Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reaching Children Through Sunday School (Part 1)

I cried. I literally boohooed!

God was doing a work and I didn't understand His plan. It was clear He was putting in my heart to train someone else for my Sunday school class, and then to resign, but I didn't understand why. I loved my class! I loved teaching. I loved loving on the children. I loved investing in them and sometimes surprising them will crazy activities!

(Sweet Jessica, my replacement in the States, with my youngest child.
She sure loves her Sunday school children's class!)

But God was closing the door, and I had to obey. It was soon after I resigned that the Lord made it clear He was sending us to the mission field. (So that's why I had to resign! It finally made perfect sense!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Homemade Flour Tortilla Recipe

Our family loves Mexican food. This recipe for flour tortillas is great to use as a base for many of the Mexican dishes we prepare including: soft tacos, enchiladas, mexican pizzas (this would be American/ Mexican food, of course), etc. These tortilass can out more like Taco Bell Gordita shells if you roll them out a little thicker, which is sometimes just what we prefer!




Homemade Flour Tortillas

3 cups All-purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

3 tsp. baking powder

5 Tablespoons of cooking oil (the original recipe calls for olive oil but I prefer vegetable or sunflower as olive oil changes the flavor of the tortillas)

1 cup milk

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl using a mixer with dough hooks until ingredients are completely blended. The dough will be a sticky texture. Do not add more flour, this is the perfect consistency. Seperate into 6-8 small balls of dough. One at a time, roll out thin using a roller and dough mat for best results. Fry in a non-stick (ungreased) skillet, turning and cooking until both sides are evenly browned. I usually do not have a problem with the tortillas bubbling up while cooking, but if you do, simply bust the bubbles with a toothpick or cake tester to deflate them and allow them to cook evenly. 
Place cooked tortillas on a plate until ready to serve.





Monday, October 27, 2014

If You Give a Pastor a Pickup

Cookie
As our rainy season approaches, I remembered a little yarn I wrote several years ago during our rainy season about my husband and how we couldn't seem to think of the perfect car for transporting people to church on the muddy, rainy roads. I based it off of Laura Numeroff's books, in the style of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
IMG_0885


IF YOU GIVE A PASTOR A PICKUP

If you give a pastor a pickup,

He'll want to pick up people for church in it.

You’ll let him pick up lots of people for church.
You'll let him pick up lots of people for church.
You'll let him pick up lots of people for church.
It’ll probably be raining on Sunday,

So he’ll be afraid the people will get all wet and muddy.

He’ll probably want to put the canopy on the truck bed to keep them dry.

He’ll ask you for some help Sunday morning to put the canopy on.

When he puts on the canopy, he’ll probably get very muddy and wet.
He'll probably get very muddy and wet.
He'll probably get very muddy and wet.
He’ll ask you for a rag and a change of clothes.

You’ll get him some clothes, but this will make him late to pick the people up for church.

Then with the canopy on the pickup, he won’t be able to pick up as many people for church.

So he’ll want to get a Combi*.

Pulling out our teammate, on our way to church. Stuck in the river--even with a 4x4.
Pulling our teammate out of the river on the way to church. 
It’ll probably be raining on Sunday…

So the Combi* will get stuck in the mud.

Being stuck will remind him of 4WD.

He’ll probably ask you for a 4WD.

And chances are,

If he asks you for 4WD,

He’ll want a pickup to go with it.

*Combi--name for a 12- to 15-passenger van over here, used as taxis.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Gleanings from the Fields" - A BMW Devotional Book


 

We are overwhelmed at the response this book has received!  Currently we have requests for over 500 copies!  Glory to God! 
 
If you are interested in a copy, please leave a comment with your email, and we will be in touch shortly.  The book will cost roughly $10 (that includes shipping) and we can only except payment via paypal.
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Heart of a Quitter (Part 3): The Quitter Who Couldn't Quit

Continued from...
The Heart of a Quitter Part 1
The Heart of a Quitter Part 2

Wouldn't it be great if their was some way to inject ourselves with a vaccine for quitting? Actually, there is...

Jeremiah 20:9 "Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak
any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a
burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."

Jeremiah had a tough ministry! Imagine being called to a people that God told you would not repent. If God told our family ahead of time that no one in the village of Sangla would ever be saved, I would struggle to faithfully minister there with my family! But Jeremiah obeyed God. Then Jeremiah's frustration mounted. For preaching to the people, he got the grand prize of... 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Very Quick and Easy Beef Stroganoff with Garlic Bread


Sometimes you just need a quick and easy one-skillet meal to serve your family on busy evenings when time is limited. This Beef Stroganoff recipe is one of my go to recipes when I have little time but I still need to fill some bellies with a decent meal. 
These ingredients are based on feeding a family of five. You can adjust the amounts to less or more depending on your needs.


Ingredients:

Beef Mixture:
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
2 beef buillion cubes (20 grams each)
 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of sour cream
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Salt (if more is desired)

1 can of Mushrooms (400 grams)

Pasta of your choice


Directions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet. Drain grease. Put beef back in to skillet. Turn heat down to a simmer.
2. Add two beef bullion cubes to the prepared beef, 
3. Pour in no more than 1/4 a cup of water and stir to dissolve the bullion cubes completely.
4. Add the can of mushrooms.
5. Stir in the sour cream.
6. Season with black pepper and garlic powder to taste. You can then determine if you need to add more salt but usually the bullion cubes add sufficient flavor.

Serve over prepared pasta.


This is great served with garlic bread!

Garlic bread

1. Turn your oven on maximum temperature and broiler mode. Move the rack closer to the top of your oven, allowing space for the bread so it will not be touching the top of the oven.
2. Soften the amount of butter necessary for the size of bread you choose in a microwave or by allowing it to sit out on your counter to soften. **The nice think about garlic bread is that it does not require fresh bread. It is even better made with bread that is a day or two old.
3. Salt the butter and mix in, depending on your preference as to the amount of salt,  if you are on a field where they do not sell salted butter or, in my case, it is more expensive to buy!
4. Spread the salted butter evenly onto the bread.
5. Salt the buttered bread lightly and evenly (it helps the bread to toast).
6. Evenly sprinkle garlic powder over the buttered bread.
7. Place on a cookie sheet and place in the oven.

Depending on your oven, you may need to watch the bread the entire time to be sure it is toasting evenly and not burning. Once it is toasted to your satisfaction, remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Cut into serving sizes and serve warm!





Monday, October 20, 2014

The Pastor's Paycheck ~ A Prayer Request

My husband has been preaching through 1 Corinthians this year, and yesterday he arrived at the first half of chapter nine in which the apostle Paul challenges the Corinthians over their lack of financial support for him. We deem this lesson crucial to our baby believers as well; yet we are reticent to preach on the topic unless it comes up naturally through the course of expositional preaching, as it did yesterday.

This passage of Scripture is crucial to a baby church plant because, as I explained to my son last night, "If we want to move on to plant other churches, we must make sure this church is strong first and able to stand on its own. And if we want this church to stand on its own, it must be able to pay its own pastor."

We are reticent to preach on this topic for two major reasons:
  • the prosperity gospel and
  • the people's poverty
The prosperity gospel has burned over much of southern Africa. False pastors, syncretistic churches, and money-making miracle crusades are everywhere in Africa--copying to the extreme the abuses they see on TBN. Every one of those pastors preaches weekly about the tithe or makes big ordeals out of the collection of the offerings and rewards big givers through promises or status symbols. The church is big business over here. In fact, so many of the other churches are like that that we and our church members  simply describe them as "money churches." Thus an obvious, major difference between our church and the prosperity churches is that we DON'T talk a lot about money.

So we feel we must avoid those topics so as to not be joined in a group we consider heretical and detrimental to the Gospel; and when we do address the giving of church members, we sometimes feel that we have to add a lot of disclaimers to enumerate the differences between what we're preaching and what they say.

Poverty is obviously another big problem. How can they be expected to support their pastors when they have barely enough to live on? Would we want to live on that much?

The issue of poverty is complicated by the centuries of vast amounts of aid Africa has received through the years. The Africans get so MUCH welfare and yet seem to feel that it's not enough. So it might not occur to them to live sacrificially and plan a budget in order to pay their pastor. After all, so many needs are met from outside them. Why would this need be met from within them?

So one of the questions Seth asked the church yesterday in his sermon was, "If a church can't support its pastor, is it sinning?" What do you think? Tough question. The answer could certainly be yes; but it could possibly be no as well, if the church were too poor to support its pastor yet tried wholeheartedly to support him more than they supported self-comforts.

There are so many other questions that can be included in this issue. For example, should our poor, small church try to support us with whatever finances they can? At first I said no, because we are church planting missionaries, which is not the same thing as a pastor. But my husband reminded me that the apostle Paul was also a missionary when he assumed the Corinthians should support him.

Please pray for your church planting missionaries around the world, because they cannot leave their churches and begin new works until the churches are selfish, meaning that they have the "Three Selfs":
  • Self-supporting
  • Self-governing
  • Self-propagating
and supporting their pastor includes two of those points. We need a change in their cultures and worldviews to allow for sacrificial giving to their pastor (and to missions). At times this seems like an impossible task indeed, but God can do what seems impossible!

IMG_0560