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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Our last day in Canada comes with mixed feelings. No matter how much like home a place feels, there really is no country like the United States. We may have our troubles and may be doing some really stupid things, but there is still no more amazing place than the US.
Here in Canada, however, the Independent Baptist churches are in their first generation. To me, it's like going back about twenty or thirty years, to what it was like back in the eighties when I was newly saved. The churches are small, many of them still meeting in storefronts, and the people are devoted to their church, but especially to the Lord. Such a sense of dedication to God as we felt amongst these people!
One dear elderly lady I spoke with told me with tears in her eyes about how good her pastor and family had been to her since the loss of her husband. "They are my salvation," she said simply. "I just don't know what I would have done without them." The pastor and his family pick her up for every service, and make sure her every need is met.
Another pastor and his family, the ones at the church we are staying at right now, is away visiting the pastor's wife's family. They've been gone for almost a week, and of course, we are in the church parking lot. Folks don't realize that we missionaries can see everything going on at a church (and we know the church can see everything that's going on at our motorhome!). It's amazing to see the care of these people for their church and their pastor while they've been away. Yesterday, one lady carefully watered all the flowers on the church's and pastor's property. And then, today, I saw a man walking around with a watering can, checking on all the plants and watering them again!
And then there's the Canadian military. So far as we know, and we've been here several times and talked to hundreds of people, there is no missionary to the Canadian military. As far as Independent missionaries go, there are roughly fifty or sixty missionaries to the American military, but not one to the Canadian military. Thankfully, my husband has been meeting with some pastors near some bases, discussing the need and the possibilities of reaching their bases.
Sunday night after church, my family and I had dinner with a Canadian pastor and his wife. The dear lady spoke tearfully about her son, who spent three years in the Canadian Forces and served alongside troops from the States in Afghanistan. "In a few days, Canada Day will be here, and there are the fireworks. Someone asked my son if he would put them on for them, but he said he couldn't do it. Not yet. He's just not ready yet."
"I never understood," she told me, "how having a loved one in the military affected the entire family. My son came back from Afghanistan a different person. The things he saw, the things he went through, and the things he did…he's different. He will never be the same. And because of what he went through, we're different, too. It has affected us all."
"The first year he was back, on Canada Day, when one of the fireworks exploded, it didn't matter where he was in the house, he would drop to the floor, crying. I would go over to him, rub his back, and say, 'It's ok, honey, it'll pass, it'll pass.' He was so embarrassed, but we understood."
"And then there was the time he had a knee injury and had to stay behind while his unit went to the forward camp. While he was recovering, his unit came under attack, and his battle buddy got killed. My son has never been the same. He knows he should have died, too, and wonders why his friend had to die. It doesn't matter what I say to him, it makes no difference. He still feels that nagging guilt."
"Being a Christian has really helped him a lot, though," she said with a smile. Then her eyes became very serious, she leaned forward and wondered aloud, "What do these folks do who aren't saved? How do they handle such things without a Savior to go to?" Then, just as quickly, she answered her own question. "Well, they don't. The suicide rates and divorce rates among soldiers are the highest ever. They have no help, no support, no one to turn to."
Folks, who will reach these Canadian forces? Who will point them to the Savior who can guide them through all their trials? We can only do so much, but it seems there is always more to do. Pray that the Lord will send forth laborers unto His harvest, for the fields are white!
The wheels of the bus turn faster and faster, taking us back to our homeland. But I think part of our hearts have been left in Canada.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
This is a reprint from an article in October of 2006, so you'll notice the kids are much younger! The principle still holds true today, even though they are now 12, 10, and 7. And yes, they are still right with me all the time…and I love it.
I was going about my usual business last week, and I noticed something. It was not an unusual thing I noticed; it was something that happened all the time. It is a normal, everyday occurrence. What I noticed about this thing was something that God was speaking to my heart: I have my very own disciples, my little children.
I went outside to hang out the laundry, and my 7-year old, 5 year-old, and 3 year-old followed me out to play. As soon as I went in, they followed me inside. When I went to the store, they begged to come along. When I go to church, they are following me everywhere, to the point that if I turn around, I often trip on one of them! I must admit, regretfully, that I have often wished they could just "go play by themselves for awhile," so I can get something done. But this past week, as we were at a missions conference and the Lord was working in my heart about the lost around the world, He very gently showed me the little ones in my home.
"These are your disciples," God seemed to say. As I sat in my pew, with the preacher going on and on, I realized what potential I have been ignoring. Here I have with me on a daily basis, a small group of young people completely dedicated to following me in whatever I do. They love me and want to be with me. They want to do what I do, and learn from me. What an opportunity! I can pour good things into their moldable little lives right now that I will never be able to get in later on.
I asked the Lord for forgiveness for taking such a grave responsibility for granted, and asked Him for help to teach and direct them in the right way. I soon had my first test!
Saturday morning, it was time to clean the van. Now, you have to understand a little bit about us to understand the enormity of the task of cleaning the van. We have a large 15 passenger van, and it was extremely dirty on the inside from remnants of our 4 ½ month trip. I had cleaned it a few times during our trip, but it had been awhile, and if you can imagine a family of 8 living out of their van for a few months, you can begin to imagine the disaster which we called home for awhile. It was going to be a big job, and I knew it. This job would only be made bigger and more complicated if I added some small children to it. But I knew that not only did the van need cleaned, but also the children needed to spend some time helping me clean it, so we could work together. They need to learn that work is a daily occurrence.
So, we set out to clean the van. I had four helpers: all the way from the 11 year-old on down. It took all morning, and was lots of work, but in the end, we had a very clean van, and some happy kids! I told them I would give them a few caramels if they worked hard, and they sure did work to get those things! And my, did they enjoy them when they ate them! And what a clean van we have now! I made sure I told everyone how the little ones and I cleaned the van out, and all the big kids, and even Daddy oooo-ed and aaahh-ed over such a clean vehicle! How good that made those little kids feel!
They are learning each and every day. I try to drop little bits of wisdom, and now I am trying to have them work with me as we go about our days. How wonderful it is to serve God by investing of myself in my little ones! They are my disciples.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Sitting here in the growing twilight of the late evening in Ontario, I can hardly believe what my heart tells me:
…there's been a new birth, and I got to be the witness of it.
The Canadian military wife had admitted she was not a child of God the other day, and somehow I got the privilege of telling her the Good News of God's merciful forgiveness. As we spoke in the now-empty church nursery, I felt the wrestling of her heart, and I understood her questions. I remembered my own struggles, so many years ago. With overflowing joy, I was able to point her in the direction of God Himself, through Jesus Christ, and help her see Him who loves her so.
Then, after I prayed, she also talked to the Lord. It wasn't dramatic, but it was heartfelt, and she asked the Lord to forgive her of her sins and make her into a new person. What a privilege it is to be present in the birthing room!
But it didn't really hit me until about five minutes after she was gone –
Now I know why the Devil has been fighting this trip into Canada.
There was a Samaritan woman to be reached, and he didn't want her to enter the Kingdom.
My mind reeled. I've been waking up day after day here in Canada, praying, Lord, what do you have for us here? What is it you want to do? There had been many hindrances - adversaries, as Paul called them. Paperwork issues, mechanical issues, and other things were set to prevent us from going into Canada. Why? I wondered. Now I knew.
I, being in the way, the Lord led me…and I'm so thankful He did! Perhaps some of you have been praying about our excursion into Canada. Thank you for praying! Your prayers did not go unheaded! Please continue to pray, because I know that God's not finished with us yet. There is always more to do, more folks to win. I want to be in the way…
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Engine humming, generator running, and water tank filling, we are getting ready to head out. It seems so far away, yet it will only take us a little over an hour to reach another country…Canada. Canada, with its pristine rivers, glacial mountains, and sleek penguins. But also with its nations' military.
They come from every town and province in Canada, join ranks with our own forces, and fight to protect their freedoms. These Canadian Forces are trained, sometimes alongside our own, and learn to push themselves beyond their limits to do the duty that lies nearest. Then, after their tour of duty is done, they head back to their homes. Wouldn't it be wonderful to reach them with the Gospel before their military service is done? They then become missionaries to the outer reaches of the Arctic Circle, or Alberta, or Ontario.
We're ready to go…but wait, as I write there is a problem. My husband has pulled the bus out and parked it to hook up the van, but the bus has a terrible lean to the right! Our suspension, which we just had worked on a few weeks ago in Ohio, must have another leak.
I find it completely amazing the setbacks we had encountered in order to get to Canada. We've had numerous snafus with red tape, an unusual amount of mechanical problems, and a ton of scheduling difficulties. Could it be that God really wants to do something there, and the Devil knows it? Well, whatever God wants to do, I want to be in on it… so we press on.
Two hours later, we are on the road, mechanical problem fixed, mostly. We still have a lean, but now enough to cause any stability issues. The Rolling Raub Ranch rolls on!
As we cross the border to our northern neighbors, please keep us in prayer. There is an open door, but there are many adversaries. I'm a little skittish about meeting them, but I'd rather be in God's will and face the lions than out of it on a comfy couch eating coconut bon-bons while the world goes to Hell.
Our Detroit diesel roars, the generator powers the whole place, the water tank is full, the fuel tanks are topped off…we are so blessed…and we are rolling!
Monday, June 13, 2011
Did you hear the "Wahoo!" over here in Michigan?? I jogged for THREE MILES today!!
I had done it once before, on my 46th birthday, but I hadn't run three miles since. I wasn't sure I could do it. But I've been experimenting with long, slow runs, rather than short fast ones, and then increasing my time every week.
Today, as I neared the end of my thirty-five minutes (I know – it's terribly slow, but that's the pace I go), I was at two and three-fourths miles. I simply couldn't let the three-mile mark stay out of reach, so I just kept going! It was only one more lap anyway, but I did it!!
And yes, I am one and a half years older.
It feels sooooo good to be able to do that, especially at my age.
Thank You, Lord, for the strength to jog three miles today! J
Sunday, June 5, 2011
You may have heard a huge sigh of relief coming from somewhere in Michigan today. I've been working to get fifty interviews for my current book project….
…and I got number 50 TODAY!!!
I'm going to do a bit further research, and then begin adding up the numbers and document my findings in a book which will be titled, Lord Willing, Lionproof: Overcoming the Sudden Disappearance of the Second Generation. Part of the rough draft is finished, but I have a lot of work to do on the rest of it. However, with the interview portion of the project finished, I am that much closer to being done!!!
For those of you who have been praying for me, I say humbly Thank you. And, please, continue to pray; there is much to do, and it is such an important subject.
Thank the Lord!!