Monday, February 28, 2011

Andrew

Happy 23rd Birthday Andrew!

Determination:
Purposing to accomplish God's goals in God's time -- regardless of the opposition.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."
2 Tim 4:7-8

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Science Center

With free day presenting itself this week, we enjoyed an afternoon exploring a nearby science center. After recently re-vamping some of our school goals, everyone has been doubling their efforts to study diligently on this trip. Thus, most of our travel time has been filled with stacks of books and projects. The timing was perfect to take a few hours off for some hands-on learning and fun!


Working on math puzzles...


Examining the intricacies of a peacock feather.

And more brain-work puzzles.


Examining the 'surface' of Mars.


And clocking the speed of passing cars.

Fun with animal puppets.

And learning about various roof structures and wind effects.


"And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding,
in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,” Ex 31:3

Friday, February 25, 2011

Calling all Iowans!


Plans are underway, prayers are focused, and preparations have begun! We're looking forward to another exciting year of children's ministry during our Nebraska state homeschool convention. We're elated with the theme and focus the Lord has laid on our hearts for this year and covet your prayers as we look ahead to April 1-2!

But we're also elated to share with you a new opportunity the Lord has opened this year! Due to an invitation by the NICHE board, we will also be bringing our annual Kid's Conference to Iowa as part of the NICHE [homeschool] conference, June 9-11.

Our theme this year is "The Great Adventure" --

Youth ages 5-12 are invited to enroll in this two-day program as we engage in captivating drama, songs, Scripture memory, object lessons, hands-on projects and games. Students attending the Kid’s Conference will travel back in time to 1856 and follow the adventures of a British family as they embark on an amazing, unexpected journey -- missionaries to a foreign field. They’ll experience the trials, struggles, joys, and victories that accompany a life devoted to Christ -- living out His Great Adventure!

This program should not be viewed as merely child-care. It is intended to deliver a Bible-based character message in a memorable and fun way.

We'll be posting more information as the dates get closer. But right now have a specific need: youth volunteers! [ages 14+] If you have a passion for the Lord and for children ministry, would you consider serving with us during the NICHE Conference?! We will be providing two days of training to equip you for this opportunity.

If you're interested in getting involved, please request an application form by emailing the Children's Conference Committee at: niche4kids@gmail.com

Contact our family if you have questions!

Thanks for helping us spread the word to the homeschoolers in Iowa. We look forward to what the Lord will do through both the NCHEA and NICHE Conferences and covet your prayers as we prepare for "The Great Adventure!"

"My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:18

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Joanna


Happy 1st Birthday Joanna!

Contentment
"Realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness."

"And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content."
1 Tim 6:8

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reaching Out

"...for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Luke 19:10

To seek the lost. This is personally challenging to me. How often do I go out of my way to seek those who are hungry for Christ? To show initiative in sharing the love of Christ!?

We're currently on tour in the beautiful state of South Carolina. I have so many updates I'd love to post this week. Hopefully my internet connection will cooperate! *smile*

But here's a tidbit that encouraged our hearts this past weekend: We shared at a small, sweet church in Iowa on Sunday morning. It was our first visit to Fort Madison. And the pastor exemplified the above verse to our family. Showing initiative. The day before our service, he went door to door in the community, inviting people to our service.

One lady came. And she met with the pastor afterward to share that she'd surrendered her life to Christ during the service. The angels in heaven rejoice!

"So then neither he who plants is anything,
nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase."
1 Cor 3:7

Aren't you thankful that God desires to be actively involved in our daily lives?!

Josiah


Happy Birthday Josiah!

Discernment:
"The God-given ability to understand why things happen."

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Visit to the Park

There's nothing that cures a bit of cabin fever...

...than a day of sunshine and unseasonable warm weather.

Time for a bit of exercise and fun!

Making memories together...

...and feeling the warm sunshine on our faces.

Thankful for each other -- and the joys we share as brothers and sisters.

Thankful for strong and healthy bodies.

And for our darling, precious niece who is getting big enough to play with us!


Indeed, we have so much for which to be thankful!


"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to which also you were called in one body; and be
thankful." Col 3:15

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine Baking

With the luxury of enjoying our full kitchen, our home was recently a whirlwind of delightful activity! A good friend initiated spending some time making Valentines Day goodies to share with local friends and neighbors in our community. She came armed with 8 new recipes to try and a basketful of ingredients. And thus began our very *SWEET* afternoon!

Alaythia rolls out the sugar cookies.


Mixing up the chocolate/caramel brownies.
[Can't you just smell that delicious chocolate?!]

And Abi joined us for the afternoon! She opted for the job of unwrapping caramels. Many thanks for your prayers on her behalf. She's feeling much better after her surgery and her tests resulted in a clean bill of health! We're thanking the Lord!

"Grandma" takes time out to play with Joanna and Charissa.

Toffee-crunch bars

And Charissa is ready to start arranging the plates!


Mmmmmmmm!


The finished product!

How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Andrew & Kori

We're excited to share with you the beautiful story of how the Lord brought Andrew and Kori together. We rejoice with them as they plan a March 5th wedding! And here's how the Lord orchestrated the events...

Kori: Many of you are probably wondering how Andrew and I met! I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and Andrew was born in Nebraska. So what’s the connection?! Well, my dad’s side of the family is from Nebraska. My grandparents live there half of the year, and my family had been taking trips there once or twice a year since I was 4. However, we did not meet the Wissmann family in Nebraska, but in the sunny state of Florida! My grandparents heard them sing at the Seward County fair [NE] and were so impressed they invited them to Florida to stay with our family and sing.

So in February of 2002, the Wissmanns came to Florida for the first time…
I remember the night so vividly. I didn’t know anything about this family except that they were from Seward and had 12 children. We met them at our friends -- the Johnston’s -- home, had a pizza party and hung out for the evening. I remember the first time I saw Andrew. Some of the girls and I were sitting at the kitchen table and he, Bethany, and my cousin were sitting at a little table outside near the window. The first thing I thought when I saw him was, “Wow, he’s CUTE!” …and at that point, I didn’t even know his name. (I did learn his name shortly after that.) And that’s when it all started.

At the time I was only 14, and truthfully, I found it kind of weird that I was so incredibly attracted to this boy that I hardly knew anything about! But little did I know that it was all part of God’s plan and he was preparing my heart, and guarding it for the future.


Andrew:
I’ll never forget our first night in Orlando, 2002. Being in Florida for the first time was exciting and some friends that we had met in Nebraska earlier that summer invited us over for pizza. Before Kori’s family had arrived, some of us were in a bedroom playing a game. Towards the end of the game, Kori and her cousin stepped in to say hello.

Now, some people say there is no such thing as love at first sight. But I definitely liked her at first sight! We had a wonderful evening playing games and I was completely taken by Kori and her gorgeous smile! That evening was when it all started for me. I began praying that if it was God’s plan, He would direct our lives together. And since her grandparents had farms in Nebraska, I was glad to hear that she would be visiting them over the summer.


Kori: We only saw each other twice a year, once in July, when I would visit my grandparents and once in February, when his family would come to Florida. I got to know Andrew through the years, watching him from a distance and getting to know him by hanging out with his family. I quickly noticed more than just how good-looking Andrew was. My heart was drawn to him in a different way. I noticed that he had a genuine love for the Lord and was very hard working, determined, funny and was a lot of fun to be around. And I loved watching him with his younger siblings! It melted my heart!

But at the same time, I was extra careful and prayed for strength to not to show even the slightest bit of favoritism towards Andrew because I didn’t want to take away from getting to know him as a friend. I wanted to seek God's will in this situation and not anything out of selfish desire.



Andrew:
As our families became friends, I began to see that Kori had a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ and my respect for her grew as I saw the choices she made through the years. My affection for her changed from thinking she was a really nice girl to praying regularly that she would some day be my wife. Looking back I’m grateful for the way God chose to prepare my heart for what He had in store.


Andrew:
In the summer of 2008 I was blessed with the opportunity to take a mission trip to Ukraine. I was 20 at the time and had been praying a lot about my future, specifically Kori. I knew that I wanted to be able to get to know her better and thought it would be good to talk to my parents about it, but I figured it would have to wait until after the summer.

The week before I left for Ukraine Mom, Dad and I went out for breakfast, and, amongst other things, they asked if I had been praying about the person that I would marry someday. I told them what I thought about Kori. They responded that they had been praying also and that she was whom they had been praying about. It was a confirmation for me that they were already praying for me in this and that she was on their heart.

During the time I would be in Ukraine, Kori was going with my sisters to China for summer missions. It was fun being able to experience being on oversea missions at the same time. I was also curious as to what my sisters would think of Kori after living with her for the summer! When they came back and said that I'd better marry her -- I heartily agreed.

Kori: My time in China with Rachel and Bethany was very special; We had so much fun that summer, and I loved getting to know them during our time there. And even though he was not there with us, Andrew was part of the majority of the conversations we had. The other member of our team, Noah, was constantly asking questions about him about everything, from his personality to what kind of food he liked and disliked to what kind of girl his sisters thought he should marry. I took in everything his sisters said about him, and loved getting to know him more from their perspective. During the week, Andrew would wake up really early and skype with all 4 of us. This was my favorite part of the week and I always looked forward to it! There were many prayers that summer asking for strength to keep my feelings all inside!

After an amazing summer, I flew home with Rachel and Bethany to and spent a couple days in Nebraska. We flew into Kansas City and the Wissmanns brought their bus down with my grandparents to pick us up. The very first thing I saw when I walked off the plane was a tan, handsome, brown-eyed boy -- he almost took my breath away. During the few days I had in Nebraska, I found myself praying constantly that God would still be guarding my heart, but would open the possibility of Andrew and I to be together someday.

My desire to get to know Andrew intensified. I wanted to know the real Andrew Wissmann, his hopes and dreams, his views on life and spiritual matters, things he liked and didn't like--I wanted to know everything. I wanted to be able to talk to him, more than just light-hearted conversations. I wanted to spend time with him I knew he was the one that I wanted to cherish, love, honor, respect and serve God with for the rest of my life! The only question now, was when?

Andrew:
The next February, we were once again heading to Florida. And this time I was nervous. After talking with Kori’s parents, I officially asked her out on our first date. We went to Olive Garden and stayed until they closed. We ended up getting in a habit of staying till closing time on our first couple dates! We had a lot to talk about. It was so fun to hear each others stories and see how God seemed to prepare us for each other.

We ended up being in Orlando for 2 weeks because of our bus breaking down. And I didn’t really mind not being able to leave! After 2 weeks, saying goodbye was hard and so began our relationship of lots of phone calls skyping and texting!


Kori: February 24, 2009 was the happiest day of my life, up to that point. Andrew took me on a walk, and asked to take me to dinner that night. I’d been praying for this for years and could not believe it was actually happening! All I thought about the whole day was my date with Andrew. I couldn’t wait! He took me to Olive Garden and we spent hours talking, getting to know each other, and comparing stories. I honestly don’t remember much of the details of what we talked about that night, but one thing I will never forget is when Andrew said “for me, it was kind of love at first sight.” Hearing him say that was amazing! To think, all those years I spent praying about him, he was praying about me, too! And how cool, that God had drawn both of our hearts to each other at such a young age! I still to this day believe that that was His was of preparing my heart for what was to come. So thus began what has been the most incredible year and a half of my life filled with lots of phone calls and text messages, special time together, and getting to know the man that I had always dreamed of marrying!

Andrew:
The next year and a half was a wonderful journey of getting to know the girl I had prayed and thought so much about. So many of the things that I had hoped for in a girl is exactly what Kori is and more. It was fun to share our dreams and hopes with each other, compare our growing up years, and seek God together for what he would have in our future. I already knew that I wanted to put a ring on her finger and ask her to marry me.

After talking to her father this past June, I began ring shopping for the perfect ring and planning how I would ask her to marry me. A special times for us both growing up was spending the 4th of July in Seward NE. The city puts on a wonderful celebration for Independence Day. Kori’s family would come in Seward to celebrate the 4th every year. This was always the highlight of my summer. Especially because I knew I would be seeing Kori! So I thought it would be a great day to ask her to be my wife.

We had a great day together enjoying the events of the day. To finish the day our family along with our home church did the musical ‘Let Freedom Sing’. After the musical I took Kori out to her Grandparents farm to “shoot some fireworks” and I asked her to marry me. She said yes! And I couldn’t be happier than to be marrying the girl of my dreams!

We’re so excited for what God has for us in the future. Thank you to everyone for praying for us as we enter this phase of life together. We are so thankful for all the wonderful people around us that God has placed in our lives!

This was the LORD's doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23

Saturday, February 05, 2011

A Week of Surprises

Sometimes God surprises us with special delights -- and this week we had several unexpected blessings. With the arrival of a huge winter snowstorm, our original plans of an afternoon visit with the Duggar family turned into a couple sweet days of fellowship. What an encouragement they were to our family! Here are a few pictures of our visit...

Baking with Johanna

Playing and visiting together

Some friendly competition

And sweet times

The ever-smiling miracle, Josie

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren,
as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly,
and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other."
2 Thes 1:3