Bananas & Breakfast—Where to Start?

February 29, 2012

I toss on my jacket and step out into the apartment parking lot. As the car warms up, I make a mental note to say hello to the new neighbors when I get off work today. They’re moving from another corner of the metroplex, but before that they lived in Honduras. Or was it Guatemala? I’ll find out this evening.

I turn out of the driveway, on my way to work.

Bananas! I remember that I need to get some today during my lunch break. On the way to my school, I pass a Braum’s, but they’re not open yet. Next comes El Ranchero, Hong Kong Market, Kroger’s, Aldi’s… That’s five potential banana vendors, and I’ve still got a mile before I get to the school. I wonder where my students get their bananas?

One day I’ll check out Hong Kong Market or El Ranchero – their ads sometimes have decent produce prices, and bell peppers can be so expensive – but even though I have friends who work there, I’m still kind of wary of standing out or of making an embarrassing shopper’s faux pas.

Driving through Richardson can feel like international travel, and that’s one reason I love it. I love being able to shop in a Vietnamese grocery store and hang out with friends from around the world without even having to leave the suburbs. Still, I sometimes pass up opportunities to interact with a neighbor or try out a new restaurant simply because I’m nervous, I’m uncomfortable, because I don’t want to make a mistake.

The focus of this year’s women’s mission breakfast is tearing down the barriers that make us shy to cross cultural lines and spend time with our neighbors. Lisa Goins, recently returned from Indonesia, has absolutely packed the morning with amazing discussions and activities that we hope you will talk about for months to come! In other words, don’t show up expecting Pop-tarts, pancakes and casual ice breaker games ;). As always, it will be a fantastic time of fellowship with friends you love and with wonderful women you have yet to meet.

Traveling abroad is full of surprises. So is this year’s breakfast! Please pray for our time together, and bring your open mind and open heart. Expect to leave more equipped for fellowship with your neighbors, whether they’re from Plano or Papua New Guinea.

Breakfast is 9:30-11am, Saturday, March 3rd in the Youth Room at TFC. Daughters old enough to have fun with their moms at the breakfast are welcome to join!

Liz Shaw
TFC Missions Committee


“Oh The Places We’ll Go!”

January 27, 2012

Last weekend, 45 women from TFC heard stories from six of our elders’ wives about the places God has taken them on their journey to follow Him.

If I had to choose one word to describe this weekend of stories, that word would be, “important”.  I hope that does not sound arrogant, because I don’t think that I, the elders’ wives, or anyone else there was the “important” I am describing.  What seemed important was the truth of the Gospel and the power of sharing it together in community.

The stories these women told were real.  They were raw.  They were honest, which is not always good (it can be self-focused and even damaging), but in the case of these six women, the honesty was full of humility.  They were honest about their joy, their pain, and deeply honest about their sin.

And even that is not what was important about the weekend.  But it led us to the important.  The important was that as these women shared what was true, they led us to their only hope–to their amazing, overwhelming, joyful hope of forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, and new life in Jesus Christ.  Woman after woman shared ways God had emptied/is emptying them of everything they have depended upon, and ways they are being filled with the sure and certain hope of life in and dependence on Christ.

It changed THEM–even the process of writing and giving these talks gave them new opportunities to confess sin and receive grace and hope in Christ, which they were then able to offer to us.  It changed US–no longer did we see these women as separate from us or “having it all together”.  And no longer did we feel the need to present ourselves as such, either.  One woman said it well:  “The conversations I’ve seen happen this weekend are very different than what I’ve seen before.”  We went to places in each other’s hearts where the Gospel is needed, and where joy and hope replace fear, doubt, mistrust, and bitterness.

There’s one more thing that seemed important about this weekend.  We were unified.  The differences in ages and stages of life melted away, and we were a solid group, moving in the same direction–toward the cross, and then to each other in light of that.  And it didn’t stop there.  Saturday afternoon, an impromptu gathering on couches in the lodge became a brainstorming session for how we could do something to reach out to women in our community.  It was as if we had heard the good news, and our passion was newly aflame to share what we had heard and seen and experienced with others–to invite them into the life we were seeing afresh.

This important weekend was a joy to me, but not a surprise.  This is where we are as a church at TFC.  We are looking at things as they really are.  We are confessing sin.  We are asking for forgiveness.  We are seeing our need for the Gospel in new ways, and we are seeing the power and hope of the Gospel in new ways.  We are moving together toward the cross, and we are finding new life among us, life in Christ that we are eager to share in new ways with each other, and with visitors, and with our community, and with our world.
God is writing for us a corporate story, and our individual stories are small parts of that.  The stories told at the women’s retreat, not just from the elders wives but from all of us, help tell others the story of Christ and His Kingdom–and that is what is important.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director

The First TFC Women’s Bridges Brunch

November 17, 2011

What is a Bridges Brunch?

Well, despite rumors to the contrary, it has nothing to do with a card game called Bridge!

A Bridges Brunch is women coming together to share a meal and their stories, so that any space between their generations is bridged by sharing their common hunger and thirst to know Christ more deeply.  Last Saturday, about 20 TFC women met at Cindy Pardue’s home, ate a delicious meal (more than enough ladies volunteered to bring dishes, so most just came and enjoyed!), and heard Anne Pickle tell us the story of how God is growing her heart to be more giving for His purposes than concerned about herself.

Several women responded with the group to Anne’s story and gave to us from their joy,  brokenness, tears, and laughter.  Age didn’t matter–we shared life, real life in Jesus Christ, with one another in ways that only grew our hunger and thirst for more of Him.  And we lingered long after the official ending time, over good conversations that continued to grow us together.

If you’d like to connect with women outside of your own age and stage in life, you might want to come to a Bridges Brunch.  We’ll have several of these each year;  watch your bulletin for our next one.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director

Tanzania Project: Pastors Training Conference Update

June 1, 2011

Here is a brief update from ALARM on our partnership work in Tanzania, and the completion of a recent pastor’s leadership training conference held in Morogoro from May 16th-27th. Thanks for your support. Continue to pray for the strengthening of the churches and church leaders there.


The Tanzania Partnership (Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, Northwest Bible, and Trinity Fellowship) was supposed to facilitate the Morogoro PLTL but due to unforeseen circumstances with scheduling, they were not able to come this year. Therefore, they asked the ALARM Tanzania Staff to facilitate the PLTI.  However, the partnership was still able to fund the two-week PLTI in Morogoro.

Robert (ALARM staff, and Masai pastor) was informed early on to prepare and together we started the PLTI at Morogoro on 16th to 27th May 2011.

The first subjects of the ALARM curriculum were taught while Anna (ALARM staff, and country director with husband Justin – the update author) was busy preparing teaching notes for distribution at the end of each course. She also took care of the Pastors while they were in training. We thank God that almost 50% of the trainees were Maasai pastors from rural cattle grazing areas in Morogoro. We had 60 Pastors in attendance.

Pastors posing for a photograph after lunch.

Participants attentively listening to the teachings.

A Group picture at the end of the pastors training.


 “I can see that time has come for us to preach the Truth and to teach the truth in the Holy Spirit.  This Institute has widened my understanding of my calling. People call me pastor, but I am not fully trained in the word of the Lord. May He continue to bless this institute.”  Testified pastor Yohana Chapy.

Pastor Emanuel Ole, a Maasai Pastor from Mvomero District testified, “I have really been inspired. These are new teachings to me. They are not like the ordinary seminars that we are used to hearing.  I have not seen teachers like these, all of us see extraordinary teachings before us.  May God richly bless them with all blessings.”

“First, I didn’t want to come and be taught.  I was against my denominational leaders and I saw that coming to school was to leave the work of the church for two weeks without a pastor.  But when I saw four pastors from our area rushing to Morogoro for the ALARM training, I decided to come also.  I am very surprised at the quality of studies. I have now happily decided to study. May the Lord continue to bless our facilitators.”  Said Pastor Edward Mangame of Morogoro.

Justin Kiwovele
Country Director
ALARM (Tanzania)

Being a Mom—A Divine Calling

May 6, 2011

G.K. Chesterton said this about mothers:  “A mother of young children is with a human being at a time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. How can it be an important career to tell other people’s children about mathematics, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? A mother’s function is laborious…not because it is minute, but because it is gigantic!”

For almost 40 years, I wasn’t a mother, and I wanted to be.  Then, on September 23, 1999, I was a mother.  I remember during my first week of motherhood standing over a screaming, colicky, jaundiced baby on the changing table.  My resume of advanced degrees and honors and career were completely useless to me in that moment.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  I’ve never felt so incompetent in my life.

The one who came to my rescue was my mother.

When I came home from the hospital, my sister cooked and cleaned and helped in a million ways, but it was only my mother who could soothe Emily.  I would do everything I knew and, crying with frustration, hand her to Mom, who could hold her just right and walk just right and do what mothers instinctively do to quiet crying babies.

A few days later, I put Emily in the arms of her Aunt Daria and went to my bed to rest (translate: cry like a baby myself).  I remember my mom coming into my bedroom, sitting on the bed, rubbing my back, telling me that it would be fine and I would be a good mom, and doing what mothers instinctively do to quiet crying (big) babies.

Chesterton was right—motherhood is a laborious, and gigantic, job.   Mom was right (moms usually are)—it did work out fine, and most days I am a good mom.

Thanks, Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director


March 4, 2011

Sally Bock (2nd from left) & Margo Gillory (far right)Sally Bock and Margo Gillory of TFC just got back from Tanzania where they were part of a 5 women team that led a Women’s Ministry Conference in Mtwara, in the southern region along the east coast bordering Mozambique. This trip was in partnership with Bent Tree Bible Church& Nothwest Bible church, who we have a 3 year partnership with that’s goal is to address the training gap in Tanzania over the next several years by sponsoring conferences and seminars for pastors and women leaders.

During the Feb. 17-27 trip, Sally & Margo helped teach the Tanzania women on topics such as Biblical Interpretation, Personal Spiritual Life, Health and Hygiene, and Conflict Resolution. All curriculum was provided by ALARM.

Sally wrote a great personal update on the trip.  To read her account of the trip, click here:

Women’s Tanzania Trip #1

10 Things TFC Women Should Know About Tanzania

November 23, 2010

1. We’re going there in 3 months! Three trips are planned to hold women’s conferences in late Feb. and mid-March. Each conference will be teaching 50-80 women on the topics of Biblical Interpretation, Personal Spiritual Life, Health and Hygiene, and Conflict Resolution. All curriculum is provided by ALARM.

2. We’re in a partnership. We’re going with some really amazing women from Bent Tree Bible and Northwest Bible.

3. We get to model what God can do when women work together. As the first multi-church partnership like this for ALARM, we are women from various churches working together here and in Tanzania in the harmony of the Gospel.

4. You don’t need a seminary education to teach at a Tanzania women’s conference! Curriculum, training and preparation are provided.

5. A first-hand report is coming. Keith Hileman and Randy Pardue are there right now, and will bring back more information for us about what we can expect when we go.

6. You can pray and go, or pray and send/encourage.

7. The trip costs will be approximately $2800 per person. Two women from each church will make up the teams for the three trips.

8. Margo Gillory and Kelsa Waite are two of those women from TFC. Margo will co-lead a trip (with a lady from Bent Tree) in February, and Kelsa will co-lead a trip in March.

9. Trip preparations and team meetings begin December 5!

10. WHETHER YOU WANT TO GO, SEND, PRAY, OR ENCOURAGE, WE CAN ALL PARTICIPATE IN GOD’S WORK AMONG WOMEN IN TANZANIA! Find out how at our informational meeting on Monday, Nov. 29, 7-8:30pm at the home of Randy and Cindy Pardue. Randy and Keith Hileman will share from their recent trip and we’ll give many more details of the women’s trips. RSVP to Diana Calvin or the church office.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director