Friday, January 28, 2011

I brought back candy and some hand made towels by our friend Bonnie. They loved them.

Internet Woes and No-Goes

We are internetless until February 1.  Thus no blogging without some help from a cafĂ© or this little modem thingie that sometimes works.  Our internet company works on the first of every month.  They bill you and your usage plan starts on the first and ends on the last day of the month.  So, if you pay mid-month, you pay the full amount and only get a half of a month to use your full plan.  (Apparently they also have a mid month option, but that still didn’t really make sense for us either).  So, since we arrived quite a bit into January, we decided to just wait until February to do internet.   You don’t realize how much you use internet until you don’t have it. Sure a different world from our forefathers way of doing missionary workJ 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reflections in the air

(An unedited journal entry by Steve follows… Thanks for your graceJ

Well we are flying over Africa. All things considered it has been as easy as possible flight. The girls have stayed healthy, in as good as can be spirits, and maintaining the course. We do have 1 hours and 23 minutes left so anything can happen. So ready to be back “home” and yet feel unusually anxious.  It is such a different life here that it is hard to switch gears. I sense God delivering us this far. I know he will carry us through it all.

Our time in America has been really full. Full in experiences and experiences that made us full (both figuratively and literallyJ) We went around the table our last dinner in Bellevue with Stephanie’s parents recounting some of our favorite highlights. It was amazing all that we did. Among the favorites was the grandparent trips (each child gets some one on one time with their grandparents), going to California for my parents 50th anniversary and  the kids spending time with the cousins.  We spend some sweet time with my cousins in Whidbey Island, and grandparents and cousins over Christmas.  We went to the Aquarium, Science Center.  We saw enchanted in 3-D which was great, saw the Hawks rumble over the Saints, enjoyed my 40th birthday with some great time with friends and family. 

It was full with meetings with our churches and meetings with friends.  And yet, even with an extra week for our Rhodas’ surgery (she is fully recovered by the way… Thanks), we still didn’t get to see everyone we wanted to.  (sorry if you were one of those want-to’s) 

So many great times… Thank you to all for making our home time especially sweet.

As for ministry, I had the chance to preach three times at  different churches, shared our ministry multiple other times. I officiated a wonderful wedding, spoke to over 100 high schoolers at a winter camp and also to a bunch of students in Bellingham.  And now I am sitting here, praying, thinking, trying to get my head around my reality for the next year which will be here in just an hour.   I feel wholly unprepared because my last few weeks I was moving at a very unreflective pace.  And all that I have been gorging myself out on all that home is; food, sports, family, friends and church are absenter here.  Here?  Poverty.  Struggle. Challenges. Needs. Pain.  This is our lot.  It wasn’t my past 2 months.  How do you reengage?  How do you prepare yourself to hear about all that happened the past two months while I was gone?  I am not sure.   I need to get my game face on.  Part of that will be routine. Getting back to a normal pace of life.  Getting up early for time in the word. Family devotions.

 Regardless, thanks for letting me ponder a bit, and starting that reflective preparation now… Had a nice time of prayer around 3 in the morning J  Dozing and praying and sleeping and rejoicing.  We get off the plane and make it through customs, pick up our 20+ bags, hopefully, and away we go.  The sun is just coming up on the horizon.  A new day has begun whether my body and/or spirit is ready for it or not.

On my last day in America, yesterday, I think… I had a great day sharing my faith with two different people.  One a banker, who shared his story while counting my money and the other, and a Jewish man who I sat next to at a restaurant.  They were very spirit-directed encounters which continued to confirm to me that that you don’t need to go to Africa to be a missionary.  It is right in our back yard.

I love my wife. She is such an amazing woman.  Seriously, I couldn’t be here without her.  Helper. Lover. Friend.  And my kids… They are troopers. 

(Well, a  tired/busy/unpacking four days later, we are seeing people and getting ourselves organized…  School for the girls and for me starts tomorrow… More adventures to follow! Thanks for your prayers!)

 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Made it to Zambia...

Our internet is not set up yet, so I am emailing from a friend's
house... We made it, are unpacking and settling back in... A rat in
the house and a snake on the porch this morning has made for a quick
adjustment period. But, we are doing well... A smooth flight and the
girls are so happy to be back. Thanks for all your prayers. More to
come!

Made it to Zambia...

Our internet is not set up yet, so I am emailing from a friend's
house... We made it, are unpacking and settling back in... A rat in
the house and a snake on the porch this morning has made for a quick
adjustment period. But, we are doing well... A smooth flight and the
girls are so happy to be back. Thanks for all your prayers. More to
come!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back To Zambia

Riddle: Where can you be and not be at the same time? 
 
Answer: Home. 
 
It may not seem like that is the answer, but we are sure every missionary understands what it is like to be home when you are away from home 
 
We are not sure how 3 months can feel like 3 minutes, but we can attest that it does. We are so thankful for all your encouragement, smiles, and hugs. We head back to Zambia with tears, both happy and sad, going "home" while leaving "home." We are heading back for one more year, completing our three year curriculum at the ACTION Pastor's College where I teach. 
 
We never really had a "plan" going to Zambia. We went with the understanding that it could be for life. But, life really is a day by day process and we are/were taking it day by day. After some concentrated prayer time last year, we feel God leading us to finish the third year of our Bible College, but then to come back and pastor in the states. It is true that I have been teaching the pastors' minds, but they have been teaching my soul. After four years of learning how to be a missionary to the world, we sense God wants us to come back and lead a church to learn from and reach the world. The how and where has not been laid out just yet, but we will pray and wait in expectation for Ephesians 2:10 to be fulfilled in our lives. 
 
So, we go with bittersweet expectation. We love it here with family and friends. We love it there with our friends who have become like family. Since we can't be at both places at the same time, we must miss one. 
 
So, please pray for us as we leave on Tuesday to pour our hearts and souls into one more year. We are committed to living each day and not worrying about the 365 days to come. 
 
Please pray for a wonderfully beautiful, peaceful, restful 24 hour travel schedule (9 hours to London and 9 hours to Lusaka with 6 hours resting in between)... Or you can just pray we make it without getting sick and/or claustrophobic. 
 
Please pray that we would be supernaturally unjetlagged. (I'm serious) 
 
Please pray for a quick turnabout in getting ready for my classes next Monday AND for me as I lead the PLD ministry. (My teaching partner has had to travel back to the states unexpectedly due to a family emergency) 
 
Please pray for all our baggage, passports, bodies, and minds to get there safely. 
 
Thank you so much! 
 
And a special thank you to Crossroads Bible Church, Northlake Community Church and Oikos Fellowship for their encouragement during this time. 
 
Thankfully, 
Steve

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sweet Grandparent Times

It is always difficult leaving family behind. As we prepare to leave
in just 5 days, we take a look back at the fun that was. Thanks
Bumpa and Boggie and Papa and Magga* for all your hugs and kisses and
fun and laughter. We will miss you!

* The names that Kamryn affectionately gave to the grandparents at the
age of 2 are still the names of the grandparents today. And she still
loves to spend time naming her dolls and pets and stuffed animals and
her own children to be...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Marrying Kind

I love marrying people. Especially people I know well. Dan and Carly
Garland are the perfect example of people I love to marry. Lots of
history, great memories, fun people and by the grace of God, a very
bright future. It was a sweet reunion. Lot of former students
together celebrating this beautiful marriage. It was truly a perfect
wedding except for one thing: I had my tie tucked into my shirt:)
Hilarious in a good humbling way. You can't tell in these pictures but
I have seen others:)

Anyway, that evening my girls were inspired to try on Steph's and
their grandma's dress along with some past flower girl dresses. It was
a bit surreal to say the least. I am not ready to be walking any of my
girls down the aisle anytime soon. But they sure do look beautiful,
don't they...? I am sure that it will just be a couple of blinks and
that day will be here...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dressing the world

I just wanted to post about a post about a cool thing my church is doing via Stephanie...

Check out the link here: pillowcase dresses!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Happy Birthday Steve!

(Stephanie writing) I was going to write a "Happy Birthday Steve" blog, but then I went on the blog and saw that Steve already beat me to it. Go figure. He even used the picture I was going to use.....but I probably wouldn't have been able to figure out how to find or use the picture, so it's best he did it himself. Anyway, if you would like to see my tribute to my 40 year old husband (who by the way is several years older than me) you can click on this link to our family blog.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Turnin' 40


All is quiet in the house this evening. The kids are sleeping, my wife is sleeping and I have 1 hour and 15 minutes before I turn 40 years old. I am feeling reflective. Wow. Just looking at that number 40 shocks me. 40 years old. I don't feel 40, but what is 40 supposed to feel like? Old? I don't feel old. I feel more alive than I have ever felt in my life. I feel younger at 40 then I did at 30. My body probably wouldn't agree. My back hurts more often. My hair is going gray and what isn't going gray is just plain going. My mind goes in one direction and my body is seemingly three steps behind.

But the inner man is alive. The more years I live, the more sin I commit, the more "there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus" means to me. I love grace and mercy more. I am more thankful. The more I live, the more I experience, the more I understand, the more I know, the more I am humbled by what I don't know. God becomes more mysterious and yet clearer.

I am turning 40 tomorrow. And I hope that if more years shall be given me, I can say at 50 and 60 and 70 what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:16 So I do not lose heart. Though my outer self is wasting away, my inner self is being renewed day by day.

I was intimidated by 40 this year. And now I welcome it, I think.

May it be true of us all that as the years increase and our bodies decline, may our spirits by the Spirit continue to blossom unto the full bloom of eternity.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Little women

I posted this picture because I thought it was cute, but also because
I wanted to let you know that little Rhoda is going to be having her
tonsils and adenoids removed tomorrow. You can bet she is not looking
forward to this, so please include her in your prayers if you will
around 9:30 am... Because of this needed procedure, we are having to
delay our departure back to Zambia until January 18... Thanks for all
your prayers!

Singing once again

Stephanie was asked to sing at Crossroads and it was so good to see
her up singing again. Just thought I would show a picture...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

All places meaningful





I love that title. All places meaningful. Hmm... That should be a book or album cover title. :) Anyway, this last week has been all that and more. I drove through Yakima this past week (my birthplace) en route to Camp Ghormley where I hung out and spoke to a bunch of high schoolers. I first attended this camp as a youth leader some 11 or so years ago. So many memories of that place. It is where Stephanie and I and a bunch of students entered the year 2000. It is where I came as a counselor. It is where I led the group as a youth pastor. And now to return as a camp speaker was extra special. It was also so encouraging how great a job Phil and Rene are doing as the leaders of the ministry. I brought Kamryn and Bradyn along with me and it wasn't long before they were mixing it up with the high schoolers. I came home early the last night in order to get some sleep before heading up to Bellingham for the weekend but I was so thankful for my time there...