Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hard to Believe

Yesterday marked 13 weeks for the pregnancy. The timeline we had before was off by a little, but we are right on track now...well as much as we can be. I have one more doctor's appointment right before we leave for the DR just to check on everything, then it's off to nothing but Spanish-spoken appointments!!! Woo hoo! The morning sickness, or rather ALL DAY sickness, has not subsided. It's going on 7 weeks now. Ugh! Most women, at least according to my book, should be feeling better by now. Unfortunately, if I'm anything like my older sister, I've got another two months of this. Right now, the baby is approximately 3 inches long and weighs only 1 oz. But all of Baby Braisted's organs are functioning and looks like a miniature-size baby. It's amazing that something so small functions almost the same as you or I. God is pretty spectacular. It will be several more weeks before we know the sex but we look forward to that day with much anticipation! Please continue to pray for us as we adjust to all of the changes that are coming shortly in our future.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

That BETTER be a tumor

In the words of Brook, "That BETTER be a tumor." Haha.'s not a tumor...but it is a baby! That's right. Mike and I are 12 weeks pregnant. Crazy, I know. That is part of the reason that it has taken me so long to update our blog. But anyway, here it is.

The last few weeks have kinda been crazy, for sure. We have traveled 5,000 miles in four weeks. But we also found out we were pregnant the day that we got back from the Dominican. We had one doctor's appointment already and we have our next one tomorrow on our 12-week mark. It's obviously changed our plans a little bit, but everything will work out fine.

We are hoping to still return to the Dominican January 16th and come back around May 1st. There is already an OB in the DR that I will go to, that our other missionaries say is the best! Unfortunately, Mike and I won't be able to be in the DR in the summer during the busy time and when most of the teams are there. That makes us sad, as it was such a blast last summer being a part of that atmosphere. Oh well, many years to come. Mike's dad's church is going to have to change their date because they were supposed to come down July 10th and the baby is due July 11th. Although quite a surprise, we are still VERY excited and look forward to this crazy adventure.

I will probably write more tomorrow if we find out any new news. Thanks for your prayers and support.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


For those of you who are faithful followers of our blog, we have arrived safely in the U.S. It was a crazy weekend with lots of family around and many things to do, but it was great to be greeted with so many familiar faces. We had a little trouble getting to KY but we made it and everything is great. We start our months of traveling starting on Thursday so keep us in your prayers as we continue down this road God has sent us.

We love you all.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Good friends...

A good friend reminded me today about a verse that is so applicable to my life right now (and possibly yours):

"Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6

I (amanda) have been struggling with a few things lately, mostly just being emotionally overloaded, and have been looking for a little peace. And that verse just put all of my emotions in perspective knowing that I am here in the DR, for God's purpose and not for anyone else. He has me in this place in my life for a reason, and it is my job to trust that he knows the way.

I think that sometimes I just make this whole relationship with God so much more difficult than it needs to be. He has the plans. He knows the way. He is in the driver's seat. All I have to do is sit back, put my seatbelt on and enjoy the scenery. If what I do is with good intentions to further God's kingdom, there is nothing more that I can do to please Him. And it doesn't matter who else is pleased in the process. You know, God sure knew a lot when he wrote the Bible.

On a side note:

Please keep Mike and I's friend, Katie, in your prayers. She is going into her 9th month of pregnancy with her and her husband's first child. Today the doctor found a little glitch in the tube that lead's from Grace's (the baby) bladder to her kidneys. The doctor says its something to keep an eye on, but it may fix itself. Please pray for a healthy delivery and some sanity for the new parents as they prepare for Grace's arrival.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Prayers Answered

Thank you to everyone who prayed for our apartment. As of today, it is ours. They came down 1000 pesos which is good, but not what we wanted. We wanted them to come down 2000 pesos (about $60) but because they are making all of the new improvements they are wanting 5000 pesos a month ($150) not including utilities. If we were in the states, this kind of money wouldn't even be an issue, but because of the neighborhood we live in that is A LOT of money. Which is ok...we just need to do some more fund-raising, which is exactly why we are coming home. It's more than twice what we pay now, but we are still working on our 'summer budget' which is about $2000 less than what we should be working at. But, this all worked out to God's will and we have no doubt that everything else will fall into place when He wants it to. This also means that we will have an extra bedroom for GUESTS and we EXPECT many of you to come down and see us. No excuses! :)

Thank you again for all of your prayers and support.

6 days left here in the DR!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

We need some prayer

For those of you who read this blog, we are in need of some major prayer. After speaking with the lawyer, they are wanting $50 more than we are able to pay, not including utilities. Samira, who is kind of negotiating for us, says that this price is so unbelievable that she can't even believe they are asking this. We just need prayer that all can be negotiated lower or that we know God's will and we can say no even though we really want the apartment. We know that it is all in God's hands, its just we have had our heart set on this apartment and now we may not be able to afford to live in it. Thanks in advance for your prayers, we will update you when we know more.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Final words....

Well, 10 days to's hard to believe, although the last two weeks have gone EXTREMELY slow. We are busy, busy, busy making last minute dominican purchases, figuring out what is staying here and what we're bringing back and filling up our schedule for our time in the states. (Make sure you keep checking our schedule so you can see the changes that are being made, two weekends just filled up today!) We are eagerly anticipating our arrival in the states...although it will be sad to go. We pray that all goes well on our "fund-raising adventures around the U.S." so that we are able and ready to return to the DR in January. Please be praying with us that God's will be done and that we can return "home" in January.

Everything is going well in our planning for the U.S., it's absolutely crazy to think about all the time that will be spent traveling, plus trying to make time for me (Amanda) to be in the office and get some design work done. But amidst all the craziness, we continue to feel God's blessings upon us as we could NEVER imagine doing anything else, but this. We look back in hindsight over the past four and a half months and just can't believe all the things that have happened and all the changes that have been made. It's so amazing to be resting in God's will and feel His hand on your daily work. It's such an awesome place to be, crazy, but awesome!

Our major prayer requests for these next couple weeks are:

1-We still haven't heard anything about the larger apartment we are waiting to hear about. Prayer that some things can be finalized before we leave, or that doors are closed or opened to help decisions be made.

2-After hours of debate, we have decided that we need to sell our truck back in the states and replace it with something more gas efficient. As you can tell by our schedule, we will be doing more traveling in the next two and a half months than we have in the past 4 years of being together. Our truck isn't practical anymore. (This is very hard for me because it was given to me as a graduation present from my parents...if you know me, you know I love that truck!) We have found a vehicle that is available for the same amount that we could sell our truck for, and it has 60,000 less miles on it, and gets twice the gas mileage. We need prayer to sell our truck quickly and that the owner of the car is willing to sell it for a little lower than it's worth.

3-Pray for Mike and I as we begin to prepare to start a family. Help us to have wisdom and discernment as to when is a good time, and also that there are no complications or problems that would keep us from having a family.

4-Pray for us as we begin to wrap things up in the DR for our trek home. Just that we can get everything done efficiently and effectively and all goes well with all of our travel plans. As well as safety on the 26th as we have a long day of flying back to Louisville.

5-Pray for Mike's brother, Tim, who is at the beginning stages of entering the music business. He has try-outs/rehearsals with a producer from Nashville next week. Pray for him to learn the songs quickly that he has to learn for the try-outs, for ease of nerves as he performs and practices and just that God's hand is on the whole process of Tim and his talent for music.

6-My sister, Ashley, is finishing up her first semester of her second year in med school and is in the process of thinking, studying and setting things up to take the boards next summer. Pray for her end of the year exams as well as her sanity as she continues to adjust to becoming a doctor.

7-Mike's grandfather and my Uncle Owen were both diagnosed with Prostate Cancer within months of each other. My uncle has had his prostate removed but there may be some other complications and he may need to do chemo as well. Mike's grandfather is in the process of taking hormone pills and may also being doing chemo sometime in the near future depending on what the doctor's say.

Ok, this was a long one. Sorry about that but there's so much going on and I don't know if I will have time next week to update the blog. Please, please, please continue to comment and e-mail as much as possible for encouragement as well as just communication with everyone. It's hard because sometimes we feel like we miss out on stuff back home by being here, but you can help us stay up to date by letting us know how your families are doing as well.

Thank you all for taking us this far on the journey...we look foward to what God has in store for all of us together, in the future.

Love, Mike and Mandi

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sometimes God leads us elsewhere...

Haha...I bet you FREAKED when you read that title line! Well, if you didn't freak, good, cause there's nothing to freak about. I mean, the title still has something to do with what I'm writing about, but no worries if you thought our stay as missionaries was over.

God has put a little twist in our plans here as missionaries, as far as where we live, that is. We have posted several pictures about our new apartment that we have worked very hard to make a home...but now, God has brought a new apartment to our attention. You see, in the Dominican republic (especially the city we live in) it is incredibly difficult to find a good apartment. Not only a good apartment, just an apartment itself is hard to find. We LOVE our current apartment, but something has come our way. There is a third floor apartment, just down the street for our current one, that is being remodeled. Did you hear that? Remodeled...that is like NEVER heard of here. Anyway, it has a full kitchen, living room, THREE (count them) Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a balcony out front and a porch out back. All that for only $50 more a month than we pay now. It's not all worked out, and we haven't made any decisions or anything, but we need prayer from all of you for wisdom and discernment to make the best decision.

Since we are planning on trying to start a family next year, we will definitey need more room than we currently have. We just didn't expect something like this to come up so quickly. So PLEASE be praying for us, as we are nearing the date to come back to the states and now we are forced to make some major decisions we weren't ready to make yet. Thanks to all of you prayer-warriors, you have done an amazing job of going to God on our behalf so far! We love you all...more to come.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Our state-side schedule

Hello All~

I know you have all been dying to know what we are doing while we are in the states, so I am putting together a little schedule (although not filled yet) of where we are going to be over the course of our stay in the states. As weekends fill up, I will fill them in on this schedule. Get your dates into me ASAP.

October 26, 2006: Arrive in the United States of America (or Los Estados Unidos)-DONE

October 27-28: FAMILY~Louisville, KY-Grandma and Grandpa Basham's 50th wedding anniversary-DONE

October 29-Nov 2: STAFF~Louisville, KY-Working in Office-DONE

November 3-November 6: SUPPORTERS~Marion, IN-DONE

November 6-9: STAFF~Louisville, KY-Working in Office-DONE

November 9-12: FAMILY~Wisconsin-DONE

November 12-13: SUPPORTERS/TEAM~Marion, IN visiting Women's B-ball team-DONE

November 13-15: STAFF~Louisville, KY-Working in Office-DONE

November 16-20: STAFF~Staff outing-DONE

November 21-24: FAMILY~Roanoke, VA for Thanksgiving-DONE

November 25-26: WEDDING~Michigan for friend's wedding-Couldn't go-VERY sick! :(

November 26-December 3: SUPPORTERS~Wisconsin for numerous presentations-DONE

December 4-8: STAFF~Louisville, KY for end-of-the-year Staff meetings-DONE

December 8-11: CHURCH VISIT~Roanoke, VA-DONE

December 12-14: STAFF~Louisville, KY-Working in Office-DONE

December 15-18: CHURCH VISIT~North Lakeport, MI-DONE

December 18-25: FAMILY~Wisconsin visiting family for Christmas-DONE

December 25-26: FAMILY~Louisville, KY for Christmas-DONE

December 27-29: STAFF~Louisville, KY-Working in Office-DONE

December 30: STAFF~New Year's Party-DONE

December 31-January 1~OPEN-DONE

January 2-5: STAFF~Louisville, KY-Working in Office

January 5-7: FAMILY~Possibly in Nashville, TN helping Tim move in

January 7-12: STAFF~Louisville, KY-Working in Office

January 12-14: FRIENDS~Marion, IN-Visiting some friends

January 16, 2007: LEAVE FOR DR

Hope this is helpful to everyone. As you can see, the dates are filling up. Miss you all and looking forward to seeing you in a month or so.

Love, Mike and Mandi

Our trip to the Capitol

Last Wednesday, the G.O. Staff went on a trip to the Capitol of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. It's about a two hour van ride there (maybe a little less with Timmy driving) pretty much staying on one main highway. Santo Domingo, in many ways, looks like downtown Los Angeles. Lots of highway lanes, beat up houses on one side, huge, expensive houses on the other. We went to the capitol, mainly for one thing...OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE! This is a rare thing for us down here. Whereas in the states, almost every decent sized town has an Outback, you can pretty much only get it at the capitol here. Although, we had a few stops before we were to reach our much anticipated destination. We visited a few historical sites, which I have pictures below! It's good to know the history of the country we are living in. It was especially good to see the museum which had MANY artifacts that dates to several hundred years ago from when Christopher Columbus discovered the DR. No pics from the museum though. Enjoy!






Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thanks to the Staff at Wisconsin Curves

Mike and I wanted to extend a special thanks to the Staff at my mom's Curves in Wisconsin. They had a yard sale and donated items and all of the money was raised for Mike and I. They raised $250.00 for us! Thank you so much. As a result of your donation, Mike and I were able to purchase a new gas stove and washing machine! These two new items have made our life so much easier! Here are some pics for you to enjoy. Thanks again! We hope you are blessed greatly because of your generosity.

OUR NEW GAS STOVE!!! Isn't it cute?


Thanks again! You all are the best.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Home Improvement

We have had a busy week. Sorry to many of you who have tried to e-mail us, our e-mail server was down for two weeks so we couldn't send or receive any e-mails. If you tried to e-mail us during this time, please resend those documents as we never received them.

Last week was "home improvement" week. Mike and I painted our ENTIRE apartment. It is such a huge change and it makes everything feel more like home now. Here are some pictures of the difference just a little paint makes in a tiny apartment.

BEFORE: Our kitchen and "living room" area with BROWN walls.

AFTER: Our kitchen and "living room" area with MARFIL SUAVE walls (off white).

BEFORE: Our bathroom with BROWN walls.

AFTER: Our bathroom with BLANCO HUESO walls (Bone White).

BEFORE: Our bedroom with ORANGE walls.

AFTER: Our bedroom with MARINO VERDE walls (Sea Green) with our wood board/concrete block shelves that we hand painted!

Hope you guys enjoy the pics, more to come!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Blast from the Past

Today's post is a little unconventional compared to previous ones. I just wanted to post some pictures I had from two of my friend's weddings that I went to this summer. I miss my friends a lot since I've been down here, and since communication is limited to either e-mail or skype (which only one of my friends has skype) I just wanted to post some pictures of my buddies so that they knew I was thinking about them. So if any of you guys check our blog, please know that even though we are far away, you are incredibly close to our hearts. I love being here, but I can't wait to see all of you in November and December.

As for this week, Mike and I will finally have internet of our own in our apartment! No more using the school's internet and having to walk down the street to check e-mail. Plus we will have a landline phone that goes along with our service which we can call the United States for 6 pesos a minute, which is roughly 20 cents. Not bad. Also, my mom secretly held a yard sale with all of her employees at Curves and they raised money for Mike and I to buy a washing machine and a stove! WOO HOO!!!! The blessings are just over-flowing. We are so incredibly greatful. Sometimes it's hard to say how much. As long as God will's it, we will live in the Dominican.

This week, as soon as our internet is hooked up, I will be updating some stuff on the G.O. website ( If you have looked lately, I have made some adjustments such as: if you look at our name under the Staff page you will see a section called "more on Mike and Amanda." There will be a picture and some more info on us. But there will be several changes made in the next couples months so stay posted.

I guess that's it for now. Hope you guys enjoy the pics and I will talk to you next Tuesday! Love ya'll!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fun Night with the Kids

These past few weeks have been absolutely amazing! Mike and I have caught up on some much needed sleep, we have watched a few movies, we finished up our 7-week basketball league, Audrey and I started our excersize routine AND I started Spanish school! I LOVE SPANISH SCHOOL, besides the fact that it is at 8:00 am and we walk there and have to leave at 7:30. It has really helped me just clarify things and it has challenged me to be bolder in my attempt to speak spanish to the Dominicans.

We are officially leaving Santiago October 26th which gives us about two more months here to get some things done, but that also means we have two months to set up meetings with supporters and future supporters. If you need to meet with Mike and I, please don't hesitate to e-mail us or post a comment so we can put you on our calendar. We are going to be home until the first or second week in January and will be doing a major fund-raising tour, so we are able to go to any church where there is an opportunity for us to speak at. Please let us know if you have any contacts as well.

The pictures above are pictures from Tuesday night. G.O. has a group of 15 men (dominicans from the ministry) in Columbia for a month. So Tuesday, we took all the kids from the families who's dads are gone so that the mom's had a night to themselves. We bought pizza for them and watched Madagascar on the big projector and played games for 3 hours! It was so much fun and the kids really seemed to enjoy themselves. It's amazing how much energy children have! It made me feel old. Three hours with them and I was ready to go to bed at 9:00! But it was a great night of bonding with the other missionaries and bonding with the kids. Several of the families that work for G.O. don't live in our neighborhood so it was great to be able to see the kids from other parts of Santiago.

Well, I suppose that is it for now. I have marked on my calendar to update our blog every Tuesday. Please hold me accountable to that! If something else big goes on in between tuesdays, I will put in an extra update. Thanks to all of you regular blog means a lot to Mike and I. We love you, and miss you all and look forward to seeing many of you in November! Dios les Bendiga! Mike and Mandi

Monday, August 14, 2006

thank you.

Thanks to the awesome prayers and support of all of you...Mike and I are staying until the end of October! YAY!!! We havent' raised the rest of our support but there is a team in October that wants to do a soccer clinic so Brook asked if we would stay. YAY!!!! I can't write more right now because we are just finishing up with our last team of the summer. But I should be able to have more frequent updates since we will have a little more time on our hands.

Thank you so much for your prayers!!!! We love you all.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My Trip to Haiti

My trip to Haiti...where do I start. We didn't realize the craziness of the trip until we looked at it in hindsight. What was supposed to begin as about 10 people, including a Haitian interpreter, ended up being Will, me and two guys from the team that was down for the week. Will had never driven there before, and had only been to Haiti once, I had never been there and to top it all off, Spanish or English is not spoken there...only Creole. So communication was minimum. We did make it ok and we ended up having a Haitian be our guide. His name was Arsenio and he was the person that began the orphanage we went to.

It's hard to describe Haiti...just think of one of the most devistating places you could ever imagine, and then multiply it by 10 and that is Haiti. There are barely trees, no grass, only dust, shacks for houses, trash everywhere...and the people have nothing but stoic expressions. It just felt like there was no happiness, and nothing to be happy about. It completely broke my heart.

The kids in the pictures above are kids that live in the area or are part of the orphanage. The picture at the very top is the market where people travel for 20 miles on foot or donkey to go to. And the picture of the big building is the church, school and dormatory that Arsenio started.

This country completely needs our prayers. The people there have no hope.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Batey and Haiti

Just a quick update, Mike is in a place called Batey Nueve this week which is pretty equivalent to being in a desert. He is translating at a medical clinic there and could use your prayers for health and sleep as well.

I will be leaving for Haiti tomorrow as well. I will only be there for a day, but please pray for safe entry into the semi-hostile country (sometimes there are problems at the border).

Thanks so much.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Faithfulness To Us

What a week it has been...we had an awesome week of "vacation" and relaxation time. The resort was absolutely beautiful. (For those of you that are worried about Mike and I staying at the hotel, Mike's parents donated some extra money for our anniversary to pay for it.) The top right picture is a picture from our balcony overlooking the resort...AWESOME! The other picture is Audrey and I swinging on the giant swing that is in the G.O. dormitory on our "Gringo (American) food" night. The next picture down on the left is John (missionary), Will and Mike at Gringo night. The picture to the right of that is Mike and I at the resort. The next picture down is Audrey and I at the resort the night that we all dressed up. I've lost about 10 pounds since we got down here, unfortunately the camera doesn't show it :) (I was never very photogenic anyway, I guess that's why I'm always BEHIND the camera) And then the last picture is Mike and I over-looking the ocean at the Christopher Colombus ruins. We visited the site where Christopher Colombus landed on the Island of Hispaniola and saw where the buildings and houses and graveyards used to be. Very cool.

Everything is so great. Our week went fast, but not too fast and Mike and I watched A LOT of episodes of CSI and movies. (if you are ever wondering what to send us besides money, it's movies!) We cleaned the house thouroughly and hung out, played cards and enjoyed each other's company. It was a great time for us to let down and feel like we didn't have any obligations. For those of you who know Mike and I well, there is nothing that we like more than sitting on the couch in sweatpants, vegging and watching movies. Last week we did a lot of that, minus the sweatpants.

Last month we got one new monthly supporter and two new one-time gifts. Thank you so much! We have raised our monthly support to $2000.00/month! Praise Jesus! Brook says that if we get $1000-$1500 more a month we can stay until November! So we challenge all of you guys to talk to at least three key people that you know, about Mike and I. They could be anyone, someone looking to give their tithe somewhere, someone who just wants a tax-deductible donation...ANYONE! And even if they don't want to give right away, tell them that we can set up a meeting time with them to share about our experiences and see where they can fit in with the ministry. We want to get more people involved, and more people down to the Dominican to see what we're about.

And thank you to all of you who have been praying for my Spanish, I am comprehending sooooooo much more. I try and learn 15-20 new words or phrases a day. And today, I had an entire conversation with a guy on the construction site, IN SPANISH. It was so satisfying to be able to communicate.

Thank you again to all of you who are supporting us with your prayers and giving. We feel your presence down here, even though you are in the states. We pray that you and your families will be greatly blessed because of your faithfulness to us.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thank you for getting us here.

Can't hardly believe it, but it's 5 days it is Mike and I's one-year anniversary. What a strange, crazy, exciting, exhausting, unbelievable, absolutely amazing year it has been. I feel like Mike and I have been married for 5 years and still sometimes I feel like I just met him yesterday. I still get giddy when I see him. I love that.

We have an awesome opportunity to spend our anniversary at a resort. It only costs $65/night at an all-inclusive and G.O. is paying for the first night because we are going as a staff. The second night, Will, Audrey, Mike and I are going to a different resort to spend our "one-year's" together (Audrey and Will got married the weekend after us). Our anniversary "happens" to fall on our staff week off. We don't have a team here at all until a week from tomorrow which will be a great opportunity to get in some rest, relaxation and fun. Then three teams totalling in more than 60 people will be here. Whew...crazy.

Mike and I are just feeling totally blessed to be here...there is absolutely no other place I would rather be (well, except maybe with my family in Maine...jerks!). Thank you for getting us here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

...enjoy the pictures

The pictures have arrived. Camp is over. Sleep was needed. But here are some of the pictures from basketball camp last week. It went off without a hitch. The smoothest running camp that G.O. has ever put on. It was just great. The image of the group of kids (I believe it's the second on the top) is a picture of all the kids that accepted Christ or re-dedicated their lives. It was over 40 of them. AWESOME HUH!!!

The week was very refreshing and a real glimpse of how much work it is to put together a trip for a group of people. This week we have THREE teams here. There is a total of about 60 people here. So many, in fact, that not all of them are able to stay where we are, we have several of them in houses and things like that. it's crazy, but fun because there is a medical team here doing clinics and it is just really enjoyable to watch all of that. I will try and get pics for the clinic sometime next week.

Mike and I are doing great. We have bought a kitchen table which is beginning to make our house a home. As well as some paintings that we bought while we were at the beach.

All is well...we absolutely love being here and will continue praying for God's direction and intervention in our financial situation.

We miss you all...enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dios le Bendiga

I've been advised by my best friend that I am not doing a good job of updating this as often as I should. So here I go...

We have been here for a week. It's hard to imagine. Sometimes I feel like we just got in last night and sometimes I feel like we've already been here for two months. We absolutely love it here. The final touches are coming together on our apartment. You know me...decoration comes first! We got our bed (totally comfortable), our inverter is installed (it keeps our lights and fans running when the electricity goes off) and we are probably going to paint sometime next week (I'm so excited for this part). It is such a cute apartment and fits our needs so well. Its not too big so that there is too much cleaning (it gets VERY dusty) and its not too small that we feel cramped. We have about 3 more bigger purchases to go: futon, kitchen table and a washing machine. The futon is about $125.00, kitchen table about $30.00 and a washing machine is about $180.00. (If you want to make a donation to pay for any of these specific things, just let me know) But other than that we are settling in nicely.

As for this week, we are going to be ridiculously busy. A basketball group of about 35 are going to be here this week. We are running clinics, camps, tournaments, etc. for about 100 kids this week. CRAZY BUSY!!! The awesome part is, that we get to go to the beach on Sunday! Woo hoo! I am so pumped for it. I gotta get the rest of me tan that is lacking due to clothes covering them up.

I try not to think about the fact that we have to leave in August...I want to stay so badly. But I am seriously so greatful for the opportunity to be here at all. I love it so much, I just don't want to leave. But I know that God has us in his will...and that's a nice place to be, although its not always comfortable.

That's about it for now...I will try and post again sometime again this week to let you know how the camp is going.

Dios le Bendiga!
(God bless you)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We Arrived!

We are here!!! Yay!!! We arrived safely in the Dominican Republic and have all of our "junk" in our new apartment. It is WAY cuter than we remember it being. We just wanted to let everyone know that we are here and safe and things couldn't have run smoother. We definitely felt your prayers encompass us on our journey. We will write more, but just wanted to let you all know we arrived.

Monday, June 12, 2006

the day has come...

In 13 hours we will be on a plane and on our way to the Dominican Republic. Can anyone believe that we are already here? I sure can't. Things are a little crazy, a little hectic...but God continues to bring peace. We KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, that this is where God wants us.

This little blog won't be long tonight, we just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you for your support and please pray for safe travels tomorrow. It's a long journey (not too long) with 4 massively heavy suitcases plus 4 carry-on bags. But, by God's grace, we are not traveling alone. Our friends, Will and Audrey, are coming with us tomorrow. We couldn't be more thrilled.

We are so excited...and now the day has come...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Almost there.

The traveling is over...well until our big travel day next TUESDAY!!! So we will finally be ONE PLACE for more than TWO DAYS. Ha. We are going to have some pretty full plates over the next week, just buying last minute things, packing, storing stuff and just getting mentally and spiritually prepared. Mike and I are getting so stinkin' excited, it's hard to imagine that we are now full time missionaries.

God has been so faithful to us. We are slowly just seeing His work in our lives individually. He has opened up doors for us and has just really encouraged us through the people we work with and others that we meet. This is really the greatest time for us to be doing this, during this stage of our lives. I've learned, funnily enough, to not look to far into the future. Living day-by-day isn't my strongest personality trait. I'm a planner. But in the business of "God's work" you can't plan too far ahead, you just never know what turn He'll take you around next.

Our relationship has definitely strengthened this past month of living in Louisville. We've learned a lot about each other and what each other's strengths are and where we can lift each other up. Our communication with each other has improved ten-fold and we are really learning what it means to be a "married couple." Don't get me wrong, most of the time I still have those "on the honeymoon" feelings, but it has been great to see a new dynamic to our marriage and just how much God prepared both of us to be each other's strength. It's kind of of our long-time mutual friends made the comment that she can't believe how much more mature we both seemed. Hard to believe, I know :) but I do feel like we have grown up a little bit (in a good way...not in a boring way).

Keep us in prayer as we still are in need of about $2500-$3000 more a month if we want to stay a full year. But we also know that this is all in God's hands and we will go where He sends us.

Dios les Bendiga.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

June 13th here we come!

I know that it can't possibly be May 31st....whelp...I guess it is. Ok, ok time is flying by WAY too fast. Things are going great around here. We are absolutely staying as busy as humanly possible. Mike and I both only have one more weekend of traveling...WOO HOO! The following weekend we are home for the first time since we moved to Louisville (that's Loo-uh-vulle for those of you who are non-natives). Then the weekend after next we are on our way to the Dominican Republic. I can hardly wait for it. We are so ridiculously excited we can hardly sit still.

Mike and I have been busy bees in the office. They had NO trouble putting me to work especially. Now I have an idea of the crunch of deadlines needed to be a graphic designer. I'm so excited for this opportunity though. I feel like I'm getting MAJOR real world experience, in the comfort of a Christian environment.

Totally STOKED...I got my Nikon D-70 last week. It is absolutely the coolest camera EVER!!!! I can't wait to start shooting pics. I'm taking it to my friend's (Renee) wedding this weekend to get a feel for it.

Right now, we have enough money to go to the Dominican for the summer. Our plane tickets are booked to come back August 22nd. If the rest of our money comes in while we are in the DR, then we can stay. We are DESPERATELY praying for this scenario but know that we rest in God's will and safely in His hands.

We have a major opportunity to get the rest of our money in from a foundation called the Arlington Foundation. They give the tithe from the family-owned company to the foundation and then out to non-profits like us. We could get up to $50,000 which would be unbelievably amazing. Please be praying for this opportunity, it could be the break we have been praying for.

Welp, that's an update for you. Lots of fun things going on that we are so excited for. Please continue to pray for us, as we need it now more than ever. We miss you all! June 13th here we come!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Be His Hands

Well, my mother reminded me that I hadn't updated in a while...thank goodness for mother's!!! Haha. Anyway, a lot has happened since our last post and all things that are an amazing praise for the GLORY OF GOD!!!! First of all, praise to God that my last visit home for several months was amazing and fun and just what I would want it to be. We got to golf!!! WOO HOO. God stopped the rain for 3 hours so my dad, Mike and I could get 18 in. What a good God!!! :) We also got to redo yet another room in my parents' house. What awesome parents I have that they recognize my need for creative expression and Mike's need for manly, hands on projects :) and they let us test the waters on their house...gotta love that. It was also a huge praise because God totally surrounded all of us with peace. None of us shedded one tear, except for Abbey-she's so stinkin cute. (I had anticipated Niagara Falls, at least on my part) It wasn't like we were saying "goodbye", we were more like, "see ya later."

Also, we got the news that one of Mike's old churches in Michigan is wanting to support us at $3000.00 for the year! How amazing is that? God is seriously sooooo good. We also go today to talk to Hill-N-Dale Christian Church's mission board about if they are wanting to support us, so keep is in your prayers.

And another HUGE praise...WE BOOKED OUR TICKETS TO THE DOMINICAN!!!! Woo hoo. As of now, we only have enough in our account to stay til the end of August. So we booked the tickets with the anticipation of coming home at that time. But, if while we are there, the rest of our money comes in...we can stay as planned. We are TOTALLY praying for that to happen, but know that if God has other plans, we will be obedient.

We just want to send out a huge thanks to all of you who are supporting us either with prayer or finances. We feel surrounded by peace and confirmation that we are doing what God intended us to do. And as a result of all of your obedience to God, we are going out to be His hands...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Passport to Wisconsin

Hey all of you! We are in my home town in Wisconsin right now. We arrived yesterday afternoon and it was a great nice not to drive!!!! :) I was beginning to HATE the Dodge, which you know it has gotten bad if I would say that :)

Anyway, we already dove into renovation projects and have almost completed my mom's "calm room." It will be cool. I'm sad we won't be able to complete the room given our short time here, but at least we got my parents off to a good start.

We finally have both my parents and Mike's parents up and running with Skype and a webcam. If you are wondering what Skype is, that is how we will get ahold of people when we are in the DR. Go to and get a free download (it's similar to AIM but on a grander scale). If you have speakers and a microphone (and/or a webcam) you can talk to us as if we were talking on the phone and it's FREE!!! Yep, FREE. So you should sign up. Post a comment if you are interested and I will send you our Skype name.

Well, this is a brief one, just wanted to let ya'll know that we are safe and sound in Wisconsin. And no, for those of you who were wondering, we didn't need to have our passports. (Little joke with Mike's side of the family)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I'm still awful but I try

We are back in good 'ol Kentucky...what we now call home! The visit to Virgina was absolutely awesome. Great time for relaxing and resting (GOT LOTS OF SLEEP!!!!) and the presentation went off without a hitch. Praise Jesus for Emmanuel Wesleyan Church, they are supporting us at $250.00/mo. How awesome. We also got a phone call from Lakeport Wesleyan Church in Michigan and they would also like us to come up and do a presentation. Isn't God good? Right now...unfortunately though, we do not have enough to leave June 13th. I'm bummed, but I also know that God's timing is perfect. Brook is urging us to still book our plane tickets because we never know what could happen. As of right now, we need an individual or church to support us at $2,000/mo. Crazy, I know. But I belive God can bring that person or church into our lives. I whole-heartedly belive it. So right now, that is our big prayer. We do need to continue getting more individuals to support us, but we have to find someone that will do the $2000/mo donation before we can leave for the DR.

Life is great though. Mike and I have had so much time to see each other and hang out with each other. I don't ever want to take this time for granted. It is so awesome to have our lives coinciding so much. It was so awful hard when I worked and Mike went to school and we saw each other for about 3 hours a day. But God definitely prepared our hearts during that time. I feel like I'm on my honeymoon again! (don't even go there...I meant the spending time part) :)

Anyway, things are going well. We have a MAJORLY busy schedule ahead of us but I feel like I am becoming a travel expert. We fly to Wisconsin tomorrow to see my family. I am really looking forward to it. MORE GOLF!!! Yay!!! Haha. I shot a 130 on Tuesday with Mike, Joe and Josh. That's 14 strokes off my last golfing attempt! I'm still awful, but I try. :)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Does Life Ever Slow Down?

I am sorry to all of you "faithful readers" that I have not been more faithful in my posting. Nevertheless, here I am.

Things have been quite crazy. Leaving Marion took a LOT more work than we anticipated. But we finally arrived in Louisville a week ago and I feel like I have been sleeping ever since. Haha. Not really. But every chance we get, we do sleep. :) We had the awesome opportunity to attend the Kentucky Derby. We worked the merchandise booths for all three days. It was very cool to experience such an awesome historic place. The infield was interesting, filled with many many many intoxicated individuals, but seeing the women in their fancy dresses, big hats and high heels shoes made it all worth it. Ah...the things women will do for fashion. You KNOW that half of them were faking their smiles by the end of the day because my feet hurt wearing tennis shoes all day, let alone 6 inch stilletos.

We are in Virginia right now visiting Mike's family. We had another church presentation yesterday at their church. The church has decided to support us at $3000/yr. What a blessing! We continue to stay encouraged and still definitely feel God's leading to the Dominican Republic. In fact, I feel like this is more what God is calling us to do than ever because Satan is attacking us hard...and from every angle.

We need some major prayer this week concerning something that started many months ago. A lot of you know the awful experience we had with our wedding photographer...well the situation has escalated and it couldn't have come at a worse time. Please just keep this in your prayers as I know this is something that Satan is trying to use to discourage me.

The next thing on our docket is rest and relaxation until we return to Kentucky on Wednesday. We will be going golfing tomorrow, which if you haven't heard, has become my latest obsession. I've avoided the sport for 24 years, even though I have parents that love and adore golf. But of course, I have to marry into a family that loves and adores golf even more than my family does. I finally gave in and went golfing a couple weeks ago and now I'm pretty sure it's all I think about. I might have even had a dream about pink golf clubs last night (on sale at Target for $150.00)!!!

I will try and be more disciplined about updating. Hopefully things won't feel quite so fast-paced although it is already the second week in May. Wow. Does life ever slow down?

Monday, May 01, 2006

We are Kentucky-ans

This isn't going to be anything of significance. I will write more tomorrow. Just letting all of you faithful bloggers out there know that we have arrived safely in Louisville Kentucky.

Thank you for all your prayers.

the long haul

I know you all have been waiting anxiously for my next blog. I'm sorry it has been so long, life has been a little busy. Almost 5 days, two Uhauls and insane nights of sleep later, we are almost ready to leave for Louisville. I'm almost certain that I will sleep for about 4 days when we get there. Everynight for the last several nights I have been waking up at 5am. Well, today it was 4am, hence the time that I am writing this. I can't get the million of thoughts out of my head. Too much going on I'm sure. Mike told me to think of a soccer game or a vacation or something to try and calm myself, but with my creative mind it turns into an entire production by the end of the thought. Oh well, most nights I just got up and did something to pack, tonight I'm at the Diedrich's and I don't know how to work their TV so I'm just chillin' on the computer.

Anyway, so today's the big day. Kinda crazy that it is here already. I swear it was just yesterday that we took our first visit to meet with Brook and talk about the possibility of becoming missionaries with their organization. Now, here we are 4 months later and things are rapidly moving. Kinda exciting, dontcha think? I'm somewhat dreading the adventure of driving all of our junk (yes, junk...I can't believe how much stuff two people can accumulate) and unpacking it. But eh, only a few hours out of my life, right? I have to say, this experience has definitely given me second thoughts of EVER moving again.

Praise though, I've gotten in touch with a couple of friends from my past at Palm Beach Atlantic. I have been thinking about them a lot lately and just wondering what they have all been up to and my friend Amy advised me that they were all on MySpace. I know, I know...I sighed too when I heard the word MYSPACE. I seriously have not wanted anything to do with that thing ever since I heard of the craze people had over it. But it brought me back together with some old pals, so I can't complain. Of course its a little crazy, all of my friends are married and most of them have babies already (or on the way). It kinda puts life in crazy perspective when you realize you are old enough for your peers to have children.

Well, that is all. I don't know how frequently I will be able to update because Grandma Basham (Where we're staying) still uses dial-up and I really don't know how much patience I have. I promise that I will grin and bare it for at least twice a week or any other time I have access to high speed internet. We're officially about to start the long haul.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Day number two of not feeling good. Not sure exactly what it is...and to be honest I think its a mixture of stress, emotions and all the other things going on. I'm trying not to focus on any one thing that is happening right now, but they seems to just keep creeping back into my mind. I'm in one of those positions where I really can't tell if this is Satan trying to keep us from fullfilling God's plan, if it's God steering us away from something that we "thought" was God's plan or if this is God's plan and we've just created our own forks in the road.

I'd scream but my head hurts too much.

I understand that taking things day-by-day isn't one of my fortes, but seriously how can I at this point? It's like I have to plan for the future. If I only look to tomorrow, I won't get done what needs to get done. My head is just spinning. Am I being over-dramatic? I can never tell. Chances are that I am...I just can't think right now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gushy Mush

Not feeling very good today. I don't know if it's my teeth (or lack there of) or if I'm sick or what. The last several days I have literally had to FORCE myself out of bed. Part of that is our bed is probably one of the most comfortable beds in the whole world...but another part is that I am seriously so exhausted and drained. This morning, I definitely woke up at 7:50. I have to be to work by 8:00. Man, I think I just need to like crawl into my bed, not set an alarm and put dark blankets over my windows just so I can sleep until I can't sleep anymore. It's probably partly emotional exhaustion. So much going many changes. We are definitely being challenged. There have been so many instances in the last few months where I look at Mike and think, "If I didn't have you, I wouldn't be able to do this." I know, I know, mushy gushy...but it is so true. It's so funny how when Mike and I were dating I thought about how crazy it was that I loved this kid so much. I look back on that time and think, "I love him so much more now than I did then." I just can't even begin to imagine how much I am going to love him 5 kids and 50 years later. It's amazing. I didn't think it was possible to love someone so much. Alright, enough of this Gushy Mush.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Road to the DR

I survived the knife! Well, actually, I didn't even encounter a knife. The Oral Surgeon said all he had to do was pull. I didn't even require stitches! Isn't that amazing? Basically, it went as good as it possibly could have gone. Some time you will have to ask Mike about the experience of me on pain killers! Apparently, it was quite the show!!! But would you expect anything less from me? Probably not. Anyway, Praise Jesus for His faithfulness and all of you for your prayers. It was so much better than I expected.

Things are going absolutely crazy fast right now. The long list of events on our schedule seem to be getting checked off faster than I thought. In two days, it is my last day of work! CRAZY!!! And Mike graduates on Saturday and we move a week from today! Holy cow. I can't believe it.

A huge praise is that Simba's new owners came and picked him up on Friday night. What a mix of emotions. We got a call from them saying they were coming and about 10 minutes later they showed up. It was very scattered and I was DESPERATELY trying not to cry. I failed. I held it together pretty well until they put him in the car and he was sticking his little face out of the back seat window. He licked my face as I was saying good bye and the tears exploded. I just had to walk inside cause I didn't really feel like being an emotional mess in front of them. But God gave me an awesome amount of peace the next day. I didn't feel empty or sad or like I was missing a part of me like I thought I would. Twice I went to the back room to let him out of his cage and two or three times I heard a dog bark and thought it was Simba. But overall it was really just a relief that we didn't have that responsibility among the millions of things that have been going on and will continue to go on as the week passes. I will miss him, definitely, but God provided awesome people that will spoil him rotten and give him the attention that he completely deserves.

Huge praise...we made $500.00 in the sale of our personal belongings! How incredible and what an absolute blessing. We still have about 2 garbage bags full of clothes to donate and about four boxes of "knick knacks" but all in all, we sold the things that needed to be sold. It was also a really great chance for us just to kick back and relax. We sat in our little lawn chairs, drank some soda and chatted. It was a lot of fun just to enjoy each other's company and forget about our fast-paced lives ahead, even if it was just for a few hours.

So things seem to be going quite well and in order as crazy as that order is. I'm excited to see where God will continue to open the doors on our road to the DR.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


239...What could that possibly mean? Scripture verse...nope. Time of day...nope. Score on a test...close. cholesterol score. Can you even believe it? I can't. To be honest I'm a little embarrassed, confused, taken by surprise. I'm 24. That is, like, ridiculous (in my best valley girl voice). Average is between 100-200 and I am above average. In this case, being above average is not a good thing.

One more thing added to my plate.

I oughtta get used to curve balls, huh? Here I am preparing myself to go into surgery for my wisdom teeth and then I find out that I have high cholesterol? UGH!!! Under normal circumstances, someone with high cholesterol would go to the doctor...they would monitor you, you would change your diet and increase your exericize. This isn't a normal circumstance. I'm about to the leave the country! Which means I will most likely have to be put on cholesterol meds. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? People in their 50's worry about this kind of stuff...not someone fresh out of college.

Ok, so what do I learn from this? What is God trying to bring to my attention? How can I change my lifestyle? What a rude awakening. Before the only number I cared about was 54...the number of days until we leave for the Dominican. Now the only number I can think about is 239.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I just need to breathe...

The day is drawing nearer...the dreaded surgery day. is only wisdom teeth, but it has been over 6 years since I have gone under the knife! The last time was when I had my knee put back together. Man, I seriously do my best to not think of the negatives that could come up, but when the oral surgeon said, "Now, there is a slight chance that I will hit this underlying nerve and if I bump it, bruise it or cut it, you will lose feeling in your lips, tongue, and cheeks. You may also lose your sense of taste." Well gee wizz...SUPER! And I'm thinking, "If you were a good surgeon, you wouldn't even be telling me this right now." Ok, so that's not true. He probably is a great surgeon, but I mean, that is not any news that you want to hear.

Things are getting a little hectic around here. The people still have not come up with a time that they can pick up Simba and he's just not getting the attention he needs. We have so much to do with me having surgery tomorrow, the yard sale Friday and Saturday, my last Marion Lightning game Saturday afternoon and continual packing...he really needs to get to his new home. It makes me sad, but I am getting to the point where I'm like, "Is God trying to tell me that these aren't the people to take Simba?" Ugh....I suppose I need to just be grateful that my worst problem right now is finding time to meet up with my dog's new owners. I just need to breathe...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

God Bless the People at IWU

Well, it has been a while since I have posted...sorry about that. We have had a long weekend of driving to Virginia. Our trip there was great. It was just what the doctor ordered. Rest, relaxation and Debbie's cooking! She spoiled us ridiculously with an apple pie, strawberry pie and Cheesecake brownies! Man-o-man was I stuffed all weekend.

Yesterday, Mike and I had the opportunity to make our first DR presentation to the Adult and Professional Studies departments at Indiana Wesleyan University. I was so nervous, I felt unprepared and I just wanted everything to go smoothly. I kept praying and asking God for Peace, and He gave it to me. The presentation went awesome...I felt so much more comfortable with Mike up there with me. It made me excited for other future presentations.

After our slide show, we began to sit down and Kathy (co-worker) told us we weren't allowed to sit down yet. She handed us an envelope that we later counted with almost $700.00 in it! PRAISE JESUS!!!! What a blessing. The most amazing part was Kathy had asked someone to pray over us and said if anyone wanted to come up and pray they could. So many people stood up from my department and from the department that Mike is a student worker for. It was very emotional to feel their hands on us and hear them lifting our ministry up in prayer. It was surreal and an experience that I hope I will partake in more times down the road. I definitely felt God's people surrounding us in the comfort of prayer and God smiling down kind of saying, "now that's how the church body is supposed to take care of each other." It was nothing short of awesome. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked with this group of people at IWU. I would not have received the welcoming I did, anywhere else. God Bless the people at IWU.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Death Will Take My Family

Welp, today we leave for Virginia...the long haul. I'm just glad that we're leaving today so we will have two full days down there. Unfortunately, we are going to have to cart Simba down there because our plans for 'pick up' with his new owners keeps falling through. Should I take this as a sign? or just God's perfect timing? Either way, we've gotten to spend a lot more time with him. It amazes me how perspective changes when you realize someone or something you love is going to be taken away from you. Everything Simba does now is ridiculously adorable to me. He's so stinkin' cute. I think I am beginning to let go a little. I'm seeing the freedom we will have and the great home he will have in the near future. It's not far away. I'm sure I'll cry...I know I will still be sad, but God is giving me peace about this transition at least.

Apparently, I'm not so good with loss. Not that anyone really is, but I feel like I'm especially bad. Thankfully, I have not had to deal with very much loss in my life. I mean honestly, my grandparents, that's it. ( of my best friends in high school committed suicide, but that's a WHOLE 'nother story) Not that losing grandparents isn't hard, but its expected. It's the natural course of life. You just assume that when you get old, you will go at some point. I know God only gives you what you can handle, and I think that I wouldn't be able to handle losing someone that I love at this point in my life. I seriously have the utmost respect for people who lose a loved one, like their mother or spouse, and can make it through.

I mean, come on, I tried to bottle feed a sick kitten for 3 weeks and was on the borderline of depression when he died.

It always surprises me how you start out thinking you are just going to write a paragraph about going somewhere for Easter and somehow it turns into an article on death and loss. The fact of the matter is, is that for some reason death has been on my mind A LOT lately. I don't know why. Several nights last week I couldn't sleep because I woke up absolutely terrified that someone in my family had died. Then my mind would wander and I would, for some reason, think about if I lost Mike. It became so real to me in my head, I literally started crying in bed. Most of the people that I feel like I would be absolutely destroyed if they died, I know where their souls are. I know they are going to Heaven if they die. But for some reason, the sting doesn't go away. I'm not afraid of myself dying, just the people around me. I guess it's just one of my fears. Some people are afraid of heights, some people are afraid of spiders...I'm just afraid that death will take my family away from me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Updated Schedule

Nothing too deep today, just an update of events...Today I had an appointment with the Oral Surgeon. I have to get my wisdom teeth removed....SWEET!!! It couldn't have come at a more crazy, busy and hectic time. But it is all in God's hands AND his timing. So next Thursday (the 20th) I will be in surgery at 3:15 pm. I will be off a part day on Thursday and all of that Friday. Guess I will be "quietly" coaching the soccer game on Saturday. I hope I don't get all swollen and bruised. It's my last soccer game as a Marion Lightning Coach so I'm sure there will be pictures taken. Ugh! Great, just how I want everyone to remember me...a chipmunk! :) Below is the updated schedule of events in the lives of Mike and Mandi...

April 13-16: Virginia for Easter (visiting Mike's family) - DONE!!!

April 20: Mandi's surgery (3:15 pm) - DONE!!!

April 21-22: Yard sale - DONE!!!

April 26: Mandi's last day of work - DONE!!!

April 27-May 1: Mandi's family to Marion - DONE!!!

April 30: Work day/packing - DONE!!!

May 1: Moving to Louisville - DONE!!!

May 5-6: Volunteer work with G.O. at Kentucky Derby - DONE!!!

May 6-10: Virginia for church visit - DONE!!!

May 10: Back in Louisville - DONE!!!

May 12-16: In Wisconsin visiting family - DONE!!!

May 17: Speaking at Lexington Youth Group - DONE!!!

May 19-21: Church visit in Lexington - DONE!!!

May 25-28: Crystal and Bryan's Wedding; Mike in Michigan visiting a Church - DONE!!!

June 2-4: Renee and Dan's Wedding; Mike in Virginia for brother's graduation - DONE!!!


Whew! I'm exhausted just writing all that. Set your calendars. If you would like us to visit you either to give you more information on how you can support us or just to see you before we leave, please post a message and we will work a visit with you into our schedule! Hope this helps everyone. Have a good one.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Food is my "God"

Sorry...this is a long one...

I can only slightly begin to understand what half the world feels as people who are starving. A little bird spoke to me and encouraged me to fast. Ok, so it wasn't a little bird, it was my sister, Ashley. I have fasted meals before, or fasted for the wrong reasons, but since this whole adventure began I have not fasted for answers or clarification. Food has seriously been the object of my affection for as long as I can remember. For a while, it was funny. People would say I could "eat as much as the boys" or I could "pack it down with the best of them." This was fine while I was a "finely-tuned athlete"...but now that I am a cube monkey sitting in front of a computer, it has become my comfort. Some may laugh when they think of someone being obsessed with food, but realistically, it isn't a laughing matter. I can remember more times that not where I would go to food for my comfort rather than to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How completely wrong is that??? If I am sad...I eat. If I'm happy...I eat. If I'm excited...I eat. If I'm worried...I eat. If I'm upset...I eat. Now on most scales, people would probably not even consider me as someone overweight (although I am about 20 pounds more than I should be), but spiritually, food is my stronghold.

Food is where Satan has me. I turn to food to comfort me and give me the satisfaction and affirmation I need. I'm not sure where along the line I have taught myself this, but quite honestly, it has gotten out of hand. Something that has been hitting me in all areas of my life lately is a simple word that can make quite a statement...sacrifice. How often in my daily walk with God do I truly sacrifice for His purpose and ultimate glory? Not many...if any. When the idea of fasting came about I kind of chuckled a little and in an almost egotistical way eluded to the fact that I am "above" fasting. Stop. I know that sounds ridiculous but keep reading. I look back at the conversation and see Satan creeping in where I didn't see it at the time. Satan knows that eating is my comfort...and not just eating, OVER-EATING. When I have food, I am satisfied...almost complacent. Complacency is the beginning of a useless Christian life. Something I never want to become but something that I was involuntarily allowing Satan to plant a seed for. How often do we hear how God sacrificed His Son for us? So often we have heard it, that we are becoming numb to the DEEP truth behind it. It took watching one of the best movies ever for me to regrasp this concept.

I was watching "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" last night and it came to the part where Aslan was walking through the woods to meet the White Witch and her evil followers. Aslan had saved the "traitor" from death by offering his own life in the boy's place. I know the story...I know what was coming next. As Aslan began walking through the crowds of disgusting monsters and as they spit and yelled at him, I started crying. I could see Jesus there, as a lion, even better than seeing Jesus in the "Passion of the Christ." Watching these gruesome creatures bind him and shave his mane only heightened my sadness. All the while as they are bringing down this incredible creature of love and hope, you watched his eyes. He was so sad but knew that he needed to do this, even knowing his fate. Aslan is pulled onto the Stone Table for the sacrifice and he makes eye contact and I literally felt like he was looking right at me.

"I'm doing this for you...."

I seriously have never felt that intense. It wasn't about the movie, it was about realizing for the first time what Jesus REALLY did for me. In return, I wanted to do something for Him. Obviously I don't think God is calling me to sacrifice my life as His son did, but I do think that God is asking me to give up something that I have relied on, stupidly, more than I have relied on Him. For me, it's food. For someone else, its control. For someone else, its a relationship. It's different for all of us. But if we really expect to deepen our intimate relationship with Christ, we are going to have to give up a hold that we've allowed Satan to have. No longer will I let myself believe that Food is my "God."

Friday, April 07, 2006

I want to be a Dominican

Things are beginning to pick up. Life is going ridiculously fast lately. Everything is starting to set in that in 67 days we will be moving to a foreign country. Last night we were hanging out with the Puerto Rican boys on Mike's soccer team. They were talking to me in Spanish and it was amazing how much I could understand. I mean, obviously I am nowhere NEAR perfect, but I love the fact of learning another language. Language in the DR is going to be HUGE in being able to spread the word of God. It will, in a way, make me one of them. My hope at some point, is that they think of me no longer as "the missionary" but a friend. It's hard enough when you stand out completely as the minority (I think I saw 4 other white people there besides our missionaries--and they were tourists), but to not know the language completely distances me from being able to communicate what God has done for me and what He can do for them. It's like, I don't want to be a foreigner there. I want, for however long we are there, to be a "resident." I want it to be my home. I want to be a Dominican.