To God be the glory...

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalms 100:5

…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12

 

In 2009, we embarked on a new journey together – a call to Ghana, building on our faith already cultivated through growth.  Then again, in 2012, another new phase of our journey – launch One Step In Faith (OSIF), building further on our faith and cultivating further through more growth.  Continually, we have been and are tested, where these tests build a foundation firm in our belief, God is good all the time and He loves us.  During those years and since, we have developed a deeper dependence and trust in God and His desires for both our family and OSIF.  In these years and since our growth has not always been “steady as she goes”, sometimes these were steep, painful stretches.  From the outside looking in, some who do not know us or possibly don't know the Lord, would question our call to follow God wherever He leads. 

You see, over the years we have had various struggles, deaths, illness and injury, consistent issues with our home, consistent issues with our vehicles, financial roller coasters, and the list goes on.  In 2015, Isabella was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  In 2016, we had a series of traumatic events occur near our home, creating great fear in our family.  In 2017, over the course of one week - days before heading out to Greece - our vehicle and house A/C went out, as well as a storm landing one of our backyard trees on the back of our house.  These are not isolated years or isolated events.  These are just examples of our humble struggles.  Yet, we don’t only believe, but embrace God is always at work molding us to be more like Him and this is good, if we allow Him.  These years of difficulty, we always found peace in Jesus.  And, through each and every one of these struggles, God has not only carried us through and provided, He has allowed our foundation of faith to harden so much more.

Now listen, struggle and pain have not been the whole story.  In the midst of these clouds, God has brought us through such beautiful terrain, filled with experiences I never saw possible for our lives.  Places, people and experiences we have felt so honored to have been invited to join.  So many of you have come together alongside us, in order to provide education for children who otherwise would not have (or had) the opportunity, to provide support for mothers & foster families who have lost family support when they chose to stand-up for the life of their child/a child.  These are all for and in His glory.  None of this was possible without Him, and all of this was done in His name. 

It's really been in this last year, where the steady growth is revealing a much bigger picture than we saw for ourselves.  God had been preparing our body/mind/spirit for something much more important, where the stakes are much higher, and where the biggest transformation would occur.  Through all those struggles and all those blessings, we built a foundation where Jesus was our center.  I always say, it wasn’t roses and gumdrops, where everything flowed like a beautiful melody.  It was a symphony of highs and lows, where God met us in our weaknesses and carried us when we were not strong enough on our own.  His grace has always been sufficient.  As 1 John explains, love is of God, intended for us to share by loving one another.

Although Ghana is still a part of our journey, God has been preparing us for the spiritual battlefield.  He has been preparing us, in order that we may love our Muslim neighbors, who have endured so much suffering and loss.  

Please keep us in your prayers, as we continue to seek and learn more about where and how God is leading us next, and that we continue to lean in, trust completely, and give glory to God who carries us through our weaknesses.

Thank you and hugs to you all...

They will know us by the way we love...

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 25: 34-40

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  Matthew 28:19-20

 

Many of you have followed alongside us in encouragement, prayer and support.  We have felt honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to share the love of Jesus, with and through your help.  Over the past couple years, the Lord has kept me in a mode of quiet, growth.  I have not blogged or been an active communicator, waiting for the Lord to release me, in His time.  Well, the day has arrived.  In the last several weeks, I have slowly felt the waiting come to a close.  After so much silence, where do you start.  I suppose, the beginning.

For the last several years, the Lord has begun to soften our hearts for Muslim community.  Most specifically, we have felt an ache for those caught in the refugee crisis, as well as those in transit to be caught in the crisis.  Muslims from the most unreached areas of the world have been arriving into the most reachable areas of the world.  Troy and I prayed and fasted for these men, women and children.  Their plight has broken our hearts.  Their countries are being torn apart, surrounded by betrayal, seeking the holy land - Europe.  Once they have arrived, they are circle the proverbial desert (refugee camps), as they await news of their requested approval for asylum. 

In 2017, we spent the summer in Lesvos.  It was amazing, yet also very rocky and frustrating time.  We struggled at first, trying to force our predetermined plan on the predetermined plan of God.  You see, we know better. We prepare and plan, with the expectation we should be flexible to move with the Ebb and Flow of God’s design.  However, that sadly was not what we did.  We tried to force our predetermined plan, believing our commitment to those we partnered with was more important than our commitment to what God directed us towards while we were there.  It was a fast learning curve, as God captured our attention and we had to slow down quite a bit. 

My stateside employer allowed me to travel to Greece, with the understanding I would continue working Monday – Friday, EST time.  With a 7 hour time zone difference, I spent much needed time with the kids in the morning daytime, while Troy worked with a partner organization at one of the camps.  A few short weeks into our scheduled program, Isabella was injured and ended up in a cast (she’s all good now!) and Troy’s feet were making guard duty difficult in the camps.  Yes, you read that correctly. Troy was a guard.  And, there were some instances where he had to chase down refugees trying to leave the facility without authorization.  Quite the picture, isn’t it?

These two factors led to a connection with a Muslim based NGO, in country, Humans 4 Humanity.  This organization was providing dignity and humanity back to the refugees.  These were considered things lost, through their journey, arrival and duration in the camps.  The children joined Troy in the evenings of Ramadan, providing water and dinner after sundown.  A real, tangible, outward expression of Christ’s love.  These four joined several other secular volunteers – providing no strings attached compassion and love.  During their volunteering, there were several instances where individuals expressed surprise by Troy and the kids.  First, our trust to bring our children.  No one under 18 is allowed in the camps.  Because of this, not many volunteers are in country with their families.  The refugees are not accustomed to seeing volunteer children, Christian children playing with their children.  But this organization was working outside of the camps.  Second, we asked for nothing.  We didn’t share about Jesus.  We just loved them.  Even the couple running the NGO was captured by this.  As the scripture tells, they will know us by the way we love.

In the months following our return, through prayer and fasting, we have felt the shift into the next chapter of our journey.  We are still involved with our kiddos in Ghana; however, God is stretching and growing us to remain focused with loving our Muslim neighbors. This experience is a direct example of just loving one another.

Please keep us in your prayers, as we continue to seek and learn more about where and how God is leading us next.