State Capitol Tour Part 1

It started with a random afternoon free in Sacramento.  Ryan said, “Let’s go see the capitol building.”

And now we’ve toured a few capitols on the west coast and visited a few more on this trip.  We have another couple capitol buildings on the list during this road trip because if we’re in the area, we will at least stop for a capitol selfie.  Can you name these capitols?

The Cold Part

snowdrivingIt’s the last day of April and I drove today through the snow.  Maybe I’ve done a little snow driving before in California but nothing that I can really remember and definitely not in April.  I can now say that I’ve driven through the Rockies in falling, blowing snow.  The coldest it got was 25 degrees according to the temperature gauge on our car.  But it was a beautiful drive (at least what I could see when I wasn’t needing to focus solely on seeing out the front windshield) and the light flocking of snow made everything look lovely.therockiesWe’re hoping that this is the coldest it will be on our road trip so it can only warm up from here.  There is snow on the ground in front of Ryan’s brother’s home but it didn’t stop us from having a great evening with some of Ryan’s old friends here in Colorado.  It was a night for Rook and catching up.  We’re thankful to have arrived safely and are looking forward to a lot of work this week mixed with good family time.

Around the US in 50 Days

Today we embark on our cross-country road trip.  There are a few different reasons for this trip but the main two reasons are connecting with current, potential and future supporters and also attending a week long training in North Carolina.  The training is a spiritual emphasis week which should prove both challenging and refreshing.  Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 5.35.11 PMWe will be traveling as far north as the Twin Cities in Minnesota, as far east as Ridge Haven in North Carolina and as far south as Gulfport, Mississippi.  I know that our drive up to the Twin Cities isn’t pictured on the map but this isn’t our exact route.  I just wanted to give you all an idea of how much driving we’re going to be doing in the next 50 days.  If you’re somewhere close to our route and we haven’t touched base, give us a shout out.  We’d love to try and get together with you!

Tonight we are staying in Las Vegas and this is especially exciting because we get to try out the Beerhaus which is a new restaurant on the strip and my cousin is the chef!  We get to enjoy his food at family gatherings and he’s the one that is credited with cooking the perfect brussels sprouts that got Ryan hooked:-)  The Beerhaus (which had a great write-up on usatoday.com) is a bar that serves food so no brussels sprouts tonight but we’re looking forward to the beer and brats!  This is a great way to start a road trip.

 

Let’s Do The Numbers- Update on Website and Support

Here is our update with our latest numbers and we are happy to report that we are within reach of surpassing our April goal!  Thank you to everyone who has become a part of our ministry in this way.  Another one of my April goals was to update our website.  You can check it out here: ryanwithjoy.com.  Updated BlogThank you to everyone who has been advocating for us, your words and invitations make an impact on our ministry.  This month we have become particularly aware of this as we see our support team continue to grow and how God is gathering people who we have known for a long time as well as those who have more recently connected with us.  What is advocating?  Advocating is as easy as talking about Australia and encouraging others to get involved and learn about our ministry (Why Australia?).

Last support update we reported that we were at 57.3% of our goal but now we are at 59.2%!  This means that another $83 a month in pledges will help us reach our April goal of 60%.  Just one individual or couple giving $100 a month could help us surpass this goal.  Or just 4 individuals or couples giving $25 a month.  It’s easy to give by contacting MTW (Mission to the World) or using their online giving site: donations.mtw.org.  This will help keep us on track to be at 75% by the end of June when we head to Europe for training.

Please keep praying for our support and God’s timing.  Thursday we begin our cross country road trip for support and training.  It will be a wonderful, exhausting trip but we keep focusing on God’s presence and all we have to be thankful for.  We appreciate your prayers and financial gifts that will keep us serving.  Thank you for helping us get to Australia!

Reaching Multiple Generations

I was first exposed to overseas missions in elementary school.  My world grew multiple times over as I listened to stories from all over our globe, read books and absorbed whatever information I could find.  At that age I knew nothing about what it took to send and keep these people overseas, working towards the great commission in the way God had specifically, uniquely and wonderfully called them.  I now know and can see that God was using their lives and stories to impact, influence and change me.AboriginalColoringThese pictures are from a couple of the opportunities we’ve had to share with groups other than adults.  With younger kids I like to do hands on projects and Aboriginal art is a great way to not only let kids play with colors but also to talk about how different cultures tell stories and how God shares his story with us.  For the youth Ryan used technology (reading his Bible from his phone) and asked a lot of questions to keep the students engaged.  RyanAs Ryan and I prepare for Australia, we are not forgetting the multiple generations that will come after us.  The Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”  This is still happening and not yet fulfilled.  Maybe it will happen in our lifetime, maybe not.  But I do know that until it will be fulfilled, that there will be opportunities for others to follow and do their part in responding and acting on this beautiful charge from scripture.  Of course, the nations are in many ways coming to us and missions looks very different now but that’s even more of a reason to get involved.  We are thankful to be able to share our story and hopefully encourage and inspire multiple generations.

Violence Against Women

My previous post highlighted men’s mental health and suicide rates.  And shortly after I posted, an Aussie friend shared this video via Facebook.  This is an ad recently posted by Marie Claire Australia with the explanation, “One woman is killed every week in Australia because of domestic violence. Will this tv ad – launched around the country this weekend – make a difference?  We hope so.”  While this statistic is for Australia in general, Ryan and I recognize that domestic violence is also very high in the Wheatbelt outside of Perth.

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Please continue to pray.  Pray for us as we continue to work towards moving to Western Australia.  Pray for the women who are victims of domestic violence.  Pray for the men who are the aggressors.  And please pray for the families that are dealing with the effects of domestic violence in their own homes and communities.

How Talking Can Mend Men

Today Ryan received an email from a friend in Perth.  It was an update with some heartbreaking prayer requests, an attached article on men’s mental health in WA (Western Australia) and general encouragement for us to keep working hard towards getting to Perth, more specifically the Wheatbelt.  You can click on the picture below to read the full article that was emailed to us.West Australian-OpinionHow talking can mend men by Andrea Burns from the West Australian, gives the reader insight into the state of men’s mental health in these rural communities.  She sites the statistic that, “Across Australia, about 8 people kill themselves every day, with men outnumbering women three to one.”  But the article also gives a little glimmer of hope in sharing about a group of four men who are being listening ears in these communities.  The “Talk to a Mate” signs referred to in this article are what broke Ryan’s heart for this area to begin with.  But this battle is far from over and this article shows just one of the ways these communities are hurting.

Please join us in praying for Western Australia.  Pray for these communities.  Pray for the men who are out there listening and trying to make a difference.  And especially pray for the men who are hurting.

Just be Still

“The Lord will fight for you.  Just be still.” Exodus 14:14

These words, from the kid’s church verse from last week, are a powerful reminder to me in this season of business.  Ryan and I have gone from place to place, speaking engagement to speaking engagement and this is just the beginning of our busy summer.  We swing from low, exhausted lows to energized, determined highs and back again.  Yes, this is our job but we have to be careful that we don’t start relying too much on our own abilities and forget the underlying foundation of our work.ExodusI’m not good at being still.  I’m not good at resting.  Case in point: As I type these words, I’m actually feeling a little guilty because it’s Sunday afternoon and I should be napping or otherwise really resting but instead I’ve convinced myself that writing a blog entry to maintain my blogging schedule is more important.  And although I am going to finish this,  I’m reminded that I need to remember the words of this verse even more.

“The Lord will fight for you.  Just be still.”  The deeper we get in this process, the more convinced I am that my own words and abilities are severely inadequate.  It’s only by God’s grace, through the Lord fighting for us that we will see everything fall into place, raise the support we need, finish the training we have to complete and make it to Australia.

We have a loving heavenly father engaged in this battle, we have his son Jesus who is also in on this fight and the Holy Spirit is constantly doing battle on our behalf.  We have a whole army fighting for us…now to just be still.

Let’s do the Numbers- PreTravel Update

I have a confession…I’m terrible at math.  Keeping track of our budget, how much we still need to raise and our monthly goals is not an easy task for me.  But I am organized so I can usually keep up.  However, every once in awhile my rounding tendencies get the best of me.  Yesterday I reworked our numbers, updated our records and am back on track.  Ryan and I both continue to be amazed and humbled through this process.  Please be praying about how you can be a part of the foundation of prayer and financial support that will get us to Australia.australian dollarLast support update we reported that we were at 50.4% of our goal but now we are at 57.3%!  We are currently praying for and working towards surpassing our April goal of 60%.  This will help keep us on track to be at 75% by the end of June when we head to Europe for training.

Since percentages are sometimes hard to understand, in US dollars this means we need another $293 in monthly pledges by the end of this month.  3 individuals or couples giving $100 a month can help us surpass this goal but if you can’t afford $100, $20 a month still makes a difference.  It only takes 15 people at $20 a month to help us reach this goal.  It’s easy to give by contacting MTW (Mission to the World) or using their online giving site: donations.mtw.org.

Thank you to everyone you has been advocating for us.  Advocates help by connecting us with people who otherwise might not have heard about our ministry.  Advocates can also be great at encouraging other people to become a part of our ministry.  Ryan and I aren’t used car salesmen, we genuinely want people to pray and give as God is directing.  With that said, other people can have a great influence and encourage the people around them to give in ways we can not.  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.  This summer is filled with travel and training.  We appreciate your prayers and financial gifts that will keep us serving.  Thank you for helping us get to Australia!