Monday, January 31, 2011

Meeting Jeannie Lawson

By Mary Vee

Glady's Thoughts

photo courtesy SamHakes
I thought Jenni Lawson would be in Tientsin, where my boat docked. She wasn't. I search for the mission society in the city. The person at the front desk gave me a message from her. 
I won't be able to meet you in Tientsin. Mr. Lu will bring you to Yangcheng
I looked at the other side of the paper hoping to find more instructions, but it was blank. 

Mr. Lu came through the back door. He bowed. "Miss Aylward, so nice to meet you.  I will take you to Yangcheng. Are you ready?"

Actually, I felt exhausted and wanted a bath, some fresh clothes, maybe a few hours sleep. "Um, yes. I'm ready."

We boarded a crowded train. I knew I shouldn't be picky, but the compartment had lumpy seats and the train bounced up, down the whole trip.  I felt more seasick on the train than on the ship I just left.  

When the train stopped in Peking, Mr. Lu arranged for rooms at an inn for the night. I grew exicted to take a bath and change my clothes. I stepped into my room and found no bath, or sink to clean myself. The room smelled aweful. I barely slept that night.

The next morning Mr. Lu rushed me to our bus. We traveled on paths too narrow and bumpy for the bus. Huge rocks poked through the ground which threw the bus around. I grabbed onto the seat in front of me to keep my balance.At times I could look straight down the mountainside.  I didn't know if we'd tumble over the edge or not.

The bus spashed through rivers and creeks. I think he thought the road went underwater!

Once we arrived in Teschchow, Mr. Lu took me to a mission station to rest. The next morning he helped me climb on a mule.  "This mule litter will take us to Yangchen, Miss Aylward."  I smiled on the outside and trembled on the inside. I'd never ridden a mule before.  I didn't know if I could stay on one.

I can't believe I thought the bus rocked too much.  My mule wobbled much more.  My back hurt, my legs hurt, my everything hurt.  I felt bruises on top of bruises.  I rode that mule for two days through mountain ranges and many rivers. My clothes held the cold river water freezing my bones. I asked poor Mr. Lu, "How much longer?" at least a hundred times. He always smiled and answered, "Not much further, Miss Aylward."

Late on the second mule day, Mr. Lu stopped in front of a gate. "This is Yangcheng." 

The next minute, an older woman came to the gate.  She had to be Mrs. Lawson!

Next week, I'll tell you what we did.

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spies in the Promised Land

By Mary Vee
Numbers 13:1-22

Caleb's Thoughts

The Lord led us north to the Wilderness of Paran. We had to be near the Promised Land. 

My father had told me Promised Land stories passed down to him and his father from Judah, the leader of our tribe. He said the land give everyone of our people plenty of milk, honey, pastureland, building supplies, and any thing else we'd need to live a great life.

We hadn't camped in the Wilderness long before Moses ask to meet with the family leaders. I joined Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Joshua, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Guel at the meeting place.

Moses invited us into the tent. I thought he'd be tired after the journey, but he had a bounce in his step and an adventure look on his face. He leaned forward on his staff. "Men, the Lord has called you to spy out the land known as the Promised Land." 

"Now! We finally get to go?" We raised our fists high in the air and cheered.  Joshua slapped me on the back. "There you see now, my friend, I told you."

"Told me what?" 

He laughed. "I told you we'd go into the Promised Land soon."

"You did not."

Moses raised his hands to quiet us. "Men, you are to go into the South up to the mountains to see
if the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many;
if the land is good or bad; 
whether the cities are like camps or strongholds; 
whether the land is rich or poor; 
and whether there are forests or not.  
Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land."
We are all excited to hear your report.

The next morning we grabbed weapons and enough food to last until we crossed the border; we'd survive off the land afterwords. I couldn't wait to see our new homeland.

We moved up through the South toward the mountains, never seen by the Canaanites.The hills and valley had soft green grass. Wheat and barley crops with healthy plants lined the countryside. Rich cities with strong walls bustled with business.To think, with the Lord's help, this would soon be our land.

Each night the twelve of us talked about what we saw. Ten of the men grumbled more each time. Shammua complained, "We can't conquer these people. They're taller than us."

Shaphat shook his head, "We're like grasshoppers to them. They'll squash us before we raise our weapons." 

They all had complaints.They grumbled louder with every word. I couldn't take it any more. "Look, the Lord will take care of us.  He'll win the battles. You see the vineyards, wheat and barley, and cities, don't you?  We'll grow crops and raise our children in this wonderful place. Don't back out now."

Ammiel rolled his eyes. "We'll never win a battle against these giants. Then what will you do, Caleb? How will you save you family? Go ahead and try to grow your crops with them looking over you, waiting for the right moment to steal your land back and turn your loved ones into slaves." He pushed his hand toward me. "Not me. I'll keep my family safe--far from here."

Joshua leaned forward. "What's the matter with you? How can you say we won't conquer this land.Have you forgotten the plagues in Egypt, and the Red Sea?  Think about it, my brothers. The Lord has given us this land. All we have to do is take it."

Gaddie picked up a stone and tossed it into the fire. "The plagues and the Red Sea are in the past, Joshua. You and Caleb are out to get us all killed. I vote no."

Joshua and I only had a few nights left to convince them.

Sometimes we become afraid when God gives us difficult things to do. Will Caleb and Joshua convince the ten men to change their minds? Come back next week to see what happens.

1. What did Moses tell the spies to do?
2. Why were these men chosen to be the spies?
3. Why were the ten spies afraid?
4. What did the men see in the Promised Land?
5. What did Caleb and Joshua want to do?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Brothers Prayed for Me; I'm Forgiven

By Mary Vee
Numbers 12:10-16

Miriam's Thoughts

My hands, my face, my whole body had leprosy.  Just like that.

Fear bubbled from my feet to my head causing every bone to tremble.  I looked at my brother, Aaron, and then at Moses but could barely see them through tears.  How can I breathe? 

The Lord punished me. What did I say? Oh yes, I remember now.  The words played over and over in my mind, "Did the Lord speak only through Moses? Hasn't he also spoken through us?" I complained to Aaron yesterday as we walked about all the attention Moses got.  Because of my words, Aaron joined in complaining with me. I said such cruel words.

My legs crumbled to the ground.  Why did I say those words?  Will God ever let me worship Him again?

Between sobs I heard Aaron cry out to Moses, "Oh my lord! Please don't lay this sin on us." I wiped my eyes and saw him fall before Moses.  He pressed his hands together. "My lord, we have been foolish in this sin. Please don't let her be as one dead, whose skin is half gone!"

I closed my arms around my stomach and wept as I never had before.  Not because of the pain, or the leprosy, but because I had sinned against my brother, Moses, and the Lord.  Only yesterday I remembered my friends who complained against the Lord when they wanted special food. And now, here I am, guilty of the same sin.

My sweet brother, Moses, lifted his eyes toward the sky. He raised his arm to heave and cried, "Please heal her, O God, I pray!"  

Even though I said cruel words against him, Moses prayed to God to heal me.

Tears soaked the ground.

The Lord, the Great God in Heaven, answered, "Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be return."

He forgave me?  The Lord forgave me for speaking cruel words about His chosen worker?  He forgave me for my jealousy?

During the seven days I camped alone, I listened to the people sing praises to God. I heard their laughter and the children play.  I longed to be with them. Day by day my heart healed.

Day by day, I thanked the Lord for forgiveness, for my brothers, for my life, for my family, and for His Love.

The people waited for me.  They didn't move the camp and leave me behind.  God's cloud stayed over the Tabernacle until the seven days ended. 

My heart has changed.

1. What did Miriam do wrong?
2. What was her punishment?
3. Who prayed for her?
4. What did Miriam learn?
5. What did you learn?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Russian Escape--Gladys Aylward

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's thoughts..

I can't help but think of songs that praises God. Every time I have a problem, He has taken care of me in ways I'd never imagine. 

photo courtesy of dantada
If you recall my story from last week, Thrown off the Train I barely escaped the hotel with my passport. The Russian investigator would have forced me to work as a machinist in Siberia. There was no way I'd let that happen. God called me to be a missionary in China.

Down by the shipyard, a man and his daughter must have noticed my panicked behavior.  He spoke with a kind voice. "Can I help you?"

In truth I didn't know if he should be trusted. Since he had a kind voice and a daughter by his side, I took a chance. "I need to get to China. A Russian investigator came to my hotel room and stole my passport. He said I had to work in Russia. I escaped but don't how to leave the country before they find me."

The man looked around as though searching for spies. His daughter held out her hand and smiled. Could they be the ones God sent me?  The man lowered his head and whispered, "Follow me. I can get you on a Japanese freighter tonight. From there you can sail to China."

We hurried through the shipyard maze.  His daughter followed his instructions and kept silent. I wondered if they helped others escape Russia.  A few minutes later we stood before a freighter. The man glanced to his left and right, "Hurry on board before you're seen." He and his daughter smiled then disappeared behind a building. I wish I could have thanked them.  

The boat sailed for two days in the Sea of Japan before docking. The British Consulate helped me get on a ship bound for China. A little more than two days later the wonderful shores of China greeted me. Thousands of people moved about the shipping area.

When I was a child, the kids at my school made fun of my black hair. All the popular girls had blonde hair. They bullied me and called me names. I never thought I'd thank God for black hair. But today, I stepped off the boat dock onto Chinese soil where people crowded the streets near the ship yard. Guess what I saw--every person had black hair!  My heart leaped. I ran my fingers through my hair and said, "Thank you, God, for my black hair."

My journey wasn't over, yet.  Mrs. Lawson made arrangements for me to ride a train, a bus, and finally a mule to my new home in Yangchen. I couldn't wait to meet her.

Next week I'll tell you about Jeannie.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mutiny in the Desert

By Mary Vee
Numbers 12:1-10

Miriam's Thoughts

Many of my friends gobbled the quail as though they'd never eat again. Unfortunately that's exactly what happened. Each one of them suffered from a plague and died. They shouldn't have grumbled against the Lord.  I miss them. I miss the laughing and singing and joking we did together to pass the time. 

The Lord led us to northeast to Hazeroth the day after the plague ended. I walked alone. I did a lot of thinking on that walk. My brother Moses had married an Ethiopian woman. This had bothered me for a long time, but during my thinking time, it made me angry. How could he marry her? Why not marry an Israelite?

I didn't realize I had been grumbling out loud until Aaron came up to me. "What are you mad about?"

"Mad? Oh, nothing."

Aaron smiled his goofy smile. "Come on. Tell."

"Well, if you must know. I don't think Moses should have married that Ethiopian woman."

He nodded and did one of his usual grunts when he's unhappy. "I don't like it either. He isn't the only one the Lord speaks to. We're important, too!"

Well, we complained about Moses for the rest of the journey to Hazeroth. It didn't make me feel better; in fact, I became angrier. A crowd of people gathered near Aaron and me. Soon they grumbled against Moses as well.

When we arrived at Hazeroth, our people set up camp, including the Tabernacle. I didn't feel like eating dinner--I didn't sleep well that night either.

The next morning, the Lord called Moses, Aaron, and me to the Tabernacle. He had never done that before.  My hands grew sweaty and my heart raced. Had we displeased the Lord? As we stood outside the Tabernacle the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the doorway. He called Aaron and me.   We looked at each other with wide eyes. I bit my lower lip and stepped forward.

The Lord spoke, "Moses is faithful above all others. I speak to prophets among you in dreams, but to Moses I speak face to face. Even plainly, and not with mysteries. He sees the form of the Lord. You should have been afraid to speak against My servant Moses."

I couldn't speak.  How did He know what we said? My hands trembled. I looked at Aaron then at my hands.  My skin had turned white--completely white. I had leprosy!

I--I will write more next time.

1. What happened to some of Miriam's friends?
2. What was Miriam angry about?
3. Who did she tell?
4. What did they decided to do?
5. Who heard what they talked about?
6. What did the Lord do?
7. What did you learn?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Leaving Mt. Sinai

By Mary Vee
Leviticus, Numbers 1-11:35

Joshua's Thoughts

I remember the day we dedicated the tabernacle to the Lord. The camp cheered throughout the night. During the days that followed we sat under the greatest teacher, the Lord, Himself. 

Through Moses, He taught His rules and commandments.  I enjoyed every class.

I practiced each new rule before allowing myself to fall asleep. During the day, I arrived first for class. God taught with patience. It took us a long time to understand and remember the rules.  He always knew when we could learn more.

One month and twenty days after Moses finished assembling the Tabernacle, our classes ended and the Lord's cloud rose high above the Tabernacle.  It wasn't sudden.  Moses warned everyone to pack their belongings for a journey.

I was ready to leave. We'd camped at the base of Mt. Sinai for about one year and I wanted to see the Promised Land.  Don't misunderstand. We needed the time to change from a group of Egyptian slaves to an Israelite people. We've learned to worship, work, and live with each other--at least most of us. Next, we needed to become a country in our land.  

We followed the cloud north for three days journey to the Wilderness of Paran where we set up camp.  A few people who traveled with us complained about not having meat.  We'd eaten manna that the Lord rained on the camp each day for quite some time. The few troublemakers walked about the camp stirring up others to demand meat until a large number complained to Moses.

Moses went off by himself to speak with the Lord.  He didn't look happy. When Moses returned he made an announcement, "The Lord will provide meat."  Instead of saying thank you or apologizing for complaining, they shouted, "It's about time," and grumbled other things.

That night, a great wind came from the direction of the sea.  We hid inside our tents and brought the animals inside for protection.  A few forgotten pots and tools blew away. After the wind quieted, we stepped outside our tents and found quail fluttering around the camp.  

The people looked to the east and found quail stacked about three feet high. We looked to the north, south, and west and found the birds stacked the same all around the camp.  The people grabbed their baskets to gather meat for their families.  I couldn't believe how greedy they acted. There was enough quail to feed all of us with much left over.

The greedy ones from our camp worked all night and the next day gathering all the meat they could carry. Some walked a mile in different directions from the camp to find the last of the quail. Women hurried to heat their pots to cook the meat for their families.  Without thanking the Lord first, they stuffed the meat into their mouths. But something strange happened as they took that first bite.  All the greedy ones became terribly sick and died.  

I walked over to Moses. He shook his head and whispered, "When will they ever learn to trust and obey the Lord?"

1.  Where did the people go after leaving Mt. Sinai?
2.  Who led them?
3.  What did the people want after arriving a the new place?
4.  Who did they complain to?
5.  What did God give them? How did He do it?
6.  Why did God punish the greedy people?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thrown Off the Train-Gladys Aylward

By Mary Vee

Missionary Mondays 

Gladys Aylward's thoughts...

Well, this wasn't a problem I expected to deal with at all. 

photo courtesy of

I watched the train pull away from the station without me.  

The conductor didn't escort me off the train, as a lady should be treated. Oh, no no no. He nearly pushed me down the stairs while jabbering something in Russian with a blasting voice. I think his message could have been translated, "What kind of a crazy person are you? Women can't ride on a train with Russian soldiers."  Well, perhaps his message might have been a teensey-bit meaner.

A ghost town would have had more people.  

A cow mooed from somewhere off to my right. A few chickens clucked from the barn on the other side of the tracks. I tried to open the station door, but it was locked.  

My only choice: drag my belongings back to the last train station to board another train, this time without Russian soldiers. I might have walked the 30 miles in 8 hours, but carrying my kettle, bedroll, cans of food, and the few pounds I had left, made it difficult. I heard sounds of war not far away. God will protect me. My kettle and the few cans of food clanked loud enough to wake a dead animal. At least it seemed like it. I kept a sharp eye for soldiers.

I didn't want to sleep on the side of the road. Perhaps a thief or soldier might come to harm me., Instead I continued trudging through the snow and cold back toward the last train station. After walking quite a ways, the freezing wind wouldn't let me take another step. I used my things to protect me until the wind calmed then continued walking.

Perhaps I should have studied a few Russian phrases before leaving England. It seemed wise at the time to spend every free moment studying Chinese and the culture. But how could I have known I'd be thrown off a train in the middle of Russia? I remained confident God would take care of me.

To pass the time and keep my mind off the cold, I hummed a few church tunes, and said few Bible verses to the beat of my steps.

I arrived at the train station in the middle of the night and was thankful to find a bench for sleeping. The next morning I boarded another Trans Siberian train to China.

The rest of the trip across Russia to the last train station in a city called Vladivostok kept the passengers ducking low from gunfire and other war activity. I must admit, the Vladivostok city sign brought a tear of happiness.  

photo courtesy by verbaska
I booked a night in a hotel and planned to board the train to China in the morning. After supper, an Russian investigator knocked on the door. He asked me for my passport. I gladly handed it to him and watched his face.  His eyebrows lowered. "Miss you are machinist?"  

He must not understand the English words, I thought. "No, I'm a missionary."

He pulled my passport further away from me. "No you will be machinist in Russia."

I realized he planned to keep my passport. If he did, I might never get it back. The inspector stood alone at the door. I snatched my passport from his hand, push past him, and ran as fast as I could out of the hotel.

There I stood, a block away wondering what to do. The train station would be guarded. China stood only a short distance away, but the guards wouldn't let me walk across the border. Would I be trapped in Russia?

I'll tell you more next week.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Tabernacle-pt. 5 Putting the Pieces Together

By Mary Vee
Exodus 40

I met with the Lord soon after Bezalel and the others presented their work for the tabernacle.  He gave his approval and told me how and when to put the pieces together. After hearing the news the Israelites cheered. There hasn't been this much excitement in the camp since we crossed the  Red Sea.

I called some trustworthy men to help me assemble the pieces in the order the Lord commanded. The first instruction God gave: start the first day of the first month of the second year.  Imagine, it's been one year since the Lord helped us escape Egypt, already.

On that first day,  we raised the tabernacle walls, the top reached above my head.  We set the bars, boards, curtains, and pillars into place, and held it together at the sockets.

Once the walls stood firm, we spread a tent over the top then laid skin coverings.  The people watching us cheered when the walls and roof stood firm.  

Next, I put the stone tablets the Lord gave me inside the Ark of the Covenant, pushed poles through the rings to help us carry it, and set the Mercy seat on top. It looked magnificent. Four of us carried the Ark to the place farthest inside the Tabernacle. Before I took a break, I hung the veil over the doorway between the small room with the Ark and the rest of the Tabernacle. I took one last look at the Ark before letting the veil fall into place. This would be a memory I wouldn't forget.

Next, I put the golden table on the north side of the room and set the showbread as the Lord commanded. On the south side I placed the golden lampstand and lit each lamp.  My shadow stretched across the floor and up to the showbread on the other side. I couldn't help myself; I sang a praise to the Lord. 

Time for the last piece of furniture, the golden altar of incense.  I placed the table in front of the veil then lit the incense.  It smelled sweet.  At the doorway between the large room and the outside, I hung a screen as the Lord commanded.

On the outside, we set the altar near the door but left some room for the Laver. Once the altar stood in place, I offered a burnt offering and a grain offering to the Lord.  I put the laver between the altar and the door for Aaron and the other priests to wash before entering the Tabernacle then filled it with water.

Last, we hurried to raise the court walls before the sun set. We took the curtains and hung them in a rectangle around the tabernacle, laver and altar to form a court.  To close off the court we hung a screen at the doorway.  I anointed everything in the tabernacle, the court, and all the priests. 


The tabernacle was finished.

Everyone stood in silence and stared.  Moments later the cloud came down and covered the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord filled the whole place.  Every eye watched in awe. How great is our God.

1.  The children of Israel took seven months to make _______________.
2.  Why did Moses put the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle first?
3.  What order did the Lord tell Moses to put the pieces of the tabernacle together?
4.  What happened after Moses put the screen in the doorway of the court?
5.  What would you have done if you would have been in the crowd when the cloud came on the tabernacle?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Tabernacle-pt, 4-Look at What We Made!

By Mary Vee
Exodus 39:32-40:38


Each day of the last seven months I stopped by Bezalel's shop to watch him work. The Lord has truly blessed his mind and hands.  The Ark of the Covenant (you can read his story here) and the other furniture he made had lines and pictures carved in such a way only a gifted artist with years of study could master. And the priestly clothes he made for Aaron and his sons had threads of gold mixed in with other fine threads to form a design worthy of a high ranking official.  Everything he made amazed me.

Late last night, Joshua reported the last project for the tabernacle had been completed. I got up early and instructed my helpers not to let anyone in to see me; I would only meet with Bezalel. Any other problems would have to wait for another time.

Not long after breakfast a crowd of people gathered outside my tent.  I had to laugh because they hushed each other as little children do before giving a wonderful gift.  Before my helpers had a chance to announce them, I stepped out my tent.  Those in the crowd tried not to show their great excitement, but they didn't succeed. They giggled, smiled, and bounced in their sandals.

Bazalel stood in front.  His smile spread wide across his face.  "Moses, we, all of us, wish to present you with the makings of the tabernacle. May our work please the Lord."  He bowed in respect to me then stepped to the side.  One by one the people brought the curtains, boards, bars, pillars, sockets, clasps, coverings, veil, Ark of the Covenant and its poles, Mercy Seat, table, utensils, showbread, golden Lampstand and lamps, oil, golden Altar, sweet incense, screen, bronze altar, grate, laver and base, hangings of the court, cords, pegs, and the priestly garments. Each one gazed at my eyes after presenting their work. My insides burst with happiness.

I could barely breathe. I held each piece presented for the Lord's tabernacle and indeed it had been made as the Lord commanded.  I ran my hand over the carvings and found no slivers. The clothing and curtains had no flaws.  I took a deep breathe and struggle to find words strong enough to reward Bazalel and the other Israelites for their excellent work.

"My people. You have indeed followed the Lord's command in every respect.  You have proven yourselves faithful workers of the great God of Israel." The crowd burst into cheers.  

After their voices calmed somewhat, I raised my hand to speak.  "And now I wish to bless you." They quieted and bowed.  "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord give you peace."

Those who worked to make the tabernacle celebrated the rest of the day with song and dance. They certainly deserved it. 

After the problem with the golden calf (you can read that story here) I hoped with all my heart that the people would enjoy this project and put their best into making the tabernacle piece.  I guess they proved me wrong, for they excelled far above my hopes.  I'm so proud of their work and dedication to the Lord's tabernacle.

And now, I shall meet with the Lord to get his approval to start putting the tabernacle together.   

Sure feels good when others like your work, doesn't it?

1. Who lead the Israelite workers to make the tabernacle pieces?
2. Who did they present their work to?
3. What made Moses happy?
4. How had this group of Israelites changed since the golden calf problem?
5. What did you learn?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wild Train Trip to China-Gladys Aylward

By Mary Vee

 Gladys Aylward's thoughts...

Last week I wrote to you about wanting to be a missionary in China.  Actually, it seemed no one else thought I should go. In my heart, I knew God wanted me to tell people in China the Gospel.

Think about a time you wanted to go somewhere so badly you couldn't think of anything else but being at that place. When the time came to leave, you hurried to the cab or carriage and held your breath, waiting for it to leave.  Oh, yes, that was how I felt, too.

Let me take you to that day:

photo courtesy of hurley_gurlie
I boarded a train in Liverpool, England with a crowd of passengers and left instructions with my family and friends to not bring me back home, no matter what news they received about my trip to China. God would take care of me.

My ticket paid for a bench seat in a crowded train car.  I didn't mind.  Ever since the speaker told me about Jesus that night at church I wanted to share His love with others.  I may have sat up straight on the train seat like a good English woman, but my insides danced like wild butterflies.

The conductor shouted, "All aboard," seconds before the train chugged forward. I looked out the window and waved goodbye to England.

photo courtesy great
Look at the black line on the map. My train ride started on the left side and would take me through Europe, across Russia, and into China. My trip would last 20 days.

By the start of the second day, my neck muscles complained about sitting  up all night;  I couldn't afford the ticket for a sleeping compartment. 

We had stopped several times to add passengers and drop off others.  By this time I had traveled through Germany.

photo courtesy of
Most of the people on the train planned to travel to Moscow. Only a few could speak English. One person told me the conductor would not allow me to travel all the way to China due to the fighting.  "You wouldn't want to travel through a war zone, now, would you, Dear?"

I tried to explain my desire to be a missionary in China.  She laughed. "Well, then, you should have boarded a ship.  If I were you, I'd return to England at once."

photo courtesy
The train thumped through part of Russia. There was a stop where the last of the people left the train.  I knew we hadn't arrived near China so I stayed in my seat.  The conductor walked through the train car, checking each seat.  Maybe he wanted to collect lost items.  As he walked close to my seat he stopped then yelled in Russian.  I had no idea what he said.  

His face turned red with anger. He waved his arms toward the door.  When he saw I wouldn't move, he reached for my luggage.  I shook my head and said no. I showed him my ticket. Before he could say another word a large group of Russian soldiers boarded the train.  They pushed the conductor aside and filled the seats.
photo courtesy of morgue
He continued shouting and waving his arms at me. Soon the train moved forward.  I didn't know what he said, but I had no plans to leave the train.  We traveled about thirty miles to the next station.  When the train stopped, the conductor returned to my seat.  He grabbed my luggage and my arm and forced me to leave the train!

There I stood at an empty train station, in the cold, with no food, map, or any idea what to do next.  I couldn't speak Russian.  What could I do?

I'll tell you more next week.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Tabernacle-pt.3 Aaron's Special Clothes

By Mary Vee
Exodus 38:9-39:31

chosen by God
and given wisdom and understanding in every kind of workmanship

My work on the tabernacle has lasted several months. I've never enjoyed a project more.  

Each time I held gold or acacia wood in my hands, I wondered: what would God help me make?  Well, I knew what the furniture was supposed to be, but I didn't know what it would look like in the end.

When I started making the cherubim, you know--the angels on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, I had no idea they would be such a work of art.  I look at my hands and laugh because God used these hands of mine to make the magnificent furniture for His Tabernacle.
Moses seemed quite pleased with my work.  He peeked into my shop each day to look at the progress. After finishing the Altar, the last piece of furniture, Moses told me to make the Court of the Tabernacle.  Oh, yes! This would keep me busy for quite a while. 

I trained workers to help me make sixty pillars, the curtains, and basically everything needed to form the Court.  We set the completed pieces in organized piles for the day Moses would let us put the Tabernacle together.  This part of the project lasted quite awhile.

Moses called me to his tent after a messenger reported we'd finished the Court.  "Bezalel, your work surpasses my imagination.  The Lord truly has blessed your hands and mind."

I never thought I'd receive such a compliment.  "Thank you, Moses."

"And now, I have another project.  You are to make the priestly garments.  Start with my brother Aaron's garments since he is the high priest."  

He gave me the Lord's instructions and had me repeat the information until I understood.  No wonder this garment would belong to the high priest.  Look at this picture!

I gathered fine woven linen, blue, purple and scarlet thread. Next, the workers and I beat gold into thin sheets and cut it into threads.  We took all the threads and wove a fancy design into an apron called an ephod to be worn over the main garment.  We added special jewels, engraved with each tribe's name and set in gold. 

Next we made a breastplate to go over the apron with the same design and a blue robe with a binding strong enough to keep it from tearing. We made pomegranates and bells to hand from the hem of the blue robe. Last we made the white tunic to wear under the blue robe and a turban for the priest's head.

When we finished the Lord's instructions I looked at our work.  This  garment would make even the Pharaoh jealous. 

1. Who was the high priest?
2. What is another word for the apron the priest wore?
3. Who did God want to make the priest's clothes?
4. What all did the priest need to wear?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Tabernacle-pt. 2-Willing Worker

By Mary Vee

Exodus 36:3-38-31
chosen by God 
and given wisdom and understanding in every kind of workmanship

Last night, I fell asleep the second my head hit  my mat.  It had been a long time since my muscles did a solid days work.  It felt so good.
Aholiab and I planned to get up early this morning to continue setting up the work stations for the Tabernacle.  We need more yarn spun, fabric woven, the furniture, utensils, there's enough work to keep all the willing workers busy for months. 

The Lord blessed many of the people with specific skills. Today, I plan to group the people and finish sorting the offerings from the people.  You should see the piles of threads, skins, metals, why it's unbelievable!  Each morning the people bring more offerings. I barely know what to do with what we have.

I toured the first work stations a little while ago. The workers talked and laughed as they worked.  I haven't seen the people this happy in a long time.

Aholiab and I went over the Lord's directions for making the Tabernacle this morning.  The design is perfect.  God thought of everything!  We have all the supplies, the design will house all the people who come to worship, and it's portable which will allow us to break it down easily for transporting to new locations.

A few of the workers came to me earlier today.  "Bezalel, the people need to stop bringing offerings.  We have more than we need."  

I went with them to Moses to deliver the report. I wish you could have seen Moses' face.  He smiled as wide as the desert and slapped his knee in delight.  He looked toward the sky, nodded, then looked back at us. "Guess I'll have to ask the people to stop bringing offerings for now."

The people sang more at night.  They praised the Lord throughout the day. No one wanted to take a break from their work. What joy filled the camp.

Ten curtains made of fine linen, blue, purple, and scarlet thread with cherubim designed into the fabric had been completed first. Next curtains to go over the top of the tabernacle had been made of goat's hair and others from ram skins. We used acacia for the boards inside the tabernacle.

While the workers spent time making curtains, and cutting the boards, I made the Ark of the Covenant. I formed the box with acacia wood, lined it with pure gold on the inside and out, formed rings of gold and set them on the corners, and formed two acacia rods dipped in pure gold to slide inside the rings.

I spent the most time crafting two cherubims to sit facing each other on the lid.  Their wings reached above them to cover the mercy seat.  Next I made the Table for the Showbread, the Gold Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, the Altar, Bronze Laver, and the Court of the Tabernacle.

I went to bed exhausted each night, and rose excited to work on the tabernacle the next morning. This has been the best time of my life.

God gives all willing workers an opportunity to serve Him...including you and me:)

1.  Who are the two men God chose to lead the project for making the Tabernacle?
2.  Why was Bezalel and many of the people in the camp happy?
3.  What items did Bezalel make by himself? (hint there are 7)
4.  Why did Bezalel go to bed tired each night?
5.  How could you be happy like the children of Israel?

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Won't Give Up- Gladys Aylward

By Mary Vee

Missionary Mondays 

Gladys Aylward's thoughts...

courtesy of

Have you ever tried to do something then hear the words, don't bother, you can't do that?  I have.

Have you tried to do something but then have something go wrong? I have.

Times like this a thought popped in my head: Why bother? It'd never work. I may as well quit.

I decided I wouldn't listen. I decided to finish doing what  I need to do. I decided not to quit--ever.

Let me start from the beginning.

I must admit, I didn't do well in school.  I finished elementary school, but that's all.  My family didn't have a lot of money, just enough  to feed my brother, sister, and I. Dad worked hard in the church; at least he had a job when others didn't. When I turned 14, I took my first job as a clerk in a store, then I took a position as a nanny, and finally I found work as a parlor maid

I liked the parlor maid job the best. Each day I cleaned rich people's homes.  I loved dusting their books in the library, and the other duties as well. I'd probably never live in a home like the one I cleaned, but I sure enjoyed working in them.

photo courtesy kconnors
One night, after I'd turned 26 years old, I went to a special church meeting after work.  The speaker told me about Jesus and also said many people in China had never heard the Gospel. I asked Jesus into my heart that night. The speaker's words, the ones about the people in China, kept jumping into my head. My dreams, and thoughts for the next several days wouldn't stop saying "Go to China and tell the people about Jesus."  But how could I do that?

I found the China Inland Mission in London and applied for missionary training.  The classes met most of the day.  I tried my best with each assignment and studied for the exams. At the end of the program, the school sent me a letter. I ripped it open excited to see if I'd been accepted as a missionary to China. Sadly, the letter said I was too old to learn the Chinese language and not qualified to be a missionary. Not qualified to be a missionary? What would I do now?

Since I needed money for food, I found work as a parlor maid, again. The work and the owners of the house were nice, but I couldn't help thinking about China.  God wanted me to go. I needed to go. How could I get to China if the mission said they would not send me?  I needed to find my own way to get to China.

I spent only what money I absolutely needed to live and saved the rest for my trip to China. The owners of the home thought I was crazy for wanting to go to China by myself, but they gave me extra work whenever they could. 

photo courtesy SamHakes
One day, someone told me about Jeannie Lawson, a 73-year-old missionary in China who needed help. She wanted to open an inn for the mule train people to give them a place to sleep, eat, receive care for their animals, and hear a story about Jesus. She needed a younger woman to come work with her.  Wahoo!  Would this be my chance to go to China and tell people about Jesus?

I wrote her right away and asked if I could come help.  Jeannie wrote back: "Yes." She didn't care that I didn't have high grades, or that the mission said I wasn't qualified. She only said I'd needed to pay for my ticket to China. Most missionaries traveled by ship to get from England to places like Africa or India.  It would take years to buy passage on a ship.  This would be expensive.

I couldn't give up. Not now!

photo courtesy lespowell
I gathered the money I'd saved the last few years, walked to the train station, and asked for the cost of a ticket to China.  The man told me the train traveled across Russia.  The trip would be dangerous because the Russians and Chinese were fighting.  I didn't care.  God would protect me.  I held my head high, smiled, and asked the price again. He looked in his book then softly said the price.  I couldn't believe my ears, I had the full price, plus a little extra!

When you know God wants you to do something, never stop trying.

Next week I'll tell you about my wild train trip to China.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Tabernacle-pt. 1-Chosen

By Mary Vee

Exodus 35:4-36:3
chosen by God 
and given wisdom and understanding in every kind of workmanship

A little while back, Moses called a meeting.  Everyone gathered outside the camp to a place we could see Moses at the same time.  Since he invited everyone and not just the elders, I knew it had to be an announcement for everyone. He told us about the commandments and showed us the tablets the Lord wrote.  It was good to hear God's laws, but to tell you the truth many of us had become bored.

There was nothing to do. We couldn't plant crops in the desert soil, besides we didn't know when the Lord would tell us to pack our things and move to a new place.  It'd been more than three months since we left Egypt.

If only we had some project to do, maybe the people would get along better.

After he finished teaching the commandments and talking about the feasts, Moses told us to bring an offering to the Lord. He said, "Whoever had a willing heart should bring an offering of gold, silver, or bronze; blue, purple, scarlet thread, fine linen, or goat's hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, or acacia wood; oil for the light, or spices for the anointing oil; onyx stones, or other precious stones."

Actually, we all had plenty of the things Moses wanted.  The Egyptians gave us so many gifts the night before we left we had to stack them high in our carts.  Masters and ladies of houses, Egyptian workers, even Egyptian slaves threw metal, threads, skins, wood, and oil at us then shouted, "Leave. Never come back."

That was before they changed their minds and sent the army after us, but your can read about that adventure here:  Egyptian Wealth

Anyway, after Moses' announcement to bring offerings he asked for gifted artisans to make whatever the Lord commanded for the tabernacle.  I can't believe it, we finally had a project!

I liked to work with my hands so I volunteered right away.  Just think, me, a builder of the tabernacle for the Lord. Something to do!

Of course, many others volunteered to help, both men and women. Moses didn't push anyone into helping. He always said, "Those who are willing..." each time he asked for something.  No one was forced to work or give at any time.

The next morning a large group of women gathered in one area of the camp. They talked and laughed as they spun yarn by hand.  When they finished making a large bundle, they took the blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen to those who would weave fabric.

The offerings grew.  It looked fantastic.  This Tabernacle will be great.

A few days later, Moses gathered everyone together for more instruction.  I ran to the front of the group, anxious to hear what we'd do next.  He silenced the people then looked at me. "People of Israel, the Lord has called by name Bezalel, the..."

Wait a moment, what did Moses say? The Lord named me? Out of all the Israelites, the Lord picked me?  A deep breath later I could listen to more.

"He has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting , in carving wood, to teach and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship."

The Lord chose me for this job? I'm not gifted.  I'm not special.  Before I thought another work, ideas filled my mind; I couldn't wait to get to work!

Moses then said:  "And the Lord called Aholiab from the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work as the engraver, designer, and tapestry maker, those who do every work and those who design artistic works.  You, Bezalel and Aholiab, along with every gifted artisan in who the Lord has put wisdom and understanding to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary shall do according to all He has commanded."

Moses took Aholiab and me to where the offerings had been gathered.  "Here are the offerings which the Israelites brought for making the tabernacle."

I looked at Aholiab smile and nodded. He did the same back. We both started talking at once, sharing our thoughts how to start the project.  We talked for several hours after supper. We never disagreed or argued.

I couldn't was like the night before we left Egypt.

Aholiab and I were chosen to lead the building of the Tabernacle!


1. Who all volunteered to help build the Tabernacle?
2. Who did the Lord chose to lead the building of the Tabernacle?
3. Where did the building supplies come from?
4. Why do you think the Lord chose Bezalel and Aholiab to lead the building of the Tabernacle?
5. If you had been there, would you have brought offerings? If yes, what would you have brought?
6. If you had been there, would you have volunteered to help? If yes, what would you have wanted to do?
7. If you had been there, would you have to give an offering or volunteer to help?  Why or why not?