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Our Story... The Good, Hard and Unknown

To gain an understanding of our current circumstances, we would like to share pieces of our story of how the Lord has led us to this point. Through a circle of friends in high school and college, stories were told from a girl who lived in India and worked with this family...this family that is technically a group home with over 40 children. These stories captured the heart of Jimmy as a young college student. Stories of young kids with lives that display hearts sold out to Jesus. Specific stories challenged his own heart. Before we were dating, I remember him saying that one day he would live in India.

After the Lord placed us together, I remember silently hoping he had forgotten that desire.

During our years of working in student ministry, he would share some of these stories as examples to our students.

Years later, while working in a different non-profit ministry, Jimmy and his friend/business partner met with a local pastor in our community to share about their non-profit. As they shared their passions for missions, Jimmy recalled some of these stories to this pastor. He listened with a huge smile as he shared that he knows this family and the missionaries there and that his church supports and loves that community well in India. Jimmy was amazed that he could hear names to the kids who he heard about many years before. Through the Lord's leading, that local pastor became our family's pastor, and we are blessed to call our church, Vintage 242, home.

We are thankful for the missions heart of our church.

One of the first families that we connected with in our church was a family that knew the Lord would be leading them to missions overseas. We were blessed to walk that road with them as the Lord led them to Bangalore, India. Through our heart connection to them and their new home in India, we knew we wanted to visit. In April of 2014, our whole family went to India. It is impossible to be with the community there and see what God is doing  and it not capture your heart. Though we knew our visit was purposeful for us, we did not anticipate living there. We returned home with passions for ministry in our community. We were confident we would be approaching the beginning stages of stepping into foster care.

Though we were uncertain about timing, we ultimately knew God was stirring our hearts and preparing us for big changes. We would pray about direction and God just seemed silent.

One day, Jimmy came home early to share with me the opportunity for us to join the team working with Daughters of Hope in India. He said he would not even pursue in thought if I wasn't peaceful. For someone who had never felt like I would survive living overseas, God gave me an instant peace. Our prayer was not whether or not we would go. Our prayer became, "God, our hearts say yes, but make a way if you want this." He immediately began confirming His calling in very specific ways.

Our families and friends have been crucial in walking this road with us.

From weekly prayers over our family in the early morning hours to major efforts in our support raising, we are overwhelmed with our loving family and friends who have emotionally yet fully embraced this journey with us. We sold our house in late March. We have lived with my parents through the month of April. Though transition is never easy, we have treasured the time with our families and friends during the last weeks we have in the states. We look forward to sharing all that the Lord has done and will continue to do to make His name known among the nations!

Mission Training is No Small Task

Through this month of May, we have been in an intense 4 week training in Colorado Springs, Colorado at Missions Training International. We are in our 4th and final week here.  There were many emotions in leaving home and heading to Colorado. There were uncertainties and hesitation of more transitions before even arriving in India, but many of those uncertainties dissipated upon arrival as we met other families that we instantly connected with that are walking the same road we are on but to just different places all over the world. It has been extremely encouraging to share the same story as others for this month. With those connections, our families have enjoyed activities such as hiking and seeing these local parts of Colorado together. The training has been crucial for us and our children. The first two weeks focused on language learning with an emphasis on learning methods to take to our host country to aid in the language learning process. It was refreshing to gain a greater heart knowledge of the importance of learning language and the essential purpose it has in connecting to our future neighbors and community. We have set personal goals for ourselves in learning language when we arrive. 
The second two weeks of training have focused on cultural changes, family health and development, the importance of sabbath, conflict and stress management, grief and loss, and more. All topics have been fruitful for our hearts as we prepare to leave and believe to be beneficial months later as we enter new phases of settling in India. One of our favorite parts of this program has been watching God further prepare our four children. We fully believe God has a sweet purpose for all six of us in India. Though we are tired and anxious to return to Georgia, we will greatly miss the relationships we have formed this month here at MTI. We take comfort in knowing we have new family all over the world. 
We will be arriving in Atlanta next week with only two weeks remaining before we leave for India June 15th. We anticipate hard goodbyes but much joy as He leads us in obedience to  His call. 
 

Kissing The Waves

It would be a mistake to say that sometimes this Christian life is hard and much more accurate to say that the Christian life is impossible.  Although this statement can be seen as a negative concept, I believe God intended it to be for our exceeding joy in Him by our total dependance on Him.

I'm reminded of a quote by the well known English preacher Charles Spurgeon who said:

“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

This statement is very weighty because Spurgeon was not declaring that the waves were bad.  Indeed, they could have been bad and would have been something to take great sorrow in if they hadn't propelled him into the One who has the utmost care for him and the One who had the authority and strength to take care of him in the time of his greatest need.  Therefore, we can embrace the hardships of this life, knowing that at their end, God is producing in us our greatest joy in Him for His highest glory!

In order for us to see this as truth, especially during hardship, we must behold Christ. 

Take a look at Chan and Platt speaking into "The Centrality of Jesus in Mission" and how beholding Christ is at the heartbeat of how we are to live this Christian life and live it well!

To View This Video, Click On The Link Below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3BXtJ3u-14#t=27

 

Fighting For Joy

"Our fight for faith is a fight for joy!" - John Piper

And fight we must.  Everyday we find ourselves in a battle.  We might not feel it, or even be aware of the clinging of swords or clashing of the shields as we go through our daily lives. The enemy is cunning in that way.  His plots are disguised in so many subtle forms. 

For example, two nights ago my wife was meeting with a friend and left me and the kiddos for the evening.  After putting them to bed, I turned on the TV to watch one of my favorite shows, Bizarre Foods. In between Andrew Zimmern (the host of the show) stuffing his face with 3 year old lamb brain and blood pudding pancakes were commercials that made me blush. I literally had to change the channel because I would be embarrassed if my wife or children came in the room.

You see, the battle happens whether we want it to or not, or whether we are ready or not. And so, from the moment we rise until we go to bed we must fight and fight well! 

So the question begs, what are we fighting for? The Bible tells us in John 6 :35

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." 

It seems that Jesus wants us to know that there is a joy that we can have that will not get stale and that will last forever.  Namely, Himself! 

CS Lewis puts it this way...

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

So, in our battles we must move past the "lesser joys" that ultimately lead to the dissatisfaction of our souls, to our highest joy that is Christ Himself.  If we wage war on any other battle ground, we will find ourselves weary of the fight.

 

Click Below for Video...

http://youtu.be/z4MsckYRzaM

One taste of the sound
From the Sirens in the water
And I’m thinking I should get out
The sharpest sword and suit of armor

So I can be ready to strike
But I pause, one more time
One last taste of the sound
Then I’ll cut these Sirens down

But as they sang, I forgot
They were death, so I brought them my heart
To be filled, and I followed them

No trace could I find
Of any joy the Sirens promised
They had found a way with a lie
To turn what’s good and should be wanted

Into what is highest above, all desires and loves
’til my heart would obey
Whatever it wants whatever it takes

To feel alive and set free
Only bound to the sea
Where the sirens are leading me on

Hold on, hold on, my heart
You once were full and sang of grace
Hold on, hold on, my heart
You’ve tasted joy that’s more than this

Hold on, hold on, my heart
You once were full and sang of grace
Hold on, hold on, my heart
You’ve tasted joy that’s more than this

 

Video produced by animator Bobby Bennett.

Fire and Stone – The Gray Havens – Copyright 2014 The Gray Havens – Lyrics by Dave Radford – Music by Dave Radford (SESAC) and Mitch Dane (Satellite Serenade, ASCAP).