Table of Contents

1) From Grief to Gratitude

2) Mulled Wine

3) Pre-Heavenly Blessing

4) Hail to the Queen

5) My Wife Loves Snakes

6) Deadly Water

7) Beatrice and Constancia

8) A Birthday Party for Everyone

9) Skinny Dippin' in the Indian Ocean



1) From Grief to Gratitude

Marie’s Talk to the Sunday School Group—January 13, 2013


It has been over two years since Mike went to be with the Lord and I have not publicly reported how my life is without Mike at my side.  This Sunday school class was the last place Mike went publicly before he went to the hospital for surgery.  That was Sunday, September 12, 2010.  The respirator he was on made it impossible for him to speak.  So he was never able to speak again until he went to Heaven. 


At this time in my life, I am 73, living by myself, overcoming emotional trauma, and working hard to accomplish a job inspired by Mike.  I have observed myself traveling a seemingly long and difficult road from my temporal living conditions in this world to that Celestial City to be with Jesus and Mike.  My grief has not gone away, but has mainly turned into gratitude.  Every memory, every picture/item in my home reminds me of Mike, but instead of being downcast with grief, I have seen myself full and overflowing with gratitude that God gave him to me for 52 years.  The catastrophe of having to enter an empty house upon returning home, spending the evening hours in solace, has, as the Holy Spirit ministers to me, turned to contentment.  Every thought and memory that with raw grief brought distress and despair, now brings joy and hope and looking for Jesus to return soon or to take me home.  That is now my glorious obsession.


The last three months of Mike’s life was spent in the critical care unit at the UW and the rehabilitation hospital by the airport.  I was sure the Lord would heal him until the last month, when reality set in.  Mike has cheated death many times in the past.  I was there and witnessed it first hand.  In fact, when we first went to Africa, a village pastor noting Mike’s physical condition, laid hands on Mike and prayed over him the prayer of Isaiah given for King Hezekiah.  That was to extend his life by 15 years.     


Isaiah 38:1-5  In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.  And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, “Thus saith the Lord,’ Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live’”.  Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord and said,” Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart and have done that which is good in thy sight”.  And Hezekiah wept sore.  Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah saying, “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears.  Behold I will add unto thy days fifteen years.’”


Not only was Hezekiah’s life lengthened but God turned the sun dial back ten degrees as a direct sign of His intervention. 

Mike was very unimpressed by any disability he had.  He just said, “If I’m going to be disabled in America, I might as well go to Africa and be disabled there doing God’s work.”  He changed hundreds of people’s lives, starting with Charles Lwanga, a little eight-year old boy who hobbled into one of my demonstration classes at Deliverance Church in Kampala.  Charles came in on one working leg with a five-foot tall hunk of steel which he used to balance himself.  It looked like a piece of a bed frame.  After a relatively simple operation, the doctor was able to put him into a leg brace and then gave him crutches to walk upright.  A year later when we came to see his progress, his mother greeted us at our car, fell to her knees with tears streaming down her face, saying, “I used to carry Charles on my back going to school.  Now he walks with his friends.”

That was 1999 and the beginning of great things for the disabaled in Uganda.

Because of our pastor Joseph Banji’s 3 year old son having cancerous blastomas in his eyes, the surgeon had to remove his eyes.  Before Timothy’s surgery, Mike was so upset about the finality of this, that he called a local pediatric eye surgeon here in Bellevue, and asked him to call the doctor in Kampala, to see if this was absolutely necessary.  Mike picked this doctor out of the phone book—we did not even know him.  But the doctor followed through with our request and asked for an explanation from the African eye surgeon.  Mike was very gratified when the Bellevue doctor explained all of the details and necessity of the upcoming surgery on Timothy.  Timothy had his surgery and today he is a big boy who can read Braille very well, thanks to his JaJa Mike.  Immediately after that, Mike designed and opened a school for the blind with his friend, Francis Kumahanda, as head master.  It has been in operation now for almost a decade.  Many blind children attend and learn to read and write in braille so that they can be productive citizens in their community.  Mike named the school after his blind friend, Ken Baxter.  The sign for the school stands proudly on Entebbe Road, stating, “The Ken Baxter School for the Blind, Sure Prospects Institute.”

Today, if you want to see the students from this school, you can go to our website, and click on Memorial Service Uganda.  The little girl, Evelyn, who is reading braille from the book of Revelation, was, along with Timothy Banji, the first students at that school.

Every Christmas, Mike supplied funds through AVM for our dear friends, Margaret and Aloysius Kiiza to purchase cows to butcher for a gigantic Christmas party for the disabled in Kabale District.  Kabale Village is in the southwest corner of Uganda, right next to Rwanda.  Mike’s dearest friend Emmanuel Rutakyangwera who was severly disabled himself, developed a program for this District of Kabale to contact and help each disabled person to receive treatment.  Emmanuel and Mike worked through the government and our friends, the Kiizas.  Shortly thereafter, Emmanuel was killed in a head on car crash, leaving his wife and five children.  Aloysius reported to me that after Emmanuel’s death, when Mike came to visit, two men helped Mike to walk up a steep hill to Emmanuel’s grave.  While there, Mike sat with Emmanuel’s children and told them about how great their father was and that he is now safely in Heaven with Jesus.  And then Mike patted the gravestone and said, “Brother, I’ll be seeing you soon.”    Mike went to join his friend just one year later.


So, in tribute to Emmanuel, Mike planted a flag pole with a monument of tribute to Emmanuel for his work with the disabled people of Uganda.  Mike traveled many times to Kabale without me.  Where was I?  I stayed behind in Kampala so I wouldn’t have to suffer the terrible drive on treacherous roads.  It never stopped Mike.  Mike had a very special relationship with the disabled of Kabale District.   He loved them and they loved him.  At Kaiiza’s church, he would even dance with them.  This has been captured on video.  Every Christmas, Mike would help the Kaiizas to give a Christmas party for the disabled.  From miles around, a van would pick up the guests and bring them to the church where they would celebrate on Christmas Day. 



Mike would assist the Kaiizas in purchasing enough cows to butcher for the Christmas feast.  The first year there were about 400 people who attended.  Over the years, it has grown to be 4,000.  Last year when the 4,000 came, they were fed and heard the good news of Jesus’ love for them.


Based on the verse in Luke 14: 12-14, Jesus said, “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, not thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, not thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee.  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” 


Today in heaven, Emmanuel and Mike, best and beloved friends on this earth, are dancing and jumping in heaven, praise God.


Mike was able to start a school for the deaf also.  Many children in Africa become deaf from using a medication called quinine which is used to mitigate the effects of malaria.  The treatment is effective but occasionally leaves the child with no hearing.  The school for the deaf has wonderful teachers that help the children to learn signing and lip reading so that they can become independent and positive contributors to their own communities despite their disabilities.




To explain how I was able to graduate from grief to gratitude, I need to go back in my life to tell you about a legacy left by my mother before she died.  I was 10 years old when my oldest brother, Frank, told me she would not live very long.  It was 1951.  The last year of my mother’s life, as I sat by her side, watching her waste away, she used the time to prepare for my future.  My father died when I was four and my mother survived as a strong Christian woman by operating her own flower shop.  Her competitors in the business soon became her best friends.  My mother’s shop was at Admiral Way and Alice Nielsen’s shop was at the West Seattle junction.  Alice Nielsen, of Nielsen Florists and Olga Hewett, of Olga Hewett Florists, were the best of friends.    


In that last year of my mother’s life, she brought together the five women who were her best friends and who I called “auntie”.  That would be Olive McDougall, Katherine Cheadle, Marjorie Cramer, Esther Blomquist, Irene Forsythe, and Wanda Soelter.  She asked them to mentor me until I was 18 and old enough to go to college.  Out of that arrangement, I was accountable each Sunday to report to my pastor’s wife, Irene Forsythe, who asked me about my week, listened to my memorized scripture, assigned new passages of scripture for me to memorize, prayed with me, advised me and then sent me on my way until the next Sunday.  From the ages of 11 until 18 Irene Forsythe, without fail, assigned new passages for me to learn.  This scripture put into my heart at an early age, is what sustained me through the last two years since Mike died, not to speak of many times in my life where I needed God’s Word to direct my path and teach me.


When I was 12 years old and had just lost my last parent, the Lord, through my new mentor, gave me my first verse to memorize:


Psalm 27:10  When my mother and my father forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.


When Mike and I first met those 50 Ugandan orphans that we helped Pastor Paul rescue, this is the verse I gave them.  I told them I understood how they felt because I was also an orphan in my youth.  As a young teenage girl, I clung to this verse and all the other ones sent my way.


The death of one you love is like a tsunami.  It floods, overflows and engulfs your being until you can barely breathe.  Then, in its retreat, it rips out all of the color, music and joy within you.  It is only by the grace of God and the constant ministering of the Holy Spirit that keeps one from going under. 


In the midst of this confusion, it felt as if my soul had been fractured.  But I was very aware of one obvious force in my life.  Every night when I went to bed and closed down my day, I said to myself, “Why am I so content right now?”  I Tim. 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.  Of course my contentment came from my new husband, the Creator of the Universe.  He was the one who promised to be my new provider, companion, and supplier of everything I needed.  Isa. 54:4 Remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.  Your Maker is your husband.  Lord Almighty is His name.


So, after Mike died and I wanted to die, I knew from the Scriptures to “Choose Life.”  Many friends from Westminster Chapel helped me through this situation.  At no time was I suicidal. 


So the way I grew out of my despair was to intentionally renew my mind and adapt to the realities of my new life.  Every time I entered the empty house, I said to myself, “Mike is not here anymore.  This is an empty house.  This is your new life and new reality.  Live with it.”


I wanted an intimate, constant relationship with Jesus.  I did this by putting His Word in my life.  2 Cor. 10:5 showed me how to do it right, Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God.  And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 


Daily as I affirmed God’s promises, I reminded myself of the new reality and said to myself, “You can do it with grace with God’s help.”  So I did eight things:


1) First I read through the Bible as Mike did all of the time.  He became my model for how to serve God.


2) I boldly proclaimed God’s promises by posting verses everywhere around me.  I always did this in my classroom, in Africa, and in my home today.  As the ancient Israelites did, I even posted it on my gates, “Jesus is Lord of all.”


3) I diligently renewed my memorization program, this time being careful to attach the reference.


4) I meditated and ruminated on God’s Word and promises day and night.


5) I increased my tithe out of obedience.


6) I asked God to help me improve my prayer life.  For a person with ADD it is difficult for me to concentrate.  So I came up with this plan, which helps me a lot.  Using the acronym, ACTS, I made a page for each topic of prayer.  “A” declares Adoration and praise, the “C” is for Confession, “T” is for Thanksgiving, and “S” is for Supplication.  On each page I write down and elaborate details of topics for prayer, the date, comments, and results.


7) I tried to fast but was not very successful.  Then I read about Isaiah’s fast in Isa. 58:6-8.  Is not this the fast that I have chosen?  To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?


Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry?  And that thou bring the poor that are cast out of the house?  When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him?


Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.


8) For one year I attended Westminster Chapel’s Celebrate Recovery program where I met great women whom I love.


Now that Mike was not by my side, I asked God a most important question, “What would You have me to do with the ministry in Africa?  I said, “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”  He said, “Go to Africa.”  So I interpreted that as meaning all of Africa--the entire continent.  The first thing I did was to pray for an airplane and pilot.  He gave me MAF and Randy Prosise. 


Our first trip into D.R. Congo was, in human eyes, nearly disastrous.  My team of pastors almost got killed by rebels.  The people group to whom they were ministering, lived on top of Nyirangongo Volcano that last erupted in 1970.  There was no native vegetation for a radius of 300 kilometers.  Why do they live there?  Why don’t they move?  Where do they get water and grow crops?  I don’t understand.  But the response was positive .  They wanted Bibles and I am in the process of arranging for MAF to take some cases of Bibles to them.  Praise God.


Every day I am surrounded by my radio friends of David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, Ravi Zacharius and others.  They encourages me greatly.  My friends also encourage me.  More than once, Marilyn has had to lift me up so I can think straight, telling me just how Mike would think of me abandoning my earthly work so I can go to heaven to be with him.  Ann Redding has been coming to my house every Wednesday morning to be my emanuensus.  As I dictated stories to her about Africa, she would type them on my computer.  She wanted me to put them in a book.  They are on my website—not all of them, but some.  We are still working on that.  She started the day after Mike’s Bellevue service on December 27th, 2010 and has come every week since, barring vacations and travel.


Ivan and Loi Lumala helped me grieve Mike’s loss and get my focus on AVM.  Lauren Kebre Welch, a former student I had in 2nd grade, contacted me right around Mike’s death.  She contacted me through Tim’s music website.  She wanted to let me know that I was the first person in her life who told her about God when she was in my 2nd grade classroom.  I love that girl.  She is an inspiration to me.  You can see God has turned me around.  I still want to be with Mike.  I miss him dreadfully, but God has focused me on His work. 


And now I want to talk about Project Michael’s Heart.  This is my way of honoring Mike’s memory and following his passions to be an obedient servant.  That passion was to help disabled people to “get out of the dirt.” That’s what Mike would say whenever he saw someone crawling on the ground because of their inability to walk.  Once in Kitgum, Mike saw a crippled man crawling in the dirt, stopped the car and had the strong men in the back seat pick him up and put him in the car and brought him to lunch where he was their honored guest.  Mike’s other passion was also to get the scriptures into the hands of all Africans.  So I planned a program at Westminster Chapel which I called SEND THE LIGHT.  I started it last year and showed it to my friends at Westminster Chapel during the month of December, 2012.  There are 54 nations in Africa.  In order to get Bibles into all 54 nations, I have to make a contact with 54 passionate, Christian pastors, workers on the ground in each country.  This contact has to be a person of high integrity with similar passions as Mike had for spreading the Word. 


Many of the contacts come from people Mike and I met over the last 15 years working in Africa.  Little by little I was able to make 27 contacts.  I work on this project every day.  I don’t send Bibles or ship Bibles, but rather I send funds by Western Union for the contact person to purchase them locally in the Bible house.  They can purchase the Bibles printed there in the local language and distribute the Bibles in their own ministry.  I remind them that that makes us partners in the Lord’s work.  I’ve asked them to take the Bibles to the corners of their nation.  The capital cities and large cities are fairly well evangelized.  I want to get to the remote villages.  That’s why we named our ministry “Africa Village Ministries.”


I purchase the wire at Fred Meyer in Issaquah.  I give them the recipient’s name and country.  I provide for them a personal question and answer.  “What is our inspiration?  Answer:  Project Michael’s Heart.”  Western Union gives me a nine-digit secret coded number.  I then e-mail all of that information to the recipient.  They go to the local Western Union office which I’ve discovered is as ubiquitous as Coca Cola and Jesus.  They give the question and answer and numerical code, collect the money, then proceed to the Bible house to purchase the Bibles. 


As of today, May 2013, I have about 35 contacts out of the 54 nations of Africa.  But one memorable night I hit the jackpot.  I received all of the nations except for three from a group I discovered through the MISSIONS FRONTIER MAGAZINE, from the World Center for Missions in Pasadena California.  My goal is to have all of my contacts tied down by December 31, 2013. 


So, if I send funds to each of the 54 nations in Africa, the question is:  How can a few cases of Bibles impact such large nations?  I claim the principal of the loaves and the fishes and Isaiah 55:10-11:


For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:


So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth.  It shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.


When I think about Mike and his passion to spread the Word, this thought from Isaiah 52:7 comes to mind,


How Beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace and salvation.


Mike always said, “God took my feet and then He said, ‘Go to Africa--go to the world.’”


Praise God.


P.S.  A very surprising and unexpected  result has come out of my connections with the local Africans to whom I send funds for Bibles.  Over the past two years, what started out as a one-on-one partnership with local Africans to distribute Bibles, has grown to be a very dear friendship with them.  Frequent e-mails and telephone calls have become important and encouraging parts of my daily life.  This has developed into a win-win or blessed-blessed relationship.  Praise God!



2) Mulled Wine: A story of friendship

In the British Isles and extended parts of the Commonwealth, there are many Christmas traditions that have held strong for centuries.  All of the partying and celebration that accompany the Christmas season is highly valued.  The accoutrements for this Christmas time included mulled wine.  You can read about it in historical novels, making reference to the royal family and their seasonal celebrations.  It accompanied the dancing, partying, eating, singing, gift giving and every other aspect of the holiday.


Mulled wine is basically a wine with ingredients added to it that make it festive:   ingredients such as spices, sugar, fruit juices, and herbs.  It is saved as a special drink for Christmastime.  From medieval days to contemporary times, mulled wine is enjoyed by the English and Europeans.  Even in this modern day, one can go to a British market such as Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer, Co-op or any small store to purchase mulled wine. 


There was one trip home from Africa in the month of November where we stopped to visit our friends, David and Karen Morgan, who lived in Wales.  David insisted on driving the three hour drive from his home in Swansea to Heathrow to pick us up with all of our belongings.    He drove us to their beautiful home in a little village called Mumbles.  Mumbles is located right on the shore of the Bay of Bristol.  On a clear day, when you look across the channel, you can see the southern tip of England. 


It was always a delight to be with the Morgans.  David and Mike had the same intense, warped kind of sense of humor.  Karen owned a flower shop in Swansea and it was fun for Marie to go and work with her in her shop.  It took me back to my childhood when I worked with my mother in her flower shop.  If laughing is good for the soul, then our souls were very healthy when the four of us were together.  It seemed that everything we mentioned or observed had a funny aspect and made us roar in laughter.  It didn’t take much, though, to provoke humor with those two men.  They would tease each other irreverently without reservation.  Marie and Karen would frequently jaunt off to boot sales.  That’s a garage sale in the trunk of your car.  Or Karen would take Marie to all of the charity shops in town and antique stores to look for hats and china.  Once I came home with a bagful of hats.  Mike and David would take long rides to see the countryside, visit historical places and see the sights.  But most of all, Mike loved to hear the Welsh men’s singing groups. 


And so it was on that particular journey home from Africa where we had just worshipped with believers out in the bush in makeshift churches out of twigs and mud, that upon arriving in Mumbles, we were immediately rushed off to the local Christian church.  What a contrast that church with its hand carved panels and majestic pillars was to the mud and twig churches where we had just worshipped in Africa.  I called it “cultural whiplash.”  To sit in that beautiful church that was maybe 300 years old, had experienced the great Welsh revival, and served as the church home for thousands of faithful Welsh Christians over the centuries, had the same spirit as the mud and twig hut in Africa.  We were struck by the similarity between the two experiences.


Going to the Morgans’ house was such a treat because it was the first time we could wash our clothes in a machine and bathe and shower like at home.  One of our favorite activities to do together was to go to the markets and do local shopping.  David would push Mike in his wheelchair and Karen and I would come along beside.  One day we did some food shopping at Sainsburys.  The store was decorated for Christmas, Christmas carols were playing and festivity was in the air.  At the end of one of the long shelves that held the displays was a beautiful arrangement of mulled wine.  Dozens and dozens of bottles stacked up to entice the buyer.  As Mike was in his electric buggy, provided by the store, he happened to make a short left hand turn at the end of the display and caught the corner of the buggy on the table of mulled wine.  All four of us were in different parts of the store at the time.  But when I heard that crash, I instinctively knew it had something to do with Mike Meaney and I came running to find him.  Sure enough, when he cut the corner, he dismantled all of the bottles of mulled wine.  Most of them survived the fall, but about half a dozen broke and there was mulled wine everywhere.  To make matters worse, this wine display was in the front of the store where no one could miss it.  The smell was fruity and fragrant and delicious.  Of course, this is exactly the kind of thing David Morgan loved to see Mike do.  It put Mike in such a predicament that David Morgan could tease Mike for the rest of his life and get away with it.


When I found Mike, he was bent over in his buggy, pointing to his legs and talking to the store manager.  He was effusively apologizing with his other arm waving up and down as if that would explain the situation better.  Because the English people are what I call “the most civilized people in the whole world,” the store manager was so gracious and made Mike feel like it was the store’s fault.  Mike said, “Oh, I will pay for every broken bottle and the cost to clean this up.”  And he meant it.  The store manager said, “Absolutely not.”  The story does not end here.  When we arrived home from the shopping trip, David Morgan very graciously helped Mike out of his two prosthetic legs back in the utility washroom.  There David gently poured the mulled wine out of Mike’s leg into the utility sink, carefully swishing out the sticky, sugary, fruity, mulled wine.  He washed them out delicately and set them out to dry overnight.


This incident was enough to cause laughter between Mike and David for the rest of Mike’s life.  David would always provoke him by saying things like, “What will you do to top that?”   Even today as I think about it now, you can be sure that the first subject of their conversation when they meet in Heaven will be about that mulled wine.  Fortunately, those legs will be history for Mike in Heaven.



3) Pre-Heavenly Blessing

  Marie and Desta at Westminister Chapel 

July 29, 2013


Psalm 37:4  Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.


This verse has been hidden in my heart ever since childhood when I first learned it.  I have lived its truths but I only realized its true meaning experientially on Sunday, July 28, 2013.  Every Saturday night I watch Dr. Charles Stanley’s TV show from Atlanta.  In this particular sermon, he preached on the promises of God, saving this very verse about delighting yourself in the Lord for his last point.  It was fresh in my heart and mind as I went to sleep that night, repeating it multiple times. 


I asked the Lord to explain to me exactly what it means for me to delight myself in Him.  I felt feeble in responding to this question by stating “delighting God” would be focusing on Him, His promises, His faithfulness, His mercies, and His grace.  Then I asked myself, “Do I do this?  Do I delight myself in the Lord every day, 24/7?”  I’m not sure of the answer.  I know I want to but I can’t confirm in my heart that I actually delight in the Lord.  So then, it was natural that I ask myself the question, “What is the desire of my heart?”   I discovered that my desire is to delight the Lord, but I couldn’t say exactly how that would be manifested.


During my lifetime, it has always been easy for me to see what I wanted/desired.   I wanted a husband, a family, a home, a career, a beautiful place to live, a vibrant, convivial life with friends and family.  That much I knew and all of that I was blessed to experience.  God has blessed me with everything I ever needed.  And besides that, He even gave me everything I wanted.  He provided good health and energy for me to fulfill my career and retire with a great sense of joy and blessing in my work.  That was a gift.  He provided abundance of family experiences and interactions with friends.  We laughed a lot, we worked hard, we entertained constantly, and as a couple, Mike and I lived out everything we dreamed.


Today, two ½ years after Mike’s death, God has fulfilled our vision of reaching all 54 nations of the continent of Africa with the Word of God.  Through many good friends and contacts, He has given me the continent of Africa by which AVM can send funds for 54 individuals—one person per country—to purchase Bibles and distribute to their fellow countrymen.  This ministry we call “Project Michael’s Heart” and God has faithfully provided, in spite of Mike’s death and my stroke earlier this year.   Phase I (to reach all 54 nations by December 31, 2013) was realized by July 4,2013.  Phase II is to make sure that all 54 nations have had at least one wire transfer and to raise each wire from $300 to $400. 


And so, as I was falling asleep on Saturday night, my prayer was “Lord, I don’t even know what I desire anymore.  You have blessed me with everything.  Would you please reveal it to me?”  Well, did I ever find out!!  The next morning when I went to church, I had the surprise of my life and the Lord showed me what I desired. 


In my attempt to reach the continent of Africa with the Word of God, it has been my blessing to be able to communicate with over 54 individual Christian workers there.  For the past two years, through my contacts in Africa, my project to honor Mike’s memory through “Project Michael’s Heart”.   On July 4, 2013, the Lord had provided the 54th contact for this project.  Very old and dear friends, Howard and Joanne Brandt, were instrumental in connecting me to three strategic countries on the horn of Africa:  Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.  Howie gave me the name of Dr. Desta L., his dear friend and co-worker in Ethiopia.  Dr. Desta has in his lifetime, founded and carried through a vibrant ministry in his country.  His goal is to win his countrymen to the Lord so that they can become missionaries, not only to Ethiopia, but to other parts of the world.  His inspiring message of a very intense life of spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and fasting, has accrued to his spiritual harvest hundreds of thousands of believers in his home country. 


Dr. Desta and I began communicating by e-mail about six months ago, back in February, 2013.  When I asked him to partner with me in the distribution of Bibles, he responded in a very positive and uplifting letter.  The first wire transfer I made to him was used to purchase Bibles for orthodox Christians.  He related the story to me of how 12 Imams had become Christians and are now missionaries to their own people.  This letter to me regarding the Imams and his kind words regarding AVM ministry, was so encouraging that I determined in my heart that I would very quickly send him more money to purchase more Bibles.  His letter was so meaningful to me that I copied it and carry it with me in my Bible.  This is the letter that Desta wrote to me on July 2, 2013:


                After I received the money we bought and gave Bibles to the orthodox converts who are still in orthodox churches, but converted Christians.  I got the report that it became an incredible blessing to those who got the Bibles after we distributed them.  We gave these Bibles to the Orthodox Background Believers, who are very much hungry for the Bibles, and God is arising amazing awakening among the orthodox churches.  Currently many priests are approaching AIPM for the help to spread the revival among them, and many requests are coming so that many of them are seeking Bibles.

                Also another group is Muslim Imams who are coming to Christ and we have 12 of them as missionaries to the mosques where they have been working before as Imams of the church.  They are also looking for many Bibles.

                I am now convinced that the Lord brought you to us at the right time of such time where the hunger for the Word of God is incredible.  So I really appreciate your continued involvement of this blessed ministry and we are very much happy to do the work here.

                Dear Howie, thank you so much for connecting us.


My response to him was:


                Dear Brother Desta:  Thank you for such an encouraging report.  It is just the kind of news I need to hear to encourage me to complete the vision God has implanted in my heart.  It is my joy and pleasure to be able by God’s sure provision to send you more funds this next week.  Be on the look out on your computer. 

And I thank Howie so much for connecting us all as partners to be doing God’s work on this earth.  For sure we will meet in heaven.  I will introduce you and all the redeemed brothers and sisters in Ethiopia to my beloved Michael. 

Praying and praising for your good works for Jesus.  Lovingly, Marie

P.S.  Just yesterday I was able to complete all the connections I need now to send funds to every nation on the continent of Africa.  Praise God.


When I recently e-mailed Desta to collect my wire transfer, he informed me that he was currently in the USA and to send the wire to another gentleman named Moses, which is what I did.  It never connected in my brain that Desta could possibly be in the Seattle area.


And so, you can imagine my surprise when I walked early into a near empty sanctuary at Westminster Chapel and looked over to see in the front row, Howard Brant and an African gentleman.  In my heart and head I am thinking, “It couldn’t be, could it?”  I got up and walked over to the two men.  They were sitting in the front pew.  I walked up in front of the African gentleman and said, “By any chance, could you be Desta L.?”  When I said his name, he stood up.  I said, “My name is Marie Meaney.  I am the person who wires you the funds to purchase Bibles for Ethiopia.”  At first, he didn’t understand who I was and then Howard stood up and explained to him the connection.  Big grins broke out on all of our faces and we threw our arms around each other.  He then knew that I was the woman with whom he has exchanged e-mails to for the last six months from the other side of the world.


  The joy that flooded my heart was so great that I can hardly give words to explain it.  My first thought was, as I looked at him eye to eye, “This is going to be what Heaven is like when we are reunited with people we haven’t seen for a long time.”  But today I was living that heavenly joy right here with my brother, Desta L.  I was almost speechless.  Need I say more?  That was the desire of my heart that I was not able to articulate 12 hours before.  That was the answer to my prayer when I asked the Lord to show me, “What is the desire of my heart?”  It was to meet Desta!   I told him that meeting him was the best thing that has happened to me in recent years.  My heart was overflowing with happiness and joy.


 Desta and Howie each gave sermons that morning, each telling of their work in Ethiopia.  That very morning, Desta showed pictures of those 12 Imams and a certain missionary who reaches into very spiritually dark places.  I asked Desta if he would tell me that man’s name so that I could pray for him by name.  His name is Thomas.


So, now my question is, “What are the other desires of my heart?”  I am sure He will show me.  Praise God.




4)  Hail to the Queen: A short silly story

August 12 2013 

Every two years all the leaders of the nations of the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom meet around the world in different cities of different Commonwealth members.  Well known countries in this elite membership would be Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and hundreds of smaller countries once or now considered to be part of the great British Empire.

Uganda, where Mike and I work was very close with the British, in the past and today.  In Victorian days, the King of Buganda invited Queen Victoria to send to their country missionaries, doctors, horticulturists, teachers, pastors and anyone else who could help them in their development. I have been told that Uganda was never a colony since the British were invited, not colonizers.  As they were invited, many thousands of people went to Uganda to serve the people and help them to enrich their communities.  Shortly thereafter many Christians were rounded up and killed.  This incident plays an important event even today as signs are placed in private and public venues indicating the “Martyrs of the Church”, giving honor posthumously to the English.

In October 1967 Uganda declared their independence from Britain.  They are today an independent and sovereign nation, but gladly aligning themselves with their British friends.

When we arrived in Uganda in the year 2006 we immediately saw that things were happening that was very unusual.  There were people all along the main roads, especially Entebbe Road, cleaning, digging, planting and improving it so that it looked pristine and beautiful to the eye of the motorist.  When you see 20 miles along the road that there is intense activity like that you ask yourself, or better yet, a Ugandan, “What is going on?”  This would not be such a big deal except that in the past history of driving on this main road connecting the Entebbe International Airport with the capital city of Kampala, there was always very noticeable piles of garbage, and plastic bottles and bags and other detritus strewn along the road.  You knew there was so EPA or Martha Stewart when as you were following up a small hill a large truck would be  belching out thick black smoke.  The air was not as thick as Beijing, but almost as bad.

So when our Ugandan friends told us that the country was preparing for the Queen to visit in November of 2007, there was a sense of expectancy of celebration, joy and national pride in being chosen to be the host city for this occasion known as CHOGM , i.e. Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.  For well over one year there was great activity in painting buildings, scrubbing walls, digging and planting the favorite CHOGM bush which looked to me like a bright green boxwood type plant.  There were literally thousands of them stored in special places waiting to be transplanted into their assigned home along the main roads of Kampala and environs.  All this activity only occurred on the main roads.  As soon as you turned off into a side road it was the same old sight, that of litter, strewn garbage and discarded car parts and skeletal hulls of vehicles discarded from years past.

Everywhere you went the talk was “The Queen is coming for CHOGM.”  Everyone was in the spirit of making everything spic and span.  When we arrived again in November of 2007, it was Marilyn Baxter, Laurena Huber and me conveniently there to unload the container we had shipped.  I was still recovering from broken spine and pelvis from when I fell on my last trip.  I was not able to walk without a cane or holding on to someone.  That was the year British Air had no wheelchairs available at Heathrow Airport and Laurena had to push me on a luggage trolley while Marilyn distracted unbelieving watchers and security workers who every few minutes stated to us that “You cannot use those trolleys for carrying people, sorry maam”. Must I explain how we were masters of deceit, or mistresses of deceit.  We had ways of getting around all the problem areas.

On one day just the week preceding the Queen’s arrival when the air was filled with anticipation, we took the van into town with our ever present faithful driver John Ssekabira at the wheel.  I sat in the passenger’s front seat and the 2 women sat in the back.  Mike was not with us on that trip as it was specifically meant just for the unloading and unpacking of the thousands of boxes on the container.  Driving toward town we were forced to slow down and stop abruptly since there had been flooding and the traffic was backed up.  As we sat in the car looking out at the masses of people a very funny thing happened.  A small group I waved to waved back to me and shouted out, “It’s the Queen! It’s the Queen”.  Not knowing what they were saying I just continued to smile and wave and the crowd began to grow and shouted out in their Lugandan language, “It’s the Queen”.  John, our Ugandan driver, who was idling the vehicle proceeded to laugh saying, “They think you’re the Queen”.  So I changed over to my queenly wave and continued to smile and encourage them.  How naughty of me, but funny and fun.

Well I don’t know if the people ever discovered the truth.  It must have been a great disappointment if they did.   But I enjoyed it and so did they.  Laurena and Marilyn and I still laugh about it.  What does that make them?  Well, the Ladies in Waiting, of course.   


My Wife Loves Snakes, 2001


(A short distance out from this shore is Robin's Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was detained for over two decades.)


Whenever we travel to a very special spot in the world, Mike and I love to gather some kind of momento to bring home for remembrance of that moment in time. 


We were at the very tip of the Continent of Africa, in Cape Town and I really needed some sea shells from the beach there.  Mike parked the car so he would have a full view of the scene.  While I was searching for momentos on the beach, a van drove up to Mike’s car.  On the side panel was posted, “Reptiles in transit.”  Mike struck up a conversation with the driver/owner, something as natural to him as breathing.  He asked, “Oh, would you please wrap some of your snakes around you or hang them out the window?  That’s my wife down there bending over.  She loves snakes.  She will be back up here in a minute and I want to surprise her.” 


The truth is that I am a herpaphobic.  Need I write more?    



A Story for My Young Students 

In the Western world when we get up to bathe and eat, we just turn on the water spigot and know that it will give us pure, clean, sparkling, clear water.  This can only happen because we live in a community that realizes the value of clean water.  We have a water department and they have workers who are always checking on our water supply to make sure that it is pure and free of any bad elements.  In our culture, having easy access to pure water is normal and expected.  It is not like this in most parts of the world.  In the countries of Africa where we work, clean water is not always available.  For non-Africans, drinking water is never available except by purchasing it in a bottle.

The people who live in Africa make sure that any water they drink is first of all boiled for 20 minutes to kill all bacteria.  They can also add chlorine or other anti-bacterial chemicals to purify the water.  If a person does not realize that there are deadly microbes freely flowing in natural bodies of water like lakes, streams, rivers, and wells, they would be apt to drink this water without giving any notice to the fact that it is full of deadly microbes.  That’s why education is so important.  You and I know because we were taught by our parents and our teachers to put things into our mouth that are only clean and pure.

For many centuries, before the invention of the microscope, when people were not knowledgeable about germs, they just drank any water they could find.  The consequences were that hundreds of thousands of people died from simply taking a drink of water.  Imagine how frustrating it would be to have your children and family members dying and you don’t know why.  The little boy in this picture is the child of a family who now has fortunately learned that you can’t drink the water straight out of the stream.  Look what else is in the stream.  There is a pig and probably more animals upstream.  Many people have also bathed and washed their clothes in that stream and it is full of soap residues as well—yuk.

So now, the mom and dad of the little boy who is screaming have just told the little boy, “Get out of the stream NOW and DON’T let the water get into your mouth.”  The truth is it shouldn’t even be touching his skin either.  If he has any cuts or broken skin, the microbes can enter into his body.  This family has already lost five children to this deadly stream.  So they have to take him out of the stream very quickly before he tries to drink it.  What can they do so that he can drink the water?  They can boil the water or they can go find a water pump not so nearby that the government has installed for them to obtain clean water from deep wells.  They carry the clean water in jeri cans.  Forty pounds for five gallon can and eight pounds for a one gallon can the children can carry.

Way down deep, underneath the surface of the earth, God has provided clean water in the water tables.  In order to get to those water tables, you have to install a pump or dig deep holes and drop a bucket down in.  This is a lot of work and can cost a lot of money.  And so here is an opportunity all set up and ready to go, where caring people can come in and help the villagers so they can survive.  This is the avenue by which many Christian ministries enter a remoter village to drill wells and then tell the people about the water that when they drink it, they will never thirst again.  Of course we know that water comes from God’s word and from His redemptive plans for us human beings.   Jesus said, “If you drink from My water, you will never thirst again.”

When Mike and I made our first trip to Africa in 1998, someone purchased a water filter for us from REI.  The story was that any water, regardless of how filthy it is, put through this filter, would produce potable or drink worthy water.  We carried it around with us the whole trip but never used it for two reasons.  First of all, we wouldn’t trust it, and second of all, we only drank bottled water which was available everywhere.  It didn’t take long for me to realize this truth about African water because one day when I went to my teacher’s home for lunch and she served fruit juice, I asked her if the water had been boiled that she used to make the juice.  She said, “Yes.”  But evidently it was not boiled enough because I became extremely sick from drinking it.  It took three days of antibiotic treatment to fight the microbes in my system and make me well again.  Where did I get the antibiotics?  We never travel to Africa without carrying a full pharmaceutical supply for every potential illness, from pink eye to food poisoning, to traumatic injury.  Having this medicine chest has not only kept us alive, but has helped many indigenous people we met.

Being able to help people with clean water and simple medicines makes it easier to share with them about how God loves them.





From Charisma Magazine, 1997:  Loving the Helpless


Caring for children whom nobody wants is a privilege for Heidi Baker.


Mozambique missionary Heidi Baker and her friend Rachel, found Beatrice wandering on a dirt road near the capital city of Maputo.  Flies were matted to the little girl’s bloodshot eyes and deformed face.  Her bloated stomach was a sign that it had filled with worms, and more worms twisted through her toes.


Beatrice looked to be about 10, but she didn’t know how old she was.  Her mother was dead, and her father was a penniless alcoholic who lived in a dilapidated hut.  The little girl had been raped and beaten many times and was wondering through the countryside, trying to survive.


“When I saw Beatrice, I felt this overwhelming love for her,” Heidi says.  “I just saw Jesus when I looked into her eyes.  I remembered that He said, ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of these you do unto Me.’”


Heidi did the unthinkable.  She opened her arms and held the infested little body and told Beatrice that she loved her and that Jesus loved her.  Heidi contracted scabies and lice from holding Beatrice, but she has no regrets. 


“She needed to be touched and held and hugged,” Heidi says.  “She met the Lord the first day.  She cried and was so thrilled to know that Jesus loved her, we loved her, and she wouldn’t have to be on the streets or raped anymore.”


Back in Maputo, where Heidi and Roland Baker run an orphanage, none of the kids would touch Beatrice.  Heidi’s little girl, Christy, told her mom that Jesus wanted Christy to give Beatrice her best dress. 


Heidi washed Beatrice, clothed her with Christy’s dress and Rachel took her to the hospital.  Doctors predicted that she wouldn’t live, but Beatrice defied the odds and left the hospital healed several weeks later. 


Back at the orphanage, Beatrice met another abandoned and severely malnourished child, Constancia, who had been left on the stairs of the orphanage bakery.   Doctors guessed Constancia was about five.


“Constancia was in a terrible state,” Heidi says.  “She didn’t speak and she couldn’t communicate.”


“The Lord told me to just chase her.  I’d chase her and she’d let me catch her.  I saw the Lord’s heart, that He wanted to chase her with His love and hold her in His arms.  I’d chase her and hold her until she fell asleep in my arms.” 


Beatrice understood what it meant to be untouchable, and she took to Constancia, loving and nurturing her.  Still, Constancia would never speak or smile.  One day Heidi was surprise to see Constantia standing in line with 120 other people waiting to be baptized.  Heidi hesitated to baptize a girl who couldn’t speak and might not understand what baptism meant.


She asked Constancia, “Do you really know what you are doing?  Is God speaking to your heart?”  Constancia nodded. 


“I just picked up this frail, broken, beaten little girl and I baptized her, Heidi says.  When she came up from the water, she smiled for the first time in her life.


Constancia received many deliverances when she was baptized.  The same day, she spoke whole sentences and even asked to lead the choir.  Heidi later found out that Constancia had been mute since she saw her parents brutally murdered with machetes before her very eyes. 


Says Heidi, “You know what, they want to be missionaries!”


Marie:  In this picture taken in Mozambique, 1999, Constancia is the child wrapped with Mike’s right arm.  Notice that Constancia’s hair is grown out and beautifully groomed into long braids.  Every other child in the compound is bald.  This is a preventative measure for African children to keep their scalp free from scabies, fungus and worms.  Today, 2013, Constancia is in her mid-twenties and Beatrice is approaching 30.






The Children of Myalirro


After the 17+ children were brought down from the village to live and go to school at the John T. Miller Primary School in Wamala, it was a joy to see them grow physically, spiritually, intellectually.  Marie’s greatest delight was to see 14-year-old  Immaculate go from a non-reader, non-English speaking child to an emerging reader with all the motivations, inspirations and excitement to develop her intellect.  In six weeks time, I was able to teach her English phonics, reading, spelling, writing and speaking English.  I used the same method that I used for 35 years in the classroom.  Because Immaculate was so mature for her 14 years, she was more than ready to learn and make great progress in a short time.  All she needed were the proper materials that began at a lower level and increased gradually, and someone who would love her and teach her these things.


There is probably nothing that gives a teacher more joy than to see her students progressing even more than she expected.  Today Immy is a young woman, very gifted in art and writing.  She loves Jesus and has a beautiful smile on her face.  She was the oldest of all of the children brought down from Myalirro Village.


One thing all of the children from the village shared was the fact that no one had marked their birth date as an important date in the history of the world.  Because their parents and guardians were illiterate, had no calendars available, and most of all, didn’t realize the significance of marking the beginning of life, none of these children had birthdays.  Whether they understood the concept of time, years and months, we don’t know.  But I knew they had to have a special party to celebrate their existence.  And so we made plans to have a birthday celebration.  It just so happened that all of this occurred right around my birthday, June 10, that this is the day we chose for the big celebration.


Helping the children learn the Biblical principles of their own personal worth to God, they learned that even in their mother’s womb, God knew who they were and had a plan for their lives.  The day that I explained to them the concept of the birthday party and the honoring of each one of them individually was a day they will probably never forget.  As usual, in my style of teaching, I wrote on the chalkboard all of the necessary information, the jobs that had to be done, and who would do each  job.  Mike and I decided that for their birthdays we would choose a card for each child out of our store of 30,000 greeting cards from the Papyrus Card Company.  We selected a card for each child that we thought would be fitting.  It if was a get well card or a sympathy card of a “congratulations on your new baby” card, we really didn’t care.  And so we matched each child to their card according to the picture on the card.  We put each child’s name on the front of the card and on the inside we put a crisp and new 10,000 schilling note.  It was the first time they would have their very own money.  Mama Julie would help them decide how to use the money.  The day of the celebration arrived and the classroom was filled with balloons, wrapped gifts, sweets, a birthday cake with candles and a card for each child.  It was easy to see they were all delighted, even the children who were reticent to be showing their happiness like Henry and Simon.  They both had big smiles on their faces.


As each child received their envelope, we explained to them that written on their card was a particular date in time.  The adults had ascertained the approximate age of each child with the help of the local doctor.  This is not difficult to do.  We all know children lose their front teeth at age five and six.  The doctor was able to evaluate their approximate age by their growth development, even though they were malnourished.  And the teachers and I were able to tell by their intellectual development approximately how old they were.


We sang songs.  We danced, we prayed, we praised God and we told funny stories.  Mike had every one of them laughing and I wore my big straw hat with roses all over it to show that I was celebrating them.


All of these children are now young adults.  With God’s help we have equipped them to have aspirations and expectations for their own personal development.  Most of all we taught them of God’s goodness and how they can continue to glorify Him by taking God’s work to the people of their country (see JaJa’s best Christmas surprise).  Joshua still wants to be a pilot.  Immy wants to be a doctor.  Nikuze wants to be a teacher and KamKam probably still wants to be a pick pocket.  He was a little thief.  The trouble was that he was so cute and he found he could get away with anything.


The story of these children continues on.




Skinny Dippin' in the Indian Ocean

Papa Steve Lazar adores his 15 toddlers as if they were his own, because they are his own.  Out of 800 orphans at Zimpeto Compound in Mozambique, these 15 are his special band of  precious babies.

They were all abandoned and "thrown-away" at  the town garbage dump.  The police brought them to Iris Ministries where Heidi and Rolland Baker have established a haven for the lost children of Mozambique.  Papa Steve, in his New Zealand accent yells, "Who wants to go swimming"? (in Portuguese) The children's' Nanny piles all 15 children in the Jeep, with a towel and clean change for each.

At the beach Nanny strips them down to their underpants.  In they go! At the first wave, off come the cold, wet bothersome panties.  Now 15 little brown bottoms are bouncing in the waves.  After swimming there is ice cream cones for all.  Seldom has a restaurant seen such darling and nicely behaved little children.  "Someone must  really love these children for them to be so well-mannered."


Witnessed and recorded by Mike and Marie Meaney,

Maputo, Mozambique, July 2000,


Dr. Marie Meaney