Archive for July, 2009

Exam Prep

July 30, 2009

Tomorrow is the first of two days of testing; this morning, the boys were up extra early to hit the books with a final push before exams.  In between phone calls, Todd has been writing an article for translation into French. 

We’ve been asked to have the children play both at the morning service as well as at the evening service on Sunday.  Since the boys will be done with exams some time Saturday (afternoon?), they won’t have much time to practice, and as they’ve not practiced all week…well, I know they’d appreciate your prayers.

Report of God’s Provision: we are waiting for this week’s mail drop. We are indeed grateful for your prayers!

 

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Arkansas

July 28, 2009

We have arrived in Arkansas, somewhat tired, the boys concerned about upcoming exams, yet all of us refreshed by the encounters we have had over the last two weeks with strong-families-of-excellence.  We are exceedingly grateful for those who have gone before us:  for their godly example, for their open arms of hospitality, for their sharing of life stories.

Exams start Friday.  Tuesday through Thursday we will catch up on paperwork and phone calls.  And I will read snippets of Mr. Popper’s Penguins to the youngest child, who is too young to remember our first time through it.

Report of God’s Provision:  Every week, when the mail is forwarded, we are amazed at God’s surprises.  Long ago we learned to not even attempt to humanly figure out how God would provide.  There are new names attached to donations in the mail, and a handful of faithful familiar names, and with each gift, we feel the same wonder and gratitude towards God, who is omniscient and omnipotent…and wonderfully caring.

God’s Faithful Care

July 25, 2009

I digress from the story of our summer circuit to address a handful of friends whose stories have really touched me:  their husbands are out of work, their children are many, their options are few.

If you are one of these who have recently shared your story with us, know that our God is faithful. Every moment we indulge in gratitude to His glory reminds us of the faithfulness and the goodness of our heavenly father.  This story, told by Patricia Youngman, is for you:

“My parents married at eighteen and had ten children. In 1930, when I was six, my father lost his job. The Great Depression had arrived and the job market began to dry up, so he went from door to door in Waukegan, Illilnois, asking whether people had painting, paperhanging, or other odd jobs for him. He swallowed his pride and went to township offices to plead for help. Every other day or so, he brought home a bushel basket of coal in a little red wagon, coal he found along the railroad tracks where it fell from coal cars and trains. He soled our shoes on a last in the basement, shoes that had already been passed on from one child to the next. He put layers of cardboard in his own shoes to cover the holes so he could walk to the local factories and wait outside all morning for the labor bosses to choose day laborers. Sometimes he was chosen, more often he wasn’t.

He demonstrated his love by the small things he did each day. He was always the last one to bed and the first one up. That meant banking the coal stoves so they wouldn’t go out during the night, and fanning them back to life in the morning. By the time we got up, we could flip from front exposure to rear exposure in front of the hot stove, keeping at least half of our body warm while we dressed. He always had water heated on the stove for washing faces and hands, and a pan of cocoa, made with one part cocoa, two parts canned milk, seven parts water, and a bit of sugar. He made toast on some kind of wire contraption on top of the coal stove. Whenever possible, he insisted that my mother stay in bed with whoever was the current baby, and he brought her a tray with cocoa and toast.

Thanks to Daddy, we never knew we were dirt poor until we were grown. He protected us from it all. He saw that we were fed, even though our food was largely beans, peas, and whatever he could raise in a small garden. We were housed, even though we had to move frequently to places with cheaper and cheaper rent. When he talked to us about those moves, he made them seem like exciting adventures. Most of all, we always knew we were loved and would be cared for.”

Quick Update

July 24, 2009

We are headed to Arkansas for test proctoring, with church in St. Louis, Sunday, and a long day of driving on Monday.  Please pray for wisdom, for direction, and for safety.

The Promises of God

July 13, 2009

 

JOSH 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

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Birthday Girl

July 13, 2009

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Psalm 139:13-16

 13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Tuesday After Work

July 9, 2009

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The boys were asked to load some hay at a farm out of town last night.  The work was light, and their hearts even lighter – physical work is welcome relief from days of sitting with study books and computers.  Physical work alongside believers-with-integrity is a huge boost to all of us. This fellow is a real gem, a spiritual patriarch in this town.

When they returned from the farm to the village centre, they met a man who gave them bread for our breakfast.

Mail Arrives!

July 7, 2009

You’d think we were in our winter home, tucked away on isolated islands, for when the mail arrives (in this case, the UPS driver), there is so very much excitement.  We are exceedingly grateful for each letter and each gift that brightens our lives.

We are staying here in northern Indiana until our bills are completely paid.  Our faith is being stretched and strengthened.  Many of you relate to lean times with the economy as it is;  we pray that you would continue to look to every big and little way that God is providing for your needs.  Elizabeth Elliott writes:  “Paul made it perfectly clear that his contentment had nothing to do with how desirable his circumstances were. ‘I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities.’…How, then, did it work? It worked by a mysterious transforming power, something that reversed things like weakness and hardship, making them into strength and joy. …The promise of Christ was not for Paul alone. “My grace is sufficient for you.” It’s a gift to be accepted. If we refuse it, nothing will be enough….”

Todd came home around 11 last night. I heard bags rustling as he put things into the little refrigerator.  In the morning, we saw the sacks of southern biscuits, the gravy, the popcorn, and the cereal mix that he had been given by one who knew nothing of our need.  Then this morning, the boys met an Amish farmer who asked them if our family could use some extra vegetables he had in his garden. 

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The Longest Wait

July 6, 2009

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I think this is the longest wait yet. 

The longest wait for mail was 31 days. That was in our second year on the field. This wait –for God’s provision to move on– is happening just as we enter our sixth year.

Christ’s promise: “My grace is sufficient for you”.

Prayer for Families with Teens

July 4, 2009

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Time to Stop.   Think about Jesus.   Love each other.

Todd has been burning the candle at both ends and in significant chunks right out of the middle and we are worn out.  With nighttime turn-in landing somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m. consistently this week, as well as entire days devoted to the needs of those God has put on his path, it is a blessing to our family that a couple of times a week he goes out for an hour ride’s with the children.  My frequent prayer is: Send More Workers!   

Some of the key issues out there have to do with families falling apart in the 11th hour. Somewhere in the late teens, all the unwise freedoms and the seeds of dissatisfaction, the counterproductive music and the accumulation of nonnurturing experiences away from parental oversight have grown unwatched into adults marked by undesirable behavior and immature, rash thoughts with little self-control and even less principle-based living.  We’re not talking about wildly rebellious young adults here;  we’re talking about children floundering when they should be flourishing.

When I hear so many sad stories out there of young adult children who veer widely from the godly vision parents once had for them, I quake in my boots thinking about all the gaps in our family that we don’t spend the right amount of time filling with godly training.  We had the privilege of breakfast with a missionary couple last week who –unaware of our recent counseling with fractured families– said something that spoke right into my soul:  “keep your family a priority, right next to your relationship to God, and don’t sacrifice family on the altar of ministry”.  He said he lost his own sons and daughters because he didn’t put them in their proper place in his priorities.  Now that he is in his seventies, he is slowly gaining back their hearts.

Do you want some good news?  Thursday, Todd and our oldest son spent over four hours with a 20 year old guy who told us that when he was 18 and not a believer, he frequently heard older people pray for his salvation, and he stubbornly thought in his heart, “I won’t let them have their prayers answered”.  Yet God drew this young man’s heart to Himself, bit by bit, until His overwhelming love and abundant mercy won over human pride and stubbornness.  What a great encouragement to each of us to pray unceasingly for our children.

As for the Report of God’s Provision, we remain in northern Indiana, ministering, waiting on God, and carving out an hour here and a half hour there to nurture the bonds of family. 

Happy 4th of July to all of you!