Archive for December, 2008

Preparing for missions

December 31, 2008

We left DFW airport at 1 p.m. Monday afternoon. After eating dinner at the Chicago airport, the team and I left for Munich, Germany. After a 9 hour plane ride, watching Wall-E about five times and getting absolutely no sleep, we landed in Munich at 10 a.m., Munich time, Tuesday morning.

We then took a bus to a little plane to fly to Belgrade, Serbia. We flew over the GORGEOUS Swiss Alps! It took my breath away and was probably the most magnificent sight I have ever seen. It truly brought tears to my eyes. After we landed in Serbia and went through customs, Josh met us outside security. It was 22 degrees there with snow scattered on the ground.

We then began our 3-hour car ride to Kraljevo. On the way, we stopped at a restaurant where we got two different kinds of salads and two different kinds of meat. They serve food in a restaurant “family style” where they put a huge platter in the middle and you pass it around, just like with your family at home. As soon as we got in the car after lunch, all of us fell asleep and Josh finished the 45 minutes in silence. We checked into our hotel, put more clothes on, and went over to Josh’s house to meet his family – Kristen (wife), Dayne, Abigail, and Darcie. Such a wonderful family!

We then loaded up boxes and distributed Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes to refugee orphans. One thing I noticed is that every single kid there is happy. No sadness at all. After that, we walked around town and met up with some of Josh’s friends for coffee and tea. Since lunch is their big meal, dinner is usually just a small snack and coffee or tea. It was really good. After a short coffee break (1 hour), we went back to the hotel and went to bed. The boys didn’t sleep too well, but Tania and I slept really well. We had breakfast this morning in the hotel. Their bacon was interesting. It was about half an inch thick and still had the bones in it. Their eggs are served sunny side up too.

After that, we came over to Josh’s house and did a devotional and orientation. We had a pizza for lunch – cheese, bacon, mushroom, eggs, and sauce. It was really good! We are working on labeling books and tracts, so when we hand them out the people will have contact. Today is a preparation day because it is New Years Eve.

I hope that everything is going well, and we miss y’all and love y’all!

Sarah

Christmas is over

December 27, 2008

Every Christmas, a relative of mine exclaims, “Well, Christmas is over. All that preparation for about 15 minutes.” Every Christmas, it grates my nerves. Christmas is not over, it has only just begun again.

The analogy I like to use with her is that she enjoys and celebrates the birth of my son (her grandson) practically every day. This daily excitement is how we are to see and respect the remembrance of Christ’s choice to don the injured flesh we wear and lower himself to show us how to live.

Sad news out of San Antonio

December 25, 2008

In the midst of our Christmas cheer comes the sad news that Victor Schmidt, immediate past president of San Marcos Baptist Academy, has died. Col. Schmidt had retired just five months ago. The Baptist Standard has a full story.

Col. Schmidt was a wonderful man, always presenting himself with both warmth and integrity. He led the academy through some very tough financial times to the point where it now has good stability. He will indeed be missed.

A final word from Moldova

December 22, 2008

We arrived home safely yesterday evening. Today I have been recovering from a week of hard work and jet lag. I wanted to take a moment and give you a final update on the last couple of days in Moldova.
 
The most notable day was the afternoon we spent at the disabled boys orphanage. We again fitted about 200 pairs of shoes, but the atmosphere was vastly different here than at any other orphanage in the past. From the moment we stepped off the bus boys were at our sides wanting to shake our hands and have their pictures taken by Americans. I am not sure why, but that was the one thing we were known for at that orphanage, pictures and cameras. This orphanage holds a special place in my heart because I am majoring in Special Education, and these will be the kids I will be working with in the near future. One little boy captured my heart. He had Down Syndrome and while Nicky was fitting him with a hat I walked over to get his socks and he took my hand and walked with me back to the benches where we were fitting the kids with boots. After he had his boots on he jumped in them to test them out. Before leaving, he gave me a hug so I just picked him up and sat him in my lap. Then he put his arm around my shoulder, and my heart was captured forever! He didn’t speak at all, but he would laugh if I tickled him. I didn’t really know what to do or say so I just whistled and he began to giggle. He tried to do it, but only a ‘hum’ came out. We kept going back and forth, whistling and humming. We had our picture taken a couple of times and I look forward to getting a copy of the picture to remember just how precious his smile is.
 
This orphanage by far,had the greatest need for new boots. Most of the kids stay inside during the winter so they only wear house shoes/slippers, but the slippers were worn out. The insole was thread bare on many of the shoes I saw and the kids were walking on the rubber sole. Most of the socks the kids were wearing had holes in them and were also thread bare so it was a joy to give them something they so desperately needed and the kids were so grateful and excited to have new shoes.
 
We also visited an adult facility, which is very similar to a nursing home in the U.S. It housed about 300 people who could not be cared for by their families for a variety of reasons. Many of the people living there told our translators they hadn’t had any visitors in years. They said many people were sacred to touch them. All of it was heartbreaking. I can’t imagine the loneliness that they experience on a daily basis even though they are around other people. What we were doing was so simple. We would walk in their room, tell them hello, hand them shoes and socks, pat them on the shoulder or hand and tell them Jesus Loves Them and give them slippers and socks. Some would ask questions about us and want to chat for a minute. I am so curious about the history of the people in there. I can’t imagine the stories they hold and the history they have lived through begin from that part of the world.
 
That evening we went to an appreciation dinner for all of the teams that had been working that week. It was held at Bethel Baptist Church, which is the church one of the van drivers attends and we were feed a traditional Moldovan meal. It was delicious! At the end of the dinner, we were able to express our appreciation and gratitude to our translators and drivers who made our work there possible. After dinner, we returned to the team house for one last night together. Several of us decided to play one last game of Phase 10 and it ended up lasting until 3:00 a.m., which was good for some of us because we would be leaving shortly for the airport. The four of us from the Texas Panhandle, wrote last minute thank you letters, loaded our stuff and headed to the airport for our long journey home. In total our travel home lasted 24 hours, but it was great to get back to Lubbock and be home.
 
I greatly miss the people I traveled and worked with. God really pulled us together and gave us unity that only he could provide. The 20 that stayed one more night should have arrived home by now, weather permitting. I know there will be other opportunities to return and serve the kids of Moldova and share God’s love with them again, and I hope to be able to go back. For more information about CERI (Children’s Emergency Relief International) Look at their website, www.cerikids.org
 
It has been a joy to share this experience with you and I appreciate you time in reading this! Please continue to pray for the work that God is doing in Moldova.

Cori

To read all of Cori’s posts from Moldova, visit http://texasbaptists.wordpress.com/on-mission-in-moldova/

Finding light in the midst of darkness

December 21, 2008

Annual CLC Conference Feb. 2-3

December 19, 2008

The theme for the annual CLC Conference Feb. 2-3, 2009, will be “Hope in the Heart of Texas: People, Policies, Perspectives.” It’s a rather generic theme, but it looks to be a very interesting conference with good food for thought and some practical help for individuals and churches, especially in regard to the current economic situation.

Suzii Paynter, in her director’s column, tells about the different speakers and gives some helpful capsule information about what each speaker will be discussing.

The conference will be at First Baptist Austin, 901 Trinity. You can register online.

I must confess to you that this is always one of my favorite events because it challenges you to think and gives you new perspectives. You may not agree with everything that is said, but you will leave better informed and better able to impact your community and the broader culture for Christ.

HSU received rare Bible collection

December 18, 2008

Hardin-Simmons University recently received a rare collection of Bibles. Some date back to the 1500s.  Even if you’re not typically interested in old books, you need to check out the photos of the pages. That’s some neat stuff. View them on Dave Coffield’s blog by clicking here.

Busy days in Moldova

December 17, 2008

Things have been really busy around here, and I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday. That was a big day for us. At the first orphanage we were meet by the ambassador for the U.S. to Moldova. He is from Pakistan. We didn’t actually meet him because there was so much media around him and his wife. All of the kids and the staff were dressed in their best clothes and everyone is in a flurry. He stayed for about 30-45 minutes. After putting on a couple shoes, the ambassador went to the auditorium to watch a program they had prepared for him. Then he went to the dinner they prepared for him. One of our translators said it was a Moldovan’s dream meal. We had fried fish and roasted chicken with cabbage, small sandwiches with sardines, cheese and olives. Then we finished the meal with tea! I love the tea here. I am not sure what is different or special about it though.
 
At the second orphanage, we fitted another 200 kids with boots. The last group of kids were very young and very cute, but we had the right sizes to fit each of them. We were able to play with them for a little while and it was refreshing to see them smile and run around in their boots after a long day of work.
 
Today we went to a smaller town near the Transniestria-Moldova border and gave away another 350 boots. It was about an hour drive each way. On the way there, the roads were very icy and a couple cars collided behind us. Later, we found out the driver of one of the vehicles was killed. Please keep his family in your prayers.  
 
Tomorrow we are going to go to a disabled boys orphanage and fit another 300 or so boots. We don’t know much else about it, but we are looking forward to working there. Please continue to be in prayer for our safety as we are on the road each day. We also need extra strength and energy to continue working and have good attitudes. Please pray for our translators as they work along side us, and we can continue to build relationships with them. We are also running out of sizes for many of the kids, and that is heart breaking. Pray that God either multiplies the shoes or makes the kids feet fit the shoes that we have extras of.
 
Thank you for continuing to pray for us, we really appreciate it!!

Cori Crumrine

The work continues

December 17, 2008

Texas Baptists are still at work with people and churches affected by Hurricane Ike. And, there are still needs. We received a prayer update this morning from the Disaster Response team for the website and it contains praises, glimpses of God at work and urgent needs that still need to be fulfilled. Here’s one of those stories of God at work:

Sweet Home Baptist Church, Hankamer is a congregation that had dwindled down to 10 people.  They have a new interim pastor and their attendance has grown to 40-50 people.  Their building sustained damage from Hurricane Ike and they needed a partner.  First Baptist Church, Morris felt led to get involved with disaster response and prayed over the list of affected churches on the BGCT website.  One member of the committee felt that Sweet Home Baptist Church was their assignment.  First Baptist, Morris offered to help this church on the very day that we learned that Sweet Home needed a partner.   God was already at work bringing these two churches together long before we knew anything about their needs. 

Check out that story and others here. And as always, please check out www.bgct.org/disaster for how you and your church can respond.

People turn to church during economic downturns

December 16, 2008

According to a New York Times article published Dec. 13, periods of economic downturn lead more people to turn to church. Here’s the link for the entire story, but here’s the story in a nutshell:

“When people are shaken to the core, it can open doors,” A. R. Bernard, founder and senior pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York’s largest evangelical congregation, is quoted as saying.

The story cites primarily New York churches, for obvious reasons. I’d be curious, have any of your churches seen a surge in attendance since September?

Thanks to Amanda Sturgill for noticing the story on her religion and media blog.


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