Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Change in Plans

Our internship class was supposed to go to New York this weekend to participate in ministry and outreach. Personally, our plans to join them fell through. We just didn't have the finances.

We were disappointed, but God has all things in control, and we were at peace about it.

The trip ended up being canceled due to other interns not being able to go as well.

God has opened up another door that we are VERY excited about!! Next weekend our class will be going to Washington D.C.!! These times together help us about team building and relationships,which are so important for missionary life! We are so excited that we will be able to participate.

While there, we will be spending time ministering in churches and communities, and most importantly, praying for our Nation. We may even have an opportunity to join the ministry Bound 4 Life in a time of prayer.

Please pray for us this coming weekend that God will teach us what we need to learn, and that He will use us to minister according to His will.

Please pray also for protection and traveling mercies. (Our team will be driving, its about 6-7 hours away.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Amor por Juarez

We are back in the wonderful US of A! God is so good, and we had an amazing time in Mexico.

Before I post my daily journal, I want to tell you about the wonderful missionaries we worked with. We had the most unique mixture of people.

There are two missionary families associated with WOC that are working in Juarez.

The first is Randall and Tina. A family of seven from the USA, and fellow college alumni. They live in El Paso, and go into Juarez to help in the orphanages. They are doing a great work, and opened our eyes to the giant needs in the Mexico orphanages. Our time of fellowship with them was encouraging to us and our children. We are blessed to have made this connection.

The second is Rita and Leo and their two children. Rita and Leo were missionaries in Italy for eleven years before coming to Mexico. Rita is from England and Leo is from Italy. Their testimony and the story of their journey to Mexico is smothered with the grace and provision of God. It challenge our faith and gave us hope at the same time!

The love that Leo and Rita have for Jesus and the passion they have to share that love with the people of Mexico is deeper and richer than words can describe. I want to go back to Juarez if just to fellowship and learn from them!

Our kids fell in love with their kids. Our kids had so much fun playing together that they didn't want to come home!
Thirdly, we were hosted by a group of Mennonites from Canada (Frank, Liz and Emil). They have been coming to Mexico twice or more a year for eight years to build houses for the locals. They have built a beautiful out reach center that is ready to house teams and be used to reach the community with the love of Jesus.

They took very good care of us. I have never eaten so well on a mission trip in my whole life! Liz is an AMAZING cook! This group dear group of Believers are some of the kindest and most generous people I have met.

On top of the unique mix of missionaries, we have our unique team, which consists of North Westerners, New Yorkers, Southern Bells, and a German.

God, in His infinite wisdom and love brought us all together for a moment in time to share His love and salvation with the residents of Zone 29 in the city of Juarez in country of Mexico. My mind boggles at the greatness of His love and the lengths He will go to touch an individual and change their lives forever.

Thank you all for praying for us. Thank you for being apart of the process of bringing His love to Juarez. We will together share the rewards from this week.

While we were there, we saw no evidence of violence. We heard of one episode, but even the locals commented on the unusual quietness. We know it is because we had an army praying for us.


Friday

Today was a typical missionary sort of day. Nothing went according to plan. We checked out of our hotel at noon and went to get something to eat. We had to wait for Leo who was at a meeting until 2. Two o'clock came and went, finally, around 4 we were headed into Mexico.

Crossing the boarder we were stopped by the US police. The tags on the car were expired. The officer was nice, but stern. She was ready to give us a ticket. We prayed for grace. Leo spoke with her, and showed her he was a missionary and she let us go. Thank you Jesus!

Off we went. Our original plan was to go to the Outreach Center and get settled in before heading to the tent. That didn't happen. We went straight to the tent. The first night, Leo showed the movie Facing the Giants in Spanish. The tent was full, and everyone enjoyed the movie.

After wards, Mr. Cava, shared a short message and invited people to give their life to Jesus. About 15-20 people responded! PRAISE THE LORD!!! He prayed with them and then we prayed for them and for anyone else who wanted prayer.


I want to take a moment to be a proud Momma...both kids jumped right in and prayed for all the children who responded to the altar. When they were done with the kids, they helped us with the grown ups!

After everyone went home, we finally headed to the outreach center. We were so ready for bed! And what a treat to be staying in such a nice place!


The outreach center is huge! It has a meeting hall, kitchen and dining room, two bathrooms, and four bedrooms downstairs. Upstairs is five more bedrooms and two more bathrooms. Each room has a set of bunk beds with a full on the bottom and a twin on top and then a single twin bed. Each room also had a personal sink.

AND---RUNNING HOT WATER THROUGHOUT THE PLACE!!! What a luxurious place for a missions trip!

Saturday

Today was AWESOME! Today was Kids day at the tent. We arrived at about 10 am, and already there was quite a crowd. We estimated that there was around 250 kids, plus some parents. They had clowns, pinatas, and bounce houses. We provided face painting, stickers (Son was in charge of passing out the stickers and did a great job), and made bracelets for the kids.


Daughter made the bracelets. She really, really, wanted to do the face painting, but wasn't very good at it. (It's hard to paint on a small, moving canvas!) After a bit of a fight, and some time spent praying about it, she died to self and made bracelets for the kids, something she is very good at. She learned an important lesson about listening and obeying God even when you don't want to, and what it means to be apart of a team. I was really proud of her.

Myself and three other ladies were in charge of the face painting. I was not much better than Daughter, but all the kids seemed happy. We did lots of stars and hearts and flowers and mickey mouses and cars. I attempted and failed at two spider mans, but Jody successfully painted one batman.

We were doing all this outside the tent. Inside, the clowns were singing and sharing the Gospel message with the kids.

After the message, the children came out to play on the bounce houses and break the pinatas. Each child received a small bag of candy and a stuff animal. The parents who came received free clothes for their family.


Rita told me this is a BIG treat for these children, whose lives are very hard. This sort of event doesn't happen very often. I am so glad we were able to help bring some joy and fun into their lives.

We spent the afternoon relaxing at the outreach waiting for the evening service. The tent was nearly full, and the service was great. Some of our team members sang and shared, and Mr. Cava preached. The prayer time after the service was incredible. Salivations and people being set free and experiencing His love and presence.

It can be a challenge to pray for someone if you don't know the language, but you just have to remember that you are praying to the Creator of all Language, and the Holy Spirit is the best of translators.

However, it was nice to know a few words of Spanish. My very limited High School Spanish education came in handy. I could pray "Amor Mas" (More Love) "Senor Mas" (More Lord) "En el nombre de Jesus" (In the Name of Jesus) "Gracias Senor" (Thank you Lord). When I had nothing else to pray, I prayed in the Spirit.

Sunday

Today we went back into the USA to visit a church in El Paso where Mr. Cava was scheduled to speak. We were given a chance to share about Africa with the church. Then they anointed us and prayed a blessing over us. Thank you Lord for this divine meeting!

On our way into El Paso, we got stopped again! (Different car this time) This time for speeding (we weren't speeding, though). We prayed and once again received favor. Randall told us that they stop people, especially Americans, who them buy them off so they wont get a ticket. Randall did not do this, he just asked forgiveness and for grace, and they let him go. Thank you Lord!

We also got to walk across the boarder! Randall has a fast pass that allows him to go quickly through customs, but he cant do that with extra people in the car, so we walked across and went through customs on foot. A much quicker process than waiting in the car.

Our team was split up, we were in the early group with Randall, and the other group was with Leo. Leo doesn't have a fast pass and it took them 2 1/2 hours to cross the boarder.

We spent the afternoon at Randall and Tina's house. Kids had so much fun playing and we had a good time hanging out with our team and the Partridges. Mr. Cava had a good time napping on the couch. How he got any sleep is beyond me because it was NOISY in their little home with 18 people!

We went from their house to the Outreach Center for a quick change of clothes and then onto the tent.

When we got there, the place was already hoppin'! The worship band was AMAZING!! There was such a sense of joy in the tent, it was a time of celebration! After much worship, Mr. Cava gave a brief message and a call to salvation. About another 20 people gave their lives to Jesus for the first time. He prayed with them, and then we spent more time in praise and celebrating our Lord. The only thing that would have made the night even better was understanding what the heck we were singing! :-)
After everyone was gone, we decided we were hungry and went to an authentic Mexican restaurant, La Cabanna. Best. Mexican. Food. Ever. They bring beef, chicken and shrimp out on a platter with cooked peppers and avocados. A bowl of warm melted cheese is in the center, and beans are on the side. They also served amazing baked potatoes. Not really a Mexican food in my mind, but it worked! And the chips and salsa were AMAZING! The pork rinds served with the chips....not so amazing.

With a full and happy belly, we went back to the Outreach Center and hit the hay.


Monday

We were supposed to help take down the tent today, but it was VERY windy. We got to the tent and Leo and his friends already had the entire inside torn down. The next step was to take down the walls, and it was too windy to do that, so we returned to the Outreach center.

Later that afternoon we joined Randall to help in a feeding program. We went to what appeared to be a much poorer part of the city. We thought we were going to an orphanage, but it was actually a pastor's home. Their home was small, but they had an entire room dedicated to the children. It was only about 10' x 15', maybe 20'. There was about 60 kids of all ages crammed into that room, waiting for us (we were late). It was so full and small that only about half of our team could fit into the room.
The children obviously from poor families, and we were told that for many, the only food they ate all week was what they would receive from this program. Sadly, because of funding, they are only able to offer lunch to the children three times a week.

There lunch consisted of a bologna sandwich and juice. A church in El Paso had donated chips and cookies, and that was a real treat! We had enough sandwiches that whoever wanted seconds could help themselves. One little girl asked for a sandwich for her mama, and ran home quickly after she received it.
We sang songs with the children and shared Bible stories. We held them and loved on them. We fed them, and we prayed for them. For some on our team it was overwhelming. I myself had a hard time containing my emotion.


We have so much, I have never had to go hungry, yet I worry and complain about the silliest of things. Seeing children in conditions such as these reminds me how blessed I am and how great the need is throughout the world.

People are not only starving for the Love of Jesus, they are literally starving physically! More children will go to bed hungry tonight than will go to bed full. Next week, during Thanksgiving, Americans will consume more food in one meal than most people consume in an entire year.

After everyone had eaten and been prayed for, the children went home. Then the pastor and his wife prayed for us. This couple, and people like them, are my heroes. They do not have much, but they gave what they have. They saw a need, and found a way to fill it.


The Word of God talks about the first being last and the last first. I think in heaven, they will be among the firsts. There will be a lot of firsts that no one on earth has ever heard about, but who are very well known in the heavens because of their faith and love and obedience and generosity.

The pastor is desiring to expand the room so he can have more space for the children. He wants to enclose his patio area and knock down the wall of the small room they currently meet in. The total cost of this project is about $3,000. Jody would love to help with the construction. If God provides them with the money for the project, we are praying that God will provide him away to return to help build it for them before we go to Africa.

Tuesday

Today was a do nothing day. Our scheduled appointment wasn't until this evening, and some of the team had dental work that needed to be done. (I am told that Mexico is the place to go for dental work.)

So, hung out at the outreach center. We make good use of our time and baked cookies for tomorrows feeding program.

Finally, after dinner, it was time to head out. We went to an orphanage. Our mission: love on the kids.

The orphanage we went to was a very nice one. It is ran by a beautiful Mexican couple. They have several supporters who help them. However, they did not start out this way! They opened the orphanage 25 years ago. For 15 years they had no electricity or running water. They had to believe God for food. (They often still have to do that!) They remained faithful to the children, and over the years God has blessed them.

We had such a good time with the kids. I fell in love with a few. Leo played guitar and sang songs with some. Mr. Cava was surrounded by a group of kids watching him play bowling on his phone. Jody arm wrestled many of the older boys. Our kids colored with the children.



One eight year old girl was writing her Christmas list when we arrived. Her letter said, "All i want for Christmas is a pair of boots and some clothes, but if not, then anything is ok."

We took a tour of the facility. They dorm rooms are simple, but very nice. Each child has a small locker (1'x2'x2') This locker holds all their clothes and possessions. Most were not even half full.

The directors (below with Carolyn) explained to us that their goal is to find forever homes for the children. They love them all, but know that a forever home is their best option. They have a lawyer that donates his services. The Mexico adoption fee is only $60.00. Then, whatever fees are requires on the US side (which are next to nothing if you are not using an agency).



Only $60.00!!!???!!!! Oh, Jesus, I see two I would like to take home right now! Lord provide Godly homes for these children.


When it was time for the kids to go to bed, we made a huge circle around the room, and prayed for all the kids. Then it was time to go home.

Wednesday

Today was our last day in Juarez. We have had such a blessed week! Our family has decided that although our heart is in Africa, and we know that is where He wants us to be, we would would be happy serving anywhere among the Nations. As long as we can bring the Good News to the poor and broken hearted.

After breakfast this morning, we made 200 sandwiches. The plan was to go around the corner from the Outreach Center and feed the children as they come out of school.

We gave them a sandwich, juice, cookies, and a track. We fed all the school children, and any adults that passed by. Some of our friends took the Outreach Center bus and went and picked up their friends so they could eat. As parents picked up their children, they would send them back for another sandwich for themselves.

A truck of workers was parked across the street. They watched us for over half an hour. Jody decided to bring them some sandwiches and a track. They were so happy and thankful for the food!

The food we were offering was far from a five course meal. We used bread that a few days old, but still good, a thin slice of ham, and an even thinner portion of mayonnaise. A woman on our team mentioned that this food be discarded by most of America's poor, and it's true. Although there are poor and hungry in America, even the poorest American is richer than most in this world.

After all the sandwiches were gone, we went to the Outreach center, loaded up the cars and headed into Jaurez to go to the international market. What we found amazed us. The place was virtually deserted. Only about half the shops were open and we were the only customers. The violence has scared away the tourists. And the threats of the drug cartel who demand money for "protection" from the shop owners has scared away most of the business people. Still we were able to find a few nice things to remember our time in Mexico.

Then, it was back to La Canbanna for a final meal together with all the missionaries. (Daughter was sick today, so it was just Son and I shopping and at the meal.) We had a good time together, but it was sad to say good bye to our new friends.

Tomorrow we will wake up, pack, clean our rooms and head back to El Paso and then home. We are so thankful for all God has done in us and through us during this week. Thank You Lord, You are a wonderful and magnificent God, full of Mercy, Compassion, and Truth.

Thanks to all who have prayed for us during this time.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Poverty All Around.

I have personal opinions regarding illegal immigration and what this country should do about it. However, as I drove across the boarder into Mexico yesterday, I understood why so many would do whatever it takes to come into our country. I knew that Mexico was a poorer nation, but I didn't realize how poor.

My expectations prior to going to Mexico was that it would be comparable to the poorer parts of LA. Jody and I joked about the possibilities of it looking just like SE Portland! :-) I was surprised to find that the conditions were much worse than what I imagined.

My only other point of reference to extreme poverty is West Africa. If, in regards to poverty, Ghana was a 10 and America was a 1, I would put Mexico at a 7. The contrasts between El Paso, and Juarez, which are only minutes apart, is night and day.

As a mother, if I were living in a home with spotty electricity and water that had to be trucked in, and could see the America skyline, I know I would do everything within my power to get there and make a better life for my children.

Juarez is a city of 2 million people. A few years ago it was 2.5 million, but many have left because of the violence. This city needs Jesus. The people are losing hope, and need the Hope that comes from the sacrifice made on the cross.

We are working with missionaries from around the world who have come to Juarez to see this city changed for Jesus. In the mix are Americans, British, Italians, and Canadians. Their hearts are broken for Juarez, and they are standing in the gap interceding for this city and Nation.

A few weeks before we arrived, a team from IHOP came here, and spent a week interceding specifically for Juarez. We are praying that we will be able to reap what they sowed in the spirit.

Beginning tonight through Sunday, we will be helping with nightly crusades. We are expecting great things.

Kids update: My kids are amazing. They are flexible, adaptable, and share the love of Jesus in their own way. It took them no time to jump in. They helped set up the chairs in the tent and played with the local kids. Son even took initiative to learn some Spanish words, so he could talk to the children.

Last night, we went to a missionary families home. They have a 5 year old boy, and my son was in heaven. They had a great time playing together.

Daughter is enjoying being apart of the team. She took time yesterday to pray over each chair in the tent. She can't wait to be able to minister to the kids through face painting later this week.

I want to encourage you all, there are hurting people around the world, everywhere you look someone needs Jesus. What are your passions? Are you interested in a specific ethnicity or people group? God has given you those desires for a reason, look around, and find where you can share the Good News locally and where you can help share it Globally.

We are packing up now to head back into Juarez where we will remain for the rest of the week.

Be blessed!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hola from El Paso!

Good morning! We are in El Paso right now, preparing to head into Mexico. We left yesterday afternoon, and arrived at our hotel around 10:30, 12:30 EST.

Our kids were very tired, but were very good all day. The crawled right into bed when we walked in the room and fell asleep.

The kids love to travel, especially on planes. Traveling in a group is different than being on your own. You have to make more stops and wait for people. Son especially keeps asking why we are "just standing here". This is good training for them!

We will be in El Paso one more night, and so I will be able to give another update. After that, I don't think we will have internet, but I will still blog about our trip, you'll just have to wait to read it! :-)

Please keep us and our team in your prayers. Please pray for Jody's Dad. When we arrived in El Paso, we received a message that he had had a mild stroke. He is ok right now, but will be in the hospital until at least tomorrow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October Newsletter!

October Newsletter!

October Newsletter

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

WE LOVE THE WOC INTERNSHIP!!

Three weeks down, and nine more to go. Time is going by too quickly! I wish I could push a slow motion button, so that I could be sure to absorb every last drop of wisdom and information I am receiving.

I want to share with you all more about WOC and what we are learning. You'll soon receive our newsletter, which will give you a tidbit of information.

WOC (World Outreach Center) is a local church and missions support community. They have missionaries serving all around the world! Missionaries come here to receive ministry and training, both before, during, and after their time on the mission field.

WOC teaches and ministers through relationships and believes strongly in community and sending people out in teams. We are building many new relationships that we know will last a life time.

Now, let me tell you some more about out internship! I forgot how much I enjoyed school until now. I love it!----Especially knowing there isn't going to be a test.

Our class has eight students. When we came here, we figured we would be the "Old Goats" of the class. We assumed it would be mostly young people, fresh out of college. I am told, last year that was exactly what it was! Not this year! With one exception, we are all "Old Goats."

The other uniqueness to our class (another opposite of last year) is that, with the exception of Jody, it's all women!

The smallness of our class allows us to interact with our teachers, which is great. We're able to ask questions, and receive more interaction than in a normal class setting. We are also getting to know each other very well!

The first week of class was taught by Mr.Cava (our former college professor). People call him John around here, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I think he will always be Mr. Cava in my mind.

The class was "Intro to World Missions." Jody and I both took a class similar to this in college....ten years ago. So much has changed in the past ten years, and so much has been forgotten that it was like a brand new class.

The second week was "Ministering in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit." Scot Ford, a fellow class mate of mine from BRSM, was the teacher this week. This was more that just a time of learning. It was practice time. God has given us gifts and it's time to stir them up and use them. This was a very powerful week.

Last week's class was one of my favorite subjects: Cross Cultural Communication. I just love learning about how other cultures communicate and perceive things. Our teacher this week was Paulette Swiger (more about who she is in a minute). She teaches a nine week college course on the subject and we were lucky enough to get the condensed version.

This week is Discipleship; teaching us how to disciple others. This is also a college course of which we are getting a condensed version. It's taught by Mark Swiger. Both Jody and I have been blown away by this class and the week is only half over! The simplistic, yet thorough method from the Bible he is teaching is like nothing I have ever heard before. It's practical and can be modified to fit any situation and culture. I am so excited about this class!

Every Tuesday morning we have Experiencing God class. Through the week we are going through the book, Experiencing God, and on Tuesdays we talk about it. Ms. Jeanie (Scot's wife) teaches this class. She is a great teacher, and this series is one I would highly recommend.

Paulette and Mark Swiger were Missionary Evangelists in India for over 10 years. They have done more crusades in India than anyone else, and have done crusades in many other parts of the world. Their story is incredible. They were blacklisted from India because too many people were getting saved!

So, that's a glimpse into our internship, which is Tuesday through Friday for three hours in the morning. The afternoons is prayer each day, with internship 'chapel' on Thursday afternoons. We also have prayer on Tuesday nights.

Wednesday nights is our Missions Realities home group. We gather for a meal, and then discuss the practicalities of missionary life. Scot and Jeanie lead this group. They were missionaries in Italy and Germany for six years.

Friday nights is the Open Door Cafe. They open the coffee bar at the WOC center to the public and have live music. We're located in the middle of a neighborhood, and often have people drop by, plus many of the interns and church people come. It's a lot of fun!

We have also been taking advantage of living so close to Morning Star. We go each Sunday, and sometimes on Friday nights. Their worship is AMAZING!!

About every other weekend we head down to Cheraw to see Jody's family. His dad tickled pink to have his boy back. I know they are both benefiting from having this time together.

Our kids are doing very well. They've done a great job adjusting. Their schedule is close to ours. They come with us class and go into their own room where they do there school work and play. After lunch we go over their work together, and then they wait (not-so-patiently)until their friends get home from school. Then, they are out the door, and don't come back until I drag them inside.

We are learning and gleaning so much during this time. We are becoming more and more excited about what God has in store, and are so very ready to return to Ghana.

On the flip side, it has been hard to be away from our family and friends. We miss them all so very much. Skype helps, but it's not the same as doing every day life with the ones you love. But, as I often remind the kids. That's what eternity is for.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Has it really been a month?

Yes, as of tomorrow, we will have been away from Portland for a month. It sure has gone by quickly.

The first ten days was our trip out here, followed by 3 days in our new home, followed by a six day visit to our SC family and the beach. By the end of it, I was just ready to get back to life as normal and settle into a routine.

Two more weeks have past. All of the boxes are unpacked, pictures hung, and we are officially settled in. We have even had two successful weeks of home school!

Jody is working on transferring his business licenses to NC and SC. We are about halfway through the process. He has advertised anyways, and has already completed two small jobs with another scheduled for Monday. Praise the Lord!

We LOVE LOVE LOVE our new home. It is just a bit smaller than our old house, but much newer and nicer. The kids have their own rooms (son is not fond of this, but daughter loves it) and I have my own bathroom! (Well, I do have to share with Jody, but I do have my own sink!!)

We could not ask for a better neighborhood, either. It is a very safe and quiet neighborhood---quite a contrast from our SE Portland neighborhood!!

Nearly all of our neighbors are Believers, and there are several families with kids. It took awhile, but the kids have finally made friends, now count down the hours until all their friends will be home from school, so they can go outside and play.

We are beginning to get to know our new church family as well, and have enjoyed several meals with different families in the church.

We live less than a mile from Morning Star Ministries, which means we live ON what used to be the Heritage USA grounds! The Heritage Tower is just a hop, skip, jump away from our front door.

I knew that WOC (World Outreach Center) was located on the old Heritage Property (located about a mile in the opposite direction from us), but I forgot that morning star had also bought several buildings of the old Theme Park.

Sunday, we decided to go to the early service at Morning Star, which is where we discovered this bit of history. Their services are held in in the recently renovated Grand Hotel. The Children's center is on "Main Street". (Which we thought was an actual street at first.)

Later that afternoon, we took a drive and found as many remaining portions of the theme park as we could. It was a very fun and interesting adventure. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, google Heritage USA, and you will learn all about it.)

Now that we are settled in, we are turning our focus back to the reason we are here: to prepare for Africa. Yesterday, we watched a program about Ghana on TV. It made us all homesick for Africa, including the food. :-)

A week from Tuesday we will begin our internship. We are very excited to plunge into learning more about ministering and living cross culturally.

We are also excited to continue to raise funds, and get some help/tips in that area during the internship. God has blesses us, and we are beginning to see things take shape financially for Ghana. We still have a ways to go, but look forward seeing Him provide for us. We serve an awesome and faithful God!

A few prayer requests...

--Kids continued adjustment, and comfort to their hearts when they miss Portland and their family and friends.

--Continued wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and guidance during this season of our lives, and the season to come in Ghana.

--Continued Business/Jobs for Jody. Financial provision for our family.

--Finances for Ghana.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Final Update From the Road

August 26, 2010

Today was the first day we have been able to sleep past 6:30 all week! Once we finally got up and about we went to the prayer room at IHOP. I just love being in His presence! It was a great way to spend our morning.

No trip to IHOP is complete without a trip to the bookstore (our check book flinches any time I go near a Christian bookstore!). Son is all decked out with a IHOP T-Shirt and Hat. Daughter got the long coveted IHOP water bottle, "just like Nana."

The rest of our day was spent hanging out with my sister. I was spoiled to have her near for so long, and I miss her so much. It was nice to be with her again.

Our stay is too short, and tomorrow, it's back on the road. I am trying to talk Jody into pushing through and driving the final 18 hours all at once. It's a tall order, yes. We'll see how persuasive I can be.....

August 26, 2010

What a LONG day. 14 total hours in the car with very few, very short stops. We didn't quite make it all the way home, but we're close. Only 4 more hours.

Our car has been so great, but the "driving stick/shifter thingy" decided to go out on us today. We can still drive it, but we don't have park, and we have to start it in neutral. We stopped in in a little town to have it looked at, but the mechanic said to just go on home with it as it is. He was about to close shop, and we would have been stuck over the weekend.

So, we went on, but decided not to push our luck and drive in the dark. We stopped in Canton, Ga. After a bunch of "cheap" hotels we sprang for a nicer hotel with an indoor pool. The kids, who were excellent in the car all day, needed to "release the wiggles."

We all enjoyed a swim and quickly decided not to try and get up early tomorrow, but to sleep in and enjoy to free hot breakfast. We are all so tired....

August 28, 2010

We are here!!!! Finally! We pulled up to our new home at about 1:30. After a quick look around at our new place and new furniture, we wall worked together to unpack the trailer and van. It didn't take long, but us wimpy North Westerners were about to pass out from heat exhaustion! I forgot just how humid it is here, and just how much I HATE humidity.

To celebrate our arrival, we went to our favorite Southern Restaurant, Cracker Barrel. YUMMY!!!! Then a quick trip to Wal Mart for some essentials, and we were back home.

We have already met several of our neighbors. One even brought us cup cakes! We live on a street that is still being developed and there is a large parking lot and field behind us, so the kids have lots of room to play and ride bikes.

Tonight's goal is to just get the best put together and made. Tomorrow, we will paint and start unpacking after our first morning at World Outreach Community Church.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pictures....

I have been posting a lot of pictures on my personal face book page, and will be putting some on here and the AFN facebook page soon. In the meantime, feel free to send me or Jody a friend request facebook!

Update From the Road Pt. 2

August 25, 2010

We are sitting in my sister's basement. We arrived safely in Lathrop, Mo. on Monday night. After a quick dinner and visit with our friends Asa and Carol, we were off to bed. It had been a long day. Our drive went smooth and the kids did great. By the end of the day it looked like a food mart and craft store collided in the back seat.

Yesterday, my sister joined us in Lathrop and we drove out to see some Amish country. It was fun and interesting for the kids. Son just couldn't get the concept that the horse and buggy weren't for "rides" but were actually someone's mode of transportation.

We really enjoyed the rest of our visit in Lathrop, and hope to come back soon. Daughter and Son now have to new heroes. McKenzie and Isaac were so sweet to our kids. Daughter said McKenzie is SO beautiful. She got to watch her cheer, listen to her sing, and played makeup with her. She was mesmerized.

Son said Isaac was "just like my brother" and had lots of fun playing basket ball and the Wii with him.

Today, we spent our morning at a dairy farm. We got to milk a cow, pet a calf, see how they process the milk, and taste all the different of milk they make. There was Banana, Orange, Strawberry, Root Beer, and Chocolate. They were all yummy and we bought some of each to take along with us.

Then, it was off to IHOP (International House of Prayer), only about an hour away. We went to the prophecy room---all four of us. It was a great experience, and they ministered and encouraged each one of us.

Then, it was off to dinner with my sister. Last time I was here I went to an all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant. I knew daughter would enjoy it, as noodles are her favorite!

Now, we are all ready for bed and a full day tomorrow at the prayer room.

Update From the Road

August 20, 2010 AM
We're on our way to West Yellowstone. Yesterday was a chaotic morning as we finished getting everything packed in the car and into storeage. All this week was chaotic, honestly, and very emotionally draining as we said good bye to all of our family and friends.
Although it was hard to say good bye to all our family and friends, saying good bye to Elli (my beautiful niece) was by far the hardest. Elli will be so much more grown up the next time we see her. Four months is a lifetime in toddlerhood.
Our drive to Walla Walla was a breeze, and we made it with no stops. Once we got there, we checked into our hotel, and then walked down main street. We stopped in at the Medicine Shoppe and said hello to Brian's Dad. Then we ate some pizza and headed back for a swim. Sadly, the outdoor pool was COLD, so our swim was short.
August 20, 2010 PM
Today was a long day in the car, about 10 hours. Yesterday, our check engine light came on, and Jody wanted to get it checked out, just to be sure it wasn't something serious. So, we didn't head out of town until about 9:30.
We took Hwy 12 through Idaho and into Montanah. It was beautiful, but lots of climbs, which were hard on the van. At some points we were only going about 20mph while flooring it! We stopped about 90 minutes shy of West Yellowstone in a town called Whitehall. It was about 7:30, and Jody was tired.
The kids did great in the car. They played their nintendo, watched a movie and colored. There was no above normal complaining, and no asking "are we there yet?"
August 21, 2010
What a day! We got up early and were on the road by 6am. We stopped about an hour later in Ennis, Mt. Jody wanted to get the car checked out because of the hard climbing yesterday. They did a few minor repairs, and told us we were good to go. The mechanic said that part of why we weren't able to go too fast (aside from the massive load we are pulling) is the elevation. We were climbing pretty high up.
While the car was getting fixed we are some breakfast at a local cafe. It was good, and must have been the hip place to eat. because it was full of locals.
To kill some time (no punn intended) we shopped around at the biggest store in town---the gun store. It bigger than even the grocery store! They were having a big sale and the place was PACKED!
On to Yellowstone we went. It was beautiful. I am really enjoying seeing new parts of the country. At yellowstone, we stopped at Old Faithful. We made it just in time to see it blow. It was AMAZING!! It is one of the wonders that solidify the existence of God. How can anyone look at His Creation and not believe.
After Old Faithful and some shopping in the gift shop, we finished out our drive through yellowstone. I had all but given up hope of seeing any wildlife, when on a hill beside the road was a small herd of buffalo. YAY! Our trip to Yellowstone is complete. Oh wait! What's this? Up the road about a mile. A buffalo walking on the street. So close, I could have touched it. It was truly one of the neatest things I had ever seen.
We got a bumper sticker at Yellowstone about the elevation. At the highest point it's over 8,800 feet! Our poor van had a time, but she made it.
We stopped in Cody, Wy for the night at Big Bear Motel. It is pure Cowboy Country in Cody, and that is about it.
Kids did great in the car again. We took a long walk and had a good swim to get some of their engergy out. Tomorrow, it's six hours to Mt. Rushmore!
August 22, 2010
Today was an intense driving day. We were on Hwy 14, which goes up and over a mountain. WAY up, 9,033 feet elevation up! With lots of curves and roaming cows along the way. It was so beautiful. From the top you could see into the valley for miles and miles. An absolutly breathless view.
Again, faithful big blue made it, but it was a slow go, and sucked a lot of gas. All this climbing has severely hindered our gas mileage.
After we got off the mountain, it was smooth sailing to Rapid City. A quick check in to the hotel, and we were off to see Mt. Rushmore. Did I mention that it is HOT in South Dakota? Very HOT.
The steep climb up to Mount Rushmore just about did us in. We reached our slowest speed yet 10 mph. But, again, the van is fine. God is being very merciful and gracious to our van! Praying over your car works!
Mount Rushmore was great, but the kids and I agree that it is smaller than we expected. I think, really, it's just further away and higher up than I pictured it being in my mind. I guess with the illusion created by TV I expected it to be closer, more accessible, and larger. I am very glad that we were able to see it, though. It's really an amazing piece of art, and a once in a life time opportunity.
We looked around the small museum and gift shop, and then headed back down the mountain.
After stopping short two days in a row, today we caught up and are back on schedule. We spent our evening swimming and doing some laundry (oh yay!).
Tomorrow will be our longest day of driving. We'll go all the way to Lathrop, Mo, nearly 700 miles! Oh, Lord give us grace!

You're Doing What?

August 19, 2010

Why are we packing up our family, leaving all that is familiar and comfortable, and moving 3000 miles away?
This is a question I have asked myself several times over the past few months. The simple answer, "Because God said go."
If you would have asked me ten years ago to map out our route to fulfill His calling as missionaries to West Africa, things would look quite differently than now. His Word is true. We make plans but the Lord directs our steps, and we don't know what tomorrow brings. We listen and follow as He leads, praying that His grace will correct the missteps we make along the way.
It feels as though we have come full circle. Ten years ago we graduated from Bible College, in Florida. Now, we are returning to school, on the East Coast, with one of the same college professors.
But, why? We know that God has called us to Africa. That is where we to long be. After a lot of prayer and soul searching, we realize that we need help in the "getting to Africa" process, as well as mentorship to know how to best minister and care for our family once we are there.
Coming to the realization that needed further training and mentorship from seasoned missionaries was only half the battle. The next question was from where? From who?
We began to pray for direction. We began asking other missionaries about their experiences, their training. We talked to alumni and former college professors. We wanted to find a place that would offer relationships and mentorships, not just class learning. We wanted a place that understood the importance of the local church and could work with us and our church.
All this led us World Outreach Center. We know this is where God wants us to go for this next chapter. Sometimes we don't understand why, since it is so far away from home, but we have peace that we are in His perfect will.
We are excited about what God has in store. We are not sure what to expect, but we know it's gonna be life changing.
We are excited to be near our Roscoe family, and have the chance to reconnect with them. They have been a huge support and blessing during this transition. To save us time and effort, they not only found enough furniture to fill our new town house (with the help of Ms Jann---thank you!!), but they moved it all in for us!
And so, with this, we begin another adventure, and with that comes blogging! To give you a summary of what things are going to look like for us in the coming weeks and months, here is a brief overview:
For the next 10 days we will be traveling. We have packed the necessities from home into a small uhaul trailer, and crammed the rest into "big blue" (our 1994 Ford Areostar. It's not much to look at, but it's has low miles, runs well, and best of all it's fully paid for.) Armed with enough food and snacks to last a month, we hit the road. Our first stop Walla Walla, then West Yellowstone and Old Faithful. Then it's onto Mount Rushmore and Rapid City. After that, we will drive a really long day to Lathrop, Mo. We'll Spend a day with friends, and then head down to Kansas City to visit Katie and IHOP for two days. Then it's on to Nashville, and finally, our new home, Fort Mill, SC.
We'll have three weeks to get settled, start home school, find work, and fall into some sort of new schedule before starting our internship.
Internship classes are four days a week in the mornings. Sometime along the way, we may even get to go on a mission trip! (but not to Africa. :-( )
Check back to the AFN blog for updates on the family and our internship. I'll still be blogging on my personal site, too, whenever any personal "profound" thoughts come my way. :-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gloryify God by Enjoying Him

May is always always busy for us. The sun is out....well, it was out for about four days....summer is coming. We are on the home stretch of the school year, both the kids and I are beyond done and ready for summer. It's time to switch out the sweaters for the shorts. Time to finish all the spring projects before the hot weather arrives----if it ever arrives.

In May we celebrate Mother's Day, Malachi's birthday and my birthday---along with my eldest niece, nephew, father in law, best friend, and best friend's son. Our schedule is full of celebrations, parties, and special family dinners.

On top of all the busyness of life, we've been busy with "missions stuff." All the stuff that goes along with being a missionary that is building relationships and raising support to return to the mission field.

This is just the beginning, things are just going to get crazier from here. The to do list is growing, and the calendar is filling up.

Today SJ Hill (a former professor of ours) said this: ""The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."//The best way to understand this quote is to replace the word "and" with "by.""

To bring God the most glory, to please Him the most, all I need to do is enjoy Him. Can it really be that simple? Yes, it really can. God is more interested in intimacy and fellowship with me than He is in how much I accomplish in a day's time.

So, as we head into summer, knowing full well that it's going to be a crazy three months, I am reminded to slow down where it counts. Slow down and enjoy God. Enjoy His presence, His love, His goodness.

April Newsletters


April Newsletter--Roscoe


April Newsletter--Katie

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

They need us.

I realize that my posts have been less than exciting the past several months. As things begin to rev up in our journey back to Africa, I am sure we will have more interesting and personal news to share.

We are looking at 9-12 months before we move to Africa, depending on God's provision and timing. It seems like plenty of time, but we know it will be here before we know it.

Once again, we are faced with the reality of what we are asking our children to give up. As adults, we understand and are at peace with giving up the comforts of America and the ease of living near family and friends. It isn't without some sadness, but the discomfort is temporary, the benefits eternal.

We talk about the Nations and those who have not heard about Jesus with the kids often. Now our conversations have shifted into preparing them to return to Africa, for longer this time. Sometimes these conversations are met with tears of sadness not wanting to leave their friends and family, especially their little cousin. Sometimes they are met with excitement, as they remember the adventures we had last time. And some times, they are met with understanding and maturity beyond their young age.

We have told our kids it is important that they are always honest with mommy and daddy about how they are feeling about being missionaries. It's OK to be sad. It's OK to be happy. It's OK to be both at the same time. It's OK to not want to go sometimes. It's OK to be excited to go sometimes. They have done a good job at being honest, expressing a wide range of emotions.

During bedtime prayer last night we asked the kids, how are you feeling about Africa. Daughter, whose answer changes from day to day, moment to moment, said, "I am feeling good!". We asked why, expecting the run of the mill answer of some fun memory from our last trip.

With sincerity and maturity she looked at us and said, "Because I realize there are people who don't have what we have. They don't have food or clothes, and they don't know Jesus. They need us."

Tomorrow her answer may be different, but I know that God has been ministering and speaking to her heart, bringing her comfort and understanding far beyond what mommy and daddy ever could.

Thank you, Father, for speaking and ministering to our daughter. Please continue to prepare and protect her heart for what lies ahead.

Monday, April 26, 2010

And so it begins....

Yesterday was World Missions Day at our home church, True Life Church. It was a great time of being able to share the vision and burden God has given us for West Africa.

Over the past two months, we have been sharing and talking with others about Africa, but yesterday felt like a launching point. It's real now. We are really going to be full time missionaries.

The journey has begun. It is an exciting and nerve wracking time all at once. It takes a lot of faith to leave the familiar and live in a foreign land. It takes just as much faith to walk the journey of preparation. A journey of faith and trust in God as He prepares your heart, your families hearts, and the hearts of those who will partner with you. A journey of faith as you raise funds, trusting in God to provide for each and every need.

God is good, and He does good. All this is for His Kingdom, for the sake of the Gospel.

video

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

World Missions Day this Sunday at True Life Church in Vancouver, Wa. Join us and learn more about AFN.

video

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Child Trafficking

We must pray and bring the truth and love of Jesus to break the stronghold of poverty if we really want to see things like child labor come to an end.

http://www.worldvisionreport.org/Stories/Week-of-January-2-2010/Ghana-Child-Trafficking


http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_8583000/8583499.stm

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Easy Fundraiser

We have something new and exciting we'd like to share with you! It's the new Ask For the Nations Ministries toolbar - once added to IE or Firefox, each time you shop at more than 1,300 stores (from Amazon to Zazzle!) a percentage of your purchase will automatically be donated to Ask For the Nations Ministries - at no cost to you (and you may even save money as the toolbar provides coupons and deals as well!). The toolbar also has a search box and each time you search the Internet, about a penny is donated to Ask For the Nations Ministries. http://www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/ask-for-the-nations-ministries


Not only will you be giving each time you search, but if you frequently make online purchases, if you connect to your favorite store through goodsearch.com, a portion of your purchase will be donated to Ask For the Nations.

Some of the stores included:
Ebay
Amazon
ITUNES (I was excited about that one)
Best Buy
1800 Flowers
Home Depot
etc....

Monday, March 8, 2010

PRAYER NEEDED FOR NIGERIA

Please pray for Lagos, Nigeria. A weekend of violence by a Muslin group against Christians has left hundreds dead.

Click Here for news.

They are waiting.

This past weekend marks one year since we have returned from Ghana. We miss it more than words can say.

We miss our Ghanaian Family: Pastor Frank, Cecilia, Laura and Colin (Pastor Frank's daughter and son in law that we were just getting to know), Coby, and Clinton.

We miss Colin's brother who runs the little store across the street. He was teaching us Twi.

We miss Anointing, a young man who loves Jesus but struggles to live right. He is waiting for us. He needs a mentor.

We miss the chief and people of Ankaan who welcomed us into their village. They need a water reservoir so that they will no longer struggle to survive during the dry season. They are waiting for us to build it.

We miss the young lady whom our church helped buy a hair dryer. Her business has grown since then, she wants learn more about what the Word of God says about finances. She is waiting for us to teach her.

We miss the jr high kids we taught at Mother Smith School. We miss Aquia and Quedru. We miss Lucinda and her mom and dad.

We miss the lady who sold us our cell phone minutes every week. She doesn't know Jesus personally, yet.

We miss the people of Oda and Weneba and Dormaa. They are ready to learn more about God's Word and what it says about what it means to be blessed and walk in freedom from poverty. They are waiting for us, for the Canaan Life Project.

As I sit here, pondering the obstacles that have to be over come before we can return, my heart aches. Time is precious, and there isn't much left. I think about the finances needed, my inadequacies, and all the work it takes just to get there. I think about time that has passed since we have been there, and how much more time will pass before we can return. Each one of their faces come to mind. They are waiting. We told them we would return, and they are waiting. Will we come through on our promises to help?

The harvest is ready, but the workers are few. In a country with a population of 26 million, there is only 400 missionaries. Half of the people don't know Jesus. Many that do need further discipleship, teaching, and training. There are wonderful Christian leaders and they are doing an amazing job, but there simply isn't enough to go around.

We can not help every person in Ghana who needs it, but we can reach those who God has put in our path. There are specific people in Ghana that He wants us to minister to, and they are waiting.

Lord, I thank you that You are in control of all things. Nothing is a surprise or obstacle to you. Continue to prepare the way, provide the means, and open the doors. Protect my friends in Ghana. May they experience Your love in new ways each day. Send more workers. Prepare our hearts, continue to equip us so that we can minister to them adequately. Thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

YAY! We're going back to Africa!

It has been a year since we were in Ghana. We are once again sensing His release, and so it is with excitement and hearts full of anticipation that we announce we are going back!

For the next year, we will focused on sharing with others the vision of Canaan Life Project and reaching the people of Ghana with the Gospel. We will be raising financial support, so that we can return to Ghana for an extended amount of time.

Our target for returning is early next year. God is in control of all things, and we know that as we are obedient and diligent in the work He has called us to do, He will provide the means, and open the doors for our return in His perfect timing.

Once we return to Ghana, our first areas of focus: Implementing Canaan Life Project in the villages, re-building the church in Oda, and building a water reservoir for the village of Ankaam. On top of that, we will be doing our best to learn Twi, so that we can better communicate with our Ghanaian friends.

We cannot do it alone. We depend on the prayers and support of others. Please pray us. Please pray for financial provision, spiritual wisdom and open doors.

In Him,

Jody and Stephanie Roscoe

For more information about Canaan Life Project, ministry in Ghana, or Ask For the Nations, please visit our website. www.afnministries.org


If you are apart of Truelife Church, or if you life in the area and would like to learn more about Ask For the Nations and our ministry in Ghana, please join us March 28th for a special World Mission Sunday. Visit www.truelifechurch.tv for location, time, and directions.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Year Update

It is already into the second month of 2010! Like always, time if flying by. It has been quite awhile since I have give an update.

A year ago today, we were half way through our two month stay in Ghana. So much has happened since then. 2009 was a very good year, and we are looking forward to what 2010 has in store!

This year has started off quite eventful. Right after the new year, I was able to go to IHOP--International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. It was an awesome experience, and I can't wait to take the whole family. It was a week of just being in His presence. Is there anything better?

My sister has decided to abandon us all, and move to Missouri. She's interning at IHOP, with the hopes of becoming a staff person. We are sad she is no longer living with us. :-(

The week after my return from IHOP, Jody decides it would be a good idea to break his hand. Truly, it was an accident with a drill, a very common injury. This is his first ever broken bone. He has been able to do some work, but not much, which means he's been stuck at home. He's going stir crazy, and taking me with him! We are all counting down the days until he can return to work full time.

This accident certainly put a damper on our financial situation, but God is always a faithful provider. We will be receiving a tax return this year, which was quite unexpected. It is exactly what we need to see us through.

At the end of this month, we will be going to visit our family in SC. It's been two years since all of us have been back there. We are looking forward to this time with his family. While we are there, we will also be reconnecting with one of our former professors who works with missionaries.

The kids are doing great. Daughter has taken off in her reading, and has entered the world of chapter books. She is so proud of herself! She got a sewing machine for Christmas, and loves making things. We turned Aunties room into a craft room, and it's Daughters personal heaven!

Son isn't interested in learning to read, because he believes he already knows how! He likes to just tell the story according to the pictures, and that's good enough for him. He loves building, and he is very good at it! He built a bridge the full diameter of our kitchen table from marshmallows and tooth picks---all by himself!

Two weeks ago we held our first AFN advisory committee meeting. The committee is made up of a handful of individuals from our church. They are here to help us as we move forward in working towards returning to Ghana. We are so thankful for each one of them.

As you know, we long to return to Ghana. We will be working hard this year raising support and making plans to return. We do not have specific return date yet, but our goal is the end of this year. We are trusting that God will lead us as we follow Him. Please pray for us.

As we enter into this new phase of preparation and support raising, I will keep this blog more up to date.

Also, if you didn't receive one, we did send out a newsletter in November---a very over due newsletter. Visit our website to view it. www.afnministries.org