“Malachi Dads” in Maximum Security Prisons


An incredible story was recently compiled by an aquaintance of Stephen who is a Christian and a visual journalist for USA today. It is definitely worth the 10 minutes to watch this video clip!

Click here to watch video from the journalist’s blog.

Click here to see the story that was published in USA today for Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day!

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” Malachi 4:6

Lots of Little Helpers!

I haven’t posted for a while but that hasn’t been because of lack of action around here. 🙂 Good friends from China visited us for 12 days and left last week. We had a great time with them and made so many special memories.

We decided to take advantage of having so many energetic helpers around! Here Mary, Charity, and Loice are punching butterflies and flowers in preparation for crafts at the upcoming Bright Lights Conferences. Sarah and Nickie also kept them busy writing and recording testimonies for Bright Lights (in which they did a fantastic job), shrink-wrapping materials for our booktable and online store, sorting and labeling shipments of books, sharpening boxes of colored pencils, entering registrations for the upcoming conferences, etc.

Priscilla and Melody

Lunchtime! (After being around a family of 12, having a family of 5 seems very small…!)

Is Stephen really that funny, Priscilla?!

Listening to my dad tell stories around the fire…

One very special part of their visit was when Mary came with me to the hospital. (I take my little harp and play room to room for patients on the oncology / neurology floor every other week or so.) I usually take calligraphy Bible verse cards for the patients I talk with, many of whom don’t have very much longer to live. Mary had spent several hours coloring the cards for me, so I began to think about how great it would be if she could come along to help deliver them. I called the hospital to see if Mary could come. To my surprise and delight, the hospital gave special permission for Mary to accompany me – even though she wasn’t an official “volunteer”. This was an answer to prayer, and I realized that God must have a special reason for Mary to come.

The patients just loved Mary, and having her along helped to open more doors to talk with people. I wish I could report all the stories, but here’s one of them: The lady pictured above and her daughter and granddaughter were very open to talking about spiritual things so we were able to sit down, open our Bibles, and explain way of salvation to them. When we explained that eternal life was a free gift—not something you have to earn—the mom and her daughter looked at each other like it finally “clicked”. Her daughter told me, “I’ve been wanting to join a Bible study. In fact, just yesterday I was telling my mom about how I was looking for some sort of Bible study to join.” We are planning to meet up again to study the Bible together soon. Isn’t it exciting to see God arrange these things?

Iron Sharpens Iron Conference

Last weekend our family went to Dubuque, IA to Emmaus Bible College for a conference called “Iron Sharpens Iron.” This year’s topic was “Quest for Holiness.” The speakers were great, and it was a really profitable time. I was encouraged and challenged!

The fellowship time in the dining hall was one of the highlights. Seeing old friends again and meeting new…here Sarah is talking with some new friends from the Dominican Republic.

We enjoyed meeting Alex Strauch and appreciated his great messages on Rom 6-8. We carry many of his books in our bookstore, including Biblical Eldership, a well-known book on church leadership which we feel is important. We are so grateful for the many ways he has strengthened the body of Christ.

Here are some tidbits from a session by Mark Stevenson on the sin of idolatry:

-The human heart is an idol-making factory, and anything we love more than God is an idol.

-Even good things, such as a clean house, can be an idol if we are placing it above the Lord in our affections.

-Your affections can be determined by what you do in your solitude — where your mind goes in your spare thoughts, what you delight to think about as you fall asleep.

-Just as in Romans 1 they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie,” so sin is exchanging the glory of God for lesser things.

-False gods lose their hold on our hearts only when we are captivated with Christ.

-It’s by beholding Jesus that we are changed. (2 Cor 3:18) We become like what we worship.

-When we fall at Jesus’ feet in surrender and worship, we gradually begin to understand what Paul meant when he spoke of how much he valued Christ: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…” (1 Cor 3:7-8)

-May we see how much we have been forgiven and how desperate we are for His mercy. And may we relish in Christ’s love, which is greater, stronger, deeper, and infinitely more satisfying than any earthly pursuit. May we give Him the worship He deserves!