Friday, May 21, 2010

3 Weeks and Counting!

Team drama training weekend completed successfully - check
Weekly deposits accounted for and submitted - check
Airfare final balance paid - check
Passports received and turned in - check
Passports copied - one to take with and one to keep here - check
International travel insurance ordered - check
Compiling important documents folder for Donna (passports copies, airfare info, insurance, and emergency contact numbers) - ongoing
Devotional books/journals ordered for the team - check
Budget reviewed and in order - check
Finalizing itinerary schedule and budget expenses - check
Shopping for last minute stuff - ongoing
Brat fry and booyah missions sale - Sunday
Final immunizations and vaccinations administered - Sunday
Communications with Dan - ongoing
Caregiver plans for children remaining - ongoing
Phone calls, emails, communication with parents/teens - ongoing
Rummage sale - next Saturday
Finalizing bus arrangements - ongoing
Preparing for Camp Daniel camps and organizing my responsiblities for the kitchen - ongoing
**(I need kitchen help wk 1 and 3 - any volunteers??!! ;)
Communication with additional team members - 2 from Canada, 1 from North Dakota
Shopping for items to bring for the Germos and coordinating other people's involvment in the process - Thanks Living Hope Church for your generous giving!!! - ongoing
Upkeep of the day to day stuff - like laundry, cleaning - definately ongoing!
Giving our dog multiple baths after he decided to befriend Pepe' Le Peux (aka Mr. Skunk who decided to reside in our backyard!!!) Definately NOT in my schedule to do! Dumb dog!
Taking time for my kids, hubby and going for walks - try to do!!
Shopping for totes - to do
Packing totes - to do
Purchasing supplies - to do
Raising building funds - to do
Celebrating son Tommy's birthday - June 1st
Pay bills in advance - to do

Whew....that list hopefuly is geting smaller....lots to do yet! I'm sure there will be more to add in the next 3 weeks! Just the way it works

One thing I realized earlier in the week that, if I don't take the time to stop and breathe and to continually keep in check the things that need to be a priority, I find out very quickly how easy it is to become overwhelmed by it all. Circumstances seem to get the best of me and very quickly worry, fear and anxiety can come in like a flood.

Last week, I received the news that my doctor wanted me to come back in to re-evalute my mamogram that had been that week. Needless to say, it was the last thing I wanted to hear....and I found myself becoming fearful. As the weekend progressed, I realized that I had the opportunity to reflect Christ in that situation and to respond in the way the God wanted me to.

Last fall, in the Bible study I was doing, the author was talking about how she deals with fear. She will say "So, if this is _______ then ________" . No matter how many negative scenariors she came up with, the end result was that, if that did happen....what remained at the end was that God would be there. God would be there from the beginning to the very end.

I found the peace began to flow as I "played out" the scenario in my mind. "So if this is cancer, then God will be there with me through it all." The thoughts never fully left me, but the peace of God was stronger than the fears and that was all I needed!

May the God of all Peace fill you through and through whatever circumstances you may be going through! Remember to "Be still and know that I AM God"!!!

God Bless

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Giving should Hurt"

I heard that statement about a year ago and have not forgotten it since. It really made me stop and thing about how I give towards others. I see the importance and know the value of giving as my husband and I financially support several other missionaries monthly and who ourselves are missionaries and are being supported by the generosity and gifts of others who have committed to give to us and support us in what God has called us to do.

I was convicted by that statement a year ago, because in the past, we often gave based on what we could afford to give to others. In essence, it was easy to give out of our abundance but not so easy when times were tough and the check book and income coming in was nto there. We justified our lack of giving as that we just couldn't afford too.

What we have come to realize is that we can't afford NOT to give. You see, it should cost us something. It should hurt our pocketbooks to give. Otherwise I think we loose a blessing that comes from sacrificial giving. What we gain from giving sacrificially goes beyond material blessings and dividends.......when we give out of what we "don't'" have....God multiplys uses it in great and might ways- much like those loaves and fishes! Besides, what we will one day see in heaven how our sacrificial giving has blessed others and furthered God's kingdom will go beyond our wildest imaginations! I know it will boggle our minds when we see what God did with our giving.

God gave his only Son for us. It cost Him the life of His son for our redemption. What greater sacrifice is there than that....and He gave what cost Him the most, He gave it up for us. So that we would benefit eternally from it.

This is not intended to produce guilt in anyways. However, we do have a need and want to give you an opportunity to be apart of the blessing that comes from giving. We as the LHC missions team have a need and our need is for your financial gifts towards what God has called us to do. There is a mighty work being done in NE Kenya. There are villages of people who do not know that God gave His Son for them so that they may have life.

The project that we are working on is to build a school for girls so that they can receive an education and learn to read and learn about God's love for them. In our culture, we face very little gender biases. Certainly education is one that is highly promoted and equality of learning is mandatory. This is not so in many third world cultures. Here in the area we are going to, girls will not receive an education because they are not seen as equal or seen as valuable.

We have partnered with Bethany Church and Agape Church in Kenya to become a three stranded cord that is not easy broken. Bethany team went to NE Kenya in February and they were able to begin building the foundation of the school for girls. They were also able to introduce literacy training and begin educating not only girls but families in learning how to read and write in their own language. What a God ordained opportunity!!!!! Agape Church is now raising funds and working on putting up the columns for future walls to be built upon and when we arrive, it should be ready for us to come and put the roof on.

What does a project like this cost? Well, more than what we have that's for sure. On top of raising $84,000 just for our team to get there and be there (airfare, lodging, transport, food ) we need to raise an additional $25,000 just to do our part and complete the building. That's a huge amount of money! Most of that expense is just to buy the tools and materials that we will be bringing with that we won't have to purchase it in Kenya. The cost of tools and materials is 2-3 times more.

Why couldn't we just send the check and have some locals do it? Because in all wouldn't happen. This is such an awesome opportunity for you to be apart of what God is doing and to enable His servants to be willing vessels, to be God's hands and feet in showing Christ's love in a very practical way.

Our challenge is for you to pray, to commit and then to give and then wait with eager anticipation on how God will use and it to further His Kingdom and I guarantee your socks will be blessed off!!!!

Checks can be made out and sent to Living Hope Church 1840 W Mason St Green Bay WI 54303 Attn: Tim Kelly and labeled NE Kenya building funds.

Thank you for giving! We can't wait to see how God will pull this one off!!

God Bless

Continuity, Context, Comfort and Jesus Christ

To say life has been a mild It's not been mild and its been Insanely busy for Tim and I, all within the context of what is about to transpire in just 38 days. The rings, the dongs, the pings, the tinkle-tinkle of my Blackberry has infiltrated my days more times than I can count within these past 30 days. Some days, over 30 messages and calls have come across my phone in just a matter of a few hours!!! Isn't life supposed to be simpler with all these modern conveniences ??!!

Questions ranging from "what do I pack" to "HELP" my teenager is not telling me anything and I don't understand why we are not getting along!"........"Will we get water everyday???!!!" I never thought my developing micro managing skills that have been honed in the Camp Daniel kitchen would eventually begin to pay off. :) You just never know!!!

Some days, I can't seem to determine which end is up and keeping up with all the details and before I know it, very quickly my day becomes a twister in the process and I strive to keep the flow of continuity going in the intended direction.

After having planned and organized 8 trips over the last 14 years, one would think that it would get easier in planning and anticipating all the details and organization that each trip involves. Just as technology evolves over time, so does the details and valuable info that you work with changes too. Believe it or not, its not so textbook standard. As the world we live in and our own "worlds" change , we must strive to change our way of thinking and press forward to take on the context of the trip in that which we will be participating. Our goal is to press the team to strive and be ready ready for change and to change.

What I am coming to learn is that even though I tend to see change or stressful situations as hard and uncomfortable and disruptions to my life, its not the right "context" into how I should be seeing it. My way of "contextualizing" the difficulty is not the right way to go.

You see our nature is to go back to what is familiar , to what is comfortable for us or the context we know so well in order to handle our circumstances, situations, processes, however you want to word it.

Instead, we ARE to take on the mind of Christ in ALL things! Easy to say, hard to do! But the truth of it is, that when we take on the "context" of Christ and His ways, all the stresses of life, all the discomforts that forces us to look hard at what we must do to change our attitudes, our perspectives, our way of handling what frees us to be Christlike and to take on His nature and to operate in His strength, His leading and to see the world through His Eyes. We are filled with compassion for those who are lost and we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as He leads and directs us.

One of those contexts that we tend to try to bring with us in when we go on a trip is our way of thinking of how we should feel. Comfort is one such area that we see as a luxury that we assume is our right and our prerogative. Regardless of the environment, we see that is a necessity. Not always willing to forgo or let go of in order to fully submit to allow ourselves to crossover and flow in the context in which we are entering....we hang on to what we know best. What I fail to remember or recognize that when I chose to follow Christ, I lay down what is my rights, my prerogative, my comfort to take up the cross and follow Christ.

This past week, my son Tommy was preparing for a week long "field trip' he is taking with his class at school this week at a camp north of Crivitz. They will be spending 5 days and 4 nights at this campground. One of my son's comforts is a fan. He depends on that fan to cool him down, to provide a "white sound" soothing effect that helps him to fall asleep. He cannot sleep without it. And he cannot take it with him for the week. So needless to say, we've had many discussions on how he will have to try to get along without it. It was no easy task to work him through it. We prayed about it and talked about him turning to God at the times when he needs that "comfort" most of all. I pray that it will become something he learns to depend on the "God of all comfort" in those times he needs to be comforted.

Yesterday, Little Tony was discussing his desire to have enough toilet paper on this trip. He spent a few hrs researching which brand of toilet paper would provide the most TP and would weigh the least. In fact, he was willing to pay into the funds for the building, for anybody to carry an extra roll for him!!!!!
That, piece of necessity I am assuming is one of his areas of "comfort" that will mean much to him on this trip. I'm sure he will learn to live without that comfort if need be and maybe it will be an area that he will find that he can be very thrifty with what he is given or provided with and will learn to live within the context of each situation he steps into. Can you "spare a square" Tony???!!!!! :)

My husband just told me this morning that as long as I am snoring next to him in bed that is all he needs to fall asleep at nights- especially in new surrounding. Thanks Hon!!! Glad to help you out there! Fair warning to any female bunk mates I may have on this trip....bring ear plugs - I can snore with the best of them!!! :) I'm sure there must be some spiritual contextual significance to the latter two illustrations...just can't think of it any.

All that to say, Its okay to enjoy things that bring us comfort, but above all.....lets not forget who our greatest comforter is. Lets remember to keep a Christ centered context as we prepare and go out to share the "Comforter" with those who have not seen, nor ears have heard of the Love of Christ, and who has come that they might have life!! And most all lets let go of our contexts, comforts and step into this trip with open hearts and a readiness to serve!