African outfits

African outfits
Our crazy family

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Packing for 5

It's a little crazy around here lately.  Trying to pack for a extended stay is proving to be a challenge.  We will be in Yaounde' and traveling the first few days in Cameroon, most likely the temperatures will be hot or at least pretty warm.  Once we arrive in Ndu, we have been told it's cool and to bring sweaters and warm pjs.  I'm guessing we will still think it's warm, coming from Minnesota.  We will be doing construction type work, so we will need appropriate clothing for that.  The training info we have been given encourages the women to wear skirts when we are out and about.  I'm not sure how frequently we will be able to do laundry either so we need lots of socks and underwear.  We made our dining room table as big as it would go and brought clothing for each need for each one of us in our family.  We've been told that our luggage may not arrive at the same time that we do, or perhaps at all, so to pack accordingly.  We packed a little of each persons clothing in each suitcase and added Drew's tools throughout.  It was really an obnoxious amount of clothing when we had it all heaped on the table.  The sad part is, I still have clothes in my closet and drawers too.  It doesn't help that I have put on weight during this season of good food, putting me in my "fat" clothes.  I'm fully anticipating slimming down with the different whole foods we will be eating, which means I need to bring a few of my smaller sizes too.   I have never been a light packer - it must be from that year of Girl Scouts when I learned to "always be prepared".  In addition to tools and clothing, we also need some cooking supplies (pot and pan, spatula etc), pillows, spices, gifts, shoes, toiletries, camera, games, books....the list goes on.  This is just the items we may need, other missionaries have had items sent to us to bring in our luggage.  Needless to say, we are having no problem filling up our 10 allotted 50 lb suitcases.  We will be like sardines traveling in our van to the airport.

I have every intention of leaving as much as possible in Ndu when we come home.  I will leave it with the local missionaries to go through or distribute how they think best.  I think that is why I feel it's okay to over pack, because I know that it will be so freeing to leave it behind.  Hopefully, I will be able to continue that trend of letting go even after our trip.  It's that time of year when we really start analyzing what we want to change in our lives.  As I look around at all the "stuff" I have accumulated, and realize that nothing I have can give me security, I wonder why it is so hard to let go?This past year was one of cutting back on our impulse buying and trying hard to just stick to our needs.  We had our goal of going to Africa always before us so it wasn't really that difficult.  Once we have reached this goal and returned to our life in Minnesota, I hope to continue saying "No" to all the little extras that cry out to me.  I want  to get to a place where Christ is everything and my comfort has nothing to do with what I can see.  I have so far to go.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Monday, December 26, 2011

To Be a Faith Walker

Psalm 145:4 -7
"Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts.
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles.
your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with JOY of your righteousness."

These verses get me excited.  I think David was a blogger before there was such a term - his words are thought provoking and transparent.  I get excited about these verses because God is doing such an amazing thing with my family - I want to proclaim HIS greatness!  This past year has been a journey:  seeing God's provision, His faithfulness, His willingness to use my family with all our imperfections.  My kids will be telling this story to their children someday and encouraging them to step out and do whatever God puts on their hearts.

Last year, friends of ours donated $1000 for my family and I to attend Faithwalkers in Omaha, Nebraska (December 27-31).  We had a fun time but the whole time I struggled with the idea that experiencing "Faithwalkers" was the peak to some in their Christian faith.  Every year families look forward to this BIG event.  They have high expectations and will probably walk away feeling spiritually pumped after listening to great worship music and inspiring speakers.  Some people do walk away changed people and they do something with that change.  They may do something outside their comfort zone, like go on a mission trip or they may commit to being a spiritual leader in their family, or serve with Kids Against Hunger.  I also believe that quite a few will just go back to their busy lives, the experience of Faithwalkers will be just a pleasant memory.  Faithwalkers to some is just a social event, that in many ways pulls their families apart in several directions rather than bonding them with a common purpose.  To some, Faithwalkers is their "thing" that they are doing for God - they have to take time off work, pay money for a hotel and add one more thing to their busy schedules - to them, this is sacrifice enough.  To me, Faithwalkers was just the trailer to a bigger adventure of living for Christ.  It was that inner struggle and crying out to God for direction during my time at Faithwalkers that first started pulling me back to Africa.  The fact that we are leaving in just 10 days is an amazing testimony to God's goodness.  I want my kids to be excited and notice what God is doing in us and through us.  I want them to be doing God's will and looking forward to the next adventure He sends us on - willing to do His will.

  There is nothing in itself wrong with going to Faithwalkers, we will hopefully go again.  I just think that if attending a conference is all my faith and living for Christ amounts to, it's not worth it.  I would much rather be living out my faith on a daily basis, sold out for Christ, even if that means I never have time to attend another Faithwalkers convention.  Faithwalkers is not a bad thing, but for me and my family I want it to be a time of celebration of what God is doing in US.  I don't want to just go and listen to other people talking about what living for Christ can look like.

My prayer for my friends attending Faithwalkers this week is that they will be forever changed - and their life will no longer be their own.  That they will not be looking at this time as a social event but that their eyes would be "fixed on Jesus".  God has changed my life and grown my faith this year, and it all began with a seed of discontent that was fanned into flame at Faithwalkers 2010.