Monday, April 29, 2013

Blathering of an old British gentlemen

Well it is almost May and here we are again with a vast amount of time passing since the last post. I guess I'm not truly as narcissistic as one needs to remain to keep up a blog. I guess in reality that is good...

As Death Cab for Cutie serenade’s me I can't help but listen to the words, "I'll follow you into the dark..." and think about the way I "try" to follow Christ.

The dark being the unknown, the terrifying or even the exciting. But, regardless, dark.

As we prepare to pack up our lives once again, move from another home and drive into the horizon without clear purpose or final destination one begins to ponder ones options. Maybe God doesn't always close all the doors. Maybe a few are left open giving one the opportunity to choose a path. I've realized of late that I much prefer to leave the worrying to God and just simply follow blindly what "works out". Assuming that if it "worked out" it must be God's will.

Perhaps not entirely biblical.

Unfortunately I can't find scripture to back theology that states, "Follow Christ blindly, without question, study or intimate relationship!" Darn.

Even as I write I am working out the holes in my previous theory regarding how God and I tend to communicate. I pray, I whine, I beg, I petition, sometimes I yell violently and then I apologize promptly and wait, assuming that whatever happens is the answer. In some circumstances this rather primitive form of communication can be quite beneficial, useful and successful. But as of late I can't seem to understand why this proven process has, from my perspective, fallen short of my standards of success.

I've began to wonder if in certain situations the option to choose and choose wisely is where the lasting wisdom is found. It's not that either option is right or either option is wrong but rather how either option will affect the course of one’s life. Each option respectively offers a variety of pro's and con's that really end up being quite irrelevant in the course of one’s life; or are they?

Are they irrelevant?

If you haven't already, I would encourage you to read this post with heir and stature of any prominent British gentlemen of the 19th Century. The voice that reads me what I have written inside my head sounds like the previously described gentlemen.

Well I will leave you with the query concerning the relevance of ones decisions on the remainder of their life. I also leave you the task of realizing the importance of developing a biblical and effective form of communication with Christ.

Eighth Period is here. Oh how they try my patience.

“Sit down, shut up”, yells the teacher with a strained American accent as he slowly sips his Vitamin Water with disdain in his eyes…

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Missions Opportunity

Almost 2 years ago, God took us on a journey that would change everything we new.  After experiencing great tragedy, going on mission to South Korea and Malaysia provided me with an unexplainable closeness to the Lord that has allowed me to be sensitive to His gentle and consistent calling on our lives. Upon returning home, I didn’t know when or how we would return as a family but I did know without a doubt that we would. Through their own story some friends of ours were reassured that, “God doesn’t play jokes!” and I believe that to be true when I consider the feeling of home I experienced on the other side of the globe and the burden I feel in my heart for the unreached people of South East Asia.

In the last few weeks I can’t help but feel as if God is rekindling this once burning flame for the people of Malaysia. Almost 2 years after visiting and “luck” would have it, right after I graduate, a position at Dalat International School (DIS) teaching art has become available. As I wade through the endless paperwork associated with a position in international teaching/ministry my good friend Jonathan Smalley texts and wonders if I’m anywhere close to Plano, Texas. After some research we find that I am only 4 hours away. I immediately offer to drive half way so we can meet for coffee when he’s there. To this he says, “why don’t you drive the whole way and attend a conference with me?”

The first three days of this conference dive into everything associated with international church planting and the last three days are pointed specifically at ministering to Muslim people. (Are you connecting the dots?) After thoughtful consideration and many prayers that sounded similar to, “What the heck are You doing?” (with the you being of course God) I agreed to attend.

At this point receiving an offer to teach art at DIS is really rather moot when considering the work that Christ is still completing. Would I love the opportunity to teach there? Yes! Would it make sense? Yes! But really what I’m seeing here, is God continuing the work He started and guiding us down a path that helps makes sense of what is brewing in our hearts.

Unfortunately I either have a ridiculous amount of faith or I’m historically and possibly even genetically irresponsible because the conference, including transportation costs, food and accommodations for the week will be about $600.  I know that God will provide but I ask that you would pray for my family as we venture to seek Christ and step out in faith. I know that many who read this do not necessarily agree with the steps we are taking as we move forward; but know that we are seeking Christ with our whole being and no matter where that leads it is better than anywhere we would take ourselves.

As we believe Christ will equip us for the task we have ahead, we also believe He will equip our loved ones with the comfort and peace that passes understanding if we all continue to seek His perfect plan. I pray you will thoughtfully consider joining us not only in prayer but also financially as we seek to cover costs for this ongoing mission.  May God bless you as often and as richly as he blesses us.

In Christ, Joel

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Can it already be January of 2013? So much has happened in this last year and so much of it just in the last 5 weeks.

Waiting for Uncle Tony's Arrival...

Tony did come to visit at the beginning of December and although our fun filled week was down-graded to some entertaining outings on account of Joel working impromptu at Seven Lakes High School for a week, it was great. We toured Galveston, saw Dolphins, hit up the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and gorged ourselves on some legit home-made tacos.

The kids on the beach in Galveston with Pleasure Pier on the Horizon
Fairy ride to Bolivar where we same many dolphins and played on the beach!

It was great to have a piece of home here and Tony, who is really more of a brother and an uncle, being around was as the British might say, capital. Please notice that we now find home in people. People from our past, our present and yes even our future. We have discovered that home is no longer defined by geographical location but by the people that we were born to, the people we are lucky to call family and the people we are even luckier to call our friends. Even as I type God continues to displace our hearts from what we have ever known as home and prepare us for what I can only assume is the humble beginnings of a life dedicated solely to His kingdom. 

December 3, 2012 marked the two anniversary of our accident. While we look back with sorrow for the Larson's and the loss that they continue to feel with each passing day, we look back also with remembrance at the opportunity God gave us to better serve Him. Each day that we wake on this earth is a gift and I encourage anyone who reads this to strive daily not to take it for granted. Don't wait until tragedy strikes to glean this simple bit of knowledge, act now in this new year and make each day count for God, for your spouse and for your children. As I reread this even now I'm secretly hoping Mandy doesn't read it and out me as a failure. Even with the knowledge of how quickly life changes or ends I fall short but I remain hopeful in what the Lord can do and who He can make me and my family for His kingdom.

On December 8, 2012 Joel's college graduation came and went. While I was steadfast in remaining absent for any formal ceremonies, I will admit that when the day came I was a little disappointed on account of missing the formalities a graduation from higher education had offered. I now eagerly await my diploma so that I may have proof that I not only finished something I started, but that I have continued, with my wife and my children, down a path we believe the Lord has set before us. In my head right now I am naming people who boldly declared that I would not finish and smiling smugly to myself with the giddy satisfaction of an overweight child indulging in his third piece of cake without the permission of his nanny. Yet again I fall short and add yet another disapproving nod from Jesus right before he begrudgingly allows me to enter heaven on a trial basis.

Somewhere between Tony leaving and the rest of the Berry's arriving we moved into our over-priced town-home West of the city. One morning after just moving in Mandy found a pile of tiny little ants by the door to our 8 square foot patio. Upon further investigation we realized that the ants were really on our side and they were in-fact helping us by feasting on the corpse of small roach. Ahhh the good life. Really though, it's clean, gated, pretty safe and will do just fine until June.

Out humble abode
Adam, Holly and crew came in a whirlwind of chaos and fun and Christmas Day and left in the same fashion at midnight on the 30th. We managed to fit in Galveston, Rice University, The Chocolate Bar, La Kings, a Pirate Museum, Tennis, a lot of great food, some cards and a good old fashioned game of Jerk! Needless to say on the other side of it, half the Colston family is sick and Mandy and I are in a constant state of panic due to sleep deprivation and depleted ibuprofen stock piles. 
Ma Berr'ys brilliant impression of Will Ferrel in "Elf"

From Terminal A to Terminal C
Christmas @ Bush

Galveston, Texas

Galveston, Texas 
Pirate Museum 

They were having fun, we swear! :)

Rice University

Only Uncle Adam!

Midnight right before Adam & Holly hit the road to El Paso, Texas

It was a blast. But all good things must come to an end and you know what they say about too much of a good thing...Anyway, great memories were made and Mandy and I could not have been more blessed to have everyone here together even if for a short time!

Ma & Pa Berry are here until January 10 and we are looking forward to another week full of adventure. We have slept in until noon a couple of times and replenished the store houses with over-the-counter pain meds. All is well that's drugged well or something...

We rang in the new year with sparklers and Shirley Temple classics (the movies not the beverages). Yes you read that correctly. Hard to believe my sister and I came from the same place. No I'm not jealous of her fantastic photos lacing the blue pages of a popular social media site. Yes, yes I am. Darn you jealousy, why do you plague my ever wandering heart? Why must though rear thy ugly head, driving a wedge between siblings? That's probably enough drama for one post... Well here's to 2014 and a sweet plan to ring in the new year with a little more pizzaz or at least more sparklers!

Joel has an interview on Monday, January 7th that if goes well will provide a full-time job until the end of the school year. YEAH!!! We would appreciate your prayers asking only that God's will be done as we know that He is our great provider and no other resource can really quite compare. If however He does provide this job, He will also need to provide an additional vehicle as this school is about 30 minutes away from our apartment. So throw up a prayer or two for that as well.

With 2012 in rear view mirror and, contrary to popular belief and the ever-luming Mayan calendar, 2013 getting settled in; from our family to yours we hope that this year will be your best yet. May God bless you and keep you and may you find purpose and joy in everything you do. God Bless and Happy New Year!!!

Disclaimer: it's 1:43am. Due to ths fct, I'm tired and did not porof raed the pvireous post. Pealse frgive any grammatical or spelling errors and know that dreeges don't actually make you smrter they just laern you eogunh to get wneekdes off. Thank you and goodnight...