"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

Monday, November 30, 2009

I adjusted the Ginny Owens song so that it doesn't automatically play. If you want to hear it, just go down the left side and press play.

We are working on a December newsletter to put out in the next two weeks with pictures and somewhat of a report.

We are also going to be picking a date or two to have an open house and reporting time.

We have many posts in the rough draft to first final draft stage. Most of our writing goes through two to three drafts before we post them. Now that Thanksgiving week is over they will be coming!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

giving thanks

We have so much to give thanks to our FATHER for. Some may look at us and say what? How can you say that? You are home from the mission field after only a year and you were planning on it being there maybe forever. Yes, that is true but we made some incredible relationships in that year. We were able to live out the love of Christ by ministering to many people and being ministered to by many. We are thankful that we were counted worthy to be called to serve our Lord in Zambia. Was it easy? NO! Was it worth it? YES! We give thanks not just for the good (that is easy) but also for the bad. I am sure there are some that right now are saying “WHAT? Give thanks for the bad?” Yes, giving thanks for the bad. I have begun trying to look at things from a different perspective. Picture a painting or tapestry or a cross-stitch that is not finished. In that work of art is your life in Christ; your faith lived out-the good, the bad and the ugly. Now when you look at the back side of the piece of work it does not look like much. In fact it might be kind of ugly. But remember you are only looking at one side of it. You have to turn it over to see how all the experiences of your life (good, bad, ugly) blended together to make a beautiful picture. At times it can be very difficult to do that but the reality is the MASTER is creating a masterpiece and it takes a life time.
In John chapter 15 it talks about being pruned to produce more fruit. There is a form of pruning called shock pruning. It is when you dig down to the roots and cut them and then you put fertilizer around them to get the vine to produce more fruit. I look at it this way: the bad and ugly stuff of life is the manure/fertilizer that can produce abundant fruit. That is what I see but it is also what I desire for my life and my family’s. So in that I can give thanks. Thanks for the bad because it can and will produce good abundant fruit that is pleasing to my FATHER.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

the kids

The kids had a really good time a DAR in Colorado. Not just fun but purposefulness. In their classes they went through all the same stuff that dad and mom went through in their class. They emptied their back packs and sorted through their “stuff”. They talked about their hurts, frustrations and anger but also all the good things that that they experienced and the friends that they made and the sadness of missing them. I believe it really helped them to be able to talk about these things with other kids that were going through the same things. The kids had expressed anger in class towards certain people and also God because we had to leave. They really loved it there, they love it here too but it was their home now and it felt like it was taken away from them. And it was; they did not get to have a choice. And there were a couple of things that people did that really hurt them. They learned some very hard lessons, that fellow believers can often be crueler than the non-believer and that we are all imperfect people. We’re all sinners living and working with other sinners. The good news is this has caused conversations about forgiveness and why we forgive. It is not about the person and forgivenss is not for that other person- it is for you and your relationship with the Father. You are only hurting yourself by not forgiving them. The truth is that other person really doesn’t care, but your Father does. He cares about you and your relationship with Him. And it grieves His heart that you were hurt. We have talked about where spiritual growth comes from. It comes from the not-so-good things in life and it is up to you what you are going to do with them. They have to make the choice not to become bitter and resentful. It is not easy but it is very important for each one of them to make the right choice for their own mental, physical and spiritual well being. That is not only for them but for us as well (and you).

few things...

hopefully you like the blue better? I was told the red was a little hard to read. Let me know if this still is tough. It looks okay to me on my little screen.

The song-if for some reason it doesn't play within a few seconds of you going to the home page, scroll down and you should see the playlist on the left hand of the screen. Just press the play arrow. Whenever you come to this page though, it should start. The beginning of the song is pretty soft, so give it 10-15 seconds if you don't hear stuff.

This is a link to the home page of the business of thecouple whose house we are living in. They are having an auction on NOVEMBER 28th at 10 AM. If you go to "view your portraits" the login is auction and the password is auction. There is a sale bill and pictures of what they have. If you are around this next week end, come and have fun at the auction!

We are also working on one final newsletter with a report and pictures of the last year and our ministry in Zambia.

Did I mention we get internet on Tuesday??!! More posting to come! I promise!

what to do on the worst day of your life by brian zahnd

On the last day of our missionary care seminar while still in Zambia, one of the host couples gave us this book. They had just gotten it, but hadn’t even read it yet. They heard it was a very good book and wanted us to have it.
In 1 Samuel 30 we read about King David’s worst day (okay, maybe one of the many?). This is when he came back with his warriors to Ziklag and discovered the city destroyed and the women and children taken.
“…you have begun the journey. You may well have experienced your own Bethlehem beginning… Perhaps you now sense that you are somehow on your way to Jerusalem, the place of destiny, where the purposes of God are fulfilled in your life… But between Bethlehem and Jerusalem there are always Ziklags. Ziklag is unavoidable, not only because there are powers of darkness bent on our destruction, but also because, in a much deeper and more mysterious way, Ziklag is an essential part of our own personal development. Between prophecy and destiny there is always testing and refinement. God’s purpose for allowing you to encounter Ziklag is not to hurt you or ruin you but to develop in you a kingly and gratuitous spirit so that you will be fit to rule and serve when you reach Jerusalem.” (pp.127-128)

Friday, November 20, 2009


We are very far behind in blogging. Sorry! Well, in posting at least. We are starting to write more now that we are feeling just a teeny-tiny bit settled. We got back from Colorado okay and are working to get into a new routine with school and life and…
I am working on getting internet for the house. We are just outside of city limits, so I don’t know how that affects our options just yet. I have a list of places to call in my , so until then we will keep writing and posting as we get to the folks’ homes where we can get online for free! UPDATE!! We are getting internet next Tuesday! YEAH!
Yes, we are in our own house finally. We really appreciate being able to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s, but we needed to be in our home and start functioning-period, but functioning as a family.
We have been given some furniture, bought some at an auction and are waiting for another auction from the owners of the house. Only have to move the stuff a couple hundred feet that way! We are settling in. If you ask me what it is we need, I don’t know anymore! If you have something you are giving away or looking to sell, let us know.
We sure would appreciate your continued prayers for us, especially about our future direction. We are still open to wherever or whatever God would have us do. The answer to the Call is still YES! Despite the earthly view of what has gone on, we know that eternal purposes were accomplished and we look forward to seeing the fulfillment of those-some day, whether here or there. So please keep praying for us and where God wants to use us next. Maybe that’s here, maybe it’s somewhere on the other side of the world, we just don’t know right now. And what do we need to do in the meantime? Pray for our full restoration. Pray for the kids. It was a good time for them at the DAR program and we all need to continue processing our hurts and healings.


A disclaimer-- for you. Well, I guess for our “protection” too.
We met many wonderful people on the mission field. We had some great discussions on missions-mission philosophy, ministry teams, missionary life and so on and so forth.
This blog is about our personal faith walk and things we are learning along the way. So that means we are going to, and have written about missions. PLEASE, try not to read more into our writings than there is. If we say “agency” do not automatically assume we are writing about our former agency. If we are going to reference them, we would say its name or “our agency”. It is just a lot easier to write in general terms than to name this or that group or whatnot. And we don’t need to-we are just writing about what we have seen, heard, or discussed.
There will of course be some out there that would say we shouldn’t be writing anything or questioning about Missions or other cultures even. Everyone wants to think Missions is a pretty picture all wrapped up in a bow. Truth is, it isn’t. We just put these high expectations on it that in a way aren’t even fair. It’s similar to the divorce rates-there unfortunately doesn’t seem to be much difference between the secular world and the “Christian” one.
So please, if you wonder about something, ASK US! You don’t have to be afraid we will judge you for your thoughts or questions. We are being real here and we want you to be real with us. One of the frustrating things to get used to in the States again is the lack of direct talk. We are used to people just being direct and open-it’s like they didn’t have time to go around-they just said it like it is! Hard sometimes, yet in many ways so much easier to deal with! It doesn’t have to be a comment, just send a plain email (link is in our contact info). Or send it as a comment with a note not to publish if you are along the more not-so-computer-savy line. We have to approve all comments before they are published anyways. Having said that though, don’t be afraid to comment-we do publish the ones that disagree with us! We are striving for dialogue here!

missing my puppies

Yup, I am missing my “puppies” Elijah and Eve. Every time I have to wipe the crumbs from the table into my hand and not on the floor, I think of my puppies. And there is just something about having them in the house, around. There for the kids to jump on or whatever at any minute. Someone to look up when you talk and want to know what you’re thinking. Our dogs have always been allowed in all the main areas of our homes, just not the bedrooms. So they were just always around.
So I think of them and miss them. I was especially saddened to hear that they are still up at the house alone and they bark all night. I wasn’t clear on where they were during the day, just around the house I think. Last we also knew, John was still working for the school taking care of the front garden there-easily a two person job to keep up with the watering during the hot dry season, and weeding during the rainy season! I am sure he is giving them love as he can as he got to know them and enjoyed them and they knew him well too. I know he got really worried about them when we went on our 7 night trip before we left Zambia.
With everything else we did and how fast it all went, we didn’t have a lot of time to find them another home. We were hoping another missionary family would take them, but we wanted them to go together so that kind of makes it tough. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that a national family can’t be a good family for them. It’s just that Zambians view dogs very differently than we do. Dogs, like most other animals there, usually have to fend for themselves for food, and being called a dog is about the worst insult someone can dish out. They also have no problems throwing rocks or kicking the dogs.
Lucy (who bought them) has known Elijah and Eve since we got them, they know he pretty well. And Christine’s father raised dogs so I know that they know and understand more than any of the other locals how to treat them. I am not sure why they are still at the house alone. I know there are still things that need guarding up there, and since Lucy and her family are the ones who will be moving into the house, maybe they figured it wasn’t a good idea to move them down to their current house just to have them move back to the house we built. I don’t know. I just remember how sad John said they were when we were gone. There have been American teams there the last month and a few things need to be done to get it comfortable for a family again, so I am sure they just haven’t had time to move up there yet. Once corn is planted I am sure they will get up there as soon as they can. I just hope it won’t be too late. They (E &E) are both getting old and sometimes you hear of dogs just laying down and dying, or getting really ornery. I just remember how they looked when we came back from our trip.
You can pray that once the Mutenekas get moved in everyone will adjust well (the dogs will have different rules-they may not be allowed in the house for example). Pray that their kids won’t be afraid of them (most Zambians are afraid of dogs, especially large healthy ones like ours) and give them lots of love; but yet have the healthy respect for them that is needed to treat them well. There were times our kids pushed the line and the dogs let them know. Just pray it will turn out to be a good fit.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


If you don't have your speakers on, turn'em on--turn'em up :-)

If you have a sleeping baby in the room and you didn't know there was a song, and your speakers were up, and someone woke up... sorry!

The song is "If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens. This came out quite a few years ago, but I just heard it again recently and thought... WOW. That's it, that's where we are at.

Take a few minutes to listen to the words. They are a powerful heart cry. If you want me to Lord...the answer is YES.

And that's where it all began.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Why are we in Colorado at DAR (Debriefing and Renewal)? It is a safe place to go and talk about our experiences; a place to get counsel on the “next step”. Some of the missionaries here are going back to the same field, others are going into other fields and others are staying here in the states. Some here have been in the field for many years and there are others that like us have only been in the field for a year. A common thing for missionaries is that you do not deal with “things” (hurts, frustrations, loses, pain, etc.) in the field. Mainly because you are too busy and it takes focused time to do it. So you come here where there are staff that have been there and done that. A lot of the help comes from the other missionaries that are here because just like you they have gone through a world of different experiences-some good, and sadly, quite a few bad. There is one particular couple here that just went through something very similar to what we went through this last year and in particular the last 4 months. And most are trying to deal with the transition of being back and what that means and what it looks like.
One of the exercises we have done is empting out our backpacks. That is all the stuff that we are carrying around with us from our experiences. The good and the bad; sorting through our emotions. One of the analogies that is being used is that of a house. In a house you have a lot of different rooms and some of the rooms you let most people into but there are some that you let few if any into. You may not even go into them yourself for any number of reasons. But the main reason is it is painful. It is the room where you put the stuff that you do not want to deal with. So here (at MTI) you have someone who will walk into that room with you to sort through stuff and help you with throwing out what needs to be thrown out or move stuff into another room. We deal with the lies that the enemy has sold us and we focus on Christ and who HE is and His love. A lot of the comfort comes from just knowing that there is a whole room of people that know and understand right where you are because they have been there or are there right now. The kids have classes as well and their teachers have all been in the field. So they are helping the kids process the transition they are in and what they have gone through in the field.
In military battle terms- When you are in battle and you get wounded, you do a field dressing. And that is fine for the immediate but it is not for the long term. If it is not dealt with properly it gets infected. So when you come off the front lines you need to remove the dirty field dressing and open up the wound and clean it out, maybe cut away the dead and infected tissue and sew it up and bandage it so it will heal completely. There will still be a scar that will fade over time. But if you do not deal with it properly, it will eventually destroy you.
Why are we doing this? Because we want to be health physically, emotionally, and spiritually so we can serve the Lord (wherever) well with all our heart. In the church it is often talked about that we should be more like Christ. Have you ever thought about what that means? How that happens? Do you want to know, really? I believe that to drink from Christ’s cup, to become more like Him, you are going to suffer. Does that mean that life is going to be all bad? NO, but you are going to need to go through some hard things and learn from them. To learn to love your enemies you first must have an enemy. To learn about forgiveness you first must be wronged. To learn about the true joy in the Lord you first must experience deep pain. To learn obedience we first must be asked to do something. To learn true dependence on Christ you must be in deep need. And to be able to minister to others you often must experience the pain to be able to understand. These are the hard lessons of the faith that are not often talked about. Many just want to talk about how we serve a God of love-and we do. But more than that, we serve a God that wants a relationship with us. He is our Father and we are His children. I believe that when our heart aches His heart also aches. Sometimes He must show us our need for Him.
I am so thankful that we came out here for this week. It has been a long time since I have seen any light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

a day of rejoicing and sorrow

Today a man I admire greatly went home. Words are hard to come by. Deronhas been an inspiration to Kelly and I for some time. I know that the FATHER has used him and will continue to use his legacy of faith for a long time to come. I loved Deron’s heart and honesty, his willingness to share his struggles and triumphs. My heart is heavy knowing he is no longer on earth yet my heart is full of joy knowing he is worshiping the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS face to face. How awesome is that. Our heart goes out to Jan and the boys as they are the ones left behind and for the ordeal that they have gone through for what I am sure feels like forever. Our prayer for them is for restoration, total restoration (physically, emotionally, & spiritually). That they will feel the FATHER’S arms around them like they never have before and the beginning of there restoration will begin today. That the family of GOD will come around them and love them (in tangible ways), like in the days of the early church. Not give advice, not say “if you need anything just call”. Rarely, if ever does the person do that. Ask yourself, what would you want done if you where in the same position. That is always a pretty good place to start. First and foremost PRAY and keep praying and keep praying. Healing takes time and we often do not take the time to do or allow others to do it because there is always so much else to do- “more important things” or so we say. Right now their most important thing is to sit in the arms of their Father.