Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Inasmuch, Ron

There are those who talk, those that write, and those who act. Ron and Sue Bates have been among those who act for the street children, orphans, and homeless of Romania for over 15 years. Let’s face it, many of us who live in the United States are so spoiled by modern conveniences that we would rather “minister” via a website or blog than to get our hands dirty helping others or to pass on the love of God by hugging a homeless person.

For some, physical ministering is not an option and thus blog postings to encourage others are an act of service. But many physically able folks – in particular the younger generations – often have time on their hands (witness the rising crime rate among the young) and serving others would be not only practical but it would help them to grow in character.

Remember, one definition of “minister” is to attend to the wants and needs of others. It does not merely mean to preach. Sometimes it means listening to a stranger ramble or an elderly person recount the same stories over and over, or to work with those society has cast off and abandoned. Some folks don’t know how to be still and listen or to act; they only know how to “preach.”

There are many in Romania who have experienced the love of God through Ron and Sue Bates. Their Inasmuch Foundation is based on Matthew 25:40. Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these.....my street kids and orphans....you have done it unto me.

These are quotes taken from today’s Inasmuch Newsletter.

“Ron was, as we are, imperfect, but he always wanted his love for his orphan girls, street kids, blind people and the gypsy believers to be perfect. His greatest ministry was with the gypsies. Ron’s gift was preaching the gospel and expounding God's word. He loved God's word and always appreciated the hungry, open heart of the gypsy Christians. He frequented the village of Goloshei and because of his great love for them and their common love for the Lord Jesus he wants to be buried in that village, so Thursday we will celebrate his home going.

“Ron was born in Ft. Worth, Texas. He was saved when he was 16 and spent the rest of his life preaching God's word and learning more about the kind of God we really have. Our wonderful workers and I, Lord willing, will continue the work as Ron would desire. Perhaps someone will come here to work alongside us. I would like this to be my legacy, also to serve with the Romanian people for my remaining years.

“Ron and I were married October 7th 1961. We have spent four years serving in Japan as missionaries and the past 17 years in Romania, privileged to have served the least of these, making our lives happy and fulfilled beyond imagination.” (Emphasis mine.)

Ron Bates’ (August 10th, 1939 - July 31st, 2007) ministry in Romania has ended, but Sue intends to remain and continue their work. If you can spare a moment, you might send her an email of encouragement from the website.

Jeff Taylor has posted a tribute to Ron Bates on his blog Romania and Missions.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Visit Patsy's Miracle

I read the story of the miracle of Patsy’s healing from herpes simplex encephalitis, a virus that attacks the brain, in the newspaper yesterday morning and checked out the website as soon as I sat down at the computer.

God does not answer every prayer for healing in the same manner. On some occasions a patient might be immediately and miraculously healed. Sometimes, despite prayers and everything that can be done medically, the patient will die.

At other times, the healing will be slow, with faith-testing crises and well-meaning friends and medical personnel shaking their heads and predicting imminent death or life as a vegetable. This was what Patsy’s husband Ron faced. His faith was tested as he trusted God to heal his wife. Ron’s faith that God would heal her was so strong that he ordered her a new car while she was still in a “death coma.”

Ron has put up several billboards in heavily traveled areas of Atlanta, Georgia, stating Jesus healed his wife and directing passing motorists to visit their updated website. (Not while they are driving, of course.)

I encourage you to visit their website and read the story of Patsy’s life-threatening illness and her recovery. The story will encourage and uplift you. Visit PatsysMiracle.com


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Beautiful Morning

What a beautiful morning!

The sun is shining. The sky is clear. The birds are singing and there is a spring in my step.

That’s what you assumed I was going to say, isn’t it? Well, it’s not. The sky is overcast and dreary. If the birds are singing, they have turned the volume to “mute.” The spring in my step broke years ago.

But when I walked the dogs earlier this morning, the air was cool and a fine mist enveloped us as we strolled. Yes, for once we strolled. Usually, Buddy is practicing for the Indy 500, Samaritan is making sudden stops to sniff and dig, and Merci’s pace alternates left-right-front-back-stop-sprint.

With rain threatening, we cut our usual walk in half and strolled the route twice. Halfway through the first lap, the mist turned to a fine drizzle. Oh, did that feel good after the hot, humid weather normal for early July.

All that I could think of was how grateful I am to have this lovely weather. Even the fierce storm two days ago was a blessing. Georgia, currently in a drought situation, is desperate for rain. My front lawn has more brown than green showing.

Unfortunately, weeds thrive in this weather. Like sin, weeds need little incentive to take root and spread. After we returned from our walk, I walked the yard, swinging the weed chopper. It only cuts off what shows above ground. It doesn’t kill the root.

And that is how effective human effort is against sin. You can follow all the steps in any number of self-help books on how to change yourself and your life, but human effort can only succeed in cutting off what shows in your life “above ground.” It takes the Holy Spirit working in your heart to dig out and kill the root of sin. It is a painful process but the reward will be eternal.

Yes, indeed, it is a beautiful day. The weeds will be growing, but after the rainfall, so will the grass.