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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What's Mid Term?

     Over the past two or three months Carol and I have been in discussion with World Team about a cheaper alternative to long term missions. Our support, overall, has been slow in coming and we've been approved for what is termed "Mid-term" status.
     Mid-term for us would be a renewable two year term. As “mid-termers” instead of “career missionaries” we do not have to buy into the French social security system. Other expenses will also be less, resulting in a lower overall cost. This scenario would kick in when the short term 5 month assignment is completed and we are invited back to the field. We would return to the U.S. and finish our fundraising.
      Our original overall ministry goals remain intact but the details are being worked out by the French team and we will have a more complete update for you later.
     It’s our intention to renew this two year term and to eventually raise the additional support needed to stay on the field indefinitely. We also seek to honor your commitment to faithfully give and pray for our ministry in France. This new turn of events also reflects our wish to give you a return on your investment.
     - Russell


Hi all,
     This has been a time of hustling and bustling! From Monday, September 5th, when we left ICC in Waxhaw, NC, through Friday, September 23rd, we made our way back to Kansas with stops in Highpoint, NC; Hadden Heights, NJ; Warrington, PA; Cortland, NYk; Alto, MI; Chicago, IL; Macon, MO; and finally we've stopped for a few days to catch our breath and spend time with our kids here in Lawrence.
     We continue to raise our funding for France. The gift of the mobile home in Santa Cruz is now supplying our income. We have it listed as a vacation home on www.VRBO.com. It has been doing well.
     Russell has been preaching/speaking more and new opportunities continue to come in. Our hope is to go to Arkansas in October or November for Russell to speak down there.
     With the monthly gifts that have been committed and a shift to a renewable "mid-termer" instead of full-time career (which we will explain in detail in the next blog entry), and a portion of our income we bring to the table, we are now at 68% of our goal. We have others who have committed to supporting us but have not decided on a figure yet. It is very encouraging. All of this could bring us to 75% or higher.
    We met with Sister Carter and Sister Sherman in Philadelphia. Sister Carter attended the Paris Prayer Conference this past April. She wants Russell to design some greeting cards and tracts for her that she can sell for missions. She is writing the text. We enjoyed our time with them.
    Our home team in PA has told us they want us to be in France as soon as possible to begin working with the French team and we will be there in December or early January for a possible 5 month stretch, as a dry run. We are waiting to hear what duties will be. If it's language school for a shorter time first then we will do that followed by working on projects with the team. We will learn about each other, the culture and soak up the language. Russell and I have been practicing French quite a bit and will beef it up even more with our Rosetta Stone program, French movies, French news, & meetups with French people, etc.
     Yesterday, at Olathe Bible Church, our sending church in Olathe, KS, we were blessed to hear from James Hudson Taylor IV - great, great grandson of the very special person, Hudson Taylor and all their organization's work in East Asia. Very exciting to get first hand stories. Part of the heritage of our organization comes from the original Hudson's work and friendship with H. Grattan Guinness. Guinness wanted to go with Hudson to China in the 1800s but was asked by his dear friend to start a training school for those who want to go out. He did, and the school is still open today in London. But Guinness also started several missions sending agencies from the late 1800s and beyond.
     Isaiah 6:8 has been coming up a lot. "Then I heard the voice of the One saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "here am I, Send me!"  Isaiah 6:8
     The following writing comes out of this verse and the follow up verses: I just read this from a letter from a friend and his wife working in Amsterdam. It's from Frederick Buechner, Isaiah in Peculiar Treasures, a ... Who's Who.
     "Then one of the winged things touched his mouth with fire and said. 'There, it will be all right now,' and the Mystery Itself said, 'Who will it be?' and with charred lips he said, 'Me,' and Mystery said 'Go'. Mystery said, 'Go give the deaf hell till you're blue in the face and go show the blind heaven till you drop in your tracks because they'd sooner eat ground glass than swallow the bitter pill that puts roses in the cheeks and a gleam in the eye. Go do it.'"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

We bid ICC Farewell

Carol and I receiving our certificates of completion at ICC
The Intercultural Communications Course is done. We left the Wycliffe JAARS campus in Waxhaw, NC, with our heads spinning and our hearts full. There is too much to tell, but we will try, over the next few weeks, to unpack some of what we learned about cross-cultural ministry, about ourselves, and about what it will mean for the journey ahead.
      The ICC experience was a month of constant input—overwhelming at times. One of the things I enjoyed the most was the emphasis on Spiritual Vitality. The two things that impact missionary effectiveness the most (and ultimately whether they last on the field) are spiritual maturity and team dynamics. Guess what we spent a lot of time on?
      Aside from scripture memory, and a great deal of time doing an inductive study of the book of Ephesians together, there was a three hour block of time one Saturday set aside for a personal spiritual retreat. Usually, when I get alone to pray I pick a spot in the woods or on the water, away from everything. I take my Bible and my journal and try, between reading, praying and writing, to sort out what I've been through and get perspective on the days ahead. This time I decided to forgo the usual and do something entirely different. There was a laundry room in the apartment building next door that Carol and I used while we were there. We were not on the rotation list for cleaning and I decided that for my three hours I would do just that. I cleaned and dusted inside and out. While I occupied my hands with work I let my mind and my heart be still and enjoyed a time of openness to the Spirit. No agenda. No expectations. Just a time when I could free myself to listen.
      I was on my knees trying to get to a spot behind the hot water heater when it came to me that there were places you could only get to on your knees. It may sound trite but try to accomplish anything without prayer and see where it leads.
      Thank you all for praying for us.         -Russell

Outside the French Congolese Church with new friends
An exercise dealing with world views

Carol during break time

Inside our apartment