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Where’s Marti? Spring-Summer 2016

Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Awe Star Ministries, mission trips, missions, Uncategorized, WRITE | 0 comments

Dear Friends, Every so often, I take a little time to post my upcoming speaking schedule. I’ve had an exceptionally busy start to 2016, with lots of writing and editing projects, but I haven’t traveled much to speak. That all ends next weekend, although even then, I won’t travel far. Here’s my speaking schedule for the next few months, with a few notes about the specific conference or venue and topics: April 9, 2016: Outreach Prayer workshop, Women’s Retreat, University of South Florida Baptist Collegiate Ministry, held at First Baptist Wahoo, Bushnell, Florida May 11-14, 2016: Colorado Christian Writers Conference, Estes Park, Colorado. I’ll teach an Early Bird Workshop called “The Genuine Article,” but my main role will be serving on the conference staff and ministering through the appointment desk. These are the dates of the actual conference, but my husband (who is also serving on staff) and I will be there May 9-17. June 23-July 11, 2016: Panama Mission Trip with Awe Star Ministries. I serve as Director of Prayer and Publication for this student mission-sending organization but have not traveled with them since 2011. I’ll serve on a 10-day team and then join a 35-day team for another few days. I anticipate serving the students and leadership, writing regular blog updates for both teams, and seeing how God chooses to use me in the cities, jungles, and mountains of Panama. July 17-21, 2016: Montrose Christian Writers Conference, Montrose, Pennsylvania: This is the first time I’ve taught at this respected conference. I’ll present workshops on “Ethics for the Christian Writer,” “Master the Memoir,” and “I Want 2 Write 4 Teens” as well as a morning keynote. August 3-6, 2016: Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference: Faculty assignments have not yet been made for this conference, but I’ll again serve the faculty and conferees via the appointment desk. I expect to be in Philadelphia August 1-9 to help with pre- and post-conference work. I can recommend any and all of these events, and all except the first are open to the public. I’d love to see you there, so please let me know if you plan to attend. Blessings and prayers for you as you look ahead to your upcoming schedule, too.   For His glory,...

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I Bet You Just Laugh All the Time: Tom’s Surprise Party 2016

Posted by on March 12, 2016 in faith, families | 8 comments

Dear Friends, One of the things that’s kept me busy over the past few months has been planning what would hoped would be a wonderful SURPRISE sixtieth birthday party for my husband, Tom. As a part of the party, we asked friends and family to submit stories and memories about him to a special website my son-in-love created. We shared these stories, along with lots of pictures, as a slide presentation at the party and will also turn them into a scrapbook for him. And of course, I had submit something, too. So indulge me in, once again, sharing some up-close-and-personal thoughts. And continued Happy Birthday to my husband–whose real birthday isn’t until March 23. For His glory, Marti “I bet you just laugh all the time.” This line has become a byword between my husband and me because people tell me that so often. After all, when they meet someone as warm, outgoing, and funny as he is, they assume we must have lots of fun at our house. And we do. But, like most families, we’ve also had our share of hard times. The people who tell me I must laugh all the time may not realize that the funny guy they know is also the guy who rocked our son Samuel (born at 21 weeks) to sleep in the arms of Jesus. The guy whose humor has been misinterpreted in sometimes-painful ways. The guy who moved his family across the country for a position that went away. The guy who wondered if he would ever use his creative energies to do more than sell cars. But Tom is also the guy who saw God move heaven and earth to give us our first daughter by adoption and five other children (including the one in heaven) by birth. The guy who started what has become the Pieper missions tradition by taking the first-ever mission team from our New Mexico church to serve at the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home. The guy who kept turtles in his college dorm room (and in every home/yard where we’ve lived since). The guy who has traveled across the country and around the world to preach and play his horn. The guy who cared for two preschool daughters for two months (while still pastoring and preparing two sermons per week) while I was living 150 miles away. The guy who is walking out a calling to do so much more than direct a choir. The guy who’s made mistakes and suffered consequences. The guy who’s experienced grace and freely extends it to others. The guy who was and is there for our kids and me in so many ways. And the guy who loves me more than anyone else. As Tom loves to tell people, when we met back at Ohio State, I didn’t like him much. But when I received my first real letter from him (the one not written on a balloon), I realized he was someone special. Someone who loved God. Someone who cared more about my relationship with Jesus than anyone I had dated in the past. Someone I needed as a friend—and later, so much more. Babe, I am so blessed to have walked these past almost thirty-three years with you. You are my sweetheart, my confidant, my...

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Prayer for Those Who Are Fighting Cancer

Posted by on February 20, 2016 in Pray, prayers | 2 comments

Dear Friends, 2016 has brought its share of good things: meaningful work, fun surprises, sweet family time. But I have noticed, as my prayer list grows, that this still-new year has brought some big burdens. A husband who has left his wife and children after many years together. A longtime employee laid off during a time of family illness. A broken engagement. A young mom whose biopsy came back as malignant. Four young adults and their mother, all diagnosed with the same potentially deadly cancer gene. A friend in a continuing battle with melanoma. A teacher taking time off from work to have a lumpectomy and subsequent treatment. A friend whose breast cancer has returned in a more menacing way. Another friend in her third horrendous round against ovarian cancer. And still more situations involving cancer, too numerous to list here. You see the pattern. And although I can’t do research, provide treatment, or bring healing, I can pray. When I’ve been in a tough situation, sometimes prayers come slowly—or not at all. So I offer this on behalf of those fighting cancer or who know someone who is. In other words, I’m praying for all of us. I would be honored for you to join your prayers with mine. Father, today I come to you with a heavy heart. I have nothing but hatred for this disease we call cancer. I don’t like the way it steals life, kills health, and destroys relationships. I feel frustrated that finding a cure takes so long. I hate to look at the statistics about cancer recurrence and death. But I also know your name is Healer. I know you care much more than I do. I know you can bring good even from this most evil disease. So even though I don’t like to see my friends hurt, and even though I don’t like the way cancer brings so much suffering along with it, I trust you. I trust you to bring healing. I trust you to surround these pain-ridden ones with your loving presence. I trust you to give them wise counsel and sensitive caregivers. I trust you to give brilliant ideas to researchers along with the funds to make them work. I trust you, God. I trust you when it gets too close. I trust you to help my friend and her husband make hard but necessary decisions about her treatment. I trust you to lift up another friend as she cares for her children after their cancer surgeries. I trust you to sustain this young mother as she tries to maintain some semblance of normal for her family. I trust you to lift up those whose lives have taken a sharp cancer detour, whose careers have even been derailed, whose emotions are spinning out of control. I trust you to provide. I trust you to sustain. I trust you to give strength. I trust you to speak and empower and infuse. And I trust that you, who knew no sin but did know suffering, will understand. That you in your great and merciful glory will embrace us in our pitiful, awkward, ugly and broken weakness; that you will lift us up in a way that brings life and light and healing and hope. That you will use this cancer as...

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New Year’s Resolution?

Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Awe Star Ministries, mission trips, missions, Never the Same Missions, Uncategorized | 0 comments

A trip to any grocery store or warehouse club tells us a new year has begun.  year. In December, shelves loaded with Christmas candy and holiday baking items greeted us. Now, a towering display of protein bars, vitamins and muscle-building shake mixes fills the front of the store. And almost every aisle boasts nutritious snacks, diet drinks and other items designed to appeal to those in New Year’s resolution mode. Social media now allows us to share our once-private pledges with the world. Declarations like “I’ll work out twice a day,” “I’ll lose 50 pounds,” or even “I won’t touch fats or carbs” fill my news feed along with pictures of the lifters, squatters, runners and dieters on my list of friends and followers. Christians, of course, are just as likely as others to post these year-opening promises and to make others that sound more spiritual: “I’ll read the Bible through four times this year” or “I’ll memorize 15 Bible verses every week.” But what about service? Where does it fit on our resolutions list? Deuteronomy encourages us to give God the firstfruit offering. For many believers, this means at least a tithe of our income belongs to God. But couldn’t we extend the idea of firstfruits to our ministry to others as well? Instead of waiting for pleading letters or posts from your favorite nonprofit or other service organization, calendar some activities now. Does the local homeless shelter or food bank need people to serve or pack meals? Such ministries typically have many offers of help in November and December but few after the feel-good holiday season has passed. Local schools are back in session and (after appropriate background checks) often welcome volunteers. And what about summer mission trips? Committing to one now instead of later will give you plenty of time to gather both needed funds and prayer support. If you’re a teen or have teens, I want to take a moment to recommend two student mission-sending organizations. My family and I have served with both. Awe Star Ministries designs its mission trips around the rite of passage concept in which students take a definite step into adulthood. The trips place an equal emphasis on evangelism and discipleship. During the trips, small groups of students work through materials designed to help them walk out what it means to be a man or woman of God. Awe Star offers spring break, Christmas and summer mission trips ranging from 10 to 35 days in length. Summer teams, ranging in size from 20 to 30 students, depart from Dallas after four days of training. Each serves in a different country (this year, teams will travel to Mexico, Peru, Panama, and Suriname) and team leadership largely consists of young adults who have grown up under the ministry’s principles. Learn more about the ministry at their website or by calling them at 1-800-AWE-STAR (293-7827). Never the Same Missions also offers student mission trips but with a slightly different emphasis. Both groups use a pantomime drama as a tool to share the gospel, and both include service ministries as a part of their ministry. Awe Star has its rite of passage focus, while Never the Same seeks to combine the experience of a mission trip, youth camp and a revival meeting. Teams go out for ministry...

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New Year’s Resolution–or Not

Posted by on January 15, 2016 in mission trips, missions, Pray | 0 comments

Even here in Florida, I’ve come down with a winter cold. So today, I’m delighted to direct you to the Munce “More to Life” blog, where my post about a different kind of New Year’s resolution appears. Enjoy–and let me know your thoughts in the blog comments or on social media....

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