Friday, December 28, 2007

Prayer of thanks



This is where my dear sweet husband spent his time after our Christmas with our kids and family -- in our kitchen cleaning!

I had spent a couple of days in preparation and cooking and decorating. After the meal that evening he went into the kitchen and when he came out it was spotless!! There wasn't a plate that needed washed, a glass that needed rinsed or a baking dish that needed scrubbed. The entire place was clean and all food left over had been neatly stored away! What a blessing!!!

Feeling that thankfulness toward him reminded me of a prayer that I received and I want to share it with all of you, especially since we are heading into a brand New Year, all awaiting to see what God has in store for us.

MY FATHER IN HEAVEN

I will bear Your light to change the world.

I am the light of the world, because the Light of the World dwells in me.

Your Kingdom will come; Your will WILL be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

No one will meet me and not be changed, because no one can meet You and not be changed.

I will become increasingly aware of the Light that I carry.

I will grow in You and grow in this Light.

I will become a change agent in this world.

I will believe the unbelievable; what is not yet I will become.

I will come to understand where I am in You, and I will see my future more clearly that ever before.

The gifts You have given me will begin to flourish as I understand Your ways.

Nothing will prosper that comes against me, because I will live a repentant life before You; because I live a repentant life, You will answer my prayer.

I will become what You have called me to become.

I have been placed here for such a time as this.

I live where I live because You place me here.

I am not here by accident; I am here by divine appointment.

My neighbors will prosper because of You in me.

Those I touch will prosper because of You in me.

Everyone I pray for will be touched, because You flow through me; it makes no difference if others recognize the touch or not -- You will touch them.

You will touch others more at some times than at other times; I will not judge my relationship with You based on what they feel.

I relate to You because of who You are in me, not because of others, not because of my emotions, not because I feel saved, not because I've ascended to greatness through my intellect --- but because of what You have done in me.

I am procreated, regenterated and born anew.

Your seed has entered me.

My spirit is alive and quickened.

I will become a quickened to You, fine-tuned to Your Spirit, not doing what You're not doing and doing what You are doing.

I will become a witness for You.

With Your help, when people see me, they will see You.

Soon, there will be a clear distinction between those who don't know God and me, because I know You.

People will see me and they will know that I am a follower of Jesus and a bearer of His Light.

For Your glory this will happen, taking the foolish things to confound the wise.

Thank You for finding me and choosing me to be a change agent on this earth for Your glory.

In Jesus' name. Amen

I hope this touches you like it touched me and you will pray it on a regular basis.

Blessings and love. . . Susan and Monty

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

My three "kids", everyone together for the celebration of our Savior's birth! The true gift to everyone all over the world, the best gift, the one that is always the right size, the one that never needs exchaning!

Monty and I send our Christmas wishes out to all of you.

We pray you are enjoying family, enjoying some special meals and remembering the REAL reason for the season!

God's blessings to all of you.

With our love, Susan and Monty

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Wonderland


Yes, this is what happens when you head north!
Winter!!
All yesterday we heard about the winter storm warning and sure enough, last night the rains changed to ice and ice to snow. This is what it looks like here now. I admit that waking up early and going outside when no one has walked, no car has driven or no snow plow has come through is absolutely beautiful. With everything white, all the ugly is covered; amazing. After that comes the shoveling, scraping of vehicles and trying to get their frozen doors open and watching the snow plow come and knowing he will make another pile at the end of your driveway. But our snow plow man is awesome, each year he sees me outside and he takes care of that pile at the end!
The snow just added to the feeling of Christmas. Yesterday was the church outreach that I look forward to all year, our annual gift wrap at the local mall. We have done this for around 15 years and I have taken care of the details for the last 6 or so. We set up at the mall and provide everything from the box and tissue paper to the tag to write the receiver's name on. We charge absolutely nothing and refuse any donations. It's one of the most practical ways we have to show God's love in a real way. We get all kinds of looks from those who refuse to believe the signs that say "free". You would think is said something totally different!? We hear those who get the nerve to come and make sure the sign is what it says it is. And then you get those who look, who ask, who get their gifts wrapped and still insist on trying to hand you money! Free just doesn't exist in its true meaning here in the United States I guess. Over a period of 14 hours we wrap, we talk, we laugh and we show God's love in a season where most seem to forget the real meaning. In total we wrapped 877 gifts and blessed alot more.
There are always hundreds of stories that come from that day. Each person who volunteered a couple of hours to wrap has stories of their own. There is one that stands out to me. A woman walked up who, in appearance couldn't have been 25 years old, very nicely dressed, her head hanging down and spoke not a word. The lady wrapping for her asked if she was having a nice Christmas so far. That's all it took. Someone cared enough to ask! She said no and then talked of how her husband had just left her and her 3 small children and she wasn't going to even wrap any of the gifts for the kids because that would mean spending money she didn't have. The lady wrapping said she understood just where this woman was coming from as her husband had also left her many years ago and she also had a couple of toddlers at the time. She assured her she would make it through and that God was with her. Now all of this transpired in just a few minutes but that woman left with a smile on her face, her head held a bit higher and with joy in her heart! No gift purchased with money can ever do that! And all just because a woman cared enough to ask another how she was doing --- and then actually listened to her reply!! What a thought!
Pastor Dave spoke to us this morning on just that kind of joy! We need to remember something this season ----
IT'S NOT ABOUT THE GIFTS WE GIVE EACH OTHER --- IT'S ABOUT THE GIFT GOD GAVE US IN JESUS!!!!
Don't underestimate the power of a simple word of caring! Try it and see what happens.
Until next time. . . Susan and Monty

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Double "whammy"

Just the other day I received a poem in one of my morning devotions entitled "My First Christmas In Heaven" and forwarded it on to one of our friends who lost their father/grandfather this past summer and to Ms Faye. Little did I realize I would need the poem for myself also.

This morning I received a phone call from my mother telling me that my grandmother's sister had passed away suddenly. She and my grandmother were close and talked with each other on the phone daily. My grandmother is having a very difficult time. She is nearing 95 years old. We are awaiting funeral arrangements.

Early this evening I received an email from Pastor Rick in Gautier, Mississippi informing us that the former secretary passed away yesterday afternoon, also suddenly. Ms Mia was the one who told us how much Mike and Faye needed help. She was the kind of woman who always had a smile on her face, always knew how to bring a smile to your own face and who also was known for shouting "praise Jesus" when she heard any good news!

Both of these deaths were very unexpected and very sudden. Both of these women will be remembered for so many things. Both will be missed by so many people who loved them. Both of these women had no idea they would be celebrating their very first Christmas with Jesus Christ Himself this year.

I'm sure they both already had gifts purchased, were already planning the holidays, thinking of the family and friends they would be seeing. And just at the "right" time our Lord stepped in and said they would be spending Christmas, and eternity, with Him. They are now reunited with family and friends and prophets and priests and kings and disciples and angels and will be praising God forever!

We will all miss them. We will all grieve our losses. We will shed tears. We will attend funerals. We will remember many stories. BUT --- we will rejoice in the fact that they are the truly blessed ones this Christmas!

Let us all not only count our blessings, let us remember that we "know not the day nor the hour" when our Father will call us home!

Bernadine and Ms Mia, we loved you then and love you now! Say hello to Jesus for us!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, December 10, 2007

Updates and preparations

Yes, it has been a few days since I have written. Things have been quite busy and yet we have found a bit of time to get some rest.

I spoke with Ms Faye and Mike Jr for quite some time this morning. She is still having a tough time adjusting to Mike Sr not being there but the nights are the worst! It's very difficult for her but I continue to reassure her that it will get better. She continues attending church at The Refuge and they continue to love on her and also reassure her that time will help.

Mike Jr is doing well and trying to be there for his mother. I could see him smile through the phone when I told him we would be returning by the end of January! I told him Monty said to get out his tool belt and be ready to work -- for free! He laughed but said he would be ready! We talked about the week of building their home and he remembered how much fun it was. That's a good thing because that guy worked over 14 hours each day and wouldn't leave until we finally made him leave!

The state sign going into Mississippi says "it's like coming home" and that is truly how we feel. We are ready to go and looking forward to being able to reach out and bless more people.

For some local family updates: Monty's grandmother is doing fantastic after her hip replacement. She is moving along quite well with her walker and hopes to be rid of it with a bit more physical therapy! Seeing her smile does the entire family good. His uncle Larry isn't doing as well. He is still at home but struggling with the cancer daily. We thank all of you for continuing to hold this family up in prayer. There are 4 children at home and this has been very difficult for them also.

Monty and I are in the final stages of preparation for our church outreach this Saturday. For atleast 17 or 18 years now we have set up at our mall and wrapped Christmas gifts absolutely free! No donations are accepted and for some, that is nearly impossible to comprehend! We have 8 wrapping stations going for 14 hours that one day. There are 9 people working 2 hour shifts and it is the largest outreach our church has and definitely the most fun for us. That day is pretty much our Christmas day. I stay the entire day. I tried going home for a bit of rest during the day but it doesn't work so I just stay and get to take it all in. Each person who works goes in with the idea of being a blessing to others, and that is exactly what happens. BUT . . . as good as God is, He always turns things around and those who are blessing get to be the ones who are blessed! Isn't is amazing how God works that way!

We pray all of you are coming along fine with all of your preparations for the upcoming holiday. Please remember that it's not about the gifts, the food, the decorations or even the families. They ARE a part, but it's about all of us being saved from our sins and having a reserved place in heaven . . . just because of a little baby's special birthday! Celebrate it with love and let us all count our blessings!

Until next time. . . God bless. Susan and Monty

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Putting things together

I hope all of you checked out the Rebuild Jackson County's video I referred to in the last blog entry. Like I said, it will help you understand how much need is still on the Gulf Coast.

Monty and I have been planning and planning and then planning some more. It takes quite alot to get things in place, to get things ready, to make sure things back home will be done while we are gone and just mentally preparing to once again live in a camper trailer and change our lives the way they must be changed. We are really excited and were glad to hear from the states of West Virginia and Iowa already! They are wanting to send teams and we are anxious to work with them again!

There are so many people who have waited for nearly 2 and 1/2 years to have a home again. There are those that will be spending yet another year in a FEMA trailer where they cannot entertain their families just because there isn't room. I remember how many of them put their Christmas trees outside!! because there was no room inside. Some of them hung lights and things on the outside of the trailers -- doing anything they could to make it feel like home. They deserve to be back in their homes as soon as possible!

Reaching people in such need is THE way to show God's love in a really!! practical way! The people are open, they are reaching, they are questioning, they are needing to see God through all those who come to volunteer. Lives are changed, families are extended and God is working through it all.

Speaking of lives changed, I spoke with Ms Faye yesterday and she is doing as well as can be expected. She and Mike had been together since they were in the 7th grade and knew no life without each other. She misses him terribly and is having some trouble sleeping. I made, and sent, her a photo album of the home build and she was thrilled to receive it. If you remember, she and Mike were not allowed on the property during the entire build so she had no idea of what went on during those 6 days. She said her sister, Joyce, was so excited to see the book she scooped it up and took it home to look at. Like I said, coming to volunteer, touching people's lives, it changes ours and we are all blessed.

During this season of busy here, busy there, trying to buy just the right gift, just the right card, follow all the right traditions, remember the real reason for Christmas! Then thank God for sending Jesus and realize that He is the most important thing! The gifts and "stuff" won't last. Jesus will!!

Until next time . . . Blessings from Susan and Monty to you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Answering His call


God's calling continues and He is calling us back to continue working on homes in the MS area.

It looks like we will be heading that direction sometime mid January and remain there for a few months. We are so excited and anxious to get back into rebuilding lives by rebuilding homes. There will be some new changes, some great changes, added blessings all around and no doubt -- miracles from our Lord!

For those of you who have worked with us in the past, and for those who haven't -- we are letting you know these things so you can be planning your vacations, packing your work clothes, gathering others in your teams, gasing up the vehicles and contacting us with the dates you will be coming to work with us!

If you need further details you can either call us, email us or leave your info in a comment here on the blog and we will get back with you.

God has so much that still needs done in the MS area. He has called us to return and we ask your prayers and for your continued support.

You will see a link above (www.youtube.com/FinishtheJobFund and I encourage you to go to that link. Rebuild Jackson County (Pascagoula, Gautier, Ocean Springs and into Biloxi) have put this video together to raise the awareness of all that still needs to be done after hurricane Katrina. This video is very well done and truly gets the need across. There are still over 14,ooo people still living in FEMA trailers and hundreds still in tents! Those numbers are staggering! And even more staggering when you realize we are nearing the 2 1/2 year mark! The awareness NEEDS to be raised, the reality NEEDS to be seen and the work MUST continue!

YOU---the volunteers are the KEYS!!!!!

God bless you as you pray about this and hopefully start to put things in motion to come to the south.

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty (MS Missions)



Monday, November 26, 2007

Gratitude


We trust all of you are literally "stuffed" from the Thanksgiving dinners last week. I found it amazing that we can eat that much and still be hungry the following day!
Monty and I got wrapped up in the "black Friday" thing. We got up at 4am and headed to Walmart. The thrill of the looking was a blast! From there we headed across town and back again for Menards. We aren't big purchasers but the couple of small items we found made it worth getting up in the dark of the night! Monty thinks we need to make it an annual event, just to be in the midst of it all!
For those of you wondering, Ms Faye did have a holiday dinner at her sisters and then headed home. She had been staying with Joyce the entire time and going home wasn't (and still isn't) easy. She admitted she ended up in Mike Jr's room the first night! Please continue to hold her up in your prayers.
Monty's grandmother is doing great after her hip replacement! An amazingly strong lady for 83 years of age! His uncle was released and is resting as comfortably as possible at home with Hospice by his side.
Yesterday in church Pastor Dave had a message on gratitude. We all have heard the line about "what's in your heart comes out through your mouth". It's true. But he challenged us to make a gratitude journal where we daily record (in writing) 5 things we have been thankful for that day. Now since this is the 2nd time I have received this challenge I thought it might be something I really need to do. I read about this journal in another scriptural magazine that we started receiving from nowhere. So . . . I now have this journal and it's amazing how sitting down at the end of the day and thinking back over that day brings so many blessings to light! We all know we have so many things to be thankful for but we also know how easy it is to get caught up in all the negative that happened during the day. If we really focus on the positive it will change the way we see everything! I would challenge everyone out there to try this journaling thing. You don't have to use alot of words. Just a short word or two will do. You might also find that narrowing the blessings down to just 5 is difficult when you stop to think about the good things instead of the bad.
Thanks for keeping up with us and all that is happening. We are still trying to get some rest while we are home. I think rest is a 4 letter word but occasionally it happens. We have some things in the works and are looking at possibly heading "out" after the first of the year. I just might need to call on some of our past teams and see if anyone is interested in doing some home building??!! Keep your ears tuned in and let's see where God takes us!
Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Saying Goodbye

At 11:00am this morning Ms Faye, daughter YKeisha, son Mike Jr and grandson Jacquez said goodbye to Mike Sr in what was an extremely emotional service.

I received a phone call from Ms Donna who has stood in for us and continued to keep us updated. Pastor Rick had a wonderful service and was instrumental in getting the entire family through the morning and afternoon.

We know God is holding this family in His almighty hands and thank you for all your prayers. Please don't stop now as now is when the reality of it all will begin to settle in.

Personal updates: Monty's grandmother came through total hip replacement surgery yesterday just fine and the doctors planned on getting her up from the bed this afternoon. When we were there at noon she was a bit groggy from the pain meds but smiled when she saw Monty. His uncle Larry remains in the hospital and is resting as comfortably as possible. Neither of them will be home for Thanksgiving but both of them will be thanking God for their families who are constantly at their sides.

We pray all of you have safe and blessed Thanksgiving days. We all need to remember that although we mark one specific day on our calendars to celebrate, each and every day is a day to thank the Lord for waking up and having another day to praise Him!

Please be safe in your travels and enjoy either your family or the one you are blessed to be with on Thanksgiving.

Until next time . . . We are thankful for ALL of you! Blessings, Susan and Monty

Monday, November 19, 2007

REALLY tough decisions

Sometimes in life there are those decisions that must be made. Then there are those that we must make and when we do they rip us apart. Today was one of those heart wrenching ones.

The funeral for Mike Sr is this Wednesday at 11am at the First Baptist Church in Moss Point. Pastor Rick will be officiating.

We cannot possibly make the trip! My heart aches!

It just cannot be done. There are numerous reasons but financing ranks right up there around the top. Gas prices aren't cooperating let alone the time factor with families and holidays. We know Ms Faye and Mike's entire families are there and will be surrounding her with their love and support. Even knowing that -- it still hurts.

We broke the news to her this morning and she understood. She had already told Diane not to make the long trip, just send her a card so she could read it over and over again. I know she will receive ALOT of cards that she will be able to read over and over and over again. If you would like their address please leave a comment at the end of the blog and we will be happy to get it to you.

We also had some more bad news this morning. Not only is Monty's uncle still in the hospital in the end stages of pancreatic cancer, now his grandmother has fallen and broken her hip. She needs surgery to repair it but isn't healthy enough to undergo the surgery at this time. The doctors are working with her and hopefully they can take care of everything, including her hip. We would appreciate your prayers.

On a good note, our Benefit Concert Saturday night was incredible! The local Christian radio station did a live remote from there for the first 2 hours and we know lives were changed by what they saw and heard. Stacey did such a fantastic job getting everything organized and the evening ran like clockwork! There is no way to properly thank her, the musicians and all the donors but we still want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

Please remember that this is the time of the year to be even more aware of the blessings we all have, the ones we surely do not deserve. Be sure and thank God for as many as you can think of!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Benefit Concert Bulletin



BENEFIT CONCERT

Gospel music by Vonnie Scott, Matt Hicks, Stacey Bowman Roberts, Joe Hickman, Jackie Nichols and more with food and videos.

Buy a chance . . . win a prize, win a trip, win a cruise . . . and more!

For Monty & Susan Scales

MS Missions Disaster Response

Saturday, November 17th from 4:00pm - 8:00pm

Location: AmVets Post 2000 (used to be The Gathering) at 5227 W. Airport Road in Bloomington, Indiana

For further information please leave a comment on the blog with your information and we will gladly get back with you.

We look forward to seeing you there! Spirit 95fm radio will be broadcasting LIVE from the concert for the first 2 hours!

We would like to thank Jimmie Dean Coffey Auctions & Realty and Kevin Spicer with Hometown Realtors for sponsoring our event!!!

Blessings, Susan and Monty

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dancing with the Angels



This afternoon God called Mike Sr. home!

His struggles in life are over. No more pain, no more dialysis, no more diabetes, no more infections, just peace -- eternal peace!

His is dancing with the angels and rejoicing with the Lord.

Ms Faye, YKeisha and Mike Jr will miss him. Their hearts grieve but their minds know he is with our Lord.

We will continue to hold this entire family up in our prayers. The next days will be difficult. No matter how well we think we are prepared to say goodbye, when the actual time comes we aren't prepared at all.

God bless this family. They are our family and we love them and thank God for bringing us all together as family.

Blessings, Susan and Monty

3:30PM Friday, November 16

Ms Joyce, Faye's sister, just called.

In 30 minutes the family will be gathering at Mike's bedside and the doctors will be removing him from the respirator.

Please pray!!

In God's hands, Susan and Monty

Thursday, November 15, 2007

10:00AM Thursday update

I just spoke with Ms Faye. She was taking a break at home, getting ready to return to the hospital. She was taking a minute outside to start Mike Sr's truck. The temps have fallen into the 30s and that is really cold for the south! But she is warm in the house and just talking about being warm made her laugh. She hasn't had the opportunity to use the furnace in their new home and was amazed at how warm it was! She again thanked everyone who had anything to do with the building of their home!

Mike Sr is about the same, holding his own.

Today Mike's sister from Atlanta and his brother from California will be arriving. They are the last family members to arrive.

She said Mike Jr and YKeisha are doing okay, under the circumstances. Everyone is a bit tired but they are also getting some rest when they can.

I had the chance to tell her about the benefit concert that is being held for us this Saturday. One of the musician couples playing, Joe & Stacey, will be playing Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Sun. They are dedicating that song to Mike and Faye and photos of them will be running on a big screen in the background while the song is being sung. She was so excited and wanted to make sure I had good photos of Mike! She has no idea just how many good photos I have, and am using, of the both of them!

It was good to hear her laugh and to feel her smile over the phone. She is thankful to all the people who are praying for them. She has no idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We also thank you and ask that you continue praying. God is the one who is in control of all of our lives and we should thank Him for each and every moment we have.

Until the next update. . . . Blessings, Susan and Monty

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

8:15PM update

Late this afternoon the doctors had a visit with Ms. Faye. They told her that Mike's kidney dialysis could not be done because he isn't physically able to undergo the treatments. They normally do the procedure every other day. They did not do it yesterday or today. They also informed her that this could lead to heart failure and she agreed to a DNR (do not resisitate order) in case that happens.

Just about 10 minutes ago I received another call from Donna and Glen who have been by her side continuously. Ms Faye requested they return to the hospital as the nurse just came in and said Mike's blood pressure is dropping.

He has never come out of his coma.

We continue to plead for your prayers for this entire family.

Until the next update. . . God bless all of you. Susan and Monty

12:45PM news

They are awaiting the arrival of the doctor.

The family is at his side.

They are all in our prayers.

Blessings, Susan and Monty

URGENT UPDATE Tues 10:30AM

Just heard from Ms Faye and the family has been called to Mike's bedside. The doctor phoned her just a few minutes ago and said "if the family wants to see him they should get there asap."

I wish I knew more, knew what happened during the night, but . . .

Right now we just need to hit our knees and pray for this family. Ms Faye is really struggling. Mike Jr is begging her to NOT make the decision she might be faced with. There are unsaved family members who are not going to support her as they could.

Pastor Rick and about 6 others from church are also on their way to the hospital to be there with the family.

PLEASE pray not only for God's will but for God's arms to be wrapped around the family, for His supernatural strength to hold them up.

Blessings to all of you for your hearts of love. Susan and Monty

Monday, November 12, 2007

Update at 5:30pm Monday



You really did step it up a notch in your prayers!

Pastor Rick just called. When Crystal, the church musician, went into Mike's room and called his name Mike opened his eyes and looked directly at her.

Just then a family member also came into the room and turned on the TV. When it came on Mike then turned his eyes away from Crystal and to the TV!

The doctors are going to run another brain scan before the night is over.

God is still in the business of performing miracles and we need to remember that!

Thank you for those prayers and once again, lets all intensify them even more!

As for Monty's uncle Larry, he is still in the hospital. Today they implanted a port in his upper arm where they can get the meds directly into the artery and also give him nutrition. He is unable to keep anything in his stomach so this port should help. The doctors told him to plan on remaining in the hospital through this week. His weight seems to drop daily but maybe with the port . . .

We thank all of you for your prayers! YOU are God's special angels!

Until the next update. . . Bless you. Susan and Monty

9:30AM Monday Mike update

Just got a phone call from Pastor Rick.

Mike seems a bit better this morning. His blood pressure has stabilized and the doctors have removed him from those meds. His seizures have stopped and they have also removed him from those meds.

His brain scan shows "some" brain activity but the doctors call it "slow".

Last night when Ms Faye was leaving his room and going home she leaned in to tell him goodnight and his eyes fluttered and his vital signs "jumped" leaving the doctors and nurses to believe he recognized her voice. Since they have been together since they were in the 7th grade I would imagine that her voice would definitely be the one he would respond to!

Miracles still happen. God is always in control and everything is in His hands and His timing. We pray that His will is done as His will is always best.

Thank you for the continued prayers. Maybe it's time we all step them up a bit?!

I will continue updates as we get them. Blessings, Susan and Monty

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday 5:30pm update

Ms Faye just called and both she and Mike Jr were on their way to church. She felt it was where they both needed to be and she had promised Pastor Rick she would be there.

When Ms Faye makes a promise she will most assuredly keep it!

The doctor was in today and said the results from last nights brain scan "didn't look good" but they are planning on doing another one in the morning.

She seemed in pretty good spirits and felt comfortable leaving the hospital as she left Mike Sr with a room full of people.

She thanks everyone for their prayers and thoughts and love. She is preparing herself to make a decision if things come to that. Pastor Rick has spent some one on one time with her and she said it has really helped.

Please continue to keep the entire family in your prayers.

Until the next update. . . Blessings to all. Susan and Monty

Saturday, November 10, 2007

9:30PM Update

I spoke with Ms Faye just about an hour ago and she is holding up as well as can be expected.

She was at the hospital, where she has been since this morning. Pastors Rick and Vickey had been there along with Glen and Donna from church. She realizes that people are praying for them but I don't think she fully realizes just how many!

She did go home last night, alone. She admitted that she was frightened and slept in the recliner instead of the bed. I asked her to go to her sister, Joyce's house for tonight and she agreed.

She realizes that she may be forced to make the most difficult decision of their lives. She also realizes that God is with the both of them and is just taking things minute by minute.

The doctors did run another EEG, brain scan, today but the results weren't in when I spoke with her. There has been no visual change in Mike.

If you haven't seen it, please refer to the comment on the last blog. Diane wrote some very powerful words that we all should take to heart! Bless you Diane, we miss you and know your heart is breaking the same as ours and many others around the nation.

Some more sad news this evening. I called our Convoy of Hope leaders, Fory and Cindi, to let them know about Ms Faye and Mike. They are back home in Minnesota. Fory's father passed away a few days ago. He was 94 years old and although he was ready to go it still makes it difficult on family members. Both Fory and Cindi could also use some extra prayers. They will be remaining up north for a couple more days and then heading back to the coast to continue working on churches going up both in AL and MS. God be with them as they travel.

We also visited Monty's uncle Larry today. He remains in the hospital and was having a very rough day. He was medicated and sleeping while we were there and we are thankful that the doctors have managed to control his abdominal pain better.

As you can tell by these past blogs, our spirits have been taking a beating these past days. We know God has a time and a season for everyone and everything and we continue to pray that His will be done!

We hope that all of you will be attending your church (or visiting another) come tomorrow and each of us counting our blessings! Life is so precious and not to be taken for granted, not even for a moment!

Blessings, Susan and Monty

Friday, November 09, 2007

UPDATE 7:00PM

We just received a phone call from Pastor Rick. He had been at the hospital with the family when they met with the neurologist. It seems there is a bit of brain activity although the doctors also said Mike was deprived of oxygen for a long time and does have severe brain damage. He is also suffering with seizures.

Pastor Rick was able to spend some one on one time with Ms Faye to discuss some decisions she may face. She understands what is going on and knows what Mike's wishes would be. Mike Jr is at his father's side and isn't leaving.

Today is also their daughter, YKeisha's 30th birthday! Her son, their grandson, Jaquez also understands what is happening and he is only 6 years old.

Pastor Rick will be keeping us updated as well. He knows we are posting the news here on the blog just as quickly as we receive it.

On another side note, Monty's uncle is remaining in the hospital. They are trying new measures to see if he can keep food down. He is constantly hungry yet nothing stays down. We all just sit and pray.

On yet another note, our next door neighbors found out that he, Tony, has cancer in his esophagus. The doctors say it is the worst kind to have but also in the beginning stages. They will be traveling to Mayo Clinic in a week and possibly facing extreme surgery. They also could use some prayers.

As you can tell, today has hit us pretty hard. We are so thankful that all of you are out there and praying for all these situations. We place each and every one in these families into the hands of our Lord and pray His will be done in each.

Blessings to all. Susan and Monty

MIKE UPDATE AT 2PM

Ms Faye just called me with an update.

She, along with Pastors Rick and Vickey, met with the doctors. They confirmed that there is no brain activitiy and he is on life support at this time.

The plan is to continue the life support over the weekend to allow all out of town family to arrive. Most of the families are there but some are coming from states aways away. Please pray for their safe travel.

Ms Faye is in a bit of a daze at the moment and appreciates all supportive prayers.

I plan on keeping all of you updated through the blog. I will do my best to add an entry each and every time I hear from her, with the time included.

Thank you for your prayers. God is an awesome God and Mike knows that deep in his heart!

Blessings, Susan and Monty

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST


PLEASE pray NOW!!!

I just received a phone call from Ms Faye.

Mike Sr. suffered a heart attack in the middle of the night last night. They tried to revive him for over 45 minutes, on the floor of their home---no success.

At this time the doctors have told her he is brain dead.

At 11:00 am this morning she is to return to the hospital to make the decision of leaving him on the life support or not.

We all know this would be a nightmare decision for any of us and for Ms Faye it's the same. Her sister, Joyce, is with her and Pastor Rick and Vicky will also be there with her.

PLEASE pray for this entire family and I will update this blog as often as necessary to keep you informed.

Blessings, Susan and Monty

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

We're back . . . Again!



What a whirlwind trip!

We returned from our WV and PA trips on Friday night, turned around and left Sunday morning for WV and returned last night.

Why? You would ask that! :)

As most of you know, while we were in the south we lived in a borrowed camper trailer which was all of 144 square feet of living space. I dare you to step off that space in your home and then stay in that space! It will be a matter of minutes before you realize just how small of a space that is. And we "shared" it with our 2 small dogs!

When we returned home a few weeks ago we needed to return the camper to my brother. That left us looking for something we could actually live in AND afford! Not a small feat but as usual, God stepped in and annointed the entire process.

While in WV and traveling from point A to point B we passed a camper sitting on the side of the road with a for sale sign in the window. We stopped, called the number in that window but also realized that it was WAY out of our price range. The couple showed up within minutes and 3 hours later we had a trailer! We shared our mission with them, they shared their lives with us and God bound the two together in a way only He could do.

We returned Sunday and Monday to bring it home. I wish I could show you just how equipped this thing is! It's complete with bed linens, bath linens and more kitchen equipment than we have in our home kitchen! I even found a hair dryer in the bathroom and a vacuum cleaner under the bed storage area. All we need is to pick up our clothes and we are ready to respond to any disaster out there. Like I said, a God appointed meeting and a blessing beyond measure! Now we are ready to hook up and roll! Thank you to Wayne and Annette for also hearing God speak to them and following His words!

We are so excited about the directions God is leading us. Opportunities seem to be around many corners and we are just praying for His guidance to lead us.

Two special updates:

1. Mike (Faye) had his leg surgery delayed until this coming Monday. He needs to be off of his blood thinning medicine for a week before they can do anything. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

2. Monty's uncle, Larry, was admitted to the hospital this evening. He is in end stages of pancreatic cancer and needed hospitalized tonight. He is receiving meds and was resting a bit more comfortably when we left. We would ask for prayers for the entire family.

Thank you for all your prayers, for us and for our families. We pray God's blessings on all of you.

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Itinerating in WV and PA at peak colors






































Sorry for the lapse of entries. I was so rushed getting prepared for our trip I couldn't give advance notice.
You can see for yourself how beautiful it was as we drove through West Virginia, through the Cumberland Gap into Maryland and on to the east side of Pennsylvania. Outstanding!
We visited our team that designed and built Ms Faye and Mike's house back in March. You can refer back to there in the blog if you missed anything. It was so fantastic seeing everyone and getting to know their families. It was a quick trip but one that refilled both Monty and I with love and laughter and God.
From there we traveled on into the eastern side of Pennsylvania to visit with Pastor Tony and Angela and their family. We were blessed to speak at a Bible Study they hold at one of the senior centers. They were filled with questions (and a few tears). We then spoke again at the evening worship service. Once again we were able to see our old friends and meet their families and make them into new friends.
The hospitality shown to us with both of these families was wonderful. They opened their homes, their lives and their love and we feel refreshed and yet sad that we had to leave and say goodbye.
I must admit that one of the highlights of our trip was that we now have our first church supporting our mission! What a huge step for us! Pastor Tony and Angela and their church pledged to support us on a monthly basis and make it possible for us to continue to follow the Lord's leading into disaster ministry. This is what we have needed and we pray more will follow. We are SO thankful to them for their love, their support and their encouragement and ability to see our hearts!
We thank all of you for your support and if you would like to support us on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis or just with a gift donation you can do so by sending it to our sending agency:
International Gospel Outreach (IGO)
PO Box 1008
Semmes, AL 36575
Please enclose a SEPARATE note with our names on it. This sending agency is a not for profit and thus the good ole' IRS requires the separate note.
We do have a very special prayer request: It appears that Mike (Ms Faye's husband) is facing the amputation of his other leg! Yes, the doctors have determined that his big toe is dead and that the infection in spreading. He will be undergoing extensive testing Monday but they told him to come prepared for surgery. Please keep them both in your prayers. This news has been devastating to both of them. They know God is in control but facing the loss of both legs is a bit hard to take. Thank you for caring.
Thank you again and may God bless and keep you . . . Monty and Susan







Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall in the mountains!

Yes, I failed!

Once again I didn't get around to letting all of you know that we were going on travel for awhile and would be off and on for about a week.

And yes, the fall colors in the mountains are outstanding!!! We managed to be here in peak season and God pulled out all the pallets of colors for us! We will be traveling through even more of them today and the sun is shining brightly so it should be wonderful! God has truly blessed us on this trip. Just seeing his beauty revives the soul!

We have had such a blast on this trip. We came to see our team from West Virginia - the team who built Mike and Faye's home in 6 days back in March of this year. You can refer back to then on the blog and see what I am talking about. It was so good to see the guys and to finally meet their wives and families. We spoke at their church and then they had planned a huge picnic for all of us! Brad and his wonderful wife opened their home to all of us, and there was alot of us! Spending the day with all of them, remembering that awesome week hearing them tell how it touched them . . . priceless!

When we return home I will be sure and post photos for all of you to see.

Today we are heading up to PA to see the team who not only gutted Mike and Faye's old home but also returned to furnish their new one and be there for the grand opening. We will also have the opportunity to speak at their church and see friends who are now family!

Be sure and stay tuned. This trip has been, and will continue to be, such a blessing! We love you all!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Colors of Home























Ever since I was a little girl I have loved this time of year here at home. As you can tell by the photos I still do.
I always thought that if someone said they did not believe there was a God they had never spent a fall in Indiana.
Today they were even more special. Today is Sunday and today God was busy painting the scenery just for me. Okay, I shared it with anyone else who chose to step outside or look through their windows. But I think He did it just for me. Monty and I, along with our two dogs (of course) decided to take a stroll through our Indiana University campus this afternoon. The colors are just starting to change. With the severe drought here this past summer some thought there might not be any color. As always, God shows up no matter what we humans think.
If you click on any photo it will enlarge and you will get to see the indescribable beauty! When I was a little girl I used to picture (in my mind) God sitting up in heaven and dripping paint colors from there down to here. I knew it had to be Him because I didn't have those colors, not even in my box of 64 Crayolas! And it had every color known to man. There being the difference, the colors God places on the trees are colors that we cannot duplicate. I may be all grown up now (physically anyway) but I still get that same picture in my mind and it still brings the same smile to my face and the same warm and loved feeling in my heart!
Now I know why God brought us back north for this time of year! He knew just how badly I needed to see these colors, to smile and to feel that warmth and love.
Praise be to God for always knowing just what I need!
Until next time . . . Susan and Monty (with Bitty and Samson)





Thursday, October 18, 2007

Voices from the south

We sit here this evening awaiting another round of storms.

The summer has suffered such a drought and now we are under storm watches and warnings. This morning brought so much rain at once that the city streets were flooding and getting across town to do a missions report on our local Christian radio station proved to be an adventure in itself.

By this afternoon we saw sunshine and now another round is expected tonight. Just as they say, if you don't like the weather in Indiana stick around because it will changed momentarily!

Yesterday and today had special blessings. As you know, I always talk about the family relationships that were developed with the people in whose homes we worked and within the teams that worked in those homes. Yesterday I received a wonderful phone call from Delores in Gautier. No special reason, she just wanted to call and say she was thinking about us and once again say thank you for all the teams who had come and made it possible to get their home back to a home again! It's those kind of calls that can really brighten one's day.

We also received a call from Convoy of Hope and have a planning meeting scheduled with them in the upcoming weeks. With hurricane season only days from expiring we all must do what we can to prepare for next springs disaster season. It will be here before we know it.

And then there was the phone call from Jenny in CA who is bringing her team into the south to volunteer. She had some last minute questions and concerns and is very excited at doing a mission trip within the states. I will miss getting to meet her in person but she and her church want to be a part of the first response plans and I promised to keep her in the mailing list loop.

I did hear from dear friends of ours in the Gautier area and they told me how a tornado touched down right next to their home this morning. They and their home are fine but their neighbors did not fare so well. There is quite a bit of debris mess and I told them they would now have the opportunity to do some disaster work of their own. They always told us how they would like to do what we were doing and now they get the chance. God has a sense of humor and it's one of those "be careful what you wish for . . . " things! We are thankful that they are okay and pray for their neighbors.

Speaking of prayer. I mentioned to you a couple of weeks ago that our neighbor was undergoing surgery and yesterday they received the results of the biopsy and it wasn't good news. I would ask that you continue to keep Tony and Evie in your prayers.

Also, one of our own Vineyard family underwent extensive surgery yesterday and really needs your prayers. Pete was in surgery for nearly 6 hours, had trouble with his pain meds after, had lungs collapse on him and is having a very tough time. Please also keep him and his family in your prayers.

Prayer contains such awesome power and although we might never visibly see the results with those who we pray for we know God's promise to always hear. Please use the power in your prayers. God gave it to us to be used!

One more short note. Monty and I have a new email address and if you would like it please leave a comment on the blog and I will be happy to see that you get it.

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Lock Down"

This morning was one of those where you aren't sure if you are dreaming or not.

I awoke early hearing what I thought was someone knocking on our front door. This might not seem strange but we do have a doorbell and so knocking isn't something that usually happens, especially early in the morning. I dozed back to sleep but couldn't relax so got up. No sooner had I come through the bedroom door than my daughter called asking if we were aware of what was going on, that we were under "lock down"?

About 1/2 mile from us the police had an apartment building surrounded as someone had been taking sniper shots from one of the units. We were all ordered to keep our windows closed, our blinds closed and doors locked until the "situation" had been resolved. Opening my blinds and such is the first thing I do each morning so at once I felt "trapped" in the dark. And of course our dogs didn't care about anything except going outside to take care of "business". I did go out with them and felt like I was in a ghost town as every house had their blinds closed and not a vehicle was moving.

Within about 3 hours the gunman had tried to leave the apartment in a car and was captured. He was intoxicated (surprise!) and gave no reason for what he was doing. They did find assault weapons inside, one of which was an AK47 so he did mean business. At this time they still have no motive for what he did.

The entire incident really got me to thinking. The entire time we were in New Orleans I knew we weren't exactly safe. Living in the murder capital of the nation brings some reality to that feeling. Each time I would step outside to let my dogs take care of business I sort of "cringed" at each passing vehicle. Stepping back inside our FEMA trailer brought a slight sense of safety but even there I always wondered how safe we really were.

This morning I realized that we aren't ever really safe, not like we think we are. We are now over 800 miles from the murder capital of the nation and it is still right in our back yard, literally.

So many freedoms and so many things that we take for granted on a daily basis. So many things we get comfortable with and therefore not as alert as we should be. I'm not saying we should live in a state of fear all the time but we should take note of our blessings and not take them for granted.

It never felt so good to open blinds, open windows and doors and step outside to feel the breeze and feel the freedom. But I still found myself crouching just a bit!

Thank God for your freedom and His protection.

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Worship and work




Here we are at our "photo session". It was rather humorous but we had to do it. For our upcoming letters of information we needed a photo of ourselves. Just us, the real us, not dressed up, just ourselves -- and that's exactly what you will get! For those of you who came and worked with us you know exactly what I am talking about. Monty and I are just real people and what you see is what you get!
The other couple are our best friends, Joe and Stacy. Joe was the photographer for the day and we had to capture them also. I don't want to think about what our life might be like without each other! And good thing for both of us that we only live about a mile from each other! Must be a God-thing!
This morning we were blessed to be in church. It was just one of those Sundays when it felt so right to be in church and one where I didn't want the sermon time to end. Not only was it Pastor Appreciation Day but it was Pastor Dave's birthday! And of course neither of which would be complete without a fantastic cake made by our friend Ellen. Even though I have attempted to help her with her baking of cakes (and a feeble attempt it was) I will never understand how someone can do that! Monty and I consider ourselves extra-specially blessed to have a pastor who is our friend, and a great one at that! I hope he enjoyed the rest of his day reading the many cards they received from the congregation.
The two of us spent most of our afternoon continuing the work in our storage barn. It needed cleaned out even before we left nearly 2 years ago and over the past couple of days that is what has been happening. By the end of today it was nearly transformed! We will be having a yard sale this weekend. Part of which to clear out "things" that we realize are unimportant and part of which to get a teenie tiny start on purchasing a camper trailer to use in our first response ministry. If you remember the one we lived in was lent to us by my brother. Everyone keeps telling us this is the right time of year to find the deals so let's hope they are right. We need something that is even more of a deal than most folks would think of a deal! Please pray God lands just what we need right in front of us!
Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Friday, October 12, 2007

Music Night

Yes, we have missed sitting and playing music! Or I should say that I have missed "listening"to music.

We used to gather a bunch of friends who played guitars, bass, harmonica or anything else that made music and play and play and play. They play anything from gospel to bluegrass to spiritual. It's just so relaxing and fun and I have really missed it.

This evening it's just Joe, his girlfriend Stacy, and Monty and I. Stacy is a professional singer so it really lights up the evening!

On the homefront I have been working on a letter that we will be sending out to those with whom we have worked with over the past couple of years. This letter has a couple of purposes, one of which is to update people with our mission and another to let them know we are responsible for raising our own salary. It's not an easy thing to put together and I have been running it over and over again both in my mind and on the computer for days now. I think I have it ready to go. Pray that it brings the message as God wishes.

We are also still in process of working in and on our house. Monty has been more than busy with the small repairs of this and that here and there. I have a "pile" in the middle of the house that will be in our garage sale next Saturday. Like I said before, all of us just have too much "stuff" and I am ridding us of quite a bit! Feels quite good!

We are also putting together plans to head to West Virginia and visit with our family of guys who are responsible for the 6 day Speed Build of Mike and Faye's house. If you are new to the blog and missed that miraculous week you can go back in the archives here -- March of 2007 should show you the story. We are so excited to see these guys and get the opportunity to meet the awesome women behind them!

There are just so many people who have become our family and we hope to get to see alot of them over the next few months.

Our deepest thanks to all of you who came in as strangers and left us as family! We love you and miss you more than you know!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Change of clothes!


A pretty powerful photo, isn't it!
We awoke to some pretty powerful changes in our weather this morning. Yesterday we had a high of 93 and today the high was 56!!! The old saying goes that if you don't like the weather in Indiana just stick around and tomorrow it will be different! I almost forgot how quickly it can change. But . . . I have promised myself that I will not complain about the cooler temps after spending 2 of the hottest summers possible on the gulf coast! It was rather nice digging the sweatshirts from the bottom of the drawers and putting them on. Monty even managed to work outside all afternoon and didn't even break a sweat! :)
I was in the organizing mode and seemed to make even more a mess of things. I have been working on cleaning drawers and cabinets and closets and found so many things that are not used or needed. I plan on taking some things to charity and others will go into a soon to be garage sale. I feel just plain guilty when I see the piles! It's one of the things that has bothered me since arriving home. I watch people in the stores and notice just how many things we purchase that are not "needed" but only "wanted". We Americans are such a wasteful society. It shows everywhere. I found myself not even wanting to have "things" on the tables as it seems so useless. After seeing so much devastation, seeing those who literally lost everything except what was on their backs, having no funds to replace things and then not only needing the necessities but also needing a roof over their heads it has changed the way I look at need verses want. I thank God for showing me the difference.
Maybe some of you are preparing for the change in seasons and realizing just how many pieces of clothing you have hanging in your closet that didn't get worn last year this time. How about taking a good look and donating your good used clothing and things to your local charity. God will bless you for your love and thoughtfulness.
Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty
PS Don't forget about the new address for donations:
International Gospel Outreach (IGO)
PO Box 1008
Semmes, AL 36575
And remember to add a separate note with our names on it. Bless you!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Changes


I almost forgot to mention an important change.
The certificates shown in the photo are from our school. As you remember, we were in missions training school from January to June of this year. We also went the next step and were ordained into the ministry the following week.
Now we have completed the final step. We are licensed missionaries through our school, International Gospel Outreach. One of the things they will be handling for us is the donations that come in and give us the ability to follow the calling of working in disaster ministry. They will provide a tax deductible receipt for each donation. If you have any questions as to the validity of this organization you can look them up at www.igoministries.org and read all about them. We are very fortunate to be working with them and hope you will note this important change.
From now on all donations should be sent (with a separate note with our names on it) to:
International Gospel Outreach (IGO)
PO Box 1008
Semmes, AK 36575
The checks should be made out to IGO but no notation in the notes section of the check. They need that separate note, no matter if it's on a scrap piece of paper! :)
We also want to once again thank all of you who have donated to us in the past and do so on a regular basis! You are our life!!! Without you we could not continue our calling. No donation is too small.
This evening we are "resurrecting" our Small Group Bible Study in our home. We start with dinner and go from there. This Small Group has been family for quite a few years now and we are looking forward to having everyone together again. As God continues to tell us, everything is about relationships. And all our relationships are based on our relationship with Him.
I would also ask for special prayers for our neighbors. Tony and Evie have been our neighbors for the past 12 years and he is scheduled to undergo surgery this Thursday in Indianapolis for a mass that was located near his stomach. Tony has already had 2 heart surgeries and although he is a very strong man he and Evie could surely use your prayers right about now.
Thanks again for continuing with us on our journey. May God bless and keep all of you!
Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Different perspective

I did not realize the beauty in Wisconsin! And to think that these waters freeze so hard and so deep that cars and trucks drive over them in the winter!!

Over the past couple of days we have tried to regain some sort of "normalcy" in our lives. Being back home brings a mixture of feelings.

Yesterday there was a fund raiser for Monty's uncle who is battling pancreatic cancer. There was an amazing turn out of people! It was a time to see friends and family that hadn't been seen in years. And yet there was that feeling that even though time seemed to stop for us it continued to roll on for everyone else. We weren't here when Larry was first diagnosed. We haven't been here for the other family get togethers. We have prayed, from a long distance, but haven't been a physical part of the family.

Today we were back in our home church. Yes, our church family and friends are there. Yes, it is wonderful to see them, to give and receive their hugs. But it feels different. They also have continued on with their lives. In one way we have missed so much. We don't know the details behind certain things, don't know the stories, don't even know some of the people. Our lives have been so very different and here we have no one who truly understands what our lives were like. Even though we are in the midst of family and friends again in some ways we feel very alone. It's kind of like time stopped with us but not for everyone else. Hard for you to understand? Even harder for us. I know it's just part of the decompression, part of returning to reality and something that will get better as time goes on. But . . . for now it's a feeling I'm not too partial of.

I do find myself just wanting to be at home and in God's word. I was looking through all our books just this afternoon trying to find something to study, something that I could pour myself into, something that would pour itself back into me. I didn't find it but I also didn't get to the bottom of the box I was looking in either. Maybe tomorrow.

Until then . . . Susan and Monty

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sabbatical





Scenery and smiles from Wisconsin!

Today Monty and I had the pleasure of restocking our food pantry at our home church. It felt good to be helping again. It brought some realization to me. I realize that I get alot of my value from things that I DO and I will be struggling with adjusting to not "doing" for awhile now.

I would like to give you the definition of "sabbatical" as this is what Monty and I are in right now and for the next couple of months. "A period of atleast 3 months intentionally set aside by ministry personnel in pastoral relationships as an occasion for reflection, recreation and revitalization unencumbered by their usual and customary responsibilities. It finds expression in study, rest, spiritual retreat and prayer."

Now there might be someone who feels this definition should only be used by those who pastor churches and their congregations. That brings up a conversation Monty and I had with one particular Pastor in the south. We were having dinner one evening, discussing all that God was doing along the coast. This Pastor had tears in his eyes as he told us that there are Pastors all over the nation who will never in their lives reach as many people and touch as many lives as we were reaching and touching in the disaster ministry. It really made me stop and think then and it still does.

I couldn't number the people we met, the homes we entered, the stories we heard, the prayers we prayed, the tears we cried, the hope we brought. All in the name of God who knows that nothing is impossible for Him. It was such an amazing walk.

And now that walk goes into a sabbatical. Shifting my gears into that isn't the easiest thing for me to do. I read a quote today that really expressed a portion of what I am feeling; "I am going into the locker room to evaluate the first half and getting ready for the second half."

Although this segment of disaster relief ministry has ended we are building for the next segment. BUT . . . we must get some rest! We must rest in the Word, in study, in prayer and yes -- in recreation. Resting in the Word, study and prayer are welcome and understandable. The resting in recreation is a bit foreign and might take some getting used to. For now, I choose the Word, study and prayer. I find myself not wanting to be around alot of people, wanting instead to sort of hibernate, reflect, remember and thank God for the amazing walk He has taken us on and praying for the upcoming walks He will continue to take us on.

This is the part that I have trouble with but I know that just getting alone with the Lord, resting in Him, seeking Him and allowing myself to be led by Him is exactly what I need. God is such an amazing God and His callings on our lives are miraculous! I thank Him for this calling on ours!

Until tomorrow. . . rest in Him with me. Susan and Monty

"Decompression"?





Yes, we were all smiles when we were all together in Wisconsin last weekend. Whether it was our day trip on Steve and Carol's pontoon boat, visiting the Green Bay Packers Stadium or standing in back of Tony and Shirley's house, everything just seemed "right" when we were all together.

Over the past nearly 2 years now I have written from my heart. I plan on continuing to do so, even now. It's the only way I know how to write. It is actually a form of therapy for me and hopefully you will gain some understanding.

I have heard the word "decompression" many times but never really knew how it must feel. I think I am starting to learn. Bear with me as I "digress" and think back over things.

When I felt God's calling to go the the south and "help the people" it was the clearest thing I had ever heard. There was no question, there was really no decision to be made. It was just something I HAD to do. The details weren't spelled out, there was no book of "how to" but there was that knowing that God had called me and that was enough for both Monty and I. From that very day it began. We were constantly meeting people, hearing their stories, feeling their pain, seeing the loss. We were living it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We operated on a level that neither of us had ever operated before. God supplied our energy, God supplied our strength, God supplied our compassion, God supplied our everything! We didn't take time to feel anything except what we felt for the people. When we pulled in to the parking lot of the church in Pascagoula it began. It continued there for 4 months and went with us when we pulled into another church parking lot in Gautier. It still continued with us as we pulled into the East side and 9th ward of New Orleans. We didn't have "time off" or "time away" as we did when we lived in the secular world. We lived where we worked and adapted to any and all living conditions no matter what they were. Living in 144 square feet of living space requires some adapting! :)

Over those 20 months we met thousands of people. We were continually in the public eye. We saw nothing but devastation, we felt the loss as if it were our own, it was our own! We welcomed team after team after team, people who would drive into the parking lot as strangers and leave less than a week later as family. We watched their lives change. We watched God move in and around and among them. We watched as their own families grew to include the homeowners in whose homes they had worked. Every day we saw miracles, every day we saw God moving, every day we were blessed. I find myself re-reading these words and realizing just how "small" they are in comparison to what God really did. And I also realize that unless you came, unless you experienced, you may have no idea what I am talking about.

Now comes the big question (for me anyway), how do I decompress from all of that emotion, from all of the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological? How do I sort through all of that?

Please pray for me as I am finding this very difficult.

And thank you for the prayers for my daughter. The surgery went well and she is doing fine.

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Technology ??

Once again I have no photos but hopefully tomorrow?!

Technology is wonderful -- when it works. We have been given plenty of "opportunities" over the past few days to see the not so wonderful part!

Today Monty is working on getting internet set up in our home. Simple?! You would think. NOT! He is currently in town, as we speak, getting parts that are required! I don't even try as I know nothing about getting them connected. He does and it's best that I stay a bit clear, you know what I mean! :)

As you know, we spent a long, wonderful weekend in Wisconsin. You will see some of the photos as soon as possible. We were supposed to arrive home Monday but it seems a layer of "unliftable" fog arrived up north and flights were being delayed and canceled faster than they could post them on the boards. We ended up staying Monday night and trying again yesterday. First thing we saw on the board was that our flight was delayed. It did make it in an hour later and instead of flying into Milwaukee we flew into Chicago. The skies had cleared by the time we reached there and after a layover of a couple of hours we were once again headed home. All the flights were uneventful, which is a good thing! Neither of us are great (or good) flyers so uneventful is great!

Wisconsin was wonderful beyond words. We spent the entire time at the world's best bed and breakfast -- Tony and Shirley's home! Even though Tony was on a mission trip up in Alaska and we didn't get to see him until an hour before time to leave we thoroughly enjoyed their home on the river!

Seeing Diane again, and spending every waking minute together was just like "old times". She transported us all over the place and we even managed to get in a few games of Scrabble! Life just isn't right when the 3 of us aren't together!!

Gregg and Pam from South Dakota also joined us. They spent over 2 months working disaster relief and knew first hand all that goes on. Steve and Carol also joined us. They served 2 "terms" in the south doing exactly what Monty and I did. They blessed us with a day on the lakes, touring around on their pontoon boat! Not even they could believe how beautiful the weather was. A definite God Thing as only God could know just how much we all needed a day like that. We had "brainstorming" sessions all day one day and it was great! As I have said before, this ministry is about to take on an entirely new face and we are so excited about it! Diane's church has such a vision when it comes to missions and it was so awesome for us to have someone share in our calling.

I would like to ask for extra special prayers. My youngest daughter, Lindsay, lives in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Come tomorrow morning she will be undergoing surgery to remove a cyst. For all of you who are mothers you know how difficult it is for me to be here and she to be there! Please pray for her as this isn't an easy surgery. Thank you!!

We are so excited that all of you are continuing on this journey with us. Things are changing and things are happening and things are growing and things are GREAT! Hopefully I will be back to blogging more often. I miss it and I miss all of you!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Weather "shock"??!!

Once again I have no photos because I am borrowing a computer from friends who have internet!

Yes, we have managed to travel from one of the farthest southern locations to "up north" in Wisconsin! And yes, the weather is a shock! It was around 95 degrees when we left New Orleans about a week ago and I saw 55 degrees on a thermometer here yesterday morning??!! But the skies were so clear with the sunshine that it almost didn't look real! We also were blessed to take a pontoon boat ride around on the lakes. Yes, the breeze was "crisp" but it was like a dream day! There is a group of us here together, all of us have been on the coast working and the reunion is something none of us ever thought would happen! We have been sharing stories and stories and more stories and laughing and laughing and realizing just how awesome God is to have brought a group of strangers together and made them family!

We will be attending meetings here and putting together plans and more plans. Those meetings start today and we are excited to see and hear what God has planned. We all have been sharing that after being on the coast helping to rebuild lives life changes. We don't look at anything the same as we used to. Our lives have changed also. We aren't the same people. God has touched us all and we are all praying for His ultimate direction. Please pray for us in these meetings. Pray that God will guide and direct us and that we will be open to hearing from Him and seeing His plan.

Until next time I find a connection . . . Diane, Greg and Pam, Steve and Carol and Tony and Shirley send their love to all! Susan and Monty

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

At my Parents

Yes, we are visiting with my parents this evening so therefore I have access to internet.

The preparations are nearly complete for our trip to Wisconsin in a couple of days. We are so excited to meet with people who share our vision and passion. We know our first response ministry is about to "take off" and that God has big plans. We have learned that when He calls us into something He has all the details and will let us know each one as we needd.

There is a special prayer request. Our friend, Joe, cares for his invalid mother full time. She lives with him and he is responsible for her care. She cannot move or communicate and thus caring for her is a bit more than difficult and a full time job. Joe has injured his back due to the lifting and caring for her. He has been in alot of pain and Monty and I have been making more than one trip per day to go and help them. We would ask for prayers of healing for Joe. Without the strength of his back this job will be next to impossible.

We are continuing to hear from some of our teams (families) who have worked with us in the past and we are encouraged to know you are also excited about our venture. Thank you for your contact and support and prayers.

Until next time, which might be early next week . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, September 24, 2007

We made it home!!

Sorry for the long delay but thank you for all your prayers for our safe travel home!

I apologize for no photos on this entry but I am using a friend's computer until we can get the internet at home. That should happen within a week or so.

Yes, it was a long two days of traveling but we made it without incident! We drove and pulled trailers for 8 1/2 hours the first day and 7 1/2 the next. Traffic was okay the first day but more than challenging the next. It felt so very good to pull into our subdivision and see home again! Even the dogs realized that we were home! It never ceases to amaze me how dogs know where they are and how they really do remember! Must be a God thing even in the dogs!

We are now in the midst of preparing for this next venture God has for us. We have been verbally spreading the word as much as possible and plan on sending letters out to our contacts with even further information. If any of you would like to receive a letter and aren't sure if you are in our list of contacts please leave a comment at the end of the blog and I will make sure you get one. Remember that we do not publish any comment that contain personal information.

We will be heading up to the northern part of the country for this weekend. There will be some meeting sessions where we will be sharing our plans and sharing thoughts about first reponse disaster ministry. Diane will be joining us along with a couple who also worked with Convoy of Hope. Please keep us in your prayers that God will show us further direction and make our paths clear. It will be good to be away from "heat" although we might need to pack our long underwear! Our bodies have climatized to the heat and anything below 85 might feel like winter!

Please bear with me during this time of having internet and not having internet. Also realize that the blog will be taking a bit different look as we build this ministry. Don't worry, I have enough disaster photos to last a very long time! We do want to keep you all informed as to where God is taking us. We are still working with and sending any teams that might be interested in going to the coast to help in the rebuilding. Our phones are still the same and we would be happy to answer any and all questions and do the best we can to facilitate rebuilding. The need for volunteers has not decreased, especially in the southern New Orleans area. Continue to keep the entire Gulf Coast in your prayers.

Bless all of you for continuing to bless us and hold us up in prayers!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Category 1 sunset


Yes, todays weather came as quite the surprise to all of us here. To awaken to the news that the state is under a "state of emergency" caught most of us off guard. We kept ourselves alert and watching the weather by television and computer. The forecast was for flooding and possibly 8" of rain but when the day came to end our total was near 2" instead and without the high winds predicted. A sigh of relief is an understatement!

What we did manage to capture was the beauty in todays sunset! The sky was so bright it nearly hurt your eyes to look at it. The shadow of the setting sun created the dark colored "funnel". Just prior to the sunset we watched a rainbow over the lake. I will miss the beauty of sunrises and sunsets over the waters of the coast.

Monty did manage to get the tires of both vehicles and the camper trailer ready to roll. And I think I have the last boxes filled. The dogs are quite stressed and follow our every step thinking they just might be left behind! NEVER!!!!

I would ask that once again you would please bear with us as we make this trip home. We may be off line for the next week.

Our first stop will be to spend a couple of days saying goodbye to our friends in Mississippi. Don't ask me how I will be able to speak those words to Ms Faye and Mike??!!

From there we will be heading to our school where we will receive our ordination papers and wrap up the final details.

Once again, please keep us in your prayers for safe and uneventful travel. As I said, we each will be driving our vehicles and each pulling a trailer! We will need all of your prayers!

God's blessings on all of you and we will be back in touch within a week.

Until then . . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Photos from home visit





Thought you might like to see some photos from our trip home. The first one is me with my youngest daughter. I know --- we don't look alike at all! Amazing how our children grow up isn't it!

The top right is the home I grew up in, the home my grandparents also grew up in and where my parents still live. The home was built in 1868 and has been the family farm forever!

The bottom right is what we went home to! The bald faced hornets built quite the home on the side of our house! It took Monty about 3 days to kill them all and we figure there were around 500 hornets living inside!

The bottom right is a photo of our 5 generations; my grandmother, my mother, myself, my daughter and her son. It's these photos that we cherish! I plan on printing one out for my grandmother. She will be able to hang it in her room in the nursing home. Her health is awesome except for a couple of knees that will no longer work! She is 94 years old!

Just a taste of my family to share with all of you.

Today we spent the day packing and getting things ready for our move. It's all ready except for pulling the camper trailer off site, airing up tires and hitching up.

Yes, we are moving! God has called us into another dimension of disaster relief. I will try and describe it as much as possible. God has a way of calling, waiting for our obedience and then giving us just a bit of detail at a time.

At this time we are being called home to take this disaster relief to another level. We have felt this calling for quite some time. We will be operating from home and building a ministry to respond as first responders to ANY and ALL disasters in the United States. Yes, we will be building as we go and it will be an incredible journey!

We plan to start by visiting as many churches and teams as possible. It is our goal to share the calling God has placed on our lives with you. So many of you know the needs that come with a disaster because you yourselves answered the calling God placed on your life and came to the coast to help out since Katrina. Christians everywhere realized that it isn't just up to the government to take care of others. We all realized that it is up to US, you and me, to respond. We also realized the blessing we can be and the blessings that are returned back to us.

Well -- guess what! Every single time there is a disaster (storm, tornado, flood, etc) there are people who need help. People who have lost everything, people who at their lowest and are open like never before to seeing Jesus in each of us who come to help.

Monty and I will be working on this calling and mission and would appreciate your prayers.

If any of you would like to hear more about this mission just let us know. We would be happy to talk with you or come to your church or organization and speak. You can post a comment at the end of the blog. Feel free to leave contact information as it will not be published for everyone else to see.

It's going to be exciting, it's going to be amazing, it's going to be God in action!

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty