My Pastor’s Wife Embarrassed Me

We were hosting a get together at our house for the Church family. This was years ago in Birmingham. It was common that we would have people over for food and fellowship. Everyone was outside sitting in lawn chairs, laughing and talking. The kids were weaving in, out and all around, getting scolded or snatched up by a frustrated parent.

I was in the kitchen preparing food to take outside, and my Pastor’s wife came in to help. You know how it is in a kitchen with several ladies working. Each one is doing her part, filling glasses with ice, pouring soda, adding serving spoons to bowls of food, washing a few pots.  Sister Raggio’s task must have been to open a can of something. I suspect baked beans.

We were all chatting as we worked, content just being together. That’s when I heard the words that I would remember for the rest of my life. Over the hum of chatter and from across the kitchen, I heard, “Oh, this can opener!”

My Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.

I literally stopped in my tracks. Clueless. What was wrong with the can opener? I walked over to see what she was referring to. It looked the same as it always did. Actually, the same as it had for years. It was only the continued look of revulsion on my Pastor’s Wife’s face that caused me to look more closely.img_0851

As I leaned in for a closer inspection, I saw what she was reacting to. Thick, caked on crud was tightly gunked into the gears and around the magnet. Who knew you had to clean an electric can opener? Not me. I had never given it a moment’s thought. I had used this particular can opener for years, and never had any trouble. It had always worked fine. It had never occurred to me that it might be important to maintain it’s appearance for guests or to sanitize it so that they wouldn’t get sick. It had never occurred to me that what was on the outside of the can opener might cause a problem if it got inside the food I was preparing.

Until my Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.

I never told Sis. Raggio that she embarrassed me. As a matter of fact, we never spoke of it again. I realized that it had not been intentional. She had simply reacted to filth. It was so disgusting and foreign to everything that she practiced in her own life, that she reacted without thinking. I couldn’t hold that against her. I also never forgot.

To this day twenty-fiveish years later, I cannot use an electric can opener without that incident coming to mind. I examine it closely. Every. Single. Time. I don’t remember if I went to work cleaning that old kitchen tool back in the day, or if I just chunked it and bought a new one. Today, I have a sleek, stainless steel model with detachable cutting gears that can be tossed in the dishwasher at a moment’s notice.

I wonder what would have happened if I would have gotten all bent out of shape that day. If I would have reacted in anger toward my Pastor’s Wife. If I had insisted on making my embarrassment the focus instead of the dirty can opener. I would have lost my relationship with one of the most important and influential people in my life…as well as made a lot of people sick through the years.

There are things in our lives that need cleaning up. Attitudes, conversations, wardrobes, entertainments, our very thoughts. Our Pastor’s Wife is often the one who notices these things and reacts first. Let’s not be offended at her, but simply start cleaning the dirty places in our lives. We’ll retain a beautiful relationship, and not infect a whole bunch of folks with the yuk we’ve been living with for years.

Sister Raggio went to be with her Lord years ago, but the lessons she taught me are just as powerful today, if not more so. She was an anointed speaker and teacher, but I find the lessons I’ve remembered and applied the most are the ones she taught me in our day to day relationship.

I’m so glad my Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.img_0850


-Do you have a Pastor’s Wife that can speak freely into your life?

-Have you ever become offended when a spiritual leader gave direction?

-Are there areas in your life that you know you should clean up to be more spiritually productive?

-Can you think of a time when your Pastor’s Wife embarrassed you, but looking back, you are glad she did?


As always, feel free to leave a comment, share on social media and link back to

Warm Regards, -Pat

Tongan General Confrence 2016

“Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands.”

(Isaiah 42:12)img_0841As we approached for landing on the main island of Tongatapu, two things made an impression on us concerning Tonga and her people. From the air we saw her magnificent blowholes. It seemed to us that no one could live alongside such beauty and not be deeply affected in their souls by its splendor. We also saw her patchwork of dark, volcanic farmland. Considering their 2016 General Conference theme was to be, “FLASHPOINT: Having a Mind to Work,” those rich, fertile furrows assured us that these people were definitely no strangers to hard work.


Tennessee Missionary Sis. Crystal Reece, was awaiting our arrival, having been in Tonga for the past three years on her first appointment. On the same flight were fellow Tennesseans, Missionary Evangelist Monte and Sis. Diane Showalter along with Tennessee Global Missions Director, Gary and Sis. Pat Vick. Pacific Regional Director, Roger and Sis. Becky Buckland would be arriving later that day.img_0819The Tongan people are very hospitable. We were honored with a Welcome Feast when we arrived at the UPCI Headquarters Church and Bible School. The team was overwhelmed and humbled by platter after platter mounded with food that they had sacrificed to prepare.img_0837Services didn’t begin until Thursday evening, allowing us a few days to see the sights and get our bearings. A van had been rented, enabling our group to travel together. It was during this time that we first visited Tonga’s acclaimed blowholes at low tide. Here, ocean waves crashed into porous channels of volcanic rock, and blew skyward for twenty to thirty feet, in a great symphony of spray and sound. We were also able to drive through the countryside, taking in the sights, sounds and culture of these wonderful people.img_0820Even though they have little in the way of money or material possessions, they utilize every natural resource to enrich their lives. One example of this is their beautiful Tapa Cloth, which they make by pressing the bark of trees into paper-like sheets and decorating them with dye made from local berries. These are coveted pieces of artwork that are given as gifts in friendship and are also essential to the foundation of Tonga’s tourism. Missionary Crystal Reece said it best, “Tongans think they are so poor, but they are really so rich, and have so much to offer.”img_0828Once the conference started on Thursday evening, sightseeing was put to the side, and pressing into the Spirit became our focus. Bro. Showalter was the day speaker. With each session he laid a solid foundation of Apostolic teaching on the New Birth. Bro. Vick was the night speaker, focusing on moving forward into new levels of faith and commitment. Sis. Showalter and Sis. Vick ministered in the ladies’ service on Saturday. The Lord had prepared each speaker with messages that built upon the conference theme, “FLASHPOINT: Having a Mind to Work.”img_0840From the first song in the kick off service, it was apparent that the Tongan Church loves to worship. They are a naturally joyful people. This was manifested again and again, whether it was through their colorful clothing, the smiles on their faces, their beautiful voices as they harmonized in song, or their eagerness to dance with zeal in praise and worship. Since modesty is a cultural norm in Tonga, their long, fully-covered style of clothing allowed freedom in worship. The atmosphere compelled each of us to join in with exuberance.img_0824Each message had to be translated from English to Tongan. Bro. Showalter was overjoyed that his translator was the same man who had translated for him fifteen years before as a young man. What a joy to know he was still thriving in the Church and in ministry.

Bro. Vick’s translator and his family had travelled from the Tongan island of Vava’u (where he pastors) by ferry for twenty-four hours on rough seas to come to the conference. It humbled our hearts to realize that many did not live on the main island of Tongatapu, but had been so desperate for the Word of God and the fellowship of the brethren that they had come at great risk and sacrifice from the outer islands by boat. You might recall a story in the news from several months ago of a ferry that capsized with several hundred souls lost to the sea. This happened within fifty miles and could have been any of these precious saints of God.img_0830The structure of the conference was the same as one would expect at our North American General Conference. This is important to note because the United Pentecostal Church work in Tonga is only forty-five years young. We were blessed to meet eighty year old, Sis. Ofa Manu. She, along with her late husband, were the first UPCI converts in 1971 by Missionary Don Dobyns.img_0808Because of the strong structural foundation that was laid over the last forty-five years, there is a strong Bible School presence in Tonga today. We witnessed three new Bible School students graduate and be presented at this year’s conference. Sis. Crystal has worked tirelessly over the past three years in the Bible School on her first appointment, as well as several years previously in the Associates In Missions program under the leadership of former Pacific Regional Director, Bennie Blunt.img_0831 img_0832

Friday was Missions Night. There was great anticipation from the beginning of service. When the offering was taken, a spirit of giving flooded the sanctuary. The congregation began to flock to the altar to put their offering in the baskets provided. The giving was not done grudgingly, but with a joyful expectancy that God would use every single pa’anga for furthering the gospel.

In the spirit of sacrificial giving, one Tongan minister brought his ta’ovala and placed it on the altar as his offering. The ta’ovala is a woven mat worn wrapped around the waist on formal occasions. In the fashion sense, it is comparable to men’s neckties in North America, but with a great sentimental value. It is woven with many strands to represent community and tied with a four-strand rope to represent family. It is usually one of the only possessions of monetary value that a Tongan man would own, and is passed down from generation to generation.

It took only a few seconds for the congregation to realize what had just taken place before there was an explosion of praise, worship and more giving. Another Tongan minister, who had just received his Local License in this conference, walked to the front and placed his shoes on the altar. He worshipped the rest of the service barefooted. The image of the baskets of pa’anga, the ta’ovala and the shoes of a barefoot worshipper are seared into our minds.img_0811

Being the final day of conference, Sunday was a full day. We arrived to find all the beautiful children dressed in their very best, eagerly waiting to go in for a Sunday School presentation. They melted our hearts as they quoted scriptures and sang, “This Little Light of Mine in both Tongan and English.img_0805That evening, we were privileged to witness as Pacific Regional Director, Bro. Roger Buckland gave the charge to a minister and his wife receiving his Ordination License.img_0821The 2016 Tongan General Conference concluded Sunday night with twenty-two people having been filled with the Holy Ghost. That final worship service was phenomenal as the people praised God for all they had seen and experienced. After all, it had to be enough to carry them back across the sea until the next time they could gather with their brothers and sisters in the Lord.img_0835Monday came all too soon with the team members heading in different directions, some preparing to go home and others traveling on to scheduled conferences. The week had been so full that we hardly had the time to wonder how we would feel when the conference came to an end. Old friendships were rekindled. New friendships were forged. In both old and new, hearts were united for the cause of Missions.img_0839

Our one last trip to the blowholes was at high tide. What had been beautiful was now so much more. With the rising of the tide, every distinguishable characteristic had been enhanced. It was so majestic and powerful that at least one of us wept. However, in all of its glorious splendor, even this natural wonder could not compare to the glory of the Church in Tonga and around the world.img_0838

Seasons Change

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)


This time of the year always makes me a bit wistful, like something is slipping through my fingers that I want to grasp and hold tightly to. Beach sand. Warm breezes. An incomplete thought. Relationships.

This unsettledness seems to be brought on by two things. One is the crisp morning air. I can look out the window and see the horse and cows lift their faces in the morning coolness, breathing it in. Even they know change is coming.

The second is my hummingbird feeder on the back porch. In the middle of summer, it is the center of much activity. Once the weather starts to cool, it hangs idle. I leave nectar in it longer than most, because you never know when a lone traveler will need energy for her journey. But sooner or later, all my beautiful jeweled hummers leave for warmer places.img_0800

It reminds me of a time in my life about twenty-five years ago. We were living in Birmingham, Alabama, and were very active in the Church there. There was a young man in the Church who was from Florida, but was attending college in Birmingham. He spent a lot of time in our home. Everyone who ever met him, loved him. When it came time for his graduation, and for him to move back home, I was so distraught that I could hardly stand it. I just couldn’t bear the thought of him not being in our day to day lives.

Fast forward a quarter of a century…Our family is now very involved with Global Missions, something we could have never foreseen twenty-five years ago. My husband schedules Missionaries to be in Church services all over our state while they are traveling on deputation.

Would you believe that young man from our Birmingham days is now involved in the Associates In Missions program of the United Pentecostal Church?! This means that one day, in the relatively near future, this man’s family will travel through our state on deputation and my husband is likely to be the one scheduling his services in our Churches. I am looking so forward to catching up and enjoying his new season right along with him for a while.

As I’ve grown older and matured a little, I’ve realized that not everyone that God brings into my life is going to be a permanent fixture. People have to follow the path that God is leading them down. There are seasons in each of our lives, and occasionally those seasons overlap.

People come and go in our lives for many reasons. Schooling, jobs, illness, vacations, military, dreams, passions, travels, bad decisions, good decisions, death and endless other reasons that we often have no control over.

Just remember it’s all about seasons. Whoever God has placed in your life during this season of time, be a true friend to them. Cherish them. Add value to their lives. Then when a season of change is in the air, don’t hold on so tightly that you nor they can enjoy what is right around the corner.

As for me, I’m going to leave my hummingbird feeder up for another week or two. When I’m sure there won’t be anymore visitors, I’ll take it down, wash it up and store it until Spring. Until then, I’m going to turn my attention to the feeder in my front yard. It hasn’t had much traffic through the summer months. Now that cooler weather is coming, my winter birds will be getting hungry.

Warm Regards, -Pat



1. Have you lost someone and had no control over the situation?

2. If so, how does this affect your present relationships?

3. Do you hold on too tightly, or perhaps choose not to get too close?

4. Do you allow Jesus to be your constant and most treasured Friend?

*Please feel free to leave a comment, share content that has blessed you and link back to

Product Review: GoBible Traveler

I’ve been reading the Bible through yearly for many years using a B.R.E.A.D. Chart, which stands for Bible Reading Enriches Any Day. You can purchase a pack of charts at


This year, however, due to travels, sickness, and well, dare I admit,  a good bit of laziness thrown in, I fell way behind in my Bible reading. So far behind that I didn’t know how I would catch up.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you must read the Bible through every year. It’s actually a lot to consume so quickly. For me, however, I just don’t feel like my day is complete unless I’m up to date with my BREAD Chart.

Enter the solution to my problem, the “GoBible Traveler”, an MP3 player that is preloaded with the entire Bible. I purchased this little piece of technology and it has been worth every penny. Now before all you techies start snickering under your breath, I do realize that I can use my smart phone to listen to the Bible, and have done so.

I prefer the GoBible for several reasons. I don’t have to worry about using up my phone battery or data. I also don’t have to worry about multitasking on my phone and not catching a call or text. I can bookmark the last chapter that I listened to and start right where I left off the next time.

I am a King James Version girl (But that’s a different story.) which you are able to choose when you make your purchase. The scriptures are read by Alexander Scourby, who most people agree is the best Bible narrator of them all.

One thing that could be perceived as a negative is that this model has no external speakers. This hasn’t bothered me in the least. I could not wear the style of earbuds that came with this model (pictured), but the jack is universal, so I just popped my old faithfuls in and now my ears are happy.

It has been perfect for me to listen my way through the B.R.E.A.D. chart while I am walking on the treadmill and riding in the car. I am also looking forward to using it on upcoming flights. Now I can spend more of my Bible reading time in actual study.

You can check out this little helper at They also have other models to choose from. Let me know what you think in the comment section and feel free to share.

GoBible Traveler