When my momma heart needs reminding

Aydin and Calyn have now finished up with their extra-curricular activities here in Graham. Aydin is done with soccer and piano lessons and Calyn is done with her dance class. I wish I could say I didn’t shed a tear but the truth is it hurts my momma heart to know they are done doing some of these things they love doing… and honestly that I love watching them do. I know Aydin will continue to play soccer wherever and we can continue learning musical instruments through the internet or something and Calyn will always be dancing throughout our house…. but its just different.

This past week the kids have been taking swim lessons to learn to do the different strokes and Aydin’s instructor came and said that he should be on the swim team. He was so proud, calling everyone to let them know his instructor  thought that he was good enough to join the swim team, which is actually just participating in a swim team camp at the end of summer. Of course it is after we move to Missouri so he wont be able to participate in it. Its so silly but I caught myself tearing up at what he is going to miss out on… pursuing those things that he is good at and enjoys…

and then the Lord gently reminded me that that’s not our purpose on this earth. I feel the Lord wrapping His arms around me reminding me of His love and goodness. He has called our family to overseas missions and there’s nothing I would rather do but when it comes to the kids it makes me a little sad to think of the things they wont get to do. I’m then reminded of all the experiences they will get that other kids would love to get to do and wont.

This specific incidence is what led me to write about it because the Lord is so good. He has been molding and preparing my kids and I continue to pray and request prayer that they will continue to have a heart for others. They get it! They get that they won’t get to do all these things they have been doing and its all for Him. They are understanding and excited for whats to come. They willingly trade these earthly joys for the joy to come of sharing the love of Christ with those who have no access. These people are worth it. The Lord Jesus Christ is worth it.

so while I’m tearing up at the thought of Aydin not getting to do the swim team camp, hes just thrilled that the instructor thought he should be in it.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

As believers, our purpose on this earth is to bring God glory. Of course He can be glorified through all events and kids pursuing their passions and gifts He has given them… but for us it means being obedient to the burden He has placed on our hearts for unreached people groups. And that means seeing our kids not pursuing their gifts in team sports, lessons, or performances.. but trusting the Lord to continue to give them a heart for Him and the nations…molding and changing all of us for the purpose He has. I pray that He will bring to light the gifts He has given them and avenues to pursue those for Him.

“Serve the Lord with gladness!Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:2-3

Thank you for your continued prayers as we transition from Loving Texas and prepare to move to the Training Center in exactly 2 months. We are anxious to get this next step underway!

t-shirts

T-Shirts are designed!!! We love what Little H Creative has come up with to show the burden God has placed on our hearts!!

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We sent out all the info about how to get your hands on these through our first newsletter! Our hope is that this blog will be more of a personal story place and the newsletter will be for more highlights (once a month) and ways to specifically pray for us.

Here is the link to the newsletter about the shirts and you can easily subscribe to it by clicking on the top left corner where it says subscribe!

http://mailchi.mp/45f300214b26/t-shirt-fundraiser

 

We’ve Graduated!

We’ve graduated!!!

well technically… but we are still waiting to take our last final =) Saturday was the commencement ceremony down in the Woodlands area that we did not participate in. Chris has earned his Associates in Biblical Studies and I couldn’t be more proud of him!! School is not his thing and definitely did not come easy but it was incredible to see God move and work in Him in order to press forward in this burden the Lord has given us to reach the unreached.

IMG_6090Our evenings looked like this for the last two years!

Instead of attending the ceremony we enjoyed little miss’s last dance recital. She LOVES to dance and I pray that she continues to wherever she is! This recital had us both in tears and I am so thankful for these precious memories!

The Seminary we attended is Grace School of Theology and we highly recommend it for anyone that would love to learn more about God’s Word from the comfort of your computer!

From Chris:
Has anyone ever told you or maybe you have said it yourself, “It felt like it was just yesterday when I….” Well for me it really does seem like it was just yesterday that Meegan and I had enrolled in our first seminary classes at Grace School of Theology. For those of you who may not know me I’m not the most well educated person on this earth or most times even in in a room with only two people in it. I can laugh at myself though. Meegan and I were taking a stewardship class and the professor contacted her a few weeks into the sixteen-week class and told her that she better teach me how to use an apostrophe or I may not make it through his class. Just so happens I think I made a higher grade in that class than she did. Our time spent going through these courses was a very growing experience, especially spiritually. I was able to study God’s word like never before, which was very fulfilling. Most of the professors are involved in some sort of ministry and have lots of experience to aid in their teaching. Our family had to slow down and both Meegan and I had to focus on putting school first. Many times we would have short breaks and got to recharge and focus on our kiddos. Throughout the last two years many of you have been praying for us and as a result we have finished, Thank You from the bottom of my heart! God has absolutely blessed us through this time and has personally reaffirmed His call on my family’s lives to “GO”.

From me (Meegan):
Bible School for me has been an incredible growing experience. There is just something about learning and taking classes about something you truly care about and know will have a huge impact on your relationship with Christ, others, and for the ministry you are going into. I feel as though I wasted years in college with classes that I have not and never plan on using. However, with Grace School of Theology every class, every lecture, every reading assignment has been an impactful and meaningful experience to focus in on how this matters for eternity. I’ve loved getting to learn more theology and important principles with bible study and interpreting His word. My love for the Scriptures has grown immensely through this process! I am so thankful the Lord has allowed us to complete the Bible training while still living in Loving the last couple years. When we signed up for this it was such a step of faith to work full time, start homeschooling for the first time, and start taking seminary classes but the Lord was so faithful at every step to give us what we needed, whether it was understanding, time, time management, etc. He was so good to get us through each class and each stress of trying to meet deadlines and deal with difficult material that really challenged us. The last two years has been a whirlwind that is hard to believe that we are finally finished. It has flown by as if it was yesterday we started taking these small steps of faith to follow the Lord into missions and the steps the organization required. It’s just hard to put into words the grace and love God has poured out on us through the stress and the reassurance He gives when we felt overwhelmed. I know it wont be the last time!

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

On a side note-We also celebrated 12 years of marriage Sunday! God is good!

and Aydin had a great fundraiser so he could go to Camp Chaparral this summer-Thank you to everyone that ordered cookies-we had a great time baking together!

 

  • As this chapter closes and we head into a busy summer, we are super excited about all the ministry opportunities, family time, and fun that we will have before we make the big move to Missouri at the beginning of August.
  • We are trusting God to provide the remaining amount needed for training and would love to set up a time to share with your family or small group how you can be involved!
  • We are working on getting the monthly newsletter up and going. Please subscribe to it in the top right hand corner of the blog!

All Nations

We have some super exciting news and want to make sure you all hear it from us before any confusion sets in.

The organization we are about to enter into training with has changed their name after 75 years and with great reason! New Tribes Mission has decided to change their name to adapt to a changing world, we truly appreciate the leadership of this organization that want to make sure the Gospel can go out to all people without hindrances and without offending people groups who would refer not to be addressed as ‘tribes’. They also work in some areas where missions are restricted and dropping the word ‘mission’ from the organization’s name would be very helpful.

The new name is Ethnos360

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(copied from ethnos360.org/about)
Ethnos
is the “nations” that Christ referred to when He commanded His followers to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and “…that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all the nations…” (Luke 24:47). It’s the word from which we get ethnic, and it means people groups. Ethnos is pronounced with a long ‘o’ sound, as in the word ‘go’.

360 represents the entirety of the globe — all 360 degrees. Our goal is to go wherever in the world is necessary to see a thriving church for every people, not only to focus on one particular type of people group.

360 also represents the full-circle work of a Great Commission ministry. We begin with thriving churches sending believers to an unreached people group, and keep working until there’s a thriving church sending out believers.

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You can check out the new introduction video at
https://vimeo.com/215315386?ref=fb-share

2,254 miles

From Loving TX to New Mexico, back to Loving and then to South Padre Island and back.  2,254 miles of deep conversation, loud music, and seeing God move in the hearts of many during our 2 week spring break.

A good friend of ours Ben Edfeldt, who is the director of the Midwestern State University’s Baptist Student Ministry, asked me if I would be interested in serving as a driver for Beach Reach this year down in South Padre.. Of course I said “YES!” without really even looking or asking what I would be getting myself into or how long it would take to get there, or even what to bring. This was before our church’s youth leader invited our family to go skiing in New Mexico.

So scheduling a week for skiing, completing a final for my eschatology class on the road, and then going down to the beach somewhere to drive college students around sounded “easy.” The skiing was great we had an awesome trip with the youth group. I cannot say enough about the students and how wonderful they were to our kiddos. Aydin and Calyn enjoyed their first time skiing so much that they would get on the bunny slopes before we could even get our skis on. After the ski trip I spent one night at home in my own bed and then a convoy of 3 large church buses filled with 27 students and 2 other drivers picked me up to head south for the next 7 days.

Our trip down consisted of the students hopping from van to van asking and answering questions that were preplanned out by Ben to stimulate conversation and get their minds and hearts focused spiritually for what they were about to enter into. The students had already dedicated to a weekly training that aided in their preparation to have these sometimes deep spiritual conversations. Incase you are unfamiliar with Beach Reach this is a brief summary form http://beachreach.org/ :

“Beach Reach South Padre began in 1980 with 20 students who had a vision to reach their peers during Spring Break. It has progressively developed into the extensive ministry that it is today. Now during Spring Break, hundreds of Christian college students join together to verbally share the gospel of Jesus with those they encounter as they seek to meet their physical needs for food and transportation.”

So the student’s task each day and late nights was to interact and engage in spiritual conversations with college students that have traveled from all over the country to “cut loose” and “burn off some stress.” To do this we would have to be up when they are up so our group would go to a worship service/meal for “Beach Reachers” each evening at about 5pm and we would mostly be up until about 4:30 am. We would typically wake up about 10 and nap when we could. We stayed in Port Isabel at the First Baptist Church just on the other side of the bridge to South Padre. They were so amazing and hospitable. I think this church housed about 150 or so of us. Some facts and figures from our trip: about 1,000 BSM students went with 95 vans to give about 20,300 college Spring Breakers free rides that lead to about 9,700 spiritual conversations, leading to BSM students praying with and for 8,800 students which led to 140 New Believers. It was truly one of the most amazing experiences I have witnessed so far in my life.

A short story to share happened right outside of our van before we went on our shift. Three men approached our van and asked for a ride. I eventually said “Sure but I have to wait till we go on shift in like 5 minutes” so they waited. Standing there they began to chit chat about being Christians and how they grew up in church. I asked “Then what are you doing here?” Our conversation continued and about anhour later I heard form another BSM student that those young men after being dropped off by us quickly caught another bus home. I don’t know what happened to them after that but I pray that moment was the moment the Holy Spirit wrecked their world and made them run back to Him to find that He never left. Something that was also inspiring and amazing is how these BSM students had intentionally sacrificed their time and finances to proclaim the Gospel to their peers. Instead of relieving their stresses from school serving themselves, they chose to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ. Serving alongside young men and women who are on fire for the Lord you can’t help but come away inspired.

On our way home I got to truly reflect over the last week and thinking of all the conversations and efforts that had gone into Beach Reach2017. The Lord really showed me that it’s not us who saves anyone, it’s the Holy Spirit. We can lay out the message as perfect as we want but it is not up to us. All we are to do is be obedient in proclaiming the Gospel to the world and leave it up to Him.

Please be in prayer for these BSM students. That they would continue to follow wherever the Lord will lead them. Both of these ministries (the BSM and Beach Reach), and thank God for our new brothers and sisters in Christ that they would be able to get plugged into a ministry on their campuses, and for volunteer drivers and vans for Beach Reach 2018.

February update

Just so you know this is Chris not Meegan so miss spellings and grammatical error are in your reading experience’s eminent future. I really wanted to thank everyone who has joined us on our journey. We have truly been blessed with the kindest and most loving friends and family God has truly been apart of bringing us together. Folks have gone above and beyond to host us in their homes, small group meetings, and churches so that we can proclaim God’s glory and desire to reach those who have never heard or have no access to Him through His Scripture. It is amazing to see the reactions, much like ours was first when we heard that these people groups still exist in the world we live in today.

Going along with our thankfulness we also have something to celebrate with you all! God, being faithful and equipping us for this task, has provided us with commitments for 32 % of our monthly budget for the training. So that leaves 68% for others to pray about their involvement in. Just a tid bit of information on fundraising: it is an absolute JOY to spend time in fellowship with other believers. Some other missionaries that have been guiding us along this process told us once that they love the fundraising aspect of missions. For me at that point the thought of having to speak in front of people and ask them to partner in the ministry that the Lord had led us to was without a doubt terrifying and foreign to everything I had ever known. For us when we needed or wanted for something we simply worked harder or longer hours to be compensated with funds. Well as you may have guessed, we can’t do that anymore, we have to rely on the Lord to provide us with the resources. Its all apart of His wonderful planning to make us fully reliant on Him and thus far its really been freeing to do the work by sharing and watching the Lord move in ways that we have never experienced before. Hebrew 13:20-21 comes to mind while writing this : “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen”

On another note Meegan and I are finishing up the last semester of seminary school with Grace School of Theology. We graduate in May 2017 and are prayerfully waiting the day when we can look back on our 2 years and see how each of us has grown in our faith. The kiddos are doing well. They have been reading about Amy Carmichael and other famous missionaries. We both thoroughly enjoy involving the kids with God’s desire to be known to the whole world. Aydin understands quite a bit more than Calyn but I pray that will come with age and nurturing. Meegan is absolutely wonderful when it comes to teaching our kids. Her soft heart for our children to be raised up to follow the Lord in obedience above all other things truly shows through her time and efforts spent with them. The kids are also involved in Soccer this spring. Aydin decided that since there is a soccer field at the NTM Missionary Training Center he should concentrate his efforts toward that instead of baseball. He is under a great coach and Godly man who is also apart of our church.

Here are a few photos from our dates yesterday. We love taking the kids out separately so that I had a date with Calyn and Meegan had a date with Aydin.
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If you are looking to pass some time or God has gifted you in being a prayer warrior we would ask that you would pray for:

  • Meegan and I to finish GSOT strong
  • Pray over the 68% left to fundraise, Praise Him for providing the 32%!
  • For Aydin and Calyn to continue to thrive and prepare for the home schooling schedule in Missouri
  • For our future team mates
  • For the people He is leading us to
  • For guidance on using our current house for His glory

Have a holly jolly Christmas!

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We are ending off this year thankful for the Lord’s continuous provision and thrilled to see what lays ahead in 2017!
We have gotten the ‘official’ acceptance to the New Tribes Mission’s Missionary Training Center and look forward to our move to Missouri this coming summer. We have just paid for our last semester at Grace School of Theology and we look forward to a busy but growing time learning more about God’s Word and completing the requirements for NTM. The seminary school has been incredible so that we could live in our home debt free, work, and figure out the whole home schooling thing at the same time. The Lord has blessed this season of our lives in countless ways!
As we move in to the new year we are using our small break from school to pray and diligently seek the Lord in the next step of partnering with others in order to move to the training center. We know He will provide and we are excited about the time we will get to have with friends and family, sharing the burden for un-reached people groups the Lord has placed on our hearts. Please get in touch with us if you would like us to set up a time to share more in detail with you, your church group, or friends! Our God is moving in a mighty way!!

Wishing you all the very best Christmas season! “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Special thanks to my friend Julia for taking our family pictures and being the hands and feet of the Lord to us!
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Learning to receive

When you are used to working and earning the money you need for all of your needs/wants it is difficult to imagine what it will be like to fully rely on the Lord, without the ability to earn an income. We aren’t there yet…. but it’s coming. Of course all the work we get to do for income is from Him as well and He provides the job and the ability… but it still feels different when you wont be earning the income through a regular job. I finished up my photography appointments this weekend and will officially be closing down my business of 10 years in December. We will get used to living solely on Chris’s fireman income until we move to Missouri this summer. It is bitter sweet but the Lord has placed a new path for our lives on our hearts and its time to give it my full focus.

One thing I know… The Lord will provide.

He is teaching us to receive from others – it is very humbling and He is constantly reminding us of His faithfulness.

We just finished up another garage sale for a fundraiser. We ended up reserving winter/Christmas items for a Fall sale since they didn’t sell last Spring. We had a great sale hosted at my moms in Wichita Falls a couple weeks ago and then at our friends’ house in Graham this weekend. We had a handful of people donate items for the sales and their generosity was overwhelming. I wish I could repay them all in some way but I know their reward is in Heaven. I can’t say enough how humbling it is to receive from others but I know their gift is to the Lord and then from the Lord to us.

We did a donations only sale both times and it was the most rewarding experience. We constantly got to share with others a little bit of how God was leading us and what He was doing around the world. A lot of people didn’t understand why we wouldn’t give them a price but allowed them to choose how much to give for their items. Many gave so generously. Complete strangers said they would be praying for us and gave above and beyond the value of the item in order to be a part of the Lord’s work. We trusted the Lord to provide while some bought a lot for little  and some blessed us greatly. It was a growing experience to turn our thoughts and prayers to hope the people who donated little would be blessed by those items they were purchasing so cheaply. I think its natural for our flesh to say they are taking advantage but the Lord knows their needs and He will provide for ours. He is the source.

As we ease into the life of living off of the support of others… God is filling us with His faithfulness and our trust is in Him. We have no doubt He will provide. And for those who are already giving or have donated… our hearts are overwhelmed with thankfulness and joy of watching the Lord move in people’s hearts to partner with us and I know its only the beginning.

If you read this far then you get to enjoy some of the cuteness parading around this weekend’s sale.
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the beginning of lasts

I can’t help but start to think “this will (potentially) be the last time we are here (in Loving) for this or that…” We are past the one year mark and will no longer be here ‘next year.’ Different things bring on nostalgic thoughts such as Aydin and Calyn playing soccer on a team for the last time, Calyn participating in the Ranch Rodeo stickhorse race… just the daily routines and activities that bring about the reminder that in a year we will be in a completely different place. I know this will really set in next summer when we move but already it seems weird to say oh next year we wont be here for this or that…

For now we are in full swing with this year’s homeschool curriculum, Exploring Countries and Cultures. It is the perfect study for us as we learn about God’s love for all people and His desire for all to come to know Him. We will learn all the countries and experiment with their foods and artwork, while learning their religions and customs. Already the Lord has been faithful to plant a desire in the kid’s hearts to reach others. They get it… there is a lost and dying world full of people who have never even heard of Jesus.

Here is Aydin’s collage of people from around the world that God sent His Son to die for. img_3489

We have also submitted all the application paperwork and medical evaluations for the Training Center. We are anxious to hear back and get interviews started and the ultimate confirmation that this is where the Lord is leading us.

Our seminary classes are also well under way. We are very thankful we have had the freedom and ability to attend online courses throughout this process. Classes are all set for us to finish up in May.

In the mean time we got to attend a Perspectives class at Howard Payne University in Brownwood last night. Our New Tribes Mission rep Doug Schiable was the guest speaker and it was such a treat! He taught on God’s Mandate for the Nations. Although we know this truth it was encouraging to read many of the Scriptures declaring His love and desire for all to know Him, that one day representatives from every tribe and language will worship in His presence for eternity. Jesus gave the mandate to share the Gospel with the world to His believers. We are His chosen way of spreading the Gospel and He will not go about it in any other way-It is our purpose, whether that is where you are or where you go.

Would you please join us in praying for
-the application process to go smoothly so we can begin the next steps in raising support
-God would bless us through our seminary classes,growing and molding us, and that we will have the endurance and understanding we need.
-ministry opportunities and that we will be in tune to His leading to use us where we are

 

Where did the summer go?

Summer has flown much too fast for us this year, however the Lord has blessed it immensely.  We were able to tack on a few Bible classes this summer to help alleviate the load this next school year and plan to  finish seminary by May. God continues to walk through this journey of school with us, strengthening and providing. It has not been easy but He is always faithful to show us the necessity and purpose of this step in the journey. We are enjoying a small break and then start the Fall semester on the 15th.

In the last post we mentioned getting to do youth camp which then followed with VBS.  It was such a joy to get to be involved in the lives of young kids and see how the Lord is moving and teaching them. Chris was able to help with the 3rd-5th grade class and I got to be a part of the Missions class all the kids rotated through. I loved getting to share God’s heart for people around the world, our similarities and differences, and how everyone can be involved in sharing His love for others. The kids learned that God knows them, loves them, and saves them and that they can be involved with missions though going, giving, and praying for others around the world. DSC_0031-frame

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My friend Mindy and I had so much fun dressing up and sharing how the Lord is moving in people’s lives on the other side of the world. Her and her husband have been a true gift from God of wisdom and encouragement to us. Pictured below is Chris being his amazing goofy self and doing all the dance moves to the songs.
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At the end of July we got to take the kids to Children’s Camp at Chaparral. It was a blast!!! The Lord used the camp staff and Kolby King with Three-Thirty Ministries in a powerful way to bring the joy and beauty of the Gospel in an understandable and clear way for kids. We could all benefit from singing praises to Him in such a fun way and getting on their level to have a child-like faith. “But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, if anyone does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, he will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17IMG_2967 1 copy
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It was truly a blessing to attend and love on kids for a few days. We couldn’t help but get a picture where Chris and I were married 11 years ago. He made this cross  for our ceremony and it’s still out there (right in the middle of a disk golf field)IMG_2980 1
Overall, this summer has been a humbling and blessed experience as Christ has surrounded us with support and ministry opportunities in the midst of completing classes. We are enjoying the break but look forward to our next set of classes and to start the official application process to attend New Tribes Mission Training Center next August.

Please pray for us for:
-Fall Semester-wisdom in time management, diligence in school work, endurance and focus in the frustrating times to remember His purpose.
-Ministry opportunities for our family
-The application process and fundraising for New Tribes Mission Training Center.
-The kids new homeschooling year