Thursday, November 6, 2014

What are you waiting for?

When last I wrote we were still in Berlin.  It was with heavy hearts that we returned 'home'.  We wanted to stay and continue the works we are a part of.  We know Berlin is where we are to be.  There is not a doubt!  How it will all work out will be amazing to watch!!  We were blessed beyond measure with the favor we found at every turn there.  So many amazing people that are now forever a part of our lives. 

So much work to be done.

So few labors to harvest the fields.

We had been praying over the summer about setting up a home-base in the US.  Since we sold our NY home May of '13 we felt we needed somewhere to call our own whenever we are in the states.  As strongly as we wanted to stay in Germany this time we felt that we needed to return to set up a home-base and finish raising the support needed.  We looked at many locations and thought through the pros and cons of each area.  Finally we decided on Winston Salem, NC.  It is a great location for many reasons:  Mike's younger sister moved there a few months back.  So it has family.  We needed somewhere in the middle of all our contacts - old, new, and hopefuls - they span from NY to Florida.  This will make travel easier on us.  Plus the taxes are crazy low :)  We wanted to find something we wouldn't have to go in debt for...this is a Biggy for us!!

We arrived in NC not even 2 days after stepping off the plane and began looking at places to live.  Time was of the essence.  We had to first find a house in order to get the boys in school.  We had 2 weeks to pull it all off.  It was not easy - trying to pick the neighborhood, school district, home (with-in our limited budget) and all the other challenges that come with a new area. We didn't know how anything worked within the school system, so different then northern schools!  We found a small townhouse which will work best for when we are in Germany for the long periods of time.  We will not have to worry about maintenance of a large home and lawn.  The townhouse needed a ton of work though and more things we found as we settled into it.

When we went to pick up our belongings at the storage unit we found that they had been invaded by black mold while we were in Germany this summer.  Our clothing and appliances were for the most part in plastic storage bins so they were fine but all our wooden furniture (dressers, kitchen table, couch, book cases, ect) and beds were lost.  To make matters worse we needed to have purchased additional insurance for water damage.  We were not aware of this when we bought the insurance we thought we needed for the unit.  So nothing has been reimbursed. 

I felt like Job. 

Then I began to battle with styes on my eye lids.  Even as I write this I have a large one on my upper right lid that sent me to the eye doctor earlier this week.  I'm on antibiotics and he told me if I had not come in when I did I would have ended up in the hospital from the infection that set in along with the stye.

 There were so many questions raised in our minds as to why we had to fight so many battles from the moment we stepped off the plane (our luggage decided to take almost a week to find us).  I have only mentioned a few of the battles above.   Anybody that knows us can look back over our lives and say we have lived a life that seemed "golden".  Everything we had put our hands to has been successful.  It felt as if the bottom had dropped out and everything we touched was spoiling.  How do you continue to hold fast to the calling deep inside when it feels like things are crumbling down around you?  What does it say about God's will for your life when it looks like nothing is "going right"?  I know growing up the belief was unless things were "roses" then you were out of the will of God for your life...come on you all know what I'm talking about!!!
So getting back to Job...I just couldn't help but feel somewhat like he had.  Of course I was nowhere near his losses.  But at times I did feel like God was stepping back and watching it all unfold instead of stepping in to my rescue.  I felt almost bi-polar.  Moments I would be strong and have a hold of my emotions the next in tears.  How could my Champion abandon me in my time of need?  How could He sit back when I needed Him most?  Was I just wasting my time on a 'pipe dream'?

 I can tell you that only 3 months later (even with the large stye currently on my eye) I write this from a place of peace.  My God has NEVER failed me.  He used these past few months to continue to mold me into His image.  I am stronger for walking through the fire.  I was not burned, He held my hand.  He moved heaven and earth for me.  I am sitting in a beautiful home (still in need of some paint and repairs).  I have all I need.  Great kids.  A loving, faithful husband.  A calling that is so burned into my heart that I have NO doubt that full time missions work in Germany is where we are headed.  The late luggage turned into over $1200 worth of reimbursements from the airliner-the kids school clothing, outfits for Mike and I, new sneakers for all of us and many personal items I would have had to buy out of pocket.  The small ugly townhouse turned into a blessing in the rough.  With our ability to do most of the repairs ourselves and my creative eye it looks amazing and is "money" in the bank.  The schools for the boys have been just what they needed.  The styes in my eyes...well ok I'm still trying to figure out the blessing there...LOL...
Mike has been traveling all over the states and into Canada since our return.  God has been opening some amazing doors we never thought he would walk through.  Just a few weeks ago he sat down with the Swiss Ambassador!   He is going to Germany for a week this month and only had to buy the plane ticket.  He has sat down to lunch with many top leaders of different organizations.  I'm telling you God has some great things 'up His sleeve.’ There are many, many more cool stories I could share.  God opens the doors and we walk through them!!  Is it a wonder that we had such a struggle when we first returned?

I am being very opened and sharing from the heart.  I grew up in a very closed, private family.  I still fight the urge to "keep things behind closed doors".  I want my life to shout out loud that God is faithful.  He has so much more in store for each one of us.  Big things that we could never imagine or even believe.  I wrote this blog wanting to be open and honest with the struggles I have been going through.  I write from a very vulnerable place.  It is hard for me because I am strong! I have always had to be 'the strong one'.  I am telling you now I am weak...always have been!  It is my God, my heavenly Father, that is the strong one in me.  Without Him I am nothing.  Without Him I fall apart.  Without Him I can't survive.  He is my everything. 

I leave you with something I read this morning that grabbed me and propelled me to finally write this blog:

"So I take a new grip with my tired hands and strengthen my weak knees. 
I mark out a straight path for my feet so that those who ARE weak and lame will not fall but become strong."  Hebrew 12:12-13

I want to mark a straight path for others to follow.  I want to strengthen those that are weak and lame.  I want them to know my God.  I want to see them do things they could never do on their own.  To reach new heights.  To stop settling in life.  To stop graveling for small morsels.

I take a new grip.  YES...I'm tired but I can't let those coming behind fall!!!  I need them to see what God can do in and through a weak, frail shell.  I need them to understand that greater is He in me then he that seeks to destroy my life.
Take a new grip today, strengthen those tired knees.  Mark out a path for others to follow. 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Who are you?

Last blog we were living in the bungalow.  This blog finds us moved into the Sending House.  I wrote about the actual house last blog.  It has been a great move for us.  As much as we liked our bungalow we are now right in the middle of everything going on.  You all know how much we love people and to be right in the heart beat of what we want to do here has been amazing.

We have done many different outreaches with the Reach Global team that is living in the house with us for 7 weeks.  Our team from IHOP comes this week.  We are so excited to have OUR first official team come.  Having teams come from the states has been a dream since we started this whole process. We thought it would be at least another year or two before we would be able to see it fulfilled...God loves to surprise us :)  We will also be working closely with another team from the states for a week.  So this summer we have worked with 3 US teams (surprise)!!  

There is never a dull moment.  If we are not going on outreaches then we are spending our time getting to know the German family that lives in the house with us.  We are also very intentional to reach out to all the people we have met in the different house churches.  We have them over for dinner, go to events with them, or just hang out.  We enjoy just being with them, whatever that might look like.  Relationships have a very high value here and are so important to the German people.  We are happy to oblige.

Last Sunday we took the Reach Global team to a brunch filled with churched and non-churched Germans.  The 4 Reach Global teammates were sitting on the couch together.  A German was talking to me and asked where the Americans were he heard had come.  I pointed to the 4 teammates and said 'they are right there.'  He said 'oh ok so those are the Americans?!' Later I was thinking about it and had to laugh because Ummm Hello I am an American too... I love how comfortable I am here.  I really don't view myself as "different" then the Germans around me.  To me, he and I were just chatting and I didn't feel set 'Oh I am American and you are German'...why...should I? 

We will bring home many cool God stories from the outreaches and everyday life here.  God has walked with us step by step. We see His hand all around us.  He is so clever in all He does.  Oh a quick God story...I wrote about our "land lords" from the bungalow in my last blog...welllll they came to the German vs USA game party we had HERE at the Sending House a few nights ago.  They got to talk to all the church people here!!! They felt very welcomed and kept saying how much they enjoyed it.  We have invited them back over Friday night for a 4th of July cook out!  How cool is that?  We hope by the time we leave they will feel comfortable enough to start coming to church here.  We are in Germany for over a month and have already started bringing guest to church events!  I love it!

Now that "that part" of my blog is done let's get to the real reason your reading this ;)  I am so grateful and humbled to hear from so many of you about how these blogs reach out and minister to you or how God has been showing you the same things.  I love to hear your stories.  It really encourages me to keep writing. 

I have still been reading Acts (refer to last I'm going to have you reading all the blogs to see how everything ties together before to long ;) and I stumbled over a very, very cool sentence. YES, of course, we have all read it and all heard messages preached on it but it hit me hard this time.


Acts 19:13-16-quick story background-people were starting to really get into this Jesus fellow. Seven sons of a leading priest were trying to cast out evil spirits saying "I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches to come out."  But one time when they tried the evil spirit replied "I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but WHO ARE YOU?"  I am fixated by this question.  "I know and fear Jesus, and I know all about Paul-he is quite the guy walking in the full power of the spirit, BUT WHO ARE YOU-in other words who do you even think you are trying to come up against me." *ouch* that had to hurt..oh wait it did they got the snot beat out of them!!!

These guys thought they got it.  They wanted to borrow someone else's 'power'.  They didn't understand who Jesus could be in them.  That the same power that ran through Paul's veins could run through theirs.  They thought 'it works for Paul so we'll just throw his name in there and maybe it will work for us too.'


What a loaded question!  I almost can't wrap my brain around that question.  Who am I?  Who was I created to be?  Who do others say I am?  Do the demons know my name?  Do I know who I am in Christ?  Do I understand the power inside of me or do I try to piggyback off the power of others?  Who am I? 

The next day after I read this Job, a German musician, came to lead morning worship.  He sang a song that really made this come alive even more to me.

      I don't want to ride on somebody else's passion.
      I don't want to find I'm just dry bones.
      I want to burn with unquenchable fire, deep down inside see it COMING ALIVE.
      Help me find my own flame.
      Help me find my own fire.
      I want the real thing.
      I want Your burning desire!  (Will Reagan)


'We were born to rule-rule over creation, over darkness-to plunder hell and establish the rule of Jesus wherever we go by preaching the gospel of the Kingdom' Bill Johnson

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Berlin or Bust

I realize it has been a while since I have written a blog…a long while…shame on me!!  We are in Berlin, Tuesday makes a week.  We are very happy to be in Germany.  It has seemed very easy for us to fall back into the rhythm of things here.  The bungalow that we found is so awesome!!  It is double the size and almost half the price of all the ones we looked at on-line.  The week before we were to come to Berlin we took one last look to see if anything had opened up that would be more comfortable for our family.  This one popped up!  We found out later from the land lord that she had a ton of people want to rent it because it was such an amazing deal!! God orchestrated the timing perfectly for us to have it!!  The location is great.  It's a short walk to the tram so we can hop on and get anywhere we need to go.  There is a nice grocery store that we walk to.  Across the street is a very large pond that we enjoy a daily walk or 2 around.  In the mornings Mike and I walk around it to pray for everything and everyone.  Yes, we pray for YOU!!  

We have met up with many of our contacts and are making new ones almost daily.  Tuesday we spent the afternoon and evening at the Sending House working to repair it. The house is a 300 year old Gardener’s home.  In front of it is a large grocery store called Kaufland.  Where Kaufland is now use to be a castle!  The Gardener lived out back of the castle hence the name…  The castle was bombed out in the war and never rebuilt.  The Gardener’s home somehow escaped damage.  It is a large home with many rooms and bathrooms.  Old and in need of some major TLC but oh the possibilities!

Our land lord wants to have a cook out with us next week!  We have been praying for an opportunity to reach out to her and her family.  The boys have played with her little boy and we have talked to her a few times.  Today she asked if we could get together for a cook out…ummmmm no…just kidding :) God rocks!  

Be encouraged that your prayers and support are hard at work!  We could never be here if it were not for you.  We are humbled to have you stand beside us.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers and if you are not yet supporting us please ask God how you can help!


I have been reading the book of Acts.  I wanted to read it because I think that is what the church of today needs to look like once again.  We have strayed from our roots…in some cases far far from our roots!!  I read with excitement and at times my head hung low as I realize how far I have strayed.  I am also reading When Heaven Invades Earth -Bill Johnson.  Talk about a double whammy!! He is so blunt and factual about who we are in Christ and what we should be doing about it!  In a nutshell our daily walk should just be another chapter added to the book of Acts!  If you have never read any of his books I would encourage you to.

Getting back to Acts.  Among many of the cool things I have found one comes to mind as I write this.  Reading the story of Stephen I saw something I’ve not really noticed before.  We all know the story- Acts 6 found the apostles being asked to busy themselves in everyday church affairs.  They knew those things would easily burdened them down and hinder them from preaching the word of God.  They said to chose 7 men well respected and full of the Spirit to do the work.  Stephen was one of those “workers” chosen.  He would do the ‘servant things’ needed to keep order in the church.  Chapter 8 says “ Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, PERFORMED AMAZING MIRACLES AND SIGNS among the people.”  

So you say…what does this have to do with me???  So glad you asked!  Stephen was picked to work the feeding program for the church.  He was NOT an apostle nor held the office of one.  BUT he didn’t let that stop him from performing AMAZING miracles and signs.  EVERY PERSON in the church is called to PERFORM amazing miracles and signs.  He understood his reason for existence here on earth.  He knew it was his ultimate calling.  We are NOT off the hook.  We can’t say ‘well since I am not the pastor nor a leader I am off the hook for those kinds of things’.  Sorry it’s right there in black and white and I just pointed it out to you (LOL).  Why have we strayed so far away?  Why do we walk around so powerless?  What have we become?

I talked about waking the slumbering giant -the church- in my last blog.  This blog I am talking about waking US!!  Waking us to the possibilities that are already ours to operate in.  We are given dominion over everything the day we are born.  Jesus came to make that possible.  READ about it BELIEVE it WALK in it!!  No more excuses!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Battle Cry

We were at a ministers meeting a couple of weeks ago.  A few people wanted to have an impromptu prayer time for us.  There were 3 guys praying for Mike and I.  A wife of one of the guys came over and started to pray too.  She told us that the moment she came over she heard the loudest, fiercest battle cry come from us.  She said it was so loud and powerful that it scared her!

I have been thinking about that since she said it and have been both encouraged and convicted by it.  I am encouraged because Mike and I are both fighters of the faith.  Nothing has been able to stand in our way.  Things rise up but we fight through them.  We have blazed many new trails in our 20 years together.

I am convicted because gone are the days of believing we (all of us) can really make a change in this world.  I have been watching Mysteries at the Museums (a TV show) with the boys and I shake my head in amazement as I see how many times in history ONE person forever changed our course as a nation.  What happen to those days when ONE man believed he could make a difference?  When did we become sniveling, wimpy, whiney believers? Scared of our own shadow...afraid to ripple the water...afraid we will lose friends by standing firm to our beliefs without being a jerk about it.  We have become powerless yet we expect people to flock to our churches.  WHY?  What do we have that they need?  When was the last time we showed them God's power?  Maybe the better question would be when was the last time we ourselves experienced His power?  What has become of us?

I think one answer to that question would be we have lost our Battle Cry.  If you have the nifty app called Holy Bible You Version search battle cry.  There is verse after verse of the people of Judah raising a battle cry and God coming to their defense and crushing their enemies. 2nd Chronicles 13:15- 'and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their Battle Cry, God DEFEATED Heroboam and all Israel'....There are many more verses like that!

Joel 2:1- 'Sound the alarm in Jerusalem. Raise the battle cry on my Holy mountain. Let everyone tremble in fear because the day of the Lord is upon us!'  Come on church!! RAISE THE BATTLE CRY take back what is ours.  Get off your butts, get out of your 4 walls.  Raise the battle cry because the day of our Lord is upon us!!!  When God hears our battle cry it rouses Him to battle.  If you have been covering your eyes for a while stop, LOOK around.  The church is a giant slumbering version of what God wants her to be.  Let's sound the BATTLE CRY let's wake the sleeping giant.  Let God hear our cry and come to our rescue.  God loves to be our champion.  He loves to come in and show Himself strong.

I leave you with something cool I found the other day.  I have been reading about the reign of King Hezekiah...yawn...I know I use to think the same thing but I read this fantastic historical fiction book that got me reading those parts of the Bible with a whole new outlook and understanding of that time in history.  To lay some ground work for the story Judah has just come from the reign of one of it's most evil kings Ahaz.  He placed idols in every corner of Judah and even in the temple of God.  He closed the Holy place and sold Judah to the Assyrian Empire for protection.  After he died his son Hezekiah become king.

Hezekiah wants to restore Judah to its rightful place as a nation that has Yahweh's favor.  He tears down all the idols and repairs the temple.  He wants to free Jerusalem from the Assyrians.  He encourages his people that God will fight for them.  The king of Assyria kept sending letters to Hezekiah and the letter bearers would read the letters to all the people to try to scare them. "What makes you think your God can rescue you from my power".  The Assyrian King takes pleasure in taunting the God of Hezekiah.  But the Bible says 'King Hezekiah and Amoz cried out in prayer to God in Heaven. And the Lord sent AN angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers. So the Assyrian King was forced to return home in disgrace.  And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him there with a sword.'' (2 Chronicles 32)

The thing that I love so much from this passage is that the Lord only sent ONE angel to wipe out the most powerful kingdom of that time!!  The prayers of 2 men aroused God's protective side and He only had to send ONE to come to their rescue.  What could we do if we as a church would raise the battle cry to our God who, with one messenger of Heaven, can defeat an entire empire.  What would our world look like today if we understood the power we hold?   What would our government look like if we stopped thinking 'oh is just going to happen anyways. There is nothing I can do about it'?  What would our families look like if we raised a Battle Cry over them and told Satan to get his hands off?  What would our workplace look like if we began the day with a Battle cry before stepping foot into the building?

Raise the Battle Cry! Watch your Heavenly Father come running!!