Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Moving On...

As many of you are aware, my spiritual dad went to be with the LORD Sunday July 21, 2013.  We finally laid his body to rest at a military graveside service in Luling, Texas Monday. I am reminded of a quote I read recently "Moving on doesn't mean you forget about things. It just means you accept what has taken place and continue living."  My spiritual dad will always be a part of everything about me and, because of that, the greatest honor to be paid him is to continue living and serving the LORD whole heartedly all the days of my life. Thanks, Wilbur, for being a living testimony!                              

Therefore, let's move on and see where we are with our North East Asia retreat. As of today (Tuesday) we have 39 women registered. I am so excited about this turn out for the women in that area of the world. I know that the need is so high for them to be encouraged! The following note from  one of our girls from Dominican Republic along with a donation for the missionary women in North East Asia says so much  about why we do what we do -

 "This isn't a big amount for now but last year while I was a missionary living in the Dominican you all blessed my heart and renewed it completely....just want to be able to start returning the blessing!!!  God bless all of you for blessing us missionary women and bringing us renewal....will keep you all in prayer for always!!!”

The impact God brings to these women in the short time we are with them never ceases to amaze me. I believe the effect is because every aspect of each retreat is laid before Him in daily prayer and preparation to make sure we are bringing His presence and not our own.
Please continue to pray as we have 11 slots open before we start our wait list. Also, continue to seek the LORD regarding giving. We have 30 women sponsored as of this writing so we need sponsorship of 20 more. Please allow God to speak clearly to you about giving.

Remember our theme is "He Sees". Pray that God shows us as a team preparing to go out all that "He Sees" that these women need regarding messages, worship, fellowship, counsel, etc.
Love you all and always enjoy hearing your thoughts about the blog and encouragement as well. 

Thank you for loving this ministry along with us here at Pure Joy International.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Joy and Sadness...

Sunday my spiritual dad entered into Glory! I'm so excited for him! He had been struggling with brain cancer this past year and things really began to deteriorate over the past four to six weeks. The thing that made my spiritual dad one of a kind is he had become everything I believe God intended for a 'real man' to be by the time I arrived on the scene in their lives at the age of 35. Last night as my sister and I sat out in the side-yard swing we talked about what made him so unique. He was without a doubt, to anyone who knew him, a Jesus man. Not because he was "doing" anything but because he was the greatest example of what it meant to "be". My spiritual dad understood abiding!  And because of that he was living out the fruit of the spirit to all around him. I've never known such a kind, tender, faithful, patient, and humble person.  His ability to put others first will always amaze me. Even up until several weeks ago he told me, "I'm going to the House and I will be fine. I'll be waiting on all of you there. I'm just concerned that you all will be ok, especially Pat”, (my spiritual mom).  I know I have never known a person as steady (steadfast) as Will.   I keep a motto in my heart and have for many, many years, "keep walking".  If the sun is shining, keep walking; if the storms roll in, keep walking; if the clouds hang low, keep walking; if the breeze is harsh, keep walking; if flowers spring up all around you, keep walking. Don't let the awesome things distract you (yet enjoy them) and don't let the difficult times destroy you, in both cases keep walking. My spiritual dad was steady throughout the 23 years I have known him.  I mean steady!  He kept his eyes on Jesus and kept walking! You know my spiritual dad was the turtle in the hare and the turtle race. The hare was so busy moving around and being self-absorbed, he missed out and never touched a soul except for his own glory.  The turtle was steady and touched lives along the way and didn't even know it as he just kept walking.

Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV)
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 3 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 4  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Keep walking, my friends, and to God Be All the Glory!

Love you all.


Monday, July 15, 2013

There is a reason...

Several years ago God put a message on my heart about living in the present.  Without walking you through the whole message let me just hit a couple of high points...

1.  Everyone has a past.  My great nephew is 1 year old as of July 6, 2013.  He has a past.  Of course he won't remember it!  But I can promise you that his immediate family members remember all 365 days of it! ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!

2.  If you are alive and breathing, you have a present.  The question is still up for grabs whether you are living in it or not.

3.  We have a future best we know – unless, of course, we die in the present.

Many people I see in the counseling process live in the ‘past box’.  They live there because of guilt, shame, fear, blame, hiding and/or because those were the “good old days” of accolades and pats on the back.  Living in the past works fine if everyone you know is willing to live there with you.  But most people aren't.  Why?  Because, living in the past gets old!!  After awhile no-one wants to be around you because you are a broken record whether you are living in the depths of despair or recalling your wonderful deeds.  The thing about the past is that Jesus covered our past with the blood on the Cross at Gethsemane.  He covered the good, the bad, and the ugly with His blood. 
Other people I see in the counseling process live in the ‘future box’.   I call it the "when, if, and what if” box.  Evidence that they live there comes from these kind of statements, "When we get that new house", "When I get that new job position", "When the kids all leave home" and "What if the loan doesn't go through",  "What if we don't get the support", "What if they hire someone else", etc, etc, etc.  The thing about the future is that God holds it in His hands.

So, let's clarify.......He has the past covered and He holds the future.   But, where does He dwell?....in the ‘present box’.  He dwells in today!  He isn't in the past box when you are running yourself crazy there and He isn't in the future box when you are doing all the "when, ifs, and what ifs".   Do you understand He is in the moment? Not past, not future but NOW!  He has the past covered!  He holds the future! But, He dwells in the present!  If you are going to experience Him daily it will be in the present!

Matthew 6:33-34(NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I have been practicing the principle of living in the present recently.  Not just talking about it, but doing it.  It has increased my prayer life sooooo much.  My times with the LORD are so much more personal.  My quiet times are sweeter.  I realize it is because He is dwelling in the present and I am meeting Him here.  I don't spend energy on yesterday or tomorrow.  I don't sit around in the depths of despair over bad choices even if it was just yesterday in something I said or did.  I don't sit around thinking about accolades of the past to make me feel good today.  I don't sit around waiting for some big sign regarding the future and His plans for me.   I live in the moment to the best of my human ability to obey Him in this.  The hard part about this journey is most people are living in the past and/or the future and they want to drag you into their box.  Stand firm, my friend, in the present!  And your love towards all men will grow stronger because He is with you!!  And finally, in living in the present, God is really teaching me the principle behind "come as you are".   We like to come when we have cleaned up.  Problem is then we forget to come!  So, that old saying, "Come as you are" has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  I am learning to come whether I am happy in the present, mad or ticked off in the present, frustrated or sad in the present, rejoicing in the present, etc.  So, "dwell in the present, my friends" and "come as you are"!

North East Asia........

We now have 32 women signed up for the North East Asia trip.  Yeah God!!  Also, out of those 32 you have already contributed towards the sponsorship of 30 of those women!  I love it!!  Keep that support coming in!  I am still believing God to open the way for all 50 slots to be filled and believing Him that all the support will come in accordingly!  Be obedient as He leads you!

The team members will begin meeting weekly for prayer this week.  If you are interested in meeting with the team members in different areas please let me know and I will connect you with their locations and times.  We have teams praying in Tulsa, OK, Morrilton, AR, Jonesboro, AR, and Memphis, TN.  Contact me at vickie@purejoyinternational.org and I will connect you.  We start praying weekly in Morrilton, AR tonight and all Monday nights up until we leave the country.  Prayer/team meeting time usually lasts from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Love you all and have a great week "dwelling in His presence".


Monday, July 8, 2013

North East Asia Here We Come...

This is a big week for us here at Pure Joy.  We are locking in lots of details for our trip in September.  The team is in place pending one person.  She is waiting on the final word from her husband.  I don't know if I have shared this with you recently but it is always worth revisiting.  There are two sets of criteria we use to bring a team member on board for a trip. 

1.  God  -  You have to believe with everything in you that God has called you to be on this particular trip.  There will always be (as long as God allows it) more trips.  What we care about is that you are on the trip God has led you to be on.  We aren't looking for women that just want to travel, go out of the country, or go to a particular area because that would be fun and/or cool.  We are looking  for women that we know God has placed in their heart a relentless desire to be on the particular trip He has led them to - even to the point that they can't really put words to it,  they just know that not to go would be disobedient.   You have those kinds of hearts on a team and you have God's ministry team for that particular trip.  Now that is exciting to me!!!!

2.  Husband  -   Secondly, if you are married then we must have your husband's blessing for you  to be on the trip.   God's word is clear that your husband is a covering over you.  If that covering is not ok with you being out of the country, away from the family, then we cannot say yes to that.  We believe God is a God of order and if we honor Him and His order of things He will honor the ministry and you.

I jokingly tell the team members that if something goes wrong on the trip and they don't make it back alive, then I don't want to have to deal with God or a husband about it and feel guilty the rest of my life.  On the other hand if they don't come back alive and God gave them a yes to go and their husband gave them a yes to go, then I will feel bad but not guilty. ha,ha,ha,ha

3.  Single -  If you are single then God's word tells us in Isaiah 54:5 (ESV) “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name.”  If God gives you a go ahead then you get a two in one covering!  Gotta love that!  I think Paul was talking about this in I Corinthians 7 when he basically says it is easier to follow Christ when you aren't distracted by other things, marriage being one of them.  Not saying it is a bad thing to be married because it is obviously a God thing!  But, saying it brings lots of responsibilities that can be a distraction.  You get the point!

All of that being said, the team is together,  pending one.  I am so excited!  I always love watching God go to work with the team He puts into place.  Every team is different and every team is unique.  And when we leave the country I'm always pleased knowing we have God's group for the particular group of missionary women we will be ministering to!  So, exciting! 

Speaking of the women, we have 30 women registered as of this writing!  God is bringing the women in as He sees fit!  He also knows who needs to be at this retreat and their needs based on what we will be bringing to them.  I am still crazy (in a good way, ha,ha) about our theme , "He Sees".   Just meditate on those two words along with what you know about Him whether it be a lot or a little and it will stretch your mind!!

Speaking of our minds, let me leave you with something a family member shared with me this past week that her pastor in Virginia  spoke from the pulpit regarding "love" and "truth".

Truth without Love is - Arrogance
Love without Truth is  - Negligence
Truth with Love is  - Guidance

Now that will preach!!!  Have a wonderful week!  Don't forget to pray for our North East Asia trip, the women, the team, and all the details that must get taken care of before we leave the country.  Be in the Word Daily!!! It's the best Vitamin you will ever take!!

Love you all,



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Excited to see His Hand and The last time I want to see this...

I can't begin to tell you how exciting it is to see the ladies registering for the North East Asia retreat. We opened up registration officially last Wednesday and we have 28 women registered as of now. Please keep praying for the women in that part of the world to find out about this opportunity. Also by Monday of next week we will have our North East Asia Team established, so pray for those that are still in the prayer closet of decision. Just so you know, we already have 24 of the women sponsored and we are totally loving God for His Faithfulness to provide for that which He has put into motion. Please pray about being a part of helping to sponsor the last 26 women that will sign up. God will honor your giving!      

In November of 2005 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following a lumpectomy I was put on a chemo regimen to be followed by 30 rounds of radiation. One of my dear friends had gone through breast cancer the year before and chemo as well. One of the things she told me was on the day of chemo treatments to do my best to eat a good big breakfast before heading to the hospital. So, the first day of chemo my mom and I headed off to the Pancake House for a nice big breakfast of pancakes, eggs with cheese and bacon - (hmmmmm maybe all that weight gain wasn't the steroids they were giving me, ha,ha,ha,ha) Anyway, I'll never forget the prayer I prayed over that meal that morning and every Chemo treatment day after that as my mom and I sat down to that breakfast... "Dear God, I don't want to see this meal again today."  ha,ha,ha,ha   That first morning I prayed that it was with the most sincere heart you could have because it was hard for me to believe I was going to keep that down after chemo. Of course for you that have been through chemo you know the treatment day isn't what is so hard - it is the next days after it.

Well, this week, I think our entire family has secretly been praying that prayer every time we feed my little great nephew his bottle. He has come in contact with his first virus from starting Day Care. It hasn't been pretty.  Lots of washed sheets, clothes (his and ours) and towels. I am still trying to figure out how the return rate on that milk seems to be greater than the input, if you know what I'm saying. But above everything else, I am amazed at how tender my heart is towards this little guy’s sickness. When the milk or liquid makes its return covering him, me, and everything around us for a 10 mile radius (feels that way, ha,ha,ha,) all I can think is “poor little guy.” I just hate it for him.

Several times I sensed the Spirit saying to me, “Your Heavenly Father feels the same way and more towards us when we are sick.  When we are stuck in a sin virus of bitterness, anger, pain, unforgiveness, etc., and it is making us sick, His heart is so tender towards us and He wants us to get well.  He holds us, comforts us, ministers to us, brings others to minister to us, and never gives up on us getting well.  If you are going through any kind of sickness right now, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, please be reminded He REALLY cares!  How do I know this? Because He gave us our emotions, we are made in His image!   

Love you all,