Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oh, The Places We'll Go

I had the opportunity to speak at my high school graduation ceremony (just before everyone ran up to the high school gym screaming because of an impending lightning cloud...but that's a whole other story...) Because I had journeyed from kindergarten through adolescence with so many of my classmates, I chose childhood as my theme. I highlighted ideas from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and then I read from the book Oh, the Places You'll Go! for a portion of my speech. Little did I know the adventure that God would lead me on and the places I would go!

Thinking about that book takes on new significance for me now. We have gone to many special places since we began our journey to Austria, places that have been exciting, challenging, invigorating and exhausting. In November of 2010, we flew to WorldVenture for the first time and were appointed as missionaries. The WorldVenture headquarters became a special place for us. One year ago this week, Nate and I flew to Austria for our vision trip, and God confirmed in our hearts where He was leading us. Last July, we gave up our apartment and began our nomadic lifestyle, and Oh, the Places We've Been since then! We've visited Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC, Colorado, Vermont, Massachusetts, and so many places in between. And next month, our journey continues.

We are keeping two running totals for our nomadic journey that are significant - the miles we've driven and the beds we've slept in since July 2011. As each number grows, we marvel at the Places we've been and the journey God has us on. Here's our total as of now:

Miles on the Car: 24,521
Beds Slept in: 33

For us, these numbers represent not only the sheer craziness of our lifestyle right now, but also God's provision for us. God has provided places to stay, generous hospitality, the funds for travel expenses, the endurance through challenging times, and His constancy as we lack stability. It is all by His grace that we have endured and will continue to endure as we approach a season of travel in the next few months. Praise God!

If you're curious about our travel schedule, click here for a summary.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Redeeming Broken Vows

Last weekend, Bethany and I celebrated the wonderful wedding of good friends. The weekend was great for me for several reasons. I took many deep breaths of relational fresh air with friends I don't see much, but people that are honest, loving and wonderful to be around. I also got to meet or reconnect with people I only knew a little and have some very intentional conversations with them. Finally, it was also a time to celebrate how God works to bring two people together, in love with one another and with a love based on Him. It was a beautiful week that I will remember for a very long time.

Throughout the whole week, I remembered details from our wedding (three years ago next month). I was reminded of small things that I had forgotten and emotions I had on that momentous day.

One highlight of last week for me was the wedding ceremony itself. It was longer than most ceremonies I have been a part of, but it was very intentional, with responsive readings and well thought out music selections. Thoughtfulness trumped boredom as we all marveled at the beauty of our Creator and the gifts that He gives us.

A memory from our wedding almost 3 years ago
The moment that grabbed me the most was the sharing of the wedding vows. It brought back a flood of emotions and memories for what it felt like to say our vows. I remember how much I believed and felt the things that I was saying on our wedding day. I almost think it is naive how much I hoped I would fulfill those vows.  As I heard my friends commit to one another, a feeling of remorse and repentance flowed over me.  I thought back to all the small ways over the last three years that I had broken my wedding vows to Bethany. Whether it was by not putting her first or not gracefully leading our relationship, there were so many ways that I had failed her. 

As these thoughts and emotions flowed over me, I also thought of the grace that she has extended to me over these last three years. In the face of that remorse and repentance, the thought of that grace was sweeter than ever. It gave me a marvelous picture of God's grace towards me.

I am truly grateful that we got to celebrate the wedding of our great friends, and I am also grateful to be married to such a wonderful woman.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Celebrating our third milestone!

It's that time again...
           we've hit another milestone!

Just yesterday, we received verbal commitments of support that have brought us to 75%!

As we reflect back on the journey thus far, it is truly incredible how God has provided and carried us to this point, 3/4 of the way to our total monthly support goal. When we first saw the numbers a year ago and realized the task ahead, it was difficult to imagine how God would get us there. But sure enough, He is faithful and He is working. There are days when we doubt and struggle, when we forget that God is in control and worry about where the funds will come from. There are days when we think, "Are we going to run out of contacts? How will this be possible?" But God is patience and gracious to us, and He reminds us who He is through His encouragement and provision. We are so blessed and humbled.

Thank you to so, so many of you who have helped us get there, whether that has been through financial commitments, prayer, or practical provision in our lives. We have a great team surrounding us, and God is using you to be his tangible presence and provision in our ministry. THANK YOU!

Photo credit: cohdra from