Friday, December 21, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
On Sunday we worshiped with them at Columbia Crossroads Church, a very exciting place of ministry, and during the afternoon we had the chance to reconnect with Ben and Elizabeth Thompson (and their energetic son, Jack). Ben was a few years behind me in school, but our connection is a pretty cool one, I think--we grew up spiritually together, as a part of the same church and youth group in Buffalo, IL. So it was a great opportunity to reconnect, especially since we hadn't seen Ben since our wedding and Rachel hadn't met his bride.
Even with all the excitement of Saturday and Sunday, Monday proved to be a day of transformation...at least for Rachel. She and Jenny went to the hair salon where Jenny goes, and Rachel came back a new person. That may be an overstatement, but her new hairstyle is quite different but very attractive! ¡Me gusta muchísimo! To see a few more of our South Carolina photos, click this link: http://www.flickr.com/gp/12717181@N07/P4wP8Q.
So now we're back to reality here in Myerstown; Rachel's back to work, and I'm back to seminary at Evangelical. It's hard to believe I'm completing my final year here, but it's pretty exciting, too!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Well, she's a beaut...at least we think so! Here's a sneak peak at our newly designed & ordered prayer card, unless you're reading this after you've received one in the mail. It's really energizing for us to see little things like this come together as we prepare to head to Spain, so we're wicked excited about the new card (props to New Englanders for that phrase). At the same time, though, it's a bit humbling or sobering for us: are we really important enough to have our own prayer card to be hung on people's fridges or anywhere else they might put them (dartboards, closets, waste cans)? It's somewhat amazing how this little step continues to confirm for us God's call and direction to Spain as we walk through this transition meter by meter, almost being forced to recognize our great dependence on God, His timing, and His provision for us.
We're looking forward to speaking in our first church, Bethany E.C. Church in Tamaqua, next Sunday as official missionary candidates, and we're grateful to God for how we already see His hand of provision providing, with the opportunity to share in a different church every Sunday from the beginning of October to the beginning of December. Trust, dependence, complete personal abandon...I think that sums up what God is teaching us right now. Not only that we, as His children, should do or learn these attitudes, but that we have great reason to trust in, depend on, and completely abandon ourselves to God--He is our trustworthy Guide, Sustainer, and Love.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The last week (July 22-28) has been a full one, and now we get to settle back into a bit of a routine. I spent the week as the keynote speaker at Pennsylvania Christian Endeavor's work camp in Mahanoy City, PA, about an hour north of Myerstown (check out www.pachristianendeavor.org). It was a ton of fun getting to know and hanging out with the 90 or so teens and youth leaders, as well as getting to share in ministry with them. Most of the residents on whose houses our crews worked were so grateful, and one woman even remarked that our teenage work crew was far more efficient than a contractor who had worked on her job. So it was a great week for me, and for the teens, too, I think. They seemed to be greatly encouraged and challenged by the talks (or, at least, they said so), as the theme was "Just One Makes the Difference." So I filled in the blank after "One" each night, with just one "Hope," "Love," "Person," "Prayer," "Decision," and "Drink of the Living Water" makes the difference. God really met us during our worship times, not only during the messages, but also as a youth worship team from Finland Mennonite Church led us in musical worship--they rocked us into the presence of God!
While I was away having fun, Rachel was home doing the daily grind of work without me. So even though I had a blast, it's good to be back together and sleeping in the same bed--our own bed. Now that I'm settling back in, I'm working on setting up some missions stuff like sending out our first support letter and scripting our video. We're praying that all this groundwork will pay off later as we begin to build our support team and prepare to go to Spain!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Saturday, July 7, 2007
We spent Monday through Wednesday in Desanzano, Italy at an ECMI retreat for the missionaries in Italy. It was a good time of getting to know those missionaries and hopefully encouraging them as B.J. shared a meditation on Tuesday morning and Rachel and her mother led some team building exercises for the ECMI Italy team. We had lots of pasta and pizza, and, as you can see above, we made sure to experience Italian gelato.
Wednesday to Friday were spent being tourists in Venice, the city of canals, boats, and gondolas. The four of us (Rachel's parents and us) were able to walk and ride around most of the city, navigating the narrow streets and the water transportation system, as well as wearing out our feet and sense of balance (at times we still feel like we're on a boat). We had the opportunity to share about why Jesus is the Messiah with a group of young Jews who were in turn trying to convince us that an old Jewish rabbi is the Messiah. Aside from the overall ambiance of the city with all of its anicent cathedrals, Jewish witnesses, and Italian food, perhaps the most unique experience for us taking a 30 minute water taxi ride from our hotel to the airport.
We're looking forward to enjoying the rest of our vacation (until July 14) here in Spain. The reality of us moving here within the next year and a half is settling in a bit more, so please pray for us as we continue through this time of great transition. While we know that God is leading us here to serve Him, we also realize that hundreds of details are involved in our transition. So please pray that we'll trust God with each details step by step--we're learning a lot about faith these days. Hasta luego!
Monday, June 25, 2007
Greetings to All!
Well, today was our final day of serving in the youth ministry at Trinity E.C. Church in Mt. Joy, PA. It was a day of mixed emotions for us, complete with laughs, tears, hugs, and plenty of nostalgia as we looked back over our three years of service to that community of faith. The folks there truly made today memorable for us, as they sneakily prepared a video presentation reviewing our time of service (including various mission trip video clips and personal words of thanks from the youth and their families), prayed over us, gave us a scrap book with personal messages from many of the church families, and shared a potluck meal with us. It was truly a memorable day for us, and we consider ourselves richer for having served at Trinity. God was truly present throughout our three years there, and we pray God's continued presence, guidance, and power at work there in Mt. Joy. We hope that our relationship with that church continues as our life and ministry focus changes. Happy birthday to Rachel and good night!