Wednesday, December 19, 2012

5 Days 'til CHRISTmas

There's some news on the way.....
No I'm not pregnant. Sorry:) But we have had a lot going on around here. Great things! And we're blessed to see the Lord working and drawing people unto Himself.
We'll be sending an email out (and posting it here) by tomorrow with all the changes and latest from here in Nelson.
Merry 5 days before Christmas!!
Here's some pictures our WONDERFUL friend and photographer Karla took for us last week :)


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Near and Far

Being away from family that you love is.... NEVER easy. No matter if it's thousands of miles away, or a few blocks away, it stinks. But when we have a Father above who fills your heart with His peace and your days with His provision, it makes the load less burdensome and the days at hand more fragile.

While it was Thanksgiving in the States, Matt went off to work while I decided to pull out the few Christmas decorations we have.  Matt and I had a difficult week being reminded of all our families getting together while we weren't able to enjoy being with them physically. We missed the feeling of embracing our mama's hugs, our brother's and sister's goofy stories and even the touch of our sweet and crazy pets. I lost it at a total of 9 times that day. Yes, I counted. I pushed through though by putting on some classic Christmas music (Good 'ol Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra) and looking forward to time with my husband when he would come home. When he did come home, we had a great night together putting the ornaments on the lovely pine tree we were given and spending time talking about our families back home.

Having those emotional chords be struck so often now a days, it's much easier for our minds to think on Heaven and being together with family, friends and our Savior forever.  These past few weeks, the Lord has been showing us how crucial time is. How we spend it and who we spend it with makes all the difference for eternity. Specifically, Matt and I have been humbled when thinking about the salvation we have because of Jesus.  There's no other Name by which we are saved, and we're realizing that so many people who think Jesus is their "ticket" to Heaven, have missed the point.  He is what Heaven's all about! I know that there will be people in Heaven who we never thought would be there and soooo many who aren't there that we thought would be. That thought right there brought me to my knees physically and in my heart knowing that there is NO righteousness in me of my own. None. Zero.  Matt and I talked about it for quite a while the other night and getting to the heart of it, we have to know and trust that Jesus is our everything. Him, His Word, His Righteousness, His Mercy and Grace imparted to us by the work on the cross and His people are what we need to love and live for.
I've been thinking about what it means to truly believe and Love Jesus, inside and out in the fullest capacity to be able to claim that "Jesus is my righteousness" with out any doubt.  Do I claim that enough!? My selfish and sinful heart is also so deeply rooted in pride, arrogance, and deceit. It may not be visible to others, but I see the things I lend my ear and heart to that are worthless and only aiding my pride.  But God's grace goes so much further than any of my sin! My prayer is that God would remove all the distractions that pull my hearts conviction away from living for anything that is not pleasing Him at whatever cost.  I don't want to please Him for any reason besides it's how my heart praises and adores Him for this redeemed life He's given me. I think eternity with Jesus is worth this tiny spec of a lifetime given to Him. And, it's only because of what Jesus did on the cross, dying and raising again from the dead to pay for the wages of my sin, that I have any imparted grace to live eternally with Him!

So, although Christmas is approaching and Matt and I will miss the company of our family, we're privileged to be exactly where the Lord has sent us.  His people here are becoming our family too and we know there is so much joy to be had! Plus, I'm hoping Matt gets me a kitten. Hehe:) Please, if any of you have read this far... give him a nudge!!!! I mean, you might as well shove him! ;)

Here's some pictures of our little tree and some of our family that we're consistently missing. To God be the glory:)   ...

And.. my nephew Jace who I have yet to meet!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Voice lessons

So Tuesdays is badminton day at the local indoor courts here in Nelson. I've been about 6 times and am realizing more and more that I miss tennis:) Badminton just isn't my forte. But it's a great time to spend with my friend Cheryl and get to know people in the community.

While talking with one of the players about my visa and music, I mentioned that I studied vocal performance at California Baptist University. He wanted to know if I would teach his 16 year old daughter to sing. "Uhh, YES." So we scheduled it for the next day! I whipped out my handy keyboard my dad bought me a couple years ago as a back up for our Yamaha full-length and got prepped. And boy was I stoked for my first voice student here in New Zealand!
Matt and I bought a used Yamaha 88 key Keyboard (made in the 90's I'm pretty sure) for $60 to use in church for worship. The weighted keys and crisp sounds are so lovely! Unfortunately, we didn't bring enough American plug voltage converter thingys (We have 1 coming before Christmas though!) so we haven't been able to use in it church yet. And it's also been making a LOUD fuzzing noise since we moved it here. Boo :/
I was expecting it to fuzz during the whole lesson since it had every minute we've been on it since. It's really obnoxious but fixable with the right tools. BUT, it was PERFECT the entire voice lesson! Matt later told me that he prayed that the piano would cooperate so the lesson would be a great time for both of us. THANK YOU MATT :)
The Lord Wayyyy blessed the lesson, the piano, and the start of a great teaching adventure. She said it was the best voice lesson she's ever had and doesn't want to try any other teachers. Her confidence improved just within the one hour, I was so pleased. We had a lot of fun and found out as soon as I gave her the Hymn words for her first song that she is a Christian too. That alone will add SO much to her heart for what she sings.

Anyway, teaching voice is bringing me back to everything my voice teacher taught me while at CBU and reminding me what a blessing it is to sing for the Lord.

P.s. I found this while gardening yesterday :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The latest:)

I'm pretty sure I have to be the most horrible person in the "blog world".

If you took a look at my last post, you would have noticed that was over 4 months ago and also when we were still living in California- not even in New Zealand yet.

Well, please forgive me for not posting ANYTHING since then. Sorry!

Here's proof that we're in New Zealand:)

Alright. There's a lot to update on here, for those of you who read this:)

Since my last post....

My husband and I moved to New Zealand. Nelson, New Zealand to be exact.
We had about 3 weeks to settle in before we took on any responsibility for Calvary Chapel Nelson. Dave & Cynthia, the previous Calvary pastor and his wife, took SUCH great care of us while they taught us everything they did within the church so we would be ready to take their place in the coming months. They are a beautiful example of faithfulness to God's people and to teaching His Word.

Matt's first objective was to find a job. We had no kind of income yet. We spent most of our saved and fundraised money on shipping our freight container, plane tickets & church equipment and the website where our donors would support us had not set up our account yet. So, Matt was under a bit of pressure to say the least:) Oh, and Dave and Cynthia decided we caught on well enough for them to go back home to Oregon a whole month earlier than planned. Time was ticking. But we saw God working there without any doubt.
He laid out this path for us and there was no way we were going to let doubt creep in during such crucial times. Geeze, looking back, this all happened so fast.


Lot's of prayer came, and from across the Pacific Ocean too, to this little island and God started to show us what He had in store. It's still just the beginning!

After about 2 months of Matt applying to every job he saw pop up online and applications to agencies, factories, companies, etc., he decided to email a local American whose daughter Matt and I know very well through our church back in Riverside. He lives here in New Zealand and after hearing they were back in the country from a vacation, Matt and I prayed about the email he had written, put it in God's hands, and pushed "send". We knew this man would at least know the right people to help Matt find a job or better yet, maybe even have work for Matt to do for him. He replied the next morning:)

Within 2 days, Matt had met with his new boss and was given a full time job, will be working from home soon, and has the most flexible schedule we've ever seen! He's working doing some fancy computer type job and also property maintenance/man work:)
Matt's boss is also letting us use a vehicle until he starts working from home more consistently. With this job, Matt and I can get residency and won't have to reapply for the 3 year Church-Worker visa that we're on now. Which means we could live here!

After Matt got this job, immediately I began to look for houses to rent, as any eager wife would:) And since we knew he would work from home eventually, we could look for houses closer to Nelson where the church meets. We found one! It had a great price, a cute-already growing veggie garden, 3 fruit trees, 2 large bedrooms, new carpet and wasn't even on the rent market yet! We signed the papers and by the time we owed the 2 weeks rent, Matt would have had his 1st paycheck- God appointed timing!

At this point, we had all of our shipped household stuff in a local storage unit and had arranged to pick it up on our moving day.
That moving day, the worst wind and rain since we got here decided to show up. We were so bummed. And we felt horrible that so many people said they would come help us too. However, 30 minutes before we left for the storage unit, it suddenly stopped and the sun came rolling out clearing the sky and warming up the day. We were so relieved and praising the Lord!

That day we moved in with the faithful help of church and new friends! Matt I spent the next 3 weeks unpacking, arranging cupboards, shelves, rooms and closets etc. All the while Matt is also working a full work day.

Since my Church-Worker visa doesn't allow me to work a job, I've been spending my time doing "wife things" as I say, preparing for Sunday church service, Women's Bible study... And everything from cleaning to gardening to studying the Word, studying cook books and practicing my music.

I've really been enjoying preparing worship through music for Sundays and putting together the powerpoint for all the lyrics. I always try to implement a hymn or two and focus the worship simply on God receiving glory. As Chris Tomlin said to a friend of ours, "It's my job to get in stage and get out of the way." We don't have a stage, but that goes through my mind when I lead worship with my husband. We love getting to know everyone in the church and are becoming friends with them all! We've seen 1 girl give her life to Christ while Matt gave his message a month ago. That really encouraged us! And, she's growing in the Lord:)

Matt is working so hard and even more so at preparing his messages. His love for the Lord is growing in a whole new light and I respect him beyond words. He's sitting in the living room with 5 men for a Bible study as I type. I love him!

Our week flies by and we both have a lot to prepare running a church service. BUT- being able to spend time with God's people in fellowship, Bible study, prayer and just hanging out is worth it all! We love Jesus' church and we love these people:)

Now, more Recently...

For me, everyday starts with my time with Jesus and His Word followed by some personal worship. Being home alone most every weekday could very well become a lonesome time. But every day my Savior is there waiting so patiently for me. And His Grace washes over me every morning. This month I'm reading the book of Matthew again and am constantly reminded that Jesus' words of truth will stand for all time. What other assuring peace could I fall asleep to but that? There is none.

Since being on our own, I've been reeeeally enjoying cooking in my own kitchen. And of course my husband enjoys helping... eat it:) He tells me everyday how proud he is of my growing confidence in the kitchen and it's affirmed with his silence and smiles at the dinner table ;)

And if I don't say it enough or if there's any doubt... I love my husband beyond what I ever though possible. He's a Godly, humble and hard working stud of a man. I don't want to seem as though I'm bragging, but he is a genuine work of the Lord and I am drawn closer to God because of the man he is toward me!

We just celebrated our 1st anniversary on Oct. 15 and we went camping on the beautiful New Zealand Kina beach. We're spoiled with this country's beauty ;)

In the meantime, I'll post some of my favorite and simple recipes that I've come across these past few months.
I'll also post the latest with the Calvary Chapel Nelson Church and all the things God is doing here!

We serve a mighty God, we're here to serve His people and proclaim the Truth of Jesus:)

My husband just handed me a bowl of ice cream! I gotta go:)


Thursday, June 14, 2012

17 Days Until we move to Another Country!

I can barely believe it! In 17 days Matt and I will be boarding a huge plane to move to New Zealand for a few years. Our Visas can last up to 3 years and then we may apply for work Visas after that which last longer.
This journey has really been amazing in so many ways. God's hand and presence is right here along with us as we follow His leading and Word.
2 weeks ago was my last day at my job of 3 years. :'( Leaving Harvest and the children I grew to love soooo deeply was the hardest thing I have done in years! I'm so glad some of them have instagram and facebook... hehe:) My co-workers supported me Tremendously and I appreciate all they have done, prayed for and encouraged me with! I will miss them tons! I learned quite a bit about myself and others while working there and will take what I've learned and implement it daily on the mission field.
As for Matt, his last day of work is tomorrow and I know he is going to have a rough time saying bye to his "man-family" in the maintenance department. Everyday he receives encouragement, wisdom and always a good laugh from those guys and we will BOTH miss them! Matt's been working at Harvest for 8 years now I believe. He's learned almost every "fix-it, build-it, cut-it, stain-it, weld-it" job there is. He's handy to have around the house ;)

As for now, we are almost finished packing all our home items & church supplies and can't wait to have it shipped! We are taking it down to the port Monday or Tuesday of next week then won't see it again for another 6-8 weeks once we're in New Zealand. That'll feel like Christmas when the time comes:)

We are VERY eager to see the church family in Calvary Chapel Nelson and can't wait to spend the next years with them! They are lovely people who embraced and accepted us 2 years ago when we were there. They will be our local family:)

Well, I must get back to packing our clothes, the last things to pack! I will be blogging a few days before we leave on July 1st.

Please pray for us and this opportunity that God has placed before us. We praise Him for this exciting and humbling opportunity to share the Good News of His Son!!

With love,