Monday, December 31, 2007

Togetherness

Hmmm.... I'm not sure if 'togetherness' is really a word but as I started looking through our pictures it seemed the perfect title for this post. Christmas Eve is our traditional 'family time', beginning with a soup supper on our best china. Time for memories to be shared of the past year and those special once-a-year foods. [smile] Sadly, once we all sat down and started visiting we forgot to capture a picture of the moment!

Preparations...
After Dad reads us the Christmas story, we have a gift exchange. This year, thanks to Bethany's hard work, we surprised Dad and Mom with a scrapbook of 2007. Looking over the pages we moved from laughter to tears and laughter again as we rejoiced in the Lord's faithfulness.

Yet Christmas Eve we loaded up and headed for Wisconsin. While the bus still has far to go before the inside is complete, I think you'd agree that there has been some progress since we last took pictures!??! The insulation is done and plywood hung on all the walls. And yes, Dad hung Christmas lights to surprise us. [smile]
And as I type this we have just finished the celebrations with both sides of our extended families -- in both Iowa and southeastern Nebraska. On Mom's side we all opted for an afternoon of games together instead of a large gift exchange.

The younger girls had a blast with our cousin, Jordan.

Charissa says 'thank you' for her new fuzzy pjs!

Grandma Wissmann with the waiting feast.

And now tonight we will be welcoming the new year by sharing our final Christmas concert and spending time with family. As Bethany so beautifully expressed, this has been too full a year to sum up in a few words or posts. After looking back at God's faithfulness, we now turn with anticipation to the coming year. Indeed, we know Who holds tomorrow!!


"that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the
width and length and depth and height -
to know the love of Christ
which passes knowledge;
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Eph 3:17-18

Schedule

As several of you have inquired as to our upcoming 2008 schedule I realize we're significantly 'past due' for an update. We are still working to finalize some dates but hope to have our schedule page updated very soon.

For now, here is a basic overview for the following months:

Jan. 2-23 :: Home to work on the bus

Jan. 24-26 :: Oklahoma dates

Jan. 27-31 :: We Care Prison Crusade, Alabama

Feb. 6-10 :: Gospel Express Prison Crusade

Feb. 12 - 19 :: South Carolina Dates

Feb. 20 - 22 :: Georgia Dates

Feb. 23 - March 11 :: Florida Dates

March 14 - 15 :: ND Homeschool Convention

We are also currently scheduling into the Spring/Summer, so if it would be a blessing for us to come to your area in 2008, please contact us!

Stay tuned....and thank you for your patience! [smile]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

To Give is More Blessed...

I hope I never forget my fifth birthday. Typical child, I was all consumed with what wonderful presents my friends would bring to my party. And typical of such a self-centered attitude, I quickly became a rather difficult little person to live with.

So my ingenious mother came up with a plan.....that year I would plan gifts to give my guests instead of hoping for such treasures myself. And so the 'birthday project' began!

Long story made short..... I learned in a practical little-kid way that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

A truth I was reminded of again this week --

I was reminded when I signed in and saw the prayer support by many of you blog readers... And as we welcomed the largest group of inmates we've ever had at the Prairie Du Chein Prison... I was again reminded as I saw the eager faces of the men and heard their voices join ours in the familiar carols. And the blessings of giving really started to spill over when five men responded to Dad's sharing of the gospel.


Thank you -- in a huge way -- for your prayers for our family this past Christmas. The hours we spent with the men are hard to fit in a 'nutshell' post. There were several men we had met on previous visits, along with dozens of new faces. As the Lord brings them to mind, please join us in continuing to pray for the chaplain, the believers, and the fields that are white unto harvest in Prairie Du Chein. We are already looking forward to making another visit, Lord-willing, in 2008.


Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive!


"The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God." --C.L.

It's Our Birthday!!

"O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth." Isaiah 25:1

Two years ago on this particular day I remember talking with Dad about the possibility of joining this new phenomena called 'blogging'.

Hmmm...

We talked about the practicality of using this form of communication to keep in touch with our grandparents, friends, and prayer partners.

Decisions, decisions...

Obviously, we finally concluded to give it a 'go'. And the rest is history -- well, sort of! [smile]

These past two years have been such a joy to share with you -- both our 'mountain-top' moments as well as the struggles -- and in turn we have been overwhelmingly grateful for your encouragement and prayers!!! Our desire is that you are blessed and built up in the love of Christ by your visits to our humble home on the web.

And now, to celebrate our Blog Birthday, would you take this opportunity to quickly introduce yourself -- especially if you have never before left us a comment?! Just jot us a quick (or long!) note with your home state listed -- we'd love to hear from you!!!

Here, I'll start.... [smile]

Rachel
Nebraska
----------

Postscript :: A post with pictures of our Christmas festivites, testimonies of the prison service, and 2008 schedule updates soon to come......Stay tuned!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sounds of Christmas

How the weeks have flown! With our Christmas concerts almost over already, we have personally been refreshed by the wonderous JOY of this season!

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight or'e all the earth.
Ye who sang creation story
Now proclaim Messiah's birth...

...Come and worship, come and worship.
Worship Christ the newborn King!!


And as you celebrate the birth of our Savior tomorrow [Christmas Day], would you keep our family in your prayers?! At 2:00 in the afternoon we will once again be sharing through song and preaching of the Word at the Prairie Du Chien Prison. Please pray that the Lord would draw many men unto Himself. May they come searching for the True Light and may we be willing vessels for Him to work through. Thank you in advance for your prayers!! We look forward to sharing what the Lord does in the next 24 hours.



"...then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tiding of great joy which will be to all people..." Luke 2:10

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Baking Fun

One of the joys of December is the opportunity for lots of tasty-goodness coming from the kitchen. Wissmann tradition requires a fresh batch of donuts to be mixed up on the first snow of the year but -- alas --this year the snow found us loading up for a trip. So we quickly decided to postpone the treat for some fun December baking and sharing.

As you'd probably guess by the size of our crew, we're used to doing things in a 'big way' when it comes to kitchen detail. And holidays are even more so as we make enough to share. We are so grateful for our Seward community, so we wrote out a list of businesses to share with and started mixing the batter.

Anticipation is building!


Ruth runs the 'glaze process'.


Elizabeth arranges the trays.



Ready to deliver!
(Oh, I wish these pictures could be 'scratch and sniff' so you could enjoy them, too!)


Another family favorite is almond-bark covered pretzels. We decided to make enough to share with friends, so once again the table was covered!

Elizabeth, our 'quality control'.

Starting to stripe them with almond bark. Oh, that salty-sweet -- Mm-m-m-m!

And while the table was covered with 'goodies-in-the-works', we opted for the fun cultural experience of supper served on the kitchen floor. Charissa loved the fact that everything was at her level, but we concluded that the table was indeed a good invention!


All decorated and ready to go!

"How precious is Your lovingkindess, O God!" Psalm 36:7

Starting young


She really is quite the conversationalist! Now if we could just understand what she has to say...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Prepare Him Room

Welcome to our home for a little taste of our Christmas! And what a special season this is -- celebrating our Savior's birth.

For us -- and I assume many others -- this month quickly fills with activities ranging from making secret 'gift lists' (and desperately trying to keep them a secret!), to caroling and lots of specialty baking.

In all the hustle and bustle of these final weeks before Christmas, may we each set aside time to reflect on the reason for our festivities...

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove.

The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love!


Here's wishing you a few quiet moments to truely 'prepare HIM room' this season.

Such tidings of great joy!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bus Work

We have bus progress to report! Our guys came back this afternoon with quite a photo collection of their discoveries over the past few days -- mold, mildew, and various other disgusting things. But they have been making great strides as the entire interior has been torn down to the frame. Here's a quick glimpse at their work...


Some of the problems they discovered.


(World's largest porta-potty!??!)

Thus far the work has gone quickly -- and we've had a very lively and upbeat workcrew. (Thanks, Matthew and Samuel, for your help!) The joys of teamwork leave scarcely a boring moment. Soon they'll be tackling the insulating, wiring and re-framing process.

Thank you all for your prayers! We were encouraged by the fact that our discoveries matched the initial diagnosis. This should aid in correctly preventing complications in the future -- for which we are very thankful!

To be continued.... [smile]


"But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You."
Psalm 5:11

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Have you noticed....

...we've had a few changes on this site!???!

Many thanks to our friend, Ryan, for the new blog look!

Starting Over...

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience... If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:2-5

These verses have come to mind several times lately. As we've traveled these past several weeks it has become evident that the interior walls of our bus are infested with mold and mildew. Not a pleasant situation as some of our younger ones have been showing physical symptoms associated with this problem.

As we've researched and calculated our options, it seems apparent that we'll need to tear the interior completely out and start over with the conversion. With an 8-week trip approaching in mid-January it has been decided that we need to move quickly.

And so we post this in hopes that you will join us in prayer.....

  • Prayer for wisdom in correctly dealing with the problem and eliminating it's cause.
  • Prayer for strength and timing as we work around our schedule and transportation needs.
  • Prayer for the timely arrival of the new heating system/ windows we'll need to install.
  • Prayer for God's blessings on our kind friends who are jumping in to help.
  • Prayer that we will continue to count this all joy as we endeavour to grow and learn -- letting "patience have it's perfect work...."

As we have often said before, THANK YOU for your love and prayer support. We cannot adequately express it! To be honest, the thought of gutting the bus and starting completely over is quite overwhelming. But we rejoice in the knowledge that this is no surprise to the Lord and He is working all things to our good. We'll keep you posted with more specifics as the project progresses!

Unloading....

"For this reason we also...do not cease to pray for you,
and to ask that you may be filled 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;"
Colossians 1:9-11

Tiny Tots

"Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so...."

How quickly these simple songs come to life when shared with a toddler. Or --in our case -- a whole group of toddlers!

One of our highlights during 'home time' is having the opportunity to invest in local ministries and outreach. Small as it may seem, working with this group of children during a ladies' Bible study has been such a blessing! Their eyes fill with excitement (and their minds with eager comments!!) as we share Bible stories and songs.

Hannah enjoys working with the babies.

How precious children are -- and how teachable! It's no wonder Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God." Mark 10:14

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Getting settled in...


...is hard work! (Yes, this is a candid photo upon discovering Bethany's nap in the laundry room!)

With my apologies for neglecting this blog as of late, it's been a very full season for our family. After spending a week at grandparents' for Thanksgiving, we turned right around and headed out for a several-day retreat with the nine employees who work for Dad's sandblasting company. It was a good week -- full of fellowship, Christmas lights, music, and Bible studies.

But after scurring from one trip to the next, we're glad to be home now until Christmas Day. We are spending most of this week preparing for the wonderful opportunities of the season -- caroling, hospitality, baking, decorating, gift giving, and card mailing. Hopefully we'll capture a few pictures to share!

Thank you for your patience......and stay tuned!


"Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."
Psalm 90:1-2