Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bittersweet.

Bittersweet doesn’t even begin to describe the emotions we are feeling right now. I’m pretty sure I have never experienced something that could bring two totally different/opposite feelings. To be honest, it’s a little difficult to sort through, which is why I was so thankful for our three weeks in Thailand where time for reflection ran with abundance. 2013 is definitely a year of change for our family. We are joyously celebrating Baby V, moving back to America, starting new jobs (whatever they might be), and settling in to our “home” culture again. So many new things are coming our way.

​In a little less than a week, I’ll be boarding a plane bound for America... Just me and my baby bump. Cody will have to stay here for three months to help finish as much of the semester as possible. This is the beginning of our whirlwind of change. To be honest, I’m dreading next Friday. I’m dreading saying “see ya soon-ish” to my husband, dreading saying goodbye to dear teammates, to the place we call home, to the people that He has allowed us to love, to this country that He has so given us a heart to serve, and to the dream of living here for a long, long time. While I dread this so much, I look forward to it because I know it’s one step closer to holding our little man in our arms and I’ll get to enjoy seeing family and friends; and of course, eating some yummy food is on my radar as well.

​A couple of months ago, we began to feel an unsettling in our spirits about being here next year. We really can’t explain it other than that. We just simply did not have peace and we really didn’t know why. We spent some intentional time really seeking Him about this because we want to be where He wants us. He continued to confirm that He has something else for us for next year. It was hard to make sense of this. I was wrestling with all kinds of questions in my heart. Why would we move again when we are finally feeling settled? What would we do in America? Even to the point of, who are we if this is not us? It has definitely been a good lesson of finding our purpose and security in Him instead of what He has called us to. Really, it would have been much easier for us to stay here. We have a home set up, a job, and neat opportunities all around us. But He called us to surrender and go WHEREVER he leads us, even if it’s back to America.

We are beginning to see His plan unfold right before us and things are becoming clearer as to why He was leading us to America. Some big things are happening in our school, not so good things, so now we know that change was inevitable. Our gracious Father just let us in on it a little earlier, and we are so thankful for that insight. What a great reminder that He is faithful to lead His children and we can most definitely trust how He leads.

So, what’s next!? We have no idea really. We’re still waiting to hear what our next step is. We are praying about a specific potential opportunity, but we are not sure what that would even completely look like, so for now we are waiting and praying. There are a few things the Father has revealed to us and we know it to be true.

1. He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or even imagine according to His power that is at work within us…
2. We should do whatever has the greatest Kingdom impact.
3. We will be blessed (not necessarily monetary) when we believe that He will do what He said He would do.
4. Let your faith be bigger than your fear.
5. “Trust completely in Him, and when he brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it. “ –Oswald Chambers.

So, the Father is bringing us to new opportunities of adventure and we are once again holding on and riding along to see where/what He has for us next. Life sure is an adventure when we are following Him.

We absolutely covet your prayers during this time of transitions. It is so easy for us to be overwhelmed by all of the changes and unknowns. Our desire is to cling to Him and to trust Him to provide whatever it is we need for today, nothing more and nothing less.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thailand

We were so thankful for the rest and restoration we received while in Thailand. We attended conference where we were challenged by the Word and had plenty of opportunities for reflection, time to talk with the Father, and seek Him without any distractions. We enjoyed His creation and the beauty that surrounded us. We spent most days playing in the pool and eating yummy food. We went out snorkeling one day which was a fun treat. We are now back in the cold Middle Kingdom. We just completed our first week of school for the semester and are preparing to send me off to America in just a week. (There'll be more on that later.) Anyways, enjoy the pics...











































Wednesday, January 9, 2013

November and December Pictures


The last few months in pictures. They are out of order on dates and that makes me crazy, but it takes too much effort to change it. I tried and just couldn't do it! Sorry!

First up, Our sweet visit with Staci



Yep, this is on our couch... it's really cold here even inside... We often see our breath as we eat dinner. 
This is taken at our local favorite restaurant... "The Hot Pot" They bring out a pot with a duck and broth in it.
Then, we add in yummy vegetables. This restaurant has the best spring rolls ever!


For New Years Eve, we were invited to a symphony orchestra concert. We ate at a nice restuarant
and enjoyed an evening of pretty music.


Some of the girls all dressed up!


It was such a special evening and we were so happy to have Staci there with us.


In the background is the concert hall... it is a magnificent building.








HAPPY NEW YEARS!


Staci brought us these fun glasses from America, so while we were waiting on a taxi, we had fun taking pictures of us all wearing them. They kept us entertained for quite some time.




We took the ferry across the river to the other side of the city. We were able to watch a gorgeous sunrise.
Within two days, we used every form of transportation offered here in Wuhan while gallivanting around the city....
bus, a friend's personal car, taxi, ferry, and a subway




This is the Yellow Crane Tower. It is a popular tourist spot here. We have been here a couple of times during the day, but
we have never seen it lit up so that was a special treat.


Staci also brought us stuff to celebrate Baby V. We made cupcakes (some were colored pink and some blue).


Proud parents to be wearing our badges.


Decorating the Christmas tree with Nancy. We had such a fun time and she was so excited to be a part of it.






We shared a special Thanksgiving meal with friends.


A little crafting on Thanksgiving.


Kid's Night-
Thursday nights the children come to our house and we do some fun singing, dancing, playing,
we share a story from the Word and eat Pizza Hut. It is a special night for all of us each week.


Some of our students all dressed up ready for the Christmas Show (see my last post for details)


Looking like a true Who girl right there.

Here's to hoping I'll do better blogging over these next few months.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It is January... How did that happen?


I’ve been a terrible blogger this semester. Life just keeps flying by and doesn’t slow down long enough for me to sit and write my reflections. This semester has brought us precious moments in the middle of the mundane. We feel more settled than ever before into a place of comfort and it seems that any time I get comfortable the Father decides to make a change. He doesn’t want us to stay in a comfortable place because we become less effective. We allow the comfort to take the place of His presence. For us at this time, He decided to bless us with a baby to be born in June. We could not be more excited, however, this really through a “kink in the plan.” We began to research options for staying here to have the baby. We felt like this was our home. This is where He has us. But after much research and heart-searching, we decided this would not be the best option for us. So, then we began to devise a plan of the whos, hows, whats, and wheres for coming to America to have the baby. We prayed and talked and talked and prayed. In the meantime, I was having some mild complications like hypertension and recurrent UTIs. We decided that I would return to America at the beginning of March and Cody would have to stay here to finish as much of the semester teaching as possible. So, Cody will join me on June 1st with lots of prayers that the baby stays put until Cody’s arrival. The situation is less than ideal, but we both feel at peace about it and that is what carries us to push on. 

 Even though, we felt pretty all consumed with the surprising news of a baby coming, life here continued on. We enjoyed having Nancy here and looked for opportunities to tell her of a perfect Father through reading stories from the Word, Kid’s Night (children come to our house on Thursday nights for pizza, we sing songs and dance, and share a story about Him), and meaningful conversations. Her parents have decided to move her to a teammates’ home since I will be leaving in March. 

 We also had awesome opportunities to share about him at school during the Christmas season. This is always an excellent time to tell the story of his birth and this year was no different. All of our students performed a Christmas skit completely in English entitled, “How Christmas Stole the Heart of the Grinch.” It was a spinoff of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” but completed with a nativity. Around 300 people attended this program and were told about His birth. It was pretty amazing and we were pretty proud of our students for doing such an excellent job!

 We finished off 2012 with my sweet friend, Staci coming to visit us. It was a wonderful time of catching up and gallivanting around our big city. We were encouraged by having her here and had a blast. We are so thankful for sweet friends and family that love, encourages, and supports us.  We are tremendously blessed.

 We have three more weeks in the semester and then we finally have a long break. We will head to Thailand at the end of January for our conference retreat. We are so looking forward to rest, relaxation, warmth, sunshine, fresh air, and sweet moments with our Father.  While we are looking ahead to Thailand, we are hoping to make the most of each day He has given us here because it is gift, not to be taken for granted, and we know that he is preparing the hearts of people all around us. May we be sensitive to His work.

 We are excited about 2013 and all that it will bring. Our hope is that we will walk in faith and obedience each day, no matter where or what He calls us to.