Archive for November, 2008

Men at Work

November 15, 2008

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When studies are over, and ministry projects are done for the day, the building in process next door calls to my sons.  They’ve befriended the father/son who are working there, and they’re having a great time hammering nails into boards as they help to get the plywood on the studs.  This work has been a welcome diversion from the stress of not knowing where home will be come December. 

All of the children are experiencing emotional ups and downs that are unusual to their temperaments.  Todd and I really appreciate your prayers for them.

Continued Prayer

November 14, 2008

It is now two weeks that we have been separated by these strange circumstances. I miss Colleen and the children.  I miss gathering together, sharing stories and talking of the goodness of God.   I even miss our life together in the tiny trailer, so recent yet seemingly so far away now.  Yet today is full of the promise of a saving and loving God. 

As I write, the sun is setting behind the hill and Entry Island in the distance has that soft shade of indigo upon it and though the sunlight is waning, the work is not. I have two counseling appointments this evening, each bearing its own particular sorrows and entrapments.  I thank you for your prayers.  I know that you are praying; God is stirring hearts.  Many people are responding to the message of renewing their first love for Jesus, and digging deeper into what it means to follow Him. 

Though I intensely miss my family, my heart is full with the affirmation of God’s presence and His multiplying of our investment here.  I am confident that the Lord will soon show us the right path forward.

As for the ministry finances, we are greatly encouraged by the supportive emails some of you have sent, the recent phone calls from friends across the States, and by the donations that have arrived in the last few days.

Proverbs 16:9  A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his paths.

 

Spurgeon’s Input

November 12, 2008

This morning, one of the boys showed me this text from Spurgeon:

November 12-Morning  {Daily Reading: #Ac 9:1-10:48} {Quick Study: #Ac 16:1-18:28}

 

“The trial of your faith.” {#1Pe 1:7}

 

   Faith untried may be true faith, but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators. When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship moves not to its harbour; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush howling forth, and let the waters lift up themselves, then, though the vessel may rock, and her deck may be washed with waves, and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway towards her desired haven. No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity. Tried faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness had you not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s strength had you not been supported amid the water floods. Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too.

 

   Let not this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without seeking them: the full portion will be measured out to you in due season. Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise him for that degree of holy confidence whereunto you have attained: walk according to that rule, and you shall yet have more and more of the blessing of God, till your faith shall remove mountains and conquer impossibilities.

Sunday news from Todd

November 12, 2008

Sunday morning, I woke up refreshed and full of encouragement.  I had gone to sleep missing my family and discouraged, but God, in His mercy, renewed my mind and restored my hope upon waking.

I went downstairs, prayed, made coffee, and read Psalm 119.  I left for the church meeting on the next island amidst heavy fog. At the little church, I was greeted at the door by blind Micheline, who recognized my voice and gave me a tremendously welcoming and joyful reception.  I wish you could have seen her face:  she is so full of joy!  I listened to the morning message, not able to follow all of it.  and I prayed fervently to the Lord to make a way for me to increase my French ear training and improve my faltering pronunciation.  

Then just after the meeting, I was approached by a couple (Leo and Cynthia) who want me to help them learn more English and who will help me with French in return. By the time I left the building for a meeting with another believer over coffee, I had a full week of appointments scheduled with various individuals and couples for counseling, leadership consultation, and language practice. After a 3 hour meeting at La Patio, I drove home under a spectacular lightening storm and arrived to find the house rattling with thunder and the power flickering off and on.

Later in the evening, the McCordics called from Washington. What a shot in the arm this call was! We talked for nearly two hours about their work in French Africa, in Quebec, and in France. They were tremendously encouraging with their observations about Quebec history and culture, with their enthusiasm for the spiritual harvest here, and with their insight on my language development.

All in all, it was a day full of purpose and reinforcement of my conviction that the Lord wants us here this year.  I am concerned about the delay in getting the rest of the family to the islands, but I am confident that the way will be made clear in His time, not ours.

Pray for the mail to be sped by God’s hand.

Stripping Away Distractions

November 9, 2008

We end the week, settled in to the place God wants us:  Todd is on the Magdalen Islands, where he had to go to pay our landlord for the first month of our house rental, a commitment we had made months prior to this financial dry season;  the children and I are waiting on neighbouring Prince Edward Island (in a long-term non-housekeeping pay-by-the-month motel) until we are able to pay bills and afford the trip “home”.

Todd’s computer died last night.  Gone to computerland are the notes he was going to read, the documents our sons had sent along with him, the themes he was going to study, the opportunity to send email, and the option of checking the ministry bank account.  Ah, God is stripping away the bits we put into life, the good things which are potential distractions.  Todd keeps reminding me that He wants our hearts, and especially our minds, which we so easily fill with “stuff”.  When we empty our minds of all but Him, He can fill us up with His goodness, and work through us. 

One of the girls has had another eye infection, serious enough to bring us to an eye doctor.  The eye doctor spent 45 minutes with us, gave us her home phone number and the number of someone she had met on the Magdalens.  God is so good to us. 

Our oldest daughter’s eye is going to be fine (thank-you, Jesus), and she is cooking up a storm in her one-pot, half-counter kitchen.

Today’s verse for thought:  I Thessalonians 2:17-18 “But we…being taken from you for a short time, in presence, not in heart, endeavour more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore, we would have come unto you, even I, Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”

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First snow at the motel

November 7, 2008
First Snow

First Snow

News from Todd

November 7, 2008

Some snippets from one of Todd’s emails from the Magdalen Islands:

“Good morning family,
 
Well, it’s actually noon here, though it feels fresh like morning. Wish you were here, once again today. The sun is brilliant over the bay, a gentle wind is combing the grass, and those little rose-colored wildflowers are bobbing around in the sunshine…

Last night at the prayer meeting in Dune-du-Sud, I saw Renard, Claude and Annette, Noelle, Jacinthe, and Marcel & Suzanne. After prayer, they served pies, cookies, chips, etc. Before I left, Claude, in absolutely classic form,[Colleen’s note: he’s like a huge teddy bear, generous with kindness] nodded to me as if to say ‘Wait a minute; I have a little something.’ He disappeared out the front door and came back in a moment with a big grocery bag. Then he started kind of murmuring his very island French, and pulling things out of the bag to show me what he had brought for me. There were just-past-their-due-date cookie bars from the bakery where he works as the maintenance guy, clams (‘palourdes’), and mackerel. Then He started bumping about in the kitchen and at the table and gathering more things for me such as the rest of the chips, an unopened jar of salsa, etc. Before I knew it, Jacinthe and Noelle had raided their freezer, and, despite my now-increasing protests, were handing me stacks of containers of preserved cooked lobster and crab.
 
Next, Annette kind of threw back her head, and with a flourish, waved the keys to her little Honda sports car at me, saying “I don’t need it; I can ride with him (throwing a timid look at Claude, who grinned widely).” So I got a quick lesson on where everything was on the car, stumbled out with my load of goods, calling out ‘merci’s’ all around, and buzzed home in the little 5-speed toy.
 
Needless to say, I felt the welcome of not only this small group, but of the Lord Himself, through this experience. One of the encouraging things is that this group [a splinter group from the main church] is just seeking God quietly. They don’t seem to have any agenda but to be together before the Lord, to worship Him, and to grow in knowing Him. They seem to need direction, yet they don’t seem at all to be languishing.
 
Well, those are just a few thoughts to try to include you all in these very unusual days…”
 

 

The Scheduling Project

November 6, 2008

Since this is a group project, the autumn schedule for our homeschooling family is still a work in process.   The issues brought to the table in the last couple of days have been fascinating.  One of our sons addressed his own need to be more purpose driven in his music practice.  Some of the children confessed to time-waster activities.  We talked about bracketing and compartmentalizing, about “big rocks” and about “sand” in our lives. 

I’d love to hear from any of you who have scheduling ideas that have really worked for you.

George Mueller Report:  we are, in a word, trusting.  We want only God’s will, and so we choose to be grateful for His leading, as hard as it may be.

 

Wednesday’s Cut’N’Polish

November 5, 2008

Years ago, when the children were much younger, we decided to abolish the weekend crazies (all that preparation that happens so that we enter the new week feeling fresh and tidy).  Instead, we began the practice of Cut’N’Polish, in which our world is refreshed every Wednesday:  linens are washed, hair is trimmed, nails are cut, and so much more.  This habit has sewn peace into the fabric of our calendar.

We’re in the process of re-doing our schedule and hope to implement changes as of tomorrow morning, changes that will help us not only cope with, but thrive in, our current situation. Seven lives (one of them 5 hours out to sea) must dovetail all our responsibilities, activities, desires, hopes and dreams;  there are probably two or three more mealtime discussions before we pull together all the little ends into one strong rope, and I’m anticipating the final product, a schedule in which we all feel a sense of ownership and mutual support.   

 

Election Day in America

November 4, 2008

An excerpt from an email Todd sent to me on the weekend:

What a momentus time we are living in. I think it is important that the children, (especially the boys), are taking prayer time these days–for the reunification of family, for personal godliness, for the protection of you all, and for God’s glory in our nation and all that is taking place. These are very unusual times, indeed, yet I am in great peace and anticipation of all He is doing and will do if we seek Him with all our hearts and with holiness in all our ways. Let’s remember to pour out our hearts to the Lord in gratitude for each dollar that comes in, and to pray blessing over those who are giving.