A Weakling and a Road Trip

It’s always fun to feel like you’re doing a great job serving the Lord… you’re using your gifts, acting in obedience, and best of all, seeing great results. It’s nice to know you’re doing the right thing and something meaningful is coming from your efforts. And then there are those… other times. Those “great opportunities” that are way outside of your comfort zone, when you fumble through, make more than your fair share of mistakes, and you look back with the only shred of pride being in the fact that you even survived.

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Hosanna has learned her first Chinese word- “lai” which means “come”

As it happens, I was privileged to have one of those such experiences just last week…

 

Josh and I had the opportunity to share about our ministry at the “mother church” of the church plant we are currently a part of. On the Friday two days before we were to share, I had to have a minor surgery that required anesthesia. I was told that most people felt back to normal within a few days, and by Monday I would be able to resume usual activities. Being young, healthy, and determined, I assumed I could be “back to normal” by Sunday, and would be totally prepared to speak in front of the church. Besides, I’d had anesthesia when my wisdom teeth were removed and that went just fine!

As it turns out, anesthesia does not always produce the same post-surgery reaction.

In the wee hours of that Sunday morning I was up with a fever, trying to decide how many times you have to throw up before a call to your sleeping doctor is permissible. Josh drove out around 3:45am to find some more medicine, and as you can imagine, we were both feeling a little less than perky when our alarms went off and we rolled out of bed to face the day. Now, a smarter person would probably have stayed in bed and sent their capable husband off to do the vision-sharing himself, but I had no such intention. Dizzy with dehydration and lack of sleep (but no longer nauseated!) we set out.

Thankfully, God had gone before us, and we were not preaching the entire sermon, but were doing a short Q&A instead. We walked up on stage as everyone was doing the shake-hands-with-your-neighbor portion of the service, and I whispered to Josh, “I feel like I’m floating out of my body!” The pain meds I had been prescribed had taken the edge off my headache and were now making me feel unpleasantly floaty. Though I’d been sipping Gatorade all morning, my mouth was parched from the dehydration and I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to move my tongue. In spite of everything, I felt the presence of God. The Lord’s message to Paul 2 Corinthians 12:9 circled in my thoughts: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

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Our friend Kerry praying over us at First Alliance

And you know what? It was.

As we stood by our little booth after the service, more and more individuals kept coming up to encourage us and ask how they could get more involved with what God is doing. We have NEVER had such a huge response from a church… and we had spoken at that church before! Within a week, God inspired new financial partners to provide nearly 1/10 of our total monthly financial need. We give praise to our Father, whose power is made perfect in our weakness!

This encounter with God reminded me that work is the Lord’s. Yes, Josh and I care deeply for the families and children we will serve, and we are honored that God has asked us to work alongside Him in Taiwan. But no matter how much passion and motivation and support we have, we are nothing without the Lord. But with Him? Anything is possible.

God has continued to provide opportunities for us to share His vision for our work. We will be driving to Texas this Friday (3/31) and making several stops along the way there and back. Tell us if you’re on our route and we would love to get together with you while we’re on the road. Also, we’re looking for friends to stay with in Waco, TX on Saturday night (4/1), so if you or a friend have a spare room you’d like to share, let us know.

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Wilmore to Texas

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Texas to Wilmore

We are down to the final stretch– 64 days until our goal departure date of May 31! If the Lord has led you to be a committed financial partner with His work through us, now is the time. It takes time for One Mission Society to process financial gifts, finalize our exit paperwork, and approve us for departure, so we must be fully funded before the end of May in order to leave by May 31.

Thank you for your continued prayers! To lift up our most current needs to our Father, check out our Partner with Us page.

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Peace be with you!

It’s Urgent!

It’s official- we’re commissioned! For three weeks, Josh, Hosanna, and I were in Greenwood, Indiana at our final training with One Mission Society. Initially, Josh and I weren’t too excited… three weeks in a classroom? No thanks! However, we were happily surprised by how impactful many of the sessions were.

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CROSS Trainers – Jan/Feb 2017

The best part of training was getting to know our fellow trainees. It felt like we were saying goodbye to a part of our family by the time our training came to an end. Coming from 5 ations, our group of missionaries will go out to serve in 8 different countries. So to our new family “additions”: thank you for inspiring us with your love for the Lord and obedience to Him!

I walked away from training with a renewed sense of the urgency of the gospel. It’s easy to walk around here in the States, seeing people who more or less look, speak, and act like I do- we eat the same foods, know the same idioms, and somewhere along the way I began to assume that each person I saw had the same opportunity to know God that I did. I mean, yes, I know there are lots of Americans out there who aren’t believers… but I assumed that was because they had heard the gospel and rejected it.

We had a chance to go to the mall in Greenwood and pray for those we encountered. As we strolled among the stores and middle-of-the-walkway vendors, I started seeing people in a new way. Instead of assuming they knew God, I started wondering if they’d had a chance to really know him, to understand His love for them. And if not- who was going to tell them? The Lord led me to pray with a Ukrainian man who hadn’t the slightest clue what I meant when I asked if I could pray for him (evidenced first by his exclamation that if I bought his hair products all my prayers would be answered, swiftly followed by his suggestion that I pray to his mother because she lived in the Holy City of Jerusalem).

My eyes were opened and I can’t go back… inch by inch, my passivity is being replaced by our Father’s passion. And as the normalcy of kingdom urgency becomes more at home in my heart, I find myself wondering how my care for the lost could have been so small, so distant in nature. When my world is revolving around me, my problems, my preferences, I’m so thankful for a God who will jolt me back to reality, to give me new focus on his holiness and glory. For a God who isn’t content to leave a single soul without an invitation into His presence.

God is faithful, and we trust that He will continue to raise up partners so we can carry out His work. We have a great praise that we are celebrating this month! God has opened the doors for us to speak at several new churches and small groups in the coming weeks. This is vital for us to continue finding new ministry partners to pray and give!

Here’s our current travel schedule:

3/25-26                               Pearisburg, VA

3/30(ish)-4/10                  Dallas, TX, San Antonio, TX (possibly Jackson, MS & Gonzales, LA)

4/14-4/19                            Canton, GA (looking for weekday meetings)

We are looking for families, groups, and churches to speak with on the way to and from Texas. This is critical because we cannot make the trip without at least one more meeting scheduled! If you are in KY, GA, or a neighboring state and have friends or a small group that would be interested in our ministry in Taiwan, please let us know! You are our most important asset in making new connections.

If God is willing, we will leave in late May. My sister Laura flies to Taiwan May 31 for a month volunteering at one of our partner orphanages, and we would love to fly out with her! Please pray for God’s continued blessing over our travels and speaking engagements, and especially our fundraising efforts.

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Thank you for your love and support!