re-connecting with ministry

Dave and I spent the better part of our marriage working towards living in a remote tribe, learning the tribal language and teaching the tribal people about Jesus.  If you’ve been following our journey over the past few months you’ll know we’re now back in California and won’t be returning to Papua New Guinea. As we begin this new season for our family we’ve been confronted with a lot of decisions, and forced (in a good way) to reevaluate our lives, our passions…what God wants from us now. That can be challenging, especially since we were so young when we started on this journey. In many ways we’re discovering who we are all over again.

One specific area of reevaluation has been our connection with tribal missions. We went from being in the thick of it all…to completely removed from all of it. Even our connection to friends and ministries in PNG via social media has been limited due to our need to grieve and heal.

So what does that look like for us now?

What does God want from us in terms of tribal missions as we feel pulled in a new direction…in a new culture…as we “get to know” ourselves again?

To be honest, I have no idea. The Lord absolutely brought us out of our ministry in PNG, but our passion remains to see the Gospel taken to the ends of the earth. Even if the passion wasn’t still there, as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ we are “called” in his Word to this work…”called” to be passionate about the world around us…and “called” to do something.

As I’ve mulled over these thoughts the last few weeks, it occurred to me that whatever the Lord has for us next I really, truly, want it to be something the hubby and I can do together. I want to be able to move toward something, with the same heart, same mind, same goals.

We ARE moving forward and I’m trusting God to reignite our passion for tribal missions in a new way. I’m expecting and hoping for him to burden our hearts for the community we live in right now.  I’m searching for what it looks like to be a tribal missionary to those around us.

 

What about you? How are you passionate for those in your community?


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This guy

Happy belated birthday to this guy

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He’s my best friend and love of my life. He’s a hard worker, jack of all trades, computer geek, artist, friend, father, thinker…and a much better photographer than myself. After almost 10 years of marriage, he’s still my favorite. Love ya, babe.

 

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Being faithful in the mundane

Layla: Eli! Don’t eat my grapes!

Eli: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

Layla: I am going to smack you in the face and then sit on your head!

Eli: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

…………………………

Me: Layla, stop choking your brother!

It has been a tough couple of days for me. The kids have been Out. Of. Control…literally. And when the kids are acting crazy I tend to also become crazy…and irrational…and begin threatening my husband in various ways. Go ahead…laugh if you will. This is real life for me right now…

Last night, however, at 11pm, I was lying in bed and thinking about how oftentimes, while living in Papua New Guinea, kid/parental issues looked slightly different:

“Step around, not on top of, the red, narcotic infested spit!”

“No, you DO have to wear clothes outside even though so-and-so is running around naked.”

“I’m sorry the dog killed our chicken. No we’re not going to eat it…we already gave it away.”

“Don’t let the ducks inside, they’ll poop everywhere!”

A part of me wished I was back overseas. True, there were difficult things about living in Papua New Guinea, but each day brought a new experience. I miss that. I miss struggling with the language and learning something new about the culture. I miss those darn ducks pooping everywhere. I miss how it rained almost every day. I miss walking 10 steps outside my front door and instantly having a crowd to talk to. I miss life being just a bit more interesting than it is now.

And then the Lord reminded me of something…

I was reminded that most of the time God doesn’t call me to the extraordinary things in life.  Living overseas as a missionary WAS pretty amazing…and I’m not gonna lie…I loved it. But what made it great was not because of anything I brought to the table. It was a season of life God called our family to for that time. Because we believed it was what God wanted for us, it was extraordinary. Now we’re beginning a new season and have left our lives in PNG behind.

BUT…

…do you want to know what’s even better than being called to some grand adventure like being a missionary overseas? Do you want to know what’s more special…more invigorating…more thrilling?

Being faithful in something seemingly mundane…even though it often doesn’t feel that way.

Going to work every morning at a job that sucks…changing yet another poopy blowout diaper…remaining calm as your my 4 & 6 year olds scream and whine nonstop all morning…continuing to give of your time or finances even when it hurts because you know that’s what the Lord wants you to do.

God’s power and might and faithfulness isn’t most displayed in the grand adventures of our lives, although it can be.  It’s most displayed in how we choose to walk faithfully with him in the small, ordinary, repetitive moments…day in and day out. God’s glory is revealed most spectacularly in my life when I choose to live my mundane, simple, boring life with joy.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not letting myself off the hook. I’m not talking about getting comfortable or being safe. I don’t believe those things are what the Lord calls any of us to.

But God sure does give us seasons in our lives.  Some are pretty amazing and exciting. Others….well, we might have to look a little harder, a little deeper to really grasp how amazing it is. But it is just that….amazing.

So today, in this new season of my life…

…where my third born’s increased appetite results in very shady looking “explosions” from the diaper area…for the 5th time in one day….

…when my kids can’t seem to agree on anything, including if mommy’s hair looks ok…(thanks guys)…

…when my amazing hubby gives me another lecture on squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube (I mean, c’mon…who actually does that?)…

…when my sweet middle child asks nonstop, “Why aren’t you getting me food?” and I feel my anger rising up…

…or when my beautiful daughter won’t stop giving me the “death glare” for who knows what?…

I. Will. Choose. Joy.

And I will choose to be faithful in the small, mundane, un-interesting season of life the Lord has given me.

I guess we never know what’s around the corner…maybe in a few months I’ll be wishing my life was a little less extraordinary.

 

Anyone living a pretty extraordinary life?  Anyone…not?


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Growing up

 

 

 

 

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Happy 6 years to this sweet girl.

 

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Birthdays in the States look a little different than what we were used to in Papua New Guinea.  We’re thankful for our sweet, social, energetic Layla!  She is a joy! And although she missed celebrating with her birthday buddy, Lucy, her 3-day celebration turned out to be a very special one! The beach, Chick Fil-A, friends, cupcakes, family….so much to be thankful for!


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Moving forward

4 months.

It’s been 4months since our family set foot on American soil. Back in May we didn’t realize we wouldn’t be returning to Papua New Guinea. We came “home” to the States feeling tired and restless and burnt out…but ever hopeful to have a quick 6 week turnaround before heading back to PNG.

That obviously wasn’t the case and here we are…

God has closed the door to our life in Papua New Guinea and we have grieved. Long, hard grief. And not just grief over the “dream” of being a tribal church planter, but the grief over a life…a whole, beautiful life we lived overseas. A grief over the last 10 years, working towards a very specific goal…and we are more than bummed to not be experiencing this goal to fruition. A grief over diminished friendships.

If you’ve had any sort of contact with us over the past few months, don’t be offended if we’ve been less than talkative…or if we’ve seemed to smile, yet slowly back away.  It’s not you.  It’s us.  No, really…it’s us.

And while most days we’re OK…some days we just aren’t.

But, we’re slowly beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Although sometimes dim, it’s the light of possibility; clear, tangible possibility. We don’t know what’s coming next, but we’re walking forward, expecting much.

If you received our most recent newsletter, then you understand a bit more the path we’re walking and the thinking that has gone into it. And even though we’re not done grieving our life in Papua New Guinea, we know God’s will for us today is to be here. And right “here,” there is a lot of work to be done.

So if you think of it, will you pray for us?  Will you pray that we’ll know what kind of work God has for us right now…where we are…right here.

 

Anyone relate?  Give us a shout out.

 


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Changes

As many of you know, we are in the midst of a big transition as a family.  Being Stateside and looking at what that means for us in regards to employment, ministry, and…well, everything else pertaining to our daily lives, has its overwhelming moments.  We’re surviving and looking forward to what the Lord might have next for our family.

First things first…Dave is headed back to PNG for 2 weeks at the end of this month.  He’ll be organizing and leaving most of our stuff there.  Some of the more sentimental items will be brought back.  Prayers for him are greatly appreciated as far as smooth travels, time with our coworkers and the Menya people, and encouragement during this closing season of our lives.

Thanks to many of you who have sent us a note of encouragement and prayers.  As we continue to process and grieve, we so, so, so appreciate the love.

 

On a side note, I’ve come to the conclusion I’m probably a prophetess considering the fact I wrote THIS about 8 months ago.

 


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New Reality

For those of you who may have not received our most recent email update, here it is.

Back in May, we returned to U.S. to have Eli evaluated by a neurologist concerning his diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Although we received a very positive report, Eli needs to have annual checkups to monitor his progress. Because of this need combined with other factors, our home church has recommended that we step out of our ministry role and return to the U.S. We were hopeful that we’d be able to return but understood that there would be significant challenges to overcome. Our home church is concerned about the best interest of our family and we appreciate their support during this time of transition.

Returning from the mission field is turning out to be a bigger step of faith than it was to go. We’ve been experiencing a wide range of emotions as we deal with the loss of our life and ministry in PNG and look ahead. We’re not sure what the Lord has for us next, but we will keep you up to date as it becomes clearer. There is a possibility of staying with New Tribes and serving at a stateside training center. If that doesn’t work out then I, Dave, will be looking for other opportunities. Your continued prayers and support are greatly appreciated as we take this unexpected (for us) turn in our lives. 

In the coming weeks…

We have a missions guest house in Santa Clarita available to us through the end of August. During that time I will probably take a trip back to PNG to deal with our belongings. If the Lord leads us to leave New Tribes Mission entirely we will let our supporters know so they can redirect their support. We are immensely grateful to everyone that has prayerfully and/or financially partnered with us over the years.


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