Monday, July 29, 2013

Hope Eternal: My Journey from Brokenness to Blessing

Below is an exert from the autobiography I am writing with my husband. There is more to come:

I could barely recognize the girl in the mirror. I couldn't believe it was me.

Sore… beaten… broken… desperate… vulnerable.

I could barely move. My fingers… frozen. Wrists… curling up. Eyes… swollen. Mind… foggy.

My life was as dark and empty as the filthy bus stop I was standing in. Everything in me was dying. They had crushed my body, and my heart.

One tiny shred of hope remained. A small flame still flickered in my darkness.

“God, help me.”

It wasn’t long before the answer came. I stood in line, waiting to get back on the bus that had carried me to safety. But where was I going? Who would help me? What was I going to do? I was homeless.

Then I heard her, making her way through the crowd, preaching. Could I trust her? Was she just like THEM?

Then I heard his name. Jesus. She was talking about him. He was all I had left. But was her Jesus the same as my Jesus?

Despite my crippled fingers, I managed to grab her hand. “Do you believe in Jesus?” I asked. “I need help.”

She looked me over. Would she flinch? Would she walk? I can’t imagine what she was thinking.

She gently guided me to a payphone. She dialed, and someone picked up. “Mother Howard? It’s me."

The person on the other end was speaking. Then the woman looked closely at me. She just started nodding her head. “Yes,” she said. “Yes,” she said again. “Yes.”

That was it.

“I’m taking you home,” she said.

“What just happened?” I wondered to myself. But I didn’t really need to know. All I really knew was I needed a refuge, and God had just provided one.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. Salvation… rescue… alone no more.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meeting God at the Beach

Another year of Godly Girls Summer Camp!
This year we're, 'Meeting God at the Beach."

Here we are!
All twelve of us!

I made a journal for each girl.
This little book has all the Scriptures we will read for the week,
questions for discussions
and an area to journal.

We had our Bible and Journal time on the 'sandy' carpet as we sat on our beach towels!

After our Bible study time we had tea and a little snack.
I made 'sand pudding' but layered it like sand art because that was the craft for the day!
I love when it all comes together!

I had the girls watch two videos on professionals creating sand art.
We learned how they made camels, birds, mountains, sunsets, etc. 
It was fun to see the girls big eyes and hear, "THAT"S SOOOO COOL!" 

Here they are trying they're go at sand art!

She did it! A mountain view with a bird flying over!
She was quite proud!

DAY 2 of Meeting with God at the Beach
Today was: God Rejoices with Us! day.
We read about the Jesus' first miracle at the wedding at Cana.
I shared with them the many lessons we can learn from this story-
to obey without questions, to trust in Jesus' directions, and what I saw for the first time,
Jesus rejoices or celebrates with us!

The craft for the day was learning how to carefully decorate cupcakes.
First I taught them how to make edible sand:
one box of vanilla wafers with two Oreos and place in the food processor.

Then I taught them how to decorate the cupcakes using all sorts of candies
into three different beach scenes.
They got right to work!

Some cupcakes were covered with 'sand' and 
some were half 'water' and half 'sand.'

Here is one completed.
A little teddy bear in a float in the water.

Each child created six cupcakes,
placed them in a cupcake holder 
and brought them home!

God Will Always Be With Us!

We started off our Bible time
reading the poem: Footprints in the Sand.
I had one poem for each child.
We talked about how God loves us so much
that He is not only with us on a daily basis,
but in troublesome times
He carries us.

For snack time I made Loft house cookies and iced them to look like a beach ball.
(I looked every where for a footprint or flip-flop cookie cutter, but could not find one).

The craft for the day was 
balloon flip-flops!

They all worked hard and had fun seeing their ordinary flip-flops
turn in to a colorful, fun looking flip-flop.

The finished product!

At the end of the day, as always, we gather together
for a time of review, journal time and prayer.
Each day the girls have blessed me with hearts of love for each other
and the Lord. Their prayers have been beautiful. 
I'm so very proud of all these girls!

DAY 4:

Today we read and talked about how
Jesus promised us that He would send His Holy Spirit
through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
How we are not alone, and need not be afraid to share the Gospel.
That through the power of the Holy Spirit He
will embolden us to go forth in all that He asks us to do.

After their snack time we went to the dining for our craft time.
Today I handed out to the girls their group picture that I had taken on Monday.
I talked about how God has not only given us Jesus,
and the Holy Spirit, but he has also given us each other!
So with that, I handed out frames and shells for them to decorate.

Many of the girls had never worked with a hot glue gun before-
 it was a challenge...

...but that didn't stop them!

They helped each other and worked hard.

If you read the frame carefully
you'll see that this student used the shells to spell out:
Godly Girls!

And while the girls were having Godly Girls in the dining room...
my boys were having a 'Godly Guys' in the kitchen!!!

They took their turn at sand art.

I jumped from room to room!

At the end of the day we gathered together for our prayer time.
We reviewed our Bible lesson from the morning
and I asked the girls if anyone would like to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
For EIGHT  of the girls the answer was YES!
My mother-in-law had spent the day with us today and she and I went from one girl to the next
Baptizing them in the Holy Spirit!!!
It was amazing!!!

Day 5:

God Calls Us to Be Fishers of Men!!!

We read in Luke how Jesus called to Simon Peter
and told him that he would be a fisher of men after he just pulled in two boats full of fish.
And then we read in Acts how Peter did preach Good News and 3,000 were added to their number!
It was quite exciting to talk with and pray with the girls about sharing their faith.

Our snack was 'fish' in 'water' - of course!
(Blue jell-o and Swedish fish)

After snack we headed to the dining room to make our own
'fish' earrings and flip flop earrings!!!
(The girls made one pair of flip flop earrings
and two sets of fish earrings: one for themselves and one to give away).

The little boxes were for the pair of fish earrings
that the girls are to give away.

Here they are working hard.

And some even made the snap-on earrings!
(Thank you Jody for thinking of it and buying it!)

Here are my 'graduates' trying to smile into the light!
I love them all!
God anointed this week above and beyond what I could have ever thought!
Praise you Jesus for the work you have done!