Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I often write prayers out in a journal that I keep. I enjoy going back and reading over journal entries/prayers that I wrote in the past. It's interesting to see what was going on in my life on a certain day or during a particular time period and to see how God has moved/is still moving. I love reading over prayers that have now been answered or situations that have now been worked out. Of course there are some prayers that continued to be lifted up, but God is ever-present even in those and still teaching me as He walks beside me. 

Sometimes I read over prayers in which I see that my mindset has shifted because of the place to which God has now brought me. Sometimes I find myself struggling with the same things or asking the same questions I was a year ago, but I have found God revealing himself in new ways and helping me view things from different and refreshed perspectives. I am so thankful for the way in which God reveals himself to me, whether it's through His Word, silent reassurance, another brother or sister in Christ, or any of the other creative ways God steps into our lives and makes himself known.

I was thinking about learning Croatian and trying to make myself use it as much as possible. It seems as though we have to teach ourselves to think differently as we learn a new language, to try and get to the point where we think of things in the new language instead of our first language. Maybe as we learn how to be God's people in each changing season, he molds us to think differently, to the way that He would view life instead of the way that we would view life before we were transformed by His love and mercy. 

I thank God for His patience with me and for the way that He can take any situation, whether big or small, difficult or pleasant, and use it to reveal Himself to me and shape me for His purpose. May we see the things/situations God places in our lives as learning experiences in which God teaches us more about Himself and transforms us. Let us passionately seek Him even when we may not realize for what purpose we are in each season of our lives. 


p.s. Speaking of prayers, we just want to thank all of you for each and every prayer that you have lifted up for us and let you know how much we appreciate them! It is evident that we have people around the world praying and that God is present and working. So thanks again and keep 'em coming! :) God bless.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jezik!!! (Language)

I wonder if there is an expression for trying to pack your brain full of a new language.  Maybe it is something along the lines of "Wow!  Calm down language!"  or even "Smiri se jezik!"

As Hope mentioned, we have started a three week intensive course to help us in the process of learning Croatian.  We have such a deep drive to learn how to communicate with the people here in their native tongue.  We hope that in our continual process of learning it (and speaking it), it will communicate love to the people around us.  I thought it would be good for you to have some pictures of us in language class since that is taking up a lot of our time which you can see below.

Other than that, we are preparing for the Scott's to be here.  The official green light for their new home should happen on Monday!!!!  Isn't that crazy?  Thank you so much for all the prayers.  We ask that you would continue to pray for their arrival here, the process to get registered, figuring out life here for them and just being a part of what's happening here in Croatia.

I would also like to say I had the honor of preaching at one of the church communities we are a part of here.  It was special for me because I had the opportunity to share about my dad.  It was special because God is able to use that story, and the continued process of it, to reach into the hearts and minds of people.  I'm thankful God redeems all things.  Please if God has moved in your life, share your story, rather God's story, with others.

May you live into the life God gives to us through Jesus in a new way this week.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Break Is Over

During the holidays and as the new year begins, Croatia takes a kind of hiatus. Many things, places and businesses slow down, if they do not come to a complete stop all together. People take a break and slow down from their usual routine. They take a break and take time to rest so that they are refreshed and ready for what the new year will bring. Our team decided to follow suit over the past few weeks and took time to rest, to enjoy the holiday time, to be together and with friends around us, and to study language in the free time we had.

This week is the first week of everything beginning again and daily routines being back in full swing. Students are back in school, businesses are open, and the city is busy. So this week has meant the same for us. This week is the beginning of a busy time for us of school, language classes, volunteering, research, and visitors. This week began with us beginning a three week intensive Croatian language course at a Language Academy. And already, only two days out, we are realizing that the class is allowing us to learn a ton but is pushing us to think and to take in as much of the Croatian language as possible during each class. Also, in the next few weeks, each of us will begin to again plug into the different places that we are serving and volunteering in the community here. And next week, the Scotts, will finally be arriving to be here with us, and we cannot wait to be able to help them get settled in! 

As I was thinking through the time of break and rest that just ended and got ready for and entered into the normal busy routine of daily life, I have been thinking about how awesome it is to be here in Croatia, and to be able to be a part of life here in the different seasons, times, and rhythms of life. To be able to more fully learn about the culture and life here in Zagreb, by having the opportunity to be a part of life here and to share life during the different times of life. We get to be a part of the busy times of life, the restful and refreshing times, the holidays and celebratory times, and the day to day normal routine times of life. We get to be a part of and understand what life is like here in its many different times and phases. We are experiencing some of the different times of life for the people here and get to live in those times with them. And I am thankful to be able to be a part of life here, in all its different seasons.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The New Year

Well, there seems to be a lot to make up for. We hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas, or Sretan Božić and Happy New Year! (Sretna Nova Godina). We apologize for our long absence on the blog and promise that it is not going to become a habit. The Christmas season was just as busy here as it is for all of you in your part of the world. However, through all the running around, we also had some good time to relax as most of the city and families have "holiday time" for about 2 weeks. 

So, things have been busy. We've all started to find things to plug into here. Some of us are volunteering with a few different organizations. Brittany and Jerry are both involved in sports clubs, frisbee and soccer, and have been able to really begin establishing great relationships through doing things they love. We are thankful for all the doors that God opens here. We're also still becoming more involved with the existing missionary community and amazed everyday but the way in which they interact and treat each other as a community of God's people. We are incredibly blessed with great supporters and mentors here within the missionary community. 

We finally got our visa situation all worked out and have official visas in our passports! This was a huge answer to lots of prayer and a lot of time and paperwork. It's kinda the last step to starting to feel settled. We also begin an intensive language course tomorrow for the next few weeks and are excited to see how that goes and hoping for the best. Also, the Scotts (see there website here ) will be arriving in the next couple weeks as they transition from being in France to Croatia and we are so excited to work with them and have them here with us. 

So all in all things are going really well. We've still had our days of frustration and craziness, mixed in with a little sickness over the past few weeks for a few of us, but we are still amazed everyday at how God is so faithful and provides for us. We appreciate all the prayers and ask you to continue praying with us as God leads us and shows us what he has in store for us for the next 7 months or so. We've spent this past week talking as a group and spending time one-on-one just talking and praying about being here and how to best be apart of what God is doing. The phrase we said a lot was 'God is doing something in Croatia and we want to be apart of it ' before we came. And I think we'd all be in agreement that God is doing something great here and while somedays we aren't positive about our role in it we are still seeking and learning everyday what it means to be used by God and surrendered to his roles for us here. He is doing something here and we feel privileged to be apart of it. So please continue to pray with us and thank you so much for all of your support. We can't wait to see what 2011 looks like here in Croatia. 

'The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.' Isaiah 55: 10-11