We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps.
We are deeply discouraged and surprised to learn tonight that Chris’s missionary visa application was denied by the UK. We crossed all the t’s, dotted all the i’s, had it reviewed by a lawyer – and cannot imagine what (other than our enemy) created this blockade in our return to England.
We will not know until Monday evening why the visa was denied or IF we will even be allowed to re-apply. There is NO DOUBT in our minds God called us to go to England, so I trust we’ll be allowed to re-apply. The ripple effect of damages is on our minds, though. We’re down a few thousand dollars in the visa process, will not have a visa in hand by May 1 to apply for Blake to attend school, and are due to pay rent on our next home in Wimbledon this week. We have money in the bank to provide for the house but no understanding as to how long we’ll be renting it without being able to occupy it…since appeals and re-application could take months.
Please pray for our peace not to crumble. We know God allowed this to happen and is not surprised by this difficult news. Our hands are tied and we have no recourse at all at this point. Only His intervention will allow us to return to England. We’re on our knees tonight and so grateful He’s hearing every word. Join us in prayer, and get ready to see God work!!
Last Sunday Chris, the kids, and I visited H2O Church in Ada, Oklahoma. It’s a network church just like Hillside, meaning it’s not a LC.tv campus but uses LC.tv video teaching in its services. We liked experiencing a fun and different environment that felt like LC.tv but had its own unique taste. We were so warmly welcomed by people I assumed some of them were on staff but later learned they are just dedicated volunteers and partners in that great congregation. You can see the church’s website here.
I’m wondering how I can be so tired and yet so energized at the same time. We had a few quiet days after arriving in the US but we now find ourselves coming up for air around 5pm every day only to eek out what energy we have left to spend time at home before the kids go to bed. Once they’re in bed, we typically return to working on our fundraising campaign.
All of these things are great, and I’m certain they’re what God wants us doing right now. Yet I am fairly dismayed to discover after 2 week of being in the US that some of the ‘good things’ I’d planned to do must be put aside. Six weeks seems like such a long time to visit – but we’re finding our schedule openings are dwindling already.
God is sternly reminding me I cannot function without my morning quiet time. I already know this, but I’ve tried juggling this priority and it’s not working. (I’m such a morning-oriented person that were I even to open my Bible for serious reading in the evening I’d immediately begin drooling in sleep.) He’s reminding me to look Chris in the eye every evening to discuss the ideas we’re gaining through our training so no plans are forgotten by the time we’re back in London. God’s calling my bluff as I think twice before exercising these days. He’s also encouraging me to protect what time I have with the kids right now so their little hearts don’t suffer as a result of my busyness.
Maybe you’re like me these days. You’re in a different environment or schedule. Time’s habit of pressing on when we’re asking for a break dampens our effectiveness as servants of Christ and members of our families. Things have to be left behind as you revisit those parts of your life you cannot forfeit. Let’s raise our chins and say ‘no’ so that we may say ‘yes’ to God’s best.
You may recall that Al Gore invented the Internet. But do you know he’s developed a rather cool television network?
I contributed to video comments on the benefits of the anonymity of the web. See what I have to say here.
I had the fun opportunity to contribute to our friends’ blog – Brandon and Christi Donaldson of the LC.tv Internet Campus – today. Visit their site here.
I can’t really express how challenging and helpful the meetings we’re having this week with leaders at LifeChurch.tv are. We’re gaining momemtum and direction in grand ways. It’s a real privilege to be sharpened by such great leaders.
I am currently scanning a list of churches in the UK who have accessed LifeChurch.tv’s Open website. Open is an INCREDIBLE program launched over a year ago that puts all LifeChurch.tv’s resources on the Internet for FREE download. Churches and people around the world are using video, sermon transcripts, etc. to expand their ministries. With my mouth open wide, I’m reviewing (and reviewing and reviewing) a list of more than 170 churches in the UK making use of this great program. There are even a few churches near where we live who have accessed LifeChurch.tv resources. I can’t tell you what this does in the way of motivating Chris and me to meet these folks when we’re back in London to see how we can help them or learn from them.
In other news, I’d forgotten the average wind speed in OK could be classified as ‘gale force wind’.
We had a fun weekend visiting the OKC LifeChurch.tv campus on Saturday evening, running into old friends to share hugs and encouragement.
Our family attended Skyline church in downtown OKC Sunday morning, a church around 6 months old that was formed in part by fellow Anderson University alumni. This service provided us some ideas and inspiration.
We’ve run into a few process-related snags on our visas to the UK already. (No, we don’t have criminal records!) Please pray that our visas are approved and back in our hands so we may enroll Blake in school by April 28. We truly don’t know what we’d do if we don’t make the application deadline and lose his spot at this incredible school.
In other news, we’ve been to Taco Bell, Ted’s (local Tex-Mex restaurant), Super Target, and Wal-Mart. All very American things we’ve not experienced for months now. I’m sure we can go back to living without them all, but it was fun to go.
Chris and I went for a jog in the Oklahoma wind yesterday. The wind tried to push me over the entire time. I suppose it’ll have to be the wind that I’ve NOT missed. However, it’s the same temp. in London today but cloudy – so I’ll take today’s OKC sun as a peace offering for the wind beating we’ve taken.
We’re meeting friends today and have a fun weekend ahead – LifeChurch.tv OKC Campus on Saturday night and the 9am GMT Internet Campus service at 3am OKC time on Sunday morning!
We’re in a place where everyone talks with strange accents and they drive on the wrong side of the road…Oklahoma!
We’re stretching our legs in wide-open American spaces and cars. It was a special treat to be able to have room to move around in the shower stall this morning, and our kids are LOVING having space in the house to spread their toys out in! Getting behind the wheel of a car after 6 months off was a little scary but we both managed.
Thanks for your prayers for our trip. We had a great flight back and are adjusting pretty well to the time change.
We had a check-in meeting at LifeChurch.tv today and look forward to absorbing all we can these next weeks so we may implement these lessons in the network church in Wimbledon. Chris and I have plans to wrap up a few details for Blue Door Ministries, Inc. (our 501(c)3 organization) this week and mail out fundraising letters.
I’ll post updates throughout our visit once we jump into a routine here.
Ten minutes into a 30 minute jog the other day I tripped and essentially ate pavement. Go ahead and laugh about this – I think I made a pretty good scene for all the families in the park. I got back up, checked to see if my iPod was broken, and noticed my knee was bleeding through my pants. You probably know exactly what happened next: A list of reasons came to mind to turn around and go back home. I thought about walking back home, finding a cookie to eat, and lying on the couch like a bum. Perhaps this fall was just the excuse I needed to avoid exercising!
Then the thought crossed my mind. You might’ve gone home a few months ago, but that’s not you anymore. Nothing’s broken – just run! So I ran. And I ran longer than I planned to. Then after I came home and stretched our family took a 2 mile walk. Later that afternoon I went for a long walk in the rain. I was sore from my fall but I felt so much stronger from having chosen to press on.
You’re running right now, too. You’re disciplining and training yourself to be more like Christ. Are you running back home in retreat, or are you running out there on the open road with a purpose in mind? It’s a fact of life that when any believer begins to obey God obstacles arise. Things worse than a crack in the concrete (the cause of my fall) appear and try to take us down. We start to wonder: Did I hear God correctly? Maybe I’ve obeyed enough now and I can go back to where things are more comfortable for me.
Don’t buy those lies in your head. You’re strong enough to keep running.
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”