Saturday, April 27, 2013

Belize Day 7

We finished strong today as we closed out the retreat.  God did some incredible things this past four days. Lots of hearts were ministered to, my own included!  A couple of really sweet things to note....

Several women from this conference have already given financially to pay it forward to the women that will be attending the next Pure Joy International Retreat in the fall. This group enjoyed the beautiful bracelets made by women that attended our Dominican Republic retreat last year and paid it forward to give the Belize group gifts!  Also, one of our precious missionary women that attended the retreat this past week mistakenly sent out information to women in leadership in Belize inviting them to the retreat.   When she realized it was for missionary women only, she sent out a letter to correct the information.  Out of that process many women in leadership were invited to a luncheon today at noon at our hotel here in Belize to hear a speaker the local ladies brought in and to enjoy a free lunch and fellowship.  God works all things for good!

Tonight the team is attending a Belizean Praise and Worship service being held here in the hotel.  We are so excited to get to be a part of the worship taking place in this country. 

We will then head out in the morning to the airport and will step foot back in the U.S. between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.   At that time we will all board separate planes to our respective states and homes.  Pray for no problems at the airport leaving the country and for safe travel.

Thank you to all of you that have given, prayed and those that have allowed your love ones to go.  The women were so appreciative.

Love you All,

Belize Days 5 and 6....

My apologies for lagging behind on blogging but have been full steam ahead loving on our missionary women. Day 5 (Thursday) was really awesome because it was our first day to really get to spend time with the ladies, eat meals with them, share afternoon free time with them, etc.  The worship and messages were on target and meeting the needs of the women. Today (Day 6 - Friday) has continued to be a very sweet day.  We have all laughed a lot and to be frankly honest shared a lot of tears.

I think husbands encourage their wives to come to opportunities like this so they can get all their crying out of the way about life in general.  There are several young missionary women here, both single and married, and it is really awesome to hear their stories and hearts for God.

Tonight we had a sweet fellowship time after the final message of the evening. The ladies here presented us with a beautiful gift and a pound cake with caramel icing. Very sweet!! They also shared what the retreat has meant to them even though we still have tomorrow before we are finished up. Tomorrow night in this same hotel they are having an event they only have 2 times a year where all the churches throughout Belize come together for a night of worship. Many of the missionary women will come back for that event. We of course will be attending because what an incredible opportunity to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ in this country. (Patty, I know you are jealous) Don't worry I will enjoy it for both of us!!! 

Pray for us as we finish up the retreat tomorrow that God will continue to speak to hearts and that He will minister clearly to anyone that has not heard His voice yet.

Love you guys. I am headed to bed.....exhausted but Joyful!!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Belize Day 4...

The missionary women arrived today (Wednesday). Tonight as we begin our time together and I listened to their hearts, I was so reminded of why we are 'called' to do what we do!! Please continue to remember to pray for our time with the women here. Today has been really incredible as we have heard their hearts

They shared with us tonight that the 'spiritual warfare' in this country is really obvious and difficult. Also, the poverty level is very high. One of the hotel staff shared with a team member they can keep no businesses going here such at McDonald's, Burger King, and such, which we actually have seen in most foreign countries we have traveled to all over the world. The reason none are here is that there isn't enough money generated to keep them in business. At one point a Subway franchise came here but ended up shutting down relatively soon after opening. It isn't that they don't want to be here, but again the poverty level keeps them from being successful. Ha...on the flip side most of those types of franchises in America produce poverty of 'health' for our bodies!!

My prayer today for the missionary women and you reading this blog is from 2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV) “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give support to those whose heart is blameless (devoted) toward Him.”

Husbands back home and missionary husbands....your wives are doing well. This is already a sweet time for them. Thank you again for sharing them with us this week!!

Love you All,


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Belize Day 3...

Today (Tuesday) we got up and had our devotional time, breakfast, and then headed out to go snorkeling. It was incredible to see another part of God's world and creation. Our two guides were awesome and full of history about Belize culture!

Snorkeling was a blast and the first time for many of is. We swam with sharks and touched a sting-ray. We also saw most of the saltwater fish that are sold at PetSmart stores all over the U.S. We returned back to the hotel happy, some of us sunburned, and all of us tired. Tonight we are setting up sound equipment and other things in the conference room and then having prayer time for the missionaries coming in tomorrow (Wednesday).

Love you all...
Keep praying


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 1 and Day 2 Belize...

Good morning from Belize. It is 5:30 a.m. our time on Tuesday as I write this blog. We arrived safely into Belize Sunday afternoon. Our flight was good and the team is wonderful. We connected with Meleah our final team member from Dominican Republic when we arrived in Belize. Please know that the journey began the moment we arrived into the country. In fourteen years of traveling all over the world to do ministry to our missionary women overseas we have never had the experience we had coming through customs here. Without all the details just let me say it was costly (literally).  I'm sure there was a spike in my blood pressure! ha,ha,ha,

We did make it to the hotel and got settled in and headed to dinner, of course those of you that travel realize we as Americans are the only ones that live our lives at warp speed!! Having dinner in America....30 minutes maximum and that is only if they asked you to pull forward to the yellow line while they finish  the new batch of fries they started when you asked for 7 large fries. ha, ha, ha   So far we haven't had a meal here that is under two hours or more from start to finish. However, the food is good and you are really hungry by the time you get it.

Monday morning we slept in a while and then some hung out by the pool while Linda and I visited with our hotel contact in person for the first time. In the afternoon we took a site seeing excursion through the city. Last night we did retreat preparations for the ladies that will be coming in Wednesday. Today, Tuesday, the team is going on a Water Taxi to three different areas to do some snorkeling. Pray for a sweet time together as we continue getting to know each other more and pray for laughter (not lacking much in that area here!)  Pray also as we minister to the hotel personnel. We have been able to start spiritual conversations with several of them. It is obvious that there is a lot of religion here verses relationship to Jesus Christ.  Hmmmmm ... sounds like a lot of places, yes?

Will write tonight to fill you in on our snorkeling today, stay tuned because there should be some good laughs in it!!

Love you,


P.S. Please pray for the missionary women as they make their final preparations to leave and come to the retreat tomorrow.  Also, for us as we finish up last minute things tonight.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Team Has Landed

I just talked to Vickie and she and the team are safely in Belize! She will be working on a blog tomorrow after a good night's rest. Please continue to pray that all preparations will go well and that all team members will adjust to their surroundings smoothly.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Outdone by a 3 year old...

Tie your shoes! We are in the 50-yard dash in preparation to leave for Belize on Sunday. We are packing tonight in Conway, Arkansas and in Tulsa, Oklahoma later this week. As those of you who have traveled on a mission trip know, everyone is scrambling to make sure we have everything we need to pack the trunks and our suitcases. I personally have my family scattered all over taking care of last minute details. I sent my mom east today to finish up some of those details, and I headed west to meet a pastor's wife from Stillwell Bible Baptist Church in Clarksville, Arkansas. Of course, when we had to pick a meeting place I said, "Do you drink coffee?” "Yes,” she replied. I suggested Starbucks and she quickly said, “Yes.” I could tell that she was a woman totally after my own heart. Now let me add . . . if you know me, I'm a Starbucks nut! I jokingly tell people I own at least half of the company. Anyway, when Debbie showed up at Starbucks, she had her precious daughter and two grandchildren. We all took time to catch up a little on life and business (by the way, Happy 39th Anniversary, Debbie and Jim). As we were preparing to leave, I had gone to throw something away and returned to our corner just in time to see little three-year old Nora pointing and saying something to her Grammy. I inquired, “What did she say?” Debbie laughed as she repeated what Nora had just said. "Look Grammy! Our sign!” as she was pointing to the Starbucks sign outside the business that you can spot from a mile away if you are a Starbucks drinker. Hmmmmmmm . . .  it may be ‘their’ sign, but I still think I own half the company! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Remember that starting Sunday, I will be blogging daily while we are gone to keep you on the journey with us as we travel to Belize. Continue to pray for the team as we leave the country and for the missionary women as we join them in Belize. Pray for all that God wants to accomplish in them and us for His Glory and His kingdom!

Thank you so much, again, to all of you who have prayed, given and made gifts, and sponsored the missionary women to be able to get away with Him for 4 days and 3 nights with no charge to them! What a blessing all of you are to them!

Love you all so much,


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Belize on the Horizon...

Wow! Just eleven days and we are on the plane headed to Belize. The team is ready and soooo excited. Monday our praise and worship leaders spent the day finalizing our worship times. I can't wait to worship Him alongside the missionary women. Please continue to pray regarding the following . . .

·         The missionary women will be coming with hearts prepared to meet with Him
·         The team will continue to empty their hearts of the distractions of this world and will be prepared to be used of God in mighty ways
·         The family members of the missionaries and team members will have the support of friends while we are gone.
·         All the things we need will be packed and will arrive with us to Belize
·         Flights will be on time and smooth
·         God will reveal Himself in ways that cannot be explained except for His sweet presence
·         Safety for missionary women and the team as we are in Belize City, Belize
·         And above all, that His Name would be glorified and His kingdom would come

A big thanks goes out in advance to all the churches and church families that have contributed to this retreat for the Belize missionary women through giving, gifts and going. We have three states and one country represented on this team (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Dominican Republic). How exciting!!

Speaking of exciting . . . . This past weekend I had the sweet opportunity to speak at First Baptist Vilonia, Arkansas during their mission’s conference. We had a casual dinner Saturday night, and I was blessed to meet some awesome people. One couple I really enjoyed meeting was from Tanzania. We are praying together about a possible retreat there in 2014. I love making those contacts. Sunday morning I had the privilege to address the congregation to share about Pure Joy. I shared with the men that I would be opening God's word while on the platform but, not to worry, I wasn't preaching or teaching, just sharing! Ha, ha, ha, ha! After the service, a precious man came up to me and said, "I'm a conservative and sit on the right side of the church, but I might be willing to move more to the left side of the church after hearing you this morning if you ‘shared’ again.” Ha, ha, ha, ha! There will always be a smile in my heart when I remember his comment. Listening to the worship music and then Judi Lively share about Bethlehem House in Conway, Arkansas was so sweet that morning. Bethlehem House is a great ministry to the homeless!!! Following the service, it was off to the preschoolers, ages 3 and 4. Now that is a tough audience, but the really tough audience was the 1st through 6th graders. I love those guys!!!! I felt like I was back in grade school: girls on this side of room and boys on the other. My favorite part about this age group is when you ask a question and all the hands go up. You already know that half of them don't even have a clue what the question was; they just put their hand up because the person next to them did. What’s cute is watching their little brains try to figure out what to do after you call on them, “What the heck did I have my hand up for?”, then seeing that look on their face that indicates they’re thinking, “Like, how do I get out of this? Everyone is looking at me and I don't have a clue what the lady is talking about!” We all know those feelings, don't we! Hmmmmmm . . . I think I felt that way awhile back in my adult Sunday school class! Ha, ha, ha! Another fun moment was when Judi and I were signing their little missionary booklets. They had on nametags and it was fun to call them by name and ask them stuff. At one point, I had noticed that four kids had come through with the same last name. I asked the last one, "Are you related to those other Palmers?" Yes, he responded. “How many of you are there?” I asked. “Eleven,” he responded. Wow! Ok, so that night at dinner I sat with the Palmer family and held the littlest one, 9 months old. Eleven! What a sweet family and worth many prayers! I think I need to capture their mom and take her out of the country for a break. But, I know she would miss all those kids and their dad! Right!? Ha, ha, ha, ha! Anyway, it was a great weekend. Thank you FBCV ministry staff for a sweet mission’s conference.

Love you all . . .


Monday, April 1, 2013

I see Jesus...

The speaker for our Perspectives Class Sunday night was Stan Yoder who brought his wife, Valli. He taught our lesson titled "How Shall They Hear?” while she interjected with her support of his message. The premise of the lesson was the importance of understanding the culture of a people group at its deepest level (its worldview) as a means for sharing the gospel successfully. The material alone was so powerful. However, the power behind the couple who shared was Jesus. I told Patty on the way home that I love it when you don't see the man . . . you just see Jesus. My home church, Antioch Missionary Baptist, is like that. In the pulpit and in the worship, you don't see a “personality” or a man, you just see Jesus. I know we all are human and so are the men I've just mentioned, but what I also know about them is this: when they are yielded to the gifts and the God who gave them the gifts for ministry, you see Jesus. I also know that anyone of us, when we are yielded to the gifts and the God that gave the gifts for ministry, people will see Jesus. Has anyone been able to see Jesus because of your gifting from God lately?

Belize is only a few weeks away. The team is sooooo ready and excited. The missionary women are excited, too. Please continue to pray for more women to sign up for the trip. We have room. Also, please pray and give as you are led by the Spirit of God. Remember our theme is "Let Your Light Shine" Matthew 5:16. 

Also, remember to pray against the warfare that always goes on around any ministry team that is going to encourage others to stay the course for the Kingdom’s sake!

Love you guys!