Wonderful Time With My Ukrainian Friends

My Saturday morning group grew to 15 people this week including a 90 year old great grandmother. We had a fun time studying together. It is such a blessing to see people ,who suffered loss during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, smiling and laughing during class. The morning also had a few other blessings.

One is depicted by the picture. A woman was teaching cooking for Middle School age kids in their church. After my class, I went upstairs and followed the pleasing aroma of food being cooked to the kitchen. She blessed me with not one, but two omelets. I won’t need to eat the rest of the day. When I say omelet, I mean ultimate omelet. It had diced peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, diced potatoes, and cheese.

My translator for today was the 17 year old son of one of the pastors. We had a deep conversation about living with chronic illness. He had surgery for Crohn’s Disease a few months ago. We talked about how God can take our suffering, if we give it to him, and work through us to bless others as 2nd Corinthians 1:3-4 says:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 

Now I am sitting in the coffee shop, drinking coffee and giving the two omelets a chance to digest before I go to the Latino Festival.

How is your Saturday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Please Pray for Her- Alisa Turner

My favorite song is My Prayer For You by Alisa Turner. She has suffered terribly from Lyme Disease for years. While she was doing better, she recorded her album Miracle or Not that my favorite song is on. It is the only CD I play in my car. There have been times that I repeatedly play My Prayer for You on days that are rougher for me living with chronic illness.

I first heard My Prayer for You after I was diagnosed with Celiacs and had to deal with all that included. No offense intended to anyone with Celiacs, but for me it has paled in comparison to Psoriatic Arthritis. When asked by a doctor about my pain levels, I always answer something like- a 5 to 6 on a good day. Then if asked how many good days I have, my answer is about half the time. That means at least half of my life is spent with days that pain ranges anywhere from a 7 to 9. I also have those days that it is a full blown ten.

That is why My Prayer For You is playing so much in my car, The lyrics, written by someone who suffers from a chronic illness, speak to me. Lyrics like:

For anyone who’s prayed a thousand prayers
And still can’t find the answer anywhere
Fighting off the lie that no one cares
For anyone who’s out there losing hope
Feeling you’re forsaken and alone
Clinging to the last strands of your rope

May God give you eyes to see, He’s still greater
Courage to rise and believe He’s able
May God be your peace in the fire you’re walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer for you

So when I saw her post about her need for medical treatments and her current struggles, it hit home for me. Please pray for her. After watching her video about needing medical treatments, watch My Prayer For You. You will be glad you did.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Small Change I Hope Will Make a Difference

In June 2021, I started taking methotrexate for Psoriatic Arthritis/Psoriasis. I read comments by people on Instagram who take it and referred to the methotrexate hangover, which is not feeling like doing anything the day after. So I took it on Fridays with the thinking that Saturdays can be spent at home if need be.

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The opportunity to help Ukrainian refugees on Saturdays is something I believe God is calling me to do, but then there is that methotrexate hangover thing. So I made a small change. I injected Sunday afternoon. My thinking is that this small change will allow me to help the Ukrainian refugees on Saturdays with worrying about being out of it due to the medication.

I tried it this past Sunday due to the holiday yesterday to give me a trial at it. My thinking is that Mondays I can teach in the morning, come home to rest, and then teach online Monday evenings.

Chronic fatigue is something I always have to factor into my decisions including the after effects of methotrexate. That is just part of life while living with chronic illnesses. I am so grateful Jesus gives me strength.

I am looking forward to this Saturday and spending time with my new friends from Ukraine.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Groaning But Keep Going

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

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This passage from 2nd Corinthians 5:1-5 came to mind yesterday after Craig of Poetic Perspectives at brocraigblog.wordpress.com replied to me asking how he was in my comment section, “I am about the same physically, but have lately felt more blessed and closer to the Lord, spiritually, which is the most important thing. He is ever faithful and loving toward His own and we truly cannot even begin to comprehend the extent to which this is true! Thanks for asking!” Craig lives with chronic illness as do I.

Yesterday I groaned a lot. I missed the bus that would have taken me the mile and half distance from the school where I teach to my coffee shop. Problem is the bus system here is terrible. The bus comes only one time each hour. So instead of waiting for one hour, I walked to the coffee shop. As I walked, my left foot and ankle reminded me that psoriatic arthritis has struck there. My right knee spoke up too not wanting to be left out. By the time I made it to the coffee shop, it felt like I had finished a marathon.

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Living with autoimmune issues like psoriatic arthritis and also with fibromyalgia means I feel like groaning all the time. I am looking forward to the day I am in heaven with no more pain. But to be here in this life, even living with chronic pain, means opportunities to share Jesus and his gospel with people from diverse cultures.

One of the first things I will do after I get a different vehicle, thanks to people being generous to donate, will be to join a club again that has an aqua track, It is a walking track of warm water, It is great for people with arthritis.

I will be more mobile again, so visiting refugees/immigrants will be part of my routine again too which is the best part for me. 🙂

So here is to more ministry even though I am groaning.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Update on My Upcoming Book-Jesus Understands Trauma

I started counseling in the beginning of the year with the thinking of it helping me stay on top of depression. Living with chronic illnesses that all can cause depression is why I have depression. After hearing my pastor encourage people about seeking counseling, I decided to do so. I had no idea that what was about to happen would occur.

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The first three sessions were mostly my therapist asking me questions and getting to know my back ground. At the end of the third session, she told me, “my diagnosis is PTSD, Dysthymia, and General Anxiety.” My reaction inwardly was, “crap I am a mess.:

My PTSD is actually Complex PTSD, Complex PTSD is repeated exposure to trauma or traumas over a period of time including childhood. It is something I was not concerned about dealing with because my focus has been on serving Jesus and letting the rest go thinking when I get to heaven, there won’t be any problem. But is it telling that I do not have any pictures of myself before the age of 20.

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However, my relationship with Jesus has brought healing and there have been aspects of Jesus’s earthly life that helped me to cope with trauma while I prayed to Jesus. So in May, I felt led to write about that. I asked my therapist if she would write a paragraph that I could include in my book’s forward-hopefully published in September just waiting for my pastor to finished reading the draft to write something for the forward. This is what my therapist wrote.

“Matt stepped into my office in January of 2022. He seemed sincere, honest, funny and well-spoken. However, after hearing of the heinous trauma he had suffered, I wondered if I was qualified to help him.  I was transparent about this and suggested a few Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapists. Matt was adamant that he had prayed and Jesus led him to me, he wanted to continue working with me. He put his faith in Jesus and in turn put his faith in me. Looking back I am pleased that he did, because it has been rewarding watching his healing journey. Matt continues to grow mentally and in his faith. His book, Jesus Understands, is a testimony to both. After reading the book I felt honored and humbled, but mostly comforted. Maybe because of Matt or through Matt I found solace in knowing that He understands and comes to our aid. No matter the suffering we have endured, if we put our Faith in Him he will show us the way. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” 

My hope and prayer is that Jesus uses my book to reach thousands who struggle with PTSD or Complex PTSD.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Waymaker Performed by Sinach

The past few weeks have been a rough stretch. As I have shared before, I am not sure if my job will allow me to keep my health insurance and even worse my van died, so I need a different vehicle, Due to being a tentmaking missionary, money is always a concern. I get the term tentmaking from the fact that Paul made tents for a living as he traveled on his missionary journeys. So I teach part-time for two schools and have a support check from my church each month that helps.

However, every year I have medical expenses due to living with chronic illnesses, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, celiacs, and hypothyroid. Last Wednesday, my rheumatologist upped my dose of methotrexate to the maximum dose.

I made a Go Fund Me and am thankful for the $515 donated so far. Yesterday in church we sang Waymaker during worship. Before worship service began, a friend came up to me and gave me $100. So I have $615 towards a different vehicle.

This week I will find out if I got the position I interviewed for Friday, thus keeping my benefits. I am praying for more donations to come in.

Thank you to those who have donated!!! If you would prayerfully consider donating, my Go Fund Me link is-Home Missionary and Teacher Needs A Vehicle.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- My New Friend Indy the Golden Retriever

Yesterday I visited my friend to watch a college football game. It was my first time at his house and knowing he has two dogs, I bought some dog treats to bring with me. One of the dogs, Indy, is a golden retriever. Indy stayed with me practically the whole time.

I was wearing shorts and Indy paid attention to my one bad knee. He would lick it at times. It is uncanny how dogs know when a part of our bodies is in pain. My knee was a bit worse than usual because I walked on it too much Friday due to taking the bus because of no working vehicle.

I grew up with a golden retriever. She was my best friend as a child. She slept in my room and always found her way to me under the kitchen table. Yes, I am a softy when it comes to dogs giving those sad eyes while I am earting.

When I think of dogs, the word faithful comes to mind. Show them a little love and attention and they will stay by your side.

If only we could be more like that when it comes to Jesus. I think about the love and attention he showed us when he died on the cross and continues to show us as he stays with us every second of every day.

I hope to visit Indy again and of course my friend Todd and his family too.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

How I Got Started in My Ministry/My Go Fund Me

In October 1999, I was in Bucharest Romania talking with a missionary about connecting with people through teaching ESL-English Second Language. It was during that conversation that I felt led to pursue experience in teaching ESL though at the time, it was with the thought of returning to Romania full-time.

In March 2000, I had a training for teaching ESL with our local Literacy Council. I told them they could fill my mornings because I worked evenings. Within a month, I had 10 students I met with as a volunteer. That led to the Literacy Council hiring me in July 2000, which in turn led to the opportunity to teach for our local Community College in July 2001.

I was having fun exploring the many diverse cultures in my city when in 2002 while in prayer, Jesus reminded me he had a purpose for me in teaching ESL. That led to starting my first group at my church in May 2002, God opened so many doors of opportunity and blessed the work so much that my ministry went from an initial reaction of, “do we need that,” to “you can’t leave for Romania because look at what God is doing.”

I was doing ministry on my income as a part-time ESL Instructor piecing together various part-time teaching gigs and happy to do so because of what God had called me to when in 2008 my church began to support me with a monthly check. It is not a huge amount but has helped me make ends meet.

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Chronic illness got much worse about ten years ago. In the past five years, I have spent enough on doctors that I could have bought a new car.

That is my back story as to where I am today and why I started my Go Fund Me to get a different vehicle. Gary is a blogger who has been encouraging me in my endeavor. He wrote about in his post- Limited Time Offer. Please check out his post and blog.

My Go Fund Me link is- Home Missionary and Teacher Needs A Vehicle.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Go Fund Me for a Different Vehicle

My 16 year old can died recently. It is broken beyond repair. It was a big blessing for 13 years for me in giving rides, helping people move, etc.

Due to medical expenses each year, saving money for a different vehicle is difficult. The fact that I am a home missionary and part-time teacher means my income is not that high.

I am hoping to be able to raise enough help to either make a sizable down payment or buy a different vehicle outright. I need one that sits at the same height as my van so it is easy to get in and out of. My Go Fund Me is at:

Please help if you can

Thank you. God Bless.

Matt

D Day- Doctor Day

It is that time again to make a one hour trip to see my rheumatologist. Today my friend Scott, who is now part-time pastor, will give me a ride. He was the first pastor I connected with at my church back in 1994. I am looking forward to the fellowship even though it is for a doctor visit.

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So it is time this afternoon to get poked, prodded, x-rayed, and blood drawn.. In other words, a fun time. I have often thought to myself, “why do doctors want to move things I have already told them is painful?” Example- my left elbow is acting up, so the doctor wants to move my arm and bend my elbow.

Such is part of life for a spoonie, person living with chronic illness, but this clinic I go to once every three months is the best in the state, so I am grateful-once I am done. 🙂

Off the subject. Yesterday afternoon I rode the bus to go teach. A young woman from Saudi Arabia was on the bus. She was obviously a student, so I joked with her about homework and let her know I am a teacher. I felt led to share with her before I got off the bus that Jesus loves her and I will pray for Jesus to visit her in her dreams. Many Muslims have come to know Jesus as their savior after having dreams about Jesus. Please pray for her.

Also off the subject- I have an interview Friday afternoon for a different position with the school district and the program I am part of. If I get the position, I will be able to keep my health insurance.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.