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Week 6 & 7: He is Love

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 3:16 NKJV
Last week we experienced rest.  Our time with cousins in San Antonio was full of rest, laughter, and…nothing.  It was awesome!  Nothing like feeling safe, encouraged, and relaxed in the middle of a hectic schedule.  PTL!  Time well spent with the Canavati, Daniel, and Franklin family’s.  Last week was just what we needed to recover from the previous 1.5 months of traveling and to prepare for the home stretch.
God’s timing just seems to be perfect.  I know we experienced that in the accident, in the week we spent in San Antonio, and in the numerous “coincidental” (not coincidence at all!) meetings we have had with people in transition.  Life is difficult and full of transition, but the burden is lighter when we lift each other up.
On Sunday, our burden was made lighter as we visited my childhood church, Southwest Church of the Nazarene.  We shared a brief encouragement and update on our families adventures in Poland, how God is faithful during transition.  Just so happens we arrived on Pastor Amos’s last day!  Talk about God’s timing!  We left blessed with more than we deserve.  Thank you Southwest Family!
Three months ago Michelle and Sindy (our friend from Honduras) conspired to get me to Honduras on a Coffee origin trip.  This past Monday I began an adventure to Honduras, while Michelle sacrificially watched the kids for 4 days in a hotel room (without a pool or car!).  How amazing it was!
I was welcomed to Honduras by new friends Johana and Eduardo who made me feel like family.  As I started to settle in, I discovered that the cash I brought with me (in $20’s) could not be exchanged due to issues with counterfeiting.  Hooray!  But God(!), connected me with the Mountain of Hope missions team in the lobby of our hotel.  It is amazing how God connects His people!
With correct currency and much joy, we met with Osman (co-founder of Aruco) and departed for Corquin to meet the Aruco coffee team.  The Aruco Cooperative has jumped from under 14 farms to over 170 and 1000+ acres in the past 10 years, serving to develop the coffee community of Corquin.  What amazes me is Aruco, Emerga Coffee (friends Sindy and Bojan in Kraków), and myself share the same dream of community around coffee.  We each desire to enrich the lives of the farmers, offer better connections and pay for coffee, and to offer customers a higher quality coffee.  Exciting times are in store for us!
Visiting three farms this visit, it was truly amazing to connect with farmers on a personal level and gain first hand experience life on the farm.  These people work hard to produce this life sustaining crop.  If they produce a good harvest, life continues.  If they are not attentive to their trees, or the deadly “Roya” hits their harvest (Coffee Leaf Rust), families can be decimated financially.  After all, three to four months of harvest provides their income for the year (50% of expenses occur during this time).
I have always talked about wanting to help the farmer, but I never could exactly describe what that would be until now.  Wednesday I was honored to visit the school connected with farmers in Corquin, Jardin De Niños Y Centro Basico Bilingüe.  What I thought was going to be a meeting with the principle…turned out to be  80% of the student body, 50% of the parents, all the teachers, members of the Aruco co-op, and the principle.  A humbling experience to have this much demonstration after the school year ended!  Only their first year in existence and they have the verbal support of the local Catholic Church and the Corquin Government.  Although this has been great, their needs are many.  Much like Loralie and Jack’s school in Poland, their school only serves up to the 2nd Grade.  With each year they will be able to expand, but their temporary provided for location at the local community center only allows for limited growth.This school has a heart for the community of Corquin.  This school has a place in my heart.  I am sure I will be sharing much more in the weeks and months to come as I outline my intentions for ministering to this coffee community through support of this school.
Please keep our family in your prayers for…

  • our travels for the rest of our time Stateside
  • financial peace(praise and prayer!, 30% of monthly budget raised)
  • housing in Poland(believing in God’s promise!)
  • planning of this year and next in Poland

To see photos from my time in Honduras please go here!

Week 5: He is Protective

“You are loved, and their is a hole in your darkness.”

-unknown

A very interesting stranger once told my daughter this.  I can tell you that story another day, but let me tell you how true it is.  I almost lost my daughter this week.  After a wonderful time with our friends the McCully’s in Lompoc, we continued to visit a life long friend in Yuma, Arizona.  Heading Eastbound on Highway 78 we were hit by a driver who failed to stop at a stop sign.  The officer who arrived on scene informed me that if I hadn’t used my brakes that we would have been hit center mass, T-boned.  This would have caused a roll over and major injory or fatalities.

We walked away.

Minor to no injuries.

The only explanation for what happened is that God protected us.  Jack and Loralie walked away with one bruise, the size of a penny.  Michelle walked away sore.  I sprained my big toe, had sprained my right wrist (no longer the case), and my knee looks normal after having a softball size swelling.

All of us are loved.  Jesus is the light that pierces a hole in the darkness of this fallen world.

I believe that God has big plans for my family.  Not just Michelle and I, but for Jack and Loralie too.  My families call to Poland is going to shape all of us in the ways God desires.  The struggles and difficulties of our life tie beautifully into our testimony.

I am in pursuit of God.  I am not perfect, but I am in pursuit of Him.  I trust Him.  He is my provider and my protector.  My story, my testimony, will make this very clear.

Thank you all so much, we have felt your prayers.  We have felt supported. God’s kingdom is greater than any network or resource we may have.

It has been 4 days since the accident.  We were given a car to use while here in Yuma (thanks JB and Pastor Rick!), we have received a donation to cover the rental car (almost all the insurance and fees included for 1 month), we were comped our hotel room for 2 nights and given a free upgrade (maybe in part to a busted water pipeline and roaches), our great friend Kaisa drove out to pick us up and has played host to Yuma for us, many others have been inquiring about how they can help us, and even more have lifted our family up in prayer.

Please continue to lift my family up in prayer.  Traveling with little ones is not easy, especially making the trip from Yuma -> Phoenix -> El Paso -> San Antonio -> Houston -> Austin -> Waco -> Dallas/FtWorth -> OKC…in the month of June.  Pray for continued healing (we have received so much!).  Pray for opportunities to share our testimony.  Pray for financial peace.  Pray for those we meet with.  Pray for traveling mercies.

In all of this I am encouraged.  Though people may only see the darkness that is in this life, full of pain, struggle, and suffering…I see Jesus.  He is the “hole” in our darkness.  He is the reason we are loved.  All of life (the good, bad, and ugly) we view through a lens of scripture, Christ.  It is the “But God,” lens.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Ephesians 2:4

My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Be comforted, for you are loved.  Be encouraged, for you are not alone.  Be strengthened, for God is our protector.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like prayer, encouragement, an open ear, would like to hear our story, if you would like to know what our needs our, or any reason what-so-ever.  We are incredibly thankful for your support, prayer, emotional, financial, or otherwise!

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Chapter 4: He is Present

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

This chapter in Hebrews has always been my favorite.  The power of the testimony of God’s people in pursuit of His will is incredible.  Each of our testimonies is evidence of God in our lives.  This is not just for our own personal use of “preaching to ourselves” in times of struggle and despair, but an encouragement and testimony to the power of the presence of God in our lives.  He is Present.

This past week we concluded our time in Portland, Oregon.  We had the privelage to meet with good friends who we haven’t had the chance to see in quite some time!  A huge thank you to the Marstons, Halls, and Ms. Luna!  The time with you all was encouraging and uplifting!  Also huge thanks to the Sautter family for hospitality and love!  We pray God would bless all of you for your presence in our lives!

Then Saturday we left the safety of home for the open road.  We began with a slight trek down to Redding, California, making a dinner break with the Fitzpatrick family in Yreka.  Thank you for the food, fellowship, and the coffee!  Sunday morning, we enjoyed fellowship at Bethel Church’s main campus.  They may be outside of my traditional Nazarene roots, but Michelle leaving without pain in her back or neck speaks volumes to the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today, we begin our journey South.  We leave from Santa Cruz with delicious coffee and a rejuvenated spirit.  Encouraged, excited, and ready to follow God wherever He may lead.  For now, on to Lompoc!

Please continue to pray for our family as we are on this fast paced trip through the US!

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