Halfway There.

The goodbyes are finally over. The trip is halfway over. It’s still really surreal. I sit here in the spare room of my brother’s house, staring at our carry-ons, watching my husband do…nothing, and just wonder what in the world our life will look like in just one week?

Goodbyes were rough on Sunday and then again on Tuesday. But, it felt good to just let it out and get it over with. We had quite a few stops to make on the way out of PA on Tuesday and that helped kind of push it out of our thoughts for awhile. But, by evening, it all came flooding back. I’ve found that the more tired I get, the more prone I am to tears and nervous thoughts. I find myself praying Phil. 4:8-9 pretty frequently. I just so desire that “peace that passes all understanding” and the Lord has truly given it to not just me, but my husband as well. I know we will miss life “as we know it”, but there is just so much to look forward to, it kind of gets pushed aside. Ask me in a few months if that sentiment is still there, though. We shall see.

So, we’re with my brother and his wife. This is actually the first time ever that we have spent time together without my parents, even just my brother and I, since we were in college. Brian and Shawn don’t know each real well; Britany has only been in the family for a year, so this is an interesting experience! It’s good kind of getting to know my brother as adults. It’s almost like starting over. We have memories of each other’s personality and character traits (or flaws) that just aren’t true of us anymore. It’s nice seeing my big, protective brother get along with my favorite husband, though. 🙂 And I’m sure loving getting to know my younger sister (in-law).

We leave early tomorrow morning for Clearwater where we’ll spend a few days vacationing. Enjoying the beach. The warmth. The sun. Ahhh I can’ t wait! And then comes D-Day. Airport Day. The End of the Beginning.

Oh, pray for us. What in the world are we getting ourselves into??

Silence.

I find myself wondering these days what it will look like when the truth of matters is revealed in eternity future. I know God will make all things right and He will vindicate His children, but I wonder what that will look like? Will He open a giant book of grievances against us, call up the people who hurt us, and tell them how it really happened? Will He call people together and show a video of “behind the scenes” so everybody knows the whole story? Will He make people apologize? Admit they were wrong? Or will we, once we arrive in heaven, forget the frivolities of life on earth and no longer care about the hurts we left behind?
 
But, while we’re here, what is to be done when the truth is not being told? What to do when sides are taken and people are rude, angry, inconsiderate, gossiping, and slanderous? How do you make the truth known without doing the exact same thing others are doing and slandering people in the process? How much illegitimate anger can be thrown at one person before they just can’t take it anymore? How long do you stay when it’s obvious that the lies being told about you are never going to be resolved? Worse yet, how do treat people in public who slander, lie, and maliciously attack you behind your back?
 
“Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay.” But, how? And when? And to whom? And what do we do while we wait? How do you watch someone you love get torn down? How do you sit idly by and watch the lies swirl around you like a cloud of smoke and say nothing?
 
That’s what Jesus did, though. People were brought in with the sole purpose of lying about His life and ministry. They maliciously attacked Him, to His face. They mocked Him; spit on Him; pulled His beard out; mistreated His followers…and then they killed Him. And every one of His first disciples, His truest followers, were martyred in subsequent years. Yet, “He opened not His mouth.” He said nothing. He never attempted to correct them. He never pulled His disciples into the room and said, “Tell them what really happened!” He never even tried to make them stop spreading the lies. Even before the world knew He was alive again, lies were being spread about His resurrection. But, He never approached those soldiers in person to correct them. Jesus never sent His angels to vindicate His followers while they were being led into the Colosseum. “He opened not His mouth.” Silence.
 
Silence is being chosen right now by someone I truly love. He is being battered, accused, slandered, attacked, lied about, and pushed around. Will the truth ever come out? I doubt it. Why? Because to tell the truth would be to hurt other people and he will never, ever do that. Would people even listen if they heard the truth? Probably not. You know people. Once they hear what they think could possibly have happened, they will not change their minds. Especially when the lies are loud.
 
I wonder, though, if silence this time is going to follow the same path as Jesus and His first disciples. Keeping silent doesn’t mean problems get fixed. It means you die in the process and God vindicates you later. Sometimes much later. Sometimes in this life, not at all.
 
It hurts to be quiet.

Time To Go.

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Today was our commissioning service at our church. It was so good. All the music focused on missions. My father gave a charge to us and then a representative from BCM came up and gave the charge to the church body. When all that was over, we had to come up front and we were prayed over by the missions committee and another missionary couple from our church who just happened to be home this weekend. Personally, I was ecstatic to see them. They are really special friends of ours and we hadn’t seen them in quite awhile, so it was so great that they happened to be here today! When the service was over, we had a reception so that people could actually see us and say their goodbyes. That was definitely the most emotional part of the day. We have made some dear friends and that makes it awfully hard to leave. We’ll sure miss our church family.
 
The one thing that kept going through my mind during the whole service, though, was how honored I am to be “called.” The Great Commission is to “go” into all the world, but so many people are honestly called to stay in their home country and “go” to the workforce or their neighborhood. The vast majority of the time, I feel so unqualified.. why would God call me? I asked Brian that question once and he said that God called me because I was willing to go. Sitting in the service today, I was just floored that God had called me, from before birth, to do this job. He has a plan for my life and this is a big part of it. I’m so excited to finally get going. Today was just another confirmation of that fact.
 
But, even though Brian and I may be going to another country, I certainly don’t feel like I am any more special than the people that are staying here. God could’ve chosen any one of them – and He has chosen some – to go to another country. I’m no different and definitely not more special. I feel more like I’m being transplanted to another country to do mostly the same things that I’ve been doing here. Yeah, I’ll have a new job title and yeah, a lot of ministry will look different than it did here. But, I’m still me and my love for the Lord and for kids is merely being transplanted to a new place.
 
Everything is still pretty surreal, though. Our bags are packed. Our tiny bedroom is clean and organized so it can be the guest room my mom hasn’t had for a year and a half. Everything that’s staying here is packed and put away in the basement. One last load of laundry is waiting to be done. Goodbyes have been said. I think it’s time to go. I’m so glad God is already on the other side of the ocean, not only paving the way, but waiting for us to land.

14 Days.

So, I was going to post a picture of all our stuff waiting to be packed, but apparently they aren’t on this computer. Therefore, you get to use your imagination until I can get them downloaded! 🙂 Basically, we have bags of clothes and half my parent’s living room covered in random essential items. Suitcases are lined up in our basement, just waiting to be filled. Our office is filled with paperwork that needs to be organized and somehow packed, as well as more arbritary items that will somehow get tucked away into our few bags.
 
And what am I doing? Sitting in bed, in my pajamas, with headphones on, typing on my blog, sipping Diet 7-up, trying desperately to get over a sinus infection that I can’t get medicine for until at least Thursday when the doctor is back in town. Bleck. I feel positively miserable. All I can think is that I absolutely have to get well because there is no way I’m flying two weeks from today with a sinus infection! I highly doubt I’ll still be sick, but with as miserable as I’m feeling right now, I wouldn’t put it past me to at least still be coughing two weeks from now. Oh, such awful, awful timing I have!!
 
Thankfully, I am still relatively calm and not stressed at all. I don’t know why. I think there are just that many people praying for us that I just know we’ll get out of here okay and I’ll get over this awful illness and it’ll all be all right. Deep in my belly, instead of an absolute terror that I was expecting, I have this incredible joy. I am so ready to get on that plane for Peru. I almost even want to skip the whole Florida vacation thing and just go. I am so ready. We found out kind of what our schedule will be the first month we’re there and, let me just first say – oh good grief we’ll be busy! But, even though I’m looking at my calendar going, “How in the world am I going to get all that done in less than a month??”, I just want to jump up and down like a little girl and shout for absolute joy! THIS is what I’ve been waiting my whole life to do. I am so sick of being here, living at my parent’s house, not working, just raising support and traveling, and not even being able to be as plugged in at our church as I’d like. I’m just so ready to go do what God has called me to do! I don’t care how busy it is; I just wanna get there. I am of the bent that if God calls you, He also equips you, so even though it’s going to be like a hit-the-ground-running kind of experience, I think we’ll be able to keep up. And, man, have I mentioned that I can’t wait??
 
So, this last week in Pennsylvania will be…short, I’m thinking. We got almost all our errands done last week. We have almost everything sorted and ready to go. I need to do, wow, a lot of laundry! 🙂 A little more organizing, and then a lot of packing/repacking/packing/repacking. And we leave for Florida next Tuesday. Hmm. Nope. Not gonna stress about it. My sister arrives on Saturday (yay!!) and we’re going to try to squeeze in some alone time. I’m sure gonna miss my big sister. Even though we don’t see each other often, I don’t realize how much I need her until I’m not around her. Sunday is our commissioning and then there’s a reception afterwards for us. Monday will be our final day of loading the car. We pull out Tuesday, with a stop in Lancaster and then another stop near Maryland. I’m not real sure what day we’ll get to Florida. Sometime next weekend, we’ll make it to Clearwater, FL, for the last few days in the States. And we leave the United States of America…North America…and everything familar…on March 3rd. Which is in exactly two weeks. In exactly two weeks from today, I will be sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport wishing they had more entertainment options, nervous as all get-out, wishing our 8-hr layover from Tampa was about 7 hrs shorter, and anxiously awaiting the boarding call for our last flight to Lima.
 
Nope, I’m not nervous. But, I think a whole flock of monarchs just got let loose in my stomach! 🙂
 
Oh hey – here’s a link you should try out if you love music: www.pandora.com It’s an online radio that you can customize to play whatever you want. Just type in the artist or song title you want and it’ll find music that goes along with that genre! Very cool. And you can “create” as many “radio stations” as you’d like! My husband lives on this thing. You can even tell it to never again play a song on that “station” and you can skip through songs you don’t want to hear, create a profile, get extra information on music you like… it’s very cool. And it’s free. Enjoy!

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like These.

Another Sunday down in this wonderful world of waiting on the Lord. It was a pretty good morning, right up until the end. Our Associate Pastor announced today that he and his family will be leaving and returning to the mission field of Australia, which they had left a year and a half ago in order to come here. Their hearts have always been in missions and I don’t believe they ever truly “left” Australia, so I wasn’t surprised to hear them they say they will be returning.
 
I have a feeling the complications at our sending church just got deeper. You can literally hear the chalk scrape across the floor as lines are drawn. I have no idea how this will affect membership/attendance. I am so thankful I am just as in the dark as pretty much everybody else about things going on behind the scenes. I just think it’s sad that churches can’t seem to work together. Ever. Or unite… over anything. Hidden agendas are peaking around every single corner in the building. Goodness.
 
People have been asking us if we’re affected by all this since we’re leaving soon. In a way, we are. This is our sending church, our home church. He is my father and our head pastor. But, we watched the last church we attended in South Dakota wither, stomp on its pastor, crush half the congregation as it goes down, and finally die a long, slow death. This isn’t new. It’s just…. too bad. So, in another way, no, we’re not affected. We have chosen to not know who some of the people are who are causing problems. We have chosen to not bad-mouth anybody we do know who has been “an issue.” We have remained pretty neutral (except the whole, being related to the head pastor thing). And we have done what a lot of people should do: keep our comments to ourselves, behind closed doors, just between the two of us and God Almighty. We have watched what I’ve posted here and what we’ve both posted on facebook (because facebook is much more public than most people give it credit for!!). Therefore, we can leave in just a few weeks with clear consciences and clean hands.
 
Like I said in a previous entry, ministry’s rough. But, jumping ship isn’t going to fix the angry waters. I hope people don’t just leave for arbritrary reasons. I hope the church can work through the rough patch. I think it’s necessary for the church to work through the rough patch or it will continue to happen again!
 
Ah, people. Ministry would be so much easier if people weren’t involved.
 
Oh, and F.Y.I.: 16 more days.

18 Days.

My parents will be home in just a couple of days. Next week is our last week here in PA. And yet, my nerves are still intact! I am really not sure how that is possible.

For the first time ever, Brian got worried this week and I didn’t! We found out after we booked our plane tickets that this airline has luggage embargos on only nine countries worldwide. Peru is one of them. So, no matter what we did, we could not purchase additional baggage. We are allowed to bring only one bag and one carry-on each. For some reason, that didn’t bother me. Brian, on the other hand….wow, did he get nervous! But, on Wednesday, Brian thought we should contact the only two American girls who live on the IBYM campus since we just found out that they’re both coming to the States on March 3rd, the same day we’re flying into Lima! They have both agreed to bring an extra suitcase a piece, as long as we can get the luggage to them. Thankfully, that’s not going to be a problem!

Looking at the situation now, we see how good it actually is. Instead of making our way through the airport with six large bags and 2 carry-ons, we’ll only have 2 suitcases and 2 carry-ons. This should ease the suspicion of customs and make the odds of losing multiple pieces of baggage really slim. The two girls are traveling on different airlines, so they’ll just have two bags a piece instead of one, which shouldn’t be too hard for them, either. We are so content now…obviously God still has His hand in all this.

We are seeing our church come together as well these last few weeks that my parents have been away. We’ve heard of multiple people praying for the church body and wanting to make things work. We’re anxious to see how things work out in the weeks ahead.

Three More Weeks.

Time is closing in on us. We are making the final preparations for our big move! We bought our one-way plane tickets on Friday. We got the official visa stamps in our passports this afternoon. We are working on packing. We had a “goodbye dinner” hosted by our small group on Saturday night. Our commissioning service is scheduled for February 22. Things are really falling into place!

People keep asking us if we’re nervous or emotional. At this moment, I can honestly say “no” to both questions. I’m sure I will be next week, but for now, I’m actually doing remarkably well. I keep feeling like it’s graduation day. We have been preparing for the move to Peru for the past two years. I’ve been preparing to be a full-time missionary since I was seven. Moving to Peru is like graduation day! Maybe we’re nervous about the unknown, but we’re excited that we finally get to do what we’ve been called to do and what we’ve been preparing to do.

God has really given me a great peace about all of this. We found out we may not be able to take as many suitcases as we’d hoped and even though Brian is nervous about this prospect, for some reason, I’ve been fine about it! I can seriously only account that to the Lord. Normally, I’m a nervous wreck, worried about multiple (stupid) things. This time, I just have an amazing peace about the entire situation. God has proven Himself faithful to us time and time again, even when situations seemed hopeless. I’m sure He’ll do that again.

So…here we go! The countdown to Peru begins: 22 days…

A to Z.

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This morning in ladies Bible study, we did something I’d never done before that I thought was pretty cool. We went through the alphabet and for every letter, threw out an attribute/characteristic/personality trait of God. I thought it’d be fun to do that here, but I was hoping that you would help me finish the list. I’ll do the first few letters of the alphabet and then see if anybody fills in some more ~ preferably in order, but do as many attributes per letter as you’d like and do as many letters as you’d like. If you have attributes for the letters I do, feel free to add them as well! Let’s see how long we can make this list…

A: Awesome

B: Bears our sorrows

C: Compassionate

D: Deliverer

E: Eternally the same

F: Faithful

G: Gracious

H: Healer

I: Invincible

J: giver of JOY

K: Kind

L: Loving

M: Merciful

Your turn! Add your alphabet letters to your comment!

Sunday.

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Well, I can check another thing off my list of “lasts” before we leave! I’m sitting here with my husband, watching the Superbowl. I’m not a huge football fan, but I enjoy the Superbowl. Hard to believe it’s the last year I’ll watch a Superbowl for quite awhile! I’m not sure when I’ll ever watch one again. I mean, we might watch it in Peru, but it probably won’t be narrated in English. And we might be home in two years in time to watch it, but I really have no idea when our first furlough will be.  So for right now, I’m thinking this will be the last time I watch the Superbowl for an indefinite amount of time. It’s kind of surreal.

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Found out this past Friday that we will be leaving Lima on March 7th to fly to Iquitos for two weeks. Iquitos is one of the biggest cities in the Amazon in Peru. BCM Peru owns property up there that they’ve been working on developing. The goal is to have camps and Bible school and other outreaches, similar to the work we’ll be doing outside of Lima. We’ll be going up in March to help build a girl’s dorm that needs to be built by the end of March. We’re planning on arriving in Peru just a few days before we leave for Iquitos. So much for adapting first!!! Kind of nerve-wracking. Wasn’t planning on going to the Amazon quite so soon. We knew Brian would probably be going shortly after we arrived, but it didn’t sound like I would need to go. In a way, it’s good. I’m glad I’ll be with Brian and won’t have to stay by myself on campus for two full weeks. Makes me a little nervous, though, to be quite honest. But, on the same hand….who else can say they’ll be spending their March in the Amazon???!

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My parents left today for Florida for their two weeks off. I don’t really want to call it a vacation, but for lack of a better word, that’s kind of what it is. My dad gave a great message this morning that won’t be put out on the internet and wasn’t even recorded because it was really for the congregation more than anybody else. He did a remarkably tactful job explaining some of the problems within the body and then laying out some solutions. I just keep going back to how Jesus could’ve prayed for anything for the church before He left us. But, instead of praying for love or respect or compassion – He prayed for UNITY. I think that says an awful lot about how important unity is to the heart of God within the body of Christ.

We will definitely be praying for our sending church these next couple of weeks. But, instead of feeling nervous about the outcome, my whole family has a giant sense of peace. We know that whatever happens is from the Lord and He is in total control. That’s a comforting thought.

The most encouraging thing that happened this morning was at the very end of the service. My dad announced that he does not feel at all that the Lord is calling him to move on – he will be staying at this church. As soon as my dad said that, the pin-drop silence was broken by an eruption of applause!! My mom and I just lost it. I’m sure I did the “ugly cry” there in the pew. But, it felt so nice to have the bulk of the congregation behind my father. It even took my dad a few minutes to get composed from this unexpected outburst.

So ~ I don’t know what God is doing…I just know it’ll all be okay! If you are at a loss sometime this week for something to pray for, feel free to lift up Grace Bible Church in prayer as well as my parents, Terry and Madeline and the family pastor and his wife, Stan and Deanna. We’d sure appreciate it.

February 2009
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