The Final Post

This is my final post to Finding Joy in Marriage.  To continue following us please find us at Finding Joy in Transition.  We would love for you to continue to follow our crazy, wonderful, transition filled life.

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It’s easy to have the posts emailed to you by clicking the “Sign me up!” button on the left hand side of the page.  We hope to see you there:-)

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Living in Grace and Finding Joy

This weeks training is called Living in Grace.  I love this title and it’s very fitting for my life.  Because, surprise!  I’m not so great at actually living in grace.  Talking about grace, no problem.  Understanding grace intellectually, not such a problem.  Spouting grace-ish filled pithy statements, easy.  But truly understanding grace deep within me and then living in that grace, seemingly impossible.  So this week I hope and pray to continue working towards truly living in grace.  A grace that will continue with me wherever we go.Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 7.05.40 PM.pngThis post was scheduled before we left for Living in Grace so please forgive the silence for the rest of the week while we focus on our training and marriage.  But please also take this time to note the new home of my blog: joyellen1.wordpress.com.  There is currently a first post up and that’s where I will continue blogging once we finish our time in North Carolina.  If you would like to receive or keep receiving this blog via email, please take the time to check out Finding Joy in Transition and click the “Sign me up!” button on the left hand side.

I don’t want you to miss any of the exciting news and I look forward to continue sharing with you from our new online home!  🙂

 

 

Through Kentucky to North Carolina

waterfall at ridgehavenToday we arrive in North Carolina for training #3 (only one more to go after this!).  I’m very excited about this week.  Not only are we going to receive some great information and resources to help us in our ministry but we’re also going to be spending time with some awesome people in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 4.16.31 PM.pngI’ve been to this camp pre-Ryan and I remember being disappointed that I didn’t take advantage of the beautiful hiking trails as much as I should have.  Any place that provides a map like this on their website is basically telling you to go and enjoy exploring the area.  creek at RidgehavenPlease be praying for us this week.  Please pray that God would open our eyes, that we would have teachable minds and hearts and that we would have a strengthening week for our marriage.

June News- Weathering the Changes

On Wednesday the 1st, if you’re on our mailing list, you received our June Newsletter in your inbox and the snail mail ones were mailed out on May 31st.  I almost never send out a newsletter right at the beginning of the month but we have some great news to share.  And no, I’m not pregnant.  I still feel like I need to make this disclaimer every time I talk about “having news to share” with someone.  So I guess the time I write…we have some news to share… and don’t make the disclaimer, you’ll all know the newsletter content already:-)2016 June-online.jpgBut anyway, for those of your who have not read our news already, you can read it by clicking on the picture above or on our website under the About tab.  We share the great and the not so great and there are some cute picture of us too, if I do say so myself.

I will almost always post our newsletters to the blog but if you want to receive them first, let me know and I will add you to our mailing list.  Happy reading!

 

Let’s Do the Numbers-What will God do next?

We don’t know what God is trying to teach us in this season of slow growth for monthly support or how God is at work right now because we aren’t seeing visible progress.  However, we know though other answers to prayer that God is still orchestrating things to His glory and we are one big step closer to Australia (more on this in our newsletter that was emailed/mailed out today- you can wait until Friday when I’ll post it to the blog or email me to get on the list to see the news first!).

As many of you know, waiting is not my favorite part of life but waiting is a normal, necessary and often fruitful season.  We are currently waiting on many things, our support being one of them.  But even in this season of waiting, we are excited to see what God will do next!australian dollarWe have NOT made our last two support goals from the end of April or the end of May. We were hoping, working and praying towards being at 68% of our support by the end of May but we are currently at 60.9%.  This is up only about $100 a month in pledges since our last update at the beginning of the month.  Our goal from MTW in order to stay on track for our fall departure is the same as before but just more daunting now.  We need to be at 75% by July 1st.  And that requires $1330 in new monthly, quarterly or yearly pledges in order to reach this amount.  This is just 13 families or individuals giving $100 a month, or 26 families or individuals giving $50 a month.  But any amount is beneficial to our ministry, even if you can only afford $20 a month or a yearly gift of $240, this will help us reach our goal.

Can you be a part of helping us reach our July 1st goal?  It’s easy to give by contacting MTW (Mission to the World) or using their online giving site: donations.mtw.org.  We certainly appreciate one-time gifts.  However, if you intend to give monthly, quarterly or yearly, please be sure to let MTW know and your amount will be recorded on our pledge report.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask me or contact the donations department at MTW.

Thank you to everyone who has already been giving and advocating for us.  We appreciate all the gifts that have been given and are so thankful for our advocates that have spoken up for us with their friends, at small group meetings and in their churches.  If you want to advocate for us but are unsure of what it is, advocating is as easy as talking about Australia and encouraging others to get involved and learn about our ministry (Why Australia?).

Please keep praying for our support and God’s timing.  We have a new sense of urgency because we now have a timeline for entering Australia.  Please pray with us that we would trust God’s timing and His plan.  Thank you for helping us get to Australia!

An Ecumenical Life and Ministry

Please forgive the acronyms in this post, I’m not explaining them because they don’t really matter for the point I’m trying to make.  I am simply thankful for the Church (capital C- Church) behind us and our heart for Western Australia.  My goal is to highlight how amazing it is to be blessed by each and every one of these congregations and individuals. Even more so, I want people to know that we deeply appreciate everyone who is a part of our sending team no matter what background or denomination you come from, distance yourself from or claim to be now.  The pictures and video in this post are from the wonderful congregations in Pardeeville and Rio who have loved on us and welcomed us this past month.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.46.42 PMGrace Presbyterian Church– Pardeeville’s very own PCA church.

Ryan and I have had an ecumenical ministry from the very beginning.  For those of you not familiar with the term, ecumenical means representing a number of different Christian churches or promoting or relating to unity among the world’s Christian churches.  We didn’t plan things to be this way, instead it is just a by-product of our histories and how God has lead us so far in life and ministry.  Whether PCA or AG or any other Bible believing, respecting and preaching church, we appreciate the value you bring to our lives.

Campfire evening with the Pardeeville United Methodist Church

Ryan and I grew up in denominations that some might say are on opposite ends of the spectrum as far as theology and how that plays out in services as well as ministry.  For our first two years of marriage we attended a church from a different denomination, not because we were looking for neutral ground but instead because that was where Ryan was working and it was a solid, Bible teaching church that is also very involved in our local community.  But that didn’t stop us from making strong connections with other churches from different denominations in the area.  And as we continue in this process we find ourselves gaining supporters individually and as churches who are a wide variety of wonderful, Christ proclaiming, prayer warrior, Christians.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.47.28 PMRyan preaching at Rio Assembly of God– The church where he grew up!

We look forward to continuing life and ministry in this way.  We recognize that there are reasons for some of the divisions between denominations but we also recognize that we have something to learn from everyone who believes in the gospel proclaimed in the Bible.  It’s wonderful to know that the gospel is greater than these man made distinctions and we will continue to proclaim God’s truth and welcome anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of what God is doing in Australia to join us.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.58.16 PM.pngPardeeville Wesleyan Bible Church

In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Footsteps

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 4.31.08 PM“Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs….”  These words along with the rest of the Laura Ingalls series filled my childhood.  I read all her original books, the books about her daughter Rose and her mother Caroline as well as others based on the lives of people who had been special to Laura.  I also had the Little House Cookbook, the scrapbook I Remember Laura as well as read many more of the wonderful books that chronicled the non-fiction and fantasy of her life in early America.Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 4.21.33 PM.pngAs I read through the series as a child, I never once thought that I would be visiting some of the places where she lived.  So when Ryan suggested a trip to Pepin while in Wisconsin, I jumped at the chance.  I even re-read Little House in the Big Woods in preparation so that everything would be fresh in my mind.  And after a wonderful few days visiting friends and family in the Twin Cities, Ryan and I took a longer way back to Pardeeville along the Mississippi.  This enabled us to stop by the place where a replica cabin stands on the land where Laura was born and had her earliest memories.  Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 4.21.07 PM.pngBut the highlight for me was walking along the shores of Lake Pepin, picking up pebbles just like Laura would have when her family visited the town together.  I only kept two, pictured above with my copy of the book.  However, Laura shares that she filled her entire pocket with pebbles each prettier than the last so much so that her pocket ripped out of her dress when her Pa put her in the wagon to head back home.

I loved my time on Lake Pepin and am so thankful for these beautiful days to pause and enjoy the places we find ourselves near.