Sunday, January 31, 2016

Living with Abandon as a Norm

Last week we got a letter from friends in the Philippines who were planning to share the Gospel for the first time in the small village where they serve. This week we got a letter from Venezuela about how many people it takes to reach a group of people, about how believers from one group are helping in Bible translation and sharing their testimony in national churches. This Sunday in church we were encouraged to bring neighbors and friends to church, to start conversations about God and the Gospel. Yesterday we attended a prayer meeting with Moody students, faculty, and staff.

These things reminded me how different it is to serve in your own culture-- how relatively simple it is to share the Gospel with native English speakers in America that live across the street: and yet that can still be challenging!

How much investment does it take to reach a monolingual group of people in a remote area? How amazing is it really that my boys grew up surrounded by people who were willing to move to foreign countries to share the Gospel with people they'd never met, living in often uncomfortable places and doing things they'd never even dreamed of doing. And yet, within that context, it seemed the most normal thing in the world.

Which challenged me to do my best every day to make total surrender to God seem like the most normal thing in the world, to live consistently with the kind of abandon that makes it seem normal. To make the choices in each environment to live in obedience to the Father who is desperately seeking to save the lost, to redeem the world.

I think these choices to do become normal as we repeat them day after day. Obedience changes us and the Spirit enables us. And we stand in awe of what God is doing. We had those moments this week, hearing testimony of what God has done, meeting a young man from Venezuela who is pursing his pilot & mechanic license, chatting with friends, attending a prayer meeting where God was so evident, and reaching out to neighbors.

Sometimes I think our lives are so ordinary I have no clue what to say, then I realize that our lives are ALWAYS ordinary, but God is NEVER ordinary. He goes beyond our wildest dreams and amazes us. It is our privilege to know Him as Father, King, and Lord. And His story is ALWAYS worth telling.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A week

A week is a really short amount of time. An amount of time that seems to shrink with each passing year. Remember grade school when a week was an "eternity" and weekends lasted "forever"? Funny how our perceptions change as life fills up with responsibilities and activities, when what was once new becomes mundane, and when we rush through life? Over the past couple of years I've been trying to be more intentional with time and focus, seeking to live in the moment God has given me and not borrow tomorrow's trouble or joy. I haven't always been successful, and I'm not sure it's a lesson I've really learned yet. But this weekend has brought me back to that.

Maybe it was downhill skiing for the second time or an online writing workshop I joined or the school plans I've been working on. Whatever the reason, I have a new sense of moments this weekend. I want to savor them and invest them.  I want to do what only I can do and leave the rest for others that can do it better. I want to love God above all else and serve those around me well. I want to live and love and laugh.

And quite honestly, we've already been doing that often. Garry has had some great opportunities this week as he's worked as a lab assistant, helping students work through questions that come up on starter and alternator projects. Kaleb is learning to drive, and that is a super fun process. I have had some great interactions with ladies lately. Each of these are small things, but added together they are the relationships we're building, the community we're investing in, the road to where we will be. And along the way, there are plenty of beautiful sunsets and flowers to smell.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Update on us and ours...

Christmas break was amazing, and now life is settling into a more normal routine again. A lot has happened with us over the past weeks, so here's a quick update:

Garry is busy at work, making a few small changes while still moving ahead on the Safety Management system he is working on. Students will be back to class next week, but these first couple of weeks have been a great time to catch up with staff, get organized for a new semester, and catch up on office stuff that has piled up over the Christmas break. We are also working on paperwork to allow us to stay here, which has been time-consuming but which we pray will simplify things in time.

I am settling back into normal routine, trying to get organized after a busy Christmas break, catching up on some cleaning and laundry. It's good to be back to school with Kaleb, moving ahead on new material and starting some new studies as we begin the second semester. I've met a couple of ladies recently and continue to invest in a few relationships. I am so thankful for the women God has put in my life in this season!

Kevin started school at Redeemer College University in Ancaster, ON two weeks ago. It's been a whirlwind start as he has learned the ropes of a new place, started classes, and joined the badminton team. He is loving his classes, making friends, and training hard. God is good, always. In this venture, we can already see so many good things for him, though we miss having him around here in Spokane. This weekend he played his first university badminton tournament, which was a good experience. 

Kaleb continues to study hard during his school hours and fills his days with bike riding, friends, and animation. He has recently visited a local studio and is looking forward to spending some time with their crew on a shoot and learning more of the industry. The other day he spent the afternoon learning about editing, a great opportunity to see a new level of professionalism in film. He has been inviting some of his neighborhood friends to church, and one of the guys mentioned on the way that the only other time he'd been to church was at a funeral: what an opportunity! He also had a chance to try snowboarding for the first time over Christmas break, and loves this new-to-him sport. We are so thankful for a group that organizes homeschool ski days that allow him to afford snowboarding!

As we walk ahead in this new year, we're excited about what God is doing here and all over the world. He is writing an epic story in which He offers each of us a part, a part that demands faith and growth and hard work. A part that He uniquely suits us for, and which demands that we daily trust Him for the grace and strength to move ahead.