Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year

By Mary Vee

What would you like to do in this new year?

Many people make resolutions.

What is a resolution?  To make a firm decision, to do something.

Most decision are short term, made new every day, for the moment: 
To get up in the morning, 
Go to school or work, 
Eat a meal
Be kind, 
Do our work, 
Play fair, 
Be respectful, 
and the list could go for pages. 

During awake times, decisions are made every minute.

A resolution is a decision we choose to make for a longer period of time, like a year. Some people make more than one resolution. 

One of my resolutions for this year is to continue telling Bible and Missionary stories on this blog.

The highlight of my week is to dig into whatever the next Bible story is, research maps, people, commentaries, geography, culture, anything I can find to tell the Bible story to you. I have learned so much!! 

The new year starts with a Bible story about Saul. Interesting timing, eh? The first human king for Israel. Will he do a good job? Will Israel be happy they chose to have a human king? Bible stories will be posted each Wednesday and Saturday.

The Gladys Aylward stories are about to end and yes, I have chosen the next missionary to feature: Hudson Taylor. I have already purchased seven books about him and am digging through those treasures to formulate the new missionary series. Missionary stories will be posted every Monday.

I especially enjoy your visit. 

Did you know this blog has an average of 150-300 different people from countries such as India, Philippines, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Russian federation, United States, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands, Japan, and many more EVERY DAY? 

Each day I dedicate a time of prayer for the people who visit this blog, that means you! May God bless you this year, may He help you grow closer to Him and give you peace.

Mary Vee

P.S. I sure would love to read your comments below. Also, I would be happy to have you indicate in the sidebar that you follow this blog.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saul, Chosen King

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 10

From Saul's Journal

I had waited the seven days in Gilgal as Samuel instructed. 

When he arrived he sent messengers to all the people in the area to meet at Mizpah. Everyone left their work to do what he said. Of course we'd do whatever Samuel said, he was a prophet.

He stood before all the people, his eyebrows pointed down, his angry wrinkles showed, Samuel was mad. This would not be good.

He said, "The Lord God of Israel says, 'I brought you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all kingdoms and from those who hurt you and made you slaves.'" Samuel shook his head and sighed. "But today, you have rejected your God, the One who saved you from all your enemies and the terrible things that happen. You have said to Him, 'No, set a king over us!'

Samuel stood quiet for a minute. I figured we were in deep trouble. Yes, everyone asked for a king. All the countries around us had a king. Samuel's sons couldn't do his job. They disobeyed God's commands more than I did. Were we really suppose to live with his rotten sons as leaders over us?

Well, OK, I do remember Samuel had taken the place of Eli's sons as prophet and head priest. They were rotten and deserve the job as head priest. Which...means someone else could take the job for Samuel's sons, but--oh, I don't know--it sure would be fun to have a king like the other countries. And why not? We are a kingdom, too!
Samuel opened his eyes and said, "Gather together into your own tribal groups and come before me one by one."

It took a few minutes but all the tribes made groups. I belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. Usually when the tribes gather, we went in a certain order. My tribe would be last. 

As each tribal group passed by Samuel he shook his head and said, "No your tribe is not the chosen one." But when my group, the Benjamite tribe, passed by him, Samuel said, "Your tribe is the chose one."

All the other tribes sat down. Samuel then told us to go passed him according to our families. We gathered into groups, I belonged to the Matri family, the last group, again. We walked passed Samuel. He shook his head and said no to each group until my family passed by him. "Yes, the Matri family is the chosen one."

All the other families sat down. Next, Samuel had every Matri family member go before him. When he asked each family member to walk before him something happened to me. My hands shook and my stomach felt queasy. I didn't want to go before Samuel. So, I ran and hid in a place I could see...but not be seen. 

Samuel shook his head no to each person who walked by then said, "Saul, where is he? The one who is not here is the chosen one." He raised his eyes to the sky and said, "Lord, where is Saul?"

The Lord answered, "There he is, hidden among the equipment."

A few men ran toward me, took me by the arms and pulled me to where Samuel stood. I hadn't noticed before, but next to me, Samuel and the other men seemed short.

He said, "Look at the man whom the Lord has chosen. See, there is no one like him among all the people. See how tall he is above all of us."

All the people shouted and cheered at me, "Long live the king!"

Samuel held his hands out to hush everyone. "This is what your king will do: he will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horsemen, some will have to run before the chariots. He will make them serve in his army and others to work as his farmers, and others to fix his equipment. He will take your daughters to work as his cooks, perfumers, and bakers. He will take your land for his own fields and vineyards, and groves. He will take a tenth of your food and give it to his workers. He will take your servants, donkeys and a tenth of your animals to use for himself. 

"But this is what you have chosen over the Lord."

Then he walked away. His face--had such sadness.
1. What tribe did Samuel say God had chosen?
2. What family did Samuel say God had chosen?
3. Who did God choose to be king?
4. Why do you think Saul hid?
5. Did God want the people to have a king? why or why not?
6. What did Samuel say the king would do to the people?

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Prisoners and Mr. Shan

By Mary Vee
From Gladys Aylward's Journal

The governor gave me permission to go into the prison and tell the men about Jesus. He didn't believe that my words would make a difference.

The prison guards lined all the prisoners in rows and ordered them to sit in the court. I walked to the front of the group and told a few Bible stories. It took a while because the men interrupted me constantly with insults, rude noises, and cruel jokes. 

I must admit, at times like these the missionary life can be discouraging--but this did not give me any right to give up. I stood bold and told the Bible stories but when the men left without one person to show an interest in Christ, tears came to my eyes. 

A group of lepers lived outside the city. Several had accepted Christ as their personal savior. Visits to the camp became a highlight to my day. I shared my sadness about the cruel prisoners with several of the lepers who had become my close friends. Each day I went to their camp to pray, share, and tell Bible stories. I told the Christian lepers about the prisoners and how they laughed at the Bible stories.  Several spent hours with me praying for the prisoners.

A few weeks later one prisoner asked Jesus into his heart. Then another and another, soon five men had accepted Christ and willingly stood by me to give their testimony. Still, most of the men laughed and mocked the Bible stories. Oh the mean things they said made me cry when I left.

One day the guards pulled four new prisoners through the prison gate and shoved them to the ground. Chains bound their arms and legs. I didn't know they had murdered several people. God spoke to me as the guards jammed their feet on the prisoner's backs. As I watched God spoke to me, "Go speak with them, Gladys." 

Even with chains to hold these men captive they looked scary. I didn't want to talk to them.God spoke to me again."Tell them I love them just like I love you." Why did God ask me to do difficult jobs? I walked to the guard and asked, "May I speak with these men?"

He growled at me. "No!" I walked to the other side of the court and prayed for a few minutes then returned to the guard and asked again. "May I speak with these men?" Oooooo he became very angry and had me escorted out of the prison. The next time I went to the prison I learned three of the men had been killed. 

The one who still lived in the prison had an angry face. Mr. Shan became the meanest prisoner. He spit in my face and shouted terrible things. The others watched him and copied his horrible ways. I didn't want to be around him, but God asked me to go to the prison EVERY day. I asked all my friends to pray with me for Mr. Shan. Without the prayers of my friends I don't think I could have gone back to the prison each day. Soon others from the city joined me in the prison work.

Months had passed and only a few men accepted Christ. One day the men stood to leave the court for their cells. The guards force them to jog as they left and absolutely no one was allowed to speak. It was then, of course, it had to be at an awkward time, that God told me to speak to Mr. Shan. I didn't want to. No one was allowed to speak as the men jogged out of the court.

God repeated his instructions to me. "Speak to him." My muscles tightened and I couldn't think of words to say. Mr. Shan would soon pass by me. I would break the rules if I spoke to him, but God asked me to. Confused and quite nervous I leaned forward to speak to him as he jogged by and mistakenly touched his shoulder. "Mr. Shan, aren't you tired of feeling angry?"

He whipped his body in my direction. I thought he might hit me. "What do you care?"

I took a deep breath and said, "Because, my heart is content."

He growled and squinted. "Sure. Anyone who can leave this prison at any time would be content." 

His eyes pierced my heart. I didn't want him to hurt me, but I needed to finish no matter what happened. "I am content for quite a different reason, Mr. Shan. I know Jesus loves me and to prove His love He died for my sins."

When he left the court I realized I had done a terrible thing. In China: no woman is allowed to touch a man in public. Had I ruined an opportunity to tell this man about Christ? 

The next day, one of the Christian prisoners came to me and told me what happened after Mr. Shan left the court. The prisoner said Mr. Shan sat down in the inner court and refused to look at anyone. He asked Mr. Shan if he needed help. Mr. Shan raised his head. Tears filled his eyes as he spoke, "She touched my shoulder as one who cares, truly cares. No one has ever cared about me."

The prisoner stayed with Mr. Shan and listened. Then he told him about God's love. Mr. Shan asked Jesus to be his Savior that day. In the days that followed Mr. Shan showed the prisoners his new love for God. Because of the great change in Mr.Shan many other prisoners came to know Christ. 

Not by the words of one person do people come to know Christ, but the prayers and actions and words of many. Including you.

God's blessings on you
Gladys Aylward

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Best Christmas Present Ever

By Mary Vee

Since Christmas is this weekend, 
I wanted to show you your gift. 
It's the best present of all. 
The gift--is from God.
God loves you and wants you to be able to go to heaven. 

The colors listed below explain God's gift for you:

In the picture to the right are several colors.

Black describes sin, the things we've done wrong. The Bible says everyone has sinned. Lying, disobeying, taking something that doesn't belong to us are examples of sin. The punishment for sin is death, forever away from God, the one who made us.

But did you know God loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son to take your place and pay the punishment for sin?  
Red is used to describe God's love. The Bible says God showed His love for us in that while we were sinners, His Son, Jesus, took our punishment for sin by dying on the cross. Nothing else needs to be done. 

Blue is used to describe faith. If you believe Jesus died for your sins, and truly want Him to live in your heart, He will. By believing in Jesus you will have life for ever with God in heaven. When we put our trust in Jesus we will want to do the things He wants us to.

White is used to describe cleanliness. By believing Jesus died for your sins and asking God for His forgiveness, your heart is made clean--The Bible says you will be white as snow.

Green is used to describe growing. After you put your trust in Jesus spend time getting to know God, learn what He wants you to do, and how to obey Him. This can be done by reading the Bible, praying, going to church, and learning from others who believe in Jesus. When we choose to live the way God tells us to in the Bible, we will  grow like a healthy plant given sunshine and water.

Yellow is used to describe heaven. Those who believe in Jesus will go to heaven to live with God forever. The Bible says Jesus is preparing a mansion for you and the streets are paved with gold. There will be no tears or sorrow. We will be together with God.

If you would like to ask Jesus into your heart today and start serving God, you can pray to Him right now, He's listening!

Dear Jesus, I know I'm a sinner and can't go to heaven on my own no matter how hard I try. Please forgive me for the things I've done wrong. I believe that you took the punishment for my sins when you died on the cross because you love me. I also believe you rose from the dead and live in Heaven. Because Your Word is truth, I trust in You and will start learning how to obey You. Amen

If you asked Jesus into your heart, please email me at so I can rejoice with you.

Photo courtesy of Mary Vee

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What is Hanukkah?

By Mary Vee


This year, 2011, the Hanukkah celebration started yesterday, Tuesday, December 20 and will continue until Wednesday, December 28.

Many years ago I heard about Hanukkah.

I didn't know what it was, why it was celebrated or even what the word Hanukkah meant.

Today I will share with you a little about Hanukkah.

Two hundred years before Jesus was born, The king of Syria conquered the land where Israelites lived.  He allowed the Israelites to keep their customs and celebrations while living under his rule.  

Twenty-five years later Antiochus IV and his army conquered Jerusalem. They forced the people to follow the Greek customs, dress like Greeks, and speak the Greek language.  The invading army brought statues of Zeus and other idols and set them in the Temple. They told the Jews they could not dress, eat, or follow Jewish customs any more.

A Jewish priest name Mattathias became angry.  He refused to eat, dress, and speak the language of the new ruler. Mattathias chose to only follow Jewish customs, dress, and speak as a Jew no matter what anyone said.  He talked to many Jews about his choice and they agreed to do the same. Those men formed a small army.  They hid in mountain caves and attacked Antiochus IV's army units. One by one the Jews won small battles conquering every army the Greeks sent until one day, they won the war.

Judah, Mattathias' son, called the army together and led them into the Temple. His heart ached. In the center of the Lord's Temple stood an idol of Zeus. As he walked throughout the Temple he found broken furniture and trash. The men became angry. They called for other Jews and together worked to clean the Temple and to prepare it for worship.

In the clean up Judah realized the lamp did not have oil. God said the lamp must always be lit. He searched for oil to put in the menorah (a lamp like the one in the picture above). In a small corner, tucked behind other broken things, Judah found one small, sealed container of oil.  

He poured the oil in the lamp and lit the wick. The flames flickered tall and bright. Judah turned to the workers, "Hurry, start the process to make new oil. This oil will run out soon." 

"But, Judah. It will take at least eight days to make more oil."

Judah folded his arms. "I know. But we must try. God knows our hearts. Hurry, the menorah must stay lit."

A group of men left the Temple as ordered while others stay to clean and rid the Temple of everything that didn't belong. 

One the second day, Judah came to the temple expecting the light to be gone.  To his surprise the menorah shone brightly. And on the third day the lamp still shone. One the eight day, the lamp grew dim. 

Judah stood by the menorah and watched the flames weaken. Moments later, a group of men ran into the Temple. "Here! Here is the new oil."  Judah poured the new oil into the menorah. He stepped back with the others and watched the flames grow.  

The men cheered for God's miracle of light.  

After cleaning, making new furniture and utensils, and preparing the people for worship, the priest rededicated the Temple to God.  The Jews held a celebration to praise God for the miracle of light in the Temple. This celebration was named Hanukkah which means "dedication".

If you know a Jewish person, be sure to tell them Happy Hanukkah. 

If you are a Jewish person, Happy Hanukkah! 

Here is a link to Hanukkah games:  Hanukkah Gamesl

Monday, December 19, 2011

Opening the Prison Doors

By Mary Vee

From Gladys Aylward's Journal

The good doctor needed to return to his wife and family after our Lamasery visit. He promised to only be gone five days. We left seventeen days ago.

I wanted to go back to the college students to report how God answered their prayers. Their prayers for the lonely villages in the mountains led me to go and tell the people about Jesus.. After hearing their prayers I visited every village on their list and shared the news of God's love. Many villagers trusted Jesus as their Savior.

After my report, God led me to a new city with many people and buildings to do His work. A doctor and his wife allowed me to stay at their home. During my stay I walked through the streets and found many churches and organizations teaching the Gospel. I didn't understand why God sent me to that city when He had set up a good ministry already.

One morning at the doctor's home, a visitor spoke with the doctor about a place in the city where people had not heard about Jesus and His love. Of course I thought the man was crazy. "I beg your pardon. There is no place in this city that does not have opportunity to hear about Christ." I mentioned the churches and organizations.

He shook his head. "You're new in town, right?"

"Well, yes," I said. "I have only been here three days."

He said, "I spoke of our prison, not any free part of the city. We have the second largest prison in China. No one is willing to go in the prison to tell the men about Jesus."

Aha. I understood. 

But, I also knew God asked me to tell people in the villages about Jesus, not the prisoners. There must be someone else called to go to that prison. 

I waited in the city for a couple of days, walking around the streets and resting at the doctor's house. God would show me what He wanted me to do. After the days passed God spoke to my heart. "Go to the prisons, Gladys. I died for them too."

I rolled my eyes and sigh. "Very well, God." After all this time serving God in China, one would think He couldn't surprise me anymore.  Hah!

Because of the Chinese customs I needed special permission to enter the prison. I asked to meet with the governor. He allowed me to speak with him the same day. Once in his office I bowed. "Governor, may I go to the prisoners and tell them about Jesus?"

He shook his head. "Absolutely, not. The men are murderers and thieves. I have tried for five years to change those prisoners into good citizens and have failed. You would too. The answer is no."

I decided not to tell him about the prison riot God helped me stop many years ago.He might have thought I wanted to be better than him. I bowed. "Governor, if you let me go into the prison and speak with the men, the prisoners will change."

He raised his eyebrows and shook his head. The look said, she is crazy and maybe needs a chance to see for herself how those prisoners will not change. He sighed and gave me permission.

The next morning I went to the prison with my pass from the governor. 

The visit didn't go quite as I planned. Come back next week to ready what happened.

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saul's Challenge

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 9,10

From Saul's Journal

The prophet Samuel gave me a place to sleep for the evening. Thanks to his kindness I didn't have to return home until the next morning. He said our missing donkeys had been found and returned to my father. I guess I had nothing to worry about any more. I accepted his gift and had a good night's sleep.

Samuel woke me early, about dawn, and said, "Get up. It's time for you to go." My servant and I packed our few things and walked with Samuel through the city toward the gate. 

Samuel turned to me and said, "Tell your servant to go ahead, I have instructions for your ears only."

I had no idea what this prophet wanted to tell me. He'd never met me before. I felt confused but I also knew I needed to do what he said. I sent the servant ahead as he instructed. This man Samuel seemed quite a mystery. He acted as though he not only knew who I was but what I would do in the future. 

He guided me to a field where we stood alone. Samuel took a jar of oil and asked me to kneel. I did as he said and was surprised when he poured the oil on my head. He said, "The Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance."

Me? I had no idea why I had been chosen to lead Israel. I had no special training. 

I didn't want to interrupt Samuel, though. He took a breath and gave me instructions. He said, "Your first instruction is: go to Rachel's tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah. Two men have a message for you."

I called my servant to walk with me. We traveled to Rachel's tomb and found two men. They said, "The donkeys you've been looking for have been found. You father is no longer concerned about the animals but worries about you." 

Samuel spoke the truth, they donkeys had been found! Then I remembered the next instruction: go forward to the terebinth tree of Tabor. Three men will meet you there.

My servant and I walked to the terebinth tree. At the tree we found three men going to Bethel. One had three young goats, another three loaves, and the last a skin of wine. The man with the bread gave us two of the loaves, just like Samuel said he would. Amazing, we didn't even ask!

My servant and I ate then followed Samuel's next instruction: go to the hill of God where the Philistines have a group of soldiers camped. We went in the city and met a several prophets who had returned from the high place. The men carried a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp. I went with them to a meeting place where they prophesied.

During that meeting, the Spirit of the Lord came upon me as Samuel said. I joined the prophets in prophesying. In that meeting, in that place--for the first time-- I actually understood the feeling of hearing God speak. The fear, yet tingly sparkle in my veins feeling.

I wanted to stay with the prophets for a long, long time, but I had more instructions from Samuel. I didn't want to miss anything he said to do. Each instruction surprised me. His next instruction: go to Gilgal and wait for me seven days for the next instruction.

My servant and I went to Gilgal. Several of my relatives lived there. My uncle walked over to my camp and said, "Where did you go?"

I answered, "To look for father's donkeys but when I couldn't find them I found the prophet Samuel."

My uncle seemed pleased. "Well, what did Samuel say?"

I answered, "He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found." I didn't want to tell him anything about the anointing. It didn't seem to be the right time, and Samuel had more instructions for me. Everything Samuel had said to do turned out good, I didn't want anything bad to happen from my telling anyone news before the right time. I'm confident Samuel will tell me what to say and when.

Come back next week to read about the next instruction.
1. What did Samuel give Saul?
2. What did Samuel pour on Saul's head. What did he say as he poured?
3. What was the first instruction Samuel gave Saul. What happened?
4. What was the second instruction Samuel gave Saul. What happened?
5. What was the third instruction Samuel gave Saul? What happened?
6. What was the fourth instruction Samuel gave Saul?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Son of Kish is Chosen

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 9

From Saul's Journal

We've had problems with our donkeys wandering away lately. This last week those naughty animals did it again. 

My father asked me to search the hillsides and bring the wayward animals home.

Not knowing where those silly donkeys went this time I had my servant pack enough provisions to last a few days. The servant and I left early in the morning and walked through the mountains of Ephraim then over to the land of Shalisha. No sign of the donkeys.

It's important to look where the best grazing would be. Let's see, we checked the land of Shaalim and Benjamim then headed over to Zuph. Where were the donkeys?

I didn't know. Several days had passed since I left home. We should have found them by that time. My servant and I stopped for a meal and rested a while on a hill. "I don't know where else to look. Let's go home," I said. "My father's probably wondering where we are."

"My lord, your father will be pleased if we bring the donkeys back. I have heard there is a man of God in the city over there. He is said to be an honorable man and everything he says comes to pass. Maybe he can tell us where the donkeys went."

"Good idea," I said. "But we have no gift to give. Our bread is gone. We can't visit him without a gift."

My servant took out a one-fourth shekel of silver. "We can give the man of God this."

Maybe he was right. And father would be pleased if we found the donkeys. "I like you idea.Let's go."

On our way toward the city we met some young women carrying water pitchers. I asked, "Do you know where the man of God is?"

One pointed. "Yes, he's up ahead. You need to hurry, though. The people from the city asked him to come today to bless the sacrifice for the Lord on the high place. You should find him near the city gate preparing to go to the high place to eat. The others are already there waiting for him to bless the sacrifice. Only those invited will be allowed to eat. If you hurry you might be able to speak with him before he goes."

We ran in the direction she pointed. I didn't want to miss him. Inside the city gate we found a man walking toward the gate. "Excuse me, please tell me where is the man of God?"

He smiled and said. "I am the man. Come with me to the high place. I want you to eat with me today and stay the night."

How strange. The woman said only those invited would eat at the high place yet this man, whom I did not know, invited me to the meal. He didn't even ask my name. Why would he ask a stranger to go to a special meal?

He must have figured out I didn't understand and said, "Don't worry about your donkeys, they've been found. You and your household has found favor above all in Israel."

Me? Why me? "Sir, I am a Benjaminite, from the smallest tribe of Israel. My family is the least important in our tribe. Why did you say that?"

He didn't answer right away. He led me to the high place and into the hall where thirty people sat waiting to eat. The man of God walked toward the seat of honor. "Saul, sit here." He had the cook bring me the best of the food which had been saved just for me.

I didn't understand. Why did he treat me special. Why had I been chosen in the high place?

Come back next time to learn why.
1. What did Saul's family lose?
2. What did Saul's dad ask him to do?
3. When Saul couldn't find what he wanted what did his servant suggest?
4. What did the man of God say and do for Saul?
5. Why do you think the man of God did this?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lamasery Part IV-the Messenger is You!

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Journal

Last week I ran out of time to finish this story

Click here for part 1part 2part 3  to read why the head lama invited me, a woman, into the lamasery.

The head lama instructed his helper to pour more tea; we warmed our hands on our cups and drank. "Tell me, what happened to the two lamas who went on the quest?" I asked.

He sat back in his chair and continued his story. "They walked for many miles. The search took a long time, but such a quest is worth every moment invested, wouldn't you say?"

"Yes, I do."

"I am amazed they had to travel all the way to Len Chow," he said, "before finding the answer burning in their hearts. But there in Len Chow, they met a man walking down the street. 'Do you know where we can learn about the God who loves?' they asked him. 

"The man pointed further up the road. "There. Walk until you see a gate with three signs: Faith, Hope, and Charity. Inside those gates you will find someone who can answer your questions.'

The two lamas followed his directions to a place called China Inland Missions. A kind man sat down with the lamas and answered their questions. When he could tell them no more he handed them a copy of the Gospels. They hurried back to the lamasery to share their adventure and all they had learned.

"The young men came before me and presented the Gospel booklets they had received and told me about their journey, the questions they had asked and the answers they received. We read the Gospels that evening. The next day I called special meetings and read the words from this book to all the other lamas. Although we believed the words in the book, there was much we couldn't understand.

"The more we learned, the more questions we had. One day we read a verse: 'Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.' This verse brought great comfort because we then knew someone would come to us to teach and explain this book and answer our questions. All we had to do was wait. 

"For three years we waited, knowing someone would come. Each day we were ready to receive the person God would send.

"One day two lamas went out to the mountainside to gather sticks. They heard singing flowing up from the mountain below. They turned to each other and shouted, 'The messengers we have been waiting for have come!'

"They dropped their sticks and agreed one would run to the Lamasery to tell everyone to prepare for the messengers, the other would go to guide the messengers to us. You and Dr. Huang were the messengers."

He bowed slightly to me and smiled.

After our meeting I packed to leave.

Although I don't know how many of the lamas put their trust in the God who loves I feel in my heart that many of them did choose to follow Him. What I do know is God told me to tell the lamas about Him, and I did. 

Sometime later, communist destroyed the lamasery. Where the lamas went, I don't know.

When I get to heaven, though, I plan to ask God what happened after we left. 

Hah! It sure was a the strangest week I ever had in China.

Gladys Aylward

photos from OMF International FB page.

In 1964 The China Inland Mission changed it's name to Oversees Missionary Fellowship International. To learn more about this mission click : OMF International

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We Want a King!

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 8

Samuel's Journal

Many years have passed since I became the head priest of Israel. God had granted us a blissful time of peace. I loved each day.

The time had come, though when I needed to appoint my replacement. I couldn't do the work any more...not all of it. I chose my two sons, Joel and Abijah to judge over the people in my place.

Sigh. Joel and Abijah didn't have the love for God that I had hoped. I had to speak to them on many occasions regarding the wrong things they did and said to the people. I tried to show them by example and teach them how to lead the people, but they didn't want to. They didn't see or know God the way I did.

The Israelites grew frustrated as well. Several came to me to report Joel and Abijah's wrongdoings. My sons stole from the people, took bribes, and judged for the side of the people they liked instead of the one who was innocent or just.

Ever since my sons had been appointed judge the people grumbled. They looked at the other countries near us and how their governments were run. All of the countries in our area had kings...except ours. 

I knew we needed a solution but not what the people asked of me. Perhaps God would appoint a new priest. When Eli's sons did not follow God's ways he sent me to the Temple to take his son's place. Maybe God will either change my son's hearts or appoint a new priest. He knows best.

The elders called a meeting here in Ramah to discuss Joel and Abijah's behavior. Their decision involved me. 

After they met, a messenger arrived at my door. "Samuel, the elders would like to meet with you."

I invited the men to come to my home, sit down, and share their concerns. "Samuel, you have judged our kingdom--well...for a long time. Now, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. We, all of us, think it is time our country appoints a king as judge over our people, like the countries around us. We would like a king."

I looked at the eyes of the all the elders seated before me. They nodded in agreement to each other and at me. My muscles tightened with anger. I closed my eyes because I didn't want to look at them--how could they want a king instead of God?

I stood and pointed to the door. "If you will be so kind to leave. I will pray about your request and let you know what God has said."

The men filed out of my house, not saying a word. I wanted to slam the door, but chose not too. I went out to the the open sky and breathed in His air. I needed God to calm my spirit...I couldn't speak with all the anger raging in my heart. 

Soon I felt God's peace, His love softened the tension. My eyes looked toward heaven and I prayed. "Oh Father, great God Almighty. You have heard the words of the elders. They've asked for a king." A tear drip down my cheek and I fell to the ground. How my heart ached.My head flopped against the earth. "I don't know what to say, God. I am empty of words--my heart is ripped in two." 

I laid there silently and wept...letting my tears fall to the ground. My body sobbed until there was nothing left to cry. Then the Lord said, "Samuel--."

I sniffed and took a deep breath.

I wiped the tears and answered as I had when God called to me as a child in Eli's care. "Speak, for your servant hears."

The Lord said, "Follow the voice of the people in all that they say to you. The Israelites have not rejected you... they have rejected Me and have decided I should not reign over them. Samuel, they have rejected me from the day I brought them out of Egypt...choosing to worship other gods rather than Me. It is time. Follow the voice of the people. However, you must solemnly forewarn them, and show them what a king will do to this country."

I lay on the ground a while longer, weeping for the people and the decision they made. Life will not be peaceful without God as their king.


1. Who did Samuel choose to help him with his duties?
2. What did his helpers do wrong?
3. What did the elders say to Samuel?
4. What did Samuel do?
5. What did God say?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

All is Well, All is Peace

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 7

From Samuel's Journal

I might have turned into a gray hair old man at a young age if Israel hadn't repented.

With Eli gone the priestly leadership duties came to me. And quite truthfully, I loved serving the Lord, but there were times when the people I was responsible for frustrated me. They worshiped other gods like Ashtoreths and Baals each day. It broke my heart, and...made me angry.

Sure they followed some of the ceremonies God commanded, but their heart simply didn't worship God. They came to a ceremony for the Almighty and put this here, put this there, say this, say that...a dog could be trained to do the same thing. 

When will they hear the Words of God, feel His love in their life, choose to truly worship Him?

I feel like I'm dragging a thirsty camel to a water trough, pushing its head into the cool, refreshing liquid, and telling it to drink. The result? I step back and watch the camel walk away without drinking one drop.

But last year a most wonderful change came. 

The Philistines stole the ark...this is not the wonderful part (read that story here ), returned to Beth Shemesh where 70 people disrespected God and died (read that story here ) and then moved to Kirjath Jearim.

Next came the wonderful change. At that place, at that time, the people cried out to God, saying from their hearts they were sorry for their sins. They threw away their Ashtoreths and Baals and gathered together as one nation serving our great God. They prayed together and confessed their sins. What a sound!

Those nasty Philistines heard the Israelites crying out to God and chose to gather their army to squash us. Big mistake. God took over and won the battle for the Israelites (read that story here

So why am I writing this journal entry today? Because all is well; all is at peace. 

I decided to visit the Israelites to encourage, judge, and teach them once a year. I started my journey at my hometown, Ramah then north to Bethel, down the mountain and east to Gilgal, back up the mountain and to the west to Mizpah then home to Ramah. After finishing the journey each year I built an altar to the Lord. 

Each year I spent time with the people...teaching and guiding them to follow God. They grew to know me and I learned their names. Together we worshiped God.

What happen?

Well, the Philistines, our number one enemy...the ones who fought us and made us slaves time and time again--left us alone! They didn't come into our territory anymore. God kept his hand against the Philistines every day of my life. The Israelites could wake each morning in their own homes, without fear of an attack. Such peace.

What did we do?

The people not only worshiped God and God alone, but also gathered together and went to our cities which had been conquered by the Philistines from Ekron south to Gath. They helped their brothers and sisters rebuild their cities.

This is what people do who worship God and God alone. Such blessed peace.

The Promised Land rested in peace...not only Israelite brother with his brother mind you, but also with the Amorites who still lived in the land.

All is well.

All is Peace.
1. What did the people need to do to have peace in the land?
I suppose that tells the whole store. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lamasery Part III-Who is the God of Love?

From Gladys Aylward's Journal

If you miss part one of this story, click here . If you missed part two click here .

photo courtesy of
Late that night at the Lamasery, two men knocked on the door. They said, "Are you tired? Could you tell us more about the God who loves?" 

I didn't want to offend or break any rules. "Are you allowed to come in the room?" They nodded and I invited them to sit at the table.

All night long I answered their questions about the God who Loves. I told them Bible stories, and answered their questions. When they left other lamas came to my door wanting to know more about Jesus. They reminded me of a child who had been starved. I answered their questions about why Jesus died for our sins and why God truly loves them.

The next morning Dr. Huang told me many lamas also came to his room to ask questions about God's love and why God sent His son to die on the cross for their sins. How could we leave the next day? We chose to stay at the temple for one week to answer their questions and help these men understand God's love for them. I can hardly express how happy their questions made me feel. They truly wanted to know more about God.

The last night of our visit, the head lama summoned me to visit him. He didn't invite Dr. Huang. I was worried I wouldn't be able to understand him. There are so many Chinese dialects. As I entered the room he greeted me in a way I could understand. This would make the conversation much easier.

We talked a long time about China and the people. During the whole conversation, though, I couldn't help but wonder why he allowed me to enter the Lamasery. Women were strickly forbidden to enter. I bowed respectfully bowed and asked him.

He took a sip of his tea and sat back in his chair. "Well, it's a long story."

I smiled. "A long story I would love to hear."

"Very well," he said. "We grow licorice on the mountainsides then sell them in the villages below. One year several lamas took the licorice to the village to sell and met a man in the town square. He gave papers and shouted to anyone who passed by, "Free--Salvation for all! If you believe you will have salvation and live forever."

"The lamas took the paper and read these words--." He walked to a piece of paper stuck to the wall. It had yellowed and turned raggedy. The paper had one Bible verse: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16.

He walked back to his seat then continued the story. "The man invited all the passerbys to a meeting to learn more about the God who loves and a free gift to live forever. The lamas knew they had duties at the Lamasery and wouldn't be able to stay for the meeting. They brought the paper back to me."

"We had never known of a God who loves us. I placed the paper in a place for all the lamas to read. Everyone stopped by and read the paper again and again. We wanted to know more, but didn't know how.

"For five years lamas returned to the village in search of someone who could tell us more about the God who loves but found no one. Then one day, the first two young lamas who brought this paper to me requested a meeting. 'We ask to go on a quest to find someone who can tell us more about the God who loves. We must find the answers to our questions.'"

Come back next week to read about the quest.

Gladys Aylward