Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Heading Back

I am looking forward to learning where the best stops along the way are.  And maybe even some free activities we can do.  We used to have a McWane Center Science Museum membership (which also means you can visit other science museums for free in other states) but have put that on hold until we feel we can "splurge" again.

In other news, we are continuously amazed at how God weaves the interactions of our lives when we commit to obeying. 

We were invited by a friend to come speak to a Sunday School group at Kingwood Baptist Church, TX this past weekend.  So, have RV will travel.  We were able to "boondock" in their parking lot and once again enjoyed our short showers.  This time Bill added a bit more bleach than usual to the water tank (helps keep it sanitary) and let's just say we are sparkling clean!

Bill shared about Believer's Bridge and what we are doing to the adult SS class.  Many were interested and one couple has decided to partner financially with us.  I think God blesses those that in faith commit to something that they have just heard about (Heb. 11:7).  We have many financial partners who knew us but this is the first who have committed w/o having gotten to know us (months or years before).  So if you are reading this, Thank You!!

We also had a few who gave a one time gift.  Thank you to those as well!  We are also excited about the connection that was made.  Our hope is to return sometime in the near future and strengthen the bond.  In fact, we are hoping to host an International Dinner in the area.  We'll keep you posted when we do.

Meanwhile, we are on our way back to our "regular" home.  In fact, time for lunch!  So, until next time, keep the faith!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Update on RV restoration

We were able to get the front put back together again and left AL Thursday evening.  Yay!!

There are still a few interior and exterior details to be done, but it has held up (pun intended) quite nicely.  There is actually less bouncing which really made us incredibly thankful that nothing serious (oh, like kids falling out the front) had happened on our CA trip back.

So, in our excitement that the front was fixed we neglected to realize we hadn't gotten some essential items packed (oh, like sleeping bags/blankets/front curtain/sugar...yes, sugar).

We DID remember to pack pillows.  If I had to forget bedding, I'm glad it wasn't pillows.  Needless to say, we used whatever we could find for blankets last night (jackets and so on).  Can you say "missionary living"?

We are just about to our Texas destination.  Looking forward to sharing what Believer's Bridge is doing in Peru (and soon Brazil) to other folks.  For those that know our work, please pray for receptive hearts and new supporters. 

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  Phillipians 1:3-6

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Short" Texas Trip

Maybe we just love to travel. 

Or maybe we have begun to prioritize our lives differently now that we have immersed ourselves into helping the Peruvian nationals understand and know the Bible. 

Maybe it's both.  Well, whatever the reason, we are off to Texas for a "weekend" trip to visit one of the churches out there to share about what Believer's Bridge is doing in Peru, and hopefully, soon to be in Brasil.

At least we hope it will be in our RV.  As of this moment there is a BIG, open, air-conditioned space in the very front where the top sleeping area used to be.  On our way back from the previous trip, Bill noticed a gap on the side of the front.  He patched it up, and since we've been back we've had to tear the whole front out and redo it.

One lady I told about it said, "I didn't know you could do that."  You're not.  But if you know anything about us, we are not your normal/average American family.  In an era where it's common to "throw away, give-up, buy a new one, or take it to the shop", we opted for the "economical, fix-it-better-yourself" method.

Thought I would show you the current before and after photos. 

This is what we found when we "opened the can of worms".  Water had been getting in and wreaking havoc on the wood.

Handy-man Bill taking it apart.

The new air-conditioned version.  Hmm, not sure it would travel really well though.  ;-)

An inside view.  (And lots of fresh air)

The reconstruction in progress.

The new front part.

Well, the good news is we should be able to have it travel-ready by late afternoon.  Otherwise, we will be leaving tomorrow for Texas.  Either way we are making sure we do it right. 

Also, I can't tell if I'm getting sick or if it's just the change in weather, but I keep getting that muscle-ache feeling you get when you get the flu and also nausea every so often.  Whatever it is, I have been drinking Bolthouse drinks (the immune and Vit. C one) and resting as much as a mom can who has to homeschool, do laundry, get the RV ready and clean the house before we leave (it's still on the market to sell). 

All that to say, Please pray for me.  And Bill, as we fix the RV.

"We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. "  I Thessalonians 1:3

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The end of the beginning

We are officially back at our casita in Alabama. 

Felt good to have open space again.  And do laundry.  And make real pizza (we had either been doing it in the microwave or cutting it up and doing small pieces at a time in the toaster oven).  So, even though our RV has an oven it does not work well and burns the bottom of anything.  So we just don't use it.  So you can imagine the relief to have a real, LARGE oven again.

I think Bill took a 20+ minute shower.  The water pressure is great.  And it's a relief to not worry about if we will run out of water. 

But I have a confession:  I'm having "culture shock".  It's a term used mostly for folks who live in two different types of countries for long periods of time.  Because of the sometimes extreme differences in living (due to how one has to live, what is available, possibly different language, and just overall cultural differences) it takes a while for the person(s) to adjust back. Thus, culture shock is very common to long-term missionaries.  I had not experienced it since coming back from Brazil in 1988. 

After having to limit ourselves to not wasting water, being content with what we had, and living in crowded conditions, I didn't even think about what it would mean to go back to "luxurious" conditions.  In fact, I hadn't really considered what we have (here in our AL home) luxurious.  Until we spent a few hours readusting back in.  I was overwhelmed at the amount of space and water pressure.

It made me think about "The Rich Young Ruler" (Matthew 19).  About what we really are willing not to hold on to.  When a person becomes accustomed to any way of living, anything different is hard to get used to.  But Jesus points out that it is especially hard for those with great wealth.

Again, I don't consider what we have luxury in comparison to the average American home and what you would expect to find in the American culture.  In fact, our RV is pretty bottom-of-the-barrel when you consider we have started living out of it for about 1/2 the year.  (BTW, we really do need a bigger RV since we will continue to live 1/2 the year out of one.  5 people in an RV w/o slide outs has been hard.  IF any of you know of someone who would love to donate one to Believer's Bridge, we would be ecstatic!!  And it would be tax-deductable.)

So, the challenge for us (that's right, you and I), is to learn joy in our lives, not our possesions. 

That's not to say we sell everything and live in a tent.  I am saying, don't put a certain means of living above God's place in your heart. 

I do believe God uses all kinds of people to reach other kinds of people.  Having also been in "high society" situations, I understand the protocols associated with that type of environment.  It would not make sense for someone living in poverty to try and evangelize someone in that position.  Or vice-versa. 

Joy in our lives, not our possesions. 

Well, the RV journey may have ended for a little while, but our ministry is growing.  As with anything, it takes time and determination to establish something.  Please keep praying for the ministry of Believer's Bridge and God's use of our lives as we continue growing. 

"He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time..."  "Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us."  II Timothy 1:9 and 14

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hangin' out in Texas

So, day 5 on the road and the last 2 have been in Texas.  The saying is true, everything in Texas is HUGE.  Especially when you take the lower portion.  BUT, we have been chuggin' along and having a pretty good time overall. 

As usual, my family enjoys, uh, making the most of every opportunity.  Some would call it being goofy, I prefer to see it as learning moments (some more goofy than others...).  With that said, we've had some great "opportunities" lately.

For example, I announced yesterday that Joshua would be next in doing the dishes.  Next thing I know I hear Robert say, "Quick!  Fill the sink up!", with Bill on his tail yelling, "Andrew, get out of the sink!"  Good grief.  I'm starting to think I could make a small fortune making comic strips out of our life experiences.

The guys are watching "Flywheel" as I blog.  Great movie by the way.  And I hear lots of laughing, so there must be lots of comedy along with the great message it brings (honesty even when the going gets tough - it's a Christian movie).

The favorite line so far is, "You both look like two marshmellows trying to get out of a hotwheel car."  The only reason I know that is the boys keep repeating it....  My favorite line is, "I'm feeling anxiety right now, but it's like a peaceful anxiety."  Kind of a reflection of our lives it seems.

Operating Believer's Bridge hasn't always been easy.  In fact, there are moments of grueling work and times of doing what's right even when it's hard.  There have also been times when we experienced miracles when we needed them. 

For example, our printer ran out of black ink and the ink we had ordered didn't arrive when the company said it would.  We needed to make flyers for our International Dinner so we decided to overide the controls and see if we could squeeze a few more pages out.  1000+ pages later, it was still working!! 

Life brings so many moments.  Sometimes we get it "right" and other times we blow it.  Other times we grow and change, and yet other times we harden our hearts.  Listen, the road will get hard, but choosing to follow in God's path brings peace.  Even if it's "peaceful anxiety". ;-)

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14
" 'I have told you these things, so that in me [Jesus] you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world' ".  John 16:33

More photos:

We spent our last day in Carlsbad with Bill's parents.  So of course we spent most of the time on the beach...

All 3 boys.  I had fun playing with the settings on the camera.

I'm going to miss this...

Snow in Southern California.

Just so there's no doubt, EVERYTHING is big is Texas...

Pima Air Space Museum

Airplane graveyard

Thought I would give you a glimpse of our everyday living in our 200sq ft home...

The "office", the bedrooms, the kitchen and eating area, movie theatre, schoolroom, and anything else you can think of space.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On the Road Again!

We are headed home again after living in the RV for 4+ months.  Have I mentioned it's 200 sq. ft. of living space...?  for 5 people?...  mostly boys?  (I just wanted to clarify for any new readers out there.)
Wow.  What a trip.  It was a new experience for all of us.  Between the constant hall shuffle (that's where 2 people fight for the coveted hall space), the constant stuff shuffling (that's where we creatively find new places to store stuff), and the constant synching of schedules  (that’s where we make sure someone is not stuck with all the kids or w/o a car ), we survived the adventure!
But the ministry adventure is far from over.  In fact this is the end of the beginning.  As we head home we hope to take a little bit of a breather from work and the constant activity.  We are feeling a little bit physically drained, but encouraged by the awareness of the need for Biblical training in remote areas of Peru (and hopefully, in the future, Brazil). 

Since I haven’t put up any photos lately, I thought I would make this update short and fill it with more photos.  Some of them are from awhile ago and I had forgotten about them until recently.  So, sit back, grab some popcorn and a drink and enjoy.  J

The guys recieved mail from our church youth.

Mission Bay (San Diego, CA) at sunset.  And no, the SUV and boat are not ours.

By Mission Bay at sunset.  Gorgeous!

Having a pic-nic at Balboa Park.  (And no, we really aren't trying to
advertise for Cheetos, PureLife, and 7Up... but now you know what we had...along w/ an awesome Sub).

Fountain at Balboa Park (Josh and Andrew by it, and Robert acting all cool...)

The famous Pea Soup Andersen's restaurant.  We stopped by on our way back from visiting
friends in Santa Maria, CA. 

Robert and Josh prefer to have their own fight instead of taking the picture pose....

Sunset on the West coast...

More sunset photos!

Mt. Helix overlooking El Cajon.  Awesome sun rays.

Our newest prayer card photo.  Also taken at Mt. Helix.

I have a few more photos, so check back in at another date.  Meanwhile, please keep us in your prayers as we travel the 2000 miles back (and that gas prices won't be too bad!).

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."  I Timothy 6:12 

Quick update:  We did an International Ministry Dinner and it went great.  We had a Brazilian dinner (thanks to Denise Rosa, the Brazilian Pastor's wife ~ they work under Shadow Mountain Community Church) and a video presentation.  We hope to do one in Birmingham and Fort Lauderdale.  If you are near either of those areas, stay tuned!