Thursday, March 29, 2012

What in the world?

Okay, I can't believe it is already Thursday.  It has almost been one week since I got back, and boy was it a week.

However, I did see God work in the little country of Guatemala about the size of Tennessee in a unique short-term missions trip.  I went with a group of 24 teens and 6 leaders from Lazy Mountain Bible Church.  I hadn't met the majority of my team and definitely didn't know all their names.  However, after a special week full of prayer, service, worship, and the Word, these teammates are woven into my heart and prayers.
teaching songs!

At First!
Flashback.  The cars, the city, the weather, the dryness, the altitude, the shrubs, the bars on the windows, the smiles, the tuck shops etc,  everything was so similar to areas in South Africa, I couldn't stop making the connection. Even the poorest of the poor having CELL PHONES, just like Africa.  Crazy.  It was the first time since we left that I had anything to point others to about my experiences in Africa.  It was so refreshing!  Thank you Lord.

The first village was a community of recently displaced people who lived like at Joe Slovo in shacks.  They were removed from a sugarcane plantation where they used to be employed.  Now, with no land, they are surviving somehow.  Boy, did I love them.

What happened?
Sent to the front lines of cross-cultural ministry again was rewarding.  I was right there when people were hearing the Gospel for the first time, getting medicine to kill the nasty parasites.  I pray for missionaries all over the world doing these things, and it was a joy to be there.

The amazing power of the Good News of Jesus Christ coming to earth to redeem the people for all eternity showed up!  He is always there, but often our selfishness, sin, or busyness mask what He is doing.  Giving food & medicine while meeting other physical needs, Paradise Bound ministries lovingly points them to the Word of God that feeds the soul, and the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus that is enough to make people who were enemies of God into the children of God!

People watched the Jesus Film set up on a sheet hanging from a building, heard our praise songs, and then listened to many testimonies from the team (through translation of course).  Then our Guatemalan pastor brought God's Word and an invitation to follow Jesus.

Lessons Learned
Answered prayers, prayer, and power.  I love to share the hope I have in the Lord, however, I was now in a place where everyone spoke Spanish and my best charades couldn't cut cheese. However, I could PRAY.  Never had I spent so long praying for others.  It was a huge blessing.  My prayer for the trip is that I would be encouraging to the workers/missionaries that lived there.  God answered that as well.  They all were encouraged.  I also had a unique experience of knowing the protection from the Lord.  He is powerful.

However, that is NOT ALL!
I was glad to come back to Alaska.  God has called me here to be his witness.  And so, with prayer and power the children and I went and invited people to a parenting workshop on Saturday.  I was able to connect with someone right down my street.  Yeah!  I loved the quote from Oswald chambers (I think) that goes, "you can never be effective where you are not."  Thank you Lord for Palmer!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

0 Celsius

Coming home from Hunt -n- Brunch Journey planning meeting, I saw it with my own eyes.  Two tweens wearing tee-shirts and jeans in 0 degrees Celsius.  And I actually thought, yeah, it is warming up a bit.

When we were in Africa, people would be bundled up in big coats, hats, scarfs, and complaining about the cold when it was 0 C.

It is all a matter of what you have lived through.  If this was the coldest day of winter, yeah you would be bundled up.  But, here in Alaska, we averaged about -30 Celsius for the whole month of January. So, warming up to 0 is nice!

Spiritually speaking, if you have experienced the grace that is so sweet when you deserved severe punishment, or if you have been through a trial that seemed impossible, or seen God's provision when you had nothing, then you don't sweat the little things.

My friends in South Africa have been through a ton and they do have perspective.  I just heard yesterday that a dear friend was hijacked a few months back.  Thankfully, he is doing okay.
Yes, I have seen this sign in South Africa.  The question is:  How many hijacking does it take to get a sign posted.

I leave on the trip to Guatemala tomorrow.  Well, the flight is in the middle of the night, so we leave our town on Thursday evening.  I can't wait to encourage the servants working there and to see the Big Church worshiping Him in another context.  Sharing the Jesus film to a remote village and seeing/playing with the children will be another highlight I am sure!
The same is true about this sign we see daily in Alaska.  The question is:  How many moose must cross here to warrant the sign?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Humbled Hands

You know when your planning for something that is "out there" in the future, it sometimes just doesn't seem real. Life is full, and you don't have the time to think and ponder the upcoming event. Well, going on this short-term mission trip has been one of those things.  Because of an abundance of snow, we weren't able to do the shed for our church as a practice/team building skill.  So, I haven't been able to do much (besides pray) leading up to our departure on THURSDAY night.

Until last Friday at our meeting we were given... the names.  I was handed a short list of a grandfather and his two grandchildren Oliver 2, Catherine 5.  This family will have a new home to live in after our mission trip is finished.  My mind starts racing with questions:  What is their story? How did the parents die?  Where are they staying now?  

Overwhelmed, I think of how I never build anything.  Ugh.  Our little team of 6 people will be helping this family construct a small home.  I can't do this.  The verse that screams out, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief (Luke 9:24)."  

God has often put me in these places.  Places where I am humbled and He is glorified.  I don't know how it is going to happen, but I am excited to see Him show up and enable these willing hands to do the job.  "He who has called you is faithful and HE WILL DO IT" (1 Thess 5:24).   Isn't that how faith and trust is.

Your welcome to follow the team as we leave to Guatemala this week.
I don't know who will write them, but you can hear what we are doing.  


I love to read.  I usually have about 3 or 4 books going on at a time.  However, I went a few weeks ago searching for some good movies.  I checked some blogs, reviews, and thankfully, I was able to request them from the public library.

I was deeply moved by the movie "Bella".  It shows true dignity and life in wonderful people.  It was a hard movie to watch as the choices were really true to life.  However, the actor Eduardo Verastegui did a great job at dealing with his problems and reaching out to another person hurting.  I loved the way the latin american family was portrayed.

Jess you must watch this movie.  You will love it. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Can't stop watching

I have been an Alaskan since birth.  But, I have never followed the Iditarod.  Yes, last year my kids read books to race pages against an Iditarod musher, but we didn't really look at the race itself.

This year I am so hooked.  It all started with a friend at church who also attends my Bible Study Andrea. She invited us to Martin Buser's home for a special time.  We got to pet the dogs, and see the puppies.  We even watched a very nice film about his running the Iditarod.  He has won 4 times.  His son Rohn and friend Matt is racing this year.

It was a joy to talk about blueberry picking with Martin's wife Kathy.  She picks in Nome with friends.  She says there are many many blueberries.  I hope I can see Nome this year.  We enjoyed a nice lunch and mingled with the folks.

Then the next day, we went to the Ceremonial start in Anchorage.  We were right at the front and starting line because our friend Adele was suppose to sing.  Adele sang at our wedding and served with us in South Africa.  However, we didn't see her and wondered why. (We found out later she was severely sick and was in bed--Ugh!)

We are posted on the Iditarod photo gallery for the 2012 race!  Bronwyn is right above the "b" in Mobil sign and I am a row back looking with Jess at the camera.

Now, I have the bug.  I can't stop watching the race.  I look and see how fast they are mushing and calculating their rest times and see who did which leg of the race faster.  I have watched about 90% of the videos on the website insider videos.  So much fun!

The leader is Aliy Z. and she is 72% done with the race.  But, it is a close fun race.

Need to sleep in before the daylight saving times kick in. Bronwyn had 8 rips in her jacket because she "loved" everyone of those dogs.  (over 60!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Looks who's 41!

Upon entering the home, you were greeted by ball jars with votives lights.  

Jess was such a help and made little burnt name tags for the drinks.  She also found a similar frame online, but I made the wanted sign.

Guest had to learn to get out of their shell because Gary was doing the "calling".

The food was AMAZING.  The brie and walnuts just melted in your mouth.  

Having a night out without the kids was good for many of the couples.  We laughed so hard because Square dancing is not for sissy.

I just love this man.  Thank you God for another year!

Calvin and Victoria even drove from Anchorage to our little town.The windows were open because of all the heat our dancing feet.

I don't know if it was because the music was blaring out our window or if they neighbors could see that we were having so much fun.  But, our neighbor and his friend across the street came by (we had never seen them before) and asked if they could sing us a song and play us a giddy on the guitar. They actually were really good!  Then they called their other friends back at the home and invited them to come over and danced with us a few songs.

Thanks Gary Feaster for the great Callin'!

So nice to see Amber and Zack!  

 Willow is always wanted in our home

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March Madness

Okay, I was just BLOWN away by an amazing Northern Lights or Aurora display tonight.  I jumped out of a moving car because it was soooo breathtaking.  Thankfully, James was going slow.  I just yelled at them.  I almost wanted to be a dog sled musher this week imagining the amazing auroras on the night trail.  Thankfully, God just gave me a huge display without having to spend 1000 miles on a frozen trail.  We were just returning from a last dish effort to look for the MISSING CAMARA.  Ugh, I guess I am the worst at keeping a camera.

I also have said goodbye to Facebook for the month.  But, I have quickly replaced that "time waster" on becoming a HUGE Iditarod fan. I just checked it again (online we get up to the second information), Aliy is in the lead going 7mph at 48% of the trail behind her.  Since we are in a home school program, I get up to the second Gps Tracker and Video Insider information.  We all are glued. Okay, I am glued but the kids are interested in it as well.  They are on a race against their chosen musher to read 1023 pages before the race is over.  Bronwyn 2nd grader is reading like mad and is in the lead.

I got to hold a one day old little Noah.  So precious!

Lastly, Willow is now officially an easy wonderful amazing puppy.  That means we moved her crate upstairs and Walla!  She now goes into her little 'den' and she loves it.  No accidents when we leave her even up to 4 hours! She will willingly go to her crate if you say "Willow crate".  Yeah!!!! It was a LONG month.

She is making friends all over the valley. At the Mat-Su college, a guy hunted me down in the parking-lot just to pet her.  And the librarians love her as well at the Palmer Public Library.  If you ever want to meet new people, just buy a great dane.

Oh, lastly, we had our Thursday Bible Study.  We made FUDGE.  Yum.  And we learned about ourselves from the book A Girl After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George.  The girls then made a list of all the qualities that they want in their husband.  Her is Hannah's list:

Loves God more than me
appreciates singing
knew him well before dating
my friends can't hate him
Alaskan Born
he loves the real you
likes to watch movies sometimes
animal lover
lollipop lover
loves my cooking

So, if you can start praying for this guy. That would be nice.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Unit Celebrations and the Joy to learning

You have an opportunity when using Tapestry of Grace to end one each of the four units throughout the year with a celebration.  We have had a Jewish feast Succoth and enjoyed going to an African Safari completing our African unit.

Today I will share the most memorable unit celebration we celebrated: Medieval Feast.

Thankfully my husband built a castle/jungle gym for the great backdrop for family portraits.  But, it was a nice place to display our Coat of Arms.

We also invited other guest.  Both of the families that went to the Medieval feast started doing Tapestry in the future.  

My husband directed the show.  He is also wearing a craft that Max completed.

During the feast the dads had a juggling contest.  

Teaching honor and servanthood, the boys are washing the hands before the meal of each of the guests.

I just loved the project the Cantrells did by making a Boar head out of a piece of meat.

Complete with homemade Trencher and no forks needed for this affair.

The children put on a truly entertaining rendition of "Saint George and the Dragon"

Rehearsing this was as fun as the show.

Thankfully the good doctor made everything right.  The children will remember this for a long time.  It was a joy to plan and make it a success.