Where Would You Like To Go?

October 28, 2014

We're Moving...

to a new blog that is!!

Come on over and check out our new blog -

Grace & Chocolate Milk

Thank you for keeping up with us for the past 5 years on this site - I will no longer be posting here at "On the Journey".  Please come on over and subscribe to our new site!

October 25, 2014

This Is Grace

Grace is defined as recieving something we do not deserve.  Most of the time we like to think of all of the good things we have in reference to grace.
Our salvation - definitely.
Our family - of course.
But what if His grace is bigger than that?
What if grace looks different at different seasons in our lives?

What if it's actually grace when things are not okay?

I've been reflecting a lot since we've come stateside on all the Lord has taught me in our first term overseas.  Most would look at our life over there and consider it "hard", "difficult", or at least "not easy".  Then over the past 17 months or so it's seemed that "something" is always going on.

you know what?

I believe His grace is what has been going on.

how can it not be His grace to walk though situations & circumstances that bring us closer to Him?  how can it not be His grace to learn how to depend on Him alone?
how can it not be His grace to journey through life knowing that He alone is good?

it has to be.

it has to be His grace.

I do not deserve to know Him the way that I do.
I do not deserve to trust that His truths will not change.
I do not deserve to hope that He will work everything for the good - for His glory.

but I do.  I am.  I will.

if things we are given but don't deserve are grace then this is it.

our life is grace.
trials are grace.
victories are grace.
the journey is grace.

October 20, 2014

It's Going to Be Okay

"It's all going to be okay" 
Have you ever said it?  Has someone ever said it to you?
The good intentions are there - as a Christian, there is even truth to the statement...but I've never liked it.  Usually when that statement makes it's way into conversation, "okay" is the last emotion you are feeling.  

I was listening a few weeks ago to one of David Platt's sermons.  He was teaching from Acts 20 and he made the statement, "Just because something is difficult or hard does not mean the Lord is not calling you to it."

Amen and amen - right?  
For some reason, middle school English class makes it's way to the surface and I hear - "Two roads diverged in yellow wood...and I took the one less traveled by...and that has made all the difference"

He calls us to things that are not always "okay".
He takes us down paths that are less traveled.

The past 17 months have been filled with glorious & amazingly beautiful days.  
They have also been filled with tough, worn weary, & crying days.  

My pregnacy with Lyllian was not easy.
Complications while living in a 3rd world country were not fun.
Transitioning to a family of 4 was difficult.
Walking  Crawling through depression was hard.

and you know what?
it. was. not. all. okay.

agonizing cries
selfish prayers
words spoken in anger
pity parties thrown
lies believed
quiet times missed
grace withheld
doubts raised

but you know what?
it was all glorifying

He used it.  
every single thing.
He glorified Himself through it all - admidst it all.
He brought me to His throne.
He held me in His arms.
He never let go.  
He taught me about His faithfulness, His love, His mercy, His grace, & His forgiveness.

So, friend, I'm not here to tell you that everything is going to be okay but I can promise you as a child of His...
It's going to be glorifying!!

October 15, 2014

Lyllian Abigail ~ 10 months

Sweet Lyllian - 10 months old!!  

How crazy to think almost a year has gone by!  I feel like you have grown up so much in this past month.  You are 28.5 inches long (56th percentile) and weigh 19.5 pounds (42nd percentile)!  
Clearly you have had a growth spurt!!
You are still eating baby food (your favorite is baby yogurt) but you also love grilled chicken and black eyed peas.  You've also tried a coke icee and a strawberry snowcone (yummy!!)!
You are trying to talk as much as your sister does and a few people even think you've said their names!  Pat-a-cake is one of your favorite activites and you can clap your hands all by yourself and throw them in the air at the end of the song.  
Your favorite toys to go after are your sister's - much to her dismay.  Although she has gotten a bit better about sharing with you as of late.  You love pulling yourself up on anything that's around - including people's legs - but you almost never stand flat footed.  You love being on your tiptoes!!!
You can get around to anywhere you'd like by crawling - you haven't quite started cruising yet, but I think it might be in the near future!
No matter where we are, people comment about what a happy baby you are.  You do still like to suck your thumb but not as much as you have.  The only time you tend to do it now is when you're sleepy!  
 Your big sister gets the loudest giggles from you.  She loves making you laugh about as much as you do.  I think you will be quite a people person.  Anything that we do that requires you to be still (eating, diaper changes, getting dressed) is more quickly done in a room where noone else is.  If someone is around, you want to be looking at them and talking!
 Praying for wisdom as your mommy, sweet girl, as you continue to grow.  The Lord has been gracious in allowing your daddy & me to raise you - and our prayer is that we do it all for His glory.
I love you baby girl!

October 14, 2014

The Village of Andremba

In August, a mission team came from the States to Tulear.  Steve was still recovering from typhoid so he was unable to make the trip out to the bush with the guys but Jodie wrote about the trip on her blog and I wanted to share that with all of you!!  Here's a recap of what happened AND an update from just the past couple of weeks too!

Jodie's blog...
The team that went to the south included Bill, JD, Grant, and 5 Malagasy believers from Tulear.  They mainly focused on the remote village of Andremba.  The first day, the Malagasy believers from Tulear led the believers in Andremba in a shorter version of the training they had received earlier in the week, going through the ten commandments and the stories that were used to teach them (the golden calf, David and Bathsheba, etc).  The believers in Andremba drank up the teaching, which lasted all day long!  How cool to see the believers in Tulear training up the believers in these remote areas!

The next day, the believers from Tulear went with the church body from Andremba to another village called Andre-Mihaga.  They walked for one hour to this remote village, which had never seen a white person before!  Grant said that a lady in a field ducked when she saw him, fearing for her life. Another disabled lady, curled up and started sobbing.  She later explained that because she couldn’t move, she thought if she cried the white man might have mercy on her and not kill her!  Even more shocking than them having never seen a white person before, was that they had never heard the name of Jesus

Eventually the village gathered, and a formal time began.  The church leader of Andremba, Emasike, led the time and explained they had come to share about something that had changed their lives.  He told them that a seed had been sown in him, and that seed was the Word of God.  And because of that seed, his life had been changed and he wants to share that seed with others.  He also told them that if the seed begins to take root in them, they should also share it with others.  Over the next few hours, this new village listened as Emasike told the stories of creation, the fall, Abraham…The village received the stories and wanted to hear more. He told them if they wanted, he would return and continue telling the stories from the Bible. 

What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.  There, in this remote village, a group of people from all over the world came together to get the Gospel to these people.  Believers from one place, training up believers in a different place, to take the Good News to a new place!  This is what it is all about! Praise God for His amazing plans and for letting us be a part of it.  

Emasike, the church leader of Andremba
In September - Grant & another missionary went out to the bush. They were able to visit the five villages where churches have been started (Andremba, Kilimary, Besatra, Itamboina, and Ampotake).  Although each village has had its own struggles and successes, it was an encouraging for Grant to see how despite the challenges each face, they are continuing to press on and grow closer in their walks with the Lord and in their desire to reach others with the Good News. 

Andremba has been a particularly exciting ministry area in the last few months.  They have continued to visit this village, and now 25 people from this previously unreached village are making the hour walk to Andremba each week to learn more about God.  Emasike, the leader of the believers in Andremba, called this week to tell us that many of those have accepted Christ and are ready for baptism.  He also said that the church from Andremba has begun visiting ANOTHER village in order to bring them the Gospel.  Isn't our God amazing??!?!!!

Please keep praying for the believers in Mahafaly Land as they go outside of their comfort zone to plant the seeds of His Gospel.

October 13, 2014

Life on the Road

About 2 weeks ago we left on a long road trip.  We were heading to Virginia for debriefing with the IMB and fortunately for us we have 2 familes that we are best friends with who live in VA too!

We made a detour through Atlanta on the way up to meet up with this guy...
It was so great to catch up with Doug after not seeing him for over a year!  He served alongside us for 2 years as a journeyman in Mada.
Next up were a few days in Front Royal, VA.  It was beautiful!!  My best friend (whom I have known since we were in diapers) lives there and so do her parents.  It was wonderful to see them and a bit of their life in Virginia.  They had so many fun activites planned for us - it was such a treat!  
Reading a new book from Natalie!

She took me to do "high tea" at a local teahouse - it was fantastic!
Apple Picking!!
We're also grateful for their ladies ministry and their church - we were able to share with them on Saturday & Sunday what God has been doing in Madagascar.  We were honored to meet some of those who have been praying for us over the past few years!!
At the Ladies Tea Saturday afternoon - and the girls in their matching outfits!!

Our 1st ever corn maze - and we MADE it!!
On Monday, we drove to the campus where our debriefing would be held.  We had a fantastic week full of classes, sermons, and worship.  It was a great time of renewing & refreshment.  
Lyllian loved having "class" everyday with her Lhi Lhi
She quickly has become a fan of swings!
2 of these gals were classmates 3 years ago when they were just babies!
Saturday morning we got up and back on the road - this time headed to Vansant, VA.  The Starks live there and we were super excited about seeing them and meeting their newest member - Miss Carlye!  
Life with 5 kids running around was a bit hectic but so much fun.  A lot has changed since we all hung out during our seminary days!!  
BRRRRR it's cold!
We are also thankful for Vansant Baptist and their support through prayers, giving, and coming all the way to Mada to work alongside us!!
it was beautiful in the mountains!
They were fast friends!
Monday we piled back up in the truck and headed home to MS.  10+ hours later, we arrived.  WHEW!  What a trip!  We were grateful to have been able to make the trip and were so appreciative that my Pop let us borrow his truck so we could get there & back!  What a blessing!!  It was fun to be able to see so many of our close friends and just spend some time one on one with each of them.  We are grateful for their hospitatlity!  We love you guys!!

October 11, 2014

One Word At A Time

I have many things to say.  
Much to catch you up on.  
Lots to share about what God is teaching me and showing me.  
Honestly, in this land of speedy internet & technology galore - I'm having a hard time finding the time to write/type.  Granted, it's usually because I'm busy spending one on one time with family & friends or driving down an interstate headed to one place or another - so that is okay...but I do miss it.  I miss sharing and the theraputic nature of writing.
It's been almost a month since my last post and we're all doing well.  Jet lag never seemed to hit us too hard but this faster paced life is something else entirely.  I feel like I could take a nap everyday but there's just so much to do or people to talk to!!  The girls are throughly enjoying being around family, friends, and hey - even strangers sometimes!  Ryleigh talks to everyone she sees - unless of course, she's being introduced - then she pretends she is shy.  HA!  
Lyllian is growing and has added "hey/hi there" to her vocabulary.  Of course she doesn't say it exactly like that BUT you definitely get what she's saying.  Steve is enjoying watching college football at normal hours of the day (vs staying up super late/waking really early to watch it in Madagascar) and I might be a little too excited about buying new decor to take back to Madagascar.  Shopping is overwhelming but it hasn't kept me from purchasing a few things!!
So, don't give up on me - keep checking back because I do plan on being more regular with my posts.  It's something I enjoy and I know that it's healthy to take some time to do those types of things.  If you want to subscribe to this blog then everytime a new post is up - it'll come straight to your inbox.  I'll be happy to sign you up myself or you can just type in your email address up there on the top right.