Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Isn't it exciting to be busy serving the Lord? 
I am so thrilled to get to share with you how the Lord is blessing, answering prayer, and opening doors.  Along with this post, I will include a warning:  tissue may be needed due to tears of joy, you may want to shout or praise God.  These responces are normal for healthy Christians.  If you do not receive a blessing, please see your pastor immediately and tell him you need to get saved!

If you remember, in July I mentioned some prayer request. (you can read that post here) It is such a joy to let you know that Lena (the lady with short, brown hair pictured below) in now a sister in Christ!  Several months ago, Ron gave her a print out of the book done by Cary Schmidt.  We met with her a couple of times and talked with her about salvation.  At the beginning of September she told us she had finished reading the book so we once again planned a time to meet with her.  Both Ron and I felt she was really close to making the decision to accept Christ.  We arrived at Lena's appartment on a Monday evening and after some visiting Ron turned the conversation to salvation.  When Ron asked where she would spend eternity if she died, she answered, "in Heaven with Jesus".  She then explained that she understood salvation was through Jesus Christ and that she trusted in Him for her salvation.  Ron asked when she had done that personaly.  She thought for a moment......then she replied, "last Thursday.  When I finished reading the book you gave me there was a prayer at the end.  It said if I wanted to get saved to pray that prayer.  Of course I wanted to get saved, so I prayed."  Wow!  We were so excited.  For the next few minutes Ron shared with her that as a new Christian she needed to pray and read her Bible every day.  He also told her how important it is for her to be in church regularly so that she can grow and learn.  That evening we left her house with grateful hearts for another name written in the Lambs Book of Life. 
We ask that you would continue to pray for Lena.  Ron said her testimony of salvation is one of the best that he has heard from a Russian.  This past Sunday afternoon we started discipleship lessons with her.  Sunday morning before church her and I were visiting and she asked me if she could invite other people for our Sunday service.  Uhh...well...."OF COURSE".  I told her she is welcome to invite anyone to come.  Then at lunch she sort of asked Ron the same question.  (guess she didn't believe me)  Sunday morning on her way to church on the bus she told another lady that she was going to church and invited her to come sometime.  
Thank you for praying with us.  Now we can rejoice that this prayer has been answered!

Another prayer request I had mentioned in July was for Irena.  She was saved last summer, but had not been being real faithful to church.  Except for the weekend of her birthday she has been attending very faithfully.  In fact, two weeks ago she brought a visitor (Sveta).  Sveta was in church again yesterday. 

At the beginning of August we moved to our new location.  The apartment is much smaller that the other building we were renting, but so far it is working out great.  Ron's English classes are in full swing again.  He teaches once on Monday, twice on Tuesday, once on Wednesday, and twice on Thursday.  He doesn't have as many students as last year, but he did not advertise at all.

before picture
We held our first service in our new place knowing that we had a few things to work on.  One of our ladies made some curtains for the window.  The lighting was really bad (especially since the days are so dark all winter), so Valodia helped Ron and Andrew put in some floresent lights. 

putting in new lights


kitchen/ Sunday School room/ fellowship room/ multipurpose room

God has given us a beautiful place to meet for church and English.  Lord willing our church attendance will grow over the next couple of years and we will have to look for a larger place to meet.


Would you join with us in prayer for three very specific things?  The first one happens THIS SUNDAY, September 25.  We will be having our first guest speaker.  Vladimir is a national pastor in Belarus.  He and his wife, Olga, are in Tallinn right now having special meetings with a fellow missionary.  Ron met Vladimir and Olga when he went to Belarus last September.  When we found out that they would be so close, Ron invited him to come and preach to our people.  Our service will start at 11 (like usaual).  We have invited all of our church people to stay for lunch and then we will have a second service.  Of course we will end the day with some more fellowship and dessert.  I am so proud of each of our ladies who have stepped up and offered to help bring food for the meal after church.  Everyone is doing something - what a blessing!  Looking forward to what God will do.
Vladimir and Olga
In October we will begin having weekly Wednesday Bible studies in English. 
When Ron announced this a couple of weeks ago, the people had a very positive responce.  We don't know if the excitement is because of another oportunity to study the Bible or because it's in English.  However, God can use His Word to speak to hearts in any situation.  
The kids and I are also looking forward to having church in English.  Ron will be using the book "More Than Just A Savior" written by my brother, Stephen Benefield (missionary to Cambodia).  Our home church, other churches, and missionaries have used the material in this book to teach and disciple their people.  We look forward to the impact it will have in our family and also our church people.     

Lastly, I would covet your prayers for my first LADIES TEA that I will be hosting.  The date is October 22!  This is a BIG step of faith for me, but one that I believe God wants me to take.  Several times I have questioned myself wondering if I was crazy when I made this decision.  Then I remind myself what a big God I have!  I also know that you will pray for me and that will make a big difference. 
Here is what you can pray for specifically:
1)  I am praying that we will have 12 - 15 ladies.  We have 5 ladies plus myself and I am asking each person to try to bring one friend.  
2)  all the planning and preparation
3)  as I prepare a devotional
4)  I will be doing the devotional in Russian (I've never done this before)
5)  that the Lord will prepare the hearts of the ladies that attend
6)  ladies that I plan to invite  *Irena (kids' piano teacher)   *Valodia's wife   *a lady I met at a little fabric store   * Tamara (a maintenance worker in our apartment building)
I am very excited as I plan and prepare for this special event.  The ladies from my home church, Sequoia Baptist Church in Visalia, California, are helping gather craft items, paper goods, etc. to help make this evening special for the ladies that I have given my heart to.  Their desire to help and be a part has sure blessed and encouraged my heart.  THANK YOU, MY DEAR FRIENDS.  I LOVE EACH OF YOU! 


Please forgive me for such a long post.  God is doing so much, my heart is so full, and I wanted to share it with you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Little Boys are Treasures!

Little boys are treasures

Who are worth their weight in gold.

And charm everyone around them

From the time they're minutes old.

They're Mommy's little darling,

They're a special pal to Dad,

And they bring the very happiest days

A family's ever had.

Last week, Caleb celebrated his 5th birthday.  It was so fun to watch his excitement as he counted down the days to his birthday.  His eyes sparkled as we discussed his birthday menu, his cake, presents, and other plans.  Every day I would ask him if he would turn 3 again because I wasn't ready for him to be five.  Of course, getting younger rather than older just didn't impress him. 

Caleb enjoyed getting spoiled on his birthday.  Every time our Skype phone would ring Caleb would yell "birthday call for me".  The phone calls, e-cards, e-mails, and snail mail all made him feel extra special.  

Blue jeans and trucks,
Scrapes on his knees,
Running in the dirt,
Being a tease,
Making a face,
Build and destroy,
There is nothing like
Just being a BOY!

100% BOY!

Being Caleb's mom
                             puts a smile on my face,
                                                                brings joy and laughter to my days,
                                                                                                            and fills my heart with love.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A daughter is a gift of love!

I remember when our little Princess was born.
A GIRL....
{Purple pajamas........ pink blankets........."daddy's girl" bibs......
...ruffle socks..... head bands.....Sunday dresses.....}
How fun to be blessed with such a precious gift!

For the past 9 years, Sarah has filled our home with love, laughter, and joy.
I am so thankful that God has given her to us and it is our heart's desire to raise her for His honor and glory.

Daughters are like flowers,
They fill the world with beauty

We actually celebrated her birthday one day early.  Friday morning (the 26th of August) Ron took Sarah on a bike ride.  While they were gone, the boys helped me decorate her room for a "GIRLS ONLY" party!

Just Sarah and I spent the entire afternoon and into the evening together in her room eating goodies, doing a puzzle, coloring, and snuggling on bean bags while watching "girl" movies.
(We did come out after a while to fix the guys their dinner)

We will both always treasure our special time together that day.
Daughters fill our lives with sunshine and our hearts with love.

Saturday morning we started off the day with her birthday breakfast of Coffee Cake, followed by presents.  She had several cards, emails, and one big gift bag.

Inside the bag was one little piece of paper which told her that she would have to follow the clue to find her present.  Each present had another clue to find the next gift. 

One of the special things my kids enjoy each year on their birthday is a special personalized cake I make for them.  I have always enjoyed doing this for them.  It's been a favorite birthday tradition in our house.  This year I needed something very simple and not real time consuming.  Since Sarah is a great helper in the kitchen and loves to help me bake, I decided to make her an apron cake this year. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to my Sarah Kaitlyn!  I love you♥


A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Days!

Isn't the start of a new school year exciting? 
New pencils, books, teachers, a new grade, etc. 

I must say that I am very happy with my group of students this year.  It's like we are one big happy family.  Oh, wait....we ARE a happy family.  Really though, school is going great.  We actually started school back in July.  Since we will be leaving for the states in March of next year, we wanted to have our school year done {or at least almost done} before we start our furlough.  It is so much easier and more enjoyable when you don't have to worry about school while traveling.

I am so proud of my kids and the wonderful job they do in school.  There are times however, that I really wish I had taken more teaching classes in college since they would be a little more helpful right now than my secretarial skills.  Monday was one of those L....O....N...G days.  I was so glad for it to be over.  Have you ever had a day like that?  God is always faithful to help me on those days.  I also have a very loving, supportive, encouraging husband that is always cheering me on in my schooling efforts.  What a blessing he is to me. 

Teaching is also a very rewarding job {as all home school moms and teachers know}.  As my kids excell in different subjects, I know that I had a part in that.  Even as they read book after book, my heart thrills that I had the priviledge of teaching them that important skill.  I've also enjoyed remembering and re-learning as the kids go along.  We sure have lots of great "school day" memories.

Caleb didn't start school when the other kids did.  He started on August 29th.  Even though he has only been in school for 7 days, he has learned so much.  We both were so happy as he read his first words ALL BY HIMSELF!  Today he was able to sound out and read 5 more words.  It's hard to know which of us is more excited about his accomplishments. 

Happy School Year!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Easy A La King Biscuit Casserole

Every time I make this my family raves about how delicious it is.
Here is the recipe:
(I always double it and have even trippled it)
2 1/2 cups cubed chicken meat
1 1/2 cups green peas
1 1/2 cups canned mushrooms, drained (I leave these out)
1 cup cooked, diced carrots
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

mix all this together in a big pan

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
*melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat: stir in flour, then pour in broth and let thicken, stirring.
Pour into the pan with other ingredients.

adding the sauce
 Put in preheated oven (350 F/175 C) for about 20 minutes

Now, the recipe calls for 1 (16 ounce) can of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits.
Since I can not get those here, I make my own yummy, delicious biscuits.
Here is my quick, easy, tasty recipe:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
mix flour, baking powder, and salt
cut in shortening
add milk and mix
turn dough onto lightly floured surface and toss with flour until no longer sticky
roll dough into a 1/2 inch thick sheet
cut out biscuits

making the biscuits
 Take your pan out of the oven and put the biscuits on top.

Cook another 10-15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.


Entering a new stage!

It was very early in the morning on August 13th that I was blessed with a very special gift......
a son!

That little baby has grown into this handsome young man.

On August 13th, Daniel turned 12 years old.  This began a new stage in his life.  He is leaving behind the "little boy" stage {sniff, sniff} and becoming a man.  What a joy it is to be his mom and help shape, guide, influence, and train him to be what God wants him to be.  While many parents dread and fear the teenage years, I look forward to seeing what God will do in Daniel's life.  Just as this is a new stage in Daniel's life, it's a new stage in my life as well.  I have never been the mom of a teenager.  However, I do not fear or worry the years that lie ahead because I have the best Handbook available to guide me.  I also have direct access to the One who gives wisdom to those who ask Him.  I am sure God meant for these years to be treasured and enjoyed and with God's help, Ron and I plan to do just that with Daniel.

We celebrated Daniel's birthday a day early.  Our day was spent in Tallinn.  First Ron, Daniel, and another missionary boy went bowling.  Then later than evening Ron and I took Daniel out to eat.  (Thanks to Penny Smith for letting our other three kiddos stay at her house for dinner)  Daniel chose to eat at Mac's BBQ.  It was very special to get to spend some time with JUST DANIEL.     

Daniel's treat - a Dr. Pepper

 Daniel's mouth has been watering all day in anticipation of the BBQ ribs he already knew he was going to order.  He went through a bunch of napkins, licked his fingers, used a wet wipe towel, and still took some home on his face! I don't think anyone has ever enjoyed a meal more. 

Saturday morning (which was actually his birthday), he enjoyed an omlete for his birthday breakfast.  Then he opened his presents and read all the cards and emails he received.  Thank you to each one who took the time to send a note.  Those really meant so much to him.

I am very blessed to be Daniel's mom and I am looking forward to this new stage of life!

I did not make Daniel a fancy cake this year for several reasons, but one is because I had to make something I could transport to Tallinn.  Daniel just asked for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (he likes chocolate).  So I made ice cream cone cupcakes and thought I'd show you how I did it.

Of course, you can use a box mix or a homemade cake. 
Here is the recipe I used:
One Bowl Chocolate Cake
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1.  preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
Grease pan(s) - 2  9",    a 9x13,   or cupcake pan (it makes lots of cupcakes)
2.  In large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed.  Stir in the boiling water last.  Batter will be thin.  Pour into prepared pans.
3.  Bake 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool completely 

I filled the cones a little too full...opps!  Just a little over half way would probably be good.
This recipe made 12 ice cream cone cupcakes plus another 12 regular cupcakes.

This recipe really is delicious.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


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