Preparing for the Trip

Life is in high gear here as we prepare to leave on a three week trip from church on Sunday. Everyone has something to do, and for this trip, we have called in the reserves – Grandad and Grandma. Grandma ironed thirty items for us earlier this week, and she came over to help Sarah yesterday. Both Grandad and Grandma helped today.

We are making curtains for the bus and doing some work inside to make it so that the boys can sleep on it for this trip. The bus just came back from the shop last night so there is much we couldn’t do until it was here. We are excited to take our first long trip on Uriah, and we are praising the Lord continually for His provision.

Trusting In Jesus,
Teri

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Uriah’s Maiden Voyage

Saturday in Leavenworth, Kansas brought about eight inches of snow throughout the day and evening. Steve was praying and looking to the Lord Jesus for direction concerning our trip to Gypsum, Kansas to play music for their Sunday evening Christmas service. This trip weighed heavy on his heart since he had no idea how well Uriah would handle in the snow. Steve was keenly aware that in the event of a problem, we wouldn’t all get out and give a push to get moving again. He also was concerned as to whether there would be sufficient heat to keep everyone comfortable.

Sunday morning Steve decided we would start out, and take it one step at a time, depending on the Lord, to enable us to take the next step. The first step was just getting Uriah out of the drive and loaded. To our joy, step-by-step, God gave grace.

Our plan was to take our instruments in to our nursing home church and play for them during our Sunday morning service and then head on to Gypsum, about four hours away. Grandad and Grandma and Nathan and Melanie were also joining us for the day with Nathan playing lead guitar for our music. Our hearts rejoiced as we watched the delight in our nursing home friends’ faces as they listened to the music, old hymns, and Christmas carols.

Not only was it Uriah’s first ministry trip, but it was the first time we have been asked to come to a church to primarily sing. Until about a month ago, we didn’t have any Christmas hymns that we could play and sing, but the children had worked diligently at arranging and practicing Christmas music by themselves and then as a family. Both Nathan and Christopher shared between songs – giving an evangelistic message with personal examples that I thought was very powerful. After the music, Steve preached for about a half an hour encouraging those listening to evaluate their personal walks with the Lord Jesus and to hunger for the Word of God.

The church welcomed us, fed us a delicious dinner, and invited us to join them for their Christmas fellowship after the service.

The bus did well on our snow-packed city streets and the slushy Interstates. It was very comfortable to ride in, except for the driver’s seat, which we hope to replace soon. The boys had furnished Uriah with an old recliner chair for Mom, an old sofa and love seat we had in the garage, plus a few dinette seats that came out of another RV. In addition, they put in a set of bunk beds and a queen bed. When pregnant Melanie needed to stretch, she could stand up and walk around. When Grandad needed to rest his back, he could go lie down. The beds were all filled when we drove home from 9:40 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., allowing some to curl up on a sofa or bench seat to sleep, while others talked the whole way home!

Our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord Jesus for His provision for our transportation needs. There is a great deal of work that has to be done, but it is our desire that Uriah serves the Lord faithfully with us for many years to come.

Trusting In Jesus,
Teri

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John carrying things out to Uriah Sunday morning.

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Mary, Anna, and Nathan at the nursing home.

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Nursing home service. (Thank you, Melanie, for taking the picture!)

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The family at the evening service in Gypsum.

It’s the happiest season of all…

And so begins a rather popular Christmas song. As I am in different businesses and hear all the “secular” songs about being so happy and what a wonderful time of year it is I realize that not everyone has those feelings. My route home often includes passing a funeral home, they had a full parking lot tonight. A friend of ours recently delivered a child with a fatal birth defect – she lived just over an hour. Melanie and I look at our approaching times of Christmas celebration and are keenly aware Susannah isn’t with us.
For those grieving a loss or struggling in other areas, it doesn’t mean Christmas can’t be celebrated. Christmas isn’t about how we feel. Christmas is about remembering the plan God set in motion for us. Yes, this plan didn’t begin at Christ’s birth, but that was when it became so real to mankind. Without all the “happy” feelings and distractions, we have the chance to celebrate in a genuine, heart-felt way. We can come before God and be real, sharing both our hurting hearts and gratefulness for His love expressed. I recently read in John how the Israelites would gather in Jerusalem for the feasts; they would come together and worship. This worship probably included song and praise, but I also think it included times of quietness and reflection. Hannah’s heart-felt request for a child came during a trip to the tabernacle to worship. (1 Sam. 1:3 & 1:11)

I also wanted to update you on how Melanie and I are doing. . . . The pregnancy seems to be progressing well. We are greatly desiring and praying that we can be “normal” this time and not have to go down the “high-risk” road. We have heard the baby’s heartbeat twice – each time a huge blessing and encouragement. Melanie’s energy level seems to be up just a bit, something we were hoping for in the second trimester.

We recently returned to the hospital where Susannah was delivered and cared for. It was a good, but challenging visit. Standing outside her room in the NICU brought back so many memories. We were able to see two of the nurses that had cared for her as well as her delivery doctor. It wasn’t an easy time but it was good for us.
God has faithfully cared for us this past year, we are amazed at how He will send encouragement just when we need it. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, posted a comment to encourage us, mourned and rejoiced with us.

We wish you a blessed Christmas.

Nathan, Melanie and Baby

Christmas Caroling and Other Thoughts

About sixty-five cups of flour later, thirty-four loaves of whole-wheat cinnamon bread were ready for our caroling evening. It has been a yearly tradition to bake some sort of Christmas goodies, and along with a card, we carol to our neighbors. John has our master list of whom we carol to, and we’ve found that Sunday evenings are the best because people tend to be home. Last night was no exception; most of the families were home. We have been blessed with good neighbors and this is a time when we enjoy sharing Christ’s love in song and smiles. Nathan had the idea for candles, so he invented a way (no wax dripping on our gloves!) for us to carry them without them blowing out. However, we did find the cups can catch on fire if not held vertically. They added a very nice “touch” to the singing.

We are also preparing and looking forward to this Sunday evening’s Christmas service in Gypsum, Kansas. We will be sharing through music, testimonies, and a message from Dad. This will be Uriah’s first trip with the whole family.

Although this is a very joyful time for many Christians, I know there are those who are also hurting. I think of a family who lost their newborn baby girl very recently and the ache they must feel. For those of you who have gone through a difficult trial this year, may Jesus comfort your hearts as only He can.

Merry Christmas – our Savior is born!

Joyfully His,
Sarah

Sarah with bread

The first batch of bread was started a little before 11:30 a.m. (after we came home from church), and by 5:30 p.m., the loaves had all been baked and were ready to go!

Ready to Go

Finished product!

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This is the front of the card we attached to the bread.

Inside of Card

This is the inside.

Nathan, Melanie, and Baby

Nathan, Melanie, and baby!

Carolers

The only two who aren’t in this photo: Dad (who took it!), and Melanie had gone home a little earlier.

Anna

Anna – with two of the caroling candles!

24 Hours and Still Going…

As of 10 a.m. yesterday morning, our electricity went out! Quite a bit of the Midwest has experienced a major ice storm over the last day or two. It has been an adventure being without electricity, but we’re doing great. We rented a small generator yesterday, so we no longer have to hand-bail our sump (we must have an underground spring at this current house!), and we can actually power several computers. Christopher spent some time this morning getting my computer set up so that I could still ship Titus2.com orders.

If you can believe this, Nathan and Melanie, right across the street, still have electricity! Grandad, Grandma, and our family had dinner over there last night, as well as devotions. We had all settled down for devotions in the living room, when a thunderous noise echoed outside. The guys (and some of the girls) jumped up, and the guys hurried outside. The noise sounded like a tree had hit the house, but praise the Lord, it hadn’t.

Devotions this morning were done by flashlights and headlamps. We’re praying for those in Oklahoma who have been greatly affected by this storm. I can only imagine how it must be for them right now.

As I went with Dad to Home Depot yesterday, I mentioned to him how it was amazing that some people had power yet others of us didn’t. Dad said it was a picture of those who are saved and those who aren’t; some people are living in dark and others are in light. It truly changes a life whether you have light or not :-)!

Only for Jesus,
Sarah
PS – We saw a power truck just drive by, so the power may be on soon!

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The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.