Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's Time to Get Ready!

Well, our departure date is fast approaching!  I can hardly believe that we are only weeks away from getting on a plane to Thailand!  A few days ago we received our visas and with that, it's official, we can move to Thailand!  We have already said goodbye to quite a few people and it's so surreal to think that the next time we will see them will likely be two years from now!  Crazy.  I have been trying to prepare the kids as well, talking about Thailand often, trying some food from Thailand, and spending some time with people whom we will miss GREATLY!
To be honest, I'm feeling really stressed.  Packing up a family of four to move to the other side of the world is quite the task!  I have been collecting, saving, and storing things for months now for this very time and it's crazy to be in the place where we are putting it all in suitcases and bins!  And well, it's exhausting.  Not to mention going around having to purchase certain items.that we are unable to get there, and need for the next two years!!  Anybody have any idea how much deodorant one would use in two years?  Yeah, me either, I'm just taking a wild guess and hoping to be able to find some kind of something along the way that will work! ;)
Some days I just need to tell myself, "Breathe Christina, just breathe, one thing at a time."  I can't wait until the final bag is packed and I can just say, "If we forgot something, oh well, we'll live without it."  That is, as long as it's not the kids blankies ;)  That would be bad. very bad!
This past Sunday was great!  Our church did a commissioning (a time of prayer and confirming their support of us as we leave) for us!  We are the very first international missionaries coming from our church and it has been incredibly special.  Although Rob wasn't feeling well that morning, it was a very special moment for us!
Here are some pics of what we've been up to!
Trying some dragon fruit from Thailand that we got at the local Asian Market here!  They loved it!  

 Clay woke one morning and said that he wanted to have a kite flying party, and so, we did!  I'm trying to make these last few weeks special for our kids!  Spending some special time with the cousins, who will be missed so very much!  this group is pretty tight.  No one is looking forward to saying goodbye.
 Picture from our commissioning.  So very special!
           Not only are we packing, but we still need to get rid of some things!  Selling our car is the last thing on our list! Will you pray with us that we sell our car quickly!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tell me.... WHY???

Just to warn all of you, this is Rob, not Christina.  Yes, I have hijacked my wife’s blog page…

Hopefully in doing this, I am not crossing any invisible, sacred boundaries of the bloggers domain.  But don’t worry, she knows. 
Writing is not really my thing.  Come to think of it talking is not really one of my things either.  Words and I don’t really get along together all too well.  I know they are important, but let’s just say I’m not the most loquacious person on the planet.  I wish I was better with them, but they never seem to come out the way that I want them too.  There is some disconnect between the way my brain thinks them and the way they come floating out.  So, for the most part, I just leave them in. 

All this to say, I am not a blogger.  Most likely will never be one.  But on occasion, I do have something to say.  Every once in a while something tosses and turns about in my mind too much and then comes pouring out.  So sorry, you’re about to get rained on. 

On this particular occasion, I feel compelled to ask and answer the question, “WHY?”

WHY move to Thailand?

I was sitting at lunch the other day with one of my co-workers at one of my favorite ethnic restaurants, Taco Bell.  As we were talking, he asked me out of the blue (well in my mind anyway it was out of the blue) and rather abruptly, “So what, you just decided one day to up and move to Thailand?”  Implicit in his question is “WHY?”

I was not at all surprised by his question.  The most surprising part was that he actually asked.  It took a while though.  He’s known for the last couple of months.  I’m just glad that we’ve been friends for a long enough period of time that he feels like he can ask.  Many of my co-workers and friends whom I have told never get around to actually verbalizing the question, although I can tell by their reaction that they want to ask it.
“WHY?” is so simple and yet so extremely complicated.   I’ve asked myself the same question many times during this journey. 

WHY would I sell my house?  It’s the first one we owned.  We fixed it all up real nice; just the way we wanted it.  It has a huge back yard and we even purchased the lot next door for more green space.  I put a lot of time, energy (sweat and a little blood), and money into making this the perfect place for us.  Location is great.  Love the neighbors.  This is where we moved when our oldest turned one.  This is where we brought our youngest back from the hospital.  They love it here.  So many memories in just three years!  Could be our dream house really…

WHY would I leave my job?  I only work Monday thru Thursday (granted their 10-12 hour days) at Davie Shoring.  But the works not too hard and the people I work with are great! Then I get all day Friday to do ministry at Crescent City Community Church with one of the pastors.  I still get fulltime pay, great salary and benefits at Davie, why would anyone want to leave that.  I’ve got it made.  I’m livin’ a good middle class life, livin’ the American Dream!
WHY would I leave my church?  We’ve been a part of this amazing church plant since its beginning almost 4 years ago now (I think – has it really been that long already!).  We love the people.  We love the vision.  We love the mission.  We love the community we’re there to reach.  It’s actually the reason we bought our house in the area we did.  We wanted to be in the community our church was in.  It’s one of the communities hard hit by Katrina almost 8 years ago.  The church is helping, is being a part of the rebuilding that is taking place in this community.  We, as the church, are being Jesus’s hands and feet to the community around us.  We are so excited and humbled that we got to be a part of that!  But there’s still so much more to do.  Why, why would I leave…

WHY would I leave my family?  Our boys LOVE their Mimie and their cousins!  And we get along alright with them tooJ  We see each other on a normal basis at least a couple of times a week, and the kids love to play whenever we are together.  Our kids are always so sad when we leave even though they know they will see them again soon.  And then there’s Mimie.  I don’t even know where to start with that.  She’s always there for us when we need her.  Always showers us with her love.  Always has good advice.  Always gives and gives and gives.  Those are going to be the hardest goodbyes in the world to say.  Then you have family dinner every Friday night in New Orleans with the Daspit clan.  And I’m not talking immediate family only.  There are grandmothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins, maybe even a third cousin here or there, I don’t even know.  And you do not miss.  It is every Friday night.  And if the whole group can’t make it (which is actually more common now because the group is getting so big!) you split up into smaller groups and still go to dinner on Friday night. All that to say, family is important down here.  We love to spend time together.  And that still doesn’t cover all my family up in Nebraska (and Washington) who we love and will miss just as much.  We just don’t get the chance to see them as often.  But when we do get together, the memories we make are some that I will cherish forever!  I am so grateful that I am a part of such an amazing family!
So the question is WHY?  WHY would we sell our house, quit our jobs, leave our church, and say goodbye to our family?

The answer to the WHY question is as simple and as complicated as the questions themselves.

Really, it all boils down to the question “Who am I living my life for?”  Or to put it another way, “Why am I living; why am I alive?”  If the answer to that question is me and my family, I stay where I am.  I don’t sell my house, quit my job, leave my church, or say goodbye to my family.  I stay where I am.  I stay where I am comfortable.

But I don’t.  I don’t live for me.  I don’t live for my family.  I live for Jesus. 

Many of you probably already know, but in case you haven’t heard, let me tell you a little about Jesus (I can't say it all - it would take up WAY to much space).

HE created you.  HE created me.  HE created everything that you see (and even the things you don’t).  HE is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  HE is sovereign over all things.  And yet HE chose to die.  HE chose to die for you and HE chose to die for me.  Even though we hated HIM and were HIS enemies, HE chose to die for us so that we could live with and for HIM.  HE loved us that much (John 3:16).  HE also died for the glory of God and according to the will of the Father.  HE deserves all the glory.  HE desires all the glory.  HE will get all the glory.

That is amazing to me, especially now that I have kids of my own.  I guarantee you, I would not give one of my sons to be put to death in order for you to live (and I like most of you).  So enemies; not a chance.  I also know if someone did do that for me, it would change the way that I live. 

We are always awed by stories of heroic people who sacrifice something for someone else, even when it is small.  How much more if someone sacrifices their life for someone else.  How much more, if it’s the Creator, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords sacrificing HIMSELF for me and you.

And then, to make it even better, HE rose again.  HE is not dead.  HE is ALIVE.  We get to live for, and love, and serve a risen Savior.

So I don’t want to live my life for me.  I want to live my life for Jesus. 

If HE tells me to leave everything and go half way around the world for HIM, then I go.  If HE tells me to stay and work and share the love of Jesus with those around me, then I stay.  I do know that wherever I am, HE wants me to make disciples.  That was HIS last command to us while HE was on earth.              
So we live our lives for HIM.  HE rescued us from our lives of sin and hostility towards HIM.  HE died for us so that we might live for HIM.  HE loves us.  HE deserves all the GLORY.  Our lives are no longer about us.  They are about HIM.  We go as HIS ambassadors to a hurting, dying world.  We go to spread the TRUTH of HIS love and mercy and grace.

The question is already being raised by many of you, “But can’t you do that here from your house, at your work, with your church, and to your family?”  Yes.  And I hope that we have while we have lived here and I hope that you do as well wherever you live.  That is our whole reason for living.  I also know that there is a great NEED in other parts of the world.  There are still a BILLION people in the world that don’t have a Bible in their language.  How are you going to hear about HIS love and mercy and grace if you don’t even have a Bible to read?  Most of you have multiple versions of the Bible sitting on your shelf as you read.  Not trying to make anyone feel guilty, just trying to express the great NEED that is in the world today.  So we go to where there is the greatest need. 

We go because we have felt the call of GOD in our lives to go and it is one that we cannot ignore.  No, we did not hear some audible voice from the sky.  Christina has already written about all the doors that GOD has opened to make all of this possible so I’m not going to repeat it here.  I just want to say the call of GOD has been evident, and so we go.  We leave our house, our job, our church, and our family for HIM.     
My prayer for you and for me is that you and I would live for HIM.  First you have to know HIM.  First you have to love HIM.  Then you can live for HIM.  Live for HIM in America.  Live for HIM in Thailand.  The place doesn’t matter.  Jesus wants your life and your heart.  Jesus wants you to live for HIM.

This is why we move to Thailand… 

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Open Doors...

Here I find myself, sitting at PJ's Coffee shop doing something I have been meaning to do for a LONG time now.  If you know us at all and know anything about our story of moving to Thailand, you know that God has opened more doors than He ever has with any other decision we have ever made.  He has confirmed to us again and again, overwhelmingly at times, that this is what He is calling our family to do, become Site Volunteer Coordinators in Thailand.  So, I have been told by several people, that I need to be writing it all down.  All the things God has done and is doing as we journey through this time of transition.  So, I sat here, with my notebook and pen and listed all the things we have seen God's hand in as we made this decision to following His calling for our lives.  5 pages and 13 things later... I'm still not finished.  But I am OVERWHELMED! (oh man, now I getting emotional here at PJs)  From selling our house in less than 48 hours, to the Ladies Bible Study I was in studying "Discerning the Voice of God" by Pricilla Shirer while we were in the middle of interviews and deciding if this move to Thailand is what God wants us to do, to specific financial needs that we prayed about and He provided. I'm not sure there is any other way to discribe all the open doors but to say that we are OVERWHELMNED!  Honestly, I'm not sure there is anything else God could have done to make it any more clear that we are on the path He wants us to be!
So, all I have to say now, is Praise be to God! And the great part is, our journey is far from over... Amazing!