Friday, December 14, 2018

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018


Dear Family and Friends,                                           December 2018
We are approaching that very important day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Mary and Joseph must have had mixed thoughts and feelings as their newborn son arrived during the night they spent in a Bethlehem stable.  But over 2000 years later, we are celebrating and rejoicing because of that baby boy’s birth.  Only hours after his birth, this little family would be visited by shepherds who had received a message from an angel. That message was good news;  it remains good news now and will be for all time.
Luke 2: 10-11
...an angel said to them, (the shepherds) “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s remember that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior who is able to save us from our sins and who says to us, “Do not be afraid,” even when we can’t see what awaits us in the future.  His birth is good news and brings great joy for all people because He became the Savior.


Gutted Kitchen
Beautiful new kitchen nearly completed

Our year started with a united decision between John and me that this was the year to launch a house remodel project to tackle some upgrades that we felt would improve our home and ready it for many more years of convenience and value.  The work would be done in our master bedroom, kitchen and dining room.  January found us selecting a gal to help us with research and decisions, a contractor we could trust and the stamina to pack up and move out everything in those 3 rooms!  VERY fortunately, we had friends on our block who allowed us to move into their efficiency apartment on the lower level of their home so we were able to be close to the work and out of what was going to become a construction site for nearly four months.  We thought we would survive the whole process which we did but neither of us realized it would be as consuming, exhausting and derailing an experience as it was for us.  We shared common thoughts about most everything so we supported each other but we became quite drained and distracted from other things that usually occupied our time.  We can assuredly report that we are VERY grateful for the finished results but also confident…we will never do anything like it again!!!

Now for highlights that focus on things for which we are very grateful…
Lydia, John, Stephen, Diane, Phillip, Joanna

1.Road trip May 20-June 7 for high school graduation of grandson Stephen Worden at Veritas School in Richmond, VA.   Stephen is now a freshman at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, PA where he is enjoying academics and basketball. 
John and Francis Eachus
2.     May 21 we stopped to visit a dear woman, Francis Eachus, who grew up in Loomis, NE and served the Lord in Guatemala with Wycliffe Missions for over 55 years but now lives in a retirement community in GA.
3.     May 22 short visit in Piney Flats, TN with Bill and Cindi Peterson, John’s sister
4.     May 25 Stephen’s graduation outdoors on the lovely grounds of Veritas School
5.     May 26-June 5 assist son John’s family in preparing their move from a home in Midlothian to a home in Richmond which is closer to work and school activities.
6.     June 7 John’s annual Parkinson’s visit at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.  He continues to be Dr. Jankovich’s “star patient”.
7.     June 8-28 resettling in our home and preparing for... 

Phillip, Ari, Sarah, John C., Cozzie, Linda, James, April, Stephen Worden
  8....   June 29-July 10  visit from son James and family for a week of Laity Lodge Family Camp with daughter, Sarah, and 2 grandsons from Richmond, VA who were on staff for LLFC.
C-FC Class of 1963
9.   
9.  August 23-29 Flights to LaCrosse, WI for a visit with the Berndts in their new home and to attend my C-FC Class of 1963 55th year Reunion. 

10. Sept. – Dec. Half day of volunteering at Schreiner University each week for both of us.  We especially are grateful for the opportunity to connect with International students who study there.  We have especially enjoyed a young man from Colombia, SA who is in advanced music studies focusing on the violin.  We pick him up and take him to church with us each Sunday morning. He was at Schreiner University for just the fall semester so is already on his return to Colombia.
Attending to hear Daniel and the Hill Country Symphony
Son John continues to work for Good Feet in their 3 stores in and around Richmond, VA where he and Diane live.  Diane continues to teach Kindergarten at Veritas School where their daughter, Joanna, is a senior and Lydia is a sophomore.  Phillip is a sophomore at Virginia Tech in VA and Stephen is a freshman at Messiah College in PA.

Son James continues to work at the Charlotte Mason Community School in Detroit, MI. where he and April live.  Their daughter, Ari, is a junior in high school and Constantine is in second grade.  Cozzie has just shared the exciting news that he will become a big brother next June. 

Daughter Sarah continues to live and work in San Antonio.  She is in her 9th year as the Librarian – Information Technologist – at the Elementary School on joint base Fort Sam Houston.  Her nearness is such a blessing to us.  She will join us on a road trip to Detroit where we will all gather to celebrate Christmas during her school break. 

We continue to live in Kerrville, TX where we enjoy our church, neighborhood and opportunities to remain involved in a variety of volunteer efforts.  John continues to see Dr. Jankovich at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX on an annual basis.  His Parkinson’s condition is progressing very slowly if at all so the medication he takes completely controls his only symptom which is tremor on his right side.  He has added a boxing (specifically for Parkinson’s people) class three times a week, follows that class with a workout and swim at the Center for Fitness, has joined the Trinity Baptist Church Primetime Choir to exercise his voice and continues as head usher at the Church.  Linda continues working with Guest Care at Laity Lodge and fills in a few days each month at the Kerrville office of the H.E.Butt Foundation. 

We are so thankful for all that Christmas means – the celebration of God’s great love which came in the form of a baby who grew into the perfect man and became the Lamb who willingly was sacrificed for the sins of all who believe.


With Friendship,
John & Linda Worden

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Easter Monologue Letters to Jesus - Resurrection Sunday & Today...

Twenty-one years ago during Easter weekend 1997, John and I hosted a family reunion.  We decided to have a special Easter service which could be prepared ahead of time in order not to create too much stressful work on that Sunday morning during the reunion but would share meaningful, biblical content.
Imagine this fireplace empty without wood burning

While pondering what we could prepare, I imagined the stone, empty, open fireplace of the reunion site as an "empty tomb."  Next I imagined that many of Jesus' contemporaries probably would have gone to that tomb when they heard of his resurrection.  Who would some of those people have been and what would they have thought?  Wouldn't they have had many emotions - excitement, gratitude, fear, surprise...?  And wouldn't they have had hope that they would soon see Jesus again; be able to talk to him and know positively for themselves that he was alive?  Weren't they also probably thinking about things they would want to say to him - feelings to express, memories to share, mistakes for which to apologize...

But what about those of us who live 2000 years after Jesus resurrection?  Don't we also have much which we would love to communicate to Jesus as we remember his great sacrifice in order to become our Savior?

So my thoughts led me to write first person monologues from the point of view of a person who could have gone to the empty tomb that first Easter morning.  I wrote the monologues as "Letters to Jesus".  That way each performer that weekend could read their thoughts instead of being required to memorize the words they were sharing as the "sermon" for that Easter service.

Those members of our family who shared that day, dressed in period clothing for the sharing of their "Letter to Jesus" as one of his family or friends 2000 years ago.  After they finished sharing that letter, they removed some of their costume and became themselves.  As that person they continued to share a second "Letter to Jesus" as themselves - 2000 years later.

I wrote 7 monologues.  We used 5 of those that Sunday in 1997.  Links to the whole set will follow.  Should you be interested in using these monologues during your personal Easter celebration, you have my permission.  If you do, I would welcome a comment communicating your experience.

The tomb IS empty! It IS true! As soon as I heard the news of the resurrection, I just had to come here and see for myself. I was so afraid it was a trick; someone's imagination. You see, I'm Mary, Jesus' mother. If you're a mother you can probably imagine how I've been feeling since last Friday, what with the crucifixion and all but now - THIS. I could hardly believe it when I heard it. I just had to come and check for myself and see if the tomb really was empty...Link


The tomb IS empty! It IS true! I was here earlier this morning after the women brought us the news of the resurrection, but I wanted to come back - to spend some time alone to contemplate the wonder of this day. You see, I am John, the beloved friend of Jesus and brother of James... Link



The tomb is empty! It IS true! I was here earlier this morning after the women brought me the news of Jesus' resurrection but I wanted to come back for a few moments by myself. You see, I am Peter, a close friend of Jesus. I have mixed emotions as I stand here this morning. I am thrilled that He is alive! This is more wonderful news than anything I could ever imagine, but, I also have a heaviness in my heart...Link 


The tomb IS empty! It IS true! I just knew Jesus would rise from the dead. I knew he had that incredible power. You see, I am Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. We were all such good friends of Jesus. He often stayed with us but the thing that endears me most to him is what he did for Lazarus after he had been dead for four days. He brought him back to life...Link 


The tomb IS empty! It IS true! The news was brought to our home earlier today and mom is so thrilled but the rest of us don't really know what to think. You see, I am James, the brother of Jesus. Our family has been together since Jesus' death on Friday. There have been so many things to talk about, so many feelings we have. This crucifixion has been really difficult for all of us but especially me because I was closest in age to Jesus. I have been trying to be the brave big brother but it hasn't been easy. You see, I have a lot of questions about who Jesus really is...Link


The tomb IS empty! It IS true! On my way to the temple this morning, I learned that something has happened which has created great excitement in Jerusalem today. It is being reported that there's been a resurrection from the dead - Jesus of Nazareth has risen from the dead! I decided I just had to come here for myself and make sure Jesus' grave really was empty. You see, I am Josephine, the woman who was ill for 12 years with hemorrhaging...Link


The tomb IS empty! It IS true! As I was hanging out my laundry this morning, Maria from across the street came to tell me the good news that Jesus had come back to life. A number of people had seen and talked to him. I was so excited when I heard it. I just knew something miraculous like that would happen to him. But I really wanted to see for myself - to make sure this was not just someone's hallucination. What Jesus did for me, was so remarkable that words hardly begin to express my gratitude. You see, I am Eva, the woman caught in the act of adultery and brought before Jesus...Link
********************************************

I believe in Jesus' death and resurrection.  
I believe in his offer of salvation to all who receive him. 
Easter 2018 is a wonderful time to begin a relationship 
with Jesus if you haven't done so already.

John 3:16New International Version (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 10:9-10New International Version (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 

Contact me should you have questions or comments.  Have a wonderful Easter.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Final Flights to TX and Home...Day 9

The trip has come to Moldova has come to an end.  All went smoothly with the long flight from Paris to Houston, TX.  I watched one movie: THE KING'S SPEECH and really enjoyed it.

Most of the time I read a book I've had on my shelf for quite some time.  It is BOLD AS A LAMB by Ken Anderson.  It is the true story of Pastor Samuel Lamb and the underground church of China.  I am incredibly challenged by the life of this man who was imprisoned more than once because of his commitment to the Lord - one time for 20 years of hard labor.  The only Bible he had during his imprisonments was the scripture he had memorized.  He had memorized most of the New Testament plus Psalms and other portions of the Old Testament.  I cannot say I have any where near that much scripture memorized.

We arrived in Houston on Sunday and were able to get to the hotel where our car was parked and found everything just fine with that.  Joanna was with Sarah and me.  She was booked for a flight from Houston to Orlando, FL early Monday morning.  We booked a room at a hotel near Hobby airport and drove across Houston to check in for the night.

We contacted my niece, Kristelle and her family who live in Houston.  They came to meet us at a restaurant for supper.  (I am sorry my camera takes out of focus photos inside.)

We had a great visit though we were close to falling asleep after traveling so far that day.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Return Travel...Day 8

We had the morning to prepare for departure from Chisinau, Moldova so were ready by noon for departure to the airport.  Getting checked in and through security check went smoothly.  We had a little Moldovan money left so got some food at the airport.  Our 1 hour flight had some significant turbulence which Joanna thought was lots of fun - others in our group had a different opinion but we landed safely.  Friends of CERI picked us up and dropped us off in light rain at our hotel.

With the wise and capable planning of our team leader, Dearing Garner, a great rate was found for a night at the International Hotel in Bucharest, Romania.  We Worden gals have a comfortable room
and enjoyed supper in the lounge on the 21st floor.  Our room is on the 17th floor. The sunhas come out so we can look out over the city and see clearly.

We'll be getting up at 3:45 to prepare for the airport.  We will fly to Paris and then on to Houston.
Lovely lobby...
So thankful to be traveling with these dear gals - Granddaughter Joanna & daughter Sarah


Friday, June 16, 2017

Orhei Vechi Monastery, Ethnic Restaurant, Saying Good-bye, Shopping...Day 7

Our last full day in Moldova has been very special.  Instead of spending our day with a service project and sharing our time with many children, we had this day to concentrate exclusively on the child we are sponsoring/mentoring and have gotten to know at a deeper level this week.  We left the team house about 9AM and drove on roads winding through rich farmland for an hour in order to reach Orhei Vechie Monastery.  This 13th Century cave monastery is very fascinating and affords a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and valleys.  I had been there previously but some in our group had not.
Destination in the far distance...
One photo of roses in a garden outside the welcome center where tickets are purchased.
First stop was an area of early homes which we toured with a guide.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Criuleni, Food Distribution...Day 7

Bright sunshine, cool morning and lush fields along the way, made the trip to Criuleni a lovely hour long drive to start our day.  Our girls were not able to join us as they had a program at their school in Hincesti which they were expected to attend.  That was disappointing but we will have most of tomorrow with them on our last full day in Moldova.

Dearing spent the day with Catea to work on plans for the December boot mission.  They had appointments with officials regarding names of children who would qualify to receive a free pair of boots.  They made good progress on that process.

With Dearing away, Jeff Pittman was our substitute leader.  He is a competent, thoughtful leader and all went well for this last full day of connecting with children living in community centers in 4 different locations in Moldova.  Today we were at the Criuleni Center for special needs children.  It was a very impressive place with cheerful rooms and staff.  The children seemed to really enjoy the games, singing, Bible Stories and loving attention we shared with them.

We were joined for our time today by a man who will complete his 2nd year of work with the Peace Corps in August.  He and his wife have lived in Criuleni during this assignment.  He and the city have partnered on projects for this center including a room with equipment to use for physical therapy.  
Jeff starts us off with schedule plans.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Center for Disabilities, Shopping Excursion...Day 6




Another day with quite a bit of variety.
  1. Drive to Chisinau Center for Children With Disabilities.
  2. Finding a group of Clowns from Italy already at the Center and engaging with the children.
  3. Part of team painting fence murals.
  4. Minister of Public Communication and Administrative Assistant from the United States Embassy at the Center to observe, interview and learn about CERI/Moldova.
  5. Activities with disabled children and Italian group.
  6. Outdoor Market shopping excursion with sponsored children to select and purchase $50.00 worth of items.
  7. Visit with gal we formerly sponsored and meeting her 9 month old baby girl.
Olga is so patient and caring with small boys of Center.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Worship, Bowling, Hincesti Shelter, Manuc Bey Manor...Day 5

Today started with our team sharing our worship time at Jesus Savior Baptist Church.  There are about 40 of us with the team, translators and the CERI sponsored children that are spending the week together. Each day we have a worship time with Gary Bunning sharing Bible teaching.   We had a sweet time of singing, message and prayer time again today.

Alex is a great song leader.
Yesterday, Monday, was quite a long, busy day - especially for the young CERI children we have traveling with us.  Dearing feared we were taxing them physically and not providing enough "fun" so he adjusted the schedule for today and added in a trip to Malldova Bowling Lanes.  The experience was a first for most of these children.  They were cautious and reluctant at first but with the competent, caring, loving coaching of Joanna Worden, fears turned into a highlight of the week for our team.  Pictures will help tell that story below.

 We arrived at the Mall, got our shoes and signed in as a team.  We were 3 Worden gals, a translator and 3 children.  When our scoreboard came up populated with all our names, we were ready to begin bowling.
First up was Marcela - about 8 years old attempting something brand new.
With arms crossed and tears flowing, Marcela is NOT going to bowl!!! 
Building confidence with coach Joanna...

Monday, June 12, 2017

Glinjeni Shelter, Moldova Countryside, Food to Families...Day 4

I intended to close my blog with these beautiful floral/fruit photos but they loaded at the beginning so I'm choosing to leave them here.  I am enjoying these beautiful areas of gorgeous color and design in Moldova and hope you are too.  This white rose is on a bush along the side of the team house.  The cherry tree is across from the house and the large rose bushes are a couple houses away.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Travel From Houston to Paris to Bucharest...Day 2

We left Houston about 4:00pm on Friday, June 9, 2017 with the 3 Worden girls seated together.  Ahead of us stretched 9-10 hours in the air.  We were comfortable with a screen in front of each of us and plenty of things we brought with us to occupy our time.  Supper was served not long after take-off and that added to our comfort.  I watched a movie, read a World magazine, read my Bible and started writing what would become my first blog post for the trip.  It was not difficult to enjoy the travel time.  Though the plane got dark and was quiet, I did not do much sleeping and neither did my travel buddies.  
First stop for Emelia was this pastry shop.
About 8:00am Paris time, we arrived there - that was 2am for the TX gals and 3am for the VA girl.  As we arrived, we were soon meeting and connecting with more members of our team.  Our gathering time provided opportunity for introductions and afforded Dearing Garner a place to share plans for the week and to answer questions. 
  When all together, we will be a team of 13.  Meeting in Paris we were a group of 11.  We had a couple hours in Paris and then it was off for a 3 hour flight to Bucharest, Romania.
View of Paris...