Thursday, April 29, 2010

Well, it finally happened.

This is Scott writing.  Someone from my work heard our latest episode on "The Journey" on "A Place Missionaries Call Home."  We knew it was going to happen eventually and we trusted that God would handle whatever came out of it.  We decided not to initially share what was happening in our lives regarding our mission call with my employer.  I really do need to retain my job and one just never knows what the reaction will be when you tell your employer you are thinking of leaving at some point, no matter how far in the future that might be.

I committed to God that I would never lie about what was going on in our lives so when this Christian brother asked me today "What's your wifes name?  Is it Cindy?" I knew what was going on and I fessed up to him.  He was very understanding about what is going on in our lives.  He asked what the process was like and I explained about Send Int., the selection process and how we are now in the process of raising our funding.  He understood what that was all about and told me about the missionaries that his church supports.

I thank God for his faithfullness and protection in all things.  It doesn't matter how big or how small, he is looking out for us.  He guards our steps as long as we remain in his will.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Encounter from the Past

God most definitely has a sense of humor! 

For those of you who know me, know that exercise does not rank in the top 1000 things I enjoy to do.  Couch potato is an excellent description of me and if it weren't for the 30 pounds I'd like to lose and the fact that I am afraid I won't have a car when we get to Spain and thus need to build up some walking endurance, i wouldn't be doing it now.  But, I gave Scott a gym membership for Christmas and then joined myself too.  I then decided a personal trainer was what I really needed.  So, I took all my Christmas money and bought 12 sessions.  And then God intervened!

I have a fabulous trainer.  She is soft spoken and encouraging, yet pushes me to do more than I would without her.  I have learned a lot.  If the saying "no pain no gain" is accurate, then I should be gaining a good deal (and not weight).  I am trying to figure out my finances to keep her for a little while longer - I really enjoy my sessions with her.

Through the weeks I have learned that she "doesn't do that church thing."  Isn't that just like God?  I hired  a trainer for the sole purpose of preparing to go to the mission field and he put it right in my lap.  Needless to say, there have been some interesting conversations.  Pray for me as I continue to live out my faith both in actions and words to my "captivated" audience.

But, that wasn't enough for God.  This past week a girl came up and started talking to my trainer.  My trainer tried to cut the conversation short so that it wasn't occurring during my paid time.  But I recognized the voice, but not the person.  As I continued to do exercises she kept talking and I kept trying to place who it was.  Finally she said to me, "you don't recognize me do you?  you have a daughter don't you?  about 15 or 16?  and an older son?  can't remember how old he would be?  yo had several miscarriages too, didn't you?"  By now I am beginning to feel like I have had a 20 year stalker and didn't even know it.  Then she said, "remember, we participated in Comfort at Women's Hospital together 16+ years ago?"

Comfort is a support group for families, although almost totally attended by women, who have had a pregnancy loss.  I attended and then later served as a counselor for the group around the time Hannah was conceived and then born.  She kept chatting and my trainer shared that I was at the gym to build endurance because I was moving to Spain to plant churches (remember, she isn't a believer).  This old friend then said "we probably haven't seen each other since my 2nd marriage and divorce (I had seen her a couple of times in the last 16 years) - he was a missionary and then came back to be a pastor.  But he should have stayed in the foreign country cause he was planting a whole lot more than churches.  So what kind of church planter are you going to be?" 

She didn't really want an answer.  She changed the subject to tell me of her kids and then said she'd see me around the gym later.  My trainer just stood there quiet through it all.  But a few machines later she said "you really lost 7 pregnancies?  how did you survive?"  My answer "the love and faithfulness of God." 

Only God could take someone who hates exercise, put them at the gym and impress upon them to hire a personal trainer, have them working with a non-believer trainer who also trained a friend from 16 years ago who had experienced life's hurts alongside them, and then orchestrate such an encounter! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

Today is Hannah's 16th birthday. I still have a hard time believing I am old enough to have a 16 year old and a nearly 20 year old. I surely must have had them when I was just a wee little child.

She is so much like me. I probably should have known what was ahead when she was two weeks late, following in my footsteps. She came home from the hospital sleeping through the night and was this content, sweet little thing until she encountered cold weather. Something snapped inside of her when she found something she did not like - being cold. (She still hates cold weather!) Since then she has always known what she did and did not like and has not hesitated to share it or get stuck in the mud regarding it.

People often say she is me on steroids - oh my! She cannot work in clutter, she is a rule follower and comes near to melt down when there is a gray area. She makes a list and sticks to the list - she even sometimes writes something on the list that she is already doing just so she can be sure something has been marked off. She has a plan for everything in life and when the plan doesn't work she freezes.

She is beautiful on the inside and the out. She has a servants heart and a tender heart. She would love to change the world. She loves preschoolers and they love her. She interacts with adults as an adult and then turns around and interacts with preschoolers on their level too.

She loves the Lord and it is exciting to see how she is growing in that relationship. She is going to Honduras this summer with me and had to pay her own way. It has been neat to see her prayers be answered in ways bigger than she expected!

Happy Sweet 16 Birthday Hannah!

come back tomorrow for a reflection on a friend I ran into at the gym last night - a friend from 16 years ago.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Missions and a Sanctuary

Last night we did things a little different at church.  (Cornerstone Baptist Church, Greensboro, NC)  The evening began at 5 with a fundraiser dinner for the short term volunteer missions teams.  Fourteen of us worked to serve dinner to 300+ people.  It was a good old fashioned cook out - hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, baked beans, home made potato salad, and all the fixings.  A girl scout troop who has been studying issues related to food and hunger sponsored a bake sale with many, many great looking treats.  The funds from the bake sale will also go to support the mission teams as they go to Honduras and have several opportunities to provide food for the homeless and hungry.  The Family Life Center was filled with great fellowship and laughter.   Lots of words of encouragement were offered to the teams who will be heading to either Honduras in July or Ukraine in September.

After dinner, the congregation picked up their chairs and moved outside.  We gathered as a congregation on the plot of land where we believe we will eventually build a new sanctuary.  We spent time worshiping God and praying and asking for God's wisdom and vision for Cornerstone.  We ended the evening with all 250+ people standing in a circle around the land and praying that we will move in the exact direction God has designed for Cornerstone.

Several things struck me when I got home last night. 
  • Cornerstone is growing - not just in numbers but in relationship with our God.  The last two weeks sermons were on the power of prayer and I stood among 250+ people claiming that power and seeking to hear from God.  That is powerful!
  • Cornerstone is growing - not just in a building but in a vision.  The congregation didn't stand there last night and ask God to give them a new building and cast everything else aside for a building.  They first supported two teams reaching people across the world for Christ.  I do not believe that God will bless the efforts of a congregation who make themselves more important than the lost.  As of today, even as we struggle to make budget each week, I have not seen Cornerstone cut a missions or outreach budget so that they could build a new building.  My prayer for Cornerstone is that they increase what they are giving "out" so that they may see an even great blessing on what they need for "in."
  • I will miss them when we leave for Spain.  Sometimes the excitement and focus of what tomorrow holds clouds the reality of today.  Last night I realized it will be hard to say good-bye.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Tensions of a Missionary Calling

The playlist below has the latest episode of  "A Place Missionaries Call Home."  This is the radio show that is following Scott and I on our journey to the mission field.  As I listened to the completed episode tonight I realized how many different ways people in our lives are pulled by our call to missions.  We are not walking this journey in a vacuum; it is a journey with a lot of passengers.  I am glad you are part of the journey.

Consider, first our family - even within our immediate family there is the tension between being a parent to Zach (almost 20 years old and will stay here in the states) as he tries his wings of adulthood and our desire to get to Spain as soon as possible.

The tension with Scott's mom and Cindy's parents as they want their children to be obedient to God's calling while at the same time want their grandchildren to at least be on the same continent as them (and maybe their children a little bit too).

The tension with our pastor as he considers it a privilege to help a family surrender to full time missions and yet at the same time is losing a staff member.   Or consider the tension he feels as serving as a trustee of one mission sending agency while one of his staff members and family has been appointed with a different agency.

The tension Scott feels as he is excited about where God is taking him and his family and yet as an employee to a secular company he is not free to discuss this change with excitement for the future.

The tension SEND International experiences as they receive repeated requests to place more families on the mission field and yet at times having to turn families away.

When we surrendered to missions no one prepared us for all the emotions that were ahead.  Thank you for your support and interest as we travel this journey.   We never know what is going to be around the next curve.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Zach has his calculus exam today at 11 today - pray for him please. We made a contract with him regarding returning to school and he needs to do really well on this exam to meet his end of the contract and our help him return to school in the fall.  Pray for us as parents as we seek God's will in parenting an adult.  No one told it was going to be this hard!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is there a SMALL gift?

Last night I was having a conversation with one of our financial partners.  She was asking the details of where we were in our progress and just talking about the range of emotions that we are going through, but also what they go through in sending a friend out as a missionary.  We were talking about the difference in being a part of sending an individual or family to the field directly and through gifts that go into a general fund to support a variety of missionaries.  It was a great conversation!

Then she said, "if people would only realize there is no small partnership gift, they all add up to the needed total.  I think people are hesitant to commit because they think their $25 a month won't make a difference and isn't needed.  If they can't give BIG gifts, then they shouldn't give."  Boy, she hit the nail on the head. 

We have partners at every level of commitment from $13/month to $500/month.  I cannot count the number of times partners have apologized for what they saw as a small gift or made comments that they weren't sure it was enough to help.  Every penny will help reach the people of Spain!  There are no small gifts!

Right before we started our partnership development a friend said to us, it will only take 525 partners at $25/month to send you to Spain.  We know of another couple who is headed to Alaska as missionaries and they have raised almost all of the last 25% of their support with $15/month commitments. 

Are you hesitant to become a partner because you think your gift is too small?  Don't be!  There is no gift too small or too big.  They are going to make a difference!  Hey, if you divide our present level of support by $25 we already have 53 of the needed 525. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Zach has a Job!

In today's economy it is even more exciting to share that Zach has been offered 5 summer jobs as a camp counselor/lifeguard.  He has finally made a decision and accepted a job.  He will be working as a sailing instructor and life guard at Don Lee Center in Arapahoe, NC (don't worry, I had to google map that place too).  He is excited and we are excited for him.  Check it out at

His exams began today and go through next pray.  Pray for him as he finishes up this semester and moves home.  Pray for the transition to living back at home for a few weeks (and that he gets the hang of living in a house that is on the market quickly).  Pray as we face some hard decisions regarding his plans for the coming semester.  But before you ask God for anything, remember to thank him for providing an exciting job in a Christian environment for Zach.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Till Death Do Us Part

Today I am celebrating my 23rd wedding anniversary.  There were days I was not sure I would see 23 years of marriage.  There have been times when I was sure I missed God's will and had married the wrong man.  We had decided from the beginning of marriage that divorce was never an option so there were days when I had conversations with God about death (and not always mine).  Now before you get all self righteous on me, laugh a little and admit you have probably had those same thoughts.

But today, I can truly say I can't wait to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary! 

What caused the change?  Prayer.  The day that Scott asked me if we could begin praying together I knew that there were many, many more anniversaries ahead.  This morning our pastor preached on the power of prayer (James 5).  He talked about the power of prayer when you are having problems or pain.  I am here to testify that He is right.  Prayer has power.  Prayer changes lives.  Prayer may change circumstances, or it may give you God's grace to endure circumstances.

My advice to couples who are struggling to make it to their next anniversary?  Ask yourself, when was the last time you prayed for your marriage?  When was the last time you prayed for your part in the marriage?  And even bigger question - when was the last time you took your spouse's hand and came before the throne of God together and asked for God's grace in your marriage?  Men - wanna know the fastest way to your wife's heart - pray for her in front of her and do it out loud. 

I know, I know - some of you are saying "but,..." - I don't have all the answers to all the "buts," but I promise you there is more power in prayer than you can imagine.  Not prayers said to the wall, but prayers to a living God that are voiced by a believing, faithful servant.  Start where you are.  Unleash the power and stand back and watch what God can do!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Family Ministry Day

I am exhausted, but refreshed!  Today was the fourth Family Ministry Weekend at Cornerstone.  We had about 150 people working at six different sites today.  We were building a horseshoe pit at a nursing home, doing landscaping at a different nursing home, painting birdhouses with nursing home residents, painting rooms, doing landscaping at a home for mentally/physically handicapped adults, screening a cabin at a summer camp, and running electricity, installing a roof, cleaning up brush, painting porches, and hosting a fellowship at Siloam Missionary Homes.

It was a great day.  It was also a little strange.  You see Family Ministry Weekend has always been my project, yet this year I wasn't in charge.  Forrest, our new staff member, was in charge this year.  He did a great job!  He didn't do it my way, but he did just fine.  Whether I was leaving Cornerstone to go to the mission field or not, Forrest would have been in charge.  But knowing that I am leaving makes it seem a little strange.  It was the first task that used to be mine that has been handed over to someone else.  I know there are many more to come.  But it was a little bit of reality today.

The other thing today that was a little bit of a "slap of reality" was that we fellowshipped with 10+ missionary families that are living at Siloam.  They are there on medical leave or furlough.  Most are in the process of raising their support so that they can return to the mission field.  They are where we are in regards to support, and where we hope to be in four years - home from our first term.  At first it was exciting, and then it was "ahh."  Can't actually put the feeling into words.  We really are heading to the mission field, aren't we?

Continue to pray for the sale of our house.  Activity has slowed down on it and we know that the longer it takes to sell it, the harder it gets.  Pray for us to wait on God's timing, but to also hear his direction.

We have raised a little more than 13% of our financial support.  We mailed out 25 church packets hoping to connect with churches both to be financial and prayer partners.   We need to line up churches and appointments to share our journey.  Pray for doors to open and for both us and those receiving the packets to be open to partnership.  Pray that we have time to follow up with each church that we reached out to.

Sorry for the lapse in writing, been a crazy week or two!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Life Changing Business

Christ is in the life changing business!  I know that is obvious, but often forgotten.  Oh, I don't mean in the eternal sense of life changing.  That is really hard to forget.  But what about the everyday life changing work that He does!

This week my co-workers and I were having a conversation about how many changes we have seen in a member of the congregation.  We were describing the new peace that he exhibits, the new countenance we see in him, and just how different he is.  Later it hit me.  Why were we all so surprised?  He is a strong believer in Christ and of course Christ is going to change him.  Made me start thinking of other changes in other people:
  • a friend who trusted the Holy Spirit's nudge and is teaching SS and having a blast
  • a parent who speaks to her children with a tone of love, even at times of discipline
  • a couple who I saw holding hands as they walked down the hall
  • a single mom who has found a life style that pleases God
  • a family that has totally changed their financial patterns
  • a teenager who speaks with confidence
What about me?  Can I say that God is in the life changing business in my life.  Most definitely!  But he has a lot more changing to do.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Beautiful Spring Day

Scott and I spent the day together enjoying the beautiful day!

Pilot Mountain

An old barn along the side of the road.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Sense of Urgency

I love to blog hop.... read a blog I am following and either click on a blog they are following and read it and keep going or use the "next blog" button at the top of blogspot.  Amazing the things that are on the Internet!

Tonight instead I entered Spain, missionaries, blogspot into a google search.  I was heartbroken by what was returned from my search.  Listing after listing for Mormon missionary websites.  The Mormon blogs out numbered the evangelical blogs by many times.  I've heard all along that the time is now to reach Spain for Christ, but thanks to technology my eyes have been opened even wider. 

It is urgent that Christians share the love of Christ with Spaniards.  They need to hear the truth and they need to hear it now!  They are hearing the lies of the world and believing them because they have not heard the true story. 

Oh how I pray that God will move quickly in our lives as we prepare to go to Spain to share his love.  There is no time to wait - people are dying every day believing lies.  There is an urgent need for the love of Christ to be shared!  May God hasten the process for us as we prepare to go and may he equip and refresh those who are already in Spain proclaiming the fact that He is Alive!