Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where we are...

Sab·bat·i·cal [suh-bat-i-kuhl]–

adjective 1.of or pertaining or appropriate to the Sabbath. 2.(lowercase) of or pertaining to a sabbatical year. 3.(lowercase) bringing a period of rest.–

4.(lowercase) sabbatical year. 5.(lowercase) any extended period of leave from one's customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills ortraining, etc.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why Italy?

Why not Iraq, Iran, China, Africa, or hundreds of other countries??

Well, #1, because God told us to go to Italy. But, for those of you who like statistics to make a "rational" decisions, here are some facts that may interest you:

(from "Operation World" by Patrick Johnstone)

Here are the numbers of evangelical (protestant) Christians around the world. Please keep in mind that the term "unreached" refers to populations of less than 2-5%...

Solomon Islands 73%
Namibia 67.9%
United States 51.3%
Zaire 36%
Romania 8%
China 5.1%
Pakistan 1.06%
Saudi Arabia 1%
Italy 0.82%
Laos 0.72%
Iran and Iraq 0.6% (combined)

It is quite interesting/sad that there are almost as many Christians (evangelical-bible teaching) in Iran and Iraq than all of Italy! That was a statistic that floored me.

Our trip to Italy was eye opening. We traveled from Rome, to Verona by train (with stops at Ciampoino, Santa Maria Delle Mole, Ancona, Rovigio, Bologna, Lama, and Milano). We witnessed such a beautiful country with many dark secrets. Homelessness was evident, as was drug use, idolatry, and prostitution.

We heard God speaking to us very clearly, and will let you know where we will be serving in just a few weeks.

Please continue to hold our family in your prayers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Nothing Insightful Here, move along...

This blog is purely just a blog about personal feelings, fears, questions. You can read on to get a view inside my head at this exact moment in time, or just move on to some of the other, better written blogs. As always, thanks for checking in and keeping our family in your prayers.

A moment in time, inside my head, before we head to our first trip to Italy, and mine overseas. We leave in just 2 weeks

I have a thousand and three questions inside of me, just waiting to get answered.

Some are very trivial: "Can I get a week's worth of clothes into a backpack light enough to count as carry on?" "What happens if a plane is late and makes us miss our next flight?" "What if our luggage doesn't make it when we do?"

Some are personal: "Will the other teams like us?" "What will we be eating?" "I wonder if we will be disgusting (from dust/dirt) every day?" One word, "bathrooms" "What if we get lost?"

Some are Spiritual: "Will I be able to hear God's voice?" "Where does He want us?" "How will it feel to go to a church service where we don't understand a single word?"

All are just fearful! Many thoughts and fears, few answers, everything "foreign".

The next blog will be full of answers, we hope. We have no idea how this "missionary thing" works. We are going along, with God leading. Great place to be, but scary when all you can do is "feel" blindly what is being put in front of you.

We don't know what we are doing. We are not from a "missionary family". I've never even stepped off of American soil before. Why did God call US?? Well, it is simply because He knew we'd say "yes". We did! Now what??

I can't wait to write all of the answers to these questions, next month. Please pray with me (and for our family) during this time.

Until The Whole World Hears,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Matthew 15 De-Mystified

Matthew 15:21-28
I've read, re-read, and read again this Chapter, and have disliked every single sentence, except for verse 28. I could never understand, how the loving Jesus I knew, was treating this poor lady as cruelly as was being portrayed.

Then I went to a class called KAIROS in Louisville, KY. And God opened my blind eyes to what was NOT written on the page. Now I LOVE THESE VERSES!!

I understand, now, that Jesus was using satire humor, something that I am quite familiar with.

What I didn't read, all of this time, was the "in-between" things that were going on between Jesus and the Canaanite woman. For instance: verse 23 Jesus didn't answer (how rude! I had thought), BECAUSE he was waiting on the disciples reaction (would they finally get the teachings Jesus had been teaching day after Unfortunately they were thinking, "FINALLY Jesus gets what we've been trying to tell him. God isn't for Canaanite dogs! God is for blessing Jews only, because WE are His chosen." (WRONG AGAIN!!)

Jesus tries again to prod the disciples to doing the right thing: Jesus answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread (God's blessings on the Jews) and toss it to their dogs (the slang for Canaanites/gentiles)." ((and what was NOT written, that I FINALLY GOT...)) as he winked at the Canaanite woman, when the disciples were not looking.

((again reading between the lines)) The Canaanite woman, catching Jesus's wink, plays along with a sly grin, "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

((between the lines)) Seeing that he now has the full attention of the disciples, who are getting the jest of what is happening, Jesus looks at the disciples and says: "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted."

The Jews knew that they were a blessed nation from WAY back in Genesis, chapter 12, when God told Abram, "I will bless you". What the Jews chose to ignore was the rest of the verse that states "...and you WILL BE a blessing...and all peoples on earth will be blessed THROUGH YOU."

They put themselves above all non-Jews and treated them like "dogs". What Jesus was trying to teach them is that they weren't there to get and keep all of the blessings to themselves, but to share them with the "lesser" peoples of the earth. Look at your neighbor with LOVE, and not as a DOG! If you love your neighbor as yourself, then they cease being dogs, and become brothers/sisters.

What wonderful verses! Jesus using good humor, a willing accomplice, and some chastened disciples to explain a covenant that was given, by God, to the Jews at the beginning of time.

Now, how will we pass this message along? Until next time...


We will be heading to Italy at the end of September for a couple of weeks. During this time, we will be meeting our (hopefully) future teammates and deciding where God will place us.

Please pray for safe travels, funds, health, and safety of those who will be care taking our animals while we are abroad.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Take up your mat

Jesus asked him, "Do you want to get well?...Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." John 5:6-8

Why was this man laying on a mat? He was an invalid for 38 years (we find in previous verses). We don't know exactly what is wrong, or how it happened, but we know he's been in this lifestyle for 38 years. That is a long time to lay on a mat, begging for bits and pieces of food/coin/charity to come his way.

So Jesus asked him, "Do you want to get well?". Well, duh! Jesus, why would you ask that question?? Well, we know Jesus never asked a question to get an answer for himself, he already knows the answers. What was he trying to get the invalid to think about?

Oh how I love to lay on my mat! To be on the same mat, knowing how your day will go day after day for over thirty years is a comforting thing. Even if you are living a life of poverty, a life of sin, or a life of whatever, there is comfort in knowing what tomorrow will bring.

This man had many excuses as to why he could stay on that mat. If he got off of the mat, he didn't know how to gather food/work/live. Staying on the mat pretty much guaranteed a coin thrown here or there, or a sympathetic ear to your wailing. What would happen when he got up off of the mat?

Well the man found out. He got up, and after a while met up with Jesus again at the temple.

There Jesus told him, "...Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." (verse 14).

The poor invalid was now able to walk, and he headed to the temple (some time later). Now he was being asked to quit sinning. Why? I wonder what was going through his mind? Was he thinking, "poor pitiful me, I wish I had never met that Jesus"? Do you think he was trying to figure out a way to steal his next meal? Do you think he had thrown his mat down, lain on it, and was pretending to be an invalid again? Do you think that he was scared that all he had known for over 38 years had been turned up-side-down?

We will never know (this side of Heaven). All that we know is that Jesus said, "stop sinning" and "take up your mat and walk".

Don't lay there in your sin, feeling sorry for yourself. Don't look trouble in the face and give up. Don't rely on the charity of others to get you moving. Take up your own mat, grab Jesus' hand AND WALK.

God is so good to us. We are preparing to get off of our "farm mat" and enter a world where we don't know what tomorrow will bring. We will be relying on the goodness of God to bring us financial partners who will walk with us on our journey.

We are so excited to be heading out into this journey, and scared. I will admit that openly!

We KNOW what God has asked us to do, we just don't know HOW He will enable us to do it.

Please pray for us over the next year as we start walking.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

June/July Recap...

Over 12 baptisms, dozens committing (or re-committing) their lives to Christ, and hundreds had the opportunity to hear about Christ's love for them and the entire world.

Here is a short recap of the first half of our summer:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Covered in sin?

I love this photo. It was taken the first day of July, at an Elementary School Summer Camp that we spoke at. The theme of the week was "Sticky Situations". Can you tell why?

My favorite part of this photo isn't Tom, covered in all of this goo, but look around him (we'll get to Tom in just a moment). There are dozens of people just walking along, minding their own business. No one even seems to notice Tom, in all of his glory.

This photo reminds me of our sin. We are all covered in it! Every single one of us. When God sees us, he doesn't see the clean people walking around in the background.

We don't see our own grossness. We all think we are clean. We are wrapped up in our own lives, hugging and laughing, living "the life".

But what does God see?

He sees us, just as this photo shows Tom. All covered in lies, deceit, anger, pride, and grossness. God chooses to hug us anyway. He came out of His clean throne room to be spit upon, tortured, and die. He came here to wash us clean of our filth so that we could all be clean. God takes his big water hose of Holy Spirit and hoses off all of that gunk, and clothes us with white robes of righteousness. Praise HIM!!

As you can see from the above photo, we had a great time at our second (and final) camp of 2010. We raised over $1,000 toward our airfare for this fall's scouting trip to Italy.

We will be spending this month preparing our house to go on the market for sale. We will also be seeking more partners in prayer and finances.

Prayer Requests:
+Quick sale of our farm
+Safety for Larry, who will be traveling to his new home soon.
+ Serenity for our family as we enter a time of chaos and change