Running Wind Sprints in Heaven

By Sunday, September 3, 2017 0 0

As a missionary, one of the biggest areas of sacrifice that I face is leaving family behind. Of course, I don’t mean the immediate family of my wife and kids, but the rest of my family – my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and my nephew. This is an area that will probably always be difficult in my life as I live in another country and try to follow where God leads.

Not enough is often said, though, of the sacrifice of leaving church family. I grew up in Eastgate Bible Fellowship and spend a lot of time with the people that made it a church. I watched parents raise their children. I saw how various men treated their wives. I watched how people worshiped and struggled with their faith and was able to see how God used them in various ways. I also gained a number of role models.

This brings me to David McBee, our friend, ministry partner and financial adviser, who passed away this week. I knew that David lived with many physical struggles in his life. But I didn’t know because he shared it with me or because he complained about it. I often wonder how I was aware of these things because, truth be told, in his serving Jesus Christ, David didn’t really let on that he had those physical struggles. David taught a Sunday school class every Sunday morning without complaint and was always prepared. He led with humor and humility. He arrived on Sundays ready to hear how other people were and how he could pray for them. I could always expect a warm smile and usually a hug from David each time I saw him.

From David, I learned how to put my discomfort aside and look to other people first. I learned that a little levity can go a long way. I learned that being honest about your failings and limits allows you to praise God’s power all the more. I learned these things watching David simply live his life within our church family.

When we return from Texas in December I will certainly notice David’s absence just as I will notice pastor Brad’s. My spiritual family has lost another one of its brothers here are earth. A sister has lost her husband. I know that she is in good hands with our Father God and with her brothers and sisters in Christ at Eastgate. God has and will continue to work in and through Debbie’s life as he carries her through this loss.

I thank God for the time that I had with David here on earth and I look forward to when we are reunited in Heaven. It will be fun to spend time with the David I never knew here; the one who will probably challenge me to a wind sprint and beat me handily.

Making Memories {Day 23}

By Thursday, October 23, 2014 0 0

Today is my nephew’s 7th birthday. I thought we’d be gone by now, and on some level I wish we were. He does make it easier to be here, though!

Ryan is smart, careful, sensitive, friendly, creative, thoughtful, particular, and fun to be around.

Not only will he remember me, but now there are cousins who will look forward to being reunited too! (Funny side note: I wrote the post I linked to above exactly one year before Susanna came into the world.)

There’s a meme that goes around the internet quite often. Something like, “share if your cousins were your first friends!” This is true of me, for sure. I am a mere 10 days younger than my cousin Claire, and, though miles separated us most of our lives, we were inseparable when we were together. I look forward to the bond that Susanna and Ryan will share, as unique as the mission field might make it.

Another fun cousin quote, particularly true in my family.

Grandma’s: where cousins become best friends.

We are making the most of our time pre-field by helping our kids be close with their family.

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com

A Rockin’ Fundraiser

By Saturday, July 19, 2014 0 0

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Our friends spent hours with my babies while we were at Family Camp at the end of June. The daughters are particularly helpful, of course! They took them to the park so I could use the restroom or finish a meal by myself. They played and cuddled Austin so we could take Susanna on her first canoe ride. They pushed Susanna in her stroller (she’s stroller-obsessed right now) so she could eat her Pop’s Inn treat. And they made their laps available during chapel, so Susanna could stay with us while we taught. I want to publicly thank Eva, Evie, Marilyn, Erica and Sabra (aka Sabrica!) for that.

Then, after a fun week bonding as families, we all went our separate ways. We went earliest, as usual, with our babies who were scared out of their minds of the fireworks.

On Sunday at church,three of the girls had a gift for us: a card and a bag of money. They’d arrived home from Family Camp, where they had spent a week with crazy missionaries to Spain, and held a fundraiser in their driveways. They sold rocks “for charity” and gave the money to missionaries. Rocks!

What a gift! We wondered if we had reached any hearts with our stories and the (increasing) chaos of the week in children’s chapel. We trust we did, because God doesn’t waste His word on anyone. He certainly pricked the hearts of these girls and we pray He continues to guide them to give and live sacrificially for God.

Please Pray for Our Dear Friends

By Tuesday, February 25, 2014 1 0

Our dear friends and Chris’s former youth pastor and his wife, Randy and Debbie, are enduring a real trial right now. Debbie is being treated for a rare and aggressive cancer and doctors have made it clear Debbie may not have much time left. We have been praying boldly for healing, for peace and comfort in this time, and God has come through. Debbie has shown joy in her spirit even as her energy fades, Randy says that he is at peace, that he can see how God is at work. He and Debbie both believe this is “win-win” for Debbie. If God heals her this side of Heaven, she wins big time. If He heals her for eternity by bringing her home, she wins even bigger! And yet, this is a devastating tragedy. Please pray with us for these dear friends and their family (4 children and a brand new son-in-law!). Chris has written a little tribute to them here. -Rose

Chris's youth groupHigh school. The four years that we spend as “teens” or “high school kids” is always considered to be some of the most defining periods in our lives. We start making the transition into adulthood and taking on adult responsibilities and thinking about what our lives might look like as we move on.

I was always involved in my church growing up. I was a part of the youth group and was blessed to be in it while Randy and Debbie Lawrence were leading. I didn’t really think about it then but I sometimes wonder if they ever really knew the impact they had on the lives and, more importantly, the spiritual decisions of 20 to 30 kids.

Here are some of the good things I saw in action through Randy and Debbie: I observed how a man is supposed to love his wife and children. I saw a man who spent time with God on a regular basis. I saw two people who were very willing to hold a believer accountable to scripture even though that person might be upset with them at first. I saw a couple who were so compassionate towards the kids in their youth group that a late night visit or even a prank wasn’t discouraged.

Randy showed me that my faith meant more than just stating that I was a Christian and acting like it. Randy and Debbie showed me that following Christ is depending on Him to be everything; letting God change me and know that everything was about glorifying our Lord.

As I read regular updates about Debbie’s condition and what is going on I also see that they are not finished teaching us. They may not know it and they may say that they aren’t doing anything special but the eyes of their former youth group, many of us with families of our own, careers and homes, are still watching them. And their lives are consistent with what they had taught us when we were teens.

I have been and am blessed by the Lawrence family. I hope that we too were and are a blessing to them. Debbie and Randy know that life isn’t easy but they also know who their hope comes from. They worship and love the God of miracles and many mercies, the God of promises made and kept, the God of healing and the one who has defeated death and sorrow.

I believe I can speak on behalf of the youth group that was Randy and Debbie’s youth group at Eastgate by saying that we all love you guys. We thank you for the investment and sacrifices you made so you could invest in our lives at the calling of Jesus Christ. Your mark has been made with me. I will be one of those who, in Heaven, lines up in front of you to say “thank you for giving to the Lord. Mine was a life that was changed.”

Introducing Little Brother

By Sunday, October 13, 2013 0 0

Austin-Newborn-Webboard

Austin Christopher Duryee was born September 12, 2013, at 12:29 a.m. after just a few hours of labor. He is a laidback baby who eats, sleeps and stays awake peacefully, and already smiles and makes googly eyes and Mama, Daddy and big sister Susanna. He is a real joy and a fun addition to our family.

More photos from our shoot with Bethany McG Photography can be found here, at our Flickr page, or on Instagram under the hashtag #austinbrother

Thank you for your prayers as we adjust and try to get back on schedule with one more tagging along.