Dear Friends in Christ,

“Stuff” - Thoughts on the Collection of Things Over a Lifetime . . .

Our family spent significant time going through the remaining things in my dear Mother's house in June. All of it of course she no longer needs, or probably even cares about in heaven, yet as we went through it all, it really told her story.

First, there was lots of things representing her love of beauty, color, and art, and the Lord. She loved birds, angels, butterflies, sunflowers, flowers of all kind. She had so many, many arrangements of silk flowers in her basement that she changed and redecorated with the seasons. She had an amazing knack for taking lots of little odds and ends, and making a grouping on a wall or on a shelf, that looked very together, and communicated meaning, like the beauty of God's creation, a Christian holy day, etc. She not only collected many pictures, but had also herself painted pictures of family, the Amish, and landscapes. After a trip to France about 4 years ago, she took a watercolor class and did many small Monet style watercolor pictures. Her home, decorated with changing seasonal flower arrangements, pictures, decorative pillows, etc, was her haven, as well as her ministry center. Many commented that her home felt so peaceful to those who entered it. Her ministry continued to the end of her life, her final 'field' being her 'home helpers', who assisted her about 8 hours a day, the last 2 years of her life. Quite a few of Mom's things from her home and ministry center are now in my home, our ministry center, a sweet and ever present reminder of the legacy she has left us.

And then there were her writings. Lots of journaling, prayers, thoughts, even sermons. There were cards to my Dad, and even a card to me, that for some reason she kept with her, and the Lord used it to minister to me in a big way when I found it as we went through her things. It was as if Mom was talking to me once again, telling me she loved me and was proud of me and grateful for me. It seems she saved every card she ever received, and she received so many, I believe, because she sent many. That was one big way she ministered to people, as well, by sending encouraging cards and notes. That ministry seems to be becoming a lost art, partly due to email and computer communication, I think. But Mom's writings are more precious to me than all the 'things.' Her writings came from inside her, from her heart. They show her walk with God, her struggles, the things she cried out to the Lord about.

So why am I going on and on about my Mom? Well, it makes me think about what is really important to leave behind. I am glad to have many of Mom's things in my home now, reminders of my growing up years in her home. Those material things are part of her legacy, helpful in many ways. And though we should also work to leave a financial inheritance to our children, that is not eternal. What is really important to future generations is what my Mom wrote. And it makes me think about what I want to leave behind. I don't want to just leave my heirs and descendants temporal things of earth, but also of my life, my stories, what God taught me in a lifetime of seeking to follow Him. Specifically . . .

That the next generation might remember and not forgot their God.

That they might be encouraged to hold fast to Christ.

That they might be encouraged to know Christ and walk with Him for a lifetime.

My faith will not be my children’s, because God pursues each of us as individuals. We each must have the real thing and come to a time in our life when we recognize our own sinfulness and our need for a Savior. A time when we are overwhelmed by what He did for us out of His love for us, and realize that that love is still pursuing us as the hound of heaven, until we willingly bow the knee.

To leave something behind to spur future generations on, even those we will never meet on this earth, is even more important than all the passed on possessions or bank accounts in the world. I hope to compile many of Mom's writings and thoughts into a scrapbook, so our grandbaby, Abbi, and her siblings, and even her children, Lord willing, will feel like they can know and be spurred on by Mom's faith. And hopefully I will do the same for our children and grandchildren with my writings and prayers. And Bernie with his writings and prayers. And our children with theirs. The most important writings will always be the precious Word of God, revealed in the Scriptures. But to leave a book of witness, or testimony from one who has gone before to testify to His power and point to the Way can be helpful as well.

Our encouragement to you this month is to consider if you will be leaving these things behind for your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Write down your stories! Write down your prayers, as you struggle. Write down your victories! Write love letters to them, and give them now! Scrapbooking is a wonderful way to tell your story with pictures. I consider this an eternal, legacy leaving activity of high priority. I have heard it called “Faithbooking” by Christians. Encourage them not only verbally, but also with written words. For in only a few generations, your stories, your encouragements and admonitions are often lost, if they are not written down. Even old photos are tossed out, because no one any longer knows who these folks are. For example, one other precious thing I found in my Mother's home was a Bible which, after some research, I realized belonged to my Great Grandmother on my Father's side. I barely knew her. I think she died when I was about 8 or so. In the front of her Bible was her handwritten testimony professing a strong faith in Christ and a record of her personal conversion. How I wish she had written more, yet I am grateful for this precious witness from the past for our family today. When I would visit her as a young child, I wonder if she prayed for me, her great granddaughter, that I, too, would come to faith in Christ some day? “One generation shall praise Thy works to another.” ~ Psalm 145:4a

"Supplications" - For the coming 2 months . . .

Once again, Bernie did a great job, on another spiritual tour of a local historic site, giving three talks at different stops along the way with spiritual applications and insights. Also along the way, Bernie and the other bikers enjoyed handing out historic gospel tracts to passers by, and to some who gathered around to hear what Bernie was speaking about at the three stops. It was a step of faith for some to initiate with strangers in this way, and no one was required to do this, but by the end everyone participated! We are praying that the Lord produces fruit.

Here are the three key verses he used to give spiritual insight into the three phases of the Battle of Antietam (“the bloodiest day in American history”):

burnside bridgebernie speaking at burnside bridge

Left - Burnside Bridge at Antietam National Battlefield.
Above - Bernie speaks with his usual energy and enthusiasm.

Morning - “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you.” ~ Psalm 91:7

Mid-day - “For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” ~ I Cor. 14:8

Afternoon - “Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.” ~ Lev. 26:8

We have other outreach events in the works for the coming months, and Bernie will be speaking at a conference next week. The topics are: “Ministry as a Family” (Psalm 16) and “Family Missions Opportunities” (Acts 1:8). Please pray for all the details and preparations to go smoothly, and that God would oversee it all. Pray that people come to know the Lord through our outreaches. One, on Aug. 25th, is at the Baltimore Inner Harbor, Md, we will be doing short open air preaching, and music with other families, and tract distribution. Then in September, we will be touring the Keysville area in MD, Frances Scott Key's birthplace, by bike and handing out tracts door to door with other families. Please pray for fruit.

"Seventy" - Threescore & Ten, and Counting!

grandmother turns 70Grandmother Beall turned 70 on July 9th. Her wish to celebrate this event was to have all her grandchildren together, at her house. Her meal of choice was lasagna, bread, salad, and sugar free apple pie. We added ice cream and a fruit salad, and brought it all to her. In honor of her special day, I wrote a "Blessing Identity Statement," which took the meaning of her name, and looked at how God has brought that meaning to pass in her life. The grandchildren also honored her with their appreciation for specific character qualities in her life. One granddaughter gave her money for a pedicure! Josh and Kerin and Abbi even did a wonderful acrostic with her name.

Here is the blessing I wrote for my dear mother-in-law, using the meaning of her names:

  • Bernardine means “Brave” or “Bold as a Bear.”
  • Gladhill means "Hill of Gladness."
  • Beall can mean "Bee Hill," or in French it means "Beautiful" (she loves French words).

Bernardine, you are God's brave beautiful place of joy and sweetness. In Christ, you are bold and persevering in the midst of many heartaches and hardships. You continue on in joyful service to others and to God. You find Christ to continue to sustain you fully and completely with the sweetness of the Bee Hill, (Beall, husband Fred's legacy), the "Joy" of the Gladhill, (daughter Joy's legacy), and the strength of the Bear (Bernardine's legacy) to be a gracious and generous mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and mother-in-law by amazingly performing all these stations simultaneously. You are well known for your service, your bold enthusiasm, your initiative, organization and leadership, your energy, jokes and stories, and your beautiful bubbling over smile with "nice teeth." (The very last thing Fred said to her before he took his last breath was, "You have nice teeth." - editor) I believe the Lord is saying to you, as to the church in Revelation 2:19, “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first." God sees all you are doing and continue to do, even if at times you may feel unappreciated or unnoticed. Your reward is with Him. May the Lord bless your legacy of service!

“Support” - Summer is a Lean Time in a Lean Year

As is true for many ministries, the summer months tend to be slow. We also have never really replaced the almost 25% support we lost when we launched our new ministry to families. So we are encountering a shortfall that is increasing month to month, which we are praying the Lord provides for as we look at possible opportunities for us in the fall. Would you consider helping with this need? We are looking at the possibility of traveling to Korea early November to minister to families there. If this shortfall is met, we will feel free to move forward with those plans, which will involve asking the Lord to provide additional funds to cover our travel there.

Replacing our lost support will hopefully come from finding new families who share our vision to “mobilize families to take their next appropriate step to greater involvement in the Great Commission.” Hence our ministry name, Great Commission Families. THANK YOU for your support and encouragement.

Would you pray and ask the Lord if He would have you help either by joining our monthly support team, increasing your monthly support or making a special gift at this time? Please feel no pressure, our goal is always to just make you aware of the need, God has not called everyone to meet it. Our request is just that you pray and see if the Lord would have you help.

In Christ's Great Love,
Linda for the Bealls

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”
~ Hebrews 12:1-2a