30 July 2009

Timing

The end of earthly life comes at different times for everyone. Some have time to say goodbye. Some do not. Some are tragically young with life seemingly left to live. Others have lived full lives, nothing seemingly left to do. I (Heather) have been thinking about how the last few days might have been different. Would anything be easier? Harder?

We are honored to hold Grandma's dying hands, to smile with her, to say goodbye. She has watched four children, and eleven grandchildren grow up to love the Lord. A phenomenal legacy few can claim. Fourteen great-grandchildren have a pretty good start too. Seems like enough, right?

It's still hard.

The details unfold differently for everyone. But there IS one good time to die: with the knowledge that Christ is our savior. Forgiven. Washed clean. Free. Grandma knows she is going home. To her Heavenly Father. To run down the streets of gold and into the arms of Jesus. Free.

And that makes it a little easier.

28 July 2009

My Grandma

Our family would really appreciate your prayers right now. My (Jim's) Grandma (who lives just down the hill from my parents) was taken to the hospital on Thursday for what seemed to be a really stubborn cold and upset stomach. The doctors discovered these symptoms were caused by a large tumor in her colon and many small ones in her lungs and liver. Her health is deteriorating rapidly and she is no longer strong enough to undergo any sort of surgery. Heather and I returned to Paonia when we heard the news. Please pray for our family! I'm blessed to have grown up with my Grandpa and Grandma Lund. They are an incredible Godly example... both through their personal lives and through their 63 years of marraige. Please pray for peace for our entire family. We've been really blessed by the outpouring of prayer and support of our friends and family. I'll write more sometime soon, but for now - thank you for your prayers and encouragement!

22 July 2009

New videos from Africa Inland Mission

While we get our pictures, thoughts and stories sorted out from a few weeks of traveling, here are two new videos from AIM. The first one is the newest video about the Rift Valley Academy. We also like the one on YouTube, but it's fun to have a fresh take on the ministry of the school.

The second video is a glimpse of what we will encounter when we move to Kenya. Our schedule is to leave late June 2010 (11 months!), and after two months of orientation and adjustment, The first term at RVA will begin in late August. We will go through the three-week Africa Based Orientation (ABO) program the film discusses in July. Many of you have asked about this time, and we hope this helps you picture our transition a little better. It has helped us!

video

Orientation

video

12 July 2009

Backpacking

Heather and I had the opportunity last week to do go on a backpack trip... something we hadn't gotten to do since our honeymoon 5 years ago. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip... both the awe-inspiring beauty of our God's creation, and the chance to really reconnect as a couple and enjoy each other's company... in solitude! (or twolitude?) The trail was in kind of rough shape, but it was beautiful. Hope you enjoy these pictures (which hardly do it justice)! On the way down what my family lovingly refers to as the elevator shaft.

The view from our campsite.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
Psalm 19:1,2

I even got a chance to catch a few fish.
Who knew that Colorado could be so lush and green?

10 July 2009

Bible classes

One of our preparations for missionary service is to go through a series of bible courses. If we had gone to a Christian college, we would most likely have fulfilled this requirement, but alas, we went to good ol' Colorado College, where none of this is found! So we are taking classes through Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Dimensions of the Faith program. These classes cover the Old and New Testaments, theology, missions, church history, and bible study. It is a free program that consists of ten courses, each with ten to twenty 45-minute classes. That adds up!

We started our first class, Old Testament survey, part one, in February. We finished that set of fifteen classes in June. Yikes! Not the fastest start. However, I'm happy to report, sitting here in a hotel on our way to Oregon with Jim's family, we just finished our third course. A much better rate of success. I think we'll make it!

It has been great to "go back to school" together. Obviously, it was challenging to get into a routine at first, but we are excited to be so much better equipped when we arrive at RVA in a year. And by the way, anyone can take these classes, so if you've never had a bible education and would like one, sign up and go to school with us!

09 July 2009

Thoughts On Call

As Heather and I embark on this missionary journey, there's one phrase we've heard over and over: "So, tell me about how you were called to missions." But I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that we've all been called... not to missions overseas, necessarily, but to follow Christ. We've experienced some of the stigmata attached to the word missionary. Sometimes, when we mention that we've been appointed as missionaries through AIM and plan to leave in about 1 year for Kenya, people shove us onto a pedestal... in their eyes we've just become godly, perfect people who've remarkably recieved God's call. I think this is a really unhealthy habit. As soon as anyone who is "called to ministry" is seen as some sort of better Christian, we're in danger of following them into some bizarre places spiritually. The truth is, we're all called to ministry as we follow Christ.

Matthew 16:24 says,"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'"

We're all called to be servants, denying ourselves, living as Christ. That is our ministry, be it witnessing to unreached people groups in hostile spiritual environments or serving other believers in our 'safe' church body. Regardless of where we follow Christ, our lives as Christians should be marked by our unselfish, generous lives which serve as a witness for those who do not know. I had an old friend tell me, "As mama Teresa says, 'It's not so much where you are that matters, but what you're doing there.'" So, I guess the challenge to us - as missionaries now - is the same as every other Christian: Are we living in submission to Christ's broader call... denying ourselves and following Him?

01 July 2009

Workin' man

Jim's summer off always means big projects. Last summer we replaced our roof, which was probably our biggest ever, and this summer we are finishing up some odds and ends. I am so impressed with Jim...he's gotten so much done!

We had unexpected car trouble the last week of school in May, and after borrowing rides until we had time to fix it, Jim proceeded to take it all apart. I think it is just amazing that he can take apart a hundred pieces like this and put it back on the car...and it works!!
Then he finished up the laundry room...it's hard to take pictures of it, but he finished the drywall, painted it, and put up trim. Now the laundry is that much more fun!
And on to the kitchen. Almost two years ago, Jim's dad blessed us by building us new kitchen cabinets. This also allowed us to have a dishwasher, which changed our lives! The space behind the oven has needed to be tiled, and we bought those two years ago as well, but time just flew by. So we got the other materials a few weeks ago, borrowed a saw, and Jim had a crash course in tiling, and even had a few helpers!
It looks beautiful!
And now the new project: our mantel used to be stained very dark, so Jim is sanding down, will stain it to match the rest of the wood in the house, and varnish it. Hopefully it will brighten up that side of the room some more!