Step into the Future

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB

David was on the run. Saul was bent on taking his life, feeling David to be a threat to his throne. Weary from the tense pursuit, David cried out to God. “Keep me as the apple of the eye,” he wrote, “Hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8 NIV).

The phrase “apple of the eye” is an idiom. At the time of David, people thought the pupil of the eye was actually a solid object (much like an apple). The pupil is at the center of the eye. It is a part of us that we instinctively protect. Asking to be the “apple of [God’s] eye” was to request that God guard him as a cherished child. He wanted the kind of protection that was akin to a chick hiding under the wings of its mother.

God is “keeping” us in the same way right now. I’m the apple of His eye, and so are you, child of God. I slip into bed every night knowing, when I wake up (Lord willing), I will step into the next day and all it will bring. None of us knows what tomorrow will entail, but we do know whatever it is, God will be with us and keep us close.

Recently, I experienced that presence and protection in an instant. It’s a known fact that seniors fear a fall because we know what the results could be—broken hips, broken shoulders, and sometimes even a fatal fall. So I am usually pretty cautious as I move.

But that particular day, I was anything but careful. Feeling all joyful with our new puppy in my arms, I carelessly traipsed down the stairs. Our puppy got the shock of his life when my ankle turned about half-way down the steps. I stumbled, lost my balance, and squeezed the poor dog so hard, he squealed.

A vision of an almost certain trip to the hospital danced in my head as I went down. I cried out to God to rescue me. I instinctively grabbed for the railing with my left hand, and all my weight landed on my left foot. While I sustained a serious sprain, the Lord kept me from broken bones or an even more tragic ending. There’s no question in my mind that God, in that moment, kept me as the “apple of His eye.”

Traveling this journey of life with God, we’re never alone. We’re cherished, favored, and loved beyond measure. Protected. It’s a trip of a lifetime. No pun intended––okay a little intended. It’s better than a vacation, because it never ends. Never. And, when our life on earth does end, guess what? It was only the beginning of being with Jesus forever.

We may wonder what the new year will bring, but we don’t need to doubt Who will be with us. Let’s step into the future, the new year, with confidence that we are the apple of His eye, and rejoice because God is with us always.

TWEETABLE
Step into the Future – insight from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. All her books are available on Amazon.com.

Join the conversation: When have you experienced God’s care and protection?

 

Biking or Bumbling

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.  Proverbs 3:6 MSG

Learning to ride a bike sometimes results in scratches, sore muscles, and maybe even broken bones. At least that was my experience. It was on my son’s seventh birthday. He got a bike and so did I. Warning: Don’t learn to ride a bike at the same time your kids are learning.

Seriously, I was still young! How hard could it be to sit on two wheels and stay upright? Pretty hard, I was soon to discover.

The July sun beamed down on the shiny new bikes. My son and I walked our bikes down the steep driveway and across the buzzing highway onto a less-traveled mountain road. Earlier that day, my husband pleaded for me to wait until he came home so we could all be together for this memory-making venture. He knew our son couldn’t wait to get on that new bike, so he finally conceded and agreed to join us when he arrived home.

I helped my son up onto the seat. He got the hang of it quickly while I played the role of traffic police. Then it was my turn. I sat with the posture of a natural cyclist even though I had no idea about brakes or speeds or balance. Determined to do this thing, I pushed the peddles while my son took his turn as traffic police.

With one push of the peddles, I sped into the wind. Whoa, what fun! Fun, yes…until I realized I had no idea how to brake. Panic set in as the wheels seemed to lift from the pavement. How to stop? What if a car came over the little knoll? Think, I told myself! The only place to go and the only way to stop was to steer straight into a fence. Crash! Fortunately, a big bush kept me from a fall.

Tears fell over my son’s sweet face. I assured him I’d be okay. We walked those bikes home as I tried not to limp. The experience never deterred that seven-year-old from learning to ride––but I put my bike up for sale that very night.

Sometimes the Spirit nudges us to avoid a bumbling outcome. And, sometimes he pushes us into a fence to avoid a dangerous fall on the pavement while He gently teaches us that while we don’t know it all, He does.

I’m sure God’s hand held me up that day and kept me from falling. I learned this, “…don’t try to figure everything out on your own” (Proverbs 3:6 MSG). Sometimes we go ahead of Him as I did that day by not waiting for my husband who knew how to ride. When we are out of step with God, we may end on a pavement with bruises or even worse. Even so, He promises He will direct us in the way we should go––even into the bushes to lessen our injures from going our own way and not waiting on Him.

Have you gone off track and crashed into the bushes thinking you know it all? Me too. So, how do we avoid the proverbial crashes and bushes? Listen for God’s voice. He’ll keep you on track. The key is…drum roll please: Listen to His voice by reading His word, praying, obeying, and also learning from our circumstances.

I finally learned to ride a bike while passing through my mid-life zone. But still, I strive to trust God for less bumbling and more proverbial biking without crashes because He does know it all. I’m still learning to ride my proverbial bike. How about you?

TWEETABLE
Biking or Bumbling – insight on #FollowingGod from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. All her books are available on Amazon.com.

Join the conversation: Have you ever crashed and burned? Please share your experience and what God did in you as a result.

 

Night of the Frogs

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; for he acknowledges my name.”                                                                                                                                   Psalm 91:14 NIV

As I sipped tea, the frog perched on top of my lamp caught my eye. I had to laugh as I instantly thought of the Night of the Frogs. It happened years ago in the little mud house we called home for a time. But unlike my ceramic frog, the frogs that night were real.

We’d arrived at the mission school to join the staff after less than a month in Bolivia and moved into the “farmhouse.” The school rested on a flat valley plain. A short walk from there was a breath-taking panorama of acres of fields. At the bottom of the hill sat the “farmhouse,” a little mud home in the middle of nowhere.

After settling in, my husband left for the city eight hours away to buy a refrigerator, leaving our five-year-old daughter and me alone. There were no neighbors, no lights outside, and no way to communicate with anyone at the school. I dreaded the moment when the generator turned off at night to leave me with only candlelight.

On the second night alone, I heard a strange noise. I nervously peered out the kitchen window to where the sound was loudest. Pitch. Black. It sounded like a motorcycle trying to start.

After it continued for what seemed like hours, my imagination was going wild. Hell’s Angels came to mind. Could there be similar gangs in this remote area? Were they waiting for the generator to shut down to make their move? Who could come to our rescue?

More scared for my daughter than myself, I knew I had to get a grip. I began to think about Paul’s letter to Timothy. Like Timothy, we were in the youth of our ministry. Fear was something we had in common. I thought about Paul’s encouragement to him.

“I call to remembrance the faith that is in you…” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV). Paul first reminded him of the faith he’d seen in him. Maybe that if that statement were given today, it would sound like, Hey, Tim, you can do this! Then came Paul’s powerful reminder: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

Fear is not from God and paralyzes a ministry. Faith in God powers our ministry. Believe. Pray. A calm settled over me as I chose to trust God to take care of us.

Then, a knock at the door. I inched forward to see a familiar face looking back at me through the window. It was our son’s dorm parent, Mike. Telling him my concerns, he took a quick look outside. Nothing. But then the noise started again. I whispered, “There, do you hear it?”

Mike burst into laughter. “It is frogs making that sound.”

No way! Chagrined, I asked, “Do they have little motorcycles?” We laughed until we wept.

That eerie night I learned to trust that God would always be with me. There would always be fears to face, but I did not face them alone. When we choose to trust God, He moves us from fear to faith.

TWEETABLE
Night of the Frogs – insight from Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry.Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]

Peggy is also a published author of several children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women, available on Amazon.

Join the conversation: What do you fear?

Dumbbells and Smart Belles

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.                                                             Acts 20:24 NIV

I’m not an exercise guru. Not even close. But I strive to keep going physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yes, there are days I want to give it all up––the writing, the classes, even the ministry. Did I just admit that?

Honestly, haven’t you been there a time or two? I’m guessing yes. When it happens, what can we do?

Admitting it is the first step. It makes us face the reality that things change, and sometimes God does want to move us into a new task. Or maybe He wants to renew us for the task at hand. Perhaps, we are burned out or just weary. Either way, He doesn’t want us to give up, but to move forward.

You don’t have to be in your senior years to feel like putting yourself on the beach. Some seasons in our lives can be discouraging and make us lose our drive, sense of purpose, and our way. We are tempted to give up on our dreams and our divine tasks. 

I think it is because we have lost sight of why we are in the race. The finish line vanishes from our view.

When I reach that point, I frankly ask myself: is it time to give up, or do I want to do more? It’s a reality check that shakes my soul and causes me to evaluate my emotions. No, of course I don’t want to give up. I want to finish the race well––on the path I walk or another path waiting for me.

In my book, Shape Your Soul, I write about resistance training.  Resistance training increases stamina. As you grow stronger, you don’t tire as quickly. Likewise, the more we resist the devil, the more our faith muscles strengthen and our faith increases. Each victory over sin builds our faith. We resist the temptation to give up, and we don’t give in to his schemes. “Therefore, submit to God. But, resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 HCSB).

Physically, I push myself. I love to scrub floors (go figure). I look for ways to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. I put things away where I’ll have to bend—yup, bending exercises. I keep moving, physically, mentally, and spiritually. If not, the body withers, the mind gets lazy, and the soul dies. Equally, I push myself spiritually—studying my Bible, reading daily devotions, and applying what I learn. Soon the hardest part of pushing ceases and strength is gained.

A few years ago, I developed carpal tunnel because of excess computer work. Then last year, my right arm developed golf elbow and tennis elbow from completing five book contracts. Both times, I had physical therapy for many months. The therapist advised dumbbell lifting to straighten my wrists and arm. Grueling can’t adequately describe the pain of the therapy. But, without pushing myself, my shoulder risked being frozen, I faced possible surgery for my wrists, and my dream (writing more) would come to an end.

In order to persevere, I continually envisioned the result of all the therapy––and worked toward the healing of my injured tendons without hesitation. I set my sights on the final therapy session and the possibility of enjoying my work again. Using dumbbells meant being a smart belle who understood that without finishing the therapy, her dreams would fade away.

Striving for the finish line and our accomplishments in what God has called us to do along the way keeps us going. The daily working out our faith strengthens our soul. There may be setbacks and rest periods along the journey, but if we don’t give up, we’ll finish well.

Let’s be smart belles using our proverbial dumbbells to strengthen our souls. Never give up.

TWEETABLE
Dumbbells and Smart Belles – insight from @Inca_Writer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home, located outside the city of Cochabamba. There they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published author of children’s books and women’s devotionals.

Shape Your Soul is Peggy’s latest devotional book for women. Enter God’s Gym and exercise your body and soul, so you can seize difficult life-mountains, and in God’s strength, move them!

Join the conversation: How do you fight in times of discouragement?

Accidental Daughter

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

“I will remember the works of the Lord…” Psalm 77:11 KJV

Some of my memories are funny ones and some bring tears. Some do both, like the birth of our granddaughter. I can both cry and laugh out loud every time I think of it. After her entrance into this world, we headed home with our son-in-law. An hour later, a phone call broke the silence of the peaceful night.

Our son-in-law rushed out the door telling us to call our daughter––she would explain. We heard our daughter’s frantic voice on the other end. Kayla had stopped breathing. They had her on machines to keep her breathing and to monitor her.

Exhausted from a lost night’s sleep, my husband and I left for the hospital early the next morning. Kayla’s breathing stabilized but there was still no explanation why she couldn’t breathe on her own.  I headed to our daughter’s room while my husband tried to get information about the baby at the nurses’ station. Standing at the door of my daughter’s room, I froze in my steps. What happened to her? She didn’t look like herself at all. Her face seemed changed. Her hair was the same, the room was the same, but who was the strange man sitting by her bed holding her hand?

The man sitting by her side asked in a sweet soft voice, “Can we help you?”

Oh no! This was the birthing room from the day before. This was another young mother-to-be in labor. She looked so much like my daughter, they could have been sisters. Embarrassed, yes! Relieved beyond words, yes! Apologizing over and over, yes! Funny––not at the time!

I found my daughter’s room. Our whole family had already arrived. Reluctantly, I told them about my misadventure. The entire hospital must have heard the howling coming out of that room that morning. But that wasn’t the end of their fun.

The following morning, we returned to the hospital. We first stopped at the NICU to see Kayla. As I put on the gown, I couldn’t take my eyes off our helpless incubated baby. As I sobbed, a kind nurse comforted me and explained Kayla’s condition. Grateful for this hospital and staff, we headed to my daughter’s room.

After exchanging kisses and hugs, my son-in-law flung open the curtain that separated my daughter and her new roommate. To my surprise, it was the new mother from the birthing room the day before! She smiled and said, “Hi, Mom!” Her whole family also sat behind the curtain for the big reveal.  I’m sure the roar of laughter from that room on that day is one for the hospital’s records.

The next day, we were told that Kayla had been born with pneumonia, but she was on her way to a full recovery.

Seeing God provide both healing and laughter during those days is something I remember whenever I begin to doubt God. He has proved Himself and His goodness over and over in our lives. And with each difficulty and trial, He has revealed Himself a little more.

Job had that experience. Because of his faithfulness to God, he was targeted by Satan, who took everything from him. Job suffered in agony for some time. Finally, God revealed Himself to Job. And what Job learns absolutely blows him away.

“I know you can do all things,” he told God. “And that no purpose of yours can be thwarted…. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You…” (Job 42:2, 5 NASB). In the hard, Job’s understanding of God’s goodness and power grew. God’s new revelation changed everything for him.

I’m thankful for the healing and laughter that God provided during Kayla’s first days. It is a wonderful reminder of His faithfulness that can keep me from floundering when the hard times come.

TWEETABLE
Accidental Daughter – insight from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published author of children’s books and women’s devotionals.

Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains is Peggy’s latest devotional book for women. Experience the miracles, supernatural encounters, and everyday blessings of an ordinary missionary gal with the same physical and spiritual challenges as you—albeit different circumstances. Train in God’s Gym … exercise guru not required!

Join the conversation: What has God revealed to you in the past that can help you with doubts in the future?

Enlarge Your Tent

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your cords. Isaiah 54:2 NIV

Are you comfortable with change? I cringe at the very word, but change is a continual reality for me each year I serve Him. I should know by now that when God says, “Enlarge the place of your tent,” He is giving me a new opportunity in Kingdom-building.

My experience with (literal) tents is limited to one camping trip many years ago. A member of our Sunday School class had an enormous army tent and offered it to the group. We always had a great time together. But regardless of the sweet fellowship we enjoyed, this fateful trip would prove there was not one drop of missionary blood running through in my veins––zilch.

After our group spent hours assembling the humongous beast, we placed our cots in family sections, then gathered around the bonfire for hot dogs and marshmallows. We ended the evening with a time of prayer and praise. Toasty and sleepy, we bedded down for the night.

The night sounds of crickets and a nearby hoot owl quickly lulled me to sleep. Then a shrill scream pierced the night.  Everyone sat up straight, suddenly wide awake. I’m embarrassed to tell you: the screaming was mine. “There’s a snake over there in the corner,” I gasped.

The campers leaped from their beds and flashlights beamed everywhere in the tent. The snake could not be found. One man finally asked, “How could you have seen a snake in the dark, anyway?” I didn’t. I had been dreaming–of snakes! (In my defense, it was so very real!)

A few years later God called us to the mission field. To my dismay, my snake dream was nothing compared to the real snakes I would encounter in Bolivia, like a coral snake in my kitchen that I almost stepped on in my bare feet! God stretched our tent all the way to Bolivia and over the years continued to enlarge our ministry many times over.

Now today, He is stretching me again, this time through Worthy Words Press, printing books in Spanish for underprivileged kids. And once again I am being pulled out of my comfort zone. So why not stay where I am? I have more than enough avenues of outreach.

But then I remind myself: what if I had never ventured from the first tent experience to what God had planned for us? Oh, the blessings I would have missed with the opportunities He has given me!

Do you find yourself resisting a new stretch? Most of us like to stay in the comfort zone. But outside it waits extraordinary things we never dreamed we could do with Him by our side. When we stretch our tents, we learn to depend on Him and relax in what He plans to do through us, knowing He will get the glory.

I know God will use Worthy Words Press to draw many children to Himself. Enlarging my tent may be a bit scary, but it is so exciting to watch Him at work through that process. Let’s not ever hold back. Go ahead, lengthen and strengthen those cords. And watch God get the glory.

TWEETABLE
Enlarge Your Tent: Learning to Embrace Change – Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. Peggy is also an author. Her heart for children led the way to write the picture book series Really Rare Rabbits: Books 1-3. If you’re looking for children’s books for Easter, these adorable rabbits tell the story of Jesus to children in a unique and entertaining way. Books are available on Amazon. Find out more about Peggy at her website: www.PeggyCunningham.com

Peggy’s picture book series, Really Rare Rabbits: Books 1-3.* Guarding the Inca Treasure Fires (The Really Rare Rabbits Series Book 1) by [Cunningham, Peggy]tell the story of Jesus to children in a unique and entertaining way. Chi Chi and his sister Fi Fi are young rabbits who live on a mountain in Bolivia, where their ancestors once protected a treasure of gold. One day they hear of a new Light on the mountain that never burns out. They decide to venture down the mountain to peer in the missionaries’ windows. That is when their dangerous adventure begins.

Join the conversation: When has God called you to enlarge the place of your tent? Share your story!

Leftover Loaves

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

Long ago a little boy gave up his lunch. We gave away our time.

I will never forget the day when we offered to use our ham radio to make a call for a friend’s friend. It’s unforgettable because people keep reminding me of it even these thirty-three years later.

It was just an ordinary morning, business as usual at the mission house, as my husband prepared to dart out the door to meetings. Then came a call from a missionary friend: could he bring a friend over to talk with us? Nothing unusual about that except for another unusual request. His friend needed a favor. Would Chuck make a ham radio contact with a doctor in Brazil?

Our friend arrived with Fernando, and his sad story unfolded. His wife had a brain tumor. There were no doctors in Bolivia who could perform the surgery. Also, at the time, neither were there phone lines connecting the Amazon areas with the outside world. Thankfully, the weather conditions cooperated in connecting all parties. To our surprise, the doctor recommended a medication before surgery (which also didn’t exist in Bolivia) and agreed to send it. Weeks later, the medication completed, another scan of her brain revealed no tumor! A miracle!

We became good friends with Fernando and Charo. Together, we helped start a church in their house that now thrives with 200 members in a beautiful church building. We are more than friends. We are family and co-workers for the Kingdom. Last week, they came to visit with their youngest son and his fiancé. The conversation turned to the wedding. Jesse and Dyanna asked if we would be spiritual parents for their marriage––as we are for Jesse’s brother and sister also. It’s a custom in Bolivia offered to only closest relatives and friends. We were honored. And of course, we agreed!

There is another memorable day recorded in the Bible. Thousands of years later, we still remember when the sacrifice of a small lunch made a big difference.

Most likely, you’ve heard the story. A crowd of people needed lunch ––a crowd of 5,000 people. A little boy from the crowd stepped up. The disciples told Jesus, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9 NIV) Far enough that there were twelve baskets of leftovers after satisfying the hunger of a large crowd!

For us it was a simple ham radio call, but it turned into a long-lasting friendship and the beginning of a church––and a miracle healing.

Do you wonder what difference you can make for God’s kingdom? Nothing is too small for our big God to use! Do you think the small things you do won’t make a difference?

Will you step up to Jesus and offer him your small “lunch”? Just as the five barley loaves and two small fish were multiplied, so will God multiply our small gifts to Him, with more than enough leftovers to share.

TWEETABLE
Leftover Loaves: Nothing is too Small for Our Big God – insight from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. Peggy is also an author. Her heart for children led the way to write the picture book series Really Rare Rabbits: Books 1-3.* If you’re looking for children’s books for Easter, these adorable rabbits tell the story of Jesus to Guarding the Inca Treasure Fires (The Really Rare Rabbits Series Book 1) by [Cunningham, Peggy]children in a unique and entertaining way. Books are available on Amazon. Find out more about Peggy at her website: www.PeggyCunningham.com

*also available in Spanish at  https://amzn.to/2SLGEyc

Join the conversation: What can you give that God could use in an unexpectedly big way?

Buñuelos with Jesus

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11 NIV).

Almost 20 years ago, our mission started Christmas trips to remote villages high in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia where we are missionaries. My husband and Juan, a Quechua young man who was born in the Andes Mountains, began going to villages high above the tree line. These trips had to be made on quads because the roads ended before arriving. Then, continuing on by foot, they reached the final destination––small communities where life is hard, and the people are precious. Twenty years later, we still continue doing this ministry each Christmas, but now with the help of our Bolivian church.

Bread is a delicacy in the mountains. The highest regions don’t have firewood, but a little further down the mountain where there is firewood, flour is scarce. When the kids see bread their eyes light up––just like they do when they see toys. But, just as they readily accept the bread, they also accept the Bread of Life. They are hungry for both––bread to satisfy their tummies, and Bread to satisfy their souls. Every year we share the Christmas story in places where many hear it for the first time. Many now know the Lord.

In the valley and cities below the mountains live the more fortunate––although many still wait to hear of the Savior. But bread is readily available as well as other delicacies. Here in the valley where I live, many wake up on Christmas morning to the aroma of buñuelos frying in hot oil.

What’s a buñuelo, you ask?. The sweet aroma in your kitchen of the finished product of this recipe will transport your thoughts to Christmas in the Andes Mountains. Can you imagine presenting a Bolivian donut (buñuelo) to a mountain child deprived of even bread? But, better yet, presenting the gospel to that child for the first time?

Buñuelos with Jesus on Christmas morning! Wherever you live, someone needs to hear about Jesus this Christmas season––and maybe you can share a buñuelo, too.

 Bolivian Buñuelo Recipe:

Buñuelos are a popular snack throughout Latin America. While they can be eaten at anytime, Bolivian tradition sees them eaten on Christmas morning with syrup and hot chocolate.

Buñuelos are a soft doughy sweetbread that is deep-fried in the same way doughnuts are made, with a similar flavor but a slightly more chewy texture, traditionally served drizzled with a syrup or honey. The buñuelos are often puffy with a crispy crust and air pockets on the inside.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons fresh yeast

1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon anise

2 eggs

2 cups flour

3 cups butter

Molasses to taste

1/2 cup sunflower oil to moisten hands

Preparation:

In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in water, add the fresh yeast, let it stand for about 7 minutes, then add the salt, anise, eggs and flour, mixing it slowly with your hand until you obtain a watery dough. Let the dough stand and rise twice before you start frying in hot oil.

To fry, first spread oil over your hands, take a handful of dough with the fingertips and stretch it into a 4-inch round; rotating the dough occasionally to form a circle. When about to fry, poke a hole in the middle, and put it in the frying pan with a stick (when in the mountains) or the back of a wooden spoon through the hole. Let it acquire a golden-brown color on both sides.

buneos

Serve with hot sugar cane syrup, molasses or honey (or maple syrup). Note: Some Bolivians prefer to eat their buñuelos covered in sifted powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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Buñuelos with Jesus – Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author. Hooray for Holidays Book 4: Veteran's Day Special Needs Cat, Thanksgiving Blue Mouse, and Christmas Andes Llama by [Cunningham, Peggy]Her devotionals and children’s books are available on Amazon.com, including her newly released children’s book, Hooray for Holidays Book 4: A Veteran’s Day Special Needs Cat, Thanksgiving Blue Mouse, and Christmas Andes Llama.

Join the conversation: What’s your favorite Christmas morning tradition where you live?

A True Turkey Tale

by Peggy Cunningham @inca_writer

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” Psalm 107:1 (NIV).

The turkey tale I have to tell holds a special spot in my heart. It was a special turkey because it was the first turkey I ever tried to cook––two months after my wedding day. I have many precious memories to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. As the years pass, I realize that it is a blessing to be able to remember. This turkey tale wasn’t funny at the time, but I can’t help but chuckle each time I remember it now––decades after the event.

After many years of eating turkey, I suddenly developed an allergy to the bird. I don’t look forward to turkey on Thanksgiving now––unless I want to look like Frankenstein or meet the Lord face to face. After two reactions, it was certain I had an allergy to turkey. I don’t want to have those encounters with turkeys ever again.

But, I’ve also had another memory-making encounter with a turkey. After many years of married life, I now have experience cooking turkeys, but as a new bride, I didn’t. I looked forward to cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner that year. Far away from our hometown, we celebrated alone but not as we planned. My husband was in the Air Force, and we lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now you may think that was glamorous––not so. We lived on an airman’s salary and buying a turkey was a big expense for the special day. We got up early, and together we made the stuffing, packed it in the bird and shoved it in the oven. After a few hours, we checked the bird. We thought it strange that there was no wonderful aroma coming from the oven, and looking at it––well, it was still raw. Two hours more should do it––we reasoned. We closed the oven door and waited.

The table looked lovely with my wedding gifts of silver, crystal, and candlesticks placed on the perfectly pressed tablecloth. The potatoes were cooking, and the red cranberry sauce contrasted the green linen tablecloth––my decorating skills were developing. If only that turkey would cooperate. It didn’t. After nine hours in the oven, it was tough and still not cooked. We were so disappointed that we took that bird for a long drive in the Nevada desert and threw it out of the convertible we were driving. Good riddance!

Did we ever know what happened? Never! But, I can tell you that story has been told over and over, and usually it sounds as though the cook messed up. I will never agree––it must have been the oven! My first turkey–tough and uncooked! That bird still haunts me today––every time its story is told. FYI, every turkey I’ve baked since has exited my oven thoroughly cooked and delicious!

Remembering must be important to God. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible where God tells us to remember, or He remembers us and His promises. “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done” (Psalm 145:5). Memories!

I hope your turkey isn’t a repeat of my turkey tale this Thanksgiving. It wasn’t funny at the time, but what a good, funny memory now. We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. Good and funny memories are a blessing to be thankful for too.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you make some good turkey tales on this Thanksgiving Day––funny ones too.

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A True Turkey Tale & the Importance of Remembering – Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer on @AriseDaily (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author. Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]Her children’s books and devotionals are available on Amazon.com, including her latest book Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains, a women’s devotional.

Join the conversation: Do you have any Thanksgiving moments precious to you? Please share!!

Loving the Unlovable

by Peggy Cunningham @inca_writer

If I gave everything I have to the poor people, and if I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn’t love others, it would be of no value whatever. I Corinthians 13:3 NIV

We all assume missionaries go to the field to love people into the Kingdom. But in reality, it is not as easy as it sounds. Let me tell you about one of my students who tested my love thermometer. In all my years on the mission field that I taught teen girls, only one made me think about suspending her from class––Maribelle.

My classes consist of Bible studies, memorizing scripture, and cooking or baking. Guess which part they look forward to the most? Yup, the cooking part. These Quechua girls speak Spanish and Quechua––mostly Spanish in public and Quechua in the home. I teach in Spanish, but I have a conversational level of the Quechua language. One day, as Maribelle again distracted the class with her sparkling personality but antagonistic remarks, I asked her (in Quechua) to recite her Bible verse––hoping to lasso her back into the classroom activities. She looked me in the eye and said, “That is my language and you have no right to speak it!” A gasp from the other girls ended in an eerie silence in the room.

How to respond? Emotions were high, and I replied slowly while carefully choosing each word.

“Yes, it is your language, and I have my first language too––English. But one day, we who are in the family of God, will all speak the same language––a new language in our new forever home. It will no longer be your language or my language but our language. There will be no foreigners, only family members. So why not begin now to enjoy our family? Then, I hugged her. That was the last time Maribelle disrupted the class. I spoke as Scripture teaches us, softly––words spoken in love and not judgment. That day, God gave me the exact right words to touch her scornful heart.

Whether on the field or the home front, we all serve the unwanted, the poor, and sometimes even the wealthy who have no material needs. And yes, those who disrupt our lives. If we’re honest, most of us know people who unnerve us. It may be a family member or even a friend, but they are there to stay–stuck in our lives. So what can we do about these unlovable ones?

Respond in love.

“If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making noise.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 TLB

There you have it––without love, all of our efforts come across as clanging noise. But how do we love the unlovable? By loving God first. As we do, we begin to see them through His eyes. We choose to love them because HE loves them. Funny how the unlovable become lovable when God changes us.

Allow me to add one last thing to clarify how much missionaries love the people they serve. We know that we love them when we cry as much leaving them behind to go on furlough as we do when we leave our family and friends after furlough. We do love the people we serve.

It’s not always easy, but with God’s love, it is possible.

TWEETABLE
Loving the unlovable – Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author. Her children’s books and devotionals are available on Amazon.com, including her latest book Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains, a women’s devotional.

Join the conversation: What helps you love the unlovely?