Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From Joy to Joy

From Joy to Joy
Bob TenHaken
as told to Emily King

“Why am I here?” 

The question nagged and confused me as it would anyone who knew me at the time. I loved teaching! I enjoyed the challenges and opportunities in teaching 8th grade math. But for the first time in my 13-year career, I felt out of place in my own classroom. I had a strange feeling of being unprepared and ill-equipped to handle classes for the year.  

Previously at a retreat, my wife, Shirley and I separately felt led to offer our availability to do whatever God wanted. That evening, we invited our pastor and his wife to our small-group meeting.  However, no one else showed up. The pastor seized the opportunity to ask: “Bob, have you ever considered full time Christian work?” Shirley and I sat stunned. We related our experience at the retreat.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Carrie's Angel

     When my sister drove my five-year-old daughter home from her first day at a new Christian school, Carrie ran in the door and hurried to find me in the kitchen.
     "Mommy!" she said excitedly. "I saw an angel today in chapel."
     I smiled. "You did? Was there a picture of an angel on the wall?"
     Carrie shook her head. "No, the angel was up on the stage, in the front of the chapel."
     Puzzled, I asked, "Are you sure you didn't see a picture of an angel?"
     "No, Mommy. The angel was standing right there in front of me---just like Mr. Jeffries was standing there."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Unseen Power

    It was a long journey from the home of our missionary parents to our boarding school in Columbia. First, my sister and I got on a cargo plane with no seats. We were sitting on sacks of rice and beans when, suddenly, the plane rolled and dipped. Finally, the copilot came back to get us, and he strapped us in with him and the pilot up in the cockpit.
     When we landed in a little airport, we got to look at the belly of the plane—it had been riddled with bullets!
     The pilots got us transferred to a pick-up truck to take us the rest of the trip over the mountain. The treacherous, one-lane road was lined with cliffs and chasms on both sides of the road.
     Whenever we came to a curve on the hillside, the driver would honk the horn loudly to find out if anyone was coming from the other side.

No Trash Cans or Dumps In Heaven

Have you ever smelled a dumpster being dumped into a garbage truck on a hot day? The scent of rotten garbage reminds me of thrown-out unwanted junk. What, you may ask, does that have to do with Heaven? Everything.
I was born after my parents already had two boys and they had decided they did not want any more children. My early years were full of abuse and rejection from my parents, my brothers, and even boarders who rented a room in our house.
On birthdays and Christmas and Easter I usually received a present from my parents. But sadly, any little mistake I made brought down their harsh judgment. My parents would break my present and throw it in a special trash can in my room. I was forbidden to touch it. There it would sit for a week or so to remind me I was not wanted either.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never too Late!

     We left Portland on June 3rd and are presently living here at our son's house in northern New Mexico while we wait for a rental in Nashville, Tennessee, to open up. It's been very difficult finding a rental since we don't have sufficient guaranteed monthly income.
     On the last day we had together with our granddaughter before her parents drove to San Francisco to work for 8 months, five-year-old Ava had begged to go fishing with David (her grandpa).
     Well, we finally found a reel and line in their storage unit, but no fishing pole. Also we realized it would take too much time to drive 45 minutes into town and get a license for one day.
     So we decided to take Ava to the resort of Red River, NM, about a half an hour's drive away. We rode up the mountain ski lift with her and when we got back down, we saw a little stream nearby where a father and teenage son were fishing.
     We walked over to watch the two as they cast out their lines. The water was so clear. You could see a number of fish swimming around in it.
     I started praying, "Dear Lord, please let a fish bite the lure so Ava can at least watch it get reeled in."

Was That You, God?

    “What do you say we jump on the Harley and take a jaunt to our honeymoon spot in Michigan?” my husband asked.
    The idea sounded enticing.
    “Do you think we can get enough time off work?” I responded.
    A few more days and with preparations made, we eagerly set out under an Arizona summer sun with blue, welcoming skies to ride 680 miles.
    The happy occasion of our first wedding anniversary overshadowed our heavy hearts. We yearned to have children, but the latest report from my doctor was grim.

Old Saints

During my stay in China, I went to a Korean Church out of town— WAY out of town— to an old church filled with people and the Holy Spirit! 
At this church service, they were honoring the founders of the church---the ones who were still alive. That brought tears to my eyes. These founders were all about 80 or 90 years old, mostly crooked little bent women with white hair, many wrinkles and short bowed legs. Most had dull expressions. Some stood up painfully and limped.   
Their church had been founded during the time the Japanese were occupying this part of the country and there were many years of war. Later, the Russians flooded in and looted everything in this area. This area also has a recent history of much hardship due to the Cultural Revolution.
As the elderly founders were called up to the front, they didn’t seem enthusiastic. None of them smiled or waved. They just stood there in front of the congregation, almost as if they felt out of place.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Woman and a Child Change Each Other’s Lives

The following is a testimony from a Forward Edge Team Member who recently took part in a mission trip to Haiti:

I love Joe Joe’s ice cream from Trader Joe’s. I was looking forward to this creamy treat when I returned home from Haiti. Having been to Haiti once, I wondered throughout this trip why God had called me back.

Every day, while washing dishes outside the feeding program, I noticed a little girl, maybe seven or eight years old, walking in the church yard. She was wearing a pink hat. If I smiled really big at her, she sometimes smiled back.

Pastor LaFleur, director of Restoration Ministries and one of Forward Edge’s partners in Haiti, shared Thursday night about when he first started his ministry. He would daily ask children roaming the streets if they went to school. “It broke my heart when they said no because there’s little future for those who cannot attend school,” he explained. It became his mission to get children into school.

The next day I saw the little girl with the pink hat. I asked her if she went to school. She said no. Pastor LaFleur was with me and continued a conversation with her, most of which I didn’t understand. But I did catch that when he asked her how old she was, she didn’t know.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Above and Beyond

    “Mom,” my eldest daughter said as she was leaving for middle school, “I don’t have time to pack for the retreat. Mrs. Osgood is picking me up at four o’clock. The list is on my bed. Will you pack my bag?” 
      Even though I had more than I could do that day, I said I would.
      After the older girls were off to school and the two little ones cared for, I took time to look at the list. 
      Oh, NO! The list of clothing items included a dress for a formal dinner.
      What was I going to do? I could probably sew something, but I could never get it finished in one day.

The Divine Dance

     During my time home from my studies in South Korea, I spent a month living with my grandfather. His house was so quiet and I was able to spend a good amount of time reading and swapping stories with him. I learned about WWII, family history, and his travels. He heard about my adventures in Africa and Asia, and he ate my Korean cooking.
     On my last walk around the hill where my grandfather lived, I saw a lady walking a large golden retriever with a shaggy winter coat. 
     Now it’s important to note that the reason I took a walk this day was to clear my head. I had spent too much time reading and thinking. As a result, my head was spinning full of ideas, questions and plans for the near future. So I decided to walk it off.

Monday, April 9, 2012

God Experiences

     Many times I have had what I call “God Experiences.” I would like to share three of those that occurred during a very difficult time when our daughter fought and lost her battle with cancer.

     A few months before this happened I had attended a Prayer Renewal Workshop. The leader stressed that honesty in prayer was more important than dishonestly praying for God’s will, as we likely had been taught to pray.
     Having just learned my daughter's diagnosis, I walked down the hall silently ranting to God, complaining that I didn’t like what I had been told. It was not what I wanted for my daughter.
     Then it struck me. Rather than praying for God’s will, I instead, expressed my concern and fear, and therein found comfort.
     Years later during a guided meditation, we were asked to recall the most peaceful time in our lives.  Those few minutes in the hospital immediately came to mind….

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Give, and It Shall Be...

By Pastor Randy Remington - Beaverton Foursquare Church

      When I was in Bible college, I spent nights and weekends working at UPS and also for a local moving company. During that time, I felt the Lord call me to an early prayer time each morning, even though I wasn’t getting to bed until the wee hours of the morning.
     One of the things that came out of my prayer times was that God began to speak to me about giving.
     Each month I worked enough hours to pay for my college expenses, plus I had about $40 left to buy gas for my car and to purchase those little necessities like toothpaste, etc.
     One day, I was walking across campus with the $40 in my pocket and I saw a young couple from Uganda, whose church had sent them over here to prepare for ministry. I felt like the Holy Spirit nudged me to give them my $40.
     As I walked towards them, I wondered if this was a test from God. Then I felt God say to me, “I want to demonstrate My love for them through you.”

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Runaway Truck

by Judy HarrisCarlton, Oregon
(Lived in Portland, Oregon, at this time)

      While I waited on 87th Avenue for the traffic light to turn green so I could cross Canyon Road, my heart was full of praise to God for His forgiveness and mercy. The Lord had turned my life around. Now, I was serving Him.
       When the light turned green, I drove into the intersection. A sports car drove towards me from the other side of Canyon Road and paused with its signals on, waiting for me to come through the intersection so it could turn left.
      As I drove into the middle of Canyon Road, a sudden movement caught my eyes and I glanced to my left.
      A large delivery truck was barreling towards me down the hill. But the driver’s seat was empty!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Midnight Collision

 by Jerry & Jan Werner, Bend, OR

     Jerry: In March 1997, my wife Jan and I drove our Priva van (with a large glass windshield in the front), pulling a fully loaded trailer from Sisters, Oregon, to an art stamp convention in Southern California.
     We decided to leave late at night to miss the winter storm moving in the next day.
     After driving through Klamath Falls around midnight, we came around a bend in the road. As our headlights lit the long stretch of highway in front of us, we could see a herd of deer standing all across the roadway.
     The deer stood frozen, staring at our headlights as we sped towards them at sixty-five mph. I slammed on the brakes, but I could feel our heavy trailer pushing us forward.
     Jan:  I frantically searched for an open space where our van could drive through. But deer covered both sides of the highway. With the Priva windshield that comes right down in front of us, we could clearly see the deer directly in our pathway.

Angel On My Wing

By Bill Brabham, Aloha, Oregon (as told to Helen Haidle)

     During World War II, I flew a special P38 plane on daily spy missions to Germany from an air base in England. My plane was equipped with cameras to monitor enemy troop movements on the ground.
     One cloudy day as I flew back to the base, the flight instruments on my plane quit working. I tried everything to keep the plane from stalling, but it tipped downward in a 500 mile-per-hour nosedive into the city of London.
     My heart sank. I knew I was flying over a heavily populated area. Frantically, I tried to pull up the nose of my plane to stop its steep dive.    
     When the plane finally broke through the clouds about a hundred feet above London, it suddenly switched directions and headed back up in the clouds at a 45-degree angle.
     I didn’t know why the plane had changed directions so quickly—until I looked out the window.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Touch of Spirit

by Jim Stanley, Beaverton, OR

     There it is . . . still smoking from a fiery crash! A blackened shell, the remains of a 727, lay in the center divider of two runways at the Venezuelan airport. Forty-nine people died! 

     The year was 1983. I was to report for a one-month United Nations hydrologic project in Caracas, Venezuela.    
      “I’m going, too!” my wife Arlene proclaimed upon learning of the assignment.
    Preparations began, buying new luggage and summer clothes appropriate for the tropics, plus contacting our church secretary for names of missionaries in Venezuela. Much to our delight, the secretary informed us about a husband and wife team ministering in Caracas.
      We prayed for travel protection, insight into my new job requirements, and also “hitting it off” with the missionaries.
      The morning after we arrived at the Caracas International Airport, I went to the office of the Director of Venezuela’s Natural Resources for a briefing. As the briefing drew to a close, the officer surprised me by handing me a check for the entire thirty–day assignment.
     After stopping by a local bank to cash the check, I returned to our hotel.
      “Guess what I’ve got in my briefcase?” I said as I emptied the case, full of paper Bolivars on the bed. We both laughed as we exclaimed, “How rich we are!” 
      Our richness was short lived. The next day, headlines on the local newspaper declared:    

Thursday, January 26, 2012


by Joanne Valiando, Beaverton, OR
     I had plenty I could say. Not usually at a loss for words, I was stymied and reduced to tears. My son is a master of logic and he knew just the right words that would shut me up.
     Granted, living conditions were sparse at the moment, but it was a roof and hot meals. Two years before, my marriage had nose-dived in an ugly episode of domestic violence.
     In a protective mode, I separated myself and my teenage son from the situation as I sought the Lord for answers. Five months later, I was in nursing school in a private, accelerated program.
     Now, at forty-three years old, this late bloomer had a better way of providing for my household. All those years as a nurses’ aide and the preparatory sciences had paid off.
     We left Southern California for a smaller community and my son was okay with that decision, I thought.
     As a night nurse, one of the dilemmas I faced was sleep deprivation. This was my emotional state when my son came into the house, awakening me mid-afternoon. Harsh words were exchanged.
     In a terse voice, John’s words caught me totally off-guard. “And what has God ever done for you, Mom?”

Move That Mountain

by Helen Haidle, Tigard, OR
      When I was in junior high, my family lived in temporary army barracks housing where I shared a very small bedroom with my younger brother. My dad’s teaching income just wasn’t sufficient to buy a house, but I longed for a real home and especially a room of my own.            
     One Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon about Jesus and the fig tree, and the words spoken by Jesus came alive to me:
     “If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree, but if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:21-22

     For me, the biggest "mountain" in my life was getting out of those army barracks and into our own home. So I began asking the Lord for a house . . . one where I could have my own bedroom with pink walls and flowered curtains.
     For two-and-a-half years, I prayed in faith, trusting God to answer. I trusted God’s promise so completely that when I got up in the morning, I would look out the window at the vacant lot across the street, fully expecting that God could even place a house there for our family.
      In my naivety, I didn’t think about the fact that if God did put a house on that lot, the home wouldn’t belong to our family, but to the owners of the lot!
      One day in May while grocery shopping with my mother, I saw a notice about the Pillsbury Bake-off Contest. I grabbed an entry form and took it home. I sent two recipes to the Baking Contest, but after I mailed them out, I forgot all about it.
2nd Prize Junior winner
 1954 Pillsbury Baking Contest
      In October, I received a phone call from the Pillsbury Baking Company.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Whose Stories?....His Stories

by Helen Haidle

    Everyone has a story—a story with the power to impact us in a special way. When an individual in this book shares what happened in his or her life, one central character emerges: GOD—the God of the Universe!
     Actually, all these stories are God’s stories. God is the Giver, the Revealer, the Redeemer, the Encourager, the Forgiver, the Helper, the Rescuer, the Provider, the Savior and the Friend.

     How this book got started:
     In my early teen years, my mother taught me embroidery. While we sewed together, Mother would recount the inspirational stories of her life. She told me how my grandmother was instantly healed of a terrible skin disease when a traveling "circuit-rider" Assembly of God preacher prayed for her.
     Mother also told how all her  relatives in South Dakota would gather together Sunday evenings to sing hymns and to pray as they struggled through hot summers, failed crops, sickness, and harsh winters.
             Many times, I asked Mother to retell the story of the angel who appeared to my Uncle Johnny shortly before he died of cancer.
   I would ask to hear the stories over and over, especially how the Lord held my mother’s hand at the lowest point in her life (this story is in the book).
      Forty years later, in the hospital and at the point of death, my mother came out of a coma and told the nurse and my brother that she had a vision of a large door in front of her. She thought she was at heaven's gate, so she prepared herself to meet the Lord, asking once again for His mercy and forgiveness and declaring her trust in Jesus as her Savior.
      Then she waited . . . but the door did not open.
      After a pause, Mother said out loud, "Well, the door isn't opening and I'm know I'm not going to die right now. The Lord just told me, 'Not yet, Ella. I have work for you to do.'" After that mother slipped into another coma.
      My mother lived five more years and only God knows how much "work" she accomplished through her prayers and intercession three times a day for all her family, and for many other people. On the day of her funeral, many people asked each other, "Now who will pray for us?"

      A few years before she died, my mother did take time to write out many stories of her life and also about my father's last six weeks of life. I have always wanted to share her stories of faith with others. Some of those stories are in this book.
      My prayer is that these stories and testimonies from my mother as well as from many other people will inspire others to trust God and to write down and share their own stories of God's faithfulness. It's one way we truly give God the glory!