Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Lifestyle of Ministry

Growing up my family had 6 core values – the 6 things that my parents wanted to make sure that we understood and integrated into our lives before we left the house. 1.A heart for God, 2.A lifestyle of ministry, 3.Sexual purity, 4.A strong work ethic, 5.Proper roles of men and women, and 6.A sense of humor. There are a million things you can teach your children and sometimes I think we try to teach them so many things that we end up not really teaching them anything well. My parents understood the need for focus in parenting and I'm so grateful that they took the time to weed out the unimportant.

The one that's been on my mind a lot recently is #2 - A lifestyle of ministry. This past weekend we traveled to a church in Ohio that has been supporting our ministry in Guinea-Bissau, and it was fun having Savannah grace our table with her cuteness for the first time. Having her with us while we talked about our ministry made me think about what it will look like to raise her to have a lifestyle of ministry unique to the special way that God made her.

Me and Savannah at our display table.

When we were growing up my parents were on staff with Family Life (a division of Campus Crusade for Christ) and it was cool watch them dedicate their lives to saving marriages. As much as I learned from watching them, the real lessons that I learned about having a lifestyle of ministry came from the ways that they taught me to get involved in ministry myself.

Because we're missionaries Savannah is going to grow up watching us visit churches, write newsletters, send out thank you notes, and more than all of that she will watch us dedicate our lives to loving Guineans well and spreading the good news of salvation in a tiny little country in West Africa. I'm sure she'll learn a lot about the ways God has called us to live out a lifestyle of ministry. That's a start, but I want her to learn how minister in the way that God will call her.

The lifestyle of ministry that my parents taught me (and that I want to teach Savannah) is about seeing people's needs and loving them well. I want her to know how to look at a situation and see how God has gifted her to be salt and light in that situation. I want her to know how to be a friend to someone who is friendless. I want her to bring encouragement to someone who is hopeless. I want her to take dinner to someone who is overwhelmed. I want her to know how to share the gospel through her words and through her actions so that the world will be changed.

Having a lifestyle of ministry has nothing to do with being a pastor of missionary. It's about using what God has given me in the place where He's put me to impact the world for Him. I guess I have high hopes for my baby girl. I want her to understand how to use everything she is and everything she has to glorify the Lord.

A family shot on the day that Savannah turned one month old. A lot has changed in our lives in the last month :-)

Hanging wither her pigs a few days after she was born.

One month old - isn't she precious!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Rapidly Expanding Belly

Somehow in the business of packing up our house in Bissau, finishing projects to prepare to come home, traveling home and then traveling all over once we got home, I didn't write a single blog the whole third trimester of being pregnant! Yikes!

To sum up the last three months of being pregnant I would use one word – long! The last month definitely felt longer than the first 8 put together! The good news is that on October 12th (a week late) our darling daughter, Savannah, finally decided to grace us with her presence. She is wonderful and adorable and we are having a great time getting to know her and learning how to take care of her.

Just for kicks, here's a little pictorial review of my third trimester :-) It's kind of amazing how much bigger I got each week – definitely noticeable!

28 weeks, our last day in Bissau

29 weeks, our first day back in the States after a week of traveling to get there. The first thing we did when we got to New Jersey was order a pizza from Papa Johns.

30 weeks at Simpson Park Camp

31 weeks, outside of Jason's parents' house

32 weeks, getting ready to get in the car and head down to Little Rock to see my family.

33 weeks, after my baby shower in Little Rock - there's quite a bit of pink on that table!

34 weeks outside of a famous Imlay City restaurant, Nachos :-)

35 weeks at Jason's grandparents' house in Caseville. Don't worry, I had Jason move the logs :-)

36 weeks, the last month begins!

37 weeks in a raspberry shirt in front of the raspberry bushes. Now that is a belly!!!

38 weeks, putting away her clothes. The onesie I'm holding says "Daddy's Little Girl"

39 weeks, yes my hand is on the door. Ready at any second darling :-)

40 weeks outside among the changing leaves.

She was born one day before the 41 week picture would have been taken :-)