I don't know that I deserve all the nice things you said about me, but as my Grandmother would say,
"Lie on, I love it." =D
And Sarah, Thanks for your suggestion. I would love to print this for the public someday, but I'm not sure how or when. =)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~The GLORY of being a missionary wife...part 2~
When you move to a new country to serve God, everything is UNKNOWN!
It's just YOU AND JESUS!! =)
You develop a dependence on God LIKE YOU'VE NEVER HAD BEFORE!!! You realize that things are OUT OF YOUR CONTROL, but that you are serving a God that is TOTALLY IN CONTROL!
So, you learn to just sit back and watch HIM WORK! (OK, I made that sound really EASY, didn't I?) =D
So, here we were, landing in Colombia, FACING THE IMPOSSIBLE. Once we got to Colombia we learned that in order to stay in Colombia we had to have a registered Colombian church to authorize us to work here as missionaries. We had come ALONE to plant churches, so that was impossible.
Just 2 weeks later, we walked into a music store to buy a keyboard, and God let a man named Carlos help us. The next day, Carlos called us and told us that God wouldn't let him sleep that whole night before. He just HAD to come and talk to us and find out HOW THEY COULD HELP US! =)
Long story short, His Father-in-law's church gave us the coverage we needed and has covered us the whole time we've been here. Without them, we would have had to leave Colombia just shortly after getting here.
Carlos' brother-in-law (without even MEETING US) signed our papers so we could rent a house. Our house was in his name for 3 years, and we just paid the rent. But, How was he to know that we WOULD PAY the bills and not ruin His name? He didn't know us from Adam!!!
Only God could create that miracle to let someone TRUST foreigners sight-unseen like he trusted us.
One day before we came to Colombia, Phillip told me that he felt that God had just given him this PROMISE:
"Those who don't even know you, will help you!"
~When on the mission field one cannot afford to miss their QUIET time with God each day (even if it's not too QUIET and their children are all around! =)
Sometimes in the human we think that we need to be like the ENERGIZER BUNNY FOR GOD....Just Going, and Doing all the time.
When what God really wants is for us to be like SOLAR CELLS and SPEND LOTS OF TIME WITH THE SON!!!!! (JESUS!)
In God's Kingdom MORE WORK, AND THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK is done, on our knees in prayer!!
I have taken LOTS of comfort in knowing that Jesus was the ultimate Missionary and He more than UNDERSTANDS when I come to Him with my little woes.
And talk about CULTURE SHOCK...He had it!! =)
~Growing up in a pastor's home my parents taught me that GOD ANSWERS PRAYER and frequently shared answers to their prayers with our family!
So, I took them at their word, and was just child-like enough to think that my Heavenly Father CARES about what I care about! I have always prayed over everything.little.thing, and still do!!! I often say, "I LOVE IT, that my Heavenly Father cares about the LITTLE things!"
I have found Him a VERY FAITHFUL FATHER, and He LOVES to answer all of our prayers!
Missionaries as you know live by faith. The verse "Pray without Ceasing" becomes a LIFESTYLE!!! So, I've rejoiced that on the mission field, our children have seen FIRST HAND God work miracle after miracle in OUR BEHALF AND FOR THE WORK HERE!
~SOME SPECIAL GOD MOMENTS:~
- In 2009 it was time for us to go back to the USA for deputation. We had planned to leave on Tuesday, Aug. 4th, and it was already the Thursday before and we had NO MONEY to buy the tickets. So, we prayed together as a family and presented our NEED to Jesus.
- The next day, money came in, and we bought our tickets!
- I'll never forget deputation 2009. I was VERY OVERWHELMED and having to pack for our family (then 6 of us) to travel around for months. We were to be gone over 3 different seasons (HOT Summer weather (in AZ too) Fall, and Winter!) , and we would be traveling a lot out West (FAR AWAY FROM HOME and more supplies/clothes!) We were traveling around in a minivan and I was wondering HOW I was going to fit all our things/schoolwork/missions display/suitcases/etc. in that van for all those months. I just didn't see HOW I COULD DO IT!!! Plus it was FALL, my favorite season, and my heart was so MISSING getting to decorate for Autumn. We were to leave for the west the VERY NEXT DAY when at one of our first services some of our DEAR friends offered us the use of their Motor home! I could HARDLY believe my ears! So, we accepted their offer and the next day found us rolling our way down the road in their Nice motor home heading west. AND TALK ABOUT DECORATING FOR FALL. In our travels, God helped me run into several 90% off sales at HOBBY LOBBY and I got LOTS of Fall Goodies with which to decorate. Just a coincidence? NO, our God Cares about the little things! =D
- End of 2009/ beginning of 2010 As you know we were so NEEDING our own home/place to stay for when we are in the USA, and Phillip felt that it was God's timing to start looking for a house. We don't have any credit history, (from living outside of the USA so long), nor did we want to go into debt. Long story short, unexpectedly we were sent a check from Phillip's Life Insurance policy. We just put that check into a savings account, hoping to use it to HELP toward a house someday! Then a little later God sent us our SURPRISE baby Mary, and we knew we would need to go back home (USA) for her delivery. So, we began to pray, "Lord, if You want to us to have a house, please just DROP IT IN OUR LAPS!!" Just 2 weeks later...when the house near my sister's house came open (the one we had looked at) God let us get our house for just $14,200! Our Insurance check and a couple special gifts given Specifically for our family to use...FULLY PAID FOR OUR HOUSE!!! =)
- 2011 After trying for WEEKS IN VAIN on the internet to find a house to rent before going to Buenos Aires, Argentina, we resigned to having to get a hotel once we arrived. BUT....JUST ONE HOUR before we left for the airport to go to Argentina, we got an email saying that someone had a house ready for us to rent!!!! We went straight from the airport to that house! God's clock keeps Perfect Time! The main reason we couldn't find a house to rent in Argentina was because we were "too many!" =) Everyone only rented to "4 people and no more!" But God found us a land lady that was willing to rent to us for our first week, then after she met us she decided we could stay a month. Later she was so impressed with our family and how we tried to TAKE CARE of her house like it was ours, that she told us to stay the whole 5 months in HER HOUSE! When we left she told us that she wished ALL RENTERS were like us! =)
- When we got there, we were shocked with a entrance fee into the country of $110.00 per person. But, we knew after that, that we still had plenty of money to pay our rent and deposit. However, when we went to withdraw money to pay, we were SHOCKED that we didn't have hardly any money in our account to pay rent, etc. We had been saving money, so we would have plenty of money to pay our expenses when we arrived. A few days LATER we found out, after checking our bank account on line, someone had been stealing LOTS of money from our card. (Evidently someone when we were still in Colombia got all the info from our card and was buying hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise in MADRID using our debit card. =(
- So, here we were in a new foreign country needing to pay rent, deposit, etc. having no funds, nor even Friends to depend on there! BUT, God moved on the heart of the man and lady (who had JUST MET US) to rent us the house with just a little cash for the first weekend, and then let us pay just what we had/could until we had more money in our account.
- Again, those that didn't know us, helped us!!! Once we realized about the theft, our mission sent us money to pull us through!
- Then, MIRACLE OF ALL MIRACLES....Later OUR BANK reimbursed us for every DIME that was STOLEN! (And as you know, That normally does NOT happen with debit card theft!) =)
- 2012 Like I told you earlier, one of the hardest things for me to part with was my beautiful Amish table, that had place-setting for 14, along with the matching chairs, and the nice deacons bench! Back then, I told Jesus that I was expecting Him to get me another dinning room table someday. =) I LOVE to have company, and normally have a House full/ table full when I do, so Jesus knew I was requesting another BIG ONE. =D As you know, He sent me a nice big table this past July...one that has setting for 15 or so people. I can't wait to get home and use my table for a little while! =)
- Now in January 2013, we were needing money to buy all the tickets to get the pastors and their families here for the revival with Bro. Eisenhart and Bro. Becker. PLUS, we were Needing money to buy our own tickets to go back to the USA in March. We didn't know how, but we knew God would help us. God and others came through in a MARVELOUS way and we got their tickets and ours too!
- Dec. 2012 After the door seemingly was SLAMMED SHUT when all of our years WORTH of paperwork was STOLEN (see story below)...God created a MIRACLE in giving us our Colombian LIFETIME residencies!
- Another added blessing is that now we are registered as Independent Workers rather than underneath the church mentioned above.
- Our laptop computer has been "LIMPING ALONG" for the last 2 years. (We always have a little fan blowing on it, so it won't overheat. ) But, instead of buying another laptop, we've been investing into God's work here. We received an email asking us if we could use a laptop. We wrote back and told them it would be a HUGE BLESSING!!! We had never even mentioned our need to anyone! So, now someone has a new laptop waiting for us when we visit the States!!!
- DID I MENTION THAT OUR GOD IS AWESOME?!!!!!!!!!
That bag had YEARS worth of IMPORTANT documents NEEDED to get our Colombian residencies, our 10 US passports (some were old but still required to get our residencies), Our Colombian visas, our 10 year Argentine visas, and much more. God WORKED in our behalf and Nearly everything in that bag, including nearly $300.00 was returned to us?!!!!! Those who stole from us, didn't know that God had His hand on His Children and on their bag! We had THE TRACKING SYSTEM of all TRACKING SYSTEMS!! =) When we tell this story to Colombians of how we got our bag and things back, THEY CANNOT BELIEVE IT! They say things like," Do you know that that is a MIRACLE? One never receives STOLEN CASH BACK here in Colombia!"
We Love telling that story...'cause it brings GLORY to our wonderful Savior!!!
~Being on the mission field draws us closer together as a family. We are a TEAM, and we are Best friends. Our kids and us LOVE to just sit and talk and laugh, and cry, and pray, and sing together. We have been through a lot, but those times have just drawn us even closer to each other.
~I want to take a moment to BRAG on our home church and mission! These people treat us (their missionaries) like we are ROYALTY!!! They are always saying kind things to us, telling us that we are some of their "Heroes", etc. A lot from our church give faithfully to our family and the work here, and the church is always there to take up an offering to help us if we are in a "Bind."
Our pastors and families, and our mission director and wife ARE THE BEST and are always SHOWING THEIR LOVE TO US!! CNC is the BEST church in the world. =) If it wouldn't have been for their WISE ADVICE in how we do things here on the field, we wouldn't have seen the results we have seen.
They love us unconditionally, they PRAY for us regularly...they are OUR CHURCH!! They give us gifts...which helps our children's hearts/and ours too, for that matter. (For I still LOVE getting gifts! =D)
NOTE: I would recommend to ALL MISSIONARIES to get a REGULAR HOME CHURCH before you go to the field. It will give your children and you a sense of STABILITY while on the field.
Every time we come home, we know we are going HOME to OUR HOME CHURCH!!!
To our CHURCH FAMILY that loves us, and understands when we just sit on the pew and cry....TAKING IN...when we've GIVEN OUT for the last while.
I know of more than one very nice missionary family whom everyone loved, but when it came time for them to come off of the field, they felt LOST. They did not have a HOME CHURCH to go to. So, all that to say, WE ARE VERY THANKFUL for our Home church and Mission!!
Some of the things that a missionary wife learns:
~You Learn to get less stressed over things, and just realize that God is working out HIS PURPOSE in you!
~You Learn to be more FLEXIBLE!!
~If you don't have the right ingredients, it's no biggy, you just learn to substitute. There are a lot of ladies who have to have EXACTLY what the recipe calls for including the NAME BRAND sour cream, etc. or they won't make the recipe. Meantime, I have to substitute in nearly EVERY recipe I make. It's just becomes a way of life on the mission field! =) If I DID NOT substitute, I wouldn't be able to make many American recipes, for there are a lot our cultural ingredients you just can't get in a different culture.
~Each day can bring UNEXPECTED things your way. YOU learn to PRAY your way THROUGH the day! I'll never forget when we were leaving Argentina, and as we were ready to board the plane we found out that Phillip's passport had JUST EXPIRED! (You know, A 10 year passport seems like it will NEVER expire, but it did! =)
We had been up ALL NIGHT long (except for baby MARY, who had slept like "a baby" =) So, here I was (exhausted, worried, and feeling OVERWHELMED)..., waving GOODBYE to Phillip and then boarding the airplane ALONE with our 5 children. This was NOT what we had PLANNED. That day, I and our children had to FLY THROUGH 3 different countries (one of which speaks Portuguese, which we don't understand), and not having a CLUE WHEN we'd see Phillip again.
I kept having "VERY COMFORTING" thoughts like,
"Maybe it was Phillip's time to go and not ours, or maybe it's OUR time to go, and not His."
BELIEVE ME, I spent A LOT of time talking to my Abba that day!
I even asked Him, "Why can't I just have a Normal life? WHY DO I HAVE TO BE THE ONE to travel alone with 5 children, lugging luggage through 3 different countries?
Why can't I just have a simple life of driving to Wal-mart with my children?" =)
I'm trying to learn that God is using the hard times we ALL go through today, to prepare us for bigger usefulness later.
In my first post, I mentioned (quite a bit, I might add =) a missionary's wife has to give up A LOT...but God helps make up for those things in a lot of ways.
When we moved to Colombia we could only bring just a few suitcases (and now we go back to the USA...with EVEN LESS than we were allowed to fly with back then.)
So, of course, I couldn't bring my sewing machine. When we got here, we had to start from scratch and buy EVERYTHING for our house. (Phillip and I slept on a mattress on our floor for our first 8 months here; Because filling your house with furniture and appliances costs too much to do it all at once.)
So, that being said, I surely hated for Phillip to buy another thing. But, I was really MISSING my sewing machine. I don't even remember if I made it a matter of prayer or not, but one day I got an email from a friend from Florida.
She asked me if I needed a sewing machine. DID I!!!!
She then asked if I would like one. WOULD I? =D
She ended up sending a VERY NICE sewing machine for me with a TLC team coming through Bogota. PRAISE THE LORD!!!
I have LOVED having this machine and have made lots of fun things with it over the years!
~The AMAZING computerized sewing machine that God gave me to use for the last several years. It did all kinds of wonderful things including embroidery!~
~GOD'S SERVICE SOMETIMES HAS PERKS TOO!~
~A missionary's life is an Exciting life. Really a missionary gets to travel the life of a RICH PERSON! Always on the go, traveling to new cultures and countries. Eating exotic (and sometime Not so exotic =) foods, etc. I have always loved to travel, and my parents made it possible that I traveled to nearly all 50 States in the USA, and I had visited Nicaragua, Canada, and Mexico when I was still with them.
But, I never dreamed that I would live a year in beautiful Costa Rica, spend some of Christmas 2005 on a FUN island in Panama, live for nearly 7 years in Mountainous Colombia, and live in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 5 months in 2011-2012, and soon to live there again after this deputation.
Yes, God has made my life a very RICH life.
~Due to deputation (and my blog =) I have Lots of friends all over the USA. Not just "Fair weather friends", but YOU, friends who are right there to PRAY FOR US faithfully, and especially if we are in Need of prayer! Thank you!! We are looking forward to seeing A LOT of you soon. The highlight of going HOME is seeing our Family, our church family, and all our friends.
~God has sent us friends in Costa Rica, Colombian and in Argentina as well. Not just causal acquaintances, we're talking LIFE-LONG FRIENDS THAT HAVE BECOME F.A.M.I.L.Y. to us! Ones that have opened up their hearts and their homes to this family of "Gringos" (Americans). They've acted like we speak the best Spanish in the world, =) yet correct our mistakes so we can improve, they've shared their delicious recipes with us, and have complemented my American food. Yep, They've pretty much just walked right into our hearts and have stolen a part. I'm crying while I write this...for soon, oh, too soon, we'll have to say MORE DREADED goodbyes to some of the ones that we LOVE with all our hearts!! (Of course we plan on coming back to visit Colombia for years to come, Lord willing, but it won't be the same as Living here!)
~It's a common thing for our kids to fly all over the world, when some of their friends have hardly left their own State. Both Mary and Elijah were only 3 months or so when they flew for their first of MANY times in their lives.
~When we are home we get to travel all around the USA (and sometimes Canada as well) to visit lots of churches, meet lots of new people, and see old friends. Though deputation has it's stresses, it is an exciting time too. God and others have often provided fun things along the way for our children, like a horseback ride, or a boat ride, or a ride on a 4-wheeler, one church gave us all gifts, etc.
~As mentioned above: some of our Dear friends loaned us a NICE motor home for our last deputation. We had just had a service in Emmett, Idaho, and were headed to have another one in Montana. So, here we were, On deputation 2009, winding our way through the beautiful rugged mountains in Northern Idaho, along side of a white water river...taking in the breath-taking views.
In other words...WE WERE "SUFFERING" FOR JESUS! =)
Our kids were sitting at the table and couch in the motor home trying to do schoolwork. Phillip said, "Kids, you need to count your blessings, there's a lot of kids that would LOVE to be in your shoes about right now. Homeschooling while seeing the sights you are seeing."
After we chatted with our kids for awhile Phillip said, "Now, it's time to get back to your studies."
We rounded the next corner and without thinking I rather loudly exclaimed, "That sign said to watch for Mountain Goats!!"
Kimberly pipes up and says, "Wait, how are we supposed to 'get back to our studies' when you say things like that?" =)
One night in the motor home, we pulled into a dark gas station and parked to the back of the parking lot and went to sleep.
The next morning when we awoke and opened up the curtains, right beside us were snow covered mountains!!! =)
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~The BIGGEST part of the GLORY...is Seeing souls come to know Jesus. ~
Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
How rewarding it is for us when we see others follow us in that which we try to follow Christ and His Word!
~Ladies start letting their hair grow and soon have beautiful feminine long hair,
~Families start Keeping the Lord's Day holy,
~Others dress more modestly,
~Some begin being more careful of what they allow into their homes,
~Many families are now having regular family devotions.
Seeing those you have grown to LOVE bow at an altar and surrender their lives to Jesus, is beyond AMAZING!!
I think of one of the main guys that helps in the Bogota church here. When we met him his hair was down over his shoulders. We never said anything directly to him about his hair. Of course Bro. Jimmy and Phillip were faithful to teach God's Word as God led. Not too much time passed when we came to church and he had gotten a haircut. He is one of the ones that God sanctified wholly in our last revival.
Did anyone mention that there was GORY in being a missionary? =)
THINGS LIKE THIS ARE SUCH A PAY BACK for the "hard" things we've had to face!! It is not worthy of comparison.
Seeing lives changed and souls earnestly living for Jesus is WORTH MORE THAN WORDS!!!
One day, I was playing the piano in church in Bogota, and we were singing the hymn,
"When the Roll is called up yonder."
It made me cry when I thought that because I gave up some things and left my home, family, and friends,:
there will probably be souls from South America who will answer "PRESENT" WHEN THAT ROLL IS CALLED UP YONDER!!
I WELL remember when we were fixing to leave to go to the mission field, our missionary director's wife Sis. Becker (who had spent at least 18 years ministering to the Native Americans both in the USA and in Canada) telling me that she was sort of jealous of me getting to go to the mission field.
I know I must have looked at her like she was CRAZY and teasingly told her that she was WELCOME to go, and I would GLADLY stay there. =D
Now, many years later, I think I see what she was meaning. The planting and watching of seeds begin to grow is WORTH IT ALL!
God has let our family work in a field where there is READY ground. Other missionary ladies and their families have worked on fields with A DIFFERENT KIND OF GROUND. The devil will try to brow beat them and tell them that they didn't see anything happen, that their efforts were in vain...but that is a lie!!!
Psalm 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Someday these ladies will be rewarded when God lets them see the results, because God's Word will NOT return void.
Knowing that one day there will be souls in Heaven because I / WE GAVE...makes some of the adjustments we've had to make PALE in importance.
The Best is yet to come. The seed which has been planted will bear fruit. We are just seeing the beginning of great things God will do in the future. And to think, He LET little ol' me/us be a part!
It will be WORTH IT ALL, when we see Jesus!
Life's TRIALS will seem so small when we see Christ!
One GLIMPSE OF HIS DEAR FACE
ALL SORROW WILL ERASE
So bravely run the race
'Til we SEE CHRIST!!