A Time to Give, and a Time Not To — March 2018

We are sincerely blessed by the many individuals, churches, and other groups who invest their time, money, and talents in serving the homeless individuals we minister to at GODTEL. The meals prepared and served by our guest cooks offer a variety of delicious foods to warm our tummies. The smiling faces of those volunteers warm our spirits and we are extremely grateful for the encouragement.
Each year the Kroger Company sponsors a “Super Bowl of Caring” leading up to the Super Bowl football spectacular. This was another “bonanza” year as GODTEL was the recipient of 1,300 food boxes and bags purchased by shoppers at the two Kroger stores in Nacogdoches.
In Livingston, the Lions Club has again presented a generous donation to GODTEL to help house and feed the homeless and in Nacogdoches the Kiwanis Club is again going to prepare us a pancake and sausage supper as they gear up for the annual Blueberry Festival (held in June).

What’s a C.H.C.?

CHC stands for Christian Help Center of which GODTEL operates two—one in Nacogdoches and one in Livingston. This is where we thankfully receive and freely distribute a wide variety of donated items including clothing, furniture, and household and personal items. Hours of operation are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings from 9:00 to 11:30.
In each location we have a devoted woman in charge: Jackie Haley in Nacogdoches and Benita Woodmansee in Livingston. These ladies amaze me with their boundless energy and drive and their organizational skills. I thank God for their willingness to carry this load. In December Mrs. Jackie picked up the proceeds of canned food drives held at the Dollar General Store on South Street in Nacogdoches. The Stallings Drive store also held a canned food drive for GODTEL. Thank you, Dollar General.
At GODTEL and in our C.H.C. there is a constant in-and-out flow of food, people, clothes, furniture, and products. We are thankful to be a part of God’s chain of supply, making provision for the poor.

GODTEL Does Not Solicit

We recently became aware of a group of individuals soliciting donations in front of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on University Drive in Nacogdoches. That is not necessarily a problem. However, their sign said it was to help the “local” homeless shelter, of which GODTEL is the only one in town—and we don’t solicit.
As soon as I learned of this situation, I went to the store and spoke with the manager on duty and assured her that GODTEL does not go door-to-door and we do not solicit donations from in front of stores or in any public place.
I was gratified to learn that she had already discovered that the representative of this group had not been forthcoming about where they were from (they were not local to Nacogdoches) and she had told them not to return.
So, please, if someone knocks on your door or approaches you in public asking for a donation for GODTEL, do not give them money. Kindly confront them with the truth—that you know GODTEL does not obtain funds in that manner and pray for them.

Property Donation

As last year ended a man donated two rent houses to the Nacogdoches mission, and since we do not particularly want to be in the Landlord business, the Board of Directors voted to put them up for sale. We were delighted that only a few weeks went by before we had a buyer. The funds generated from this sale will enable us to build metal awnings over our sidewalks and patios protecting from the sun and rain.

Something to Ponder

Here is a rather profound quote from C.S. Lewis I read recently: “Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful.”

Think about it.

The Rest of the Story — for Now – February 2018

The insert in last month’s newsletter was the first of a two-part series about the Scopes “Monkey” Trial held in Dayton, Tennessee beginning on July 10, 1925. Attorneys were Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, both very famous.
Soon after the newsletter was mailed out, I received the following email from a friend of ours who lives in Maryville, Tennessee:

“I just got your newsletter and article on John Scopes. One good thing that came from this was that 5 years later, some rich guys came to Dayton, dropped a pile of money and helped start a good conservative Christian college, with at least one stipulation: That it be named in honor of William Jennings Bryan. 79 year later, in 2009, we were there for our oldest daughter, Jessica, during her orientation day at Bryan College. There was one statement made by the college president that will stick with me for life. In front of students and parents, Pres. Livesey said, “I really don’t care how much smarter these students are 4 years from now, I want them to be prepared to go out and challenge a lost world.”

I replied to my friend thanking him for the follow-up information and told him, “I have always loved the assurance that no matter what any enemy attempts against a child of God, our loving Father will use it for good. The story of Joseph is an excellent example and encouragement to keep on doing the right thing and leave the end results to God.”
God’s Word declares that God created all we see in six days (one sunset and one sunrise, not a “day” of a thousand or a million or a billion years). He spoke it into existence and left us a written record of what He did.
Who is man, that any should come along and declare that they know more than the Creator? My description of that kind of man would be an ignorant, arrogant, pseudo-scientific, dupe who has been taken in by the clever lies not only of Satan, the enemy of all, but also of our deceitful, wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9 and Matthew 15:19)

The Phone Rang…

I answered, “GODTEL Ministries. This is Nancy. May I help you?”
A woman on the other end of the phone line said, “You already have.” She then proceeded to tell me her story beginning shortly before she came to GODTEL 13 years ago. She said she was a real mess, doing drugs, when she became homeless and somehow found her way to our mission. As she heard the Word of God day after day, she realized that the only hope for a positive change in her life was to let God have control. She said she got on her knees before Him and vowed to follow and trust His leadership.
Through the years she has had some struggles as God used a variety of circumstances to test and grow her faith. Recently she discovered she had a large sum of money due her from the State of Texas in unclaimed funds. These funds had been accumulating since she was at GODTEL and she had been so “out-of-it” back then, she forgot she had been receiving a monthly check, which had continued to be paid even though she was not receiving it because the address was wrong.
She expressed thanks that her life was stable, that she had a car, and a paid-for mobile home. She said she called to let us know that God and GODTEL were the reason her life had changed from one of misery, chasing the next high, to one of peace and productivity. She said she planned to come back to GODTEL for a visit soon and I encouraged her to do just that.
As I hung up the phone, I rejoiced and thanked God for His faithfulness, goodness, and the encouragement her call had brought.

This Month’s Insert

At the end of each year we total up the number of people who have been ministered to at each of our shelters during the previous 12 months. Our insert reports those figures in a different form than those given on the back page of this newsletter. Also included are other bits of information and a brief history and description of GODTEL. (Next month’s insert will be Part 2 of “The Scopes Trial.”)

A Cold Reception

That’s what we found on our return to Livingston from Nacogdoches following the week it snowed. Our pipes had frozen and we had to fill up jugs with water at the mission to make it through the night. As we had only one flush in our toilets, we got to practice what a missionary to Africa told us about flushing toilets, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”
As the weather warmed up we discovered broken pipes under the women’s dorm, my office, our house, and the mobile home behind my office. Terry and Greg were kept busy getting parts and making repairs. Bro. June’s temporary patch on our burst pex pipe, using auto heater hose, worked like a charm till we could make permanent repairs.

Many Thanks

The knitted caps and scarves, along with the gloves and mittens we received at Christmas have been very popular with our residents and we are most grateful to the donors of these and other items who are showing the love of God to the people we minister to. Each month we have guest cooks coming on a regular basis providing special meals and sharing God’s love as well. Our deeply heartfelt thanks to you all.
May God abundantly bless each one of you who helps in any way for choosing to be a part of this ministry to the poor, homeless, and hungry people of East Texas. May He protect you from the evil one and give you clear guidance day by day as the return of Jesus Christ draws ever nearer.

To Believe or Not—The Choice is Yours – January 2018

She came to my office convinced she had cancer of the mouth because she had enlarging “holes” on each side of her tongue at the back of her throat. She was very worried and asked what she should do.
I felt impressed to take her to a throat specialist we have known and used for years. When I called his office, they made an appointment for her that very afternoon.
Several years ago, one of our valued workers, Rick Pensinger, developed a lump on his tongue. He was misdiagnosed at the clinic he first visited. As his condition worsened over the next few months, we decided to take him to this specialist who made a correct diagnosis and referred him to an oncologist. Rick died of cancer a while later. Remembering that, I did not want to take any chances that this young woman might be misdiagnosed and proper treatment be delayed.
I stayed with her during the doctor’s examination and asked several questions she did not think of. I was quite relieved when he said her throat was normal and the “holes” she was concerned with were tonsil concretions.
As we left his office, she said she did not believe Him, that he was wrong. I was perplexed by her attitude and assured her that we had known and trusted this doctor for over 40 years. She remained unconvinced.
God’s Spirit helped me give her an example using a person’s confrontation with the choice to believe God. The truth is that God is real and He will judge all mankind, welcoming some into heaven and pronouncing eternal judgment on those who are condemned to hell for failing to believe, trust, and obey Him. Just as we can choose to believe the truth about God or reject it, she could choose to believe the doctor who had been trained and working in the field for decades or she could believe her fears and allow Satan to torment her with doubts.
When we returned to the mission, at her insistence, I did get a flashlight and looked into her throat with a promise to look at it again in a month or so to compare the size of the “holes.”
We talked awhile longer and I prayed that she might know the truth, for as John 8:32 affirms, “the truth will make us free.” Untruth deceives us and puts us in bondage to lies, but accepting and walking in the truth brings freedom from an eternity in hell and freedom from worrying about imaginary illnesses.
The young woman moved out of GODTEL a few days after the doctor’s visit and I am concerned that she is refusing to believe the doctor’s good news. If so, she is living in misery as she believes a lie about her health. That is her choice. My prayer is that she will come to a place where she will wholeheartedly accept the truth about God because He has a way of pacifying our fears.
So, what is the truth about God?
He exists. There is a Supreme Being Who created all we see, Who is a rewarder of all who diligently seek Him and the supreme Judge Who decides our eternal destiny.
He made commandments we humans must follow to the letter if we are to make it to Heaven. Since man cannot live perfectly, God made a way for us to possess the perfection of His Son.
God constructed a human body for Himself and lived on this earth as man, John 1:14. God the Son was tested in every way we are, but never yielded to even one temptation to break God’s laws.
Jesus gave His perfect life as a sacrifice for our imperfect lives and offers us the gift of salvation from hell so we can spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
After being tried and convicted, crucified and buried, He returned to life, ascended into Heaven, promised to return, and is coming back.
Those facts are true. Some people choose to believe these facts and others do not. The facts do not become untrue because a person chooses to not believe the truth.

Nacogdoches Building Project

There are just a few finishing touches to be made to the building which will house our women’s dorm, the Christian Help Center, staff housing, and storage facilities. Most of the inspections have been completed and we will be able to move in as soon as the city gives us a certificate of occupancy. Joyous day.

Christmas Day Celebrations

What a wonderful commemoration of the birth of our Savior we experienced at each of our missions. Each of our residents received several pairs of socks, warm caps, scarves, toiletry items and “fun” stuff in their Christmas stockings (made special by a long-time GODTEL supporter) and gift bags.
The Lufkin mission served their traditional Brunch at 10:00 a.m. following a devotion and prayer. They fed a fabulous breakfast to over 40 people. The Nacogdoches mission had around 70 individuals enjoying a noon meal which was once again topped off with pies made by Pat, the “Pie Lady.” The Livingston mission celebrated at 4:00 p.m. with 40 individuals enjoying the meal and festivities.
Our sincere thanks to each individual and business who donated items to brighten our meals. The volunteers who helped fill the stockings and prepare, set up, and serve the meals are also deeply appreciated. Your presence helped make the day extra special and we are very grateful. May God bless you for your service to Him here at GODTEL.

It Takes More than a Hat…

Bro. June’s latest album is out at last. It has been in the works for years and features songs written and performed by Bro. June.
The title song, “It Takes More Than a Hat to Be a Cowboy,” was written at First Lakeview Church in Volente, TX overlooking Lake Travis. The Pastor heard June working on it Sunday before the church service and asked us to sing it that morning—so we did. Let us know if you would like a copy.

— — —

May you have a Blessed New Year

Christmas Blessings to You All – December 2017

Nacogdoches Building Project

The completion of our building/relocation project is in sight. We are anticipating being able to move the ladies out of their cramped quarters and into the spacious women’s dorm by the first of the year. Our main-out newsletter had many photos of the activity. We truly had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Speaking of …

In Ephesians 5:20 we are instructed to give thanks always for all things. Sometimes that is a sacrifice because some things are difficult for us to endure and we do not feel thankful. The object here is to obey God and trust His Word which assures us in Romans 8:28 that all things are working for the good of those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. As verse 29 goes on to explain, we are being conformed to look like Christ Who learned obedience by what He suffered. Scripture also describes Him as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He endured the agony of the cross, keeping His eyes fixed on the joyous prize ahead. May we do the same.

Thanksgiving Day Meals

What a bountiful and delicious variety of foods we served at each of our mission locations. Bro June and I were able to only look at the food in Nacogdoches at noon and in Lufkin at 2:00 p.m. (except for one piece of fabulous pecan pie I was given at the Lufkin mission). But we really made up for lost time when we sat down to eat in Livingston.
Among the approximately 30 volunteers we had at the Nacogdoches mission were the Stephen F. Austin Basketball team and the coaches. They had just returned to Nacogdoches (from playing out of state) at 5:30 a.m. so they were a little road-weary but they put on smiles and helped serve the food and put smiles on the faces of those in attendance.
In Nacogdoches we served almost 150, in Lufkin there were 60 (21 of which were volunteers), and in Livingston there were 32 in attendance.
Our sincere thanks to each individual and business who donated Turkeys and hams and desserts and yams (I couldn’t resist the rhyme), paper products, and plastic ware. The volunteers who helped prepare, set up, and serve the meals are also deeply appreciated. Your presence helped make the day extra special and we are very grateful. May God bless you for your service here.

Christmas Blessings to Everyone

The entire staff of GODTEL along with our residents send our warmest greetings to each of you for this year’s celebration of the birth, as a human, of Jesus the Christ. May you know His peace, not like the world gives which is based on circumstances and possessions, but the deep-down assurance of the love and provision of the almighty Creator of all we see. His offer of salvation is free to whosoever will submit to Him.
If you would like to visit with us during our Christmas Day feast, you are welcome to come eat with us. (Call for times.)

Malachi 3:10 — God’s Promise Fulfilled Again – November 2017

For over a year, June’s youngest brother, Richard, has been the Interim Director of the Nacogdoches mission and has done quite an admirable job. This past month however, he expressed a desire to limit his ministry at GODTEL to maintenance of the buildings and grounds. I must say that he truly excels at all sorts of engineering, constructing, and repairing projects and we are very glad he is here. He has helped out with the building project on many occasions during construction. (His assistant, Ricky Jackson, is doing a great job keeping the grounds mowed and trimmed.)
Board of Directors’ member, Mike Lahr, and his wife Kathleen (my office assistant for the past eight months), have agreed to assume the duties of Mission Directors. Please remember to pray for us all as we fulfill our calling to the various parts of the body of Christ and the body of GODTEL.

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

One morning in Bible study we had a three-year-old boy, Isaac, and a two-year-old boy, Packard, in attendance with their single parents. At one point, Isaac noticed that Packard, who was being a little fussy, did not have a Bible. Isaac got up from his seat, went to the bookshelf where the Gideon-donated Bibles were, got one and took it to him. Packard was happy and quiet thereafter. A little later, Isaac noticed that one of our adult residents did not have a Bible in front of him, so he got up again and took a Bible to him.
God’s Word is our Creator’s complete word to man. It is the truth about God and man, the past and the future, heaven and hell, and contains the plan of salvation from eternal damnation. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our pathway (Psalm 119:105) and if we read it and use it, we are much less likely to stumble in the spiritual darkness that pervades our land.
There is no way we can please God apart from faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). If we do not read, hear, or study the Bible, we can be easily deceived by Satan, self (our wicked hearts), the world, and the pleasures of sin.

Miss Mary Moves Away

Mary came to the Nacogdoches mission in May of this year and quickly got a job at Brookshire Brothers Grocery Store. She donated weekly to GODTEL to help defray the cost of her upkeep and in August she agreed to be in charge of our women’s dorm. After four months of saving up, she was able to get her own apartment and the second week of October, moved out of GODTEL. We do wish her well. Her sweet, quiet nature and ready smile will be missed.

Another Soldier Laid to Rest

For years, Jackie Haley has volunteered to run GODTEL’s Christian Help Center where we give away clothing, furniture, and household items to those in need. Her husband, Charles, died on October 11, after a painful battle with cancer. He had been a medic in Viet Nam during the “war” there and, partially as a result of that, has had health issues for years. Please keep Jackie and her family in your prayers.

Say Hello to Cameron

Cameron has stayed at our Nacogdoches mission several times and has always been willing to help us wherever he could. He has a charming smile and is musically talented. He has regular chores at the mission and has been helping in the Christian Help Center while Jackie has been caring for her husband. We asked if we could take his picture the day we took Mary’s and he agreed.

Bountiful Canned Food Drive

KTRE-TV sponsored a canned-food drive on opening night at the Nacogdoches County fair. GODTEL was one of the charities who benefitted from the proceeds. Many thanks to KTRE and the volunteers who worked with them.

“Showers” of Blessing

The outpouring of love and concern expressed in a practical manner following Hurricane Harvey has been amazing and wonderful. Each of our three missions has gratefully received donations to help house and feed the evacuees that came to us.
Two men drove from Bullhead City, Arizona to Livingston with a truck and trailer full of water, food, cleaning supplies, etc.
Most recently, the Scenic Loop Fire Department brought another large donation which our residents cheerfully helped unload. These items had come to them from the Seal Beach Yacht Club in California. These items were greatly-appreciated. As we thank God for our blessings, we pray for all who have suffered loss.