Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Margo Topp says younger women awash in shallow messages are hungry for something more.

Margo Topp: I think our culture—age twenties, thirties, forties—we don’t really want fluff. We’ve got fluff all around us, and we’re busy. So when we do stop to take time in conversation or in learning something, we want to get right to the heart of the matter. It really allows us to have those discussions and ask the questions and build the relationships we truly want to build.

Leslie: It’s Monday, July 30, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Apples of Gold. It isn’t a brand of produce. It’s a mentoring program providing younger women with solid biblical counsel on a whole variety of issues that affect their lives. We started to hear about the importance of mentoring last week, and Nancy is here to introduce our guests again.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’ve been having a great conversation this week with three friends who are talking with us about a very special mentoring program for women. If you missed either of the past two days, you’ll want to order that CD from our resource center so you can learn, whether you’re an older woman or a younger woman, how you can be involved in this particular ministry.

Let me re-introduce our guests for those who may not have been with us. Betty Huizenga is the founder of Apples of Gold. Betty, thank you for being here to tell us about it.

Betty Huizenga: It’s great to be here. It’s the joy of my life.

Nancy: I can tell that, and I’m hoping that passion will be contagious. It’s contagious with the other women in this room, for sure.

Margo Topp, you’re a wife; you’re a mom, and you’ve got five children, so you have been really blessed to have the ministry of Apples of Gold in your life. You were one of the original apples in that Apples of Gold program. Thanks for making the trip today to share with us how it’s influenced your life.

Margo: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

Nancy: And Dee Horne, one of the original mentors in the Apples of Gold program. Thanks for joining us.

Dee Horne: It’s been so fun for ten years to watch what Apples of Gold has done. It’s been a very wonderful opportunity.

Nancy: You all are full of stories of people who have been through this program, and I hope we’ll get to hear some of those today. But yesterday we got started and didn’t quite finish describing what the program looks like.

It’s a six-week program, so it’s not an overwhelming commitment they’re making. You pray about and you select six mentors to teach one of the six different topics each, and they’re there every week.

And then 8 – 15 younger women who have been prayed over and hand-selected all come together in a home. That’s an important part of this program. We’ve talked about why—that safe environment and that practical place for learning some practical life skills.

They start out in the kitchen and they cook a meal. Now, Betty, this past weekend I was with a college student who’s been in your home before. When I told him that Betty and Lee Huizenga were going to be with us this week talking on Revive Our Hearts, this young male college student said, “Oh, that Mrs. Huizenga, she’s an awesome woman. She’s an awesome cook!”

So I think some people may be hearing about all this cooking stuff that takes place in the first hour. You actually prepare a meal together. They may be thinking, “Well, that sounds overwhelming. If I’m not a gourmet cook, is this a program I could do?”

Dee, do you have to be a great cook to pull this off?

Dee: You really don’t. People love to come and learn about cooking skills, but they love more to be together. You can do casseroles; you can do homemade soup, whatever. It doesn’t matter. They love to come and be together, and cooking makes it fun.

Nancy: And it doesn’t have to be an expensive meal necessarily.

Dee: Correct.

Betty: It doesn’t. It does have to be delicious, though. What we hope to do is give the women six menus so at the end of the time, they’ll have a variety of six different menus they can take home and say, “I can do this.”

We love to get the reports back saying, “I made that menu, and it worked!” Menu planning is difficult for a lot of women, so we talk about how to shop and all those things. But that’s just the icebreaker part of it. Apples of Gold is not about cooking per se.

Nancy: Let me interrupt you here, Betty, to say that those menus are in the Apples of Gold book. We have that book and another book that you’ve written for mentors available in our resource center.

I hope a lot of our listeners who are thinking, “I don’t know how I would do that,” will call us or go to ReviveOurHearts.com and order those books because you really do give handles on how to do all that.

Betty: We’re working on an Apples of Gold cookbook at this time with Top Ten recipes from classes all around the country. So that should be fun.

Nancy: Yum!

Betty: But you know, every church has a good cook. You know, that person who brings the best food to the church dinners and everyone says, “I need that recipe.” So we should be able to find cooking mentors within our churches who would love to do that. Most people who love to cook will love to teach others how to cook.

Nancy: The neat thing is, you spread out the responsibilities so one person doesn’t have to do it all.

Betty: As Margo mentioned, when the gals finish class they are really quite tearful. So we figured out a wonderful way to bring them back, and that is as helpers. The young women get to come back as helpers in the kitchen; they do the dishes and help with prepping the food. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to be together again.

Nancy: So you cook; you prepare a meal, and then while the meal is cooking you move into the living room. We started talking about this yesterday.

There are six topics. You cover one each week. The women have done their own lesson, and then one of the mentors teaches a lesson.

Those six lessons come from Titus chapter 2 where we’re given a curriculum of what older women are to teach younger women. Tell us what those six topics are.

Betty: They are kindness, loving your husband, loving your children, purity, submission, and hospitality. Even something as basic as kindness—we all know we should be kind, but we are not always necessarily kind. Kindness to our family, kindness to those around us—it’s an important topic.

All the other topics sort of hinge on it. You can’t really be hospitable if you’re not kind. You can’t be a good wife or mom if you’re not kind. It all goes together. God knew that when He planned that Titus passage for us.

Nancy: I suppose that that in itself . . . if we as women would just get that kindness part down, what a difference that would make in the environment of our workplaces and our homes! Sometimes we want to be, we mean to be, but we just need a biblical nudge and an encouragement and a reminder of how much something as simple as kindness really does matter.

Dee: That’s right.

Betty: It certainly does.

Margo: I have found that Apples of Gold has really brought harmony into our home. Based on the Titus 2 passage, if I can truly get a handle on loving my husband, the marriage relationship being honored, truly loving my children, and then hospitality and kindness and being busy at home—if I really get a handle on this passage, it brings incredible harmony to our home.

And I have heard that to be true in other women’s homes as well.

Nancy: This Apples of Gold meeting each week for six weeks is really a chance for you to interact with other women, to hear the life message of older women who have walked, not perfectly, but have walked in this pathway.

So you come into the living room, you hear a teaching session on one of these topics, and then what do you do next?

Dee: We break up and have lunch together in small groups.

Nancy: The lunch you just prepared.

Dee: Correct. The small group is where we can really talk; we have time then over food. It’s a wonderful segue into talking about the lesson, and that’s when we can share stories with each other. That has been a wonderful, wonderful time together, where we’ve really gotten to know each other and share our lives together.

Nancy: So do the mentors do most of the talking? Do the young women? Are they doing a lot of sharing? What’s it like at that Table Talk?

Dee: We have a list for Table Talk just to make sure that we stay on subject. So the mentors will guide the discussion. But we find that the young women do most of the talking.

Betty: Another reason for having Table Talk is that some of the women may not know one another really well. By having prescribed questions, if you will, it keeps us from having a couple of women who know each other be in a clique at one end of the table.

It keeps us together so we can really get to know each other and friendships can really develop around that table. We’ve had some wonderful stories from the Table Talk.

Dee: We talked today about having this with the young women in our church. But we also can do it with the young women in our neighborhoods. An older woman in a neighborhood can bring the neighbors together.

You can use it as a tool for evangelism. We have missionaries that take it overseas and use it as a forum to bring people together. There are all kinds of settings.

We’ve also used it with people that live near us in low income housing. We’ve taught them how to shop economically and how to fix food economically, making casseroles that they can take home with them at night. So there are so many different applications for Apples of Gold.

Nancy: One of the things that excites me most about this is how it cultivates friendship and relationship. You can all go to church together, whether it’s a small church or even more so in a large church, and not even know the people you’re going to church with. We pass each other in the aisle or in the foyer or the lobby and we say, “Hi, how are you doing?” but don’t really get into each other’s lives.

I think younger women and older women today are starved for relationship. They’re starved for connectedness. That didn't used to be true in multi-generational families, but now families are scattered or fragmented or broken homes, and there’s this hunger and this longing for relationship.

You’ve discovered in Apples of Gold that the relationships that are built outlast the six-week class.

Betty: Many of the women in our church who were in the classes I didn’t know before that. Now I get into church, and I’ve got hugs all around, and I know their children. There’s a real, true relationship and caring that happens because of that. I feel like that’s a blessing to older women as well.

If anything, I would like to encourage mentors to come on board because there are so many young women longing for mentors. They have said sometimes they ask a woman to mentor them, and she refuses, for whatever reasons.

I’m hoping it’s not because we feel like we’ve “been there, done that” at our age, or that we’re being a little selfish, thinking, “I want to go out and golf and play.” I love to play too, but there’s a time for everything. And there’s certainly time to serve other.

Once they learn that serving other people brings such joy to our lives, I think they catch it. Often we’ll invite a mentor just to visit and see what it looks like. As soon as they get there, they say, “Oh, I can do that!”

So that’s another way to get mentors started. Invite them to come and visit a class. Once they see it, it’s like a light bulb goes on, and they say, “Oh, this is not difficult.”

Nancy: I’m kind of in-between the younger and older women generation, and if I could just say to you older women who listen to Revive Our Hearts, we need you. The church needs you. The younger women need you. You may not feel like you have a lot to offer, but you do.

God has given you life experiences for a reason, and they are not to be wasted. This is a season of life where you can be imparting grace and encouragement and life to others, and you will be so rewarded as an older woman.

Haven’t you found that true, Dee, that as you’re investing in these women, you get the blessing?

Dee: I have. We could tell you so many stories. Let me just share one with you today. We had a young woman in our second class that had her house burn while she was at work. It wasn’t just losing her house, but she lost her grandma and a baby.

Nancy: Wow.

Dee: Thank God for Apples of Gold, because we surrounded this family in every way. Her young friends from Apples of Gold took over everything for her, for her home. They did a clothing drive for them. I can’t even tell you what Apples of Gold meant to a family like this.

Maybe you don’t have something that catastrophic happen, but little things in life where you can come alongside each other; it’s an amazing thing that God does.

Nancy: Margo, you’ve really developed some rich relationships and friendships that have come out of the Apples of Gold mentoring program.

Margo: I have. Not only from the mentors, but also from the girls I was in Apples of Gold with. During the Table Talk time, the wisdom that comes from the young gals is wonderful, and some of those things really stick with me, still to this day.

Dee: Margo, could you tell them about Sun Lee?

Margo: Yes, Sun Lee. My husband and I were called by a woman’s shelter, and they said, “We have this young woman who is from China. She’s pregnant, due any day, and she just came in. She was physically abused by her husband; she knows very, very little English; and she is very, very scared.”

So I went and met Sun Lee. Within a few days she gave birth, and our family came around. I had such a longing in my heart to be able to be and do whatever we could for her to show her Christ’s love, and the little baby as well.

So we set her up in a little apartment. I still didn’t feel like that was enough. One morning—I have it written in my journal; I just looked at it the other day; it was May 23. I was crying out to the Lord at the top of my journal entry for Sun Lee. Later that day I was going to go to an Apples of Gold spring luncheon.

At the bottom of my journal entry, it said, “Who shall I take to this Apples of Gold luncheon? I haven’t thought of a person to replace me from the year before. Who is it, Lord? I know You’re going to show me.”

Later that morning I went over to Sun Lee’s apartment, and she wasn’t there. Then in she came, and she was crying. She had just dropped off her newborn little son at the father’s home for visitation. Well, of course she had incredible fear of that. And all of a sudden the light went on. “Lord, she’s the one I’m to invite to Apples of Gold.”

So I invited her to come for that morning. The Lord just revealed to me even more. He said, “Yes, she is the one to come.” It turned out that every Tuesday, when she would meet for Apples of Gold, she had to bring this little baby to his father’s home. It’s so cool how the Lord did that.

It was just two months later, after being part of the Apples of Gold and learning what it would be to have a Christian home based on Titus 2, that she accepted the Lord. Let’s see, eight years later, she now has a wonderful Christian home and two beautiful sons and a good marriage. And Apples of Gold was truly foundational in that. It’s so neat to be able to see the Lord’s hand!

Nancy: So we’re talking about a whole lot more than cooking lessons here.

Margo: Oh yes! So much more!

Nancy: This is life building.

Margo: So much more. Year after year, class after class, we continually see the Lord’s hand in this. And our husbands love it, too. My family was so excited when I was a part of Apples of Gold, and also now when I can continue to be part of it, helping out and picking up some of the recipes when I’m there helping in a class.

My family loves it because of the great recipes that come, and also because of the mom and the wife I’ve continued to grow to be, and the example to my children. The trickledown effect is just immeasurable.

Betty: This isn’t really a “fluffy” program. When I began to write the lessons, I thought, “Lord, I don’t want to do something fluffy because these are important topics, and we really want life-changing things to happen here.”

I would say the lessons, though understandable, go deep. They really go to the heart of the matter so that women are challenged to make changes because of the lessons.

Margo: Speaking from the Apple's viewpoint, I think our culture—twenties, thirties, forties—we don’t really want fluff. We’ve got fluff all around us, and we’re busy. So when we do stop to take time in conversation or in learning something, we want to get right to the heart of the matter.

Again, Apples of Gold has the timeframe set. We know we can do that. It really allows us to have those discussions and ask the questions and build the relationships that we truly want to build.

Nancy: Yes, I’m finding that women today are really hungry for truth. They’re hungry for reality, and they’re eager to be challenged to rise above mediocrity, to rise above selfishness.

So many are coming out of these horribly dysfunctional and fragmented backgrounds. They have no concept of what it looks like to be a homemaker and how to juggle the responsibilities they have.

I find in so many cases that these women are stressed out. They’re struggling. They’re frustrated. Of course, their families are getting the brunt of that.

But so many of these women are saying, “I want a different life. I want a life that glorifies God. I want my life to count. I don’t want to be just barely keeping my head above water as a mom, and whatever all my responsibilities are in life. I want to be thriving, not just surviving.”

This program, Apples of Gold, will help women do that. I want to challenge each of our women listeners: According to the Scripture, you need to be either an older woman or a younger woman.

If you’re an older woman, you need to be teaching younger women. There are many different programs you can use. You don’t even need a program. But here’s one that can help you do that. If you’re a younger woman, you need to be learning.

Of course we’re always all learning, and we can always be teaching others. But there is that definite principle and teaching there in Titus chapter 2 that older women are to be teaching the younger women how to love their husbands, how to love their children, how to be keepers at home, how to be hospitable.

These are skills you don’t learn by taking a college class. You learn them in real life—coming alongside women who’ve been there, who’ve done that, and who are willing to be unselfish enough to plug into other women’s lives and say, “Let me come alongside and help you.”

The resources related to Apples of Gold are available through our resource center. I hope you’ll contact us to find out how you can know more about this ministry and how you can be plugged in to this ministry of women training women in the ways of God.

Leslie Basham: I hope you’ll get plugged in to the mentoring program Nancy Leigh DeMoss just described.

The women who participate in an Apples of Gold group go through a workbook called Apples of Gold. That’s pretty easy to remember. We want to put this book in your hands. You can use it when you join one of the mentoring groups, or you can read it on your own and be mentored by our guest, Betty Huizenga, who wrote the material.

We’ll send you the Apples of Gold book, along with Nancy’s conversation with Betty and friends, on CD. The CDs are a great resource on mentoring. Get insight on this important biblical topic that just isn’t talked about enough.

The book and CD series are yours when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Your donation will allow us to continue mentoring women, in a sense. When Nancy teaches on the radio and on the web, younger women are taking it in and applying it to all areas of their lives. Here’s Nancy to give you an example.

Nancy: One of the first people that comes to my mind is a young woman named Ginger that I met a number of years ago. Here’s a young woman who was raised in a home that was not based on biblical principles, and she had a lot of feminist thinking in her upbringing.

She came to know the Lord as a college student, if I remember correctly. Early in her Christian life, the Lord brought her across the path of some teaching we’ve done on Revive Our Hearts and to a Revive Our Hearts conference, where she picked up some of our resources.

She began to listen particularly to the series on biblical womanhood. She had never heard anything like this before. It was so foreign to her, it was like listening to a different language. But she said, “I listened to that CD series over and over again.” She shared what a tremendous impact it made in her life as a young woman and a young believer.

Now fast forward. It’s been several years. She’s now a wife with two small children, and to see this woman applying in her life, at this season of life, the principles of what it means to be a woman of God, to love God, to love her husband, to train her children in the ways of God . . . It’s been a discipleship process of the truth going into her life through ReviveOurHearts.com, through the radio programs, through the Revive Our Hearts conferences.

I saw Ginger again recently at a luncheon, getting ready for an upcoming conference in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area at Denton Bible Church. Ginger stood up and shared with these pastors’ wives and women’s ministry directors what an important impact this conference could have in their lives and the women in their churches, and she encouraged them to be a part of it.

I want to encourage you to be a part, on September 28 – 29, of a Revive Our Hearts conference at Denton Bible Church. It will be a Friday night and all day Saturday. This is a great opportunity for women to come together, to seek the Lord, to hear His Word and His truth in a concentrated weekend environment with other women who are seeking the Lord as well.

I do hope you’ll be able to join us on the weekend of September 28 and 29. If you’d like to attend, go to our website, and you can find more information there. Or you can even register online.

Leslie Basham: Or call toll free 1-800-569-5959.

Betty Huizenga wants to replace the word retired with the word “refired.” Get a vision for all the great things God could do in your latter years. That’s tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.