“THE PROCESS IS THE END. FOR IT IS THE PROCESS THAT IS GLORIFYING TO GOD.” --Oswald Chambers

"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Friday, June 29, 2007

END OF THE JOURNAL

6-14-07
Walked around with Lewis and Zack to check out the land. There is a lot of potential and a lot of work. Some of the land won’t take too much to get started. Pete and I also went down to the river today, this time I went swimming. It was cold, but better than the showers.
I’ve been up since 3 am, it’s 5 pm now and I am starting to get tired. It was about 39 degrees when we got up this morning. But I feel a lot better; I feel a relief and excitement and nervousness, but also some confidence. Not a lot, but some now. I want to get home and see my wife and kids. I miss them. I need to get to the chiropractor- my back is killing me and I am sure my neck needs adjusting. There is a lot to do, just not sure where to start. I’ll see if I can talk to Lewis tonight or tomorrow.
6-15-07
Talked to Lewis last night, he wasn’t a lot of help. Zack suggested talking to Leah (Lewis’ wife) to get started talking about expenses, budgets, etc; everything that’s next in the process that I don’t know about. Zack offered me his cabin when I return to get some things done here. He’s leaving everything hoping to return some day.
I’m not feeling good today-I think it’s nerves about heading home. Telling everyone what is in the works. It doesn’t help the lack of sleep has finally caught up with me. I’m shot.
The anticipation of seeing Kel and the kids is getting stronger. Just now getting everything packed and put away. I am leaving my stuff in Zack’s cabin. The ladies here will wash my clothes for me. They wouldn’t take anything for it. There are just so happy that we’re coming.
Last night in Africa-I’m excited to go home-but I am going to miss some of these people. They have become friends. Not really sure what I feel. Pete and I just had a time of prayer. I am too tired to think clearly.
6-16-07
These pictures are from an orphanage for street kids that we visited this morning before we left.
6-17-07
Finally on the plane to Minneapolis. I missed the connecting flight in DC (along with 90% of the people on my flight from South Africa). It’s been interesting to say the least. I have been praying a lot in these airports, because I haven’t a clue what I am doing.
I am nervous for a lot of different reasons. This mission thing is so big. It scares me to think about it. I think about what Lewis said- he still gets afraid sometimes. I’ve been second-guessing myself- I shouldn’t. I need a lot of prayer. It has been rather lonely the last couple of days. I know that has contributed to my thinking. I just want to hold my wife and kids and rest for a couple of days. I’ve got a lot to share though and I am sure there are plenty of people want to hear.
6-20-07 (been home for a couple of days)
I realized today that it is not my job to try and convince people that we’re not crazy and that we are doing the right thing. God told me it’s not my responsibility to convince anyone that I am doing what God has called me to do. That’s His job. I just need to be obedient to Him.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

wrestling with God

I would STRONGLY encourage you to be sure you read these posts in order!! If you have not checked the blog for awhile, be sure you scroll down to see what you missed, or it may not make sense!! I wrote this post on 6-14-06, the day after Brian was up on Mt. Kazemba. It was my reaction to his day and notes of the conversation and will be some repeat now of what Brian posted a few days ago. Since it is now 2 weeks later, I have added some other notes in italics.
6-14-07
I was able to talk with Brian today for another half hour. This is the full version of the conversation-we’ll see what makes it on the blog as quite a bit of it would not be appropriate for me to share, that’s something Brian will have to do.
I will say that God is amazing, again! Monday I felt lead to type my last post on decisions. That morning I had a dream where I saw Brian just kind of saying, “I just don’t know yet, there are some things…”. That is all I remember, it was right before I woke up. So on my walk I prayed about that-what does it mean? Anything? Is it prophetic? Does it mean no? Before he left, we both felt certain that we would know for sure what we were going to be doing when he got back. So was my dream a glimpse into the future? Was his not knowing the sign we were looking for? Half a world away, Brian was wrestling with his decision. He felt the last few days were really tough (Mon-Tues). He felt overly critical of everything, discouraged, not happy, he just felt he needed to get away. So today he did. He hiked up Mt. Kazemba and spent the day praying and fasting, seeking confirmation from God.
He wanted answers. He wanted to know why he felt so unsettled. He has been writing lots of pages in his journal. It will be very interesting to see the things he has been wrestling with God about the last two weeks. So he is up on the Mt. asking God why he was struggling so much with the decision, why he was struggling to say yes. God seemed to being asking Brian, “Every door I have opened for you, you have walked through. Why are you standing in the doorway here?” God told him it was because Brian wasn’t sure if I wanted it. (It’s awesome when God asks and answers too!) It is not going to be easy, but it will be fulfilling. But Brian didn’t like the thought of seeing me struggle (ever the chivalrous man that he is!) as we are over there. I think part of that was because he remembers how we have struggled with Joseph. God told him that you only grow through trials, so who does he think he is to not to allow his wife to grow? (Which as I thought about this later, I thought, oh boy! So there will be plenty of trials!)
Brian said this amazing clarity came to him. While praying weeks ago, a friend had this thought impressed on him about Brian: “I sense God is going to give or bestow on Brian an uncommon clarity and vision for what needs to be done.” Isn’t that amazing? Almost identical words.
So half a world away, unknown to Brian I am writing my “manifesto” to following where he will leads us. Brian is wrestling with his decision because of me. Then two days later, BOOM-God lays it out for him. And tomorrow, Brian will read a note from a friend, where he specifically talks about his wife and some things that I think relate very clearly.
So I asked, “Does that mean we are going?”
“Yes. Can you handle that?”
“Does it matter?”
“To me, yes.”
“Why?”
“I need to know you are with me.”
“Have I ever not been?”
“No.”
“So there you go.”
“Sometimes I need to hear it. This is scary.”
“I WILL GO WHERE YOU GO.”
Lest you think oddly of me, that’s just the way we talk to each other sometimes. I, the pragmatist (my new word-see below!), see things matter-of-factly. Brian knows I am with him, I shouldn’t need to say it I often feel. Brian though, needs the verbal affirmation-something I still need to work on.
It seems some of the African people need to read my last blog entry too! They think Brian will come back and say we are moving to Africa, and I will say no, and he will say ok. You can tell they don’t know Brian or me! I told him Zack better fire up that computer and show them the post I wrote (before I knew all this!)
Brian wanted to know how I felt about all this. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s been a somewhat foregone conclusion for me for a while that we are going. So we’re going, officially now. I have a new word to describe myself that a friend gave me: pragmatic. I of course didn’t know what it meant! Webster says; 1) based on utility or effect; practical 2) matter-of-fact. Well, there you go-that’s me. We are matter-of-factly going; so let’s now get in the business of going.
So what is our time line for leaving? No idea. We will need to raise our monthly support, and also some moving/one-time expenses. Talking to someone today, I mentioned needing to raise maybe $3-4,000/month, which doesn’t seem like a lot to me (na├»ve maybe). Then I thought, our Sunday school class has 90 families in its directory. If each of those families gave $40 a month, we’d be done!
We found out the paperwork is not done to make Gospelink duty-free in Zambia, so it might be a little more expensive than we thought to ship a container over there. There is a container sitting in Georgia full of farm equipment that they weren’t able to ship because the shipping money had to go to pay duty on the last container they got over there. So Gospelink needs to raise funds to get that sent (www.Gospelink.org to donate to that-specify money is for Zambia project, sea container). But we will trust God to provide, as we have trusted in so many other things. It sounds like Zack is going to design the house for us, and he is even going to try to get a washing machine for me! They figure they could have the house built in two months.
Brian hasn’t looked over the land too much yet. I guess Lewis was looking for Brian today to do that, but Brian was on the Mt., so tomorrow they will probably get to it.
He said things were pretty dry there right now; some of the trees were still a little green though. I guess someone may be working on a huge cistern so they can have a gravity flow irrigation system. But Zambia is running out of cement. And of course there is just the every present money issue.
Lewis wanted to be sure Brian knew that he too was sticking his head out on this project, and that he would NOT be alone. With God, we are never alone. With our many friends and family upholding us in prayer, we won’t feel alone either.
Now to tell mom and dad.
(NOTE: many of you read my DECISIONS, DECISIONS post. Let me clarify something: to be honest, my selfish, fleshy, COMFORTABLE me would say no, I don’t want to go-I don’t want to leave family and friends for a “harder” physical life. But I would not be happy. I would know I was out of God’s will, I would know I was not following what He wants for my (our) lives. I will HAPPILY go though, knowing I am being obedient.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

MT. Kazemba

6-13-07
Right now I am sitting on top of Mt. Kaziemba. I got and headed out at about 6:30 am. God answered my prayers as well as many others prayers last night. It was the best night sleep I have gotten yet. I was thinking I was going to eat breakfast first, and then take my malaria meds and go. But as I prayed about it this morning when I got up, I clearly felt lead to come straight up here. I packed up my bible and notebook along with plenty of water. I brought the camera, my meds and a few snacks if need be. Basically I got up here and said, “God, I am here. I am not leaving until I get some clarity.” I asked him why I was struggling- that’s what I need clarity on. I first read through Psalm 119. Much of that chapter spoke to me. After about an hour of reading, the clarity came. I thought back to a prayer time with a friend a few weeks before leaving. As we prayed, he said he sensed God was going to give or bestow on me an uncommon clarity and vision for what needs to be done. An ability to see things that others can’t see. I have sought counsel from others, now I am the point man.
God just started clearly saying this is what you are struggling with, this is why you are struggling with it, and now what are you going to do about it?
It is amazing to see how the notes (that Kelly sent) speak to me where I am at each day. I look back and I see God’s hand in this every step of the way, and yet I still question if this is really what God wants me/us to do. So I keep asking for one more sign, one more confirmation. Father, forgive me for my lack of faith. You’ve been with me every step of the way. I do not sense God saying no at all. Question: is that God saying yes, or is that God waiting for me to say yes? Say yes and then wait-begin the planning and preparation and trust it will all come together in God’s time? I’ve said in the past that I will continue to go forward until God closed the door. Now I stand at the door and I’m hesitating, questioning whether I should go through the door I believe is open. Yet the door to the farm is still open too, but I know God is not calling me there. God revealed that one thing that is holding me back is-I’m afraid this might really be hard on Kel. This life is not easy; we will experience challenges like we never have and we will need to rely on God like we never have. I am probably not giving Kelly enough credit. I know she can do it. I just don’t like to see her struggle. Yet growth comes from trials. And to try to protect her from that (from what God wants to do in her life) would be a great disservice to her. I should not get in the way of what God wants to do and how he wants to use my wife.
The other thing I’ve been struggling with is being called to farm for God. Well, "Our Daily Bread" just now spoke directly to that. At first I didn't think it had anything to do with me. But as I read, it made sense. The text was Exodus 35:30-35. Just a portion: "[The Lord] has filled him with the Spirit of God...to design artistic works." It was talking about no matter what you do, do it for the glory of God. God created us with different gifts. When your gift is powered by the Spirit of God, our work-whatever it is-can draw others to God, cause then to praise and worship Him. I never dreamed that farming in Africa would be my calling. I’ve known for years that God has called me to serve Him. I always thought it was going to be in more of a “traditional” church role. Not this. But then I’ve never really hit the mark yet as far as forecasting where God has been leading.
There is going to be much to learn. I am going to need to be the leader God has called me to be, not just for my family (there first of course), but also for the people here. For that to happen I MUST be walking with the Lord and above reproach.
Lord, reveal the answer to Kel in her heart. I pray that this last week and a half she’s experienced You, Your presence in a new way. She’s an amazing woman Lord. I love your daughter, Father. You have blessed me unbelievably. Thank you!! Thank you for hearing me, you always hear me.

(This is a view of Mt. Kaziemba from a possible building site for a house. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It is the highest point around; but it’s hard to tell by this picture. The 2nd picture is partway down the mountain, looking out over part of the college.)

5 minutes



This is a picture of a young lady and her two boys, 20 months and 12 months (you do the math…). The older boy is just a kid who liked to have his picture taken! When I saw them I thought she was carting her twin boys. So I asked her if I could take a picture of her and her boys. This woman was in my life for less than 5 minutes and I will never forget her. It was nothing she did; it was what she asked of me. She could have asked me for money or food, which I am certain she had little of. But no, she asked me for a Bible. That is what she wanted more than anything else. And I did not have one to give her. We had already handed out all the Bibles we had with. I can still see her standing there, me having to tell her I didn’t have one for her. That sick feeling in my gut is still there when I think about her. When I was standing there all I could think about is the fact that I have a dozen Bibles at home sitting on the shelf, all different kinds, different versions. I can only read one at a time. I ask you how many Bibles do you have sitting on your shelves? Remember there are people in Zambia {and elsewhere} that desire Bibles more than anything. I am going to look into how I can get more Bibles there. God brought this woman and her boys into my life for a brief moment, to open my eyes. I pray I never forget. God’s word is more precious then gold or silver or even food and there are people out there who know that and desire it above all else.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

MORE JOURNAL NOTES




6-8-07
Classes not as full today, but the kids seemed very knowledgeable. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to teach today. Instead I sat and listened to Pete and Glenn. After they were done a 10th grader came and nervously told them how he had been delivered from demonic powers, how he had experienced Christ’s Power first hand. His hands trembled when he spoke but he felt he just had to tell us. Both Pete and I marveled at how powerfully someone who has experienced this type of oppression/opposition could be used to further God’s kingdom.
I see these little boys running around and think, “man, that’s Joe!” It makes me miss the family more, but also realize some of Joe’s quirks are just from being African! It’s quite the conversation starter when I show the pictures! They all want to know if he is really going to stay, if we are going to keep him.
Played soccer yesterday-pulled several muscles I didn’t know I had. I cut my lip trying to head the ball when it missed my head and hit my face instead.
Kelly will definitely not like the traffic in Lusaka; sometimes you just laugh, other times you just close your eyes and pray.
Pete and I seem to be going through a lot of the same attacks and accusations. The thing we seem to come up with is that we are here for a different purpose than the rest of the team. I guess that should be another confirmation now that I think about it.
6-9-07
Kel had some of our friends write notes for me for each day. They must have been God ordained. Each day has been exactly what I needed, related to exactly what was going on (either the day before or that night). Just one example, the note the next morning after my worst night of attacks shared Eph. 6 about putting on the full armor of God. Just what I needed to be reminded of. Each note has been just what I need.
I connected with one of the older gentleman about his adopted son and the struggles he has had. Makes our struggles with Joe seem insignificant.
6-10-07
I slept last night pretty good for the first time. I got to talk to Kel yesterday!
We are going to go plant a church today. (Hey guys-I still got to plant a church…they have a little different method than we do...
(Later)
The singing was unbelievable! About three minutes before we started Davis came over and told me I was sharing my testimony. I said, “Excuse me?” It went okay. It is definitely different working with an interpreter. Pete did an excellent job preaching on what it meant to be a disciple of Christ. It is one I would love to have preached in my home church. There were about 30-40 adults and probably twice as many kids.
Zack really wants me to stay another week. Part of me would really like to, but I want to see my family.
Glenn has about a million ideas, some really good, some okay. Implementing them would be the question. He definitely is thinking things through. Ideas are good. We just need to completely finish something, anything (one thing).
6-11-07
Finally got to the school today after dropping a guy off at the airport with Zack; he showed me a few things along the way.
We did a prayer hike up on Mt. Kazimba. On the way up I talked to Pete a bit. This is what I am feeling:
1) Not sure God is saying yes
2) Absolutely sure God is NOT saying no
Fear is constantly trying to creep in. I am asking for a sign and I am questioning whether I should. I had a really good time of prayer up there. One thing was clear when I was up there. I need to spend a day up there fasting and praying. I think Wednesday.
This afternoon Pete and I went on a hike and checked out the river and came back through the bush. It was interesting; I think Pete may have been a little nervous.
Zack showed me around some of the site: the chicken coup, little Kazimba, water tank is on top, our house would be on the back side of little Kazimba facing Mt. Kazimba. It is beautiful, but nothing compared to the African night sky. Words cannot describe it.
Tonight at worship was an amazing experience. The music was great but what I will never forget is the Zambian pastors and their wives washing the feet of the US contingent and the Malawian pastors while some of the woman sang in the background. I was moved to tears. I still am just thinking about it.
This afternoon I interviewed Peter Banta, a pastor from Lusaka. I got it on video. It was good, and then we talked for a while and shared with each other. He is so fun, he loves to laugh.
6-12-07
I worked on the compound with the Luverne, MN group this morning. After lunch I went back to the cabin. I am really tired; I was up from 2-5 this morning. I feel a migraine coming on so I’ve been trying to rest but it is not really working.
According to Zack it stays pretty much between 80-90 degrees year round. During the rainy season it usually only rains in the afternoon for 1-2 hours. Then the sun comes right back out and you can get back to work in the fields.
There is also not much for mesquites, nothing like we have in Minnesota.
Today is the first time I have felt discouragement about doing this. I’ve had a critical spirit towards the way some of the work is done. Some of the questions asked by the national pastors I didn’t care for. Some of these people I am suspicious of. (NOTE: I was really struggling this day-I was critical of everyone and everything. I know now that is was a spirit of discouragement attacking me. It became clear that there was so many things I needed to work through personally these weeks.) We’re all imperfect so it can be challenging dealing with imperfect people. There are also challenges in understanding cultures.
Most of the national pastors are Baptist and proud of it. Zack said from what he has seen there is a lot of division among the denominations. Many are surprised when I tell them I attend an Evangelical Free church. This has opened some doors for sharing that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ-regardless of what church you attend. I could share the straight Gospel message without doctrine getting in the way.
I think a lot of what I’ve been feeling today is a result of being tired and weak and satan sees an open door, then of course tomorrow I plan to pray and fast. So the headache should not be surprising.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

JOURNAL NOTES

I’m back. I have been trying to think of what to write so I decided to take some excerpts from my journal over the last 2 weeks and share with you just some of the amazing things God did that I got to be a small part of.
I flew out of Minneapolis at noon on the 3rd of June and got to Lusaka, Zambia (pronounced Zam-bee) about 9 pm Monday. We stayed at a lodge called The Barn. When we got there we got our room assignments and then I just went off by myself and looked up into the night sky and prayed, “Father, here I am standing I the middle of Africa. Now what?” It was almost overwhelming. I began to get choked up. There was so much emotion; I felt I just had to hold it together or just have some time alone and let it go. I turned in not knowing for sure if I’d be able to sleep. I woke up at 2:30 am. I felt like I was getting sick. I had such a heaviness on me, especially on my chest. I started praying about it. I also asked God to tell His people to pray. He did! Then it hit me (call it the Spirit). What I was feeling was not natural; it was supernatural. I rebuked the spirit and commanded it to leave in the name of Jesus. Immediately I felt the weight lift.
6-5-07
Just back from doing evangelism. We did a school in the morning and one in the afternoon. Kids range from elementary through high school. That was quite an experience. I’ve never just walked into a classroom full of students and just start teaching them about Jesus.
6-6-07 1 AM Zambian time
I seem to only be able to sleep a couple of hours at a time. I am restless and nervous-I can see this becoming a reality. It excites me and scares me. I question myself. I have to know that this is God’s desire for me. I pray He will reveal the answer to me but also to many others before I return. I need to go out and walk and talk to my Father.
2 AM
Just got done pacing the parking lot, talking to God and crying. He is right here, along with His angels standing guard but the accuser of the brethren is also here. As I talked with my Father, I told Him I’m willing to give my very life for he cause of Christ. But then I heard a whisper, “But what if it costs you your wife and kids, then what? What if you lose one of them because you came here?” I felt God telling me to ask myself, “What if the Lord takes one of them home when we come here?” I realized I hadn’t completely surrendered them to God. I know that now, I need to. He could take them even now, all of them and there would be nothing I could do. It does not matter where we are. We are all in God’s hands. The question is “Will I/we/you serve Christ no matter what?” The answer to that question has to be YES.
I talked to Pete this morning at breakfast. It seems that he was going through a lot to the same stuff at the same time this morning, many of the same attacks. We had a really good talk about it.
This afternoon we went to another school. It was south of Lusaka about an hour. It was the first time many of these kids had ever seen a white person; they practically smothered us. Almost none of them had a bible in their home; they were so excited to see us because they were told that we would be bringing bibles. After our presentations we gave tracts to everyone and a bible to each teacher and administrator. Most of the team (including me) went out to play futobol (soccer) with the kids. The headmaster asked and Pete stayed behind to teach the administrators and teachers the gospel message and how to evangelize.
6-7-07
Today was about as much ministry as a group of people could do in one day. I am shot! My day started at 6:30 am and we were in bed by 9:15 pm. This afternoon the school we went to was out in the bush. Last night I asked God if it would be possible to harvest some fruit. So before I shared the Gospel with a group of 6th -7th graders, God pointed out a boy to me. I asked some questions; he was the one who answered. So I somewhat tailored my message right to him. I could see he was really listening and thinking. At the end of the message I asked the kids to pray with me. But this time when we were done, I also asked who had prayed to accept Christ for the first time. There were four who raised their hands, and that boy was one of them. I know there have probably been others. I clearly feel like God paired us up today. It was an answered prayer and it was amazing.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

da plane! da plane!

Well, if my math is right, Brian should be up in the air!! Very weird to think he is on his way home, and I won't even be leaving to go to the airport until after church tomorrow morning! Pray for him and the long flights and being able to get some sleep!! (Sorry, I am going over my quota on !!!) He goes Lusaka to So. Africa right now, has an almost 2 hour layover, then on to Washington DC. They stop for an hour at midnight in Dakar, Senegal (their time). He gets to DC about 6 am on Sunday. He has another 2 hour layover before flying to Chicago at 8, lands about 9 am and has another 2 hour layover. I think that one is going to be the hardest. Almsot home, but not quite. Then flies at 11 to be picked up by us at about 12:30 pm in Minneapolis!
The kids got to talk to Brian on Wednesday. There have been a few more I miss Daddy lately, or how many days until we go to the airport? I pray today goes by quickly! We really don't have anything on the agenda other than cleaning up the house, so it could drag on.
Brian was good Wednesday, spent the day on Mt. Kaziemba (the big hill on campus where our house would be), fasting and praying and seeking confirmation from God. I am not going to post much about that until Brian gets home.
He was starting to get some migraines as he still hadn't slept too good; better but not great. But the night before had been his best night of sleep. Well, except for the cow with the bell on circling the cabin at 3 am (ding-ding)!
So anyway, only 29 more hours! There will be lots to say when he gets home. He told me his notebook is about full of notes!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

Do I really want to move to Africa? Am I excited? Not so sure those are the words I would use to describe how I feel. Right now the only reason I can think of not to go is because it will be hard-hard work, physically, spiritually, mentally. I mean, come on-Africa-with six kids under the age of 10! Just the work of day to day surviving without constant electricity, growing your own food, etc. Sorry, exciting doesn’t quite fit the bill (although it does excite Brian!). But I don’t want that to be my only reason for not going. I don’t want to not go because I am lazy or selfish. If we are supposed to go, I will go.
It’s a little funny-some in my family think Brian is the one pushing for this and some in his family think it is me (which I have to laugh- I would WANT to go to Africa with 6 kids, no electricity… It takes most of a day just to survive here in the states with 6 kids).
Ultimately though this will be Brian’s decision as to where the Lord is leading us.
Early in our marriage I ran the show-the way the house ran, decisions, spiritual leadership-and Brian let me. I always prayed for a strong spiritual leader for a husband. The key word being strong, as this is what I wanted, but I didn’t want to give up my control either! I didn’t realize that I was going to be the one changed. In the last few years I have really allowed Brian to lead. Six or seven years ago he wasn’t ready and I certainly wasn’t either! But I was still praying for him to be that leader. And when God really got a hold of Brian’s life four years ago, things changed. He clearly stepped up to lead and it was easy (easier anyway) for me to let him than I ever thought it would be. A book I would highly recommend is “Created To Be His Helpmeet” by Debi Pearl. I always preface that recommendation that it’s pretty in your face and not the kind of book most “modern” woman are going to want to read. I don’t agree with everything that she says in there, but she speaks some truths that I know I really needed to hear, and I am a different, and better wife because of it. One testimony of a reader tells how she started to read it, and then literally threw it across the room. But she immediately picked it back up and continued reading and her marriage was changed. Enough on that. If you want to borrow it, I have two copies. Brian also has an excellent book called “Family Man, Family Leader” by Phillip Lancaster that the men out there could borrow.
Anyway, back to Africa and deciding to go. I am 100% confident and willing to follow where by husband leads. Yes, there have been times where I haven’t been quite as sure as he was on a path to follow. We talked about it, prayed about it, and ultimately went in the direction he felt led. Things may not always work out the way we thought, but we have trusted God and He has honored our obedience, working things out HIS way.
I do not feel I have to go to Africa to weigh in/help Brian with this decision. With the many people praying for us, the prayers we constantly lift up for wisdom and guidance, and the many answered prayers and confirmations we have already received, I just am confident that we will both know together what we are to do. If Brian says yes, but I get a legitimate feeling of hesitancy (not just fear or laziness), than that is matter that we will discuss and pray about. Brian doesn’t dictatorially lead our family. He values my opinions and insights, but when the rubber hits the road, it is his decision. And it is my role to follow. I think of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Did Abraham talk it over with Sarah; ask her permission to go wherever God was to send them? Did Moses ask his wife if they should go to Egypt? The Bible doesn’t record any conversations where these guys asked permission of their wives to follow God, they didn’t even ask them what they thought. They had a clear call from God and they were going to obey, and their families with them. I am sure there were some interesting discussions about the whole thing and the whole process, but when it came down to it, those women obeyed God by following and supporting their husbands. You know, in any other culture but our American one, my choice to completely follow Brian wouldn’t be questioned. Heck, my opinion wouldn’t even be asked, it would just be expected that I follow whatever Brian says. God has richly blessed our family through our obedience, through our following Him, through our living out the roles He has called us to. I am so grateful that my husband is the prophet, priest and king of our household, and that is striving after and to be in the will of our awesome Prophet, Priest, and King, Jehovah.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

AN EMAIL TOO!

So I came home from church today with a new message from the honey! It's funny-I told a few of you that I wouldn't hear from Brian unless someone decided to go to an internet cafe and show Brian what to do-well, that's what happened! Actually Pete typed this up [I edited just a little]:

It was really good to talk to you last night! It's what I really needed. This morning at the church plant it was a blast! Pete (from Indiana) got to preach, I was asked to share my testimony!, and the singing was unbelievable. We think there were 30 or 40 adults, and 80 or so children. I am at an internet cafe in Lusaka. We stopped here for lunch and some free time. (By the way, Pete is typing this as I dictate) I will probably try to call you the middle of next week. We read the blog entry and it sounded great! Last night was the best night's sleep I've had yet. I slept from about 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM. Lewis [the Gospelink director] is here now and about half the time he is trying to encourage me and the other half the time he is trying to discourage me! If/when you end up seeing some of these babies here in Zambia, you are going to end up wanting one(s)! Give all the kids a big hug and kiss for me. Actually I did dream last night for the first time here. I dreamt about you [come on people, what else :)]! Talk to you this week. Love, Brian

Saturday, June 9, 2007

MORE PHONE TIME!!!

30 more minutes!! YEAH! The director of Gospelink just let Brian use his phone for me to call him back at (don’t even want to think about that phone bill…) So here is some more tidbits from our call. And of course, this is our personal journal of the whole process, so some of this stuff might seem “unblog-worthy” to you, but it’s for us too!
Today they did a bible school at a new housing development in Lusaka and tomorrow they are going back there to start a new church. They did the Jesus film there and door-to-door evangelism as well. Some of the older residents were a little nervous when they first came (until they realized they were believers). It seems the younger ones love white people, but the older ones are afraid they are coming to take their little ones away. He didn’t know where that came from. As this one woman was walking away, she was praying that Jehovah Jireh would come. They have nothing, but they still have their faith.
Brian’s roommate tonight is Zach. Zach has been working on the bible campus since January, and will be there until August. He is a single guy, younger than Brian. He is very knowledge about the agriculture and has some ideas. He asked if Brian wanted to stay an extra week to see more. No, I don’t think so! Brian said he’d come back later! (FYI-Brian and I have never been apart for a full week, let alone two in our 11+ years of marriage).
He’s taken 150 pictures so far, 10 minutes of video (saying the tape for next week).
The days are hectic, yet they are on African time. The schedule and what they do aren’t always the same. Sometimes you just gotta wait for the bus to come, whenever it gets there!
There is another gentleman there named Pete from Illinois. Pete is a new staff member for Gospelink. He is going to be away for 3 weeks (you can pray for him too-he hasn’t been gone from his wife either, and they’ve been married a lot longer than us!). Pete is doing some of the training of the national pastors these 2 weeks, and the third he is going to Mozambique to get more national pastors into Gospelink’s program. Both Brian and Pete are not there for the same reasons as the rest of the teams, and they are the ones experiencing terrific spiritual warfare. It’s like satan knows they are there for a purpose. Both Pete and Brian have been up at midnight numerous times praying. If I remember Pete was a youth (?) pastor at a church, and he has said he has never felt spiritual warfare this intense. Brian has. Brian said the 2nd night he went out walking at midnight when he got up (yes, believe me I asked if that was such a good idea!! But he said they are staying at a resort. Went to the bar area last night to watch the news even.) So, a more specific time to pray for Brian (and Pete) would be 6-10 pm our time. That is 1-5 am there. Brian seems to sleep well until 1 am, and then is up, usually praying until 5 when he falls back asleep and gets up between 6 and 6:30 am. So those of you praying for us, know you are being prayed for too!!!
He said it is just amazing being with the national pastors and at the schools. They go into classrooms where there are 20-100 kids. They are able to share the gospel message and pray with those who would like to accept Christ. Brian has been able to pray with many of the kids-amazing he says. These people are so poor-they have nothing. They have 3 terms of school-some schools have 1500 kids-and NO BOOKS. Today at VBS, one of the kids was in his underwear, he had no clothes.
They were also at a hospital today; he said it was almost more than you could bear.
The people all sing and dance and it is amazing to watch, lots of fun. There have been a few times where he has just had to laugh as he sees the little boys play. Some of the quirks we see with Joe-well, they are just African things. He sees some of them play, and its just Joe (which of course makes him miss us more!). He likes to pull out the family picture-gets some interesting reactions! The biggest and more frequent question he gets asked is if we are keeping him! Is he actually going to stay with us?
They went and did some shopping today. Guess he got us some jewelry and me some dresses (or tablecloths-whichever I prefer to use it as on any given day!).
He misses me, wishes I were there, but knows I would hate the city. The driving is horrendous. Sometimes you just have to laugh, others just close your eyes! He is surprised there aren’t more people killed.
Monday morning they go to the bible school. Will pretty much have the week to himself, and Zach will show him around some. He is feeling a nervous anticipation, but not as much as before-but who knows what the ride on Monday morning will be like!
He is starting to get more headaches, partly due to sleep, a lot due to spiritual stuff. When he does a lot of intercessory prayer here at home, the next morning he usually has a headache.
The 2nd night he said he and God really needed to talk. It was good; there were some things to deal with. He said that is why he had to be in Lusaka this first week. He had to deal with some things before he got out to the campus. He wrote it all down for me, so it will be neat to read about it when he gets back, says he is filling up the notebook for me! We at first didn’t even know if we wanted to have him in town at all, rather spend the whole 2 weeks at the campus. But he says it has been good to see what all goes on, be with the national pastors. When he tells them what is going on in our lives they about start dancing!
I asked if he has gotten the clear direction for us. He said he hasn’t been willing to say a full-fledge yes yet, but he is feeling like it. There is no awkwardness around the people, he doesn’t feel unwelcome, for a way to describe it, he said it kind-of “feels like home.” He didn’t know how else to put it. Zach has been very straight up with Brian about what life is like, and he tells him it won’t be easy. One thing Zach didn’t do was pace himself. There will always be more to do-he knew he’d only be there for awhile, so he pushed himself. You gotta get into the “African” mindset a little. Looking back, we have asked for and received so many clear confirmations, and we expect the same this time as well. I know that when he comes back and says “yes” I will have had that already revealed to me in my heart. And if it’s “no”, I will know that too. God has been faithful to us, showing and leading us on the path to doing His will. Whatever it is, we are willing.
Oh!! And Zach has a laptop that he uses to get email whenever! Yeah! When he gets back, and if we go, that guy is going to be a treasure of information! They also have a generator out at the school and run it a few hours a day. When Brian called back he was on a satellite cell phone and there weren’t any problems getting through (before he was just using the resort’s phone).
Well, that’s it for now. As Prayer Bear would say, “KEEEEEP PRAYING!”

CONTACT!!

After one and a half days of trying, Brian finally got through to us!!! I had about 5 minutes with him. Don’t know why he hasn’t been able to connect, but ya know, it’s Africa. He had only bought so many minutes, so either his time ran out, or we were just plain disconnected.
He said the flights were good, a few delays (I know he had a two hour delay in Washington DC). His luggage was good, all made it there and we were okay on the weight.
He misses us a lot of course [who wouldn’t! :)]. I and a few of our friends wrote him notes for each day of the trip. I put a lot of verses related to trust, seeking God’s wisdom, guidance, etc on the cards. He made mentioned that they have been right on! (And for those of you who wrote cards for him-he has gotten them all this first week if I remember correctly-so THANK YOU!!)
He told me they are putting in LONG days, but they are sooo good! He hasn’t been sleeping well though. The first 2 or 3 nights he felt it was clearly, clearly spiritual. So a specific prayer request for this next week would be for sleep and protection at night. Thankfully he hasn’t been getting bad headaches from the lack of sleep. Let’s see, they are 7 hours ahead, so when he comes to mind especially between the hours of 3-10 pm, you can pray for sleep!
The kids and I are doing well. It takes a lot of the day just to survive with six kids! We are busy with swimming lessons and visiting a few of the past nights. Next week there is swimming, academy camp, and gymnastics, so we should stay plenty busy. No one has been hurt, no one has been too unruly or gotten into too much trouble. The kids usually ask about Brian mostly at night when going to bed (what’s daddy doing, etc) and occasionally throughout the day they ask, but not too much. They understand where he is and what he’s doing. I have been getting up a 6 am for a walk-I think it is keeping me sane. A few quiet minutes in the morning before everyone gets up. It seems the mornings I especially don’t want to get up, Myron is up by 6 am to get me out of bed and come on a walk with me. It’s been good.
So, thank you for your prayers! God is definitely listening and answering!! Only 8 more days!