Friday, January 31, 2014


NOTE: This year for our birthday posts, we will be highlighting a ministry or resource which has been a personal blessing to the birthday person. We hope you'll be blessed by some of the resources which have made an impact on our lives -- individually or as a family. 

Happy Birthday, Rachel! 

She writes: 

A ministry which has recently been meaningful to me is the hymn-writing of Keith and Kristyn Getty.  As a songwriter with much to learn, I'm challenged and encouraged by their meaningful, rich, theologically deep lyrics. Their melodies are soothing, joyful, and uplifting in turn. Music is such a powerful tool and I desire to grow in the ability to put God's Truths to music. Their example spurs me onward. 

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in Him. Ps 40:1-3

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fiesta Anyone!¡!¡

Whew! What a week. 

Due to a full fledged ice storm in Alabama, the prisons were short of staff and closed the prisons for two days. This left a lot of volunteers sitting around in hotel rooms. Since we had a lot of free time and most of the local restaurants closed down, we decided to make supper for all of stranded volunteers. Utilizing only our bus mini-kitchen and hotel room accommodations, we were in for an adventure!  

First, Matthias, Elizabeth and a couple of the volunteers ventured out in search of an open grocery store. Due to the ice even Walmart was shut down! Long story short, God directed them (through a wrong turn) to a Food World which was open. Relief! And after we got out with our groceries, they closed. 

Then came the fun process of cooking. Between the hotel room and the bus it worked!

The Menu: Mexican!

Washing lettuce in the hotel room

Finding a open place with a plugin in the bus since the counters were full.

All the onions cut and ready for fajitas. 

We cooked everything in our plug-in skillet, then moved the food to other dishes to keep warm while we cooked something else in the skillet. Basically, the skillet was going non-stop from beginning to end!

Matthias, our master-fajita maker, grilled all of the chicken on our George Foreman.

We had chicken, onion, pepper fajitas, rice, beans, lettuce, black bean salsa, olives, cheese sour cream, salsa, chips, tomatoes, with Ice cream, bananas, and M&Ms for dessert. Mm-mmmmm!

Ready for some food!?!

The cooks

The volunteer crew:
Our family plus 22 guys.

Food, fellowship, and testimonies. What a delightful way to spend the day being 'iced-in'. 

We continue to pray for the prison inmates as this week was quite disappointing for them. We were able to share two of our four prison services and saw the Lord really work in the hearts of the men during those times. What a blessing to take one day -- one opportunity -- at a time!

"Serve the Lord with gladness, 
Come before His presence with singing."
Psalm 100:2

Monday, January 27, 2014

ReNew Hope

Hope (noun): a strong and confident expectation.

What blessed HOPE we have in Christ. A strong and confident expectation. Doesn't that fill your heart with rejoicing!?! We live a life of hope! 

And this week we have the joy of bringing that blessed HOPE into the Alabama prisons -- where, from an earthly standard, hope is dim. But God's light shines in the darkness and we're excited to see what the Lord has in store for the coming days as we proclaim His goodness and mercy. 

We've gathered with over 400 volunteers representing 147 churches here in Montgomery, preparing to spread out over the state during the coming days. Our first prison service is tonight and we covet your prayers. 

Pray for the blind eyes to see. 
Pray for the Spirit to work in mighty ways. 
Pray that we might be clean, pure vessels for the Lord to flow through. 

We look forward to sharing updates with you as the week continues  Check our family Facebook page for daily updates as we have specific requests. 

May the Lord be glorified!

Now hope does not disappoint, 
because the love of God has been poured out 
in our hearts by the Holy Spirit 
who was given to us.
Romans 5:5

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Day on the Road:

Hello from northern Florida!

Life on the road has been full and rewarding. The past week we've shared several concerts and met so many new people. Unfortunately, Wifi is a rare commodity on the road, so I'm finally getting around to sharing a glimpse into our week: 

Daily studies continue on the road

Changing strings on the mandolin

Walmart - Home sweet home :)

Preparing lunch

Driving down the road

Preparing to sing

Taking down and loading up

Working at the CD table

Loading instruments


And the sun sets as we rest and prepare to engage in the above routine again tomorrow!

This Sunday is the beginning of the ReNew Prison ministry week in Alabama. We're prayerfully preparing with new music and seeking the Lord for His Spirit's empowering during the ministry ahead. We covet your prayers! 

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

2 Cor 2:9

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Tour Begins

When the piles of food start stacking up...

...suitcases and clothes are strewn everywhere...

...and boxes are being hauled up from the basement: 

Then you know the Wissmanns are heading out on another trip! 

This past week has been a blur as we've been packing, practicing, preparing, and enjoying our final days here on the home front. And now as the bus prepares to pull away from our Nebraska home, we're facing the upcoming months with great anticipation. Trusting the Lord is going before us, preparing good works that we should walk therein. Grateful for the promise of His never-ending faithfulness and His exchanging our weakness for His strength. 

Don't we serve an awesome God?! 

Loading the bus bays, using every last bit of space. 

Enjoying time with our Nebraska friends down to the very.last.minute. as they came to lend a hand with the final packing details. [Thank you, Stangls!]

And another recent development over the past few weeks: a new bus! 

We're humbly grateful for the Lord's specific leading and provision in this major purchase. We've been praying about our bus need for quite awhile as our previous bus was getting up in miles. Lord-willing, this coach will be much more reliable for the many, many miles we travel. 

The only thing this bus was missing was a large refrigerator. And since we do a majority of our meals on the bus, a refrigerator is necessary. Preferably a very LARGE refrigerator. We purchased the largest one our space would allow and attempted to install it last night. 

Unfortunately, we squeezed and pushed and pulled to no effect. We couldn't get it past the bus door. Problem Solving 101 ensued as we planned our next mode of action. 

Trying to stay warm!

We attempted to take off the hinges and other small, removable parts... (meanwhile we were all holding our breath and praying!)

Silly smiles, watching the action.

And wonder of wonders -- it was a tight squeeze, but the refrigerator finally slid into place!

Enjoying laughter and fun with friends. 

The lights of home. 

We covet your prayers in the weeks ahead as we travel and share together. We hope to see many of you down the road! Stay tuned...!

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

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Mongolian Tea

Цай тавтай морилно уу!

[Translation: Welcome to tea!]

Yesterday Ruth had the opportunity to share about her experiences in Mongolia for a local Bright Lights group. It was a sweet time as the girls eagerly listened and learned as Ruth shared about the culture and customs. Even more importantly, she shared specific lessons the Lord taught her during her time on the other side of the world. What a delightful afternoon!

I wish all you young readers could have joined us for the afternoon, but brew a cup of tea and enjoy the pictures we captured during her sharing time:

Showing how to receive things in traditional Mongol custom.

Tea essentials which must be ready for company at all times.

Delicious Mongolian tea

Using a map to show locations.

The Bright Lights girls

Trying one of the traditional delicacies. 

Many of the Mongol treats are very different than our state-side goodies. Ruth enjoyed the girl's reactions as they tasted her sample of tea-time cookies. 

The smell of Mongolia - a dried yogurt product called 'Atle'. 


The girls were enthralled with the beautiful pictures. 

Trying on Ruth's Mongolian dress

"And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, 
but to fear the Lord your God, 
to walk in all His ways and to love Him, 
to serve the Lord your God 
with all your heart and with all your soul." 
Deut 10:12

Monday, January 06, 2014

Reunion Concert

Humor me for one more Christmas post and then I promise -- we'll move into the new year with all the anticipation of what the Lord has in store for 2014. But these moments of family time are just too precious not to share. 

During our two-day family celebration, we shared a Christmas 'reunion' concert in our local community. Many dear friends attended who have been watching our family grow since our first local concert in 1999. Alaythia was just a baby at that time. How quickly life has changed and our family grown! 

The concert was a kaleidoscope of new music interspersed with old favorites as we invited some of the older children back on stage. An evening to be remembered! Here are some of our favorite moments: 

Practicing "Away in the Manger" before the concert.

The new group dynamics featuring Elizabeth on the guitar and Dad with the stand-up bass. 

Smiles from the front row

Dad always shares a favorite Christmas memory...or two. 

All smiles!

Bringing back Branson favorites: 
Christ has Come

Since Stephen was in Mongolia for several of the Christmas concerts, we had a local friend, Karlie, fill in for his mandolin. She did a fantastic job!

All ten of our girls sharing a carol

And not to be outdone, the menfolk shared a 4-part carol, too: 
A lively version of "Go, Tell it on the Mountain"

Gotta love rich harmonies!

Then we had Charissa and the grandchildren share "Away in the Manger".
They were more enthralled with holding their own mic than anything else!

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman

It came upon a midnight clear, 
That glorious song of old

From angels bending near the earth, 
To touch their harps of gold.

Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven's all gracious King.

The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing. 

For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Psalm 33:21