Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rachel


Happy 30th Birthday Rachel!


Personal highlights from the past year:
  • Meeting and falling deeply in love with the most incredible, handsome, and kind-hearted man in the world. (Easily top of my list in 2011!)
  • Having aforementioned incredible man propose to me amidst the romantic glow of Christmas lights. And sharing the wonder of God's hand in bringing us together.
  • Looking back and seeing the many new and fresh ways the Lord continues to teach me to fully rely on Him.
  • Writing and preparing for NCHEA's Great Adventure and being able to share the program in both Nebraska & Iowa -- and as a theme for the Lake Itasca's Storybook hour.
  • Spending a week of adventures with Alaythia as we traveled to spend time in Virginia with Dan and Bethany.
  • Treasuring each opportunity to minister and sing with my family. And now, looking forward to a new season in life!

You will show me the path of life;
In Your
presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Prison Re-cap

We walked though security once again, the foreboding metal doors slamming behind us. Suddenly, it seemed we were in another world. A world built of grey walls, razor wire, and white uniforms. Many faces turn to watch us as we walk down the long hallways carrying our instruments.

But although we may seem to be in another world, we realize that much remains the same. People with deep hurts, scars, heartbreaks. A hunger for love, joy, and meaningful relationships. And most of all, the indescribable power of the Gospel to completely transform lives.

It was a great privilege to spend the past five evenings going into various Alabama prisons with the We Care prison ministry. Once again this year we came into the week preparing to give of ourselves, but we walked away knowing that we were the ones receiving the greater blessing. Since we don’t have pictures from our evenings behind bars, here are a few ‘snapshots’ in time:


We received news that our evangelist for the evening was transferred to a different prison and ministry team. Dad prepared and gave the message instead and the Lord moved mightily as eight ladies came forward to commit their lives to Christ. We later discovered that an inmate in the other prison service had been specifically praying for the ‘transferred evangelist’ after hearing him speak 3 years ago. The Lord used the transfer to enable the evangelist and inmate to once again meet and share how the Lord had specifically answered the inmate’s prayers! HE orchestrates all things!

We sat perched our sound equipment carts during an evening service. In a facility housing over 1,000, the chapel would only hold around 150 chairs. Each available seat was filled with eager inmates. An open seat meant one less person they had to turn away. We prayed for those who were unable to come.


We grieved with the inmates through their tears and sobbing as we sang about the treasure of parent/child relationships. Dad paused in our program to pray specifically for the inmates and their children -- and he encouraged them to pray daily and invest in their lives.


For more testimonies of the 2012 crusade, visit here.



And those are just a few of the special moments from the past week as we saw the Lord answer prayers; going before us by preparing hearts and directing our steps. May HE be glorified!

Continue to pray for these, our brothers and sisters behind bars. And for the ongoing ministry of the We Care Program as they work in the Alabama prison system year-round. Truly, we serve a life-changing God!

For pictures of our 2009 prison ministry visit here.

"...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. 3:17-19

Friday, January 27, 2012

Preparing for Wedding Bells

Alan and I want to just take a moment and share our gratitude to each of you for sweet congratulations -- and for your prayers towards our wedding day and married life. We are blessed to have so many of you dear family, friends, and blog readers in our lives!

Although the miles separate us right now due to our family's tour, wedding plans are making gradual progress and we look forward to posting more pictures and specifics as June 30th draws closer. We're excited to be getting married in Whitewater, Kansas -- and its been awesome to watch the Lord bring so many details together already! [Yes, I have my dress!!!]

We're also looking forward to sharing our love story in more detail here on the blog. Due to the warm weather, Alan is currently putting in long days on the farm -- while I'm working hard on the 2012 NCHEA Kid's Conference materials. However, once those deadlines are past, we'll be making time to type out the testimony of the Lord's work in bringing us together. I can't wait to share it with you!

Again, thank you for your prayers and love! Truly, the Lord has done great things for us!

"Only fear the LORD,
and serve Him in truth with all your heart;
for consider what
great things He has done for you."
1 Samuel 12:24

Monday, January 23, 2012

We Care Prison Crusade

We pulled into Montgomery, Alabama this weekend full of anticipation. Each year the prison ministry is such a highlight for our family. Its almost as if the Lord gives us this week set aside each year to refocus on what is truly important in life. Behind those prison bars, in the eyes of the believers, we see the contrast of joy found in the most depressing situations. Hope shining in the midst of despondency.

And many people still searching for Peace in the midst of turmoil.

We again realize that when we strip away the many peripheral, busy, material aspects of our lives, it is only the cross and resurrection power of Jesus Christ that brings true meaning to life. Living daily in His power and love. And letting Him live through us.


And so we look forward to a good week! The theme for this year's crusade is 'Revival'. They asked each of us to ponder:

What does it mean to humble ourselves?
...to pray
...to seek God's face
...and to turn from our wicked ways? [2 Chron 7:14]

Its sobering to realize that our prayers for revival must start with the personal prayer, 'Create in ME a clean heart'. [Ps 51]

We covet your prayers as we go into 5 different prisons this week. In ourselves, we can do nothing, but we go in the knowledge that the Lord has already prepared these good works that we should walk in them!

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


Photos by Matthias
Taken at the We Care orientation training

Saturday, January 21, 2012

On the road again...


The bus has been packed: our of food, clothing, CDs, school, and instruments have been loaded, and we're officially headed south! We're looking forward to two months of ministry together as we tour the southeastern states. Matthias has undertaken to be our photographer, so we look forward to keeping you posted with our happenings as we make this trip together!

We covet your prayers as we look forward to each opportunity before us. May the Lord go before us and with us as we seek to honor Him!

"Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the
God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day."
Psalm 25:5

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

I know this is a little late but, it's probably better to be late than never!
One of the ways we celebrated Christmas this year was to make good ol' gingerbread houses! After heading to the library to find a really good recipe, we started the fun process.

First mix up the ginger bread dough:

Then roll out the pure yummy-ness.
It's always good to snitch a bite or two just to make sure it is good dough!

Cut out the sides and roof of the house --or in our case -- multiple houses.

Then bake and cool. After that, it's time to whip up some frosting!
Assemble the houses.

Oh, of course you can't forget all the yummy toppings!

Invite some friends over to help, and start creating your own masterpiece.

Alaythia and Nathanael's finished artwork.

Anna and Charissa's sugarcoated house and yard.

The finished product!

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"
Psalms 34:8

- Post by Hannah

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year, rejoicing in the hope and love found in Jesus Christ!

Our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude at the Lord's working in the past year and we eagerly anticipate His continued leading, guidance, and faithfulness in 2012!

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who
promised is faithful."
Heb 10:23