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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Wow, time does fly! I apologize for not writing sooner. I must admit, when things get busy, the computer is the first thing to go! (Those of you who know me well know this...) But I will try to post updates every two weeks or so. With homeschooling going on, there's just a lot to think about. It's been going okay - we definitely have our good days and hard days and trying to balance keeping Ryan occuppied at the same time is challenging. That kid would tear the whole school apart if he could!
Speaking of Ryan, tomorrow is his birthday! He will be 4 years old. It seems like he's been around a lot longer than that. But I can't even remember our life without him. Sometimes C.J. wishes to be without him! Ryan can be a little rough at times, so we have to work through C.J.'s hurt feelings a lot. Those are our struggles.
Well, things are just plain busy around here lately! We have homeschooling four days a week and our co-op on Friday. I am teaching art for co-op, which has been really fun! I like it a lot. My friends are teaching P.E., Geography, Science, and Indonesian. So Friday's are a packed morning. Ryan gets to go to pre-school, too, which two other moms are teaching at one of their houses. It is fun to have something structured with the kids' friends as a part of their school experience here.
This past weekend was our first annual MAF ladies Retreat here in Tarakan. It was a one-night retreat at the local Swiss-Belhotel (which was really nice!). It was so nice to get together with all of the ladies here and have some fun, listen to Beth Moore teach on Loving Well, sing some songs and just relax. I am so privileged to be here to be a part of it.
We just welcomed a new couple to the program here, Chris and Sarah Desjardan (I can never remember how to spell their last name). They are in the process of getting settled into their new house, and then on Friday we will welcome another family coming back from furlough and moving to Tarakan. They were previously in Southern Kalimantan. So things will be busy with a welcome dinner for these two new families, plus Ryan's birthday party next Saturday.
Well, I sure miss you all of my friends! You can pray for me to be intentional about making time to spend with the Lord. I am feeling like I need to do this more, but it's just tough with everything that's going on! Let me know how you all are doing... Love ya, Linda

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lessons from a Turtle

The following is a story that happened to us a week ago with C.J.'s turtle "Tortilla" (Tor-til-a) (A combination of tortoise and tortilla!) Oh, and a big praise that our school books came in this week! Thanks for all who were praying for that!

The sermon really touched my heart that Sunday - what I could understand of it. The pastor talked pretty fast, and since it was in Indonesian, I could pick up about half of what he said. But one thing I got as he read the parables of Jesus from Luke 15: God's heart is broken over sin and for the lost. He longs for them to repent and return to Him, like the Prodigal son.

It was such a good reminder. You would think that serving overseas like we do, the lost would always be our chief concern, but having children, being involved in a technical ministry, and sometimes just growing preoccuppied with the things of our own life, sometimes I can just plain forget about the lost. Can you relate?

Since it was such a stirring reminder, that next morning, I read our boys the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15 so they could understand the pastor's message. Then we prayed and asked God to give us hearts like His.

Later that mornign, I asked C.J. to take his turtle outside to get some sun. I got busy doing other things and so did C.J. We can both get distracted rather easily. About a half-hour later I asked, "Where's Tortilla?" "I dont' know," was C.J.'s reply.

"What do you mean you don't know? Weren't you keeping an eye on her?"

"She was right over there." He pointed to a place in the grass no longer occuppied by the turtle. Frustration brewed up in me. I had to run an errand and I didn't have time to look for a turtle!

Distraught, C.J. meandered around the yard, poking in corners and looking under coverings of dried-up bamboo leaves - but no Tortilla. Soon, he gave up and I found him sobbing in his room. "I've failed Tortilla!" he sobbed. "I lost her."

As I tried to negotiate the line between my parental irritation at his negligence, my disbelief that such a slow creature could completely disappear from our yard, and my frustration at needing to be somewhere else, my heart was touched by C.J.'s absolute brokenness over his lost turtle. I felt the Lord whisper, "Just stay with him for a while." After asking internally for God's direction, I urged C.J. to not be too hard on himself, but to call his friend who knew a lot about turtles, and ask him if he had any advice about where to look, and to pray that he could find Tortilla.

While C.J. was doing that, I grabbed a flashlight and decided to try my luck (even though it's not luck) at looking underneath the house. Logically, it's the only place she could have gotten to in the amount of time that C.J. had left her on the grass. I headed down the cement steps that went to the carport below the house. From there I could shine the light into the dark crevace taht was underneath the house. And there, sure enough, though I only swher because she stuck her head out, was Tortilla, the now naughty turtle who had run away.

"C.J.!" I cried excitedly, loud enough so he would hear me from the house, "I found her!" C.J. tore out of the house and down the stiars - smiling from ear to ear. We rejoiced together. It was only then that our prayer from that morning rushed back into my mind. "C.J.," I said thoughtfully, "I think God just gave us an object lesson so we could experience how it feels for him to miss the lost like in those parables of Jesus."

"C.J. thought for a moment. "Maybe so, Mom."

"Are you glad to have your turtle back?"

"Oh, yeah!"

Once Tortilla was returned to her cage, we had a new appreciation for the silly creature, and a gentle reminder from the Lord about his love for the lost.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hannah's Anniversary

Hey there everyone! Thank you SO much for all of your prayers and thoughts on Hannah's anniversary. I just know it makes a huge difference in our ability to make it through the hard things and even find joy in them to by thinking about the future that all of us who follow Jesus have in heaven! I think it just feels good to make it through August 2 - especially this year being here in Indonesia.

It was a busy weekend because we celebrated Dave's birthday on Saturday, and then Hannah's anniversary on Sunday. I think having things planned really helps because it gives us a sense of "control" in some ways that we're not completely at the whim of the day. After praying about it, we decided to ask our friends the Holstens if they wanted to come over and celebrate Hannah's anniversary with us. David and Natalie were here back when we were here before (back in the day!) and have been serving here ever since. So they knew Hannah, and their son Carter was a good friend with Hannah. Now they have four children (Carter, Grace, Luke and Zoe).

David and Natalie brought over some pictures of Hannah that they had from back around 2001 or so. It was neat to see them, and to talk and share about our memories. We remembered how Hannah and Carter used to play "brother and sister", and how Hannah became very interested in amphibians because Carter was. I am amazed sometimes at how many things I have forgotten. So it was special to remember together. Dave and I were reminiscing how Hannah used to not want to kiss him goodbye in the mornings so she would run and hide in the rolled up tikar (bamboo mat), right in the middle of it! Funny.
After sharing memories, the kids colored pictures in honor of Hannah (we ended up with a lot of butterflies) and then we went outside and released balloons together. I love doing that on her anniversary. It's so simple, yet there's something very symbolic about letting the balloon go and watching it go up to heaven. Dave reminded us that all of us who are in Christ will get to be together again someday. Some days I can live in that as a reality, and other days I find myself dwelling in my sadness. I know I'm only human. I do ask God to increase my faith so that I can live more days walking as if it were reality that I will see Hannah again. Not that I don't need to be sad - I think it's a fine line to balance our grief and be honest about it, but temper it with the hope that we have in Christ. For when I am really believing that this life isn't all there is, I find I am much more full of joy and confidence in the Lord.
One other thing I enjoyed doing was going down to MAF on her actual anniversary and sitting in the airplane that's dedicated to Hannah. (see picture above) It is special to me to have something that actually represents her here. I wondered how many stories have taken place in that airplane and how many people have been helped by it. It was special to have a tangible place to go to and something to touch that represents her here in Indonesia.
So, be encouraged everyone! This life isn't the end - someday we will get to be with our King, the Lord Jesus. But until then, I am so thankful for all of you and your prayers and your friendship. God bless you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stuck in the Mud

Yes, yesterday I went out to go shopping - just to get a few things at the store, and I got stuck in the mud at the top of our hill. There are these two little tracks of cement that the car has to stay on, and I accidentally went off, and since it's been raining so much lately I got stuck in the mud. Forty five minutes later with the help of my friend Katie and an Indonesian neighbor, we finally got the car out of the mud. When Dave got home for lunch, he could see the remains of several tears and said, "What's wrong?" I told him about my adventure, and how I hadn't been able to accomplish what I wanted to do. He said, "IWA." I said, "What in the world does IWA mean?" He said, "Indonesia Wins Again!" (Our friends the Holstens have coined this term!)
Now, on its own, although frustrating, that one event may not have brought me to tears, but after the last several days of "reality" hitting about living in Indonesia, it did. Reality in the form of: pretty constant rain for the last week (that means constant clouds, and you all know how much I love clouds!), the LPG(gas) running out for the stove while I was preparing dinner for guests, training a new househelper, the boys getting eaten up by mosquitos, mosques that go off and echo inside your brain because it's so loud(5 times a day, starting at 4:30 am). Anyway, you get the picture.
The first three weeks of being here have been wonderful at times, and very frustrating at other times. God is definitely teaching us a lesson in dependence upon Him, and also in changing our expectations. The reason we get so frustrated when things go wrong is because we're not expecting them to. Pretty much in America things work (internet, electricity, your oven, the hot water...) Well, that may not always be the case here. So, I must admit, yesterday, being stuck in the mud just capped my experience of being slightly depressed. I really feel like God is teaching me to be honest when things are frustrating, but to trust Him to take care of me, and to provide for my needs. And, if things don't work out like I want them to, to have faith that He is in control and has a good reason.
One good thing that came from being stuck in the mud was I got to meet our Indonesian neighbor, who helped me. I was so grateful that she would be willing to get dirty and come and help me. So I decided to take her a gift of rambutan (That's an Indonesian fruit that looks like it has hair on it- rambut means hair). Indonesians love to give and receive gifts. So, you can pray for more opportunities to visit with her.
When I get discouraged about the hard things of living here in Indonesia, I think about two weeks ago when I got to sit next to a friend in church, and see her for the first time. I will call her Mary, though that is not her real name. Mary grew up Muslim, and accepted Christ about a year ago or so. God gave me the privilege of talking to her when we lived here before. She and her Canadian husband lived next door. She told me about having dreams about Jesus, and we got to pray together as she was definitely seeking. So imagine my joy to get to sit next to her in church and call her "sister!" That has been one of the most exciting things of all so far! She has been ostricized from her family, yet her faith persists. Sitting next to her I had new appreciation for the blood of Jesus and what we are saved from. Praise God!
Hannah's anniversary is coming up (number 7) of her homegoing to heaven. It is August 2. We have been praying and thinking of how to spend that day. My heart has been heavier lately and I think part of it is the anticipation of that day and all of the emotions it brings. You can pray that God would give is strength and blessing on that day.
PRAYER POINTS: Pray for our attitudes as we encounter difficulties here. And for fortitude on Hannah's anniversary and the days leading up to it, and for much fruit to come from her life and memory. Thank you! We are so grateful for all of you!

Friday, July 2, 2010

We Made It!

Wow, thanks for all of your prayers! We made it to Tarakan, Indonesia. For the whole journey we could feel your prayers! The Lord gave us all such a peace and a calmness. The boys did GREAT! We are convinced they are world-travelers-in-training. Even Ryan did well. To the right is a picture of Mary Epp, Annette Welburn and I. The Epps and Welburns came to the airport to see us off. It was so nice to be sent off by them! Below is a picture of Dave and Reg Epp.

The hardest part of the journey was when we arrived in Jakarta. We had to collect our bags, get them through customs, and then transfer to the domestic terminal via a shuttle. All of this, done in Indonesia, is a bit crazy! The domestic terminal was packed, and hot, and it didn't help that I forgot to set my watch one hour back, so I thought our flight was going to leave any moment! Once we got that figured out, and our bags checked in, we began the hot process of waiting for our flight.

Once we got on there, we were all out for the count. I couldn't even keep my eyes open! And C.J. was out, even though he was being oogled and ogled by the passenger across the aisle!

The boys enjoyed making some friends on the trip. To the right is a picture of them and a friend we made in San Francisco, who traveled with us to Taiwan. The picture is in the waiting room in the airport at Taipei, Taiwan. She was going to Vietnam to visit family. Below, is Ryan enjoying talking on the phone, or pretending he is on the flight from Taipei to Jakarta.
But, it's good to be here in Tarakan. The team here is young and energetic. (I've already been referred to as an "old-timer"), and they've given us a warm welcome. It's been great to see our friends the Holstens again. They were arrived in Tarakan when we were here before, and now David is the program manager. His wife Natalie has been taking me out shopping. I tell you, coming from Idaho, it's quite a change! The driving is chaotic, you get stared at wherever you go, and people call you "bule" (boo-lay), which means foreigner. But we've already gotten to see some old friends from before. I guess eight years is a long time.

The strangest part of the journey for me was when we were flying over the jungles of Borneo, on our way to Jakarta. Just seeing the broccoli-like terrain below brought me right back to flying with Dave in the MAF 206 over scenery just like that, and I thought, "I can't believe we're back!" I've had many "weird" moments since then, when things all of a sudden became crystal clear and I had a memory. The sweetest and most heart-wrenching one happened this morning when my friend Joy picked me up and brought me to her house, which is the house we used to live in. Although it's changed since we've lived there, one memory was crystal clear. The corner in the kitchen was where we had Hannah's little table that she would sit at for hours and make crafts, color and staple things. (She loved her stapler!) Just seeing that corner brought back so many memories! That corner represents to me who Hannah is. (I say is because I'm pretty sure she's still got the same personality in heaven). She's creative and artistic and knows what she's about.
Dave got his old motorcycle back to ride, so here is a picture of he and the boys in our front yard. We love and miss all of you and look forward to hearing from you!

PRAYER POINTS: Thanks again for your prayers! Please continue to pray for us as we settle in to a new country, climate and team. and pray for Dave as he has already begun his check-out in the Caravan. There are a lot of things to learn.

Monday, June 21, 2010

We're Leaving on Saturday!

Thanks so much for praying! We finally got the final approval on our visas and MAF has purchased tickets for us for...gulp...this Saturday! We'll fly out of Boise in the late afternoon to San Francisco, where we have a layover until 1:35 in the morning when we board our China Air flight to Taipei. From there it's on to Jakarta, and then on to Tarakan. We covet your prayers for the trip, especially with Ryan. I'm sure C.J. will do just fine, but Ryan gets a little testy when he's tired!

It's very exciting, and things are very busy. We're busy shopping for last minute supplies, and packing them all up. It should be quite a production. But, as God has promised us, He is striding ahead of us, and is with us. The coolest thing happened this morning - a total God thing. I just happened to pick up the verse that I was talking about in my last post, Deuteronomy 31:6, and we read it from the 3x5 card this morning as a family. Then, later on during the day, we were listening to Air 1 the radio station, and they read the same verse! It was their verse of the day. Then, I was talking to a good friend on the phone today and telling her about it and she said, "No way! God led me to that verse this morning!" I had goosebumps. I just love it it when God does that! I love it when He's so clear because it really reminds me that He's real.

Well, I'm beat so I'm going to sign off with that update. Thanks so much for everyone's prayers! I may not write again until we get settled in in Indonesia. At least until we figure out how to connect to the internet!

PRAYER POINTS: Praise God for the final visas coming in! Please pray for our trip on Saturday to go well, and for patience and protection for our family. Thank you!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Your God is striding ahead of you

As I sit here writing at ten o'clock tonight, the Idaho sky is just turning toward twilight, with a rim of orange on the horizon, fading into the smoky blue of the sky. It will be so weird to go from the Pacific Northwest, where it's light so late to the tropics so close to the equator that it gets light around 6 am and dark around 6pm. But when it's as hot as it is in Tarakan, you don't mind nighttime coming! At least we'll get to experience the longest day of the year in Idaho before we go. We are still waiting on our visas. We were accepted through the Indonesian Department of labor, but still getting pushed through the other departments. So, it should be within the next two weeks that we actually receive them, and then will be able to purchase tickets and set a departure date. So you can keep praying about that.

This past week was eventful. Dave was in Wichita, Kansas for Caravan training (the type of airplane he'll be flying in Indonesia). So the boys and I were on our own. We always miss Dave when he's gone. Nobody roughs up the boys like Papa. And Mama is usually ready for a break by the time he gets back! Praise the Lord, he had a good time of training, and really enjoyed his simulator instructor. It sure was a lot of information to pack in, though! I think he's glad to be home, too.

While he was gone, MAF had their annual family conference. That kept us busy from Wednesday evening on. The speaker this year was Dr. Charles Shepson, the father of Dave's co-worker Brian Shepson. Dr. Shepson is almost 82, but he's as spunky as ever. He has been a pastor and counselor for many years, and has published multiple books as well. He's a great story-teller and loves to recount story after story of God's faithfulness in his life. If you like stories you might like his books Quiet Miracles I and II, and soon to be III!

I did feel like God spoke to my heart on the last evening. (All of his messages were good - but this one stuck the most for me). He was speaking from Deuteronomy, and his last message was from Deuteronomy 31. It seems like this past year of Bible Study has all ended up centering on entering the promised land. So I don't think it was a coincidence that Dr. Shepson's messages also focused on Moses' charge to Joshua and the people of Israel as they prepared to enter the promised land. He was reading from the message from Deuteronomy 31: 6: "Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; He won't leave you." Wow. His first two points were that God strides ahead of us into the land, and that God is also right there with us, and he told story after story to illustrate these points.

Well, I felt like God was speaking to my heart, specifically about going back to Indonesia. What comfort to truly believe that God is striding ahead of us, and that He is right there with us through anything! How encouraging. And He does that for all of us!

Awhile back I mentioned that I had found some pictures of C.J. and Hannah from Indonesia. As I think about God striding ahead of us to go back to that land, I thought I'd share one of those pictures with you, although I can't figure out how to put it down here rather than up top! Sorry, I'm still learning this blog thing.
PRAYER POINTS: For God to work out the departure date that He wants for our family, and for wisdom to know how to organize our time to continue accomplishing all the tasks that need to be finished. Thank you!

Friday, June 4, 2010

I am so sick of rain! I have decided that we now live in Ida-gon instead of Idaho. HA. I suppose I need to be thankful for it, and I am thankful for the water. But a little sun would be okay too! I do thank God for strength lately to not be too depressed with all the gray skies and all of the tasks to get ready for Indonesia, which can seem overwhelming. I go back and forth from being overwhelmed to being really excited. I am definitely missing Bible Study, but enjoying reading a couple of books, which I don't make time to do when I am in Bible Study. I would highly recommend them. One is "His Princess, Love Letters from your King" by Sheri Rose Shepherd, which is written like daily letters from God, based on Scripture. For anyone who is really touched by written letters, it seems to take God's truths and put them in a format that speaks to the heart. My friend also gave me the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. It's really good, too. I'm not too far into that yet. The Word God seems to be speaking to me lately is to "come away and get some rest" (Mark 6:31, my paraphrase). I think that's important, with everything there is to do. I can feel myself focusing on all the details, so I have to remember to just stop sometimes and be with my King. I am also really enjoying Kari Jobe's Album, called Kari Jobe, I think. She's got some awesome worship stuff on there!
Well, as for the practical stuff, I'm in the throes of ordering homeschool curriculum for C.J.. Never thought I'd be doing that, but I'm kind of excited to give it a try. It's a little overwhelming since I've never done it before. We have some great resources here in Idaho, so I've been talking to several friends and getting advice. Hopefully I can have that ordered today. We still don't have a final date to go, but it should be the end of June. Hopefully we can order tickets soon.
PRAYER POINTS: Thanks so much everyone who is praying! Please pray for wisdom for the homeschool curriculum, and pray for Dave as he is going to Kansas soon for a week of Caravan training. Thank you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Praise the Lord, we just got word today that we have been recommended for our visas! So that means that we'll have a departure date set soon! So thanks for praying! We are excited. I'm nervous, though, because that begins to put finality to all of the things that have yet to be done! I'm not very good at prioritizing. So I need the Lord's strength.
It also brings finality to the emotional aspect of things. I was looking at pictures today on the computer and found some of C.J. and Hannah in Indonesia. It made me realize what a heart connection there is to that place, and kind of slapped me in the face with it. It's going to be hard to go back. But, I am trusting, very healing as well. Well, it's late so I'm going to sign off for now.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

As we prepare to go back to Indonesia, God has brought Psalm 46:10 to my attention several times this past week, the last time being this morning. Okay, Lord, are you trying to tell me something? Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God." I have such a hard time being still. Do you? Please tell me I'm not alone. I would much rather be in motion than be still. It's scary. I think I feel like if I'm actually still, either God or myself is going to discover something about me that I don't want to be discovered. Being still means to stop and pay attention to what's going on on the inside. It also means facing whatever's going on on the inside and coming in vulnerability to stand before the Lord. I think that's the hard part! I don't know about you, but being vulnerable is hard for me.
But being still isn't the end of it. The Lord also wants us to know that He is God. To let His truth soak into our being. To believe He is who he says He is. To accept His love for us. To acknowledge who He is. To rest in Him and in His love for us. To just let him be God. Anyway, that's what He's been speaking to me these past few days. It's so busy with details getting ready to go. I don't like details! But I know it will be worth it.
Ryan and I joined Dave at MAF's chapel on Wednesday morning to hear the team that went to Kalimantan to help with VBS for their Family Conference. They each shared and showed pictures and it was neat. It brought up a lot of emotion seeing pictures of Tarakan and telling Ryan, "That's where we're going!" and "Those kids are going to be your new friends!" So I've been a bit sad lately too as it really hits home that we're leaving friends here and going back to face our memories of Tarakan and Hannah's life there. But I was reminded in the video from Bible Study (We've been catching the end of Beth Moore's Fruit of the Spirit study) that on the other side of the pain God allows us to go through is a promise. I want to hold on for the promise!
PRAYER POINTS: You can pray for our visas to come through. All of MAF's visas in Indonesia have been put on hold. We would like to leave June 23, but we need God to release our visas. Thank you!