Greetings and Welcome!

My goal is to share encouragement, grace, and hope from God’s Word, and to brighten your day. Mission trips abroad have enlarged my heart and reminded me once again that regardless of our skin color or location we all need a savior, and His name is Jesus. I pray that my articles will lift your spirits and point you to the One who loves you most.

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This Month's Message

By Fran Caffey Sandin

Snow-capped mountains with green velvet skirts; emerald lakes; rushing waterfalls; not to mention an occasional black bear, or mountain goat visible from the highway—traveling in Canada excites the senses. My husband, Jim, and I stayed in a rustic cabin on the Athabasca River, removed from all things technical. We were excited to look out our window and see several elk walking between the cabins. They were like a crown on God’s beautiful creation.

On a day trip we visited a majestic mountain dedicated to the memory of a nurse, Edith Cavell. When Brussels fell to the German army during World War 1, a British nurse in charge of a local nursing school refused to leave her post. Edith Cavell cared for the wounded on both sides and helped over 200 allied soldiers escape. She was arrested on charges of espionage and executed by a German firing squad on Oct. 12, 1915. Edith Cavell became known as the “martyr nurse”. As a tribute to her courage, Canada gave her name to the grandest mountain in the Athabasca Valley, Mount Edith Cavell.

While visiting a Museum in San Antonio, Texas, we learned about Sargent Lewis E. Duke. As a member of the New Mexico National Guard, he was inducted into World War II in January, 1941 and captured by the Japanese on April 9, 1942. He endured the Bataan Death March along with about 11,000 other captives of which 7,000 died and 4,000 survived. During that time, the Japanese allowed Duke to keep and carry a large Bible, although he was not an ordained minister. During the march and his subsequent internment in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, Duke conducted religious services for his fellow captives in an effort to sustain their faith and hope in face of horrendous and inhumane treatment by their Japanese captors. For his courage, he eventually received the Bataan Commemorative Medal.

In 2004 Jim and I stood on the beaches of Normandy, France, and viewed 9000 white crosses, one for each young man from the United States who sacrificed his life for the Allied Forces victory. Our guide laid a large wreath in an outdoor memorial gathering while the wife of a WWII Normandy invasion survivor sang the hymn acapella, Amazing Grace. Tears flowed. As the late Paul Harvey once said, “The free are never out of debt to the brave.”

Billy Graham explained, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” In the Old Testament after the death of Moses, God selected Joshua to lead the Hebrew children across the Jordan River to the Promised Land. God encouraged him with these words: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1: 9 NIV). In subsequent verses, the LORD reiterated, “Be strong and courageous.”

Dear Heavenly Father, we are in a spiritual battle on earth. Help us to be strong and courageous as we oppose the evil works of Satan who has blinded the eyes of many who elevate their pride above Your Word and Your Wisdom. Jesus is coming again to rule and to reign—one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is LORD to the glory of God the Father(Philippians 2: 9-11). Let us be diligent to share with others the good news that we can know Him now as our personal Lord and Savior, experience forgiveness of sins, know His joy and peace, and be safe forever in eternity. In Jesus’ name, amen.