Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 Word of the Year

Have you heard of this? Rather than make a list of resolutions that we are sure never to keep, come up with one word that summarizes what you want for the year ahead. In some ways maybe that’s harder – narrowing it down to one word that properly summarizes an entire list of goals or aspirations we have for the months ahead. In other ways, I like it a whole lot better. I don’t have to pile on the guilt of not sticking to my resolutions three weeks into January.

The Lord placed a word on my heart before I came across this “word of the year” thing. My word for 2012 is


photo credit

Enjoy. And not in the “eat, drink and be merry” sense. That’s fleeting and empty. I mean ENJOY in the intentional, Christ-centered sense.

I want to savor and ENJOY the Lord more. I meet with Him (nearly) every morning in the stillness before the pitter-patter summons me to seemingly endless tasks and needs. Oh how I ENJOY the quiet. And I long to ENJOY His Word more and more.

Speaking of pitter-patter, I want to ENJOY my children where they are. I know it’s impossible to love every minute of staying home with my kids, but I’m trying to stop a few times a day to ENJOY them, love on them and laugh with them, instead of hurrying them and snapping at them.

I want to ENJOY time with those closest to me. I have some incredible friends that I count on to be praying for me and walking with me in this stage of life. And I want to ENJOY our friendship. I also have family who love me and love my kids, and I want to ENJOY that love and our time together.

We were made to be in community. God put us into families and into communities of faith to grow. And He wants us to have real, rich, meaningful, fellowship with those He placed us in community with. How often do I not seek out that community God put me in because frankly its easier to be alone and why do I think I can grow by all by myself?

So, ENJOY. Enjoy family. Enjoy close friendships. Enjoy my circumstances. Enjoy the Lord.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Caring for Missionaries

If you have a few minutes, read this post from the Myhre family (missionary doctors at Kijabe Hospital). It gives great perspective about the role that Kijabe station & RVA play for missionaries in Eastern Africa and great insight into that to which we've been called and feel so strongly about - the care of the missionary family.

"The role of home base. Of safe spot to return to, to launch from. Of accessible food and medical care, of organized worship and recreation, of abundance of relationship. Kijabe and RVA are like the hub at the center of the wheel of missions in East Africa. People pass through because they have history here, or friends. Or because they're sick and need care. Or because their kids are here."

"Kijabe was a place whose existence allowed us to survive, and to continue living on a dangerous front line. RVA was a place which allowed our two oldest to progress further in school without having to return to America. The existence of this sprawling station with its resources was a safety net for us."

Click the link below to read the entire post. It will only take a few minutes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Almost-Missionary

The count-down is on! Our official departure date has been set and we’ll be headed to Kenya on July 12, 2012. It’s amazing how much more real this seems now that there is a date. So much to do, and seemingly not enough time to do it. (We do need to be 100% supported one month prior to this date before AIM will release us, but we are anticipating that will happen!)

And so we’re living the life of an almost-missionary. What to take, what to store, what to sell, what to toss. Everything we own has a decision attached to it. We have collected many things over our 7+ years of marriage, as families tend to do, and having three children certainly adds to the amount of stuff. Sure, things are needed. Our kids need clothes for winter and summer seasons here, in different sizes as they grow so quickly. But what about the piles of things in my attic that I haven’t touched in years? Why are we holding onto things that have been in the attic since we moved into our house three years ago? Does anyone else have that kind of stuff? Fortunately, de-cluttering makes me happy and I’ll happily pass along these attic dwellers. What I want to learn through this process is how can our stuff and our lifestyle be honoring to Him and not just pleasing to ourselves. Are we making the most of what we have for His Kingdom or are we collecting things because we can and because it makes us feel valuable? I have a lot more to learn in this area, but I’m grateful He’s giving me the chance to evaluate my belongings and my heart attitude.

One of the biggest decisions we have is about one of the biggest items we have. Our house. 550 Shenango is officially on the market. We put a sign out front to try to sell it by owner a few weeks ago. For those in the Beaver County area, spread the word! We decided to sell instead of trying to find renters for a few reasons. It has been a great house for us and, like we keep telling people that have looked at it, if we weren’t moving to Africa, we’d probably tuck in here a lot longer. We have great neighbors, a nice backyard, a log cabin sandbox (Dan’s pride and joy), not to mention hours and days and weeks that we’ve poured into updating it! We are quite fond of this house on Shenango. Renting our home seems so unpredictable and managing it from Kenya doesn’t seem like something we should try to tackle. But we’ll be sad to see it go! We have lots of great memories here and it’s the only home our kids have ever known. We’ve spent time in prayer about it and we feel this is the best option for us right now.

Also at the forefront of our minds are thoughts of “this is the last time we will _____________.” This is easily the toughest part of this journey we’re on. This was the last Thanksgiving & Christmas we will spend with family for at least a couple years (unless, of course, we have visitors). We went to our last New Year’s Eve party with friends we’ve grown close to. There will be a last day of school at Beaver Falls for Dan, a last MOPS meeting for Courtney, a last Sunday School class for Ethan, a last youth group event, a last worship service with our church family, final visits with friends, goodbyes with family. Lots of lasts.

Not that these things will be forever lost or will never happen again, but it’s hard not to think about the people we’ll be missing dearly when we’re there. It’s hard to ignore or pretend as if life won’t be very different in a ton of ways. Counting the ways God has blessed our marriage, our family, our relationships, our lives is nearly impossible – realizing how much of that will change can be a hard thing to swallow. We would appreciate your prayers for us in this way, if you feel led. In one sense, two years is a drop in the bucket, hardly worth noting over an entire lifespan. In another very real sense, it’s a long time – something not to be taken lightly.

Pray that we would have an eternal perspective. Help us to remember like Paul that this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen (2Cor 4:17-18). For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. That in All things, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Has it really been a month…

since we last posted? Almost. Wow! Well lets play catch-up – shall we?

The Christmas season flew by, didn’t it? We had an awesome time with both sides of the family, stretching all the way back to Thanksgiving weekend, which we spent with Dan’s family in Western NY. Doubling up on the holidays, we had Thanksgiving lunch at his sister Rachel’s house and Christmas dinner that same night at his parent’s home. With all 20 of their grandchildren in attendance at both locations, it was a full day to say the least! Our boys have come to treasure the time they get to spend with their cousins and they continue to talk constantly about them, even now a couple months later! We always feel so encouraged by our time with Dan’s family – as parents, children, and friends. What a blessing they are to us!






As if hosting a Thanksgiving meal (for 35!!)weren’t enough, later that same weekend Dale and Rachel also hosted our very first Munchies and Missions event outside of PA. We loved meeting several couples from the church Dale pastors and catching up with Dan’s cousin, Ruth Emma, who we haven’t seen in forever! As one of the snacks, Dale created what we think was a masterpiece. I present to you, the African cheeseball! If you can’t tell, the little sign marks the approximate geographical location of Kijabe, Kenya, where Rift Valley Academy is, complete with a Kenyan flag!


We also had the pleasure of spending several days over Christmas weekend with Courtney’s family down in Virginia at her sister Bri and Brandon’s house. Lots of fun, lots of presents, lots of good food! We all fit quite snugly in their new condominium for several nights and were blessed to worship at their awesome church on Christmas Eve! Any time our kids get to spend with Oma and Buddy is treasured, so we were thankful to have a rare extended weekend with them this year. Even Nana made the trip down, which was special too. Covering all the bases in one trip, Courtney’s dad, Randy and his wife, Suzi, came into town and were able to spend a day with us at the tail-end of our stay there. God definitely had a hand in helping me pack the van after all that celebrating – sooooo many presents!





We will have more for you soon regarding our timeline and support raising, etc. But we wanted to share how we rounded out 2011.

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