Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Our daughter B just posted this on her team blog:
So, this trip isn't exactly playing out as I was expecting. Given, I didn't have that many expectations to begin with because it was all so vague of what we were actually going to be doing here. But I expected it to be easier, since like, I was already in love with Romania and gypsies before I got here. I thought that I was ready for this trip, until about the day before I left. Then I realized just how absolutely unprepared I was. I don't like being unprepared. At all. I like being in control of situations and sure in my abilities. But I wasn't, well, I'm not.
As we flew over Romania, and the descent began so that the land beneath us was no longer obscured by towers of clouds, but Romanian hills were beneath us, I legitimately freaked out. The realization that I was actually here after nine months was scary. I wasn't ready to land, I just wanted to keep on flying.
God's at work in this, though. I alone do not possess the strength to be here and do the things I'm doing. By the second day we were here, my heart hurt from aching. It was raw. My weakness is forcing me to rely on Him and my amazing brothers and sisters in Christ. I have to trust that the Lord will not ask anything of me that He will also not provide the strength to accomplish. I have to trust my team to lead and encourage me. The questions that our leaders ask us and the situations they put us in make us vulnerable. Personally, this whole trip is stripping me - but in a good way. As a daughter of Christ, I am His beloved; He and my team will love me even when I admit to not being OK and owning up to lacking the strength I need.
I don't feel like I'm a missionary here. I'm not leading people to Christ, and honestly, I doubt I will. I'm not doing things here, but God is.
"A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps."
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
*B's team is still in Romania. They have a little over two weeks. Today they took and orphanage full of kids to a zoo and park. I would have LOVED to see that on webcam!
*The work on the house is coming along nicely. Our contractor says that realistically, he should be totally finished in 3.5 to 4 weeks! The painting and flooring is coming along so nicely.
*Hubby and I spent almost the whole day shopping for furniture and appliances on Saturday. It takes a long time to replace an almost entire houseful of furnishings. Everything is going to be so beautiful...even my washing machine and dryer! And the couch! OH MY! Our last one was about 16 years old and was literally bolted together by hubs to keep it from completely falling apart. It even broke at a party we had a few months back. The new couch is an L-shaped one and will be able to comfortably and with great strength hold a million kids and teenagers!
*We had a fun week at Vacation Bible School last week. Since daughter B was out of the country and unable to lead worship as she had last year, daughter A and I helped out. It was a lot of fun as we sang about who the TRUE super hero is, GOD!
Gotta go and do more running...um, not the kind with my feet, the 15 passenger van kind.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
The call of Christ is to deny ourselves and to let go of our lives. To relinquish control of our lives, to surrender everything we are, everything that we do, our direction our safety our security is no longer found in the things of this world. It is found in Christ. And that is great risk when it comes to the things of this world. But in the end it is not really risky at all because we are relinquishing control to the one who has supreme love for us, cares for us, has created us, knows what is best for us, and will lead us and guide us in what is best for us not just now but for all of eternity.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Here's a blog post from our "church" daughter's AIM team written on Tuesday:
Today was our first full day in Mexico. We began our prayer walks a little skeptical. Immediatly we began a new journey of spiritual growth. A major encouragment to us blessing this community. We met an old lady named Mariah at the shopping center. She expressed to us her pride and joy about young people preaching the word of God, and her own strong relationship with God.
Mariah told us how she accepted Jesus as her savior, she was no longer sick when she began her walk with God. It was a blessing to see her strong faith, and we believe it to be a great encouragement and gave us hope, that our work here is influential. She was blessing us.
Another interesting thing; The diversity in the people compared to the people in the United States. When we prayer walked through the 'colonia' we're able to walk right up to the childen and there families. We were welcomed and they were hospitable to us, as opposed to what we've seen in America. American's we know to be constantly suspicous around their children.
We were able to successfully invite many childen to our VBS that will start tomorrow morning. We are all exited to start tomorrow! We can't wait to see how God works in the children and families in this 'colonia'
Louis Olson would like to share one thing before bedtime. "One of our leaders thought a native tree was growing poop." Buenas Noches Amigo's.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
This was posted on B's team blog from Romania:
We haven't showered, we all have poison ivy, our pee is blue, our leaders spit water on us, slap our feet, pole dance, throw mud at us, and scratch our chins.
No, but really. We didn't shower for the first two days of training camp. We stood in poison ivy during one of the team building activities (but none of us ended up with it! So don't worry.). The water in the port-o-potties was blue. One of the other team building activities was to teach us how to communicate with other cultures, and this involved them spitting water, slapping our feet, and scratching our chins (And at one point accidentally saying, "Come here, baby!" in a tribal voice). We had a dance competition between all the teams (AND ROMANIA WAS VICTORIOUS) and Bryan had to dance off between another team and used one of the tent poles as a prop (which won it for us). And lastly, we had to army crawl through a mud pit and let our inner five year old come out by throwing mud at each other afterwards.
Obviously, Team Romania has had no problem with bonding and getting to know each other. We've become like a family and relate exactly like siblings in all ways.
Training camp was amazing!
We were lucky enough not to be one of the teams that had to leave camp EXTREMELY early (2 in the morning). We didn't have to leave camp until 10 in the morning. Once we left we had a lovely twoish hour bus ride (which was Sarah Arants first bus ride EVER) to get to the airport. Once we got there trying to find the ticket counter was...well...an experience. Lets just say we made a circle around the main terminal in order to find where to check in. After we checked in the rest of our travels went SUPER well. Much better than all of us expected. Our only problem was with Sarah West who injured her arm at training camp, they were suspicious of her brace going through security but that was all. We had a very quick flight from Atlanta to Charlotte, then a quick layover for about two hours until we left for Munich, Germany, which was an eight hour flight. Most of us did not sleep very well at all on the flight, except for Jessie who ended up with a first class ticket after Kelsey switched with her because she didn't want to be seperated from the team but Jessie deserved it. The service on the flight was AMAZING and we all watched movies most of the time. We weren't all sitting together but were grouped in two's or three's, so we all got a chance to meet other people on the flight. Once we got into Munich we went through security one last time and waited a short hour until our final flight into Cluj, Romania, which was only an hour and a half. We had an exciting two hour van ride into the village that we are staying in right outside Bistrita.
Our Time so far in Romania:
We are all very jet lagged (there is a 7 hour time difference after all). We all slept till about 1pm or later today. THANKFULLY our awesome leaders decided to give us a day off once we got here in order to recover and it is/was needed. There is not enough room for all of us to stay in one house so they have us split up between two different houses, that are not even a minute walk apart from each other. The food is EXCELLENT (and is causing us all to have to step out of our comfort zones). The people who we are staying with are super nice and welcoming and most speak some English which is an awesome surprise and a blessing. The kids are super cute and love to play and have fun.
This is all just the start to an AMAZING few weeks which includes playing futball (also known in the states as soccer), playing and loving on local kids, getting to hang out and work with kids at an orphanage, and teaching an English class. We are all so excited to see what God is going to do in us and how He is going to use us to minister to the people here.
Stinky, Itchy, Team Romania (Sarah A, Haley, Ian aka Onion, Emily, Betsy aka Shakira, Kelsey, Bryan aka Brydon, Jessie aka SMJ or Soccer Mom Jessie, and last but not least our broken leader Sarah W.)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Received a short facebook message from our daughter B today. Her team has safely made it to Romania and has just spent their first full day in their home at Viili Tecii. She told us that she is nowing seeing God in ways never seen before and has passionately fallen in love with Jesus.
What beautiful words to this mother's ears.
Below is a video from her time of training at the Adventures in Mission base:
You can see B in a few shots including the MUD CRAWLING and our "church" daughter Britney is right in the middle of the first Mexico shot.
Enjoy and pray!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Here is a link to two videos that show the places and some of the people that will soon be a part of our daughter B's new world:
She will be living in a Roma ("gypsy") village named Viili Tecii outside of the city of Bistrita. She will actually be living in a home with a Roma family so she will be getting an intimate look at their culture. Wow!
Friday, June 18, 2010
Here is a video made from photos of last year's training camp that our oldest daughter was a part of. In fact, you can see her if you pause the video around second 28 to 32. She is sitting to the far right under a bush in the shade.
Please keep praying for B's team as they prepare for Romania. Pray for them as they deal with extreme heat during the team building obstacle course challenges and then as they go thru extreme spiritual preparation during the prayer, teaching, sharing, and worship times.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Our daughter is now at the training base for her Adventures in Missions trip to Romania. She arrived yesterday afternoon and immediately started bonding with her team. She's got some great girls and two guys to spend the next month with. Four of her teammates have spent time in Swaziland so there is already a connection there between some of them. And then, of course, they all have the biggest connection...their passionate love for God and His beloved little ones.
Here are two photos from yesterday. Don Rock, AIM staffer, is leading them in their first worship service.
Our daughter's team is on the back row wearing the red scarves. B is 4th from the right and wearing the scarf in her hair and her sleeves pushed up all the way.
Gosh, I love that girl! Keep praying for her, okay?
Monday, June 14, 2010
PRAYER NEEDS FOR THIS WEEK
I surely would appreciate prayer support this week. We've got a lot going on.
*My oldest daughter will begin her journey home. She has been gone for 4 weeks. On her way back to Dixie, she'll be stopping off to visit Colorado Christian University which is her first choice college at this point. Please pray not only for safety, but that God will show His will concerning this decision.
*My 2nd daughter B and my "church" daughter Britney will be leaving for their Adventures in Missions training camp this week before flying off to Romania and Mexico. Please pray also for them to be safe but more importantly, that they will get everything out of these trips that God desires for them.
*We will be meeting with Seth Barnes of Adventures in Missions to discuss with him our future as it relates to full-time ministry overseas. Pray that God will speak mightily to us during this time.
*A friend of Anna's, Lydia Y., is on a missions trip in Cambodia right now. Pray for her as God is moving mightily in her group. Pray that they will be a blessing and that Lydia and the other teenagers and adult leaders come back forever, radically changed.
*My dad is still having radiation for prostate cancer. Your prayers for his healing and peace for him and his wife during this time are greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much for visiting Graceland and continuing to care about what is happening in our lives. Your support and prayers mean so very, very much.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Gotta leave the library in just a few and pick up the big boys from scout day camp, but here's a quick update on some of the news:
*Oldest daughter just spent a week in Seattle visiting friends, touring Seattle, and taking a peek at area colleges. Here she is at a fountain near the Space Needle. It looks like a giant aluminum foil ball to me, but then what do I know about art?
*Oldest daughter is now in Reno enjoying a week long visit with her maternal grandma before heading home via Colorado where she will visit with our friends, the Leggetts, and tour Colorado Christian University.
*Our house is coming along nicely. It is now juiced and has not only lights but also AC! The boys' rooms are almost completely done. Then it will be on to the rest of the downstairs rooms.
*Our oldest son D has just been initiated into the boy scout's top honor society. We are very proud of him!
*Our 2nd daughter B leaves for Romania this month. Please pray for her that she will receive all God has for her. A neat bit of news is that several members of her team, including all three of her leaders, have spent time serving in Swaziland!
Have to run!
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Would you please pray for my young friend Britney? She leaves in a little over a week to go to Mexico with ADVENTURES IN MISSIONS. This will be her first out-of-the-country missions trip and there are still quite a few obstacles that need to be overcome before she leaves. Britney has faced some hard things in life, including the death of her mom a little over a year ago, but through it all, this teenager has stayed sweet, stable, and trusting in Jesus.
Thank you so much!
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
I was reading a blog post by Katie, a twenty-something missionary in Uganda who is the adoptive mother of 15 children. She was writing about several of the Ugandan women that she has grown to love. This is what she has to say about one of them---
Todi, widowed after her third child was born, had recently taken in her sister's five children after her sudden death. "What was my choice?" she asked when explaining the situation to me. "God says I look after the orphans, I look after the orphans." The of them sleep together on the floor in a home about half the size of my giant kitchen table.
Wow. I think about all the reasons I give, excuses really, for not taking care of the orphans, widows, and other "least of these" and then compare them to Todi's attitude. Her life really makes my "logical" reasons sound lame.
Lord, keep changing me
To read more about Katie's life and women like Todi, follow this link: http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-spend-much-of-my-time-in-little-slum.html
Monday, June 07, 2010
Here are some articles and websites I've mused over today---
A glimpse into the life of a twenty-something mom of 15 adopted children and their God adventures in Uganda: http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/
Sobering stats related to internet porn: http://www.onlinemba.com/blog/the-stats-on-internet-pornography/
FIVE IN A ROW, one of my favorite homeschool curriculum's of all time, offers amazing online communities. Their FAMILY ROOM is especially great: http://www.fiveinarow.com/forum/index.php
Follow Tom Davis of CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST as he travels to South Africa for the World Cup and explores how that event is impacting sex trafficking. He will also be ministering to orphans and inner-city kids in Capetown: http://blog.beliefnet.com/redletters/
What places in the world wide web have you been visiting lately?
Saturday, June 05, 2010
I've been mentioning David Platt's book RADICAL a lot lately on facebook and here at my blog. I just found out you can read the first chapter for free online. Go here:
And to explore online the idea of living a radical life for Jesus, check out this website:
If any of you have finished Platt's book, attend the church he pastors, or are participating in the RADICAL EXPERIMENT, I'd love to hear from you.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
HOW MANY OF US?
"How many of us are embracing the comforts of suburban America while we turn a deaf ear to inner cities in need of the gospel? How many of us are so settled in the United States that we have never once given serious thought to the possibility that God may call us to live in another country? How often are we willing to give a check to someone else as long as we don't have to go to the tough places in the world ourselves? How may of us parents are praying that God will raise up our children to leave our homes and go overseas, even if that means they may never come back?"
David Platt from his book RADICAL
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
As my regular visitors to Graceland know, 4 years ago God started shaking our world and through a series of events and books and meetings, we are where we are now. We are seeking to live our life in a way that is totally sold out for Jesus no matter the cost. It hasn't happened over night, but bit by bit He is taking us to a new place in our lives...spiritually and geographically.
Monday night I was at the local Barnes and Noble Bookstore and picked up a book with a bright, eye-catching, orange cover. RADICAL by David Platt is indeed that. He was on his way to be a very young pastor of a very big church in Birmingham, Alabama, when a missions trip to Asia changed his outlook. After meeting with Christians and church leaders who were following Jesus in a radical way, it impacted the way he saw Christianity and he could no longer follow the status quo in church life, either.
I've only made it half way thru the first chapter but it has already grabbed me and I can't wait to get back to a bookstore and devour some more. Here is one quote from the book to give you a tiny taste that delivers a big impact:
''We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.''
See what I mean? BIG IMPACT! And what sad truth about the state of most American churches and those of us who call ourselves Christians. I already know that this book is going to make me look even harder at my life and the things that I have allowed to keep me from being radically sold out for Jesus.