29 September 2016

birthday boy

Today is Matty's birthday, and we had such a nice day at work, a yummy dinner thanks to a steak randomly found in downtown Cap-Haitien, and a fun pumpkin pie party with friends.
His gift was a poster of a piece of artwork that he's been wanting for several years...and of course, after ordering it and getting it to Florida, and then being delivered to Cap-Haitien, it was stolen before it made it to Emmaus. Ah, se la vie.   Dirty is why we are here.

SO, I felt badly that there would be no gifts this year...but Phil made up for it by hand making him this lovely keepsake, a double framed photo box of both he and Matt at 13 years old, entitled "Besties."  We were all laughing so hard.   
Artwork all the same :)

Very very thankful for Matt in our lives.  We've been through a very many much these years of pumpkin pie together, and I am so thankful for Christ in Matt, and Matt for us!
Happy Birthday, Matty!

27 September 2016

a random word : Don't. Give. Up.

I don't know who this is for, but the Lord has been pressing onto my heart again and again these last few days that we are quitting far too quickly...that He has much to do through His people if we would only persevere.

Don't know how rough the going is right now, or how high the walls feel, or how stupid.  Don't know how difficult the road or how stretching the journey or how many failures you've felt.

But we mustn't quit.

We cannot quit seeking righteous even if all around us has settled.  We cannot quit trying reconciliation, even if all around us has chosen sides.  We cannot quit praying redemption for that which feels unredeemable.  We cannot quit praying for those who seem eternally lost, cannot quit loving those who seem eternally impossible.

His love.  His love is never-quitting, never-stopping, never-giving-up, unbreaking always and forever love.

And if we are His people, His church, His hands, His light...we've gotta be, too.

Have we prayed something for a long time?  'Till death do us part, don't give up.
Have we suffered something for many weary days?  Thorn in our flesh, His power perfected in weakness, don't give up.
Have we battled it longer than not?  Have we desired it longer than we can remember?  Have we forgiven it seventy times seven and blew it just as many times?

Don't stop praying.  Don't become bitter.  Don't let kindness leave you.  Don't grow weary of doing good.  Don't fade. Don't shrink back.  Do. Not. Stop.

Now is the time, the unglamorous time, to persevere...for His glory.

He's got a plan.  He has NOT given up.  Let's trust Him.


We are not of those who shrink back to destruction,
but of those who have faith 
to the persevering of the soul.
Hebrews 10:39

25 September 2016

Aldy

Aldy and I have been a lot of places together the past four years.  

Anytime I've said, "Is anybody willing to go..." Aldy and Moliere have said, "Yes."
We've walked narrow paths.
We've planned services.
We've climbed mountains.
We've even forded rivers.  

But the one place we hadn't gone was home.

Aldy lives at Emmaus all the time, because his home is all the way on the border of the Dominican, literally, 30 seconds from the border.

So on top of going on lots of ministry trips together, we've also gotten to spend more time with Aldy than other students, and have been quick to love all the humility and grace, kindness and abandonment of his character.
And now he's fourth year, and we've still never been, so today we got up at 6 and went...and went...and went.  And man, I am so glad.
This is Aldy's home church, and this is his home:
All of his family lives in homes surrounding this same yard, so we also got to meet his fiancé, his sister, his aunt, his great aunt, his cousins...

Best, we got to worship with all of them this morning, as Aldy's family, with his family!



The service normally BEGINS at 6, but they pushed it off two hours for us, so that we didn't have to leave the campus at 4 am.  thank you.
However, we learned that they have the service at 6 am because of the h-e-a-t.
To make the church more beautiful, a large plastic tarp hands low as the ceiling, to cover all the holes in the roofing above.  With a plastic top and metal walls, I kept thinking this made the room a bit like a sauna, but Phil nailed it afterwards by describing it as going to church in a plastic bag.  on the sun.

The heat sure didn't slow Matt down.
He was drenched, but preached a sermon I've never heard him preach before, outlining the true and powerful and life-changing meaning of the Gospel.
It was awesome to truly see the Holy Spirit working powerfully through him to touch peoples hearts, including my own, and I was blessed, to, to have Aldy share at the end how uniquely the message resonated with several things God has been putting on his heart.
Afterwards, several people from the church had juice and a chicken and fried plantain ready on a festive tablecloth, and eating together was special, too.
Side note : this is the first time (EVER) that Ethan has held Nora.  He has a weird teenage boy fear of babies.  She has been trained very seriously that Ethan is a no-no...hence the very uncertain face here...I love it!

He didn't even die.
Afterwards, we got to visit the homes of several family members, as well as the home of some dear friends of his who recently lost their mama.  Ranging in age of 22-16, her four children now live on their own, and Aldy has had me praying for them for a while.  Though he has shared the Gospel with this family countless times, they continue to say that there are certain things they just aren't ready to give up to follow Jesus.  

However, their mother died unexpectedly, after years of saying that she would follow Jesus one day, later...which has the kids mourning and searching.  I'm so thankful for Aldy and his family in their lives, loving them and living Christ on a daily basis, and I was also blessed to pray together for them.  

As I was leaving, I asked the daughter how old she was.  19.  I grabbed her hand and unexpectedly said, "My mom died when I was 19, too.  You know what?  Until that point, you always kind of think that it's your mom providing for you, your mom protecting you, your mom caring for you and leading you and giving you everything that you need.  And it's easy to just follow your mom and her path.

"But then you lose them, and you realize that it was actually Christ all along, you realize that you can't follow them anymore. You realize that now you have to decide for yourself, who you will follow, who will sustain you, who will bring you comfort, who will provide, who now has a plan for your life.

"You think you're alone now, but He's here waiting, and we're praying."

Wasn't until we were on the way home that I realized how quick He is to use every single element of our lives and days and victories and struggles.  Nothing is wasted.  If we will give 
God our heartbreaks and burdens and chains, He will both bring us freedom, and will use them for His glory.

THAT'S powerful, and something only He can do.

And then my crew passed out the whole way home :)
So thankful for His great grace that has brought Aldy into our lives, and for His grace that made today possible!

23 September 2016

the week

We made it!!!  If I hold onto Jesus for dear life, we are living out some beautiful poured out days...but man, by the end of the week this chick is beat!  I'm sure I've mentioned on here that early mornings are NOT my happy place, but this is just a stage in life of early mornings to get it all in there!
Welcome, residential courses!  

SEVENTEEN different classes were taught this week, with some great teachers, lots of wonderful students, and some exciting, transforming content!

This is my deer-in-the-headlights English one class.  Most of them blink blankly to the question, "How are you?" so we have our work cut out for us!  Fluent or not, I was really liking the spirit of encouragement, humility and desire to learn of this first year class of 14!
Today Bill preached in chapel, so Julie and the kids joined us, too.  I know I haven't talked much about the Edlers on here, but it is so good to have them living next door, and to have Bill teaching three of those 17 courses!
Mixed into the week was visitors from Wales/England, Taco Tuesday, prayer meeting (in which we are going through studies of cults this year, and why we believe what we believe as Christ-followers...and why that is so important!) homeschool, French homework, workouts (if it were not for Emily inspiring me to sweat, like, more than usual every day, I would be the weakest chick on planet earth...now I'm probably like the 10th weakest), preparing for classes, carpooling, skyping with our dear NorthRidge prayer team and today with my sister and nieces, lots and lots of cooking and baking, and WHEW, even a game night.

My grandma Gladys sent the girls each a new dress this week, and all three of them lost it (our girls, living in a no-target, no-WalMart, no-grocery store world, are VERY very easy to excite when it comes to clothes!)  My grandma has awesome taste, and even Nora was just delirious over having a cute new dress :)
Love.

You have no idea how much strength and encouragement we gain from your prayers and emails and help.  THANK YOU.

Tomorrow is our day of rest this weekend, and Sunday, our day of adventure...

20 September 2016

family

So thankful to have had some wonderful visiting professors here with us these past two weeks!!




We really do have some incredibly special staff and students!!!
And some girls finally on the mend and loving on each other and trying to get back into the school swing!
You can dress her up, but man is this chick drawn to dirt!

Thankful for all the family in our lives!