Merry Christmas

What a great Christmas we had! We were able to see a lot of friends and family and host a full house for several days in the midst of packing everything up.

You can't really ask for a better "last christmas in the States (for a while)".

Thanks to everyone here and more, we are currently at 101% of funding! What a great Christmas present.

Our PNG plane tickets arrived in the mail.
We are expecting the shipping company to arrive January 10th, to haul our belongings to Papua New Guinea.

We are moving out January 13.

We have tickets in hand for Waxhaw, North Carolina for 8 weeks of training and then we're leaving for PNG in March.

101% sounds like an exciting number, and it is! But there are numbers and then there are numbers.

I am cautioned when sharing the "inner workings of mission finances" and I'm not sure really why. I've heard the advice, and honestly if I get in trouble I'll probably get more cautious in what I share.

But again, my intention here is to demystify missions. I've been raised in the church and I've held many of the same misconceptions about missions as many people have. This entire process is a huge eye opener to me.

See even though we're told "you can go once you get 100% of support" the truth is, you really should be higher than 100% of "promised commitment". There is the promise, and then there is the actual. People are people and they sometimes forget, or their circumstances change and the funding you planned on doesn't come in.

A true miracle would be if we received 100% of the commitment. 100% equals the budget it takes for us to live in PNG and it's a very stripped down budget. The common question is "what happens to the extra?" 100% means that we've reached 100% of the comitted support required by our budget. In a perfect world any extra would go towards unexpected costs, towards immediate needs, or into savings for future needs (such as vehicles and gas, which we have not budgeted for since we do not own a vehicle over there yet). However in a realist's world, sometimes accounts dip under 100% support on a month by month basis. Sometimes the funds didn't come in, and sometimes emergencies required straying from the budget. Missionaries tend to play a lot of catchup, which is why working for an organization who can afford to allow you to play catchup. They have been burned in the past by this though, which is why they require 100% before being allowed to go to the field these days.

If one dips too low, to often, they are encouraged to return and do more partnership development (fund raising).

So we gleefully tell you, we're at 101%, and we wouldn't shy away from being at 110% before we depart, the extra money will go to cover the eventual loss we expect over time. We do expect to see a few drop offs as churches change and people age.

Glory to God, this is all in His hands. And miraculously, it's been chiefly through individuals. That's unheard of really. Most missionaries depend on churches. In our scenario, each and every person is a major player in getting and keeping us in PNG.

So Thank YOU! and Merry Christmas to your house!

Christ the Lord be glorified forever and ever!


Health Update

For those that have been praying.

My son had tubes put in his ears, and his adenoids removed yesterday around 1pm. The procedure went smoothly. His adenoids were very large.

He's almost back to his normal self, except he's been unable to hold down solids but he's working through it. What a trooper, was calm the whole time.

We got great care. This had God's hands on it from start to finish:
-we needed him in quick, the doctor got him in 3 days later because he was sympathetic to our cause.

-the anesthesiologist (sp?) had done several volunteer global short term trips himself and even was able to compare notes with my wife on certain places. He was GREAT with kids, a very pleasing bedside manner.

-that time of day the recovery room was empty so we got focussed attention.

-after we got home, my wife, who wasn't feeling great, finally took a moment to realize she had strep. We were able to get the oncall doctor to write a scrip for drugs for her without a visit and she's feeling a TON better today. That almost NEVER happens.

God had his hand on this family through this entire process, I'm sure there is more but I'm pretty tired from taking care of sickies all night.

Thanks God!

Side note:
Yesterday was the first time I ever had to see my kid attached to an I.V., with breathing mask and everything. I admire the strength of so many of my friends who have had to do that for prolongued periods of time during their child's infancy. Ear tubes and adenoid surgery is a cake walk compared to some of that stuff. And through it all, somehow my little son, with his bravery and calmness, facing his own nerves, made me respect him and proud and thankful to God all at the same time.

It is amazing what God will help us get through.

Prior to the surgery I was talking and walking with him. We spoke about bravery.
"Son, bravery is when you do something you need to, even though it scares you to do it. Can you think of an example?"

without hesitation he responds

"yeah, like I'm scared to go to Papua New Guinea, but I'm gonna go."

From a child's mouth, at any moment, without warning can come silliness, or poignancy.


Quick Prayer

We saw the specialist.

He said that our son has fluid in his ears, and recommended implanting tubes. At age 5 when chronic fluid is prsent, they usually take a look at the adnoids and possibly remove them. A procedure akin to removing tonsils.

-this will enable him to fly without pain (with tubes)
-this procedure lasts long enough to not require constant checkups (1 a few weeks later then maybe a year later)
-it could resolve his hearing issue and not have permanent loss.
-his current hearing loss, should it be permanent, isn't enough to affect his speech or learning or functioning. (not strong enough to require a hearing aid), and isn't progressive if we treat it now.

Because of our timeline the doctor was able to fit us in this Friday. Which is another huge answer to prayer. Being fit into our insurance plan AND his schedule 2 days after seeing him?

It's not because it was an emergency but because the doctor would like to check up on him before we left for N. Carolina!

THank you for praying.

Continue to pray :
that the procedure goes smoothly
that there be no permanent hearing loss (the doctor was avoiding my "worst case scenario" questions, but the bottom line is, he may never get better, or he may get entirely better, but he shouldn't get worse)

also throw in a side prayer that our visas come through soon.

thank you! PRAISE GOD, that's a load off our minds.


a Lot is going on

There is more going on than I can even blog but the energy is very high around here. We're very very excited. I tend to use that word a LOT these days.

We're going!

Funding wise, we haven't technically reached 100% yet, we still need some more monthly committments and partners. However we have reached 100% if you look at it another way.

(it's funny how finances can be viewed in multiple ways) So we're cleared to leave the country! We're hopeful that by the time we actually leave we'll be at 100% EVERY way you look at it, but 1 way is good enough for us for now.

The nature of support they say:
1 - you'll never be higher support wise, than you are when you first leave.
why? - because people won't feel your presence anymore, won't see your energy, won't experience your enthusiasm, and will forget your face over time.

2 - your support raising will never be over
why? - because people will stop sending for various reasons, or forget to start.

So, by no means are we intending to stop, for multiple reasons.
We're very excited to actually start creating experiences to write you all about.
Pictures! New stories! The good stuff! The exciting stuff... what God is doing over there stuff!

Well we've begun packing too. Giving away furniture, selling stuff on craig's list, donating to the neighbors, hauling away junk, putting stuff in boxes, and trying to find people who'll store a box or two for us here and there.

We have many piles: TO PNG, TO STORAGE #1, TO STORAGE #2, TO DUMP, TO DONATE

It is quite the logistical puzzle to craft moving, when to get rid of what furniture, when to sell/donate cars, when to quit work, and when to pack up... say.. your computer equipment, etc.

We have our tickets!

All signs are pointing to GO... but there are a few more obstacles God has to clear.
Before that though,
our itenerary:

January 13 - we fly to Waxhaw, North Carolina to live in an apartment for 8 weeks.
During those 8 weeks we will undergo cultural sensitivity training and technical training while our kids attend a local school.

March 10, we return from NC to stay in the Bay area for 1 week, visiting, saying goodbye, and tieing up loose ends.

March 17, we begin to fly to PNG.
March 20, we arrive at our destination in Ukarumpa, PNG. (I can detail the flight more later)

- visas. while the adult's have been approved, there was confusion with the kid's and while were confident it'll be resolved quickly, it still needs resolution. The embassy needs a letter, which we're told was sent, but they haven't received, etc. and so forth. Clerical stuff. God'll work it out

- packing. Logistics of getting it all done.

- holidays. We're hosting Christmas, and it'll be a very full house, with family from both sides attending. IT promises to be a mixture of the stress of moving, the emotional stress of leaving, the logistic stress of having visitors stay in our home, and the christmas commotion of all the goings on. It's a perfect storm, and everyone is going to feel the pressure. But, the reason for it all is love. Folks want to be around us during this time, even if part of them are upset at us for taking away the grandkids, they love us. Pray that all of us can be kind and sincere during this time.

-our son's hearing. This is a very personal issue and one that we share not to embarrass our son. He's 5yrs old, and the doctor's are telling us we might expect some percentage of permanent hearing loss. A few weeks ago, I noticed something odd about his hearing and didn't dismiss it as a young child being stubborn. We did an impromptu hearing test and he didn't do so well. So we went to his pediatrician. She said she suspected fluid, and because we were leaving the country in 3 months, put him on aggressive anti-biotics.

Aggressive anti-biotics is a bit scary of a thought because I had heard of children being deaf because of this type of treatment for ear infections. In fact memory serves that one year our son had 2 infections and the dr. said a third would require tubes instead of anti-biotics.

The treatment possibly cleared up the fluid but a tympanogram proved no movement of his tympanic membrane. So we went to an audiologist who said there might be "some" fluid but they suspect a percentage of permanent loss.

So on Tuesday we see a specialist. What are they going to tell us? We don't know yet. We have many questions.

We need more data on his situation first. As you would guess, there are a lot of questions, and a lot of prayer needed about this right now.

As always, Pray that God would envelop us in a pocket of God's presence. That we would defer all decisions to Him, that we would submit gladly to His will and recognize it.

thank you for reading and praying!



Yesterday we sold the kid’s swingset. AT noon I posted on craigslist, by 1pm I had cash in hand and someone was tearing down the big wooden structure. By 4pm the structure was gone. That was nice.

The kids came home in the middle of the deconstruction. I thought “oh this is gonna go badly.”
“Kids, remember that we’re moving.”
“and we can’t move our swingset with us.”
“and where we are going there will be new things to play on.”
“so we’re giving or rather, we’re selling your old swingset to some people who have grandchildren who’ll enjoy it while we’re gone.”

They then ran off, and were playing in the backyard where the swingset was… busy making a museum. Not a lick of sadness at all. I asked them what they were doing and they were very happy playing and said “now we have all this room to play in! We can play football, or make a museum or play tag!”

I love our kids. Another example of God preparing them for this ministry. They take change so well. My son is anxiously awaiting today when we give the neighbor his train table.

This morning at Breakfast, my daughter says “I planted four apple seeds in the place our swingset used to be. I got them from my Macintosh Apple.”
I sat there and stared at her, and thought “what mac? oh… that powerbook 100 I gave her as a toy… but why were there apple seeds in it? Did she store them in the…..OH!!! She means a REAL apple.”

That was a funny moment for me. I had forgotten my daughter knows her apple types well.

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Today I said goodbye to my vhs movie collection. I started it in 1991, in college I used to lend movies to people. As a young kid my mom used to say “you have a gift for remembering movie trivia.” And I did, and I do.

When people ask my hobbies I often say “film”. But I don’t say it with pride, I say it with shame.

When we’re sitting around talking and someone says “you know that guy.. in that one film… who did that thing?” and I quickly reply with all the relevant data. I don’t take joy in that.

Because I realize that inside my memory is more movie trivia than scripture. Something about “where my treasure is.”

Today as I began to toss out old vhs’s (no one wants them donated) I started to realize the futility of that hobby. This collection, one by one, going into the trash. It became an act of worship as each time I threw out a tape I was sad and then said “God you are more precious than that film.”

It was easy on some of the lame ones, and harder when I got to some of my favorite classics.

I was struck by a sobering thought. I looked at the futility of collecting these movies now on a nearly defunct medium, unloved for years, and finally put into the trash.
I felt sad, as if I had wasted a lot of time and energy.

And the thought that struck me, was this:

I wonder if this is a small fraction of what it would feel like to stand before God on judgement day and realize your entire life was spent chasing the wrong thing.

Lord, I don’t want to chase the wrong things. I know movies aren’t sinful, but I also know they're trifles, not things to be largely concerned with. God help me not to continue the habit of spending too much time on trifles. God give me a consuming fire for your Word. God I know myself and I know I have these moments of clarity that are later overridden by unbroken habits. God help me to break that habit.

Thanks for loving me.


God's Encouraging Confirmation

When we first started this adventure we had a list of prayer requests before God.
"God, these are the concerns on our heart, we will follow you and obey you regardless of whether or not these are answered, but we put them before you."

In the past year, that list has been systematically answered.

We still have petitions before Him, but He has graciously answered the chief concerns on our heart, and now we stand before the threshold ready to serve Him with an unburdened and unworried heart. It is such a wonderful confirmation that God would alleviate those concerns of ours.

Thank you for praying!


More updates

95.7% today.
We have all but 2 pieces of papers in to submit our visa application. We've been working hard on this. There are many doctor's visits and revisits to get all the papers we need. I'm anxiously awaiting one email so we can submit our visas.

We're starting to investigate air fare to Papua New Guinea! 95% is when you begin the final preparations!

--we still need free long term storage for our stuff.
--we still need around $160 more p/month to meet our criteria.

-God is working, he's comforting our last minute worries, He's providing for us in so many ways, He's even making work exodus go smoothly.

I had a dream last night that shook me a bit. I rarely pay attention to dreams, but you know sometimes they can affect you emotionally as you wake up and start your day. I woke up with questions and fears. Instinctively I turned to the Word. I grabbed my "Message" and walked outside after 6am and read it. Sometimes the Message is best for morning light reading. I prefer NKJ for the more mental exercises.

I decided I needed to spend some time praising God in the midst of my fears etc, so I turned to a random Psalm. Man what the perfect Psalm for my mood this morning:

Psalm 37.
I'll point out my fear and thought and the verse that calmed me:

--God what if I'm making a huge mistake? Should I keep my job?
7 Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don't bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.

--God what about the spiritual attack I'll be putting my family under?

12-13 Bad guys have it in for the good guys,
obsessed with doing them in.
But God isn't losing any sleep; to him
they're a joke with no punch line.

--God what if I make a huge mistake and mess up my family's future?

23-24 Stalwart walks in step with God;
his path blazed by God, he's happy.
If he stumbles, he's not down for long;
God has a grip on his hand.

25-26 I once was young, now I'm a graybeard—
not once have I seen an abandoned believer,
or his kids out roaming the streets.
Every day he's out giving and lending,
his children making him proud.

--Okay I get it, but God how do I make sure I don't falter and mess things up? I'm only human.

30-31 Righteous chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone,
rolls virtue around on his tongue.
His heart pumps God's Word like blood through his veins;
his feet are as sure as a cat's.

34 Wait passionately for God,
don't leave the path.
He'll give you your place in the sun
while you watch the wicked lose it.

37-38 Keep your eye on the healthy soul,
scrutinize the straight life;
There's a future
in strenuous wholeness.
But the willful will soon be discarded;
insolent souls are on a dead-end street.

39-40 The spacious, free life is from God,
it's also protected and safe.
God-strengthened, we're delivered from evil—
when we run to him, he saves us.

God speaks to His people. I am very uplifted. I've been listening to John Piper and one thing he mentions is that there are two parts of the Christian faith.

one is believing God
the other is desiring God.

I tell you my passion is that God's Word would pump through my life like blood through my veins. WOW. I can't help but get excited about that. God is so good, so praiseworthy! Get excited about His stuff!


The improved site

We're at 92.5%
We're being considered by a few churches in the area for support.
We are mailing out a new newsletter soon.
We are also mailing out postcards. These are for supporting members to keep and remember us by. (a picture to go on the fridge) They are also for others who have mentioned not receiving a commitment card and that they wanted one.

We've put a new face on the ministry's website.
Check it out here:

You can see the new newsletter there online, but it should be coming in the mail to you.


The Weekend

This weekend we worked on our newsletter and some prayer cards.
I was able to share a bit of my thoughts in our adult congregation class, as well as help out in AWANA for their first night.

We're at 92.5%
We're going to North Carolina in January for 7 weeks for training.
Then, if we're at 100% by then, with our Visas in hand, we'll leave the country.

Between now and then we need more financial partners, we need prayer, we need to pack up, we need to store our belongings and we need to buy airfare to PNG, and we need to get our Visa's completed.

I thank God that he created in us, something that feels good when we do good. How simply good you feel when you do something cheerfully for someone other than yourself is part of what God instilled in our nature.

To be used of God is an extreme honor, one that adds value to our existence. IT is never meant as an opportunity for individuals to be elevated but for Him to be glorified.

That is our attitude as we go into this.
We look to heaven. We are not bound by the restraints of this world because this world will be made new by Him who has called us into the work ahead of us.

The wonderful thing about heaven, is heaven's a wonderful thing.
(to borrow a line from A.A. Milne)


The Yard Sale

It is getting closer, we're purging ourselves of our possessions.

A Yard sale is a recognition of all the junk one has accumulated, and an effort to simplify.

My family is not especially materialistic. When any four of us see something we want, our second thought is usually "do I really need it?" This is another one of the subtle characteristics I've seen in this family that reminds me that God has been preparing us for a life of mission work. But no matter how good you think you are at living simply, a yard sale opens your eyes to the sea of junk that has infested your home.

Today I looked out, and I saw so much stuff, that at one time was valued and new, and now, is a burden to rid ourselves of. It is an endless cycle.

Becoming a missionary, you can only take so many things with you. You have to decide what is junk, what is essential to keep with you, and what is storable. Then you have to pay for shipping for the essentials and storage for the storables. This levies quite the price on whatever you decide to keep. The logical side of my brain says "put it in the dumpster" but my wife makes a good point, we should try to sell what we can, otherwise it's wasteful. Now that the yard sale is over, she feels justified that she gave it her best shot to avoid waste, and we took it all to our local charity.

I figure each item has 4 prices. 1. Original purchase 2. Storage 3.Labor in trying to sell 4. Labor in donating or 4. Cost to take to dump.
And that's IF we get rid of it. I have entertained thoughts of a massive bonfire, but have you seen how much firewood is these days (-;

We have tried to live simply, but you never truly realize how far you've missed the mark until you've had a yard sale. And each yard sale is a symbolic moment. Like a New Year's resolution. "I'm going to stop buying junk." It is a cost of being a family and having roots. You acquire things. The important thing isn't the cost of these things, or the amount of these items. The important thing, is that we maintain the proper attitude towards them. God's kingdom is more important than our kingdom of junk, and all our worldly possessions can burn in a fire before we value one of them higher than every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.


Limbo Life

There are a lot of things that need to be done in a short amount of time.
We are currently at approximately 90% funding. 100% is required before we can leave the country or even book airline tickets out of the country.

To find the remining 10% of supporters, we're praying, writing letters, and making calls. We've exhausted our own personal relationships as sources of financial partnership, and are branching out to churches and other areas where we share common interests but no common relationships.

God has chosen for us a path that looks like individuals are going to be the main contributors instead of churches. That is exciting for many reasons, but I'm attempting to make this blog more logistical than emotional or spiritual, so I'll leave out a lot of the why's etc.

We have been sending emails to groups of people who are technically minded believers. Christian aliases at work, things like that.

If you have a christian alias at your company, and are willing to send an email for us, I have one composed that I would love for you to send. Thank you

So while we're patiently waiting on God to unveil the final 10%, one inch at a time, we have other things to do:

-finish our work permit applications and visas.
-finalize our training - we have 8 weeks in jan/feb/march time frame to finalize training.
-find storage for our worldly possessions that we are neither taking nor ridding ourselves of
-quit work and leave

As of now, it appears that since we do not know when 100% will come, we can not know when we will actually be leaving the country, but we DO know that all things would be MOST smooth if we could be packed and moved out before we leave for Carolina at the end of January to finalize our training.

Please pray for our funding to come in quickly.
Please pray for creativity. We are finding ourselves stretched to come up with new funding ideas.

Many of the churches we've reached out to, have responded with "we only support members" types of reactions, which is understandable. The final 10% is what is known as, the second HALF of financial support. IF that is true, we will patiently and joyfully accept that as God's will, and we go, whenever He says go.

There are several other logistics, but we're starting to cross items off the list which is making this very real for us. Our house is beginning to be emptied out slowly, our boxes will begin being filled.

We are having a garage sale on Oct. 14th, to unload most of our stuff we won't be keeping.

All of this adds up to.. "this is really happening".

IT is an interesting place to live, not being sure WHEN but having a goal, and a hope. For those type A's which both my wife and I are, it is difficult to not have a concrete calendar, but we remind ourselves that we can't push God, and we wouldn't want to.

Thank you for praying


answers to prayer

I recently got an email.
We've been praying that God would see fit to increase the bandwidth in PNG before we got onsight in January.

the email today was exciting news. they are deploying new internet service technology (I'm being vague on purpose) which will allow them more reliability and bandwidth!

There are a lot of technical questions at the moment, but, it is a definite and direct answer to prayer.

God is awesome. He chooses to bless us through continued answer to prayer and He is worthy of praise. When we see answers to prayer like this we get excited! God thank you! We do not deserve these mercies!


Going for 100%

Well, summer is over and the kids are back in school. Calvin started Kindergarten this year and Sydney is in second grade. We had a very busy summer, but were blessed to have a chance to spend lots of time with some of our extended family. Those times become much more precious when you realize that by next summer we will be living halfway across the globe.

We’d like to take a minute to say thanks to all of you who are partnering with us in this journey. Your prayers and financial support are invaluable. We are definitely looking forward to getting to Papua New Guinea, but this time we spend in preparation has given us a chance to get to know some amazing people who are a part of our team. In fact, this summer Kendal had the privilege of meeting some of our prayer partners. The residents of the retirement community where Kendal’s mom works have been faithfully praying for us for the past year. While in Oregon this summer, Kendal had a chance to meet this amazing group of people and share with them a little more about what we will be doing and where we are going. What a blessing to meet and share with these faithful members of our team!

Financial update:
We are at 84.8% with $600 p/month left to discover.

We don’t use the word “raise” because really we aren’t earning or raising any money, but you as our partners are supporting us because you care.

We are constantly reminded that we are on God’s clock, not our own. Personally, I (Chad) would like to see 100% before September ends. That would mean we could buy plane tickets to North Carolina at the best value, and make all our training on time, as well as finalize the details of moving. It is an interesting limbo state that we are currently in. If we do not reach 100% in time to purchase plane tickets and leave in January, then we will have to wait until the following August to go. God is sovereign, His timing is perfect. He has answered so many prayers that indicate that this January is the right time that we are acting in faith He will provide. All signs point to January as being when He wants us to depart, which is why we strongly believe we will reach 100% in time.

Please pray. Currently we have reached out to everyone we know, and friends of people we know. Historically missions finances primarily come from churches, but that does not seem to be the method God had in mind for us as over 95% of our current funds come from individuals.

If you attend a church that has an active missions department please contact us.
If you are interested in partnering with us through prayer or finances please contact us.

Please pray that God provide the 100% in time.

If you really want to sing shouts of praise, pray that we reach 100% by September 30th as it would take a load of pressure off of us. Not that God wants us to live pressure free lives (-;

Again, thank you to everyone for your prayer and support. It takes a team to accomplish this work, and we are very thankful to God for you.


Learning as we go

I don't desire this to sound preachy, so if it does let me know.
Part of the process of becoming a missionary is learning to let go of control.
Control of when the support will come in, how long it will stay.
There is also the kind of control that comes in the form of leverage.
Americans have leverage because of competition and because they are consumers.
If a service you pay for, doesn't live up to your standards, there is competition you can go to.

As a consumer, you have power and control.

Inside of a missionary organization things are different than inside of a company.
In a company, if they want you to train on something, they pay for the training, and typically it is optional but strongly encouraged.

In a missionary organization, the training is mandatory, and they don't pay for it.

Does it strike you in an odd way if I said, "you have to go to this class, AND you have to pay for it."

In my corporate America culture, that is an offending thought. I don't HAVE to do anything, I'm an employee with skills, I can quit and join a competitor!

Pay for it? Why would I pay for something YOU need me to do?

And so we have this sense of control, of leverage, of options.

I'm in the process of discovering how it feels to lose those ...options.

Admittedly, I have discovered that a lot of my trust is in my ability to creatively negotiate my options.
I don't like getting stuck in a corner in any way. Whether it's a service I pay for, or my career. I like to have possibilities.

It boils down to, finding the truth behind where my trust lies.

When I desire control, and I become upset when I can not have it, I discover that my trust lies in my abilities.

We're losing control. (not self-control). We're losing a lot of our ability to exert force over our environment.

It seems like a sad thing but it isn't.

We are discovering the truth behind putting our trust in Jesus (who is alive!).
Our hope is in Jesus. Not in ourselves.
The possibilities in Christ are endless, who can stand against Him?

Truly, this is a process of dying to self. It is not an easy process. Admittedly for the past week or two I've been emotionally struggling with the idea.

But in the last two days, I've changed from focussing on us, what WE lose, what WE are giving up, and instead discipline my heart towards praising God. It is amazing how, you think you figured it out before making the decision. You say "sure I can give up this, and this and this" and the growth doesn't really come from the easy things to give up, it's when you hit the parts that are harder to give up, the sneaky ones, the parts you didn't anticipate. Something as small as the fact that you won't have as much variety in life.

It was not until I was praising God that my perspective was altered, and I was transformed into a step of humility and understanding.

God is great, God is good. Christ is Risen!
Our trust is not in ourselves it is in Christ.
Our trust is not in our ability to make things work, but in God's ability to fulfill His plan.

still on the journey.


Status 8/29/06

News from the homefront is that the cost of health insurance has gone up, which changes our monthly goal from $3700 to $3900 which in turn brings our progress from 86% to 82%.

AT first what seems dissapointing (as if they moved the finish line while we were nearing the end of the race) is in fact another opportunity to worship God.

God is great. Christ is risen! Christ is alive. We don't serve a Jesus who is back in Israel 2000 years ago. We serve a Christ who is here, who is now, who is alive!

God can bring in the funds.

We have some pressing needs:
- we need to get to 100% by January, but I'm really praying for September.
- we need more contacts, more interested partners, more churches.

We've written and visited everyone we can think of, so now we need new ideas, new resources, new ways to get to 100%.

We are excited because we've made it so far so quickly and it's all because of you, our partners in this ministry!

Thank you.

As we continue to wait on God, we wait for some people to make final decisions as to whether or not they wish to support us.

We wait on God's timing as to when our Visa's will be completed.

In this society we live in, everything is HERE and NOW, instant, fast-food, microwave culture, learning to wait is something that is hard, but an experience we're becoming more accustomed to.

Praise God, His timing is perfect!


It's happening

pausing a moment for reflection
in the past week our support has gone up almost 8%.

As I look around now, we’re nearing 90% of funding, it’s sinking more deeply in that we’re leaving.

I’m having a great conversation with my dad and in my brain I hear “you won’t be doing this next year” and I start to tear up.

I’m looking at my nieces and cousins and having fun camping and thinking “you won’t be doing this next year” and choke up a little.

I’m hiding zucchini at my neighbor’s house and I think “this is my last practical joke in America for a few years” and I start to get melancholy.

The tragedy of this process is that it lets the pain linger for a very long time.
It’s like attending a wake for a year. No person should have to prolong these emotions.

There is a definite sadness to this process. I would be negligent if I didn't mention them in the blog.

You ask yourself questions like, "how long will it be before I see them again? What if something happens? Will I ever see them again?" In every person's case there are specific details and difficult to cope with emotions.

There is sadness on the side of those watching us go.

My dad explained it to someone like this "it's a joyful heartbreak."

This blog is about the process of becoming a missionary, and so I have to include these harder parts, even if they make it seem less...what's the word.. "glamorous" doesn't quite fit.

We aren't guaranteed that if we follow God's orders we will have a happy life. It is a temptation to believe that in following God all will be good. We know God desires good for His people, but we are prepared for bad to happen as well. Modern day martyrs are rare, but the heart still needs to be prepared.

So what do we do during these sad times? Do we complain to God, do we try to bargain with God and ask for Him to let us off the hook? No, because He jsut might (-;

We turn it, through discipline, into worship. Sacrificing our emotions of sadness and turning them into tears of praise because we know that following God is our goal in life. We don't know what the outcome will be, but we know, we need to be obedient, even unto a broken sadness that is leaving loved ones.... even further than that.

A mind like mine, asks "what if" a lot.
"what if you lost a child because of this?"
"what if you died and your wife was left in the country with 2 kids?"
"what if your grandmother got sick while you were gone?"
"what if your best friend marries and you weren't around to be the best man?"

but there is a what if question that trumps them all:

"what if, you didn't obey God?"

What would our lives be like if we decided to turn our back on what we know to be God's direction for our lives? We have very clear marching orders, He's confirmed it to us time and time again. To refuse to go, would be a clear case of ignoring God's specific will for us.

Living life after rejecting God in that way, would be a path we don't want to go down. God has set a banquet before us, and invited us, we're going.

We have fields and committments we're leaving behind, but that is the price we pay in order to live a life of obedience.

It's not all sad I don't mean to concentrate on that too much, it's mostly joy. Because knowing we are doing what God wants, is more comforting than anything, and it is also what comforts our family in our absence.

There is great honor and joy and comfort and hope and excitement and anticipation and love in knowing that we have been asked to do a small thing for God.


July Update 2006

wow, a lot of stuff has happened.

First, the new newsletter is up

In the interest of getting the information out, we sort of hacked up the original format to squeeze in the info.

Let's see.

So we were praying:
1 - God would bring our finances up over 70% ... we're now at 76%
2 - God would bring folks who have committed to joining us, to telling us what level they are comfortable with.... .still in progress but some folks are saying "remember when we committed months ago.. .well this is how much we'd like to give.."
3 - God would allow the training scheduling to work out. See the training we need to take is only available at certain times, and they require multiple weeks of leaving work to complete. BUT ALAS... a huge prayer was answered and now the schedules are all worked out so that we can attend the training we need, AND get to the country by our desired departure date! (Jan/Feb. 2007)

God really worked out a major issue for us. POC is a 14 week in country camp/training based on teaching you how to live in the country. My future manager needs me at the job at soon as possible to train me before he leaves in country. If I were to attend the 14 week training it would drastically lower my ability to do my job right out of the gates (I like to hit the ground running).

So now the story is... in January we'll be attending 5 weeks of training, move to PNG, live there for 6 months, and then go to the 14 week training, which will allow us not only to have more time acclimating, but create a better appreciation for the 14 week training as well as more preparation.

All in all, God moved a mighty mountain for us recently!
so now...
visas are in progress
and we're waiting for the final 24% of people to let us know what they are comfortable with committing to!

We're excited... the rubber is meeting the road and we're ready to go!!!

thank you all, and please pray:

-that our funding hits 100% by September.
-that our visas and work permits go through smoothly.

This is very exciting stuff! We're seeing God answer prayers in His incredible style!


Exciting News

People are asking us if we're excited. The answer is yes!
Today we moved passed the 70% support line into 75% support!
That is exciting. 80% is our next milestone. We'd like to be there by the end of July. And we'd like to be at 100% by the end of August.

That's our timing, God's timing seems to be keeping in line with that, and we definitely will wait on Him.

We are going to take some family time this July, and hope to fit in some time to visit churches and friends.

We have submitted the application for the kids enrolment to school, and we have finalized the Visa application (it takes a while to get all the documentation in) and are sending it in today.

Pray that all paperwork gets to it's proper destination and is processed in a timely fashion and that things go smoothly.

It is definitely a discipline to do your paperwork thoroughly and on time, and completely. A discipline that is part of the job and that we are learning.

On a personal note, I find it ironic because I have always disliked paperwork, and now I am at a time in my life when paperwork is a huge portion of my day.

Doesn't God always work like that? Always trying to strengthen us in our weak areas (-;. As my folks used to say... "it builds character".


Financial and Prayer update

Today marks 67% of our financial goal!

We have begun our Visa application process and require prayer that it goes smoothly.
There is a lot of paperwork to fill out and rules and regulations to adhere to, official copies of this and that to get and such.

We do our best to make sure this all goes through smoothly, and then trust God to guide it all to the right people to get it through. As we start sending off document after document, pray for it's smooth sailing.

Thank you.



We are now at 60% financial partnership! Only 40% more to go! If you know of any interested parties we have yet to contact please let us know.


(click on newsletter #2)

the financial data is out of date because in 2 weeks time we have had such a response that we were unable to keep up with it.


Support, and prayer

we've finished newsletter2, a few weeks ago.
now we're compiling everyone's email addresses.

With each email we send out, we save approximately one dollar. (printing costs and mailing costs).
So in the interest of stewardship, we've taken the extra week to compile email addresses.

If you don't think we have yours, please contact me at

now for the big news:

51% financial partnership!!!! (as of 5/13/06) We jumped right passed 50 and went straight to 51% !!! YAH....YIPPEEE!!! (didn't want to give a search engine free advertising).

Also, for those of you who desire a more personal touch, the newsletters aren't it. The newsletters go to a wide range of people, and as such, are typically more informative and general... as is the news.

For the personal touch, look first to the blog, which while public, is more personal. And secondly we do try to keep in touch with everyone on a personal level as well.

If you have any questions, or simply want to talk, we would love to have a chat with you.

thank you for your support.
God answers prayer in incredible ways.

Here's a funny one:
I (chad) have learned throughout my life to pray for everything. I don't believe in coincidence, and I don't believe anything is too small to pray about. God is all powerful, to Him it is as hard to raise full support for missions as it is to find a good parking space. His power can handle both with relative ease. In our eyes, things are harder, and so we tend to gravitate towards only releasing the harder things to God. BUT, in my daily life I pray continually, and while I sometimes do feel silly praying for the small stuff, I definitely have seen God take those opportunities to be glorified and encourage me.

Yesterday we were with some family at the beach. I needed to find a parking spot, so I prayed "God, please find us a good parking spot." It was the kind of day where prayer would be the only way you found a convenient one. With my son not feeling so well, and a van full of family, the closer we got the better. (-;

Well I was taking my time, not being rude at all, and I paused at an intersection to let people go, but jsut as I did, a large group of people decided to cross the street and block the river of traffic coming at me, so I took the opportunity and pulled behind a big convertable with one man driving.

His bumper stickers read: "hedonist" "apes evolved from creationists" and "boycott A.A."

I thought "God, this man apparently lives his life in mockery of you."
Well, the man was looking to his left, I don't know why, because I was looking to my right, and right in front of him, a car was pulling out.

This man missed it completely, and I got a prime parking spot.

I laughed and thanked God.
Not only, did God part the waters to allow me to drive smoothly, but He gave me a perfect parking spot in a very encouraging way as if to say "there will be those that mock me, but I reward my faithful."

It seems like a small thing, but I believe when you have eyes to see, you can see God working everywhere.



A team of friends went to Senegal for computer work and networking. The whole world needs this stuff!

This week has been an amazing week of answered prayer.
Inspired by Karl Bastian's childrens book "Order of the Ancient" I have taken to making a specific intercessory prayer each day for something to occur that day.

I pray many things in a day but chose to focus on only 1 thing to have answered in a short amount of time.

Monday - Lord please let our support break the 37% barrier. When I got home my wife told me we were at 39.5%
Tuesday - Lord please let the team in Senegal successfully complete their installs by Saturday I got an email that they were successful.
Weds - God please help me to understand [a complex problem at work I'd been having trouble with for weeks] by 11am something clicked and I finally understood the issue.
Thurs - (I can't remember, I should journal this stuff)
Friday - God please let us get a check in the mail tomorrow. Today - for no reason AT&T sent us a check for $79.00. Admittedly I meant a new partner, but God still answered my literal prayer. I think I shall be more specific from now on (-;

And so today, is Saturday and I've saved my short term answer prayer for you the blog reader.

Lord may everyone who reads this blog today be filled with your joy and may you be glorified somehow in their lives today.

We are at 40.5%... that's almost 50%! We've been doing this PD for almost 3 months now, but honestly it's YOU who has been doing it and God.

Our second newsletter is complete and we'll be mailing in out early this week.

I will also be putting up a link for information, so please stay tuned.



We have been at 37% of our promised monthly funding for a few weeks now. We are praying that our trip to Southern California would increase this number as well as prayer partners.

We are also hoping that those who have committed to joining us will communicate at what level so we can get an accurate read of how close we are to our financial goal.

Please pray that God would advance this number towards 100%. Thank you.


God Answers Prayer

We've come to rely on answered prayer.
I personally get a kick out of watching God work! This last week, our trip down to Southern California was an experience in worship and faithfulness.

Worshipfully we recognize that as men after the fall, we have to toil. It's a plain truth, and toiling without complaining and grumbling, and is a form of worship to God. It brings with it encouragement and faith building.

Praying that God would work, and then being blessed when He shows you a glimmer of what He is doing, is faith building.

This week was one moment after another of being blessed and excited by the Holy Spirit. Seeing small groups study the Bible, hearing personal testimonies, hearing sermons, seeing old friends and family, visiting churches, seeing old friends in new ministries, all these things glorify God and we have become so encouraged seeing God's hand at work!

When people study the Word, when they worship and praise, we are filled.
When you are raised in the church, the idea of going to several churches in a week can either be exciting or can seem like more of the same.

At some point in your walk, you may get the impression that you've heard it all before. Church services can become mundane. But when you find a heart of worship, which is what God has shown my family these last two years, when you find that heart, suddenly the services take on a new light. The songs you've heard a million times before, take on a new life.

It was so exciting to praise God and worship Him in these new and old settings. WOW.
I got so energized we drove the night through to get home. I'm not a night driver, but I spent the quiet and dark hours praying and praising God.

One specific example is that, since we've grown somewhat addicted to seeing God provide (please Lord don't let me get too spoiled) I asked if He would give us one new Partner on Saturday. One day away. "God tomorrow when I wake up, will you please provide one new partner."

God did it.
How encouraging is that? How awesome is that?

I am convinced, that we need to focus our hearts into hearts of worship, and that will establish a relationship with Christ that surpasses anything that might sap our joy. And that relationship will grow and all things will spring from there. Loving others will grow, prayer lives will grow, all things will grow from that relationship which comes from a submissive heart of worship.

WOW! the Me of 2 years ago is envious of the me now. Two years ago I'd see people on fire and think "I have been a christian for 27 years now, the fire is strong but not explosive, I want to be explosive again." and now, 2 years later I am!

God we praise you and thank you for your faithfulness.
God this easter, you were victorious over death and sin. The world seeks heroes and Christ is the largest hero of them all. Beaten and bruised and conquered on Friday, with justice and strength He arose on Sunday to defeat all foes, death, sin, and prove to the world who will one day admit it, that He is GOD!

He proves to us daily that He is God.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us!


Anatomy of Partnership Development

A large part of the appeal of Wycliffe to me is our view towards "financial support". This is more accurately called Partnership because of the equality in ownership of a ministry that God is doing. He puts different people with different abilities and hearts together to accomplish something that otherwise would be impossible. I will hopefully put more detail later, but the gist is...
you're not asking for money, you're asking for people excited who want to join, and letting them decide the level of that partnership. Will they be prayers, encourages, come visit us, help financially support us.. what?

Thus we don't go on "fund raising trips" we go out seeking to do 2 things:
1 - glorify God by telling people, anyone, what God has done in our lives
2 - find the people who desire to get involved in some way.

number 1 above, is what planted the seed in our family years ago. We pray that God would be glorified through us and that we wouldn't be an obstacle (firewall) to His glory.

so... with that said... there is a reality to the fact that you have to pray for people to talk to, they don't know us or they do, they are excited to hear us or they aren't. We don't know how long we'll have or what the topic should be, or sometimes we do.

It can definitely sound like a chore. Pack the family up, get in the car, drive to a church, speak in front of the church, find a small group, get to know them and share what is going on. It sounds energy draining, laborious even.

It isn't. The reality is, yes it is work. Since Genesis man has had to toil. But...
God is SO awesome.

He is encouraging us every step of the way. How exciting is it when you find someone who really cares about what you are saying? It blows me away when people enjoy being around us and hearing what God is doing. I am deeply honored by the people who are joining us as partners.

I find that in my heart I am uplifted... seeing God work in Southern California is great! Some churches here are really catching on fire.

I can't describe what it is to not want to do a job, but know you must, set your mind to the point of sacrificing whatever you do, all the work, to God as worship, and then aligning your heart with God's because there is no point in grumbling while doing this chore, you need to be absolutely submissive to God's heart and will.... (excuse the run-on sentence) and then, when you've put everything you have into it, and are drained, God fills you through relationships and experiences. You find His Word, you meet people you love and who love you, you receive encouragement.

This process is a process of recognizing that God meets you when you work towards Him and for Him with the right heart.

We're in the middle of the week down here, and have visited 2 churches and a small group, we've spoken 2-3 times, and are anticipating one more church visit.

That's the work part... the blessing list is huge:
-we heard an amazing sermon
-we experienced an absolutely amazing testimony from one of the vp's at pepsico
-we saw people we haven't seen in years which is always so great
-we were able to meet other missions minded folks
-we spent time in family's homes and friends homes which is always an honor and a privilege.
-we saw the power of God in this process.

Honestly, I'm the kind of guy who finds leaving the home, packing, and driving 400 miles a huge chore. Staying in other people's homes you're always worried that your kids will behave etc.

But once I got my heart and mind to the point of... this is not a chore, it is a task that you are doing because God called you to the field, you are doing this out of obedience and out of worship to God.

Once I got there, and I got there pretty quick, God showed up and changed my attitude into one of flexibility, and awe.

God works like that, always has... working for Him, when you're in that zone, that right place, is ALWAYS more filling than anything else.

To me, the fact that serving is energizing and filling and encouraging and strengthening your walk in Christ, is the most important signal that you are in God's will.

I've been in "ministry" my whole life, some jobs are really draining, others pump you up.

This job, has pumped us up, and we've only jsut begun!

Thank you to all who have been praying and reading... HI to all our new friends and readers!

----we would LOVE to see more people come on board as a result of this trip, we would love to find great prayer warriors and ... because we like making a task so huge only God can accomplish it and thus be glorified we are praying that within a month of this trip we'll be at 50%

Could you join us in that prayer?
I'll throw out the biggest one, we're praying for 100% by July, 2006.

Only God can accomplish this task. If He opts not to, we realize we will submit to his timing and clock, but our passion is to go in January.


April 10-easter

WE will be in the Los Angeles area from April 10th through to Easter.
IF you are in the area and know of anyone who would be interested in hearing about our ministry and might be interested in partnering with us for financial and prayer support, please contact us at


We are at %37 of our financial support. We hope to see that number grow as we continue approaching churches for partnership, however thus far the trend is about a 25% success rate. I'm not sure if that is a good or bad rate, but it's God's plan so it's good regardless.

We anticipate hearing from many of you who are still deciding at what level you wish to partner with us financially, once we know that we will be able to get an accurate reading of how much more work we have to do.

We have been working on a second newsletter. We have also completed our ministry portfolio which is a folder containing introductory information to our family and our ministry, intended for churches and groups who may be looking to support missionaries with a shared passion.

If you know of any groups or churches who would like to hear from both or one of us, we are more than happy to come share or even to give you one of our portfolios.

We are excited to say that Bethany Church (where we were married) is the first church to partner with us financially on a monthly basis.
A few churches have declined financially supporting us in an ongoing way but are still encouraging. A few have shown no interest, and even fewer haven't liked where our organization stands theologically.

It is an interesting process, but we are confident that God will pull us through it with a stronger faith.

Prayer Requests:
--that God would move in the hearts of people and churches to partner with us
--that we would be at 100% ($3700 p/month promised committment) by June 2006
--we would be guarded against spiritual attack in the form of discouragement (or any form)
--that our kids would be protected against attack and would grow up wise in Christ.

thank you
also if you are praying for us, and happen to think of it, drop us a line, it would be very encouraging to know who is praying and who is reading the blog.


What about Burnout?

What about burn out?
(thoughts by Chad)
I do not know how many of these thoughts I should share. They are personal and not completely matured. Yet we desire to remain sincere and open to those who support us, because the end goal is to glorify God. Sincerely voicing the thoughts and struggles are part of the missionary process. People can never truly know unless you share, and unfortunately for the reader, when I am passionate I am also verbose (well on paper anyway). Keep in mind as you read, the context, we haven't been in the field for many years and thus we consult those who have been and are encouraged. We're aware we probably represent the youthful vitality one expects from "newbies".

Reading: Romans 9,10 and 11

I see friends in professional ministry being absorbed by the frustrations of the professional side of their work. I see movies about priests that have lost their faith. Always these movies show men who once had a lively relationship with God and now are consumed with selfish desires and have lost that connection with God. I hear of missionaries who burn out and return home from the field.

This concerns me as in Romans 9:
All those people who didn't seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. 31And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. 32How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their "God projects" that they didn't notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. 33Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:
Careful! I've put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,
a stone you can't get around.
But the stone is me! If you're looking for me,
you'll find me on the way, not in the way.

I desire to serve God with my life. God can search my heart and know that I am a wickedly selfish man. I know that I am no good on my own. I know that I seek out selfish pursuits, but also, if I possess any wisdom at all, I know that these pursuits will not end in happiness, and the only true contentment can be found in God’s presence. On top of that I know that all of these things are temporary. My life is flying past my eyes, and the only investment worth making is in God’s eternal kingdom.

Worship helps me with my focus and motivation. I read the Scripture and I see God’s character and in a world where all is failing me, where many things are empty and devoid of goodness I see God shining above it all. God is so good and so Holy. And when I concentrate on that, little else matters to me. My self fades away, my soul desires to be with God’s holiness. As if I’m taking a huge drink after years of thirst, soaking in God’s holiness. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, so long as I’m worshiping God through thought and action, and whatever I end up doing, I need to be convinced that I’m doing it to worship the goodness of God. Right now, I’m convinced the way to do that is to go to PNG and take my family. The risk is that we would be consumed by the process and lose sight of worshiping God, which would be the failure of the project. But I see no evidence that in not going that risk becomes any less. In fact, I am anxious for the opportunity to throw my life into a situation where I am stripped of my American culture and comforts and thus can measure how much I truly depend on God for all things. And continue to live a life where I am dependant upon God.

As a westerner, there is much I do not understand about dependence.

Romans 11:
4And do you remember God's answer?
I still have seven thousand who haven't quit,
Seven thousand who are loyal to the finish.
5It's the same today. There's a fiercely loyal minority still--not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. 6They're holding on, not because of what they think they're going to get out of it, but because they're convinced of God's grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago.

My selfish nature and Bible study already tell me what I will get out of serving God, assuming I do it correctly. But I also know that none of these rewards will be sufficient motivation to forebear the suffering that will most likely accompany any faith developing scenario. (I use the term faith-developing instead of testing on purpose). So these rewards are not what motivates me. There is a sense of duty, yes. A sense of doing what is right also. There is a sense of not losing face among those invested in our success as well. But these motivations will crack under the pressure too. The motivation that will truly uphold us during the times when we can’t take any more, will be because we are convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing us. And we are. God’s grace is immeasurable. The fact that He chose us is inconceivable. We are fully confident of this. Couple that with a daily dose of worshiping His goodness and Holiness and what you have are addicts for God.

Perhaps this pushes the illustration a bit extreme. A drug addict, will do anything for their next fix. But they also know when they’re getting fake stuff. It doesn’t have the same effect.

That is how we intend to let the Spirit be our rudder. When entering God’s presence and sensing even a sliver of His holiness becomes something we can no longer do we will know that there is an issue we need to work out and right before God.

We desire to be submissive to Him, so we can stay close to Him, because He is good. We are addicted to God's holiness, we breath it in as often as we can. When you remain in this state, you eyes and ears and heart maintain a sensitivity to the Spirit that helps guide.

The risk of losing sight of God's plan is the same at home as it would be in the field. The pressures are strong against you whenever you are doing what God would have you do. The cultural adaptation stress can be a huge factor. As a missionary you are more in the public eye. A spiritual failure at home can go unnoticed, but a spiritual failure in the field will not go unnoticed. Also though, the stigma that comes with a missionary returning before retiring is that perhaps they failed in their mission. It's sad but that is an assumption that some folks make "what went wrong?" Maybe nothing went wrong at all. But that is a different topic.

We refuse to disobey God's call because the risk for failure is great. The risk of embarrassment is great. Failure is simply not an option. My family has been specifically prepared for this, we have been specifically called. We have the qualities required for success both in faith, character and personality. I can give you a very convincing resume of why we are very well suited for the work before us, and odds are you already know us and are convinced of our abilities yourself (otherwise you would not be supporting us). But none of that matters. There is only one requirement God needs and that is willingness. We are obedient and willing and submissive to what God puts on our hearts. God does the rest. In fact He even accomplishes the obedience and willingness simply by means of being who He is. He is completely good, and completely Holy. We are compelled to Him. We are not relying on odds or on pedigrees, we are relying solely on God's provision. God will not fail, and thus we will cling to His coat tails the entire way.

Yes the pressures of cultural adaptation will be great. Yes the spiritual warfare will be present. Yes financial pressure will be a stress. There is a long list of reasons why we can fail. God is greater than all of them, God does not fail. We can fail, we will fail. God will prove faithful and compensate.

As partners in this ministry you have opened yourselves up for failure as well. You have committed to pray for us, and the more effective our ministry is at tearing down the strongholds of Satan, the more the people who pray for us will be under attack. Few consider this. Know that God overcomes. God is faithful.

And so, when the times come where we feel we want to give up, we will first go to God and admit it. We will ask God to shore us up, to meet us and supply. No one truly seeks to suffer, but we will not shy from it when it comes. We expect hardship, something that as Americans who have been blessed our entire lives is not something that we confront often. So when it comes, many people will wonder if we will be able to handle it or not. We don't know ourselves, but we do know that our instinctive reaction will be to plead to God for help through it. We do not ask to avoid pain, but we desire to seek God's face in the midst of it, and in the end, be more fit to glorify God.

We look forward to blogging the great stories of God proving faithful. For where the odds are their worst, when things seem impossible, those are the places that God absolutely shines without doubt. We are so anxious for those times, because it brings us all closer to God. Pray for those times for yourself and each other. Pray that this ministry would be a collective of submissive servants who live only so that God can be glorified.
Burnout is a reality. Stress can be overwhelming. Wycliffe has mandatory counciling and has good training and preparation for handling stress. We have been reading books and studying to prepare. Many practical steps have been taken to assure the full success of this ministry, but in the end, it comes down to the reality of every situation in life. How much are we going to try and handle without God? The answer is 0.00% There isn't any success to be had on our own.

after re-reading this I realize that we have already undergone some spiritual attack and stress and suffering. In each instance, as a couple we immediately turned to God in prayer. In each instance, God met us there quickly and completely and so amazingly "God-like" that it was undeniably Him. The term "God-thing" applies because it is during these moments of sorrow, stress, weakness, complete humanity, that God is glorified because only He fit those jigsaw like missing pieces of the puzzle.

The story we blogged about my daughter carrying the backpack for my wife was such an example of God supplying for us when we were needing encouragement greatly.



well, since we're not really sure at what time we'll be leaving or ready to go, we're in a mode of.... preparing. Faithfully working towards the idea that the money will come in before January '07.

we're planning to pack for a trip to a place we've never lived in.
so what do we bring?
Well first we talk to a lot of folks who live there or have lived there, and take in all their advice.

Then we look at our belongings and consider what can stay and what needs to go. Ironically we look forward to simplifying our lives, and yet have been advised to buy many things unobtainable over there. Like advil.

In the midst of this we are keeping in mind the idea of simple living. Depending on God. And balancing that with our passion to create a home environment for people.

for me personally, it seems very silly to be asking "how many computers should I bring?"

one for me, one for the wife, one for the kids, one for spare parts, one as a server...... really how many is "enough".

For my wife the question is photo albums, we're told not to bring anything we can't afford to lose at first... should something go wrong somewhere in the shipping process.

and then... we'll most likely need to move all of this stuff multiple times a year.

Managing this issue of "stuff" is a blessing to us from God because my wife and I are rather compatible in this area. Neither of us are too materialistic. Both of us have our areas of "i need this..." and each of us can be stretched and challenged enough to adapt that it makes it an adventure.

We both loved "colonial house" (a pbs special). The idea of getting away from dependence on technology, of a return to simplicity.

Now we are facing the reality of making choices... what stays, what goes, and what needs to be purchased for whatever reason to take with us?

Whatever decisions are made, we'll survive and be strengthened by any "lack" we might experience.

We also hope that it will develop a truer sense of priorities. Even if we think our priorities are right now, there is nothing like good old fashion testing your mettle.

-----Prayer Requests----
-that financial partnership reaches 100% by August 2006
-someone will be able to supply storage for our belongings that stay behind
-a partner that will pray daily for our children
-a partner that will pray daily for us
-physical conditioning to be able to handle the training camp 3 day backpacking hike.


What's next

well we are working on finding the people who want to partner with us in prayer and or financially. We have spoken in a few groups, and right now see our ministry as a process of informing and discovering. Our home church is having a missions emphasis month and so we're involved in helping other missionaries where we can.

We're writing a lot of letters right now, and seeing where that leads.

We're at 23% of our goal right now, and we're hoping to be at 100% before August but that all depends on God's timing.

This part of the process is the part where there might not be as much to blog primarily because financial matters inherently involve a bit of privacy.

But we can still talk about what God is doing and what He is showing us. Right now He is showing us how wonderfully excited so many of you are about us as friends and about our joining together in ministry!


Newsletter #1

We are dropping our newsletter in the mail soon. To save costs we have put it online and hope that everyone who prefers to read such things online enjoys it.

click here for our newsletter in PDF format
or go here

thank you!

in training camp we were told that for some folks making their newsletter was stressful for them because it is something you do together, and because it is informative as well as creative people have differing styles and facts they want to present. My wife and I actually found this process enjoyable and simple, but perhaps that is because we're an email and blogging generation. The struggle with a newsletter is to be informative, and not boring, to be interesting but not noisy. I'm no graphic artist, so please, as you read it, give us feedback.

For those who want to know we used iWorks'06 -Pages on a Mac to put it together.

__was it informative enough?
__did it catch your eye?
__would you scan this and then throw it away or would you feel you could read the whole thing?
__what could we do to improve it?

thanks for your time, email your comments to

thank you


God's Lessons

First a praise:
God your timing is wonderful, your plan is excellent, you answer prayer faithfully and powerfully! Thank you for showing yourself to my family these last few weeks.

I haven’t blogged much recently and the reason is because God’s been talking to my heart and teaching me things through multiple sources. I’ll try to share and be brief.

Missions is not the purpose of the Church.
Worship is.

Missions needs to have a focussed aim on glorifying God. The Church needs to have a strong understanding of what worshipping God is and then do it. As part of the Church I have spent 2 weeks learning the many ways to worship God. (please understand I do not mean singing but the true meaning of worship. These last few weeks we daily found a new way to worship God in action.)

I finally have put my finger on what has been on my heart, and here it is:
the easiest status check I know of one’s committment to worship is to ask yourself this question - “Why do you want to go to heaven?”

Honestly my first response was “because it’ll be paradise.” Not a bad answer but I realized as I contemplated it, that it was a purely selfish answer. (we can debate the good vs. bad of selfishness in another forum). Another answer came to mind “because it’s better than the other place.” Still I find that completely geared towards my own personal comfort.

Psalm 84, a psalm I’ve read nearly daily for a year now, has jsut popped out in yet another way to me:

1What a beautiful home, GOD of the Angel Armies! I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,

2Always dreamed of a room in your house,

where I could sing for joy to God

It strikes me that in heaven we’re going to be worshipping God forever. Why would we want to go to heaven if we don’t enjoy worshipping God? Why would we want to spend our eternity worshiping God if we haven’t fallen totally in love with Him, totally in awe of Him, totally filled by His presence?

Because it’ll be nice there? Because we’ll be without sin? Because we won’t have ’stress’?

I’m convinced that my life, my attitude, my inner self that no one else sees needs to be completely committed to denying my sinful self, and making choices that put God on the throne.

It’s hard, and it’ll get harder. I fail at it miserably.

I believe that until I can honestly answer the status question with “because I want to spent eternity worshiping God” that my character here on earth still needs to be worked on.

I can say today, that during my best moments, like I had in the last 2 weeks, that is my answer. But I slip up. I act in ways that do not tell others that God is God, but instead that I am God… or rather that I am the king of my own life.

I do not believe that I can change my heart manually, and so I pray that the spirit of God would influence my heart, and would strengthen me during my weak times.

That’s where I am at. Working with the Spirit to transform my life until every thought and action is one of proper worship instead of self-serving.

Our life, our ministry, and our aim as a family is to worship God through word and action and to diminish our own selves in such a way that when people look at us, they see God's glory reflected. We need your prayers to accomplish this feat, and rest assured we will also be praying for you.


The Kind of People

To give you an idea of the kind of people we're being blessed by:
Last night was our tenth wedding anniversary, and we're at training camp without a car and really no place to go.

There is a little hot tub here, and I realized the last time my wife and I had some quite time to relax and talk was 2 weeks ago, and the last time we were in a hot tub together was before kids.

another training camper offered to watch our kids... we politely declined, but later I took them up on the offer.

well, I called and asked at 8pm. "we wanted to hang out at the hot tub for a few minutes, the kids are asleep could you come stay in our room until we return."
at 8:15 there is a knock on the door.

"sure... I left a jar there, could you bring it back."
sure.. we did....
when we got to the hot tub, the "jar" was a large candle, lit and placed romantically near a nice plant. The effect of the warm wind and the candle on the leaves made it a romantic setting much more than sitting in the dark would have.

How did she get a candle there lit, and then get back to our place in time?
She remembered that another couple had said in class they bring candles wherever they go to feel at home, CALLED them, they ran the candle over and lit it while she walked to our room.

Okay WOW.
all we wanted was a few minutes to ourselves to quietly discuss what God has been doing and relax and celebrate.

What we got was blessed by two friends, and a romantic night together.. which we didn't have to plan or were not expecting.

THAT was awesome.... at the same time a preparation for PNG culture in that everyone knows what you're up to at all times.

"This is GREAT! But you know now everyone knows where we are..." --me
"yeah but if they know, they'll stay away!" --my bride.

we chuckled and had a very nice, impromptu, but wonderful evening celebrating ten years, and celebrating the fact that God is going to make the next ten years a completely different and wonderful time for us as a family.

night time answers

Tonight after dinner, we were heading back to our apartment, which is about half a city block away.
My wife stayed behind to read an email, and as we walked Sydney said "oh I forgot my backpack."
she said "I'll catch up."
of course I waited and when she finally came out, she had her backup, my wife's backpack, and my wife's coat.
I saw her trying to make her way towards me with this heavy load and went to help her.
She politely insisted on taking her mom's pack and jacket.
"it's heavy!" she said.
"I know, I want to carry it." I grabbed it but she wouldn't let go. In fact I got it from her and during that time she reconfigured her own pack to take both the pack and the jacket.

"Don't let it touch the ground or drag, we don't want it getting worn out or holes in it." I said.
"I won't, I figured out how to take it."

after she cleared the entire path I asked her.
"Sydney, why do you want to carry that backpack so badly?"
"because it's mommy's and I wanted to carry her load for her so she could walk here more easily."

I started to tear up as I let my daughter trudge on difficultly ahead.

All this time I've been thinking about how we can lighten our kids' loads in this missions transition and I never paused to think about it the other way around. Of course as a parent you don't willingly burden your child, but God has used them repeatedly as encouragements to us and for some reason today of all days, my daughter wanted to lighten my wife's load.

Today was a particularly tough day for my wife. At dinner time we prayed together "God please encourage my wife today, please lighten her load a little bit today." And God answered that prayer in the form of my daughter.

Seizing the moment to make a parallel I said to my daughter at the door:
"sheesh, that's heavy, I'm glad we're home and it's bed time" she said.
"You know kiddo, it's hard work to take one someone's burden, but even if you can jsut lighten their load for a short while, it could be enough to encourage them and make them happy. I'll bet you made mommy happy."

She thought about that....
not without humor though.. when mommy got home not knowing what had transpired, my daughter hopped up on mommy's lap and said with pride.
"mommy I carried your backpack and coat all the way home!"
"you did!? thank you."
"maybe you might want to give me a penny for that."

so I took out a penny and said,
"kiddo, I'll pay you a penny. What you did was a very nice thing for mommy as a favor, but if you accept this penny then it's a chore you did for money. Do you want the penny or do you want it to be a job you did for pay?"
she thought for not even a second:
"I want it to be a favor for mommy."

so I gave her the penny and said, "then it's a favor for mommy, and I'm giving you this penny because I love you."
then Calvin put his hand out, "do you love me too daddy?"
I said "yes."
he said, "then please give me two pennies, one because you love me and two because I won the race."

I laughed... before I had noticed my daughter carrying the backpack, I challenged my son to a race home, which I lost since I got wrapped up in a more important dialogue with my daughter.

I have to laugh.
Not only did God lighten my wife's load through the kindness of my daughter, He lightened my load through the comedy of my son.


ten years

today is the last full day of training.
tomorrow is the "goodbyes" and "packing" phase of the trip.

We'll be staying in Orlando to see friends, speak to some youth, and generally relax.

It seems odd, but after two weeks of fully concentrating on ourselves, equipping ourselves, submitting ourselves to God, and filling our brains... the idea of seeing other folks and hearing about their ministries and what is exciting about their lives is very exciting to us.

We are very passionate about what we're doing, but we're also excited about what YOU are doing, so please drop us a line, we'd love to pray for you.

my wife and I have been married ten years today.
Groundhog Day

excitement ensues... about the ten years not so much about the groundhog.

Prayer Requests:
-Refreshing time with friends for the next 4 days
-Health for the family as we visit and fly
-Safety in flying (although honestly we feel like we're in the safest place in the world, smack dab in the center of God's will. Would the plane truly crash while before we got to PNG? Well God is sovereign and so anything can happen.... perhaps pray as well that we can be a blessing to people while on the plane - IE kids well behaved, perhaps conversations and such)

on the plane ride over Sydney spoke for 3 hours with the lady sitting next to her about how she was going to PNG to "make bibles".

you know there is SO much to having "faith like a child"... in acclimating to new cultures, making new friends, and understanding new ideas.

Thank you, and we love you.
We are praying for you, and want to know how to pray more specifically for you


history lesson weds

we heard a man speaking today who had been a missionary since 1942. He spoke on prayer and the miracles he's seen from answers to it
but he also spoke about a people who's language he worked with. They can speak, but they communicate in whistles as well. Their language has vowels, consonants and pitch relative to the words around it. The whistles were the tones that were reached when speaking, so in speaking the language the tones heard, are replicated in the whistles.
It was VERY cool to hear, and a fascinating aspect of the language, having a pitch.

Yesterday we learned of a language that has no past tense. Only present and future.

on dating this man referred to looking for a wife as "prospecting" he "struck gold" when he found her.

what a great thing to spend time in the presence of a man who has spent his life in service of God.
It was inspiring at times, humorous at others, but sincere and genuine the entire time.

I look at men like this, men who in their old age are still glorifying God, founders of Biola and missionary organizations, and I think "I would love to finish well for God like that, if I reach that age."

I see a common element of dedication to reading Scripture, prayer and fasting, and actions of service in these men and it is my model to which I strive.

Is it okay to be impatient to become the man you want to be for God? It sure is a daily process of self-denial and hard discipline.
Discipline to pray, to read, to memorize, to deny flesh. a daily thing.... something that can't be put off, because otherwise you end up with years full of wasted days.



today is “depending on God.” day…. We heard from a man who has been a member of our organization for 63 years… and he told about how God has provided for him his entire life and having money in the bank always worried him because he wanted to depend on God for everything. It was an amazing testimony.

that is the theme of our worship. The point is to learn that independence is not a virtue that God respects but it is a dependence on God and on fellow believers that brings unity and is truly worship.

The weekend was relaxing and fun.... and now we're back to work.



today is family day....
we went to moss park and played near the water and cranes (very bold birds that like to try and eat children's noses).

we played and relaxed and enjoy resting after a long and hard week of work.



Last night was interesting, as we dealt and confronted a lot of stuff and faced a lot of anxieties and fears about our future, we came to a point where either we decide to give up on our passion because it's too hard and dig a hole and hide,

or to turn to God in prayer and trust and wait on Him to meet us there.

The temptation to run and hide is very strong and we recognize that as spiritual warfare.
We are confident in our calling, and yet still that confidence can be shaken by getting inside our own heads with doubt.

So there we were.... weak. In our weakness God is proven great. We decided as a couple to turn to God and pray and ask for help and strength to withstand it all.

Weds was a tough day for many of our new friends, with illness and energy level low and being assaulted with spiritual warfare and all kinds of emotions.

After we prayed, I jsut sat it silence and waited on God.

A thought popped into my head, "tomorrow morning's worship theme will comfort you."
this morning's theme was "Worship is acknowledging God in the midst of our fear."

a tear streamed down my cheek as I marvelled once again at God's provision.

We were weak, using discipline and forcing ourselves, we took a step towards God instead of away, and HE took care of the rest.

As if He said, "you need to do work, and it will be work, but fear not, I will meet you there and carry you."

Each class today was so perfect, in that it was God reminding me over and over that each of our fears were in His hands.

It is a good place to be, totally relying on God, but it is a daily place to force yourself into, not to be taken for granted, because the enemy will take any chance he can get.

We discussed written communication and blogs. We need to be very careful what we blog in that it can not be associated with our work, where we're going or the organization we're working with. In fact it needs to pertain mostly to personal thoughts and feelings rather than specifics of work. So, this blog is going to be edited soon, to comply with those regulations, but STILL is geared towards communicating with our partners, so that our relationships are upkept.

The goal of this blog is to communicate with you, so that our relationship is strengthened by an open communication. It will not be our only form of communication but it will be the most current. If you wish to be on a mailing list and have not yet filled out a form to do so, then please go here:

they are truly equipping us... nuts and bolts, spiritual, emotional, financial info, etc. we are being filled up and prepared for the field.


side note

a lot of folks have been sharing about something dubbed a "eureka" moment, where God finally put their life in perspective, and they received an excited spirit and a passion for God's work.

in talking with a good friend, I referred to this training camp as "hitting the motherload" which I now realize extends the "eureka moment" analogy. (or gold digger theme).

Only we don't have to dig for gold here, it's being poured on us in large (and sometimes heavy) quantities. The riches are bountiful.

The motherload refers to finding that place where you can draw on the experience of mature believers and discuss things of the Spirit with them.

For me and my friend, the search for deep "mentor" like relationships is an ongoing challenge, and yet here, there is an endless supply of excellent, loving, giving, knowledgable, and experienced believers with whom we get to spend time with daily!


we didn't start with worship and my energy level reflects that.
Ever been around a christian who jsut really exudes Christ-likeness to you? Imagine spending an entire week with several of these people, mature people, young people, all strong believers, and then imagine you're discussing the thing you're most passionate about for days on end.

That's this experience.
It's emotional, exciting, tiring, energizing, and really it's a great time. It feels like a home, it feels like how the church is supposed to be. We pray for each other, we share, we learn.

Things I'm learning
-listening - I've found that I am not an active listener, and thus need to work at the discipline of putting away distractions while I listen. It was HARD to do. I kept fidgeting with paperclips and pens. When I'd realize I was doing it, I'd put them down, and then before I knew it they were in my hands again and I didn't remember picking them up.

I confess, there are so many disciplines one must take seriously that I have not.
Perhaps it is my personality, perhaps my culture, but I need to develop these disciplines to be a successful missionary and not get dragged down in spiritual warfare.

Reading the Word - who can't get better at this? I love God's Word but find that I "schedule" it and in PNG we're told that there is no ability to "schedule" a day. One must find time to worship in a daily way that is flexible to people dropping in.

Listening - caring and loving more about what others share than what I feel is important to share. I believe this discipline will be the hardest for me as I get so excited to speak WITH people that I often forget to listen TO them. God has been touching my heart that truly, what I have to say is not near as important as what God wants to tell me through other people. Even when I may disagree with them, God's glory can be shared by listening.

but the content in general is great.
they did a fun thing in culture clas
on each table was a dish with a cover on it saying "do not open"
and we were told that we were all required to eat what was under the dish.
but we would do so at the end of class.
we began to talk about cultural issues,.. etc... but people kept wondering what was under the dish.
and worried about bugs, worms, etc.
at the end, we lift the dish, it's chocolate bar.

the point was, anticipating is often much worse than involving.

The point made by one of the seasoned missionaries about offending other cultures in reference to the "pushy American" syndrome was well put:
-the pushy american refers to the impatient and demaning american tourist who is either insensitive to other cultures or doesn't care. As missionaries we're going to other cultures in love and are trying to be sensitive. We will make mistakes but if you approach each situation in love, you will do well.

Some folks were sharing their different takes on how to handle food situations in as much as not wanting to eat something and how it may offend hosts.
A humorous take was from one of the students:

"Well my friend found that if he invited a guest to places he was invited, in most cultures the "GUEST" is the guest of honor and will be given the "best" part of the food, even if he himself doesn't think it the "best" and can then opt to say "well I brought this person, and they are MY guest, so I will pass this onto them to honor them." and has humorously gotten out of eating odd things.

That was pretty funny.

It is so very interesting to me to watch us all voice what we know to be real and sometimes petty, concerns (will I have to eat bugs) and yet simultaneously be able to trust God for providing for us in impossible ways. You can virtually see the faith of people overcoming the humanity in the class.

By that I mean, someone will voice something and then start to realize "well God can handle that" and they will become calm knowing that others have the same concerns, and see real ways to deal with it, or even hear stories of miraculous ways God took care of that for someone else.

In some ways it's one big encouraging support group.



we get going at 7am, eat, get kids to class, worship starts the day the right way
then we go to class, where we hear how the day is different from every other day during announcements.
we have 5 or 10 minutes between each class but it's nice since the teachers do the rotating instead of the students,
there are about 28 students and 32 kids.

today I mentioned to someone "the kids make friends so fast here, two days and they've got 4 best friends"
the reply was "yup that's wycliffe mk's for you."
that was the first time someone called my kids MK's and it had a mixed feeling to it, awkward, at first but we're starting to get a feeling of "we belong". Truly the staff here are the type who love you instantly and are honestly rather invigored by our presence. It is mostly older members volunteering here in the US who have been on the field for a while, and still desire to serve.

One older gentleman named Bud, who is one of Calvin's teachers (5 teachers for preschool) said "I teach here because it's boring at home." he used to be a teacher/principal in some tough gang areas. You know someone loves kids and teaching when during their break, they venture into the game room to see what the kids are doing and "be around" them.

classes over we meet with whatever STAFF that day, a PA or whatever... during meals and daytime personally kendal and I try to rotate who we sit and talk with, to get to know old and new members alike, and we've found quite a few people with PNG ties or aims. We've gotten a lot of our questions answered that way as well, well.. same questions different perspectives... all great.

Tomorrow is "chapel" for the entire Wycliffe campus, and we're told it is the most attended chapel because everyone loves to hear our 3 minute testimonies. It really excites them to hear the "new" members and what they have to say.

Kendal and I gave our 3 (6 total) minute testimony on day 1, wanting to get it over with, and be able to focus on others. We went first, and really you can say a lot about what God is doing during those 3 minutes.

It is interesting to me, having been at conferences before and going through the standard "getting to know you" drills, that never quite work. Here, we all share for 3 minutes, we all repeat the correct pronunciation of the names, and we all really bond during that 3 minutes as tears are shed and laughs burst out. We already feel very close as a body both to the other members and to the staff. We are trying to get to know them more deeply as we can.

WE learn a ton of stuff, not only technical about how Wycliffe works, but the spiritual preparation side of it as well, communication skills, survival skills (interpersonal relationships) etc.

The pace is faster than I remember back at Biola. It is much like drinking straight from a firehose, but the great thing is they recognize that and equip us with tools for reference later. Also they use what seems to be an effective building block method so as we understand, we progress. Personally I'm finding myself very interested and engaged.
You can jsut tell when material and teaching is honed and when it is poor, and this place is honed (training camp #24).
(it rhymed.. didja notice)

We spoke with a couple who were at PNG for 36 years and the Calvin loved to hear how to say "4 and a half" in Tok Pisin. (pidgin).

We were able to socialize tonight for a bit with a gal from PNG , Maggie, and a couple 1 month married, and we played "Settlers" (a board game). Maggie had announced it once and got a big excited shout, so we invited her over to teach a "newbie" course on it and had quite a lot of fun. She kept saying to me "you are a Geoff Russell Jr." whatever that meant.
It was in reference to my strategy thoughts and plain orneryness I think.

The game was a lot of fun, socially, and that says something because I won't like a game if I don't like the people playing it and these were good people.

The kids are doing very well, Calvin is adapting to a pre-school schedule of 7:45am - lunch - 3:30pm splendidly, and even voluntarily takes naps.

For now that's the pace. It sort of "flash rained" here.

It was a praise as well or a blessing because we visited a doctor here on campus that understood going into the field and so he knew PNG and knew what to prepare us and ask us about, as compared to our home doctor who looked at us like we were crazy when we mentioned PNG.

God is stretching us in many ways right now, and as you probably know, that invigorates and exhausts you.
The campus is great, it's exciting to see so many people after the same purpose, some living here on furlough, some visiting family, many in training, some staff and workers.

Everyone here treats us so warmly. It's not a creepy "we want your business" kind of welcome but more of a "we're united in serving the one true God." warm.