"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Monday, August 10, 2015

Joyful Journey: On Mission in Canada - Part Two

Joyful Journey: On Mission in Canada - Part Two:   Read these stories of persecuted Christian brother and sisters I met in Canada.

On Mission in Canada - Part Two


While on mission in Canada last month I met Christian brothers and sisters who had been persecuted in their home countries. Rather than being driven to fear and silence, their trials served to make them more boisterous about their faith. They eagerly tell about God’s love and faithfulness during their darkest days. They express their thankfulness for the way the Holy Spirit comforts them and guides their paths. They sing praises to Jesus for all that He does for them daily and they share their stories readily with anyone who will listen.

Ninety-four year old Arthur laments the fact that he can’t share Jesus the way he did when he was younger. His recent heart trouble has forced him to slow down but he is still on fire for Jesus and wants the world to hear about his Savior. He gets up early in the morning and goes to a neighborhood right after the morning newspapers have been delivered. He gathers the papers up, puts a tract about Jesus in each one, and then redistributes the papers to their rightful owners. He includes his name and number so they can call him if they want further information. Some
days he sits at a bus stop and waits for someone to sit down next to him. He begins a conversation with them and soon is telling them about Jesus. If no one comes to sit beside him, he leaves a Gospel of John in the predominant language of the neighborhood laying there in a plastic bag. Again, he includes his name and number so they can contact him.

Mussaret acted as an interpreter for one of our teams as they went door-to-door in one community giving out Bibles and Jesus DVDs in the homeowner’s language. Between houses, she shared her testimony and told stories about her past. She quickly jumped in as needed to share Jesus with homeowners who couldn’t speak English. Mussaret and Anwar opened their home to the team on Thursday evening for a meal. They are members at LEAF Canada, the church we partnered with while we were there. The buffet meal prepared by Mussaret was scrumptious, a real feast of Pakistani delights. After the meal there was a spirited recounting of the day’s blessings followed by prayer. Anwar closed out our prayer time with a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing that left many of us in tears.

Richard grew up unable to read. One night he went to a healing service seeking help for a wounded leg. A lady there prophesied over him telling him that he would go to the nations. He passed it off as nonsense; after all, how could a man who couldn’t read take the Gospel to the nations? Later in the evening when he went forward for prayer, he was told that God would come to him if he wanted Him to. He went home and prayed for three days for God to come to him. God showed up and asked him what He could do for him. Surprised, and unprepared for the meeting, Richard replied, “Maybe teach me to read.” Richard now speaks five languages and travels with his car trunk loaded with Bibles in many languages. He is always at the ready to share Jesus and God’s Word.

We all have a story to tell. What is your faith story? Please share it with me in the comments section.

Going out with joy today-


Thursday, July 23, 2015

On Mission in Canada - Part One

Charlotte Airport - Day One
Melba, Debra, Angie, Cathy, Karen, Paula and Sam
I had the privilege last week of going on a mission trip to Brampton, Ontario, Canada, with Hands on Missions in Shelby, NC. We partnered with a pastor and his church there to minister to the largely Hindu, Muslim and Sikh population. What I learned about being a witnessing Christian from the members of the church, most of them there due to persecution for their faith, has forever changed my perspective on evangelism.

Pastor Robin Wasti and wife, Neena
The Pastor, Robin Wasti, was the director of Campus Crusade for Christ in Pakistan. He started receiving letters threatening his life if he didn’t stop his work there. When his car was shot up he took the threat to his life and the lives of his family seriously. Because of his travel with CCC, he had a visa to the United States and one to Canada. He tried to come to the USA but the details didn’t work out. He had a cousin living in Canada so he moved there, leaving his wife and three children living underground in Pakistan until he could make arrangements to move them. They were separated for almost four years before they were reunited in Canada in May, 2014.

 In the meantime, Pastor Robin was working hard, sharing his faith with anyone who would listen. Some divine appointments in the workplace allowed him to find a basement apartment to live in and he started a house church there with the help of April and Jeffrey Langley, missionaries with the International Mission Board. God blessed Robin with understanding homeowners who allowed the church to use some of their rooms upstairs so they could break out into separate groups for Sunday School.

Some of the children at
Bottomwood Park last week
When Robin and his family were reunited last year and they could minister together, things started popping. The church is growing and they are now having services in a Chinese Baptist Church on Sunday afternoons and evenings. In July of last year, they held their first Kid’s Club in a local park. Every community has a park where families with children gather from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. each night during the summer months. A group from Hands on Missions came to help with the first Kid’s Clubs. Each member of the team set up a station where they witnessed to the children about Jesus in various ways through stories, games and prizes. They also played large group games in the center of the parks, performed skits of Bible stories like The Good Samaritan and gave away candy, juice, Bibles and Jesus DVDs in their own languages. Witnessing was going on all around the edges of the parks where the men and women of the community had gathered for their nightly visit. Nearly 300 children heard about Jesus last year through the Hands on Missions teams. Two other teams came after this one and repeated the fun in six other parks.

"I got Kid's Club!"
Last week, all of this was repeated in three parks, but this year over 400 children heard the Good News, along with their parents and others visiting the park. I was amazed at how attentive the children were, sitting quietly, wide-eyed, hardly moving a muscle as I told them about the gift that God gave us through Jesus and how to open and claim that gift for  themselves. Some remembered the Kid’s Clubs from last year and were excited that the team had come back. As I sat in the park one morning making posters to advertise the next night’s event while others went door-to-door inviting families to come, several children came up and asked if they could have an invitation. Four of them danced around holding up their cards saying, “I got Kid’s Club, I got Kid’s Club.”

I kept asking myself while I was there if I would be as exuberant about sharing the Gospel if I had been shot at, persecuted, and separated from my family. Most of my witnessing in my everyday life at home is done silently, being a good example. Occasionally I will take the opportunity to use words. The believers I met on mission in Canada know the cost of following and witnessing about Christ – and do it anyway.

“God help me be more like them. Amen.”

Going out with joy today-


Friday, June 5, 2015

Answers to Prayer

George F. Mueller
1805 - 1898
Here is your assignment for life: Renounce your regular salary and live on unsolicited gifts. Start five orphanages that will eventually house over 10,000 children. Establish 117 schools and travel over 200,000 miles evangelizing unreached parts of the world for Christ pre-air flight. In your travels distribute over 285,000 Bibles, 1,460,000 New Testaments and over 240,000 evangelical tracts. Remember, you cannot advertise a need for funds or ask people to support you. Are you ready to get started?

George Mueller (1805-1898), Evangelist and Director of Ashley Down orphanages in Bristol, England accepted that challenge. His two passions in life were to convert people to a relationship with Christ and to care for the “dear orphans.”

First Orphan-House, Wilson Street
Opened April 11, 1836
On December 5, 1835, while reading his Bible and praying, God impressed Psalm 81:10 on George’s mind. He pondered the meaning of the verse and realized that he had never asked God for anything regarding the orphan-house except to know His will regarding the establishment of it. George then fell to his knees and started praying for the provision of all articles that were needed to open an orphanage: a house or building, money, furniture, clothes, caregivers, and more. By December 13th, God had moved on the hearts of people and the needs were well on the way to being provided.

George Mueller’s book, Answers to Prayer, (2013, Lumin Christian Products), contains excerpts from his many journals. He recorded every pound, schilling, pence and miracle that God brought to the ministry and the amazing ways that it came. Many times, they were down to their last coin with not enough to feed the children their next meal – but God always came through for them. In all the years of this ministry, the children never lacked food, clothing, care, or education. During the times when supplies were thin, George devoted himself to fervent prayer and Bible study, often times interrupted by someone at the door with the means needed to carry on the work for that day or for several days.

Orphan-House No. 3
Why would a man do life the way George Mueller chose to? Listen to one of his journal entries: “I certainly did from my heart desire to be used by God to benefit the bodies of poor children, bereaved of both parents, and seek in other respects, with the help of God, to do them good for this life; I also particularly longed to be used by God in getting the dear orphans trained up in the fear of God; but still, the first and primary object of the work was, and still is, that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith without anyone being asked by me or my fellow laborers whereby it may be seen that God is FAITHFUL STILL, and HEARS PRAYERS STILL.”

What could God accomplish in our world today if faithful Christians lived as though they believed that God is faithful and He really does hear and answer prayer? Does our lukewarm belief bind God’s hands and prevent us from experiencing the miracles He wants to lavish on us? I sense that most of us have only given ourselves over to the very tip of the iceberg of the blessings of faith, prayer and Bible study. This book has certainly struck a cord in my heart that will require much time alone with God.

I’m going out with joy today, knowing that God loves me, warts and all-


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's in Your Hand?

As the music reached a crescendo, my hand rose into the air. The Spirit wove its way through the sanctuary inviting worship. As the music ended, a peace settled over my soul and my hand came to rest in my lap. I noticed my pen was still in my hand and the thought came to me that I had offered my pen to God. For a writer, that seemed significant. It was as if I had surrendered my writing to God and asked Him to write through me the words He wants people to see.

Days later as I was pondering what happened on Sunday, I remembered a passage in Exodus 4 where God asked Moses, “What’s in your hand?” God had given Moses an assignment and Moses was giving God all kinds of excuses as to why he couldn’t perform. God showed His great power by transforming the rod Moses carried in his hand. Moses gave in and, with God’s help, accepted the task he was given.

A week later I read a book about a quilter who used her craft to fashion quilts for babies who were born in a home for unwed mothers. She wanted each baby to have something of their very own to take with them as they left this home, and something they could use for several years as they grew.

Do you have a bottle of nail polish and an hour to spare? A friend takes her bottles of nail polish to a nursing home near her
house and goes from room to room once a week spending time talking to each resident while she polishes their nails. Such a simple act, yet so meaningful to the ladies she visits.

Maybe you have a pen in your hand but you don’t consider yourself a writer. A dear friend who was virtually homebound due to the illness of her son spends her spare time sending greeting cards to folks in our community. Once a year, in December, she prints a poem called My First Christmas in Heaven on parchment paper and sends it to local families who have lost a loved one during the year. I was the recipient of one of those letters in 2010 and was deeply touched by it.

What do you have in your hand? Would you give it over to God for His use in blessing someone today? Please leave a comment about how God is using whatever is in your hand.

Going out with joy today-


Thursday, April 2, 2015

It's All About the Cross

              This weekend my family will be celebrating Easter along with other Christians worldwide. Though society tries to discount the meaning of Easter and make it all about cuddly bunnies and chocolate eggs, for those of us who acknowledge Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, it’s all about the cross of Calvary.

The Cross Declares the Love of God and the Sinfulness of Man

            My sin caused a chasm between God and I that could not be breached through my own efforts. My death was required as payment for my sin. Yet, God loved me so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross in my place. I owed a debt I could not pay. He paid a debt He did not owe.

The Cross Demands Acceptance and Repentance

            God offered me the free gift of everlasting life. I accepted His gift of love when I was sixteen years old. Repenting of my sin has given me a heart bursting with joy. His gift gives me abundant life now and life with Him in eternity.

The Cross Divides the Spiritually Blind and
the Spiritually Blessed

             Do you know the Jesus of the cross? He died to set you free from the chains of your sin. He came back to life three days after His death to go live with His Father and prepare a place for you to live with Him forever. He loves you and He wants you to be His child. The cross presents you with choices: accept or reject the love He offers. Take a look at the cross this weekend and make your choice. He’s waiting for you to decide.

Going out with joy today-


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Running the Race - Part Two

Cathy running thru the pink zone at
The Color Run in Asheville, NC
 I am finally getting back to Part Two of my exercise/race series which has been delayed by holidays, sickness and life in general. Thanks for your patience. You are an awesome group of people. Click here to revisit Part One to refresh your memory. As I told you, I’ve been using a walking DVD to get back in shape. As the instructor gives directions, I hear words like Stand Tall, Reach, Keep Moving, Choose, and Expect.

            Stand Tall – When I stand tall during exercise, my muscles can achieve peak performance. Standing tall improves my attitude and gives me a sense of confidence. Surveys of Human Resource Managers shows that job applicants who stand tall during an interview are hired at a much greater rate than those who slouch in with shoulders in a defeated position. Standing tall is as much an attitude as a physical position. I know a lady who is wheelchair bound, yet she portrays an attitude of standing tall. The wheelchair is a circumstance, but it hasn’t affected her confidence in herself.

            Reach – When I stretch and reach, my muscles are lengthened giving me a longer, leaner look. Setting health improvement and other life goals should cause us to reach beyond our comfort zones. If I can reach my goals without reaching and stretching toward them, they probably weren’t appropriate goals.

            Keep Moving – Any kind of movement is healthier than no movement. When I think I am at the end of my strength, I force
Cathy and Mary Jane (in yellow shirts) at
Meet Me at the Fountain Run, Forest City, NC
myself to keep moving for another minute or two. Push yourself. Not quitting will do amazing things for your self-esteem. When I’m doing a 5K race, I usually breeze through the first mile. The second mile my body wants to get a little slower and the third mile is torture. I often want to stop but by then I’m a mile into the race. Heading toward the finish line only makes sense.

            Choose – One bit of encouragement the instructor offers is that because you made the good decision to exercise, you will likely make other good decisions that day, possibly good food choices. One good choice leads to another and another. Ever hear the phrase: sit, soak and sour? The choices to stand tall, reach, and keep moving will keep me us from stagnating.

Group Shot after the Race
Light the Night, Forest City, NC
Expect – As I make right choices, I can expect good results. Do you hear that recording playing in your head that says, “Be a good girl and clean your plate?” I’ve seen a change in my thought pattern that tells me I can quit eating when I am full. I don’t have to go away miserable because I overate anymore. Our body is miraculously designed to tell us what it needs. Listen to it. It will tell you when it’s hungry, or thirsty, or tired.

            I hope my experience will help you stand tall in confidence, reach for your goals, keep moving in a positive direction, make good choices, and expect great rewards for your effort.

I’m going out with joy today, thankful for a body that still moves-