Thursday, March 31, 2011

Inch By Inch

Just a quick update - we are at a little more than 45% of our support.  When we began March we were barely at 33% so we are excited.  We continue to pray for 50% by tomorrow, but we are celebrating God's provision today.

Several have asked why this push all of a sudden, so here are a few answers....

  1. When we were in Spain in January the darkness was overwhelming.  It was no longer words or statistics, it was faces.  There are so many places with no light or hope.  God has called us there and we now understand the need in tangible, real ways.  We believe His return is near and thus our desire to share Him is greater than ever.
  2. Hannah and Alex are a big part of our journey.  God called all four of us and we are excited to see how God is preparing and using them even today (ask them about THEIR Burmese ministries).  School begins in September and Hannah will be a senior.  We want her to be there to begin the school year.  Alex will be going to public school and that in itself will be a big adjustment, missing a large part of the year would make it more difficult.
  3. We are tired of straddling the fence.  We have one foot here and one foot there.  It is a difficult place to be. 
Why 50% now - it takes about 6 months to get our VISAs.  We begin the process at 50% of our monthly support being promised.  So to be there in September we need to start the process ASAP.

Of course, to arrive in September we must be at 100% of our support by September, so the push won't let up.  Will you pray with us about how you can be a part?  We are not asking you to give to us, but to instead to God.  Will you join with us in obedience to the Great Commission?

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's a Family Thing

When I surrendered to missions God was working on my heart about a variety of things.  One of them was that He was calling me to say that I'd be willing to go or do whatever He asked because without that, I was standing in the way of what He had planned for my family - specifically my husband and Hannah (although over the months I have also realized that I was in the way of what He had planned for Zach and Alex too).  When I finally threw up my hands and said "ok God - whatever you want" things began to change in Hannah's heart as well as Scott's and mine.  She knew God was calling her to international missions and her parents were standing in the way.

Our prayer when we went to Spain in January was that the children's call would be just as confirmed as ours.  And sure enough, they came home more ready to be there than we were.  They constantly want to know how close we are to starting the VISA process and are we really going to get there by September.  Even in terms of attitude about keeping the house in showing order there has been a change.

God is always full of surprises!  Hannah (along with one of her best friends Becky) serves in the preschool department every week and most weeks in the same age group.  She has been telling them about Spain and the need and what we will be doing and yesterday they said "Hannah says...." and goes on to tell how she has shared our need and they would like to partner with us.  Isn't God cool?  Just one more confirmation that God calls us at all ages to do things that seem a little crazy at times.  He doesn't see a child or a teenager or an old woman, He sees hearts who need Him.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

ECA - Lighting The Way

Hannah will be attending this missionary school when we arrive in Spain. As parents we are grateful for the presence of this school. Without it she would great difficulty in adjusting to Spain.  There is also great comfort in knowing that Alex has an excellent back up option if the Spanish schools do not turn out to be an acceptable option.
Are you a teacher and feeling called to missions? ECA is in need of teachers for next year. Perhaps God is calling you?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's My Birthday

It's a day filled with activities, facebook birthday wishes, time with new and old friends, reflections on the past and hopes for the future as well as I a sure - some chocolate, diet coke, and laughter.  Its a day of mourning for a friend who died yesterday and a day for celebrating the progress God is blessing us with as we look towards Spain.  A day filled with decisions to make and plans to consider.

What happened to birthdays being filled with balloons and streamers and being queen for the day?  Things sure were simpler when I was a child!

An update on progress....

.... people who saw our house on Tuesday are not ready to make a decision
.... people who saw our house yesterday were not happy with the community pool being nearby

.... we are at a little more than 42 1/2 % of our on-going support.  Continuing to pray for 50% by April 1 - if you are praying about partnering with us, we would love to talk with you - that would be a wonderful birthday present

.... we are at nearly 65% of our one time support

Well, time for a soccer game and another pile of laundry to find its way to the washing machine.  I wonder how my next birthday will look - praying to be celebrating in Spain!

Friday, March 25, 2011

House Showing

House is showing again this morning - to a new family.  I don't even know what to ask you to pray for anymore - just pray that it sells!  And that if it doesn't sell, God will give us clear wisdom as to what we need to do for it to sell.

Also, pray for my friend Ann.  She and I are house selling prayer partners (as well as other things).  After a long period of time it appears their house may finally be sold.  Pray for them this weekend as all the details continue to be hashed out across the Internet and phone (they live in one state and house in another).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

#8 - Not Enough Talent


or anything else God is calling to you to do or be.  You are not smart enough, educated enough, talented enough, strong enough, wise enough, ....  If you were there would be no need for God. 

As I have been following the trials a fellow worker in Spain is going through in regards to their VISA I have repeatedly had these moments of holding my breath and asking "what if that were my family."  I have said to friends and family I don't think I have enough faith to stand as strong as they are or I don't think I could let Scott come back to America and leave me there for 6 months or more with the kids.  I have worried that I don't know enough to navigate the systems.  I have been talking to a young woman who is raising her support for Spain as well and encouraging her that she can do it.  But after the conversation I heard that little voice inside my head saying "yeah, you told her she can do it, but can you?"

I have had to turn back to God many times and ask "are you sure you got the right person?" 

This morning I was reading the blog of a family we got to know this past summer (they have been in Ukraine about a month).  He summed up all I was thinking -

"Recently at a team meeting we were praying for various requests of Send’s missionaries in Ukraine. The list of requests included ministries such as teaching pastoral training courses in Russian, and it certainly portrayed an impressive depth of experience and giftedness…. people much more intelligent and educated than us! As I read this list and considered my own relative helplessness with the language, I felt very small. How will God ever be able to use us here? Then I remembered that we are not here because of a talent or education or something we can offer, we are here because of who Jesus Christ is. May this truth continue to transform us and those we meet as we continue our life here."

Now, to find a way to nail that thought to my brain.  God didn't call me to obedience because of a talent, education, skill, passion, or anything else within me.  He called me to obedience because of who He is.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


We celebrated my birthday a little early at staff meeting today - dark chocolate cake with peanut butter and fudge filling and iced in fudge. Beautiful, delicious, and rich!
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

House Showing

House is showing at noon today.  Keep on praying.... and pray for wisdom as to what our next steps should be if these are not the new owners.

Monday, March 21, 2011

#7 - Obedience equals hard decisions

No explanation for this one - just know that sometimes in our obedience we have to make some hard decisions.  They hurt and they are hard.  But it is part of the whole thing.  Sometimes today just stinks!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

#6 - Running Away


One of the lessons I have definitely learned in this journey is that there are times that you just need to run away from it all.  All might include family, work, responsibilities - whatever fills your days.  But be careful, it isn't running away just to forget about it all, but instead it is really to sit back and soak in what God is telling you and doing and to reconnect with Him. 

Our life schedule is crazy right now - working full time, two kids who are actively involve din life, and doing what it takes to prepare for a move to Spain (partnership development, classes, sharing, newsletter, house selling, .....)  So, we've called a time-out.  Hannah and Alex will be at Disciple Now this weekend and Zach has moved into his own apartment, so Scott and I are running away.  Our focus this weekend is on God and each other.  Time to laugh together, pray together, plan together, rest together, and maybe even shed a few tears together.  I cannot wait.

Look at where we are going....

So, needless to say - check by Monday for updates.  Blog writing is taking a break for the weekend. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

#5 - New Insights are Coming


Ever notice when you are walking in disobedience from anything, everything you hear and think seems a little warped or wrong?  You spend a lot of mental energy trying to make things line up.  Over the past several months I have also noticed that phenomenon works the other way around too.

When I am walking in obedience I am not struggling to fit God into my world.  He is right there in front of me leading the way and I see so many new glimpses into the character of God.

For example, recently I was praying and praising God for the fact that His grace is more than sufficient.  He stopped me.  I had to say it over and over again, I couldn't go on.  Then it hit me - what I was really saying.  I was saying "more than."  Two simple words that carry a lot of weight.  I wasn't saying that it was just enough, barely enough, or even that God had to work hard to make His grace stretch to cover me.  It is more than enough.  I don't have to worry if I mess up because He isn't going to run out of grace to cover that last mistake.  I don't have to worry if someone else seems to be "using up more than their share" of God's grace, because there is more than enough.  Think about it.  There is freedom in those two words.  There is assurance and confidence and a peace that comes.

Moments like these make it all worth the journey of obedience!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Entry #4 - Family Obedience


We stepped into this journey of obedience as a family.  Sure each of us had to decide individually that we were willing to follow God's leading, but then it took on a corporate approach. 

Last night we were focused as a family on partnership development.  No, Hannah and Alex were not asking their friends for partnership, but they were doing dishes and etc. to allow Scott and I to focus on setting up appointments and getting our newsletter ready to go out.  Lots of yelling up and down the stairs and laughter as we all worked.

Then one of the phone calls ended in a God size blessing (not that all blessings aren't God size - but this one was so big we didn't see it coming nor could not even begin to take credit for it or call it coincidence or anything).  Scott came downstairs to share it with us in a playful way.  Alex and Hannah joined right in.  Then Scott just flat out told us all the details.  We laughed and giggled and then we did something incredible.  We stood together in our living room, holding hands, and Scott prayed a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving and praise.  What a precious moment!

Yes, this journey has some hard parts to it.  There are some sharp curves and big pot holes, but I wouldn't get off this ride for anything!  How about you?  Is your family journeying together in obedience?  Your family may be a biological family such as ours, or perhaps it is your faith family.  Don't miss out on the blessings and fun of a journey together!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Entry #3 - Surprise Blessings


There is so much comfort in knowing that God is in charge - not only when things are going "yucky," but also when there are blessings waiting around the corner.   If we could design our own blessings I know I would miss a whole lot of ones that God has planned.   This journey of obedience has taught me that my eyes always need to be open and my anticipation level must always be high.  God does loves us and He does desire to bless us - just too many times I miss it!

On December 24 I posted about two little boys and their parents who God used as a surprise blessing to us.  You can go back and read that post at Two Little Boys.  There was a lot more to the story than I shared there, but I have clung many times to the blessing that God surprised us with there.  Of course when we went to Spain these two little boys were on our heart and we brought them back some Spanish souvenirs. 

Last week we got to get together as two families over a meal and shared our hearts for the world to really know Christ.  It was so exciting to see although our families will serve in different parts of the world, we will all be serving for the same purpose.   We learned more about them and they learned more about us.  As the boys grew tired of sitting still they opened their gifts and began to play.  Every now and then one of them would stop and chat with one of us. 

We learned how God has already begun a good work in their hearts and I know that one day they will accomplish great things.  But I also know that for as long as God allows us to serve in Spain we will have two little boys who place their hands on our pictures or hold a Spanish flag or play Knights in Shining Armor and stop and say a prayer for us and for the boys and girls in Spain who need to know the joy that they have.  Perhaps one day I'll even get to show them around Spain.

Thank you boys for being the surprise blessing.  Thank you mom and dad for being obedient to the Word of God in raising two boys to know and love and serve the Lord.  We are blessed!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Entry #2 - Obedience Changes How People Look at You

and so we continue with the operator's manual for this journey of obedience....  see What They Didn't Tell You for the background information


All of a sudden we are no longer ordinary people - we are looked at differently.  We heard a call on our lives to missions and moved forward in obedience.  We don't see our call to move to Spain as anything greater than someones call to share Christ in a secular work place, start a refugee ministry, serve in a nursing home, take in a foster child, teach a Sunday School class, etc.  We truly believe that God has a unique call on each person's lives and we just happen to be blessed with a call to Spain.

Yet, with our obedience to move towards Spain people have set us apart.  Repeatedly we are asked how could we have such great faith.  Nearly daily we are told that we are doing something that they couldn't do.  We often hear how people wish they could step out in similar obedience.  People are amazed when we say we struggle with the same questions or are encouraged by their walks of obedience.

Another difference that seems to have come with this "set apartness" is that people no longer share about their struggles with us any longer.  I thought I was imagining this - that relationships really had not changed this much already, but last week this was confirmed.  I asked someone about an on going situation in their life and they said "oh, I was embarrassed to tell you I was struggling with this still, you are giving it all up and going to Spain and this seems so trivial in relation to that."  Do you know that I struggle every day with daily issues in my life just as much now as before we began the journey to Spain?

I was talking with a missionary friend that lives in another part of the world (name and location kept out of the blog for protection of her ministry) last week.  She shared the same experience.  She shared that she actually felt like people put her up on some pedestal and that she was unreachable and thus relationships changed way before she expected and long before she left the country.

Know that I am no super Christian.  I struggle every day to focus on what God has called me to do.  I want to fight Him and do it myself.  A lot of days I have to die to self more than once.  I'm not the perfect wife, mom, or employee (just ask them, I am sure they will agree).   I'm still just ordinary Cindy doing something a little out of the ordinary.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Operator's Manual - Entry #1

I have started this post several times and just stopped.  I have had  a hard time deciding what would be the first entry.  Should it be about the joys of the journey or the struggles?  If I could only put one entry in the manual what would be the most important?


I am not talking about doing the journey of obedience with another human being - I am talking about the fact that it will be totally impossible to be obedience to God's calling in your life without Him.  He will not call you to something you can do alone.  He calls you to obedience so that He gets glory, so it has to be a God size calling.  Otherwise you get the credit.

If you are excited about walking the journey of obedience, you need to have a Bible in your hand and regular time with God on the calendar.  These two things must be non-negotiable.  They must be priority #1.  Nothing else in life can ever take their place.

Every time I have let these slide into 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 50th place the journey has been overwhelming.  The time alone with God will not prevent the curves or bumpy roads, but your time alone with God will make it possible to go through them.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What They Don't Tell You

Originally I started this blog to share our journey to the mission field.  I wanted people to realize that we were ordinary people being asked to do something that seemed a little out of the ordinary and depending on the power of God for Him to accomplish the extraordinary.  We pray that as you follow our journey you may find the strength to step out in faith on your own journey - maybe to the mission field, but maybe just to something a little out of the ordinary.  We had friends who blazed the trail ahead of us and seeing them keep on walking has made it a little easier at times to keep taking the next step.  They didn't always succeed (in man's eyes) and didn't always do it my way, but we watched the faithfulness of God in their life and have held on to that proof of the promise keeper in our lives.

Along this journey I have begged for an "operator's manual."  Something that gave us advance warning of what was around the curve.  I have wondered if I was losing my mind at times and I have wondered why it took me so long to respond in obedience.  I have wanted to shout "I Quit!" and I have wanted to shout for joy.  I have begged God to hurry up and I have begged God to slow down.  (Perhaps I really am losing my mind)

Over the next few days (or weeks - who knows) I am going to share some of the things that I would write in the "operator's manual" if I was the author.  Some are hard spots along the journey, some are smooth sailing.  I invite you to add to the manual - maybe it will give me a heads up to what might be coming around one of the next curves.  So come back tomorrow and let's write a manual together!