Love Gives Freely

Love Gives Freely

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
Tamika R
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The Shunammite Woman

Do you remember the story of the Shunammite woman? You can find it in 2 Kings 4:8-41. It is a beautiful story full of selfless actions. She is a woman who had great means. She used what she had to bless the servant of the Lord without being asked.

God took notice and blessed her in kind.  Even when tragedy struck, she responded with grace. She was able to say, “It is well,” and walk forward with hope and trust. She knew who she was dealing with and behaved as one who had expectations that the LORD could do all she thought he could. Not only did she believe he could, everything she did was evidence that she believed he would.

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Last year while having breakfast with my dear friend Leslie, I heard of women in India who have this kind of faith.

Leslie is an amazing and inspiring woman whom I met about four years ago. We bonded by talking about creative projects. She lives in Ireland, but she and her husband minister all over the world so we cross paths often. My husband was there preaching about three weeks ago. He returned excited about the projects Leslie is involved in. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to hear about them myself.

She spends her free time trying to support women in India who could greatly benefit from very little. As she was talking to me about the things she does, I thought, why couldn’t I join her and we could help more women? I have decided not only will I join her, but I would like to invite other creative souls out there to join as well.

Curious?

Let me tell you what she is doing. The first project brings us back to the Shunammite woman. There are women in the Indian villages who need jobs. They are people who can and will work in a local craft. They want to start their own business in their craft, but they need start-up money. The organization is called SWAN and was named after the Shunammite woman. All of the women enrolled in the program have already committed to give 10% of their earnings to support the local preacher.  How much money is needed depends on the craft and the village.sweetcoupleinIndia

The second project is a more personal one. They have a rice project in the village of Pavara in Andhra Pradesh. They provide daily rice for about 150 widows and orphans. During this year’s trip, Leslie noticed an elderly couple and asked for their story. In their culture, the son would provide for them as well as his family in their old age, but their son is really poor and can barely care for his own kids and grandkids. So they collect wood and sell it. The husband chops and the woman pushes the wagon. For the past two years they have been unable to make this journey.

They should both be getting a pension, but for some reason the government is only paying him one. So they work. The pension they receive is 14 Euros ($14.87) a month. They can’t live on it. The amount of the pension for one year is 200 Euros. Leslie was able to sell crafts this past month to provide for her for this next year. I would like to raise 200 Euros ($212.36) to give her another year of pension.

Do You Have a Heart for Giving?

If you have a heart for giving and a passion for crafting, would you think of a way you could make and sell something to help these women? Women who are making so very little. Women who are willing to work hard to get the smallest amount of money to help their families and others.

I have set a goal this year to make 200 Euros to support this woman for the next year. Whatever I make beyond that I will give to the Shunammite Project in India. This will allow me to help women have the joy of creating, selling, and sharing to further the spread of the word of God in their villages. Everything made or collected for these women is 100% used for these purposes. It is all very well organized and professional. I will be painting, making beads, and felting.  You can do anything you love. If so, comment below and we will begin in January. Also, if you aren’t interested in making or selling something but would like to donate money, I know that would also be welcome.

Would you be willing to join me?

You can get involved by purchasing these great books written by Tony Coffey. He is Leslie’s husband. I read Once a Catholic before traveling to Europe on a mission trip for the first time. I recently created a cover for the Croatian translation of Answers to Questions Catholics are Asking.  He gives the proceeds from his books to the works and ministries in India as well.

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A House Divided Cannot Stand

A House Divided Cannot Stand

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
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A House–and a Nation–Divided

In Oklahoma, where I live, we have a slogan: “A House Divided.”  This refers to families in which part of the family are University of Oklahoma (OU) fans and the other part of the family are Oklahoma State University (OSU) fans.  My family is one of those families.  We raised our children in an OU home, and our oldest child just started his sophomore year at OSU.  He is now an OSU convert, which has made for some interesting dinner conversation.

The Bible also speaks of a house divided.  “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”  (Mark 3:25 NASB)  Let’s back up to verse 24.  It states, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”  Right now, this is my concern and my fear.  Race, political affiliation, gender, religious affiliation, age–all of these and more divide our country.  This is not to place blame but to look at the issue of division.

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If we continue to allow labels to divide us as a nation, we cannot continue to exist.  Our country is in turmoil right now.  There are constant riots.  Ugliness surrounds the election and politics in general.  The wage gap between men and women is yet another point of contention.  Denominations bicker amongst themselves.  All these things have led to a division in our nation.  We are tearing our nation apart with all this.

Unity through Christ

I am not saying that we should compromise our principles.  We need to stand up for what is right, for what God tells us!  We must share the Good News of the Gospel.  The only way to have peace is through Christ.  As Christians, we must unite and take our country back.  Our nation needs a true revival of His people.  We must wake up!  We cannot sit idly by and wait for someone else to do it.  I am not talking politics here.  We must share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If all Christians would stand together, we could make a difference.

Perhaps University affiliation divides my household, but it is united on God.  My husband and I raised our children for God.  We taught them about Jesus and all three of them have a personal relationship with Christ.  That was our duty as their parents, to teach them.  It is our duty to share the gospel with others.  We like to push that off on the Church.   But it’s important to remember that WE ARE THE CHURCH!

Do you share your faith with others?

If not, what prevents you from sharing it?

A House Divided

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This Little Light: Letting Our Lights Shine

This Little Light: Letting Our Lights Shine

I grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma Christian University. Right after earning my degree in Music Education I moved to Germany to do mission work for 5 years. During those 5 years, I married my husband and we eventually became parents to our spunky daughter! We settled back in Oklahoma and added an energetic son to our family! I am now a stay-at-home mom who is still very passionate about mission work, Germany, singing, family, and most of all, my relationship with God.
April E
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I’m sure the song “This Little Light of Mine” is familiar to a lot of people.

For me, it was one of those VBS and Bible class songs that I don’t even remember learning. It was just something I always knew. It has a great lesson for us and our kids. Of course, when I was a child I didn’t necessarily completely understand its full message. It was fun to hold a finger up to represent a candle and move it around to show how we let it shine. We sang about not hiding it under a bushel, but putting it out in the open for everyone to see. We also sang about not letting Satan blow our light out. Sometimes we would even sing about where we would shine our light, all around the neighborhood or city.

Shining Light into the Inner City

Growing up attending church and being involved in a youth group, I had many opportunities to go on mission trips. Those experiences touched me in profound ways. On one particular mission trip to an inner city location, I was in in awe of the missionaries who dedicated their lives to serving that community. I was only there a week, but I knew it was not an easy task to live in an area with lots of crime, drugs, poverty, and many dark places that needed God’s light. I wondered how someone could possibly be strong enough to shine their light there on a daily basis.

Those missionaries weren’t aware that not only did their light shine for the community to see, it shone to me and the other teens on that mission trip. It wasn’t just the missionaries whose lights shone, but also the trip’s chaperones who showed love to the kids in this inner-city community.  

I’ve been so blessed to grow up among so many wonderful Christian adults who taught me not only what God’s Word says, but showed me through their actions. Obviously my parents are some of the biggest examples I learned from, but because they raised me in the church, I had the chance to be affected by so many other wonderful Christians.  Whether they were aware of it or not, their examples impacted me in ways that will affect me for my whole life.

An Interest in Mission Work

I guess it’s no surprise that during college I became so interested in mission work that I ended up moving to Germany and doing mission work there for five years after I graduated. Those five years were some of the most exciting, challenging, life-changing, and rewarding years of my life. God put a love of the country and the people I met there, as well as a passion to reach out and shine my light, in my heart. I will never be the same because of these experiences.

Mission Work and Kids

Even now that my family is living in the States again, we continue to have that passion and love for Germany and missions. We try to return as often as we can for short-term mission work. Now that my husband and I have two kids, it can be challenging to travel abroad and do these trips. Never, even for a second, have I considered not taking them with us.  People ask us if we will take the kids and I’m sure many have wondered why or how we do it with kids in tow. The answer is always, yes, the kids will absolutely go with us! Not only could I not fathom leaving them at home (even with family members) for the duration of our trip, but one of the best things about taking them with us is that they get to have these amazing experiences as young children.

They will grow up knowing that we go on these trips to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to others around the world! What better example is there for them to see God at work, than to take them with us and let them see it first hand? They always talk about our times in Germany with anticipation and wonderful memories. They love that we go, and maybe don’t always know all the reasons we are there, but hopefully when they get to an age that they fully understand, will see not only the “why” but the “how” of what shining our light means.

Shine Your Light Where You Are

Some of you may be thinking, “that’s great, but I can’t go to Germany or another foreign country with my family.” I know that this may not be for everyone, although I do encourage you to try to go on a mission trip at least once in your life. However, you don’t have to go to a foreign country to shine your light. There are so many ways you can shine your light, even in your very own neighborhood. There are so many opportunities around us. We just have to look for them. Find something you know you can help with, or maybe you will even find a passion for something you didn’t know you had. Perhaps you can donate your time to a clothing or food drive. Look for outreach opportunities or ways you can help in the community.

Involve your whole family in mission work. Ask your kids to think of some ways they can help others. Start out small by making some treats and delivering them to your neighbors. Let your kids see that serving others and letting your light shine is fun. They will start asking you to do it again! These will make the best memories for you and your family. Who knows, maybe this will start conversations with your neighbors or others in the community and lead to them asking more questions about who you are and why you serve the way you do.

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A Command to Serve

I’m not encouraging service just because it can be fun. It’s a command. 1 Peter 4:10-11 says:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

This verse talks about using our gifts to serve. One of the main reasons I went to Germany to begin with was because some of my choir friends had told me about the trip and how you get to sing.  I thought it would be a great combination for me: mission work, which I had already enjoyed in the past, and singing, which was also a huge passion for me. Who knew one trip to Germany after my sophomore year at college would turn into a lifelong passion? You might be surprised if you try to get involved in some form of service using your talents, too! It could bring a lot of joy to your life.

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Bringing Glory to God

God also wants us to shine His light so that we can give glory to Him. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus says,

“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.”

Let’s do everything we can to bring God glory! It may not always feel comfortable, but it is what God wants and what He calls us to do. One of my favorite verses is in Isaiah, when God commissions Isaiah to go speak to the people. Isaiah’s reaction is just how I want to be. Isaiah 6:8 says, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.” I pray that we can all be so eager to do what God has called us to do! Go and shine your light!

 

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The Harvest is White

The Harvest is White

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
Tamika R
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Walking down my street with rain pouring down the side of my umbrella, I can’t help think about the many people here in Vienna who have no where to go. There are many all over Europe.

They are not on the way home. They are searching for a place to rebuild their lives. Thousands of people cross our borders each day looking for a new start. Some are fleeing war. All are looking for help.

People often ask us how they can help the refugees. The answer is to send help. We need Missionaries. The physical needs of the people are being met they need Jesus.

You Have Been Called for This Time

The face of Europe will change. There are so many different cultures and beliefs that are already living together here. Now a large group of people from various parts of the world are arriving daily. One thing that unites them aside, from seeking a new life is their belief system. In many ways it differs from the majority of us living in Europe. It won’t be long until their culture outgrows that of those of us who have already built our lives here.  This will bring unique challenges and blessings.

Pray that the Christians in Europe can be the light and salt needed to change the world. Many here are worried about the changes. People are concerned that the religious differences will soon become the new standard. People are afraid of the Christian faith taking a backseat. That is one way to look at it, but it is not the only way.

The truth is that the fields are white. Each day there are more and more people arriving who need the Lord. We should view this as a field ripe for the harvest.

It reminds me of a song that I loved as a kid called Lord of the Harvest. It has been going through my head repeatedly the past few months.

See the fields, ripe and white as snow
Up from the seeds of faith we planted long ago
So many the hearts in season
With every prayer they’ve grown
You have made them ready
But we must bring them home

 

Chorus:
Lord of the harvest place your fire in me
Servant you need now, servant I will be
Give me the eyes of your spirit,
Your heart of compassion to know
Lord of the harvest, show me where to go

Time like a free wind, so quickly slips away
Too soon today’s tomorrow, too soon yesterday
So little time for the reaping and the laborers are few
Lift your head to the fields of white
The work that you must do

Chorus

Wherever you may lead me
Lord of the Harvest I’ll Go

(Repeat)

Songwriters: SMITH, PAUL/HOWARD, JAMES NEWTON
Lord Of The Harvest lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

The Workers are Few

Luke 10:2 talks about the harvest. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Matthew 9:37 says “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”missions, field, harvest, gospel, good news

We have a real opportunity here to spread the love of Jesus.  We should keep that in mind. It is easy to look at facts and statistics and forget that we are already victorious. We want to spread the love of Jesus and we need to be ready to stand up for what we believe.

4 Things You Can Do Right Now No Matter Where You Are

Though this is happening now in Europe , all over the world there are people who need the Lord. You may not be called to go on the Mission field, but there are other ways you can be involved.

  • Look around and see where the Lord is already working.
  • Think of how you can join him. Use your talents to bless the Kingdom of God.
  • Support and encourage those who make sacrifices to go on the mission field.
  • Provide funds and keep in touch with missionaries.

Those are four things that you can do right where you are that can enable God’s blessings to touch the lives of many.

Is there anyone in your life who has had their life turned upside down?

What are some ways you can show the love of God to them?

How can you sow seeds of the Father in the lives of those you encounter each day?

Dear Apathy, It Is Time For You To Leave

Dear Apathy, It Is Time For You To Leave

Dear Apathy,

We underestimated you. You have quietly made your way into the hearts of many, generations at a time. Where some people were focused on extreme feelings and actions, you silently grabbed hold of an entire unsuspecting group. You have produced the lie that “ignorance is bliss,” and the lie that has been fed to many, is now becoming a full course meal. You have become one of our greatest unknown enemies.

I see you in the home. I see how you have slithered your way into the hearts of husbands and fathers; wives and mothers; sons and daughters. Your ability to break down the family unit is horrifying, at best. I see your utter delight as families dissipate–or worse yet, just live comfortably with indifference as the spine of their family body.

A Code of Indifference

When I look upon the world, your wicked stain is evident. People are suffering and children dying…very few even shed a tear, while even fewer notice. Slavery, trafficking, murder, starvation, and illness plague nations; you sit silently by in smugness as masses of people follow your lead. You have programmed the hearts of many to react only when it is themselves that suffer, a code of “not my problems, not my worries” by which they live.

I see your handiwork in many places and in many forms. Perhaps the worst and most dangerous place I see you at work, is in the heart of the believer. A group of people, called by His name, turning a blind eye…no, much worse, turning an indifferent eye. They live and work among lost souls and they are surrounded by loved ones who are damned to eternal separation from all that is good and true, the very hell of being separated from the presence of God Himself. Yet, you have convinced them that apathy is better than risking it all – their friendships and relationships, or possibly even their reputations, are not worth sacrificing.

You have settled yourself into the hearts of many, your complacent disease eating away at the masses. Unnoticed is the fact that people from one end of the earth to the other are dying without hope, without rescue, and without ever knowing the One who came to love them and free them from bondage. Apathy, you are doing your work well. Yes, you are doing your work well.

A Warning

Finally, I feel like it would be best to warn you. You see, your days are limited and your reign is short. There is another group of people, and they are rising up. I see ones who cling to the words of God and not only claim them, but live them out for Kingdom’s sake. You will know them…not just by the words they say, but by what they do, as well.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. – Romans 12:9-13

 

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

The Conquering Redeemer

You see, your hold on us, a people group belonging to the fallen human race, is only possible when we do nothing. But there is One who can destroy you in an instant; in fact, He already has. The thing of it is, people are starting to take notice. People are starting to see your destructive ways and they are claiming His victory over you in their lives. How do I know this? Because I am among those who are being set free from your hold and my family is being rescued from your grasp. I am seeing people mobilize and take action. They see the broken, they see the hurt, they see the injustice and they are rising up against it all; they are rising up against you.

In conclusion, I revisit my opening statement. You were an underestimated obstruction to all things mentioned above, but you were never outside the knowledge of God. This was much to your undoing. Where you meant to destroy, He means to redeem and restore. Where you meant to stagnate lives, He means to rejuvenate and breathe life. Where you meant to inspire to do nothing, He empowers to go and do something. You see, in the end, you lose.

So I bid you farewell, dear Apathy…it is time for you to leave.

 

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Because We are ALL His Treasured Posession

Because We are ALL His Treasured Posession

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
Tamika R
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“For just as rain and snow fall from heaven

and do not return there

without saturating the earth

and making it germinate and sprout,

and providing seed to sow

and food to eat,

so My word that comes from My mouth

will not return to Me empty,

but it will accomplish what I please

and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

Isaiah 55:11

Have you ever thought about all of the things that had to fall perfectly into place for you to have come into a relationship with the Father?

That is not chance that is destiny. Even if it is something so seemingly simple as your exact parents coming together so you could be born. It is a miracle. A declaration of love. The Father saying I want you. He has chased each one of us down. That is the central story of the Bible.

A God that loves each one of us that he is willing to do whatever it takes to be in relationship with us. What a gift. What an honor to be called his.

The most amazing thing about this gift, is that he desires all mankind to receive it. There are many people around the world who have to overcome huge obstacles just for the right to hear the message of God.

Since August, many of those people have made their way to Europe. What an opportunity. The chance to discover His word. The ability to suddenly hear Him singing over you and see the way His hand has prepared your way.

Those of us in Europe now have the chance to share Jesus with people who were in places not easily accessible to missionaries.

I am so thankful to be able to play a role no matter how small in people getting a chance to have their own Bible. We have been doing this for 60 years in many war torn countries. All over Eastern Europe, we have witnessed the mighty hand of God and his work to save those in need of him.

Now, we are able to empower the Ministries and Missionaries on the front lines of working with refugees. Through gifts from the Lord’s church we have been able to start giving out Bibles in Farsi. It is so exciting. We are working on Arabic Bibles as well. It thrills my heart when people come by to get them. I know what a special gift, and unique opportunity it is.

I will never forget the first time I gave a Bible to a child who had never had one. We both cried and it was moving. I cry pretty much every time. I can’t even imagine what a special moment it is for those sharing with and blessing the disheartened and displaced.

I am thankful we have a God who desires a relationship with us. I am impacted by the love and kindness of those who donate the time and resources needed to provide these gifts to those in need.

If you would like to know how you can get more involved in helping people take the first steps in learning to be in relationship with the Lord, click here. Please take some time to think about and pray for the many people around the world who need Jesus. Ask the LORD to open your eyes to any paths you are standing near. Ask him to give you discernment and strength to help someone along their road to him.

Here are a couple pictures of me and the little part I have played in this project.

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Eastern European Missions has helped many receive Bibles in Farsi so they can read God’s word!

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