Location: Our front veranda on a FANTASTIC June 14th, warm sun and cool breeze, at 3:35pm.
For the past month, I have had so many things to write, and I have had so much trouble finding time to do so. Now, I finally managed a few minutes (with the help of my wonderful wife!), but I have to sort through all that has cluttered into corners of my mind to recall what to tell you!
How about I work backward?
Today, for the first time, my wife and our two children under two years old and I participated in a race together. A sore back kept us from jogging as we had intended, but we had a blast, and I think we finished well! I ran the race last year, but this year gave me the opportunity to include my amazing family. M. and I have to work to find recreational things we can do together as a couple, because of time, varied interests, and differing athletic skills. The race worked well, but it also marked another huge step: after so much time being humbled by the parenting process, we participated today as a family together in ministry. The purpose of today’s race was to raise awareness about human-trafficking and to unify people in the fight against it. How neat it was to be able to stand as a young family with hundreds of other people in condemning and responding to the evil and injustice that threatens to overwhelm us in this world!
Another recreational activity that M. and I recently began is German folk-dancing!
This weekly activity pulls us into an older generation and another culture, binding us closer together with lots of laughter and a good workout!
I wish we had pictures to show you of H. and E.’s first visit to a splash park! That was a blast! Not only that, but look at M.’s craft projects that she finished today! She framed and mounted doilies made decades ago in my family. Are they not beautiful?
By God’s grace and in addition to recreational activities, we have been able to reach out in more ministry, too. I think I mentioned in another post that we started a weekly prayer group against a specific evil to which our Lord called us to respond. Last week, however, we finally began our small group Bible study that is now meeting at our apartment. This is something we have been praying about for several months, and we are thrilled with its debut!
Another victory has to do with sleep. For those of you who have not seen us in person for a little while, we look a little haggard as we have not slept well for nearly two years. This week, though, again only by God’s grace, we took some steps toward getting the rest we need. By following the simple, heart-wringing counsel of a book about the sleep babies need, we survived two terrible nights of establishing a new routine and reaped the harvest of rest on the third and fourth nights. Praise the Lord!
Less successful was another first: over Memorial Day weekend, we made a five-hour drive to Canton, Ohio for a wedding–our first such trip with two little ones. We made it to Canton and had a fun weekend, but you would not believe it if I described the things that went wrong that trip! Let’s just say we learned some ways NOT to do it!
We have been extremely privileged to walk with some friends through extremely difficult situations, and to mentor others who are the edge of God doing great things in their hearts and in their lives! This has been a highlight that buoys us while we spend our regrets wishing we could manage our correspondance better, wanting to find time to invite more friends and family to dinner, and dreaming that some day we might tick a few items off our “To Do” lists!
All this while our heads and hearts are prayerfully asking and listening to the Lord about the present and the future; about overwhelming evils and the necessity of focusing on the goodness of our God; about our governments, suffering people, the culture around us; about stewarding our lives and our resources to result in the maximum investment in the glory of our Father; and about being humbled and broken by our work, our prayers, our relationships, and our lifestyle.
There is so much more! Yet I have already written longer than most of you want to read! So we will pause for now and say thanks for journeying with us. We heard a neat sermon yesterday that spoke of how often we forget that many times the difficult situations we face are simply examples of God teaching us along the journey, which is just as important sometimes as the next destination!
So we have been learning a lot along the way, and we hope you have, too! Look forward to seeing you at the next stop!