We love to travel. Up until now our travel has been limited to work or pleasure. We are now adding LAMb activities to our travels! This blog will hopefully allow you to follow our adventures. Our thoughts, our views, dreams, and adventures. Follow along if you wish. If no one follows that's fine as well. It's just a place for us to remember . . .

Monday, September 2, 2013

25 Years! How did we do it and how can we keep doing it?

September 3, 2013 is mine and Randy's 25th Wedding Anniversary!  What an amazing trip this has been so far!  We have been truly blessed!

Last weekend my aunt and uncle threw us an anniversary party.  We were so honored to have them do this for us.  We were so blessed to have so many friends and family celebrate with us.  Some traveled hours to be there for us.  How humbling is that!  Our parents were there, a foster sister that was in our wedding and whom we haven't seen since the wedding, a cousin from Alabama that I hadn't even since before we got married, aunts and uncles and cousins from NW Ohio that we hadn't seen in years, and many new and old friends from the area.  Lots of kind comments and congratulations from others who were unable to make it.  I felt very special and loved!

One question we keep getting is 'what is our secret to 25 years'?  Randy and I have reflected on this the past year leading onto this.  I go back to Ephesians 5:21-33.  God's instruction to a couple and their Godly role in the marriage.

Early on, the contention in our relationship was evident.  Power struggles and lack of confidence in who each of us were and who we were supposed to be. We were young! We were still growing up (okay, we still are).  But we continued to work on our marriage.  We got involved in a church and we began to let God be a focal point in our lives.  I began praying for Randy.  Praying that God would raise him up to be the man He wanted him to be and the husband that He had created for me.  I knew we were sole mates. I knew he was the man that God had intended for me to marry.  Now I prayed that God would do His thing.  I also prayed that God would change me to be the wife He wanted me to be and the wife that Randy needed.

What I saw happen was a Godly man develop.  A man who became the head of the household.  A man who took charge of the family.  A man who developed a love for his wife that was deeper than one could imagine.  I also developed the same deep love for my husband.  I found that God was developing a man that supported me unconditionally.  A man who supported and trusted his wife to travel weekly and support her and many times hold her up from a far when challenges and doubt seeped in.  I became his prized possession.  He started treating me like a princess.  I, in return, learned to treat him as my prince.  As the head of the household.  What happened was the contention diminished. The fights ceased. Peace reigned in our house and relationship.  I began to understand what God intended in Ephesians.  I didn't lose my identity!  Randy supports and encourages who I am!  I support Randy and let him be who he is!  We now work as a team!

Do we still have disagreements?  Sure!  But now we don't let anger rule our actions.  I actually start giggling each time we start to have 'discussions'. I can't fight with him!  I love him too much to waste energy on arguing!  We RESPECT each other!  

This is ALL GOD!  I pray that anyone reading this seeks out a relationship with Christ!  Once He is your Savior then He can begin to do work in your relationship if you just let Him!

Randy, I love you more today than yesterday and I know that I will love you even more tomorrow! I look forward to seeing what God will do in the next 25 years and where He will take us! The journey has just begun!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Does Being a Friend Really Mean?

Changes in one's life can lead to reflection.  A lot of hindsight, pondering, and reevaluation.  This past year, as I have mentioned before, has been full of changes.  Two major changes to be precise.  What's interesting is how things change.  Friendships to be specific.  That's been the hardest part - change can lead to losing friends.  But then, were they really friends or were they actually acquaintances that we would lean on because of convenience.  Were they my friend until the change occurred and then took 'sides' and I lost out?  When I look at how my life has changed, I know that the changes were for the good.  My stress level is WAY down.  My husband has even noticed it.  He didn't realize how much I was effected.  But the loss of friendships is still hard.  With that said, I know I wasn't perfect either.  I own that.  The changes came unexpected and surprised many.  I have reflected on that as well.  How could I have done better?  How can I be a better friend?  How can I change things in the future?  That is also hard.  Hard to look at oneself in the mirror.

My challenge now is to avoid/harness the anger.  I want to lash out.  I know how I could and make 'impact' but I don't want to be that person.  But no one (except for just a few) know how I feel.  How I have reacted in private.  Few really know the facts and even they don't know it all.  But I feel judged, chastised, alienated.  The paranoia in me hears the comments, rumors, opinions.

Why do we do this to others and to ourselves?  Why must we judge?  Why can't we realize that sometimes the change is right for the person making the change and accept it? 

But then, as I reflect while typing, I realize and remember more of the 'facts'.  Some of the realities.  Realities that would be wrong of me to mention here.  But those realities led to these decisions we made.  They are what drove us to move on.  We needed to be 'healthy' and staying in the same place wasn't 'healthy' for us.  One can only thrive in a 'healthy' environment and where we were wasn't 'healthy' for us.  It wasn't 'healthy' for me - physically and emotionally.

But despite all of that, what does it mean to be a friend?  What does it mean to have a friend?  People use the term 'best' friend but what does that really mean?  I remember using that term in the past 'best friend' but I remember the hesitation as well.  They really didn't know me.  Whose fault is that?  Mine for not being more transparent?  Theirs for not really listening and caring to know?  How often are we so wrapped up in our own troubles, hurts, and anger that we fail to really listen and invest in the lives of those around us?  Mind you, turn this around and I am also talking about myself.  I failed to really listen, care, and invest the time. 

But I still ask ... what does being a friend really mean?  Now is the time for me to find out.  Now is the time to learn how to be a true friend.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Missions and the life of a consultant

Today was my last day at the clients site in Buffalo.  It was a sad day. I am a relationship oriented person. I establish connections with those I work with.  I focus on building relationships. When I leave it can be hard. These folks are my friends.  They have depended on me to help them, I have depended on them to let me know how I can help. What's even harder is that I think there is more I can do there but the decision makers are moving me to a different location - not even sure what I am going to be doing next.

I'm finding out this is the life of a consultant.  I enter their lives for a short period of time then I move on.  Different city, state, even possibly country.  Different client, people, culture.  They continue in their daily lives trying to learn a new system, on to a new project, whatever the situation is.

Have I made a difference? Have I made a mark?

These are the same feelings I have experienced during my two missions trips. We come in, bring money to use, gifts to give.  Often worth more than a moths salary, in some case even a years worth.  We pray we can make a difference.  We pray we can make an impression.  But have we? What do they see I us? Do they see Gods love? Do they see that there is a Savior to bring them through? Do they see Him and not us?

We have been blessed to become board members of LAMb International, USA.  It is an honor but I feel inadequate.  I have NO IDEA HOW TO DO MORE.  How can we help to raise funds to help meet the needs that the missionaries come across? How can we raise funds to help them be come more full time?  How can we make a difference for the Kingdom of God? Where is our place?  What are we to be doing?  How can we get more motivated?

I am perplexed.

I see what the missionaries do.  The energies they exude, the resources they exhaust.  I see how tired they get, how overwhelmed they are.  They want to do more but sometimes the energies and resources elude them.

The burdens are great. People are hurting, suffering, crying out for just a chance to survive.  Children are abandoned, abused, forgotten. And the missionaries see all of this. Experience all of this.  They carry this burden late into the evenings, in the early mornings.  Crying out to God to show them how the can do it, take the next step, meet with the next person, conduct the next training.  Many times feeling like they are alone in this eternal battle. A battle for souls. All for free, all to make a difference in the Kingdom.  All without complaining.

This week Randy and I will join them at a conference in Nashville.  A conference focused on children.  On orphans.  Focused to bring us together to figure out how we can make this a World Without Orphans. How we can make a difference in the life of an abandoned child?  Around two thousand like minded Christians in one place.  Will we find our calling?  Will we figure out our role?  I don't know but I hope so.  I don't like not knowing.  Not knowing feels like a failure.  Feels like I am letting them down.

My prayer?  Please pray for these missionaries.  They are once again giving of themselves to shine light on the plight of the worlds abandoned children. The orphans that feel forgotten.  Left to fend for themselves.  Please pray that God uses them to touch one person who in turn will change the life of a forgotten orphan, to make that child realize they aren't forgotten.

My prayer for this week?  For God to show us how He can use us.  To help us not make an impression for just a moment but for a lifetime.  To make a difference in the life of a missionary.  To make an eternal difference in the life of an orphan. To make a difference in the life of the hurting. To make a difference in the life of the forgotten.

Both Randy and I feel a calling on our lives. We just don't know what it is. We want God to reveal himself to us. To show us what He has planned.

Anyway, there's my heart today. Sitting in an airport headed home ... To pack and head out tomorrow to the conference, into the unknown, wondering .....



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sorry So Long - time since last posting and blog length!

WOW - I just looked at my blog and realized it has been FOREVER since I have posted!!!  I wish I could keep it up but when I am in my every day life mode I don't think about blogging since I don't think I have much to share.  I need to think about this and see what I can do!

Anyway, a lot has happened since I have posted.

First, I started a new job!  After 17 years with the same company and took a huge risk and jumped into consulting!  I LOVE it and have no regrets making this change.  I love working with different people, different companies, different places in the country.  I love flying but could do with the weekly travel woes that I have experienced but it comes with the territory!!!  I just go with the flow and not let it get to me.  Knowing that I have a loving husband to come home to every week is my reward! 

To have my husbands unrelenting support is invaluable!  I have learned to never take it for granted.  People wonder how we can do it and have done it for so long (since 2001 with me commuting out of town every week).  First and foremost, there is respect and trust between us.  We trust each other.  Second, we communicate.  We talk EVERY evening and pray before going to bed.  We also 'talk' during the day - a text here and a text there.  We do everything possible to stay connected.  The weekends we do things together and love the time that we do have!  We are also thankful for the work that God has given us and the opportunities that our lifestyle gives us - travel, people, etc.  Thankful for jobs that we love.  Thankful for each other.  We realize that this type of lifestyle isn't for everyone but then others lifestyle isn't for us.  It's where God has us and is using us.

Another change we made this past year was change churches.  This wasn't an easy decision.  We had been with the church since it's start and were in leadership.  It was a long time coming and wasn't made quickly but we knew when the time came to make the change it was the right thing to do.  It wasn't easy and we learned a lot through the process.  We wish we could have done a few things differently through the process and are sadden by some things but we don't regret the decision we ultimately made.  Lots learned that's for sure.  I am still saddened about the loss of friendships but I understand.  When we left that was one of the risks we took.  Feelings were hurt.  :(

It's not that our former church was bad, it just wasn't the 'structure' that we were wanting.  We don't believe in church hopping; we believe people need to be grounded in a church.  God brings you to a church for a purpose.  But sometimes He will also move you on somewhere else to show you something different.  Is He going to use this as more training for future use in our work for the Kingdom?  I believe so - in so many ways!

Anyway, God has led us to a wonderful church. The church is a 'come as you are' church, reaches out to folks in rehab, ministers to the homeless, has a passion for adoption and orphan care, believes in foreign missions, pastor that is not afraid to admit he is human, vibrant worship, eager to learn congregation, and real people who get to share the pulpit and preach what God has placed on their hearts.  They are also a supporter of LAMb and have done fundraisers for Dayspring Family Life Resource Center in Kyrgyzstan.  Also, it is where missionaries with LAMb attend and we didn't even realize that until we went there the first time!  The church is STRONG believers in foster care and adoption.  The passion and compassion for others that I am learning is amazing and refreshing.  I can see how I can use this learning on the mission field!  I'm excited to see how God is going to use us and changes us through this church.

Randy is teaching a Sunday school class that regularly has 18 people in it.  We are viewing Andy Stanley's "Twisting the Truth" sermons for a second time.  The discussions and what people are learning are wonderful and the new people that join us is refreshing.  I'm looking forward to see how God uses Randy and his passion for teaching in the future.  This church is hungry for teaching and learning!  I still need to find my nitch.  I think it's time that I reach out to the pastor and see where I can be used.  He has given us a lot of space to rest and be refreshed.  He and the leadership have been sensitive to our need for space and we have appreciated that!  But we can't be complacent and dormant!  We need to proceed and do the work of God!!!!

On the mission front, we both want to do more for LAMb International here in the states.  We want to travel to adoption conferences and promote their mission, help raise funds for the team, find sponsors for the different programs and projects they are supporting, anything possible to raise awareness for a World Without Orphans!  We plan on going back to Kyrgyzstan this fall/winter.  We miss it and miss not being there this Spring.  We miss the girls of Dayspring, the seniors at Kemin, and the men at the home.  We miss the people and the friends we made during our previous trips.  We miss serving and doing foreign Kingdom work!  Please pray for us to find our place in missions.  We don't know where God wants us and how He wants to use us.  But, while here in the states we can raise awareness and we want to figure out how to do that with excellence.

Anyway, that's where we are right now.  We are both lovin' life and the adventures that God is taking us through and can't wait for the next step!


Kim & Randy

Few pictures from our trip last year ... Can't wait to return!!!!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Want To Be Like My Jesus


Which Jesus do you follow?
Which Jesus do you serve?
If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
Then why do you look so much like the world?

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
So which one do you want to be?

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand
Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
So which one do you want to be?

Who is this that you follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side or fall down and worship at His holy feet

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part
Sometimes I doubt we'd recognize Him

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
So which one do you want to be?

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud
I think He'd prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd
And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud

I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!

Not a posterchild for American prosperity, but like my Jesus
You see I'm tired of living for success and popularity
I want to be like my Jesus but I'm not sure what that means to be like You Jesus
Cause You said to live like You, love like You but then You died for me
Can I be like You Jesus?
I want to be like you Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus! 

I hear this song frequently. Todd Agnew has amazing songs that I go back to frequently and several really touch my heart. This is heavy on my heart today.

Who do we serve? Who do we REALLY serve? The church today is a mess. We are soooo focused on how we look, how we act, whether or not someone say's hello to us. Concerned about whether or not we will be embarrassed by friends, family, acquaintances. And all of this at the expense of lost souls!!!!! I'm getting tired of it. It's breaking my heart. I look at myself and I'm embarrassed by my behaviors, actions, thoughts of the past and even in the present. How I treat others. How I react to others. I PRAY that I get the heart of Jesus. The heart to love unconditionally.

I recently had a friend share something that was life changing. I knew that my thoughts, actions, etc. were self-centered but I couldn't understand it enough to stop it. But then she reminded me that by obeying the Spirit and following His lead I am not betraying myself and how I feel. BINGO! That is it exactly. I felt like I was betraying myself. I never put it in those terms but when she said it it was like the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. If I am following HIS leading I'm not betraying myself because myself it living like HIM!
I am was a part of this MESS in the church today. I am was a contributor. But no more! My life is about my walk with Jesus. To reach the hurting, to touch the sick, to hug the lonely. My life is to bring others to Christ to know the unconditional love of a heavenly father that loves me regardless of what I do or say. My life is to stop for the on in front of me and help someone in need. My life is to love unconditionally. My life is to live in discomfort because I am giving of myself for the Kingdom.

My life is to put all I have into LAMb International and serve the missionaries, to help the seniors, to love on the orphans, to touch and hug the disabled men. My life is to find funding for the team, to find supporters for the projects, to find sponsors for the orphans and those who need sponsors.

My heart aches DAILY for those who we met in Kyrgyzstan. My heart aches DAILY for those that LAMb is serving. My heart aches for every missionary struggling to find support to do the work that God has called them to do. My heart aches for those who can't be doing the work because we aren't doing the tent making here FOR them.

I don't know where to start. Yes I do...on my knees in prayer. On my knees in prayer with my husband. His heart is heavy as well. We need to act. We need to do. We just plain need.

I am broken. April broke me . . . like never before. I guess you can say I finally got it. I finally looked beyond ME and my discomfort and my needs and just gave all that I had to those I came in contact with. It's not about what we have here in this world. Our comforts. Our possessions. It's about serving the King of Kings and reaching the lost for His Kingdom. I want to be like my Jesus . . . He wasn't embarrassed or afraid . . .

How can you help? Please pray. Please consider sponsoring a child, senior, disabled man. Fund a project. Send monthly support to a missionary. Just give of yourself and look to HIM and not to yourself.

Simply - be like Jesus . . .


Thursday, June 14, 2012

How Time Passes

I'm amazed at how quickly time passes.  So much has happened since I last wrote on my blog.  I have come to realize that I have allowed everyday life take me further and further from the experiences I had in Kyrgyzstan. I want to remember. I want to feel.  I want to do.  I MUST figure out how to balance my life activities better in order to do the Kingdom work that I am called to do.  I need to change my priorities even in the midst of all of the change that is going on around me.

Today a young missionary to Kyrgyzstan put this in her blog:

 "it is easier to be ignorant and say I don't know about the problem. But once you know, once you've seen it in their eyes, then you have a responsibility to do something. There is strength in numbers, and if we all work together as a team, we can be unstoppable." -Craig Kielburger

I quickly realized that she was talking to me.  Reminding me that what we experienced in Kyrgyzstan and what God is doing in our lives is helping us reach our goals; To Serve Him and reach the lost, the hurting, the orphans, the widows.

Randy and I MUST stay focused and not allow the world to sink back into our ways of thinking.  We are not the same as we were before our trip.  Our mindset has changed but what I realized is that it is so easy to let the World take back over.  This is why is it sooooooooo important that we support our missionaries.  They MUST stay in the mission field!  They MUST stay focused.  The world can just take over and distract us.  They MUST stay focused on the Kingdom work that they are called to do.  My heart aches.  Where is the support?  Where is the passion?  How can we stay ignorant?  You don't have to travel to the ends of the world to see those eyes.  Look at the missionaries pictures . . . look deeply into the eyes of the orphan.  Into the eyes of the senior.  Into the eyes of the man and the lady.  Each and everyone of them has a story to tell. Hurt that needs healed.  A hunger that needs fed.  A need that needs met.  Trust me . . . the missionaries can ONLY do what is needed by being there and not here.  I have heard their cries.  They don't want to be here they want to be there.  We have a responsibility to support the missionaries.  We are responsible to SEND them.  They are responsible to do the work with the support that we give them.

Can you continue to be ignorant?  Look at these pictures . . . look into their eyes . . . just try to imagine their story . . .

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bondservant: “Devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.”

Cry of my heart . . .

Bondservant (copied from The Bondservant website):
The best definition here is “devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.” On its basic level a bondservant is simply following your master to complete disregard of your own will, emotions, desires.
To put it into contrast of being a Bondservant of Christ, it means a complete and utter devotion to God, His word, and His will.  It is disregarding your own desires and will in all things to lay your life at the Cross and follow Christ.  It is not being perfect, yet it is a dedication to following God in all things.
A Bondservant is to love as Christ loved; to walk as Christ walked.  It means standing strong when you are weak and have nothing left.  It means not letting up, giving up, or putting up with anything less then a true and full releationship with God as a friendship and partnership through this world, doing His will.  Being a Bondservant is Standing strong on the Word of God while seeking God first, above all else.  Everything is secondary to your relationship with Him.

This past weekend Randy and I had the opportunity to visit a church whose pastors we've had the privilege of meeting and being in services where they were ministering.  They are anointed.  Their church is anointed.  The few times that we have visited their Sunday services we leave feeling refreshed and blessed.  This past Sunday was no different.

Although we only got to hear the introduction to Pastor Sander's message "Are You a Bondservant of Christ?" I couldn't but help think about missions and the missionaries that give of themselves for the Kingdom of God.  They can be the true examples of a bondservant - someone who is simply serving the King of Kings, giving of themselves sacrificially, someone who has died to themselves and realizes it's not about them but about the Kingdom work that we as Christians are ALL called to do.

I have had the honor of sitting around the table listening to the cries of missionaries hearts.  The cry that resonates to the core of their soul - to help just one person, show them the love of Jesus, and introduce them to the Kingdom of God.  But first they need to meet the personal needs of the one standing in front of them who is hungry, needs medical treatment, needs a home to get off the street, needs help with addictions that is consuming them.  But with these needs comes the need for resources - money, expertise, labor, etc.  These missionaries use up their personal savings, income, energy to just serve.  THEY NEED OUR HELP!  They need our prayers.  They need our giving.  They need our words of encouragement.  I have seen the tears when they are tired, worried, overwhelmed.  I have hear their cries when they don't think they can take another step, when their hearts break when it is time to return to 'normal life' knowing that there is sooooo much more to be done, so many more needing help.  Sometimes now knowing when they can return.

I have never really understood until these last few weeks when God began to open up my eyes to see their needs, my ears to hear their cries, and my heart to hurt for them and especially those that they are trying to serve.

I ask that you take time to pray for the missionaries who give of themselves sacrificially.  Pray for their strength, that their needs are met, that their energy is renewed each day.  I have seen first hand that it is non-stop - each and every day.  The end is near, they feel it in their bones, they are urgently trying to do the Kingdom work that is still yet to be done.  Send them a note of encouragement; let them know you are praying for them, share a verse, and kind word.  You never know if it is exactly what they need to hear at that moment.  Pray about sponsoring them and supporting the people they are serving. Give sacrificially to allow them to do the Kingdom work on your behalf.  You have NO idea how far even $10 can go to make a difference in the life of someone.

Yes, missionaries are the true example of a Bondservant.  God, please bless each and everyone of them.

Praising God for a Changing & Breaking Heart,