Ang’s March ’19 Reads and QOTMs

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I finally finished John Wesley’s journal on my Kindle. It took me awhile. I’m in a stage where I don’t want to “abandon” books, so I waded through. I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t recommend it as a light and airy read, mostly for its archaic language.

I cracked up at one Goodreads user’s one-star review: “John Wesley goes about on a horse.” Hah! I guess that’s one way to boil it down into a sentence. Wesley certainly put some miles behind him as he traveled. He also went through some pretty insane life experiences: people wreaking havoc/causing insane distractions/hurling him with rocks as he preached… storms at sea… his relationship with George Whitefield… “losing” his first love… finally marrying a not-very-nice lady (although he never degraded her in his journal)… falling off horses… dealing with all kinds of weather issues on his journeys…

I teared up as his journal reached the end and his body started to fade. What an amazingly full life Wesley lived – spent for the Lord. His desire was to see Methodist “societies” established around the country. He felt it important for the Word to really take root in people’s lives. I’d be interested to read a biography soon.

Some favorite quotes (more like giant passages this time) from my March readings below!


I preached on “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). I believe God applied it to many hearts. Were it only for this hour, I am glad I came to Holland. ¹

(Reflecting on his 81st year of life) We can only say “The Lord reigneth!” While we live, let us live to Him! ¹

Even now, though I find pain daily in my eye, or temple, or arm; yet it is never violent and seldom lasts many minutes at a time. Whether or not this is sent to give me warning that I am shortly to quit this tabernacle, I do not know; but be it one way or the other, I have only to say,

My remnant of days
I spend to His praise
Who died the whole world to redeem;
Be they many or few,
My days are His due
And they are all devoted to Him! ¹

I stood at the window of my room… waiting for Big Ben to tell that the War was over. My mind strayed back across the scarring years to the scene and emotions of the night at the Admirality when I listened to these same chimes in order to give the signal of war against Germany to our Fleets…. And now all was over! The unarmed and untrained island nation… had faced unquestioningly the strongest manifestation of military power in human record, had completed its task…. ²

Why is war to have all the splendours, all the nobleness, all the courage and loyalty? Why should peace have nothing but the squabbles and the selfishness and the pettiness of daily life? Why if men and women, all classes, all parties, are able to work together for five years like a mighty machine to produce destruction, can they not work together for another five years to produce abundance? ²

And this is progress, this is liberty. This is Utopia! What a monstrous absurdity and perversion of the truth it is to represent the communistic theory as a form of progress, when, at every step and at every stage, it is simply marching back into the dark ages. ²

You’ve got to think about the “big things” while you’re doing the small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction. – Alvin Toffler ³

Another thing an intentional person has to learn is how to say no. For me, that has been really difficult. I never met an opportunity I didn’t like, so my natural desire is to say yes to everything. And you can’t accomplish much without focus. ³

Specialize in your specialty. When you have a solid understanding of your strengths, you will be able to focus. Your goal should be to spend 80 percent of your time and effort on what brings high return to you and your team. ³


¹ The Journal of John Wesley
² Churchill: The Power of Words, edited by Martin Gilbert
³ The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player, John Maxwell

Ang’s Feb ’19 Reads and QOTMs

IMG_9325We’re still working through this book together as a small group, but I finished early. Several of the chapters were extremely convicting and thought-provoking. I underlined a ton. The chapters on suffering, waiting, and contentment were particularly timely for me. It’ll be a good one to revisit in the future.

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WWII historical fiction is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres. I loved this Italian point of view. While Beneath a Scarlet Sky had a neat storyline, the writing could’ve been better. It made me sad to think about Pino Lella’s heartbreaking experiences, but did he know the One who will eventually set all things right? There was way too much cursing. I don’t recommend it to my book-loving friends. It won’t be a re-read for me.

81wSgtoiotL51nAcr-PhpLTackled a couple more Stink Moody books at bedtime with the kids. Again, not my favorite series in the world, but the boys are learning lots about English – as well as ways not to treat your siblings/friends. Hah. The boy humor definitely keeps them more engaged. I’ll be excited to get into some other (classic) read-alouds as the years go by.

Below: quite a few quotes from this month’s reading. I usually try to pare these down, but I just couldn’t take any more out! My suggestion? Just go read some good books!


I think the main difference is that in college, when I was around Mike, I wanted to be like Mike. Now, after spending time with Mike, I want to be more like Jesus. ¹

I have heard so many Christians tell me of a gut-wrenching season they walked through, only to hear them say, “In the end, I’m glad it happened…” None of them would have chosen ahead of time to walk through such a difficult trial. But all of them are grateful, in hindsight, that the trial came. Such fire-testing seasons are severe gifts from a loving Father…. These seasons are necessary because we do not walk easily into maturity. ¹

Faithful obedience, over time, weakens temptation’s allure. ¹

If your faith begins and ends with you, you are missing the truly profound experience of working with God to make a difference in a needy person’s life. ¹

It is a mistake to assume that “letting go” is always going to be a onetime event. Far more often, it [forgiveness] is an ongoing commitment. ¹

The time will come when all of us will be done mourning – but that time is not now; that time doesn’t exist on this earth. We need to mourn. Mourning invites us into a deeper life. ¹

But seeking after the transcendent – which can be found in God alone – points us to the only world where we can be truly satisfied. ¹

We pay a price when we become leisure-oriented, self-serving people… ¹

He was frightened by the penalty for helping the Jews, but he was going to help them anyway. ²

We are passing through a bad time now and it will probably be worse before it is better, but that it will be better, if we only endure and persevere, I have no doubt whatsoever. ³

To fight in defence of his native land is the first duty of the citizen. But to fight in defence of someone else’s native land is a different proposition…. it involves a higher conception… a wide outlook upon human affairs and a sense of world responsibility. ³

I am persuaded both evil and good angels had a large share in this transaction: how large we do not know now, but we shall know hereafter.

People who are focused on themselves are less likely to make changes for the team than people focused on serving others. 5

Without knowing both sides of the story, people tend to give the benefit of the doubt to themselves and to assign negative motives and actions to others. Without communication the situation just festers. 5

People forget how fast you did a job-but they remember how well you did it. -Howard W. Newton 5

Dependability means more than just wanting to take responsibility. That desire must also be coupled with good judgment to be of real value to the team. 5

A basic truth of life is that people will always move toward anyone who increases them and away from others who devalue them. 5

You can’t break a cycle of apathy by waiting to feel like doing it. 5


¹ Authentic Faith, Gary Thomas
² Beneath a Scarlet Sky, Mark Sullivan
³ Churchill: The Power of Words, edited by Martin Gilbert
The Journal of John Wesley
The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player, John Maxwell

On Spiderwebs and Perseverance

Over the past 6 years, the Lord’s been teaching me a lesson. Using spiderwebs. A couple weeks ago, I finally stopped to take a picture.

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Before Freedom owned the land where our campus now sits, we traveled to the villages to do school. In batey Lima, we borrowed a small, hot, metal church building where our 30 preschoolers would kneel at wooden pews to learn their alphabet. In 2013, our numbers grew to 90. I worked with our 30 kindergarteners, and Toni taught the 60 preschool babes.

As a mom who had just moved to a foreign country with two young boys, I felt like our days were so very long. Every morning, we’d send missionaries out at dawn in their personal vehicles to prep our “classrooms”. They’d lug heavy benches out of the buildings, and they’d drag in totes full of workbooks, school supplies, laminated letters, chalkboards, and more. They’d screw together makeshift desks to prepare for a morning full of learning.

At the end of each 4-hour day, everything was taken apart. Desks and chairs were stacked and organized. Ropes and number lines were dismantled and packed away. Outhouses were cleaned. Around noon, we’d drop our students off in their villages. Then we’d eat our packed lunches on the back of a safari truck. By mid-afternoon, we were home and cleaned up. With the remaining hours til sunset, houses were cleaned, clothes were washed, and dinners were cooked. Some missionaries homeschooled their own children; others spent time prepping lessons and activities for school. This monotonous routine was our “normal”.

For me to get up at 6 am and head out to the villages on the back of an open-air truck – hanging on to my 3-year-old son so he wouldn’t bounce off the seat – was fairly draining. But even on those early, frigid mornings, God was an ever-present help and strength.

I had lots of time to think on those long truck rides. There were certain parts of the trip that were actually rather pleasant. I loved watching the world wake up. I started to notice certain aspects of the landscape. I knew when the really big bumps were coming on that washed-out, dirt road. I could soon close my eyes and tell you our location on the route based on the sounds, smells, and swerves. With each trip, I’d catch some new feature of my surroundings.

It was always fun riding through one particularly wooded area – it had a jungle feel to it. After being in that shadowy, foresty region for several minutes, the world opened up into a sunny, vast expanse of sugarcane. The fields stretched for miles. In the distance, one could barely make out the grayish, purple mountains.

One dewy morning, I remember looking out across the grassy fields, and I noticed something new. Spiderwebs. Hundreds and hundreds of translucent orbs. They were all around. Every few yards, there was another intricate structure that some tiny, eight-legged creature had spent her entire night working on. I could only imagine the amount of time it took to make those complex, interlacing works of art.

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Interestingly enough, by the time we boarded the truck for the afternoon ride home, the spiderwebs were gone. They no longer glistened in the sunlight, veiled in morning dew. I can only assume that the wind and rain of the day destroyed those fragile, beautiful masterpieces.

I started to compare our long hours to the time those little spiders spent creating their webs. Were we really so different from them, toiling day and night? We sure experienced “windy” times. For me, those days were mostly characterized by feelings of discouragement, exhaustion, and frustration as we worked with rowdy, raucous kids who rarely showed signs of change and growth.

As depressing as all this may sound, there is some beauty to the tale. Each afternoon the spiderwebs were gone. But every morning, they were back! In the night, the spiders had set to work again – spinning, spinning, spinning – until their condensation-covered creations were complete again.

Those spiders and their webs represented something to me. Perseverance. I often woke up thinking, Lord, I don’t know if I can do this again. It’s so early. I’m so tired. These kids don’t want to learnBut then I’d see those webs, and I’d think, Well, Jesus, if those little arachnids can get up to spin their webs, then I can too!

The miraculous thing? I don’t have to spin alone.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning!
– Psalm 30:5

 

Ang’s Jan ’19 Reads and QOTMs

81rzdofmxplThis was a phenomenal work of historical fiction! I learned about a part of WWII that I don’t ever remember focusing on. Very emotional to follow this displaced family who was forced to leave their precious Lithuania for cold and brutal Siberia. For me, its ending was abrupt, especially since I loved the characters so.

41+wlb5hwrl._sx331_bo1,204,203,200_I ran across this book while I was browsing Goodreads a few weeks ago and bought it on a whim. This issue of raising grateful children is one that’s been on my heart for the last few months. I want my three sweet kiddos to grow up really thankful for their many blessings – to exchange selfish attitudes for selfless mindsets and actions. Honestly, I feel like the writing was a bit haphazard. There weren’t any earth-shattering concepts in it. But I’m glad I read it, because it made me slow down and think more intentionally about what our family can do to combat this problem. One Amazon reviewer hit the nail on the head when he said, “The issue is real but the book needs polishing.”

A few of the quotes that impacted me this month:


“Twenty minutes,” the officer barked. He threw his burning cigarette onto our clean living room floor and ground it into the wood with his boot. We were about to become cigarettes. ¹

I pictured a rug being lifted and a huge Soviet broom sweeping us under it. ¹

I scanned the group. Faces spoke to their future. I saw courage, anger, fear, and confusion. Others were hopeless. They had already given up. Which was I? ¹

I felt as if I were riding a pendulum. Just as I would swing into the abyss of hopelessness, the pendulum would swing back with some small goodness. ¹

Anytime we step out of the mainstream and try to turn our lives (or homes) around and dare to go upstream, it’s hard. Some would say impossible. The journey is filled with obstacles, naysayers, and discouragers. And then there are the children…. Our kids are taught conformity–to be like everyone else, to follow rules and not misstep. It’s in our human makeup to want to fit in, to not stick out or be different, to blend in.²

As uncomfortable as it sounds, parents who want less-entitled kids have to be less entitled themselves, and parents who want to raise more grateful kids need to start by livnig more grateful lives. ²

Research proves there’s a direct link between low self-esteem and materialism. We give our kids more because we think it will make us all feel better, but it actually places a higher value on things than on relationships. And often our kids don’t need more stuff or more freedom; they just need more of us. ²

A child-centered home inhibits awareness of others. When we focus all our time and attention on our own needs, it’s really hard to see the needs of other people. ²

By Christian perfection,
I mean 1.) loving God with all our heart….
I mean 2.) a heart and life all devoted to God…
I mean 3.) regaining the whole image of God…
I mean 4.) having all the mind that was in Christ…
I mean 5.) walking uniformly as Christ walked. ³

Behold, what frailty we in man may see! His shadow is less given to change than he. ³


¹ Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys
² Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen Welch
³ The Journal of John Wesley

Ang’s Oct/Nov/Dec ’18 Reads and QOTM’s

Wow, I fell off the monthly blogging wagon. Life has really taken me for a ride these past few months. So many things going on, but I was able to tackle a few books. Thankful for the awesome opportunity to be challenged and to learn new things even in the middle of the craziness.

41agtusbxpl._sx298_bo1,204,203,200_ In October, I worked through this must-read by Elisabeth Eliot. Tears as I walked this journey, this time imagining how I would’ve responded had it been me that lost my husband. These men and women had a contagious faith. Will always love this fast, easy, yet emotional read.

b1cbjntwjis._sl250_fmpng_I’ve been reading this Judy Moody spin-off series about Judy’s little brother, Stink, to my boys at night, and they are obsessed! These haven’t been my favorite stories in the world, but if my kids will sit and listen to a read-aloud, I’ll buy every single one! Noah and Leyton are learning tons of idioms and other English nuances, a huge plus for this self-proclaimed language nerd.

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Worked through The Search for Significance over the last several months with some missionary ladies and interns. Many of the workbook questions really made me consider the perspectives from which I am operating: good reminders not to give in to Satan’s lies in the day-to-day. For me, it was vaguely reminiscent of Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

51au58ubjdl._sx330_bo1,204,203,200_Whew. Finished The Indifferent Stars Above in December. I’m glad I read this one, but I was equally as glad when it was over. I picked it up because I loved Boys in the Boat so much and because I’ve always been interested to know what exactly happened to the Donner party. I felt physically ill through a portion of this story. Pondered various life questions. What would I have done had it been my child starving on the side of a mountain? Brought up lots of “what if’s”. Definitely learned a ton.

Below is a (very long but not exhaustive) list of my favorite quotes and passages from my finished books from the last few months.


I would gladly give my life for that tribe if only to see an assembly of those proud, clever, smart people gathering around a table to honor the Son – gladly, gladly, gladly! What more could be given to a life? – Pete McCully ¹

When life’s flight is over, and we unload our cargo at the other end, the fellow who got rid of unnecessary weight will have the most valuable cargo to present to the Lord. – Nate Saint ¹

That night I was so keyed up I couldn’t sleep much. On the other hand, I realized that the whole thing was in the Lord’s hands. ¹

A missionary plods through the first year or two, thinking that things will be different when he speaks the language. He is baffled to find, frequently, that they are not. He is stripped of all that may be called “romance.” Life has fallen more or less into a pattern. Day follows day in unbroken succession; there are no crises, no mass conversions, sometimes not even one or two to whom he can point and say: “There is a transformed life. If I had not come, he would never have known Christ.” There will be those among the Indians who say that they accept Christ, but what of the forsaking of heathen custom and turning from sin to a life of holiness? The missionary watches, and longs, and his heart sickens. ¹

It is easy to see how the availabilty of even so simple a tool as the machete can profoundly alter a culture. ¹

“… They didn’t know what a great sin it was. They didn’t understand why the white men had come. Send some more messengers, and give the Aucas, instead of fierce hearts, soft hearts. Stick their hearts, Lord, as with a lance. They stuck our friends, but You can stick them with Your Word, so that they will listen, and believe.”

This is the context in which the story must be understood – as one incident in human history, an incident in certain ways and to certain people important, but only one incident. God is the God of human history, and he is at work continuously, mysteriously, accomplishing His eternal purposes in us, through us, for us, and in spite of us…

Bones have their secrets, but they tell no lies. ²

One by one, feathery flakes landed on cold blankets and buffalo robes, on sweat-slicked hair, on shoulders turned to the sky, on soft checks–each flake delicate and slight, but each lending its almost imperceptible weight to the horror of what was about to happen. ²

Modern disaster psychologists have found that bold, decisive leadership greatly improves any group’s ability to survive the early stages of an impending catastrophe. ²

Sitting in the casino, I wondered if the habit of taking chances and thus far surviving them had lulled them into a false sense of security, left them as mesmerized by the temptations of fortune and the hazards of chance as those sitting around me seemed to be as they watched the wheels spin before their faces. ²

Imagination can only take you so far out of your own world. But it occurred to me that any one of the sixteen-wheelers racing by the interstate could have carried all of the Donner party over the crest of the mountains in about seven minutes. ²

Led into the wilderness by a lie, led astray at times by their own dreams and ambitions, … they had found themselves blundering ever more blindly through terra incognita as they moved west. Here at Emigrant Gap, even the landscape itself had conspired to deceive them. And when the land they encountered did not conform to their expectations, they had continued to move forward as if it did, taking the easier route downhill. In the end, as a group they had exhibited precisely the opposite kind of behavior from the humility and open-eyed awareness that survivors always seem to demonstrate. ²

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10 ³

The only way we can overcome the fear of rejection is to value the constant approval of God over the conditional approval of people. ³

There is nothing more motivating, nothing more comforting, nothing else that compels us more to honor Christ, and nothing else that gives us as much compassion for others as the sacrificial payment of Christ that has rescued us from eternal condemnation. ³


¹ Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Eliot
² The Indifferent Stars Above, Daniel James Brown
³ The Search for Significance, Robert S. McGee

Ang’s September ’18 Reads and QOTM’s

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Another book finished. I had heard good things about Leadership Pain, but honestly, I wasn’t extremely impressed. Don’t get me wrong – there were great parts. I underlined a good bit. The concept of pain being an excellent teacher is a good one. But I feel like the writing was a little… redundant and all over the place. This book would’ve been a more effective read for me in about half the number of pages. I’m glad I read it, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it to my friends.

Some of my favorite quotes from my September reads are below!


Never trust a leader who doesn’t walk with a limp. – Dr. J. Robert Clinton ¹

Some leaders lose sight of pleasing God and, instead, live to please the next person who walks into their office… In our insecurity, we become chameleons, changing our attitudes, perspectives, and values to suit the person in front of us. Our life’s goal is gradually shifted from bringing glory to God to winning approval from others. ¹

Suffering so unbolts the door of the heart, that the Word hath easier entrance. – Richard Baxter ¹

By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – C.H. Spurgeon ¹

Shouldn’t we suppose that many of our most painful ordeals will look quite different a million years from now, as we recall them on the New Earth? What if one day we discover that God has wasted nothing in our life on earth? What if we see that every agony was part of giving birth to an eternal joy? – Randy Alcorn ¹

All the thrill of boyhood dreams came on me just now… I wanted to sail when I was in grammar school… Now I am actually at sea–as a passenger, of course, but at sea nevertheless–and bound for Ecuador. Strange–or is it?–that childish hopes should be answered in the will of God for this now? ²

The Lord has given me a hunger for righteousness and piety that can alone be of Himself. Such hungering He alone can satisfy, yet Satan would delude and cast up all sorts of other baubles, social life, a name renowned, a position of importance, scholastic attainment… Surely they can mean nothing to the soul who has seen the beauty of Jesus Christ…. ²

Would the New Testament answer the longing for the Quichua for freedom from fear, peace of heart, deliverance from evil spirits? The missionaries… felt themselves foreigners–felt they would always be foreigners. The Indian himself must be the answer…. ²

Jim, I’m taking the Lord at His word, and I’m trusting Him to prove His word. It’s kind of like putting all your eggs in one basket, but we’ve already put our trust in Him for salvation, so why not do it as far as our life is concerned? If there’s nothing to this business of eternal life, we might as well lose everything in one crack and throw our present life away with the one hereafter. But if there’s something to it, then everything else the Lord says must hold true likewise. ²

It’s hard to stay on top of it all, hard to keep rejoicing, hard to love those ungrateful Indians. It’s hard to keep our primary purpose in view when we get so swamped with secondary things. ²

“There’s glue in places that don’t need it…”
“It doesn’t bother me. The fabric will cover it.”
Franz’s father gave him a lesson. “Always do the right thing, even if no one sees it.”
“No one will know it’s there.”
“Fix it, because you’ll know it’s there.” ³

A Nazi was someone who chose to be a Nazi. ³

The more he read, the more Franz was bothered by the hypocrisy of the war he had joined – of people who believed in the same God, fighting one another. ³

As soldiers, we must kill or be killed. But once a person enjoys killing, he is lost.³


¹ Leadership Pain, Samuel Chand
² Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot
³ A Higher Call, Adam Makos

July, August, September 2018 in Pictures

It’s such a privilege to be a part of God’s work here in the Dominican! Enjoy these pictures of our last few months at Freedom!

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