Friday, July 14, 2017

Our First Lasts

Our first lasts have begun...

the last time we will host Bible study in our home...
the last time we will attend playgroup...
the last time we buy the big block of cheese at the store...
the last time we will hug certain people as they are traveling until after we leave...

And as David said to me recently,  "Lasts are not nearly as fun as firsts."

Each last tears a little bit more of our hearts apart as we prepare to say good-bye once again to a place and people we love.  As the lasts have started and things around the house have begun to filter out into the lives of others,  I could not help but to remember one of our newsletters sent out many years ago as we experienced another last...
"It was time. The cars were packed. The rooms empty. We walked around the yard reminiscing about the special times we had there. The boys slid down the slide one last time. We entered the house, tears now streaming down each of our faces.
Wendi’s voice cracked as she tried to tell of some of her favorite memories in each room. “I can remember sitting in a chair in that corner holding you and rocking you as a baby, Caleb. Nathan, when you were learning to walk, you used to push your toy up and down this hall. Up and down. Up and down.”
We sat in the living room, holding hands and prayed together over our going and the new family’s coming. Tears continued to flow, but at the same time, joy entered in with the whisper of a phrase, “For the joy set before you.”
Leaving our home this past month was a time consuming and emotion-laden event. At times, it hurt so much that it was hard to breath. Much of the time, we pushed through out of sheer obedience, knowing that God’s power and your faithful prayers were all that saw us through. But why? Why go through the heartache, the struggle and the hardship of it all?
For the joy set before us.
For the joy of obeying God and knowing Him more deeply set before us; for the joy of being used by Him for the exact purposes for which we created us. For the joy of bringing His word to those who have never heard it in a way that truly speaks to their heart; for the joy of knowing you and forming deeper friendships and relationships with each of you. For the joy of seeing lives, including our own, transformed by the power of the Living God.
Anyone’s circumstances might be difficult beyond imagination at any given moment, but we press through for the joy set before us. We press through because Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2) We press through to follow His example and because you and I were the very joy which was set before Him on the cross. We are the motivation for His pressing through.
So as we press through, we seek to get closer and closer to the joy set before us..."

Once again we find ourselves pressing onward toward the joy set before us.  Not necessarily the joys of seeing family, eating Chick Fil A and understanding the language spoken around us.  While these joys are real and we look forward to them greatly, we press forward into the joy of knowing that God is not finished with us yet.  While much of the future is unknown to us, we press onward into the joy that God is good and His plan for our future is good.

The first lasts have begun and we press through, seeking ever closer and closer to the joy set before us.
 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Safari Adventure

So let's just say you are driving in rural Africa and somehow lose the map you are following?  What might you get?

Well, if you are anything like us, a true adventure!  Grass taller than your car, logs to hack through, dry riverbeds, deep ravines, acacia thorns and a few animal sightings were all part of our adventure as we made our way to safari.  Our 60 km drive through the bush was nerve wracking, a bit crazy and something we would never suggest to anyone!


Still, through the grace of God, a lot of prayer and David's steady hand on the car, we made it safely through our unplanned adventure to the safari lodge without any major issues. At the lodge, we were met by the first of many elephants we would see on our trip.


The next day, we entered Ruaha National Park.  Our day was full of sightings of lion, elephants, hippos, giraffes, impala and other African wild life. 












Not to mention, these cute kids...






God's creation never ceases to amaze and we are truly thankful for the memories made on safari...even the memories from our crazy adventure to get there!  
(Thankfully, we were able to recover the map and had a less adventure filled return trip.)


Monday, May 15, 2017

Three months and Catching up

Three months? How could three months pass so quickly and not a blog post in sight?

Easter came and went...






 The rains have stopped for the most part and while there are fewer puddles to splash in...




Hikes to the creek have resumed...







Three months and no blog post, but life has continued in its beautiful fullness.  Hopefully I will do a better job of keeping up with things here over the next three months!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Five Thousand Kilometers

Five thousand kilometers driven on our recent trip to South Africa. (3,100 miles for you non-metric speaking folks.)

Five thousand kilometers included...

A visit through some of South Africa's diamond mining history...


Including the largest hand dug hole on the planet...


The views of the iconic Table Mountain...




Visits with lions, cheetahs and penguins (oh my!)...








Not to mention swimming with the fishes...






Two oceans (and a faceful of sand) in one day...







Catching up with forever friends and seeing their new home...


Five thousand kilometers of wonderful memories, yummy food, and rest for our spirits...


Five thousand kilometers and still smiling in the end...


(Surely there is a smile behind the pacifier...)
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