This Christmas was a special time for my mother as all three of her children went to Fairmont, West Virginia for Christmas day. However, our oldest, Benjamin, and his wife, Valerie, were unable to come as Valerie had to work her nursing job on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They live in the Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas area. Our youngest, Jonathan, had to work on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so Jennifer volunteered to stay with Jonathan in Lancaster, California. So this picture is the Armstrong side of the family, except the children of Brent and Shelli.
Shelli and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit one of our church members while in West Virginia. Carol Blosser is staying with her mother in Morgantown as she seeks the Lord’s will for her future. Although we dearly miss her in Tucson, we understand that her big house can be lonely since the loss of her husband earlier this year. It was great to get “caught up” as we watched it snow in 29 degree weather.
We also had the opportunity to spend time with numerous family members. This Christmas was the first time that all three children have been together since our dad passed away six years ago. We have all aged but are in relatively good health. Ken Brummel is a pastor in Madison, Wisconsin. Cary Grant is a pastor in Cumming, Georgia. Their children are in a number of different colleges or universities. Mom really enjoyed having the family together, in spite of, all the poor weather.
My grandmother, Blanche, is 94! Hurricane Sandy has dumped a lot of snow in West Virginia. Yesterday morning my grandmother woke up to five inches of snow… so… she wanted her newspaper and decided to shovel her driveway to get to her newspaper box. Way to go grandma!
I have prayed numerous times for all of the people who have lost their homes, have no electricity, and cannot work. There are many, many stories of people with great needs. Of course, the greatest need that all have is for the Savior. I pray that Christians in the NorthEast will be able to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, even as others are hurting and searching for answers.
I’ve collected a number of quotes that I have been saving to use for this special day. Shelli and I were married 25 years ago today in Fairfield, California. Our life together has been a fabulous journey… the trials along the way have made us stronger and able to navigate troubled waters. Whether cancer, death, relationship challenges, children, finances, etc., each challenge has ultimately strengthened us. I love Shelli more today than on August 8, 1987. I can truly say that I did not understand the word “love” when we were first married. Today, I have a greater understanding and appreciation of this word. I have a special day planned for Shelli today… I hope all goes well!
Here are the quotes and thoughts that I’ve been looking forward to sharing:
The development of a really good marriage is not a natural process. It is an achievement – David and Vera Mace
Marriage is the perfection of what love aimed at, ignorant of what it sought – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away – Elbert Hubbard
Married couples who love each other tell each other a thousand things without talking – Chinese Proverb
One man by himself is nothing. Two people who belong together make a world – Hans Margolius
The Japanese have a word for it. It’s Judo – the art of conquering by yielding. The Western equivalent of judo is, ‘Yes, dear’ – J. P. McEvoy
Our anniversary is a time to look back at the good times and a time to look ahead to live our dreams together.
A successful married life requires falling in love many times, but always with the same person.
Love is there when both persons are more concerned for the other than for one’s self.
If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.
Sometimes, when only one person is missing, the whole world seems desolated
Love is the best refreshment in life.
No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married for quarter of a century.
The secret to having a good married life is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent and it must be equal.
It doesn’t matter where you go in life, what you do ….. it’s who you have beside you.
We have changed over the years, but the sparkle in your eyes is as bright as ever, and my love for you is even stronger.
The difficulty with married life is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.
Love begins in a moment, grows over time, and lasts for eternity.
Are we not like two volumes of single book ?
In trying to get our own way, we should remember that kisses are sweeter than whine. – Author Unknown
I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can play together all night. – Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else. – George Bernard Shaw
Love puts the fun in together, the sad in apart, and the joy in a heart.
- Author Unknown
Once a man has won a woman’s love, the love is his forever. He can only lose the woman. – Robert Brault
Men love because they are afraid of themselves, afraid of the loneliness that lives in them, and need someone in whom they can lose themselves as smoke loses itself in the sky. – V.F. Calverton
Lust fades, so you’d better be with someone who can stand you. – Alan Zweibel and Jessie Nelson, The Story of Us
Ah! a blessing beyond all fate My sole mate ’tis my soul mate. – Pixie Foudre
Our wedding was many years ago. The celebration continues to this day.
- Gene Perret
A kiss is just a pleasant reminder that two heads are better than one. – Author Unknown
Happiness is like a kiss – it feels best when you give it to someone else.
- Author Unknown
Love is missing someone whenever you’re apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you’re close in heart. – Kay Knudsen
Love would never be a promise of a rose garden unless it is showered with light of faith, water of sincerity and air of passion. – Author Unknown
To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world. – Author Unknown
This morning I preached a message entitled, “DO Because You are a Father.” God was good, in that, He spoke to many, many people. I have received around two dozen text, phone calls, and emails. PTL. May He continue to even work in those who have “crusty” hearts.
I cannot say it enough, I thank the Lord for my father and all that he taught me while he was alive. I spent part of my message giving the story of my father, after he trusted Christ. You can listen to that sermon on the Tucson Baptist Temple website.
So, as I close this Father’s Day, I miss my father and I continue to be so thankful for the lessons he taught me!
Dad – we NEED you to step up; be the dad, daddy, papa, father that God intends for you to be. Be the leader in your home. Love your children with a spiritual love. Support your children to obey the Lord’s calling in their lives. Never, ever be a stumbling block to your children in their spiritual walk.
Well I disappeared for a week… and what a week it was! I’ll focus this post on my son, Jonathan, who graduated on Friday night from Pusch Ridge Christian Academy. Jonathan graduated with honors and had the privilege to open the graduation ceremonies in prayer. It was a very nice graduation ceremony.
My mother and Shelli’s parents were able to attend. We had a number of friends from church who made the drive to Oro Valley to attend. That was a great encouragement to Jonathan. His graduation ceremony pics have been uploaded on Shelli’s FB.
Jonathan SAFELY drove over 7,000 miles this past school year. His beautiful car (no speedometer, no A/C, no radio, no heat, no etc.) survived an entire school year for which we are extremely grateful. The speedometer stopped working a long time ago so we have no idea for sure how many miles are on the car… the last time it worked the car was over 250,000 miles. It has been a great Honda Accord that has been passed down three generations.
Jonathan is off to West Coast Baptist College in August. I am looking forward to spending these last couple months with Jonathan before we experience the empty nest… one married and two in college.
He was born in Fairmont on Sept. 23, 1962, a son of the late David Lee Nuzum Sr. and Deanna (Collins) Humphrey of Fairmont.
Dave proudly served his country with the United States Navy. He was self-employed as a yard worker and landscaper. He was a graduate of East Fairmont High School. He believed in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and truly was loved and valued by his family. He enjoyed fishing, hiking, gardening and being outdoors. David loved his family and will be greatly missed by them and his many friends.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his loving wife of 25 years, Jean (Palmer) Nuzum of Fairmont; one daughter, Brenda Jean Palmer of Fairmont; and a brother, Michael Nuzum and his wife Linda of Fairmont.
Also surviving are his grandmothers, Blanche Collins and Betty Jenkins; three aunts, Bonnie Armstrong, Linda Saurborn and her husband Roger and Phyllis Ford, all of Fairmont; one uncle, Ronnie Nuzum of Fairmont; a great-aunt, Bessie VanGilder; two step-sisters, Cathy Sapp and Vicky Robinson; two step-brothers, Hilen Humphrey and Schuyler Humphrey, all of Fairmont; as well as several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.
In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Samuel Nuzum and Albert “Slick” Collins; his step-father, James Humphrey; one aunt, Barbara Nuzum; and two uncles, David Armstrong and Jim Ford.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Marion County Humane Society, P.O. Box 905, Fairmont, WV 26554.
One of the potential dangers of traveling to Uganda was contracting malaria. All of our team knew this prior to going and we took precautions to avoid getting sick – mosquito nets, medicine, deet spray, etc. On the very last night that our team was in Uganda, Jonathan decided to sleep outside on the screened porch with a couple of the other team members. He was even advised to sleep with a mosquito net but he decided not to heed the advice of his older brother.
Thus, shortly after departure, Jonathan began to have the shakes, body aches, and a fever. He was given a pretty strong pill to help with his fever and body aches and all assumed that he was just tired and worn out since he had struggled with his asthma. Fast forward a couple days and Jonathan could hardly move as he ached all over and had a fever of 103.2.
Off we went to UMC (hospital) to have him checked out. UMC was no help at all. Jonathan was the first patient for the doctor we were given who had ever had the symptoms of malaria and it took UMC five hours and fifteen minutes to determine that “you are a good family, just keep what you are doing and let Jonathan take the medicine you brought back with you from Uganda. Besides, we don’t even have any malaria medicine here at the hospital.“
I just can’t wait to see the bill that we will receive that told us that we were a good family and to keep doing what we were doing.
However, we were able to correspond numerous times with a malaria expert! One of our own missionaries saw that Jonathan and Dave had malaria and contacted us from… Burkina Faso in West Africa. He has had malaria over 30 times and all of his family have had it at one time or another. He was able to confirm Jonathan’s malaria and a treatment for him. Our hat is off to Keith Shumaker, missionary to Burkina Faso! Thank you for all of your advice and input and help with Jonathan.
Although Jonathan tires easily, he is now back on the upswing. He has been very miserable over the past ten days or so. He has, however, continued to be involved and even played his trumpet on Easter Sunday.
I also would like to take a moment and thank all of the students at West Coast Baptist College who had a special prayer meeting to pray for Jonathan. You guys are awesome!
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet on Saturday morning (15 hours ahead of Tucson) with one of our TBT supported families for breakfast. We were able to discuss different ways that TBT can help his ministry. After breakfast, around 8:45 a.m., I walked to a “Christian Bookstore” around 1.5 miles from the hotel. This was the actual sign on the building. They had a large variety of Bibles and dozens of books that you would recognize that have been translated into Chinese. While at the bookstore I secured a wonderful gift for the children of TBT. Or at least I think it is cool… we shall see!
After returning to the hotel, I checked out from my room and took my last taxi ride to the airport. The driver dropped me off at Terminal 3 and I walked to the United counter. It took less than two minutes to check-in. I took the subway train to the “E” terminal and then cleared security without any problems. I had around 1 1/2 hours to kill so I went to Pizza Hut for lunch. This was my first American food in a week and it was quite delicious. I then boarded the plane and we set on the runway for forty minutes before takeoff. The flight was uneventful and we landed a few minutes early (10 hours and 18 minute flight) at the SFO airport. I cleared immigration without incident, retrieved my two bags from the carousel, and then proceeded to clear customs. For the very first time in all of my travel, customs stopped me to inspect my bags. It turned out to be a minor inconvenience.
I then boarded the plane for TUS and texted Jonathan to let him know I was on my way home. He texted back, “Tucson or Phoenix” and then I called Shelli and she said she was headed to Phoenix as soon as visitation was over. A simple text – it sure averted a disaster. So I am home and it feels great to be back in Tucson.
So… today (Saturday) will have 37 hours in it instead of 24 hours. One can definitely accomplish much in a longer day! The trip to China was great, as always. It is amazing to see other families serving the Lord in China and to see so many Chinese Christian families. Now that I’m back I will try once again to upload a few photos from my trip.
My blog has been blocked here in China so I am going to type quickly before it goes back down. It is actually around 23:45 on a Friday night here in Beijing. I just finished a four hour dinner meeting with three of the supported families here in Beijing.
A couple new adventures have happened outside of the scheduled events. Everything we do is by taxi cab, so I have been in a couple hundred taxi cab rides in all of my trips in China. Yesterday the taxi cab driver missed the turn to get to the hotel – so instead of going to the next exit and navigating his way back to the hotel, he does a u-turn and goes against the expressway traffic back to the exit! People were blowing their horns and flashing their lights. I was ducking for cover! First time that has ever happened in such a scary manner; only to be followed today with an even more frightening event. I jumped in the taxi this morning and the female taxi driver turns left out of the hotel into oncoming traffic. The highway in front of the hotel is a two-lane highway and it is one way. She is talking on her phone and trying to use her stick shift and going the wrong way. A huge bus is coming toward us blinking his lights and blowing his horn and she does NOT move out of the lane. The bus swerves and misses us by a few feet. She is oblivious to the fact that she almost killed us and that she is going the wrong way on a one way street. I said “STOP!” I open the door and get out of the cab! I still don’t think she has a clue what happened.
The second incident which was interesting to behold and all of my China team members will be able to picture this… I arrive at the Silk Market today for a couple hours of walking around and looking for any deals. As I walk in I see my “best friend” as she calls me. I said that I would like to pick-up an X-large North Face jacket and that I would come back later to pick it up. I didn’t want to carry it around while I was at the market. She said, “OK” and that she would hold it until I came back. I walked around the market for about one hour when I noticed something strange. There were police all over and they were carrying bags and dragging the bags on the ground. They were full of… you guessed it… North Face jackets. They raided the market today and took every North Face jacket they could find. You must understand that there are seven stories and hundreds of vendors!
I go back to see my “best friend” and she said, “You should have come back sooner. Would you like a ‘Jeep’ jacket now?” I guess North Face had complained about all of the knock offs and so the police handled it. So no North Face jacket on today’s trip to the market!
I met a genuine Chinese Christian at the market today. I was looking at her shop and she asked me, “Do you worship Buddha or God?” I said I worship God and asked her who she worshipped. She said she was a believer and that she goes to a house church in her apartment building. Even through broken English she was able to tell me her testimony and it was sweet.
Yesterday I was helping one of our supported families with their daughter’s coat. Her sweater was pulled up inside the arm of her coat. She looked at me and said, “My mommy does it better.” Although, after reading her a Dr. Seuss book, we were pretty good friends.
The Chinese government is now allowing bookstores to sell Bibles. This is a major breakthrough and really eliminates the necessity of ever smuggling Bibles into China. It is now legal for a Chinese person to own a copy of the Word of God and they can even buy a copy at the Three-Self Church or a bookstore. In fact, tomorrow morning I am going to the local bookstore to look at the Bibles on sale and to take a couple of pictures before I begin my journey back home.
I am meeting for breakfast with one of our supported families to discuss camp. There is a real need for workers so I am going to find out the details and see if there is anything that TBT might be able to do to help.
Tomorrow much will happen… breakfast at 7:30, walk to the bookstore, gather up luggage and take taxi to airport, check-in and wait for flight to leave, travel for 18 hours before arriving back in Tucson. I guess it is time to head for bed.
I had a great night of rest; albeit, not very long. I went to bed at 22:00 and woke up at 03:00. Read and studied and then tried to go back to sleep. WOW! It is cold and freezing here. On the Chinese news channel (in English) she reported that this has been the coldest winter in Beijing in over ten years.
The wind is extremely strong. All of the flags are flying straight out. The temperature has been in the single digits and with the wind chill factor added in, I have decided that I am rather wimpy. It is bone-chilling cold. The river next to the hotel is frozen and all other water is frozen on the sidewalks and streets. The traffic has been horrible today (I guess no one else likes this weather either so they are taking a taxi too). However, one of the things that I’ve enjoyed today is that the sky is the clearest that I have every seen in Beijing. The wind has driven the smog out of the city and the sun is brilliant and the sky is a pretty blue.
I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time today with one of our supported families. After supper tonight with this family, I was able to preach for over one hour out of John 4 to their congregation in a house church. There were 21 people in attendance and six of those in attendance were teenage boys. This is quite impressive. One of the teenage young men interpreted for me.
Yes, on the pic uploaded, this is a chicken head that was given to us for consumption. This TBT supported family asked for help with summer camp. Do we have anyone that would be willing to come and help with camp again this year?
Today I began my journey to China for the 13th time. It is so hard to believe that my life has been so dramatically impacted by the Chinese people and those who are serving from America in this country.
I left the hotel at 6:30 a.m. to ride the shuttle to the PHX airport. The shuttle van driver has been doing his job for 27 years. He goes to bed at 7 p.m. and gets up at 1:30 a.m. every day. Now that does not sound attractive at all; but, he loves his job and enjoys meeting lots of new people. We arrived at the US Airways, terminal four, around 6:45 a.m. Once I checked in at the counter I was off to security. There were no problems at all and things actually went quite smoothly. Upon arrival at the gate, everything had gone so smoothly that now I had a 1:45 wait until we left for San Francisco.
We took off in Phoenix on-time and landed in San Francisco around ten minutes early. What a confusing airport! After deboarding I walked through the terminal and had to transfer to the United International Terminal. This meant that I had to clear security again. That took a little longer than it should have taken. Once I cleared security, I was hungry so I began looking for something to eat. Unbelievable! There was not a single fast food place, nor was there a Starbucks in the entire International terminal. There were two or three “no name” restaurants of different ethnic variety but no American restaurants. I found a box of fig newtons at the bookstore.
I boarded the 747 and sat in seat 19A. This was a coach seat but a bulkhead seat so I could stretch out my legs during the flight. This flight left on-time and was scheduled for 12:18. The flight was incredibly smooth. I was able to read much on the flight – there was no personal entertainment system. I walked around three times to keep all of the blood flowing and to prevent cramping or blood clots. I sat next to a college student from Notre Dame. He is studying business; however, what made our conversation enjoyable and interesting is that both of his parents went to the U of A. Both of his parents are Koreans and so he was quite familiar with Tucson. What a small world. He was going to Beijing to study at-large for a semester.
We arrived at the PEK airport twenty minutes early. I stood in line for 45 minutes to clear customs and then took a train ride to baggage claim. My bag was already on the carousel so I grabbed it and headed for the taxi line. My oh my, as soon as I walked out of the airport the temperature plummeted. The cold air felt like a knife slicing through my lungs. It is COLD here in Beijing! The wait was another 30 minutes to get a taxi and standing in the cold was most unenjoyable.
I finally secured a taxi and off we headed for the hotel. Well, it took another hour to get to the hotel because there was a wreck on the expressway. We finally arrived and my room was ready and I was ready for a shower. I was able to contact two of our three supported families. I went to the Red Orange restaurant in the lobby for a bite of hot food. The meal was excellent and while I was eating both Anna (GM) and the head chef came to my table to see me. Word travels fast. Both were very friendly and welcoming to the hotel.
It is 10:00 p.m. and time for bed! It has been a very long time since I have been in bed. A great start to this trip without any problems of any significance. Did I mention, it is freezing cold here.
Yesterday I wrote how sad it was for it to be Jonathan’s last high school soccer game. Today I would like to say how proud I am of the manner in which Jonathan handled himself last night. Jonathan cheered for his team, volunteered to be ball boy, and encouraged his teammates throughout the game.
At the end of the game, Jonathan asked the other team to join him for prayer at midfield. So my last image of Jonathan and his soccer season is this picture. Jonathan, who did not get to play in his last game, leading the prayer with the team that just beat his school. His maturity in this situation was refreshing and uplifting to his dad. Then I witnessed his teammates hugging and slapping Jonathan. It really ended well!
Today is a very sad day for me! I have watched Jonathan play soccer since he was three years old. He joined his first team at the mature age of four. I have missed very few of his games throughout his eighteen years. There have been so many memories – critical goals, injuries, yellow cards, celebrations, championships, losses, travel, unique uniforms, evolution of equipment, etc.
Today is Jonathan’s last game and he will not get to play in this game. Jonathan received two yellow cards in his last game for aggressive play and that has resulted in a one-game penalty, which just happens to be his last game. By the way, there are no sour grapes and complaints about Jonathan’s yellow cards. The first was definitely legit and the second was marginal but not worthy of any serious argument or disagreement. As a father this pains me; however, as a soccer fan I know that it is absolutely the right decision for Coach Coates and Athletic Director, Mr. Tvrdy for Jonathan to sit the bench and cheer for his teammates.
I have been able for twenty years to live vicariously through Benjamin and Jonathan on the soccer field. I think soccer is the greatest game to play (not necessarily watch) in this entire world. Both of my sons have provided terrific memories.
I am proud of Jonathan, in particular, for his effort this year. His team is young and have been trounced repeatedly with embarrassing scores; yet, the team has held their head high. Our 2-A school has played 4-A and 5-A schools all season. They have been bigger, stronger, and more experienced. In the games that we have competed it has been fun and exciting to watch. The maturation of this team throughout the year has taken place. They will be very good in two years and will provide acceptable competition against schools that we have no business even playing.
However, this year I’ve watched Jonathan also grow as a leader on the field and even down 7-8-9 nothing in a game, never quit. He has played hard all season. There is much DNA that has been left on the different fields with his bloody knees. Even after a couple discouraging thrashings by an opponent, Jonathan was ready to play the next game. I appreciate his character and willingness to fight for his team as the captain. So, as a father, there is sadness today, but I’m so proud of him as a son.
Jonathan, you have provided me so many memories. Thank You!