Sunday, August 7, 2011


Hmmm. Turnouts. I suppose one would wonder where I'm going with this title. Well, if you've gone to a national park (like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or Pikes Peak or other mountain park), chances are you've seen the spots where the road widens out to the right side or has a little loop-like lane off to the side. Sometimes it will be extra wide and have parking spaces. The purpose of these turnouts is more than just to let faster cars pass by (although that's handy, too). You quickly learn that there is often something to see - some spectacular sight, some unique outcropping of rock, something breathtaking, a vast view to make you gasp in awe and contemplate the wonder of creation. I love these turnouts! I think sometimes Tim gets a bit impatient with me when we're traveling because it's as if I want to stop at every one of them!!

Still wonder where I'm going? Well, we are currently on what I would perhaps call a turnout, it seems, in our ministry journey. Tim's last contract ran out at the beginning of May and we, along with a few of our friends in ministry, are not hearing of many opportunities yet. I'm not sure if it's the economy or time of year or what. While we are somewhat, ok more than a little, frustrated by this gap in the timing of our ministry jobs, I am certain of one thing. God has asked us to pull over at this turnout. There's something He wants us to see, to learn, or to do. I don't often stay in the car when we pull into a turnout. I want to get out and walk around, take the camera out and see if I can get a few memories on the SD card. So far, however, it looks like a turnout with not much to see, just a place to let other cars pass. I've seen some like this on our trips, though. At first there doesn't seem to be any reason for the placement, but if you get out to stretch your legs and walk a couple of minutes, you might see a great view or a trail to investigate, and come upon something extraordinary that others never pay attention to. That's sort-of descriptive of this time for us.

It seems as if we've pulled over at Someone else's request, thinking it will be a super short stop, because at first glance there's no reason for the turnout. However, we know that the Lord takes us through experiences for our own good, for our spiritual growth. It's tough staying with family and not having our own place, and Tim finds it frustrating to work in a factory when he feels that there's more worthy lines of work to put effort into, but amongst all this, we need to "walk around and investigate the area" spiritually. What is it God wants us to learn here, or who is it we should be reaching out to? Divine appointments are arranged by God, not just on a 10-minute conversation out of nowhere, but also in these turnouts of our lives. There's something here for us to learn that we would not learn, or at least not learn as well, if we had gone on quickly to our next position. Are we anxious for this time to be over, to move on already? Sure! But if there's a blessing reserved for us here, just as if we would stumble upon a path leading to a treasure few will notice, I don't want to stay in the car and miss it!

So, here I'm asking for your prayers. Please ask the Lord to make it plain to us the reason for the break in our ministry journey. Perhaps you're facing a lull in your own spiritual journey and are finding it frustrating. We need to think to ask the Lord the reason for His pulling us aside. There's a lesson and a blessing to be gained, I'm sure. I'm hoping you'll get out of the car and poke around a little, too. I don't think we'll regret it! I'm praying that our ministry and yours, too, will be enriched and strengthened by our time in the turnout lane... and maybe, just maybe... we'll learn to enjoy the view and use the leg-stretching time to our spiritual health.



Saturday, May 14, 2011

I was just reading through our last blog posting. Wow! I can't believe it's been a year! I hadn't really realized that I left that post in draft rather than getting it on here, but at least it's up now. :) We have been able to observe the full annual cycle of seasons here, and as I write this, I am looking out of my second-story window to a yet unplanted field across the road, bordered at the not-too-distant far side by the beautiful conifers that gave us something green to look at all winter long, but also the new leaves that have been growing and greening up to cover the skinny, bare branches we have seen for months. Closer to the house and entering my vision out the window from the right are the wonderfully green leaves bouncing in the breeze, dangling from the second tallest tree in our yard. I've got the window half open and the happy voices of the birds carry through to my spring-starved ears. Such beauty I see and hear outside, even though today is a rainy, cool, overcast day. Oh! Did I mention it's Sabbath? :)

It's been a wonderful experience to be here in Michigan and in ministry for this particular church for the past year. To say we've learned a lot would be an understatement! We have made so very many close friends here, so of course, it will be incredibly hard to leave them. Tim and I are learning that when it comes time to leave, you worry over the contacts you've made much like one would worry about a child going off for their first sleepover or to camp for the first time... Who will take care of them? Who will see to their spiritual needs? Will they stay in touch with them? Will they be able to relate to them the way we have and help them along the way when they stumble or get discouraged? We have no choice but to leave them in God's care and in His hands and pray that the people He calls to nurture them will answer that call faithfully and lovingly.

Our family has had the privilege to see a few baptisms here in the past 365+ days, for which we give great thanks. We feel sure that there will be more to come as well. Tim preached his first evangelistic series in April, just before his contract ended. He put so much time and effort and study into each presentation, trying to make sure it was just right. As I sat in the second row that very first night, I was so happy to see him doing something that he loves - sharing the message of hope, trust, and salvation. I don't remember whether it was 5 minutes after he started preaching or 15, but I honestly sat there stunned. I've been hearing my husband preach the Word for 13 years, but as I listened that night the thought ran through my mind several times, "Wow! I've NEVER heard my husband preach like THIS!" The Lord added such power to and really blessed in great measure the hard work Tim had put into it. While I didn't reveal it to him until two weeks later, that was the first night it occurred to me that maybe the Lord will someday call him to be an evangelist. And, to surprise myself more, I found my heart willing if that should be the case.

We don't know as yet where we will be going next other than that we cannot stay here if Tim is not working, so waiting on the Lord is the name of the game. There was a call extended to us in Northern Minnesota, but we felt that God was not leading us in that particular direction. Things are uncertain, but in a peculiar way, I'm starting to get accustomed to the uncertainty that our lives have been filled with since late 2008 when this journey started. We have a couple of leads on different positions and are just praying for direction. (By the way, we always appreciate having others join us in that prayer.) It's getting difficult to envision moving every year or so, and so the desire of my own heart is for something a little more long-term. Nevertheless, we will follow where God wants us to be.

As a side note to our fellow Adventists, if your church (or one you know of) is looking for a Bible worker, lay pastor, or evangelist, please prayerfully consider contacting us. You never know from which direction the Lord will open up a new door. You can contact him through this blog or also through Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism, care of Don Mackintosh, who will get the message to Tim.

As always, God bless!