AIR, BIBLES, CINNAMON ROLLS, AND DISCOURAGEMENT

The ABCD’s of Ministry

2Corinthians 12:9a But he (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Sandy loading the car with her coffee-drinking plants.

I’m going to tell you about our weakness, not because I want you to feel sorry for us. I am telling you about our weakness to give just one more glimpse of how great and strong our God is.

The other day, when I loaded my coffee-addicted plants into the car that we’d be towing on our second ministry trip north, I had no idea just how weak I was, and how little it would take to make me want to turn back.

In less than 24 hours, I would have a much clearer idea.

Pete and I were excited to make the trip north and anxious to see what God was going to do “along our road.” We’d been praying about this trip for months, asking God to prepare the hearts of those to whom we would minister, to lead us to the people who needed to hear the story of the beads, and to give us the words to speak. The walking sticks we planned to hand out along the way were packed and ready to go. A case of Bibles sat on the dining booth cushion ready to be emptied one-by-one, given to folks who did not own a Bible. The RV had new batteries, a fresh wash and wax job, and had been checked over for possible problems.

We had a case of Bibles ready to hand out. We also had snacks to eat along the way.

Sure, money was tighter this year than last. The cost of diesel had gone up more than a dollar a gallon over last year, a huge increase in expense when traveling close to 4000 miles round trip in a vehicle that gets 8 mpg. Over the winter months, we’d paid more than our usual amount of doctor bills and the money we’d set aside for medical expenses was spent down to the last penny. We’d even borrowed a bit from the money we’d diligently put aside for travel.

We knew all this when pulled away from home, but the truth that was foremost in our minds was this: The God who called us to this ministry would supply all our needs according to His riches–not ours.

Even so, hidden in the back of all our “knowing” there lingered unfamiliar doubts and an unexplainable reluctance or hesitation to go where we were called to go.

Quite honestly, when we started down our road a few days ago, Satan was having a hay-day with us, using our health and financial issues, some personal issues, a dog that does not like to travel, and those voices in the back of our heads telling us we were too old for this life.

Our first day on the road we made it as far as we planned, Ocala Florida, which under normal conditions would be less that a four hour drive. But conditions were anything but normal. The generator stopped working which meant we had no air conditioning.

A is for air, something you don’t want to be without in June in semi-tropical Florida.

Thankfully, Pete was able to fix the generator, and so we kept our plans to meet long time friends, Rob and Nan Jankowski, for breakfast before starting on the second day of our travels.

Sometime early in the morning, long before sunrise, the generator quit again. We woke to sweltering heat and our dog Bella’s loud and pitiful panting. Without the generator we had no air and to make things worse, the water pump didn’t work. This meant we couldn’t take showers or even wash our hair.

“Go ahead and meet Rob and Nan for breakfast,” Pete told me, “I have to get this thing fixed.”

I took a sponge bath using my moisturized face cloths, and got ready the best I could for the day.

But oh the thoughts going through my mind! All Pete has to do is say the word, and I’ll turn back without a second thought. This life is no longer for us…our friends and some of our family think we’re nuts, they’ll be happy if we call it quits.

But Pete never mentioned turning back.

I grabbed a Bible and walking stick on my way out of the RV. Almost immediately I saw a man walking my way. To be honest, I didn’t want to talk to him. I was too discouraged and worried about how much it was going to cost to get the generator fixed.

But the thing was, I knew God wanted me to talk to this man. And so I did and he was receptive to the gospel. The sight of that man hugging his new Bible and walking stick tight against his chest is a memory I will not soon forget.

B is for Bible.

To make a 1200 mile long story (as I write this, we are not finished with our trip north) short enough for the blog, I will condense the events of the next few days.

We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with Rob and Nan and enjoyed visiting their home in Ocala.

Great friends and prayer warriors Rob and Nancy Jankowski

Pete and Rob fixed the generator problem, but by the next day it went down again while driving in excruciating heat. Afraid poor little Bella was going to die of a heart attack from all her deep and constant panting, we were both on edge and uncharacteristically snipping at each other. I know we gave out walking sticks and Bibles and shared the gospel, but I do not remember a single face or story. At one point, all I wanted to do was quit and go home. I am very ashamed to admit this, especially when I think of the apostle Paul.

I’d like to know if Paul ever thought about quitting? After all, he made it through 5 missionary journeys without air conditioning, or an RV with a comfortable bed.

Paul didn’t have a Cracker Barrel or Marcy Jo’s Meal house to stop at when he was hungry.

The picture on the left is of Pete and me at Marcy Jo’s restaurant. If you have been fans of Joey and Rory, this is the restaurant started by Joey (before her illness and passing) along with Rory’s sister Marcy Jo. Between the parking lot and front door, we were able to share the gospel with four people and give them walking sticks. The waitress was very grateful for the Bible we left for the restaurant’s ministry.

C is for Cinnamon Rolls at Marcy Jo’s and Cracker Barrel Restaurants who allow RVers to spend the night without charge in their RV parking area. They are very receptive to the Fellowship of Christian Farmers ministry. We have given out countless walking sticks and Bibles at Cracker Barrels from Florida to Minnesota.

I know our spiritual battles are nothing compared to Paul’s, the man who wrote the instruction book on spiritual battle. But did he ever want to turn back? When he was in prison standing knee-deep in sewer, did he dream of going home, taking a bath, and spending the rest of his life on easy street? On the day he was martyred, did he regret the way he had spent his final days or was he still claiming, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”

D is for Discouragement…Devil…Destroy…Death.

We met fellow RVer’s, Linda and Rich, in the RV lot at a Cracker Barrel in Kentucky. Thankfully, by the time we met them, the LORD had brought us to our senses and we were no longer listening to the devil’s voice of discouragement. We were overjoyed to share the Gospel with Linda and Rich and even though they were not receptive to the Gospel, they were thrilled to have the walking sticks. At the same time, they refused to accept the Bible. “We have our own,” Rich said, “Thank you anyways.”

As we talked more we learned that Linda and Rich are Jehovah Witnesses. I don’t know if Jehovah Witnesses believe God has a sense of humor, but we certainly do. You see, even though they refused our gift of a Bible, they walked away with salvation Bible verses attached to their walking sticks. We know that God’s word never returns void. I believe with all my heart that one day soon something is going to happen in this couple’s life that will make them turn to the verses on the card attached to their walking sticks and God will use those verses to draw them into a relationship with Him.

Here are a couple pics of happy moments along our road.

Pete and Bella relaxing in the RV after a stressful day on the road.

As a fan of Joey and Rory’s music, Sandy has wanted to go to Marcy Jo’s Meal House for a long time. It’s a humble little place with the best bakery.

We are settled in at an Illinois Cracker Barrel where the manager gratefully allowed us to leave a Bible for staff and walking sticks. We are no longer discouraged, but we know those times will come again, because we are weak. We appreciate your prayers for us as we continue on to Minnesota over the next couple days.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Safe travel
  2. No more mechanical problems along our road
  3. Linda and Rich that they will come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
  4. Those we ministered to and those we will minister to, that they will trust Jesus as Savior and Lord.
  5. We will be given the ok to hold church services at the camp ground.
  6. Provision and opportunities for events in Minnesota.
  7. The Fellowship of Christian Farmers Convention this July in New York–provision for the trip and the words to share at the convention.

Thank you to everyone who supports us with your faithful prayers and generous gifts. Without your support, this ministry would not go on.

If the LORD leads you to support our ministry, please check out the giving page or you can reach us at our summer address (good till September 1):

Kozy Oaks Camp Ground, 8620 277th Ave NE, North Branch, MN 55056.

2Corinthians 12:9b-10

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Question: Who was the first farmer mentioned in the Bible and what did he plant?

Please post your answer in the comments.

Published by sandramaesinger

Fifty years and counting, that is how long Pete and I have been married. We have two wonderful adult children, seven amazing grandchildren, one terrific great-grandson, and a pug with an inflated ego. Originally from Minnesota, we now call southwest Florida home. I'm looking forward to publication of The Missing Piece, which is the sequel to my first book, All the Broken Pieces. Also keep an eye out for He Came to Me, which places readers in the sandals of the often neglected women whose lives were changed when Jesus came to them. Along with Pete, I have spent my life in ministry, often opening our home to women in crisis and working with lawmakers on legislation that promotes life and family values. Both Pete and I are certified Community Chaplains and since Pete's retirement, we minister with The Fellowship of Christian Farmers International, traveling to festivals and fairs to share the gospel and bringing hope and help to those hit by natural disasters.

5 thoughts on “AIR, BIBLES, CINNAMON ROLLS, AND DISCOURAGEMENT

  1. Wow I don’t even know how your blog got on my phone but what a blessing!! My wife and I just began a new ministry one month ago after 47 years of pastoring churches!! God had told us to sell our house, get a different truck and a 4 season rv and hit the road and HE would show us where to go. After two weeks on the road God has opened a door for us to become interim pastor at a church in Iowa!! We are parked on their parking lot with water and a 50 amp service!! Funny thing we also hand out walking sticks!! There is much more to our story and I would love to share it with you! Praying God will make a way for us to meet!! I want to keep receiving your blog etc.

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    1. Pete and I are traveling through Iowa today and tomorrow, Quad cities, Cedar Rapids, and 35 north to Minnesota. Would love to meet and hear your God story. Are you close to any of the places I mentioned?

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  2. Do you ever try and share at Canterbury Park? Our daughter is a horse trainer there. She lives in an RV at Fish Lake Acres in Prior Lake. I know it is over an hour from your MN base. Just a thought. Hope to see you in NY in July.

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