Monday, February 11, 2019

Unexpected

We are currently in Georgia enjoying sunshine and sweet southern hospitality! The prisons that we went to last week in South Carolina went really well and we were blessed to see the power of the gospel transform lives. But the week didn't quite go as planned.


Before we left home Dad was feeling a little bit of tightness in his chest, but didn't think to much of it. Until last Monday when he spent most of the night awake with serious chest pains that wouldn't go away. The next morning he talked to a friend that was an EMT who said he should go to the hospital right away! Another friend drove Mom and Dad in to try to figure out what was wrong. After a long day in the hospital they found out he had 2 minor heart attacks. Meanwhile we kids are back at the bus realizing that we were going to be heading into prison that evening without our parents. So we pulled out the instruments to try to figure out how to do the program without them. Right before we walked into prison we got a text from mom saying that they were moving him to a room for the night with surgery  scheduled for the next morning.


The first prison service went really well! As soon as we made it out we were swamped with text messages and comments from people from all over that were sending love and prayers. We felt so blessed!! The Gospel Express ministry that we worked with lent us a vehicle so that we could pop over to the hospital to see Dad and Mom. Tuesday morning Andrew and Kori came up from Florida which was such a blessing! They did surgery on Dad and found one of the three main arteries was 80% blocked. Everything went really well, and he was released from the hospital yet that evening. After us kids finished the second prison service we had a family meeting and decided that the best way for Dad to recoup was to go home with Andrew and Kori. That would leave the seven of us siblings to do the next weeks worth of concerts until we joined them all in Orlando.


So currently Dad and Mom are recovering in Orlando with strict orders to not overdo anything and us kids switched up some instruments and are continuing to do the services scheduled in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida until we meet up with them on Thursday! We are so grateful for God's mercy and the beauty of the body of Christ which we have experienced in a whole new way this week!!

"Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds."
Psalms 36:5

Sunday, February 03, 2019

We Care






Last week our family went into the Alabama prisons along with over 300 other volunteers. Year after year it is such a blessing to be able to go in and share about how Jesus has changed our lives! Sunday was spent in training and preparation with worship, special speakers, prayer, and training from the State DOC, then we went in Monday through Thursday evenings.


In the mornings we have area devotions with other teams, family devotions, breakfast and then the usual - school, exercise and other random odds and ends that need to get done. This was the first time on this trip that we could finally pull out the short sleeves and enjoy the sunshine! Well, except for Tuesday and Wednesday... The temperature dropped and they predicted a bunch of snow, we ended up missing the snow, but it was really cold out!


The guys always bring a weight set along on the bus, so that they can get in some quick workouts.



Then mid afternoon, those of us who were old enough would start the process of making it into the prison for our evening service: dress up, put on name tag, grab photo ID, unload equipment and instruments, be at the gate at the appointed time for check-in. Many prayers were answered and lives were touched because of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the truth of God's Word.

We would greatly appreciate prayers as we do the same thing with a different ministry in South Carolina this week.

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
John 10:10

*picture used with permission

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Rachel




I tried giving yearly updates on each of the siblings last year on their birthday. I was consistent the first half of the year, but I didn't do so well the second half. So this year I'm going to try again! Here is a glimpse into Rachel's last year!




Alan and Rachel will celebrate their 7th wedding anniversary this June. They are enjoying raising two little ones! Keeping busy with life on the farm as well as being very involved with their local church and community.




A major project they've been working on is remodeling a home that they were able to move into last fall. It was seriously amazing to see the "before" and "after" look! The bottom right picture is when they were in the process of redoing the living room.  Kendrick just turned 3, Autumn is 1 and they are looking forward to adding a third bundle into their bustling household.


"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."
Psalms 5:11

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Trip Thus Far


We have been on the road for just over a week and a half now! It started out with a snowstorm and a busy schedule, but today we are enjoying some sunshine and are excited about a new week.


The first stop on our way south -- Alan & Rachel's house! It was just for an evening, but the conversations and time together was special.



Nathanael is the newest bus driver in the family and has done a great job! The major states we've hit thus far are Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and now, Alabama! Every stretch we travel we are so grateful for the Lord's protection. 


A part of everyday life, whether you are at home or on the road is doing the dishes! The only main difference is that it gets a little bit adventurous at times when you are doing them while going down the road. We've definitely had our share of funny food stories! We have been singing a lot in the week and a half that we've been gone, but I will save those pictures for another post.

"I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High."
Psalms 7:17

Monday, January 21, 2019

Snow Day




The weekend before we left home a big snow storm hit our part of the world. 
It was beautiful!! And a perfect way to enjoy our last bit of time at home before heading south.



The wind finally stopped blowing around on Sunday, so after church we had a big family lunch and then went outside to enjoy the snow while it lasted.


The four wheelers were almost always zipping around doing cookies (or doughnuts) and going through the ditches. Then we topped it off with building a snowman and having a good ol' snowball fight.


So grateful for Sunday's, family and snow.


"For He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth';
Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength."
Job 37:6

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Beginning of January



Preparations for our upcoming trip are already underway!! Music practice is a daily (sometimes twice a day) occurrence right now. It is a huge blessing to have more time to prepare than we did last year. 


One evening we took some time to go ice skating with some friends. It was only the 2nd or 3rd time we'd ever been ice skating, but there weren't too many falls and the fresh air, exercise and time together was so wonderful!



Andrew and Kori flew back to Florida on January 6th which meant Christmas was officially over and the Christmas decorations started coming down. So grateful for intentional time with family!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17

Monday, January 14, 2019

New Bedroom


The last couple of months Elizabeth and I decided it was time to do a whole facelift in our bedroom. It hadn't been painted since right after Bethany got married back in 2009 and had just been changing out a few decor pieces since then. 



We tried to get a few "before" pictures, but forgot to until we had taken some things down already. So here is a rough draft of what it looked like.


We got new paint, updated some pieces of furniture that we previously had and some new, old ones from our Grandparents' farm and added some new elements to our room. The chest in this picture was an odd green color with cream accents. All of the painting was done in-between our travels and other projects so it took a little bit of time to get everything done. It was fun to see it all come together little by little.


Since our room turns into the guest room when we have overnight guests, our desire was to create a space that was welcoming, open and refreshing! We aren't quite done with it yet... but it has been a fun project to work on together.


For a Christmas present Nathanael made this gorgeous desk for our room!! He designed it, welded together the metal frame, and then put it all together. Not only that, but he put a wireless charger in it, so when you set your phone on a certain part of the desk it charges it!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17

Friday, January 11, 2019

Joy to the World



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


Let every heart
Prepare Him room

And heaven and heaven and nature sing


Joy to the world, the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ


While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat, 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
And wonders, wonders of His love



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


Let every heart
Prepare Him room


And heaven and heaven and nature sing


~~~


"Glory to God I the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
Luke 2:14