Monday, January 26, 2009

Just a Few Pics

Our first day in India...tired but ready to see it all!
Still not sure what I can share here, so you'll have to wait a little longer for some stories. But, these are certainly okay to post.
On a boat with beautiful flower garlands--a traditional welcome

I'm wearing a punjabi dress, as some call it. All the girls on the trip wore them and we were blessed to borrow them all from friends here on staff.
Our team

Joel and I are still dealing with jet lag. We both were up throughout the night and I finally just got out of bed and stayed up at 4am. We will both do our best to press through this afternoon with no naps so we can hopefully get back on Texas time!
I chose the most comfortable punjabis, not necessarily those most flattering.

We appreciate your continued prayers as we settle back into life here having been gone for two weeks (back into parenting and all the routine tasks at home, as well as catching up in the office for Joel). We also want to continue processing through our trip and all that we saw, heard, and experienced. Pray we are sensitive to all the Lord wants to teach us!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Thank you for your prayers!

Your prayed for safe travel and we had no accidents or mishaps. We were delayed several times due to weather (and other weird things within India), but never had problems that were too hard to handle. (The weird thing...I'm sure I'll tell you many more interesting things...was that we were delayed from flying in country one day because the airport was repaving the runway! Seriously...a major delay. They were "laying new carpet" as they called it. So, instead of flying out at 9am, as planned, we left at 8pm! Crazy and weird, but "it is no problem" --a saying regularly heard while in India.)

You prayed for my peace about leaving my kids. God gave me complete peace. His peace really does surpass all understanding. I cried some during the first few days, mostly as a release of emotion, I think. It wasn't really thinking about my kids that made me cry. It was the movie I watched on the plane and the book I read on the plane (I had lots of time on the plane). But, once I was crying, I just let it all come out. It was good. Then, I was a cry baby for the first few days, but it wasn't related to my kids. I was just overwhelmed by God's love...for the people I met, for me, for It's depth and bredth.

You prayed for my kids to be okay while we were gone. And, from everything we see...they had a blast and really didn't miss us too much. I mean, they were occupied and busy and well loved by every person they came in contact with while we were gone! They were well fed, well played with, well loved, well entertained... It is well! And, their reaction upon our return...they were looking at the candy machine by the door we came through and I had to say "helloooooo. helloooo. hey!" Then they looked and came running to hug us. After a good squeeze...they went right back to the machine.

You prayed that our hearts would be open to see and hear from the Lord. You will hear plenty more about that in the days, weeks, and months to come. I can honestly say that all 8 of us on our team will never forget the past two weeks. The sights, sounds, smells, stories, and amazing food...forever etched on our hearts. God is doing some amazing things in India. What a privilege to be a part of it!

You prayed for team unity. I don't know that I've ever been on a trip of this length with this many people who never argued. Seriously! Not one argument. The love that was expressed could only be directly from the Father, for it was gracious and pure and truly love. What an honor to have "led" (yeah, right!) such a great team.

Thank you for all your prayers. As soon as we get some pictures uploaded and some sleep, we'll be sharing stories with you!

Praise God...from Him ALL blessings flow!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Around the World

As many of you know, Joel and I are currently on a tour half way around the world! Our trip is going well. We are learning so much and will have lots of stories to tell.

I must be brief, but we would appreciate your continued prayers for safe travels (the two of us and our team of 6 others), for our hearts to be receptive to what the Lord wants to teach us, and for our children, who are back home with their Nana right now. After Nana leaves, other friends will be caring for them for the last few days of our trip. Pray that they will be having fun, not missing us too much, and that the caregivers will have energy!

I was feeling a little sick earlier in the week, but I think it's mostly allergies. I would still appreciate prayer for good makes a huge difference, especially since we are traveling so much.

We are at our third stop in the trip. We have two more until we fly home. The point we're at now is somewhat of a "resting" stop. I can't wait to tell you all the details and show all our great video clips and pictures.

For now, keep on praying!
Thank you!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Famine in Myanmar

Last night during our weekly prayer meeting at GFA, a staff member shared about the famine that's taking place in Myanmar (Burma). You might remember that not too long ago, Myanmar with struck with a devastating cyclone (June '08).

Gospel for Asia missionaries and Compassion Services have been busy provided the love of Jesus, food, and supplies to those who were affected by the cyclone. Now, another disaster has hit their land.

Be sure to read the complete story here at the GFA website. I've just included a few details below.

Bamboo is normally a steady source of food for people in Southeast Asia. But part of the bamboo plant's natural growing cycle has caused parts of the region to be overrun with rats, which has caused a famine in the small country of Myanmar (Burma). At least 40 children have died, and more than 100,000 are living on the brink of starvation because of this crisis.
Many people have left their villages and gone to neighboring India, where the crisis has not had such a tragic effect. Although the bamboo bloom occurs in India, the government has programs in place to protect the crops and stop the proliferation of rats. There are only scattered reports of major rat infestations in India, mostly in the state of Manipur at the India-Myanmar border.

The pictures are just overwhelming. I cannot fathom living with an infestation of rats all over the land eating all the food.

Please pray for the people of Myanmar. Pray that the government will allow help to come into their country. Pray many people will come to know Jesus as our missionaries and Compassion Services provide relief. I can't help but think that with this tragedy coming on the heels of a major and very destructive cyclone that God is orchestrating things so these precious people will come to know Him. May He be glorified!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Year End Q&A

My friend Kelli posted this and said "hope you do the same", so here it is!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? the only thing I can think of is living in our house, going to the Dallas Zoo, and visiting Austin
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? don't really do resolutions, so nope!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? yes, my friend Kathryn had Hudson in November and we had 7 babies born to GFA Home Team staff this year!
4. Did anyone close to you die? No.
5. What countries did you visit? Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New York....nothing out of the U.S.
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? self control...a fruit of the Spirit that will come as I abide in Christ
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? June 25--moving into our house; our PA trip in October
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? growing as a parent
9. What was your biggest failure? time management
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? just allergies
11. What was the best thing you bought? our house.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Rylee has shown some growth here the last few months by coming to us after being disciplined and asking forgiveness without prompting. She is understanding it!
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? my own at times.
14. Where did most of your money go? Our house (owning and remodeling), then food (we spend a TON on food! no wonder we're fat)
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? our trip to Pennsylvania
16. What song will always remind you of 2008? some of my kids' favorite worship songs, like Beautiful One by Jeremy Camp
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? Happier.b) thinner or fatter? Probably the same, but I think a little fatter, actually. c) richer or poorer? well, we had lots more in a savings account last year b/c we were waiting to buy our house, so poorer, I guess. But, I am much more rich right now than I have ever been in my life--money not in consideration!
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? See my family.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Waste time.
20. How did you spend Christmas? Just our family of five on Christmas Eve, going to church, eating Chinese and then looking at Christmas lights. On Christmas Day we spent the morning enjoying each other then went to the Carnine's to enjoy lunch and fellowship.
21. Did you fall in love in 2008? More in love with Jesus and with my family.
22. What was your favorite TV program? The Unit
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? no.
24. What was the best book you read? Touching Godliness through Submission by KP Yohannan and Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? downloading 99 cent music to my iTunes
26. What did you want and get? a new camera with video
27. What did you want and not get? to see my family
28. What was your favorite film of this year? Fireproof. Great movie! Joel took me on a date Tuesday night to see it when movies were just 50 cents! Awesome date for a buck!
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 30 years old. Dani was here visiting and we went to tour the Cowboys stadium and had lunch at a good pizza restaurant. Then, we had a nice evening as a family.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Seeing all my family.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Same stuff as the previous four years with maybe a new shirt thrown in. I'm really not fashionable. I'm comfortable!
32. What kept you sane? Jesus
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? None really.
34. What political issue stirred you the most? Elections. Watching it all pan out. Interesting. Was unsure how I felt about things.
35. Who did you miss? my family, my friends
36. Who was the best new person you met? I met lots of new people this year at GFA and The Ridge. My friendships with some girls in those two places have been most rewarding this year.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. about disciplining my children...lots of specific things, but too long to list here. in general, just how serious a job it is. (read Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp and do the accompanying workbook)
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Listening right now...sounds good. "Into marvelous light I'm running, out of darkness, out of shame. By the cross you are the Truth, You are the Light, You are the Way. No more shame. No more shame. Lift my hands and spin around. The marvelous Light I have found." Marvelous Light by Charlie Hall.