Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today I tried something new and it was wonderful ! I decided to go on a spiritual journey. I just took God up on his offer to spend some time with him and allowed him to show me this journey that we've been on through his creation and a little of man's. I hope that you enjoy the photos. They really don't do justice to the beauty that I was shown...even in the things that were huge, with jagged edges and loud. 

Packing up and headed home in 2 days . 

97 % !!!!!!!

Yes, that's right ! We are so close to our support raising goal. We are at 97% !!!!!!! I had to take a deep breath and reread our report when I saw the numbers. In fact, not only did I have to read it twice but then I increased the print size to a zillion to make sure that my eyes weren't playing a trick on me ! NO TRICK ! Just God's great miracle ! So , here I am again humbly asking you to join us in praying that the last 3% comes in. Our personal goal was to be at 100 % by April 31 in order to be on the field by the first week of June. God is still working and we are still waiting for him to confirm our plans or to slow them down. In the mean time, would you consider believing with us that this could happen for us ? Would you consider praying that this last part comes in to our organization for us in these last 3 days? THANK YOU * THANK YOU * THANK YOU * 

Just a side note for the mom's..... one of my children left me a note on the door this morning that was so precious it made me teary eyed. If you are Mommy to very little ones and you are the only one leaving notes right now ...hang in there.... the love letters that you receive from your children are lined with the richest gold this side of heaven . I am TOTALLY convinced of that ! 

Also, thank you for the comments that you are all leaving. I have such little time to make a phone call, email or even to blog. Please know that you are valuable and leave marks on my heart the rest of the day ! I miss home but am realizing that God is not taking HOME away from me. He is simply relocating us to increase the size of HOME ! 


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Whew ! What a Week!

Wow ! I can't believe that it's Sunday morning already. Last week was packed full of wonderfully uncomfortable situations that left us totally depleted at the end of the day. Therefore, there was no blogging going on. Most of our last hours at night were spent trying to think on our reactions and motivations to situations. Our hearts and minds were challenged as we experienced "real life" and "real life" possibilities. I'll try to give you the quick updated version. 

Monday we were challenged with conflict and how it provides opportunity. I don't know about you but most of my conflicts are only opportunities to apologize ( smile ) but no more ! They are opportunities to grow and appreciate others. To "turn my chair" and try to understand why people react the way that they do and more importantly why I react the way that I do and how by turning my chair I might see things from their prospective. Sounds easy...if it does..I applaud you ! 
Tuesday we covered spiritual vitality and managing stress. I'll try to post some of the stresses that our group came up with that missionaries experience. One of the singles in our group has been ill since the day she arrived here (literally). She had to leave our group for testing and there was much prayer for her. After living together as 32 -ish people with the goal in front of us our community is very strong. We all feel like family and the fact that one of us was "wounded " was very hard. 
Wednesday was a REALLY hard day. We were taken hostage. In my group there were 17 of us who were escorted to the basement of the building and led into a wooden box that was approximately 10'x5' and not quite 6' tall. We were told that our children were safely evacuated and that rebels had overtaken our mission area and we were there to hide out. We were given 1 flashlight and 1 radio. After some time we were told that we had been discovered and the rebels had taken our radio. We were there for about 1 hour in the box and during that time we had to choose hostages and were brought a hostage from our group who had gotten separated and was to be executed. VERY HARD. After some time they came back and told us that because ransom had not been met that 2 from our group had to be executed. We had to choose the 2. I know that some of you can go straight to the fact that this is just a game but for us these were very real situations that we had to think through. There were many tears and prayers going up for the Lord to decide for us and to deliver us. After the 2 from our group were taken for execution those of us left in the box (we did have air holes by the way) began to recite scripture and to pray aloud. This was a very tender and beautiful time as a team. At this point I began to get tears in my eyes. I couldn't help but be fearful that when the rebel came to take the rest of us as we were released that we would have to SEE the two men from our group who had volunteered to be executed lying there dead. WHEW!!!! How critical this exercise was for me ! 
Thursday was an amazing day as we discussed embracing the Sabbath. We were asked to go out from the building into the wilderness areas and just to sit with the Lord. I journaled 
 and drew and just soaked up the beauty and goodness of God. I'll post what I took away from that another day. I walked away from this day so much stronger than yesterday and certainly than the days before. I knew that God was moving and changing me and I count it all JOY! 
*Our sweet sister that has been not well was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer today. (Deep breath) Why???? She is only in her 20's and preparing to leave for the field soon. I have to tell you that although we don't know why she has to walk through this horrible thing God has shown himself so faithful from the topics this week in preparing her heart to receive this news all the way to the moment that we (us back here at the campus) found out. We circled together and began to pray for her. After our prayer we began to sing How Great Thou Art. When our sister came back late in the evening she was sharing with us that as the doctor gave her the diagnosis she began to see Pikes Peak ( a HUGE mountain here ) and recalling that her God had made that mountain. Her God had chosen this  and she began to sing How Great Thou Art..... did you catch that !!!!! If not, reread that . Is God faithful ? ABSOLUTELY . 
Friday WE played ! I am attaching pictures of our game. We were talking about difficulties in transition and they rope tied me (the mom) , a dad and 2 children together and we had to make it across a chair and ball course. It is SOO important to communicate as we transition. If not, we could loose someone and miss issues of the heart . 

SOOOOOOOO there you go ! You are up to speed and understanding of our quietness in the blogging world. We relished Saturday and drank up the peacefulness in not planning and just playing . We took in the Focus on the Family bookstore and Adventures in Odyssey play area ! What a great day . Today we headed off to church and then hiking this afternoon. Thank you for your prayers. We finish up our last week here this Friday and we are heading home. We are all so exhausted and home sick that we are not heading on our additional adventures.  Hopefully, to be there by Sun/Monday of next week. 

We love you all ! 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Snow, Snow and.....More Snow?????

It has been snowing here since last Thursday and we are all a little stir crazy. I think that we have had 18" of snow and in some places I stepped off into hip high piles. David and I had great intentions of getting the little guys out and playing.. I lasted all of 15 minutes (tops ) and poor David had to handle everyone by himself. He had such a great attitude and by the time I went out to check on him again he had taken on the theory ..if you can't beat 'em , join 'em ! Check out him sledding like a pro ! I was so proud of him ! You'll notice that there is no sign of "older guys". They have been out hiking in the snow ....where? I have no idea.  David had to remind me that for them if there is no amount of danger then it's just NOT as much fun .....very hard for me to be good with but I'm TRYING to be giving with freedom.... Uggg..bottom line... We are ALL thankful that David is here and in control ! (smile) 
David had a blast in the snow ! As for me, I snapped a few photos and headed inside for hot tea!

Sweet ,sweet snow bunnies !

David saved the day with his willingness to play. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Do You Remember ....?

Do you remember when the shortage of fuel had people backed up for miles at a single gas station and the gas rates were outrageous? Everyone seemed to be very intentional to find a line and to stay until they had received all of the fuel that they needed. Even if you needed 1/2 a tank, we all were more likely to "top it off" and run with a full tank. Do you remember? I have tried and tried to think of some analogy to bring you that could even begin to attempt to describe the place (spiritually speaking ) that we are at and that's all that I've got.... the gas challenge. For David and I this journey has been much like those very long lines. The objective was to receive fuel but we have had to wait..and wait .... and wait... to receive the ONLY thing that can sustain us on the field... God's word, encouragment from people in the same place as us, crisis managment, cross cultural simulations, a group of people who are also worshiping our Lord in their native tounge for the last weeks ...many of us for what will be a long time. Ahhhhhh, we have made it to the pump... fuel at last! There is nothing else here... at the gas station when you arrive at the pump there is no soda, no candy, no movie rentals....only gas.... Here, we have come to Colorado and the Lord has provided us his intentional, passionate, personal, international , flavorful, affectionate love. Fill us Lord. May we accept no substitute for what you desire to charge us up with. 

Words to a song that I was listening to this morning......." I'm deep in love with you Lord. I'm deep in love with you precious Jesus. I'm deep in love with you my precious Savior. You are the lover of my soul. I'm deep in love with you Lord."

Our family has been stretched and challenged beyond what I thought that we could endure emotionally. God has shown us otherwise. Not only has he allowed the stretch but he has provided the intensity and we are different people because of it. This journey to Colorado has been painful at times and equally more valuable than any treasure on this earth. We are grateful for the love of those who have done this for us and seen the value in preparation for the journey to come. I am truely left speachless at the generosity of so many and the love of my Savior that he would value this gift and extend it to us so that we have SOOO much more to offer the communities of Guatemala. 

Stopping in to fill er' up, 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Catchin' Up....

Our team for the next month with Food for the Hungry
the room where we do our laundry at YWAM
Our dining room... cafeteria style
Easter morning pulling out for the church service
The view from our training center of Pikes Peak

I am soo sorry that it has been a few days since we've connected here. We have been unbelievably busy and any free brain space that I have had has been soaked up. Yes, I am becoming a missionary sponge which is the objective yet exhausting. Anyway, to catch you up to speed ... We arrived in Colorado on Thursday of last week. We were staying at the YWAM base meeting with Food for the Hungry going over policies and development issues and how to approach development with God in the absolute center of ALL that we do and being a cross cultural Christ follower. We also celebrated Easter here last Sunday. VERY DIFFERENT for us. First, none of us matched for the first time in 16 years ! Don't laugh... I don't know if this is a Southern thing or just an underwritten Easter thing but we've always done it. We even wore jeans to church ! When we had woken up, the ground was COVERED in sunshine to be seen but very beautiful. However, I just couldn't bring myself to wearing tennis shoes to church so I walked in wearing SANDALS (in the snow ) . Leaving the church, the parking lot was full of DEER . Very random. The church was in the downtown area of Colorado Springs and so where did the deer come from ? CLUELESS ! 
Cooper and Jacob have been hiking and bike riding all around. It is quite amazing to have Cooper driving and being able to get around and be hiking without us with them. 
So...I've caught you all up. The only other change is that now we're at a new place continuing our training. The training that we are receiving here is deep and wide and to much to "catch you up " on in this post so ....more to come + photos. *p.s. PLEASE post a comment if you want (or even if you don't -smile ) We are missing HOME and would LOVE to hear from you- even if we don't know you ...all bloggers are family aren't we?

All for now, 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sharing My Heart...

I y will try my best to get some photos uploaded for all of the people like me who love to LOOK into the lives of those blogging but for this morning I wanted to share with you my heart. I hope that this copy  from my journal will incline you to sit with Jesus today. For every moment that we sit there are moments where we will never be the same. 

April 9,2009
We are here in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Today, we have awakened to the dawn of the day that we have anticipated greatly. No, not Guatemala. Training. What is "field training"? Why does it take 4 weeks? What do you have for us Lord? What do you have for our children ? Will we leave here so very different than how we arrived? Can you use someone like me here in this amazing place? Will I be able to retain anything while doing my "normal" mommy stuff?  Will I be able to meet all of David's needs while we're away from our home? (whatever and wherever that is- smile) Will I be able to be a vessel of encouragement for my children or will I be a distraction to the work that you Lord want to do in their lives? I see our older children becoming a little stressed.. what will you do Lord to ease their hurts and why's ? Tend to us, our Shepard. We do not desire to stray from you Lord and yet the flesh is so weak BUT we are strong in your Spirit Lord ! We have been bought with a cross ! With the blood our your SON , our Savior, Jesus ! Thank you for these things that I do not deserve and am in awe of today ! You are amazing Lord. 
*Psalm 119: 133-134 .... Direct my footsteps according to your word; let NO sin rule over me. Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts. 

This is such a good word for me today because I fall to the oppression and negligent heart of men around me INCLUDING AND FIRST ,MY OWN..I am reminded today that the oppression of others is merely an opportunity to CHOOSE joy over defeat. I believe that our lifestyle messages can be greater than our spoken words at times. When we live out the words spoken of the Lord then others around us will be moved to explore in their hearts the difference that exists in my life. If I desire to make a difference at this temporary place than I must CHOOSE joy and peace while excepting trials and trusting Jesus to work it all out to his glory ! Then I will meet my Savior and understanding will be mine to have. Let me live here Lord among joyful peace not needing to know all of the why's and why not's . Lord, I love you. Holy Spirit, I trust you. God , you are my father and I worship you in my love and devotion to you alone. 

Sharing my heart , 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Heading to training

We're half way to Colorado.. We did 700 miles in an SUV yesterday with 8 people in it ! There were many times when David and I just smiled and KNEW that people were praying for us . Although we did have the maybe "typical " she did ...he's got my .... I'm dying....  kinda stuff...really, for the most part it was very peaceful.PLEASE continue to pray for us . We have about 4, 000 miles left to drive before we are home again in May. I will keep you posted with photos and thoughts as we go.

* VERY EXCITING NEWS* We are at 90% of our monthly support. PLEASE ALSO pray that our last 10 % will come in this month ( April) . IF it does , we will be able to pretty much know that we'll be in Guatemala in June !!!!!! 

Welp, we're heading back on the road again.... I'll try to post photos for all of you who are curious as to what it looks like from the road (and interior) for a family of 8 to take a 4 week car trip across 4,000 miles in an SUV! 

We love you all and thank you for praying ! 

Living like the Road Runner (if you're old enough to remember the road runner - smile), 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Calming in the Storm

Just a quick little word from the beach. We had terrible weather today and were under a tornado warning most of the day. I called to the front desk to ask the sweet lady what the protical was for a tornado and she assured me that we were safe "UP " (literally) in our room. She said that our windows (large windows) would withstand winds up to 160 miles an hour. I called home and asked my sweet husband if that sounded smart to him. He gave me the sign off to stay in our room and so we did. Both of us ( Gracie and I ) were still nervous. The waves were really large and the sky was VERY black. There was thunder and lightning ..... so we prayed. During our prayer I was reminded that the Lord knew that we were here...not just at the beach but he knows the very room that we are in, he has allowed the storm to rage, he knows that we girls have come to his feet to ask for mercy and peace during this scary time and do you know what he allowed us to do while it blew over? ....sleep ...yep. A 4 hour nap (smile) ..... A great lesson in letting go happened today. Now if I can just go home and apply that to packing. Living life under the shadow of God provides not only assurance of my eternal home but peace in the craziness of life here.......waves, heavy wind, black skies, lightning.....there is always rest in Jesus.