Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Night Prayer

We have the privilege of joining the rest of the GFA staff each Tuesday night for prayer.

I need Tuesday Night Prayer.

My heart needs a refresher.

We hear stories from the field (Asia), from the office (here and in some other countries like Canada, Australia, the UK), and we usually get to see pictures.

Tonight we heard about ministry to lepers.

My heart needed the reminder of how precious this ministry is.
Go check out the GFA website and the ministry to lepers (click here).

See what it is we do. (I get to use the term 'we' ONLY because, by God's grace, He has called us to serve here. As you join us in praying, giving, or both, YOU are a part of 'we' too!)

As I listened to the stories about my brothers and sisters on the field washing the wounds of those with leprosy, I was moved. Jesus washed His disciples' feet. He has commanded us to do likewise.
I'm hopeful to visit Asia someday. I want to meet the brothers and sisters I live here to serve. I want to thank them...for being Jesus' hands...and mine.

I'm asking God to continually break my heart with the things that break His. Seeing these precious men and women suffer certainly breaks His heart. Most of all, not knowing them intimately breaks His heart most of all. Many of them choose to love Him and live for Him once they hear!

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" Romans 10:14

Oh, I am so honored to be a part of ensuring many thousands who have never before heard will hear. I pray they will believe!

Praying. I need not forget just how important it is that I pray!

Won't you join me?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Looking Back Just For Fun

Just thought it might be fun to see some flashback photos and comparisons.


Any of them look like me?

I'll do some shots of Joel next.

Okay fellow bloggers...your turn. Who dares dig out the old photos?!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Finally, Pictures--and creative parenting

Finally I've downloaded the pics since last weekend. How dare I wait a whole week now that I blog?!

We went to a welcome home party for a GFA family who adopted their precious daughter from China this summer. The girls and I attended and played fun, silly games. The girls played a relay game where they had to each dress up and run down and around a chair. They were so cute to watch!
We've been steadily working on the kitchen and I can't wait to post a blog about the final results. I'm really loving how everything is coming together. My hubby is amazing and does such great work!
My little helper. Since painting in preschool,
she wants to now paint all the time!

I painted the ceiling and walls on Sunday. We picked up the new counters on Tuesday. I started painting our living room wall on Thursday and today I'm finishing it up. We are hoping to install counters this weekend, but we'll see if it happens. Joel installed two already, but needs a friend's help for the island and two biggest pieces.
Our new tile floor (all done) plus
our new yellow walls and bright white ceiling!

Joel installed this new counter first. I really like this look
much better than the old one (see below for a reminder).

The picture we took when we had
the house inspected (before we moved in).

And, the creative parenting headline...yeah, that's because today I have NO VOICE! You heard me right--laryngitis. I can only whisper to my three toddlers. And, most of all today, I am thanking God and praising Him that He has led me to train my children to listen to me and obey.
Asa chillin' in the fire truck
It was visiting the Costco last Sunday when we went for groceries.
He is so stinkin' cute!

We visited some friends this morning and my kids did an outstanding job of coming to me when I whistled. They treated their friends with respect and shared the toys. They took turns. Of course, I had to remind them a few times, but hey, they are toddlers. I was so proud of them and so grateful to God for this "test" of sorts.
Jenna's turn takin' it for a spin.

It's also helping me see that yelling is not necessary! I hate to admit I yell, but I think many of us do and just pretend we don't. God has been dealing with me on the issue of anger/yelling for most of this year. I'm so glad to have this chance to see some of the fruit God has been leading me to work on. I am nowhere close to being the parent I'd like to be. We are all a work in progress around here. But, what a blessing to be quiet (for a change) and see all God has done!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Purpose

While my blog is typically light-hearted and includes updates on my kids, our house projects, recipes, and recaps of our daily life, it was created to be an outlet for me to share about our ministry.

God has given us the great privilege to serve alongside a group of precious brothers and sisters here in the U.S. at Gospel for Asia. Even more precious to me is the fact that we stand with more than 16,500 men and women who are serving on the field in Asia seeking to reach the most unreached people in the world.
Working here in our home office really is humbling--when I stop to realize the magnitude of my family being here to serve.

Last night we gathered as a staff family for our weekly prayer meeting. I always look forward to our times together.

For some of us, it's the main time we get to be together (there are quite a few of us who aren't in the office regularly b/c we have kids at home).

We spend time praying for the field and for the home office. We pray for specific countries or states in India, for specific departments within the U.S. office and the projects they are working on, and for other offices around the world (Canada, Australia, South Africa...and others).

I posted a bit ago about the violence in Orissa. Orissa is a state in India. The violence that has taken place there is horrible. To get the history, click here.
I cannot fathom having my house burned and my life threatened because I worship Jesus and serve Him. I can't imagine hiding in the jungle with my three children to keep us from being beaten or killed. But, my brothers and sisters in Orissa are living this reality right now!

Please stop right now and pray for the believers and their persecutors in Orissa. The violence is not only happenings in Orissa, but in other states as well. Pray for God's protection and provision, for His peace and comfort, and for His conviction (for those persecuting the believers).

The enemy of our souls is REAL. He does NOT like that many in Asia are coming to know the Truth and are choosing to worship Jesus. These persecutions are evidence that God is moving in a mighty way.

Our job here in the West is to pray and give.

Pray for them with passion--"remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Heb. 13:3). If you are not heartbroken over the situation of India, ask God to break your heart with the things that break His. His heart is broken for these people!

Give as the Lord leads--"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Cor. 9:7,8)

It is easy for me to get focused on my children, what we are eating, working on my kitchen, hanging out with friends, etc. I don't want to forget how indredibly REAL the enemy is, the struggles believers face in other countries, and my JOB.

I know the all powerful, amazing, living God who controls the universe. He created me, saved me, and has called me. How is the world can I ignore His calling to intercede for my siblings in Christ?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Question--Excellent Answer

I just read the following on another blog and felt it answered a question I have heard many times in a better way than I can articulate myself. Enjoy.

Last night, my pastor raised an interesting question: "Why do Christians want other people to become Christians? Why can't they just mind their own business and let other people believe whatever they want?"

Then, being the smart man that he is, he offered this response: Jesus yields explosive, life-changing joy. Explosive, life-changing joy. It is emotionally inconsistent, and possibly even unhealthy, not to share that and to want others to experience it.

Maybe you watched a film that moved you or read a book that stirred your soul. Most likely, you left wanting those you know and care about to see it, you wanted their souls to be stirred, too. At the very least, you wanted to tell them the plot over lunch and see if it awakened in them the very thing it awakened in you. Now imagine that the film took on an eternal weight and power, and that you could carry its joy with you not just forever, but for today, too -- in traffic, on the crowded platform waiting for the delayed train, in your chaotic office working for an angry boss, to your broken home. That is Jesus. Salvation isn't just for eternity, it's for today.

(back to Megan writing now)
There are some friends/family in my life who don't understand our calling to ministry. They don't understand why we care so much about the salvation of others. This little snippet was a good explanation to me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blessings All Mine

I emailed this adorable picture to a few family and friends last week. I got so many compliments on my adorable kiddos that I figured I should post it here. This was taken while Rylee was at school and the twins and I were home hanging out. We have a HUGE world map hanging on our dining room wall (behind the twins). All three kids love to ask about countries and pray for missionaries. God is so gracious to us. How blessed we are!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yummy EASY Dessert

I made the easiest dessert last night for company. ANYONE can do this one! And, it's really yummy.

Pumpkin Spice Cakes
--box of spice cake mix
--can of pumpkin (not the pie mix, just pumpkin)
--1/2 can of milk (or water--I used milk)

Beat together until well blended. Pour into prepared pans (cake or muffins--I did muffins and it made 24). Bake as directed on cake mix box. (21 minutes for me)

Sprinkle with powdered sugar!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quick Weekly Update

Sorry, no pics. Boring post.

We're moving along on our kitchen project. Joel is sealing the grout for our floor tile as I type. We were able to grout the whole floor on Monday night. We are so proud! I think I'm most proud of how God has provided for this project. He allowed us to get great deals on almost everything we have done. We are coming in way under our budget (and we were trying to go the frugal route to start with!).

Rylee is really loving preschool. This week they studied the letter "B". She took her bunny washcloth for Show & Tell on Thursday. Another kid brought Bubble Gum for everyone! She really like that part! Her teacher emailed me some pics today. I'll include them in my next post.

Joel was sick with allergies/sinus stuff on Thursday. He stayed home in the morning and I went into the office. It was great. I started a new project on Wed (my normal afternoon for working at GFA) and didn't feel like I got very far. I was really able to make a dent in the work on Thursday morning. [I work in Church Relations doing admin tasks. Our department works with churches throughout the U.S. seeking opportunities to share about GFA. We are hoping to share at more conferences, so that's what I'm working on. So fun to be a part of telling Christians here what God is doing in Asia!!!

By the way, Joel was much better by Friday. Praise the Lord!

Our phone line at home went dead this week. No phone. No email. No web! Yikes!!!

I have to say, I was impressed with Verizon's service this time. They thought they fixed it by just running things on the line. Then, I called to confirm it was still dead. They sent a guy out this morning. He called my cell and said it was fixed. I got home and discovered it wasn't. I called again. This afternoon another guy came out. It's all fixed now! I was impressed...sending out two guys in one day!!!! I asked some GFA staff to pray it would get fixed quickly and efficiently. I know they were praying!

We enjoyed dinner tonight with another GFA family. It was great. The food was good, but the company and fellowship was wonderful. God is so good to us! He not only gives us Himself, but He knits our hearts together with other believers in such neat ways.

I'm so excited about what God is teaching me right now. There have been so many different aspects to it, but it really boils down to being humble and broken at His feet. If you know anything about God's calling for me to come to Texas, you know that's why He told me He was bringing me here--to break me. I was excited. I know that being broken at His feet will enable Him to teach me and use me. That's where I will glorify Him most. I wasn't sure how it would look (the breaking process) and I have to admit, He is being more gentle than I imagined He would be. I guess He knows what I can handle right now. But, maybe I'm just being open and responsive so He can be gentle. I don't know. I just know I love sitting at His feet. I love that He's showing me new things. I love that He loves me that much! We serve an amazing God!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stopping By and Moving Along

Uncle Ron came to visit for the week. He arrived late Monday night and left Friday morning. The kids absolutely love him to pieces. We took some shots of the kids on his motorcycle right before he left. We're hoping to see him again when he drives back through from Alabama to Arizona. You can pray him as he is looking for a job. He has an interview tomorrow (Tues) in Alabama.

We didn't work on the kitchen much while he was here. We preferred to visit (and play a game of Scrabble one night!). Ron helped us hang some kitchen cabinet doors on Thu. Friday we got busy again. I stripped the last set of cabinets. Then Joel laid the new tile floor on Saturday. That was a long day! It's quite easy, just takes a while. Last night we started the grout but didn't have time to finish. We're hoping to knock out the majority of it this evening.
watching paint peel--more fun than watching it dry!
with stripper on, before the peeling starts!halfway there! they look much better as oak than whitethe stripping is done. now they need to be sanded and stainedmy tile-laying hubby. he's so handy!!!
our new tile floor. just needs grout (and to be mopped!)our front living room was filled with appliances yet again (and kitchen drawers)

Right now the kids are running around playing. We have all the windows in the house open because it is absolutely beautiful outside and I don't have to run my A/C!!! Woohoo!

My kids crack me up. Here are a few fun things.

Each night when we pray the kids take turns. Asa's usual prayer is for people to be safe. "Help Daddy be safe. Help Jenna be safe. Help Mama be safe. Help Rylee be safe. ..." So sweet! Here lately when he's done Jenna will ask "Did you pray for me Asa?" When he says yes, she goes over and says "That's a good boy Asa. Thank you." Then she kisses him on the head. It's hilarious and makes us laugh every night!
Yesterday at church during preschool worship (which I help with the first hour), Rylee kept raising her hand or calling out the answers as the leader was asking questions. Then, Rylee says, "I'm so smart!" (only MY child!!!)

Saturday night Rylee woke me up with her screaming. I ran into her room (darkness, wearing no glasses...could NOT see a thing!). I asked what was wrong and she said something was in her bed! Where?, I asked. She indicated down by her leg and so I felt around. Sure enough, there was something. I said, "It's Jenna." Rylee thought it was a monster. (she's seen Monsters Inc and loves it) I picked up Jenna and let her lay beside Rylee. It woke Jenna just enough and she said, "I not a monster. I Jenna." It was so sweet! After putting Jenna back in her toddler bed, they returned to sleep. Last night we made another change and tried them in the big bed together. They did great! (and they loved the idea of sleeping together)

Despite the days when it's super hard work training my children, they bring my life so much joy. I cannot imagine this world without these three little people.
They impress me.

They teach me.

They humble me.

And, most amazing, they love me! I am so blessed!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Morning, Gardens, Visitor, Work and Big Kids!

This post will be a random catch-up for what seems like an entire week but has only been three days!

Our cabinets are looking nice stripped of white and restained. Look at that handsome boy in front of them! He adds to the value of the picture, for sure!
We haven't done much work this week because my "little" brother, Ron, came back to visit. He stopped by about a month ago but only for 24 hours. He arrived really late Monday night and will stay until Friday. My kids absolutely LOVE Uncle Ron. They are crazy about him! Jenna looked at him yesterday during dinner and just said "I love you, Uncle Ron." It was the sweetest moment. I'm pretty sure I saw mist in the eyes of both guys at the table (and Asa wasn't there anymore). Uncle Ron babysat today while I worked in the GFA office. I tell you, he's a champ!
Uncle Ron and Jenna...just hanging out

At work with my "bosses" and coworkers

Mornings outside are nice. The weather was beautiful Monday morning and I headed outside to read with two precious girls at my heels. They sort of took over my bench...until they got tired of reading and headed out into the garden to look for shells. (slug shells)
Rylee reading and Jenna messing with her collection of shells.

Sometimes we get to reap what we have not sown. Scripture tells us all about this. That is the case with my lovely garden. I had nothing to do with planting these pretty plants. But, oh....how I'm enjoying them!

The biggest event of our week has been the promotion of our twins past babyhood. I know...they are 2 1/2 years old. But, they have been in cribs this whole time. Any mama of more than one child out there understands why! It's bad enough having one kid that can get out of bed. But, after the three of them climbed in and out of the cribs on Monday (playing), I decided it was time. They are so proud. And, they're doing great with listening to us about staying in bed/when to get out. Here they are. Rylee insisted on taking a picture too!

Along with all these things, I have finished the next book for our new staff mentor classes. It is Brother KP's latest book called Touching Godliness Through Submission. I highly recommend it! Brother KP taught the material to leaders in Asia and all our staff here has listened to the teachings as part of our first year. We have the blessing of reading it now that it has all been transcribed and produced in book form (came out in May!). It's not one of those books that gives you warm fuzzies. It's hard to take at times. I am a proud person who needs to constantly be humbled. God is teaching me this over and over again through many teachings, books, and life lessons. I knew the Lord was calling us here because He wanted to teach us. His call to me specifically was to come and be broken. It is sweet (though hard at times) to know God loves me enough to not let me stay the same. My prayer (and yours for me, please) is that I will lay down my life so that I might truly live. I'm learning what that really means.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

More Remodeling

We're steadily completing our kitchen remodel. It is going to be so wonderful to be done! We plan to have an Open House as soon as it's finished. We love to have people over and have wanted to do an Open House since God blessed us with this home, but with visitors (and now this remodel) it hasn't worked out. Soon....very soon!

So, last Monday I ordered our new counters. Bonus: Lowe's had a 10% off for special orders on cabinets and counters. Yeah! For some reason, the girl rang up 20% off. Praise the Lord! Our counters were even cheaper!
Here's what our countertops will look like.

I'm so excited we got the extra discount! The counter purchase and sweet deal came on the heels of another great deal we found. Because we took out some cabinets and part of a wall to create a walkway around our island, we have to replace the floor. I wasn't too sad about this since the tile was not laid straight. I felt like I was living in a Dr. Seuss house.

We decided we wanted a chocolate brown tile (hides dirt best, will blend with the counter and our oak cabinets, and would be easy to find). Nix the last of that...not easy to find. So, after not being happy with what we saw at Lowe's and Home Depot, we tried a place called Floor & Decor in Plano. Bingo! Tiles for 39 cent a square foot. Unbelievable!!!!

(if you have never done work on your house...that flooring price is about as cheap as you can get)

So, yesterday Joel got all the rest of the tile removed.
We were doing it by hand, one tile at a time. This is how far we got the last time. We chose to go the faster route...rent a demo hammer!

Rylee cut her foot Friday night on the uneven flooring between the kitchen and living room. Her pain was all the persuasion we needed to get moving on the demo and get the new stuff in. My poor baby...she was quite brave though!

We draped the kitchen with sheets (for some reason we have TONS of old sheets to use for projects like this). The kids were fascinated with the closed off kitchen.
Once we got the demo hammer home and Joel all set up, the kids and I went for a walk. It was LOUD! (the hammer does what we were doing but much faster...pops up the tiles) When we came back, this is what I captured.

Since Joel had another bit to do, we went to a playplace and had lunch.
One pile of the old tile.

You can tell it was a dusty mess inside the kitchen.
Once the floor was gone and the dust was cleared, the kitchen looked more normal again.
(top pic: looking from our dining room into the kitchen, big windows to backyard; bottom pic: looking from the sink towards the dining room. Our kitchen is about 9 ft wide by 24 ft long)

As if that wasn't enough work for one day, Joel decided to stain some of the cabinet doors. Our dining room and front living room provided the space to stain without bugs flying around.
Yep, that's our washer/dryer in the living room. We had to move it for the tile demo.

Even the kids are getting involved. Today, they were checking out tile--well, counting the little squares.

Joel plans to finish the cabinet doors today. After I strip the final set of cabinets this evening, Joel will stain them. It will be so nice to have the cabinets completely done and just waiting for the new counters to arrive.

On our to-do list: install new floor, paint walls, install new counters, install pendant lights above the island, and pick out trim.

I think we're really going to enjoy our new kitchen.