23 September 2015

Check it out!

Well... I'm back... and planning to be around more consistently... now. But no promises on how consistent that will exactly be! Why?

celebrating reaching the summit of La Chouenne

It has been a crazy nine months, and in the craziness, this place has been sadly neglected:

  • 2 months of single parenting while Tim was working up in Quebec last winter
  • An online class with a 2 week practicum (in Montreal... Yeah - Tim got 2 months and I got 2 weeks. Sound like a fair exchange to you?) But now I am Cambridge University ESL certified and hoping to use that skill here in Quebec.
  • A Homecoming Queen and a graduating senior
  • A "graduating" kindergartner
  • "international"  company and some amazing visits from some wonderful people
  • An international move - without the help of a moving company but with the help of a lot of amazing friends
  • Learning a new place
  • Settling two adult children into their lives far away - one studying Biology in Michigan and the other studying Missionary Nursing in Iowa
  • Helping the other 6 children transition into school, in a foreign language (French) - just trust me when I say it is a lot of intensive work! I already knew how hard it was, but before it was always one child at a time. Now, it is that same amount of work times 6!
  • A new church
  • Another graduation year and making sure everything is in order for her to begin community college (studying elementary education) next fall, here in Quebec.
Yikes! See why there are no promises?

But I have missed this place ~  It is hard to think when I best think with my fingers on a keyboard and I've not had time to do so very much lately.

For now, though, the house is silent - except for my tapping away: Tim is away at the studio, busy editing programming for Aujourd'hui l' Espoir. The kids are all at school. And I'm at home, taking care of  "mom"-stuff, including figuring out ways to use leftover coffee as part of an afternoon snack! This quiet time at home is like a healing balm after the crazy busyness of recent months!

And, to launch it all, 
I'd like to call your attention to a new tab above 

If you have a minute to check it out, I'd appreciate any feedback you might have!
There's a short "teaser" below!

 A series 

~ first inspired by a sermon preached by the senior pastor of my sending church ~ 

It took much longer to write, went much deeper than I expected, and will, I believe, continue to mull around in my head and heart for a long time. I wanted to collect everything here... Just for that very reason. 

And I pray that God allows me a part in His work for as long as He chooses to keep me hanging around...

Longevity, defined in its most basic terms, refers to length of service or tenure. After all of the work, time, goodbyes and oft' painful transitions into new cultures and languages, those who call themselves international workers or missionaries typically hope to have long, productive careers. Just like a doctor wouldn't want to change career directions after one or two years of work, most career missionaries do not leave for the field planning to only stay one or two years. And while there are many legitimate reasons to change that plan - "leaving before we planned to" or even "without planning to" because something preventable prevents us from staying, leaving is something most of us would like to avoid.

We want to be able to say, right along with Paul: 

For I am now ready to be offered, 
and the time of my departure is at hand. 
I have fought a good fight, 
I have finished my course, 
I have kept the faith: 
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: 
and not to me only, 
but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Click on the tab in the header above... or follow this link... to continue or for access to all posts in the series!

14 September 2015

Across the Great Divide

As a kid, I vaguely remember watching a movie called Across the Great Divide. I don’t remember a ton of details – essentially two orphan kids have to get across the Rocky Mountains and to the West Coast to get their inheritance. In the process, they meet up with… and end up partnering with… a con man which ends up being key to reaching their goal.


The title of the movie has an obvious meaning. Those orphans had to cross the Continental, or Great, Divide – a hydrological boundary that runs from the Bering Strait in Alaska to the Strait of Magellan, at the tip of South America. This line divides two great watersheds. To the east of the divide, all water drains, ultimately, into the Atlantic Ocean. To the west, it courses to the Pacific.

There is, however, another more symbolic meaning to those words. The Great Divide was not just that place where geologically, water flow separated. It was also the converse – it was the place where, for a moment, those ultimately heading in very different directions actually met. Thus, metaphorically, what could be seen by some only as only a source of division could, conceivably, also become a summit meeting place, a place for conversation and dialogue, a place for challenge, growth and change...

Within Christianity, there are a number of these “great divides,” and missions is no different....

To read the rest, join me at a life overseas: the missions conversation, where I'm posting today!

13 September 2015

Longeivty in Ministry ~ Go fast or go far. It IS your choice...

"Like longevity in life, some basic things are needed -
right genes [to be a child of God], right diet [God's Word],
right exercise [involvement in ministry]
and right environment [a place in God's community - the Church].
The Apostle Paul set it as his goal to walk worthy and finish well. So should we!"

Yet what does the practical outworking of this look like in real life and ministry? How do expats working, ministering and seeking to be Christ’s  “…witnesses… [in] Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1.8, NASB) sustain long and productive careers?

Based off of a sermon by my home church pastor and some additional, subsequent study, I’ve identified priorities, seven of them, that when practiced, can help protect those in ministry, particularly cross-cultural ministry, from burnout and temptation. Even more than protect, these priorities can also give direction and hope as they help us remember that all is grace and a gift from God.

Those priorities are:
1.       Seeking the Lord, consistently and continually
2.       Praying without ceasing
3.       Balancing personal growth, rest and ministry
4.       Welcoming accountability
5.       Committing to marriage and family
6.       Choosing to be teachable, even in difficult circumstances; and
7.       Determining to be a genuine team player.

This post considers that final priority – determining to be a genuine team player.

I’ve always been competitive. As a young person, I competed as both a gymnast and a swimmer. I swam in college (until a torn rotator cuff ended my years as a swimmer). And while I was always part of a team… the nature of the beast in both of those sports was highly individualistic. There was always a lot of rhetoric about self being the toughest competition – and always reaching for a better score or a faster time.

But? The bottom line…at least for me?  

I wanted to be first and the one standing at the top of the podium with the blue ribbon, biggest medal, the tallest trophy... not just winning out over competitors from other teams, but also scoring higher than/touching ahead of my “teammates.”

And I was okay with that. In fact, my introverted, very private, very individualistic self actually preferred it that way. I could publically cheer for my friends and teammates, but privately celebrate when I was the winner.

So I didn’t, really, learn how to play on a team until...

To read the rest, please join me over at Missionary Mom's Companion, where I posted yesterday - finally finishing (except for the wrap up post) - a long series on longevity in ministry! Be sure to let me know what you think by commenting!


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