Friday, May 1, 2015

Trials of Various Kinds (a Video blog)

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. 
In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret 
of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  
- Philippians 4:11-12

Over the past few months our family has been immeasurably blessed. God's favor has fallen over our work. We've identified with scripture that speaks of the Spirit going before us. At first I was shy to even speak of it, and then my pastor encouraged me that I should celebrate the mountaintops, give praise to God, and soak up every bit. These times of sunlight and warmth can get us through the cold, dark nights that can grip us suddenly.

While we aren't in a dark time, today has greeted us with multiple challenges. We could face any one of them with no worries. Two would stretch us, but we could tough it out. I think maybe that's why we have three. Three forces me to remember that this isn't about me. I must rely on God... or this thing simply doesn't work.

I was challenged by a Mark Batterson book (The Circle Maker) years ago, that I needed to a life so bold... that it only works when God makes it happen. I think I needed to be reminded of that today.

We have been working on converting a storage building into a small apartment so that we can take on interns. It was completed last week, and we are scheduled to make the final payment of about a thousand dollars.

OK, no problem. We've raised money specific for that project.

Kellie has been trying to communicate with the State Teachers Board in Ohio, and has not been able to get through. There is one person who handles teaching certificate renewals for the whole state. Kellie has sat on hold literally for hours... only to get disconnected yesterday. Today she finally spoke with the official, who told her that the only way for her to renew her certificate is in person (not the answer we were hoping to get). 

Time is limited because the document is about to expire, and the Federal government won't accept the prints we have on file with them. We had to buy a plane ticket today for a flight that leaves tomorrow. 

Amazingly, Kellie found a round trip ticket through Dayton for $725.00, a great price. This made us uncomfortable. Money might be very tight... but we should be able to swing it with a little fund-raising (praying that a few kind souls slip Kellie some money). 

And then came the third thing. Hello God. Yes, I remember. I need you. Always. Caleb and three of his buddies wanted to see the new Avengers movie. Kellie agreed to load them up (today is a holiday here) and drive them into the city. It can be a perilous drive, but she's a pro. They'd been gone about 20 minutes when my phone rang.

Our most reliable vehicle of the two... had broken down and they were stranded in a heavy traffic area. I sent a quick email to alert my mission of the situation, hopped into my old Blazer and made my way to them. We traded cars and I sent them on their way to the movie. 

I had a response back from Fontaine... Edgar and Justin were on their way. Thank God. I wasn't panicking, but I wasn't exactly sure how this got resolved either. I had the car in neutral, with no power steering or brakes, hazards flashing, coasting down the hill backwards, on the busy road, around the blind curve, into oncoming traffic... so I could get into an empty lot a few hundred yards below.

I was watching both the rear-view mirror, trying to avoid being rear-ended, and the passenger side-view, keeping an eye on the deep concrete ditch. I saw a flash of white behind me... it was Edgar and Justin in the old white truck. While I was confident in the situation, it was a great relief to see their friendly and familiar faces. 

They helped me with traffic while I continued to guide the Terracan off the main road. It was the secondary coolant system. Hopefully just a hose? I'm not sure yet. We let the engine cool, and then they drove behind me as I idled it back onto the road and we slowly crept up the mountain with blinkers blinking and the heat cranked up to try to keep the engine as cool as possible. I watched the temperature indicator rise... knowing we'd stall again if it got hot.

We made it to the returno (giant u-turn on a 5 lane highway) while the gauge was beginning to read hot. I knew that if I could make the turn, I could coast down-hill the rest of the way. Traffic was heavy. I couldn't accelerate quickly or I'd risk damaging the engine. Suddenly the traffic police stepped out and stopped traffic... we made the turn nice and easy.

The mechanic comes tomorrow to asses the damage. I felt humbled and grateful as I began to record the video for our dearest supporters. I uploaded it and sent it out to 350 of our dearest friends. We've been here nearly 2 years, and we know that when we hand it to God, it's always better than when we try to solve it ourselves. 

We've had some times of plenty, and we've had some times of eating the cheapest things we could find (beans and rice). I hit send and I felt strangely content. 

I'll leave the house at 4 AM (12 hours from now) to drop Kellie off for her first solo flight back the U.S. I know she'll be happy to see her Mama! I get to be Mr. Mom for the next week. I promise there will be stories to tell. Oh yes.

We've been contacted already by two of our friends. Some money is coming in. We know that prayers are coming our way as well. We feel them. They support our spirits. I give thanks for you, and I feel the presence of God. Yes, it is a good day after all.

Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, 
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may 
be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  
- James 1:2-4

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