Monthly Archives: July 2012

Like a city on a hill

“How do you offer hope to someone who has had something that terrible, and awful happen?” That question has been ringing through my head since we first heard of the shooting that took place in Aurora, Colorado. I can’t imagine the fear that shook the people in that theatre. Since then it has covered the news and radio stations and I imagine that the pain has all but eased for those who have lost loved ones in this awful event.

So as believers, what do we do? I have been amazed at how quickly a prayer chain was spread, via Facebook , and I would imagine Twitter, for a friend and fellow alumni of Bart and I’s. He and his wife were there the night of the shooting, and to my knowledge he is now physically doing fine. I can’t imagine how their minds are after such a night. I am sure that many of you have been in prayer constantly for the victims. In Matthew 10:16 we are told that we are being sent out into the world like “Sheep” among “wolves”. I would imagine this is a pretty “wolf-like” scenario. Scripture gives us two responses that can help us in the darkness. We are to be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves. Don’t let evil catch you off-guard, but instead pour God’s love and gentleness on others. We are also told to “put our lights on a stand” (Luke 8:16). I do not know the exact need of all those around me, but I do know one way to NOT meet any of those needs. Hiding. We have the hope that the rest of the world is crying for right now! I am far from the first person to highlight that the two strongest themes in the New Testament are grace and love. We are to bear this fruit, letting others feel God’s love through our arms. Don’t hide your love during the times of fear and doubt. Whether it be by making meals for a grieving family, offering up prayers and encouraging words, or sending letters filled with hope, the point is we can’t hide.

If you have stumbled upon this blog by chance, please know that it is not by chance. God’s love has millions of ways of reaching people and His love is beautiful and unique. Psalm 139 declares that He knew each of us before we were made, and even when we are in the darkest parts of life, He is with us. He loves you, and He wants to meet you where you are. His love is not based on emotional highs and lows, but on truth, and steadfast patience.

Bart and I are on a journey that will not be hidden from darkness. Our marriage has gone through some insanely rocky paths in the last couple of months, but with every sharp stab there was a push from behind to keep going. We cannot tell you enough how blessed we have been by people praying for us and encouraging us. We have both reached points of discouragement; we have both reaped the benefits of hanging in there. I thought I was about to give up. I have never been an academically gifted person. I love people, and being social, and I am very abstract minded. Taking courses online has been very challenging. Bart is taking 2 Master’s courses, and I was taking 2 Bachelor’s courses. Last week while packing for a visit with my family PD I became insanely discouraged. Long story short, I sent a letter to my advisor telling her how much I just wanted to give it up and be a mom. She insisted I take the weekend off and Skype with her sometime Monday. We discovered during our meeting that I can take only one class for three 6 week sessions and one session with 2 classes and be done! Also, I will most likely not have to take a linguistics class that I was anticipating. God plans blessings for us in ways we never anticipate, and it always happens through someone choosing to be the light.

Let this blog encourage you. God has gifted you with some unique way of lighting up someone’s life. If you feel led, we would greatly appreciate that light, in the form of prayer, financial giving, or joining our ministry. If God has pointed your light elsewhere, keep shining it brightly. We are so glad to have the Light of Life to guide us.

Andi

The ball is rolling

I’ve always thought it was interesting to hear people talk about time. Time is completely out of our control. I can remember hearing older people say how much they wished the years away and now were wishing for them back. I’ve never felt that way. I’ve always been a person who lives in the moment, and even through hardships, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Right now, time is flying! Though we have the same amount of time as everyone else, we are filling our hours pretty full. With two kiddos, two classes each, partnership development, Bart’s 2 days a week at Dukes and a house to take care of we are worn out. Yet in all of these things our blessings are abundantly clear. God has given us people who pray for us constantly (YES! YOU!), and surrounded us for a time with a place where we can take breaks and enjoy peace and quiet, He has overjoyed us with laughter in times of heartache, and blessed us with rest when we needed it but it didn’t fit the schedule. The Ball is rolling and we are moving forward toward a destination, but every step taken in faith is a destination.

Today we were blessed to be at a church in Bart’s hometown, asking for partners in this adventure. It was a smaller church, which to some missionaries might seem discouraging. Yet, let me tell you what! Small churches have a unique advantage over larger churches. It is much easier while attending a small church to remain entirely transparent. Everyone knows everyone and thus knows everyone’s dirt! I think the ability to be transparent is a beautifully painful thing. When you have reached the point of transparency in a relationship…I won’t say it’s perfect…but it is healthy and able to grow. I think about Christ and His twelve apostles. They were together all the time and yet still, these twelve men were insecure enough to hide who they were from Christ. The most obvious of these is Judas, who, even when sitting at the table with Christ couldn’t openly ‘fess up to what he had done. Peter denied that he could deny Christ. All of the apostles caved into fear and woke Jesus up on a boat because of a huge storm. We’ve all done it, because we are all broken and the more we become aware of God’s Holiness, the more we become aware of our brokenness. Yet He makes us complete in our weakness. We have to be transparent to God, not because He can’t already see our dirt, but because He wants us to welcome Him into it.

It’s like when (for all those married ladies) your house is a disaster and you have that one amazing friend that you don’t freak out about visiting because she knows what your days are REALLY like. For guys, it’s like that person that you can hang out with and not do anything, just waste time, because you both know that’s what you need. That’s what God wants. He wants for us to stop pretending we have it all together. We both know we don’t and He wants that transparency. When Christ came back from the garden and caught His friends sleeping, I think He was frustrated because He had been transparent and they had let Him down. What’s amazing about this God we serve is, when we come to Him with a transparent need, He will never let us down. The Pastor at the church we attended today quoted a really cool verse, Psalm 46:10 “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Pastor chuckled to himself and then said “its kind like God is saying “Watch this… you just wait and see what I’m gonna do next.” Friends, trust God. It might feel so overwhelming right now. You’re pain might be excruciating, your load might seem unbearable, but just wait…just wait and see how God uses this. He’s got a plan. Take it from someone whose been through it and seen God use pain for glory. (I’m not talking about our current circumstances, but I trust that God is in this crazy schedule too!)

So, my fellow load bearers, I challenge you. Would you walk this road with us? Would you partner in prayer or financially? Would you be challenged to sign on with Pioneer Bible Translators and take the gospel somewhere in the world? Or maybe it’s in a different realm. Maybe it’s time for you to be transparent to God about your fears, failures, doubts, and addictions, and let Him use it for His glory. We are praying for you, friends.

Andi