Hello Friends and Family from the heat and humidity of Texas!
The last few months were overflowing with blessings as we connected with many of you about prayer and financial support. People began to go out of their way to encourage us daily by lifting us up in prayer. We were amazed to see the divine appointments that came about and we are so grateful to all of you for following this adventure.
As many of you know, we made our departure from Converse, Indiana on August 18th. The week prior had been full of packing…packing…and more packing! We said excited and tear-filled goodbyes to our family and friends then proceeded to haul the trailer away. Our first true step of faith was driving our Jeep and rented trailer full of our belongings down to Tennessee to visit with family and make some connections with supporters. Last August we had made a trip to Tennessee to help my (Andi’s) brother and his family move to Johnson. We hauled most of their house in a small trailer and managed to kink up the transmission in the Jeep…just a tad. So, as we had the motorcycle, our things, and a queen-size mattress set on the trailer this time, we were living Mark 11:24-25 which is about praying with expectation that God will answer you. We prayed that God would honor this trip as we followed His calling…and guess what?!? He did! We made it through the Jellico mountain pass and to Knoxville, TN. We dropped off the mattress set and motorcycle to some family and friends, and we and our tires breathed a sigh of relief. We spent an amazing and emotional few days in Tennessee, which has been home to our hearts for quite some time.
Then we began the 15-20 hour drive south to Dallas. Honestly….it went MUCH better than it could have. There were only a few times of wailing kids, and sleepy eyes that caused us to pull over to the side of the road. Much thanks to God for audio books (for Bart) and good dance music (for Andi) that kept our bleary eyes open as we drove through the night and pulled onto the campus at 7 am. The apartment that we are renting in Dallas is on the main GIAL (Graduate Institute for Applied Linguistics) campus. It is also fully furnished! Many times, people who come to live here are either on furlough or planning to leave the country soon, so the apartments are stocked with everything from placemats to T.V.’s. Bart walked in the front door and went straight to the master bedroom that was made up and furnished and fell asleep.
We have been in semi-regular contact with several different friends here who arranged for an unpacking party at 9 a.m. We were blessed to have strong arms to help us unload our trailer and friendly familiar faces to help us begin this insane transition. Our apartment has 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a dining area, kitchen, washer & dryer, central air, internet, and a living room. We are well taken care of! We spent the first several days sharing meals with blessed friends until we could get to the grocery. Panera Bread and Tom Thumb, two local businesses, make regular donations of leftover bread to our dining hall for the students and families that live here. There are also almost daily fresh produce extra’s (slim pickins many times) from the dining hall. We live across the street from the playground and Lucas reaps those benefits often.
On Sunday we attended Crossroads Christian Church, where a friend from college is ministering to the college age students. The culture shock of the Dallas/Fort Worth area was emphasized as we walked into a church that serves with over 4,000 people. It was incredible to see such beautiful diversity as black, Latino, white, and Asian, all served under the same roof. There is a fountain centered on the front drive, and a fountain on the inside between the large staircases. They had at least 3 parking areas. My first reaction was “Whoa!” As a girl from a small city, and from a large congregation, I wasn’t expecting my reaction. This isn’t the first mega church we have attended. My instinct was skeptical of everything from the music, to the kids programs. I didn’t want to trust the mega church atmosphere. Yet, I was loved to it. We were blessed from the moment we entered. We were greeted with genuine smiles and were given directions as to how to drop Lucas off in child’s care.
Here is the point of this story: As missionaries, we remind ourselves often to love the “least” of these. We are told to reach to the outcasts and love them to Christ, and that there will always be poor. I think Christ’s mission was love. He hated hypocrites, and despised those who glorified themselves, yet His purpose was salvation. He said it would be very hard for the rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but that doesn’t mean we forget them. This church was full of every extreme. Some wore business suits and others jeans. There was a wide variety of ministries to almost every need. It would have been easy to find a million things to dislike about this church….but that’s the same with every church. This was outside of my comfort zone, yet their ministry was thriving and their teachings were Biblical. God is honoring their ministry in a big way. As we left an older gentlemen made a point to thank us for bringing our kids. As a mom, that spoke to me. In the car I was processing the experience and Bart had a coy grin on his face. I asked him what he thought and after a few thoughts he said…”You won’t believe this…” “What?” I replied sternly. “They are debt free; both building and campus is paid off.” My mouth dropped open. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is able to do more than we can ever ask or imagine according to His power that is as work within us.” (Eph 3:20) I was floored that such stewardship would be demonstrated from a church of that size. I want to remind you each to keep your eyes open for the God in all of us. He made us in His image. When it seems easy to think negative, or jump to conclusions about someone, hold on to the truth that we each bear His image. We are each capable of amazing things for the name of God. Also, remember who you are representing. This church of 4,000 people stepped up to the plate and demonstrated God’s love in a big way to Bart & I. Let’s bear our crosses together, standing firm in our faith and uplifting one another in the name of Christ.
Please know that we miss you already! We rejoice to be where God has us, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t miss you and pray for you often. You are along for the ride with us and we want to hear about what’s happening in your lives! Email us, or comment and share with us about how you and your families are. Tell us your adventures, or what has you laughing.
My laugh of the day was Lucas saying “Mommy, I need help. With my rooster. I need help!” He had been playing with his Lego Farm animals. “What’s wrong with your rooster Lucas?” He held up the two blocks that make the middle of the rooster. “His body broke!!”