Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Conversations With Ethan

Ethan:"Mom I want to tell you about my dream!"
Me:"What was it?"
Ethan:"There was lots of eels!"
Me:"Ew- What were they doing?"
Ethan:"They were swimmin' around!"
Me:"Were you swimming too?"
Ethan:"No I was watching them."
Me:"Oh. Then what happened?"
Ethan:" Then everyone decided to go into the basketball game but there wasn't any basketball people and then the basketball house started to shake this way and that way."(moves his hands side to side)
Me:"Oh no! Then what happened?"
Ethan:"I touched an eel!"
Me:"What did it feel like?"
Ethan:"It was flat. And people were throwing tennis balls where the eels were and some fell into the water-it was a creek-and so there was a halloween party and I was there. I was there."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I hesitate to even hit "Publish Post"...

How Great Is Our God!
Sing With Me- How Great Is Our God!
And All Will See How Great, How Great Is Our God!

Man, I just love that song.

* * *
This is going to sound crazy...

You know that expression, taking a bull by the horns? Well this last week, God took me by the heart, which I suppose could be kind of the same thing. I've never been very near a bull, but I have seen them and they are some pretty fierce and will-full creatures when they want to be.
And so can I.
This week God has spoken to my heart like He never has since the day I was saved. Actually, it is more than that- He has wrenched my heart and brought me to my knees (literally) and thrown scripture at me -with love :) that I had never heard before.
This week he has shown me a wonderful and awesome plan for my little family that He will do. It is mysterious and I cannot figure out how it will come about, but I assure you it will.
And I can't tell you what it is.
I wish I could, oh how I wish I could! and I will tell you- but not yet. The Lord has given me this burden right now for a very good reason- to humble me and to cause me to rely totally on His will, to learn to trust solely in Him, to teach me to pray unselfishly and for His timing and will to be done, not mine.
There are hearts that need to be softened to This Thing and only God can do that. God has shown me that This Thing will happen, though right now, to me, it seems impossible, and the way it will come about will bring such Glory to Him that we will not be able to deny that it was His plan for us.

O Lord, you are my God, I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
Isaiah 25:1

I know this is weird, but don't worry- it's nothing dangerous or bad. We aren't moving or joining a cult, and we aren't becoming missionaries in Africa. We have prayed that God would take control of our family and would lead us by His will, that we would be servants to Him, and He is faithful and is answering our prayer, and in the meantime is teaching us to wait upon Him. Pray for us to be patient!

Not all posts will be as deep as the last couple have been. Tomorrow I will post a new Conversation with Ethan!

P.S Whoever is here from Moscow-Hello! I'm glad you have stopped by!

P.S.S. Thank you Aunt Verle and Granny and Gramps for all the craft stuff! The kids were really excited and looked through everything. We will certainly be able to use it!

Friday, May 21, 2010

No Pictures Today...

We are running errands today, so I will put this post up quick as we are leaving...

Someone told me awhile back that Christianity is a white, American religion. And that persecution doesn't happen anymore, that no one cares enough for Christians to persecute them. As I was looking around on some blogs last night, following one to another through little links or pictures, I came across this story. Its just one, I know. There are so many more, like here.

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater that his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me."
John 15"18-21

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Hebrews 13:8

Here is the link:

And here is the story:

Last week, I told you about the family who escaped religious persecution eleven months ago and ended up living less than 5 minutes from my house. I met them because God stepped in.

On Friday night, we met at Chick Fil A and I was happy to see them drink sweet tea. Because you know how much that means to me. It was a little awkward at first since our hubbies were meeting for the first time and because of the language barrier. But our kids hit it off and played while we sat down to eat.

Normally, I would not like this kind of situation. But nothing about this meeting was normal.

I wish I could have recorded the conversation. I wish you could hear their beautiful Russian accents and the excitement in their voices as they shared the miracles God performed. I wish I could tell you the whole story, but it would take pages to do so. I wish I could adequately explain the impact it made on my hubby and I. We were deeply moved.

And I am sure we will never be the same.

Before I share the details of their story, you must first understand how dangerous it is to be a Christian in Uzbekistan, which is 98% Muslim. Right now, it is one of the most persecuted countries in the world. If someone is caught with two or more religious items (Bible, Christian t- shirt, pamphlet, booklet) they are fined 20 to 100 times their monthly income. If they are caught twice, they are fined 100 to 200 times or sentenced to corrective labor (prison) for up to 3 years. Christians have been fined, imprisoned, beaten for preaching about Jesus.

Here is their story (while I have their permission to share this, these are not their real names): Igor was born in Russia and maintained Russian citizenship even though he moved to Uzbekistan as a young boy. He became a Christian, after his sister viewed The Jesus Video. (When Igor said this, I started crying. I worked for The Jesus Video Project about 15 years ago). Even though it was unlawful, Igor could not hide his love for God and His Word. He began leading summer camps along with his sister's husband in Uzbekistan. The camps were held as recreational events with the underlying purpose of spreading the Gospel.

Eleven years later, after meeting and marrying Katerina in one of these camps, Igor and his brother-in-law were planting house churches, holding camps and intensely teaching new followers of Christ with Bibles they smuggled in and literature they secretly printed.

In the height of their underground ministry, Igor was arrested and told that he must leave the country within 48 hours (Uzbekistan officials were hesitant to imprison him because he was a Russian citizen). Igor was shocked at his deportation.

He called his wife and told her to pack some things from the house they had just built. After 22 hours, the police told Igor his time was up. He hid in the mountains, but after his look-alike brother was arrested and held hostage until he reappeared, Igor decided to turn himself in. His wife and children hid in a dirty, abandoned apartment.

He was put on an airplane without any belongings, without knowing where he was heading and without his wife, toddler daughter and 15 day old son. The government knew his wife and children would follow because Igor was told they would be killed if they were seen.

(At this point in their story, I'm crying ya'll, and breathing deeply).

The family finally reunited in Moscow and lived in a one bedroom apartment with 11 other people for a year, facing much hardship. Katerina's papers expired and could no longer stay in Russia; she had to return to the place of her citizenship: Uzbekistan, where they faced death.

A family without a home, a family without a country.

They found safety at the United Nations as persecuted refugees and came to America, with $200 in their pocket.

For the past year, this amazing family has learned English, a new culture, and a new way of life.

But do you know where their heart is? They are working tirelessly thru the Internet and Skype to continue their ministry and disciple Christians in their heartland.

Their funding runs out at Christmas, so they are trying to raise monthly financial support so they can continue reaching others. My hubby and I feel compelled to help them get into local churches and share their unbelievable story.

God stepped into their lives and although they faced unbelievable suffering for the cause of Christ, they stood firm. I can't help but wonder what I would do if serving Jesus cost me my life....

Please pray that their financial needs will be met so they can continue to impact Uzbekistan and other parts of the world. I'm hoping to do some kind of blog fundraiser for them in the future. (What do ya'll think about that?)

Something Igor said moved me, "My arrest and deportation was terrible. And leaving our possessions and our family was very hard, but leaving the work, the ministry and the disciples...that is the hardest, even today." And he said this knowing they may never see their families again.

I am in awe of their faith and passion for Jesus.

God stepped into my path to remind me what it's all about. And He's using this sweet family to turn me inside out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I don't think I have ever really appreciated the value of a kid leash until this week.

Sure they are great for going to the mall, State Fair, or just on a walk through the ol' neighborhood.
But the other day-whichever day it wasn't raining this week- Ethan asked if they could play with them.
Those kids entertained themselves for a good hour. And I got to work in the garden. And Caden got to sleep in peace and quiet.

BTW- I need help. I matched up our basket of socks last night and guess how many I have without partners?

Go on- guess.
That's just ridiculous.
And some of them have been around for years, just pining away for their long lost solemate.
So what do I do with them?
What would you do?
Should I just throw them out?
But then what if I find the other ones?
I don't want to be hanging on to this basket of loneliness and despair forever. I mean, will I have to take it with me if we move? I don't want to bring that kind of baggage into a new home.
What is the protocol for something like this?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tonight was the awards ceremony for all the soccer teams. This is the only picture I could get of Ethan, because I was far away and they went really fast. I think J.W. was ready to get out of there. So here is J.W kindly ruffling Ethan's hair, because he is his favorite player...


Actually he is holding him back from running around the gym floor with one of the other little kids on the team.

He has a tournament on Saturday, which he says he will play in. But last Saturday, he hid his uniform and shoes from us because he didn't want to play, so we will see...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I know, I know..

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dan the Man

My brother left yesterday for training for a month before he goes to Kuwait. If you see my mom, give her a hug. Please pray for him.

Friday, May 7, 2010

We May Not be Historically or Politically Correct...

But we sure have fun.
We made a fort yesterday after we had collected more buried treasure. It was an Indian fort and it was pretty darn awesome. "Princess Staple" (Charlotte), "Princess Blanket Carry" (Yours Truly) and "The Indian that Doesn't Have a Name"(Ethan) spent a good part of the morning shooting arrows at the bad guys and sword fighting...everything.

The little guy even had his own baby fort.
Then he got bored.
And for your viewing pleasure, Ethan sings the Indian Thorn Song:
Sorry it goes sideways-I didn't think about that at the time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Buried Treasure

Over the weekend we had taken a walk in the backyard and found a big piece of white porcelain under a tree. So yesterday, we took a bucket and some shovels and went treasure hunting.

That big thing looks kind of like a can opener or something. Maybe some kind of tool? We found the nail when we dug up the garden.

Porcelain. Maybe a bowl- some of the pieces are rounded.

Clamshell with quartz inside and little barnacle things on the outside. The coolest thing we found, I think.

Loads of colored glass. I know most of it is probably old beer bottles or pickle jars, but still cool.

We talked about all the ways the stuff could have got there. Ethan's favorite explanation is that Indians used to live here and they went around breaking peoples' windows.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010