Saturday, May 2, 2009

Praise the Lord with us He has provided a house for us to rent. The homeowner said "the Lord must have really wanted you to have this house because others have tried to rent it and it has not worked out for them." I think the house will be great to meet all our needs. It is at the top of a hill and has a view of the Pacific ocean. There are four bedrooms upstairs and an office and a homeschool room downstairs. There is also a place for guests to sleep. We will not be able to move in for awhile because there is quite a lot of cleaning to be done, but we are so thankful for this place. The yard is excellent too. The kids can build forts, climb trees, and eat lots of fruit from the many fruit trees growing around the property.

Our access to the internet is still a long way off so I cannot write as I thought I would be doing. I look forward to writing in the future and keeping you all informed.

We love you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Choosing to trust

I didn’t expect it to be this hard to communicate via internet once we left America. In fact, there were a lot of things I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to be faced with missing the familiar and home and my mom’s voice and hugs so soon. I didn’t expect to be discontent at being in New Zealand and just wanting to be back home in the U.S. I didn’t expect to not be able to log onto the net and communicate just as easily as I wanted, whenever I wanted. But most importantly, I didn’t expect to meet with God so soon over all these little things that were bothering me and find Him guiding me to a greater dependence on Him.

All six of us felt at home in Fiji as soon as we arrived. That was a real blessing. We enjoyed our two day stay at a hotel and found it very helpful to shift our tired bodies into another time zone gradually. The first night the kids woke up at 3 am, the next night 4 am, and on and on until now we are actually waking them up at 7 am.

On Sunday morning Mike, the children, and I had our Bible time on the beach. It was a great time as we all reflected on things God has created and how we know He is near. We praised the Lord, prayed, read the Bible and swam in the pacific. Walking back I asked the Lord for some little glimpse of His presence. A few minutes later we noticed His rainbow in the sky, a promise of His unfailing compassion. We positioned the kids under it and took their picture. We know He will always be faithful and that is all we need.

Monday morning when we were boarding the plane to New Zealand it struck me how far we are from the U.S. and how difficult it would be to get back there. That realization was like a pain in my heart that lodged there for awhile. On the plane I was tempted to feel pity for myself and not having a home or the security a home provides. The Lord sweetly brought John 14 to my mind. He has gone to “prepare a place for me.” My place is with Him. It is secure and it is perfect for me. Although I cannot see it or touch it right now it is more real than anything this world could offer. Heb. 4:12 says that Scripture pierces the innermost places of our hearts, “down to the joints and marrow.” That passage from John took root in my heart and turned my sorrow into rejoicing. It turned fear and insecurity into confidence and hope.

Even though we were only in Fiji for two days, we were already confronted with the battle for the truth of Christ. A Fijian lady described her salvation to me by saying "God gave us a son and everything got better and we were baptized." Driving through Nadi we saw numerous red flags on bamboo poles flying above homes declaring the family's allegiance to the monkey God. Young girls recently married were adorned with the traditional markings that associate them with their false gods. There is so much deception everywhere. We pray that His truth will prevail and these people will turn from darkness to light.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Even though we have spent months, maybe years preparing for this day it still seemed like a HUGE, almost impossible task. Today we had to do almost all of the packing to leave for Fiji. We have been "downsizing" for as long as I can remember, but I don't think you can ever be ready to put the sum total of all your belongings into a 4' x 4' x 4' crate and some luggage. The Lord provided again the strength and grace to do what He has called us to. His provisions today came in the form of our incredible family. Mike's parents, grandmother, my mom, my sister-in-law, and Mike's aunt and uncle offered their assistance. They were greatly needed and appreciated. We could not have done it without them. The tenderness of the Lord is seen in His using other people to meet our needs. In hard times we can laugh, share the work, and enjoy the accomplishments together.

Lauren and Grandpa loading the toolbox

Uncle Barney and Aunt Jo surprised us with a wonderful dinner!

Mike and his dad putting the finishing touches on the crate.

Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Eccl. 4:9-12

talking to the Father

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Isa. 26:3

This verse has been my lighthouse as we face what is impossible to us. So many emotions come and go: excitement, fear, sadness, joy...One thing can be trusted, God is faithful. When I am tempted to give in to sadness or fear, I am faced with a choice: what will I think on? Will I dwell on the emotions or unknown or will I renew my mind in the truth of Jesus Christ. So often the battle lasts only for that moment of choosing. When I choose Christ the battle is over, He has won, and joy and peace conquer fear and loss.

Yesterday was our last church service in the US. Our song leader asked for a time of prayer for our family as well as for our pastor who is going on a mission trip to China in six days. After a couple of prayers by adults a little soft voice spoke to the Father. Our seven year old, Abbie, prayed that God would let people in Fiji and in China and all over the world hear the gospel and be saved. She also prayed for all God's children in all the churches. That prayer brought courage along with a few tears to many. May we all approach our Father with requests that bring Him glory. He alone is worthy to be exalted in the earth

Emptied to be filled

It's hard take it all in that in just short of two weeks we will be in Fiji. I know we aren't saying goodbye for long. Three years passes so quickly. Still there is an unshakable sense of loss, a mourning for a life that is changing. I am reminded again that the object of my focus determines my attitude. I cannot focus on myself or on those I am leaving. My focus must remain on the Savior and on the eternity He has prepared for all those who love Him. We could not be more thrilled to be going to Fiji or feel more honored to be sent by God's dear servants. God's grace has carried us to this point and He will not fail, ever.
We are getting close to empty, tired, mentally drained. It would seem that we have nothing left to give when we arrive in Fiji. But that is the best place to be, empty. The more empty I am of me the more room there will be for the Lord to fill. That is our greatest desire, that it would not be we that are seen but Christ. How better to see the excellence of His glory than through simple, fragile, dependent servants. May the name of Christ be praised through our lives, through our trials, through our sadness. He is enough.

Channels Only
How I praise Thee, precious Savior, That Thy love laid hold of me;
Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me
that I might Thy channel be.
Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me, A clean vessel in Thy hand;
With no power but as Thou givest Graciously with each command.
Witnessing Thy pow'r to save me, Setting free from self and sin;
Thou Who boughest to possess me, In Thy fullness Lord come in.
Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit Hearts that full surrender know;
That the streams of living water From our inner man may flow.
(Chorus) Channels Only, Blessed Master,
But with all Thy wondrous pow'r
Flowing thro' us, Thou canst use us Ev'ry day and ev'ry hour.
by Mary Maxwell

Not there yet

Even though we are not in Fiji yet so much is going on I thought I'd start writing now. Partially I am writing before we get there to get into the habit and learn more about blogging. Another reason, to be even more honest, is that there are just so many emotions and ups and downs I thought maybe writing about it might help me process this all better. Lastly I wanted to give anyone who might read this an opportunity to add a comment or two.