Thursday, October 8, 2015

Just a Can of Yams

Sometimes it is difficult for us to express exactly how we feel. But somehow, when several BMWs put their heads together to try to show you our hearts, it seems to flow so much easier.

I guess that's why I love these picture compilation blog posts. It gives us an opportunity to open our hearts and show you how we see things.

This time I asked a group of BMWs to submit a picture of something they received that really touched their hearts and brought them to tears. (Unfortunately I had to limit them on the number of pictures or this post would go on for miles.) You would be surprised at what they sent in. I am sure my writing will never be grand enough to put into words all that they shared. I can promise you, tears of gratitude were shed again as they told their story.

Please join us, and once again see things through our eyes...

because it's more than just a can of yams.


I can see it, though I wasn't there.

It may have seemed like a normal trip to WalMart,
but since I have no Walmart to go to, I imagine it.

I can see her walk in the store and grab a grocery cart.

She walks carefully down each aisle, double-checking her list.

The children grab things off the shelf, "Get this! They will like this!"

I can see the smile on her face as the children toss the items in the cart.

You may see just a candy bar, but she sees something more.

I see something more.

Let me help you see what we see...

It's more than a candy bar.

It's the excitement on faces when they see their favorite Canadian candy bars.

It's a gift to mom of a quiet, refreshing moment of tranquility, soothing the stress away.

I see another person walking around the store, and down the seasoning aisle.

Carefully selecting.

And a favorite coffee.


And peanut butter. Heavenly, wonderful...
peanut butter.

Can you see past the packaging?

Can you see past the price tag?

Can you see past the cost of postage?

If not, all you will ever see is a bag of MASA HARINA. But if you can see what they see...

You will see tacos and tamales enjoyed over FaceTime with family in Mexico. Laughing and eating as if we were sitting right there at the same table. Miles apart yet together.

It's so easy to see a fast food meal, but if you close your eyes and imagine...
You can see what I see...

I see memories...memories of a meal with Mom who is now in Heaven.
Memories of our children's younger years.
Memories of conversations with friends and splurges on deputation.

If memories had a taste, I suspect they would taste like this...

Because this is what I remember home tasting like.

Some may see baby dolls...

And pacifiers...

and gummy bears.

But try a little harder. You will see that the people who sent this saw so much more. They saw each of my children. They wanted them to know they were loved.

A gift left at a church. A bicycle at a missions house.

If love had a flavor, I think it might be captured in a Kool Aid packet or hot cocoa mix, or maybe it would taste like beef jerky. But love is definitely spelled C-R-A-Y-O-L-A.

And sometimes they saw more than just my children. They saw the children we minister to as well. Oh yes, these are more than just school supplies.

Sometimes it's what they didn't see that really amazes me.
They didn't see that my child desperately needed clothes.

They didn't see my children feeling left out of our home church's VBS.

But God knew... and God nudged hearts. Those precious, tender hearts listened and obeyed and sent VBS shirts to help my children remember they are still part of the team.

It's not that I NEED brown sugar, chocolate chips, and Easter candy...

But somehow... when I am feeling overwhelmed and alone... yes, I really NEED brown sugar, chocolate chips, and Easter candy.

Sometimes we just need a familiar holiday. 

Sometimes I just need to see the word California on a package.

It's not just a package... It's a connection.

A connection that communicates loudly. Clearly. Tenderly.

And they are not just DVDs, Mio waters, oil defusers, and kids' scribbles...

It's being remembered by grand babies.

It's being...


Remembered on my first birthday on the field...

It's being wrapped up in unseen arms and hugged tightly.

Like in a jacket, cozy and warm... protected...


But I saw something else, too.

I saw the sender's name on the box. I think that's what I needed to see the most.
And I wept.

They remembered me.

So if all you see is just a can of yams...

Then you will never understand the depths of my thankfulness.
Thankfulness that cannot be expressed in words.
Thankfulness that wells up in the eyes and leaks down the cheeks.

But if you see past the can of yams and you see a family sitting around a Thanksgiving Day table with a roasted chicken substituted for a turkey... but a REAL sweet potato casserole for the first time in three years... smiling, cheerful, blessed...

Then you truly understand.


To all those who have sacrificed so greatly just to be a blessing to their missionaries, we just want to say... Thank you.

2 Corinthians 9:7 "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

by Charity, Southern Asia
(Thank you for those BMWs who were able to send in pictures...
I cried right along with you. Blessed!)


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chicken and Mushroom Casserole

If you are like me you are always searching for new recipes to make for dinner. I was really wanting something new the other day and I ran upon this recipe. I tried it out on my family and they loved it, therefore, I thought I would pass it on to you. Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to snap a few photos like I should have but if you go to the original site where I found the recipe, you can see step-by-step photographs and even a link for a video tutorial.

Ingredients for the Casserole:

4 -5 large boneless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 -inch thick strips
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour to coat the chicken
6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 pound fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced

 Casserole Directions: 

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in flour. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken and saute until golden. Work in batches if needed so you don’t crowd your pan. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken through; it still needs to go in the oven. Transfer chicken to a 13×9 casserole baking dish.

2. Wipe down the skillet with a paper towel. Add 3 Tbsp oil along with sliced mushrooms and diced onions and saute until soft and golden. Add garlic and saute another 1-2 min. Spread mixture over the chicken.

Ingredients for the Sauce:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour for the sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup half and half (or 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream) **I used 20% cream. I think 10% would be fine. I will probably try that next time.

Sauce Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan (or in the same pan you’ve been using), melt 3 Tbsp butter. Whisk in 3 Tbsp flour until lightly golden (1-2 min).

2. Add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add 1 cup half & half and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Pour sauce over the chicken and mushrooms. Cover with foil and bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes. Serve warm or hot over mashed potatoes, pasta or rice.

Notes: Don’t use a dutch oven for this recipe, it just doesn’t turn out right – I’m not sure why. You can add artichoke to this, but don’t try zucchini (turns to mush).

Monday, October 5, 2015

An Open Letter to the Missionary (Woman) Quitter

When criminals entered our home last December 2nd and attacked our family, our lives changed completely. The obvious, immediate question after the crisis was, "Do we quit being missionaries?"

It was an excruciating question to work through, partially because it was completely unexpected. We had had no thought of leaving the field. My husband's screen saver on his phone when we were dating said, "Go tribal!" Hadn't I known what I was getting into? No, actually! And yes. His heart for the Unreached has defined him, been his core, since I've known him. It seemed there was no avenue forward that didn't involve reconstructing either Seth's or Amy's make-up. We reached out for counsel.

As you may have guessed, especially if you already heard of our situation and were thinking "in our shoes," not many counselors had an easy answer. It would have been wonderful if God had spoken to us in a vision. Most counselors were unwilling and unable to give a certain "yea" or "nay." Understandably so.

What a blessing that most counselors were amazingly supportive. By "supportive," I mean that they understood and articulated that leaving our field was an obvious and valid option, and that we weren't bad Christians to be considering it--that godly Christians have chosen both paths, to leave or to stay.

But a few comments stuck with me memorably--in a negative way--that, in my opinion, made our decision even tougher. They hinted or outright stated that they viewed me as weak or wimpy to even go back to the States for an eight-week visit to think about our future, that I was holding back my husband (because his personality did not struggle with the decision to return to the field even a fraction as much as mine), thus I was unsubmissive and "wearing the pants in the family" (and therefore, my husband had blame for not "leading me" appropriately), that I was not obeying certain Scriptures that encourage risking all for Christ, and that I was not a strong person or missionary or Christian if I couldn't go back.

Well, comments like these (made by people who have not experienced even a quarter of what I have) were not accepted well by a traumatized woman concerned for her traumatized children! And there, in that sentence, may lie part of the answer. Some people cannot empathize fully with a wounded person until they themselves have experienced the humiliation of trials and suffering. I cringe when I remember my naive judgmentalism as a young missionary. Oh, how I've changed now, and eaten my words (rather, thoughts) a hundred times over.

It is true that many leave the field for wrong reasons at the wrong time. And it is true that we do not hear enough encouragement to risk all for Christ. I don't want to take the teeth out of Scriptures like these:
Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
But: Around the time when I was struggling with the fact that I knew that we would be going back to the field, I heard of a missionary woman who was likewise struggling, almost...despairing. And my heart went out to her. She had "put in her time," labored for years on the field, followed her husband to a difficult people, had children in inferior hospitals on the field, and after numerous trials, was beginning to crack under the pressure. I cried for her, someone I'd never met. Why should she, dear timid warrior that she is, be criticized if she needs to come home (America) for the sake of her sanity?

Honestly, I struggled to even word that last paragraph, because I know alpha male theologians who would respond that she shouldn't need that, that if she were responding biblically she could handle this, etc. But I think long-term missionaries understand what I mean, because They've Been There.

So while I truly don't aim to encourage anyone to leave the field, especially for wrong reasons, please understand my desire in this post. I desire simply to offer compassion to that lonely, spent missionary woman who so badly needs to hear compassion, not guilt trips, if she goes home for good or simply for a rest. At other times, I will take the opposing side and encourage perseverance. But for right now I want to simply offer compassion, only compassion, in an open letter to the few missionary women who may be in this situation.

You dear woman,
You've been told so many hurtful things.

It is okay. It is okay to leave the field because you are cracking under the pressure.

Your hair is prematurely graying. You are beaten down by the degrading depravity of your field. Your health is failing. You have forgotten that you used to have an easy laugh and can't remember what it feels like to converse easily with another Christian without weighing every word and its possible miscommunications. And you struggle to list one positive item per every fifty negative things about your field.

You have fought on the front lines of the war for a long time, and you are coming home a wounded soldier. Yes, soldiers wounded in the war receive an honorable discharge. You deserve a medal. Indeed you are a hero! So few people want your job that you are irreplaceable.

God bless you! You tried. You gave your all. You gave beyond your all. You submitted to your husband and raised your children in challenging circumstances. Now channel what remaining energies you have into enduring yet more change, but hopefully a more restful change because of its familiarity. If your coming home allows you to gain the benefits that Jesus got when He "came apart to rest a while," and to continue being a helpmeet to your husband and to keep going in the ministry, though it be no longer foreign, then come. Come home, and continue to follow Christ as well as you can in the place where you are.

You will hear no word of condemnation from me. Only compassion.
Only compassion, dear missionary friend.

Love in Christ,


Friday, October 2, 2015

Psalm 100 for the Missionary Woman

Photo courtesy of marcolm, Free Digital Photos

 Psalm 100, A Psalm of Praise

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.

I learned this Psalm from memory, years before I knew the Lord. Our family attended a church that didn’t preach the gospel, but we did memorize some parts of the Bible, and I learned respect for God and His Word.

This particular Psalm has a lot to say to the missionary woman today. It's all about praise in service.

Let’s look at Psalm 100 one phrase at a time:
  • Make a joyful noise—Not a grumpy noise, complaining noise, or a squawk. It’s a joyful noise.
  • Unto the LORD—Our “noises” are to be made to God. They’re to be worship!
  • All ye lands—If this isn’t missions, what is? In every land. What a blessing!
  • Serve the LORD with gladness—We are actually happy serving. We’re glad to clean the disgusting restroom. We’re glad to wipe a snotty little nose. We’re glad to make a meal for fifteen guests. We’re just glad to serve God!
  • Come before his presence with singing.Again here, we have the idea of consciously worshiping God with our voice. We’re singing to Him. We are actually in His presence. I think it’s so easy to lose sight of this when we’re in church singing hymns of praise. Our minds wander, and our lips go through words on a page--especially when they're in another language. But, look at this sentence; our song is an act of worship.
  • Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.The psalmist is very conscious that God is the Great Creator, and we are His creation. The psalmist guides us in our worship of this Great God, and he helps us to recognize how small we are. After all, we didn’t and couldn’t make ourselves! (This is counter-evolutionary thought in this verse, by the way. We weren’t cells that just decided over time to become human. God made us! We're special!)
  • We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.The sheep in God’s pasture are those that know the Shepherd, Jesus Christ. What a blessing to be His people, the sheep of His pasture! We have that sweet relationship of being totally dependent on Him.
  • Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise.Here, it’s talking about a city with gates and enclosures.* It’s speaking about God’s abode. Let’s go to God’s house with thanksgiving and praise! Thanksgiving: being mindful of and grateful for all of God’s provisions. Praise: reminding God of His greatness, joyful worship.
  • Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.This is exactly the same as the phrase before it. (When God repeats something in His Word, it means He really wants us to get the message! Thanksgiving and praise—together, in a package—are important to God.)
  • For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.Psalm 100 ends with characteristics of our God: His goodness, mercy, and truth.

Serve the LORD with gladness.

I wonder how many times we serve God with something less than gladness, singing, and praise? (How many times do we think we’re serving people, and we forget we’re serving the Lord, as well?)

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:34-40).

Wherever you’re ministering to hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and enslaved people, when you minister to them, you’re ministering to the Lord Himself. What an awesome thought!

Serve the Lord with gladness.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.
(Ecclesiastes 9:10a)

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord,
and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall
receive the reward of the inheritance:
for ye serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).

God bless you!


* Online Bible.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

My People (Book Review)

I don't do tons of book reviews. Matter of fact, this is my first on this blog. But every now and then I come across a book that is too good not to share.

A precious moment of reading pleasure... please excuse the alligator photo bomb.


I love to read. I especially love to read nonfiction. And I really, really love to read things written by missionaries who keep things real, but keep them positive... pointing to the goodness of God instead of drawing attention to the "poor, suffering missionary."

It's no wonder I have fallen in love with this book: My People by Dr Mike Patterson.

Right now my schedule is ridiculously busy. I homeschool my children, teach at the Bible college, go to language school, teach the children's class at church, and play the piano for each service. The schedule leaves little time to breath... much less read.

But this book fits perfectly! It is a collection of short stories and letters-- an anthology. Each one is short enough to squeeze in a section while I wait for something or someone. And the stories? Well, let's just say there was one section (A Missionary Daddy's Prayer) that was worth every penny I paid just by itself... three pages of some of the most powerful, convicting, and edifying writing I have ever read from a missionary. I wasn't sure if I should stand up and "amen" or crawl beside my bed to kneel in prayer. I must confess... I did a little of both. And the other stories are just as powerful. 240 pages of beauty.

Dr. Patterson keeps it very real. He exposes many trials and triumphs faced, many lessons learned, and many moments where there was no explanation other than the Lord did it. Some of the stories read like a blog post. Others read like a prayer letter. And still others read like a devotional. Many of the stories are perfect for missionary moments in Sunday school or in family devotions. They give a great inside look into the life of a missionary... as well as an inside look of how God works in the heart of the missionary and the missionary family.

This book is challenging and uplifting. Right now, our family and friends in this country are facing some pretty tough situations: shortages, a fuel crisis, protests, and more. It is such perfect timing to read the writings of a beautiful servant of the Lord who has experienced so much, and has testified that through it all... God was good!

Thank you, Brother Patterson. We have never met to my knowledge. But you taking the time to pen these things down sure has blessed this BMW. 

by Charity, Southern Asia

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sweet Sixteen and a New Set of Wheels

I remember it like it was yesterday...

Ben was five years old, and it was time. He was excited and a little afraid when Daddy removed the training wheels. Sometimes we had to push Ben toward progress because he hated the thought of pain. The idea of scraping his shins and falling off his bike was not very appealing to him, but the idea of riding like the big boys thrilled him. He thought he would just jump on his bike and fly like the wind. He was greatly disappointed when he got on it and struggled to keep it upright.

We had the perfect place for him to practice riding his bicycle. Our street was pretty close to level and was rarely traveled by any vehicle but ours. You could see from quite a distance if anything was coming, and anything that traveled on that road had to go pretty slow. It was an ideal setup for learning to ride.

We helped Ben some, but finally realized he was just one of those kids that do better if you just leave him alone to figure it out. So I went inside and did what every good mom does. I grabbed the video camera.

Here he was. My little baby. He would pedal a couple of times and then lose his balance. His feet would catch him before he fell. Then came the pouting. Pedal for two seconds... stop and pout for two minutes. Pedal for two more seconds... and stop and pout for two more minutes. But he never stopped. Then he would pedal for four seconds... then ten... and before we knew it, he was flying up and down our quiet, safe little street. The look on his face was pure joy and satisfaction in his accomplishment. But then it hit me... my baby was growing up.

I wondered how I would handle it when he turned sixteen and got his license. It was one thing to have my baby boy riding around our safe, deserted little ghost town of a street. It was a whole different feeling thinking about turning him lose in the world. He wouldn't be on one safe, rarely-used back road. He would be on highways and interstates and surrounded by other cars.

Then our family goes to the mission field in a third world country. Getting a car is not an option. Getting his license? No way.

Before his sweet sixteenth birthday arrived, his friends in the States were talking about how they had their licenses and cars. He rejoiced with them, but began feeling the sting of the sacrifice of living here. He would not be getting his license, or any of the freedoms that come with it.

But instead of a car... we decided to get him something much scarier. We bought him a bicycle.

(Oh, to have him surrounded by metal in a car... safe and protected!) No purchase we have ever made has impacted my prayer life the way that bicycle has.

You see, he isn't riding on that safe, quiet back road in North Carolina. He is riding on the streets and hills of a city of five million people. And not just any city. A city well known for being some of the most dangerous, chaotic, and crazy roads in the world.

In the States, if someone says, "This guy pulled out in front of me today," we respond, "Oh, wow! I am glad you're ok!" Here? If someone says, "This guy pulled out in front of me today," we respond, "Just one? Wow! Praise the Lord!" Lanes? Ha! Those lines on the road are for decoration. And the motto on the road here is, "Every man does that which is right in his own eyes." If a vehicle can thread through a tiny spot at normal speed and only clap mirrors, they will try. Open unmarked manholes... every barnyard animal imaginable wandering freely in the roads... and no one (pedestrian or motorcycle or vehicle) looks before coming out in your way. It's your responsibility to honk the horn to let them know you are there... only bicycles don't have horns.

Someone once tried to comfort me by reminding me they drive much slower here than in the States. I didn't find the thought of a taxi running slowly over my baby very comforting.

I follow on scooter behind him on the way to language school each day and I find my stomach in knots... and I pray, "Lord, don't let that bus pull out in front... oh wait... Lord, that taxi is driving too close and... oh, Father... that motorcycle..."

One day, I was following him and praying. Then it finally hit me. I prayed the prayer I should have prayed from the beginning.

"Lord, protect him because I can't."

And then it all became very clear... this is the struggle: I still saw that little boy who pedaled and pouted and pedaled and pouted. But the truth of the matter is, he isn't the little chick gathering under the hen's wings for safety anymore. And when he goes to the States next year for college,

"Lord, please protect him, because I can't."

And when some little girl is trying to steal his heart... and when he goes into the military... and when he is faced with temptation or big life decisions... 

"Lord, protect him, because I can't."

It was easy when he was little and I could keep him contained in a crib or playpen. It was easy when there were fences and limits and control seemed to be in my grasp. But somehow with the purchase of two wheels, I realized the deception. I have never been his real source of protection. And I had over the years allowed myself to think that I was his safety.

Proverbs 21:31 "The horse is prepared against the day of battle:
but safety is of the LORD."

Here I am, riding my scooter behind him, and God reveals something in my heart... the ugly truth of the matter. I cannot protect him, and, yet, for so long I went around thinking I could.

Moms, you can prepare the crib... you can prepare the stroller and the bicycle and the yard. You can prepare the house and cover all the electrical plugs with guards and lock all the cabinet doors. You can prepare the schedule, the plan, the hopes, the dreams. You can pick out the highest safety-rated car and have rules galore. And you should do all these things. You should prepare.

But never fall into the delusion that you are your child's safety. This shouldn't make you tremble with fear. This should drive you to your knees. And it has driven me to mine like never before, because I realize God can go where I cannot. God can do what I cannot. He can see what I cannot see.

Yes, prepare. But always realize... and rejoice in the fact... that safety is of the LORD.

by Charity, Southern Asia

*Mountain biking photos used by permission. (Thanks, Rob, for letting me use these pics... and thanks for helping Ben learn how to safely enjoy the sport of mountain biking.)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sweet Sixteen

It was my sixteenth birthday.

My family lived in North Carolina at the time, and we were struggling financially. I certainly didn't expect a car for my birthday. Matter of fact, my dad had always said he wouldn't buy us a car because we needed to learn responsibility by buying our own car.

So, for my birthday all I asked for was a phone. No, not a cell phone. A corded, plug it in the wall, basic phone. I thought that would be inexpensive enough even in our current money crisis. Turns out I was wrong.

But I got something much more valuable instead.

After school, I came into my room and found a vase of roses and a note. The roses were not store bought roses. These were his special roses that he grew himself. Oh, how he pampered and babied those roses! But he cut every single one of them to give to me. The note? It simply read, "I wish I could give you what you wanted for your birthday. I hope these roses will do. I love you."

Those roses were better than any phone. They were better than any car! He couldn't replace those roses. Those were his pride and joy... and yet here they were, cut, and in a vase... for me.

So what could have been a disastrous sweet sixteenth birthday turned out to be the memory of a lifetime. My Daddy loved me and he proved he would give me the world if he could.

Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness;
and be content with such things as ye have:
for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

But now I sort of understand more of how my Dad must have felt. I bet he had a few tears in his eyes as he wrote that note. I have recently shed those same tears myself...

May 1st... My oldest child's sixteenth birthday.

Ben getting baptized in 2014

Now, you have to understand, different fields have different special birthday years. Some celebrate the fifteenth birthday as the coming of age year. Some fields don't have a special birth year at all because they don't even know when their birthday is. Our field doesn't really seem to have a special birthday year, but we had a dilemma. Ben was thirteen years old when we came to the field. He knew the sixteenth birthday was supposed to be special for Americans. And besides that, all his friends had turned sixteen in the States. They talked about getting their license and getting their cars. They talked about the birthday party or special birthday trip. 

Always ready to play and make you laugh

So Ben began asking about what special things were going to transpire for his sweet sixteenth birthday.

So how do you make the sixteenth birthday special in a third world country?!!! No license. No car. I must admit there is a little sadness in not being able to teach your child the typical things that go on in America, like driving a car. But the Lord sees those sacrifices, too.

Matthew 19:29 "And every one that hath forsaken houses,
or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife,
or children, or lands, for my name's sake,
shall receive an hundredfold,
and shall inherit everlasting life."

Ben is getting to be a pretty great cook!

We have never really been ones to sit around and mope about what we don't have. So we began working with what we do have. Well, just as we were beginning to formulate a really good plan... another problem got thrown in the mix.

A week before his birthday, the country was hit by a major earthquake. Most stores were closed down for a few weeks. That means our gift idea would be late. No travelling possible. That means our trip idea wasn't possible. And everyone went into survival mode and rescue, recovery, and rebuild mode. No special birthday party. I could tell he was a little disappointed, but he didn't say much. He knew there was nothing we could do about the situation. He could also tell it bothered us greatly that we couldn't do what we were planning. (Kind of reminds me of the roses I found on my dresser.)

Helping with earthquake relief

So his sixteenth birthday came and went without much fuss. I was able to at least make him a homemade ice cream cake that he wanted and his friend got to spend the night. Ben just kind of rolled with the punches. Two weeks after his birthday, we were finally able to get his special birthday present because the shop finally opened up again.

No car, of course!

Both these boys are 16 yo.

When we first started having children, I always dreaded the day the kids would get their licenses and start driving. But no.

For his sixteenth birthday he got something much more frightening for this poor Mommy's heart!

To be continued...

by Charity, Southern Asia