The First Time You Ride a Bus It’s Unfamiliar

By Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1 0

It feels like two lifetimes ago that we were in Spain for our survey trip. Since then, we’ve done cross-country trips, vacations, and had two babies. But the memories are imprinted on my mind, and today I was inspired to capture one in writing by my blogging friend, Deidra Riggs.

After our week of serving at the church plant in Madrid, Chris and I spent four days of vacation in the south of Spain – Sevilla and Granada. We tried to pack light for our short stint and left everything in Madrid for our return home except a few outfits and one pair of shoes. For me, a pair of high quality flip flops (ok and a pair of dressy shoes just in case). Our plan included train rides: high-speed to Sevilla and… not-so-high-speed to Granada and back to Madrid. The high-speed to Sevilla was distinctly European: on-time, air-conditioned, and fast. The train to Granada was none of those things. So it was with sore feet from trekking Sevilla in sandals and now sore bums from our Greyhound of a train-ride, we arrived in Granada for the last leg of our amazing trip. And we began to explore, on foot of course. Although we were enjoying Granada’s gelato, its Spanish food with Middle East flair, and the unmatched Alhambra, we were dreading our last, long day that was to end on another “train” ride north. We knew we’d be dead on our feet and our wallets, already checked out of our hotel with nowhere to be.

So we had a brilliant idea. We would take a trip back to the train station to book an earlier train. Eager to save money we didn’t plan to spend on a taxi, we decided to take a bus. Everyone in Granada was taking buses. We could too.

So we grabbed our city map and asked our hotelier to help us get to the train station by bus. We should have known a taxi would be easier by the look on his face, but he outlined the route with a red pen and wrote the bus number down.

We waited at the wrong stop, took the wrong bus which turned out to be the right bus, lost our confidence and got off way too early and walked the long way through the business district to get to the train station, where, in broken Spanish we exchanged our late night tickets – fingers crossed – for ones that left mid-morning the next day. And then we made our way back for a snack and a siesta.

In spite of weariness that set in somewhere between the wrong stop and the long walk, along the way I had looked in Chris’s face and seen our future and I liked what I saw.

Not two days earlier we’d been laying in the world’s squeakiest bed, debriefing after a whirlwind week in Madrid doing missionary work. Now we were making the transition from mission trip to vacation and so we had one thing to discuss: did we want to come back to do this work forever? And if our answers were different, what would the next four days look like? What would the next 40 years look like?

We did, unanimously, passionately, unequivocally. God had spoken to us in Madrid and He used the same words: “come back here. Do my work, build my church. It will be hard (he used a 16 year old mk who told us her parents worked so hard for so little return to remind us of this). It will be so hard; but I will be with you.”

So, standing in an unfamiliar bus in a strange country with a task to accomplish in an unfamiliar tongue, I looked at my husband and I saw many similar events in our future and I was ok with that. Weariness and confusion mix with excitement and passion and God is in it all.

Do it all in love.

By Wednesday, August 7, 2013 0 0

Yesterday I shared a brief overview of EMC. Today I get a little more personal.

One of the poignant lessons for me was the reminder that we must be doing all things in love. I tried to keep that at the forefront of my mind as I soaked up the details of church planting strategy. Right now, 3,000 miles away and with our vision for Spain constantly on our hearts and tongues, that feels easy.

You know when love is not easy?

When your brain is about to explode with information and spiritual thoughts from a day’s worth of training but you can’t sit and discuss over coffee with your spouse because you have to pick up a sick, hungry toddler from the nursery, feed her at a restaurant and drain her energy before you all go to bed at the same time, which is too early for you, too late for her, in the same hotel room. When your very pregnant body is more tired than your brain and you still have to cuddle the toddler, who’s never spent so many hours away from you each day.

We found it difficult to connect, as a couple, while we were away at training. The enemy doesn’t have to work hard to create stress when your week of spiritual work is book-ended by five hour flights with a lively little girl who really only sleeps in her bed and likes to break crayons, not color with them. Did I mention the time change? How about the ER visit the morning we flew home?

But we prayed, we depended on God, we tried to set aside selfishness and be helpful to one another, and God answered our prayers. The time change meant Susanna slept in a little each morning. She napped on campus perfectly and adored her teachers, a local pastor and his wife plus some teens from their church and a fellow missionary. We found time with the Lord on our breaks, or in bed with the light of our smart phones. And we helped each other. I’d like to say, especially, that Chris helped me. I have been experiencing severe back pain and the week away was challenging.

And then when I returned I found this blog by Lisa-Jo Baker about real love, “When You Think Your Love Story is Boring.” What a love story we are so privileged to live!

If you prayed for us this week, please know that your prayers worked. We felt them. Susanna’s sleep, our training, surviving the week in the hotel, the finances… it all went according to God’s plan and we are so grateful for your faithfulness to us.

We often feel like slow, bumbling, unqualified, missionaries-in-training (-who-will-never-graduate). Your support is invaluable to us.

A Letter to My Wife {guest post}

By Thursday, February 14, 2013 2 0

Today’s post is my favorite guest: my husband Chris. Christine Hoover, over at Grace Covers Me, encouraged readers of her book The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart to post letters from our church planting husbands about why we are important to the church planting journey.

Dear Rose,

I want to express why I am so grateful that I am in missions with you. There is so much that needs to happen in order to get to the mission field, let alone all of the things that are happening once you get there. All of that gets added to the arena of daily living and raising kids.

God created woman from the rib of the man to show that she was to be his equal helper. I see how that comes into play in our marriage. Having a wife who is dedicated to growing in her relationship with God helps me to grow in my own as well. This all comes into play when we disciple people on the mission field. Because I have a wife who is focused on Christ, we can confidently work together as a God-designed team on the field.

I also know that you pray for me regularly and I can’t ask for any better support than that. Having a wife who prays for you is a great blessing that not everybody has and when it is added to the fact that we are going through prefield it means that much more.

I know I can come to you with successes and failures and desires and hopes and sadness and frustration and you will listen and reply with what is needed. You will celebrate with me at every new believer and struggle with me at every hurdle that comes in front of us. I know because we both said vows on our wedding day that I know both of us meant.

Thank you for being a faithful, loving, patient, steadfast, loving and, most importantly, Godly, wife. I love you very much and I don’t know that I could do this on my own.

Your husband

Amplified Marriage Vows – edited

By Friday, November 25, 2011 5 0

I need to make a correction to this post. I made a huge error in judgment, in part because I really wanted to have a neat post in honor of the anniversary of our engagement and also because I still feel that mamahood is zapping me of my creativity. Still, there’s no excuse. This blog post by Dawn inspired me to think about the unspoken promises in my own marriage vows. After reading it, I thought of some of the better (vacations, dinners at Harvest Vine, the birth of our daughter) and the worse (being 15% funded with one income, navigating new parenthood) in our own marriage, and filled them in.

Dawn (gently and graciously) called me out on copying her work. She said, “In blogging, it’s easy to compare our writing with others and read something we love and wish we had written it ourselves.” That’s what happened. Hope you all can forgive my lapse in judgment. It has been a constant prayer of mine that God would refill my creativity cup, which has felt empty since I got pregnant (something about growing a human in my womb took all my creative juices). In truth, I base too much of my self-worth on my creativity, which is a gift from God, when I need to preach the Gospel to myself and get my worth from Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for grace today.

Short and Sweet on Marriage

By Monday, August 30, 2010 0 0

Blogging has been slow these past few weeks… thanks for keeping up with us by adding us to your feed! I promise I will keep up with Missional Music Mondays, but I didn’t want that to be the only thing I blogged. For his birthday, Chris received tickets to see Starfield, one of our favorite bands, in September. Starfield has some pretty awesome and missional songs that I look forward to introducing you to.

As we prepare for the mission field, Chris and I are doing as much as we can to strengthen our marriage. We know that what is difficult here could be exacerbated by the demands of prefield and the confusion of the mission field, so we are working now so endure later.

In that vein, I leave you with this radical quote from John Piper on marriage. It applies to so many aspects of life, though.

Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of material success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity.

So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.

Lat week Chris and I were chatting about a woman we know who spent ten years of her marriage raising her children while her husband was in a vegetative state following a horrific car accident. This precious woman knows what it means to give and not receive anything in return. Chris commented that most people he knows would say, “I don’t think I could do that,” about her situation. “But,” Chris said, “that’s what marriage is. You’re supposed to serve without expecting anything in return.”

I am blessed.