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.