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.

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.

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.

Doctor Day- Annual Check Up

It is that day. You know the day. The day for an annual check up. The day that makes me feel like a kid being sent to the principal’s office in school.

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I miss the days before chronic illness when the annual check ups were mostly a time of being told everything looks good, see you next year. Now it feels like- you have been a bad boy and here’s why. 🙂

At least my appointment is in the morning and only a 15 minute drive to the coffee shop, aka my office, so after the appointment, I plan to treat myself to time at the coffee shop. I don’t think there will be any cupcakes because I had one when I went there yesterday and there were only two left.

I also plan to bring a book with me to the coffee shop, Anatomy Of The Soul by Curt Thompson. It is a interesting one to read. Of course catching up with fellow bloggers will occur as well.

It is that time of year in August that my daily activities involve going from one place that has air conditioning to another place that has air conditioning. That is basically my agenda today and for the next several days.

What’s on your schedule today?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

I Got Out Of Bed :)

This weekend the Cornhusker State Games are happening in my city. It is a week long event that has various sport events by age group. People come from all over the state to participate in things like 3 on 3 basketball, running, swimming, golf, tennis etc.

I participated in an open water swim during the games in 1989. That was my only time to participate mostly because in the summers after that I was busy with ministry in 1990 and 1991. Then there was whole getting sick, almost dying, recovering thing.

Yesterday in the games someone set a world record in axe throwing. I read about it this morning and thought, “well I got out of bed.”

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Saturday is the day after methotrexate for me. The day after is something those who use the medication refer to as methotrexate hangover day. One wakes up, gets out of bed, and the realization hits of- ‘oh not today.’

But I did get out of bed, spent time with Jesus, and now am contemplating a trip to the coffee shop. We will see. I have a new Chromebook to set up and try out. My old Chromebook kept getting messages of no longer supported, so I ordered a new. They are not expensive.

Got out of bed on a day like this sometimes implies I will get back in bed for a while 🙂

Images of a blueberry with a cupcake attached are in my mind. Each time I go to the coffee shop, I hope to have a divine appointment. I also have some new jokes to share. So perhaps I will make it. 🙂

I know a message like I Got Out Of Bed is not an inspiring rally cry, but it makes me smile.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Doctors and Doctors and Doctors- Oh My

In the movie Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tinman walk down the yellow brick road through a forest area repeatedly saying, “lions and tigers and bears oh my.” I understand the feeling but it my case it is doctors and doctors and doctors oh my.

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This month I have my annual check up, an endoscope, an appointment with another doctor and maybe an MRI. I was hoping my Rheumatologist forgot about the MRI since I saw him in May and no word, but that was wishful thinking because his nurse contacted me about it. lol

But perhaps after my next Rheumatologist appointment in August,, I won’t see a doctor again until December. That would be perfectly a okay with me. 🙂

One thing I always find a bit amusing is when they want to help me get up from the laying down part of the exam. The thought that goes through my mind is, “I have traveled by myself in Romania and Brazil, I think I can handle this.”

This morning I will go have blood drawn. By the way, I was born to be an optimist because my blood type is B positive. 🙂

Such is the life of a person with chronic illness.

By the way, the good news is that I found a channel on YouTube of people telling each other dad jokes. It is like finding a gold mine. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Doctor Day- Oh Well

Today is doctor day. It’s off to see a gastroenterologist for a consult. This whole doctor thing has become a monthly budget item. At least I have hit my deductible already. This appointment will be with a Physicians Assistant for a consult about stomach issues. So I don’t think any blood tests which is good because I have not studied for one. 🙂

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After the doctor, I think I will need to stop at the office, aka coffee shop. A doctor day means one is deserving of a treat, but sadly no more cupcakes with a blueberry on top. We will see what they have today. Yesterday I didn’t see anything gluten free but that doesn’t mean something won’t be there by the time I get there today.

I will bring a book to read, Anatomy of the Soul by Dr. Curt Thompson, and my laptop for blogging and writing. I am close to the point of publishing the two books I am working on, Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations and Jesus Understands Trauma.

This evening, if it is not too hot, I will join some people for a barbecue.

How is your Wednesday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.