Tag Archives: Spiritual Vitality

Photo Friday: September 25

The kids are on a two-week break from school. We have been enjoying a different pace, with a bit more time together and freedom to our schedule.

IMG_1174Sophia was invited to a wacky birthday party, which concluded with a fashion show. I’d say she definitely got into the spirit of things!

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We love our market! We are thankful that even in the midst of drought, for now, we have fruits and vegetables.

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The little kids have been enjoying the movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” Talia and Isaiah enjoyed dancing along!

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Thankful beyond words for these ladies and other sweet friendships here!

Thankful beyond words for these ladies and other sweet friendships here!

This weekend I (Melissa) was able to attend a women’s conference. The “She Is…” team came in from Australia to lead it for our community. It was a tremendous blessing, and a great time to strengthen friendships and hear from the Lord. I appreciate your prayers as I continue to process and seek Him in the lessons He taught me during this sweet time with Him.

2014: A Year of Changes, Challenges, and Answered Prayer!

With the new year here, we’ve been reflecting on all that has happened in our family and our Wycliffe ministry over 2014. It’s amazing seeing how the Lord has worked!

January 2014:

We got rid of most of our “stuff,” loaded the rest up to put in a storage unit, and moved out of our home of three years. Then we packed up our van and headed to JAARS in Waxhaw, NC, for our Intercultural Communications Course.

February 2014:

Our time was consumed with the Intercultural Communications Course, where we were stretched, challenged, and prepared for life in a cross-cultural environment. We also got to know many people headed to PNG too, and this has continued to be a source of blessing to us!

During this time, the Lord led me to Isaiah 55, and reassured me with these words,

“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD;
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 55:12-13

March 2014:

We returned to Tupelo, MS, to finish preparations for Papua New Guinea and continue building our partnership team. We were at about 60% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget, and we were learning (slowly) to walk by faith, not by sight as we waited for 100%. God gave us immediate opportunities to walk out some of what we learned at our Intercultural Communications Course.

April 2014:

Tupelo, MS, was hit by a tornado, and our neighborhood was one of the hardest hit. We praised the Lord for sparing our lives. home and vehicle, and grieved with our neighbors for all that they had lost. We were incredibly grateful for every person on our prayer team!

May 2014:

We celebrated Talia’s first birthday and went to the mountains with my family. We spent the month in prayer, alongside many of you. We prayed over our children, our marriage, our Wycliffe ministry, those that would eventually join our partnership team, and Papua New Guinea. The Lord brought us to 75% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget during this month. We also accepted the PNG branch’s invitation to come straight to Ukarumpa once we reached 100%.

June 2014:

We continued to prepare for Papua New Guinea and ask God to complete our partnership team. We continued to share with people about the work of Bible translation and the needs of Bibleless people groups.

July 2014:

God brought us to 80% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget! We also traveled back to Waxhaw, NC, to drop off our household goods shipment. This shipment would later be transported by sea to PNG, and then on to Ukarumpa.

August 2014:

We were so close to 100% that we started praying earnestly for the Lord to provide it by August 15th. God moved in amazing ways, and by August 12th we were at 100% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget! The full weight of leaving our home, friends, and family started to hit us, even as we rejoiced at the Lord’s provision. We packed up a few more boxes to send to PNG, a few boxes to store with family in the States, and got rid of everything else! We said good-bye to our church family during our official commissioning service, and shed lots of tears.

September 2014:

We spent a few days with each of our families, and then on September 9th, we boarded the first of 6 flights on our journey to PNG! We arrived in Ukarumpa on September 12th, jetlagged, worn out, but overjoyed to be here.

October 2014:

Makaylah, Sophia, and Isaiah began attending Ukarumpa International School and we all began to settle into our roles here.

November 2014:

David began Tok Pisin lessons and we celebrated our first Ukarumpa Thanksgiving!

December 2014:

We attended the Melanesian Institute mentioned in our newsletter. We had a wonderful first Christmas in Ukarumpa and enjoyed some much needed family time.

Final thoughts:

It’s really hard to put into words just how difficult 2014 was. We wrestled with our faith in God’s provision. We waited and waited. And waited some more. Reading back through my journal this week I cried. I cried remembering how hard it was, and seeing how incredibly good God is, and how He did do everything He promised.

My journal is full of verses and quotes like these –

“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

Oh Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.”
Psalm 130:5-7

“I will thank You forever,
because You have done it.
I will wait for Your name, for it is good,
in the presence of the godly.”
Psalm 52:9

“I have thrown myself blindly into His almighty hands.” – George Whitfield

If you are reading this today, I hope you are encouraged to remember that even when it feels the most hopeless, we can hope in the Lord. We can throw ourselves blindly into His hands, because He is trustworthy.

As we enter 2015, we pray the Lord will continue to teach us to cling to Him and that we will remember all that He did to bring us here.

“In all the setbacks of our lives as believers, God is plotting for our joy.” – John Piper

“You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.”
Psalm 40:5

Quietness, in a Social Media age

When people first meet me, they might think I’m quiet. But anyone who knows me well knows that silence is not my strong point! I am an auditory processor…. meaning, I like to talk through things out loud, with someone else, in order to process them. This often translates to social media as well. I ran a blog with my sister-in-law for two years, and I loved processing things through blog posts. I often share from my Bible reading or just general thoughts on twitter and facebook.

Sunday, God prompted me to spend several days off of social media. He brought me to Isaiah 30:15 (emphasis mine),

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling.

Returning. Rest. Quietness. Trust. This week, God has shown me how quickly I fill my mind with the distraction of social media, rather than returning to His Word. He’s shown me how I struggle to quietly pour out my soul to Him, rather than to others. Honestly, social media can give such an illusion of community and closeness, but I will run there instead of my Lord and Savior, who knows me more intimately than anyone else. I don’t ever want the Lord to say to me, “I had all of Myself for you – but you were unwilling.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe and affirm that the Lord built us for relationships and community. I have exchanged some text messages and e-mails with a few dear ladies close to me during this week. But true, intentional relationships are different than “sharing” with 400 of our closest friends, aren’t they? If anything, social media can rob me of true community, because I can believe I’m experiencing community there, and am less likely to reach out personally.

I am not done with social media. I believe it has a place, and like many things, can either edify or tear down, depending on how it is used. God used these last few days to re-adjust my priorities though, and that was sorely needed.

Would we be strengthened to do what is required of us and to bear what is laid upon us? It must be in quietness and confidence; we must keep our spirits calm and sedate by a continual dependence upon God, and his power and goodness; we must retire into ourselves with a holy quietness, suppressing all turbulent and tumultuous passions, and keeping the peace in our minds. And we must rely upon God with a holy confidence that he can do what he will and will do what is best for his people. And this will be our strength; it will inspire us with such a holy fortitude as will carry us with ease and courage through all the difficulties we may meet with. – Matthew Henry

May He Grant: May 28th

May 28: Ask God to give us spirits of humility, and that we would be open to correction and sensitive to any needed areas of growth as we prepare for cross-cultural service.

Something we learned clearly at ICC is that no one is immune to failing. Missionaries are not perfect. Whether you’ve served 3 days or 20 years, pride can lead you down a dangerous path.

As we continue to draw closer to our departure date for Papua New Guinea, pray that God would keep us humble, and surround us with people who are willing to speak truth into our lives so we can grow in our service to Christ and Papua New Guinea.

 

 

May He Grant: May 6th

May 6: Pray that Melissa would have a strong, vibrant walk with God. Ask that she would be faithful to times in the Word, prayer, and fasting.

It’s Day 6 of our month of prayer focus, May He Grant. You can read more about our heart for this month, and print out a complete guide for the month here.

Pray that Melissa a mom of 5 can have a strong a vibrant walk with God. Sometimes getting through the day and accomplishing everything on her to do list can be daunting. In Mark chapter 10  Jesus is talking to his disciples about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. The disciples asked astonished, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus answers, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

Even rich with 5 kids, God can make all things possible. Please pray that Melissa will have have insight into Scripture. That she will have the time to accomplish her studying, praying, and fasting.

Cornerstone

We sang this at church this morning, and it goes so much with what God has been teaching me lately. Christ. Alone.

Cornerstone, by Hillsong

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus name

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus name

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

When Darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all
He is Lord
Lord of all

Christ alone
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless stand before the throne.