Blessings Dear Loved Ones & Prayer Partners!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Yes, we are truly blessed with so much to be thankful for. It is so hard to imagine where to even begin telling you about all the wonderful things that we are so thankful for. Most recently Zack contacted the dreaded H1N1 virus, but only had a mild fever for 2 days, with no side effects unless you call eating like a horse a side effect. He got to spend 5 days at home and got a good rest! This was his longest time away from basketball in 2 years, and none of the rest of us caught the flu, so we are so, so thankful for that. Here it is truly in epidemic proportions as every school has at least some classes cancelled if not the entire school. It seems that it is a very mild form however and most of the kids quickly recover. It seems to not be affecting the mothers and fathers since none of the people we know have been sick after their children became ill. Not sure why, but so thankful. Here almost everyone walks around wearing masks wherever they go, and it is sometimes scary seeing how afraid everyone is. For us, life goes on as normal.
Since coming here over 6 years ago as basically ‘faith’ missionaries, the thing we are probably most thankful for is the knowledge that God doesn’t lie! Wait, I can hear you all saying, we KNOW THAT! But do you? Do you truly believe that God doesn’t lie? I would hope and pray that each of you reading this are responding, OF COURSE WE DO! As we did too, but the reality of our lives is that even though we profess that He never lies, we lead our entire lives often in denial!
Let’s look at some of the things He tells us and see if you truly live these words in your daily lives:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
What a promise! What love! And of course, as Christians we know it’s TRUE! God DOESN’T LIE!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I know that many of you are suffering now, from the economy, from illness, maybe from the death of a loved one and you think things will never improve, well, remember, God DOESN’T LIE: He says: “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” SO TRUST HIM! God DOESN’T LIE!
Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
God specifically tells us, warns us and commands us not to store up earthly treasures. DO YOU? I know that I sure did. Working hard every day to give all I could for my family. But what we should be working for so hard is to share His love, His rewards, His eternal love with not just our family but with all those we meet. Remember God DOESN’T LIE!
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
How many of you can honestly answer yes to this one. That you truly know that God will take care of all things. Sure we say we do, but do you really? I know when we got ready to leave for Japan in 2003 so many of our wonderful Christian friends said they couldn’t believe that we would actually be going without the promise of financial resources. How could we trust that everything would be taken care of? It comes down to truly knowing that God DOESN’T LIE!
Now when we left New Albany we (to be honest) truly were worried how in the world we could survive. Oh, we trusted God enough to come, but there were so many monthly expenses, so many unforeseen things, so many…… But we came, we trusted and we found out without a doubt, GOD DOESN’T LIE! He truly provides for ALL THINGS! I think in our Christian life the most difficult thing to do is truly believe that He will take care of us. Oh, we all say so, but to walk out on that plank, and step off, knowing that He will catch you, maybe that is where we draw the line. Maybe we truly won’t step off the cliff, we need a net, a safety rope, something besides our trust to take care of each and every situation. Let me just list a few ways that He (with of course all of your help) has proven to us that HE DOESN’T LIE!
1) When we got rid of the golf course and waited to find out where we would come in Japan, we always had a place to stay and plenty of food. Yes, we were doing odd jobs, but we also still had lots of time to volunteer for many things and still get everything taken care of.
2) When it was time to move, we had no money. Everything we had before we lost with the golf course. However when it was finally time to depart for Japan, the shipping of our things, our plane tickets, visas, everything was taken care of.
3) When we had to move from Atsumi to Nagano, the truck and moving expenses were all taken care of. (More than $6,000)
4) When we were in need of a $1,000 to pay for Ian’s school things, when all time had run out, when we had no options, the money appeared. This was probably the time where our eyes were truly opened. The other things were great and we knew that they came from God, but this one was truly AWESOME! We moved to Nagano the end of March with the new school year starting in April. Ian was to enter the last year of Junior High and the schools take a trip as part of the last year. So they asked us if Ian would want to join and we said sure! The trip was to be the first of April and would cost $800!!!!! YIKES! But they said, don’t worry, they had enough money and we would only have to pay by June. We said thanks and hoped (yes, then still not totally trusting) that the money would be there. Well, June came and NO MONEY! Kim and I talked about it, prayed, and the school responded by saying the other children had paid an additional $200 in the previous years, so to be fair, Ian should pay $1,000 instead of just the $800! DOUBLE YIKES! Well, the payment time had come and gone and we finally decided we had to write the school and beg that they would allow us to pay them a little at a time. With tears in my eyes, I went to the computer and started composing the letter. It was maybe the most difficult one I had ever written. Tears were streaming down my cheeks, when my computer said: “You’ve got mail.” I’m thinking not now…but I needed the release. I opened the mail and it was from a friend of Kim’s father who served together in the Air Force. Now he said that 12 years ago his wife divorced him and they had to split some property, so they put it up for sale, but it never sold. Last week, miraculously it sold and he was left with a little profit and God had told him that we were in need (we hadn’t told ANYONE) and he had sent a check for $1,000 to our account! I thought I had been crying lots before….
5) When our first car became too small, without asking, he provided our van. Our daughter was bringing a friend to visit and we wanted to take them several places but our car was too small, so we decided we would rent a van for a week so we could do all we could to make their trip enjoyable. Well, we couldn’t find one anywhere. We enlisted the help of many people, but NONE! We tried the airport, but they just opened the new terminal and the rental cars hadn’t changed yet…NO VAN! We gave up, then the email came, we want to give you a gift. WOW, I told Kim, we have the money to rent the van….she looked at the amount, she said rent?…BUY! The amount was truly huge, and allowed us to purchase the van. The donors, we don’t know. It was from a wonderful family in California that we have never met! God told them about us, and our need.
6) When it died, a new one appeared. That was the story last month so I won’t go into it again.
Over and over again, He has provided. Month after month, new situations arise, constantly needing resources and month after month, they are taken care of. We can truly tell you, that GOD DOESN’T LIE! This Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas Season be filled with thanks that the God we serve, the God we love never ever LIES! Take it to the bank, trust Him, and always in all things give THANKS!
We had a great Halloween Party with over 100 attending and will have our kids Christmas party on Dec. 19th. We will be acting out the Christmas Story for them and anticipate well over 100 coming. So please pray for it. This Sunday is our annual community Christmas party and pageant and we have several non-Christian friends coming, so please pray for their hearts to be opened. Many other events are scattered throughout December, so just please pray that God continues to give us the strength and health to serve him continually in all we do.
*Heather’s father-in-love is undergoing chemo for stage 4 lymphoma so we ask for prayers for him and the family.
We trust God to equip us for each individual challenge and opportunity that He presents. Your prayers and support are vital to our being here. Please pray with and for us that we always strive to walk before God, wherever that may be, and be used as instruments of His love in all we do. Should God ask any of you to partner with us in our outreach for Him, please send any love offerings to: Bethlehem United Methodist Church, for Baranski John Alan Mission Fund, c/o Becky Wack, 1003 Rowan Cove, New Albany, Ms. 38652.
We hold you each in our hearts and prayers with thanksgiving.
In His love & walking before Him, the Baranski Bunch