Our Schedule:

Teaching English and Art together, putting on the GospelCafé concerts, prayer, meeting with our new French friends. It's a good life!

A complete listing of very specific requests for prayer can be found under "Prayer Requests."

For those just getting to know us, please visit the special sections to the right.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In the Middle of the Night

      Our children had us over this evening to celebrate Russell's birthday. It was lots of fun and the grand girls enjoyed the balloons and Jolene rolling around in her hamster ball. Harmony's 1 year old screams of delight towards Jolene were quite amusing. Jolene didn't know what was going on and she kept rolling along.
      Uncle Joe's hair-raising experiments with the girls and the balloons were also a hit as well as showing his bug collection which raised some eyebrows and "Ooh, cool" remarks. Our almost 4 year old Charlotte wasn't too sure of that one big bug that bites. (But Joe explained that they live on the water and they only bite when they are alive.) She was having none of that. Ha.
      The pizza tasted delicious and the ice cream and cake added to the night of fun. But at 1:30 AM the fun returned in that wonderful acidy feeling.
      Since I cannot go back to sleep yet I thought I'd let you know what the latest is on my plans. You may know that we recently got this offer from our French Team to come out to help them work for 3 months in France. They wanted Russell to do various things and for me to help administrate their Prayer Conference since one of their administrators has to come back to the states early. We felt that Russell was needed to stay back here in the States to continue gathering partners and finances to get us to the field permanently. I didn't know if I could be gone 3 months so we finally said, "How about 2?" They were fine with that.
      It was sad to say goodbye to the children and faculty at the 3 schools where I worked. This was my last week to work for PC Kidz, and I was leaving Ronda, the owner of this franchise. She has been great and I appreciate her willingness to work with me so I can go to France to help the teammates over there. We don't always know what lies ahead do we? I would highly recommend this company to anyone who would love their children to learn how to use a computer the proper way. It teaches so many things that will help children do well in school. Contact me if you want to know more.
      My plane leaves this Monday morning in Kansas City and I arrive in France Tuesday morning after a few hour layover in Philadelphia Monday afternoon. I will be there the months of March and April with the conference starting April 9th. I would appreciate prayers for safe travel and that I can be used to the best of my ability to help administrate this in whatever way they need to the glory of God. Pray that Ronda with PCKidz will have her teacher ready to take over for my position soon and that all would go well there. - Carol

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Screen Shot

This image flashes on the screen every couple of minutes
First Baptist Church of Raytown's fitness center, called the ROC, has allowed us to display an ad on their video board outside the entrance to the ROC. This exposure is already giving us unprecedented recognition within their church body. The ROC is an amazingly effective way to get out into the community and get the community into the church. Ministry is happening every time I look around this amazing place. Please pray blessings upon the church for it's kindness to us.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Comments Please

I had inadvertently turned off the ability to leave comments. Please feel free to do so.

Une Poule Sur Un Mur

There is a story behind this cute little figurine. Carol and I had a favorite Boulangerie/Patisserie (Bakery/Pastry shop) in Kansas City where we could order something sweet, relax and relive memories of Paris. The last time we were there I bit into the pastry du jour—and found this waiting for me. I was a bit embarrassed to call the shop's attention to it, so I pocketed it with the thought that I'd call the shop later and ask if it was of some sentimental value to anyone. It had obviously found its way into the batter by accident and made it through the fire. Unfortunately the shop didn't, because shortly thereafter it burned to the ground. We lost our getaway but kept this as a reminder of both the shop and our ties to Paris.
     A few days ago, out of curiosity, I finally translated the phrase printed on its base. 
     What you can't make out in the photo are the faint brick or block patterns behind the lettering. Very strange. Why would anyone go to the trouble of stating the obvious? Does it have some sort of cultural significance? After all the national symbol of France is a rooster. Does it matter? It certainly got my curiosity up. Even with the literal translation, courtesy of Google Translate, I was still clueless.
    Turns out it's a French nursery rhyme:
          Une poule sur un mur (A hen on a wall)
          Qui picote du pain dur (Pecking some dry bread)
          Picoti, picota (Pecky, peckay)
          Lève la queue (Raises her tail)
          Et puis s'en va. (Then goes away.)
     In France there are books (even translated into English); tapes; video games; action figures; and apparently, more of these cute little figurines, all of which are instantly recognizable and in demand by French children. There is even an upscale Parisian restaurant named Une Poule Sur Un Mur.
     We often take for granted the things that we need no explanation for. Our cultural context is a safety net we fall into unawares every day. Even our sense of humor is culturally based. Abbott & Costello's routine "Who's on First", wouldn't be nearly as funny if you'd never heard of baseball. Some of you are even now saying to yourselves, "Abbott & Costello? Who's on first?…" If so google it.
     All of us need to be reminded once in a while that there are things we take for granted. We cannot live without dealing with a certain amount of ambiguity. The question I'd like to pose, and get some feedback on is, "How ambiguous is too ambiguous?" Or stated another way, "Just how heavily do you rely on your cultural framework to maintain productivity and stay sane?"
     In France, we are going to be surrounded by things that look familiar but don't make sense. Please pray that we can navigate through the days filled with ambiguity, removed in large part from our familiar American cultural framework.

Friday, February 11, 2011

One Shovelful at a Time

     The first week of February was off to an amazing start. After months of frustration, here was a week with more than one appointment a day planned! The best record yet in our attempt to raise support.
     We had been praying for a breakthrough, wishing to charge ahead in our attempt to get to France by the end of the year, and here it was.
     Then came the storm of the century.
     Night after night was cancelled. By Friday I was wallowing in self pity and practically shouting at God in my prayers, pouring out my frustration at Him, asking for some indication that He was still involved in the process. Uncertainty is an enemy of the soul and I was nearly beaten senseless by it.
     Saturday morning, I awoke at 4:30, which in and of itself, isn't at all unusual. What made that morning odd was the undeniable prompting to go shovel the rest of the driveway. The missionary residence where First Baptist Church of Raytown is allowing us to live has a really big driveway. We had kept it shoveled through the winter but after this last foot of snow I still had half the driveway to go and there was a couple of feet of snow on that side staring back at me as I walked out at 5:00 a.m.
     As I started shoveling I continued to get the feeling that I wasn't out there by accident. Becky, our appointee coach with World Team, had listened patiently the morning before as I fretted and complained about our apparent lack of progress and my growing impatience with the whole process. A little while later she sent me Psalm 77 in an email. 

               4 You hold my eyelids open; 
               I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
               5 I consider the days of old, 
               the years long ago.
               6 I said,  “Let me remember my song in the night;
               let me meditate in my heart.”
               Then my spirit made a diligent search:
               7 “Will the Lord spurn forever,
               and never again be favorable?
               8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
               Are his promises at an end for all time?
               9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
               Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
               10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
               to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 
               11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
               yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
               12 I will ponder all your work,
               and meditate on your mighty deeds.

     What was at stake out there in the cold was my faith. Was I going to let my present circumstances and all those cancelled appointments dredge up the criticisms of old detractors, and stir up fears of potential embarrassment—letting them get the better of me—or worse yet, drive a wedge between me and the God I claimed to love and follow unreservedly?
     'Aint gonna happen!
     What ran through my mind with each shovelful of snow was the thought, "How else are we going to get six cars in this driveway?" At that point I didn't know if anyone would be able to come to the French Soirée we had planned for later that evening.
     I had simply come to a crossroads. There was no deal making going on. I wasn't shoveling out of spite, daring God to keep His end of the bargain and fill my driveway with potential supporters eager for a slice of fresh baked apple tart. I just knew I had to go out and clear the driveway. I began to pray for those six cars.
     My faith began to grow (one shovelful at a time). I determined to simply trust in my relationship with God, who had been proven trustworthy over and over from the time of my childhood.
     As it turned out we had a great meeting that afternoon in Topeka and drove home encouraged. Carol and I recalled how, earlier in the week—and in spite of the blizzard, we had made it to a divine appointment with new friends. As we drove I was still praying for six cars in the driveway. 
     You're probably wondering how the evening turned out. And what about the six cars? 
     Does it matter? The only thing that matters is that the next time it snows I know where I put the shovel. -Russell