Friday, July 4, 2014

Backtracking

Remember the golf tee puzzle at Cracker Barrel?

The goal is to leave only one tee after a series of rule-following jumps. I never could quite do it. Oh, I often left 3 or even 2, but it was really hard to get just one.

I remember one time on a road trip my dad was intensely moving, removing, and replacing tees while we waited for our meal. After 10 minutes or so he stopped and said, "Watch this..."

He played the game perfectly.

My brother and I quickly replaced the pegs and told him we bet he couldn't do it again. He did. A third, fourth, and even fifth time! I began noticed that each time he started with the same set up and followed the same pattern. When I asked him how he knew that he replied, "I started with only one peg and memorized the steps backwards. I just had to reverse them to win the game."

Of course my brother and I cried a foul and said he was cheating, but really he was a "Genius" as the game proclaimed. He just came at it from a different perspective.

Often in life we see a goal and forge our way to it in hopes of achieving it. That's commendable, but is that really the best way? What if we could find out the step right before the final goal? Then the step before that? Would it make sense to take advantage of that?
Why not backtrack from the goal? Christ.

I read an interesting Scripture passage this morning and can't wait to dive into it for a few days!
Ephesians 3:8-12

I got as far as the first half of the first verse today. :-)

"This grace was given to me - the least of all saints! - to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah..."

Proclaiming the Gospel, sharing Jesus with the lost, and all the other "Life giving" phrases Christians use are understandable, but scary. Yes, scary. Most Christians think  - or are taught to think - that you have to have several years of theology, seminary, or at least 10 Beth Moore Bible studies under your belt ;-) before you can "lead someone to Christ".  Why? We have begun to use those as paths to righteousness instead of the Bible. Oh, they are all used to study the Bible, but really what's so deep and hard to understand about "Love", "Seek", Go."?

We have made them too hard. And sometimes, if we are truthful, we have done that in order not to have to obey right now.

Today I read in God's Word that my goal is to "proclaim to the Gentiles (those who do not know Christ) the incalculable riches of the Messiah". Let's put that into other words:
Incalculable Riches - The rich gifts and blessings imparted by God or Christ which are unsearchable and impossible to be traced out. (Based on the Complete Word Study)

Or in more simple terms, "Tell everyone about the amazing, unexplainable things Christ has done in your life and in those around you." If you don't know of anything He has done, then ask Him to show you some and listen. Don't let the big words, vague phrases, and weight of eternity weigh on you so much you never tell anyone about the Messiah.

As we like to say in the South, K.I.S.S.
Keep
It
Simple
Sweetheart!



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

London Bound!

We have listened, prayed and accepted. We are moving our appointee status from Ireland to the UK: We are headed for London!
After much prayer, we have firmly heard the call for our family to serve through GEM in the UK. Though we still believe Ireland is in our future at some point far down the road, we are now fully committed to living in the great 8 million+ city of London! Our family will be a part of the new, and long prayed for, London Centre where we will serve not only the community around us, but also those who are coming to serve. See a quick synopsis below of what this Centre will be:
"An incredible addition to this unfolding story is a new project that was simply a dream until a few weeks ago....
We are presently requiring approx.. $2600 per month per Intern (Transport, Training, Food and Lodging) – primarily due to the high cost of even basic accommodation in urban centers of London.
This figure makes us expensive on the internship spectrum with most programs engaging third world projects around the $1500 per month mark. We’d love to somehow bring this costing down and make Europe affordable for our huge potential intake.
The dream: Having chased many rabbits, monasteries, church housing, campsites etc we’ve concluded that the ideal scenario would be to secure a rental property in a nearby borough of London (thus reducing transit costs and keep the team proximate to their mission partner)
It would also allow for accountable community to thrive, - to pool resources for food, encourage a learning community, offer reasonable safety to the predominant female intake etc. It’s great stewardship with numerous benefits all round.
Thus, GEM LONDON CENTRE - a Mission Training Residence, a hub for apprentice missionaries if you will."
An added goal will be to host short term teams, provide temporary housing for incoming Mid/Long Term Missionaries, and offer an affordable
weekend away/ministering for other serving missionaries in London. The Centre will also become a place for the community around it to gather, be discipled, and experience love through Christ.
We would love to talk with you more!! Please call or message us if you have ANY questions. We will be contacting as many of you as possible over the next few months to share all God is doing.
All our love- Ruel and Tiffany

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mid Month Update

Whew… Quite the life changing few weeks!

I just realized this morning that a little over two weeks ago, our family packed everything up and headed to a state and city we've never been, to work with people we didn't know, find a place *hopefully* to live,  find some part time jobs to pay for the unknown living quarters & food, and find a way to furnish it. Oh yeah, and impact the world for Christ even faster by diving head on into Mobilization!

No wonder we're still a little dazed ;-)

But what an amazing two weeks they have been!!

We have so many God stories we would never had the privilege to share if we hadn't taken this leap of faith we were called to.

We are really fitting in to McKinney. Thank you all for the prayers for the children and ourselves - They have made all the difference! I've already met a young lady who is on my heart to get to know locally, and we are known well enough by a local coffee shop - SNUG on the Square - that the owners wife recognized us and said Hello when we were at the Dallas Zoo the other day!

Here's a list of things we have experienced, learned, our needs, and some things you can pray:

Experienced


  • OK, we admit it. Texas is great! We are quite aware that it is not summer heat yet, but so far it's really growing on us.
  • This area is alive. I'm constantly amazed at the number of homes, apartments, shops and businesses there are here that are thriving. People are shopping, dining, and…. well, thriving! There is such an amazing opportunity to meet and work with people here.
  • Job hunting. It's been a while since I've been paid to work (Not since 2004!) and it's been interesting. I have a second interview scheduled for tomorrow and a few next week. Ruel was already offered a few and took one at Albertson's. He'll start either Wednesday or next Saturday.


Learned



  • We have jumped in head first to the Mobilization team here in McKinney. We were both in the office some the last two weeks hearing about all they are doing and working on. 
    • Ruel and I will both help with First Step: Talking to people who fill out the initial interest form with GEM for trips through long term missionaries. 
    • I have spent the last few days learning all that is involved with short term trips. (Let me tell you, the answer is ALOT!) We've decided I'm going to help and observe with the current trips already in progress and then take the lead on one that will be coming up late summer.
    • We have also been preparing for the trip to London the first week of April. We'll be in London most of the time, but will go to Manchester one day to meet with some local partners. 
    • It's going to be even busier around here! This year Mobilization is working with approximately 300 people for short term trips. Because of some things in the works, next year is projected to jump to over 1,000. We got here just in time!
  • It is expensive to live here! We have decided it is getting us prepared to live in Dublin. ;-) Because McKinney is growing so fast, there are very few 3 bedroom apartments available for rent, and those that are left are expensive! We were blessed to find a cheaper one in a great location that would come open March 24th and signed quickly. Yes, $1350 a month is good, believe it or not…


Needs



  • Furniture. I know most of you won't be able to bring a truck with some of your old furniture, but if you know anyone in this area who might be able to help provide, we could really use it. Message me for the list of things. (But pretty much…… everything from dressers to a vacuum cleaner to shower curtains.)
  • Provision. Yes, we will both be working jobs, but like we stated before, it's expensive here. 


Prayer

  • Provision goes here too. Pray for the Lord to provide for those who trust in Him.
  • The kids. With Ruel and I starting new jobs, working in the Mobilization office, and me going to London soon for a week, we are having to leave the kids a lot. I'm sure they will be fine and the apartment we got is really nice and has gates, but a momma will worry. Pray for their safety.
  • Partners. That is one of the major reasons we are here after all! Pray we find the people soon God has to partner with us in the ministry. 
If you have any questions about what we are doing, what we need, or would like our contact information and new apartment address, please email me!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ready...Set...GO! Will you help?

We announced in our recent newsletter God's call in our ministry to work with GEM's Mobilization HQ office in McKinney, TX. February is dedicated to packing up and saying our good-byes in TN as we plan to move to McKinney around March 1st. We have been amazed at God's perfect timing in our joining the team in TX: This year they are leading 2 PROJECTS (80+ in each) to Brazil World Cup & Scotland Commonwealth Games, over 12 separate Short-Term Trips (STT) across the UK alone, plus various other trips across Europe and the USA. This doesn't even account for all the interns! Needless to say, we will be busy.

In fact, we need your support and prayers for an upcoming trip already. In order to learn all that is involved with leading teams and to capture a little more of that passion to serve in Europe, I (Tiffany) have already been scheduled to go with a women's vision trip the first week in April. We will be taking 8 women to experience the breadth & depth of ministries that are doing 'outside-of-the-box' things for God in the UK (i.e. Cafe churches, Pub churches, Safe Houses for trafficked women, etc.) This is an amazing opportunity to jump right in and start serving both those in Europe and fostering a passion for ministry and need to those in America.

Because of how close this trip is, budgets have already been set, and we need to provide all the funding ourselves. The initial deposit is due Feb. 3rd, but we know God will provide!
Would you consider partnering with a special gift for this trip? You can send the money directly to our GEM account (though please send us a quick email to make sure we set it aside for this trip!), or email us to find several other personal options such as PayPal or mailing it to the London Vision Tour Fund.

Please pray for us over the next month:


  • Saying good-byes in TN
  • Finding a place to live in McKinney, TX (including either furnishings or some cheap/free stuff!)
  • Funds for the Vision Tour the first week of April
  • A part time job for Ruel as soon as we get to TX (this will allow us eating money until we are able to move permanently to Ireland)
  • Patience :-)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I'm 40!!!


Guess what??
I (Tiffany) turn 40 today - And I'm really excited!

I have finished yet another decade and look forward to the next one. Really. I love the thought of these 10 year increments.

Childhood is what it is. And I distinctly remember turning the big "two digit", 10. My brother gave me a Tenderheart Bear candle between throwing up with one of the worst stomach bugs of his childhood.

Turning 20??? Well, it was basically a moment to thank God that I never had to be a teenager again...

Hitting 30 brought me to who I am now. The 20's were the worst decade I have ever face, but in a humbling way, the best too: They broke me till I had to rely on my Father. It was in my 20's that I truly died to self and decided to live fully for Christ - no matter the cost.

So here I am at 40!

The last few weeks I've thought about all God has taught me in my 30's:

  • 10 years ago I was just starting to really love His Word. I spent hours pouring over Scripture and totally geeked out when I was supplied with The Complete Word Study & Dictionary OT & NT. 
  • He taught me how to listen to His voice and obey, even when it seemed crazy. 
  • My Father proved how He is my provider.
  • He asked me to give up my dreams, and I eventually did. Then He blew me away with even better ones!
  • I grew to love. That's says a lot for a girl who use to live behind her safe brick wall.
  • He showed me I love to teach and encourage through His Word! ...something I never would have thought possible.
And in the last several months I have learned something else: God made me who I am - with the passions, talents, failures, dreams, and fraility - for a purpose. It's one more grand than I ever dreamed as a child, and filled with more purpose than any scholar ever hoped for me....

And that's why I'm so excited to turn 40.

Just think of what the next 10 years will bring in lessons, experiences, and refining for me, and glory, honour, and a harvest for my Saviour....

He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest... 

Please join me in making the next 10 years...... abundant!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas: The Great "Wait"

Christmas has unveiled a new meaning to me this year.

Child in the manger-
A Saviour born-
God became flesh and dwells among us-
The Light of the world has come-
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace....

These are wonderful truths we as Christians have come to cherish and dwell upon in the Christmas season. We rejoice with the angels, seek Him as the wise men, and treasure all these things in our hearts as Mary did. Yet I think we often overlook something very important...

The wait.

In one sense, the wait was over! Generations had looked to the coming Messiah to be born. They looked forward in faith for their salvation - The one who would be the perfect sacrifice and Israel's consolation. Simeon and Anna rejoiced that they had lived to see the LORD's Messiah. (Luke 2:25-38)

Yet there is a "wait" we forget. Something I have come to see as the greatest "wait" of all:

God - in flesh - had just begun His most difficult wait. 

I can't even begin to imagine the difficulty of choosing to lay aside "God-ness" to put on the flesh of humanity. Of living 30+ years with us in all our trials, frailty, pride, deceit, and selfishness. Jesus didn't just choose to be born and die for us - He chose to live with us. Knowing who He was. Forgoing the power and glory and majesty He deserved, He waited 30 years to even begin His ministry.

30 years.

Who am I to complain we are going on 3???

And now - after enduring this wait, dying a horrible death, defeating death, and being raised as the firstborn from the dead -He still waits.

He waits for us to come to Him.
"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

This year, I am meditating on my Saviour this Christmas season, with such very deep respect for the wait that small child was just beginning.
I bow in awe....