Sunday, August 31, 2008

Week 4

This week was pretty heavy as we had a speaker come in and talk to us about the persecuted church. We heard story after story about fellow Christians around the world who are in prison (and worse) because of their commitment to follow Jesus. Many of our new friends here are going to very dangerous places to share Christ, so you can imagine it was a very somber week. It is humbling to be around people who are willing to sacrifice so much for the gospel. We feel like peons because we are going to the safest country on earth at the moment. Everyone has been asking about Iceland, so I've shared lots of stories this week about how safe it is. I've repeated the story a few times about how everyone leaves their babies in strollers on the sidewalk while they shop. At first I didn't participate in this cultural norm, but after many annoyed glances while I maneuvered our large double stroller through the quaint European shops, I started leaving Darcy in her stroller on Laugevauger while I went shopping. I didn't realize how much Darcy paid attention to my conversations until last night. I was tucking her in and talking about our new life in Iceland. She took her blankie out of her mouth and, with concern, said, "I don't want you leave me outside." I hugged and kissed her twenty times, reassuring her that she would not be left alone outside in Iceland. TOO CUTE...

Prayers for the week:
*Wisdom to know what to do with our car: sell or store or lend?
*Visas to come in
* Haley and Darcy to learn Icelandic and not be too angered or too frustrated by it (Last time we were there, Haley stood up in a children's church service while a duck puppet was telling a Bible story in Icelandic and screamed, "STOP!! DO NOT SAY THAT WORD! STOP SAYING THAT!!" Needless to say, we had to leave.)

We celebrate 7 years of marriage tomorrow (Thank you Kristen, Michele, Jenna, and Linz for a wonderful date night!)

new hobby

They had a hair-cutting workshop last week and I learned how to cut hair! My girls were very patient and kind to let me try on them. Here are Darcy's before and after shots :

Sunday, August 24, 2008

CPMs and other musings... is hard to find 5 minutes to myself around here. Last week I hardly went to any sessions; it was very disappointing. I must have lost some weight from being sick and not having an appetite. It took me four whole days to regain my strength. The rest of the family bounced back very well...lucky them.

The sessions I did attend, however, instructed us about Church Planting Movements (CPMs) and were incredibly inspirational. In case you are not familiar with this word, a CPM is "the rapid and exponential increase of indigenous churches planting churches within a given people group or population segment.” We had four missionaries from various countries come in and share how God had worked through them to create a CPM. It is crazy to think about going from 6 believers to 10,020 believers in just three years, but that is exactly what happened to one of these missionaries. I guess it is what happens when God decides to bless and when you are serious about prayer, intentionally sharing your faith, discipling people, starting small house churches, and those churches planting churches. I got excited, started praying for a CPM in Iceland, then started reading more about them. The last chapter of the CPM book we are required to read was a wake up call:

"A list of missionaries who have been engaged in Church Planting Movements reads like a catalog of calamity. Many have suffered illness, derision, and shame. In some instances the suffering was due to their own self-destructive behavior; in other cases it came at the hands of opponents. Students of Church Planting Movements suggest that the affliction may be related to a higher spiritual price required for rolling
back the darkness (Rev. 12:12). Whatever the cause, the disproportionate degree of suffering by missionaries engaged in CPMs is noteworthy. Missionaries intent on this course of action are well-advised to be on their guard, to watch, fight, and pray."

Woah. Back up the train. Adversity? Affliction? Diseases?
Persecution? Does it really have to be so difficult and hurt so much?
As if the rapid expansion of the most powerful message on earth would
just multiply without any opposition. Okay...just kidding, God...You can
give some other, well-intentioned, fervent missionary a CPM...I'm sure they would appreciate it.
In other words: I guess I don't want You to work in such a powerful way if it means that I am going to have to go through so much adversity in the process. What a sad thought. I care more about my own comfort than the gospel being spread. I began to ask God to change my heart and make me care more about the things He cares about and less about my own convenience.

I guess that is a good seg-way for prayer requests this week. I guess I've been anxious thinking about the trials that will, inevitably, come our way in Iceland.
*Pray that I can live in the moment and trust God to take care of
us when trials do come.
*Pray for our language learning. We are expected to be full-time language learners when we first get to Iceland for the first four months. While we're here we have to begin that process.
*Pray that God will provide a good child-care set-up when we are both in language school in Iceland (This is a big one).

Yes, there are many other things to pray for regarding the Icelandic people and our mission there. Colby is recruiting people to pray for the lostness in Iceland, and I am recruiting people to pray specifically for our family's needs.

Thank you to those who are praying for us!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Underwear theology

Sunday afternoon Colby said he wasn't feeling well and laid down to rest while I set up a video for the girls and I to watch on Haley's bed. Twenty minutes later, Darcy was throwing up her lunch all over me, the DVD player, and the bed.  I cleaned up the entire mess myself (aren't you proud, Jennifer?) even though I dry-heaved a few times. 

A couple hours later I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor when Darcy comes in and out of nowhere asks, "Iz God ezeywhe-ah?"
Feeling proud that my daughter was contemplating the doctrine of omnipresence, I responded, "Yes! Good job, Darcy...He is everywhere..."
The next thing out of her mouth was, "He in my pants?"
"Hmmm...well..." I was befuddled by my toddler's ability to engage in deductive reasoning.
"He in my undew-wey-ah?"
What do you say?
"I don't want God see my undew-wey-ah!!"

Before I could respond, Darcy threw up again all over the floor that I had just sanitized. As I cleaned up regurgitated bananas, I was stunned that I had just had a theological conversation with my two-year-old. Now if she could just learn her colors...

Two hours later, I was throwing's a good thing this thing is only 24 hours...

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Thursday was worldview workshop day. Everyone went to a different session that covered the worldview of their particular people-group. Colby and I attended the session on Roman Catholicism. It was so interesting; We read through the Catechism and compared and contrasted Catholic doctrine with the Bible. As our group talked, it became more and more clear that a denominational label is not what is important. It doesn't matter if you call yourself a Baptist, a Lutheran, or a Catholic, but Who you are trusting in for salvation. Near the end of the session, Colby made a comment that made so much sense: "A lot of people are confused as to why we are going as missionaries to a country that is "Christian/Lutheran." Do they really need to hear about Jesus? I'm starting to realize that a lot of people in Iceland are really just secular humanists covered by a thin veneer of Lutheranism." It really begs the question, what does it mean to be a Christian? Just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not mean they are.

For lunch, we had a special,cultural meal that we were required to partake in. A lot of people were nervous about it, but it was the best food we have had so far. It was a Middle Eastern dish that we had to eat only with our right hand (Apparently, in this culture the left hand is used to wipe one's buttocks and is considered unclean). I had to sit on my left hand because I kept forgetting.

Some specific requests for the week:
*That we will be disciplined to make time for focused, uninterrupted prayer in our schedule.
*Our marriage: open communication, understanding, and selflessness.
* That we will get the sleep we need with this full schedule
*Health for all family members :)

"So, what have you guys been doing there?"

*Last week, after some orientation sessions, they sent us all out for three hours on a personal retreat. We were not allowed to talk to anyone, but to just enjoy some solitude and extra time to pray and spend with God. I sat under a tree by a lake and asked God to write it in the sky if we were still supposed to go to Iceland (I thought I was Colby's previous blog if you're confused). Three hours later, I had received no secret message, but came to the conclusion that the Bible gives enough commands to go and preach the gospel and therefore had no excuse. I came to the point of realization that God being worshiped in Iceland was more valuable than my comfort or convenience and committed afresh to going. An hour later, we took a pregnancy test and it came back negative. I was in absolute shock...(You have no idea...I had been taking pre-natal vitamins, I got special permission from the cafeteria to take food out...I'm embarrassed to keep going...) Colby will never let me live this one down (He had to hear me say all week, "You have NO CLUE what this is like!!") All I have to say is...that was the worst PMS in history.

*We are required to make 4-5 goals for our time here at FPO (Field Personnel Orientation) and strategies of how we will meet our goals (specific, measurable, attainable goals, that is). It has been a great exercise for us. We both are taking steps to strengthen our prayer life, learn to be responsive to each other's needs, and become aware of how culture shock will affect our kids. Another personal goal of mine is to recruit 20 people to pray for our family for 10 minutes each week. I know that sounds piddly, but I think people will be more likely to pray purposefully and specifically if we ask for that instead of casually and generally. If you would be willing to be a prayer warrior for us, please email me and let me know ( I will blog every week to let you know what things we need specific prayer about.

*The main topic that was covered this week was spiritual warfare. Neither Colby or I felt like we had ever been thoroughly taught on this subject, so it was a very enlightening week. We both became aware of ways that satan has really deceived us and the lies that we have consumed about each other. Satan really does seek to hinder God's work through us and our eyes are starting to open to this reality.

Okay, this is getting long. The End.

Finally Settled

So, there we were. We had been packing for an entire week, had been up until 2:00 AM several nights, were preparing to hand over our house to renters in just a few hours, and loading up to move our family to training for 8 weeks and then to Iceland. Annie and I were both exhausted and exhaustion really does things to your mind and body. Annie had been acting a little wierd the past few days and I could only remember her acting this way two other times. As the moment of transition was drawing closer she was reclining in the front yard and I thought, "I'm just going to ask her," "Are you pregnant?" The reply was no calm to my already disordered mind and heart, "I don't want to talk about it." I had been looking forward to the day. It was supposed to be the day when all the hard work and stress of packing and moving was over and we took our loaded car and settled in to a little apartment for the next two months. It was not. The entire ride to training I was thinking, "What are we going to do?" The entire first week I was thinking, "What are we going to do?" Every conversation was like a thin film of distraction over the real conversation I was having with God in my heart. Whew! What a first week! As I said, exhaustion and stress will do things to your mind and body. Were not pregnant, but we sure thought so and God gave us the chance to reckon with our own issues of trusting His sovereignty and timing in our lives and I'm thankful for the test, even if it was only a test. The second week was a little easier.


Yes, Thank you for your prayers for Darcy. She made it through the week unscathed. I guess I should have asked for prayers for Haley as well because Thursday night we were up most of the night with her as she vomited continuously . But, we made it through and now it's the weekend and we're all caught up on sleep. I don't like to write really long posts because I think it gets boring, so maybe I'll write a few short ones that highlight the week.

The Many Faces of Haley

I got these pictures yesterday from Haley's teacher. They are doing a unit on different emotions and Haley was supposed to make faces that showed what people look like when they experience them. Can you guess what the emotions are?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our new life (for 7 more weeks)

I just wanted to write a quick something.  I am blown away by how well Darcy and Haley Jane are transitioning to this new place.  They have slept great every night and cheer when I tell them it is time to go to school.  I know it is evidence that God heard my prayers for this transition.  Colby and I, on the other hand, had quite the rough start to this whole thing (I'm sure he'll blog it this weekend), but we are finally getting settled as well.  We are in class from 8:00-3 or 4:00 every afternoon as are the girls.  My dream of having a cafeteria and not having to cook or clean has finally come true and I cannot describe how happy it makes me.  Haley and I run to dinner together (300 meters),  we eat together outside on the patio at 5:00, take turns exercising in the evening while the girls play at the playground with all their new little friends, and then spend time praying, reading, and doing language study after the girls go to bed.  It is a VERY packed schedule, but we are starting to get used to the new structure.  I have so much to say and share, but I have to get to bed before lights out (the self-inflicted lights out, that is).   I will write a prayer request post this weekend.  Something you could pray for now is for Darcy's class...they are dropping like flies.  Strep throat, diarrhea, fevers, colds...pray that her little immune system will be strong this week!  If she gets sick, we will have to miss our class.  

Thursday, August 7, 2008

This is worse than grad school....

This blog is to warn about the lack of blogs that will be coming from me (Annie)...I have over 300 pages of reading to do, assignments and reports up the ying-yang, research, language study, goal development, and worship team assignments.  I still have not recovered from the move and all the chaos of the weekend, so it's all very overwhelming.  The girls are LOVING it here.  Today when Darcy was dropped off, every child was crying and fussing except for her...she was SO thrilled to be at school.  Her teacher wrote a note to me to let me know how joyful, cheerful, and helpful she was in class today.  Haley has made her 6 friends and has officially completed her mission.  All in all, we are doing great.   I will try to take out time once a week to write  a little update.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Transition #1

We finally made it to Richmond. After all my hard work explaining the timetable of events to Haley and Darcy, on Monday Haley announced to Cynthia and Brittany that we were moving to Iceland that morning. Even after explaining everything to her again, when we arrived to check in at a big building she asked if we were at the airport. Why do I even try? The girls are loving having so many kids their age around. There are 50 children under the age of 2 here. Haley told us that she was going to make 6 friends while she was here...friends that were either size 3 or size 4 (cute!). Our living space is communal living at its best. There is a large living room that four families share, and kids running around playing at all times. We even found a little girl in our bedroom last night when we started to put the girls to bed. I love it. That's all for now. Colby just informed me that I have 150 pages to read and a writing assignment that is supposed to get done.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Almost there...

We are so close to having the house empty and ready for our renters tomorrow.  I cannot believe how much work it is to move...and we only did a pseudo-move.  Funny story:  Okay, so apparently when you move you're supposed to ask your kids what things are special to them and let them decide what things to keep.  However, when you ask Haley and Darcy what things they want to keep, they say EVERYTHING.  Even if it is something they have not played with once.  So, my system has been to watch what things they play with the most and pack those things with us.  Everything else needs to get out of the house (in 12 hours, mind you!) So, on Saturday morning, we were all upstairs while the carpet was getting steam-cleaned downstairs by a professional. Haley was looking out the window and spotted her princess lunch pail in the trash can (Sorry, Jennie...).  "Mommy, what is my lunch pail doing in the trash?...Do you KNOW that my lunch pail is in the trash?"  I mumbled an excuse and made a note to myself to get it before the garbage men came.  We got distracted with other things and soon time had gotten away from me and the lunch pail had slipped my mind.  Next thing I knew, the garbage truck was beeping and Haley was standing at the window, screaming in horror.    I stood, frozen in shock for a moment as I watched the man carry the can to the truck.  Oh dear God, have mercy.  I then reacted by sprinting down the stairs, hurdling over the steam-cleaner man, throwing open the door, and yelling,"stop!"  The guys looked at me confused as I ran over and explained to them that my three-year-old was balling at the window because of what they had just thrown away.  We all picked through the huge truck until the princess pail emerged.   It was at that moment that I looked up and saw Colby, Haley, and Darcy all in the window watching everything, with Colby looking completely disgusted and confused.  I had never felt more like Helen Haley in my whole life.  It took Haley a long time to stop crying and finally realize her beloved pail was salvaged.  When she finally dried her tears, she looked inside of it and said, "Oh, I thought Belle was in there....but she's not....she's right here on my shelf."  You've got to be kidding me...princess pail anyone?

Saturday, August 2, 2008


We took a little break from packing for the move to play a little bit of 3-0n-3 Basketball at Stafford Baptist Tonight. It was all part of the 3-on-3 and Grudge Match extravaganza. A few highlights are in order:

The Fashion Show: There was some great looks out there on the court. The three amigos win for the most forethought. Bobby-O deserves recognition for wearing the outfit I wish I could pull off and still look cool like him. The Long Shots pink numbered and named jerseys complete with side fringes were definitely fabulous, but the award for most guts and glory goes to Ben Cartwright. He looked so hideous I wanted to cringe, but for some reason you just couldn't stop looking at him. The semi-pro super small shorts and jersey has never been done so well. Congratulations Ben.

The Grudge Matches: I still am not sure who won the game of pig between Clint and Phillip and I definitely enjoyed watching Kevin slice and dice Bobby-O. Of course Pastor Bill and I enjoyed a nice leisurely game of one-on-one, but my favorite part is always the trash talk before the big game. I was sure to let Cindy Jessup know that when I got finished with Pastor Bill she would probably need to buy him a Harley to boost him back up.

The Runaway Champs: M2 Power dominated the tournament and destroyed our team in the process. It was all fun and games until we got beat and then it was just games. I was reflecting on it during my short drive home. With all of the trash talking going around Stafford, Pillar, Q-town, Lakeside and the like, it was ironic that some guests just joining us for the evening kicked all of our butts. Very nice lesson. Needless to say I enjoyed playing on my team The Prison something or other. Josh Burke and Kevin Dowker were great teamates and we all had a lot of fun.

The Organizer: Kevin Dowker threw out the idea of a 3-on-3 Basketball tournament several months ago and I must say I was not sure how it would go over. Now we know, it was smashing. Kevin did a great job with organization and promotion and the Indo Missions team benefitted to the tune of $1000 or something like that.