Catching Up in Argentina

We have been so busy and I haven’t had a lot of time to post. I’ve been writing everything down in my journal and will try to give you a quick overview of what we have been doing since my last post.

Sunday, September 7, we visited a non-denominational church that morning and a Baptist Church in the evening. We arranged to have dinner with a Missionary’s family on Monday and lunch with the Pastor of the Baptist Church on Wednesday.

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Angel really liked having someone scratch behind her ears.

After services Sunday night we were a little nervous about walking back to our hostel across town in the dark. Sometimes when we are a little afraid God provides some comfort to show us we are not alone. In this case God sent us a very friendly dog that I affectionately named “Angel”.

Angel is a smart dog. She knew to only cross roads with people. If people were waiting at a stop she waited. She walked with us the whole way back to our hostel. Scott and I dubbed her our guard dog and were glad she paused to let us take a few pictures of her before we parted ways. If we lived here we probably would have kept Angel as a pet.

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I think Angel might be asking us why we stopped here.

Monday, September 8, we visited with the missionary family we met at the Baptist Church. That is another interesting meeting. The man we met at the church Scott had actually met on Facebook first. The group that we met when we first arrived in Argentina had told him about us. He sent my husband a message saying he would like to meet us for coffee or dinner sometime. We didn’t know that his family actually goes to the church we visited that night.

He and his wife helped us with a lot of information we needed. We now know how to catch the right city bus to our desired destinations and where a Wal-mart is in Córdoba.

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Walmart and McDonalds all in one picture.

Tuesday, September 9, Scott and I took a city bus to the Wal-mart on the edge of town. We compared prices of some of the things we would have back home. The prices are higher on many things and there are cultural differences. We were glad to see that there is at least a store we are familiar with despite some of the cultural differences in the items they carry.

Oh and they do have McDonald’s here.

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Scott and I posing for a picture in front of the restaurant where we ate on Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 10, we met the Baptist Pastor for lunch. We had a very good long discussions about Churches here in Argentina. He was able to tell us the cultural differences between the customs many Churches have in Argentina compared with the United States. He was also able to tell us some of the differences between some of the different Churches in Argentina. There are some Churches in Argentina but not very many.

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The church in Cordoba we visited and took some pictures. We only took pictures in churches we saw other people taking pictures. Some are more tourist friendly than others.

After our visit we walked back to our hostel. There was a large Catholic Church we looked at. It was a beautiful building! I had some very deep thoughts while standing there looking around at the beautiful artistry in the room. I will need to share more about my thoughts and some more pictures in a later post.

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I know how heavy that smaller suitcase was when I pulled it half way. I was really impressed with my husband pulling both. Oh and my luggage is actually the larger one. What a gentleman!!!

Thursday, September 11, we checked out of our Hostel and carried our luggage to the bus station. Okay, I did say we carried our luggage but according to this picture you might find it hard to believe there was much “we” involved in the process.

My sweet husband saw that I was worn out about half way to the bus station and took my burden along with his own. So I guess I should say Scott carried our luggage while I took pictures of him. 😉

At the station we caught a bus to Villa General Belgrano where we had an amazing time with a homeschooling family and their neighbors who also homeschool. There are a lot of challenges homeschoolers in Argentina face.

In order to keep this post from being too lengthy, I will share more about our stay in Villa General Belgrano in another post.

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My husband and I about to board the bus to Villa General Belgrano.

 
So much has been happening. I have been writing a lot in my journal every opportunity I have. My blog posts are actually written in my journal before I type them into a blog post and add pictures. I find it easier to write pretty much anywhere that way. I may have to write about my writing on the go as well.

Thank you for following along with me. I’ve already committed myself to two almost 3 posts now, one about my deep thoughts in a beautiful building, another about our stay in Villa General Belgrano, and another about my writing while traveling. 

I know I am skimming over rather quickly our trip but if you have any thoughts or questions come to your mind please feel free to share them with me in the comments. I will try to answer them as soon as I can. If there is a question that I see frequently I will answer it in a blog post as well.

We will probably not have internet tonight as we will be taking a train to Buenos Aires. I am going to try to get my next post up as soon as I am able. 

Dios te bendiga! God bless you!

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

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Hello from Argentina!

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I laugh every time I see this picture. My dad dropped us off at the airport. Would this be considered a selfie/photobomb? :)

My husband and I are in Argentina right now. We arrived Thursday, September 4 around 4 p.m. Argentine time.

Our flight was supposed to land around 5:30 a.m. in Córdoba, Argentina. However there was a big storm and our flight was diverted to Mendoza. We waited about two hours on the plane for the storm to lift in Córdoba. Then they let everyone off the plane. We were rescheduled to fly out that afternoon.

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Just got off the plane in Mendoza.

We found out when we arrived at the airport in Mendoza that we left our checked luggage at the airport in Miami, Florida. I now have a new appreciation for packing carry on luggage well.

We finally arrived in Córdoba and got ourselves a city bus card. We decided to try out one of the hostels. It was a little cheaper than a hotel and they usually have private rooms available.

I really think the Lord had us arrive at the particular hostel we finally chose at the time we did on purpose. You will see what I mean here in a little bit.

We arrived at the hostel and it was pretty clean. They had a room that wasn’t a private room but no one else was in it. They said we could have that room to ourselves for two nights but it would be booked over the weekend.

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Scott and I waiting on our breakfast at the Hostel.

We went ahead and took the room. There was a double bed in the room and 3 sets of bunk beds as well. I told Scott that there was a bed for each of the kids in there.

That evening Scott struck up a conversation with the clerk at the front desk. The clerk had asked what Scott did and why we were visiting Argentina. Scott told him that he was a pastor of a church in Texas and that we were here to talk to as many people as we could and get all the information we need to possibly move our family here.

The clerk was very friendly and said that he knew a guy that led a group that practiced English. He said that they often talk about Spiritual things during their practice sessions.

We put our things away and were about to head out for the evening to find food when the clerk showed us on his computer where the group met. He said that they were having a session that very evening at 7:30.

We went out, stopped by a store for a couple of items we needed and then headed to that meeting.

Sometimes I’m a pretty nervous person… Okay, I’m often a nervous person when it comes to doing something different that might be embarrassing. In those situations I often have to give myself a pep talk that it will be okay.

So there I was knowing we were about to walk into a room of complete strangers and crash their meeting. Sure the clerk said it was okay for us to just show up but what if he’s wrong.

We arrived at the address the clerk gave us. We were a half hour late. I took a deep breath told Scott I was nervous but I knew this is what we are supposed to do.

We walked into the café and saw a lot of older people playing scrabble. Then in a back room we saw another group sitting around a table visiting. I waited a second while Scott asked them if they were the group we were told about. They were totally blown away with how we found them. They told us later that they had been praying for more Missionaries to come to Argentina.

We also found out that the hotel clerk was a friend of the session leader’s ex-girlfriend. It had been several years since they had last met. He was so surprised when we told him who it was that recommended them.

The group discussion was about God. Before we got there they had each drawn a picture that gave their thoughts about what they imagine God is like. Then they went through and discussed what they drew and what they thought of when they drew the picture. It was a very good and open discussion.

Scott was even able to share his thoughts about who God is and confirm the truths that were spoken by some of the others. During the class there were a couple of guys that believed in God but were not sure who He is.

The story came up about blind Bartemaeus and how Jesus asked him what he wanted. It seemed like it should be obvious what it was that Bartimaeus wanted but Jesus asked him anyway. Bartemaeus asked to receive his sight and Jesus healed him. He didn’t force Bartimaeus to be healed. He gave him the choice of whether he wanted that change to happen in his life or not. The question was then bounced around the room. If Jesus were to ask you what it was you wanted, what would you ask for? That my friend is a very good question.

After that meeting we went out to eat with our new friends. Most of them were actually involved in a Christian Ministry in the city and that English practice time was one of the many ministries they have to connect with people.

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Scott enjoying some Yerba Mate during the Friday Bible Study. I will have to explain more about Yerba Mate in another post.

After we ate with them they asked if we had any plans for Friday. We told them that we did not and they asked if we would like to come to their mission team’s Bible study and meeting.

We did go to their meeting that next day and met their missionary and learned so much. They fed us afterwards and I practiced speaking Spanish with the ladies as we prepared the meal. Yo corté el pan. (Bonus points for translating that sentence in the comments.) :)

Our lost luggage was delivered Saturday night. I was so glad because that gave us clean clothes for services.

Sunday we visited two churches. The first I think was a Community Church that was recommended to us by our new friends. Then Sunday night we visited a Baptist Church in town. We really enjoyed the services there.

We also met another Missionary at the Baptist Church. Scott also met him through FB messenger. One of the friends we made Thursday had told him about us. He and his wife invited us to eat at their home Monday evening. So much to write about and not enough space to share it all here. I’ll write more about Monday on another post soon.

I must share one last little thing. Scott was telling another man in the hostel about what God has been doing for us and could tell that every time he mentioned God the man chuckled. It’s hard to say if he thought Scott was just talking foolishness or if he was just laughing out of nervousness of the subject being brought up.

Another man Scott talked with Sunday night told him that he believed the world didn’t need missionaries. According to that man missionaries take away people’s free choice. They oppress people. Scott told him that it was actually the opposite.

Missionaries come to spread the good news that can free people from their bondage. A missionary isn’t to force his beliefs on people. He presents the truth to them in love and gives them the option to accept God’s message or not. It’s really education and opening people’s minds. What’s oppressive about that?

Here is the real problem.  Those who have experienced God understand who He is. Those who have never had that experience simply can’t understand until they have that moment that they finally trust Jesus and turn to Him for salvation.

If you don’t believe what I am saying was brought about by God who sees, hears, and knows exactly who I am and what I need. Then you have never had that experience with God. You need to talk with God right now and ask him to help you understand. Ask him to let you experience Him.

You know God did that for blind Baritmaeus. He asked Jesus to return his sight. God answered and his life was changed completely.

Have you experienced Jesus? If Jesus were to come to you tonight and ask you what you want, what would you ask for? Let us know in the comments.

“And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, [thou] Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, [Thou] Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” – Mark 10:46-52 KJV

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Joy of Salvation: Jonathan’s Testimony

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Not quite the Salvation Armor but Jonathan is awful cute in it. :)

Jonathan was wanting to be saved for a long time. His desire began after Hannah was saved about 2 years ago. You can read her salvation post from April 4, 2011 entitled “Two Birthdays!!!

Hannah was so thrilled about being saved that she would tell Jonathan how to be saved while he was still very young.

We do not pressure our children to be saved. We want them to understand completely what they are doing and why. 

Jonathan did not understand that he was a sinner. We taught him that sin is the bad things we do. In order to be saved he needed to realize he did bad things and feel sorry about those bad things he did. 

Jonathan did not feel at all convicted of his sin when he was younger. So whenever he would ask us how to be saved we would explain that first step and then tell him that God knows he wants to be saved but until he understands what sin is God keeps him safe. 

Earlier this year, Jonathan was finally understanding that he was a sinner and really wanted to be saved. We were sure from how he talked and answered our questions that he wasn’t just wanting to join the “saved club”. 

He agreed that he was a sinner and I read him the Bible verses “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 

Jonathan understood what he needed to do. I even had him tell me how to be saved. He had all the head knowledge. All he needed to do was ask Jesus to save him. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I wanted him to say the prayer for himself. I don’t like having a child quote a prayer I made up. I want them to understand that they are talking to God when they pray just like they talk to me. Jonathan wasn’t sure what to say in his prayer. I asked him if he wanted me to write a prayer that he dictates to me and then he can pray it. He agreed and he wrote a very nice well worded prayer. Telling God that he was sorry for his sins and that he wanted to be saved. 

After that prayer he looked at me and asked, “Am I saved now?” 

I looked back at him and said, “You tell me. Are you saved?”

“I don’t know.” He shrugged.

“Did you really mean what you said? Were you serious?” I asked.

“I don’t know. How can I be serious?”

Weeks after we had this conversation Jonathan still wasn’t sure. Whenever we would talk about it he was still stuck on whether he was serious or not when he prayed. He also wasn’t sure if he was sorry enough for his sins. 

He didn’t like sinning and he knew sinning was bad but he wasn’t sure if he was sorry enough. You know this is a good question to ponder on a while. Are we really sorry for those bad things we do? Are we serious? 

Committing your life to Christ is a longterm commitment. You shouldn’t take these things lightly and I feel Jonathan was truly weighing it all out in his mind.

Finally, Wednesday, August 20, Jonathan figured it out.

After our Bible Study that Wednesday night Jonathan told me that he wanted to be saved. I sent him to have a talk with Scott. When Jonathan came back he looked rather sad that he still didn’t understand.

I asked him, “What is it that’s holding you back?” 

“I don’t know how to be serious?” he said sadly.

“Are you serious right now?”

“Yes, I’m serious that I really want to be saved!” he replied.

The next part he was worried about was whether he felt bad enough about his sins.

He named a few things that he knew he did wrong.

I asked him if it made him feel bad that those things were holding him back from being saved. He said that he didn’t want to go to hell.

I explained that it was his sin that would cause him to go there. I then asked him if that made him feel bad. He agreed it did. 

He wanted to know how to not do bad things. 

I explained that he couldn’t be good by himself that only Jesus could help him. All he needed to do is ask Jesus to forgive him. It was at that point he closed his eyes and said a silent prayer. 

He opened his eyes and asked me, “Am I saved now?”

I replied, “You tell me. Are you saved?” 

“How do I know I’m saved?” he asked.

“Didn’t Jesus say in the Bible that He would save you if you ask Him to?”

I love seeing the light come on in a child’s face when they just figure something out.

He understood. “So I’m saved!”

“Did you ask Jesus to save you?”

“Yes! I’m saved!”

“Do you want to go tell Daddy?” 

“Yes!” He runs off to the other room shouting, “Daddy, I’m saved!”

Scott came into the living room to hear the whole story and to give Jonathan a big hug. Jonathan then ran around the house telling all his siblings the good news.

The next day Scott and I overheard Jonathan witnessing to Elijah, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. All you have to do is call on the name of the Lord!” 

Elijah who is only 4 and doesn’t quite have this all figured out yet hollers real loud, “LORD!!!” 

Jonathan has been wanting to tell everyone about what Jesus did for him. Even today he told us that when he grows up he wants to tell people about Jesus. 

It’s my prayer that he never loses that joy of his salvation and that desire to share his testimony with everyone.

Do you have that joy? When was the last time you shared it with others? Feel free to practice sharing that joy with us in the comments. Don’t stop there though. Go share that joy with the rest of the world. 

My next post will be written in Argentina. I plan to post a lot during this month. Pray for us! We fly out tomorrow morning. 

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

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Unexpected Blessings

The Lord is amazing! Really truly amazing. 

Have you ever doubted God’s will for your life? You may wonder if you are doing the right thing and then have everything fall right into place.

I don’t believe that is just coincidence or happenstance. I truly believe God is showing us what it is we are suppose to be doing. He is opening the doors all around us and we finally let go and step through in Faith. 

10537436_10203473154247598_5162626495376514052_nI mentioned in my previous post our plans to go on a survey trip to Argentina to see what doors God may open there. 

One thing I chose not to talk about was money. How were we going to afford this trip? It would be an adventure indeed if we were going with very little money.  Here is a list of 10 things God blessed us with this past month.

1. Scott told me that he had prayed about our finances and asked God to provide for our trip. After that prayer he went by the bank to deposit his normal check from our church and realized he had never cashed the check from the week before.

Even though that was a small thing to some people to my husband it was a little whisper from God that everything would be okay. 

After that we discussed some other ideas of raising some money. I thought about having a yard sale. We had some successful yard sales in the past. We also thought about other things around our house we could sell.

2. I really felt like I needed to explain to our karate instructor why we hadn’t been in class for a while. It takes a lot of humility to admit you can’t afford to do something. We have been trying to save money by not going places we would normally want to go. So that included our karate class. I mentioned that we were discussing the possibility of having a yard sale. Our instructor was very understanding and told us that she would pray for us.

ElisabethThat was on a Thursday that I talked with her. That Friday my husband and I were discussing the possibility of a yard sale and what we actually had to sell. Most of our items were small items and not something that would draw people to come. 

Just as I was giving up the whole idea I received a phone call from a mother whose son is in our karate class. She said that she was moving and that she heard we were having a garage sale and that if we could pick it up she had some things that we could have. 

After I hung up from that conversation I looked up at my husband and said, “I guess we’re having a yard sale!” 

We needed to have our yard sale the very next weekend. I looked at the classified ads of one of our local newspapers. It said that Ads must be turned in by noon on Friday to be in Tuesdays paper. It was 10 AM Friday morning when I got the call.

Now tell me that just happened!

I wrote out an advertisement and went to the newspaper office with plenty of time.

3. That Saturday we scurried to get ready for karate class. My husband left early in the truck with Hannah. The rest of us came later in our Suburban. After class was over Scott told me about the envelope and offering that was given to us by our karate family. I missed that exchange or I probably would have cried. 

The money they gave us was more than enough to pay both our reciprocity fees and some of our hotel expenses.  

4. We let friends at our church know that we were having a yard sale the following week. There were more items donated for our sale. We collected those items during the week and had a very successful sale and met a lot of people.

10565136_10203473155007617_1858224442171588789_n5. The following Sunday morning we had a couple visit our church that my husband was able to witness to. We also met another couple at Wal-mart that afternoon who wanted to buy one of our items that didn’t sell in our yard sale. They lived further away and so we met them part way.

6. Sunday night we had a lady stop by and give us a box of food and toiletries that she felt the Lord wanted her to give to us. She had met us at our yard sale and couldn’t get us off her mind. She felt she had to come back and bring us something.

It had to be hard for her to come to us like that not knowing what our reaction would be. Would we be offended? Not at all. God has provided our needs so many times during the years and we have learned that God’s provision doesn’t just fall from the sky. He usually provides through the love and generosity of friends. 

7. Scott had one last Friday off from work and we were able get a final visit with my brother and his family before they head back to France. We had a fun time and were able to visit my sister’s family as well and get some good siblings and cousins pictures taken. It was good to get to see them and I was glad my husband had that one last weekend off. We also found out that my sister is expecting her third child.

8. We received a check in the mail for another donation from another friend wanting to help us with our upcoming trip.

9. My husband received an email this past week. We have another offering coming in the mail. We do not know who sent it nor how much it is. We do know that our God is good and He knows what we need to make this trip successful.

Where we go and how many cities we see will be up to how much God provides for. So far we have our first week planned.

10. And the biggest blessing that I am excited to share with you all is our son, Jonathan (6) accepted Christ as his Savior Wednesday night after our Bible Study. 

He had been wanting to be saved for a long time. I will need to write another blog post about the struggle he had and the moment he finally understood. I love seeing the light come on in a child’s face. :)

I could write a whole lot more about God’s provision and blessings. It’s hard to keep these posts short. In my next post I will give more details about how Jonathan finally found Jesus and a really cute story of his witnessing to Elijah.

Only 10 days left!!! I am going to do my best to keep you all up to date on where we are and how God provides for us each step of the way. Be watching for updates and more pictures!

Thank you for following along with us. Having you for a friend is a blessing too! 

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

 

“‘Bring ye all the tithes into the store house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith,’ saith the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.'” Malachi 3:10

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Our Upcoming Adventure

Our airline tickets are purchased. On September 4, 2014, Scott and I will arrive in Córdoba, Argentina. We will spend the whole month there and will return home October 2.argentina2.jpg

Why are we going to Argentina?

Scott has had Argentina on his mind and heart since 2009. At work he overheard a documentary. He came home and started looking up more information about this country in South America. We found a Missionary we knew in Paraguay and Scott was able to visit there and cross over to Argentina during Christmas break. I was in my third trimester with our 5th child and couldn’t go.

A lot has happened over the past six years.

  • In March 2008 Scott accepted the call to pastor New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in South East Texas. We moved here that September.
  • December 2009 Scott visited Paraguay where Bro. Ted Barker and his family currently serve as Missionaries. Bro. Barker also took him across the border to visit Argentina. You can read “Scott’s in Paraguay” to learn more about that.
  • July 2010, Scott answered a call for help by our friends, Missionaries to South East Asia Rusty and Susan Teer. You can read more about Scott’s trip to Thailand and my trip to Michigan alone with the kids.
  • June and July 2011 Scott took me to Thailand.

Before we married Scott made sure that I would follow him wherever the Lord wanted us to go. I knew even then that God may call us to leave our comfort zones. I am willing. What more does God need but for us to be willing?

What will we be doing this September in Argentina? 

We are going on a survey trip to see what it will take to live there.

Our goals for this trip are to:

  • look at the different language schools in Córdoba.
  • find and visit area churches to see what worship services are like there.
  • visit other cities in the surrounding area.
  • check out the stores and markets to get an idea what our cost of living will be.
  • gain contacts we can learn from and who can help us in our move onto the field.

Are we taking the kids?

No. We’re not doing this to get away from our kids. We enjoy taking our kids places. When we finally do move onto the field we will be bringing most of our children with us. However for this trip it was not practical financially and time wise for them to come. My parents have graciously offered to keep them while we are gone. They will be in good hands.

What can you do to help?

Please pray for us.

We have been doing a lot of reading and research on living in Argentina but the more we learn the more we realize we don’t know.

It’s a little scary actually taking this trip not knowing what God has in store for us next. It’s a big step of faith to leave our comfort zones behind and prepare to move to a different culture. We want to make this trip as productive as possible.

We also need your prayers that God opens the doors for a sponsoring/sending church to come along side us in this endeavor. Somewhere there is a church seeking who the Lord will have them send. It’s just a matter of God’s timing but we need prayer as we wait.

Have any questions for us? Do you know anyone in Argentina? Please share with us in the comments.

I will be sharing more about our plans in future posts. You will probably be hearing some from my husband as well. Now that we have our tickets we can bring you along with us on the adventure.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15 KJV)

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Drowning

swimmingpoolI can’t swim!

I sputtered trying to grab the edge of the pool but it was too slippery.  My head went under. I splashed and reached for the concrete that I should have been able to hold onto. I never thought that concrete could be so slippery when wet.

“Help!” I whimpered as the water covers my head one last time.

I was 8 or 9 years old when I jumped off the diving board into my dad’s outstretched arms. He set me safely on the side of the pool.

“Don’t get back into the water,” my dad warned. “Walk over to the shallow end with your mother.”

I looked and saw my mother waiting with my sister all the way on the other end of the pool.

It is much warmer in the water.

I disobeyed my father.

All these thoughts flash through my young mind as I sputter my final cry for help.

Cry for help? It sounds more like a whisper to my ears. Why can’t I project louder when I really need someone to hear me?

But someone did hear me. Strong hands lifted me up and set me back on the side of the pool. I was rescued. I was saved.

Grateful for the second chance at obedience, I walked to the other side of the pool.

This wasn’t my last time to mess up. However I learned to be quick to repent and ask for help when I need it.

This story parallels another time I was rescued. I was 7 years old when I first began to realize I made mistakes. I was not perfect.

I knew what sin was. I knew I should repent. Repent of what? That was my problem at 7. I didn’t know what I was repenting of.

How can you ask someone to help you if you don’t realize you need help?

I was 10 years old when I finally figured out that I couldn’t figuratively swim by myself. I was miserable from guilt of the sins only I knew about. I remembered every lie. I remembered every time I stole. I remembered every time I fought with my siblings.

These things weighed on me and I was miserable. I wanted to get out from under the pressure of guilt.

At church camp I cried out for help. Finally I admitted I couldn’t take care of this problem myself.  I gave my life to Christ and He immediately rescued me from the deadly waters surrounding me.

That burden of guilt has been lifted off me. I am forgiven.

I am free. No longer drowning in a sea of guilt and shame.

Many times people hear that word “free” and think it means, “Oh, I’m okay now I can just do whatever I want.”

No. It means I am free to do what God wants me to do. It was His grace that gave me this new life. I now want to obey the rules He gave me in the Bible.

Yes. I still mess up. I will always make mistakes.

My dad still loved me even after I disobeyed and could have drowned. In the same way God still loves me even when I mess up.

Just like my dad wanted me to obey after I was rescued, my Heavenly Father wants me to obey now that He has rescued me.

No more getting back in the water to drown. Now I am walking the good path that God has laid out for me to walk.

Do you remember a time that you disobeyed? Did you learn a lesson from the experience?  You can either share them in the comments below or reply by email. I would love to hear your stories.

The school year is almost over and the rest of the year will be pretty jam packed with activities. However I am making it my goal to get back on track with my writing and take you along on our journey. Thanks for not giving up on me. :)

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

 

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Would You Throw the LifeSaver?

A person is walking along the banks of a large lake. As he does he happens to see a man who looks as if he is swimming in the water. However upon closer inspection the man walking sees that something is not right about how the swimmer is behaving. He is splashing a lot. Every few seconds he sinks under the water for longer periods of time and splashes back up to the surface only long enough to take a quick breath and sputter.

The walker just happens to have a lifesaver in his hands. He starts to throw it to the swimmer but then he hesitates.

Should I throw this to him? What if he gets upset at me?

You know he might think I’m suggesting he doesn’t know how to swim.

Will it offend him for me to throw this lifesaver out to him?

I wouldn’t want him to feel bad for being a terrible swimmer.

You know I think I will play it safe and watch him a minute before I throw it just to be sure he needs help.

I’m not a lifeguard. Maybe I should call a lifeguard to come get him out. Hmmm… There doesn’t seem to be any around here.

“Hold on, Mister! I’m calling a lifeguard for you!”

Meanwhile the swimmer goes under and the opportunity to save him is lost.

Unsinkable

The above story probably sounds a bit absurd.

“Just throw the lifesaver already!” you’re probably saying.

And yet the above scene is what a lot of us do everyday.

We hear people complain about those who have thrown lifesavers out. They say things like, “Why doesn’t everyone just leave me alone?”

“I’m not interested in what you have to say.”

“Mind your own business. I don’t want to hear it.”

“You live life your way and I’ll live life my way.”

To us it sounds like they are saying, “Just keep that lifesaver to yourself. I enjoy splashing in this water of life.”

However if we see them struggling and yet don’t throw the lifesaver to them, we are to blame for their drowning.

On the other hand, if we throw the lifesaver to them despite the fear that they might reject it, we  give them that opportunity to grab on or not. We have done our part.

The rest is up to them. We are not responsible for their decision to hold on or let go.

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

“Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman,’

‘when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people,  then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life.’

‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.

“Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”

~~Ezekiel 33:1-9 NKJV

Here I am throwing the LifeSaver to you.

I know what it is like splashing around trying to get out of the water. I couldn’t reach the shore alone either.

Someone threw me the LifeSaver. They didn’t wait to see whether or not I wanted it. They threw it out there for me. I chose to accept it.

Now I’m offering it to you.

God has the strength to pull you to the shore and change your life completely.

Will you let Him? 

If you have already accepted God’s LifeSaver and are wearing His Life Jacket please share your life changing story with us in the comments.

In my next post I will share with you the story of how I was saved from drowning. Literally and figuratively. Be sure to check back later this week for that. Until then…

Who will you throw the LifeSaver to today?

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Choose Wisely

I really wanted to get a blog post finished this week. Perhaps doing a quick Five Minute Friday post with Lisa-Jo Baker would help me get out of this horrible case of writer’s block. So here we go. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat. No editing. No overthinking. Just write. Then link up and encourage the blogger in front of you. Today’s word: Choose.

I’m setting my timer and …

HannahBasketball

Go!

Today I am choosing to do Five Minute Friday. I haven’t blogged in so long. This month was so busy and I chose to take my daughter every Friday to her basketball practice. Then I chose to attend her basketball games with the whole family. We loved watching her play. With a family of 8 you always have a large cheering section.

In basketball my daughter wanted her friends to choose to throw the ball to her. Sometimes she was chosen and sometimes they chose to throw it to someone else. No matter who was chosen she still got excited whenever they scored.

I want my children to make good choices in life. I want them to choose to follow God. Right now my husband and I make the decisions for them but one day they will be on their own and I hope they choose to do what is right even when we, their parents are no longer watching them. I need to teach them now so that they are prepared for that day. I want them to choose wisely.

Stop.

Ooh… This was good for me. This helped open my mind and unlock the writer’s block.

So if you will bear with me I’ll continue my above thought a little bit further. :)

I have been wanting to write about friendship. But every time I tried it seemed to just fall flat. Now I know what it is I’ve been wanting to say.

I want my children to choose their friends wisely.

How do you choose your friends? Friendship doesn’t just happen.

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

                                             — Proverbs 18:24 KJV

You have a choice. Who will you lead? Who will you follow? Who will you defend? Whose team will you choose to be on?

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

                                       –Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 KJV

Will your friends lift you up when you fall? Are you willing to help them up?

“Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

                                                        –Proverbs 27:10 KJV

With whom will you choose to be friends?

Five Minute Friday

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Husbands, Love Your Wife

In my last post I talked about Not Why but How I Love My Husband. There were lessons there that could apply either direction. My husband follows that same pattern in showing his love for me.

wedmelody

Our Wedding Day — November 28, 1996
My husband wrote a melody and sang it to me during our wedding.

Today I want to go deeper into how a husband should love his wife. Did you know that the Bible actually addresses husbands directly on this one? Yes. There is specific direction in the Bible for husbands to love their wives.

It is easy to be infatuated with someone when you first meet. However infatuation fades with time. 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

 

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:25-33 KJV)

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. 

 A husband that loves his wife should be willing to give his life for hers. Just like a parent that loves their child would rush into ongoing traffic risking their own lives to save the life of their child. A good husband will protect his wife. Just like Jesus loved us so much He willingly died to pay our debt.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Jesus Christ takes care of His church in order to present it to Himself.

A husband needs to be the spiritual leader in his home. A husband that sets out to raise his family to follow God can look back over his life and present his family before God.

I picture that day as I stand beside my husband in Heaven and we look over all of our children that were also taught to follow God. I imagine my husband saying, “Lord this is the great work you blessed me with. Here is my family. I present them to you.’

I know God would say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Alright, guys, here is a verse that shows it’s okay to be selfish. Yep, the more you love your wife the more you love yourself.

It does not mean to love your wife for selfish reasons. It means that if you love your wife the way you should love her, then she will be a blessing to you and will help you. In essence the better you treat her the better life will be for yourself.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

What do you do when you are hungry? You eat.

When you feel dirty? You bathe.

Tired? Rest.

That is cherishing your body. 

How do you cherish your wife?

Hold her when she is crying. Feed her when she is hungry. Do what you can to provide what she needs physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

We are a part of God’s body. Each member of his body has a purpose. The eyes see. The ears hear. The hands pick things up. They may be individual parts but every part is one with the body. They all work together. 

God made husbands and wives to have different abilities and to work together as a team.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Once you are married you no longer live with your parents. You are now on the same team as your wife. Together you honor your parents but do not side with them against your wife. 

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

It is amazing and hard to understand the similarities between a husband’s relationship to his wife and Jesus’ relationship with His church.

This is how a man loves his wife just like he loves himself. A love that will do what is best for her.

That does not mean to be like a parent making your kid eat her vegetables.  But do what is best for her as a partner. Encourage her. Be her biggest fan! 

and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Wives, don’t undermine your husband’s efforts. If you see he is trying to show you love, accept it and encourage him as he steps up to being the real man and husband God would have him to be for you.

He needs your encouragement not criticism.

Don’t criticize. Encourage.

Husband’s do you love your wife like this? Wives do you let your husband love you this way? Go ahead and tell me about it here.  

If you don’t have this kind of relationship there is no better time to get started than right now.

Get your marriage back how God would have it be.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Right here my husband and I were going to have our first podcast for you but… Podcasts are a lot harder to pull off than we thought!  So… after a million takes (slight exaggeration) we decided I should go ahead and post this and we’ll keep trying. One day we’ll stop trying so hard and probably have a perfect podcast. :)

So instead I want to share this blog post I recently found over at Time Warp Wife.  Check out When You Love Your Wife You Love Yourself for another point of view.  

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Not Why but How I Love My Husband

I’m excited to be taking part in the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!  

“Why do you love your husband?”

Our Newest Addition in 2012

My husband and I pose with our 6th child Elisabeth in May 2012

That is a very interesting question and if I were to answer quickly I would list all the wonderful and amazing traits my husband has.

I would tell about his patience, support, encouragement.

I could tell you about how good a father he is. How much he loves our children and all the times he tells them he is proud of them.

I could tell you about his devotion to God and how good he is at searching for answers in the Bible. I would show you his artwork and how talented he is.

But is that really why I love my husband?

Those are all traits my husband has that I truly love. However, that is not why I love him.

If I said that was why I love him then I could come to a point of not loving him should he suddenly stop any of those things. No! “Why” is the wrong question.

That’s like asking, “Why do you love a newborn?”

Newborn babies do not show love. They spend those first few weeks crying, eating, and sleeping. They are not born giving their parents hugs but yet we still love them. Love is action. The more we love our children and give them the things they need the more our love grows.

The real question is not “Why do you love your husband?” but “How do you love your husband?”

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV)

Love suffers long and is kind… 

I love my husband by being patient and kind to him.
Kind? Yes. Kind as in “Here let me help you with that!” 

Love does not envy…

My husband is very good at art. Much better than I am. I love him by not being upset when he is better than I am.

Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up…

Both my husband and I have strengths and weaknesses. In many cases his strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. I love my husband by remaining humble and not declaring myself better than him just because I have strengths.

Love does not behave rudely…

I love my husband by being polite. I can’t just think that since we’re married all manners are no longer necessary. How would that look if I were rude to my husband and saved all my best manners for company? I must never take my husband for granted. I love him by being polite.

Love does not seek it’s own…

In other words, Love is not selfish. I love my husband by putting my own selfish ambitions aside and making sure I take care of him. That may mean putting aside my writing and being fully present. It may mean giving up something I want in order to get him something I know he would like.

This does not mean that I am walked over and allowing myself to be a doormat. It means I love my husband so much that my desire is for him to be happy. When he is happy I am happy. Even though some may argue with me, putting my husband first is not self-depreciating. 

Love is not provoked…

I love my husband by not being easily angered. Whether it is something he says or does that tries to provoke those emotions or someone else that tries to provoke ill feelings for my husband. My love for him will not be easily provoked no matter how hard one tries.

Love thinks no evil…

I love my husband by not thinking evil thoughts about him. How can a person love someone that they think badly about. And the reverse how can someone hate a person they only think good thoughts about.

Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth…

I love my husband by not rejoicing when something bad happens to him. I won’t say, “I told you so!” nor “See I knew that would happen! You should have listened to me.” No! True love only rejoices when something good happens. When my husband is rewarded with a compliment for something he does right. I rejoice in the truth that he is the best! 😉

Love bears all things…

I love my husband even when the going gets tough. My love is strong and will bear the burden with him.

Love believes all things…

I love my husband by not doubting or second guessing him. I believe what he says and not question his integrity.

Love hopes all things…

I love my husband by knowing that the promises he has made to me, he will keep. Hope isn’t a wish. It’s knowing that something will be the way it is suppose to be.

Love endures all things…

No matter the circumstances, I love my husband by enduring whatever trial we must go through together.

Love never fails…

My love for my husband will stand the test of time. It will never fail.

Do you love your spouse? Feel free to tell me how you love your spouse in the comments

I bet you can guess how I know that my husband loves me. Perhaps that will be my next blog post. :)

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Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer.  You can check it out and grab a copy HERE.

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