Sunday, January 31, 2010

Brighter than Moonlight

Psalm 51:7  "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." 

This past week Scott and I were able to take a get away, just the two of us, alone, no get the point.  I am so thankful for our friends who took care of our children in our stead.  It is always fun to hear all the stories from each child when we get back.  Silas didn't even "diss" me this time, unlike after our trip to Israel.  This time he spent several minutes snuggling with me and giving me kisses.  I loved how he would push away from me and look into my face to reassure himself that I was indeed the one he was showering with affection and then he would give me a bear hug and more kisses.  Toddler love is GREAT!!!

As we were driving back to where we are staying it was snowing lightly.  The closer we got to Kings Mountain, the heavier the snow.  When we arrived at the church to pick up our kids the ground was covered with snow.  Not a very common thing in this neck of the woods, otherwise known as the "ice-belt".  By the time we headed to our "home-away-from-home-this-week" the roads were covered with snow.

It turned out that the snow made it impossible for us to get to our meeting scheduled for today and the Pastor actually called to cancel the meeting.  Though we are disappointed not to be with our friends who have so faithfully prayed for us over the years we are thankful to God for His Hand in this storm.

One of these friends sent me an email and commented that we often don't like the negative effects of the snow "but that it doesn't change how beautiful God can be."  She went on to say how much better we can see at night with the snow than moonlight.  Too quote her again, "God is awesome."  And she is right! 

I keep thinking of that in relation to the cleansing God offers us through the blood of Christ.  We become whiter than snow.  It is illustrated that the moon is a reflection of the sun, it has no light of it's own and in that way we are reflections of the Son, Jesus Christ, without Him there is nothing to reflect.  The darkness that  abounds reflects nothing.  In light of Psalm 51:7 my friends thought caused me to ponder how much brighter we reflect Christ when we are pure from sin.  Because our reflection is pure it is free from the filth that obstructs the reflection of Christ.

The truthes that God has shown me through this storm, and the resulting snow, are things I need to continue to ponder.  Will I rejoice and glorify God in the storms God in His sovereignty allows in my life?  If I will, that trust will shine in my heart and point the way to Christ.  That is what I truly long for!

 "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."  2 Corinthians 4:4,6

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back in God's Country

We ended our cross country trek in our southern home-state of North Carolina.  (We have lots of home states).  After a day of travel through rain we were blessed to have the sky clear up just as we got into NC.  After driving for the day we ended our trip at our second home church, Emmanuel Baptist.  Where we were members and served the Lord during Bible College.   

We were invited to go to the youth service.  I had a hard time not crying.  It is so great to see the teens doing well and serving the Lord.  The best part was knowing that there are now a lot of public school kids, whom we prayed for the Lord to bring to the church during our time at Emmanuel. 

Brandon playing four square.

Upstairs for the preaching service!  Wow, this brings back great memories!   Brandon and Kaitlin will be able to attend the mid-winter retreat.  They are, to say the least, very excited about being able to be a part of Emmanuel's youth group any chance they get.

It was really great to see everyone after the service.  We are looking forward to Sunday morning's service.

Coast to Coast...well almost!

For those who may be curious I thought I would quickly recap our furlough travels: we have traveled through/in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois,Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina since we arrived in the States a few weeks ago.

In February we will be in Charleston South Carolina and then we'll be able to claim the coast to coast status.  At any rate we did travel full circle.  On Monday night we ended up staying at a hotel by the Kansas City Airport and that is where we ended our travel back to the USA.

After having the opportunity to ride, at 70 mph, in a heated vehicle, across portions of the Oregon and Mormon trails I gained a new respect for my ancestors who traveled across the United States to make a new life in California.  We stopped at Fort Kearney for the kids to get an idea of Pioneer life.  It was closed.  So we drove around the outside.

Since we couldn't get in, and there was nothing to read, I'm not sure if this is the actual restored fort or a remake.  It looked neat though.

After stopping for the night in Kansas City we headed to my sisters house for a short but very sweet visit. 

My sister, Brenda, and the kids.

As you can see the kids were getting a little tired of taking pictures.  Before this we attempted about 40 shots of a family picture.  Then the shot above with Brenda and the kids.  During the family picture Brenda was trying to use the self timer but it was actually video.  We couldn't figure out why it wouldn't snap the shot.   I can hardly wait to see it.  LOL.  So for posterity sake of what we do to our kids with trying to get that "perfect" shot I have posted the above photo.


All the cousins, minus my nephew Travis who is in Navy A school in Florida.   The two in the upper right are my niece Chelsea and my nephew Garrett.  I was there when Garrett was born and declared I would NEVER have children.  HAHA!

We were having a discussion about me being taller.  I LOVE our faces!!!  

We do much better with our discussions now than when we were kids.  Haha.

Please keep praying for my sister to be able to get the treatments she needs, and if the Lord is willing, that He would heal her of Graves Disease.  

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Harvestland Baptist Church

The Lord has given is another great meeting in another church plant.  And again with friends, James and Cate Appel, from Bible College.  If I am remembering correctly the Appels arrived here, the home town of Cate, in 2005.  It was great to see the Appels again and to see them interact with their people.  They had 2 visitors to the morning service.

It is thrilling to see them focus on missions.  Their mission bulletin board highlighted 6 different missionaries.  And they have recently had a couple different missionaries visit - not a common thing during the winter time here because the weather is so unpredictable.  Will you pray with us that the Lord would strengthen them for the work here?   Pray also that the Lord will continue to bring them souls for Christ and that they will be blessed with many more solid church members.

We trust that the Lord used some portion of our presentation and time here for Him.  And we are thankful to present the need for the Gospel in Uruguay with these dear people.

Mount Rushmore

I have always wanted to see Mount Rushmore but we've never been "in the area".  So when Scott said we might be able to see it on this trip I was so excited.  There were a few moments of doubt when our friends told us the weather had turned sour.  And had we been here last week we probably would have not gone - the weather up there was -22° F.  I was so pleased to see this historic monument!  It really is amazing.

The trail is a set of steps, I think the sign said 250.  We went the wrong way...up, instead of down.  I guess it was good though because we worked off some of all this food we've been eating.

Taken from a crack in a cave on the trail.

Our kids like the Jr. Ranger Program with the National Parks while we were on deputation so we have continued it as a tradition.  Bethany, Adeline, Nehemiah, Isabel and Simeon all earned their badges for Mt. Rushmore.

Brandon has some grand aspirations.

We drove through the Wildlife loop in the Custer State Park.  It was so cool to be just a few feet from wild buffalo.  Let me tell you they are HUGE!  This guy walked in front of the van and then stood off to the driver's side.  I couldn't see the top of his back from my seat.  Our van is 7 foot 2 inches.

After we left the park we were still driving through the Black Hills and saw a sign that said "Danger Large Wildlife May Be in the Road" .  It was a good thing he had to slow down for a curve or he would have had a mighty big insurance claim as there was a HUGE buffalo standing in our lane. 

Travel from Nevada to Nebraska.

Having always drive the southern route across the country and back east again I was loving all the sites that filled the horizon as we traveled from Nevada to Nebraska along Interstate 80.  It seemed that there was a surprise around corner.  Here are a few pictures of the things that we saw:

The first picture is the mountains in the west.  The next is the Rockies from the I-80 looking South from Wyoming.  The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah are below.

Statue of Lincoln off the freeway in Wyoming.

The wide open prairie of Nebraska.

Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Front of their headquarters.  This building was at least 20 stories high.

Rocky Mountains off in the distance.  

On the way to Chadron, Nebraska we passed the historic site of Scott's Bluff a way point on the Oregon and Mormon trails.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grace Baptist of Fernley

This church was planted in 2009 by friends, Pastor Rick and Melanie Lynn.  They have told us that the Lord has far bypassed what they expected during the first few months.  It was thrilling, to say the least, to be in this church and see first hand what the Lord is doing.

One of the things we especially admire about the Lynns is their desire to give God the glory and honor for all He is doing in the ministry He has called them to.  In a day and age where men grab for the attention by throwing out numbers and touting their own successes we have been refreshed these past few days by the consistent glorification of God. 

The two pictures above are their ministry buildings.  They rented a store front in a small strip mall.  Just two weeks before their first service the owner came by to see how things were coming along and asked what they were planning for children's ministry, he then offered this store front.   It also functions very well for fellowships after church. 

The people here were a tremendous blessing to us.  And we are leaving here extremely encouraged in the Lord!  Pastor Lynn challenged them to give generously in the love offering to us and we are dumbfounded at how generously they gave.  The kids had been taking up an offering for our kids and they are all planning out what they will be doing with their windfall!

Thank you all for praying for this meeting.  Our presentation went very well.  Scott preached the evening service.  And we pray that the Lord was able to use us to further the cause of worldwide missions.

Please be in prayer for our next meeting in Chadron, Nebraska.  We will once again be with friends from Bible College and we are looking forward to the meeting.   

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Over the Meadows...

and through the woods from grandmothers house we went.

After a very long day of travel on Friday...that could have been shorter if we took a different route, I'm told...we arrived in Fernley, Nevada.  Our time here thus far has been full of blessings and we are so encouraged in the Lord!  I plan to write more after we have tonight's service because I'm hoping to add pictures when I blog about our meeting here.. 

I wanted to thank you all for praying for travel mercies for us.  We had an uneventful trip...those are good when you're traveling with a family of 10 in the winter.  It was dark when we drove through the Donner Pass though so the kids weren't able to really see anything.  I'm hoping to drive into Reno before we leave so the kids can see the Sierras.  It would be good if the fog would lift before then. 

There is snow on the ground and the kids had a blast playing in it yesterday morning.  Our older kids went bowling with friends here.  Later Scott and I had a double date with the pastor and his wife, who are friends of our from Bible College.  It sure was great to go out and have fellowship with English!  However, it did make me miss our double dates in Uruguay with our friends Daniel and Amparo Lopez. 

Monday, January 04, 2010

HAPPY 2010

New Year's was a very loud experience!

New Year's Day we headed to Scott's Mom and step-Dad's house in Santa Barbara.

It didn't take long for the kids to begin having fun with Grandma Karen, and her brother, Uncle Gary.  Then to teach them all to play the Wii.

While the kids were having fun I was building this crazy train puzzle for Nehemiah!

Christmas With Family - Final Installment!

The neighboring cities of Hemet and San Jacinto are where we grew up.  The Hemecinto Valley is home to much of my family.  And it also offers one of the prettiest views in Southern California.  The mountains below are what we grew up looking at and driving into to play in the winter snow. 

Our first stop when we got into town was the In N' Out where Scott and I had our first date!

From there we headed to my cousin Val's house to visit.  Val and her husband Matt are the parents of Madi, for whom many of you have been praying.  It was so great to see Madi doing so well.  Our kids had a blast playing with eachother and my older girls LOVED their twin boys who are 2 months younger than Silas.

The next morning Scott's Dad and Step mom cam down from the mountain to have Christmas with us.  It was so great to see them and not have to wait until this summer when we'll be in Michigan.

After this we met my Dad and Step mom to spend some time with them.  I must say of all the Christmas gifts I received this year this was by far the best one.  All of my children were able to meet their grandpa, and WOG.  Most of the time the younger ones were occupied in the playplace so that enabled us to have some quality time as adults too.

From here we went to my Aunt and Uncles house to see them but we ended up going out to dinner with them and my other cousin Dawn and her husband and children.  The top picture is with me and my Aunt (my dad's sister).  The next is with my cousin Dawn (Val's older sister) and her husband. 

Our final stop the next morning in Hemet was to our best Man's house to see him before we headed out of town.

We drove out town by way of the "blue roof people" aka Scientologists.  I'll never forget my dad's warniing to my sister and I about the dangers of this area.  So whenever we pass through here I'm always uncomfortable.

Our last view of the mountains as we headed through the Lamb's Canyon Pass.  It was a short but wonderful and memory filled visit to Hemet.