Saturday, May 29, 2010

Somedays, you torture me, Facebook.

Happy Memorial Weekend!  Tim and I are filling ours with productivity, rest and time with both sides of the family.  

My favorite part about Facebook is how easy it has made the task of keeping up with people.  Those who use it at least.  I love, love, love looking at pictures from "our" team in Senegal.  I can't get enough.  I just love it.  I love missionaries in general, but I especially love a certain 7 missionaries in Kebemer, Senegal  :)   Joe and Cara just had their ngente, or baby-naming ceremony, for little Oliver Rufus.  The pictures were lovely and everyone looked amazing.  

Somedays though, it's just as painful as it is enjoyable to cruise through the images.  Most days I would say that's still the case actually.  But I can't NOT look.  I love to see what's going on with them.  I love to see everything about their lives.  A year ago, it was going to be us sitting there celebrating with them.  So maybe I torture myself by pouring over the pictures, but I can't stop.  I am so thankful that God continues to work healing in our hearts.  While I still ache today, I know that one day I won't.  And I rejoice in that hope.  I hurt, but I count it all joy as I face this circumstance.  

So congratulations Herzbergs!  We love you, we love Oliver and we can't wait to see you this summer!  

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A New Dawn

If you know me, you know I like to go to bed early, typically 10pm.  Tim likes to stay up, but I need my sleep.  So when I tell you that I am sitting up typing this blog at 11:45pm you know that means something.  I went to bed at 10:15 and laid there totally awake for 45 minutes until the Lord finally got through to me that I needed to come and write this post.

Tim and I often dialogue about why we keep a blog.  In the beginning, it was obvious:  a way for friends and family to keep up with us while living in West Africa.  These days though, it seems less clear to me why we blog.  As much as Tim loves football and I love coupons, posting about those topics can seem a little fluffy in the grand scheme of things.  Blogging just to blog is a waste of time.  I have often been motivated to blog by a desire to make people understand our situation;  to help people “get it.”  But making people understand is not my job and this is an attitude that I have needed to repent of as God has challenged me to examine how much I care about what others think of me. 

Blogging is such a funny thing to me b/c you never really know who is reading your posts and you rarely get much feedback.  You put your thoughts out there to fade into cyberspace or maybe people are entertained by them.  Either way, I do find it cathartic.  It’s been a helpful tool for me to process this past year. 
Though this year has been nothing that we expected, God has been speaking to us more than at any other time in our lives.  On the surface, it’s been a pretty dull time for us and we have felt lonely, isolated, and discouraged.  We’re far from friends and away from community events (and that got really old really fast), but when we really think about it, this year has been anything but boring.

God has kept us on our toes.  He has ministered to us through prophetic words again and again and He is building up that gift within each of us.  (For all of our non-Pentacostal friends out there, don’t freak out, ok?  Bear with me!)  It’s these stories of His grace and mercy that really get us excited about what He’s up to.  It’s these stories of His faithfulness, provision, and hope that we want to share with you.  It’s these stories/experiences that have kept us seeking Him this past year when we have wanted nothing more than to give up and walk away.

We don’t say the things we say in order to prove something to you.  God told us to stay and we stayed.  But that’s not the end of the story.  We want to share these things b/c God is doing a good work and He is pouring out His spirit upon us in exciting new ways. 

Words cannot express how devastated Tim and I have felt, and sometimes still feel, this past year.  God has stripped away almost everything from us (title, ministry, location, financial security, you name it, we feel like we have lost it).  Most days, we feel keenly aware of all the things that we seem to lack.  But what we don’t lack, the most important thing, is Him.  In fact, He has given us more of Himself. 

Our desire has always been to be transparent with our ministry partners and though we’re not in ministry right now, but we speak with faith when we say that we will be.  And as we journey with God to that end, we deeply desire to encourage others along the way. 

So now our blog has a revised focus.  We want to share with you (whoever you are J) the “nitty-gritty” of what God is doing in us as we work out our salvation with much fear and trembling.  Please don’t be scared off if we start using language that we haven’t used before in the blog.  It’s still us:  Tim and Heidi.  We are just sharing more b/c it’s time.  It’s time to speak boldly about the things that God is doing in our lives b/c that’s what He’s called us to do.  When we hear a powerful prophetic word from God, we want to share it that He would be glorified. 

There might still be an occasional post about football and coupons, but mostly we want to boast in our God about this crazy ride that He has us on; it’s still a painful and bumpy ride, but it’s good. 
So please, join us in this adventure, leave comments, leave prayer requests, let us know how God is working in your life that we could join in with you and ride the wave of His mercy.

Ok, it’s 12:35…..I am tired! 


Thursday, May 20, 2010

1st week on the job.

I (Tim) have completed my first five days at my new job.  So far, I like it.  The place I am working is a halfway house that is contracted with the Department of Corrections and the Bureau of Prisons to handle inmates that are transitioning back into the community.  Every one of them has committed a felony and is facing an uphill battle to re-enter their lives.  My job is to teach classes to the residents, both men and women, during their first two weeks at the halfway house that will allow them to find meaningful employment.  The classes cover things like forgiveness, anger management, and expectations.  There is a lot of information to cover and it is not really enough for the years of incarceration but hopefully the classes are enough to get them thinking about their choices and what they want in life.  Soon I will start putting my own personality into the material and making it my own.  I am excited to add a new element of financial training into the material as well.  It's a good job so far, and I am grateful to have it.

Heidi and I are now back in Rogers.  The Leberts arrive back in the USA tomorrow with their kids, so we are no longer needed in St. Paul.  It is good to be home but I will miss the fantastic location of their house.  It was so nice to be able to hang out with people and not drive 45 minutes to do so.  We are praying that the Lord will give us some way to live back in the city and when that happens, we'll blog about it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I got a full time job.

This will hopefully be my (Tim) last employment update for a long, long time.  The last couple months I have been working back at Costco on a part time basis.  Ironically, I was pretty close to getting full time hours and a better position in the company when I got an offer for a full time job.  I put in my two weeks notice at Costco on Monday and accepted a job at Volunteers of America at their Roseville facility.  The job title is Employment Program Coordinator and I will be working at a halfway house with inmates that are finishing their time in the Department of Corrections.  It sounds scary but it's really not.  The bulk of my job will be relationship building and helping the inmates to change their mindset to succeed on the outside.  I am sure there will be difficult days but I am looking forward to being challenged again.  At first I was not all that excited about the job and did not even want to go for the interview.  Somewhere in the process both Heidi and I came to know that the Lord provided this job and I was to be obedient and take it.  We know He is faithful and we will trust Him to take care of the rest.  It's a relief to no longer be on the job hunt and I am grateful for God's provision.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Livin it up in St. Paul!

For the last couple weeks, Heidi and I have left our suburban life behind and re-entered the city.  Our friends, Ed and Amanda, are in Columbia to pick up their newly adopted children and we are watching their house and dogs for them.  We love the seven minute drive to church and being so close to friends again.  I can run from their house and around Lake Como and back in about 45 minutes, although I do have to pay more attention to traffic than in Rogers.  We are happy that we can bless Ed and Amanda and will move back to Rogers in a few weeks.  Until then, we'll keep enjoying city life.