Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Eleven Days of Prayer

I am having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the fact that next week Mike and I will be boarding a plane bound for South America.
In one week.
Seven days.
68 hours.

The enormity of this trip and what it means for our family has been weighing heavily on my heart the last few days. While I am beyond excited to see what God may have in store for us, I have also been reminded that there is a cost to being on mission. This trip is going to be a blast, but it goes so much deeper than just heading to Santiago to hang out and see what kind of great food we can find (yes...that's usually first on our "to-do" list when we go somewhere new!).
This is the next step through what has felt like a very thick fog. Our pastor encouraged us a few months ago, that even though we couldn't see what was ahead, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Here we are, taking this next step into something that only God knows.

The next time Mike and I fly to Chile it will be with just a few belongings and our little tribe in tow.

The reality of what that means is sinking in and it is sobering!

We've had many friends and loved ones asking how they can be praying for us during "vision" trip, so we've come up with a list of things we'd love to have you pray about with us over the duration of our trip. I've listed out the dates we will be gone, and something specific you can pray for during that day.

You can also use THIS PRINTABLE if you'd like to have the shortened version to put somewhere noticeable in your home to help you remember what we'll be praying for each day.

Day 1: October 30 - Health and safety
While the journey to and from Santiago is going to be fairly draining (roughly 19 hours each way), we will also be doing a fair share of traveling while in Chile. As of right now, our itinerary has us traveling to Iloca, a coastal town, and Lautaro, about 600 km south of Santiago, as well as traveling to multiple areas of Santiago to see the various works that IAM has going on. There's going to be a lot of moving around and lots of opportunity for mishaps! Please pray for us to stay safe during all our travels, and for all of us to stay healthy. I suffer from migraines, Mike's ankle is still injured and while the other guys from the team haven't shared their own personal health concerns with us, I'm certain they have them.

Day 2: October 31 - Our Church's involvement with IAM
The reason Mike and I are going with a small team from our church is that they are looking for ways we, as a church, can be involved with IAM long term. This is exciting for Mike and me as we hope to be the bridge between Restoration and Damascus Road churches and IAM, but more than that, we are praying the elders and missions teams are given a clear vision for how our church can best partner with IAM and it's churches, not just in Chile, but all over the world.

Day 3: November 1 - Church Planters
One of the reasons Mike and I have been drawn to IAM is because they train and equip leaders from the local church, who then go out and plant more churches. Church planting is an essential part of our church's DNA, and it is thrilling to be able to partner with an organization a world away who shares a similar heart. Planting a church is difficult and tiring work. Church planters all over the world are working to fulfill the great comission, which is to "go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." (Matthew 28:18-20) Church planters are on the front lines, fighting unseen battles every day to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ over the world. Pray for them today!!

Day 4: November 2 - Church in Chile
The church in Chile is active and growing! We are excited to be able to be a witness to this fact, and to take part in what God is doing in South America. Please pray for the advancement of the gospel in all areas of Chile and for the boldness of the believers there.

Day 5: November 3 - Our Team Members
Our team consists of Mike and me, and four other men; Ken, Mark, Jason and Nate. These men have been tasked with gathering the necessary information to take home and share with the elder boards. What they see and share will have an impact on our church, and on IAM. These men are also leaving behind wives, children and many other obligations for the sake of working to further the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will need your prayers!

Day 6: November 4 - Direction and Vision for our Family
We would appreciate if you would spend today praying that a specific vision for our family and our time in Chile would be realized. Please pray that our hearts are ignited with passion for a certain aspect of IAM's ministry, a people group and/or a specific calling. When we return home, we will need to begin raising support for when we move our family next year. We are praying that we will have a clear vision to share with those that God will call to support us prayerfully and financially.

Day 7: November 5 - Families of the team members
Please pray for the families of each of our team members! I remember how, when Mike went to Honduras last year, it was painful for him to be gone so long. Oftentimes, the families left at home experience all manners of trials that, when Dad is around, are much more bearable than when he is away. Please pray for health, comfort, patience and support for each of the men's families. If you know these families, make sure to reach out to them during this time! Take them a meal, make a phone call, send a text, etc. Let them know they are loved!!

Day 8: November 6 - Our sweet kiddos
In recent days, each of our kids have shared with us certain concerns and fears they are facing as we begin this transition away from what we've always known. This is also the longest amount of time Mike and I will have been away from our kids - nearly two weeks is a really long time for them to go without Mom and Dad. Please pray for peace and comfort for their little hearts, that they would remember to put their trust in God who loves them more than we ever could, that they would be a blessing to their wonderful grandparents who will be caring for them, and that the Lord would be softening and preparing them for what He has in store for them, in Chile and for the rest of their lives.

Day 9: November 7 - Chilean pastors
Although we are unfamiliar with the specific cultural challenges Chilean pastors face, they are men responsible for teaching and sharing the love of Jesus in a loving and theologically sound way. Please pray for them as you would pray for your own church leaders!
I received this email from Scott, the gentleman planning our trip, with the names and specific prayer requests for a few Chilean pastors:

Pastor Tito is a missionary from Chile serving in Tacna  Peru.  He lost his wife last year to breast cancer and still grieves for her.  Pray that God would comfort and encourage him and that the Church would continue to grow.

Pastor Luis and his wife Andrea serve in Melipeuco Chile, a small rural town.  His church is growing and they are trying to raise enough support to build a bigger building to accommodate them.

Pastor Miguel and his wife Marta serve in Lautaro Chile.  They are raising support to build a school for the Mapuche (indigenous people of Chile) most of whom have no high school to go to.  Also, Miguel has had a brain tumor that has been shrinking under treatment.  We are praying that God would remove it completely and  permanently.

Day 10: November 8 - IAM's Leaders
In addition to needing wisdom and discernment as they run an international organization, IAM's leaders are on the ground along with their workers. As I write this, Jeff and Kathy Phillips (IAM founders) are in a mission outpost in Iraq (along with a Chilean named Chika) serving refugees from the ISIS situation over there. Pray for safety and for the ability to share the love of Christ.
Scott also shared that IAM has missionaries in Sierra Leon, which has one of the worst outbreaks of ebola right now. Thankfully, they are currently in the states, but many of the Africans they work with are in harm's way. Please pray for the safety of the workers and pastors there and that authorities would be able to get a handle on it.
There are many leaders in addition to Jeff and Kathy, many of whom Mike and I hope to meet in the next few weeks. Please be praying for them all.

Day 11: November 9 - Gospel expansion/Social Balance
Another thing that is so attractive to Mike and me about IAM is how they seem to have managed to strike such a beautiful balance between social justice and Gospel expansion. There are many organizations that build wells, homes or schools or provide orphan care, but do not preach Jesus. There are also many organizations who preach Jesus, but caring for oppressed and poor is a struggle. IAM works diligently to do both, showing their faith in Jesus by working for those God loves (hey...that's all of us!).  Please pray that they would continue to strike this balance; that they would not back away from sharing the pure Gospel of Jesus, and that they would unashamedly continue to love the world around them.

Thank you for committing to pray with and for us. Everything still feels so far away and so surreal, and at the same time, present and tangible. We are excited to see how God works in and through us, and in YOU, as you partner with us in prayer!

Friday, October 17, 2014

On my mind

Here we are, less than two weeks from our first trip to Chile. People have been asking how we're feeling, if we're excited or nervous,  can they pray for us, etc.
I find myself saying "yes" a lot.

Yes, I'm nervous. 
Yes, I'm excited. 
Yes, please please pray. If you feel like you should pray for something for us, just do it. Please.
Yes, I'm curious. 
Yes, I want to try the food.
Yes, I'll miss the kids.
Yes, we hope this trip will give us some clarity.
Yes, we are praying for direction.
Yes, yes, yes.

You know what's on my mind the most, though?

What in the world am I going to pack?

I'm not even kidding. As much as I try to pretend that I'm totally going to be fine cramming ten days worth of clothing, toiletries and accessories into a backpack, I'm not. I'm just not.  
(Yes...I said it. Accessories.)

This is what is currently open in my browser. Thank you Pinterest for giving me even more to agonize over. Did you know there is such a thing as travel underwear? Did you? 
Underwear made specifically for t r a v e l i n g. Which is what I'm doing. I'm sure this means, I need them.
My darling friends bought me an amazing gigantic travel case and stuffed it full with every single toiletry I could possibly need or want for this trip. It pretty much fits everything in there. It is so full, in fact, I can't close it. The mark of a perfectly packed bag, if you ask me.  
I'm left wondering, is there going to be room in my pack for a curling iron? Or a hair dryer? Are we going to be able to do laundry? How many pair of pants should I take? Leggings or jeans? Jeggings? How many cardigans are appropriate?
I was going to email the poor dear who has been organizing our trip, but Mike has banned me from asking him anymore questions.
"When he said you could ask him anything, this is not what he had in mind."

I beg to differ.

There you have it friends. See how spiritually minded I am? Yikes.

Truly, I cannot wait to get going on this trip.
I am excited to see what IAM is doing and how we will be able to participate. I am so so looking forward to having a little bit of direction.
Even if I don't end up with those fancy travel underwear. 

(But I probably will.)