Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Family Purpose Statement

I recently purchased Organized Simplicity from because pretty much anything that Ann Voskamp recommends I feel is worth reading. I've been planning a house purge for the month of July since about April. So, this book is coming at the perfect time.

The great thing about Tsh (the author) is that she hasn't written another self-help, run of the mill, cookie-cutter home book. She's written a well-thought, goal based method for concentrating on the things that are important to you and your family. She says one of the first things that you should do before simplifying things at home is to determine and write out your FAMILY PURPOSE STATEMENT.

Do you have one for your family? Well, I must be living under a rock because we don't....I mean not specifically...nope...we don't. So, I've been giving a lot of thought to it....I've asked Bruce to think about what he feels our family purpose is so that we can begin to put together our statement. I've been thinking beyond today and to what I really hope that my kids will grow up to be ...Christlike, grace-filled, compassionate, loving, sacrificial, humble. Tsh says that once you've determined your family's purpose statement that you organize and simplify your home according to that purpose. So when you make purchases you ask how that purchase will help you fulfill or incorporate your purpose statement.

This makes perfect sense to me. But she goes further. She talks about filling our schedules and lining them up with the purpose statement. How does this or that activity reflect God's purpose for your family. Working late, soccer practice, music lessons....none are wrong or bad in and of themselves, but when they interfere with the purpose God has designed for your family, they can become a distraction to doing what God wants your family to do.

In the next few days I will be posting our purpose the meantime if you're curious about Family Purpose Statements you can check out this: THE SIMPLE MOM

Let me know if you decide to start working on your family purpose statement....or if you already have one leave a post in the comments.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Right Thing To Say

I'm not an overly depressed person. I don't usually stay completely overwhelmed by life's trials for a long period of time. I've learned through the years to surround myself with friends who will call me out on self-pity, inquire when I am in a funk and love me enough to cry with me...or tell me to get over it. I'm blessed to have a few friends who will be that iron-sharpens-iron gals in my life.

However....just like you (I'm guessing), sometimes life throws me a curve call and I get sad or mad and God sends just the right person to say just the right thing my way to speak truth, grace, joy and peace over my life.

Something like that happened the other day. I heard an encouraging word that not only blessed me, but Bruce too. Hearing that you are valued, gifted, talented, special, unique, hardworking, dedicated... not only did just the trick for our spirits but motivated us to keep at it...keep on, work hard. Sometimes you need to hear it from someone you know isn't just stroking your ego....but from someone who has taken a hard look and watched with a discerning heart...someone who has even walked in your shoes a mile or two. The last thing you or anyone needs to hear is a fake compliment...or worse yet, a complete lie.

I'm thankful for a man who was pure in motive, gave some wonderful insight, spoke a word in season and loved us enough to make the time to say something nice. It made me think a little about the times that God has prompted me to encourage or bless someone with a compliment or a good word. The Bible tells us that a good worker is due praise,  Christians should edify one another, and that a word spoken at the right time is beautiful. I'm motivated to really take a look around me and look at the many people that are doing wonderful things for the kingdom of God. Because, just like the soothing balm the words of an encourager were to me, a word spoken at just the right time, might be just the thing someone who is discouraged and disheartened needs to hear.

On a side note....sometimes when you're feeling sorry for yourself or having a bad day....speak an encouraging word to someone else and you may just find your day gets better too!

Leave a comment to share how you've been encouraged by someone else or if you have an idea that would encourage someone else. I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Girl and The Boy

Savannah and Tucker.....

We're in the midst of a extremely busy-wonderful-tiring-exhilarating week of VBS at church. Don and April Claphan along with their daughter are with us and Don is doing a fantastic job sharing Mythbuster scenarios with the kids and already we are seeing the Lord work in little lives. It's beautiful to watch.

That being said, we started the week out wrong. Not intentionally, but after a late night reunion at Whataburger with the Claphan's and other friends, we didn't get the kids in bed at a decent hour on Sunday evening or Monday evening. So....Grumps and Grumpy, while extremely excited about VBS have been dragging a little more each day. So, last night we called in reinforcements for Tucker while we took our friends to dinner. Savannah went with us to visit with their daughter.

We were sitting at the local Mexican food place enjoying our chips and salsa when Savannah asked to go to the bathroom. She went. But when she didn't come back pretty quickly I went to check on her. She said she wasn't feeling good...but being the tough mom I am told her to go back to her seat, eat dinner and she would be fine. Besides....I had some leverage....she wanted red hair paint for her team spirit for VBS and walmart was the next stop after dinner. So, she went back to her seat, was feeling better, our meal was brought out, she ate, she threw up all over the table....yes, you read correctly....and then she spewed all over the table....NEARLY missing our friends daughter....but not quite. Yep...nearly...not quite. Geez...louise!!!

But...after that incident she was feeling GREAT! Well...of course she was....she had nothing in her tum-tum. So we proceeded to get all geared up for the red team at Walmart. We were perusing the craft department for face paint when Bruce came walking towards me with a panicked look...something that told me he had either knocked over something in the produce department or something was wrong at home....where TUCKER was. Yep...that was it. "My sister can't find Tucker". Um, that's not good. He reiterated this 10 times while I was standing there. Debbie, sister of Bruce, had called and said that they were playing and he hid and she couldn't find him and had even told him to come out....(even now, I'm chuckling because this is so TUCKER!) So after a few minutes she still can't find the little toot. Bruce grabbed the keys and was going to run to the house when finally....after 10 minutes or so, Tucker made an appearance. He is an expert hider....not so good on the seeker part. Relief rushed over Bruce's face....and in my mind I just chuckled....Tucker loves giving everyone a run for their money!

In the midst of all THAT.....Bruce invited our friends over to the house...the house that I have not touched to clean in several days since I have been sick. But thankfully, they looked beyond some dirty dishes, misplaced shoes and a little clutter and we enjoyed a nice evening of fellowship and Peruvian coffee. I like friends like that!

Now...the kids have been tucked in early....Savannah's feeling good, Tucker's been disciplined and I think the rest of the week will run more smoothly! We shall see! 

Thankful for these little people who add such flavor to my life! 

A head full of random

So if you've managed to survive the randomness that gets posted on this blog over the last few weeks and you're still with me....thank you! I was talking to a young man at church yesterday who said he's been reading my blog (which frankly scares me when men....young or old say that...since I never really gave a lot of thought to that.....I just thought only women would read it...) mainly to keep up with the Peru stuff and I warned him things can get pretty random here....So, Andrew, if you're still reading....this was what I was talking about!

Summer ....feels like it is just starting. Since the first few weeks out of school were pretty crazy getting things finalized for Peru, I don't really feel like we had a good grasp on the heavenly months of June, July and August. But now that we are back from the trip, have had a week to recover and are in the throws of VBS it "feels" more like the summers I know and love. If you know me at all....then you know that summer will bring some sort of decorating or renovating. I haven't quite decided what that will be yet since there's really not anything pressing that needs to be done, so maybe I'll just paint my old kitchen table with a chalkboard top and let the kids spend the summer creating fabulous chalk drawings for me. I'll be sure to talk before and after pictures....and if you've painted with chalkboard paint before and think there is a tip I MUST would be a good time to share that.

What I need to be spending time doing is.....working in my yard. I have a weed problem that I need to get a handle on...but doesn't that just scream BORING. However, I do love, love, love the results of a hard days work in the yard. So, after this week, that will be on my to do list.

What I've been reading....Lori Wick is known for easy writing...which makes for easy reading. I've had a touch of a "bug" since I got back from Peru and have had some down time. I picked up "Cassidy", which is part of the Big Sky Dreams collection, last week and breezed through it in 24 hours. If you're looking for an enjoyable Christian Fiction book I'd recommend it.

What I've been thinking about....are some women's ministry ideas that I'll be talking with Pastor about soon. Excited that God is allowing me to be a part of organizing and leading the special group of women in our church and community. I've also been thinking about what I can do to live out the things God taught me in Peru.

So there you have it...the long and short of what's going on in my head right now. This time will pass all too soon and it will be time to think about colors and shapes and letters and numbers....But, for now, I'm embracing today....and all the things God has for me now!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays #22-31

Feel free to share your Multitude of Blessings by leaving a comment or linking up at A HOLY EXPERIENCE.

22. Grandparents to help us with our kids at a moments or months notice. Thankful for all the help they offered as we prepared and traveled to Peru.

23. Simplicity of summer

24. 15 ladies who've studied with me for 13 weeks to be more grounded in God's word.

25. A man who snagged our Pizza Hut bill the other night while we were out.

26. A good sale on kid's clothes

27. Tree that fell on our house but caused no damage

28. The pleasure of reading a good book

29. The testimony of a faithful man who met Jesus this week, but lived Jesus' message for many years

30. Fresh tomatoes from a church member

31. That His mercies are new each morning

What about you? Do you see God's blessings in the everyday?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Take-Away - Review #7

I've had some time to really think about the things I will take away from this trip to Peru. Certainly all the obvious things like...

- I am more thankful than ever for hot water, toilet seats, toilet paper, ice, diet coke, air conditioning, grocery stores, American food

- I am more aware of the abundance I have material possessions, in my family relationships, in America

- Lost people are everywhere...sin levels the playing field and the grace story hits the homerun

But there were a few less obvious things that I am taking away. These things have just hit me this week as I've had time to really think about the reasons God allowed me this trip.

- God allowed us to witness some of the most amazing scenes while we were passing out tracts and Bibles....things like women kissing the Bible they held in their hands, sailors stopping to read the tracts handed to them, a construction foreman hoping that we had enough Bible's for the entire construction crew. There was such a hunger....why? And I've been wondering about myself in all my hunger that great? Is there an eagerness to share? Is there an aggressiveness to be sure those around me have God's Word? Is there a passion to be sure everyone gets a chance to hear? What does this look like for me? Am I willing to send, pray and go?

This was a little disheartening to see...A study of 1200 towns in America....but no fundamental church to attend...For argument's sake...let say that in reality there is at least one church in 1/2 these towns, since it's not clear when the study was done....still...look at the results:

Bob Jones University Study: 

Smaller Cities and Towns — Church Planting

We have identified almost 1200 smaller U.S. cities and towns with no known Fundamental churches within a 30-mile radius, to the best of our knowledge. Additional on-site investigation would be needed to fully verify the need. Here are the cities and towns of 5000 and more with no known Fundamental church.

Does this concern me like it concerned me about the people in Pichanaki or Lima? Because it can't just be an emotional thing....I want to know the burden across the board....a realization that world wide there are people who don't know about this amazing love the Father has for us....about His willing Son who was sacrificed and about the amazing miracle of a risen Savior. I'm committing to pray for these towns...that God would send laborers into the harvest and I'm wondering how else can I be a part of doing something to help reach these people and the people in my own town who have not heard. 

I guess I just don't want to be let off the hook. I don't want God to leave me alone just because I am not moving to Peru. I want to be bothered by the faces of lost people where I am at this moment. I want to be burdened by poverty, prostitution, slavery of any kind and sin. I want to feel those same emotions and longings toward the people in Sulphur Springs and the rest of the USA that I felt in Peru. Those feelings of hope, longing, desire for them to know the one who gives eternal life. I want to be as free to love someone living next door to me as I did Rita, a Peruvian woman who ran a store down from the church we were working at in Pichanaki. But, for some reason, it's hard to picture Texas, or the USA for that matter, needing the same thing Pichanakiairconditioning with a toilet seat and toilet paper matters nada if we don't know Jesus and His grace....Location is nothing....relationship is everything.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Got Fruit? Review #6

On Sunday morning the people in Pichanaki take it easy....stores open later, families spend some time catching up and a very few people go to church. Wisely, Brent and Miriam have decided that for now church will be in the evenings on Sundays until the church is established. So, that being said, on our Sunday morning there we didn't have church. Instead we passed out tracks, inviting people to church. Over a three day period of time our team passed out over 7,000 tracks, 400 Kid's Club invitations, and 600 Bibles. People were practically begging for the Bibles....over and over we saw people reading the tracks and the Bibles after we gave them away. They were hungry for something...

Such a stark contrast to what we see in America. On any given day you can have dozens of doors slammed in your face, or find discarded Christian literature littering the roads, or worse, encounter Christians who don't want to go to church even though they know what Christ has done for them. It's like the world is satisfied with what they have in America....wealth, cars, homes, clothes, pride....and yet, the one thing that would satisfy all those cravings is discarded in the street like an unclaimed coupon. What a shame.

In all the distributing we did for Brent and Miriam, I am overwhelmed with joy to announce a new sister in Christ. Poula came to know Jesus on Sunday Night while we were in Peru. After a simple service where the gospel was taught she stayed behind and talk to one of the workers and accepted the gift of salvation. More exciting news is that the next week she brought visitors with her! She's already bearing fruit!

What are we doing to bear fruit? Would we tell 7,000 people in America about Christ and be happy with one soul? Are we prepared to share the I know how to tell someone? do I carry some sort of literature or card or New Testament with me so others can be left with someone to ponder? do I pray that God will guide my path so that I will be able to share His story with someone? Just some things to think about...I want to bear fruit....but I am afraid that sometimes I don't make a plan! I completely "get" that it's the Holy Spirit's job to convict and woo.... but He uses people too and I'm more focused than ever to be prepared to be used!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reproduction - Review #5

"By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (John 15:8).

Oliver and Gloria Williams have been missionaries for 40 years in Peru. Can you say WOW???!!!! Not only is this a testimony to their own faithfulness to what God has called them to, it is also a glorious testimony to the never-ending faithfulness of our God. When we realize that He is forever faithful it is comforting, encouraging and reassuring....and energizes our efforts.

Over the 40 years they have served in Peru, they've started numerous churches, led young men and women through the Baptist Seminary in Lima, helped meet the physical needs of the poor and needy, mentored many and now, with the help from others are helping build a youth camp. While we were in Peru, our group had the blessing of spending our time with three of the most beautiful women who are a direct result of the work God has done through the Williams.

Kathy, Nilda and Yeraldine (although I am pretty sure I didn't spell that correctly) are three women who have been led to Jesus in Peru. All of them are less than 7 degrees removed from the Williams' ministry. During the week, these gals helped get our meals prepared, worked with the children's and youth ministry, led music, ran errands, taught the gringos a little Spanish, cleaned and pretty much anything else they were asked to do. Such sweet, giving servants who wanted to be a part of our trip to Peru.

These ladies were a huge blessing to everyone...but I couldn't help think about how rewarding it must be for the Williams to see fruit of their labor so willing and happy to be serving the Lord. I know this is a missionary's see fruit reproducing in the lives of the people who come to know Jesus. This is the dream of every worker in the field....that their seed would be harvested and be a crop that was hearty and healthy and viable. And as a I picture the ultimate Farmer surveying the field, I know when He looks at these ladies He's pleased at the crop that is harvesting as the result of faithful missionaries, willing servants, grateful women...who are living their life to serve their Savior.

That's what reproducing is all about!!! In my own life I need to carefully look around and see what kind of fruit is being produced. When people are near me are they drawn to Christ, His Word, His love? Is the harvest I'm producing one that would spur others to a life of dedicated service and ministry to our Lord? That's some thought provoking questioning going on right there! In a non-panic mode....I say to myself,

"Don't waste time...words....actions....get busy planting and watering the crops for the Lord...and He will get the increase...the praise...the honor...the glory...the credit! Draw men and women to Jesus."

I pray I never forget the beautiful masterpiece I saw when the church from Texas met the church from Peru. Different languages, different skin tone, different hair color, different customs....but ONE ultimate farmer who desires to see fruit in each of His children.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who's Louder? - Review #4

“if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” 
Luke 19:40

On day four of our trip to Peru we headed through the Andes Mountains to a town of 55,000. Pichanaki is the last town before you enter the thick of the Jungle in Peru. The ride there was exciting, naseating (think roads that wind and wind and wind somemore!), beautiful and long. It took us 10 hours on a double decker bus. With my camera in my hand nearly the entire ride, I couldn't help but think about the verse that says, "the whole earth is filled with Your glory". Truly, Peru is filled with some of the most creative landscape that God created!

From the Andes Mountains filled with waterfalls, gardens, jungles and even dessert places, the earth was crying out the majesty of the creator...and as I witnessed creation calling out praises, I joined in. There was no way I couldn't. Throughout the bus ride you could hear our team calling attention to the beauty around's clicking to try to capture those rare, beautiful, tropical scenes, eyes glued to the cliffs and the mountain peaks. The rocks weren't going to show us up. 

Check out the pictures HERE everyday life, away from the mountains and the waterfalls and faced with the long lines at Walmart and bills to pay and dinner to cook, I've lost track of the beauty around me that calls attention to the glory and the worship worthiness of my Lord. I get distracted by the busy-ness of life and in between vacuuming and blogging and ice cream with friends I forget the glory and the majesty and the price He paid and the truth that even if this world was brown and dusty and cloudy and ugly...He would still be worthy....even if the sun didn't shine, my house was destroyed and my kids were sick....He would still be worthy....even if I lost my job, my friends disowned me, my money ran out...HE IS STILL WORTHY....and what a shame....a horrible shame it would be if I let the rocks outsing my praise in the everyday, if the mountains cried out His worth louder and more sincere than I.

Thank you Lord for the beauty of this world....but even without it....You are worthy of every morsel of praise I can give!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Different Yet the Same- Review #3

(Acts 10:34) "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:"

Arriving in Lima, Peru, there is no question to the differences between here and there. From the language, economy, cleanliness, food, traffic, homes, can almost overwhelm you. We arrived in Lima around midnight and even with the cloud of darkness settled on the city it didn't take long to realize we weren't in Texas anymore! Take a look at these pictures and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about!

As overwhelming as the differences were, as the sun rose on Lima just a few hours later, the similarities began to appear. For instance, it was interesting to me to see McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC and Starbucks. There was a Purina manufacturing plant and a Toyota dealership. Nestle chocolate, Nike shoes, Gold's Gym, Payless Shoes and Top Model....and in Lima the list could go on and on.

Love is the universal language and as different as gringos are from Peruvians, it didn't take long before we were communicating in that language. Visiting with children at a private school where English was taught, working on the mountain building houses or passing our church literature, our teams loved on people. A smile went a long way and very soon we realized that languages might be different but people are people and want to be loved, respected, appreciated and valued.

This trip to Peru reminded me that God isn't too concerned with my "status". His eyes of grace look beyond my possessions and into my heart. What's there? Am I developing to be the kind of woman He desires me to be. Does He see similarities of Himself in me? Or do the differences distract people from seeing Him? He's no respecter....He loves the Peruvian as much as me. He doesn't see their differences, only what they and we can be when He is the common denominator in our lives.

Catch up on the review of the Peru Trip HERE and HERE.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Obedience - Review #2

"If God calls you to be a missionary, don't stoop to be a king" – Jordan Grooms

I attended a college where the primary purpose was to train students to be leaders in Christian ministry. Because of this, I was blessed to meet some of the most amazing servants of God, who now, are serving God all over the world. Through email and facebook many of us have reconnected and it's amazing to see how God has worked in our lives over the last twenty years. 

Years ago, when Bruce first started pastoring, we had the opportunity to have our college friends Brent and Miriam in our small church to share their heart for the field of Cuba. Our church took them on for support and thus began our ministry relationship with them. After a field change to Peru and many years, 2 summers ago God allowed our families to land at the same church. We were new to the staff and they were taking a year furlough and making our church their home church. Our families had expanded, and life had dealt us many experiences and blessings to share and we spent a year catching up, watching each others kids, shopping, sharing Starbucks, serving together at church and dreading the next time we'd say goodbye.

But the time came, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Pizza Inn, a hot summer day, and needing tissues. Goodbyes...ugh. Mir and I hugged and I sobbed....a little too much probably. This sister friend had become even more special as we had shared ups and downs and prayers and concerns. And as they pulled away from the parking lot, and I sat in my mini-van I tried to remember that God calls us to obedience. And while I secretly wished I could climb into a carry on piece of luggage and travel the 3,000 miles to Peru, I knew God hadn't called us to that obedience. He called us to Sulphur Springs obedience. Doesn't sound as exciting does it?

You see, Obedience to God in the things He calls you to is not always glamorous. As a mom of two, God's called me to be obedient to Him by raising my kids in the love and instruction of the Lord. He's also called me to love their daddy, keep a meek and quiet spirit, love others, control my tongue and to serve Him in my local church...somedays those things don't seem important...but they are a step of obedience. Just like Miriam traveling all those miles from the USA, my obedience to the things God calls me to do is just as important. People are counting on the Williams to show them the way, the gospel. If they are detoured by disobedience then people suffer. The same is true by those of us who haven't been called to live our lives on foreign soil. Miriam will tell you she feels her life is far from glamorous....and like most of us moms she spends her days taking care of her family. The difference is the soil she's on. And it would be just as wrong for her to be in America right now as it would be for me to be in Peru....if God hasn't called me to that obedience. 

While I understand all that, I can't help but think about the heroes that our missionaries are. Their obedience requires sacrifice, selflessness, sweat, tears, frustrations...on a scale much larger than the ones I face. I've never met a missionary who wanted to be applauded. They will tell you they are just doing what God has called them to do. Humble servants of God. This is a lesson I think I could use on most know....those days when I want someone to notice what I've done, to applaud me for doing something good, to appreciate my hard work. But...that's not humility. That's pride. And most of the time obedient actions are between you and God and no one notices and no one sees and no one appreciates. And it tears a little at our flesh. 

But sometimes...people do notice. Like when 29 of your friends come to see you in Peru and they see the work, the struggles, the plan, the city, the heart you have, your good deeds, your spirit, your obedience...and they applaud you...honor you...rejoice with you...cry with you and in an earthly way say.."Well Done". It's like a pre-party to what will happen in heaven. And it encourages you and edifies Christ and helps you push a little more and harder and deeper.

To all those serving where God's called a missionary, a homemaker, a bank teller, a coach, a construction worker..... Do your work of obedience. Do what God's called you to do where you're at. Do the best you can with what you have been given. Because it's the spirit of obedience than makes you different from the world...through your attitude of obedience to Christ others will see us as different....unique...set apart....and that will draw men and women....boys and girls to Christ.

Read Post #1 about the Road to Peru HERE
See pictures of our Peru trip HERE

More about Peru tomorrow!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Road to Peru - Review #1

Over six months ago, when I found out we were going to Peru this summer, I began thinking of all the things I would need to do in advance to be sure this trip would go as smoothly as I hoped it would be. The GA grandparents agreed to take care of the kids, we applied for our passports, began taking a probiotic a month ago, bought a few things, packed the bags, said goodbyes and hopped on the bus that would take us to the plane that would take us to Peru. And that was the easy part.

What I didn't expect was the spiritual warfare I would encounter in preparation for this trip. About 2 months ago I woke up from a dream in a sort of cold sweat. The scene I had dreamed about was of Bruce and me on the plane but me hyperventilating over some sort of claustrophobic  incident I had experienced. And that is what planted the seed that I might have trouble on the plane.

I also had been dealing with a personal issue that was taking up way too much of my time and energy and was causing me to doubt myself, my abilities, gifting and worth. It's amazing how things can grow in the mind of doubt.

And then there was the small problem of the horrible cough and fever I had the week before the trip. Yep....someone wasn't happy.

But like He always does when we take our cares and worries to Him, God spoke through His words and gave me this verse to claim....

Ephesians 3:20

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

And in a moment of complete doubt and worthlessness, God said....let me do the work in you. It will be more, it will be better, it will be powerful, it will be greater than anything you can do in yourself. Let me use all your insecurities....your sickness, your doubts, your pains...let Me do more than you can imagine.

In God-like fashion He stepped in and began working...even before we left the states. 

Here are a few things He did:

  1. Supplied our needs...financially, physically and emotionally.
  2. The plane ride there was as smooth as it could possibly be....and no incidents with claustrophobia at all!
  3. God didn't allow me to feel 100% at any point in the trip. In fact, there were 2 days that I felt close to terrible....but God had a purpose....10,000 tracts were folded, over 100 wordless bracelets were made and a special time of prayer with our missionary wife in an empty church building happened because I wasn't able to GO and DO like I wanted...sometimes God has other plans....and sometimes they are beautiful....and different from the beautiful plans He has for others.
  4. There was a moment in the trip that I felt like a light bulb went off for me. The thoughts I had been letting control me, the people who I felt had been hateful towards me, the feelings of inadequacies I have been letting overwhelm me all seemed very small in relation to the bigness of so many things I saw...things like poverty, filth, sin, need, sorrow, hunger, even love.
  5. He showed me so many things that are, hugs, smiles, eye contact, encouragement.
It's not so much that God revealed Himself in huge ways (isn't the fact that He is God huge enough?) or called me to Peru or even asked me to do anything more. It's that He refocused my attention on the things that really NEED my attention. It's so easy to get caught up in all the things that go on around us, but at the end of the day, whether I am sitting at home in America, teaching at school, visiting Peru or working in my church, LOVE is all that matters.  Sharing the greatest love ever offered to mankind. Sharing it, showing it, receiving it, giving it, living it. It's all that matters. The other things that have grappled for my attention these past months were just tools the enemy used to distract my attention from the beauty of His plan, His love, His story. 

Spiritual warfare is all around us. Don't underestimate its power. But know that our God is greater.

There will be more on the Peru trip all this week. Want to view some pics from the trip? Click Here

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Update on Peru

We're home. Feeling the best kind of tired in the whole wide world. Peru was an incredibly humbling experience and I feel extremely blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to go. My heart is full of things to share and after careful thought about just how I was going to do that I've decided to take a week, beginning tomorrow to focus on the trip, what God has taught me thus far, the pictures, food, culture and faces of the Peruvian people who have stolen a little piece of my heart. Hope you'll join me for the ride!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We're Here!

Just a quick update to let you know we made it...alive and well!

Yesterday was spent with one crew beginning the building of 2 small houses...and one group folding 10,000 tracks, talking to children who were in an class learning to speak English, shopping for children and their families, making lunches and more.

Bruce spoke in church last night with Brent translating.

So far Lima is providing us with an amazing experience of's crazy!!!!

More details later!

Thanks for praying!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog

I've been trying to decide if I am going to blog while I am in Peru or if I am going to take a hiatus and flood your mind with all the stuff I see and do and experience all at once when I am back in the good ol' USA in two weeks. Truth is I have no clue what I am going to do so for now, I guess I will just wait and see what kind of connection I will have and the accessibility to Bruce's computer will play a factor. I know I could blog from my iPhone....but frankly..I'm pretty sure that's not gonna happen.

I would LOVE to have your prayer support as we leave on our trip. Here are some of the details:

1. I am going with 28 other people from my church. You can pray for the CBC group.
2. We will be in Lima, Pichanaki and San Ramon, Peru from June 6-June 16
3. We will be building houses, passing out tracks, canvassing neighborhoods, doing wordless dramas, working in the schools...and way more things that I just don't even know about.
4. We will be riding a 2 story bus for 10 hours through the Andes Mtns. Yikes!- I've got dramamine for that part of the trip!
5. We will be working with missionaries Oliver and Gloria Williams and Brent and Miriam Williams...they're the real heroes in all this.

Here are some ways you can pray:

1. For our families as we are far away.
2. For safety as we travel.
3. For unity as a group.
4. For language barriers to be broken and the love of Jesus unite us.
5. For good weather.
6. For open hearts to hear and see and do and be.
7. For Jesus to SHINE!
8. For good health.
9. For good sleep.
10. For souls to come to Jesus.

Thank you for praying. It's a way you can have a part even if you can't go on the trip. I love this verse:

I Corinthians 3:7 - So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

Until next time...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

They're NOT too Young

She's almost nine...just two months shy.

She's beautiful and sweet....and imperfect. But she surprises me everyday with her heart.

Last night as we sat around the computer looking at pictures of Lima and Pichanaki and even some of the pictures that our missionary friends had sent us of the projects we are going to be working on, she sat in silence. At first I thought she was sad because we were going to be gone for so long. She wouldn't make eye contact and when I finally caught her eyes she held her breath that way we all do when we don't want to cry but the tears are brimming in our eyes.

I asked her what was wrong and all she could do was shake her head. By this time she was wiping the tears from her eyes and taking quick little breaths to regain composure. We continued talking and looking at the pictures and finally she couldn't take it anymore and began to openly weep. Then it hit me. She understood. She finally realized what we were going for...She GOT it. She had been looking into the faces of people who she has never met, whose worldly possessions could fit in one room of our home, who don't have roofs over their heads or name brand anything and who don't know about Jesus....and it made sense why her mom and dad were going.

"I understand now, mom".  She said.

"Understand what?"

"How some people don't have stuff. How some people need houses and food and how we have everything we need and more. How some people haven't heard about Jesus".


I wish I could have frozen that moment forever. By that time tears were streaming down my face. She's not too young, I thought. She's NOT too young. It's clicking....all these things that we've been trying to get her to understand. All the trips to Wal-mart when we don't buy her toys and she gets mad and we try to explain that when we don't buy toys sometimes it is so we can give to someone who has's all starting to click....and it's beautiful.

Immediately she began thinking of something that she could send to the kids she saw in the pictures. She went and gathered all her small stuff animals and brought them to me and asked if I thought I could fit them in my suitcase to give to kids we see along the way that maybe don't have one. Then Tucker got on the bandwagon and gathered cars and trucks that he wanted to send. And I really don't care if it cost me $30 to take an extra suitcase to Peru....these things are going with me. These things that represent something greater than things....A heart of a child that is beginning to understand bigger stuff than stuff.

They're not too young.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Will.....

We finalized our Wills yesterday...yep, the kind you make when you're thinking about all the things that can happen to you when you are flying in a plane over the ocean and are 3, 133 miles away from the people you love. Truth is, we should have done this years ago...but what's that they say about hind sight?

It's funny that as we were thinking about who to give our kids to and the life insurance money and all our meager costly estate, it kind of dawned on me....this is pretty much the only thing under the sun that I get 100% say in and have 100% confidence (well, as close to that as possible) that it will be carried out exactly like we have it set up. It seems like things are set up so that in dying I will get exactly what I desire.

Hmm.....there's some deeper truth to that! Do you see it? I've been wrestling with pride lately. These thoughts have been running through my head (if you think I am perfect this is going to dispel those thoughts for sure):

1. I want to be heard
2. I want to be appreciated
3. I want to scream at the top of my lungs
4. I want people to understand me
5. I want ....I want .....I want

Boy, I'm annoyed at myself for just seeing that in print! But, the truth is that anytime more than a few sentences that run through my head begin with the word "I" then I can be pretty sure there is a prIde issue at hand. In dying to my wants, desires, emotions....there is somehow a freedom. I get exactly what I was looking for all along....someone to listen, a God who thinks I am special, someone who hears my faintest whisper and my deepest longings, someone who understands my thoughts before I even know them. I get exactly what I want when I die spiritually. I get everything...I get everything.

So, why the struggle? Why the struggle to be alive in the world we live partake in the temporal things that it affords us? Why the struggle to fit in, to be a part, to be understood? I don't know, except that my flesh cries out for it....yearns for the satisfaction of being a part of something, accepted by someone and loved. 

What I am growing to understand is that all those things I am feeling, wanting, hoping for...are found when I die to my will and take hold of God's. His desires for my life are far greater than the words of any man or woman on earth. His plan will bring me more satisfaction, completeness and experience than the best life coach on earth could orchestrate for me. Dying to this flesh, desire, will....that's the part that takes practice....every day, hour, minute....dying to this "need" to be whatever my flesh cries out for and embracing this death-type freedom than in Jesus Christ we are ALIVE....Alive in Him....

That's His will for my take hold of abundance in HIM and discard the grave clothes of this world!