Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In Montana

I made it to Montana safe and sound by God's grace. The first few and last few hours of the 14 1/2 hour drive were the worst but I made it unscathed with car still attached to the U-Haul and without hitting any deer. The drive during the parts for which I was fully awake was beautiful up on I15 in Idaho and on I90 in Montana. Here are a few pictures of God's creation that I got to enjoy thanks to all the unusual rain Montana's been getting. I won't tell you who my friend was who took these pictures while I was very safely concentrating on the road... Thanks for your prayers while I was driving. I know many of you were praying and I needed it! Other than the fabulous scenic eye-candy, it was a tough and very long day.

Wow, was the blessing of friends in Idaho who helped pack and clean was ever more apparent upon arriving here. My mom and I unloaded the first half of my stuff on Sunday and I unloaded all the rest other than furniture and some of the heaviest boxes that Houghton (my brother-in-law) helped me with on Monday (today). It went a lot faster when 10 of you were hauling for me! Now my parents get to put up with boxes everywhere while I try to organize them into corners of their house to store long-term or until heading to Vanuatu. I have a bunch I need to re-pack too so I'm slowly working on that.
Today I also got to see my niece and nephew again. I don't have pictures yet but I'll post some of my lovely family. Gwen's the cutest little pudgy girl ever and Jesiah's turning into a little boy, not just a toddler anymore! They are sweet and fun.
It sounds like on Sunday the ministry of sharing about what God is doing in Vanuatu will officially start in Montana for me. Gretchen and Houghton have been invited to a church in Fallon, Montana and Lord-willing, I'll be joining them. Gretch asked me to play piano for them for some songs they'll be singing so since I haven't played in probably ten years, I'll be getting in some serious practice for that I hope! Otherwise, she may withdraw the involvement offer... :) I plan to post some of the tentative schedule from now to March here for everyone in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out Gretch and Houghton's blog and website. They have some awesome stuff you can't find on mine. The links for those are in the list on the right, but here are some quick links for you: http://www.richardsroad.com/ and http://www.richardsroad.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dying...to Idaho

This is amazingly difficult to say goodbye to my current life, essentially. It is hard to permanently say goodbye at work to the kids, teachers and staff, and parents. It is really hard to say goodbye to the prayer group at work that has been such an amazing blessing this last year (what a blessing you are Kim, Teddi, Sara and Merrianne!). It is hard to say goodbye to much of my "stuff". It is hard to say goodbye to my gym and the workout classes and people there that I love. It is hard to say goodbye to my churches where I have great fellowship. It is hard to say goodbye to my cats and to my house where I've loved living the last 4 years. It is hard to say goodbye to a climate I love and to living in Idaho, which I adore. It is hard to say goodbye to hiking trails and walking paths, to access to all the diversity of stores, restaurants, and culture.

It is hard to say goodbye to ministries and people I've ministered with and to. Here is the junior high Bible study girls group from Heritage Bible Church on the left. Also pictured are my young friends Melissa on the left (going to be a junior - wow!) and Bridgette (going into 7th grade) on the right.
On the right is Lorna, who, with her husband, leads missions prayer for Calvary Chapel. The group shot is one evening at Missions Prayer. Pictured are Natalie (a missionary to Romania!), Nancy, Gary, Julie, John, Jan, Lorna, Jessica, and Larry in the back. In the front are Nadine and me. Several of the "regulars" aren't pictured here. I'll miss praying with all of you in body anyway! There are so many other groups of kids whose pictures I don't have digitally to post here from youth group and Bible studies at Calvary, sorry guys!

It is especially hard to say goodbye to fantastic friends. To the left is Mindy, who did accountability and verse memorization for a long time with me. Here is Liz, my Argentinian amiga who I loved being able to not only hang out with a lot and share fellowship with as a Christian, but also be literal neighbors with!

Here is Kara, my friend who challenges me to growth and depth. Next is Melanie, a fellow missionary. She is heading back to Africa, Lord-willing! I wish I could have gotten a picture of the prayer group I have enjoyed over the years with Melanie, Jonie, Tara, Teresa, Jenn and others!

Here are some of my other lovely friends from work. To the left is Christie, my great friend who will be taking my school counseling position since I'm leaving! To the right is Melinda, who I was so privileged to work with at my school this last year as she completed her counseling practicum for grad school.

In the center here is Jennifer, a new friend sent pretty randomly as a gift from the Lord! To the right is Amy, who I went to grad school with and am so grateful to continue a friendship with even after graduation in 2003! Pictured next is a great group of friends who came to a goodbye barbeque last week. It is a mix of friends from all areas in my life but from left to right starting in the back is me, then James and wife Casey and baby Lydia, then Kathleen and husband Travis and daughter Elise, behind them the tall one is Dave, then is Bonnie and baby Ethan and husband Brian and daughter Jasmine, next is Christie, then Scott, then Kevin, Tyson, and Ryan. In the front are Mindy, Teresa, Kara and husband Travis. Most of these pictured are some of my longest known friends in Idaho who I get together with often to play games with and do other activities with.

There are so many others I'm sorry to say I didn't get pictures with. I love you all and you will be so missed!!

It is hard to say goodbye to some hopes and plans. Another huge loss is my independence. The Lord has been teaching me so much through this process and I am so excited to see how He grows me and where He leads. However, there are so many losses, so much grief with all of this. I really feel a part of me is dying but that is what the Christian walk is all about, isn't it! Death to self and alive to Christ. I pray He uses these griefs to grow me and bring Him glory and that the gospel may be preached and Ni-Vanuatu and others may come to know Jesus Christ, and Him crucified!

This was a great message to read from "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers, which has devotionals for each day. This is from May 30. It is entitled: "Yes - but...!" and has the verse Luke 9:61 "Lord, I will follow Thee; but..."

"Supposing God tells you to do something which is an enormous test to your common sense, what are you going to do? Hang back? If you get into the habit of doing a thing in the physical domain, you will do it every time until you break the habit determinedly; and the same is true spiritually. Again and again you will get up to what Jesus Christ wants, and every time you will turn back resolutely. "Yes, but - supposing I do obey God in this matter, what about...?" "Yes, I will obey God if He will let me use my common sense, but don't ask me to take a step in the dark." Jesus Christ demands of the man who trusts Him the same reckless sporting spirit that the natural man exhibits. If a man is going to do anything worth while, there are times when he has to risk everything on his leap, and in the spiritual domain Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold by common sense and leap into what He says, and immediately you do, you find that what He says fits on as solidly as common sense. At the bar of common sense Jesus Christ's statements may seem mad; but bring them to the bar of faith, and you begin to find with awestruck spirit that they are the words of God. Trust entirely in God, and when He brings you to the venture, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis, only one out of a crowd is daring enough to bank his faith in the character of God."

Here's a picture near the Boise foothills and one at sunset at the Boise River. Thanks for your Creation, God! Goodbye, my home state of 8 years. I loved Idaho! Montana, here I come! (I'm driving all day Saturday, June 16, 2007 to Miles City, MT to start sharing with churches about the ministry in Vanuatu.)