"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ah ha. I knew It. Younger Siblings are Spoiled. :o)

This comic explains my whole childhood. :0) Just kidding...mostly. Anyone else with younger siblings that can totally relate to this?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our Baby Tomatoes

With my mom's help, at the beginning of the summer we started a garden in our back yard. I have never had a garden before, so I thought it would be fun. I thought I would try me hand at tomatoes, because they seemed easy and I love tomatoes. They loved all the rain we got at the beginning of the season, so the plants are really big. With this heat, we have to keep them watered, so we don't kill them. Last week, I saw that we finally have little green baby tomatoes. I can't wait until the grow up into big red tomatoes. They are going to be so tasty. If I'm successful with tomatoes, maybe I'll try a different vegetable next year.
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Budget Cuts are Not Fun

It is going to be an interesting couple of months for Steve and I. We just found that Steve's hours are going to be cut starting in August. Luckily, we wont lose our benefits though, so that we are thankful for. I trust God is going to continue to provide for all our needs. He has done it before and He will do it again. It's going to tough though trying to squeeze every last dollar out of our already tight budget. We are still going to continue working on the Wycliffe application process. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
James 1:12
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Learning to Sew

My mom got to me a sewing maching for my birthday last month.  I haven't sewed anything on the sewing maching since I was in 7th and 8th grade Home Ec class.  In 7th grade, I made a chocolate chip cookie pillow and in 8th grade I made a blue tote bag, which I still have.  I guess now is as good a time as any to learn how to sew.  Now, I just have to figure out how to use it and make project I should make first.  I found a website allfewsewing.com that has some free patterns on it, so I think I'm going to start there.  This should be an adventure. :o)
I wonder if there any sewing classes in the area where I can take classes.  I might learn better if I have someone teaching me, than just teaching myself.  Hopefully, learning to sew will help teach me some patience along the way too.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Therefore Encourage One Another...

1 Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Throughout my years of middle school ministry, I have received many notes of encouragement from students and my fellow leaders.  I can not begin to say how much those mean to me.  I still have many of the notes on display around the house and in my Bible.  I am going to take them with me and keep them close as we continue to make plans to move.  One of the hardest parts of the thought of moving is knowing how many close friends I'm going to leave behind.  This is my way to bring you with me.  I hope that I continue to live up to the words they wrote.

Here are just a few:
  • "I loved leading with you this year. You are a great person." - Naomi
  • "I love your heart for kids. You shine...my friend...you shine." - Judy
  • "You always are so happy. Thank you for encouraging others and my children." - Laura
  • "I love your positive attitude & the joy that you carry with you always. Love ya sis." - Judy
  • "You have a heart for God and it's been a joy watching you on your walk with Christ." - Jason
  • "You have a great memory for names. Good way to love our kids." - Adam
  • "How faithful & awesome you are. You have been a part of Oasis longer than I have. How special you make our events." - Chris
  • "You rock, my friend. I have known ya for...well a long time and you have always have the same sweet smile & friendly lovable personality." - Loretta
  • "You are awesome leader. You have taught me so much." - Dianna
  • "It's great being a leader with you. You have so much insight. Thanks for all your wisdom." - Carole
  • "Your dedication to Oasis is so appreciated." - Wendy
  • "Hey gurl, I love you & you are a great girl. I hope you will always be here & I can count on you. Love you tons." - Jeanette

Friday, July 15, 2011

Telling My Story

As part of the Wycliffe application process, I thought I would write out my "My Story" of how I started my Christian walk.

Here is my story.  It's not great, but it's mine:

I grew up with Christian parents and we went to church every week. We prayed before meals and I knew all the Bible stories from Vacation Bible Schools and my children’s Bible. I knew there was a God but I didn’t understand then what a personal relationship with him was like. My dad worked for trucking company that transferred him to different cities throughout my childhood. By the time I was ten, we had moved eight times. When we arrived in Mishawaka, at the beginning of fifth grade, I had decided that I didn’t want to make friends. It wasn’t that I couldn’t make friends, but I didn’t want to because I “knew” we would be moving again and I was tired of saying goodbye to good friends. This caused me to be somewhat of an outcast in my class because I avoided people. I actually preferred that people not like me because then I wouldn’t care when I moved away from them. My classmates thought I was just shy and I probably was a little and instead of trying to break through the walls that I had built up they just gave me more reasons to not like them. I figured if I didn’t let anyone get to near me than they couldn’t hurt me. My fifth and sixth grade and Junior High years were pretty lonely. God did protect me from getting into anything too destructive because with my negative attitude I probably could have. I have found though that most often when kids find themselves hanging out with the wrong crowd, it’s because they are searching for friends and a need for acceptance. I wasn’t searching for friends; I was avoiding them for the most part. I got pretty good at being nice to people, but not forming really deep friendships.

It wasn’t until High School that I started to feel safe making friends. During my sophomore year of High School, some friends that I had made invited me a youth ministry event at their church. I decided to go and once I got there I looked around and was shocked at how many people that I knew there. There was something different about the people in the room and I wasn’t sure what it was at first. I started going every week with them and I realized that I starved for connection and relationships. I realized that even though I thought I was avoiding friendships for the past five years that I had some great friends anyway. These friends actually seemed to genuinely care about me. For the first time in my life I learned that God actually desired a personal relationship with me. I felt like every week the youth pastor was speaking directly to me. I recommitted my life to Christ surrounded by some of my closest friends. My high school small group was very supportive of me and helped me to break down some of the walls I had built up. It is interesting when I look back and realize that some of the closest, dearest friends that I still have now I met during those tough Junior High years. I wouldn’t trade those friendships for the world.

Because of those friends and the ministry of that church, I decided to go to Bethel College. While at Bethel College, I got involved with my church’s middle school ministry. Sometimes I wonder why God brings things into your life, but when I look back I think that maybe God was preparing me to do ministry to students just like me. I also met my husband at Bethel College. Sometimes when we don’t understand why something is happening, we just have to remember that God might a bigger purpose. If I hadn’t started attending the youth ministry in High School, I wouldn’t have made some of the amazing friends that I have now and I’m not sure that I would have wanted to go to Christian college. If I wouldn’t have moved around so much as a child, I don’t think I would have wanted to stay in the same city for college. I was finally in a place that I felt I could call home and I didn’t want to leave. If I hadn’t gone to Bethel, I wouldn’t have been invited to join the middle school ministry team at church, which taught me so much and helped me grow in my walk with Christ and I wouldn’t have met my husband, who is my best friend.

I continue to learn and grow in my Christian walk everyday. I don’t think I am where I need to be, but I’m on the journey. I still struggle sometimes with feelings of unworthiness and sometimes I will still shy away when meeting new people because I am not really sure if I want to let them in or not. I have learned that during those times I can lean on God and He will be my comfort. There is no feeling like the feeling of knowing the God desires to my friend.

Wycliffe Application Process Continues

Joining Wycliffe is a bit of a long process.  Before we can even be given an application, we have to become approved by our recruiter and assigned an Application Specialist.  Our Application Specialist will then send us a link to the application and we have 41 days from the day we receive it to complete it.  Well this week, we got assigned our Specialist and received our application, so now the fun part begins.  They estimate it will take about 10 hours to complete the application.  There are some really probing questions on the application that you really have to think about.  Some are pretty basic questions, such as employment history and education.  Other questions, though, are about my doctrinal beliefs, moral convictions and how I handle stress.  Because I am interested in IT, I also had to complete a questionnaire about my IT skills and experience.  I hate talking about myself in applications. I am really bad at describing myself.  I guess that could stem from the low self-esteem that I often have.  I think I'm going to write out my thoughts on another word document, then after going over it again I will add them to the final application.
Steve is farther along on his than I am, because he started his while I was making dinner on Wednesday and then I had an 30 more questions than he did about IT stuff.  I am going to have to carve out some time tonight and work on it.  Please continue to pray for us as we go through this process.  It is going to be a really stretching experience for us as we continue to application process, get ready to move, and start to raise up our support team.