The Delp Details

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guest Blogger...The Evil in My Heart

I really wanted to write something regarding the tragedy in CT, where by the way, I have family in NEWTOWN!  Crazy.  But this is a blog I just read today and I asked if I could re-post it because it is so well said and such a great reminder and conviction...

Check out more from Amanda's blog at http://delightedinthelord.wordpress.com/

 

The Evil in My Heart

I’ve had about 10 different types of blog posts in my head since last week’s shooting tragedy. The internet has been on fire with everyone’s thoughts that part of me wants to stay out of it because so many beautiful and thought-provoking things have already been said. What can I possibly add? But on the other had, this is where I process, and since I can’t stop thinking about it. I need to process.
I have particular selfish reasons for hating when these things happen. Immediately, my brain thinks about the horrible person who committed the crime, which then triggers in me a righteousness. Who would do such a thing? What kind of messed up person has such disregard for human life?
It only takes moments for the Holy Spirit to softly whisper (sometimes not so softly) the answer.

 You.


No, I don’t have any propensity to shoot up a school. I don’t harbor murderous thoughts about innocent people. But in my heart lies the same utter disregard for human life that lay in the killer’s heart. I need look no further than my own apartment to see someone who couldn’t care less about dying children.

You see, I don’t pull the trigger, but I make the choices and turn my eye. I cozily slink into my warm bed at night, stressing about what gourmet meal to make for dinner tomorrow night with nary a thought for the 25,000 people who will die of starvation today. I step over a homeless veteran on my way to buy a $5 latte because it’s delicious. I agonize over which designer diaper bag would go best with my wardrobe instead of spending $10 on a bed net that would actually save one of the children who will die every 60 seconds from malaria – a preventable and treatable disease.

It’s not guilt. It’s conviction. Guilt is worthless. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. It’s not my fault that evil exists in the world, but if I can do something to stop it, shouldn’t I? Conviction moves us to action. Knowing that my actions are wrong, repenting and trusting in the Holy Spirit to reform my ways makes real change.
You will say, cut yourself a break. God wants you to enjoy life and have fun. We can’t spend all our energy on serving others. I’m not so sure. Yes, there’s a time for celebrating, but haven’t I celebrated enough? Haven’t I had 30 years of feasting? Didn’t my Year of Jubilee end many years ago? When is the time that I start to say no? When will I truly begin to change my ways and live for Christ instead of myself? What will it take? How many more people will die while waiting?
If it’s real, then what do I have to lose? If I worship a God who came as a man to save the world from sin, who raised people from the dead and calmed the sea, and it’s all true, what am I so afraid of? If paradise waits for me, then why do I care so much about making this life paradise? Kay Arthur tells a story of a Christian man in prison. The prison was cold, but he had a blanket. Another man, badly beaten, was placed in his cell, but he didn’t have a blanket. The Christian man knew that without the blanket, the man would die (just as he would die if he gave it up). The Holy Spirit spoke to him, saying that if he died, he would be with Jesus, while if the other man died, he would go to hell since he did not yet know Christ. The Christian man gave up his blanket and died. The other man survived and lived to tell the tale of his sacrifice.
I am holding onto my blankets while people are dying because I want to live another day. Not only do I just want to live, but I want to live in all the comfort that I possibly can. Once I have it all, once I have everything I could possibly need, then maybe I will spare a blanket, but only if it’s easy.
I want to be Esther, saying If I perish, I perish.
The truth is that I my heart is so much closer to Hitler’s, Bin Laden’s and Adam Lanza’s than it is to Christ’s. It’s not even a contest.
This is Christmas. This is why Christ came as a baby in a manger. To save me from my sin. He knows my heart and knows that without him, I am doomed to death. He came that I might have life and have it more abundantly. He came to set me free from sin so that I can love others freely. Through his birth, death and resurrection, I can have a new life that’s not marked by this evil. Thank you Jesus for coming and saving me from myself.

Monday, October 29, 2012

HACKED!

Hello Blog Readers or Facebookers,

I just wanted to let you all know that if you have been trying to check Kim's facebook page and it hasn't worked, don't worry!
Her account was hacked and the security code to unlock it was sent to her phone number in Ecuador!
We are currently in the process of trying to fix it, so pray that it all gets fixed.  I know this is a way that people keep up with us so we want it fixed.

We are also currently in Maine doing church visits.  Due to the upcoming storm, the pastor's retreat we were going to attend was canceled.  We are with a great family right now, Frank and Austin Catalano, and awesome husband and wife team that pastor a new church plant called Evergreen Covenant Church. If you are in Maine, you should really check this church out.  It's awesome.
So right now we are in Maine, awaiting a storm.  Pray for safety for our families and sanity as we may be stuck in the house for a couple of days.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

So, 'how are you feeling?'

Maybe it's the fact that we've been taking mental health assessments all week this week or maybe it's because we need to be reminding ourselves to ask ourselves this question..."how are you feeling?"  It seems to be a little bit of a loaded question at this point in our lives.  Probably to say we are tired is a little bit of an understatement.  We've been going non-stop since we arrived back in the States a little over a week ago.  Maybe exhausted is a little more accurate.

We had one interview each this week which was very nerve-racking but ended up being a very affirming and uplifting time for both of us individually and together.  I suppose it is very good that we felt more confident in our call.  That's a definite positive!  To read more about our last week in detail, check out our other blog here.

It's been very good to reconnect with friends.  We stayed with Chris and Jenny Hoskins this last week and were with Jeff and Kristi Lundblad and Paul and Mary Thompson also.  It was great to talk and laugh and play and watch football and drink coffee and EAT lots of american food we missed.

We could talk for a very long time about our last week, but back to our question, 'how are you feeling'.  A good word is probably awkward.  We have adapted pretty well to the different cultural nuances of Ecuador like saying "buen provecho" (bon appetite) whenever you are around people who are eating.  I caught myself getting ready to do that in a restaurant this week and had to hold back.  When we greet friends, we always do so with a kiss on the cheek.  People might look at us really weird if we did that here!  We just kind of feel out of place.  In doing our different assessments this week, it was hard to answer questions because we weren't sure if we should answer being in Ecuador or being here.  It's really crazy!

We thought of all of us, Simeon would have the littlest amount of adjustment because he is so used to traveling and meeting new people all the time.  He has been struggling a little bit too.  Probably if just one thing had changed it would be one thing, but SO much has changed from language to where we're staying, to parent being gone for the day that I think he has felt overwhelmed.  Today we are in Goshen and will be here until Wednesday.  It is good for him to see faces he has seen fairly recently with the nieces and grandma and grandpa Delp.  Hopefully he will get to see my family this week too-including my brother and sister-in-law!

So, how are we feeling... awkward, overwhelmed, out of place.  But we also feel blessed and thankful to be with family and friends and that they realize where we are and can meet us there.  Thank you for your prayers.  Hopefully this will help you know how to pray.  Thanks so much!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

From THERE to HERE...WHERE is that?

No one can ever tell you exactly how you are going to react when you transition back to your home country after being gone for a while.  I mean, people told us that we would have adjustments, some easier some difficult.  So, we knew that, but we also knew we would not have a whole lot of time to mentally process this before jumping right in to interviews and intense conversations about our futures, call to missions and our lives in general.  I (Kim) was a little nervous how this culture shock may present itself.  Not having time to talk through things very much caused some of the stress of transition to come out in the middle of the interviews we had yesterday.  I didn't think I would really be emotional about anything.  But, I had 2 different times when I was overcome by missing Ecuador when explaining it to our interviewers.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not ashamed of my emotions, especially when they aren't really something I can control.  But it just made me realize we need to rest and process a little bit before our next interviews next week.  For Joel, the analytical one, seems to be struggling a little with being here in the States, when the place God has called us is Ecuador.  Being a driven, focused person, it's almost like it's a step back after we have made so much progress so far in Ecuador.

I'm sure we will continue to encounter different areas of culture shock.  Some things we've realized so far...

We can flush toilet paper
We can drink the water out of the faucet
The choices at restaurants and grocery stores is a bit overwhelming
We get GIANT glasses for drinks AND free refills
We can basically watch any sporting event we want-INCLUDING OHIO STATE FOOTBALL!
We were pleasantly surprised to experience a church business meeting in the States and realize it 
                                    was a lot like business in Ecuador.
Simeon WILL actually wear a coat, mainly because it means he's going to the park
Simeon is probably going to transition MUCH easier than us
Spending so much money on a meal out is incredible considering we can all eat for under $10 in 
                                     Ecuador.
Enjoying a big glass of milk that doesn't have a different taste than we're used to
Adjusting to the fact that when we're out of the house, we don't have to speak Spanish.  We have 
                                  already made the mistake of speaking to random people in Spanish and have
                                  gotten some funny looks.

More to come...
    

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Between Here and There...


For those of you who read our newsletter than we sent out, you probably recognize this photo.  It is our family standing more or less on the equator.  We actually standing on the Northern hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere at the same time.  In our newsletter we talked a little about the transition back to the States, but I wanted to expand a little bit more on this.  I'm sure people wonder a lot what goes through missionaries heads when they are packing up to leave for what most would consider their 'home' country...
This picture is a good representation of what goes through our heads.  Probably now, in the midst of packing, saying goodbyes etc is not the best time to write it, although maybe it is just to be able to process things a little in the midst of the craziness, because it certainly is craziness in our lives right now!
We obviously have ourselves in both worlds-our new home in Ecuador and our old home in the United states.  For Simeon, Ecuador is home, it is all he really knows.  Although probably for him, the adjustment will be easier.  We have gotten so used to life and culture in our new home in Ecuador and we really have worked hard to make Ecuador our home.  Leaving what you know is never easy, whether it is when we left the States or now when we are leaving here.
It is not an easy place to be.  As I'm writing, this makes me think of one of my favorite books on life...
Yes, I know it is Dr. Seuss, but this book has such great mental imagery on life, the realities of life...for instance...


Except when you don' t
Because, sometimes, you won't.



You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

OR...

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

Ahhhh, the waiting place...
Everyone knows and understands the waiting place.  A place where sometimes you feel like you will never get out of it.  A place where you wonder, "will life ever feel stable again?"  Waiting can be lonely, waiting can make you more impatient, more anxious, more stressed the longer you are there.  We are there.  We are waiting, but we are also moving...literally, moving.  We are moving back to the States in a little less than a week now.  Is it possible to be in 2 places at once?  The waiting place and the mountain place or winding place or the confusing place?  It must be possible because that is where we are.  

So, you ask where we are, what we're feeling, how we're feeling...
We're hopeful yet anxious and overwhelmed but taken care of by our Lord.  Honestly, this is a tough place to be, between 2 places, between our old home and new, between new friends and old.  

We are praying Romans 12:12 and we ask you to pray it on our behalf...

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest Blogger...Oswald Chambers

The "Go" Of Unconditional Identification
"One thing thou lackest...come, take up the cross, and follow Me."  Mark 10:21

The rich young ruler had the master passion to be perfect.  When he saw Jesus Christ, he wanted to be like him.  Our Lord never puts personal holiness to the fore when He calls a disciple; He puts absolute annihilation of my right to myself and identification with Himself-a relationship with Himself in which there is no other relationship.  Luke 14:26 has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, but with unconditional identification with Jesus Christ.  Very few of us know the absolute "Go" of abandonment to Jesus.

"Then Jesus beholding him loved him".  The look of Jesus will mean a heart broken for ever from allegiance to any other person or thing.  Has Jesus ever looked at you?  The look of Jesus transforms and transfixes.  Where you are "soft" with God is where the Lord has looked at you.  If you are hard and vindictive, insistent on your own way, certain that the other person is more likely to be in the wrong than you are, it is and indication that there are whole tracts of your nature that have never been transformed by His gaze.

"One thing thou lackest..."  The only "good thing" from Jesus Christ's point of view is union with Himself and nothing in between.

"Sell whatsoever thou hast..."  I must reduce myself until I am a mere conscious man,  I must fundamentally renounce possessions of all kinds, not to save my soul (only one thing saves a man-absolute reliance on Jesus Christ)-but in order to follow Jesus.  "Come and follow Me."  And the road is the way He went.

Taken from My Utmost for His Highest, September 28th

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Perspective...

On Sunday, Joel, Simeon and I met up with an old friend of mine.  I say old because we have known each other since kindergarten.  We pretty much were in the same classes growing up and grew up in the same town.  It has been at least 15 years since I have seen Chris and it took him coming all the way to Ecuador to have an Eastbrook High School reunion!  Meeting up with Chris made me think about a few things...

It doesn't matter how long it's been, how close or distant you were in school or how different you are in your lives, it's ALWAYS good to see old friends.

It's great to hug someone and catch up with them after so many years.

There's not many people (besides family) that have known you all your life and that you get to see again after high school.

Time is an interesting thing...

Chris and I were never extremely close, but when we met up in Quito, we really had a lot to catch up on in our lives.  When you put us next to each other, look at our facebook pages etc, we are probably pretty different, probably as different as we were in school and growing up, but it really doesn't matter.  I guess that is the beauty of, I don't know, time, perspective, life experiences, who knows.

It was a great class reunion here in Quito and I feel very blessed to have re-connected IN ECUADOR with an old friend!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Dreams coming true...

I'm not sure how much I have shared on this blog about the status of our dream...

For those of you who know or don't know, Joel and I have had a dream we feel God has given us to start a center for at-risk children and a medical clinic here in Ecuador.  We have been in discussions for some time with the leadership of our denomination here in Ecuador, called IPEE.  From the beginning, we wanted to partner with the national church here to see if this is even something they had on their radar.  We originally had thought of an orphanage-with the idea of having individual homes with house parents for the orphans.  We have since realized that there are not a lot of orphans here in Ecuador, but there are a lot of children who are at-risk, as well as their families.  At risk can mean there are many kids in the home, mom is a prostitute and kids have to stay home by themselves at night, parents are drug lords, parents are alcoholics, abuse situations, child prostitution, human trafficking...the list goes on.

So, going back to IPEE, the decision was made by 2 leadership committees for the center for at risk children and clinic to be located in the North of Ecuador, specifically in Otavalo.  Some of you may know Otavalo for its large artisan market, but for the Evangelical Covenant Church here in Ecuador, Otavalo is a central location between 2 districts or conferences, the Quechua district and the North district.  The decision was made for otavalo because of location.  With being centered between 2 districts, hopefully both will be able to support the center and clinic.  As you can imagine, after having this dream for over 10 years, and finally seeing pieces fall together is more exciting than you can imagine!
Here's a picture of Ecuador, look for Otavalo a little north and east of Quito.

To add to the excitement, I recently received great news that I will probably be able to practice here, in a little different way, but I can still practice.  When we come back to Ecuador after our year in the states, I will be doing a rural medicine rotation with the medical school here in Ecuador.  After this year, I will be given a license to practice, as a doctor.  For me about this story, check out our ministry blog, The Delplog and click on Licensing in Ecuador.
Additionally, tomorrow (sept 9th) we will be having a group of people that will hopefully eventually serve as part of our board of directors for our non-profit organization (more info to come later on that).  We are excited to spend a week visiting current ministries we will be partnering with in the 2 districts mentioned above and dreaming together about what God has for the future.  You can check out our ministry blog for more info about this as well.

Please continue to pray for this time over the next week.  That the Holy Spirit will be leading and guiding us each step we take!

Blessings to all!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Never underestimate the power of lessons from kids...

Yesterday, after Simeon had gotten dirty after playing, I was washing his feet in the sink and all of the sudden was humbled at the sight I saw.  I was washing his little feet in the sink with soap and water and I couldn't help but be reminded of Jesus washing His disciples feet and what that signified.  In true Jesus form He was showing, very evidently His servant heart.  I was humbled in the fact that I'm not sure I have ever viewed in this significant way the servant-like heart I should have, just like Jesus had with his disciples with my son.  Of course I 'serve' him in many ways, getting him meals, playing together, teaching him, putting him to bed, etc.  But I started thinking am I really "SERVING" him as Jesus was a servant to his disciples.  Let me clarify, I don't think I should be his maid, give him everything he wants, etc...Jesus didn't do that with his disciples either, but the significance of the statement Jesus made by washing his disciples' feet was something set aside for a literal servant in this time.  It was something a King like Jesus would do.  I guess I am saying, when we think of the mundane things we do each day for our kids, maybe taking a different view on it is what we need.

An additional thing I thought about during this experience was that Simeon is a vessel for me to learn through.    For those of you who have kids, you probably understand this.  Simeon teaches me lessons all the time, not knowingly, but he certainly does and he will continue to.  I need to make sure I am open to LEARNING from Simeon, not just teaching him.  I certainly don't get it right all the time, but being open to it, I am learning is very important.  I also see him all the time just being who he is, but influencing those around him.  He opens so many doors for conversation wherever we go just by being SIMEON!  What a great lesson!

 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Sacraments


Since taking the theology class in July, I have been wanting to write a blog post about the Sacraments...
Sacraments, you say, what are those?  When I think of Sacraments, I think of sacred.  Here is the definition I  came away with from my class regarding what a sacrament is:
    A visible sign of an inward grace.
    Expression of the living presence of God
    Means of grace
    Physical element conveying spiritual reality

Is that what you think of when you think of communion or baptism?

A month ago or so I probably would have said no.  I didn't have a great grasp of what the sacraments mean to us as Christians, but after the class I took, I really encouraged the pastors I was in class with the explain this to the people in their congregations because the sacraments are amazing, mysterious and yes...sacred and holy expressions of God's grace.

I think sometimes we may all be guilty of 'going through the motions' when it comes to communion, I know I have been guilty of this.  But each time I have received communion since taking this class, I have experienced God in an amazing way, a new way after understanding more about the holiness of this experience.

I recently wrote my Consecration paper for becoming a long term missionary with the Evangelical Covenant Church (our sending denomination as missionaries).  Here is an excerpt of what I wrote...

                        Through baptism, we walk in a newness of life.  In the same way, Holy Communion is a “summary act that binds the church’s life to the life of Christ… a visible sign of an invisible grace”.  There is nothing magical about the bread and the cup or the water used for baptism, but it is a mystery.  No one exactly understands what happens during these acts of worship, but it is evident that Christ is there.  Knowing that Christ and His grace are present in the elements is much more important than attempting to explain how they are present .  Holy Communion and baptism are not merely rituals or symbols but are historic acts that are significant.  “By them we are linked with God’s saving acts in the past and God’s redeeming love in the present”.
     On a personal note with regard to the sacraments I just want to say that while taking the class, I really saw the sacraments as just that, sacred.  Before I looked at both more as symbols and not held with the same reverence as I do now.  In both events, baptism and Holy Communion, I feel like we are meeting Christ there; it is a holy and sacred place to experience Him and His grace. We do not come because we are perfect; in fact both events are the perfect places for us as sinners because it is where we meet and experience God afresh and anew.  It is holy and sacred and I am so excited now each time I experience a baptism or communion because I feel I am on holy ground, and God is meeting me there.

Maybe I will write another post at some point about this again, but right now, I encourage you to seek God in understanding what these sacraments mean.  When you experience them the next time, open your heart to what God has for you.  Don't feel like you have to come to the table of the Lord perfect or spotless, we're sinners, but this is the place for us.  The same with baptism, God is present and real and wants us to experience Him in this way.

I will end with a great quote from a song, by, of course, one of my favorites, Kari Jobe...
Come all ye weary and ye broken
Come to the table of the Lord
Come sing the song of the forgiven
Come lay your burden on the word

Come and find peace
Everyone needs a little rest
Everyone needs a little joy
And a song to sing in the darkest night

And life even when it gets you down
Hope will turn it all around
But love is the greatest of these
Everyone needs a little

Sing all ye saints and ye sinners
Call upon the mercy of the Lord
Come sing the song of redemption
Sing about the hope that is to come
Everyone Needs a Little- by kari Jobe

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Accountability Please...


So, I figure if I put this up on my blog, then it will be some sort of accountability.  I am working to lose weight, specifically to get back down to the weight I was before Simeon was born.  I have about 12 or so lbs to lose to do that.  Currently, I am working through Lose It to get this done, since it is free, it's good for me!
I am totally OK with keeping me accountable on this, I suppose that is why I put it up on my personal blog.  I will keep you all updated through the blog on how things are going.  Encouragement, suggestions, etc are always welcome.  THANKS!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Are you a Democrat, Republican, or a Christian First?

I was recently encouraged to start looking into political kinds of things more so that I can have a better understanding of politics.  Apologies if you do not like politics, and don't like discussing it, but I feel like I should be educating myself a little more.  So, here is a guest post to start things off...

This article was authored R. Brad White and taken from the following website...

Changing the Face of Christianity

We’re heading into a political season where partisan politics, heated discussions, and passionate opinions are the norm. As Christians, we are known for being too political…using our majority power to influence or even dictate the results of the election. And to some extent this is true. When we get out the Christian vote, we are a strong influence in American politics. That political power has declined in recent years, but it is still very potent.

Negative Stereotype: Christians are Too Political

The negative stereotype of being too political, and the disgruntled reaction to it by non-Christians, is based on misuse of our political power. Outsiders believe that we use our Christian beliefs within the political and legal systems to create and sustain laws that impose our beliefs on others. They claim that we apply our morals to their lives. They claim we restrict their rights based on our beliefs. All one has to do is look at the debate over gay marriage rights to justify that claim. It’s true.
It’s a delicate thing to balance: preserving our rights and promoting our beliefs, without forcing them on others with different beliefs
It’s a delicate thing to balance: preserving our rights and promoting our beliefs, without forcing them on others with different beliefs. However, I believe it is possible to engage in politics to preserve our rights without trampling on the rights of others. It takes being a Christian first. But more on that in a moment.

Putting Politics Aside

I’d like to put partisan politics aside for a moment and address an issue I’ve been pondering. As a Christian, where should my allegiance be…with a political party or with my God and religion? Should I vote Republican or Democrat first, and my faith second? Or should I vote with my faith first…regardless of party?
Within our churches, we have both Republican, Democrats, Libertarians, Green party members, etc. We are often called the Religious Right, but the fact is that Christians are actually pretty evenly divided among the parties. We generally lean more republican due to issues such as abortion, but from where I sit…my church has a pretty even split of Republicans and Democrats. So I believe it’s a mistake to label all Christians as Republican, conservative, or right-wingers. It’s just not true.

Putting Your Faith First, Politics Second

Joshua 24:15 (NIV)as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”
Choosing what’s more important is easy for me. Joshua 24:15 (NIV)…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”. I’m a Christian first. My faith comes before my country and before my political persuasion. What this means in practical life is that if there is a heated debate between republicans and democrats, and things are getting pretty ugly, my faith says to love others. That’s my first priority. If I can’t engage in a political discussion with love, then I shouldn’t engage in the discussion. The relationship is more important than my politics.
Putting my faith first allows me to be consistent across borders as well. People are people all over the world. We all just want to be free to live, raise our families, practice our religion, or be free from persecution for not practicing a (or THE majority) religion. Let’s treat each other, even across borders, as God’s children and love one another as God commands us to.
So, where does your allegiance belong? Are you a Christian first, or do you allow your political persuasion to be first in your life?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mommy Needs a Time Out...

Do you ever have days when you just kind of feel like a failure?  A bad wife, mother, Christian, etc?  I had a couple of those days in a row recently and it really just put me in a funk!  I felt I couldn't really do anything right and everything I DID try didn't work out at all as planned.  Such is life, I know.  I know those days will happen, and I know my response to them is what it is all about.  Poopy days happen (literally and figuratively nowadays in our house) and the key that I am needing to realize it how I respond.  I can't say I got it right the other day that is for sure.  Simeon was a good reminder of that when he reacted to how I was reacting (funny how that happens huh?)  During one of his outbursts at home (he had previously thrown himself down in the middle of the sidewalk because we left the park too soon for HIM), I put him in time out.  He was crying, I was crying and when he saw me he said "OK?"  (He was quite concerned).  I realized a lot in that moment.  I realized I needed a time-out as a mommy just as bad as Simeon needed one.  I realized how much my frustrations and stress were spilling over onto Simeon and he was reacting to them.  Another thing I realized was my daily necessity for Jesus and His forgiveness.  Thank GOD His view of me and His USE of me is not dependent on me and how good my day is or how I am acting and carrying myself that day.
This song by Kari Jobe came on when I was so discouraged and was such a great reminder to me that it isn't  me who is in control.  It is GOD who steady's me and who is my rock in the midst of whatever storms are around me!  Praise be to God and may you all be blessed by the fact that God is here and you can trust HIM!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Licensing Update!


Just thought I (Kim) would give a quick update on how things went yesterday.  Olga (my best friend here) and I went to a place called SENESCYT.  This is a place where everyone who has some kind of professional title registers it.  They have a place where foreigners can register their titles too!  This was very exciting news for us!  We talked with a worker their that told us what we needed to do to register both my undergrad and graduate degrees.  It is actually pretty simple in comparison to other processes we have experienced.  This week we will be in the process of getting my diplomas ‘professionally’ translated into Spanish, making copies of everything, getting my transcripts and diplomas notarized in Ecuador and preparing then to go back to the office next week.  We found out some great information.  Once these are registered, I don’t have to do it again, meaning, it is not dependent on my Visa status etc.  This is good news.  For instance, each time my Visa expires, I have to get a new driver’s license.  Also, we were told that once everything is approved, I can practice.  They won’t change the name of my title, because they don’t have the title here, so I will be able to practice as I do in the States!  How cool!
Thank you for your prayers yesterday.  Please continue to pray that all these processes go smoothly and that everything will get approved quickly!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Prayers Appreciated!

Tomorrow (Tuesday), I (Kim) will be going with my friend Olga to try and register my Nurse Practitioner license here in Ecuador!  This is a really big day and by having my license accepted here, I will be able to practice as I would in the States.  Again, it's a big day!  Please pray for us that all goes smoothly and that my license gets accepted!

Monday, August 06, 2012

A Reflection on Culture Shock-Part 1





I actually wrote this a couple of weeks ago sitting in the Miami airport after arriving from Ecuador.  I realize I will probably have a lot more to share about the culture shock when we come back to the States for a year starting in October or November.
      Written July 21, 2012
      When you've been out of the States for a while, it doesn't even have to be a long while, just awhile, you realize the rest of the world is just a little different than you left it.  To me, that's not always a bad thing.  One of the 1st things I realized on the plane actually from Ecuador to Miami is how different kids are-small, medium, or large kids seemed to have a bit of an aura of entitlement.  To see a teenager without a cell phone is a rarity, to see them not on it is even more rare.
To shift gears just a little bit, in the airport in Quito, there was a very large american group-a hiking group I think that took up at least half a gate, waiting.  I preface this by saying that although I had issues with this group which I will talk about later, this group because of its size and the fact that they were behind me in line, helped me get on the plane which I otherwise would have missed. However, the main thing I noticed, besides the shear loudness of the group, is the disrespect for the culture.  I would have liked to explain that what was going on was cultural, just let it go.  But they were being so disrespectful and it just wasn't OK to me.  I wish one of the adults with them would have explained this to them, but no one said anything.  They just let them keep going on and on.  It's just sad.
So, aside from being able to flush toilet paper, the 1st thing I noticed was the outrageous cost of food!  I bought a typical american Chinese dish that in Ecuador would cost $3-$4 and in the Miami airport was $11!!!!!  WOW!
The next thing I noticed was that everyone had a techy thing-a cell phone, a tablet, IPAD, IPOD, something, and everyone was using it.  They may have had small kids, young kids, big kids or no kids.  But I couldn't help but notice how distracted they were with the technology, especially with their kids.  I didn't see a whole lot of people just...talking or playing games together.  It was really incredible and not exactly in a good way.
I definitely noticed myself having, I guess what is reverse culture shock.  I have heard about it, they told us we would experience it before coming to Ecuador, but this is the first time I really experienced it first hand.  I don't want to be misunderstood, I do love my country and feel very blessed to have been born in the U.S.  However, I am noticing things now that I probably wouldn't have noticed before going to Ecuador.  It's not even to say I don't notice myself being distracted by T.V. in Ecuador.  I realize that and I don't like it.  But the main thing I kept thinking is: "I don't want Simeon to be like this."  But then next thought I had is: "how do I keep this from happening?"  I want him to TALK to people, not just text or send an email.  I want there to be deep relationships for him, not just surface stuff he reads on Facebook.  I want him to learn to play euchre and speed and dutch blitz like we did growing up.  I want him to learn and understand cultures and appreciate them, not just compare them to the cultures he knows-thinking those are the best.
I suppose I am still trying to wrap my head around loving 2 cultures at the same time.  I know I need to try and love the good things about both cultures and move on.  I suppose this is just a rant-but I think it is important to realize the importance of time together without technology to interrupt.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Reflection on a Broken Relationship...

Last night, somewhat unexpectedly while Joel and I were talking, I was burdened by the thought of a broken relationship from many years ago.  I suppose this is probably no different from other people.  I'm guessing I'm not the only one who has had a friendship dissolve, disband, etc...the difference is this ended very badly and it was my fault.  I guess like the next guy (or gal in this case), I consider myself a pretty good friend.  However, in this case, I was just wrong.  I treated this person unfairly, and in all honestly, solely acted selfishly and in my own interests before even thinking about this other person.  Each time over the years that I have looked back at this situation, I cringe.  I cringe at how I was, how I acted, and how bad it was.  Yes, I asked for forgiveness from this person, but to this person, the damage was done.  There was no 'clean slate' or 'do-overs'.  The damage to our friendship was complete, never to be made whole again.  I can look back now and see in so many ways how I went wrong, how I should have been better.  I can say I was selfish, but it just bothers me so much that this person will always see me for that person.  Not as the person asking for forgiveness or the person I feel God has molded me into now.  To this person, that selfish me is always who will be seen.  That BOTHERS me!  Again, I won't lie.  I liked being liked.  I don't really like thinking that there are people out there that I have hurt and that will never be reconciled.

In thinking about this last night, I was very burdened and bothered.  I kept going to the Lord asking forgiveness again for this situation and for my actions in it that broke the relationship.  I haven't really been able to get the situation nor the person out of my head for the last 24 hours.  I'm not sure what blogging will do, maybe more of an outlet for my thoughts about it, my regrets surrounding it and for peace that God understands and loves me in spite of it.  I know that is more than just a wishful thought that helps me sleep at night.  I know that God does love me and I know He understands me.  I am not perfect and have so many flaws, but God still loves me.  I remember a song from when I was a kid...
               
                       
                            He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.

                             It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
                                       The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
                           How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.


1. There really ought to be a sign upon the heart,
Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part.
But I'll be perfect just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master's loving hands.
CHORUS:
2. In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see
Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He's the Potter, I'm the clay.

As goofy as the song may seem to you, it is really true and I am so thankful for it.  I am thankful for God's unconditional love.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest post from Joel


I am not much of one who searches for “signs” from God in life’s circumstances and through nature, which could be to my fault, but God spoke to me through a “sign” yesterday.
Kim and I have been going through a little bit of rough patch recently… not anything with us as a couple or not anything big like difficulties with the national church here in Ecuador.  Just kind of numerous things that have been seemingly stacking up against us and causing us problems.  Of course, we have been taking these matters to heart and to God in prayer and scripture.  But as you know, sometimes these periods last longer than others do.
As you all have read, we (being Simeon and I) had an important meeting to attend in the jungle yesterday as that was where the Administrative Councils of the National church were meeting for this month’s monthly meetings.  We were hoping that we would be able to discuss the future Center for At Risk Children and Medical Clinic to see what decisions could be made and what direction we could be given.  We were hoping that, specifically, they would decide where they would like to have future ministry be located.  It has been over a year since we have begun talking with the leadership of I.P.E.E. (the Covenant National Church of Ecuador) about this question and many others.  It was because of this question that they decided that we should do the Field Study so that way research could be done on the determining a location.  We have felt good about everything I.P.E.E. has wanted us to do but also with the planning of our departure for Home Assignment we were needing to get to the point where some decisions could be made.
All of that to explain everything leading up to yesterday, Saturday’s Council meeting.  I had brought together all of the information that we had collected along the way, the original report that F.A.C.E. compiled, the original proposal that F.A.C.E. wrote, a report on statistics here in Ecuador and finally the report on the Field Study that we had written.  The members of the Council took all of these to heart and read through them carefully and then we went through a process of talking about all 6 of the Districts of I.P.E.E. churches and their pluses and minuses and narrowed them down to 4 areas that would be best.  The North District (which includes the city of Ibarra and everything north of there), the Quechua District (which includes the city of Cayambe and the surrounding area), the Northern Coast District (which includes the cities of Manta and Montecristi and the surrounding area) and the city of Santo Domingo and it’s surrounding area.  After further lengthy discussions, we narrowed them down to two areas: Santo Domingo and a location between the North District and the Quechua District (precisely Otovalo) where those two districts could collaborate together to support the future ministry.  In deciding between these two areas, it was a quite a lengthy discussion.  We talked about the needs of children in those areas, the climate in both areas, the strength of the support churches in the areas, the ease of traveling to each location,  and several factors that pertained.  After this lengthy discussion, they took a vote and 8 to 1 they voted in favor of the ministry being a shared ministry of the North District and the Quechua District and we’ll look to see if it can be located in the city of Otovalo.
We are really excited about this decision!  We feel like the will of God has been shown to us through the strong and capable leadership of the National Church and their well-thought out decision making process.  We just feel honored that we could be a part of it.
Now, back to the first part of this post.  I have always enjoyed rainbows, as I am sure many do.  I am always reminded of God’s promise to Noah and all of us through the rainbow, whenever I see one.  I see it as a way of God reminding us that He is a part of the world, of nature and our lives.
Well, yesterday when Simeon and I were traveling back from the jungle to our home in Quito, we were driving by a vast ravine covered in trees.  It was raining but there was a lot of sun just a head so I thought to myself, I wonder if there is a rainbow around.  So, I looked to my side (while still keeping my eyes on the road mom!) and there was a huge one right next to me.  It traversed from behind me and plunged down deep into the ravine.  It was beautiful!  As I checked it numerous times, I noticed that it was traveling also.  It was actually coming right along beside me.  In that instant, God spoke to me.  Of course, I was feeling overjoyed by the decision that was made and by seeing this rainbow but God spoke to me through it telling me that, just like the footprints in the sand, “Joel, through all your difficulties and pains, I’ve been traveling along right beside you this whole time.”  So, no, it wasn’t an audible voice and the scientific part of my brain would just tell me that I’m sure every rainbow appears like it’s moving when you are moving.  But all of that doesn’t matter because I had never seen a rainbow traveling like that before and God spoke to me right then to tell me that He was near and has always been near.
It doesn’t matter what life and ministry throws your way when you’ve got God right next to you.
Thank you God for your eternal blessings, comfort and love!  I will always be reminded of you and your love through rainbows.

Monday, May 28, 2012

That Simeon...

Me: ...and Jesus, please be with Simeon tonight, touch his body and help him to feel better
Simeon:...(in the middle of the sentence) UH HUH!!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reflections on Pentecost


The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

I went to church today needing a touch from Jesus.  I was tired, worn out, sad, and just feeling really spent.  The words I heard when we walked in the church were "Come, Lord Jesus, Come".  I knew from earlier in the week that this was Pentecost, but I suppose like always, I forgot or it got lost in the busyness of diaper changes, reading, errands, cooking and life.  I'm sure you all understand.  I'm sure you walk into church or feel like I was feeling a lot.  I know I'm not alone.  It's been a hard month too.  With losing Patah, traveling, preparations for the future, my classes, finding out once again I'm not pregnant, there is a lot of burden and sorry I have been carrying.  Like I said, I felt...spent.  
I suppose this might have lead to a feeling of needing Jesus.  I mean, we always tell ourselves we're fine and we can do it.  We know Jesus is in control, blah, blah, blah, but I suppose when you feel the way I was, you come to a point when you just need Jesus, you need His touch, you need His power, and yes HIS SPIRIT.  
I've read this passage a lot in my life and heard different sermons on it as well.  There was something different about today.  I knew as soon as I read the passage for the sermon that today I was going to hear from God.  The realization I came to is that I'm not living my life as someone who has received the Holy Spirit.  Don't worry, that doesn't scare me and it shouldn't scare you either, but it did bring me to a point where I know I need to change.  Life gets in the way, yes, even ministry gets in the way sometimes.  I am not exempt from this just because I am a missionary.  God's spirit, the one that called me to Him and the one that gave me my call to be a missionary has somehow gotten lost in my everyday life. The believers at Pentecost couldn't HELP being overcome in their very beings by what was going on around them.  Why should I be any different?  Sure I'm not experiencing exactly what they did, but I am a recipient of the Holy Spirit, I know God has breathed breath into my life time after time.  I just want to live that way, daily!  I know ministry is difficult.  I know everyday life gets in the way.  But I so want to live each day as someone who is living proof of Jesus' work.
All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life
Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of his mercy
As deep cries out to deep (we sing)

Come Lord Jesus come


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Iguana Park in Guayaquil

video
Not too many 2 year olds can say they touched an iguana up close and personal!  Only in Ecuador!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Tribute to Patah!

May 11th will always be known in our house as our anniversary.  But May 10th will be known forever as a sad day, the day where we lost our sweet dog Patah.
Patah was born along with her sister Hireq and 3 other siblings in June of 2004 in Middleberry, Indiana.  We were able to bring them home in September of that year.  I (Kim) remember going to their first home in Middleberry to see them for the first time.  They were all so small, but the reason we picked them both was because Patah was the runt of the litter and just a little smaller than the others, with a smashed in nose.  Hireq looked just a little different from the others and that's why we chose her.  Their parents were a mix between Pomeranian and Poodle.  Patah definitely got the more poodle features, while Hireq looks more Pomeranian.  We decided to get 2 puppies because both of us worked so much that we wanted them to have each other as company.  Although they loved each other, they occasionally had their fights too-especially over chew bones.
Some of their favorite things to do together were chasing each other, taking naps together, looking out the windows of whatever apartment or house we lived in, and getting in to mischief together. They were quite the partners in crime.
Patah will always be remembered as the cuddler.  She would always curl up next to you when you had a hard day and needed some love, when it was cold outside or when you laid down to watch TV or sleep.  She would usually settle by my tummy and Hireq by my legs.  I remember Patah was always there after a hard day of work, clinicals or class.  She always was one for licking your face-even when you were crying.
I remember when we brought Simeon home from the hospital.  Hireq wasn't quite sure what to do with him.  She would go to his bassinet and sniff him.  Patah, like with most other people-she just wanted to lick him-probably to make him feel like one of the family!
Patah was always kind of the nervous nelly-especially in the car.  Even during a 15 hour car trip from Chicago to Hilton Head, she never once sat down because she was so nervous.  She also wanted to be close to someone during car trips so she would always be on a someone's lap-usually the driver.  She also got really nervous at vet visits and the groomer.  Probably just because she was separated either from us or Hireq.
I think it is probably always hard to lose a pet, especially one that has been with you for a long time.  She would have been 8 years old in June.  She really was with us for the majority of our marriage.  Our lives are going to be a lot different without her.  We have already noticed it in a lot of things.  Usually her and Hireq chase each other in any free space they had.  It's been really hard to just see Hireq run around and although Simeon tries to chase her like Patah, its just not the same.
Our car ride here was much different as well.  The windows didn't fog up nearly like normal and it was a lot quieter without the pants of Patah, but we really missed them.  There seems to be quite and empty space at the end of the bed without Patah as well.
Our sweet Patah, we miss you very much and our lives just aren't the same without you.  Please know that we love you so much.  Thank you for being such a wonderful and loving member of our family.  WE MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU!