Friday, October 16, 2009

Our apologies that it's been so long since our last post... Tim has been exceptionally busy with outreach and classwork on top of that. Ethan has been doing schoolwork... and a lot of playing with the other children! I have been working away at my regular job, plus doing all the cooking and housework that Tim and I usually share at home. Oh, and I started taking piano lessons - a daunting task at my age! Mom and Dad (Elaine and Franz) have visited here since our last post also. They were here in September for just over a week, and Mom and I celebrated our birthday together, as usual. While they were here, we went to Yosemite National Park, which is where the pictures in this post came from. Tim couldn't go with us, of course, because of classes, and we missed his presence, but still had a good time. I also took them, mainly for Dad's pleasure, to the highest bridge in California - the Foresthill Bridge at the Auburn Ravine. It stands over 700 feet above the American River at the bottom. I think he enjoyed seeing the construct of it and we walked across on the sidewalks they have on each side, so that was another of his pleasures - being high in the air. The van was having issues just after their arrival, so we had to rent a car just to go to Yosemite, but other than that, didn't go far because of travel troubles with the van. Mom enjoyed the property here at Weimar Inst., especially the farm and the view from the water tanks (the highest point on the property I believe). Ethan and Mom went on a walk on one of the trails and saw Moses Rock together. Dad and I also went on one of the trails because I wanted to show Dad the flume, and he also got to see Moses Rock. I'd forgotten that I wanted to take them to Auburn to watch a glassblower and so I still need to set that up to do with Ethan, but I wish I'd remembered when they were here. Oh, and we also went to the Empire Mine, the oldest and largest gold mine in California. I hope to post pictures of some of that here, but our internet is so slow that it's difficult to do much of that sort of thing.

The prophecy series that Tim and the other AFCOE students have been doing outreach for is starting tonight. It will go five nights a week for several weeks. This has been a hard area to work in as far as the Lord's work is concerned. Apparently there is a lot of the occult here and also much in the way of drugs (especially marijuana growing), even though it's a somewhat affluent area.

Well, I should go and get ready. I really don't want to dress up to go, but since the AFCOE students are required to wear at least khaki's and polos for the guys and dresses/skirts for the gals, my husband didn't think it would look very good if he was wearing dress pants and a button-down shirt and I was in jeans and a t-shirt. I tried to persuade him that someone needs to make the general public that comes to this feel comfortable and that it could be my ministry, but he wasn't convinced!! Ha ha!

Love to you all,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Puppy Pictures!!!

We finally got pictures of the new puppies a few days ago! Tim's mom took some polaroid pictures and sent them to us, so I took digital pictures of the polaroids to show here. They're not very clear as they're pictures of pictures, but they're good enough to see what they look like. The girl is on the left and is brindle-colored. The boy is the light tan one on the right. They do not have names yet because Ethan will name them when we get back home, so they are just called "Girl" and "Boy" for now. They are eating a lot of dog food, but will still be nursing for a few more weeks. Sadie's being a great mom we hear, and everyone enjoys the puppies when they visit Tim's parents every Sunday. We just can't wait to cuddle them, though I'm sure they won't hold still for that any more than they did for the pictures. The only way they could get them to be sort-of still was to put them on the picnic table. But aren't they CUTE?!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blessed Rest

A second full week of classes has past. This entire week has been Personal Evangelism training as they want to really prepare us for the door to door work to come in a couple of weeks. We actually got our feet wet in that this last wednesday. We were given maps with a specific area assignment and asked if we would go door to door asking people if they would like any yard work, cleaning or painting done for free as we are trying to make a list of things we can do to be good neighbors to the surrounding area. The scripture states "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", but I may now include the phrase "as long as I take dog treats". One house had dogs coming out of two different places. There were six total and each was followed by a larger, madder dog. We fended them off well enough to get back in the van and then a young man came out and corraled the dogs and talked to us, he didn't need any work done but thanked us for the offer.
We saw some houses that a neighbor down the road called "starter castles" and I kid you not, they were more castle than home.
Finances are very tight, we miss friends and family back home, and especially miss getting to see the newborn puppies (hoping to get pics sent from someone,...hint, hint). Though we miss everyone, I already would not trade this experience for the world. God has reaffirmed that this was where we needed to be and I can honestly say that after only two weeks, I know life will never be the same as it was. God has a call and purpose for each one of us, and my family and I intend to follow His call wherever it may lead us. If it is back home or far away, we know the Lord will not leave us or forsake us if we follow His will for our lives. We look forward to working for Him in whatever capacity and whatever manner He presents for us.
We get Fridays off as well as Sabbath, so that means back to work tomorrow. So I had better get some sleep.

Seek His face, follow His call, Live the adventure.
God bless

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Puppies!!!

New Mama Sadie

We have new puppies!!! Our dog, Sadie, whom we found out was greatly pregnant the day we left Illinois, had her puppies on Friday, July 31. Thankfully there are just two of them. Tim's mom, who is taking care of Sadie and her pups, tells us they are cute and that Sadie is being a good mama so far. There is a male that is all brown and a female that is black with a white ring all the way around her neck like a necklace. Their eyes are not open yet and they aren't moving around much yet either, but she said their legs look short and their bodies big and round (roly-poly in other words!). We are thankful and happy for the new puppies, even though we can't be there to see them. Hopefully someone will take pictures and send to us and we will post them when we get some. They will be almost four months old by the time we get back, which disappoints Ethan, and me too I have to admit. I guess they will have to wait to get their names. That should be Ethan's joy.

Well, I just wanted to share our glad news with you. As always, Tim and I covet your prayers for our adventure in following God's will, and now we ask for prayers for healthy puppies so we can enjoy them when we return home. God bless!!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

It has been an amazing first week at Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. We settled in the 23rd and 24th and enjoyed our first Sabbath here before orientation started Sunday. We are currently lodged in the Weimar Inn while they try to finish preparing our housing. Ethan will be glad to get into the housing. Being cooped up in a room with your parents all the time surely can't be a grand adventure. He has kept himself busy however.
The first week of classes has been focused on reconnecting with God in preparation for them lowering the boom of massive amounts of classwork to begin next week. We have had evening worship every night with a testimony from a different person each night.
If I could describe the first week in a couple of words, I would say Spiritual Gluttony. It has been like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. I had to go to my knees in prayer after our last class thursday and claim the promises of God that He would work through me as with Him all things are possible. For a moment I was just burdened with a sense of my own inadequacies. Once I prayed and claimed God's promises however, peace washed over me and I knew that everything would work for good and to His glory.
They say that when you leave AFCOE your life will have been changed forever, well, already has. The adventure continues to unfold and we just want to follow His will in our lives. He has led us here and we pray that wherever we go from here in 4 months that it will be where He has appointed.
We pray for each and everyone of our friends we are apart from. We know of at least one friend in the hospital after a terrible accident and wish we could be there to offer our support and encouragement to her and her husband. Though we are seperated by miles, I pray that our love is felt as if we were there. We miss you all and hope the best for each and everyone.
Galations 6:9 "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Keep the faith, follow the adventure

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Miles, Miracles, and More

Well, here we are in California at last, the result of God working in our lives in miraculous ways. We made it to Colorado with no troubling events and enjoyed our time there immensely (thanks to the Pooles).

We then left Colorado last Wednesday morning at about 3:30 a.m. and hit the interstate at around 4. Wyoming was incredibly beautiful and Utah was quite gorgeous as well. We enjoyed the drive and took lots of pictures! We had planned on getting to Battle Mountain, Nevada, which is about halfway across the state, before stopping for the night. We got about 800 miles behind us and decided to pull in at Wells, Nevada, to get gas before trucking on. We stopped at the Flying J (a truckstop chain that Virgil frequents when he's out) in Wells and filled our tank. We got a little snack and some drinks for the road and headed back out. Part-way up the on-ramp to I-80 we heard a sound... and not a good one at that. Tim and I almost simultaneously said, "That's not good." Tim was driving and went just far enough off the on-ramp to be out of the way and pulled onto the shoulder. He and I both got out. We had thought that a capped-off hose was falling down in front of the fan and making noise by rattling on the fan housing, but it was still in place. I thought I saw smoke rolling and I pointed it out to Tim, but it was hard to see because it was light smoke and the wind was blowing. I was trying to see where it came from when all of a sudden I realized that there were bare pulleys with no belt. Tim inspected and found that it was the serpentine (which if you aren't familiar with, basically runs your entire engine). It wasn't broken, just slipped, but not knowing how to put it back on, that didn't really help much. Tim, of course, was frustrated, but walked back to the gas station to ask if there were any mechanics in the area. Wells is only a town of about 1250 or 1290, so it's about Astoria's size. He was told the only option was to call a tow truck and was handed a business card. Tim called me from the station and told me a tow truck would be there in about 20 minutes. While Tim had been gone, I had looked up the three towns 30 miles back and 30 miles in front of us to see what their populations were, but they weren't even big enough to be listed and undoubtedly would have had no services. I was glad we had broken down where we were instead of somewhere less convenient. We had covered a lot of ground that day, including driving a lot of wilderness type areas that were basically uninhabited, plus the salt flats in Utah - which are 90 miles of nothing at all. I shared all this with Tim when he got back.

When Tim told me the name of the towing company, Roadway, I pointed out that we could see the truck yard from where we sat. It still took the guy a while to find us because he thought we were on the on-ramp and couldn't see us, but I was struck by how young he looked when he arrived. (Let me back up and say that I had explained to Ethan that everything happens for a reason and that maybe God had some purpose in having us break down; i.e. avoiding an accident down the road or maybe wanted us to witness to someone.) This young man of just 20 years was very helpful and understanding. He turned each of the pulleys for the belt and one was locked up. He informed us that, being after-hours, there was no one to work on our vehicle until morning. So, after struggling to get our van hooked up to the tow truck, we all crammed in the cab and started for the mechanic's garage. On the way, we had quite a talk, even though it was only about 2 miles or less. We told him where we were going and why, and he asked what denomination we are. When we said Seventh-day Adventist, he got a funny look on his face and said we were the second Seventh-day Adventists he'd picked up recently. Talk about an appointment made by God! There are probably several drivers for this company and to get the very one that had also picked up another Adventist was divine. He told us he was Baptist and that he had been baptized nearby. I was prompted by the Spirit to ask if he still attends and he answered no, that he'd been really busy lately. We shared with him that the important thing is to pursue a relationship with God and enjoy fellowship with other believers and that it doesn't always have to happen in a "church" setting. We also stressed that he could take God with him wherever he is and that God is always there, willing to accompany you to work and through the rest of your days.

It was starting to get dark and we thought we would have to walk about a mile and a half to get to a hotel, but I saw a small motel just up the street called The Wagon Wheel. I walked up to see if there were any vacancies and there weren't. The lady there was helpful, though, and when I asked about any other inexpensive places to stay that were close by, she suggested I could try the new motel another block up the street that had just reopened after being closed for a couple of years. Not wanting Tim to wonder why I'd been gone so long, I walked back to tell him before going on to the next one. The young man overheard, as he'd been talking with Tim while he unloaded the van from his truck, and immediately offered to let us put our things on the truck and he would drive us there to check, and if there were no vacancies, he was willing to drive us on to the other further-away hotel in his own vehicle after stopping at the truck yard for us to pay our bill. We gratefully agreed and began quickly selecting things we wanted to get out of the van. When we got to The Sage Inn, I ran in to check if there was a room available, and there was. This lady obviously saw me get out of the tow truck and, presuming our situation, gave me a good deal when I asked about the price of the room. It was $36 and some change! I told her I'd be right back and went to tell Tim to get our things. The young man jumped right out and started helping carry our stuff, and really carried what I felt was most of it. Ethan and I got the room squared away while Tim went to pay our towing bill. Again the young man showed his Christian character and drove Tim back to the van to get something we'd forgotten and then again to the motel, all in his own vehicle. We felt very blessed! I mean, here we were with a nice, clean motel for an unbelievable price and only 2-1/2 blocks away from the van!

We stayed up for a while, even though it was getting late by this point. We slept fairly well, and got up a little before 7:00 a.m., knowing that the garage was not even supposed to be open until 8:00. By 7:15 or so, Tim was at the garage to see if by chance someone would have come in early so he could give them the keys. A mechanic and the owner were there early, sure enough. Tim explained to them that we needed to be in Weimar, California, by 5:00 p.m. that day and said he knew they had a lot of cars to work on, but asked if there was any way they could try and get us in. He then walked back to the motel (it was 7:30 by this time) and we decided to go and try to find some breakfast. No sooner than Ethan and I had gotten dressed, combed our hair, I had gotten my contacts in, we'd put our things back in the bags so they'd be ready, and I picked up my purse to go than Tim's phone rang. It was 8:00 and it was the mechanic to say that our van was done. To say we rejoiced would be an understatement. We knew that if it was 10:00 a.m., we'd be late no matter what. We went and picked up the van and paid our bill and the mechanic handed us their card. Notice the symbol on it. No coincidence!

Long story longer, we grabbed our stuff, thanked the people at the inn, and grabbed some breakfast on our way out of town and we were on the road again! Amazing! Lots more driving and lots of road construction later, we arrived at the Weimar Institute at 4:30 p.m.!!! Just a half hour before registration closed.

Praise the Lord He knows exactly what He's doing. He had everything, all of this worked out long before we ever knew we were in trouble. We call it our $277 miracle!

Also, a funny thing about Wells, Nevada. Most of the people it seems were there because they had broken down there and never left. The lady from the inn - she and her husband broke down there about five weeks earlier, and after three days she was offered the job of manager of the motel and they've been there ever since (he's a truck driver). The lady at the fast food place said that's how most of the people in Wells got there. But, it was one of the friendliest places I've ever been. If you ever go through Wells, Nevada, be sure and patronize the town. They deserve it. And if you break down there, don't worry - God's got it all worked out! Just be careful not to stay too long or you might just decide to stay permanently!

Thank you for all your prayers for us on the way! We still covet them as we go through the next few months, financially and otherwise. Right now AFCOE is putting us up in the Weimar Inn on campus because our rental house isn't ready, which is a trial as far as meals and things, but we're just glad to be here and be safe and sound. Thanks again, friends and family!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Adventure Begins

The adventure has officially begun. We left out Thursday night and arrived in Colorado Springs around 5:30 Friday afternoon. It was a long drive for the first section of our journey, but seeing friends who we haven't seen in years at the end of it made it all worth while. The family didn't want to just drive straight through without stopping a couple of times, so we picked out the Pony Express Station and Sod House Museum in Gothenburg, Nebraska. We all liked learning a little more about the Pony Express and the utilitarian building that went on in the area in the 1800s in much of the prairie areas due to the lack of trees. It was a welcome break from driving if even only for a few minutes. Seeing friends that we have missed so much has been a blessing from God as well. We attended church with them on Sabbath with potluck afterwards and friends from church coming over to the house for fellowship and then supper afterwards. It was truly a blessed Sabbath day.
The mountains are gorgeous with Pike's Peak towering over the area. We look forward to seeing more of the area, enjoying the company of friends and making new ones before we have to leave in a few days in order to continue our adventures and register on time on the 23rd. We hope to find a decent motel to stay at somewhere in Nevada on the 22nd so that we can drive into the Weimar Institute campus early on the 23rd. The family has yet to sit down and see if there are any must see stops to make on the way.
I will be adding pictures and sprucing up the blog once I get the camera cables in from the van so that I can upload pictures to the computer. I hope to update very regularly, so expect the blog to change soon and often.
We love and miss our friends and family and it almost seems unreal to be going to California. I shared the comment with my wife this morning on the drive to church that it just doesn't seem like my life anymore. When I thought about it for a second I had to follow it up with the realization that it is not. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians that we are not our own, we are bought with the precious blood of Jesus. It is so amazing to me now to not only have a realization of the meaning of scripture, but to be living that realization. God is truly great and loving and I just pray that my family and I will continue to lean on Him and follow where He leads us, matter where that may lead. It is my prayer that each one of us finds in God the Father that He so desires to be to us. Live the relationship. Follow after His call in your life. God is love,...pursue love.
Until next time, with love
The Stambaughs