Monday, February 27, 2012

The Little Light House

These last several weeks have been the best of times and the worst of times. It has been painful to say goodbye to so many friends and family, and we've dealt with some major curve balls. Praise God, we have a potential buyer for the house, but our working visa still seems distant. Our plane tickets are ready for us to leave on March 11, so we are praying for visas! It has been quite complicated. Once we receive some paperwork from China, I will need to travel to Austin to see the Secretary of State to verify some notaries. We pray that God can use the trip to Austin for his good and that he will clear a way for us to get to China ... quickly.
There have been many wonderful moments. After our glorious trip to California with Joni and Friends, I was able to volunteer for two weeks at the Little Light House in Tulsa, a Christian school for young children with special needs. What precious preschoolers! Not only was I able to learn some practical training, but also the Little Light House has offered to serve as a resource. Along with Joni and Friends and a few individuals in Texas, the Little Light House will be part of our “special team,” experts in the area of special needs. Thank you, Lord!
Also, we are so thankful for your continued support, which has been extremely encouraging. We are beginning to disperse our photo magnets, and we look forward to our Commissioning Service at 5 pm on Sunday, March 4, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Waco, TX. If you are anywhere in the area, we hope you will come. Last Sunday, we had a great send off from the Tulsa area at Braden Park Baptist Church, and the Sunday before, we were blessed by a Free Methodist congregation near Stillwater, OK. Even in the midst of trials and setbacks, God is so good!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Joni and Friends

“You must be tired,” the man said. He was right, of course. Our whirlwind trip to California was tiring – exhausting – but I smiled and said, “Empowered.” We will always remember these days as amazing and challenging and invigorating and rewarding.

We didn’t get a chance to meet Joni Eareckson Tada herself, but we got to embrace her vision and ministry and legacy. When Joni’s accident left her paralyzed in 1967, she thought her life was over. Her injury was so severe that she wasn’t capable of suicide, but she was ready to shut off emotionally and spiritually. But through the gracious hand of God, Joni has done way more than survive. Motivated by love and redemption, she has been able to impact the world. Her organization Joni and Friends currently ministers to people with disabilities in 45+ countries, including the city in northeast China where we will be living. The organization we are joining partners with Joni and Friends.

From the time we landed in California to the time we left 48 hours later, Dayna and I got to visit with leaders in Joni’s organization. A conversation with one of these leaders would have impacted our lives ... much less several staff members. It’s hard to describe the effect of speaking with one leader after another after another. It’s why I can only smile at the end of the day and say, “Empowered.”