Wednesday, July 2, 2014

God's House

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We had not been seeking to purchase a house. Yes, in the past we had. Yes, it was a dream of mine to settle down and own our own home.  BUT all of the doors had closed when we tried to purchase a home. God said “NO… now is not the time.” We thought He might be saying “Never is the time.” We have always trusted in the Lord’s provision for living places, and as our journey with Him has taken us on a bit of a roller-coaster ride in regards to housing, we have learned that He will ALWAYS provide… He is our Father.  We looked to the verses “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.” (Matthew 6:19) We had some in savings, but decided against using it for a house downpayment, as we have been commanded to “lay your treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). We had given up on the idea of ever owning a house in this life.

BUT then a Christian brother came up to us and said, “you need a house. God can do anything, and He can provide a house for you! This is a basic need, providing for your family.” Long story short, this was the spark that got us thinking again about purchasing a home. We thought, “okay, God, are you telling us now is the time to buy?” I thought we couldn’t afford it, and I have to pay for school as well. Jared said “If we’re going to buy a house it needs to be 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom, for guests.” I said, “yeah, right… do you know how much 4-bedroom houses cost? We can’t even hardly afford a 3-bedroom house!” BUT we looked at the market, and there happened to be a 4-bdr/2-bath house in a “lower” price range, with an open visitation that very weekend. So we went to check it out… we thought, “this would fit the bill.”

 I called a lender to see about a house loan… it didn’t look very good, however most of the “boxes” I had to have ticked, were.  After one disappointing night when I thought we couldn’t do it, and God was closing the door, I thought, “Why God, would that man say something to us, if this wasn’t your will? Why did we have to try this again, only to be denied again?”… I drove to the house and prayed. “Lord, this is Your house. I can’t do anything about it. I’d love it if you gave it to us, but if not, Thank you for the house you’ve already provided for us to live in…”  That very night we had a meeting with a broker who said, “Yes! You can do this! I’ll apply for a loan for you.” 5 minutes AFTER speaking with her, the real estate lady called: “What do you think about their counter-offer?” Prior to the broker’s meeting, I would have replied that we couldn’t do it.  However, I told her what the broker said, and she responded, “Great! I’ll start you on a contract on Monday!” I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe it. God was giving us this house, I knew it.

The verses that God gave me were “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33), but more than that, was this verse: “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9-11) I kept these verses in my heart.

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Our loan application was DENIED by the bank. I almost thought God was going back on His Word to me. I thought, “Lord, didn’t you promise me this house through those verses? Am I doing something wrong?  Are You going back on Your promise?!” The broker appealed the bank’s decision. DENIED yet again. By this time I had real peace about it. I knew that if God wanted to provide this house for us, HE COULD DO IT. HE IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL CREATION. I didn’t need to fret just because of the bank people. So I didn’t. The mortgage broker apologized for getting our hopes up and counseled that if I worked part time for a few months, we could reapply… I informed her that I had previously had a part time job, but took a break during the school semester to focus on my studies, and was welcome back to work whenever I wanted to. She told me to get two payslips and a letter from the workplace stating that I had been an employee there, and she could reapply…. We asked the vendors selling the house if they were willing to extend the contract for this finance to be worked out… they agreed! Lo and Behold, I went back to work just a few days, the loan was approved, and now we’re moving into the house that God provided for us.

I am still blown away by the LORD’s provision. It’s a great house, but one that definitely needs some work.  We are not even worthy of anything in this life, and yet God is faithful to His children and provides their “daily bread.” He has done this time and again in our lives.  May we use this house He has provided for His glory, and may we worship Him in it. God be praised!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What's it all about, really?

Why did we stay here in Australia after finishing up with Wycliffe?  Why have we continued to stay when our entire family is still in the US?  Are we anti-social?  Do we want to avoid our family and friends in America?  Why have we decided to remain here, hopefully buy a house, and be in Australia a long time?
  Well, simply, we feel this is where God has called us to be at this time.  As he has proven time and time again in my own(Jared) life, I'll make plans, but God ultimately directs my steps...That sounds Biblical, eh?  So, though I don't know the future, it seems for now that we are called to remain here in Australia.  God has provided a job for me here, a place to stay, and a town where there are still many people who have not come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  AND He continues to bring them across our path.
  Many of those people have  been disillusioned by the traditional religion of Christianity, or rather the plain old meaningless dead ritual of Christianity they were exposed to.  They don't understand that it's not about a "religion" but a relationship with a Father who loves them, and longs for them to come to Him.  I realize I'm completely powerless to change anyone's heart or make them believe something, but God can.  I can and will pray for Katherine.  I will pray for the people God brings across my path.  We can see so much hurt here, because of alcohol, drugs, poor choices, ... basically, sin taking its course in people's lives.  Brings sadness to my heart, and we have the One they need.  But without the Holy Spirit moving in their lives, it's not going to happen.  Please pray with us for the town of Katherine and surrounding communities to come to the Lord;  and please pray for us as we endeavor to reach out to those who are seeking.  Pray for discernment, wisdom, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's leading.
   We know this world isn't all there is.  There is life after death, and that is either an eternal blessing and joy, or an eternal torment.  People are crying out for something, and there are all kinds of organisations doing good things and helping meet immediate needs, but leaving out Christ.  Without Jesus Christ, the best laid behavior management plan will fail... and even if it does change a person's actions for the rest of their lives, the world can't save anyone from hell because the world is powerless to do so.
  The only one who gives anyone true hope and peace, true joy and unfailing love is Jesus.  I wish people understood this.  I wish we didn't all choose to run away from God because we've done wrong.  But God continually reaches out for us, and waits for us to come, expectantly.  Christianity is not simply a list of "do's" and "don't"s... It is so much more than a set of rules.  It is about a living, loving relationship with the Creator of the universe, who as Christians, we can call Father.    Our relationship with God is the most important thing ever--and that isn't true only for Christians.
   Where do you stand with God?  The thing separating us from God is our sin.  The things we have done which are against what God has commanded us not to do in His Word.  Because of our sin we are eternally condemned and set apart from God, the consequence of our sin is death.  We are helpless to save ourselves, and God knew that.  So in His great love, He sent Jesus, his son, to take our place.  He lived a perfect life, died for us(defeating sin FOREVER) and then rose again from the dead 3 days after dying.  Through Him we are made righteous and acceptable in God's sight if we confess with our mouths and believe that Jesus is the Christ.  Perhaps you've known this before, eh?
  This is the message of the gospel.  As a believer, I need to share this message with as many people as God brings me into contact with.  He is the only one who truly saves, and we live in a world in need of saving.  And yet, I'm still powerless to change any hearts or MAKE people believe.  God must bring them, so I just have to pray.
  I know there are so many people all over the world that don't know Jesus Christ.  Perhaps you're in the US reading this.  God has put people in your life who need Him that I'll never meet.  God has put you there for the express purpose of spreading the gospel.  Tell them!  Pray for the them!  God will change their hearts, and He wants us to be involved.   

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Priorities.

In a life that can be crazy busy, and everything is yelling out for attention or action, what stops us from going completely insane and running down the street screaming?  Priorities.

Currently, we are a busy family.  School is in session again, Cheri's  been studying hard for her classes and worked at McDonald's to pay for the schooling.  I'm working as a teacher at Mission Australia still, and really enjoying it.  By God's grace, my class has grown from 1 regular student to 7, and there are more coming.  In fact, my boss informed me that my class has reached it's full enrollment (15).  I was blessed with that.  By God's grace, work is going well.  He has given me favour with my bosses.  I was blessed to hear that people like, "That Yank who speaks Kriol with a funny accent." :)

As well as work is going, if left unchecked, it could take over a TON of time.  Except for priorities.  At the end of the day, (literally and figuratively) I leave work behind.  I come home.  Sometimes I worry about work and what I will teach the next day.  I wonder, "Should I quickly make up another resource for the lesson tomorrow?"...and just as I'm thinking I will do it, a small voice says, "Daddy?  Can we take a bike ride?"  Or, "Daddy, look at me!  Watch this!"  And then a small child does something hilarious, ridiculous, adorable, or all of the above.  I stop and think, "Before I know it, this small child won't be small anymore.  Before I know it, I'll be looking back wondering where the time has already gone."

I know my time on this earth is limited.  Jesus could come back at any moment.  Will I be found doing what He has given me to do?  Am I using my gifts and abilities to serve Him with all my heart?  God has blessed our family, and I know we want to be a blessing to others as well.

Priorities...  I've noticed that there are two ways of interacting with people, ignore them, keep your head down and just go through your own life, or look up, greet people, and get to know them a bit!

Cheri and I were taking a walk on the trail/sidewalk behind our house while her parents were here watching our kids.  As we walked down the path, I noticed that there was a group of about 6 indigenous folks, mostly men, ahead of us.  For a moment I asked myself, "Should we just turn around? Nah!"  So, we kept walking, and when we got to them, I greeted them all, and started talking with them in Kriol. :)  It turns out they are from Ngukurr (4 1/2 hours drive away out bush and across a large river that sometimes floods at this time of year), and we know some folks who live out there.  So, when I mentioned our friends, they said, "You with the church mob, eh?"  I said, "We lived in Barunga for 2 1/2 years, and we worked with the church there, and met the Ngukurr folks, too."  One of the men said to me, "Yeah, my girlfriend went to church, and she changed her life, but I haven't changed my life.  I'm still drinking.  BUT I listened to a beautiful Christian song by an African singer."

When I first greeted their group, one man (the oldest of the group) was sitting on the ground.  As I talked with them in Kriol, he asked me basic questions, "Where did you learn to speak Kriol?" "The old ladies in Barunga taught me." "Where are you from?"...all the time sitting.  As we chatted more, he stood up, and shook my hand.  I told him we needed to go, but thanks for the chat, and God bless.  The younger fellow who "hadn't changed his life yet" told me if he sees me in town, he'll show me that song by the African.  I hope he sees me in town.

We chatted a bit more, and then Cheri and I continued on our date.  I'm really glad we didn't choose to turn around before talking with that group.  Since Katherine is a small-ish town, and people get stuck here in the wet, I don't know when I'll see those folks again, but perhaps it will be sooner rather than later. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful?

Looking back over this past year (and even over the past couple of months) causes me to be extremely thankful.  Often in the midst of blessings, I don't take time to reflect on those blessings and thank the Lord.  We truly have so much to be thankful for.  We are living in a wonderful country where my son was easily taken care of when his kidneys failed.  That's what's been on my mind lately.  Praise the Lord for his kindness.

I've also noticed that God has blessed me at work.  It has been a bit stressful from time to time, but I really enjoy it, and I work with some really neat people.  I'm thankful for each of my coworkers, and the opportunities I'm having to build a friendship with them.

Cheri Dear and I have been married for nearly 9 1/2 years, and it feels like we just got married yesterday.  I'm also thankful for my excellent wife.  She has truly been my biggest blessing.  God has been kind and generous to me.

The kids are growing up fast, and they have adjusted easily to life in Australia.  Bethany can put on an Aussie accent in the blink of an eye, or drop it, depending on who she's talking to!  She is a sweetheart.  Alice is becoming a little lady and she is a very hard worker.  If she wants something, she works hard for it (and usually gets it!).  She's also a bit of a clown and likes making people laugh.  She's a blessing.  Cam is a little boy growing up.  He loves me, and I love him.  God has blessed me with 3 wonderful children.

Sometimes  I really miss our family in the States, and I wish they weren't so far away from us.  But even though I miss them, I know this is where God wants our family.  Even though missing them makes me sad, I'm thankful I have someone to miss.

Tonight for Thanksgiving dinner we had some friends of ours and their children over, as well as my mum and dedi from Weemol.  It was nice to have some "family" close by on a holiday they had never heard of or celebrated.  It almost made me wish every day was Thanksgiving, just so we could help people to see how much they have to be thankful for, and show them Who to be thankful to... 
 
I am thankful to the Lord for each one of you who has prayed for our family, for Cameron, each time God brought us to your mind.  God is good, and each of you are a blessing to be thankful for.  May God bless you as you continue to serve Him, and remind you to take a break and reflect on things He has given you to be thankful for.

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Ephesians 1:15-16.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Update from the Mullets!

Well, it's been a month since I blogged last.  That's encouraging because it means nothing earth shattering has happened.  Cam is completely off his medications, but is still on a special renal diet.  Other than watching out  for what he can't eat, he's back to his normal self! :)  He is learning to read a bit, and enjoys trying out his skills when we're doing devotions.  "Dad!  Can I read the key verse?" :)

Bethany is doing well; she is a joy to have as my daughter.  She's so affectionate and compassionate.  She also has a new good friend here in Katherine!  She and her friend play together at school, and have also made it a habit to ask if they can play together. :)  Bethany is very outgoing, but it's good for her to have a special friend.

Alice is doing well in school, and she has been a big help at home as well.  She helps with the dishes, and the other night she mopped of her own volition!  What a sweetheart.  As this school year is coming to a close for all the kids, Alice is really looking forward to 3rd grade.  :)

We have been blessed with three children, who aren't too small anymore. :')

Cheri Dear is still studying to become a nurse, since it's the summer semester she is only taking one class.  She has also taken a part-time job at McD's.(should start any day now...)  She is a blessing to me. 

I've been back in work, becoming a "certified" teacher.  That has been an interesting time.  Nearly there, though!  Then, back to teaching, teaching, teaching! :)  It has been a huge blessing to work for Mission Australia.  Each of the folks I work with has been very kind and understanding, specifically my 2 bosses.  God has blessed me wonderfully.  He has truly blessed our family.  I'm so thankful for so many things.  We are spoiled.  HOWEVER, if we were to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving it would be $60!  So, count your blessings, all you American friends! :)  We'll probably have a roast this year.  We will be having another family join us for Thanksgiving, and that's going to be a lot of fun!

I have stopped using FB, so if you want to contact me, please e-mail us, or write a message to Cheri's FB page.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and love.  There's some exciting stuff on the horizon, but I'll share it when it happens! :)  God bless, yumob!!  And Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Update on Cam: One week out...

Cam has been out of the hospital for over a week now, and seems to be doing well.  He's still taking a blood pressure pill and one other pill, but he doesn't have to take the caltrate anymore.  If we mix the pills in with 25% Juice, he doesn't throw up. :)  They are apparently some pretty gross little pills.  He will be weaned off them. 

He has been going to the doctor twice a week to get his blood pressure checked, and get blood drawn.  His blood pressure is getting back to normal.  At first it was on the high end of normal with the pills, but it is lowering.  So that's good news.  He should be completely healed within 2-3 years.  He has been acting normal and his face isn't swollen anymore. 
I didn't realize how stressed we had been during this whole trial.  As the dad, and as the "strong figure" I didn't realize how hard this whole thing has been on me.  When I returned to work, everyone could see a difference.  One man told me, "You haven't been yourself, and that's okay.  You've been through a LOT.  Everyone can see it."  I was distracted, and not able to remember things or stay focused very well.  I'm doing a bit better.  It's been helpful to work in such an understanding environment. 
  I've always known God's will would be done, and I'm really thankful that things are turning out so favourably for Cam and us.  Thank you for your prayers and for continuing to lift Cam and our family up.  God bless, yumob!  If you have any questions for us, please ask.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

They are coming home!

It's official!  Cheri and Cam will be arriving in Katherine at 4:10pm tomorrow at the bus station! :)  Our family will officially be whole again.  Cam will need to go to the doctor to have his blood pressure checked and have a basic check-up.  He'll be making that trip twice a week for the forseeable future, but he'll be HOME. :)  Yes!  His kidneys will not be completely healed for 2-3 years, but they WILL HEAL. :)
  To each of you who have been fervently praying for our family and specifically Cameron, thank you.  Apart from God's mercy and kindness to our family, we wouldn't have faired too well.  We have been blessed with so many people helping us with the girls, offering their homes to us, a car while we were down in Adelaide, visits in the hospital from (to us) complete strangers who prayed with Cam and Cheri and me.  Friends on so many continents praying and encouraging us via Facebook or this blog.  We have been abundantly blessed.  We praise the Lord for his kindness, and thank Him for each of you.  Each prayer and encouragement means so much to me, and to our family.  God has been good to us.  May God bless each of you too, as you continue to serve Him and lift up those in need.  Keep being a blessing, yumob!