Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Letters of Invitation

We received an email this morning that our Letters of Invitation from the Spanish government were on their way.  Should be here this week.  This is one of the final pieces of paperwork we have been waiting on so that we could go to Washington to apply for our VISAs. 

I expected to be jumping around for joy when we heard they were on their way, instead there was this pit in the bottom of my stomach.  This is for real!  We are one step closer.  Ironically, notice came of this progress on the same day we are selling our car.  Things are moving!

We still need some paperwork to come in from the US State Department before we can go to the embassy and remember everything has a "life span."  Meaning - documents are not good indefinitely. 

Some specific prayer requests:
  • Pray that this week we receive our documents back from the State Department so that they can go to the translator. 
  • Pray that everything is in place for us to go to Washington the week of June 13.  I am gone to summer camp the week of June 20, creating major complications if we have to wait until that week to go to the embassy.  We think the letter of invitation would have expired by the week of June 27.
  • Once we turn in our VISA applications the timeline gets "hairy."  We have no control over the length of response for our VISAs, but when they call we have approximately 60 days to arrive in Spain.  We need to get this house sold and we need to raise the last 1/3 of our support before the VISAs are ready.
Interested in buying a house in Kernersville or joining our financial support team?  Just ask me how.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Here We Go Again

House is showing this afternoon - love the last minute appointments when we have already cleaned the house - all we have to do is put last minute touches on it.  I braved Walmart and Scott took the showing request, so by the time I got home he had the house finished up.  Love it when team work reigns in our house!

Praying this is the one....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Big Day

Lots of activity in my life today -

1)  I am blessed to work in a flexible work environment.  My normal work hours are 9 - 4, but today I came in at 7:30 and will eat lunch at my desk and then leave at 1:30.  Can't do that everyday, but today it is a nice treat.  I work Sunday - Thursday, so I am off tomorrow.

2)  Why work these hours today?  For Mother's Day I asked for a night at Great Wolf Lodge.  http://www.greatwolf.com/concord/waterpark  It is an indoor waterpark.  Because I work in a church we celebrate Sunday holidays at different times in the year.  So today is Mother's Day for me.  Taking no worries or to do lists with me - just family and fun.

3)  We have a house showing tonight.  The people are ready to make a decision.  This is their first showing of our house, but they have already fallen in love with the neighborhood as they have seen other houses in the area.  They asked if we could be out in 30 days if they choose our house.  Oh my!  No idea where I'd go or what I'd do, but if they want it, they can have it in a week!  Pray tonight at 7:00 PM EST.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Same Old

I recently wrote an article about blogging and one thing I stressed was that it was necessary to update it regularly if you wanted to keep people reading it.  Life has been so full of activity over the past couple months that I haven't had  a hard time writing - been harder to decide what not to write about.

But we are back in a routine and life is crazy as usual, so today I write to tell you that the life continues to be the same old thing.  One of our greatest challenges as we prepare for a move to Spain is actually that issue - life is the same old thing.  Our lives are divided - we want to honor God in everything we do here, finish strong, complete the task He has set before us AND we want to have moved into the next season of life in Spain.  We describe it as "doing the splits."  One foot in Spain and one foot in the United States and we keep sliding down further into the split position. 

It's hard a times.  I was never good at doing the literal splits and I'm not too sure at times how I am at the figurative splits.  Here are some specific prayer split prayer requests...
  • Scott and I are both in seasons of our jobs where we are planning for future days and events - ones that we pray are after our desired departure date, yet don't know God's timing yet.  Pray that we will keep an attitude that glorifies God in everything.
  • We must make partnership development for the future a full time ministry, yet we don't want to miss opportunities with our family and friends to celebrate today.  Pray we'll know when to push forward and when we'll know it's time to pause.
  • We are making some financial decisions - house, car, ....  Pray we will know how aggressive to be in these decisions today since we do not know when the "split season" of our lives will be over.
  • Pray for Hannah - this "split season" is especially hard on her.

Monday, May 23, 2011

50 Partners Needed!

We have nearly 63% of our on-going support promised.  That is huge!  God has been overwhelming us as He has moved people's hearts for them to join Him in His work in Spain.  We are blessed to be the hands and feet of sharing in Spain, but it is only because of our gracious partners!

This morning I realized we could be as close as 50 partners to arriving at 100% of our support.  That doesn't sound quite as overwhelming, does it.  Would you pray about partnering with us?  There are three ways you can do it....

  1. Monthly support - Make a faith promise for a set amount to be given each month.
  2. Quarterly support - Make a faith promise for a set amount to be given each quarter.  Perhaps your income varies by the quarter and this works better for you.
  3. Annual support - Make a faith promise for a set amount to be given each year.  Perhaps you have a time of the year where bills are lower or income is higher (bonuses, tax returns, seasonal hours, ....) and you could commit to giving once a year.
Below is a map of Spain with each province holding a faith promise amount.  If we have 25 new partners at $100/month ($300/quarter or $1200/year) and 25 new partners at $50/month ($150/quarter or $600/year) we will be at 100%.  Will you take a "province"?

For more information click on one of the tabs above.  Our goal - 100% support by August 31.  Watch the sidebar for our progress!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Muslim Believer

Recently a friend of mine, referred to as "C" in this story, spent time in the Philippines.  One evening at dinner she met a gentleman who described himself as a muslim believer.  Below is her account of the evening.  Stepped on my toes as I read it... hope it does the same for you.

We divide ourselves. Unconsciously, the Americans sit on one side of the table and we wait for our Filipino hosts to face us along the other side.

The men sit down, we thank God for the food, and begin to put it on our plates. The oldest of the men, sitting down the table from me, begins to speak.  I hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in my heart, “C, listen to this man.”  “Lord, I can’t understand Tagalog!” I protest.  “Listen anyway.”

I stand up and ask my friend beside me to slide down. I sit next to a Tagalog-speaking American, who begins to translate for me. The man, Mr. J*, is sharing his story. I learn that he is staying here in the mountains to hide from the people of his village, who want to kill him. They want to kill his family. He has not seen his wife in a long time. She and their two children are also hiding. He is waiting to see if he can bring them to join him here in this safe place. He asks us to pray for him. I see desperation in his eyes. ”Remember me,” he says.

“Brother, how did you come to know Jesus Christ?” I ask him directly.

Mr. J* answers me in English. “I am a Muslim believer. I read the Koran.” He notices the surprise on my face. “There are seven key points in the Koran which point to Jesus Christ as Savior. I will show any Muslim these points. The answer is clear.”

Another Muslim believer joins in, “Yes, Mr. J* often sits on the bus and God will place two Muslims next to him. By the end of the bus ride, those men will know who Jesus Christ is!”

Muslim believer. This phrase perplexes me.  I think on it for a moment and the Spirit provides a sudden flash of understanding: Muslim describes his culture. Believer, his faith. I, coming from a Christian culture, am a Christian believer. But coming from a Christian culture does not necessarily make me a believer in Jesus Christ.

Mr. J* interrupts my thoughts by looking me straight in the eye. “Do you have a heart for Muslims?”

A bold question. It cuts deep to my heart. “Well, God is working that in me right now.” Honesty is the only way to answer such a question.

He smiles. “God does not only love Christians, you know,” he says to me.

Well of course not, I think. “For God so loved the world.”

But then I realize the depth of that verse: this means Muslims as well as Christians. There is no exception based on culture.

“Do you have a Bible?” Mr. J* asks. “I will show you what God says about my people.”

“Turn to Jude, read verses 22-23,” Mr. J* commands.

I read out loud, “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

“Now, turn to Ezekiel.” Mr. J* directs me to chapter 3, verses 17-18.

I read the passage, seeing for the first time that God is telling his prophet, You who know the truth are responsible to tell those who are perishing. If you do not, their blood is on your hands.

Mr. J* looks at me once more. “You must tell share the truth with the Muslims.”

My heart is racing. I don’t know what to say. Mr. J*’s rights have been taken from him. But he gives them up willingly, because he knows that there is something far better for him. He knows that this life is not the end.

Here is a man who has lost so much - his community, his home, his comfort. What right do I have to cling to mine? This man speaks with passion, conviction, and peace. What right do I have to passive? This man is running for his life and yet he continues to be bold and share the truth of Jesus Christ to those who are perishing. What right do I have to remain silent?

*Names have been changed to protect the safety of those involved in the meal.

Is that really a paintbrush in my hand?

Yes - believe it or not, I find myself with a paintbrush in my hand again.  At least this time it is outside.  We are having an open house tomorrow afternoon so I am working outside today while Hannah works inside (Scott and Alex are at a soccer tournament).  Yard to mow, weed eating, and yes - painting.  There are about two dozen slats on our fence that had to be replaced last fall that are the target of my paintbrush.  Could this really be the end of my painting?

We are praying over some hard decisions regarding the house, so we ask that you pray with us this weekend.  Could tomorrow be the day?  Do we need to make some hard decisions.  May we do exactly what God asks us to do - in faith.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Unplanned Appointment

Thursday was the day Hannah and I were beginning our partnership development trip to Florida.  Which meant it was the last day I was at work for more than a week, the last day I was at home for that long, and the last day to handle some "last minute" details.  All this meant was that every minute was precious - and if you know me, well planned out.  No time for delays or interruptions.

But God had different plans.  I needed to take our FBI background checks to the FedEx facility so I could send them off to get a letter of Apostille (letter say they are authentic documents) from the US State Department. The FedEx facility is less than a mile from my work, so perfect schedule says to stop and do it on my way to work.  Hey, I don't have to be at work until 9 so surely it will be open.  Wrong - it too opens at 9.  So I went on to work and had our staff prayer time then headed back to FedEx.

I had a meeting at the office immediately after prayer time so I had promised to be "right back."  There were no customers in the facility so surely this would be quick.  I filled out my forms and got it all prepared and then God proved He had a different plan.

The clerk looked at the address and asked what was this department of the government (the address was a whole lot of abbreviations).  I told her what it was and that we were applying for a resident VISA in Spain.  She then asked if she had heard about Spain in the news previously.    I told her about the earthquakes and then she asks if I thought that was the wrath of God. 

That was the beginning of a 30 minute conversation about a personal relationship with Christ and what repentance really means and can you keep on sinning and still avoid the judgement of God.  Left her with a lot to think about and me to ponder how many opportunities to share I have missed because of how much I try to "cram" into my schedule.

What about you?  Does your schedule allow for "God interruptions?"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Not that we were really worried, but today we received our FBI Background checks back and we all passed!  That means we are one more step closer to applying for our VISA.  Each step makes it feel a little more real!  As a friend who lives in Spain said  ooooo..oooooo...ye, oooooo.....ye, oooooooo....ye, oooooooo...ye!!! The Spanish battle cry.

Florida Countdown

Tomorrow Hannah and I are leaving for Florida - actually tomorrow we are only going as far as Columbia, SC, but it is in the Florida direction.  We will be visiting with friends and churches to share about our journey to Spain, in addition to making some great mother/daughter memories.  Scott and Alex will be left here holding down the fort. 

I have a ton to do today and tomorrow before we leave - both at work and at home.  Praying that it just all somehow happens and no one is all the more stressed as a result.

If you live somewhere along our route and would like to hear more about Spain - send me a note.  Exciting things are happening!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Realtors are Coming

Today our real estate agent is hosting a property tour after their sales meeting today.  She has offered a cash incentive to Realtors to come by and so far about 15 have RSVP'd they will be coming by.  We are praying that at least one of these Realtors will walk in the house and know they have the perfect client for our house.  They will be here between 11:30 and 12:00 EST today - so if you could please pray during that time, that would be great.  I'll keep you posted -

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Favorite Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

Spring is coming and it makes me think of eating outside.  Eating outside makes me think of cookouts.  And cookouts makes me think of homemade ice cream.  (Sounds like a Give a Moose A Cookie book)  Tonight we will have our first homemade ice cream of the season.  I have a favorite recipe, its a little pricey because of the ingredients, but worth the expense!

2 cups milk
1 3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 c half and half
1 tbsp vanilla
4 c whipping cream

Scald milk until bubbles form around edge of pan.  Remove from heat.  Add sugar and salt.  Stir until dissolved.  Stir in half and half, vanilla, and whipping cream.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes - until cold.  Freeze according to your ice cream maker directions. (makes 4 quarts)


Strawberry - add pureed strawberries (1 c./quart of ice cream) to chilled mixture before freezing.
Banana - add mashed bananas (3 c/4 quart, 31/2 c/5 quart, and 4 c/6 quart) to chilled mixture before freezing.
Peach - add pureed peaches (1 c./quart) to chilled mixture before freezing.

VISA and Partnership Update

Partnership Update - Our goal was to be at 60% of our support by today.  We are approximately $30/month away from that goal.  To be in Spain in September we need to increase our partnership by 10% every four weeks.  In the last two months we have increased nearly 30%.  We are giving God all the glory and thanking Him for the people who have chosen to join our team.  We know He has great things ahead and cannot wait to see how He uses this team of "senders and tellers" (see Romans 10:14-15).

If you would like more information about partnership, click on the "contact me" tab above and send me a note. 

VISA Update - We are doing my favorite thing - waiting.  NOT!  Below is a summary of the steps we have to go through and what the status is right now.  Pray for patience as well as expediency.  Do those two things go together?

  • Supervisor in Spain request letters of invitation - once they are received we have 30 days to present our completed application to the Spanish consulate in Washington, DC - We are waiting on this letter 
  • Be fingerprinted and complete a FBI criminal background check - These are submitted and we are waiting on their return - they will not issue a progress statement until 4 weeks after they are submitted - that is today - so hopefully when I call they will say they are on their way to us. 
  • Gather the following paperwork: 
    • New copies of birth certificates and marriage certificates for everyone - they must be hand signed and issued within the last 90 days - of course I was born in Florida, Scott in Cairo, and the kids were at least both here in Greensboro - Waiting on Scott's, but everyone else's is here and already has the letter of Apostille.  His is not required, but we have learned from those who have gone before us that more documentation is better than not enough. 
  • New passports for the kids because they had less than 12 months left on their passports (thank goodness Scott and I were good) - Yeah!  Finally something to report that is finished.  
  • Letters from the doctors that say we have no communicable diseases, addictions, and mental health issues - of course we all have different doctors with different processes for this.  I could write an entire blog post that would have you rolling in the floor laughing over this requirement, but let's just leave it at YES! we have these letters. 
  • Letter from SEND saying we have international health insurance In my VISA folders waiting. 
  • Send all the official documents off to the Secretary of State in the state they were issued to receive an Apostille Letter (stating they are official and legal documents) - FBI Checks and Scott's birth certificate are still waiting to be done, but everything else is done. 
  • Take all the documents to a certified Spanish translator Waiting
  • Finish all this within the 30 days of the letter of invitation being received and make an appointment with the Spanish Consulate in Washington DC and all four of us go apply in person Waiting
  • Wait.....Pray... Wait... Pray - Perhaps I should have this sprinkled throughout the entire process - but we are doing a lot of this one 
  • When the consulate's office calls and says the VISAs are ready we have 30 days to pick them up and 30 days to register an address in Spain - And obviously - not here yet

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The WE of Partnership

Today we were blessed with two new partners.  I was sharing this progress with a partner tonight at church.  He was excited to see the progress, but the true picture of partnership was seen when she walked up.  She had heard only the end of the conversation and excited asked "where are WE at?"  When I shared we were about $35 away form our 60% goal she then said "WE are making progress.  WE are going to reach OUR goal."

That is what partnership is really about.  WE are raising our support so that WE can be used by God to share the Good News of Christ with the people of Spain.  Yes, Scott and I and the kids get to move to Spain and be the hands, feet, and voice of this partnership - but every person who joins the partnership - through prayer, finances, and going are all part of the journey.

Tonight was a picture of the verses on our prayer card...

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"  Romans 10:14 - 15

This partnership development is a lot of work - but it is fun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Just wanted to let you know that I am alive and kicking and over my panic attack of Friday.  Deep breaths and deep prayers are the key to surviving this journey.  God has been faithful and continues to be faithful.  Lots of new decisions to made in the next day or two, but I will choose to hold on - "for I know whom I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day."