These Lessons We Learn

It was the one plant I thought wouldn’t become much of anything when I picked it out. I didn’t plant it in a real pot with a good drainage system, or care about the amount of sunlight it would get. I put it in the barrel beneath the overhang in our backyard, giving it the leftovers of the potting soil and compost we had bought for the other plants. In my eyes, it was dead the day we planted it.

I watched it with half a heart, unfazed by its lack of growth. As the other plants grew big and began to flower, the little pepper plant stayed the same for a good portion of the summer. Unchanging. Until one day, we found buds. And for the first time, I started to think that maybe this little plant could become something after all.

Now the pepper plant is the last plant standing in our garden. Several weeks ago, the garden bed failed to keep up with the downpour of rain we had, and the bottom broke out, killing our vegetables with it. Then the tomatoes wilted for reasons I still can’t figure out. All within the same week. But the pepper I planted, the one I thought was futile, now has half a dozen peppers growing on it and continues to burst with more buds.

The Lord continues to teach us using some of the most ordinary of moments.

It seems a fitting lesson to learn right before we head to Haiti. He reminds our hearts again and again.. You do not know what I am doing or the purposes I have.

As we enter into this new season, it is easy to form our own ideas of how life will look, who we will help, and the way we will impact. Right now we are struggling to surrender all of our expectations. Because He has taught us it’s not always about the garden bed. Sometimes He is about the little pepper plant tucked away in the corner of the yard.

We are so thankful for those who have supported us on this journey so far. Many have offered their prayers, their encouraging words, and their finances. Words cannot express how humbled we are by your generous hearts. Seeing God’s people pray and commit and come along beside us has made a powerful impact on us. We are overwhelmed by all the next few weeks hold, but we are greatly encouraged by your love and support.

Thank you for making this possible!


The Undeniable Beauty

“You know, for a while I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with that garden bed..”

I look across the room to where he stands at the window. Evening quickly encloses us with deep blue storm clouds. “Yeah..” I say, the memories rushing like the tide, “I know..”

On a miserably cold weekend in May, we spent 2 days building a raised garden bed, digging up dirt, and dreaming of cucumbers growing in the heat of summer. We planted our fragile little seeds with great care and precision, excited for what the future held for our little garden bed. Then, it rained. Hard. And we walked outside to find a garden bed with not enough drainage and a rock-hard crust of dirt suffocating the life out of our plants.

I may or may not have cried at one several points. We may or may not have fought at some point too. Although it felt futile, we tried again. Much to our surprise, after days of looking out the window, we found sprouts. Strong and resilient, we continued to watch them grow. And throughout the coming weeks, our hope grew along with them.

IMG_0766As the summer went on, the sprouts grew to withstand the Nebraska wind, the scorching hot sun, and the multiple hail storms we’ve had. Hope has been a very delicate thing this summer. Just as we become confident and sure, the clouds bring hail, or the wind whips harder, or the forecast calls for heavy rain once again.

Every time, I hold my breath. Every time, my hope dangles by a thread. Every time, I doubt.But every time, it continues to flourish beyond my imagination.

Now the garden bed literally overflows with life. I have come inside the house hands full as green beans and tomatoes cover the countertops.  And God continues to whisper, “When will you trust me?”

Sending out support letters made this decision all the more real to us, and while we are excited, we are taking the biggest step of faith we have ever taken. IMG_0783This journey has left my hope dangling by a thread on multiple occasions. When the rain clouds come in, I worry that He won’t protect. When hail the size of golfballs pelts the ground, I doubt that He sees. When we are faced with raising monthly support, I wonder how He will provide. When the details are still left unknown to us, I panic that somehow He has lost control. When “what-if’s” plague my mind, I fail to remember His perfect sovereignty and grace for every season

All the while, the garden bed sits smack in the middle of the big picture-window in our living room.

There’s an undeniable beauty in the way I cannot help but see it on a daily basis. To every day hear Him whisper, “Trust me, and let me grow it beyond your wildest expectations..”


busy weekends

Yesterday we spent the day road-tripping across Nebraska to go to the Grace Mission office in Henderson, Nebraska. Grace Mission is sending down a container of supplies (some appliances, baby wipes and formula, canned goods, furniture, etc) and we were able to put some of our own personal things on there too. Marsha was explaining the process of how it all works: The supplies/totes/appliances/furniture get piled up on pallets and then are heavy-duty saran-wrapped up. The pallets then get loaded onto the semi, which gets driven to Florida. Once in Florida, it is loaded onto a massive container that sets sail for Cap Haitien, Haiti. Once the semi is loaded up in Nebraska, the process takes approximately 4-5 weeks.

For us, the day included a 3-hour road trip to the nearest Sam’s Club (I am my father’s daughter), Walmart, and Home Depot, an impromptu lunch date with some of Stephen’s family, a lot of cattle spotting, the incredible story of Darlene Dribbler Rose (audio books are our new favorites), deer-watching, and much coffee.

All in all, it was a 13 hour day for us folks who live in the middle of nowhere, but we had  a great time. We packed things like sheets, canned vegetables, handyman tools, not enough nutella and peanut butter, and other random tidbits that become lifesavers in Haiti. God even supplied zip-ties at the last minute right when we needed them! Sometimes it really is the little things 🙂

We are continually amazed at how fast summer is flying- this time is sweet, busy, and exciting. We are overwhelmed at times, but we are doing our best to soak it all in and enjoy the moments.



On our road trip to Henderson!


Corn. And cows. Lots of corn and cows.


Packing our totes for the container!


Grace Mission’s Office in Nebraska

One Hurdle At a Time

Before getting married, one of the things we eagerly anticipated was the idea of doing life together. With that idea came the notion that we would have all sorts of time on our hands. As it turns out, the grass is always greener and time continues to slip between our fingers faster than ever.

Summer has been good, but summer has been full. However when one gets married, rents a house for the very first time, and makes plans to leave the country (all within a 6-month time span), I suppose that is to be expected.

God continues to open doors and tackle hurdles as we pursue the plans He has for us. Last week we were able to sort out what has been our biggest problem thus far- needing an organization to take on our support under their 501c3 umbrella (a fun legal term Stephen understands better than me). Because we are part time with two missions (the Aviation Mission in Alaska and Grace Mission in Haiti), neither could filter our support year-round. Stephen’s church here in Ainsworth has committed to taking in our support for us full-time, which helps make everything much less complicated for both us and our supporters. This was a huge answer to prayer and one more thing to add to the ever-growing list of how God is working all things out.

We have been so grateful for the multitude of ways people have already come alongside us to support what we are doing- Stephen’s church here in Ainsworth, my church back in Chicago, individuals who have given to us financially, and people who have invited us into their homes and encouraged us and prayed for us. It is overwhelming to think that the journey has just begun.

The coolest part of all this is getting to tell the story that God is writing, and inviting others to come alongside us. This weekend we are printing, addressing, and mailing out support letters. So if you are interested in what we are doing and would like to find a letter in your mailbox next week, shoot us an email or leave us a comment and we’ll be sure you’re on the list!


The (un)offical Update

It’s hard to know what to write. So much is behind us. So much lies before us.

Where does one even begin?

There were wedding bells and a white dress, dearly loved friends and family, vows and rings and laughter and chaos.. It all whirled by with the bliss and the romance and the insanity of missing car keys and a lost suit coat button. We left the church overwhelmed by the support and the love we had been lavished with on our wedding day.

Alabama was a refuge of sorts; the chance to breathe deep and close a door on a fast-paced world. We spent the week parasailing, talking late into the night, and eating half a pan of brownies for dinner. After a year of long distance and wedding planning, Alabama breathed life into our tired and weary souls.

Now we are here. In a summer rental house in the middle-of-nowhere (also known as Ainsworth) Nebraska. Stephen is putting in long hours at the autobody shop, working to provide and make our ends meet. I spend the days writing, making a mess of the kitchen, and going for too many runs.

So many are asking to know, “What’s next? What are your plans?”

We’ve been asking the very same thing. Haha.

To put our chaos into a nutshell… We are in Ainsworth this summer, adjusting to married life and preparing to head to the mission field in September. Our plans are to spend the fall in Haiti with Grace Mission In Haiti and to serve there in various capacities. We will come home for the holidays and a bit of a break, then we plan to return to Haiti in January. Come May, we will do away with the summer-time clothes, pack up our sweaters and jackets, and head to Alaska. Stephen is hoping to acquire flight hours and ratings at Kingdom Air Corp– a mission aviation ministry with a summer training program he was able to briefly visit last year. (Note: follow each sentence up with the line “Lord willing”)

Beyond that, we do not know. What we are continually finding true about God is that He gives us just one step at a time, the very moment we need it. Nothing more, nothing less.

We will update more in-depth in the coming weeks. In the meantime, leave us your comments, email us with questions, and keep us in your thoughts and prayers.