Sunday, April 28, 2013

Up to My Eyeballs...

Yep, once again that time is here. I'm up to my eyeballs in BOXES!
Times like this always cause me to reflect...
It was 2 years ago that we were busy packing or selling everything that we owned.
A different state...a whole different country.
It seems a bit surreal that this time is here. It's what we've been planning for and working towards for almost THREE years. And now it's crunch time.
Packing boxes...and more boxes.
The moving van comes on Tuesday, so we only have 2 more nights in the city.
Then, Wednesday we'll begin unpacking and setting everything up again.
Please be praying for us as settle in to our house more permanently.
Pray that we can meet more of our neighbors and that we can build lasting friendships, and most importantly, that we can share the Gospel.
Pray that the ZK will be receptive to the Good News.
Pray that lives will be TRANSFORMED!
Pray for our kids. While they are excited, they are also anxious and nervous.
Pray that our kids can make lasting friendships among the ZK.
Pray that there will be no rain on Tuesday!
Pray that we will learn the ZK language quickly.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Unwanted Guest

Recently, we discovered a squatter in our home...

Levi thought he was really cool! He tried to catch him, but everytime Levi got close, our guest hopped away!

He is kind of cute, with those big, black eyes...but we kindly asked him to leave!

The Sweet Spot

I've been mulling over how to word what's on my mind for a week and a half. There's so much emotion inside of me. So much excitement! So much joy! And maybe even a little trepidation...
Recently I was chatting with a friend via skype. She shared how they had just bought an acreage with a beautiful house and a part of me longs for what she has. But it's just a small part. I shared about our home in the village and how we're sleeping in hammocks and cooking on a single burner stove top for the time being. And she asked, "is your soul happy?" And without a moment's hesitation, I answered, "YES!"
As I contemplate the path God has led me down, I have much for which to be thankful. I spent a total of six years teaching high school Spanish. I enjoyed my job, even if I did look forward to a snow day from time to time! I had fun interacting with young people. And I hope that I affected their lives in a way that pleases Jesus.
I was a pastor's wife in a small town in Iowa. I admit, that was an interesting place to be. We were kids, leading a congregation where many had already lived a full life of service to the Lord. And yet, they loved us, accepted us, and taught us so much! Again, I hope they learned to love Jesus even more from our service to them.
Our last few years in the States, I was the youth pastor's wife in Idaho. And I was beginning my journey as a mother. I had a full plate! And again, I hope that I affected the lives of our youth (and their families) in a way that pleases my Savior.
All of these experiences were good. They were enjoyable. I learned so much about people, about how to serve the Lord, and how to love the Lord.
But none of those experiences compare to where I am today...the sweet spot.
As I share Bible stories with people who have never heard and see the looks on their faces and watch the Holy Spirit opening their eyes to the Truth...words fail me. When they ask, "when are you coming back?" And tell me, "I enjoy talking with you. And I really enjoy hearing the stories that you tell from the Bible."
For me, this is what it's all about. I have a joy that fills my soul. I am honored that God would call me to this life of adventure. I realize that jungle life isn't for everyone. Some days I wonder if I'll really be able to strive in a village setting. This week, we lost electricity twice. For no apparent reason. And the water was off too. (We do have large tanks for storing water, so we were not without. And it wasn't our drinking water supply.) 
Today I make a stone of remembrance so that I may never forget the sweet spot.
He has created me and He has called me.
I will take refuge under His wings.
 "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."
Psalm 91:4

Saturday, April 13, 2013

On Guard

Today we returned from a four-night stay in our Pine Hill village home. It was our longest visit so far and we came away not wanting to leave. Our whole family would have been content to just stay...except that we still have next to no furniture in the house. So far, we have a bean bag chair, 3 plastic chairs, 4 kid-sized chairs and a kid-sized table, a few hammocks, and 2 borrowed cots. We also have a dorm size fridge, an electric skillet, and a  gas stove with one burner. It's kind of like camping, but I'm ready for it to be more permanent. I'm ready to have a real kitchen and a real bed! (Oh, and don't forget my washer and dryer...although I have become proficient at washing clothes by hand.)

This visit started out very rough. To begin with, Ellie got sick Sunday night so Clay took her to the doctor so that hopefully she wouldn't get worse in the village. (There are doctors open til 10 pm!) Monday morning we packed up and headed out. As we got close to Pine Hill, Clay stopped at a saw mill to buy some lumber...and that's when things really got difficult.

Two of the kids needed to go to the bathroom...but the term there was "buscar monte" which essentially means to go find a bush to hide behind. Unfortunately, one of the kids had a potty mishap which sent me back to the car looking for clean clothes. (Guess we need more practice at squatting!) The kids and I spent over 90 minutes waiting in the car...and of course the same child needed to potty again. He assured me that he now remembered the Squatty Potty from our training in Virginia! So out he went again...but again, I was scrambling for clean clothes. (It really wasn't his fault though. Our poor kids have been suffering stomach issues and he simply couldn't help it.) Then it was a diaper that leaked...and me looking for another set of clean clothes.

Like I said, we waited over 90 minutes in the car. Honestly, I was getting a bit frustrated. I mean, why should it take that long to buy some wood?!? One reason is that only the boss man can take the money. The rest of the guys are just there to work. So we waited for the boss man to get there.

But during that time, Clay was building relationships with the men. And then he was sharing about Jesus. A humbling moment for me. Yes, I was left to clean up poopy kids behind a bush. But Clay was sharing about God's love.

As we left the saw mill, we realized that we were in a spiritual battle, so we paused to pray. We know that the Enemy doesn't want us to spead the Word. Sometimes it's just difficult to recognize that it's a battle and not just me getting frustrated because I have to clean up poop behind a bush. Twice.

Please remember to lift us up! We know that the battle is won through prayer. I don't know how to explain it other than to tell you that when the Saints are praying on our behalf, we can tell a difference. We feel it!

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
Do everything in love."
1 Corinthians 16:13-14