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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Long Hiatus

Fellow Travelers,

The last time I wrote, we were 9 days away from leaving for Portugal...well needless to say (yet I say it anyway), we made it here, 3 months and 9 days later, I am still in awe of the journey we have been on, and I can't believe we made it!

First let me answer some of the questions I have been receiving:

@luvmesomePanda asks "what has been the best part of moving to Portugal?"

That is a really tough question. There are so many things I have loved about it. I mean, I love my job, helping insure that people ger here and have a peaceful, enjoyable, and God encountering time, it rocks!
I love the people, they are so kind, and helpful. The language is fun. It is almost like Spanish, and so, unlike with Russian, I have a little head start with learning it.
But I think the number one best thing has been, THE FOOD! I have never eaten so good in my life! This is partly because they have good food here, and partly because we have to make everything from scratch, and boy oh boy, it makes a difference!

@peterpiperpickle asks "what has been the hardest part of moving?"

Obviously, I miss my friends, my family, the community I had back in Texas. It has been really great though to have a family here that are good friends. I find myself saying "this should work", or "I know how to do this in the States". There are many little things that are super easy for me to do back home, but here, I feel like a n00b! But as hard as it is, it also makes me want to rise up to the challenge and find a way to make things work!

@crazeeates asks "whose gonna win the Super Bowl?"

Wow, another great question. Well, I gotta put my money on Green Bay. I would love to see the Broncos face them, and as much as I like Tebow, Rodgers is my guy.

ok, enough questions.

As you can imagine, it has taken some time to get settled (technically that is still happening), but I am excited about blogging again, and I hope that through this I will be able to stay connected to anyone who is interested.

Before I sign off, I leave this wonderful clip that has brought much joy to our family:

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Countdown: 9 Days to go (pottery and willow edition)

Fellow Travelers,

Here we are, 9 days until we leave for Portugal.

Random List of 9 things taken into space.

It got me thinking, 9 is such a strange number. It is so transitional. You never countdown from 9 to start anything, and you never say "I'm gonna give you to the count of 9!", no, no, no, it always must be the number before 10. I wonder, if numbers could think, if 9 would be frustrated with its placement? Watching "10" get all the glory, as 9 gets passed by. Do you know what the traditional 9th wedding anniversary gift is? Pottery and willow...really? And to make matters worse, sometimes people confuse 9 with an upside down "6", how embarrassing.

That is how 9 could feel about itself, or it could choose to see the value inherent in where it stands. Without 9, 10 would never be reached, and no one would ever go seeking in hide-n-seek! Without 9, every shuttle launch (when we had those), would be stuck at 10. It is just like the good book says,

...I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. I Cor 12:19 (msg)

9, you are important because you are part of something significant, like-wise, 10, you are only as important as you are, because of 9's role.

Dont get fooled into thinking you are doomed to be a 9. See the value in your place and in what you are part of, and you will find significance in all you do!

Happy Trails,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Countdown: 11 days (faithful and good)

Fellow Travelers,

Here we are with 11 days to go! It is amazing how even with it being so close, it still feels so surreal that we are leaving. Of course, the fact that we are not quite at 100% of support doesn't help, but the reality is, God has been so faithful and true to His word and promises, I really have no doubt that we will make it.

This weekend was our church's annual mission conference "World Mandate"!
It was an amazing time of refreshing worship and inspiring teaching. What stuck me was that even though we are already going, there is always more to give, and always more to gain from God! My faith was stirred to believe for transformation among the Portuguese friends we will live with, and that through our investment in other missionaries and ministers, we will truly impact the world!

I have been thinking lately about the past 2.5 years, and trying to sum it up. I keep coming back to 2 words, Faithfulness and Goodness. God has been so faithful and good. He has turned everything that seemed hard into something good and useful! And He has been faithful to take care of every need, and provide in some of the most surprising ways. (like giving us a landlord who "happens" to have a spare laptop to use when ours were stolen)
But those words also describe the people we have been blessed to walk with during this time. There have been people supporting us for 2.5 years, and we haven't even left yet! How is that for dedication, love, and faithfulness. And these aren't family members, these are just people who believe in us, and in what God has called us to, and we are humbled by their giving.

What I am struggle with now are all the "expectations" I put on myself for what should happen before we go. There are so many things I would like to do, and people I would like to see...too many. And to try to force it all would put un-needed stress and strain on my family. So I am once again relying on God for wisdom on what to prioritize, and I know He will not let us fail.

I am so blessed by you all, keep up the prayer, and lets see God do the miracle!

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let the countdown begin: 16 Days

Fellow Travelers,

It is hard to believe, in fact it feels very surreal to me, but we have arrived at the eve of what will be a very telling day in our journey to Portugal.

We have reserved tickets for a flight leaving Sept 30, just 16 days away. And tomorrow we make the final decision on whether or not to buy these tickets.

God initiated with us to act like we are leaving, and ever since then, things have not been the same. We have experienced God's provision and grace unlike any other time in this 2.5 year journey. And there is so much more to come, I just can't wait to see what happens next!

One thing that I have learned during this time, is that it is always better to trust and rely on God's promises then on what seems best. Faith for us has become so much more then a simple mental assent to a God in the heavens. Faith has become part of our lives, we have been forced to trust God and He has proven Him faithful, and in that process, we want to trust Him even more!

God has spoken over and over again that He will be glorified through this time, and at first, I thought I knew what that looked like. I had dreams of huge donors coming in out of nowhere and pushing us to 100% within a few days. And God may still do that...but what He HAS been doing is speaking to people for us, people who carry the same vision we do, but for whatever reason didn't feel led to give before, and He is bringing them to us, and as they hear His voice and obey, He is growing our support. That is glorious. That is God building our support, in ways that we could never do.

Tomorrow, whatever happens, we will do it in faith. We will not make our decision based on fact and "common sense", only wisdom from a living God can help us now, and that has already been promised!

Keep an eye out for more countdown,

Happy Trails,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: Don't Get Suckered - How to survive college debt free and with your shirt

I just got finished reading "Don't Get Suckered" by Josh Lawson.
In DGS, you will find many helpful tips and skills for living a life debt free. The first half primarily deals with how to attend college without accruing debt, but the later half pertains to anyone, and has some excellent tools for living a life financially free from debt.

My initial reaction was one of regret. I graduated from college many years ago, and I had college debt. If I had been told all these things 12 years ago, how different would things have been. Even so, I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but definitely it will do the most good for someone who is still in high school. I would recommend though, if you are giving it to a high schooler, don't hand this to them and expect them to read and implement this lessons in this book on their own. The ideas shared are not the norm in our culture and it would be wise to walk through this book with them.

Despite the fact that it is too late for me to go through college debt free, there are still many tools and mindsets that I can use in my family today in this book. And Josh doesn't just share good information, he also delivers it with humor and without making it too serious. It is a fast read, but one that you will want to highlight and go over again and again as you set your financial life straight!

Don't get suckered into thinking you don't need what this book has, get it and read it today!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I let the boat do the work

Fellow Travelers,

The past month or so has been a really interesting time. We have seen God do amazing things, and He has called us to really rely on Him, more so then we probably have had to in our entire lives.

This morning I was just praying and thinking about how crazy it is, the way God has continually encouraged me to wait and trust Him to bring what we need. And then I had this hilarious realization...its like I am sailing:

And just like Bob, I am learning to let go of the shore, where I can feel in control, and I am can "see" fruit for "my" labor. But in the end I have to come to the same conclusion that Bob does, my secret is not that I am a good sailor, my secret is that I let the boat do all the work.

So as you see us sail off on our journey to Portugal, and beyond, all I can say is "Ahoy! I sail, I'm a sailor!" But only because I am on a really good boat.

Happy Trails,


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's going down!

Fellow Travelers,

It has been quite awhile since I last sincere apologies for anyone who has been emotionally or physically crushed by my internet absence.

But you will be please to know that I am making a comeback and I have added a nice gadget that will allow you to follow my through your email! Yeah for you!

I have some other good news as well. Over the past 2 weeks God has been speaking some really exciting things. Actually He has been confirming things He first spoke almost 6 months ago!

We felt like God was telling us to "Act like we are leaving". We weren't sure what that meant at first, but as we prayed it became very clear that the time had come to step out in faith and (even though we were still only at 66% of our monthly budget) start preparing and planning on leaving Sept 30!

You read that correctly, we are just 6 weeks away from our target departure date...CRAZY!!!
For now, it is still a major faith step, mostly because we still need to raise $1600 in monthly and $38,000 in one-time support...but God has stirred our hearts to action, and we moving!

Throughout these past few months, God has been really speaking and showing His faithfulness, and because of that we are confident in Him and His ability to do a miracle and get us to Portugal, despite any shortcomings I may have.

Keep an eye out for more encouraging news!

Happy Trails!