Sunday, May 23, 2010

The lone red flower

In the corner of our living room sit three house plants. Two of them were left here by the home owner, and since we know little to nothing about the correct care of plants, we are thrilled that they are still alive. Basically, we water them when we remember, and often are reminded of this job when the plants appear dry or brownish. Just this week we were pleasantly surprised with a beautiful red blossom on a plant that we had no idea had the capability of flowering.

This reminded me of ministry. So often we have grand ideas for how to reach the world for Jesus, and quite often these ideas and dreams are God-given and are successful. But in other cases, God uses us in ministries that we didn't plan, orchestrate, or even know about. It is in times like these that those lone red flowers remind us that our job is to be faithful "waterers" of our "plants". That wherever God has placed us, we are to live in obedience to Him, nurturing our relationship with the Lord above all else. He will bring about the fruit in His time, and often without our designs. I wasn't feeding or talking to my plants, in hopes of growing red flowers to show evidence of my success. I was just doing what I knew to do. So when we feel fruitless, because the "ministry" we had planned doesn't appear successful, we must continue to water, and whether or not that flower ever appears, bask in the love and acceptance of our Savior!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

JV Spring Conference

We will always remember how long we have lived here in Slovakia by the age of my nephew Jackson. (We actually have 2 nephews named Jackson...Ed's sister Jen and my sister Lori both have Jacksons, but Lori's son was born as we were flying over the Atlantic to our new home.) However, I also gauge how long we have been seriously considering this move by the number of Spring Conferences we have attended. Many of you remember when we flew over here in May 2008 with our four kids to either close the door forever on this opportunity for ministry, or make it a reality and move forward. It was to the JV Spring Conference that we came to help us make this decision. When, during that trip and through many different affirmations, it became clear to us to move forward, we looked ahead at the seemingly insurmountable task of moving our family over here. To me it seemed like we had at least a million things to do to make it happen, but it was so evident to both Ed and I that Christ had a ministry for us to do as a family over here, that we eagerly began the process. The following May 2009 we returned to Spring Conference with only Shaylee, and combined it with the house-hunting trip to Bardejov. We still had about 999,000 of the million things to do, but also had continued assurance that God was leading us in this direction.

This year's Spring Conference was a milestone, as we could return from it to our home just 5 hours away, having most all of the million things accomplished! It was just amazing to us as we recalled the miracles that God graciously blessed us with in getting us here! So why, you may ask, if God has so blessed us in these millions of ways, do I still have crabby days? Great question!! I know that Ed wants to know that answer too! :-)

We just returned from this JV Spring Conference 2010 last week. What an incredible time of refreshment and encouragement among the rest of the JV missionaries here in Eastern Europe! Our kids had a wonderful time also and loved every minute of their week there. Each of our kids had programs that they went to each day. The pictures of the Lion King are from the musical that the CYT team and the JV Kids put on for the group on the last day.

What we've been up to

Well, I've been waiting to post again until I had something quite extraordinary and exciting to report...but I've decided to go ahead and post tonight anyway. We have been living life over here very similar to how we had previously lived in Tremont, with the obvious changes. The boys go to school every day, the rest of us stay home with somewhat of a normal routine. Ed and I have language lessons four days per week, and we have some regular weekly appointments on our calendar, but it seems that we are just basically keeping busy with the normal life that happens in families with kids.

Since our last post, we did receive our visas for living here for one year. We then will have to renew them, but without as much headache as the first ones...hopefully! God's timing was so perfect in that always! We also had to visit the hospital for medical clearance to further fulfill the visa requirements. That was an adventure in itself, so it is nice to have that behind us!

Ed and I continue to scratch the surface of the Slovak language. Just when we feel that we just might be making progress, we try to converse with someone and then are sent right back to reality. Ed and I tried a conversation between the two of us the other day, strictly in Slovak. We spoke very slowly and talked about very shallow things, mostly topics that we have learned in our book. It was quite painful, and after 15 minutes called it good and reverted back to English to talk about things that had a bit more depth! We dream of the day when we can talk in Slovak without first translating back to English for comprehension! Maybe in a few years...