Friday, September 28, 2012

God of our fathers....

As we pulled into this sweet town of Buffalo, ND two days ago,  Andrew Peterson sang to us "God of our fathers, please be the God of our children too."  The whole CD is treasureful but that line just couldn't be more perfect for the moment we arrived in this place.  

(in the treehouse at the next-door neighbors' place)

God of our fathers and mothers, of Grands and Great Grandparents....  continue your kind and merciful pursuit in the lives of our children like you have in their lives.  

 Yes, Lord.  
  
(at the trampoline at the neighbor's across the way)


The "sit down game" was the favorite of our big three, the best way for them to not crash into each other and it was really all that John could take for bounce height....  oh their squeals of joy in the hours here....  Such Gift.  
(in the center of the "happy place" home)
No visit to Buffalo would be complete without something baked delicious.... and it's always best baked together.  I love Grandma Marian's line about cooking with little ones:  "It's ok if it isn't perfect.  We don't have to take this batch to the fair."


We took a walk around town and saw their church (below) and another tiny church in town where Grandma plays the organ once a month.  May these great songs be lived true in our lives!





May your love continue to shine bright (and may ours carry the same flame!)  A flame of selfless love for Him and for each other and for your community....  all the more evidence of God's unrelenting grace....  59 years now...


We love you so much Great Grandpa Harold and Great Grandma Marian!
Thank you for these days with you!


Just wondering... (about servants)

We have been so blessed since we’ve been back in the states, so glad to connect with churches and friends and some new gatherings to share about China and the people we love there.  We had lunch recently with three families who encouraged us so tremendously with their interest in what’s going on, what life is like for us there, and the needs of the people we love.  We are so grateful for many relationships and opportunities like this.  What a blessing to have the support of such intentional, thoughtful people!

When we share, we like to encourage people to live boldly for God’s kingdom here too, or however he may be leading them.  Sometimes as we’ve shared, I feel like I’m looking into blank eyes that have glazed over completely.   It’s as if someone’s spiked the coffee of our listener friends.  It was either a shot of “I’m glad you’re talking about China because there’s no way I’d ever want to live Radical for God in America” or maybe “That’s nice for you young people but I’ve worked hard all my life and I’ve earned my right to live for my comfort”  or possibly it was just one squirt of the devastatingly deceptive “Yea, I believe in God too, but He hasn’t called me to sacrifice anything.  I’m happy to define my life by my culture’s standard for success and my personal desires for pleasure.”

And my own coffee has been spiked too.  I know I don't see it so clearly, but it's true.   My culture has snuck in on me and I try to define my life with the most comfortable culture too.  There is good reason James tells us so many times, "Do not be deceived beloved...".  Oh Lord, give us your Truth and Wisdom according to your Living Word that we would not be deceived!

Yesterday morning we drove by a church marquis board with this message:  “Welcome to the servant’s quarters.”   Servants.  There's something that's not so easy to rule out from the range of possible for our lives.  We can all SERVE from where we are.  How sweet it would be to see a church body where everyone considered themselves servants of God regardless of their vocation or title.    I think it would be a praying church and a very active one in serving the needy and proclaiming the Gospel to the lost, and in demonstrating mercy and love for the broken and bruised in our world.  

So... what if all who called themselves God’s people, were God’s servants and not just his pretty pets to give goodies to?  What if all of us believers were actually lovers of God, glad servants of God?  What if we saw clearly that there are no dividing lines of class or geography or race among God’s people, but that we are all only the endlessly blessed, eternally glad, ceaselessly grateful united body of Christ?  What if we stood before Him with only his song on our hearts, full of unhindered, unashamed JOY?   What if we all abandoned our “rights” to live for ourselves....  and fled from the mud puddle playing of this world that we think is so fantastic (see CS Lewis, Mere Christianity).  

What does the Word tell us about being servants of God?  And what if the Word really was our Standard for determining what of our culture we’ll chew up and swallow down and what parts we’ll spit out?  What do servants look like, what do they live like, in a culture of luxury and self-indulgence?

The Word is packed with clarity and holds no punches on the topic.  Lord pierce me through with your true and living Word.  Change me by it.  Create and recreate me more and more in your image according to your Word.   

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell...anywhere else.    

Make me to crave the things of you oh God and make me a servant, glad!, to your glory!  Let my life be marked by giving not to impress you or earn points with you (that might be moralism, but it's not Christianity) but may I live gladly giving my all to you, for you because You Gave Christ For Me.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

together

It has been such a gift to get to reconnect with family and friends back in America! This past week we got to enjoy this precious friend-family in Matt's hometown, North Dakota.

our June 11th boys,
 their Benjamin, our Godson!



The daddy's had a game to play of their own too...
little lady (bug)
Vivi might need a stunt double before long!


This next weekend there will be many more pics to post as these guys and lots of their cousins and move of our good friends will be driving hours to Bismarck for a reunion.  We are so excited!

Friday, September 14, 2012

the river boat





I'm pretty sure the big four took in far too little of the beauty we were floating on and surrounded by all because of this very British-esque Pirate Captain Uncle (Daddy) who they were fighting with a straw for a sword (Isaiah) and just plain hilarious, adorable fierceness (Lilli, May & John).
And there've been s'mores too....  Grandma's favorite is in the blood of this little girl for sure.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

the mix

Here's a mix of pics from our past 12 days....  we are so grateful to the Lord for this wild bouquet of assorted gifts and graces!

the view from our apartment building, night before we left last last Friday
Sad goodbyes....  this is our dear house helper & friend who watched John and then Vivi 2 mornings a week
exploring together....  the Puget Sound, last Sunday
scrumptious....  both the hunt and the blackberries
little boy laughter.... the joy of new friends
how fun to have such fun friends with such fun toys!
on the ferry ride into Seattle
Pike Place Market....  we just nibbled and people watched on our way to the train station
woke up on the train to views of Glacier National Park.  This was the wide open prairie just beyond the park, the dry side of the continental divide.  All of it absolutely GLORIOUS.
Cousin Love....  our big two have been holding their breath til the time they could play with this loved little girl!
he was very serious about his job helping Grandma water the plants...
Grandma love 
Uncle Chris hosted a party for the family at a hotel swimming pool.  There will be no topping this 5 year old birthday girl party in any of our children's memories!  It was perfectly, fantastically fun!  Such a joy to celebrate these two girls together!!
And such joy to introduce Vivi to family.... Auntie Amy is an expert cuddler!
(For you, Heather.  There are many more photos to be posted soon..... I took 148 last night on a (Missouri) riverboat ride with family, so few only because my battery ran out at the half way point.  Many more family shots to post once they're uploaded!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

landed

We're here and we're grateful and the trip went well.  Thank you, friends, for praying!

Vivi was the last K kid standing... Please excuse a sad example here but I've heard that some people when they're drunk are mellow and others are lively.  Well, all three of our big kids when they're jet lagging & sleep deprived (on the flight and the first two nights we've been here) have been pretty mellow and willing to sleep or at least stay laying down in the dark.  Vivi has been as high wired as I've ever seen her.  She would have been cracking jokes for our whole economy cabin if anyone else could've understood her babble.  Knocking her head on the wall and laughing at herself, blowing spit bubbles and making every mouth sound she could come up with...  I'm sure she thinks she is the pinnacle of good humor.    And I'm quite sure I'd agree with her if her antics would only be carried on at a reasonable hour!

Matt and I have agreed that Tony and Allison, the dear friends who are hosting us, have the best jet lag place on earth.  It is BEAUTIFUL here, Pacific NW- trees, sky, water, grass, clean air and flowers everywhere.  And their basement is dark and we've woken to yummy breakfasts hours after them two mornings now and sweet conversation after kiddos' bedtimes these nights.  This evening Matt and I got out on a kayak ride together.   Our kids have new precious friends under this same roof.  Such generosity from God to provide all this for us.... and from these friends to bless us so kindly!  We feel so cared for by the Lord by all these graces....

We'll write more soon.... and post pics of all this beauty!  We hope you are doing well.... we can't wait to see more of you so soon now!  North Dakota this Thursday!!


Love to you friends~
jill