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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pencil Plans

Our application with MAF has been put on pause for now because the only thing they are waiting for is my medical clearance. We will wait until the baby has been born and I've had my six week discharge appointment with the midwife before I undergo all of the medical tests. Once these tests have been completed, our application will be officially finished. A feat the Lord has allowed us to finish in 9 or 10 months.

I call this post "Pencil Plans" because we have made certain plans and keep in the backs of our minds that all can change or at least slightly change as the Lord leads. One must find balance between making plans for the future and at the same time completely surrending them to God. I'm reminded of the verses in Psalms and Proverbs:

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun."
Psalm 37:5-6
"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
Proverbs 16:3
As the Lord is seemingly leading us toward ministry with MAF, Rob and I have appreciated some words from a close friend. This is not super profound or amazingly deep insight, but practical and no-nonsense! In talking about finding out God's will for our lives and how can we know what path He's leading us down our friend simply said, (and I paraphrase), all you can do is start down a path that you feel He's leading you toward. He'll close the door if He needs to.
There is so much freedom when keeping this in mind. As we are in the Word, praying, and talking with our close friends and family things are confirmed to us. We can make plans, and know that God is ultimately orchestrating every detail. He is ultimately in charge of where we end up. We just have to be obedient! (just) :)
So our "pencil" plans for the next few months are something like this:
October 30: Rob's last day at his current place of employment - Paternity benefits to start when baby arrives.
November: Finish Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course
November - May: Work like crazy to finish the majority (or all) of the projects around our house to make it saleable.
January: Meet MAF representatives at Missions Fest 2010
April: (Pending acceptance with MAF) Candidacy Training with MAF
If you feel led, please pray that we continually commit these plans to the Lord, and that He would clearly lead us and give us the strength to be obedient to the mission He has called us to, whether it continue to be here, or someplace else.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back Home and Back to Normal

Our drive home from Idaho was a lot better than I had anticipated. Even though the kids were very tired, and I was equally anxious to get home, they did so well on the drive back. We stopped overnight at the halfway point in a state campground.

Our church camp-out was the very next day, so instead of spending any time at home, we decided to go straight to the camp-out; afterall, we were already packed! It wasn't until we were there, that I realized how exhausted I actually was. We had a nice visit with friends and family, but it feels great to be back at home now.

I am so thankful we were able to go to the MAF Headquarters as a family. It gave me the wonderful opportunity to meet and talk to some people already involved with MAF: some farther along in the application, and even some back on a furlough. This really helped me think about some things I hadn't considered yet, or perhaps hadn't allowed myself to think about as we possibly take this step onto the overseas mission field. I am also so thankful that I had a chance to see how their ministry works at the base level. Their people are so thoughtful and organized and really have a heart for God's work. I could also tell that they have set up the pre-field training in such a way to make the transition from here to there as seamless as possible.

After Rob's technical evaluation and our psychological evaluation, we had a chance to meet informally with the recruitment/candidacy committee. It seems we have been unofficially invited back as candidates. They were very positive about what they were able to discover about our family and excited to see how God has been working in our lives so far.

So that's that. Now back to normal life as it is. I eagerly anticipate the birth of our third baby in early November. I can't wait to meet him or her!

Rob has taken extra weeks off work this month to finish some major projects around the house.

And more and more, we are both sensing detachment from this place. Some may call it nesting on my part, but I have been going through my house in a fury getting rid of clutter that I had previously been somewhat attached to, unwilling to part with things. I have decided that the more things I have, the more time I have to invest in cleaning them. So, since returning from Idaho and camping, we have been simplifying around here. And it feels wonderful. It's so freeing!

I have still been working on the 30 Day Biblical Womanhood Challenge. But it is taking some extra days with all of these holidays. What a blessing this teaching has been in my life this summer.

What has God been teaching you this summer?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Having Too Much Fun!

Day Number 8 at MAF continues similar to how the weekend was. As much fun as it has been for Faith to have little friends to play with at the apartments, it has its own challenges that are in full force now!
There are two other families with younger children here and both of their parents are in full time training right now with homework to do in the evenings. This means that their children have been looked after by childcare provided by MAF onsite for the past few weeks. I think they're going on week number five here with full time childcare, and we can all tell it's beginning to take its toll. I'm really not looking forward to this stage if we get there. It was hard enough for me to leave my two for the whole day last Wednesday. I can't imagine a few weeks! Faith is tiring of this routine, and it seems that sharing toys is becoming more and more difficult for everyone.

I'm wondering if being completely exhausted will make the 11 hour drive home easier or horrible. Time will tell....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer Travels

We have been at the MAF base in Nampa, Idaho now for an entire week working on the Technical Evaluation and Psychological Evaluation. We have been so blessed and challenged throughout this past week. Only two more days left here and we will start our treck home back to our families and friends.

I am not going to write about all we've thought and felt and talked about over this past week. But I will mention that Rob and I are experiencing God's peace in this experience and anxiously wait to find out what He has in mind for our family next, whether it be with this ministry or somewhere else.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Journey Continues

So our application journey with Mission Aviation Fellowship continues. Our references were extremely efficient and helpful in returning their answers to MAF quickly! We are so thankful and appreciative of godly, close, and caring friendships. We are unnofficially officially onto the next step in the process which includes three different types of evaluations: technical, psychological, and medical. Once those have been completed, everything is reviewed again, I believe, and then we move onto candidacy if the Lord directs.

We are planning to complete the technical and psychological evaluations during the first two weeks of August. So our family will be taking a little road trip and spending some time at the MAF base in the US. Even though Rob is really the only one who needs to go down for the technical evaluation, I am excited to take the family and experience this part together. It turns out they were able to arrange to have both of our psychological tests done during the trip down for the technical evaluation.

I really sense God preparing our hearts as we continue to move forward in this direction. Despite always feeling as though we would raise our family here, where we are, I now am feeling more and more detached. In fact, at times I have felt I am not even living in "my" house with "my" things. I don't know if this makes any sense. But it is starting to become more and more difficult envisioning the future right here in the town we live in now. It is so strange, because I have always been such a stationary person. I have never had the desire to move around, or even leave familiarity. When I moved away from the town I grew up in, many people were surprised; however, I think I surprised myself most of all. What was I doing? I had always said I would never move away! Not too long after that, I met my future husband, we were married, and now our third child is on the way and we are thinking we are perfectly willing to move anywhere in the world God sends us. How did I go from being such a home-body to some sort of adventurer?

I can only give credit where it's due, and that's to Christ. Nothing in and of myself has the ability to make such adjustments in thinking and attitude. I am thrilled (sometimes terrified) to see how God is going to continue to mold and shape Rob and me wherever we end up, and that includes remaining right where we are if that is His will for our family.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Step 4

God continues to lead Rob and I toward serving with Mission Aviation Fellowship. We are beginning Step 4 in the application process now: a longer written application with 6 personal references each.

This written application is basically a repeat of the formal interview. As we go through this process of answering questions and evaluating things, I appreciate the timeframe that MAF sets for it. Even though I feel as though we have answered many of these questions already, I am glad we have opportunities to go over them again and again and recognize how God is working in our lives and thought processes in regard to the mission field.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Moving Along

We had our first formal interview with MAF this morning over SKYPE. The Canadian base is located in Ontario and they usually like to do the interviews in person or else by webcam. Because neither they nor we were not here nor there we opted for the webcam interview and it went very well. I can see how it would have been nicer and more personable to be in person, but I think the webcam was definitely superior to a phone call. The interview was 2 and 1/2 hours long! Which surprised me at first when I read the email and it said what they usually estimated for time. It went by surprisingly quickly, and because of all the things we talked about, and only briefly, it didn't take long to fill 2 and 1/2 hours. The interview went very well. Both Rob and I feel like this is actually moving along now. Even though we are still in early stages of this process, we were given the feeling that unless something comes in our lives to stop this from happening MAF saw no reason at this point to not continue with the process and with this direction. The application process ends with a 2 week training period in Ontario at the MAF headquarters and they do 2 of these training sessions per year: the first being in May, next week actually, and the second in October. Because I am due with our third child in early November we probably will not consider going this Fall. This gives us more time to finish up renovations on our house, take a couple of Bible courses, and also continue thinking and praying about this. This means if we continue on and end up attending the training, it wouldn't be until May of 2010, after such time Rob would quit his job and we would start raising support full time. Lord willing, we may be on the field as early as February or May of 2011.

Having the interview, and discussing different aspects of our backgrounds and how God has led us together as a couple and where He seems to be leading us now, has really brought a sense of reality to this idea. If this makes any sense, before it kind of felt like we were just talking about the idea and perhaps trying to get a sense of what other people we trusted thought about it. Now it feels more real, as though it's something God is really leading us in. Now we are being faced with the question, if God keeps opening doors are we going to be obedient and walk through them?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Beginning

Well, I thought I'd write a post about the beginning of a new journey my family is on. As I have probably never mentioned before, my husband is an aircraft maintenance engineer. He is extremely mechanical and technical, and he isn't afraid of trying to fix basically anything! Over our married life I have had to learn to share him with others because it doesn't take long for people to learn that he probably knows something about the problem their having with their vehicle or something.
Recently, he has been feeling prompted to do something different with his life. This is not some early mid-life crisis or anything. I firmly believe that he has been re-evaluating our family's purpose for God and perhaps wanting to give God more opportunity to lead and direct where we go as a family. Knowing this, I have been in prayer asking God to show us where He wants us to look. Where is He opening doors for us? Through this time, I have found myself being willing to go and do things I never would have said I was willing to do several years ago.
As a teenager, I remember going to Missions Fest a few times with my youth group. The youth rallies would host a speaker who would encourage everyone to be willing to go wherever God leads them in life. Being overseas missionaries, most of them encouraged being open to serving overseas of course. At the time, I remember feeling badly because I couldn't honestly say to God that I was willing to go wherever He led me. I remember asking Him not to lead me anywhere I didn't want to go! I also remember telling God that I wasn't willing to serve overseas as a missionary. Going to Missions Fest felt like a guilt trip for me every time I went. I was resistant... and I knew it. I even remember coming home and ranting to my parents about how I felt the people there expected EVERYONE to go abroad! How dare they tell me that!
Well.... here I am nearly 10 years later, married, two small children, one expected to be born in the Fall, and we are applying for overseas mission work. As I was praying for God to give our family direction, especially my husband (Rob), Mission Aviation Fellowship came into my mind, and I started looking at their website. Rob was at work that day. When he came home I still had the website up and I asked him if he'd considered MAF. Their mission is this: Sharing the love of Jesus Christ through aviation and technology so that isolated people may be physically and spiritually transformed. They have a fleet of light aircraft to serve developing countries in the areas of evangelism and church nurture, community development, medical assistance, and disaster response. Rob was surprised and also encouraged to see me considering this option and being open to it as he had been thinking about it as well. When he was younger his father had talked to him about this organization and was very excited to see him interested in aviation, but Rob hadn't been ready to consider mission work at that time.
So, since that time we have been praying for God to open doors if we're supposed to go this route. If God wants us serving in this way, He will make a way for us. At this time, all we know is we have to be willing and ready to do what He calls us to do! Talk about a change in attitude from those early teen days at Missions Fest. I find myself feeling excited about this possibility. I feel at this time, God is numbing MANY fears and anxieties that could stop me from being willing; moving away from close family and friends, tropical disease, natural disasters, language barriers, travel, cross-culture shock... the list goes on. I know those things exist, but it's okay. It's weird.
The application process is a long one. Which I am thankful for. There is no way we'll be sent away on a whim of emotion or without knowing for certain that is where God wants us to be.
So.... this is the beginning, I'm excited to see where God leads us. And if it's not overseas, I'm excited to see how God uses our family in our community where we are right now. We are all missionaries in our own towns, in our jobs, at our schools, and in our neighborhoods.