Friday, April 27, 2007

God's Handiwork

"God never wrought miracles to convince atheism,
because His ordinary works convince it."
--Francis Bacon


His ordinary works. Traveling through these western states, we are in awe of each display of these works! The bus has had quite a workout truckin' up and down mountain roads these past couple days. [smile] Praise the Lord-- after all the mechanic work it has been running strong!

This afternoon we drove through the Columbia River Gorge. Wow!! The rugged cliffs, crashing waterfalls, delicate wild flowers, and towering trees all come together for a breathtaking and unforgettable view.

As we were a little ahead of schedule, Daddy opted for a quick stop at Multnomah Falls. We piled out and enjoyed a few moments of taking in the cool misty sights. Here are a few of the pictures Bethany captured ---



Smiles!!!

"His work is honorable and glorious,
And His righteousness endures forever."
Psalm 111:3

And now we pile back into the bus for a few more hours as the trip continues!

Monday, April 23, 2007

California Days


We're in sunny California! Although as I write this, the sun is just starting to peek from behind the clouds which have lingered since we arrived on Friday!! [smile]

It's been a great couple days here -- especially having our pastor's son, Caleb, join us. He is currently stationed in San Diego, two months away from graduating as a Navy Seal. And so, to share the memories of our weekend and for the enjoyment of his friends and family back home, here are some pictures of our weekend.....

Bright California smiles!!

Enjoying some ultimate frisbee.

Hmmm.... and the name of this game is....??!!

Does this look like a hungry crew or what?!

Our twins -- folks would often get them confused,
and you can probably see why!

Lots of smiles and laughter all around-- Thank you, Caleb!!!


We even had the special addition of Caleb's violin playing for our services over the weekend!

"Come Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy praise!"

"Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Calls for songs of loudest praise!"


"It requires a conscious decision and effort to keep our primary goal constantly in front of us. It means holding ourselves to the highest priority year in and year out; not making our first priority to win souls, or to establish churches, or to have revivals, but seeking only
"to be well pleasing to Him."
--Oswald Chambers

Friday, April 20, 2007

Traveling Moments

Well, she's done it again. My sister took my blogpost! But since she's the photographer -- and my all-time favorite blogger (okay, I'm biased) -- I guess that's alright! [Love ya, Bethany!] For pictures of our travels, visit here.


"Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?
Who can declare all His praise?!
Blessed be the Lord God..and let all the people say 'Amen'!
Psalm 106:2& 48

Thursday, April 19, 2007

On the Road!

Yes, it's really true -- we're on the road!!! This is a picture taken only a few minutes ago, but already the Colorado mountains are taking up more of our window-space as we drive into Denver. It's been over seven years since we've been to the Colorado Rockies and I forget how dazzlingly beautiful they are. As the sun glistens on the snow caps I can't help but marvel at their majesty. Yet another display of our God's handiwork!!!

But back to the 'update' -- Our bus was finished around 4:30 this morning, and after a flurry of re-loading last minute items (besides several sleeping children!) we were heading down the interstate. And how quickly the miles have been flying by ever since. [smile] We're planning to drive straight through in hopes of arriving for a school chapel in the Los Angeles area tomorrow morning.

Please pray for safe travels (especially through the mountains), and for the bus to mechanically work well! Stay tuned...but for now, here are a few 'bus moments' we captured for you --

Even Charissa is happy to be on the road -- we are thankful she is such a delightful, easy-going traveler!!!

Today will be full of 'life in the bus' -- school, reading, and enjoying the new scenery. Oh, and perhaps a fuel stop or two when we can all pile out and run off our energy!

"Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep; O LORD.
How precious is Your loving kindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust
under the shadow of Your wings."
Psalm 36:6-7

Monday, April 16, 2007

Perseverance

I had to smile yesterday as Daddy shared with us his 'verse of the week' --
"...Count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
But let patience have it's perfect work
that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking nothing." James 1:3-3

After several disappointing and exhausting days/nights, we were especially grateful for the refreshment of our home church on Sunday morning. Their prayers and 'holding up' of our family is always a tremendous blessing. We love ya'll!!!

And in case you're wondering --- yes, we are still in Nebraska. It seems each repair somehow leads to another and bus parts are rather difficult to aquire on short-notice! So today we are waiting for a final part to arrive (something with the hub/axle). Allowing time to get the pieces put together once more, we're hoping to pull out first thing Wednesday morning.

Thankfully most of our California dates have been moved to adjust to our shorter visit. Praise the Lord -- and a huge 'THANK YOU' to our West Coast friends for their flexibility and patience!


On the home front, we're pulling out some of our school work and various projects for these extra days at home -- and enjoying a delightful taste of spring!!

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement!
What a comfort it is to know that God holds all these big -- and little -- details in His hands.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Set-backs


Well, just thought I'd post a quick update here. The guys finished piecing the bus back together around 9:00 this morning and brought it home for loading. After a final check through the house -- and our traditional version of 'roll call' [smile] -- we were about to pull out when an oil leak was discovered, along with some blue smoke (not a good thing).

So, back to the drawing board....er....mechanic shop. We'll post more as we find out specific details. Thank you in advance for your prayers!

Our heroic 'grease monkeys'. 25+ hours
and still going...

"Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed;
with us is the Lord our God,
to help us, and to fight our battles.
2 Chron. 22:7,8

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Our Mechanics

Progress continues at our mechanic shop -- though at times it seems like the ol' one step forward, two steps back saga. Yesterday we discovered our transmission was also in bad shape and needing immediate attention. So while we had the rear-end torn apart anyway it was decided to tackle this additional project before attempting to sail down the road a couple thousand miles.

Thus we have a few unexpected 'home days' this week -- time to get a newsletter written and mailed out, tackle various yard and house projects, and finish some last minute sewing.

The new transmission is due to arrive tomorrow around noon, and then our guys will be working around the clock to assemble all the pieces and get us heading westward! California, here we come! [smile]

"...with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men."
Ephesians 6:7

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Detours

Sometime plans change. Our scheduled departure for the West Coast was noon today. If you'd take a peek into our guest room just now you'd see our typical 'to go' stacks -- food, clothes, shoes, school, and other items deemed necessary for a month on the road.

But there has been a halt to the loading. Last night Dad and the boys found an oil leak on the bus that led to the discovery of a bearing about to go out. (Again, for those of you with a mechanical bent, please pardon my vague details!) Thankfully, they discovered it now instead of on a mountain road somewhere!

Lord-willing, we'll have the bus back to load on Thursday, giving us time to make our first Los Angeles service on Saturday. Please pray with us for a quick and simple repair!

"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
Psalm 16:9

Monday, April 09, 2007

Investments

Fabric, pins, pattern pieces, and thread. Its times like these that I thank God for my wonderful Mommy and grandmas! How many hours they spent guiding my young hands to cut the fabric 'just so' and lovingly showing me yet another seam to rip out and try 'one more time'! Often their patience was far greater than my own!

These memories made me smile this past week as I worked to sew new singing dresses for my sisters -- on the most challenging fabric I've yet encountered. With my seam-ripper kept close at hand, I was very grateful to complete the final seam.

And after noticing how tall and 'grown up' our little girls are becoming, I think next time I'll choose an easier project and invite them to help. I'm sure as I do, I'll have even greater appreciation for those who invested in me! [smile] Ah, the joys of learning!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is Risen!

Hallelujah! Jesus is alive!

Victorious!

Reigning!

Death is defeated.

Forgiveness available.

Heaven's doors open.

Praise His name!

Friday, April 06, 2007

No Greater Love

In this season of reflecting on our Lord's death and resurrection I was again blessed by the words and message of this song --

How deep the Father's love for us -- how vast beyond all measure.
That He should give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss; The Father turns His face away.
As wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

(Picture courtesy of Webshots community.)

Behold the man upon the cross. My sins upon His shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me LIFE -- I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything -- no gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in JESUS CHRIST; His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His remorse? I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart -- HIS wounds have paid
MY ransom.


Can we even fathom such love? Can we borrow from the expanse of language to write of it? Indeed, this awesome reality should captivate our hearts, our lives, our everything. Daily drawing us
to Jesus Christ Himself who so painfully -- yet freely -- laid down His life for us. "Greater love hath no man than this....." (John)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Our Provider

God is so good! I opened my Bible to the Psalms tonight, and this verse jumped out at me -- "Say to God, 'How awesome are Your works!" (Ps. 66:3)

In light of the Lord's miraculous protection, direction, and provision over the past 2 months I thought this verse was an appropriate way to begin this chapter of the 'bus story'. He has done exceedingly above what we could ask or think! We have a 'new' bus -- completely debt-free and greater than our biggest hopes!!!

Welcome to our living room on wheels. At 45-foot long and 6 inches wider than our previous bus, we are already enjoying the extra space. Both sofas fold out as beds -- so once we get the extra bunks put in, we'll even have room for company! [smile] As you can tell, the decor is simple but beautiful and 'homey'.

And wood floors were one of our specific answers to prayer. So 'easy-clean' for high traffic areas!

It has a very nice -- full -- bathroom/shower room. And storage space everywhere!!!

Dad and Mom's special room in the back of the bus.

The windows all open (with screens and shades!!!). Yet another specific answer to prayer. Right now it has 6 bunks, so we'll be working out a plan to re-model the middle section and build 3 more sometime this summer. But for now this is very workable for the upcoming trip. (We leave next Tuesday for the West Coast.)

From the Lord's timing to the size, layout, engine (for you mechanical-types, I think it has a Diesel 60-series engine -- getting around 9 mpg), decor, and storage space -- we are so grateful for this bus! Thank you, THANK YOU to all of you who have been praying and/or giving towards our transportation needs specifically. We know much of this story has been covered in prayer from the very beginning. We look forward to sharing hospitality in our new 'home'!

How awesome are the works of our God!!!

The Quest

This past weekend we had the privilege of helping in various aspects of the Nebraska State Homeschool Kid's Conference. What a blessing! With over 220 children in attendance and 60 staff, it was a full -- and rewarding -- three days. After all the time, effort, and prayers that went into the preparation and staff training, we walked away rejoicing once again in the Lord's faithfulness!

Elizabeth and our friend, Abi, worked together at the registration table. They were a bright 'welcome' each morning!

The drama this year was entitled "The Quest" -- a young man's journey for the glory of the King. Allegorical in style, it told the story of a boy aspiring to become a knight in the King's service. Along the way he makes mistakes and learns lessons that apply to 'real life', but never is deterred from his mission to honor the King.

We were again challenged by the great message of the "Quest" -- and also in realizing our total dependence on the Lord's grace for the weekend. There's nothing like feeling 'stretched' out of your comfort-zone!!!

Josiah (en-costume) greets one of the teams as they head down the hall.

I so enjoyed organizing all the 'Large Group' sessions and leading the songs. I wish you could have heard the jubilant sound of almost 300 voices proclaiming "O Worship the King"!
It literally filled the room!!!

Susanna and Charissa watching the drama.

Bethany and her team. The 'Small Groups' were a perfect time for discussion, learning, and teacher/student interaction. Besides that, they even made some pretty cool crafts. [smile]

Andrew sharing some one-on-one time.

Ruth helping with a 'science' session.

2007 Kid's Conference Staff
We are so grateful for this group of young people -- their dedication and servant's heart made the weekend a true delight. We pray the seeds planted in the hearts of the 220+ children will continue to grow for years to come!

"I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. Be exalted, I God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above the earth!"
Psalm 57:9&11