In a few minutes we take Jayma to the airport for her return flight to OKC. We know what she’s headed for – culture shock, loads of people asking her what she’s going to do next (to which the answer is “I don’t yet know”), and an environment sans two little children who all but refuse to allow her a moment’s peace.
Jayma – You have enriched our family in inexpressible ways. You likely cannot see the countless ways your care for and service to our family has made the ‘downs’ more bearable and the ‘ups’ more joyful these past 6 months. We love and respect you deeply. Chris and I will miss teasing you and being teased back, our evening chats, and processing spiritual issues with you. Blake says he’ll miss wrestling and baking with you, and Mackenzie says she’ll miss your piggies and reading books. God has used you to redefine for Chris and me what true biblical community is supposed to be. Thank you for risking it all and trusting God by sacrifically giving up 6 months of your life to serve alongside our family.
To those of you reading this, please take a moment to pray for Jayma’s safe journey home and a clear understanding of God’s direction as she unpacks (literally and figuratively) her life-changing experience in London.
Chris abruptly informed me a few nights back that this week marks the dreaded ‘one month until Jayma leaves’ date. The four of us ate dinner without her as she was in the city last night – and it felt like walking around with shoes on the wrong feet. Jayma has become a member of our family.
Nearly six months into obeying God’s leading to London, Jayma’s still patiently seeking to understand His will for her and whether she’ll get to return. (Sound familiar?) Please take a moment right now to pray for Jayma’s strength as she waits upon the Lord. Pray she would know His specific will and see Him provide miraculously the faith and means for her to obey.
Jayma – you are such a shining star! Your commitment to serve tirelessly and sacrifice for the Kingdom is admirable. Your care for the four of us, your insight, and your involvement in all we’ve done since June are shrouded in excellence and humility. Our family is better for having had you live under our roof. We love you!
You won’t like this (which is reason enough to do it) – but I publicly dedicate to you these words written by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I’m home from the office with the stomach flu today, and I’ve mainly been posting disappointing updates on our visa situation, so it’s the PERFECT day to inject some sunshine into our blog!
Shortly after we moved to London I received an e-mail from a young lady in Edmond, OK who informed me she’d been reading our blog and praying for our family. She also thought God was speaking to her about moving to London someday. Chris and I have routinely been hearing positive things about Jayma – whom we’d never met face to face until our first day back in the states 7 weeks ago – and have been praying for God’s clear direction for her since last November.
We like the idea of “creating margin” in one’s life, meaning it’s important for believers to always have ‘extra’ on hand (even if that means going on less) so God can use it when a need or opportunity arises. While our family does not have any extra financial resources to share, we do have a (tiny!) third bedroom in the home we’re returning to in Wimbledon and are VERY excited that Jayma is coming to live with us! This is Jayma’s last week at work (on staff at LifeChurch.tv’s Edmond Campus as the Host Team Coordinator – managing over 400 volunteers!!), and she anticipates traveling to London around June 24. (Let’s SERIOUSLY hope we arrive there before she does so she has a proper welcome to her strange new world!)
Each member of our family is looking forward to having Jayma in our home. Our children already argue about “my” Jayma. There are many skills Jayma has that will assist our ministry and family, but most of all we love Jayma for valuing the adventure of obedience as much as we do.
If you’d like to learn more about Jayma, visit her personal blog by clicking here.
Last week I was reminded that my life counts. I had the special opportunity to meet a pastor into whom our non-profit and my local church have invested. He told me that our time, prayers, support, and financial aid are making a global impact among the Spanish-speaking population. Wow.
My hope is to share this carefully so that no one thinks this is me patting myself on the back. I’m not a millionaire, I’m not a model, and I sure as heck have room to improve as a leader. Living an amazing life of cutting back in areas that don’t count and investing all I have into what I value is what makes experiences like mine with Carlos more common (and yet always incredible!) than I can express. So no – this isn’t bragging. This is me sharing my story as a means of asking you to give it a try.
Asking myself one question over and over in life has afforded me opportunities and non-financial dividends (the kind that really count!) that I value more than almost anything.
ASK YOURSELF: WHAT DO I HAVE THAT I CAN SHARE?
Here are things that have passed through our family’s life (due to being in the place God asked us to go, or as a result of fostering relationships to expand causes we care about) which turned out to be intended for sharing:
* an extra room in our home
* a vehicle
* a spot in our family for adoption
* a financial gift (placed in our hands, meant for use by another)
* a platform
* free downloads
Look around you. Abundance is everywhere in your life. What do you have to share?
Everyone impacted by your generous lifestyle is paid huge dividends. Start sharing!
Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally. She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.
Enjoying our weekend…
Jayma and I went into the city together for an evening out on Friday – cannot believe she’s returning to OKC in just two months. These past 4 months with her have gone sooooooo quickly.
Yesterday Chris attended the last Global Leadership Summit in N. London to meet with LC.tv OPEN users and explain the OPEN program to other church leaders interested to learn more.
We had twin girls from Blake’s class and their father over for an extended lunch and play date yesterday.
Over 25 countries were represented at the 9am GMT LC.tv experience today and 2 salvations!
Jayma has 2 friends from Oklahoma staying with us tonight!
We’re off to tea with our dear friends whom we first met nearly a year ago when we first arrived in London. (You may remember them as the couple who located and paid for a hotel room for us when our first flat offer fell through.)
May your weekend end well, friends!
Don’t just take my advice – listen to my friend Jason in South Africa! He volunteers with Chris, Jayma, and me in the chat room on Sunday mornings. Click on the link below
Jason – South Africa
Chris and I leave early Friday for the UK’s Global Leadership Summit (Willow Creek) this weekend. I want to give a great big thank you to our friends at Milton Keynes Christian Centre who’ve provided for us to attend. We just know we’re in for a huge personal blessing to absorb the teaching this weekend. THANK YOU Milton Keynes friends! We’re touched by your generosity.
Please keep Jayma and the kids in your prayers for a fun, safe, and healthy weekend together. The kids are VERY excited to have Jayma all to themselves Friday and Saturday.
We had 16 people tonight at The Open Door! We’re getting excellent feedback and encouraged about heading into this week with some good leads and appointments that came out of tonight’s fellowship. I’ve included some pics (remember the church is under construction!).
When we arrived we discovered that the Korean church that meets before us had prepared a feast in the church kitchen. As I walked upstairs in the stagnant heat I could smell the garlic shrimp. Thankfully, the ever-helpful Jayma ran (and I think she literally may have run!) down the street to buy some Febreeze so our attendees wouldn’t turn around and go back home! We had a really great time of worship and were especially happy that Chris’s college roommate from his freshman year at OK Baptist University, who is now the pastor of Tecumseh OK’s First Baptist Church, attended while in town on a mission trip.
…Maybe you’ll be joining us on September 14th at The Open Door launch?!?
I sent an e-mail to our prayer team earlier this week and we’re already seeing the positive results of those prayers! We’re gaining a sense of which LC.tv OPEN churches we’ll visit in August, had a wonderful 9am GMT Internet Campus service this morning, and tonight’s experience at The Open Door was very good as well.
While we did not have a large group, we had nearly all different attendees tonight and a ‘seeker’. This person liked the experience, plans to return, and has asked for prayer this week. There was a good sense of community and many, many positive comments about the message on “Habakkuk: When God Seems Unfair”. The feedback was the best we’ve ever had, in fact. We are also thrilled that 3 different people have now agreed to help provide live worship on occasion for The Open Door – something we’ve been seeking God in prayer for since February.
We’ve been processing every detail of this evening in our living room with Jayma this evening and are pleasantly surprised to discover that – even though we’d assumed it would be young families – the demographic we’re reaching and attracting is consistently single people in their 20s and 30s. This is good for many reasons, one being that we can actually hold off on providing children’s programming until a need arises. We’ve been seeking a children’s ministry leader but see that God’s not yet provided as it’s likely not going to be needed in the immediate future. Always very interesting to gain another piece of the puzzle…
We’re truly encouraged by tonight’s attendance, participation, and response to the message. I took a few photos to upload to our blog, but we continue having connection problems and I’m unable to get it done tonight. I’ll try getting them up again tomorrow. Just wanting to leave you with this update before I head to bed…YAWN!…
Love and thanks to each of you for your prayers!!
Today we fulfilled a promise made to Blake last April - to ride the London Eye when we were back in England. Jayma (one of the family now) joined us for the ride.
We’re very excited to have our friend Keith from Wales (moving here in September) staying with us tonight. He’s come in town to attend and volunteer at The Open Door tomorrow night!