Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Insightful Words…

Well, we have been home from Ecuador two weeks as of this past Sunday. It takes a little bit of time to regroup when you come back from a trip where you have spent 5-6 months intentionally praying and planning over all the details. We had an incredible team that brought incredible worship, devotions, messages, hospitality and just a great love for the missionary women serving in South America and that part of the world. While the missionary women take away so much from the conference, so do we as individual team members.

I have asked the team members to consider writing their own take-aways from the Ecuador trip for me to share with you in the next several blogs. I will start the process by sharing one of my own take-aways and that of two other team members.

One of our team members did a devotional on Thursday May 2, 2019, on “Light.”  She is a math and science teacher, so you can imagine all the awesome details she included. The entire time she was sharing, all I could think of were all the spiritual parallels to “Jesus, the Light of the World”. In fact, it stirred up in my heart principles from a book I had read over 15 years ago titled, “Lit.” That book was incredible to me as a younger believer. The statement that has forever stayed on my heart from that book was “light dispels darkness, always”. I love that picture. In other words, it banishes, eliminates, disseminates, drives away, etc., darkness.

Look at the dictionary definition of light: the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. Wow! Isn’t that exactly what Jesus does in our lives! He stimulates sight and makes things visible. For example, He reveals to us those areas of our hearts that dwell in the darkness that we have not fully yielded to Him. Ouch!

So, since I have been back, I have really been letting that team member’s devotional and the principles from the book marinate in my heart. I have intentionally listened to the wording of those I cross paths with through life, counseling, circumstances, media, etc.

A common expression today in the world that I hear often and have actually said myself, “darkness is so prevalent in the world these days”. But that begs the question: Where is the Light? Light dispels darkness. Wait! God’s word tells us we are the light because His light indwells us and should shine forth.

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

I asked our discipleship group last night, “what type of light are you? Light bulb, flood light, fluorescent, energy saver, 15 watts, 60 watts, 100 watts, etc., etc. Are you dispelling the darkness in the world around you? Or have you become a part of it?" Hmmmm, ask yourself that question.

Our next take-away comes from Team Member and Pure Joy Staff Member, Deb Potter. She wrote: I was reminded of the importance of community as I listened to some of the missionaries who are quite isolated because of their locations and/or ministries, as I heard Linda’s testimony about figuring out she was isolated, and as I heard Adrienne’s testimony. Adrienne and her husband were in our life group during much of the time she talked about. God reminded me of the importance of the commitment Carl and I have to shepherd a life group. (We’d stepped into a little wavering of that commitment as our “annual season” of life groups at our church was coming to an end.) Since we returned, Carl and I have talked and reaffirmed that commitment to God to purposefully and regularly connect couples by doing life and sharing Jesus with them in small groups. I praise God for that sweet reminder. He has faithfully and fully equipped us for that ministry.

And our final take-away for today comes from Team Member and Pure Joy Staff Member Mary Bowlin: Knowing God has all things covered so I can let go and take care of my own needs when I am in the midst of a crisis. This was once described as putting on your own oxygen mask first before helping others in case of emergency on an aircraft. It has been a critical thing for me to do as I came home to multiple family members in medical crisis.

Hope you caught the themes from the take-aways today. Is your light dispelling the darkness around you? We all need community! And you cannot help others if you are not taking care of you!

Have a Great Week! And keep praying for Brazil. I am WhatsApp talking with someone in an hour from now regarding details for our trip there.

Love you all,


Monday, May 6, 2019

Pure Joy International Home Again...

Our feet touched U.S. soil Sunday morning in Atlanta, Georgia, and most of us made it to our home states by 5:30 p.m.

We left a bit of our hearts in Quito, Ecuador, with the missionary ladies and the beautiful country of Ecuador.

God did some amazing things in the hearts of the women and the team's hearts, as well. Thank you to all of you that have been a part of this team whether on the field and/or here at home by praying, gifting and giving.

Pray for us now as we start preparations for Brazil in the fall of this year. If your church is interest in being a part of Pure Joy International please contact me at

Below are some of the final pictures of our last day and times in Ecuador.

Blessings to each of you,


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Quito, Ecuador 2019 Retreat has ended...

... but the work God is doing in us through it has just begun! The missionaries are heading home and the team is headed to the airport soon. Please pray for safe travels home!
Praising our faithful God!

Friday in Ecuador...

What an amazing day we had as we soaked in the truth of God's Word! The worship music brought by Denise and Nikki and messages brought by Brenda, Sharon, Heather and Vickie all pointed us to how God's Word reveals to us who God is, who we are and how we are to live to His glory.

Between sessions we enjoyed delicious meals and snacks, meaningful fellowship and conversations, and gifting the ladies with all the wonderful things our gifting team members back home have put together. Today was also favorites bags day which always includes laughter, giggles, squeals of delight and tears of joy.

We have on more morning and lunch left with these precious ladies. Please pray that we finish strong, the ladies leave recharged and refreshed and that God receives all the glory. He is the One Who has called us, equipped us and is completing His work through and in us.

Counting it all Pure Joy,
Mary B.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Thursday in Ecuador...

We had a full day of sweet fellowship; focused prayer and worship; sharing of God's Word and testimonies to God's faithfulness; lovely gifts and delicious food.

It is amazing to see how God ministers to each lady as He called each one of us to be here and is faithfully doing His work in our lives. He is recharging us to shine His light in the darkness!

Counting it all Pure Joy,
Mary B.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Missionaries arrive and the retreat begins...

Vickie asked me to share again tonight. The pictures of these beautiful ladies tell the story so much better than words. We have a full house and full hearts as we thank God for faithfully bringing us to the close of the first day of the retreat... and there is so much more to come!
Please continue supporting us with your prayers! 

Counting it all Pure Joy,
Mary B.