Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home from Camping

I just came over to my blog this morning and looked at my photo...the one just right of these words. I look like Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. I had that photo taken in the summer and I must have been out in the sun a little too much without the necessary sunscreen. Maybe I just have Christmas on my mind. Wait a minute....we must celebrate one more thing before we get to Christmas around the Dickerson house. I don't buy one Christmas gift or put too much thought into the rapidly approaching holiday season before Thanksgiving. That's how I roll. But, between Thanksgiving and Christmas is another joyous occasion and that is my darling Jessica's birthday. This year it's Sweet Sixteen! I remember the day she was born (and, oh yes, I will be telling the birth story's tradition) like it was yesterday. We didn't know if she would be a girl baby or a boy baby until she made her grand appearance a little after one in the morning. The doctor reported her gender and I replied, "I got my girl." I have always said (from the time she was little) that she is a free spirit. She lives how she believes no matter what other people think. She works hard, is very competitive, and is giving. She is sensitive to other's feelings and likes to have fun. She's conservative spiritually and politically. She's up for trying new things and I don't think she's scared of anything, except maybe the dark. She likes to go to the movies and hang with her BFF, Lucy. She makes me happy and proud. So, tomorrow I will celebrate the 16th birthday of my precious daughter...

Then, I will be madly busy decorating and shopping and planning and shopping and cooking and shopping...

And, Serving the King,


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Amazing Things in Mexico

I just got back from Mexico late last night and am in a mad rush to get ready to go camping tomorrow night!! I went with a group of high school students from my daughter's private school for a mission trip. The students worked sooo hard. We stayed at a children's home where they have a dorm type building for visitors. Apparently, they have a lot of visitors coming to assist them with various projects. Our students painted 8 houses and dug a ditch for a water pipe. We also had a dinner one night for the children at the home that our kids served. The last afternoon we got to play with the kids from the home as it was a holiday. (even though some of the bigger kids went to school anyway) I, too, worked the kitchen. Our kids ate really good meals that we cooked and cleaned up after. We finished one meal, cleaned up, and started on the next, it seemed. The amazing part of the trip was the following: (1) how one couple has worked hard to provide a good living environment for so many kids, (2) how easy it is to hang out and play with kids even when there is a communication/language barrier, (3) how hard the students worked without complaining -- at all, I am not kidding. They got along beautifully...not one harsh or fussing word between them all week. Just selfless acts and teamwork. They also had a lot of fun hanging out together during the work and during the free time. I am truly blessed to have been with such a awesome group of teenagers. And, they were truly thankful and appreciative of our work to provide the meals.

The only part of the week that was really hard was trying to get back into Texas yesterday. I am so glad that we have border control and I have been out of the country a few times over the last few years but have never had so much trouble returning before. I am thankful for those men and women who make it their job to guard our borders. Let me just say, they take their jobs very seriously!

And with that, I must get back to packing and planning for our Thanksgiving camping trip. Johnny painted the Wildwood while I was gone and it looks almost brand new!

Serving the King,


Saturday, November 15, 2008

One More Trip to Go, then Thanksgiving Break

Johnny and I drove in from Houston around 2:00 Wednesday afternoon. It was a nice to get away with Johnny and to get some new info about what's going on in our convention. Thursday was 'catch up' day, including having lunch with the college boy. Friday I attended a conference about teaching ESL and got some good information. I am hoping to start that up as a new ministry of our church in 2009. I literally ran in the door Friday afternoon (thanks to horrible Friday afternoon traffic on 360 trying to get from Grapevine to Mansfield...should've known better) and back out again in 20 minutes. That's because we got to go to Bass Hall and see STOMP Friday night! We met some friends for dinner and then headed over to Fort Worth. Of all things, the place I planned for us to meet was closed (how does that happen?) so we headed over to another place close by. I think I made everyone a nervous wreck because it was taking SO long to get our food and I was anxious because I still had to stand in the 'will call' line to get our tickets. We made it in plenty of time, however, and the show was great! Johnny and I have seen STOMP before and I really wanted to take my kids because I was so mesmerized by it. It is phenominal how they can make a beat with anything...including paper lunch bags and plastic grocery bags!

Monday morning Jessica and I are heading to Mexico with the high school students from Jessica's school to do mission work for the week. I am looking forward to it but am physically and mentally exhausted from being gone so much lately. The next week we will be camping for the Thanksgiving break. I am so excited, I mean SO EXCITED, about going out in the Wildwood for 5 glorious days to enjoy the outdoors and my family. We will eat some good food, play games, wander around in the woods, and fill our time with relaxing.

I won't have internet in Mexico but I'll try to drop in before I go camping and let you know how the big Mexico mission trip went!

Serving the King,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Multitudes are Waiting

Tonight I witnessed probably one of the most moving and meaningful services of my whole entire life. As a part of the annual meeting of the SBTC in Houston there was a commissioning service for 105 new career missionaries of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Some were singles, most were couples. Each person/couple gave a short testimony as to their call to missions and where they were going. Most just said where generally because of safety concerns. Person after person said they felt God calling them to the mission field while on a short term volunteer mission trip. One said it changed his life when he talked to a man in a foreign country that had never heard the name of Jesus. After the testimonies of the missionaries Dr. Rankin gave a challenge. He talked about missionaries who talk to people in remote areas, unreached people, who, when they are told the Gospel, say they have been waiting all their lives to hear. He said the multitudes are waiting to hear. He also said we were sending these new missionaries out to a world that is hostile to the Christian witness, a world in economic meltdown, yet they are going.

Yet, they are going. They are selling most of their worldly possessions, packing up the rest and moving to far away places where they may not know any of the language and there are sharp differences in the culture. They are moving away from their families and their friends and going to a place to be totally immersed in a life that is dedicated to the cause of Christ.

Typed words cannot express the magnitude of respect and appreciation I have for not only those I witnessed tonight but also the over 5,600 that are on the field.

We all are called. Some say yes, but all are called.

And to what is He calling you?

Serving the King,


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Finally Recovered (I hope!)

I slept 12 hours last night. I hope I am finally over the jet lag and stomach issue I've had since returning from India. On the other hand, I hope to never be the same again. Being stretched and out of my comfort zone for a week has given me new perspective. What we do for the cause of Christ is not dependent on what we think we can do. Can I get an amen?

I knew I would be speaking at the village, at the women's conference, and to the pastors' wives in India. On Wednesday, however, I saw the speaking schedule for the pastors' conference and guess whose name was on the agenda?? Can I tell you that just a little bit of panic spread over me as I saw "Mrs. Dickerson" listed on Friday night? On Wednesday I saw it, mind you, for Friday night. I'm not a preacher or a public speaker and I don't have a pocket full of sermons or lessons. I did take along an extra outline, however. I mentioned to Jimmy (who was on the original schedule to go right before me) what my topic might be. He said that, too, was his topic. I had this vague thought that it would all work out. Anyway, I woke up early Thursday morning, before my roommate, thinking about Elijah and Ahab on Mt. Carmel from 1 Kings 17, 18, and 19. I had an outline on my computer, I knew. I went into the bathroom (as not to disturb Beth) and wrote notes as fast as I could before my laptop battery died. (If you saw my last post you know that I was afraid to plug in the computer because I already fried my hair straightener.) The next part of the story is very important...

On Thursday morning we were picked up for our daily drive of 45 minutes to 1 hour to the conference center. On the drive over, I told Jimmy about my topic from 1 Kings 17-19 and he assured me he would not be preaching from that text. We arrived at the morning conference just as one of the preachers went up to preach. Do you know what happened? Really, you are not going to believe it -- HE PREACHED FROM 1 KINGS 17, 18, AND 19!! I think my heart stopped. I know I had a feeling of panic. The longer he preached, the worse it got. At one point, I leaned over and put my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands. One of my new friends reached over and put her hand on my back and I was on the verge of tears. Then, somehow, it seemed as though he was preaching right at me. You see, after Elijah had the great victory over the false prophets on Mt. Carmel, he went into hiding. He was scared and discouraged but God met him at his point of need and gave him encouragement and instruction.

On Wednesday, at the women's conference, one of my points was from Deuteronomy 8. As I was sitting there listening to the preacher, I thought about that text. In verse 3 it reads, "And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know..." At that moment I was starving and the only possible resource I had was for God to provide. So, as I sat there God formulated an outline and I jotted some notes. I didn't have my computer so I could use research materials -- all I had was God and His Word. ALL I HAD...

And it was enough. I don't know if what I said on Friday night at the pastors' conference made one bit of sense. My interpretter said I did a good job. Not that I was seeking her praise, but God proved something to me once again...

He's more than enough.

And I am His humble servant.

Serving the King,


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Taking it all for granted

I'm sitting here on my comfy couch, watching my English speaking television show, typing on my laptop. Johnny and Jacob are doing math at the kitchen table and Jess is upstairs studying for a test. I had lunch with the college son today at Freebirds -- delicious and it wasn't pizza or Indian food. I took my laptop to India but after I killed my straightener by simply plugging it in at the hotel in India I didn't DARE plug my laptop in. The windows are open and it's cool in the house. The season is changing and Fall is in the air.

I have a really comfortable life that I often take for granted. There's nothing like taking a trip to a country where thousands and thousands are living in poverty to make one awfully thankful for even the little things.

On Wednesday last week we had a women's conference at our hotel. Because of the language barrier and tight time schedule, there was little interaction between us and the women attending. We did have a sort of receiving line near the end of the day, however. Each woman came by and greeted us. Some knew a little English. Most could at least say, "Praise the Lord," (which they use as a's that awesome?) or hello. For me, it was the best part of the day. I pray that the time of teaching was used by God and that He Himself spoke to the hearts of the women through the messages. But, grasping those women's hands, looking them in the eye, and even without words there was a bond of sisterhood. We are one in Christ. Though we live oceans apart, in vastly different cultures, in completely different circumstances, we serve and belong to the same God. One body, one church, one family.

During the conference I read the following verse from the Revelation. I imagine the day when we all stand before the throne of the Lamb of God, worshipping in a language that we all understand. Our differences won't matter. Our sorrows will be over, our difficulties gone.

And they sang a new song, saying,"Worthy are You to take the book, and to break its seals; for You were slain, and did purchase for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Revelation 5:9

Serving the King,


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Village Day in India

Sibyl and the Jets at Pizza Hut

We arrived in India at about 6 am on a Sunday. We were picked up a short time later to go to church. After church, we went to lunch with the medical team at Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut in India! It would've been really cool except we ended up calling and having pizza delivered to our hotel 3 more times that 4 times in one week...ugh!

Monday we were on the road most of the day. If not for the hilarity we had in the van it would have been a long, long day. We made a stop at a children's home where we got to meet a pastor and his wife and the children they care for in their home. The next three stops were at water wells dug in different areas by AIM. The one in the picture below was dug by our church in honor of my son's senior class. Well, we didn't dig it ourselves, but purchased it.

Our last stop was a another village where the medical team was ministering for a couple of days. When we got there we played some frisbee with the children and then passed out some coloring sheets, colors, and know, the suckers. One Indian man said, "In India we say lollipop." It cracked me up, I don't know why. We also giggled a little at one older guy who put it in his mouth without taking off the paper. Later that evening everyone gathered for a time of worship. I was sooo tired and distracted by the lizard that was crawling on the wall behind my friends' heads. I spoke on attributes of God from Psalm 139. Soon after, we headed back and arrived at our hotel around 3 am.
And that was the first day...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

I intend to write more about my trip to India but felt compelled to write a short note about this election day. I was up at 3:30 am praying for our nation on this important day. The interesting thing is Johnny said he was up around 1:00 am doing the same. This is an important day for the future of our country. Of course, I think my candidate is the right one -- you know, the one that agrees with me on moral issues and national security and taxes and the private sector being able to choose their own health care and not have the government messing with that. As I was praying and reading Scripture I was drawn to Joshua 5. Joshua was about to lead the Hebrew people into battle against Jericho when he saw a man standing there with a sword in his hand. Joshua called out, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?" Oh yeah, the reply is great! Here it is, "No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord." Joshua fell on his face, he bowed low and asked, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" The captain of the host of the Lord said, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place hwere you are standing is holy." (from Joshua 5:13-15)

The captain was, in my most humble opinion, a Theophany, an appearance of the preincarnate Christ. Joshua had come face to face with the One in charge. As His answer indicates, He was not necessarily on Joshua's side, but He was on His own side. He is the Sovereign, He is the Creator, He is the Ruler. It is not ours to ask Him to join our side but our job is to join His side.

We can't always see from His perspective. He sees past, present and future equally and we can only see past and present and sometimes our judgment is clouded. Joshua had the right idea, though. He fell on his face in humility. All the prayers offered for this election day should be uttered every single day of our lives. We can't just pray when there's a crisis or a big event. We must continue to pray for our nation and our leaders every single day. (I wrote that for myself every bit as much as I wrote it for you.)

In 2000 you might remember we passed election day and still did not know whom our next president would be. We got all the way to Saturday and still did not know. I was to say a prayer at a women's event at my church that Saturday and the following words tumbled out of my mouth, "We may not know who our next president will be but You are my King." All these years later that is the prayer of my life. No matter what, He is my King.

Serving the King,


Monday, November 3, 2008


I'm home from India. I hope to type some of my experiences here over the next few days -- how God took me out of my comfort zone in more ways than one -- but today I'm recovering. I'm just flat out tired. From the time we started home until we got back to DFW was a 30-hour journey. I'm not complaining...some of the people at the conference in India travelled at least that long, some in un-airconditioned buses and some by train. Some will be returning home to areas where they will experience persecution. Some to villages where they are in desperate need of a water well so that they can have clean drinking water. You know what that means -- it won't be running water into their homes but they'll have to go collect it and bring it in jars and containers back to their homes. They won't be sitting around in the house watching Heroes like I will be tonight. They won't be getting food from a restaurant picked up by their husband because they are just too tired to cook. Actually, they are all still at the conference until Wednesday and their physical needs are being taken care of. After that, they will be headed back into their own local mission field. And me, I'm here in my own mission field. I hope I can remember that every single day. I pray that I will.

I've been to places where people live in poverty and, yet, it still shocks me every time. People living on the streets or on a lot under blue tarps saddens me. It breaks my heart. It's hard for me to imagine that there is a hope for a better future for some of them. But there is a Hope and His name is Jesus. Oh, that we would take from the blessings of our own lives and pour it out on those that are desperate. The poor and needy, both physically and spiritually.

Tomorrow I think I will write about Sibyl and the Jets. Those girls were the funnest part of the trip... we laughed our heads off at times. About any and everything and sometimes about nothing. I hope you'll check back tomorrow...

Serving the King,