Thursday, June 30, 2011


Today is the day that David's missions adventure begins. He'll be starting his training at the AIM base and meeting his teammates before heading out to Peru in just a couple of days.

I am so excited for him. Absolutely can not wait to see what God is going to do in and through his team.

Pray, okay?

(One really proud mama)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Last week, the kids and I read this poem as part of our breakfast devotional time. I loved it and wanted to share it with you here at Graceland.


It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

- Mary Oliver

By the way, the photo was taken in Thailand. We were praying for one of the Thai staffer's grandfathers that just became a follower of Jesus Christ a few months ago. It was a precious time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


"Oh, that I had a thousand lives, and a thousand bodies! All of them should be devoted to no other employment but to preach Christ to these degraded, despised, yet beloved mortals." --- Robert Moffat

Some of my most favorite people in the world are missionaries. Some are short-term, like my daughter Anna and Betsie's best friend Candace who are serving this summer on Adventures in Missions Ambassador teams for high schoolers, while others are long-term like Dudley and Inge Donaldson who live in Swaziland and minister through the Zion Bible College to church leaders.

And even though I personally believe that serving overseas as a missionary is one of the biggest blessings a person can experience, I also know it is often a tough blessing. Just being far away from family and long-time friends is hard and then you add on other challenges such as language learning or safety issues.

Prayer is essential for missionaries. Yes, they need our financial support and emails and care packages, but they absolutely must have prayer support. It simply is not an option.

And in light of that, I wanted to ask you to pray for some missionaries that are in my thoughts and prayers especially this week.

*Dudley and Inge Donaldson were in a car accident today while driving back to Swaziland from South Africa. They hit a cow after dark. The car is demolished. Praise God, Dudley and Inge walked away from the wreck. Dudley does have some glass in an eye so pray for that to be dealt with easily and keep on praying for their safety and the safety of other missionaries. Dangerous road conditions are an every day reality for many, especially those living in 3rd world countries.

*The Gerber Family, Adventures in Missions staff in Swaziland, need prayers as they mourn the loss of Jumbo's dad. His mother passed away last year and his dad had moved over to Swaziland to live with them. Jim and I had the blessing of meeting him when we visited with them last year. His dad deeply loved the Lord so we know he is with God right now, but he will still be greatly missed.

*The Espy Family has just returned to Thailand after a short visit in the States. Just after Betsie and I left Thailand, where she had been living with them, they received word that Chrissy's brother had passed away. They had to scramble to make travel plans and fly back here to spend time with their family. One of the hardest things missionaries face is when they lose loved ones back home, especially parents or their children. Pray for them as Chrissy mourns his loss and Jon ministers to her. Also, pray for them to have the financial provision they need in their faith-based ministry and they continue to learn the language and adjust to their new life in Asia.

*My friend "B" and others who are fairly new to the mission field and still adjusting to living in a fishbowl. Because when you are one of the few Americans in a foreign place, privacy can be a premium. As though adjusting to a new culture with new food and manners isn't a big enough challenge, getting used to always being stared at and having very little opportunities for alone time can also be a major adjustment. Pray for new missionary families as they learn to have new family dynamics that are healthy even if they are different.

*My daughter Anna and her team have now been in Thailand for a week. They are going most nights to the main road where the bars and brothels are located. While the older short-term missionaries go into the bars to minister, Anna's team stays out on the street and prays and talks to the bar girls and tourists as God gives them opportunity. Pray for them as they fight against intensely dark forces that revel in the bondage, lust, and abuse that reigns there. Pray also for the safety of these teenaged and 20-something women as they are surrounded by drunkenness, licentiousness, and men who have no respect for women.

*Betsie's best friend Candace is in Nicaragua doing a variety of ministry outreaches. Last week, they did a Vacation Bible School and helped lead services at a church. This week they visited a city dump where they met entire families, including children, who spend their entire lives digging through the trash heaps in search of things they can sell or eat or use. Things they need to simply live. Candace's team served them a meal and sought ways that they could bring love and hope to those living in a place filled with hopelessness and rejection. Pray for Candace's team as they are seeing and experiencing poverty in ways that most of them have never ever seen. Pray that they won't give in to despair that would tell them that there isn't anything they can do to make a real difference. Pray that they will be able to just focus on loving the one that God puts in front of them. Pray that they will find God ordained ways to effectively communicate His good news with them despite the language and cultural barriers.

*My son David leaves this week for his missionary training camp. He's done inner-city ministry with us and he's been to Mexico with his dad and two siblings for a few days with a mission team from our church, but this will be his first time to go on a ministry trip without us. Pray for traveling mercies and protection from disease. Pray for his team as they get to know each other and learn to work together in unity. Pray for each of the teenagers that they will learn to listen to God as never before and grow in their willingness to follow Him no matter what. And pray for their team leaders to have all the wisdom and discernment and abilities that they will need as they guide these young people on this absolutely amazing God adventure.

Thank you for joining with me in praying for these faithful ones. As someone who lived in Africa for two years, I can attest to the fact that your prayers are one of the most powerful and loving things you can do for them.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Men have said that the cross of Christ was not a heroic thing, but I want to tell you that the cross of Jesus Christ has put more heroism in the souls of men than any other event in human history. –John G. Lake

I admit, raising sons is often a baffling task. Girls, even when they are crazy with hormones or silly beyond belief, are a gender I understand. After all, I also have been crazy with hormones or silly beyond belief a good generous helping of times in my life.

But boys?

I often am truly dumbfounded at the things they do and say.

And I often have to turn to my husband for answers and solutions. Calling Daddy in the middle of the day and having him handle a situation is not an unknown around here.

But despite the perplexing nature of raising them, I really do love my boys and I'm proud of how they are growing up. Because to be honest, I really do see all three of them growing in Christ-likeness.

It is more obvious in David as he is 14 and starting to look more and more like a man, but I see it, also, in the two younger boys. Whether it is Patrick sweetly helping a younger child at Vacation Bible School or my little Mr. T telling me the most precious encouragements that my mama heart really needs to hear, they are boys that I just don't love because I'm their mama, they are boys that I'm proud to call my sons.

In just a small handful of days, David will be leaving on an incredible journey. He, at only 14 years of age, will be going with a small team of teenagers and young adult leaders for Peru. There he'll be ministering along the Amazon River in the jungle to people who need to hear about Jesus, his life and death on the cross and resurrection. People who need to hear that God loves them and that what Jesus did means something for them.

Let me repeat that. My son David is going to be ministering to people in the Amazon! At 14!

Now to my way of thinking, that's pretty heroic! At 14, I was concerned about scoping out cute guys, what I was going to wear, and what shows were coming on t.v. that night. Sure, I thought about missions, but it was what grown-ups did. Not teenagers. Not 14 year olds.

But my first born son who hasn't even started high school yet, is going far from home, sleeping under mosquito nets, hiking thru dense jungle growth, and facing who knows what because of the call of Christ on his life. As a mama, I hope he is not in serious danger while there. But as a follower and lover of Jesus, I'm willing to let him go even if it does turn dangerous. Because that's what Christianity is supposed to be about.

True Christianity is supposed to be about living in relationship with Jesus and walking where he leads. It is supposed to be about following Him. And sometimes, just as His path while on this earth was a path of extreme sacrifice and eventual death on the cross, our life is also a path of extreme sacrifice and even death for the sake of telling others the story of the cross.

I will pray for my son's safety in Peru. I will pray that God's angels will be strong and mighty to keep him safe from harm and sickness.

But more than that, I will be praying that no matter what my son faces, he will stand strong in Jesus and proclaim the good news no matter the cost.

And in my eyes, that's true heroism.


We are still raising money for David's mission trip to Peru. Our dear friend Betty Hodge has created us another cross painting to auction off. This brown and aqua green beauty, that is at the top of this blog post, measures 9 X 13. If you would like to bid on it, please leave your name, someway for me to contact you, and the amount you are bidding in a comment. We will ship this anywhere in the Continental USA. The bidding will start at $8. The auction will end Thursday at 5:00. If you are unable to leave a comment, please contact me via fb or email at jimelm "at" windstream "dot" net. Thanks!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Here is a blog post written today by Anna's team leader, Shannon Higgins, in Thailand:


12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1Tim 4:12

But I am among ten beautiful young women who are not the next generation, but are part of the generation now because they are choosing to not wait to change the world. These amazing young women are stepping out of the norm and are taking a stand.

They have given up a month of their lives to serve others. They have given up their cell phones, computers, facebook, and tv. They are willing to live without air conditioning in the middle of summer. They are willing to give up their personal rights and expectations to be part of community. They are willing to take off the mask the world says they have to wear to be truly vulnerable with their team. They have given up their freedom to do what they want and go where they want. They are giving it all to Jesus.

They have shared their brokenness with each other. They have admitted their failures and faults. They have loved each other in their imperfections. They have chosen to let Jesus over take their lives. They have taken disappointment on the chin and rolled with it.

These beautiful young women have done all of this to allow Jesus to take a hold of their lives and totally break and transform them. They are seeking so much more than what the world has to offer. They do not want to just survive through life, but live it abundantly.

So many people put limits on what teenagers can do or handle, but God does not put limits on them. We have ten incredible young women who have struggled through to be able to be used by Jesus now. They are not waiting until they are adults, have a college education, and have more life experience. They are doing something now to bring hope to a broken world.

They have not just come to Thailand to work with women in the bars; they have come to be transformed so that they can be an agent of Jesus’ love, hope, and peace everywhere they go.

I realized very quickly at training camp that these young women were my ministry. They have captured my heart. I care more about pouring into them then even going into the bar area and ministering there. They have impressed me in their desire to seek God and serve him. They are finding who they are in Christ and identifying their callings now instead of having to do it in their 20’s like I did. I desire so much to help them discover their identity in Christ and encourage them each day we are here.

Be looking out for these amazing young women to change the world!

To read more about Shannon Higgins adventures in missions, visit her blog:

Saturday, June 25, 2011


What I'm doing?

Well, besides blogging, obviously, I'm working on the final days of fundraising for David's upcoming mission trip, still editing photos from the Thailand trip, eating blueberries by the handful off of our own bushes, and enjoying having my hubby home after he's been gone working with the flood recovery efforts.

What am I reading?

SUPERFOODS RX and the book of Nehemiah in the Bible

What I'm thinking?

That we all need a lot of grace. That we need to love passionately those we've been blessed with in our lives. That I need to be more intentional in looking for ways to communicate to people how much God loves them because we're not promised tomorrow.

What I'm listening to?


What am I cooking?

Made a main dish of Asian, veggie, fried, brown rice and a broccoli dish with a Thai peanut sauce.

What I'm dreaming about?

Thailand has been in a lot of my sleeping dreams but Swaziland still reigns in my day dreaming.

What I've been praying about?

My cousin Elliott's recovery from his accident, my friend Chrissy Espy as she mourns the loss of her brother, provision for David and his Peru teammates, Anna in Thailand, missionary Jumbo Gerber whose dad passed away this weekend, our friends and family members who don't know Jesus, Jackson, Thailand, and Swaziland.

So what are you up to? Feel free to snag this and then send me the link!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Just some random bits to round out the week:

*Betsie had the opportunity to be the guest missionary at a local Baptist Church each morning this week during their Vacation Bible School. Jim says she is following in my footsteps, after all, for years I've shared at Vacation Bible Schools about missions and just this week I had the blessing of getting to speak at two local library's summer reading programs about my experiences in Swaziland. Next week she'll be sharing at a library program about her Thailand experience.

*Talked to Anna in Phuket,Thailand, this morning. She called because of Elliott's accident. I'll be sharing more details later but she is doing fine, just tired from the traveling, and they've started learning more about their ministry and praying in preparation.

*David leaves in less than one week for his Peru mission trip. Thank you to all who have donated items and money as well those of you who have bid on auctions. The scarf auctions are now over. I'll be notifying the winners tomorrow.

*Jim has been working out of town the last few days helping with the Mississippi River flood recovery efforts. He wasn't due back home til Sunday but gave us the happy surprise of coming home today.

*My Cousin Elliott continues to show improvement. The fluid in his lungs is lessening but he is still in critical condition and hasn't started talking yet, though he can communicate with head shakes and hand squeezes. Please keep praying!

*Patrick, David, and Betsie helped me lead Vacation Bible School at our church this past Wednesday. Our church is trying something different for us. We are holding VBS sessions on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. I was so blessed by those three big kids. I had been experiencing a lot of dizziness since my Thailand trip and wasn't up to doing all I'd normally do. They did most of the interaction and teaching including a puppet skit, worship, Bible verse time, a two-man --- er teenage --- skit, and memory verse recitations. What a gift they are in my life!

*By the way, just finished reading Ann VosKamp's ONE THOUSAND GIFTS. If you have not read it, get a copy and change that situation!

Well, that's all the main news for now. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with fresh awareness of just how much God loves you, even when it is dark and hard to see.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


This weekend, Elliott was in a horrible truck accident. As a result, he has lost one leg and part of the other one. He is still in critical condition and not out of the woods yet. Right now, the big concern is the fluid in his lungs and fighting against infection.

He is only 22 years old. He is a great young man and the only son of my cousin Kim and her husband Joey. His grandparents just lost their house to one of the tornadoes that hit North Alabama recently. This has been an extremely hard time for the family but Joey was there for his grandparents and helped with the recovery process.

Now they are standing by wanting to help with his recovery process but know that at this point, all they can do is pray and leave him in the hands of the medical staff and God.

Would you please join with my family in praying for him and his family? Pray hard for healing.

You can read his story at this website:

Thank you so much and feel free to pass this on to any others you think would pray for him. The family is very blessed with a large support group as they have lived in the same area just north of Decatur for decades and my uncle Ray Tom pastored a church there for all those years. But as I know, you can never have too many people praying for you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Here are the last three scarves I brought back from my Thailand trip. As stated in a previous blog, all of the proceeds from this online auction will go towards David's Peru ministry trip. He is leaving next week and still has over $2000 to raise. These scarves would make fabulous fashion accessories for yourself or great future Christmas and birthday gifts.


The first scarf is very, very unique. Everywhere you see "white", it is actually a see-thru sheer material. So if you drape the scarf, the color of outfit you are wearing will peep through. Truly a versatile scarf that will match almost anything. This scarf measures 20 X 50 and the bidding on it will start at $15.


This scarf, with a woven in pattern of butterflies, flowers, geometric patterns, and stripes, is comprised of graduating sections of green --- light, medium, and dark. The bid on this lovely scarf will start at $13.


This silky, very light-weight scarf has a scattering of green and white floral embellished vines. This scarf measures 28 X 64 and the bidding on it starts at $12.

To bid on one of the scarves, leave a comment below with your name, contact information, the number and name of the scarf you want, and the amount of your bid.

If you are unable to leave a comment, you can contact me via facebook or through an email at jimelm "at" windstream "dot" net.

We will be glad to mail scarves to any place in the Continental USA.

Let the bidding commence!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I had thought I would be posting about more scarves today, but something else has come up instead. The scarves will wait til another day. A dear friend, Mike Brower, has started making gorgeous jewelry and key-chains. Mike contacted me last night with an idea about helping raise funds for David's upcoming mission trip which starts in less than two weeks.

If people will buy Mike's jewelry this week in honor of David, he will donate 100% of the proceeds from the first five items sold towards David's trip. Any items sold after that on David' behalf will have 10% of their proceeds go to his trip. This special previously was due to end Friday, June 23, but Mike has extended it through July 2.

So go to Mike's Etsy shop and check out the offerings.

And visit his facebook page for latest updates:

Mike is also happy to do special orders. There are various charms that can be added to the jewelry easily and these make great matching/coordinating gifts for bridesmaids, ladies groups, sister gifts, etc.

If you buy something, make sure you put "David Mac" in the buyer's notes when you check out.

And please consider passing this on via your fb, twitter, blog, or email even if you can't or don't want to buy anything. The more people who see this, the better chance we have of making a big dent in the $2000+ David still needs for his missions trip. If you re-post it, just please make sure you put the part about David's name being entered in the buyer's note field.

By the way, Mike Brower and his wife Danielle are the sponsorship ministry coordinators for the Bheveni Carepoint in Swaziland. Their passion for missions and orphan care is seen every day in how they live their life. This is just one example of many. Those two are true blessings!

Thanks in advance!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Our son David leaves for his Peru mission trip in less than two weeks. Anna is en route to Asia as I type. It is hard to believe that after all these months of prayer and preparation that Betsie has gone and come back, Anna has gone, and David will soon be gone, too.

In the meantime, we've still got plenty to do such as buying him hiking pants, filling his malaria tablet prescription, and more fund raising.


That's right.

More fund raising.

He actually still needs quite a bit. Over $2000 quite a bit.

But God is good and He provides. And one way He is providing is through our online auctions.

While I was in Asia earlier this month, I bought some more scarves. These were actually bought in Laos when we took our day trip across the MehKong River. Here are the scarves and the lovely young woman that sold them to us.

If you want to bid on one, list the number of the scarf along with the "name" given to it, the amount you are bidding, your name, and some kind of contact information.

All bidding will end this Friday evening at 5:00 in order to give time for your money to get to us before he leaves. I'll try to get the scarves in the mail before I leave to take him to the AIM base next week.


This scarf measures 68 X 28. It can be worn as a traditional scarf around the neck, or as seen on Betsie, worn as a shawl or wrap.

The starting bid on this scarf is $15.


This scarf measures 62 X 10. It is a silky material, very light-weight. The great, bold pattern easily dresses up or goes casual.

The bidding on it will start at $12.


This scarf also measures 62 X 10 and is a light-weight, silky material. I loved this one so much that I bought one just like it for myself. It is dressy enough to wear with suits and dresses but the colors also make it great for jeans and khakis.

The bidding on this one also starts at $12.


I was tempted to keep this scarf, not only because I love black and white, but because I also love the vintage feel to this one. But, a girl can only wear so many scarves and since I'm trying to add more color to my wardrobe, I decided to let this one go to a good home. It measures 50 X 21 and would be lovely as a neck scarf or a light wrap with slinky going out dresses.

The bidding on this scarf will start at $13.

SCARF #5 --- RED and BLACK

This scarf is light-weight enough to wear during hot weather months but the rich, dark colors make it one that is completely appropriate to be worn into the fall and winter months, too. This beauty measures 28 X 68.

The bidding on this scarf will start at $15.


This upbeat, funky scarf is very light-weight and would make a nice evening wrap over bare shoulders or draped around your neck with t-shirts or business blouses. This scarf measures 31 X 19. The bidding on it will start at $13.

I still have a couple of more to post but to be honest, I'm just too tired. We'll start the bidding on these and I'll post the last couple of them tomorrow.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Thanks to our parents, my brother and I had a pretty darn good childhood. What they taught us and showed us had a direct impact on the kind of adults and parents we would grow up to be. As I've been living out cross-cultural mission experiences lately, I've been reminded of how much my up-bringing has affected not just me, but my kids' lives. In fact, I had a lady on the plane from Bangkok to Chiang Rai ask me what my parents did to expose me to a bigger world than just what was around me in 1960's and 70's Mississippi.

Here are some things I'm grateful to my dad for. He:

*told us stories and read to us.
*listened to our dreams without discounting them
*worked hard to provide for our family
*exposed us to different cultures, languages, and foods whether it was thru a day trip to Mexico or befriending international faculty members from his colleges
*encouraged our talents and provided chances for them to develop
*let us have lots of pets and taught us how to appreciate God's creations and care for them
*encouraged us to learn
*fought against racism and injustice
*took us to sites of historical and cultural significance
*celebrated our milestones and achievements
*built things for us and then gave us the tools to build our own creations
*opened our home up to those in need
*took us to church and taught us of God in the every day
*set the example of witnessing to, praying for, and ministering to both strangers and friends
*always supported missionaries and the importance of taking the gospel to the entire world

For those things and many, many others, I am very grateful for my dad and the important part he played in my life growing up and my life even now.

I love you, Dad!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Anna's Ambassador team will be in Phuket, Thailand, in just a few days to minister to women trapped in prostitution and those who have come out and are now learning new job skills as well as being spiritually discipled. Right now, there are other Adventures in Missions short-termers there, including a World Race team. Here is a blog post written by one of those World Racers:

"As I sit here at the house interceding as the rest of my team goes to Patong. I have so many thoughts going through my head. My prayers are all over lapping and I can't stay focused on praying for one bad thought before another comes pouring in. A question continues to flood my mind....Why is there so much injustice in this world?

We have been working the last few weeks in Phuket, Thailand. We have focused our ministry in part of the city called Patong which is an area on the island of Phuket that can be a bit deceiving. From the surface Patong looks like any other tourist hot spot. A beautiful beach covered with colorful umbrellas, all kinds of diverse people walking around in next to nothing with their sun kissed skin, shops line the streets full of purses, dresses and jewelry, and any other little trinket you would need or want. Plus you can get a Thai massages and ice cream right on the beach. What could be better than that?

There are good cheap souvenirs, food, and women. Yes, you heard me women. Phuket is known world wide for their cheap women. Men come here to drink, party, and exploit women who are forced into prostitution for a number of reasons. We have been working on a street in Patong called Bangla Road. Bangla Road and the side streets are filled with bar after bar, drink after drink, and woman after woman.

I found this next little paragraph explaining someones disturbing view of Patong. "Finding girl company for the night/week/month/year is extremely easy in Patong. Too easy will some say. This is after all Patong. A paradise for men, both young and old."

We have been working with SHE ministries, Self Help and Empowerment, alongside founders Mark and Sharon Biddell. The SHE center gives women an alternative choice when it comes to making money. They are taught a trade, such as cooking, sewing, baking, and jewelry making. They also have a safe and loving place to work with daily bible studies, and people who care about them as daughters of our Lord. We spend much of our time in prayer. Everyday prayers are being lifted up in the community of SHE, Bangla Road, and all over Phuket where there is prostitution. Prayers of freedom, light, deliverance and love are brought before God for the women who work there, the men who visit, and darkness that so easily entangles.

Although this past month has been an emotionally draining one, we have been so blessed to partner alongside SHE ministries. Please keep the women (and men) of Patong and Bangla Road in your prayers."

SHE Ministries from Justin Hanes on Vimeo.

For more information on SHE please visit

To read more about the World Race mission adventure that Justin and Tiffany Hanes are a part of, visit their blog at

Friday, June 17, 2011


I am still feeling really bad. Hopes of great, detailed posts keep getting dashed.

Did want to give some quick news bits:

*Anna is now at training camp for her Thailand trip. This photo was taken yesterday at the Adventures in Missions base.

*Anna's Thai team blog addy is

*David leaves in less than two weeks for his mission trip. He still needs around $2000 if anyone would like to contribute or throw a last minute fundraiser. I will be holding more auctions for Thai scarves and other items as soon as I'm feeling better.

*Pray for the missionaries Betsie lived with in Thailand. Chrissy's brother died this week and they are en route to the States as a result.

*We'll be going to WE WILL GO this Sunday in inner-city Jackson if you'd like to join us. Betsie and I will be sharing about Thailand.

That's it for now. Please pray that I feel better soon. I'm sure the trip to and from Atlanta in one day didn't help.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Today's the day. Anna leaves for her Thailand mission trip. She'll go to the Adventures in Missions base first in Georgia for a few days of training and team building before flying out, via Tokyo, to Thailand.

Please join with us in praying for:

*Safety and ease as traveling

*Team unity and true love and friendships to develop quickly

*Good health as she adjusts to different water, food, etc.

*God's love to flow freely through her to all around her

*God's eyes to see those she meets as He sees them

*The team to be used to truly make an impact on lives in Thailand and bring many to freedom through Jesus

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I had thought by now that I'd be up to writing more detailed blogs. I was wrong.

I'm not tired really, but still having dizzy spells from the epic trip back from Asia and things have just been busy getting back into the swing of things and getting Anna ready to leave for her Thailand trip.

So, today will just be one of my favorite photos from Thailand and a few related prayer requests:

These two Thai girls were two of Betsie's best buddies while she was there, Fang and Meena. Meena is a former student at the church's English school and Fang is still taking classes there. They are both precious girls and were really sweet to Betsie while she was there, giving her just fun hang-out time.

Meena is one of the few Christians in a nation that is less than .5 percent of the population. Fang is not yet there. She is Buddhist. They are both loved and fully accepted at the ministries of Baan Athitan...whether it is language class, cell group, Sunday school, or just sitting on the steps and talking.

Please pray for Thailand.

Pray for the Christians to be strengthened in their walk and full of power and love as they minister to the unbelievers around them.

Pray for the non-Christians to come to Jesus. Buddhism is a religion that is works based. They must constantly be working to appease the spirits, do acts of righteousness, and are never sure of really where they stand spiritually. There is no security. There is no assurance that the price has been paid and that they have truly been made right with God.

And pray for the missionaries who are there working to both disciple the new Christians, support and train Thai leaders, and bring non-Christians to Jesus. Some days it gets very hard to be so far away from family and friends in a culture very different from back home. Some weeks are discouraging and everything that can go wrong seems to go wrong. Some seasons are full of victory and joy and purpose but other seasons are full of tears and frustration and hurts. Pray for them to always feel the nearness of Jesus, the strength of His Spirit, the comfort of the Father. Also, pray for the financial provision they need to keep them on the field.

Thanks. Prayers do make a amazing, eternal difference.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011



I had big plans to do a big ole detailed blog today. I ain't happening.

What did happen was that I slept for twelve fabulous, restful, amazing hours then I woke up a bit after 6:00 this morning feeling well rested and ready to fix breakfast for my hunky hubby and beautiful children.

And then the other globe trotting shoe dropped.

Dizzyness hit.

And hit.

And hit.

And stayed.

I did what I could here and there but much motion and much noise --- a given with this many blessing kids running around --- resulted in even more dizzyness.

So....I got myself up in a beautiful hammock under a lovely Thai thatched roof and rested.

Okay. I made that part up. The hammock is now just a memory of my amazing Thai trip (and a favorite photo image) but my big ole queen sized bed is a great reality that I'm very thankful for and just what the travel doctor ordered.

Lots of water, a handful of dark chocolate m&m's (plus one Oreo truffle),and an hour long nap later, I was much more stable and ready to prepare for Anna's guests to arrive.

Tonight was the night for Anna's friends to come and say goodbye before she starts globe trotting off to Thailand for her mission trip. And it was the night for me once again enjoy a houseful of laughter and screams and crazyness.

Life is good. Even when I'm dizzy. But it sure is easier to enjoy when my head doesn't feel like it is still circling the globe.

Monday, June 13, 2011


We're back from Thailand! And as you can see by Betsie's photo, cheeseburgers were near the top of her "things in America missed" list.

Thanks for all your prayers and words of encouragement. Lots more details and photos to come.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Alas, my amazing week in Thailand is coming to an end. I can honestly say that it has been one of the most fun experiences in my life and it was also filled with many amazing blessings. Thailand truly deserves the moniker "LAND OF SMILES".

The Thai people are so gracious and kind. And this place is safe! I've never been in a city before where things didn't have to be locked, pickpockets or muggings weren't a worry, and you didn't have to be worried about being cheated by street vendors during bartering sessions.

It will be good to be back with my family and friends in America but I will not be happy about leaving Thailand.

I must keep this relatively brief since we leave in a few hours but here are the highlights from yesterday and today so far:

*Spent yesterday morning at a children's home up in the hills. Some of the children are complete orphans but most are girls who were from situations that put them at risk of being sold into prostitution. We gave them gifts that we brought from America as well as goodies paid for buy money that the Restoration Church girls' class raised for the trip. We also played games with them, Betsie led a devotion on them being children of God the King, we ate lunch with them, and popsicles sold by a man on motorbike were enjoyed near the end.

*The afternoon was spent doing various things including some last minute shopping and walking around the neighborhood, blogging, photo editing, and just goofing off with the Thai staff.

*We ate supper at a Thai bbq. QUITE the experience! So what was on the menu for supper you ask? Where do I begin? It was a big buffet of raw foods & you grabbed what you wanted & cooked (or ate it raw) at your table. Some of what I had: pork balls, chicken, liver, cilantro, flowers, garlic, papaya, watermelon, crab, peppers, various sauces, mushrooms, crab, glass noodles, green noodles, two bites of icecream dessert, fish, carrots, baby corn, cabbage, & tofu.

*After supper, we took Debbie and Matt to the airport where they began their long journey back to America.

*The way home was a crazy, laugh-filled, song-singing, getting-wet ride in the back of the pick-up truck with a few of the Thai staffers, Kara (a young American missionary), and the Espy's little girl. That ride will be one of the memories I treasure most from my time here.

*Back at the church office, we lit candles on a birthday cake and surprised one of the Thai guys with Happy Birthday songs...both the traditional English one and another one new to me.

*Sunday School and church this morning was yet another special time. What an absolute blessing to worship alongside brothers in sisters in Christ who might not share the same language but share the same love of Jesus. Also were in attendance were nonChristians. I pray that they sensed the joy and peace of God and will search for it til they receive it for themselves through Jesus. Meena and Fang were there, two of Betsie's teenage friends, and I gave both of them Bibles that my friend Janet Boozer Butts had given me. I wrote messages to both of them and underlined special scripture verses. Meena is a Christian already.

*After church is was the weekly fellowship lunch. What great fellowship went on as the 150 or more people ate, talked, laughed, and prayed together. I ate with Betsie, Fang, Meena, and some of the children and adults from the children's home we visited yesterday. I was also able to meet Audrey McCauley who ministers at a children's home with her husband Vern. It was the home I had read about on a World Race blog a couple of years ago. We talked about their ministry and she gave me more advice on moving kids overseas to live and minister.

*Thia afternoon I've been packing, observing the self-defense class Jon teaches, saying goodbye to people, blogging, checking facebook, taking more photos, etc.

In a little bit it will be time to get ready for the airport, eat supper, and then leave. Once again I find myself wishing I could be more than one person. I wish there could be the Elysa that was with her family and friends back home, the Elysa that was with the children at the Swazi carepoints, and now an Elysa who could stay here in Thailand.


...but there is only me. So I must pray that God give me contentment to be where He has me at each season in life and pray, pray, pray for those scattered around the world that I love and miss.

I will try to add more photos later. Right now, the pc that has my photos on it is doing an installation that seems to last forever.