God will provide a lamb

It is 5:41 AM right now, Adam just cried and I am rocking him back to sleep.
Today is the day we are going to fly to Indonesia, first Tokyo then Jakarta and then Surabaya, our final destination. It is amazing the journey God took us on. When we decided to come here and step out in faith we sold our business along with some other stuff. It was enough for us to pay the lecture part of the school. Going on outreach, however, is also part of the school and for me to complete the school I have to complete the outreach. We went back and forth whether we were supposed to go to Indonesia or not.
When you do a secondary school in YWAM the outreach part is much more flexible and you can go wherever you want to. Also in YWAM, you have to raise your own support and that’s where our faith was tested like Job in the pig’s pen. (Did you know the prodigal son’s name was also Job… or was it Bob?) To start our faith-test journey we asked many people about raising support.  They told us it’s not easy to ask people money but that’s just how it’s done. We disagreed. Surely God will provide for us if we are in His will; but if we ask for money we provide for our will, we argued.

One day the base announced a “giving” day. During the corporate worship time everyone would ask God who to give to. They wrote people’s name on a big white board and behind their names were a couple of numbers followed by a $ sign. As the day went on, the amount decreased and at the end they gave us about a 1000$. Amazing if you consider that everyone in that room is living by faith and does not have any money. We decided to go ahead and book the tickets, we almost had enough now. Then we discovered a bunch of costs we hadn’t heard about before and guess what? We got discouraged. Now we were struggling with the fact if it was Gods will or not for us to go. We came to the point that we called the airline and asked if we could cancel the tickets to Indonesia, but the answer was no. We asked God to confirm to us if it was His will and He did. So we stood on the truth and said to God: we know it is Your will, so you will provide. I was actually in the middle of writing a blog post declaring that God would provide when all of the sudden 4000$ came in, one day before the ground fees were due. Now we still need a little towards the tickets, but you can imagine we are not worried in the least. Gloria A Dios.

PS: we will keep you up to date about our trip!

Gains

I love this unique season of my life.  I don’t have food to cook, grass to mow, a garden to baby, chickens to feed nor a kitchen to clean.  I miss these things, all of them.  But like Hj’s teacher said last week, in every season of life we are wrestling with gains and losses.  I looked for my current “gains”, things I have now that I might not have next year, and they ended up in a list.  I added a few grainy iPhone photos since our real camera, unfortunately, bit the dust.

photo 1-4– I can take a walk in the Garden of the Gods anytime

– swimming pool just down the hall

– room checks every week to help me keep the bathtub clean

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– a dozen libraries within easy driving distance

– learning about other cultures firsthand

– time! I can choose what I want to do in a day: read, sew, paint, write, walk to Trader Joe

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– free pie Wednesday nights, just across the street

– every day I get to make a huge impact on little humans

– a two year old comedian to keep things light

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– hearing the overflow of deep stuff happening in Hj and the rest of the class

– meeting so many lovely people with big dreams and inspiring visions

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– living with only necessities (I love an uncomplicated life)

– lifting up my eyes to majestic Pikes Peak every day

– baby smiles and coos that never get old

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– learning words and phrases from the natives in Cantonese, Mandarin, Finnish, French, German, Khmer

– I can peek in at Hj whenever I miss him too much

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– unlimited wifi so we can FaceTime and Skype and chat with family

– an in-house coffee shop

– a resident fitness trainer who is very generous with his time

– too many fun things to do on the weekends

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Good news

There’s a story on This American Life about a guy who goes into stores asking for the “good guy discount” on his purchases.  I thought about it for a year or so, and then I tried it.  I went into a store, picked out a nice anniversary present for my husband, went to the counter and asked for a discount.  I didn’t even have to pull out the “good guy discount” line.  I just asked for a regular discount, the kind you need when you don’t want to pay full price.  And guess what?

It worked.  Forty percent off my purchase, just like that.  You should try it, and let me know how it works.

(I’m scared it’s something about my face.)

When I was traveling in Europe, I got so much free stuff it was crazy.  In France, I got free oysters, twice.  I met an older gentleman who owned an art shop and he took me out for oysters in the market.  They were slimy and cold.  A few days later I was walking down the street and a lady came out of nowhere and handed me a giant silver tray of raw oysters, lemon slices and rye bread.  I have no clue who she was or why she handed me a tray of oysters, but I hope someday to be the type of person to walk up to a stranger on the street and hand them a silver platter of seafood, with the fixin’s.

Last week Hj sent me away for two hours of fun.  Perks of a husband studying the psychology of the individual: I now get two hours of mandatory fun per week.  It’s not a time to get caught up on projects, or do necessary things, but a time to practice the discipline of real soul rest.  This is harder than I thought it would be, honestly.

But I submitted to my husband, took my book and a blanket and went to the park.  I ended up taking a nap in the green grass until a large dog bounded up to me with a tennis ball in his slobbery mouth.  (Thankfully I don’t startle easily, or I would have embarrassed myself, haha.) I was talking to the Lord about all the ways we’re in over our heads right now, and He calmed me right down with a reminder to cast all my anxieties on Him because He cares about me.  Then it hit me: He cares about me!  Absolutely stunning, but true.

photoThat same day, He showed me just how true.  I stopped at the supermarket to pick up some yogurt and someone had left a coupon on top of the cartons.  Just what I needed, I thought.  I turned around and a lady was smiling at me, handing me a bunch of pink, ruffly peonies.  I was confused and teary and smiley all at once.  One, because peonies are absolutely my favorite.  And two, because I had just been telling God I would love some fresh flower petals to arrange on my floor, the way Journey Mama does it.  Still, I was so surprised by this pink bunch of loving-kindess cast into my arms.

Last week we were downcast and discouraged.  Why did we book those tickets to Indonesia when we didn’t actually have the money?  Why do we have to rely on other people to send us on this trip?  There’s a fine line between faith and irresponsibility and it seemed we were getting awfully close to that line.  We even tried to cancel the tickets, but God sent a messenger to remind us that we walk by faith, not by sight.  Then suddenly, we were caught up in a deluge of extreme generosity, more than we could have thought to ask for.  Thank you all so much!

Remember: be careful what you wish for– you just might get it all.

The Finnish Kids and Pride (or: Finnished with Pride)

We are babysitting three sweet Finnish kids at the moment. I have no idea how to spell their names, but I can finally pronounce them. photo 2They have almost exhausted their English: “Joy, Haiti, (Hj), Legostarwarsgame.” Hj did his DTS in Finland back in 2009, and he can still say “How are you?” and “repent” and “Holy Spirit.” I have also heard him speaking German, Spanish and Latvian to them.  When we got back from the pool with the kids, they seemed cold so I drew them a bath and pointed to it and looked questioningly. What I meant was, “Do you want to take a bath?” They smiled and nodded, took off their clothes, and threw them into the water.  I was so surprised.

photo 1Hj installed a speaking translation app, so the kids could talk into it and it would translate to English for us, and vice versa. According to the app, the kids were talking about hardwood, decisions and Mike Tyson.

The other day I went to the local Justice Conference simulcast, video streaming from Chicago. If you will remember, I am a conference junkie, but it’s been awhile since I indulged. I went with my son Adam, JoJo from Switzerland and Daudae from Germany. I was a little wary about this justice conference because I think I’m better than the masses who only care about justice because it’s trendy, you know. But then Bob Goff got up and talked about loving people and being humble and I was so convicted. He said he gives away $500 every time he is critical of someone, so he only says as much as he can afford. I’m glad I don’t do that or I would have had to give away all my money just yesterday for judging those socially-just hipsters.  photo 5-1

My sister and I were having this long conversation about pride and being right, before we both got run over by newborns, hallelujah.  In one email, she mentioned a quote by someone else, and that quote got me thinking.  Here it is, to get you thinking:

I don’t think I was very much influenced by what people thought of me in those days.  I told myself that this was because I was only concerned about God’s approval.  The approval of man meant nothing to me.  In retrospect, I see that the approval of man meant nothing to me because I thought myself wiser than most men.  Why should I care what those beneath me thought?  When you look down on so many people, it is easy not to feel guilty when you hurt them.  And the religiously proud are constantly hurting people.

photo 5The nice thing about this conversation is that we weren’t just discussing pride, but we were finding a real bumper crop of it right in the mirror.  I declare it’s a supernatural experience to see pride in yourself, because it’s absolutely invisible without God’s help.  I am so glad God is pulling it up by the roots, because I don’t want Him to have to resist me and I don’t want to hurt any more people with it!  Being right is way, way overrated, at least in my bloodstream.

I have been working on being friendly, in all the spots my mom missed when she was raising me.  (She did a great job– I remember being pulled into the pantry more than once to get some whispered wisdom about showing interest in the visitors.)  I discovered that people have incredibly interesting thoughts under their blue hair!  Sometimes even wise!  But I don’t just want to find people interesting, I want to know how to really love them all: the ones I live with, and the ones in the waiting room that don’t look at all like my type.photo 3

Last Saturday after listening to Bob Goff, I was a wreck, crying out to God about how I want to love everybody, always.  A few minutes later, I ran into Sally Clarkson at the bakery.  After talking with her for a few minutes, I felt I had brushed up against the very person I was just asking God to make me into.  Now I have to just sit here and wait until I’m 60 to ooze that love and graciousness. (joke)

These are just some random thoughts, experiences and photos I wanted to share with you.  I don’t know all of you subscribers, but good news: I love you since Saturday!  Welcome, and please feel free to let us know you’re here.