A Clear Reminder

This morning when I was getting dressed to go into the office, I grabbed an older sports coat as I had just taken my regular Sports coat to the cleaners after my lengthy trip.  So I put it on and reached into the pocket to find $50!  Two crisp 20’s and a 10.

Nice find in my jacket!

Nice find in my jacket!

Hmmm  I have no idea how they got there, but I was pretty happy and put the money into my wallet and headed out for the day.  Then is struck me…  In light of all that I’d seen and done over the past several weeks, while $50 was nice for me, it was life for so many others.  The Syrian refugees don’t make that much in a month!  For Christians in Iraq, Kenya, China and Jordan, finding $50 would be a miracle… and yet, I smile pleasantly and put it in my wallet.  It’s convicting and it reminds me that our work is never done.  Until all have heard and until we reach out in Christ’s love to help even the least of these, we have work to do.  Yes, I’m going back to work today, but it’s His work.  I have to find better ways to care for the poor, the widowed and the orphaned.  As my old buddy Glen Campbell used to sing,  “…to think a little more of others, and a little less of me!”

Let me encourage you as you go about your day, to think of those who are in need and look for a way, a real practical way, that you can help them even as you pray for them.  And as you thank God for his love and provision for you, thank him that he has also chosen to use you and me to love and provide for many in this world in His name.  We are his hands and feet.  Yes, I know that He could do it without us, but I’m thankful that he chooses to use us, even as broken vessels, to pour His love out to a thirsty world so that we might see the blessing of giving and loving.  Press on!  rm

A Night in England!

On the way home, I had the pleasure of spending a day in London, England.  Great adventures!  Piccadilly Square, Trafalgar Sq., Leicester and then I visited the National Art Gallery and saw some great paintings. Later in the day I went to the Anglican Church (“St. Martin in the Fields”) across the street to hear a piano recital.  I’m such a sophisticate!

Double Decker in London

Double Decker in London

National Gallery in London

National Gallery in London

Piccadilly Square

Piccadilly Square

When I returned to my hotel early that evening, I ran into one Colin Farrell (yes, that Colin Farrell) and Nicole Kidman filming a scene from their upcoming movie, “Before I Go to Sleep.”  I watched them film one short scene for about 2 hours.  Kinda fun.  The movie is based on the book of the same name and will be out in 2014.

Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell

BEDTIME WITH THE BEDOUINS! – JORDAN

          SLEEPING IN THE DESERT!  Bedtime with the Bedouins in Jordan

I am currently in Jordan and enjoying this beautiful county.  We have met with a group of around 75 business people, mostly Christians, that is held in a wealthy Christian businessman.  I shared in word and song and one of the businessmen gave a message from Genesis on Abraham.  A great time of weekly fellowship for these believers and their friends.

Bible Study in Amman

Bible Study in Amman

We spent a day in Jerash, Jordan, a wonderfully intact Roman town.  I sang in the ancient theater for a group of friendly elementary kids.  That evening, we visited with some more “friends.”

Randy and friends in Jerash, Jordan

Randy and friends in Jerash, Jordan

Last night we slept in a “Million Star” hotel… in the desert  of Wadi Rum with a Bedouin family.  Ahmed and his son, Muhammed, cooked us a great meal in a barrel buried in the sand.  They built a great fire, lowered shelves filled with vegetables and chicken and then covered the barrel with a lid and then sand and let it cook for more than two hours.  Great experience.  Then we slept under the stars and Jamal had a chance to share about Christ with the family.

The rock formations at Wadi Rum.  All of this was under water years ago.

The rock formations at Wadi Rum. All of this was under water years ago.

Preparing the fire pit for dinner.

Preparing the fire pit for dinner.

J. shares his hope with Ahmed

J. shares his hope with Ahmed

Randy and Muhammed in the desert at Wadi Rum

Randy and Muhammed in the desert at Wadi Rum

Ahmed and Sadaam prepare our meal.

Muhammed and Sadaam prepare our meal.

Visited Petra yesterday morning and afternoon.  Beautiful place with so much history.  They say that both Moses and Paul may have visited this city.  On the way out, we saw President Obama’s choppers take off in a trial run before the POTUS visits here tomorrow.  He’s in Israel today.

The Petra valley

The Petra valley

Randy in Petra, Jordan

Randy in Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

The POTUS gets ready to see Jordan and the Petra Valley in the background.

The POTUS gets ready to see Jordan and the Petra Valley in the background.

Today is our final day here in Jordan, we head back to England in the morning.  Tonight we will meet with several more MBB’s  (Believers)  We hope to encourage them as we pray and open the Word together.  Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers.  It’s been a busy but fruitful two weeks.

WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH…                                                                                                      I’ve just come back from three hours of meetings with ten MBB’s and hearing their stories of faith.  All have been harshly persecuted for their faith including beatings, being disowned by family and even threatened with death.  One 16 year old MBB girl was recently orphaned when her father died five months ago and her extended family was going to break her and her two younger brothers up and send them into Muslim family homes. They would have to recant their Christian beliefs.  She was threatened and her younger brother was beaten until they finally escaped and they are now hiding in a friends home for the past several months. She shared, that even at her young age, she would stand for Christ as her parents had taught her.

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Two other men shared of having to leave their wives and children and one fleeing his home country for the sake of the Gospel. One man remembered the scripture that said that we may have to leave family to follow Christ.  They know what this means in reality. Most of us can’t even imagine such persecution.  As I listened with tears in my eyes, the stories continued.

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One couple are separated from their families with a young son and working in outreach to the Syrian refugees (more than 500,000 in Jordan alone!) and he said that all of the persecution is worth it for the sake of the “Call.”

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They meet weekly to encourage one another, fellowship, break bread and read the word and pray.  Sounds like the early church in the book of Acts!  They are not accepted by the Christian background church or believers as they are fearful of repercussions if MBB’s are found to be in their churches, so they stick with one another for support and encouragement.  It was a pleasure to pray with them, cry with them and even laugh with them at times.

At the end of the evening, after hearing all of their stories and hardships, they asked to pray for ME!  Wow, what faith and humility.  The church in America does need prayer.  We don’t know persecution as they do and we are weak because of it.  May God do what He needs to do to bring us back to Him!

*(Photos are not of our MBB group due to security issues.)

ANOTHER CRAZY DAY IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

Heading to Jordan                                                                                                                               After 6 check-points and security taking my deadly soap and shaving cream (along with several other legal to travel with items)  I’m heading to Jordan.  I think you can take a ground to air missile launcher, but shaving cream could bring down a government!  Oh well, that’s life in Iraq.

Had some nice visits this morning with a group of ladies graduating from beauty school sponsored by the “Voice of Ishmael” ministries.  They learn skills for self improvement but also to help others and maybe make a living.

Randy working on a new do for a young lady.

Randy working on a new do for a young lady.

Make-up class

Make-up class

Randy & J. with the ladies in the Beauty Salon class.

Randy & J. with the ladies in the Beauty Salon class.

We also visited another group of ladies who took the sewing course.  Again, they meant well, but the pants they made for me were a bit tight!

Randy with the sewing class ladies.  Snappy trousers!

Randy with the sewing class ladies. Snappy trousers! I love their faces in this photo!

Finally, we met again with the Director of the Ministry of Religion, Kahlid.  I have gotten to know him better each year and he hopes to visit the U. S. soon.  I left him some money to buy milk and diapers for the families in the Syrian refugee camp.  It wasn’t much, but hopefully it will help a few.  (By the way, if you would like to help by sending aid to the refugees, contact me at rbmayf@aol.com and I will tell you how you can give tax-deductibly to help.  100% will go to the refugees, no admin. Fees.)

Randy with Dir. of Ministry of Religion in Kurdistan

Randy with Dir. of Ministry of Religion in Kurdistan

I believe that when we arrive in Jordan, our evening meeting has been canceled, so by God’s grace, we will have some down time to catch our breath before a full day on Monday.  Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers.  Shokran!

* Here’s a bonus shot of what used to be a library.  I guess they’re just wanting to be fully prepared for any upcoming problems!

The "Gun" library.

The “Gun” library.

P.S.  OMG!  We just boarded our flight for Amman, Jordan.  Around 100 people heading to Mecca who have never flown before.  It was crazy.  They didn’t know that the number on their boarding pass was associated with any particular seat, so it was like boarding a Greyhound bus, people just sat wherever they wanted…until someone wanted their seat.  The flight attendants were working like dogs to clear everything up.  We departed more than 30 minutes late!  You could get really frustrated and upset or just laugh.  I chose to laugh!

IRAQ: IT’S BEEN A WILD RIDE…LITERALLY!!

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, or maybe it’s really right.  I’m still trying to figure it out.  I keep telling my wife, Sharon, that after some of these wild trips, “never again…” and then, the next opportunity comes up and I go again.  I think that like Paul, I’m compelled to go by God’s love.  I’m not trying to sound like a martyr here, my friend J. will tell you that I whine with the best of them.  Bad roads, terrible air, questionable food and the bathrooms…we won’t even go there!  But at the end of every three to four hour hot, non-air conditioned journeys , I find my reason for continuing to “go.”   Meeting with loving people with hearts of gold who risk personal safety, finances, divided families and many other hardships in order to follow God.  It’s impressive and very humbling.

Just make sure you make the right turn! (Though none of the choices are that good!)

Just make sure you make the right turn! (Though none of the choices are that good!)

We just got back from a town on the border of Iran.  I’d love to show you some of the photos of smiling, worshipping faces but for safety reasons, I can’t.  I will include a few photo highlights of our journey however.

We also handed out quite a few wheelchairs to disabled people in the area.  They were very appreciative as we prayed for them and shared about what the Lord could do for them.

Loading up a wheelchair for some disabled people.

Loading up a wheelchair for some disabled people.

A young boy is prayed over after receiving his new wheelchair.

A young boy is prayed over after receiving his new wheelchair.

Yesterday, we also had quite an adventure visiting the border of Iraq and Syria and a Syrian refugee camp in Duhok.  More than 82,000 refugees are there now and more than 1000 new refugees join them each day.  It’s incredible how they live in this huge tent city with limited resources, sewage running down the dirt streets, lines for diapers, mattresses, water, food, you name it.

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We met a father and his two kids (see below) and they had been living on the streets for 10 days as there were no tents for them yet.  I also met one little girl and asked her how she and her family were doing.  She smiled and said; “At least we’re alive and not being bombed every day!”

Syrian girl just happy to be alive!

Syrian girl just happy to be alive!

A Syrian father and his kids living on the streets of the refugee camp.

A Syrian father and his kids living on the streets of the refugee camp.

We saw little boys lining the streets selling cigarettes trying to make a little money.   Interestingly enough, as J. and I wondered through the camp unaccompanied, (I think we were supposed to stay near the director’s office) we saw no police and no violence.  It was a pretty nice day, around 75 degrees, but the camp director told us that when the summer months come, it will be very difficult with no air conditioning or fans and living in 100+ degree temperatures!  (Remember my whining about driving in a car with no AC for three hours?  Seems a bit trivial now, doesn’t it?!)

Selling Cigs on the street.

Selling Cigs on the street.

Tomorrow we meet with some church leaders.  The church here in Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) is facing some very difficult leadership issues, not unlike those that we face in the west with struggles over “power,”  finances, issues of morality, etc.  They really need our prayers!

We head to Jordon tomorrow afternoon to meet with some more great folks and to help in some small ways and to encourage the saints that are there.  Thanks for your continued prayers.    RM

 Here’s a few bonus shots!

Randy and a Kurdish Army General who has been helping us with humanitarian aid efforts.

Randy and a Kurdish Army General who has been helping us with humanitarian aid efforts.

Randy and a new friend!

Randy and a new friend!

Yes, it's everywhere!

Yes, it’s everywhere!

Randy & J. on their "wild" journey through Iraq!

Randy & J. on their “wild” journey through Iraq!

 

Would you trust your money in this bank??

Would you trust your money in this bank??

With ladies sewing class.  It's my color but maybe a tad small!

With ladies sewing class. It’s my color but maybe a tad small!

 

California Dreamin’

I spent a few days between China and England with my lovely bride in California.  We went out whale watching and boy was it great.  We saw more than 20 whales and hundreds of dolphins.  Below are a few photos.  I posted some videos on FB also, but this site would not let me upload them.  Sorry.  Hope that you enjoy!

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A Whale in the Distance.

Seals on the rocks!

Seals on the rocks!

"Thar she blows!"

“Thar she blows!”

Whale tails.

Whale tails.

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Beautiful Sharon at Carmel, California

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Beautiful Carmel, California

JUST HOME FROM CHINA!

I’ve just returned from a great trip to China.  I’m currently in England on my way to Iraq and Jordan.  I’ll have a report soon.  In the meantime, enjoy a few photos from China. Some faces are blocked out to protect identities.    We met with several wonderful “disciples” who are sharing their faith and leading many to the Lord.  They have sacrificed and given up much personally to do what they do, many full-time.  Please pray for them and those with whom they are meeting with regularly.

At the Wall!

At the Wall!

The gang in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China.  The Forbidden City is in the background.

The gang in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China. The Forbidden City is in the background.

Randy with some new friends.

Randy with some new friends.

Soldiers in Tiananmen Square.

Soldiers in Tiananmen Square.

The Great Wall of China,  near Bejing

The Great Wall of China, near Bejing

The boys hanging out in the village waiting for the festivities to begin.

The boys hanging out in the village waiting for the festivities to begin.

Makin' some Bok Choi!

Makin’ some Bok Choi!

The gang at the New Year's Festival.  That's me in the middle.  Really!

The gang at the New Year’s Festival. That’s me in the middle. Really!

See, I told you!

See, I told you!

Friends in the Village entertain us during dinner.

Friends in the Village entertain us during dinner.

A shrine in one of the village homes.

A shrine in one of the village homes.

Friends share in a dinner in the village.

Friends share in a dinner in the village.

Pretty new friends!

Pretty new friends!

The big and the small of it all!

The big and the small of it all!

Working those chopsticks!

Working those chopsticks!