Vessel Ministries

A Christian Speaking & Writing Ministry

Recently, I stood near a hill at the edge of Jerusalem. Just five miles or less from where I stood is the village of Bethlehem. At the time of Christ's birth, Bethlehem was a small villege, but now it is a political hotbed in the "West Bank." I stood looking over a huge man-made wall that has been recently erected between Bethlehem and Jerusalem--a wall built specifically to keep people from crossing into Jerusalem from Bethlehem. Sadly, for the present time at least, this wall is necessary for safety. As I stood looking across the wall, I realized how difficult it is today to get to Bethlehem. You must pass through heavy security, and you're even required to change transportation once through a "no man's zone." If the wall were down, you could walk from Jerusalem to the Church of the Nativity--the manger--in less than an hour! And so, this Christmas 2009 as I contemplate my feelings of sadness as I witnessed the physical wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, I think about the barriers in my life that could keep me from Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. The walk to the manger--to Christ Himself--is easy when we tear down the barriers between us and Him. May that be a reality for each of us this time of year, and as we begin another year. I encourage you (and myself) to tear down any walls or barriers that would keep us from Him or from His service. May God bless you richly this beautiful season! Picture was taken at the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the "Sermon on the Mount."

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Comment by Kathy Slamp on January 19, 2010 at 9:10pm
Israel is amazing. We've been at least seven times, and it brings the Bible to life like nothing else. So, don't feel badly about your mind wandering back to Israel at church; perhaps it makes the message more real to you.
By the way, we will be leading a trip to Israel in March 2011. Soon, it will be posted on this site; maybe you would want to go again.
Comment by Shelby Jean Simmons on January 19, 2010 at 9:07pm
This photo of the Sermon on the Mount site bring back memories of my visit to Israel. The visit had an amazing experience in my life. Often I need to be careful when I am in church not to return too often while the minister is giving his message.
Comment by Johnna Kaye Sezer on January 10, 2010 at 1:40pm
Your new website is awesome. I so enjoy hearing about your family and adventures. Your 2010 itenerary is full. No time for laying around and doing nothing! Your comparison to the walls we need to tear down between us and Jesus was heartfelt. I will have to get Nilufer to help me send photos of us. I'm not so savvy in that arena. God bless you and your family. Have a wonderful New Year. Sorry I can't come on the June cruise. Would love to.
Comment by Mary Lee Hixson on January 6, 2010 at 11:30am
Thanks Kathy for the reminder that we each have our own "walls to tear down" as we head into a new year.
Also thanks for sharing the 70th anniversary celebration -- a lot of work to 'pull it off' but a very special time
for your family. You'll look back (as will your kids) in years to come and say "I'm so glad we did that".
It's fun for your readers to see photos of the various family members we all pray for. Bless you all !

Africa Volunteer Mission: Jan. 2013 - Dec. 2016


At the present time, I am booking engagements for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.  I'd love to add your event to this itinerary.  Please contact me and we will work together.

Two years ago, we returned from five amazing years in Africa. During these years we have visited Ethiopia, Madagascar, Namibia, many parts of South Africa, Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, Cote d' Avoire, Ghana, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, the Congo, Lesota, and Mozambique. This has been a blessing beyond measure. Africa has changed our lives, and we will never be the same. addition to retreat and special event speaking, I am also speaking for mission services & Faith Promise Conventions.

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