Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day!



The ladies at the Baptist Missionary Women Blog
want to wish you a very

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for today?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Peanut Butter Pie

I have a great love for anything peanut butter and with Thanksgiving close at hand I thought I would share this wonderful recipe for peanut butter pie. It is one of the most requested desserts from my family this time of the year. I found it online after searching and trying different recipes, this was my favorite by far!







Ingredients
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (must be at least 30%)
1/4 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (I prefer creamy)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 graham cracker crust, store-bought or premade 
**On our field we do not have pre-made pie crusts but, I found some crispy "morning energy cookies" made with honey and nuts that I use in place of graham crackers to make a crust. I just crush them up, follow a simple graham cracker crust recipe and it works great!



Directions

Whip cream with 1/4 cup sugar. Mix all other ingredients until smooth and fold in whipped cream until well blended. Pour mixture into a graham cracker crust and chill for several hours before serving.

Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Monday, November 24, 2014

Saved by the Mud

I mentioned that rainy season was about to begin here, and last Sunday that was proven correct in classic style. It was raining hard for the second day in a row with a chilly wind. Rainy days are always low attendance days at church. Who likes to get out of bed to trudge somewhere through the rain and muddy roads? We always hope that our church members have grown enough in grace that mud and chilly wet will mean nothing in comparison to being with believers and submitting themselves once again to hear the Word, but every rainy Sunday is another test.

This Sunday we had especially hoped for good attendance, as we were hoping to try a new tactic in the war for souls. We have several regular visitors who haven't committed to following Christ, so we decided to start a 5-week prospective members class in the Sunday School hour just to target these folks and present salvation, baptism, and our church covenant in a clear manner. We had about ten people lined up for the first class, but our spirits were dampened by their apparent drowned attendance.
Really stuck!
Really stuck!
Then the other family (we only have one family besides our own in our church that includes husband, wife, and kids--and a car!) got their truck stuck in the mud on the road to church. It took an hour and a half to extract them. The situation became even stickier, or should I say muddier, when we noticed that they had brought first-time visitors with them on this rare Sunday. They were discouraged to have such a setback on the day their visitors came with them. We were worried to start a new class without all of our beloved prospects attending. And all the men were wet, cold, and muddy when we began the service.

Ita vita African. This truly could be an apt description of normal life in Africa. Some discouraging setbacks just when you were hoping to make a good impression; poor attendance for weeks at a time in the rainy season. But God was working all of those seemingly bad events to ordain a private evangelism meeting between me and one of the children in my Sunday School class.

When Mr. N__ got stuck in the mud and all the men and boys went to help, I (with my kids) was left alone with one sweet neighbor girl who has attended my S.S. class and Seth's neighborhood Bible club all year. As I fiddled around setting up church stuff, she came to me and asked shyly, "How does a person go to Hell or to God?"
Seth's Bible club: they learn verses and the catechism (yellow book). She's the girl in the blue tank top, back row, third from the left.
Seth's Bible club: they learn verses and the catechism (yellow book). She's the girl in the blue tank top, back row, third from the left.
Because of the rain and the car stuck in the mud, I was given an uninterrupted fifteen minutes to show a tweenage girl The Great Exchange from 2 Corinthians 5:21. I love this verse. In English every word but one has one syllable. Yet it encompasses so much with those little words.
For he hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Praise the Lamb slain for sinners! Praise the Creator of the rain and mud who kept distractions away from a child He was busy pulling from the filth of a life lived for sin, at the same time as Seth was pulling a truck out of the mud. She seemed to respond to the Word in faith.

Obviously the mud didn't save her. But in one sense, it did. God used it as a means to give this shy child one-on-one time with her teacher so that she could ask a very important question! Last Sunday, a child was saved by the blood, by the mud.

Seth and I also were saved by the mud in a sense. We were saved from discouragement and ingratitude over the lack of optimal conditions that day. We were reminded that God doesn't need dry roads to do His work and that His plans are wiser than ours.

Once I heard a sermon by R.C. Sproul on 2 Samuel 6 when God struck Uzzah dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant so that it wouldn't fall from the oxcart. I've never forgotten how Sproul mentioned that Uzzah's error was in thinking that his hands were cleaner than the dirt. He thought it would be better for him to touch the ark--he, a sinful creature--than for the ark to fall in the dirt. But the dirt was doing what God made it to do. I thought of that Sunday--the mud was doing what God made it to do. I couldn't be mad at the mud or at God for letting it rain on Sunday. He had a plan even for the mud; and it did what He made it to do, even being an instrument in God's plan of redemption for a child.

When Mr. N__ finally arrived at church, embarrassed and a bit careworn, I greeted him happily. "You may think this was a bad day," I said, "but I am glad you got stuck in the mud!"
My S.S. class quoting Psalm 1 for the church. She's first on the left, back row, of the girls' side.
My S.S. class quoting Psalm 1 for the church. She's first on the left, back row, of the girls' side.
Still happy, even after scrubbing our family's muddy clothes!
Still happy, even after scrubbing our family's muddy clothes!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pictures of Missions

Confession...

I struggled. I was trying to prepare my weekly post for this week, and it just wasn't coming together. I was pressed for time. I was stressed. Then God put on my heart to ask a friend if God had put something on her heart to share on the blog. Sure enough, God had! She had such a passion and desire to share something God had taught her recently and was just waiting for Him to open the door.

What she shared touched my heart, and I hope it touches yours, too.

Missions doesn't always look like what we imagine. No, it's way better.

************************************************

Monday, November 17, 2014

Homemade Ranch Dressing

 Recently, several fellow missionary ladies have been talking about what they would request if they could request certain items to be sent to them at Christmas time. One of the most often mentioned items was for Hidden Valley Ranch packets. We too love Ranch dressing but over the years we have returned to the States for furlough and as our taste buds have changed, so has our love for packets of Hidden Valley Ranch. We now prefer the homemade recipe to the packets!
We just made this recipe up ourselves and, as a result, don't measure things out to the teaspoon. It is really important to have the right ingredients and then you can flavor it to your preference after that.



Ingredients

Mayonnaise (approx 2 cups)

Celery salt

Black pepper

Chopped dried green onion 

Milk


Directions:

Mix all but milk together initially with a wire whisk in a metal bowl. Once combined, add milk as needed to achieve desired consistency. Taste and add more ingredients until you get the flavor right. I know that sounds basic but it is really that easy! The biggest challenge is not using too much celery salt so go easy at first with that ingredient. The more black pepper the better - trust me!
Store in closed container in fridge for several days.

Now, not all missionaries have celery salt available to them so the next time you send a missionary a care package, throw in a bottle or two of celery salt from the dollar store! ;)






The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side of the Ocean

DSC_0172

We all tend to think that everyone else has it easier and better than we have. We've noticed this sentiment in some of our church members.
  • One young man says he wants to start a church (a noble idea), but not here in the village. He's going to plant a church in __ (some village near a city several hours away--that doesn't speak his mother tongue.) Why not a village closer to home that speaks Tsonga? Because there's such a need there, or it would just be better in some way.
  • Another young man decides to take a similar job with similar pay (to the current one) in another city. Why not stay close to his family, his village, and his home church? Oh, that job will be better somehow.
  • Another young man says that an internship with a church in the city will better prepare him for rural ministry than the local Bible college started specifically to prepare men for rural ministry. Why? The city has so many more attractions, including preaching in English, etc.
  • Young ladies think that getting a cleaning job in the city would be better than staying home and mothering their children.
DSC_0043

The grass is always greener on the other side. Change and newness help to make a different position seem better, and sometimes there is some truth to that. Sometimes the other situation genuinely is better.

I remember going back to America for a quick visit in 2011 during America's summertime. The grass was so green, the flowers so colorful! I kept exclaiming, "It's so beautiful! It's so beautiful!" Africa has a beauty of its own, but it is rugged, wild, and untamed; in the parts filled with bush grass and thorny overgrowth, you really have to search for the beauty.
Searching for a bird's nest
Searching for a bird's nest
Beauty in thorns
Beauty in thorns
This temptation comes often to missionaries. Perhaps it comes to everyone in the ministry, but I can only speak for the missionary. I got to thinking about this because of a recent Facebook discussion in which a BMW asked whether being a missionary wife was essentially the same thing as being a pastor's wife (just in a different field--which obviously makes it totally different! But you get the idea of the question.)

Most BMW responders quickly and confidently pointed out the extra difficulties a missionary wife faces in ministry that a pastor's wife in America wouldn't. But one BMW noted that ministry was actually easier for her in many respects as a missionary wife than it had been as a pastor's wife. She mentioned the squabbles, criticisms, and cliques that she experienced in her American ministry; in contrast to the complete acceptance and love she experienced from the nationals in her host country.

In a difficult or disappointing stretch in ministry, which may occur more frequently than the encouraging times, a missionary may hear of friends ministering in America and think about how easy their ministry would be if they were there. If only I were there, my church would be bigger, better, more like Christ! I would be more appreciated, more respected, and the flock would actually follow my (husband's) advice. We wouldn't have to deal with all this ___ (immorality, apathy, drunkenness, laziness, etc.)

Missionaries can also fall into the foolish trap of comparing fields. If only we were in Missionary Z's field, our ministry would be more successful. They have it much easier because of... It is so much harder to serve here due to the burned-over territory from the prosperity gospel, or the idolatry, or the animism, or the atheism, or whatever, than it would be to serve in their country.

But remember that you don't have the whole picture! Perhaps they also wish to trade places because of their own silent trials.

Yes, some of that thinking may be valid, fair, and true. A few missionaries have shown no qualms in saying they "could never do what you do." I even included a question on this topic on my get-to-know-ya missionary questionnaire for the BMW blog: what makes your field difficult? (Because we all think that our field is the hardest for some reason, and some of those reasons are legitimate.)

But it's not good; it's not lovely; it's not of good report; it's not praise

DSC_0122

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach--holidays when many missionaries, especially newbies, are homesick, this grass-is-greener syndrome may pop up. But let's just call it what it is. It's discontent. It's a failure to praise God "in everything." It is bitterness against God for putting you in a place so removed from the comforts of home and then apparently not making you successful there. It's pride, because you compare your successes and failures with another's and can only be content with your situation if you look the best at the end of the comparison.

The grass may truly be greener on the other side of the ocean. And yet it may not. But that's not where you are. And you are commanded to think on praiseworthy things and to praise God in everything--where you are.


DSC_0164 



Friday, November 14, 2014

Gleanings from the Fields ~ BMW 366 Day Devotional Book


For those of you who have ordered copies of our new devotional book, please read carefully and send payment as soon as possible.

-Finally I have worked out a price for Gleanings from the Fields. But first, let me explain. I want to be honest and up-front with you all. It was difficult to work out the postage costs, as we have no way of knowing how much the book will weigh. The book I had published a couple of years ago has 215 pages and weighs 180g. But our book has 390 pages. If the book goes over 250g, it jumps up into the next weight category for postage. So I have opted to charge you all at the price for the higher weight category (it only adds US$1). If it turns out that the book is under 250g, that means I will make a $1 profit per book, which, with your permission, I would donate to our church's building fund (reimbursing you all individually would be a headache, and would also incur PayPal fees, so it wouldn't be worth it).
 The price of the book will be as follows:
US$8.50/book sent to all addresses outside of the EU (European Union)
US$7.00/book sent within the EU
US$6.50/book sent within Romania.

This price includes the book itself, protective packaging, postage, and PayPal fees.

I have looked into the costs for those of you who are ordering multiple copies, and it appears that it will be cheapest to send each book individually, as the prices go up exponentially with each new weight category. That means that for those of you who have ordered 60 books (yikes!), you will receive 60 individual packages! If this is inconvenient for you, please spare a thought for me, who gets to write an envelope for every single one of our 918 orders!

It would make my life easier, if you have ordered for several friends and their copies are part of your order, if you have your friends pay you, and then you pay me once.
My PayPal address is: crockets4rmv@yahoo.com.au
Don't forget the .au 
~Suzy Crocket


I personally want to thank Suzy for all the hard work she has put into collecting the devotionals and getting the book published, and Myra for all her hard work in typesetting.  We don't see all the behind the scenes work, but these ladies have sacrificed a lot of time and effort in part of this book.  From the bottom of my heart, Suzy and Myra, thank you!

~Jen