May may be crazy! — May 1, 2013

May may be crazy!

…And it just may be the best month of all!

It’s May already? Wait, what? Well, I believe my calendar, my phone, and my computer, I guess, but I’m still finding it hard to fathom that it could possibly be May 1!

May will be an exciting month for us! For starters, we are spending this weekend with my grandparents and aunt and uncle in Ooletewah, TN. The weather sounds like it is not going to cooperate with all of our plans, but I am looking forward to some R&R with family!

Next week, we have Vision Baptist Missions Orientation! This will be our third awesome week spent just with our missionary friends/family learning and growing together as we talk about missions, marriage, family, etc. and get to know each other a little bit better while we’re at it!

On Tuesday, the 14th we will find out if our next baby is a little boy or another little girl! Paul is hoping for another girl, but I am secretly pulling for a boy! Whatever it is has already been decided, and we will be thrilled either way! Last time, I had the mother’s intuition about what gender my baby would be, but this time I have no clue! What do you think?

After a trip to Ohio for some meetings and family time, we will head to Fort Bluff, TN for the Our Generation Camp! This is such an exciting week of sharing our love for the Word and the world with teens and college students with an interest in missions! Not to mention, the camp is BEAUTIFUL, and we have lots of fun!

Here there, and everywhere, we will find time for Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night meetings (with the exception of orientation and camp week)! Needless to say, it is going to be a busy, tiring, EXCITING month! We will have 4…MAYBE 5 days home this month. Sound crazy? It is! But, this month, at least, I wouldn’t have it any other way! Can’t wait to update on all the awesome things God has for us this crazy month of May!

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I Love to Learn! — December 18, 2012

I Love to Learn!

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I have written before on how I chose marriage and ministry over receiving my Bachelor’s degree and pursuing a different career “of my own.” While I have always believed I had made the right decision, at times, I have felt like I had given up on one of my biggest loves: learning. However, God, who knows my heart better than anyone, is just so faithful, and He has made sure that quite the opposite is true! I have learned more in the last 3 years living for the Lord than I believe I EVER would have sitting in a classroom, perusing college textbooks, and pulling all-nighters cramming my head full of knowledge I would likely soon forget! To God be the glory, too, because this learning has not only changed the processes in my head, but it has also forever changed my HEART!

I am incredibly thankful for those who have taken the time to teach me and to nurture my love for learning and my love for the Lord. I know He has placed these people in my life to mold my heart to look a little more like His!

I am also extremely grateful for the opportunities to learn in service to Him. In the last couple of years, I have been able to serve as a lay-person in the church, a youth workers’ wife, a missionary wife on deputation, and as a mommy to a precious little gift from God. Often, I fall smack dab on my face in my attempts to minister to those around me and to live a life in service to the Lord, but those are the times I learn the most! The journey is just beginning; I will forever be a “freshman” in learning about my God and how to serve Him best!

Finally, I am thankful for a God that will forever be a mystery. I can never learn all there is to know about Him, and I can never learn all the truths He has planted deep within His great Book, the Bible! My work is cut out for me!

I am just THRILLED to be on a journey of life-long learning! In the next few years, I will learn more and more about my roles as a wife and mother and as a helper to my husband on the mission field. I will learn how to thrive in another culture and how to speak another language! I will learn to depend on the Lord in ways many people will never have to, and I hope He finds me faithful “to teach others also!” (2 Tim. 2:22).

I hate goodbyes! — December 9, 2012

I hate goodbyes!

Having fellow missionary friends is such a wonderful blessing in my life. However, it has its drawbacks. Saying goodbye is never easy, and saying goodbye to friends moving across the globe is even harder. Just a few days ago, I had to bid farewell to my sweet friend Elizabeth Ewing. She and her family moved to Chile to begin their work alongside Jason and Lori Holt, church-planters in Santiago. Josh and Elizabeth’s daughter, Olivia and my Jo have a special connection. It’s so strange to me, but they just LIGHT UP when they see each other. It breaks my heart that these girls do not get to grow up together, but I know that they each will have their own friends and adventures like most kids will never have. I am so thankful for the work that Josh and Elizabeth plan to do in Chile, and I know the Lord will bless them for their faithfulness and willingness to answer His call to the foreign field.

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In the next year, we will say goodbye to many more friends: Jim and Autumn Roberts to India, David and Katie Gardner to Peru, Scott and Melissa Newton to Spain, Phillip and Lori Bassham to Thailand, Paul’s brother Jake and his wife Stephanie back to China, and Paul’s sister Rebel and her husband Will to Japan. (Am I missing anyone? I am sad enough as it is!) Some of these we know we will not see for many years as our furloughs will not line up together. I am thankful that the world has become “smaller” and that there are many resources we can use to stay in contact and to stay in prayer for one another.

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord! He takes our friends from our daily life, but He will give us blessed ministries and wonderful relationships we never would have made had we not trusted in His perfect plan!

Here is a wonderful blog about being a friend to missionaries: http://hollycpearson.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/a-sender-friend/ I encourage you to read it and try to be a friend to those in the ministry…even though it hurts.

Women Behind the Scenes — November 24, 2012

Women Behind the Scenes

I am honored to be able to contribute to a blog upon which several missionary ladies (goers) and faithful State-side ladies (senders) write on all things related to world evangelism and personal growth. Yesterday, my first post was published!

Here is the link if you are interested in reading, http://www.womenbehindthescenes.com/2012/11/23/second-hand-confidence/

Make sure you check out the other posts written by those much more experienced than I! It has been such an awesome source of learning for me this past month. I am looking forward to seeing how the Lord uses these faithful women to influence others for Christ as well as encourage Christian women to live their lives solely for the Lord!

I Love to Tell the Story — October 31, 2012

I Love to Tell the Story

I will be singing in a missions conference next month. You might be surprised to hear that, and you rightfully should be. I am not all about getting up and singing in front of crowds, but upon request, I will do it! I have been thinking about what song I would like to sing, and every time I hear a different hymn, I think that’s the best one! But this song really sums up why I would travel raising support, why I would sing in front of strangers, and why I will ultimately move my family across the world and learn another language. I love to tell the story!

What’s even more awesome about this song is that my brother has previously recorded it! Here’s his version… my favorite!

and…here’s my favorite verse!

I love to tell the story
’tis pleasant to repreat
It seems each time I tell it
More wonderfully sweet
I love to tell the story
For some have never heard
The message of salvation
From God’s own Holy Word!

Signed June 8, 2004 — October 26, 2012

Signed June 8, 2004

My husband surrendered his life to missions at the age of 14 at a BCWE camp. It is amazing to me how sure  he was at this young age that this was what the Lord had for him. Here is the pledge he signed:

“It is my purpose, if God permit, to become a foreign missionary.

In signing this pledge, I am indicating that, by the grace of God, I will:

-Set aside my aspirations for other employment.
-Commit myself to becoming a missionary overseas unless God blocks my way
-Use my remaining time in my country as a period of preparation for my life’s calling
-Provide financial, moral and spiritual support for my companions who succeed in reaching the field, if God prevents my departure.
-Keep absolutely free from every engagement, which after prayerful attention and after consultation with the brethren shall be deemed incompatible with the object of this pledge.
-Do everything possible to bring about the evangelization of the world in our generation.”

I have been blessed to know Paul since he surrendered and have been in a relationship with him for 7 of the 10 years since. It is awesome to see how he has done just these things and has not faltered in his mission to get to the field. There have been times that I have fought my husband and his plans for our life together as he sought the Lord’s will in it. As I look at this pledge, it is clear to me why he has made the decisions for us that he has made. The Lord was directing him and graciously allowing him to continue pursue the foreign field.

I am so thankful for the burden the Lord has given my husband and, consequently, has given to me. I love where the Lord has us and am also really excited about where He is taking us. I am so proud to be married to a missions-minded man who loves the Lord and is seriously committed to evangelizing the world in our generation. I am honored to serve alongside my husband, who I believe, by God’s grace, will be greatly used in the country of India.

Thank you to those who have invested in Paul’s life and have helped him stay true to the commitments he has made.

 

Our Generation Summit — October 23, 2012

Our Generation Summit

Just a little plug for the Our Generation Summit! As a missionary-wife that has spent time learning  at Vision Baptist Church, I have had the privilege of attending this winter retreat for three years in a row! The OG Summit is a time for students, pastors, and families alike to spend time learning from pastors and missionaries who are…well, OBSESSED with world evangelism!

It is held in Pigeon Forge, TN at the beautiful Music Road Hotel. Attendees learn in both combined sessions led by veteran missionary and Pastor Austin Gardner including short messages from several missionaries and break-out sessions which they choose to attend based on topic or teacher. Free time can be spent around town or in the hotel spending time “chewing the fat” (and probably some junk food) with the missionaries.

The Lord has used my three experiences at the OG Summit to really burden my heart for missions. My first year in attendance, I was a little on the fence about the whole idea. I knew that my then-fiancee was no-doubt headed to the mission field, and this thought scared me more than anything. I had spent a few weeks in Burkina Faso, and I had committed to go anywhere, but I was not necessarily “all-in.”  I was blessed to hear from missionary wives who had “been there, done that.” I was seeing that what I thought was an impossible task- serving the Lord on the foreign field…with a good attitude- was, in fact, possible! I saw women serving the Lord and submitting to their husbands WITH JOY! This was an incredible time of learning in my life. After spending hours hearing missionary’s burdens for their field and what the Lord was doing through willing servants across the globe ,  was filled with an inexplicable excitement about what the Lord could do if I would yield my life to His will! I hugged my fiancee in the hallway of the Music Road Hotel, and with tears in my eyes, I told him, “I am so excited about our life in the ministry!” I was excited about getting married, about having a family…but my eyes were on the mission field. I couldn’t wait to serve Him wherever He would lead us.

The next two years in attendance, I was married and had been serving in Vision Baptist Church alongside my husband. The Lord used this time to renew our marriage and our collective burden for the lost in the world. We learned many practical things to apply to our future ministry, but more importantly we learned what we should be doing now to prepare our lives to be used by the Lord.

I have been able to attend the OG Summit these last three years, and I am so excited about our opportunity to attend this year as well. Every year, the Lord is faithful to burden hearts for the lost world, and we just can’t be more thrilled to experience His goodness in this capacity. This year’s theme is WITNESS, “We are looking at the challenge laid out to us in God’s Word to be a witness to all nations. In the 10/40 window, the 9 to 5 window of our work place, and to the whole world! ” Please prayerfully consider attending this year. We would love to see you there, and we know the Lord would love to speak to your heart about how you could serve Him through missions as a goer or sender!

For more information, visit:https://www.visionbaptistmissions.com/events/our-generation-summit/

Intensely Missionary — October 17, 2012

Intensely Missionary

Each month we attend the Goer-Sender Coalition at Vision. Here, the church encourages goers (those who go to the field as missionaries) and senders (those who support through the church) alike. We hear updates from Vision’s missionaries on deputation and on furlough and short messages from training center students. Also, ladies are involved in reading missionary quotes, both from VBM’s missionaries, missionaries supported by Vision, and missionaries in history. Last month, I read this:

‘When Henry Martyn, that splendid young hero of the Cross, lay dying with a fever in Persia, he received a letter asking how the missionary interest of the church at home could be increased. The dying saint said, ‘Tell them to live more with CHRIST, to catch more of His Spirit; for the Spirit of CHRIST is the Spirit of Missions, and the nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.’

I love this, and I am finding it to be true in my life. People think we are crazy for wanting to live in India. And, we are! But we we have caught His Spirit! It is not my natural desire to go to India, but I praise the Lord for letting me share His desires as I become closer to Him! I am so blessed and honored to serve the Lord. I deeply desire to live more with Christ and to catch more of His Spirit, the spirit of missions. Missions is not my natural heart, but I thank the Lord for continually teaching me and fine-tuning my heart to look more like His…intensely missionary!

Foolish.Weak.CHOSEN. — September 13, 2012

Foolish.Weak.CHOSEN.

Sometimes, I just feel inadequate, incapable, and honestly, good-for-nothing. In just the two weeks since beginning deputation, these feelings have been intensified. There is a constant, though unspoken, usually self-inflicted pressure on deputation. You want to leave a good impression. You want to represent yourself and your family well. More importantly, you want to present your heart for the country the Lord is sending you to and the work He would have you to do there. I often feel like our church planting and training goals are lofty ones, and people must be laughing inside thinking Paul might be able to do it if he had a more outstanding wife. These thoughts are not from the Lord.

I know this because I remember, God uses weak people. Gideon was “the least in his father’s house” (Judges 6:15), and Samson, the strongest man, was only strong when the Holy Spirit was upon Him. I am, and everyone else is right that I am not the help my husband needs. What he wants to do, what we want to do can only be accomplished through HIS power, not mine or even ours. In doing so, The Lord receives the most glory because we can’t say, “Look what we did!”. We have to say, “Look what God did!”

I am small and inadequate. I am a good-for-nothing, broken vessel, but He wants to use me if I will allow Him to work in my life. He gives me purpose, and He will help me accomplish His task for me. He would not ask me to do something he would not enable me to do. In his power, I can be a help to my husband and a servant who brings glory to my Father’s name. Praise Him for His power and goodness! I can’t wait to look back on our life and our ministry and say, “Wow! Look what God has done!” Whatever it may be, I know it will be far beyond anything I could have done. After all, I am good for nothing. So thankful He is good for everything, for everyone, all the time and that his strength is MADE PERFECT in weakness! It is just amazing to me that he would use the weak, like me, to do work for his kingdom! We serve a an incredibly gracious God!

1Co 1:26-31  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Change of Heart — January 30, 2012

Change of Heart

Last night, during the teachers/workers meeting at Vision Baptist Church, my dear husband wrote me a little note. This is not an unusual occurrence in any given church service or meeting, but this was a very special note. It read,”Pastor asked me if we wanted to announce that we are going to India tonight.”

I replied, “Up to you, babe.”

“Are you 100% in?” Quite a weighty question for note-passing, wouldn’t you say?

After a shorter pause than I would have anticipated, I quickly scrawled, “YES!”

This is not the first time that we have discussed these plans, and I have had a few months for the Lord to work on my heart toward India. Many of you may know that I had previously been on a missions trip to Africa, and we often talked of plans of eventually serving somewhere in Africa. Honestly, I let myself get too set on this idea since that time, and it has been an adjustment to sort of “re-program” my mind and my heart to let go of this dream.

Previously, when I thought about missions, I saw African faces. This is probably just something that was created by the short time I had spent actually seeing the work and serving short term with Keith and Rebecca Shumaker in Burkina Faso. It was my only experience of missions. I prayed more often for Africa, decorated my home in our souvenirs, and dreamed of returning someday.

It is taking time, but the more that I learn about India, the more the Lord stirs my heart and creates an excitement within me live and minister there. We are fortunate enough to have friends who have an incredible burden for the country of India. Trent and Stephanie Cornwell are a constant encouragement to us. Trent’s heart for India is contagious, and I believe the Lord truly used his relationship with Paul to lead us there. He shared his dream for Vision to send 8 missionary families to India with the church, and we feel so blessed to be counted as one of those families! We also have Jim and Autumn Roberts, missionaries to India currently on deputation. They also had other plans of serving in, I believe it was, Scotland (?) when the Lord redirected their steps towards India. We are looking forward to getting to know them better as we prepare to get to the field. We hope to work along with their family in India and hope to arrive on the field just a couple years after they do.

Lord willing, our hope is to begin raising support by the end of 2012 and join the Roberts on the field by 2015. We feel so blessed to be given this opportunity, and we are trusting the Lord as He leads and guides us along the way!

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