Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Take Time.....

This time of year can get pretty crazy and tough for many of us. Last week I reminded us to “put down the glass”. This week I want to encourage us to “slow down our pace”. Let’s be honest, I mean really honest. We are not quite 2 weeks away from Christmas day. Would it be fair to say that even being this close, most of your thoughts are towards deadlines before the Christmas break, what to do with kids while they are off from school, the Christmas gifts that still need to be bought, the Christmas programs you are getting ready for and/or attending, etc., etc., etc. Some of you haven’t even gotten your tree up yet. Come on! (ha, ha, ha, ha)  

This afternoon as I was researching some questions I had about Christmas, I came across a link regarding “The First Christmas Day” (Eve-Morning). When I clicked on the link I was taken aback by the absolute simplicity of the story of Jesus’ birth. There were no bells and whistles. It was simply, in simplest illustration, the story of the birth of the Christ child. It might as well have been told on a “felt board”. And it was nice, and easy, and moving. There was nothing hurried about it. And my heart was reminded again of how crazy the world has made the season. How we can get caught up in the pace of it and forget the simple story of Christ and the gift of Salvation that Christmas represents.
Slow your pace for just a minute and be reminded….  https://youtu.be/5gQw3LTAOoc

Have a great week, slow your pace, and remember why we celebrate.

Love you all,

His,
Vickie

p.s.  Some of you might enjoy this link just for the fun of it. 
https://www.whychristmas.com/story/

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

“Put the Glass down” ……..

I suspect I posted this glass illustration several years ago when I found it on the internet, but it seemed appropriate in this season and time to post it again as a reminder.
 
"A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. “Put the glass down!"
   
Jesus said it to us this way…. 

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


I love those verses.  I hear Him saying to me in my heart when I read them, “Vickie, come to me. Why are you carrying these thoughts, feelings and emotions by yourself? It’s too much. You were not meant to carry them alone. Let me have them, trust me, it will give you a break. It will allow you to get a God perspective on all of them. I am not going to berate you for not coming to me sooner or make you to feel inadequate or worthless. Let me have them, trust me, it will give you your joy back when you get a God perspective on things. It will lighten your step.”

This Christmas as finances, family, illnesses, loss of a loved one, ministry, work, etc., start to close in on you “put the glass down". After all, we have a Savior that came into this world so that we could “Come to Him”.

Love you all,

His,
Vickie

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God,
and it is one the poorest of us can make
and be not poorer but richer for having made it.   
A.W. Tozer

It is with much Gratitude and Thanksgiving that the Board, Staff, and Advisors of Pure Joy International wish you and yours a wonderful time in the LORD during this Thanksgiving Holiday. 

Blessings,
Pure Joy International

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Costa Rica Follow-up

 There will be no words to adequately share with you what God accomplished in Costa Rica on our trip there. I shared with the team and I will share with all of you that were a part of the Costa Rica team through prayer, giving, gifting and going…. I suspect the fruit of that trip will not be seen by most of us in this lifetime. But, His spirit in me affirms it will be a very, very productive crop. His presence was amazing.


Here are some snippets of some of the feedback from the missionary women…

  • I am overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and how these complete strangers have prayed, invested, and loved on me. It demonstrates God’s love for me in a tangible way. And in turn, it gives me the desire to show His love to others in a tangible way.
  • The welcoming committee was the absolute crowning moment of the retreat for me. Someone mentioned my name, “Helen,” and said, you were praying for me. My trepidation evaporated, my insecurities were enveloped in the welcoming hug. I became an immediate “BELONGER.” That was one of the many gifts I trundled home in the red bag. The sense of being a part of, and not a stranger to, the body of Christ, to all those women – a foretaste of heaven. When I get there, with all my rusty bits, and questions and things still hidden, the booming welcome from my Heavenly Father will cancel it all out, and I will be a family member for all eternity. I can’t wait.
  • I had never heard of Pure Joy International before 2 of my teammates and I attended a free of charge 4 day conference for women missionaries last week. It was incredible. There was solid Biblical teaching from some of the most loving, Christ-centered women I have ever met, we found out people from churches associated with Pure joy had been assigned to pray for us the past 5 months, they sent us cards letting us know they had been praying for us and ministries and churches also associated with Pure Joy sent us gifts. I have never seen the body of Christ come together in so many different ways and from different places all with the goal of supporting missions and missionaries. If you know missionaries, please pass on the word that a Pure Joy conference is worth attending. I have no association other than having attended a conference that was an absolute blessing for my teammates and I, but would like to say if you or your church would like to support the work Pure Joy International is doing supporting women missionaries please visit their website.  www.purejoyinternational.org
  • It was a delight and a gift for me to attend this conference at this time. Even now, I'm processing the "gold nuggets" from the team and attendees!

No matter how much we share with you about the impact your partnership with Pure Joy International means there is no way for us to express it that gives it justice.

As I close out today, I want to give you the link to the partner video that several of you were a part of on this trip. When we play this for the missionary women you can see tears running down some of their faces because they can’t believe someone is doing this for someone they don’t even know. I pray those of you that pray, give and gift realize that what you do is a picture of how Jesus gave His life, everything for us before we ever knew Him. You gave without them knowing you.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nmn3u9gvnx2ivko/CostaRica_PREPVideo_2017_v4.mp4?dl=0

His,
Vickie

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Costa Rica Team is heading home...

See you Sunday, family and friends!


Wonderful Friday conference day...

God continued to show His wondrous works among the group on Friday with a great day full of fellowship, worship, gifts and teaching from His Word. Please continue to pray as they finish strong this morning.
Team prayer
Group worship


Sweet fellowship
 
 
 Favorites bags always bring a lot of smiles!


 
 Counting it all Pure Joy,
Mary

Friday, October 27, 2017

Thursday and the conference continues...

Today was full day for the team and the missionaries. Four messages from God's word were presented; three testimonies of His faithfulness were proclaimed; great meals, sweet fellowship, and precious gifts were shared. What a wonderful God we serve!

Counting it all Pure Joy,
Mary




 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wednesday and the conference begins...


The conference has started and the team is very busy! Vickie asked me to give you an update with these pictures! Keep lifting them up as God has many wonders in store for them!
Counting it all Pure Joy! Mary


  
Final preparation and prayer by team.
The missionaries arrived
Wednesday afternoon
All 50!


   
At check-in the Team was there to meet
 and greet and show the ladies around.
Coming together with the Word!




And with worship!

And prayer!

And gifts!
                           
      

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

More Tuesday News...

First, we made a good decision not to go out on the catamaran today. It started raining pretty good by eleven. The wave in the ocean were nothing we wanted to be on! Ha ha

Please continue to pray as it is suppose to get worse tomorrow. We have asked God to calm the storms so all the Missionary women can make it to and from the conference safely.

Today the team kind of did their own thing. Here are some pictures from the day.

Love you and keep praying!

His,
Vickie





Costa Rica Tuesday...

We  had a full day yesterday (Monday). We started with a team devotional from Jennifer. Then off to nearby places.






First stop....Alligator River. Check out this picture with Makenzie.


Locals said, when Nate brushed the county the rain brought water up so high it washed the alligators down the river into the town below. eek! Guess whose coming to dinner? Ha Ha Ha

 Then headed out to do some local souvenir shops. I am sure some of you will be seeing the results of it. (Smile)

We came back toward the hotel and stopped at a local grocery store for coffee to bring home.(Smile)

We had  some sweet, sweet  prayer time for the missionaries that will be coming tomorrow, dinner and lights out!

This morning (Tuesday) was suppose to be our big outing day. A ride on a catamaran and some snorkeling and hiking. However, there is a major storm coming through. The problem is we don’t know for sure when it will hit, but it is suppose to be pretty serious. So we cancelled the trip this morning. Your loved ones will be safe!

However, please pray for God to intervene. The storm could possibly be as severe as the one a couple of weeks ago and cause mudslides, flooding, etc. Pray for the missionaries that are registered for this conference. They are also having to make decisions based on this storm.

Love you all.. Keep praying.

His,
Vickie

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Good evening,

As I write this blog we are at dinner waiting for our order to be taken.

We have had a great day!! Sylvia did our team devotional for us this morning. We then had a sweet time of sharing about what God has been doing in our lives the past 6 months as we have been preparing for this conference. There were some awesome stories shared about His work in our lives during the process.

We then had lunch and decided to do our final preparations for the missionaries coming in on Wednesday. The team building that goes on during this time is amazing. God has truly put together the right team for such a time as this! After we finished preparations we spent time in prayer... praying for our missionaries, but also really praying specially for all of you that give to sponsor these ladies, give gifts, pray, etc., etc.

The staff at this hotel is incredible. So friendly, so kind. They are so mindful of any needs we might have.

I suppose today I could sum up by saying we have all felt very blessed to be a part of God’s plan for this conference!

Love you all,

His,
Vickie



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Greetings All,

The Costa Rica Team is sitting in the airport waiting for our flight out of the country. Everyone is so excited and having fun getting to know each other. Well, fill you in when we finish up the evening.
Blessings to all!

His,
Vickie

Thursday, October 19, 2017

2 Days and Team Departs for Costa Rica

Saturday morning the team will leave their respective states and we will all come together at Atlanta International to fly out of the country. Once we arrive in San Jose we will have a one hour and forty-five-minute bus ride to our hotel. I will be blogging daily. If you follow Facebook, you should be able to stay in real time with us as we journey. The blog to email will be a day behind. There will be pictures and anything interesting to share along the way.

The most important thing we need is your prayers for us and the missionaries as they prepare. The conference starts Wednesday. We will get in a couple of days of free time before finishing the final preparations for the conference. I will write again on Saturday evening.

Can’t leave you without something to ponder, so see below. It answers every question you need to know about the importance of family. At least it does for me. I came up with that illustration because I think the visual is a powerful reflection of Abe’s words.

His,
Vickie

A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. He/She will assume control of your cities, states, and nations. He/She is going to move in and take over your churches, schools, universities, and corporations. The fate of humanity is in his/her hands.
                                                                                               Abraham Lincoln              

Friday, October 13, 2017

He Loves Me…..

For many of us middle aged (or slightly older, ha, ha) we remember the days of our youth picking Black-eyed Susan’s (daisy) and playing He (or She) loves me or loves me not. Usually, the flower looked like the one in the picture having only 13 petals. There are daisies that have more or less petals and come in all kinds of colors, but this is the one we usually found growing in the fields around us. I may have been a slow learner at this, but eventually, I figured out that whichever statement I started with, he loves me or he loves me not is also what I ended with as I plucked the petals away. So naturally I started with he loves me. (smile) You know, even as youth, we knew that was just a silly game.

But today I see people all around me doing that with real life and it’s not a game. He bought me something… he loves me. He didn’t get me something… he doesn’t love me. He called me 3 times throughout the day even though he is working… he loves me. He didn’t call me 3 times today while working… he doesn’t love me. She washed the dishes… she loves me. She didn’t wash the dishes…
she doesn’t love me. She cleaned the house and did laundry… she loves me. She didn’t clean the house and do the laundry… she doesn’t love me. She cooked, she didn’t cook, he put gas in the car, he didn’t put gas in the car, etc., etc., etc.

 “Spurgeon Daily Quotes” 
Christ Jesus has no quarrel with his spouse. She often wanders from him, and grieves his Holy Spirit, but he does not allow her faults to affect his love. He sometimes chides, but it is always in the tenderest manner, with the kindest intentions: it is ‘my love’ even then.


Have you allowed your spouse, children, family-member, friend and or co-worker’s faults to affect your love for them? Go back to the start, remember the Black-eyed Susan. Forgive them and start with ‘love’ (His Love) which ends with ‘love’ (His Love).

Costa Rica last lap before departure…
Ok, I am confident we are in the last lap before leaving the country a week from this Saturday. How do I know this? Because my brain is on overload of thoughts. The other morning, I put my mom’s oatmeal in the cabinet to heat it up, instead of the microwave, and I plugged the hairdryer in instead of the iron for my shirt. Yep, I’d say I have a few distractions in my brain. Ha,ha,ha.

All that to say…this is the very last week of preparation. Trunks are and have been packed. So it is now to the finite details for each team member to address to be ready to step on that plane. So, Pray for us!!! And my brain! Ha,ha,ha

He Loves Me…

His,
Vickie

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Restoration...


Recently my brother and his wife moved from Houston, Texas back home to Arkansas.  Well, I should say they are mostly moved, he still has another month or more at his job before official retirement.  Therefore, my sister-in-law is here while he goes back and forth.
Last week my mom went to spend the week with my sister-in-law to help her unpack and help where needed.   Now let me just stop a minute and say we are unpacking things and organizing.  Why would this require any type of trip to flea markets?  Why? Ha,ha,ha,ha!  However, it did I suppose.  Because, when I checked in on them one day they were restoring a dresser they picked up at one of the flea markets.  Well… the very same day my mom was telling me about them restoring that dresser, I read something very interesting in one of my daily devotionals.  It was encouraging to my soul and a good reminder of a truth.  The quote was from A.W. Tozer, and reads, “The supreme work of Christ in redemption is not just to save us from hell, but to restore us to Godliness again.” 

Romans 8:29 (ESV)
 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

So, I got to thinking about how God has redeemed those of us that have placed our faith in Jesus Christ (literally, paid the price for us). Just like my sister-in-law bought that dresser.  It now belongs to her and my brother (just like we belong to God).  She bought that dresser with a picture in mind of what it could be. (He redeemed us knowing the plans He had for us.)  They went to work on the restoration process.  (Just like He began a good work in us.)  They didn’t finish the restoration process in one day.  (Just like we are not restored to godliness in one day.)  I’m sure she has had to do some cleaning, stripping, sanding/buffing, filling, etc., etc. (Just like God has to utilize different circumstances and situations in our lives to restore us to godliness.)  All this to say to you dear ones, be patient with yourself and others.  It is a process. (smile)

1 Timothy 4:8 (ESV)
....for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Prayer for Costa Rica (Hit by tropical storm)
Costa Rica is Red Alert today (Thursday) meaning the potential for mudslides, flooding, electrical outages, etc., is high.  There have already been some deaths related to mudslides and flooding.  Please pray for our missionaries that might be in some of those areas, as well as the locals.

Restoration in process,
His,

Vickie

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“Take God Off The Stopwatch”

Yesterday, as a friend was praying over me,  she made a statement during her prayer that went something like this, “Lord, help Vickie to take you off the stopwatch.” It was one of those things you have heard me call a “heart hanger”. You know what I’m talking about. When God through His word, others, the Holy Spirit, and/or circumstances won’t let you get away from something until He has revealed Himself to us in it. Well, that idea of “take God off the stop watch” was a heart hanger. I’m still allowing God to work it out in me.
 
But, can’t you just see this picture, us standing with a stopwatch in our hands saying, “God, You gave me this promise, this word, this assignment, this calling, this ministry, this husband, these kids, and this job. You say You equip the called, will finish the good work in us that You began, will never leave us nor forsake us, work all things for good, etc., etc., Ok, Go!” Then we click the stopwatch and expect Him to complete those things according to our time frame and we don’t even realize we are doing it. We measure Him according to our stopwatch and when He doesn’t show up in our set time we question Him, His word, our ability to hear His word, His voice and slowly lose footing regarding His truths and promises. All because we have tried to bring an infinite God into our finite system. “Click”

Costa Rica is only 3 weeks out! Please pray for us as we begin to look at distribution of weight regarding our trunks. The team is spread out between 4 different states so it makes it kind of crazy getting the right weight distribution to get everything we need in trunks without going over our weight limit. Yesterday I mailed 11 lbs. to South Carolina. That doesn’t seem like much until you add more to it. But a few lbs. here and a few there add up. Yeah, like we don’t know that as women! Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha

Have a great week!  Love you all!

His,
Vickie