This is Me!

This is Me! The good, the bad, and the bald. You get it all! But I have hair now. This spring I'll be rockin the pixie.

Friday, December 31, 2010

It's All About the Kids Today!

Friday - Today's agenda... it's all about the children of Haiti. Today they ask that we would specifically be praying for the little one's of Haiti, the next generation. The statistics show that 50% of children die before reaching the age of 5 in Haiti. I'm sorry, this number is mind boggling! 5 years old. I look at my kids and am so grateful that I was blessed to be born here. Another statistic shows that only 65% of the children there receive any form of education. Let's ask God to bring about big changes for the children there.

The PAP team is holding a medical clinic at another children's home. The will be ministering to an additional 100 children today. The Leogane team continues to work with the children in the orphanage they have been in throughout this week. By now they are probably forming relationships with these children. I pray God would use this closeness to further demonstrate His unending, unconditional love to these kiddos. I pray that this time of bonding and playing would begin a healing in some of these wounded hearts. Lord, we are asking for a harvest of mustard seeds in this place. You say if we have faith like a mustard seed, we can say to that mountain move, and it will move. Begin planting little seeds of faith in each and every heart that they come in contact with so that in time the harvest will be plentiful, reaching to older family members and beyond. In Jesus name, give us the mountain of darkness and voodoo to trample under our feet by your authority. You are doing something big in this nation and it's going to begin with the children who are learning to love and follow you.

The are preparing to shower these kids with FUN!!! tomorrow with a big New Years Day party. Let's ask God to make these preparations go smoothly. God bless them down to their toes and back. What a treat this will be. I pray the kids are blessed as much as the mission team members will be.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World

Today's activity and prayer agenda includes "Play Time". The team in Leogane will be in the orphanage teaching English lessons to older kids and playing with and holding babies. What better guys to have down there loving on babies than Peter and Shon. I can't count how often I have seen Shon with a Bruland, Haechton, or Button baby in his arms. God is always in the details. This will allow the people who run the orphanage to have a bit of a break. Pray that God would give them abundant strength and energy to keep up with these kids. I am guessing many don't get to interact with people who are just there to see them and help them and they may be stoked and FULL of energy. Lets pray it is a wonderfully abundant day of Joy for everyone.

The Port Au Prince team will be returning today from the clinic work in the village. Pray that God would allow for some rest on the return voyage and prepare the team to help out in the service at Pastor Luc's church tonight. I pray tonight's service is not like any other. I pray God would show himself mightily in that place tonight. I pray this would be just another step towards a deeper healing walk with the one true God for these people on individual levels, which would speak into their church community, which would speak into their outlying communities, and in turn begin to change the face of the nation of Haiti.

As we are on the middle day of the trip day, God I ask you would be with the families back home. Both ours and the one's from Alabama. Many have spouses and children themselves and speaking from first hand knowledge, they might be starting to miss their mom's or dad's. God I pray you would settle hearts and bring peace. Help even the littlest children to stay focused on you their true protector and defender. Helps us all to stay the course with the 24 hour prayer watch. As the week goes on I think the tendency is for the urgency to diminish. I pray you would re-ignite the fire for the second half of this trip.

"Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the World. Red, and yellow, black and white; Their all precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pray for the People of Haiti!

As you read this prayer update for Wednesday, I would challenge you to be vigilant in your prayer for the Haitian people themselves. I went to our churches weekly prayer time tonight. One of the elders had prepared some slides with facts on the country. They were startling to say the least. This was a hurting people long before this earthquake. Pray that God would begin to rebuild this country from the ground up, one person at a time. We need to be in prayer for Haitian Christians, that they would sense the presence of the Holy Spirit moving in their lives and their country and rise up to the challenge of re-creating in a sense who they are as a people. By the power of the name of Jesus give them spiritual authority over the darkness that rules that country through voodoo. Draw them into your word and a deeper understanding of who you are so they can call upon your mighty name for healing in their land.

Wednesday will be day two of the medical clinic. Pray for our team as this means long, hot days in the sun, tending to hundreds of people. Each person will have the opportunity to pray with a pastor after they have been helped. Pray that hearts would be soft to the call of God.

On the home front:

A young friends' mom has a kidney stone and has been in horrible pain. Pray that God would help this stone to pass and relieve the pain she is having.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Safely on Haitian Soil!

Today brings good news of already answered prayers. The team is safely on the ground in Haiti. Praise the Lord!

The kids and I took the 4 o'clock prayer time this afternoon and sat by the lighted tree, with our bibles and prayed for each team member from our church. Most of you know my kids, so I wanted to share with you how this time went and what I noticed from it.

I am familiar with group prayer and really enjoy it. I get really fired up to join fellow believers in praying spiritual warfare and covering. When you pray in unity with a brother or sister, and God confirms something in both of your hearts, this is really an encouragement. It is things like this in the past that have really bolstered my faith. Going into an hour of prayer with the kids, I think I had a slightly lower expectation. I was really just hoping they would make it through an hour of focused prayer time. Well was that ever a mistake and a humbling one at that. They were all joined in heart and spirit and practicing Ephesians. 6:18 "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." What a blessed time of prayer we had. Their young hearts were in tune to the details and I was blessed at the spiritual maturity they demonstrated. I look forward to more opportunities to enjoy this time with the kids this week.

Tomorrows agenda:
The PAP team is heading to the remote village of Forets-des-Pints. Pray that the set up and administration of the medical clinic would go smoothly. Pray that God would bless the children's evangelistic outreach. The Leogane team will be volunteering at a children's home and doing service projects for the local church - mainly clearing away rubble at house sites. Leogane was the epicenter of the Jan. 2010 earthquake and an estimated 90% of the buildings were destroyed. Pray that the God of Hope would encourage the hearts of those who have endured so much loss and experienced so much devastation.

God we ask that you would give the teams strength for the days tasks. We ask that you would protect their hearts and minds from the things they may see and experience. Allow them to see the need and respond as is appropriate.

Ryoichi, as of Monday evening is in Ft. Lauderdale and will be flying out very early in the morning to join them. Pray that his flight goes well and that the pick up transportation goes smoothly also.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Travel Day

They left bright and early yesterday morning from Seattle to arrive in Chicago. From Chicago they flew into Ft. Lauderdale. The flight from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale was a bit more interesting. They had someone pass out and someone get sick. Yikes! After making a safe albeit turbulent landing they arrived and made it to their hotel. They were hoping to get a good night sleep. They had to arrive at the airport at 5am this morning and will arrive in Haiti around 9am. The last word I heard was that the plane was taking off for Port Au Prince at 6:45 FL time.

We received an itinerary and prayer calendar from the Alabama team and I will be sharing it with you as well as any updates I may receive. We aren't to certain if there will be any or not.

Day one: The prayer is that the team would adjust quickly to the climate and surroundings and be able to hit the ground running. They will divide into the two separate teams and go in two different directions. Pray that the team as a whole would bond well in order to accomplish the will of God. They will be getting settled in and preparing for their outreaches the next day.

Please specifically keep Peter Smith in your prayers. As you may or may not know he broke his collar bone last week so he went with an injury. It won't prevent him from doing his job but pray that it heals quickly and properly.

Our church has also organized an around the clock prayer watch from 7 am our time til next Monday when the leave Haiti. Feel free to pick an hour or two and join in this constant covering.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

They're Off!

It is Saturday evening and the team is officially on their way to Haiti. They will stay in Seattle tonight so that they can be at the airport tomorrow morning at 6am. From there they fly to Chicago, then Ft Lauderdale, and finally Port Au Prince, Haiti. All 6 six team members plus Ryoichi, our pastor, leave feeling the peace of God on this calling and with their families support. Our family spent time together praying over Mark before he left as I am sure the other families did too. But I would like to challenge us all to not let it stop there. They are underway now and in the hands of God we know, but our job continues. Yes the busy preparations are completed, the shots, the packing but this is where our job really picks up. It's time for the prayer warriors to be on their knees. Let's continue together to keep these 7 from our church and 24 from Alabama in our prayers. Let's be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and be ready to pray in the spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. Our mobilized team needs pray support from the home team. So while we are all enjoying this blessed time of year and celebrating the birth of our savior, lets remember to pray for thier safety, that they bond as a team, their assignments, and the hearts of the people our team will come in contact with, that their hearts would be soft to the voice of Jesus. Please keep the spouses and families in yours prayers as well. I will post updates as I get them.

Merry Christmas and God bless you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Countdown Officially Begins!

Tonight Mark and I spent time with the other potential Haiti team members and the Elders of our church discussing the trip, the possible dangers, and then praying. We took some much needed time, in the middle of the hustle and bustle to stop and be still before the Lord regarding this trip and again, seek His will to go or not to go. The State Dept. still says essential travel only. Riots are a real possibility while they are there. They might get stuck in Haiti and not be able to fly out. They could simply get sick, with Cholera or Malaria. Or, they could, having heard and answered the call on their lives, be blessed beyond their wildest comprehension. They may touch a life with few days to live, with the truth of a savior. Children who have little to nothing might experience more joy than they have ever had an opportunity to feel. Orphanage children may receive a wonderful gift like a t-shirt, shoes, some toothpaste and toothbrush or their eternal salvation. God may use this 10 day mission to transform the hearts and lives of our team into something almost unrecognizable.

I know that His plans are not always our plans, and the way He chooses to accomplish His will, may not quite look right to us, but I also know that nothing is to dangerous or difficult for our God, for my God. It is with full joy and complete peace in our hearts that we are sending Mark into this unknown.

Again, we ask, actually beseech you to pray and intercede on behalf of this team. We cry out with prayers for safety yes, but we know and trust that you are the God of the impossible and beyond. We want to see God glorified in Mark's life and in the lives of the others as they respond in obedience and service. We ask that God super naturally covers this team and all of the members to accomplish His perfect purpose. Lord be their shield and defender. Holy Spirit, remind them daily to put on their full armor so that they will stand confidently with the truth of your word against the darkness that clouds the people of Haiti. Allow them to become light in a place of darkness.

Lord we ask these things for each team member in the matchless, Holy, and perfect name of Jesus. Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit to reside in us and to give us wisdom to make decisions. I pray Isaiah 26:3 for each person going and each spouse and family member praying at home.

Isaiah 26:3,4

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Preparations

Have you ever noticed that this time of year always seems to catch us off guard? It is like somehow every other month follows the rule of the 24 hour, standard day, but come December, and all bets are off!!! December 1st arrives and we hit the ground running at break neck speed, like we might earn some prestigious award for accomplishing even more than we did last year and especially more than all our friends, combined!!! We must get ALL the right gifts for all the right people, attend ALL Christmas pageantry, put up the most and most perfect decorations, hand make, from scratch, batches and batches of the tastiest food and then deliver it to everyone we know and even some we don't, and so on. Seriously? I bet if your anything like our family, the conversations about Christmas preparations this year are similar to the one's taking place in our home. Take a look and see...
"Did you pick up the bug spray for me?" I had to return it and get the one with more Deet! "Really? More Deet?" Malaria is bad stuff. They said more Deet is better. "Okay, right." Have you started your Typhoid medication yet? "Yes. I started it today." Good. What are you taking for Cholera? "There is nothing you can take to prevent Cholera. We just have to be careful." Have you heard wether they are letting commercial flights back into Haiti yet or not? "Not so far. The violence is getting worse." I am sure it will all be cleared up by the time the team is scheduled to leave on Christmas. You packed toilet paper, right? "Yes! Again!" Just checking. Water purification supplies, bed roll, Imodium? "YES! I have it all!"

I know at least two of you that are right there with me. The majority of you however, probably think this sounds like plans for a really bad camping trip. And it kind of is, but it is what our Christmas preparations look like this year. Mark and his fellow teammates are scheduled to leave home Christmas evening. They will stay one night in Seattle, and then fly out early the next morning for Florida, where they will again stay one night before heading to Port Au Prince, Haiti to begin a 10 day mission in the ravaged and devastated country. Why on earth Haiti? Cause Jesus would have gone there. Why now? Why not? and if not now when? when it's "safe?" Why Mark? Cause God said so, bottom line. Will they be protected? Only by God. Will it be as dirty as it looks on TV? Most likely worse. Where will they be sleeping? On the ground in tents. Is it safe? Probably not. But as someone I respect very much said to me recently "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will." and that means no matter where His will takes us. Have you been brave enough to ask Him what that looks like for you? Scary question maybe. But truly what could be better than finding yourself in the very center of His perfect will for your life.
Are you willing to ask, even if it might mean something big? Are you willing to ask if it means giving up your precious holiday time with family? Are you willing to go? What if it looks like serving at an elementary school in the First Grade room? Okay the high school with the kids in detention? What about serving in the prison with gang members? Will you serve with a cheerful heart if it means one of your children contracts a major illness? When your flat on your back, with nothing left to offer after just receiving your most recent round of Chemotherapy, will you in your heart of hearts acknowledge Him and the position of service He has put you in? Will you find the strength in Him to say "Here am I, send me." It's easier to serve when it means staying home with your child or children to nurture and love them or when it means you go day in and day out to your job but, sometimes serving God isn't neat and clean. Sometimes it looks like Haiti, with violence, abandon children, destruction, and disease at Christmas.

The good news, these are all rhetorical questions. I can't check in to see how you answered. The bad news or well maybe the hard part is I am still challenging you to ask them anyway. Mark asked the tough question, probably for the first time, and I can tell you even though he hasn't left American soil, God has already been transforming his heart and working in and through him. He who created the individual grains of sand, who named and put each and every star in the sky, and who fashioned the very cells in our bodies, He wastes nothing! Are we willing to say to Him as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:8 "Her am I. Send me!"? Will you give yourself over to being a worker in the field, pregnant with its' harvest? (Matthew 9:37,38) It could be life changing for us if we will trust Him with our everything.
He may never send you overseas, or take a child from you or strike you with an incurable disease but if He does are we willing to serve in that circumstance and still give Him the glory?

We would covet your prayers for this team as we head into the weekend before they leave and await the final decision to be made by the team leaders in Alabama. Pray that God would give them clarity of mind as they prayerfully consider the decision at hand. For now the team presses on as if the plans are unchanged. Ultimately, we want them to be in God's perfect will.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jesus, Hope in the Darkness.

What do we do when we find ourselves in what feels like the deepest, dankest hole we have ever existed in only to discover that the walls just grew colder and harder, and the inky blackness somehow became darker and the fowl stench of doubt swirled around, stinging your nose. The darkness seems to be swallowing you alive and you find you are frozen, unable to call out for help, unable to breathe for fear of inhaling the blackness. If you could signal someone and let them know your dire circumstances, would you or would the possibility of ridicule and chastisement hold you captive in silence as you continue to slip into the depths of despair? Is God aware of this sinister dwelling you find yourself in? Does he know the fathoms of the pain, fear, and doubt you are fighting to survive through? Why has he abandon you to wade through this muck and meir without hope? Or has he?
It was to a young unwed mom, in a smelly vile hospital room, that we wouldn't even consider, that He chose to not only be there for her but to Be there for all of us. He came into our world to be hunted, persecuted, spat upon and mocked so that we could have the joy of our salvation made known to us. He came so that we may have life and life more abundantly, He died that we might live, and He rose leaving the Holy Spirit as a gift to journey with us each day on an intimate level that we couldn't have know before. He gives us friends to remind us what we already know, to whisper His words and comforts into our hearts that we may be encouraged. He allows them to bring His words of scripture back to our hearts as a healing balm when we haven't the strength to recall them ourselves and in His perfect timing, He moves us forward to uphold others.

It is one of those times when we are called upon to encourage and fight for a precious sister in Christ. Stephanie - the dear young mother of three that we have been praying for, desperately needs us to lift her up right now! She is feeling the weight of bitterness and despairing creeping in upon her. She has 4 weeks left of her second round of chemo and then radiation begins again. Her Thanksgiving felt empty and void of anything warranting thanksgiving. She is stuck in the pit, drowning in sorrow and fear, and feeling quite abandon by her God. Join with me in praying this enemy of darkness would be vanquished in Jesus name, and that the God of Light in the darkness would shine upon her face. God we ask that you would meet Stephanie in this cavern where she needs you most. Let your perfect peace wash over her like a warm summer wind. Friends, would you please stop now before you even read on and hold Stephanie up before the one who breathes life. Cry out to our Father on her behalf, that He may hear the cries of gathered saints and move swiftly to her aid.

Mark - He has been sick this past week. A bad cough and cold are keeping him down. Anyone who knows Mark, knows this is rare. He usually just plows through. He continues the search for work along with countless others. We are feeling as though God is holding off until after the trip to Haiti. We are trusting him each week for provision and he has been faithful. I would ask for your prayers for Mark's health as he prepares for this trip and I believe life changing experience. God would you bring rest and health to Mark's body. Give him strength now so his body will by strong and able when he goes to another country plagued with sickness.

Myself - I visited the doctor this week with some stomach and side pains. As it turns out, it looks like I may have ulcers and something else going on. Nothing he was overly alarmed about but bothersome and painful nonetheless. I ask for your prayers that God would reach down his hand of healing and touch my body. I desire to be strong for my family while Mark is preparing and away. I want to be able to take care of my kids and our home as well as others who need it.

Another dear one has had a miss-carriage. She loves the Lord and is pressing in but it is still painful to loose a life you already loved. God we pray you would fill this void in her heart with your love and compassion. Bring healing to the hurting family as well Lord.

Pray for Deb, Lisel, Dustin, Shon, Peter, and Mark as they prepare to fly down to Haiti to follow the leading of their heavenly father and bring hope and light to a dark and hurting people. Lord keep them all healthy and strong and give them protection, purpose and direction while they are away. Be with all the families that stay home. Cause us to remember to pray for both this hurting and lost country and it's people as we pray for our loved ones.


Kristy had a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. He came into this world last week, November 26 around 7 am. What a precious addition to this sweet family. I pray God would bless you all as you begin a whole new chapter of life with this little guy.

Theresa's baby boy Lukas is doing so much better now, eating, gaining, and getting cuter all the time. Pray for them as her husband has taken an additional job for a short time. This leaves her home alone with two small guys. Lord give her strength for each day, one day at a time. Also Lord, give them specific direction with regards to their house and decisions to make. Make the path abundantly clear and allow the choice to bring a wave of peace.

We are praising God for specifically answering prayer! Mark will be without any unemployment for the two weeks he is in Haiti and upon realizing this we began to pray. Four weeks before the need, God allowed provision in an unexpected way. Thank you for listening to God's voice in this and may He bless you abundantly more than you could even imagine. I pray your barns would overflow with blessings as you trust in the Lord.

Stephanie, this one is for you!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.