Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rachel

(Shhh -- I'm hacking my sister's blog! It's her birthday!)

Happy 25th Birthday Rachel!

Rachel, what a joy you are to our home! I am so blessed to have a big sister like you, and praise the Lord that not only did He make us best of friends, but sisters to boot! Your selfless serving is beautiful to see -- you have truly made the joy of the Lord your strength! Whether it's traveling, almost (or past!) midnight chats, wracking our brains for ideas for our various 'predicaments', eating strawberry slushies on the River Walk, mulling over new blog post ideas, watching you excel in children ministries and homemaking arts, laughing over your latest 'blonde' moment, or seeing your beautiful character radiate in all you do, I truly treasure the times and joy we've shared!

This year I'm praying that the Lord will fill you with "the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long suffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father."
(Colossians 1:9-12)

I love you!

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

And for all of you that don't know Rachel as well as I do (you poor souls, you!), I thought I'd throw in a few little known facts about Rachel:

  • she is 'missing' a knuckle on her right hand
  • she wrote her first song at the age of 11; we performed it later that year for a home school event in Seward
  • cuts all of our girls' hair, including her own (layers and everything!)
  • doesn't like peanut butter (except in Reese's pieces)
  • took ballet lessons at the age of 5
  • when babysitting her (at the time) 8 younger siblings, she held us spellbound for literally hours while she told stories (and I'm telling you, they were the best stories, ever!)
  • she wears contact lenses
  • Arm & Hammer toothpaste is the only way to go!
  • she initiated asking Jesus into her heart when she was 4, and recommitted herself to Him at 16

Bet you didn't know all that about her! [grin]

To celebrate her big 25 years, how about seeing if we can't get 25 birthday comments on here?! Don't worry -- if your the 26 person, please feel free to still comment! By no means do you all have to stop at 25! [smile]

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Where in the world...

...are the Wissmanns?
(You'll never guess!!!)
________________________________

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever:
To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His mercy endures forever."
Psalm 136:3-4

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Weakness, His Strength

"My grace is sufficient for thee:
for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
2 Cor 12:9


We have found this verse so true this week. Thank you for your notes of encouragement and prayers. Through the weaknesses of sore throats, a minor fever-bug we've been passing around, and the 18+ policy, the Lord continues to show us that His grace is sufficent. And actually these challenges have been a good thing -- they over and over remind us that we are dependent on HIM!

Thus far we have been in 3 prisons. Each night we had a large, enthusiastic group. The verse, "He who is forgiven much, loves much" comes to life in a prison. The lyrics we've sang hundreds of times seem afresh once again as we see them resonate in the hearts of these captive -- but FREE! -- men and women.

A most incredible moment happened the first night during "I'll Break the Chains"--

"I finally fell down on my knees, crying 'Save my soul, Lord, please!'
Jesus heard my painful, desperate sound.
The Savior cleansed my soul pure white, I'm now guiltless in His sight
Glory to His name -- I'm heaven bound!"

When we hit that final phrase, the men jumped to their feet in applause and cheers.

Oh, the wonder, the miracle, the GIFT of salvation! In that moment it's glory was shown us once again. For we all have been forgiven much -- it's only our false perception that says their need was greater.

I could write for the next hour about other details and experiences of each of the other services. But for now, hopefully this give you a glimpse of how the Lord has been working! Thank you, again for your prayers. In our weakness, He is strong!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Orientation

Out of the 300,000,000 people in America, there are currently 10,000,000+ men, women, and juviniles incarcerated in our prisons or on parole. With the current return rate at 70%, this is a serious problem. Through God's Word we know that "the truth" is our only hope for real freedom. It is exciting, then to discover that 'faith-based' programs are experiencing a 85%+ success rate in the lives of these inmates. And We Care Ministries is one of those programs making an impact....

We arrived safe and sound in Montgomery, Alabama yesterday afternoon after a day with good friends and a trip through ice-glazed Kansas. I have never seen such thick ice! Any number of front yards could pass for a skating rink!

But that's off the subject....

This morning we rose early for a full day of prison orientation, through various sessions and speakers. The above facts were shared with us and the 400+ volunteers -- we found the statistics both sobering & exciting in turn. The harvest is plentiful!

For those of you who hold our family in prayer, we have learned our 'team assignments' for the week. We will be sharing Monday & Tuesday evenings in medium security prisons near Birmingham, Alabama; A maximum security "death-row" facility Wednesday afternoon; maximum security Wednesday evening, and medium security on Thursday (near Atmore, AL).
  • Please pray that the Lord would go before us, preparing the hearts of the men and women we'll be sharing with -- and our own hearts as well!
  • We also learned that Tuesday night is the only service we'll be able to take the younger children with us (under 18). This obviously presents its challenges as we rely so much on eachother! Please pray for grace as we 'fill in the gaps' -- and for peace in the bus as the children watch out for eachother during the services.

And speaking of the younger ones -- Something tells me this little guy is going to need a refresher course on some of today's sessions!


THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!


"Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry?

Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die?
Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand?
Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you DAMNED?"
--Leonard Ravenhill


"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

John 8:32

Thursday, January 18, 2007

On the Road Again

Well, after a flurry of cleaning, packing, and sorting ("hmmm.....Will I need this in the next seven weeks or not??...."), we're headed south! We're so thankful for these couple weeks at home -- and even the blessing of some winter weather and fun in the snow. Home is a precious place!

But now as the miles quickly pass under our bus wheels, we're looking forward to the days ahead. Thank you to all who have encouraged us by your prayers -- we hope to post updates frequently here to share testimonies and prayer requests as the trip unfolds.

A few specific requests:
  • Travel safety
  • Upcoming Prison Ministry -- Jan 21-25th
  • Charissa will be unable to go into the prisons with us. Pray that she will be content for several hours without Mommy!
  • Wisdom in balancing family needs/schedule.
  • Consistant family devotions -- abiding in the Vine
We look forward to what the Lord has ahead in the upcoming weeks!


And for our first stop -- we're at Grandma's house this morning! What better way to start a trip than stopping for a meal with Grandma? [smile]

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them"
Ephesians 2:10

Monday, January 15, 2007

Winter!

Winter is here! And along with it comes all the freezing temps, flying snowballs, and hot chocolate one could ask for.

Oh, and another favorite 'Wissmann tradition': homemade donuts. Mm-m-m-m-m!

Nothin' quite like a fresh homemade donut to make the day feel warm and cozy inside!

Samples anyone?!?!

"Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever."

Psalm 145:2

Saturday, January 13, 2007

From our Mailbox

This week we received the following precious story in our mailbox --


"...Recently we experienced a small family crisis and so had prayed with my daughter (7) and son (4) regarding our concerns. Within two days we saw the Lord answer in a real and powerful way!

So as I prayed with my children, praising and thanking Jesus for His help and that "this happened so soon," and that "it happened just this way" and so on....and my son interupts me with, "Dad! Dad! Dad!"

I said, "Yes?"

He said, "You know God?"

I said, "Ya?"

He said, "God's probably saying, "No problem, no problem, no problem." [smile]

Oh to regain a child's perspective of our Heavenly Father! It is His good pleasure to answer our prayers on accordance with His will!"

--------------From a Dad in the Midwest




"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?...if you then, being evil, know how to give good and gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11:11&13

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Daily-ness

We have been enjoying lots of 'daily-ness' lately. The joys of waking up in ones own bed, cooking in ones own kitchen, having school in our schoolroom.....and the list goes on. Now, just to clairify, we do greatly enjoy and are grateful for the opportunities the Lord has given as a family. But at the same time, I think we're starting to have a greater apreciation for life's 'times and seasons'.

And especially the things we tend to forget when counting our blessings: the day-in/day-outs of home. Cooking. Landry. Piano practice. Local shopping. Our home church.

Isn't it odd how easily I take such joys for granted? [smile]

So, for a view of our week thus far in pictures......

We are so grateful for our home church. To those of you who are reading this blog -- your love and support means more than we can say!!! We look forward our Sundays with you!

On Monday we had a fun evening helping our friend/neighbor/'bus-helper-extraordinaire' celebrate birthday festivities...

...and remembering 2006's bus marathon.

Of course, the celebration just wouldn't be complete without our 'high-jump' attempts (minus the poles)!!

Yesterday we spent the day helping our mighty hunters -- who, after a successful hunt last week, ended up with 6 deer to butcher!
We're thankful for so much good meat in our freezer! Anyone for some venison steaks!?

And now today school continues....

...along with piano practice...

...and computer work.

We've heard that snow is on our way -- maybe, just maybe, we'll get some sledding weather before we head south!??! [smile]

"Serve God by doing common actions in a heavenly spirit, and then, if your daily calling only leaves you cracks and crevices of time, fill them up with holy service."

-Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Odds & Ends


Finally! An update from me! -- [smile]-- It seems I haven't been very faithful at updating this week! We've been enjoying home time and family routine after the Christmas busy-ness. The guys have been deer hunting (alas, no pictures availible), and we girls have been working on various projects.

But thankfully my sister, Bethany, has been in the 'blogging mode' today, and has posted an adorable post of our sweet little sister. I know I'm biased, but she is the most delightful baby!
Hopefully I'll be posting more soon.....

Oh, and I was encouraged by this verse this morning --

"Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight,
show me now Your way, that I may know You
and that I may find grace in Your sight....
...and [God] said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
--Moses' prayer :: Exodus 33:13--

Monday, January 01, 2007

Thoughts for the New Year...

"A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God's boundless store of grace from day to day."
--D.L. Moody

"...If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross
daily,
and follow Me...

...Abide in Me, for without Me
you can do nothing."
(Luke 9:23, John 15:5)


Gratitude....

Happy New Year! I just have to jot a little note here to say thanks to ya'll for your kind comments on our last post. I know we've said this before, but our family is so grateful for each of you. Your encouragement and prayers throughout this past year have meant more than we can say, and we do pray that in some small way the Lord would allow this blog to be a blessing to you -- most especially to let you know your prayers are having effect.

A very blessed 2007 to everyone from our whole crew!