The Day God Answered My Prayer With a Motorhome I Didn’t Want. True Confessions From Sheree.

I (Sheree) think I take after my Grandmother. For Christmas one year, our entire family got together and bought her a state-of-the-art computer, hand built by one of her grandsons, with all the technology she needed to stay in touch with her entire family. We were very excited to give it to her. When she received it she said “Thank you” and we moved on with the festivities, happy that we had done a great thing for her.

After she passed away we were reading through her daily journals (which she had asked us to do). On December 25th of that particular year she had written only 2 sentences…

“They gave me a computer. I didn’t want it.”

We all laughed until we cried Mat that entry. My poor grandmother! That computer could help her stay in touch with all of us but to her it was scary! She would have to learn new technology. She wasn’t sure she could ever figure it all out. She felt overwhelmed and didn’t want to venture into the unknown. The unknown is scary. And often lonely. So she would rather have forgone the computer and stayed with the status quo, which was to only be able to talk on the phone with her grandkids instead of actually seeing them and her great-grandbabies on a video call. Oh what she would miss!

But here I sit, remembering that story and thinking about how much I am like my grandmother when it comes to accepting the blessings of God.  Allow me to tell you a story – a story of God’s goodness and my foolishness. 

We were given a travel trailer 6 years ago.  It slept our whole family comfortably and worked well for ministry travel. However, over the past few years it had become “no longer roadworthy” and needed to be permanently parked.  But there we were, on the cusp of being full-time with GraceWorks Global, knowing it would require many weeks “on the road” visiting churches and supporters.  What were we to do?

Well, let me tell you what I wanted.  I wanted to pack our little mini-van and stay in hotels.  To be honest, I’m not a fan of pulling large trailers or driving large vehicles – and when I say “not a fan”, I actually mean “terrified”.  There have been some accidents in my past that have led to some overwhelming fears and, to date, I have not been successful in overcoming them.  So Sheree’s idea of a great ministry trip is to pack our Toyota Sienna with 6 people, luggage for 6 people, food for 6 people, and all the sound equipment, musical instruments, and ministry necessities needed for us to present GraceWorks Global at various churches around the country.  Yes.  That really is as ridiculous as it sounds.  I’m pretty sure our vehicle would look astoundingly similar to the Grinch’s sleigh after he had stolen The Who’s Christmas – piled 10 feet high.  

Fear is a funny thing. While my husband was telling me this wouldn’t work, I was insisting it could.  But, being the reasonable person I am, I decided I would pray about it. And I did.  I figured a motorhome would be best for the long travel days we would have, so for a solid year I prayed that God would provide us a motorhome we could afford, but I didn’t pray very hard because I didn’t actually want it.  Besides, motorhomes are very expensive and I have an aversion to debt, so I felt pretty safe in the fact that we wouldn’t find one in our price range.  I knew God COULD do it, but I figured He was on my side and wouldn’t.  (I know.  I’m so mature.)

So the year went on and on and no one gave us a motorhome.  All the motorhomes we looked at were very expensive and would require a loan.  Plus, we found a homeless couple who needed a home.  Our travel trailer was perfect for their needs.  So we were now completely RV-less!  Hotels here we come, I thought! But my (wise) husband was still looking. Surprisingly, he didn’t think the whole “Grinch Sleigh” thing was the best ministry travel plan.  Enter God.  (Okay – God was there all along but sometimes it’s easier to see Him than others.)

In a conversation my husband had with his dad, we were informed that a friend of his had a motorhome for sale. As it turns out, this friend has a heart for missions, and foster care, and adoption.  Ugh.  How much could we possibly have in common???  But hearts don’t pay for motorhomes, so we asked how much the Motorhome would cost us. The answer?   “Well, he owes *this much* on it but is willing to sell it to you for your ministry for less than he owes.  Yeah. The same amount I had decided in my talks with God was the most we could possibly afford.  

Me:  But… we still need a car hauler and those can be a couple thousand dollars!  

Hubby:  Oh!  I forgot to tell you.  The owner is throwing in a car hauler.

Me:  But tires on these things always blow up!  And they are expensive too!

Hubby:  Oh yeah – he just put new tires on it.

Me:  Surrendering.  So, God literally just took our old travel trailer to take care of people who were living in the freezing Payson winter.  AND He threw in the motorhome I had prayed about, for the price I asked Him to give us, with all the accessories we would need.  And I’m whining.  

I’m indescribably thankful for a forgiving God and a patient husband.

So here I am… traveling across I-40, typing this at the table of our “new” motorhome.  I just fixed my family lunch at this same table, while we drove.  (Just meats, cheese, and crackers.  Don’t email me with cooking safety warnings.  :.)  We are all traveling in more comfort than we have ever experienced on a long trip.  2 kids are on the couch, cuddled up in blankets (and seatbelts), reading and eating lunch.  My oldest daughter just finished some beadwork across the table from me.  My oldest son is riding shotgun and chatting with my husband who is behind the wheel.  

All of this because God answered my prayer by giving me something I didn’t want.  

So if today you are afraid of the unknown, or overwhelmed by circumstances, or thinking God isn’t listening or answering, be encouraged.  For one thing, you couldn’t possibly be as pathetic as I am, so you’re already one step ahead.  And for another thing, God IS working.  But He is not just working on your circumstances; He is working on YOU – to conform you to the image of His Son.  

And maybe He’ll even use a motorhome to do it.

Water Filtration Buckets For Houston!

Graceworks Global travels to many developing countries that desperately need clean, safe, water – and we do our best to get them as much help as we can, but until recently, it was almost unthinkable to need such a thing in the USA.  However, with all of the recent hurricanes and subsequent flooding, we find it necessary to lend aid to some of our own here in the States.

One of our local churches in Payson, AZ, Mountain Bible Church, (in cooperation with Samaritan’s Purse), is taking a clean-up crew to areas near the Houston, TX area – and we want to help!  It’s not possible for us to physically go at this time, but we are sending some water filter kits ahead of them to distribute to those whose ground water has been contaminated.  Our friends at Mountain Bible will be using these buckets to share the good news of Jesus and it is our hope and prayer that many will receive Jesus as the Living and True Water of Life.

If you would like to be partner with us and purchase a filter kit for a family in need…

Click Here!

We just need 82 people to sponsor 1 bucket in order to reach our goal!

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Because we are ordering in bulk, we are receiving a special rate from GreenHitechs.com as they are helping us accomplish a part of the vast need.  The kits, normally $100 plus shipping, are being offered to us for only $80. Families will not have to wait for stores to re-stock water or for the humanitarian workers to get water to them.  They will be able to purify their own water wherever they are!  This is a huge benefit to them.

If you cannot contribute financially, please be in prayer for those going, that they may truly be a light in the darkness and that many will be saved through the distribution of these buckets.

Some People Live and Learn…

Some people live and learn.  Some people just live.  No matter how many times I hear that quote, it is always a personal challenge to me to be in the first group.  I never want to get so comfortable in life that I forget to keep learning – not only the teachings of God, but also the WAY He wants me to live those out – even down to the “small” things.

This month, Allen and I have had to learn a few ways NOT to do some things.  I used to read a book to my kids when they were little called “Moosey Saves Money”.  We loved that book and would laugh all the way through at how silly Moosey was to work so hard to save money when he always cost himself more in the end.  Well, this month was “Welcome to Moosey’s World!” in the Mann house.

In an effort to save money on shipping the water filtration buckets to Nicaragua, we ended up spending more.  Not only did they not arrive during the time they were promised to arrive (when the team was there!), they accrued customs and holding fees they were not supposed to accrue.  It was a costly mistake that will not be repeated.  But, it does have a silver lining…

Allen has been given the opportunity by the staff of Ponderosa to make an impromptu trip to Nicaragua to resolve the situation.  He will now be able to hand out the water buckets, personally sharing the gospel with each recipient.  We will also be doing water purity tests to make sure the buckets are able to filter even the worst water.  (One area has a well that is too close in proximity to a bathroom and the well has been unusable.  We are excited to see if these buckets can make it a safe water source for these dear people once again!)

This will be a six day trip.  He leaves VERY early in the morning and will return home next Tuesday night.  Please be in prayer for the people who will hear the gospel and for wisdom for us as we make connections that will enable us to deal more effectively in the future.

In the meantime, we are taking Moosey’s final advice to heart…

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They’re Baaaaack!

The Nica Team arrived home late last night.  (Actually, really early this morning!)  Everyone is tired (but well) and still excited about all God did on the trip.

More to come on the details of the ministries that occurred, but for now, we are enjoying having Daddy home!  (Well, technically, he is at the office this minute, but we had some time this morning!)

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New hammock from Nica!  We LOVE Payson nights on the hammock.

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Rachel made daddy a special “Welcome Home” dessert…

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Cherry cobbler with “Eskimo” (Ice Cream)  It’s all gone now.  :.)

Again, thank you for your prayers and support!  Have a blessed day, and look for a ministry report (hopefully) soon!

Old Movies and No Christmas Decorations…

Tonight is our last night before Team Nica leaves!  We are spending some family time watching an old movie together…

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(You’ll notice that my Christmas Decorations are finally gone!  April 7th was “Undecorating” Day this year.  I wanted to make sure you all felt good about your own organizational skills…  :.)

But while the kids are still sleeping (at 3:30 am!), Team Nica will be up and readying for their long day of travel.  Please keep them in your prayers.  We ask specifically for prayer that the team remain healthy and have the boldness in Christ to speak the hope of Jesus to everyone they encounter!  Thank You!  We can do nothing apart from your prayers and support!

 

 

Yes… Allen really did make it home…

When we last left Allen, he had just arrived in the Philippines…  And the blog left him there!

He came home and promptly got quite ill (beginnings of pneumonia) and just as he was getting better, I (Sheree) succumbed.

But we are feeling better now and we have lots to share with you.  We will be sending out a newsletter sometime next week, but for now here is a summary video of the Philippines trip, created by our own Joe Falkner!

Santa Fe Island, Philippines

The first days in pictures and excerpts from Allen’s journal….

Small Church Plant

“Our first outing was to a new church, planted by our friends in Cebu.  Pastor Cris and his brother are working with this church as well as another.”

Girls with Porridge

“We saw so many cute little faces, holding bowls, cups and spoons, awaiting a free meal of porridge. The kids were noisy as they made instruments out of their bowls and spoons, drumming up whatever showed their expression of anticipation for the meal. While they waited for the food, they also sang Bible songs and worked on a memory verse.”

Group of Kids in church

“At the second church plant, there were twice as many children as the first and they were all there with bowls and spoons, awaiting their free meal.  We sang some songs with them and then I was asked if I wanted to say anything to the children.  Of course I did, and I shared the message of God’s love and forgiveness with them and of God’s free gift of eternal life.  They seemed to be pretty well taught in the stories of the Bible, but I wanted to make certain they knew that God’s free gift is exactly that – Free!”  

The team is back in Cebu now and it is currently Sunday morning there.  Pastors Joe and Allen will be preaching at 2 different churches very soon.  Please continue to pray for their health and for clarity of the Good News.

 

Team Cebu!

In just a few short hours, Allen and our Philippine Mission Team heads to Sky Harbor to begin their LONG journey!  Bags are (mostly) packed.  300 children’s ministry books and  75 Foundational Doctrine Books are copied and bound.  Breakfast is in the crockpot and the coffee is brewing.

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Books in progress…  Yes, my Christmas stuff is still up.  Don’t be jealous.

Our amazing church has gathered and prayed for each of them…

IMG_1916IMG_1913The team is now ready!  Please pray that God’s work would be done, hearts would be ready, and our team would remain healthy and able to do the work to which they have been called.

Thank you for your part in this ministry.  Your prayer and support is what makes this possible!  And OH!  All the money has been provided for the food for the children and pastors!  We praise God for providing through you!

Duct Tape, Load Locks, and Waiting Rooms… Oh My!

Have you ever noticed that life doesn’t always go as planned?  In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that it actually very seldom does.       

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On the side of the road, trying to get our (very broken) 40 ft. trailer home by using duct tape and load locks…

Really, Big Blue???  Twice in one month - after all the work Allen put into you?
Really, Big Blue??? Twice in one month – after all the work Allen put into you?

It’s a lesson my kids have had to learn early…. 

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Grandma has to have her pacemaker replaced. These kids are very good at waiting in waiting rooms.

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But sometimes we have the whole waiting room to ourselves…

We have a lot of surprises in this life – not all of them are very fun. 

But some of them are!!! 

Last year around this time, Allen traveled to Liberia, hoping to teach the public school teachers there how to share the gospel.  It was not possible at that time because of the Ebola crisis, but that opportunity is now here!  Allen is currently in Ghanta and will be teaching the Make It Clear Seminar to these teachers in just a few hours.  It’s conceivable that up to 10,000 public school students will hear the gospel through these teachers!  Please pray with us today that the gospel of grace will do its amazing work in the hearts of these teachers, and consequently, in the hearts of their students!

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