"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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

micheal kallevig 6/29/10 11:00pm

Yesterday I had a regular maternity check up. Everything has been fine-no problems, just tired (when isn’t that normal?) She went to listen for the heart tones and … she thought she heard movement but couldn’t get the tones. I am 15 weeks, should be no problem picking that up. She didn’t seem worried though as we had an ultrasound about 4 weeks ago and everything was fine. I have a tilted uterus so that can affect hearing it too…but I knew. I lay on that table and just prayed and said God please, anything, please, even a swift kick would be great. C and Hen were with so I tried to hold it together, but wasn’t doing all that well. My sweet baby boy Henny looked up me trying to hold the tears back and just wrapped his arms around me. I’ve had 2 prior miscarriages, one due to an illness that was still a surprise in a way, another due to thyroid levels. I am way more paranoid in my pregnancies now, every weird feeling, every whatnot is analyzed. I was figuring we were past the point of having to worry anymore. Then I look back and think about the handful of times I have thought in the past couple of weeks what it would be like if it happened again now. Was I already starting to know? We made it home and I lay on my bed and just cried. I prayed that God would jumpstart whatever life was there right now, and I wondered why and I prayed and begged. Then I prayed for strength for whatever was coming. And a peace and calm came over me. I guess way down deep there was this little hope that the ultrasound would pick up what it needed to, but I still knew. A few hours later we headed to the doc again. I watched the ultrasound and prayed, but there was just no movement. She tried for a heartbeat twice, but again nothing. We trudged back up to the doc’s office to wait. The radiologist’s report said that the baby stopped developing at about 11 weeks, but they didn’t know exactly when it died, could have been just within the last few days. Later we did a hormone test and my levels were already way down, so it’s likely been longer than that, and my cervix had begun to dilate. Again, as you can imagine, I wept and wept. In the midst of that there was this processing I am not sure how to describe. It’s like yes, it happened; it’s a fact, now you have to go forward. What does that mean? Is that the strength I asked for? Is that my shock? I don’t know. Because I still cry and grieve and weep as I write this. The thought of having to tell family and friends drains me. Just thinking of someone saying “I’m sorry” makes me weep again. Or the thought of someone who doesn’t knowing asking me a month from now…and I have to tell them and cry again. (please know it's not that I don't want to hear it or appreciate your words and support...it's just that I am such a crier-sometimes it feels like it will never end. ) I know it gets better, but right now it sucks. It’s like things are starting to look up, or at least forward in other areas, and then this. No warning, no clue whatsoever, just over. Part of me says okay what am I suppose to learn? What do I need to do? We don’t have an obvious medical reason this time. We could do testing on the baby, but we don’t want to. I don’t care what your theology is, but I wonder what does God need to teach or purge in me through this? And then there’s this part that I feel guilty for-I actually did look forward. Well, now I can do this because I won’t be pregnant then. It’s not that I am happy I am not pregnant so I can do it; it’s just a fact that popped into my head. I feel like I shouldn’t be thinking, well, anything right now.
Our doctor said the average is now 1 in 3 pregnancies end up in miscarriage. 3 of 9-I am on pace. I remember when I lost our first one, it was just 1 in 5, I was on target then too.
The two older girls knew that afternoon. C had a pretty good idea after the appointment. It was so cute she tried to hush the kids when they were asking questions about the baby at lunch. Brian called M when we were still at the clinic and she asked, so he told her and he could tell she was upset and crying. I came home, just barely in the door when C gives me a hug and just cries. M comes over and we just stand there holding each other crying. These girls have been through so much, seen so much in this last year. It’s just seems so unfair to them, for them to go through and see so much “grown-up” stuff in this past year.
Before bed tonight we had a family time and told the rest of the kids. There were plenty more tears. G and H were really excited for another new baby brother or sister and took it pretty hard. Myron has probably been the most excited though. He’s been talking about wanting a baby brother or sister since before I even knew I was pregnant. He didn’t really cry, but he snuggled and made some very empathetic whimpering and asked questions in this soft, tender voice.
They have all handled a lot in the past few years. And quite honestly, they’ve all done really well. They are seeing real life. And real life can hurt. But all we hope to show them in this time is how GOD is GOD. He hasn’t turned on us, He still loves us, and truthfully: WE STILL LOVE HIM.

“THOUGH HE SLAY ME (or just break my heart), YET WILL I HOPE IN HIM.” Job 13:15 (italics mine)

Brian has a post that he has written about identifying with Jonah. I don’t know, but it sure seems like the last few years of have been a lot more like Job to me.

Monday, June 28, 2010


It seems to me that a lot of churches today are looking for the newest best thing (program) out there. The question is why? One of the reasons I think is that they are looking to meet a need or combat a problem within the body. That is an understandable reason. Another is they see something that is successful someplace else and they want it for their church. They see the big numbers and want that for their church. On the surface that seems fine, but why is it about the numbers? I have seen program upon program come and go. They were successful someplace else, then someone tries to transplant it and what happens: it starts out with a bang (big numbers, lots of interest) but after a period of time interest fades, the numbers go down until it dies. I saw it with a prayer group I was a part of years ago. The group had been meeting together for many years. There were 3-5 people that met every week. And finally after many years it began to grow. It was up to 12-15 every week. In one regard I was disappointed because 12-15 out of 800 or more people well, that percentage is pretty sad. But at the same time I was excited because it was starting to grow. People were coming for the purpose of praying and nothing more. There was no agenda, no program. Just there to allow the Holy Spirit to do what He wants. Then there was another group that went out to see what was going on at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, and they decided they wanted that here. What is going on out there DID NOT happen overnight. If you read about their history, you learn that it started with just a few people meeting weekly for prayer and it was years before it began to grow. The idea that you can take and transplant that overnight I think is ridiculous. And why would you want to anyway? Maybe because you don’t want to put the hard work into figuring out where God wants YOUR church to go, then growing it up, building it from the ground up, as a church body. The other thing that really bothers me is that people seem to thing that God is generic. God happens to find something that works and it is supposed to be done everywhere. That is not the God I know. He is unique and what He does is unique. He does NOT rubber-stamp. Is it our busyness of life that wants it to be easy so we don’t have to invest ourselves? But God want us to make a choice. What is truly important to you? Are you willing to make the time for Me?

I also see time and time again that people (including and often especially leadership) look to programs to solve the problems and issues within the church. When the answer, the only answer, will come through prayer-corporate prayer. It’s great that individuals are praying. But when you’re dealing with corporate issues/problems, they need to be dealt with in corporate prayer. Not just a two minute prayer on Sunday morning that says “God lead us in the way to go”. No, it is together as a body focused on worshipping, confessing, interceding, and petitioning the Lord to supply wisdom, discernment, and clear direction. Is that easy or comfortable? NO, but I wholeheartedly believed it is the answer. If a sin is corporate, it needs to be confessed corporately. The Holy Spirit needs to be sought corporately, in a unified way and time. And whatever obstacles are in the way need to be removed whether they be people or things (programs, traditions, etc), if you truly want what God wants for this/your church body. The answer is prayer not programs, it must begin and end in prayer.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Not that it matters so much, but the previous three weeks or so of blogs were actually written about a month ago, and I just scheduled them to post one a day (keep that readership up you know!). So while the thoughts were all there, by now some have already morphed and changed and been processed through further.
While going through some stuff looking for something for a gift, I got into the mail and letters we had received over in Zambia and before we left. Some of it was just sweet stuff. Sometimes I read something and went, really? I didn’t know you were even praying, let alone every day! Some things of course made me cry, some just laugh, others just encouraged.
As I was reading it Thursday, the Lord spoke. I don’t know exactly what it was. It was just this sense of “it is time.” Time for what, I am not sure how to put-time to put it behind, time to go forward, time to think about…
I don’t know. It was just this release of some type. And then the strangest God thing happened. We were contacted by someone we haven’t talked to since November and it wasn’t the happiest last communication. I told him I said I would lying if I didn’t say I was surprised to hear from him. He just said “My God is bigger than you or I.” Yes, He is. So I was surprised to hear from him, yet in a way not really surprised that they were still praying for us.
We’ve been talking about this “thing” the last couple of weeks. And God knows if this “thing” were ever to go further some reconciliation that would be really hard would have to take place. And GOD gave us that first encouragement that it is possible. It was just an awesome God thing. And maybe this “thing” we are talking about will never, ever happen; and maybe it is just the way God is using to get us to starting moving…somewhere, ahead? forward?…from “here.”
We’ve been stopped, we’ve been emailed, we’ve been encouraged as we have heard from many of you in just the last few weeks that you are praying for us. And I think we have both taken a baby step or two forward this last week or so. And we’d so appreciate your prayers in the next few months as we wrestle with the big question of what our calling was-to our agency or to missions and if the calling has been fulfilled. Please pray for discernment and wisdom and trust.

Friday, June 25, 2010

life with kids...

We are in a stage of life now where we have the first teenager down to a newborn baby again (soon). What a world in front of our own eyes! The whole slew of life’s (children’s) issues that we can be dealing about at any one time is amazing. Someone told us we are our own children’s ministry! We SOOOO need wisdom and discernment for parenting!
On any given day we deal with the usual: lying, taking food (this is actually a very big issue for a couple of the kids), tattling, hitting, taking toys from each other, eye-rolling, tears. But we also get the love; we get to see the sharing, the playing together, the helping and working together. It is a wide spectrum.
We also deal with a more than the usual. Well, maybe. I guess what feels unusual to us may be more normal than we know. We deal with a complete lack of desire to self-control. I think that is it anyway, I am not sure what else to call it. When we ask, did you know it was wrong, someone says yes. Did you know you would get it trouble? Again the answer is yes. Did you know you would have this consequence? Yes. Then why did you do it? Because I wanted to.
How do you even deal with that? What possible consequence can you give? They already know what the consequence is and they don’t seem to care-they are willing to take it without so much as a care in the world (for us-but believe me if someone is over they will put on the show!). Scolding does no good, talking about it does no good. There is no remorse, just I did it because I wanted to do it.
Maybe some of you have been there. I know it is a heart issue, something that needs prayer. But I sometimes think I am the one who needs the most prayer because I just HATE dealing with it over and over and over again.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The other day I was talking to someone about a question that I have been thinking about. It is somewhat a similar to the question he is asking himself in a little different area of occupation. The question I am trying to answer is: was I called to missions or to our agency?
If it was just to the agency, than my call is over. But if it was to missions, is that call over? Or is the call still there? And if it is still there, what does that mean? That is the BIG question I am wrestling with right now. And the possible answers scare me. There is a part of me that just wants to find a job here, gain some security. Sit on my butt, do life, go to church and forget about the rest. Just be satisfied with the status quo. Most people are, why not me? Why do I feel I am supposed to do more? I really am not sure that I want to. Part of the reason why is because I have been struggling with “stuff” that I have not struggled with in years and it bothers me a lot. Two years ago I felt like I took 3 steps forward and in the last year it feels like I have taken 6 steps back. I know that is one reason why I am wrestling more with the question. I don’t feel good enough, spiritual enough, to be a missionary again. Then again maybe I am not supposed to.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

There’s nothing quite so prideful as thinking that you have the ability to single-handedly thwart what God wants to do in and through you. You’re not that big. God knew your limitations long before you were ever even aware of them. Don’t stop selling yourself short. Stop selling God short. He uses the unlikely. That includes YOU!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just a link today to someone else's blog about safety and fear.
Especially note the quote by David Platt at the end of the post. Also Donald Miller's towards the bottom of the comment section. Maybe I will write about them later.

Monday, June 21, 2010

No one ever said that they learned their deepest lessons of life, or had their sweetest encounters with God, on the sunny days. People go deep with God when the drought comes. That is the way God designed it. Christ aims to be magnified in life most clearly by the way we experience him in our losses. Paul is our example: “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). The design of Paul’s suffering was to make radically clear for his own soul, and for ours, that God and God alone is the only treasure who lasts. When everything in life is stripped away except God, and we trust him more because of it, this is gain, and he is glorified.
-John Piper

Saturday, June 19, 2010


(Two different posts Brian wrote before we went to Zambia, combined and adapted somewhat to now. I think it is still relevant because it talks about how we live. Hopefully it makes sense, I combined them the best I could. I have been searching through some of the many posts never posted. Some just can’t be posted at this time, some probably never will; but some decent ones in the mix anyway to post.)

These two words I have confused for a long time. And I am still trying to figure out in certain situations which is which. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having wants and desires. The problem is when we confuse what is a desire/want and a necessity. Believe me I can justify anything with the best of them. The red flag is when you say “I have to have it”. Do you really? I’ll make it personal. We are a family of 9; do we need a bigger house? No, we don’t. Would it be nice? Maybe. A bigger house means more to take care of, more expense. In Zambia we actually had about the same size house that we (had) now, about 1,700 sq ft. Not super big but not all that small either. The house we live in now is over 4000 square feet-nice, roomy, fun—but truthfully, lots more work! “But you have 9 people.” Yes we do- it’s easier to keep track of everyone in a smaller house though and keep it clean! How soon we forget that most of us grew up in a house that was smaller than 2000 sq.ft. And no, the kids do NOT need their own room. They need to learn to share and how to respect others.
Some say the kids ‘need’ to be in this activity or/and that activity. No, they don’t. I probably sound like an old curmudgeon. I really question how beneficial it is to be running around multiple nights a week. I don’t think it does the family structure any good. When we were raising support we made multiple calls on any given night. There was hardly anyone home. Eating around a table in a restaurant is not the same as sitting around the kitchen table at home.
I find it interesting to keep in touch with and read about other missionaries’ experiences in the field, the not having the simple “pleasures” of life. Not having a washing machine to do clothes but doing it by hand, not having a personal vehicle and using public transportation, having a hole in the floor for a toilet, cooking differently and eating different foods (often healthier then here)...
Many people had trouble understanding how we were going to be able to live in Africa. The thing is they were looking at what their life is like here and thinking it is very different than what it was like where we are in Zambia, and they just could not see being able to adjust. What people do not realize is that our life here is not like most other peoples. How? For one we are home most, if not every night of the week. We eat just about every meal together at home as a family. We are not running around to all these different kids’ activities. Some might say we are depriving our children, I don’t think so. Personally I don’t think all this running around is beneficial to the family structure, to building relationships. Another area is TV. Our TV is not connected to a dish, or cable, or even UHF. We cut the cable about 4 yrs. ago. Honestly it is one of the best things we ever did! Personally it has been a huge benefit to me in the area of mental and spiritual purity. Our kids will occasionally watch a video as a treat. (We do now have UHF. Oops!) School: we home school now, so really no difference there. Cooking: we used charcoal, propane-not too different there either.
I guess we looked at it this way- it was going to be different and yes at first that would mean harder until we got used to doing things differently. Are you going to look at things in a positive light or negative? It is your/our choice.
It comes down to the fact that we as a people have confused our wants and desires as necessities and needs. We need a big or bigger house- no, you don’t. You need a roof over your head, God doesn’t promise to provide you a 3000 sq. ft house. We say we need a new or newer vehicle- no, you don’t. You may need transportation nothing more. We say we need a boat, a snowmobile, a 4-wheeler, another car, bigger house, a plasma TV, the i-phone, etc…..you fill in the blank. Is it wrong to have these things? NO! But realize that these are NOT needs, they are wants. Maybe you should consider them gifts from God, and be thanking HIM for them and asking HIM how HE would have you use them for HIS glory.
Our lifestyle is probably a lot different than most. We really did enjoy the way of life in Zambia. We can look back and see how the Lord had been preparing us for our time in Zambia for a very long time, and that is very cool to think about.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just thinking through a lot of things lately... some direction? some more questions? Since I've read through the blog, I thought I would also read through all the mail we got in relation to our call in the last few years.

We have some really special people in our lives, and that includes many people who were praying for us whom we didn't even know...just many faithful friends.
S.E. thanks for the packages with kid snacks
A & S thanks for all the cards and notes keeping us involved in your lives
A. J. thanks for all the emails just telling us what is going on in your own life and around Willmar
E. F. WBS thanks for the special cards before we left and the gifts before and after we got back
A & H thanks for the faithful prayers and continued friendship
B.P. thanks for all the cards and prayers
The summer teams that brought us treats and encouraged us while you were there

There are so many more...

THANK YOU TO ALL who financially supported us and prayed for us and loved on us.

A current HUGE THANK YOU to D & L for letting us living in your house.

May you all be blessed as richly as you blessed us.
I read something the other day from a missionary. I immediately recognized the tactic he was using; but it still irritated me to no end. You have seen them. It’s like they are over-spiritualizing everything they do or encounter to make you feel guilty because you have more ($) or better living conditions than the people they work with or around them or maybe even themselves. They tell a story about some difficulty they went through, and then they tell you of a national who they think has it way worse than they do. They should no longer feel bad about what they went through, but are guilty because they still don’t have it as bad as the other guy…and you should also feel bad (and that should cause you to give to their ministry). Don’t get me wrong; I understand that to raise money you often have to pull at the heart strings. And to do that, people will most often try to compare you (or them) to the nationals.
But this note started off as a personal note to tell us how they were doing, themselves, personally. Why not just be truthful and say, “I had to tell God-this sucks right now. I am leaning into you, ‘cuz I just really don’t like this. This is HARD. I really DON’T LIKE IT.” And then tell me, “You know, God is teaching and trying me. And you know what else-it is TOUGH. It is HARD, it even HURTS. BUT-GOD IS GOD and HE has a plan and purpose for me. Keep praying!”
Should you use your trial to benefit your funding? There is a song playing on Christian radio a lot lately- “Better than a Hallelujah”. I don’t know if that is what it is called, but it basically tells you it is okay to pour out your frustrations, angers, fears, hurts to the Lord. God loves them too! They are honest-they are better than a hallelujah sometimes! Tell us something is difficult, that you are trusting God more, but really, it’s HARD. And leave it at that. We will believe you, we will pray for you, and we will appreciate you for being HONEST.
Now, it is true that according to our Western standards, in most third world countries, the nationals have a hard life. That is what WE would say; in fact, we tell them so. Most of these nationals were content with the conditions they live in (it is their normal), until we tell them that what they know is not good enough and they should have this or that. I am not saying it isn’t hard-most of us couldn’t imagine it. But it is what they know. I have met people in the poorest slums of Lusaka that were the most joyous, most trusting-in-God-to-provide people I have ever or will ever meet. Why do people feel the need to bring all other countries in the world up to the standard we is the West have? And why do they think they will “solve” all their problems by just giving it to them? Not by letting the nationals earn it through hard work? By letting their culture advance in an appropriate and responsible way? They have no idea the problems they create. Better yet, why don’t WE learn to live simpler, trust God more, and just enjoy what we have? When people think that way, their lives are changed-they are transformed.
Really, I get that we are to help the widows and the orphans. The Bible says that, and we should do that. It is just having been there and lived there, some of the tactics we as Westerners use are just insulting. It just shows that they have a complete lack of understanding of the culture and/or they do it to get you to write a check. For me it has such a used car salesman feel to it or a televangelist. And then there are others who really DO get the culture and you listen to them, and it just feels right. They get it, they aren’t forcing it, you don’t feel guilty, you want to be involved because it is just exciting.
We need to be very careful about who and what we give our money to. It is NOT criticizing to ask questions. It’s being good stewards of the resources God has given us; and really, of what God wants for those receiving our funds too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I think that for the most part, for right now, I am doing okay with the way things turned out/happened in Zambia. God had His purpose for our time there and He did, still is, and will continue to work out HIS purpose for us in that whole situation. Do I agree with how it happened? Nope, not really, don’t much like it at all. But, GOD IS GOD, and not me-AMEN! So while I don’t like the way God did it, or through whom, I am mostly okay with it (for now).
What is so frustrating to us is what we view as continued misinformation/misguiding and half truths (I am not talking about us here). Maybe that too is a cultural thing? Different regions of the country think putting out the same information in different ways is okay; that’s culture, I can get that. Maybe it is the culture of the non-profit/fundraising world that we had/have trouble with. Where all you are suppose to talk about is the good, where you talk like something IS one way when it is still years away from happening, where you do things in a backward way because it is easier to raise money that way (despite the extra costs involved in doing it that way), where you accentuate the suffering (of your cause) in order to make others feel guilty for what they have so you can raise more money.
It’s kind of like sunshine being blown into a certain place. Sure, it feels real good for a couple days, a couple weeks even. Everyone can handle a little bit for a short period of time. But at the couple month point it starts to get a little irritating, starts to burn, get itchy. Continue on in that sun and you start to see it for what it really is.
When you rely on others for the funding of your project, there is this sense that you can’t be real, you can’t let people know what is going on; you have to make THEM feel good or you are afraid they won’t send their support. In a way, there is a small part of me that gets it, because in general, we in the United States just don’t understand the way most of the rest of the world is. We think everything runs the way we say it should, and if it doesn’t, we need to “fix” it so it does. We saw that first hand some. And no matter how many times you would try to explain it, most people from the West just can’t picture it, so they think it just can’t be true. Plenty of people say they want to know the truth, but then when presented with it, they just can’t believe it and they don’t take the time to really examine the evidence.
Yes, I still frustrate myself rehashing and preaching to the choir about certain things. But I am still relived to know that my faith in GOD is still alive, beating, surviving, lifting my head.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1. A person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual.

1. Somebody who believes that human actions are insincere and motivated by self-interest

On a blog I was reading, the gal was asking herself if she was a skeptic or a cynic. Her definition of cynic was a little longer, but the same jest. Actually, the thesaurus lists skeptic as a synonym for cynic. HMM.
I guarantee I am a skeptic. Too many people talk about things in future terms. “There is a…” No, right now there isn’t-but one day there will be. Please don’t feed me half truths or your expectations. Tell me what it is RIGHT NOW. Because I guarantee when I see what you are toting, I will be asking myself lots of questions about it. Better you tell me then I have to look and come up with my own conclusions. In no way do I view being a skeptic as negative-it is often that skepticism that has fueled the questions that need to be answered to make something work in a better way.
I’ve called myself cynical as well, but now I am not sure that I had the right definition. Well yes, I am cynical about certain people, based on their past actions. Overall, I guess I am not cynical about people in general. For most people I don’t think it is their own self interest-they want to help, want to serve, etc. We have just seen a side of what it looks like when it is uninformed, misguided, or misdirected (often in the cultural realm). Meaning? Meaning offering a “help” that ends up potentially harming rather than helping, because you do not understanding the culture of the part of the world where you are going to. A simple example-when the daily wage is $2-3 and you give someone $50, you think you are feeding them for a few weeks. But to someone who has never had that much money and doesn’t understand saving for a “rainy day”, they will often go out and waste the money on whatever (alcohol? new furniture?) just because they now can. Better to give $5 to 10 people. But most people wouldn’t think that way, because they often don’t know that kind of information about the culture they are going to.
Maybe that just sounds horrible. We just think there has to be a balance of helping-without hindering or causing a sense of entitlement to people around the world who now expect the West to help them with everything. Instead we provide for them-and in the process we rob others of the joy of doing what they are suppose to be doing. Which then fuels our (in the West) cynicism towards other people groups and countries. They are just trying to survive, and they’ve found the easy way-let someone else do it for them.
Anyway, I know I will continue to be skeptical. But for the most part, I am not cynical. I know people’s hearts are more often than not in the right place.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If we were truthful, many of us at some point have said to ourselves we wouldn’t actually mind having some “big” thing happen to us- something not too major, but still a big deal-so our faith would be strengthened. It is silly we know, and dangerous I am learning! Honestly, I have had these types of thoughts. If I (or a kid) had this sickness, I would draw so close to God, I would… If God took this away from us, I would…
It feels like I am getting my wish sometimes. And if I wanted some “big” thing to happen in life, and it now has, why aren’t I doing what I thought I would? (or am I?) What aren’t I in a sense “happy” about it? You got what you asked for, why should anybody feel anything for you?

Monday, June 14, 2010

THE NOTICER by ANDY ANDREWS--“Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.”

This is another quick little read. I saw it at the store when looking for something to read in Mexico. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was but it looked interesting.
It is kind-of one of those books where you are just told what you already know, but just need to be reminded of. It goes through various situations of life and tries to look at them from a new perspective. For example, there is the married couple that speaks different love languages and has a sit down with “The Noticer” and sees it in a way they never had before.
So anyway, a quick little engrossing read.

One chapter that stood out to me dealt with worry-because I am a worrier! “The Noticer” explains that:

  • 40% of what we worry about will never occur anyway
  • 30% are things that have already happened
  • 12% is needless imaginations with our health “My leg hurts-I must have cancer.”
  • 10% is petty little nothing worries about what people think-which we can do nothing about
  • 8%- legitimate concerns
He says, “Worry-fear-just misuse of creative imagination that has been placed in us because we are smart and creative. We imagine all that things that could happen, that might happen, that will happen if this and that happen.” (p.52)
“Dumb people, on the other hand, don’t worry about anything! They aren’t afraid of anything! You’ve seen the TV shows. The only thing crazier than the guy that says, ‘Watch this!’ is the guy that says, ‘Heck, I can do that!’” (p.53)
So now, when I get bogged down in a bunch of worrying, I at least try to categorize what it is and figure out if it is worth my time worrying about. I’ve been spending way too much time in all the non-legitimate concern categories.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


“You mean that in the midst of a hundred voices making a thousand claims, the simple people of God have no assurance of who is truly anointed to bear God’s authority and who it not?”
“They can never be certain.”

“Who, then, can know?”
“God always knows-but he does not tell.” (p.85)

A friend, who was a missionary in El Salvador for 10 years, recommended this book to me. On the back cover it asks,
What do you do when someone throws a spear at you?”
To the many Christians who have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers, this compelling tale based on the biblical figures of David, Saul, and Absalom offers comfort, healing, and hope.

What it doesn’t do, of course is give direct answers! It is great in that way-it makes you think, evaluate your own heart and your own hurts. Each chapter is only 1-3 pages long and is like its own little-hard-hitting-make-you-think punch.
Are you a King Saul? Or are you a David? Are you an Absalom? Will you become one or the other? Do you know FOR SURE who someone else is? Who YOU are?

(Sorry for so many quotes, but I want you to get a little feel for the questions and points he is making.)

The first half focuses on King Saul and David--David’s response to Saul’s spear throwing, chasing him, saying nasty things about him. David did not respond in kind. Basically, he did nothing. David was anointed to be the next king, and Saul knew it. Would David take it by foul play? That is what drove Saul mad.

God did not have-but wanted very much to have-men and women who would live in pain. God wanted a broken vessel. (p.12)

In God’s sacred school of submission and brokenness, why are there so few students? Because all students in this school must suffer much pain. And as you might guess, it is often the unbroken ruler (whom God sovereignly picks) who metes out the pain. David was once a student in this school, and Saul was God’s chose way to crush David. (p.15)

Was King Saul sent to kill the “King Saul” that was lurking in David’s heart?
BOTH WERE ANNOINTED BY GOD. Saul was anointed by Samuel to be the first king, and Saul accomplished a lot as king-what no one else had done at the time. He created an army out of thin air, established a kingdom, and won battle after battle. Then Saul sinned gravely and Samuel anointed David as the next king. David had no idea when that would be. And he endured much at Saul’s hands while he was waiting. He had an anointing-but it sure didn’t make David’s life very easy. Saul tried to kill him right in the palace numerous times (while David was ministering to him!); yet David stayed.

How do you know when it is finally time to leave the Lord’s anointed? David never made the decision. The Lord’s anointed made it for him. The king’s own decree settled the matter!
“Hunt him down; kill him like a dog.”
Only then did David leave. … He left alone.
ALONE. All Alone. (p.27)

And David hid, and ran, and was broken. And he could have killed Saul twice-TWICE and he didn’t do it. His band of mighty men just couldn’t get why.
“Better he kill me than I learn his ways. Better he kill me than I become as he is. I shall not practice the ways that cause kings to go mad. I will not throw spears, nor will I allow hatred to grow in my heart. I will not avenge. I will not destroy the Lord’s anointed. Not now. Not ever!” (p.36)

“No”, he {one of David’s mighty men} said, now in a voice with a touch of eloquence, “authority from God is not afraid of challengers, makes no defense, and cares not one whit if it must be dethroned.
“That was the greatness of the great…of the true king.” (p.48)

The second half is right before Absalom goes to Hebron and declares himself king. Absalom seemed like the young King David-handsome, discerning, wise…
What does David do? How does he treat Absalom? I am sure he could see it coming (and the book suggests it as well). Does he turn into a King Saul? Does he stop this rebellious young kid? Does he know if God is done with him and Absalom is to reign? No, he doesn’t. He figures GOD does, and since it is GOD’s kingdom and GOD’S throne, GOD will take care of it.

“Any young rebel who raises his hand against a Saul, or any old king who raises his hand against an Absalom, may-in truth-be raising his hand against the will of God.” (p.75)

So the point of the whole book seems to be: we DO NOT KNOW who the Lord has anointed in our lives to do what the Lord has called them to do (in our lives). What are we suppose to do then? NOTHING. What? What do you mean nothing? I don’t know, I just know it is nothing.
Many, many months ago now Brian felt God really telling him not to defend himself. I think it goes a step further in that we shouldn’t even be trying to justify ourselves. Was this whole situation an opportunity for God to make us into the broken vessel He wants us to be for…who knows what?
Just having read the first half, it solidify for me that we were not to put on the blog the majority of the things that led to our leaving. As I wrote in a response comment to another commenter, I can only figure it was GOD that was holding us back. Because really, there is a Saul/Absalom spirit that wants to justify, avenge, destroy, rebel. And no, we admittingly have not always taken the King David route. We’ve slipped things in here and there and then felt “ok” because we didn’t come right out and say it. And we must balance that with the accountability we have to anyone who supported our time there. That is why we will personally talk to anyone with questions and answer them. Is it the correct balance? We don’t know, but that is how we are being led right now.
Again, one of those God-ordained timings as we just had some things come up where King Saul could have come raging through. You can continue to pray for us as we try to live out a King David life.

Friday, June 11, 2010


1. Help somebody
2. Do religious minister’s work
3. Give something-administer something such as aid, medicine, or a sacrament
Synonyms- attend, look after, care for, tend, nurse, wait on, comfort

1. Somebody doing church work abroad-somebody sent to another country by a church to spread its faith or to do social and medical work
Synonyms-disciple, follower, messenger

Brian will often lump everything we did and all that happened in Africa into this big “ministry” category and thus all “ministry” is iffy right now. That just doesn’t sit quite right with me; truthfully it just bothers me whenever he says he doesn’t ever want to do anything related to ministry again. It’s pretty serious and a little scary I guess. But the truth of the matter is, we didn’t have a “ministry” problem in Africa. We had problems with our agency and leadership. We were having difficulty believing in them (and the project) any longer, and we couldn’t stay positive enough about it, so we had to go.
But those weren’t ministry problems-those were just workplace issues. We talked with one of the pastors that came over last summer about this exact type of thing. He used the term “Christian contractor”. What we were doing for our agency was the work they asked, really in a sub-contractor type of role. That was the business, the work. The MINISTRY we actually did didn’t come from their directives, because the lists we got didn’t include any of those types of things, they were just things that needed to be done from the administration standpoint. Some of our ministry happened through the work assigned, but most of it didn’t. Gifts to families with new babies, transportation, picking up supplies and meal, sharing our testimony (both here and there), friendships, hosting teachers and teams, preaching in churches, speaking at the national women’s convention, caring for our workers’ families, singing and worshipping together—those are the types of “ministry” we did. And we enjoyed it, and we were able to minister to the nationals in our area and serve visiting teams. Were we “missionaries”? Yes, we were. Our church leadership took the time (and money) to train, prepare and equip us to minister to those in our area; THEY commissioned us, THEY sent us out. Due to their personalized care and concern for our family, we definitely had a stronger attachment and sense of accountability to them. And they thought we were doing exactly what they sent us to do. I can’t remember the exact words one of our mission guys used, but basically he said they knew all along that this was risky-definitely not a guaranteed success. If there was anyone who could do it, he thought it was us, and he knew we were called to do it. And when it became time to come back-they saw and knew it before we did (or at least admitted it to ourselves). And they welcomed us back and supported us through our transition (an oddity in the mission/church world connection we learned at our debriefing at MTI).
So, I guess where I am going (and Brian and I have spent time talking about this) is that it honestly isn’t ministry that Brian is leery of. He is leery of getting into another work situation like the one we were in. How do you really know what you are getting into and if you can really work with someone? What type of a worker do they really want? Will the boss be the same person once the job is started? These are the same types of issues most people have whenever you apply for a job.
Then we have to reconcile how it was we could have the faith and trust to just keep going, one step in front of the other, when we had these questions, but yet were being CLEARLY LED by GOD? So, so many times along the way (yes, before we even got to Africa) we asked ourselves if we could really do this (work with this agency). But every time we did, God sent confirmations that yes, this is where HE wanted us. Reading through the blog again it was so clear, again, that HE put us on this journey and it was HIM who kept us going. HE blinded us to certain things up front so HE could get us there to do what HE wanted us to do, not what WE wanted for ourselves. So we could have the first hand experiences that we have had. And then HE called us out in the way HE needed to.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

learning about one's self

That seems to be what I am doing a lot of lately. Most of the time we/I rarely ever do that but as of late I have. A lot of it is that Kelly and I have been talking about what she has been reading and processing through. I am learning more about who I am and who other people are. I still try and figure out where I went wrong (maybe wrong is the not the right term) and try and compare it to where I was before and where I am now. Before: a dairy farmer who owned and operated my own business and also had a part time caretaker job on the side. I have often wondered where that would have gone; I was buying and selling a lot of cattle when I decided to sell out. I enjoyed it; yeah it was a gamble every time. Maybe that is what I enjoyed, the gamble. I think more what I enjoyed it taking sub-par herds and turning them around into something people wanted, it was a challenge. I like to be challenged, and I like to be my own boss. But the herds I would buy, I would pray about before I would buy them. Well, not every herd-there was one I didn’t and that was the one herd that I broke even on (it was also the herd that almost crippled me). Even the guy that I was working with that would find the herds commented once “I think the good Lord must be looking over you because I have never known anyone to be able to do these kind of deals.” He may have used a few 4 letter adjectives in that comment when he said it but that didn’t/doesn’t bother me. We had some great spiritual conversations driving around buying these herds he would find. Years ago I worked construction (shortly before Kel and I got married) and the one thing I learned there is I do NOT like working with certain people. I would get so frustrated working with some people because common sense was not something they had been taught or at least learned; and there were others who were in authority and liked to abuse it. Now, I am sort of my own boss (again). I have clients that I need to satisfy. I am a caretaker for lack of any better term. I take care of several private residents and also the common areas on a private development. I mow their yards and I take care of literally 1000’s of perennial flowers. I do landscaping and irrigation or whatever they want. I guess what I like is they value my input to what should be done or what would look good in an area. They trust me to do whatever needs to be done and to do it well. They do not tell what to do and how to do it. They just say “I would like this done “and I do it or I just look around and see what needs to be done, set the priorities and then do it. One of my main clients received a complement the other day. She was hosting a group of women and when they drove up they told her that “they thought they took the wrong turn and wound up at the arboretum”. I don’t care if this group of women ever knows that it is me that takes care of this property, I was just happy to see that my client greatly appreciated the compliment. What I am trying to say is they do NOT micro-manage me and I do my best work when I am not micro-managed. That is one type of environment that I have learned that I cannot function in. To micro-manage someone means you do not trust them (at least that is how I see it). Or you have an obsessive compulsive disorder which does not allow you to give control to anyone else; which if that is the case, then there is probably a whole host of other issues for that person to deal with and they should probably not be in an authority position of any kind. I am learning that there is more than just one environment that I can thrive in and that there is at least one environment that I know that I don’t. And that is good. I’m learning and that’s good. The tough part is the lessons can be pretty hard.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I was chatting with Judi the other day on Facebook. She was asking how we were doing and all that. Some days are really good, some days are just normal life, and some days are tougher than others. You might not think it is possible, but often I am just BORED. Bored you ask? With seven kids, a house to take care of, home schooling…life. How can you be bored?!
Well, sure there are plenty of things that I COULD be doing and do do. But it is this mental boredness I guess. Before we even thought about mission work, we just had life. It was what we knew, what we were, it was what it was. Then we started the adoption process back in 2004. And that consumed a lot of thought processes and working through things, and just wondering how and what the new life was going to be like. And then J came and that took up a lot of time, figuring out a new type of normal.
Then in 2007 we began looking into missions and went full steam ahead. We trained, raised support, and had this BIG THING out there that we were working towards. Then we of course got there and were figuring out how to live this next big thing called life in another country.
And now, now we are here. Just here. We keep going with school and now Brian is doing work and we are getting back into a groove. But it’s still just DIFFERENT. It doesn’t feel like there is anything to look forward to, to be working towards. Truthfully, it still feels so unsettled, and I don’t know when or if it will every change. It’s like we aren’t totally content just being “here”. Like there is a part that just doesn’t believe that this here is where “here” is going to be from now on.
For the past how many years now, our minds have always been on the same track, the next “big thing”. But now there is no “big thing” that we can see. So what do you do with your mind in the down time of life when nothing is pressing? Unfortunately, it seems we think about things we can’t do anything about anyway. We think about things we would have done differently, we think about conversations that should have been had (or not had), we think about current things and ask questions as to their usefulness or validity or if they will do any good or do what someone thinks they will, we think about what other people are thinking about, we just…think. And some of it is good, some of it is needed processing. And much of it is really not good, attacks from the enemy who wants to keep us right where we are. There is a feeling of just being p.o. at God, but then HE is continually providing for us and taking care of us, so how can you really be mad at him??
Anyway, I didn’t explain that much to Judi in the chat, but she just said, “Yes I understand. It's almost like a winter of the soul. I think once you've stepped out in faith and done bigger things than the normal person it's difficult to settle for less. This is some sort of time of testing and transformation for you all. Keep your eyes on Jesus.”
So we keep trying to keep both eyes on Jesus. Just wish there was some magic formula to do it. It’s easy to say why don’t you just read your bible? Or pray, or sing, or… But there isn’t a switch for your mind that you can just shut off. Man, I wish there was.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

As Kelly has been rereading our journal, I have not. I have been avoiding it. Why? Because I have been questioning myself.
Maybe I was/am not cut out to be a "missionary" or to be in "ministry." I didn't make it in Zambia. I ask myself why?
The main reason is that I cared too much. How is that possible? I cared about every aspect of the project. Mainly because I was asked (by various people at various times) to be involved in every aspect of the project (banking, student selection, national pastor issues, agriculture, construction, hosting teams...). My personality is such that when I invest myself in something it is because I care about it, and I feel I am putting my name with/on it (that I am proud to be involved and approve all aspects of it). It comes from my background, being my own boss. In many areas that is seen as an asset but with this project it was not.
I am convinced that we would still be there if I (we) would have sat back and said, "Not my business" or "not my problem/project." If I could have just let things go even though I knew it was wrong, unethical, culturally irresponsible, wasteful (of others' money), or just illogical (Kel won't let me put the word I want in there, but it starts with stu-), we'd still be there.
Problem is, that's not me. I won't compromise my integrity or testimony for someone else. Now due to my experience with our former agency I really wonder whether I will ever want to be involved in any type of "ministry" ever again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saw an old friend today. He and his wife were major supporters of ours. They were actually the first people to support us, that was even before we knew them. They have been such an encouragement in our lives. They have such a heart for the Lord and following Him, wherever that may lead. It was the first time I had seen him since we have been back. He told me he and his family was heading to Denver, Colorado so he can head to seminary. I was glad and happy for him and at the same time very sad and nervous for him. As far as I am concerned I think he is walking into the shadow of the valley of death. How can I say that? Because I have been there. And I know many others who have as well. The Spiritual warfare that takes place when you step out like this is so intense that it is hard to fathom even if you have been there. I know someone right now that is at seminary whose marriage is in trouble. There are more missionaries then I care to count that have come back off the field that are so beat up, bruised and battered that they want nothing to do with missions, the church or even with God. I am sure there are some that find that hard to believe. But have you taken the time to talk to them or do you avoid the ones that have had a bad experience because you don’t know what to say or just don’t want to know what really happened. People want to think that if you follow God and do what HE wants it will just work out. Problem is…the truth is, it does not always and that can be very hard for many to except. And what can be even harder to except is that God would allow these hard/bad things to happen for HIS purposes. That does not sound like a loving God … or does it?
I think about this guy and his family and something inside aches for them, is scared for them. And what can I do for them? PRAY and PRAY and PRAY some more and be a listening ear for him when “stuff” hits the fan because it will. I will guarantee it. My problem is I have not felt like praying for some time, maybe this is what I need to help push me in right direction.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

THE WILL OF GOD (unknown)

“The will of God will never take you, where the grace of God cannot keep you, where the arms of God cannot support you, where the riches of God cannot supply your needs, where the power of God cannot endow you.
The will of God will never take you, where the Spirit of God cannot work through you, where the wisdom of God cannot teach you, where the army of God cannot protect you, where the hands of God cannot mold you.
The will of God will never take you, where the love of God cannot enfold you, where the mercies of God cannot sustain you, where the peace of God cannot calm your fears, where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you, where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears, where the Word of God cannot feed you, where the miracles of God cannot be done for you, where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.”

-Clinging to these truths, knowing that sometimes His will for us is some (temporarily) hard life lessons.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I have finished reading through the whole blog now. It was a good jaunt through memory lane and good to look back on our time there. I probably should have stayed and dwelt on some of the goods, but I got engrossed in it and just keep moving through. There were lessons I was suppose to see in it, most I have written about now, but there will be some things here and there I will continue to write about. Someday I do hope to go back and read it again and be able to think back on our time with (more) happy thoughts. I don’t want to say “with joy”, because I did read it with joy-the joy of knowing we did what Jesus asked us to do.

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted to us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Thursday, June 3, 2010


This is the website, Help4Hope, of the couple who bought our vehicle and container in Zambia.

Jack and Judi were with the International Mission Board from 2002-2008. They served in Kenya first, then they were in Zambia. They began the 40/40 training that our friends, the Rodgers do now, and also serving in what is known as the Farmer's Block in the Mukushi area, north of Lusaka a ways.

It's a YEAH! day for them because they just got their NGO status in Zambia. They have come back on their own, but will again be working in the Mukushi area. They have been there for just a few short months now. With the NGO status, they can now get their work permits, they are tax exempt and all that goes with being a non-government organization.

I have really appreciated Judi every since we "met" them. We obviously wouldn't have met if we weren't leaving and them coming and thus needing to buy supplies, vehicle and all that. She has just been so encouraging to us! A listening ear, a word of support-we've both agreed we would have gotten along so well!

We've talked about community before on our blog, how much we miss it, deep down we all desire it. I tell you-that is something I just love about the missionary community. I don't know-our experiences have just been so..."community-ish". There is just something about talking to someone who understands, sometimes even just a little bit more than anyone else. The bond is just there-sometimes, no words are needed. While we prepared to leave for Zambia, we had many helpful email conversations with missionaries who encouraged us before we even got there, helped prepare us for what was ahead. And then, while preparing to leave Zambia, so many stepped up to be helpful, to be a listening ear, to understand, to encourage, to exhort...to be family for us. Some of them we knew only for a few days, some through only a few visits over the year we were there, but it didn't matter-they felt like family.

So YEAH! Jack & Judi-be sure to check out their website to see what they are up to.
While playing around with conversations in my head that will never happen, a thought struck me recently. I don’t know, maybe it is to comfort me, or to convict me? Maybe I just think too highly of myself.
As hard as it is for us to be here, can it be harder for those still there without us? Our leaving and the events before, during and after had some very hurtful ramifications on one of our friendships and we have not had communications with them since November. And we think of them often and lament what was and should have been. We don’t see or think of our nationals as much anymore, even when we look at our wall hangings, artwork, etc. But (some of them) see reminders of us way more than we do of them. The house, the dogs barking, the students, staff and villagers wearing clothes we brought, the soccer team wearing “Pirate Pride” tee shirts when the other team has the same colored jerseys, having to do things we were going to do/deal with things they weren't planning to/dealing with people... I am not trying to sound egotistical, but we did leave a (physical) mark there at the least. I doubt it is the “missing you” thing-it’s the annoyed that I have to do this instead of you or go through this instead of (or because of) you…
Anyway, life goes on, like we were never there, and no one misses or remembers we were there. We read and hear everything through a perspective that no one else can, with a few grains of salt, knowing what we know about how things work (and don’t work). Thankfully our friends are doing a lot better their first year than we ever did. Much of that is because of the perspective we had on the project and for ourselves there and the perspective they have for themselves. I also know that because of all we had to go through, they will never have to. Lessons learned by others so they are better equipped, definitely better supported than we ever were. And honestly, I am thankful that it was us instead of them.
Someday, I guess it would be nice to hear from someone (whom we can honestly believe), that our time made a difference to the project. I know it made a difference in some people’s lives, but it would be nice to know that all the “stuff” we went through led to some of the changes needed to make the project succeed long term and that the missionaries there will be appropriately and well cared for. But even so, I doubt it would satisfy.
Truthfully, we just haven’t prayed for them or the project for a long time. Haven’t felt lead to. Maybe this is a call to start praying for them again?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When we left Zambia we had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA just how tough this was going to be. We were over the initial shock and very busy and clinging to God and thought all was moving forward and getting better and…
Wow-what a wakeup call once we actually got here. Reading through our blog, we presented way more positive and accepting than what we were actually feeling. That first month back in the States, we were really just barely surviving.
We seemed to get over a hump at MTI in November, but then it started going downhill again around Christmas. I have to wonder, did our prayer support drop? I am sure it did. We were back, we looked like we were doing okay, we weren’t sending out prayer requests; did that make all the difference? Did we lose some of our undergirding and that is why we hit such lows? I don’t know; but in the past there were very clearly times when we felt your prayers…or not. When we were able to pray for ourselves…or not. (I am not trying to “get after” anyone here, just thinking aloud)

But I also look back and wonder now-was it as bad as I thought? Was it just the emotions bogging us down, the feelings, the body chemistry things? Because even during that time, we were still hearing from God when we could settle down and listen and were able to write some words for you, and for ourselves, and even minister to a few others who were hurting in their own ways.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

At the beginning of August (09) we had sent out a private email to some of our closest prayer people asking them to pray with us as we prayed about leaving the project and Zambia. One of the gals said something about how she felt led in prayer that it would be confirmed “out of the mouths of babes.” She didn’t know what it meant and neither did we. We never had a direct correlation at that time. Well, reading through our blog now-I do see it. In fact I used those exact words. I wrote in December (09) about our last day at the school and how as we were leaving Myron was singing “I will follow Jesus, I will follow Jesus, I will follow Jesus…” and my comment was “out of the mouths of babes!”

I (Brian) have shared this story several times and every time I cry. I can still see that day in my mind’s eye. It feels like it happened just this morning. I can see myself sitting behind the steering wheel of the red bus heading down the road (by ourselves) just the family. Kelly and I were crying and so were the Cybil, Mariah, Greta, and Hailey. Then out of nowhere Myron starts singing. He was an instrument of God that day without any doubt. How fitting it seemed with everything else that had happened. We got there on our own with very little to no help of the agency and we left without the help of anyone at the agency (here or there). The pain of that day is still very real. I try not to think back on that day, it is still painful. It still brings tears to my eyes.