Empowering Women Out of Poverty

By Saturday, May 14, 2016 0 0

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If I made a list of the top 100 things I love, fair-trade jewelry would be in the top 10. I love jewelry and accessories, and I desire to empower women out of poverty (globally, women are statistically more likely to fall into poverty), so fair-trade jewelry is win-win. And, it’s gorgeous and global and unique. Every single time I wear a piece of jewelry made by a woman in India, Nepal, Guatemala or Ecuador (that’s just a selection of the places represented by my jewelry!), I get compliments. The best part of those compliments is that I get to tell people about the organization I bought it from and how my purchase had purpose.

Trades of Hope is one of the best of these organizations. Right now I’m hosting a party on Facebook (lots of photos and stories there, as well as opportunities to win some pieces!) and I would be honored to have you join me in supporting women around the world. Trades of Hope pieces make amazing gifts for Christmas or birthdays. I am considering some things to give to my kids’ teachers and influencers before we leave for the field.

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Kenya is a country filled with starvation and poverty, yet through their employment making these beautiful pieces of art, these artisans’ lives are being transformed! The group that makes the new Miriam Earrings and Golden Luna Necklace (there is also a silver and black Luna too!) is dedicated to helping these artisans overcome their physical limitations by empowering them to create and become important parts of their community. The artisans receive housing and social benefits such as a clinic and nursery school. As they create these products, they find their identity and are important and of so much value to the world!

At Field Prep Seminar last month, a couple heading to Tanzania told me more about Sifa Threads, an artisan group there making scarves. Trades of Hope has sold Sifa Threads goods! I was so excited to hear that.

Over on the party, this was the group favorite “look.” We’ve had beautiful, airy spring weather in Seattle so I can see why. Hop on over and choose YOUR favorite! You could win something in the drawing!

My favorite was the Weekend Chic look!

I have no idea how God will use my passion for rescuing women from the sex trade in Spain. I know of some opportunities to be part of ministries working against trafficking, and I look forward to how we can be part of them. In the meantime, I can continue to empower women out of poverty with my purchases!

What is Field Prep Seminar Anyway?

By Wednesday, April 20, 2016 0 0

I really wanted to post our full orange tree, which I’ve been using to show our progress towards 85% support, but we recently replaced, scrubbed to factory settings and gave away our old laptop, and apparently the files, which were on the desktop, didn’t make it through our minimalistic backup process. So, like I posted in our Facebook group, here’s a full bowl of oranges.

fruit+vintage+oranges--graphicsfairy003bgOn Sunday, we head to Harrisburg, PA  for a two week training called Field Prep Seminar (FPS) at our mission agency’s headquarters. It’s for prefield missionaries who have raised 85% or more of their monthly support requirement and who plan to leave for the field within the year.

Obviously we don’t know much abut it, but according to ABWE.org, it will focus on at least three things:

  • Transition to the mission field
  • Major adjustments to living in another culture
  • Adapting to the existing ABWE field team

To prepare for FPS, we read a number of books, including Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, John Piper’s Let the Nations Be Glad, and Cross-Cultural Connections by Duane Elmer. We also completed a Missional Biblical Theology course, which was essentially Systematic Theology for missionaries. Once we received our invitation to FPS, we did a few hours of homework on spiritual warfare, cultural issues, leadership, and child safety training.

Our schedule is going to be kind of grueling – some days are 12 hours long. But our leaders will make sure we have lots of snacks, breaks, fellowship and even some fun. They will allow us to include our kids when appropriate and, most certainly, the whole training will be engaging and life-changing. Between a missionary’s application for service and departure to the field, ABWE gets 3 opportunities to ensure excellence in missions – candidate seminar, Essential Missions Components, and Field Prep. So they take advantage of our presence.

We would appreciate prayers for us while we are attending this valuable training:

  • Safety and favor regarding travel logistics
  • Energy for us and for Chris’s parents, who will be taking care of the kids
  • Spiritual, mental and physical strength for our long days of training, and the ability to take it all in
  • Provision for the ministries we leave behind – our small group friends who will lead our Chinese friends through The Story of Hope, and our youth pastor who will lead our middle schoolers through The Way to Joy solo

We are so excited to reach this prefield milestone! Glory to God!

him we proclaim {Easter Freebie}

By Saturday, March 19, 2016 0 0

To celebrate that God has done a new thing in my creative life recently, I am offering an Easter freebie to my readers!

Colossians 1:28-29 is a verse God gave me while I was updating this blog. While Seasoned with Salt is still the theme of this place where so many words are shared, and our ministry vision remains the same, this verse reflects the spiritual why for what we do and our calling to share the Gospel in Spain.

Click here to download the high-res free 8×10.

This was my first attempt at digital art using watercolor images. The beautiful flower graphics are courtesy of The Smell of Roses. I hope you enjoy this free printable. I would love to see how you display it in your home. Maybe post a photo and tag it #himweproclaim?

2015 Year in Review

By Wednesday, December 30, 2015 0 0

Our family photos from the year will display the many blessings of our lives. I cannot write a Christmas letter or an annual recap anymore without acknowledging all the ways God blesses, protects and guides us. We have much, much more than we need. Like scripture says, we lack no good thing.

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We have our health, and opportunities to gain more health and live healthfully. Last February we went on a lovely, romantic weekend away in Leavenworth. We always seem to “pay for” time away from the kids, and I quickly got a cold and an ear infection that would not quit after our trip.  A Z-pack got rid of the infection, but the symptoms never went away. For months I felt like I had just stepped off an airplane, no matter what I did, and I had lingering cold symptoms and a funky looking eardrum that led me to take a lot of medication and another round of antibiotics in the spring. Still no relief – just a diagnosis of eustachian tube disfunction. Obviously! The ear pain shadowed a lot of the wonderful things we did this year because of frequent headaches and stuffiness. But in August I started seeing a holistic chiropractor who was able to start a treatment plan for the neck misalignment actually causing my extreme eustachian tube disfunction. I am still doing treatment, but my ears are draining again! I praise God for this simple solution and the means to take care of it. Our family is learning a lot about why our chiropractor calls “stewarding your body” and I am feeling so much better. I am sort of looking forward to how I react to the plane trips we have planned this year.

In the spring, we had glorious, summer like weather that enabled me to do do a lot of outside homeschool and playing with the kids. We spoke at a youth event and a church in Colville, WA. We were so grateful to be able to share the blessings of pursuing missions with high school students there, and we added a partner to our team. We love every church visit and still pray that they would remember us when considering support for young missionaries.

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In the summer we celebrated Susanna’s 4th birthday with a luau and then we visited family in Eugene for the 4th of July. My grandparents recently moved out of my childhood home in Fall Creek, so we had one last hurrah there. It was bittersweet because although I am glad my grandparents are closer to town for convenience, I will miss the acre of property in the country. Trees planted for me and my children are growing there, not to mention memories!

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We shared our ministry with quite a few families over the summer, and God has granted a significant support increase over the year. We are now over 80% supported and looking to be fully supported and planning for language school by next summer.

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In September, Austin turned 2 and we celebrated with “cars and trucks and things that go.” His advanced vocabulary is such a fun blessing! 

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In the fall, the kids and I resumed our ministry at Bible Study Fellowship, where we are studying Revelation. I say “our” because it is a family affair. I am a discussion leader, responsible for facilitating discussion group and connection among about 15 women. The kids attend the preschool program, where amazing BSF leaders teach them about the Lord and God’s Word in a fun environment. It takes a bit of time, a “sacrifice” of two mornings a week, and a lot of prayer. I love leading through BSF and I could not have imagined all the ways it is contributing to my preparations for Spain and ministering to women there. What a blessing. If you have a local BSF, January is an excellent time to jump into our study of Revelation. Check out bsfinternational.org. We’re not even halfway done. In addition to BSF, we continued homeschool with the Before Five in a Row curriculum and lots and lots of trips to the library, the fish hatchery, and the nature trail behind our house. Don’t you all wish you were in preschool again? It’s so fun!

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Our Christmas was lovely and calm, exactly what I wish for. We visited Eugene early in the week, spent Christmas Eve with the Sihon family and Christmas Day with the Duryees. Early in December we took Susanna to PNB’s The Nutcracker, and it was a joy for me to start a new tradition with my girl after so many years of going with my Aunt Carol as a child.

I hope it’s alright to share a personal note here. My brother- and sister-in-law are expecting a baby who is (again) not expected to live. We are all very, very disappointed by this and honestly, eager to see the trial end. My sister-in-law Siri is my hero. After shedding some tears on Christmas Day, we talked about how we are able to pray that God would grant this child life. If he lives, this child and my in-laws will face many challenges, but life is a gift and we would be privileged to steward his. My sister-in-law shared that although she sometimes wishes she could be done with this heart-breaking pregnancy. But she said something like, “but then what is the point of it all? I have a job. My job is to carry this baby as long as God asks me to carry him. I wish I knew what God’s plan was and why He allowed this, but I don’t. I do know that I have a job right now.” Her simple faith in God’s plan, the reasons for which He may never reveal this side of Heaven, is astounding to me. May it encourage you as well.

We look forward to a blessed 2016. God is so good we expect nothing less! Specifically, though, we long to see three things: sufficient funds to attend Field Prep Seminar, full support, and a move to language school. If you’d like to be part of our calling to share the Gospel in Spain, please be in touch.

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Giving Tuesday {a request}

By Tuesday, December 1, 2015 0 0

I love the week after Thanksgiving. I know it’s all commercialism and buy buy buy, but I enjoy it. I don’t go crazy, but I do spend a little money over the weekend and on Cyber Monday because sometimes the deals on gifts and things we were looking at anyway are just too good. I always buy our Christmas cards and family photo gifts with these fantastic deals, for example.

Perhaps you got some good deals this weekend too! I love how each day has it’s own name – Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday and Cyber Monday. It helps me plan! I hope you’ll forgive me for jumping on the bandwagon with this request, which is a little different. We’ve had our shopping days, but today is Giving Tuesday, a day that celebrates generosity and doing something more, something to give back.

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:25

Here’s what they say on givingtuesday.org: “It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.”

There’s no shortage of options. I often share my Angel Tree story and recommend a Global Gift Catalog (today World Vision has a matching gift!). Those are just two special ways my family gives back each year around the holidays.

Would you consider partnering with us as part of your Giving Tuesday plan? We are less than $1500 away from full support, plane tickets, language school, and feet down in the field, where less than 1 percent of people know Jesus.

The statistics say that 77% claim to be Christian, but less than 1% of that group claim Evangelical beliefs. Just to be clear, some of the beliefs up in the air for Spanish “Christians” include the deity of Christ, the personal love of God, Jesus’ death and resurrection, and salvation by faith alone. By our calculations, that means that of 46.5 million people, only 400,000 are evangelical believers.

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2

Your monthly gift (of any amount!) will enable us  to put our feet on the ground at a growing church plant in Alcalá, where the population grows each year. New apartment complexes mean that young families just like ours are moving to Alcalá, where there is not a church on every corner. In Alcalá it really seems like nobody has a neighbor who can share the love of Christ with them. We’ve been called to be that neighbor, and we are so eager to go! We long for the friendships we’ll build trading English for Spanish, meeting children in the courtyard of our complex, and doing life shoulder to shoulder with Spaniards.

You can be part of the amazing joy it will be to see a small Spanish church plant grow, raise up a Spanish pastor, and plant its own church elsewhere.