Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Dear Ones,

As the hurry and scurry of Christmas is upon us I come along side many others that would simply remind you of the reason for the season. It is my prayer that as we remember the birth of Jesus Christ during this season that each one of us will take the time to reflect on the impact His birth has had on our lives personally.

I was 35 years old when the Holy Spirit of God drew me to the realization of Jesus Christ and His Saving Grace! To say my life has never been the same is an absolute understatement of His Power! It is with ‘great joy’ that I enter into this time of season knowing what His birth has brought to my life! My prayer for all of you is that you would take this time to ponder, just for a moment, the impact a child born in a manger has brought to your life. REALLY PONDER IT! Now, remember all of those in this world that have not experienced the impact of the Child born in the manger. Please lift them up in prayer this very moment and pray that this would be their Season and or Year to experience the joy of the LOVE OF CHRIST!

Also, the heart of this ministry goes out to all of you Missionaries near and far that have committed your lives to sharing the story of Jesus with a lost and dying world. Thank you for your commitment to the Hope of Christ!

Please remember this ministry as we springboard into a New Year! Thank you also, to those that have been a part of this ministry in 2007 by praying, giving, and going. We look forward to another year of serving our Lord together and making ‘new friends’ of Pure Joy International.

Blessings Over Each of Your Households,


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Costa Rica Team Coming Together

Here is another e-mail from one of the Costa Rica team members relating what God is doing in her life through the journey toward Costa Rica. The following is an excerpt from that e-mail.

Today, I was just overwhelmed with God's calling me to this mission trip. God has called me outside of my box since I gave my heart to him fully in 1995. This mission trip is very humbling to me. It amazes me that God really wants to use me - His call amazes me - EVERYTHING amazes me about God!!

Three weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to join her on a mission trip to Africa - working with children. Then Mary calls after that about the mission trip to Costa Rica. I thought - "What's up, Lord - not me!" I knew in my heart that God would want me to go on a mission trip that reached out to women and if He affirmed it then I would be going to Costa Rica. It is so strange to me that God brought these two trips up at the same time. Going on a Mission trip outside of the U.S.A. was always for other women - was what I had thought. I was THRILLED with Julie and her trip - but it wasn't for me. I didn't think God would ever call me to do this. Again, God is always surprising me with new open doors that take me to unknown territory. This humbles me every time He does this. Today, as we prayed, I was brought to tears because of His power, His presence, His handywork, the prayers of the team, your vision, this ministry, the women's hearts......I feel so unworthy but like you said knowing at all times that HE is the one who gives us the POWER to do anything! I trust His calling though it is hard to me to walk in His open doors so many times.

Spiritual Warfare has already started with started as soon as we started praying. I wanted to truly walk out the door and say to God, "I'm not your gal.....I don't want the warfare that I know will come from saying - "yes" - to this trip." Of course, He brought me to tears so I would give up my will and say - "Not my will but yours, Lord..."

Vickie, in the past 2 weeks God has worked in my heart to seek forgiveness from 6 people that I had bitterness in my heart against. Three weeks ago in the F.R.O.G.ette class, the lesson I was teaching on was on "Forgiveness and Contentment" and I knew that I had to get right with these people. My husband, Rod, researched the scriptures and led me in the way to do this. I did it because I knew God told me to do it and that I could not hold on to this any longer. As I shared with Jerre, who is on the team, I do not think God ever opened the door for a Mission Trip outside of this country because He was waiting on me to release this bitterness and seek forgiveness. HE CONVICTED ME and I followed and IT WAS ALL HIM! I could never have done this without His Power. Through this journey of seeking forgiveness, I have depended on 9 Accountability Partners in my life to pray and keep me focused to complete this journey. Vickie, it takes an army to keep me accountable! Ha!! These ladies and my husband prayed me through this journey and I have a peace like I have never had in my life. In my heart, I believe this Forgiveness in My Heart = Costa Rica. One led to the other - God is so awesome!

I share all of this with you because I truly believe this forgiveness in my life and this trip happening all at the same time are not coincidences......God's plans are not to harm us but to prosper us - to give us a hope and a future......Yeah God!!

It is such a joy to watch God move in the lives of those He calls to join each retreat team. You may have heard me say before that Pure Joy is an inside out ministry. Not only does it minister to the missionary women around the world, but it ministers to individual team member and causes spiritual growth in them during the preparation for each trip.

Keep watching as God builds the Costa Rica team.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Costa Rica Journey Begins

I will be posting some of the Costa Rica Team's e-mails here over the next week or so. I enjoy sharing with all of you how team members hear from the Lord about being a part of one of our retreats. The following e-mail is from Jerre Moore
Vickie, just wanted to tell you how much I loved meeting you yesterday and the rest of the team. If I ever had any reservations, which I haven't, but yesterday would have put those to rest. I sensed a room full of hearts that beat the same for Christ, His Word and His mission. I love that!

Also, I appreciated a lot what you said up front that those of us that have "inclinations toward leadership" can just sit back and rest and enjoy the trip because there is one leader ultimately and that is Christ and you were listening to Him and would let us know.....and I liked that! I'll rest...(-:

As I said, I have always wanted to go, but it just wasn't the time, but I know this is. I've had nothing but big wide open doors, confirmations thru scripture, I had just finished listening to a series of cd's by Jim Cymbla on spiritual warfare when Mary called, (that's odd but I know it's just God), and most of all Doug, my husband, is so encouraging me to go, my kids are excited about me going and most of all it is what I love to do, minister to women thru His Word. It's just the right package and God wrapped it and gave it to me. I am so thankful!

I so appreciate you, your passion for Christ and the nations and women in particular, I am delighted and honored to be a little part of this bigger picture.
See you soon and I pray God's blessings, protection and constant care of you as you go and give in His Name, jerre moore

As you can see God is working to get our team ready to minister to the women in Costa Rica!


Friday, November 23, 2007

Greetings Friends of Pure Joy International

There are no words to explain what God accomplished in our lives while visiting Quito, Ecuador this past week. I am quite sure that my life will never be the same! The movement of the Holy Spirit at work was more than I could even imagine. He showed up from the first day and never let up through the 3 day retreat. I have to believe that lives were touched in ways we will know nothing about this side of eternity! The missionary women that attended were absolutely precious beyond belief. Their desire to worship, learn, fellowship, share, and just be honest about their journey’s was spell bounding! I can honestly say that I have never experienced the hand of God in such a unique way as we did on this trip. I want to thank every person that was a part of this journey from every aspect, prayer, support, gifts, encouragement, or time! I want to especially commend those of you who prayed for this retreat. We as a team felt like we walked into this retreat on a paved highway because of your prayers. The women at the retreat with tears in their eyes would comment on how they just couldn’t believe that so many of you were specifically praying for them because of your access to their bio’s.

Linda, who was supposed to do our music, lost her voice on Wednesday but God had a plan. Wendy, Patty, Jessie, and Penny stepped to the plate and we spent 6-8 hours before the Lord putting the song sets together for the retreat. It was a wonderful thing to watch these four gifted singers be able to yield to one another, to be able to recognize what music fit their own gifting, to see God at work in all of them and to see no egos emerge! Praise God for a team that was truly sold out to God! Mena and all the team got the gifts distributed throughout the retreat. Again, the missionary women were in awe of your gifts towards them. Several of the ladies took on the activity of scrap booking with some hesitancy but in the end crossed over! Ha, ha, ha. We heard several testimonies of the blessings that activity brought into their lives. Barbara and Ruth challenged all of us with their messages. In fact I am sure that missionary women all around Ecuador and those of us from the team are all memorizing the book of Philippians even as I write this! We are all also mindful of the Names of God. Specifically, I AM.

Again, thank all of you that were a part of the journey to Quito, Ecuador! I pray blessings back to you a hundred fold. Now keep a watch on our next journey as we prepare for Costa Rica in Feb. We already have over 30 missionary women signed up and we are capping the number at 50. Please begin to pray about how you can be a part of this trip through prayer and support. We will let you know the cost of supporting a missionary to this retreat in the next week as we get all our details together. Looking forward to a new journey with Him!

Note: We have several retreat opportunities for next year already coming on the scene. If you believe your church would be interested in being a part of one of our trips please contact us.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Beautiful Faces in Quito

I thought you would enjoy seeing the women that attended the retreat in Quito this week. There are a couple of faces missing but most were in this group photo. God was so good during this retreat and we heard many testimonies of great things that were accomplished in many lives. We expect to learn of more as the women begin to e-mail Vickie over the next few weeks to report what God did for them. Thank you for praying for this retreat. Please keep us in your prayers as we turn our full attention to the Costa Rica retreat and seek exactly what God would have for those women.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vickie Standing at the Middle of the Earth

Hey guys, thought you might like to see Vickie standing at the Equator. This was taken on Tuesday as the Quito Team did a little sightseeing in the area. Today we begin to prepare for our dear missionary women to arrive. Will post updates as we can.
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quito Here – Costa Rica not far away!!

It’s time, final packing is done, and in the morning we board the plane to Quito. We want to thank all individuals and churches that have been a part of preparing for this opportunity to minister to the women missionaries in Quito Ecuador. As we go we recognize that we are just an extension of your kind hearts and generosity.

Please remember, those of you that are registered as Friends of Pure Joy, that the schedule for the trip is posted in the Friends Area. If you are not registered please take a moment to do so now so that you can keep up with us through e-mail updates. We are counting on your prayers as we journey in the Name of the Lord.

Even as we are in the midst of God’s plan for Quito we are beginning to plan for our trip to Costa Rica in February. Our theme for the Costa Rica Retreat is “You’re in the Army Now” and our verse is Proverbs 4:23 which says “Above all else guard your heart for it is the well spring of life.” We encourage you to be diligent in reading the blog so you can be a part of watching the Costa Rica team come together. We already have several missionaries signed up and two sponsoring churches, Evergeen Baptist Church in Tulsa, OK and Eastside Baptist Church in Ft. Smith, AR. However, if you would like to give to help offset retreat expenses please visit our donation page to get for details about doing that.

The next time I talk to you will be from Ecuador!!!


Sunday, November 4, 2007

The One Left Behind

My name is Melinda Emerson. I live in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and became acquainted with Vickie and Pure Joy in the fall of 2005 preparing for a retreat in Jordan.

I am a doodler by trade and design Molly graphics by assignment. When I was called about joining the Quito team this past summer, I was in the throes of my middle son’s wedding preparations (my husband, Steve, and I have 3 sons). The day after the wedding our oldest son left for seminary in Louisville, KY, and 2 weeks later our youngest left for college.

In the midst of all this, I was emailing back and forth with Vickie on theme ideas … and a picture to help communicate it before we settled on the final picture. I was continuing to pray about God’s will in my going on the trip … My first reaction to any mission trip (especially a Pure joy retreat) is YES, FUN … but I wanted to be sure that it was God’s idea, not mine. I always make plans to GO until God says STOP.

Steve and I had been training to hike the Grand Canyon for the last 7 months. We took off down the mountain on September 9 and it was amazing. Talk about praying without ceasing. I talked to God for three days while living in His glorious creation! I couldn’t wait to share this adventure with the ladies in Quito! We camped out under the stars two nights and on the third day made our way out of the canyon. (let me preface this to say I am not an outdoorsy type of gal and the only tent experience I had was when Steve popped it up in our bathroom and said, “can you fit?”) So this was huge for me.

We went to find something to eat and headed out for a visit with my family in Durango, Colorado. We made one last stop in the park to take a picture and as I walked across the parking lot I slipped on a rock and fell … and broke 4 bones in my foot! Well, talk about a prayer answered with no doubts. But as I talked to God about it all – my disappointment, etc – I felt such a peace. I knew it was not my time.

I continued to work on the art work for the trip and as I set with my right foot in a cast, unable to drive, I worked over the list of ladies who would be attending the retreat. I prayed for each one and, even though I won’t see their faces, I love their hearts.

While praying with the Jonesboro team this week, I was reminded of Moses and how Aaron and Hur held up his arms when he was too tired and the battle was raging. It is the responsibility of all of us staying behind to continue to lift the arms of these ladies going on the mission… they will be tired but the battle will be won!

Most of the team has been at our home this weekend, packing the crates for the trip. Our playroom looks like a store with all the presents and treats so many of you have donated. The missionary women are going to be so excited to see gifts picked out especially for them! Thank you for your generosity. The team will return here next Sunday for their last night before leaving on Monday. Pray for them that they get lots of rest this week because the next will be busy.

I almost feel like Moses when he stood on Mount Nebo (where we actually got to stand in 2006) and couldn’t go into the Promised Land. God is good … and I’m learning to “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” Psalm 37:7

Thanks for letting me share my heart…

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

3 Weeks and Counting...

Hope this blog finds each one of you doing well and experiencing Jesus second by second. Things are getting serious around here! We are having our final team meeting this Saturday with all the ladies that live near by. Our next time together will be for packing purposes and the next will be because we are heading to the airport in Memphis to fly out!

I have been under the weather this past two weeks and ask you to lift my body up in prayer. In November 2005 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. They did a lumpectomy and took out several lymph nodes. In January 2006 I began chemo therapy and finished that in April. In June I began radiation and finished up the end of July.

I laughingly tell my friends I’m dealing with more problems as a result of the chemo and radiation then I ever had to going through the process! Some of that is because I forget my limitations at times. In the spring of this year I took a try at some aerobics offered at our church. The aerobic exercise we did using long rubber bands resulted in me tearing the tissue in my left breast. My surgeon says when this happened, due to the burned up tissue from radiation that all the bacteria in my body threw a party in that one breast! That is one party I wished I had missed!!! The result was that 4 days later I ended up in the hospital for 3 days while they pumped high powered antibiotics into my body by IV and by mouth.

Well, Friday two weeks ago I lifted some bottled water the wrong way and guess what? PARTY TIME!!! Yes, same breast and I think all the same bacteria friends showed up and possibly a few cousins!! Did I tell you I have this problem with forgetting what my limitations are? Ha,ha,ha... Anyway, I was down all last week and have had two serious little visits with the surgeon the past 4 days which have been painful! So painful today in fact, that I think that the procedure did not only help give my breast some relief but I think it might have solidified in my mind that I HAVE LIMITATIONS!!!!

Praise God that He puts people in our lives to help us where we are limited whether it is physically, mentally, spiritually, etc. In conclusion, I would say to you that I used the first incident as an excuse to NEVER do aerobics again and I feel good about that! ha, ha ... When I get through this second incident I will share with you the wisdom I’ve gleaned. I’m thinking it might be something as simple as NOT LIFTING ANYTHING WITH MY LEFT ARM!!!!! Ha,ha,ha

Friday, October 5, 2007

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

It is with great joy and excitement that I write this blog entry. Excitement because it has been an absolute JOY to read the blogs that the team has been posting this week about their individual journeys to be on this team. Imagine, that could be you some day! Talk with your Women’s Ministry leader and or Women’s Mission Union Leader about possibly being a sponsoring church for future retreats. Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that every time one of you sends us a check to sponsor a missionary my heart skips a beat!! Thank you for being a part of this journey for God’s kingdom!

Well, I have an absolute blessing I want to share with you today. I have asked Don to allow me to post this today because I want you to understand that when we take a woman on board as a member of a particular trip we realized we they are leaving husbands and children behind just as are the attending missionary women. That is why we pray for the husbands and children of the team members and attending missionaries. Yesterday I received the following note from one of our team members’ husband. It so touched my heart that I asked him to let me post it. He agreed, if I’d check the spelling! Ha,Ha,Ha Praise God that Techno Barbie is checking for all of us!!

Enjoy because I know I did……

Hi Vickie:

I'm Don Jenkins, Mena's husband. I have not met you, but I'm looking forward to that day.
I'm so thankful God has allowed you and Mena's paths to cross. I have never in our 42 years of marriage seen her so excited about the team trip to Quito. I firmly believe God has used you in inviting her in taking this trip, which will change her life forever. God has placed upon my heart to say THANKS.!!!!!!!!!! These are exciting times because we continue to see more clearly why God has brought us back to our home roots. These last three years have been the most exciting days of our Christian walk.

In addition, thanks for the prayers of the team members during the last two days during surgery. We needed it. She came through with flying colors. I can say all that with ease because she did all the suffering. She is doing find but continue to pray for full recovery. She still plans to make the NY trip however; we will see what the next few days allow.

Please know I have been praying for the team and will continue until your return. My prayer for this day is Ps.32:8, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye". May God bless you and have a great day. DJ

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Be Careful What You Pray For !

Last year I had a daughter get married in December and the other daughter graduated from high school. I was studying for a teacher’s test and teaching 5th grade. What a year! God was faithful, and I knew I couldn’t have done it without Him. I’m taking a break this year from teaching, and have the “empty nest”. So, when Wendy called and asked me about going to Ecuador I was very excited and a little overwhelmed. I feel like God is in this for me to go. I had been praying about something I could do for Him. They say be careful what you pray for. There you go!

In Philemon 20 Paul is encouraging Philemon’s obedience. He says, “Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord, refresh my heart in Christ.” This is my hope and prayer, that the Lord will use us to refresh these women. Please pray for my fundraising. I know the Lord will provide if I’m to go.

Gratefully yours, Marla Fergus

Monday, October 1, 2007

Nicki Bartlett's Calling

In the last few months my heart has been overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit instilling within me, to the point of pure anxiety, to go on another Women’s Retreat, mission trip. The reason for the anxiety, I was not aware of any future plans for another mission trip.

Well about 4 weeks ago, after a Sunday morning service at church, Vickie Arruda approached me, inquiring if I was going on the Ecuador mission trip in November. My prayers have been answered. It’s all in God’s timing. Hallelujah!! And Praise God!!

I can’t wait to meet and hug on all of the missionary women. Even though I have not met any of them yet, I feel like they’re all in my heart already covered in sweet, love.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ruth McWhite

It is so much my joy to be on board with this trip. God let my path cross with Vicki's when I was serving as a chauffer for a mutual friend of ours who was recuperating from chemo. Then we got to spend another few days together in Richmond, and we have just kept up through email. When Vicki asked me to be a part of the team, I only had to look at the Father's face and get a quick nod to send back a RESOUNDING YES! Ecuador is so much a part of my heart. It was the place where I thought I would spend the rest of my life. Cholera, contracted in the mtn. town of Riobamba, put an end to that dream, but our family will always love Ecuador. In fact, one of my boys found his bride-to-be there -- on a mission trip with us. She was in school here on campus with him in SC, but they really met in Tena. Also my third child was born in Quito at Metropolitana.

Anyway, having lived through some of the realities of missionary life, I have such a desire to be a part of this team coming in to bring fresh hope and love and joy from the Father's heart.

Julie Cobb - My Quito far

My name is Julie and I am going to Quito with the Pure Joy team in November. Here is where this chapter of my journey begins. At the beginning of August I got an e-mail from Linda stating that part of the team that I had worked with in Senegal in 2002 was taking a retreat to Ecuador and they needed an interpreter for a Deaf Misisonary. She asked if I would please pray about it and consider going. I spent several days thinking and praying about it before I said anything to anyone. One Saturday evening, while we were out walking, I approached the subject with my husband. His response was immediately positive and supportive. I shared with him that I was concerned that I might be “rusty” with my signs since I don’t get as much day to day practice as I used to.

The next morning I got a phone call from Charlene, a lady in my church who also signs, and she said that the sister of one of our members would be visiting the church that morning and asked if I could interpret. I explained that I could do the songs, since Charlene would be in the choir, but I asked if she could then do the sermon so I could go on to my class. We agreed that was how it would go. When I hung up the phone my husband just looked at me for a minute and said, “Weren’t you just saying you needed some practice?” He was right!! This was the opportunity I needed and God dropped it in my lap and I almost missed part of it. As soon as I got to church I found Charlene and told her I would do the entire service and quickly explained to her what was happening. At the end of the service I had the assurance I needed that I still had the skills God had given me. I knew that this trip was definitely the next chapter in my journey with God.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mena's Story

A few weeks ago while standing by a young, pretty, little 16 year old girl at church, we were making small talk and I mentioned I was trying to eat right and get in shape. She answered in her sweet, kind voice, “Well, it’s never too late!” I could hardly keep from laughing aloud because to her I wasn’t long for this world. Thinking more about this recently I began to think she was prophetic in what she was saying. It’s never too late!
There are some unchangeables in all of our lives. We can’t go back and undo some of the wrong choices we made or some that others have made on our behalf. But we can forget what lies behind and press on toward the goal for that which God has called us. But, time is short. It is short for all of us even if we are 16 or 60!

This brings me to my point. I believe that in June God began preparing me to go on two mission trips this fall. It was not a typical preparation because I was in fact mad. I was mad at some circumstances in my life, but truly after some time I realized I was just mad at myself for the sin of gluttony and laziness I had allowed to become part of my life. I began walking almost daily and when I began it was such drudgery. On my walks I began to sometimes pray, sometimes memorize scripture, and sometimes just meditate on Him and His creation and His goodness to me. Now I look forward to that daily time.

Then God allowed two opportunities for trips. In my heart for the past year or so I thought if there were two places I would like to go it would be Africa or Ecuador. Well, I’m not going to Africa but in New York I will be working with missionaries who are focusing on the West African population. When Wendy approached me about going to Ecuador I had just committed to go to New York. It didn’t seem practical or reasonable to go again in November. But, when I met in Morrilton with the team recently I knew it was His plan for me to go. It might not seem right or reasonable to anyone else, but time is short and I want to press on!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Penny Morrow - My Story

My name is Penny Morrow. Vickie asked us to blog on how we came to be on the 2007 Quito, Ecuador Team, so here goes. I have always had a “heart” for Missionaries who are on the field over seas, as my father was a Pastor for much of my life and we always had Missionaries and their families in our home. As an adult, God had given me the desire to go on a “mission” trip for quite some time but I always allowed other things to stand in the way. Having served in many areas and many church’s, I experienced a season of “burn-out” for a time. From the moment Vickie first told me about Pure Joy International and its purpose, I knew God wanted me to be involved with this ministry. I didn’t know when, where or how, but I felt the call.

Now a couple of years later and through much prayer, along with the support and prayers from my sweet husband, I am a member of the 2007 Quito, Ecuador Team! I am so excited - it’s spilling over! I can’t wait to step off that plane in Quito and “overflow” on every missionary woman I come in contact with! But do pray that we don’t have any active volcanoes while we are over there!

The Time Is Drawing Nearer...

This past weekend we had a great Quito meeting to work on the details for our trip. All team members were present except Barbara O’Chester (speaker), Ruth McWhite (speaker), and Holly Hilderbrand(scrapbooking). It actually felt like we had our own little retreat this weekend! It is always so sweet to see God bring a team together for His ministry. I was going to fill you in on some of the ways God has been at work in this team and bringing people on board but I decided to have the team members do that themselves. So, be watching as their testimonies of God at work in this process are posted. Also, please join us in praying for the missionary women.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hello and Apologies,

Techno Barbie is doing her best to stay on me about getting in a weekly blog. I haven’t been much help to her with that this past week. But the important thing is I’m writing now.

I have been in a whirlwind of excitement watching God’s hand work to continue to put together our Quito Trip and also begin our planning for the Costa Rica trip in Feb. Tuesday Penny Morrow (one of the Quito Team members) and I went to Jonesboro, AR to meet with several women that have been praying about being a part of the team. It was awesome to watch the Holy Spirit move even during our time together! I also had the opportunity to visit with their Missions Minister Larry Bailey and we began discussing ministry opportunities for next year in Africa.

Monday night I was with our church family here at FBC as we attended an association meeting with Robbie Tingle from our State Office who works with missions. He also provided a connection for us regarding a trip next year. It is exciting to see God bringing the opportunities to minister to the women missionaries overseas in the fashion He has designed for Pure Joy International.

Having said all of that I am asking you to please consider how God would have you become involved in this ministry. We will always be in need of your prayers and financial resources but just as importantly WE NEED YOU! Please pray about your church being one of the sponsoring churches for a retreat. We love to connect two or three churches as the sponsoring churches for these retreats. That is why I like to call it an inside out ministry. It is not just about what God can do through us for the missionary women but what God also wants to do for us as a team and churches here in the U.S.

Don’t be boxed in by the fact that I live in Arkansas. If you sense God’s direction for your church to be a partner on a retreat team, then contact us. I am more than happy to travel to meet with you and share the vision of the ministry with you.

You may ask but what can I do? We take speakers, worship leaders, piano players, hospitality people, craft people (beading, scrap-booking, etc.), drama people, video, camera people, prayer warriors, etc. We take who and what God directs us to do for that particular group of women after much time in prayer.

By the way, Penny got her passport back this week and she just sent off for it 3 weeks ago. Janice Mobley (another team member) and I sent off for ours before her and we haven’t seen them yet. Maybe because ours were being renewed it made a difference. I say all that to say…pray for us that they come in.

Would love to hear from some of you and it would be sweet to hear from some of the missionaries that will be attending our upcoming Quito retreat.

His, Vickie

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another Team Member Added

Greetings Dear Ones…

We are steadily moving forward in regard to our trip to Quito. We have prayer groups meeting in 5 different states, plus the missionary women in Quito praying for the trip. The states include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina. These groups are meeting for at least one hour weekly to pray specifically for the missionary women that will be attending, the team that will be coming, our messages, the worship time, the activity and free time, financial provision, and anything else God puts in our hearts to pray for regarding the retreat. I encourage you if you are praying for us weekly, daily, etc., we would love to hear from you and to know where you are from.

I am excited to share with you that Patty Shipp, a dear friend, board member, and as I call her my personal….Techno Barbie (without blonde hair, ha,ha,ha) whom I have learned not to leave the country without, is making a way for us to be able to allow those of you that are making contributions to the trip through prayer and financial support to be able to access more of the personal aspect of the trip. So pray for her as she works on this.

Our team is now up to 13 with two more spots to fill. This past week as our prayer group here at home was praying God really impressed me that there was some else from my home church that was suppose to be on this trip. I shared that with the group after prayer. The next day I was visiting with a woman in our church that helps to head our Women’s Ministry and as I was preparing to walk off the LORD impressed heavily upon me that she was the one. I called her later in the afternoon and shared with her what had happened and reminded her that I am not trying to be her Holy Spirit but that I was being obedient to what God had laid on my heart. I then asked her to pray and be open to what God would be speaking to her heart. She did pray and spoke with her husband and got his blessing and we are glad to have Janice Mobley come on board with us.

It is so important to remember that if God has something in store for you, He will tell you as well as the other people. So many times in my counseling ministry I hear people tell me that so and so told them that they where going to be doing so and so. I always remind women that when someone shares something with me that God has supposedly told them about me or that I am suppose to do…that one of two things is happening: (1) God has already began showing me that personally and that person’s word is for affirmation, and or (2) God hasn’t shown me that yet personally so I put it on the shelf until He reveals it to me in His timing and still it is affirmation and to be quite honest with you I have had some things told to me by others that God has yet to affirm so, those kind words ( and sometimes not so kind) from others on the shelf! And trust me my flesh rises up at times and wants to open the jar (of the kind words of course) as from God but I learned years ago that He isn’t withholding anything from me and if it is of Him, He will reveal it to me in His time.

Sorry, you will learn that sometimes I take a little “side bar” if you will. You know what a “side bar” is; it isn’t the main meal just something extra. Some people call it chasing rabbits. I’m a believer that attends a Southern Baptist church; we have to make everything about food! Ha,ha,ha,ha.

I am looking forward to some of you writing to us and sharing your hearts, your thoughts and your stories.

His, Vickie

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to everyday life...

Hope this entry finds each of you doing well. It was good to get away from the office for a week. Hurricane Aaron was nipping at our heels towards the end of the week but ended up going around us there in Padre Island. The most wind and rain we got was coming back to Arkansas.

We almost have our team for Quito, Ecuador in place. I’m excited about that! But for those of you that are praying for us and watching what God is up to in our ministry we will also begin preparations for a retreat to the missionary women in the Costa Rica area to take place Feb. 4-11, 2008. If you would like to see your church be a part of a trip then please prayerfully go to your women’s ministry leader, WMU leader, pastor, etc. and refer them to our web site We will be glad to send you a promo video (in the process of being developed), brochure, etc. and I will follow that up with a personal visit if you believe God is leading you to be involved with us by sending team members on a trip, joining as prayer partners, sponsoring missionaries through financial support, etc.

Please remember to pray for our speakers, music person, hospitality people, activities person, etc. for our Quito Trip! We have 39 missionary women signed up for our Quito trip thus far. We like to cap it at 50 because it helps me to honor the vision I believe God gave me for this ministry and that is intimacy with Him and each other throughout the retreat. So, we eat together, worship together, study God’s word together, play together and relax together!

As I spoke with one of the missionaries by email yesterday in Quito I closed my correspondence with her by saying, “Have a Jesus Day.” Immediately it hit me, what are we saying to someone when we say “Have a Jesus Day”? Sounds spiritual but what are we really saying? Then I started to ponder what was a day like was for Jesus? No place to lay His head, people out to kill Him, people calling Him names, talking about Him behind His back, etc., etc.,. In our world we would call that “a bad day”. So, I close with this, if we REALLY are closing the gap between us and our relationship with the Lord so that we may wholly follow Him, expect some bad days!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Update on Quito Retreat

Greetings in the precious name of the Lord!
I am coming to you this week from the beach where I am trying to recuperate from Kids Camp. Now that was an experience!

I want to let you all know how things are going concerning the Quito retreat planning. Team members are coming together and there will soon be a page with team members and their bios on our web site. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the team members and give you faces to pray for as you keep Pure Joy in your prayers.

As you lift this ministry up please continue to pray for God’s direction in every aspect of the Quito retreat. Please also pray for God’s provision for the team and for the missionaries that will be attending the retreat. Pray specifically for financial partners for this retreat. Check back for more updates next week.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Vickie Away From Computer This Week

Just wanted to let everyone know that Vickie is away at Children's Camp with 13 kids from the Sunday School class she teaches at First Baptist Church. She may not be able to get internet access so we probably won't have a post from her this week. Pray that she will enjoy the camp activities and that the children with her will have opportunities for spiritual growth.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Watching God Work!

Greetings In the precious Name of the LORD!
As we prepare for our trip to Quito, Ecuador I would like to let you follow the process as much as possible. Approximately a month ago I began praying for a theme for our retreat in Quito. The theme God laid on my heart was "Teach Me To Be Still". With the theme in place I began praying for the team. This means speakers, worship leader, hospitality people, activities people, etc. Well, one evening as I sat at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant (outside in one of those wonderful rockers) while my mom and aunt shopped away, I asked God to please speak to me regarding a speaker. He brought to my mind a precious woman that serves with the International Mission Board out of Richmond, VA. So, I contacted the individual to see if she would be interested. She wrote back to let me know that she already had something on her calendar for those dates. I am always interested in why God does the things He does. Why was I impressed to contact this person when God already knew she would have other plans?
Anyway, having received that information I went back to the prayer closet and left if before the LORD. The next day I received an email from a precious young woman that I had met originally while speaking at the Tennessee Evangelism Women's Conference in the Fall of 2006. We had the pleasure of meeting again this past spring while attending a Women's Dialogue Conference at the International Mission Boards, Missions Learning Center. Her email simply said, "Did you know that I pray for you every morning??" I hope each of you have someone that tells you they are praying for you. Sometimes I will be driving down the road or in my office and will pick up the phone and call the person I was impressed to pray for and tell them, "I just prayed for you and wanted you to know." It is an awesome thing to know "God has us on His Mind!"
Anyway, all this to say as soon as I finished reading her email I just knew that was my speaker for Quito. So, I emailed her and asked her to pray about the trip. She shot an email back to me and let me know that she already had plans to be in Cuba during the dates I gave her but not to discount her until she checked the dates out for sure. I wrote her back and told her that I was praying that God would lead her to what was His best vs. what was good whether she came on board with us or went to Cuba. She wrote me the next day to inform me that in visiting with the people regarding Cuba they were wondering if she could change her date to next year instead of this one!! God knew!!!!!
When I have a chance to get her permission I would like to reveal to you her actual words in the email she sent me to let me know she was receiving God's green light! Until then, I would like to introduce you to this gifted and lovely young woman, Ruth McWhite. To read her bio click here.

Please continue to pray for the details and the rest of the team.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Quito, Ecuador Upcoming Retreat


Pure Joy International is headed to Quito, Ecuador in Nov. of this year. Our dates for the retreat will be Nov. 15-17. Please pray for me as I seek God concerning the team for Ecuador. I am praying for the churches that God would have join us on this trip, speakers, worship leaders, etc. Please pray for details of trip. Pray for resources and pray for the missionary women in the Quito, Ecuador area to be excited about attending this opportunity to be refreshed in the Spirit.


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