"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, November 30, 2007

I (Brian) was supposed to lead my growth group this morning but last night at about 11pm Cybil started throwing up. She did some more this morning. So I had to ask Mark to lead in my place. Mark is a neat guy, 45yrs.old, single, had his own construction business and came to the Lord 6 years ago and for the last 9 months has been a missionary in Guatemala working at overseeing short-term teams and the construction of the children’s homes. There are 10 kids to a home and they have a national couple raise/parent them. He is a guy that has realized that there is so much more to this life than making money and buying the next new toy (he was in corporate America). He’s not sure how long he will be where he is at in Guatemala but he knows he can never go back to the way it was.

I’m a student of people. I love to just watch and listen. There is so much you learn and often it is what they don’t want people to know. A third of the people here are right around our age yet Kel and I feel old around them. I think it is the kid factor and some of them have not been out of school all that long. I am finding that the people here are very genuine. I think it’s neat that the info we sent here (names, pictures) was distributed to all the staff (office, cooks, cleaning ladies) so they could learn who we where, refer to us by name when we saw them. Usually Kelly will go through the lunch line and gets food for everybody (the food is amazing!! It’s like eating in a restaurant for every meal) but the other day I went through and the gal behind the counter said “Brian this is the first time you’ve been through the line, how come?” It may seem simple and insignificant but it really struck me. Or to have the cook come out and say “I had to come out here and meet the one they call Bubba.”

I saw an answer to prayer this morning and I want to share it so you to can praise God with us. Cybil really looked tough this morning, very pale, eyes dark and sunk in. Definitely not my Cybil. In one of the first breaks this morning I went in to check on her. She was sound to sleep. As I was standing there I clearly felt that I was to lay my hands on her and pray over her for healing. That’s what I did; nothing happened, she just kept sleeping. I went back to class, at the next break I went to check on her and it was the Cybil I knew. She was sitting up reading a book (surprise, surprise) and having something to drink. I knew right away and I could see it in her eyes-God had touched her and healed her. PRAISE GOD!!!

Robin, our instructor gave us some not so easy assignments for over the weekend and for next week. For this weekend we have to talk to our spouse, another family member and a close friend and ask them 3 questions:
1) How do you observe me handling conflict?
2) How does that affect or impact you?
3) What could I do differently or better?

Now doesn’t that sound like fun? The other assignment is to speak into the lives of the others in our growth group. To speak some affirmation and also maybe point out whether or not you’re the one who should. This is no small order.

This morning class was about the greatest discipling and evangelism tool. What is it? My life! My marriage! My family! What does that mean? And what does that look like? It means that as important as it is to farm the land, my most valuable ministry will be the example of my life.

This afternoon we started talking about conflict and we will be talking about it all day Monday. Today we began learning who we/I am in conflict and how I deal with it. 70-80% of missionaries will leave the field and not come back due to conflict. A survey of 500 missionaries at various stages said the number one stress was dealing with conflict. We are just getting into whether conflict is just basically destructive and only a little constructive??

We’ll see where it goes!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Just a few of the things we are learning about lately-
A little more clarifying on what we are doing here. This is not a place where we are building on our biblically foundation as the main emphasis. That will of course happen some as iron sharpens iron. But that is not the focus of this program. The focus of this program is YOU (me). More foghorns sound in our minds (Hee hee) as we talk about feelings and thoughts, our gut reactions. We do an activity and the question is how do you feel about that? What feelings did it invoke, what thoughts did you have? What you think and feel will tell you where you are at.
We talked a lot about seeing the same event in two different ways, neither necessary being wrong-the paradox thing. We have then talked a lot about the fact that we need to love one another. They didn’t give the statistic, but most missionaries leave the field because of other missionaries and their values clashing with other missionaries, their lifestyle choices, their convictions.
During our worship yesterday morning we mediated on Bartimaeus, the blind man in Mark 10 who was crying out to Christ as He passed by. First everyone tried to shush him, but then when Christ called to the man, the crowd happily pushed him forward. He got up to Jesus, Christ asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Are you thinking “DUH!”? But you see, Christ doesn’t assume for us; He wants us to ASK! Even the obvious-and maybe keep asking? I sometimes struggle with asking for the same things over and over. I ask once and trust that God will take care of it. But maybe He wants me to keep asking-it’s not a lack of faith to keep asking? Maybe I am suppose to do a little more on my side? I need to call and keep calling; not listen to others or even satan try to shush me?
We did a little on culture shock. Brian experienced this in Zambia this summer. We’ve probably had a little bit of it here too.
Today was mostly about expectations. The girls were told a few days about that they were going somewhere today, but weren’t told where. The point was to build expectation in them (unfortunately for them, we often say we are going somewhere and don’t tell them, so the girls weren’t as excitable about it as the staff maybe thought they might be!) We talked about the things in life that can TWANG us when we create expectations (reality, fear, desire to name a few).
We also talked about our lifestyle choices and who we think they will affect, or do affect, or who should be considered when we make them. We have seen this in our journey so far. We have changed the home plans taking more of this into consideration. The choice we have made of sending a sea container over with most of our possessions has affected others. Just the virtue of our going over there affects many people. And the way it affects them is different of course.
Once a week we also have personal coaching. Our gal is someone who was a missionary in Nepal for seven years. She also has an adopted son who is now seven from Eastern Russia who has RAD. We could have talked about adoption forever! Today was mainly introductory and where we are, where we came from; just letting us know we can talk about anything on our path-she’s there to be a support and answer any questions. Our time is right at 1:30, the session is 45 minutes, then we have until 4 pm without the kids!
So the kids had a GREAT time at Focus on the Family. They did three scavenger hunts, went in the imagination station, the Narnia wardrobe, ate at Wit’s End, and even got to do a recording in their studios (I will see if I can figure out how to post that). It was a great time had by them. We were a little bummed, because we of course are planning to take them; I guess they will be our tour guides!
This afternoon after class we went for a walk with a couple of other families. It was a beautiful day here with sunshine and 45 degrees. It would be easier to sit in class if the weather out side would be a lot worse and we weren’t looking at a beautiful mountain all day!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day 1

Today’s focus included more intro/orientation and a lot on growing a community. We have lots of little communities within this whole community of missionaries-singles, parents with kids here, parents without, different roles, different countries, different races, and different ages of kids, different, different. Yet, we ARE a community. We talked a lot about being vulnerable and sharing your heart. We talked about those things that are below the surface that we don’t always know about before we judge someone’s actions and responses. We had more time today to start talking and connecting and hearing stories from people.
We keep talking about community-we both keep hearing the Duluth fog horn from Joe Sourchey!
My (KJ) growth group is a baby boomer going to Sudan, a nurse going to Uganda, a gal going to Ethiopia (don’t know much about her yet, they had horrible flights getting here, so were late), and a single gal going to China.
Brian’s groups is the husband of the gal to Sudan, the husband of the one going to Ethiopia, the guy going to Mozambique I mentioned yesterday, a guy going to Guatemala and a guy going to Argentina.
Praise! We are not the only ones here “without a seminary education”. We are also not the only ones here doing agriculture related projects. The Ethiopia guy also is doing something related to ag and windmills. Oh-and we aren’t the only ones who hate role playing!!!

PARADOX-two seemingly contradictory statements of which both are true. A word we learned about this morning. A word I’ve heard but never really understood before. The ACTS course I (Brian) have been doing is a paradox. How so? In the material we are studying I see a mold/agenda of how they think missions should be done. I don’t fit that mold-does that mean one of us is wrong in how we view missions? NO! Yet we don’t totally agree; and that’s okay. The difficulty is laying both statements (arguments) side by side without weakening one of the statements-being able to allow yourself to see the validity of the other statement. The hard part, at least for me, is not feeling like someone just attacked you and you have to defend yourself or go on the offensive. Then what do you have-conflict. And that really brings out our (my) most unChristlike behavior and attitude. This is just one of the things we are going to be learning over the next three weeks. Fun, fun, fun.

PRAYER REQUEST-please pray that the kids will adjust to the time change! Pray that Brian will be able to sleep-the bed is not working well for us. We may need to get an air bed from the local Wal-mart. Please pray that the lack of sleep will not lead to a migraine.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let the Adventure Begin!

We arrived at MTI a little after 1pm.
Answered prayer #1. The trip went extremely well, the kids did an amazing job. We listened to 3 of the Chronicles of Narnia so far. We went about 770 miles in 12 ½ hours. That was with 2 eating and gas stops and 2 gas stops. We only had about 150 miles left today so we took the “scenic” route.
Answered prayer #2. To our surprise we have 3 rooms instead of only 2. So dad and mom get a room to themselves!
#3 There are a few other African nations represented, so we should get a little specific Africa time I hope! There is a single to Mozambique & Malawi and I think a couple to Sudan, Uganda, and Ethopia. We have the most kids of all by 3.
Took a little tour and it a very nice facility. They nurseries are nice, there are books to check out, games to play, even kids movies for when needed.
We are unpacked; we all slept well last night in a nice (and really cheap!) hotel room. Myron crashed at about 6:30 (7:30 our time-still adjusting!).
Bummer #1-the girls are the 4 oldest, and they are alone. There are 11 kids under 3. We were hoping for some other kids to connect with. Oh well-must be God’s plan. They should get lots of individual attention! The teacher was an MK themselves, so they should learn a lot.
18 units of people, 13 agencies, 15 countries represented.
The kids have been running all over, just wired, but super tired.
We have groups/class times from 8:45 to 12, then 1:30 to 4 everyday. I will post more later on some of the things we will be studying.
Pray everyone keeps HEALTHY! They won’t let the kids in the nursery if they are sick, and we won’t learn much if we have to chase kids around. So pray against snotty noses and coughs especially (they are too hard to hide!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Prayer request

A few praises-too easy to forget to be thankful sometimes-but we are thankful and being blessed!

We found a place that is close, convenient and free to keep our sea container for a few weeks as we pack and go through everything in the house. We are just running out of room in the house for all the different “piles”.

This week is going pretty well!

We have been talking with a company in South Dakota that sells solar equipment. The best: they are Christians and feel it is part of their mission as a company to help missionaries with what they need to be on the field. We just need to figure out what we think we will use (appliances, how long, etc.) then they will figure up a system for us. We don’t know the final cost, but it looks like it will be half of what we expected!

Someone is donating a generator to Gospelink. We should be able to get it on our container. It will be situated fairly close to our home so we will be able to use it some-like when I need to use a washing machine. It will also supply power for the clinic they are building next spring, the library when that gets ready, and be a back up for the generator that runs the water cistern.

Here are a few prayer requests for us as we finish up plans for training in Colorado:

Please pray for this week-as many of you know, when you are planning to go and learn more about God, that is when Satan attacks! Please pray against crabby kids, crabby parents, for everything to work well and work right and for all the preparations for the trip. Pray that we won’t all be on edge for the week.

Please pray for us as we travel this-pray for traveling mercies, as we expect it to be about a 15 hour trip over two days.

Pray things will go smoothly at home for the gal staying at our house and with the dog.

Please pray that we will learn and retain as much information as possible.

This is probably silly, but neither Brian nor I like to do “role-playing” activities-and there will be quite a few these next few weeks!

Pray about sleep for the kids-especially Myron. He never sleeps well outside his own crib. We have 2 rooms for the 8 of us, so mom and dad will have to be in the same room as some of the kids.

Thank you for your prayers. We will try to do updates and journal entries on our blog for the next few weeks, so check it out!

We will have email, so feel free to send us a note!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I am really trying to stay up with this information age! HA!
I posted a link to our November Newsletter on the side under "monthly newsletters." I am so computer illiterate it's unbelievable, so someone will have to tell me if it works! It's not as cool looking as the ones you get in the mail; i don't know how to post publisher files, or .pdfs (not sure if you can on blogger).
Anyway, enjoy! Let me know if it doesn't show up or you have any questions!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

After Obedience, comes DEPENDENCE

That was a statement made at our prayer meeting Tuesday night. It really struck both Kelly and I as to that being exactly where we are right now. And frankly it’s not easy. You think obedience was tough, try complete dependence. I’ve learned that we think we depend on God. But really, we don’t. We rely on our own resources our own abilities and connections. The fact is- God provides them- not us! HE is the maker of heaven and earth and to think we can do anything apart from Him is arrogant and foolish. The fact is, most of the time we don’t even realize that we are trying to do it ourselves. That is what has happened to me the last couple of weeks. And I became more and more discouraged with the church (God’s people) and with God Himself. I was so caught up in what was going on that I didn’t see it until I was to the breaking point. God allows us to go there to see our need for total dependence on Him. For me it all came to a head on Thursday night at my men’s Bible study. I really felt like I had been getting beat up lately about going into the mission field. I have had a few people questioning what we are doing (and that is okay, I want people to understand-I want them to ask us questions) but I also have had others that flat out disagree with our approach and tell us that we should be doing it differently (their model for how missions should be done). I was to the point of questioning God’s call. God began to remind me of all of the confirmations that He gave. At the study the facilitator recognized that I was struggling and asked if I would share. I couldn’t, there was so much emotion built up inside that if I opened my mouth I knew I would break down. The analogy that came to mind is that of a soldier. As followers of Christ we are all soldiers and we are in a/many battles whether we acknowledge or recognize it. And there are times when soldiers get beat up and tired and they need a little time to rest and get reenergized to get back into the battle and fight effectively. At the end of the evening he asked the men to gather around me to lay hands on me and pray. The Bible talks about praying in the Spirit. That is what these men did! They did not know what was specifically going on in my life and the battles taking place, yet they prayed specifically to the situations taking place. Sometimes God takes you to that place where you are completely empty just so He can fill you back up; to teach you not only obedience but dependency on Him in ALL things.

Friday, November 2, 2007

First Prayer Team Email

First off, welcome and thank you for partnering with us in our work with Gospelink in Zambia.

I wasn’t sure when I was going to start sending out a prayer email, but God did! So this is nothing eloquent or pithy-just a humble request for prayer.

First a praise to start us out! A WONDERFUL woman took me shopping today to the home store, and got us some of the big items on our list. It was such a blessing! And definitely a God thing on a day like today!

Our prayer cards are in the mail and on the way, so you will be getting them before the end of the month. Just please think of us and pray for us. Today seemed to be discouragement after discouragement. Satan is unfortunately very good at hitting us when we are down, making even a small thing big. Just pray for encouragement for us, for perseverance. God has been so faithful to provide it for us when we have needed it, and we continue to trust Him. Our struggles make us even more resolved that this is where we are suppose to be.

Thank you for your prayers and your commitment to praying for us.