Monday, March 26, 2012

To God Be the Glory, We are His Bride

The truth is missionary life is not as glamorous as some would think. It’s hard. This truth doesn’t make missionaries any more holy or closer to God. We’re still humans, striving to love and honor the Lord, like our counterparts serving Him in their home countries.
The truth is Ghana is HOT and HUMID. The climate is very hard and tiring on our weak American bodies. Not to mention the food or other cultural differences.
Two days in, and I find myself questioning, can I really do this for six months….for the rest of my life!?! Do I really want to?
Then I go to a church service and I remember why I am here. The joy of those who have found Jesus is overwhelming, and I want everyone in Ghana to experience that same joy. Then, the Lord decides to teach me a HUGE lesson.
During the church service, a young couple was getting married. At the beginning of the ceremony, the congregation stood and sang a Hymn:
To God be the Glory; Great things He hath done
So love He the world that He gave us His Son
Who yielded his life an atonement for sin
And opened the life gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord; Praise the Lord;
Let the earth hear his Voice
Praise the Lord; Praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice;
O Come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.
As we sing this beautiful Hymn, the bride slowly walks down the aisle toward her groom. The symbolism is blowing my mind, and tears are streaming down my face. How fleshly I am to complain about the comforts of this world. Here right before me is a reminder of the Eternal purpose of it all.
The Father loves us so much! Jesus, our groom, gave his life, so we could become His Bride. He is waiting at the end of the aisle for His Bride, but His Bride isn’t ready. Some don’t even know about the sacrifice He made so we could be His.
That is why I am here. I want all of His Bride to be present on that day. Every Ghanaian. Every West African. Every European, Asian, American, etc…. We still have a lot of the world to tell about Jesus. We better get to it!
My “suffering” can only be considered a very mild discomfort compared to the suffering my Jesus did for me. How fleshly I am. How selfish I am! Lord, help me to keep Eternity in mind. Help me to remember to sacrifice you made for me, Your Bride.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Breaking the Silence

I haven't blogged that much this past year. It just seemed that my blogs were becoming redundant. It seems my life is redundant! Same thing, day in and day out, waiting, waiting, waiting... Chasing this chance or that. Hoping something will happen making a way for us to FINALLY go to the mission field. All the while feeling that if there was a company named Failure, I would be their CEO.

(Side note: Feelings can be feeble and not always a depiction of reality. I have learned to bring my feelings to Abba-Daddy. He is never offended, no matter how ridiculous my emotions or emotional statements may get. He listens, comforts, and adjust my heart and mind to see things more clearly.)

My husband and I have been trying to go to the mission field since graduating college 10 long years ago. There have been seasons of putting our dreams on hold, knowing it wasn't time. There have been lessons learned and necessary growth along the way.

Three years ago, we took our family to Africa for two months. We knew it was time to focus what God called us to do. When we returned, our efforts to become full time missionaries turned in to an uphill battle, and we began the most difficult and most emotional leg of this journey.

Fast forward to the present: for several months we've been working with an amazing company to begin a business in Ghana. This would be beneficial to our ministry and to the community, as well as give us a platform for our main focus of ministry, which is job training and skills development for financial independence.

So far, our efforts have not panned out. Although there has been many disappointments, we know that in His time, it will all work out. God has everything in control, and we are trusting Him.

We have a mandate to go to Ghana, and like never before everything is saying GO NOW. The hubs, who owns his own construction business, hasn't gotten a decent job in awhile. The house we rent is being sold, and is priced to sell quickly. We have people requesting to visit us in Ghana, and projects waiting for us when we get there.

Our desire, what we know God wants us to do, is to live and minister in Ghana. Never have we felt we were to be part time or short term missionaries. Because of this, we've held back waiting for everything to be right. Waiting for all the pieces to be in place so we can go knowing it is "forever". However, there is an element of faith and trust required that "having all your ducks in a row" doesn't allow for. It seems,we are at that place. We've gotta choose to take the leap, and trust that God's got a plan, even if we don't.

So, we're gonna jump. We leave for Africa March 20th. We will stay for at least six months. We are believing that in that time, God is going to make a way for us to stay more permanently. If not, we'll come home, and ask, "What's next, Abba?" Either way, He is faithful. He is good.

Because this is my personal blog, not our ministry blog (although they often cross over), I can be more open about about the emotional roller coaster I've been on, especially in the past six months. There have been so many hopes created and hopes deferred that it's exhausting! I have cried many painful tears and yelled at God for being a big meanie! I've experience every emotion-anger, depression, hope, joy, pain. I've quit, given up the calling, about a million times. He's never felt so far away and so close at the same time.

Six months ago I couldn't have said that if we go to Ghana and have to come home six months later, with no plans of returning, that I would be OK with it. But I am now. Partially from complete exhaustion from fighting for this "calling" for so long. Partially because I know now that it really doesn't matter. What matters is obedience. What matters is knowing Him, trusting Him when it doesn't make sense at all, and resting in His love and faithfulness.

I so desperately want to do something great for my God. I wanna change the world for Him. But I am learning, world-changer status is meaningless to Him. He wants my heart. My love, devotion and willingness to follow is more precious to Him than any world-changing actions I may attempt.

How amazing is that?!

SEE our Ministry post about leaving:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Year's Adventure

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of one of the most life altering decisions our family has ever made. We packed up all our belongings in a small Uhaul trailer, hooked to our big blue minivan, said good bye to all of our family and friends, and headed out for South Carolina.

What a year it has been! Our trek across the United States was an adventure in itself, seeing Old Faithful and Mount Rushmore, visiting friends and family in Missouri, and viewing the beautiful landscapes across this great country.

This year we have gone to Mexico (twice for my husband) and Washington D.C., and have made friends with missionaries serving around the world.

We participated in an amazing missions training program, and have built life long friendships with some wonderful people with a passion to serve others with a missions call.

Making the decision to move was difficult. It took months of prayer, thinking, and discussing. It was the source of many tears and pain. It is never easy to choose to leave all that is familiar and loved. Stepping out in faith into the great unknown causes a person to take pause; to make a conscious choice to fully trust in the Lord.

The Lord is so good to those who put their trust in Him! He has honored our step of faith and
we have experienced His abundant favor this year. We are so thankful for all He has done.

Our desire in going to South Carolina and the World Outreach Center was to fully focus on getting to Africa. Now, one year later we are weeks away from starting yet another adventure, this time on foreign soil.

At the moment, we are back in Oregon, visiting, and savoring every moment spent with family and friends. We take a moment to give thanks for all He has done this past year, and for all that this next year has in store.

Monday, July 4, 2011

From our AFN Blog: Moving Forward in Faith...

Our family is schedule to leave for Ghana, West Africa, in just 12 short weeks. EEK!!

As each day passes, I find myself having to daily choose to live out one of my favorite scriptures: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight." (Prov 3:5-6)

In the natural, everything is not in place for us to go in 12 weeks. We do not have the monthly support we need. We have several promising possibilities for support, but you can't take a promise to the bank.

I have been here before: scheduled to go, with no finances to leave, and God did not provide. Looking back, if I had listened to Him, I would have heard Him clearly saying, "This is not the path I have for you," and saved myself from a very humbling lesson.

Now that I am here again, I have a choice. I can look at what happened last time, and respond with caution and fear, or I can more forward in faith. I have listened, He has spoken clearly, now is the time to go. I can look at what He has done, and trust that this is the path He has for our family.

God has already miraculously provided all the funds we need to move to Ghana. He is opening doors for us to work with an international company that would help supplement our income while also helping the people of Ghana. He has provided a team member to join us (a HUGE answer to prayer). He's brought us this far, can't I just be at peace and trust that he will bring us the rest of the way?

The doubts play over and over like a broken record in my mind. What if it doesn't work out with this company? Where will the rest of our finances come from then? What if this person or that church doesn't come through on their promise of support? What if September comes and we don't have the finances? What if we didn't hear God clearly? What if, once again, we are wrong??

I like things to be set in place, plans concrete, organized, no room for error, no room for doubt, no need to trust. But if there is no need to trust in God, that means I am in control. If I am in control, then God has no room to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think (Eph 3:20).

It is for my benefit that He doesn't reveal the whole plan upfront. It is for my benefit that I move forward in faith, trusting that God will make my path straight, according to His perfect will.

As a family we are choosing to move forward in faith. We are submitting and trusting God. Keep praying for us, and together we will see God do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think....

P.S. Did I say a new team member was joining us? Yes I did! Tesia is a young woman who was a part of our missions internship class. She has been living with our family since March. God has spoken to her heart, and she will be joining us in Ghana for three months. We are very excited to have her with us!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Giving Honor

Today is Mother's Day. A day to honor and say thank you to Moms. At Just Following Jesus, my Mom talked about giving honor where honor is due.

I have a wonderful Mom. She is truly amazing. She was and is a very good Mamma. She deserves all the honor I can give. And, today, I honor her. Thank you, Mom, for being who you are and loving me always.

Seven years ago I became a mommy. I missed celebrating my first Mother's Day by three days. I became a mom because a young lady chose me to be a mom. It wasn't a random choice. I know it was preordained by God. But, there is still that matter of Free Will.

Seven years ago, a young woman chose LIFE. She chose obedience to God's will. She chose selfless love above natural desires. She chose adoption. She chose me.

She did the honorable thing. Each Mother's Day I choose to recognize her. I choose to give her honor and say THANK YOU. Thank you for giving me the honor and pleasure of being mommy to two amazing kids.

I love you, M!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Can it really be April already?

This year is just FLYING by! Seriously, it seems like Christmas was yesterday. Spring promises to be just as busy as winter as we get closer and closer to the big move to Ghana!

Jody just got back from Juarez, Mexico, where he and a team built a roof on an orphanage. The lucky bum got to go with my sister and an old family friend. They had a great time while the kids and I took care of things on the home front.

I recently started a part time job, to help make ends meet and bring home a little extra bacon. Trying to find something that would work with our family's schedule is near impossible. This job basically fell in my lap! Thank you, Jesus!

I work in a Christian call center, answering phones for various Television and Radio ministries. It's open 24-7, so I am able to work evenings, after the kids and hubby are in bed.

About a month ago we took in a new family member. Tesia is a young lady that was in the internship with us. She is as sweet as can be and we are so happy to have her living with us. She is even praying about coming to Africa with us for awhile!

The kids are enjoying the nice spring weather we've been having, playing outside 'till dusk with their friends, building forts, riding bikes, and playing games.

They only have 6 weeks left of school, and are counting down the days. Papa Roscoe made them a BIG promise. "Finish school with As and Bs and I will give you $100.00." That is A LOT of money for little a kid. They have been dreaming of all the things they can buy, "once we are rich."

My babies are growing up quickly and will be 7 and 8 very soon. It's about time they have some of their own adventures. If everything works out, they may be going to spend some time with Nana and Papa with out Mommy and Daddy! I've never been away from my kids for more than two days, so I am not nearly as excited about this as they are.

Life is full and we are blessed. As we move forward in the things God has called us to do, we strive to "Trust God from the bottom of our heart; we don't try to figure out everything on our own. We listen for God's voice in everything we do, everywhere we go; he's the one who will keep us on track." (Prov 3:5-6 Msg)

Monday, January 31, 2011


Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “ The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “ Therefore I hope in Him!” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

Lam 3: 21-234, Ps119:89, Ps 100:4-5

My heart is overflowing with fun and funny memories of Grandma. Like the time she caught Katie and I snooping in Jenn’s diary while my parents were away. She grounded us from the Cosby show, but her Grandma resolve wasn’t that strong. She caved and we watched it anyways. At Grandma’s I was fed a continual diet of toast and butter. She made the best Chex Mix and eights at Christmas time. My favorite gift from Grandma was a homemade night gown perfect for twirling. She loved to play cards and board games with us kids. She introduced me to Jane Austin and the greatest movie of all time, Pride and Prejudice. My Grandma was an excellent Great Grandma to my children. They loved each other so much! I am so thankful that they were able to know her and create fun memories with her.

Grandma is one of my heroes. She endured and was faithful. She was tough, and determined. Some would call this stubbornness, a trait she passed on to many of her children and grandchildren. Over the past decade I watched a transformation happen in Grandma. The Holy Spirit was at work in her, changing her, healing her. She forgave and sought forgiveness. It’s never too late to let Jesus heal your heart. She showed me this.

I can’t help but think of the impact this one little lady has had on the Kingdom of God . Through the pains, hurts, and ugliness of life circumstances, amazing, beautiful life has come forth and multiplied. Represented in this room are thousands of people whose lives have been and will be changed by Jesus Christ through her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. What an amazing legacy I have inherited! Thank you, Jesus and Thank you, Grandma. I miss you already and love you forever. Your Favorite, Stephie.