Thursday, February 26, 2009

In Need of Prayer

Hello faithful readers. I love you all. When I talk to you and you tell me you read this blog, it makes me feel it is for a purpose- Thank you!

We need some prayer. For the next week or so, our lives will continue to move at a pace that feels like our heads our going to spin off. Just this weekend, we spoke 4 times, each led small groups, and attended 3 church services, went to a fundraiser, and did some house/teenager sitting. We are pretty tired, and don't really have time to slow down yet. For those of you who don't know, I have an autoimmune disorder, and it is just starting to act up (in fact, I am typing with a migraine right now.) So , no is the time to practice being prayer warriors for when we are on the field. I have no doubt that satan would love nothing more than for us to lay down and give up.

We raised some more money this weekend, and are finally coming in on our financial goal. PRAISE THE LORD! We are not there yet, but are getting closer.

Over this next couple of weeks, we will be working on a relationship with someone who has been strained. I cannot provide any details, but we would still appreciate any prayers you could offer. We need to be as free from distractions as possible.

Also, I am considering shutting down our prayer blog. I haven't really done a great job of keeping it up, so it seems that it would be a better plan to combine the two, especially since more of you read this one, and we could still get pray requests that way.

One little announcement: there will be a soup send-off at Nicole's family's church this coming Sunday from 11:30am-1:30pm. It is free, and if you would like to stop by, we would love to see you. We leave 2 weeks from today, so it may be our last chance to see you for awhile.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

American Values

I am a proud American. I am grateful to have been born in a place where I can vote, own land, and worship God anytime I want. I love this country.

But lately, I have realized myself personifying the "American values" I am less inclined to smile about- gluttony, excess, self-centeredness, ingratitude, wastefulness, prideful independence. These are what the rest of the world considers us to be about. These are the values often shown in the media, and sadly, this time they may be right. We may think much of the rest of the world dislikes us because of one or two political decisions, but maybe there's more to it than that...

I am ashamed for what I am about to tell you, but sin can only live in secret, so I am sharing with everyone. The other night I was talking to someone about how I wanted to upgrade a piece of non-essential electrical equipment. Here I am, ready to leave to serve some of the world's poorest people, and I was essentially whining about wanting more.

Mid-sentence, I stopped. The Holy Spirit had completely convicted me, and I asked those around me what I was thinking! (crickets...)

This got me thinking about how often I hear the words "I want" or "I need." It got me thinking about how often I say those words. As we've begun to pack for Namibia, it has been challenging to decide on what we actually need. As we will only take 4 pieces of luggage for a whole year, we are forced to prioritize our "necessary" possessions. Think about it: how many pairs of pants do you need for a year? shirts? pens? cough drops? There are so many things we don't praise the Lord for on a daily basis, because we have easy access to them. For example, if we want to make cookies, we have to bring chocolate chips with us, because they are not available to buy in Africa.

Although most Americans can not imagine living out of 4 bags for a year, we will look gluttonous to some people in Africa. We will be considered rich no matter what we bring. In truth, we would be allowed to bring a total of 6 bags, but we feel it is important to live as closely as possible to those we are working is a small sacrifice, especially knowing it is temporary.

Honestly, I am not even sure I can determine what we actually need to survive. Allegedly, one can live upwards of 40 days without food; however, I don't think this would work well while doing physical labor in Namibia. Since nudity would be frowned upon, how long will one T-shirt survive- 2 months of daily wear? 2 years? What I am sure of is this: our closetful of clothing is not necessary for survival.

I endeavored to count how many times I think "I want" or "I need" in a day; unfortunately, I lost focus. Then, I decided to search the internet for the number of times per day the average person thinks of needs or desires. Isn't it ironic that, on the same internet where we can find information about billions of different subjects, not one description that showed up was applicable. Not even one.

It will be a culture shock to leave the excess of America for the simplicity and lacking in Namibia. But I imagine it will be a far greater challenge to return. In fact, Josh has banned me from touching our storage unit for the first month that we come back, for fear I'll give everything away.

To me, material possessions, status, money, power, achievement, people-pleasing... these are all things that distract me from God. I want to know Him with all of my being; with every breath I take, I want to glorify Him. Instead, I find myself worried with having enough, or getting what I deserve (another post for another day), or what someone thinks of me. I am being brutally honest here, people. That is not glorifying to God.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes, and a question:

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today,
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips,
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

I don't have the answers, just lots of questions, but I ask you: how do you stay in the world without becoming of the world?

New York, New York

As previously promised in a fog of exhaustion, here is our update regarding our trip to New York.

Last week, we traveled to AIM headquarters in Pearl River, NY for our stateside orientation. We covered travel plans, the biblical bases of missions, had a session on culture and worldview, had prayer time, and got to meet all of the people we've been communicating with via phone and email to get us to this point.

We went through our training with 3 wonderful fellow outgoing missionaries. The five of us are all from diverse backgrounds, and have very different personalities, so it was really fun having a chance to spend time with and talk with each other. There are some things only people in a situation similar to ours can understand.

We didn't spend any time in the city (save for driving to and from the airport), so we didn't experience any of the glamorous lights or shows or food or other cultural joys. Basically, we saw a lot of traffic. Actually, I hear this is a hallmark of NYC anyway, so I guess you can say we experienced the "real thing."


However, we definitely saw things we don't see at home, and I did take a few pictures. Mind you, they are all from the plane or car. You know, I am just not sure if we will ever be there again.

Let me just say, for a girl who grew up on the edge of a Midwestern game refuge, this was MAJOR culture shock...well, I'm just practicing.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Hi all. We are back from New York. The travel has taken its toll (too. tired. to. write), but I figured I should write a smidge of an upate. {FYI: Concentration and focus is at an all-time low. I have already had to fix 4 spelling errors in what you've just read alone. I apologize in advance.}

Anyway, the trip went well; more about it to come. Feeling slightly overwhelmed at everything that must be accomplished in a short period of time. Got to see our flight itinerary, so we actually have some sort of certainty going on.

I recently added 2 new "gadgets" (see right). I am sure this is thrilling information to you all. Noting the caliber of prose within this post, I am certain you will all rush to become "followers" of this blog. I would.

I'll talk to you again soon, when "conscious" would be an appropriate adjective with which to describe myself.