Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baby #2 and Waiting Rooms

Happy news...we are expecting baby number two! I think all who read this already know that, but there it is anyway!

We are excited about an addition but anxious about doing it in France. So much will be different this time around, but then again so much will be the same. I remember when we found out we were expecting Owen that I had a sudden rush of overwhelming feelings and anxiety about our lives changing forever. The same was true this time around, but the anxiety was more about going through this process in a foreign place. How was I going to find a doctor? I don't know much French, so what do I even say when I try to make our first prenatal appointment? Things like that definitely raise the stress level in this situation, and sometimes it feels like an elevated stress level is just a part everyday life here.

Yesterday we had our second prenatal appointment, and it was one of those times where the stress got to me. We have found a doctor that we like very much, but the doctor we saw yesterday was not that doctor. I also had to reschedule this appointment last week, and apparently I misunderstood what time we were supposed to be there. As we were sitting in the waiting room for an hour, I started crying (which I'm pretty sure that isn't the first time thats happened in an OBs office) because the simplest things like not fully understanding what time our appointment was just too much. It felt like a small failure in some ways to me. On top of that, were going to be seeing a doctor that we didn't even know if he spoke english. In the States I wouldn't have thought twice about seeing a different doctor, but in this situation, the unknown and uncertain can bring on a great deal of fear in my heart.

That fear is becoming normal, I feel it everyday when we step foot out of the door and attempt to interact in French.  Everyday, small situation become an opportunity to lean on the Lord for strength and boldness and everyday I see how much I need His help! The best part is that He promises to give it and He promise to be present with me.

Everything yesterday ended great! A lot of fear for nothing. The doctor did speak some english and we found out if the baby is a boy or girl! Its a...choix du roi! Google the phrase if you really want to know. God is good and we are thankful for his provision and blessing in our lives.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bonjour mes amis!

I’m baaaack. I know I have been away from the blogging world for a long time, largely because I didn’t have much to say. Life was normal mostly; I wasn’t doing anything different than any other American family. Well, in some ways that changed drastically on Wednesday.

Leaving was hard. It was such a strange feeling taking off, looking out the window and knowing I wasn’t going to see home for a very long time. Many people and things I hold dear were not on that plane, though I wished with all my heart they were. I cannot imagine how Jesus left the glories of Heaven for a place not like home and knowing he would not see it for a very long time. But thankfully love compelled him, and a love for him compels us. Sometimes I just selfishly wish love was easy and comfortable….

The flights were long, Owen barely slept, all of our bags were lost in London, but we arrived with grateful attitudes and ready to finally be in our new home. We have waited anxiously for this day to come for three years now, and we are excited to see our lives change. Parents, you know that feeling of waiting for a baby to arrive? You wait and wait and wait some more, and then the baby comes! You are more overjoyed than you have ever been before, life will never be the same, but BIG changes are coming your way. That’s what these first few days have felt like, and I know we will feel the effects for many years to come.

The first few days have been productive. We have gotten a phone and a bank account, been to the store a few times, had much coffee (which is A.MA.ZING), shared many meals with our teammates, been to church, fried a few small appliances, met an Arab man, walked more than we have in weeks at home, cried (Owen and me only), shrugged my shoulders and nodded when someone spoke to me in French and I had no clue what they were saying, gave many bissous (French greeting) and I’m sure the list could go on.

I keep saying, “I just don’t know what to expect every day to look like.” I’m sure I won’t quite know what to expect until we settle into a place of our own and we aren’t the ‘new teammates’ anymore. Right now everyone is looking out for us and inviting us for meals and helping us settle in. As I said that statement to one of my teammates, she replied with the encouragement to think rather about what needs to get done today. That’s a great Biblical perspective we all should probably live by, but I rarely thought about in the States because everything was easy and I pretty much knew what each day held for me. So I will learn to just worry about today and let tomorrow take care of itself.

Well, I will end this post here since it’s a bit long. I just wanted to update anyone who wanted to know about these first few days. If you want more info or have more questions, you can always email me!! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Give them Grace

I haven't read many parenting books mainly because I feel like what I am doing now isn't really parenting, it's care taking. Or maybe it's the easy part of parenting when kids don't talk back to you or hit other kids/siblings. I'm not in the thick of it yet I don't guess.

When I was given the opportunity to join a book study on this book, I said yes only because of the other moms I wanted to hang out with, not because I needed any help just yet. Or so I thought. This book has reminded me of the gospel and the need to speak it into all parts of life, especially parenting. Even in care-taking. So far, the message of this book is not to give the law only to our kids. It says that we are all hard-wired legalists and we really want to give the law to our kids because we want them to obey and be well behaved. But if we only give law, we are only giving them half of Christ. They are only seeing that they can't keep the law(well hopefully they see that), and in some case we can give them a God complex that if they follow the rules, God is happy with them. These women advocate that we give them both law and grace and that we begin to speak and pray the gospel with our kids.

I feel like this book has helped me know how to talk to myself, and then to my kids. And since I am not in the thick of parenting yet, I can practice speaking the gospel to Owen now while he doesn't understand, so when he does I might actually know what to say!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ramadan Day 16

Chechnya(from Open Doors)

Leader: President Ramzan Kadyrov 
Population: 1 million (few Christians) 
Main Religion: Islam 
Government: Republic (Russian Federation) 
World Watch Rank: 20
The church is very young, vulnerable and isolated. Fellowship with other believers is almost impossible. An Islamic revival is taking place in Chechnya; the largest mosque in the Caucasus has been built in Grozny. Christianity is associated with Russia and Chechen believers whose faith becomes public are seen as traitors to Islam and society. Local authorities and relatives monitor the activities of Christians and put great pressure on them to return to Islam.

Please Pray:

  • That the few Christians would persevere in faith. Several have turned away from their faith as the pressure became too great
  • That Christians may know how to live and witness in their situations
  • For the many orphans whose parents were killed during the wars. Pray that God's love and compassion will reach their hearts and transform their lives.

Ramadan Day 15

Link to 30 Day prayer guide
Egypt(from Open Doors)

Leader: Interim Military Government
Population: 80 million (10.8 million Christians) 
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Republic
World Watch Rank: 19
Exaggeration and rumours led to an increase in tensions between Christians and Muslims in 2010. In November, hundreds of Muslims rampaged through a Christian village, firebombing houses and businesses and injuring five people, over rumours of a romantic relationship between a Christian and a Muslim. Christians face much discrimination and churches are strictly regulated. Muslim-background believers are rejected socially and culturally. However, there is a new openness to the gospel through satellite TV and Christian Arabic websites.
In February 2011 President Mubarak stepped down in the wake of mass protests. Christians face an uncertain future.

Please Pray:

  • For the future of the Christian community in Egypt, that they will be free to live and worship in peace.
  • That the government would allow free and fair elections to take place
  • That peace and political stability will quickly be restored

Open Doors in Action

What happens in Egypt has a profound effect throughout the Middle East. That's why Open Doors has been active in the country for many years, working with our partner organisations to transform the lives of suffering Christians.
  • Website and Internet - The protests this year prove just how potent a force for change the internet can be. Open Doors supports a website ministry offering both evangelism to Muslims and discipleship training for Christians. 
  • Children's Bible Programme - An astonishing 20,000 children attend our annual school holiday Bible programme, Children for Christ.
  • Income Generating Loans - Financial pressures are often used to force the poorest of the poor to renounce Christianity. Our microlending programmes give people a measure of financial independence.
  • Serving the Community - We support a comprehensive programme of services including literacy programmes, relief, empowerment of women and student support. 
  • Medical Outreach - Medical teams of doctors go to villages without healthcare services to provide medical examinations, care and supplies. This programme helps local churches gain credibility in the community.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ramadan Day 13 and 14

I'm a bit behind, weekends seem to do that to me.

Link to 30 Days Prayer Calendar
Turkmenistan(from Open Doors)

Leader: President Berdymukhamedov 
Population: 5.1 million (1% Christian) 
Main Religion: Islam 
Government: One-party state 
World Watch Rank: 15
Although the constitution provides for freedom of religion, in 2010 police officers reportedly told Christians that they would do everything to ensure that there are no Christians left in the country. Ethnic Turkmen Christians are often insulted and put under pressure to return to Islam. Many believers run the risk of losing their jobs. There are very few registered churches; non-registered religious activity is illegal. In 2010 a pastor from Marytown was falsely accused of swindle and sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

Please Pray:

  • For protection on Christian youth activities. Sometimes summer camps are raided by police and teenagers are detained for hours without food or water
  • For unity between churches and for godly Christian leaders
  • For good discipleship and training resources to become more available.

Qatar(from Open Doors)
Leader: Emir Sheikh Hamad 
Population: 1.4 million (89,000 Christians) 
Main Religion: Islam 
Government: Traditional emirate 
World Watch Rank: 17

Nearly all citizens in Qatar are Muslims; almost the entire Christian population are expatriates. The constitution explicitly provides for freedom of worship, and Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches are officially recognised. However, the Government places restrictions on public worship and continues to prohibit evangelisation of non-Muslims. Several expatriate Christians were expelled from the country in 2010, almost certainly because of their Christian faith. Leaving Islam is considered apostasy; believers from a Muslim background face severe persecution.

Please Pray:

  • That isolated indigenous believers will connect with other believers and experience real fellowship
  • That the Qatari people will open up to the gospel and not rely on wealth and their feeling of Islamic superiority
  • For the witness of the expatriate Christian community. Pray that no more foreign Christians will be expelled from the country.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ramadan Day 12

Link to 30 Days Prayer Calendar


Leader: General Mohamed Abdelaziz
Population: 3.3 million (8,400 Christians)
Main Religion: Islam 
Government: Islamic republic 
World Watch Rank: 13
Citizens are Muslims by default. The government restricts the evangelisation of Muslims and the distribution of non-Islamic religious materials. Conversion to another religion is punishable by death. Extremist group al-Qaeda in the Maghreb is gaining support and is also monitoring Christians in the country. In 2020 a young woman was beaten and burned to death by her family when her Christian faith was discovered. Over 20 Christians - some with children - received dead threats and most had to flee their homes to escape a similar fate.

Please Pray:

  • That this young church will become deeply rooted in faith, so it can withstand the storms of persecution
  • For wisdom for Christian parents as they bring up their children in a Muslim society that can be very hostile
  • That believers will be equipped and trained to reach people groups who never heard the gospel.

Ramadan Day 11

Here's yesterday's prayers. I've been reading in Luke and in two separate occasions Jesus tells those following him that there is a cost to following him. The cost for all of us who follow will be different, but being a believer in these countries costs them everything. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Mr. Beaver said of Aslan(Christ-like figure in the books), "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. ' I wonder is that is how Muslim background believers feel about turning to Christ. The risk of believing in Christ is anything but safe for these believers, but He promises His goodness to them and that is worth praying for.

Link to 30 Days Prayer Calendar

Leader: President Asif Ali Zardari
Population: 180 million (5.3 million Christian)
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Republic
World Watch Rank: 11
Religious freedom is constantly being eroded. Although persecution does not come primarily from the state, the constitution and judiciary fail to protect the rights of religious minorities. In 2010, 29 Christians were killed and 4 were sentenced for blasphemy. At least 58 Christians were kidnapped and at least 100 were physically harmed. During the devastating floods of August 2010, Christians experienced discrimination from local authorities and Muslims in the distribution of aid. In November 2010, a Christian woman was sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Please Pray:

  • For those working to help flood victims to rebuild their lives
  • That the government would review the blasphemy laws and do more to protect religious minorities
  • Kidnapping of young girls to force them to convert to Islam is common. Pray for protection for Christian girls.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ramadan Day 10

Today we're praying for Uzbekistan and Balrampur, India. I'll include the usual links to the websites we are getting the information from, but I also want to include the link to the Gospel for Asia website.  Gospel for Asia is an organization started by Dr. Y.P. Yohannan to send out missionaries to India and surrounding countries. He wrote a book called Revolution in World Missions that started my journey in missions. It was a life changer for me, and if you want to read it too, you can get it free. YES, I said free. Just click here  to order or you can get a free download (audio or pdf version) on the GFA website. You can learn more about Gospel for Asia by clicking here.

30 Days Prayer Calendar(see day 10)
Uzbekistan (from Open Doors)

Leader: President Islam Karimov 
Population: 27.5 million (208,500 Christian) 
Main Religion: Islam 
Government: Authoritarian 
World Watch Rank: 09
Pressure on Uzbek Christians mounted in 2010. The number of raids on churches increased, resulting in more court cases. Fines for illegal religious activities were up to 100 times the minimum monthly wage, and short-term prison sentences (3-15 days) were given out more frequently as a punishment for religious activities. A 27-year-old Baptist was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. Many churches lost their registration and some their buildings. Christians experienced job loss, beatings, social rejection and often expulsion from the family home.

Please Pray:

  • For believers in prison. Ask God to strengthen and encourage them and their loved ones
  • For God's protection on Christians who continue to meet together
  • Several young believers were identified by the police when they attended a meeting. Pray that they will still be able to get a good education.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ramadan Day 9

Ross and I were sitting at the dinner table tonight discussing how difficult this Ramadan must because the days are SO LONG and SO HOT! I'm sure if they are living in Texas, they are staying in doors if at all possible.'s day 9 info.
Link to 30 day prayer calendar(see day 9)

Iraq(from Open Doors)

Leader:  Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
Population: 30.7 million (334,000 Christians) 
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Parliamentary democracy
World Watch Rank: 08
Violence against Christians increased in 2010, with large numbers of believers killed and injured. There were a number of attacks on Christians in Mosul in the run-up to March's elections, leading to an exodus of Christians to villages in the Nineveh plains. Attacks on church buildings and Christian institutions increased in the second half of the year. In October 2010, at least 58 Christians were killed and many were injured in a bomb attack on a church in Baghdad.

Please Pray:

  • That the Iraqi government will be able to restore a situation of peace without limiting the church's freedom
  • That believers displaced by the violence will find a place to go to and won't have to flee Iraq
  • The need for trauma counselling is high among young people. Pray that children who have lost parents will receive the care they need and will grow strong in their faith in Jesus.