Friday, June 24, 2016

The Beginning of a Great Summer-- (The Conference: Part 1)

  Instead of staying in hotel, we decided to rent a vacation house for a few days. It was great and really nice. One  thing we didn't realize was that the downstairs bedroom didn't have stairs connecting it to the second floor. So we all stayed in the upstairs. We pushed a queen and a twin bed together and four girls slept there. Then Brenna and I took turns sleeping with Mom in the other queen bed and Mrs. Lydia took the couch which was quite comfortable. The porch was wonderful and several of us used it for devotions. What a lovely view! We loved it; it was a cute house.

 This was the first night of the conference. We were so excited.

 They did a good job decorating. The bathroom was decorated like a waterfall. It was really cool.
They had several college tour groups that sang throughout the week. We really enjoyed hearing the song that the choir sang each night; they sounded really good. The two preachers they had the first night were Bro. Steven Barnes and Bro. Dean Miller.

  Bro. Barnes preached on the prodigal son and the prodigal's brother. The name of his message was "The Dangers of Never Leaving Home." It was a good message.

 Bro. Dean Miller is the pastor of Central baptist Church, the church Dad used to be the bus director at a long while back. Bro. Miller started pastoring the church awhile after we left and the church started supporting us when we became missionaries. We loved hearing Bro. Miller preach when we would visit, so it was good to hear him preach again. He was so funny! If he wasn't a pastor I think he could have been a stand-up comedian. :)  His message was "How to face the fire" with the three Hebrew boys in the book of Daniel. It was a convicting message on faith and standing up for what's right. One of the things he said that I thought was really good was " The only thing you lose in the fire is what the world put on you."

After the service we went to get dinner at the Wendy's drive-thru and then went to the house and talked about the different messages that night and what spoke to our heart. Because it was really late we then went to bed.

The next day we left  to go to the water park that they had rented out and got there at 7:30 a.m.
The first day they rented it out just for the girls and the next day was just for the boys. We had a lot of fun. All of us went down the lazy river, then a really big water slide that we had to climb a lot of stairs to get to. It was kind of scary. Then we went down another slide that was more twisty, but what was really cool was they had a tube that four girls could sit in. So, we did three in one and four in the other since there were seven of us. That was really fun! After that we split up-- Tabitha went to dry off, Mom and Mrs.Lydia went down the lazy river again, Brenna and Tricia did two more water slides in a double tube, and Linsey and me did one more in a double tube. By that time all of us were ready to leave a little earlier than the others to go back to the house and shower, than we hurried to go back to the church for lunch and the afternoon session. 

  Bro. Dean Miller was the afternoon speaker and he preached on the book of Ruth. The theme of the message was "How to get closer to Jesus". The points he gave were: 1. You have to get clean,
 2. Anoint yourself, (Anointing speaks of the Holy Spirit.) 3. Be clothed with the right garments-- garments of salvation and praise, and 4. Commit yourself to Him. It was a really good message.

This is the night of the conference that we were really excited for because Bro. Bob Gray II would be preaching. Our family had started watching Bro. Bob Gray's messages online from the youth conference at North Valley BC. We just loved hearing him preach. Tabitha and Tricia had listened to one of his messages online as well so we were so excited to hear him in person.

 The first preacher that night was Bro. Scott Gray, Bro. Bob Gray's younger brother. That was our first time hearing him preach. He was a really good preacher as well. His message was "How to Continue  in the Chaos" and was about Joseph being sold into slavery and the hard life he had. Here are a couple of the points he gave: He dealt with bitterness (he didn't get bitter and angry with his brethren for what they did to Him), he dominated in his battles, and he determined to believe.

The next preacher was Bro. Bob Gray. His message was "The Sanctuary is the Secret" and was one that we had never heard before. It was really good and a big blessing. The scripture passage was Psalm 73, the one where the psalmist talks about seeing the wicked and how they were powerful, happy (seemingly), could say and do what they wanted, and were untouchable. The psalmist said that he almost blew it till he entered the sanctuary and saw their end. Bro. Bob Gray said that the reason we get envious at the wicked is because we don't get in the sanctuary. When you are in the sanctuary you won't want what the world has to offer. Basically he was talking about having a good devotion time and a good relationship with our Heavenly Father. However, Bro. Gray took it further. He likes to do a lot of illustrations and for this one he used a sheet and every once in a while he would put it over His head.  He said that at any time we should be able to get into sanctuary mode and talk to God.
  Brenna put it really good this way, she said that the Lord spoke to her heart about being a testimony to other teen girls saying, "Come on let's go pray," or "Let's go read our Bibles." or things like that.  So the point of the message: when we have a good relationship with our heavenly Father, talk to Him,  and see His goodness and love for us, we won't want what the world has. It was a powerful message and many of us went to the alter.

I didn't realize  that this post would be so long so I am going to cut this one short and finish telling you abut the conference in a later post. Before I do though, I want to share a cool story... A few months ago Dad got a call from someone who wanted to pay for him and Mom to go on to Israel and pay for the tour, hotels, and food. Dad and mom would just have to pay for the tickets which was about $2,000. Dad and mom really wanted to go so they prayed about it for God would have to provide the money. Well, something went wrong with our septic and Dad paid a lot to get it fixed and had to borrow from the next month's pay check. A few days before the youth conference Dad called the man who was going to pay for their trip, to cancel. However, he wouldn't take no for an answer and told Dad to pray about it for a little longer for he felt God was going to work it out for them to go. Tabitha and Tricia were staying with us then and so they heard all about it.

  Back to the conference, after the service we all wanted to get our Bibles signed by Bro. Bob Gray so we went over to the next building and waited in line. As he signed our Bibles Mom, Brenna and I told him how we had started listening to his messages online on the mission field and how it was a blessing hearing him preach that night. He asked us where we had been missionaries at so we told Him. He asked which one of us was older, me or Brenna and when we told him he was surprised for he thought Brenna was older. We said no and that everybody says that.

Well as we were talking for some reason, out of the blue, Mom mentioned how we were a new church plant from High Springs, Florida. He looked really surprised, smiled real big and said, "You are not going to believe this, but someone in my church came to me this morning and gave me a check for $2,000 for a new church plant. He said  that someone would walk up to me tonight and say that they were church planters and that that was the person I was supposed to give the check to. It is sitting on my desk right now and you are the first person to come and tell me that you are a new church plant!"
  It was our turn to be surprised and boy, were we surprised! We were dumbfounded. Tabitha leaned over and told me, "The Israel trip! Maybe it's for the Israel trip!''
  I smiled back but thought it was probably for the church, still really amazing though. We were excited. When we were walking to the car Mom called Dad and told him. He asked her to say it again. Mom confirmed it. He said, "You're joking right?''
  "No, he really did!" She said. Dad was speechless, he was so surprised and excited!
 Dad wanted Mom to ask Bro. Gray the next morning who exactly the check was written out to, but Mom didn't really feel like she could ask Him. Well, the next morning or afternoon Bro. Bob Gray actually called Dad on the phone. He told Dad that it was for the pastor's family. Dad was really excited now. Before the night service Dad called Mom while the rest of us went to find a seat inside. When Mom came in she whispered to me and Brenna that the money was for us and for the Israel trip. We were so amazed and happy. It was so amazing how God worked it all out! Isn't God good?!!

  See you in my next post!!!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Beginning of a Great Summer-- (The Trip)

  It is finally summer. I am done with school, it is hot outside, and it is now hurricane season. Amidst all that, my summer has been off to a great start. I feel like summer really began last week.

  Last week was the Deep South Youth Conference (DSYC) in Gulf port, Mississippi. My mom, Mrs. Lydia, Tabitha, Tricia, Linsey,  (the teen girl that just got saved and baptized) Brenna, and me were able to go. Tabitha and Tricia came Sunday night for church with their parents and stayed with us till we left for the youth conference. It was good to spend time with them. Josh enjoyed it as well. Every time they come we just seem to draw closer to them. We stayed up late playing games and eating ice cream and when Josh went to bed, us girls stayed up giggling talking, playing wii, and eating more ice cream! It was fun.
  Well, on Wednesday we got up early in the morning, loaded the Expedition, and went to pick up Mrs. Lydia and Linsey. Then began our trip. 

We decided to start out our trip on a spiritual note and read a chapter in Proverbs and sang scripture songs. Dad had printed a road trip scavenger hunt. We didn't realize that it would take all day to find all the stuff on our list, but we had fun. Occasionally, when one of us would finally find something, we would yell or scream it out and Mrs. Lydia would jump. It was great!                

  When Mom goes on a trip she likes to make it fun, so, we had a couple gas station stops to get a snack or a drink on the way there and back. We also had a stop at McDonald's to get a snack since we were going to eat a late lunch. All of us are definitely food-lovers, so we all got along well.    

In Alabama we stopped at Raising Cane's for lunch. (Raising Cane's is a place that our family has loved, but we only get it when we go to the Mississippi/Alabama area). Mrs.Pepper Scofield was able to meet us their. It was good to see her. Mom was glad to be able to talk to one of her best friends who she hadn't seen in awhile. Whenever they do see each other they just start where they left off and talk real easy quickly.

       When we crossed the Mississippi line we stopped at the welcome center to take a few pictures and stretch our legs. Our trip was almost done. We were so excited to go to the conference and finally hear Bro. Bob Gray II in person and to hear all the other preachers preach. It was going to be great. We just knew it.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Graduation

I still can't believe it myself that I've already turned 18 and have graduated from high school. How time flies by....

Here are a few of my Senior pictures that my sister, Brenna, who is our new photographer, took. She did a really good job; I was happy with how the pics turned out.
This was what my post card invitations looked like.

   Brenna also took my cap and gown pictures. I wanted to go with something totally out of the ordinary so I went with a hot pink cap and gown.

   I had wanted my graduation to be more of a party and to have it outdoors and make it really informal. So I had all of these big plans-- I would give a speech, but not walk down the aisle; (I don't like to be the center of attention, which is what would happen) we would do a few games and just make it really fun. I wanted to do my graduation before my birthday, which was March 14, so I could say that I graduated when I was 17. We ended up doing it a week after on the 19th which was okay--we wanted our family to be there for our church's 1 year anniversary which was on the 20th as well.

Weeks before we had started working really hard out side to get it ready for the big day-- Dad cut down trees, ( one of them almost fell on our house, :) ) and made a bench out of the stumps and two trees we cut down. (Those things were heavy, we all had to lift them!) We also picked up sticks, got up all the leaves since it was after fall/winter. We made a little flower garden area where the trees had been, the kids painted a butterfly on one of the stumps, and we planted flowers and put mulch around them--we worked hard!

Well, a week before my graduation the weather forecasts called for a lot of rain that weekend. There went my outdoor graduation; I would have to do it at the church. I was really upset about it and it took me a while to get used to it. Looking back now I looked pretty selfish, after all it turned out great anyway. So with help from my Dad and Mom we made the best of it and it turned out to be a wonderful graduation party.

I set up a special table with all of my favorite things. I had one of my baby blankets, my quilt that my mom made, and my horse blanket. Can you tell that I love horses? I had my favorite childhood books, part of my collection of antique books (I just love books--old and new), my two albums that my Mom has put together through the years, and my Florida report I did for 7th grade and my Bible--my favorite book of all. Above the table I hung a few pictures, (ones with my cap and gown and one with me and my old horse, Sugar Rose), and the poem I wrote.

I wanted to do hot pink and navy blue chevron.  I love the decorations that I picked out. My favorite part was the hot pink chevron straws. I still have some left! :)

I think I had about 50 people come to my graduation. The first part was kind of like a ceremony except we played a game. We played, "Are you smarter than a homeschool graduate?" Then Dad had me quote some scripture from Proverbs. One of the things God has blessed me with is hiding Proverbs in my heart. For some of the verses in Proverbs, if you start reading a verse I can sometimes quote the rest of it. God has just allowed me to hide several verses in my heart that have been a help to me, but it's from reading Proverbs a lot. One year I committed to read one chapter in Proverbs a day and because Proverbs has 31 chapters, I could read Proverbs in one month. So you can read Proverbs 12 times in one year.

  Yes, I did give a speech and boy, was I nervous! Talking in front of people is not my thing. I got through it though, but not without crying through part of it.

After that they showed a video that Mom put together with pictures and the song, "All Along" playing in the background. She also put cap and gown pictures from my K5 graduation my High School graduation. For the latter we tried to copy some of the poses from my K5 grad.--one of Dad kissing me on the cheek, one with Josh kissing me on the cheek, a few different diploma poses and one of Mom and Dad kissing me on the cheek that we copied from Josh's cap and gown pictures That was neat.
 I wanted Bro. Nye to give the charge, so that was sweet. He did a great job and it was a blessing to me.

After that Dad did get me to walk down the aisle. I didn't want to but he tricked me into it! :)
Then He gave me the diploma, Mom gave me a hug and Dad announced the new High School graduate.

For the snacks I wanted my favorite dessert--a chocolate chip cookie cake. Mrs. Cheryl Frazzetto made it for me and on top of that she did two or three trial runs before hand. She did such a great job decorating it and it tasted really good. I also had my favorite soda, drink, salty snack and fruit which were: root beer, peach tea, chips and peach salsa, and chocolate covered strawberries. Several ladies from our church brought in a lot of the snacks; that was so thoughtful of them.
I was also able to have a lot of my family come- all of my aunts, a few cousins, an uncle, my Grandpa, Aunt Robin from Michigan, my Mam-maw, my Aunt Florence and Uncle Chuck, and both Grandmothers
My Aunt Tay, Logan and Chloe were able to come the day before and spent two nights with us. I'm so glad they did. Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Robin and Mam-maw came Friday as well but they stayed in a hotel.

My Aunt Robin was so sweet, she paid for me and Brenna to get a pedicure that morning! It was our first time and it was fun. I picked out a pink/coral color and Brenna picked out a blue. I would definitely do it again--my toes needed it.

The Macenas brought Grammy in Saturday for my graduation and they stayed through Sunday afternoon. Pastor and Mrs. Judy, and Mrs. Sodrel  from our home church came, but they were stuck in traffic and were only able to make it for the snacks!

I got a lot of presents, money and gift cards, that was so sweet of everybody.
It truly was a great graduation.

What am I going to do now, you ask? Well right now I am going to stay where God has me and continue teaching Sunday School, working in the nursery and singing. While I'm doing that I am going to continue learning how to be a homemaker, and also learn sign language. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I can't wait to see what  God has for my future, serving Him!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


 A lot has been happening at our church these past four months. I would like to share with you what God has been doing at Victory Springs Independent Baptist church.
 In January we had our Friends and Family Day. We reached our goal of 80 and even had 1 more in our morning services, having a total of 81! Our special speaker was Dr. Scott Caudill, who is the president of our mission board. After the service we had chili and hot dogs for everybody.

 That afternoon my Dad and our good friend and fellow missionary, Bro. Nye, went to visit a gentleman who was in the hospital. He had never been to our church (his wife came) but Bro. Nye and my Dad got to lead him to the Lord in that hospital room. Praise God!

 In February we had our first Valentine's banquet with the theme being "I Love you to the Moon and Back" It was a very romantic setting.

 We had around 20 couples.  Our special speaker for this event was Pastor Flowers from Jacksonville.

 Our good friends Tabitha and Tricia came for a visit so Josh could take Tabitha to the banquet. It was so sweet-- Josh came in a little late because he just got off of work and was bringing in the food that we had catered from Bev's, and he came in bringing flowers for Tabitha!

 Since Tricia came with Tabitha she was so sweet to help serve for the banquet. John, Emma and I were also able to serve and Brenna had the privilege of taking the pictures. We had fun as well.

 Mom and Grammy went down for ten days to St. Barths so Grammy could see her Mom, Ma-ma, and so Mom could say good-bye. (When Mom got sick in St. Barths she had to go back for medical help and two months later we flew back as well so we could be with Mom, and of  course, ended up staying in the states. So, Mom had never really gotten to say could by.) She was able to be a witness and had the opportunity to pass out a few tracts. It was good closure for Mom.


At the end of February and for all of March. Bro. and Sister Nye came down to help our church; they borrowed a camper and stayed in the church parking lot. Bro. Nye taught soul winning in Sunday School, taught the men's Bible study on Monday, went soul winning with some of the men, and was able to preach for us a couple of times. He and Sister Nye went visiting for my Dad a lot throughout their stay. It was such a blessing for us, and for them, to be here.

  In March, I had my graduation at the church which I will post more about later. I still can't believe it myself that I'm already 18 and have graduated from high school!

                     I was so glad that a lot of my family from Ft. Myers came to my graduation.

 On Sunday of March, 20th we had our church's 1 yr. anniversary.  We had 92 in the services!
Pastor Strange, our preacher from our home church--Winkler Road, was our special speaker for the day.

 We also had our very first Children's Choir out of our Junior Church sing. Josh led the singing, and since Brenna and I helped in Junior Church, we sang with them for more support. We sang ''What a Savior"  with Callie singing the verse as a solo. They all sounded so good!

 In Junior Church we had Bubble Gum Sunday. They did bubble gum games and at the end they all got gum. They have lots of fun back there. All the kids just love Mr. Josh. It's sweet.

 After the services we had pulled pork sandwiches from Sonny's. Everyone was so sweet to bring in all the drinks and things. The Frazzetto's were so sweet to get all the food together, decorate and set up, and serve like they did for Friends and Family Day.
 We also had a bounce house for the kids. They just loved it.

 Bro. James tricked Josh into wearing this orange vest, saying that it came with the bounce house. It was funny! Josh had a good time helping all the kids get into the bounce house.

  On Easter Sunday there were two souls saved in the services!

 We also had an Easter Egg Hunt which was divided into two sections, one for the Nursery and one for the Junior Church. All the ladies were so sweet to bring eggs and candy. We ended up having a ton of eggs. Some of the kids even had two bags full!

                                            We had about 15 kids participating in the egg hunt.

  Last Wednesday we had Evangelist Dave Sommerdorf as our speaker and had him bring the Marine Corps Vette. We put it in the local newspaper ahead of time announcing that it would be at our church. We had several visitors come and the ones who didn't stay for the service at least got a gospel presentation from the video that Bro. Sommerdorf passed out.
  I was in the nursery during the preaching, but several people said that the preaching was phenomenal.

 On Thursday, Bro. and Mrs. Nye had to leave because there was a church that they needed to go and help. It was sad to see them leave. We miss them already. They were such a blessing to our church.

 We have had a lot of stuff going on in these past 3 months alone, and we are excited to see what God has in store for Victory Springs Independent Baptist Church.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Don't Forget -- Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. There is just such an excitement in the air. 
I love going with my family to pick out a Christmas tree and trying to find just the right one.

Mrs. Bonnie, a lady in our church, has a daughter that sells them, so we went to her Christmas tree tent to find the perfect one. She was so sweet and helpful. The trees were so beautiful and inexpensive. We were looking at a few different ones and finally decided on the tree to the right in the picture above. It wasn't too tall, not too fat; it was just  the right one for our family.


We especially love decorating the tree together and decorating our house while listening to Christmas music.

Here is the finished tree. Doesn't it look pretty! I love all of our homemade ornaments.

 One of the things I love about Christmas is gathering around the tree and talking about what all the ornaments, the star, the presents and the Christmas tree itself means. 

This year I wanted to try to make sure that the whole house was decorated and I think we decorated all the rooms except the bathrooms, Josh's room, and Dad and Mom's room.

Another thing I love about Christmas is getting presents for my family. I like getting them as well. :)
Now we have presents all under the tree. There are big presents to little presents, and presents in all shapes, sizes, and colors. 

A few weeks ago we went to a Christmas tree lighting in High Springs. "Santa Claus"  showed up in a police car and all the kids were so excited to watch Santa light the tree and sit in his lap to tell him what they wanted for Christmas. The news even came and videoed it all. 
Well, it got me to thinking-- what would everyone say and do if Jesus showed up? Would they be just as excited? Would it be put on the news and in the newspapers. In a world where Santa often gets the preeminence over Jesus at Christmas time, what would people think?  

 Sometimes us Americans, being as blessed as we are today with all our fancy cars, big houses and with all of our treats we are blessed to have at Christmas, forget about the greatest gift ever given-- Jesus Christ.
2,000 years ago God sent his only son, Jesus, as a baby. He was born in a stable/cave, and put in a manger.  There is a song that says, "He left it all." Jesus was the son of God, he's the king of kings, yet he left heaven to be born where animals lived, to later die on a cross for the sins of the world.

He died on a cross so we could be saved. He didn't have to do die for us, but He did it willingly. His Father didn't make Him, He laid down His Own life.  Jesus said in John 10:17 and 18, "I lay down my life, that I might take it again, No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.'' He did this because He loves us. Because of this love, we can be saved. All we have to do is ask him to forgive us for our sins and believe in Him and trust Him as our Saviour. When we get saved Jesus gives us a promise that when we die, we can go to Heaven with Him. He also promised that He is preparing a mansion in heaven for us.

Jesus truly is the greatest gift ever given!

So amidst all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, and amidst all the fun outings, and family get togethers, and when you open up all your gifts on Christmas day, stop and take time to remember the greatest gift and thank him for His love.
Don't forget, Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sugar Rose

Back in February was when I got my horse, Sugar Rose. I just love her; she is so sweet and gentle. I've wanted a horse ever since I was little. Just when I was content with not having a horse, the Lord gave me the desire of my heart. It even came in the right color. I had wanted a brown horse with a black mane and tail and that's what the Lord gave me. She was the perfect horse for a beginner like me.

 When we first got her though she was really sick with worms. She would fall asleep when we were petting her. The kids could run around her and she wouldn't get scared. Even our dog tries to bite her tail and she won't kick him. Our dog Bo drives us crazy some times and at this point we're thinking, " Go ahead and kick him, we give you permission!" :)

 One time as we were taking her from the stall to the paddock, she just layed down right in the middle of the driveway and wouldn't get up. We thought she was going to die right there and we had just bought her.We gave her some medicine for her worms and she just perked up. She started doing better. She was still just as gentle as ever. I haven't been kicked or anything but I have been stepped on a couple of times. It hurts!

There is a big difference between us riding her and the little ones. When the kids ride her she goes real slow ans does real good with them, but when us older ones get on her she just wants to pick up and go.  

A couple months ago our vet came over and said that she wasn't doing good. If we didn't start feeding her a special diet and she didn't pick up weight, then one day she would lay down and wouldn't have the energy to get back up. That was a surprise to us. We thought she was doing good, because when we first got her she was really sick and we thought she was doing better. And I was going to sell her because I had been paying for her feed and wasn't able to pay for her anymore. Our vet, Dr. Miller, said that if we couldn't pay for her feed anymore that we could try to find somebody that could because we wouldn't be able to sell her. But my sweet Daddy said that it was our responsibility to take  care of her and that he would pay for her feed. Dr. Miller showed us the feed we needed to buy, along with the alfalfa cubes and hay. So began the not-so-easy process of fattening up a horse. It is more easy for a horse to lose weight than to gain it. We also learned the meaning of eating like a horse for she definitely eats like one. :) We spent  a lot of money on her feed to get her to fatten up. There wasn't any change for at least two weeks for it is hard to get a horse to gain weight.

                                                    So here is the Before picture:

                                                               And the After picture:

                                                   She  looks so much better doesn't she?

We were going to sell her since she was so much better. I was kind of sad but also thankful that God had fulfilled my childhood dream of having my very own horse; even if it was just for a little while. Little did I know that I would get to keep her for even longer.

 A lady in our church, Mrs. Cynthia, who owns a horse and boards it in Lake Butler, asked one Sunday if she could lease Sugar Rose by paying for all her feed in exchange for being able to come over and ride her whenever she wanted. Her horse was a little spirited and hadn't been ridden much in awhile and we were closer to her anyway. She is such a sweet lady. I was so excited with the idea of being able to keep her!

So that Monday Mrs. Cynthia came over to teach me a few things about riding and also got to ride Sugar Rose herself.  She loved Sugar Rose and said that she was so calm and gentle. She rode her down the dirt road and a car came past really quickly and Sugar Rose didn't even get spooked.

I hadn't really ridden her as much as I had wanted because I was a beginner and wasn't confident with riding yet. However, after Mrs. Cynthia helped me, I felt so much better with riding her. I was not as nervous and  was more confident. I still mostly ride her inside the fence and haven't taken her on the trail near our house yet but I love riding her.

One time I even got her into a canter. It was fun and much easier than the trot. I am excited about riding her more. Thank you, LORD, for giving me my own horse.

                                         I feel so blessed!