Thursday, December 29, 2011

What a Year!!!

Tuesday as I was on the road, I began to Praise God for the many things in my life I have to be thankful for! In the next few days in magazines, newspapers, television, and Sunday services, you will hear people talking about 2011 and looking back. You will also have people (myself included) talk about looking ahead (as is something I discussed in our ‘End of the Year Letter’ which most of you received in the mail and or email. If you did not get it and want a copy please contact Before I share anything further with you, I would ask you to consider a story from the Old Testament regarding looking back and going forward.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah stirs up lots of topics of discussion for the issue of the sin of homosexuality. Most people are so busy looking at it from that standpoint that they lose sight of the fact that the story has a lot to teach all of us about sin, God’s mercy, and time.

Without going through all the passages right here, I would ask you to pull out your Bible and read for yourself Genesis 19:1-30. We will focus on verses12-30 for the purpose of our blog today and the principles I would encourage you to take away from this reading.

Things to be mindful of…

  • God realizes we are in over our heads before we do (v. 12). - Remember He has a bird’s eye view of all things.
  • People are praying (crying out to the LORD) for you and your situation when you don’t even realize they are carrying it to God (v. 13a)! - Praise God for intercessors.
  • He sends help to us even when we don’t realize we need it (v.13b). - Sometimes we are just too close to the situation.
  • The help sent caused Lot to see the seriousness of his circumstances (v.14a). - Lot was willing to listen.
  • But just like some of our very own family members, his son-in-laws did not listen to or believe Lot (v.14b). - Some individuals we love and even we ourselves at times, refuse to yield to people God puts in our paths to bring us out of danger!
  • Maybe Lot himself wasn’t setting too good of an example of taking the angels seriously either, since they had to urge Lot to leave (v.15a). - Isn’t Lot like us…we listen, but when the ‘feeling’ of crisis is over we start to settle back into hesitation regarding change.
  • The angels also made it clear that punishment was eminent for the city (v.15b). - God has NEVER withheld the truth from us that Judgment is eminent regarding this world!
  • Knowing what has been told to him…LOT still lingers (v.16a)! - Really! Hmmmmm we are sooooo like Lot! 
  • But, because of God’s mercy the two angels took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand and the two daughters and set them outside the city (v.16b). - Note: The word hold in that passage doesn’t mean they gently guided them out. It means in the original Hebrew language to seize hold of them. To put in terms we can relate to, they jerked their behinds up and got ’em out of there!  Just like we would jerk a child out of the path of an oncoming car.
  • Once they got them out of there the angels tell them, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plains. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed!” (v.17). - In other words RUN!!!! FLEE!!!

In verses 18-20, there is a simple dialogue of Lot whining because he is continuing to trust in his own lack of abilities instead of God’s to get him to safety. 

In verses 21-23, we once again see God’s favor, patients, and love extended to Lot in spite of Lot’s lack of trust.

In verses 24-25, we see God keep His word to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, all the plains, and all the inhabitants of the cities and what grew on the ground. (God does what He says He will do!)

And verse 26, “But his wife looked back behind him, and became a pillar of salt.”

I hope I can bring this full circle for you as I close out.  Many of us will look back over 2011. For me personally the past year has been like the wildest ride since forever. There are some really great things that have happened and some really hard things that have happened. But, presently they help me be all that God is continuing to work out in me regarding my salvation. Where it all takes me in the future remains in His hands. 

Many of you will be tempted to live in the past of 2011. Because of people that have left you behind through death, divorce, circumstances, etc. Some will be tempted to live in the glory of things magnificent that took place in 2011. In either case spending your time looking back or riding the laurels of past accomplishments will harden your heart and keep you from the present. Believe me when I tell you that His blood has covered the past whether it was good, bad, or indifferent. And know that He holds your future. If you read on, you will see that Lot still ended up where the angels instructed him to go: the mountains. Wonder what he missed out on by not doing it in God’s timing. 

Precious ones, He has the past covered, He dwells in the present, He holds the future.  Living in the past will harden your heart; living in the future will cause you to forfeit His presence revealed in your life today.

Let us make a commitment to heed his warnings regarding our sin, accept His Grace and Mercy to set us free, and Trust His Timing is Perfect!!

He has the Past covered, He dwells in the Present, He holds the Future!

Rest and Blessings to you in this New Year 2012!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From: Vickie


• All our missionary women and their families ( my "people group", smile)
• Every woman that has traveled as a team member
• Every woman that has written a prayer card and or filled a goody bag and or both
• Every woman, man and child that has donated gifts
• Every individual, couple, child, church organization, and business that has given financial and other resources
• Every prayer warrior
• All the Friends of Pure Joy
• The Board, Advisors, and incredible Ministry staff!


I flat out love you guys!!


Monday, December 12, 2011

My Savior's Not a Baby...

Last week I received the following writing from a dear friend who is also one of our Costa Rica team members from this past summer.  As I read it I thought, “This is so true, this is good.”   I asked her permission to share it with you this week.  It has not been edited in detail. Enjoy and ponder…                 

                              My Savior's Not a Baby

If Christmas is Jesus' birthday, the birthday of a King,
My mind keeps tossing and turning over what present I should bring.
Maybe a blankie, some teething gel, or perhaps a rattle… maybe,
Because it seems to me that every Christmas we pretend that He’s a baby.
I’ve heard I could give Him my talents, my time, or even a song,
But, aren’t those the very things I should be giving Him all along?
If I passionately love Him then the gift that I should bring,
Shouldn’t be an easy gift that doesn’t cost me anything.

Because my Savior’s not a baby, He’s the risen King of Kings,
And I think on this Christmas He might want some other things.
Perhaps He wants my anger and that seed of bitterness,
Or the hurt I’m holding deep inside where no one else would guess.
Maybe He wants my loneliness or the addictions I hold tight.
Perhaps He wants the tears I’ve cried and the wrongs I’ve not made right.
My worry, my shame, and my heart so prideful and so wild,
They’re not exactly gifts you bring to lay before a child.
But my Savior's not a baby, He is Jesus, Immanuel,
Who battled Satan on his turf and conquered death and Hell.
He didn’t save my life just to leave me in my sin,
He freed me from my shackles and gave me joy again.
He died to take my anger and He suffered in my place,
To heal my broken, tattered heart and offer me His grace.
The part that takes my breath away, the amazing part you see,
If I were the only one, He would have done it just for me.

You see, my Savior's not a baby, He’s Creator of Heaven and Earth,
Who set aside His Godhood to experience human birth.
It’s not about me or the gifts that I could bring,
It’s about a Marvelous Savior who gave me everything.
He understands my heart and the problems that I face,
And He loves me far too much to settle for second place.
An Infinite, Incredible God who hears me when I pray,
How could I not fall to my knees and praise Him every day.

Praise God He’s not a Baby; He’s sitting at God’s right hand,
He’s both God and Man. He’s the Risen Lord.  I hope you understand,
I’m not saying we can’t remember, that we shouldn’t celebrate His birth,
And spread the story angels proclaimed all throughout the Earth.
The prophecies of old fulfilled, set the stage for God’s great plan,
So let's remember baby Jesus' birth, but worship the Savior of man.
So this Christmas I think I‘ll give Him every hidden, dirty part,
And accept His peace, His healing, and a clean and softened heart.

                                                                        Kathleen Jones - 2011


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Take the Challenge...

As the Christmas Season is upon us, many times over we hear the following verse read and preached out of the pulpits. In fact, I spoke from this verse to a wonderful group of women in Altus, OK earlier in the week. 

Luke 2:10-14
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

We talked about the difference a person makes.  I shared my testimony and how Jesus Christ took a lonely, looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places, caught-in-the-performance-trapping-of-the-world young woman and changed my life for eternity!  He also changes my life daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly on the road to eternity! 

2 Cor. 5:15 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old has passed the new had come.” 

This list could go on but the challenge is: has the Child born in the City of David made a difference in your life?  JEUS makes the difference.  No change -- No Jesus.

Please continue to pray for us as we pray through His plans for the Dominican Republic.  We are currently praying for the hotel / resort area that God would have for the group of women that attend.  So pray He will give us an incredible spot for these ladies to come to and be able to recharge and be filled back up for the battles ahead!

I also want to ask each of you reading this to prayerfully consider becoming a monthly supporter of the ministry of Pure Joy International.  The very least amount you give can make the absolute difference in the lives of missionary women, their spouses, their children, their ministries, the nationals, and the world!

Love you all so much!

Jesus Makes the Difference,


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Then the LORD said, "Put 'em in leadership...That'll kill 'em!"

After reading that header, I’m sure many hundreds of you out there are already chuckling to yourself, especially those of you who have been in a position of leadership in any shape, form or fashion.  And I certainly know our missionaries on the field will appreciate that statement.

This morning a good friend of mine and I were talking over some things regarding leadership in ministry.

I suppose that the LORD has allowed more flesh to be removed from my skeleton frame through the journey of being in a “leadership role” more than any other way.  In fact, you realize just how much flesh is on these bones as time goes on!  Ha, ha, ha, ha!

For a good picture of what I am talking about, just think about a dead animal (having been hit by a car) lying on the road and buzzards randomly flying in to pick away at the flesh till nothing is left.

Now if you just read this and are a sanguine temperament, you are going to be talking in your head, saying that is a pretty funny word picture and wished you had thought of it yourself (even though it’s gross) because it is relational.  You can understand it! In fact, you will use the principle of the story yourself someday!

If your temperament is more towards the choleric side, you are going to be evaluating it with an attitude of wondering what the animal was doing in the road anyway!  You will also be frustrated with the person who hit it and did not move it off the road.  That was their responsibility!

If your temperament is a little more melancholy, your heart strings have already been moved to the breaking point for the poor little fellow on the road, and you’re thinking that those big bad buzzards need to leave it alone!  It’s bad enough that it’s dead. And even more than that, who killed it to start with?  You want the details!

If your temperament is phlegmatic, you don’t really want to say how you feel about it, because you don’t want to make anyone mad, and you don’t like conflict going on about anything.  You just want it to all go away and everybody be happy!

Ok, having had a little sidebar of fun with the temperaments on the illustration of the road kill and buzzards let me conclude with this principle.  God really does want “nothing” left of our flesh to be at work in our daily walk with Him. He uses our family, friends, peers, circumstances, and yes, the very ministries He has called us to in this world to be a tool not only for lifting up His Name and bringing glory to Him, but also for removal of our flesh! 

So my dear sisters and brothers in Christ, near and far, do not grow weary in doing good!

Stay the course He has purposed for you!

Please be in prayer right now for our sisters in the area of the Dominican Republic. We are praying and working back and forth with a contact in that area for a possible retreat in the spring of 2012. Also, if you are reading this right now and your heart is moved regarding this area of the world and you believe God might be speaking to you about going, please contact me at

Love you guys!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011...

As I sit down to write this blog I know that it is Thanksgiving week and many will sit down to give thanks this week.  Many will slow down for the first time all year to think of the things they are thankful for and for some it will pass by just like any other day of their life.
Looking around me, thinking back on the life, thinking present life, and future life, one word rises up in bold letters to me and that is what I am most thankful for - “Grace”.

I like the simple definition given by Holman Bible Dictionary:

Grace: underserved acceptance and love received from another, especially the characteristic attitude of God in providing salvation for sinners.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Here is something for you to chew on this week besides turkey…meditate on that last verse and what it is really saying to us, “Oh, for grace to trust Him more!”  Don’t assume you get it, really think about it!

Blessings on you and your families this Thanksgiving Week!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just a Little humor...

On Sunday my mom received a phone call from Pastor Steve, a friend of mine from Round Rock, TX.  He explained to my mom that he was trying to reach me suspecting I had already left for church, but he thought he would just try the house.  He went on to tell my mom that He and his wife and daughter were driving back from the University of Texas/Missouri game when just outside of Leslie, Arkansas he hit a bear on the road.  My mom said, "You mean a deer."  He said, "No I mean a bear."  She said, "A bear?"  "Yes, a B.E.A.R., bear"! he replied.  Understand it was natural for my mom to think she heard him wrong because we are in deer season around here, and the best chance of getting a deer is not in the woods this season.  It appears your best chances are to just take a drive and your cleaning knife. Ha,ha,ha!

My mom then instead of going to church actually was the church by getting in her car and going after the pastor, his wife and daughter and bringing them back to our home. (Their car will be in the repair shop for some time.)   I was very surprised to walk in from church and find Pastor Steve, Karen, and Laruen sitting in our living room. It was great to see them even though I suspect they would have liked it to be under different circumstances.  We took them to our family lunch at my Aunt Myrna’s and then on to Little Rock, AR. to a rental car facility to get them back to Longview, TX and then on to Round Rock, TX. 

Of course, Pastor Steve likes to add a little humor to all that happened to them from hitting the bear to the local authorities, to the Arkansas Wildlife Management that had to be called, to the toll truck driver, to the local man that showed up to make sure that we didn’t forget we were in AR by saying, “So you got yourself a BARrrrrrr!”  

I told Pastor Steve as I dropped them off at the car rental place at the airport, "You know brother, you just had to pull the Bigger and Better Texas thing didn’t you!  You couldn’t just come through Arkansas and hit a deer like everyone else. You just had to come through Arkansas and hit a BARrrrrrr!" Ha,ha,ha!   I was still laughing as they drove off.

We are three weeks out from Peru and the emails from the ladies there just keep coming!  It is so exciting to see how God moved!  I want to encourage all of you who are reading this blog and have a missionary friend in a foreign country, and believe they could use a Pure Joy Retreat, get them to the blog and have them contact me. 

We are praying about and looking forward to where God is leading us next!

Love you guys!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Look at Me...

I suppose none of us wants to wake up in the morning thinking this day is going to be hard.  But the truth is, some days are just hard.  I have had several of those days stacked on top of each other for about the past month.  Today was really a tough one.  But that happens when we are dealing with our teenage loved ones, doesn’t it?  The cool thing about God is HE KNOWS.  Tonight as I sat down to evaluate the day, conversations, actions, etc., it is like the LORD is saying to my spirit, “look at Me”.

I can just see Him taking my face ever so gently in His hands and holding it so as to be fixed on Him.  Holding it so as not to allow me to be fully carried away by the circumstances of life, holding it so I will not turn to the left or right or look behind me but holding it in a fashion that would not allow my eyes to be able to deny His LOVE for me.

Again, the words “look at Me”. 

Friend, trust me that I am not foolish enough to think that anything I’m going through is a drop of water in a bucket compared to some of the things some of you are going through even as I write these words, but I do encourage each one of you no matter how big your circumstances or how small your circumstances, “Look at HIM”.  He Loves you!

In reading back over this blog I thought, “Wow, Vickie...This is kind of a downer of a blog.”  But then I decided that if we are going to journey together, our relationship must be authentic.  Authentic relationships are filled with life, and life can be hard, fun, silly, frustrating, awesome, crazy, etc. Today was a hard day.  So be it.  This too will be gone in about 40 minutes and we will start a new day! Ha, ha, ha!  One of my favorite verses from Scripture is, “His mercies are new every morning.”  I Love that truth.

Look at Him and Have a God Day!!!


Monday, October 31, 2011

The Grand Finale…Day 8 (Saturday), Day 9 (Sunday), and today (Monday)

Well, pour yourself a cup of Java and enjoy this wrap up of our Peru trip.  Missionaries reading this from Peru, we love you ladies!  OK, I actually love all the missionary women around the world from all past trips and those to come because you are ‘my people group’.  Yes, you are!

Day 8 (Saturday)
We finished up Saturday with an awesome time with the ladies.  Ruth brought a teaching time on scripture memorization that was absolutely good for us!  I have heard her speak on it before and tried to put it into practice.  Don’t get me wrong…I memorize scripture, but whole books?!? No.  But, this time I was very convicted by God that this is the time.  Do it.  So please, any of you feel free to question me on that with some accountability from this day forward.  I’m thinking Jesus will be back before I down that many books! Ha, ha, ha!  I did ask God in prayer about what book HE would have me start with, and while warming up a bowl of rice and chicken for my mom today, I believed He put Galatians on my heart.  So Galatians it is. 

The last praise and worship time together consisted of a combination of all the songs the women wanted to sing again, and it was awesome! I then closed out with a final message on the theme verse: 1 Samuel 3:10b. I joined that with a little nugget from Revelation 2:17 that was stirred in my heart by Kenny, one of our board members for Pure Joy, and that which was propelled by my last pastor, Bro. Bill. The key words that God marinated in my heart that came from that verse were “hidden manna”. And let me tell you, God taught us truths that will preach from that!

We then had our last meal together when the ladies received the cards that so many of you had written notes for.  They were so excited! Thank you again from Pure Joy for taking the time. 

The team then packed everything up and waited for our bus to the airport.  In the waiting time, several people made it back to the market places again: Penny, Kathy, Nikki, Karen, Deb, Kim, Sharon, and Jerre.  There will be some really happy kids and grandkids in that bunch!  Patty, Jan, Ruth, Janice and I made it to the Starbucks and chilled for a few hours.  We all headed to dinner together and then on to the airport. 

Day 9 (Sunday)
We all arrived home safely to Houston around 9 a.m. or so.  We all finally made it to our home by middle to late afternoon on Sunday.  Before leaving the Houston airport I had already received the following emails from some of the ladies….

"I’m not much on good-byes, so I skipped as much of that part of the retreat as possible and opted to send you this hello email instead. Thank you for making a timely difference in my walk. Now I’m praying for your continued joy as you come down from the intense spiritual investment of this retreat and step back into your stateside world. - Jennifer"

"Hey Vickie, You and the team have been in my prayers. I was able to be tucked in bed by 10 p.m., and it was so great to be home, but I knew you were all still traveling and I know what that night flight is like…the worst being the wait in the airport when you just want to get on that plane and sleep. God indeed ministered to me at the retreat! Bless your hearts!  After these events or speaking there often comes a bit of a low time. I am committed to praying for you and the team in these next weeks that God will continually remind you how He used you to refresh the hearts of the saints. May God grant you clear guidance and absolute peace as you proceed in this transition period. “The LORD confides in those who fear HIM, He makes His covenant known to them.” Psalm 25:14 Rejoicing in Him, Vegas"

Today (Monday)
Well, it is Monday and life goes forward.  It will take most of the team and the missionaries several weeks to process some things, and then some of those things will have changed our lives for eternity!

I have one more load to take to storage today from the office. And then I will wake up tomorrow without an office to go to for the first time in well over 30 years.  Wow!  I can say the words but I know it has not all sunk in yet.  You might want to pray extra hard for my mom since I will be doing whatever it is I’m going to be doing from home.  God and I are in for some kind of journey!  I always tell that you know it’s God when you don’t have to shove it, push it, drag it, etc., because when it’s God you better ‘hold on’ because your hair will be blowing in the breeze!  I’m not saying that it’s easy…it’s just that you’re not straining to make things happen.

Here’s another sweet email I received this morning from one of the missionaries…

"Good Morning Vickie,  I hope that this email finds you well and back home safe and sound.  I just wanted to write to tell you how much I appreciated the opportunity to attend Pure Joy.  Thank you for your ministry to me and to the ladies in Lima. Your team was of great encouragement to all of us.  Praying for your niece and will continue to pray for your ministry! - Susie Austin"

God is faithful isn’t He!  Hope all of you don’t go into withdrawals as I return to the once a week blogs.  But, the trip blogs wouldn’t be as much fun if you heard from me every day otherwise.  Trust me…I live with me every day, it can get boring! Ha, ha, ha!

Love you all,
Holding on in Arkansas!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 7 Peru...

Friday was a great day in the LORD!  God has really moved on our heart as a group!  I love watching the women worship, it is so incredible.  I must say I take great Joy in it!  It is so sweet to listen to the ladies share at the meals about how God is working in their lives.

Well, I experienced my first earthquake on Friday.  I was in my room working on some details of my message for Saturday’s close out when the floor seemed to shift a little.  I kind of sat there in wonder and it shifted some more and the bottles on the fridge were shaking and I thought, “We are having an earthquake, cool!”  Then I thought, “Should I get out of the building?” But, by the time I thought through all that it had stopped.  About 10 minutes later one of the missionary women came in to visit and asked me if I felt the earthquake.  It was a 6.9 she said.  I told her yes and I was to mesmerized, to get up and get out of the building.  She said, “Well, at least we know you don’t have a spirit of fear.”   I said, "Yeah, just of stupidity!" Ha,haha,ha,ha,ah

On Saturday Ruth will finish with scripture memorization and I will share what God showed me about Samuel in Samuel 1:3 and the “hidden manna” from Revelations 2:17.

I think most of the team is going to have to join weight watchers when we come home we have had some great food here!

Love you All,



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Peru Day 6...

Well, Thursday was our first full day with our ladies.  Everyone is so excited to be here and so excited to be meeting other women from the surrounding areas.  We have several women that flew in from Panama to attend the retreat; others have traveled 18 hours on a bus to get here.  God is so good to bring in the ladies He would have at each retreat.

Praise and Worship was so sweet throughout the day.  I’m thinking we might have touched on the portal of Heaven during the night session.  But also during the morning worship as I was walking by a young missionary I could have swore I was hearing an angel sing.  This encouraged me to request and impromptu choir for the any of the women that had a voice to sing. Meaning I really asked for those who knew they had a voice to come up not those of us who knew better! Ha,ha,ha,ha

I then asked Nikki our worship leader to lead the ladies in singing the song over us the song we had just finished singing (the song was Still)   It was AWESOME!   Later one of the dear sweet ladies among those of us that didn’t choose to sing in the choir song wondered if we could have a choir song for those that can’t sing.  Hmmmmmmmm, NO.   Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha

Ruth brought a message to us regarding leaving things behind and used such a sweet story woven into the fabric of her journey on and off the mission field. 

After Ruth we had a time of pairing the ladies up through a little activity to allow them to visit and get to know others in the group that they have not know and then in return they shared with the large group what they learned.  Sweet time!

At lunch we had a local dish of some kind of fish called Ceviche.  The dish was the appetizer.  It is a raw fish thinly sliced with a sauce of lime juice and something else.  I personally loved it.  However, the end result is we had one team member and two missionaries that became very ill after lunch.  They are all doing a little bitter tonight! Praise God there is a pharmacy on every corner here and the other missionary women just jump in and say, “I’ll go to the pharmacy and get them exactly what they need.”  In the U.S. you would need an appt. and an hour in the waiting room before you saw the doctor and then you would get the same medicine.

Praise and Worship and another message by Kathy followed our free time. The message was really focused on what it means to “Take the Mask Off” and how difficult that can be for us.  We then had an awesome time of conversational prayer with the women before going to dinner.  After dinner Praise and Worship was incredible and Ruth stepped in for Sharon to give her more time to recover from her above mentioned illness.  Ruth spoke excellent words over us from God that evening.

All and all it was a Great day!  We have laughed our heads off with the missionary women and their stories!  I must say I am the closest to heaven on earth when I’m with these ladies.  God is so good to let us be here.  I do love Him so much!

Thank you all for your continual praying.  Keep it up! We have Friday and Saturday and God has only just begun!  Love you all…


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Peru Day 5

The ladies arrived Wednesday!  It is so much fun for me to see “my people group” enter the building, to be able to share with them in our opening that God has designed this retreat specifically for them, that the team is specifically God’s team for them, the worship, messages, fellowship, etc.,  just for them.  That people have been praying for them and continue to pray for them (you), and that these next four days are theirs for a time of refreshing, recharging, reflection, and rest!  
I told them after dinner that I felt confident that we were on track already because during dinner time ladies shared with me these conversations:

“I didn’t even ask my husband if I could go.  I just signed up and told him where I was going.”

 “When I was leaving today since we don’t live to far away from the hotel my husband wanted to know if I’d be coming back to the house at different times during the next four days.  Why, she replied with an apparent attitude of are you crazy of course not!”

Others can’t believe they are here and feel somewhat guilty about leaving their husbands with the kids.  Not guilty enough to go home however! Ha,ha,ha 

It is so sweet to watch the women interact with one another and visit and catch up with everything they are doing in service to the LORD in this area of the country.

In our opening message I put together a little survey for the ladies to kind of help them get to see that they aren’t alone in some of their struggles on the field.  It was a survey to address the “mask” we hide behind, in our marriages, family’s, finances, etc.  Patty and Karen got their computer brains going and Deb and I got involved in helping them get things done so on Thursday we will be showing the women graphs of the results.  It was very interesting to see. 

Praise and worship was good and it is always a joy for me to worship with the women and see them worship with one another.  I purchased a video by the ‘skit guys’ that my home church had shown a week ago called “God the Chisel” and included that in my opening tonight.  It wa such a powerful tool to minister to our hearts.  Wow! 

Well, continue to pray for us on Thursday. Ruth, Kathy and Sharon will be on the schedule to share today with the ladies.  Each one of them bring a different style but an awesome heart for God.  Can’t wait to hear what God has put on their hearts to share with us!!

Hope each of you is having a good week!  Kaye, thank you for being such an encouragement to us while we are here!  We are taking you with us sometime!!!!!!

Love you All,


Day 4 Peru...

On Tuesday I allowed the team to sleep in and do whatever they needed to do until 12:00. As you can imagine several them got up early enough to go shopping again! Ha,ha,ha,ha  This place was kind of Peru’s version of a Wal-mart.  It is called Wong.

Everyone else just kind of hung around the hotel and did stuff they needed to get done.  At lunch we went to an eatery across the street and guess what they served….You got it chicken and fries.  And yes some even had it on a stick this time too.  However it was a real kabob and had some vegetables to go with it. 

After lunch we kicked it into gear.  Penny got us organized to go through all the trunks and get everything read for each day of the retreat.  We had activity going on in four different rooms, it was awesome!!  We will be able to get into our conference rooms first thing in the morning and then we most likely won’t breathe again until late Saturday afternoon.  Bring on the prayers!!!!!!  But before we get serious I need to share something with you to funny to pass up. 

Ok, so I have to tell you about the Alien Space ship in my room.  Linda, our Administrative Asst., has figured out that if she can get me into a suite it works well for putting all the trunks in one place and is best for all the counseling I do during free times.  Saturday night when we arrived I came into the door to the outer room with a couch, end tables and lamps, into the bedroom area with a king bed, desk, etc. etc.  Then out of the corner of my eye I saw blue lights.  I turned to look in the direction it was coming from and it was my bathroom.  I walked into the bathroom and lo and behold my shower looks like an alien spaceship, no kidding!!!  I went into the hall and said, “You guys have got to see this.”  (If you get the blog via email the photo may not show up but you can go to the blog site here to see it.)

It took me forever to figure out what knob to turn to get water.  I was afraid to touch anything.  Then I finally found a knob that when I turned it on the water came down directly over my head, interesting.  Then I found a knob that turned on a hand held shower head.  Beyond that I was afraid to push or touch anything.  So, I have been content to just be able to get a shower from it all.  However, it is obvious that it has a Jacuzzi to it, and a bunch of other water sprayers running all over the place, and then there is the radio, and a foot box that has rollers on it that water goes through somehow, and who knows what else.  I’m serious it is Wild!  Ruth decided she is going to come in and use the Jacuzzi.  Of course after 10 minutes she has figured out she doesn’t know what knobs to turn or touch either. By now several other team members have entered the launching pad of the spaceship.  It really was so humorous!!!!!  I finally realize that I will not be getting to go to bed unless we figure this out so I step into the spaceship tennis shoes and all and decide to just go for it.  The first knob I turn turns on 3 to 4 different sprayers that shoot plum out of the spaceship into the opposite wall!  We are all cracking up with laughter.  Realizing I was in danger I decided to seek help from the front desk.  I walked out of my room just in time to see a young man that worked the front desk or door.  I asked him if he could come to my room.  Remember I don’t speak Spanish so I was actually doing sign language while guiding him with a hand on his elbow.  Imagine his surprise when he walked into the launch pad area with several other women present.  We somehow got him to understand that we didn’t understand how to work the spaceship.  I left to go back out in the hall for something but when I came back the gentleman was standing outside the spaceship with the women laughing and he was just a tad bit wet!

He had turn on the knob while in the spaceship that released the water from directly over head!  Can’t believe I missed that!  When it was all said and done we knew nothing!  Finally Ruth did figure out how to turn on the water to fill the tub and how to turn on the jets.  By this time it was late.  I told her I was going to bed and said, “When you get out of there just close the door behind you on the way out.”  Less then 15 min. goes by and she comes walking out.  I said, “I can’t believe you went to all that trouble tonight to just stay in there 15 min.”  She said, “Well, I closed my eyes and when I opened them the bubbles where up to my eyes.” What! I said.  Yeah, she said, don’t ever put bubble bath/shampoo soap in your hot tub.  I’m thinking, Really! They were finally gone in the morning when I took my shower.  Did I ever tell you not to let me leave the country with some people! Ha, ha, ha
On Tuesday night we closed out our time of fun things as a team by attending a meal at a restaurant that included a dinner buffet and a spectacular show of Peruvian dance, music and folklore. 
Please pray for us as we change gears going in to the retreat on Wednesday. The women will begin showing up around 12:30 p.m.  We can’t wait and God has such a time of refreshing planed for them!  Thank you again to all of you for praying, supporting and going when it comes to Pure Joy International.  I love telling the ladies about your hearts!
Lifting Off, ha,ha,ha


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Peru Day 3...

Greetings to all! The team spent Monday morning doing some shopping for family and friends. There is nothing like turning a group of women loose in a ‘foreign market’. Most of them have been with Pure Joy on at least one occasion, therefore they have learned to ‘haggle’ on prices. The cool thing is that the store owners expect you to haggle with them.
Because of being exposed to this process overseas, last week during my garage sale for office stuff, books, knic -naks, etc., I decided to apply the tools I have learned over the years about haggling. I had a wall mirror and coffee table set that I had marked for $25. A lady came up to me and said, “Would you take twenty for that?” All ready to negotiate, I said, “I don’t really believe I could”. At that time she was supposed to reply, “How ‘bout $22 or $23?” But instead she looked at me and said, “Ok” and walked off.

My friend from Dallas who had come to hang out and help with the sale came up to me later and I told her what had happened. She said, “Why didn’t you take the $20?” I told her it was because I was trying to haggle with her. She looked at me dead pan serious and said, “It’s a garage sale! … Move the stuff!!” Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Sister, let me tell you that I moved it after that! You should have been there!

Back to Peru. We had lunch Monday at a restaurant close to where we were shopping. Our guide had never eaten there, but we decided to be totally authentic, so we ate there instead of McDonalds! Well, we had to eat safe so we all ordered chicken. Some ordered chicken kabobs…others ordered just chicken breast. The chicken breast and fries that came out first looked great. Imagine our surprise when our kabobs came out only to be the exact same thing, only on a stick with no vegetables on the kabob, just chicken and fries. It was pretty funny. You just had to be there.

In the afternoon we took a tour of Lima, by day…

ANCESTRAL LIMA: We started our tour with a panoramic view of the “Pucllana Pyramid” a magnificent ceremonial and archeological center built in the 4th century A.D. and considered a “Sacred Village” by the Incas. The Viceroyalty of Perú was the most important of the Spanish Empire and Lima was its capital.

COLONIAL LIMA: We visited the Historical Center of Lima, where we saw more than fifty monuments and Colonial edifications, such as the Paseo de la República, the San Martín Square, the Main Square, the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cathedral Basilica, and the City Council Palace amongst others.

We visied the monumental SAN FRANCISCO CONVENT, which displays the largest collection of religious art in America. The highlight was visiting the underground vaults, known as “Catacumbas” or Catacombs.

CONTEMPORARY LIMA: We visited traditional residential areas of Lima, such as El Olivar of San Isidro, Miraflores and Larcomar.

The tour was good, but the team was really glad to be back at the hotel and rest some. We had a pizza supper and some really sweet prayer time for the retreat.

Tuesday we will spend our time putting order to all the things we brought from the states for the ladies. It will be organized chaos for most of the afternoon.

Pray for rest Tuesday morning for the team as they have a chance to sleep in a bit.

Pray for the speakers as we continue to prepare and look over messages.

Pray for the worship team as they come together in practice.

Pray for the missionary women as they are trying to make their home ready to leave.

Pray for several team members who have several serious issues going on at home with our own families. Pray that we will cling to our knowledge that God is in control. He gave us peace about being out of the country, knowing that these events would happen in our family’s lives.

Love you guys,


Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 2 Peru...

The team had the sweet pleasure of attending Calvary Chapel Lima’s English Service on Sunday morning. The worship was in English and the church crowd was primarily young adults with children and that was exciting to see!  The Pastor has an obvious heart to train his flock up in Godly truths.  It was neat to watch him equip his sheep to beware of false teachings about the “One Triune God”.   Ok, true the team was really tired from getting in late on Saturday night and several of us nodded of a bit and Kathy C. actually took a siesta but who’s looking! Ha, ha,ha
We then went and had lunch along the board walk of the Pacific Ocean.  The lunch was incredible.  We tried some new things we really didn’t know what it was but it was good!  We then took a mile plus walk back to the hotel and rested for about an hour before heading off on a tour of downtown Lima and their Water Fountain Light Show which is incredible.  For a taste of what we saw here is a link to a short clip of it on YouTube

The team is really enjoying their time together and getting to know each other.  We laughed a lot yesterday. I probably have more clowns of humor on this trip then I have had on any team put together over the years.  It for sure is NEVER boring.

Please continue to pray as we will begin to really change gears later this evening in order to get our minds focused on the one purpose of this trip, ministering His Love and Truths to the missionary women.

Today will be the team’s day to go the market.  Please pray for safety for the nationals here!! Ha,ha,ha   Seriously, have you ever seen a group of women turned loose in a market place in a foreign country?  We are not talking food here.  Pray for the bartering that will take place that we don’t get taken and we don’t take.

Have a great Day in the LORD!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Greetings Family and Friends of Pure Joy...

It is 1:56 a.m. the team has arrived in Lima, Peru.  We had good flights and all our luggage arrived.  What more could a girl ask for on the first day in.  Thank all of you so much that have been praying for safety getting here and getting here with all out luggage.

I want to encourage you to go the web site and click on the retreats section and then click on Peru Team.  As the week goes on and I mention names along the way it will help you have a face to go with the name.

We are so very thankful for Sharon Smith that speaks Spanish fluently and thus we were able to come through customs and get all our stuff loaded on the bus to get to the hotel.  Spreading butter on a  good ole hot slice of homemade bread could not have been smoother.

The team, while exhausted from the day of travel and airports is doing well and is healthy.  Ruth McWhite came into the trip with a pretty good cold but the antibiotics have her on the road to recovery.

In the morning we are traveling to a local church where Spanish and English are spoken.  Then we will travel to the ocean front for lunch along the Pacific Ocean with a couple of missionaries that actually will not be attending the retreat because they are headed by to the states for a while.

Tomorrow afternoon we will all probably crash for a few hours before take a brief tour of Lima, Peru.

Please continue to pray for the team.  If you have followed us before you realize that the next couple of days are very important to the team building process as we prepare to minister to the women.

We have met a couple of medical missions teams that are going into the mountains of Peru to minister.  One bunch was out of Memphis, TN, a church called, High Point, great group of brothers and sisters in the LORD.

I’m headed to bed to grab about 4-5 hours of sleep. We'll report back to you tomorrow evening.  Please remember chances are you will get these blogs right at a day later than it happens.  So as I write this blog consider it Saturday the 22nd our travel day.

Pray without Ceasing,

Love you all,


P.S.  WooooooHooooooo   All the missionary women were paid for as of yesterday afternoon!!!!!  God is so very Faithful!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Headed to Peru and Burning Bridges...

Five days and we are headed to Peru to encourage our sisters in Christ as they follow God’s calling on their lives to serve Him in that area of the world.  To say we are getting excited would be an understatement! 

As you know I have been in the process of closing down my counseling office in Morrilton, AR in obedience to His direction to get on the road regarding Pure Joy International.  Last week I began going through and moving a few things to storage, and over the weekend I had an office garage sale.  By 3:00 p.m. Saturday, all the things I had accumulated from 30 years of counseling and church ministries of Christian Ed, and Evangelism were gone.  I have a few items to take to storage but the office officially shut down Saturday.  As I was going through one of my old journals last week, God really spoke to me through one sentence out of an excerpt of “His Utmost for His Highest” I had referenced in my daily writing.  The sentence simply said, “burn your bridges behind you”.   Isn’t it funny that one line could speak so boldly?  In my spirit God ministered to me deeply…Burn them all.  I used every one of them to get you to this moment and time in your life, so leave them and journey with Me in this new direction I have for your life.  Trust Me. Rest in it.  Then yesterday in my Sunday school class (I absolutely love my SS class!), we had a missionary visiting from Africa.  Now I know for most people in our class it was a missionary visiting from Africa but for me it was much more!  Why?

Because at the end of the SS hour Larry, our teacher, asked Adu Boahene and me to come stand up front for the class to surround us to pray for us.  Larry asked Adu to pray for me in his native tongue in preparation for me leaving for Peru on Saturday.  It was sooooooo sweet.  Then Steve prayed for Adu as we surrounded him.  That whole scene was like a “kiss on the cheek” from God to me affirming the ministry of Pure Joy International going forward and the plans He has for me!

In closing, I want to encourage all of you that are not getting this through email to subscribe today because we will be using the blog to update you while we are in Peru.

Also, we have a big praise!  We are down to only 3 more missionary women that need sponsorship.  So if God has been speaking to your heart to give and you have been putting it off, you can do that from the blog home page,, where we have set up an easy Donate button that is designated for the Peru Trip.

I love you guys and can’t wait to share with you daily all that God will be doing as we head to Lima, Peru!  Keep the missionary women and the team in your prayers daily that we will all know the love of God in an incredible way through Affirmation, Challenge, and Conviction.

Bridgeless, Standing on Solid Ground!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More than just sponsoring a missionary...

A few minutes ago (Monday morning) I got a phone call from Patty to let me know that more sponsorship had come in and we are down to only 10 more missionary women that need be sponsored for the Peru trip!  Totally incredible to watch God’s hand work!  Please continue to be sensitive to the LORD regarding giving for these last 10 missionaries.  As I said last week, when God moves on your heart to give please act on it and give. It is very easy to give by going to our home page  and clicking on “Donate Here”.

At this time as we are in the last 100 yard dash for our departure date to Peru, for me, sponsorship is about more than just money.  It is an affirmation of God’s direction to me to close down the counseling office in Morrilton.  It is continued affirmation that He is Faithful to equip and provide for the call He puts on our lives to accomplish the good works He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them!  It is affirmation that the heart of God’s people can still be moved by the Spirit of God to accomplish His good and pleasing will.  It is affirmation that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He can provide abundantly above and beyond all we can imagine when we are walking it out according to His will as best as we know how to as a human being.  I love watching Him bring the cattle in off the hills!  It is His Testimony of Himself!  Gotta love that!!!

TIME LAPSE:  I started writing the blog this morning (Monday) at 8:00 a.m.  Due to life circumstance I am just now getting to finish this blog.  It is 10:15 p.m.   Here is God for you…since I wrote the top part; I have been made aware that we have another missionary woman sponsored.  So now, we only lack 9 more!  Yea, God!!  Sell some more cattle!

In closing…I received an email from one of the missionary women who is reading our blog and who will be attending the Peru Retreat. She said, “So excited about what God is going to do at the conference.  What a blessing to be able to go!  Looking so forward to it.  See you soon. J

Resting in the Chaos of Life


Thursday, October 6, 2011

It has come to this...

Tonight when I got in from the office, my mom and I headed to Wal-Mart to do some shopping before my brother and his wife come in tomorrow visiting from California.
While at Wal-Mart one of the things I picked up was a new toilet brush.  When we got home, my mom and I were putting away the groceries.  The toilet brush became a very amusing topic of conversation when I walked into the kitchen from my mom’s bedroom saying, “I’m getting old.”  “Why?” she said.   “Well, because I actually had the thought while I was putting the brush away in the bathroom that it is going to be kind of fun to have a new toilet brush to work with.”  After a few chuckles between us on that statement we finally summarized it isn’t really that I am getting old…it is just that I obviously need to get a life!  Ha, ha, ha

All kidding aside…PERU, we are headed your way!  We are finalizing things that need to get done in the home stretch.  It is so much fun to see how many people are praying and giving. We only have 17 and ½ missionaries left that need to be sponsored by Oct. 26th so if God moves on your heart to give, please be obedient! Don’t put it off. You can click “Donate” on the right side of this page or you can mail donations to:

Pure Joy International
P.O. Box 36
Plumerville, AR 72127

The team is getting excited, and as for me personally, I am already there in my heart!  I told our Peru prayer team in Morrilton last night that I’m ready to leave the country!  For those of you in Peru who will be attending the retreat and you are reading this blog….God is up to some stuff for you! I see Him doing so much stuff on this side that I told last night’s prayer group and the prayer group in Ft. Smith today that I don’t know what God has for you girls through this retreat and for us as a team, but it must gonna be something to behold.  So I encourage you ladies there in Peru who will be attending the retreat to ask God now to start preparing your hearts to receive all He has for you!

I also continue to covet your prayers as I am closing down the counseling office before we leave for Peru.  Have a great week, and if you find yourself excited about the thought of a new toilet brush…well…“get a life”! Ha, ha, ha, ha

Love you friends.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

He Never Ceases...

Several weeks ago I shared with you that God was up to some interesting things in my life, but I couldn’t share with you back then due to helping transition my folks involved in the counseling ministry. At this point I think I’m good to go.

While in Uganda back in the Spring of this year, God put it on my heart to close down my Morrilton counseling ministry and be on the road with Pure Joy International. Getting the word out about the opportunity for churches to partner with us, go with us, and pray with us and anything else God might be up to that we are clueless about! Which could be endless! Ha,ha,ha,ha

Anyway, I came home from that time totally freaked out about shutting down my counseling office. So, I chose not to tell anyone but Jennifer Halbrook, our financial advisor for the Board of Pure Joy. I then chose to not talk about it again and pretend like God never moved on my heart to do that. Well, as so many of you know, you can’t pretend with God! Following our return from our Retreat in Costa Rica this past summer, God really went to work on my heart. Actually, I should say He was silent, and it made me crazy! It would be like your husband and you (those of you that are married) not talking, yet you live together day in and day out. (Hmmmmmm, some of you might be doing that as I write this.) Anyway, I was miserable with no peace and no joy. One day as I was driving to Ft. Smith, AR where I provide counseling one day a week, God allowed me to come to my senses and confess my sin and repent, which meant turning back towards the time He and I had together in Uganda and what He put on my heart. That very week, I talked to my mom and a couple of Board Members just to be able to say out loud, “I am closing down the Morrilton Counseling Office”. All that to say, “I am water walking now…I’m out of the boat! I am excited and yes my flesh is still wacky sometimes, but God always reminds me through so many things that He is my provider and He has a plan for Pure Joy International and me. It is so beyond what I can even imagine, the thing He has laid on my heart of how He wants to minister to missionary women overseas. Sunday I was watching Charles Stanley before leaving for church and he made this statement, “Be obedient...leave the consequences up to God.” We all know that and have heard that in different forms and fashions along the way of our journey, but that was one of those “God was speaking to me moments”. I felt like a Nike commercial recipient, “Just Do It!” ha,ha,ha,ha

If you have figured out anything about Pure Joy International over the times of reading this blog, you will know it is all about ministering to the missionary women overseas and providing them a place to come be fed spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally at “NO” cost to them. It is also an incredible place for them to minister to one another in ways we could never even begin to understand! Over this past year we have been encouraging the ladies at each retreat on the last day to follow our web site so they will know where our next retreat is going to be so they can “pay it forward” by telling another missionary in another part of the world about being able to attend a retreat 4 days and 3 nights free of charge to them.

There is nothing more exciting than seeing them encouraging one another. Thus our ministry verse….(Hebrews 3: 13), “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called, ‘today,’ so that none of you may hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Today, we received the following letter in the mail addressed to Patty our Financial/Technical person and the Uganda Team along with a check for $1000 dollars from a missionary that attended the Uganda Retreat. She has given me permission to use her letter to the ministry.

Dear Patty and team…

God was apparently trying to remind me of his ability to provide for me when He gave a windfall from (of all places) the U.S. Government! Remembering how y’all blessed us in Uganda earlier this year I would like to pass along a blessing.

Please feel free to use it on salaries, office rent, paper clips, the upcoming retreat in Peru or wherever a little oil will make the ministry run better.

With Love,

Did you catch that comment from her, “or wherever a little oil will make the ministry run better!” Isn’t it true that a little oil makes a big difference!!! We will use our dear sister’s money to go towards sponsoring two more missionaries for the Peru trip. Also know this: God used her in a mighty way today to oil my heart as I continue on this faith walk of obedience regarding Pure Joy International.

Is the oil of the Holy Spirit of God working through you to encourage others? If not, maybe it’s time for an oil change!

Love you so much,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Don't be stupid!

As I write these words to you I am sitting on the side of the road on I-40 waiting for my mom to bring me some gas. When I first realized I had run out of gas, I started looking for all the spiritual reasons for why this happened, what God is trying to tell me, etc. And I could come up with some very spiritual reasons and do believe God speaks to us through our circumstances. However, God did give me a brain and the ability to use it! The warning signal for the gas gage went off 18 miles ago. Hmmmm, I skipped the next exit because "I" thought I can make it to the next town. But then I got side tracked listening to the Praise and Worship music that Nikki is putting together for Peru and did not get off at the next town and there you have it! Stupidity!

Ok, so as not to continue in a mode of stupidity, I just remembered that my hair stylist lives in the next town. I called her to come help me so my mom wouldn't have to make the 40 minute drive. Since I am waiting, I might as well go ahead and add a few spiritual thoughts to the situation! “Why miss an opportunity,” I say!

You know...we kind of do this with God in our lives at times when we are off track or involved in something we shouldn't be, or we just aren't taking time for Him. He is such a Gentleman. He will give us a warning just like that gage gave me a warning so we can address the situation before it gets out of hand, before we end up with a consequence we don't like. But in the same way I ignored the warning signal in the car, we ignore the warning signals of the Holy Spirit! And then there we are to deal with the consequences. I regret I didn't take action when I received that warning, but no matter my regret I'm still sitting on the side of this Interstate. Remember I said God is a Gentleman. He isn't out to humiliate us, embarrass us or shame us. He gently tries to get our attention before regrets and/or consequences, but He loves us enough to stop us in our tracks to get our attention. Is there an area in your life that He has given you a warning in? Don't end up sitting on the side of the Interstate! But if you are sitting there in life right now, call a friend!! We need each other!!

Peru is closing in and we are all getting so excited!!! Please continue to give!!!! We have just over half of the 50 missionaries sponsored!! Yeah, God!!!!

I love you guys,
Reporting live on location from I-40 (ha ha)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

God and Peru...

I love to watch God going to work on behalf of that which He has called us to do!  The Peru trip is taking shape and I want to encourage all the missionary women that are reading this blog that will be attending the Peru Retreat to get excited about watching HIM move on your behalf.  He does love His girls!!!

Below are two stories from one of our team members that I think you will really enjoy and is evidence of what happens when His servant is listening.  The first story Deb tells is how He showed her she was to be going on this retreat.  The second is how He is working on gifts for the ladies that will be attending.  By the way I had to take some words out of the second story to keep things a surprise for the Peru ladies.
Please remember to pray and give!  Love you all!

His, Vickie

Enjoy! Story #1

"Two Sundays ago, I woke up at 5 am, unable to sleep.  As I do sometimes, I grabbed my iPhone and decided to see what was on Facebook since I had been on there in a day or two.  It had been a busy weekend with holiday parties and company.  The first thing I saw was Nikki Boyd posting to Jan Tabrizi about seeing her name on the Peru team list.  I had this twinge of something – was it jealousy?  I’m not a jealous person, so it just seemed odd.  Earlier in the year, when I heard that PJI was going to Peru, I had been very interested in the trip, but got busy and didn’t keep up with what was going on, except that I had head the team was “full.” My husband Carl and I both got around early that morning.  Over breakfast I just happened to mention that Jan was going to Peru on her first trip with PJI.  He asked, “Is that something you need to be doing too?”  I just blew it off and didn’t let the thought take root.  Our daughter and son-in-law had come to stay with us for the weekend and they were still asleep.  They had plans for later in the day and had to leave to go home that morning.  We decided to leave them a note and went on to Sunday School since we hadn’t been there in over a month with our summer travels.  As I neared the Sunday School classroom, I ran into Kristy Pinion.  She had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on her face.  She excitedly told me she was going to Peru.  There it was again, that strange, not-quite-jealous feeling.   I think I mumbled something about my earlier interest in the trip.  She said, “You ought to talk to Vickie, there were some openings.”  Once again, I didn’t let the thought take root; I just went on in to class.  Our teacher, Harry Layden, is such a great practical Bible teacher.  He was teaching out of Colossians 2 about walking shoulder to shoulder with each other for the cause of Christ.  He reviewed some points about how to step out in faith that he’d made in previous weeks “for those who’ve missed Sunday School lately.”  (That was me!)  I like those “4 point” kind of lessons so I got my pen and started writing.  First, what does God’s Word say about the decision?  Second, what does your spirit say about the decision? 

Third, what does your authority say about the decisions? And fourth, what are the circumstances.  He said that when all four are present, we probably ought to go ahead and take that step of faith.  Hmmmm… that was taking root in my mind.  Carl and I went on into church and I didn’t say anything until the greeting time when everyone was going around shaking hands.  I grabbed his hand and said, “Would you pray for me about going to Peru?”  His answer was, “If God told you to go, go! That’s it.”  Okay.  So point one, two, and three were taken care of, almost.  After church I talked to Linda Roach, one of the PJI leaders, and she said she thought there was still an opening, to “call Vickie.”  I could hardly wait to get home to check my calendar (point four:  circumstances).  It was clear!  We had just set aside some money for ministry work.   I called Vickie and left a voice mail, then I texted her.  I wanted her attention! I needed to know if there was still an opening (I guess you figured it out, I didn’t read the blog that week!).  When she finally called (about 10 minutes later), I told her my story and she said, “You know my two questions, is God calling you and does your husband support you going?”  Those were two Yesses!  Vickie was the final authority and she said YES!  It was the next day when I opened the team information that I saw the scripture we are using for the retreat:  “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  (1 Sam 3:10b).  God certainly got my attention and that scripture is the basis of my prayer every day. “ Lord, I want to listen to you.  Help me to have ears to hear when you call me for the small and big things in my life.”
Enjoy! Story #2

"As I was cleaning of my (rather messy) desk before our PJI team meeting last Thursday, I found a $50 ----------- rewards certificate I’d forgotten about.  I decided I was going to use it for some --------  --------------- to put in the retreat bags for the missionaries.  I had ---------------- and --------------------- in mind when I went.  The -------------------were on a terrific sale and I found ‘matching’ ------------.  When I got to the counter I asked the lady waiting on me (her name is “Promise”) to put the PJI stuff in a separate bag from my other purchases and told her those items were going to Peru.  She asked if I was going on a mission trip and I told her what we were doing.  She thought it was amazing.  And then, she gave me a $20 off coupon that she had laying on her cash register.  That and the reward certificate covered the entire purchase of PJI stuff.  Now isn’t that just so cool!  God never ceases to amaze me in the things He makes happen and how He makes me just want to giggle when I pay attention to what He is doing."