Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Samaritan's Purse Article

Hey y'all!  Is anyone still looking at this blog?  Probably not since we haven't added a post in months.

Well, for you faithful few, we wanted to let you know about a feature article by Samaritan's Purse.  They helped us arrange our time in Ghana and we are so grateful to them for their help AND for all the work they continue to do throughout the world.

Our story is one of the 4 featured stories scrolling across the top if their homepage.

*****update******   They have updated their blog and added some new stories.  Thanks for looking!

Following . . .

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I shared recently that we lost our family pet to bladder cancer.  We found this picture that we wanted to share.

We also were sad to hear today that Jamila, the little Ghanaian girl we blogged about who had a congenital heart defect, died this week. You can read a dramatic tale of her trip to see the American cardiologist in Kumasi by clicking here.  Her grandmother, Azura, came to our door and sold us fruit and vegetables almost every day. She had already lost another grandchild a few months back.  Please be in prayer for Azurah and her family.  She is a young Christian and many of her family members do not know Jesus as their personal Savior.

Following . . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ghana Video

I want to interrupt the "Lessons Learned" series to let you know about our video on YouTube. It's over on the right side of the screen here, too, but you may not have noticed it in our videos section.  If you want to watch it, you can see it on YouTube by clicking here.  The pictures can speak in ways that we cannot even put into words.

FYI, the second song on the video is "Better", Evan's newest song he recorded.

Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lessons Learned -- #2


2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."

The Bible is not just a collection of random stories stapled together to make a big book.  It's a chronicle of redemption;  a story masterfully woven together by the Creator of the Universe that has running through it the scarlet thread of Jesus' saving blood.  It is living.  It is powerful.

In 2010, we went through the Radical study as a family.  As part of that study, we were challenged to embark on the Radical Experiment.  It had several components, one of which was to spend time outside your "context", but another major point was to read through the Bible in a year.  So beginning in 2011, we pledged to do that as a family.  Throughout our months of preparation and during our time in Ghana, we were reading through the Bible chronologically as a family.  Each week we would watch a video sermon focused on that weeks readings.  I know it doesn't come as a surprise, but I think it's one of the best things we have ever done as a family.  I highly recommend it!  To sit with your family around God's Word is powerful.

One example we saw of the power of scripture was during one of Cindy's visits to the Outcast Camp in Gambaga.  She did not know that she would be asked to share words of encouragement with the ladies in the form of a devotional.  When asked to do so on the spot, Cindy chose to merely read God's word.  She read through Romans 3 and then just offered for anyone wanting to know more to speak to her or any of the other ladies there.  Immediately, three ladies raised their hands signaling they had just chosen to make Jesus their Savior and LORD!  WOW!!  Read God's Word and people are saved.  No strategy.  No fluff.  No gimmick.  Just God's Word.  Why do we try to complicate the gospel?

I wonder how we would feel if, on Sunday, someone stood before us in our churches and simply read aloud God's Words.  I would love to see the power that would undoubtedly be released among God's people if we did so.

Don't underestimate the power of God's breath.

Following . . . .

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lessons Learned -- #1

This begins a series of posts entitled "Lessons Learned."  We want to share with you some of the truths God either taught us or reaffirmed to us during our time in Ghana.  We pray that these words will fall on hearts that are prepared to hear from Him and will empower feet that are prepared to go for Him.  

Lesson 1:  GOD IS FAITHFUL -- AM I?

Hebrews 11:1 reads "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  Look carefully at that sentence.  FAITH -- certain of what we DO NOT SEE.  If we want to walk by faith, then when God tells us to do something, we must say "yes" even when we don't have all the answers.  This is not easy, but is always worth it.

If you have followed our blog through our time in Ghana, you will recall that we shared a lot of the inconveniences we encountered while living there.  (If you haven't, check out the archived posts.) Unmistakably, we saw God's hand of provision every step of the way.  When we said "yes" to going to Ghana, we could not see how all the details would play out with our finances, Keenan's work, the kids' school, our families, etc.   God was faithful in all those areas.  And when we encountered "trials" along the way, God provided just what we needed then too.

While living in our comfortable lives in America, (by comfortable meaning you have food, a place to live, transportation, medical care; are able to read the words on this screen, etc) we don't always get the opportunity to really trust God.  We can really coast along in our lives and do pretty well on our own.  But when that security and comfort is removed and you are actively looking for His hand to guide and provide daily, He does not disappoint.  It is such a good place to be when you can honestly see the hand of God sustaining you daily.  Imagine being one of the Israelites in the wilderness watching for the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to guide you, and waking to find fresh manna from Heaven each morning.

In evaluating your role in the Great Commission, don't automatically dismiss opportunities because they may seem impossible or impractical.  Don't be afraid to do something that may seem crazy to someone else if you feel the Holy Spirit is speaking it into your life.  Step out in faith one step at a time.  You will not be disappointed.  In fact,  I'm quite sure you will be absolutely amazed!

Following . . . .

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Opportunities and Disappointments

Three days before we left for Ghana, we received a phone call from someone with the International Mission Board putting an opportunity before us to serve with the IMB in Europe.  The position was an urgent support position that would involve living in Budapest, Hungary and coordinating the medical care for all the IMB missionaries in the entire European continent.

While in Ghana, we talked and prayed through the details of the opportunity.  Soon after we returned home, we submitted our online applications (we each had to complete one) and met with the IMB personnel.  Later that evening, we received a call from the IMB in Richmond informing us that our application had been unanimously DENIED due to the age of our children.  Wow.

This would have been a 3 year position and we would not have been allowed to return to the states during that time.  Evan would have started college, then we would have gone to Richmond for 2 months orientation then around next January we would have moved to Europe.  We feel that we were obedient by submitting our application and moving forward in faith each step of the way.  Honestly, when we counted the cost (being separated from Evan through most of his college years; Allie spending the rest of her high school years away from her friends and starting college while we were in Europe; Natalie leaving her friends; leaving behind all our friends and family) we realized that it would not be easy, but we knew we could trust the LORD.  Cindy and I finally said, "LORD, we can't make this decision without You.  You must make it abundantly clear to us and we will follow You."  Well, it doesn't get more crystal clear than "NO".

We also were planning to return to Athens this summer to work with the refugees and serve the medical needs of the missionaries at the missionary conference that would be in Athens this year.  As we began to work through the details of that trip, we discovered that multiple teams were wanting to do the same thing.  In fact, they really didn't need us.  Even though we love the missionaries there and were looking forward to serving them and WITH them again, we decided it was not God's plan for us to go since we would just be a duplication.

So, now we are in the waiting room.  Waiting for God to speak clearly to us again.  It's awkwardly peaceful.  To feel that you have given God a blank check to spend your family's lives as He chooses, then to be stopped dead in your tracks feels uncomfortable and puzzling.  We are mourning the loss of the opportunity to serve Him in these ways, but at the same time, it's peaceful to be able to live day by day waiting for God's direction.   Knowing that whenever He speaks to us the timing will be perfect, and whatever He desires for us will be magnificent.

Thank you, Father for showing us that we can trust you whether on the front lines or in the waiting room.  

Following . . . .

Life Entanglement

Well, for those of you who may have been trying to keep up with our blog, I apologize.  My intention was to have, by now, several posts describing our thoughts about and "lessons learned" during our time in Ghana.  I actually have a lot to say about that and it has taken some time to collect our thoughts on the subject.  While my plan was to share this with you much sooner, it may have been better that we had some time to digest and recollect our thoughts and feelings as we have re-entered American culture.

As we had expected, it didn't take too long to become entangled in the "busy"ness and chaos of life in America.  We have gotten to share at 2 different churches about our time in Ghana (our home church and my sister's church in  Alabama) and have been invited to at least 2 more.

The kids are all back in school and doing well.  It seems that they are actually ahead of their classmates in a lot of the classes we started in Ghana.  That is a good feeling to start the semester ahead of the game!

Evan just finished soccer season.  His team finished second in the district and went to the first round of play-offs.  Now we are are in full-force with college planning for him.  We spent this past weekend at Mississippi College at a scholarship recognition / interview time for him.  He has already been named a Presidential Scholar and received a very nice scholarship for that which qualified him to be interviewed (along with about 100 other incoming freshman) for one of 25 Presidential Scholar "with distinction" scholarships or one of 5 Trustee scholarship.  If chosen, he will receive a substantial addition to his scholarship package.  He has also started working part-time at FATCO (fitness and tanning company).  He loves getting to work out while he's getting paid to "man" the gym.

Allie has joined the Crown Club, a community service organization for teenage girls that is sponsored by the Junior Auxiliary.  She was behind in service hours since the other girls began accruing hours in the fall, but they voted to let her join mid-year deeming her time in Ghana as appropriate "community service."  They will be having their Charity Ball in two weeks so we have been getting things ready for that.  She is so excited.  She has also really gotten involved with the Devotional Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes at school.  She led the devotion there last week.  She will be inducted into the high school beta club next week.

Natalie has started sixth grade band now and is learning to play the flute.  She loves it and is already excelling at it!  They had their first band test for the semester and she made first chair!  Even above the other flute players who had already had a whole semester of lessons.  She also just placed first in her division in the elementary school science fair and will go to Mississippi State for the next level of competition.

Cindy is now leading a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of "James."  She is leading 3 different sessions of it -- at our home on Tuesday morning for some stay-home moms and Tuesday night with teenage girls and Sunday afternoon at church with another large group of ladies.  I think the men are jealous so we are considering a "men's Beth Moore Bible study".

Keenan is back at work, but is not having to work quite as much as he did before we went to Ghana.

On a sad note, we lost a dear member of our family last week -- Rocket.  Our rat terrier who had been with us for almost 10 years was found to have bladder cancer that was essentially untreatable.  It was sad, but he is now in doggie heaven.  We will miss him.

Guess this is enough of an update of our life back in America.  Stay tuned for more over the coming days.

Following . . . .

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hey Y'all

Well, we survived Christmas!  We had thought that it would be exciting to reunite with friends and family during the holidays, but we forgot how hectic Christmas in America can be.  So, re-entering American civilization at Christmas can be busy.  It's not been so bad, though.  We've gotten to spend some time with family, but still looking forward to visiting some with our friends.  Everyone has been scattered doing their own family Christmas, as we have been too.  We have been able to get some needed rest, too.  The kids have really enjoyed re-connecting with their friends.  Evan and Allie are headed to winter camp this weekend in Gatlinburg with the youth from church.  They are really looking forward to that.

I want to give you two links to check out.  Some have been asking about any other blogs that they can go to for ongoing information about what's going on in Nalerigu.  Hollie Dickens has a blog that she updates regularly and you will love "getting to know" them.  So check out the Dickens' blog and send them a comment or an e-mail periodically.  

Also, Evan has written another song.  He put it on You Tube so check it out here.  

We hope you are having a "joyful and triumphant" Christmas season!

Following (and waiting on our next directive from God) . . . .