Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Family Sacrifice


 Our families

Here is an exerpt from our last newsletter on sacrifice.
For every missionary, the sacrifice looks different but there is definitely something each one gives up. For me and Kevin it is not being able to see our families for 3-4 years at a time, missing out on birthdays, holidays, and other family get togethers.
There is a sacrifice that the family members of a missionary have to make as well. For example, the parents of the missionary will miss being near their grandchildren. They probably won’t get to see them graduate, attend all their birthday parties, see them lose their first tooth, read them bedtime stories, take them clothes shopping, or babysit them. I imagine it’s the little things that sting the most, the moments when you’d do anything just to be able to hug and kiss your grandchild instead of just talking on Skype. So to these our family members: Bill and Earline, Angie, Mike, Michaela, and Macey, Roy, Betty Jo, and Joannis we just want to tell you how much we love you and will miss you while we are gone. You are all a blessing to us and we appreciate so much the sacrifice you have made as well as you have supported us over the years as we have served in Zambia.
This time as we leave we will be leaving behind Zach and Justin. It seems our family continues to be separated and it doesn’t get any easier. We love you and are so proud of you both. It is especially hard leaving you both to take care of yourselves. I know it is a part of growing up, just wish we didn’t have to be so far apart! You are always in our prayers and just a phone call away.
Thank you all for your sacrifice!
Prayer supporters please, as you pray for us, remember our families as well.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What's been happening?

January 15th, after traveling for 24 hours we arrived in Lusaka, Zambia.  The flights went pretty well and we were actually able to sleep quite a bit this time.  As we were about to board the plane in Washington DC the woman standing at the gate pulled me aside and said your bag is too heavy so we will have to put it below and check it all the way to Lusaka.  This kind of caught us off guard so Kevin said he would stay and take care of that and for me and Hannah to go ahead and get on the plane.  We didn't have any identification on it and it was not locked.  It was a carry on so we didn't really need that. The woman was able to at least put zipties on it.  Kevin thought to get my medicine out of the outside pocket but that was it.  As we sat on the plane with my piece of luggage being stored below we began to think about all that was in that bag.  My purse with credit cards and money, all my jewelry, and my camera.  We just began to pray because that would have been such a pain to have to worry about getting that all replaced.  Sure enough when we arrived that bag was missing.  Oh, we hardly slept that night worrying about that suitcase.   The next morning Kevin went straight away to get our internet set up and as soon as it was he looked online to see if anyone was using our credit cards and thankfully they were not.  The next flight from SA came in at 12:45 that next day.  When Kevin got there they were taking it off the belt and handed it right to Kevin.  Praise God the zipties were still on it and nothing was stolen.
We were greeted by several in our mission family when we finally came out!  It was so good to see everyone in person again after being apart from them for 6 months.  When they brought us home we found some food in our refrigerator and roses on the table. What a blessing!  Then for the next several nights friends had us in their homes for dinner.  It was such a blessing at the end of the day after unpacking and cleaning to not have to think about cooking dinner.   
It's amazing to me how dirty a house can get in 6 months even though the windows are shut!  A friend even came over and swept and cleaned the floors before we got here.  So for a week I did spring cleaning. I washed all the curtains, vacummed the mattresses, cleaned off all the shelves, unpacked our suitcases and boxes.  I had to even wipe off every video and book before I put them back on the shelves.  We were quite sore at the end of each day!
Kevin has been busy getting everything set back up like garbage pick up, internet and phone turned on, buying electricity, replacing many of our security lights which had gone out, getting interpol so we can travel to Malawi next week, taking care of our dog who had several bad sores on her, making contracts for our workers,  planning for 40/40 coming up in April, and still doing his job as CSL.  Our pump had broken while we were gone so he fixed that.  Then our freezer went out almost ruining 40 lbs of meat but thankfully we were able to get that fixed as well. 
Hannah started back to school this past week.  She quickly unpacked her room and got things set like she wanted.  She has enjoyed reconnecting with friends since being back.  She has also been able to babysit twice which she really missed while we were in America. 
We went to church on Sunday and it was so good to worship with Zambians and to sing and dance once again. We did notice very quickly how rusty our language is.  I had trouble remembering some of the songs and hearing what was being said.  So that is a big prayer request. 
I was able to go to the Ng'ombe compound one afternoon and visit with my friends and see all that they had done on the school while I was gone.  We sat and talked for two hours.  It was so much fun to catch up with them.  I'm looking forward to begin doing ministry out there once again after we get back from Malawi.  It was upsetting when they told me of several that I knew who had died while I was gone. 
The first week back was filled with some culture shock, sleepless nights, hard work during the days, and achy bodies at night.  It seemed to take us longer this time to adjust to being back and get over jetlag.  However, we are now on the other side of that and we are sleeping well at night, our house is unpacked(pretty much), and it is clean.  We appreciate so much all who have prayed for us this last week and  a half.  I know it was your prayers that carried us through each day especially in the beginning. 

Exerpt from Beth Moore-Breaking Free

Happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Lord, they walk in the light of Your presence.  Psalm 89:15

"When my sweet daddy had a stroke, I rode with him in the ambulance.  The paramedics were wonderful and, although I appreciated what they did in our period of crisis, we didn't trade phone numbers or plan to have lunch. 
Sometimes we approach God the same way.  He gets us through an emergency, and we appreciate it.  But we don't necessarily stay in close touch once the trouble passes.  It is not during crisis, however, that we develop an appreciation for God's presence. Pure appreciation for His presence emerges from the daily walk, in the mundane more than the miraculous."  -Beth Moore

As I read this one morning I began thinking of how so many people in the world live from crisis to crisis.  They seem to get right with God and call on His name and for His help during a crisis but then just forget about Him afterwards until the next crisis.  Oh how this must hurt God!   In this new year of 2014 let's walk with God each day and strive to be transformed from the inside out.  Let's keep our focus on God.  Let's allow Christ to set the pace of our life and then just hold His hand in childlike trust and walk with Him step by step.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God, and was going back to God, rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself about. Then He poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.”
--- John 13:3-5

Well, 2013 is gone and the New Year is upon us. With this New Year comes a new opportunity for us to serve in the Zambezi cluster. Things will be a little different now as we leave two sons here and go back with Hannah, but in many ways things will still be the same in 2014. I will continue to serve as CSL in our cluster, we will continue to live in Zambia and we will continue to try and reach the lost and build His kingdom. Each time we return from furlough we reconsider our call and where the Lord would have us serve. It is not always easy to leave America behind, but as our departure day draws near we can’t help but get excited. Of course we will miss home and our family back here, but we look forward to our friends and ministry in Africa. Each time we return, we do so prayerfully because we want to be where He wants us to be. I can honestly say that the Lord has not yet released us from the burden of lostness in our cluster.
I think it is important, from time to time, to do some serious soul searching and consider if you are where God wants you to be. We often serve out of habit or duty, and it is healthy to revisit your calling. It is interesting to notice in the verses above that there were three things that preceded the Lord’s service to the disciples. In short, Jesus knew where He had come from, He knew where He was going, and He knew who He was. He had come from God, He was going back to God (via Calvary) and He was the Son of God. This prompted him to cast aside his splendor for a moment and kneel to do a menial task.
I know where I have come from, and the road the Lord has walked with me to this point. I remember the darkness and the despair of my lost life before I met Jesus. I can still remember that dorm room in April of ’85 where I gave my life to Christ. I can still remember, later that year at Explo ’85 in Atlanta, GA when I stood with Bill Bright and thousands of others and committed to go wherever, and do whatever He called me to do. I can see down through the corridors of the past the journey that has led me to Africa and even to this day. I know where I came from and I know who I am in Christ. I also know this burning call in my heart that tells me where I am going… back to the nations, back to the lost, back to the heart of the Zambezi cluster. Some day He may release me, but that day has not yet come.
I thank you all for praying for us as we go back to lay it all on the line one more time. Once you know where you came from, where you are going and who you are… there is nothing else to do but kneel down and start serving. I pray for you that this New Year will be a time of reflection upon where you came from, where you are headed and who you really are. I pray the Lord would give you a sense of genuine purpose for 2014 and a renewal of your calling to serve Him where He has placed you.
Blessings, Kevin