31 August 2009


Much to Tim's dismay, I don't tend to keep a lot of snacky, processed, premade sweets (sorry, Oreo cookies... even though I love you myself) around our house. It's a habit I've developed in Niger where we make treats to enjoy, but they are almost always rapidly and immediately consumed as a dessert. If the kids need a snack, it is a smaller portion of leftovers in the fridge, an apple or carrot or cucumber (if they are in season), peanuts, popcorn, pbj sandwich, cinnamon toast.... well, you get the idea. But Little Debbies, Wheat Thins, neon orange peanut butter and cracker sandwiches from the vending machine... those sorts of things are either unheard of in Niger, or outside our bugetary limitations. And since we I don't want to succumb to a furlough weight explosion where they have to roll me back onto the plane and where once back in Niamey I have to listen to all my Nigerien friends tell me how fat I got over furlough, I use a few guidelines to try and keep things in check. It has worked in the past... we'll have to see how well it works now that I'm officially "over the hill!" This was all fine and dandy until my dad stopped by yesterday and told me if I didn't have some yummies around for him, he *might* not come and visit. So, I decided to try and prove to him that our homemade treats can be just as nice~ and made him a chocolate zucchini cake. This is one of my favorite recipes because it has a nice dark chocolate flavor and has always turned out deliciously, even when I've left it in the oven a little too long!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar (brown sugar is nice, too)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 4 cups grated zucchini

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  • In a separate bowel, mix eggs and butter.
  • Fold zucchini into eggs and butter until evenly distributed.
  • Then gently *with a wooden spoon* mix dry and wet together.
  • Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Eat warm, preferably with milk or ice cream.

So most and flavorfull there's NO ICING NEEDED!

Gampy said he really liked the cake. Hopefully that wasn't just because of the *store-bought* butter pecan ice cream he had with it!

Backyard Portraits by Gampy ~ "Anna"

Have you ever thought it funny... the history of a particular item of clothing? I bought this dress for Rebekah, before Jonathan was born and we came home for our last furlough as an "Easter dress." Rebekah wore it for that Easter and a few times since, but she's never liked it. Anna, on the other hand, loves it and chooses to wear it all the time... I never figured I was really buying it for her... after all, she wasn't even 4 years at the time! But now, when I look at this dress - it is SO Anna... and she looks so sweet wearing it!

Ramadan, 2009 - The Khorasani Turks in Iran

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Monday, 31 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

More than 830,000 Khorasani Turks live in the northern part of the Khorasan province (northwest of Mashhad). Khorasan is an important agricultural area and most Khorasani Turks are farmers. They are skillful craftsmen of jewellery, dolls, and glassware. Khorasan is Persian and means "Land of the Rising Sun."

The Khorasani Turks are 100 per cent Muslim, and their society is organized around traditional Muslim rules. At the present time, there are no known Khorasani Turk believers. Living in a very remote corner of the world, they are currently without Gospel resources in their own language, and there is no specific effort to implant believing congregations among them.

Prayer Starters:
  • Pray that God will open doors for Christian businessmen and others to share Christ with the Khorasani Turks.
  • Ask God to raise up qualified linguists to translate the Bible into the Khorasani language.

30 August 2009

Ramadan, 2009 - Mashhad in Iran

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Sunday, 30 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

In AD 818 Ali ibn Musa al-Rida (Ali Reza) the seventh descendant of the Islamic prophet Mohammed was poisoned and buried in the small town which later became the city of Mashhad in Northeastern Iran. Ali Reza was known for his piety and he is now revered by Iranian Shi’a Muslims.

Mashhad has grown significantly during recent years. Large malls and super markets as well as department stores, parks and other attractions have popped up in the city. However, no one really knows how many people in Mashhad believe in Jesus as their saving king. All of them are under the threat of government persecution. One of Iran’s leading Protestant pastors from Mashhad was executed by hanging in December 1990 after a sharia court (an Islamic Court) condemned him.

Prayer Starters:
  • Scriptures to meditate on and to proclaim in prayer:
  1. (Acts 7:55-60) "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."
  2. (Luke 23:34) "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."
  3. (Luke 11:4) "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil."
  • Pray for the millions of people in this city who do not know the living God. Even if they have heard much about the God of Abraham through Islamic traditions and the Qur’an, most of them still know very little of the true God by personal experience. They are far from receiving forgiveness and new life through the Messiah.
  • Discuss with the kids how they would feel if they could not be openly Christian. Ask them to pray accordingly.

A Golf Scramble...

...or is that scrambling after a golf ball??

Call it whatever you want... 'cause regardless, they all had a great time! And beautiful weather... the perfect Michigan summer day.

29 August 2009

Backyard Portraits by Gampy ~ "Victoria"

Ramadan, 2009 - Revelations and Relationship

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Mohammed, Initial Revelations and Relationships

Saturday, 29 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

Mohammed is revered by all Muslims as the last and greatest prophet. In Islam, Mohammed is considered the “ideal man.” Mohammed is in no way considered divine, nor is he worshipped, but he is the model for all Muslims concerning how they should conduct themselves. No images of Mohammed are permitted (in order to prevent idolatry). His name actually means “The Praised One.”

During much of Mohammed’s lifetime pagan idol worship abounded in Arabia. An estimated 360 gods and goddesses were adored by the Arabs in Mecca, which was a major centre of idolatry in the region. Muslim historians think that even as a boy Mohammed detested idol worship and lived a morally pure life.

Prayer Starters:

  • There are millions of Muslims named Mohammed around the world. The name Mohammed is spelled in different ways in various places and cultures: Mohammad, Mohamed, Muhammed, Muhammad, Mahommed, Mehmed, Mehmet, Mahomet, Magomed and even Maxamed. In prayer, cite these names before God.
  • Pray that the Mohammeds of this world would come to know that there is another one who is honoured in heaven and earth and who has a name above all names. May millions of Mohammeds come to faith in the Messiah (See Acts 4:12, Philippians 2:10).
  • Ask the boys in your family to pray today but hold hands together to show you are unified and agree in prayer.

Ramadan, 2009 - The Kaili Unde People Group in Indonesia

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Friday, 28 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

The 22,000 Kaili Unde live on the west coast in the province of Central Sulawesi in Indonesia. Most Kaili Unde are dedicated Muslims. They are convinced that they will eventually be judged according to their way of life. However, heir religious life is mixed with ancient animistic beliefs too. Many of them regularly seek help from the local Dukun (shaman or magic priest) to be cured of illness or evil spirits. When a new house is built, the Kaili Unde always give gifts to both the good and evil spirits. The bigger the house, the bigger the gift. Only a few Kaili Unde have come to the Messiah. Unfortunately, there is no Bible or Christian material in their language.

Prayer Starters:
  • Pray for an openness and a willingness to obey the Gospel among the Kaili Unde (Romans 1:5 and 16:26)
  • Pray they can hear and see the Indonesian Christian radio and TV and thus find the way to Christ.
  • Pray the power of darkness and enslavement to spirits be broken and their eyes opened, so that the Kaili Unde can be freed (Acts 10:38 and 26:18).
  • Pray with your children for missionaries to go to the Kali Unde.

27 August 2009

Backyard Portraits by Gampy ~ "Elsie Mae"

(This is her "I-don't-want-to -mile-and-I'm-trying-very-hard-not-to-but-it-just-isn't-working" expression.)

Ramadan, 2009 - Arabs in the Bible

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Arabs in the Bible, God really loves the Arabs
Thursday, 27 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

God really loves Arabs.

Muslims are found in literally hundreds of different ethnic groups around the world. Possibly three quarters of the world’s Muslims are not from an Arabic background; however, Mohammed’s Arab lifestyle and cultural background have profoundly influenced Islam. We know that there are at least three types of Middle-Eastern Arabs: the Joktanites, the Ishmaelites and the Keturahites.

The Descendants of Joktan: The Arabs call him “Kahtan.” One of the very famous tribes descending from Joktan was Sheba whose descendants founded the kingdom of the Sabeans in Yemen.

The Descendants of Ishmael: They seem to have settled predominately in northern Arabia. One of Ishmael’s twelve sons named Nabajoth (Nebaioth) fathered the tribe which eventually became the head of the Nabatean kingdom (present day Jordan). Muslims believe that Mohammed was descended from Nabajoth.

The Descendants of Abraham through Keturah: All of Keturah’s sons eventually became the heads of Arab tribes. Pray along these tribal lines today and ask for revelation of the love God has for the Arab peoples.

26 August 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Trying to See Teeth in a REAL Tim Smile!

(It ain't easy as he can be VERY uncooperative in this particular manner.)

Check it out!

We've got a new look on our ministry blog. Let us know what you think - or if something is difficult to read.

Ramadan, 2009 - Abdullah and Amina

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Abdullah and Amina, Mohammed's Parents
For Wednesday 26 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

Relatively little is known of the lives of Mohammed’s parents. The father of Mohammed, Abdullah, lived from AD 545-570. His full name was Abd Allah ibn Abd al Muttalib. Allah is the word for “God” in Arabic. Abd Allah means “servant or slave of God.” Abdullah died six months before Mohammed was born. It is not known when Amina, the mother of Mohammed, was born. Her name means “trustworthy or faithful.” It is said that Amina, took Mohammed to visit his maternal uncles of the an-Najjar tribe, in Medina. On her way back to Mecca, she died when Mohammed was just six years old, leaving him an orphan. Mohammed went to live with his grandfather and then with an uncle.

Prayer Starters

  • Pray for the millions of living Abdullahs and Aminas around the world, that they would discover the the Messiah.
  • Pray that the Abdullahs could discover real freedom as servants of God’s anointed King, Jesus.
  • Pray for each woman named Amina, that she might discover that Jesus is the most trustworthy one.
  • As you pray with your family today, remember to pray for and bless the whole family.

25 August 2009

Just because ~

"I have committed myself to joy...."

"We must not be afraid to announce it to refugees, slum dwellers, saddened prisoners, angry prophets. Now and then we must even announce it to ourselves.

In this prison of now, in this cynical and sophisticated age, someone must believe in joy."

- Richard Rohr

Read this quote on my favorite blog today, so now I'm reminding myself... even when life is hard and situations just seem unfair, I've got infinitely many more reasons to be joyful than to be sad, and those scales will forever tip in the direction of joy.

...she's ONE of my reasons!

Ramadan, 2009 - The Real Cost of Following Jesus

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Secret believers... The real cost of following Jesus
Tuesday, 25 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

For a former Muslim, becoming a believer in the Messiah is more than simply changing religion. In leaving Islam, the person has left his identity. The consequences of this choice are terrible: new believers are often rejected by other Muslims, and their family, and sometimes they are forced to divorce and they lose their children. They can lose their inheritance, their employment, their lodging, sometimes they receive death threats and some are actually killed. In many cases they are obliged to live their new faith in secret because of the fear of persecution. They become real “secret believers.” Many are isolated, and it is very difficult for them to persevere in their faith. The new believer needs a new identity.

Prayer Starters:
  • Pray for the secret believers who are even now facing the possibility of death. May God protect them.
  • Pray for their families that they also may be attracted to the light of Christ.
  • Pray that there would be a change of mentality so that Muslims can accept believers in the Messiah as honourable members of society.
  • Pray that the situation of the secret believers would be better known and that believers all over the world could give them help.
  • Explain to your children about the freedom you have and ask them to pray for a secret person.

    To read the complete article.

24 August 2009

Ramadan, 2009 - Sudan, The Guhayna People

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Monday, 24 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

The 1.3 million Guhayna are a largely nomadic people living in Central Sudan. Not much is known about this people group other than that they are Sudanese Arabs who trace their heritage to the Bedouin who wandered the deserts of Saudi Arabia centuries ago.

The Guhayna embrace rigid codes of honour, loyalty and hospitality, the strong role of men in society, the value of children, subservience of women and the five pillars of Islam. To confess Jesus as Lord is not well accepted and has serious consequences. Pray that fear of persecution from Islamic relatives will not hinder the Guhayna as they consider the Gospel. No one is actively reaching this people group.

Prayer Starters:

  • Pray for missionaries and funds so the Guhayna can hear about Jesus.
  • The Guhayna, like many Muslims, do not understand the term "Son of God." May God bring real breakthroughs in this area of Muslim misunderstanding. This subject is one of the most significant hindrances for Muslims coming to Christ. They need revelation.

Scriptures to meditate on and proclaim in prayer:
  • (2 Peter 1:16-18) - "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount."
  • (2 Samuel 7:12-14) - "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men..."
  • (John 1:49) - "Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."
  • (John 11:27) - "She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
  • (John 20:31) - "She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
  • (Romans 1:1-5) - "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name..."
  • (Psalm 2:7) - "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee."
  • (Acts 13:33) - "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."
  • (Hebrews 1:5) - "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?"

23 August 2009

Ramadan, 2009 - Muslim Attitudes Concerning the West and Christians in General

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Sunday, 23 August
"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

Many Muslims do not practise their own religion regularly. They find themselves torn between Islam and Western values and culture. The relationships between Muslims and Westerners are sometimes tense. Each have attitudes of suspicion, rejection and feelings of injustice toward the other. This can lead to hatred. In addition, simple non-moral differences between cultures can be a major source of prejudice, problems and misunderstandings.

Unfortunately, believers are not always good examples of God’s character. In the words of one person who knows Muslims well, “Many Muslims have never met a believer who is actually living a real Christian life. This is certainly one of the greatest hindrances to effectively making the Messiah known among Muslims.”

Prayer Starters:
  • Pray that Muslims will be able to meet sincere practising believers,
  • and discern how they are different from cultural Christians.
  • With your children, share how a Christian should live in order to show a Muslim what it means to believe in Jesus.

Scriptures to meditate on and proclaim in prayer
  • (Leviticus 19:2) "Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy."
  • (Mt 5:48) "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
  • (Rom 12:2) "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
To read the complete article

22 August 2009

Ramadan, 2009 - Day 01 ~ "Our Attitude: Unbelief, Belief and Love."

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

"Loving Muslims Through Prayer"

It is often said that Muslims are hard to reach with the Gospel. For religious, cultural and spiritual reasons this is often true. However it is not impossible. The Bible tells us that nothing is impossible for God (Mt. 19:26). Do I agree with God that nothing is too hard for Him?

Faith is important but do I also love Muslims? What is my most profound reaction when I meet them, when I see them on television? How would I react if a man in Muslim clothing came to my church? How would I react if a new believer from a Muslim background wanted to marry into my family? Would I be willing to give a thousand dollars so someone could proclaim the Gospel among Muslims? Would I be willing to sit and eat with a Muslim in a crowded restaurant? Have I been involved in criticizing them without knowing them? Am I fearful of Muslims? Is my main attitude toward them one of mistrust? Am I able to do as Jesus says, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”? Is this my desire, is this my goal?

Be honest with God. Pray as He directs you. If it seems appropriate, pray for yourself and / or other believers around the world who may also be struggling with their attitudes, ideas and actions toward Muslims.

  • (Mt. 19:26) "But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
  • (Jeremiah 32:27) "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?"
  • (Romans 12:1-2) "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

21 August 2009

Our New and Updated Prayer Card...

We're sending them off to the printer and should have some back soon. Email us (use the link in our sidebar) with your snail mail address if you'd like us to send you one!

19 August 2009

Ramadan, 2009 - Why Pray?

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Why pray for Muslims?

Muslims and Christians believe that there is one God, but are we worshiping the same God in word and deed? One might also ask: In a time when many people think that all roads and all religions lead to the one true God, why should one pray for Muslims to come to salvation? Does it make any difference? Are they not already accepted by God?

Certainly Muslims are loved by God. Without doing anything they are loved by Him. God counts Muslim children and adults as precious. He loves every aspect of their languages, food, attitudes and daily life which are truly good and right. However, this does not mean that Muslims have entered into eternal life or have had their sins forgiven.

Muslims are not inspired by the hope of a new world in which Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, reigns as King. Most Muslims have actually been trained not to believe that Jesus died and rose again. Most Muslims around the world have not even had an opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus’ death for sins and His resurrection, which liberates us from the power of sin, death and demonic bondage.

Jesus has come so that we can have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10). Therefore let us pray for Muslims so they can enter into that life in the Messiah’s eternal kingdom.

Scriptures to meditate and pray:
  • (2 Tim 3:2-5)"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
  • (Matt 28:18-20) "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
  • (1 John 4:9-10)"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

Wordless Wednesday - Isn't She Beautiful?

18 August 2009

Ramadan, 2009

Ramadan 2009 / 1430: August 22 - September 20

Dear friends,
Welcome to the 18th Anniversary of the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World.
This year we have a special focus on the family of Mohammed. We hope you will gain insight into the life and family of this man who continues to greatly influence Muslims. In addition, we focus much of our prayer efforts on some of the most remote and largely unreached Muslim peoples. God has not forgotten them. God is awesome and He knows the hairs on the head of every individual.

The email edition is an extract of the main booklet and a link is provided each day to the main article. The idea is to give you a gist of the prayer material so you can be praying in unity with the rest of the world. The email is sent one day early to try to include most time zones.

Please use the Bible as much as possible in prayer. We have included various Bible references you can meditate on and proclaim. Ask God to inspire your prayers. That will build your faith and God can give you new insights for prayer based on His Word.

I prayed throughout Ramadan using your booklet for the first time last year, 5 times a day with my Muslim friend Hameed. My prayer was Hameed would give his life to Jesus before Ramadan 2009. On 26 July he gave his life to the Lord! I am speechless with gratitude over what the Lord has done. I will be praying for his family and other Muslim friends this year!

Praise God. Let us believe together. Surely there has never been a more significant if not urgent need to pray Muslims into the Kingdom of God as right now.

God bless you, we appreciate your commitment to pray. It is not easy to get committed pray-ers these days, so you are all the more appreciated.

Thank you. We look forward to praying with you,
Ron and the whole 30-Days International Team

Last year, I reposted daily prayer reminders sent out by the 30-days team on our blogs to encourage others to join with us in praying throughout the month of Ramadan. We received this letter, reminding us that Ramadan begins in just a few days, and the testimony really touched my heart... by God's grace, I want to take the time to pray 5 times daily this year throughout the month of fasting... that God would move mightily throughout the world, but that He would, in particular, impact the hearts and lives of a few very specific friends. Will you join with us? If you are praying with us, please leave a comment to let us know. God will bless!

Quotable Quotes

"I am a little pencil
in the hand of a writing God
who is sending a love letter to the world."
--Mother Theresa

17 August 2009

Traveling Delights

I took the kids (only some of them, to be exact) out to pick blueberries recently... and snapped some pictures (a lot of them, of course).

"Peek-a-boo" through the bushes was a favorite pose of the kids!

Cousin Emily came along with us. She enjoyed snacking on the berries... 2 in the mouth, 1 in the bucket!

Anna was probably my best berry picker - maybe she likes blueberries better than all the others!

She indulged liberally... even leaving some very tell-tale signs. =D She and I agreed that it was best to take a handful at a time - that way the sweet berries mixed with the tart or sour ones - which was even better than either all by itself.

Jonathan, on the other hand, doesn't like blueberries... NOT.AT.ALL! Thus his bucket always filled rapidly, which he thought was great fun.

Here's Nadia and her first contribution.

However, the hands down favorite of all the kids was the lollypop bucket they got to dig through after all the berries were weighed (We picked 11 pounds in about an hour, just in case you wanted to know.).


Our pastor has been preaching on heaven recently - encouraging sermons that both Tim and I have remarked to each other: "I've needed that." Yesterday, he used the phrase "joy in the journey," which reminded me of a song by that title to which I used to listen... a lot.

There is a joy in the journey
There's a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey
And all those who seek it shall find it
A pardon for all who believe
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind
To all who've been born in the Spirit
And who share incarnation with Him
Who belong to eternity stranded in time
And weary of struggling with sin
Forget not the hope that's before you
And never stop counting the cost
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost
There is a joy in the journey
There's a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

It is good to be back in the States... but even with all its perks, life in the States still has its frustrations and discouragements. Still not having all our bags unpacked and put away is frustrating. Unexpected "bumps" in the road as well as ones that are bigger than we thought they'd be (like the amount of additional monthly support we need to raise in the next 11 months) make us wonder what God's plan for us might be. But we can't forget the joy that is before us, which allows us to find joy all throughout life's journey, regardless of season or circumstances... and right now, we aren't stoppin' to smell the flowers... we are tryin' to stop and pick all the berries we can find.


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