Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Same Kind of Different as Me….

One afternoon last week I came home to find my mom watching the movie Same Kind of Different as Me on Netflix. The movie is based on the book, which is based on a true story. I bought the book when it came out many years ago, but never read past the first couple of chapters. The movie was half over when I sat down to watch it. The story revolves around a struggling marriage, struggling father and adult child, and a kitchen for the homeless community… and a homeless man.

What part I saw of the movie was good. Slow moving but good. However, the ending of the moving was absolutely soooooooo powerful to me and such a reminder. A reminder that I think we could all benefit from as we head into the Christmas Season and the New Year. Before I comment on the reminder let me share with you the words at the end of the movie, spoken by Denver Moore, the homeless man, as he shared the eulogy at the funeral for Miss Debbie.

“I used to spend a lotta time worryin that I was different from other people, even from other homeless folks. Then, after I met Miss Debbie and Mr. Ron, I worried that I was so different from them that we wadn't ever gon' have no kind a' future. But I found out everybody's different - the same kind of different as me. We're all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us. The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain't no final restin place. So, in a way, we is all homeless - just workin our way toward home.” Welcome home, Miss Debbie, welcome home.”

Did you catch the reminder? In a way we are all “homeless” as believers. Just working our way toward “Home.” So, as you celebrate or struggle and/or both through this Christmas and/or the New Year remember, Jesus came into this world to show us the way “Home.” Remember Denver Moore’s last statement about Miss Debbie? “Welcome home, Miss Debbie, welcome home.” Out of all the people in that church she was “home.” The rest of them were homeless. Dear ones, until we pass from this world into eternity may we begin to understand that we are living homeless… and being homeless is HARD!

1 Peter 2:11 (MSG)
Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.

Homeless but His,

Merry Christmas from the Staff, Board, and Advisors of Pure Joy International to you and yours!!

Friday, December 14, 2018


We have received our first Christmas Story. Remember to share your short stories and humorous moments regarding Christmas. Just send to me at We will make sure they get posted to the Facebook, web site (click on blog), and email for those of you that have signed up to receive it that way.
Enjoy this story from a missionary family that was stationed in Czech Republic. For others of you that are overseas and/or back in the states or your country of origin get those to us in the next 10 days please.


Remember the Joy of why we celebrate Christmas to help you overcome the craziness of it all!!

First Christmas in the Czech Republic
We were all so excited - Christmas was only a short time away.
Once again, we would hang our stockings awaiting all those small, yet hand-picked trinkets, but wait! We decided not to bring our old stockings, but had decided we would buy new ones in this new county. We searched and we searched for stockings, not finding them brought discouragement and longing for home. What could we do? We could let this spoil Christmas considering the true meaning had nothing to do with hanging stockings, but giving to others – 
Jesus being the greatest gift ever given to mankind.
So, we all agreed to find a container that would say the most about us. This would make Christmas even more personal than before. Since then, we have gone back to our traditional stockings, and now those stockings hang in the home of each of our adult children. 
As for Jeff and I, only two stockings will hang this Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Please consider …

As the end of the year rolls around many will be looking at ways to donate to 501 (c)3 ministry organizations. I would like to ask each of you that know someone that is interested in donating to tell them about Pure Joy International and its ministry to our missionary women and families on the field. Money donated at the end of the year contributes to our general budget that keeps the ministry in working order to provide for office/office supplies, traveling to network churches that partner with us, travel to meet with team members for conferences, counseling services free of charge to missionaries overseas and at home for themselves or their family. It also provides for resources needed for overseas conference, along with so much more. So, share with others that may be prayerfully seeking God about a ministry to give to this end of the year. Through His resources we can make a difference. Click here to access our support page. (Scroll to center of page to find various ways to give,)

Recently, I had the great opportunity to be the speaker for the Women’s Christmas Celebration at West Chicago Bible Church. Such a sweet time with the ladies there. The hospitality was wonderful, the men served the meal (that was great), the local High School Acapella group sang, and God’s word challenged, affirmed, and convicted us. Thank you to all the men and women of West Chicago Bible Church for coming together to celebrate the Savior of the World.

Last Christmas Season, I asked you to share pictures of your Christmas trees to share with others on the blog. This year I thought it would be fun to share some Holiday stories. They may be laugh out loud funny or serious or anywhere in between. Can’t wait to share them with the readers. Let me hear from you. I’m confident our missionaries can share some interesting ones with us. Send them to me at

Praying for all during this Christmas Season.

P.S.  We are headed to Quito, Ecuador in April of 2019.   More details to come. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

We are only a few days away from Thanksgiving Day. For many that means taking time to make sure others have something to be thankful for during this season. Many churches, businesses, and individuals will be donating meals and time to those who are less fortunate. Others of you will have a wonderful day shared with family and friends. For some this will be your first Thanksgiving without a loved one, for others it will be a difficult time because of broken and strained relationships within families.

While all the things I just mentioned are truths, I am praying that each one of us will pause and take the time to truly look at people and things to be thankful for this year.

I am personally thankful for God’s Word. It is what helps me to see and know His Faithfulness, to realize He is All-Knowing, All Powerful, Omnipresent and His absolute love for His children. I am thankful to be one of those children. I’m thankful for Jesus, the cross and the resurrection, which allowed me to be saved from the wrath of God. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit who convicts me of sin daily, who challenges me to desire to live life according to God’s word and ways, and who affirms He is at work in my life daily.

I am also very thankful for each one of you and how important you are to Pure Joy International. Those who have been a part of us since our beginning, and those of you who have joined us along the way. I am thankful for the prayers for the ministry, the staff, board, and advisors. I am thankful for the prayers specifically for each trip out of the country and its preparations. I am thankful for the prayers that go out for the missionary women and their families before, during and following a trip. I am thankful for those of you who give to support this ministry monthly regarding operations, and throughout the year with missionary sponsorships for each conference, as well as for those of you who give a onetime offering at the end of each year. I pray that God blesses each of you a hundred-fold for your faithfulness.

So, during this Thanksgiving week, may we slow down and be thankful for someone or something that has made and/or makes a difference in our lives.

From all of us at Pure Joy International

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Another year ….

Growing up I was never the person who was too concerned about what age I was turning. I did not do the “I’m turning 30 it is the end of the world.” I didn’t do the “I’m fifty and over the hill” thing. I did have one set back several years ago when my older brother had me confused about my birthday. I was never sure about how old I was that year. Ha,ha,ha

Anyway, I never give much thought to my age because my belief system regarding aging is this: Jesus died on the cross at age 33 and was resurrected. When I invited Jesus into my life in 1990, He became my life. Him in me, me in Him. Therefore, I will never be older than 33. My body is confused but my mind and heart are good. Ha,ha,ha

I did have to give a little thought to my age this morning when visiting on WhatsApp with a young couple. We were talking about communication. In discussing the importance of listening, I referenced the “E.F. Hutton” commercial from years ago. They both looked at me like, “Hmmmmm, nope never heard of it.” On the inside I’m thinking, “What? You have never heard of the E.F. Hutton commercial?” So, promptly after our time together, I went on line to see just how old the commercial is. It was made in 1986 with some updates along the way. This couple probably wasn’t even born yet, or maybe were learning to walk/talk. Ha,ha,ha,ha

Maybe more time is passing than I realize. Ha,ha,ha But, I’m taking the journey a day at a time. God’s word has made it clear that there is a season for all things. And He has made it clear all our days are ordained. Check in, done. Check out, still to be determined. (smile)

So, thank you for all the well wishes yesterday: text, emails, cards that showed up in the mail, gifts, homemade cake, etc. I love my family, God’s family, and those that will be part of His family in the days to come. Also, eventually my niece may have to explain to my great nephew the truth that all the flags that are out on Veterans Day are not actually people celebrating my birthday. For now, it is fun to watch him be excited about it! Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha

And, if my brother doesn’t confuse me about my age again, I should have a good year! Ha,ha,ha,ha


And for those that do remember:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Mercy the Key to Forgiveness….

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. But can I just be honest with you? I meet people regularly in my life journey that are bound up by the consequences of not pardoning an offender (someone that has hurt/wounded them). If you want to know how that unfolds it looks like this:

  • Someone offends (hurts) you. You choose not to address it in a timely manner.
  • Hurt turns into anger. You choose not to address the anger. 
  • Anger turns into bitterness. You choose not to address the bitterness.
  • Bitterness turns into hatred. You choose not to address the hatred. 
  • You become toxic to self and everyone around you.                                                                      
The physical manifestations of unforgiveness lead to broken marriages, families, friendships, job related friendships, church family relationships, etc.

So, why do we hang on to unforgiveness to the point that it becomes toxic to us and those around us?  Here are a few reasons that have been given over time (not all of the possible reasons):
  • The hurt is too great, “they” don’t deserve forgiveness.
  • Don’t want to forgive because the person keeps hurting them.
  • The memory of it keeps us from forgiving.
  • Want the offender to pay, to suffer, to experience harm.
  • Unwilling to forgive until the offender takes responsibility for it.
  • Forgiving them will cause them to think what they did was ok.
  • Forgiving them means I must be in relationship with them again.
  • None of us deserves forgiveness. Yet, Christ was nailed to the cross for every single one of our sins past, present, and future because we owed a debt we could not pay. We didn’t deserve forgiveness. But He felt mercy (compassion) towards us and extended Grace. (Forgiveness is always a gift! It is not something we deserve but something we are given.)
  • We need to forgive others for our own good. But that does not mean we have to continue to be subject to continued offenses. Set healthy boundaries.
  • Sometimes we must remind ourselves we have forgiven someone. Unlike God, we aren’t always able to forget things. But we do have a choice to not live in the past. 
  • Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 We must trust God that He sees and knows what has taken place and that He does avenge sin. But, keep in mind, He avenges our sins against others as well.
  • Your offender may or may not ever admit they hurt you. Some because they don’t know they did, even though you think they should know. Others just because they don’t believe they did anything wrong. (We still must forgive for our own spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health.)
  • If I forgive them they will think what they did was ok. Forgiving is not acknowledgement that the action/behavior was ok. Forgiveness is for our own well-being.

So, having said all of this. What role does mercy play in forgiveness? When you have a chance please take time to carefully read Matthew 18:21-35. It is the parable of “The Unforgiving Servant.” But for now look at verses 23-26.

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

Look at verse 27. The servant’s master took pity (mercy, compassion,) on him, canceled the debt (forgave him), and let him go (released him to freedom).

Genuine forgiveness starts with pity (mercy, compassion) toward the offender               
which results in forgiveness from the heart from the offended….
which releases the both the offender and the offended from bondage.

I know I wrote a lot in this blog. And it is only a drop in the bucket on this topic. I have been working on the wording for two weeks. Not God’s wording, He needs no help. But my wording to try and communicate clearly. All this to say……

If you are having trouble forgiving anyone please start praying that God will give you mercy towards that person. Literally, pray for God to do that for you. Many will say I could never forgive that person. No, you can’t but God in and through you can. And it starts with asking Him to give you mercy towards that person. And dear ones, I have heard some crazy awesome stories from those that have trusted Him to help them gain mercy towards an offender, so buckle up. He will amaze you!

P.S. We are presently in the process of working on logistics for our spring conference in Quito, Ecuador. Please begin to pray as we seek Him for details regarding hotel location.  

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Alicante, a Final Look….

The Team is all home safe and sound. Hopefully changed and not the same in some areas of our lives. That is also our prayer for the missionary women. We pray that the sweet fragrance of Christ lingers in their lives as well, from the many verses, words, worship, acts of kindness and generosity of those of you back here in the states, that we carried with us, to them. Generosity that came through prayer, giving, gifting, going and continual support of this ministry. Because of all our obedience to Him I believe many hearts were convicted, challenged, and affirmed of the importance of their “calling” to share the gospel and the importance of discipleship. Again, thank you so much from all of us at Pure Joy International, Inc. You are the best supporters ever!!!!

Wanted to share some of the sights that we and the missionary women had a chance to be exposed to while having their hearts recharged for the continual pilgrimage (smile) ahead. Enjoy this beautiful area of Spain that God led us to for bringing a time of refreshing and renewed hope to our servants on the field.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

God Speaks to our Hearts...

What an incredible finish we had to the conference today. Such a sweet spirit among us all. The fragrance of Christ abounded. The Spirt of the LORD convicted, challenged and affirmed as we drew nearer to Him.

The ladies have all headed back to their homes and countries. A few will leave in the early morning hours like us and some tomorrow.

The team is packed and ready to go.
Well, most of us are packed and ready to go. One room, not so much! Ha ha ha ha

Pray for safe travels home!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Day 8 Alicante, Spain...

Today, Friday, was the last full day of the conference, with Saturday morning holding the final sessions, wrap up and lunch. Please pray that God will continue to speak to all through worship, His Word, the fellowship and gifts. Pray for the ladies as they return to their fields of service and the Team as they pack up and prepare for their return trip.

Look for Vickie to post more pictures in future updates!

Counting it all Pure Joy,
Mary B.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Day 7 Alicante, Spain

Today was full of food, fun, gifts, fellowship, God’s Word, sweet worship, testimony and a time of prayer.

Pray without ceasing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Day 6 Alicante, Spain

The missionary women arrived today. So exciting! Some came by plane, some by train and some by automobile. Hmmmmm there is a movie in there somewhere. Ha,ha,ha

Once they got settled in their rooms they were able to come back down for snacks, fellowship, and hugs. Many of the ladies do not know each other. However, some do know each other but it has been a while since they have had a chance to get together.

Then there was a time of missionary women getting to know others and the team.

The night finished up with prayer, worship, and God’s Word!

Keep praying…


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Day 5 Alicante, Spain…

Started this day out with a “bang” literally. First night I had made it to bed and asleep before midnight. But, it was the beginning of a yearly holiday festival. Fireworks started right outside my window. I did have the best seat in the house on the 8th floor of the hotel, directly in front of me.

A couple of the girls made it to the town center for the parade which wasn’t very large but fun, according to them. The rest of the team was either getting in some sleeping or trying to finish up some shopping from yesterday.
After lunch we begin began work on our final preparations for the missionaries coming tomorrow. Absolutely, can’t wait to see everyone. Hard to believe the time is finally here!!!
We had some sweet prayer time for the ladies today and Danelle brought a good word for us to think on during our devotional time. And by the way there are a lot more pictures of preparation time, but we don’t want to give any gift ideas away before the missionaries get to see them. (smile) Get your prayer shoes on for all of us and start walking because the enemy would love for us to not to be here encouraging these women in their calling, their marriage, their family, company relationships, ministry, etc. Hold us up on wings of Eagles!

Rest time! Love you all.