GraceWorks Global

5 Reasons Packing is Like Bathing a Cat…

A lot of traveling happens in this house.  This is a wonderful part of our ministry, but it involves a lot of packing.  As in, a LOT of packing.  Having spent this past week readying Allen for his trip to Africa, I have come to a conclusion…

Packing is like bathing a cat…

  1. The amount of time preparing far exceeds the actual job…

Prep for cat bath

Washing, Drying, Folding and Sorting Children's Clothing for Ben Town...

Washing, Drying, Folding and Sorting 4 loads of Children’s Clothing for Ben Town…

Printing, Cutting, Binding, and Packaging nearly 200 workbooks.

2.  You really, REALLY think the items should fit!


Those 32 inch solar panels really need to fit in this 30 inch opening!

It was SO close!

It was SO close!  We thought maybe gravity would help…

3.  There is usually some type of injury involved.


We made it fit.

We made it fit.

Can you get Suitcase Scratch Disease?

Can you get Suitcase Scratch Disease?

4.  The mess is not restricted to the room in which it started.

You get a little punchy after a while...

You get a little punchy after a while…

5.  Afterward, it takes months to forget enough to attempt it again.



And sometimes you have cows in your front yard.  That actually has nothing to do with packing, it’s just a weird thing that happens to us.

Cows in yard

Allen leaves for Africa bright and early Monday morning!  Please pray with us that we may accomplish all that God has for us to do!

How Does My Garden Grow?

This is our garden.  Beautiful, isn’t it?

Picture of Weed Garden

Here, Nathan is pointing out to me his cucumber plants, named  Larry and Lufti. Why does he have to point them out?  Because, I CAN’T SEE THEM through the weeds!

We didn’t plan to have a weed garden.  On the contrary, the garden in our minds was perfect!  It was green and lush with healthy vegetables that would feed our family of six for the whole summer.  There were no bugs and no weeds.  It was a nice little picture.

So what happened?

We didn’t tend the garden.  We had the greatest of intentions.  Each child was to tend his/her own portion, everyday, without fail.  But then life happened.  We had doctor appointments in Phoenix, ministry trips, illness, houseguests, school preparations…  In short – we had other priorities.  And our garden suffered.

The Bible often uses gardening as an illustration of our spiritual lives, and it’s easy to see why.  We do reap what we sow.  But sometimes we get to reap what others have sown!

Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”  John 4:35-38

This is the truth of our ministry.  We have the privilege of going and reaping because YOU have prepared the soil with your prayers and YOU have given generously of your resources.  Over the past few months, dozens of people have trusted in Christ and many, many more have been taught and discipled in their spiritual walk.  We have truly seen the harvest of your partnership, and we thank you!!!!

Now – if my actual garden could only look as good as the spiritual one you planted…

Swallowed Up

The stage swallowed my son. Strange, but true.

While attempting to help daddy with the electronics under the stage at our church, Nathan got stuck. Daddy rescued him and all was well, but not before I snapped some pictures.

Pictures of Nathan in Stage Nathan in Stage 3Nathan in Stage 2

But as I looked at these images, I realized that this happens to all of us. (Not literally, of course, unless you’re in my family!) But in so many ways, this life can overwhelm us. We feel like life has swallowed us whole and we have no way of escape.

But then we call for our “Dad”, and He rescues us! Our amazing Father, the Sovereign God of the Universe, cares enough to gently lift us from our pain, our sorrow, our discouragement, and our fear!

As the month of July ends – the month when we celebrate the birth of our nation and the freedoms we still enjoy here in America, this knowledge brings great encouragement. In light of many recent court rulings and news stories, it is so comforting to me to know that my Father is still in control, no matter how deeply “under the stage” I feel. No matter how dark it seems, I am not alone.

But the even greater news is that the darker the world is, the brighter the light of Jesus shines!  We have the amazing privilege of shining that light – reflecting it!  You.  Me.  All of us in the body of Christ!

What will we do today to show His love and give away His hope?

Guest Post from 10 Year Old Rachel…

This week was an adventure.  I was going to post about it, but I discovered that Rachel had already written about it in her journal – and it was so good, I asked if she would be willing to share it.  I think she needs her own blog!

Rachel’s Journal Entry

July 7, 2015

I guess I should have realized by now to just go with the flow and be ready for whatever, but I’m not.  Today, we thought we were going to Havasu but ended up stuck on the side of the road, sweltering because the A.C. wasn’t working.  So while Dad fixed our Suburban we got into the trailer and played electronics, then decided it was cooler in the car.  So we decided to get back in and get some cold drinks.  That helped a LOT with the heat.

Broken Down

My genius dad figured out the problem (of course) and was able to fix it temporarily so we were able to make it to a nearby Walmart where dad was able to find what he needed to get us a little farther to an auto parts store where dad fixed it enough to get us home.  (Interjection from Sheree – we will be working on recognizing run-on sentences in the near future.)

Broken Down 2

So here I am, sitting on my bed, grateful that God got us home safely.  He is a God of kindness and mercy and also the only God.  So I am always praying that He’ll keep us safe and He always does.

This is the Life… (of one International Missionary)

Have you ever wondered what the life of an international missionary looks like on a daily basis?

Maybe not, but I certainly did before we became that family, and I had no idea how God would continually surprise me with a wide variety of ministries! Aside from the paperwork and planning involved on the international side of things, there is a constant supply of ministries here in the states—each one an opportunity for the clear gospel to be given! Sometimes it’s manual labor, like mucking stalls after a friend’s back surgery or fixing the car of some-one in need. Other times it’s visiting those in hospice or babysitting for a mom in need. Still other times God gives the honor of officiating at weddings and funerals. The methods are many, but one thing remains constant: People are most receptive to hearing the gospel of grace when we have first served them in some way!

May donation pix 1 May donation pix 3 May donation pix 2

This is, in fact, the heart of CrossWay International.


Our main purpose is, and always will be, to point people to the cross, but we choose to do it through acts of kindness in order to open hearts for the hearing of the gospel. Whether it’s digging a water well or raking manure, feeding the orphans or putting a water pump on an old car, everything we do is to show the love of Jesus Christ at all times, in all places.

We are busy working on our prayer letter.  It is much later than it should be, but look for it soon.  The last 2 months have been packed with both international ministry as well as service here in the states.  We thank you for your part in spreading the Good News!

The Love of Jesus – Sweet and Marvelous!

We have so much to share about the Philippines and we are trying to get out a report on all that happened while also gearing up for Sports Camp in Nicaragua!  (And we have very exciting news to share about how God is already working through that!)

But until our full report is ready, I wanted to share this video of Filipino Kids singing about the Love of Jesus.  It makes me smile.  Every.  Time!


Adios.  Paalam na.  Kwaheri.  Goodbye.  It’s hard to say it in any language.

It’s hard for daddy to say goodbye to his family before he flies out to other countries…

 Philippines Leaving 2

And then it’s hard for him to say goodbye to the dear people we have come to love in those countries!

Kenya Letter From Kids

Hi Allen. Thank you for buying us toys. We have enjoyed you(r) stay. We will miss you when you go. We love you. Tyrese & Faith.

Notice the drawing with the tears.  Oh my.  Could it be any sweeter?  Goodbyes are hard!  But goodbyes are part of this life we live, and the reason for them is the urgency of the message of Jesus Christ.

So…  we said goodbye.  Allen left in the wee hours of the morning today (May 14th) and will arrive in Cebu, with his amazing ministry team, some time tomorrow morning.  The ministry this time will include intense discipleship and teaching as well as children’s ministry to an expected 300 children!  We are excited to bring you more details in the next few weeks of how God works in this country.  Please pray for all involved, that God would be glorified and His work would be done!

In the meantime, Allen is being well cared for.  He was unexpectedly bumped up to First Class (free!) for the longest leg of the trip.  (That usually costs thousands of dollars!)  This gives him an opportunity to get some much needed sleep in the more comfortable seats (the part I was excited about) AND (this is the part HE was excited about)…they handed him this dessert menu…

Ice Cream Menu

Does anybody really pick the cheese?

No Towels. No Foundations.

We recently had the opportunity to share our ministry with a couple of churches in Southern California. Of course, this also gave us the opportunity to visit the beach! And being the organized mom that I am, I made sure we had everything necessary for our time there, with few exceptions. The most notable exception was towels. No beach towels. No bath towels. No towels. But since being missionaries is all about adjustments anyway, we scrounged up two small, fuzzy, blankets and hit the beach. Yeah. It was cold. This is my son. Freezing.

Mom. Of. The. Year.

Freezing Nathan
We did still manage to have fun. We made sand castles and picked up shells. The kids frolicked (Yes—people like me still use words like that.) We buried Nathan in sand to warm him up. Then he got back in the water to rinse off the sand. (Did I mention we had no towels?)

But the favorite activity was standing still in the water and allowing the waves to carry away the sand from under our feet. The longer we stood, the deeper we sank. The water was slowly taking away our foundation. And being the over-thinker that I am, it reminded me of a verse…

Psalm 11:3 says If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?”

Sand eroding
On each teaching trip taken by the members of CrossWay International, we are struck anew with the fact that the foundations of the gospel have been, at the very least, tampered with, and at most, destroyed completely. As much as we love seeing people come to Christ personally, it is equally important that pastors and leaders be trained to share the clear gospel effectively!

In the coming weeks, we will be taking 2 ministry teams to two (very different) locations.  We will have the opportunity to evangelize, disciple, and train many hundreds of men, women and children.  Please join us in praying for those with whom we will interact.  We are very excited at what God will do as we give them foundational truths that can never be destroyed!

And if you are part of the ministry team going to one of the locations…  Please.  Bring.  Towels.


I recently sent my children on a nature scavenger hunt. I wish I could say I was one of those Pinterest homeschool moms who had it planned as part of our nature-lap book-botany-unit study for biology, or something equally as grand. But the reality is that we are staying in our travel trailer a lot recently (as Allen is speaking in some of our supporting churches) and 6 people in a 350 square foot space sometimes gets a little… shall we say… confining? So… I quickly wrote up some things to find in nature, gave the kids a pen, a bag, and a list, and said “Go!” Oh—I also promised them chocolate if they found everything.

Picture of Scavenger Hunt List

I was really just looking for something healthy for them to do while I washed the dishes (without having to dry my hands every 4 seconds to attend to an “emergency”), but God had more for me—a peek into my children’s hearts. You see, one of the items on the list was “Something you think is a treasure”. What would they find in nature that they would treasure?

Their findings were as different as they are. One of them brought me a flower that she thought looked like a beautiful butterfly. The other 3 brought me rocks of various kinds. One rock was believed to be turquoise, which could be sold for money; money being the real treasure. One rock was just a beautiful rock truly treasured by my son. And the last rock was picked quickly because the real treasure to this child was the chocolate waiting when the list was finished. Different kids. Different treasures. It got me to thinking about treasure. We all know what the world has to say about treasure, but the Bible says…

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20-21

What do I treasure that is eternal? I treasure my relationship with God, of course, and I treasure my family! Allen’s grandmother died this week. We are heartbroken at the loss, and we will miss her greatly. But while on this earth for nearly 89 years, she stored up much treasure in heaven! She was a godly woman who gave us a lasting legacy of righteousness, all because she trusted in Christ alone for salvation, and lived her life for Him in gratitude for it.

This Sunday, as we celebrate the resurrection of our amazing Savior, I am reminded of the most amazing treasure there ever could be – that Jesus Christ loved me enough to pay the penalty for my sin with His death, and that death could not hold Him!

Grandma gets to celebrate in the presence of Jesus this week, and I’m a little jealous…

Is It Safe To Travel Over There?

I’m often told to watch out or to be careful when I travel outside of the United States. People say  “It’s dangerous!”  “Don’t drink the water!”  “Carry your money in your socks!”  (That’s the funny one.  I’m a missionary!  Look in my socks all you want – there won’t be any money!)   Some say “What if the plane crashes?”  “What if you are captured by extremists?”  “What if you get in a car wreck?”

Well…  It’s happened.  I had a car wreck, while towing our trailer.  But it didn’t happen abroad, it happened not 100 miles from my house.  It was my fault.  The traffic slowed, I slowed.  The traffic slowed suddenly;  I braked suddenly.  But the weight of the 40ft travel trailer behind our Suburban didn’t want to stop as fast as we did and so we slid for a couple hundred feet and wore flat spots in our Suburban tires.  Unfortunately, we also made contact with the right rear bumper and quarter panel of the car in front of us as well as bouncing off the concrete barricades a few times until coming to a stop.  Smoke was all around us from the burnt tires.  My son, Joshua, later told me he thought it smelled like a NASCAR race.

IMG_0166 IMG_0169 IMG_0175 IMG_0161

It could have been so much worse. We could have jackknifed our trailer, flipped over or crashed headlong into the wall or other cars.  But we didn’t.  I was looking at a direct hit to the back of the little car in front of us.  My wife was thinking we were going over the edge of the overpass to the road below.  The kids, well, I am not sure what they thought.  Regardless, we came away from it with a few dents and dings, and as far as I know, no one in either vehicle was injured (except for my accident-free driving pride).  Some would call it luck, I call it God’s grace!

The reality is that we never know what can happen anywhere we go.  That fear should not hinder us from taking action and moving about.  Should I be careful?  Of course I should.  I have a family to care for!  But will I go where God says to go, even if it involves risk?  Always!  I have the privilege of bringing the gospel to the lost and hurting of this world!  I love my job!

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