Sunday, April 24, 2011


It's been ten years! In memory of Roni and Charity Bowers

“They’re killing us! They’re killing us!” The pilot of the small Cessna plane radioed to the control tower. Also aboard the plane was a family, a man and his wife and their two children. On that day, April 20, 2001, the family was returning from obtaining a residency visa for their newly adopted daughter when a foreign air force jet was suddenly spotted flying next to them. The small plane had been mistakenly suspected for a drug smuggling flight. Minutes later bullets ripped through the plane instantly killing the mother and daughter. Though bullets had shattered his right leg, the pilot was miraculously able to steer the plane and plunge it into the river thousands of feet below. The following day this story was on the front covers of newspapers all over the world. Many news programs on television broadcasted this tragic incident.
You may have guessed by now that the family above is the Bowers family: Jim, Roni, and their two children Cory and Charity. The death of Roni and Charity was a terrible loss to her family, the body of Christ and the world. Why? Because Roni Bowers was a woman that had a passion for God, for her family, and for the lost.

A Passion for God
                Roni had a passion for God which began in her youth. She was saved at the age of twelve. She committed her life to missions when she was thirteen. Very early in her freshman year of  Bible college she made a decision that she would not date a guy unless he planned to be a missionary as well. Roni later met a young man named Jim Bowers. He had been raised by godly parents on the mission field and was planning to serve God as a missionary. Jim and Roni were married in November of 1985. God led them to Peru. There they faithfully ministered to the Peruvians in the small towns along the Amazon River.
                Roni’s passion for God continued through difficult trials. A difficult trial came when a great desire was shattered. One of Roni’s greatest desires in life was to raise godly children to share her and Jim’s life as missionaries. After many years and several tests, Roni was told that she would never be able to have her own child. After this devastating news Jim and Roni looked into adopting a child. In November of 1994 the Lord gave them a six-week-old baby boy, Cory.
                Another trial came when a difficult miscarriage was experienced. Two years after the Bowers adopted Cory, the Lord miraculously worked in Roni’s body. While in Peru during the midst of a very hectic schedule Roni found out she was pregnant. She and Jim were overjoyed to say the least! After twelve years of marriage Roni’s lifelong desire seemed to be coming into shape. Roni flew back to the United States for tests and returned to Peru with everything being normal. Then exactly one month later Roni went through a very difficult miscarriage. Being in a third world country and having very few friends and family near was hard for her. She turned to God’s Word for comfort. Psalm 23 and the book of Habakkuk meant a lot to her during this time.
                A third difficult trial came when an anticipated adoption was denied. A few years after the miscarriage the Bowers looked into adopting another child. While they were in the United States on furlough, they filled out all the papers needed for adopting. The opportunity arose for them to adopt another son right before they returned to Peru. Though Roni felt confident of the adoption, she rested in God’s will, knowing His way was best. At the last minute the adoption fell through. Though this was hard for Roni, she chose to trust God fully. She wanted Him to have His way with her, and she obediently submitted to Him, knowing His way was best.
                Several months later the Lord chose through adoption to give Jim and Roni a beautiful baby girl they named Charity.
                Roni often stated, “God doesn’t owe me anything; rather I owe Him everything.” How about you? Do you, like Roni, choose to trust God fully when you are struggling with something? Do you commit everything into God’s hands, knowing His way is best?

A Passion for her Family
                Roni had a passion for her family. She was dedicated to her husband from the beginning of their marriage. Roni knew God had called her to Peru, but she realized her first ministry was to her family. Through the first few years of marriage Roni was especially loyal to Jim. Soon after they were married in 1985, money ran out for Bible college so Jim joined the army. While Jim in the army Roni worked full-time to help provide for their needs. In the fall of 1990 they returned to Bible college.
                Roni was also dedicated to her husband from the beginning of every day. Jim and Rnoi had a special time alone in the mornings. They would read the Bible together, pray, and share how God was working in their lives. As their family grew, their morning time became even earlier, but they still kept it. Jim and Roni were able to have a wonderful relationship with each other because of important counsel they heeded from the very beginning of their marriage. For a successful marriage they needed to put God first and love Him more than each other.
                Roni was just as devoted and loyal to her children as she was to Jim. At Roni and Charity’s memorial service Jim recalled several different ways Roni demonstrated her love for their children, Cory and Charity. Roni was very concerned about making sure Cory had a good education in academic studies. She also committed herself to teaching him the Scriptures. Roni was devoted to Charity as well. When Charity wouldn’t sleep at night, Roni would be by her side trying to keep her quiet and put her back to sleep. Just caring for Charity’s needs as a baby required 100% devotion on Roni’s part. Jim once calculated Charity had drank over 60 gallons of formula in about five months’ time.
                Roni had a passion for her family. Do you? Are you committed to meeting their needs, or are you more concerned about your own personal interests and desires?

A Passion for the Lost
                Roni had a passion for the lost. She knew why she was in Peru. Jim and Roni longed to see the Peruvians come to Christ. One of Roni’s best friends remembered flying with Roni over a stretch of the Amazon River where Jim and Roni ministered. Pointing out the small villages Roni exclaimed, “That is why we’re here. Each hut represents people that need to hear the good news!”
                Though Roni knew her calling to Peru, the path to get there was definitely not an easy one. She struggled through language school. She expressed learning Spanish as "a roller coaster ride.” Roni stayed faithful to her studies, and after one long year of learning Spanish, she was teaching Sunday school and frequently sharing her testimony all in Spanish. Roni met the medical needs of the nationals. Jim and Roni would hand out aspirin and vitamins for those that needed them. They provided money for a clinic when the need was a more serious sickness or injury. Many of the Peruvian women also struggled with loss of children due to miscarriage and sickness. Because of Roni’s own experience in this area, she could more effectively minister to them.
                Are you concerned about reaching the lost for Christ, just as Roni was? When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and witnessed to someone?

                As the plane plunged into the Amazon River, the pilot Kevin Donaldson, Jim and Cory Bowers scrambled out of the plane. Jim was able to get the dead bodies of Roni and Charity out of the plane just seconds before the cabin of the plane flipped under water. Help arrived within thirty minutes from natives who had seen the shooting. How ironic that those to whom she was so devoted – her husband and the Peruvians – were the ones who honorably cared for her body after her death as she entered the presence of the God she so faithfully served!
                Roni’s example has left us with a challenge to be men and women with a passion for God, for our families, and the for the lost. Will you take up the challenge?

(This was originally a speech given at the Talents for Christ Tune-up in March, 2002, by my daughter Joanna, age 15 at the time. A book about Jim and Roni has been written and is still available on If God Should Choose by Kristen Stagg. Caution: as you read, be ready for God to move your heart. Have the tissues on hand! The book tells thoroughly about their lives and portrays their character and love for God. I was challenged anew to commit my life to God for His use in any and in any place.)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Glory to God
Why can’t I see what You’re trying to show me?
Why am I here? I have lost something dear.
We were just serving You with our lives
And our lives were called to give.
I know it’s Your plan and that I’m just a man
And I want to give all I have ‘cause You live.

Glory to God and not unto me.
I know this took place
So that others might see.
Some count it for loss
But she understood the cross;
And what some say was wasted
Is in the presence of God.

My prayer through this time
Is that Jesus you’ll find.
Get over the fact
That He’s all and that’s that.

Glory to God and not unto me.
I know this took place
So that others might see.
Some count it for loss
But she understood the cross;
And what some say was wasted
Is in the presence of God.

She gave her life
And we know that is true.
Now Jesus is calling
For me and for you to give…..

Glory to God and not unto me.
I know this took place
So that others might see.
Some count it for loss
But she understood the cross;
And what some say was wasted
Is in the presence of God.

(This song was written by Joe Haverlock when he was a high school senior, 
after hearing Jim Bowers speak in early July 2002. All rights reserved.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Prayers on Easter

Christ in Easter – A Family Celebration of Holy Week by Charles Colson, Billy Graham, Max Lucado, and Joni Earechson Tada. This book I read a few years ago; it covers each day from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday and includes lessons, readings, poems, songs and activities for each day to better help family members understand the significance of the events of the Easter story. One of the articles in the book gave each of the Lord’s seven statements while He was upon the cross and gave a personal prayers based upon each statement. For my own personal Bible time, I took this concept and applied it to my own life as a mother of five children. Hopefully it will be a blessing to you as well as you pray these prayers for your own children and for yourself.

“Father, forgive them;
For they know not what they do.”
Luke 23:34a

Lord, help me to teach my children to be meek, to refrain from lashing out in retaliation to those who hurt them, to be still when others wrong them, to forgive as He forgave. Ephesians 4:31-32

“Verily, I say unto thee,
Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23:43

Lord, thank you that my children came to accept your give of eternal salvation at an early age and that they received forgiveness for their sins with simple, child-like faith. Help them to tell others of your boundless forgiveness. Luke 18:15 – 17

He said unto his mother,
“Woman, behold they son!”
He said to this disciple,
“Behold thy mother!”

Lord, even when I’m hurting or sad, open my eyes and my heart to the needs of others, especially my husband and children. Proverbs 31:20; I John 3:16 – 18

“My God, my God,
Why hast thou forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:46

Lord, help my children to know that sometimes there are questions beyond our feeble understanding, and to know an almighty, sovereign God Who can be totally and completely trusted. Isaiah 55:8 – 9

“I thirst."
John 19:28

Lord, you were fully God, yet you full experienced the pain and limitations of humanity. May my children take their heartaches and troubles to You, knowing that You intimately understand. Hebrews 4:14 – 16

“It is finished.”
John 19:30

Lord, your redemption work at Calvary gives me absolute assurance of my eternal salvation. I pray that my children will have utmost confidence in the sure salvation they receive from you instead of wandering through life in doubt. Hebrews 10:10 – 12

“Father, into your hands
I commend my spirit.”
Luke 23:46

Lord, this is my prayer for my life and the lives of my children: Take my love – my God, I pour. At Thy feet its treasure store; Take myself – and I will be ever, only, all for Thee; ever, only all for Thee. (words by Frances R. Havergal, 1836 – 1879).