Prayer Updates

What a day that will be!

  • July 21, 2018

Last Sunday at my sister’s church was “old fashioned day,” and they chose hymns from earlier days. I loved it when they chose one of my favorites from all the way back to my teen years called, “What a Day That Will Be.” This song remains a favorite of mine and I wish it were sung more often! One of the verses says

There’ll be no sorrow there;
No more burdens to bear!
No more sickness, no pain,
And no more parting over there!
And forever I will be 
With the One who died for me!
What a day, glorious day that will be!
As you may be guessing, I’m getting ready to say goodbye to my family and head back to Togo. I’m so thankful for the privilege to work there; I’m glad to go back, but my heart aches as we part. I am so, so grateful that when I said “yes” to the Lord as a missionary, my family said “yes” along with me. They allow me to go with their blessing and they ache as much as I do when I head back.  My departure is set for Tuesday, July 24.
It’s been an amazing 11 weeks! Our family is so thankful for all the Lord has done to help with the move to Tennessee! Mom & Dad are settling into their house, getting established with doctors, etc. Our main prayer requests are that they adjust well, and that their house in Maine will sell before the cold weather arrives. The Lord is able! There are still many details to take care of, and we pray for Dad’s health and Mom’s strength and stamina. My sister and her husband live only 15 minutes away, and we are grateful. My sis is a nurse and is a huge help on multiple levels. I remain willing to come back to the States and help any time I am needed, and we are confident the Lord will make the way clear.
Thank you so much for praying during this time! How comforting to know that as a family in the Lord, we can pray for one another and He hears and answers! And how comforting to remember that one day, there will be no more goodbyes, sickness or aging, but instead, sweet fellowship with each other, and especially with our Savior who gave Himself for us!
The Lord often shows His nearness to me as I enjoy His creations in nature. He allowed our family the wonderful treat of having bluebirds nesting in the yard of my parents’ new home in Harrison, TN. It is sweet to witness how He has created the birds to feed and care for their young. Birds always remind me of His loving attention to His children. He feeds the birds; He cares for us more! (See Matthew 6:26).
Mom bluebird fly xga

Changes and HIS kind of peace!

  • April 24, 2018

I’m one of those people that gets motion sick if I ride in the back seat of a car on a curvy road. I’m thinking I’d get pretty seasick if out on a boat in a storm—not to speak of super scared!

Jesus could actually nap in a boat in a raging storm! He slept the peaceful sleep of One who knew Who is in control. And this is beautiful—He offers the same peace to us: “I give you My peace,” He says. “Not the peace like the world gives—don’t allow your heart to be troubled!” (my paraphrase—see John 14:27.) What kind of peace does He give us? The kind that can lie down and fall asleep while out on the sea in a big storm. How sweet that He cares enough about what stirs us up to remind us we can completely trust Him!

What might be going on in your life right now for which you need peace? He offers it freely. For me at this moment, I’m thinking of my mom and dad.  In a few days, I’ll be flying to the USA to help my sister as we assist our parents in moving to another house. We want to be a help to them as they have a crazy number of details to attend to, and there are many questions for which they need wisdom to answer. All of this might tempt us to forget that Jesus gives peace in the midst of the storm. We would appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks as together we seek His will and as they decide on the best house and location. My dad’s health is declining somewhat; this is hard to see. We are thankful for your intercession. We are grateful for the Lord’s peace that rules in our hearts when we allow it to! (See Colossians 3:15).

Here in Togo, I’m so thankful for the amazing Togolese staff who keep the bookstore and print shop going, and for a missionary colleague that is stepping in to handle finances for this period of time. I can leave this work in the Lord’s hands with confidence that He will take care of it.

Panama City Beach, Florida. A lovely stretch of beach near a dear friend’s beach house.

beach storm email

Togo Hospitals in Need!

  • March 19, 2018

Have I ever mentioned how thankful I am for our ABWE hospital in Togo? This 50 bed surgical hospital helps thousands of people each year! The reason for medical ministries is to help people feel better so they can be open to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of medical ministry in Togo, so many people have come to Jesus, and a number of local churches have been started.

I want to ask you to pray specifically for our two hospitals in Togo. There are serious staffing and financial needs. The hospital up North in Mango is in need of nurses who can come and stay from several months to a year. The hospital in the South, where I live, is in desperate need of doctors to come for several months at a time. In addition, this hospital has been running for 33 years and desperately needs some renovations.
Here are a few questions for you to think about:
~Are you a doctor or a nurse that could come to Togo for a few months or a year and help out?
~Do you know a doctor or a nurse that you can encourage to come help out in Togo?
~Do you have funds to help with the renovations needed at our southern hospital? (2 million dollars; it’s a lot, but it’s not in any way insurmountable for our awesome God to provide these funds!)
~Would you pray the Lord of the Harvest will meet these needs so people in Togo can ultimately come to know Him? (Luke 10:2 Jesus said : “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”)
If you can help, please contact me by email and I’ll put you in touch with our staff here that can help you get started on the way out here. If you can give, let me know and I’ll tell you how to contribute.
Thank you for caring and for praying!
Jeremiah 32:27  “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
Two photos below: Bible Baptist Hospital, Tsiko, Togo;  pediatric ward and front of clinic. 
Clinic Front 3 email NS 30

Talking about the weather

  • February 22, 2018
It’s hot & humid in Togo. Two days ago we were blessed with rain and . . . ICE . . . as little hailstones fell, bouncing as they hit the brown grass. In Maine, where my parents are, there’s a load of snow, and record warm temperatures are expected for today. Where my sister and her husband live in Tennessee, Spring has Sprung, and they are hoping very much the new buds on flowering trees don’t freeze if the temperature drops.
The weather changes all the time. But here’s a really neat thought.  Last year I received this fantastic birthday card from one of my supporting churches (White Rock Baptist in Gorham, Maine). It says:
The Forecast for your Birthday
 
God will reign
The Son will Shine
 
That means you have a 100% chance of being blessed! 
 
Now THAT is a GREAT forecast—not only for a birthday, but for every day! I love it! I’m sending it to you on a photo as a gift. Enjoy it and e-mail it on to whoever will be encouraged by it.
I want to thank you so much for your faithful prayers for me, for the ministries in Togo, and for my sweet family in the States. My dad suffered a small stroke a few weeks ago and is recovering. He seems to get around fairly well as his knee heals from surgery. My mom is wonderful at helping him in so many ways. I’m thankful for my parents. Here in Togo, Magguie continues to heal bit by bit from her stroke; she has good use of her limbs and her speech is less labored than it was. She is back to work here at the office. Additionally, one of our pastors has suffered a stroke and is recovering at home. Please continue to pray for these dear ones as the Lord brings them to mind.
I would appreciate your prayers for the ministry of literacy here in Togo. So many people cannot read the Word of God for themselves. Our prayer is that the Lord would send someone to work with this important ministry! A Togolese pastor, Alaza, is doing quite a job training literacy teachers, and a good number of people have learned to read. But without oversight and fund raising, literacy ministry limps along slowly. If you have an interest in investing in this ministry, please email me for more information.
Thank you again for your continued prayers. Sometimes the words “thank you” seem so inadequate. May the Lord bless you for your faithfulness to Him as you pray, and may you be encouraged by the “forecast” for your day!
Photo taken in a Connecticut sunflower field, August 2017
Sunflower forecast xga

Our Greatest Treasure

  • May 19, 2017

Yesterday I had the delightful privilege of photographing the nursing students as they each received a French Thompson Chain Reference Bible in preparation for their next Bible class. I absolutely loved watching their responses and expressions as this extra-special gift was presented to them!  I observed as Godwin, the young man pictured below, positively glowed with joy as he hugged and kissed this new Bible. Truly the living Word of God is our greatest treasure, and I love it that the students recognize that. Please pray that these 17 students will learn and apply as they study their brand new copy of this excellent study Bible.   Bible Bible 2

Name that rock!

  • February 16, 2017

I’m sitting on my screened in porch, reading the Word, thinking, praying, and I’m so overcome I really don’t know what to say. So I’ll just start in.

I love milestones, and this special year in Togo is no exception.  I’m filled to overflowing with gratitude to my faithful Lord who has helped me thus far—all the way from the mission’s candidate class in 1988, to language study in Quebec in 1990, to Togo on March 2, 1992, and to this day in 2017.

“Thus far the Lord has helped us.” The phrase was uttered by Samuel the prophet (see 1 Samuel 7:1-15), as he named a stone “Ebenezer.” The word means “stone of help.” Samuel was acknowledging the Lord’s awesome power to help subdue the Philistines and bring peace to the Israelites. Presupposed in Samuel’s memorial is “He’s helped us this far; He is able to continue to do so as we follow Him.”

So I’m thanking the Lord (I even named a rock!!) for helping me thus far as a missionary in Togo, West Africa, and by His grace, I’m trusting Him to keep right on helping me do what He wants me to do. I look forward to seeing Him continue His work to strengthen local churches through the bookstore & print shop, camp ministry, audio/visual materials, community health evangelism, and of course, creation photography.  He is at work and it’s a delight to be a part of what He’s doing.

 

ebenezer small

 

Here’s  my first prayer card and first passport, with the dates of the end of language study and arrival in Togo.  Thank the Lord for His faithfulness!

1992 ex sm

 

To you who are co-laborers with me in prayer & financial support, the Lord has used YOUR faithfulness to keep me going! What can I say, but thank you, thank you, thank you!  Please keep on praying, and together, we’ll keep following what the Lord wants us to do.

This is hard to say, but I have to tell you that for the first time in my 29 years with the mission, the support required to keep me out here is significantly in deficit. Please pray about this on my behalf, and if the Lord wants you to step in to help keep me out here for however long He wants me serving in Togo, please email me and I’ll give you more details. There are two main reasons for loss of support for missionaries that have been at it for along time. One is aging supporters being promoted to their Real Home, and the other—in today’s world—is the shrinking membership in our churches, forcing them to decrease or end missionary support. The Lord knows the needs and He is faithful.

Celebrate His goodness with me! Get a rock and a Sharpie and name the rock Ebenezer, and thank the Lord for His awesome help thus far, and trust Him for that same help as you follow Him a day at a time. He never changes.

Jb portrait ex sm

New day, week, month, year . . . mercies!

  • January 4, 2017

How interesting it is to be right here at this moment: 2017, Day one, Week one, Month One of this new year. Looking back at 2016, I rejoice over huge milestones (the restart of camp here in Togo with 84 children coming to the Lord, and seeing my colleague and friend, Magguie, walk again on her new prosthetic foot), and I feel again the sadness over distressing times (deaths of our brother & colleague Todd and others, including three Togolese that were dear to many). It is a joy and comfort to look ahead and remember this:

The Lord does not change. (Malachi 3:6). Nothing is too hard for Him. (Jeremiah 32:27.) He is faithful, and His mercy never ends! (Lamentations 3:22,23.)
2017 is a year I used to view as being a REALLY long ways off, especially when I first arrived in Togo as a new missionary, fresh out of language school in 1992! I wondered what it would be like to be in my 25th year of service here. It’s a milestone year, and here I am! I can certainly say the Lord is faithful! Because of His faithfulness,  I can look forward to the year ahead, and as many more years as the Lord will allow me to be part of His work here in Togo.
I’m including a photo of one of my favorite places. Victoria Falls is a mile wide, and never stops flowing, no matter how dry the seasons become. The waterfall reminds me of our faithful Lord. May He fill you with His peace and quiet you with His love as you meditate on His faithfulness, and as you move into this new year!
vic-falls-love-composite-xga

Birds & stars . . . not one is forgotten!

  • November 1, 2016
I’ve been considering this for several months, ever since taking photos of the Milky Way in August:
See all these stars: He calls them all by name; not one of them is missing. (See Isaiah 40:26.)
Observe these little birds: not one of them is forgotten by your Father in Heaven. (See Luke 12:6.)
Billions upon billions of stars, all named, not one missing. Millions upon millions of birds, and not one can fall without the Father knowing it. The God of the infinite is also the God of the infinitesimal. 
What does this mean for us who know Him? If you’re my friend & co-worker Magguie, you know He’s aware of your missing foot and your efforts to learn to walk with a prosthesis. He knows you’ve just had malaria and is the One that helped you recover. He’s aware that you just lost your husband and how much it hurts, even though he had a second wife and had not provided for you or your two daughters. All big things, all in one person’s life. The Father knows and cares.  If you are Elisabeth working at our mission Guest House for many years, He knows you suddenly lost your husband in a motorcycle accident. He is there to comfort you and get you through impossible days. A huge event in one person’s life . . . our friend with whom we mourn. The Father is aware.  What about the termites chowing down on the kitchen cabinets at our house? I can almost hear them munching from my office . . . Is He aware of such a small thing? Absolutely! He cares about anything that concerns His children. (The termites got sprayed this morning. Not a huge deal, but you get my point, I think!)
Whatever it is in your life or mine, no matter how big or small the detail, He knows, cares, and does not forget us, ever.
I’ve talked with Magguie by phone several times; she sounds good. She says she has sore muscles from learning to walk with the prosthesis. All of the funds have been promised to meet the financial need. Thank the Lord!! Please do keep her in your prayers as she does her therapy. Pray for her and her kids in the very sudden loss of her husband/their dad.
On another subject, please be in prayer for our literacy ministry here in Togo. We can never overstate the importance of being able to read the Word! Currently there is no one to develop this ministry. We are asking the Lord for either a missionary who is on the field already or for a new missionary to take on this important ministry.
bird-stars-email

The Order of Things

  • September 6, 2016
          As a photographer living on a hospital compound in Africa, I have many opportunities to photograph a variety of subjects. I have a preference for nature photography because it constantly reminds me of the nearness of the Lord God, who has made creatures with such incredible beauty and detail. Last week while I was up in Mango at our new hospital, I had a few days to wander around and think and pray and take pictures. I concentrated mainly on birds, because there was a great variety there, given the rainy season and lush, green foliage. One morning, the thought came to me about “the order” of things. As we all know, of first importance is people, because they need to be saved. At the hospital, they need physical healing so they can come to know the Creator and THEN they are free to enjoy all He has made. I enjoy nature so much because I know the Creator. I’m immeasurably grateful for salvation in Jesus—not only because I have eternal life because of Him, but also because knowing Him gives me clear understanding that nature provides a connection to Him as the Creator of all things. The beauty around me can be fully enjoyed because I know Him personally.
          Knowing Jesus leads my heart to praise and thanksgiving, because He alone is worthy to be praised. Today I am grateful to Him for two specific things. One is that He protected my sister as she was in quite a serious car accident last Sunday. The car is totaled and she is quite sore, but she is doing well. The Lord sent some dear eye witnesses to help her and pray with her at the scene. Secondly, I’m praising Him that Magguie has had a good consultation about a prosthetic foot. I don’t have all the details yet, but I am praying this will work well for her!
          Photo composites can be a bit busy, but I’m including this one to show the sheer variety of the birdlife I saw in Mango, Togo last week! 
Mango Birds xga

I love camp!

  • July 19, 2016
Of all the amazing aspects of Bible Camp in Togo this year, such as:
~Being reunited with staff from the early years of camp;
~Meeting new staff who are the children of our older workers;
~Seeing the son of our first director participating in the ministry;
~Watching dozens of kids singing, playing great games, listening to the Word of God;
~Admiring the creativity of those who planned out this year’s camp;
~Witnessing everything working smoothly over six days with two large groups of kids and teens;
~Enjoying the demonstration of how to make sugar cookies, including baking them in a wooden cabinet with a charcoal grill inside it;
~Videoing my little friend Sharon practicing sharing the Wordless Book story with a friend . . .
It is THIS moment that rises to the top:
I had gone to camp to observe and greet friends, pray, and take photos and video clips. I spent the night in a small apartment on the grounds. At six thirty the next morning, I was preparing to go outside to think and pray and take photos as I do almost daily. As I approached the door to go out, I heard low voices right outside on the step. I carefully peered out the window, and I saw a counselor, Bible in hand, alongside a camper. She was asking the camper if she had ever asked Jesus to be her Savior. I heard another pair of quiet voices out the other window. Another counselor and camper, talking about the Gospel. Moses came to mind as God spoke to him from the burning bush, and I literally thought, “Surely this is holy ground. I should take my shoes off!” I was so moved as I stood in that sacred spot, hearing the Gospel being shared with two campers.
Thank the Lord for HIS work here in Togo, and for resurrecting the camp ministry from the still-burning embers of earlier days!  I love camp!
Camp Composite 2016xga