Ebenezers Shaped like Cars

By Thursday, November 24, 2016 0 0

I like to imagine little car-shaped Ebenezers popping up all over Issaquah as I tell this story of how God provided for our family and some friends of ours over the last few months.

The Hebrew word for Ebenezer (’Eben hà-ezer) means “stone of help.” When we sing the lines of the second verse “Here I raise my Ebenezer / Hither by Thy help I come, we ‘re acknowledging the bountiful blessings and help from God, just like the prophet Samuel did when God saved the Israelites from attack. Whenever God helps me – a box of groceries, a friend who comes a couple times to help me pack, someone to teach my children God’s truths, a reminder of God’s promises, a lawsuit check (thanks, Facebook, for $15!), a much-needed find on Buy Nothing – I think to myself, I should raise an Ebenezer here to remember. For me this means writing down lists of things I’m thankful for. It’s all help, all provision. Every good and perfect thing comes from the Father. Sometimes they have a deep impact, though. That’s what this post is about today.

We just gave back a car to some partners of ours who let us borrow it for over a year.

I want to raise an Ebenezer or two over the help God has given us, especially in terms of vehicles. We had the car Chris bought in 2000 and the very small car I bought in 2005 when Austin was born in 2013. My grandparents gave us a bigger sedan and took my little car to my mom, who usually drives old cars with lots of problems. We have been so blessed by that provision! We never take for granted what a nice gift that was.

When Chris quit his job in 2014 to raise support full time, we thought the support would come in quickly and we’d be on our way. God used that time off to provide in a different way: ministry experience. We wouldn’t do it any differently looking back, but it was hard at the time. We ran out of money, so we sold Chris’s car and Chris went back to work. Partners and friends we met at Issaquah Coffee Company (not the only ones!) offered to help while we were a one car family, by lending us their truck. So Chris has driven our friends’ truck for almost two years. Besides the obvious blessing of having an extra car, this was a great learning experience for us about how God provides for missionaries. He peeled back a layer of self-reliance that we won’t need on the field.

Recently, we were able to purchase the perfect car for our trip to language school and back. We used MATS.org, so it was stress free – moving has made enough stress of its own. Since it is a ministry vehicle, we will be able to put the money we get for it back into our Outfit & Passage just before we leave.

When I gave the keys to our truck back to our friends, I got a little emotional. God has provided above and beyond what we asked for – friends, ministry partners, help in time of need. This year, our friends had a similar story of provision:

Our 1996 Toyota Camry literally had a meltdown in the parking lot of the shop we take it to. They did the valve cover gasket job and parked it. An hour later, brown and black smoke was billowing out from the engine compartment. Battery and all electrical system dead, fried. Options were to claim insurance and get about $1,500 for the loss, or take the shop owner’s offer of $1,500 without claiming. Literally the next morning, a very longtime customer of this shop brings in his 1998 Toyota Camry wanting to give it away or sell it. How much does he want for it? $1,500. The shop owner shares my car’s story with the car owner and we all decide we’d be crazy to deny this orchestration of events. On Tuesday I drove the 98 Camry home from the shop where my totaled 96 Camry sat, without having paid a cent for any of it.

Our friends have a second car: the truck we were using. But they didn’t even have to call us. God had it in control. Like our friend put it, “God uses things like this to remind us that he is the one in control, even when we think we are, and that he pours out his love on us even when we don’t deserve it.”

These same friends are just beginning to save for their next car, and they would love a small SUV just like the one we bought for language school. We know that God will provide the perfect car for them in His own time, but we really do hope it’s ours!

Thank You, Liberty Baptist Church!

By Wednesday, November 23, 2016 0 0

I’m just going to accept that I post blogs, write emails, and complete timely tasks about three months behind an ideal and sensible schedule. The problem with this one is that I wanted to include photos. I give up, for the sake of posting more frequently. I do post photos on Facebook quite regularly. 

 

We had such a wonderful time on our trip to Indiana to attend a missions conference at Liberty Baptist in Sweetser in September.

God ordained this trip in so many ways. In spite of travel expenses, we still came out ahead financially, thanks to airline miles and the very generous love offering. That’s not what it’s all about, and the encouragement and relationships we gain at missions conferences is invaluable, but it was a way that God showed us that we did the right thing by packing our family across the country for the conference.

We stayed with the most amazing, generous, funny and inspiring family. We feel we have made lifetime friends and our kids especially were so blessed by the care and attention they received. Our accommodations were in their basement, more than comfortable and totally dark, so we got great sleep all week from our tired, jet-lagged kids. What a gift!

We shared the spotlight with missionaries to Peru, Jamaica, Togo, Norway, and ABWE representatives who serve teams all over Europe and the Middle East. The reps were familiar faces to us from all our trips to ABWE for trainings, so that was another gift. We won’t see home office folks until next summer at Missionary Enrichment.

The Lord will direct this church about their support, but we are hopeful that He leads them to partner with us. We experienced passion for seeing the Gospel spread around the world – not just by “other missionaries” but by anyone whom God might call to the field at that moment – unlike anything we’ve experienced in the Pacific Northwest. In spite of our diverse culture, passion for the nations is not as fervent here. Don’t misunderstand – churches love and honor Jesus here, and they care about missionaries. But they are often more aware of short-term opportunities, social justice, and local issues than they are of the great need for the Good News around the world. It was bolstering to be around people committed to seeing the nations reached.

It is our pleasure to pray for our partners and partnering churches regularly, especially around holidays where outreach and service events might be happening. So we pray for a blessed Thanksgiving for Liberty Baptist Church in Sweetser, Indiana.

Announcing… Our Farewell Tour

By Friday, September 2, 2016 0 0

This is as close to musician fame as we’ll ever get, so we’re dubbing the next few ministry trips “the first dates on our Farewell Tour.”

After Labor Day, we will have wrapped up leading our Chinese friends through The Story of Hope. We hope to continue with The Way to Joy with a few of them, but it is the first in a list of at-home ministries we have to wrap up before heading to language school.

After the long weekend we plan to start homeschool Kindergarten and visit one of our local supporting churches. Then we head to Indiana to participate in a missions conference at Liberty Baptist Church. In addition to kindergarten and church visits, I am going to do Bible Study Fellowship’s John study through December, and we will be packing for our moves and dealing with a lot of logistics. In October we visit two more local supporting churches. We also hope to do some ministry visits in those months. If you would like to introduce us to your small group or someone who might be interested in learning more about missions in Spain, please contact us!

We are looking forward to sharing what God is doing in Spain with so many new people over the next months, and we are praying and trusting God for a few things through that.

  1. We pray that God will supply the last $600 in needed support.
  2. We pray that God would teach our children that He will be there for them when they are missing activities and loved ones at home. They are used to seeing the other Duryees at church on Sundays. We will miss out on homecoming Sunday and a farewell luncheon for a special family as well.
  3. We pray that God would use us to call others to the mission field. Our stories are not typical Bible college to seminary to mission field, and we pray that God would use the unique path He’s given us to call other people to do His work around the world. If we can do it, anyone can.

Remembering Our Commissioning Service

By Wednesday, August 10, 2016 0 0

Nearly two months ago… I am so behind. This is a missionary’s blog and many of you come here to find out how to pray for us, to catch up on our ministry, and to get a peek on our lives. Well, life is overwhelming. Between parenting, swim lessons, homeschool planning, sorting and selling our home items, ministry activities we just want to keep doing, and the long list of tasks related to prefield… doing this blog the way I want just falls off the priority list.

But something is better than nothing. So, the photos are not all here, but the words are and they matter. We had to blog this because we never want to forget it!

On June 18, 2016, we gathered with our church family, many friends, family members and financial partners to officially commission our family to the mission field. We chose to have our commissioning this day because our teammates and coworkers, Rich and Cindy, were in town and scheduled to speak at Eastgate the next morning. We turned the whole weekend in a focus on Spain! Our prefield director, Brad Winkler, was also able to come to Bellevue to participate. Brad has been such an encouragement to us in this long journey – never judgmental, critical or disappointed, but always encouraging and pointing us to God and what He can do.

Our coworkers, Rich ad Cindy, with us on Sunday after church.

We have video of the service but I have some editing to do, so here is a written summary. I’ll update this post with video when it is finally done.

After gathering in the foyer by our display board and having guests “sign” the fingerprint tree, we sang, worshiped, prayed and were encouraged by our speakers.

A photo posted by Rosalie (@mrsduryee) on

Rather than record the names of all the people who came to our service, we created this fingerprint tree as an Ebenezer to represent the day. The truth is, there were a lot of people not in attendance whom we know to give, pray and follow our mission work closely. It would be sad not to have their names in the guestbook meant to represent the day were were “sent.” Furthermore, it was just a day. Our real commissioning came the day we each surrendered our lives to Jesus, and our sending is done – we are missionaries, though we have yet to leave for the field. The fingerprint tree reminds us that many, many people are behind us; we are not sent alone and we do not labor alone. In the years to come, when we doubt our calling, I know this Ebenezer will encourage us.

Our friends Robin and Joy Porter and both their boys led us in worshiping with Mighty to Save by Hillsong, Our God Reigns (How Lovely On the Mountains) (an oldie but SUCH a goody), and Follow You by Leeland.

Then Chris and I shared our testimonies and some of the ways God has changed us over the last six years. He is so faithful!

Our Pastor, Brad Kolbo, gave a charge to the church, and Brad Winkler gave the charge to us, the missionaries. My notes are disjointed from caring for children, but the main message was “Three Cs” that we can remember when we face difficulty: our commission, our calling, and our comfort.

We decorated Clark Hall for a reception but I forgot to take pictures of the beautiful centerpieces complete with Spanish fans. Here’s the festive vases being reused.

A photo posted by Rosalie (@mrsduryee) on

We’re so thankful. God used our commissioning service to bring new partners, caused committed partners to begin their support, and honored God by rejoicing in the work He has done and is doing in Spain.

Please continue to pray for our support raising, language school plans, and transition to the mission field.

A photo posted by Rosalie (@mrsduryee) on

Last Night I Dreamed About Orlando

By Tuesday, June 14, 2016 0 0

Last night Chris and I prayed before falling asleep, like we always do. We held hands and thanked God for our many blessings, prayed for our children and our support raising and our marriage. And then we prayed for Orlando. Chris’s voice broke a little when he thought of the parents. Parents whose babies won’t be coming home. Parents who had horrifying text conversations just moments before a monster took their baby’s life. And this is the picture that haunted my dreams last night: silent phones, still bodies, distressed parents.

We are heartbroken for this tremendous loss of lives. So many young lives; not that value decreases with age but that potential increases! I think of all the amazing things that have happened to me since I was 25 and I mourn the lost future of all these precious humans.

Which brings us to the age old question. What was God’s role is this tragedy? He is sovereign. He literally holds the world in His hands and not one hair on your head is lost without God knowing about it, ordaining its fall. I have studied the answer to this question, heard messages on it and read the many Bible verses that demonstrate that God’s purposes prevail over the purposes of man. I never know how to answer it exactly. It is not comforting to hear that He allowed it, willed it, caused it, or will use it. It’s too horrible! It’s not comforting to hear that He didn’t have a part in it but it is all because of the decisions of that horrible man, because then what is the point? If man is that powerful, then God must be weak. Indeed, this is a prevailing belief today.

This is my only comfort: Jesus, who redeems ALL things, will redeem this tragedy. I know that God was not surprised, though He is brokenhearted. God was not detached, though He does not control us like marionettes. We cannot yet see how, and perhaps we may never see this side of eternity, but this tragedy is part of the bigger picture, the bigger plan for all of humanity, and it fits perfectly into the puzzle, which God sees in completion.

God’s plan for every human is that we dwell with Him forever in eternity. This is the single best thing that will ever happen – no more tears, no more pain, no more suffering. Just perfect fellowship together with God, the creator and author of everything beautiful and good in the world. It comes at the price though. To ensure this possibility, God endured the very same tragedy that those brokenhearted parents in Orlando suffer now: His only son, Jesus, was slaughtered. God sent His son to be slaughtered.

Why did He do it? Because the horrific death of His son paid a ransom placed on mankind. He allowed His son to die in order to purchase us because He loves us. In order to purchase you. Because He loves you.

You see, the enemy of our souls tricks us into believing that God has withheld something good, and we chase after that something until we die.

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. (James 4:1-3)

Lest you think only Sunday’s killer is represented in this passage, remember that Jesus said that if you hate someone, you’ll be judged like a murderer, and John said it too, a little more pointedly.

No one loves perfectly, and the imperfections void our love when we face God. That’s what sin is. It’s a black mark on our hearts, which are designed in love, for love. Marred. Broken. Imperfections void our love in every relationship, really. It’s just that we (can – we don’t always) forgive and have grace and treat others the way we want to be treated – all things Jesus taught us.  He was aiding our survival in this broken world, and He was pointing to eternity, which will be full of perfect love!

Instead of casting aside our broken hearts and the messed up world that rules our hearts, God made a way for His perfect love to rule our hearts once again. He sent His son Jesus to earth, humbly, to grow up in this broken world, and Jesus grew up in it but was not blemished by it. He was perfect in every way – always loving, always gracious, always righteous, and always hanging out with the worst of the broken ones at that – the adulterers, the liars, the drunkards, the sexually immoral. He loved all those people. Indeed, he said they would be first in line to Heaven. He didn’t say it to condone their sins, indeed they turned from their sinful lifestyles time after time when they met Jesus, He said it because they would run to Him with abandon. When you have nothing to lose but your brokenness, it’s easy to come to Jesus. It’s when you’re holding on to something else – your past, your money, your rebel lifestyle, your pain, your reputation, your power – that it becomes hard. It’s like Jesus was saying, “you’re broken. If you know you’re broken, come with me. I will take care of it.”

It’s the knowing that is hard.

Tragedy reminds us.