Saturday, December 31, 2011

Write it All Down...

"...each word dependable and accurate." Revelation 21:5 The Message

The last day of the year finds me reading Revelation and the final pages of His living Word. I admit I am always excited by the ending. Though the words are familiar, when evil is banished and victory reigns, I get chills thinking about those final chapters of the present world's history. I'm looking forward to the day when the Father HIMSELF, will wipe away every tear and take away all the pain.

I've cried my fair share the past year, but I've also seen and experienced enough real human suffering, to appreciate when ALL that will be over.

When I arrive at a place far from home and way beyond a comfortable zone, I don't need to tell any proverbial "Toto" I am not in Kansas anymore. The filth, the stench and the unparalled poverty keeps me quiet. I'm often asked "how" I can do the things I do, see the things I see, work and walk among the wounded of the world. I know it's a supernatural gift that allows me to survive and thrive, to reap and to sow in the Harvest Fields of the King I love and serve.
The last day of the year millions of eyes will look upward to a vast display of fireworks celebrating the end of the old and the beginning of the new. When I see video footage of the crowds, I am often reminded of the verse, "Look up for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28) His Word tells us the WHOLE world will be looking up and witnessing His grand Second Coming. "Look, He is coming in the clouds" (Revelation 1:7) I am sure it will be more spectacular than any New Year's Eve fireworks display! It will be brighter and definitely louder with the heavenly hosts all singing "Glory, glory, glory, Who is, Who was, and Who is to come!"

"And tell them, 'Yes, I'm on My way'..." Revelation 22:7 The Message

We have been dependable messengers of the Good News the past 365 days. We will be dependable until the final day of His return. The clock ending the tax year of 2011 is ticking, but the greater clock of opportunity to share the Gospel is ticking as well. There IS an end to our time on earth, and whether we are "caught up" or are "put to rest" the story's end remains unchanged. The King is coming and before He left He commanded us to, "GO, make disciples of ALL nations."

Take a moment to consider the lost and don't lose an opportunity to share the grace and mercy of Christ.

"It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ." Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest: December 31


Maranatha

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Make sure your checks are postmarked by midnight.
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Monday, December 26, 2011

I'll Have a Blue Christmas

The week before Christmas I had an opportunity to see an advance screening of the movie "Blue Like Jazz." Based on the best-selling Donald Miller book of the same name, I was curious to see how they would translate the themes of the written word to screen.

"Blue Like Jazz," (both the book and the movie) reflects on issues of life and faith that seem unresolved. Our life, like jazz, appears as a tune played without a defined melody, music improvised by those participating in its creation.

The author had a difficult time working with the producer and screenwriter of the film. So difficult in fact that he wrote a book about THAT (his other book being made into a movie) entitled "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years." His trouble came as the screenwriters were adapting his life "story" to shorten it and make it into a better film version.

"So I guess I should have lived a more interesting life." Donald Miller in A Million Miles

The Christmas season with all the trimmings and trappings will still be visible in the malls across America for perhaps another week. As believers, I know we hope and pray, "the Christmas spirit" lives each day of the year ahead of us. The Spirit of THE gift, God's Only Son, treasured for all that His birth represents and redeems.

"For those who claim His Name, Christmas heralds this luminous truth: The God of Jesus Christ is our absolute future." Brennan Manning from Lion and Lamb

I want to live a more interesting life in the coming year. But I know the reality is most days are uneventful, and like the music form called jazz - are unresolved; no big revelations or conclusions before I close my eyes and call it a day.

My life of faith is recorded but not scripted. I know each breath and hair on my head is numbered, but assigned as co-creator, I have the freedom to improvise on a melody throughout the day and participate in salvation's song. My inspiration isn't an unresolved musical phrase but the finality of the Author and perfecter of my faith's last words from the cross,

"It is finished."

"Relax,everything's going to be all right; rest, everything's coming together: open your hearts, love is on the way!" Jude 2 The Message

I can say with 98% certainty my life will not be made into a movie, nor will I write a book about the experience of turning my life into a film version. However, I can say with 100% certainty my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life and I intend to spend each day I have left telling other's how to make sure their name is written there too!

It's the end of another year and contributors are making decisions on amounts for "year-end" giving. Every day, I receive an appeal for "critical funds" and I confess I feel like every day I'm making that same appeal in one form or another. I toss aside all the big organizations mass marketed mailings, but somehow take comfort that all non-profits are in "critical" financial condition.

Together we are writing a song that has the heavens rejoicing! As the ministry shares the gospel around the world and sinners repent, a party bigger than New Year's Eve in Times Square erupts. It IS like jazz, each of us playing our own part, together in harmony, goers, givers, and prayers.

That makes for an interesting life, and a beautiful melody.

Help us end on a high note
With a song and a smile
In His service


To make a tax-deductible year-end donation online visit our website:
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Where in the World...

...IS Thessalonica?

That was the question I asked myself this morning (had to check to make sure it was in Greece) as I was reading the apostle Paul's letter to the community of believers.

"Do you have any idea how very homesick we became for you, dear friends? Even though it hadn't been that long ... we tried our very best to get back to see you. You can't imagine how much we missed you! 1 Thessalonians 2:17 The Message

Those words were most appropriate for the start of my day. For the past few weeks, I have been making arrangements with many of the Wounded Warriors and their families for a "special" visit. The scheduled reunion last month was postponed and I realized just how much I missed them! And when I started contacting them, it turns out they miss me too!

"So when we couldn't stand being separated from you any longer..." 1 Thessalonians 3:1 The Message

Paul had to send Timothy to visit his friends, but thanks be to God, we live in a day and age where travel doesn't involve camels or ships that can wreck on the rocks! This morning I'm heading down to San Antonio with Cheryl Hood, the founder of Victory Flows (a respite ministry for families affected by disability). We will spend the next several days sharing with Wounded Warriors who have participated in the Joni and Friends past retreats.

"What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience before Him because of you?" 1 Thessalonians 3:9 The Message

This past Thanksgiving I feasted with a glue gun, not gravy, tinsel and trimmings not turkey, and plenty of pretties instead of pumpkin pie. With the help of a few friends we made hats, hats and more hats to share with the soldiers and their families! I had the freedom to do so because thousands of faithful men and women enlist in the military to secure my country, and my choices. I am free, feast or famine, because there are people willing to die to defend us.

Hard economic times have greatly impacted the ministry. Every day, I receive appeals of all kinds, from museums to nationally known ministries. Everyone has felt the crunch. And as bad as it is for Sunshine After Rain, I still fully understand and appreciate there are men and women carrying 80lbs worth of gear in 120+ degree heat, in an desert of hatred and animosity just so I can sit in the comfort of my apartment in America and do what the Lord asks me to do. God blesses me AND America through those willing to pay the price.

"May God our Father Himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! May the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you." 1 Thessalonians 3:11 The Message

Freely smiling in His service
Charlynn


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Now there was room...

I have always liked the passage in Matthew where Jesus gets mad and clears out the Temple.

It's the kind of Jesus I think we are all waiting on to show up. The One that will set all right with the world; rip open His Jesus togo and expose the Big G (instead of the S for Superman it will be like Super God). He might say something like "Truth, justice and yes folks The American Way." Well, maybe not that part but nonetheless - we need, want and really wait for a hero to come in and save the day. Save us without 9-9-9 or some complicated healthcare reform we just want things fixed and frankly, at this point we are finally realizing we're in one "helluva" mess only God can fix.

"Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling... "My house was designated a house of prayer; you've made it a hangout for thieves."

That's a Texas kinda Jesus, kicking him some b--- and taking names! Heck, He probably had a pair of cowboy boots!

But this time when I read the passage after I adjusted my b-kicking boots and had offered up a few "Go God" exclamations like I had been at the World Series and was bring the runner home, I kept reading the passage.

After Jesus kicks the bad guys out, and sets things right it says:

"...Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus..."

We see what's wrong with that picture NOW we get it. Our churches are filled with coffeehouses, bookstores, youth meeting rooms and all those "things" and programs are worthy, wonderful and great. But is our local Temple (we call church) so full of socializing we're at risk of excluding? Excluding the people who need to see Jesus and be saved? to be healed?...

...and He healed them." Matthew 21:12-14 The Message

The Co-Director, the Director's assistant and I left Thousand Oaks later than planned. They didn't plan on transporting a lot until they saw the 100 pounds of clown paraphernalia, 30 Hawaiian luala shirts I had shipped or what that would look like traveling with three people.

What can I say? It looked like a clown car! We had packed every nook and cranny, under the seats were rolled up blankets, the back had luggage, coconuts, umbrellas, beaches in a bottle and all manner of fun the next dew days were going to take us.

Tonight we came together as a team. We trained, we listened and we prayed. Tonight we laid down our fear and anxiety at the throne. We cleared the Temple inside our hearts of self-sufficienctcy and made room.

But really what I saw in a fresh way in the passage was "who" there was now room for: "now there was room for the lame and the blind to come and have a special touch of Jesus! We are expecting that kind of touch for these families the kind of healing they need. We have unloaded the supplies, the costumes, the program materials but more critically, we have emptied our burdens and cares on the One who is so careful towards us!

Please remember to pray for the 9 families coming. God has something extraordinary for them to "taste and see that He is good and He is who He says He is.

Emptying with a smile
Charlynn

Please remember financial support for the ministry. Our donations have reached an historic low. I take that to mean something historic is about to happen!

To make a donation online: visit or website www.sunshineefterrain,org

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

E Ticket Ride

If you've ever been to Disneyland or Magic Kingdom there is a good possibility you're familiar with the term "E Ticket Ride." If you haven't and you're wondering if I am referring to some new form of ticketless air travel let me give you Wikipedia's definition:

The phrase E Ticket (or E ticket ride) refers to an unusually interesting, thrilling or expensive experience. It derives from the admission system used at Disneyland theme parks before 1982, in which the E ticket admitted the bearer to the newest, most advanced, and/or most popular rides and attractions.

And in a whole lot less words "fun with a capital F!"

Unusually interesting and thrilling - that's the adventure I am preparing to embark on over the next two weeks. Of course it's a great deal different than Disneyland, but the first part of the adventure does begin in California. I leave Tuesday for my eleventh mission to serve with Joni and Friends at a Wounded Warrior Getaway (soldiers don't retreat). There is fun planned around every corner: rock climbing and a rock band, hot air balloon rides, spa time for the women, and a carnival with a special appearance from Care EE the clown. When I return, I'll head down to San Antonio for a reunion of all the soldiers and their families that have attended over the past four years. It is sure to be a great blessing for all!

When questioned by the media, celebrities and championship winning athletes are paid for their endorsements and to say, "I'm going to Disneyland." But no paycheck or promise was given to a Master Sergeant as he expressed his thanks for being able to attend the Wounded Warrior event. It was with sincerity of heart and experiencing the love and peace of our Savior that lead him to say, "This is better than Disneyland!"

E Ticket holder with a smile,
Charlynn


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lifted

"Your love is liftin' me higher than "Your love is liftin' me higher than I've ever been lifted before..." Rita Coolidge

Every morning this week the fog has been thick across the bay. Today was no different. As I walked toward the dining room, I noticed a crowd gathered at the window looking outside. "Curious," I thought to myself since all they can see is fog. But as I joined them, I saw what had grabbed their attention - a hot air balloon rising into the mist!

The soldiers and their families were eagerly waiting their turn to take flight and be lifted. The main purpose in these gatherings of wounded warriors is to do something similar spiritually and emotionally. In the presence of the "fog" of disability, mental state and circumstance they are lifted to see a different perspective on their situation.

"....Now once, I was down hearted, disappointment was my closest friend..."

They have had a few days away from the regimented life of the military, the schedules for treatment, the questions without answers, and the absence of joy. They have been lifted out of wheelchairs into the basket of a balloon, and even strapped into a tandem para-sail to take flight! They have shared stories and shed tears, but rest assured they have laughed more in these past few days than they have since they returned from the war zone.

"...But you came, he soon departed, and he never showed his face again..."

The children have bonded with other kids whose parents have been affected by disability. They have understood they are not alone. They have learned Bible stories, enjoyed crafts, played games and busted a pinata filled with enough candy to keep every dentist on the East Coast employed.

There were boat rides, fish caught, rock walls climbed, extreme swings swung, zip lines zipping, chicken dancing and open mic karaoke.

The talent came out as their inhibitions faded. I was touched at the renditions of love songs husbands sang to their seated wives. One soldier made his way slowly limping toward the stage with his cane. He apologized but related he really wanted to share this one song. Most of the lyrics have escaped me but the most painful and poignant, "I just wanna go home."

They have thanked us repeatedly, they have embraced us often, they have been served completely, and they have been loved well.

"...I can stand up and face the world again..."

High and smiling
Charlynn

PRAY
For hearts to be eternally changed as the Gospel is shared tomorrow

For those struggling with faith issues to experience healing and comfort

For the children who need to make a decision for Christ to do so

For continued spiritual and emotional healing of the trauma of war

For comfort and mercy

For safe travel

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lost at Sea

"There's a man across the sea, never heard the sound of freedom ring, only in his dreams..." Where There is Faith by 4Him

As the sun set across the Chesapeake Bay, a warrior walked to the edge of the embankment with his wife and two small children. They held hands and watched the crimson ball sink behind the treetops. It made for a beautiful photo opportunity as the family's silhouette was captured in the changing hues of a closing day.

Across an ocean too vast for our comprehension many of his friends are still fighting. And although he is not carrying a weapon on the war front, he is learning to do battle with a new enemy; one that has invaded the very personal territory of his mind.

Americans have little understanding or appreciation for freedom because we have never been persecuted and jailed for speaking our mind, anytime, anywhere. However, as believers, we all can grasp the bondage of sin and the freedom and deliverance faith in Christ brings to us. Yet, too often we fail in fighting the good fight in "bringing many sons to glory!"

I received an email from our host in Tanzania today. She asked for prayer for the horrible ferry accident that killed so many. The best friend of her daughter had two brothers aboard the ferry that night. They were Christians. They were saved - from death at sea that night but more critically from eternal separation from the Father.
Ninety-nine percent of the people that were lost at sea really were lost!

A father, a fighter, a soldier, and a saint stood upon the shoreline tonight. He was willing to cross an ocean so that others might taste the freedom he cherishes.

Thank you for faithfully supporting the work of Sunshine After Ministries that we may continue to "throw out the lifeline for someone who's sinking today."

Setting sail for souls

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shaken not Stirred

"He's told us this quite plainly—He'll also rock the heavens: "One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern." The phrase "one last shaking" means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered."

We must have had some junk to rid ourselves of before the soldiers and their families arrived. When our team met this morning for training the retreat director stood to speak, said "We need to pray," and then stepped away as the composure fell from her eyes like the rain we had heard all night. Another staff member stood up and told us our trainer (the director's sister) had walked away from the breakfast table and gone back to her room violently ill! To add injury to insult their ailing elderly father had just been admitted to the hospital and was failing to improve. And as if "Murphy's" law of averages weren't already against us, the forecast for the evening (all our programs with the soldiers and their families were scheduled outside) a severe thunderstorm from 5:30 to midnight!

When life brings you to your knees, there is only one thing to do

clear a spot and worship God!

That we did. We surrounded the director, extended our hands, opened our hearts, and burst into the throne room of our King with boldness. We rose from a kneeling position, armed with the full armor of God equipped to do battle for the wounded souls of men, women and children who would arrive in a few hours.

The schedule was adjusted, the training was modified, rooms were decorated, supplies were assembled we were prepared, and we kept praying. A few attending drove here on their own, but the majority of the 23 families came in a military transport bus from Bethesda Walter Reed Medical Center two hours away. Kids and adults came out of the monstrous "rock-star" style caravan and were met with ample and able helping hands and hearts. There was only one soldier left on the bus who was making his way out the back utilizing the lift for his motorized wheelchair. The sun was shining, the birds were singing there was laughter in the air and the devil in the details (again/still). About six inches down from the platform the lift stopped! No going up, no going down; stuck six feet in the air like a roller coaster ride gone awry.

Alrighty then! Misery, your friend company just arrived.

Several mechanical-minded men began to work on the solution - because there definitely was a problem. The soldier remained good-natured and patient during the process in spite of the sun shining directly on his side of the bus. Our hearts skipped a beat when the lift made a crushing sound and dropped about 6 inches.
By the time the repair was complete and he made it off the bus it was time for the activities to begin.

We had something to celebrate -

the freedom we enjoy

that cost him both his legs.

From the start of things, the next few days will be an unforgettable time for us all.

We laughed, we played games, we danced (the young man led the conga line with his wheelchair) and we sent lanterns soaring into the CLEAR night sky.

I've had my share recently of "boat moments," when it seemed like a "sleeping Jesus" was not being mindful of my circumstance. Sometimes it definitely "feels" like He IS sleeping (or looking the other way) but the Word clearly says, "He never slumbers or sleeps."

Our day began with a storm of circumstances that were definitely out of our control. Our evening ended knowing our Master is at the helm of this ship. He controls the wind and the waves. He is speaking "peace" in the place of war.

There is healing in His wings!

Clear and uncluttered
Running
Not weary
Walking
Not fainting
And smiling still

Charlynn

PRAY!

For the leadership: for the health of our trainer and licensed counselor who is in charge of the breakout session; for their father to see improvement in his health condition; for their mother to have peace about her two daughters not being at her side

For the volunteers: joy, joy, joy. For patience! 17 children under 4. That's a handful and a handful of dirty diapers to boot. Pray for peace for the children as they make a separation from their parents tomorrow morning. For the 6 other children aged 8-14 to have some good old-fashioned fun, to have life changing encounters with Jesus

For the soldiers: many who are experiencing their first family break together. And as one of the Texas attendees said, "it is better than Disneyland." That the Getaway would be a safe and emotionally healing environment

For the caregivers: to be validated and ministered to equally as important as the wounded warrior

For a supernatural hedge of protection around the facility and the health of everyone. The enemy would love to shoot sniper fire at the "field workers." Let no weapon formed against us prosper!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

United We Stand

"Take on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:13

I'm listening to praise music before I finally call it a day, and it has been a long one. I left my house at 3:45AM to head out for the airport and catch my 5:00 flight to Philadelphia via Detroit. Driving in the dark, barely conscious I came to all my senses and awareness when I reached the north entrance to the airport only to see it SHUT DOWN and under construction. There I was detouring through Grapevine praying not to have a flat tire or a fainting spell. "Lord, just get me on that plane!"

He did, and here I am, trained up, prayed up and armor on! The setting is beautiful, the volunteers ready willing and able and God - well He is a palpable presence! Kneel with us for the "standing" days ahead

Suiting up and smiling
Charlynn

SPECIFIC PRAYER REQUESTS:

Warriors and Families: packing and preparing to be at the getaway; ease tense situations, bring supernatural peace to their spirits

Program Team: Logistics and their energy, Weather! Many of the activities are outdoors on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. Another rain storm came in this evening. Pray it stops and goes south to Texas.

Child Leaders and Workers: 17 children UNDER the age of 4! 9 of those are UNDER 2!!! Pray for good rockers, few tears and lots of naps.

Middle School Child Workers: Energy, fun and an atmosphere where they can be safe to be kids

Caregiver Sessions: pray for emotional healing and spiritual blessings to be abundant

Warrior Sessions: pray for the soldiers to feel comfortable sharing. At past retreats this has been an opportunity for them to begin the healing from the trauma of war so needed.

Host Table: a place where soldiers and their families can grab a snack, chat with the hosts and get to know each other

Worship Team/Speakers: pray for open hearts to hear the comfort of the Father. Pray for ministering angels to walk alongside those in attendance

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Who Will Roll the Stone?

"And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" Mark 16:3

I have aged!

In the time since my return from East Africa another birthday has been crossed off the calendar and I am one year older and wiser. How much longer can I, will I continue to make these trans-oceanic flights? As noted, I am NOT getting any younger, the travel is not getting easier, but my burden for the lost and broken of this world is growing greater. We are all one day closer to heaven whether or not we realize or admit it.

In one of our final meetings with the leadership in Tanzania, our host affirmed how difficult the whole process had been. She related the scripture in Mark when the women went to the tomb of their Master with oils to anoint His body. They KNEW they had no way to get in to do the job, but they went anyway.

She turned to us and said, "Sisters, there was so much that you did not know, but you came anyway! What was impossible for us to accomplish God had already taken care of."

Once again, I am packing up the "oils of ministry" and setting off for a "tomb" I have no way of entering. This weekend I will be heading up to Maryland to work with Wounded Warriors who are undergoing treatment at military facilities on the East Coast.

The opportunity came with short notice and little time to request funding. But when I heard the soldiers and their families arrive ON September 11, I knew it was a place I had to be.

For this generation, remembering "Where were you on 9-11?" has become the same iconic question that for my generation was "Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated?" This year marks the tenth anniversary of the attack and the day the world changed forever.

Soldiers went off to foreign soil to protect and defend, to be wounded and die, and to be forever altered mentally by the horror and tragedy of a broken world under the influence of evil and terror.

It is with great honor that I serve those who selflessly guard my freedom.

Pray for divine encounters

Pray for spiritual and emotional healing

Pray for the weather as the East Coast is currently being affected by the tropical storms

Pray for FUN! This getaway offers the family a reprieve from the medical and military environment that has become their new normal

Pray for the speakers and leadership to be directed by the Holy Spirit to influence the hearts and minds of those attending

Pray for the volunteers (like me) who are showing up for duty!

Pray for ministry funding that continues to be at an all time low

"And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land..." Ezekiel 22:30

Getting out the bricks and mortar with a smile!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Do the Work...

... of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:5

Dark has fallen hard on this last night we will spend in Africa. Once again I find myself under the false security of the mosquito net that encapsulates my bed. I may be protected from the flying blood suckers outside, but as it takes a full five minutes to straighten and arrange the flimsy curtain, I surely trapped at least a dozen or more inside with me. My legs are a witness to my exposure!

I crossed an ocean, battled porters, resettled into a new hotel, had our last day of conferences AND preached a sermon this morning to the English speaking congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church here in Dar es Salaam since our last report. All I could think of as I lay my head on the pillow (well other than trying to swat the beasts that were besetting me) was "I am SPENT!"

I remembered Paul's note to Timothy where he said, "I am already being poured out like a drink offering, AND THE TIME HAS COME FOR MY DEPARTURE." 2 Timothy 4:6

I'm preparing for another departure:
We are homeward bound tomorrow at 1:00 pm CST.

I have fought another good fight on foreign soil.
We have held two Women's Leadership Conferences, a Training Seminar for Sunday School teachers and evangelists and concluded today with a "short-notice" sermon when the youth leader scheduled fell ill.

I have finished the race:
Over 200 women and men were discipled and encouraged, strengthened and motivated in their Christian walk.

I have kept the faith:
In spite of dwindling resources, inadequate funding, little budget input, no information about where we would stay - we came. We believed we were called according to God's plan and purpose and He would make a way.

He certainly did!


Spent, spilled out, but smiling
In His service
Charlynn in dark Dar

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Titus for Terrorists

Our last conference in Zanzibar was with a group of evangelists and Sunday School teachers. We were blessed to speak freely without shouting over the noisy neighbors' loudspeakers.

The "Goliath" (the incessant sound emanating from the mosque) we slew the previous day was still silent. We spent our time sharing effective techniques for reaching children with the Good News.

The attendees were eager to learn and engaging. After each session they asked questions without hesitation. They openly shared their frustrations in the classrooms and the real problem of persecution.

"These are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone put you down." Titus 2:15

I'm thankful for Paul's instruction to Titus; the scriptures served me well during the meeting. This short letter from the apostle Paul gives instructions to a leader in the hostile territory of Crete. Paul explains why he left Titus behind on the island nation he described as being filled with "liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons." (Titus 1:12)

When they started sharing how in their houses, if they are singing or they have Christian music on; even if they meet together for a meal, their neighbors accuse them of having a church and they are promptly evicted even though their rent is paid for the entire year. In the government operated school system, the religion of Islam as well as the Arabic language is mandatory teaching. Their houses, places of business, schools and churches are often targeted for destruction and vandalism. Their jobs (if they can find one) are at risk if anyone accuses them of spreading their beliefs.

If not for Titus, I would have felt woefully inadequate to address such issues but Paul says, "Let no one put you down." What matters in this situation is I know GOD knows how to address the issues. I know God is faithful in ALL situations. I know God cares deeply for ALL His childrens sufferings. I know God brought us to Zanzibar "for such a time as this."

This island and its inhabitants are no better or worse than Crete and its Creatians. The believers are there not just to find employment in the tourist industry, but to take back enemy territory! The are modern day Titus' that will conquer the terrorism of Islam. I asked the participants if their house or their job was worth the eternal salvation of their neighbor? I reminded them of the war zone they are in for the spiritual freedom and lives of their nation.

After the meeting we spent time with the five women's leaders who organized the conference. They humbly thanked us for bringing the women from across the island together. With tears in their eyes they expressed their gratitude for the money we brought that paid for the transportation, the meals, and the tea times. "We would never have been able to have this kind of meeting where women can be encouraged and trained for Christian life and work. We have no way to raise this kind of money." They were moved to hear of the prayers around the world being said on their behalf.

Our thanks to all who supported the work here in Zanzibar financially. We understand the current economic difficulties in the United States have created an environment where giving is lower than ever in the 16 year history of our ministry. But when I hear the impact and experience first-hand the fruits of the harvest I am encouraged to keep asking so that we can keep going and making disciples in all nations!

I know the people of Zanzibar are worth whatever sacrifice I am asked to make, for Christ already determined their value (and mine) by dying on the cross to purchase freedom for the slaves.

One of my favorite verses to quote is found sandwiched in the middle of the book. Perhaps I quote it often because I feel it fits me well: "And purify unto Himself a PECULIAR people zealous of good works." Titus 2:14

Peculiarly smiling
Zealous in His service
Charlynn


"Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all." Titus 3:15

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Oak in Ophrah

"The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah...and the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:11-12

We walked from the car to the Pastor's office and the sound coming from the mosque was deafening. It was louder than the previous day's chants and the some voices sounded feminine. We asked the Pastor if women were allowed to make pronouncements. He shook his head and told us that these were not women but the voices of children. "It seems they have decided to hold a contest today for the reciting of the Koran. These are young boys who have memorized these verses." I had to shake MY head. If evangelicals were half as committed and enthusiastic to memorize the Bible and pray even three times a day, the world would be a different place.

We entered the sanctuary and began the conference trying hard to speak loudly enough to be heard above the cacophony coming from behind us. From 10:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon there was not one breath or break in the consistency of the speaking. All throughout our lunch the voices were louder and louder. I sat trying not to get indigestion, and then I had an inspiration!

I remembered the Israelite army sitting for forty days in the Valley of Elah listening to the mocking of their God. It wasn't until the little brother of three of the soldiers showed up with some cheese that things changed. David asked, "Who is this uncircumscised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" 2 Samuel 17:26

We had been told earlier that the mosque knew there was something happening at the church because of all the arrivals. This was their response. They were harassing us with their noise! I turned to my teammate and said, "Eureka in Zanzibar! (not really) I know what we have to do! We have to have the congregation stand here in the corner and read the passage about David and Goliath." When the interpreter asked if we were ready to begin after lunch, I explained the battle plan. I gave her the passage for the women. (1 Samuel 17:16-58) "Tell everyone with a Bible to bring it to this wall facing the mosque. We will read the scripture aloud together. For those who don't have a Bible let them give the amen, after the verses."

We started reading, Debi and I in English and all the Africans in Kiswahili. We got louder, the mosque got louder, we kept reading and amen-ing! When the passage was over the women all returned to their seats. I shared with them an account I heard about an orphanage in Mexico. A girl was about to be returned to relatives who had every intention to sell her into prostitution. The director did not know what to do as this was their legal right. She desperately phoned a friend to help her. Perhaps the older friend would have more influence with the authorities. The police arrived, the relatives arrived, the friend arrived, the girl was crying, chaos was abounding. When suddenly the friend stood up, took out her Bible and began to read aloud; verse after verse after verse after verse. The police were confused, the relatives were confused - was this woman crazy? She just kept reading. They soon saw the woman was not to be shaken or moved by the antics. They walked out and left the girl behind never to return again. The director was relieved and expecting her friend to offer some comfort or something. Instead, she said, "You didn't have to call me. Never forget you have the greatest weapon and all you need to fight any battle you are in!" Not exactly what she was expecting.

I related this story and at the conclusion the women were saying, "Amen" in agreement with the victory at the orphanage. Perhaps as you read this you are saying amen as well. I asked them to listen. They turned to each other quizzically. "What do you hear?" They looked around still not sure of the answer I was looking for.

"Listen!" I repeated.

For the first time in six hours the speakers of the mosque were absolutely silent.

"And everyone gathered here will learn that God doesn't save by means of sword or spear. The battle belongs to God..." 2 Samuel 17:47

AMEN INDEED!

I shared the story in Judges of Gideon; how he gathered a huge army to fight against the enemies of Israel. In the end God took less than one percent of the army to bring about defeat. I looked at the small number of women gathered at the church in the backyard of the mosque and said, "You are God's one percent. Less than one percent of the nation of Zanzibar is Christian, when the enemy falls the living God will get all the credit."
"On this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hell will not prevail." Matthew 16:18

Our time with these women was brief; two days does not seem nearly enough given the weight of their issues and the circumstances they face. We are confident that we have used the time wisely in training them with love, equipping them with the Word, and showing them God DOES fight with us and for us.

We begin our conference with the Sunday School teachers tomorrow. Pray for continued silencing of the enemy and his minions from the minarets!

"One more thing friends: Pray for us. Pray that the Master's Word will simply take off and race through the country of Zanzibar to a groundswell response..." 2 Thessalonians 3:1 The Message (paraphrased)

Stones in my pocket, armed, dangerous and smiling in His service


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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Heat Advisory

"...and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." 2 Peter 3:10

The sweat rolled down our cheeks. Our carefully couiffed hairdos soon wilted in the sweltering humidity. The boiling hot coffee wasn't helping to keep our core temperature in check. We finally got relief when we walked outside of the church office.

"Ahhh, a cool breeze, I was dying in there!" We said in unison. And as quickly as we made the exclamation, we both looked at each other and realized 86 degrees with high humidity is nothing compared to Texas, where the weather is still over 100 degrees!

When we left Texas a week ago the consecutive number of days (31) ranked #2 for the all time record. Each day since our arrival I have received an alert from The Weather Channel set to my area. Like a broken record it reads, "Heat Advisory in Effect, take caution...be aware...prepare yourself..."

Charlynn Johns and Debi Slaver arrived in Zanzibar praying to be more than a "Heat Advisory" (although I assure you the Bible specifically mentions hell as a lake of fire, burning hot.) We are here to encourage and equip the women to endure the fiery trials of the enemy but also to follow the advice of Jude 23 and "snatch them (their Muslim neighbors) from hell."

Today we taught about identity in Christ. The God who calls them by name. We spoke of love; loving God, loving themselves and then loving others. Those are "feel good" things to teach. But when the time came for questions and answers...

A woman stood and speaking quickly in Kiswahili told her story and asked the relevant, and in game show terms "The $64,000 question.

"How can I show love when my Muslim neighbors are trying to burn my house down for using it as a church? I am sneaking the children out after dark in case they try and kill us at night...?"

As facilitator of the discussion I quickly pointed out our cultural differences. I pointed out our skin color (they laughed at my white skin like a glow worm!) Why or how would I have something relevant to say to this obviously frightened woman? I internally ask myself that quite a few times. Who am I?

Who am I? Was actually the theme of my topic. I have the authority, because it has been given to me by Christ! I have the wisdom through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and I can "bet the farm" because I walk through the valley of the shadow of death to lead me beyond a shadow of a doubt -

God is who He says He is!

If I explained my "Boat moment" of mounting debt crisis and lack of ministry funding, she might just slap me for comparing the two. "Lady you are comparing some finances to my HOUSE being burned down and my children possibly being burned alive to your silly American mess you have got yourself into?"

Don't alarm yourselves. We did not have this confrontation. But at any given time no matter who you are, what your are fretting, panicking, acting on hard core facts of imminent danger none of that changes the fact the God IS GOD.

Here's the mystery:

"The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church... If ONE part hurts, EVERY OTHER PART IS INVOLVED IN THE HURT

and in the healing.". 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 The Message

We didn't come to fight their neighbors or convince those torch-weilders the house used as a church is a good thing. We are not here as negotiating lawyers, or medical doctors to heal their ailments. We are here representing the Body of Christ (that would be you) to preach Christ and Him crucified.

When we walked outside of a hot room on the other side of the world, we immediately thought of our "brothers and sisters" in the deadly heat affecting the southwest. But can you tell me, when you walked out into that deadly heat, did you think of the 900,000 people of Zanzibar who will perish in ETERNAL heat? Did your discomfort cause you to think about those who right now tonight are sneaking their children out a back door through the village to keep them from being burned alive just because a church meets in their home?

Their is a heat advisory here in Zanzibar. The heat may come after people die under the false doctrine, the heat may come through the persecution of the believers. One thing is certain, this is no "greenhouse effect"! My personal flames flare when I listen to the enemy tell me I am not enough, I am too weird, way too white, and extraordinarily tall by compare.

"Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:16-17

Pray for the equipping of the saints! Enter into the sufferings, bear their burdens and thus fulfill the law! Pray for extra-ordained days.

God is who He says He is!

Carrying the fire hose
With a smile
Charlynn

Monday, August 08, 2011

Ruins

"It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to You; night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to You." Psalm 139:12 The Message

I'm sitting here on a queen-size bed in my hotel in Zanzibar. The four-posters surrounding me keep the mosquito net from becoming a spider trap in the middle of the night when I must wake up and rid myself of a portion of the three liters of water I have consumed throughout my day. My teammate sits across from me with the ever handy Strong's Concordance to search for relevant scriptures to describe our day's experience. We discuss how King James (Strong's notes the KJV) would say wilderness or ruins or fragrance. We are engaged in a lively discussion, and then

the lights go out.

We both laugh, because anticipating the nightly event, I have my handy (though ridiculous looking) camping headlight affixed to my forehead.

"What are some verses on darkness" I ask, since all other references have become seemingly irrelevant in the quiet blackness of our room. It is all the same to Him! And as I write 10,000 miles from my homeland it IS actually light there.

Today was our last day of preparation. We assembled gift bags for the Conference attendees, and gathered our subject materials. When we finished we had time to visit a small beach and take a walk. My teammate wanted to inquire about boat rentals and we set off down the shoreline towards the pier.

As we were walking, I noticed a dilapidated stone building and called out for them to wait up. I climbed up the banks and saw a small inconspicuous sign that read "Mtoni Palace Ruins." Intrigued, I asked our driver if he would check out if there was a guide for the location. He returned with the resident archaeologist who proceeded to give us an amazing history lesson and detailed explanation of the locale.

The structure was the first palace built on the island, by an Arab who came from Oman. He called the place in ZANZIBAR (transliterated) Arabic meaning "The Desert Place," because there was not one tree on the island. The Sultan brought plants from India and other exotic lands and created a nation known for its "spice." It wasn't long before he expanded his exports to include the trafficking of human slaves. Ghana, West Africa was the export capital of slavery to Europe and the Americas but for India, China, Russia and nations East the place to purchase people was Zanzibar.

We walked through the ruins, heard the history and I thought of the legendary pain and suffering this Arab man and his descendants brought to this land. After the coming of Livingstone and the exposure of the cruel inhumanity, the practice stopped but the religion of the Arabs remained. The Sultan turned a desert nation into a visible garden of Edenic spice but left it a spiritual desert

Tomorrow we begin the conference to nurture and nourish the believers here. We are putting hoes of hope, rakes of restoration, and wheel barrows of the Word into the hands and hearts of the laborers here. Pray for the fallow ground!

"The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom." Isaiah 35:1

We are equipping the saints, making disciples of all nations and building up the ruins of souls decimated by deception.

"Tell fearful souls, "Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He's on His way! He'll save you!" Isaiah 35:4 The Message

Pray for wisdom, discernment and more and more and more and more to be said and shared. Our conference time was increased today an additional two hours. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill the time!

"This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. " 1 John 1:5

This little light o' mine
I'm gonna let it shine!

In the dark night with His Light
Charlynn

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Back to Dalmanutha

"He got in the boat with His disciples, and went to the region of Dalmanutha." Mark 8:10

It seems that my time in Zanzibar continues to follow a "boat" theme! The few days before our departure, definitely felt like Jesus was "asleep" in the boat during the middle of my storm. And though my spirit and anxiety have at times improved, the "waves" on an ocean of circumstances well beyond our control remain.

Last year I wrote regarding "Dalmanutha" and the fact that while I had read the verses and remember the account of the feeding of the four thousand, the "region of Dalmanutha," never remained in my memory. This morning during the church service the Pastor read the passage in Mark and I felt like I had returned to a familiar neighborhood. "Dalmanutha, nice place to visit, but you have to take a boat to get there."

Zanzibar, nice place to visit, but you have to take a boat to get here.

The sound is exotic, but do you remember why you know of Zanzibar? I thought about Zanzibar like Dalmanutha. What do I know and why exactly do I even know about this small island off the coast of Tanzania? Is it the Bing Crosby and Bob Hope film "Road to Zanzibar" that created the buzz about this distant land? Is it the spice exports they are famous for? I just can't recall, but for certain as we "took a boat" to get here I knew it's a place that needs to know Jesus.

Yesterday we arrived after our brief intermission at the YWCA in Dar es Salaam. We both decided that while it was safe, we were definitely too old for a shared restroom at the end of a long hallway. At breakfast, the canteen was filled with a variety of bohemian-looking youth (dread locks, torn jeans, and tube tops). After our breakfast of bread and mixed-meat weenie we were off for the boat.

Here's our dilemma: two middle-aged very light-skinned women with two hundred pounds in four bags two carry-ons and a back pack trying to negotiate through three hundred very dark-skinned Africans with a few pieces of hand luggage. The porters (who I vehemently warned about touching the above stated two hundred pounds) actually mocked us about trying to get down to the dock. We finally relented and let a porter negotiate through the crowd, load our heavy burdens on the boat and be off!

I was glad we were not on the "slow boat to China," but the fast boat to Zanzibar which still took over two hours across rough seas. "Jesus, are you awake yet? We are going to need some help getting off this boat."

We docked and stood among the crowd who were trying to collect belongings which ranged from new bedspreads and coconuts to the backpacks of a group of bohemians. Reasonable porters appeared and took our bags to the immigration area where we became official entrants into ZANZIBAR!

We were met by the Pastor and after a quick lunch we took a tour of the site of the ancient slave market. A huge stone cathedral now stands where human beings were tortured, beaten and held in chains and auctioned off like livestock. Our guide told us the story of the explorer Stanley Livingstone, who in his search for the source of the Nile stumbled upon the brutality of slavery in Zanzibar. After seeing the atrocities perpetrated here in this land, he left his primary occupation and began a fight to abolish the practice. A crucifix made from the tree he died under is in the church; a golden plaque recorded the following:

"To the glory of God and in memory of Livingstone and other explorer men good and brave, who to advance knowledge set free the slave and hasten Christ's Kingdom in Africa, loved not their lives, even unto death."

Dalmanutha was famous because Jesus was there. One reason Zanzibar is famous - because two thousand years later a follower of Jesus came here and began the process of abolishing the slave trade the area was infamous for - Dr. Livingstone you may presume.

We are here this week to abolish the slavery of false doctrines. Six hundred thousand people live on the island but less than 6,000 claim Christ as King. Today during the church service the loudspeakers from the mosque next door competed with the praise. We were told whenever permission is given to build a church, the locals immediately put a mosque next to it. The loudspeakers may drown out the sound but they cannot drown out the Truth.

"If the Son sets you free you will be free indeed." John 8:36

Waiting to hear ALL God's children say, "Free at last, free at last, thank God we're free at last"

Following in Livingstone's footsteps
Smiling
Charlynn

Friday, August 05, 2011

Afar in Dar

Just a quick note to say we have arrived safely, along with all our luggage!

We are trying to sleep fast with entangling ourselves in the duct-tape patched mosquitoes nets covering our beds. I am quite sure I will be the feast for at least one hundred lucky beasts who snuck inside before I could tuck the net down. They were swarming in our little YWCA hostel.

Before you start feeling too sorry for us, here in the hinterlands, fighting infections and insects, and I sing myself a pitiful lullaby, God graced us undeservedly by giving us a Business Class upgrade from Zurich to Dar. We slept long and well and ate like queens. Now back to reality.

Pray for our protection tonight. I have my little door alarm jammed up to the entrance so we should be okay.

Pray for our rest and recovery as we must wake up in a few hours to get to the boat to Zanzibar.

Pray for our luggage and transfers

Pray for our health

Pray for all the women who are preparing to hear what the Lord has brought for them.

Pray for the salvation of an island nation steeped in the traditions of ancient Islamic culture

Just pray

Remembering the airplane fondly
Smiling in His service
Charlynn


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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Night Cometh

Last night, much of the nation watched the Presidential address on the economy. I'm not sure anything new was learned or forth coming. The fact there is no easy solution for our nation's "debt crisis" isn't a surprise. Who IS going to pay?

The news commentators have a good deal to say about the debt. The President certainly had his fifteen minutes last night to "speak to the nation" on the crisis. The senators, legislators and economists all add their fair share to the expanding conversation. I confess my lack of understanding really anything about the conflicting barrage of information down right bored me.

Until

I heard the Christian End-times commentator Hal Lindsey present this very simple yet horrifying fact:

IF

A million seconds = 12 days
A billion seconds = 32 years
A trillion seconds = 32,000 years

At the rate of
$1 per second
$60 per minute
$3,600 per hour
$86,400 per day

Paying back the amount of money the USA has BORROWED the first 7 months of the fiscal year 2011 would take

27,808 YEARS to pay back

For some reason no one is saying that!

"I must work the works of Him who sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work." John 9:4

When I consider the FACTS regarding the state of our national economy, I understand better the economic debt crisis Sunshine After Rain Ministries is facing. As difficult as our country's crisis is, and as difficult as all of our combined individual crisis' are, they are small by compare to what our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world are facing today.

"...there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, EVERY PART suffers with it." 1 Corinthians 12:26

I have to wonder if our failure to regard the welfare of others (and I am not speaking nation to nation, but believer to believer) hasn't brought on some of our present suffering?

But suffering and lack is something they are familiar with. They have faced those same crisis' each and every day of their lives:

No clean water
No access to medical help
No consistent source of food
No civil rights
No education
No freedom to worship

No BIBLES
No churches
No Pastors
No Evangelists

"How can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As is it written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News!" Romans 10:14-15

Barefoot and Broke
But still smiling in His service,

We appreciate the partnership you have faithfully offered. Go online today! NOW your financial contribution will make a significant impact:

2011 TANZANIA WOMENS CONFERENCE SPONSORSHIP:

$15 Sponsors one woman or church lay leader
$100 Sponsors Tea Break for conference attendees
$250 Sponsors One Lunch for conference attendees
$100 ponsors overhead costs for Tanzania Leadership


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501c3 organization. All donations are considered tax deductible. For more information or to make a donation by credit card online, please visit our website: www.sunshineafterrain.org

Monday, July 11, 2011

Champions

It’s been a while since the Dallas Mavericks won the MBA Championship. While there are still signs posted near the arena proclaiming them as the 2011 World Champions, the buzz and pride felt in the city has faded like a wilting flower in this summer’s 100+ degree heat. The Mavericks were seen as the “underdogs” in the finals and with each victory, came the renewed hope that they just make take it “all the way.” They were victorious in spite of the fact they were not playing on their home court. They returned to Dallas and the Most Valuable Player (Dirk Nowitzki) sang from the balcony an off-key rendition of “We Are the Champions” for the tens of thousands of fans gathered to celebrate. I don’t think he cared about what he sounded like, he was singing to the cheers of those gathered to support and celebrate with the team.

 

"...all these veterans cheering us? It means we'd better get on with it.  Strip down, start running and never quit!" Hebrews 12:1 The Message

 

In a few short weeks, Sunshine After Rain Ministries will return to Tanzania to lead a conference for women and lay church workers. We are returning this year because of the overwhelming response to our past conferences:

 

            “I never thought that God knew me by my name. Now I know that my name is important and God knows me and calls me by my name, I will live by this.”

 

            “I always knew that I should love others. Knowing this, I really loved my husband, my children, my friends and my neighbors. But what surprised me is that my love had boundaries and I need to also love myself.”

 

            “The joy was seen in the women at Olokii where 150 Bibles were distributed. There were some women who really were in need of reading the Word of God, but had no Bibles.”

 

 

"This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life or death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels."

Eph 6:12 The Message

 

I know we will not return home to a parade or gathered crowds of people singing. But this I do know, there is a cloud of witnesses in heaven that is cheering on our mission. They are cheering for the obedience to the call of Christ, “Go, make disciples.” They are eager to see the women and lay workers encouraged to build up the local body of believers. They don’t care about the Dallas Mavericks, but they do care about the thousands of lost souls living in Zanzibar under the veil of false gods. Less than 3% of the population identify themselves as Christians. It is an area the local evangelicals have been unable to penetrate. Our goal is to bring encouragement, discipleship and evangelism tools to help advance the territory of the King.

 

We appreciate the partnership you have faithfully offered. Now more than ever your financial contribution is critically needed and makes a significant impact:

 

 

2011 TANZANIA WOMENS CONFERENCE SPONSORSHIP:

 

$15                 Sponsors one woman or church lay leader

$100               Sponsors Tea Break for conference attendees

$250               Sponsors One Lunch for conference attendees

$100               Sponsors overhead costs for Tanzania Leadership

 

 

 

To see an inspiring look at women of Africa participating in past conferences check out our video on YouTube.

 

We are looking for our true home and our true reward, for we know we are more than conquerors, we are more than MBA Champions. We are servants and children of the Most High God!

 

 

"How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain they are looking for their true home." Hebrews 11:13-14 The Message

 

 

 

 

 


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501c3 organization. All donations are considered tax deductible. For more information or to make a donation by credit card online, please visit our website: www.sunshineafterrain.org

 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Good Reason to Go on iTunes

We are now officially in the 21st Century. Just when you thought you wouldn’t have anything new this summer for you iPhone or iPad the Summer 2011 release of “A Good Reason to Go” comes along. And to think I resisted switching to the iPhone!

If you have an iTunes account, please be the first to write a review and recommend to all your techno-savvy friends.

 

Check out this book on the iBookstore:

Cover Art

A Good Reason to Go

Charlynn Johns

Category: Biographies & Memoirs

 

 

iTunes for Mac and Windows

Please note that you have not been added to any email lists.
Copyright © 2011 Apple Inc. All rights reserved

 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Days of Noah

"For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark." Matthew 24:38

I thought I could sleep in today, but alas, I was wide awake at just after 6:00 am. As hard as I tried to close my eyes and convince myself I was still tired and there was nothing I needed to get up and do this early on a Saturday morning, my efforts were futile.

I turned on the television to check out the weather and other overnight news. "I won't even entertain the question, it is going to happen," I heard a geriatric looking gent say. And of course I heard the commentary criticizing and making fun of his message:

Today at 6:00 pm is the End of the World.

No wonder I woke up!

Let me just be clear and go on record before I go any further. I do not believe the Rapture of the Church will occur at 6:00 pm on May 21, 2011. I won't bother quoting scriptures to refute the message or rebuke the man.

But...

Two weeks ago, my friend was preparing to go about his day. It was May 7, 2011. He stepped into the shower. I can't tell you what his plans for the day were, but I can safely say he did not think it would be his last day of consciousness.

He suffered a massive heart attack. His wife heard his body hit the ground and she rushed in and called 911. That day was not the end of the world, but it was certainly the end of their world as they knew it.

We do not know what this day holds for any one of us. Will we go to the grocery store and have a catastrophe hit us unaware? Will an earthquake shake the foundation of the house we live in? Will someone we love and cherish say their last words to us? Only the Father knows such things.

I am not ridiculing the messenger or the message. We MUST be about the Father's business. We MUST seek first the kingdom of God. We MUST be about the Father's business. We MUST be ready to give a reason for our faith in season and out. We MUST be about the Father's business. We MUST live each day truly, as if it were our last. We MUST be about the Father's business.

Because we might just step into the shower...

"Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13

The clock IS ticking
Safely smiling in His service,
Charlynn

Please continue to pray for my friend and her family. Her husband was transferred to a long term acute care facility yesterday. He is still unconscious. He does not know today may be the end of the world. He does not know his shower is over.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interpreter

Across the world I work with interpreters; people who take the words I speak and pronounce them in a language my audience will understand. Too frequently, I have found myself in a foreign land without the valued aid of someone who could speak the language. And while the skill-set of "charades" could be added to my resume, I know in critical times, to have someone around who can interpret your needs, is imperative.

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Romans 8:26

Even without the help of interpreters speaking Swahili or Spanish, I am ever conscious of the Spirit, knowing the Living God is at work in the hearts and minds of the people present. Oswald Chambers wrote on the Romans verse:

"God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can't understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you... to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them.

In this way God is going to touch the whole world."

Presently, I find myself in one of those circumstances I don't understand. I spent almost an entire month away from home, out and about the Father's business. As I looked at my blank calendar for the upcoming weeks I wondered what the Lord would fill my days with. It didn't take long before I received notice of a tragedy in "my own backyard."

The Joni and Friends office in San Antonio, Texas contacted the few people that reside in the DFW area about one of the Wounded Warriors (a female) who has attended 5 of the 7 Retreats. Her husband had a massive heart attack and was in the ICU at a local hospital.

I was shocked. I know the family well. I have been blessed to interact with the soldier and hear her story. The family immigrated to the United States in 2000 with refugee status from Iraq; they are Kurdish (who suffered some of the most horrific persecution and annihilation under Saddam Hussein). She joined OUR army after the bombing of the World Trade Center to return and fight against the evil she knew first hand. She left her home, her husband, and her children to fight for OUR freedom. She knew all too well what life without freedom was like.

She served as an interpreter.

In 2008, the convoy she was in was struck by an IED (improvised explosive device). She suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as wounds to her extremities. The family came to the second Wounded Warrior Getaway in October of 2008 while she was still undergoing treatment for her injuries at Brooke Army Medical Center. They returned every spring and fall for the next two years. Her three teenage children (17, 14 and 12) were definitely missed by many. Her husband was not only her primary caregiver, but he also managed the hectic activities of the children as well. "He did everything for us," she tearfully told me, as she stood over him looking at the various machines monitoring his vital signs.

I can't imagine what she and the children are going through. I couldn't fathom looking at the body of one I cherish, unable to communicate with them...

a tragic circumstance without an explanation, or interpretation.

"God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so we can be there for that person just as God was there for us." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 The Message

Walking alongside the wounded Rallying the troops,
Charlynn


If you are in the DFW and would like to assist the family please contact me for how you or your Bible Study or Church group can help.

If you would like to send a note or card of encouragement and let the family know of your prayers and concern contact me for the address.

The doctors informed her that her husband needs to be transferred to a Long Term Acute Care facility within the next few days. They also made sure she understood there is no hope for his recovery. Although his eyes are open, they have also told her his brain activity is minimal and the man she loved will never return.

Pray!

This transition period will be extremely difficult for everyone in the family as they adjust to life without their primary source of help and comfort. We know our God is able to show Himself through every circumstance. Pray they recognize His presence, mercy, comfort and grace.



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