Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life is a whirlwind!

It has been 5 months since my last post. Wow! I didn't mean to leave everyone hanging for so very long, but I have to say these past few months have been the busiest we have seen. We have traveled back and forth across the state of North Carolina too many times to count (at least right off hand)! We have also been to Florida and back and Scott has traveled up to Maryland, not to mention the two weeks he spent in Pavia, Venezuela with a NC District team at the end of July.

What a whirlwind of events, meetings, services and life has occurred during this time. We have spent a week and a half at Camp Dixie as Camp Missionaries, taken supplies to the OBX after Hurricane Irene, ran a 5K for Compelled by Love, and hauled 2400 pairs of shoes to Franklin, NC to participate in NC Women's Ministries Shoe Outreach for kids in need of shoes.

Sharing @ Camp Dixie with over 700 kids in 2 weeks

And in the midst, we have celebrated 4 of our 5 children's birthdays. We also celebrated with our beautiful daughter, Moriah, as she was Crowned as an Honor Star and Bronze Medal of Honor recipient, on August 13th, her birthday, to make it even more special.

Life has been busy to say the least.

And now, here we are in the midst of the holiday season. Having celebrated with our family for Thanksgiving, we are now making plans for Christmas gatherings here, there and everywhere as we share in our final services of the year.

This just makes it all become more real. Each last event here or there that we will participate in before we leave for the mission field; our last Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, etc. for at least 3 years in the US.

It is all getting closer and closer and I for one am getting a little twitchy about it! I am not nervous or worried or scared, although if I put a great deal of thought into it, I would be all the above!

I just know that I have to start getting my ducks in a row. It is time to make lists and pack things away and sell things and all the other 2 million things I need to do to prepare for leaving.

There are days when I look at my house and wonder how in the world am I going to condense our life down to 14 black footlockers each weighing no more than 50lbs. I am just praying that we can add a few more without too much extra cost when the time finally does arrive to leave.
God willing, in His perfect timing, we will be in Costa Rica for Language School hopefully sooner than later this year. Once 100% of our cash budget and monthly support are raised, we will be given clearance to leave. That could be as early as May or later on in August.

We have had tremendous results in the last month and have seen God's hand directing support from all directions. When we sent out our November newsletter, we were at 43% of our monthly support promised. As of right now, we are bumping 57% as God has brought in faith promises, not in large amounts, but in everyday, ordinary amounts at a steady rate.

He just keeps reminding us that in His timing, His perfect purpose for our family will take place. We (mostly me) just need to keep our eyes on Him, take each step in obedience and follow His call.

The season we now celebrate is the very reason we go!

How can we not share this wonderful story with anyone who will listen?

May your Christmas be filled with all the wonderful joy that His story imparts to us!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pre-Field Orientation & Missions Training

Okay, now that I have had a chance to get back into some semblance of order in my life again, I am ready to share about our trip to Missouri.

Scott & I
What a wonderful time of training as Scott & I went to classes each day Monday-Friday learning the ropes, so to speak. We had sessions from 9-12 each morning, lunch and then sessions from 1:30-5pm each afternoon, supper and sometimes a session from 6:30 to 8 in the evening, but only occasionally.

For three days, we had Regional Applications, where we heard from all the Area Directors, CINCEL Language School Directors, and Regional Directors over LAC (Latin America-Caribbean). We were blown away by their love and acceptance of us and how warmly they welcomed us into the LAC family!
New MAs and Appointed Missionaries to LAC!
They shared with us information pertinent to the culture in which we will soon be living. Attitudes and behaviors that may seem very strange to us here in the US are a part of life in that area of the world. We gleaned so much from those three days. We could have spent the entire two weeks there.

From the sometimes tedious sessions like Insurance and Reports and Visa/Travel to the deep spiritual studies like Missiology Theology & Maintaining Your Spiritual Walk, we were fully immersed in learning and developing into spiritually solid, paperwork completing, and culturally prepared missionaries.

Our last evening, we celebrated with the Missionary Associate (MA) Commissioning Service. As we worshipped with not only other new MAs, but Appointed and Veteran Missionaries from around the world, I couldn't help but stand there and let the tears fall. These people are fulfilling the Great Commission to "Go into all the World, and Preach the Gospel, Making Disciples of every Nation" and Scott and I and our children get to be a part of that! How Great is our God to allow us the opportunity to be a small part of that commission.

After worship, John Bueno, executive director over AGWM (Assemblies of God World Missions) shared with us tremendous words of encouragement and stories from his experiences on the field. Words are hard to come by when describing this wonderful servant and his wife, who in obedience to God's call, went in their early 20s to the country of El Salvador. They saw the need for educating children there and the fruit of their labor almost 50 years later: 37 LACC (Latin American Child Care) schools, one millions students educated, and a country transformed by the power of Jesus name.
John Bueno w/picture of all new MAs on the screen!
We were then called by name and country to the front to stand around our Regional Directors, Dick & Cynthia Nicholson and Brother Bueno read our charge and commissioned us as Missionary Associates of the Assemblies of God to go into all the world!
New LAC MAs w/Dick & Cynthia Nicholson!
Nicholsons, Talleys, Nelsons, Smiths & Tech!
Definitely a life-changing moment!!
Newly Appointed Missionary Associates, June 2011!!

Our Children
The kids each had their own classes where they learned about and prayed for their new country of Venezuela and the countries where all their fellow MKs (Missionary Kids) would be living and serving.

All 5 had "Eating Ministry" where they had to try different and unusual foods from all around the world. They all passed with flying colors! YAY! They may not have liked everything, but they at least tried it and that was the most important thing. Matthew ate a crawdad, shell and all! When we asked him if he liked it, he said, "It's meat! What's not to like about meat?!" :D
Matthew & Aiden trying new foods!
Merci with her plate of strange foods!
Matthew & Merci enjoyed field trips and fun adventures besides their class time during their two weeks.

Malachi, Moriah & Micah had more in-depth training. They went through "Boot Camp" and had quite an interesting time. They went caving and got all muddy, except the only mud in those caves was bat guano! Yikes! One day they went canoeing down the James River.

As the first week ended, the oldest three prepared for "MuKappa." Preparation included "customs," "checkpoints," "interrogation," "passport compliance," team-work as if they were a family, and sometimes, "jail." Once everything was in order they packed for MuKappa.

MuKappa is a 5 day camping trip out in the "boonies" with no soap, shampoo, deodorant, showers, toilets, cabins, beds, etc. They slept in hammocks under the trees with a single tarp over each kid. They washed in their bathing suits in the creek with camp "suds" and dug a latrine for their potty needs. In other words, they were roughing it! When they arrived, everything was dumped and put into big black trash bags that hung from tree limbs, while all contra-band was confiscated (things that weren't on the packing list).

As parents, we were allowed one visit and our kids had convinced us that we needed to bring in contraband! So we packed sodas, candy, gum, and deodorant in places that might not be searched ;D and headed out. We were stopped before we could get on the bus by security who wanted to see photo id. Since most of us did not have that on us, we had to bribe our way onto the bus in one way or another, from singing songs to giving up our water bottles.

Once we arrived at MuKappa, we had to march in single file lines, men on the left, women on the right, with our hands clasped together behind our heads! We marched through the creek, which was shin-high, (some of us having to stand in it while ATVs drove by soaking us through) over to the other side to our security check-point.

I made it through security will all my hidden stash. Scott, well, let's just say, he only had a couple of items left when he got through! They even tried to make him eat bananas (which he has a reaction to) as an "immunization" to enter "Mukappa land." He offered to eat grass instead. :D They took one of his Dr. Peppers and made everyone get down on the ground as they "disarmed" it, exploding it with a machete!

After customs, we had the great opportunity to visit with our children and see how they were growing in the Lord out in the middle of the wilderness! The time together was all too short and soon we were on our way back to campus.
Malachi and his hammock! 
Moriah with her hammock!
Micah & Dad beside his tarp & hammock!
Our children made life-long friendships. Their MK family is part of them no matter the time or space of separation. God has knit them together as a family forever. Our kids shed many a tear before we left, as we were leaving, and many times since. But that only makes the bond stronger and the times they have together more special.

Boot Camp and Mukappa were great teaching tools for all the children, but especially those going to sensitive countries or those going to countries where corruption is a part of life. They were made to see how real and sometimes scary it can be to go outside of our comfort zone here in America. They had to learn that your family is very important and you are a team together. They learned that they are missionaries too!

MKs are not Missionary's kids, they are Missionary Kids!

But most importantly, they learned that God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are always with them, wherever they go in this world. Their scripture for the two weeks will be with them forever!

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast!
Psalm 139:9-10

Moriah even chose it for her life verse. As I read it, tears come to my eyes, because this verse is not just for my kids, it is for me and Scott and all of you too!

No matter where we go on planet Earth, God has placed us there and where God has placed you, He has called you!

His hand will guide you and me! His right hand will hold us fast!

What a great verse to put to memory and keep close to our heart at all times!

Monday, July 4, 2011


We are home again! After almost a month in Springfield, Missouri and then a final weekend at the Outer Banks of NC, we can take a breath and regroup! Not necessarily a deep breath, as we will be back in travel mode soon.

July will be just as busy as June, but in different ways, with some of us going in different directions. Along with several meetings and church services, we will each be heading somewhere with missions on our mind!

Malachi will be on his way first, going with Pastor Randy Thompson and the Kidzablaze team to minister to kids in Cherokee, NC and then back to Camp Dixie for two weeks!

Then Scott heads for Pavia, Venezuela on the NC District trip for 10 days at the end of July, ministering to the people there and doing some manual labor to work on the facilities.

Moriah, Micah and Matthew (along with Isaiah & Ian Nelson) head to Kids Camp at Camp Dixie the last week of July!

I get to be Camp Nurse at Camp Dixie for the final week of Camp, along with my good friend and co-worker in Christ, Angela Nelson. This will allow Merci (and Imanuel) some fun camp time as well!

Lastly, our family has the privilege of being Camp Missionaries for Camp Dixie this year! So the last two Thursdays & Fridays of July, the kids and I will be sharing about Venezuela with these wonderful kids from all over NC!

I would love to share more about our time in Springfield as time permits, but for right now, please keep our family in your prayers as we are scattered here and there during July!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Today is the big day! We are on our way to Springfield, Missouri to Assemblies of God World Missions headquarters and Central Bible College for Pre-Field Orientation and Summer Missions Training.

Our family has been looking forward to this day for a long time. Two weeks of training and preparation for mom and dad and two weeks of adventures, camping, caving, meeting other new MKs from all over the US and making friends to last a lifetime for our kids.

The journey will be long, but will be worth it.

Our kids have no idea how long 16 hours in a vehicle with their siblings so close can be. But they will. Right now, the DVDs are being watched and the Nintendo DSis are being played.

But soon, the movies will all be watched, the games will all be played and the backsides will be numb. And mom and dad will get to hear the famous line, "Are we there yet?" from 5 different kids at different times over and over, enough times to drive us slightly insane.

But all in all, this will be an eventful trip for the entire family. 

I have been on many roadtrips with my parents and brothers during my growing up years. I still have fond memories of those trips and we love to laugh about all the funny things that happened along the way.

My dad always wanted to beat the land speed record to the west coast and back, 
making my mom stick her head out the window for any pictures she might want of the scenery.

My mom wanted us to look at every hill or mountain along the way, 
even waking us up from naps to make us look at another scene that looked exactly like the last.

My brothers were always in some type of game or competition involving billboards, 
license plates and the alphabet, as handheld video games were not in existence at that time. 
Or they were making fun of my mom and the ginormous video camera that sat on her shoulder 
like the TV camera-man.

I spent a good deal of time reading and listening to my "walkman." 
That was before iPods too! 
I always enjoyed the trips and the new adventure that we were embarking upon.

I guess that is why this is so exciting for me.

 It is another step in the process.

Another part of an even greater adventure that our family is preparing for.

And we can't wait to see what God has in store for us on this journey!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Peace" in the Small Stuff

"Peace, I feel like the Lord would have me tell you, Peace." 

Those words came to me from a beautiful woman of God today. Words that I need to hear and put into practice.

She also said, "Don't let the little stuff bother you."

And of course, my husband, who knows me all too well, said, "Receive that, Woman!" (his wonderful term of endearment :D)

He knows that I struggle most with the small stuff. The big things don't affect me like the small things.

If it is too huge for me, then I usually leave it to the Lord, since I can't handle it anyway.

But the little things, the "small stuff" affects me like nothing else.

Maybe because I can take care of the small things..... or at least I think I can.

I let it get to the very core of my being and drive me nutty. I want and need to be free from the stress that I place on myself.

So, my Father, used one of His willing vessels to remind me to be at 'peace' in Him. He wants me to let Him handle those things, no matter how small they might be.

He knows that I can handle the small things, but He wants to take care of me completely. He wants my complete trust. Not just for the big things, but in ALL things.

That means even more of me needs to be surrendered to Him.

Less of me, more of Him!

It is like the Word of God tells us in Mark 10:14-15:

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, 
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 
Truly I tell you, 
anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child 
will never enter it.”

How many times do our children ask us for help with things that we think they should be able to do themselves? Sometimes it is not so much about them needing help as it is about them wanting to know that we are still there to take care of them.

Our Father wants to take care of us and leave not just the big things, but the small ones also, in His most capable hands.

This in no way gives us the right to be lazy and sit on our backsides and do nothing.

It simply means walking in obedience to what He is calling us to do and leaving everything, I mean, everything else to Him.

He says in Matthew 11:30:

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

But we often don't feel like that.

Maybe the reason is because we haven't totally given Him the reins, and we are still trying to carry around things that need to be completely under His control.

Wow! I am so stepping on my toes right now. I am the world's worst at giving something to God and snatching it right back at the first possible sign of stress.

Can I possibly take everything, from the big things, to the small things and give them all to Him?

Only as I walk in His obedience, in the power of His Holy Spirit, on a day-to-day basis slowly releasing my need to control things.

His hands are completely capable of holding all of me and my 'stuff' as I rest in His Peace!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Meltdown

So today I had a meltdown!

It is not one of those things that happens often. In fact, it rarely happens. And I am not proud of it!

But once in a blue moon, when the stars are all in alignment, they all come crashing down on my head!

So what do I do?

I know all the right things to say to myself. I know all the things that others are "supposed" to say.

But these are the times when no matter what I know is right or no matter what others say, it just doesn't work. It doesn't make me feel better or fix the problem. In fact, it usually aggravates it and makes it worse.

So again, what do I do?

Well, first of all, I have to get over myself!

And then, secondly, I have to get over myself!

And lastly, I have to get over myself!

Did I mention that I have to get over myself?

My husband so kindly informed me that I am a person who likes to be in control and this season of my life is not one that I can control, so it gets to me sometimes and when I don't get over it, that is when I have those rare meltdowns.

When they do happen, only those that I love the most get to see it, because as someone in control, why would I let anyone see me lose that control?

Which reminds me of another little thing I should share.

Are you ready?

Are you sure?

Guess what?


Wow! What a revelation. As much as I want to be in control, and as much as I don't want to get over myself, I must! Or else I choose to take that control from the One who should have complete and total control of my life.

Didn't I give Him that control when I asked Him to be Lord of my life?

Or did I just say that because it sounded good at the time?

I think that most of us give things to God, only to take them back later when we are having one of those moments, whether they are just a little worry-moment or a complete meltdown.

One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite worship songs says,

"I give myself away, so You can use me."

If I can get over myself, and instead give myself away to Him....

If I can let go of that control that I hold to so tightly, and instead give that control to Him....


As I finish this, I have just read about the sudden and tragic death of the great man of God, David Wilkerson, today. In his last blog, written today, his words stand out for just such a moment as my meltdown today. I may not be facing the valley and shadow of death, but these words from My Father still ring so sweetly in my ears:

To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, 
“I am with you. 
I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. 
You will see it was all part of my plan. 
It was no accident. 
It was no failure on your part. 
Hold fast.
 Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”
Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. 
When all means fail—his love prevails. 
Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.

What about a Father who cares enough about my moment to share through such a godly man one last word that would encourage and uplift my heart?

Oh, how He must love me!!

And you too!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Faithful God

As we travel on this journey, God continues to surprise us with His constant faithfulness!

Again, today He showed us how He goes before us, beside us and behind us.

We had an entire service this morning, an ENTIRE SERVICE! When you are not a preacher, the thought of that can give you a cold sweat.

But, we gave this service to Him, as we do with each service, whether 10 minutes or an hour.

"Lord, this is your time, speak through us what you want to share with these people, on this day."

And you know what?


We always prepare, but as we each shared, God began to give Scott and I additional things to share that neither one of us had planned or shared with the other, yet they flowed together into this amazing story of God's calling, God's leading, God's directing and God's faithfulness throughout the entire process.

I used to read the stories of the children of Israel as they marched through the desert and I would get so frustrated with them when they forgot how faithful their God was and how He always provided for them. Yet they always complained!

But I never thought about how often I do the same thing when I worry or stress over a situation. Have I forgotten so quickly how faithful my God is and how He always provides a way for me?

He reminded me again this morning of 'my' scripture as I call it. The one he gave me to remember when I don't think things are going according to plan. Just before we got up to speak, He brought it to my mind to share with those precious people today.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
I Thess. 5:24(NASB)

In the Message Bible, it reads like this:

The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, he will do it!
I Thess. 5:24(MSG)

He has plans for all of us! What are we waiting for? An open door? He already has one open, will we walk through it?

What He opens no one can shut, and what he shuts, no one can open. 
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door 
that no one can shut.
Rev. 3:7

All He asks is that we walk through that door and He will be there. Remember, He goes before, beside and behind. He is waiting for me to take those steps of faith and He will do what He has said He will do. 

I need not worry!

I need not stress!

He stands with the door wide open, waiting for me to walk through into what He has already prepared in advance. He is all-inclusive! I don't need to bring anything, but me, ready and available to be used by HIM!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Most Amazing Thing Today

The most amazing thing just happened and I need to share it with you. From the very beginning, we learned (from the Coles) that God already has all our support prepared for us, and He will prompt the hearts of those who are to give towards our journey. All we need to do is walk in obedience to His calling.

Today, we traveled, once again, to the eastern part of our state. On our way home, we stopped at an exit in Edenton to eat at a Pizza Hut there. As always, there were people who stared at our large family as we came in to sit down.

I never know what they are thinking when we come in, but I always hope that by the time they leave, they will be impressed with our family and not distressed by their behavior.

As this elderly couple got up to leave tonight, they stopped by our table to congratulate us on our 5 kids and shared with us that they had 5 themselves, now ranging in age from 45 to 50. They had both been widowed leaving them with two children each. They married and had one of their own and now they have 12 grandchildren.

After a few moments talking, I gave them a prayer card, (which I don't often do with strangers) and we shared with them a little of where we are going and about the ministry in Pavia. We said our goodbyes and they left.

Then the most amazing thing happened! Almost 10 minutes later, the elderly gentleman walked back in and up to our table. He asked us a few more questions about what Venezuela was like and the safety of being there.

He then shook Scott's hand and said "God Bless You" and he left, leaving a $100 bill in Scott's hand.

As tears filled our eyes, we were reminded once again, that God has this journey all mapped out for us, preparing hearts, even in a Pizza Hut in Edenton to give to His ministry. Just another little bit of encouragement along the way.

Oh How He Loves Us So!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Life Comes At You Fast

I love the "Life Comes At You Fast" and "Wanna Get Away" commercials. They are so funny, yet so true. We laugh at the calamities of the unsuspecting victims along with the screw-ups of the not-so-bright.

But life does come at you fast and sometimes you do want to get away, but not always because you messed something up or stuck your foot in your mouth.

James 4:14 reminds us that this life is just a "mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." So what will we do with that 'little while' that we do have here.

I don't know about you, but I want to get away, not to a better life, but to a life that finishes well, this 'little while' that I am here on earth. As I move from room to room in my home, slowly getting rid of items that we won't need either in Costa Rica or Venezuela, I feel that, in a way, I am purging my life of all the unneeded items that clutter my inward self.

As I have been typing this out, I have been listening to Francesca Battistelli's song, Beautiful, Beautiful.
The lyrics speak so deeply to my heart, that God would take me and make me something more than I could ever be on my own. I want my life to be something beautiful for His Glory.

Don’t know how it is You looked at me

And saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking through the dark
Suddenly Your grace
Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Beautiful, beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Beautiful, beautiful
I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by Your grace

I want Him to continue to change me by His grace, purging all the impurities and unnecessary junk out of my life.

Because 'life does come at us fast' and we should 'wanna get away' from whatever is holding us back from serving Him with this 'little while' that we are here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On The Road Again

Traveling can be exciting and fun, but also boring and mundane.  In the midst of all the driving and motels, meetings and church services, life goes on, which for our family means school work!

So, from math books in every hand, to yelling spelling words over the back seat, to reading science units, we make it work. We have incorporated our own beatitude: Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken!

We are not always on the road, but for everyone who has traveled with young kids, you understand the struggle with the break in routine.

Thankfully, a friend shared with us just prior to Malachi's birth 13 years ago, that we don't conform to our child's world, but they conform to our world. We took that advice literally and our kids have always been a part of what we do and where we go. They have learned to be flexible in the midst of whatever circumstance.

I believe that was another part of God's preparation for our family for mission work. Flexibility is not always easy, and can sometimes be very trying to this mom's Type A personality. But I know that God is always trying to teach me something new.

For this season, He is teaching me to be willing to move when He says move, to change when He says change, to make my schedule fit His, and to walk according to His plans, not mine.

He gave me a scripture recently that I believe is for all the seasons of my life and I will walk in obedience to Him because "He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it." I Thess. 5:24(ESV)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

White Christmas & New Year!

Another big snow for NC! We had about 10 inches at our house and the family enjoyed every minute of it. From sledding with friends, to making a snowman, to the hot chocolate afterwards, it was a wonderful event. We know that these moments are to be cherished and remembered and will be all too few once we are in Venezuela. Although we enjoy the snow, we are looking forward to the warm weather there.
I am truly not a fan of winter-time! Maybe that is why the snow is so exciting. Without it, there is just cold, with chapped lips and fly-away hair and sickness that we all spread around while we are all huddled up together trying to stay warm. :D
The holiday season has passed all too swiftly this year. We blinked and it was over. New Year's has come this week and we begin a fresh new year. 2011, for us, will be a year of changes. We will be traveling and traveling and traveling some more, itinerating. And when we are at home, we will be sorting through and selling and/or giving away the material items of our life here in the States. There are moments that really shake me that life is completely changing and I tear up thinking of all that we leave behind. But also in those moments comes the thought of a people who need Jesus and the hope that only He can bring them. What could we possibly give up here that would be worth more than their lives? Our friend Brett just recently made us aware of an amazing Christmas song by Marc Martel and his group Downhere called How Many Kings?  “Bringing our gifts for the newborn savior all that we have whether costly or meek because we believe. Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure and myrrh for the cross he’ll suffer... [For] How many kings, stepped down from their thrones? How many lords have abandoned their homes? How many greats have become the least for me? How many gods have poured out their hearts to romance a world that has torn all apart? How many fathers gave up their sons for me? Only one did that for me.” 
Those words bring it all into the proper perspective for us. What are we willing to give up for Him? We can never match His gift, but we can surely give of ourselves for Him. This new year I pray that my resolutions, or any goals that I set forward to accomplish, may not be based on selfish ambition, but on what I can do for Jesus to honor Him.
Happy New Year!