Posts Tagged missouri

Small Church, Big Future

4 March 2012

Today, Dad and I drove about 30 miles to a church in Crane, MO. As a full-time missionary, Dad is on his year of “itineration” where he gets to travel from church to church, sharing reports of what God is doing around the world and especially in French-speaking countries.

And, exceptionally, I had the privilege of traveling with him.

The small town of Crane calls itself the “neatest town in Missouri” but in my opinion the neatest thing about the town is the church we attended and its pastors, George and Margaret Burnash.

The Burnashes are friends from my college days. Both are incredibly smart and have huge, welcoming smiles. God brought them to this struggling church several months ago and has given them an intense burden for their community.

Walking into the church, the first things I noticed were the missions posters all around the sanctuary with the “red and yellow, black and white” faces from all over the world: Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Eurasia, North America, Latin America … It made us feel instantly welcomed.

Pastor George, Margaret & son Joseph

The church and its pastors have a pioneering spirit. The church itself looks like the epitome of a little country church, with its white facade and sturdy wooden pews, but the congregation has thinned out over the years through a variety of events. But though the church may be small, it has a big heart and a big vision.

We had a wonderful time of praise, worship and prayer (as well as great donuts and coffee, I’ve got to admit it!), Dad’s sermon was good and he didn’t require that I sing, like he did when I was a little kid (I’m very happy about that).  We all sense that God is getting ready to move in a big way in Crane.

As I read in a devotional book yesterday, “When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!” If you are facing a challenge that looks pretty scary from where you’re standing, know that if God has called you, He will equip you. He’ll also send friends and companions along at the right time to stand beside you and help you in your work. Just be faithful to that call!

Please take a moment to pray for George and Margaret and their two children:

  • For protection over their lives and their work
  • For strong Christians to come alongside them to help in the ministry
  • For financial provision for the Burnashes and their church
  • For courage in the midst of adversity and joy in the midst of discouragement
  • For God’s intervention in the lives of the people of Crane, esp. in the area of deliverance from unhealthy habits and addictions

“When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!”

Little House in the Ozarks

26 October 2011
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder, one of the most popular children’s authors of all time, wrote her famous Little House on the Prairie series right here in the Ozarks?

Even though I consider myself a history buff and a great fan of the Little House books, this news came as a great revelation to me. I was going through some keepsakes boxes in the attic recently when I came across a hardback book called Little House in the Ozarks. Curious, I opened it and discovered it had been given to me by my paternal grandparents for my birthday in 1995. I had never read it.

In the first few pages, I discovered that after a childhood spent traveling from place to place in the American West, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband Almanzo settled in Mansfield, MO (45 miles east of Springfield, MO) and lived there longer than they had lived anywhere else. They were married sixty-four years. Laura outlived her huband by eight years and passed away on their beloved Rocky Ridge Farm at the age of ninety.

Another fact that suprised me was that Laura spent twenty years as a pioneer woman journalist before ever starting her Little House series. Little House in the Ozarks, edited by Stephen W. Hines, is a compilation of Laura’s rediscovered writings from this journalistic period of her life, when she wrote about life and social issues for various Missouri farm papers and national magazines. Among her contemporaries, Laura had a reputation as good neighbor and someone who “gets eggs in the winter when none of her neighbors get them” — apparently a high compliment in these parts.

The Ozarks

I’m just a few chapters in but so far I’m finding it a fascinating read, with such an interesting mix of universal themes (you’d think she was writing about the 21st century!) and quaint descriptions of amusing scenes from bygone days. I’d definitely recommend it to any Little House fans, young and old.

Who could have predicted sixteen years ago — except, apparently, my grandparents — that I would someday live in another “little house in the Ozarks”? Like many of the books my grandparents gave me, I certainly didn’t appreciate it at the time and have only in recent years recognized the wisdom and foresight of their choices for me.

P.S. There’s a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield that I hope to visit. It closes November 15th until March, so I had better go there soon. I’ll let you know whether it’s worth the detour.