Archive for the ‘Family Update’ Category

Twenty one year old Shafia and her family were outcasts in their Pakistani village.  They were poor, and many of their Muslim neibhbors scorned them because they followed Jesus Christ.  People called them chura, which means ” lowcaste sweeper” . They were considered the lowest of the low. In Shafia’s village Muslim men harassed Christian girls. Shafia’s brother Rafi publicly confronted them. Months later, he was killed.

The family wanted to prosecute Rafi’s killers, but they needed help.  A man named Masood offered to file the neccessary paperwork for them.  Masood asked Shafia to sign some papers for the case. but later, she discov ered it was a marriage certificate. Masood bragged the two were now married, and Shafia enrage Masood by disputing the marriage.

On Sept. 25, 2007, Masood kidnapped Shafia at gunpoint. He locked her in an upstairs room of his house. He beat her and raped her repeatedly.   Masood told her, ” If you convert to islam, I will stop beating you.” But she stayed strong telling him, ” Christianity is my religion, not Islam.  I am a Christian, and if you want to kill me  then kill me, but i will not accept Islam.”

After four months in captivity, Shafia found the door unlocked one day while Massood was at work. she fled to her family. The family’s situation was desperate.  They had to pay to file a legal case against Masood. They had no money, so they borrowed $217. To pay the , all 11 members of the family worked at a brick kiln, making bricks 12 hours a day.

” Daily in the evening we had a prayer meeting at home with my family. i felt strong in my faith when we read the  Word,” Shafia said.

Shafia and her family ar free from their debt of labor today because of Voic e of the Martyr’s fund. Mondey from the fund paid Shafia’s debt and allowed her family to purchase a rickshaw.  Now the family has a taxi business and they earn enough to take care of their needs.  With her dept paid,, Shafia is living a normal life in her village.  She still attends weekly prayer meetings and continues to stand for her beliefs.

This is a story shared by the Voice of the Martyrs, and is taken from their pulciation ” Praying for a RESCUE”. 

Check out tomorrow to hear the story of the second women, the title of the article is two women.

What an awesome day at church. Today in services we took part in the Lord’s Table, and as a Deacon I have the oppurtunity to serve communion.  That in itself is always an awesome privelege. But today held a special privelege for me, one that I will not soon forget.

During the second service there was a small presentation where the church presented me with my License to Gospel Ministry.  While officially this happened on December 10, 2008 that was the filling out and processing of the paperwork.  But today was the presentation in front of the church body.  It was short, it was too the point, but it was one of the moments I will never forget in my life.

For those that aren’t in the church world, or more specifically the Southern Baptist world, what this means is the church is putting a stamp of agreement on my calling to full time Ministry.  From my point of it is the next step in surrendering my life to full time ministry.  God placed a calling on my life when I was a youth at Brookside Baptist Church in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  It was after that I went on to Taylor University and received degrees in Youth Ministry and Urban Ministry.  Then naturally I went on to serve in a couple of churches as the full time youth minister over the next several years. 

Six years ago I came to Columbia, TN and time flew by.  And this is the longest I have ever lived in one place my entire life.  To some people, like my wife, who have lived in the same area their entire lives this isnot such a special thing. But more importantly I have never been a part of one church, as a child, youth or adult, whether as a member or staff for this long.  There have been many things that I have done n ministry since I first accepted that calling that were absolutetly wrong. And to those I hurt I humbly ask your forgiveness.

Over the past five years God has used this time, this place, and this church to help me heal. To teach me so many things as a disciple of Christ.  But most of all this was the place that he had prepared for me when he called me to ministry twenty years ago.  This was the place that was designed to help me understand, to have perspective of ministry. And has God has prepared me and walked with me through this time of discipleship he has put people in my life that helped me to recover, to learn and to grow. 

And then today the church that for the first time in my life I call my church home, put its stamp of agreement on my calling into ministry and licensed me as a Minister of the Gospel! How wonderful a thing! How awesome a thing that God would not only choose me to die for me and pay for my sins, but to choose me as one who would carry his word to those that are lost!

I have no idea what the future holds. All I know is the prayer I shared to today with our Head Deacon at the altar.  After the presentation there was a message, and then a time of inivation and altar call before the communion time.  I went forward and had to pray.  I had to step forward and acknowledge the gift, the responsibility, and confess to God publicly at the altar that his servant was listening and waiting for a direction. That his servant no longer would attempt to control his life but surrenedered it wholly to the call that He has given me.

To those of my family and friends who were in attendance at this admittedly short presentation, THANK YOU.  It was a day that I will never forget and I will not forgot those who shared this next step in my journey with me.

A Deacon now!

Posted: August 5, 2008 in Family Update
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You ever have those things happen to you, that you thought never would?  For whatever reason you just thought that would never happen to you, despite how much you wanted it to.  Well one of those things happened to me Sunday.  I have the oppurtunity and the blessing to be called and ordained as a Deacon by First Baptist of Columbia. 

It is a position of servanthood that I hold in high regard, and take with the utmost of sincerity.  It is an oppurtunity to serve my God, my church, and my brothers and sisters.  As a young man I watched my father become and serve as a deacon.  But it was one of those things that you thought would never happen to me because only happens to those who are adults, and mature and are a part of the church.  Never thought I would be adult enough to become a deacon. But somewhere along the line I grew up. 

I look forward to the next years of service, and am extremely thankful that I was able to have my loving wife at my side when ordained and my daughter watching in the audience. I know that she is only three years old and doesn’t really understand what happended. But one day she will say that she was there when her daddy was ordained.  I was also very thankful to have the oppurtunity to have Pastor Rick Blevins be the pastor who prayed over me.  He is a man that I have a high respect for and am very thankful for the opprutnity to serve along side him in this new fashion.  God is GOOD!

What a Blessing

Posted: July 17, 2008 in Family Update
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So tonight I come home from work and look at the lawn that needs cut.  But I just don’t have the time.  I need to get inside and change clothes and visit with my wife and daughter before returning to the youth services at church where I serve as a leader.  In the short conversations with my wife that I have in the few fleeting minutes I jokingly ask her a question.  “Does it make me insane that I thought about skipping church to cut the grass. Not because it needed it because it did, but because both of my neighbors on either side cut their lawns today. So it makes our look twice as bad. ”  Sounds like keeping up with the Jones’ right?  And the whole time I had already planned to cut the yard tomorrow night when I got home from work. 

After making the statement my wife reminds me that we have family coming down for a visit in the evening. And I tell her that i will get it done and have it squared away and should be wrapping it up by the time that they get here. So I change my clothes and head off to church. 

A couple of hours later I come home from the youth services and as I turn into the driveway I look down the front yard. I saw the tracts of the lawn mower.  At first glance I tell myself that it is the tracts from I cut it last week and I caught a glimpse of it as the sun was fading and I was turning into the driveway.  Then I pull into the driveway and look dead out over the front lawn. It is cut.  I pull the car in the garage and walk back out to look at the front lawn.  The side of the house and the front lawn have been cut.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had to walk into the garage and put my hand on the lawnmower just to make sure it had been used.  The whole time I am thinking that a neigbhorhood kid has come over and was trying to raise money and my wife paid him five bucks to cut the grass or something.

So I walk into the house set my Bible down and call out to my wife. She is in the bathroom giving our daughter a bath.  I walk in and ask what happended to the lawn. Not hello, not how are you, how was the evening.  Let’s get to the important stuff. What happened to my lawn?  My wife calmly and plainly looks at me and says that she cut it.  I am floored. I didn’t know what to say.  In our nearly six years of marriage my wife has not once helped me due yardwork.  Mainly because I wouldn’t let her I was to particular about how I wanted it done.  She tells me that she just wanted to see if she could do it.  She tells me that she was cutting the grass and our daughter had her toy lawnmower cutting another area.  I am sorry I ddin’t get to see that. I graciously thank her and ask how much she actually cut, and tell her what I thought had happened. 

I then turn around and take the dog out and walk the yard. My wife has done a wonderful job! She cut the entire front yard and did it well!

Then I come back in and I am helping get my daughter ready for bed.  As part of our nightly routine I take our daughter to the bathroom while my wife takes the puppy, dog number two, out for one last bathroom break before bed.  While I am helping my daughter in the bathroom I thank her for helping mommy cut the grass.  And then the secret is let out!

My three year old daughter looks across the bathroom at me and says that her and mommy didn’t want me to have to cut so much tomorrow and miss grandma coming for a visit. It had nothing to do with wanting to see if she could do it.  I just have the best wife!

I have the most wonderful wife in the world that helps me even when I don’t have the sense to ask for it.  Who gives without seeking credit or thanks.  So thank you honey! I love you very much! And don’t know what I did for God to grace me with such a blessing to have you as my wife!

I have a Daddy

Posted: June 15, 2008 in Family Update
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My all time favorite television show, above Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and anything else is the televisin M.A.S.H.  I can watch it all day, everyday.  And on Father’s Day I think of one particular episode when Hawkeye learns that his father is going in for a difficult surgery. Half way around the world Hawkeye is going crazy, desperatly trying to get speak to his father, or at least learn of his status.  Throughout his turmoil Charles Emerson Winchester, III sits with him.  He tries to help him and work with him to see him through this difficult time. During the course of the conversation Charles shares about his relationship with his father, or his lack there of.  He listens to Hawkeye talk about his relationship with his father and learns that Hawkeye has a different, and a deeper relationship with his father.  Charles makes the statement, ” Where I have a father you have a dad.”

Five years ago my wife and I bought our very first home. It is a small little home that sits on a little more than an acre of land. It is beautiful. It sits atop a very small hill, that slopes down to a creek that is surrounded on both sides by tall oak, and maple trees.  I love my house, and we bought it brand new so this is our house and no one elses.  Like alot of new homes the yard was seeded before we bought it. And of course they covered the grass seed with straw.  It is a good way to keep the birds from getting to it and allowing it the oppurtunity to grow.  Yet once the grass starts to grow you have to remove the straw and rake it all up. 

So here I am a box of lawn and leaf bags, my brand new rake, ready to tackle my first yard project in my new home.  My father calls me before I head outside to begin work and asks me what I am doing. I tell him what I am getting ready to do and we talk for a few minutes and conclude the call.  So I head out into the yard to begin what I arrogantly thought would be a quick and easy job.  And I job that I thought I could simply, and efficently do without help.

Two and a half hours later I have barely gotten past the halfway point and I have about forty five minutes of daylight left.  I stop for a breather as the sweat is pouring down my face.  I look to the left and look to the right as I stood at the base of that gently slopping hill. And seeing how much I had left my heart sank.  I was just ready to loose heart when I look back up the hill and see my dad standing at the top of the hill wearing work clothes and a rake in his hand.

I am utterly surprised.  He has driven forty five minutes to my house to come and help his arrogant and prideful son finish the project that he knew would be more than a one man job.  So he jumps in and we are able to nearly finish the project. We got close enough that the next night I was able to finish in about twenty minutes.  Where as all have a father, I have a dad!

To all fathers, have fathers day! But especially to my dad. Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for all that you have done throughout my life, and all that you did and I never knew you were there. Thank you for the example that you set, and the encouragement you provided.  Thank you for being my dad!

An Ending with A Smile

Posted: May 24, 2008 in Family Update
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Cousins meet for the first time.Well I just got home and had the oppurtunity to spend the day with my daugher. But not just my daughter but her new cousin, Linda as well as her mother and father.  It was so wonderful to spend a day with her.  I swear I think her face must be hurting right now as she never stopped smiling all day long.  She is a wonderful child that I loved spending the day getting to know.  And one of the most awesome things is that she doesn’t know the first word of English but she was able to not only communicate with me but with my daughter.  To watch two children that can’t share a word together spend the day laughing and praying was wonderful.  Well maybe they could share a few words together.  After spending a few days talking to my daughter about Madison not being able to speak English, Madison did what most children now a days would do.  She reverted to her knowledge from Dora.  All day she talked about the words that she knew from Dora and was looking for a way to send it.  It was a wonderful day with my brother and his family. A day that I am very thankful to be a part of. 

God’s Hand

Posted: May 15, 2008 in Family Update
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Our God is an awesome God!  I can not say that loud enough after a day like today.  Where I have had the oppurtunity to witness his miracolous hand working!  Let me set the stage.

Approximately fifteen months ago my brother and his wife decided to adopt a little girl that they met while they were living in Nicaraguga and working at an orphanage there.  They began the process of having a home study written, and following the legal stuff here in the states.  As the proccess continued they learned that it would happen quicker on the U.S. side than on the Nicaragugan side.  And we found out that was true.  Over the past fifteen months my brother and/ or his wife having been living and working at the orphanage so that they could be close to the little girl during this long process.  Often times it meant my brother and his wife would be separated for months at a time.  I would love to go into detail on all the trials, but let me say that there has been doubt, heartache, confusion, and frustration, and that is only my part I can’t imagine what my brother and his wife were going through.

Fast forward to last Friday. When I get an email from my brother saying that he is leaving that day to go down there and get his wife and daughter and bring them home! Absolutely wonderful news, after all this time it is going to finally happen! He was leaving and hoped to be back on the 16th with his family.  Praise God!

Jump to today, this morning to be specific.  I get a phone call from my mother telling me that my brother has called and there is rioting in Nicaraguga  to including burning of buses, looting to mention a few things.  My brother is being told that he should leave the country and come back to the United States for safety reasons. So it has been a pretty nerve wrecking day, until we received the word that all three, my brother his wife, and their new American Citizen daughter are in Miami and on U.S. soil! Praise God!

Now I am not doing this story justice, but let me reflect on the working of God in this process of leaving the country and coming home.  The orphanage that they live out was outside the city and was near the heart of the rioting.  My brother and his wife had planned several days ago to come to the city and go to the American Embassy and pick up the final papers on their daughter’s status as American citizen.  They decide to make this a trip for all three instead of just one of my brother and his wife coming into the city.  Once they are in the city they are told that they shouldn’t go back to the oprhanage due to the rioting and should just leave, and return to the U.S.  Of course their clothes, belongings, and medications for their daughter are back at the orphanage.  Now it might seem like a no brainer decision to leave and be safe and replace things like clothes and other things, which is what they did.

Here is what I have reflectedthus far today.  If this would have happened two weeks ago, my sister-n-law would have not been able to make it into the city to be able to leave, as the orphanage’s location would have required her to pass through rioting.  None the less she would not have been able to take her daughter with her because the paperwork had not been completed as of yet.  And of course she would have been alone there, and my brother would have not been able to get to her.  So they were together and were able to face it as a family.

All they really needed to do was come into the city and then turn around and go back to the orphanage. It was not a neccessity that all three came into the city.  They could have just as easily left their daughter at the orphanage and come back, or my brother could have went in alone.  Instead they all came in as a family and were able to leave as a family.  If only my brother would have come in to the city, I dare not hazard a guess as to what might have happened if he had to go back through rioting to try and get his family. 

I know that some of this might seem like a coincidence to some but in the middle of chaos God was never away from my brother and his family.  And every little thing that happened to get them all three to the point of being at a place where they could safely leave the country was God’s plan!