Friday, November 30, 2012

Important Dates

Highlights:
-God has provided commitments for our full financial partnership needs!
-December 28th is our departure date for language school in Brazil.
-You are invited to a special night of commissioning, December 16, 6 pm at Rich Fork Baptist Church, Thomasville, NC. 
 
 
Faithful, loving friends,

The past couple of weeks have found us with much for which we are thankful.  We finished up our time with friends and family in North Carolina by celebrating with them our full financial partnership.  This was a truly exciting step in our journey and we were blessed to share it with many of those who started this journey with us many months ago.

We returned to Virginia in time to celebrate Thanksgiving in grand style…well, in “sick style” that is.  All four of us have battled the same fever/cough for going on two weeks now.  (We would ask for your prayers for health.)  David and Nathan are still feeling poorly, but Caleb and Wendi are almost fully recovered.  Caleb was running around the house, cheering for some reason earlier today and we agreed it was easy to see he is feeling MUCH better.

We fully expect to overcome the germs in time for our commissioning on December 16, 6 pm at Rich Fork Baptist Church, Thomasville, NC.   We hope that many of you will be able to attend this special evening of preparation and worship as it is not just about us.  This night of commissioning is for you, our entire team of partners, as God is calling all of us to serve Him by bringing His Word to the Bibleless of Mozambique.  As we have often said, our family is just a small part of a large team of people who love Jesus and want to see His name made famous.

The remainder of December will find us cherishing the gift of celebrating the birth of our Savior with our family and preparing for our departure on December 28th.  Continue to pray for the visa process as we will be sending in all the paper work to begin the process this week.  We are asking God to go before us in the visa process, making it smooth and quick.

We thank you again for all you have done for our family.  Your words of encouragement and acts of kindness are high on our list of thanks this year!

We love you dearly and pray for you often!

Join us in praising God for:

Full financial partnership needs being met.

Reasonable price for plane tickets to Brazil.

Friends and family who love us dearly.

Challenging us to grow in our walks with Him.

Teaching us that this process is all about Him and His glory, not about anything we say or do.

His Word which is truth and life.

He is sovereign and His timing is perfect!
 
 

Join us in praying for:

God to go before us in the visa process and for it to be finished in a timely fashion.

Healthy bodies, minds and souls.


Clear communication with our language school.

God to prepare housing and friendships for us in Brazil.

Us to rest & trust in the sovereignty of God.

Blank pages of Bibles all around the world to be filled.

What is next for us:

Dec. 16, 6 pm
Commissioning Service
Rich Fork Baptist Church
Thomasville, NC

Dec. 28
Departure for language school in Brazil

Near Future:
Complete visa process.

Pack!

Go to language school in Brazil!

Would you like us to share an update with your group?   Let's set something up! Email us today!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Little Post

Seemed like an easy task.  Post something each day about which you are thankful. 30 days of thankfulness during that time of year that turns all of our hearts to thanksgiving.  

Then hits the week when it is hard to be thankful.  Nothing big, nothing bad.  Just the mundane.  Illness. Disappointment. Short tempers.  Sharp words. 

What to post?  Most of life's circumstances were unchanged.  Still much to be thankful for...except my heart just wasn't in it anymore.  I didn't want to be thankful.  No big deal, right?  Who's going to miss one little post about being thankful? 

Your unthankfulness robs Me of the glory due Me.  

A reminder from the Spirit of God that this was about far more than a little post.  The attitude that I had fostered and allowed to grow in my heart was flat out ungratefulness.  Wrapped up in the self-pity and selfish desires, I could not see beyond myself to all that He continued to do. 

Reading in Romans 1 that day, full of my own self-righteousness, I couldn't help but to look down at those who are mentioned that abandon God for their own desires and pleasures. Glad this wasn't about me, I almost missed the part that was...

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him... (v 21).

Your unthankfulness robs Me of the glory due Me.

Unthankfulness tells God that what He is doing is not good enough for you.  It puts you in a higher place than Him as you put yourself in place as His judge.  (Fairly sure me trying to judge the Perfect judge of the Universe is not the best of ideas...)

Thankfulness is far more than a little post or even a certain day or season of the year.  Thankfulness is an attitude of the heart.  It is a heart that looks toward God and falls to its knees, praising Him for all that we are and have, knowing that it is all but a gift of His grace.

It is not my hope that this would inspire you to be more thankful, to carry the thanksgiving spirit through the year and all that.  My desire and the lesson that I am continuing to learn through this all is the magnitude and importance of thankfulness. 

Thankfulness is and should be the foundational response of our heart towards God.  When we are ungrateful or unthankful, we completely miss the mark of how we are to relate to the Holy, Awesome, Might, Perfect Creator of All. 

Unthankfulness is far more than missing one little post-  it is the robbing of God's glory and the honor due His name.  

 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sacrifice of Praise

Sacrifice of praise.  Not two words that I would put together or think have much to do with each other.  But there they were. Together.

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15

Sacrifice. To give up. To surrender. To offer.  Images of loss, pain and hands letting go.

Praise.  To rejoice.  To celebrate.  To give honor due.  Images of joy, adoration, and hands lifted.

When does praise become a sacrifice?  How does acknowledging His name become an offering? 

Praise given in the midst of pain is sacrifice. 
Many that we know celebrated this Thanksgiving with hearts that ache for those who are no longer here.  Many celebrate this season of thanks with those who might not be here for next year's.  On a much smaller scale, we celebrated our Thanksgiving in a subdued manner as we all struggled with illness.  In these circumstances, and in so many more, praise is still given. 

Praise given to Whom it is truly due is sacrifice.
Praise gives honor to where honor is due.  It is so easy to look around in the midst of joy and say, "Look at all the good I have done.  Look at all the good I have accomplished."  Our praise should turn the focus away from ourselves and to the One who purposes and accomplishes it all.  In giving praise to Whom honor is due, we are sacrificing our own pride, our own recognition, our own praise. 

Praise resulting in open hands is sacrifice.
In the midst of praise we have two options: we can cling to that for which we praise, hands tight and unmoving or we can hold to it loosely, hands open, surrendered.  Our praise should be continuous, but not unmovable.  If we seek to hold on to that for which we praise, we will miss out on so much more.

In every circumstance, let us acknowledge Him who is truly worthy with open hands and lives surrendered..for that friends is truly the sacrifice of praise. 






Monday, November 12, 2012

Exciting News!

Today was a day full of exciting news... make sure you read to the end to hear it all...first we were able to send this update:

Highlights:
-We have received the go ahead to purchase plane tickets and begin the visa process for language school in Brazil.
-Recurring monthly financial partnership need is now $150 per month!
-We are spending this week in the Lexington, NC area and would love to see you!
Friends,

What an exciting week we have had!  Yesterday, we were able to travel to NC and spent the morning worshiping at our home church, Rich Fork Baptist.  It was very encouraging to see familiar faces and receive hug after hug after hug.  In the evening we attended a fabulous night of worship and celebration of missions at Centergrove Baptist.  Both events worked to strengthen our spirits and leave smiles on our faces.

We also received news this weekend from our advisors at Wycliffe that we can go ahead with buying tickets and starting the visa process for language school in Brazil!  Please be praying for us as we take this next big step of faith.  Pray that we are able to communicate with the language school about our arrival date.  Our hope is that we would be able to purchase tickets for the end of December (right after Christmas).  Still, we continue to trust that God’s timing is perfect and that He will get us there when He wants us there.

Pray that God goes before us in the visa process and clears the way.  Pray that the last little bit of our recurring monthly financial partnership needs are completed so that we can leave for language school.  God continues to provide abundantly for our needs, adding several new partners this week.  Our current need rests at $150 per month.  If you are interested in being used by God to join as a prayer or financial partner, please email us or visit http://partner.richlysupplied.com.

Thank you friends for loving us so well- for your encouraging notes, words and hugs.  We are blessed by each of you and count you as gifts from God.  May He bless your day with His presence and His favor!

For His glory,
David and Wendi

...THEN JUST A FEW HOURS LATER THIS NEWS...

Faithful friends,

We could not wait to share with you the news that we all have long prayed for and anticipated…

God, in His lavish grace, has richly supplied ALL of our recurring financial partnership needs!  Through you, our friends, we have reached 100% of the necessary funding!

Our hands shake with joy and praise of God as we type that phrase.  We are speechless at your generosity and willingness to give.  Thank you for touching our lives and the lives of countless others as God uses you to bring His Word to the Bibleless of Mozambique!

With His love and admiration,
David and Wendi

Now that is what we call a day of exciting news!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Praises and Prayers (Weekly update)

**Make that $275 per month needed now to complete our financial partnership needs**

Highlights:
  • Only $330 of our monthly financial budget needs remain to be met!
  • We will be in NC Nov. 11-18. We would love to see you if you live in the area!
  • Read on for specific ways to join us in prayer...

Friends and faithful prayer warriors,

As you might know, prayer has been the foundation and center of our calling and mission from the beginning.  We have repeatedly seen God answer specific prayers as it has progressed.  For this week’s update, we wanted to share with you our prayers in hope that you will join along beside us in praying for God’s hand to move in our ministry to the Bibleless of Mozambique.


We praise God:
  • For a week spent with friends in Pennsylvania and northern Virginia.  It was a time of joyful renewal as we shared about what God is doing in our lives as well as learned about what He is doing in theirs.  We praise Him for friendships that have lasted through distance and time and will last throughout eternity!
  • For His provision of 4 new financial partners!  Our current monthly financial need is at $330.  We praise Him for continuing to raise up a partnership team that supports and encourages us beyond belief!  (If you are interested in joining the team as a prayer or financial partner, please email us or visit http://partner.richlysupplied.com today.)
  • For Nathan's fourth birthday coming up on Wednesday! 
  • That we will be in the Thomasville/Lexington, NC area November 11-18.  (Email us if you would like to get together while we are there.)

In addition to praising God, we ask Him:
  • To break down any barriers, physical, emotional or spiritual, that are hindering people from being able to commit to partnership.
  • To go before us in the visa process, smoothing out all hindrances before we even begin.
  • To fully supply our monthly financial budgetary needs in His timing—and that His timing would be before Thanksgiving.
  • To work through His Spirit to help us to stand steadfast as we wait.  Some days are harder than others and we need His power to help us stay focused and trusting in Him.

Thank you for coming alongside us in prayer as we go with confidence before the throne of grace!  Your prayers, encouragement and support are truly priceless to our family!  Please continue to let us know how to pray for you.  We count it an honor to pray for you and are eager to know just how we can pray.

For His glory,
 David and Wendi Richards

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Four" Your Birthday

Your fourth year of life has been the start to a great adventure

You have moved from the house you always knew and gave up most of your toys in the process.

 You have said, "See you later" to many cherished friends...

And made many new friends throughout our travels.
 
In the midst of it all, you have remained the loving, cheerful, laughing boy we love.
 
You are a charmer and are really too cute for your own good.  You are our love-bug, often confirming your love with words and actions.
 
You love your brother fiercely...sometimes too fiercely...  

A hotdog and desert eating machine, you make us laugh often throughout the day.

You are our Natey, our Nathan, our gift from God.

May God continue to grow you in stature and wisdom in favor with Himself and men.  May you live and love for His glory alone.  May He guide you, keep you and cause His face to shine upon you...that His name would be made known in the nations.

Happy fourth birthday Nathan!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Homesick



The tears flowed slowly at first and for a moment I couldn’t even place why exactly I was crying.  David looked at me with a questioning look on his face.  We had just finished our journey back from a wonderful week of travel to see friends and share about our ministry and the tears could be really about anything.  Was it exhaustion?  Was it joy at being able to sleep in our bed?  Did my heart already miss those who mean so much to us?  

Yes. No. Maybe all of the above.  As I mumbled and sought for words to put around my tears, one thought seized my heart,

“I am homesick.”

It may not be a good thing to be homesick before we even leave, but it is a good way to describe where our hearts are these days.  Now do not get us wrong, God has blessed us abundantly with amazing friends and family who have loved us deeply by letting us join as a part of their families as we stay with them.  We have enjoyed the time pouring deeply into these friendships and have been changed for the better by the generosity and hospitality we have received.   

Still, our hearts ache with a longing of home.  

A home that was…we miss having our space as a family.  Wendi misses fixing dinner as the boys play in the backyard.  David misses tinkering in the yard and the garden.  We miss watching the leaves change on the pecan trees and the piles of leaves which they produced that were perfect for jumping into.    

A home that is…our home now is where ever we happen to be.  As Nathan reminds us often we are nomads (and even yes-mads somedays.)  This nomadic life is very much like living on tour…we get to travel all over seeing amazing people and places, but our hearts long to be in one place, settled and secure.

A home that will be…we desire to be home in a place we have not yet even seen- whether that is an apartment in Brazil or a house in Nampula, Mozambique, our hearts are partially already there.  We desire to meet the people God is going to use to grow His kingdom through our lives.  We desire to make new memories and to learn more about who God is through the new experiences we will have.  We long to share with others the glorious truth of His grace, forgiveness and love.  

Our hearts long for home in so many different ways it is difficult to wrap words around the depths of the emotion.  It is as if our longings for things that once were are mixed with an appreciation of what is, as well as eagerness for what is to come.   

And in the depths of these emotions, the Spirit of Truth whispers to our hearts, “This is only the beginning.”  For you see the homesickness which we know now will be multiplied at points while we are in Mozambique, and even more than that, the more we seek God, the more our hearts will ache to be home with Him.  

While the tears have now dried, the emotions still swirl in our hearts…and will continue to do so until that day when we find ourselves truly at home with Him.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Quick Note of Randomness

Ready for cold weather
Ever have those days that seem to fly by and then when you look back, you can't quite remember what all you did?  Yep. That is life this week.  Being "hurricaned" in for a couple of days made this week go very quickly.  We have a couple more days to share with friends in northern Virginia before heading back to Roanoke...(and rumor has it that we might be in the Thomasville/Lexington area in the next couple of weeks as well!)

We haven't had time to download pictures from our visits, so this funny picture of the boys will have to do.  (As you can see, we aren't quite ready for the cold weather, since we got rid of most of our winter clothing items.)

Until things settle back down, below is our latest update on our ministry.  We are happy to report that it is already out dated and that only $372 of our monthly financial partnership needs remain.  God is good!

 Friends,
We had a quick break in our travels and wanted to say "Hi!" and let you know how
God has worked over the last week:

-We truly enjoyed spending the weekend with friends in Pennsylvania and the last few
days "hurricaned" in with friends in northern Virginia.  Although we lost power for
several hours, we thrived with Phase 10 and stove top popcorn.
   
-We will spend the next few days trying to connect with different people here in
northern Virginia before returning to Roanoke, VA on Nov. 4.
   
-God has continued to provide for our team!  We have gained 15 new prayer partners
and 4 new recurring financial partners this week (as well as had current partners increase
their gifts.)  We now need $397 per month to complete our monthly financial partnership needs.
(If you would like to partner in any way, please visit http://partner.richlysupplied.com.
God is so good and we continue to praise Him for His abundant provision as we wait to
see Him finish this good work!

For His glory,
David and Wendi
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