Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our Team

Just thought I'd share this with you. This is our team already serving in Congo. Hopefully in a year and a half we'll join them in their efforts to reach the lost for Christ. Not too bad lookin' if I do say so myself...and I see a lot of flip flop wearers...we'll fit right in!

We're at 52%...getting closer and closer!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sandy Foundations

How would you like to live here? Great view I suppose, but definitely reminded me and Joy about where our foundation lies. We're so glad to have a foundation like the Rock! We both started singing the tune at the same time..."The wise man built his house"....

Since the last couple entries were lacking in photos, I'll try to make up for it this time. Joy and I both share a love for the ocean...well, the beach I guess you could say. That's one thing that will be a little hard in Congo, although they do have some beautiful lakes nearby. We've enjoyed walking quite a bit too. It was hard in Portland because it rained so much, but since we've been in California, we've gone on a walk almost every evening. Tonight we're going to celebrate our anniversary with a romantic sunset on the beach, and then a fine dinner. And of course, tomorrow is back to work!

Just a quick update on support raising: monthly support is at 49%, and our outgoing is at 36%. It's exciting for us to see the numbers continue to grow!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

3 Years

Tomorrow Joy and I celebrate three whole years of marriage. It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but like they say, time flies when you're having fun! We are also excited that during our trip to central California, our support has steadily risen to 48%. We're getting closer and closer to 60%. We kind of feel a little like runners nearing the finish line, straining to pull ahead of their opponents, and reaching out to win the prize. We have to be constantly reminded that God has it all under control, and it will be accomplished in His timing. That's a hard lesson to learn! But I think one that will serve us well as missionaries.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nearing Half Way

Good news today, we heard from one of our churches that they have increased their monthly support, and that's put us up to 43%. Exciting news for us, and rather unexpected as we are nearing our deadline of 60% by February 9th.

We drove up to central California yesterday and have been meeting with people pretty much nonstop. Tomorrow morning we have a breakfast meeting with the missions committee of a local church here, and Sunday we're speaking at another church in the area. I think we are finally beginning to enjoy speaking in front of people, and find it even a little exciting to be sharing the ministry of MAF with so many. It's fun to share with people things that we are excited about!

Sorry no pictures this time, just wanted to share our good news with everyone! Thanks for praying.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Milestone

We reached a milestone yesterday...Joy's mom was finally able to park in her own garage again! Ever since we brought all of our stuff down from Portland, she has had to park in the driveway because all of our belongings were in a big heap, taking up most of her garage. It's been a project ever since then to create a little order among all the chaos, and that's just what I did! Two yard sales, a trip to the thrift store, and many afternoons/evenings later, we finally got it organized. Most everything on the right side belongs to Joy's mom, while pretty much everything on the left is ours. We still have the major project of sorting through it all and deciding what to take to Africa and what we can leave here. But at least we can fit a car in there now! I was surprised to find too that the shelving I put up on our side survived a 5.0 earthquake while we were away in Phoenix! At least it didn't come toppling down.

Our support is still coming in and we are at 39%/month and 35% of our outgoing. We are waiting to hear from several different churches in the next couple weeks, and we have many speaking engagements from now until mid-February. We will be quite busy speaking, attending meetings, and traveling. Keep us in your prayers; we cannot do this alone!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In the Sand Again

Yesterday was our day off for this week. One thing I've found so true during this support raising process, and that is paramount for Joy and I to take a day, relax, and not think about it! It's so refreshing and it gives us time to re-energize our batteries for the rest of the week! We went to the beach again with Joy's mom, and I can't pass up such a good opportunity to take some photos. I have some weird obsession with finding interesting flowers and taking pictures of them. I'm told this is a "Bird of Paradise" flower, and I think it looks pretty darn cool, so I took a picture of it. I also hired a model to play out in the water so I could take pictures of her too--I had a blast! She did such a great job. Last time I went swimming in the Pacific Ocean, it was December. I jumped in and the water was so cold it took my breath away. This time I just stayed in the water until I could no longer feel anything, and it wasn't too bad after that!

Next up is a shot from under the Newport Pier. I really like this one, especially in more of a black and white. It's always nice for me and joy to do things we like to do on our day off. Joy, of course, loves the beach and the ocean, and I really like to take pictures of the beach and the ocean. It works out great for both of us!

And here are some more flowers for you to enjoy. What a view, huh?

OK, since yesterday is gone, I'll give you a little update on our progress with support raising. We're up to 38% of our monthly goal and 34% of our outgoing expenses. You can pray for us the next couple weeks as we have many churches deciding on supporting us between now and the middle of February. We are still trying to reach our goal of 60% by February 9th, so it's getting down to crunch time and we're feeling the pressure! We know that whatever happens, God is going to supply our needs, and we are still looking forward to what He has in store for us!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Freeze Tag and Miniature Golf

We had quite a day today. It was our day off, and after lunch we went out to play miniature golf with the whole family. Here Joy putts and the family looks on...will it go in? For 17 holes Joy and I were tied; it all came down to the last hole. I went first and it took 2 tries to get the ball in the hole, and it took Joy 4. The reason I say this is because ever since I met Joy, she's beaten me over and over again. The first time we played, I thought, well, I'm a guy so I'll go easy on her and let her win the first time, but after the first hole, I knew I was playing against a professional. I tried my hardest but couldn't beat her, and I've been trying ever since!

After golf, we played outside for a couple hours, throwing airplanes and playing freeze tag. We tired ourselves out and decided to take a few photos for you to enjoy! Here's Mikey, Johnny, Joy, and me having fun in the yard.

Here are some more photos of the kids.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Whole Spectrum

Today was a fun day, we started off giving a presentation to a K-6th grade school. Instead of our normal presentation, we made up a little skit and had some of the kids come up on stage and help us with that. It was a lot of fun to do something different than usual, and we both like working with kids, so it worked out well. After that we went out to breakfast with Joy's sister and talked about missionary life and networked a little bit. Then we came back and worked a lot on paperwork, emails, phone calls, and setting up different avenues of communicating with our supporters. Then at 4 the kids were home from school and we spent a couple hours outside with them playing odd games and running around the yard. For dinner we had guests over to share our ministry with them and get to know them better. And now, Joy and I are debriefing from the day's events, writing notes and reminders, and writing it all down so we can share it with you too! We got up quite a bit earlier today than we normally do, so we're both pretty wiped out. Sorry no pictures today.

Seems that since we've been here in Phoenix, we have presented to all different age groups; we've hit the whole spectrum. This morning we had kindergarten, and Sunday we will be speaking to the folks at the retirement center, and I think we've covered all the different age groups in between.

Well, since we're both so tired, I think we are heading to bed! Goodnight to all....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Whistle While You Work

We've had a long day today. We started off catching up on some emails and communications and then met a local pastor for lunch. After that, we got caught up on a lot of thank you's and followup from the meetings we had before Christmas. Printing, folding, writing, mailing, thinking, and licking lots of envelopes! We sat outside while we worked for a little while just because we're glad it's shining so brightly in January!

I thought all oranges came from Florida, but I guess I was wrong! There are a lot around here too. I find the Arizona landscape simple yet interesting. And it's pretty nice here in the winter months, although I'm not sure I'd want to stick around for the summers! They also have a lot of palm trees here. Did you know there are over 200 different kinds of palm? They grow everywhere from tropical rainforests (like where we're going in Congo) to deserts...kind of like Phoenix. You learn something every day I guess!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In the Phoenix Sunshine

Joy and I traveled to Phoenix last Saturday and will be here until Monday speaking at churches and visiting individuals in the area. One of our supporting churches is here in Phoenix; they took us on as missionaries without even hearing our presentation, so we thought it would be nice for them to put a face with the names they have! We've been pretty busy ever since we got here. Joy's sister and brother-in-law live here so it's been nice to visit with them as well. They just retired as career missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators, spending 18 years helping to translate the Bible in Mali, West Africa. They lived on the edge of the Sahara Desert, so it's quite a bit different from where we are going, but it's still fun to talk about going to Africa and hearing their stories of what it's like there. Yesterday we spent some time with one of our supporting couples who lives here as well. He is an airline pilot, and also loves to hike. And before Joy and I left California, I said to her, "Oh, wait, I have to pack my hiking shoes; can't go to Phoenix without hiking some trails!" Little did I know that we would be going on a hike up to the top of Squaw Peak. Here are a couple pictures of our hike:

It was nice to get a little exercise while getting to know some of our supporters. It was also really nice to feel the warm sunshine on my skin again. We didn't get much sun in Portland, and when we drove down to southern California, a huge storm followed us the whole way, so a lot of the time we were there it rained. Then when we got to Phoenix, it rained too! Yesterday was the first really nice day, and we took full advantage of the sun's rays!

Now, a word on cacti...when I was finishing up my flight training at Moody, our senior flight project was to fly from Spokane to Phoenix and back. Just north of Phoenix, we stopped to practice takeoffs and landings at a small gravel airstrip surrounded by cacti. Now, imagine if you will, a few pocket knives, a little boredom, and 5 young men with an insatiable curiosity...the phrase, "watch out! they jump up and bite you!" comes to mind. Let me just say it takes a LONG time to get all those little needles out!

Pray for us as we have several presentations and meetings in the next 5 days before we head back to California. Our monthly support has gone up some and we're now at 35%, with our outgoing at 32%. For now, goodnight from Phoenix, and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's Been A While

I know it's been a few weeks since I last let you know what we've been up to, and by all accounts, a lot has happened. I'd like to just recap everything for you and share a few pictures with you.

As you already know, we did make it down to southern California with all of our stuff. And, much of our time has been spent organizing and cleaning, going through our belongings and trying to anticipate what we'll need in Congo, and what we can let go of. At the same time, we've been visiting with Joy's family and friends, developing relationships, and re-kindling old ones. We haven't really been doing a whole lot of "work" in regards to MAF, although it comes up in just about every conversation we have. We've technically been "on vacation" for the past week or so, and we went out to the beach a few days ago. Here's a photo of Corona del Mar, it's my first panoramic shot that I've tried. I think it turned out OK. On Saturday, we're back to work and on our way to Phoenix, AZ, for several speaking engagements at churches and schools, as well as meetings with individuals. We're a little anxious to get back to work, but we've also really enjoyed our few days off. Over our little break we did get a few more partners that joined our team. Our monthly support is at 34% and our outgoing fund is now at 28%. Seems that slow but steady wins the race in our case. We're still trying to meet our goal of 60% by February 9th, so you can pray that if it's God's timing, He would provide for us! Pray again for our safe travel to Phoenix, and that we would continue to do our part in the process. Thanks again, and God bless!

Happy New Year!!

On Saturday, we're back to work