Wednesday, 12 August 2015

EBS fundraising concert

The seminary just had a big fundraising concert in the states. Our friend Matt & Stacey who work at EBS have been planning and organising for months and the whole thing was last weekend. Here is Stacey's blog about the concert.


Twenty-four hours before taking this picture, I thought I'd made a huge mistake.  I was feeling tired, the girls were emotional about being apart from Matt again, traveling again, and I felt sick to my stomach over the hugeness of the next day...Matt preaching both services at Seeds of Greatness (like, over 1000 people), standing in front of all these people looking like I had a baby a week ago, then nerves over the hundreds of details for the big concert the same night and having NO IDEA how this whole uncharted-waters plan was going to go, then trying to help Matt prepare for board meetings all day today (Monday).  

I was wishing very much so that I had stayed home in Ohio hiding in my pajamas. 

I am so. so. so. so. so thankful I did not.
What an opportunity, in all of that weak weakness, for the Lord to show up and to redeem.

And He did.
First, He redeemed it through my girls.  

In the midst of the craziness of the day, I had so many sweet moments with all three girls that we never would have had otherwise, and the joy of sharing them with so much dear family.  Seeing Aunt Lori and Brenda and Dodo with Nora, seeing Lily and Sofie playing with lots of friends from Haiti, watching them run to Junior, play with Ethan, dancing with them, watching them enjoy some last moments with Aunt Lisa, playing in the pool with Uncle was a GOOD Mommy day, by His grace.
Second, He (massively) redeemed it through our time of worship Sunday morning at Seeds of Greatness.  I simply LOVE worshipping there.  I'm NOT a cool person, so I'm sure this isn't how you describe it, but the worship was off the HINGE.  Just Awesome.  
Add in that we got to worship with lots of friends old and new, that Galen and Linda and the Sleasemans and my sister's family and Junior, being with Pastor Jerome and Lisa again, catching up with so many people who have prayed for and supported us over the was a GIFT.

He redeemed the day through listening to Matt and Junior preach together...something I've done many times, but never in America, never both in English.  Matt shared an awesome message on forming and filling, and Junior shared bits of his testimony, a story I've been graced to be a part of the last 12 years.  

He shared the heartbreak of separation and loss that following Christ has brought into his life, and shared how God redeemed it, formed and filled him. As He talked about how God took that separation, and has replaced it with a family bigger than he could imagine, my soul welled up with hallelujahs and amens alike, and then when Junior grabbed Matt in a huge hug and said, "like my brother"...oh man.  

Those were my tears for the day.  What a gift to be their sister, what a joy to be reminded of the many ways God continually turns sadness and loneliness, loss and disappointment in our own lives into grace and family and fullness of Him.  Redeemed.
Yet another way the Lord redeemed the day was through our SoG family.  Throughout the morning, I was greeted and encouraged by SO many men and women who just humbled and loved us by knowing who we are, remembering details of our lives, and sharing Words of encouragement.  

You can TELL when a person is a praying person.  You can TELL when a church is a praying church.  And when person after person comes up to you, tells you the details of your lives that they are praying for, share that you are lifted up by name in their prayer service every single Wednesday, man.  

It is so humbling, so inspiring, and makes me want to live worthy of their prayers and be a more diligent person of prayer. 

By the time church was over, all my worries of the night before were gone...simply because I was so powerfully reminded of who He is and how He loves.
From 2-4 we jetted over to Don and Brenda's to give the girls some down time and friend time, and got to catch up with Brent and Julie, Mark and Melissa, Lisa and Adam, Don and Brenda, and eat something.  Don and Brenda gracious hosting us all like 48 hours after their daughter's wedding was so...Don and Brenda.

Then we were back at it.  
When we pulled into the church 90 minutes before the concert, and the parking lot was full...I knew it was a good sign.  
The whole EBS board, from as far away as Kansas, flew in, some with their families and spouses, people drove in from as far away as Illinois and even Canada.  There were lots of people from area churches, lots of old friends, and lots and lots of people who none of us knew...which was awesome!  

With tons of people from area churches and Seeds of Greatness volunteering, everything came together so well, and Sidewalk Prophets?  They were just lovely.
Just really nice men who were an honor to do ministry with...and who SOUNDED just awesome.

And then there it was.   My moment in the back, taking it all in...
my heart full of His praise, my mind full of all of the men and women that these moments were helping to feed and train and teach and disciple and house and equip and form, my eyes full of all these brothers and sisters, a world away, worshipping that same God and working for one kingdom...His.

Watching MY family.  

Singin' "How Great Thou Art"...

Holding my Big Event in my arms.

It was a great night.  

His presence was keenly felt (which changes things.  Changes everything.), Emmaus is better equipped to start the year, and there was no send-off that could have been more encouraging as we all head home to get back at it. 

Thank you.  
For coming.  For your many prayers and for being a praying family.  For all of your support and your love, for all your help with our family, all your help with Emmaus, just for reading our blog and being a family who knows.

glory to God.


I am too drop-dead weary to share much, and still too excited about tonight to not share anything.

If you weren't there, I wish you had been, truly.  If you were there, I'm so incredibly grateful for the chance to have worshipped with you and met so many of you and to have been surrounded by such family.

I'll share lots tomorrow, but for now...

Pretty surreal that the four of ours, "wouldn't it be cool to do a benefit concert?" dream over breakfast before Christmas last year HAPPENED tonight.

It was a lot of work and frankly, a little crazy that I was there.  But it was a sacred night, and I was SO incredibly blessed just to stand in the back with a tiny baby girl and watch my children dance and listen to my husband share and watch my family worship and listen to Sidewalk Prophets bring it home!

And one for Dodo and Bubba, who drove NINE HOURS to be with us tonight!

the whole story...tomorrow

Monday, 3 August 2015

Oh Canada

We just spent all of June in Canada doing some support raising. First we flew to Toronto to stay with some friends, John & Dorothy then Kelly & Barry who were both missionaries in Haiti when I was there. We got a chance to meet with John & Dorothy's small group who have been praying for us. Bill preached and shared in St Johns church in Hamilton ( Kelly& Barry's home church).

We also got a day's holiday to Niagra Falls and to meet another OMS missionary Kate who Julie lived with in Haiti.

From Toronto we flew to Calgary and traveled out to Bill's family farm in Youngstown. We shared in Bill's home church, Youngstown Gospel Chapel and held an event called 'A taste of Haiti' out at the farm. We had a taste of some Haitian food, had lots of information out about Haiti and about what God has called us to do there. We also had a quiz about Haiti along with some challenges!

Friday afternoon we took the 5 hour drive to Saskatoon to stay with one of Bill's friends and run our taste of Haiti event at his house with some friends that Bill went to Bible college with. It was good for Bill to catch up with his friends and to be able to share with them. Sam also enjoyed playing with the other kids in the sand pit and at one point we found him dipping crisps in the sand and eating them!!

We headed back to the farm for a couple of days rest then drove down to Montana to spend some time with Bill's mum's side of the family and share in the church which she grew up in. We enjoyed seeing this side of the family which Julie had only met once, at our wedding. The church was very receptive to us and after church we had a little taster of rice & beans, Haitian spaghetti and pikiliz (a spicy Haitian coleslaw).

Our last weekend was spent in Calgary with Bill's brother and sister in law and we were able to share at their church on Sunday. When we weren't travelling we were meeting up with different people from the Youngstown church and spending time with family.As you can see it was a busy trip with a lot of travelling. Thankfully Bill's parent's had a DVD player in their car which kept Sam amused over the many hours in the car! Although by the end of the month we had heard the Curious George DVD so many times we could recite the whole thing!

We had been praying and asked you to pray for our time in Canada and God answered our prayers. We raised a good bit of support and were able to build relationships with both churches and supporters out there. As you can imagine this wasn't particularly easy with an 18 month old, but Sam was brilliant the whole time we were away. He loved being on the plane, loved meeting lots of new people and playing with his cousins.

Our plans have also changed for when we hope to go to Haiti. Julie is expecting our second baby at the end of January so we now plan to go to Haiti around May/June time. This will give us a couple of months to settle in and begin to adapt to living in Haiti. Bill will spend this time to do language study and prepare for beginning to teach at the end of August. In the meantime we will continue to work, Bill will start back to to French class in September and we will also work on raising the rest of our support which we need to go to Haiti.


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