Contemplating $400

I need to put the breaks on and just stop. Life is radical and moves so quickly that taking a moment to reflect upon the nearness of our move has been unattainable.  Right now, however, with one girl asleep, one gone at work and one at church, the house is quiet and I can contemplate our current circumstance. In a presentation this morning Mark stated that we are just $600 away from being 100% supported. By the time we arrived home, our support had increased. At this moment, only $400 remains and then we can deploy. I need to just sit here and soak up this information. It’s hard to believe that we are leaving the United States to live in Budapest for good. (Or, as long as the Lord wants us there.)  Our ability to serve other missionaries throughout Europe and the people of Budapest is made possible by God and the sacrifice, love & trust of over 120 supporters who believe in our family, ministry, & the Lord’s Kingdom work. “Overwhelmed”, “humbled”, “awe-struck”… no words do my feelings justice at this moment. We came into this life of missions with nothing. Beginning our support raising 2 years ago with only a handful of family and friends from the past, God connected us with old and new sweet friends and acquaintances who have enriched our lives and committed to pray and partner with us financially. We could not do this without every single person, every single prayer, every single dime, every single encouraging word, every single smile… nothing has gone unnoticed, EVERYTHING & EVERYONE is cherished.  When the last... read more

What Is the Point to All of This?

Now that we are nearing the end of our support raising journey (God has brought us to 90%!), I thought it was a good idea to take personal inventory of nearly everything I’ve learned. What’s the point of the struggles if I didn’t come out an improved person. How has God changed me, challenged me, taught me?  Now this list is by no means complete.  The Lord is constantly working on my heart. This is a process, but I’m grateful to see the progress. This inventory is for me, but I thought I’d share it with you in the small chance that you might be encouraged as well. It is in no particular order.   My spirit can be patient and quiet at the same time. True hope in God produces perseverance and the proof that I have hope is that I never give up. Finding joy in the mystery and not anxiety from the lack of knowing. Guarding myself against spiritual warfare by learning the difference between the devil’s deception and my own sinful nature. I can pray for something without fearing the only way to receive it or learn from it is through a tragic experience. Recognizing the difference between my thoughts and God’s voice. Having the courage to be vulnerable, to get out of the boat with everyone watching. Humility. I need to get over myself. It is not about me. How to cope with stress in difficult situations. Bringing it before God each and every time and cutting myself some slack for being stressed for Pete’s sake. Feeling worthy to be a missionary regardless of... read more

We Are Still Here and This is Why

qYes, we are still here. We have not moved to Hungary just yet.  After MUCH prayer, counsel, and clear confirmation that Mark was to resign by October 15th and we were to pick a date to deploy we stepped out in faith.  Well, Mark left his job as planned, but we didn’t leave the country as hoped. Mercifully, God has tempered our disappointment by bestowing upon our family gifts to keep us content as we observe His greater plan unfold.  Let me share how we see God at work and why we have peace about remaining here longer. On a whim, Liv applied for a dream job and was hired last month. At the same time, Elly experienced two awful events at the barn where she trains in equestrian jumping.  The time to investigate other options was at hand.  Dad found another place where Elle will ride more for less money and be taught all aspects of equitation. Say whaaat? Dream come true for her. If you are wondering about Helena, she’s become quite the burgeoning artist.  Last week free art & sketch lessons fell from the sky and she’s content with her social life, so all is well with the world. Hmmm, why is God bestowing these wonderful gifts now when we were hoping to leave? Here’s why… The week before Christmas, Mark and I received word from ReachGlobal that attending second language acquisition school is a mandatory requirement for us prior to leaving the states. Based solely on our ministry with SERVEurope, this pre-field training wasn’t essential. However, our roles with the Budapest City Team require having a deeper understanding... read more

Resignation Letter & December Deployment!

After returning from a great week of training, we knew in our hearts that God was leading us toward another bold leap of faith.  Storms started raging right when we got home.  We picked up our great dane from the kennel with open wounds which needed surgery. Mark was confronted with one exhausting problem after the next which contributed to a 60 hour work week leaving nothing for MPD (Ministry Partnership Development i.e. support raising).  There were a plethora of problems deterring us from seeking God and remaining confident, positive and listening for the Lord.  However, He was talking.  In the midst of it all, He kept me encouraged and attentive to His voice by revealing His plan to us in unique ways. Within the first few days of being home, I started feeling conflicted, panicky and anxious.  I remembered a sweet missionary family that after much prayer believed the Lord was sending them in July and that plan came to fruition.  I questioned God, “Is this something you want us to do?”  If we commit to a date, I have to be 100% in with no Plan B to fall back on.  I can not live with a safety net.  God reminded me that He is our net and won’t let us fall if we are obediently living out His call and doing His will.  Both feet in the water, completely out of the boat and no gripping the side.  If we really feel that the Holy Spirit is telling us to let go, for Pete’s sake we need to let go and trust Him!  Mark and I... read more

Back from Training and Excited for the Next Step!

ReachGlobal’s Pre-Field Training was fantastic! Highlights included: 35 sessions over 6 days teaching everything from having the correct “entry posture” to maneuvering culture shock and coping with stress. Spotting 20 green baby spiders clinging to our….        ... read more

A World like This by Elly West

A World like This by our daughter Elly   I pulled up the anchor and tossed the rope, Wind launched the ship forward and I set sail. Adventure and safety for I did hope, When suddenly a storm was on my tail.   The thunder crashed as loud as a gunshot. Losing control and gaining frustration, I fight against the wind all on my own Feeling like I fought against a nation.   Finally realizing I was a fraud, I wanted to live my life for God. Faithfully, for dry land, I sent a dove And I hoped once again to find God’s love.   To God I surrendered the ship’s great wheel And realized that the wind was leading me. Soon humbled by this, to God I did kneel And trusted him to save me from the sea.   I finally arrived at heaven’s shores, God had saved me from my own damnation. It is over now, my personal wars, In Him He grants me perfect salvation.   Christ has led me out of the great unknown, My heart is overwhelmed with perfect bliss. He’s waiting for me on His golden throne, I would die to live in a world like... read more
Mt. Everest & Climbing Hurdles

Mt. Everest & Climbing Hurdles

The following is a blog post I wrote a little over 7 months ago under great distress, but never posted.  Looking back at where we were when I wrote this compared to where we are now (at a different place emotionally, close to half way there (yay!) with more support raising experience & many presentations later), I was encouraged to see how God has fortified me.  So, I figured maybe it would inspire you as you climb your own mountains.  Here it goes… We are in full support raising mode and it’s hard.  When I consider the numbers, the amount of support raising that we need to accomplish, I see steep climbs, long ascents, and shallow, sharp painful breaths ahead.  I’m staring at Mt. Everest.  It is daunting, exhausting, and if I wasn’t rock solid in our calling it would be so easy to say, “Sorry God. When I look up at that mountain You’ve asked us to traverse it makes me beyond stressed. My chest is tight,  my muscles scream in pain from the short climb already and we’re not even to Base Camp 1. I’m not sleeping well in that stupid little tent on the cliff, I’m cold cuz I didn’t bring the right gear – always unprepared, I’m freaked out about tomorrow cuz the weather is supposed to be worse, my butt hurts cuz my mat is not thick enough and I bought the -10 degree sleeping bag, instead of the -40 so I’m cold. No, I’m freezing and to boot I forgot my Hotties hand warmers. Life bites.”  Oh my gosh, it is so easy... read more

My real name is Martha

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”  That’s me.  Distracted. Constantly.  Last night I couldn’t sleep because anxiety was pressing heavily against my chest as nightmares of all the stuff in my life jockeyed for first position in a long, LOOONNNGGG queue of top priorities.  Sometimes I get so overwhelmed, I don’t even know where to start and I worry about everything that has to get done.  I feel like I have so much to do that I can’t even read my bible because other “priorities” keep popping up and, really, I can do my study with Him at any time of the day, right? No. Then I don’t get to it and I feel even worse because He is deserving of ALL my time! Ugh.  Spiritual warfare?  I’m sure that’s part of it. “He’d” (I don’t even like to say his name) wants me pulled away from my Jesus. No way man. Stand firm, stand strong on the Word of God. So tonight I sat on the couch, got off all 4 of my email accounts, tried to shut the door on my mind palace of chaos and I pulled out my Bible.  Of COURSE I’m directed to Martha.  Jesus is just saying, “Seriously. Why do you do this to yourself? ‘You are worried and upset about many things, but only... read more

Smack Dab

I want to share with you how foolish I am. My personality likes to put me smack dab in the middle of everything that’s going on.  If we venture into a new city, I like to find the heart of it.  I don’t like to be on the outskirts of anything.  I endeavor to be in the center of God’s will because that’s where the action is!  So, when initially faced with moving to Budapest, (and I know I’m opening myself up to complete ridicule right now) I thought, “I’m not sure God is calling us to Hungary. It’s too far east.  It doesn’t seem central enough.” In order to show the girls exactly where Hungary is located in proportion to the other countries I printed out this map.  Low and behold, I noticed that Hungary – go figure – lies in the very heart of Europe.  God’s like, “Seriously, chill out. I put you right where I knew you’d be most comfortable.”  I might feel like a fool, but at least I’m a relieved fool! Haha Thanks Lord for access to the internet and an overabundance of grace! xo, Jenn... read more

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