ISAIAH 61:1-4

ISAIAH 61:1-4

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me to
Preach the good news to the poor. .
Bind up the brokenhearted,
Proclaim freedom for the captives,
Proclaim release from darkness for the prisoners,
Comfort all who mourn
Provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them
The oil of gladness for mourning
And a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness

Saturday, November 29, 2008


The Tree

The mantle

The Santa Collection

The mess

Cover pictures over mantle with gold foil
Find lights and garland to go over windows in living room
Set up Nativity
Clean up!!

My goal was to finish...but I did fairly well for one day's work.

Pastor Phylis

THANKSGIVINGWaiting patiently, or not!

Definitely, no one was waiting

And later that day with all the cousin...third cousins if I count correctly.
(These are grandchildren of first cousins, that makes it third??)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ministry and Teaching

In class last night we were asked to make a timeline of our personal bilinguality. It occurred to me later that the first time I taught a class in Spanish, I could barely speak. It was a Sunday School class in the jungle city of Santo Domingo de los Colorados. There had been no class for the littlest ones, only for older kids. So I decided to start a class for pre-school. I probably had a few first graders as well.

First, the church met in a storefront building that opened by a metal pull-up door (garage style) right onto the main street of town. The older children met out back in the patio area.

The only place for the young ones was a dark room off to the side that was intended as an office, if the space ever became a store. It was tiny, lit by only one 40-watt bulb. The walls were concrete block, unpainted. The floors were unfinished cement.

In this dank, dim prison-like room, I added a straw mat for the floor. I also purchased some small plastic toys, cars and other vehicles mostly along with a few other odds and ends all of which made the “Happy Meal” type toy look like something from FAO Schwartz. And like every good Sunday School teacher, I always brought cookies.

Word got around through the neighborhood that if you came to listen to the story there would be toys to play with and cookies to eat. So in addition to my own two boys and a couple of little ones of the church members, the neighborhood little ones began showing up. They were dusty and bedraggled, but arrived ready to sit and listen long enough to get a cookie and play for awhile

All week I would struggle with the lesson, looking up words in Spanish that I would need. When it was Israel and the wall of Jerico, I could not remember the word “muro,” so I ended up using “pared” – which is an inside wall. Really “muralla” would have been better for a wall around the city. And those are the things that I remember. The errors I KNEW I made. Lord knows what I really said.

But as they sat there for a few minutes with their little eyes wide open listening to this crazy gringa woman who let them play with toys and eat cookies, I realize that it wasn’t what I SAID that reached them. I so badly wanted them to remember that Jesus loves them.

And now, looking back 35 years, I wonder. Did any of it take? Did they get it? What do they remember about the crazy gringa woman who gave them cookies, let them play with toys and talked bad Spanish? Is that all? Or do they sometimes realize that there is a God who loves them and wants to relate personally? All I can do is wonder.

Pastor Phylis

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Angels

Someone emailed me recently about Christmas angels and I began to think. We've had a few Christmas Angels through the years.

About twenty years ago, it had been a difficult year when on a Saturday morning in December when the doorbell rang. A man stood there, not anyone I recognized. When I answered he handed me an envelope.

"A few years ago I was really hard up," he said. "I came by and your husband helped me. I'm doing well now so I thought I'd come and pay it back." And he handed me the envelope.

I said "Thank you." And afer he left, I opened the envelope. It held five tweny dollar bills. I was so relieved. That was enough to get presents for the boys and food for the meal.

This year there have also been several miraculous answers to need. Mostly it's not something that I can talk about. But the church is getting new gutters, just because one individual said he'd buy the materials and another (who isn't even a member here) volunteered to do the labor. There have been several of those lately.

God's blessing always arrive just in time. 

Pastor Phylis

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

I ran across this quote out in the blogosphere. I need to make it my motto.

Today I'm thankful for good health, for the power to fight off an infection, for the blessing of having availability to a doctor and medicine I can afford.

Pastor Phylis

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Danger in the Kitchen; Humor in the House

(Read with the tune of the “Dragnet” theme song in the background.)
I know how the inmates in a mental institution feel just before the take down. It happened Tuesday night. I could sense someone moving in on both sides of me. A shadow fell across the work I was doing. Innocent work with a really sharp Cutco knife.
You know, the ones that are advertised to last for a lifetime, and they do too. The scissors are demonstrated by cutting a penny in half and mine still will, even though they are about fifteen years old. This sharpness is recommended for cutting bones in half, bones of chickens and ribs of beef or pork, not fingers of people. Once I tried the knife on my finger, quite by accident. It didn’t actually cut the bone, but then I cheated and moved my finger when I felt the blade, so it didn’t have a chance, really. However, ever since that incident which took me to the emergency room in the middle of my son's 18th birthday party, the men in my family turn into lurking bodyguards whenever I pick up a sharp knife.
So I have this very sharp knife in one hand, a knife with a record. With the other hand I’m holding this little plastic gadget. I’m only cleaning out the veggie fragments from between the plastic squares on this little plastic dicer…with the sharp knife.
Just as I sense the presence of two men, one on either side, I look at my fingers in relationship to the sharp knife. And realize that they are coming to protect me from that villain of a knife. My fingers are in danger from that darn knife.
My imagination can see the men exchanging glances. You know the look, one nods at the hand holding the offending knife, the other responds with a nod in turn. Then one of them mouths, “on my count: one,”
But before he can finish, I laugh, and say, “I'd better get something not so sharp to clean this before I slice off a finger."
My son says, “Good idea mom. I think a butter knife would work better,” and backs away, while his father looks relieved and turns back to his task of wiping down the counters.
Yep. They were about to tackle that knife. Might not have been pretty!

Pastor Phylis

And today, I'm thankful for a loving husband and children. And for granddaughters who like to cuddle and read me books -- even while I'm posting a blog!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Thankfulness Entry

I’m thankful for a job that provides for basic needs; (even if it occasionally raises my stress level into the stratosphere) and that my children also have jobs.

This year, need has hit our children at school harder than usual. There are more needy children this year. Two weeks ago, my son purchased a lantern-type flashlight with extra batteries for a family here who didn’t have electricity. The little girl was unable to do her homework after the time change because by the time they had eaten and tended to the little ones, it was too dark to read and write.

Over the weekend my daughter-in-law gathered up clothing from my granddaughters that didn’t fit any longer, and I brought those to school on Monday. Along with donations from other teachers, they are sorted and stacked in a metal cabinet designed for books and school supplies in the social worker’s office. Today the social worker told this story.

Two little girls with opposite problems ended up waiting in her office at the same time. One child has been the caretaker for an alcoholic mother who is now in rehab. The child has been staying with relatives nearby, but a favorite aunt is going to take her over Thanksgiving and they will go to a mall to shop.

The other little girl is one who has been without gas and electricity for more than a month. Her mother just had a new baby. The child has come to the social worker for referrals for food and clothing as well. Both girls asked if they could peruse the clothing.

When they discover some new underwear they think is “cool” the child anticipating the mall visit begins to talk. She’s so excited that she will be in a mall. She can’t remember ever visiting a mall before. She wonders aloud what it will look like and what the stores will look like. For as long as she can remember, she and her mother have always shopped at resale shops. She wonders aloud if there will be things as cool as the stuff here, except more?

The second little girl finds a Gap logo sweatshirt that she likes. Holding it up to herself she responds that she’s never been to a mall either. She says she thinks it has nice stuff like this, but very expensive. Then she discovers a Dora blanket that she thinks would be very nice for her three-year-old brother who’s a bit jealous of the new baby.

I don’t know how the social worker kept a straight face as she told the pair to come back right after school and she’d have a bag ready for each to take home. I got teary when she told me about it, and again now.

With tears running down my face, once again I repeat:

I’m VERY thankful for a job and that my children have jobs.
And I pray: God, please help us to remember the people who REALLY need Christmas presents this Christmas.

Pastor Phylis