Saturday, January 30, 2010

We Are Home

We left Michigan yesterday around 1:30 yesterday and kept going back and forth in our discussions as to whether to stop along the way or drive all the way home.  The forecast was for a major winter storm to hit home so we decided to go as far as the roads allowed.  Thank you to all the friends who kept us up to date on the roads ahead and helped us as we would decide to go just a little further.  We had snow off and on in Virginia and at one time was wondering if we were making the right decision, but kept on going.  We hit the heavy stuff 20 miles from home.  The worst part was the road before our neighborhood. 

God was good!  He went ahead of us and with us through the entire trip.  The traffic was minimal.  There was only one delay on the interstate and we were toward the beginning of it and only sat still for about ten minutes.  We stopped for gas and to grab a sandwich to eat in the car and kept on moving. 

We made it home in about 11 hours.  We were grateful to crawl into our own beds last night (where I stayed for 10 full hours!).  And even more grateful we decided to keep on coming when we looked out the window this morning - more than 8 inches of snow had fallen and now we are having some ice.  We would have had a horrible time getting home today.

Now to try to get our kids home - we left them where they were staying last night in case we didn't get home.  So they are 15 minutes away and snowed in.  We are going to try to drive over there this afternoon.  I am ready to see them and I know
Hannah is definitely ready to sleep in her own bed.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Covenant Signing

We are official!  Today we signed our Spiritual Covenant with SEND.  It was an exciting time.  The personnel team chair is an associate pastor of a local church.  He shared a devotion entitled "Strive for the Towel."  It was a title that made Scott and I both to look at each other and say "Huh?"  But after the sermon that is my goal.

He took us to the passage where Jesus is washing the feet of the disciples in the upper room.  Jesus didn't strive to be greatest in title or in job description.  He didn't declare who he was and expect everyone to be ready to bow down at his feet and serve him.  Instead he picked up the towel and began to wash the feet of the disciples.  He became a servant not so that he could crow about how humble he was, but instead because it was who He was.

Do I do "servant' work so that people talk about how hard of a worker I am or so that I get recognition for my humility?  Or do I take up my towel and "wash other people's feet" with a heart and attitude that matches the motivation that Jesus had that night? 

We have a few more logistic sessions in the morning and then hope to be on the road around 3:00 tomorrow afternoon.  We are leaving Michigan where it is bitter cold (5 degrees F tonight before the wind chill) and heading into a forecasted snow storm in NC.  Pray for our safety and wisdom as we drive home.

We had a 2nd showing on our house today.  It is the family's favorite choice, but they still have a home in another state to sell.  Their house is showing so as you pray for the sale of our house, add them to your prayer list too.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Being Deliberate about the Essentials

"The most important thing we do is who we are." 
Eugene Peterson

Take a few minutes and think about what that really says. 

Today in our Spiritual Discipline time we were given the following few paragraphs by Scott Shaum of Barnabas International to read.  Don't rush through them.  Savor them.  Ponder them.  Do they speak to you like they spoke to me today? 

"Above all else, God is about relational intimacy.  In a seminal teaching to His disciples before He died, Jesus said, 'He that abides in me and I in Him will bear much fruit.  For without me you can do nothing (John 15:15).'  In my results focused western culture, we always gravitate toward the fruit.  We want to see results.  I see multiple problems with that being our initial focus.  I will list two.

First, Jesus tells us to focus on abiding, not thee fruit.  My responsibility is to abide; stay close to Christ at all costs.  It is the Vine that provides the fruit-bearing power through the various branches.  If we are more concerned about ministry numbers and programs then we are concerned about the wrong thing, as good as they may be.  Jesus' command is clear:  abide.

Second, all this focus on results is a major distraction to what God is really after in us.  Eugene Peterson in an interview stated, "Our primary problem is distraction.  And for those of us in ministry it is the distraction of the work."  God's primary desire is our character transformation into the image of Christ.  Peterson declares, "The most important thing we do is who we are!

So with all this distraction and busyness all around us, we need to be deliberate about the essentials.  What are the essentials?  How about leisurely time over the word in depth study (not mere devotions or ministry task accomplishment - like preparing for teaching)?  Or unhurried chunks of time in prayer?  And 2-3 hours a week set aside for reflection on what is really going on in our life?  A true Sabbath?  If we neglect these essentials we are taking part in the cancer of distraction and busyness that will eat out the heart of who we are and erode intimacy with God.  And we will certainly lack true spiritual authority.

Each of us must determine what these essentials look like in our lives - time, place, focus.  But they are not optional.  I encourage you to take a pause for a time of reflection and planning.  How can you deepen your prayer life and add times of personal, deep study in the word?  Most importantly, how will you take deliberate steps toward deepening your intimacy with your Father in the coming months?  It is my firm conviction that these are truly non-negotiable, especially for a leader."

It has been a good time here.  We have begun to accomplish some things and are beginning to feel like we have an idea of what is ahead of us.  Tomorrow we will have a formal ceremony appointing us as missionaries (still trying to get used to saying that).

Also - the house is being shown at 11:30 tomorrow.  Say a prayer that this might be the one.

Thanks again for your support!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Journey Continues on the Radio

In the midst of all the craziness last week we took some time out and recorded the next episode of the radio show with Siloam Missionary Homes.  So, scroll on down to the bottom of this page and listen to the three segments of the radio show entitled The Journey Continues.  Ignore the segment names and remember I am technically challenged.

Today was good.  We designed our prayer cards and cannot wait to begin to share them with people.  It was nice to finally check something off the to do list instead of add to it.  We then met with our coach and discovered the level of financial support we are going to have to raise.  Oh my!  We have prayed from the beginning that God would do a God sized work in this journey and this financial support is definitely a place that He will have to do it!  I can't wait to look back and share what God has done!

Tomorrow we have to do our practice church presentation.  Scott and I learned a lot today as we planned it about how to blend our two personalities and two speaking styles.  Now we just pray that it goes well. 

Thanks for your prayers and support.  We are so very blessed!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A year is a very short time...

Job 17:11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.

On January 21, 2009 our hearts were broken, our plans were shattered and we just didn't know if we could go on.  Cindy and I were certain we had heard a call from God into missions but a sending organization had told us that because of many issues we were not a fit for them.  What we heard at the time was a resounding "NO!"  It caused us to doubt ourselves, our calling and even God for a while.

After a period of time I became angry at that group of humans that had gotten between us and our calling.  After much prayer the anger faded and we became convinced that what we had heard wasn't a "NO!" but rather a gentle "Try a different way."

Our family began the process of application for membership with SEND International in the Fall of 2009.  We began filling out paperwork...we filled out more paperwork....yeah, even more paperwork.  We completed multiple applications, medical forms and doctrinal statements.  We had a home visit from Betsy Wambach (we were very apprehensive but she turned out to be a sweetheart!)  Eventually we were accepted for the Candidate Orientation Program in Michigan.  We spent a week doing testing and evaluations and interviews.  On January 22, 2010 we were informed that we had been appointed as SEND missionaries to Spain.  It was only after a dear friend (Hi Marsha!) pointed it out to us that we realized that it had been a year and a day since that low point.  My how far we had come.  How the Lord had blessed our family in just a year.  We were in a place that was beyond our human expectations. 

The situation has changed with that first sending organization.  Times are tough for them right now.  It probably wasn't the right place for us at that time.  God knew what was best for our family but we couldn't see it in the midst of the circumstances.  He knew that SEND was going to be the right place for us.  He knew how much we were going to need to grow in the intervening year.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God has a plan for you and your life.  If you can't see what that plan is right now, be assured that it is there.  If you are devastated by disaster, rely on God.  If you can't see what God is doing in your life right now trust his character.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Odds and Ends

Today has been a day of reflection and thought and processing life as know it today and wondering what it will hold for tomorrow. 

  • We visited a church here in Michigan with a SEND coach and her husband.  She repeatedly introduced as newly appointed missionaries.  The first time she said it I actually looked around to see who she was talking about it.  It still doesn't seem quite real, but it is getting there.
  • It's been an emotional week - I did not expect it to be this way.  We had made a decision and that was it.  But between the tests, interviews, constantly being "on," the death of a missionary kid while we were here, a family now moving on in the process and more there have been a lot of tears and emotions. 
  • We are tired - physically (not sleeping in our own beds), emotionally, mentally (see the Bible Knowledge post) - but not spiritually.  We have encountered God in more ways than I can count this week.  He has been faithful!
  • I remember when Tim and Marsha went to Ukraine sharing that one of the adjustments they were having to make was being together all the time.  It's only been a week, but I understand.  We are in a hotel type room and are together non-stop all day.  I have discovered this is a lot different than a vacation together - this has way too many stresses and we process them differently.  It is going to take some adjustment when we arrive.
  • There is a lot to do at home.  I have had to practice discipline already to not let me mind go to the things at home that can be overwhelming and only focus on the task at hand today.  But, when we return home next week there is a lot of work ahead of us.  We will be looking to friends and family for help - another humbling part of this process.
It's been a good day.  We worshiped with fellow believers, enjoyed hospitality at the home of a SEND family, got a great afternoon nap in, shared an international dinner with the other newly appointed missionaries, and Scott got to watch the football game while I got some one on one girl time with the lady who has held our hand through this process.  God has been good today as I know He will continue to be.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Day After

Last night we had a chance to talk with lots of friends and family and realize how loved we are.  Thank you to everyone who commented on my facebook and left voice mails and emails encouraging us along.  We are very blessed to be part of such a great network of friends and family.

Today was another day of crazy emotions.  We got the chance to sleep in this morning and I took full advantage of it - cracking my eyes open near 9:00.  It was wonderful!  We then spent the rest of the morning beginning to work on our first newsletter and presentation.  It still seems strange to be actually planning towards going to the field.  Maybe tomorrow it will feel real.

This afternoon we had to say goodbye to some fellow candidates who are not going forward in the process.  Once again a roller coaster of emotions as we remembered when we reached a dead end in the process.  Pray for this family as they travel home and mourn this stage of their journey.

Tonight several of us went out to dinner together at a favorite restaurant from our Michigan days - BD's Mongolian Barbecue.  It was great food and great fellowship and a little bit of celebration.  It was a much needed time to just sit back and laugh and share stories.  We are now part of another family.

Tomorrow we will be going to church with a family from SEND and then enjoying lunch with them.  Then we will get serious about finishing our paperwork and assignments that are due on Monday. 

Thank you again to each person who is praying for us as we travel this journey.  Today I can think of no other place that I would like to be than here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


We were officially appointed as
SEND International Missionaries
to Spain today!!!

What does that mean?  That means that we have taken a major turn in the journey and are now officially missionaries. 

Where are we going?  We have been appointed to Spain.  We will begin outside of Madrid for language school and then wait to see where God sends us next.

When are we going?  We will spend the next months raising our financial and prayer support.  Once we reach 100% support level we will leave for Spain.

Who is going?  Hannah and Alex will join us and Zach will stay at Averett University for college and join us on his breaks.

Why are we going?  Spain is culturally Catholic but has less than one percent evangelical presence among the ethnic Spanish population.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Reality of Missions

Today has been a difficult day, a day filled with lots of emotions.  We knew in our head when we surrendered to international missions there were lots of possibilities of things to happen to family and friends while we were across the ocean, but head knowledge is very different than heart knowledge.  Today during chapel we, along with the entire SEND International staff, learned that a tragedy had occurred in Charlotte, North Carolina this morning. 

This family serves in Taiwan.  One of their adult daughters (mid 20's) lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and works as a school teacher.  She was involved in a head on car collision this morning and is now on life support.  The parents were three hours from the nearest airport in Taiwan.  The siblings were in a variety of other locations around the world.  The airline was telling the parents there were no seats available for them. 

The reality of this journey hit home.  We too will be leaving a son here in the states as we cross the ocean.  Eventually we will send our daughter here too.  Our parents will be here.  Dear friends will be here.  There was a moment there when I had to step back and ask was I really ready to lay it all down at Christ's feet and say He could have it all for the sake of someone learning of Him.  The answer is I am scared to death.  The answer is I don't know.  But in God's perfect providence, at the beginning of the 1st session after chapel we saw a short video clip from China.  We listened as a beautiful young lady from a remote village in China shared how no one in her village knew of Jesus and how in her pursuit to leave the village and live a better life she met a missionary who introduced her to Jesus.  Even though every ounce of her will was to never return to the village, she knew she had to return so that her family could know of Jesus. 

There are still many who have never heard of Jesus or who have no idea that this Jesus we talk of is waiting on a personal relationship with them.  Can I turn away from that?  No.  Do I have what it takes to trust God with everything - including my family?  I don't know.  But as I type I cry out to God to hold my hand and my heart very close to Him and to lead me one step at a time. 

Pray for this family for God is the only one who can comfort in such a time as this.  Pray for the many details required for the family to get here from Taiwan.  Pray for all the missionaries on the field as they know that this is a potential reality for each one of them.

Tomorrow is our final personnel interview.  At 9:30 we will be interviewed by a team of 10 - 12 personnel team committee members.  Around 4:00 tomorrow we will learn if we have been appointed.  Pray that we keep our eyes on God and His calling on our lives!  Pray for the kids tomorrow as they transition from home back to grandparents.  (They are doing great - thank you to everyone who is helping out!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Day of Interviews

After a good night's sleep, today was a little less stressful.  I awoke with no headache, but we did oversleep a little - I forgot to set the alarm.  So breakfast was grabbed on the run, but worth the trade off for a little extra sleep. 

Our morning started with a continuation of our discussions on Spiritual Disciplines.  Today's discipline was quiet times.  Powerful.  A veteran missionary shared his time schedule - 1 hour /day with God, 1 day/month with God, and 1 week/year with God.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in the business of doing God's work we forget to get wrapped up in God.  I know when I became a staff member of a church how easy it was for that to happen, I imagine it will be even easier on the mission field.  May God find both of us faithful in staying wrapped up in Him instead of the work.

Today was a little more relaxed as we were all on different schedules.  We had a "paperwork interview" with personnel.  She went over all our evaluations and recommendations regarding our future along with giving us more paperwork to do.  All was positive in that interview.  We then each had a psychological evaluation and we were both found to be "normal."  Boy is that a subjective term! 

In between the interviews we squeezed in a telephone radio interview for an upcoming episode.

We managed a nap, checked in with the kids and the office, and ended the evening at Starbucks with some fellow candidates and learned to play Monopoly Deal (a card game version of Monopoly). 

Tomorrow we will sit through classes and Friday morning we have our final interview.  Friday afternoon we get our final answer - appointed or not.  We are actually beginning to see the mission field as a reality and we have to stop and take a deep breath every now and then, but it is good. 

Update on the house - it is still ours - no sell to today's lookers - but God is in control.  Keep praying.

Serious Missionary Training                    
(Steve on the left is headed to Ukraine and David on the right is headed to Japan)

Starbucks Crew             
(Janelle and Jenelle, Scott, and Bob and Sarah - who are headed to Alaska)                                     

We all share in Clean Up Duty

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Humbling Experience

Well, today was the Bible Knowledge Test.  I woke up at 4 AM with a sinus headache that was quickly heading in to a migraine.  I left the "hotel" and went in search of a drug store to get some medicine before breakfast.  I grabbed my book bag that I have been carrying around all week and arrived without getting lost, only to realize I didn't have my wallet.  So I drove back to the "hotel" and got my wallet and heading back to CVS.  I was pushing getting back to the campus in time for devotions.  Today's topic was the beginning of a series on Spiritual Disciplines.  It was good (I'll share the survey later - everyone ought to do it).  So with a headache and hurried morning, the first thing on the agenda today was The Bible Knowledge Assessment.  I have been in church my entire life.  I have been to seminary.  I serve on a church staff.  I should sail through this test with flying colors - right?  Instead I open the test and after the first section (name the books of the New Testament in order) and realize I am in trouble.  It was bad.  There were 250 questions.  The sections included 1) put biblical events in chronological order, 2) identify theological terms, 3) Name the book and chapter where events happened (both old and new testament), 4) Who said a list of quotes, and 5) scripture memory.  By the 4th section I was in tears.  Stress was at it's fullest.  My headache wasn't easing off and I had no clue the answers to the majority of the questions. 

I was humbled.  I was embarrassed.  I was astonished at my little knowledge.  I turned the test in and just lost it.  I just sat and cried and couldn't really tell you why.  Probably just one of those female things. 

So, now that I am beyond the emotions of the morning and my head feels better I sit back and look at what am I going to do with the knowledge.  I am going to memorize more scripture - regardless of how old I am!  I am going to pull out my Walk Through the Bible stuff and I am going to know my Bible more.  I am going to look at what I am teaching the children at church.  Can you use your Bible?  Do you really know what it says?  If you were given these 250 questions how would you respond? 

I have been brought to my knees today - asking for forgiveness for not investing in a commitment to really know the Bible, asking for a reminder that God has called us to this journey, and asking for the help to really get to know the Bible.  One more exciting challenge in the journey.

Later in the day we had our evangelism assessment and I found that fun.  I used the wordless book and got to "lead" a fellow candidate to Christ.  Then tonight we all had to share our salvation testimonies and the beginning of how we were called to missions.  There are 9 of us with 9 distinct testimonies.  Each was such a reminder of what a great God we serve.

We are tired - emotionally and physically, but in a good way.  We are calling it quits early tonight and look forward to a new day tomorrow.  Our schedule tomorrow includes our paperwork interview (meeting with the personnel director to go over all our paperwork, prepare for our personnel team interview, look at our evaluation scores, and see what we are missing) and we each have a psychological evaluation.  In the middle of it we are recording a segment for the radio show that we participate in Siloam Missionary Homes.  Another full day, but tomorrow night we will have a fun evening with the team.

On the home front - continue to pray for the kids as they are home.  Pray for Amber Lovelace as she is serving as surrogate mom.  The house is being shown tomorrow so keep that in your prayers too. 

Thank you for joining us on this journey.  I cannot think of anywhere else I want to be.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We Passed the Language Test!

Today has been filled with tests and training.  The most exciting part was that we both passed the Language Aptitude Test.  It was a crazy test - they basically taught us a little of kurdish in a few minutes and then tested us on what we had just learned.  But we both passed.  It has been a long day, but a good one.  We are getting to know our candidates and laughing and sharing a lot.  Tonight we are all trying to cram as much memory work as possible into our brains as tomorrow is a 250 question on Bible knowledge.  We know that we have to name the books of the New Testament and that we will be given 5 scripture references that we have to quote (but we don't know the references).  There will be one essay question and the rest will be multiple choice and matching.  It is kind of scary to think all that I have been taught will be on the line tomorrow.  If you think of it, pray for us at 9:00 as we take this test.

Below are some pictures of our adventure so far.

Our visit with the Fikes

Our cookes - Jan & Mindy

Scott studying for Bible Knowledge Test

Janelle (who is going to Spain with us) &
Jenelle studying the Romans Road

Monday, January 18, 2010


We have arrived at the headquarters of SEND International and we keep looking at each other and asking if we are ready for what is ahead.  It is definitely kind of surreal feeling here.  We have prayed and planned and looked forward to this journey moving ahead for more than a year and now it is hard to believe we are taking some big steps in the journey.

There are 10 candidates here.  They (or should it be we) are heading all over the world - Kosovo, Ukraine, Alaska, Japan, and Spain.  We are almost (note the almost) the oldest candidates here.  One other family unit has kids and we are a lot alike.  They are leaving one here in the continental states (they are headed to Alaska) and taking a 16 year old with them.  They are two single ladies going - one will be with us in Spain.  There is a newlywed couple and a couple that will be married shortly.  We just began to hear each other's stories tonight.  Some had short spiritual journeys to this point in their lives; others have been on this journey for a long time.  Some traveled a long ways (newlyweds are from California now, but she is originally from Japan) while others are just a few hours away.  We will have made some dear friends by the time we leave. 

Tomorrow the real work begins.  Each morning we begin with devotions and worship.  Tomorrow we will have to complete the MMPI - a psychological evaluation tool - and our Language Aptitude Test (evaluates how easily we will learn a foreign language) and I think our Bible Knowledge Test is tomorrow too.  There will be teaching throughout the day too.  The days are full, but the evenings or for homework, reflection, and getting to know the others.

We had a great visit in Adrian and I'll try to include pictures in tomorrow's post.  I am always amazed and overwhelmed as I have opportunities to reunite with friends from years ago.  I go to high school reunions with people that I haven't seen in 10 years and we can't find anything to discuss.  I meet with friends who share a common faith in Jesus Christ and even after 10 years of no contact we can talk through the night.  God truly is about relationship!  He not only wants us to have a genuine relationship with Him, He wants us to have relationships with fellow believers.  How boring life would be without these relationships.

It is strange to be here without the kids - but they are in good hands with my parents and seem to be having a great time.  Keep them in your prayers as they process the fact that we are in Michigan and will return home one step closer to leaving for Spain.

Sleep good and we'll "chat" again tomorrow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Michigan Bound

This is Scott posting.  We hit the road at about 4:30 Friday night and had a smooth start to the trip.  We had a restful nights sleep in Charleston, WV.

This morning we are getting ready to head out to Adrian, MI.  We are going to spend the night with old friends (Mike and Lisa!) from when we lived in Michigan.  Tomorrow we are going to go to church at Ogden Community Church and we will get to see more old friends.

I sometimes marvel at how God has arranged the circumstances of our lives in order to prepare us for this journey.  Cindy and I have lived in places we weren't familiar with (SC and MI seemed like foreign countries to our unsophisticated eyes.), learned languages that were different and hung out with people who were from other countries.  We have lived away from family and friends.  We have had to deal with people having different ways of speaking, different ways of doing things and different standards.  We have dealt with trying to fit in and still remaining ourselves.  I say these things not for sympathy or admiration but to say "My God is great!"  He provided all these small challenges (though they didn't seem small at the time.) in order that we could be ready for the idea of going to Spain as missionaries.

I resisted the idea of going to seminary for a long time because I knew I wasn't capable of writing the papers that would be required.  I never was very good at writing.  Liberal arts type people just don't appreciate the scientific style.  Little did I know that God had taken care of all of that.  We found out that in order to go to the mission field I would be required to have a seminary degree so I gave in and gave it a try.  Well, imagine that... God takes care of everything.  It turns out I can write papers (with the help of an excellent editor...thanks dear!)  and God has provided everything I need in order to be successful at seminary.

Again, I say all this to say that God takes care of us.  I don't know exactly what you are going through right now.  I didn't know where I was headed when I was going through everything either.  Be encouraged that there is always a reason for the trials in our paths.  Pray hard, keep your head up and persevere.  God knows why you are in the circumstances that surround you and He always has a plan which is bigger than what you can see right in front of you.

James 5:11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

House Is Being Shown

Isn't it great when God just flows all His blessings down on us?!  Suitcases are packed and paperwork is finished and we are ready to leave when Scott gets off work, but that wasn't enough for God.  He wanted to remind us that He hears our every prayer.  The house is being shown this afternoon (and the buyer was even flexible with my schedule) AND we sold the weight bench for the amount we were asking for and it is being picked up today too!  I just LOVE God!

Our Itenerary

Several have asked what our schedule is so I will fill in a few blanks now and more to come in the future.

Today, January 15 - assuming I ever pack - we will leave Greensboro around 5:30 and travel to Charleston, WV - about 4 hours.

Saturday, January 16 - we will travel to Adrian, Michigan (where we lived about 12 years ago) to visit with friends.  We will be staying with Mike and Lisa Fike and cannot wait to see them!

Sunday, January 17  - we will travel to SEND International headquarters in Farmington, Michigan - about 1 1/2 hours.  We need to arrive in Farmington between 3 and 5 in the afternoon.  Sunday night will be dinner and orientation.

Monday, January 18 - Friday, January 29- we will be attending Candidate Orientation Program (COP).  COP is a time to equip and encourage the candidates for the missionary journey and in the start of a lifelong process of partner development.  The two weeks will be filled with interviews, evaluations, testimonies, testing, and more.  The days are packed! 

Friday, January 29  - we will drive a few hours towards home.

Saturday, January 30 -  we will complete the drive.  The total drive from Farmington to home is about 13 hours.

Thanks for your prayer and support as we continue on the journey.  Feel free to leave comments along the way - your words of encouragement and support mean the world to us.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tomorrow is Coming Fast

We leave tomorrow - not a single piece of clothing is in a suitcase and there is a smell coming out of the refrigerator and I marked one thing off my to do list last night and added five.  Perhaps it is time to get busy!

I got to share last night with three little Mission Friend (our Wednesday night program at church for preschoolers that focuses on missions) boys last night about our trip to Michigan and about why missionaries are needed in Spain (it happens to be the country they are studying this month).  It was so much fun - but more than that it was motivating.  To watch their eyes as they heard about how lost the people of Spain are reminded me why we were supposed to be packing.  Their questions were so innocent.  Their hearts were right.  Even the teachers learned a few things they did not know about Spain and the scarcity of Christians there. 

I realized last night one big thing - I cannot wait to be officially appointed as a missionary headed to Spain.  I have fallen in love with the people of Spain and have never been there.  I am following the blogs of several future team mates and I can't wait to meet them face to face.  I cannot wait to learn the language and begin to make new friends.  I cannot wait!

Perhaps this excitement will propel me toward the suitcase on the shelf in the closet...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Two Days and Counting...

Fifteen months ago we said "yes God."  We said it with an exclamation mark behind it, a question mark at the end, a comma after it, and many times that week we even just said "God."  We knew without a doubt we were surrendering everything in us, about us and around us for God's greater plan.  We believed wholeheartedly God was calling us to be international missionaries.  We knew we were beginning a new phase of our Christian journey and had no idea where it would take us.

The journey took turns and curves and ups and downs and fast forwards and rewinds.  There were even some times of bumpy roads and huge holes.  At times the journey was straight and smooth.  But throughout the entire journey - we have known that God is there.  That we were walking with God and following Him. 

We have felt the pain of holding on and the pain of surrendering (and know that there is a lot more of this to come).  We continue to learn about God's timing and how when done in His perfect way things work out so much better.  We have experienced the excitement of seeing pieces of the puzzle fit together and we have felt the pain of trying to force pieces together that didn't fit.

But today we are experiencing the excitement that comes from waiting on His timing and His perfect plan.   In two days we will be leaving for Michigan.  We will be one step closer to stepping foot in the country of Spain.  In fact, the excitement makes the preparation a little difficult.  I'd rather just get in the car and go than to do all the planning, but that would be a bad idea.

Our children will not be going with us so there is a lot of planning to do to get them ready.  Thank you to every friend who is helping out.  I can not imagine how people make it through life without the support of a loving church.  I truly consider myself blessed and loved.

We will be gone for 15 days so there is a lot of work to be done at our jobs to be gone for that long.  Again, as I think of the members who will step up and make sure things get done while I am gone I am reminded that I am blessed. 

Will you pray for us over the next two weeks?  Here are some of our specific requests:
  • Pray for us between now and Friday night to get all the details of being gone accomplished and without stress
  • Pray about the sell of the house - yes, we still own a house.  I have prayed all along that God would sell the house before we left for Michigan, but it does not appear to be in God's timing.  Pray that I do not let emotions shade the way I see God's answer.  We will leave the house in showing order when we leave Friday, but the kids will be in and out while we are gone.
  • We will begin the drive after Scott gets off work on Friday evening.  We will be traveling just a few hours that night and then go on to Adrian, Michigan on Saturday.  We have planned to see some friends that we haven't seen in 13 years.  They are traveling home today or tomorrow from Florida from her father's death.  Pray for them as they travel.  Pray that we will be a sweet blessing to them and that we have a refreshing visit.
  • Sunday we will drive the last 2 hours to Farmington, Michigan.  We must arrive at SEND's headquarters between 3 and 5 on Sunday.
  • Pray for Hannah and Alex as they deal with the stress of parents being gone for two weeks.
  • Prat for Zach as he started a new college this week.
I am hoping to be able to keep the blog up to date while we are gone.  Check back often.  These next two weeks are gonna be great!  We hope you will join us in this stretch of the "ride of a lifetime."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Showing Update

Late this morning we got a call saying that a second family would like to see the house this afternoon.  Every showing puts us one step closer to selling the house. 

First family had positive feedback, but not quite ready to make a decision.  No feedback from the second showing yet. 

I WILL praise God whether it sells this week or not.  I'd so much rather wait on Him since He can see the whole picture than rush ahead with my own schedule.  Not always easy, but always best!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Showing the House

After nearly a month of no showings on the house we have two scheduled for today.  I have prayed from the beginning that the house would be under contract before we leave for COP (Candidate Orientation Program) next Friday.  Keep praying that if it is God's will this prayer will be requested.  And if it isn't His timing, pray that I will keep that in the forefront of my mind. 

I repeat, this is the "ride of a lifetime."  Up and down continues the roller coaster!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Whew! This Round of Paperwork is Complete

At 11:30 last night we turned in the paperwork that is due today.  I'm not normally a procrastinator, but with Christmas, Winterfest, and New Years, there just didn't seem to be enough time to sit down and complete it all.  Today I will day a break from all the "to do lists" for becoming a missionary and focus on daily life.  Has anyone seen my desk or counter at work?  I know I left them in my office, but amidst all the junk that has shown up there I'm not sure I can see them.  Clean clothes?  They are a thing of my dreams.  My goal is tomorrow to be able to get dressed 100% in my room tomorrow and not have to make trips to the garage where I have hidden the laundry that came out of the dryer when I didn't have time to fold it.  Alex commented yesterday its been a long time since we had a regular dinner at home around the table - it might be peanut butter and jelly, but we will sit down at the table together tonight.  It will have to be quick since its girl scouts night, but I am determined.

The paperwork that took the longest this time was our Doctrinal Statements.  The directions said "without outside help except from the Bible and a concordance, state your belief concerning the following Biblical doctrines.  Indicate the scripture references that support your views.  Prepare a paragraph on each item with a total of no more than four pages.  Husband and wife each must prepare their own statements."  I read the list quickly and thought to myself - I know what I believe on these things, this should be easy, then I sat down to write.  Thinking you know what you believe and supporting your beliefs with scripture and not tradition is a whole different story.  It took some serious digging and thinking to complete this step.  When we were both finished, Scott and I exchanged papers to proof each other's and just had to laugh.  We are so different!  Our approach to the layout of the answers to even some of the doctrines was different.  Scott was so complicated and technical and black and white.  I was "flowy."  He was mostly worried about answering every piece with precision, I was mostly worried about making sure the personnel team could understand what I meant.  On two of the doctrines we didn't see eye to eye.  We had some great family theological discussions when it was all done.

The best part of this exercise was the challenge it gave me to support what I believe, not to depend on someone else.  Just because my parents believed something or even because Pastor Rick taught it (although he is usually pretty reliable) is not a reason to accept a doctrine.  The scriptures are the only source of authority.  I challenge you to do the same exercise.  Take the list below and think of what you believe.  Then go to the scriptures - can you find scripture to support your belief or do you need to do a little more digging?  You'll be amazed at what you learn!

  1. The inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures
  2. The virgin birth, deity and pre-incarnation existence of Christ.
  3. The death and resurrection of Christ - was it for all or only the elect?
  4. The personality, baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Sanctification - include past,, present and future aspects.
  6. The security of the believer.
  7. The church.
  8. The significance of water baptism and the Lord's Supper
  9. Healing and tongues today.
  10. The return of the Lord
  11. The millennium
  12. Heaven and hell
  13. Eternal Punishment
  14. Judgement of the unreached and unresponsive.
  15. Satan and demons.
  16. The believer's responsibility towards evangelism - how does this relate or compare with social ministry and justice?
Have a great day and do a little digging!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I have never been good at New Year's Resolutions and don't think I'll be very good at them this year too.  I have such a great aspirations for the new year and then somewhere around mid January I have already forgotten them.  I usually look at the new year and  decide to change my entire life (and often the world).  Then, I quit. 

But this year I shall approach 2010 a little differently.  I have been reading David Nasser's new book Jumping Through Fires.  In the book he asks his wife (they were not even dating at the time) if she wants to just be content or overwhelmed.  He goes on to share that we often choose contentment as our life goals and level of satisfaction.  We are content to be content.  We want no more out of life than contentment.  But we miss out on the best things of life when we settle for contentment.

So, my New Year's Resolution this year is to live life overwhelmed.  Whoa!  Just saying that is a little scary but I am no longer going to be satisfied with contentment.  I wanna be so overwhelmed with what God is doing around me and through me and in me that I'll never settle for contentment again.  I want to experience life to its fullest.  I want to see the sun rise and set.  I want to have relationships with people that are life changing.  I want to reach for the stars and not only get one, but instead a whole constellation.  I want to be overwhelmed!

The secret to this overwhelming life is going to be who I let direct it.  If I go after overwhelmed on my own I will definitely be overwhelmed, but not in a good way.  Instead if I choose to become overwhelmed with what God wants I am in for a year I will never forget.  I cannot wait to see what I learn about God.  I am almost giddy with anticipation as to what I am going to see God do this year.  I am anxious (not in a worry sort of way) to see what God is going to change in me.  I look forward to the challenges of life that will result in being overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed is often a negative term - but this year for me - its gonna be my life goal.  I want to be overwhelmed because then I will know I am walking in a place where only God can be in charge.  How about you?  Will you settle for contentment in 2010 or will you join me in the quest for overwhelmed?