I also posted the pictures on our girls website, but thought I would share them here too. As you know, we are missionaries serving on the island of Jeju in South Korea. We are so blessed to be surrounded by God's beauty! When you look out to one side of our apartment you see the ocean and when you look out of the other side you see Mt. Halla (the volcano that God used to form this island). It is beautiful. Every time we look out the window we are reminded of how Awesome our God really is! Here, take a look for yourself!
Today, I want to talk about prayer. I have found that it is very easy to pray when everything is going great. I have no problem turning to God in the good times. However, it is when I need Him the most that I seem to stop praying and trying to do things on my own. When times get tough, there are important decisions to make, I am extra busy, or a hundred other things I tend to grab the reins out of God's hands and take over again. I don't even realize that I have done it until it is too late and I have gotten myself in a bind or I am so tired and stressed that I just don't know what to do.
Today I find myself worn down, tired and overwhelmed. Why, because this week I have taken the reins from God and done things as Peanut would do them. I have neglected my quiet time each morning. Instead of starting my day by seeking him, I have jumped right into all that I have to do. Each day that I have done this I have grown more tired, stressed, and overwhelmed. So today, on Sunday, God's day, I am coming back to him. Asking His forgiveness for my neglect and handing the reins back over to Him. When I am weak He is my stength! Praise the Lord that He is waiting to bring home his prodigal child whether they have been gone one week or years! As I run home today, He is waiting with open arms! God is SO good! May you find your rest, peace and strength in Him!
I am also reminded of the amazing rebirth He gives in Him as I see the trees, flowers and grass coming back! He sent His one and only Son to live and die for us! We didn't deserve it, but He loves us THAT much! When we accept His free gift we are born again as His children! WOW!! What an awesome God we serve! Just take a minute to look around you and you won't be able to stop giving Him praise!
As this spring has come, He is teaching me to praise at all times, praise for everything, the good and the bad! Have you taken time to give him the praise he deserves today?
I was born on Feb. 21, 1978. I was actually supposed to be an April baby like ours, but I was born 2 months premature. My mom had preclampsia. They wouldn’t let my father in the delivery room and they almost lost both of us. I was right at 5 lbs and my mom and dad call me a miracle baby. For the first month of my life my father wouldn’t let anyone hold me unless I was laying on a pillow. I have always been a Daddy’s girl. He also gave me the nickname of Peanut because I could fit in one of his hands. I have always been called Peanut (for the longest time DH couldn’t remember my real name because all he ever heard was Peanut).
My parents lived on the same piece of property as my grandparents (Dad’s parents). My grandmother watched me during the day while my parents were working. She was like a second mother to me. My grandfather had a stroke before I can remember and was always paralyzed from the neck down. My first memories are of family weekend boating trips, trips to the beach and road trips to the mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina.
When I was 3 I started preschool at Trinity Christian School and I continued there through elementary school. When I was 5 my little brother TJ was born. However when I was in the 5th grade my parents started arguing a lot and by the end of the year they were divorced. It was an extremely hard thing for me. I had lived in a little bubble that was centered around the church and I NEVER even thought that it could happen to my family.
Because of the divorce, my parents couldn’t afford to keep me in Trinity and they transferred me to a public school. I got really bored there and my grades slipped and my 3 years of middle school were hard and long. I just wasn’t happy. It didn’t help that right before I started the 6th grade my grandfather who was paralyzed passed away. Then right after that we were on a boating trip with my father and he dove into the water as the boat shifted. He ended up hitting the bottom and breaking his neck. It was a long year of recovery, but my father gained 98% mobility back in his neck. It gave me a false sense of hope that my parents would get back together. Middle school was very difficult for me…especially that first year!
The summer before my freshman year of high school I went with my church youth group to Ridgecrest (a youth camp). During that week God really spoke to me and I dedicated my life to Him again. I really learned what it meant to have a relationship with him. I went home a different person. My parents saw an immediate change in me and I had joy and peace for the first time in a long time.
In high school, I was involved in everything I could be. I played softball and was the captain of the girls bowling team (yes you read that right…DH makes fun of me about it because I did get approached about going pro…the secrets out…I’m a geek…LOL). I was also the secretary and treasurer of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the alto section leader of our school choir. I was the vice president of a community service club too. I liked to be busy! I was in mostly honors classes, and by my senior year took a lot of college classes too.
However, my life in high school centered around a group called Acteens. It is a group of girls through the Southern Baptist Association. We were focused on missions. By 10th grade, I became a state panelist and every weekend I would travel to speak at different churches or meetings throughout Fl. My senior year I became a national panelist and traveled the US speaking for Acteens.
I also became a camp counselor after 11th grade and I spent all my summers from then until I was married in 98 working at Florida GA/Acteens Camp. Through camp, I was able to take 2 trips overseas. One to South Africa/Swaziland and the other to Dominica in the Leeward Islands. Through all of this I developed a love for the Lord and for missions. The summer between my senior year and my first year of college I felt the Lord call me to full time ministry in the future. I just didn’t know where I would end up.
Through camp, I began working on ropes courses and also developed a love for climbing and rappelling. My father and I took on that hobby together to go along with the SCUBA we already did together. We began going to the climbing wall and into caves and sink holes together. The more dangerous the better…my mother who is afraid of heights just LOVED it! It was always a special time with my Dad. I still love to take trips diving and/or climbing and rappelling with him. We have the best time.
I decided to go to college at North Greenville College in Tigerville, South Carolina. I really wanted to go to University of Florida (GO GATORS) but my mom asked me to check out this school. It is a small private Baptist School and they offered me a great scholarship because of my work with Acteens.
My recruiter saw all of my experience and asked me to audition for our schools traveling theater ministry team. I had never had any training in theater, but had done a lot of work on stage with Acteens. I was surprised when I made it. I began traveling 3 out of 4 weekends a month with the drama team performing in church services and for youth groups. We also did drama conferences. Theater became a passion for me. So, I added it as my minor.
Through Act Two (the drama team) I met Clark. He had actually graduated the year I graduated high school, but he was up on campus a lot. He had been the student leader of the drama team his senior year and was helping to mentor the new student leader. He and I met in October at homecoming after my first college production. He and I stayed up all night at the student center talking and getting to know each other! He liked me so much it scared him. He disappeared and I didn’t see him again until the next January when I showed up at his front door step. Another friend had told me I needed to stop studying and get off campus for the evening. So, I got in his truck to head out for dinner. He informed me that we were picking up another friend before we went. We got to the house and Clint sent me up to ring the door bell. I couldn’t believe my eyes when DH answered the door. Feb. 11 1997 was our first date, and by May of that year we were engaged. We planned our wedding the next year and on July 26 1998 we were married. My father gave his blessing as long as I promised to graduate.
Two months into our marriage came the hardest trial I have ever had. On the same day we found out that Clark was laid off, someone had stolen my check book and forged us $400 into debt with the bank…NEVER get an overdraft and the lady we were renting from wanted our apartment for her nephew so we had 30 days to be out. I didn’t know what we were going to do. So, we prayed together. God provided over and over again in the next month.
Just as we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel, we found out that even though I was on the pill, we were expecting a baby. I was in shock. People would congratulate me and I would ask why because I was SURE I wasn’t pregnant! I lived in denial for the first 4 ½ months. I didn’t really get excited until I had the ultrasound at 18 weeks. Once I saw her, I was in love. It was a rough pregnancy. I had horrible morning sickness for the first 12 weeks. Week 13 was pretty good but by the middle of week 14 I had come down with a bad cold that ended up developing into strep throat by week 15. It took a few weeks for me to get over it, but I was feeling much better by week 18. Then week 19 hit and I got an awful stomach virus. I didn’t keep anything down for a week and ended up getting put in the hospital at 20 weeks because I was severely dehydrated. I was in the hospital for a week. They finally let me go when I kept a full day worth of food down. I weighed less than my pre-preggo weight by the time it was all over. Then, I started gaining weigh fast to make up for it all. I got swollen legs and ankles, bad back pains and was miserable for the last half.
She was born 2 days before our 1 year anniversary. My senior year was hard…I student taught with an infant. My MIL watched her while I was in school…it was a LOONNGG year! LOL!! I was SO excited when I graduated on time in 2000 with a BA in Elementary Education and an AFA in Theater. It made the hard year worth it.
One month after I graduated we moved to my home town in Florida. The private school I had attended as a child asked me to come back and teach. I was hired to teach 2nd grade, but by the time the school year began I ended up teaching Art to K-5 through 5th grade and theater to 6th through 8th. I had over 500 students, and loved every one of them. Melisa attended the daycare/preschool that was connected to the elementary school and was always just down the hall from me! I also took on being co-sponsor of the beta club and went back to volunteering as a support staff at the summer camp. My brother went through a time of rebellion during this time. It was a hard time for him as my Grandmother (the one who had been like a second mom to us) passed away, my mom got remarried, and I got married. He doesn’t deal with change well and it was a LOT of change really fast. My mom had to pull him out of public school to home school him for the remainder of highschool. She needed help so I helped with his homeschooling in the evenings. It was hard, but I am proud to say that he now has a high school diploma and is a fire fighter who is happily married with 1 son!
DH opened his own business out of our home. He did decorative/faux painting and murals. His business took off and we were doing great. However, the more his company succeeded the more we argued. We had all we had been striving for, but we weren’t happy!
We got the opportunity to go to Swaziland in Southern Africa on a mission trip. We realized during that week that we weren’t doing what God had called us to. So, we went home and we began the application to become Missionaries with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the summer of 2002 we went to the Missionary Learning Center and were set to go to Japan in August of 2002. However, we were denied our visa’s into Japan. No one knows why it happened. So, we tried again and again and again and 4 times in a row we were denied visas.
The company decided to send us to South Korea to work (I think they were tired of paying us to sit at my Mom’s house…we had been there for FOUR long months). We moved to Pusan in January of 2003. We had been in Korea for 1 month to the day when we received word that our Japanese Visa’s were approved. However, we had really fallen in love the work we were doing here, and asked our company if they saw a need could we stay. They approved us and we lived there and worked among the Young Families in the suburb of Pusan called Yangsan for 2 years. Then we got invited to serve on a team on the island of Jeju. Right before we moved to Jeju we found out that we were expecting Cali. We have now been in Jeju for about 18 months, working with the Blue Collar Workers. Cali is a Jeju Baby (more about that in her story). We have 9 months left in Korea and we have no idea what is in store for us after this. We are in the process of applying for a couple of jobs back in the States but more than likely, DH will be heading to seminary in 2007. Our date to move back to the States is Dec. 17th 2006.
Well, that is it. I am sorry I rambled on so much…I probably gave way too much information that wasn’t really important. BUT, that is how I got to where I am today. I am still a Daddy’s girl but my Mom is probably my closest friend right now besides DH! I hope I didn’t bore you to death.