Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Frenzied and Fantastic

These last days we are spending in the States are both frenzied and fantastic. We are being so blessed with many invitations to spend time with friends and family. We are going from one house to the next, reminiscing, sharing good meals, laughing, crying and making new memories. How humbled we are at the hospitality that is being showered upon us. In addition to all of our socializing we are taking care of wrapping up "business" here in the States. We've been out of state three times trying to get a different driver's license (long story...don't ask), signing legal documents, taking care of insurance, trying to sell vehicles, booking flights, packing a container to ship our earthly belongings, canceling utilities, and the list goes on and on and on. Whew, are we tired, but boy are we blessed!
In all of these frenzied and fantastic days, the Lord is teaching us. He is teaching us through all of you who are hosting us in your homes. Hospitality is such a gift and we are learning so much. We want our home to be open to the many kids we will serve. We are learning how to open our hearts, lives and home to those who need it. We need it right now. The love and kindness we are being shown is helping us to "leave well". We are being served in such a beautiful way. Thank you Lord for such an amazing community of believers who are walking alongside us in yet another way. We hope very soon to put up pictures and blog about the ways we are paying it forward to others and showing them hospitality.
Blessings and peace,
Susan

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Updates

Well the moment we have been waiting for has happened. We get to joyfully share that we will be leaving for Germany on August 2nd! God has moved in the hearts of those He has appointed to partner with us in ministry and the funds have been pledged and provided. We stand in awe of His greatness, grace, mercy and provision. Thanks be to God!! Thank you all for your prayers. Now...hang on because it only gets better from here on out! We can't wait to post our first blog entry from Kandern and report what amazing things God is doing through you...yes, you. You are a vital part of this ministry to MK's He is calling us to. What great times are ahead.
Another update for those of you wondering. Campy is safely in the hands of the sweet folks at Happy Tales Humane...a no kill shelter that finds good homes for animals. Check them out in Franklin. We miss little Camp but know that it was the right decision. 
We'll share more soon...there is much packing left to do.
Blessings and peace,
Susan

Friday, July 11, 2008

Free to a Good Home



We have made the difficult, yet prayerful decision to find a good home for our dog, Campy. There are just so many details and decisions that must be made when moving to a new country and this has been one of them. There will also be even more details and stressors right when we arrive, that we feel it best to minimize the potential for more stress and details. While we love this little guy, it falls upon the Mom (me) to care for him. You moms out there know this and also know that there'll be many other things for me to care for in settling our family into a new culture.
SO...if you or someone you know would love a sweet, cuddly, incredibly perfect lap dog who loves going for walks, is totally house trained  and enjoys a good rub behind the ears and belly scratch session...just let us know.
Seriously, could you please pray about a good home for him...it would mean the world to the kids and me!
Blessings and peace,
Susan

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Roller Coasters

I  don't know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with roller coasters. I loved them as a teenager when life was care free and easy.  The thrills they provided were addictive and the "war stories" after about who held up their arms the longest were almost as much fun. Now, I kind of hate roller coasters because to this mom they represent the opposite of what I seek...safety and security. My kids love them of course and when they ride them all I can think about is the girl who lost her feet on one last year! Don't get me wrong. I am not an overprotective freak. I still ride them and let my kids get on them over and over as well. I just send up lots of prayer at the same time. 
Lately, our lives have been somewhat of a roller coaster ride. The ups and downs and twists and turns of this path we are on towards ministry and missions is not without its own set of thrills and "war stories". One day we are on top of the coaster, excited and expectant and the next day we are plummeting to the bottom as fast as our emotions can carry us. 


This journey truly has been a unique experience that we have yet to encounter in our lives.  Have you ever ridden one those coasters that sends you reeling with all of its twists and turns? You know what I'm talking about? One second you're heading one direction and without warning the coaster car jerks you into a completely different direction. It seems to me that our walk with Christ can sometimes be the same way. Two years ago, we would have never imagined that I would be regularly updating a blog for our ministry! We thought we had our lives planned out...nice house, retirement plan, regular vacations, lovely church, etc. Then, without warning, our roller coaster car catapulted us into a completely different direction and we couldn't be MORE thankful. 

Through this journey, God has taught us to shed our desire for the safety and security of solid ground (where we are in control of our future) and step onto the ride that is following Him. It will continue to be a wild ride I am sure, but I look forward to the top of the coaster experiences as well as the sudden plummets to the bottom. Because in the end, the stories to tell of God's faithfulness, grace and mercy will be well worth the ride!
Blessings and peace,
Susan

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We're Proud of our Kids!

Last summer all three of our kids competed in youth distance triathlons. It was so much fun watching them and cheering them on. They learned so much about setting goals, working hard and enjoying the company of other Christian friends on their team (which is exactly what they are witnessing their parents do daily as we raise support). We are thankful for the memories they will have of these times. We are also pretty proud of them...they made the podium several times! 
One picture is of Evan (our middle child) racing bikes. He also competed on a cycling team. Mark is very excited about the cycling that awaits all of us in Germany. 


Above is their junior tri team.
Meredith, about to enter the water.


Evan, on the left, sprinting to the finish! He almost won it.
Evan, getting out of the water after the swim portion of a triathlon.
Ethan, having given his best effort, walking to the finish line. I just love this face!

A Few Good Friends, A LOT of Sticky Envelopes



Here are a few pictures of some of our very dear friends (the Rowlands and the Grabbes) helping us stuff about 500 letters in envelopes! Wow, now that's friendship. As you can see from the label on Tamara's nose, it was getting late and we were getting silly! Thank you Lord for wonderful people who are making this journey with us in so many different ways.
Blessings and peace,
Susan

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fireflies

Last night, Ethan's friend Allie came over to play and watch a movie. It was just after dusk when we stepped outside to walk Allie home. To their excitement, the fireflies were out and so began the pursuit on their part to catch one. As I followed behind listening to their giggles, I smiled inside, happy that they were so happy. I was thanking God for the memories Ethan was making with Allie and hoping that he would remember these lazy days of summer in Tennessee catching fireflies with his friend.
My thoughts then turned to how we as Christians are not unlike the fireflies at times. In this dark world, we hope and pray to shine brightly with the love, grace and mercy of Christ, but sometimes we don't.  Sometimes it's easy to see Christ in our lives and then other times we just blend in with the darkness. I then said another quick prayer asking God to help me always shine brightly for Him. Thank you God for fireflies!
Blessings and peace,
Susan
p.s. We are now at about 53% of our monthly needs, according to our calculations. Please keep praying for God to move in the hearts of those He has already appointed to partner with us. God bless you.