Archive for the ‘Prayer requests’ Category

I know you are daily bombarded with needs. I am, too! Of course we cannot donate to every cause. Oftentimes the need is so huge, so overwhelming, that we simply conclude the little we could do wouldn’t really make a difference. 

But below is an appeal from my good friend, Becky Spencer, director of  Grand Staff Ministries, that I believe Father wants to use me and you to meet.

Becky has been on faculty at the  Colorado Christian Writers Conference every year since 2011 where we’ve asked her to share about her ministry to abandoned, orphaned, and vulnerable children in Swaziland (now eSwatini), Africa. She says, 

“They are like little lost lambs. 
The Good Shepherd’s staff is grand enough
to care for each one – through you.”

The Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference also is blessed to have a part in Becky’s ministry to these precious children. Indeed, I think it is the emphasis both conferences put on missions that makes us unique.

Please take a couple of minutes to read Becky’s message below, pray for these children, and ask Father how He wants you to help. Just $10 from half of the people receiving this email would not only meet the need of these three youngsters but provide the funds to build another group home. Becky’s vision is big, but we serve an even bigger God.

I must “plead the cause of the orphan” and “defend the rights of the poor.” 
Jeremiah 5:28

We are leaving for eSwatini in four days. But Tema’s siblings can’t wait that long! 

You might remember that a few weeks ago Tema joined our Shepherd’s Care Family. She’s a 7th grader with 7 siblings, and all have been abused and neglected. 

Tema has been crying uncontrollably and for long periods of time. Thobile found out it’s because of so much concern for two of her siblings.  She is grateful for the care she is receiving, but she doesn’t feel like she can enjoy it when she knows they’re in so much danger.

We didn’t plan to take on any additional children for Thobile, our “auntie”/helper who agreed to take on the responsibilities of house mama when we had to terminate the former house parents. But she insisted that we simply had to invite Tema to live in the home because of the awful abuse she was enduring.

But we felt we had to say no to taking two more of her siblings.  We were told they were boys, and our home is really for girls.  We have one boy who is a twin to one of the girls, and he is away at the school for the deaf most of the year.

I just learned day before yesterday that the two siblings in most dire need are also twins–a girl and a boy.  

What’s happening to them?Their aunt makes them sleep in a shack without a door on it.  They’re left vulnerable to anyone passing by who wants to hurt them.

She also leaves them unattended for a week at a time–without food.

They live too far from us to come to Shepherd’s Care Home for meals.

If we gave them food, it would do little good.  Usually in situations like this the food is stolen from them.  Besides, they are only in the 3rd grade, and they don’t have access to cooking supplies.  Tema has been giving them the change left over from her transport money to ride the kombi to school.  She hopes they can find chips or bread to eat on the way home.  

We are brainstorming how to help them. 

I realized yesterday that the three siblings could stay in one of our bedrooms, which would keep the boy away from the other girls in the home.  When Philani, our other boy, is home during breaks, he could also sleep in that room.  

But it means raising additional funds to meet their needs.  It takes about $1500 for half a year of care for a child in elementary school.  We still haven’t raised any funds to take care of Tema, and adding the twins brings it to $4500 we will need to feed them, pay for school fees/transport, provide medical/dental attention, purchase clothing and blankets and towels, and provide utilities/shelter. Just to get through December.  Then twice that much will be needed to care for them in 2020.

My “Mama” heart wants to gather up the other four in this family and invite them “home,” too.  But the funds have to come from somewhere.  We will contact social welfare to let them know we are willing to take the twins. 

But meanwhile, I’m pleading their cause.

Already $225 has been raised yesterday from the Facebook post concerning these children.  And I know others have sent checks. And many are sharing on their own timelines or asking for a document with the information so they can print it and show it to others at church tomorrow.  (I can see the Father smiling.) 

If you feel called to contribute, you may do so on our website or mailing a check to GSM, PO Box 321, Buhler, KS  67522.

Some on Facebook saw the plight of these kids for the first time. They were shocked that children were being treated this way, but it’s common in eSwatini.  

It’s why God sent us to work there.

The office/apartment will be completed this fall, and as you can see, we need to start immediately on the next care home.  That means raising about $90,000 more.  I’d love to keep our new builder immediately starting the next project as soon as one is completed, because we could fill all twelve homes that are planned!

And the need for a primary school is also great.

How can we see this happen? 

Besides raising funds for the big projects, we’re praying for 150 people who will join the team with a $50/month commitment.  Of course, any amount makes a difference. One dear couple is donating $1,000 a month, because they can.  Another couple has faithfully paid $10/mo and now $20/mo because that fits their budget. 

All I know is, the Lord’s heart for these children is big.  And the call He’s given us to meet their needs is WAY bigger than us.

Together, we can meet it.  Will you be part of showing these siblings that God has heard their cries in the night?

On another quick note, Tracy had to drive his mother to east Texas yesterday.  His only sibling, Patsie, is extremely ill and in the hospital.  We were told so far that she’s in liver shut down and has congestive heart failure.  Tracy will bring Mom Spencer home tomorrow, just in time to work Monday and Tuesday and help me finish preparations in the evenings.

Right before each trip or major fundraiser, the challenges seem to pour on.  No surprise.  We’ve been hit hard with a couple of other family situations.  I seldom ask for help personally or even say how I’m feeling when I’m down, but ugh, earlier this week I was in a bad place and really needed prayers.  Facebook serves a wonderful purpose when we put out the plea from our weaknesses, and the family of God undertakes for us.  I have felt carried, and my focus is back where it belongs.  🙂

Wednesday morning, we’re off!  I can’t wait to love on the children!!!!

Thank you for being part of this through your giving, your encouragement, and your prayers.  

Let us know how we can also pray for you!

Much love,


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Give thanksIt’s now been seven weeks and three days since our lives dramatically changed when my husband fell going into church September 30.  I’m thankful for the Lord’s healing power. The orthopedic doctor was surprised at the progress Paul has made when he saw him at his six-week check-up. He no longer needs the immobilizers for his broken knee cap and elbow, and he is able to walk with the walker.

Paul Oct 2018.jpegBecause of the risk of falling while he’s on a blood thinner, I keep reminding him that I need to be beside him when he goes anywhere. But sometimes he forgets or stubbornly decides he doesn’t need my help. That’s scary!

I’m concerned that Paul still is hardly eating anything. He has no appetite and every day has nausea and tummy pain. Until he’s off the blood thinner for the blood clots in his lungs there are no tests that can be done to find the answer.  He has now lost over 30 pounds since August 27.

The threat of a stoke because of the Afibs he had in the hospital continues to concern me. He is wearing a heart monitor for 21 days. An Echo and CT scan are scheduled for December 4. He will see the cardiologist Dec 5 and the oncologist Dec 11. I’m trying to trust the Lord and not worry. Please keep praying. Our 55th anniversary was ten days ago.

The medical bills are mounting up into the thousands plus the $2,000 I’ve already spent on durable medical equipment our insurance didn’t cover (I’m appealing), pull-ups, waterproof pads, bathroom grab bars, meds, and so much more. We’ve also had the added expense of needing to replace our washer and dryer plus unexpected (aren’t they always?) car repairs. We even had to replace a toilet that cracked and threatened to cause a flood until I finally figured out how to turn off the water to the house!

Financially things were already tight because I was only able to pay myself half of what I had hoped for directing this year’s conferences. I’d hate to calculate how much I earn an hour! The conferences are my ministry, but I do need income from them – now more than ever – to supplement our Social Security checks. The evil one is ridiculing me for “foolishly” giving in scholarships an amount almost equal to what I earned, but I promised the Lord 35 years ago that I would not turn people away because they can’t afford to come.

Father keeps nudging me to make our needs known. That’s hard for me. I’m far more comfortable being on the giving side. Friends have suggested a Go Fund page. Instead, if Father leads you to help us financially, I’d like to give you a copy of  #My Family Too. It will be available by mid-December. It’s an updated edition of the first book I wrote that was rejected 42 times over a five-year period before it was finally published in 1989. (See my February 13, 2015, post “Tempted to Give Up?”)

Cover My Family Too Nov 21

Back in the 1980s editors I met at conferences affirmed it was well written, but they admitted they did not want to touch the topic of incest or publish personal experience stories. (It was long before memoirs became popular.) My sister, mother, and stepfather are now home with the Lord, so there is no longer a need to use a pen name. I am trusting now is the time for Father to use #My Family Too! in Ephesians 3:20 ways.

Whether or not you feel led to send a gift to help us financially (I will, of course, report as income the $15 cost, including shipping, of each book), please know that I appreciate your prayers, emails, and Facebook posts so much. Forgive me for not responding. It’s been impossible to keep up with being a full-time caregiver, and now I need to start planning next year’s conferences. Prayer is needed for the conferences, too. When Outlook crashed a week before I left for the Colorado conference in May, the emails “safely” stored in folders for 2019 prospective faculty and invites/acceptances were all deleted. Father, please help me connect with the people You are calling to serve on faculty next year.

P.S. * You can use this link to send a gift https://paypal.me/MarlenePaulgift or you can mail a check to 951 Anders Road, Lansdale, PA 19446.

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Terry Brynan RN - CopyIf you were at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and attended the Wednesday evening general session, you heard my dear friend, Terry Bryan, share her burden about the upcoming elections in Kenya. Terry has spent a number of years sharing the Gospel and caring for the physical needs of “her people in the Far Places.” (Terry is a nurse and one of the most dynamic Christians I know.)

Please read Terry’s prayer request below and join us in asking Father to cover the elections in Kenya with His presence and peace.


Hi all, it’s Terry,

It has been quite some time since I have written.  I love you all, but since I have been waiting on the Lord, I have been quiet.  It has been a time of reflection and restoration of which I am grateful for. I am in US, however I have an urgent request for prayer for Kenya.

Please pray for peace before, during, and after the elections in Kenya. Although Tuesday, Aug 8 is their elections, the time difference makes it our Monday night that people will be lining up to vote. These are our brothers and sisters, and they need our fervent prayers in love.

Please pray for peace in every part of Kenya, among every tribe and every people group.

Even when the ballots are cast, there are petitions to the court contesting the results and that time can be volatile also so please continue to pray for peace.

Remember we do not fight against flesh and blood (people) but against principalities and powers of darkness (the enemy).

“In the name of Jesus, the enemy is bound, the angels are there. There will be peace on all sides.  Pour the blood of Jesus on it, the entire area and the people.  There would be no attacks on the police or people or by the police, army, home guard, terrorists, or people.  Send in your angels Lord to take care of the enemy.  There would be no trouble, no vengeance lived out.  Bind up the enemy. Release the Holy Spirit. Open the flood gates of heaven.  Let there be peace.  Let it spread like a consuming fire.  Let it bring life.  Rise up and live. Let there be no more deaths.  No more injuries.  No more crimes.”

Thank you for your continued prayer, praying for you too.

Love you,

Terry Brynan

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Pray that the LORD our God will show us
the way we should go and what we should do.
Jeremiah 42:3 TEV

  • Please pray for CCWC conferees as they choose the faculty they want to meet with at the May 17-20 conference. Father, please help them to take advantage of the wealth of info we’ve provided and to not rush their decision.
  • Please ask Father to show me how He wants me to respond to the requests for scholarship help.
  • Pray for writers who are struggling to justify the cost of a conference because they haven’t yet been made much (or any) income from their writing. Father, please encourage them to believe in You and the gift of words You’ve entrusted to them.

If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind; and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way and then that. If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer. – James 1:5-7 TLB

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cross-1448946__180I’ve often said that I believe writers are on the front lines of the intense battle for the hearts and minds of men and women, boys and girls. And I’m often reminded of what Jim Watkins said to me years ago (not an exact quote): “You can’t get hundreds of people together excited about writing for the Lord and have the devil say, ‘Isn’t that nice.’”

Scripture confirms that we are in a battle:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12 NLT)

The Message paraphrases this in sobering words:

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. (Eph.6:12 MSG)

It is critical, as Ephesians 6 goes on to say, that we put on the whole armor of God and that we pray.

Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time. (Eph. 6:18-19 MSG)

Although the season of planning and directing the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is just beginning, the warfare is already intense. Much prayer is needed.

In response to the counsel of MK (the missionary who has talked about her ministry to victims of human trafficking at the past several conferences), Charles Patricoff who will be keynoting in Colorado on “Strategic and Tactical Prayer” (click here for his blog), and staff member and prayer warrior Laura Shaffer (click here for her powerful Daily Bible Prayer blog), I plan to share specific prayer concerns weekly. I hope you’ll enlist in the prayer team by clicking “Follow Blog via Email” in the top right hand column.

  • Pray for the almost 3,000 recipients of the brochure for the Colorado conference, asking God to encourage them to seek His will for their writing and to not give up if they are feeling discouraged.
  • Pray for those who feel God is calling them to register, but financially don’t see how they can afford the cost, to trust Him to provide. Father, please give them the courage to ask for help from their family, friends, and church and expand the conference scholarship fund.
  • Pray for me as I juggle the details for both conferences that seem overwhelming. Father, You know I often question my ability, but I choose to give you my availability. Please help me to keep my eyes on Jesus and not fall victim to the deadly Ds of doubt and discouragement.
  • Pray I will be keenly aware of Father’s leading as I finalize the faculty and workshops for the Philly conference and begin work on the brochure and website.
  • Pray God’s Ephesians 3:20 blessings on Barb Haley, our extraordinary registrar and appointments coordinator for both conferences.

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