Blessed Beyond Measure on the Other Side of the World – part 1

My dear friends… I am home, awake, and giving glory to the One and Only for the privilege of heading overseas to serve our sisters, for YOUR part in this, and for every detail that was obviously mapped out by the Lord!  My fingers are aching to describe to you right where I was and to show you pictures of it all… but since that wouldn’t be prudent, I’ll do the best I can with what I can. ;-)

First of all, let me tell you how God got us over and back.  Between airport and airplane delays, we wondered if we would make our connecting flights.  After weeks of unsucessfully trying to go through various channels to change an important connection flight (the 13 hour long one) to a flight with a later departure time, just two days before we left, the flight was miraculously approved to be changed.   As it turned out, we needed every minute of that extra time because the incoming flight was delayed and we just made our connection with 10 minutes to spare.  God was working all things together!  The flights over and back took around 28 hours each, and we felt the Lord’s presence every minute of those long days and nights!

We had a few days to let our body clocks adjust and to soak in the culture before the retreats began and I just fell in love with the people!  Gena had been there before and knew how precious and gracious they were, but I had no idea.  I see their faces in my mind and can’t help but smile.  But almost immediately, I remember that there are literally 14 million people just in the city we were in and most all of them are lost and going to Hell.  Worse than that, the majority of them don’t even know how lost they are.  Precious, precious lives of young and old… walking the streets… shopping in stores… eating at Burger King and KFC over there… and most of them don’t have a clue about Jesus.  They have been kept from world-wide communication that could teach them.  It’s by word of mouth explaining the Light of Jesus that they notice in others that will spread the Gospel in this country.  In fact, time for foreigners to make an impact over there may be running out shortly, as visas are harder and harder to get and keep and missional budgets are cut.  Within a few years, the number of Christian witnesses sent in for that purpose may be drastically reduced.  There is a pressing urgency to to do as much as can be done while the doors remain open.

One thing that was especially convicting to me was how most every conversation turned into an opportunity to share the gospel.  This wasn’t by accident or happenstance.  Open doors were created then walked through.  Most of the M wives’ main jobs are the same thing they would be if they lived here in the states… taking care of their families, being a wife to their husbands, a mom to their kids, a homeschooler or school-mom, a cook, a laundress, a house cleaner, a neighbor, a friend…  And they are using their positions in these very “jobs” to spread the Gospel.   For example, on each cab ride, Gena and I sat in the back and listened and prayed as our M-friend sat in front and shared Jesus in the cab driver’s heart language.  Really, the M’s were a beautiful example of how we are to be living here… Going about our regular routines of life, while making and taking every opportunity to share Jesus with those we encounter.  What would happen in this country if you and I lived intentionally as M’s in our own towns?

Because, in reality, this is what we are.  Jesus issued what we call “The Great Commission” to all of us in Matthew 28:18-20

“God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20, MSG

I’ve lived a sheltered life.  My grandmother used to call it “a silver pot.”  Not that I’ve lived such a privileged life (when compared to the wealthy among us)… but in many ways I have.  I’ve not been forced to know first hand poverty or depravation, or life apart from the saving Grace and ever present Help of God.  I’ve been steeped in the Truths of Scripture and the knowledge of God’s love toward me.  This was my first time to come face to face with so many who have absolutely no idea of God’s desire toward them.  And my first time to come face to face with those who DO know this and who have sacrificed greatly to allow God to be a reality in their lives.

As the local HC ladies gathered, I couldn’t help but be challenged by the humble strength of their faith in Jesus Christ.  The fact that they are gathering and evangelizing inspite of their government’s discouragement not to do so is a true testimony to what they’ve found through Jesus.  These ladies radiated with the Love of Christ, and it was obvious that Jesus had changed their lives. Even what would be their normal cultural barriers had been broken and bridged through Jesus.  To watch these ladies worship with abandon and to listen to them sing in their native tongue, to kneel with them as they poured out their hearts on the altar… this was one of the highlights of my trip.  I wish you could have heard their beautiful voices lifted in song and prayer!  It was a pleasing aroma to the Lord, for sure!

God provided a precious young translator who had lived in America and chose to go back to her people for the sake of the Gospel.  She was as cute as she could be and I wished more than once that I could put her in my pocket and bring her back home with me. ;)  She not only translated, but also led the worship for the HC retreat.  They sang lots of the same worship songs we sing… just in their own language… which when I sang along in my language, it made me think that we got a tiny taste of how Heaven might sound.  It was beautiful!

This is a blurred picture of some of these HC ladies.  Though you can’t see their faces, I just couldn’t not show them to you!

Lovely Ladies. SmellingCoffee.com

And this is a blurred picture of some of the M-workers.

Beautiful Sisters - SmellingCoffee.com

Would you pray for these ladies today?

They actually sent back some messages to YOU… so in my next post (part 2), you’ll hear from them.

I have been blessed beyond measure to have been a part of God’s work in these incredible sisters’ lives.  Thank you for your prayers, support, and all you provided to send with me.  God used every bit of it… and I’ll tell you more about that next time. :-)

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Here We Go!

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Oh dear friends, my heart is so full! I’ve had so many things I wanted to say before I left, but the preparation lists were longer than the hours that remained. And now we are officially on this God-ordained journey stuffed to the brim in every way.

Full of Gratitude: In fact, I’m truly at a loss to describe it. It’s been obvious from the beginning that God would have to be the One to rise up & meet every need according to His riches and Glory in Christ Jesus. And He has not only done what was expected, but has supplied “The Milk, The Turkey, AND The Flowers!” (Click the link for an encouraging reminder of God supplying ALL of all of our needs in the ways only He can!)

The most beautiful part? He has used so many of YOU to do it!

Because of your unselfishness and generosity, YOU are going with us in every way… and my stuffed suitcase & I are both overflowing with thankfulness to and for you all!

BTW, for those of you who remember my beloved suitcase and traveling partner, “Big Pink,” I wanted to let you know that she is no longer with us. She gently departed this earth after years of faithful service. {insert Dramatic Pause.} She will be greatly missed. On this trip, a grey lightweight hard case, and a black “super light” bag, both borrowed from traveling friends, are the stuffed recipients of your generosity & my hair products. ;)

Full of anticipation & excitement: Now that the planning & preparation & packing is finished, there is space in my brain to look ahead and pre-celebrate the privilege of encouraging some most-often-overlooked sisters… And there’s finally thinking-room to anticipate the far reaching effects of these sisters being strengthened & refreshed in The Lord! Oh how I pray that they will hear, see, feel, taste, and know that they are so very loved by their Daddy & His family across the ocean!

Full of joy: Just about every time I head out to share with and encourage a group of Sisters, whether it is down the street or across the country, after the stress of prep has passed (and even in the midst of said stress) there is a deep Joy of the Lord that floods my soul. I imagine what the ladies will look like, how they will be arranged, and I picture them with Bibles & without, talking, laughing, sharing, crying, and praying as they fall a bit more in love with Jesus than they were when they arrived… As I picture them & pray for them…Oh the JOY! It makes me want to clap my hands & jump up and down in happy surprise just to think of what God has ordained for each life He calls to attend. The joy over this event is the same. In fact, I’m smiling just thinking about it! I can’t wait to serve these ladies at the buffet God has prepared!

Full of peace: From the earliest days of this trip’s conception, The Lord has blanketed everyone involved with His Peace. As I hugged my family one last time, The Lord IS Peace. When the news talks about the dangers of international travel on 9-11, The Lord IS Peace. When I consider the dangers ahead for the ladies who will bravely gather, The Lord IS Peace. Even when the enemy tried to shake our family’s sense of security earlier this week, The Lord IS Peace. Praise His Holy Name! Jehovah Shalom reigns… No matter what!!!!!

We are full and The Lord is propelling us onward. Please continue to pray for us as God covers this trip & all involved. The Lord willing, the far reaching effects of the days ahead will be without measure. His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!

Thank you dear friends. Thank you for everything you have done, prayed, written, given, crafted, purchased, and shared. The Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you all.

In the beautiful Name of Jesus~

Jennifer

SCTV – Wives, do you need encouragement today? God ALWAYS offers HOPE in Marriage

Are you wondering if your life or marriage is too far gone to be redeemed by God?  Do you know someone in this situation?  The GOOD NEWS is that in God, there is always HIS HOPE in the midst of our lives and marriages…

The guests on this Smelling Coffee TV episode have the most incredible story.  If you knew them today, you’d never know the depths from which they have come.  In fact, they met and married within 3 months and no one in their lives could imagine that they would last for six months.  But, praise God, they just celebrated 45 years of marriage and are some of the most dedicated servants of the Lord!

Sherry Williamson humbly and openly shares her testimony of struggling to feel loved and beautiful all of her life.  This that desire drove her to make some wrong choices, but God delivered and redeemed both her, her husband, and their marriage.   This is SUCH AN ENCOURAGEMENT!!!

If you can’t see the video, click here.

A few sound bites for those who are seeking the Lord and need encouragement in marriage:  

Don’t give up.  Pray for your spouse.  Thank God for the good qualities of your spouse.  Pray for your humility and understanding.  Pray for your broken heart to hear the Lord.  Pray for your spouse to have a broken heart to hear the Lord.  Pray for your boldness, but don’t nag.  Find a church and plug yourself in.  Keep yourself in God’s Word.  That’s where you will find support and encouragement while you love and keep trusting God to work in your live and in the life of your spouse.

SCTV - HOPE in Marriages  SmellingCoffee.com

God will always give us Hope as we set our hearts upon Him.

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.   Romans 15:13 (Amp)

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Monday’s “Makes Me Smile”

Funny Fall body quote

Happy Labor Day, everyone!  An extra day with the family at home certainly makes me smile… as do these random pictures.  Some were sent to me by friends, others were mined from Pinterest.  All of them make me smile.  Hope they bring a smile to your face too.  Blessings to each of you~     […]

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Need Encouragement Today? Listen to our “2014 Mugs and Muffins” message!

FBCC WM Mugs and Muffins 2014

We had the best event several Saturdays ago… Our FBC Cleveland’s Women’s Ministry annual “Mugs and Muffins.”  It was a sweet time of fellowship, encouragement, and prayer.  Just what was needed for a “back to school boost” and God’s reminder not to give up! Our speaker, Melanie Redd, did a wonderful job.  She writes an […]

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Smelling Coffee's Underground Mission Trip - and how YOU can help and pray.

Hi my friends.  I sure do wish I could spill the beans and tell you every detail about this trip the Lord, a friend, and I are embarking upon within the next few weeks.  But for the safety of those involved, and most importantly, for the preservation of the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus […]

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Monday’s “Makes Me Smile” – the Hot Flash edition

Monday's "Makes Me Smile" - the Hot Flash edition. SmellingCoffee.com

And I’m smiling already just thinking of these pictures.  A friend called me last week to tell me that I’d been on her mind a lot lately (though not because of some amazing spiritual breakthrough she has had, or some witty thing I’ve said… but) because she has now become what I have been for […]

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Throwback Thursday: A fav. post from 2010… Wise Words for Parents

Throwback Thursday's Favorite SmellingCoffee.com Posts

Posted in mid 2010 – and this is what they look like today: A few days ago, a friend e-mailed me this wonderful devotion by Max Lucado. It hit the center of my heart, and I know it will speak to and be a blessing to many of you too. Parenting is a constant giving […]

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