Friday, January 29, 2010

We made it!

Our trip was all we hoped it would be and more! We had some sweet times in fellowship, reading and prayer.

And then it was playtime.

As it turns out, Dan and Kevin have quite the competitive spirit. Combine that with an amazing Foose Ball table, several inches of snow and mid teen temperatures making outdoor activities no fun, and you have the perfect storm for several series of Table Soccer tournaments, and two now-deaf wives. While the smashing of poor plastic soccer balls and spinning of little plastic men crashing into them generates a great deal of noise, it is the ear deafening decibels two grown men can reach while cheering and jeering one another that made Savannah and I cover our ears with large soft protective pillows! It was a great time, and we all were shocked at the aerobic exercise one can get from foose!

In all seriousness, we had an amazing time. The Lord met with us, and we will have many times of great reflection on those few days.

While it took us just under three hours to get there, it took over 5 to get home! All of the snow you see in this picture fell throughout the day we were to leave. We entertained calling in "snow bound" and staying another day (and in hindsight maybe should have!) but we ventured out into the night, and white knuckled it nearly all the way. For you non-snowy area drivers, just imagine driving at night into mesmerizing snowflakes for hours on end, and really having no idea where the road is on either side of you. Even the guard rails were not visible much of the time. Dan and Kevin made a great team, Kevin hunched over the steering wheel, and Dan saying "You're doing Great! We are still on the road... I think!!!" Just contrast the picture below with the one from the previous post. We are standing on the porch looking over to where the other picture was taken from! Nice!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Getaway!

We are taking a three day get away Praying-Planning-Playing Retreat for the next couple of days. Dan and myself, with the "soon-to-be-first-time-parents" Pestke's are heading out together, and I couldn't be more excited. We are so thankful for the time the Lord arranged for us to have with our (future? now? whenever!) partners in the ministry to Zambia, Africa. There is great synergy and excitement when like minded individuals get together and truly seek the Lord asking him for vision and direction. We know the road ahead of us is fairly long on deputation, and actually getting to the field is (sadly! but quite realistically!) a few years away. But... we are still here for a reason in this place, and we must do what we can today.

Please pray with us for the Lord's direction. We have great ideas and plans, but fully want to let the Lord add and remove from them as he sees fit. Also pray for our children. With regard to having time as a "couple", I always have a little angst about leaving the children. We are blessed with amazing friends to keep them as part of their family for a few days, and that makes it all so much easier! (Pray for the Pestke's little girl too! Savannah is still able to bring her little one along with only a few back pains and crazy cravings as the inconvenience!)

I hope to be able to fill you in with all the details at a later time. Until then... have a great week!

Friday, January 15, 2010

"I Didn't Know!"

Yesterday was a great day. It was warm... for our town in January. I had lunch with a beautiful friend (her treat... double bonus!) and it was the birthday of another amazing friend. I had an appointment for our puppies to see the vet for their official "clean bill of health" check and they are perfect. Yesterday was filled with things like that. Great Day!
Oh, and I got a speeding ticket. I know, what a way to ruin an otherwise perfect set of 24 hours. In truth, while I am sad my carefree moment in the vehicle caused me to be unaware of the 30 mph restriction on the road I was traveling, I haven't had one in 20 years... I feel fine about it... NOT!

UGH!!! 30 mph? Are you serious? It - no LIE - is one of the least traveled roads in the town I was in. Very Rural town I might add. I honestly thought it was enough outside the village limits to be at least 40. I didn't know it was still inside the village! I Didn't Know!!!

... the cop wasn't caring one whit.

I have a court date and will plead with the judge to reduce it. (Notice I am not saying how fast I was traveling...) I will let you know how that goes.

To my point...

I am reading in Leviticus today in my trek through the scriptures. Leviticus 5 to be exact. How good and gentle the Lord is to us! The whole chapter deals with sin, and how when one is guilty one needs to make atonement for it.

While I was not aware of my offense, I was guilty. The nice police officer was all too glad to let me know. The fact that I didn't know I was guilty really did not matter. I was guilty because there is a law in place on that road. 30 mph. I need to make atonement for my guilt. I am sure the fine will be hefty, and I am not looking forward to it. Not as hefty as this one, but that does not make me feel any better!

Please don't miss the analogy.

"I didn't know" wont cut it. Anywhere.

Just as on the road I was traveling, the sign was surely posted for me to see (...if I simply chose to be more purposefully aware of it) there are signs posted in this life as well.

I knew the road had a speed limit. I just didn't care to pay attention to it.

Life has some "road signs" that if we pay attention we will see them very clearly. There are consequences to every one of our actions, and whether we acknowledge them now or later, we will be subject to them.

Surely I can choose actions that will bring good consequences!

I know for sure I will pay better attention to speed limits. And I know for sure I will Pay Dearly for the one I did not heed!

More importantly, though, is we need to be mindful if eternity. We need to be effective ambassadors for Christ and make people aware of the ultimate consequence of death in hell if they choose to ignore the sign that there is a punishment for their sin. They don't even need to plead with the judge - God Almighty - to reduce their penalty. They need only Believe!!! (Acts 16:31) Their penalty has been paid, covered, atoned for. This sounds too simple to so many, and as Scripture says "the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness". Be WISE and believe!

Truly, Eternity is not that far away. And lasts a really, really long time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Puppy Time!

Molly is a momma again, and we have two beautiful little girl puppies for sale. Check it out here and let me know if anyone is interested! Quickly though... they don't last long!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Little Things Make the Difference...

Once again my six year old thinker showed wisdom beyond her years. Yesterday, it was she and I driving home from the dentist and asked what was the "biggest killer in Africa".

I have no idea what prompted the question. Perhaps a show on Animal Planet. Maybe one of the umpteen times her brothers have tried to freak her out replayed in her brain. ( ..."When we get to Africa, there are going to be HuGe creatures that could carry you away!" ... things like that. They are so sweet.) But whatever it was, my first answer was regarding the size of the killer. "Biggest."

So I said... "Elephants, for sure!"

Then she clarified, not size of the creature, but quantity of the kills. (She truly is the youngest child with three older brothers.)

hmmm? What was it? I didn't know, so I suggested snakes, lions, hippos, rhinos. None of them satisfied her.
She then said, "Mom, what about mosquitos? You know, Malaria?"

I really was impressed! It may have been what she was getting at all along, but it didn't even come to my mind until she said it. In truth (as far as disease spread by creatures) it is the greatest killer, and not only in Africa, but world wide.

The thought kept rolling in my head, and reminded me of a devotion I had done a few years ago. It was about how the little things make the difference between success and failure. Between a good testimony, and a bad one. The title was "This Matters".

There are many quotes, phrases or colloquialisms along these same lines of thinking.

"Good things come in little packages"

"Little things mean a lot."

"Little by little does the trick."

In Scripture, the Lord tells us to go to the ant. We can learn much from this bitty creature.

So what am I getting at?

First of all, just one more example of my child's genius. Did I mention she is only six?!?

Secondly, it was a great reminder that I need to pay attention to the little things. They can do great damage, or great good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Olivia had the chance for an article debut also! It was great to read her heart, and learn even more of the young woman she is becoming. She has left us again for school **sniff** but in talking with her just last night, the Lord is showing her how the path she is on is truly right for her. We miss her terribly while she is gone, and not only for her driver's license or hair straightener! (Love you Livi!!!)

A Goal Accomplished - A Goal to Reach
by Olivia Jalowiec
It's hard to believe that the year 2009 is coming to an end. It is a year I have looked forward to ever since I knew what the word "graduation" meant! Soon this year will be only fond memories filled with dreams fulfilled and goals accomplished, and I am looking forward to 2010 with great expectations!

Many people look forward to the new year to make New Year's resolutions. Some reflect on the blessings throughout the previous year, and others are glad the old year is closing so they can look forward to new things in the upcoming year. No matter where you are, what your background is, or how you were raised, the fact is that everyone starts a new beginning sometime throughout their life. Each new step in life has its own challenges, struggles, joys and accomplishments. Once you complete a new phase in your life you can look back and reflect on the advantages that you were given, and realize all you have gained through the experience.

For me, my life has been blessed abundantly with things to be thankful for. I grew up being home schooled and was surrounded by my loving parents who poured out the love of Christ into my life and showed me how I should live according to the Bible. Their godly life style made me want to emulate that in my life, and through that I have learned to love the Lord as they have taught me. This one single blessing in my life has been the foundation on which I have built my life, and is a perfect platform to begin my most recent "new step" in my life- my first year of college! I am currently attending Word of Life Bible Institute, and I am absolutely loving it there. However, this new beginning didn't come about with a clear sign, but with a lot of prayer, reservation and unknown.

I know that every new thing always comes with its challenges and obstacles. Having been home schooled, the rigidity of 8 a.m. classes, no flexibility of due dates, and not having constant one-on-one time with the teacher were some things that I was definitely not used to; although, being away at college does have its advantages! It has offered independence, and freedom that I didn't necessarily have at home. Also, finding out who I really am, what I truly believe and what I stand for, are some things that I was able to discover, and thankfully so.

We all know that life is full of choices, and with every choice there are going to be some aspects that you didn't anticipate. Still, we have to choose what is going to be best suited for our own life. Attending the BI this year I am going to obviously miss some things I would not have, had I been attending a school at home. One of the things that I will be missing is my family on deputation. I would love to be able to enjoy that with them, but a blessing that I get from being away from them during this time, is I am now "on the outside looking in". It is such a blessing to be able to watch my family go through circumstances and bring glory to God's name in the midst of difficult times. That is just another thing that my parents are constantly teaching me, joy in trials, because He is Worthy. Once I complete my year at the Bible Institute, I will again be looking forward to graduation. It will mark the end of something new, and also another beginning that I will take on. Although what my next step will be is still unclear, I know that this year will be a great asset for me in ministry, my personal discipline, and every day life. This new beginning marks a goal accomplished from last year, a new goal to reach for this year, and it is a new beginning for the Lord to accomplish something in my life.

With every beginning there is an end, and with the end... it brings a new beginning. How will you use your beginning this new year?

Monday, January 4, 2010

"More than Enough..."

I was inspired from my morning reading this morning. In finishing Exodus, chapter 35:20-35, and then into verses of the next chapter, there is such encouragement!

Moses had received the instructions for the tabernacle - that mobile meeting place for the Lord to dwell with his people. Moses gave the instructions and the commandments of the Lord, and then the people departed from him.

Then verse 21 says, "And they came..." All whose hearts were stirred and willing. Five times the Lord records the people were stirred into action. The Lord then gave them the wisdom to perform the work they were called to, but first, they presented themselves willing with a stirred heart.

This principle has played out in my and my husband's life. There is a verse in the New Testament that has encouraged us all through out this journey to the mission field

II Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

Do I truly feels able, capable, fully equipped to do the work of the Ministry of Reconciliation of fallen man to a holy and righteous God? Should I? Do I even understand what that means to the fullest? I dare say the moment I have ever thought "I get it" my next thought is "But what about this?"... which will be something I definitely don't get! The verse in Romans comes to mind..."O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

The beauty is - and the reason I so loved my reading this morning - If I feel stirred in my heart and willing in my spirit to do the work of the Lord, I shouldn't let my fear of feeling inadequate or unprepared stop me. Clearly the Lord has an order, if first there be a willing mind. In the verses in Exodus, the people were first stirred in their hearts, and then they were compelled into action, and then, according to ch 36:1-2 the Lord gave them the wisdom to accomplish the task that was before them.

Exodus 36:1-2 Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded. Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it:

There is so much before us, that to prepare for everything is truly a seeming impossible task. One thing that I think about when I imagine doing great things for God is when my hubby and I were starting our family. Every young couple has heard others say they want to wait until they are ready- financially, emotionally, situationally- to have children. We all know if they wait, they will never have kids! Truly who can be totally prepared?? Well the same thing applies to our venturing out to beget spiritual children! Just jump in and let the Lord take whatever meager elements we bring to the table, and let him do great and mighty things which surely we know not!

The miracle in Exodus culminates in 36:5, "...the people bring Much More Than Enough..." Oh that THAT would be said of me! May I bring more than enough to the Lord!!!

Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Pray for people who are willing to be used! Better yet, stir your heart and make willing your spirit, and be amazed at what the Lord will do through you!

Expect Great things from God. Attempt Great things for God.
William Carey