Saturday, January 9, 2016


The move to Dallas has brought some surprises.  Like this sign at the trail head, reminding me that being in your home country may pose way more danger than living overseas.

The scorpion on the driveway was a surprise, too.  I have no photo of that, since it was at night.  But then there are largish lizards who also think the driveway is a cool place to hang out.

And there have been really wonderful surprises.  Like how many dear friends we've been able to see as a result of living in a place that's a hub for Bible Translation. Laura (below) and her family were in town in September, and they surprised me with a big cookie to help me celebrate my birthday!


 That meant that Michael also got to spend time with his buddy from Davao, 
catching up and sharing a little American culture.

This meeting with Donna was a total surprise.  She came up behind me with a hug as I served coffee at a Bible Translation conference.  I had no idea that she was even in the country! 
It was great to see you, Donna!  
 And there have been visits from other friends whose photos I neglected to capture, like Lorine and Xinia and Janel, and of  course those of you who also now live here in Dallas.  What a joy to see each of you!

Meeting Joan was incredibly special and planned well in advance.  Joan has been a wonderful resource person for us ever since 2012, but we'd never met in person.  When she found out that she was coming to Dallas, she graciously made sure to plan to get together in real life.  
What a delight it was to hug you for the first time, Joan!

 I had only "met" Joanna via her blog, but had been so encouraged for several years both by her blog and through emails.  I ran into her husband who let me know where they were staying (it happened to be the same fourplex where we were renting!) and for the first time we met - her family even invited us for lunch the next day!  What a sweet surprise to get to spend time with you in person, Joanna!

This is a place that teems with people who are passionate about making God's Word known
and available to every tribe and every nation.
It's a good place to be.

Bible Translation conference, October 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

go west

What a sweet joy it was to head west for a little while and see family and friends.
Mark and I tag-teamed to spend time in the Seattle area, 
bringing Michael in the middle for the wedding of one of his closest cousins.

(clockwise:) Michael worked to finish all his homework on the flight, freeing him to enjoy the time!
We loved seeing Mark's mom settling into her cozy new condo on Lake Washington.
Michael takes in the gorgeous view from the rooftop
and we spotted this treasure in the entry way - "our verse" from Ps 126.

 Then precious time with Barbara's family before the wedding 
(thanks so much for opening your home, J&C!)

“He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, 
stand a broader mark for sorrow; 
but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.” 
 – Benjamin Franklin

(clockwise:) And an absolutely beautiful wedding.
The lovely bride relaxes after the photos
Our handsome nephew waits for his bride to enter
Sheer joy!!  
The beautiful mother of the groom with Michael and Mark
Barbara's sweet auntie enjoys the chocolate fountain. 
(You don't look a day older, T!)

After Mark and Michael returned to Dallas,
sweet time with family continued for me... elegant tea with some of my dear sisters,

and just-too-short times with some of my "grands" -
great nieces and nephews who are beyond delightful to be with!
I miss you all. ♥
(and J, you know I'm blogging just for you! ♥)

I'm reminded again of how thankful I am to be in the US right now, and able to be with everyone at this special time.  We're sad that Amy and Elise couldn't join us, but I guess this blog is for you, too, A&E, so you can see some of the faces of the family who missed you. ♥

Thursday, September 17, 2015

smoking the gospels

Gambarambi sat on the roadside near his home in Zimbabwe, talking with friends and smoking his hand-rolled cigarettes.  A Bible translator wanted to give a copy of the New Testament in the local language to Gamabarmbi.  Gambarambi just laughed and said it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to give him a Bible.  He would just tear the perfectly thin pages out and use them to roll more cigarettes.

This presented a quandary for the translator. He knew Gambarambi needed to read about Jesus, but he didn’t want the New Testament turned into cigarettes. As he prayed about it, he came up with an idea.

The translator told Gambarambi that he could use the pages of the New Testament for cigarettes, but only after reading each page.  Recognizing a free source for quality cigarette paper, Gambarambi readily agreed.

Fifteen years later, at a United Bible Society Meeting in Zimbabwe, Gambarmabi stood up to speak.  As he looked over the audience, he spotted the translator who had given him free cigarette paper. 

Gambarambi told the audience about the agreement he had made with the translator. He said, 
“I smoked Matthew, 
I smoked Mark, 
I smoked Luke, 
and I smoked John 
until I got to John 3:16 
and then I could smoke no more!”

Now, instead of smoking the Gospel, 
Gambarambi is preaching the Gospel.

*Taken from a story at 

The unfolding of Your words gives light; 
Psalm 119:130

Monday, August 10, 2015

times and places

"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, 
but will not encourage us to mistake them for home."
-C.S. Lewis
The time came for us to move on from the "pleasant inn" on Isle of Hope in Savannah.  Time for Mark to come and join the rest of his team at the Seed Company in Arlington TX, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

One week before our move, Michael had an ER visit that resulted in a well-bandaged hand.  He still managed to fly his R/C craft single-handedly (below left), and to help out with the move.  We're so thankful for friends who came alongside to help us in the fray! M&R (below right) showed us so much kindness, including bringing a wonderful dinner our way on a busy night of packing. 

Other friends just came by to spend time, and lend moral support and encouragement!

On the day of the move, Monday the 3rd, a crew of willing help arrived, and loaded that truck in no time flat.  I wish I had a photo of everyone who helped; some with loading, some with cleaning, others provided fabulous food and encouragement!  We were so incredibly blessed by the support.

The first leg of our journey took us to Statesboro, where we stayed for a couple of days to help Amy and Elise get settled in their home for the year. (Above left, Michael helps them hang blinds.) On the road there, I was encouraged by the panoramic picture of hope the Father spread across the sky.  In the midst of the clouds, the brilliant rays of light shone through. (above, top) Moving again, far from so many we love is hard, but He is good, and He brings joy out of the darkness! He lovingly gave Amy and Elise a picture of hope of their very own - outside their back door, on a mostly dead rose bush, bloomed one single bud.  Though we're separated, He's given them a place and time to grow and flourish.

All too soon it was time to do a final pack and say our goodbyes.  I am convinced that God's people were praying for us, because He gave us calm hearts that morning, and a sense of peace through the parting.  THANK you to all of you who prayed.
After two days on the road, Mark driving the U haul (above top, through Shreveport), and I following in the Taurus, sharing Michael's company back and forth, we arrived in Dallas.  Now we're moved into our temporary home (above), a Wycliffe rental property, and thankful for God's care and provision through the journey!

"... He determined the times set for them
and the exact places where they should live."

Acts 17:26, NIV

Though we haven't moved back overseas, we are still just as active in supporting the work of Bible translation world-wide.  Mark began work again today in Technology Support, providing technical help to accelerate the work of making God's Word available in every language. What an honor it is to have a small part in God's work to bring all tribes and nations to Himself.  We are deeply grateful to all of you who encourage us in this work! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Summer is a season of celebration in our family, as 3 out of us5 have birthdays,
and then of course, our home nation celebrates its birthday too!

left: Elise and Amy celebrate their 19th(!)  middle: Mark celebrates a few days later  right: July 4th

The birthday candles and the sparklers twinkle in the darkness, and I think about how much joy and wonderful good there is right here in the middle of being a family together. 

These celebrations are mile markers; reminders to look back with thanksgiving, grateful to the God of life, the One Who gives each breath, each smile!  And reminders to look forward with hope, to trust Him for the year ahead, full of unknowns, and full of opportunities to see His hand at work, faithful as the years are long!

center: Michael, Amy and Elise drive off to a day of work at camp   sides: Elise's sparkler photos

Saturday, June 27, 2015

this sacred loan

Elisabeth Elliot and Charleston Christians Respond to Sorrow

Last Monday, a hero of the faith went home. Elisabeth Elliot had fought the good fight and finished the race.  Almost 60 years earlier, she and her husband Jim, together with 4 other couples, devoted themselves to bring the good news of Christ to a remote people group in Ecuador. The Waoroni (or Auca) people solved disputes by savagely spearing one another.  They abandoned inconvenient babies, and strangled children to bury with their fathers who were dying of spear wounds. “In fact, outsiders were not their greatest concern; killing within the tribe was so rampant that they were on the verge of annihilating themselves.”  (Steve Saint)  In the process of getting to know the Waoroni, there was a disastrous misunderstanding, and Jim and the four other missionary men were violently speared to death by Auca warriors.

How could God have allowed such a massive, tragic slaying of His people?  Elisabeth’s response to this devastating loss was to go, by faith, along with Rachel Saint, the sister of another martyr, to live with the Waoroni, to learn their language, and to share the hope of forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ.  Now, 59 years later, the Waoroni tribe has grown to 8 times the size it was in 1956, and about 1/3 of them are Christians.  They are sharing the gospel of Christ through a clinic, pharmacy and school for their own people and as they host tourist groups in their region. (see this article on the Waoroni.)  

“Cruelty and wrong are not the greatest forces in the world.

There is nothing eternal in them. Only love is eternal.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth spent seven more years in Ecuador, and then continued to share the gospel right here in the US for the remainder of her life.  She immersed herself in God’s Word, and shared it with us through her writing and speaking.  Her calm, quiet faith will continue to bolster the faith of believers into the future. 

Last Monday Elisabeth realized the fulfillment of her faith, as she went home to be with her Savior.  And just two days later, a gunman sat through a Bible study in Charleston, SC, listened without hearing the Word of God, and in an unexpected way, eerily similar to the Waoroni savagery, opened fire in a violent killing of nine worshipers.  

How could God have allowed such a massive, tragic slaying of His people?  Yet the response of the church to this devastating loss was, by faith, to extend the hope of forgiveness, and to urge a repentant response to the gospel of Christ. 

“Sorrow is lent to us for just a little while,

that we may use it for eternal purposes. 

Then it will be taken away

and everlasting joy will be our Father’s gift to us,

 and the Lord God will wipe away all tears off all faces.”

 – Amy Carmichael (one of Elisabeth’s heroes).

What impact might it have on our nation, and even on our world, to see this kind of response from the church to the senseless violence and destruction that evil imposes on us?   This sorrow is a sacred loan, entrusted to us that we might use it for eternal blessing.  We wonder how God can allow such tragedy.  But perhaps the better question is, how can God use this tragedy for the eternal, long-term blessing of His people, and for His eternal glory?

God's timing of the events of our world

is engineered from the eternal silence ...

it is faith he is looking for,

a quiet confidence that whatever it is he is up to,

it will be a wonderful thing,

never mind whether it is what we have been asking for.

- Elisabeth Elliot

A wonderful thing?  We cannot in anyway describe last Wednesday’s shooting in those words.  But "Sometimes God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves." (Joni Eareckson Tada) He hates the evil. But He’s at work redeeming what seems like unmitigated wrong to accomplish everlasting good.  He desires in His people a trusting confidence in Him, though His ways are not according to our agenda.

“Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love

that does not show itself in protection from suffering....

The love of God did not protect His own Son....

 He will not necessarily protect us –

not from anything it takes to make us like His Son.

A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire

will have to go into the process.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth’s hope was not that her life on earth would be right and just and safe.  Her hope was to be like Christ. She chose to respond to the sacred sorrow lent to her by God with words of praise and thanks, even through her tears, for His eternal, untouchable gifts.  God was honored, and the hope of the gospel was on display.

The Emanuel AME Church of Charleston has responded to their sacred sorrow, lent to them by God, with words of forgiveness and a call to repent, even through their tears. A fixed focus on the Father’s eternal, untouchable gifts will empower them to continue to honor Him in their response to this sacred sorrow, putting the hope of the gospel on display.

Elisabeth’s tears have been wiped away.  Her Father has replaced all the sorrow with everlasting joy.  She’s home.  "Last week," Goff (interim pastor of Emanuel AME) said, "dark powers came over Mother Emanuel. But, that's alright. God in his infinite wisdom said 'that's alright. I've got the nine.' "- CNN  Those who knew the Lord are home with Him, all tears erased.  

And the rest of us?  We have a little while longer to use this temporary scaffolding of sorrow well; to display the hope of the gospel, to be purified and chiseled, and made like His Son before the loan is recalled and replaced with everlasting joy.

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing;

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;

they shall obtain gladness and joy,

 and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

Isaiah 51:11

Monday, June 15, 2015

In the Midst of the Storm

Is it worth the risk many take to translate God's Word into a minority language in an unstable country? The following story, written by Wycliffe Bible Translator's President/CEO, Bob Creson, is a beautiful example of how God is at work behind the scenes, even through stormy times.

Ma khân cũai yoc ễ sa-âm, cóq alới tamứng nhũang. 
Cớp parnai ca alới cóq tamứng nhũang la parnai o tễ Yê-su Crĩt. 
Roma 10:17  
(Romans 10:17 in Bru: 
So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.)


On Monday, March 10, 1975, Wycliffe missionaries John and Carolyn Miller were about to begin an eight month ordeal that would test every Christian principle they had ever learned (Carolyn has since documented their journey in her book, “Captured.”) The war in South Vietnam was raging, and the Viet Cong, supported by North Vietnam, were gaining the upper hand. Fourteen years earlier the Millers had started learning the Bru language of Vietnam and Laos, and by 1975 they and their Bru co-workers were in the final stages of checking the New Testament before typesetting and printing. But the fighting kept moving closer.

After a particularly frightening night, John and Carolyn grabbed their packed bags and, with their five-year-old daughter, sought refuge in a more secure housing compound. The situation continued to deteriorate over the next two days, and escape became less and less likely. John and Carolyn re-sorted their belongings, deciding what to take into an unknown future. The first thing they put into their single suitcase was their most prized possession: the corrected copy of the Bru New Testament.
Suddenly the door of opportunity to escape slammed shut. As they stepped from the house where they were staying, they were confronted by a North Vietnamese soldier carrying a gun. Carolyn remembers thinking, “So this is what a North Vietnamese soldier looks like!”

Her mind must have flashed back to the ordeal of their colleagues Hank and Vange Blood. Hank and Vange had been taken captive by the Viet Cong in 1968. Vange was quickly released, but for five years the outside world heard nothing from Hank. By the time of their capture, the Millers knew Hank had died in captivity.

Now Millers faced captivity as well. John and Carolyn, their young daughter, and several others from various walks of life were loaded into vehicles and taken away. Over the next few months, they were moved from camp to camp. They eventually ended up near Hanoi, where their manuscript was taken from them. Eight long months after their capture, they were released, but their manuscript was never returned.

Painstakingly, they reconstructed their work from earlier manuscripts and in 1981, 500 copies were printed and sent back to the Bru area. For years they didn’t know if these New Testaments ever reached their destination.

Finally in 1990, they were able to make contact with the Bru community. Their first translation co-worker met them in Thailand and brought with him a well-worn copy of the New Testament! The books had indeed reached the Bru, and the Bru church was thriving and growing! The Good News had spread to the neighboring country, and people were believing despite persecution. 
John talked with a leader of the national church in an area where Bru believers were experiencing persecution. He told of one situation in which four Bru believers were put in prison and told to renounce this “foreign religion.” Then he added with a smile, 
Four believers went into prison; 
eight came out.”

In recent years, religious freedom has begun to expand. Legally there is religious freedom, though Christians are still discouraged, even persecuted, for practicing their faith. The New Testament has gone through three printings, and in 2014, with the government’s approval, the whole Bible was published — the result of a continuing partnership between the Bru believers and the Millers.

The Bru are using the written Word. They are also downloading and sharing the Word in digital and audio formats. John and Ethel Ligero of Wycliffe Philippines, in partnership with Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) and assisted by the Millers, made the audio recording. The Bru can access it on FCBH’s smartphone app,

Ethel says that when people hear the Word in their own language, they often say, “We’ve never heard this story before!” From my experience, that’s not unusual. While they may have heard the story in Vietnamese or another language of wider communication, they don’t really “hear” it until they engage with it in an accurate, clear and natural way in their mother tongue.

We read in Scripture that the Word — Jesus himself — became human and made his home among us (John 1:14). Through the work of Wycliffe and FCBH he is now going door to door calling Bru people by name, in their own language. He is no longer a foreign God. He speaks their language; he knows their culture. He is safe to trust.

Friday, June 12, 2015


Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Point Pleasant campers, 2005

We're treasuring being together again as Elise and Amy wrapped up their freshman year of college in May, and came home for the summer. 

They both are working at the same day camp that they enjoyed as children (photos left and below) where they lead groups of girls, and direct the crafts or Bible lessons.  There's something very special about being back at Point Pleasant again!

Point Pleasant campers, 2006

They are both licensed drivers now (finally!  having lived overseas for their high school years, that process took a little longer it would have otherwise) and they've co-bought a Ford Taurus (thanks to some help from their dad) which will be necessary next year at college.

As a high school student, Michael can work just a couple of weeks at Point Pleasant.  But he's filling his extra time with odd jobs in the neighborhood.  And his earnings have funded some new remote control scratch build projects. Photos of those next time!  He's got his driver's permit, so he's on the road to having a license a little earlier than his sisters did.

early yard-work training, 2002

Thursday, April 9, 2015

udto udto

A few years ago, while cleaning our house in the Philippines, I found a little snake in the living room behind our couch.  It was about 6 inches long, and very skinny.  I was pretty sure that it was harmless, but we captured it in a jar, and Michael carried it up to the office to ask the Filipino staff what kind of snake it was.   
 “Udto udto,” they told him; 
"it’s so poisonous, if it bites you, you won’t last 'til lunch."  

We learned later that they said the same thing about every snake anyone ever encountered there.  They were lovingly encouraging us to not take any chances with any snake.   

Let's encourage each other to not take any chances with any sinful thoughts, no matter how harmless they seem.  Thoughts of discontent, fear, ungratefulness or bitterness can become equally poisonous to our faith, and they must be taken captive, replaced with thoughts and words of thanksgiving, praise and trust!

  we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ
 2 Cor 10:5