Check out the Africa Mercy Ship. It is amazing the people who have dedicated their lives to helping those in desperate need of medical attention.
Category Archives: Missions
Waves of Mercy
According to Mercy Ships, five billion people lack access to safe surgery. Children, teens, and adults suffer and die every day from treatable causes, and one child in eight will die before age 5.
In 1978 Don and Deyon Stephens founded Mercy Ships in Switzerland. Don says that “A devastating hurricane, meeting Mother Teresa and the birth of his special needs son drove an idea that would bring hope and healing to the world’s poorest people.”
First idea for a ship that would travel to countries without medical faculties and help came to Don at 19. His youth group saw a hurricane that came through the Bahamas when they were there. He heard someone praying for a ship that could come in and provide the care needed after such a tragedy. Later when he and his wife had a son born with special needs, he was reminded of that prayer and how many with such problems had no way to go for help. Finally, visitng with Mother Teresa she encouraged him to follow the dream God had first planted when he was a teenager.
The first Mercy Ship was a Italian cruise liner built in 1953 and called the Victoria. Converted into a mobile hospital it was renamed Anastasis. The Stephens lived on the first ship with their family for the first ten years of operation. The ship was retired in 2007 and replaced by Africa Mercy.
According to Mercy Ships “It is estimated 16.9 million people die globally each year from conditions requiring surgical care. 32% of all global deaths are a result of the lack of access to safe, affordable, and timely surgery.”
Mercy Ships until this year had one ship to reach out to the poorer nations with medical care. However, they have added a second ship, Global Mercy. Building the ship began in 2017 and was just completed last year. The ship passed all the testing to prove it sea worthy and will officially began serving the needy in March of this year. This ship has six operating rooms, 200 beds, a laboratory, general outpatient clinics and eye and dental clinics.
These ships not only provide needed medial care, but they also work to train local nurses and doctors to continue the care when they are gone. Since over 50% of the world’s population live nears a coast, the ships are the perfect way to bring this much needed health care.
The doctors and nurses who serve on Mercy Ships do so without any compensation.
Since its founding in 1978 Mercy Ships “has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, treating more than 2.5 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,600 volunteers from more than 40 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time.”
There are many amazing stories of lives that have been changed because of the work of Mercy Ships.
To read some of these stories – and see more of the work of Mercy Ships, visit their website:
Old Mission Peninsula – A Vision of Cherry Blossoms!
With the easing of restrictions in our state and since we have received both doses of the vaccine for Covid, we took a trip north to Traverse City, Michigan. Grand Traverse Bay created by the glaciers is a beautiful bay 32 miles long and 10 miles wide. In the middle of this bay the glaciers left a 19-mile long peninsula. This area is filled with beautiful small hills and rich, fertile soil. The moderate climate is ideal for farming.
Long before the white man came this peninsula was the home of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. There they raised corn, pumpkins, beans and potatoes. They also had planted apple trees.
In 1836 the tribes made a treaty with the USA in which they surrendered much of their land in this area. In return the USA agreed to provide the Indians with missions, schools, and Indian reservations.
The Presbyterian Church sent Reverend Peter Dougherty to the region in 1839 and he established a church and a school for the tribes still living there. The federal government paid the Presbyterian Mission Board $3,000 to maintain the mission. In 1842 he built his home which is believed to be the first frame home north of Grand Rapids in Michigan.
Solon Rushmore bought the home from Dougherty in 1861. For approximately 100 years it remained in the Rushmore family and was at one point turned into an inn.
Over the next ten years more and more European settlers came to the peninsula. In 1852, Dougherty and the tribes decided to move across the West Grand Traverse Bay to an existing Native American village. Situated on Leelanau Peninsula, this became the modern city of Omena. Calling this place “New Mission” the community they left became “Old Mission.”
During his time there Dougherty planted cherry trees. It quickly became clear that this was an ideal place for the orchards and cherry trees began to be planted all over the peninsula and the surrounding area. Lake Michigan moderates the Arctic winds in the winter and cools the orchards in the summer.
Today the whole area – both the Old Mission Pennisula and the Leelanau Peninsula are beautiful every spring as the many cherry trees produce their beautiful blooms.
In July Traverse City hosts a Cherry Festival. The population is just over 15,000 but during the Festival the city greets over 500,000 visitors from around the world.
While we would avoid the city in July (too many people for this old couple) visiting it in May when the trees began to bloom was a trip worth taking.
Faith in the Face of Evil
I just finished reading a powerful book about the suffering of a Christian man imprisoned in Sudan for 445 days. While I understand the concerns of Christians here in our country that we might lose some of our religious freedoms, I had to once again see that we have no idea what real persecution for the cause of Jesus Christ looks like.
Petr Jasek,, a citizen of the Czech Republic and an aid worker, made a trip to Sudan in December 2015 to see what Christians could do to help their fellow Christians suffering at the hands of the government of Sudan. After meetings with local pastors and other Christians he was at the airport getting ready to return home to his family when he was detained for questioning by Sudan security agents. They took his computer, phone and camera and charged him with espionage, waging war against the state and undermining the constitution.
After hours of no sleep and repeated interrogation, he was taken to prison and placed in a cell approximately eight feet wide by fourteen feet long. There were already six men in the cell with only one bed. The five men without a bed slept on mattresses on the floor. The only space he had to lay his body down was next to the entrance to the bathroom. The shower was completely broken and the Western-style metal toilet was covered in rust. He saw a hose coming out of the wall for water but soon discovered that the water was only on once or twice a day.
I can’t imagine the stench of the room with seven men crowded together and no real facilities to maintain cleanliness.
Added to that horror, he soon discovered his fellow inmates were ISIS fighters. Although Sudan is an Islamist government, they did not want ISIS to find a home in their country because they were afraid they would win the people’s allegiance and their own control of the country would be lost to ISIS leaders.
He first realized who he was sharing his cell with when he was awaken at 4:30 a.m. by the call to prayer. The men in the cell rose to their feet and began their morning prayers. He was told that when they prayed he had to wake up and stand in the back corner of the room where they would not have to face him.
Since they had no access to news on the outside, they asked him to share the latest news. He immediately thought of the terrorist attack that had taken place in Paris earlier in November. At the mention of the death of 129 people, he was shocked when they at first became very silent, then began hugging one another and shouting with great joy “Allabu Akbar!”
After weeks of imprisonment he was set for a trial. While waiting for his trial he was moved several times to different prisons and different cells. Toward the end of his imprisonment he was able to share a cell with fellow Christians.
After delay and delay he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. A fine of 100,000 Sudanese pounds ($17,000) was also imposed on him.
For most of us I am afraid we would have been crying out to God “why me?” Petr came to the understanding that his time and his life were in the Lord’s hands. With confidence that God was still in control regardless of how hopeless things looked, he began finding opportunity to share the Gospel with other prisoners and with his guards.
One of his greatest joys while in prison was when he was allowed to have a Bible. He said
The Word of God is not chained – even when God’s people are. The Scripture is alive and active, and when I began feelings its activity in prison, I would not keep it to myself. The Lord began prodding me to share the Gospel with my fellow prisoners – nominal Christians, animists, and even Muslims….In prison I truly learned to love my enemies. I still pray for the ISIS prisoners and I pray that many Christian prisoners in Sudan might have the opportunity to share the Gospel as well.”
Thankfully the Czech government and Christians around the world continued to intercede for Petr and he was released in 2017 after 445 days.
This story is one worth reading. “Imprisoned with ISIS – Faith in the Face of Evil”.
The book is worth taking the time and money to read but you can also check out his story at
Christian aid worker says time in Sudanese prison allowed him to share Gospel
Next time I hear someone complaining about how we are persecuted in this country for being a Christian, I will just remember Petr’s story and say God help us if we ever really have to suffer persecution.
Seeing the World of Rabbi Jesus with New Eyes
Do you ever read something in the Bible and think “what in the world does that mean”?
Do you ever read something in the Bible and think “that doesn’t sound right?”
Do you ever read something in the Bible and wonder “how does that fit in today’s society?”
Well – I have done all of the above.
Recently I read a book that really help shed light on why I do not always “get it” when I read God’s Word.
The book is called Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus. Written by Lois Tverberg, I highly recommend it if you want to gain a better understanding of what you read in the Bible. After earning a Ph.D in biology and teaching in college she started learning Hebrew and Greek, studying in the land of Israel and searching for more knowledge of the first-century Jewish world in which Jesus lived, died and rose again.
What she discovered was that not only are we thousands of years from the time the Bible was written but an even greater obstacle to our understanding is we are from a different culture.
She listed a few of the differences in our culture which I found very interesting and eye-opening. (The following is copied from her book.)
Our world: Thin is beautiful Biblical world: Fat is blessing, wealth
Our world: Youth is attractive Biblical world: Age is wisdom
Our world: Does God exist? Biblical world: Whose god is greatness?
Our world: Me – personal goals Biblical world: We – family legacy
Our world: Sunshine – happiness Biblical world: Rain – utter joy
Our world: Logic and reason Biblical world: Parable and prophecy
She pointed out that Bible translators have found that many cultures today have less difficulty understanding the Bible when it is translated into their language than we in the Western world do.
often the cultural issues we have with the Bible are not a problem for people elsewhere in the world. They’ve struggled with the Christian message as they’ve heard it filtered through the perspective of Western missionaries, but when it’s explained in its original non-Western setting, it makes much more sense to them.”
Perhaps the problem is not the number of years between us and the writers of the Bible as it is the number of miles between our Western culture and the Middle East culture.
I found a lot of her points in the list above to be true when I spent some time in the Philippines. Over and over people I met would say “you are fat.” (I am actually fat now but at the time no one in the USA would have considered me overweight.) Until I understood their culture I felt insulted and that they were the rudest people I had ever met. Only after living there a few months did I understand they meant that as a compliment. Clearly by not being very thin I obviously had plenty of money to buy food and was therefore a successful person.
Tverberg also explains how many Jewish words have so much depth and multiple meanings than our English words. Recognizing that really helps when we read things that tell us to “fear” God or when we forgive we must “forget.”
After reading this book, I am ready to do more studying on the Hebrews meaning of words and delving more into the Mid-Eastern culture.
Interested in learning more too? I highly recommend this book and follow her on FB at Our Rabbi Jesus (Lois Tverberg) where she breaks down the meaning of many Hebrew words to help us get a better understanding of exactly what the Bible means.
Check it out!
I Wonder Where Rosalie Is Today?
She was such a cute little girl. A little afraid, but very curious, of the Americans who had moved into her neighborhood.
She began by peeping around the corner of the wall of our compound, trying to sneak a look at us while remaining hidden herself.
Slowly she came out of hiding and let us see her pretty face.
For several days she played this peek-a-boo game with us until finally she came with a friend and sat down outside our gate.
My husband, our youngest daughter and I had moved into her neighborhood where we lived as we taught in a local Bible school and also in local churches throughout Iloilo City on the island of Panay in the Philippines.
Having white Americans as neighbors was quite a novelty. Children in the neighborhood came to the gate every day to get a look at us. We began talking to them and before long we developed friendships with all the children on our street.
At first when we walked down our street, the little boys would call out to my husband, “Hello GI Joe.” After repeating each day that his name was Paul, they finally called him by his name – but it came out with two syllables – Pa -ul.
Our daughter started a Kids Klub for the neighborhood children. Saturday mornings our living room would turn into a classroom. Jessica taught them songs, Bible stories and always had games and snacks for them. They called her “Tita” or aunt and followed her each time she left our home.
Rosalie was the youngest of five siblings. Their mother was a widow and made her living by selling food in a makeshift hut on the side of the road.
While we fell in love with all the children, we took a special interest in this family.
When it was time for us to return home, Rosalie’s mother wanted us to take Rosalie with us. She envisioned a much better life for her youngest if she came to the United States with us.
We struggled with what would be the right decision. It sounded good to provide this little girl with all the luxuries she would never have in Iloilo City. Things like clean water, plenty of food, shoes and the many things we take for granted but would not be available to her in the Philippines.
But what would it do to her emotionally to be ripped from her home, her siblings and especially her mother?
Was it arrogance on our part to think that all the material things we could give her was worth more than family?
Yet how could we say no to giving her a life that would be much easier than the life she would have here in Iloilo City?
In the end, the legal requirements and the cost of adopting her and all the red tape involved proved more than we could do.
The day we left our neighborhood was very traumatic. The children gathered early at our home and hung on to the jeepney as we drove slowly away. They cried out, “Don’t go, don’t go.”
As I reflect back on that time, I do believe it would have been wrong to take her from her family – but I still wonder.
Did we do the right thing?
I wonder where she is today?
With today’s technological advances of Facebook and the internet we might have been able to maintain some contact. But that was not possible then.
Still, I think of her and wonder if she remembers us.
The Streets of New York – in the 1980’s
This past week my husband spoke to the residents of the Teen Challenge Center in Saginaw, Michigan.
This is not the first interaction we have had with this organization.
Our first experience with Teen Challenge occurred in 1985 in New York City. Just one year after we were married we spent two weeks at the center in New York working on the streets with Christians from all over the United States.
This center was started by Dave Wilkerson. A pastor of a small church in Pennsylvania, in 1958, after he saw a photograph in Life Magazine of seven teenagers who were gang members and on trial, he felt led by the Holy Spirit to go to New York and share God’s love with them. When he entered the courtroom and asked to speak to them, the judge had him removed from the courtroom.
His burden for the young people caught up in the gangs became so strong that he began a street ministry to the young in New York. His work with the gangs was very successful and he founded Teen Challenge to continue that work.
His story was made into a movie The Cross and the Switchblade in 1970. By today’s movie standards the movie itself would not measure up to the acting and directing skills of today. But the message is powerful and if you have not seen it, I encourage to look it up.
We met each morning as a group sharing a simple breakfast and then a time of worship. Afterwards we broke out into smaller groups of about twelve or fourteen. We spent a few minutes sharing how things were going for each of us and then we hit the streets of New York. We partnered with member of local churches as we walked the streets talking and sharing with those we met on the streets and in the subways.
For someone from the Mid West this was quite an experience. This was not the New York of today – but the New York of the 1980’s.
The city was near bankruptcy. With the introduction of crack-cocaine, there was widespread drug addiction and violence. Our team was told when we walked down the streets in Manhattan to always have the woman walk on the outside with the man next to the building entrances. They said women had been pulled off the street into drug dens. Some neighborhoods we entered we told to not take pictures because we might get shot for taking a picture of a drug deal going down.
Walking in Manhattan we saw signs like this everywhere.
Graffiti was everywhere.
What was really sad to me was when I saw beautiful murals that the local population had painted – and they did not even respect their own community – but painted graffiti on the murals.
There were burnt out cars sitting on the streets and we often saw people sleeping in them.
Each day we walked the streets in a different community and each evening we held street services in the area where we had spent the day.
And how did all this walking the streets, holding services, meeting the drug addicts and homeless people on the street work out?
We will never know for sure in this life. There were many different reactions.
- While holding a service in Washington Square, a young man came up to the area where the musicians were playing, turned his back to us and mooned us.
- In Manhattan a young man cursed at me and told me to “mind my own business.”
But then there were:
- Several homeless drug addicts listened to us and came back with us to the Teen Challenge Center where they stayed and committed to the 12 month program to beat the drug habit. Again, I have no idea how many stayed with the program but I do know the Teen Challenge program in New York has had a high success rate helping people beat addiction. It was good to see the ones who came back with us in the beginning of our two-week stay. To watch their eyes go from a blank, glassy look to a clear, coherent look. To see their listless walk become a brisk lively walk. To see the dull expression on their face turn to one of hope and smiles.
- One young man my husband talked to had never heard that Jesus loved him. After praying with my husband, he wept with joy. We did not leave these people after such an encounter. The local churches we partnered with continued to mentor and help them in their attempts to turn from cocaine and to begin a new life with Jesus Christ.
- On the subway one day we found a pimp beating up on one of his “girls.” Scared to death, but unable to ignore this, our team of 14 stepped in between the pimp and his “girl.” He threatened us but we did outnumber him. He got off at the next stop and we took the young girl with us back to the shelter to help her get free from prostitution and start anew.
The years have gone by and we often wonder about some of those we talked to, shared that God loved them, that there was hope and offered help. Where are they now? Did they stay with the program, with the local churches?
We will never know in this life, but I think how awesome it would be to meet one of them in heaven some day and hear their story of victory over cocaine.
So thankful that New York City did finally clean up much of the city and I hear today it is a beautiful place to visit. Doubtful that I will never get back, but thankful for the two weeks spent on the streets of New York City in the 80’s.
Christmas Past – Maligayang Pasko
Well it seems I am on a roll – memories of Christmas past just continue to occupy my mind – especially at bedtime. Maybe it’s just that I am getting old. Maybe it’s spending this Christmas in a new home in a new state far from what was familiar.
The memories are for the most part happy ones although the last post I made did include one Christmas that was sad and lonely.
Christmas Past – Laughing Through the Tears
Still, I’m thankful that the happy times far outweigh the sad ones.
For a girl growing up in the Midwest Christmas has always meant:
- Christmas trees and decorations
- cold temps
- sometimes snow
But I will never forget the one Christmas I spent without all the trees and decorations, without caroling, no cold temps and certainly no chance of snow.
I spent Christmas of 1991 at the beach on the island of Panay in the Philippines.
My husband and I had gone to the Philippines with our youngest daughter to teach in a Bible school. While there we also spoke and often gave classes to the ministerial staff at local churches. Our daughter began a Kids Klub with the local neighbor hood children.
I wrote about her experience there in:
The Piped Piper of Iloilo City
It never really felt like Christmas there. The temperature was much too warm. It was lonely thousands of miles from our family. There were few bright lights. In the gated community where many of the other missionaries lived there were trees and lights. But in our neighborhood no one could afford such luxuries. Many of our neighbors did not even have electricity for any lights. Most struggled to provide food for their families and there would be few, if any, presents and certainly no Christmas tree.
There were decorations in the stores downtown, but none like we were used to. The mall downtown had some beautiful ones made from bamboo.
The only Christmas decoration we had was a nativity set we found at a local store. It was amazing to us that even in the Philippines, the nativity set portrayed Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus as white. Clearly Jesus would have been dark-skinned like those from the Middle East but somehow we have made Him into an image totally foreign to what He would have been.
We held a birthday party for Jesus with the kids in the neighborhood. We had a birthday cake, played games and had so much fun with the kids. It was a joy to also share with them the story of the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas day we shared a picnic at the beach with another missionary couple from Norway. Like us, it seemed strange to have no snow or cold temperatures. As you can see, from the pictures, we really dressed up for the day. NOT!
As I look at these pictures today I wonder where those children are now. How many had the privilege of completing school? How many even survived to adulthood? It is my prayer that we did make a difference in their lives while we were there.
This year as we feel the cold temperatures, I do think how nice it was that year to enjoy sunshine and the ocean. But I still am glad to be here with my family. Wherever you are, whatever your Christmas is –
Maligayang Pasko – or Merry Christmas!
Being a Christian in Eritrea
Eritrea is the most restricted nation for religious freedom on the African continent. Rebels, inspired by the Chinese Communist Revolution, led a bloody revolution for 30 years (from 1960’s to 1991) leading to the country’s independence from Ethiopia.
The independent nation fought again with Ethiopia in one of the bloodiest conflicts in Africa’s history. On July 8 of this year there was a formal end to the war.
Eritrea was Africa’s largest single source of refugees to Europe from 2014 to 2016. Over the past decade so many people have left that Eritrea has been called the world’s fastest-emptying nation. It has been likened to Cuba and the former East Germany.
The sole legal political party, People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, has isolated the nation. All media is state-run and there is no provision of freedom of speech, press or religion making the country ranked just behind North Korea for press freedom. The Human Rights Watch indicates that the Eritrean government’s human rights record is among the worst in the world. In the middle of this political conflict, thousands of Christians are subjected to treatment and conditions that would be considered criminal in the U.S. if used just on livestock.
Christians have been locked in metal shipping containers in the unrelenting desert sun. The containers sometimes contain so many people that there is no room for them to sit down. Provided little food or water they are also subjected to emotional and physical abuse. Just for sharing their faith in Jesus or refusing to deny Him.
Their president, Isaias Afwerki, has failed to ratify the nation’s constitution, canceled presidential elections, outlawed other political parties and has embraced atheism.
One father is now raising his four children alone in a fugitive camp in Ethiopia after his wife died in prison because she refused to deny Jesus. After his wife’s death he realized there was a strong chance he would be imprisoned and there would be no one to take care of his children. To reach the fugitive camps in Ethiopia he and his children traveled by night trying to avoid the Eritrean guards. If caught, his older boys would be forced into the military while the younger children would probably, with him, be sent to prison.
Miraculously they made it safely to Ethiopia. While life in the camp is not the best of circumstances, at least they are safe from prison and can worship God in freedom.
When asked about his family’s experience with being a Christian in Eritrean, he replied.
“The Bible taught us that we should take up our cross. We have to lose our life for Christ, and it happened to my wife. This is the history of Christianity. It is not strange, it is not something new.”
While not new in history or in many other countries, it certainly is not the gospel that is preached today in many churches.
Will you today take a moment to thank God for your freedom to worship (or not to worship) as you choose?
Will you today take a moment to pray for the Christians, not only in Eritrean, but around the world who do not have that freedom?
The Day I was Mad at God
I remember the moment I held my daughter in my arms. It was overwhelming to realize I was a mother, personally responsible for this tiny baby. Looking at her, I whispered that we were going to be the best of friends. I shared with her my hopes and dreams of the hours we would spend reading, playing in the park and listening to music. Four years later I once again held another daughter in my arms. How happy I was – two beautiful daughters!
My girls were my world. As a mother, there was nothing I would not do to make them happy. As time passed, my oldest daughter and her husband gave me the joy of being a grandmother. Robert was born and his first year was filled with precious memories watching him beginning to walk and say his first words. One year later a beautiful granddaughter was born. As I walked into the room where my daughter lay holding this new grandchild, my heart skipped a beat when she held the baby out to me and said, “Mother, meet Barbara Rose!” She was named Barbara after me!
In the midst of this joy, my heart was torn. In just a few short weeks I would have the honor of dedicating this little child to God. However, a few days after the dedication I would get on an airplane with my husband and youngest daughter and fly to the other side of the world to serve as a missionary in the Philippines.
Several months before Rebekah had become pregnant with Barbara, God had opened a door for my husband and me to work in the Philippines for a couple of years teaching in a Bible College. At the time I felt everything would be okay because by the time we left Robert would be over a year old and Rebekah and Rob would do fine as new parents with this little boy. While I would miss Robert, I would have had that first year to share and treasure while we were gone. But now my daughter, who had married very young, had not one, but two children less than twelve months apart. She and her husband were both college students.
As I looked at them struggling to keep up with their home, their studies and two little babies, I wondered how can this young couple make it. Holding Barbara Rose on dedication day, my heart ached as I realized I would not be there to see her sit up, take her first steps, and say her first words. When I came back, she and her brother would not know who I was.
Yet, I knew God had called us to go. I thought of the verse in the Bible that speaks of loving God so that in comparison it may seem we hate our family.
Rebekah and Rob went with us in the airport as far as they could go before security barred their way. The last look I had was the two of them standing there, each with a baby in their arms, and the saddest, forlorn look on their faces. I felt my heart would break. I was deserting them when they really needed me.
We settled in the Philippines and while my heart still ached, I became busy in the work and prayed the time would pass fast for them. A couple of months later, we had a call from my daughter. Our little granddaughter was having digestive issues and it looked as if she might have to have surgery. How I longed to go home, but we had just arrived and our budget did not really include money to make a trip home. Rebekah assured me they would be fine and did not need us, but I could hear in her voice the longing for her mother.
Hanging up the phone, I went into my bedroom, laid on the bed and told God how mad I was at Him. I said, “I sold everything I had, gave up my time with my grandchildren to obey You. The least you could do is take care of them. I feel as if I am turning my back on my daughter.”
God did not strike me with lightning for speaking that way. That’s the beauty of a relationship with God. He knows our hearts, He understands our pain and He loves us. I have never understood those who feel we cannot be totally honest with God – as if He does not already know our very thoughts. He understood the love of a mother for her children. He loved me in spite of my hurt and anger.
But quietly I felt that “still small voice” of God speaking to me. He said, “I turned my back on my Son for you.”
For the first time in my life I got a little idea of how much God really loved me when He sent His Son to die on that cross. John 3:16 took on new meaning for me.
And the end of the story – Robert and Barbara quickly developed a love for Grandma and our relationship is very close. God also has given me many more grandchildren and I believe the example we set putting God first in our lives has had a tremendous influence on my children. Putting God first is sometime hard, but always in the end, brings great blessings.