We finally realized why we’re so busy! Summer in Iowa is fairly short! There is MUCH to be done outside during these few months. We live on 7 acres, 2 of which are trees, leaving 5 acres to maintain. In addition, we have 4 outbuildings, 2 of which we use right now. They ALL contain “stuff” left by the previous owner, stuff we need to go through–some looks antique-ish (maybe we could sell) and some looks firepit-ish. So after we come in from the roadside, the rest of the daylight hours are spent working on the most urgent projects! We prioritize and re-prioritize all the time–including what we can realistically get done this summer and what will have to wait until next summer…and possibly the next summer…and so on! In the midst of this, we are so grateful to God and constantly thank Him for positioning us in this house, on this property, in this community, with these people!
We will be celebrating not only our 25th wedding anniversary on July 4th but also 25 years of being in ministry together! There’s no way we can adequately express our gratitude to the Lord for putting us together and for the years we’ve had and for the many years we have ahead of us!
Easter is a time to celebrate FREEDOM! The angel rolled back the stone from Jesus’ tomb, not to let Jesus OUT but to let us IN to see that not only was the tomb empty of the body of Jesus but also empty of our sin and our sickness! Can you imagine running into the tomb and seeing Jesus gone and the cloths that were draped over him nicely folded and laying where He had been? I picture a receipt on top of them that says, “PAID IN FULL!” “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” the angel asks. We are free to live in the blessings of the Lord because everything in us that was dead has now been resurrected with Him! As Chris Tomlin sings, “My chains are gone! I’ve been set free! My God My Savior has ransomed me!” We were once dead. Now we’re alive. We were once a friend. Now we’re a bride! Thank You, Lord, for the empty tomb!
We will be here in Iowa 9 weeks this Saturday! Since Christmas week, we have experienced 3 blizzards, white-out conditions during which we truly felt isolated even though we can normally see Hwy 71 across the empty corn field behind us! The winds in these blizzards have been fierce–and even on most “normal” days, they have still been strong and constant. Winds of change!!! As God spoke to Emil the other day: “It will seem like it’s very bad but it’s very good!” Something is happening and God is moving! And it’s going to be very, very good! So hang onto the Lord because He’s up to something right now!
It has been too long since we posted and we apologize. Emil’s mom, Helen Liko, went home to be with the Lord June 2nd in Prescott, Arizona. We visited her in mid-March, and Emil spoke to her almost daily since. As he says, “She was the foundation of my faith, making sure that we went to church, read the Bible, and learned of the things of the Lord! She was a giant in the faith. However, you could never tell her that because her first reaction would be to tell you to be quiet because she never saw herself that way!” Helen was part of the Vineyard Gilbert in Arizona for over 20 years before moving to Prescott, and her pastor wrote a wonderful tribute: “Helen was a wonderful lady who lived a life of compassion and mercy. For many years she headed up our monthly neighborhood compassion ministry, leading a group of people from our church to give away food and clothes in a poor neighborhood and pray with them. Her favorite part was when people would give their lives to Christ. She engaged with people in the neighborhood, built relationships with them, and found out what they needed and then went out and got it for them. Sometimes it was a couch, or a bed, or kitchen table–all sorts of things for people who were in need. She was a friend of Jesus, a friend of the poor, and a friend of mine. Heaven’s gain is our loss.” We mourn our loss but at the same time are so happy she’s with Jesus, rejoicing in her new life in perfect health and wholeness!
Our Declaration (Verse 2): “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in Him I will trust.'”
Promises to Stand on: No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling (Verse 10). For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways (Verse 11). You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot (Verse 13).
When we went to Walmart here a couple of weeks ago after just returning from a visit to AZ to see Emil’s mom, we noticed all the people who were grabbing items left and right! At first we got upset at the way people were hoarding, and then we began to see the fear and the panic on the faces of the people! And we came to the conclusion that the grocery stores right now are a great place to be able to take the Peace of Jesus to the people who are full of fear and panic! We are going into the stores to pray with people whom we can see are overcome by anxiety and have completely lost their peace. And we would like to encourage you to do the same!
We discovered a great new site and went out Tuesday for 3 hours. No one stopped but we were encouraged by the good reception. We will post pictures and the full story next week.
We lost our beloved nearly 12-year old cat, Moose, to cancer unexpectedly Wednesday and we are working through the grieving process with the Lord. We will be back on the roadside next week.
Emil and I believe with all our hearts that 2019 is going to be a great year! It’s a new season, not just a new year. A word that came forth at a New Year’s Eve gathering was, “I will see to it that 2019 is your most startling year, days of reconstruction and continued rebirth. A year from now things are going to look a lot different!” No matter what is happening in the world, we are going to experience amazing and “startling” things, including breakthroughs for which we’ve been praying! Our expectations for this new year have been growing, especially in the last few weeks of 2018! God’s promises are true and He wants to fulfill them in our lives. Our words are so important. I love what George Pearsons said Sunday, ”This is a year of abundant harvest, in every area in which you have sown.” Then he said, “Expect abundant harvest on the good seed you have sown and declare crop failure on the negative seed you have sown.” I love that! We are watching our words this year because we have experienced more and more that we set our course by our words. Malachi 3:16 says, “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name.” God hears what we say and blesses us accordingly. He wants to bless us! It’s His joy to bless us! My sister Colleen and I were talking this morning and she commented with joy and awe, “Every detail of God is so amazing!” It reminded me that no matter how much we think we know God, there is so much more we don’t know! This year we’re focusing on knowing Him better and better, on speaking words that sow good seed, on the unseen that God is orchestrating on our behalf, and on being aware of the awesome things He’s doing! We are already looking forward to looking back on 2019 and marveling at all He did! Happy New Year everyone!
We have been engrossed in packing up our apartment this month. Our house loan closes tomorrow and we will begin doing some things in the house while moving small things over this weekend. The final part of moving is our furniture, which will be moved next Saturday, March 3rd. We’ll be back with updates then!