My calendar for the month of October reads, “Every soul has a window; it is placed there to let in the light of God’s amazing love.” That’s a good word for me as I’m once again packing my suitcase and flying off for six weeks. This time the speaking tour is in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Rather than print out the schedule here you could go to the Wycliffe Associates website to find out the dates and venues nearest you. If there’s one near you, I hope you’ll attend. Let me know (or Stan Feener, the area director) and we’ll arrange for me to sit at your table. I would love to see you.
Meanwhile I have chockablock full TO DO lists to make sure the house is buttoned up for winter and that everything I could possibly need on this trip is in my suitcase. I’ve already shipped 300 books. I know you will pray that the Holy Spirit would remind me of anything important that I need to take care of before I leave on Oct. 10.
The trip will involve thousands of miles of travel by airplane and car. Often there are close calls. My son-in-law took me to catch a flight to Maine recently and after he returned home he heard on the news that a plane from the very airline that I was traveling on had just crashed. A gasp, then relief when he learned it was not the one I was on and nobody was seriously hurt. I am vividly aware of guardian angels.
But I’m really getting ahead of myself. I must share about my time in Maine. I was invited to speak at a widows’ conference there and what a privilege that was. The slogan for the widow’s ministry at East Auburn Baptist Church is “I made the widow’s heart sing” (Job 29:13). They take the verse in James 1:27 very seriously. Right from the start we were hugging, crying and laughing together in our shared losses.
They scheduled a variety of helpful workshops: Grief, Overcoming Depression, A Biblical study on what the Bible says about widows, Serving Others with Joy, Social Security & Medicare, Prayer, and other insightful seminars. I attended an interactive one on Personal Safety presented by a local police officer. His pet peeve is seeing women carrying their purses into the grocery store. “Leave it in the trunk of your car; just carry your money or credit card in your pocket.”
The Holy Spirit guided me in the three messages I gave: (1) A Puzzling Journey, (2) Straight-edge Pieces in the Puzzle of Life, (3) Those Odd-Shaped Puzzle Pieces. His sweet presence hovered over us and blew around us. I came away blessed.
An add-on to my time in Maine was to spend a few days with my nephew, Clarence Keller. He’s named after my father, Clarence E. Jones. If you have read my book you will remember the story of my sister’s tragic death just weeks before Edmund and I left for Papua New Guinea. Clarence was a baby then and doesn’t remember his biological mother, my sister, Arloween. I also had a visit with my other nephew, Ken, one of my sister’s twins (yes, twins run in the family), and my niece, Francine. Seeing her was like a flashback to when Arloween was alive, because Francine looks so much like her. Tears welled up in my eyes as we hugged. Clarence’s daughter, Tricia, came by and I got to see the first grandson, Nolan. It seems sometimes that we are only connected to that part of the family by a thin thread but we keep finding ways and times to get together. I’m glad. Clarence’s wife, Nancy, taught me to knit, bonus.
Going back even farther I had the precious privilege of entertaining my daughter, Heidi, her husband, Anthony, and my newest grandson, Nathaniel. In June I asked you to pray for this preemie. Now at two months he is weighing 13 pounds. The family visited to say their final goodbyes as they have flights booked to Central Asia for October 19th. We hear the name of their new home country every day on the news so I know you will uphold them and their team in your prayers. They need to find an apartment and then apply for a residential visa. Then they will start language school. I know God will go before them on this “fishing trip.” If you want more details about them please write and I can mail you a copy of their newsletter and photo. I’d rather not send it by e-mail.
And, dear friends, continue to remember Bishop and Tori. Pray that Bish will read the Bible that Heidi gave him before she left, and that he will remember the clear witness Anthony presented when we sat around the table eating ice cream at Friendly’s. I won’t go into details in this missive but Tori has special needs right now. She is being cheated of the right to see Matthew and Dietlinde, and they have been forced to go through the legal system to rectify the matter. We are praying about the deep emotional wounds and the chains that enslave Tori.
Can you pick out two of my other grandsons from the family photo? Isaac is in his third year at Lancaster Bible College. He and Lauren are planning a July 11 wedding. Isaac always asks good questions. That’s just one of many things I love about him.
And there’s Isaiah with his girlfriend, Leah, at our family reunion. Isaiah has just started at Alvernia University. We enjoyed the guided tour he gave us one afternoon. He is becoming quite an apologist, while studying to be a doctor.
Some of you have asked about the children’s book I mentioned in an earlier letter. It’s still in the editing process and Dietlinde is working on the layout. Prayer help is needed in this area too.
Before I finish this letter I want to thank all who have been and continue to be a support for this ministry. You are fonts of spiritual, emotional and financial support, and I couldn’t do what I do without you.
I hope that above the roar and rage of life you have the window of your soul wide open to hear Jesus’ whisper. I plan to continue to heed His call and follow him wherever He leads. Will you do the same? I often autograph my books with the verse that is also printed on this month’s calendar, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jer. 31:3) And that, my friends, is a very good word not just for this month but always. Hey, even my morning glories are wide open to God’s sunlight on this chilly morning.
With an open window,