Tuesday, July 22, 2014
We wait for HIS perfect timing in all things.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
|Timothy, Josiah, & Benjamin outside St. John's UMC|
|Yay Duck & Yuck Duck|
As we were planning to come back to the States, there were "Yay Duck" things. We were excited to see family again. We were thrilled to sit and have coffee with friends we had missed. We couldn't wait to get a cheese steak and a wawa hoagie. We looked forward to reconnecting with churches and sharing about what God had done. And yet for each "Yay Duck" there comes a "Yuck Duck." Sadness of saying goodbye to those who had become friends. Leaving colleagues who had become family. The absence of the foods that had become comforting. These conflicting feelings of excitement and sorrow (paradox) make us feel a little crazy.
As we go through these times, we must also be aware of those around us. When we are leaving there are those who are NOT excited about us leaving. They don't have the happy feelings, only the sorrow. They see the "Yuck Duck" more. But when we reach our destination, we are greeted warmly and everything is excitement. Those receiving us don't feel our sorrow at what was left behind. These friends are focused on what is coming. It is all "Yay Ducks" to the people you are going to.
So there is a line to walk. With those we love on both sides of the ocean, but also within ourselves. How do we fully embrace both the excitement and the sorrow, both what we are gaining and what we have left? There is only one healthy way to do it. By relying fully on Jesus. Trusting Him in every moment, every conversation and every thought and feeling.
But part of my heart is still broken at the loss of our former church. We still have many friends and some great supporters there. But, for many reasons, it became clear to us this fall that the church was in the midst of change and it was time for us to move on. "Yay Duck" meet "Yuck Duck." No matter what, loss is hard. But we are also excited about the new. Excited to see how God wants to use us at St. John's and how God wants to use this church in our lives, in our ministry, and for the sake of His Kingdom in Africa and around the world.
There are two ways of dealing with the paradoxes of life. One, you can choose to not engage, not invest, not give yourself to those around you. This way makes the transitions easier, the grief less, and your life empty. The other option is to choose to engage, to invest, to give yourself to those around you, and to love deeply. Yes, it will make leaving harder. Yes, it makes life messier. Yes, it will mean the struggle of loving and living in multiple places at once (think of the game twister). But it is worth it, oh, so worth it. Lean into the paradoxes of life and take each as an opportunity to lean into Jesus.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
While we were in Florida, I had the privileged of sharing with the Hope Lutheran Crafters in The Villages. This is a group of crafters is made up of ladies at the church my grandmother attends. This group is special to me because they mailed us baby blankets and bears to give to children in our neighborhood in Arua.
It was a joy and a blessing to share with them about life and how God was working in Africa. While I was with them they showed me all the steps they go through to make bears for "Sojourn Bear, Making Cancer Bear-able." It was amazing to me to see how each lady has her own job and how they all need each other to make it work.
|Marking the pattern|
|Pinning the pattern to the fabric|
|Cutting the bear out|
|Sewing the bear together|
|More sewing the bear together|
|Cutting slits in the edges to make the curves of the bear lay correctly|
|Stitching up the hole in the back|
|More hand sewing the back of the bear together|
|Knitting the sweaters for the bears|
|Matching the right sweater to the right bear|
Keep doing your part! Is God asking you to become more involved in His work somewhere? Jump in! Do what you feel He is leading you to. Maybe supporting a missionary family. Maybe starting a ministry in your neighborhood. Maybe sharing with others on behalf of a another ministry. Only you know what part God wants to use you in. Ask Him and get ready for Him to show you. It's a joy and a blessing to serve alongside you.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
So, we are going to stay here in the US to have our fourth baby. (Who is a boy named Elijah in case you didn't see our newsletter) Some people have asked if I am disappointed and, to be honest, part of me is. I want to get back to Africa. But as I have been learning, part of trusting, is knowing that God knows better than me.
In the meantime, what are we doing? Fundraising. We have almost 55% of our monthly pledges and 25% of our cash need. We have loved the churches we have been with recently and are looking for more churches to connect with. Either new churches, or churches we have been connected to already. We are also always looking for small groups to share what God is doing. Email us if you have a group who we could share with!
And then there is normal life. Homeschooling preschool and kindergarten. Trying to raise little men to know and love Jesus. This is where we are at in life. Physically, we are in the States for the next few months.
"Wherever you are, be all there." -Jim Elliot
We are being ALL here as much as we are able. The good news is that there are lots of great things to enjoy while we are here. Like Rita's water ice. Like swimming pools. Like friends and family. So we will focus on what we have and be ALL here, so that when we go back we can be ALL there.