Genuine Thankfulness

Psalm 138:1&2 I give You thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart…….and give thanks to Your name for Your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.

We have SO much to be thankful for! The last couple of months and the last year have been a HUGE life change and transition period for our family. As I look back on all that has happened, I am truly humbled and in awe of His faithfulness, His grace, His provision, His protection and how He answers prayer!

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In the short time that we have been here my life is forever changed. God is teaching me what true contentment and genuine thankfulness looks like. God is beginning to show me just how much I have taken for granted. To have clean water is truly a blessing, we have food in abundance, we have a vehicle and the means to go to a hospital if need be, we have a house and electricity and indoor plumbing and running water. We don’t have to live in fear of a storm coming and blowing our roof off or flooding our homestead, and every time our electricity goes out, which can be quite often :), I am reminded not to take it for granted. We have a washer and dryer. I have done laundry by hand and it is hard work and time consuming….especially the way our boys just seem to be attracted to dirt. :) I am beyond thankful for this luxury and the time it saves me. Those are just a few of the everyday things I am so thankful for and I pray I never take for granted again.

I can’t write a post about thankfulness and not mention my amazing family. I sit back amazed at how God is changing and molding our children’s hearts for Him. I know that He is and will continue to use them to do great and mighty things in His name. I am a very blessed Make. (A little siSwati lesson there :) Make pronounced maw-gay means mom.) I am also beyond thankful for my amazing husband. I am so thankful that God has given me a partner, a best friend, to do life with. It is an amazing gift to have a father and husband who is selfless, who loves and adores his family but most of all who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit and loves God with all his heart. As I look around me and see so many broken homes I have never been so thankful for my family.

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Most of all I am thankful for what we have in Christ! It is only in Him that we can have true contentment and genuine thankfulness. I have never seen the true need or hunger or thirst like I have here but I also have never seen the joy or genuine thankfulness and contentment like I have here either. He never promised His children an easy trial free life here on this earth…actually quite the opposite. (John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.) It is how we view this world and react to our trials that make all the difference. We are only passing through, our real home is in Heaven. Are we living each day with eternity in mind?
As believers, as brothers and sisters in Christ we are beyond blessed and have so much to be thankful for!!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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Our New Norm

Hello Everyone!

It’s hard to believe we’ve been here for a month already but in some ways it seems like this has always been our home.

When we sit back and watch our children, it is further confirmation from God that we are truly where He wants us. They haven’t missed a beat. They LOVE it here! We see it in their faces, in their smiles, in their desire to go to the care points and play with the children daily, in the way they are beginning to speak Siswati and in their prayers as they thank God that we are finally in Swaziland!

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It has definitely been a crazy month, with so much to learn ministry wise, culturally, the language and planning Christmas parties for all the Care Points. Then there is just the day to day living…we needed to figure out the grocery stores, (when you have kids that eat like ours this is a priority:) ) it only took a couple of days of the kids playing in the African soil and me washing clothes in the bathtub to let us know we couldn’t wait another day to get a washing machine. :) and then just all the things you need to make up your house so it can actually be livable.

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I’ll give you just a little rundown of our daily schedule….although it can change daily, it normally looks something like this. Get up in the morning eat breakfast together and then Stephen will head out for the morning meeting with our Swazi staff…which are amazing by the way…and we normally do school in the morning. The rest of the day can (but not always) be filled with home visits, going to the care points to do discipleship, Christmas parties, hospital runs, and just learning the culture and always trying to learn new words in siSwati. We want to get to know the people we serve with and the people God has called us to serve. We don’t ever want to be so consumed with our schedules for the day that we miss what God has for us.

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He has taught us so much this first month. He continues to refine and stretch us, taking us out of our comfort zones. As things may happen that we haven’t planned for or are a surprise to us, we are reminded that we serve an all knowing God. One who is sovereign and nothing takes Him by surprise, and in Him and only Him do we have His peace and joy in the midst of this transition stage.

Thank you so much for your prayers. It has been a great encouragement to get emails saying our family has been covered in prayers! Thank you! Thank you!

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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We are Here!!!

Sawubona!! Hello from Swaziland!

Wow!! We are here! I can’t believe it. We are actually here…after over a year of planning and preparing and over a month of traveling and saying goodbye and training…after 2 days of intense traveling with 2 hotel stops, 2 flights …16+ hrs in the air and a 6hr bus ride…after juggling 40+ bags with our 2 families…WE ARE HERE!!!!

It seems a bit surreal…we live in Africa…in Swaziland. A small country in southern Africa where over 2 years ago God began to do big things in our hearts and our family. We are home!

We were able to travel with the Malloys, our fellow missionaries coming over from Louisiana, to serve in Nsoko, Swaziland. What a blessing it has been to live life with them during this crazy transition stage. The kids are LOVING it here! They have done amazing through all of the traveling, newness, and just plain craziness. I am so humbled and thankful as I see God’s grace in our lives. He has truly gone before us and prepared our way and our hearts. We serve an awesome God!

Here are lots of pictures from all of our crazy travels and our first couple of days here in Swaziland. Durban Wedding Photographer_0129 Durban Wedding Photographer_0130 Durban Wedding Photographer_0131 Durban Wedding Photographer_0132 Durban Wedding Photographer_0133 Durban Wedding Photographer_0134 Durban Wedding Photographer_0135 Durban Wedding Photographer_0136 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Durban Wedding Photographer_0138 Durban Wedding Photographer_0139 Durban Wedding Photographer_0140 Durban Wedding Photographer_0141 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Durban Wedding Photographer_0143 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Durban Wedding Photographer_0145 Durban Wedding Photographer_0146 Durban Wedding Photographer_0147 Durban Wedding Photographer_0148

Here We Go!!

Hey Friends!

Just wanted to give you all a little update, I’m a little behind as things have been insane this past month.

Well, I am sitting in a hotel in New York writing this as we have officially started our physical journey to Swaziland! I just need to stop there for a minute and say, Wow! I can’t believe we are really on our way…after more then a year of actual planning for this day…it is here!

There is excitement, and anticipation and heartbreak and lots of tears as we’ve said so many goodbyes…but most of all there is peace. A peace that can only come from God. A peace that brings us joy even amongst the sacrifices of following our Savior.

We fly out of JFK tomorrow morning, Wed Oct 1st, and go straight through to Johannesburg South Africa. It is a 14 hr flight and we will be getting in around 9 o’clock Thursday morning, local time, which is 6 hours ahead of what we’re used to. We will be met by some amazing missionaries and will then drive 6 hours to Swaziland, where we will collapse on a bed. :)

We have been able to travel with the other family that God has called to Swazi, The Malloys. Between the both of our families we have 31 bags plus backpacks for everyone. There are five children in all, ranging from ages 8 to 3. Let’s just say we got quite a few “looks” today. Here are some pictures of our day of travel today.

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We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers during this transition stage.

Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

So many “lasts”!

Hello Friends!

Wow! What a crazy last couple of weeks it’s been! It has been filled with so many lasts, so many “wow” moments…as in “WOW, This is really happening”…so many emotions and sacrifices and SO many God moments! Where once again I am amazed and humbled to see His hands at work in our lives and on this journey He has called us on.

This past week was Stephen’s last week of work, it was our last week in our house and now we have started traveling to see family for the last time before we leave. The month of August has been filled with so many different emotions.

We are currently at 89% funded monthly and only need $543 more dollars committed monthly and we will be at 100% supported. Our God is faithful!!!

It is a bit surreal to know that the preparation side of this journey is coming to an end and we are about to make the biggest move of our lives to a country God sketched onto our hearts, and to a people that we love so deeply.

We had our estate sale, where God showed up in a big way! We basically sold everything we owned that day, and it was so encouraging and humbling as our life group and family of believers showed us Christ that day! We had people there helping in every way possible, we had people praying for the weather, it was meant to storm that day…but it didn’t…we had people praying we would sell everything and we had people come and buy things just to support us! Here are some pictures of that day.

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And here are some pictures of after our sale.

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So what do you do after you sell everything you own? You go to the dollar movies of course, and watch How to Train Your Dragon 2.

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I am amazed at watching God work in our children’s hearts! They have been amazing in the midst of all the craziness, of selling everything we own, everything that is familiar to them. God is truly gripping their hearts for the people of Swaziland. God is teaching them in a very real way at a very young age that following Him is not always easy and there will be sacrifices here on this earth. Well our sweet Hannah experienced this kind of sacrifice just this past week as we told her that we could not bring our dog, Nala, with us. The saying, a dog is a mans best friend, could not be more true then with Hannah and Nala! Because there are no words to truly describe her heartbreak here is a picture of them right after I told her.

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It was one of the hardest conversations to have with her, knowing it was going to break her heart, and oh there were so many tears. But through the tears and the heartbreak I saw God working in her heart and her child like faith, that doesn’t put God in a box, as she said “mommy, I’m going to pray that God brings someone we know to love Nala and take care of her. And when we come back to visit they will let us see her.” She knows that we serve a God who hears our prayers and answers them!

Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

He Goes Before Us!

Hey friends! Some BIG things have happened this month that continue to show how God truly is going before us and preparing our way. I am amazed at how He continues to confirm our calling to Swaziland as He answers prayers and moves mountains that get us one step closer.

We continue to be humbled that God has chosen us to be a part of His story and the work He is doing in Swaziland. We serve a great God, who is always faithful!

Deuteronomy 32:4 The Rock, His way is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.

One of the biggest “mountains” in this journey has been selling our house. Well, guess what…after 20+ showings in a months time…It.Is.Sold!!!!!!!!! We close on August 18th. Once again there are no words but humbled. We get a front row seat at seeing His hand at work!

God has taught me so much through this process of selling our home. He has used this to open my eyes and convict my heart of how selfish my prayers can be. Let me give you a little example…when our house first went up for sale my prayer was that it would sale FAST, because then people would see His power, aaaand my main reason, because it would be MUCH easier on me! Oh how I fall so easily into Satan’s traps and forget THE REASON why we are here, and that is to bring honor and glory to God and make His name known among the nations. I am so thankful that God does not leave me in my sin but He continues to refine me.
My prayer began to change, more than I wanted things to be easy for me, I prayed that God would bring a believer into our house to continue to be a witness in our neighborhood. Whether God sold our house “fast or slow”, it would be in His perfect timing and ALL the details He would bring together would bring Him the most honor and glory! God didn’t just sell our house but He sold our house for $100 MORE then what we were asking for it!

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The other big obstacle standing in our way is being 100% funded monthly. We are at 75% as of right now. Our goal has been to be at 100% by August. We need to be able to buy our tickets no later then the middle of August. We are in the home stretch here people! We only need 12 more people to partner with us at $100 a month or equivalent to and we will be 100% funded! I cannot wait to see how God is going to do it! It was just in June that we were at 13% and now in less then two months we are at 75%. We are amazed and once again humbled to see God work in the hearts of His church and the obedience that follows in our family of believers. God has called us and He will continue to prepare our way!

Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Boston Butt Fundraiser pick-up

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They are cooking away. Thank you all that helped us sell tickets, who bought a butt, lent us your grill or helped in any way!!! It was greatly appreciated!!
Thank you especially for bearing with us as we navigate our way through fundraisers, as we are taken completely out of our comfort zone. Thank you for your grace!

The pick up times are at 1pm and 4pm today. If for some reason you bought one and have not been contacted for your pick up time please come at 4pm.
You will come to Warren Grovetown for your pick up location.

777 Horizon South Pkwy
Grovetown, GA 30813

Once again thank you all for coming along side us on this journey and mission God has called our family to.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Encouragement

Wow! It has been a crazy busy month.

Our house officially went up for sale two weeks ago today. It has been shown 11 times in those two weeks. It’s safe to say our house has NEVER been as clean as it has been in these last two weeks. Our kids have done an amazing job at keeping things straight and toys put up. I love seeing their servant hearts as they volunteer to do little jobs as we race out the door before another showing.

We had our Artsy Me Fundraiser on the 16th. It was an awesome success! (Ok I had a couple of pics to upload here but for some reason it won’t let me, I’ll try and figure that out and upload them later)

I was so humbled to see God use the body of Christ, our family of believers, to make this such a great success! God brought in around $1,600. I will never be able to thank you all enough! Cricket and her family, the owner of Artsy Me, all of our volunteers who came along side of us to serve…did I mention it was smokin hot that day. We were literally sweating buckets out there….and to all of you that took time out of your busy day to come out and bring your kids to paint, buy a hot dog or lemonade we are forever grateful!!

We have moved on to our second fundraiser…pre-selling tickets for Boston butts. We are still selling tickets for a couple more days and pick up will be on Saturday the 28th.

We are now at 37% funded monthly and roughly $5,000 for our start up fund. By August 1st we need to be 100% funded monthly, that means we only need 30 more people giving $100 a month and we will be there. Also we need to be getting closer to our start up goal of $10,000.

We are beyond thankful for those of you that have partnered with us financially and in prayer. We are humbled and in awe of how God continues to show up and use our family of believers to come along side of us and be such a great source of encouragement!

As I look back over this last month, no other word could best describe how I feel but…encouragement.At the beginning of this month, I took my eyes off of Jesus and took things into my own hands…because things weren’t happening as fast as I thought they should be…according to MY plan, MY timing. In return, I began to get discouraged and downhearted and I began to doubt. (Big shocker there, like anything good ever comes from me relying on myself instead of God…when will I ever learn?) I am so humbled to know I serve a God who is faithful, even when I am faithless. I am reminded of Peter, as he was walking on water towards Jesus and he takes his eyes off of Jesus and begins to look at the raging storm around him and He begins to sink.
I have been like Peter so many times in my life and God full of grace and mercy has pulled me up and shown me His faithfulness and given me His strength. He is continuously teaching me what it really means to walk by faith, not by sight.(2Cor 5:7)

God has used so many of you to bring encouragement to me this past month! Thank you!

I know this is only the beginning but I am so humbled at how God has used this journey to stretch our faith, refine us, take us out of our comfort zones and lean into Him more!

We can rest completely in His sovereignty knowing… This God–His way is perfect. (Ps 18:30a)

Gods Timing is Always Perfect

Hello All! I hope all you moms had an awesome Mother’s Day! I am truly blessed beyond measure!

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Let me give you a little update on what we’ve been doing, what we plan to do and where we stand as of now.

One of the biggest things that we have to do is sell our house and well pretty much everything we own, so our house is the biggest part of that. Let me give you just a little bit of background on our house. Stephen and I have been married for 10 years this year,(yaaaaay! ­čśŐ I’m just a LITTLE excited and in shock how fast time truly goes by) and for 8 of those years we rented, we moved…A LOT…just ask our friends that ALWAYS helped us…and we traveled. We always wanted to be ready to go when and if He would call us. Well 2 years ago this summer, God gave us our house. Seriously, it was amazing. A great home, that was a foreclosure, on the end of a cul-de-sac with a great big backyard and lots of trees. We love it!
So we took it, thinking God would have us stay here, put down roots and be missionaries in our own town…come to find out that wasn’t exactly His long term plan for us. Seriously, not even 6 months later Stephen was boarding a plane for Swaziland Africa that would, in our thoughts, change our path/our plan completely…but of course it came to no surprise to God. You see, when we God sells our house we will be completely debt free! I love that our God is a God of details!! His timing is perfect! So we have been doing lots of painting and little jobs and it is almost ready!!!
We have also been selling T-shirts. Thank you to everyone that has bought one already and if you want one we still have some.

We have 2 fundraisers that we’ll be doing this summer. One is at Artsy Me Saturday June 14th from 3-7pm, Father’s Day weekend. So mark your calendars, we’ll be selling food in the parking lot and it will be lots of fun!
Our second fundraiser will be selling Boston Butts. We are still working out the details, so be looking for more info on that in the near future.

This is where we stand on our actual support that we have received so far. We are at 12% funded monthly and have roughly $1300 in our launch fund. This is where we need to be by July. We need to be 100% funded monthly, and well on our way to reaching our goal in our launch fund. Thank you to all that have given already, my heart overflows!

Wow! We have a long way to go. When I sit and actually look at the numbers and ALL the things that still have to be done, it can be a little overwhelming to say the least. I question “how” and “when”? Then of course the answer comes, one I already knew but way too often need to be reminded of. It will only happen through God and in His perfect timing! He has called us and He will be the One that prepares our way. He is faithful! Through Him and only Him can we have His perfect peace and He is the Rock on which we stand.
Isaiah 26:3-4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in The Lord forever, for The Lord God is an everlasting Rock.

Our Blog

Good morning friends! ┬áSo here is our blog. We’ve never blogged before so just bear with us, as we are newbies when it comes to blogging! :) We are very excited to be able to share with you all about our journey and all that God is doing. You can read about our family, the calling that God has put on our hearts and how to partner with us in giving and updates as we are moving along in this process. ┬áMost importantly though, we covet your prayers. ┬áJames 5:16b The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.┬á