Monday, April 7, 2014

April Youth Rally

Every April our church hosts the Bible Quizzing for Southeast Wyoming
and Nebraska and Saturday our church was packed with teenagers vying for the Bible Quizzing trophy. We had seven churches participating this year and all the kids did amazing as they answered questions and quoted Bible verses.
The competition was fierce and our teens came in third place,
only two points behind the the winning team!  

For game time, Mr. Mason taped huge squares on the cement floor
and played line games. One of the favorites was human PacMan.
The kids ran and screamed with laughter as they followed the lines trying to avoid being touched by the PacMan and being frozen. 

The teens also played Line Basketball, Warlords and Dodgeball.
Everyone had a blast and were exhausted and ready
 for food by the time game time was over. 

For dinner we made walking tacos which is a crushed bag of Doritos with a scoop of taco meat, (meat, beans, seasonings) and a scoop of cheese.
Easy to make, no mess and the teens loved them!  
We also had bottles of Root Beer and cookies for dessert. 

It was a really great day with lots of teens, lots of fun and lots of fellowship!  The next Bible Quizzing is at Camp Grace in June and our teens
will again have the chance to compete for the trophy!  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Goodbye Sugar (Again!)

Saturday Night I made an Ooey Gooey Butter cake and it was so good!
 I have to admit I absolutely love sugar and am, in fact, addicted to it!  Last spring Chep and I went on diets of healthy eating and exercise and over 6 months we lost over 30 pounds each!  Sadly life got busy for us again and I stopped cooking healthy and we stopped exercising and taking daily walks.  In only a few months all the weight we lost last summer came back! I was so happy when I was losing weight and loved being able to fit in smaller sized clothing!  My husband and I decided we had to get back on our diets and this time stick to it, no matter how busy or hectic our lives get.

I talked with several people in our church who I have heard saying in the last several months that they too need to lose weight.  We got together and talked it out and decided to go on a high protein/low carb diet together. 
This way we can encourage one another, share recipes, exercise together and help each other when we feel like giving up!  You know theses ladies are dedicated to losing as they let me take their picture!  We are all excited to start our diet together.  We will pose for and post another picture in five months and we are praying we will all see some big results!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Redecorating the Nursery

Our church nursery has been my least favorite room in the church since we moved here three years ago.  It is small and overstuffed with toys and furniture and just looks so unwelcoming.
It has this small mural on the wall but it was only done
in black and white and no color.

The nursery room also has the kitchen in it which just helps
 to make it feel even less like a nursery.
In January I walked in the nursery one night and thought how uninviting our nursery looked to visitors and decided that our nursery needed
 redecorated and it needed redecorated desperately!
Saraina and I took several weeks and looked online at different church nurseries and different decorating ideas and pinned everything we liked to Pinterest..  We came up with a design that we thought would be warm and welcoming and that the little kids would love!  We then set to work!

We decided to we wanted to put brightly colored murals on every wall. 
 We picked Daniel and the lions den, Noah's ark, Jonah and the whale, the ravens feeding Elijah and David watching the sheep.  Using the computer and the video projector, we drew the murals on the wall.  Chandler and Mason are wonderful artists and also drew several pictures free hand.

We then started painting the walls.  When we started the nursery I was expecting to get everything done within a month but our schedule has been so hectic that painting the murals has taken us two and a half months!

After we finished painting, we sprayed a coat of clear shellac
 over the murals to protect them from damage.

Chandler and Mason then set to work putting together all the furniture and shelves.  So many instructions and so many parts!

Little Man wanted to help too so he found a screwdriver and put the screwdriver in a hole he found in one of the boxes.  So much fun to help!
And here are the pictures of the finished nursery.

Much more colorful, organized and inviting! 
I absolutely love the change as it looks like a totally different room and
I think it will be a much more comfortable and welcoming place to be.
I am so excited to have finished this project and ready to start
a new project, but one that does not require me to paint!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Aisle 6" and Why We Coupon

 Everyone knows Saraina and I love to shop and of course use coupons.  Saraina and I started couponing two years ago and while we do no think we are quite the extreme couponing, we do hit all the good buys and try to get everything we can for free or very cheap. Saraina got Huggies wipes for free this week and was so excited to stock up on wipes for the baby! I was able to get 5 things of deodorant, three cans of hairspray and
2 bottles of shampoo for $1.18! Such good deals!

The big joke at our house is when anyone runs out of something,
Chep or Mason yell, "Go check Aisle 6".  I have a very good stock of anything you could want or need and we are rarely in want of anything.

I think all couponers are criticized for their huge stock piles of cereal, toothbrushes and deodorant. Saraina is always posting her latest deal on Facebook and when people see her 20 bottles of laundry soap or 50 cans of shaving cream they call her a hoarder.  When people call us hoarders I have to laugh as they do not realize what we do with all our stock pile.

First off, we feed our families and make sure everyone is wearing deodorant, has white shiny teeth and has beautiful hair.  My husband is always asking why we did not start couponing a long time ago.  We spend very little money on the things we need, which helps us to save so much money!  We also eat better than we ever have in our marriage.  We never buy no name or generic food items and there are months when I do not go grocery shopping at all because we have so much in our stock pile.  My husband also loves that we never run out of personal care items.  Whenever he needs a new razor, body wash or a new stick of deodorant, all he has to do is go to "Aisle 6". 

Secondly we give, and we are able to give a lot.  When there is a need in the church for food for a family, Saraina and I can outfit a family with enough food and personal items to last them a month.  I also give a lot of stuff to our teens.  All the girls love all the chap stick and makeup I have and the boys are always asking for their favorite cereal.  I have one teen boy that is always telling me how much I love him because I take care of all his needs!  In the spring and summer we are constantly having missionaries come through our area and stopping at our church.  I take them to "Aisle 6" and make sure they have everything their family needs.    One young lady that came through last summer with her husband cried when I gave her a nice razor and expensive kind of shampoo.  She said she had been buying the cheap disposable razors because they were so cheap and that's all they could afford.
 It's so expensive to be out on deputation and this is one way I can help ease a burden for missionaries and I love being able to do it!

Last month we had one our favorite evangelists come and preach at our church for the week.  One night Brother Brackett, came up to me and asked, "Hey, can I go look in Aisle 6, I need a new razor.".  
I smiled and told him of course! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our Future Piano Player

Little Man loves to crawl up on the piano bench and sit beside
 Mrs. Becky and help her play.  Look at those little fingers move!  We are definitely going to encourage his fascination with the piano and maybe in a few years he will be the one playing for church services.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mr. Mason is the Best!

Mason has been the Youth Pastor for five months now and the teens absolutely love him!  They say he understands them and teaches them in a way they can understand and of course they say he is so much fun! 
The youth group has almost doubled in size and every week we are seeing new faces.  This Sunday we are starting a new bus route just to pick up some of the new teens that have been coming to Friday Teen Night!
Last night was such an exciting night.  Of course the teens had a blast
playing the crazy games Mr. Mason had for them, but during the preaching time Mason really hit hard on fully surrendering your life to God no matter the situation or sin you are in.  Several teens were crying as the truth of God's Word worked in their hearts and at the salvation invitation,
four teen came forward and gave their lives to Christ!
We were thrilled for all four of the teens who got saved last night
but I have to tell you especially about two of them.  Nina is the sweetest girl and has been riding the church bus with her younger sisters for years.  Last year at VBS, one of her little sisters got saved.  Her sister was so happy but Nina was not!  Nina knew about salvation and had even talked to several people about getting saved but she just wasn't ready and in fact said she didn't want to get saved.  During that same VBS last year, a few days later,
her other sister who is only a year younger than her got saved too! 
Again Nina was not happy that all her sisters was getting saved, she knew her sisters were going to heaven and she wasn't and this upset her a great deal.  We have been praying for her and praying for her heart to be soft toward the gospel and last night our prayers were answered!  Nina talked with Pastor and as Pastor showed her in the Bible and explained the plan of salvation to her, Pastor said her face light up and she looked up at him and said,
"I get it, I understand now!"  With great joy she prayed and asked
Jesus to forgive her sins and be the Lord of her life!
Three months ago we had a new boy start attending Friday Teen Nights.  When I picked him up, he and another teen sat in the back of the van
talking and through the conversation I picked up that he was gay.  
He fell in love with teen night and has not missed a single night since that first night.  When I told Pastor and Mason that he said he was gay they both looked at me like I was crazy and said no way, can't you tell he has a crush on so and so.  Gay or not we have made sure that no other teens have made fun of him for saying he was gay because we have wanted him to come and hear about God's love and the plan of salvation.  I do think it's ironic that the teens have been studying Romans 1 every Friday night and memorizing and answering questions on the passage!  Last night he went to talk to Pastor about salvation and was so excited to ask Jesus into his heart and life. 
After he got saved he told Pastor that now he didn't feel like
he had to pretend to be gay anymore.  When Pastor asked why he had been pretending, he said all the girls were more excepting of him, let him
into their groups and gave him hugs all day long! 
I am loving watching the teen group grow and flourish and I'm loving watching Mason grow too as he helps lead and mold these young teens and encourages them in the way of the Lord.  As I was taking a van full of teens home last night I asked them how they were liking Mr. Mason as their teen leader and the resounding answer was, "Mr. Mason is the best!"

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Spiritual Battle

Each stage of the believer's walk possesses its particular hazard. The new life within us wages a constant war against all which opposes its growth. During the physical stage, it is a war against sins; in the soulish phase, it is a battle against the natural life; and lastly, on the spiritual level, it is an onslaught against the supernatural enemy. - Watchman Nee
A few months ago I was praying and studying about spiritual growth and battling the natural man and I came across this quote.  It really spoke to my heart as at that time I was battling with the desires of the natural man, not sinful fleshy sins but simply dying more to self and living more spiritually.  I asked God to help me reach, as the quote says, the spiritual level and to fight the unseen battle that is constantly around us.  When it comes to fighting a spiritual battle with our supernatural enemy, be careful what you pray for.
About six months ago we started helping a lady who was deep into drugs
and had lost her kids, husband and every other worldly possesion she had. 
We took this lady and witnessed to her, got her in church and under the
Word of God, got her a place to stay, into drug treatment and after much counseling she was able to put her family back together. 
Although we were trying to help her in every way we could, she did not accept the Lord into her heart and life and sadly after only a few months she went back to the drugs and is now living on the streets homeless. 
Several of our church people are still praying for and helping
 this lady in anyway they can and thus when she left a few of her possessions at one of our families houses, this family gave us her items and asked for us to try to find her and get them back to her. She called me and asked me to pick her up and take her to the church to get her items. When I picked her up I could tell she was high on drugs and when I told her I knew she was using again she told me she wasn't and told me how she had God and Jesus in her head speaking to her and giving her Bible lessons everyday.
preceeded to sing the praises of God and saying how much she loved Him and then at the same time denying His authority and His Word by saying Jesus hates the Bible and doesn't want anyone to read it because everything in it, is in the past. She said God wants us to stop living in the past and concentrate on the future. I gave her verse after verse about God's Word standing forever and never ceasing, how the stories in the Bible are our example of how to live for God and also how not to and several times I quoted the first few verses of John chapter one where God says
 "and the Word was with God and the Word was God."
She then told me God had given her a message for me
 and addressed several issues I have been praying for, reading about and talking with my husband about. I felt like I was in a full head on spiritual battle with the devil himself as the devil tried to discourage me in the things I was working on changing, placing blame on me for the things I am struggling with and trying to convice me that what this lady was saying was true by quoting word for word many of the things I have been reading that have touched me and challenged me latley. I felt totally under attack and the only thing I could do, was use God's Word and quote the verses I have memorized.
The more verses I quoted, the more aggravated she became,
the more aggravated she became the more verses I quoted.
After getting her stuff from the church I tried to drop her back off
 but she would not get out of the car but kept wanting to talk to me.
She told me I needed help to truly see God because she thought I was so negative and the more she talked with me she said the less she could feel the spirit the that been talking to her and telling her about God. I told her the Bible says the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom
he may devour and I told her the devil was actively seeking her, wanted to ruin her and her life and that she needed to give her life to God.  She hung her head at this and just started shaking her head and saying,  no, no, no, the devil's not after me, I have God. At this point she asked me for money, and when I told her several times I didn't have any to give her she finally got out of the car and walked away. I had never fought this kind of battle before and after two hours of talking to her I was emotionally, spiritually, and even physically drained and I think in the future I will be more careful
about praying to fight in the unseen battle!
As long as I live here on earth there I know there will always be a battle to be fought and it reminds me again how important it is to study the Word of God deeply and thoroughly and to hid God's Word in our hearts by memorizing, for it is only through His Word that we will have the victory.
Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
 and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.