Inspired.

It hasn’t been the best week I’ve ever experienced. Max has a cold. He’s not coping so well. We’re talking repeated meltdowns all week.

So by Friday night I certainly wasn’t in the mood to go out… but I’d made a commitment and I felt obligated.

It was the YWAM Youth Teams annual dessert night. It was important that I was there and deep down I didn’t want to miss it, but as El throw up on me just as I was about to leave, I wasn’t feeling very glamorous. A baby wipe bath and squirt of perfume later, I found myself walking into our YWAM centre alone and amazed.

I walk into this building most days but today it had been transformed into a skate park with video display of the crew… I kept walking and saw an art gallery with thoughtful items produced by teenagers… and then I was entertained by members of the sports team telling me all about their fishing escapades.

our good mate fiona leads the hip hop crew as they show off some of the skills they've been working on.

But that was just the beginning. As the night went on, I was genuinely inspired by heaps of 12-17 year olds. I know what we do with Youth Street. Heck, they’re in my backyard every Saturday. I write grant applications for them. I even helped give a few tips on the event they threw last night.

But sometimes, I forget. I forget what it means to those kids. I forget that it totally changes their lives. I forget that its a lifeline, a defining relationship, sometimes one that shapes them for the future in a way that they look back and say, “I am who I am because of _<insert the name of one of our amazing staff>__.”

And last night I remembered. I remembered and I was proud and privileged and grateful. Proud of the team who makes it happen every week. Privileged that I get to play a part. And grateful that I got to hear about these amazing young lives that have been radically impacted.

As I listened to a mother stand next to her teenage son and share about the change she’s seen him, my eyes welled up with tears as I remembered that my sleeping toddler may have some challenging days, but even weeks like this are only preparing him for his future… for the impact he’s going to make in life.

Motherhood…ministry…it can be tough… but today, amidst the challenges, I feel re-inspired.

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That Other Guy In Our Family

We’ve written a lot about Max and a little about me…

But can I just say Jared has been a champion all the while too! We’ve moved some things around on our centre and he was busy building a new chapel and relocating our recording studio. The results are fantastic, stunning, and we’re really excited about the change in culture it brings to our centre and the impact that has on all of our staff and students. Its funny how rearranging the furniture just a bit can make just the right change to our home and I think that’s what these projects have been about.

Our ship is still doing phenomenal things and I thought I’d share a short video clip that had me in tears (and I don’t think its just the hormones) from one of our DTS outreach teams who were working alongside the ship in PNG.

For those of you who get behind what we do, know you’re not just championing our family but an entire nation. And the results have been astounding – not just statistically – but in the way they are changing individual lives, families, and communities.

Good work, team!!

Happy, Happy, Happy!

That’s what this little man kept saying today as we walked the trails to one of our area’s more secluded beaches.

“Happy! Happy! Happy!”

I smiled and all I could think was, “Me too, kid; me too.”

We’ve had lots of happy news lately. It was the first weekend that I was able to do a full clean on the house (a top to bottom clean and on my own) since getting so sick. I turned a significant corner at the 16 week mark and though I was still puffing a bit on our short hike to a secluded beach today, my fitness is coming back faster than I thought it would after laying flat for so long.

More importantly, we got happy news from Max’s surgeon. We left the hospital with tears on our cheeks after being told we would almost certainly be returning for surgery three weeks ago, but as we prayed we began to think that God is up to something else… something miraculous, maybe?

And so it was last Tuesday that while our favourite nurses teased that maybe we were optimistic parents thinking that perhaps those lumps were getting smaller, the surgeon himself wondered if it was a possibility they were starting to break down. The past week and a half Max has been symptom-free on the meds, so he suggested we keep going for a couple of months and see what happens. He also asked us to meet with the infectious disease doctor who is overseeing Max’s case to confirm, but we are feeling confident that something has changed… that a miracle is happening.

And while we don’t love going to the hospital every week for checkups, we are excited that on Tuesday we will not only be visiting the infectious disease unit; we’ll also get to see our new little baby too! A few more days and I’ll be half way through this pregnancy, and we can barely wait to see if this is the little girl we’ve been suspecting or another precious little boy.

Oh, and in case you wondered, in the midst of our craziness, we’re still doing our work with YWAM. And we’re still loving it. And we’re still seeing lives changed. Stories to come! Good ones.

Happy, Happy, Happy Ones!

The Sweetest Home, Sweet Home

Did we have to leave?!

We had such an amazing time in Papua New Guinea. I am still working on getting our stories updated. We had trouble with internet and then trouble with  pictures but I’ve uploaded a couple now and will continue to do so – with or without pictures! – over the next few days.

Because it was amazing and you will love it.

It was hard to say goodbye but we are making the most of our time at home.

And I do mean the most.

Cookie baking most.

There’s something in this egg kinda most.

Making messes most.

It is sweet to be home… and I don’t just mean the chocolate. I mean, the richness of family. The fresh gratefulness for every single thing we have. The feeling that our bed… our house… our yard… is absolutely huge. And luscious. Grocery stores stocked with food. Friends next door.

And then there’s Jesus. This has been an incredible season to remember and reflect on His sweetness.

It is sweet to be home.

Linking Up with the Paper Mama's Multicolored Challenge

The Paper Mama

Making the News

“Every international story starts local. Every bystander is a witness. And every witness has a story to tell. Today’s technology is enabling their voices to be heard around the world and your voice could be one of them. When much of the international press was still days away from the heartbreak and heroes of the epicenter of the Haitian earthquake, Grassroots News reporters from within the community were already on the scene. When Sex slavery went unnoticed on the streets of America, our cameras exposed the injustice. So when the next big story is breaking out in your city or your village or your neighborhood, you could either stand on the sidelines, or you can make the news.”

This week, we are going to be training more than 20 of our staff in Grassroots News reporting. We’ve got some of the top print and television news reporters coming locally and linking in with more than 5 centres around the world to hear from major news networks about how we can help tell the story… and empower others to tell their own story!

My heart is so excited to be facilitating this training here in Townsville. Sure, the timing is awful. Jared is away and things have been crazy busy as it is! We will be finishing the course on Saturday and leaving for another country for almost a month the next day at 5am.

But I love what I am seeing around the world. In the midst of disaster, grassroots news reporters are telling Japan’s story… telling the stories of individuals and championing the rebuilding. What we’ve seen in Egypt and other parts of the middle east is heavily influenced by giving people a voice. Social media is playing an unprecedented role in shaping our society. Sure, there is some bad, but there is a whole lot of good to be had and I want to be a part of THAT!

If you’re interested in getting involved, this is not just for YWAM. Let me know!! In the mean time, be sure to check out the Grassroots News Website. There is some great stuff from Japan, Haiti and Egypt. And hopefully some from PNG soon too!!!

 

 

My Heart Is Aching.

I’ve been struggling. A lot. Packing for PNG has never been so hard.

On the one hand, I have to “plan for the worst”… and plan for everything. I’m a sort of simple traveller: “We’ll pick it up when we get there,” “We’ll only buy it if we need it.” But this time there is no Walmart. There is not even a corner store. This time, what we have is what we’ve got – bar maybe a village shop that sells coca cola and chicken biscuits.

And even that is not so bad, except this time, we have a child.

Someone gets a bug bite? Or a scraped knee? Or a sunburn? Or nappy rash? Or some rumbling in the tummy? We’ve gotta have it all.

I’m an organised person. I like to be prepared. So even though I’m packing a lot more than I normally do, this isn’t even the real problem.

Because its not until I’m  actually putting Max’s hat to shade him from the nasty sun and his rubber boots to keep him from getting the intestinal worms (which are epidemic in PNG and causing malnutrition, stunted growth and minimising mental capacity in children) into the suitcase that my heart starts to break.

The picture in my mind starts out cute. My happy little man running around all cute in his gumboots and smelling like coconut sunscreen… and then I see the dark-skinned, bare-bottomed babies running with him, open sores with festered flies, bloated bellies from worms or malaria.

This is not an if. This is not a possibility. I’ve been there before. This is their life. This is what is happening today. This is what it will be like in just a couple of weeks when we arrive.

I don’t know how to stand there with my little man as protected as he can be (this coming from a fairly relaxed mother!), and watch them suffer? I can’t bring boots for them all and yet I will be choosing each day to put those sweet plastic shoes on the two feet I kiss every day… possibly to the detriment of another child.

Its been a challenge for my heart, and yet I know that it would be just as wrong to give those shoes to another and not do my very best to look after my own child.

Injustice sucks.

And even though I feel heartbroken and challenged and frustrated, I’m using the pain as a catalyst and asking God to help my heart understand in new ways. I’m allowing my heart to explore… to learn to love deeper, to learn to listen more intently, to consider how I can help.

I don’t go naive… I go understanding that they will teach me lessons too. These strong, beautiful women have a lot to teach me.

And I know that regardless of his conscious memories, this trip will shape Max as well. You can’t experience something like this and not be the same. I’m being deliberate to take action that will teach him generosity, friendship, community and service… in simple ways that his tiny mind can comprehend.

These have always been the reasons we are going; but as the suitcase gets heavier and the realities sink in, the resolve becomes stronger.

One more week…!

Do I Know You?

I have this awkward, awkward quality/ability/talent to remember random details about people.

How is this awkward? Well, sometimes I “meet” people and already know their name, address, spouse, and what year their family pet died. I have to politely smile and pretend I’m not the stalker I sometimes feel like I am (and remind myself God gave me this brain and this job.)

Now that I’ve been preparing so much material from the YWAM Medical Ship outreaches to the Gulf Province, I’ve started to feel as I actually know these people whose lives have been changed. I even feel as though they are my friends. I’m on first name basis with them – and they have never even met me. I refer to them like they’re the neighbour down the street… and they don’t even know that I exist.

I felt a little bit strange and silly when I realised just how dear they are to my heart. And then I realised that is the ultimate reality. Even from miles away, it is this caring about the individual that drives me to sit in an office (or home office) with my little baby playing at my feet, helping to change their lives.

So in an attempt to embrace the loveliness that is me loving them, allow me to introduce you to some of my friends