December 29, 2010

life in the upside-down Kingdom

"it is more blessed to give than to receive..."

Life in God's kingdom is upside down. Only God could make giving better than receiving. Only God could bless you MORE when you give, than when you receive. Only God. How does He do that??

We were trying to figure that out on the drive home from the city on Christmas day. We went to serve a meal to the homeless, and God - as is His Way - ended up blessing us more. Only God could make a law of the universe like that.

We got there just in time for the director of the homeless ministry to debrief the volunteers and assign jobs...

Then the homeless began to arrive...

Once the house was full, the director got up, said a few words...

...the gospel message was given, an invitation to give your life to Christ held out, 3 or 4 hands went up, a prayer, then 90 minutes of non-stop singing while the food was being served.

Somehow I ended up on stage with the rag-tag worship team, sitting at an empty piano holding sleeping baby, and singing (sort of, I can't carry a tune) for 90 non-stop minutes. It was FUN.

my view from the piano

A little video of us amateurs rockin' the worship...

Afterwards, the director gathered the volunteers to thank them, and to open up the mike for testimony time. Many, including us, shared an experience from the night or a word of thanks or encouragement, their own story, or whatever else was on their hearts. Testimony time went on for over 15 minutes.

It was awesome, what more can I say? I love that our kids were there with us, serving alongside us. Living missions, not just hearing about it. We want them to grow up doing missions, seeing what faith looks like by showing them what it means to really obey Christ's teachings - which includes going into the rough places and rubbing shoulders with the down-and-outs. And how can we do that if we ourselves do nothing? Reminds me of what I heard a preacher say once, "God will not be impressed in heaven by how many verses we've memorized.". He put it this way, Simon says, "Tap your head," and we do it... Jesus says, "Feed the hungry," and we... memorize it?

It was our first year here in the States that we didn't spend Christmas with my family (although that is not to be disdained). We wanted to do something different. Something for someone else, for others who don't have what we have been given, which, all things being relative, is too much.

"...For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required..." ~Luke 12:48

Do we believe this? Do our lives show this? I don't know if ours do.

Getting over the spiritual inertia is hard. It's a fight. A battle. But Nike says, 'Just Do It' (profound theology, I know). So we picked a day and said enough talk, we're going. And we went. So much of following Christ is just doing it.

The place we went to is a GREAT ministry. They are the real heroes. They have not closed their doors one single day to the homeless in 14 years. The Spirit of Christ is palpable there, the commands of Christ are being obeyed, and the gospel is being preached - all with joy. It was a tremendous privilege just to be there. I am convinced that we came away much more blessed and more full than anyone we served.

That's life in the upside-down Kingdom. Confirmation that giving away what we have is getting so much more. That is still what we want to do. Now more than ever.

We also got some good ideas about what we can do in Argentina, ideas about how to do it... good stuff for the memory files.

And, yes, we are SO going back!


December 28, 2010

Crazy Francis Chan

A few months ago I wrote about a book I was reading, Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

I had heard that he would soon be leaving his church and taking his family to Asia to live and minister for a few months.

This article, '"Christian Famous" Pastor quits his church, moves to Asia', has been flying around social media a lot lately - and I wanted to post it myself. Such good food for thought. I am inspired.

What's even more inspiring is the rescue mission in Thailand where they spent a whole month as a family. Sobbed.

His wife posted a few updates on his site (read from bottom to top) from their trip.

AWE-SOME. I am deeply moved. And I am so with them.

December 23, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!

Remembering that JESUS...
is the reason for the season.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace"
-Isaiah 9:6

Wishing you much Peace and much of Jesus this Christmas.


December 20, 2010

Update - December, 2010

BREAKING THE NEWS: Everybody knows now that we're crazy and planning to move to Argentina as missionaries  - even Mom, the last one to know (read about the reason). She took it exceptionally well. Or so we thought. Turns out not really. As a matter of fact, more than a few are not, it seems (1 Cor 2:14). Sigh. Oh well. Continuing to spread the news on other fronts. Fundraising will be our next step, so it's important everybody know. Hard when we go to a church of 400+ or so and we no longer know everyone.

PREPARATION: Got all our passports renewed and up to date! Tony finally got his US passport. Never thought I'd see the day (I believe it was, "Argentina til DEATH!". Uh-huh. Who's a Yankee now? LOL!). Baby had to get hers, and Dear Daughter's had expired. So expensive - geez. Glad we had that yard sale.

MISSIONS ORGS: We are contacting a variety of them now. We really like Operation Mobilization, and have had several really nice and very informative conversations with them. We don't know if it'll work out with them, though, because although they work in Argentina, they do not work in the area of the country we feel called to. And since they are a team-oriented organization (a good thing), they don't usually send people into a new area alone. But, we'll see. We're also looking into YWAM, which has an office in Bariloche, and other organizations, as well. 
     Closed doors, opens doors - God is in control of all that. But, as we get closer to leaving, it has become very clear to us that the most important thing we will need there is support (moral, spiritual, emotional, prayer, logistics - not just financial) . A missions organization would provide that. 

HEALTH: Many medical/dental issues to take care of. Thankfully the kids are healthy. Considering some shots for the baby - she hasn't had any yet. Argentina does not suffer from all the diseases prevalent in many other Latin countries, but we are reconsidering some shots for her, nonetheless. After her 911 scare, I don't want to go through that again for a preventable disease in an area where 911 may not be so reliable.
     Fortunately, I'm all caught up on my dental; Tony is another story. He has a beautiful smile, but his teeth are shot. 18 cavities. I guess that's what happens when you don't go to the dentist your whole life. No way we can afford to fix them all, so just waiting and praying about what to do. Maybe dental work is cheaper in Argentina. Who has $10,000 lying around to spend at the dentist, anyway? Not us, for sure.
     In other news, Tony proved his love for me by, er, insuring Mommy doesn't ever have to experience pregnancy again. Now that's love. At least, in my book. It went well, and no regrets, just peace. We like babies and love our kids; it's pregnancy, birth, and recovery I don't do well - especially in third world countries. I should write my birth story first time around in Argentina, to aid in the understanding. It's good for a laugh - or a good scare. Anyway, I'm all for loving more kids, I just suspect that, if they are in our future, they won't be biological ones. So, SO thrilled to not have this worry over my head!
     Also finally found a migraine medication that works ~ hallelujah! And doesn't necessitate a 911 call on myself for adverse reactions. The Migraine Diet has been UN-BE-LIE-VABLE - but I've already raved about that.

God is good.

I think that's all for now.

And for the local yocals: Fundraiser Meal to come, stay tuned.


December 18, 2010

Pookie, may you Rest In Peace

 Dec. 2009 - Dec. 2010

Your twinkling eyes,
your soft, fuzzy little body,
your damp nose,
your low-maintenance self.

You truly will be missed. We hope you are romping around in Hamster Heaven with all your other hamster friends (we know there are lions and lambs in heaven, but we couldn't find any verses about hamsters). You were the best (and easiest) pet EVER. *sniff*

(And if the chilluns hadn't've forgotten to feed your sweet, innocent self - you surely would have lived a longer, happier life. But don't tell them, they think you died mysteriously, possibly of old age. Because, as you know, hamsters only live from 1-3 years. And Mommy killed her hamster, too, of starvation, when she was your age. It happens.)

We miss you. Even Mommy, who said she didn't want a rat in the house.

December 17, 2010

U2's Bono and his challenging message to the Church

I had heard that Bono from U2 was a Christian. This is the first clip I've seen where he talks about his faith (there are probably others, I just don't watch much TV). Wow, I think he really may be the real deal.

Watch this challenging video, posted yesterday on FB by some missionaries we know, who are on the frontlines doing this very thing. You may not agree with everything he says, you may even find it offensive - but I know I can't deny he's got some very Biblically valid points that challenge me. I just hope we (Tony and I) can be more than challenged by messages the rest of our lives and actually DO something about it all someday... soon.

December 16, 2010

Utahraptors, Dromaeosaurids, and... unschooling?

Lately I've been preferring the term "home education" over "homeschooling". Mainly because, in my mind, if we didn't "do" enough "school" (ie, a worksheet or something tangible to show), at the end of the day I would feel guilty, like the kids didn't learn anything. This so couldn't be farther from the truth!

There are days when I let my kids watch a little bit too much TV. Those days can feel like big failures of a homeschool day.

But then, like earlier this week when I walked by my son's room and glanced at what he had been writing, a paper on the floor with a pencil next to it - I realized that it's all in my head. He had been copying something he dictated to me last week. He composed this whole thing in his head.

From memory.

The only thing he had to look up was the spelling.

Here's what he wrote:


     Utahraptor was among the second-largest Dromaeosaurids, which were a group of Theropod dinosaurs: small to medium-sized with long, slender arms, three-fingered hands; with a hooked, sickle claw used to bring down prey.
     The Dromeosaurids included Megaraptor, Utahraptor, Deinonychus, Noasaurus, Dromaeosaurus, Velociraptor, Sauronitholestes, Unenlagia, and Bambiraptor [uh, okay - sure, whatever you say...].
     There is also another group of Dromaeosaurids known as the Troodonts. Like their bigger relatives, they had the same features, but unlike their relatives, they had large eyes for night hunting and very large brains compared to their body size. The Troodonts included Troodon, Sauronithoides, Borogovia, and Bryonosaurus. Utahraptor, like all Dromeosaurids, were pack hunters.
     The Dromaeosaurids are found in North and South America and China. Utahraptor is known to be the deadliest of all dinosaurs. Utahraptor's claw measured 15 inches long, it stood 9 feet high, 20 feet long, and weighed 2 tons.


The flow could improve, and for now he refuses my pointers in grammar (he wants to write it his way) - but the content is there. Because I let him follow his interests instead of force-feeding him a pre-packaged curriculum (they never go over well around here), I know he'll retain most of what he has successfully taught himself.

This is the perfect, tangible example of the freedom I have given him in his "homeschooling." Clicking through the other day's post, I come to find out this is called "unschooling" - a word I never really liked because it sounds so... negative. When done right, it is so not. It works. It really works.

Here is the BEST explanation of unschooling I have ever heard - YOU MUST WATCH THIS! Even if you don't unschool, or even homeschool, and never intend to, much can be gleaned from this incredible lecture on how children learn, and how we need to be challenged as facilitators in their learning. A MUST WATCH. This girl (woman) is SO SMART and so succesful, and was never, ever taught a thing. Her vocabulary alone shames me.

So, back to my boy.

He went on to make this Dinosaur Classification Chart - all on his own. Just for fun, I guess. I did not make him do this:


He did not copy this chart from a book. He knew so much about each dinosaur that he was able to classify them BY HIMSELF, all alone in his 10-year-old mind.

And here's some highly classified information I have never shared with anyone. Ready?

I have never taught him a formal science lesson (at least, that I can recall...).

I don't do formal lesson plans (ick!), and have never said, "Today we're going to learn about dinosaurs (or whatever), Son - so buck up."

I never taught him a thing about dinosaurs, or all the other stuff he knows most about (which is A LOT, by the way. Don't ever ask him unless you're prepared for a 20-minute lecture.). As a matter of fact, I've never had a science curriculum for him because it's something he's always naturally been interested in; so I never had to. He's 100% self-taught in this and other areas.

I simply gave him the space, the time, and the freedom to pursue his interests. And he has. And does. With gusto. And tons of fruit to show for it (see above). Kids are naturally so smart and so inquisitive - if we'd just get out of their way.

"All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children." -Isaiah 54:13

"My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness."

Utahraptor siting at the local museum


December 15, 2010

Life After Caffeine

Oh, coffee, how I love loved you

I am here to proclaim (and before I do, no booing or tomato-throwing, please) - THERE IS LIFE AFTER CAFFEINE.

I, former happy and willing addict, am living proof.

I was willing to try anything to get rid of, or to at least reduce, this curse of migraines which has befallen me these past five years. So, when the doctor recommended the Migraine Diet, I was desperate enough to try it (because giving up caffeine is desperate). I've been on it now for over three months.

I am still alive.

"No caffeine consumption whatsoever" was at the top of the list - a near death sentence for someone who used to say, "Coffee is my best friend - second to Jesus, of course." I just LOVE coffee. Loved it, I should say. It is now officially part of my past.

I thought weaning myself of my happiness-in-a-cup would be hard. I was wrong. It wasn't hard at all. I am serious. It took 5 days.
By slowly reducing the size of the mug...

...then the strength of the coffee...
 it wasn't bad.
No withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. I mostly just missed the taste.

Here are some of the amazing benefits I have experienced from no-octane living:
  • more energy. How can this be, you say? I don't know. You have to experience it to believe it.
  • I look better. The dark circles under my eyes are gone; my skin looks younger, cleaner, clearer; and I look brighter somehow. Tony keeps saying, "Es impresionante!" [impressive, incredible, amazing].
  • Less [regular] headaches overall
  • Gone are the permanent knots in my shoulders, which often led to tension headaches. My shoulders are now soft like buttah.
  • I sleep FANTASTIC. I fall asleep quickly, stay asleep, and wake up very well-rested.
  • ...therefore, no need for Sleepytime Teas, or sleep aides of any kind
  • Calmer nerves
  • Increased emotional stability
  • Little to no anxiety (mine was apparently caffeine-induced, or immensely aggravated by caffeine)
  • No more highs and lows in energy level over the course of the day - just steady energy all day

I like life post-caffeine. And it HAS significantly helped my migraines. Not at first, but now I see a difference. Because I can handle stress better, and there is no caffeine in my system to contract then dialate my blood vessels (thought to be a cause of migraines), I just don't get them as much.

Tony was so impressed by the overall change in me that he gave up coffee, too!

So, there you have it. God answers prayers in strange, unexpected, and sometimes normal ways that don't always involve huge healing miracles. Just a small change in diet, and wham-o. Answered prayer. Imagine.

And, you know, there's still decaf.


December 14, 2010

The World's 15 Most Extraordinary Homeschoolers

Click on over HERE to read all about them.

I might add, some of these stories build a strong case for that nasty word, "unschooling".


December 12, 2010

A Very Scary Night

After posting recently on parenting with Christ in view, I should not find it surprising then, that I should be tried on this very point.

One night this week Baby fell asleep on my lap, changed positions, and let out a cough. A barky, seal-like cough. Now where'd THAT come from? She had been fine all day.

Oh, no, I thought... What now?

Within two short hours she was having difficulty breathing. Something was wrong, very wrong.

Since Tony was working, I desperately prayed for wisdom about what to do. I skipped calling the doctor, and dialed 911. It seemed like an eternity as I waited for them to show up. I waited alone, but somehow not alone.

"I am with you always..."

I held my baby as she wheezed and struggled to breathe, and prayed the shaky, heart-aching prayers of a very scared mommy, "Please, Lord, just let her be able to breathe until they get here. Jesus, help. JesusJesusJesus...," I breathed.

I paced, and rocked, and prayed, and paced some more.

I continued praying, my heart in my throat, "Please don't let anything happen to my baby. Your baby... yes, your baby. You made her Lord, please help her. Touch her little body, Lord. Help her. Please, Jesus."


Pace, pace, rock, stare out window.

I went on,"Help me, Lord. I know... I don't trust You. I know, I'm sorry. I'm going to trust you with this. I am going to choose to trust You. Because I can't do anything else. I can't save her. I can't do anything. O God, please help."

She was still struggling to breathe when the EMTs arrived. They took one look at her, one listen to her chest and her back and said, Yes, she has to go to the hospital. She is having respiratory difficulty. And we were off, all piled into the ambulance, for our first ambulance ride ever. And hopefully our last.

It was SO SCARY.

A medicated nebulizer and oxygen in the ambulance, some drugs to reduce the swelling in her bronchial tubes in the ER, and her breathing became less labored.

Croup, they said.


What's that??

As I held my baby that night in a bed so big it seemed to swallow her little body, stroking her hair, I couldn't help but ask, "Lord, why are you doing this to me?".

My nerves are just about shot from this baby. I had no idea how good we had it with the other two. To think I complained. Whatever. I've never even heard of some of the illnesses this one gets. And so much for the more-you-breastfeed-the-healthier-the-baby. She breastfed for-ever, and gets the sickest.

I just can't let this child out of my sight. She is just that way.

I look away for a second, only to turn back and see her with a open pill box, pills all over the floor, and one on its way to her mouth. Time to call Poison Control.

I turn away for a moment, turn back, and she is chewing on a piece of broken glass! Now where did THAT come from?

She spikes mysterious high fevers out of nowhere.

She was in the bathroom with me once, and I looked down from brushing my teeth to find her gnawing on a razor blade! She is that quick.

I hesitate to leave her with anyone - because I know her.

Mercy. This child!

Miraculously, she has never been hurt. Miraculously. Not even a nick from gnawing on glass and razor blades. It can only be God's grace.

But I confess that I am fearful - post traumatic stress from too many heart-stopping moments. I find it hard to trust the Lord completely. There are things I hold back. Areas I don't want Him to touch. You can have me, Lord, just not this part of me.

As I prayed in the ER that night for the Lord's mercy on my little baby, mercy to be able to spend another day with her, I had a revelation. And, as revelations always go, I thought to myself, how could I not have seen this before?

Oh, maybe I've realized it before, but I just haven't been able to really look it in the eye.

I realized that I have been holding onto my children. My children. They're mine, Lord, not yours. You can't have them. Don't take them. I'll protect them. You can't. You're God, yes, but are you God over all?

It's funny, really, when we try to keep something from the Lord. He will aggressively go after that one area, pursuing it relentlessly, allowing things to happen to get at that one thing we will not surrender.

For me, I think it's my kids. I'm willing to give up my stuff, my home, my country, my language, "anything for Christ," I say.

Just not my kids.

The truth is, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. We are not guaranteed another day with our children, in our jobs, in our house, with our spouse, in this life, with anyone. We are no where promised we will live until we are old and grey. Nor are we are promised to see our children reach adulthood. The LORD could take my baby here, today, in the great, safe, US of A. It happens all the time, doesn't it?

I am SO thankful the Lord spared my baby's life for one more day. I have been thanking Him much these past several days that there is a hospital less than 10 minutes away. I thank Him there are such things as drugs - the miracle of modern medicine. I thank Him for his mercy. Such mercy.

I had another, more practical, revelation that night - I don't think we'll be moving to any remote mountain village any time soon. The city is looking pret-ty nice... and I'm not a big fan of the city. Any city.

Bariloche does sound pretty good to me now. Yeah, a city. With a hospital. And some doctors.

Yeah, city living! Doesn't sound so bad to me now!

God works all things for good, to those that love him. 

Even scary midnight calls to 911.

December 11, 2010

Providence, Facebook, and oh the Negativity

Webster's defines "providence" as n 1 often cap : divine guidance or care 2 cap : GOD 1 3 the quality or state or being provident.

I love and hate Facebook. I think it's great to be able to get and maintain being in touch with so many people all over the world, from past and present - but I hate the privacy games they play.

That being said, the part I love is that we find so many great people on it. We recently found an old high school classmate of Tony's on Facebook. Turns out she lives in Patagonia now. Bariloche to be exact. She has lived there for the past 14 years.


We asked her for her number and called her. The connection made it obvious how far away she really was. We (mostly Tony) talked to her for hours. After catching up and reminiscing a bit, she told us all about living in Patagonia (at least her corner of it). Everything we wanted to know and expected to get on a trip down there to check it out, she told us firsthand: the cost of living, rent, food, utilities, transportation, people, weather, you name it, she knew it. After filling us in, she then offered to help us in anything we would need.

What is also interesting is that she is a lawyer. This is extremely helpful - to have a friend who also knows the law of the land - if we are to ever work with street kids or orphans, for example (people helping kids sometimes get falsely accused, misunderstood, or entangled in legalities, etc.), or have any kind of ministry that requires knowledge of the law. Even though the law is, er, a fickle thing in Argentina, subject to change and questionably enforced - it is reassuring nonetheless to have such a great connection.

That wonderful news being said, it's not all roses. I had someone recently look me right in the eye and say (as our friend told us would happen), "I can't give you money for this. So don't ask.".

Uh, we didn't? And haven't. So lovely. The negativity is just always going to be there, I guess. I just wish people would keep it to themselves. It doesn't help. And it doesn't change what God is asking us to do. So, trying very hard to ignore it. It never ceases to amaze me, though, the people who just don't care about doing good. Or missions. Or other people. Or helping anyone. How selfish we are, indeed. We truly do need to be saved. Saved from ourselves.

Nonetheless, God is faithful and good to encourage. There are lone voices out there that encourage us not to give up. Never give up. Keep plowing ahead. Keep pushing forward. It may take a while, but, with God's help, we'll get there.

Following Christ isn't easy. No one ever said it would be. All noble things are difficult.

"And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." John 10:4


December 6, 2010

For Parents

Imagine you and your spouse receiving this letter from a young man bold enough ask for your daughter's hand in marriage:

"I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring to see her no more in this world. Whether you can consent to her departure for a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life. Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress, to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this for the sake of Him who died for her and for you?"

(Kind of puts parenting into perspective, doesn't it?)

Burma, aka Myanmar [photo credit: Hartfried Schmid]

This is an excerpt of a letter written by Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), missionary to Burma, to the father and mother of Ann Hasseltine, whom he would later marry and take with him to the mission field. Ann Hasseltine Judson was later to suffer most of the things Adoniram mentioned in this letter. She buried both her infant children, then died herself at the age of 37 on foreign soil.*

It took Adoniram Judson 24 full years to translate the entire Bible into Burmese. It is, to this day, the only translation of the Bible into the Burmese language.

*Great Women of the Christian Faith by Edith Deen

[Photo credit: National Geographic]

December 3, 2010

Christ's Call

This speaks to me. I hope it speaks to you.

December 2, 2010

Time for a little rambling

"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well-pleased." -Hebrews13:12-16

These verses have been jumping up off the pages to me this week.

Jesus suffered.  Why then do I shrink from suffering? Why do I try so hard to avoid it, even when Jesus is clearly saying, "Walk this way" and it may mean suffering?

The Word says to go forth. Why then do I stay within the comforts of the camp, when He says to go without?

Bearing reproach? No, I want people to think good of me. Not reproach me, or us.

"We have no continuing city...". Why do I hold tight to my hometown? Homeland? My city is in Heaven.

We are to do good. To do good. Not to "just be" as I have sometimes heard. "God wants you to just be." Be what? Holy, maybe. Then do something with that. Reminds me of something I just read on another blog - "how are you doing good when you stay inside your homes and read your Bible?"

I don't ever mean to offend here on this blog - to make anyone feel condemned for not going. This is a missions blog. Our blog and we do missions. That's why I talk about it all the time. Because that's what Tony and I talk about all the time. I like talking about it. It's my passion. It's Tony's passion. My intention is only ever to encourage others to do missions, not to condemn. The thing is, I am American. I understand the American mind, the fears, how American Christians think. I understand that people are afraid. I understand that they think, "But I don't speak the language." I understand when they say, "But the house... the car... the kids. How would we do that?".  It's never my intention to guilt-trip anyone. There is healthy guilt, however; it's called conviction. The kind where God speaks. That's the Holy Spirit's job. He "pricks the conscience." I know, He does it to me all the time.

We need encouraging. The American church needs encouraging to do missions. The culture influences the church. How can we think we are not influenced by our culture that says "God is Money and Money is god?. And things. And safety. And retirement. And having all our ducks in a row? So, I hope no one ever takes the things I say as condemning or finger-pointing, that is never my intention. What I write here is me thinking out loud; what God is speaking to me.

"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh." -Hebrews12:25

The reason Tony and I feel compelled to go is in great part because we feel trapped in the illusion of the American Dream. "The American Nightmare", as a friend of mine puts it. A delusion thought up in hell to keep Christians complacent and comfortable and distracted, she says. Well... that is how we feel. And we don't even follow the American Dream (to the great dismay of my family, I think). But we are trapped in it, nonetheless. Work, home, school, dinner, kids, baths, rest, sleep, next day all over again. No one is knocking at our door asking for help. No one is begging in the streets as we walk whiz on by at 55 mph. No one needs anything. We are "the needy"! HA! That would be funny if it weren't utterly ridiculous. Poor Tony and Chris, they have nothing. Look at the cars they drive - they don't even own a house! Can't they get it together and make something of themselves? Poor things, can't even afford a vacation. Sad. Just sad...

I know some people think that of us. They don't have to say it. I can see it in their eyes, hear it in the other things they say, in what they don't say. We have people actively trying to talk us out of moving to Argentina right now. Yes, we do. It is so... I don't even know the words. Frustrating? Hurtful? No, more than that. A tragedy. There are people dying of starvation right now in Argentina. Children. There are people who will never hear the gospel because we are sitting here on our hands in our comfortable living room in front of our big screen TV.

We have no idea what it's going to look like. We have no support. I can count on one hand the people who have come up to us and said, "Good for you. We are with you." out of the hundreds that we have told. It's a lonely road. It is. Then the devil comes and says, "Forgeeeet it. It's hopeless... See? No one cares. See how they look at you. You are crazy. This is crazy. It'll never happen. Forget it. There is no way." And on and on.

Last night Tony woke me up because he was mumbling and moaning and talking in his sleep. I shook him to wake him out of what was obviously a nightmare. This morning he said that, in his dream, Satan came to attack him. He woke me because he was praying and rebuking him in the name of Jesus, in his sleep!

That's good news. :) Good news, indeed. When the devil is after you, be assured you're doing something right. If he's not, be assured you are no threat to him or the kingdom of darkness.

"I am he.. and have the keys of hell and of death." - Rev. 1:18

"I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
I am the LORD, and there is none else.
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else" -Isaiah 45:2-3,5-6

December 1, 2010

Pueblos Originarios de la Argentina//Native Peoples of Argentina - Part 7

Okay, non-Spanish speakers, last one - promise. :)

Northern Argentina: the people of the Atacama Desert region of the Northwest, near the Bolivian border

Native Peoples of Argentina Series (en español): start here

November 30, 2010

Pueblos Originarios de la Argentina//Native Peoples of Argentina - Part 6

*After 7 days of no internet, finally back online :)*

Part 6: Northern Argentina: The Guaraníes

(Here the spiritual leader is telling the Guaraní creation story, in the native tongue, with Spanish subtitles. If you understand Spanish and Argentine culture, the end - what the Creator does after He's finished creating the world - is actually really funny lol! :))...

 [Native Peoples of Argentina: Part 1 2 3 4 5]

November 24, 2010

Pueblos Originarios de la Argentina//Native Peoples of Argentina - Part 5

This is a really good one - notice the baby in the front seat, no carseat *gasp*...

Welcome to Argentina! Well, Latin America, in general.

This is how I brought Firstborn home from the hospital (only I figured I should at least sit in the backseat, just in case) - the boy never saw a carseat until we moved back to the States. That's just the way it is. Even if you can afford to buy one, a lot of cars just don't have seatbelts (and that's assuming you can afford to buy the car). And a lot of people will actually try to talk you out of using one. Oh, it happened to me, trust me. So good luck; and make sure you pray ~ a LOT!)

Northwest Argentina: the Kolla

 [Native Peoples of Argentina: Part 1 2 3 4]

November 23, 2010

Pueblos Originarios de la Argentina//Native Peoples of Argentina - Part 4

You know, now that I think about it, these videos are rather truncated snippets, a type of very short pseudo-documentary of the reality and the lives of native Argentines - not an oversweeping view, just a small peek into the lives of others.

But I want everyone who visits this blog to watch these, because it makes me think of that saying, "Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente" - "Eyes that do not see, heart that does not feel". You can't care about something unless you know about it. What better way to know about something than to see it for yourself? Tony and I often think the reason we American Christians are so complacent is that most of us have not seen firsthand how the rest of the world lives. If we did, it would surely change the way we live our lives.

What I really like about these videos is that they show the people and how they live - even if just for a short two-minute glimpse. It's another world, Argentina. It is. I hope everyone takes a look. In many of these videos in this series you can even hear the native languages spoken.

(forgive the Spanish, please watch anyway:))

Northern Argentina: The Toba

Tony has a real desire to visit the Toba, many of whom live in desperate poverty. Here is glimpse (warning: strong images of poverty).

And here, also:

(watching this one made me get over myself and my previous fears - I truly pray God gives us the opportunity to go, too...)

[Native People of Argentina Series: Part 1 2 3]

November 22, 2010

FAQ page

Check out our new FAQ page up top!

Any new questions, shoot away, we'll see if we can answer them.


Pueblos Originarios de la Argentina//Native Peoples of Argentina - Part 3

The Tehuelches of Southern Patagonia

(Again, in Spanish, but worth the watch. I am also posting in a different order than appears on YouTube)...

 [Native Peoples of Argentina Series: Part I 2]

November 20, 2010

Pueblos Originarios de la Argentina//Native Peoples of Argentina - Part 2

Patagonia: The Ona of Tierra del Fuego (in Spanish, but worth the watch)

[Native Peoples of Argentina Series: Part I]

November 19, 2010

Pueblos Originarios de la Argentina//Native Peoples of Argentina - Part I

For those who speak or study Spanish, this is a great seven part YouTube series on several of the native people groups of Argentina.

Even if you don't understand Spanish, just the scenery and their way of life alone is amazing to watch. Makes me want to go!

Here is Part One (well, not technically, but I like this one, so I'm posting it first). I'll be posting one each day for the next week.

Enjoy - I did! :)

Patagonia: the Mapuche


The Call for Missionaries

Lottie Moon, missionary to China from 1873-1912, once wrote this challenging letter back home,

"It is odd that the million Baptists in the South can furnish only three men for all China. Odd that five hundred Baptist preachers in the state of Virginia alone must rely on a Presbyterian minister to fill in a Baptist pulpit. I wonder how these things look in Heaven. They certainly look very queer in China."

Missionaries today are still making the same appeal. Yesterday we received a newsletter from missionaries in Ecuador. They write,

"There are two kingdoms. The kingdom of this world, and the kingdom of God. We have to decide which kingdom is ours. Yet most of us like to keep our foot in the door of the world. We need to pull that doorstop out and be freed to live out God’s ideas.

We are misguided if we think that our life goals must be:
  1. education
  2. marriage
  3. own a house
  4. profession
  5. possessions
  6. retirement

But isn't that what the sleeping giant of the American church believes? In the nine years I have been back in the States, I have not met one Christian person, one Christian family who has left for the mission field; who has left to take the light to those who haven't even had the opportunity to hear in the darker corners of the world. Not one. Be willing is not enough - not enough to get one Evenk saved.

Something is wrong. Something is very wrong, indeed.

November 18, 2010

Entry [into Argentina] Fee for American Nationals

Bad news for us - taken from the Embassy of Argentina's website:

"Entry Request Fee for American Nationals

When entering Argentine Territory, the American nationals must pay a "reciprocity fee" of U$D 131.- or its equivalent in Argentinean pesos.

The payment of this reciprocity fee is NOT a visa, since Argentina does not require visa to American nationals when travelling for tourism or business purposes. The Argentine Government set this entry free on equal amounts Argentine citizens must pay when requesting a Visa to travel to the U.S."

That tacks another $524 onto our trip, just to get into the country - assuming Tony can use his Argentine passport. If the US balks about that, now that he is an American citizen, and makes him use his US passport only, it will go up to $655.

And don't forget the airport exit fee - $40 per person last time we were there. So another $200 just to leave Argentina.

Ay, ay, ay.

We are thinking of scratching the exploratory trip and just moving there.

This is getting ridiculous.

November 16, 2010

Random Act of Culture - the Hallelujah Chorus

On Saturday, October 30, 2010 the Opera Company of Philadelphia and over 650 area choristers met at Macy's Center City Philadelphia. Unkown to shoppers, they had arranged to burst into song at noon.

I can't even imagine having been there! Amazing.

Imagine what heaven is going to be like! Wow.


November 15, 2010

Ex-pat Bloggy Friends

A couple of months ago we had the pleasure of meeting Katie, the author of Seashells and Sunflowers. I discovered her blog when I came across Bloggers in Argentina. She blogs about her ex-pat life in a small coastal town south of Buenos Aires. She is writer extraordinaire, takes amazing pictures, and explains the culture (and food!) of Argentina exceptionally well.

Truth be told, I normally don't make friends over the Internet. But after reading over her site a bit this summer, and then talking with Tony, we decided she probably wasn't a psychopath (don't laugh - the only time I ever friended someone over the Internet, she actually was a pychopath). So, anyway, when we saw that she was getting ready to come back to the States for a visit, we decided to invite her over for dinner. It's been a while since we've lived in Argentina, so we were interested in hearing the latest news, and from an ex-pat's perspective.

We had a wonderful evening chatting with Katie. She was delightful company and is absolutamente divina. Her Spanish is better than mine, so Tony had a good time speaking argentino with an American who actually understands his rapid-fire Spanish. She also won some brownie points laughing at his very Argentinian jokes - which she also actually seemed to understand. And she liked my food (which is good, because I made the mistake of trying out a new recipe on company - not a good idea if it doesn't turn out right. Fortunately, it did.).

So, check out her blog Seashells and Sunflowers, if you are interested in learning a little bit about Argentina. She writes about the culture, the food (recipes included), the people, the places, and is currently even writing a little series on (the touristy aspect of) Patagonia here, here, here, and here. Her site is also a wealth of information and links for anyone considering travel to Argentina.

You can view more of Katie's amazing photography here.



November 12, 2010

More Quotes from Shadow of the Almighty

[No, I did not post 6 times yesterday. Google clitch or something. Apparently I fixed it - just wish I knew what I did!]

Here are some more, hopefully awe- and obedience-inspiring, quotes from Shadow of the Almighty by Elizabeth Elliot. Jim Elliot writes in his journal and letters:

"Remember that we have bargained with Him who bore a cross, and... His emphasis was upon sacrifice, not of wordly goods so much as of family ties."

"I try to get in what I call 'reprobate reading,' a little every day, just to keep from dropping into the stereotyped and conventional."

"IITimothy 2:4 is impossible in the United States, if one insists on a wife."

"Does it sound harsh so to speak? Consider the call from the Throne above, 'Go ye,' and from round about, 'Come over and help us,' and even the call from the damned souls below, 'Send Lazarus to my brothers, that they come not to this place,' Impelled, then by these voices, I dare not stay home while Quichuas perish. So what if the well-fed church in the homeland needs stirring? They have the Scriptures, Moses, and the Prophets, and a whole lot more. Their condemnation is written on their bank books and in the dust on their Bible covers."

"So don't lose your daydreams. 'Nothing is too good to be: so believe, believe to see.' In my own experience I have found that the most extravagant dreams of boyhood have not surpassed the great experience of being in the Will of God..."

"The command is plain: you go into the whole world and announce the good news. It cannot be dispensationalized, typicalized, rationalized. It stands a clear command, possible of realization because of the Commander's following promise. To me, Ecuador is simply an avenue of obedience to the simple word of Christ. There is room for me there, and I am free to go."

"My going to Ecuador is God's counsel, as is my leaving, Betty, and my refusal to be counselled by all who insist I should stay and stir up believers in the U.S. And how do I know it is His counsel? 'Yea, my heart instructeth me in the night seasons.'"

For more read the rest of Shadow of the Almighty: The Life & Testament of Jim Elliot and  The Journals of Jim Elliot.



November 11, 2010

Don't Waste your Life by Lecrae

I am quickly becoming a Lecrae fan. I just love his lyrics. LOVE his lyrics.

This week the doubts have been creeping in.

Why are we doing this? Why go? Why go there? What difference can we make, anyway? What are we going to do? We don't have enough training. Or studies. Or skills. Maybe we should just stay. I mean, what if the kids get sick? What if we get hurt? What if we die? Or one of the kids does? No.... no, maybe we should just hang around here for a while...

Then encouragement comes at just the right time, in just the right way. Today it was a Lecrae post on FB.

I think I'm his #1 fan. Watch it. (The ending ROCKS.)

New York Cheesecake

(Because ever girl moving overseas needs to know how to bake a good cheesecake. And from what I recall, there is cream cheese in Argentina. Mmmm-MM!)

This recipe is as easy as it is fabulous.


32 ounces (1 kg) (4 - 8 ounces packages) cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free cream cheese)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons (35 grams) all purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 store-bought graham cracker crusts

In bowl of your electric mixer place the cream cheese, sugar, and flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Pour filling into store-bought graham cracker crusts, dividing equally between two. Place on a larger baking pan and place in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Continue to bake for about another 50 minutes or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake looks a little wet and wobbly. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.

Cheesecake freezes well. Defrost overnight in fridge.

Tips: Sometimes the surface of the cheesecake cracks. To help prevent this from happening, do not over beat the batter, especially when creaming the cheese and sugar.

Another reason for cracking is overbaking the cheesecake. Your cheesecake is done when it is firm, but the middle may still look a little wet.

Enjoy! This is a rich, dense, authentic tasting New York Cheesecake!

[Photo Credit and Recipe adapted from: Joy of Baking]


November 10, 2010

The Great Commission

... is for all of us who call ourselves Christians. It is a command, not a special calling.

Watch this video:

I think we think and talk about it all wrong in the church. As Hudson Taylor put it,

"It will not due to say that you have no special call to go. With these facts before you and the command of the Lord Jesus to go... you need rather to ascertain whether you have a special call to stay at home."

November 9, 2010

Anise-Almond Biscotti

This is what I'm cooking in the kitchen today.



3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons aniseed, ground
1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
1 large egg white


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract and ground aniseed in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.

Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log.

Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes. Cool logs completely on sheet on rack, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Transfer logs to work surface; discard parchment paper. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

[Recipe credit: Epicurious.]


November 8, 2010

Teaching Art in the Homeschool

I groan inwardly at the thought of doing Art or Crafts with my kids. Fortunately for me, my son could care less about either. My daughter, on the other hand, LOVES to create things. And she often seems to want me to do them with her.

So my idea of teaching Art (of which I am utterly inadequate to do), Money Management (according to Tony, same), and Selfless Giving (meaning the world does not in fact revolve around you) is taking my daughter to Color Me Mine, and suggesting she use her own money to make something for someone else.

On the way I said, "Honey, you know I don't like to do crafts." (Gasp from the back seat). "But, I'm doing this for you. That's what love is. When you do something you don't like for someone else because they want you to do it. You set aside how you feel about something and you do it anyway because you love them."

Once there, Dear Daughter decided to paint a unicorn bank so she can have place in which to save her money. She also picked a cat bowl to give to Mom-mom for her cat, who loves cats. Anything cats. DD picked the colors, and I was drafted to paint.

So that takes care of Art for the next 6 months at our house. For me, anyway. But, I am sure, my dear, sweet, artsy-craftsy, most adorable daughter will surely try to drag me back there within the month. I'll just keep answering, "Save your money - then we can go!"


November 4, 2010

Phrase of the day

Por la boca meure el pez = by an open mouth dies the fish

You don't quite understand this refrán (saying), you say? Blank stare?

Tony had to explain this one to me with a visual, "You know (opening mouth wide), fish swim around with their mouths wide open, looking for food...? (staring at me, waiting for comprehension)... Sometimes they swallow the wrong thing...? (still waiting for the light to go on)

Like a... hook?".

I believe the Biblical equivalent is,

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." ~ Proverbs 10:19 NIV

Now, if I could just remember this...


November 1, 2010

Busy, busy

I'm still here, just busy teaching my kids, and teaching other people's kids as well...

I discovered I actually LIKE teaching 1st & 2nd graders -
 what a great age. :)

Also busy squeezing some field trips and outdoor activities in before the weather gets too cold...

State Park lady pointing out how to identify poison ivy when it has no leaves (it's the fuzzy stuff)

Preparing for the mission field also means working on the "Must-visit-these-museums-before-leaving" List.

Tough, considering museums and baby don't seem to gel. Recent trip no exception. This really needs its own post entitled, "Museums and Other Disasters".

On a lighter note, we recently visited an Apple Cider Factory:

Throw apple on conveyor belt...

get apple cider out...
feed leftovers to cows.

Also visited Mom-mom for a great day of power-washing the mold off her house.
Now there's a man. 

 Always a great time. Mom-mom feeds us.

(Mommy likes this.)


October 24, 2010

Quotes from Shadow of the Almighty

I finally snagged my own copy of Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot.

Written by Jim Elliot's wife, Elisabeth, it also contains many writings by Jim - excerpts from his letters and journals, etc. I love the way both of the Elliots write. My copy has many markings and underlines already!

Here are just a few:

"Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they are asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody."

"Walk as if the next step would carry you across the threshold of Heaven."

"I cannot hope to be absolutely honest in what is herein recorded, for the hypocrisy will ever be putting on a front and dares not write what is actually found in its abysmal depths." ~on his notebook journalings

"Guidance for Israel in their wanderings was unquestionable (Numbers 9). There could be no doubt if God wished them to move. Shall my Father be less definite with me? I cannot believe so. Often I doubt, for I cannot see, but surely the Spirit will lead as definitely as the pillar of cloud. I must be as willing to remain as to go, for the presence of God determines the whereabouts of His people."

"'He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light.' Because I cannot see, nor even assuredly feel, His satisfaction with me, I cannot doubt the leading simply because of the dark. The leading is nonetheless real, the pathway has simply been into a place I didn't expect or ask for."

"Our young men are going into the professional fields because they don't 'feel called' to the mission field. We don't need a call; we need a kick in the pants."

"Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me."

"Yesterday I prayed that God would take me to Peru or Brazil before I pass another October 8. I know inside that the flesh would like more training - and perhaps I'm fitted to train more - everybody seems to be planning on it around here [at Wheaton]. But those generations passing away at this moment! They must hear of the Savior! How can we wait? O Lord of Harvest, do send forth laborers! Here I am, Lord. Behold me, send me."

"Mustard seed is rare stuff today."
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