August 3, 2013

We Serve a Mighty God

I just want to start off by saying, God is seriously AWESOME.  I mean really, REALLY awesome (in case you forgot or didn't know ;) ).  Before leaving for our trip out to Ft. Collins, CO we saw Him provide in so many ways!  And He continued to throughout our time there.  He always provides....but these were unexpected provisions that blessed us beyond words.  The couple days before leaving for our trip, I was holding back the tears as we were approached by a handful of people who wanted to give us gas money, money to help with the maintenance on our car and or let us borrow one of their cars for our drive out there.  We definitely did not expect that! We are SO thankful for these people, their generosity, and for them allowing God to use them!  A sweet family in our church ended up having a car they offered to us to borrow for our drive which was such a huge blessing.  It was SUCH a money saver not having to rent a car for that long.  When planning our trip to the conference we never expected our car would be in the shop and it was crazy to see how quickly God provided!!  We are beyond words grateful for those He used to help us!

The drive.  So driving.....some of you might be wondering - wow, driving 20+ hours with a 10 month old....crazy.  Yes, well, if you haven't caught on - we like to be a bit adventurous ;).  But luckily, we are fortunate to have been blessed with a baby that seems to like to travel as well.  I mean, we weren't so sure how such a long road trip would go with her (the longest one yet) since she's on the move so much these days.  But we were VERY pleasantly surprised!  She definitely had her moments, but nothing terrible and her short lived crankiness I believe was mostly because she got bored every now and then, haha. The longest stretch we had on the road was 13 hours the first day and she did wonderful!  She was such a trooper!!  We feel so blessed to have had such a pleasant family road trip there AND back!!

Our sweet little traveler!
she loves hugging her bunny
Happy girl!
The conference.  Well, we made it safely to Colorado and what a time!  Such a great conference!  We arrived a couple days early so that we could get settled and visit a little bit with some family that live in the area.  It was nice to see them after so long!!  It was only the second time all of them there had got to see Brinley.  So it just felt extra special that they all got to spend a little more time with her.

Brinley with cousin, Betsy

With her Great Aunt Nancy

With one of my brothers, Ben
The first two days of the conference for us were specifically for all of Lifelines.  It was great to be surrounded by all Lifelines staff!  Hearing stories of how God has been working in each region and stories from summer projects (short summer mission trips) they took students on!  Also getting more updates and training on future plans for the ministry.  In addition, we got to meet 2 new couples who have joined staff with Lifelines more recently and are also raising support.  It's exciting to see and hear how the ministry is growing!  The rest of the conference was with about 5,000 other Cru staff.  We got to hear from some inspiring speakers like Alistair Begg, Lisa Harper, and Cru leadership.  Not to mention, worshiping with over 5,000 people in one room was pretty incredible! In the afternoons there were also different workshops we could attend.  It was a time of rejuvenation, encouragement, and learning.  To top our experience off we also got to be roommates with 3 other amazing staff couples (2 of whom we will be working with in the Northeast with Lifelines).  It was such a great time getting to spend even more time with them getting to know them a bit more and just feeling connected.

With the team we will be working with in New Hampshire
She was pretty wiped after a long day at the conference, haha!

Hearing from Alistair Begg

Worshiping the Lord with 5,000 others!
We left the conference with a mixture of feelings.  We left feeling revived, more motivated and excited!  But it was also a bit bittersweet as we were honestly sad to not be leaving there to go straight to New Hampshire with the rest of the Lifelines team we will be with.  We SO BADLY want to be able to report soon!!  It's exciting hearing how God is working in each area and using the ministry to reach so many students at so many schools throughout the Northeast!  But it makes us want to be there EVEN MORE!!  We know that for right now, support raising is what we need to do to get there and THAT is our ministry at the moment and that GOD KNOWS and has us where He wants us - but we sure can't wait to be fully supported and live in New Hampshire with the rest of our team!!  We also know they need more staff and more help and we cannot wait to be there to help!  We just get so excited when we think about all that God is doing through the ministry!!  We are SO thankful to those of you that lift us up in your prayers and who also partner with us on a financial basis (as we cannot report until we have 100% of our monthly support raised)!!  It means so much to have so many of you behind us and - more importantly- so many of you who the Lord has laid it on your hearts to be partners with us and Lifelines!  Cause that's what it's about.....not US.  But being able to reach these students, love on these students, build relationships with these students all for Christ...Lord willing drawing them to and pointing them to Him.  We just want to be used by Him however He needs to use us to help reach these students.  We feel so humbled that Christ has called us to such a ministry!  It can be intimidating some times and there are times where we definitely don't feel worthy or good enough....but we are constantly reminded that we don't have to be.  That it's truly NOT about us...and that Christ is and will use us if we only let Him!  We have seen Christ's hand in the stories of our lives SO much.....and continue to....and it is through our imperfections, our weaknesses, our low points that He has made us stronger...and better than we were before.  It's these things that are part of our testimonies and these times and things in our lives that God seems to use the most.  We both have such a heart and passion for reaching the unreached....the outcasts....the ones that don't feel as though there is hope and the ones that just don't feel they belong.....students that are just trying to find out who they are and their place in this world!  Just one reason we desire to do this is because during those times in both OUR lives (and oh there were those times) there were people that stepped into our lives -despite what we were doing with our lives or how messy they were- and allowed God to use them to build relationship with us, to love us, to teach us and mentor us.  We have both experienced first hand the difference that makes.  And through different things in each our lives, He has given us a passion to do the same for others.  We only hope to be some glimmer of hope, love, and example of Christ to these students....and anyone we encounter!
With her Aunt Jen (one of my best friends!) - who we got to see at the conference!  It was her first time meeting Brinley!  Brinley just loved her!
The car.  Since returning we have been able to get our car back (it was finished while we were gone).  It should now be good to go for, Lord willing, another 100,000 miles!! haha.  We plan to drive that baby into the ground ;).  But it is now working and running great, yay - so thankful!

The end ;). As we get back into the busy swing of things here in California.  We would like to ask that you would pray for us - that God would continue to teach us through this time, that we would continue to feel encouraged and that we would continue to see His provision.  We pray that we would be open to where is He is leading us and that we would allow Him to continually refine us into more of who HE wants us to be.  We are constantly so thankful....and speechless....for how He continues to provide - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Our God is such a MIGHTY, great.....AWESOME God! :)

We finally got to enjoy a hike our last day in Colorado.  It was a nice way to spend our last afternoon there!

She loves hangin' on her Daddy's back!

Brinley really enjoys helping out ;) she is "helping" her Dad load the cooler!
The cooler was pretty heavy so she figured she'd help move it too.

Passed out after 10 hours on the road
One of the only things to see off the highway on our drive through Utah ;) .....the Bonneville Salt Flats.  All that white......that's SALT.
Stopped in Tahoe to do a little hike on our way home (on the trail where Kaleb proposed to me over 3 years ago :) ).  Brinley decided to take a little nap.
That's all for now!  Until next time!!! :)

July 7, 2013

Life Goes On

And we're back from Mexico!!  Oh boy, are we back!  A good almost 3 weeks now.  And what happens when we get back - BAM! Hit hard with car troubles, sickness, teething Brinley baby comes back, and all the other little things we needed to get done in between seem to become great hurdles everyday that we are trying to get over....

I probably sound negative right now and....well, I was going to say I'm not really, but really (re-reading what I just wrote) yes, I guess I am! ha.  But truly, that's not how we  God always tends to teach us a lot through the rough times, huh? ;)

So, 2 days after getting back from a gorgeous, fun, relaxing family reunion/vacation with the Poth side of the fam in Mexico....our car decides, that's it, she's done (yes, I just called it a "she").  As we were driving that night, she overheated like crazy - when I say like crazy I mean smoke billowing out and the temperature gauge trying it's best to push past the "H" on the reading!  Pretty hot.  Yep, Kaleb checked under the hood later and found that our radiator had cracked.  Not fun.  Luckily, I have this super talented husband who likes to be (and can be) Mr. Fix It, and he was able to order the new radiator and replace it himself.  Which saved us just under $500!  That's pretty hot a "my man is this good lookin' guy who can fix your car hot"......yes, I just said that :).  Thank you Jesus for my handy hubs :).  But there were other things going on with it Kaleb knew he didn't have the equipment to fix, etc and so we had to take it in to the mechanic after he fixed the radiator.
the hot hubs  :)
In the middle of all this....I noticed I was feeling WAY more tired than normal. I'm talking so tired I could hardly function, sleep all day (which of course that is not possible, lol) TIRED.  I kinda thought it was just from traveling recently, although I knew that was not normal.  Kaleb mentioned that he thought something was going on and that I should get checked out.  You see, I have, unfortunately, had a history of getting a type of infection that is a major super bug - and is hard to get rid of.  And pretty much the only symptom I ever initially have from it is being SUPER tired.  He was worried I might have it again and boy, was he right.  We've learned over the last couple years I have a weaker immune system than normal and I've done so many things to try and boost it back up (including diet changes).  But it's a long process and I had gone 10 and a half months without getting this super you can see why I was pretty frustrated I got it again.  The ONLY thing I'd done differently is literally eat whatever I wanted when we were in Mexico.  So I ate things I hadn't had in forever and MORE of things I had cut down to having only occasionally or only a little bit of (like sugar, just to name one).  And sugar was definitely at the top of my list of things I majorly consumed on our trip (for those that know me well, it's always been a weakness of mine.  Pretty ironic that one of my weaknesses literally makes me weaker).  I figured, eh, we're on vacation!  Ohhhh that darn delicious immune suppressing sugar!  My body obviously hates you :P.
I used to be able to DOWN a pile of candy like this!
So.....2 days after returning from our trip our car freaks out.....4 days after returning I find out I have this really fun super bug again.  And then, lastly, in the MIDDLE of all this - Brinley cut more teeth.  If she was one of those babies that woke up one morning and we were to surprisingly discover a tooth....this would not matter.  But she, sweet girl, has always been quite the sensitive teether.  You definitely know when she's about to get one and when the tooth is cutting through!  And when we got back, she cut the first week and a half!  For those that have kids who have been sensitive teethers, I think you can understand some ;).
Even though it can be hard when I'm teething sometimes, I'm still super sweet and cute! :)
So, at this point, my poor hubs is having to help around the house more than normal with Brinley because I was lacking major energy and our sweet teething baby is definitely more clingy when her gums are in pain.  And me....well, I was just trying to work up the energy every day to function and get stuff....something....anything done - while working with the doctors I see trying to figure out what's going on with my immune system and get better.  All sounds so fun, right? ;)  I could elaborate much more, but that's enough about that (I'm sure you are sad ;)). I will just ask that, if you feel so led, for prayers that I would continue to get better.  I am at the tail end of it right now and this last week have been feeling great again.  Now it's just figuring out what's going on with my immune system and working to build it back up.

Through it all, initially we - to be completely honest - were both thinking, REALLY!?  Stuff like this always seems to happen before something big.  Since being back from Mexico we knew we'd be hittin' the ground running again trying to continue to meet with as many people as possible before we left.  Kaleb would be working his other job and then just getting stuff done before leaving for a while.  We always know when God's trying to work something big because that seems to be when we get hit the hardest by things that could really hinder us.  So, we were a bit frustrated that all this was going on because it did slow us down......BUT, no one ever got anything done by just moping around and complaining about it - so we, like always, push through the best we goes on and God gives you strength and motivation to do so.  And we know that these things we had going on were not the end of the world - just big annoyances that we needed to push through.

God is good. VERY good.  And although these last 3 weeks have pretty much been crazy.  We've learned, yet again, we need to stick together and that God IS working in a huge way and we cannot let things take us from where God wants us and what He wants us doing.  Sometimes these big annoyances can cause division (especially when you're over tired) and so you can have a tendency to take things out on each other.  We've learned this in the past, not that we are perfect with paying attention to this....haha....oh, far from it ;) -we are still learning.  But we have learned to try and pull together instead of just getting annoyed with each other over little things when we are overtired and dealing with obstacles and most importantly, GIVE IT TO GOD.  Cause seriously, I don't know how you can easily move on in anything in life (big or annoying) without relying on God.  THIS is what helps keeps us positive and THIS is what helps bring us joy despite what's going on around us.

In Mexico with her Granny Sanny and Opa who she won't see again for a while.  She sure enjoyed her time with them!

It was such a blessing to have had the time in Mexico with so many family that we will unfortunately not get to see again for quite some time.  What a great send off though!

As we continue to prepare for our trip to our National Staff Conference in Colorado with Cru (we leave July 9th).  Please pray we would keep with being productive, for a safe journey out there (we will be driving), that God would continue to provide and that we would never loose sight of what GOD wants us to focus on!  We are very excited for our trip out to Colorado!!  We will be receiving continued training with the rest of the Lifelines staff across the country and getting to learn from some great speakers along side around 4,000 other staff.  It's usually a time of great learning, rejuvenation, and encouragement for us!!  One of the things we are most excited about is getting to see the rest of the Lifelines staff we will be working with in New Hampshire!  We will even get to be roommates with some of them for the time we are there!

As far as support, right now we are at 56% - praise God!!  We are so thankful for how He continues to provide and have seen so much of Him through others and their faithfulness!

Lastly, if you could pray our car would continue to last us for a while after all the repairs.  We still do not have it back and it will probably not be done until after we leave (so we've been getting to know a rental car pretty well ;) and will either be renting again or borrowing a car to drive to CO).  But should be good to go after it's done!

THANK YOU for your prayers.  They really are much appreciated!  We will continue to keep you all updated! 

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 108:3-5

April 30, 2013

What is a Lifeline?

What is a Lifeline? That is a great question! Let me help you with that! a line or rope for saving lifeas one attached to a lifeboat or (raft).

Mirriam-Webster:  a line (as a rope) used for saving or preserving life.

Another definition: A LIFELINE is a line that someone holds onto in order to save their life. 

(A lifeline for rafting is kept in a bag so it can be thrown to someone in the water, to save their life)

(A Guide using a lifeline to rescue a man overboard) 

Now that you know what a lifeline is used for, I can share with you how that relates to us.

Our vision is to put the LIFELINE of the Gospel of Jesus Christ within reach of the 110 million college students around the world.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)

Lifelines staff doesn't just want to be the students river guides, rockclimbing guides, or the guides for a backpacking trip, we more importantly want to be their spiritual guides and throw the lifeline of Jesus Christ to them so He can save them from this world. 

from this kind of a guide to this

We can't do this on our own. We need your help! Please be praying with us and for all the Lifelines staff as they put the Lifeline of the Gospel in reach of the college students nationwide and for us as we continue our journey raising up partners to get to New Hampshire. Thank you! 

Until next time!