Thank You

As Thanksgiving approaches, Melanie and I wanted to post a “thank you” to all the prayer warriors who have prayed for us and loved us over these past years. We are immensely grateful for God’s gracious leading through both difficult and joyous times. We have been overwhelmed by your prayer support. We are not sure why God chose to bless us with so many friends, most whom we’ve never met, who have faithfully upheld us in prayer. Thank you! May God bless each of you as you have blessed us.

I was recently talking with an extended family member who was struggling with uncertainty over her future. It wasn’t the future that was hard for her, but just not knowing how things would work out. I remember numerous times 2+ years ago thinking, “God, if You’d just tell us when You’re going to bless us with children, we’ll be happy to wait.” Waiting on Him is rarely easy, and yet that’s what He asks of Christians frequently. To wait, and while waiting, to trust. Looking back, I realize that I’m glad we didn’t know what would happen when. God faithfully supported and led. We only needed, and at times could handle, the next step.

Abigail with a stuffed lobster Joseph and Anna brought back for her.
Abigail with a stuffed lobster Joseph and Anna brought back from the last trip for her.

Each month, the guys from my family, and often a few other friends, lead a chapel service at a local men’s shelter. The November service was going to be challenging. Due to a wedding, all my normal piano players were tied up. I worked and worked to find someone to play the piano for the service. After repeatedly asking God for His direction and provision, and then telling my dad about my dilemma he offered a suggestion. “Why don’t you play your guitar?” he said. I enjoy playing at home when it’s Melanie, Abigail and I and we’re finishing up our family Bible time with singing. But, at the mission with a group of men… sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. However, due to a lack of other options November 9th found me carrying my guitar into the mission. The chaplain led us to a number of different places before we ended up in an upstairs’ room. Because of remodeling, the normal chapel wasn’t available, and the two alternate locations didn’t work either. The room we held chapel in was one floor above where the piano was located. God knew we didn’t need a piano player for that service. He directed and provided in spite of my best efforts.

Abigail
Abigail

Rereading my above paragraphs, I’m realizing how difficult this is going to be to conclude and pull all together. I’m sure a skilled writer wouldn’t have a problem with that, but since it’s just me I’ll do my best and hopefully it is somewhat understandable. As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m impressed by two things. First, gratefulness – to God for saving and leading us, to Melanie for her love and trust over the years, and to our families, friends, and blog readers for your love, care and support.

Abigails bath robe :-) .
Abigail's bath robe πŸ™‚ .

But, I’m also reminded of the years Melanie and I spent without children. For some, five years will seem like a long time, to others short. We’re aware of how many couples there are throughout the world that desire to have children. We’re told that the holidays are all about family and memories. There is of course much more to them, but family time is important. I can remember Christmas celebrations where Melanie and I were acutely aware of the fact that we had no children. Scripture says that “even in laughter the heart may ache…” And yet now we look back at those years with a whole new perspective. They seem much shorter in hindsight than they did when we were “living” them. But, we also see God’s perfect control over our lives, what we learned during that time, and how He prepared us for what He had in store in the future. His leading is right, even when it doesn’t make sense to us or fit our desires. To trust isn’t easy, it’s required.

Melanie and Abigail
Melanie and Abigail
Abigail and I
Abigail and I
Melanie caught this on camera! Abigail really looks like she was drinking from this cup. We thought it was cute.
Melanie caught this on camera! Abigail really looks like she was drinking from this cup. We thought it was cute.
Abigail and Aunt Anna. Abigails aunts and uncles love to hold and play with her.
Abigail and Aunt Anna. Abigail's aunts and uncles love to hold and play with her.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Nathan, Melanie and Abigail

Our Gratitude

Sometimes the Lord blesses in unexpected ways from unexpected places. That happened to our family last week. While the provider of this blessing chose to remain anonymous, we want to express our gratitude to the Lord for His provision for our ministry and the obedient heart of the family who encouraged and blessed us.
In Christ Jesus,
Steve for the family

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into
his courts with praise: be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.”
Psalms 100:4

Music Practice, Miss Abigail, Smores, and House Work

Yum?!! We have a small, fire "pit" where we can burn odd pieces of wood, etc, and we (very occasionally!) enjoy cooking smores.
Yum?!! We have a small, fire "pit" in our new backyard where we can burn things like wood scraps, etc. Occasionally (very), we'll do s'mores. This time, it was Grandad and Grandma's treat.
We are practicing up for November 30th. Anna let Abigail hold onto her bow--the only problem, Abigail really wanted to taste it too. She would look all the way up the bow and grab for it.
We are practicing up for November 30th. Aunt Anna let Abigail hold onto her bow--the only problem, Abigail really wanted to taste it too. She would look all the way up the bow and grab for it.
Such a CUTE little hand!
Such a CUTE little hand!
Anna grabbed my camera during our music practice last night and took this picture. We were having relaxed practice :-) .
Anna grabbed my camera during our music practice last night and took this picture. We were having relaxed practice πŸ™‚ .
Another relaxed banjo player!
Another relaxed banjo player!
The work at the house is progressing. Dad is wiring in the outlets, and Jesse is screwing on the covers.
The work at the house is progressing. Dad is wiring in the outlets, and Jesse is screwing on the covers.
John is caulking. (I saw he found a use for those sheetrocking stilts. Hmmmm...)
John is caulking. (I saw he found a use for those sheetrocking stilts. Hmmmm...)
We girls and Mom will often work on clean up on the house. Here is Mary.
We girls and Mom will often work on clean up on the house. Here is Mary.
And here is Annie. She was working through a huge pile of odd-sized pieces of wood, and Dad let her use the saw to cut up some of them. It made the job more interesting.
And here is Annie. She was working through a huge pile of odd-sized pieces of wood, and Dad let her use the saw to cut up some of them. It made the job more interesting, I think.

I didn’t explain what happened with the toilet leak, either. Daddy found that there was a defect in the toilet! So, it wasn’t anything that we did, but rather a lemon of a toilet. Oh well. πŸ™‚

As we approach Thanksgiving week, I think of how many things I am grateful for. Truly, the Lord has blessed each one of us in so many ways!

Sarah for the rest

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalms 100:4).

The Challenges of House Building

This past week has had it’s challenges in the house building relm. First, it started with the stairs. We won’t go into all the problems we had there. πŸ™‚

Now things are going well on the stairs.
Now things are going well on the stairs.
Working on the steps today.
Working on the steps yesterday.
The boys bedroom and the music room (which is currently take up sweet Moms living room!) will be upstairs.
The boys' bedroom and the music room (which is currently taking up sweet Mom's living room!) will be upstairs.

Then, a leak was discovered yesterday in the finished living room ceiling. Sadly, a portion of the ceiling had to be removed so the leak could be found. When Dad came home tonight, and we girls brought up that we had heard about the ceiling, he responded with a cheerful attitude. Truly, Dad has learned to rest in the Lord, and with His help, the leak will be fixed, the ceiling patched, and we’ll be back on to progress. Sometimes there does have to be a few steps back, before more progress can happen πŸ™‚ .

Our living room ceiling. Hmmmm....
Our living room ceiling. Hmmmm....

~Sarah

Ambassadors: The All-Important Element of Clothing

(This is the seventh in a series of entries drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ)

Soon after Ambassador Grew arrived in Japan, the Chinese Ambassador came to visit him. The problem was that the Chinese ambassador wore a rather formal outfit. Ambassador Grew wrote that he was stumped in relation as to what he should wear when he returned the visit to the Chinese ambassador. As Ambassador Grew was writing about his various choices and why each choice would or wouldn’t be appropriate, he wrote that clothing was “that all-important element of diplomacy.”

I wonder how often we, as ambassadors for Christ think about our clothing in relation to being His ambassador? How often would we consider it to be one of the most important elements of our representation of Christ?

Scripture is full of information relating to how we are to dress. Ambassador Grew’s concern had nothing to do with comfort, style, or convenience — his whole concern was what was appropriate and proper.

Do we think there are ever times when it would be okay for an ambassador to dress improperly in public Γ’β‚¬β€œ say for comfort, fashion, convenience, or to draw attention to one’s body? The obvious answer would be “no.”

But, what if it was just a quick errand? Or perhaps a time of exercise? Or what about doing some type of physical labor?

If an ambassador is not able to appropriately represent his country through proper clothing at a specific event, the bottom line is that the ambassador would choose not to attend or participate in the event. Anytime an ambassador steps into public, the clothes that he wears ARE a representation of his country.

The focus of these posts is simply to draw analogies, so I don’t have time to exhaustively reference every Scripture which gives insight into clothing. However, I will go ahead and list a few Scriptures you may find helpful if you were to study this area.

Importance of dressing modestly and not in a worldly fashion:

1 Timothy 2:9: In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.

The danger of being a friend with the world; clothing is a medium through which we could identify with the world:

James 4:4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

What about the principle of not defrauding others through our dress? We see that in the ten commandments we are commanded not to covet or lust after others or things, but it says nothing about us dressing in such a way that would lend itself towards another coveting us Γ’β‚¬β€œ or does it?? I find it fascinating that when Jesus was quoting some of the commandments to the rich young ruler, he expanded the application of coveting to include causing another to covet (by defrauding them):

Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

Clothing is a key part of being an ambassador. God’s instruction for us to be His Ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) is yet another reminder to us that we are to dress appropriately, properly, modestly, and as His representatives! Romans 14:4-5 shares that each of us is directly accountable to God and that we must be fully persuaded that we are living as He would have us live. Which is why we are to study to show yourself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).

Every time we step out of our homes, may we each evaluate what we are wearing. My prayer is that our clothing would appropriately represent the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christ,
Christopher

A Taste Away from Home: Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake
Thanks to Alyssa R., Prince Edward Island

Crust:
1 package yellow cake mix (reserve 1 c. dry for topping)
½ cup melted margarine or butter
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Stir together crust ingredients, and spread in 9×13 pan.

Filling:
1 – 13 oz. can pumpkin
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. salt

Mix filling ingredients, and pour over unbaked crust.

Topping:
1 cup dry cake mix
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup margarine or butter (firm)
1 tsp. cinnamon

Crumble together, and sprinkle over filling.

Bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out dry. Enjoy!

—————–

Maxwell Notes: If you want a coffee cake flavor, with only a slight hint of pumpkin, eat warm. If you want a real pumpkin dessert flavor, eat cold πŸ™‚ .

Pumpkin cake
Pumpkin Cake

~Sarah