Her giggles never fail to brighten my days and bring a smile to my face. :)
Monday, December 9, 2013
This past year since furlough has been a trying and exhausting year.
Over and over again, I found myself telling God that I needed a break. I needed fellowship.
Over and over I found myself brought to a place where I was physically so weak that all I could do was lay down on the bathroom floor and cry, begging God for just some relief from my exhaustion.
At the moment, my mind is drawing a blank as to why it was so physically and spiritually draining for me.
It just felt like we had one thing after another happen.
I knew and know that this is where God wants us, but still I struggled with wanting to buy a ticket and fly back to America...even if it was just for a visit.
Would it have helped?
Probably not, but there is always this fantasy that "everything is better when OFF the mission field".
I thought I was surrendered.
Yet I've come to realize, especially over the course of this past year, how truly selfish I am.
As our church has grown, I have been selfish of my husband's time and attention.
As our family has grown, I have been selfish of my own time.
On the outside, oh yeah. I was surrendered.
I live in a small home.
Away from my family.
You know the list...
But I wasn't even willing to surrender a light bulb.
Oh, it wasn't your ordinary light bulb.
No. This one is 'cool'.
You just pull the plug and there's light.
I liked this little light for doing my devotions and it is great when we lose electricity.
Well, a couple in our church lost electricity a few weeks ago and asked to borrow it.
My first reaction was, "NOOOO!!!" They don't NEED it. They just want it because it's neat.
They have matches and flashlights. This isn't practical anyways because the batteries run out so quickly.
The Lord convicted me of my selfishness and I knew it wasn't just for them, but I wasn't willing to surrender it to HIM. He has blessed me with SO much, and yet I wasn't willing to give a little light bulb. So we gave it to them...happily.
Again, a few weeks ago I was feeling completely exhausted.
I just begged God for a break...maybe even for Thanksgiving.
Just a few days to visit with another missionary.
God answered my prayer and another missionary couple invited us to stay with them for Thanksgiving!
You can imagine my excitement!
It wasn't going to be easy since it was the week we were doing all of our registration work, but we booked our tickets.
The day before we were to leave, we 'happened' to call a couple in our church to see if they could take care of our dog.
They were drunk.
Eric said he was going to go get them.
Right then I KNEW what was going to happen and what God would ask of me.
How I hardened to the idea!
The Lord KNEW how much I NEEDED this break!
Well, by the time Eric got home hours later, the Lord softened my heart so that I was willing to surrender.
We still had a GREAT Thanksgiving and I had the energy to go on.
Eric helped this couple a few times the past two weeks, yet they continued to get drunk.
We kept talking about how needed a mission was here, where people like that could stay...
we just needed a bigger house.
Yep, you guessed it!
Yesterday, they begged for help as they just couldn't stop. So, we moved them into one of our rooms.
Another young man in our church is staying here too to help us. (He is sleeping in the mudroom.)
And you guess what?
As I laid on the ground begging God for strength, I found out...
It was not a vacation I needed,
It was HIM.
Getting up from prayer, HE renewed my strength and my joy.
I have found out this past year,
surrender is not a one time thing...
it must be done daily.
And sometimes it's not the big things.
Sometimes it's just a light bulb.
Labels: From the Heart
Monday, December 2, 2013
I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!
We didn't have a big thanksgiving dinner this year
because we were planning on visiting other missionaries,
but plans changed at the last minute.
We still had a great day.
Vasily has been eating with us lately, so he came over and visited.
We also had a lot of Indians and Pilgrims. :)
Eric eluded the camera all day, so sorry, there's no pictures of him...unless you count the Indian mask.
Daniel ripped his Indian hat before we got started.
(Thank you, Anna and Lydia for making all the hats and decorations! You did a GREAT job!)
Anna didn't think Abigail should be left out so kept adding feathers to her headband.
Everyone got to take turns being the photographer, so we have lots of pictures of Mama.
Then we played games...Sammy photobombed the first picture. hehe
I noticed afterwards that I didn't get as many as him. Poor guy!
And lastly, EVERYONE wanted pumpkin pie. BUT I didn't have time to buy a pumpkin (or squash) ahead of time. Thankfully, I had enough pumpkin in the freezer to make mini pumpkin pies. Eric was especially excited that they were gluten-refined sugar free. We were planning on breaking it, but since we had to be home, he asked that I try to stay by the diet. It has been fun to come up with different ways to make the things he likes. He was even more excited about the cream and ate all the left over. It was a cashew cream. It's not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie and what's pumpkin pie without cream?
Saturday, November 30, 2013
I know I have been the most sporadic blogger lately and I have wanted to share this with you for a while, but we have had people in our home almost constant, so blogging time has been at a minimum. I am giving 3 Bible lessons now and one of those is to Katiya, Bogdan's mom. We were so excited when she said that she wanted to start her lessons!
She is on her 4th or 5th lesson now. My heart was stirred each time I talked with her as it seemed like she was searching. After the 2nd lesson, she really wanted to know HOW she could be saved and Lina and I spent about 1-2 hours with her talking about how she could be saved. How exciting it was when she bowed her head to ask Jesus as her Savior! She has been coming to every single service since then and been doing devotions with her boys every night. We're praying that God will continue to work in this family and that Ruselan (her husband) and her son, Nikita, will be saved too. Her lessons are on Fridays.
I am giving two other lessons on Sundays. One lady, Luda, has also recently made a profession so the lessons are just for clarity. The other lesson is with Gala. I don't think she is saved, but she seems to know a lot of the information. Please be in prayers especially for her lessons. Pray for me also that God will give me clarity of speech and especially of mind as sometimes it is difficult to give lessons with little ones running around.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
"NO!!! What are you doing?!"
I exclaimed in complete disbelief
as Lydia's dirty little hand started going down into the pickle jar.
By this time, Eric was rolling over laughing.
I ignored him and continued,
"Not at MY table!"
I still remember the first time someone stuck their hand in,
grabbed out a pickle and offered it to me.
I wondered if they had washed their hands.
Is this typical Ukrainian?
No. I don't think I could say that, but it is very common in the village where we live.
Something that I have not really gotten use to.
I still rush for a fork before someone sticks their hand in the pickle jar or other canned goods,
making everyone smile.
I think I will forever be amusing to them because I am a...
Labels: Culture Shock
Monday, November 11, 2013
One of the things we've missed the most since we started doing a gluten-free diet was oven fried chicken. So last week I surprised my family with it...just a modified version of it. I substituted ground oatmeal (oat flour) for the flour and skipped dipping it in the milk and egg whites. It came out SO good! When it was all gone, the kids were still asking for more!
It is easy too - my favorite kind of recipe.
Put about 1/4 cup of butter in a baking dish and melt in the oven.
Grind in the blender about a cup of oatmeal, then mix the oatmeal with your favorite seasonings.
Roll your chicken strips in the oatmeal until thickly coated.
Place the chicken in your pan - coating both sides of the chicken with butter.
Bake on 425 for about 20 minutes - or until tender and white.
It's been exciting to be able to find recipes for my family that we enjoy, are healthy and that actually taste great. I've just had to be a little more creative. ;) I'm thinking about Thanksgiving over here and excited to try a green bean casserole with this type of topping on onions. Now, if only to find a substitute for stuffing...