“Fight for us, O God, that we do not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.” ― John Piper
The last few months have been filled with both sorrow and joy. The quote I started with is a prayer on our lips right now. Life is too short, too precious and we need to be aware of what we do with our time.
We have had a few visitors this year—what a blessing! Larry Augenbaugh, a long-time friend and supporter from Denver, CO, came and spent a week. He and Tom really enjoyed their time together. Another friend took Tom and Larry with him to a pro golf tournament in Orlando—they loved it despite the rain they got caught in. It was a joy for me to see Tom enjoy this time!
The last week in March we were blessed to be together as a family (children, grandchildren, spouses and Tom and I), for the first time in six years! So blessed! We have some dear people in our lives who allowed us to use their beach house in Melbourne Beach, FL. It is very spacious and beautiful and all of us were in awe of the generosity of this gift. We spent time on the beach (right outside the back door) where Elsie loved to collect shells. Link and Jude loved playing in the sand and their favorite was to sit with a shovel in one hand and a bucket of water close by to splash in as well. In the course of the week we had ping pong championships, celebrated Deena’s birthday, visited area learning centers, parks and a petting zoo/farm, enjoyed good food, played board games and laughed tons. Tom and I cherished the Papa and Nana time and spoiled all three of the grandchildren. We watched princess movies, read books, colored and did puzzles with Elsie. We played on the floor with Link and Jude, building block towers so the boys could knock them down. Link was showing an interest in walking and took several steps and Papa and Nana would burst into applause each time. We would take turns holding onto their little fingers and letting them walk all over the place—we became human walkers. Both boys enjoyed us reading books to them as well. I would sit and watch the interaction between my children and it warmed my heart to see how they love each other and what fun they had with one another. It blessed me to see Kelsey and Deena get to know each other and see that friendship develop. It was a tearful goodbye, yet, we feel so blessed to have had this opportunity together.
On April 2, 2016, Jeannine Marie Maher, age 80, our precious mother and mother-in-law, passed into eternity after a courageous battle with cancer. We were able to attend her funeral in Illinois on April 8, 2016. Tom, Kalah and I drove up on the 6th and Tommy came over from Michigan and joined us on the 7th. The fellowship in remembering Mom was sweet and precious. Tom shared at the funeral and did a good job in honoring the loving mother that he and his three siblings knew. We have had our moments of sorrow yet we are grateful that Mom is free of the burdens that had racked her body. We will see Mom again one day in heaven.
You do not have to be a scientist to understand that clean water is essential to life. This summer we will be taking a team of young people to Malawi, Africa, to drill a well in a Muslim village. Jesus said, “Come! Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. Our objective is to earn our right to be heard and to share the true water of life with those who live in this village. Our team will daily be running the well rig, doing dramas, puppet shows, playing with children and sharing Jesus. We are looking forward to working with both the teens and assistant leaders on this team. Each year I realize what a privilege it is to pour into lives and serve those on our team. I enjoy cooking for the team and also the times of talking about the Lord and sharing from the Word of God. After our team returns to the States, we will remain in Africa for several more weeks. Currently, our plans include running refreshers for the AOSC and MSSM facilitators and Circuit Riders in Malawi before traveling on to Zimbabwe, Uganda and Tanzania. At the other bases we will hold refreshers and training times, as well as spend time encouraging our national staff and students. We plan to return to the States in October.
Tom stays busy with computer programming and fixing all those little issues that go with the equipment. He is also helping with the timing system for the 2nd Annual 5K Mud Run that will benefit AIDS Orphans, which we hold here at the headquarters property. We are running the event on May 7th and already it looks like our attendance will be higher than last year. And if you are wondering (No) neither one of us will run the 5K. Our son Daniel ran last year and plans to run again. I have been placing leaders on the summer mission trips, working with the accounting in AOSC and MSSM and teaching in the Bible school. I honestly have the best secretary ever! Abby is a student who works efficiently and with integrity and even if I am gone, I know the work is getting done. Together, Tom and I have been working in our garden. We enjoy the physical exercise as much as eating the fruits of our labors. Each week there is an outside work day to get ready for Boot Camp. This month we are putting up the Big Tops so that they will be up for our Mud Run. Tom is scheduled to go on a Tabernacle set up trip to Evansville, IN, May 8-14. Kalah and I have some serious girl plans for that week. My daughter is a precious treasure in my life, we honestly enjoy our time together.
SPECIAL PRAYER REQUEST
Bernie Bland, our beloved Director’s wife, had a stroke the end of March. It has left her unable to speak or move her right side. The staff ladies have jumped in taking shifts to help with her home care. It is a privilege to serve this precious lady in this way but is also heartbreaking for me. We covet your prayers for both Bernie and Bob during this time in their lives.
- Time with Larry.
- Time to have the entire Tom Maher clan together.
- God’s faithfulness and watch care over us as we traveled to Mom’s funeral.
- Support and prayers of our faithful partners in ministry.
- Pray for our summer team in Malawi. Pray specifically that we hit a clean water source for this village and are able to put in the well.
- Pray for wisdom, safety and good health while in Africa from July through October.
- Pray for Tom as he continues the grieving process.
- Pray for Linda’s parents as they deal with daily life and health issues.
- Pray for our children and grandchildren.