Sunday, October 13, 2013

So much closer

The title applies in so many areas! We are closer to each other, we are closer in our walk with the Lord, and we are getting closer to leaving!!! Yay!! We have just recently completed our final training required by Pioneers before leaving for the field. So, now we just need to sell our house and get our final monthly support required for us to leave. That is pretty exciting for us!
We are thankful to have so many friends and family that are praying for us, loving us, encouraging us and supporting us. We just had an opportunity to share with a church in our community (literally 1 mile from our house). It was such a blessing to have family and friends there to support us. We were also blessed to receive a text message with a picture of the GA's (Girls in Action) at our church praying for us right then. Here is the picture that was sent to us:
Now if that doesn't just melt your heart! 

They may not fully understand it all right now, but their part is so important. God hears their prayers and it is opening up their little hearts and minds to the things that God calls us to do, while helping them  understand how important all of it is. I am so thankful for a home church that offers programs like GA's and RA's to help younger kids learn the importance of missions and how they can be a part of it. Thank you to those who take time to lead those little ones and teach them the things that are important to God. Thank you GA's for praying for us and encouraging us--we love you!!

We were so excited to find out that we were approved for our final training in September! We were even more excited that we were going to be there with a young lady from our team in Mexico! Her name is Alisha, and it was great to get to know her better. We got to spend some time with her asking all kinds of questions about the Ranch and how life is there. It made us all the more excited to get there!  She actually left for Mexico on the last day of training, so it was bittersweet and hard not to be jealous of her going, too. She is back in Mexico and doing great, so we are very happy for her. We do a lot of training and learning about personalities and how they work in team life, so I think we have an advantage because we've trained with Alisha and already know so much about each other and our personalities. I think that will be beneficial to our team life together in Mexico. Team life can be tricky if you don't know how to give and take and make sure that each person on the team feels like their voice is heard. Knowing that decisions have to be made by team leaders but feeling like your opinion was heard and considered helps team life go better. By human nature we don't do that well--we don't normally think of others' opinions more valuable than our own. We tend to think things could be done differently than the way we would do it. But at training, we were able role-play several group scenarios to see how people reacted in different situations. Then we could go back with a staff person and go over what just took place to see how our personalities reacted so differently in the situations. It was really an eye opener for us all! We feel that God was so good to allow us to attend training with one of our team members so we could bond as a team. 
Here we are with Alisha on the last day of training before her brother came to pick her up and whisk her off to the airport for Mexico. (Excuse the picture we were all tired and poor Alisha had been sick all week!)

We are experiencing severe spiritual warfare, so your prayers would be greatly appreciated. The enemy is doing anything he can to keep us distracted and unable to work on our Partner Development!! We are asking you to join us in fighting the real battle with prayer, asking God to guard us and help us in this battle to do His work that He has asked us to do. We are learning more and more each day just how important it is to have other believers lifting us up in prayer before our Father daily!!! Thank you for being a part of that. 

We are getting ready to have another moving sale and get our house ready to put on the market. Those are both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I don't know if I can properly explain to anyone how that feels for us. Some of the words I can use are freeing, exciting, sad, bittersweet, unsettling, and exhilarating! It really is all those things rolled into one and some days can pull us either way in how we feel. The excitement most always outweighs the sadness, but it is still a loss of something in our hearts and more letting go. It is a battle in our flesh just like anyone else and we know that it is all worth it, yet it's a struggle. We are not super humans with a super family, super spiritual life, super marriage, super emotions.  We don't have all the answers. We are just like you--we sin, we have struggles, we are weak, we have disagreements--we are human. I think sometimes people think that missionaries are some super human elite group--but we aren't. We are just followers of Jesus Christ who are being obedient in what He has asked us to do. Whatever you are feeling or struggling with we probably are, too, or have, or will. We are not immune to things; we don't have feelings of steel; we can't quote the entire bible by memory; we don't all home-school our children (although we will when we get to the field). We aren't all gifted with every spiritual gift; we aren't encouraged and joyful all the time; we aren't doing noble things; we aren't always where we should be spiritually; and the list goes on and on. What I am finding out is that missionaries are under attack by the enemy in ways that some have only seen in movies and is so foreign to us here in America. I am seeing that this is an all out battle and it is going to be difficult 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! And some days, that is scary. I see what our friends are facing on the field, I read and hear the statistics of missionaries making it on the field, and it is really overwhelming. But, I have learned to stop and ask myself, "Is HE worth it?" and a resounding, "Yes HE is," is always my answer.

Every tear we shed, every good bye we say, everything we sell, everything we let go of, every child we help, every trial we go through, every bit of it is worth it to bring honor and glory to our Lord and to spend our lives increasing His kingdom. The Bible calls us into action, and we should always be in a mode of action unless other wise instructed by the Spirit. If someone is in need, help them. If someone needs to hear the gospel, share it. We cannot sit by and think that someone else will do it. Unless clearly directed not to do something or share with someone, our nature should be action for the kingdom. If there is a person in need of food, give it; a child that needs adopting, adopt them; a tribe or nation that needs to hear the gospel, go and tell them; a widow that needs some company, go and visit; a coworker that needs a friend, be that friend. My point is this: don't wait or assume that some one else will do it. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus then He is asking YOU to do it. 

Thank you again for keeping up with us. Below I have posted a few pictures from the Ranch of the kids. We absolutely can not wait to get there and start loving on them and being part of the every day life of Rancho Sordo Mudo!!! To God be the glory!!

Kids putting on one of their many dramas!

Kids in class this year working hard.

Jason teaching his class.

Jason is one of the missionaries at The Ranch we will be working with.