Friday, December 27, 2013

It's in the Trunk

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

Christmas has come and gone, and retailers are now offering discounts to make up for lower than expected holiday shopping quotas. I don't know if you got what you wanted, deserved or desired. Here is what I do know: The "Gift" we celebrate during the season is not one that can be "earned" or exchanged, we never deserved it, and the Word tells us it was given when we didn't even desire it ("but God shows His love for us in that while we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8) That fact makes me want to sing more carols, and sit in awe knowing Christ came and submitted Himself to being an infant!

Several of my friends recently had babies and they were all dressed up in festive wear for their "Baby's First Christmas" photos. All those sweet pudgy-cheek faces have me contemplating the Christ child even more; His total submission and vulnerability. There is nothing more innocent and exposed than a baby. The portrayal of the horrors of crucifixion were brought to life in the film "The Passion of the Christ." The blood and the pain made me turn away; but the image of the Christ-child draws my heart back to the incomprehensible magnitude of the love of God.

"For this reason I kneel before the Father." Ephesians 3:14

Those little precious bubbling, gurgling faces help me to grasp the patience of Christ to the will of His Father. I have not mastered patience. The Christmas season seems to bring out even more of my flesh (not talking additional calories brought about by feasting) and my frustration. There are lines of shoppers, politically correct sayings (I HATE those), and consumerism rearing its ugly predictable head; "I want MORE, I want it NOW, I deserve it because I've been "good for goodness sake!""

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him." Matthew 7:11

Christmas Eve, I walked outside and happened upon my neighbor opening her trunk and bringing in an armful of packages. She laughed when I caught her in the Santa act, and said, "I'm bringing in the REST of the gifts," as she made haste to get back inside undetected by her little boy. For all Christmas is now in 21st Century America (UPS and FedEx beware), somehow seeing the joy on this mother's face reminded me of The Father and truly the "reason for the season."

Are you praying for something that seems to have alluded you? As the year comes to a close have your expectations of the past 12 months clouded your vision for the coming year? Are you in a season of hope or one of despair? Is this a time of drought or one of bounty?

"Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison; for we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

One of my friends had an opportunity to take their children to Disneyworld as an early Christmas gift. She had known for months in advance of their departure and had concocted an elaborate scheme to surprise them with the news. Whenever we would talk, she shared some new feature to her plan. Some difficult circumstances also came during the interim. I reminded her of how she felt KNOWING what she was about to share with her kids. The joy, the delight, the thrill she experienced plotting and planning for the Big Day when ALL would be revealed. I said, "That's how Big Daddy is feeling! What you see, isn't the whole story. You're present circumstances (and truly suffering) is not the End. There is something far greater than Disney world in your future!"

I think she felt better. I hope she grasped my small attempt at a big concept, and I hope you do as well. You might not have received all you asked for or deserved this past Christmas, you might even have received the ugly-scratchy-wool-sweater-that-you-can't-take-back called "diagnosis cancer" that one of my friends unwrapped for the holidays. You might have shaken the box and heard the shattered glass of broken promises and unamswered prayers, again - still...

Take heart! For the spirit of the Christ-child, come to earth in a lowly manger and in a stinky stable proves our God is good! If it wasn't under the tree

It's in the trunk

Watching and waiting for the packages to be unwrapped on The Day,
Charlynn

It's time for Year End giving. To make a one time financial gift or to set up recurring monthly donations, visit the website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org

Or by post:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Electric Company

The historic Ice-Maggedon (also know as ICE-ca-pacolypse) that came down on North Texas in the beginning of December left over 500,000 people in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex without power at some point in the storm.* For those of us lucky enough to have electricity during those record breaking low temperature days, the non-stop news coverage of school and business closings, road conditions and power company crews on the scene, kept us thankful for the little things like heat and streaming Netflix!

During the deep-freeze of Dallas, hundreds of area churches were CLOSED! You read right - CLOSED. As my Pastor explained the following Sunday, the decision was reached on Saturday when Church Staff members assessed the grounds and realized the parking lots looked more suitable to be skating rinks, not to mention the hazard they posed to parishioners. The Second Sunday of Advent was silent in the sanctuary, but during the Third Advent Sunday, churches were operational and "Open for Business."

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the LIGHT of men." John 1:1-4

Hearing that familiar passage, just days after power (and light) had been restored to the city, renewed not just a sense of the season, but also an awareness of the role of the Church as the "power" company!

When the electricity is out for more than a few hours during the winter, the need is "felt" as a person begins to get cold. Without light, to see in the dark takes flashlights or candles; and what about the economic impact of all the food stored in refrigerators and freezers rotting without the power on? And last but not least Christmas consumers - this weather event DID cut down the number of shopping days!

From the comfort of my warm and illuminated Sanctuary of Solace, I prayed for the thousands of workers I knew had to get out "in" the weather. I prayed for law enforcement, for health care workers, for postal employees, but mostly I prayed for the Electric Company, especially when the news reported technicians being brought in to assist North Texas from SEVEN other states.

"Jesus, once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows Me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in." John 8:21 The Message

What impact would the Church have on the world if we reacted to "those living in darkness," as committed as we respond to neighbors and friends when the power fails?

Joseph Stalin is quoted as saying, "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." You might wonder what's a notorious and nefarious Communist dictator, and an historic weather event doing in a communique seven days before Christmas?

Numbers, my friend. It's all about the numbers.

When I read the "statistic" of 3 BILLION non-Christians in the world, with 1.6 BILLION of those living in East Asia, well I confess I'm not that motivated. It is after all just a statistic with a number too big to wrap my head around, much less my heart. Has the statistic of the "lost" in the world shut down the Church as the Power Company? After all, "those" people are pretty far away from me, not to mention they probably don't even look like me, speak the same language or have the same issues.

When the power fails in a metropolitan city, some of their "issues" like water, food, warmth and electricity, become my problems as well. I can "feel" that. But as a Church how often do we "feel" for those living in "spiritual" darkness?

The workers of electric companies during a weather- related outage, brave the elements to get people "back on line" as soon as possible. They're dealing with life-threatening situations because they appreciate the "need" for electricity and how the crisis is magnified every hour without power. "That's their job," you might respond; and you would be right. But what is OUR job as the Church?

"Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave His charge: "God authorized and commanded Me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you." Matthew 28:18-19 The Message

How much more should we (the Church) work as tirelessly (16-hour shifts during an outage) to see the "reason for the season" shared with those in the dark? What has caused THIS "power outage?" The Holy One of Israel (the reason for the season) has chosen us for the job.

"God also says, 'when the time's ripe, I answer you. When the victory's due, I help you. I form you and USE YOU to reconnect the people with Me.'" Isaiah 49:8 The Message

There are seven more shopping days until we exchange tokens of remembrance (or at least that is what they are supposed to be) of the One who is given, the Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) There are two weeks left in this "Year of Our Lord 2013."

Your generous year-end contribution will assist the ministry of Sunshine After Rain in sharing the Light of the Gospel to a world living without the Power.

"Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of Glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'" Isaiah 58:8 The Message

Standing by the Light switch
Smiling in His Power,
Charlynn

DONATE TODAY by visiting the website: www.sunshineafterrain.org


Or by post:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501 (c)3 organization. All donations are considered tax deductible by the IRS.


*official statement released from Oncor Power Company

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chuck Norris

...never did an Ironman!"

I've been blessed to see and participate in many "inspiring" things in my life. Without reservation, I can tell you watching the athletes of an Ironman competition is the most sacred experience in a secular environment I've ever had. There are so many spiritual parallels found in the dynamics of the race (the motivation, the spectators, the perseverance, and finally crossing the Finish Line).

It's no surprise the Apostle Paul talks about athletes in his letter to the believers in Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:24), and to his friend Timothy (2 Timothy 4:7) as he felt his time on earth was coming to a close; endurance and competition are part of human nature.

I made multiple posters before I went to support my son at the race. The favorite among the participants concerned Walker, Texas Ranger (Chuck Norris), the ultimate bad a$$. My friend and I positioned ourselves at mile 18 on the marathon course and screamed, cheered, shouted, cajoled, and encouraged the athletes for seven hours (after ten hours spent on other parts of the course)!

"...and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us." 2 Corinthians 1:5 The Message

Before you get all sympathetic for the notion of me holding up signs in the pouring rain for soooooooo long, let me say, "Chuck Norris never did an Ironman," and neither have I! I was standing (sometimes sitting), I was NOT running. I did not make a 2.4 mile swim starting at 7:00 that morning, followed by a ONE HUNDRED TWELVE mile bike ride, AND THEN run a MARATHON!

"It's a good work you're doing, helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God Himself!" 3 John 1:5-6 The Message

As athlete after athlete came past us, my friend would ask, "Shouldn't we go and look for Greyson, what if something has happened?" I would reassure her (and myself) my son was going to make it - we were doing our part to see that "other sons and daughters, husband and wives, sisters and brothers," got the "umph" needed to tri-umph and cross the Finish Line.

"If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we're in this with Christ for the long haul." Hebrews 3:13-14 The Message

An Ironman competition is definitely a "long haul," but so to this life of faith. The writer of Hebrews wasn't referring to physical endurance but spiritual perseverance. The faith "Hall of Fame" doesn't mention Chuck Norris, but references men and women who were considered giants in the arena of holy competition, "they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.!"

I wasn't a cheerleader, majorette, flag-girl or mascot in school, I didn't make the cut. Now in ministry, perhaps that's what increases my passion for encouraging others on their journey, whatever it may be; from cancer to PTSD, from abandoned children to abused and discounted women, from the lost in need of salvation to the "found" walking in the fullness of the knowledge of Christ's love, I'm your gal! I probably looked half-crazy as I waved my poster and shouted, "GO! You can make it! You've got this! Chuck Norris never did an Ironman!" (that one always made them smile and keep going just a little bit more).

"When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it." 2 Corinthians 1:7 The Message

It's year-end. The time when all of our mail boxes and in-boxes get filled with requests and petitions for an equally good number of causes and claims. Sunshine After Rain Ministry is entering our 18th year of service to our King. In the coming months we will be undertaking an initiative to serve the Wounded Warrior community and potentially impact thousands (even ten of thousands) of lives. It's going to take more than just your financial support, it's going to take more than just your committed prayer support, it's going to take YOU! It's going to take an "army" to impact military men, women and families.

I'm rallying the troops, I'm holding up a sign, I'm flagging down and waving on, I'm doing whatever it takes to finish the race (and the end of the year) strong. Together we fight the good fight, together we will finish, together we will keep the faith, and faithfully share it with others.

No doubt about it!
Smiling and doing a touchdown kind of dance in His service,

Charlynn (not an Ironman but an IronMom twice)

MAKE A DONATION today by visiting the website: www.sunshineafterrainministries.org

Or by post:
Sunshine After Rain
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Throw Yourself into this Work

"Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor's crown except by competing according to the rules.". 2 Timothy 2:5

The transition bags are filled with sunscreen, apples, dry towels and wet wash rags. There is GU and Glide and granola. The bikes have been checked in and are locked up for the night in their secure location. The athletes may not be nestled all snug in their bed, but visions of the Ironman ARE dancing in their heads!

I'm trying to think past the lists, and calendars, and nerves about waking up at 4:45. As I sat with my son today at dinner and watched him load up on a full plate of carbohydrates he started laughing and smiled and said, "just think - after tomorrow I won't have to run anymore unless it's for fun. I won't have to swim anymore because I HATE to swim, and I won't have to get on a bike unless I just want to. All this training will be over, the race will be finished and I can just rest."

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith..." 2 Timothy 4:7

One day ALL of us will cross the "finish line" of this life. All the efforts, ministering to others, worrying about the "what if's..." and "why's" will be done! We will experience the joy of the Master and the beauty of His presence, and my friends and cheerleaders, who accompany me on all these adventures - we will hear more than our name called as we cross over* we will hear our King and the choir welcome us home, we are MORE than conquerors (or Ironmen for that matter)!

Pray for a race well run!
Charlynn

*Mike Riley is the official announcer for Ironman events. He calls each individuals name out when the cross through the finish line. The participants can't wait to hear him say, "Greyson Johns (insert each name) from Dallas, TX YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Off but There's No Wizard

I find myself at the airport this Black Friday morning, headed out for my youngest son's (Greyson) Ironman competition this Sunday.

There is no Yelllow Brick Road to follow, and no Great and Powerful Oz that will see him to the finish line. There is only months and months of grueling training that will ensure he will make the 140.6 miles within the prescribed 17 hours.

I'm nervous.

And it's really not about whether or not he will finish, it's about how he will sustain himself on the course. Last year when his older brother participated in the Coeur d' Alene Ironman, none of us (spectators) knew what it would feel like to watch someone we love struggle through the physical endurance and breakdowns.

It was a spiritual experience.

Throughout the day I was reminded of Hebrews 12:1 "since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..." I pictured our band of cheerleaders in heaven, watching our triumphs, cheering us on with signs of encouragement, and waiting...

Several of my friends and loved ones have passed on to the heavenly bleachers since that time. I know they are watching and cheering and waiting..

"For the sons of God to be revealed!"

The race begins Sunday morning CST 7:00am. The last qualifying finisher must complete the race by midnight. As you go through your day Sunday, offer up a prayer, for strength, endurance, courage, and stamina.

During the race, Greyson is raising financial support and building awareness for the new Sunshine After Rain Wounded Warrior initiative.

Go to our website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org

The initiative will focus on reaching the Wounded Warrior population in a dynamic way with resources easily accessible. There will be more follow up about how we will be implementing this in the weeks ahead. Ill be heading back to San Antonio next Thursday, to meet individually with our core group of soldiers and their families.

Remember the ministry in your prayers and support. This undertaking for soldiers who are in crisis situations is an undertaking we will only be able to accomplish through your help and commitment.

God bless our troops
God bless America
God bless you this season of thanks.

Charlynn

Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501 c3 ministry. All donations are considered tax deductible by the Internal Revenue Service.

To make a one time gift by credit card or to set up monthly giving, visit our website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org

Monday, October 14, 2013

To All the Lex Luthors and Lucifer

I'm addicted to Smallville.

And just in case your not familiar with the television series that aired from 2001 - 2011, the show's premise covers the early times of Clark Kent in his home town of Smallville, before he went on to be known as "Superman."

Although the show ended years ago, two episodes air daily in my broadcast area. It satisfies my fascination with the conflict of "good" (the alien sent to earth by his father to save the world) vs. "evil" (Lex Luthor raised by a nefarious maniacal billionaire out to own the world and expose our hero as a freak and a failure). It's a Father sending His Son to save the world and an enemy out to show the world the Savior is no hero.
.
Does the storyline sound familiar?
Oswald Chambers offers great insight into our culture's obsession with "hero" worship as it applies spiritually:

"Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for - love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men - will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. THEN there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will NEVER be defeated."

The iconic catch-phrase of Superman, "truth, justice and the American Way," has resonated with audiences of all ages since he first appeared in comic books in 1938. Even though we are a long way (in every way) from the society in need of a hero (vs villains like Hitler and Mussolini) we still love to worship those who beat the odds, but are quick to vilify them when their humanity (sin) is exposed (I'm thinking Lance Armstrong types).

In some ways we are all striving to be Clark Kent, but harboring a little bit of Lex when we learn of a "hero" succumbing to "kryptonite."
You see, I'm addicted to Smallville.

When I'm watching the humility of the young Kent farm boy struggling to fit in with his peers, getting bullied and duped by just about every character in the plot, I yell at the TV calling for him to use his superpowers and burn them with his super heated x-ray vision, or toss them on the garbage heap with an incredible force of strength. And I confess, in prayers I'm also making similar utterances to Jesus when the news reports some injustice, tragedy or plain old political log jam. But so did His disciples:.

"When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, "Lord should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?" Luke 9:54

I want immediate action, a visible victory, and a fist-pumping-end-zone-dancing kind of triumph. There's enough in my life and circumstances to make me "feel" like a loser, a freak and a failure. I want some "Superman Jesus" action to show MY hero is here to "save the day."

But somewhere in my addiction to Smallville I started to think Jesus was like Clark Kent; mild mannered by day but in a crisis He is Superman, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, AND able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Wow!

Except there's a problem with that analogy. Superman is crippled by kryptonite. The other day, as I was transfixed by an episode while making my bed, I saw Clark crumple to the floor overwhelmed by the green rays of a kryptonite rock being used by his nemesis. It was then that a new paradigm occurred to me:

Jesus is not like Superman!

I'm sure some of you reading this are shaking your head and maybe muttering, "DUH, that clown, what is she thinking, and what is she really trying to say?"

Jesus has NO KRYPTONITE that can make Him weak! Nothing on earth or in heaven from some distant planet will make Him drop to his knees.

What I'm trying to say in my make-everything-about-Smallville way, as a weakened hero battles to get away from the destructive power of the mineral from his planet of origin BAM! I saw WE are "Superman(s)." It is us, the Father has sent out into the world to "seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly." (Micah 6:8) We can probably leave off "in the American Way," since the government shut down does offer much confidence in our way is The Way.

The Way is! The Truth IS our Savior isn't weakened by anything, but we are. And like Clark Kent, we find ourselves affected and unable to do our "super hero" duties by a variety of different forms of "kryptonite." Ours might be fear, unworthiness, addictions, loneliness, financial or pick a headline from the nightly news. Clark's abilities and personality changed when encountering Black, Red, Blue, White, or the most common Green kryptonite. These were all elements from his planet of origin, and in some ways I think "elements" from our human origin are what weaken us as well.
"Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence. No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face." 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Message

But remember at the center of my paradigm is understanding I am no longer of this world, greater and grander things are ahead.

"By an act of faith (I) said yes to God's call to travel to an unknown place... (I) did it by keeping my eye on an unseen city with real eternal foundations - the City designed and built by God." Hebrews 11:10 The Message (paraphrased by me)

I don't know what current "kryptonite" you may feel is exerting a crippling effect on your relationships, your family, your job, or your ministry. It could be financial, the government, the world, the flesh or the devil. I know what it feels like to be balled up in a fetal position listening to the enemies taunting lie that I'm a failure and so is my God.

"Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Mark 4:38 KJV

Living by "faith" is often living "through" the tempest of life on a boat of circumstances that you are convinced will be the death of you. When you find yourself on that "page" of your story, the one where it "feels" like the Master is sleeping, take courage super heroes His Word is a lighthouse in the storm:

"So, what do you think? With God on our side like this how can we lose? ...and who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even point a finger? The One who died for us- who was raised to life for us - is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us." Romans 8:31-37 The Message

Like Oswald said that is the time for spiritual perseverance to kick in, "...not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will NEVER be defeated."

Take that all you Lex Luthors

Unfurling my cape
With a smile
Up up and away
In His service!
Charlynn


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501c3 non-profit organization. To make a one time gift by credit card or to set up recurring monthly donations please visit our website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Enter David

"Enter David. He was the son of Jesse..." 1 Samuel 17:12 The Message

The music was blaring intermittently pausing to allow a variety of emcees to holler and shout what I can only assume was congratulations to the Bride and Groom. But, for all I knew they could have been saying , "Mzungu (white person) is in the hostel trying to sleep, let's party all night! Just when I was about to cry myself into further exhaustion - because face it, sleep wasn't likely, I remembered David.

David and Goliath that is.

During the last two weeks, I've shared our experience on Zanzibar with the noise coming from the mosque next door. I recount the tale to illustrate how the Word of God truly is a power against the forces of darkness. When the loudspeakers were about to drown out our Seminar, I had all the women stand and face the mosque and read aloud 1 Samuel 17. We sat back down and continued. After a few minutes I noticed. something - or actually nothing. The loudspeaker had gone completely silent. The incessant chanting did not resume until the following day and the last "amen" had been said.

After sending out a request for prayers of mercy, I thought David couldn't hurt the situation. I cued up my 1 Samuel 17 audio bible and hit play, the last thing I heard was David saying, "who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy..."

And then it was morning!

Our final mission in Tanzania was to relocate hotels! We found one closer to the airport, filled with foreigners (a good sign) and an ELEVATOR! It was, as they say, "a done deal." Once we got transferred we set out to accomplish what women worldwide do in their spare time - SHOP! It was a lovely afternoon, complete with a fast-food hamburger at the MALL!

And although there is a faint sound of a drum beat outside, we are five flights up so it is not so bad at all.

We'll head home tomorrow. But for now, I'm turning in.

Goliaths are gone
I'm smiling and D is already dreaming Charlynn

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Disturbed in Dar

"Weeping my be for a night but joy comes in the morning." (Some Psalm I'm too tired to look up)

We're whipped!

After eight hours in the car from Korogwe, we arrived in Dar es Salaam.  We did not have a room reserved so we took our chances at the Catholic Hostel where we stayed our first night.

My Director of Operations agreed to check out the room selection just to get out of the car. I was afraid I'd loose my testimony if one (or the swarm) more fly needed to be swatted away from my mouth. In ten thousand ways my spirit shouted T.I.N.A. (This Is Not America) but

I am an American in far more than ten thousand ways.

Now cloaked in another mosquito net with the discotheque music of a wedding RIGHT outside my window blaring away I'm realizing how much the enemy of our souls is a THIEF in the night!

We finished the work set out for us before the foundation of the world began. The feedback from all we encountered was positive and a blessing. It was difficult on a daily basis, it was a consistent challenge, it was also blessings in abundance.

I'll be better able to reflect when I'm not straining to stay sane.

Pray for peace in the midst of the beat bass of the African drums.

Realizing the myriad ways I'm blessed
Fighting the rest
Charlynn

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Of Anglicans, Angels and Angles

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,  of darkness." Ephesians 6:12

Since our arrival in Tanzania nine days ago things have been different. We have faced obstacles like no running water, intermittent electricity, and schedule changes. We've encountered discouragement when rented facilities were usurped by others forcing us into a back room. We know our issues are not with people or the Anglican bishop who seems to be trying to thwart our efforts at every turn.

"This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels." Ephesians 6:12 The Message

This morning at breakfast we were told the news that our meeting location had changed (again). It seems the same Anglican Bishop who "needed" the meeting hall we were using in Handeni, has now arrived in Korogwe and "needed" the meeting hall that had been arranged for our seminar WEEKS ago. We were assured another place would be available and someone would wait at the original location to let the participants arriving know of the change.

Really?!

First, the seminar was cut from two days to one day, and now after walking over an hour to arrive they hear the location is further down the road!

Really?!

What in the world is going on? Or actually what in the heavenly realms is going on?!

"One more thing friends: Pray for us. Pray that the Master's Word will simply take off and race through the country to a ground-swell of response...AND pray that we'll be rescued from these scoundrels who are trying to do us in." 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 The Message

When we arrived at the new locale honestly, I felt like I needed Patrick Swayze to show up, grab my hand and whirl me on the dance floor while professing, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!" The gazebo was down a dirt road at the back "end zone" of a school yard, open sides with a thatch roof. I was shocked! We organized a two day Women's Seminar, a Sunday School Teachers Training Program and THIS is where you are going to put us?!

Don't get me wrong. I was happy "they" hadn't cancelled the meeting all together! The gazebo was nice, tea and cakes were brought down the road from the church, but it was a direct assault on all our American protocols and practices. It was just the angle the enemy wanted to use to put us in our "place." Reality check, not fantasy movie scene - WE ARE. a Chosen People, a royal priesthood and we BELONG to God (1 Peter 2:9).

The women in attendance were blessed. They were encouraged by the child upbringing training, and they were brought to tears as D
shared her personal story from tragedy to triumph. The individual who was elected as the new Chairwoman for the Ecumenical Women's Union stood in solidarity and connection and said, "My story is your story."

Devil be damned!

"When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn't get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders." 2 Timothy 2:3-4 The Message

We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but whatever angle the enemy may construct against us, we know that the King of Kings has sent HIS Angels before us (Exodus 23:20), and the work He had for us to accomplish will be done, in His way, in His time! He is in control.

Smiling and dancing under the mango tree in Tanzania
Charlynn and D out of the corner!

 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Syzygus the Lost

"And, oh yes, Syzygus, since you're right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message... worked as hard as any of us." Philippians 4:3 The Message

A funny thing happened on the way to finding the verse of the day. With Strong's Handy Reference Concordance open, D was poised to search for scriptures referring to "not being  anxious" (Philippians 4:6) When I turned to the chapter, I saw the name Syzygus mentioned just before. Who?

All the other versions we consulted (New Century Version, King James, New King James, New International both 2010 and 1984 editions) translated the proper name into true or faithful friend or yokefellow.. I'm not sure I would appreciate my proper name reduced to an adjective. But if he (or she) disappeared in the pages on the way to Philippi, I would take that as our invisible helper in Korogwe today.

Our Women's Seminar here was originally scheduled for two 8 hour sessions. And although the conference in Handeni started late and ended early, we still had two days of fellowship with our sisters there. But prior to our arrival, a decision had been made to have one day for the women and one day for the Sunday School Teachers. This alteration in schedules created an entire day of doing

well, we were not exactly sure what?!

It's almost bedtime (7:30PM) and the day we thought we had nothing to do has been filled with activities. We reworked the conference agenda, discussed how to lengthen the time with the teachers and shorten the time with the women. We finished packing gift bags and presentation items for the local leadership. We got organized and orderly - ALL while the electricity was out.


"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns." Phillippians 4:6 The Message

We prayed, we laundered, and we laughed. Seven days times two women equals a laundry line that looks like a panty prayer banner. D insisted I NOT hang it across the window. I complied so now our underwear is stretching between the burglar bars across the paned-portal and the metal box that keeps the TV from being stolen.

"Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down." Philippians 4:7. The Message

We are settled down for the night and ready for what tomorrow will bring. Please keep praying, the challenges are many, the workers aren't exactly weary but our sense of humor is getting weirder by the hour! (Check out #KrazyinKorogwe )



"Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God." 1 Peter 1:18 The Message

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

90%

"Ninety percent of understanding the will of God for your life is not really caring what the will of God is." George Muller

We were ready!

We were showered, and our toilet flushed without assistance; all good signs that our current location of Korogwe is a step in the right direction towards civilization. The plan for our day was to travel up the mountainside to Lutindi, to visit the Mental Hospital (no worries #KrazyinKorogwe was just for laughs) and the German Missionaries I worked with last year in Njombe.

Honestly, while I wanted to see the people, I saw the mountain they lived on, and that bit of a "thrill ride" did not thrill me. But, hey, we're here, we're available AND as mentioned above we were showered and ready.

After breakfast, we're not sure if it was a transference of anxiety (from me to her), or parasites on the plate, but when we returned to collect our bags for the journey, D decided she'd better leave her breakfast behind; coming up now or coming up later it was coming up. We waited to make sure she would be okay before we hit the hard road hard.

Let me first communicate this clearly: it was breathtakingly beautiful. But enjoying breathtaking beauty while riding in what amounts to a bucking bronco on a cliff with sheer thousand-foot drop offs, cause some loss of appreciation. You just hope that when your camera is found at the bottom of the canyon in the wreckage, people will know that the last thing you saw (before Jesus) was indeed breathtaking (albeit the last one).

I keep my cursing under control, and made sure the floorboards were spotless as I stared downward on the ride upward. D, fully recovered, kept my anxiety covered with her exuberant exclamations of, "Look how high up we are!"

Truly, it was fantastic to arrive (intact) and enjoy an afternoon learning about the hospital, the sustainable energy programs they have implemented, as well as the tea factory that employs village women from the area.

Our program tomorrow has been cancelled. Our two day Women's Seminar will now be one day, and the Sunday School Teacher program will be a full day instead of three hours. That is the plan tonight, but...

we're strangers in a strange land; a land with few clocks, plenty of bad roads, and last minute changes. We've abandoned ourselves to the customs, the culture, and the King.

None of this is a surprise to Him, we're taking it one moment at a time AND we are confident, we'll get to where He needs us to go. (I'd prefer it not be at the top of mountain).

"There's an abandonment to God's will, because there's a confidence about whatever the outcome will be, it will only result in God's glory and our highest good." John Maisel

From the mountains to the valleys
Hanging on and trying to keep our food down
Charlynn and D (Trending on Twitter as #KrazyinKorogwe )

You still have an opportunity to make an impact through your financial support of the ministry, visit our website:


www.sunshineafterrain.org


Monday, August 19, 2013

Life's Billows

"When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed..."

The last few days in Handeni weren't spent on a body of water.   In fact when we arrived at the hotel and I turned the faucet on in the sink only to discover nothing happened, I was told by the bellman Handeni had a "water" problem. "Ah HA!" I knew this would mean after a few days, I would have a "problem."

Using buckets to bathe is almost "sport" in a foreign land (for the foreigners) you can feel a sense of accomplishment at your rugged "I-can-do-this-suffering-for-Jesus-stuff". You can give yourself extra marks for how long it takes, how many buckets you use or save, or how many times you thank God for Baby Wipes! But five days without running water begins to wear on this American's nerves.

"when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost..."

We left after breakfast for our next destination - Korogwe. It is about 64 km north, and hopefully without a water issue. The road was newly paved with only a few other cars traveling on the highway. The scenery was beautiful, the weather was cool, our windows were rolled down, and shared Oreos made it feel like a real "road trip."

We arrived in a little over an hour, checked in to our new hotel, dropped off our luggage and waited for the room to be cleaned. The situation seemed hopeful, except there was a huge garbage pail size bucket in the bathroom.

The "bucket tempest" was testing my temper.

We went on an excursion in to town to pick up spices, avocados and have lunch. When we returned the first thing I did was check the facilities for flush-abilities.

Hallelujah!

"Count your many blessings, name them one by one..."

Sometimes the smallest conveniences can really make my day. We've settled in, been a bit stir crazy (check out #KrazyinKorogwe) and are waiting for what will happen next. Tomorrow we will take a tour of the local medical facility that is run by the German couple I was in Njombe with last year. We have no idea what THIS portion will turn out to be, but we are watching, we are waiting, we are ready, and we are laughing -

Smiling to

#KrazyinKorogwe

PS. The shower WORKS, there is hot water, and the bucket is for back up flushing, since for some reason the toilet only works about 50% of the time - but... beggars can't be choosers

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Small Beginnings

"Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They'll change their tune when they see..." Zechariah 4:10

It's our last night in Handeni before we hit the road for Korogwe (we've been told there actually IS a road). I was about to go to sleep with a tad bit of disappointment until I thought of  the verse in Zechariah on "small beginnings."

In the economy of God, there is no "small" beginning; everything is magnified by His purpose and plan. He reminds us with the acorn and the oak and in so many other ways, I just needed to remember. Perhaps that is just a "small" reason one of the Books in Heaven is The Book of Remembrance (Malachi 3:16) because we quickly forget all He HAS done!

During the months prior to our arrival, dates and details, times and turnouts, etc, etc, etc, were discussed, debated, and deliberated over. I ask a considerable number of questions of my African counterpart in an effort to "be prepared," and to be able to prepare the other questioning American presenter. Fortunately, we are good traveling companions, her expectations are low (having been to Africa four previous times with Sunshine After Rain), AND she trusts me. When we arrive at a hotel to find our bathroom floor covered in buckets we will be showering out of, as well as flushing the toilets with, she shrugs, laughs and says, "Thank God for baby wipes."

We both remember being in another village where we didn't even have THAT (due to the contamination level of the water supply). We work well together when our planned timetable gets tossed and we have to modify our "lesson" down from two hours to twenty minutes (due to the fact we didn't start on time). We KNOW we will NEVER start on time!

If you can't find the humor in a situation here in the Third World, you are up the proverbial creek without a paddle or a pot to ____ in! And trust me there already ARE very few pots!

We worshiped at the local church at the first service which began at 7:30. We brought greetings from YOU to them, and they returned the expression with thanksgiving and praise to the Father for bringing us here. Our Sunday School Teacher Seminar was to follow in the afternoon, and we were informed there would likely be a big turnout since people were off their regular jobs, probably up to 100!

Wow! We were scrambling last night to get gift bags made, certificates counted, lessons gone over, and discussing how this increase would impact our supplies for Korogwe. We assured each other (laughing) "God knows what's happening." Ask anyone in Children's Ministry and they'll let you know the feeling when you're "one goody bag short."

We arrived on time as scheduled. There was no one else there, except for the 50 people who were having a meeting in OUR rented meeting hall??!! After an hour, the meeting was still going on and only 8 people were there for us?! My Director of Operations (my friend's new title) took matters into her own hands and said, "let's go meet under that tree." When the staff saw we were no longer okay with just sitting, they looked for a room we could meet in; of course with only 8 people it wasn't all that hard.

We got started, presented our material (albeit a shortened version) just as enthusiastically as if we were presenting it to the WOW number! As the Lord would have it, the Pastor brought his son with him to the seminar. As I was presenting my portion, I realized we had a perfect opportunity to illustrate MANY of the concepts for teaching with HIM! Perfect, small but perfect. And tonight, I recalled a quote I took note of before I left Dallas, posted by one of my friends.

"You make speak but a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Church in years to come." Charles Spurgeon

Perhaps, our Sunday School Teachers Seminar was not for the teachers at all - but for the potential "slumbering heart" who happened to accompany his father one afternoon?

Just the thought awakens my spirit, I hope you see the "small" beginnings of yours in a new way!

Sowing in the morning
Watching for the rejoicing
And the sheaves (whatever they are) make me smile,

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Remember This!

"Remember this! He led His people out singing for joy...."

Sometimes it's not easy to remember. When it's "half-past dark thirty" (4:30 AM) and the rude rooster outside the window begins his morning salutations, it's not easy. And it's not easy to be joyful when shortly after the crowing, the low wailing call to pray of the nearby mosque penetrates the peaceful sounds of rural village life.

But

I sat up, untangled the mosquito net, and smiled remembering!

"His chosen people marched, singing their hearts out!" Psalm 105:42-43 The Message

The closing ceremony for the Women's Conference was a time to remember in every sense of the phrase; there was singing, there was encouragement given and received and oh, the joy of the Lord was our strength!

As we set out for the conference in the morning two of the women were walking up the road toward the church (it was still about two miles away) and greeted us. I've thought before, I'm not sure I would WALK (or run) two miles (or 5 or 10) to see ANYBODY! It continues to humble me that these women EAGERLY do so. We gave them lift as their diligence lifted us.

The "homework" assignment from the day before had been to come with a question. While we waited for participants to arrive, the women began to ask very thoughtful inquiries. "What if something terrible has happened to a child... What if your daughter hates you.... What if a parent shows no love toward a child... What.....

if?"

It was somber and serious.

"Pushed to the wall, I called to God; from the wide open spaces, He answered." Psalm 118:5 The Message

The Spirit of the Lord is faithful. He brought responses and encouragement to these wondering women in the midst of life's crisis's and questions. They were assured of God's love, His faithfulness and His provision through the Word and the  community of faith.

They enjoyed us, they enjoyed each other, and the Name above all names was praised. At the close of the day, Certificates of Achievement were awarded and the women waved them proudly as though they had received a degree from an Ivy League school! The newly elected officers and advisers of the Handeni Women's Union were brought up and recognized with special gifts; the Chairwoman was blessed and acknowledged for her commitment to undertake such a project as well.

Before we said our goodbyes, the women asked the three of us to be seated. They began singing and dancing a hymn of thanksgiving. They encircled us and draped traditional African cloth over our shoulders. We were hugged, kissed and graciously thanked for our coming, we shed tears of joy, and I remembered -

"I'll bring you back home- a great family gathering! You'll be famous and honored all over the world. You'll see it with your own eyes- ALL THOSE PAINFUL PARTINGS turned into reunions!" God's Promise" Zephaniah 3:18-20 The Message

Remember this

YOU will be part of that reunion. YOUR prayers and financial support funded this conference. Your continued commitment to prayer for Sunshine After Rain Ministries is resulting in many thanksgivings to the Father!

"You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they'll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, His gift. No language can praise it near enough! 2 Corinthians 9: 13-15 The Message

Grateful, remembering YOU!

Your generous financial contribution makes a global impact. Make a donation today by visiting our website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org

Friday, August 16, 2013

Workers of the World Unite

"The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part...." 1 Corinthians 12:25 The Message

Let me set the record straight. I'm not a Communist (as the title may suggest), but even as I write that bold statement, I'm not even sure what that really means. I'm going to hang my beliefs, actions, motivations and morals on the one thing that doesn't change.- the love of God. I just picked a catch phrase to indicate what happened here in East Africa today.

We tossed the timetable aside for beginning at 9:00 but that was to be expected. There is an old African saying, "God gave Europeans the clock, but He gave Africans time." Trust me, they are two entirely different things. We set aside our watches, our expectations and our proposed number of participants and waited until 10:00 for the 50 women who would unite for a common purpose on this historic day.

"Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God's presence and minutes were taken of the meeting..." Malachi 3:16

There is a eternal record of our meeting here today; and while 50 was not our anticipated number, the 50 that were here were the movers and shakers of this region; some had taken public transportation, some had walked from their neighborhoods and others had walked over 5 MILES to attend! We prayed to have something worthy of their time and effort.

That is where the BODY of Christ working together really shines in all its glory. When you read these reports from the harvest fields, you might think we are "special" and "oh, God don't send ME to Africa where they are bathing in a bucket!" But God HAS sent you to Africa! Not in the physical sense, but your prayers, your financial support, your encouraging words have you right in the thick of what is happening. I encourage you to read over (and often) Paul's message to the church in Corinth. "I want you to think about how all this makes you MORE significant, not less." (1 Corinthians 12:14) YOUR finacial support and prayers made possible the FIRST multi-denominational meeting in the region; as well as the FIRST Women's Union ever formed here!

"...if one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance."

Sing a song, a spiritual, a rap rendition of your favorite verse.  Praise the God of all the universe for He is worthy to be praised. The Handeni Women's Union are singing for YOU, "God never changes!"

No indeed He does not
He is smiling AND HE is singing (Zephaniah 3:17)

Me too


He is using YOUR faithfulness! Pray, participate financially, and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

To make a one-time donation or to set up recurring monthly gifts, visit our website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org

"All the friends here say hello. Pass the greetings around with holy embraces." 1 Corinthians 16:20 The Message

Sufficient Unto the Day

"...is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:34

It's time for bed here in Handeni, after a very long day of driving which followed 24 hours of flying! I've managed to wash the grit and grim down the drain with a handy bucket full of luke warm water, a sponge and a bar of mosquito repellent soap I am praying does the trick. But before I set off for lullaby land, I thought I'd better read the morning devotional that proved to be timely.

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow, God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." The Message

I think I prefer Eugene Peterson's translation of the verse over the "evil thereof" in King James. Looking at a suitcase full of snacks for the "what if... " The evil makes me feel a bit on the humiliated side for giving granola bars air miles.

We (Americans) are so entirely different in so very many ways. We DO take thought of our lives! We DO worry about tomorrow's meals and showers and beds and comfort. We DO set our alarms and when we are told to show up at half-past the hour we are there - even early, even though the person we are meeting may arrive shortly after a time, and twice a time or... plain ole late!

In the past, the preparations and endless questions before our arrival have paid off. I recall being ashamed hauling 5 pounds of granola to Russia, only to wind up serving it three meals a day to my companion and our two interpreters for a week! When we were in Zanzibar in 2011 our snack packing paid off in spades because it was during Ramadan and our hotel was not serving ANY food.

But tonight, I'm wondering if something gets lost between King James and Queen Charlynn? I have responsibilities, a teammate and people counting on hearing a Word fitly spoken during the next two weeks, I NEED my "stuff." I'm not ready to go all "Corrie ten Boom" showing up in a country with NO contact, NO money and NO idea where she was to go - but...

I'm going to sleep. I'm not going to worry about the 125 women we will meet tomorrow. I'm not going to worry about what I will eat that may be some combination mystery meat. I'm not going to worry about what I am wearing and how hot I will get in this African sun. I'm not, really, I'm not.

Why? (Aside from the bed piled high with plenty of "what if stuff) Because:

"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never seen- don't I think He'll attend to ME, take pride in ME, do His best for ME?"

Plus I know you're halfway across the world praying for me to relax!

Of course I'm smiling


Don't miss the opportunity to bless your brothers and sisters in Tanzania by participating with the ministry financially.

To donate online, visit our website: www.sunshineafterrain.org

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Roads You Travel

"How blessed all those in whom You live, whose lives become roads You travel..."

Our day is about to begin; having enjoyed a boiled wiener and fried doughnut for breakfast, now we are waiting for the banks to open, and an auto shop to repair our flat tire.

We have already seen the Hand of God upon the journey in so many ways. Our flight out of DFW was delayed, which had us running (okay, so we commandeered one of those cart guys) in the Atlanta airport. We BARELY made it on the plane to Amsterdam, which had us wondering if our baggage would have the same luck!

As we sat trying to figure out how fast we were going to have to run, the gentleman sitting behind us said, "Don't worry, you have found favor with the Lord!" Say WHAT! He boldly prayed out loud as we were taxiing up to the terminal and the man asked the flight attendant if she would make an announcement so we could get off first!

All the flights we packed with summer vacationers but we were able to fold ourselves into our seats and settle down for the long haul that would bring us here.

When we arrived in Dar es Salaam the real prayers for the bags to have made it. When the scores of passengers had collected their bags, it seemed like we would have to begin the process of filling out forms for "lost luggage," but...

sure enough - there came our two hundred pounds of supplies, the last bags on the carousel.

Our host was waiting for us in the cool night air and greeted warmly. We pushed wobbly carts loaded with the aforementioned poundage, across the pot-hole pitted parking lot. I only had the cart flip once.

The car was loaded, we were ready and then

FLAT TIRE!

Praise God, the Pastor noticed before we were on the dark and dangerous roads! Praise God, it happened in the parking lot. Praise God, there was a young man who assisted us and made it a bit faster!

We've slept fast, filled our stomachs and we're waiting; waiting to see what miracles the Lord will do today.

"They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain..."

We will head up the Tanzania coast, make a stop for lunch in Bagamoya (the site of the old slave traders port) and then on to Korogwe to pick up Sabina (the director). It will be a long day, but sure to be filled with excitement and adventure.

"God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn...God in full view!" Psalm 84:5-7 The Message

Pray!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Perseid

A few nights ago, the news reported a unique occurrence would be happening that evening. It was the Perseid Meteor shower where hundreds of falling balls of flame would be visible to the naked eye. "WOW! Now that would be something to see," I thought to myself. But then the fact that live in a metropolis where city lights obscure just about every star, coupled with the fact that even after sunset the temperature would still be over 90, and add to that mosquitoes, and to that all the other things I really need to do, my desire to see the phenomenon quickly faded.

"Then He took him outside and said, "Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! Your going to have a big family..." Genesis 15:5 The Message

The Perseid Meteor shower has come and gone, but another phenomenon really far more significant is about to begin! Today, my fellow co-laborer in the Harvest Fields of Tanzania and I set off on a grand and spectacular adventure. And though we are traveling to the land know for its lions, and tigers, zebras, and giraffes, we won't be seeing any of those. We are going to the ends of the earth to make an impact for the Kingdom of the Living God; it's the Kingdom that is coming not falling from the night sky.

We'll spend the next 24 hours flying, take a short rest in the capital city of Dar es Salaam, and then travel by car 8 hours to the northern region of Tanga. It is a long way but an invaluable mission to disciple men and women hungry for the Word and training they can use to shape the next generation of children and young adults.

How is this a phenomenon greater than a meteor shower? I can say with confidence you don't take note of when you mow the lawn, such is regularity of the showers of stars falling for the God of the universe. BUT that same magnificent Creator has invited us to participate in the moving of hearts, minds and souls for eternity in Korogwe and Handeni, Tanzania, and the Bible reminds me He is taking notes!

"Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God's presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, ALL the names of those who honored God's name." Malachi 3:16 The Message

Remember us
We remember you, and thank God for your prayers and support!
Smiling, armed and dangerous!

Charlynn

There is still time to participate financially and bless your brothers and sisters in Africa!

To donate by credit card visit us online at: www.sunshineafterrain.org

Or to send a check by mail:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Counting it All

"I, *Charlynn slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello! Faith Under Pressure..." *James 1:1 The Message

Fourteen days from today I will be in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I can tell you with all confidence I have been "called" to return there along with a fellow servant to once again, teach and disciple women, Sunday School teachers, and leaders in ministry. I can tell you with all confidence today I am experiencing "faith under pressure."

But the brother of Jesus (James) was not speaking of himself when he penned his letter - he was addressing the recipients. So YOU, dear reader must be experiencing pressures of your own!

"It is impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists AND that He cares enough to answer." Hebrews 11:6 The Message

We (those of use being squeezed by circumstance, believing in what is invisible) are being trained and equipped for Kingdom work! But, make no mistake about it - IT IS NOT EASY, and it is NOT FUN! Today, my lack (not enough funds to cover the cost of the trip) looks more like poor planning than a gift:

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open..." James 1:2-3 The Message

Today, I am "counting it ALL joy," as some translations of the verse read - ALL means ALL; not just the stuff we can figure out "why" it is happening (saying yes to going before the money was in the bank) but also the things for which we have NO IDEA or explanation (my old Blackberry dropping TWO HUNDRED addresses and failing to get updated reports out AND suddenly crashing as I was writing this)!

"If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help." James 1:5 The Message

I'm praying today. And as the apostle Paul told the believers in Phillipi "what I desire is that more be credited to YOUR account." (Phillipians 4:17) I'm GOING by faith. I receive a blessing by witnessing first-hand the delight on the faces, the sounds of praises to the King in Swahili, and the dance of joy as they worship the God of all tribes. Your blessing comes in SENDING. Your earthly monetary contribution is credited to your eternal account that will never be affected by economic downturns, interest rates or who's in power politically.

When King David took on the Amalekites to rescue their kidnapped women, there were soldiers who were too tired to join the fight. (1 Samuel 30:9) After the victory, the ones who fought did not want those who stayed behind to share in the spoils of war. But the King made sure ALL got an EQUAL share.

"The share of the man who stayed with the stuff is to be the same as that of him who went to battle. All will share alike." 1 Samuel 30:24

I might be the one who flies 24 hours, drives across the African savannah 8 hours, washes off the grit of the road with cold water and a bucket BUT the Harvest is equally shared between us because the Father sees each part as IMPORTANT, one not better than the other. I confess I've questioned His reasoning on this (just like the soldiers of David's war) as I've wrestled with mosquito nets and no comforts of home. I know His ways are not my ways, and He is just, faithful and listening to my prayers and my pi**ed off pity party.

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. James 1:12 The Message

TODAY, take a moment to count your joy! Count your blessings, even though they look like discomfort, inconveniences and despair in the visible. Look at your circumstances full on in the face and trust the promise of His Word: "Therefore we do not lose heart...for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes NOT on what is seen..." 2 Corinthians 4:17

TODAY, take part in the battle advancing the Kingdom in Tanzania. Say that prayer! Make that donation! Praise God for the supply and the account He is keeping on your behalf!

"So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace." 2 Corinthians 4:16 The Message

Smiling like an origami swan
Waiting for the unfolding!
Charlynn

Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230

Donate online at:
www.sunshineafterrain.org

Monday, July 22, 2013

At the Edge of Berakah

"When the worst thing happens- whether war or flood or disease or famine - and we take our place before this Temple (we know You are personally in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that You will listen and give victory.

And now it's happened..." 2 Chronicles 20:9-10 The Message

I've heard often in ministry, "You preach the sermon YOU need," and I'm feeling that old pastoral adage deeply. Let me explain: a few days ago, I took my friend and frequent mission traveling companion to the airport. As we made our way to that familiar territory she related a variety of things about the trip had unexpectedly changed, including one of the team leaders had to cancel at the last minute for emergency health reasons, (which meant his wife would also not be going). Her first report after the team's arrival in the field included additional interruptive happenstances.

I encouraged her with truths found in the Word; the Lord took Gideon's army of 32,000 down to 300 (Judges 7), as well as one of my favorite passages of Scripture telling of a battle faced by King Jehoshaphat:

"We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." 2 Chronicles 20:12

She took note of the passages, and I also shared news the team leader of another organization (on a medical trip to Central America) had to undergo emergency surgery while still in the mission field. Their leader had been alerted to a potentially dangerous health crisis just days before he was to board a plane.

When we are out of our comfort zone, lacking resources and at the edge of ruinous circumstances, God shows up for His people. I assured her, "He did it for Gideon, He did it for Jehoshaphat, and He'll do it for you! Go forth with singing, the worshipers went before the warriors!"

"After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes they were to march AHEAD OF THE TROOPS, SINGING, Give thanks to God, His love never quits." 2 Chronicles 20:21 The Message

What began as fortification for a friend, became the sermon I needed. The first email I opened this morning related the team leader who had surgery in the mission field last week, passed away! "WHAT?!" I couldn't imagine what my friend (who has now assumed some of the responsibilities for the team) would face in the coming hours and days! I started praying.

The second email I read was from my counterpart in Tanzania, adjusting the schedule for our upcoming return in just over three weeks! What?! Anxiety gripped me. The ministry has NO FUNDING! We don't have airline tickets or visas or curriculum prepared. I don't know what to do, but...

"...they found more loot than they could carry off - equipment, clothing, valuables. It took three days to cart it away! On the fourth day they came together at the Valley of Blessing (Berakah) and blessed God (that's how it got the name, Valley of Blessing)." 2 Chronicles 20:25-26 The Message

It's day one - I know our God goes before us in battle. I know in times of disappointing details, disastrous death, and desperation He is faithful, and HE will get all the glory!

YOU are a part of the choir known as Sunshine After Rain, here are a few of the lyrics for our songs of praise (and prayers):

For the family of team leader, as well as the medical mission team still in Central America, now faced with grief and logistics

For the team in Greece, working the fields to make in-roads with the growing refugee Muslim community

For the leadership in Tanzania, working to make the arrangements for our ministry

For the hundreds of women, Sunday School teachers, lay-leadership, and Maasai villagers who are anxiously awaiting our arrival

AND

"Don't forget to pray for ME! Pray that I'll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, The Message that I ...am responsible for getting out." Ephesians 6:19-20 The Message

Up early, ready to march and getting the Choir together
Smiling too!


To make a one-time, or recurring monthly donation using a credit card, please visit our website: www.sunshineafterrain.org

Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501 (c)3 charitable organization. All donations are considered tax deductible.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Voice

"What you possess is genuine and God-sent..." Usher on Danielle Bradbury's performance

I make no secret of my obsession with the television reality show The Voice. During the season, I eagerly seek out fellow "fans" and discuss the latest talent showcased on the weekly broadcast. For my friends and acquaintances who do not share my passionate enthusiasm for this particular competition, I apologize (for my inappropriate comments on coach Adam Levine), but offer a glimpse of what attracts me (other than the aforementioned judge).

Recently I attended the Talent Night of the Joni and Friends Family Retreat (for people affected by disability). The show lineup included "Laughter" (by a girl with Turrets Syndrome who has an infectious laugh), "Singing" (by a boy with Cerebral Palsy who can barely speak) and a "Dance" (poignantly performed by a young couple both in wheelchairs), just to name a few of the 30 or so courageous participants.

No matter what the "talent," what key they are in or "off," the crowd goes wild with applause and shouts of "Great Job. You're fantastic!" It's inspiring and humbling to see parents of the severely impaired, have a chance to unabashedly, unashamedly celebrate the beauty and "talent" of their God-given child.

"You're the winner, you're perfect who you are. You continue to show the world you can be whoever you want to be, just believe. And that is your story; you are medicine for the whole world." Usher to Michelle Chamuell

When I heard Coach Usher encouraging his off-beat, unusual finalist, I was inspired. Here is a creative genius, a man who is at the pinnacle of his career, taking time to build up another artist; someone who isn't quite there yet, someone waiting for their "Big Break."

"So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 The Message

As Followers of Christ, we might find it easy to applaud the disabled as they courageously take the stage and share their "talent," but why do we find it so hard to offer encouragement to our peers? Why does it take a secular reality TV show to ignite in me a renewed commitment to do what the Bible tells me to do?

"Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do but spurring each other on, ESPECIALLY as we see the big Day, approaching." Hebrews 10:24 The Message

You have a God-given gift! God not only has a purpose and a plan for your life, He also has a job and a mission and the provision to accomplish it! That IS YOUR story, you ARE the MEDICINE this world needs.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?" Matthew 5:13 The Message

I'm now preparing to take a message of encouragement and hope to Tanzania. I'm getting ready to be The Voice, bringing the good news of the Gospel. It's time for us to share and cheer, so people both near and far can taste and see the goodness of our God!

"I did not expect this huge celebration!" The Voice Season Four Winner Danielle Bradbury on seeing her hometown turn out for her return

"Do you see what this means - all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running and never quit! Hebrews 12:1 The Message

It's hot in Texas -
Guess I'd better strip down
And RUN towards Africa

With a smile of course
Charlynn


To participate financially with a one-time gift or monthly donation visit our website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Take No Thought

"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put on." Matthew 6:25 KJV

I'm looking at my propped open suitcase and wondering how in the world I am going to get all my "necessary" items to fit inside. Before I finish packing for my next trip, I set my heart before the Lord, and in His way, He answered me. My devotional reading was Matthew 6:26, "take no thought...". Here I had been taking ALL these thoughts into consideration: how much bug spray, how much aspirin to help my aching bones, how many snacks, how much, how many, how in the WORLD am I going to get through the next ten days camping in a Mexican jungle?!

"Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God."*

I figure I will have an opportunity to see lots of birds in the air! Perhaps I'll even see tropical parrots, along with ten thousand mosquitoes, snakes, lizards, and crawling inconveniences of a wide variety. Even as I write this my heartbeat elevates, my breathing becomes shallow in anticipation of the higher altitude, and I feel far from careless (except maybe in my decision to go).

"...don't you think He'll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you?"*

In the comfort of my air-conditioned apartment, where I work up a sweat just putting things inside the suitcase, I confess, worry has clouded my heart. And yet, on this day, He is reminding me, HE attends to my needs, He's proud of me, HE will do His best for me!

"What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving."*

After reading the King James translation of the passage, I checked the verse translated into modern English offered by Eugene Peterson in The Message. I relaxed. That is how it reads, Jesus Himself (words in red) saying, "relax, respond to God's giving!"

God, is GIVING us (which includes the reader) the opportunity to go into the dark recesses of a Mexican jungle to share the Truth of His love of the world through Christ, His only begotten Son. Over the next twelve days.

He is GIVING us a chance to exhibit His mercy, by providing free medical assessment and treatment to jungle villagers who, in many cases have never seen a doctor. He is GIVING us children who come with parents, siblings and friends, to shower His love on through games, crafts, and stories.

He is GIVING us the darkness of night where we can show a gospel message film on a screen hung between palm trees.

He is GIVING us these days to impact lives for eternity!

"People who don't know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works."*

We know He is good. We know He is alive, and we know how much He cares for us because of the gift of His Son's life as a ransom for many.

"Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out."*

The God-reality, in spite of news reports, economy upturns and down-turns, tornados and terrorists, IS our King is on the throne and in control. He is not slow in coming but that NO ONE should perish without understanding His love.

The God-iniative is working in the hearts, bodies, and minds of a rural people in the middle of remote region in Mexico to come and see what these "strangers" are doing here. His initiative moved me to accept the invitation to join a medical mission team sponsored by East West Ministries.

The God-provision will take care of the bugs, my back, my stomach and getting the necessary into my suitcase. His provision is experienced through your prayers and financial support.

If I do fail to remember to pack something, I still don't need to worry because HE is my provider and protector.

"You'll find ALL your everyday human concerns will be met."*

These are my "human concerns" where I ask for prayers:

For our luggage and supplies to make it all the way to Tuxla-Guitierraz
For health and stamina in high altitude and food source
For communication with the locals through translators
For the medical staff to have supernatural discernment on treatment and provision for all needs
For the children and our "program" that we are not sure how it will "work" during the daily clinic
For the nightly showing of the Jesus Film to impact the community
For Sergio and Beth Mattasa our team leaders to have all the necessary preparations and precautions taken care of
For travel into the jungle, safety on the roads
For the binding of the enemy and his minions who will definitely be agitated and activated by our presence in their territory

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow."*

Let's focus on what He promises, that many will come to know His Son, through our participation in this opportunity.

"God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."*

The time has come for me to finish packing and zip the "suitcase" of my worries and anxious heart. He is faithful so we CAN be careless in His care..

And in His service


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501c3 organization. To make a one-time donation OR to set up monthly recurring donations, please visit our website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org

Send financial support through post to:

Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane
Suite 217
Dallas TX 75230


*Matthew 6:26-34 The Message

Friday, May 03, 2013

GU

"Everything inside each packet of GU is engineered to do one simple thing: provide your body with the essential requirements it needs to keep going for miles and miles and hours and hours."*

Last year, when my oldest son was training to compete in an IronMan triathalon (2.4 mile swim - 112 mile bike ride - 26.2 mile marathon RUN) I learned endurance athletes use a scientifically formed substance called GU. There is only one thing it is designed for - sustained energy. They have multiple flavors to choose from: blueberry, chocolate, banana cream pie and exotic others. But no matter what flavor they may add, it still looks and tastes like a melted weird Gummy Bear, it is "goo" with the emphasis on "ooooo."

But make no mistake - it does its job. It keeps them going. For the average non-professional athlete the full IronMan competition takes between 13 and 15 HOURS to cross the Finish Line! During the race they are not taking a lunch or dinner break. They are burning, on average, 11,000 calories, and during the course of the event they lose (in ONE DAY) 5-7 pounds. They are not stopping to order a Whopper and fries.

The athletes are carrying little packets of pure energy, easily slammed back and digested. The surge of scientifically designed caffeine and sugar enters the bloodstream and they make the next mile, or two or 26.3!

Last July, when it came time for the IronMan race in Coeur d' Alene, my youngest son and I traveled to Idaho, to hold signs of encouragement, cheer and give support to his older brother. After 15 hours of watching on the sidelines he was determined to complete his own IronMan, and has been in training ever since.

His older brother has offered him seasoned advice. But at our weekly family dinner, two things I hear him consistently repeat:

"trust your training"

and

"train with nutrition."

And you know what that means -

GU!

"ooooooooo"

GU!

While those deliciously sounding flavors might trick your mind into swallowing that melted-weird-slime, bottom line - if you haven't "trained" WITH the nourishment, when the GU gets to your stomach it - it can't handle it - the consistency GAGS you. When you're swimming, biking, and running, burning thousands and thousands of calories you NEED nourishment. Whatever form it comes in, if you don't train your mind to empty that little packet of energy down your throat, and drink enough fluid, you'll dehydrate, your muscles will cramp up, your internal organs can start shutting down and you will not finish the race.

"You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.". 1 Corinthians 9:25 The Message

During the season I haven't been on the road, I've been busy "training." The Wounded Warrior Weekend (sponsored by Joni and Friends) truly is a spiritual marathon of emotion, engagement with pain and suffering, and dressing wounds of the broken-hearted.

But the blessed thing about spiritual training is it only requires disciple - no GU. The discipline of prayer, daily reading the Word, fellowship with like-minded "athletes" who compete in the marathon to save souls and make an eternal difference in the lives of others.

It goes down easy, and it goes to work fast so you don't have to slow down.*"

While my youngest son and I were making the drive down to San Antonio, I shared, "This is my IronMan competition." There is a "tri-athalon" of ministry - "bringing joy, engaging those crushed in spirit, and binding up the broken-hearted with Godly friendship, love and intercession. After finishing a half-Ironman (70.3 miles: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 run) last month in Galveston, I could feel his "yeah right mom!"

We arrived, set up the "Imagination Station", the "Craft-a-Palooza" area and began the volunteer training. It can be overwhelming to the first-timer. There is a tremendous amount of terminology (DOD, BAMC, SAMMC, WFSC and the acronyms go on). During training he felt a sense of anxiety as the Army Chaplain and Veterans Administration representative presented information ranging from statistics to medical complications. What was designed to bring a sense of comfort failed to work for him. He shared last night, before they arrived, he got a little freaked out. He said, "I half expected them to arrive on stretchers! But when they got here, I saw they're just people."

(Some of them just might be missing a few parts...)

Thank you for being OUR cheering section. If you ask an endurance athlete, they can tell you the importance of those on the sidelines. People shouting, "you can make it, hang in there, run like you stole something!"

YOUR prayers, your posts on Facebook, your emails of support ARE a lifeline to the ministry of this "marathoner." We ARE stealing back hearts and souls the enemy had in his grip.

I have trained well. And together, we will cross the finish line!

"THIS is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting..." 2 Timothy 4:7 The Message

Slamming back my spiritual GU
Trusting my training
and you can be sure I'm smiling!
Charlynn

*Official website of GU Energy Gel

To make a one time gift or to set up monthly recurring contributions by credit card please visit us online at:

www.sunshineafterrain.org


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is designated a 501c3 by the Internal Revenue Service. Donations are tax deductible.


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Alexander and Rufus

"There was a man walking by, coming from work..."

Out of context this verse seems random and of no consequence; a man had left work and was on his home. If it doesn't sound familiar and you're wondering what about Alexander and Rufus, just hold on -  there's a bigger story being written. 

Recent events in the news (the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the explosion in West, Texas) brought fresh horror into our living rooms. But even as I share the expression, "into our living rooms," like television broadcasters of time past once did, I realize that thought in itself is a dated expression. Televisions aren't just "in our living rooms" anymore; and as AT&T regularly promotes, with wireless connections, we can pick up our light and mobile flat screen and carry it anywhere we want! Our entertainment is no longer confined to a bulky furniture "center." Technology now allows a moveable feast (or horror) for viewing, recording, pausing or fast-forwarding for convenience. 

We can be eye-witnesses from all angles; with videos from cell phones, security cameras on street corners, and news media poised for live coverage. Even in a crowd of thousands, terrorists can be identified and ultimately tracked down. There is no place to hide, there is no "random" passing stranger. Facebook has made us "friends." 

"... Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus...."

Scripture doesn't leave our passerby anonymous. He's an African (Cyrene is identified as a city in Libya) named Simon, in Jerusalem with his sons. An "out-of-towner" like many present in Boston on the afternoon of the terrorist attack. He was in the crowd, just like so many were. He was watching, when...

"... They made him carry Jesus' cross." Mark 15:21 The Message

Simon, a worker, and a father, became a man enlisted to come alongside a crushed and broken Son on His way to Calvary. A bigger story was being written that day, a bigger story is being written today.  
We might be on our way home from work, standing in a crowd at the Finish Line, or sitting at home a few hundred yards from a fertilizer storage facility; at any moment circumstances can "explode" and change our lives forever. But, the verse and the news serve as reminders, no matter where we are, the Lord can use us. He's been using you!

At times our individual life events might feel ordinary and random, but in the economy of the King, small efforts of service are not noted as "random acts of kindness" or "paying it forward." They are written in the Lamb's Book of Remembrance (Malachi 3:16).

Next week we'll head down near San Antonio, Texas to participate in our thirteenth Wounded Warrior Getaway (sponsored by Joni and Friends). I want to share what one of the Wounded Warriors (who's attended past events) recently communicated to me over several text messages and phone calls. You'll see just how critical this time for the soldiers and their families can be.  

(Shared with permission):
"...I don't even have the words to describe the love I finally feel. Lately, I've felt so broken and such a disappointment to God and everyone else. I'm beginning to believe in God's unconditional love once again, and even though broken, He's there guiding me. Because of the deep love and care from all of you, this is one of the few times I feel I can beat this internal struggle and really believe in God's love and guidance for me. I'm starting to believe, maybe, just maybe, God has a beautiful and fulfilling plan for me...

There's a high probability that just being there for me, you have in fact saved my life...

...if I could pray for one thing and one thing only, it would be to have the positive impact on someone's life who was lost like me, and give them the love, the hope, and the undying belief in God's love as you have done for me... If I would die tomorrow, I would have a place in paradise because of you..." Retired Staff Sergeant (name withheld for privacy)

YOUR faithful prayers and financial gifts to the ministry of Sunshine After Rain help make it possible for us to disciple, support and encourage the body of believers at home and around the world long after an "event" or "mission" is over. 

YOU made a positive impact on a wounded warrior's soul, one that gave hope for today and assurance for eternity. 

YOU are bearing the burden's of those who are broken and bleeding of Spirit. They may be trapped in Third-world poverty, or First-world spiritual famine. YOU are "feeding His sheep."  

YOU are not unknown or unaccounted for.  

"With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground and don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort." 1 Corinthians 15:58 The Message

Hold on
There's a bigger story being written,
It makes me smile
In His service

Charlynn


To make a one time gift or to set up monthly recurring contributions by credit card please visit us online at:

www.sunshineafterrain.org


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is designated a 501c3 by the Internal Revenue Service. Donations are tax deductible.  


Monday, March 18, 2013

Coca-cola and Comoros

"God pays for each slave's freedom; no one who runs to Him loses out." Psalm 34:22 The Message

The Governor of New York is concerned about the growing waistlines and health of his constituents. His commitment to help find a solution to the problem led to the drafting of legislation to prevent the sale of so-called "super-sized" drinks.

It made the news.

When an American citizen can't get calories in the way, shape and form they want - well, what kind of country are we living in anyway? The people of California can't smoke a cigarette outside AND if proposed legislation passes, they may not be able to smoke INSIDE their OWN home if their residence shares adjacent walls with another property.

And you could hear an uproar as big as the state of Texas, over all the issues (representing both sides) regarding gun control.

You know about Big Gulp, big guns and bad neighbors (those smokers) but do you know about Comoros?
I didn't either.

Comoros, is a nation in Africa on the "restricted" list by Voice of the Martyrs. When my daily "Pray for the Persecuted Church" calendar opened and I saw the country, I had to open the "information" section, to even see what continent it was on. I learned its people are among the poorest in Africa, and having been over 20 times on both coastal regions I have seen their "poor." BUT, I had never even heard of this place where the poorest of the poor live.
There are 770,000 people, but less than 7,000 are Christian. The overwhelming majority are Sunni Muslims. Only non-citizens are permitted to attend the two Catholic churches and one protestant church in the whole COUNTRY.

Who knew?

"Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you." Psalm 34:17 The Message

We live in a "free" country. We are free to voice our opinions on gulps, guns, health care or Honey Boo Boo without fear of reprisals. We can engage in spirited debates on topics reported from CNN and Fox and compare the disparity.

We live in the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave," because for centuries, brave men, women and their families have paid a price for the luxury we forget while sipping 64 ounces of a soft drink!

Personally, I don't care if I can purchase a Big Gulp or a big gun, I'm not going to lobby for either. What I DO care about is the freedom found in Christ and my ability to share the love the Savior.

I'll be working the next few weeks in preparation for the Wounded Warriors Getaway, held in San Antonio, Texas. It is a time of rest and restoration for the soldiers and their families. A time when doctors appointments, paperwork, and past trauma can be set aside for spiritual healing and growth to take root.

The news reports troop withdrawals, winding down or winding up of our military actions and presence on foreign soil, but make no mistake, the "war" continues in many ways for these soldiers and their families. I can report great salvation stories, victories over addictions, marriages restored, reconnections and recommitments to faith that take place during these events. But sadly, there is also suicide, abuse and divorce as well.

"If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, He'll help you catch your breath. Disciples often get into trouble; still, God is there every time." Psalm 34:18-19 The Message

Every trauma, every sadness and every wound cannot be fixed in a few days, but in a few days love that changed the world can be shown and shared FREELY. I praise God for the privilege, and I thank the soldiers I am privileged to know.

"I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony, I'd like to hold it in my arms and keep it company.

I'd like to see the world for once, all standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills
For peace throughout the land.

That's the song I hear, let the world sing today
A song of peace, that echoes on and never goes away." 1971 commerical ad for Coca-cola

Smiling knowing I know
It's the real thing


Participate financially in the ongoing work of Sunshine After Rain Ministries.

NOW, recurring monthly support can be set up through the website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org/monthlydonations.php

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