Monday, December 12, 2011

A Guest Poster today... Abby Burton!

One of the joys of deputation has been getting to know so many others who are also on deputation. One thing about missionaries is you never know when you will see them again. After leaving for the field the schedules of furlough and returning to the states is so varied, we often say "good-bye" acknowledging that it may be the last time we will see them this side of glory! The picture below is of us with one such family. 
The are the Burtons heading to Papua, New Guinea, and we have had the joy of not just getting to know them, but for our path to have crossed a few times since then! They are from San Diego, CA, so the likelihood of us ever meeting apart from deputation was truly slim to none! 
We have loved our time with them. We are "opposites"... meaning I am more like Doug, and Dan is more like Amy so we all get along GREAT! We all enjoy games and conversation  and serving the Lord with passion! They are going to an area of the world that makes our field of calling seem like a first world retreat, and that they also are traveling with teen aged children really encourages my kids to know ..."They are NoT alone!" 
Beth, Savannah & Abby
Below is an excerpt from a blog post of their daughter, Abby. (I hope you don't mind my reposting it here!) 

"Where to start…

This weekend has been one of memories that I will not soon forget.The first and most special memory is one of dear and special importance.
We have been in La grange, Georgia this past week and have had some tornado warnings around this area. One particular Tornado warning happened on Thursday the 17th of November. My mom and Mrs. Jalowiec , Beth and I were in Cato. We heard siren’s go off in the distance and since we are from California we did not understand what was happening. One of the store employees told us that it was a siren for a tornado heading our way. They said it was about 20 minutes away. There was two employees at the store and they were both getting kind of freaked out. One of the employees decided to go outside and see if she could see any funnels forming. 
As soon as she opened the door thought a bolt of lightning literally touched down within inches of the store window. We all screamed and the employee shut the door fast. Well my sister got really scared, and if you know my sister you know she does not scare easily. She kept asking my mom if we could leave but Mrs. Jalowiec had driven us and she was still shopping. None of us were strangely worried. We all had a peace about this tornado heading our way except Beth and the two employees. Mrs. Jalowiec was trying to figure out a way to be a witness to these two employees when Beth asked my mom yet again if we could leave. Mrs. Jalowiec turned and asked, “Beth If you were to die right now are you a hundred percent sure you would go to Heaven?” Mrs. Jalowiec told me later that she asked the question only for the benefit of the 2 employees. Well my Mom and Mrs. Jalowiec had some clothes they wanted to try on and by this time Beth was not leaving my mom’s side so she went with my mom.  Beth ended up coming out of the fitting room by herself  and almost directly afterwards the one of the employees told us that the tornado just switched directions and went right underneath us. We all thanked the Lord and bought our clothes and left. We thought it would be another cool story to add under our belt. 
But that is not the end of the story.
 My sister came to me on Saturday the 19th and told in the Cato’s fitting room she had knelt on one knee and asked the Lord to save her. She had realized through that storm that she was not saved. And when she had come out of that fitting room a different person, she finds out that the tornado switched directions. It was like God planned for that tornado to come towards us for that specific reason. I am so thankful for that tornado. I can tell you my family had a hard time going to sleep that night. :)
As if that one blessing was not enough God kept adding more and more blessing to our family. The Jalowiec family that have come to be good friends, were heading to Louisiana yesterday for thanksgiving. We don’t know f that would be the last time we see each other on this earth so it was going to be sad to say goodbye. Well as God would have it they left their trailer here at the church we are staying at and are coming to pick it up on Friday. We then get to spend all Friday together and can say are goodbye’s then. So even though we still have to say goodbye it is a delayed goodbye."

Needless to say you never know what will happen when you try to be bold for Christ! I had hoped the conversation with me and Beth would open the door for some dialogue with the clerks. I was able to invite the cashier to church, but I had no idea until a few days later the impact the Lord effected on my unsuspecting cohort in witnessing! The Burtons- and my family also- are rejoicing at the salvation of Beth! Also on a side note.... Josiah and Micah have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ during deputation. Josiah after an amazing Resurrection service, and Micah after several weeks of real challenges to his heart and mind starting with some hard preaching on end times in Revelation. God is SO FAITHFUL! We are thrilled to be journeying this road of deputation "with" the Burtons, and are thankful that some of it has been together in physical location, and not just heart! 

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Card Picture Preview...

I am not really spoiling much here as these aren't the ones we chose for our Christmas card. (If you want a Christmas card, let me know... I will be glad to get you on the list!)

 They Hayes have a really cool old truck, and the sun was setting with a great glow so we all hopped into the bed of it to try to catch the last bits of it.
 We were a little late in getting the full effect of it all, but it was fun none the less.
 Nick and Devin were our photographers. I think for complete amateurs who never even dreamed they had photographic skill, they did very well!!
 An out take or two... or 200 with a large family is totally expected. We told the guys "Just keep clicking!! There should be one that we will be able to use!!"
This was a cool look... I like it with the black and white too. The guys look like twins here with their matchy-matchy shirts. They did not like that at all!! 
 They get all weird when they don't like something...
See what I mean?!

Stay tuned! I will publish the Actual Card... as soon as I get them all mailed out so I don't spoil the surprise!!
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I had one condition to agreeing to be away from home on Thanksgiving. This past Thanksgiving was perhaps (more like our HoPe!) our last Thanksgiving in the states for a while, for we sincerely pray that we will be in Zambia next year by that time. God knows our timing and also if & when we will be ready!

All that being said, my one condition was that we would be with the closest thing to family 1300 miles away... at that is "The Hayes".
in Oct 2009
This is the same family that kept our three youngest children when we went to Zambia on 2006. A three week time period in which my children experienced sickness the likes of which I never experienced with them. It was "Ma Hayes" that got All the puking, fevers, puking, and more puking. I, to this day, don't think I understand the completely sacrificial way they cared for my family that week. I pray their reward in Heaven will be rich and sweet for that act of mercy and selfless love alone! That was also the same three weeks Ma Hayes turned my once coffee loving youngest child into a tea drinker, but that is another story!
Oct 2000
It is also the family that has three boys that are nearly twins to each of my own male children. All alike and different at the same time, and within months of each other in age. It is perhaps one of... if not the only place that everyone has someone to be with... including the adults. "Mr" just takes turns between the adults and the kids.

We were so thrilled to be in their "new to them" home in Southern Louisiana for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful and warm. The fellowship was even warmer and more wonderful! We have been there four times since they moved there, and this was the first time Olivia was able to join us. 
I also had one major request that I added to my "one condition"... that we could fly her to where we would be for the holiday. I say "request" loosely. It was more of a demand veiled in sufficient submissive womanly eyelash batting and extra back scratching. There would have been temper tantrums and feet stomping and crying and hunger strikes (who am I kidding?! It was Thanksgiving... That was for sure an idle threat!!) if she couldn't come.
It was a terrific week. We LOVE them all and are so very Thankful for them. We were able to get our Christmas pictures taken there as well, which was a special treat in that it allowed outdoor photos with smiles without teeth chattering!
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bye Bye Montana..

We are learning to hold onto vehicles very loosely. What may look like tragedies... are often blessings in disguise! Isn't that the way of all things though?!

 While this Montana served well it's entire lifetime, the time for it's final resting place in the firefighter's practice fields. Burn Baby Burn! Nearly 190k miles and it saw us safely through many situations! Alas, it was time to say good bye. Thankfully the accident was not the fault of our daughter! Insurance did very well by us. We are so thankful for insurance!
In with the new! This is Liv's new car. It is proving to be very quick on the pick-up, very safe in a rear crash test, and also very deer repellant!! All of this has been determined in only a few weeks. I hope it is true things come in threes... and then are done! :)
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An Ordination... a Commissioning... and an Engagement!

In Uniontown, PA, Bethel Baptist Church had a service to top all services! 
First, a great young man was ordained and commissioned as Pastor of a brand new church, Bridge Baptist Church. 
Second, new Pastor Douthitt asked his lovely girlfriend to be his bride. She said YES... whew! 
 Awww! That is one way to get the spotlight off of himself!
 Third... the preparations for the first service! Signage... check!
 Pastor Douthitt... Check!
Double Rainbow from God... Check!
 Amazing first service! Nearly 60 in attendance... and we are their first missionaries! AMEN!
 Charter members of Bridge Baptist Church, Masontown, PA.
Savannah made this on her iPod... Kind of looks like them, don't you think?! 

Pastor Douthitt and Amanda. So excited for the work the Lord is planning to do through them, and with them! So happy to have been a part of this special week with them! 

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In EveryThing... Give THANKS!!

We are convinced the Lord is concerned and in control of every detail of our lives. Because of experiences like this one! 

When we are traveling for a couple of days in a row, the optimal situation is that we are able to find a place to park the camper overnight to sleep somewhere safe. Often what we will do is map out about half way, and have the numbers of several churches in that area that we will call en route, and hopefully one will be able to let a vagabond family park in their lot overnight. It is certainly better than a WalMart parking lot or a camping world! :/

In a great situation, we will have electricity to plug into. If they have a water hose we can hook up to, we are living high on the hog. If they have a sewer hook up... WOW! We have hit gold! 

Well after we left Daytona Beach, FL on a Thursday, we needed to get to Pennsylvania in two days time. That meant at least 16 hours driving, so about half way we did our research. Rock Hill, SC, was our place. We wrote down all the churches that showed up on the IFB  list, and began calling. 

After calling 7 churches.... NO ONE would allow us to stay! Shocking! That had never happened to us to date! Usually people are very gracious and we find a place after one or two calls. We were shocked! SHAKE OFF THE DUST MAN!! :) 

Plan B! 

We looked at the map, and have friends that live in the tri-city area near High Point, NC. That is over 9.5 hours away. LOOONG day of driving! That is GPS time... we usually add an hour for gas stops and potty breaks. (Is it OK to say that?!) 

Anyhow, Dan called the pastor of a church we had visited with our friends, and sure enough we can stay. With electricity AND water!! High Cotton!! We planned to leave the next morning, Friday, bright and early. 

 While driving to get to NC, Dan had to add water to the radiator a couple of times. We realized we needed to have it looked at, but figured it would wait until PA. I think the Lord knew the hills of W. Virginia were ahead of us, and we would have been in deep doo-doo had we waited. Dan went to several parts stores to get the "check engine" light code checked  (just a day in the life!), and after he left one of the stores, there was radiator fluid pouring out of the truck! 

Plan C!!

There was a crack on the place where the hose clamps on to the radiator ... busted! Wouldn't you know, they had the radiator! Divine direction for sure as it is a 2000 vehicle, and not a popular one at that! The Lord knew we were going to need to be at a place where tools were available for the repair. And a vacuum for the ant extraction!
 Well the guys made quick work of the repair. Thankfully a radiator is one of those repairs that can be done in a relatively short time... with minimal number tools. A few wrenches, a garbage can for the old fluid, and some elbow grease!
 Savannah took up her position... the nearest swing set!
 They got it out in short order...
 The offending part! Dan was a little frustrated because the poor guy knows with a little time and some JB Weld he could have repaired the radiator and saved himself a few dozen dollars! The broken  radiator actually looked great... sadly. I think he would have felt better if it was a wreck!
 New part in... clap the hoses, fill with fluid...
Tighten it all up, and VOILA!! DoNE! We now know why Rock Hill was less than friendly. God needed us in High Point!! AMEN to the Divine Guidance of the Lord! We were also able to visit with some great friends for dinner and dessert. That is always a good thing!
There have been many times of distress and potential danger when the Lord puts a butterfly in the middle of it. (Right Savannah?!)  While this little guy was already passed his fluttering days, it was still a great reminder of the Lord in all situations!
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Recap: For the sake of documentation!

In early October we were in Florida, camping in Blue Springs. BeauTiFuL!! It is an aquifer with water at 72 degrees year round. It is also a Manatee refuge where they stay during the cold months. The camp sites are more like a jungle than a traditional campground, which may explain the illegal transporting of native Florida wildlife across several state lines. I will explain!

Where we were camping, there was a very small area for the camper and we were surrounded by Central Florida foliage complete with creatures that thrive in that environment. This lovely creature decided to INVADE our camper.
Here is a nicely labeled picture with the proper latin name... we are if nothing else a home camper schooling family ready to take advantage of learning at any cost. Including my sanity! 
 We had seen a couple of them during the five days we were there, but knew as long as SHE didn't show up, we were fine. After leaving the camp site, we had stored the camper in a church yard for about 5 days while we were in a conference in Daytona. We were being spoiled for a few days and were able to stay in a house for the week :)
Well she did show up. They must have thought that a Springdale was such a lovely location for a nest and all that wood in there!  Complete with eggs. MANY Eggs!!  Our vacating the joint for a week was there perfect opportunity to multiply... undisturbed! :/

After Florida, we were in North Carolina ... in a church parking lot. Thankfully! I have a couple  reasons for being thankful for that. 

One: We ended up needing to replace the radiator in the truck. Post to follow! :) 

Two: They had a vacuum cleaner! Had we not seen the nest as quickly as we did, what a nightmare that would have been!! 

They poured out of that cupboard like soldiers in a war fighting for their lives.

They lost. 

I stood over the site of their intended home for over an hour, vacuum hose in hand and ant killing spray in the other. They were not going to win... I refuse to share the camper with them! They are UgLY! 

Now... the radiator! :) 

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

A few Books I have read...

Warning... don't read them unless you want your life to be challenged, convicted, and perhaps worst of all... more Conformed into the Image of Christ...! (Oh MY!) 

Made to Crave
I have yet to finish this book. It is not one I will be able to plow through as easily as a piece of Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake and a Tall Chai Latte. It is one that I need to really have a chisel, hammer, pick axe, and a nut cracker to thoroughly get all I should out of it. Well, perhaps I dont need those implemts, but I need to let God use hem on me as He wants. The title intrugued me... the first chapter terrified me. I am not quoting here, but one point she makes is we spend so much time and energy building up walls around our selves, that it seems so wasteful to just tear them down. I mean all of that work and energy for nothing! Instead of tearing them down and chucking them into some landfill of our minds, repurpose every brick and build a pathway of faith and belief to God. Let the labor of healing from some very wrong thinking patterns create hope through the truths of the Word of God, which alone has the power to transform our minds. Very challenging read! 

One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven
 Another one that is more important than the previous is this book. It is more important because it has lasting impact on the sould of people that will surely drop off into eternity into one of two destinations. I talked to a young guy of 17 who said, "It is a terrible book!! I finished reading it at 11:30 at night, and couldn't sit in my house any longer! I had to get some tracts and go out and tell someone about Jesus!
That is exactly the same feeling I had. Compelling, convicting and challenging! 

Under the Overpass
This book was just given to my husband yeaterday, and I finished it today. Wow! It is not that I should do what these two young men did, but I should be more aware that I need to follow what the Lord tells me to do!! 

I vividly recall an evening not very long ago, when we were traveling in Florida on deputation. We were going into a dollar store, it was nearly closing time, and outside the store there were two young people sitting on the concrete near the grocery carts. They looked to be "travelers" ... or homeless. Something inside me wanted to buy them some milk and some "good" snacks in the store to give to them. It would have not changed my day whatsoever to do that... a few spent dollars would not mean I couldn't eat or feed my children, but I never followed through on my thought. I say my thought, but  truth be told, I know it was the Lord speaking in his still small voice. 

I ignored him, giving (lame) excuses that I had my children with me. Yes, how horrible would it be for my kids to see me showing compassion on some young people? That would have been terrible. I then thought it was so close to closing... did I really want to go back into the store? Were they really homeless? Maybe they were just young kids hanging out. Blah... blah... blah. Whatever they were, I walked away and did not act on my thought, impulse, nudging from the Lord... whatever it was. And now, several months later, I regret it. 

Through reading this book, I began to think that the way I may view a homeless person is nothing compared to what the Lord sees when he looks at me. Truly my sin and filth that I live with and tolerate every day is more sickening to Him, and yet he loves me with an unending, uncomprehendible love. I can only marvel at His goodness. 
"No Reserve, No Retreat, No Regret" 


We read this a while in the van while we traveled on deputation. It gives some real every day examples of people and ways to live for the Lord in a radical, turn-your-world upside down on purpose for the Lord, and begin to live for the eternal, and not for the temporal. It was a wonderful read, and certainly timely as it was the week after we moved out of our rental house and then had an accident that totaled our trailer... which was to be our home. We felt a little radical about then. And certifiably something, we just didn't quite know what yet! I posted on some of the thoughts and emotions we went through that week, and now when I look back on that time I am thankful for the test, blessed by God's provision, and amazed with His undeserved and endless grace. Truly what we may call "radical" is nothing more than a real understanding on Romans 12:1.... it is reasonable! thank you GOD! 

I hope you have a chance to read one ... or all of these books! Would love to know how they affect you... and better yet, the effect they have on you!

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Some fun tips...

OK so the link to embed doesn't work, but I just saw this link on a friend's FB account, and loved it!

(thanks Andrea!) Click the picture or  HeRe for a youtube video on dozens of different ways to wear a scarf!
Deputation has many challenges, but one of them is clothing variety... or the appearance of it! Long ago I learned scarves are a wonderful gift to a wardrobe. Now they are a necessity! How else can a girl spice up grey, black and white! Some of my favorite souveniers are scarves... $5. knock off pashminas on Canal Street in downtown Manhattan or handmade creations from an Amish gift shop in northern Ohio... they are all my faves! I dislike coats, and a well chosen scarf can go a long way on a cold day! Enjoy! :)

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