Archive for September, 2009

Houston Update

September 26, 2009
How happy we are if the hurricanes
that blow across life’s raging sea
have the effect of making Jesus more precious to us!
It is better to weather the storm with Christ
than to sail smooth waters without Him

J.R. Macduff

Todd has arrived safely in Houston.  Thanks ever so much for all your prayers as he travels.  We feel God’s hand upon us, and take great comfort in His presence.



September 25, 2009

Please pray for Todd today as he travels to Houston.  Those of us back at the trailer would also appreciate your prayers as we study, write, and talk together.  We have gotten used to spreading out our study materials on library tables and this will be five days of home-study, in which tables are also used as surfaces for cooking preparation, ironing, eating, and sleeping.  

I met a woman at the public laundry late last night and we talked for a long time.  Her perspective on her growing up experience (as the first-born of six children in a military family that moved from Alaska to Florida to Libya to Japan and to many points in between) was a breath of fresh air.  She was incredibly positive about her childhood, and was very encouraging in her observations of our lifestyle.  Her can-do spirit that looked back with such gratitude for the multitude of experiences she had had, and for the bonding that came with “doing without” opened my eyes to see the gifts that God has given our family in this lifestyle of Sacrifice and Plenty. 

Thank-you for your continued prayers for us.  Mail arrived this week, with a thousand dollars in cheques. Every dollar is a Great Gift and we thank-you for looking out for us especially during this time of financial squeezing that so many of us are facing.


Todd Goes to Houston

September 22, 2009

Lord-willing, Todd leaves Friday for a few days in Houston and will return next Wednesday.  Please pray for safety as he travels, and for Godward-focused meetings in the days ahead.  Also, we ask for your prayers for those of us who will be staying put;  Austin-Hans and Ike both have exams in October, and there remain many hours of study between now and then.


The Immensity of the Love of God

September 22, 2009

“Circumstances are not the barometer of God’s love and goodness — the cross is.”

(Raymond and Martha Dueck, on the death of their daughter)


Do you have a Tara?

September 21, 2009

At dinner last night, we were discussing the concept of sheltering, and the popular greenhouse analogy, with all its potential strengths and weaknesses.  As an addendum to that talk, our Second Son shared this quote with me, (from the true story of three-year old Tara as told by Amy Carmichael, during Amy’s work in India):

“There is much to be done for all our children, but perhaps for Tara especially, if she is to grow up strong in soul to fight the battles of life. We felt this more than ever on the day of our last return from the hills, after nearly seven weeks’ absence. On the evening when we left them, we had gone round the nurseries after the little ones had fallen asleep, and said goodbye to each of them without their knowing it; but when we came to Tara’s mat, and kissed the little sleeping face, she stirred and said, “Amma!” in her sleep; and we stole away fearing she should wake and understand. Now in the early morning we were home again, and all the children who were up were on the verandah to welcome us, each in her own way. It was Tara’s way which troubled us.

At first most of the little ones were shy, for six weeks are like six years to the very young; but soon there was a general rush and a thoroughly cheerful chatter. Tara did not join in it. She stood outside the little dancing dazzle of delight—the confusion of little animated coloured dots is rather like the shake of a kaleidoscope—and she just looked and looked. Then, as we drew her close, the little hands felt and stroked one’s face as if the evidence of eye and ear were not enough to make her sure beyond a doubt that her own had come back to her; and then, as the assurance broke, she clung with a little cry of joy, and suddenly burst into tears.

If only we could hold her safe and sheltered in our arms forever! How the longing swept through one at that moment: for the winds of the world are cold. But it cannot be, it should not be, for such love would be weak indeed. Rather do we long to brace the gentle nature so that its very sensitiveness may change to a tender power, and the fountain of sweet waters refresh many a desert place. But who is sufficient for even this? Handle the little soul carelessly, harden rather than brace, misinterpret the broken expression, misunderstand the signs—and the sweet waters turn to bitterness. God save us from such mistake!

We covet prayer for our children. We want to know that around them all is thrown that mysterious veil of protection which is woven out of prayer. We need prayer, too, for ourselves, that our love may be brave and wise.”


The Peace of Obedience

September 19, 2009

George McDonald, in Unspoken Sermons, wrote:

“What if God does not want me to have what I need at this moment?”

“If he does not want you to have something you value, it is to give you instead something He values.”

“And if I do not want what He has to give me?”

“If you are not willing that God should have His way with you, then, in the name of God, be miserable–until your misery drives you to the arms of the Father.”

“Oh, but this is only about a mundane matter. I do trust him in spiritual matters.”

Everything is an affair of the spirit. If God has a way of dealing with you in your life, it is the only way. Every little thing in which you would have your own way has a mission for your redemption. And He will treat you as a willful little child until you take your Father’s way for your own.”


Littlest One has a Birthday

September 17, 2009

Happy 11th to a very cheerful child!


Granny-Harlin Birthday Braids in process.

Todd’s Update

September 16, 2009

“…stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
When Colleen and I and the kids struck out across the continent, across a language barrier, and across part of the Atlantic five years ago, we had to bite into the meat of the verse above. I remember my last look back at our home town as we pulled onto the freeway headed north, and we waved goodbye. This took some boldness, and it took soundness of mind.
This evening, a long day behind me, I sit beneath a Texas live oak, and I am thanking the Lord that He has given me a sound mind regarding the weeks ahead.
When we left Turlock, we left behind a lot. We have written already about these things: we still miss what we released: our closely-knit community, our labrador dogs, our gardens, our pool, our own home, our little half-acre in the California countryside. Yet God had stirred gifts in us, and the use of these abilities for His purpose and glory far-outweighed the pull of friends, dogs, cats, the home, and the predictable paycheck.
We are still in Texas, and our hearts, at one level, are longing for the ‘home’ of California and the West Coast. Yet God has stirred me and has given me a spirit of gratitude, confidence, and firmness of mind relative to the near future. In His wisdom He has not given us blessing to move on to the west (i.e. the freedom to move forward with all financial obligations met). He has given me a significant load of ministry work in this region, and perhaps this is the reason He wants us here.

 In addition, I continue to come alongside believers by phone, by letter, by email, and by appointment. I am working on ‘tentmaking’ opportunities in the area, as we do not know how long we will be here.  Please pray for wisdom as I divide up my time.
For those of you in the west, Lord-willing we will see you soon; when we do, we will have the full confidence that we are where God has ordained us to be.
We continue to hear stories of great economic difficulty, and our hearts stand with you who are hurting. We thank all who have helped the ministry this summer. Our gratitude to you is deep and wide.
Stirred for the risen Christ alone,


September 16, 2009

Back to studies.  School for the boys starts at 6:30 and ends at dinner time.  School for the girls starts at 9 and ends at dinner time. 

Todd is wrapping up administrative board work, and taking care of a crisis (long-distance)  in one of the summer circuit churches.

I am writing material for the French believers in Quebec/France.



September 16, 2009

Sunday, as people began to arrive (there are just three of us in our row, as the older children were in the balcony tuning instruments and setting up for the service)


In the balcony: