New Vision News
December 24, 2018
Hello, and welcome to the newsletter of New Vision Ministries for the Blind and Challenged! My husband Timothy and I believe that even though we are all disabled by sin, Jesus Christ enables us to do anything according to His will. Thank you for reading our quarterly letter, and thank you so much for supporting us as we continue to reach out to others.
Of course, we want to thank all our new subscribers to this letter as well! We hope you'll enjoy reading it, and that you'll be inspired by the articles we're sharing with you.
First of all, please forgive the lateness of this final newsletter of 2018. November and December have been very busy months for us. We have played at more nursing homes than usual because of the holidays, but we both love ministering to others and sharing good old-fashioned Christmas music with them, so we aren't complaining at all! Both of us had sore throats and scratchy voices for a few days as well, but thanks to God we're both feeling much better now. We hope that even though it's late in the month, you'll still be informed and entertained by all 3 articles in this letter.
Timothy's Christian novel, "Captivated", is almost finished at long last! The final chapter will be posted in the Blog section of www.mynvm.com next week, and we hope you'll check it out! Tim has put countless hours into this project, so we really hope it will inspire and entertain you.
We met with the area directors of the Phoenix chapter of Joni and Friends last week. Their affiliate program is being phased out, so instead Timothy will be taking an online certification course regarding a deaf ministry called Silent Hope. We will still be working for and possibly teaching with Joni and Friends, even though we won't be affiliating with them directly. Please keep our relationship with this wonderful organization in your prayers. We hope to minister to the deaf and wheelchair-bound very soon.
Our nursing-home and care-center business, New Vision Entertainment, continues to go well. On several days each month, Timothy and I visit nursing homes in the Maricopa County, AZ area. I play piano, while Tim serves as my emcee. Tim will occasionally deliver a short Bible message, so that we can minister to the residents. Based on the reactions of residents and staff alike, we're doing a pretty good job! This Halloween we'll be holding a party and dressing up like Fred and Wilma Flintstone. We can't wait!
If you know about any nursing homes in Maricopa County which could use some great musical entertainment, please let us know about them. If not, we'd really appreciate your prayers for the continued success of New Vision Entertainment. Thank you!
Would you like to join one of our Bible studies? Each weekly study is conducted by telephone on a conference line. A new study takes place on Mondays at 5:30 PM Arizona Time. Our audience currently contains a few people from New York, and we go over what the Bible has to teach us about living the Christian life. Each study session lasts about 1 hour. We'll be taking Labor Day off, but on September 10 we're starting 1 John, Chapter 1.
Instead of a Bible study, would you rather participate in a prayer meeting? A couple months ago, Tim and I started just such a meeting, which is conducted on Tuesdays at the same time (5:30 Arizona time), using the same conference line. Tim will start off each meeting with a short scripture, and then we'll tell God what we're thankful for and bring our needs to Him in prayer. We hope you'll join us and add your own contributions to these meetings.
If you'd like to join either the Bible study or prayer meeting, please call our conference line number (712-432-6499). After the intro message plays, press 1 for live chat rooms and then press 31 to enter our room. We hope to see you there!
Would you like to become a prayer partner with us? If you'd like to help us pray for others, or you would like to involve your church or another Christian organization in New Vision Ministries, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Call to Prayer
Each quarter, we'll be featuring different people or things in this section, and we encourage you to pray for them.
First, please pray for the growth of our ministry. Pray that God will guide us as we perform at nursing homes and share God's Word with others.
Second, we'd like you to pray for our good friends, Michael and Annie. They are a married couple who usually live in the assisted-living facility where we put on church services. Unfortunately, both of them are in poor health. Annie is living in a rehab center for dialysis, and Michael is feeling rather lonely without her. Fortunately, we'll be visiting with both of them on Christmas Eve, and we hope to bring some comfort and joy to their lives on that special day. Please pray that God will heal both of them soon.
Finally, please pray that our website will keep growing, and that people will keep coming back to read more devotions.
The Online Chaplain
Along with our assisted-living and hospital outreaches, we started something new last quarter that I would like to ask you to pray about. It is called the Online Chaplain, and it is designed to reach out to those who might never darken the door of a church. People who have spiritual questions and those who are involved in crisis situations may benefit as well. The Online Chaplain is also meant to support the body of Christ in general.
If you have recently gone through the pain of a great loss, or you just need to talk with someone, I hope that you will feel free to let me know. People who contact me can give as much or as little information as they like. Everything that we discuss will remain confidential.
You can contact me by calling 507.369.6861, or by sending an email to email@example.com. Thank you!
"Hope for the Holidays," by Stephanie Burdick
This December 1, Tim and I were invited to attend a seminar hosted by Broadway Christian Church's grief share ministry. Several panelists told powerful stories about how God and their friends helped them endure their grief upon losing one or more loved ones.
The final speaker, Deema Lois, shared a story about grieving during the holiday season. Her husband died in December of 1999, and her brother passed away near the end of 2017. A hospice worker encouraged Deema to join Grief Share, but she figured she was very tough and she could handle everything on her own.
When Deema's husband died, all her children and grandchildren insisted that she come and visit them for Christmas. Instead, she ran away to see her daughter in Japan, where they don't celebrate the Christmas holiday. She managed to hide her feelings and withdraw from the world for a while, but eventually she had to return to her empty house and lose herself in books. "It was pretty miserable," she admitted, "because I'm kind of a social person."
One day she was reading her Bible, and she came to Psalm 68:5, which states that God is the protector of widows and the fatherless. While reflecting on that verse, she realized that another word for "protector" is "husband".
"I thought about it the whole day," she said, "and I thought, 'I'm really not alone. Jesus is my husband, and I don't have to make all these decisions by myself.'"
The next morning, instead of following her usual post-husband habit of sleeping till noon, she went out on the patio at 5:30 AM and started "having coffee with Jesus". Talking with Him each morning helped her begin to heal and face her grief, instead of hiding from it.
Deema's brother died last year, but luckily Grief Share began around the same time. She offered to take a neighbor who had lost her husband to the grief group. Her neighbor ended up dropping out, but Deema soon realized that God brought her to Grief Share not for her friend, but for herself.
As far as enduring the holidays is concerned, Deema said her family helped her to get through Christmas without her husband. They all got together, played games and told stories. Deema stated that some time with family can really be helpful at holiday time.
She also said that if you're grieving at this time of year, "be prepared for the ambush of emotions. (They) will catch you for no reason." She still gets choked up about her beloved husband sometimes, 19 years after his death.
Instead of condemning these nostalgic or sad moments, Deema said they aren't necessarily bad. They are a part of life, and a part of love.
Instead of hiding your feelings for years as she did, Deema suggests learning to share them with others. Receiving help from others instead of rejecting it will be difficult at first, but you will learn to accept love and help from family and friends in good time.
Deema's advice to women at the grief-share meeting was, "Don't forget, ladies--you have a husband. Jesus is your husband. Talk to him a lot." Men also have a great protector and comforter in Jesus Christ, so this advice applies to them as well.
Deema ended her presentation by encouraging everyone to hold on during the holidays. "Remember: most people eventually enjoy the holidays again," she said. "Even if you're having a tough time this year, hang onto that hope. You will get there."
Broadway Christian Church's grief-share ministry starts meeting again next January. If you don't live in Arizona or you can't attend their meetings, you can subscribe to their daily devotional emails on their webpage at bccmesa.com. I encourage you to join this group or read their devotions if you or a friend are grieving the loss of a loved one.
From Our Readers
In this new section of the newsletter, we'll be publishing stories and testimonies submitted by the wonderful readers of the New Vision News. Do you have a submission idea? If so, please send your document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our second testimony was written by our good friend, Rev. Dr. Kaye E. Skinner. She has sent us a lovely story about spreading God's love and comfort while visiting children's hospitals.
I have had the wonderful privilege of being a children’s hospital chaplain for over 17 years. When I started working in the hospital, I was not sure I would be able to rise to the occasion, but when you rely on your heavenly Father, you can rise to anything.
I always pray to God as I am starting my day full of visits. I ask Him to show me where to go, whom to see, what to say and what to do. With that prayer under my belt, I am never surprised by anything that comes my way during the day.
The job of a chaplain is more than just comforting and loving the children in the room. It also involves caring for the broken-hearted families who have to leave their children in the hospital, wishing they could bring their kids home and asking God to cure them.
Then there are all of the hospital staff members who are going through difficulties with their own families, or their health, or a multitude of other things that we all endure throughout our lives. We as ministers are there to help them as well. We pray, comfort, support, encourage, and love everyone within the hospital's walls.
When children are in a hospital they feel afraid, but when we let them know that there is a God that is always with them, giving them love and taking care of them, it helps them to know that they will be okay very soon. I teach the kids how to pray and talk to God, and how to know that He is always there for them.
I once taught a 5-year-old girl how to speak with God. When I walked into her hospital room she was sitting on the bed, and her mother was sitting in a chair next to her.
I asked her how she was feeling. She replied, “Not very good. I'm hurting in my tummy.”
I told her that I was a chaplain, and I explained what that was. I asked if I could pray to God about her pain, and see if He could help her to feel better. She said she would like that. We prayed about her stomach pain, among other things, and she thanked me for that.
She then said, “Can you come whenever I hurt?”
I told her that I wished I could, but I had an even better idea.
“God is always around,” I said, “and He loves you very much.”
I then explained that she could always pray and ask Him to help her anytime she needed Him. She said she did not know how to pray. I told her that all she needed to do was talk to Him, just as she was talking to me at that moment, and He would listen to her. I told her to say something to God right then.
“God, I love you, and I hurt. Please help me,” she prayed.
I said her simple prayer was just perfect. I then told her that anytime she was hurting or scared, she just needed to talk to Him, and He would listen and help her. She thanked me, and I gave her a hug before I left her room.
I really love working with children, and helping that little girl and others learn how to pray. It truly helps children and their families to learn all about God, and I am honored to show them every day that God is all we need.
A Note from Tim: I'd like to say thank you to Kaye for sharing this story, for I believe that Jesus challenges all of us to call on Him through the example of the child in this story.
Prayer is often an overlooked mystery in the body of Christ. Often, when pain and sorrow come to us, we tend to focus only on the problem, instead of the One who holds the solution.
No matter what pain you might be experiencing today, allow Jesus to be your best friend. While it is true that He doesn’t always take the grief and sorrow away, He longs to walk through it with you. So set the tone for the new year by calling out to Him today.
Finally, here's our feature article by Timothy Burdick!
Have a Thankful Christmas
My wife and I like to go to Goodwill’s Super Sale Saturday, looking for marked-down treasures that others have discarded. But while this is fun, it is also a perfect example of items that people thought they couldn’t live without--that is, until they become old hat and their owners decide to give them away.
Often, all of us are guilty of looking at Thanksgiving and Christmas in a similar way, and I want to address that issue. If you ever feel like you are traveling a circular path when it comes to the holiday season, you are not alone. In other words, our observation of Thanksgiving and Christmas can become mechanical, and we are guilty of replaying what we did last year. While I don’t mean to imply that these two holidays have become meaningless to us in any way, I do think there is a freshness and vitality that we can recapture. Let’s look at some ways we might do this.
The first word that comes to my mind is Captivation. Allow me to explain why.
Remember when you met that special someone for the first time? You were spellbound, and all you wanted to have them near you. But really getting to know what made them tick took some time. That's how it works when it comes to our relationship with God. But our world is increasingly busy, and while we all know this, we tend to forget it.
Therefore, I want to challenge all of you to spend time in reflection before the Christmas holidays arrive. Ask yourself what they mean to you, and how each celebration can provide opportunities to draw closer to God.
The fruit of this exercise will be prioritization. Let’s look at our would-be significant other again. Remember how there was nothing better than spending time with them? But in order to make that happen, you had to establish priorities. Maybe you cut back on one activity or went without something because of your special friend's importance to you.
In the same way, keeping Jesus number one in life is a chalenge for all of us, but it is definitely crucial, and that leads us to our final step--revitalization. This third step defines the dynamic kind of life that Christ would have us live. Please don’t misunderstand me when I use the word "dynamic", for I am not trying to paint an existence defined by peaches and cream. Life can indeed be filled with storms, but we know the One who controls them.
Like I tell my patients in the hospital, quoting scriptures when you experience hard times will help you focus on this truth. Two of my favorite example verses are, "I can do all things through Christ," and "With God all things are possible."
When you live in this way, your attitude will be transformed, and the reality of God’s peace will overflow from you.
So instead of merely filling your shopping cart this season, why not let God fill your heart with a spirit of thankfulness that will carry over to the rest of the year"
And on that note, our latest newsletter comes to a close. Once again, don't forget to check out our devotions at www.mynvm.com whenever you need some spiritual encouragement.
We would love to hear from you. This is your ministry, and we want you to share with us how we can improve. If you have any questions, please call 507-369-6861, or write to us at email@example.com (my email) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Timothy's email).
We pray that you will have a verry merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year! Thank you for reading this!
Stephanie and Timothy Burdick