Project 52: 2017: #45

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Lifting her voice in glorious praise, my good friend Tracy carried me straight to the2017-11-05 09.26.58.1 Father on the first day of the week. The Lord’s Day. Sunday. As the choir echoed her song, my own heart began a  journey of choosing praise. Choosing gratitude. Beginning a week of thoughtfulness.

Our ministry with missionaries takes the form of presence, offering our presence and shelter as they go through life and their own ministries. Offering God to them. It is a remarkable place for us. With Tracy’s song I was given pause to choose praise for all of this and so much more.

And, the week began.

Monday: A Zoom call with our Member Care Team spread around the world. Thank you, Lord. For godly team members. Praise!

Tuesday: A birthday coffee, celebrating with long-time friends. Thank you, Lord. For friends of the thick and thin. Praise!

Wednesday: Another coffee. This time with a Missionary Kid. Thank you, Lord. For the joy of young life. Praise!

Thursday: A Skype call with a ministry couple. Thank you, Lord. For the gift of technology. Praise!

Friday: A weekend seminar. Thank you, Lord. For partners in life’s journey. Partners willing to train. To teach. To share.

Saturday: A dinner. With another remarkable Missionary Kid. Thank you, Lord. For good conversation. Praise!

And. In between the appointments, the coffees, the dinners, the meetings was the stuff of life. Teaching preparations. E-mails. A daughter’s birthday. Text messages. Difficulties. Concerns. Ministry. Life.

I choose praise!

Now I have a choice before me,
My life has brought me to this place.
I can hold onto my problems or
I can enter your courts with praise
I choose praise. I choose to worship.
I choose praise from the depths of my soul.
I choose praise. I surrender my all at your throne.
I choose praise and praise alone.
– Caleb Collins
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Project 52: 2017: #44

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My birthday was celebrated wonderfully well in the merry month of May. However, a bit of that celebration lingered this past week. In the nippy nuances of November. And. It 2017-11-03 11.28.19.1was lovely.

Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Days of work. And then came Friday. One day. A bit of birthday reappearance. An interlude. With intent.

I stepped through the doors. Intent to finally choose a book as my gift. A gift from my brother. Back in May Bruce’s birthday present to me was a gift card. Two-in-one. First, the gift of a book. Second, the pleasure of choosing that book.

Delightful. Restful. Good for the soul. A pile of books. And the choosing. One. Definitely two. Two books. Thank you Bruce.

Project 52: 2017: #43

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Encircled.Thank You

Surrounded.

Upheld.

Hemmed in.

We are able to support missionaries by giving them care because we are supported by an amazing group of people.

God called us. And then he gave. Prayer. Friendship. Finances. Encouragement. Provision. He gave through an amazing group of people who furnish us with strength.

This week it was our turn to thank them. We partied! Friday evening we threw our doors open for a Thank You Dessert Party. What a privilege it was, and is, to thank the people who surround us.

 

 

 

Project 52: 2017: #42

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2017-10-19 14.28.26.1Autumn sunlight. Falling leaves. And, beef cattle. Escape from the ordinary.

While in the heart of Europe caring for our missionaries this last summer we received a wonderful message. An invitation to tackle farm chores. Friends wondered if we might like to enjoy an October week in their home, feeding cattle and kitties, while they escaped their ordinary.

Driving north, we headed into quietness this last week.  Cattle and kitties awaiting us. Corn and grain at the ready. Each day the cattle waited. Falling into line. Anticipating. Knowing what would be given.

Wild turkeys. White tail deer. Canadian geese. Cattle and kitties. Life and stillness. Escape from our ordinary. Respite anticipated. Given. And received.

 

 

Project 52: 2017: #41

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Week #41 began with a birthday celebration. A significant celebration. #90 for my Uncle2017-10-08 15.13.21.1 Nestor. Joy for a life well-lived.

Family together. Traveling miles. Cousins. Siblings. In-laws.

Sugary sweet birthday cake. Hot coffee. Hugs.

Remembering old times while making new memories.

Project 52: 2017: #40

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2017-10-08 06.58.34Rain. Beautiful leaves. Some sunshine. A week at home.

Projects spread across the dining room table. Paperwork. Budget work. E-mails.

Time with friends. Speaking to a women’s group. Coffee. Tea.

Housework. Laundry. Cleaning. Lots of cleaning.

And then. Saturday evening. Quick dinner and out the door. A concert. Minnesota Orchestra. Collaboration. Local artists and African American church choirs. Orchestra Hall. An amazing blend of music.

Concert and worship. A warm October evening. Ending the week in a standing ovation. Good for the soul.

Project 52: 2017: #39

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A golden leaf. Balanced. Just so. A bit of beauty poised to join its companions on the floor2017-09-20 01.38.08 of Titan Park. Caught in the breeze. Whisked over sidewalks. Dancing with Romanian children.

The final days of our latest trip to Europe were punctuated with color in Bucharest, Romania. A golden sun. Vibrant leaves. Green and gold treetops rising from Titan Park, stretching toward our apartment balcony. And. The beautiful saturation of people.

People. Filling the park benches. Strolling the paths. Dashing down the stairs to the metro. Friends. Beckoning us to join them for a cup of coffee. A hamburger. A bowl of soup.

Colorful moments. Rich conversation. The reason we are in Bucharest. Sharing life. Joys. Sorrows. Concerns. Encouragement. Love. Our offerings to our missionary colleagues on behalf of our Lord. To whisper. And shout. “Keep on keeping on! You’ve got this! And, our Lord has you. Never fear.” 

We all are golden leaves. Balanced. Just so. Saturation. For Him.

 

 

Saturday Afternoon Encouragement

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Our friends, Dave and Sasha Bliss, posted some encouragement for our hearts! Take a look, by clicking on the link for their blog post: Being Cared For

 

 

Project 52: 2017: #38

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2017-09-23 06.07.46God had some encouragement planned.

Slipping through the doors, with Brian right behind me, I was thankful to see an empty seat. The airport bus would soon be full; and to actually have a seat as we crossed the tarmac to the waiting plane, was a treat.

During this trip, our time had been spent in former Eastern Europe Bloc countries. While the people are slowly breaking away from the influence of communism, the demeanor of most people is somewhat reserved and quiet. Overt friendliness is not displayed often and there is certainly no attempt at conversation. So, it was with a bit of surprise, that I noticed my seatmate was actually happy to make room for me.

And then. Noticing my American passport, she tentatively began asking questions in English. Where was I from? What was I doing? Where was I going?

In turn, I asked questions. Her answers were careful, but her manner caused me to wonder. To wonder if she knew Jesus. I felt like I knew her. Warmth and openness drawing me in.

So. I asked her. And. On that short ride two believers in Christ found each other. A Romanian traveling from Malaysia. An American traveling from Bulgaria. Carmen and Diane. God’s encouragement on the tarmac.

Project 52: 2017: #37

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2017-09-14 01.48.58There. Do you see?

No, not the Bulgarian mountains.

Nor the beautiful, translucent geranium petals.

There! The tiny hummingbird moth, hovering barely in sight.

We almost missed the tiny creature as we ate our morning breakfast of scrambled eggs dotted with ham. Sipping coffee, mountains capturing our attention, we were distracted by the bigger picture.

But. Petite fluttering wings drew our eyes down. Down to what was near. To the pleasure of color and life just a few feet away. To the consideration that what seems inconsequential in light of sizable vistas may not be so insignificant after all. Small things, which aren’t so small. God-signs.

Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders. Psalm 119:17