Joey & Rory

July 26, 2017

Friends,
I drove two hours out to the country on Sunday to hear a friend’s 17 year old daughter and three others give their report in their church about the Southeast Asia mission trip they had just returned from. It was precious. Another friend who I’d invited to meet me there attended also. She and I went to lunch after and then later sat in her car to talk and pray and listen to a music CD of a couple I’d never heard of till then —Joey and Rory. That evening she sent me this song and I just listened to it today:

https://youtu.be/majRtw3cvec

I went on today to also watch and listen to the very beautiful story of how this couple met and how they knew God was orchestrating it. View this:

https://youtu.be/zPUNpPIvZwQ

Trying to make sense of the huge turn in their journey, listen to Rory’s words here:

https://youtu.be/ZoDUYhweFbg

Besides their stunning songs, music, and personalities, their story is extraordinary and both sad and wonderful. Here is a tribute to Joey:

https://youtu.be/xDfAJEX7Dyo

And another one:

https://youtu.be/VvbGRjIpaRQ

And here is a link where Rory talks at Joey’s funeral:

https://youtu.be/x7ZTRF8c94A

Their songs and story have obviously touched my heart. I hope it touches your heart also and that their courage, faith, and love encourages us in whatever we are facing.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,

This little girl is half Agta and lives in a village next to the village I and my siblings grew up in. Her mom is an Agta woman and her dad is the Filipino pastor of their village. She needs help. Her dad has taken her to a city, a day’s bus drive away (each way), to have medicine put in her eye, and they need money to be able to do this on a regular basis. The family is very, very poor. Please consider giving to this girl and please tell others who also may be able to help.

Here is the link where a person can donate to help in this cause: http://partnersacrosscultures.org/donate In the box that says, “Person or trip for funds to go to” a person must type in “Agta” and then contact me at my comment page (which I will not publish) to let me know the amount given for this little daughter of the pastor. If someone would prefer to give to her through Paypal, just reach me through my comment page and I will send you my brother’s Paypal information.

For the Agta, even a fews dollars goes a long way. Thank you so much for contributing.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
My sister’s daughter, Violet, was on Japan’s national news today. She and some others volunteered to help with the clean-up necessary due to the terrible flood damage that happened in Hita, Oita, Japan the first week of this month.

The reason she is there is because she joined the group (for the first time) that my brother organizes every year to go to Hita to help him and his family share Christ and God’s Message with the Japanese. Each young person stays in a Japanese home and commits to serving their host family, while also helping with the evangelism activities my brother administrates.

I hope people are praying for those affected by the flood. There is much ruin and some family’s homes were washed away completely. May God comfort the people of Hita and may they see their need for The One who is All-powerful and is able to heal and help and save.

Violet can be seen working in several of the clips, and they also recorded a few statements from her. Watching her reminded me again of what a tender heart she has for others, and how she gives of her life whenever and wherever she can. (She is the one who raised over 22K through bake sales, etc. to purchase a well for the Hadza in Tanzania, Africa, which I posted about last year on 7/26/16.)

Here is the link to the Japanese newscast today:

 

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
“‘The church will be inhabited forever and the church through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.’ The LORD dwells in the church!” (Joel 3:20,21) Sound familiar? It shouldn’t. Maybe these verses actually say this: “‘Jesus will be inhabited forever and Jesus through all generations. His bloodguilt, which God has not pardoned, He will pardon.’ The LORD dwells in Jesus!”

Those who adhere to Replacement Theology tell us that all the passages in the Old Testament where God made promises to the Israelites regarding their nation, the physical land of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem are promises that have, since Christ’s resurrection, been removed and transferred to “the true church of Jesus Christ” (or, for those who take the brand of Fulfillment Theology, to “Christ Himself”). But can their teaching be the Truth? –Even as they contradict the statements of God?

The above is how the Replacement/Fulfillment Theology adherents have to read Joel 3:20,21, unless of course, they choose to believe that God breaks His promises. But here is what the verses actually say: “‘Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.’ The LORD dwells in Zion!”

Is God promising in these two verses something regarding the Jews’ homeland or should we believe that it refers to the church’s homeland? What is the plain meaning? Who is the promise, which God is giving through the prophet Joel, being given to? Certainly it can be seen that the whole of the book regards the Israelite nation and its separateness from all other nations. This is especially obvious in verses 1-3 of chapter 3 where God promises to “restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem” and “gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat” so that He can enter into judgement against the nations for what they have done to His people, His land, and His inheritance.

The Valley of Jehoshaphat is a literal place that separates Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, so if God foretells that His judgement against the nations will take place there, it is a falsehood to teach otherwise. Moreover, if the Lord says that this is “concerning My inheritance, My people Israel,” (Joel 3:2) then it seems that only pride or ignorance would cause someone to teach that God actually meant, “My inheritance, My people, the church.” Does such a teaching make sense when God goes on to say, “for they scattered My people among the nations and divided up My land”? (Same verse) How exactly have the nations divided up the land of the church so as to make God angry?

God promises again in Joel 3:12 that He plans to, and will, judge all the nations when they advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat. He promises in verse 16 that He will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem even while also being “a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” In verse 17 He says, “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, My holy hill.” These three verses alone reveal that God claims the hill of Zion as His, states that He dwells there, and states that He is the God and Fortress of those He is addressing, the people of Israel. The rest of verse 17 shows God saying, “Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.” This is a further promise to the people to whom Joel was preaching –that their capital will one day be holy and forever free from all invasion. Considering history, verse 17 informs us that this promise is for the future, as does verse 18 which promises abundant prosperity and another (physical) situation that is future: “A fountain will flow out of the LORD’s house and will water the Valley of Shittim” –likely by irrigation means. However, for Egypt and Edom, a desolation is decreed. (v. 19)

So now we arrive again at Joel 3:20,21 which we began with: “‘Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.’ The LORD dwells in Zion!” This cannot refer to the church or to Jesus. The true church, since they are truly in Christ, has already had its bloodguilt pardoned, and Jesus has never had any bloodguilt, for He is, always has been, and always will be, perfect. Thus Joel 3:20,21 can only refer to the people who inhabit Judah, Jerusalem, and Zion whom God names as His own.

“Never again will My people be shamed.” God promises this in Joel 2:26 and again in verse 27. In verse 19 He promises, “Never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations,” while verse 18 states, “Then the LORD will be jealous for His land and take pity on His people.” It says, “His land” and “His people”. In verse 20 God declares that He will drive the northern army into a parched land and into the eastern and western seas, creating a stench. References to armies and geography should necessitate that this be read literally.

The book of Joel was, and still is, a message to Israel specifically, not to the church specifically, and certainly not to Jesus. It is a call for Israel to repent that they may be spared when “the day of the LORD” comes upon mankind. “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy hill.” (Joel 2:1) For, as God says, “A nation has invaded My land, powerful and without number…” (1:6)

The book of Joel is “The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel.” (Joel 1:1) “And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.” (2:32) Yes, “‘Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.’ The LORD dwells in Zion!” (3:20,21)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Most of us have heard the “plan of salvation” spelled out by the use of A, B, and C. I’ve added D, E, F, G, and H. Here is my version and addition:

A –Admit you are a sinner and under the curse of damnation.

B –Believe in Jesus Christ and what He did for us, and that He is both Savior and Lord over all.

C –Call out to Jesus to save you, repent of sin, and commit your entire life and being to Him.

D –Don’t look back at worldliness and sin but abandon them genuinely and completely.

E –Engage all your energy to serve, obey, and please Christ, the Captain.

F –Follow faithfully, forever, the Shepherd.

G –Glorify, praise, and petition the Lord throughout each day and in every circumstance.

H –Honor Christ in all you do, think, and say.

These A-H reminders will definitely give us a victorious walk with Jesus –full of righteousness, peace, and joy, an abundance of fruit, and a beautiful life in the presence of God eternally.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Hopefully, we who are Americans, are, at this Fourth of July holiday time, thanking God that we are able to live in a country that, though far from perfect, has enabled people to enjoy many freedoms. Multitudes have sacrificed their lives for us and we need to be grateful. We need to respect and uphold our laws and our constitution, and we would benefit ourselves and our country to learn the true facts of our nation’s history, especially regarding the decades surrounding 1776.

Two Sundays ago our senior pastor gave a sermon that revealed some things I did not know (or hadn’t heard about for a long time) concerning the events surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Political sermons should be rare in the pulpit, but I do think it is pertinent sometimes, so that, and particularly in this time of political unrest, people will understand the real facts about the founding of our nation. Freedom of religion alongside Christian principles from God’s Word was definitely the foundation in the formation of our Constitution. Please listen to the sermon Gary gave on June 25 by clicking here:

http://gracearlington.com/resources/sermons-media/sermons/category/sunday-morning-sermon/

(My brother gave a great sermon yesterday and that can be watched or listened to by clicking at that same link.)

There is another excellent speech I would encourage everyone to watch on youtube. It’s by Trey Gowdy (Congressman from S.C.) and there he begins by asking, “Which do you value more –truth or freedom?” I value both of course, but I would certainly have said, “Truth” for there could not be real, lasting freedom without truth. But note what he says were the answers of those he asked.

Later, at about the 5:25 mark, Mr. Gowdy gives us insight into the art of persuasion, reminding us that neither insults nor hypocrisy work well. (Indeed, so why is there so much of both throughout our country?) Instead, he reminds us, that which will create an atmosphere for being persuasive is relationship –showing others that you truly care about them, and that your true concern for them is the reason why you are trying to persuade them in the first place, even while respecting their freedom to reject your viewpoint. Here is that link:

https://youtu.be/YXxNuYo9pcg

Aren’t we thankful that we live in a country that values freedom? But we have to have truth to have that freedom. God’s Word is the Truth and yes, our Constitution was formed on the basis of that.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
My brother (Steve), his oldest son (Kael), another teenage boy, and two young men (not the same two who went in 2015) took a trip to the Philippines last month to visit the Agta –the people with whom I and my siblings grew up and for whom my parents translated the New Testament.

It appears that the Agta are doing much better than they were several years ago. There is a thriving church there and most of the Agta throughout the penisula seem to love Jesus. The children are eager to go to school and to learn and the adults want this for them –very different than when we lived there, for it was so hard to get anyone interested in learning to read then. However, there is a need for a school to be built in another Agta village so that those children don’t have to board away from home. There is a need for funds for this project, as Steve is trying to arrange plans for the building. Here is something I posted after their trip in 2015 and it includes the information on how to donate:

“New houses, a church, and a school have been made in one Agta village from money being donated from various people wanting to help the Agta. The Agtas’ needs have received more attention since APECO’s efforts to take their land have become known internationally. (The Rom. 8:28 promise at work, I’d say.) May the Lord bless all who are helping them! If you would like to be one of those helpers, there is an opportunity to become a sponsor for the many six-graders wanting to go on to high school (there is no middle school), which costs, including room and board, approximately $340 a year. Here is the link you can click on to donate and receive a tax deduction:http://partnersacrosscultures.org/donate Please specify that you are donating to “the Casiguran Agta” in the blank space that says, “Person or trip”. If you are wanting to sponsor a student, their names will be available after you fill out the application. Thank you so much for prayerfully considering this.”

Please also support the Agta through prayer. Pray for their health, for their provision regarding food, medicine, surgeries, and education, for them to grow in spiritual knowledge, maturity, and holiness, for them and their land to be safe from land-grabbers, for their safety from disease and accidents and hurricanes, and for their total well-being.

I thank the Lord for all He has so wonderfully done for the Agta since my parents went there to live out their lives with them two years before I was born. God loves the Agta so very much. He cares for them and wants to use others to extend His care and love through. Thank you for your consideration, dear Reader, in helping.

Below are some photos, with captions underneath each, of this year’s trip.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

My brother with “uncle” Saysay (pronounced Sysy) who, as a child, became blind from having measles.

My brother and a Filipino man who is a pastor in the area.

Kael and the other teenage boy enjoying one of the peninsula’s exquisite beaches.

This man’s life was saved by my mom about 25 years ago when he was dying. My mom hiked to his home one night to pray over him and he miraculously recovered by the next morning. This is his wife and kids this year.

This photo is of two of our elderly “aunties” trying out the reading glasses my parents sent.

Two of our friends have this small ferry business because the river, near its mouth, rises at high tide.

Two children amazed at a young hornbill bird.

Agta grandma ready to play ball too!

American group involving themselves in village life.

Kael with new friends.