Journey to New Heights

Journey to New Heights
We need a heart for the lost

Friday, August 31, 2012

Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann

Today I want to share my review on Freefall. I love Kristen's books and this is one of her best. I have had a hard time putting it down.I usually have three of four books I am reading at a time but this one kept me from doing that.

Injured on the first page of the book when she goes over the water fall, she has no idea who she is. She struggles to get out of the river and find help. Her trek down the mountain is difficult with all her injuries. She is not aware she has lost her memory until Monica finds her and asks her name. Monica names her Jade and helps her to heal even after she refuses to go to the hospital or call the police.

Monica's brother, Cameron, comes to save his sister from this unknown predator. Cameron investigates frauds and insurance claims for a living. He sees the evil in the world on a daily basis. Convinced this woman is threat to his sister, he takes her to the doctor and finally to the police. A dream reveals to Jade that she was not alone when she fell. Full of doubts and misgivings Cameron helps Jade to climb the moutain to find the man who was with her and her journey to find out who she really is.

The search for this man and her memory is a long road. Answers come but only seem to trickle in, leaving her confused and in danger. Cameron has his own issues and is fighting his demons as he helps her fight hers. Who would think they would run into life threating situations? As they struggle with their pasts they are drawn together in a force neither are able to control.

I loved this book. Even without her memory she stills has her faith. I would like to think my faith would still exist if I lost my identity. Cameron has lost his faith but is put in places where he must reach out to God. I love their journey. I don't want to ruin the book for you so I won't tell you anymore of the story but I do know you will enjoy every minute of it as I did. I do suggest you don't pick it up right before you go to bed because I promise you will lose a lot of sleep.

I still don't have my computer up and running so I will not post on Monday as my library is closed. God bless you guys. Run out and buy this one, it is awesome.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Navy Seal Rescuer by Shirlee McCoy

I want to do a review today on the Navy Seal Rescuer, a book in the Heroes for Hire Series. I love Shirlee's books and this is no exception. It is a fast paced suspense and her characters truly jump off the page at you. My problem is I get so involed with the characters I want to know what happened to them after the story is over.

This story is about Catherine Miller, a woman that has just spent the last four years of her life in prison for a crime she didn't commit. She returns home to find the grandmother who raised her dying of cancer, her home falling a part, and a town that still believes she's guilty. Catherine, a nurse, just wants to be left alone so that she may care for her grandmother for whatever time they have left. Someone is trying to see that it doesn't happen, he writes Murder on the side of her home, and makes an attempt on Catherine's life.

The next door neighbor, Darius Osborne steps in and saves her life. He vows to keep anyone from harming the two women he has come to care for. Darius, a former Navy Seal has his own issues to deal with. Now a security contractor, he sets out to track down the people who are trying to destroy Catherine. It was an intriguing story of faith even in the most difficult of times.

I really look forward to the next story in the series. Thank you Shirlee for sharing your heart. You are an amazing writer and I learn a lot about my craft when I read your work. God bless you and I hope you all run out and buy a copy. I know you won't regret it.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saving Hope by Margaret Daley

On my post today I want to tell you about a book I just finished. Saving Hope is about a woman, Kate who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth but after a life changing experience as a child she sets out to save young girls from being trapped in prostitution. She starts a foundation to rehabilitate these girls and bring them back into society.

One of her girls, Rose, steals her van and runs off to help a friend to get out of the ring but is captured by her old pimp. Kate sets out to find Rose but things only get worse. Because of the bad publicity her mother pulls her funding hoping Kate will give up this farse. Kate refuses and sets out to bring the crime ring down.

Wyatt, a Texas Ranger assigned to a task force for missing children, finds the van and a young girl that had been missing for a couple of years. He is thrown together with Kate to find Rose and the crime ring that is moving in his back yard. Kate is kidnapped and Wyatts family is threatened.

This book was a fast paced suspense that has you sitting on the edge of your chair. I couldn't put is down. I really enjoyed her characters especially Wyatt's daughter and his mother, together they would be a true handful. I love the faith that helped Rose and Kate through the valley of darkness and how Wyatt was able to find his through it all. It was a great read and I highly recommend it. You can learn more about the book and other that Margaret has witten by going to or

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mission Conference

Today I want to share a little bit about our second annual Church Growth and Missions Conference. It is held in the fall each year and all of our ministers in the state are invited to come. We will have some from Kansas too.

Our Pastor decided God was leading him to minister to the pastors in our area who were unable to leave their churchs to attend camp meetings and minister conferences in far off places. Taking a week or to off to go across the counry is not always an option in small town America. Pastors need to be fed and refreshed. Pastoring and giving everything you have often leaves ministers empty and dry. Pastors need to be ministered to themselves. A church that doesn't look out side of themselves will die. It is so important to reach out to the lost, the poor, the starving, and the dying. We possess a strong missions program and are doing all we can to improve that program.

Our key speaker this year is Guy Duininck. I don't know if you have ever heard him but he is a dynamic speaker and we are truly blessed to have a man of his caliber. Tonight we have a catered meal, a special band to perform a small concert, and then Guy speaking. It will be awesome! Tomorrow we have more speakers and Guy will speak again. It is so amazining what a small church in rural Nebraska can do. The concert will be on our cable stations, our website, and you can get the tapes if you ask for them. Our website reaches people all over the world. We get email from 15 different countries. We touch the world, how cool is that!

I am so excited, I hope you have a heart for the missions too. That is where God's heart is, if you trully love Him there your heart will be too. After visiting third world countries I know the way most of the world live, very few have even heard the name of Jesus. We must change that. I hope your church is out there doing it's part to reach the world. Nothing is more important to God.

God bless you all. I pray you will have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

Today I am going to review the book Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman. I have told you before I love Amish books. All though it is a simpler way to live it does have it's own drawbacks, mainly a lot more work.
This book is not really a normal Amish story. It is much more. I love the whole concept, reality shows have become the normal TV. Kathryn took that to a whole new level with her book. I just loved it. I could picture myself in there trying so hard to do what needed to be done and failing at every turn.

Julie, as favor to her sister-in-law, consents to appear in a televison reality show, Almost Amish. She feels like her life is out of control and welcomes a chance for a simplier way of life. She convinces her two teenagers to go with her for the summer.

Susan, a divorcee, is trying to prove to herself what a wonderful wife, mother, and homemaker she really is. She is a Type A perfectionist and is thrilled with the chance of showing America all of her homemaking skills. She has written a book and her whole future depends on this show. She too drags her teenager along.

I can't imagine most teens would be quite so easily taken out in the middle of nowhere without their cells, ipods, and videogames. These teens agree to it and are forced to wear horrible clothes, walk or ride in buggies, and do school through the summer.

I love the fact that Julie, who is surrounded by a husband and sister-in-law with OCD tendencies and  are perfectionists, can barely manage her home but is more than willing to do what they ask of her. I see many of my own mistakes in Julie. She doesn't know when to say no and struggles with all of the distractions in life.  Before the show she was so busy she couldn't get anything done now she struggles through this adventure hoping to find her true gift. As she watches Susan struggle trying to please everyone on the crew, especially a munipulating producer, and literally works herself until she is ready to blow up, she finds an inner strength and determination that changes her world.

I love what these two women learn about themselves, their children, and each other. It was just a great book. I can't help but wonder how many of us do the same thing. Does God just watch us from heaven and shake His head at why we make everything so difficult? We get so caught up in our every day lives that we have no clue what we are doing to ourselves and our families. Distractions are one of the main tools the devil uses to destroy our homes, our marriages, and our families. How can we hear His voice when the whole world is pulling us in the other direction.

I truly loved this book. I hope you will get a copy of it and learn there is more to this life than struggling to survive. You can learn more about the book or buy it at Please check it out.
God bless you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Standing Guard by Valerie Hansen

I'm doing a book review on Standing Guard, one of the Defenders Series, by Valerie Hansen. This is one of the Love Inspired Suspense books. I don't know about you but I love Valerie's books, this was no exception. Her characters are so real and her stories are full of action and suspense.

Lindy is a young widow with a small son. They had both been kidnapped and in an attempt to free them her husband was killed and she was injured. Hoping to put all that behind her, she tries to move forward with their lives. A break in to her home causes a series of events to shatter her illusion of peace and healing for her and her son.

Thad, an ex-marine, in a godincident is thrown into their lives. Thad is also trying to heal and find peace. these two people are thrown into unusal situations trying to find who is out to destroy her.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a fast paced, action filled, heart moving story. I know that all of you will enjoy reading this book. I coldn't put it down. I hope you will get the book and enjoy it as much as I did. You may find it at You can also get it through Love Inspired.

I love sharing the books I read. I hope you enjoy them also. God bless each of you.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Kate's Song by Jennifer Beckstrand

Today I want to write a book review of Kate's Song. It is an Amish book and I love to read them but this isn't a traditional story. Kate loves to sing in a world where that is prideful and sinful. She has just returned home from attending a music academy for the last two years. She was thrown into the middle of a violent situation and has come home beaten and broken. She is determined to find God will in her life. She loves Him with all of her heart and only wants to serve Him. In her journey she find love and fulfillment, as it comes to an end and she know exactly what her purpose is when her life is thrown upside down by an older brother who should have loved and protected her. Has God abandoned her? Does He even care that she has lost everything? Can she be happy in the music world away from everything she loves.

It was an amazing book. I lover Jennifer's characters, they were so real. I think we often have a situations like this take place in our lives. We finally are sure we know what God wants us to do only to have satan get in there and turn our world upside down. How many times do we simply quit and take the easist path? I see people do this so often. People we need to push forth when the devil tries to hold us down. God has so many wonderful things for us if we can only trust Him. God didn't make all the wondrous and glorious things for the sinners He made them for His children. We need to read His Word, obey it, and trust Him with all our heart. God is so good.

You can find Kate's Story at or at I hope you will read it I know you will love it. As always God bless you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to Panama

Okay I gave you some time off but I still have things to share with you about my missions trip. Panama was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It seems to me that God in His infinite mercy gave each place in the world a special beauty. No two places are the same and there is no way to compare them. A rain forest is absolutely breath taking and I loved it.

Panama City is full of wondrous buildings, but the abject poverty is everywhere. Trash liters the streets in front of the modern city. Our team and several others took one day out of our visit to collect trash on the beaches. They evidently don't have land fills or trash dumps so people just through things they don't want the the beaches of the rivers and oceans. We found a mattress and box springs, furniture, dirty diapers, animal skeletons, great sheets of wood, tires, and normal food wrappers.   You name it and we found it on that beach. It broke your heart.

We went deep into the city to minister to some of the schools. The schools we went to were gated, fenced in buildings. No glass in the windows, classes were overloaded with children, armed guards (they carried M16s) stood at the door ways. Your heart went out to the children, many of whom are homeless. I thank God that we were allowed into these schools. Not only were we allowed in we were welcomed with so much love it broke your heart.

In one of the schools there was a little boy that was probably about six or seven. He was in a little uniform with a school bag that reminded me of the old school bags our kids use to use back in the seventies or eighties. He stood off by himself and watched everything but he never took part in what was taking place. Our teens had brought gifts for the kids, (just little stickers, jewelery, or balls) but he never took any. My heart went out to this little guy. I just wanted to pick him up and take him home with me. I was watching the kids backpacks and couldn't go to him but I prayed for him and sent one of teens to reach out to him. I still see his little face. I will continue to pray for him.

How about you? Has God ever just filled your heart with love for someone on the street? Do you know that overwhelming need to pray for someone you never met and will probably never see again?
God loves His children so much He wants none to be lost.

God bless you today. I hope you are enjoying my experiences.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Vengeance Squad by Sidney W. Frost

Today I'm going to do a book review. Sid Frost sent me a book to review. How I review it is up to me even though the book was a gift.

The Vengeance Squad was a very well written journey of personal grief. After loosing Sarah in a violent shooting during a robbery, Chris McCowan sets out to find  and kill the men that were involved. In his desperation he turns his back on God and decides He can't exist if He allowed such a thing to happen.

With the help of his father, a secret agent, and a very unusual trio he sets out to find these criminals. Law enforcement is unable to find any clues but the Vengeance Squad, a forty year old, wheelchair bound, ex-con student of Chris', a sixty-five year old librarian, and Chris a computer science professor, not only finds clues but a great deal of action and violence.

It was one man's fight to understand grief and come to terms with the loss of the loves of his life. I loved the story. I have never known the grief of losing a mate but I do know the devestation of divorce and of losing a child. This story spoke to my heart and I hope you will all read this story.

Thank you Sid for sharing your story with us. I look forward to reading more of your books. God bless you and your wife. Your personal story gives me hope in a land of singleness. Wednesday I will continue with my Panama trip. If you are getting bored with my adventures let me know. God bless all of my followers.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Embera Indian Tribe

On Tuesday we went to visit the Embera Village. I was thrilled to get a chance to go there. My team, Team Four,(thirty-seven us) plus Melinda Watts, (the famous gospel artist) her godmother Jackie, Steve Goley, and our tour guide Michael left the resort at nine am. We drove for a couple of hours and then stopped to but rice to take to the tribe. Rice is a staple they they can't grow but is very important to them. We bought them about twenty-five pounds of rice. We drove for another hour and then had to navatgate a steep embankment to get down to the Chagres River.

It gives you a strange feeling in your stomach to watch the natives bail out water in the boats before you ever get in. Each boat would hold up to eleven people plus two natives. So our group consisted of four boats, although we saw other boats on the river. The river ran fast, in places it was very deep and in some places the natives had to get out and push us through the rapids. The scenery was absolutely fabulous. We saw multiple small water falls, beautiful birds, and wildlife along the shores. It was truly breathtaking. Gods handiwork is truly amazing.

We rode in the boats for about an hour then we stopped. It was decided we would through the forest to a beautiful waterfall. It was a short fifteen minute walk. (Ha! thats what they told me but I want to know who actually timed that walk, it took me about forty-five minutes if not more!) I was at the very end of this excursion. (Melinda and Jackie were right in front of me) We all had on sandels and I can tell you that is not the right kind of footware for a jungle.

We traveled on the banks of a small but fast moving stream. It had rained for days and the bank, some kind of clay, was very slick. My thongs were leater and the bottom was very slick and the souls slid in the mud so I had a serious problem with my shoes. I would take them off whenever I could.  There were times when we would have to wade in the srteam. I would have to wear them in the stream because the rocks were so sharp but the water ran so fast it would almost knock me over. Steve Goley and my head leader Mark Hill were very concerned about me so they took turns helping me.(You can see a picture of me and Mark on Team 4 page on facebook.If you want a good laugh.) I found holes in the stream that took me waist deep in the water. I lost my shoes in the creek mud several time. One time one of the natives had to dive down to find it. I did make it to the water fall though and it truly was beautiful but my main thought was "I am going to have to walk back.

I joked with Steve about he should put a warning in the brochure about one hundred year old really shouldn't attemp to walk this ten mile trek through the rain forest. I told him I was going to write a book about all the horrors I had to endure.He just laughed at me and told me it was only a half a mile or so. He said he had just walked it the day before but it hadn't been nearly a slick.

The trip back wasn't nearly as bad but my shoes fell apart as we were leaving. I was trying to walk without the souls of my shoes,(Which was even worse than before) one of the tribesmen took my shoes and Michael our tour guide gave me his thongs. It went pretty well. I kept joking  with them about how lod I was and how I shouldn't be there but God stopped me cold and told me to shut my mouth. I wasn't old and my problem was basically my shoes. I did shut up and quick. I started praying the ninty-first Psalms instead.

An hour later we arrived at the tribe's villiage. My legs felt like wet noodles and I had to moan a little when I saw the village was on top of a great embankment with what looked like hundred's of steps. I made it though and all by myself. The Embera leader welcomed us and told us the history of their tribe, then they fed us a meal, and did native dances. I got a tatoo(it was only ink) and we shopped(their basket work and beadwork was outstanding.). We met many of the villagers, watched them doing their crafts, and were able share with them. 

We returned to our hotel to late for supper but they had held the buffet open for us. It had been eventful day. Susie ministered that night and after we were dismissed we had to minister to the teens about what she had taught them it had been a long day but very fulfilling.

I hope you enjoyed my ten mile trek through the rain forest. I'm not sure I would ever try that again. LOL!
Praise God I made it and was uninjured. there were several who turned ankles, broke toes, and sratched
legs that ended up in the ER.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Saga Continues

Panama is such a beautiful place. When I landed it was dark and we had to travel for about an hour to get to the place we were staying, so it was hard to tell what it really looked like. We arrived at about one in the morning and had to be up, eaten breakfast, had team devotions, and on a bus by nine. How many can say jet lag! Most of our team had arrived at a decent time so they were up and ready, Richard and me not so much. Our first day of ministry was at an elementary school. We ministered to the smaller kids(k through 2nd) first and then to the older ones in the school. The children were so grateful for us being there and so attentive. There were a large amount of parents and school teachers in attendance. We then went to a high school and ministered to them.

After each performance the drama would be explained to the people and then they were given an alter call. Names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses were taken so that they could be followed up by the churches in the area. That day one hundred and seventy-one people gave their lives to the Lord. It is always such an amazing thing to be a part of. All those lives changed.

When we returned it was time for dinner and then we had our evening services. We learned that over a thousand people were saved in that one day. How cool is that! Praise God! We were so thrilled. The teens were so turned on and couldn't wait for the next day. It was not a late night, everyone was more than willing to call it a day. It was so satisfying.

How about you have you eve had the chance to tell someone about Jesus? Would you know what to say or how to lead them in prayer? It is a lot easier when you can pray in English and not have to use a translator.
God bless you all.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Susie Shellenberger

I have been writing for several posts about my awesome mission trip to Panama. It would be unthinkable to write these posts without mentioning Susie. Susie got together with Steve Goley fifteen or sixteen years ago to do a mission trip for Brio Magazine, a branch of Focus on the Family. They started the Brio Mission trips that were later changed to Never the Same. Susie was the editor of Brio Magazine and she had a heart for teenagers and for missions. It was a good combination. Susie now edis and writes for Susie Magazine. This is a magazine for teenage girls. It is very up to date on teen issues and is a great magizine for young women.

Susie is our key speaker when we are on a mission trip. She writes the devotional that everyone uses every day. She tells Bible stories like no one ever has. She makes the stories come alive and touches the audience in ways that are truly awesome. I can still remember the stories that she told last year. If you ever need a speaker for teens call her up, although she has a horrendous schedule.

This year she spoke on the Story of Peter stepping out of the boat. She told us that Jesus asks us to step out of the boat at different times in our lives. She asks us what God is asking you to do to change your life by stepping out of the boat. There were many different answers to the question. We  met as teams and discussed the issues the kids had. They ranged from giving up drinking, to stop having sex outside of marriage, stop cutting, to obeying God. The kids lives were changed as we prayed and ministered to them. These are beauticful kids, brought up mostly in Christian homes, yet the devil had stolen their lives and had convinced them that they were useless and of no worth.

How tragic that he can steal our youth right out from under our noses and we don't even know it. It changes the way you look at youth for ever. We need to stand up and take our children back, they are worth fighting for.

God bless you all.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Never the Same Saga

I want to continue my saga on my mission trip. I shared with you that for several weeks I was not sure if I would be able to go on the trip. I really felt like I had failed God! I felt like if I just had more faith for the money, if I hadn't tried to figure out how to pay for the trip myself,(there was no way I could) or if I had more trust God woul;d have blessed me with the finances but I had failed. I was totally heartbroken. I kept seeing the face of a teenage girl, a girl I was suppose to minister to. I felt if I couldn't go that girl might be lost. There are no words to describe the horror that thought was. I know that some would say that was not from God. I was probably just in pride thinking I could make a difference in someone life I don't even know. This girls face would not leave my mind and as the date drew closer the feelings became worse. Everytime I prayed all I received was "Trust Me".

I told you that God made a way when there seemed to be no way. He opened a door that no man could shut. I went on the mission trip. The day that the kids arrived was on Monday. The leaders were all assigned jobs to make the arrival of three hundred kids go smoothly. Some went to the airport to pick them up. We were in Fort Lauderdale and the kids flew into Miami. All the kids had to have there mission shirts on so we could spot them easily in the airport, then they were brought to the hotel in huge buses. We would get thirty of forty at a time. They would leave their luggage and walk around the tables that were set up in a huge circle. They would give someone their name and passport, they would recieve a pouch with thier name tag,  devotional books that they would need through the trip, one of the tables had a place to sign up for and excursion trip. My table was the last and my job was to give them their room keys. Then they would take their luggage and someone would help them find their rooms. I worked the afternoon shift and I saw that girls face, she was on my team. Praise God I was able to minister into her life. God gave me the words she neede to hear and she was a different girl when she went home. God is so good!  I just praise him for what he did in my life and the life of that girl.

Good bless you all. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Next Miracle

In my post on Monday I told you what a hard month I had before we left for Panama. Richard Hodson was to go with me. Rich had a rough year. He had lost his wife and we are having a serious drought. He farms and I don't know if you are aware but we are in the middle of the worst drought we have had in a long time. Rich wasn't sure if he would go. Steve Goley, the President of Big World called him to encourage him to go. One week before we would leave, he still wasn't sure if he would go. I still wasn't sure if I could go and we didn't have tickets to fly to Florida. Ticket for round trip were over $1,000 and neither one of us could do that. We were to be in Florida Saturday June 30. Tickets were $300 cheaper to fly out Sunday morning. We had both been leaders before so we could miss Saturday nights sessions, but at the last minute we were able to get tickets to fly there on Saturday for a very good price. We still didn't have tickets to come home.

My grandson's took me to Ansley to meet Rich at 4:00 am on Saturday. We had been under so much attack that we were just relieved to finally get on the road. Paul and Lois Smith, a couple from our church met us at Grand Island to see us off. We got there just as they were loading the plane so we really had to rush, It was so awesome to have friends to see us off though. We arrive in Dallas airport with only an hour to get to our next flight. We take the tram to our gate. We get there in time. A friend of ours from other mission trips, Elaine was waiting to catch the same flight so we were able to chat with her.

They announced the flight was over booked, they needed someone to volunteer to take the next flight. Rich and I volunteer. We each received a voucher for $300. Is that cool or what. We talked to the ticket agents and if we flew out of Fort Lauderdale it would be $302 but that would mean a taxi from Miami to Fort Lauderdale. We were to land from our international flight at 1:30, could we make it to catch a 4:30 flight? We didn't buy the tickets until we could check things out. As we waited for our flight to Fort Lauderdale, we met one of the leaders from our team and her daughter Brenda and Ericka. We had a great time waiting for the plane.

We had two days of training and then Monday the kids came. That is always a fun but stressful day. Three hundred kids fly in, some our really excited, some our scared, and some are really home sick. Monday night we see the drama on film and then the kids try out for the drama. They don't try out for a certain part, they all  
are given direction to show emotions, do cartwheels, and to do dance moves. After several hours the leaders of each team select the parts for each child. The next day starts the tedious drama rehearsals. It is amazing how fast the kids can learn the moves. We still didn't have tickets, but Rich was calling the airport several times a day. It would vary several hundred dollars each time he called. Finally he reserved my ticker for $302 by the time he got back in to reserve his it was $50 more but he reserved them anyway because we were to leave the next day. God was so good to us the tickets were almost free. Praise God!! God is in the miracle working business. They still happen every day.