Stephen’s Car in Flames

20141030_100939_30528 We received a text from Stephen around midnight last night saying that he was okay, but he hit a deer and his car was in flames. It actually wasn’t his car – he was driving the company car for the Gazette. (He’s a photojournalist for our local newspaper, as many of you know.)

They hit the buck at 70mph. After being disoriented from the airbag deployment and loss of visibility due to the windshield being covered with a fluid, they were able to get to the side of the road.

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Ironically, it was the reporter who took these pictures while Stephen was on the phone with 911.

He and the reporter were able to safely move all of the photo gear out of the car (while the car was in flames).

When Stephen arrived home around 3am we all gathered in the living room to hear the details. I was there physically on the couch, but I barely remember anything that was said.

We are so thankful to the Lord for protecting Stephen and the reporter last night!!!

“The Lord is gracious and merciful” Psalm 111:4

Missions Fest Seattle, October 10-11

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Next week Sarah and I will be speaking at the Seattle Missions Fest. If you live in the area and would like to come, I would encourage you to do so. It is going to be a very exciting event! See missionsfestseattle.org for details.

This year the theme is bringing the gospel to the city as the Lord continues to bring “the ends of the earth” to us! To quote the conference program (Dr. Jan D Hettinga), “Going to the far ends of the earth is still vital, but going across the street has become nearly as difficult and equally essential…”

We would greatly appreciate your prayers. Please pray that the Lord would powerfully raise up laborers unto the harvest!

“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers…” Romans 15:30

My Grandma’s Memorial Service

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here is one of my favorite pictures of my grandma

Ecclesiastes 7:2 “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”

A week and a half ago, at my Grandma’s memorial service, this verse struck me in a way it never had before.

When Mr. Glock closed the service and referred to this verse in his prayer, I thought that’s so true. It’s so much better to go to a funeral than to a party. In the past hour, as I had been sitting there on the front row, I had been reminded deeply of the realities of life through all that had just been shared.

Parties are often filled with emptiness, but funerals are rich with lessons and reminders. First, they remind us of the reality that each one of us will also die (unless Jesus comes back first). It is at funerals when we ask ourselves questions such as What difference will my life make in the battle for Christ? How many lives will I touch? How deeply? How much will I have prayed?

We only have one time around – one chance. We need a lot of reminders about how short life is. So it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting!

And, of course, Christian funerals are the best, because though they are tear-filled, they are basically a big worship service. We rejoice in the hope that we have in Jesus – the One who has conquered death and replaced it’s sting with hope!

Even though many of you didn’t know my Grandma, I still think you would be edified by listening to her memorial service.

Here is an outline of what is shared:

Stephen’s introduction
2:30 George Farber (message)
18:00 Stephen introducing sharing time
19:20 Matt Coventon (friend from church)
21:00 Andy Parker (friend from church)
26:00 My mom
30:00 My aunt Roxanne
32:30 Carla Neto (friend from international student outreach)
34:20 Sarah and myself
41:00 My uncle Larry
46:00 Dave Keele (friend from church)
50:00 My Grandpa
57:00 Mr. Glock Closing Prayer

Tears and Gratefulness

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“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” 1 Corinthians 15:53

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We had a sad but special sharing time just with family yesterday afternoon before my grandma’s burial. One of my favorite comments made was when Sarah shared through tears that when something was hard for her she didn’t really want to tell Grandma, because Grandma cared so much it would be harder for Grandma than it was for her! What a gift from the Lord we were given. I am realizing more and more how the Lord used my grandma to shape who we are in so many ways.

We will be having a memorial service for my grandma a few weeks. Thank you for your kind comments and prayers. We are so grateful for the Lord’s care.

Death means separation. But for those who have been saved by Jesus, it means just the opposite — it means entrance into the very presence of God, as the song below beautifully explains! (Hear tune here)

It is not death to die, to leave this weary road,
and join the saints who dwell on high, who’ve found their home with God.
It is not death to close the eyes long dimmed by tears,
and wake in joy before Your throne, delivered from our fears.

O Jesus, conquering the grave,
Your precious blood has pow’r to save.
Those who trust in You will in Your mercy find
that it is not death to die.

It is not death to fling aside this earthly dust,
And rise with strong and noble wing, to live among the just.
It is not death to hear the key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years to praise You evermore.

Henri Cesar Malan; trans. George Bethune; additional words by Bob Kauflin

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20140904_152136_29685 My cousin and good friend Stephanie (we’re 92 days apart in age) with her husband Eric and adorable boys.

Oh Death, Where is Your Sting?

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My grandma went to be with the Lord today around 2:20 this afternoon. I was the only one with her when she died because it happened so quickly and no one was expecting it.

Because of her declining condition and need for much extra care, she was in a nearby nursing home. She had had a rough morning this morning, but stabilized and even asked us to go for a ride in her wheelchair. We thought it might be getting “close to the end” for her, but we weren’t sure.

After lunch I decided to go back to the nursing home to check on Grandma. I don’t normally go at that time, and I even had fresh coffee in my cup and a somewhat urgent phone call to make, but I felt a desire to check on Grandma first. I see now that that was from the Lord!

“I’m so glad you are here,” the nurse told me, “She’s unresponsive and I can’t get a hold of your mom.” (My parents were taking my grandpa to the emergency room, but that’s another story. And he’s okay now.)

I walked into Grandma’s room. She was sleeping with somewhat strained breathing. The director of the nursing home (who is a Christian) came into the room moments later.

“This would be a good time for you just to stay and pray with her,” he encouraged me.

I informed my family of the situation, and then I prayed with Grandma. I texted Stephen that it could be getting near the end, but I didn’t know for sure. However, just moments later, as I knelt by Grandma’s bed, I noticed her mouth changed a bit. Then I felt her stop breathing. I ran to get a nurse.

“There’s no heartbeat,” the nurse told me. “I’m sorry, she’s gone.”

It was an interesting moment of shock mixed with a real sense of “it’s okay” … and joy that she was in the presence of the Lord now. It was a firsthand experience for me of the “powerlessness” of death. I know I am temporarily separated from my grandma, but there was no sting in that for me (or her!). However, I do know that I am really going to miss her. We were very close.

I am so grateful that the Lord led me to the nursing home just in time for those last moments. I’m so grateful for the director’s encouragement to pray with her right then, as I had no idea she was so close to the end! I am also so grateful for the many conversations we’ve been able to have about the Lord today with many in our “community of friends” there at the nursing home – and we would appreciate prayer for them.

How amazing that we can stand upon this beautiful truth: Because the Lord is in complete control, we can have complete peace.

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)”

My guess is that many of you are probably thinking right now about how your grandma or grandpa died. But if they are still alive, remember to take the time to call them, write them, and spend time with them… maybe even journal the things they tell you. Our friends will come and go, but our grandparents are a treasure beyond what we even know.

My Dad

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My Dad

To describe a godly father and what it is to be
The daughter of a righteous man who prays so much for me
Is pretty much impossible, but I’m still gonna try
To explain some things I really love about my dad, and why.

From my earliest memory, my dad was always there
To listen to my struggles and fears and every care,
The security it brought me that “dad knows and will pray”
Helped me stand strong knowing it all would turn out okay.

So many times I’ll come to dad with a question on my mind
He’ll stop and talk it through with me until our thoughts align
Sometimes his insights are so deep, it takes me by surprise
As he walks with God each day, my dad just gets more wise!

I remember when my dad would let me put barrettes in his hair,
Or the highlight of my childhood: playing “horsie ’round the chair.”
Not only did he love us, he really “liked” us too,
That is something that in our hearts, we kids always knew.

My dad was always patient and a giver of much grace
When we’d fail, he’d gently teach us, showing us God’s ways
He often gave me mercy—not what I deserved,
And those moments drew me to him, as his kindness I observed.

Through Dad’s gentle ways and words, I’ve seen the heart of God
Slow to punish, quick to praise; I felt no need for a façade.
In all the ministry he did, he always gave us kids a part,
And my dad’s affirmation brought security to my heart

Through watching Dad I’ve realized what my goals in life should be
As I see him love God and people and spend much time upon His knees.
Witnessing is something that’s so often on his mind,
His top priority in life is to do those things which God assigned.

I love to hear Dad witness as he always has new ways
To describe the glorious gospel with a wise and clever phrase.
I love his gentle, teaching style—and God’s provision to me I see:
Dad thinks of so many witnessing tips and then teaches them to me!

Dad loves to share with us his gleanings from the Word that day
Always building others up by the words he picks to say
Dad was always slow to make a rule, but quick to teach us “why,”
His goal was that from our heart God’s Word we would apply.

My dad is such an awesome person, I cannot say enough
To cover all the bases would be very, very tough!
Sometimes I just sit and contemplate what way that I could find
To get all of the wisdom from his brain into mine!

When I think of my Heavenly Father, and all that it implies
To own the title “daughter of the King” beyond the skies,
I think of my dad here on earth and it helps me understand
A bit more of this privilege given by God’s hand!

To the father/child relationship nothing else compares
The love between a girl and dad is something nothing shares!
The Lord uses it to teach us to come closely unto Him,
And a relationship with Him makes all earthly ones look dim!

Our relationships here on earth are really very brief
Often they are strained, and sometimes filled with grief
But praise the Lord that He is better than family members all combined
And in His love we’ll rejoice, satisfied—just as He designed.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Copyright 2014, Grace Mally

The Mystery of Dad’s Lost Bibles

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I was not expecting this much drama last Saturday night.

We arrived at a restaurant around 8pm with our friends the Martins, Gunthers, and a few others. Everyone was exhausted after a long day at the homeschool conference, followed by tear down and pack up.

Before eating, my dad wanted to double check that his Bibles got packed – just for peace of mind. You see, my dad carries three Bibles and his Strong’s Concordance in a black case almost everywhere he goes. He is extremely protective of this case because he has over 20 years of notes in them. Normally he always carries this case himself so he can know firsthand that it is in a safe spot. But since he was packing the trailer, he agreed to let Sarah carry it out to the van.

However, when dad looked for the case in the van, it wasn’t there. He looked in the trailer. No case.

“I don’t have my Bibles!” dad told me in an urgent tone of voice, “we need to go back to the convention center!”

My dad and I jumped in Haley’s SUV and she drove us back to the convention center.

How could we not have not packed Dad’s Bibles? I wondered in disbelief.

I called Sarah. She explained, “I remember taking Dad’s Bibles out to the van, but I was carrying a bunch of things and I suppose it’s *possible* I would have set the case down on the curb as I was trying to put it all in. But I made sure to lock the van, and I don’t know how I could have left the case on the curb!” she said.

But we couldn’t come up with any other explanation! If Sarah really did leave it on the curb, than we knew it was likely stolen. People would assume it’s a laptop case. The parking lot outside the convention center has had so much theft that it even has signs up, warning people to lock their vehicles. And with so many people walking through the parking lot to the ballgame next door, it could have been quickly spotted and taken.

It’s hard for me to put into words the importance of these Bibles to our whole family. They aren’t just Bibles, they are basically my dad’s life notes. Within their pages was the content my dad was intending to draw from for many future writing projects. They represent two decades of Bibles study thoughts. They contain tiny pencil script on almost every page; my dad writes thoroughly on the margins of all his Bibles.

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Why would the Lord allow these Bibles to be lost? I began praying for a miracle.

We arrived at the convention center and dad began looking through garbage bins and talking to convention workers. He even talked with “lost and found” at the Rangers stadium next door. No success. Our hearts were beginning to sink.

We arrived back at the restaurant with the disappointing news. Apparently the dinner had turned into more of the atmosphere of a funeral party, as everyone felt so bad for my dad.

It was about 9:45pm now. I went in to eat while dad stayed outside to look again through the van and trailer. After this final search, he became convinced they were gone.

I went outside again and found dad sitting on the curb in the dark, with his head in his hands, praying. This was his most valuable earthly possession, beside people. It hurt so much to see my dad lose something that was so costly to him — and to all of us!

If it was equipment or cash, no big deal! That’s replaceable. But Dad’s Bibles are priceless to us!

I couldn’t eat. Dad came in to say goodbye to everyone, and we all just sort of stood together without saying much. We appreciated our friends’ understanding and sympathy. We prayed together, and dad prayed that the enemy would not have a victory in this.

Lalo said, “Well, I’m still optimistic that they are in the van somewhere!”

But I knew that my mom had looked in the van, and my mom can find anything. They couldn’t be there! However, I was hopeful we’d find them behind a tree somewhere, or, I thought, maybe someone would dump it on the side of the road once they found out they were Bibles not laptops?

When we got back in the van, I told the family, “I think we should send out a huge prayer email and pray for a miracle! They have to be somewhere in this area!”

“Let’s go back to the convention center,” my mom told my dad.

What else could we do? It was now about 10:30pm. We looked in more garbage cans, and dad looked in the trailer, again.

And that is when he uncovered the mystery.

On the way to the restaurant he had to stop suddenly, but he had forgotten to turn on the trailer brakes. This caused several cases of books to tumble down. When my dad moved all of these cases … there was the black case, underneath them.

I could barely believe it. What a relief. Praise the Lord!

It was such an emotional experience for all of us, including our friends. Haley wrote, “When I left I got in the car and I cried too, I felt so bad for him and all of you.” Awww …

No one remembers putting the case in the trailer, but … there it was! Our memories can be deceptive and unreliable. Or, as one friend texted my dad, “Maybe you had misplaced them and some angels snuck them into your trailer.” [smile]

“If Stephen would have been here, none of this would have happened,” mom said. “First, he would have been packing the trailer so you wouldn’t have been as stressed. Then …” and she continued to list some other reasons why.
“Well, it’s not Stephen’s fault we lost the Bibles!” I mentioned. [smile]
But we did all know that Stephen, our family Sherlock Holmes, would probably have figured out the problem right away. (I wonder how many other tragedies our family would have experienced in the last 10 years had Stephen not been traveling with us!)

“Well I guess the moral of the story is to not carry your Bibles around anymore,” Stephen told dad with a smile after we told him the whole story.

“I already made that pretty clear,” my mom said. [smile]

The verse that comes to mind is Psalm 112 … “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who delights greatly in His commandments…”

The love of the Word is what marks a man of God and a fantastic father! <3

My Parents’ First Date

…was 45 years ago, TODAY! It was May 3rd, 1969.

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They had a pretty rocky relationship. Almost every time they talk about their past they insert comments like, “We were so immature.” “I wish someone would have taught me …” and, “We made a lot of mistakes.”

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After my mom rejected my dad for about a year, she finally agreed to go with him to a Youth For Christ Rally where they were doing Bible Quizzing. (My dad was a coach.) She thought Dad was “just okay.” [smile]

She didn’t fall in love with him till a while later when she saw him in some ministry leadership roles. (As a side note, my dad continued leading Bible Quizzing and it was a huge part of our family activities growing up. It’s difficult to express how grateful we are for this now because of all the Scripture it caused us to memorize. If you’re interested, see here. )

20140503_134659_26597 They think this was the first picture they ever took together.

20140503_134837_26600 My mom at the the first Youth For Christ staff retreat they went to together, talking to her girlfriends … probably about “Harold.”

Mom and dad kept breaking up and getting back together. One time my mom even transferred to a different college, hoping separation would help the relationship!

At first, my mom wouldn’t even talk to my dad. But then, once she fell in love with him, my dad couldn’t decide if he should marry my mom! He called off the wedding after it was all planned, and my mom moved to Florida as a school teacher. All I can say is praise the Lord they actually got married!!!

My parents are quick to share about their past mistakes and all the lessons the Lord has taught them. The hard times they went through has given them wisdom, compassion, and understanding.

Email from Dad to Mom today:
Our first date was 45 years ago TODAY! Saturday, May 3, 1969

Reply from Mom to Dad:
Wow….that is amazing! Well, after going through A LOT in the last 45 years I can truthfully say that “we are crazy about each other!”

One of the (MANY) things I really respect about my parents is their humility with us kids, with each other, and with others.

I am so grateful to the Lord for them. Of course, I could go on and on about my amazing parents [smile] … but I think I will stop there for now. They are leaving for a date now and I need to get them to proofread this before they go [smile].

I’ll conclude with one picture that will sum it all up [HA HA HA, I’m so glad Mom and Dad are letting me post this one!]:

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And here they are walking out the door for their date tonight, which they seem pretty excited about. 🙂

Weekend Trip to the Creation Museum!

We are so excited by how we saw the Lord working this past weekend!!! We just returned home from a Friday-Sunday trip to the Creation Museum. We had 16 in our group, including friends from Iran, Singapore, Malaysia, and China, as well as several young people from our town.

20140321_142813_26208 Watching Evolution Vs. God on my laptop in the van on the way there. (They really enjoyed it, as you can see!)

20140322_152306_26244 Here’s our group along with the Ramsek family who hosted some of us.

20140322_151735_26241 Discussing some of the encouraging conversations of the day.

My dad spent most of his time with a new friend from Iran who came along. They had a wonderful time together. My Dad said it’s the longest conversation he has ever had — a three day discussion! They talked for the entire 10 hour drive to Kentucky, all through the museum, and the 10 hours back! One time dad even missed his exit because of the interesting conversational topics they were discussing. [smile]

20140322_161724_26247 Concluding the day on Saturday with a great lasagna dinner at the Ramsek’s home!

20140322_162959_26254 This gave us the opportunity to have a time of sharing as a group — a special conclusion to the day at the museum.

20140323_070715_26315 The Dewald family for hosted half of the group of girls.

It was very encouraging to me to see the Lord truly ANSWER PRAYER this weekend. We were very blessed by three families who hosted us: the Dewalds, Ramseks, and Philips. We praise God for how all the logistical details fell into place and for how much our friends enjoyed the trip. Each of the international friends expressed strongly that they were glad they came and want to remain in touch. Our friend from China exclaimed with a bright smile, “This was the best three days of my life!”

We think the 9 hour drive was a blessing in disguise because of all the good van conversations on the way there and back. If you have a weekend you can get away, I recommend that you take some friends to the Creation Museum and see how the Lord works. [smile]

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1)

Rejoicing!


One of our HIGHLIGHTS from 2013 was seeing the Lord work in the life of Christa, who trusted Christ for salvation on April 7th, 2013. She has become a very special part of our church family.

I think you would be blessed by watching this 3 1/2 minute video of her testimony and Nickie’s testimony before her baptism yesterday afternoon. Praise the Lord for the great things He does!