Archive for the Ministry

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Praying and waiting — Mary is there

mary olson

Our niece, Mary, works at the Bethel International School in Tacloban City on the Island of Leyte in the Philippines. Tacloban was at the point of Typhoon Haiyan’s landfall this past weekend.

We prayed and waited as the typhoon approached and then hit and swept its way through the city and across the island. Then we prayed and waited for word from or about Mary and her colleagues. (Photo: Mary on right, with some fellow teachers.)

In roundabout ways, Mary’s parents received the good news that Mary and her coworkers are safe. We are giving thanks for that. But all around them is destruction:   “All school buildings heavily damaged and most things used to make a school function lost. Hopes for miraculous reopening in January.”

Bethel International School

Bethel International School

Bethel, after Typhoon Haiyan

Bethel, after Typhoon Haiyan









News reports and pictures & pleas from survivors give us here some small idea of how bleak the devastation is and how vast the death toll–10,000 or more. That is Mary’s neighborhood, her city, her friends, her school children. I’m imagining Mary doing everything she can to help her neighbors, but with few resources.

tacloban_destructionThere is a way we can help Mary and her coworkers be Jesus’ hands there. Bethel International School is part of Converge Philippines, an affiliate of  Converge Worldwide, our denomination. Converge has created the Tacloban/Philippines Typhoon Fund.

I am thankful there are numerous excellent relief organizations. But I commend the Converge Typhoon Fund in particular this time, because “funds will be disbursed by our Philippines missionaries in consultation with Converge Philippines president Ildefonso Alfafara,”  and “churches and pastors there are already delivering food, water and other vital supplies. Our co-laborers are well positioned to serve as relief centers and deliver a gospel message.” Mary is one of those co-laborers.

We continue to pray and wait, to hear how God is working.

Lord, please protect Mary’s emotions, her spirit, her health, her strength, and her faith.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

  • Leave a Comment 4  

Monday, April 15th, 2013


Our Bethlehem family blessed us last night with a grand recommissioning service and celebration marking the end of our 33 years as a pastor’s family and the beginning of our next chapter.

My words to our brothers and sisters there touched on the parallels between Bethlehem’s growth and our family’s.

In 1980, Bethlehem’s Sunday congregation fit well in the old Sanctuary, with elbow room to spare. That summer, we Pipers arrived as a family of 5—2 parents and 3 sons.

You who were part of Bethlehem then, I thank you for making this an easy place to become a pastor’s wife. I don’t recall any times when someone expected me to be or do some certain thing because that’s what a pastor’s wife does.

Instead, you offered me options for ministry and were willing to let me pray and talk it over with my husband and then tell you yes or no. You gave me freedom to be wife and mother and to be involved as I felt God leading me, both within the church and elsewhere. I hope that all of you now will bless Cara in the same way.


As Bethlehem grew to multiple services and built a new sanctuary, our family grew too. We added another son and a daughter and so we were a family of 7—2 parents and 5 children. The same year we adopted our youngest child, we also gained our first daughter-in-law—the beginning of the years of sending our sons one by one to their own homes with their brides. And Bethlehem was sending more of its sons and daughters to their new homes, all around the world to spread a passion for the supremacy of God through Jesus Christ.


When Talitha was a first grader, Bethlehem’s old sanctuary came down. That year while the new education building was going up, there was no Sunday school. So we used the Children Desiring God 1st grade curriculum at home—the ABC’s of God. Talitha still remembers rearranging the letters of one long word until she got incomprehensible—however much we learn about God and no matter how well we know him, there is always much more.

That education building completed the downtown campus as we see it now. And Bethlehem has multiplied from that one campus to three. Our family has multiplied too, from 5 of us at the beginning of our time at Bethlehem to 23 now—we 2 are rich with 21 sons and daughter, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.


Bethlehem’s building with its changes is a symbol that touches just the surface of how much our lives have been interwoven with you brothers and sisters for these 33 years.

I have a gift for you, Johnny. We know that the best gift a person can give often is one that person would also like to have. So this gift to you is to go over our fireplace so that we both can have before us reminders of our life here.

3 stages of BBCDear friends, no one but God knows what a treasure your prayers for us have been all these years. Now I ask you to pray that we will be—as Mary Schmuland said to me a few weeks ago—“Retired? No—refired.”


  • Leave a Comment 4  

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Home Grown World Christians

I’ve been in Orlando for The Gospel Coalition 2013. I led a breakout session in the pre-conference, which had a missions focus.

My session was “My Missionary Call: Missed or Misunderstood?”

One of the resources I recommended is an article I wrote in 2002: Home Grown World Christians. Since then, our children have become adults, but the encouragements and ideas haven’t really aged.

I hope this will be helpful as you pray for and spend time with children you love, whether they are yours or part of your larger life circle.

What other suggestions would you add?


  • Leave a Comment 3  

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

God speaks your language

I’m so happy, I can hardly sit still. After my last post about free mp3 Bible downloads–in English–I discovered free mp3 audio downloads of the New Testament in more than 150 languages. There were many languages I hadn’t heard of. Since I was looking up their geography, I thought you might want to know too, so I included that information with each listing.

Plautdietsch New Testament – Mennonite Low German — many places in the world  (Non-Dramatized) – Plautdietsch Bible

PDV Nouveau Testament Français Parole de Vie African Voices (dramatisé )- French Bible

Arabic New Testament – Kitab al Hayat Version (Dramatized) – Injil

Arabic New Testament – Van Dyck Version (Dramatized) – Injil

Guarayo del Nuevo Testamento – Bolivia (Dramatizadas) – Guarayo Bible

Bulgarian Bible

Lyele du Nouveau Testament – Burkina Faso (Dramatisé) – Lyele Bible

Moore du Nouveau Testament  – Burkina Faso (Dramatisé) 1988 Version Protestante – Moore Bible

Bissa du Nouveau Testament  – Burkina Faso/Ghana (dramatisé) – Bissa Bible

Bobo Madare le sud du Nouveau Testament – Burkina Faso/Mali (dramatisé) – Bobo Madare Southern Bible

Khmer Centrale du Nouveau Testament – Cambodia (Dramatisé) – Ancienne Version – Khmer Central Bible

Bafut du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Bafut Bible

Ghomala du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Ghomala Bible

Kwanja Du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Kwanja Bible

Douala du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (dramatisé) – Douala Bible

Guiziga Sud Du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – South Guiziga New Testament

Koonzime du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Koonzime Bible

Medumba du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (dramatisé) – Medumba Bible

Mofa Du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Mofa Bible

Pidgin du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Pidgin Bible

Massana Nuevo Testamento – Cameroon/Chad (Dramatizadas) – Massana Bible

Toupouri du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon/Chad (Dramatisé) – Tupuri Bible

Bamoun du Nouveau Testament – Cameroon/Nigeria (non-dramatisé) – Bamun Bible

Mumuye New Testament – Cameroon/Nigeria (Dramatized)

Yamba du Nouveau Testament  – Cameroon/Nigeria (Dramatisé) – Yamba Bible

PDV Nouveau Testament Français Parole de Vie Voix Canadiennes (dramatisé) – French Bible

Buli New Testament  – Central African Republic/ both Congos/Cameroon (Dramatized)

Moundang Du Nouveau Testament – Chad/Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Moundang Bible

Chinese Cantonese Bible (Dramatized) – Chinese Union Version

Chinese Mandarin Bible (Dramatized) – Revised Chinese Union Version Bible

Chinese Mandarin Bible (Dramatized) – Chinese Union Version

Iu Mien Bible – China/Laos/Vietnam/Thailand  

Guambiano del Nuevo Testamento – Colombia Dramatizadas) – Guambiano Bible

Lahu Bible – China/Thailand/Myanmar/Laos

Guayabero en el Nuevo Testamento – Colombia (Dramatizadas) – Guayabero Bible

Inga en el Nuevo Testamento  – Colombia (Dramatizadas) – Inga Bible

Huitoto Minica Del Nuevo Testamento – Colombia/Peru/Brazil  (Dramatizadas) – Huitoto Minica Bible

Tshiluba du Nouveau Testament – Democratic Republic of Congo-Kinshasa (Dramatisé) – Tshiluba Bible

Le Lingala du Nouveau Testament – Congo (Brazzaville)/Congo (Kinshasa)/Central African Republic/Angola (Dramatisé) – Lingala Bible

Amharic New Testament  – Ethiopia (Non-Dramatized) 1988 Common Version

Borana New Testament – Ethiopia/ Kenya (Dramatized)

Guji New Testament – Ethiopia/Kenya (Dramatized)

Oromo West Central New Testament – Ethiopia/Kenya/Somalia (Dramatized)

Fiji-Hindi New Testament (Dramatized)

Fijian New Testament (Dramatized)

Suomalainen Uuden Testamentin (ei dramatisoitu) 1938 Versio – Finnish Bible

Georgian Bible – Republic of Georgia (Dramatized)

Bimoba New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Kusaal New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Birifor Southern New Testament –Ghana/Burkina Faso (Dramatized)

Adele New Testament – Ghana/Togo (Dramatized)

Dangme New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Ga New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Gikyode New Testament – Ghana  (Dramatized)

Hanga New Testament –Ghana (Dramatized)

Sehwi New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Vagla New Testament – Ghana (Dramatized)

Akan Fante New Testament – Ghana/ Ivory Coast (Dramatized)

Ewe New Testament – Ghana/Togo (Dramatized)

Acateco, Kanjobal Occidental del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala/ Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Kanjobal Western Bible

Chuj de San Sebastián en el Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala/Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Chuj San Sebastian Bible

Achi de Cubulco del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala (Dramatizadas) – Achi de Cubulco Bible

Ixil San Juan Cotzal del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala (Dramatizadas) – Ixil San Juan Cotzal Bible

Cakchiquel Santa María de Jesús (Kaqchikel) – Guatemala Nuevo Testamento (dramatizada) – Kaqchikel New Testament (Dramatized)

Cakchiquel Yepocapa del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala  (Dramatizadas) – Cakchiquel Yepocapa Bible

Mam del Norte del Nuevo Testamento  – Guatemala (Dramatizadas) – Mam Northern Bible

Rabinal Achi en el Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala (Dramatizadas) – Achi Rabinal Bible

Kekchi del Nuevo Testamento – Guatemala/Belize (Dramatizadas) – Kekchi Bible

Crioulo Alta Guiné Novo Testamento (Dramatizada) – Crioulo Upper Guinea Bible

Créole Haïtien du Nouveau Testament (Dramatisé) – Kreyol Ayisyen – Lafwa Soti Nan Mesaj Ou Tande – Haitian Creole Bible

Garífuna En El Nuevo Testamento – Honduras/Guatemala/Belize/Nicaragua (Dramatizadas) – Garifuna Bible

Bhojpuri Bible  – India/Nepal (Dramatized)

Bahasa Indonesia Terjemahan Baru Perjanjian Baru (formal) Versi (didramatisir) – Indonesian Bible

Sunda Perjanjian Baru –Indonesia  (Didramatisir) Versi Sunda Formal – Sundanese Bible

Txitxopi do Novo Testamento – Indonesia (Dramatizada) – Txitxopi Bible

Hebrew New Testament Modern Hebrew Version – Israel  (Dramatized)

Baoulé Nouveau Testament – Ivory Coast (non-dramatisé) – Baoule Bible

Bete Daloa du Nouveau Testament  – Ivory Coast (dramatisé) – Bete Daloa Bible

Ebrié Nouveau Testament – Ivory Coast (dramatisé) – Ebire Bible

Tagbana du Nouveau Testament – Ivory Coast/Mali/Burkina Faso/Ghana (Dramatisé) – Tagbana Bible

Japan Bible (Non-Dramatized) – New Interconfessional Version

Gikuyu New Testament – Kenya (Dramatized)

Ruhaya New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania (Umetiwa Chumvi) – Ruhaya Bible

Digo New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania  (Non-Dramatized)

Kikamba New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania  (Dramatized)

Kalenjin New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania/Uganda (Non-Dramatized)

Maasai New Testament – Kenya/Tanzania (Dramatized) Biblia Sinyati Version

Luo New Testament  – Kenya/Uganda/ Tanzania/Ethiopia/South Sudan (Dramatized)

Latvian Bible (Non-Dramatized)

Bassa New Testament – Liberia/Sierra Leone(Dramatized)

Bassa New Testament – Liberia/Sierra Leone(Dramatized)

Malgache du Nouveau Testament –Madagascar (Non-Dramatisée) Version Protestante – Malagasy Bible

Chiyao New Testament – Malawi (Dramatized)

Chitumbuka New Testament – Malawi/Zambia/Tanzania (Dramatized)

Chichewa New Testament – Malawi/Zambia/Mozambique/Zimbabwe (Non-Dramatized) 1997 Buku Loyera

Tamasheq du Nouveau Testament – Mali (Non-Dramatisée) – Tamasheq Bible

Bambara du Nouveau Testament – Mali/Burkino Faso/Senegal (dramatisé) – Bambara Bible

Chinanteco de San Juan Lalana del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico  (No Dramatizada) – Chinanteco de San Juan Lalana Bible

Chinanteco de San Juan Lealao del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (No Dramatizada) – Chinanteco de San Juan Lealao Bible

Chinanteco de Palantla del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (No Dramatizada) – Chinanteco de Palantla

Huave de San Mateo del Mar del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (Dramatizadas)

Mixe del Istmo en el Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (No Dramatizada) – Mixe del Istmo Bible

Nahnu Otomí del Mezquital en el Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Nahnu Otomi Mezquital Bible

Purépecha Del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico  (Dramatizadas) – Purepecha Bible

Tzeltal Bachajón del Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Tzeltal Bachajon Bible

Tzeltal de Oxchuc en el Nuevo Testamento – Mexico (Dramatizadas) – Tzeltal Oxchuc Bible

O’othham New Testament – Mexico/Arizona (Non-Dramatized)

Xitshwa do Novo Testamento – Mozambique (Dramatizada) – Xitshwa Bible

Navajo New Testament (Non-Dramatized)

Zarma du Nouveau Testament – Niger (Dramatisé) – Zarma Bible

Limbu New Testament – Nepal/Bhutan/India (Dramatized)

Hausa New Testament – Niger/Nigeria/Ghana/Benin/Cameroon/Ivory Coast/Sudan (Dramatized)

Kanuri Central New Testament – Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon (Dramatized)

Bura New Testament  – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Ebira New Testament  – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Edo New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Efik New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Gokana New Testament –Nigeria (Dramatized)

Igala New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Igbo New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized) Union Version

Igede New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Itsekiri New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Jju New Testament – Nigeria  (Dramatized)

Kalabari New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Mada New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Margi New Testament –Nigeria (Dramatized)

Urhobo New Testament – Nigeria (Dramatized)

Yoruba New Testament  – Nigeria/Benin/Togo (Dramatized) 1960 Version

Mambila du Nouveau Testament – Nigeria/Cameroon (Dramatisé) – Mambila Bible

Urdu New Testament (Dramatized) for Pakistan

Ese Ejja del Nuevo Testamento – Papua New Guinea (Dramatizadas) – Ese Ejja Bible

Tok Pisin New Testament – Papua New Guinea (Dramatized)

Chamacoco del Nuevo Testamento – Paraguay (Dramatizada) – Chamacoco Bible

Guaraní de Paraguay en el Nuevo Testamento (Dramatizadas) – Guarani Paraguayan Bible

Nivaclé del Nuevo Testamento – Paraguay/Argentina (Dramatizadas) – Nivacle Bible

Quechua Ayacucho del Nuevo Testamento – Peru (Dramatizadas) – Quechua Ayacucho Bible

Quechua de Lambayeque en el Nuevo Testamento – Peru (Dramatizadas) – Quechua Lambayeque Bible

Ashaninca del Nuevo Testamento  – Peru/Brazil (Dramatizadas) – Ashaninca Bible

Bora en el Nuevo Testamento – Peru/Colombia (dramatizadas) – Bora Bible

Cebuano New Testament – Philippines (Dramatized) Revised Popular Version

Hiligaynon New Testament –Philippines (Dramatized) Hiligaynon Popular Version

Koronadal Blaan New Testament – Philippines (Dramatized)

Manobo Western Bukidnon New Testament – Philippines (Dramatized)

Tagalog New Testament – Philippines (Dramatized) 1996 Magandang Balita Biblia (Revised) – Tagalog Bible

Polsko Nowy Testament (Non-Udramatyzowana) Wersja Millennium – Polish Bible

Português Novo Testamento Tradução Interconfessional (dramatizada) – Portuguese Bible

Russian Bible (Dramatized) – Russian Asian Version

Russian Bible (Dramatized) – Holy Synod Version

Tatar Bible – Russia (Dramatized)

Saint Lucian Creole New Testament (Dramatized)

Krio New Testament – Sierra Leone (Dramatized) Good News for All Men

Themne New Testament – Sierra Leone (Dramatized)

IsiXhosa Nuwe Testament – South Africa (Gedramatiseerde) Hersiene Unie Weergawe – Isixhosa Bible

IsiZulu Nuwe Testament – South Africa (Gedramatiseer) – Isizulu Bible

Jur Modo New Testament – South Sudan (Dramatized)

Español Nuevo Testamento Nueva Versión Internacional (dramatizadas) – Spanish Bible

Samami Hindi Nieuwe Testament –Suriname (Dramatized) 

Chigogo New Testament (Tanzania) Umetiwa Chumvi)

Kimashami New Testament – Tanzania (Umetiwa Chumvi) – Kimashami Bible

Thai Bible (Dramatized) – Thai Standard Version

Bassar Ntcham du Nouveau Testament – Togo/Ghana (Dramatisé) – Bassar Ntcham Bible

Moba Nouveau Testament – Togo/Ghana (Dramatisé) – Moba Bible

Kabiyè du Nouveau Testament – Togo/Benin/Ghana (Dramatisé) – Kabiye Bible

Karimojong New Testament – Uganda (Dramatized)

Luganda New Testament – Uganda (Dramatized)

Acholi New Testament – Uganda/South Sudan (Dramatized)

Wayuu en el Nuevo Testamento – Venezuela/Colombia (Dramatizadas) – Wayuu Bible

Vietnamese Bible (Dramatized) – Vietnamese Old Version

Cymraeg Testament Newydd Da Newyddion Beibl (ddramateiddio) – Welsh Bible

Chitonga New Testament – Zambia (Dramatized)

Lamba New Testament – Zambia (Dramatized)

Kaonde New Testament – Zambia/Congo-Kinshasa (Dramatized)

Lozi New Testament – Zambia/Zimbabwe/Botswana/Namibia (Dramatized)

Shona New Testament – Zimbabwe/Zambia (Non-Dramatized) Union Version

Kalanga New Testament  – Zimbabwe/Botswana (Dramatized)

Didn’t find the language you were looking for? Did you notice that almost all these downloads are from Faith Comes by Hearing (Facebook)? I was astounded by what I found there: Faith Comes By Hearing offers audio Bible in 712 languages, reaching more than 5.7 billion people in more than 187 countries. And they’re working to make more available in other languages.

I went to the Select Language dropdown menu at their Free Audio Bibles page to see if I could find a couple of languages I’m interested in. I found:

  • Kachin, the Burmese language into which Ola Hanson translated the Bible in the years around the turn of the 20th Century. Ola and Minnie were sent out in 1890 by !st Swedish Baptist Church (our church’s name until the mid-1940s). In the last decade, a strong connection has grown between Bethlehem Baptist and the Kachin church.
  • Ngiemboon, the Cameroonian language whose Bible translation was begun by my brother-in-law in the 1970s. I was there in 2007 at the dedication of the Ngiemboon New Testament (video of music & dancing during the ceremonies). Of all the speakers during the long celebration, Steve was the only one who actually spoke in Ngiemboon. The pleasure of the people when he spoke is a testimony to the fact that nothing speaks to people like their own language, no matter how well they can speak the official language–French in that area of Cameroon.

Having always had the Bible in my own language, it’s hard to imagine what a gift that  has been. But the Ngiemboon New Testament celebration gave me new eyes. After hours of French-language speeches, suddenly their own language flows into their ears. Drowsy eyes open wide and hearts open. You can watch the first couple of minutes of Steve’s address to see it in their faces.

If a foreigner’s speech does that, imagine what impact there is in reading and hearing God’s word in your own language.

It’s taken most of 2 days for me to put this list together. It’s given me great pleasure and it’s my Easter gift to you.

Would you give me a gift in return? Have you found your own heart language here or at Faith Comes by Hearing? Or what’s spoken where you live or work? Or a language that someone you know is learning or speaking where they work? In other words, have you found here a language in which you have a special interest? Your gift to me would be your comment at this post. It could be as simple as naming the language or if there’s more to tell, I would be blessed to read it.


Subscribe to by using the one of the Subscribe links to the right or by clicking here.

If you decide to purchase an item here, I do appreciate it if you link through from this site or from the sidebar at my travel blog. That way, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did.

Please visit my travel blog too–Tell Me When To Pack

  • Leave a Comment 14  

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

65 is the new ___

Almost 2 weeks ago, my husband stepped out of the role of Pastor of Preaching and Vision, moving into several years, Lord willing, of different kinds of work and ministry.

Almost 3 weeks ago was my birthday. Which one? The Medicare one.

Tonight a group of 8 people stood in front of the congregation to receive prayer as we send them off on a short term mission to Senegal. That’s not unusual. But something was very unusual about this group. The average age among them was 65. And that’s with one young man of 21 wildly skewing the figures downward.

So Char, Brad, Keith and all, as we prayed that you be encouraged in your mission and ministry, you yourselves were ministering encouragement to me in our transition to a new chapter.



Along the Way: Travels through Africa from a Christian Perspective



Question for you:

What is something you dream of doing, no matter what your age will be before it can happen?






Subscribe to by using the one of the Subscribe links to the right or by clicking here.


If you decide to purchase an item here, I do appreciate it if you link through from this site or from the sidebar at my travel blog. That way, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 


Please visit my travel blog too–Tell Me When To Pack

  • Leave a Comment 9  

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

How do you feel?

Beginning August 1, Jason Meyer was Associate Pastor of Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist alongside my husband, the Pastor of Preaching and Vision. Now, as a result of resounding congregational approval, as of yesterday those roles are switched. Now Jason is Pastor  for Preaching and Vision with Johnny as his associate.

This is the next-to-last step in our transition to our next chapter, when–as of the end of March–Johnny no longer is part of the pastoral staff of Bethlehem. We are thrilled with God’s guidance and work in all of this.

Last weekend was Johnny’s last sermon as “senior” pastor. Last night, during his last minutes in that role, he led Bethlehem into the New Year in communion together at the Lord’s table.

As we walked into the house at 12:30 am, he asked, “How does it feel to be the wife of an associate pastor?” Considering that I’ve spent exactly half my life as the wife of one man in one position in one place, that could have been a jarring question. But it wasn’t.

I answered, “Feels just the same. It’s you that matters, you who are my husband.”

One of the things about the he who is my husband is that he’s a man who expresses thoughts of love and life and life events and changes with poetry, as he did in his end-of-the-year blog post at Desiring God.

  • Leave a Comment 9  

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The devil’s conjunctions

Behind the Ranges: The Life-Changing Story of J. O. FraserOn this day before Thanksgiving, I’m reading Behind the Ranges: The Life-Changing Story of J. O. Frasermissionary to the Lisu in Southwest China in the early 1900s.

I’ve often said to seminary wives what’s true for all of us: “These years of preparation are not so you can begin living later. You’re living now.”

Fraser’s biographer quotes a letter from 22-year-old Fraser expressing this much better than I do:

The temptation I have often had to contend with is persistent under many forms:  “I am just in preparation at present taking Bible courses and so on, but when I get out to China my work will begin.” “Yes, I have left home now, but I am only on the voyage, you know; when I am really in China, I shall have a splendid chance of service.” Or, well, here in the training home, all my time must be given to language study–how can I do missionary work? But when I am settled down in my station and able to speak freely opportunities will be unlimited.”

It is all IF and WHEN. I believe the devil is fond of those conjunctions. . . . The plain truth is that the Scriptures never teach us to wait for opportunities of service, but to serve in just the things that lie next to our hands. The Lord bids us work, watch and pray, but Satan suggests, wait until a good opportunity for working, watching and praying presents itself–and needless to say, this opportunity is always in the future.

And so I give thanks for where God has me today and what he gives me to do today. As Fraser also says, “Since the things that lie in our immediate path have been ordered of God, who shall say that one kind of work is more important or sacred than another? I believe that it is no more necessary to be faithful in preaching the gospel than in washing up dishes in the scullery.”

So today, I’ll be thankful and try to be faithful in my work in the kitchen . . . Then tomorrow, I’ll give thanks that the Piper men wash the dishes after Thanksgiving dinner!

  • Leave a Comment 5  

Monday, November 5th, 2012

One day, with one voice, for one purpose

Yesterday, people in churches in at least 24 countries of the world were praying for orphans and thinking about how to follow God’s example of caring for the fatherless.

I was amazed to discover just a couple of days ago how Orphan Sunday began. It’s truly a story of not despising the day of small beginnings.

This story touched me especially because it starts in Zambia. I’ve never been to Zambia, but once upon a time Kristin was a special friend to our daughter, and she was part of our prayer team, and occasionally she loved us with parcels of her yummy baked goods. Then she went to Zambia for a year and met Derek. Now they’re married and live in Lusaka, Zambia, working with Action International‘s Cross Project.  One aspect of Cross Project HIV/AIDS-related ministry is attention to orphans, which brings us back to the beginnings of Orphan Sunday.

I hope you can sit down with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and watch all 33 minutes. But if not, here’s a rough breakdown of the minutes:

2:30-8:30 — The first Orphan Sunday and its spread through Zambia

15:00-17:00 — Spread to America

17:00-23:30–Words from Gary Schneider, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jedd Medefind, Francis Chan, and Orphan Sunday coordinators of Ukraine, Philippines, Kenya, and U.K.

During the rest of the minutes are two young people telling their touching personal stories of being lifted by God’s local people from the loneliness and despair of orphanhood.

Zambia’s Gift to the World:

Zambia’s Gift to the World from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

  • Leave a Comment (1)  

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Together for Adoption: resource links I promised this afternoon

This afternoon, I stood in front of everyone at the Together for Adoption conference and revealed my ignorance: sort of “What I didn’t know and there’s lot’s more besides.” There was so much to reveal I didn’t have time for it all, so here are links for anyone who wants more.

1. I owe tons of thanks to all my blog readers who helped me remember all I don’t know when you responded to my requests here and here. If you haven’t read through all those comments, I encourage you to take advantage of the glimpses these friends have given us into their homes.

2. As I said, my friend Dorothy Bode should have been up there with me, or instead of me. Some listeners probably agreed that it would have been less repetitive if she had been, so they wouldn’t have heard over and over, “As Dorothy told me”. . . . “As Dorothy said”. . . . I have no idea how the mother of 11 children with a houseful of hidden disabilities has time to write blog posts, and with pictures, but she does and it’s been an education for me. Dorothy’s blog. The post I quoted.

3. Three years ago I wrote a series of posts telling our adoption story. It begins here.

4. The letter Johnny wrote to me saying yes to our adoption.

Disrupting Grace: A Story of Relinquishment and Healing5. I quoted from Karen Richburg’s book, Disrupting Grace: A Story of Relinquishment and Healing.



When God Weeps6. Perhaps disability and orphan care are the most common topicsA Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty on my blog. Joni and Friends is the organization that I’ve done a lot of volunteering for. I highly any of Joni’s books, written from the perspective of decades as quadriplegic.


The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family7. Seems like RAD came into the list several times. So let me recommend Karyn Purvis’s The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family. This has become the prime resource for parents wanting to help their children with attachment and sensory difficulties. Actually, when Johnny and I read it together, we found much of it practical and helpful for general parenting.

You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder

8. Here are a couple of posts with suggestions for the person, like

Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorderme, with ADD. In particular, I hope the books might be helpful.


9. Oh yes. And pressure cooker. I thought it was a cool –I mean sizzling — image. But maybe only us pre-microwave era oldies knew what I was talking about.

Most of All, Jesus Loves You!Do You Want a Friend?Treasuring God in Our TraditionsFaithful Women and Their Extraordinary God



Subscribe to by using the one of the Subscribe links to the right or by clicking here.


If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 


Please visit my travel blog too–Tell Me When To Pack

  • Leave a Comment 3  

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Together for Adoption: more than adoption


As I’ve walked through the exhibit areas at Together for Adoption, I’ve been struck once again with the variety of ways God leads people to care for orphans–adoption, yes, but so much more.

During one of the sessions, Johnny Carr of Bethany Christian Services interviewed Tendai Masariri, Bethany’s International Services Manager.

Tendai directs and manages programs in 5 African countries: Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia and South Africa. He has a passion for finding and preparing families to care for those children who have no parental care through local and inter-country adoption. Additionally, he is a husband and a father of three daughters.

He developed the first-of- its-kind foster family care and domestic adoption program in Ethiopia working with local churches, governments and UNICEF.  Upon witnessing Bethany’s work in Ethiopia, the government of Ghana invited Bethany to assist in the development their social service system to care for families and children. (from the T4A Blog)

Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting


Then tonight I met Laura, coauthor  with Johnny Carr of Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting.





The evening ended with the premier showing of Faultless: The American Orphan, produced by Unthinkable.  The film is intended to open the minds and hearts of Christians to various ways to help orphans, not just adoption.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:  to visit  orphans and widows in their affliction (James 1:27).  As Jonathan Goode, one of the film makers said, “It’s time for orphan care to be mainstream Christianity in America.”


Subscribe to by using the one of the Subscribe links to the right or by clicking here.


If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 


Please visit my travel blog too–Tell Me When To Pack

  • Leave a Comment 2  

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Together for Adoption: invitation to meet up

1. If you’re at the Together for Adoption Conference in Atlanta, but yet haven’t caught the invitation on Twitter or Facebook, I’m having a meet-up this evening. Bring your supper to the Student Room at the conference site. We’ll all get acquainted, chat, and hang out till the next thing on the schedule.

2. One of the benefits of a conference like this is finding out ways God is working through people on behalf of orphans. I want to pass some of that information on to you who can’t be here. The organizations who were sponsoring this morning’s session are:

  • Every Orphan’s Hope — “Every Orphan’s Hope brings the light of Christ to orphans in Zambia, Africa. We don’t build orphanages. We build homes in AIDS-affected communities where orphans and widows build new lives together as a family. Guided by a “Mama,” orphans are raised to life in Christ in the community where they are known and are surrounded by their peers. Jesus Christ invites you to join Him, together with us, in raising up a generation of children for His glory! Jesus is their hope – but He needs our heart and hands – He needs yours, too.
  • Lifesong for Orphans— Sponsoring the Both Hands Intitiative: One for the Widow; One for the orphan. “Both Hands’ mission is to serve widows, orphans, and adoptive families. Both Hands’ purpose is to help people raise funds for orphans while serving widows through home improvement projects.”



Subscribe to by using the one of the Subscribe links to the right or by clicking here.


If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 


Please visit my travel blog too–Tell Me When To Pack

  • Leave a Comment (0)  

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

To my sisters at Bethlehem Baptist


I am thrilled that Karen Loritts will be the speaker at our Women’s Ministry Kick-off event next week, on Friday, September 21. I’ve been hoping for this a long time.

Here’s what you need to know about the evening.







Subscribe to by using the one of the Subscribe links to the right or by clicking here.


If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 


Please visit my travel blog too–Tell Me When To Pack

  • Leave a Comment 2