Saturday, July 29, 2006

Heading East


Yesterday was a day of contrasts. The flurry of last minute mechanical tune-ups; loading piles of clothes, food, CDs, instruments and various other items deemed nessesary for the coming week. Then the long, quiet drive to our first stop in Dunlap, IA.

True to midwest summers, it was in the upper 90s and we were grateful that a majority of the park was shaded by trees. Though it was very warm -- and the stage was illuminated by the worlds largest spotlight -- it was a good evening of fellowship and friends. And after packing up, we greatly enjoyed the fun of a midnight swim in our friend's pool to cool off! (Thank you!)


So we're on the road again. This trip will take us out to Pennsylvania, with several stops along the way. Thank you for your prayers, and we look forward to keeping you posted as the journey continues!


"Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?
Who can show forth all His praise?
...blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say Amen. Praise ye the Lord!"
Psalm 106:2&48

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Home & Away

We're home! No wait, we're leaving. Actually, we're unpacking so we can get packed -- or rather, re-organizing our luggage?! [smile]

At any rate, here are a few pictures from our latest journey ---

Every once in awhile we're able to take in a tourist attraction as we travel. This time, Daddy surprised us by stopping for a couple hours at the Mall of America. Whew! A great place to get some walking exercise!

We all enjoyed an afternoon of riding horses with friends near Spooner, Wisconsin. Our little cowboy just needs his hat!

And now it has been good to be home these couple days and dig into our bread baking, yard projects, correspondence, laundry, and other various 'family life' routines.

As we prepare to re-pack in preparation for leaving again tomorrow, I am reminded of the lyrics to a song our family heard recently. To me this sums it all up -- whether His calling is to load up in a 40-ft bus and head out on the road, or to serve in a community, a workplace, a home.

The activities of working, praying, teaching, cooking, scrubbing floors (or whatever it may be), are to be an outflow of our love for Jesus Christ. What matters most is not the size of the job, but the love behind our actions.

I just want to please the Lord
Be in His will in every way
To be lost in His presence, found in His likeness.

Hear Him say 'Well Done' someday.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Prison Sights

There's nothing so hard as trying to write a blog post without having a picture to share -- especially when I am so accustomed to having Bethany's great shots to work with.

But for this post there are no pictures. Not because we didn't want to. No. There are so many visual details dancing in my head that I'd like to share with you, but because of prison regulations, we are unable to capture them on film.

The forboding razor wire and fencing. The official guards standing on duty. The x-ray machines with all our equipment running through. The metal detectors.

We walked through the quiet courtyard with blooming flowers that somehow look out of place -- the cheery with the desolate. The beautiful chapel with its high ceilings and marble floors. The chaplain tells us this prison used to be an old Catholic seminary, thus the majestic surroundings.

But most of all, I wish you could see the faces. The eyes. They all walked in single file and were assigned their seats. Four to a row down both sides. All dressed alike wearing olive green. But all different at the same time -- with various backgrounds, hurts, needs, joys and fears. Each one a soul loved by the heart of God.

Sometimes I've wondered what it would be like to see Jesus standing, as it says, "moved with compassion" (Mt 9:26). He wouldn't see a mass of men dressed alike -- but instead, different individuals with the same need.

What a blessing it was to share with them yesterday evening! Though at first several looked sceptical, by half-way into the service they were glued. Everyone watching and on the edge of their seats. All sixty-five of them.

After an hour of music, Dad got out his Bible and started sharing Scriptures. And as the Gospel message was presented there was a hush on the room and 13 men responded. We have been in many services -- even prison services, but rarely have we sensed the power of prayer as we did in those moments. We knew many of you were praying, and it brought such rejoicing!!!

We have been told that this prison has a very strong discipleship program in place with many volenteers coming in to spend one-on-one time with the inmates in Bible study and prayer. And as the chaplian said he'd keep in touch, we look forward to hearing how ministry continues among the inmates.

Again, thank you, THANK YOU, for your prayers. Truely He is able to "do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think"! (Eph. 3:20)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Grandparents

Sometime in the past I saw a decorative plaque that read, “There’s no place like home – except Grandma’s house.”

That thought rings true in our hearts this week as we enjoy several days with Mom’s parents in northeastern Iowa. A couple of our menfolk needed to head home for business needs (and we’re missing them bunches!), but the rest of us have been busy here, working and playing -- and just enjoying time with Grandpa and Grandma.

Living in town the past several years, I all too quickly forget what it’s like to enjoy the simple pleasures of farm life: digging fresh garden potatoes for supper (along with fresh beans, peas, and raspberries!)… running quickly to shut the house windows before an impending rainstorm… walking barefoot through the grass… and watching the boys help Grandpa with his tractors.

All these every-day delights bring a smile to my heart and songs of thanksgiving to my loving Father for creating these gifts – and for giving me the capacity to enjoy them.

Elizabeth in the garden

But though it’s great to experience country life once again, I have to admit our highlight has been getting to spend time with our grandparents.

I’ve heard that humility is… “recognizing that everything I am today is a reflection of what God and others have invested in my life”.

And with that thought, we’d like to hereby publicly thank you, Grandpa and Grandma (and Grandma Wissmann, too!) for the godly heritage that you have passed on through the years. Your love for Jesus Christ, your commitment to marriage and family, and your diligent hard work -- coupled with a joyous zest for life and laughter-- has given so much to each of our lives individually. We love you BIGGER! [smile]

“One generation shall praise Thy works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts” Psalm 145:4


A fun moment captured at Christmas time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Camp Wapo

...And now, we interrupt our normal blogging topics to bring you a small peek into the ‘Wissmann family history’ archives… [smile]

It was June of 1977. A certain young man and a certain young lady both signed up for a summer ministry team, headquartered at a certain Bible camp in Wisconsin…

Yes, Dad and Mom first met as they were assigned to the same mission team 29 years ago – Dad as the team leader. They introduced themselves and had their first conversation on the steps of an unassuming building called the ‘Lodge’. Though they little suspected a new chapter of life had begun, the Lord was leading them both in His plan – and are we ever grateful!!!

This past weekend our whole family was able to visit Camp Wapo and stand at the steps of the Lodge together.

Dad and Mom have both shared what a blessing it was to meet and grow to know each other with the backdrop of many hours spent learning to study God’s Word and sharing it with others. We thank God for Camp Wapo and for how the Lord used it to bless our family!

“O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together.”
Psalm 34:3


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stephen

Happy 13th Birthday Stephen!

What a joy it is to add another teenager to our ranks (especially as we older ones are rapidly moving into the 20s)! The last couple years you have grown so much -- not merely in inches, but in character and skills. We never cease to be surprised with the projects you bring up from the basement or the way you quickly catch on to 'how things work'. Your smiles, team-work spirit, and mandolin music add so much to our household.

May God bless you abundantly in the coming year, and may you continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We love you!!!

"But also... giving all diligence, add to you faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

For it these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Peter 1:5-8

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Changes

Yes, our blog has a new look -- to our surprise as much as yours!

In an attempt to change the layout to be more 'style friendly' with our home page, I inadvertently saved my work yesterday and this is the result! Actually, we are still in the 'making changes' mode for this template, so thanks in advance for your patience as we figure out how all this html language works! [smile]

Always more to learn, right?!!

Packing to Go

This morning our house is abuzz with activity. After having a couple weeks spent mostly at home, we're jumping back into our 'pack and go' routine. We're looking forward to heading north -- especially as the trip will include spending several days with our grandparents in Iowa!!! There's nothing quite like Grandpa and Grandma's house, so today's packing has a little extra flavor of anticipation. (We can't wait to see you!!!)


Also included in this trip will be a service in a WI State Correctional Institution. Dad, Mom, and we 5 oldest will be going in to share with the inmates on Monday, July 24th (the original date was changed from that on our schedule page). Please be in prayer for us specifically on that date -- and in preparation beforehand. We're praying for the Spirit of the Lord to work in each of the inmates, as well as in our own lives. The chaplain is excited as he already has a comparatively large number of men signed up to attend. We'll keep you updated!

And for the sake of having some pictures to post, I ran around yesterday morning and captured some pictures of our 'everyday activities'. So for a peek into what most of us were doing:

Matthias studying away.

Schooltime with Mommy is a highlight for the younger children -- and one that we've continued throughout the summer. Yesterday they were working on ancient history maps.

Bethany enjoys updating her blog. This is such a good way to stay in touch, don't you think?!

"God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the people praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise You."
Psalm 67:1-3

Monday, July 10, 2006

Bethany

Happy 20th Birthday Bethany!!!

Who's the one who puts sweet notes in our drawers and closets just to say she cares?

Who's the one who single-handedly keeps our laundry clean and put away?

Who's the one who gets up early to make a special birthday breakfast in the basement of all places -- just so she won't wake up the birthday girl?!

Who's the one who makes the best homemade rolls this side of the Mississippi?

Who's the one who quietly records her thoughts and favorite quotes to add to her beautiful photography as a blessing to all who read her blog?

Who's the one who investes time in her little 'look alike', teaching her to hide God's Word in her heart?

Okay, I could go on and on...and on... but all this to say, "We love you, Bethany".

May your day be filled with blessings that are as bright and special as the sparkle in your eyes --- and may the year ahead bring you closer in your walk with Jesus as you live for HIM!


"...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;"
Philippians 1:6

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Thought for the day.....


"If Jesus had been a philosopher,
they could have debated Him.

If He had been a warrior,
they could have fought Him.

If He had been a religionist,
they could have written Him off as an extreemist.

But Jesus was LOVE,

and what does one do with that?"
--author unknown

[John 15:9-13]

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Our Republic

It has been a full week already -- but what a joyous one! The 4th was packed with activity from the early morning races, to the peaceful evening at the park enjoying the brass concert.....and of course, the exploding fireworks that followed. I'm posting a few pictures of our day along with several quotes from our founding fathers. May we once again catch their vision to live as "one nation under God."
"The great vital and conservatice element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truthes of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
-- Congress of the Unites States

"[The Bible] is the rock upon which our republic rests."

--Andrew Jackson

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ."
--Patrick Henry

"Education is useless without the Bible."
--Noah Webster

"I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifestied during our Revolution, or that thy failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them."

-- George Washington

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Home Front

The streets are freshly striped... the yards have been trimmed and mowed... the carnival has begun to set up... and its as humid as ever in Seward today. It must indeed be the day before July 4th!

Our little town of Seward grows from around 6,500 residents to over 50,000 for a day of 100+ events and activities -- and for our family, this is a highlight of the year! Our home will greatly expand as well, and these past several days we've been working to have everything ready for our 30+ guests who will arrive this evening (we can't wait to see ya'll!).

There will be plenty of opportunities for ministry here as well -- which have been in the forefront of our prayers lately. Child Evangelism Fellowship will have a tent in town with many youth coming in to work as staff, and our family has a concert at 2:00. We're looking foward to a full day -- stay tuned for pictures.

And speaking of pictures, here are a few we captured from this weekend.....

We're thrilled to have some friends from Orlando, FL here for the week. They've even pitched in to help with various projects -- including frosting cookies this morning.


And we've found time for fun, too! [smile]


Thank you for your prayers for Stephen. He is doing very well with his cast and has gone from the 'discovering what he can't do' stage, to relearning how to do all his favorite activities -- including picking out his songs on the mandolin! We're thrilled to still hear that instrument playing with the rest -- thank you for your prayers!


"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being."

Revelation 4:11