Snapshots from the 2016 GMHC trip...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Simply looking at this picture makes me happy. It makes me happy because it reminds me of three long, full, wonderful days this month when we were at the Global Missions Health Conference. If you have never been there before, make plans now to attend next year!

Seriously, though, it will change your life. :)

Here is my favorite group at the GMHC. Minus our good Mama. And yes, I do realize that if we'd chosen to stand behind that big map instead of blocking the view of said map, you could have been duly impressed by the number of pins placed carefully, reverently in far-flung regions to which God is calling people.

This map is one of my favorite spots in the church. It represents dedication, sacrifice, eager enthusiasm to bring the Gospel to the remotest places on the planet, the raw knowledge that this life will not be easy...and the absolute commitment to following Christ no matter what.

Did you know that there are 2.8 billion people who have never even heard about Christ? Never even heard? 2.8 billion?

That's why I love this map.

That's why I love this conference.

Aha! Part of the group managed to make it behind the map after all!

And here is our sweet little baby Ibs with a new friend from Romania! The fact that our sweet little baby is now 18 does not diminish her sweet little babyhood-ness from the perspective of Big Sis. Except that she is also a peer, mentor, confidant, best friend, partner in crime, and one of the best people in the world with whom to share a good laugh.

Other than that she is still my little baby.

If I could describe this Mexican meal with one word, I don't know what that word would be. Which is why I'm not going to describe this Mexican meal with one word. I'm not even going to attempt to describe the pure happiness on this plate with anything other than:

DELICIOUUOUOUOUOUOUOUS, plus all other synonyms that you can think of.

That's about it: Burrito al pastor, a food that they eat in heaven, I'm sure.

And.......there is just nothing quite like going to visit your super-old-time-known-them-forever-friends, and getting to see them in their own homes with their own spouses and their own adorable kids running around!!!

The newest addition, Sterling, is barely three weeks old and already a heart-melter.

This guy found Augs' shoes and decided they were an item well worth having.

Never mind that they're a tad big.

Love these people!!

And love these people, too. :) Most definitely.

Would someone please tell me why it already feels like it's been forever since we were on our trip??????

I miss like-minded fellowship already!!!

This is an Adams tradition. When you're leaving the South/Midwest, a stop at Braum's for a little ice cream is a must.

This picture reminds me of what a difficult decision that was, between tall milkshakes and luscious banana splits and towering cones and double-dipped treasures and silky sundaes and and and and...

In the end, the cone won. And I didn't even need any lunch after that. :)

Already looking forward to the GMHC trip 2017!!

Five things I'm thankful for today

Thursday, November 24, 2016

{enjoying playing games with good friends on our recent GMHC 2016 trip}

Five things I am grateful for today:

1. To have Curtis home for the day, resting from his cardiology rotation, and present with us for all the games and food and laughter of this season. As I write, he is hand-painting skis in readiness for the slopes! I'll post a picture once he's done with the project. I promise you, you will be amazed.

2. SNOW!!!!! And lots of it. For several days, the constant deluge of white flakes falling from thick grey clouds has brightened our hearts with visions of upcoming bluebird days and black diamond runs. The countdown on our whiteboard only makes us more excited!

3. Good books. As soon as I finish this, I'm going to go curl up in a comfy chair (hey, it's Thanksgiving!) and soak in a few more pages of "Scatter" - a book that I now feel like pretty much every single person in the world should read. :)

4. Tasty food. And the fact that I just accomplished one of my 2016 goals, by making authentic French croissants at home; results will be judged by the startling realization that within only a couple of hours, the entire batch was gone. Disappeared. Consumed. And requested again.

5. An awesome family, great friends, and a God who makes everything beautiful in His time. I have a LOT to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Life, good memories, and a very beautiful place

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

It all comes from looking at old pictures. I was sorting through picture folders recently while looking for a few from Les Iles de la Madeleine, to send to a friend. And it was inevitable. The more pictures I looked at, the more I thought fondly of that wonderful place, all the wonderful people there, and all the wonderful memories we made during our Islands years.

It was a very pleasant experience. I decided I should look through old pictures more often.

This was our backyard view for eons. Can't say this mission field was hard on the eyes.

Can't say that the location of our rented home was hard on the sensibilities (unless you're afraid of cliffs).

But I will say that it was cold. And freezing, blustery, snowy, icy, windy, and beautiful. I loved it.

This, friends, is what you call Ice Jumping. It's an Adams-invented sport and it involves much leaping around between bobbing, slushy ice floes, punctuated by startling dips into chilling water when a wave hits unexpectedly. At which point you climb soddenly out onto the shore, the winter wind smacks you full force, your clothing immediately freezes solid into one icy board (I'm not kidding), and you run for home like your life depends on it (it sort of did a few times...). By the next day, you're ready to tackle those unpredictable ice chunks again and outwit the sneaky waves. Life is an adventure!

And speaking of adventures, tomorrow morning at 4:30 a.m. we will embark on the GMHC 2016 trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am just a little excited. In fact, it is pretty much all I can think about right now. In fact, that is the reason why I need to go pack right now.

And watch the election.

Praising Him in the Storm

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What is on my mind tonight.

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

{casting crowns}

Country Life

Monday, October 17, 2016

I woke up this morning to find a thin, cold fog reaching in at my slightly-open window, and a freezing little breeze nibbling at my toes. It’s October. The leaves, while still gorgeous, are past their peak, and are now falling in successively thicker clouds of swirling color whenever the wind gusts. Last Tuesday we were greeted by the shocking sight of snow capping Hunger Mountain. And day by day, the chill in the air increases in its rush towards winter, interrupted only briefly by short sunny days that fill our house with natural warmth and remind us of last summer’s beauty.
What a world away from the California non-winters I am still used to! :) Yet there is so very much about this cold land that I have come to love. Not the least being the awesome skiing (starts in 55 days, 8 ½ hours)…..
This morning, as I admired the pink-streaked sky and the brilliant ball of sun inching above the far range, my mind wandered deliciously back to a morning in California last August.
It was cool and quiet in the Valley. We awoke early, our eager ears picking up the sounds we knew so well: magpies calling to each other in the mulberry trees, and the unmistakable, friendly noise of sprinklers in the orchard. With an hour before our first meeting of the day, we decided to take a bit of a risk: drive out behind our old home, through the wonderfully familiar almond orchard with all the trees we named as kids, back to our favorite cornfield.
We used to walk there nearly every day for many years. We’d meander through the orchards, munching on stray almonds left behind by the harvesters, until we came to the dusty farm road that runs the length of a huge field of corn. It was always peaceful out there. We were always barefoot (keeping a weather eye out for malevolent goat-head bushes), the dogs would run along with us, and there was plenty of white sandy soil in which to cool our toes.
{fresh almonds = perfection}
On this morning it was all the same. The same as it was 13 years ago when we left that little spot of hot and dusty paradise. Memories came rushing back in a torrent as Mums and I parked our zippy Jetta beside the tall corn and stepped out into a world we knew so well. The corn had the same look to it. The almond trees still stood, solidly, a carpet of nuts on the ground below from a busy shaker’s work. I took off my shoes and felt the cool earth under my feet, heard the wind rustle softly through the corn stalks, smelled the crisp sharpness of smoke from someone’s burnpile.
We stood there for several minutes, just letting the familiar sights and sounds and smells envelope us. It was amazing. It was perfection.
Now, looking back on it, sorting through my copious pictures and re-living it through all the memories, I can almost feel the warm sun again and catch the whiff of faraway garlic from the farm down the road. And just when I realize I miss it, the sun achieves its goal of topping Hunger Mountain and I feel the sudden delicious burst of warmth; the thin clouds of fog fizzle under the sun’s influence, leaving a clear picture of breathtaking reds and yellows and oranges where a simple green forest used to be, and I realize that I actually am smelling garlic. Hmm. Should have put my garlic-work jacket some other place. Ha.
That has been Ibby’s and my occupation this last week: opening, sorting, bagging, digging, and planting 60,000 cloves of garlic by hand. It has been a saga! :) Long, and satisfying, and grueling, and enjoyable.
And every single day, without fail, by the end of the afternoon there is only one thing I really, really want. There’s just something about smelling the strong, pungent aroma of fresh garlic all day long with hardly a break, handling the smooth, hard cloves and listening to the papery sound of the protective layers as we peel them away…
I just want fettucine alfredo.

California Journal snippets

Saturday, October 8, 2016

{walking in our favorite cornfield}

I squeezed myself into the little blue airplane seat, noting sleepy passengers ahead of me and a stranger’s large, manly boots coming ooching along the floor under my seat. He seemed to be stretching his legs out as far as they would go, getting ready for a good long nap. 

I moved my feet out of the way and settled in to take picture #137 from the foggy window, then decided against it. We hadn’t even taken off yet, after all. I guessed I already had enough documentation of the tarmac, a strip of yellowish grass beside the pavement, a small plane preparing to take off, and an airplane employee standing outside, expertly juggling his little orange guide-sticks.

Next up…time for some coffee, and lo and behold, I was already hungry. Flying is exciting and flying makes me crave tasty things like chocolate and granola bars and bread-and-butter, which I had stowed in my computer case. I might as well enjoy it before it became a squashed, unrecognizable lumpkin. Meanwhile, the seat belt warning sounded in my ears and the plane jerked forward along the runway, as I listened eagerly for the pilot’s announcement and wondered hopefully if it might be Jack, our favorite United pilot. (Ha. We only know one United pilot. But Jack’s the best anyway.) 

If I have my pilot’s license for a hundred years I won’t ever lose that feeling of thrilled wonder as we zoom up through the clouds, leaving terra firma far behind. The rush of pressure as the wheels leave the ground, the unpredictable turbulence, and the sensation of floating at 30,000 feet…aaaaahhhhhhh. Complete amazingness!!

After a brief layover in Chicago, we began the long flight towards the wonderful, beautiful, fabulous land to which we were headed. Finally we were getting close. I remained glued to the window, with baited breath and an excitedly beating heart, waiting for a first glimpse of California. I assumed we’d be coming over Reno first, and that would be my cue that CA was just over the horizon. 

{coming over the bay}

I waited. And waited. Why does Reno look so different? –I thought- I don’t remember that landscape…something doesn’t seem quite right… I watched, curious, as oddly familiar yet totally unexpected scenes formed far below – fields, orchards, and roads… the snaking blue ribbons of canals crisscrossing the land, and a small town. Foothills finally came into view. I gazed down at the twisting curves of a freeway as it followed along the base of the hills, and I thought suddenly –“wow, Reno must have a freeway just exactly like the one going through Patterson”…[in the Central Valley of CA]…and then it hit me: That WAS Patterson down there.

Of course. We were coming into San Francisco, not Sacramento like last time. Yes, there was the Pacific ocean coming into view, and I felt my eyes prickling, and a lump forming in my throat, and before I knew it we had landed. We were really, truly, actually in California. This was going to take another Kleenex.

{road to the home of dear friends!}

I’d stowed my suitcase carefully in the overhead compartment, but I felt sorry for that compartment, because my suitcase weighed at least two tons. Feeling more blonde than ever, I lugged the thing down with slight difficulty and it immediately rooted itself firmly in the skinny aisle. My heart pounded a little harder as I tried to move as fast as possible and not think about the line of people waiting behind me; they seemed very quiet, and my frantic attempts to dislodge my heavy luggage drew curious, sympathetic gazes.
Then I realized it would be a lot easier to pull the suitcase along behind me instead of trying to push it forward. I leaped over it and turned around quickly to grasp the handle, but came to an abrupt halt, as I nearly crashed headlong into a young, handsome man who was just beginning to step over my luggage. He retreated and offered a polite apology. “I wasn’t sure what you were doing,” he said with a grin.
“Um, possibly hurdling?” I suggested, the thrill of Olympics season still heavily in the air (it helped to be flying with United, proudly advertising their support of Team USA).
He chuckled.
I finally extracted my suitcase from its firmly stuck position and almost ran through the fast-emptying plane, then located Mums, and we joined the rush of people surging into the San Francisco airport. It was warm, and there was a tantalizing smell of food in the air. I realized I was starving again: it was past lunchtime and my mind wandered deliciously back to memories of California lunches. California is a good place to be hungry. Because California has In ‘n Out Burgers.
We waited for a very long time to pick up our checked bags, and then, as I dragged what felt like a heap of concrete behind me, juggling my computer case, my squeaky-wheeled little carry-on, and an obese suitcase, I envisioned my upcoming burger. It was probably only about 20 minutes away now. I could almost taste it: the melting cheese, the savory beef, the crisp lettuce, the fresh onions. Just a few short tasks to do first, like picking up our rental car and finding our route and loading our luggage into said car.

The air train zipped us away from the airport, and deposited us in a lonely spot where a shuttle was supposed to arrive soon. At last we were really outside, unfettered by airport walls and thick security glass, free to take deep breaths of real California air and watch as palm trees swayed in a hot breeze. The roar of traffic was all around us, a constant rumble of tires on asphalt and a blaring of impatient horns, but I closed my eyes and blocked it all out. Soon we would be out in the country. And even here, even in all this bustle and the maze of overhead roads and on-ramps above us, here we were in California. I could hardly believe it.
The growling from my stomach brought me back to reality, reminding me of the minutes slowly slipping by. Where was the shuttle? Our rental car pick-up was miles away off site. We stood by our pile of luggage, waiting, still waiting, until we spotted the lovely sight of a van coming lumbering down the road towards us. Lunch was back on the horizon!
The shuttle pulled up and immediately everyone sprang into action. We were at the head of the line, but at the very last moment a whole crowd of people rushed up from the other side, threw in their bags, and jumped into the seats before thirty seconds had passed. Ohhhhhhh no, don’t tell me…the vision of my juicy burger fizzled from before my starving eyes and I watched with dismay as the van doors closed. The driver was incredibly kind and apologetic. “I’ll radio the guy with our other shuttle,” he said, “I think he’s stuck in that traffic jam over there. It should be only about twenty minutes now.”
Ah, well, these things happen. Hey, I was in California. Nothing else really mattered at that moment…
{this is what happens when you're trying to take a pic but the wind is blowing a gale...}
One hour later, we arrived at the rental car location. It was mid-afternoon now and the sun was beautifully hot, as I gazed up into the pale blue sky and thought happily of the days ahead of us. There was a long line for rental cars but by this time, the burger in my mind had faded to a dream, like an old, yellowed picture from another era, distant and remote.
My senses revived when I realized we were nearly through the check-in process. I had been acting for the last while on a sort of hunger-induced autopilot, but suddenly my eyes cleared and I saw that we were getting out our ID, signing the last papers, and listening to the friendly Mexican guy’s instructions about the car. My stomach gave a leap of new-found hope and the abandoned dream of a tasty lunch screeched into my consciousness once more. The rental car guy reached for our keys.
“Hey,” I heard myself saying, trying to keep the tone of a dying person in the wilderness out of my voice, “Do you happen to know if there is an In ‘n Out Burger around here?”
He leaned back and smiled widely. “Yeah…they’re good, aren’t they,” he said with conviction, chuckling with a look of complete understanding. When you’re a fan, you’re a fan. “There’s one less than a mile from here,” he added, and chuckled again at the sight of great happiness coming over my face.
Life was looking really, really good.
And it was even better ten minutes later, after loading our luggage into our spiffy white Jetta, and zipping down the deserted street. There it was: lunch (more like dinner now), waiting for us, a tasty reminder of California. I’m not a fast-food person but… In 'n Out Burger gets a pass. :)
I sighed contentedly as we left the crazy hustle and bustle of weekend traffic in San Francisco. It felt like we were living Jonny Diaz’ “Breathe” – the countryside opened before us, the city died away in our mirrors, and I rolled down the window to let in the warm California air, rich with the scent of fields and dust and growing garlic and half-burnt woodchips. It was good to be back. It was good to be home.
{this was essentially our backyard when we were growing up...we'd walk out here every day}

California Memories

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This picture fills my heart with happiness. I can almost feel the warm sun again, hear the rustle of a sweet California breeze in the oak leaves, see the endless rolling hills carpeted in long golden grass...and remember what it was like to be there, really there, IN that wonderful State.

And I can almost taste the immense deliciousness of a freshly-baked Papa Murphy's pizza! I have never had any pizza so amazing in its perfection as PM's Chicken Garlic: you get it all wrapped up in a pleasant little cold package, ready to go into the oven, and a few minutes later you are in heaven.

It was like turning back the clock just walking into the place. The cool, air conditioned atmosphere, smelling of garlic and freshly-rolled dough, hit me in a lovely wave as I walked in the door, and in a moment I was a kid again, watching eagerly as the skilled pizza-makers dipped into various dishes of tasty ingredients and whipped up an awesome creation in just seconds. I have tried about a thousand times to replicate those exact flavors at home; but have not quite landed on the real thing.

Which is a good excuse for getting one when you happen to be in the land of your roots...

...oh, and when it's just you and your Mum there, said pizza lasts for three fab dinners. And I still wanted more.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I have just returned from a land of dreams... It's beautiful. It's hot. It's one-of-a-kind. It has mountains, and valleys, and agriculture, and ocean coastline, and long golden grass...

It's California!!!

After sorting through the approximately fourteen million pictures that I took while there, I decided that about half of them are of the orchards and cornfields I so loved when we used to live there, and the rest are made up of other wonderful, favorite old memories: a pineapple creme cheese danish at our beloved old coffee shop, the long stretch of brown hills as they sweep up towards the beckoning Sierra Nevadas, the funny-looking little pig-melons that grow along valley roads, and blurry photos of fat magpies sitting on fence posts. The golden-billed magpie is, after all, only found in the Central Valley, and some of my earliest memories are of waking up to their early morning chatter in our mulberry tree.

So, when I first heard one during this recent CA visit...well, I was beyond excited. :)

Then there was the little mountain quail! He deserved a lot of pictures taken of his handsome self, along with many black-headed jays and a family of squabbling acorn woodpeckers.

But to begin with, here is a pic that Mums took as we were on our way down towards the valley...

A lot more coming soon :)

Vermont Summer Love

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I love summer.

I love the long, hot days, the refreshing dips in the cool lake, the summery meals with homemade salsa and fresh watermelon, and the buzzing sounds of feisty bugs in the bushes. There is a particular bug-sound that I have not been able to place yet, something between a cicada and a katydid and a lawnmower, but it invariably makes me smile. It’s just a happy sound.

So…. I recently had a reminder of summer, and a reminder to smile.

It had been a long, hot, sticky day, very un-typical of Vermont, but very pleasant – and night brought a wonderful breath of coolness.

I had spent a couple of hours that morning, washing the many windows in our house, and eyeing with a feeling of satisfaction the clean, fresh glass that indicated hard work accomplished. I’d even removed one of the screens in Ibs’ and my room, to scrub out the difficult little corners of the windowsill, and without the screen the outdoors looked wonderfully closer.

The windows were open all day to let in the breeze, and I only closed the screen-less one well after dark when I headed to bed.

I was too late.

But it only hit me after I’d been trying to get to sleep for a few minutes. The room was dark and quiet, save for the steady rhythm of our ceiling fan, and occasional chuckles from Ibs (she had thought up a good tease for me and was wondering if I was still awake). 

That’s when I heard a low whining sort of buzz, the muffled flutter of prickly wings, and then a small but unmistakable thud. There was a pause, then the sound of scritchy little bug feet on the pillow beside my ear. They paused again, then took a jump, and landed on my neck.

Whoa there! I sat up quickly, brushing said bug off hurriedly and turning on the light. Ibs looked over, curious. I had located a very fat black clicker beetle and was corralling him into my hand for re-depositing outside.

There! That’s done. Peace at last. Aaaaahhhhhh, time for a good sleep… I was SO very tired…

And the wings sounded again. The thud. The scritch of little bug feet on my pillow. The jump onto my neck.

I turned on the light again. Oh, it’s a moth this time. A long, lean, brown-backed, prickle-tailed fellow with a mischievous look in his beady black eyes. I corralled him as well and deposited him in the great outdoors.

And again came the sequence, this time a funky variety of May fly.

Then another moth.

Then an unidentified beetle.

The whole situation proceeded to repeat itself with surprising regularity for the next thirty minutes. The buzzing, the thuds, the running across my pillow, the jumping onto my neck… until Ibs began to wonder why I was turning the light on so often.

After a long time, I lay there thinking. I was tired: it had been a long day, and being dive-bombed by hordes of bugs late at night wasn’t on my bucket list. I wondered if it was going to be a long night, and I rather regretted not thinking about the screen sooner!

But: this is the kind of situation we all face in life. Often. And most of the time it’s a whole lot bigger than just a crowd of little bugs with tickly feet and an attraction to our necks. Besides, I like bugs anyway.

I realized that I had a choice: How do I respond to life’s little curve-balls? Do I let them get to me, in bits of irritation or the quick flash of a negative thought? Or do I laugh, find something light in the situation, be grateful for all the many blessings God has given me, and smile?

Life is good! Let’s keep on smiling…

Ike in the sky

Sunday, August 14, 2016

This is Ike. Ike in a plane. Sans instructor.

This is Ike making his first solo landing.


And.... he made it!! Actually he did an awesome job! His instructor, who has been doing this for 40+ years, said that Ike is one of his absolute best students ever (and he means what he says). Ike's just a natural pilot, who is good at following directions and learning new skills. He's well on his way towards his license and I am soooooooo proud of him...

Handsome man preparing for a life in the service of our King.

It's a winning combo.

Standing firm against the secular tide: Part 5 of 5

Thursday, July 28, 2016

There are some types of people whom you come across only very, very rarely. Whose commitment to God, depth of character, qualities of personality, abilities, strong principles, Kingdom vision, and overall amazingness puts them in a different category and you’re left with a profound gratitude to simply have the privilege of knowing such a person.

Meet Michael. (Not his real name)

Committed. Interesting. Loyal. Kind. Steady. Fun. Strong. Musical. Missional. Well-respected. Skilled. Purposeful. Traveled. Well-loved. Awesome. And above all, sold out to God: even when that means uprooting, saying goodbye to family, and giving up just about everything Americans take for granted in everyday life. 

Michael works among the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico; this means living in a small cinder block house in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity, no air conditioning, no running water, no grocery stores, and no church full of like-minded friends.

Sacrifice? Yes. Privilege? Yes. But only a man with the quality of character Michael possesses could actually see the unutterable privilege masked in so much sacrifice that it would make most church-going Christians (even in the Bible belt of Texas) run for their lives. 

I recently had the opportunity to interview Michael and hear his words of wisdom. I hope they inspire you to live your life more fully consecrated to God, more focused on His glory, more committed to the plans He has for you. Spending your life in the service of our King may not be easy, but it is always worth it.

Q: What is your vision, and how did you determine where God wanted you to be?

Even as a young boy I was always fascinated with new places, new languages, and new people. I was also raised in a Christian home. Ever since I can remember, God had welded together the desire to serve Him and the fascination with other peoples, cultures, and languages. From about 10 years old I felt the desire to serve God in cross-cultural missions and He continued to press that on my heart in the years to come.

I always felt a call to Mexico. Just after I finished Paramedic school, a friend from school, who was from Mexico, invited me to come down and visit him and, knowing I was interested in missions, offered to introduce me to a team that worked with the Tarahumara Indians. I stayed in Mexico for 2 months and got to know the mission team very well and was very encouraged by their work. Right from then I began praying that the Lord would show me if this might be where He wanted me to serve. Through prayer, the counsel of others, and the opportunity to visit the team several more times, I decided to begin specific preparations to join this team a little over 3 years after first visiting.

My vision (and ours as a team) is to see a church planted among the Tarahumara Indians that will continue to replicate itself in other areas of the mountains. And that the Tarahumara will come to know the Lord and that those that believe will share with their own people of God’s salvation.

Q: What did you do to prepare for life on the field?

There were many things that I did to prepare; much of that was seeking to gain experience in many different practical skills: carpentry, mechanics, Paramedic school, and things of that nature.

I think the biggest thing I did in preparation was to find a mentor who helped me to grow in my relationship with Christ and in my knowledge of Him and His Word. A little over 2 years before I began missions in Mexico, I asked an older man if he would be willing to mentor and disciple me. He helped me learn how to read and study my Bible better and with purpose, kept me accountable in my spiritual life, shared from his experiences and knowledge, and was a trusted source I could go to with questions and doubts about anything. 

Growing and preparing myself spiritually was by far the most important and valuable thing I did to prepare for missions. 

There are many things that would have been great to have learned or experienced, but they can be learned later. You can never replace time and energy spent growing in your relationship with Christ with anything else to prepare you to serve Him.

Q: What is your top piece of advice for someone going to the mission field?

Prepare yourself spiritually. 

I don’t mean learn how to give sermons, learn how to lead a Bible study, learn how to quote word perfect the plan of salvation. I mean prepare yourself spiritually. Find a spiritual mentor, study your Bible personally and for your own personal benefit and growth, learn to pray, learn to fight spiritual battles within your own person, and learn to love Christ more. Maybe it sounds selfish, but if you aren’t prepared spiritually, how do you expect to do effective battle against the enemy in a fight for the eternal destiny of other’s souls?

Q: How do you stay strong in your relationship with Christ when the going gets tough?

This answer comes back to my top piece of advice for going on the mission field. The years leading up to me going on the field were spent in growing myself in the Lord and through that time He taught me many, many things and gave me Scriptures and experiences to look back on that point me back to Him in difficult times. I’ve always enjoyed journaling, and being able to go back through my journals and remember how God brought me through other difficult times in my life helps me take my eyes off myself and fix them back on Him. I would highly recommend keeping a journal where you can record what God is teaching you. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just something you can look back at to remind you of His faithfulness.

I also utilize my brothers and sisters in Christ that surround me here. A community of believers is so important to staying strong as an individual. I have to be the one to ask for and accept help from them, but maintaining close relationships with other believers here help point me back to Christ when it is hard for me to do so alone.

Q: Have you found coping strategies to deal with stresses or discouragements?

Being someone who needs to express my emotions outwardly in some form or fashion, there are three main things that I end up doing when I’m feeling discouraged: talking to someone I trust about it, writing it down in my journal, or releasing it through my piano or violin. When I can express to a friend my discouragements, they can help put things in perspective and point me towards Christ. With my journal, I like to write my discouragements in the form of a prayer or even conversation with the Lord. And with my music, I like to pull out the hymnal and play and sing my favorite hymns. Again, like a prayer and expression to the Lord of my discouragements, hurts, and needs. Each one helps me to bring whatever I’m discouraged about or stressed with to the top where the Lord can skim it off and relieve me of the burden of carrying it alone.

These are definitely personal strategies of mine but I seek to be very purposeful in doing one or all of them in times of discouragement because they are the ways in which I feel I can release the burden and cast my cares upon Him. (1 Peter 5:7) 

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day can be difficult to describe, but each day for me, at this time, is spent focusing on learning the tribal language and culture. While I am fluent in Spanish and some of the people speak a little, they only speak enough for getting what they need. When conversation turns to deeper things, it must be done in their language and with an understanding of their culture. 

Every morning I enjoy getting up early to have a quiet time by myself with the Lord before the day starts. As a team, we pray together for an hour or so each morning as well. After praying together the regular day starts. Daily chores include bring water from the well a couple of miles away, preparing and having food ready for visitors that come knocking any time of the day, and of course fixing miscellaneous water leaks, broken doors, generators, or vehicles.  

Outside of everyday chores, some days I will spend the whole day hiking and visiting with native friends in their homes, spending time with them in their homes practicing my language and observing their daily lives. I always carry a little notebook with me to write down new words or observations I've made about the culture and then organize that information in the evenings when I return home. There is also a young man that comes over every other day to help with language specifically. I practice conversing, ask him about new words I've learned, or ask him questions about the culture. 

Much of any given day will be hosting visitors and friends that stop by to say hi or share a meal. People are more important than projects so some days I simply spend hosting our Indian friends in my home. If fact, while writing this I have a visitor in my home that has been here for six hours just visiting, chatting, sipping on coffee, and looking at the pictures in the National Geographic magazines I have.

"People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. 

Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. 

I never made a sacrifice.” – David Livingston

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