Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jimmy Bob

His name is Jimmy Bob. He cuts hair, and he gave me the best haircut I have ever had yesterday. In South Tampa is a strip mall, there is a classic sign above a door that says: HAIR. Inside, is a chic salon, but nothing over the top. You would never guess from looking at the outside of this building that you could come out feeling so good because you just got the best haircut of your life (that is if Jimmy Bob cuts your hair).

Jimmy Bob has been cutting my sister-in-law, Karen's hair for eleven years. I often hate my hair, which is the plight of so many, I'm sure, but lately, I've been loathing my hair. In fact, last Friday, I cut my own bangs--short. I watched a video online after googling--how to cut your own bangs. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't that great.

So, yesterday, I walked under the sign that read HAIR, and met Jimmy Bob. I sat in the chair and told Jimmy Bob that he could basically do whatever he wanted. He said it was like crack for a hairdresser. He proceeded to put on a tool belt of scissors. Now, being a carpenter's daughter, how could I not appreciate that?

I have never seen a hair stylist so excited about cutting my hair. It was like he was an artist. As each curl fell on the blue concrete floor, I just knew it was going to be great! I just wish Jimmy Bob lived in Prague!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Great Door

Brian and I met in Poland (serving with Josiah Venture). It is so fun to share that with people because they inevitably ask questions like--is your husband Polish, are you Polish, how did a guy who lived in Denver and a girl who lived in Minnesota meet in Poland (great question:))?

Well, besides being a great story to tell--meeting there linked us in a unique way and prepared a way for a great door to be opened to us.

This spring, we were invited to attend Josiah Venture's spring conference held in Czech. This conference is for second-culture missionaries serving with the organization (meaning, those that are serving in a culture that is not their own). All together JV has over 180 missionaries serving in 11 Eastern European countries. We knew a lot about Poland--having gone there so many summers, but we were invited to the spring conference to see a larger picture of the organization.

We left the states thinking that we would be coming home from the conference with more of a sense--should we become full-time missionaries in Eastern Europe? My prediction, as we were flying over the ocean on our way, was that we would come home with a maybe. We would think about things for several months, and God would gradually lead us.

Well, much to our surprise, we left Czech this spring, with a clear calling. I want to share one of the most impacting conversations Brian had while he was there.

Brian was sitting in a small-group. Dave Patty, the president, was speaking and leading the small-groups through a series of questions. The session ended, and the groups gradually disbanded. Except Brian found himself sitting alone with Ken Pitcher. All Brian knew about Ken at that point was that he was a missionary in Czech, who had served with Josiah Venture for close to 15 years, and that him and his family were leaving the field. Brian also knew that he was highly respected because of the honoring things people were saying about him and his ministry.

Ken asked Brian who he was and why he was at the conference. Brian explained that we were considering a role with the Bteam (the leadership team that serves the Josiah Venture missionaries). Brian is very logical, so the idea of quitting a good job and becoming a missionary was really hard for Brian to wrap his head around. I'm sure that it only took Ken a few minutes to understand Brian's thinking and emotions.

Ken told Brian about two verses that God really used to help him (Ken) make the decision to move to Eastern Europe 15 years prior. One is 1 Corinthians 16:9--a great door for effective work has opened to me . . . and the other is 2 Corinthians 2:12--Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me . . . . Ken went on to explain, first, that the greek word for door in both places is referring to the kind of doorway that is only open for a short amount of time (window of opportunity would be my version:)), as opposed to a doorway that you can come and go through. In addition, Ken said, in one situation Paul goes through the door, and in the other he does not.

That night, Brian and I processed the day together in our room. I will never forget this moment as long as I live. Brian was retelling the conversation to me. Brian said that he felt like God was telling him two very clear things. First, Brian said, "I feel like God is telling me that he is going to love me if I go through this door or not. After all, God loved Paul, right!"

Then, Brian said this, "I also feel like God is showing me two doorways. This one--that leads to ministry in Eastern Europe is only open for a very short time period. If we say no to this, we are saying no to full-time missions. This will mean that we will stay on the road we've been on, which is not bad--it's just true. However, if we say yes to this door (serving with Josiah Venture in Eastern Europe), I am going to doing a job that has direct eternal value, and I am going to be passionate about my work in a way that I have never been before. I am going to be a different husband, and I different father at the end of this. "

At that moment, I knew how the story would end. I knew which door we would choose!

. . . a great door for effective work has opened to me.

Visit our website to find out more about the great door that God has opened for us!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eight Months Old, and "I Will Never"

Cece is eight months old (as of August 10th). After being a mom for eight months, there are definitely some things that make me laugh when I think back to moments in my life when I thought to myself, I will never. . . . Now, I was wise enough to know that my I will nevers were ideals. And, for the sake of humor I have added some things that I have done, but I don't think I ever said I will never; however, it is still surprising to me that it's just normal for certain things to happen.

I will never let my child play with my cell phone (I'm on the landline with an important person, Cece starts to fuss, I hand her my cell phone and say, "here chew on this")

I will never leave the highchair dirty (after cleaning it 100 times, I think to myself, she's going to eat in four hours anyway, no use in cleaning it now)

I will never let my child crawl around on the floor of a store (finding amazing deals at a consignment shop, don't have the stroller, it's in the car, Cece is grabbing at all the hangers, I put her down and smile as she crawls around)

I will never leave food on the floor (do you know how many Cheerios I have picked up in the last two months?)

The list goes on . . .

Some things don't really matter--a few Cheerios on the floor or a drooled cell phone, for example. Some things do though--they matter to me--like that Cece gets good sleep, and that she eats well, and on and on. So, I continue to think about Cece getting older, and my list of I will nevers continues on--I will never let her . . . .