Friday, April 26, 2013

The Beginning of the Goodbyes in Costa Rica

Please be praying for our kiddos, especially over the next few days. A family moved in next door in January with kids our kids' ages. And over the last four months, our kids have all grown really close. Well, tomorrow is their last full day in Costa Rica--they're moving back to the States. Goodbyes have never been easy for them, but especially so as they get older.

I'm thrilled that a new family with girls my girls' ages have just moved in two doors down, but the family doesn't have any boys. My boys are praying another family with boys moves in next door.

This is part and parcel to growing up as a missionary. You get to travel around and meet all kinds of new people. But on the flip side, you have to say a lot of goodbyes as well. It is a blessing *and* a sacrifice, and Troy and I don't take it lightly. We've said before that we are the ones with the definite calling of God to be missionaries. They may not have their own specific callings, but we have seen Him help them through the transitions, and through the waiting, with much grace. I believe He's going to help them over the next several months as the goodbyes keep coming.

But a large part His blessing comes because people like you prayed. And so we thank you in advance for your prayers on our children's behalf.

Friday, April 19, 2013

First Devotional in Spanish

(The following is the devotional I wrote for my lenguaje final. It is in English and Spanish. It is the first time I really made the effort to write something and translate it into Spanish all on my own, without just plugging it into an online translator. I only used the translator once for one sentence, as it was abstract, and restricted myself to using only my Spanish dictionary for the rest. This is a testimony to how far God has brought me in the last eight months--in the last month, really.)

Exodus 17:8-16

After leaving Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years because they did not obey God. During this time, groups of people in the land attacked them. One of these were the Amalekites.

Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."

So, Joshua lead the Israelites against the Amalekites. Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed the hill and stayed. While Moses raised his hands, the Israelites were winning. But, Moses' hands grew tired and he lowered them. When this happened, the Amalekites were winning. As long as Moses' hands were raised, they were winning. Aaron and Hur got a rock for him to sit on. Then, when his arms grew tired, they held his hands up -- one on one side, one on the other. In this way, they remained steady until sunset. God gave the Israelites the victory over the Amalekites.

Moses' arms were raised for hours and hours. Try raising your arms in the air for five minutes and see how difficult, how painful it is. I imagine they were sore and shaky. I imagine he wanted so badly to rest his arms. But God had told him to keep them raised for a purpose.

God may ask us to do things that are hard or painful for us to do. Things we, like Moses, can't do on our own. He prompted Aaron and Hur to support Moses by holding up his arms. Just as Moses needed supporters, so do we. We need people to pray for us unceasingly. We need people to work alongside of us. We need people to encourage us.

But just as Moses' arms grew tired, I imagine the arms of Aaron and Hur grew tired as well. Yet there was no one there to hold their arms.

We are missionaries and ministers of the gospel need people to come alongside of us and hold our arms as we minister, yes. But we also need to pray for and encourage those who support us in this way. Aaron and Hur could literally see the results of their efforts -- the Israelites were victorious! But our supporters, often times, do not have the luxury of being on the battlefield with us. It should be our joy to share with them the rewards of our labors -- stories of lives changed, prayers answered, and miracles given.

Éxodo 17:8-16

Después de que los israelitas salieron de egypto, ellos anduvieron por el desierto por 40 años porque ellos no le obedecían a Dios. Durante ese tiempo, grupos de gentes en la tierra atacaban a los israelitas. Unos eran los amalecitas.

Moisés le dijo a Josué, "Escoge algunos de nuestros hombres y sal a combatir a los amalecitas. Mañana yo estaré en la cima de la colina con la vara de Dios en la mano."

Entonces, Josué se dirigió a los israelitas contra los amalecitas. Moisés, Aarón y Jur escalaron la cima y se quedaran. Mientras Moisés levantó las manos, los israelitas ganaron. Pero, las manos de él se cansaron y las bajó. Cuando eso aconteció, los amalecitas ganaron. Aarón y Jur fundaron una piedra para que Moisés se sentora. Entonces, ellos le agarraron los brazos a Moisés y se los levantaron -- uno a cada lado. De ese modo, ellos se quedaron constantes hasta la puesta del sol. Dios les dio a los israelitas la victoria sobre los amalecitas.

Los brazos de Moisés se levantaron por horas y horas. Usted trata de levantar sus brazos por cinco minutos y ve que dificil y que doloroso es esto. Yo pensé que los brazos de Moisés sería doloridos. Yo pensé que los querría descansar. Pero, Dios le dijó que los levantara por un propósito.

Dios podrá pedirnos hacer algunas cosas dificiles o dolorosas para nosotros. Cosas, como Moisés, nosotros no podriámos hacer solos.

Dios se dirigió a Aarón y Jur y les pidio que apoyabaron a Moisés para que levantaron sus brazos. Como Moisés necesitó apoyo, así nosotros. Necesitamos a las personas que oraren constantemente. Necesitamos a las personas que trabajen con nosotros. Necesitamos a las personas que nos den ánimo.

Pero, como los brazos de Moisés se cansaron, yo pensé lo mismo para Aarón y Jur. Aún, no hay personas que levanten sus brazos.

Nosotros, como misioneros y ministerios del evangelio necesitamos a la gente que venga y levanta nuestros brazos mientras nosotros ministramos, sí. Pero, nosotros tenemos que orar por aquellas personas que nos apoyan. Aarón y Jur pudieron ver el resultado de su esfuerza -- los israelitas tuvieron la victoria. Pero, muchas veces, nuestro apoyo no tiene el lujo de estar en el campo de batalla con nosotros y ser testigo de esas victorias. Nosotros debemos compartir con ellos las recompensas de nuestro trabajado -- historias de vida cambiadas, oraciones contestadas y milagros dados.