Tuesday, October 25, 2016


“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Do you ever lose perspective?  I know at times I do.  Webster defines perspective as, “the ability to see things in their true relationships.”  An artist can create the illusion of perspective on a canvas by painting objects in their correct depth relationships.  Spiritually speaking, perspective comes when we seek to view events in our lives from God’s vantage point rather than our own.  Only He has perfect vision.  Yet down here on earth, our view is often clouded by the temporal.  We need the Spirit to blow the fog from our soul so the eyes of our heart can gaze upon the ruggedly beautiful mountains of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness.  Or, when the fog stubbornly refuses to clear, we must choose to see the mountains by faith.

God illuminated this truth to me in the midst of a family road trip.  Sometime after Hannah’s death, Dave and I thought it would be good for us to get away.  Some friends offered us their condo at Lake Tahoe for a week.  Since we would be heading north through the bowels of California, we decided to visit a few close friends along the way.

“Hey, what about visiting Hannah's doctor?” My husband queried.  While we were in San Diego, Hannah's doctor had been a youthful, cheerful man who brimmed with compassion for the children he treated.  Dave and I both agreed that he was one of the best doctors we could have asked for.  He would do anything to help if he felt that it was in the child’s best interest. 

Through different conversations we were aware that he was not a follower of Christ, although he was one of the nicest and most caring people you could ever meet.  “Wouldn’t he be an awesome Christian?!!” Dave and I would repeat to each other often, envisioning the effect his compassion would have on the world if it were fueled by the love of Christ.  We both remembered that Hannah's doctor had decided to leave his position in San Diego and opt for a quieter life in Central California.  He was tired of his young daughters thinking they had to be “Brittney Spears”, he had told us.

I love road trips, and it was fun to be together as a family.  I brought some games along to entertain C.J. in the car.  That evening we arrived in a small town outside of the bigger town where Hannah's doctor lived.  We searched through the small town streets until we found a Mexican restaurant that seemed popular with the locals, and decided to eat dinner there.  Since evening hadn’t yet wrapped the town in darkness, we strolled to the town square. Being from Southern California, where “downtown” means skycrapers rising toward the clouds and slow- flowing freeways bulging with cars, it seemed quaint to me to experience this “downtown”.  It had a certain nostalgic appeal.  “Is this what Mayberry was like?” I wondered with a chuckle. 

C.J. trotted around on the manicured lawn that sprawled in front of a large brick building.  My eyes were immediately drawn to a gigantic mural that decorated the entire side of the building.  As darkness finally pressed down upon the town, flood lights popped on, illuminating the scene of an orange grove. Workers dotted the panorama, strong arms outstretched in search of ripe citrus.  The colors were so vivid and the painting so vast that it captivated my imagination.

Since C.J. was occupied with skipping around on the grass, I decided to move closer and inspect the mural.  I climbed up onto a brick walkway that spanned the length of the building. Positioning myself next to a flood light, I gazed intently at the little section of painting illuminated by the glow.  To my surprise, the crisp colors I had enjoyed from farther off blurred in front of my eyes into a mass of dark green blobs.  It was actually ugly.  The little piece of the painting I was looking at made no sense.

At that moment, I felt God gently whisper to my heart.  He said, “Linda, right now your life feels a lot like those dark smears of paint.  The pain of Hannah’s death looms large and ugly before your eyes.  But when you step back and look at things from my perspective, I will make all things beautiful.”

Tears welled up in my eyes as I stretched out my hand to gently caress the wall.  I realized that God was calling me to trust Him with my pain, to believe that He really does know what He’s doing, and that He does have a plan to orchestrate the lives of all believers (even the ugly parts) into a glorious mural of praise to Him.  From our earthly perspective, it doesn’t make sense, but He can see the end from the beginning.

Sometimes He gives us a little glimpse into the grandness of his plan.  The next morning as we met Hannah's doctor for breakfast, can you guess where he took us to eat?  Yes, to a little café right next to the mural.  And as our conversation unfolded, we learned with great joy that he and his wife had recently come to know the Lord Jesus.  And, that they had also recently bought the brick building with the mural on it and planned to turn it into a clinic to help provide medical care for migrant farm workers.  Wow – our God truly is amazing.  He truly is the Master Artist.  Praise Him for his sovereignty, and for allowing us to see just a small glimpse of the view from his perspective!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enjoy the Ride

You can tell I've been busy when I don't post for six months! Oh, how the time goes by! It has been a crazy ride since we left Indonesia on June 2 and headed for the States. We spent the first month moving our of our house and preparing it to rent. Praise the Lord we have a great tenant in there right now. Then we spent time in San Diego visiting family and friends, churches and supporters. On the way back from San Diego, we road tripped through Arizona to see my grandma and other family members before coming back to Idaho and preparing to go to the Mid-West and Philadelphia to visit out there. I guess you can see why I haven't blogged, huh? Below is a picture of our family with my Grandma Evelyn. She finally got to meet Ryan!
We have immensely enjoyed our time of visiting with everyone! But, like the conscientious first-borns that we are, Dave and I found ourselves really tired as we were driving back again to California in late September. We had been working so hard trying to raise our support for MAF and not seeing a lot of results, and on the drive, Dave looked over at me and said, "You know, I think we just need to relax and enjoy the ride." A little taken back, I said, "what do you mean?" He continued, "We need to let God bring in our support. Let's not kill ourselves trying. We need to keep working at it, but I think we have to truly trust that God will do it, and I think He wants us to enjoy the ride." Wow. Profound words. I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking through my husband. We both needed to hear that at that point. And, not long after, we got a phone call in the car from a gentleman whom we had never met asking if we needed support for our ministry. Wow. What a confirmation!
Now, it hasn't been easy to stay in that "enjoy the ride" mentality. We both find ourselves teetering on the see-saw of "doing it myself" versus "trust God and enjoy the ride." But, when we hit hard on the "doing it myself" side, God gently directs us back to trust in Him. Can anyone relate?
We are currently in San Diego and will be heading back to Nampa on November 15. While there we will pack our crates and then depart for Papua on December 8. Please pray for us as we prepare to say our good-byes to our family and friends stateside. It will be hard to leave them. But we carry on knowing that God has called us to go, and that He is good, and that He has a plan.
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11
Below are some other photos from our furlough thus far! I thought you might enjoy them. So, for all us Ringenbergs, relax and enjoy the ride!
Here's the boys at Tombstone:
And at Allison Ranch, Idaho:
Here's Ryan on our Aunt's horse in Illinois:
And here is a Pennsylvania version of the Wal-Mart parking lot, Amish style!:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trusting God

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways, acknowledge him and he shall direct your path."

Proverbs 3:5-6

Hi there, everyone! With us making plans for moving to Papua at the end of this year, my heart has been pondering what it means to"trust" the Lord. It takes a lot of trust for us to move from the known to the unknown. As I was exercising and praying one morning, I was asking God "What does it feel like to trust you?" These days when I exercise, it's usually walking up and down our driveway, which has a hill, as many times as I can, while the boys are playing outside in our yard. After walking, I went up to C.J., who was climbing the old "beringin" tree (at least that's what it's called in Indonesian). I believe it is a type of banyan tree. The funny thing about this tree is that it has roots that grow out of the branches and down toward the ground! If the roots hit the ground, they will form into another branch. It's the weirdest thing!

Anyway, C.J. was climbing up a bamboo pole that he had leaned against the trunk. "Come on, Mom, watch how I get down!" he shouted out cheerfully. Once he reached the top of his pole, he perched himself in the branches. Then, quick as lighting, he grabbed onto some roots from the tree and swung out from the security of its branches, promptly giving me a heart attack, and then lowered himself onto the bamboo pole again and shimmied down to the ground.

Suddenly it dawned on me that that's what trust looks like! Launching ourselves out from the security of where we've been; suspended, with all our weight hanging onto the "roots" of God, his Word and his promises; even enjoying the ride, and then lowering ourselves to the place He wants us to be. The whole time God was whispering this to me, Britt Nicole's song "Walk on the Water" was buzzing in my ears from my ipod, which talks about having the faith to step out and walk on the water. It happens to be playing now in the background as I write this post. Isn't God cool?

It still gives me butterflies in my stomach when I picture C.J. launching out from the tree, and sometimes I get butterflies when I think about living in a place like Papua. I am learning that even though I feel the fear, I can still choose to believe God. How about you? What are you learning from God lately?

We are planning on leaving Tarakan on June 1, and coming home to Nampa before we begin our furlough travels. We hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Cloud

You know, I am reminded at how God used clouds in the Old Testament, particularly to lead the children of Israel through the wilderness. When the cloud picked up and went, they went. Well, we've had a similar experience with a cloud!
Almost two years ago when we really, diligently started praying about going back overseas, I was a bit nervous, shall we say! So I decided I needed to know for myself from God if He was wanting us to go. I began praying without telling Dave what I was praying, just so I would know in my own heart if God was saying "go". Maybe because it would take a lot of courage for me to say "yes". So, several days after I began to truly seek the Lord on this issue (even asking God to show us where He wanted us to go if that was the case), Dave came home from flying and said he'd seen something weird.

Of course my curiosity was picqued so I asked him what he'd seen. "A cloud," was all he said, "and it was so strange that I wasn't even going to tell you." Now he really had me going. "Well, what was so weird about it?" I queried. "It was in the exact shape of Papua, Indonesia." My mouth dropped open because I know my husband. He is so detailed that if he said it was in the exact shape of Papua, it undoubtedly was. "It was right there in front of me," he ended.

I went to bed shocked. I didn't tell Dave yet what I'd been praying, but instead asked a couple of my friends what they thought about it. "Well, I think that was God!" Both of them ended up saying. "Yeah," I had to muse. "I guess I do too!"

So, I told God "Yes," and then I told my husband. And then we waited to see what God would do next! He'd answered us SO obviously that we thought He'd just make it happen! But, nothing. Absolute silence. "Hmmm," we thought, "I guess God is saying to wait." So, we figured we'd better wait on God's timing, but both of us accepted that God had shown us He would send us to Papua, Indonesia.

Imagine our surprise when later that fall we got an invitation from our old friend David Holsten to come to Kalimantan, Indonesia, where we had served almost 10 years ago! My first thought was, "Kalimantan? We're not supposed to go to Kalimantan!" But then God gently whispered to my heart, "Linda, this is a step along the way." Then I got excited, and then I got sad because I realized God was taking us back to the place where we had left quite a few memories of our daughter Hannah, who had since passed away. Then God said, "I'm taking you full-circle." Woah.

Next morning at women's Bible Study, the Beth Moore video was all about coming "full-circle." I leaned over to my friend Amy and said, "I'm going to Indonesia!" And cried. Well, now that we've been here it has been SUCH a blessing! God truly is taking us full-circle in our healing with Hannah.

So....imagine our surprise when, while we are here in Kalimantan, God started opening the doors for us to go to - you guessed it - Papua! God truly works in mysterious ways, and I'm so glad He knows what He's doing! All that to say that as of last Wednesday we have officially accepted a new assignment with MAF to the island of Papua, Indonesia. We are excited and a bit nervous as it means going through all our things in America and truly saying good-bye to our life there. I know it won't be easy, but I can honestly say that I am thoroughly enjoying the excitement of living a life on the edge with God. There's never a dull moment! (Except today because Ryan was sick so it slows me down a bit...)It is not an easy life, but it is fulfilling.

I do miss you, my friends, and long for a time where we can sit down and share! We plan on coming home in early June and being ready to travel to Papua around the end of the year. I love you all, and hope you are all well! Linda.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Ride-Along

I have never in our history as an MAF couple gotten to go on a ridealong with my husband for a day of work (Mostly because we've always had young kids). This time when we came back to Tarakan, I told Dave that I wanted to go along with him sometime and get a first-hand glimpse of what he does every day. I've flown with him before when we've gone interior as a family. Our longest flight together was when we flew an MAF 206 all the way from East Kalimantan to West Kalimantan to have C.J. at a little mission hospital there. We actually crossed the equator on that one! Anyway, it has been totally crazy lately with Christmas activities, our school Christmas program, staff Christmas party, etc. So Dave said that it's only going to get busier for him when he starts training some people after the new year, so if I wanted to ridealong, we'd better do it! So, last Wednesday I had arranged a sitter for the boys, packed them a lunch, sent C.J. with a school check-list to complete, and dropped them off, then I took off to the MAF hangar.

Light drizzle rained down as I bounced down the muddy road to the hangar. After arriving, I had a little time because Dave was RTS'ing (Return to Service) the Caravan because it had been fixed the previous day for a minor problem. But, when he came back, the problem had not been fixed, so we had to wait while the mechanics made adjustments and then Dave would have to RTS it again. This is life in aviation - hurry up and wait! I was praying the problem would be fixed the second time or else that meant no flying that day because it would be too late. But praise the Lord, the problem was resolved and we could load up for the day. Better late than never!

It was fun to watch the passengers get loaded onto the airplane. We were taking them to a village called Long Ampung, which was an hour and twenty minute flight over the jungles of Borneo. I must admit, I do get a little freaked out when we first take off. I'm not fond of heights, and somehow the thought of how high we are above the water and the treetops can send me into a slight spurt of anxiety! But by the end of the day, it was normal because we had landed and taken off so many times! Dave introduced me to the passengers as the co-pilot, to which they all nodded approvingly. Yeah, right! Then he told them I was his wife, to which they laughed relievedly. He did this each time we got a new load of passengers. It was fun.

So, we flew through some clouds on the way to Long Ampung, to which one passenger responded by giving Dave dirty looks. Indonesians don't like flying and they get scared very easily, so flying through a bumpy cloud probably scared the tar out of her! This plane is equipped to be able to fly by instruments through the clouds. When we arrived in Long Ampung, we all deplaned and Dave took care of overseeing the unloading of the cargo and the reloading. I was approached by a young woman and man who were wearing headbands, and asked if I could take a letter for them back to tarakan. Then I learned that they were the sister and brother of a young man who had died recently. MAF flew this young man to Tarakan with a massive head injury from a motorcycle accident interior, and he had died in Tarakan. Then MAF had flown his body back to Long Ampung to be buried, and so we got to fly out his family and friends who had come home for the burial and funeral. Wow. That made it a bit more personal. We were assuming the headbands were a sign of mourning. When this young woman got out from the plane after we had flown her to Malinau, she broke down and hugged me and cried. It broke my heart, but yet by God's grace I was able to give her some comfort because of the comfort God had given us through Hannah's situation.

Next, from Malinau, we took a load of passengers (including a motorcycle) to Long Bawan, unloaded all that, turned around and flew a load back to Malinau, and were going to carry some empty fuel drums back to Tarakan to end our day when one of the men we had just flown seemed confused, and unsure of what he was going to do. Upon questioning him further, we found out he was the husband of a lady we'd heard about on the radio that morning who was pregnant and bleeding. She ended up taking a different airline to a place called Nunukan, so this man was trying to get to his wife in Nunukan. We found out she was eight months pregnant. So, after talking with Dave and our national workers in Malinau, the man decided to come along to Tarakan and try to get from there to Nunukan possibly the next morning. On the flight back home, Dave was talking on the radio to our base in Tarakan trying to see if we could get this guy a flight from Tarakan to Nunukan. Turns out everything was booked (MAF doesn't fly to Nunukan, so he was checking another airline), so he was going to see if he could possibly catch a boat instead the next day. Wow again. We were able to pray for him and his wife in our hearts on the way home and were glad to see when we arrived in Tarakan that he knew some of our national workers, and had family in Tarakan that could help him get to where he needed to go.

So, I got a little taste of a typical day for Dave. It's full of adventure, sometimes drama and sometimes trauma. But what a blessing to be used by God that day to give comfort and to help people get to where they need to be. Now I think he needs to come along on one of my work days! It's a different kind of adventure, as all you moms know! Love and miss you all! Linda (Sorry, I can't figure out how to delete the extra same picture, so here it is again!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

An Unexpected Passenger

The week before Hannah's birthday (October 27) Dave had an unexpected passenger. Just before preparing to take off in Long Bawan, a black and teal butterfly decided to meander into the cockpit. It perched next to the door, and Dave closed everything up for take-off. The butterfly calmly remained at its post for the hour flight from Long Bawan back to Tarakan, and as soon as Dave landed and opened the door again, the butterfly flew out, to the surprise of the MAF national workers in Tarakan. "Wah!" they cried, "ada penumpang!" (There's a passenger!) When Dave came home and told me the story, I teared up because it was so close to Hannah's birthday. How special of God to give Dave a special encounter with a butterfly.

The week before Hannah's birthday was really hard. I can never tell what kind of emotions I'm going to experience, but I felt that weight of grief on my heart. Perhaps because the last birthday she had on this earth was in Singapore, soon after we had evacuated Hannah from Tarakan for medical care. But the MAF team here is awesome. One friend gave me a note and a little tea set in memory of Hannah, another wrote me a card, and our long-time friends the Holstens gave us a plant in memory of Hannah. So all-in-all, we were well-loved, even though we're away from family right now. God is awesome to provide us with what we need, isn't He?

The day of Hannah's birthday, I decided to take off from school with the boys and go to the beach. My old friend Glady came too, along with two of her three children. I used to disciple Glady when we lived here years ago. She was one of my best friends. It has been fun to reunite with her, although we are both busy so we don't see each other as often as we'd like. So it was fun to reconnect and share Hannah's birthday together since she knew Hannah. The kids had a great time playing together and discovered some jellyfish that had washed up onto shore.
Homeschooling is going well, although I don't always feel like I know what I'm doing! But we have our good days and our bad days. It sure has been busy lately! You can pray for the whole team here as there is so much work to do and so much going on. Pray that we all can keep Jesus as our first love during the busyness, and seek to follow His plan each day. I love and miss you all! Linda

Monday, October 11, 2010

The One Day War

Hi there everyone! That's right, we had a one day war here on the tiny, jungly island of Tarakan. It's probably the first of it's kind that Tarakan has seen since World War II when the Japanese occuppied the island. Its scale was not nearly as large as that war, but it did succeed in pretty well shutting down the town for several days.

Two weeks ago we heard rumors that there were going to be riots in downtown Tarakan. Apparently a Tidung (pronounced tee-dung) man and his son were killed by a Bugis (boo-geese) man and the Tidung people were calling for an ethnic war against the Bugis people. Fighting of this kind that pits tribe against tribe can unfortunately be common here in Indonesia where there are many thousands of tribes that make up the people of this unique island-filled country. The Bugis people used to be sea-faring pirates many years ago, and actually, the word "boogie man" comes from this tough people group. Most all of the Tidung and Bugis people are Muslim.

Well, on Tuesday night the police gave everyone a 5:00 curfew, and that night Dave and I could hear the rioters from up here on the hill. We, nor any of the other MAF families, felt in danger because we live far enough away and are not targeted, but it was still eerie to hear the chants of the angry Tidung people yelling. Then we heard gunshots. This went on for a while, the chanting, then gun shots from the police to try and break up the crowd. Then we could see an orange glow where the crowd had lit a building on fire! Although we didn't feel in danger, that was one night we were glad to be home. The boys slept through it all.
So the town was shut down for several days with many people leaving the island or fleeing from their homes. I had to borrow diapers and bread from a friend! But other than that we had plenty of food to get by. The worst part about it for me was being stuck at home! I like to get out at least once a day. But thankfully that didn't last too long. It was weird, though, driving around and seeing the soldiers that the government sent it, with their automatic weapons, around town. My friend Rebecca Hopkins took the picture in the beginning of the blog of some soldiers in front of our one fast food restaurant in town, KFC! (Indonesians LOVE fried chicken!) Ryan likes to look at the soldiers whenever we drive by them.
And, funny enough, it was Ryan who noticed the bullet holes in the second level of the mall. There are 13 (the boys and I counted) bullet holes in the glass. I never would have noticed them if not for my observant son.
All that to say that we could use your prayers here in Tarakan because there are rumors that after the soldiers pull out of town on Thursday, October 14, that the fighting may start again. Please pray for the peace of Tarakan. And for the salvation of the Tidung and Bugis people.
Love and miss you all! Linda