Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ten Things!

One of our good friends has a blog that she writes 10 things she's thankful for every Tuesday. I love going there and reading it and I felt inspired by her to do the same this week. We have had so much going on the last few weeks, and it seems like every day we're getting busier. Time is flying by, but we are enjoying every minute of it! Ok, enough chit-chat and onto how God has blessed our lives recently:
  1. I am so thankful for the last few months we have had with Legacy and the new friendships we have started that will continue even after we leave. There are many who have gone above and beyond to encourage us and find ways to continue encouraging us while we're on the field.
  2. I am thankful for family. It was so good to have time with a few of them this weekend (and yes, even the ones we've adopted!). I'm also thankful for having family on both sides who are so supportive of our moving to Ukraine! And I'm really thankful to be going to the field with my sister and her family as well.
  3. I'm thankful for our nephews (this includes our teammates boys). Canaan, who is almost two, pretended to talk on the phone for the first time this last week... and of all people, he pretended to talk to me! :) For being so far away, this really fills my heart with joy! We were also able to enjoy Malachi and Silas who were here over the weekend. We're thankful to be going with all of them to (as Malachi would say) the "U-train!"
  4. I am thankful for the beautiful house we've been blessed with while we've been here in Fort Worth. It has especially been perfect for all the company we've had!
  5. I am thankful that we have all our support we need to go now. What a huge blessing from the sacrifices of so many.
  6. I am thankful for being able to bargain shop in these last few weeks before we leave. I'm not sure how many "deals" we'll come across in Ukraine... and since I only know how to count to 8 in Russian, it might be awhile before I could even recognize them!
  7. I am thankful for a wonderful husband who is letting me pack almost whatever I want so I will be comfortable in Ukraine. He's a wonderful support to me and I'm so thankful for all he does!
  8. I am thankful for both our liaison team and prayer team that has just been formed at Legacy. These people are going to be a huge blessing for us while we're on the field!
  9. I am thankful for the time we'll have in Lubbock with friends and family the next couple weeks.
  10. I am thankful this new work we're about to embark on is not up to us.... We are truly thankful to simply be servants of a mighty God who will use our feeble efforts to accomplish His will in Kharkov. It is a great task ahead of us, but we have an even GREATER God who is behind us, beside us, in us, and working before us.
Wow, this list could go on and on. But, those are some of the top few that came to my mind. I'm also posting some pictures of the last few weeks we've had with friends and family. Keep us in your prayers as this Wednesday will be three weeks until we move to Ukraine. We still have visas we're waiting on and we're trying to find temporary housing right now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Those Christian Missionary Daredevils

This last week Olivia and I had the opportunity to do a little shopping at a half-price book store. Liv needed a cookbook as well as a couple other books to take to the Ukraine so we went shopping. On our way out Liv spotted a book that I wanted to add to my library, it is called "The Daredevil's Manual" by Ben Ikenson. By the title I could tell this was a marvelous book that would make a giant contribution to my library and even add a little (more) excitement to our marriage and also our ministry in Ukraine. It is obvious that I could not pass up this amazing resource. Just imagine the wonderful outreach I could do while balancing a running lawnmower on my chin in a city square! I couldn't not buy it!

As I took this treasure home to read and study I came across something that was very amusing to me and I wanted to share it with you. I know (because I have heard comments) that some people are shocked that I am going into missions. Most of those people are shocked because they know some of the life experiences I have had. Not the bad life experiences, but the seemingly reckless and crazy life experiences, the adventures I have been on, and the dangerous situations I have put myself into. How could I, who enjoys a touch of adrenaline, go to the mission field?

I guess that is a valid question. I mean, what is a person like me going to do? The mission field is obviously a place where boredom is prevalent, the uneventful is consistent, the commonplace is commonplace, where life is normal, and nothing exciting ever happens... Not from what I understand. I'm thinking that a little bit of the daredevil mindset has to be present in the heart of every missionary.

In the introduction to this book it explains how the daredevils have been around for ages. They are the men and women who do things which amaze and awe the crowds, how they dare to go to the edge and teeter over to what seems the impossible. To many, it is a liberation as they break the restraints of the physical and cross over into the "spiritual".
"Part showman, part shaman, the daredevil is as old as the devil himself. Many of the exploits featured in this book originate in ancient India and the Middle East, where elite spiritualists performed mind-boggling feats that spoke to the strength of the Human will and a seemingly supernatural mental acumen. Some of the oldest stunts include sword swallowing, walking over hot coals, hammering nails into one's own face, incredible displays that are still performed today.
The modern descendants of these early spiritualists are today's biker babes and madmen motorcyclists, brick-breaking and karate chopping Christian missionaries, knife chucking reverends, ...
" (The Daredevil's Manual, pg. 12)
That's right, according to this manual, modern day missionaries are our daredevil's. Along with other slightly crazy people, they are the ones who venture to the edge of what is comfortable, what is normal, and teeter over the edge to what may seemingly be impossible. Through their courage and daring nature, people are awed and in wonder at the amazing feats and accomplishments.

To become a missionary, to do something of this magnitude, to pursue a life with this stress and pressure, "daring" is a pre-requisite. Some may call us foolish, some may call us crazy, but to them I would quote my sister-in-law and say "Of course I'm crazy, I'm a missionary!"

"We are daredevils of Christ" - 2 David 5:20a

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Good Luck Missionaries!

Recently Olivia and I were privileged to go to Club 56. We had a blast!

Club 56 is what Legacy calls their 5th and 6th grade bible class. We were invited to share with this class some info on the city of Kharkov, more about us, as well as our plans for church planting there. It was our first time to present to a bible class on the city of Kharkov, and we enjoyed every minute of it! For the last few years Olivia and I have done various presentations on New Zealand to children's Bible classes and we love it, but this time we got to share about a place we will soon be living in rather than a place we have been.

It was fun to laugh with the kids about some of the differences in the Russian language (soon we will be crying because of these differences). We shared pictures and stories, and even some chocolate we had brought back with us from Ukraine. We shared our dreams of establishing churches in Kharkov, and helping people to know the God who created them.

It was truly a blessing for Olivia and I to share these things with the Club 56. We were blessed even more this last week as we received from one of the teachers a stack of cards and letters written by the class wishing us good luck, encouraging us, and letting us know that they are praying for us!!

We have been blessed to have so many people around us who encourage us, and especially lift us up in prayer daily. Thank you club 56 and thank you to all the rest who are supporting us as we get ready to go!