Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ministry Update #2

Here's what has happened at Providence Baptist in Williamstown since our last update.

1.  James and I attended the Mt. Salem-Wyaconda Southern Baptist Association Annual meeting.  It was a long day of meetings mixed with worship and fellowship with other ministers in the area.  James was voted Discipleship Coordinator for the association and I am co-leader of the Evangelism Committee.

2.  Once school started, we began the Youth on Mission curriculum with our youth on Sunday evenings. Each month we have two weeks of Bible Study, one week of Learning Activity, one week of mission activity, and a worship service.  Our youth truly have servant hearts and enjoy getting out and about. It's been fun learning about how to be involved in missions and participating in activities to encourage faith in Jesus.

3. In September, the youth and I manned the Association's tent, playing games and handing out prizes and bibles at the local Old Settlers Day celebration in Kahoka, MO.

A manning games

K helping with this game

A riding the train with a sweet little toddler girl

J rescuing a runaway balloon

It was a good day, even though there came a torrential downpour while we were there.  The youth learned a lot about being patient and kind to children who weren't always patient and kind in wanting to play our games.  In preparation, they worked on their testimony and were challenged to share it with two children at our tent.

James built the association's float for the parade and sadly I didn't get a picture of it. The youth were going to walk behind the float throwing out prizes, but with the downpour it was rumored cancelled, then delayed, then who knows so I made the executive decision to bring our cold, wet, and tired kids home. It truly is sad because we won 2nd place!  Crazy fun!

4.  In September I went with the WMU down to George the Shoeman in St. Louis to deliver 1,500 pounds of donated shoes.  George takes the shoes, sells them to an importer/exporter for pennies on the pound.  The money is then used to purchase and install water-filtration systems and dig wells in countries like Haiti and Kenya.  If you are ever in St. Louis go visit George, he's a hoot as you'll see from the pictures below.

1,500 pounds of shoes spread between two church vans

Our WMU group

George, the Shoeman

Their "Hall of Fame" for unusual shoes

George explaining the water filtration system

5.  In October, we prepared 150 treat boxes of candy for the Williamstown Halloween Party at the park.  Sadly that morning, both James and Hudson woke up with 103 fevers.  I was to read The Parable of the Pumpkin Patch to the kids in attendance before giving them their candy, but I couldn't leave my boys so our church member Patty took over for me.  Sadly though I have no pictures since I wasn't there.  But Patty said the children eagerly listened to the book and enjoyed the candy.

6.  In November, we hosted the International Students from Hannibal-LaGrange University for a Thanksgiving meal and a time of learning about their home country.  These students are part of the American Culture Class and part of their grade is presenting about their home country so by coming and talking to us, they were guaranteed an A!  Needless to say, they were excited about the good grade and good food.  Nary a crumb was left.


The Brazil group, not nearly as rowdy as the Spain crew!

D the International Student direction introducing everyone

Learning about Tahiti

Learning about Mexico

Learning about Spain

Group shot
7.  Once a month, Hudson and I go down to the school were all of our kids go (it's a Pre-K through 12th grade school) and eat lunch with our kids.  It's been fun to get to know them more outside of teh church walls.  I am reminded each time why as I teacher I hardly ever sat with the students at lunch.  Have you ever watched elementary kids eat?  LOL

8. James is staying busy.  He's preaching through Acts on Sunday morning (we're in chapter 19 now) and Judges in the evening, having recently finished the letters in Revelation. Thursday is James' visitation day.  Twice a month he goes to the three nursing homes and the other weeks, he's in the community.  Once a month he preaches on Sunday afternoon at one of the nursing homes. He had the honor a few weeks ago to preach his first funeral after a sweet church member suddenly passed.  It was bittersweet.

10.  We collected 25 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!  I'm super proud of it because our church only has thirty-something resident members.  Small churches tend to be the most generous.

I think that's it for our second update.  December is already super booked with Christmas events, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, and the holidays themselves.

Prayer Requests:

- L & B - I have befriended L and had planned to begin a Bible Study with her but now I can't find her.  Seriously.  She hasn't returned my calls or texts and their house appears to be empty so I think they moved.  Thankfully our Lord is sovereign and completely able to place them in the circle of other believers.

- D - this sweet church member recently lost her husband (for whom James preached the funeral) so pray for her comfort and peace especially as the holidays approach.

- Winter Weather can apparently be rather unpredictable here. When we moved here in late March there was still snow on the ground.  I'm not sure James and I are prepared, though we really don't know for what to prepare.  We're slowly stocking the deep freezer just in case.  Pray for wisdom when winter weather does hit as for traveling, church services, etc...

- Fellowship for me - I find myself sometimes lonely, which is crazy because I'm never technically alone (Hello sweet Hudson!).  I often miss my friends in Louisville and have yet to make any close friends my age here.  I know that this is the perfect opportunity to spend more time with the Lord, but I sometimes just long for a friend with skin on.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Cute little bundles...

...of original sin."  That's how Dr. Brand at SBTS described children.

Growing up in church, I've always been taught that people are sinners.  That's easy to see.  Theologically I understand that sweet little babies are not immune.  Then I had Hudson and I was/am so in love with that little thing that I think somewhere along the way I forgot (or wanted to deny) that he has a little sinful heart.  Well let's just say my forgetfulness/denial hasn't lasted long.

His sinful nature is showing itself increasingly more recently. 

Now, before you defend my sweet little boy, I do know that much of his behavior can be excused by his frustration over not being able to effectively communicate.  Hudson talks almost non-stop, but English is not his native language so James and I are trying to teach him while also interpreting his Martian-speak.  That said, he understands English fairly well and can usually follow directions. 

However there are those times.....

Times when he keeps running from me when I ask him to "come here".
Times when he hears me say "No" and continues anyway.
Times when he throws himself down on the floor, crying and kicking for who knows what or why.
Times when he almost falls from an airplane because he's running from me. True scary story.
Times when I hold his little hands and repeat "gentle hands" over and over as he struggles against me.
Times when he gets angry and tries to head-butt me.  Yes, head-butt and no it's not cute.
Times when we discipline him and search his face for some shred of contriteness and get nada.

He wants independence, I know that.  Unfortunately he's stuck in that awkward position of wanting to do for himself and being completely incapable of it.  Isn't that all of our stories?  Wanting independence from God - to do it our self?

I commented once to a friend that God uses marriage to reveal to me just how much I need him because of my sinful heart.  I love James and he loves me and yet we find ourselves fighting against each other at times.  Motherhood, on the other hand, God is using to teach me so much about him.  I'm learning, almost daily, about God's unconditional love, his ability to forgive as I forgive my sweet boy for his disobedience, and his need to correct us just as I, at times, must discipline Hudson.  I so love this little person but I absolutely hate the sin I see spewing from his little heart. 

Many days I am at a loss as to what to do - how to discipline, especially in these early years.  It's driving me to prayer, knowing I need God's discernment more than ever in parenting.  I'll be honest, sometimes I think it'd be easier to just give in to his little demands but then I am reminded that I am here to train him for adulthood, pointing him to Christ along the way.  This parenting thing is not all fun and games, y'all.

Such a cute little bundle of sin - melts my little heart.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Flight

Not sure how I missed posting these ...

Back in September James' parents graciously paid for Hudson and me to fly to West Virginia for the weekend.

Because we live in the middle of no where, we drove 45 minutes to Quincy, IL to take a Cape Air flight to St. Louis.  It was a tiny  plane - seating only 9 people.

Obviously, Hudson was excited about the event.
Looking rough as we left the house at 6 am!
 In St. Louis, chilling by his store.

Hudson immediately fell asleep as soon as I put him in the stroller at Chicago O'Hare.  
As long as I was walking (which was easy to do since O'Hare is so big) he was asleep,
but as soon as I stopped he woke up.  Sigh.

Playing on the cart that takes people to their gate.
Pretty sure we were breaking some TSA rule.

Finally in WV!
Happy (belated) Birthday Granna.

On Saturday, Granna and Papaw Lackey hosted a party for friends and family to meet Hudson.

Granna's BFF, Sue Ann.
With Great Aunt Rose.

Hudson wasn't so sure about Mr. Donald.

With Cousin Kim

With Sue Ann's husband, Paul.
He taught him about putting toys on his toes.

With Cousin Mel

Granna bathing Hudson.

With Cousin Alden.

With Cousin Thelma, Alden's wife.

Getting lovin's from Aunt Mary.

and Uncle Keith

Mid-morning nap on Granna.
Normally he only takes one nap now but all the fun at Granna's required two naps most days.

With Granna and Papaw at the Charleston WV airport

Desperately trying to entertain Hudson on the flights back home.

Behold the toddler death stare.
My apologies to the fellow passengers.

Flying with a toddler is not fun.  Pretty sure Mamas and Daddys who do it well should be honored with some kind of award or free flight.  At the very least they could offer classes to those of us who don't do it well to learn how - lol.

Most stewardesses were gracious to Hudson and me, allowing him to sit in the seat next to me (when empty) but we did have one strict stewardess (from Chicago to St. L) who required me to hold him in my lap the whole time, even though the neighboring seat was empty.  There were tears, lots of them.  But it was a good lesson in obedience and respecting authority, not just for Hudson but me as well.

And you know what? So many passengers when exiting the plane talked to Hudson and told him he was a "good boy" and flew so "well" which I knew was a lie since he pretty much screamed the whole time, but I appreciated the encouragement and unmerited kindness.

 Though it was a l-o-n-g and tiring trip, it beat 12 hours in the car any day.  We are so thankful that Granna and Papaw paid for us to come and see everybody.  It's hard to live so far away from any family.