Monday, February 27, 2006

Birthday again!!?

Guess who doesn't have a birthday this week? fact, he doesn't have a birthday this year! Yes, Andrew was a leap-year baby, but we will be celebrating anyway!

Happy 18th Birthday Andrew!

We're thankful that the Lord placed you in our family. Your ability to make us laugh in those 'down moments'... your diligent service both at home and at work... your creative music on quiet evenings.... your input into our late night discussions.... your thoughtfulness with younger children... these are all reasons that we thank the Lord for you. We pray the Lord will continue to lead and guide your life as you seek His direction. God bless you!

"But you, O man for God...pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith..." 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Friday, February 24, 2006

Odds and Ends

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wonderous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!" Psalm 105:1-4

Good morning from Orlando, Florida! We arrived here last night after driving through heavy rain much of the way south (a fun rarity for us 'northerners' this time of year!). It has been a full week since we've been on to blog -- but since a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, hopefully this will get you up to date on our adventures.

We cannot say thank you enough for your prayers. I don't want to mention it so often it seems trite, but we daily see the Lord's hand as many of you lift us before the throne. Thank you, thank you!

A few events we were unable to document with pictures includes the evening we spent in the Abbeville county jail last Friday. There were only a few men present and we were tired from the family seminar and service the night before -- ready for a quiet family night. Thoughts like, "Is this really worth it?" had to be fought from our minds. But again the Lord showed us that His power is perfected in our small efforts.

As we began to sing our first song, the men were so moved -- one becoming so emotional he had to walk into a nearby room. The time was precious as we shared and interacted with the inmates. As Dad preached the gospel of salvation, their eyes were glued to him and we trust that many seeds were planted. We continue to pray that the Lord will work in their hearts. We have no idea what each of them are going through, but He does!

The final night of the Family Life seminar the children presented a program of the songs/verses we'd learned during the week. What a good group!

Our family was able to tour the Wilderness Boy's Camp in Fair Play, SC. What an experience it was to see how the boys live and to hear the testimonies of changed lives.

Spending moments at the boy's outdoor chapel.

Nathanael's little 'friend'.

Celebrating Josiah's birthday with a 'birthday buddy' in Orlando.
(That poor candle doesn't have a chance!)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Today we have a birthday boy at our, bus!

Happy Birthday Josiah!!!

Please let us take this opportunity to say that we are so glad you're our brother, Josiah! We're thankful for all the fun moments growing up with you. You know -- climbing trees in the country...our 'forts'...late night discussions...those crazy projects we worked on together....the list could go on and on. And now it is a great joy to see your heart for the Lord and diligence in pursuing His plan for your life! Keep flying high as you follow the Lord! We love you!!

-- Your brothers and sisters

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Family Life Seminar

Hello to all from North Carolina!

This week our family has been so blessed by an opportunity to present our first family seminar. We have experienced the Lord's strength being perfect in our weakness as we've stepped into this new venture. Dad and Mom have spent the evenings sharing principles from God's Word that have shaped our family -- and we kids have been leading the children's seminar with about 60 in attendence from ages 3-13. It has been a great adventure and we are so grateful for all the southern hospitality and warm fellowship of the believers here.

Thank you again for your prayers. We have really felt the Lord's hand at work through each of the evening session thus far - tonight being the final one. The evenings have been big, with lots of activies. To give you a little glimpse of what they are like...

Our 'trip to a village in Africa'

Hands on activities

Josiah sharing 'Elijah & the prophets of Baal'

I just have to add that working together as a team has been such a delight! Someone commented last night that "It was so neat to watch all you siblings work together and pitch in to get the job done!" I couldn't help but think, "That is the ONLY way to get it all done!" (grin) It truly is a blessed thing when brethren dwell together in unity. It so saddens my heart when siblings talk disparingly of one another. We are to encourage and build eachother up, not tear down. And as my brothers and sisters and I have worked together to get this done, we have again grown closer together. Amazing, eh? Hopefully the children will have learned something too -- not just us teachers!

Waterfalls and Fellowship

Today we had the delight of going hiking along a trail of waterfalls with the Bontrager family. What a joy it was to fellowship with eachother and enjoy God's amazing creation at the same time! The pictures don't half do it justice -- it is hard to get the roar, the mist, the power, the awesome-ness, all in a picture! But we'll enclose a few anyway:

Andrew and Taylor -- getting ready to throw a snowball at me!

Alaythia, Allison, Susanna and Hannah
enjoying the sunshine and eachother!

One of many -- the incredible waterfalls.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Blogging from South Carolina

Greetings to all of our family, friends, acquaintances, and whoever else reads this blog...

Last night was the first night of the prison crusade here in Abbeville, South Carolina. The service went very well, God's prescence was there and He moved on the hearts of men. Daddy preached, then gave an altar call; three men went forward to commit their lives to Christ for the very first time. Several others came forward for re-commitment, and yet some more just for prayer. It was exciting to see Him work. Praise His name!

As I sang and watched the prisoners through out the service, I couldn't help but think that they looked so clean cut. Meeting them on the street I never would've guessed that they were worthy of the punishment of being locked up. Yet it is only by God's grace that I am where I am. If it wasn't for that grace, I could be the one in prison needing ministered too. Why was I born into a godly family instead of a broken home like so many of these men? Why did I come to the saving knowledge of Him at a young age instead of stumbling through life? I don't know why. I am so underserving. I praise His name that He put me in the family He did, to be nutured and taught His ways -- and that now I can go into these prisons to share with these men about the God and Saviour I love who has done so much for me. God hasn't placed me in the family He has merely to know His ways and be knowledgeable of Him, but that I might tell others, that the message may continue.

There is no inheritance which the richest parent can bequeth to a child that can compare for one moment with the influence and blessing of a truly Godly home.
-J. R. Miller

Prayer requests:
- For the prisoner's hearts to be soft and open to God's Word that He might draw them to Himself
- That God would continue to guide Daddy as He preaches and shares the salvation message
- For the Lord to be glorified

PS - We'd love to post some pictures of our time down here, but we are unable to download them right someday we'll end up posting lots of pictures to catch ya'll up to date! (Y'all is a very southern phrase down here.... :) Thank you for your prayers, and may the Lord continue to bless y'all!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Breakfast, anyone?

We are currently in Chattanooga, TN -- We thank the Lord for safe travels thus far. We have seen the Lord's hand of protection already as He enabled us to discover a minor break-down before it became a major issue. Praise the Lord for friendly mechanics along the route!

Tonight we start orientation for the prison ministry. In the meantime, we thought we'd give you a little glimpse into a typical bus morning -- breakfast! Mmm-mm!

"We should be faithful in small things
while believing for BIG things from God."

Monday, February 06, 2006

On the road again.....

Today we have been packing and preparing all the last minute details for our upcoming month-long trip. We'd ask for your prayers specifically this week (Feb. 8-12) as we will be working with Gospel Express Prison Ministries to share the gospel through music & preaching to South Carolina inmates. We are praying for a preparation of the hearts: for ours, that we would be pure vessels the Lord can work through; and for theirs to be open to God's Word.

Also, the following week (Feb. 12-15), we have been asked to present a family semiar in a North Carolina church. We'd be so grateful for your prayers as Dad and Mom share Biblical principles that have shaped our family -- and we children lead the youth activities.

God bless you all for your prayers and encouragement. We have especially enjoyed your comments and notes. Thank you! We look forward to sharing the testimonies of the Lord's work over the next month!

Family Update

As we haven't been blogging about recent family news, here's a quick update.....

We arrived home from our Texas trip this past Monday (January 30th). A big thank you for all your prayers -- our first 'real' trip with the new bus was smooth and safe. Our family is so grateful for the opporunities that the Lord brought across our path to minister in this new area. We'd never been to Texas before, and were so blessed by the warm hospitality and fellowship we received. I think a few of us even started picking up on that gentle Texas drawl!

Hannah, Susanna, and Alaythia enjoy the warm Texas weather.
This trip also had it's surprises as Nathanael came down with a heavy case of the chicken pox enroute. We fixed him up with his own tub in the back of the bus -- and his own personal 'story-reader'!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Thought for the day.....

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35
This is my verse for the day from my devotional time in God's Word this morning. How many different people can I give to today? And how many different ways is there to give? Time. Gifts. Praise. Love. A smile. A helping hand. It doesn't have to be big - just having the attitude of living for others instead of myself makes such a differance. Being a giver means more than having big fancy presents for everyone, rather it is an attitude of the heart - joyfully serving those I love, giving of myself for them.

So...did I take the time today to let someone know, rather than just guess, that I care?


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Aviation Progress.....

Congratulations on passing your instrument rating, Josiah! We are all so happy for you and are looking forward to seeing how the Lord will use these new flight skills in your life! May you continue to remember to keep your eyes on the 'Instruments for Life' (God's Word) as you often so graciously remind us. It is a delight to see all your diligent work of the past several months brought to completion! Be safe flying through those clouds!

"Commit your way unto the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
Psalm 37:5