Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Heading to the Airport

We are on the cusp of everything we've talked about for 3 years! It is hard to actually believe that this is happening today. The last two days were the hard parts. We said goodbye to our families. I was reminded of the verse that says count the cost. When you sign up for something like this you don't think about the hard parts. You think about the adventure and fun parts. You think about the neat things God will do with you. We've counted the cost the last few days and I can still say, IT IS WORTH IT. People reunited with their Creator is worth it. Just as our families will miss us, our Heavenly Father misses His creation when they are separated by their sins. He is using us to help reunite His children to Himself.

Yesterday as we said goodbye to my parents I had to ask myself why we were doing this. We're doing this because we are obedient to His calling. I think God places a call upon the lives of those in ministry but you have to be further committed to His calling than just because you felt like its what He wanted. You have to do it because you are choosing obedience. When the warm fuzzy feeling disappears (and it does at some points), you need to know you aren't doing it just because it's fun or an adventure but because you are choosing to be obedient to Him. Today, we choose obedience.

This is a reminder for all of us. Everyone isn't called across the ocean, but He calls us each to be used by Him in some way to expand the Gospel. Are we ready to respond in obedience even when it is hard? Have we counted the cost?



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Its God Month!

Well this time has arrived.  It leaves me with a some anxiousness and a lot of excitement.  Here is what the next couple months look like for Crosslink:

June:     Libby is packing, having garage sales, etc.
             Brennan is running across Iowa & Missouri completing our financial partnership team
             Visa paperwork finalization

July:      Traveling to see family before the big move

August: Final packing and preparing to wrap up life in the USA

I've been looking forward to June for a few different reasons. #1 We're not traveling as much this month (well, not traveling by our standards).  #2 It's a time to focus on completing our partnership team.  I said we won't be traveling, but this is only partly true.  The Caravan's wheels will still be rolling but mostly across Iowa and northern Missouri.  June will be a time that I can solely focus on making appointments with churches and potential personal partners.  This will take place within 150 mile radius our our base in Iowa and eliminating the distraction of zip zagging across the country.    #3 Completing the goal is only something God can do.

This entire journey we've been on for the last 2 years one thing has been certain: We've always been amazed at how He has worked in this journey.  This month will be no exception.  We are currently at 67% of our support.  This means we need just under $2,400/month to raise in 1 month.  Seemingly impossible, no?  But here is what He has already done: a potential supporter considering supporting 14% of our entire goal and every single Sunday in June has been booked in the last month (which I didn't really pursue to fill).

I say all that to say this: I can't wait to see how God completes our support.  I've been anticipating getting to June to watch God do what He does and to astound us on how He works.  I am confident He has called us to complete our support this month and that He'll do so at 100% of our needed support.

Will you join me in prayer as we submit ourselves to His timeline, will, and how He desires us to diligently complete this process?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Crisis and the Gospel

Before Tuesday, most people likely had no idea where Belgium even was except for maybe in Europe.  Admittedly I didn't know where Belgium was or if it was a city or a country before our survey trip in 2013.

This obviously has hit close to home for Libby and I this week.  We personally traveled through the Brussels airport in 2013 and know dozens of people that could've been there at that exact moment.  Praise the Lord that everyone that could've been there wasn't.

The migrant crisis that came to the surface of American media as of recent has been ongoing since 2013.  The strain on resources and governments has created raging debate over how to respond and handle this crisis.  With the attacks in Paris and Brussels every society is anxious to find a way to end the blood shed.

Where can hope be found in all of this suffering?  The Gospel.  In cold, hard Europe we find that the white fields of John 4:35 can be seen in these difficult times.  As these refuges arrive on the shores they arrive with questions and looking, craving for hope.  When we are prepared as the church to have people with resources behind them to show them where true hope can be found, lives are becoming radically changed.  As these horrific attacks occur, Europeans will be forced to answer a multitude of questions regarding God, life after death, religion, and the purpose of life on Earth.  They also may ask, "If these people claim the same religion as I, then why is my religion of peace murdering my friends and family?"  Doors are opened through this tragedy that Europeans and refugees alike that otherwise would not open themselves up to consider.  This is where we find that the Gospel seed can be planted.  In the book Deep & Wide, Andy Stanley identifies pivotal circumstances as one the five noted catalysts for faith.  This very situation could be labeled as such an event but we as the church must respond.  As a member of that body, what is your role?

“The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few . . ."  I urge all of us as the church not to miss the opportunity laid before us.  Let us join together to go forth in sharing the hope, love, and peace that Christ can offer this hurting continent and world.

Friday, October 2, 2015

October 2015 Prayer Link +

 . . . an addition to our October 2015 Prayer Link

Big Dreams, Bigger God

In last months Prayer Link we mentioned a time of rejuvenation as well as a project we're working on for new partners. During that time of rejuvenation we spent time devoted to prayer for the remainder of our deputation trail and how God would choose for us to complete it. Through prayer and discernment He has laid it on our hearts to target our arrival for May 2016. This is seven months earlier than we have previously planned on. This is an absolutely audacious goal, but we have an even more audacious God. We cannot accomplish this goal though unless we commit ourselves to Him.

On paper the math doesn't add up, but our God is bigger than mathematics. Please join us in prayer as we seek to fulfill His calling in our lives and that we work harder than ever before. This will only be accomplished through God bringing together the right partners in His timing.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 2015 Prayer Link +

 . . . an addition to our August 2015 Prayer Link

Cultural Training
There is so much to share with you this month that we just can't fit it in our regular Prayer Link (what an awesome problem, right?).  Right now as I write this we are in Kansas City, MO for what has been thus far incredible cultural training.  Dr. Richard Lewis has been sharing with us how to identify and think through culture in context with reaching them with the Gospel.  This wraps up today.

Jetting Across the Country
Next, we head to New Mexico, then to Virginia, then to New Mexico (what?).  I'm sure you're asking at this point, "did he not think through this when he scheduled?"  I did!  But, when two pastors call in two very different states and want you for their conferences, I'd be crazy to say no.  But what is deputation if nothing but an adventure.  Please pray for our family as this will be Eleanor first flight and we truly have no idea how she will enjoy/cope with this new way of travel.

PROJECT: Connected
The time has come to retire my Mac.  He has had a long and faithful run, but just can no longer keep up with the pace at which I run.  So much of what we do on deputation is communication/technology related and a functional laptop is a must.  We are looking for one time partners who can come along side and give towards this need.  We currently have $200 of the $1300 for the replacement.  To give go to our website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Where Do You Call Home?

While visiting a church recently, the woman at the nursery check in desk casually asked, “So…where do you guys live?” Without missing a beat I responded, “Springfield, MO.”  At the exact same time Brennan said, “Iowa.”  The woman stared at us with raised eyebrows and I chuckled nervously.  Her question wasn’t a complicated one and it certainly sparks some questions when a married couple gives two different answers.  The truth is, this isn’t an uncommon scenario.  

We’ve been traveling most of the time for almost a year now.  We receive our mail in one state, register our car in another, and stay in a third when we’re not on the road.  To be perfectly honest, when people ask “where do you live?” I’m pretty confused about that myself.  It’s hard to tell where home is when I feel like an alien everywhere.  Our location changes by cities and sometimes states every week and each place has its own little culture shock.  At the grocery store, I find myself wandering down aisles looking like I’m lost…because I am.  I never know what to order on the menu at a local diner, and you’ll always find a GPS on our dash because we never recognize the places we’re in.  

I feel like I’m a resident of everywhere.  I have favorite restaurants and coffee places spread throughout the country.  We’ve made friends and connections in more than 30 states.  I get my hair done in a different salon every other month. I love this adventure we’re on.  I really do.  We’ve seen some wonderful places and met fantastic people.  I enjoy being on the road with my little family, but loving the adventure doesn’t make the question easier to answer.    

Sometimes this chapter of life makes the easier questions complicated to respond to.  Am I homeless? No.  Do I have a home? No.  Where do I call home? I don’t really know.  Sometimes it’s here, sometimes it’s there.  

Paul tells us in Philippians that, as believers, our citizenship is in Heaven.  When I feel like a foreigner in all places, I can rest in the fact that I know where my eternal home is.  I can trust that during my nomadic journey through deputation, I don’t have to feel out-of-place.  I’m beginning to realize that I’ve put too much security in my physical location and I’ve allowed that temporary fact to become part of my identity.  So for now, I may stumble through an answer when asked where I live, but if you ask me where I’m going I can confidently respond to that.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Embrace the Journey: Four Lessons on Deputation

As I sit at a strangers dining room table in a town I’ve never been to before, I’m reflecting on the past year.  A year of adventure, uncertainty, excitement…and sometimes stress.  This year has definitely been a learning curve for all three of us.  But as I think about the road (haha) that this past year has brought us down, I can think of four key lessons that have improved and strengthened me on this journey.  

Lesson 1: Organization is key to sanity.
Organization does not come naturally to me.  Unlike my little sister-in-law, who could write a book on structure, this is something that I struggle with.  My mother always told me when I was growing up that I was the master at hiding things.  She would tell me to clean my room and at the end of the day it would look clean…until she found the plastic bags of stuff hidden in my closet.  However, this year has FORCED me to make some organizational changes.  Being responsible for packing and moving basically everything that my family needs to live every week has really changed the way I look at managing stuff.  We’ve developed a system of packing that works pretty well for us and now I can have all of us packed to go pretty much anywhere for any length of time in about 2 hours.  

Lesson 2: Learn to have flexibility.
I feel like I am an oxymoron of sorts.  I said that I have NO organizational skills but I am a planner.  I am a question asker who needs to know everything.  Because of this, our lifestyle over the last year has taught me a few things about being flexible.  Last minute changes, surprise speaking opportunities, and the general unknown have all been things that have strengthened my ability to LET GO over the last year.  I have always had kind of an all or nothing mentality when it comes to planning.  In the past, I felt that if I couldn’t control every minute detail of the situation then I wasn’t going to plan anything at all.  I have realized that when I try to take control of situations and stick strictly to the plan, I end up being way more stressed and it doesn’t change anything.  Slowly, I’ve been intentional about handing the reigns back over to God and reminding myself that the unknown factor is not always negative. 

Lesson 3: This is an extrovert’s life.
But I’m not an extrovert.  I’m pretty sure that I’m actually the EXACT opposite.  In high school, I did whatever I could to get out of speaking in front of class, even raising my hand was nerve wracking.  Strange social situations, making new friends, and speaking to a crowd are all things that intimidate me more than anything else.  So, it’s easy to say that this year has not been the most comfortable for me but I’ve been learning.  God has shaken up my idea of security and thrown me into a life that only an extrovert can lead.  I feel like I truly realized this a few Sundays ago when we were asked to teach high school Sunday School on the spot.  I few years ago, panic and queasiness would have immediately set in and I would have been wishing I had some sort of anti-anxiety medicine.  I would have been looking for any excuse to escape, but none of this happened.  We jumped in and had a great time.  Nervousness didn’t even cross my mind.  I’m still not an extrovert and may never be, but God has given me a passion for people and a confidence that I could have never mustered on my own.       

Lesson 4: Trust is the only thing that really matters.
Deputation is what you make it.  One of our missionary friends told us this in the beginning.  You can make it through deputation and arrive on your field without ever learning any of the first three lessons.  It may be a chaotic, anxiety-filled mess of a ride but its doable.  But, I’ve learned in the last year that you won’t succeed without trust.  Unless you trust that God is doing something in the midst of confusion and the unknown, it’s likely that you won’t be buying that one-way plane ticket.  Regardless of what happens on this long, sometimes harsh journey of deputation, the lesson that must be FOREFRONT in our minds is that God orchestrated all of this.  He’s putting all the pieces together.  In return, He expects us to trust Him with the plan and just do the work (the hard work) that He asks us to do.  

It occurred to me the other day that God could put us in Belgium tomorrow.  The funds could come together and the tickets could be bought.  I’ve heard of things like this happening and I know that it’s possible.  But if I wake up tomorrow in southeastern Oklahoma, I know that God has a plan for me to still be on deputation.  It’s not by accident that we’re raising funds this way.  God has taught me so much in the last year on deputation and I know he’s using this time in my life to mold me into the person He needs me to be.