Monday, March 7, 2011

Our Story. God’s Story. Part 10

Oh my!  I am at Part 10!  I just can’t believe it! 

If you are new to this Our Calling Story, well, just jump right in!  No need to catch up…I’m writing each segment to hopefully bring blessing in itself…

Trust all will be blessed with a touch of Him!

He is WORTHY OF ALL OF OUR LIVES!!!

When I left you last week, we had come back from Hungary after our year internship there, joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ’s high school ministry, Student Venture, got pregnant, trained, raised support over 15 months during which our first child, a son, was born.

In the Late Winter/Early Spring of 2008, we were asked to consider returning to Hungary that summer for Speakout English Camp.  Actually, I think it started on Facebook with some of the students there who somehow started a rumor, probably through my friend, Julie, that we would be coming back that summer.  Well, you know how rumors go…and so, pretty quickly we felt hard-pressed to say ‘no’ {provided our support was completed} and prepared to return for the summer as a family of three.

But first, we drove down to the end-of-the-year conference for Student Venture called Getaway.  TheBaby JJ 6-15 Myrtle Beach and Father's Day 011 - Copy one for the Eastern part of the United States with high schools from Northern Michigan to Orlando attending, was in Myrtle Beach and we were so excited to be able to dive into ministry after raising support.

I also began the process of being in the presence of what I love, high school ministry, and NOT being able to have the hands-on exposure I had enjoyed before.  We were staying on the eighth floor of a large hotel and our son still napped twice a day.  My husband works 12-14 hour days during conferences.  There is child care for certain things {an amazing blessing} and I relished going to the larger group meetings and interceding for the conference and the students I see.

However, this is a process I continue to navigate—entering as fully as I amBaby JJ 6-15 Myrtle Beach and Father's Day 042 able to as a Mom and support to my husband, letting go of resentment, and learning the humility of how much bigger His Kingdom is than what I can tangibly do within it.  And always and ever, the greatest I can be is to be a prayer warrior for His work.

After we drove back from Myrtle Beach to Pennsylvania, we were commissioned, continued to pack for our upcoming move to Florida and prepared for traveling to and participating in the Summer Project in Hungary.  I think this all occurred in about ten daysSmile God is good.  All the time.  And I need to remember this as the craziness of much travel and transition is upon me.  I don’t remember that time as incredibly stressful, though I’m sure I had my moments, but the point is that it all works out and nothing that I panic about is really anything in the end.  He provides for the big and the small.

Baby JJ 6-30 Airport and the beginning of Speakout 009So, then, in late June 2008 we traveled to Washington, D.C. to gather with the Project participants coming from all over the country for a pre-Project ‘briefing’.  We flew out the next day through the airport that has never been kind to us:  Dulles.  That night we flew out, there was a 3-4 hour delay, but many hands helped us with our son.  When we got on the plane, he was wired, well past his bedtime, but right around takeoff he fell asleep and slept the entire flight!  When we were descending into Germany and it was morning, a lady in the seat ahead of us said, ‘oh, there’s a baby behind us!’  Well, wouldn’t you like to sit by people like US who have kids, because WE KNOW it is often NOT like that!  A testament to God’s grace and the hundreds of family, friends and supporters we had praying for us!!!

Speakout 2008 was wonderful.  Especially because we got to serve again with one of our STINT sisters who we hadn’t seen since we left.  It was like coming home and the Lord gave us the wonderful privilege of beginning a new era of ministry through goingBaby JJ 6-30 Airport and the beginning of Speakout 025 to the place where He first drew us.  And my husband was able to be the dancing, rock star that he is, yet againHot smile

When we returned to the States we had less than a week to have an early first birthday party for our son {also a bit of a goodbye party}, pack the U-haul and head to Florida.  My hubby drove down with a servant-hearted cousin and supporter who took time off of work to split the driving with him and help him unload the truck so that our son and I were able to fly down later.  This flight, however, added to the adventure as we were stuck on the runway, having boarded but then the only caches we could use to travel south were closed due to thunderstorms. Baby JJ 7-5 Lake,Worship,1st Day Speakout Camp 020

The result: four, yes FOUR, hours on the runway in the plane with an 11 month-old.  Honestly, though, having just traveled overseas, somehow, it didn’t seem too bad—PRAISE GOD, I had brought plenty of snacks AND it wasn’t a full flight.  Also, Southwest, gave us a Luv voucher that covered a round-trip ticket.Open-mouthed smile 

As we settled into life in Florida, we began to adjust to a very different environment than we had had in Hungary.  Where we were given a lot of structure there, we were given a lot of freedom here.  It was assumed we would work at the high school where a lot of ministry was already happening.  However, due to some fresh vision and desire to expand the ministry, we were sent by our director to minister to a school where there was community support, though no current Student Venture ministry.  Each high school here has on average 800-1000 students per class, so each one, then, represents thousands of students.

This was in many ways an extremely hard year, but also one I know we will look back on for a long time Baby JJ 9-23 My haircut bangs and JJ's feet in sink 001to come as one in which we learned so much.  We met with parents and students and planned ministry opportunities.  My husband was able to complete the volunteer application and be approved to go into lunches and talk to students.  He worked diligently to make in-roads with school administrators even as he ‘made the most of every opportunity’ to talk with and meet students during lunches.  Often, he was able to initiate in spiritual things and share the Good News as he listened to students’ stories and asked them questions. 

One great tool he used was SOULARIUM which are cards that have all types of interesting pictures.  People are then asked questions like: “Which of these pictures best represents your life? Your relationship with others? with God?” Through this, he planted many seeds on that campus that only Eternity will manifest.

Baby JJ 9-23 My haircut bangs and JJ's feet in sink 010{aside: this picture cracks me up, because it’s one of the ONLY ones I don’t have some sort of cheesy smile…I think ‘who is that woman?’}

As I said before, it was a very hard year.  Part of this was due to many of the committed Christians on campus being involved in another student ministry.  However, since this ministry has more of a ‘club’ feel and does less with outreach, we had great hopes that we could partner with them to develop leaders through training them in outreach and evangelism {our strengths}.  But, this was not to be.  After too many attempts to count, we were continually given ‘no’s’ to many ideas we offered to support them.  It is still, pretty unfortunate, and a sad testament to what I fear happens all too often.  I pray we are now ingrained deeply with a desire to encourage and support any other ministries who want to partner with an existing ministry we have.  This is one of the things I love most about Campus Crusade for Christ.   

During this year, I had the most potential leaders through a core group of upperclassmen girls.  For a little while, we met together, guys and girls, at a diner and my friend, here, who has been a gem and every bit a sister, watched our son so my husband and I could minister together.  A little while later, we moved to evenings and split up the guys and girls.  This was a blessing for me.  However, on one of the nights before I was leaving our house for the Bible Study, I took a pregnancy test and…

What do you think it said, Yes or No?

I leave you here this week as this is long enough and I am tired…so are you, probably.  

You’ll find out the result of that pregnancy test and what followed next week…

You continue to bless me immeasurably through sharing this journey.  Thank you!

Linking with Jen’s wonderful community…you will absolutely love it, if you haven’t already joined!

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and Laura’s fun and enriching ‘Playdates with God’

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9 comments:

  1. Abby, I just love hearing about all this. What an adventure. I love that you're doing this, too, so that you've got it in one place for your legacy. I love all the pictures, too.

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  2. And always and ever, the greatest I can be is to be a prayer warrior for His work.
    this is how I see you..you are a prayer warrior. So many think this is not a big deal but it is EVERYTHING..the older I get the more I feel this way. You are so much more than that but your heart for Him mingled with prayer is powerful and moves mountains.
    As we are on the front lines together the value in laying prayer down before the troops proceed is critical.
    love hearing your story each week...and the answer has to be yes right?:)
    xo

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  3. Let's start with the girly, shallow things first: Love the hair. Really, love the hair in your pouty pic.

    Now on to the more serious, how sad about your unsuccessful attempts to connect with the other ministry. In some ways, I feel God has blessed me by not allowing me to see some of that first hand. I think it would be tough for me to let that kind of thing go. . .yeah, yeah I know it happens all the time, but how awful.

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  4. Oh, my goodness, Abby. I get tired just reading about all you've done! And you speak about it with such enthusiasm and energy that I get excited for you all over again. The work you have done/are doing/will do is so amazing. I am honored to pray for you and your ministry.

    Hugs!

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  5. It's so frustrating to hear those "no"s. It's hard when what we see God is doing is not well-received, too. Loved this section and can't wait to find out the answer (even though I think I know it!) :)

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  6. I am loving reading your story. It brings back lots of memories for me, of ministering with kids and working with students etc. I am guessing . . . yes, you were pregnant.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  7. Thanks for the props to the hair! It was actually a picture for facebook to post my then new haircut.

    Yes, I agree about how sad with the unsuccessful partnership...I struggled (and still can) with just wanting to shake these people and say, 'hello, we are on the same team!' But, at the end of the day, I am responsible before Him for my response, not how others are responding...and so I pray and know even as I do, that their lack of desire to partner did not stop anyone from being reached at that high school ...that's where I rest my heart...and yes, this is a terrible problem and indicative of the too many Christians in this country fighting over the same people and positions...sadly:(

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  8. If this was my story I'd say, nope, not pg. But not everyone has a trail of nine years of tests. :-) So I'm guessing yes. I love seeing the hand of God leading you. Looking forward to the next chapter!

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  9. What an exciting adventure...your blessing many lives and will in turn be blessed!

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