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Issue 8-15

Advent Alert!


Notice: Just to remind you, the cutoff for the price breaks for the 24-Hour Advent Retreat of Silence is Thursday, October 29. We’re extending it ten days from the original cutoff date of Thursday, October 15.

David and I have spent the last three years making special vacation time to take a little bunch of grandkids here and there with us as we travel. Nathanael Mains, aged 12, talked his way into our France pilgrimage, as did Joscelyn Timberlake, aged 10, who persuaded us we needed her to go to Scotland with us. We have eight grandchildren who are fast approaching the time when being with their grandparents won’t be such a big deal.

So we are using this window of grandparental opportunity as much we can—little bunches of kids to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario each summer, another configuration down to Aunt Val and Uncle Steve’s cabin in North Carolina, a trip to Branson, Missouri, etc., etc. David is trying to figure out how to get them all to Africa to go on a family safari! This past June we took two of the oldest children on a cruise up the St. Lawrence Seaway from Montreal, through Quebec City, around and down the Maritimes, finally disembarking in Boston—and then we spent a week with them on Cape Cod.

Various donors have given time-share weeks to the ministry (which we used as thank-you gifts for pastors who have worked with us in the past). David discovered we could apply our time-share points toward a cruise and take guests with us (as long as they didn’t mind bunking in our cabin) for only $99 extra. This is a perfect grandkid opportunity.

One of the greatest memories for me of this sea journey was David gathering Caitlyn, age 16, and Nathanael, now age 13, around him for studies in the Book of Revelation. David has spent the last two years working in the Book of Revelation while putting together a study for a client, and my husband just got hooked!

One of David’s greatest gifts is to take complicated material and reduce it to its most essential meaning. This was evident to me again as I listened to him lead the grandchildren through the book, beginning with chapter 17 (which includes “The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast”), not chapter one. To say the least, they were eager: “Papa, are we going to do Revelation today?” “Papa, we didn’t do our Revelation study this morning. Can we do it tonight?” (Move over all those popular apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic films: The Day After Tomorrow, the to-be-released The Book of Eli, Endgame, The Road, Cyborg and WALL-E; we’re doing Revelation.)

Even I, who feel like I’ve had enough Revelation for one lifetime, was also captured by the study. “David, the kids want to do Revelation today,” I nudged. “Make sure you fit it in.”

For modern teens to be intrigued with a Bible study on this level was amazing! David decided he would begin a book titled Revelation for My Grandchildren. He actually wrote four more chapters during downtime in Africa (I use my down time to collapse; David through the years has been consistently productive with his down time!).

He sent whatever he had completed so far out to the Phoenix grandchildren contingency. I happened to be in the office last week when the phone call from them came through to David’s desk. “Oh, Nathanael,” I heard him say. “So good to hear your voice!”

It seems that their Christian school gives the kids a fall break in the academic calendar. That Monday, when Nathanael called, the cleaning ladies had taken over the house, Carmel herded her kids into Caitlyn’s room to keep them out of the way, and they had taken an hour and a half to read out loud to each other the chapters David had sent. “Was your mom afraid?” I asked over the speakerphone. There had been some comments about the scary portions of Revelation when we were ship-side. “No,” I could hear my daughter-in-law’s voice saying in the background. “We really liked the book. But we want to know what happens!”

With that as encouragement—something every writer needs; a positive review committee in the target market—David ducked his head again, determined to finish up the final chapters and has worked through influenza, and another grandkid-sitting stint, with the Timberlake kids this time. I left him this morning rewriting his work by hand onto clean binder paper.

Why does David feel so impelled to complete this self-assigned task? After three years in Revelation, he is convinced we must prepare ourselves and the generations that follow us for the cataclysms the Bible warns are part of the “end of the age” and before the Second Coming of Christ. It is impossible to read deeply in the Word and not see what all the concerned generations before us have seen, beginning with the New Testament age: Great worldwide suffering is coming for those who follow Christ. Indeed, much of the international church is undergoing intense persecution even in this hour.

The theme of Revelation is: Get ready. Be prepared. Make sure you are aligned with the winning side.

Oh, I know this is a well-worn theme. During periods of instability, whacko self-proclaimed prophetic types have always shouted out doomsday scenarios. That does not mean, however, that the prophetic messages are not true and will not come to pass. It means we have to be astute in our study of Scripture, not fearful ourselves and not manipulative of those inclined to fear. And we have to accept scenarios that are not particularly of our own feel-good designing. John, the Apostle, writes in chapter one: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must take place. … Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:1-3, NKJV)

Could it be that our Heavenly Father, in His great concern for the American church—which often blows hot and cold in its devotion, and which certainly is often indistinguishable in its lifestyle from the general secular culture—gave a warning with the Y2K chimera? I certainly stocked several months of dried food in the basement, bottles of water, extra household supplies, and a 50-gallon drum of water, because when the power goes out at our house, the electric pump to our well goes out. Did I do this because of all the apocalyptic notices about our Internet grid going down as we turned into the 21st century? No, I used that as an opportunity to be wisely ready, to begin collecting what we would need to survive for a few months should any kind of systemic collapse occur.

Wasn’t 9/11 another, more horrific, opportunity a merciful God gave His American children—to look into the possibilities of how the national safety we assumed we enjoyed was really ephemeral in the face of determined national assassins?

Now this economic collapse—more widespread in its impact on more people, stretching across the world, not going away quickly—isn’t this another way God is saying to us, “Get ready. Be prepared. Make sure you are aligned with the winning side”?

Due to globalization, worldwide infrastructures are in place—the World Wide Web, for instance, individual registration unparalleled in previous generations, that were not in place when those voices cried out in the wilderness of their days, “Prepare Ye! Prepare Ye! Get ready! Get ready!”

The 2009 24-Hour Retreat of Silence is themed around the Baptist’s cry, “Prepare Ye!” Natalie Lombard, the fabric artist, is designing an opening session to turn our hearts toward the questions of preparedness for celebrating the first Advent. She will be “painting with brooms” to create the visual focus for the entire 24 hours. We will then go into silence. We will provide prayers for those who need personal bedtime prayers. We will observe daybreak the next morning, light moving into the darkness, in silence. We will eat our meals in quiet. The guided meditations will be formed around ways to get our hearts ready to hold the holy during the Christmas season. There will be time for private prayer appointments. Then David Mains will come and, simply and briefly, as though you were his grandchildren (he is a white-haired elder, after all), turn all our hearts toward those meaningful thoughts of preparing ourselves for the Second Advent.

Because we know that many of you carry stress in your bodies that makes it hard to relax into the silence, Laurie Mains, my daughter-in-law, a licensed clinical massage therapist, will give, for an extra fee, 15-minute massages to those who might need a little healing touch.

Remember, Advent on the church calendar begins the first week of December, and in liturgical churches all over the world, readings will include the cry of John the Baptist, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” This really is an existential cry, one for all days and for all times. The question is this (and you need to think about it right now in order to be ready): “How am I going to prepare myself to celebrate the First Advent in a holy and meaningful way? What is it going to take to get myself and the ones I love ready for the Second Advent?”

Count this Soulish Food as your Advent Alert.

Karen Mains


ANNUAL ADVENT 24-HOUR
RETREAT OF SILENCE

The deadline for price breaks has been moved from Thursday, October 15 to Thursday, October 29. Those who register for either the Wednesday/Thursday (December 2-3) women’s retreat or the Friday/Saturday (December 4-5) men and women and couples’ Retreat of Silence will pay a registration fee of $100. After the October 29 cutoff date, the fee will be $120 for Wednesday/Thursday or $125 for Friday/Saturday. The cutoff date for registration is November 25. Please register with our volunteer registrar, Melodee Cook, at the following e-mail address:

If you are new or bringing a friend who is new, the fee is $90 each for Wednesday/Thursday and $95 each for Friday/Saturday.

Theme: Prepare Ye!
Time: Check-in begins at 4 p.m. on December 2 and December 4. Dinner is at 6 p.m. Silence Begins at 9 p.m. Wednesday/Friday, and ends at 3:00 p.m. Thursday/Saturday.
Ending: We try to end by 4 p.m. on Thursday and Saturday.
Place: The Bishop Lane Retreat Center in Rockford, IL.

The Lord seems to work each year in remarkable and lasting ways in the lives of many. He seems, for reasons beyond our knowing, to enter with us into the silence. Don’t miss this opportunity to become still and to listen in our increasingly busy, noisy world.

Laurie Mains’ fee for short neck massages (15-, 20- and 30-minute sessions) will be posted with the materials you receive upon registering.

The Perfect Eco-Christmas Gift!

kanga-cloth.jpg

Are you interested in focusing more on Christ and less on mass consumerism this Christmas? Proverbs 19:17 reads: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” Try multitasking your gift-giving by Buying a Bag … Feeding a Family … and Preserving the Planet! The Global Bag Project’s reusable kanga-cloth bags:

•  Are made of sturdy, eco-friendly fabric
•  Are sized big enough for grocery shopping (instead of using plastic or paper bags)
•  Include a matching, zippered change-purse with recycled beads rolled from paper
•  Come in gorgeous kanga patterns and colors with Swahili sayings
•  Contain a DVD telling the story of the seamstress who made it (and more)
•  Provide a fair-trade opportunity for needy families to eat and send their children to school!

Note the kanga-cloth sample above with the traditional Swahili proverb. This one reads, “One’s fortunes are planned by God.”

What a great opportunity to honor the person to whom you are giving! “In your name I’ve purchased this Global Bag Project shopping bag, which provides sustenance for families lifting themselves out of poverty while also helping the environment.” Such a simple idea with profound results! Consider purchasing a Global Bag Project shopping bag as a viable option gift-giving option this holiday season.



Reminder!

The Soulish Food e-mails are being posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to www.HungrySouls.org.


Karen Mains

Karen Mains

"The question is this (and you need to think about it right now in order to be ready):
'How am I going to prepare myself to celebrate the First Advent in a holy and meaningful way? What is it going to take to get myself and the ones I love ready for the Second Advent?'"

How to Order Kanga-Cloth Reusable Shopping Bags

kanga-cloth.jpg

To order, call our office at 630-293-4500, or e-mail info@globalbagproject.com. Cost: Large bags (20” x 15” x 9.5”) = $30.

Medium bags (17” x 13” x 6.5”) = $25.

Small bags (12” x 10” x 4.5”, without change purse) = $15.

Add shipping & handling of $4.95 per bag. Currently payable using checks (made out to "Global Bag Project") or money orders only. Mail to Box 30, Wheaton, IL, 60187.

Our Global Bag Project shopping bags are sent via priority mail same day as order received. Immediately available quantities are limited, so order soon!

Our Web site address is www.GlobalBagProject.org and should be ready to take orders online by the beginning of November, but the bags we have in stock right now are selling fast with presentations, store demonstrations, home parties, and people stopping by the office to see them. We strongly recommend you order ASAP. There are another 150 ready to be shipped from Africa, and an order for 300 is in the pipeline, but we are still learning about supply and demand! If you want to stop by the Mainstay Ministries offices in West Chicago to choose fabrics, colors and designs, contact us at info@hungrysouls.org.


Copyright 2006-2009 Mainstay Ministries. All rights reserved.

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