So a lot has happened in the last 4 or so months. Mainly well relocating back from Belize to the United States to live here for the time being. Too much to tell especially for one blog. So I think a series of blogs is probably in order over the next few weeks leading into Thanksgiving.
Answering the big questions right now.
- Where: We are in Winston Salem, and my 18 year old self, the one that said he NEVER would move back here in a million years is shaking his head at this mid-30s self.
- What: We are still gainfully employed by Praying Pelican Missions. In addition to the oversight of Belize, I now have the responsibility for overseeing our mission activity in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua! This is something I LOVE and am terrified of…every day!
- Who: Same cast of characters: Beautiful wife, lovely daughter, 2 rambunctious boys and me.
- Why: I think we have covered that in the past blogs but if you have questions please ask.
- How: As in how as the move – amazing, A God-is-here blog story to post later. As in how are we doing…..well. It depends on the person, it depends on they day, the moment.
- The good – Madeline loves school. Literally loves it. She goes to a dual spanish immersion program and all of her instruction is in Spanish. It is amazing! Literally amazing!
- The good – our church is beyond bonkers. We love it. We love our community. We love everything about our church.
- The house – love love love it. Seriously one of the biggest blessings in our life. It’s unreal how great and perfect for our little family it is (pictures to come in next blog). Mostly of Amy’s DIY on the CHEAP improvements.
- The eh….me. Most of the time I am ok. Then there are days or weeks that I either miss Belize or feel guilty that I am NOT missing Belize. Both of them make me feel….yuck!
- The hard….Jojo misses home. He was 10 months when we moved to Belize so that is what he knows as his home. He says North Carolina is nice but when do we get to go back home. I am hoping to take him with me on a trip this coming year!
- The hard – Expectations in the States are just different. The saying is true “you’re not in Kansas any more” Well we’re not in Belize any more. There are expectations on what to wear, how to look, how to act, and on and on and on. And it’s hard.
So the answer to the question, “are you guys all adjusted now?” … nope and we don’t know when or if we ever will be.
What’s God been teaching me? The answer is too much for one post. But here’s a snap shot then some pics of my kids and prayer / requests.
I have two friends who serve as spiritual giants in my life (and ironically they are a wee bit short….like would have to climb up in a sycamore tree to see Jesus short….) . Often they read “deep” stuff and stuff I am either too dumb or distracted to glean much from. But in the spirit of trying to be intellectual and still and silent from times I read things from CS Lewis. Most of the time I don’t understand it. I am starting to think Mere Christianity is going to be like Animal Farm was for me in middle school and high school (the book I always started but never finished).
Anyway, I read something in his meditations the other day and shared it with the staff at Praying Pelican Missions and thought as I wrestle through the States, I thought it was quite poignant for me to share with a broader audience.
The alarms goes off (or more appropriately in my house a kid wakes up), I shoot out of bed close our door ever so gingerly grab the kid and it hits like a wave while I am making the coffee.
….how many calls do I have to make today?
….how was that conversation yesterday?
…. did I make any typos in the follow up email?
….. how are we going to handle that many people in (insert country)?
…. did I do laundry and not put it in the drier?
…..do we have enough milk?
…..is today soccer for Madeline? Is her uniform clean? Did we get her shoes from the last practice? Is it supposed to rain?
… and on and on and on.
Literally awake less than 3 minutes and that’s what has flooded my brain. CS Lewis calls it this: “All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals”
He then says “And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in….Standing back from all your [all our] natural fussings and frettings, coming in and out of the wind.”
Wowzers as Uncle Gadget would say (sorry I have kids and we have Netflix).
It hit me like a ton of bricks. My time with God is muddied by my racing mind, by my to do, by the enemy and his busyness.
But when we stop, when we calm down, we slow down and spend time with the Father, concerted, through the distractions time, we begin to be transformed…slowly for sure. But this is the result.
“It is the difference between paint which is merely laid on the surface and a dye or stain which soaks right through” – CS Lewis
Here’s the deal. Here’s my deal. Here’s our deal. We all know what we need to do each day. We do. The to do’s don’t escape us. They are there. And I am realizing if I am able to push them down, spend time with God, stop slow down. I begin to be filled. Filled with more of Him and less worry. Filled with more of His patience and less of my own pride. Filled with humility and instead of hurry.
You know what?! It’s always slow and progress is frustrating on it’s best day. But sometimes through the muck and the mire and the noise, I am quiet enough, still enough with Him enough to hear it. Do you? Can you?
Stop. Rest. Spend some time. Shut down the mind as best you can. And spend some time with God. Quiet, still, receiving, listening to the whisper of His voice. Allow His stain to cover you, penetrate you and work towards enjoying the staining process more and more and more.
My friends little Linda says when she wrestles with God, “Just be still”
Take some moments and be still today.
Praises / Prayer Requests:
- Madeline’s school – Madeline is still doing well in school and loves it. Praise God. Continue to pray that she would still have a HUG E yearn to love big and learn much! I think she is the life of the classroom. And maybe could work on talking a little less too.
- Jojo’s birthday – This weekend is Jojo’s birthday! I can’t believe he turns 4! Pray for him that this coming year he would grow more in his love of the Lord, really seeking Truth and wanting to commit to following Him.
- Community – Community is going great. We have opened our house to hosting a families community group (we call them rGroups at our church) and we LOVE the families in it! Continue to pray for us to go DEEP with each other!
- Support Raising – Y’all have asked are you still raising support. The answer is YES. We are still raising support. A longer post about this coming later. But a couple of reasons. The first one is Praying Pelican Missions does not offer a group health insurance plan. This wasn’t a big deal when we were in Belize but NOW that we are here it is a BIG DEAL…and based on checking in the HealthCare Market Place an EXPENSIVE one. Tentative estimates are health care is going to cost our family of 5 approximately $1500 per month. We are praying for 12 new supporters to come on board for 2016 at $100/mo. The next reason is saving for retirement. For the past (3) years we have saved mostly for recouping moving expenses or plane tickets. Retirement wasn’t in our budget. It is now. We need to be fiscally responsible.
- If you are interested in this please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Adjustment – This will be a constant prayer request for a long time. Tonight I don’t have anything specific but just pray for adjustment. For the Lord to remind us that He is here like He was in Belize. Pray for calmness and peace from the Lord to wash over us and for the enemies attacks of anxiety and worry flee. In Jesus Name!
We are so blessed. We know that! We pray the words in this blog provide a blessing to you as well! We cherish your encouragement. We covet your prayers. We may be back in the States but we realize that we cannot do this alone. We need your help! Thank you for coming alongside of us!
Lavish Blessings (my fried Linda always ends her communications like that)
Our first halloween as a family! The first time we have ever been trick or treating with the kids!
Bonfires and smores! The good stuff
it’s a race between these two on who will break a bone first.
They thought it was awesome one day to paint with sidewalk chalk. This was the result