Monthly Archives: October 2015

Joy in the midst of losing control

I don’t know about you, but I really like to be in control of things. I have been this way ever since I was a little girl. But when you follow the Lord, faith is grown when you trust Him completely. We can’t trust Him when we are still holding on to the reins. These last few years of my life, in so many situations, I feel like the Lord has been saying to me, “Do you trust me completely?”  “Jamie, you are still not trusting me.” “Are you really giving me all of your life?” Sometimes these moments can be so frustrating to me because I think ‘Lord how much more can I really give.’ But deep down I know He is right. I still like to be in control. I still have backup plans in my head just in case God’s path doesn’t work.

The Lord keeps echoing this verse in my ears- for the longest time it was taped to my mirror in my bathroom.  Proverbs 3: 5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Over these past few years of my life there was just so much I couldn’t control. I couldn’t control when we would get Miriam. I couldn’t control that Miriam has attachment issues and I wasn’t there for the first 3 years of her life. I can’t control that I want a baby so bad and I feel like my body is failing me and that makes me feel like a failure. I hurt so badly because I hate that the kids at Elston are hurting because I left and I really didn’t want to leave in the first place. I can’t control that my daughter has some issues that I can’t fix, even though all I want to do is make them better.

So about a year ago when so many of these things were going on in my heart. I felt lost I felt my Joy was being stolen from me. A dear friend was having lunch with me and she said. I feel like God wants me to tell you something. It is that “he sees you Joyfully”. In that dear sweet moment I burst out in tears in the middle of McDonald’s. Because I did not feel Joy at all. I felt the opposite. But what happened in that moment was that I started to have hope again. I started to believe that one day I would have Joy again.

So did it happen overnight? No!!! Actually things got a little tougher. But Joy does come in the mourning. But I had my hope back and I started searching for God and knowing in his peace would come Joy.

So in the middle of August when a fear of mine became a reality. I broke down. I thought Lord my world is crashing around me. I am now completely broken. This is too big you can’t fix this. But God holds us in the palm of his hands. He says nothing is truly broken. In Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. and Romans 8:31b ” If God is for us, who can be against us?”  I clung to the Lord. My friends and family prayed for us fervently and then I surrendered.

I stopped worrying about raising support and I started praying for our partners. I started praying fervently again for my family and friends that do not know the Lord. So about a month ago as I was standing in our church standing in the presence of God.  He whispered in my ear “Jamie this is Joy”.

God was teaching me we are not in control of this world, God is and God knows what is best for us.  Psalm 139: 13-16 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

So do I let God be in control of my life every day? No- I wish I did. I still try to control many things. Right now I confess that this part is hard for me and I find myself trying to control all the little things in my life because the big things are so far out of my control right now. So it is a daily struggle but I can say I am at peace and I have hope and I have Joy. I am ready for the next stage God has me. I have truly learned Hope rises together.

So right now I am at peace. Yes, normally with all the things going on in Africa I would be blowing many gaskets. But God has me. These little things or big things going on, he has.

So dear readers, I pray that you will not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4: 6-7

 

Leaving on a Jet Plane

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We want to happily announce that we are fully funded for our first year in the field! We are so very thankful for the 50+ that have sacrificially given one time gifts, the 51 individuals/families, and 5 organizations that are ongoing financial partners, the hundreds of you that are daily praying for us and our family, and the many others of you that our encouraging us daily and our loving on us that have all helped us reach this point. It is amazing to think that we have gone from 40% to 100% in less than 2 months. God is glorious and amazing and we are so thankful daily.

“I wanted to be a financial partner in this ministry. Did I miss my opportunity?”

No. We will continue to need financial partners in order to stay on the field. Any new gifts at this time will go into our account and allow us to stay in Malawi to continue His work.

“So what does that mean? Have we bought plane tickets???”

Yes!!!!!!!!!!
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Right now we are spending some time with a few of our family members that live far away from us. We are having sweet blessed visits with them before we take off on our journey.

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Then we will be home for a couple of days, continuing to pack. Then off to Malawi!

So what are we taking with us??? Did we send a shipping container???

No, we decided not to ship a container. We are taking eight suitcases that can weight up to 50 pound, plus 4 carry-ons (plus 4 more personal items- for Mark this will be a train set and Mimi would love to take her giant Minnie Mouse that is as tall as her. We think we may have to vacuum bag Minnie and pray it pops out).

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So we all have made lots of hard decisions lately and are still really trying to decide what we should take. In these moments it really helps all of us to evaluate and see; what are those things that keep us sane. What are those things that give you peace and comfort and help you in the stressful times. For Mark it is his toys- he has one full suitcase full of toys and probably 1/2 of his carry-on. Most of this is of course trains and Legos. For Mimi she has a suitcase full of her sensory things that help keep her calm and feeling her best, plus a pony train, her large My Little Pony and of course her Minnie Mouse. For Jamie, I have 2 big bags of Chai Latte (but I wanted to take 4 so I am making progress) and my sinus medication to help me stay nice and healthy while I am there, and my nook so I can read all the books my heart desires. For Luke it is a few tools and his guitar.

Our plane flight is really early on November 5th and we will be traveling that entire day, so please keep us in your prayers on this day.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for a pleasant goodbye with family and peaceful vacation.
  • Pray for safe travels and patience for everybody with long hours in the car and in planes.
  • Pray that our visa applications go through smoothly and quickly.
  • Pray for Miriam’s anxiety over the next 3 weeks of transition without routine. Pray she feels peace and comfort and that she comes secure in her new environment quickly. (She has been doing pretty well so far. Right now she is sitting next to me reading books and saying keep or take, what do you think we have been doing lately).
  • Continue to pray that we find a school and teachers that will help Mark and Miriam learn the best way they can and that they find friends quickly in Malawi.
  • That the hearts of the Yao people would be open to the Gospel of Jesus.
  • That we would clearly be able to see the details of what God would have us do in Malawi.

So how are we really feeling? 

We are very excited to be starting on this new journey. But it is very hard right now to say goodbye to those that we love. To hug the people that we have discipled in the Lord. To have those last encouragements from the people that have cried with you in your time of despair and have walked with you and just done life with you. To hug your sister that has been with you through all the ups and downs of life and not know when you will see her again. To just be held by your loving aunt that has been there whenever you need her, since as early as I can remember. And there are so many other goodbyes that we have encountered and will continue to encounter.

But I know my Lord is faithful and I am just savoring all these wonderful moments that mean so much to me. So I will leave with you 2 verses that have been continually on my mind and heart. 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” and Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful”.

Here is a song that has given me such comfort lately called “Good Good Father”.

“Oh it’s love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think as you call me deeper still, as you call me deeper still, as you call me deeper still into love, love, love”

So in these times, that is what I cling to. May we talk to you soon.

 

R.O.C.K.S. , Commissioning Service, and Update

We are excited to share with you about our commissioning service. But for you to fully understand what happened at the service. I need to take a side note first and talk about R.O.C.K.S.

For the last 8 years of our lives, there has been this one thing that has driven (me) Jamie. It has been to see the children at Elston Family Church become Righteous Obedient Children in Kingdom Service (R.O.C.K.S.). One day it was like a light bulb, I felt like God spoke to me and gave me vision, mission, and purpose. I became on fire to teach children how much God loves then and to share that vision with others. Over the last 8 years the children’s ministry grew and touched so many kids lives. I was so privileged to be part of that journey.
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In that time I invested so much of my time, love, and passion into those kids. That was my mission field. I also became passionate for the workers. To help them understand that teaching children was something so amazing and God wanted them to be a part of it. It was not just baby sitting, but this amazing thing that God was calling them to do.

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So in that time. We prayed with kids in the hallways, grieving with them because there parents were getting divorced. We sat with them and worked with them through anger that they were feeling because of situations they didn’t understand. We saw light bulbs in their eyes go off when they fully understood who God was. We worked for hours with teachers building the confidence in them that God had placed there. We walked children through the steps of baptism and saw the commitment for the love of Jesus Christ. I say these things because God is so amazing and we were blessed that he used us as willing vessels.

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So back to the commissioning. We got to spend a few days with Francis M. He is the person that we will be working with in Africa. It was amazing to get to share our lives with him and how this will help him to work with us in Africa. Sheryl for Global Teams was also here to help with the service.GT staff

On Sunday we had beautiful friends and family that don’t go our church, come to support us. Sheryl and Francis talked. Then Randy spoke beautifully on commissioning. He said “Luke and Jamie, you’re ready for active duty. You’re ready. You can do this. You have an assignment and we’re joining with you”. Then the prayer part of the service started.

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There are very few times that you actually get to see your legacy laid out in front of you. But as the children came up and gathered around us. I felt like I was getting a little touch of heaven. Getting to see all the little ones that I have prayed with, discipled, and worshiped with, praying for us. In my motherly eyes I could see a little bit of their hearts breaking. But I know God is going to strengthen them for the His service. We are so excited to be on this journey with them and I will hold that moment always in my heart.

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The next thing that happened is beyond words for me to describe. Our pastor asked if their was anyone that wanted to come up to pray for us. It was humbling to see everyone line up. People one at a time prayed, cried and thanked us for following the Lord. I am a very emotional person so I am not sure how I got through this, except to say that God was all over that place. I am thankful for my biological and church family and grateful to have you both in our lives.

Today I am in awe of God. I sit here talking with you as a sister in Christ, amazed that he chooses to use us as his carriers. So as of today right now we are at 96%, praise the Lord we only have 4% left to go and we can buy our plane tickets. So right now we are only $180 of monthly pledges away from leaving, and any one time donation goes into that percentage too. Thank you so much for your support and if you haven’t given yet and are still planning on it, now is the time to let us know. If you can’t give now but are planning on later that is fine, we will continue to need support to stay on the field. So next week are packing up and plan on leaving Lafayette on the 19th and then visiting with some family and will be in Malawi at the beginning of November.

Continue to pray for strength courage and perseverance for us for this last leg.

The verse that God always has running though my head is this Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I think of this as the theme verse for the children at Elston. So for anyone reading this today. Be Bold, Be Courageous, God is always with you, He is constant and will never leave your side.