Five Ways to Encourage a Missionary

Five Ways to Encourage a Missionary

Tamika R

Tamika R

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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We are missionaries, but a good portion of what we do is missionary support. As we travel, we are blessed to see the many different ways the Lord works around the world. We also have the pleasure of getting to know, support, and encourage the awesome people who are joining him in his work.

I often hear people wondering and discussing reaching out to missionaries. There are some very simple and practical things you can do as individuals, families, and Bible classes to encourage a missionary.

Five Ways to Encourage a Missionary

Pray

First and foremost, PRAY. Knowing that you have people lifting you and your work up to the Lord is a powerful motivator.

Stay in Contact with the Missionary

COMMUNICATE. If you do take the time to pray, tell the missionary. Knowing that someone is thinking of you, can change the course of an entire day or week. Loneliness is one of the most common things missionaries experience.

Show an Interest in Their Lives

When missionaries visit, TAKE TIME TO LEARN ABOUT THEIR LIVES. Listen to the stories, ask about the culture, challenges, triumphs, and needs. It is hard enough coming back. No one likes to feel that no one notices or cares.

Send a Thoughtful Note

In this technologically driven world, receiving a handwritten note in the mail is like finding hidden treasure. Again, this shows that we haven’t been forgotten and that we matter. Take the time to SEND A HANDWRITTEN NOTE.

Send a Special Care Package

MAKE A SEASONAL CARE PACKAGE. Celebrations vary around the world. They are also so much a part of culture that being a part of them becomes a part of who you are at times. Many missionaries miss these moments the most. Be mindful of the season and make a holiday care package. Send some things from home that are seasonal. For example: candy corn at Halloween, Peeps at Easter and candy canes at Christmas. If there are kids, a few stickers could bring happiness for days. Even better, send things that aren’t so easy to get outside of the US. Here are a few common things people miss:

  • Canned Pumpkin
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Peppermints (that don’t taste menthol)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Seasonal Napkins
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Girl scout Cookies

Whatever you do or think of will be a blessing. These are just ideas to help get you started.

What are some things you have done or heard about in regards to encouraging missionaries?

 

A Message from God about Love and Forgiveness

A Message from God about Love and Forgiveness

Toni D

Toni D

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.
Toni D

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Have you ever felt like God was trying to tell you something?  I have had one of those weeks.  God spoke to me four different times in one week about LOVE!

I serve on a planning committee for a Christian women’s conference.  To promote the conference, some of the committee appeared as guests on a local radio station, and the main speaker called in.  She said that she would be speaking on love and forgiveness.  When she said this, I felt a quickening in my spirit.  I was not sure why or what He was trying to tell me, but I was listening.

When she spoke at the conference a few days later, she started with the traditional, “God is love.”  But, then she flipped that around: “Love is God.”  True love is God through His sacrifice of His Son for our sins.  I continued to listen.  She went on to talk about the ongoing process of forgiveness.  I still was not sure where this was going for me, but I was beginning to get some ideas.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 

1 John 4:8 (NASB)

The next day at church, the preacher began his sermon, and guess what it was about?  Love!  We need to be doing things out of love.  1 Corinthians 16:13-14 states, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.”  He continued with Ephesians 4:15, “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”  We should do everything in love.  This is sometimes difficult to do, especially when we feel we have been wronged.

Three days later, I went to a funeral.  I will not go into details, but the grieving family demonstrated such an outpouring of love and forgiveness.  This was so emotional.  Despite the grief this family was experiencing, they were concerned enough and loved someone else enough to make sure he knew that he was loved and that the family harbored no ill feelings.

From the events of this week, I learned so much, including the realization that I do not always do things out of love; I do a lot out of obligation.  In my words and actions, I do not always show love.  I also realized that there were people that I thought I had forgiven but unforgiveness had crept back in.  I had previously been on guard for it, but I had let my guard down.  God really spoke to me this week and I know there is more I need to work on and probably more that I will get out of it.

Do you do things out of love?

Has God spoken to you about anything recently?

The Quiet Bag “How To”

The Quiet Bag “How To”

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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A few weeks ago, a post of mine about “The Secret to a Successful Quiet Bag” was reposted. It really sparked my thinking.

I have been immensely blessed in my life with several older moms who have shared their wisdom, experience, and humor with me. They have done so with grace, with understanding, and with much love. They help keep me grounded and they help keep me going, even when it seems I will be swallowed by dishes, dirty laundry, and discipline!

I asked several of them the practical “how-to” of putting together a quiet bag for little ones. The following is a compilation of their wisdom and one or two ideas of mine:

The Quiet Bag

  • Do only put quiet items in there. (The noise-making trucks and dolls that cry are mesmerizing to kids, but are like your cell phone ringing–they only ever make noise during the quietest point of worship!)
  • Do switch it out monthly. (Everyone gets bored with the same stuff.)
  • Do store it in a place where your child can’t play with it during the week. (That way, by Sunday, those items are “new” and therefore more exciting.)
  • Do try to wait to open it till the sermon (or perhaps the Lord’s Supper. When my little guy was younger, I would have a special book and fun jewelry for him to look at during the Lord’s Supper and then would open his special quiet bag during the sermon). Don’t waste your bag of tricks until you really need it!
  • If your child has a snack mid-morning, do include a snack in your quiet bag! Just make sure that it is easy to clean up. There WILL be spills. Often on yourself.
  • Try to include things that are church- or God-oriented if you can. (This doesn’t always work, but if you have some Bible board books, it is great to get your little one thinking about Godly things and associating God with worship time!)
  • Do have everything prepared BEFORE Sunday morning. That saves your sanity as well as your time. Somehow, Sunday mornings don’t seem to have as much time in them as other days of the week!
  • Don’t feel bad if your kid doesn’t like what you put in there! He/she is a person too, with their own likes and dislikes. Just switch out the items for something they enjoy more.

Items you could include in your quiet bag

  • Coloring book and crayons
  • Stickers and notepad
  • Fake wallet (It may be unwise to hand them your actual driver’s license and debit card!)
  • Books
  • Soft toys/stuffed animals
  • Lacing cards
  • Mirrors
  • Jewelry
  • Snacks
  • Aquadoodle
  • EtchaSketch
  • Puzzles
  • Items that button, zip, or snap (an old wallet, old Bible cover, etc.)

 

What would you add? God bless you and your littles as you train them to know and worship God!

When Loneliness Creeps In

When Loneliness Creeps In

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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When Loneliness Creeps In…

When loneliness creeps in, a sort of darkness seems to come along with it. There is such a difference between being alone and being lonely.

Loneliness can overcome us in the midst of a crowd. It invades like an evil army and marches straight to our hearts and minds, clouding the reality of things around us. Loneliness attacks viciously and veils us with a sense of melancholy. Then, it strikes at us in a way that leaves us paralyzed and bewildered.

Loneliness whispers in our ear that no one else understands and no one cares. Loneliness will try and choke out our hope and light if we let it.

As an only child, I am no stranger to being alone. I actually quite enjoy being alone at times just as much as I enjoy being in big groups. In the past I’ve enjoyed going to the movies, eating at a restaurant, and even traveling by myself. I love the time of reflection and introspection, but there have been times when loneliness has crept in and tried to steal those joyful moments.

Recognizing the Root Cause

Recently, the evil mist of loneliness invaded my space, for no other reason than I believe Satan is trying to keep me from moving forward in what I’ve been called to do. It was suffocating. It was physically oppressive, truly making it difficult to breathe. I know better now that it’s an attack but sometimes I don’t recognize it at first. Do you know what I mean? It’s like I’m blind or unable to identify the root cause as it’s attacking. It was overwhelming.

And then, in prayer there it was–the root cause. A combination of fear and loneliness. I was attacking the fear but didn’t realize loneliness was surrounding it.

Beware of Satan’s Tricks

Satan is so good at what he does, guys!  He’s been at this for a long time. He was over there allowing me to see how he was working fear in my life. He dangled it at me like a little kid saying “Nanny, Nanny, Boo Boo!” While keeping my attention on that, at the SAME TIME he was letting loneliness works its way quietly in. He had me focus on what I thought was the big thing, the main cause, but diverted my attention away from the other things he was doing.

Around the time of my realization, a friend asked how she could pray for me. So honestly I told her, “I’m feeling lonely.” I hadn’t expressed it out loud up to that point because it made me feel weak to admit it. Oh, pride, step out of the way!

God works through our weaknesses. He gives us strength when we are willing to be honest with ourselves and Him about what we are going through. And when we admit it to others we trust, we realize we aren’t the only ones who have dealt with it. We help others release any guilt they might have for letting those feelings overtake them.

Loving My Alone Time While Kicking Out Loneliness

Give whatever you’re struggling with to God openly and honestly and He will give you hope back. A few days later, while memorizing John 1 with my kids, we wrote the next verse on the board:

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus’ bright light of hope shattered the dark mist that had been covering me! Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it! It can’t overcome it!  Praise the Lord for what He has done for us! We do not have to allow the darkness to invade us…it has no power over us. We will not be overcome by it, if we hold on to Jesus and let Him shine His light in our souls. Boldly rebuking Satan in Jesus’ name, let’s allow light and hope back into our hearts and minds.

Jesus would often go off alone to pray. May we too take time to be alone in prayer to our amazing God who can overcome our struggles with loneliness.

When we are alone with God, we are never really “alone.” God is ALWAYS with us.

Prayer Over our Hearts

Lord, we praise you! We are in awe of how you work in our lives. How you, as the Word, bring hope in our lives. How you are constantly reminding us that our souls will not be overcome by Satan’s ways. He has no spiritual hold over us. Praise you, Lord! Praise you for loving us through our weakness and shining brightly through them. In the One who is the light that cannot be overcome – Amen!

 

Living Out Love on Valentine’s Day

Living Out Love on Valentine’s Day

Lori S

Lori S

I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
Lori S

Valentine’s Day: More than Romance

Before everyone rolls their eyes at the title, hear me out. This is not a blog post about the romantic focus of Valentine’s Day (or as my husband calls it, the “Hallmark Holiday”). This blog post is for people of every age and every life stage.

Growing up, I always wanted to be with someone on Valentine’s Day. The flowers, stuffed animals, presents….showing love to your “significant other” was the main focus of my Valentine’s Day. Sure, getting cards from my family was nice. However, there was nothing like getting swept off your feet by the love of your life, right?

A Different Approach to Valentine’s Day

Now that I’m older, I wouldn’t say that approach is wrong. I would just say that my focus on Valentine’s Day is different. God has taught me through my life experiences that we need to see and love people through God’s eyes, not our own. God deeply loves each and every one of us every day. If we are asked to love like God loves, why do we naturally turn the “biggest day” for love each year into a romantic holiday? Why do we tend to only focus on the romantic love, when there are so many ways we can choose to love people that day?

Romans 12:9-13 states:

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (NLT).

People in our communities desperately need to experience the kind of love that only comes from God. Why not take this day to share it? Why not embrace the practice of hospitality, serve the Lord enthusiastically, and honor one another through our loving actions?

Ideas for Showing God’s Love to Others

Don’t get me wrong. Loving our spouse is commanded by God and should occur on a daily basis. Valentine’s Day is a great day to honor our spouses and loved ones. However, God calls us into a love that is so much deeper than showing love to those closest to us on Valentine’s Day. He calls us to love those who experience love the least. Valentine’s Day is a special day in which we can make all of God’s people feel loved.

Here are some ways that people (or families) can make others feel loved on Valentine’s Day.

  1. Make baked goods for the staff and/or residents of hospitals, nursing homes, or community service workers (firefighters, policemen, etc).
  2. Partner with your church or a local organization to support women and their families through a community event that day.
  3. Find a creative way to send random people Valentine’s Day cards.
  4. Work with your local church on leaving “love/encouraging notes” in your pantry boxes that go to hungry families in need.
  5. Make a meal or offer to babysit (for FREE) for a single parent.

Start planning now so that when February 14th rolls around, you will be ready to go and be love to others!

God Uses Broken Dishes

God Uses Broken Dishes

Toni D

Toni D

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.
Toni D

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Out with the Old

This past spring, the kids and I did some spring cleaning.  We started by cleaning out the kitchen cabinets.  After twenty-six years of marriage, it was time to start replacing things.  As I looked at my dishes, I noticed that they were old and chipped.  Several had been broken and had been thrown away.  Over time, I had bought random bowls because I was down to three in my set.  I kept looking at these old, worn out dishes and I decided it was time to get new dishes.

Broken Dishes

In with the New

I set out to find a new set of dishes.  After much searching and waiting for the right sale (I’m a bargain shopper), I found a set I could be happy with.  I bought two eight-place settings.  A few weeks later, I decided to order a third set in case some get broken in the future when I cannot replace them.

When the last set arrived and as I was unpacking them and loading them in the dishwasher, I found that one of my new bowls was broken.  I called the store and was told that I had to either send the entire set back or return the set to a store about one hour away from us.  Since I had already run half the dishes through the dishwasher, I was not very happy.  I was upset so my husband took over.  He started calling stores that were closer, and fortunately he located the same set of dishes only thirty minutes away. We loaded the broken set up and took them back.  Of course, I stood at the checkout and unpacked the entire set to make sure there was not any broken ones in that set.

Lessons Learned from Broken Dishes

Yes, my old set of dishes was still usable.  But they just did not look nice anymore and it was time for a change.  Through this experience, I realized that God uses us even when we are broken.  Sometimes, we have to be completely broken so that we can start new.  God can use that brokenness for His good purpose!  Sometimes, it is not until we are broken that we truly turn to Him.  We do not always see a need for God until then.  That is when he can use us.

New Dishes

God brings us through these times of brokenness.  Like my husband did, He intercedes for us and takes care of our problems.  We learn from it and then God can use us because of these experiences.  And much like my broken dishes, God does not “throw us away” when we are broken.  My well-loved old dishes have been boxed up and will go to one of my children when they get their first home.

Have you ever felt broken and useless?

Did you turn to God?

 

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