Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oh the highs and lows of ministry. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving potluck with our neighborhood Bible study group on Wednesday evening. We ended the night by sharing what we were thankful for and by praying for each other.
This morning we had King's Kids and ended up having to kick out two boys. They are both my neighbors and are both in sixth grade. They won't be allowed back until January so they will miss the annual Christmas party and gift giving. It breaks my heart, but it will make it possible to teach the others without constant interruption to keep the peace.
Both boys are from single mother homes and both have anger issues. One is extremely bright and has prayed to receive Christ and one is special ed material and has not yet accepted Jesus as his Savior. Both have first names that begin with "T" so if you are reading this and believe in the power of prayer, please pray for both of them and their families.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

God is good. He gave me a peaceful afternoon today as I prepare for our neighborhood Bible Study. We are having a baked potato bar so no major food prep! My wonderful husband did a ton of housework too.

We have been busy with responsibilities 6 days a week, but there is nothing I would willingly give up doing. I teach Bible four times a week, twice in our school and twice in neighborhood Bible clubs. I teach music all day long two days a week. We have the above mentioned home Bible study with our neighbors. I don't teach at that one, I cook, facilitate, and babysit...for one very active four-year old.

I do have one funny story to share for those of you who still patiently tune in. Recently on a warm Saturday night Steve and I were in bed watching a DVD before going to sleep. The kids from the corner plus a few more were playing up and down the street, mostly in front of our house. It got louder and louder and I kept peeking out to make sure all was well. Finally, I looked out and saw two fights start, one between boys and one between girls. Since I teach a few of them either in school or Bible club, I put on my (pink satin) bathrobe and my (fuzzy pink) slippers and went out to settle things down. There I was in the middle of the street using my teacher-authority voice and stopping the fighting. Steve and I walked them all home (next-door) and went home and called one of the moms on her cell. I must have been quite the sight, but they don't fight in front of my house any more. And did I mention that TWO male neighbors just stood and watched the fray? The occupants of the car that came by must have gotten a chuckle or two as well!

Life in the city.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It has been a busy summer with no time out for blog reading or writing. The end of the school year came and went so quickly with my concert followed by the conference I attended in Florida that summer was upon me and half over before I took a breath.

I taught a week-long Bible club with a friend. It was based on KidsEE and was lots of fun even if my right hand did develop arthritis from all the cutting out of crafts we did the week before. The kids were very responsive and really began to understand their faith in a way that they could share with others.

We hosted a 6-week long Bible study in our home during which one neighbor gave himself to Christ. Whoo-hoo! The Bible study included serving dinner ahead of time and me babysitting a very active 4 year old so his mom could attend. We will begin again in the fall.

Steve just got back from 5 days at youth camp and is leaving tomorrow for 4 days of teen camp. Looks like I am not going, as we have no girls attending this year. He'll get back on Wednesday and we will leave the next day for family camp with at least one family from the Bible study and another missionary. After that comes teachers meetings followed by the first day of school.

We also spent a week with Micah, Kim, Isaac and Caleb driving to Illinois for a brief visit with my sister Lois and on to Minneapolis for the Five P-Minus Family Conference. More about that later. Just let me say that 50somethings just don't recover from 2 days in the car like they did when they were 20somethings.

I know you have all heard of the horrible shootings in Newark last weekend. Please keep praying for our city. The enemy of our souls thinks he owns Newark and we are truly engaged in Spiritual warfare. The kids we work with are very at risk, very few intact families, and very few resources of any kind. It is a privilege to be here no matter what happens.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Yes: Finally I am back on my blog. It has been an extra busy 2 months and the blog is low on my to-do list. Let me fill you all in. Steve and I took an 8 week course on urban church planting from World Impact's Urban Ministry Institute. It involved the reading of 3 books, weekly memorizing of Scripture verses, weekly quizzes, a ministry project, a paper and a final exam. I went into it telling the course facilitator that I would audit the course though he did his best to persuade me to take it for credit. I won. The week of the final exam and the paper being due was the week of my end of year school concert. The concert was on a friday and following monday I left for Florida to attend a week-long clinic for Kid's EE (Evangelism Explosion), which also required memorizing of verses and materials ahead of time. Too much memorizing for this old brain. I actually did pretty well in both things: I took and passed all the quizzes, I did the memorizing, and I did the ministry project. I passed my EE course and am now qualified to teach Kid's EE and to train others to teach it as well. Pretty cool.

Since I returned from Florida I have been busy as well. We had the end of school this week as well as an overnighter for some of our King's Kids saturday Bible club group. I cooked and cleaned all week as we hosted a neighborhood Bible study on Wednesday, I had all my music classes come to my house on Thursday for a snack and end of year singing, and hosted a luncheon for all the staff and teachers on Friday. As soon as we cleaned up the luncheon we made a quick trip to the store for the King's Kids sleepover and made it back in time to welcome the first of the kids. I don't think I want to cook again for about a week!

The sleepover was a good time had by all! It is always a learning experience to have the kids in that type of setting because we see more of who they really are when they are not trying to make an impression. We start out with pizza for dinner followed by a trip to the local park. The most notable thing is how the other children at the playground react to us. When they see adults who are actually playing with children, they flock to us. One little girl was in a swing last night and couldn't get down. I saw her sobbing and realized she had no one to help. Probably a sibling put her in and left her. I went over, found out her mom wasn't there, and told her I was a grandma and I would get her out of the swing. At that she replied "Could you by MY grandma?" Newark will break your heart with love if you allow God to work in your heart. Pray for Samia as we hope to visit the playground again this summer armed with songs and Bible stories.

Next Saturday is our final King's Kids event. Every year we take them to a suburban park that has lake swimming and paddle-boating for a picnic. It is a favorite event. Keep us in prayer.

We are so blessed to be living here in Newark and thank God He is willing to use us here.
Thanks for reading to the end of this missive.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hey everyone,

Just said good-bye to the 8!!! neighborhood kids who came to our house to dye eggs. We fed them some yummies and sat them around the table with 8 cups of dye. They had to share the colors and a good time was had by all. I spoke to them for approximately 3 minutes about the real meaning of Easter...about how much they were ready to listen to. Despite the fight that broke out in front of our house afterwards, it was a blessing. Really it was only a shouting match that we quickly took in hand. We feel blessed by the turnout and the reception of the "event". It was a good next step in ministry to the families that line our street.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ruth is posting again?...So soon after the last time? (That's a joke, folks.)

Here we are, coming up on the most important day of the year...Easter. This is the day to remember that Christ did not only die for our sins, but He rose again. What a gift beyond measure.

I find that each time I move I have to grieve my family traditions at holiday times. Things change, children grow up and leave home, we move from familiar places and church families and it is time, once again, to establish new patterns and rythms. I was falling into a bit of melancholy so asked several sisters in Christ to pray for me. How good the Lord is to send praying friends and to answer our prayers so lovingly.

This past Saturday we had an Easter Egg Hunt for 29 kids who attended our King's Kids program at the building. On Good Friday, we will have 6 to 10 neighborhood children over to our home to dye eggs and then will send the eggs home with them. Our dear 24/7 Community Church will have a foot-washing service on Maundy Thursday which we will attend. I hope to find a Good Friday service to attend as well. Then on Easter, thanks to God, we will attend our old church in Wyckoff and eat dinner with my daughter-in-law's family. It will be a large group and they are enfolding us. We will also celebrate our Caleb's 4th birthday and be there for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Some things change and others stay the same.

I hope all who read this have a wonderful and joy-filled Easter.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Have I mentioned that a missionary's life is never dull, or slow, or boring, or lacking in things to be done? Do you get the picture? We have just had a week when 2 college volunteer groups were here. I can tell that I have more confidence as a music teacher than last year at this time because I welcomed the music ed. majors to my classes. One young lady named Sam did a lesson for us on brass instruments. She is a french horn player, but we actually had no french horn for her to play. We have 2 trumpets (one is a mess), a trombone, a baritone horn and a euphonium! These are all instruments that have been donated over the years and I keep them in my closet for teaching purposes. I actually demonstrated the trombone a month ago and what a riot that was. Sam did an awesome job with my students and they learned alot.

Our concert is planned for May 18th this year and we are not ready! The music I ordered did not come and I had to cancel the order. Fortunately I had started with a couple of gospel songs with choreography and they are almost ready. We have added a spiritual in 2 parts and it is coming along fast as well. I went to a different company and ordered a couple of more songs and hope they work out as well. I teach all the songs by rote method so I have to really know them first. Pray for me! Hopefully the 5th and 6th grades will be ready to play a song on the recorder too.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Has it really been 3 months? I really do spend lots of time on the computer but have been so neglectful of my poor little blog. Sorry dear reader!

It is Sunday afternoon and just as Steve was putting a little lunch together for himself, our front doorbell rang. That is always an adventure. Today it was a young man, 28 years old, with whom Steve had made friends before we moved in. At that time, he was on methadone and had no job nor any prospects. Over next few months he was able to get off methadone and Steve even helped him to find a job. Things were looking up and he even was able to rent a room in a rooming house in downtown Newark.

Just after Christmas he disappeared. He quit his job, claiming to be leaving the state to go for rehab. He called Steve on the phone and said lots of inappropriate things and then refused to answer his phone or door. All we have been able to do is to keep praying for him.

Thursday, Steve's phone rang and it was this young man. He came over to the building to see Steve and claimed he would be coming to church today. Well he didn't make it to church but did come to our house after church was out. They are talking as I write. The enemy of men's souls has a powerful grip on him, but God is not giving up. He was pretty strung out and is now back on methodone. You see, there is very little help for an addict to completely leave the life, but the government is happy to give out daily meds that serve to keep him addicted, just to another substance.

This is another side to city life. There are lots of stories that seem like failure, but they are NOT the END of the story. This young man has truly asked Christ to save him, now he needs to allow Jesus to be Lord. Pray for us as we balance toughness and boundaries with love and mercy. Pray for Steve as he uses patience and wisdom in this situation. Pray for me to back him up in prayer as well.

Thanks for "listening". I try to post something more upbeat soon.