Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Just Stand

 From the “Spiritual Survival Handbook for Cross-Cultural Workers”, this quote resonates as it seems to be written directly to me. 

“Realize that the terrain changes quickly in ministry. One week, it feels like the world is falling in on you; it feels like things couldn’t get worse. Don’t react, attack or retreat. Just stand! Stand in faith. These moments of difficulty will pass in due time. It is important that you see that God is able to sustain you in the midst of trials. The next week everything seems to be going well. Be thankful, but realize that there will be challenging days ahead. Don’t give yourself to opinions, emotions, or circumstances. Move in the Spirit. Stay on the trail. Keep running the race.”

From my deepest core, thank you for your prayers and encouragements regarding the last post. I knew in writing, I was at risk of saying too much. Usually when I recognize myself in a desperate state, I stay far away from the computer keyboard to avoid the risk of exposing my soul in an extremely vulnerable state. However, prayers are vital and you all know I am not some superhuman. Another thought from our Spiritual Life Conference, quoting Daniel Hahn, “Inadequacy turns out to be our greatest gift because dependency is our greatest achievement”. 

Your prayers and our return home have been a balm to my soul. We have been able to stay here and we are so thankful to see our neighbors again! Jon has found internet if he drives to Tafera’s house…a bit like dial-up speed but its there. I’ll have to limit the pictures but I at least wanted to post and say, “I’m ok, thanks for caring so much.” :)

IMG 6615

Here is some of our frost! I know this doesn’t compare to your snow. :)

A few pictures of our time with the Schrocks (hopefully more to come). We are so thankful for their visit. Graham and Hudson take amazing photographs that I haven’t even finished weeding through yet but photo credit to them!

IMG 2660

Besides this one, credit to Jon. 

DSC 8243

 Their view out of their “loft” window. (It’s actually an attic but Eliza and Whitney have made it cozy).

DSC 8151

DSC 7835

DSC 8227

By God’s grace, we are still standing. Thanks for your prayers.  

Friday, January 26, 2018

He Sees Me

The last weeks have gone vastly different than planned. As God allows, we travel North again today, finally back to our home but for various reasons, it may only be a few days before we leave for another location. For the last few days, I’ve been raw and on the edge of tears. Please pray with us for safety, settling and the ability to stay in our Injibara home for more than a few days. 

Have you ever chosen a word for the year? As I explained in the last post, I have only chosen one in retrospect, giving a year a word in hindsight but this year, I was challenged by a friend to intentionally find a word to focus on in the future, 2018. I had initially thought of the word abundant but am I allowed to shift mid-January? If so, this time, it’s a phrase. Maybe I am more like a-word-of-the-week kind of gal. 

 At our Spiritual Life Conference we spent some time reflecting and discussing this Rembrandt painting, “The Storm On the Sea of Galilee”. We had a very large image of the painting and I don’t know if it will have the same effect here but what stood out most to me was the disciples desperately pulling on the sails, doing everything in their power to keep the boat from sinking and there lays Jesus, peaceful, all-knowing, unphased. Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

He saw the disciples in their distress. When asked to reflect on what emotions we felt while looking at the painting, I was surprised one of my first emotions was frustration. How could Jesus be witnessing the desperate state of his friends and just calmly sit there? Why wasn’t he intervening? How could He have been sleeping? I know He is with us in every storm but why does he sit? I’m okay having these emotions because I know God is big enough to handle them. Since then, I’ve mentally returned to this image and new thoughts flood my mind. Jesus saw them. He wasn’t ignoring the storm, and just as the disciples can rest in the assurance Jesus is in the boat, I can too. He sees me. He sees my storms. He sees me in the night time feedings and early mornings. He sees our displaced family. He sees the beauties and the pains of our Awi neighbors. He sees the tears, mine and the ones I wipe from the cheeks of my children. He sees me, He knows me and He still invites me to rest in Him. 

He sees me.

We are not alone.

Whew! That was a bit heavier than I expected…Suitcases are waiting to be loaded and I am waiting to see if the water comes on so I can shower. I hope the next time you hear from me, I’m in Injibara!

IMG 6547

Thanks for all your prayers!


Thursday, January 11, 2018


Life’s been a little on the low side. It’s seen in our routines (6 different locations for our family since Christmas Eve), sleep patterns, in every luxeccesity (my word i created during one of my many nighttime wakes).

Luxeccesity: (n) luxuries for most in the country that are perceived necessities for me, example, power, running water, internet.

This morning the water came. I was so happy and waiting for a shower but then there was no hot water because of a power problem. Hmm. hot water is also another one of my luxeccesities. We’ve been flushing our toilet with buckets (especially hard as we’ve been passing around a stomach bug along with a cold), filling small tubs with boiled water hauled from buckets for the babies’ bath time.  hopping online when we see the signal to find internet.

Now, to move on from my whining, all the night time wake-ups, kids in our bed, gave me time to mentally frame this blog post. :) As I lay between two kids (a big and a little), I know I wouldn’t change it. Yes, I would change that water runs from the pipes, I would choose internet and that we could be in our village home in Injibara, but I was flooded with thankfulness for these four children, as circus-like as we may be, the man God has given me who is an amazing father and has incredible vision for how to see the Word of God spread here. As much as I dread the revolving door of cross-cultural workers here and so. many. GOODBYES, I also am blessed by the many deep friendships here. 

We are in Addis Ababa for the time being and as internet has been cut in the countryside, we’ve made the hard choice that we need to stay in Addis Ababa until internet is turned back on in the countryside as Jon is working on his MBA on an online program. He has a heavy load this semester. I know God uses this time, we are abundantly blessed in our Addis relationships, with Ethiopian and expatriates alike. I also crave our life in the village, busy in some ways but so much more peaceful in others. And that is our home. 

IMG 6602

In the mornings when both babies want mama. It’s so cute and quickly turns painful as they crawl all over me like a jungle gym.

We currently have two Awi medical patients in Addis and it has been a blessing to be in contact here (but so hard…hospitals here are very difficult for me). God is astounding us with how He is blessing our time in the capital and connecting the new project we get to steward, KIBIR Consulting (Kingdom Impact Business and Investment Resources) by bringing a dynamite and godly manager as well as connections and excitement pouring from unknown places and meetings that leave us undoubtedly sure God is moving this concept forward.


Do any of you choose a word upon starting your new year? I would love to hear yours. I have never done it before but I give words a year in retrospect. This year, I do want to focus on a word and the word that keeps coming back to me is abundant. Even though I am now in a low circumstantial time, I praise the God of abundance and the ways He deals abundantly with me. Abundant grace, abundant mercy, abundant children, abundant ministry.  Praise Him. 

Now a glimpse from past pictures.

Before Christmas, as we studied the Renaissance in school, Eliza practiced a Christmas song with the girls so they could have a recital. It was adorable. These dresses were from Great-Grandma and have been perfectly timed with our renaissance study. :)

IMG 6585

They were so nervous as they played for us and Mark and Debbie but also proud.

IMG 6582

Eliza played a Christmas song first on the violin.

IMG 6588

A asked if we could all close our eyes.

IMG 6590

J beamed the whole song.

IMG 6571

We had a “reception" and I loved the dress hoops as the girls considered which dessert to have.

IMG 6572

Yay for Renaissance ladies! Who I let have free reign on the treats. 5 cookies each went on their plates and I smiled and shut my mouth.

IMG 6601

And yay for Mark and Debbie dressing up and blessing us with their attendance.

Thanks for reading and praying us along. We love you.