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Saturday, 23 October 2010

A wonderful week in Germany

Yesterday we finished our drive back from Germany. We started our drive on Thursday morning, leaving our hosts home at 10:30. I drove most of the way from Germany up to the ferry in Calais and was surprised that I wasn't tired at all except for the very end of the trip. Fortunately we made good time that we made the earlier ferry that left at 6:30 instead of our reserved ferry at 7:55. That made a lot of difference. We got into the hotel and just relaxed there for the night as we were shattered.

Today is the 10 year anniversary of Alans brothers death. His brother David killed himself and his parents have gone every year to the location where he took his life. They've also visited his grave every week for the past ten years. Unbearable grief that we so wish they didn't still feel. Taking your own life is so selfish and cruel but having been severely depressed before I can understand how you don't really think about those things - you just think it would be much nicer for the pain to go away. It's not as much about ending your life as it is going to sleep with the hope of never waking up. For those of you that have never experienced severe depression I wouldn't expect you to understand but David's brother experienced it. That and he was very, very ill which was causing him to lose the use of his legs. I don't want to excuse his suicide but say this only because I'm trying to wrap my head around this day as best I can.

Tonight we are heading back to Birkenhead for a church gathering and quiz night. My stomach is a bit uneasy today so I think I'll rest a bit before we go. Tomorrow after church we leave for orientation with Pioneers over in Yorkshire. We return next Friday, have two days here with Alans family and then fly to Georgia on November 1st. We're then in Georgia until the end of December.

Alan asked me today what I was most looking forward to in the next two months and I immediately said taking Charlotte and Lily to Disneyworld. It'll be just like being a kid again being able to enjoy it with them. Charlotte will absolutely love it I know.

Our trip to Germany really couldn't have been any better. It had Gods hand all over it from our wonderful hosts, the Hunt's and their beautiful apartment they allowed us to use for free to meeting Danine in person and so many great people from Victory International and just really enjoying some sweet fellowship. They also did everything they could have possibly done to help us in all the logistics for our move. We felt so blessed by it all and give God all the praise for how He looks after and cares for His children.

Our nomad journey continues. Please pray God will raise up the remaining support we need to move and that he will help us settle on a place to live, nail down visa and health insurance logistics and sort things out for the move. He told me in Germany to take everything one day at a time and allow him to give us the strength for only that day because that's what he promises. I'm still working on it but it's getting easier as He comes through for us time and time again.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Our life as nomads...

Well, Alan and I have spent the last ten days with his mom and dad in Chester now that Simona and Mihai have returned from Romania to rent our house. We were so pleased they could use the house and are able to enjoy it. I feel more comfortable for them there than I did when they were in Birkenhead. Birkenhead is a scary place sometimes and Moreton seems just so much safer. I think they are pleased too that they no longer have the police visiting their apartment every night due to their neighbor downstairs that had many issues. Scary!

Anyway, as I was saying we've been staying with Margaret and Alan and they've taken excellent care of us, catering to our every need. It's sort of strange giving up a lot of your independence to move in with your in-laws but we just kept reminding ourselves how blessed we were to be saving the money on the mortgage while still having a place to stay and be fed.

On Friday morning we leave for a week in Germany. I haven't really allowed myself to get too excited about the trip because of everything going on in our lives. Support raising and the new pregnancy, health insurance, visas and living as nomads. At least life isn't boring! Fortunately we serve a big God who has never let us down before and as David says in Psalms, he has never seen the righteous go hungry or beg so we should be ok :).

One thing that has been a bit depressing this week is watching the EURO rise against the dollar. We thought we only had $12,000 remaining to raise so that Pioneers would give us the green light to move in Germany but instead we now have $22,000 to raise due to just a weaker dollar. UGH! We remain optimistic though that God has a stronger currency than even the EURO and that He will provide for us. We did have some good news about the health insurance although my confidence level is still only about 75% about it. Supposedly we will qualify for the public insurance but it will more than likely still cost around 200GBP per month for us both and the baby. This is something we would still appreciate your prayers for.

Speaking about the baby... if I weren't pregnant I'd think there was something really wrong with me. I only have about 6 hours of energy a day now compared to pre-pregnancy 12-14 hours. After that I just have to lay down I'm just so incredibly tired. People have been asking me if I've gained any weight or if I've had any cravings and the answers are no (thank God for that!) and yes. I've discovered a craving for popsickles and literally could probably polish off a box right now. Just ice and juice though - no ice cream. The thought of ice cream makes me cringe lol. Weird.

I'll be looking forward to updating my blog if at all possible during my trip as we interact and fellowship with the members of Victory. We're staying with a lovely couple that are from Georgia that were introduced to us via Facebook by the pastor and his wife at Victory. We feel very blessed to be able to stay with them and learn as much as possible about Heidelberg and the German culture. When we get back we have about a day and a half before we go to orientation with Pioneers at Bawtry. We're both looking forward to that and to getting some much needed encouragement to keep going toward our mission.

Surely other missionaries have felt discouraged as the recession and falling dollar have affected their support raising. Sometimes I wish every person I knew that really considered themselves our friends would pick up the phone and send $5 or $10 a month to help us make this move. I feel like saying, it's the same as a cup of coffee at Starbucks or Jittery Joe's so that two people can go and share the gospel with people that really need to hear about Jesus. I feel like saying that but I don't. I just pray God will say it for us and not just for us but for countless other missionaries out there that need to worry less about finances and more about reaching people for the kingdom of God.

I know personally I have not given enough to support others in the past and I look at myself now and I wonder why. I think my primary excuse is just plain laziness and apathy and I honestly don't think I'm being too harsh on myself when I say that. I saw people that were doing good work that needed support and I just left it to the next guy to give and then I wondered why I wasn't being blessed as much as others. I'm ashamed of that now and think God has taught us a lot through the fundraising we have to do. I've learned not to underestimate people. I've learned not to overestimate too.

I think the bottom line is that we're working for Jesus here. Not Microsoft or Save the Family or any other organization. And Jesus likes surprising us and showing us that we are so off the mark sometimes when we plan things out and try to figure things and people out on our own. I keep wondering where I drop off and Christ picks up and I think the answer is... when I have done everything I can think of to do and utilized all the resources and friends at my disposal and still I come up short, that is when Christ takes over. IF we are in his will and IF we are trusting Him for it.

May everything we do and say be only for the glory of Him who has called us to this work and may you be blessed as you serve Him wherever you are around the world. For my friends that don't know Jesus... I pray the blinders that have been placed on your eyes for so long by the enemy of your soul that wants nothing more than to destroy you and keep you from your purpose and lasting joy and happiness will be removed so that you can finally see truth. We love y'all and are praying for y'all!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Family of three :)

Yes finally I can announce that Alan and I are expecting our first child next May! I've been wanting to write in here for a while but I didn't want to say anything until the news was broadcast to all our family and friends. We've known for about 3 weeks now. We told my parents when they were over for a visit celebrating (in part) their 45th wedding anniversary. I racked my brain as to the best way to tell them and still have it be a surprise. For Charlotte, Christine did the whole surprise thing where she bought everyone a present and inside the presents we had little handpainted baby bottles and pacifiers with Baby Mills on them which I thought was adorable but I really wanted to do something different that represented me.

Roaming through Tesco's I decided that what defines me the most is probably my love for entertaining and given I was making dinner for my parents and their friends the Dicks as well as Alans parents that night I decided to serve the grandparents to be their desserts in winnie the pooh bowls with matching spoons and hopefully they would catch on. Well Alan and I were giggling in the kitchen as they were expounding on one subject over another at the dinner table and Alan went into the dining room and asked for everyone's attention where he then thanked them all for coming and said he just wanted to congratulate mom and dad on their anniversary. He said Mary's going to serve the dessert now and so I started handing out the bowls with the homemade triffle Alans dad had made and I only had to set the bowl down in front of Alans mom when Lynn Dicks (who was sitting next to Margaret) started screaming "NO WAY!!" I just smiled and handed out the rest of the bowls to mom and dad and Alans dad. Mom got up immediately to hug me and she kept saying she knew I was pregnant. She was crying. Margaret was also crying and just shaking her head that she couldn't believe it. Alans dad and my dad just sat there, in complete shock I guess. Finally someone had to explain it to to them I guess because my dad just burst into laughter like jolly old st. nicholas or something. At least that's what he reminded me of! lol

After dinner we skyped Christine and Russ and the kids and also Lee Anne to tell them the good news and we called Linda and Christine (Alans sisters) and they were all really pleased. We wanted to wait to make it more public though until we went for an appointment with the fertility doctor that next Wednesday and also for a scan which happened yesterday. The fertility doctor was very pleased for us because we wouldn't be needing his services after all (it was a God thing we know) and the scan went great with us able to see the baby in the ultrasound and see the little heartbeat going like crazy. He or she measured to be 6 weeks and 3 days so that puts me around May 26th I think for a due date but that will be confirmed when we go to the antenatal clinic.

Alan and I are truly amazed at Gods faithfulness to us. We were praying for a child and Alan said God promised him a child but I wasn't too sure that I had the ability to have one given I'd never been pregnant before. Apparently the hycosy procedure used on me may have helped to unstick my fallopian tubes so that I could conceive because we did only two days after the procedure was completed.

Now the exciting part. As of yesterday we're effectively nomads. Mihai and Simona returned from vacation to take over renting our house here in England so we've moved in with Alans parents for a week and a half. We then go to Germany where we'll be hosted by a sweet family from Georgia for a week before heading to orientation in Yorkshire. We then are back for two days before flying to Georgia on the 1st of November until December 30th. Our plans were to go home, raise our remaining support, see family, celebrate my 40th birthday, Alans 47th, my dads birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas and then when we returned stay about one more week in England before moving to Germany on mission.

Being pregnant "may" change things however. At this point we're leaving it all in Gods hands but so far we have been unable to qualify to get health insurance in Germany and it is a requirement that you have it before you are authorized to settle there. We're trusting God knows completely what he is doing so we're not stressing, we're just believing that He's either going to provide a way or He's going to give us another option until He does provide a way.

No matter what we're focusing on Jesus and we're so excited about our future. Homeless, broke and some uncertainty in sight - but what we do know is Jesus loves us, has always been faithful to us, has proven himself over and over and over again and he can be trusted with it all.

God is good and we are blessed!