Monday, April 4, 2016

Every Breath

I recently went to the Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference. I can't begin to share the many blessings I received there. I've been working hard preparing the requested manuscripts for submission. So if you will...I am posting something I wrote for a friend...sharing what God has done for me.

By the way, if you haven't yet, consider signing up for my newsletter...this time we are going zip lining!! I'm now an expert after having gone in the Sequoia redwood canopy at Mt. Hermon.

Every Breath 

By Mary Vee

The adventure started my freshman year at Bible college.

I had an opportunity to go to Mexico. My dad was very much against the idea because no one from the family had gone on a mission trip before. He had never been out of the country. I think he was scared for my safety. He made a list of questions and a to do list for me. Completion of the ever growing list was required for his blessing. The mission organization had their list, too.

Four months of preparation, raising funds, Spanish classes, devotionals, weekly three-hour prayer meetings, needs provided, and friendships made unfolded. I was packed and still didn't have a definitive yes from Dad. Never give up, I told myself. Keep trying.

He drove me to the college on the appointed day. Classmates shoved my suitcase in the van, and I climbed inside with nine others. The van pulled out of the parking lot with me still convinced Dad would follow and change his mind. 

But he didn't. God had changed his heart. 

While in Mexico, I saw a new piece of God's creation. Mountains. Signs in a different language. New foods. Spoken words I didn't understand. Memorable moments like the day a businessman wearing a three-piece suit walked past me. I held out a tract for him, fully expecting him to ignore me. The man stopped, took the tract, THEN opened the page and read it. Right there in front of me! He thanked me then pressed the tract into his suit pocket. I was speechless.

An intense, rewarding two weeks of evangelism and training passed. I came home sick with a high fever and a terrible cough, ready to go again.

I wanted to travel more. See as much of God's creation as I could, understanding difficult situations sometimes arise. I never wanted to give up. I wanted to use every breath to see God in as many places as possible during my life.

Shortly after I was married, my mother-in-law told me the family had received a gift. My father-in-law’s patients pooled money to send the whole family to his homeland, Lithuania, and my mother-in-law's homeland, Germany. For days I didn't think the trip could happen. Several family members did not have US citizenship yet, one worked for the US government, one had a one-month-old baby.

The complications tallied. Lithuania was still part of the communist Soviet Union. Temperatures would be -25 in Moscow. No religious material or jewelry, etc. was allowed. Rules. Rules.

But the patients had important connections and were very determined to never give up. Three months later, all twelve members of the family left for a two-week trip. One week in Lithuania for Christmas and one week in Germany for New Years.

Hubby went on to college and became a medical provider. He was invited to go on a medical mission trip to remote mountain jungle areas of Honduras. They also needed a childcare worker. Me! Donkeys woke us in the morning. Vehicles drove us where there were no roads. We met many needy people and spoke through translators.

On the last day, the Honduran doctor in charge said, "I didn't want to tell you this earlier for fear you all might have left early. But, the head of the drug cartel in this area was gunned down the day before you came. More violence was expected. We kept close to your group and never let you out past dark to protect you."

Really? What exciting news! Do you realize how God set the whole thing up, protecting us so we could serve? I was elated and ready to sign up for the next year.

Hubby and I went on other mission trips to an Indian reservation in Montana, where the new pastor bought the old jail. The kind where hangings took place. Yeah, that old. Our team helped him convert part of the building into Sunday School rooms. We met ranchers and American Indians during the church service and were invited to their homes. 

Trips to the mission field have impacted a large part of my life.

I wanted to see more and spend every breath experiencing God’s creation. No matter what, I never wanted to give up.

Hubby and I went to Paris. We sat for over an hour in Notre Dame that Sunday and listened to the organ. A breath-taking sound. We stood at 11,000 feet on a mountain in Montana’s Bear Tooth Pass. We floated down the Mississippi in a paddleboat, listening to a southern guide relive the Civil War. Eye opening. I could fill volumes about God’s creation. 

There are more breaths to take. Doing things like counseling inner city substance abuse residents, showing a first grader how to accept Christ, or walking the Sioux Charlie mountain trail in the Rockies.

God gives opportunities to breathe and experience what He has made. I’m ready to sign up for more. And never want to give up. How about you?

Sometimes the daily road is rough. Sometimes the road is exhilarating. Sometimes we laugh, or cry, mourn or rejoice, learn or forget...BUT in every breath...

...we can see that God is here.

Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary's list of great ways to enjoy a day. Such adventures can be found in her stories as well.

Mary writes young adult mystery/suspense stories, is honing marketing and writing skills, and loves to pen missionary and retell Bible event stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids. She has finaled in several writing contests.

Visit Mary at her websiteblog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter

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