Encouragement, God’s plan, Mcdowell County WV, Uncategorized, West Virginia Mission

Coal Mines in McDowell County WV

The more I learn about McDowell County, the more compassion I feel for these families. I do realize other places face opposition but God has placed us here and my heart aches to bring them help, healing, and hope. I find myself daydreaming about rebuilding what was lost, an entire community of people living in unity, and striving to please God. But is this possible? They do come to hear the word. But James says to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Prayer will be our weapon to achieve this.

The information I’ve learned so far has helped me understand and connect more deeply with their pain, questions, and confusion.

In the 1950’s West Virginia had 125,00 miners. By 1970, machines moved in to replace these miners. I assume, they believed from a business point that this was more efficient but soon the number of operating mines spiraled downward. By the 1990s only 20,000 miners remained and today’s shocking number is 12,000.

(Above two images are from VirginiaTech.com)

Despite this history, McDowell County is still ticking along. I know many feel it will never be restored but I believe it is very possible with God. It will never be like it was but that doesn’t mean it can not be better.

When Daniel was cast into the lion’s den, the king said, ” May your God, whom you continually serve, deliver you!”

That was one of many things Daniel faced and God did deliver him.

This plant is right up the road from me. They load coal into train cars. It’s hard to get good pictures with the foliage. At night, it lights up like a Christmas tree.

God is going to do amazing things here so let’s watch him work!

God’s plan, Mcdowell County WV, West Virginia Mission

God Makes Things Possible!

So here we are in McDowell County West Virginia. We’ve been here for around 4 months (with no internet until now).

Four years ago next month we packed everything we own and set out with a call from God. The call for Larry to pastor a church planted out of our home church was all that was clear. We didn’t know where or when. We didn’t know how each step would go but we trusted God did. I won’t lie, we’ve had to be reminded from time to time that God finishes what He starts. But here we are.

Our goal is to bring help, healing, and hope to this poverty-stricken county. The plan, for now, is to, of course, share Christ but also to repair homes, give out food boxes as we find food donors and open a clothing closet. Larry is preaching most weekends and I’ve started teaching a group of youth. And I must say, they are awesome!

Being here is like stepping back in time. Everything runs on a slow pace and not a soul is in a hurry. It’s not a bad thing to slow down but it does take some patience. We are continually meeting and building relationships with some amazing people.

When the mines shut down, so did many of the businesses.

We all need hope and that is exactly what we intend to bring to the family’s here.

Joe Ford is the mayor of Iaeger. Larry and I have talked with him several times. I found this quote from him on “weheartwv.com“.

“People came here when the coal mines were big. I mean there used to be mines in just about all the hollows around here. We probably won’t ever see anything like that again in this area, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a future,” Ford said.

The article talks about how the town has survived despite the mines closing and people leaving. It mentions the population dropped from 1600 residents to around 300.

I’m currently gathering information on the history of our surrounding areas. I want to learn what these folks have been through. I know I want to show them a new hope and that hope is Jesus. I want to share what He can do for each and every person still here.

Please pray for McDowell County and pray for us!

If you’ve found your joy in Jesus, share it!

Being Transformed, Encouragement, God’s plan

We Can Stand!

I’ve been struggling mentally and that led to me struggling physically. It took awhile for me to listen to God and realize that it was all spiritual. A spiritual battle that I allowed to hender me. I fought against it, but I was using the wrong weapons. I prayed, but I was praying for the wrong things. I wanted the situation to be fixed. I wanted other people to change their actions. That would fix all my problems, right? No

I can give great advice unless I’m the one going through a situation. Isn’t it funny how that works? I know all the right answers to others problems but that same advice doesn’t seem as easy. I haven’t written in a few months . I thought how can I write about finding joy in Jesus when I’m not practicing it myself. What could I possibly say when I’m consumed with worry and grief? I started this blog after arguing with God for several years. I fought with God because of fear. I’m not a good speaker or writer. I didn’t think I could do it. I wanted badly to help people but I didn’t want to mess up. But, isn’t that the point? I can’t do it but God can, and then He gets the glory.

So, I struggled for months and saw no light at the end of the tunnel. But then God showed me the way. It wasn’t everybody else that needed to change.

It was me.

It’s a new year, 2019, and its this time of year when everybody feels they have a new start. We set goals and resolutions and have a hope for a better future. We start new good habits and try to remove the bad habits. We set weight loss goals and plan weekly exercise routines. We have the best of intentions but something happens. It all starts to fade away after a few months. It’s a seasonal hope.

We are all searching for something. There is something inside of us missing. It’s almost like a hole that can never be filled.

Well, today I have great news! That hole can be filled. It won’t depend on your situation and circumstances. It won’t depend on what you’re going through whether mental, physical or spiritual. It’s a hope that is not seasonal. It’s an eternal hope that will fill all those holes. His name is Jesus! Our joy can ALWAYS be found in him instead of ourselves, others, the world or anything in it.

If you have decided to follow Jesus then listen up! Jesus is still the answer. Just because we are believers doesn’t mean we are perfect. We still get side tracked from time to time. But looking to him for our joy is and will always be the answer.

Paul says he has learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need in any and every circumstance through the One who gives him strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

How do we do that?

You know where to find the answer, don’t you? We can find it in the one truth here on this earth, The Bible. Let’s take a look and see what it says but first we need to know that our battles are spiritual. Are you going through something right now? It’s spiritual! Ponder that for a moment. It is a spiritual battle.

You might say my problem is my husband. He continues to be unfaithful. It’s spiritual.

You might say I lost a child and can’t get over it. It’s a spiritual battle.

You might say I lost my job and I need to provide for my family.

Trust me on this. It’s spiritual but we can stand!

So knowing we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness, I think we are ready to read the scripture.

Ephesians 6:10-19 NASB

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15 And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace,

16 In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

19 And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

It helps us better understand when we can look up words from scripture in the original language and find the definition so that is exactly what we are going to do. Ready?

Verse 10 tells us to “be strong in the Lord”

strongendunamoo (en-doo-nam-o-o) – to make strong, vigorous, to strengthen. Metaphorically, of the mind.

Of where? The mind. In the mind is where it all starts.

Although, I didn’t go into great detail of my struggle I mentioned it consumed me. It consumed my mind. I believed the lie that it would not get better. The lies of the devil. We need to use the knowledge of the Lord. By using the knowledge we know of the Lord through His Word we can stand.

What does Paul say next in verse 10?

“And in the strength of His might”

strengthkratos (kra-os) – power

mightischus (is-koo) – power, potency, preeminence

It’s His strength from His power. What a relief for us.

Now we get to how we can do this. Look at verse 11!

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

schememethodeia (meth-od-i-ah) – to trace out with method and skill, to use, to deal artfully.

The devil has a plan. He has a method and we should too. The Lord has provided us with the perfect protection, but we have to pick it up and use it.

The next verse (verse 12) is important. We need to understand and remember that we do not struggle or wrestle against flesh and blood. Our struggle is against spiritual forces of wickedness. Go ahead and read it again.

Are you ready to take up that armor and stand firm? Together we will walk through each piece of armor discovering what it is and how to use it. We need each and every piece, and we need to put it on daily. It’s a lot to take in and put into practice, so we can split it up into several lessons.

Will you travel through these verses with me?

I hope so.

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If you’ve found your joy in Jesus, share it!