Sunday, May 30, 2010

Six Days - One Village

Have you ever read the story in Luke 8 about the demon possessed man from the town of Gerasenes? The Bible says that for a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house. Instead, he had lived among the tombs, often chained hand and foot and kept under guard because he was so violent, and even this precaution wasn't always enough. Often, he would break his chains and been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Last week, Scott, Luiz, and four of our disciples left for the village of Zongoené (David Cuna's village, for those of you who know him). They knew that they would be visiting and encouraging David’s family with whom David had shared Jesus with previously, but beyond that, they didn’t know what to expect. They needed God to open doors and to lead them to the people He knew would be receptive to the word. God was faithful.

While there are many stories to tell, I want to tell you briefly about Joaquim. He had a chain around his ankle to keep him from walking too far from home. His family said they had to do this because he had an evil spirit that would come upon him and would cause him to go around insulting people and yelling at them. Obviously this is something the neighbors did not like, so they had to chain him. What surprised Scott about Joaquim was how young he was. They prayed for his deliverance and spent time with him, sharing the freedom that Jesus promised. On their last day in the village, he knelt and said he too wanted Jesus to be his Lord.

They left Zongoené with 4 preaching points to follow up on next month. They planted many seeds and many say they want to learn more. They plan to make monthly visits to teach and help these new believers. Pray for the people of Zongoené and for our efforts to show the love of Jesus to them.

"He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Luke 4:18-19

Be blessed today,


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Club Members?

I want to thank all of you who have let me know how reading Blood Ransom has changed the way you look at the world, and a special thanks for those of you who are spreading the word about the book by leaving reviews on Amazon and other online places as well as by word of mouth.

(I just love this photo!)

Yesterday, I spoke with someone who is going to ask her book club about using Blood Ransom as their choice, and I wanted to let you know what I told her. If your book club selects Blood Ransom, I'd love to send book marks for your members as well as a study guide for discussion, and arrange a phone call via skype to chat with your members! Contact me here for details.

Many of you are aware that my Mission Hope series deals with real issues, like the modern day slave trade, facing millions of people around the world, but I've wanted to do more than just make people aware of these situations.

As an answer to those looking for ways to get involved in being a voice to those in need both financially and through actual on the ground involvement , I'll be sharing more information in the weeks to come about something I'm extremely excited about. We're in the process of starting a non-profit organization that will help specific individuals through orphan care, trade school funding, micro-loans, safe houses for girls, with dreams of much, much more as the work grows. Look for more information coming soon.

Be blessed today!


Friday, May 21, 2010

This in that...

I've been stuck in New York City in the 1920's this week as I've been doing research for my current novel for Summerside Press, and I have to say, it's been a blast. This was the time of gangsters, prohibition, flappers, the golden era of ocean liners, and molded Jello-salads. And what's given it a challenging twist is that my heroine grew up in Africa so much of what she sees and experiences is completely new to her.

Stop back soon, as I'm going to be posting about a fun recipe contest giving you the chance for both a mention in the book, and a copy of Oceans Apart when it is released early next year.


Scott left yesterday with a team of 6 and traveled about three hours south of here to David's home village of Zongoené to show the Jesus film and to follow up on several new Christians as a result of David's testimony at his sister's funeral last month. Scott and the others will be teaching and ministering to people during the day, and then showing the Jesus film at night through next Monday or Tuesday. Please pray for Scott, Luiz, David, José, Crémildo, and Isaias as they minister there.


Janelle asked for me to post an update on Allen (Scott's uncle and our co-workers here in Africa for many years) and for your continued prayers on some specific requests. Allen left the rehabilitation hospital and is staying with Janelle at the home of dear friends. He will be having important appointments this week coming week at MD Anderson, including the MRI to evaluate the status of his brain tumor. Please pray for them as they receive this news.

In the last several months, Allen has shown a lot of determination and focus as he has learned to stand and walk again, but these still remain difficult tasks. After his appointments at MD Anderson he will return to a different rehabilitation facility with more nursing support. The family would also love your prayers as Janelle makes these choices.


I've received quite a few emails from people recently who've read Blood Ransom. If you've read it, I've love to hear your thoughts! Drop me a line.

Be blessed today!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Finding Contentment

A few days ago, I opened up my email and smiled. Not only was there two raving reviews about Blood Ransom, but an email from my agent letting me know that an editor was requesting a series from me for possible publication. Not bad for one day.

But then I opened the last email. It was from a fellow writer friend of mine who was passing on some not so good news. Apparently, we each had a book we'd written that been voted on a site as being the two worst books this blogger had read so far this year.


I was quickly smacked back down to reality, but it also got me thinking. How often do we put our confidence in what we do? We win an award, receive a compliment, and get that pat on the back for something we did at work and we're on the top of the world. But that happens when our boss complains about our work, our best friend is mad at something we did (or didn't do), the kids whine about dinner, and the bathroom scale registers a few pounds to high.

It's like a yo-yo that never stops bouncing. Or when it does, it leaves us feeling as if the world has crashed in around us.

Here is what I was reminded of. I'm more than what I do. Yes, there are people who love my books, but there are also clearly those who don't. I've never reached the best-sellers list in the CBA let alone the New York Times list, but that's okay, because that isn't who I am.

So who am I? Who are you?

We are children of the King of Kings, the creator of the universe. God has called us to follow Him, to serve others through His strength, to find intimacy with Him, and to discover that who I am is not based my accomplishment anymore than it is based on my regrets and failures.

Does that mean I stop trying to make that best-seller list? No way. But in the meantime, I don't ever want to forget who I really am.

Paul put it this way, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

I love this photo of this elephant, because I see contentment in his expression. Cool water, plenty to eat, and probably a bunch of fellow elephants hanging around with him in the background...

God, I want to be more like you. Content to dream big, but also to enjoy the ups and downs of the journey while I get there. I want to be content to love family, friends, and those around me. I want to be content to serve others in Your name. Content to cry with those around me when my heart is breaking, and then to never forget that true contentment can not be found in my circumstances, but because You are the one who gives me strength to get through each day.

I know there are a number of you who right now are going through times that make finding any form of contentment seem impossible, and my heart breaks for you. For today, I'm praying that God's peace, a peace that transcends all human understanding and logic, guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Be blessed today!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Katy Team Photo Journey

It's always such a joy to host the special mission teams that join us throughout the year. I want to voice a special thanks to the Katy team who was with us last month. It was truly a blessing for our family and for the people they spent time with in the villages. Here's a photo journey from some of the highlights of their time with us. We love and miss you, Katy Team!

Be blessed today,


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Summer Giveaway Winner!

We are finally home after a couple weeks of travel and boy is it good to be back!

After taking the Katy Team through Kruger Game Park for a day then on to the airport, we spent a couple days resting then it was on to doctors and dentist appointments, car repairs, clothes for the kids (Gabe has grown about 4 inches in the past six months!) and a number of other errands we have to do in South Africa. The car took longer than we'd hoped (like always) but we've now jumped back into school and our schedule.

Thanks to all of you who left a comment on my Summertime giveaway! Congrats to Julie J who won one of Della's baskets and a copy of Blood Ransom! In case you missed the link to Dela's Corner, you can find more great baskets and homemade items to benefit the work in West Africa on her facebook page here.

Enjoy the photos of our time in Kruger!