Hello from snowy Colorado! Yes, that is correct. Today is a snowy day here on the plains in Colorado and anytime there is a significant snow fall my New England roots kick in. Snow falling heavily from the sky and accumulating on the ground causes me to cancel all of my plans and hunker down inside for what we New Englanders call a "snow day". I love snow days because it gives me an opportunity to slow down. So far this morning I have had extended time for prayer and Bible reading. I have also had the pleasure of lingering over 4 cups of tea and two breakfasts (they were small breakfasts!). The snow forces me to put all my outdoor chores on hold.....no weeding, trimming, planting or raking. There is also no point in spending time housecleaning on a snow day because of all the snow and mud that gets tracked in from cats, dogs and humans. The best part about a snow day is having time to spend with my family at home. Time with family truly is a gift as we are usually rushing off in many different directions. So today in Colorado, I am doing what any well trained New Englander would do on a snow day....hunkering down, being thankful for some time at home and enjoying the day.
Operating at a slower pace during my snow day at home causes me to have time to reflect. As I have reflected on our life in Colorado and on Soaring Wings Ministries.....I am thankful. I look out our window at the beautiful, peaceful snow and my eyes are drawn to the addition. The combination of the clean, bright white snow against the bright, clean, gray siding of the addition is stunning!!! I am SO THANKFUL for our hard working, generous and wise volunteers who spent their Sunday afternoon putting up the siding on the addition. They were very wise to start with the sides of the addition that take the brunt of the wind blowing down from the north out of Wyoming as on the plains we are completely exposed to the weather. The wind can be very harsh at times and so we give a heartfelt THANK YOU to our volunteers who not only made the addition strong and snug, but also beautiful!
I am also very thankful for my loving heavenly Father and my personal relationship with Him. We have been hit very hard this winter and spring with multiple and significant health issues. The health issues seemed to come one one right after another. It was like strong ocean waves determined to pull us down and drown us. But I am SO THANKFUL that God hears and answers our prayers for healing and good health. With God's help we have persevered and are moving forward and ready for the next phase of Soaring Wings Ministries.
So, what is the next phase of Soaring Wings Ministries? We have clear and concrete goals and I am happy to share them with you. 1) We have two exterior walls on the addition that need to be have siding put on them. 2) We have flooring that needs to be installed in the addition. 3) We have trim work that needs to be put up around the windows and doors. 3) We also have kitchen cupboards and cabinets to be installed. 4) We have closet doors that need to be put up. 5) We have a dirt road that needs to have rocks brought in and then graded. 6) We need a septic system installed before we can use the addition for bedrooms.
There are many other chores and tasks to be accomplished at Soaring Wings Ministries but the six that I have listed above are the most immediate ones and the ones that we are looking to have accomplished this summer. All the tasks that we look to accomplish this summer take time and money. As I sit here at the computer Ed and Meredith are busy working on grant requests that will soon be submitted; however, all that we have learned from professionals in the field of non-profit fund raising indicate that the bulk of the funds for small non-profits do not come from grants. They are absolutely right!!!! The bulk of our budget since the inception of Soaring Wings Ministries has come from family and friends who believe in the work being down here in Colorado and who see the progress that is being made and who want to be part of the amazing miracle of Soaring Wings Ministries. The checks that Soaring Wings Ministries receives in the mail are mostly $25.00, $50.00 or $100.00. Those checks are our bread and butter and over the past 3 years they have helped to build the addition for a homeless family. So please keep those checks coming! Please do not think that any check is too small. Remember the story in the Bible of how God took a meager 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and fed 5,000 people. (Matthew 14:13-21). God is able to do much with a little! Truly Soaring Wings Ministries is a miracle because the founders, staff, Board Members, donors, supporters and prayer warriors are ordinary people. The miracle is that God can use ordinary people to accomplish much! It is so exciting to see how he has provided and grown Soaring Wings Ministries. We do indeed serve a loving, powerful, gracious and faithful God.
To each one of you who have had a hand in this journey of Soaring Wings Ministries we thank you! God has used you in a mighty way! I pray that each one of you will draw closer to God and see more of Him and what He is able to accomplish when we relinquish our will to His. I also hope that if you have not yet been out to Wellington, Colorado to see Soaring Wings Ministries that you would be a able to find some time to come out for a visit. We would love nothing more to tell you and show you all that God has done!
My snow day is quickly winding down. (The snow never lasts long where we live in Colorado!) As I finish writing this blog the sun is pushing hard to break through the clouds and the snow on the ground is already getting heavy and slushy from melting. I am so thankful that I was able to spend part of my snow day with so you through this blog. My snow day and my time spent writing this blog has been a blessing to me and I hope that it is a blessing to you, the reader, as well.
May God bless you all and most importantly may He guide you all into a closer relationship with Him.
Soaring Wings Ministries
499 Trinity Lane
Wellington, Colorado 80549
Have you ever had it happen to you that as you read your Bible, listen to a sermon or read a book, that you notice a "coincidental" theme? It really gets your attention doesn't it?! I really believe that it is not a coincidence at all but rather it is one of the ways that God communicates with us and guides us in our daily lives.
This idea of a "theme" has happened to me over and over again recently. The "theme" that I have heard for several months could be titled...."Stay The Course". I have found it very comforting and very reassuring in light of our work for Soaring Wings Ministries and our work with the homeless in Northern Colorado. Recently the Bible passages that I have read and the sermons that I have heard have focused on obedience. As we are obedient we can expect that we will be required to take risks and yet in our obedience and risk taking we can depend on God's faithfulness and provision. This theme on obedience carried on for several weeks in my Bible reading and devotional readings. Our obedience to God's plan requires us to stand firm, to continue on and to do so without fear. Our obedience to God does not require perfection. It doesn't require that we have everything all planned out from beginning to end. We can be assured that God has a plan and that he will guide us as we are obedient to Him. How comforting to me and all of us at Soaring Wings Ministries that our God is so mighty, so powerful and so faithful that He works through us, even in our weaknesses, to provide for Soaring Wings Ministries!
I can tell you that from the very beginning, our journey to grow and develop Soaring Wings Ministries has been a journey of obedience. It has also been a journey of risks as we ventured out to be obedient. We have never had all the answers or known how God would provide. What we do know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is that God has a plan, God guides and God provides!
As we move forward to complete the addition for two homeless individuals we still face unknowns. Who will God bring along side us to help put up the exterior siding on the addition? Where will the money come from to install the septic system? How will God guide us to the people who will be living in the addition? These are all unknowns to us but we know who we serve and we know Him to be faithful. So we remain obedient and we remain steadfast in our work at Soaring Wings Ministries.
Very soon we will be entering into spring and summer which are always busy, fun and expensive months for Soaring Wings Ministries. We look forward to these months and can't wait to see how God will continue with His plan for Soaring Wings Ministries and to see how God will answer our prayers for provision and guidance. Please keep Soaring Wings Ministries in your prayers. Also please come and visit us on the beautiful plains of Northern Colorado. We would love to show you with tangible evidence that indeed God is faithful and indeed God does provide!
I want to close this blog with these Bible Verses from the first chapter of Joshua. Beginning in verse 7 it says, "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever we go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go".
What does that verse mean to me and to all of us at Soaring Wings Ministries. It means STAY THE COURSE!
Soaring Wings Ministries
Our days here at Soaring Wings Ministries are busy and full. Most days it is hard to find time to get everything done that we need and want to do. Because of our busy days I often get up very early in the morning to read my Bible and to spend time talking to God. It is usually quite early in the morning, sometime between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. I truly love this time, in the quiet of the early morning, spending time alone with God.
I have found that as I read my Bible, God will speak to me through His word. My Bible reading recently took me to Isaiah 58. The words in Isaiah 58 are convicting and also comforting. I loved reading this passage because I had just finished praying for Soaring Wings Ministries This Bible passage reassured me that we were on the right path with Soaring Wings Ministries and that we should be encouraged as we continue on with our work here for God. It was also very comforting to know that if we follow God's ways and are obedient to what pleases Him then He will guide us and He will satisfy our needs. I also felt convicted reading this passage because it told me how important it
is to God that we care for those in need....that we care for those in need well...not just with minimal effort. After reading Isaiah 58 I prayed that our work here at Soaring Wings Ministries would be pleasing to Him and that we would truly care about and care for the needy and the oppressed around us.
I am sharing Isaiah 58 with you as I believe it is best to let God's words speak to you rather than my own words.
"Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house or Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. 'Why have we fasted', they say, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?'
Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chose, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob". The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
I pray that God will help us to be faithful in our work here at Soaring Wings Ministries as we seek to be pleasing to Him in all that we do. I also pray that God will bless you and guide you as you follow His ways. My prayer is that God will be pleased with all of our lives and that we will all find joy in our work and joy in the Lord.
Soaring Wings Ministries
Five years ago today we left the deep woods of New Hampshire and began our journey out west to Colorado. As I reflect back on our journey, I remember that it was a hard one. It was very difficult to say good-bye to everyone and everything that was loved and familiar. It was even more difficult because we were heading to a place that was totally unfamiliar and to a place where we knew no one.
Fast forward from August 27, 2013 to August 27, 2018. Today we are quite settled in Colorado and completely appreciating the beauty of our surroundings. We have a vast view of the Rocky Mountains and skies that are painted with beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The peacefulness of Soaring Wings Ministries is quite striking to just about everyone who comes here. We have a small, cozy house on the prairie and we quite regularly see antelope grazing from our porch or window. If we travel down the road a short distance we can often see buffalo peacefully grazing on the prairie grasslands. We are often treated to the comical site of a jack rabbit loping across the road. The jack rabbits are fast so we don't get to see them very long but their huge feet and huge ears always make us laugh. When we left New Hampshire 5 years ago I never imagined that we would live in such a beautiful, tranquil area.
Not only has he given us a beautiful home for Soaring Wings Ministries but He has blessed us with so many, many wonderful new friends. These friends have welcomed us into their lives. They have encouraged us, supported us and believed in our work here at Soaring Wings Ministries. That these friends would accept us and our work so openly is a huge deal because most of them have lived here in Colorado all their lives and they have lovingly made us part of their lives. We've also made new friends from all over the United States, not just Colorado. When we lived in New Hampshire, I never imagined that we'd have good friends from Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are so blessed to have such wonderful, supportive, encouraging friends from all over the west!!!
We have also been blessed by so many visits from friends and family back east. Each time one of them comes for a visit our spirits are lifted. We laugh about all the differences between Colorado and New England......frozen lobsters versus fresh lobsters right off the boat, all the ice cream that New Englanders eat year round, Dunkin Donuts coffee versus Starbucks. It is as if our visitors bring a little bit of New England to Colorado with them each time one of them comes to visit. They also leave us with encouragement to keep going and to complete the work that God has given us to do.
I think one of the biggest blessings that we have received over the past 5 years is that we are all walking closer with our Lord. When everything and everyone is new you quickly learn to depend completely on God for everything! I could tell you story, after story, after story of how God has answered our prayers. There have been so many times when all we could do was to leave our needs and requests at the feet of Jesus as they were beyond our means and capability and then after praying to trust in Him to answer our prayers according to His will. When we first arrived to Colorado and needed a home for Soaring Wings Ministries that we could afford....God provided. When we needed an architect to provide building plans free of charge....God provided. When we needed a team to put up the framework for the addition....God provided. When we needed volunteers to help with the building of the addition....God provided. When we needed the roof to be installed before winter.......God provided. When we needed protection for the unfinished addition throughout an entire winter......God provided. When our funds were depleted during our busy summer months and we needed more funds to continue......God provided. When we needed a plumber......God provided. When we needed an electrician.....God provided. When we needed to borrow a backhoe......God provided. When we needed help installing wallboard.....God provided. When we needed funds to purchase the siding......God provided.
Over and over and over again God has proven himself faithful. I can tell you without a doubt that we serve a living, loving , faithful, powerful God. Do not ever question whether God exists.....He DOES! Do not ever wonder if God hears your prayers.....HE DOES! Do not ever think that God doesn't care.....HE DOES! And if God calls you to something bigger, beyond your capabilities, as He called us to Soaring Wings Ministries do not doubt that He will guide you each step of the way.....HE WILL!
In closing, I want to share this Bible verse with you. It is from Lamentations 3:22-23 "The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never ceases. For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness". We absolutely know God's word to be true. We have tested it with our very lives and know that indeed God is faithful.
His servant on the plains,
It is hard to believe that my last blog posting was in April of this year, but that should be seen as a positive fact rather than a negative one because since May we have been busy, busy, busy working on the addition. We had a total of 72 volunteers here at Soaring Wings Ministries this summer which resulted in a total of 1, 192 volunteer hours. That is a lot of volunteers and a lot of volunteer hours and we are so very thankful for each and everyone of our volunteers! We praise God for blessing us with hardworking, generous and cheerful volunteers! Because of them, Soaring Wings Ministries SOARED this summer! The addition is no longer looking like a construction zone but it is looking more and more like a home.
You know the saying, "One picture is worth a thousand words" so I am sharing some pictures of what the addition looked like back in April and some pictures of what it looks like today. In the pictures you see below show that the walls are up and ready for paint. Installing the drywall, mudding and sanding was a huge, slow, tedious, time consuming project and we are so grateful for our determined volunteers! They worked hard, did not give up and with finishing touches from a professional drywall company the walls came out beautiful! The shower was also installed which may sound like a simple project but the first shower did not fit through the door and so it had to be returned and another shower purchased. We were also able to purchase all the interior doors and they were installed by one of our summer volunteers. Meredith and Ed worked hard to install the bathroom floor as the toilet was being installed by our friends from Albuquerque, New Mexico who gave up some of their vacation time to install both the toilet and the shower for us. We truly were blessed to have so many wonderful, generous people serve here at Soaring Wings Ministries from all over the country and from Colorado. Now that the flurry of summer is over and the volunteers are heading back to school, college and work we have a few moments to reflect on all that was accomplished this summer. We love walking through the rooms in the addition just to look at the walls. They truly are beautiful and we are filled with gratitude as we look at the addition and see all that God has accomplished. We do indeed serve a mighty God!
Please continue to be in prayer for the addition and for Soaring Wings Ministries. We need to purchase and put up the outside siding on the addition before winter. We continue to remain debt free in the building of the addition and we move forward with the addition as God provides the funds.
If you feel led to make a donation to Soaring Wings Ministries for the siding it would be greatly appreciated. A check can be mailed to Soaring Wings Ministries at 499 Trinity Lane, Wellington, Colorado 80549 or you can make a donation via PayPal at this site.
We are so very excited for all that God has done this summer and we are so very grateful for His blessings and guidance over Soaring Wings Ministries.
To God be the glory for all He has done.
Soaring Wings Ministries
My last blog posting was March 9th and at that time we were getting ready to head back to our home in Colorado after spending time with our family in Florida. Since we returned home we have been involved in a whirlwind of activities for Soaring Wings Ministries. My daughter, Meredith and I, prepared and hosted our annual Ladies Afternoon Tea as a fundraiser for Soaring Wings Ministries on Sunday, April 8th. We had a lot of fun planning the menu, shopping in thrift stores for little tea cups, preparing the cookies and tea sandwiches to serve and setting the table with all things tea. It was a lovely time, as always, to spend the afternoon with friends over cups of hot tea and goodies. This year we had the pleasure of having 8 little girls at our Ladies Afternoon Tea. They were daughters and granddaughters of the ladies who attended the tea. I have to honestly say that at first I was apprehensive about having little girls, ages 3 to 8 at the tea. Would they enjoy the tea? Would 8 young girls be too active and not let the ladies enjoy a leisurely afternoon? I have to say that any apprehension that I had about the young girls attending the tea was gone in about 5 minutes after the girls arrived and sat down at their table for tea. They were absolute young ladies. They sat nicely at their little table, which Meredith and I set with real glass tea cups, little spoons and plates for of goodies. It was so sweet to see them in their dress up clothes, sitting nicely at the table and enjoying each other's company. The older girls helped the younger girls prepare their tea in their tea cups with cream and sugar. There was not one spill of cream or tea as each one of them was a perfect young lady with impeccable table manners. Each one of the girls was a testament to the wonderful job their mothers and grandmothers are doing in raising them. I have to share that the biggest hit at the little girls tea table was the sugar cubes. Each small tea cup received about 4 sugar cubes per serving of tea! When the tea party was over and I was washing the tea cups I had to laugh when each little girls tea cup had sugar caked in the bottom of the cup! I literally watched sugar dissolve in the bottom of each cup with the dish water!
One of the things that I realized from this Ladies Afternoon Tea is that nice things matter and that taking the time to make things nice is important. Meredith and I spent hours combing through thrift stores looking for just the right size tea cups, the right size and the right color for little plates. We also searched for little children's chairs that weren't too big or too small and looked through fabric stores searching for just the right material that would be sewn into a tablecloth for their table. We could have given the little girls paper plates and plastic silverware to use along with a plastic table cloth but we knew that just as the adults were having nice things the little girls had to have nice things too and so we put in the time and effort to make things just as nice for the children as for the adults. I do believe that our efforts paid off as there is just something about drinking tea out of real tea cup that causes children to slow down, to take their time and to act gently.
Nice things and taking the time to make things nice tells children and adults too that they matter. It tells them that they are important and that they are valued. Since we returned home from Florida we have also been busy with Work Days on the addition and we also served about 350 homeless people at Project Connect in Fort Collins where the community comes together to offer goods and services the the homeless in Larimer County. Soaring Wings Ministries gave out school supplies to the children and socks to the children and adults as well. We did our best to make sure that our table at Project Connect looked bright and welcoming to the homeless and that the school supplies that we gave to the children were bright and brand new. Why? Because nice things matter and taking the time to make things nice is important. The homeless people, in seeing our table, knew that we cared about them and that they mattered to us by the effort we put into making things nice for them. There is just something about making things nice for people that brings out the best in people along with taking the time to talk together and to interact with one another.
Don't get me wrong. Making things nice for people does not mean that you have to spend a ton of money. You can make things nice for people with just a little bit of care, thought and effort. This care, thought and effort goes a long way and it tells people that they matter and that they are important.
Our goal here at Soaring Wings Ministries is to create an environment that tells people that we care about them and that they matter. This summer we will once again be partnering with Week of Hope as a host site for the teen volunteers that will be coming from all over the country to serve in Larimer County. Each week, for 7 weeks this summer, we will have 6 to 8 teens and an adult leader serve here at Soaring Wings Ministries. They will be helping us with landscaping, painting and outdoor projects to help with the maintenance and improvement on the grounds of Soaring Wings Ministries. Why? Because nice things matter and taking the time to make things nice for others is important. We look forward each year to Week of Hope and look forward to meeting the teens who will be serving here this summer. We are so grateful for their help, their hard work and their enthusiasm that they bring to the projects they will be working on..
Our days since we returned from Florida have been busy and full but oh so very good and we have delighted in making sure that the effort that we put forward in all of our work here is our best. All that we do is done for God's glory and we pray that our work and our efforts are pleasing to him. In closing, I want to invite you to come and visit us here at Soaring Wings Ministries. We also have our tea cups and tea pot ready to serve you some afternoon tea or if you prefer we would love to serve you some coffee. Either way it would give us great joy to sit down and visit with you and to show you and tell you about all that God has accomplished here at Soaring Wings Ministries. We look forward to seeing you!
In all that we do for His glory,
Soaring Wings Ministries
Have you ever wished you were a super hero? If you were a super hero which super hero would you want to be and what would be your special power as a super hero? I've never had any desire to be a super hero until lately as I wish I had the special power of being in two places at one time! If you read my last blog you know that Ed and I have been spending some respite time down in Florida and also spending time with Ed's mother and our son. Our time here in Florida is quickly coming to an end and I feel absolutely torn between Colorado and Florida. I am excited to get back to Colorado to continue our work with Soaring Wings Ministries, to see our daughter, Meredith, son-in-law and granddaughter and to see our very good friends. At the same time I know that when we leave Florida we will not see Ed's mother and our son until possibly next winter.
Even though I have never been a true fictional super hero fan, I have enjoyed seeing some movies with super heroes in them but I am far from being a die hard, fanatical fan of any super hero. Rather, I have several true life heroes that I look up to as role models. They are people that have encouraged me and guided me in my Christian walk. Some of these heroes are Elisabeth Elliot, Corrie ten Boom, my parents, my aunts and Billy Graham. These people are heroes in my life because they dedicated their lives to the service of other people and gave up their own wants and desires to serve Jesus by serving others. Most of you reading this know that Billy Graham, an American evangelist for most of his life, recently passed away. In memory of his life a program aired on television called "Billy Graham: An Extraordinary Journey". It was a fascinating story that told how God used an ordinary farm boy to become a world-renowned evangelist. Billy Graham traveled the world sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to over 215 million people. His commitment to sharing the gospel to the world caused him to leave his home and family in Montreat, North Carolina many, many times throughout his life time. In the television program that aired there were clips that showed Billy Graham saying good by to his wife and children. He would kiss and hug each one of them good bye and with suitcase in hand he would walk down the road to do the work that God had given him to do. From clips of his life, Billy Graham shared that saying good bye to his wife, children and home was one of the hardest parts of his ministry and that each time he left, he left with tears in rolling down his cheeks.
So, doing ministry and doing God's work is not easy, even for Billy Graham. I was so glad that I took the time to watch this television program about Billy Graham. It was so encouraging and comforting to know that one of my heroes was also human. He struggled with saying good bye to family and to a place that he loved and yet he did so willingly and without hesitation because of his love and commitment to serving his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am not by any means a world-renowned evangelist, but I do know how hard it is to say good by to home and loved ones and yet, I do so willingly like so many of the true life heroes that serve as my role models because we know who we serve and we know the Bible to be trustworthy and true. I prayed and asked God to help me resolve my conflict of being torn between Florida and Colorado so that I would feel at peace. As I prayed, God heard my prayer and gave me several Bible verses to comfort me. Philippians 4:11 says ""Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content". 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says, "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!". I Thessalonians 5:18 says to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus". These verses were so comforting to me and assured me that no matter if I was in Colorado, Florida or somewhere else that God was with me and that my comfort and peace comes from Him rather than from my circumstances or location. and "the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard yours hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7.
Greetings from the sunshine state of Florida! No, Soaring Wings Ministries has not relocated to Florida. We are still located on the beautiful prairie land of Wellington, Colorado and things are still in full swing serving the homeless in Northern Colorado. My husband, Ed, and I are spending some time here with Ed's mother and visiting our son. We are enjoying our time with family very much while at the same time moving forward with Soaring Wings Ministries. We are so grateful to our daughter, Meredith, for keeping things running smoothly on site at Trinity Lane and also very grateful for modern technology which allows us to keep up with our work for Soaring Wings Ministries.
One of the things that we have continued while far away from Colorado is the ministry of handing out Blessing Bags. Colorado does not have the market on homelessness and as we have traveled across country and spent time here in Florida we see people in need wherever we go. We keep our truck well stocked with Blessing Bags and have had to make some trips to Walmart and to the Dollar Store to keep up with our supply of Blessing Bags. As is always the case in handing out Blessings Bags there is always one homeless person who captures my attention and my heart and reminds me why we are in the business of reaching out to the homeless.
Most recently we were traveling through Orlando after dropping family off at the airport. Since we are not familiar with the area we turned on the GPS to help us find our way. The GPS did not direct us to any highway but rather took us on SR 50. State road 50 is a very nice rural route in some parts of Florida but SR 50 traveling through Orlando after leaving the airport at 5 pm was not a good route. There was heavy traffic with one stop light after another and the road was not taking us through a very nice part of town.
As we were stopped for a traffic light in downtown Orlando we saw a young man with a cardboard sign walking down the middle of the three lane road. He was a younger man in his 20's and he had on dirty jeans, a T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over his head. As were were stopped for the light he was quickly approaching our truck and I have to honestly say that my first instinct was to make sure that the truck doors were locked. Here I am one of the founders of Soaring Wings Ministries and my first reaction, as a homeless man approached us for help, is to make sure the doors are locked. I am so thankful for my caring, thoughtful and generous husband who first thinks of others rather than himself. His first instinct, in seeing this homeless young man, was not to lock the doors but rather to reach in the back seat for a Blessing Bag. As the homeless young man approached our truck window, my husband, Ed, rolled down the window. I thought to myself, "What in the world is my husband doing rolling down the window! I am trying to lock the doors and he is rolling the window all the way down!! Can't he just crack the window a little bit and shove the Blessing Bag out through the crack!". Here we are in a lousy, unfamiliar neighborhood stuck in traffic at a traffic light and my husband is rolling the window all the way down to help a person in need! Before I knew it there was a young man with his hood pulled up over his head standing outside of our truck window. I could see his face clearly and it is in that moment of looking directly into his face that I saw not the issue of homelessness but I saw a homeless person....a homeless human being. As I looked into his face I saw a handsome face and a kind smile but it wasn't his handsome face or kind smile that impressed me but rather that this young man looked directly at us with clear, blue eyes. That this young man would look directly at us to thank us for the Blessing Bag made a huge impression on me. He was so very grateful for the Blessing Bag and was especially grateful for the socks. His comment to us was, "Wow...socks. I really needed socks." He thanked us for the Blessing Bag and walked away to what I assumed would be the next car but as the light turned green and we pulled away I saw that this young man was no longer begging with his sign. Rather he was walking on the sidewalk with his cardboard sign tucked under his arm and he was looking at the contents of the Blessing Bag. Once again we had reached out to someone in need with the simple gesture of a Blessing Bag and once again this simple gesture had given someone a few moments of reprieve from their homeless life style. As we drove away and continued on SR 50 we left the congestion of busy downtown Orlando and made our way out into the rural area of Florida. I was so grateful that my husband had taken the time to roll down his window to help this homeless young man. As always, I wished that we could have done more to help him but I will never forget his face, his smile, his gratitude and his manners for looking directly into our eyes to say thank you. I pray that God will watch over this young man and that God will protect and bless him. I also pray that God will bring people into his life who can walk along beside him and help him to be released from his life of homelessness and poverty.
I learned some lessons from our quick interaction with this homeless young man on SR 50 in downtown Orlando. I quickly learned that even after all of my interactions with homeless people the world of homelessness still makes me feel uncomfortable. I still want to pull away from the world of poverty, the world of people wearing dirty clothes and the world of people who don't smell good. Downtown Orlando was not a world that I enjoyed seeing even for a few miles and when God brought that world up close and personal to me via a homeless young man, my first instinct was to lock the doors instead of rolling the window down to help someone in need. I pray that someday I will be able to love the homeless as God loves them without fear or hesitation.
I will remember the face of this homeless young man for a long, long time. I will remember his smile, his gratitude and his clear blue eyes looking directly into ours. I will remember that for a few minutes we were able to release him from his world of poverty and begging with the contents from a Blessing Bag. Looking into the face of this handsome and needy young man I was also reminded why Soaring Wings Ministries exists. Soaring Wings Ministries has been called into existence not to address the entire huge issue of homelessness but rather to reverse the issues of poverty and homelessness by truly caring for and truly loving homeless people as individuals. I truly believe that Soaring Wings Ministries is on the right path, that as God loves each one of us individually as unique human beings so likewise we are to love and care for the homeless as individuals and uniquely created human beings.
May God Bless each one of you as you travel through each day and during your travels may you remember to reach out to those in need around you.
Soaring Wings Ministries
This morning I woke up early, at 4:30 a.m., to spend some time with God. I felt that it was so very important to spend the last day of 2017 praying and reading my Bible. I always make a cup of hot tea and sit at our kitchen counter on one of the kitchen stools for my devotion time. This morning the hot tea tasted so good as it was a very cold morning. The temperature was 15 degrees outside and that was to be our high for the day. I looked up from reading my Bible with my hands holding my cup of hot tea and I saw our kitchen..
As you can see our kitchen is not a fancy one. There are no granite counter tops, no stainless steel appliances, no solid oak cabinets and as you can see from the picture we live in a house with, horror of horrors, popcorn ceilings!!! It is definitely not a fancy kitchen but this morning as I looked at my kitchen I thought our kitchen was beautiful and I was so very, very grateful for what I saw and where I was at that very moment. The pile of clean dishes drying on the kitchen counter reminded me that every day we have a hot meal for dinner. The kitchen aid mixer on the counter was a generous gift from some precious friends and I was reminded of how blessed we are to have so many friends and family praying for us and supporting our work with the homeless. I also saw a window and even though it was dark when I looked out the window, I was reminded of the many times I have sat on that very kitchen stool and watched the antelope grazing up on the ridge. I was so very thankful for the beautiful area that surrounds us here on Trinity Lane in Wellington. I also saw a kitchen that wasn't just a kitchen but was now home and I was so thankful that there was no place I would rather be than sitting on our kitchen stool in our little kitchen on Trinity Lane in Wellington, Colorado.
The past few days at home had been so very busy for me and for my daughter Meredith as everyone else in the house was down with the flu. We were pulling double duty on all the chores and as a result my time with God had suffered. I was so very thankful that I had risen early to spend the last day of 2017 in quality and quantity time with God. Quality and quantity time with God is so very important. We can't always squeeze in time with God during our busy schedules or spend time with him at the end of the day when we are worn out and tired and expect that our relationship with Him will grow. My time with God this morning was just what I needed. The verse that I read this morning was from Galatians 2:20. It says, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me". As I read this verse and looked out over our kitchen I was reminded that truly the life that I live and the life that we all live here at Soaring Wings Ministries is lived by faith. Looking at our kitchen I was reminded that God indeed is faithful to create a home for us and for two homeless people on the plains in Wellington, Colorado. I was also reminded that Soaring Wings Ministries exists not because of any work that any of us have done but rather it exists because of Christ who lives in me and in all of us at Soaring Wings Ministries. I also realized that all the joy that I had from living and serving God in Colorado was because Christ was living in me and because of my personal relationship with Him who loves me and gave himself for me. I also realized that it was Christ living in me that enabled me to look at a kitchen with no granite counters, no stainless steel appliances and no solid oak cabinets (and those popcorn ceilings!) and see a thing of beauty.
Christ living in me. Me living a life of faith. I truly was so glad that I had risen early in the morning to end 2017 with some quality and quantity time with God and to look out over the most beautiful kitchen that has ever been made. I pray that each one of you will know what it means to have Christ living in you and the joy that comes from living a life of faith. Our prayer for Soaring Wings Ministries in 2018 is that all that we do and all that is done will be done for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Wishing you all a blessed New Year,
Soaring Wings MInistries
499 Trinity Lane
I have always enjoyed the day before Thanksgiving and today was no exception. The day began with a pancake breakfast (thank you Ed!) complete with pure New England maple syrup that was a gift to us from a special friend and supporter from New Hampshire (thank you Dan!). The pancake breakfast was made even more special when our granddaughter, Payton, thought we should have hot tea with our pancakes served in a tea pot and tea cups (thank you Payton!). To top off our pancake breakfast I remembered a small package of pork sausages in our freezer left over from a previous breakfast. They were perfect with our pancakes and there was just enough left over for each of us to have two (thank you Lord for the joy of small blessings). As delicious and delightful as our pancake breakfast was, I did not linger over breakfast except to enjoy several cups of tea in a pretty tea cup. I was excited and eager to get going on the days preparations for Thanksgiving and I was looking forward to making the sourdough bread stuffing from the recipe given to us from our son-in-law (thank you Jake for the recipe!).
Those of you who have been to our home know that our kitchen, dining area and office space is all incorporated in one area and so as I work at the kitchen counter I have a full, clear view of the entire room and everything that is going on in the room. As I was cutting the sourdough bread into cubes for the stuffing my heart became instantly overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn't help but be thankful to God for all of his blessings and for the blessings of the day before Thanksgiving. As I prepared the sourdough bread stuffing with the recipe given to us from our son-in-law, it gave me great joy to remember the holidays we have spent with our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law over the years and the delicious meals he has prepared for us. I was also using a measuring cup that had been passed down to me from my Aunt Del Faye. She was a wonderful cook who took great joy in caring for her family and her life has inspired me to do the same. It was a delight to use her measuring cup in preparing our Thanksgiving meal. As I worked to prepare the sourdough bread stuffing, inches away from me, also working at the kitchen counter, was our granddaughter, Payton, thoroughly engrossed in making a family of snowmen out of multi-colored play dough. I thanked God for His amazing gift of my beautiful granddaughter and for the gift of being able to enjoy her each day. I looked across the room and our daughter, Meredith, was busy putting labels on envelopes for our Christmas mailing and Ed was busy at the computer finishing up a Christmas letter to include in the mailing. As I cut up the bread into cubes for the sourdough bread stuffing I thanked God for the tremendous blessing of their health and His loving care over both of them. I also thanked God for His care over our son-in-law Todd as he has recently turned the corner from a horrible cold that affected his breathing.
The cubes of bread were all cut up for the sourdough bread stuffing and as I mixed the cubes with the delicious combination of celery, onion and spices I looked up from the counter and across the room I saw the door leading into the addition which will be home for two homeless individuals. As I mixed the sourdough bread stuffing I thanked God for all of the many, many volunteers and donors (thank you volunteers and donors!) who helped build the addition and as the wind was howling fiercely outside I also thanked God for the volunteers who worked so hard late in the fall to make sure it was weather tight from wind, snow and rain. As I looked at the door leading into the addition I also thought of the people who will be living there next Thanksgiving. I pictured them being part of our family and preparing for Thanksgiving Day together. I wondered if they would have a favorite dish that they would prepare and I wondered if they would like to learn how to make sourdough bread stuffing.
The sourdough bread stuffing was complete and ready to be spooned into the casserole dish to be cooked in the oven on Thanksgiving Day. As I reflected back on the beginning of the day when I was looking forward to making the sourdough bread stuffing little did I realize the blessing that would be mine, not only in making the stuffing, but the gift of gratitude and joy from a loving God.
I cannot end this blog without sharing our recipe for Sourdough Bread Stuffing with you. It is a good one and I hope you enjoy it. I also pray, that as you make the stuffing, that God will fill your heart to overflowing with gratitude and joy. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
JAKE'S SOURDOUGH BREAD STUFFING
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sale
12 cups dried, cubed sourdough bread
1 160z can fat free chicken broth
Saute onions and celery in olive oil then add spices. Stir in bread cubes and broth. Spoon into 11x7 baking dish coated with baking spray. Cover and bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover. Bake for 20 more minutes or until top is golden brown.
With a joyful and grateful heart,
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries