Wednesday, October 31, 2012

10 More Days...


A group of people appointed to undertake a mission or take part in a formal process on behalf of a larger group.

I have just over one more week... 10 Days... 240 more hours for deputation traveling to (potentially) be over.

We are at 92% of our support, and are praying about our departure date soon after the new year, and know we will likely not be traveling again before that. (We may go to New England... but for me that will be a visit to family!)

At this point, I am a little weepy, a little Excited, and not a little overwhelmed at the prospect that this journey of the past few years may me coming to a close. It has been the hardest, most faith-building, and encouraging experience I have ever had.

We have experienced some real victories, such as the salvation testimony of two of our sons.

We have experienced some real challenges.


Travel trailers. 


All words that pack deep emotion to us now!!

We have met more of the Body of Christ than we ever would have just living in our home town. We have learned that the Body of Faith in Jesus Christ is a Vibrant, living, GROWING organism that is beautiful and hurting all at the same time.

We have been the recipient of some of the most sacrificial giving I could ever imagine. And we have been stretched to be sacrificial givers as well. Not of the monetary sort, more of the "dreams" sort.

Our children have been put in the position of being subject to the will of THE Father by their father, and they have demonstrated true Grace in that, as well as struggled with true crisis of will meeting will. We have watched our family Grow Up! Not only in physical stature, but in the Knowledge and the Grace of our Lord and savior. Truly if this journey had no eternal value, I would agree with Solomon, and say vanity and vexation of spirit! It would just Not be worth it!

 I have watched my husband become a great man of God. I have seen him earnest in prayer over a second preaching opportunity 5 minutes after the first. I have seen him be our rock in the midst of an agonizing trial. I have leaned on him more times and with such force, and after been amazed at how he didn't move one iota, because he was leaning on Christ. I have said over and over... I know this guy... and he isn't the same man I married. God is truly doing Great and Mighty things! Things I don't even know enough to ask for!

The sheer number of friendships that have been made, and the caliber of people we have included in our Family!! There are dots all over the map that are places of home... bits of heaven gifted to us in this life. People that are going to be in so many places all over this globe, called to minister to different kindred, tribes and tongues. All for the same purpose. For the same goal. The same God! That He would receive the Glory and honor due! That more would sit at the Throne forever more praising Him and Singing "Holy Holy Holy" to the Lamb!
 The hours in the van or truck. Days spent driving and nights spent in parking lots of Wal Mart, Camping World, or various churches. Weeks spent away from home. Changes in weather, and changes in gas prices!

Times of missing events at our home church with our "church family", traded for times spent with other churches and other "like-faith families"... truly all the things that seemed like sacrifices were only exchanges for another amazing thing! God asks us to Lose our Life that He may give it back more abundantly. I have lived that!
 Beautiful times with my kids in beautiful places. Time spent sharing our burden with people that  we never had met before, that within moments of meeting, we feel like we have never not known them! ONLY GOD could be the common denominator in all of this! Truly th eLord meant it when he said let me give you life, and give it more abundantly!
Learning to love other people, melding our hearts with theirs, and blending our family with theirs. Loving their children like my own, and praying with them for their families, like they are my own. Praising and praying, healing and rejoicing, sharing and shouting! Our GOD is Worthy!!
 We have gone to places we would have never been able to go! Met people we would have never met! Seen some of the most beautiful places, and tasted some of the most delicious things!

All because we said Yes... we are willing. We had no idea what that meant at the time, and now I am sure we have no idea of what that can mean for  our future. If someone told me three years ago exactly what lay ahead of us, I don't know if I would have been able to walk one step.

I love that we have been able to reconnect with families from our home church that have moved away for one reason or another. We have even closer bonds with some of them now than when we lived close. Again... that is the Lord!

Our children have become men over these past few years. Little boys have become young Adults and have seen what it means to follow Jesus. As we see the Lord moving them into paths of their own, I am so grateful to have had this time with them! Living in a travel trailer, while challenging, also was such a gift! We have had such amazing times and so many memories! Truly the Lord has blessed us with this time... with them!

Some times they have been crushed by the weight, and other times they have fallen onto the Rock and been broken. I pray more the latter, but in every case I know that God our Father takes pleasure in being the master potter and loves molding us again into a vessel fit for His use.

I know that I look forward to the next phase of our lives. I pray we will be as challenged, as encouraged, I know I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us!

sig 2

Monday, October 29, 2012


I have him right where I want him!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

In my Heart, Conflicted. In my Head, not so much!

We just got the final approval for our oldest son to begin college in January.

When did my little boy with the button eyes grow old enough to go to college, let alone in only 2 months??! He will be at Wyotech in PA, near Pittsburgh. He is pursuing his dream to fix engines, and make them bigger, stronger, faster. The automotive industry may never know what hit them! He is a visionary. An artist. A mechanically minded person with a heart the size of Zambia (which is the size of Texas!) and eyes that see things differently than the other six people in his family. Never in a bad way. Always in a new way, with a unique perspective. I love this kid.

He is starting school in January. And that means he is not leaving with us to Zambia. Not coming. Staying here. Without me. I will be going. He is staying. I do not like this aspect of him following his dreams. I want my children's lives to always be parallel with mine. I don't want to say good bye. I want their success to be intricately connected with where mine is.
This is the second time I have had to go around
this loop. My oldest is not coming either. Staying here. Without me. I will be going. She will be staying.

Surely all will agree these two little babies aren't able to be here without me!! I know... the rantings of an emotional mother! But God has performed miracles in my heart, and while what I want is not what I will get, I desire nothing else but what He is allowing to be.
It makes no logical sense, I completely agree. I am homesick for a place where I have lived for only 3 weeks. I am settled with leaving my children and traveling 8000 miles for an undetermined amount of time to serve a God whom I have never seen, but whom I know with a clarity the likes of which I cannot describe. And I pray that this relative little bit of knowing - compared to what He is calling me to regarding the knowledge of himself - will carry me. That I will continue to learn of His majesty and greatness.

For surely all of this would not be worth it if God isn't all He is. My heart cries out for what it wants, and my head consoles it with what it knows.

I know that in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing. (Rom 7:18) 

I know that in this life I will suffer (2Ti 3:12), but that it is but a light affliction (2 Cor 4:17) compared to the knowledge of Christ. (Phil 3:10)

I know that I can't keep what I gain here anyhow (Phil 1:21, Matt 6:33) and only what is laid up will be forever (Matt 6:20, Luke 12:21). 

So in knowing these things, I press on. I Take every minute I can with what I love, but not for one minute do I love them more than I love Christ. Looking at that previous sentence, there are a whole lot of "I"'s, but that is who I am preaching to here.

And I take with me a million laughs, memories, hopes, and prayers. I add to each of them a million more! 

I find more things to pray about, and people to pray for! 

I Find that while my time with my children can be numbered in days and hours, eternity is endless! 

I am learning that while my heart may want some things, when I let the desires of my heart be filled by God and filled in with His purposes, there is contentment, peace, PURPOSE! And those things cannot be bought. 

They can, however, be measured, and God is doing just that. He is measuring my days, he is gauging my heart whether it is perfect toward him. He is preparing a place for my eternity, and these things I know! 

He is fulfilling my days and stilling my heart, and calming my fears. He is directing my steps and lighting my path. He is hearing my prayers and delighting in meeting my many needs for comfort and joy in the way. 
I serve a great God who is making everything beautiful in HIS time, and He delights in showing himself mighty on my behalf. He is all powerful and is doing all things for my good.

Always.  ALL things!

From me, He is looking for a heart of belief that is willing to follow. Willing to be obedient. Willing to be stretched, pushed, and tried, knowing that he will never ask anything of me that in the end, will ever harm me. He is GOD!!

Call it simple minded. I like Simple!

Call it blind faith. I am truly Blind!

Call it using a crutch. God says he will be my Buckler! He is above me, below me, and by my right side and my left.

Psalm 27
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

sig 2

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Silo Trees

Having the chance to travel a good portion of the country has been fun and educational in so many ways. We love seeing the landscapes change from region to region, state to state. From rolling hills to jagged mountains, to flat landscapes that have straight highways that go on for as many miles as the eye can see. 

We have been in Heartland, USA, the past few weeks. Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas or KCMO / KCK as the natives call it! The city of KansasCity is half in Kansas, half in Missouri. I say that only to clarity to the other two people (besides myself) who didn't already know that! (Oh my poor home schooled children. Such a disadvantage they have simply because I am their mother...!) 

Anyhow! One really unique thing we have noticed in this area are the abandoned farms with partially broken down silos with full sized trees growing in them! 

 Here is an excerpt from this site on the Silo Trees.
"In many Great Plains states, trees have trouble surviving because of the relentless winds. An abandoned silo can provide just enough protection from the wind for a sapling to sprout and survive. After the roof caves in on an abandoned silo the structure catches seeds and protects the young saplings from strong prairie winds. Sunlight and rain come through the top of the silo, and the tree continues to grow until the branches and leaves spill out over the top of the structure."
 So cool! I just love the spiritual application as well. They survive because of the protection of the silo. I also think they strive a little more to reach the top because as a sapling, very little sunlight may have reached it. That would have forced it to drive deeper roots, and grow tall and straight. Once it is able to brake the top of the silo, it becomes a massive canopy with deep roots and a flourishing set of branches.
Perfect to bear fruit!

sig 2

A lesson in Lint and Lashes...

Because the church we needed to be at was an hour away, Sunday morning was a bit of an early one. While getting ready, I was applying my mascara and thought there was something scratchy on my eye. But, it was SO EARLY my eyes were kind of half open at this point, so I figured it would be fine once they were fully open. 

Boy was I wrong. 
While driving to the church, my eye began watering, hurting, and wanted to stay closed. This is NOT a good thing, as at this point my options were very limited! (note to self: make emergency make-up kit for truck!) 

1. I could fuss with it and wreck the make up on one eye, and leave the other. 
Not going to do that. 

2. I could fuss with it and wreck the make up on one eye and take it off both eyes. 
Not going to do that either. 

3. I could ignore it, and maybe eventually the tears would wash whatever the issue was away. 
That was seriously unlikely to happen at this point. 

4. I could carefully try to get the problem off of my mascara caked lashes. 
That is what I did. 

At this point whatever was embedded in my lashes was gorilla glued by my waterproof mascara and was not coming off without some serious force. I figured by now my cornea was already scratched and any attempt to eliminate all signs of struggle was impossible, so I just plunged ahead and scraped off a few coats of my Long Lash Marathon Falsies Black Noir mascara. Wrecked several lashes in the process, but alas the offending piece of whatever it was finally was removed. ACH! 

Seriously, had I paid attention to the issue in the morning when the first sign of trouble popped up, I would have avoided the whole thing! But, no, Ignore it and Move ON! 


But isn't that sometimes how we tend to deal with the "little things" ?

Ignore it and move on... (Lord, is this something you really want me to deal with?) 

It will be fine... (Seriously! It is only a little thing!) 

No one will notice the red eye or the tears pouring down your face... (Who do they thing they are? Don't judge me!) 

The scarring to your cornea will only go through the first two layers...  (She doesn't understand me anyhow! Why should I care?) 

Your vision will only be slightly blurred for a day or two... (Who needs friends like that in their life anyhow!) 


Sitting in the truck driving to church Sunday morning was a bit of a spiritual moment. A huge bit of a God moment, to be exact! 

The Lord was showing me in that brief moment of struggle with a little piece of lint that a little sin in my life is the exact same way. The Holy Spirit always tries to bring things to my attention early. Conviction is swift in a tender spirit. 

But all too often I try to lacquer over it with whatever beauty preparation I choose for the moment. 

A little denial here, a little "righteous anger" there.

A second coat of some "walk a mile in my shoes and you would understand."

But the truth will be there, waiting, and maybe not all that patiently. And the longer I choose to ignore it, the more damage it may do.

I know this verse is speaking of the tongue but...

"Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"  James 3:5 
sig 2

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Better late than never...

Savannah has celebrated the past three... and likely the next several... birthdays away from home. Her last time to have a birthday party with her friends was when she was 6, and we figured that just would not do! Her birthday is in March, which isn't the greatest month to have an outdoor party anyhow. We decided that while we were home for this summer, we would celebrate right!

We themed the party "Minute to Win It" and had all kinds of games and challenges. The weather was perfect, and the girls were adventurous! Perfect combo!! 
We let them decorate their own cupcakes with plenty of frosting and little candies...  
Thankfully they are all between 8 and ten... they don't mind their pictures posted of them shoving massive amounts of sugar in their mouth! 
Their moms didn't need to feed them for the rest of the week for the caloric intake of that single afternoon! 
Dan thought I was crazy as I put box after box of candy in my shopping cart at the dollar store. I kept envisioning these girls... with these smiles... and kept putting more in!!  
I am quite certain there aren't dollar stores in Chipata, and I know for positive these little precious girls won't be there...!  

But thankfully we have the memories, and these pictures, and likely a few ounces of fat as a memento as well!! 

Before we left for this trip, we were able to participate in our home church's Bible Conference. One of the kid's crafts was a personalized write on wipe off boards. Savannah made hers girlie with flowers and hearts... so cute!  
 And the first leg of the journey wrote a thesis of epic proportions for a child of her age.
 I just love this, and I am thankful that the pre printed words are true, no matter what and ALWAYS!! "Jesus Gives you what you need!!" And very often, Oh SO MUCH MORE!!
sig 2

A Day at Silver Dollar City...

While in Springfield, we were able to take advantage of being so close to Branson, MO, and enjoy a day at Silver Dollar City. Thankfully friends had coupons to seriously reduce the number of silver dollars they wanted for us to enter the city!! It is a GREAT theme park though, and such a wonderful atmosphere as well. 

Dan and Micah went off doing "guy Rides" for a while, and Savannah and I enjoyed some less adventurous sites. 

Like becoming a long horn steer for a minute! 
 Savannah LOVES LSU... sorry to some, and I love the fleurs de lis symbol, so she wanted to get a limestone carving of one. The guy made it for her while we walked the park, but I was able to get this pic of her as he finished one like it.
 We then sat for a while and enjoyed a Trick Ropeman, and he called for a volunteer, and Savannah was very happy to participate! He had ropes ready, and taught the two volunteers to do a lasso spin... or something like that!
 Hard to see, I know, but he then gave each two ropes, and they spun both for a while. It was super cute to see her up there for a few minutes just enjoying the stage for a bit!
 We were being hosted at the Lange's house, affectionately named the "Lange's Linger Longer Lodge", I am sure because of people just like us!

We originally met them in Florida while on deputation, and then returned there and stayed with them again, and then again a third time! They moved to Springfield, and we returned once again to Florida, and seriously missed them, so we decided to go to MO!! Not really, our schedule just happened to bring us right through their new home area, and we were thrilled to have time with them!  This is a Dan and Jason... Savannah has taken a liking to getting a picture of Daddy and whoever we happen to be staying with. Thankfully so, because if it were up to me...
We do warn people that if you don't want us to return, don't say "come back anytime!" We are VERY likely to return!! Thankfully many really do mean it! 
sig 2

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Now to Pray it MAKES it...

We certainly had a crazy few weeks!

Thinking we wouldn't have the opportunity to send things on a container to Zambia, we had packed many of our household things up to be used sometime in the future by our older children when they needed to set up an apartment. Things like 110v electric appliances that we couldn't use there anyhow, but also bake ware, dishes, serving pieces, household blinds, curtains, etc. All the things that nickel and dime you to death when you get a place! It was something that we figure they could take or leave when the time came
 Well... we were able to unpack and re-pack many of those boxes and seriously reduce the future angst of my children! I am sure they won't be thanking me when it comes time... but I am thrilled to have the chance to send some things to Zambia for us to use!

We were full speed ahead sorting and packing and putting into an 18' trailer to haul it to Alabama. Once we reached Alabama we were able to unload it into a warehouse where it was then palleted and wrapped and ready for the tractor trailer to arrive and be loaded, and then brought to a shipping vessel headed for Africa. This is seriously something far greater than anything we would ever want to undertake on our own- we are SO BLeSSeD to have been able to purchase pallet space from I AM and piggy back on a container they are sending. These are a few pics of the mess...! We are so thankful to many, many people who were and are instrumental in facilitating all of this! 

 Some of the neat things we were able to send, that were complete unexpected blessings, were a couch and loveseat. It looks like this...
My son said it looks like an old ladies couch... I didn't know if I should relate or be offended!!

Another thing that we were able to send was paint! I know it sounds like something terribly simple, but paint is pretty pricey there and having it available to use is great! We got two 5 gallon buckets, and then tested the patience of the Lowe's associate to his limits. John in Decatur will be getting a glowing letter of thanks from me to be sure! Seeing that we have 10 gallons of white paint at a great price, I was happy for the deal. But... I was completely unsettled with all white walls. I got 12 screw top plastic containers, and asked John to put the tint for one gallon of paint into each one in order to mix it in Zambia. And he did!! I have 12 little containers of tint that hopefully change the white paint to look fairly close to the swatch I chose! He did 10 containers of various tint... and then one black and one white. Just in case! We shall see!

Plus... another advantage of having a 5 gallon bucket at our convenience is, well... convenient!!
Sorry if that is TMI for a few of you...!

I was joking with a friend from Decatur that I was going to go to Radio Shack and purchase a GPS tracker that I would plant into one of the boxes we are sending. I am sure James Bond would have been of great assistance in my scheme as well. I thought if they can let every person on the internet check the status of nearly every plane in the sky... why couldn't I track the container??! I think it would be so cool to do a weekly tracker check on it! We could have made our own FB page, "Where in the world is my junk"!!  Wouldn't that have been FUN??!
Well, I didn't plant a tracker on it. I will have to just wait. Totally not fun!! I am hoping to get there shortly after my stuff arrives. Lord willing the container will be loaded onto a ship sometime this weekend or next week, and be ready to head over the Atlantic. Once it eventually reaches South Africa  it will be trucked on land up through the continent through South Africa, maybe Botswana, Zimbabwe, and then finally to Zambia.
Did you know Google maps works for Africa??! The land route is about 3300 km or 2050 miles. That is lots of miles! I have no idea how many border guards that will mean, or how many nights the poor driver will have to sleep in his truck or other undesirable location. I know I am glad it is someone other than my husband!

This route... however, is one we will be making several times to go fetch it all! There are other routes if we want to travel unpaved roads through wild animal territory. I think we will stick to the main roads!!

We will definitely be having a much greater interest in the weather int he Atlantic the next few weeks to be sure! Out of our hands, but we know in whose hands it all is!

sig 2