Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What is He up to?

Life here in Jamaica is good. The four of us are "settled" in our roles and life has a new "normal". We are balancing rest time, busy busy busy time and family time.
In our typical day (which is never a weekend!!), I wake early, open up the gates and unlock doors, have time with God, kids wake and eat breakfast, some days we head to a school for devotions but other days it is straight to school work. Around 10:30 we collect chicken eggs and feed/water the chickens and then back to school for another hour. After lunch each day is different we may play outside, work outside, talk with staff, visit the team, take a team to Bible school, do crafts or the kids watch a movie and I work. I work on the Student Support program, the Store, make desserts for dinner or whatever else may happen to need attention. Evenings consist of dinner (most nights with the team) and then family time. Lately we have been outside, helping Audrey on her bike and watching Braylon on his big wheel. After bath time the kids head to their room and Aaron (Nate too) and I do a short workout. The night ends with a Psych episode, a game on the ipod or reading.

Sorry if my daily synopsis was painfully boring and poorly written. What I am trying to portray is: we appear to have things figured out. If I did not have emotions or the Holy Spirit, I would think that we are settled, that we are in the groove, right where we are supposed to be.

The truth is just the opposite....I know we are following our current roles and listening to Christ call on our lives but I also know that we are not to be comfortable. That God is still unfolding our lives, that we are not to be stationary. My mind has been so busy lately, which in turn is making me physically tired and ready for early bedtime. Aaron and I have been prompted to expound upon underdeveloped ideas (maybe ideas is to general), that we never used to be concerned about. How has God geared us to minister? What types of ministering are important to us? We are supposed to reach the lost, DUH! BUT how? Through giving? Through relationship? Through raising up other Christians? Is our focus on the teams that come down? The people we see everyday? How do we incorporate both?

On top of developing our "family's mission statement and plan" God has been working on my heart. Bringing back whispers he offered years ago. I feel like God is saying, I have not forgot X,Y and Z. My human mind trying to figure out everything is WORE out! How is God going to take where we are now, what we are learning, bundle it with X,Y,Z . What does God's plan look like? How will He do it? Some of it makes no sense to me! Maybe if I just let God be God then it would make more sense?

Not maybe but it will! I don't have to figure it out, God will unfold. I know this! God has proved himself over and over again. In my daily devotions, the Word has spoke to me, in my daily walk God has used others to reveal himself. God shows himself in His time and I do not need to mentally work so hard to figure it out.

Just the other day, I was wrestling with God in my head. Aaron placed a vision in front of me that he thought God was calling us to. Although some where deep inside of me, I knew Aaron was right, I was not ready to let go. So as I drove to Bible school, as I interacted with the kids, as I talked to the ladies, my mind was occupied. I tossed ideas back and forth, told God he didn't make sense, that Aaron was being selfish and that I could see other plans being better. Then it happened the only day I sat in on the Bible story (the story prepared for and geared to children) and God used it to speak to me! Hmmph! If I am going to be childish then I suppose God will speak to me as a child :) and I am so glad he did.

I am still wrestling and not fully submitting. I am working on it, I really am. I am believing that I must have faith to walk out in the deep even when I cannot see the whole picture.

John 10:3-4
The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Many Thanks

I missed two days of thanks on Facebook but I have been counting my blessings all weekend.
1. Thankful for the many gifts/leftovers/hand-me downs that the Vrettos family gave us.
2. Thankful for time to visit with Jody, Nick, Guy and Ernie.
3. Thankful for the 10 days I got to spend with the Daniel Family.
More importantly I am thankful that God put us together at MTI and then on the same island. What a blessing our kids are for each other! Jodi is a great woman to learn from and lean on!
4. Thankful that God allowed me the strength to stay up and get my house clean.
5. Thankful the kids stayed up with me so they slept in.
6. Thankful that I was able to run my errands and take care of payroll before the kids woke yesterday morning.
7. Thankful that Jody V had diaper bags and quick hands in the van as I decided to toss my cookies, more than once.
8. Very thankful that my hubby took the kids to the pool so I could sleep off my carsickness.
9. Enjoyed and thankful to have one last Jamaican dinner with John G.
10. Thankful to have served with John G and wish him many blessings (even though he will be missed!)
11. Thankful for Progressive Foods (a new, very American grocery store).
12. Thankful and proud of my daughter who volunteered and did the dishes (we will not discuss the amount of soap used or water found outside the sink ;)
13. Thankful that our home is feeling more like our home.
14. Thankful to Aaron for helping me reorganize closets and cabinets.
15. Thankful that during our cleanup Aaron took two minutes and slow danced with me.
16. Thankful that I am so happy to be living in Jamaica.
17. Thankful that we can afford to have a big Thanksgiving dinner in 5 days!
18. Thankful that I get to pick up my mom in 7 days!
19. Thankful and filled with fun ideas as I look at all the craft projects the kids and I can do.
20. Thankful that my children are flourishing.

Thankful that God has blessed me!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Favorites from the Storm

Favorite Prayer Answered : Escapees Rufous, Queenie and Reese were found without any harm to Jamaicans or livestock!

Funniest Moment: Six Jamaicans in the back of the truck to look for Rufous. On the return trip-one Jamaican and Rufous in the back with five Jamaicans hiding in the truck. =)

Favorite Quote: "When the storm got really loud my prayers went on pause but then I started back again." -Audrey Black

Favorite View: All my children (Amoy, Richard, Tassia, Akba, Braylon and Audrey) sitting on the couch watching a movie by battery powered lap top. (My oldest Melissa was safe in Kingston)

Favorite Reminder: God is in Control! He is our protector and deliverer!
Favorite Dance: Aaron's happy dance when the electricity came back on!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Mother's Child

I used to live with a woman, who woke early almost every morning to read her Bible. "If you do not purposefully make time for God, you will not find time for Him." "I miss my time with God, if I don't make time for it." Then this lady would write verses on index cards and place them in popular places around our home. "The Word is powerful, she would say." If you cannot tell by the tone, I used to think this woman was a little, mmmmm, over the top or maybe crazy!
Now, I have learned that she is smart! I find myself longing for quiet mornings, sitting down and writing verses for memorization. As I sat Tuesday morning reading my Bible, while everything was still and the house was quiet, I thought "I am my mother's child!"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gold Fish, animal crackers and kiddie pools

After reading this some of you will think the heat has went to my head, others will have tears in their eyes and some will be saying "OF COURSE HE DID!" (and you can have tears too)

Aaron and I have said that our children's comfort food is gold fish (the snack that smiles back :) Every time we have ran low on goldfish a friend or family member has sent/brought us more. As I reached for our last box of gold fish, I debated on opening it. "When this box is finished, we will be out until the first of July," I thought to myself. Something in me (Holy Spirit) told me that God will take care of it, there will be more.

What a blessing to know that God hears us and sees our needs. Life has been crazy this past week. Aaron has worked 12-14 hour days all week, I have been busier than normal, kids have been with babysitters, we have not went to bed at our bedtimes and we are tired. I was feeling tonight like I was letting my children down- Not giving them enough stability, not giving them enough mommy and daddy time, ignoring them for other children and so on. God knows the cries of my heart! As I drove down the road close to tears b/c my baby was crying and he just wanted out of his seat and onto my lap, I felt God's peace come over me. Upon arriving at the mission house I am met by Marggy who has started my work for me (much appreciated!) and GOLDFISH, ANIMAL CRACKERS AND A KIDDIE POOL.
Tonight as the current team is packing up, they inform me that they are leaving a BIG bag of goldfish and a HUGE container of animal crackers. We have enough snacks to get by until mid July or later!!! God is such a provider.

The next petty thing on our list has been a blow up pool for the kids. It can be a little warm here in Jamaica and the kids love to play in the water. We cannot let them play in the hose or with a sprinkler because of the water shortage. So Aaron and I priced a small pool (you know big enough for 2 kids to sit in and can stay full of water) and were shocked when we saw a price tag of 38 US dollars. Sorry kids no pool :( UNTIL God has the team bring down a blow up kiddie pool. They were going to use it for VBS but did not. I think the poor woman was quite shocked at how joyful I was over a kiddie pool. Hugging her and telling her we had wanted one but just couldn't justify the price.

So all this rambling to say, God is taking care of us! He didn't give me more hours in the day, or a child that wasn't clingy but He showed me that what matters to me matters to Him. Seeing my children happy makes me happy and I know Sunday there will be some bright smiles when Daddy sets up the pool (I could do it tomorrow but I think Aaron will appreciate the excited laughter as well!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Joy and Heartache

Over the past few weeks Aaron and I have witnessed both amazing compassion and heartbreaking distress. Sometimes staying focused on what God has placed us here to do, is difficult. Knowing that God sees all the pain and distress is comforting but confusing. I wonder how God can sit back and see these kids without shoes, without food, and mother's working their fingers to the bones to provide. Then I speak with a mother and I hear her joy as she says, God is good! The Psalms tell her to let nothing take her joy and she is determined to obey. I see two men (one of the men not even having his own blanket) give up their pay to assist another family. A family of 14 living in a 12x12 home that is weak enough to be pushed over by 4 men.

A woman at the gate needs money to purchase her child's school uniforms and books but I have to turn her away (we have enough money for 14 students and they are all accounted for). Aaron must turn a woman away who is running from a murder. The man chopped her hand off with a meat cleaver and it was sewn back on (swollen and bruised). We have promised six homes already this summer to "dire situations" and will try to find her assistance but cannot offer immediate help. Heartbreaking and disturbed we turn to God and offer the most powerful asset we have, prayer. Prayer is the one avenue that will keep us focused on God's work here. We cannot solve any of these problems on our own but with God we can help and we can give love.

Love, a hug to two children that just stopped by. A cricket ball to boys in the playfield, just because we want to bless them. A phone call to say, I was praying for your exams. A ride home because I know you are tired and walked 2 miles in the heat of the day. An invitation to hang out, just because I desire your company, no strings attached. I am humbled that God called me to this country to live everyday seeking ways to love. Love with my heart, my spirit, my physical touch, my talents and when others are compassionate, I get to share love offerings. The mother was correct God is good and I will not allow the sad situations over shadow the Love, Joy, Compassion, and Desire.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Audrey had a babysitter (previous post), the next day she stayed with our neighbor Velna and yesterday she had a friend over for 4 hours, only to return and have two other children at the gate to play. To top things off we had a team arrive last night so I spent the afternoon making them cookies. Aaron helped organize the house a little bit and clean up as well. Yesterday felt like a "normal" Saturday.
The team arrived about 5:15pm and we were excited to meet them! 21 student/chaperones from Kentucky Wesleyan University. Braylon and Audrey took to them immediately! (I am always amazed that God created my kids with personalities perfect for this time in our lives!) Braylon got to play tractors with a few girls and basketball with one of the young men. Audrey was playing Boo! with some of the students within 20 minutes of their arrival. She also went on a walk and completed a puzzle with the girls. I can tell already this is going to be a fun week!

Please pray for this team as God uses them to do His work here in Jamaica. May they be blessed and be a blessing to those they are serving.