Category Archives: Be A Friend

Life events and kingdom activity demonstrating and enjoying friendship, and service to the King.

Humility Strikes Again

Coming out from Men’s Meeting… iPhone… unedited

Scott, a very good friend of mine, and one I don’t see often enough, asked me to breakfast this morning. During the course of catching up on family, friends and spiritual things he asked me how the airplane was doing?

“Didn’t I tell you?” I replied? “I haven’t been trying to hide it from anyone, and I thought the word had traveled pretty fast! 🙂 I had another accident with it three months ago, December 30th to be exact, so I’ve been without the use of it since then. Maybe I will get it back into the air next week?”

Not Good! 🙂

“What happened?” he exclaimed. “Well, I’ll give you the short version and then the longer version if you want it,” I replied with a smile. I was practicing patterns at the airport, to burn a little fuel out of the tanks before putting the airplane in the hangar. It was a beautiful, sunny day with a good head wind out of the south, right down the runway, perfect conditions for short field landing practice. So I decided to see how short I could land and stop using the white painted area at the approach end of RWY 19 as a gauge. I landed exactly where I wanted to, braked hard, but well short of locking the brakes up, and when I had slowed to an estimated 5 MPH or walking speed,  I looked out the left window and down at the tire, saw I was still on the white paint. Thinking nothing bad could happen at such a slow speed, I continued to apply full braking. The next thing I heard was the sound of the prop striking the

Missing Something! Important….

runway multiple times; with the airplane in a nosed over attitude. Sickening feeling! It was so unexpected. And it happened so fast. I had the feeling I’d slipped on ice and hit the back of my head on the ground instantly.

It was such a slow speed event there wasn’t much of a safety concern. I just had the sickening thought that, “This is going to be expensive!” And, “This is your second airplane accident in three  years!” “How could this happen?”

Fuel was now pouring out the overflow vents due to the nose down attitude of the plane. So I got out and lifted the nose, lowering the tail gently to the ground. I climbed back into the airplane, called the tower to tell them I didn’t need emergency equipment, but I would need to be towed to the hangar, then pushed the airplane safely off the runway and waited for a tug, and the long ride to the hangar. That’s the end of the story.

On the Road to Recovery

Well sort of…. This kind of prop damage requires a new prop, and also that the engine be removed and sent to an FAA approved engine shop for tear down and inspection to ensure there was no internal damage from the sudden stoppage of the prop. There was no internal damage, but this has taken three months to date, and a significant amount of money, most of which thankfully is covered by my insurance company.

I’ve had plenty of time to ponder what happened and lessons that could be learned from this event? I’ve asked the Lord to teach me or show me what He wants me to glean from it and journaled about it a number of times. 🙂 I may share some of those lessons in subsequent posts, but this one has gotten long enough, so I’ll close.

It’s purpose is to not miss an opportunity to humble myself, and admit my mistakes. To be real about being human, and living life as an adventure with friends, family, and before the Lord. So I’ll end this report as I started the last accident I reported on this blog site about three years ago.

“After flying as a pilot more than fourteen thousand hours over thirty-five years, and never scratching an airplane, on March 28th of this year [2014] I crashed and totaled one. I walked away from it, and there is an old saying in aviation, “Any landing you walk away from is a good one.”  This is in fact true, for reasons that should be self evident, but it’s still very embarrassing [and humbling :)] to have an accident like this as an experienced pilot.” [More to follow…]

“The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

“… all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

“I’ am still learning.”  Michelangelo

[I realize I’m posting this mainly for myself. Hopefully it will benefit some, and I’ll return to trying to be an encourager and providing spiritually uplifting material with the next edition. Thanks!]

Merry Christmas 2016

img_1156Christmas greetings one and all! I’m reading by the fire most every morning this cold season a chapter or two from “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer. His subtitle is “The Human Thirst for the Divine.” That seems apropos when pondering Christ coming to earth as a man, which is the meaning and story of Christmas. Allow me to share a couple of his paragraphs with you, while at the same time encouraging you to read Luke chapter 2. It’s full of wonder and mystery.

    Behind the veil is God, that God after whom the world, with strange inconsistency, has felt, “if haply they might …find Him.” Acts 17:27

     He has discovered Himself to some extent in nature, but more perfectly in the Incarnation. Now He waits to show Himself in ravishing fullness to the humble of soul and the pure in heart.

img_1159I pray He does show Himself to you this season, as he did to shepherds, wise men, and prophets of old. I’m presently involved in a men’s Bible study of Isaiah, perhaps the greatest Hebrew prophet. It’s intriguing and joyous to me that in the midst of pronouncing God’s coming judgments on Judah and Jerusalem, as well as, their violent and morally decadent neighboring nations — a grace filled course correction and the removal of evil on a mass scale, if you will — the prophet pauses several times, almost mid sentence as it were, with joyful proclamation of a future king who will save people from their sins and their enemies.

Isaiah’s very name is the main theme of his book… “Salvation is from God.” It happens to be the same meaning as Jesus’ name. “God is salvation.”  “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

img_1161Some examples of joyous proclamations amid judgment proclamations from this prophet 700 years before they happened include:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6–7)

But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:1–2)

img_1151When I read that last sentence, “…the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light…” And Tozer’s sentence “He has discovered Himself to some extent in nature, but more perfectly in the Incarnation.” I think of Bethlehem Star, that excellent DVD I watch every year at this time worshiping in wonder and awe. It’s about the magi in search of the child king, as recorded in Matthew 2. Give it a look! You’ll be glad you did. 

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)

I want to leave you with one last thought this Christmas season, and it’s from Micah the prophet, a contemporary of Isaiah, prophesying the same judgments to the same people at the same time, and with similar shouts to all about the future coming King. He recorded for us and people of all time…

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)

And…

This One will be our peace…. (Micah 5:5a)

Merry Christmas!

main-380-960x350

 

 

 

Vote!

Early voting is open, and my wife and I voted early as did many others by all accounts. The lines were short and the process was straight forward and easy. I recommend you do it if possible to avoid the possibility of long lines on election day or something coming up that would preclude you exercising this important opportunity and responsibility.

Our Country Has Opportunity to Take Flight Again… Which Direction Will We Choose?

You can click here for a sample ballot to avoid surprises at the voting booth if you’re from our area. You can click here for information and guidance from Arkansas Family Council on state candidates and  issues in Arkansas. And you can click here for information on national candidates and platforms. As discussed recently at our home group, for many of us the vote has come down to platforms and not candidates at the national level, voting for the most good, and against the most evil.

VOTE! Soon!! Do it!

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12)

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?” Benjamin Franklin Request for prayer to Constitutional Convention 1787

Eventually…

“…, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)  Amen…

 

“Honor All People”

Fred J. Bell Aug 19, 1924- July 23, 2016

Fred J. Bell                 Aug 19, 1924- July 23, 2016

It’s been almost two weeks since July 23rd, the day my father, Fredrick Jefferson Bell, or Fred J. Bell as he was know most of his life, went to  his eternal reward.

His going was very peaceful with two of his children, their spouses, and some friends chatting and laughing in his room as he lay resting,  mostly sleeping, in no pain, nor taking any pain medication, when he took two deep breaths, the second being his last. His passing wasn’t expected, nor was it totally unexpected. He was weeks short of ninety-two years old. 🙂

Honor Says It All

Honor Says It All

He had lived a lot of life! His was too large a life and legacy to describe meaningfully in a service or speech. 🙂 But I wanted to try to say something honoring at his home going service, if the Lord would help me and give me strength? At the same time I was completely at peace, knowing I didn’t need to say anything. Dad’s life had already said what needed to be said. Those present at the funeral knew it too, and were glad just to meet, honor his life and memory, and worship the King, Who guarded and guided Dad seemingly his whole life long.

If you would like, you can read the eulogy I read in tribute to Dad here.

Dads Hat and Accolades

Dads Hat and Accolades

When you’re almost ninety-two, most all your friends have preceded you in death, and funerals are fairly small affairs. There was a full house at Dad’s celebration as people came from far and wide. And a celebration it was; of a life well-lived, of friendship, of family, of belonging, of honor, of worship, of love.

I told some brothers at an early prayer and Bible study this morning, that I’ve been completely at peace, and completely happy during the whole time, very much sure that Dad is with Jesus, our Blessed Hope. Yet there is a hollow void of sorts that has me quietly looking and listening for revelation or anything the Spirit might show me? It’s a deeply reflective

Honor Guard at Dad's Viewing

Honor Guard at Dad’s Viewing

time when you’re grateful for any strength your father poured into you, yet your human side feels something is deeply altered to some degree you cannot comprehend, or even give much thought to… Thought and the mind cannot probe deeply enough into the mystery of life and who we are? But it’s felt, maybe for a season, maybe for a reason?  The Lord is near. In fact I told my spiritual brothers this morning a Scripture verse was ringing in my ears, “Love is as strong as death.” In fact, I feel love may be stronger than death, because I fear death not at all for myself or my family, or my believing friends. But I’m grateful for love and feel the love of my father extending  beyond death into eternity in ways I can sense but not begin to know. It makes me happy.  🙂

Honor Guard & Law Enforcement Escort

Honor Guard & Law Enforcement Escort

On behalf of the family, I want to thank everyone who came to honor Dad, and for every thought, card, and expression of love or sympathy. You have proved healing and beautifully honoring. On that note I want to thank the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Honor Guard, for their travel, sacrifice, and the very touching way they honored and paid tribute to one of their own, Dad who honorably served the citizens of Arkansas as one of them for forty years.

There were also National Park Service Rangers and other law enforcement officers there to honor Dad and provided an impressive motorcade one hour north where he was laid to rest. About fifteen miles before the cemetery, very heavy rain storms blanketed the area all the way there making driving and seeing the car in front of you very difficult. Once at the cemetery for a few short minutes, the rains parted for about ten minutes, while there was a reading of Scripture, and one of the grandsons played “Amazing Grace” on the violin. Dad was then honored by a twenty-one gun salute, flag ceremony, and the honor guard bugler playing taps. It was deeply touching and silently moving beyond words… Very, very honoring. “All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.”The Rain Flags

 

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17)

 For love is as strong as death,  “Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; ” (Song of Solomon 8:6–7)

(View the cemetery service by clicking here.)

Honduras!

SONY DSC

Honduras, again? I never imagined it or planned it, but I have been a part of 4 different mission teams to Honduras within the last 14 months. 🙂 When I retired from the airlines in 2011, my mantra for the next chapter of life was, “The LORD is my Shepherd, He leads….” And so it goes…

During these four years He’s also led and provisioned me to go on missions to Costa Rica, Cuba, and Nicaragua. So I’m sensing that God’s big heart and strong hand is extended to Central America in this season of history with spiritual power and provision. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their’s is the kingdom of heaven…” we hear Jesus say in His Sermon on the Mount.

SONY DSC

Our team in the mountains above Siguatepeque

There were five of us on the team, four from Fort Smith, AR and our leader in the field, a missionary to Honduras, who was our driver, translator, and led the children’s ministry events.

We stayed two days and two nights with a Honduran family, in their home, experiencing the local culture and hospitality in ways short term mission teams seldom do. But this is also the family with the vision and desire to start the orphanage so we needed to get to know them, their vision, and their hearts. We held a children’s event on their patio with the whole village invited and evidently there. 🙂

SONY DSC

Munoz Family (3 generations) with Ken

We traveled the next day with three members of that family to visit another mission and family three hours away who are supported by the mission sending agency XMA. They had found a desirable spiritual covering and legal, administrative way to establish a Honduran version of a 501c3, to protect stewards who want to sow into the ministry there. Bringing these two families together was a divine appointment and the information they shared was key to the proposed mission going forward. May their future relationships with each other be fruitful in every way possible. We held a second children’s event in their village school after a delicious lunch.

SONY DSC

Possible site for orphanage

The following day, we said our goodbyes and headed up further into the mountains to see their church which is under construction, oddly enough with some help by an Asian mission-sending church in our city of Fort Smith! We visited with neighbors, and heard the project report from some of the members, praying with some who greeted us and had needs. And we prayed for the church before leaving Concepcion for San Pedro Sula and a night of rest and reflection. Besides the beautiful mountain scenery all about us, we were also treated to a refreshing visit to a 100’ waterfall, and lunch beside a very large, blue, fresh-water lake with a mountain backdrop–very beautiful, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

SONY DSC

Copan

The next day we visited the famous Mayan ruins of Copan, birthplace of the famous Mayan calendar, and got in position for our last kid’s event scheduled for the following day. We also visited a church along the way in a village served by a long swinging bridge, and learned more about what the Spirit of the Lord is doing with the church and people of Honduras. The hotel was charming and nice. Our leader had told us that even though it cost only $15/night, it had WIFI and hot water. It had WIFI. 🙂

The next day after devotions and breakfast, our team took a 30 minute horse-back ride to a high Mayan village where we saw something akin to a North American Indian village and held our third and last kid’s event before visiting with some of the village people, playing with kids, walking down their steep paths, and riding our horses back to the hotel, from whence we began our drive 4 hours back to San Pedro Sula.

IMG_7364Sunday morning we arose early, had breakfast with our missionary leader and his beautiful family, and headed for the airport. All travel coming and going was uneventful, if very early and very late at times. 🙂 Customs was a breeze, because we had “letters” saying our bags contained items for churches, children, and the poor. Indeed we were carried along by the Spirit the whole time and I think we all had a sense of it, albeit there was also spiritual warfare sometimes near and about. Spiritual opposition, and a successful mission, is why we are indeed grateful for our prayer supporters, and the Lord’s favor, blessing, and presence.

It’s our teams prayer that the Lord will bless Honduras, use our work there, lead us as wishes in the future, and call some of you to go or send others on short term mission trips during this exciting period of earth and church history! Shalom in His matchless Name.

*********************************

For the full report with more specifics sent to our prayer supporters, click here.

For a photo collection of our experience click here.

For a short video of our mission by our missionary friend and leader click here.

 

Character

7c9c2798-6ec9-45b3-a2ee-cc1f5b5ed66dI was laying on the couch by the fire this morning reading the Gospels when I received a text from a friend in a men’s group I attend weekly. It got my attention because it was about Omar Bradley. I quickly read and enjoyed the  article which reminded me in short summary the accomplishments, service, history, and the depth of the man. I was surprised at how well he spoke to the future, which is our day,  almost prophetically.

DSCN9047I have a best friend from college days named Bill Bradley. We nicknamed him “Omar” and it’s stuck with many of his friends to this day. 🙂 So of course I sent him the link quickly. He too is a man of character, service, and vision – the CEO of a large hospital in NWA. And for the same attributes of character and caring he has the respect of doctors, nurses, medical staff, support staff, patients, and the community at large. I call him “Omar” and “friend.”

IMG_6396I have a best friend from fighter pilot days named Brian Fields. His home going was two years ago today. Reading about Omar Bradley reminded me of Brian’s patriotism, sacrifice, and leadership. Besides being an excellent fighter pilot, he became the Vice Commander of our fighter group because of his attributes of character and caring.

Thinking about Omar Bradley today reminds me of these two friends and a few more I am blessed to have like them, men of character and caring. Knowing people like this brings sweetness to one’s lifetime on earth. Walking with them brings a level of peace, joy, purpose, and vision.

It would seem that Omar Bradley had extraordinary vision. Note his words below. They seem to apply in the natural and the spiritual realm.

IMG_6230And if you know people of character and caring in your realm. Tell them you appreciate their friendships and lives with a note or a call today.

****************************************

General Omar Bradley stated in an Armistice Day speech, November 10, 1948 (published in Omar Bradley’s Collected Writings, Volume 1, 1967):

“To ignore the danger of aggression is simply to invite it… We shall doom our children to a struggle that may take their lives…

We know that unless free peoples stand boldly and united against the forces of aggression, they may fall wretchedly, one by one, into the web of oppression.”

General Omar Bradley stated:

“We have men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.

The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants…

If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.”

In contrast to the totalitarian dictators he fought against, General Omar Bradley stated in his Armistice Day Address, November 10, 1948:

“In the United States it is THE PEOPLE who are SOVEREIGN…

7244a377-212a-4363-889c-c6e99df732aeThe Government is THEIRS – to speak THEIR voice and to voice THEIR will.”

Guatemala Mission 2016

IMG_7755This is a shout out for a medical and dental mission team from Fort Smith to the people and Christian community around Cunen, Guatemala, largely led and funded by FUMC of Fort Smith, but with a “traveling team” of various medical and non-medical personnel from the Arkansas River Valley, including my wife, dental administrator and assistant. Good work, Dear! 🙂

IMG_5315It was a joy for me to work with these photos and feel a part of the real help they provided in the Name and Love of God, and to feel the camaraderie that developed among them from the experience. I pray you sense both the love and camaraderie as you watch this video chronicling and celebrating the team of Jesus followers going for a week to help and serve others in need. And that you consider going or help in sending someone in the future! This video was done by my good friend, Manit Attakul. Thanks Manit!

IMG_5580The second video was done by me. It’s a bit lengthy. It’s mainly for those that went and those who sent! Or those really interested in such missions and the region. Blessings to you all!!

This third short video was done by Sara on the team.

IMG_6455“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, IMG_6470whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40)IMG_7984

One (Persecuted) Church

At our home group last Wednesday we paused our study of Hebrews at the end of chapter 11 to look at the persecuted church in our times. I invite you to do the same with me below. We began our discussion with the following little T/F self evaluation and reflection quiz.


  1. I know very little about the persecuted church in the world.   T   F
  2. I have prayed for a persecuted church or Christian personally.   T   F
  3. I can name 3 countries where Christians are persecuted.   T   F
  4. I send money to an organization who helps the persecuted.   T   F
  5. I know what the Bible tells me to do about the persecuted.   T   F
  6. I know what God would have me do for the persecuted.   T   F
  7. I am doing something to help the persecuted church.   T   F
  8. I know a story about a persecuted Christian that moves me.   T   F
  9. I don’t believe the persecuted church is relevant to my life.   T   F
  10. I would like to know more, and what I should be doing.   T   F
  11. I have at least one friend who talks about the persecuted.   T   F
  12. I have heard some teaching in church about the persecuted.   T   F
  13. I can name 2 organizations that help persecuted Christians.   T   F
  14. I want to know what I can do to help persecuted Christians.   T   F

 [WATCH THE FILM, A CRY FROM IRAN]

Personal Notes to jot down from the film after or as we watch:

(What stands out to you personally, or touches your heart?)
(What did you see that you had no idea about?)
(What did you feel, and what would you do if you and your family lived there?)

[Charles Simpson shared with me by email on February 29th, what he would want to get across to the church in our day about our persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe. Please consider his words with me.]

“Heb 13:3 tells us how to regard those who are prisoners for the gospel. In addition, one of Jesus’ ministries and means of judging our works was our involvement with those in prison ( I think that He was referring specifically to those unjustly persecuted.) Injustice is a cause that is on God’s heart.

What I want to highlight is our identification with our persecuted brothers and sisters. There is only One church. If one suffers we all do.

Persecuted Christians should awaken us all to the battle between good and evil and to our role in standing together. When we make the issues known it pleases God and rebukes the enemy!”

Links and Resources:

“Had the book of Hebrews been written in our time, he (Haik) would have been mentioned there.” Robbie Zacharias

A Cry From Iran Trailer
A Cry from Iran Website
Open Doors USA
Open Doors International
The Voice of the Martyrs 
The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken
The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken
The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun
A Story from Libya

You can search the web for other ways to help, and ask the Spirit to direct you to your place on the wall in support of other believers worldwide, many who are persecuted for their faith in Christ.

“Considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:26)

“And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.” (Matthew 11:12)

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3)

Happy Valentines Day

Bell1

A College Valentine

I know Valentine’s Day passed for 2016 last Sunday. But I wanted to share that I had a very enjoyable one, and I pray you did too.

Valentine's Celebration Days Past

Valentine’s Celebration Days Past

On Valentine’s eve eve, we got with a couple of friends who lived a stone’s throw from us on the farm, where we lived for seventeen years and largely raised our families. We had a nice dinner out, then went to their home for some fellowship and Rook playing. 🙂 Good times and good times remembered.

On Valentine’s eve, we dressed up a little and I took the wife to one of our favorite local Italian restaurants for a quiet evening together, just the two of us. Very nice.

On Valentine’s Day five couples of friends converged at our home for a special dinner surprise prepared by the girls for the guys. This was followed by lots of fun, fellowship, and sharing lives, along with a crazy game of “Telestrations.”

Valentine's Day 2016 with Friends

Valentine’s Day 2016 with Friends

Valentine’s Day seems perfect for pointing out the beauty of love and close relationships between couples and friends. On that note I want to end, and share a remarkable message on LOVE delivered on Valentine’s Day to a community of believers in Kansas City Missouri, by a beautiful young woman named Anna Stuckey Newby in her early thirties, married, and the mother of two small children. This young woman grew up in Fort Smith & Van Buren, where her family was our close friends and neighbors for several years. It was her first time to speak in front of her community, and what a blessed, insightful, inspiring presentation it was! I hope you can send it to your phone and listen. Or get somewhere quiet and let her insights and words soak in? Or take a drive and listen, as my wife and I did the following day. You’ll be blessed. You’ll be glad. You’ll feel like you’ve just come to know God a little bit better, or a whole lot better. Godspeed on your journey, and Happy Valentines Day!

Anna looks exactly like Mom a few years ago...

Anna looks exactly like Mom a few years ago…

 

Lilac-Breasted Roller

 

Can You Take It With You?

IMG_5062

Kevin with some special youth

People are important to God as demonstrated by The Cross. And people that come to know Christ are immortal. With regard to what we  obtain in life, it’s been said, “You can’t take it with you.”  While that’s true of things, you can take with you those you bring to Christ, and the acts of service and kindness to His sons and daughters,  who also have eternal life.

IMG_5153Last year on this same XMA-led trip to Honduras, after prison ministry during the day we were taken to a Celebrate Recovery meeting that night in an Olanchito church. Unexpectedly at the end of the meeting I looked across the room at a beautiful, teenage girl and the Lord almost instantly gave me a word for her!?  I approached the group leader and asked if I might speak the word to the girl and pray for her. She nodded and summoned our group’s  interrupter who was standing nearby. The three of them listened and the word went like this, “You’re a beautiful girl, with good character, and a big, deep heart. But there is a deep sadness in you that is destructive to your future. The Lord wants to heal you and take that sadness away, perhaps little by little, and He wants to be your Father.” Then I prayed a blessing on her and that the Lord would bring His words and purposes to pass for her life. She stood, hugged me, then stood back with big crocodile tears running down her face, and looked deep in my eyes and I into hers for several seconds. Then we smiled at each other and nodded understandingly, turned and left the building. I felt our hearts were joined forever over that moment and that word. Yet I didn’t know if we would meet again on this side of eternity?

IMG_4445

Our Mission Home in the Mountains of Honduras

A couple days later I met her older brother, a keyboard player and worship leader, who told me their father had been murdered a few years earlier, and that his sister was going through a very tough time. He implored me to pray for his sister, which I agreed to do. Being very touched with their close sibling relationship and their plight, I prayed for them both over the next year. Among other things, I prayed God would bring a good stepdad to care for them.

IMG_5092

Roadside Orange Stand

I didn’t know for sure if I would go again to Honduras this year until the last moment, but felt a strong leading to go and committed just days before the trip began. When leaving the house I saw an unused iPod and iPhone on my desk and felt the Spirit said to take them to the kids as a gift, the phone for the girl and iPod for her brother. If indeed I should even see them again I thought to myself? I’ve been on ten or more short term mission trips and things like this aren’t usually done and are discouraged for obvious reasons. I’ve never done it before. But I didn’t want to reason away what I was pretty sure I’d heard, and determined to follow the Spirit’s leading if He unfolded the circumstances.

Just when it looked as if there wasn’t going to be a chance to meet these siblings the Lord brought the opportunity in an instant during lunch at the pastor’s conference. Before going to lunch, I noticed the items in my suitcase and counseled with a brother on our team who had been to Honduras many times and had a good report with these teens, about the appropriateness of these gifts. His counsel was, if the Lord told you to do it, do it. Just give them in as much privacy as possible and perhaps ask that they not make it widely known. It was counsel that seemed right to me. At lunch, I sat at another table with some leaders and new friends, but toward the end of mealtime noticed that Tim was sitting with the siblings directly behind me. I recognized this as the Lord’s timing, excused myself from my table, and joined them for a very precious and mostly private time of sharing about their lives. With the older brother translating for me and also joining in the conversation, I learned that their mom had remarried a dentist. I asked if he was a good dad to them, and both said yes, with them adding, “He’s very honoring of our mom, and he takes good care of us.” I inwardly paused and silently gave much glory and heart felt thanks to God. 🙂 For answered prayer, for His care for the fatherless, and for His faithfulness to his word. There was talk about a boyfriend, some joking but serious counsel about going slowly in relationships, as I supported her brother’s counsel to her, and added that she was most beautiful and loved. I reminded her that this year I still see a little sadness in those beautiful eyes, but only a fraction of what I saw last year. And I reminded her that the Lord was in the process of taking it all away. She smiled with her big, silent smile that could light up a room, and certainly lights up my heart.

IMG_4682

Kerlin, Dwayne & Alexa

Only God can give a person the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with teens from another culture and country in two chance meetings during two chance years.! To love and encourage a kingdom son and daughter like that is a privilege and to be invited into their lives is priceless. They are the future of the kingdom of God in Honduras, and the future of Honduras.

Oh yes, the gifts? After our thirty-minute, precious conversation and sharing our lives, and the goodness and faithfulness of God, I told the brother, “I have a couple small gifts for you and your sister. God likes to give good gifts to His children. I felt like He prompted me to bring these to you and your sister. Can you follow me over to the mission house? I’d like to give them to you in private so it doesn’t cause any problems with others.” He smiled in agreement understandingly. I told him as I handed them to him in a clear ziplock bag, that I had in mind for his sister to get the phone and he the iPod, but I knew they were close and could share or do as they wished. It was like he didn’t even hear what I said as his eyes got big and he exclaimed, “My sister has been praying for an iPhone for six months! She will be sooo happy!” “And I and my friends on the worship team can use the iPod to learn songs and help with worship!” “Do you want to give it to her?!” he said excitedly. “Well,” I replied, “I think I’ll just let you give it to her to avoid any attention.” He nodded, but I could tell he didn’t like my idea too much and wanted me to give it to her. So I said, “OK, let’s go. I’ll give it to her.” He motioned her over some distance from the others, and I gave it to her. I don’t even remember what I said, but I was trying to be discreet and quick. She saw it and let out a little scream in excitement, then bounded to me and hugged my neck tight. Suddenly, nothing else mattered. God, you are good. And you love to give good gifts to your children. Sometimes I forget.

IMG_5057

Our Team & Friends – Farewell Meal

This was just one of many, many meaningful and touching moments during our week in Honduras, but one that was deeply meaningful and personal for me. God reminded me of the importance of “living loved.” Sometimes we can feel how much He loves others when we cannot feel how much He loves us. That kind of love is stilling and reorienting. That’s seeing His big heart for people, for all people, again. It’s reconnecting with your creator, and your Heavenly Father. 🙂