Our Plans, His Way

As a planning addict, I’ve always been convicted when reading Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”  Seriously, Ryan says that planning is my love language.  And I must admit that a thorough, organized plan is one way to my heart.  But I have to be careful that my own planning or even the desire to have a plan doesn’t overshadow God’s ultimate desires and will for my life, day or even the next hour.Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.41.40 AMThis verse doesn’t say, “Don’t plan because God will do what He wants with you anyway.”  Instead it is a gentle reminder that although we work, plan and make choices everyday, we lack ultimate control.  But take comfort because the one who is in control is the loving, personal, creator God of the Bible.

So with this in mind, hear my heart planning our way to Australia in current circumstances.  We hold this with open hands but ask that you would pray with us as we continue to plan and as God establishes our steps.

  • 31 more days in our current support raising and training road trip.  Please pray for hearts to be opened and our support levels to grow.
  • Back to California for a week vacation on Catalina island.  I grew up going to this family camp and Ryan and I are looking forward to a week of rest and refreshment.  Please pray that this time would reboot us for the continued work that needs to be accomplished. 
  • Support raising milestone: 75%.  We have been told that we should be at 75% by the end of June in order to stay on track for our arrival in Australia.  Since we are currently at 60%, this is a big goal to reach.  Please pray for diligence in asking for support and for God to surprise us with how and where the support comes from.
  • A month in Brussels, Belgium for training.  This may sound like a vacation but it’s an important part of the training process and what better place to do cross-cultural training than in a country where neither of us speak the language.  Please pray that this would not be too overwhelming for Ryan and that I would be patient and a good learner despite having been through this training before.
  • University of Western Australia: the latest we could hear about the masters program acceptance is the beginning of July.  Please pray that I would be accepted into the program and that I would be able to apply for and receive scholarships.
  • Travel in Switzerland and Germany.  Since we’re already in Europe for the Belgium training, we contacted friends in the area and will spend some time after the training visiting people and even attending a German wedding.  This is a great opportunity for Ryan to see more of Europe and for me to show him some places where I’ve lived and traveled in the past.  Please pray for safety while we travel and for many fun memories to be made with our European friends and family.
  • Back to California again because I am in a friend’s wedding at the beginning of August and then we have a full month of visiting churches already planned.  Please pray for stamina and for God to continue to reveal what He would have for us.
  • Although we have nothing scheduled past the end of August, this will be a time to work on our visas (student visa for me, spousal visa for Ryan), continue to raise the final support needed and make last preparations for our move.  Please pray for wisdom as there are many decisions that will need to be made along the way.
  • Leaving for Australia after Thanksgiving.  A student visa allows you to enter the country 90 days before the semester starts.  Please pray for God’s timing and clear direction.

We praise God that He has been guiding us and remains faithful. I look back at our newsletter from February 2015 when we shared what 10 things needed to happen before we moved to Australia and it’s wonderful to see how, by God’s grace, we’ve been able to accomplish 6 of the steps already.  Despite the changes which include this new opportunity to study and learn at UWA, we see His hands at work.  And we look forward to seeing how the Lord continues to establish our steps.  Thank you for uniting with us in prayer and being with us on this road to Australia.

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?

Let’s Do the Numbers- Trusting through the Silence

My husband loves listening to Alistar Begg, not just because of his Scottish accent but also because of his spiritual knowledge and insights.  An article I recently received quoted him saying, “If you cannot trust God with the physical, how dare you trust Him with the spiritual? Can you trust Him for your soul’s redemption, and yet not rely upon Him for a few lesser mercies? Is God not enough for your need, or is His all-sufficiency too narrow for your wants?”
australian moneyTo maintain this mindset is difficult while raising support, especially when we reach plateaus or don’t see our account growing as quickly as we would like.  The article, If God can Save the World then He can Pay your Wages, speaks directly to this point.  And for me, it is a reality that I wholeheartedly trust and praise God for my salvation but in the same hour question His ability to provide for us.  Please pray for our hearts, that we would trust that God would provide for us, even through the silence.

Last support update we reported that we were at 59.2% of our goal but now we are at 60.1%.  We didn’t meet our April goal of 60% until the first week of May.  But now we have surpassed that mark and are ready to trust God to help us get to 75% by the end of June.  But we do this one month at a time so our May goal is 68%.  $900 in monthly giving will help us reach this goal.  $25 a month makes a difference in our budget and 36 individuals or couples can make this goal a reality.  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 who has already been giving and advocating for us.  We know that we are part of a larger community who trust the God of the universe and I am encouraged by everyone who is praying for us and already a part of our ministry.  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 lot of things going on right now that need to be covered in prayer.  We trust that as we share more in the future that you will be excited and praise God for what He is doing.  Thank you for helping us get to Australia!

A Day in LA

IMG_20160402_111504-2We love to take advantage of beautiful California days and hike whenever we get a chance.  Today we hiked from Ferndell up to the Griffith Observatory, a beautiful scenic hike in the middle of LA.  Last time we visited the Griffith Observatory was Valentine’s Day 2014, a week before we got married.  And this morning we got together to celebrate life milestones with Ryan’s friends from Pardeeville, Wisconsin who live in the LA area.  One couple is newly engaged, we got to meet the other couple’s 8 month old son and we shared more about our adventures getting to Australia.  It was a great LA day.IMG_20160402_114527

Pacific Northwest Roadtrip Summary

We are now safely back in Sacramento.  Thank you everyone who prayed for our trip, everyone who hosted us, shared meals with us, treated us to meals and more, everyone who gave up their time to visit with us and hear more about our hearts for Australia.  We love and appreciate all of you.IMG_20160228_141131.jpgGod was definitely at work in our relationships and in so much of the trip’s timing.  We celebrated and prayed with people.  We worshipped and hiked.  We enjoyed learning about history and events that happened in places we stopped along the way.  We ate and visited, shared stories and made memories.  IMG_20160304_160945Ryan and I drove over 2000 miles.  We ate countless delicious calories.  We saw our support needs to reach 50% go from $1800 a month down to $450 a month.  We spent less than $100 on car repairs.  We experienced about 5 minutes of snow falling and at least a couple inches of rain although Ryan estimates at one point we were just shy of Noah’s flood.  We saw 2 state capitols and visited 5 museums.IMG_20160303_120724Please keep praying for us as we now reorganize for the next two months of California based travels and support raising.  Please pray for our car and the wisdom to know what to invest in and what to just keep driving through.  And please continue to pray that God provides above and beyond our 50% support goal by the end of March.

Let’s do the Numbers- Support Update

We are amazingly blessed with many wonderful supporters who have already given, joining our support team.  In just a few short months we have reached our one-time needs and are working towards fulfilling our monthly needs.  We are so committed to this that it is currently our full-time job.australian moneyHowever we’ve come to our first big deadline.  By mid-March Ryan and I need 50% of our monthly support pledged.  This will enable us to buy tickets to the July 2016 training.  If we don’t reach this goal, we will need to wait for the training in January 2017.  Since we are praying and hoping to be in Australia by fall of this year, we obviously would rather not push back this necessary training.

So what do we need to make this happen?  As of this morning we need $1524 a month in pledges to reach our mid-March deadline.  This seems like a big number but we know that a little goes a long way.  Although the numbers break down to about 15 people giving $100 a month, we recognize that $100 is a lot of money for most people looking at their monthly budget.  Maybe for you a more realistic number is $20 a month and about 77 people at $20 a month can enable Ryan and I to attend the July training.  It’s easy to give by contacting MTW (Mission to the World) or using their online giving site: donations.mtw.org.

Please spread the word.  If you’re praying about giving or already giving, this is also a great time to advocate for us.  Talk about Australia and encourage others to find out about our ministry (Why Australia?) and give.

Please pray.  Please pray for God to enable churches and individuals to make room in their budgets for us.  Please pray for us to be bold and have wisdom when asking for support.  Please pray that we would above all else honor God and relationships during this process.  And finally please be praying how you can support us.  Thank you for helping us get to Australia!

Holiday Highlights Part 3

IMG_20151224_210736Mexican train and other games with the family.  Ryan’s mom seemed to win more than anyone else.  She’s got the touch.IMG_20151228_092312-2Another lake walk before the storm.  This was the day that we saw 5 inches of snow and sleet cover Pardeeville.  But that didn’t stop us from going out to have pizza that night.IMG_20151229_090220And the next morning with a covering of winter white.  It missed Christmas but better late than never.shovelsnowHowever snow also requires shoveling and so I helped out wearing these stylish blaze orange coveralls to keep me warm.  This was my first time shoveling snow so both Ryan and his mother were intent on capturing the memory.