Tag archives: Sandy

A Mother’s Love

“You’ll never make it on the mission field. Your wife is too protective of your daughter.” Two different pastors said these discouraging words to me our final month of deputation. Pearl had a severe case of colitis as an infant. She wasn’t thriving and was losing the mucous lining of her intestine. We were concerned soon after we brought her home from the hospital and she cried often inconsolably. Pearl was three months old when we started full-time deputation. After just two weeks on the road we were nearly in a panic when Sandy changed her diaper and it was full of blood and mucous. Through an act of providence Sandy learned about a high potency probiotic that slowly healed her mucous lining. During this time Pearl’s pediatrician warned us not to expose her to nurseries, large groups of people or anyone sick because of her compromised immunity. Needless to say this made traveling to between ten to 12 churches each month a challenge. The vast majority of pastors and churches were understanding as Sandy took precautions caring for our daughter but there were a few, like the two mentioned previously, that wrongly prognosticated our failure as missionaries to Italy based on her uncompromising protection as a mother.

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We have been on the mission field for nearly three years. As we dropped Pearl off for her first day of kindergarten and Sandy kissed her good-bye I couldn’t help but recall the difficulties they faced together as we traveled America raising support from local churches. There was no consistent schedule, Pearl was stuck in a car-seat many days from 3 in the morning until the evening to get to the next meeting, no privacy, the difficulties nursing because Sandy was on a restricted diet due to Pearl’s digestive problems, not knowing if Pearl would be exposed to some illness, the awkward stares that sometimes occurred because Pearl wasn’t in the nursery, and then the few comments that we received of Sandy’s “over-protectiveness.”

Pearl is now a happy and healthy five year old. She is in her second year of Italian public school. The other day as we dropped her off she walked into class and sat down next to her teacher and put her arm around her. She has been kissed by more Italians than I can keep track of. She has adjusted to the culture phenomenally well. I am proud of my little girl and of her mother that has so sacrificially cared for her. After spending so much needed time with her I know it wasn’t easy for Sandy to let her go into the care of others, especially in a foreign culture and language. Time and again Sandy has left her worries and cares at the feet of her Saviour. One reason why I am able to make it on the mission field is because of my wife and her unrelenting love for her family and her tender faith in our Lord.

First Impressions

“I thought it would be a good idea to have Sandy occasionally write a prayer letter to share with our supporters another perspective of our life and ministry in Italy. I thank God for a wonderful helpmeet and the best of mothers. For a number of reasons I stopped posting our prayer letters on-line once we arrived in Italy but I’m happy to make an exception this time and introduce Sandy’s first prayer letter below.” – Stetson

Our first 10 months on the field has been an exciting adventure full of blessings & trials. The Lord has given me an incredible love for the Italian people and Italy and I feel like there is no where else I would rather be. I perceive the Italian people as a whole to be passionate, friendly, and genuine but not trusting of newcomers. I’ve heard it takes about 2 years of consistent friendship to begin to earn their trust. It’s encouraging that I’ve had neighbors invite me over and their children knock on our door to play with our children. We pray and work very hard in earning their trust so that one day when we have the language skills we can share the gospel with our neighbors effectively.

I’m biased but I think the Italian language is the most beautiful in the world… “La bella lingua.” Although Stetson attends language school full time I have not yet had the opportunity due to homeschooling and caring for our children. I do however continue to learn with Rosetta Stone language software, Italian books & DVD’s, and my private lesson via Skype once a week. Even though I’m still a beginner and learning a language is an extremely difficult task, I’m encouraged with the amount of Italian I understand. I can now decipher a lot of basic print material, understand most songs that we sing at church and order my produce at the market all in Italian.

The first year on the field is full of challenges and we did our best to prepare. Italy is a very expensive country to minister in. We had raised/saved money towards a vehicle but the move to Italy and expenses associated with getting settled ate up our savings, and then some, and we have been unable to purchase a car. Ten months without a car is a long time for a family. I humbly ask you to consider for a moment how it would be to go without a car… for a day, a week or even a year… to get groceries, take care of sick children, go to doctor’s appointments, and do all the essentials of life. We praise the Lord that Dr. Mike Patterson, veteran missionary and Director of Mount Abarim Baptist Mission, wrote a letter to all of our supporting churches to raise funds for us to buy a car! We are so thankful and appreciative of his empathy and his own initiative in this matter. Please pray the Lord will supply funds for a car and other expenses as we endeavor to serve Him in Italy.

I have homeschooled Isaiah since he was 4 years old and was expecting to continue once on the field. Although, the Lord

impressed upon our heart that it was important that Isaiah attend public Italian school it was not an easy decision… a lot of prayer, tears and submitting. But the Lord has given me peace about it and I’m pleased to announce that Isaiah is excelling in school! He’s picking up the language so quickly, and of course he does great in math & English class! He’s made lots of friends and plays with them daily. Praise the Lord! Please continue to pray for Isaiah and Pearl as they learn the language, adapt to the culture and make friends.

There is no where else I would rather be than here on the field of Italy serving alongside my husband. We are filled with excitement as we are preparing for when we launch out in our own ministry. I love attending church every week where I hear saved Romans praising and thanking the Lord for their salvation in the Italian language! We try to glean from them as how the Lord worked in their lives and consequently how it may impact our future ministry. We covet your prayers, we are thankful for your support and we praise the Lord for His goodness!

Love in Christ,
Sandra Planck

Come and Dine

The best memories in my life are usually not the result of careful preparation but are surprises.

Ten years ago, my husband Stetson felt called to Cornerstone Baptist Temple as the Youth Director. We visited right after Christmas and before their big New Year’s Eve service. I was so overwhelmed with the joy within the church when Pastor Siler lead the congregation in Come and Dine.  It was something so different that I never had experienced.  I always anticipated that time at the beginning of the service when Preacher (as his congregation fondly calls him) led us in Come and Dine.

Preacher sacrifices for his congregation. I remember being in labor with my son Isaiah.  It was an unfortunate 48 hour ordeal that nearly killed me. After more than a day in labor, I asked Stetson to call Preacher and ask him to pray for me. Due to the dehydration and pain, I didn’t know it was well after 12am. Preacher did not only pray for me but he also came up to the hospital and prayed outside my door in the wee hours of the morning. Another instance, when my grandfather passed Preacher drove more than 40 minutes to show me support.

Throughout deputation, I truly developed a great respect, admiration and better understanding for my Pastor. Not only is he a great preacher but he is one of the most humble and giving people I have ever known. He not only truly has a heart for missionaries but all people.

Our very last service, Christmas morning was a special one. He used his text to make application and give Stetson, me, and our children a charge. At the end a special poem was read and most of the congregation came up and prayed over our family. There was many hugs, tears and farewells. But one thing was missing… I didn’t get to hear Preacher lead Come and Dine one last time. I was in tears as I was exiting and I mentioned to my friend Heather, who is on staff at the church, that Come and Dine wasn’t part of the service.

Preacher, my friend Leah,  and Stetson’s parents drove us to the airport on December 28th to board a plane to fly to Italy. The time leading up to our departure had been nothing less than chaotic. There were many memorable goodbyes that I have reflected on already and I am sure I will in time to come. But as we were getting ready to say our final goodbyes at the airport, Preacher called us over to him. It was visible that he was fighting back tears and seemed like he had some important words of wisdom to give Stetson and me. Little did I know what to expect. And then he started singing, Come and Dine for me. He sang both verses and the chorus just like he had every Sunday morning since I had been attending Cornerstone Baptist Temple. It was the joy during his leading of that song that opened my heart to CBT 10 years earlier (maybe the exact day). Those brief moments of my Preacher singing Come and Dine for me will be one of those special unexpected surprises that I will carry with me the rest of my life.

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