knew that it wasn’t what He had for Christopher. So, through prayer and God’s leading we left Christopher behind to work with a youth club which later became New Hope Church.

AND TODAY…they celebrate seven years of ministry.

I wish we could all be there…but since we can’t, I’m sending out this little message and publicly voicing (through type) my thankfulness to the LORD for allowing the Stockwell family to have a part in this church and for the years of memories that we have in Kharkov, Ukraine.

Thank you Jesus for New Hope in Kharkov, Ukraine…may they continue in the faith!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nightmare of Words

Two nights ago I had a nightmare. No human was after me, words were the culprit.
I have no idea why…maybe it was the WITHOUT A TRACE we watched before going to bed. The father of a little girl who had been taken told the mother that it was her fault for not watching their daughter more carefully. No fears, the daughter was found alive and well. But we did not see the father apologize to the mother. HUM??? This really did impact me…enough to make me ask Mick if he didn’t think it was a bad thing to accuse another of being at fault.

Maybe all that added up to my Nightmare of Words. In my dream I was in some sort of school (you know how dreams are…they make sense at the time, but when re-telling them you think, “WOW, how did I let that bother me…so unreal!”) and my assignment was to read something (anything) and re-write it in my own words. I was so anxious to get something read and written down…but no matter what I did, I couldn’t read anything or if I did read it, I couldn’t get it written down to complete my assignment…and as time wore on it was getting to be time for class. I remember thinking that I just needed to read anything…maybe an advertisement and re-write it. That was all I had time for, but I couldn’t even get that done.
I woke up…thank goodness!

Went to the restroom and when I came back to bed I must have awoken Mick because he got up to go to the restroom. I said, “I’m so glad I woke up, I was having a nightmare!”
He came back to bed, got in, covered up, and didn’t say a word.

I lay there thinking…either he didn’t hear me, or he doesn’t care about my nightmare!
Well, I was wide awake and so I thought about my dream. I thought to myself how much more meaning WORDS would have if everything I read was worked over in my mind as if I had to re-write it and turn it in for a grade. And I thought about the fact that if I had to think about what I said that carefully before I even said it, (wow…now, that is a thought) that I might not talk as much.

WORDS ARE POWERFUL…God’s WORD has several things to say about WORDS:

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11

“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Proverbs 10:19

Like I said, if we had to really think about the words that were coming out of our mouths…are you hearing the words that are coming out of my mouth?…I wonder if we would say HALF of them?

God’s WORD has something to say about Itself:

II Samuel 22:31, Proverbs 30:5, and Psalm 12:6 tell us that God’s WORD is flawless.
Mine aren’t! How about yours?

In John 1:1-14 we are told that the WORD was in the beginning and that it was with God and the WORD was God and that the WORD became flesh and came to live with us…

His WORD is truth…John 17:17

My words are not flawless, they are not always truthful and they do not always cheer and are not always aptly spoken…
But Praise the LORD, we can depend upon every WORD that comes out of the mouth of GOD…
HIS WORD IS TRUTH…now, I need to meditate on it and put it to memory.

Thank you, heavenly Father, for Your WORD.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

P.S. Mick mentioned my nightmare the next day…he said, “You're so cute!” I asked him how he came to that conclusion (I’ve been telling him that for years now!) and he said,
“How many people are happy to wake up in the middle of the night because they are having a nightmare?”
I didn’t answer and took the compliment…but I thought to myself…(see, I’m working on not saying everything I think!)…I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to wake up from a nightmare…oh well…to each his own!

I’m not saying anything!!!