Friday, September 30, 2011

Today is THE Day

Can you believe it?  Today we actually take the first steps towards beginning the next season of this journey.  Lots of last minute details around the house this morning, then we walk out the door towards the airport.

Today will be filled with lots of emotions.  We will all process them differently and before it is all over we will probably feel like we are a little crazy.

How can you pray for us today?

  • Scott - As the head of the house give him confidence that he is leading his family in obedience of God and not off into the deep end of some unknown pool.  As he tells his mom goodbye at the airport knowing that she will probably never travel to Spain, give them both a beautiful goodbye.  As he cares for me and Alex today that he will know exactly how to help.
  • Zach - As he watches his family walk away and leave him behind, give him confidence to find his footing where he knows in the deepest parts of his soul it should be.  Pray for people, and especially Godly men, to be in his paths in the coming days.  Pray that he finds a job with more consistent pay and hours quickly.  Pray for wisdom and the courage to walk in it.
  • Hannah - As she has said goodbye to living with her new "sister" and transitioning back into the family, pray for excitement and the little "twangs" in her heart that are there.  She has adjusted well so far, pray for patience as she now helps us adjust.  
  • Alex - As a 12 year old, pray as he processes all the changes.  Pray that he makes a friend quickly.  Pray that he will be able to express how he is feeling over the coming days.  
  • Me - Pray for confidence that I can learn the language.  Pray for the excitement to be greater than the "butterflies."  Today as we are seen off by friends and family, pray for beautiful goodbyes.
Flights - pray for safe travels:
  • 1:52 EST - depart Greensboro
  • 3:24 EST - arrive Newark
  • 8:40 PM EST - depart Newark
  • 4:05 AM (Saturday) EST - arrive Madrid
Not sure when I'll be back online - but keep watching, the next chapter of the story is about to begin!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Uno Mas

One more day.  It has been nearly three years (Oct, 2008) since the life changing walk on the beach.  Some days that seems like an entire life ago, other times it seems like it has flown.  But now we are just a little more than 24 hours away from stepping on the plane.

What is going through our heads right now?

  • Did you remember to pack _____?
  • Where is _____?
  • Do I have time to see _______ one more time?
  • Are we sure?
  • What about?
  • Are the kids really ok?
  • Can you believe it is here?
  • Did you call _______?
  • I can't wait until _______.
  • How are you doing?
  • Do we have time to ______?
  • Can you believe we leave tomorrow?
  • Are you sure?
  • I can't wait!
  • Don't forget to _________.
Not quite any one word describes how we are feeling right now.  The most predominant emotion is excitement and anticipation.  There is a calm and peace in the house and we know that is only from God.

Today is filled with final logistics, some one on one goodbyes to friends, and a family dinner with my parents and Scott's mom.  It is a full day!

On a different note, once we arrive in Spain we will not have daily access to the internet for about the first month.  We cannot get internet until we have a bank account.  We cannot get a bank account until we have our residency cards.  We cannot get our residency cards until Hannah and I travel to England on the 12th.  I will visit friends and co-workers who have internet periodically to keep the blog updated.  So after Friday if you come to the blog and it is not updated, keep checking - I'll be back.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2 Days

Gulp... 2 days.  Why does that sound like so much less than 3?

This may sound crazy, but today it really feels like we are going.  I don't know - no VISAs in hand and not being at 100%, it just didn't feel quite real.  However, this morning when I woke up one of my first thoughts was we are fully supported and we have all of our legal documents to leave - we are really going!  Guess it is about time to realize that, huh?

A friend was offering encouragement this morning and she pointed out to me that today is Rosh Hashanah - literally the head of the new year.  Wow!  That is a great description of today for us.  The head of a new year - of a new season of life.  We have turned the page on the calendar and we are beginning anew.  

Today will be filled with emotions and tasks, yet a new sense of excitement is seeping in as well.  The future is unknown but we do know that the ONE who holds the days ahead is more than faithful and able to do "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." (Ephesians 3:20)

3 Days

Sorry for the delay in writing today, but it was a very early morning when we hit the road for Washington, DC and am just now finally reaching the point in the day where I have a computer to write with.

First, we have 100% of our support.  Many people asked us over this past week were we not worried about the last bit of support.  Our answer - no.  We serve a God that is not a 97 or 98% God, we serve a God that is a 100% God.  He doesn't call us to obedience so that He can desert us at 97% of the task.  He can be counted on from the beginning to the end!

Second, we have VISAs!   Michelle Pizarro (a dear friend) and I left Greensboro at 7:30 last night and drove to Charlottesville, Virginia.  A short night of sleep and we were back on the road this morning.  We drove to the Washington, DC area and caught the metro to the Spanish embassy.  Expecting to walk right in and out we had a little moment of panic when we were told to come back around noon (it was 10:00 then).  No explanation or discussion, just come back.  No other choice but to find something to do in the rain, Michelle and I walked down the street to a Barnes and Noble, enjoyed the air condition, read a few magazines, and passed the time.  Back to the embassy at 11:45 and the woman who has helped me all through the process met me at the window.  She took our passports, told us to have a seat, and 45 minutes later we had VISAs!

It's 3 days until we leave and reality is a little closer!  Today the emotion that is overwhelming is excitement!  Tomorrow or in an hour, who knows?

On a totally different note - today was also Scott's birthday.  We were in separate locations, but what a way to celebrate - 100% and VISAs!

And of course, no road trip is complete without some good company...

Duck and VISAs at the Metro Station
Yes, that is chocolate - Michelle and I were almost home.  Stopped for dinner and
learned we were at 100% of our support and ordered dessert to celebrate!

Monday, September 26, 2011

4 Days

Now we are getting serious about it being almost time to leave - 4 more days - that really does not sound like very long!

On tap for today:

  • ship desktop to Spain (didn't want it on a ship for a month, too heavy to put in a suitcase, too good to dispose of, what's left - ship it via FedEx)
  • departure call - we will skype with SEND co-workers at the office in Michigan for a final chance for them to send us off - a time of prayer and encouragement for us as we leave and for them as they continue to work with those still raising their support
  • turn over the Camry - it has been a blessing and a way of growing my prayer life - but it is time for the fear of being stranded to come to an end.  
  • hair cuts for the boys - one last time while we can give directions in English
  • diner with a friend and family
  • pick up rental car
  • drive to Charlottesville, Virginia tonight - decided I would drive about 3 hours tonight and not get up so early in the morning - want to be at embassy shortly after they open tomorrow to pick up VISAs.
  • and who knows what else
It is getting a little more real and a little more real....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today has been a hard one!  5 days until we leave.  Only one less than yesterday, but today was a big last. Our last Sunday at Cornerstone Baptist Church.  Lots and lots of tears as we said goodbye to friends. I realized as I was processing the morning we have been at this church longer than I have been at any church my entire life - 14 years.  It is much more than a church, it is a family.  It was more than an employer - it was home.

The tears just flowed all morning.  Now I am exhausted - even after a nap.  As the day gets closer the reality gets clearer.  The hold on today gets tighter.  Goodbyes are hard.  That is just the bottom line!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

(Scott, my husband, is the guest writer today)

We have six days left before we get on the plane to Spain.  It has been six years since I started my journey to Spain and in six more days we will finish the first step.

Sometimes God is very clear about His plans for us well in advance of when they actually come to pass.  I went through several years of waiting before Cindy got to the same place I was.  I don't mean that she was less spiritual or not hearing God, just that it took several years before we met up on God's timeline.  We had some major setbacks on our path to missions,  we were rejected by the first organization we applied to, it took us 21 months to sell our house.

Hebrews 12 is very much about endurance:

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

If you are truly convinced that God has given you a vision for your life, don't allow yourself to be derailed.  There are times that you may need to wait.  Waiting is good... the quiet times of waiting usually mean that God has something to teach us.

There may be times when men tell you that your "call" is not valid.  This is a time to seriously consider your path.  They may be right.  Then again, they may only be telling you to go another way.  This is a call to serious prayer.  Find other Christians that you admire and ask their advice.  Ask them to pray with you and for you as you continue to find your way.

 Circumstances may seem to be against you in the eyes of others.  We were asked if we thought God was trying to tell us no when our house didn't sell month after month.  In truth, God just had a different timeline than any of us could see and His time was (and always is!) perfect.

A vision requires endurance. Keep yourself focused on the goal.  You may find yourself waiting. There will certainly be challenges and road blocks.  The people around you may question your goal.   They mean well but they don't have your vision. Don't give up! Keep running the race!

Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Days - one week.  Wow!  It is getting here quickly and yet at the same time I feel like I am moving in slow motion.  Most of what is on the to do list that can be done in advance is done (except packing) and yet the to do list is still quite long.  We are not running around in a frenzy like I would expect to be, yet we are busy.  Just an odd spot.

On tap for 7 days before we leave - Scott has social time planned today instead of me.  He is going by his work and out to lunch with friends from there.  Of course I tacked on a couple errands at the same time.  Then later this afternoon going to DMV to change a car title as well as make some hospital visits to friends and partners.  I managed to arrange that part of the day so that I get dinner out as well.  Cooking is becoming a foreign word around here.

I think for the first time what leaving really meant began to hit last night.  I was writing a friend who I have not managed to get up with yet and it hit me - even if we don't have time together before next Friday we are leaving.  The clock is not going to stand still until she and I have one last time together.  The worst thing was, that realization hit around 11:00 PM.  I began to process names of friends and family who I won't get to see again before we leave.  And then of course came the question - will they even remember me after we are gone?

I think I'll go back to denial today.  Its a lot easier to focus on what we need to get done then the emotions of this season of the journey.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

VISA Party

The embassy just called and the kid's VISAs have been approved.  All four VISAs will be ready for me to pick up on Tuesday.

God is never late and never early - always in HIS perfect timing!

8 Days

8 days.  Wow!  Realized yesterday we were down to single digits.  Tomorrow we will be down to 1 week.  Has it hit?  No, not really.

One of the many wonderful blessings of serving on a church staff was the opportunities to be involved with a variety of people - people I wouldn't normally seek out as friends.  Today I will celebrate 8 days by going to brunch with a group of ladies from Cornerstone's JOY Group (Just Older Youth, aka Senior adults).  These ladies are beautiful - on the inside and the out.  We will laugh (and maybe cry) and share and just chat over breakfast.  I am going to miss these ladies dearly!

My advice to women - have friends of all ages!  I have learned much from these ladies.  Two big lessons:

  1. Although the world has changed greatly over the past 30 years or so, they faced the same issues. I realized this one night several years ago.  On the spur of the moment a group of us ladies who were exhausted from VBS decided to have ladies' night out at the movies and dinner.  We went to see The Proposal.  It was rated PG-13 and there were a few scenes in there where I just squirmed!  Not because it wasn't something I had seen in the movies before, but because I had brought the senior ladies to see it.  Afterwards we were laughing about parts of the movie and I made a comment about being embarrassed for them and one sweet lady said "Cindy, do you really think there was anything in that movie we haven't seen before and most of it in real life?"  I felt better, but later the real meaning of what she said hit.
  2. They are some of the best prayer warriors around.  In our busy life style we have lost the value of strong prayer warriors.  We are much more of "drive thru" pray-ers.  If I need someone to be willing to set aside all they are doing and spend intimate time before the throne of God on my behalf one of these ladies is who I am going to turn to first.  Oh that when I am their age someone would say the same of me!
Back to Day 8.  Scott and Alex are taking the day off from getting ready to go and just spending time together.  They are headed to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Aviation Museum (where the plane from the miracle on the Hudson is displayed) in Charlotte.  I pray they have a day of fun and relaxation.

As for me, finishing up odds and ends around the house and beginning to think about suitcases.  I am looking forward to a day alone with my to do list.

Yesterday at lunch (I am going to weigh 200 pounds before we leave for Spain by having a meal a day out with friends and family) I was sharing that I don't think it has really hit that we are moving to the other side of the ocean.  She said "oh I know it hasn't."  She went on to share that she prayed it began to hit on this side of the ocean and not totally crash on the other side.  I pondered that all afternoon.  My prayer has become that God will allow for healthy emotions in the midst of all the tasks to be done, whatever that may look like or however hard that may be.  8 days is not very long.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9 Days

Last night Alex and I went for our last visit to the Burmese ministry.  It has been so cool over the past 18 months to see Alex take on that ministry as his own and I was just his source of transportation (or Hannah when she was here).  This was not a ministry that mom did and Alex tagged along, this was a ministry that Alex did and mom tagged along.  So cool!

But I digress..... 9 days until we leave.  On the way to the Burmese ministry last night Alex and I discussed this was our last time and it hit both of us, these goodbyes are for real now.  We've been saying goodbye for the past month, but they were only temporary because we knew there was a good chance we would see everyone again.  But we have turned that corner.

Our goodbyes now are for real.  Last night was the beginning of lasts.  On today's agenda of lasts...

  • Scott meets with his accountability partner for breakfast for the last time
  • Cindy is going to lunch with a church friend (she'll see on Sunday) for their last face to face, heart to heart lunch (at the cafeteria - she is the only friend that will eat with her there)
Lots and lots of logistics left to handle, but now the "lasts" are creeping their way into the list as well.  What a journey this is!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

10 Days

What do you do 10 days before you move to a foreign country?  Wake up early because the to do list is raging in your mind.   Then you ignore it and check email, facebook, skype, blogs, and whatever else you can find to avoid the dreaded list.

On the agenda today is Scott going to the church to record a clip on how the men's ministry has impacted his life over the past couple years.  Sunday at church another lady gave a testimony on how her husband's involvement in men's ministry had impacted her family.  I wanted to say AMEN!  Not that the ministry changed him, but that through the ministry he learned how to became more and more the man God was calling him to be.

As in all, or at least most, marriages (or at least I hope in all and we were not the exception instead of the rule) there was a season where we wondered if we would stay married.  Forget if we were going to stay married, the question was did we even want to stay married.  In that season God got a hold of Scott's heart.  He broke Scott for Him and then began to remold Scott into the man God is calling him to become.    God changed him - through individual time with God as well as through corporate times (Sunday morning, Wednesday night classes, and men's Bible studies).  I began to watch Him love God more and through that I was loved more.  (by the way, God also did a lot of changing in my heart at that time too)

Let me tell you something - there is nothing more wonderful than a husband who takes his wife's hand and says "can I pray for you?'  I'd give Scott about anything he asked for after those words!  As Scott became the spiritual leader in the house there was such relief.  As Scott grew into the man God wanted Him to be, there was freedom to be who God called me to be.  So many aspects of our life began to change (uh, #1 being we are headed to Spain in 10 days).

Women - stop praying that God will fix your husbands.  Start praying that they will allow God to do a work in their hearts so that they can become who God wants them to be.  Pray that they will walk so close to God there isn't room for you to be between them and God.  Don't be jealous of their time with God or in the study of God's word.  Encourage it (but no nagging allowed).  Pray for it.  You will be the biggest beneficiary.

Men - want a wife who can't wait to spend the next 50 years with you?  Want a wife who desires intimate times with you?  Then invest in your relationship with God!  There is no greater gift you can give your wife nor anything she will appreciate more than a husband who desires to be a man of God.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Countdown Begins!

  • 11 days until we leave
  • 11 days until we are considered immigrants
  • 11 days until very few people around us speak English
  • 11 days until we get to camp out in our new apartment
  • 11 days until we are on our way to see Hannah
  • 11 days to accomplish a to do list long enough for 20 days
  • 11 days of fellowship and goodbyes

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Scott and my VISAs have been approved.  They are waiting for us to come to Washington, DC to pick them up.  The kids however, still have no VISAs.  Lots of people are confused by why and what this means for us - so today is a primer in Spanish VISAs (and an elementary primer at that!)

You do not have to have a VISA to visit Spain.  As an American we can visit Spain with just our passports for up to 90 days.  We are tourists.  If you wish to stay longer than 90 consecutive days, then you need a VISA.  (At 90 days you must leave the country for at least 90 days)

Spain offers a variety of VISAs.  We have applied for a Residential VISA with a no work exception.  In other words we want to live in Spain but will not have a paying job.  (Work VISAs are very difficult to obtain - Spain protects the jobs in the country for the Spaniard as the unemployment rate is nearing 30%)  To apply for this VISA we had to have birth certificates, marriage certificates, proof of insurance, proof of financial means to be there, a letter of invitation, FBI background checks, and more.

On June 13 we traveled to Washington, DC to turn in our applications (by the way there are several Spanish embassies in the United States, but you are assigned an embassy where you must apply based on your state of residence - we are blessed that ours is DC and not Miami or Chicago - where we could not drive in a day).  All of our paperwork was accepted and our fees were paid.

Normal turn around time on these VISAs is 90 days, but August is a holiday month for most of Europe so that had the potential to slow our VISA applications down.

We learned about two weeks ago that our VISAs have been approved and the kid's VISAs are still pending (meaning they have not been rejected, just not approved).  We were told to call back in a couple days and when we did nothing had changed.  We have a fabulous contact at the embassy in DC that is trying to help us, but so far no changes.

So what does it mean if the kid's VISAs are not approved before we leave?

  1. We will wait as late as September 27 to go pick up Scott's and my VISA.  This gives the embassy as much time as possible to approve the kid's VISAs.  Thankfully only one adult must go pick up the VISAs - so if nothing changes before then, on the 27th I will get up very early and drive to DC (while Scott and Alex head to his mom's to finish fixing the shed that was damaged by Hurricane Irene and pick her up to be here for our departure).  I will get the adult VISAs and then return home.
  2. Scott and I will enter Spain with our VISAs and the kids will be in the country as tourists.
  3. On November 17 I will return to the states for a quick VISA trip.  Remember the kids are only allowed in Spain up to 90 days and Hannah has already been there for a month.  
  4. After I return to Spain with the kid's VISAs we will have to take a quick trip out of the European Union (Morocco is the closest non-EU country) so that the kids can re-enter the country and have their VISAs stamped.
So, yes we are still leaving on the 30th.  Yes, the kids are going with us.  Yes, we are learning a lot about the Spanish government.  And Yes, we are learning a whole lot more about faith!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Where's Duck?

Do you think the duck needs a name?

18 boxes packed and ready to go to the freight forwarder.  All of it will be forwarded to Savannah, Georgia then on October 3 goes on a boat to Madrid.  Scheduled to arrive in Madrid October 21.  Until then, we'll camp out in our apartment and wear the same clothes over and over again.  No furniture in the the boxes, just clothes, pictures, pampered chef pots and pans and stones, measuring cups, coats, blankets, shoes, and the like. Except the 6 suitcases we will take on the plane with us - this is all we own.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We are asked the same questions repeatedly - are you nervous?  are you excited?  how are the kids?  what are you afraid of?  how long until you come home?  what if you fail?  what if you hate it?  are you sure this is the right thing?  what if your support falls through?  The list goes on.

As departure date is now only 16 days away the emotions range in all extremes and the answers get a little harder.  I follow a blog of a family serving in Guatemala, A Little Elbow Grease, and last week she summed up my biggest fear - being forgotten and alone.  She is writing from the perspective of being on the field already, but we have already found some of it to be true and we haven't left yet, so we know in the deepest parts of our hearts, she has nailed the rest of the picture too.

The days ahead are exciting.  We know we are walking right where we have been asked to walk, yet they are also filled with sadness and a little anxiety.  We know we serve a God that is bigger than anything that we will encounter, yet we also know that the life is not a rose garden.  Please continue to pray for us as we process it all in our own individual ways.

Oh I know, the life of a missionary is shiny, exciting and adventurous. There are full satisfying days of serving, there’s just a hint of danger around each turn, there are the lives that are transformed everywhere we go, there’s spiritual growth shooting out all over the place.…
Yep, that missionary life sure isn’t like “regular ole life”. It’s exciting, it’s exotic, it’s amazing, it’s…….
Really, really tough right now.
Frankly, most days we are downright lonely. Friendships take a long time, and we haven’t found people we’ve connected with.
Daily, adapting to a new culture is challenging. The balancing act of staying ourselves and learning how to fit in here is exhausting!
Sometimes trying to serve is pretty darn discouraging. There is still some ambiguity to our roles, and while God’s timing is perfect, waiting is hard.
Often, it feels like a spiritual desert. We’re still looking for a church.
And, navigating the ministry God has called us to can be just plain confusing.
Wanna trade places??
God is good, we know. God is faithful, we see it. God is providing, daily. God is love…
We know all the answers we’ll hear. We tell ourselves the little pep-talks we’ll get. We’re sure we’re right back into culture shock (4 months in a new culture), and with time it will pass.
But in the meantime, we’re human, we’re flawed and we’re in serious need of love. And yet, we don’t feel like we can even ask for it. Everyone is struggling with things no matter where they live. And most of all, Cool Missionaries don’t get lonesome!
So I will ask for other people. (They are cool missionaries!!)
You see, we aren’t alone in how we feel. We have friends who live in Guatemala as well and they are feeling a bit ‘abandoned’. They are realizing it doesn’t take long to get ‘disconnected’, and are desperate for love too.
~For a phone call to say “we miss you and want to chat”.
~For a Skype call to see a familiar face and get a long-distance hug.
~For their home congregation to intentionally reach out, and send encouragement.
~For someone to ask “REALLY, how are you doing” and offer a shoulder.
~For an invite to a church event just to ‘feel included’.
Matt keeps reminding me, and we shared with these friends as well, that so many of you feel connected to our lives here through the blog. I LOVE that God is using this in the ways He does and I am so thankful for the words that He gives me to write…but the connection doesn’t often go both ways. Someone can read a blog or a newsletter and have the news in our lives. On this end, there is only silence…and that silence is a deafeningly loud reminder that Satan is trying to discourage those on the field in any way he can, and isolation and loneliness are pretty easy ways.
So there it is. I think I’ve been hiding from emails and facebook and even the blog this last while because this isn’t what folks want to read. But, it is where we (and others we know) are at.
Have you hugged your missionary lately? 
Kristy Messick

A New Home

We have a new home.  Through the wonderful Internet, a fellow SENDer and friend, and Hannah we have already chosen an apartment.  It will be ours as soon as we arrive.  What a wonderful feeling to know we have a place to call home.

It's 110 square meters (1184 square feet).  3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  It even has a dishwasher!  It is considered to be on the 3rd floor, however it is really the 4th (the 1st floor of the building is shops).   It doesn't have a terrace (patio), but it does have big windows on one side that look out into green space, a luxury with a city apartment.  There is a pool - Spaniards definition of air condition (in other words, when it is hot, like 100 degrees plus, and open windows are not enough to cool off take a dip in the pool - very common for apartments to have a pool).  Two of the three bedrooms have built in closets and the kitchen was even furnished with cabinets, both added blessings.  We do not have a parking place - that costs extra - but until we master the driver's test that is not an issue.

Hannah's bus stop is about a 5 minute walk.  Scott's language school is about 2.5 miles away.  Alex will have several school choices.  There is a coffee shop in the bottom of the building.  There is not a pub (a bar is a restaurant that serves wine and beer and food, a pub is for harder drinking and partying) in the building.

We are excited to be able to land in our own place.  We have no furniture and the items we are shipping will not arrive until the 21st of October, but we will have a roof over our heads and a place to call home.  What more can we ask for?

Clothes Line - Hang out either the living room or master bedroom window and hang out the laundry -
this should take some talent to not fall out.

Built in closet


Hall Bath


Washing Machine is in the Kitchen - the door to the right is to an extra "drying" room -
if we had a dryer it would go out there, but also for extra storage 

One last kitchen View
Living Room 
Master Bath

Master Bedroom

Outside View

There is a playground in the courtyard

The pool on the right goes with our apartment complex -
the pool on the left is another apartment complex

In the mirror's reflection you can see the 2nd toilet, called a bidet -
so far I have seen it used for storing cleaning supplies and a potted plant

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Duck

The journey to an international mission field is a crazy one!  You never know what will trigger tears or laughter.  Much of the whole journey makes no logical sense - of course, that makes sense since it involves selling everything you own, voluntarily quitting good paying jobs, and uprooting your family to move to a country you have only visited for two weeks.

Right after we began this journey we were at a staff Christmas party.  We do a dirty santa exchange and gifts range from serious to prank.  The duck in the video above was one of the gifts.  For some reason I decided I really wanted the duck.  I had committed to giving up everything we owned and this duck just struck me as something fun we could take with us.  I had it to the very end, then someone stole it and I never got it back.  I almost cried.  I know, I know - makes no sense at all, does it?  

Well the next morning at church, sitting in the big hallway outside the preschool wing (remember I was the preschool and children's minister) was a new duck.  No tags or cards - just a duck.  I knew it was for me.  I knew I was loved (or considered totally insane).

When we began to pack for the move we decided each family could one have tub filled with whatever they wanted to take to Spain.  No judgement or questions.  The only thing that made its way into my tub was this duck.  (Now we know I am crazy!)  You can press the button and cannot help but laugh. 

So after much laughter and discussion at our house we have decided the duck is going to Spain.  Watch over the coming days and months where the duck may be photographed, kind of like Where's Waldo.  The duck will give you a photo journal of the days ahead.  He will be the best traveled duck around.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Things have been changing this last 30 minutes faster than I could keep up with!

We had a goal for Monday that would allow us to purchase our tickets.  We started the day $188 away.  We had a partner who said that they would do the $100 when the $88 was accomplished.  We have prayed that God would answer our prayers to reach this goal by Monday, but also agreed that His perfect timing was better than any goal we could set.

We sent out a few emails to people who were praying about partnership and let them know why Monday was our goal and left for the day.  While gone we got an email that we had a new partner for $50.  Posted an update on facebook when we got home - $38 more to go.

A friend sent me an email that they would do $1 per month.  Remember every size partnership counts and we were just as excited over that partnership as any other partnership.

Posted an update and before I could finish with the paperwork for the $1 partnership got a facebook message asking to change the goal to $7 - they were taking $30/month.

While telling them thank you another person chimed in said DONE!  They were taking the last $7.

Now here is the funny story - I am horrible about rounding and SEND told me no rounding for this goal - had to be exactly the amount they said - well, I had been rounding 23 cents off not expecting it to come down that close (ok, one day I will learn).  A partner (who knows about my rounding habit) was watching the progression on facebook and sent me a message to see if the $7 was still needed and I told her no - it was all done, but I had rounded by 23 cents.  Guess what she did?  She increased her partnership by $5.

So God not only answered our prayers for our Monday goal - he exceeded it!  Isn't that just like God?

So on Monday we will call the embassy and pray that the kid's VISAs have been resolved and then we will be set free to make our airline reservations.  We are hoping to depart sometime between September 28 and 30.

There are still 3 provinces left on the partnership map - but God has taken care of every other detail, so I believe He will finish the map as well.

Tonight, however... there is some serious celebrating and praising going on in the Hunter household.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


$38.23/month away from Monday's goal....
    or $458.76/year away from Monday's goal....
           or a one time donation of $2293.80

Would you consider being the one?

Monday Goal

We are $188/month away from our partnership goal for Monday.  We have someone who has agreed to help us meet that goal.  When we get the $88 or more/month promised he will do $100/month.  He is ready to do it Monday morning to help push us over.

Would you pray about being part of the $88 (or more)?  All size partnerships add up, nothing is too small or too large.

Friday, September 9, 2011

With Bated Breath.....

.... we wait.  We are close, really, really close.  We are almost there.  We can see the finish line and we can taste the bitterness of goodbyes and smell the joy of hellos.  Oh so close.

As you know by now there are two things that still have to happen for us to leave - VISAs and support.  Here is the exciting news on both fronts and some general updates.

VISA:  We learned Wednesday that Scott and my VISAs have been approved.  We are waiting excitingly to go get them.  We also learned Wednesday that the kid's VISAs have not been approved.  They have not been rejected, just not approved.  The embassy is trying to resolve the problem and told us to call back Monday morning in hopes that it will all be resolved.

Support:  We are at 95% of our support.  We are hoping to have enough support to purchase our airplane tickets by Monday as well.  

Shipping:  We are almost packed and are shipping our stuff to Spain by the end of next week.

Apartment Hunting:  We began the apartment hunt this week.  It is a crazy process from here:

  • Deb (a co-worker in Alcala) looks at apartments online in Spain and sends me possibilities of apartments to look at online here
  • I tell Deb yes or no to pursue
  • Hannah and Deb go look at the potential apartment and take pictures from every angle and send to me
  • Scott and I keep it on the list or rule it out based on Hannah and pictures and our wish list
  • And then sometime between now and the end of the month hopefully Deb signs a lease for us on an apartment we have only seen online
  • And then we arrive and move in - well, actually just camp out in the apartment until we make it to IKEA to furnish it.
Hopeful Timeline:

  • Resolve VISAs and support level by Monday, September 12
  • Make plane reservations on Tuesday, September 13
  • Depart sometime during the last week of September, 29th or 30th
  • Scott start language school on Monday, October 3
It is close, really, really close.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Complete Joy

After spending months with God working my way through Ezekiel I felt led into the New Testament.  After praying through where to "settle in" I landed in the 1 John (with a plan to go through all 3 letters of John). I made it as far as chapter 1, verse 4 before I had to stop and ponder.

John writers "These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete."  Now I like to write but I wouldn't say it brings me complete joy so I wondered what John was getting at.  Then I read the footnote - it reads "John's joy in the Lord could not be complete unless his readers shared the true knowledge of the Christ."

Wow!  John's joy had nothing to do with writing - it had to do with what and why he was writing.  He knew he would never find complete joy until he had shared with everyone he possible could the true story of Christ.  Nothing less would do.

What about me?  Do I find complete joy in things, people, places?  Or will I lack that complete joy until everyone I encounter knows the true knowledge of Christ?

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is we need you.  We have raised 92.5% of our support.  We are $738/month away from being fully supported.  One person has asked for the privilege of being the partner that puts us at 100%, so some portion of that $738 is already committed - we just do not know how much.  So actually, we need less than $738/month and we need it soon.

Why the urgency?
  • The obvious spiritual reason
    • People need to hear the Good News.
  • The practical reasons:
    • Public schools in Spain begin next week.  Alex is going to have plenty of adjustments to make just by going to Spanish schools and not speaking the language.  The longer into the school year we wait to get him enrolled, the harder the adjustment for him.
    • Cindy's car died this weekend.  We are down to one car (although a partner who is on vacation this week loaned us his car until Saturday).  Life is not impossible with one car, but it sure did get a lot more complicated.
    • Hannah is already in Spain and has been since the 25th of August.  We would like to be reunited as a family as soon as possible.
    • Scott's last day of work is next Thursday.  We will draw a small stipend from SEND after that, however, we will not receive a full salary until we arrive in Spain.
    • We are living in a temporary home.  The owners of the home tentatively plan to return at the end of the month, meaning we really need to be on our way by then or able to tell them we are leaving shortly after that.
  • The emotional reasons:
    • We have been living in limbo for more than 18 months already.  Our hearts and ministry have been turned to Spain a long time ago.  We are not fully here and we are not fully there.  
    • The separation of our family is hard.
    • Until we are closer to 100% we cannot set travel dates.  Although a lot of our future life will be dealing with unknowns, this unknown gets more difficult each day.
So what do we need?  People who are willing to partner in an on-going basis with us.  Partnerships of all sizes help us get there.  The map to the right shows what we have left.  Although the provinces are labeled with $50 and $100 per month, partnerships come in all sizes and shapes.

If 15 people were willing to do $50/month we would be on our way to Spain.  If 7 people did $100/month we would almost be there.

Maybe by the month doesn't work for.  How about $150/quarter or $600/year in one lump sum.  That all counts the same for us.  (of course, other sizes are ok too)

Maybe September is a yucky month to start.  Can you commit to start in October, November, December, or even as late as January?  If you commit now with a start date by January we can also count that now.

Maybe you have been following this blog for the last 18 months and don't really know me or my family and would like to ask some questions before you commit.  I'd love to Skype with you and answer all your questions.  Fill out the "contact me" tab above and we will arrange a time to Skype.

Do you attend a church that supports individual missionaries and could help get us connected?  Do you own a business or have a friend who owns a business who would like a tax write-off that helps share the message of the gospel?

It is time to move to the next phase of the journey and we need your help.  Will you pray today as to how you might help?

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”  Romans 10:14-15

Friday, September 2, 2011

And a BIG Leap of Faith

I guess there is no turning back now.  Scott gave his notice at work today.  We are now a "no-income" family.   The crazy thing, is we are here by choice.  In the world's eyes we are totally insane!  And maybe we are, but we are on the journey of a lifetime!

This puts us one step closer to Spain.  Two more hurdles to go - last 9% of our support and our VISAs.  Keep praying.  Our goal is still to be in Spain at the end of September.

Another Homeschool Bonus

Alex and I did science together this afternoon.  We went to the Natural Science Center, had a picnic dinner with Scott, and then the three of walked about a mile and a half.   Love this kind of schooling!

Siamese Twin Turtles - two heads, one shell,
four legs, two stomachs, brains, and etc.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How many times must it be said?

Do you ever have those conversations with your kids or friends around you and wonder "didn't I just say that?  how many times do I have to say it before you get it?  am I talking to myself or is someone listening?"

I have been reading through the book of Ezekiel during my quiet times.  According to all the scholars the theme of the book is God's pending judgment.  And yeah, I got that while I read it.  How could you not?  Every chapter describes one more way God is going to judge because of unrighteous behaviors.

But being the simple minded person I am, I see a different theme.  29 times in Ezekiel God says "and they will know that I am the Lord."  Sometimes I am slow, but after 29 times of it being repeated I have to stop and say - hmm, guess He did all this judgement so that it is known to all that He is the Lord.

Made me stop and consider my own life.  Wonder what things He allowed to happen (notice I did not say caused) in my life so that I would know that He was Lord.  I wonder what He wants to do in my life so that others may know that He is Lord.  And on a little less selfish thought, wonder what He is doing or allowing in the world so that all the nations know that He is the Lord.

Just a little something to ponder today.