Monday, July 25, 2011

God Never Ceases to Amaze Me...

This morning, as I arrived at the office and began getting things in order for the day, I checked emails before my first client came in.  There was an email from a friend, and one from one of our board advisors, asking if we had room for another person on our team going to Peru.  If not, she asked if we had a waiting list for the team.   Well, just so happens that for the first time we do.  So we now have two people on our waiting list to go to Peru as a team member if someone should have to drop out for some reason.  I know that God always knows.  Just like the waiting list with the missionary women He always knows who will end up moving into the retreat.  In Costa Rica we had at least 6 women move up from the waiting list to the actual retreat before we actually left the country.  God knows when something is going to cause a woman to have to drop out due to ministry needs, family needs, etc.  He is so good to have just who we need on the team for the group of missionary women attending and just the women that need to be attending!  He KNOWS!

Remember our theme for Peru is “Take the Mask Off” and our verse is 1 Samuel 3:10b “Speak LORD for your servant hears”.  Can’t wait to see what God is up to with our precious women in Peru to minister to their hearts! 

Ok, so I had a visit with a cardiologist when I returned from Costa Rica.  He says my heart is strong (in the LORD I’m thinking, tee-hee) and he isn’t sure of the source of swelling in my feet.  However, he would like for me to lose some weight (so would I!) and eat healthier (been doing that for 6 months and just recently lost 10 lbs before seeing him!)  Also, start exercise and see him again in a month.  You know the weight dilemma don’t you, every woman’s nightmare…….  Don’t you just want to say, “ hey buddy”, you go through breast cancer, chemo with its steroids, radiation, 5 years of tamoxifen, a complete hysterectomy, menopause, hot flashes and GET BACK WITH ME ON THAT! ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha.

Hope you have a Blessed week!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We're Back...

Days #8 and #9 finished up wonderful in Costa Rica.  Being home is good too!

Saturday was a great finish to the retreat.  God really impressed on my heart to utilize Susan and her husband, Russell, in the final hour to share some things to minister to the women regarding marriage issues.

The choir girls did their final song A Cappella and it was heavenly!!!  Also, the ladies were totally overwhelmed by the last gift they received because so many of you had taken the time to be a part of it!  You will never know how much their hearts were touched!!

We left Costa Rica on Sunday afternoon.   Because our team members came from churches in Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, and AR we all had to separate and head different directions in Houston after passing through customs.   The team was so absolutely incredible and specifically what God wanted for this group of women.  Oh, the sweet stories we could share with you.  Again, thanks to each one of you who were a big part of the team through your giving and gifts!

In the next few days I am going to ask a couple of the team members to share what being on the trip meant to them. Be watching the blog!

Also, I want to encourage you to keep those prayer hats on because Lima, Peru is on the horizon.  Our team is already together.  It will be made up of women from North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Jonesboro, Ft. Smith, and Morrilton Arkansas.  Registration for that retreat will open up in a couple of weeks.  Please begin now to pray about how you can be involved in this trip.  There are many ways the ladies in your home church can be involved without leaving the country!

Also, begin now to pray about donating to this trip to sponsor a missionary woman to attend.  Every little bit helps because it all adds up towards sponsoring a missionary!  Again, it costs $500 to sponsor one missionary to attend the conference for 4 days and 3 nights free of charge with all meals and materials taken care of!   We believe that we will have 50 women sign up for the conference.  Pray, Pray, Pray that God will have just who He wants to be there.  Our theme for the retreat is “Take the Mask Off”.

Hope each one of you is having an incredible summer in the LORD!!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Costa Rica Day #7

We had a great day in the LORD today (Friday).  The missionary women are absolutely overwhelmed by the gifts that have been given!  Thank you so much to all who have invested in the ministry of Pure Joy.

Today the ladies that have been doing choir with Denise and Debra, about 8 – 10 of them, have been the best!!!  Wow, they have given some wonderful ministry to us.  Also, Stacey continued to share her story.  If you would like to understand a small amount of her story you can go to and gain some insight into her heart.  This week we have been allowed to know the ‘rest of the story’ of how God eventually brought her back to the states and then how she and her family experienced the loss of her brother Zac soon afterwards.  You can see Zac Smith’s testimony in his own words at .  Stacey’s ‘story’  is a story of great loss and incredible faith!

Linda, Janice and I also continued to pour information into the heads and hearts of the women.  I’m sure they have so much data in there that they are experiencing brain freeze!  Heather gave them another new craft idea and they did Zumba again. Russell and Judy continue to record and snap a picture of everything moving. Kathleen keeps the gifts and chocolate moving, Shawna gave a great devo on Jonah this morning, and Susan and I have made ourselves fully available for times of counseling with the ladies.  The women themselves divided up into their Providences tonight and were able to encourage and minister to each other. So as you can tell we have had a great day FULL day in the LORD!

Keeping praying as we enter the final stretch of our time here, we so desire to finish strong.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Costa Rica Day #6 Recap

Today (Thursday) was a great day in the LORD.  The praise and worship was awesome, Janice taught a great message on forgiveness, Stacey shared her story about how God has worked in her life, and I was able to teach and counsel on marriage and parenting. During their free time many of the ladies did Zumba, others went shopping, or swam, and some took advantage of the time to catch up on reading. The meals have been great and the fellowship wonderful. We have done lots of laughing and crying together today. We also heard the group of ladies that are doing choir sing their first song and it was AWESOME!!!!  So God!

Please continue to pray for God’s Glory to come down on our time here!  Not only are the missionary lives being touched, we as a team are being touched too!

Long day…time for rest!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Costa Rica Day #6 - Looking back on Day #5

Our ladies have arrived!  We had a great time of worship last night and serious time in the word.  It is always so exciting to see their faces and how they soak up worshiping in their native tongue of English.  To all of you out there that are the gift givers they are loving it!  Many stories to tell when we get home regarding their comments and we are just in the first day of the conference.  Boy are they going to be surprised!

The team is all doing well.  Denise has a choir, YES, a choir.  She obediently put a choir song in a set each day because she believes the LORD told her to do so. Last night about 5-6 ladies came forward to do the choir songs with her this week.  They practiced last night after our craft time.  Wow! They sound angelic!  God KNOWS!

Heather got her first craft time in last knight. OK, so I told her that it was possible that only a handful of ladies would involve themselves in crafts.  WRONG.   Well, over 40 of the women engaged themselves in the craft project.  They LOVED IT!  Yes, Heather might have been a tad overwhelmed!  Welcome to Retreat Heather! Ha,ha,ha,ha

Baby Tico is doing well. Mom has looked a little on the pale side a few times but because she is a good mom, she has no problem coming and asking to take some time to go rest!  I so love women that start taking care of that little one even before they see the light of day!

Rita Mae, they loved the flowered book mark.  I explained about how you pick up those wild flowers along the highway, dry them out, and do whatever that process is.  Ok, so I didn’t explain the process part because I don’t get it! Ha,ha,ha,ha

Also, one of our team members has a friend that believed God put it on her heart to donate journals for the ladies.  Conscientious of our need to watch the weight of the trunks she looked for the thinner journals, however God kept leading her to a specific one.  So, she had them shipped to us just a few days before we packed.  We brought them, weight and all.  Last night it was clear that God has a plan.  The women absolutely loved them!!  HE KNOWS

Please pray for the worship, messages, fellowship, and counseling that will take place today.  Pray for the team to have an extra measure of strength and to be rested in our minds!  Our bodies won’t get to rest till we get home!

Keep Praying…


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Greetings from Costa Rica Day #4

We had a good and busy day yesterday (Tuesday).  We started our day in the local markets to look for gifts to take home to family and friends. We met back at the hotel at 12:30. The rest of the day was all about preparation and ordering the things we brought with us for the missionary women that so many of you were apart of!!!!  They will be sooooo Blessed!

We were then able to get into the main conference room we will be working from to get the sound system, keyboard, tables, etc., set up for tomorrow.  We then had a sweet time of worship as a team, prayer over the room and all its contents, prayer for the missionary women coming in tomorrow, and then dinner before retiring to our rooms.  It was a long day but a lot was accomplished!  The team is tired but excited! 

Please spend an extra amount of time in prayer today (Wednesday) as the ladies prepare to come to the Hotel leaving behinds husbands, children, ministries, etc.   Pray that they will be able to come without feeling “guilty” about being here to be refreshed while the world keeps spinning!  Pray that God will speak to them and minister to them through this team from the minute they step on the premises.  Pray that what God accomplishes in their hearts while they are here will bring refreshment to their homes, husbands, children, ministries, etc. Pray for the team through the rest of this week that they will feel rest even when we aren’t getting enough rest! Ha,ha,ha,ha

Thanks to all of you friends and family members that are writing your prayers and thoughts to us on the blog.  It has been really fun for us and an encouragement to the team.  We talk about it amongst ourselves.  In fact baby Tica mom made a personal journey down the hall to my room to see what I meant when I said that baby Tica was growing. Ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha

Please pray also for Stacey, she has had a little bit of a bug since flying out Saturday.  She felt somewhat better last night. Don’t worry mom and dad, we are making sure she gets the rest she needs and whatever else. 

We love you all and covet your continued prayers.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Costa Rica Day 3

Well, the team was up and at it this morning (Monday) early as we traveled the Pan-American Highway toward the city of Alajuela. The sites along the way were beautiful as we saw the lushness of the land; the ferns and flowers were unbelievable. We also hiked up to the site of the Poas Volcano. It was a good hike and a great opportunity to see the Majesty of God. It was awesome!

We have nicknamed Shawna and Nate’s little one to be, Baby Tico.   When we were in Ecuador several years ago we nicknamed one of our team members little one to be, Baby Quito. Nate I hope you are ok with that for now. Ha,ha,

When we left the Volcano we went to the Doka Coffee plantation. It was of course one of my personal favorites!  We also had lunch there on the coffee plantation. It was really great! We then traveled through Grecia and into Sarchi to do a little bit of shopping. Most of us held out for the ‘Market’ place in the morning (Tuesday) so we could do a little bartering. 

Tonight several of us are working on our teaching messages. The rest are visiting in the hallways because I can hear them!  Ha,ha,ha

Tomorrow morning will be the teams last few hours to shop and look around before we start setting up for the retreat to begin on Wednesday.  Please pray as we organize and coordinate what has been prepared for the ladies this week!

By the way, the team members love looking at your blog comments. It is so good to know that each one of you is out there praying for us.  I’m sure the missionary women feel the same way, knowing that so many are praying for them.

His, Vickie

P.S. Some random things:
  • A squirrel jumped up on my hand and ate an almond today.
  • Baby Tico appears to have gained some weight the past couple of days. 
  • Heather demonstrated some ‘Zumba’ steps for the restaurant staff at Dakota coffee today.
  • We watched a man trim his hedge with a machete today.  Very interesting.
  • Russell shot a picture of every flower we passed today and we saw lots of beautiful flowers!
  • Watching 7 out of 12 people sleeping on a bus following a long day is an interesting sight. Do all of us breathe with our mouths open when asleep? Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha

Monday, July 11, 2011

Costa Rica Day #2

Great day today!  The team divided up and went to three different churches with some of our missionary women that will be attending the retreat this week. It is such an awesome thing to worship our LORD together in different languages. While we may not understand the language very well, we do understand the presence of the Spirit of God and it was present among us.

After church we walked from our hotel room to a place in the downtown heart of San Jose and had lunch. It was wild to see all the people and vendors on the street. Then at 5 p.m. 8 of us took advantage of an opportunity shared with us by one of the couples that took us to church. It wasn’t on our agenda but it was such great fun! We attended a concert by a group call Masterkey in the National Theater on the ‘Plaza De La Culture. It is a beautiful building constructed in 1887 and is considered San Jose’s Architectural gem. The group performed Motown hits such as; Stand by Me, Have You Seen Her, In the Still of the Night, I’ve Got Sunshine, Lean on Me, Oh Happy Day, and many more!  They were incredible.  Click on this link if you want to see them ministering in their local church.

We then headed back to our hotel and had an awesome sweet devotional from Shawna and then some precious prayer time.  The team is really becoming one Spirit more each day as we prepare our hearts for the missionary women to come.  

Continue to pray for good health, everyone is doing well so far.  Also, pray for our moms that are here. It is difficult for them to be apart from their children this long and we are just getting started. Also, pray for the dads left behind because their week is just beginning! Ha,ha,ha

Love you All,


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Team Arrives in Costa Rica (Day 1)

As I pen these words the team has settled down in their hotel rooms and decided what they would like to do before dinner at 7 p.m. For some reason I think sleep enters our minds!

God was absolutely with us from the beginning this morning regarding each state our team members were departing from. The Arkansas team has a few trunks that might have been a tad heavier than our allotted 50 lbs. But due to circumstances regarding a check-in machine we didn’t even have to weigh our trunks!  Only God!  We also met mission teams coming out of Little Rock, Arizona, Houston, etc., all headed to Central America.  We sat with teams going to Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.  It is so cool to see all the team t-shirt colors and designs.  And to see so many people, from the young to the older (and more mature J), giving of their time and resources along with each of you to get the Good News laid at the doorstep of the people’s hearts in Central America. 

Friends and family members please know that everyone is healthy and tired. The team will have their first ‘long’ team meeting tonight after dinner so pray for us as we build relationships with one another to be able to better serve Him.

Please pray for the team: Linda, Denise, Debra, Russell (shooting video and pictures for us for a Promo Video) his wife Susan, Heather, Shawna (whose husband just got out of the hospital yesterday), Stacey, Janice, Judy, Kathleen, and myself.  We so desire to be TOTALLY YIELDED to HIS PLANS for these missionary women!

Four of the team ladies just stepped in to report they are taking a stroll to the market.  Of course it is the younger ladies because this older lady is propping her feet up to knock out some of the swelling! Ha,ha,ha,ha

I will keep you posted….


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Crossing the Line...

Costa Rica here we come!!!! We are only two days from ‘crossing the line’ of preparations into the realm of watching the Holy Spirit of God work His wonders!! If you have traveled with Pure Joy on a trip before, you know that I am counting the seconds until all team members arrive at a central airport where the team will meet each other in person for the first time. It is such an incredible moment to watch those hearts all become wrapped up together in preparation for being a living sacrifice for the MOST HIGH GOD!

Someone else has been ‘crossing a line’ too - the enemy! The spiritual warfare this team has experienced in the last two weeks has been incredible! I encouraged the team over the weekend to get out their stomping boots! We don’t war against flesh and blood and this team doesn’t fight the battle with horses and chariots but by the power and strength of the LORD OUR GOD! Therefore, pray for us as we leave the country. We have a team member whose dear friend lost her mother this week, one team member whose husband was hospitalized this past week and is still hospitalized as of this writing, one team member who had a major family issue, one of our missionary lady’s precious 4 year old had an emergency appendectomy and may have to have another surgery before this week is over, and I got terribly ill last Thur. night and have just been back to the living since late Monday afternoon (today is Thur). So pray, pray and pray some more for this team as we love on those missionary women!

Also, thank you for your faithfulness to sponsor these women with your prayers and financial support. God has been faithful as ALWAYS to move on the hearts of His people! We have 44 women sponsored with 6 to go. Honestly, I am so thankful for your hearts! You make my heart smile!

If you haven’t signed up as a Friend of Pure Joy please go to the web site and sign up so you will receive updates while we are on the trip.

Love you all So Much!


P.S. Slow down this week and really become aware of those God allows to cross your path. If you do, you will probably see some ‘sad eyes’, ‘weary faces’ and ‘lonely hearts’ just to mention a few. “Give them a Drink,” JESUS.