Logging off in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

iPad

Unplugged?  You must be crazy!  I need my two hours of Facebook every day!  (Ummm…that’s a joke.)

That’s right, starting Monday morning at 8 a.m., we’re launching into a four-week webfast.  We just finished up a powerful class on Worldview and the influence of the Internet on our thought processes and relationships.  To drive the point home, our final assignment is a “fast” from the Internet.

Over the next four weeks, we’re going to find out just how dependent we have unwittingly become on virtual reality and instant fixes.  We’ll be focusing instead on an in-depth study of the book of Philippians, as well as making face-to-face relational time a priority.

What’s prohibited:

  • The Web
  • Social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram)
  • Texting, Instant Messaging, and the like
  • TV (including Netflix, Hulu, etc.)

What’s permitted:

  • Cell phone
  • SKYPE, FaceTime (Note: used only on the weekend; total time limited to 1 hour)
  • NTM intranet (homework assignments and campus announcements are channeled through this)
  • Our NTM email accounts (call us if you’d like to have these addresses)

It’s back to basics, folks!

Please know that we don’t share this information with you out of any desire to make you feel wrong about using the internet.  This is simply a required class activity for us, and we’re really looking forward to what we’re going to learn from it (but we’re also looking forward to being free to use the internet again!).  If you’re interested, we’d love to share more with you personally about some powerful things we have learned in our Worldview class and ways that we can become more aware and responsible with internet use. 

Tradition!

Traditions run deep.  Very deep. 

Think of your family’s holiday traditions.  “It just wouldn’t be Christmas without…”  Or, “Every summer, we…”  You fill in the blanks.

For my part, birthdays just wouldn’t be birthdays without Lucky Charms for breakfast!  My dad instilled this tradition in me, and I’ve faithfully upheld it.  As you can see, I’m also passing it on to my own children (Titus just turned three):

  Birthday Cereal

Another ingrained tradition, quite the opposite of Lucky Charms, is that of healthful eating (instilled by my mother).  Ivan just turned one–much too young for a sugary cake!–so he got fancied-up watermelon instead:

Birthday Cake

Ivan's Cake

Watermelon 1

Watermelon 2

During our time here at the Missionary Training Center, we’ll be learning about how the ancestral traditions of tribal cultures will directly affect how we minister as missionaries overseas.  On Wednesday we will begin a class called “Worldview,” which will teach us many of the tools necessary to discover the deeply ingrained perspectives and thought patterns of individuals and cultures.  With this kind of information, guided by the Holy Spirit, we can become more effective communicators of the gospel, both home and abroad. 

The harvest season is swiftly approaching, and with it will come many down-home American traditions–corn mazes, football, apple picking, color tours, harvest parties, cider and doughnuts, Thanksgiving turkeys, family reunions…the list goes on!  As you enjoy these good times with family and friends, take a moment to remember and pray for people around the world who are trapped in traditions of deceit, cut off from fellowship with God.  Pray that their worldview will be transformed by the truth of Christ!   

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’

Romans 10:14, 15 (ESV)

 

So, You Wanna Be a Missionary?

Saturday, August 9th found our family pulling into the New Tribes Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Camdenton, Missouri.  Jared drove a moving truck loaded with most of our worldly possessions, while the boys and I followed in the minivan.  We had been warned ahead of time that we would experience a “cultural event” upon arrival, which could take up to two hours.

Our first clue as to the nature of this event was the paperwork we had to fill out before we left Michigan–very specific entry paperwork for “The Republic of Camden.”  The information, spelling, weight of the paper, and dimensions were all required to be exact. 

Our next clue was a forbidding sign posted at the entrance gate.  In Spanish, it read, “Cellular phones are not allowed!”

The MTC welcoming committee consisted of four border patrolmen strutting around in camo, carrying pretty convincing “machine guns,” and all speaking different languages.  We watched from our vehicles as they searched through the belongings of some unlucky travelers ahead of us.  The boys started to squirm…it was hot…”Where’s Daddy?  Who are those guys?  Are they bad guys??” were a few of the questions I answered over and over.     

Soon we moved forward in line.  I watched as Jared was made to unload a quarter of our moving truck.  Seriously?  Do you know how carefully we packed that?  Two guards carefully searched my 5-gallon pails of wheat berries and oats by prodding them with the long handle of a broom.  Oh, well.  We can cook the germs off later.  Noticing large quantities of canning jars, one guard decided to swipe a quart of maple syrup for himself.  Good thing this is only a drill, I thought.  I’ll be hunting him down later.  

Finally, they finished with Jared and beckoned me forward into a roped-off area.  “Let me see your license!”  “Where are your entry papers?”  “Record all valuable items your are carrying on this sheet.”  “Open your hood!”  “Are these your children?”  “Was that your husband?”  Each question was fired in a foreign language with much gesticulating to get the point across.  It was hard to remember this was only a mock border crossing, especially while I tried to fill out paperwork, hold a screaming infant, and reassure a frightened three-year-old all at the same time.

And those guys were good–they never cracked a smile!  

After an hour or so at the border crossing, we were ushered on to immigration services.  More paperwork, more foreign languages.  Identification pictures had to be taken (“Please to remove all jewelry.”)  Next question: “And how will you pay?  Cash or check?”  Thankfully, this was accompanied by a wink.  Meanwhile, our stir-crazy kids ran in circles around the waiting area, wondering where in the world Mom and Dad had brought them!  

This was our official welcome to the MTC. 

“So,” they ask us, “you want to be a missionary?  Get ready for a whole lot more than this!”

 

Come, Enter His Presence

Special Moment

Forgive me for occasionally letting loose my “mommy blogger” self.   These are the times I’m living, and my boys so often offer me a walking, breathing illustration of my relationship with my Heavenly parent, God.

Little Titus has always had an odd fascination with my white taper candles and brass candlestick holders.  Just yesterday, he came to me, clutching them, and implored to light the candles.  My immediate, thoughtless answer was, “No, Titus, we only light those at special times.”

He accepted my statement and started to turn away, but I was smitten by the cruelty–the wrongness of it.  I had just told my sweet son that there was nothing special about this moment, the two of us together.  That there were more important things to be done than spending time with him.

“Wait, Titus,” I said, after a moment of thought.  “Is this a special time?  Would you like to light those candles with me?”

A grin immediately lit up his face.

“Yeeeaaah!” he shouted.

Together we sat around the coffee table and watched the two flames burn down to nubs.  I hung my to-do list on the wall while we enjoyed each others’ presence.

Later, I thought of how I often rush through my tasks, thinking piteously that each day is as mundane as the one that came before.  Living for some future event that promises a break in the clouds.  Perhaps God is calling to me (and you!) right now, “Come, child.  This is a special moment!  Sit with Me and watch the candles burn. Bask in My presence.  You’re standing on holy ground.”

“Delight yourself in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

Inside SMAT

Jared and his coworker, Nik, spent a lot of time recently on a major painting project at the School of Missionary Aviation Technology (SMAT).  The aircraft is a Cessna T-41 (military 172).  Jared and Nik painted the tail number last year, and just two weeks ago they finished the rest of the project.  It looks fantastic!  There’s a lot of hard work and calculation that goes into something like this, and I think they’re both feeling pretty good about the finished product.  (You know that feeling that you get after mowing the lawn?  You just want to sit there and stare at it when you’re done…)

All photos courtesy of Nik Nagy.

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Getting to the Heart of It

It is a happy day for our household! 

First, a brief history: Jared has been away the whole past week at a Biblical counseling conference in Lafayette, Indiana.  Meanwhile, Carol (who had grand plans for conquering the world while he was away) has had time for nothing but nursing the fever-colds that we all contracted just before Jared left.  

This is how we deal with sickness at our house:

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Jared is coming home later this afternoon, and I can think of no more appropriate way to celebrate Valentine’s Day that by welcoming back this beloved husband/dad.  

You know, Valentine’s Day is about so much more than chocolate and greeting cards.  Sure, they often play a part, but the heart of it is loving and being loved.  So today, we’ve spent every waking moment getting ready to show Daddy we love him.   

This is how we do it:

We clean the house. (There’s no before/after picture of the house, but trust me–it’s clean.)

We wrap a surprise and get creative with construction paper for a homemade card:

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We get all cute and nice-smelling:

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A little chocolate-banana-cream pie never hurt anybody!

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And, of course, what would a home-coming be without a welcome-home banner? 

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Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.  Show someone you love them today.  Please excuse us–we’re going to go wait by the door!