Monday, July 12, 2010

East Texas Road Trip

Growing up, every summer included a trip to Camp Deer Run. Michael knows it is my favorite place on earth, and that if he decides to spread any of my ashes, I want them there. Whenever any meditation exercise asks me to picture a place where I can relax completely, I picture a quiet time just off a trail in the woods at camp. As a preteen, teenager, and young adult, this is where I had some of my first and formative encounters with God and learned a lot about how the community of believers can work for his glory!

So, Michael didn't roll his eyes (much) when I told him I felt like I was approaching the gates of Jerusalem as we drove up the little road to camp and underneath the Deer Run sign! It was middle Sunday at 4th session, and a bunch of us old campers and staff met together to have a good time, see the new pool, and let our kids meet each other. Most of them are blog friends already (we parents show them pictures of their long-distance buddies), and many of them will be camp friends as well.

Here is the gang:

Sparky did a great job recapping the day, so click to the Deer Run Alumni blog for more pics and details about the day at camp.

Here are some of my favorite pics of my kids:

Wet heads

June showing off her fat roll tan lines

Feeble attempt at family picture and fraternal drowning.

The new pool has a new slide too. I love that Owen was brave enough to attempt it, but I love the background view even better. I love swimming with the trees all around.

June wants you to visit Camp Deer Run!

We also were able to go to Tyler and visit my grandparents. June was loving on Granddad big time, and I'm so glad that Owen could visit Grandmom. After praying for her a lot these last few months, it was nice for him to see her in good spirits and improving health. Keep up the good work Grandmom!

In other random photos, the best souvenir I have brought home lately was a cocktail umbrella from a beach themed baby shower. Owen had a mocktail every day for longer than I'd like to count...pointy end pointed at baby sister one too many times led to its eventual demise.

June is starting to talk a little bit more. She says Momma, Dada, Bubba (Owen), hi, buh-bye, Shu-shu (my mom, Sushi), Den-den (my mom's dog Denny), and dis (as in, "what's this").

Still, with all the talking, I don't think it's time for talking while in the car.

As for talking naked, she is wearing a diaper...really. After the day at camp, June didn't make it back into her clothes for the road trip home. Michael changed her out of her swim suit, buckled her in while he put away the stroller and got a new outfit from the trunk, and came back to find her already asleep. 2 hours later, she woke up to take a call.

That's a catch up post for us, friends! May your next road trip be as sweet as this one!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thailand Pictures with "God's Character; Our Identity"

You are God. We are women.

You are holy. We are redeemed.

You are faithful. We are returning.

You are glory. We are your image.

May we be your image bearers.

Credit to Mariana Long for all of the pictures, taken at the
Come before Winter: Renewal for Women in Ministry,
Chiang Rai, Thailand, June 2010.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thailand and the Trickle Down Effect

One thing I love about the whole concept of Come before Winter is that it acknowledges, no, it relies on, the Trickle Down Effect. The leadership and the board of directors know that when women reconnect with God's call for their lives and are renewed in their passion to pursue it, there is an effect on those around them. When people who are disconnected from their value in ministry find their identity, their entire sphere of influence is altered.

So, before we left for Thailand, my prayer was that future generations of Christians in SE Asia and beyond would look back on their family tree (of faith) and there would be a direct link back to this renewal. People could ask their grandparents in 50 years, "How did you become a believer?" or "How did our family become believers?" and somewhere in their heritage of faith, there would be a person who attended this renewal. And if not for this renewal, their story would be different. That was my prayer.

Now, after spending the week with the team and 36 amazing women who serve in the Philippines, the United States, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Cambodia, and China, my thoughts and prayers about the trickle down effect get a little more specific. The thoughts often drift back to "What if this person fully embraced the transformation they experienced at the renewal? Could God do this mighty work he's been saving for them?" Now, theologically, I know and believe that God can do a mighty work without this person's help (if he so desires), and yet I know they each have gifts that would make it a mighty work with a cherry on top. :)

So, I pray for the Trickle Down...

What if a harried school principal fully embraced God's provision for her and her academy? Could hundreds of school children know what security is through observing their headmaster?

What if a woman full of resentment towards her man came home as a woman full of grace? Could the children she's only yet prayed for be born into a heritage of compassion?

What if the women on a team of missionaries returned to their teammates united as one? Could an entire town bear witness to what reconciliation truly is?

What if a tired family that trains social workers bounced into their next workshop? Could the bondage of abuse that spans generations be broken through the fresh anointing these trainers receive?

What if the frustrated mom met her children at the airport with a new appreciation for her family? Could her tender strength sustain her sons and daughters through future struggles in their faith?

What if the isolated single working in a country where proselytizing is illegal found herself whole again through reunion with friends and sisters in Christ? Could just her smile at work spark a co-worker's search for meaning and lead to the revival of a nation?

Just one woman's transformation could alter the course of an entire people. A heritage of faith is my prayer.

But what if none of it trickles down? But what if it only sticks with one? Would Come before Winter be worth it if it only revived one? Would the hours of preparation and execution, the tens of thousands of dollars sacrificed, or the knees aching from being bent in prayer be worth it for just one spirit to be renewed?


The joy in seeing a woman being able to reenter into the presence of God, freely and without condemnation, was my biggest takeaway from this time in Thailand. If even for one, it would be worth it.

It was so worth it!