Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5 months In.


 For almost 7 LONG years we had moved at a snails pace and in October 2014 that all changed. Our last 5 months in the US was a whirlwind to say the least. Early one morning in mid October we prayed together before Mike went to work. We had come to a point where we had to lay this ministry down on the altar before the Lord and pray, "Lord, this is your ministry and if you are going to take it, please take it quickly. And if you are not, could you please provide the sacrifice (the lamb in the thicket) for us. We promise to RUN through any open door if YOUR will is NOT to take it from us. Lord, you know how broken we will be if your will is to sacrifice it, but we trust you to hold us and heal us. Lord, we are yours and however you see fit to work, we will continue to serve you and be obedient." That is word for word what we prayed, trust me I will NEVER forget that Thursday morning as long as I live. It was one of the hardest prayers I have ever prayed in my life, because I had no idea if the Lord's will was to sacrifice this ministry or provide the lamb. We both cried and were not sure what the days ahead would hold, but we trusted!

We had been told that November through January were not good months to gain people to partner with God for His work and that it would probably be mid to late 2015 before we would depart for the field full time. I honestly did not know if I could face another new year without caving to emotions and throwing in the white towel. It had become so difficult to understand God's timing, to trust it and have joy. I was angry with God and could not comprehend why God's people were not joining Him in His work. Bitterness had crept in and everything seemed to be falling apart instead of coming together. I was weak, very weak. So many things had happened during this time as well. Mike lost his job, our dear pastor left our church, some serious issues with family came up and we were hanging by a thread. In hind sight, I can say that is a great place to be although it sure doesn't feel like it at the time.

We had asked our awesome Advocacy Team if they would join us in fasting and praying 1 day a week from sunrise to sunset and meet with us after sunset to break the fast and fellowship. We said that prayer together on a Thursday morning and on Friday we had 2 people give us their pledge cards and said, "we are so sorry, we have been meaning to give this to you". That Sunday was our first day to fast and pray and it was also our church picnic. When it came time to eat and the sun was not yet down we decided to take a bike ride until sunset. As we were riding through the campground Mike heard someone call his name. He turned around and saw a dear friend that he hadn't seen in a long time. We began talking to him and his wife and found out that they too had come to Christ and wanted us to come and share with them more of what God was doing the next week!!! We rode away with thankful hearts believing that God had answered our prayer and told us He was in fact NOT going to sacrifice the ministry but in fact provide a lamb!!! After that day people, churches and business were contacting us to share with them!! Wow, did He ever provide.

Things started moving fast and we were making great strides to our needed 90% of funding to head to the field. It became clear in December it was going to happen way faster than we had thought possible during these months. So we decided that we had better get busy and start getting the house ready to put on the market. We worked and worked and still had a lot on the list but decided that in January that we needed to go ahead and put it on the market and continue working on things as we showed it. We put a sign in the yard on a Sunday afternoon late in January. Within 1 hour the phone was ringing off the hook and we had 26 people asking about the house. The following Sunday we had someone just stop by and ask to see it, we were reluctant but showed it and they gave us earnest money that day!!!! We ended up with 4 families interested and on a waiting list. The first two didn't work out, but the third did.  And their story went like this, they walked into a bank at 4:30 and at 5:15 they walked out with a pre approval for the purchase!!! That was God too, that doesn't just happen.

We started selling more stuff, getting rid of so much stuff and packing what we for sure wanted to take with us. All of this happening so fast and extremely emotional. Our house is the only house Ashtyn knew, EVERY single memory she has was in that house. This was extremely hard on her. The new family has teenage granddaughters so her room would remain lime green and purple and she was super excited about that. We worked from daylight to well into the night packing, painting, sorting etc… It was painstaking to say the least. Imagine if right now you had to sort through every drawer, closet and nook and cranny in your house and only keep what could fit in an 8x8x12 POD!!! Ya, really hard.

There are so many stories that we could share but long story short, we sold our house and closed on it in less than 4 weeks, put all our stuff in a POD, packed our car and camper and headed toward Mexico. We had hoped to take about 2-3 weeks to drive toward the border and catch our breath and grab a hold of our emotions. But we headed out February 28th and had to stay ahead of terrible ice, snow and extreme cold temperatures. We hurriedly traveled to get to AZ where we had 2 days of debriefing before crossing the border. We crossed the border on March 11th. Whew!!!

The whirlwind didn't stop when we arrived either. From finding a house to rent, to getting our stuff from a POD in CA across the border to our house in Mexico, to finding a church to attend, starting language school etc…. The adjustments have been endless and hourly!! We stay exhausted because we can no longer do ANYTHING like we used too. It seriously is so draining. Sounds are different, smells are different, foods are different, the language is different, the culture is different, shopping is different, cooking is different, bathing is different, brushing your teeth is different, laundry is different, driving is different………. you get the idea right????? Everything requires thinking before doing anything. It is mentally exhausting so it drains us physically.

Mike and I are in language school Monday - Friday from 9 to 2. Ashtyn just started school here on Monday. Her classes begin at 7 a.m., she is to be in her seat at 6:50 and they go until 3:10 pm with only  two 20 minute breaks!!! All her books are in Spanish and classes too except English class. Prayer for all of us as we learn the language and make friends is much appreciated. Below is a video of a class at our school. Our teachers do NOT speak English, so we are taught and explained to in Spanish only!! And a picture of Ashtyn on her first day.

So as you can see we have been in a whirlwind for the last 10 months now and trying to get it to settle down. Not sure that life on the mission field full time will actually allow that, but some sense of routine and familiarity in time will be welcomed. 

Thanks for keeping up with us, praying for us, encouraging us and supporting us!! Will update again soon with more details of life here and what it looks like. 

Willfully His, 

Monday, February 2, 2015

All you can eat Churro's


So here it is February 2nd, our "Faith Date" and God has been more than faithful in His provisions and moving us forward. We are excited to tell you that by faith we will leave this month!!! We are waiting on a set closing date for our house and working on packing. Along with doing what seems like a mountain of paper work before our departure. Once again, as it has been on this LONG 7 year journey, we have more questions than answers. But we are trusting God 100% with every detail of these next steps. So very soon we will be living in the land of all you can eat churro's - Mexico!!

So many times I have wanted to update the blog and write about so many things and sensed the Lord was saying, "be silent and wait" and now it all makes sense when I look back. When I look back over the last 2 years of waiting on the Lord, they have been the most difficult for me in so many ways. And I think because I was struggling so much with how long and lonely the journey had been and seemed to still be for us, the Lord was using it to teach me something really important. He is enough! 

Our journey is different than those around us. Our journey is a journey of giving up, not gaining. Our journey is filled with grieving the loss of so many things. Our journey is lonely. Our journey is filled with change. Our journey is hard, really hard. Our journey is about the gospel and getting it to those who need to hear. Our journey is for a harvest of lost.  Our journey is HIS journey! We didn't plan this before time, He did. We had no idea what this would cost, He did. We had no idea how long this would take, He did. He is enough!

He has shown me in scripture that this was His journey first, He carved out an example for us. We simply need to be obedient. I simply needed Him to be enough for me. He needed me to run to Him first with my hurts, disappointments, struggles and tears. He needed me to confide in Him about everything. He needed me to be silent, like He was. He needed to see that I trusted Him more than I did those around me. He needed me to be a "by faith" follower ( you know like all those mentioned in Hebrews). He desired for me to persevere so that He could perfect my faith!  Persevere is defined as: to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of the difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.  

This by NO way means that I am perfect, please don't think that. It just means that He is perfecting my faith. Scripture says, "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:1b-2a. It was His journey too! And I have found great comfort in knowing that Jesus personally walked our journey. He was the first missionary, He endured everything and more than we have. And when I have a hard day now, I call to Him because He knows and He is enough!

Please pray for us as we pack up what little we are taking, tell family and friends "see you later", and set out to a new country, new culture, new EVERYTHING to make much of Him! We are excited, sad, nervous and a whole bunch of emotions rolled into one. We covet your prayers!!! See below for specific ways to pray.

Prayer Request:

  • Our emotional well being over the next few weeks
  • Our family that will stay behind
  • Our house to close with no problems
  • No obstacles in our upcoming travels as we drive over 2500 miles
  • All paperwork and packing to fall into place
  • To remain firm in our journey and press on in Christ strength 
  • God's continued faithfulness 

Thank you so much for keeping up with us, praying for us, and supporting us. We now have a FB page where you can keep up with  more current shorter updates as we set out later this month. I am not sure how much I will be able to update the blog during travels and when we first get there. So that would be an easy way to keep up. Facebook Page  Incase this link doesn't work, search for us on FB Journey To A Harvest.

Willfully His, Sherri