Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

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Enjoying our time here in the US…

Hey everybody. We leave 3 weeks from Thursday! It’s hard to believe. It is so good to see everything come full circle and we are ready to get down to Jamaica. We have been enjoying our time here in Michigan. We have spent a lot of time with family and friends. It’s so good to spend time with them. It hasn’t hit me yet that we won’t see most of them for 18 months or longer. I’m sure it won’t hit me until after we get to Jamaica.

I found out last week that the first team that I will have the pleasure to work with will be there 2 days after we arrive! We get to Jamaica on Thursday, Jan 12, late in the afternoon and my first team arrives on Saturday. I’m excited to hit the ground running. I also found out that I will be working with someone who has been there for some time. He will be training me for a couple months until he moves on to a different position. The details of Krista’s position are still unclear, we’ll know more once we get to the island and get a chance to talk to the administration of the school.

As we finish out our time here  in the states we are so happy to have time with family and friends. We have been continuing support raising and we are getting closer and closer to meeting our goal. We are trying to prepare as much as we can now before we go because three weeks is going to come fast!

God Bless

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North Bound

Dear Michigan…. Could you please have snow over Christmas! haha We’re really hoping to see some snow this year before we head to Jamaica. Obviously we won’t see any snow in Jamaica! Tomorrow Krista and I will be leaving for Michigan for the holidays. We’re excited to spend time with our family since it will be a while until we see them again.

Krista and I were talking on the way home from a Christmas party tonight about how we have such an amazing support team. So many of you pray for us and follow us and what we’re doing. So many people have stopped us at church during the last couple weeks and have told us that they have been praying for us and that they’re excited for us. We had our pastor at church stop and tell us that he has our picture on his fridge! It’s so encouraging. We are going to try our best once we get to Jamaica to keep all of you informed and knowing what we are doing. You mean so much to us.

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Have you exercised lately?

Quick schedule update: Ben and I will be in TN until Dec. 11, then we will be in MI until Jan. 2 or 3. We will be back in TN until Jan. 12 when we leave for Jamaica! Please let us know if you’d like to get together before we leave!

Yes, it is the holiday season, and we have all probably eaten a little more than necessary. But I’m not talking about physical exercise here. Have you ever thought of your faith as a muscle? If you do exercise your body regularly, you know that a week or even a few days off can make a huge difference…you will probably feel a lot weaker than you wished, and your endurance has dropped. Well, the same is true of your faith. Have you exercised it lately? Regularly?

1 Tim. 4:7-8 says Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Big steps of faith are preceded by smaller daily steps, or “workouts.” Lots of people believe in Jesus…“even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19). But how do some people have stronger faith than others? Training. You might believe you could run a marathon, but is it likely that you would finish without the training beforehand?

1 Cor. 9:24-25 says “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” During this holiday season it is especially easy to get distracted and to pack our schedules. Let’s all remember, and prioritize, to spend time with Jesus. Let him revive your spirit. The race that we run is not by our own strength, nor is the training by our own grit and might. Paul says in Hebrews 12 to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Yes, it is your job to prioritize time with Jesus, but allow him to come and be your personal trainer. Personal trainers know best what you need and plan workouts for you that they know you can accomplish…and you do what they say, even if it’s uncomfortable! Do you allow Jesus to have this authority in your life? Nowhere could be more secure.

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Quick trip to Chicago

Yesterday Krista and I made a quick trip to Chicago. I say “quick” because we were only in Chicago for about 30 minutes before we turned around and headed back to Michigan! Many of you know that we have been waiting for our paperwork to be processed for some time now. We finally got our approved paperwork in our possession on Monday, so we immediately set up an appointment with the Jamaican Consulate in Chicago. (We were originally going to do it in Atlanta, but since we were in Michigan we thought we would do it as soon as possible). We could have sent in the paperwork and our passports, and they would have processed it, stamped our passports, and shipped it back to us… but with as long as the initial paperwork took, we opted for the faster route. So, after 6 hours of driving in the rain and 30 minutes at the Consulate office we officially have our visas to enter Jamaica! There really isn’t anything holding us back now. We still have a little bit of money to raise, but we know that God is faithful. We are looking to purchase tickets around the second week of January now. We’re starting to get excited!

As always, we appreciate your prayers and support! God Bless

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Is that God’s voice?… or mine?

It’s been about a year since we first starting thinking about becoming missionaries to Jamaica. Before that time we talked about it a few times but we never really were that serious about it. I read a book last fall about the Holy Spirit, and I remember at one point the author made a very interesting comment that really stuck with me. He said ” Have you ever had one of those times in your life when you feel like the Holy Spirit is nudging you to do something but in your head you have a debate. Is this God speaking to me or is this something that I am coming up with. Then you think… God would never ask me to do this, it’s way too hard and it’s to uncomfortable. When this happens you need to to do that thing because that is the holy spirit.” He said that the Holy Spirit often asks us to do thing that we might not want to do. We know it on the inside but try to ignore it. When we have the Holy Spirit in us he is constantly trying to direct your life.

So when this Jamaican thing came up, I knew that it was something that we had to do. Krista felt the same way. It’s so easy sometimes to run the other direction because it’s easier. So often we often just assume that it couldn’t be God telling us to do something.

God doesn’t not call everyone to move overseas to a foreign country but I do feel like he nudges us all the time. I think that if we take a chance and step out of our comfort zones, then we’ll see and do some amazing things. I think he calls all of us to step up a little bit and be a witness for him. Maybe it is moving away… but maybe it’s helping out with the youth at your church, helping out at a soup kitchen, or maybe its just buying the person behind you at Starbucks a cup of coffee. If we all would let the Holy Spirit nudge us and try not to ignore that voice we could make an amazing impact on our world… together.

So often on this blog we talk about all the things that are going on in our lives but I’d love to hear about some of the things in your life. Maybe there is something that God has been calling you to do. I’d would love to pray for you or just hear some of the things that you have been doing. God calls us to do small things for him everyday.

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Travel Travel Travel

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

It seems like we have spent a lot of time in the car recently. In fact, between 3 trips back home to Michigan and the one to Atlanta, we will spend 64 hours in the car, in 3 months just with those 4 trips! Unfortunately it is necessary. On Friday, we will head back up to Michigan. We will be going to a wedding on Saturday, and then we’ll be home for Thanksgiving with our families.

On Sunday the 27th, Krista and I are going to be at a church in Grand Rapids, MI to be interviewed as a focus piece during their church service. We are really excited to share some of our story with a new body of believers! After that service we will be heading back to Knoxville for a couple weeks. There is a chance that we are going to have to travel back to Atlanta to visit the Jamaican consulate there so that we can get our official visas.

Speaking of paperwork, we have our initial paperwork complete and approved! Someone from CCCD went to the office in Kingston, Jamaica to pick up our paperwork, but only Krista’s had been finished. The man told them that he wasn’t going to leave without both of ours… so they approved mine as well. Once we receive that paperwork back from Jamaica, we will take it in to the consulate to get our visas, set an exit date, and find some plane tickets!

Things are moving fast, like they have been for a while now! We still have a lot of work to do. Krista has been teaching me some more sign language, and I have a long way to go! We still have around 9% of our support to raise. It’s such a small portion of our support but it’s proving to be very hard. Could you please pray for us while we travel, finish support, and finish up our paperwork? We are to the point when we just know that we are in God’s hands… and isn’t that the perfect place to be?

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”         Jer 29:11

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Atlanta

Hope you all are doing well! We are having a great time in Atlanta. Yesterday Krista and I had an awesome opportunity to speak to a Sunday School class at First Redeemer Church. It has been a while since we have spoken to a group that size. It was good to let some new people know what we are doing. Every time we see people get excited and ask questions about what we’re doing, it really makes us realized how blessed we are to serve an amazing organization who does awesome things for the deaf children of Jamaica. We are going to be here for one more day before heading back to Knoxville. It’s great to spend time with Krista’s aunt and uncle. It’s so easy to take family for granted, especially the family you see all the time.

Things have been going well for us. Still getting ready for Jamaica. I got all of my shots last Friday. Fun fun. Just another thing to check off the list! Also, we are over the 90% mark so we are making headway. We can feel God’s presence and are excited to see him move in a big way in the next couple of months as we prepare to leave.

If you ever need any prayer or help please just let us know. We want to be involved in your lives as much as we can. You mean the world to us.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

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Life!

Hey everyone, I just wanted to give a little update on life right now! As you may have read in our newsletter, we moved out of our apartment this past weekend. It has been a great home for the past 2+ years, and it was a little bittersweet packing up many things that we won’t see for years to come. It’s funny though, because going through literally ALL of your stuff makes you realize how much needless stuff you actually have. And how life is so much more than just STUFF! We moved in with our friends Mike and Mallory Ellis a couple of days ago, and they have been so incredibly hospitable and generous through all of this. I just want to say that we have SO many incredible supporters out there who have offered their homes to us. We are so blessed to have you all surrounding us and lifting us up during this transition.

Us and the Ellis' last Christmas

We will be taking a trek to Atlanta this coming weekend to share our story with my (Krista’s) Aunt and Uncle’s Sunday school class at their church. We are excited for this and are praying that God would open people’s hearts to catch the vision of CCCD’s ministry for the deaf in Jamaica. Would you pray for this with us? We still have approximately 10% of our support to raise, and we have been at a bit of a standstill lately (with spending time at training and through the process of moving out).

We love you all and are so thankful for each one of you! More to come…:)

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Exit Date

We don’t have an official exit date yet but we feel comfortable in saying that we will be leaving in January. We had a great meeting with the president of CCCD today and the way things are looking that’s what we’re planning on. We still have some support to raise and paperwork to go through but we think it will be done by the end of the year. Hopefully sooner than later. We are going to need prayer more than ever now as we move forward in preparing. We have a lot to do in the next couple months. 🙂

Thanks for checking out what we are up too and if you have any questions or if you would be interesting in partnering with us please contact us!

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