"I have long dreaded the thought of getting to the end of life and regretting that I allowed my own timidity or other people's expectations to determine the course of my life. I decided that several of my beliefs should determine the course of my life...I believe that the Creator, has an epic script into which my minute presence has been written." - Steve Saint
Merry Christmas from the Beebe family: Robin, Reid, Mason, Franklin, Weston, Braden and Godwin!
Dec. 22, 2011
Home from Colorado for Christmas...
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Time To Celebrate
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV)
We’ve just returned from our three-week training intensive at Mission Training International (MTI) in Palmer Lake, Colorado. Our lives were impacted by the material we covered and the relationships we formed with other missionaries. It was awe-inspiring to realized that the families training with us will be serving in 21 countries around the world within the next year!
Our entire family, all boys included, dove deep into topics we might otherwise never touch: stress, conflict styles, cultural understanding, chaos, language learning, relational dynamics, grief, loss, hellos and good-byes to name some of what we covered. It was an intense three weeks with many tears and joys. MTI has better prepared our family to go serve as a team.
We have returned home to Robin’s parents’ house with many Christmas cards awaiting us. Thank you for the greetings and encouragement. Your wishes brought many smiles! Because of our training, our cards will arrive in early 2012, but our hearts wish you a joyous Christmas season.
We look forward with anticipation to celebrating our Saviour’s birth this Sunday. We will cherish our time with family and friends. We will thank God for each of you as you serve our Lord as “senders” for His mission in Ghana. We are grateful for your prayer and financial support. YOU are a wonderful Christmas gift to us this year. We thank God for you.
The Lord is faithfully providing for His work, but we still have a long way to go. Currently, we are at approximately 45% of our monthly needs and at 35% of our launch cost. Would you please pray about an end of the year gift to help us? A gift of any amount would help. It would be a blessing. If you would like to make an end-of-the-year tax deductible contribution, see the donation information at the bottom of the email. Thank you again for all you are doing to help with God's work in Ghana.
Because of our training, we have missed this Christmas season. We have not seen a "live nativity," a church Christmas musical production, or been in the craziness of shopping for the perfect gifts. Of the three, I have only missed the first two! Because of not being out in stores, I feel my heart is truly anticipating the birth of Christ this year. Christmas will be very simple.
I've thought of all the kids in Ghana who might not know any joy this Christmas. Will someone hold them? Love them? I hope we can do these things once we are there.
While some are spending huge amounts of money on gifts that will be forgotten by the first week of January, there are orphans in the world who need to know the love of Jesus this Christmas. For only $20, Feeding the Orphans is providing a Christmas meal and a new piece of clothing for orphans who will not receive a gift this Christmas through any other means. If you want to help a forgotten child this Christmas, contact Feeding the Orphans to see how you can help.
“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.”
My eyes are swollen. I have a headache. My body hurts from crying so much.
The last two days our topics of training have been -
Honestly, it's been more than my mind and heart were prepared to hear. We will be leaving behind so much. And, we were asked to name it - all...
The reality is...
We are separating our children from their grandparents.
Our children will grow up without their friends and cousins living life with them. As will we.
We will miss the weenie roasts at Camp Zion.
Our Life Group will go on without us.
The boys' forts and tree houses they have built might be gone when we return.
Our friends will be making memories we will not be a part of.
My nephew will come home from Ethiopia and I won't be at the airport to greet him, much less know him.
Friends are bringing home adopted children who will not have a relationship with our family, and I thought our kids would grow up together.
We will miss the annual Family Reunion and the Duck Race on the River.
Our family holidays will not be celebrated with our entire family - just the seven of us. We will miss acting out the Christmas story, singing Christmas carols, working the Christmas puzzle.
Our boys will miss their school. Their friends.
I'll miss sharing a cup of coffee with a friend and talking about life.
I'll miss our back deck with the birds chirping in the springtime.
I'll miss the ease of a talking on the phone to friends and family in the same time zone.
I'll miss marshmallows, Reese Pieces, and Dr. Pepper.
I'll miss hot showers, drinking water from the faucet, and easy computer access.
I'll miss the laughter of friends and the voices I would recognize anywhere.
Etc. Etc. Etc. It's too much to list.
Why do we need to recognize all of this? Why do we need to "feel" it?
Grieving needs to happen for us. We are encouraged to step into it instead of stuffing it down. The reality of the impact to GO can shake us. BUT, it doesn't. It can't. We need to grieve some now and some later. It will be a process. A process that's beginning in the depths of my soul tonight.
While these things hurt deeply, we are excited to GO. God is going before us. He will somehow meet us in our tears and redeem them.
God's world is much larger than what we see and experience in our daily life. Even with all of the things we will miss, grieve and long for once we are on the ground in Ghana, God's world is so much bigger. These are small gifts from my life to lay at his feet.
Embracing the pain in anticipation of the JOY of witnessing Him work makes it worth it.
One quote from this week has stuck with me,
"I hope you hurt deeply. If you hurt deeply it will mean you have loved deeply
and that you have been loved."
So, please help me, Lord. I need your grace and strength to fill me in the days ahead. Let us love deeply. Let us choose suffering over safety. Let us "feel" it. Thank you for showing me your gifts, as I see the things we are leaving behind. You are so good to us. Thank you.
For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12
We are in the first half of a three week training session to help prepare us to move onto the mission field. The Colorado snow has been beautiful, but we have had limited time to enjoy it. The sessions have been intense and my mind is on overload. We attend classes from 8:30 - 4:00 every day with homework to complete at night. The weekends have been our family free time. We've used this free time together to have fun, but also to process the myriad of material that has been laid before us.
My expectations of missions training have been turned upside down. I expected this would really be a "feel good" time for us as a couple confirming our call to GO. I think I thought we would be greatly affirmed and encouraged. In reality, all of this has happened...but it has been a teeny-tiny portion of our time here.
Here are a few of the topics we have covered in the past 8 days: Conflict Handling Styles: Assessing the way we handle conflict while recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in our own style. This was very convicting! Communication: Beginning to take in all of the non-verbal and verbal cues in communication. Learning that our communication style in conflict can be greatly misinterpreted resulting a perceived de-valuing of the other person. Ethnocentrism: an exaggerated tendency to think the characteristics of one's group or race superior to those of another group - both from our own culture and the one we are stepping into. Simulation: Facing make-believe adverse, difficult situations. Walking away with the realization that there was great misunderstanding on my end due to assumptions made from context, cultural-differences, my frame of reference, my own previous experience, and expectations of others. Hoping if I were ever in the REAL situation my response would be drastically different than what it was. Ugh! Adversity: Adversity will be experienced on the field. It is an opportunity to lean in to God. Adversity can countered by an attitude of thanksgiving. Adversity is an opportunity to grow. Allergic Reactions to Differences: Yuck! I have negative internal and external responses to differences - personalities, conflict handling styles, cultural differences. This training has helped me to recognize and address those before they take hold and allow assumptions to be made or an "allergic reaction" to take place. Stress Management: Not only have I been made aware of the external stressors to my body, relationships, feelings, and thoughts, but I've also been introduced to the additional silent stressors to my nervous system in a new culture: foreign words, sights, smells, stimulation. We've been given some coping mechanisms to address these before encountering burn-out or depression. Without them, the stress becomes debilitating. (In a stress test where a score of 150+ is a sign of being overstressed, most missionaries score 600-900+ their first year on the field! We must learn to cope with stress in a healthy way!) Suspending Judgement: Wait...wait...wait for judgement. This is something I thought I did, but have been shaken to the reality that my judgements are formed far too soon. Work Requires Rest: The Lord mandates rest. He tells us to rest knowing it is a gift from Him. Sabbath keeping, quiet time, time alone with Him are all prerequisites to a fruitful time on the mission field. Without it, statistics prove you will not make it. To be effective in ministry we must be at our best, so we must enter into a mindset which goes against the American train of thought in which we must always be busy. Without appropriate rest, we will not be sustained for the long-haul.
So, where's the good news? Didn't we sign up for the adventure, the fun, the excitement?
We signed up for the call. We signed up for whatever the Lord has in front of us. We signed up knowing it would be hard, and this training has made us realize it could be much harder than we thought. Much, much harder! But, God has called and we have said, "Yes. Lord lead our family where you will. We will go."
Tonight I feel led to pray for those serving on the field. Being a missionary is not a glamorous life. It's hard, very hard. But it is rewarding. There are glimpses of God that will never be seen any other way. The Lord does not need us to do His work, it is His work. I will pray for those who are accepting the role of being a part of His work to the ends of the earth. I will pray for the Pioneers who are literally going where no one has gone before - learning languages, building huts, living without any modern comfort. I will pray for those who have their lives on the line for the gospel. I will pray for people taking their entire families to "closed" countries living "at risk." I will pray for the underground Believers who are living for Jesus - no matter the cost - deportation, persecution, torture, death. I will pray for those holding babies covered with disease, leprosy, scabies, hydrocephalus, AIDS, etc... I will pray for those loving the unlovable, the cast-offs, the forgotten, the least of these. I will pray for those ministering to the orphaned children loving them as Jesus would. I will pray for those ministering to people taking their last breath entering eternity. I will pray for the missionaries, the workers in the harvest.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
This photo was taken of our family in March of this year. We spent two weeks as a family ministering in Ghana. Native orphans, deperate villagers, people without the hope of Christ all pierced our heart.
What is God calling us to? Where is he leading us? The task is overwhelming.
This picture is fitting because the exposure was cloudy but we have smiles on our faces. Our future is clouded. So many unknowns face us. Yet, our eternal hope brings us joy to face the insurmountable task at hand. Although everything is not crystal clear, we must step forward in faith. We can smile at what is before us. To love as Jesus loved. To pour forth His love, hope, joy, and peace upon everyone we encounter.
A few days ago, the below poem was read aloud in training. Surprisingly, tears came to my eyes from no where. It made me realize what is ahead and how it affects my heart...
Ants in the Sugar Bowl
By Elizabeth Givens
So send I you
To ants in the sugar bowl,
To things that fly, creep and crawl into the house,
To uncertain water, sporatic electricity.
To long hours, sweltering heat, exhausting days,
To uncomfortable vehicles, crowded jeeps, smelly buses.
To noisy early, early mornings.
To rice, rice, and more rice.
To poverty you didn't believe existed,
To masses of people like you have never seen,
To know, and work with people who have never known comfort,
So send I you, and I expect you to adjust.
So send I you
To people who will give from their poverty,
To friends who will embarass you with their generosity,
To pastors who will entertain you from their lack,with beauty,
To hungry, receptive, questioning people who want to know God,
To study, to teach, to learn from your study and teaching,
To prove your own motives, values, and beliefs,
To learn more about yourself and the culture that has reared you,
To know God and to understand more deeply dependence on Him,
We are a family who loves Jesus. We have followed him to the faraway land of Ghana, West Africa. We know He led us here for His purpose - for His name to be great among the nations. (Psalm 46:10) We are here for His glory alone.
By sharing a glimpse into our lives through our posts we give this permanent disclaimer: Nothing written here is to exalt ourselves. We desire for everything we do, say, think, write, or share to be for God's glory alone. We know this life is not about us, and do not ever wish to make it so. We are not trying to share our "experience." We are not trying to pose for pictures. We are not trying to make you think we are doing something we are not. We are broken, imperfect people made complete through the grace of Christ. There is nothing special about us - except the Lord we follow. We want all glory, honor, and praise to go to whom it is due - Jesus.
Sometimes we may write things that are hard to read. It's not our purpose to offend anyone or impose guilt. Life in Ghana is vastly different from life in America. Sometimes when you read about the struggles of your fellow brother, we hope you are propelled to pray. This blog is our avenue to share how God is revealing more of His heart to us. In the process, God allows us to see deeper into our own. It gets ugly sometimes. We are humbled that He has allowed us to be hands and feet of His work. For this, we rejoice in God's boundless grace.
If you accept the terms of this blog - please feel free to read and enjoy. It's not about us.
"But as for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through him, and I have been crucified to the world." - Galatians 6:14
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