It is the start of a fresh new year. We have a new baby set to arrive in April. We said goodbye to our oldest who will begin college in the U.S. this month. We also said goodbye to our only teammates, the Richlines, for their year long furlough, and will say hello to a new family that will minister with us for the year. Ray will begin preaching every week in Spanish, as well as taking over many responsibilities of the church plant. Continue reading 2016 – Yielded
Does God care about the little things in life? Should we bother him with the little things like losing keys? Is it too much to ask that He use us to bless other people? As Christians we believe that God ordains all that comes to pass and we believe He cares for us. I want to introduce you to an amazing little book that reminds us of how God works even amidst the minutia of life. It is called No Ordinary Days and was written by long time MTW missionary Dianne Smalling. In it she shares story after story from her years in ministry of expecting God to be at work in her life and through her life. Some stories seem amazing. Other stories seem ordinary. But this is not a book of how amazing the author is or how different the missionary life is from regular life. Instead, she highlights how ordinary people can anticipate God at work through the ordinary events of daily life. As I was reading it I was reminded of how I have seen God at work in my own life. Even just in the time we’ve been here, I would have similar stories to tell. But I was also reminded of how often I overlook God’s hand at work in my day to day life. Opportunities are lost. Gifts go by unnoticed, or are noticed briefly and forgotten. Continue reading No Ordinary Days
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.’ ” (Luke 9:23-25)
Our Lord graciously laid down his life for his people. Oh, the wonder of what Jesus did to save lost sinners, fulfilling the law on their behalf and taking their punishment upon himself – the very wrath of God against unrighteousness and rebellion! Continue reading Serving Christ
It was our last day borrowing our teammate’s car. They were about to return from their vacation, and then it would be back to taking the bus. So, we decided that we needed to have an afternoon at the beach while there was still an easy way to get there. It came at the perfect time. Our family was feeling pretty tired…but not because we had been accomplishing so much. But more because we had been learning so much. Much of living in a new culture is about the inefficiency of life and how much language and culture we learn while trying to get things done—the things don’t get done very quickly but we tell ourselves that is okay because we are learning a lot anyway. But learning is tiring. And inefficiency is tiring. Continue reading A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Beach
Breaking down in a strange city and being cared for by a local church. Being invited on Sunday morning to come share a meal with a family we have just met. Being hosted by a couple for a long weekend, complete with meals and beds for our large family. Being allowed to stay at an apartment or unoccupied house for a matter of weeks or months by friends or even strangers. Hospitality. This is something as missionaries that we are honored to both give and receive. And as we are on the brink of leaving for the field and I look back on our 8 months on the road visiting churches in the US, I can say that the one of the biggest (maybe the biggest?) spiritual blessing is the blessing of seeing God’s people practice hospitality towards us. Continue reading Simple Christian Hospitality
Years ago, when Grey Davis first became governor of California, I remember reading a newspaper article which voiced the concern that Governor Davis might become “lost amid the paper clips” – that he would be so focused on managing the details that he could lose sight of the big picture. Since we moved out of California soon after this, I did not follow whether this humorous prediction came true. However, I always remembered what it said. It stuck out to me because of my own tendency to “get lost amid the paper clips”. Ray is the visionary; I am the one thinking in details. If there was a great tornado coming, I would be the one not gathering my children and fleeing, but making sure we had some snacks and extra blankets to take with us.