Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend Schedule

Just a quick update (and a way to avoid  mopping and running the vacuum)...

After a week of crying out to God and asking if He was really hearing me in regards to the sell of our house and He repeatedly reassuring me that He was, we have two showings today, one showing tomorrow, and open house tomorrow. 

Many people have asked why the rush on the house.  If you don't think you are going to Spain until January wouldn't it be easier to just stay in your house until then?  So, let me take a moment to answer these questions.

1)  Why sell now?  With today's housing market you can no longer do everything that is required to sell a house, put it on the market at the right price, and expect it to sell in 30 days.  That still does occasionally happen, but it isn't the norm.  It is taking months to sell houses, so we need to start now (or actually we started 4 months ago)

2)  Why sell now?  One of the requirements we must meet before we can leave for Spain is to be 100% debt free.  We made a lot of stupid decisions in our lives in years before and are still paying the price for them, literally.  We have debt.  With the sell of the house we will be able to pay off the majority of our debt.  We will then find some place to live with much lower housing cost and be able to even more aggressively pay off the rest of our debt and save some money too. 

3)  Why sell now?  We live 20 minutes from the church where I work and we all worship and 25 minutes from Scott's work.  With Scott in seminary and working full time I am carrying a larger load of the parenting duties right now (that is not a complaint - Scott and I make a great team and he did this for me years ago when I was in seminary).  There are many days that we make 2 or 3 round trips from our home to Greensboro.  At 40 to 50 minutes per round trip a lot of time is spent in the car.  We have added new tasks to our days by now being in the support raising journey and this time returned to us would be more valuable than can be described. 

4)  Where are you going to live?  Thank goodness God knows the answer to that question.  We have friends who have offered to help in the answer to this question, but we are waiting to actually sell the house before we answer this question in a concrete way.  I can honestly say this is probably the least of our concerns when it comes to selling the house.  Isn't it strange how we can rest in God's ability to take care of some of the details in our lives while we struggle and fight to let Him have control of others?

5)  And one last, why sell now?  Because if you have ever had a house on the market with children you know how much stress it can be to have to always have the house clean and picked up and to constantly be rearranging your schedule to accommodate lookers.  We have been blessed with a good deal of activity on the house, but if I had it my way, God would say it is going to sell to Mr. and Mrs. Smith on such and such date and it is ok to turn down all the other requests for showings.  But since I am not in control of the world, we will leave our house spic and span and find things to do to kill time while each looker comes through and trust that eventually the one who is supposed to buy our house will come through.

Pray at these showing times that God may answer our prayer regarding the sell of our house:

10:00 - 11:00 Saturday, February 27
1:00 - 2:00  Saturday, February 27
12: 00 - 1:00 Sunday, February 28
2:00 - 4:00 Sunday, February 28

Friday, February 26, 2010

Humility: True Greatness

I began a new book last night and just thought I'd share a few insights from it.  It's entitled Humility: True Greatness by C J Mahaney.  Now I have to say, I had mixed feelings about reading a book entitled humility.  Sounds like a toe stepping type of book.  And besides, who wants to humbled?  I'd like to live with humility, but I don't necessarily want to go through the process of becoming humbled.  Been there, done that - do I really want to do it again?  But, regardless, I picked it up and started to read.  Join me as I work my way through it, you might decide you want to read it too.

When I asked a child yesterday what he thought humility was he told me never taking credit for something good they had done.  He described people who were humble as always saying "it's no big deal" when someone said they did something good.  My personal definition of humility was pretty close to his - never wanting to take credit for what I had accomplished but always giving others credit. defines it as 1)  not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful. 2) having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc. 3) low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home. 4) courteously respectful or 5) low in height, level, etc.  No wonder we don't want to be humble!

Mahoney defines humility as "honestly accessing ourselves in light of God's holiness and our sinfulness."  Ouch!  do I really want to evaluate myself in light of God's holiness?  I'm not sure I am going to like what I see.  So why would I want to put myself through this?  I mean, don't we have enough problems with self image as it is?  Do I really want to come face to face with the reality of my sinfulness?  And as any good American would ask, what's in it for me if I do?  The answer  - read Isaiah 66:2.

"For My hand made all these things,  Thus all these things came into being," declares the LORD "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. "   (New American Standard)

The English Standard Version says "I have made everything; that's how it all came to be.  I, the LORD, have spoken. The people I treasure most are the humble-- they depend only on me and tremble when I speak"

Humility draws God's gaze to you.  Humility draws God's attention to you.  You become treasured by becoming humble.  James reminds us that we receive God's grace by being humble.  I don't know about you, but I could use all the grace of God I can get, especially if I am going to stop measuring myself by worldly terms and compare my sinful life to God's holiness.

So, on with the book I'll go.  Perhaps I do want to be humbled.

As for daily life - we have open house on Sunday.  We have had nearly 100 hits on the open house flier that was sent out via the internet on Tuesday.  Pray that those looking on the internet will come to look in person.  Pray that all the upgrades we did to the kitchen last week will be the key to one of them falling in love with the house.  Pray for all the emotions that go with having a house on the market. 

Scott and Hannah will be speaking and sharing at Northwoods United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, North Carolina on Sunday.  Pray for them.  This is the church that Scott grew up in and his mom is still a part of.  Pray for their safe travel and words that they will share.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

House Didn't Sell

Well, we are still the proud (but not so happy) owners of a house.  We just knew the house was going to sell yesterday to the family who has now seen it three times.  We have done everything we can do and yet God still says "not yet."  Tears have flowed while I wrote this note which is why I choose not to trust my emotions in making decisions.  I know without a doubt in my heart that God has called us to Spain and I will choose to remember that.  But, at the same time, I am a little disappointed and a little discouraged. 

"Oh Lord - your timing and plan is more perfect than anything I could imagine.  Hold us close today as we struggle with disappointment.  Be our comforter and our encourager.  You are God and we ask that your presence fill our spirits today.  Be the light in front of our path.  Do not let us sway to the left or to the right.  Do not let us allow Satan to get a single toe into this journey.  We love you Lord."  Amen.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Day After

Can you tell a difference?

It took all day, but we made it through all the boxes in the middle of the floor.  You could actually park a car in the garage!  I kept less than one box and I shed no tears! 

I am definitely blessed with wonderful friends.  Michelle and her sweet little ones showed up and had a will of iron.  She was not bothered to say it was time to let things go.  She took home a car full of stuff that will be stored in her garage until we can find a way and a day to have a garage sale!  Kellie attacked the boxes of books and then helped Michelle with ALL the clothes.  When the bags and boxes had finally been sorted Kellie took a car full of "valuables" to Goodwill and then kept Alex for the afternoon so that decisions could be made regarding stuff without an 11 year old's help.  Perry and Susan showed up in the middle of it and jumped right in.  Susan helped to continue sort clothes (yes there was a lot of clothes to sort) while Perry loaded boxes and bags into the various cars and truck.  He then delivered the dishwasher to it's new owner.  Pam then came and replaced all the handles on the cabinet doors and washed down all their fronts.  She then attacked the counter tops and wrestled the couch cover.  And in the middle of it while I was feeling a little overwhelmed, Kim called and made me laugh (she's in Arkansas so she couldn't help with the boxes). 

I just wonder how people make it in this world without Christian friends!  Thank you to everyone who helped today by either being here, or calling, or praying.  It was a good day!

And.... the house is being shown tomorrow morning at 10 to first time shoppers and at 1:00 to a family who has already seen it twice... could this be it?

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Day Before

Tomorrow we begin to attack the garage.  I have promised to not be mad at any of my dear friends who have volunteered to come help get rid of the "junk" in the garage, but I have not promised to not cry.  I realized last night one of the reasons I haven't cleaned out the mess is it is going to be hard to let go of all of it.  I know it is only stuff and I know most of it has no value, not even sentimental, but disposing of all the stuff makes our journey to Spain a little more real.  So pray tomorrow for me as I let go and pray even harder tomorrow for the friends who are coming to help.

Here's the before picture - can you understand why the realtor says it has to be cleaned out?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Did I Get Here?

As I was finalizing the PowerPoint Presentation for Sunday night (we will be sharing with Cornerstone Baptist in Greensboro) I began to go through disc after disc of pictures from previous mission trips.  What memories and emotions they brought back! 

Every now and then I have to stop and take a deep breath and reflect on how I got to the place that I am going with my family as career missionaries to Spain.  God has been preparing me my entire life through the people and experiences he allowed into my life.  Each one has led to this day.  I am not here by accident, I am here because God knows the plans He has for my life - plans to draw me closer to him in ways that I could never have imagined.

Today I heard from the mom of one of my best friends growing up.  We were always together until she moved when we were in high school.  We went to church together (actually, her dad was our preacher).  I remember the days we hung out in her house and acted like teenage girls.  But even more than that, I remember the grace and strength that her mom demonstrated.  She was convinced that God was good all the time and faithful to always be God, regardless of the circumstances (her son was killed in a car accident just a short time before I met her).  I learned much about facing life form her example.

I will never forget the day that her daughter (my friend) challenged my mom regarding fears.  My mom was teaching a Bible study to the teenagers about fear and my dear friend challenged my mom regarding her fear of escalators.  Although it was a little shocking at the moment, my mom faced that challenged and saved us a lot of walking through stores to find the elevator.  I learned at that moment I should question those who are teaching me scripture - do they teach what is scriptural or their own theology and do they live what they teach.  Powerful lessons for a teenager.

In looking through the pictures I also realize that the privilege of being a part of short term mission trips was a huge part of getting me to this point in my life.  If I had known that my very first mission trip to Ecuador was going to lead me to being a career missionary I am not sure I would have ever gone (isn't it good that only God can see into the future?), but each trip has special memories and plays a part in getting us here. 

If I could have my way I would require every Christian to participate in a mission trip, not because of what you can do for the people you minister (although you may do great things); but because of what will change in your relationship with Christ.  You will never be the same. 

I have at least one more trip that I will be leading while on staff at Cornerstone.  I'd love to take the entire congregation with me, but since that is impossible, I pray that perhaps this trip will be a piece of one of the team members experiencing God in a brand new way.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We have 6% of our financial partners and 17% of our prayer partners (although we want more than the required numbers).  I know that this process may become hard, but right now it is a lot of fun! 

A special thank you to all who have put up with listening to me talk and talk and talk about Spain and our move.  At a meeting this week another participant was sharing in a new venture he has begun.  He said "its kind of like your newborn child, you can talk and talk and talk about them and think they are the most special child ever born."  Thanks for letting us share.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Serve an AMAZING God!

Some would think after being raised in the church all my life I would get used to the fact that God is so very good.  But I am continually amazed at how AMAZING God actually is.  Why do I (and maybe you) find it so hard to believe that He is going to provide and take care of us in ways better than what we could ever plan for ourselves?  Why are we surprised when He does what He says He will do?

We have begun to share with people about the partnership development we are preparing to undertake.  We have mailed out the first round of newsletters (don't be insulted if you didn't get one yet, they are all coming - or send me a note and I'll be sure you get one right away), I wrote a post about the process, and we talk about it every opportunity possible.  Nothing formal has begun yet.  But I guess I didn't believe God was going to get involved from the beginning.  Because if I had believed that, I would not have been so surprised when last week two people in the same day asked to be financial partners.  If I had believed it I would not have been in shock when two additional people emailed me and asked to be put on the prayer list.  And I would have been expecting God to work yesterday when yet another family asked what they needed to do to become both prayer and financial partners. 

God is teaching me a lot through this process, but the thing I have learned repeatedly this last week is that I don't always believe what I say about God.  I mean really believe it.  Not just believe it on the surface, but instead believe it all the way down to the core.  Believe it in such a way that the belief impacts my thoughts and actions.  When I grasp that God is really who He says He is, then instead of my being surprised at God when He does something amazing , I will be looking and expecting God to be present in amazing ways.

Windmills in Spain

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Home School Mom?

So, after four weeks of not having time to catch up with Hannah's school work, we sat down today to work on it.  I majored in Special Education and minored in higher math (don't ask... no idea how I thought I would use those together) so I should be able to handle 10th grade classes.  US Economics was ok but then we hit Algebra II.  First, my brain is old and all I learned a long time ago is definitely gone.  Second, I should never have waited four weeks to catch up on math.  It took us four hours to review her math.  It took four hours to go over four weeks of work.  Never again!  Then my brain was too exhausted to cover the rest of her subjects, so tomorrow school will resume.  But tonight, we went to the movies.  We saw Extraordinary Measures.  It was fabulous.  There are a few incidents of language, but no sex, nudity, or violence.  It was a wonderful movie!

Now, all that sounds like a complaint - but don't take it that way.  If I could live my life over again, I'd homeschool all three of them.  I'd live in a cardboard box if necessary and teach them all.  I am amazed at what I have learned from Hannah's classes and I am so grateful for the Christian perspective Hannah is getting.  I love the control we have over her life instead of the school having control. 

It was another one of the many journeys in our lives that led us to the decision to home school Hannah.  It was actually her pushing us to do it.  She wasn't happy at school.  She was stressed and thus she was making us miserable at home too.  She said she had prayed about it and this was what she wanted.

One day I may learn to listen to my children a little longer (she was also the one praying for a Spanish speaking country for our mission placement from the beginning).  She has such a strong walk with God.  I am so proud of her.  I pray that she will stay focused on her relationship with God.  I pray that my other children will stay close to God too.  And my advice to other parents, listen to your children.  That doesn't mean they always get what they want, but really listen.  They may know more about what they need than you do.  They may even be walking a little closer to God than you are and have some things to share there too (I know mine did).

Tomorrow Hannah and I will go eat lunch with Zach.  It's been a month since I saw him and we miss him.  We pray that this new school environment is growing him into the man God has intended him to be.  Alex wanted a ski trip with his daddy for Christmas and he and Scott are skiing tomorrow.  I pray that they both come home all in one piece.  

May God continue to be real and alive in my children's lives!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Can I go to Spain Today?

Ok - forget partnership development.  Forget selling the house.  Forget cleaning out the garage (which houses all of the items that were in my attic).  Forget strategic plans.  I am going to Spain today!

You ask why?  Well, at midnight (their time) it was 51 degrees!  It is 36 degrees at my house and the snow that came last Friday and Saturday is still on the ground.  Alex finally went to school today, albeit two hours delayed.  But tonight we sit braced for the next winter storm - ice, freezing rain, and of course, more snow.  School is already cancelled for tomorrow (although there is nothing coming down from the sky yet).  Ugh!  The poor kids will have no spring break left at this rate. 

I am done with winter!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Road Ahead

I'll probably regret this tomorrow, but I figured since I couldn't go to sleep I'd work on the blog.  Tonight was our first night of work at home in preparing to go to Spain.  We hand wrote notes to friends that we haven't seen in years and stuffed the first 40 newsletters.  It was fun and exciting to actually begin work on the journey.  For many friends or family we are the first missionaries you know that are going with an organization that requires the missionary to raise their financial support, so I thought I'd take today's post to explain what the road ahead will hold.

Prayer Support
We will begin to create a prayer support team.  We are asking people to commit to pray regularly for us, both while we are here in the states preparing to go to Spain and then after we arrive in Spain.  SEND requires us to have a prayer team with a minimum of 30 members.  Believing that prayer will be our lifeline, we are praying for a prayer team that is much greater than 30 members.

Monthly Financial Support
Our monthly expenses - which include so much more than a salary (housing, kid's schooling, insurance, retirement, self employment tax, ministry supplies, travel expenses, ....) must be committed.  SEND will calculate a monthly requirement that takes into account exchange rates and inflation over the next 5 years (the length of our first term).  We will have to be at 100% committed support before we can leave for Spain.

Outgoing Financial Support
There are many onetime expenses to get the Hunter family to the field - VISAs, training, language school, airplane tickets, freight, immunizations, apartment and utility deposits, vehicle, and more.  The financial wizards at SEND will calculate a final estimate of what they expect this total to be.  Before we can leave for Spain we will have to have received this amount in donations.  Monthly commitments that are received before we leave for Spain will be added to this account.

We will have to go through all our personal belongings.  Beginning with the house, we will sell things that are not sentimental and have value, give away things to Goodwill, and store other things at Scott's and my parents house.  Anybody interested in helping with this task, let me know - I will have coffee and chocolate ready and will be working on this task every Friday.  We will all have health evaluations that need to be completed, beginning with Scott's physical tomorrow.  We will have legal work to do, including new Wills, Power of Attorneys, and more.  We have to be 100% debt free before we can leave so don't look for me at the store.  There is so much more to do that I can't even think of all that is ahead of us.

So How Do we Do It?
Over the next months we will use every free moment we have to accomplish all these tasks while continuing with our full time jobs as spouses, parents, and employees.  We will be writing and sending out newsletters and prayer letters, sharing with churches the need in Spain, meeting with Christian owned businesses, meeting one on one with those who want more information, and taking every opportunity we can to talk about the need in Spain (watch later this week - I'll share the need in Spain here).  Our television may get a little dusty because our evenings are going to be filled with going through boxes or stuffing envelopes. 

We are praying that we reach our financial and personal goals in time to be on the field in January, 2011.  This is a God size goal (SEND said the average time is 18 months), but we believe this is what God has told us to work towards.  We will diligently do our part and then trust that God is in control. 

Would you like to be a part?
  • Pray with us regarding the whole journey ahead of us
  • Send us an email that you would like to be a part of our prayer team
  • Send us an email that you would like to receive our newsletter
  • Pray about becoming a part of our financial support team and send us an email asking how to get involved
  • We would love to share with your church, Bible Study group, small group, business,.... Send us an email so that we can set it up
  • Join me on Fridays as I work through boxes that were once in the attic that are now in the garage - especially if you love consignment sales - I have boxes and bags full of clothes - I can only imagine how much is actually out there
The leg of the journey is only beginning, but I can't wait to see what God in store for us!

Email address:

Monday, February 1, 2010

One Foot In Each Land

I looked for a picture from my 2nd Ecuador mission trip - but who knows where it is, so I'll just describe it.  The equator runs through the middle of Quito, Ecuador.  The team of 12 of us stood straddling the equator.  Half of our bodies are in the Northern Hemisphere and half of our bodies are in the Southern Hemisphere.  It was a fun shot and something fun to tell stories about.  Something we'll never forget from that trip.

But today I think Scott and I find ourselves straddling another kind of line - half of us are in tune with all that needs to be accomplished to allow us to go to the field in Spain and the other half of us has returned to life as normal.  I realized last night how easy it would be to let life return to normal and never make it to the mission field.  For the last two weeks we were surrounded by people whose total focus was preparing us to go to Spain.  We ate, drank, slept, and lived missions.  Now we have returned to Kernersville and we are surrounded by people whose total focus is daily life.

And where are we....trying to straddle both lands - missionary land and routine.  A friend in Greensboro said to me while we were in Michigan that Greensboro will not be the same when you return.  They were painting our office suite at work and assumed that was what he meant, but today I realize it has a much deeper meaning.  Where exactly do we belong?

A friend already serving on the mission field reminded us that Satan would love to steal the plans God has for us.  Pray with us as we try to find a way to straddle the line.  We have to continue with day to day life here and yet we have to be moving more and more to the Spain side of the line or we will never get there.  How will we do this?  We do not know the magic answer.  We do know it is going to require a lot of prayer, time in God's word, discipline, planning, and intentionality.  We also pray that it involves a lot of our friends joining us on the preparation side of this line.

Will you pray for us as we try to figure out how to do all that needs to be done - as parents, spouses, seminary students, chemists, children's ministers, friends, appointed missionaries, and more?  Will you join us in all the work that needs to be done to get to Spain?

Check back in a few days and I'll write about the things we must accomplish before we can go to Spain and perhaps you'll find a place to become a partner with us.  But for today, just pray that we do not allow Satan to take the every day routine and schedule and distract us from God's call on our lives.