Saturday, March 10, 2012


Words cannot express the full extent of what it feels like to be home.  The only comparison that keeps coming up in my mind over and over again is what it will be like when we are in our resurrected bodies in our real homes.  Just like living in the RV pails in comparison to living in a real home, so I can only imagine it will be when all believers are home with our Creator.  "Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere..."  Psalm 84:10a

A fun stop-over at a beach in Florida

The long traveling is now over.  We are home to stay for awhile.  We have experienced things that many will never know, much less attempt.  But, like Paul with his missionary journeys, it was needed.  We had to visit churches, family, and friends to share about the ministry in Peru, and possibly soon to be in Brazil.  We have applied to several churches for financial support, shared the need for Bible teachers, whether on a Bible study level or seminary level, and best of all made some new friends and saw old ones.

Presenting our "Pennies for Pastors" program to an AWANA's group 

Display board

As a family, we homeschooled and got to see some amazing places and scenery.  When we first started, we set out November 2011, leaving our home on the market to sell since Bill had been let go July 2010 and we weren't even making enough to pay mortgage.  We went ahead and applied for a home loan modification, leaving the results in God's hands, knowing that if we had to sell we weren't sure where we would live.  One thing remained true:  we felt sure God wanted us to stay in ministry.  The faces of the Peruvians who had cried out for help to send teachers kept coming to mind.  Who would step up to the call? 

Painting the house to sell

We lived in our RV from November 2010 to February 2011, visiting Texas, Utah, and California.  At the beginning of February we got the news that we finally qualified for a home loan.  We took the house off the market, ecstatic God had allowed us to keep it.  We returned home for about 3 weeks before heading back out to visit friends and churches in Florida, Texas, back to Florida and several other places. 

We came back home for maybe one week every month, the details have become blurry in my mind.  All the while we continued to homeschool, up until June, sometimes having some fascinating places to visit, like St. Augustine, the Alamo, several science museums in various states, some of the missions in California, and who knows where else!  Most of the time we sat in the main section of our RV doing "regular" school.

Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, FL 

Free cookies and hot chocolate, compliments of coupons to Flying J/Pilot

Josh studying about the Titan Missile II in Tuscon, AZ

For one week in August 2011, Bill, Robert, and I took a mission trip to Andahuaylas, taking 2 others who helped teach classes to the Quechua.  This was my first time meeting our national missionaries, and they couldn't wait to meet the wife of the "jefe" (Spanish for "chief").  Seeing photos of the people and area was one thing, but visiting was something else.  The grateful hearts were evident as we worked together, sharing truths of what God's Word had to say.  After all, this is what they wanted to hear.  To know and understand the meaning of Scripture so they could teach it to others.

Lunch time!

Celebration at the seminary in Andahuaylas, Peru

We came back for 2-3 weeks, I believe, and soon after started homeschooling and traveling again, mostly to Florida.  After much discussion, we agreed we needed to make another trip out West to continue seeking financial support and follow up on the interest in working with Believer's Bridge to send teachers to Andahuaylas.  Once more, we left in November (2011).  This time we found a renter who needed a place to stay.  We didn't have much time to evaluate this person's habits, but felt God had orchestrated the events.  We needed some extra money and they needed a place to stay and could not afford a regular rental place.

Once again, we visited Texas, Utah, and California, with one exception.  During the previous summer (July 2011), we had hosted a team from Faith Bible Church in Phoenix, AZ who came out to do some tornado relief work.  We needed a place to leave our RV while we drove to Utah (were we celebrated Thanksgiving and my parent's 50th wedding anniversary) and a family in their church offered their home.  So, after returning from Utah, we spent a little bit of time with them and their church.  My aunt is also in the area, and we were able to visit her and her church, which happened to be a church that used to support my parents.

AZ team and some of our church people

This trip turned out a little different than the one in 2010.  We did a lot more "dry-docking", which means we did not have full hook-ups most of the time so we could save money.  It also meant water became like gold and we had to be very frugal with it.   I've said it before, but bares repeating:  there's a reason God only gave us boys!  And these were the hardest times of the whole trip.  And we'll leave it at that.

Desert camping

Meanwhile, back at the "ranch", turns out our renter assumed they should only pay part of the utilities, even though they were the only person using the house.  There were a few other things going on, but I'm only going to mention this.  Ironically, the message at the church we were visiting happened to be on Paul's unfair trial.  So, even though I felt furious over the situation, Bill and I felt God saying, "Vengeance is mine.  Don't get furious, but keep calm.  Yes, it is unfair and you have the right to exact payment, but I'm testing your response to this." 

Our last stop was supposed to be 2-3 weeks in Kingwood, Texas.  After this we had planned to meet with some of our missionaries who are home on furlough, as well as another of our board member.  Within a 2 day span, several things happened.  Bill had a calm discussion with our renter about needing to move out, the church in Kingwood canceled their meetings, and plans for meeting our missionaries and board member also got canceled.  Just like that we were free to go home.  Our anxiety over dealing with our renter long-distance could now be dealt with in person.  And we will leave that situation at that.  The point is not to gossip but to show how God works.

We are excited to be home.  We have space!  And a real office!  We are even more excited to see how God is still working some miracles.  Our dryer's heating element apparently burned out.  It had been having problems before we left.  So we put out a plea on FB and email to see if anyone had an extra one we could have.  That afternoon Bill called me up and said, "Someone we don't even know is going to buy us a new dryer!"  How cool and neat is that?  I love it when God's people work together for good.  Our pastor will be delivering it Sunday from this wonderful anonymous donor.  So, if you are reading this, Thank you!!

Voila!  Office, kitchen table, school room, bedroom - all-in-one.

And last, but not least, please pray we will get financial support from the churches we applied to.  I have not mentioned before how much we are living off of, except to a select few, but our income is only about $1500.  Our paycheck has been $1000 for the last year or so.  Obviously we have been able to pay bills and survive, mostly because we have received some large donations and we have been frugal (we didn't buy any gifts for Christmas this year, not even for the kids.)   Josh also helped start our "tent-making" business of selling jewelry, which helped us pay for gas and we used some to splurge on a Cracker Barrel outing.

And I think that is the point of me feeling free to disclose the amount.  God will be able to use us to encourage others who struggle with finances, because let me tell you, I struggled with it for months.  But now I see that God uses everything to His glory.  It's not about the situation, it's about your heart.  Once we learn this, He can do amazing things through us.

It's good to be home...  Joy unspeakable!!

Here's an awesome verse for you:

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
II Thessalonians 2:16-17