Sunday, December 8, 2013

US and Italy

I haven't posted much lately.  I think of things to write, but at inopportune times.  Then, when I can sit down to write I don't remember what I wanted to say.

Trying to raise up friends to support a mission, selling off most of my things, depending on God for how needs will be met…AKA:  Fundraising … is a tough experience.  I'm sure if the funds came easily I might not realize the money is coming by the grace of God.  The funds and commitments are growing … little by little, bit by bit.  So close, yet so far. (If people plan on giving when I go, please let me know so the amount being committed can be recorded.)

People are starting to see the need of the Italians.  A need that shouldn't be there, but is.  Didn't they have the apostle Paul, Aquilla and Pricilla in the first century.  The Gospel spread throughout Italy and beyond.  Why do so few there know Him now?  Just 5% are devout believers in God.  That number drops down in Verona.

I believe it is like here in the US, but they are just a few decades ahead of us.  The US was built on Christian values and principles.  But, we started tolerating differences for the few who didn't believe in God.  'You don't want to offend anyone!'  Really?  How did the Pharisees like being called a 'brood of vipers' by Jesus?  They didn't like it at all.  They were offended.  But, Jesus was calling them out for their hypocrisy.  Hold onto Godly principles and the Truth.

The Italians had Christianity, but then they started allowing Satan's lies to deceive them.  A loved one died…someone who hadn't lived right.  God wouldn't want him to go to hell, would He?  No!  So Satan lured them into a sense of being able to pay for the sins of those who went before them.  Slowly their beliefs changed to the point of 'why do we need God anyway?'  All we need is the money to buy our way into heaven.  To finally, 'why pay for heaven?  Life is just the here and now anyway.'  Jesus is the Way to the Father in heaven, He is the Truth.

With God, all things are possible, right?  I'm not saying I should just sit back and twiddle my thumbs, but I need to do my part so God can work on the hearts of the people in the US to send me as well as the people I will share with in the future in Italy.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Letting Go of Pool Balls...

Letting Go …

A simple set of pool balls.  A few years ago I bought them new along with a couple of cue sticks when I had been given an inexpensive pool table.  I spent the money so I could play a game that I could play alone.  I enjoy the angles of pool.  Due to reasons I had agreed to, I had to put the pool table on its edge up against the wall.  I thought it would only be a short time, but time passed.  When I could finally get the pool table back out, it had been ruined and I had to throw it away.  I still had the cue sticks and the pool balls, but no table.

Since I was having fundraising garage sales it made sense to put the cue sticks and the pool balls in the sale.  But, any time someone looked at them and asked what I wanted for them I would say a high price so they wouldn’t buy them.  One gal offered me just a couple of dollars.  She wanted to glue them together for decoration!  I couldn’t let them go for that!  They were barely used and needed used for their intended use!  A guy came in a offered me a decent price for the cue sticks.  He said he had a friend with a pool table and he could use a couple good cue sticks.  After several people asked about them and no one wanted my price for them, I started thinking, “Why am I so stubborn about the pool balls? I don’t have a pool table, the cue sticks are gone now, so why am I wanting to hold on to the pool balls?”

Late on a Saturday a couple came to the garage sale and were excited when they saw the pool balls.  They asked me what I wanted for them.  I asked what they intended doing with them.  They explained they play competition pool and are always looking for good pool balls.  They offered a reasonable price and I agreed.

My sadness with those pool balls made me start to think about what God must think of us.  God made us with a purpose, but He also gave us free will.  How disappointed does He get with us when we don’t use our talents and our lives to bring Him glory?  He doesn’t want any to perish.  He paid the ultimate price for our redemption!  We shouldn’t just take our abilities and glue them together, put up on a shelf, to just be admired.  Use your life for Him!

I let the pool balls go to people who would use them for their intended purpose.  May I be used for His glory!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fundraising statistics

Some statistics to share.

It took 17 months to raise 100% of the start up funds.
It took 14 months to raise the first 25% monthly support.

It has taken just 4 months to get to 50%!!

Sto ladando Dio!

(I'm praising God!)

May He continue to help me share this mission and gain new partners. 

Praying I'm able to get be in Italy in December!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Analogy

An analogy from the flood.  

Rain falls from the sky drop by drop.  Sometimes there are just sprinkles and then other times it seems to rain 'cats and dogs'.  Fundraising can be like the Rain drops.

It only took a few hours for my garage floor to go from dry to having 14" of water standing.  My house filled very quickly with water, but the rain came down just drop by drop.  

Using this analogy I pray the rest of the support will come in with 'drops', but with God it can be accomplished very quickly!  Just over 50% left.  Commitments are needed by November to be there in December.

Have you asked God where you are to invest your God dollars in His kingdom's work?

Little by little, bit by bit.  

When I'm there, again it will be little by little as I share with people and invest my life for Him.

Insieme possiamo fare la differenza!  Together we can make a difference!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

August’s Dot’s Dabbles - Extended version

Today’s blog is to share more details from August’s Dot’s Dabbles.

ANNOUNCEMENT – ORDINATION – I will be ordained (set apart) as a Christian missionary on Sunday, August 11, during the 9:15 service

- The first six months of my time in Italy will be in intensive language school.  This time will be away from the work in Verona.  It is important to have a good grasp of the language before being involved in the ministry.  After much research on current prices for good language schools and the housing for that time period, I have been allowed to lower the budget by $906 per month!  Praise God!  I now have commitments of 41.45% of the monthly budget.

WLCC Camp (3rd – 5th graders)
- I was the missionary for the OK Corral week at camp.  This western themed week was based on the Beatitudes.  The campers and staff learned of the spiritual need in Verona, Italy.  The offering doubled the goal the campers had set!

North American Christian Convention (Louisville)
- During this convention I was able to talk with many people about Team Expansion and my mission to Italy.  There were times to have contact with other Team Expansion missionaries, too.
- I also worked the Unleashed for the Unreached’s Wall.  Sharing with people there are 1,583 unreached people groups in the world that have over 100,000 people in their group.  Hundreds of people were encouraged to commit to pray for salvation for a people group.
- The theme of the week was Victorious and the main sessions were well done as the ministers preached through the book of Revelation.

BL Church Ladies’ group
I was able to share information about my mission to Verona, Italy.  New partners have joined with me for this mission.  So exciting to be able to share with a new group.

Verona Team’s - Day of Prayer for Italy
July 13th was divided into 15-minute increments.  People could chose one or more of these times and commit to pray during that time.  Thank you to all who joined us in praying for the mission to Italy that day.

I’ve enjoyed making and decorating cakes for friends for years.  However, the last several cakes I’ve decorated I’ve done for the mission.  If you have need of a cake before I leave, consider letting me do it for you with all the proceeds going to the mission.

Finally, after the flood in April I believe all the repairs are made and the painting is done.  Just the trim to be put up and the toilet reinstalled and the flood will be history.
I’ve had help sorting through my belongings and dividing them into four groups: 1- for my daughters (I think this is done), 2 - to take to Italy (not a big group), 3 – put in storage for when I return (memories), and 4 – things I no longer want, to sell in a garage sale or two.

Garage Sale
My garage sale was a fundraiser.  The next one (August 16-17) will again be a fundraiser.  All proceeds will be put into this mission.  My thought is if I can get some money for my things, it would be better than just donating it to another mission for them to sell.  I had (and will again have) my display set up and brochures available for anyone.  If you know anyone who likes garage sales, send them my way!  Please pray for good weather for those days so people will be out and about. 

I’ve had the chance to meet with several people to share more about my mission over mealtimes.  I’d love to meet with others this way, too! 

COC at Logansport
I was able to present the mission of Team Verona to the combined Sunday School classes here.  Since I was a part of this church for five years I feel a special closeness to them.  Many encouraged me.

LJCA – School of Missions
  While at the NACC this camp was brought to my attention and I was encouraged to attend and bring my display.  Since I had the week available, my plans were made.  I remembered when I was four years old I went to the School of Missions when my parents took our family to the camp.  I had good memories of that week.  LJCA was where I attended camp each year when I was a camper.  I hadn’t been there for many years.  I had forgotten about the School of Missions. 
  While at the School of Missions I shared in the sign language interpreting for the evening services.
 What I didn’t anticipate was so many people getting to know my mission and me so well.  During the evening service they have a missionary parade.  Each missionary went across the stage and was able to be in front of the rest of the group, spending a couple of minutes explaining their mission.
  Each morning there was a ‘Meet the Missionary’ time.  One day the interviewer asked if he could interview me the next day.  I was able to share with group more about the spiritual need in Italy.
  Reconnections are always great.  God provided another missionary in the same dorm.  I knew her name, but couldn’t place her at first.  We both were born in the same town, grew up in the same church. Her parents went on the mission field; her aunt and uncle went on the mission field, to Italy!
Italian learning
   In July, even with all the other things going on, I was still able to meet with my Italian language helper for more than 10 hours. During one session she met me at the door and said, ‘sempre italiano’ (only Italian).  For the next hour and 45 minutes we ONLY spoke in Italian!
   I’ve not had a lot of time this month for Rosetta Stone.  But, I am nearly halfway through Level 5.  I have a several apps that are for Italian learning.  I’ve have Hang Man and different flashcards.  But recently I heard about Duo Lingo.  It is an app that has helped me get the sentence structure correct.

Thanks for the prayers.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gutters of Life

Gutters of Life

Matthew 7:24-27 is the parable of the Wise and Foolish builder.  Your ‘house’ needs to be built on the firm foundation.  The rains come and beat on the house and if it is on a firm foundation it will remain.  Otherwise it won’t stay standing.

However, our houses today have taken an additional step in protection.

Gutters do an amazing job when they work correctly.  But they could cause lots of problems if they are in need of being repaired. 

Gutters on a house should be snuggly fit just under the roofline. The new kind are put in without seams to allow the water to move effortlessly.  They are designed to allow the rainwater that falls on a house to be collected and moved away from the house so water does not collect around the foundation. They should still periodically be cleaned out to remain free from debris. 

Old rusty gutters can develop a leak and actually cause the water to pool near the leak, creating more leaks.  That in turn can pull the gutter away from the house allowing for water to pool around the foundation.  It could lead to erosion, a leaky basement, or even worse, for our foundation to crumble.

When we put Jesus’ words into practice we’ll build our house on that firm foundation and are wise.  But issues fall on us and cover our lives.  We need to allow God to collect those issues and direct them away from our foundation.  We need to be sure to keep our gutters cleaned out.

If we are not in God’s Word we allow these issues to build up and leaks to develop.  They might not be too noticeable at first.  But as the leaks grow and then issues come down on us harder than before and seep through the holes and may eventually erode our foundation away.

Stay in the Word of God and keep an eye on the ‘gutters’ of your life.  Allow God to be able to redirect worldly issues away from your foundation in Him.