Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Looking Back

Ahhhhh! After a final night of marathon driving, the bus has once again pulled up to the familiar property we affectionately dub, "Home". While it's good to unpack and resume our daily responsibilities here, we have also been reflecting on the fruitful and blessed days of this past week.

Many, many thanks to those of you who kept us in prayer as we journeyed. It was a joy to see many of you along our route and we were humbled by those of you who drove great distances to fellowship with us. We are grateful for you -- and the way the Lord uses His people to encourage and uplift one another!

As Bethany once again captured some precious moments (love you, sister!), here is a quick glimpse of our past week --

Discovering spring treasures.

Any chance to be outdoors, our guys hunt for energetic activities -- especially on these wonderful warm days!

Baby goats -- only hours old!


The only sad part of seeing dear friends is having to say 'goodbye' all too soon!

And finally, we had such a blessed prison service in Wisconsin on Friday afternoon. It was a dreary, rainy day as we walked along the razor wire to the far side of the complex. What a joy it was to reflect on the fact that our Hope and Joy isn't dependent on outward circumstances.

We had about 80 men in attendance and they were all in rapt attention during the whole service. Once again, we were only able to enter with those 18 and older, so we were praying through each song and adapting instruments and vocals accordingly. Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility! [smile]

I know many of you have read our testimonies of prison visits multiple times -- and have often heard how we walk away from the guard house with 'singing and dancing'. As we see the Lord answer so many prayers, our hearts are filled with rejoicing. Usually the angels are singing with us as men surrender their lives to Jesus for the first time. As I write this, I don't intend to be redundant... but each visit to a correctional facility is such a faith-builder as we see the Lord stretching us and working through our weaknesses!

And this time He had an additional surprise in store. After the service -- where six men committed their lives to Christ!!! -- the men gave us a standing ovation and surprised us with a precious gift. Through their community service program, they had made each of us a stuffed teddy or colorful afghan! They are all beautiful and unique, and will be a great reminder to keep these men in prayer. We look forward to visiting them again!

"Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!"

1 Ch 16:11-12


Stephanie said...

Wow! That was a full post. Those teddy bears are such a wonderful gift. And that picture of Charissa is absolutely precious.

Lady Ruth Ann said...

what a beautiful post!! that is such a precious thing that the men made you all teddy bears. Praise the Lord for his working in people's lives, and using you to do part of it!! Thank you for sharing!! :)

David Kent said...

Matthew 25:33-339 (New King James Version)

33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him,[a] saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

I have to admit I forgot to pray about your time at the prison, too pre-occupied with the power situation in Juneau.

On another note: Did the Lefse Lady stuff you full of lefse while you were there? ;-)

Nicole said...

isn't it a little ironic that your looking back is actually looking forward?! :)
love it!!

Peter Pillman said...

It was so much fun to meet you at Ridgeland last Thursday. We've heard about you from Ottersons, but it was fun to meet some of you. I really appreciated the songs you choose, and the message they carried. God bless you as you travel abroad this summer!

"We've a song to be sung to the nations,
That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
A song that shall conquer evil and shatter the spear and sword"

Dustynne said...

Wow, that was a neat post :) What a blessing!

By the way, just out of curiousity...where was that one of Andrew & Stephen taken? It couldn't possibly be in Ridgeland, on the rocks behind the bus, could it? :) It sure looks like it!



Rachel said...

Yes, Dustynne! You are very observant! That picture was taken at Ridgeland in the afternoon before we set up. It was great to meet you, by the way!!!

Anonymous said...

aw, looks like you had a fun time in WI :)

I love the picture of that happy, smiling and waving family... ;) ;) ;)
Such sweet folks they are~

Beautiful pictures!!! Thanks for sharing! :)