Friday, December 28, 2007

For our friends at the River...

Look at all those elephants! We couldn't believe it. They were right off the side of the road! Big ones. Little ones. All in a group together. Crazy, I know. We almost couldn't look. We were afraid they'd get mad with us watching them and attack the car with their tusks!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiness and Wind

Oswald Chambers: “Holiness is the balance between my disposition and the law of God as expressed in Jesus Christ... I have to learn to score off the things that come against me, and in that way produce the balance of holiness; then it becomes a delight to meet opposition.”


Swahili word for the day: upepo means 'wind'.

Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

Sunday, December 9, 2007


The Lizard.

Africa is Colorful!

A note from Joe Joe:
We are captivated by the beauty, puzzled by the language, and we do love the people, but what we find that we do the most is laugh. Well... its mostly me and I'm laughing at Michael. I mean side splitting laughter. The kind that you can't catch your breath. It's not because he's trying to be funny either. It's just Michael. Living in a different land and with such a particular clean freak brings so much entertainment that I truly do not miss television, movies, or other such modern conveniences. Take for instance yesterday.... lets just say it ended in Michael taking a shower in his shorts. I'll spare you the gory details. But I just thought everyone (especially Josh and Paul) would enjoy hearing that some things never change!!

We love and miss you all! Pray for our language acquisition. We are up to our necks in Swahili!! Yikes!

Swahilized-English word for the day: Televisheni (I think you all can guess what that word is!)
Real Swahili word for the day: kuku means chicken, but I like to affectionately refer to Michael as that!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Orientation in Zambia

We have now completed our time of orientation to life in Africa, and we're alive to tell about it!!

To learn about Africa and what rings true in the hearts of Africans, we spent one month in Zambia as a part of an orientation program. For 2 weeks we lived at a seminary in Lusaka (capital city) taking day trips into various parts of the city to talk with local people. We learned about everything from clinics to traditional healers, funerals to naming ceremonies. One highlight of our Lusaka time was Michael scoring a goal while playing soccer with the boys in the neighborhood.... USA USA... complete fluke.

We then traveled out into the bush and lived for 10 days in tents, where we slept to the [less than] gentle sounds of screaming bush babies, howling wild dogs, and more insects than you can find in your local zoo. We only directly encountered one snake, a few rats, numerous scorpions, three dogs, a puppy (which made our tent door his bed), goats, cattle, and many wild pigs (one of which now resides in our stomachs).

After the tent time came the highlight of our stay in Zambia: 3 days/nights living in a grass-roof hut with a family in a village. These 3 days were truly a blessing as we lived as the Africans live and learned so much to respect and empathize with. While Joe Joe cooked okra, stirred nshima, and drew water from the well, Michael chopped down trees, hoisted water for the garden, and wrestled crocodiles (would you believe 2 out of 3?). Each of the 3 days we went to see and show respect to the headwoman of the village. A lesson in leadership: the first time we met the headwoman she was sitting on the ground cracking peanuts (known as groundnuts here, one of the main crops in this area) by hand. There's not a more menial task in the whole village, and here was the most important and powerful person in the village de-shelling peanuts. If only every leader had an attitude like that.

Nyanja word for the day (1 of 72 languages in Zambia): Zikomo means 'thank you'.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vic Falls

We had the absolute pleasure of visiting Livingstone, Zambia this weekend: the home of the magnificent Victoria Falls. God did quite well on this particular natural wonder of the world. We were there in the lowest water levels, which meant less water on the falls but drier conditions for pictures and perfect white water rafting below the falls!

Some highlights of our trip included watching monkey swat teams swoop in to the open air breakfast buffet at our hotel and steal everything from muffins to orange juice to sugar packets, going to sleep watching giraffes outside our window and waking up to zebras, yawning with the hippos at dusk, and conquering the mighty Zambezi, "the wildest raft ride in the world" (which was nothing compared to our bus ride back on a bus with the suspension tied on by a leftover 12-year old bungy chord from the vic falls bridge... basically it was a 7-hour version of the Racer roller coaster at Kings Island).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Last year's shoebox

We're in Zambia finishing up our orientation, here's a fun story until we get back to TZ and can properly update with what's going on...

OK, so we spent 3 days living in a village in a mud hut with a grass roof, had a wonderful stay with a beautiful family. You know the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes that you all are packing now to send overseas? Well it's a great program, and we noticed in the house of the family we stayed with a couple opened boxes that are at least 11 months old. I then noticed an assortment of cheap American toys in the house, proudly displayed like prized artifacts. Specifically I saw some yo-yos and nonchalantly picked one up. "You know what those are?!?" was the exclamation from our host family. When I wrapped the string around my finger, dropped the spinning object and pulled it back up, you'd have thought they were seeing their pet goat dance the electric slide. Sooooo.... this year as you pack those boxes, keep in mind that not everyone knows the common games we all played as children!

Monday, October 22, 2007

First Impressions

We've spent a couple days in Tanzania now. Initially, we see a lot of need but also a beautiful people. It's intimidating, being here. Sometimes we're overwhelmed, what can people do?!? What can two of us do? Not much... but we serve a big God, and there's plenty of hope! See 2 Chron 7:14.

The prospect of driving is scary. We'll do our best to avoid the millions walking in the road, the even more millions on bikes (especially the guys carrying hundreds of eggs on their bicycles!), and the passing goats, cattle, and chickens. We're definitely immersed in Swahili and have a lot to learn. The food's pretty good, we had some warthog and enjoyed it. Have only crossed paths with a couple monkeys and one snake so far. The mountains are beautiful!!!! So beautiful. Can't wait to spend some time camping up there.

We're off to Zambia for a month, we'll be outta touch till then. Leave lots of good notes for us!

Joe Joe's quote of the day (to Michael). "Living internationally with you is truly a traveling circus!"

Saturday, October 20, 2007

escaping the airports (subtitle: signs!)

We slept in a bed last night! We laid down flat and we slept!! After two nights of airplane seats, this was a welcome relief. We are in Africa. It is a beautiful place with beautiful people. More to come on that. Until then, here's a bit of our journey to get here.

We had a layover in Chicago, what a blessing to get to see our dear friend Nic and enjoy some deep-dish pizza from Gino's East before leaving the country for two years! You look great Nic, thanks for the pizza and conversation, it's always a pleasure to visit Chicago (especially when we're not in O'Hare). Here we are standing outside the restaurant before heading back to the airport where we would sit to await our flight and start working on our British accents for the next leg.

Then on to London: In London, we got out of the airport thanks to our long layover and tried to experience the city. The underground train was fun, “mind the gap”. Fish and chips were pretty good (but expensive). Michael was wowed by all of the European cars around, then the realization that we were in Europe came to him... duh. But perhaps the best part of London was walking the streets and looking up away from the parked cars to the street signs directly in our path. All we can say is... what?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Last two nights as Americans

Monday night we met with our church body and friends with no real plan but worship, and that we did. God blessed that time richly as we experienced a beautiful and fun expression of the body of Christ. Community and music touch our hearts like few other things can, we had a blast just worshipping our Savior with His children.

Tuesday night we took a short break for the two of us. We did this date night up! (Special thanks to our dear friends Kevin and Gayle for making it all happen). The night was complete with the finest of the fine, a limo ride and the best dining we could find. We laughed at dinner as we selected the proper forks and ordered things we couldn't pronounce that in less than three days we'll be sticking our hands into bowls to eat things with names we can't pronounce!

Wednesday we fly! See you soon from a new locale...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Historic Win

Is there a better Saturday to have as our last in Lexington? What a day, what a game!
We'll be leaving on Wednesday... glad to be in town for one last game tonight.


And LSU, shame on you... I respected the impressive showing of fans, you traveled well, but the stadium-wide chanting during "My Old Kentucky Home" following "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner" in pregame: despicable, pitiful, and very disrespectful. Welcome to Kentucky, now go home.

Friday, October 5, 2007


After 21 shots
59 incredible days of prayer
5 authentic cultural meals
352 new friends around the world
2 freshly deceased chickens
and lots of great memories stateside
we are done with our time in VA and have a few days to pack before boarding to head overseas.

We truly cannot say enough thanks to the staff that put on our orientation, the past two months have been a wonderfully challenging time. We have learned so much about the world in which we live, our many misconceptions about life in other cultures, and how we can really make a difference. We are at a point of readiness to go anywhere and do anything, and with a humility to know that we are indebted to the people we want to serve to learn from and live with them. We will be able to do nothing by ourselves, but great things through the help of nationals wherever we go and through the unending power of Christ. God is at work in our world, He cares about our world, and we cherish the chance to join Him in that work. More than learning about the world, we learned about the character of God. We learned about discipline. We learned to know God above all else. We have the Spirit of God within us to direct us... how cool is that? We learned to listen to what we already have. We hope and pray that we are forever changed.

Pray for endurance for us, pray for brokenness for Tanzania. Pray that God prepares some University students that will be ready to receive us and will partner with us in making a difference on their campus and in their communities. Pray also that we will find favor with our airlines in travel, with customs officials overseas, and with local businesses and government officials where we go.

Swahili word for the day is the verb -enda which means to go.

Monday, October 1, 2007

goodbye VA

We have one day left in VA, our last commissioning service. It's hard to believe that our time here is finished, next step is some final packing and then all aboard: destination Tanzania. We are enjoying a visit from Mom and Dad H and friends Jenny and Becky, it's great to see them (I, Michael, can easily say I wouldn't be here now without the 4 of them in my life).

Last week, we had the chance to cook an authentic south/east African meal. The food was simple and surprisingly good, and for the 3rd time running Michael successfully ate sans utensils and napkins. Here we are cooking chapatis, kind of a cross between a tortilla and a pita, but fried. It's good, and the closest we'll get to tortillas for a couple years.

Swahili word for the day is chapati, which means chapati (lit. “flat round bread”)

Last lunchtime brainteaser for awhile:
What is the Southernmost State, Northernmost State, Westernmost State, and Easternmost State?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

until next time

We're winding down our time of preparation in VA. Don't have time to say much, but in the meantime here's another lunchtime brainteaser for you to chew on.

42% of American men do this is in their first 5 years of marriage.

2 points up for grabs!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Week of Highs and Lows

This week we've had some interesting events! Dont worry we have pictures to illustrate. First, on Tuesday Joe Joe was walking around (minding her own business) and then all of a sudden she sat down with severe pain in her foot. Thinking it would just go away she tried to shrug it off. The next evening the bruises came, and then by Friday her foot was black and blue. She decided to see a doctor. (The trip there was adventure enough with getting lost three times, asking four people for directions, and even stopping at a gas station to call the office from a pay phone. How many people still use pay phones?!?) Anyway, the doctor said that she has a stress fracture. He said it could be caused by any number of things such as walking or exercising more and wearing new shoes.
Here is a picture of the bruise two days after it first showed up, so it doesn't do justice to the nastiness of the bruise.

Then on Thursday Michael had the great fortune of watching (and then catching) a chicken run around with its head cut off. He took a class that showed how to kill and pluck or a skin a chicken. Those with weak dispositions would not do well with the pictures or videos he took! Dont worry we will not be showing those due to the graphic nature of such images!!

Then today we went to the river with some friends we have made here and their child. It is so cool, there are large rocks that you can climb on and jump from. In between some of the rocks are small rapids. You could, theoretically, walk all around from one side of the river to the other without getting wet. I say theoretically because all except for Michael got wet. Joe Joe took the first fall. She was trying to cross from one boulder to another. She stepped on some moss and her feet slid right out from under her, and she slid into some churning water between two boulders. Admittedly, it was a little scary, but she handled it like a pro and was able to laugh it off and learn from her mistake! Our friends fell in a little later, leaving only Michael. He said he preferred to stay dry!

Here are some pictures of us at the river (or in it). We had such a fun day! Now we are getting very excited to see Kentucky and Arkansas. OOOOOOOOHHHHHH

Swahili word for the day is mto (make an "m" sound and then say "toe") it means river.

Monday, September 17, 2007

African Worship in America

Last night we had an African styled worship service that Michael helped to put together. The evening was filled with fun and we firmly believe that God smiled on us during that time. We had everything from songs led by drums to drama (complete with a den full of lionhearted 5-yr olds) to dancing. God even smiled enough on us to cool off the place entirely for the day. It was a beautiful night, grins all around!

Brain Teaser #2
This one's for all the NASCAR fans out there!
You're driving a car on a 2 mile track. The first mile you drove at a constant speed of 30mph. How fast do you need to drive for the second mile to average 60mph for the 2-mile track?

Swahili word for the day is cheza, which means "dance".

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Washington DC

Yesterday we took a trip to Washington DC as a part of our cultural training. We were simply dropped off in the city with assignments to find people of other cultures and talk to them, help them, share with them, and stretch ourselves in a dining experience.

We did get the opportunity to talk with some people on the streets, we walked all over the city, and we enjoyed a fabulous cultural experience at lunchtime. Joe Joe's uncle from DC joined us for the day and helped with navigation, it was also fun to talk with him and spend some time with him before leaving.

After scoping out a few places, we headed into an Ethiopian restaurant. Signs were up everywhere celebrating what appeared to be the new millennium year 2000. At first, I thought that they were just a few years behind on their decorations, maybe got a special deal from the dollar store down the street. But we asked our waitress (who did not speak much English) about it, and she very proudly told us that on September 12th, 2007, Ethiopia as a country celebrated its 2000th year! Wow! Makes sense: the book of Acts was written between 60-100AD and mentions Philip and an Ethiopian, so assuming the country was around a few decades before that, then yeah, 2000 as a country is pretty likely. Amazing. I do wonder how they chose September 12th 2000 years ago as the day though... I bet there's a good story somewhere. I asked out waitress if they backed up all of their computers last week. I don't think she got it. So back to our meal, wow the food was like nothing we'd ever had before. No utensils, so it was a fairly authentic dining lesson. We ordered the "banuta." On the menu for banuta, the only word in the whole food description we recognized was "lamb". Our food came out on giant plates, at the bottom was what looked like a big tortilla made from wheat, but it was very soft and spongy, it's called injura. On the wrap (and we had extra sponge wraps brought as well) were three piles: Cous Cous on the left, Feta cheese on the right, and a mixture of Lamb tips and a sponge stuff that I have no clue what it was, how it was made, or what was in it. We dove in fingers first (mine [Michael] protected by the spongewrap as best I could) and enjoyed. Not too bad... but certainly no Q'doba.

In the afternoon we did a little Wash DC sightseeing, always an impressive city to walk around, makes me want to visit other countries' capitals to see what they look like. We prayed for our nations leaders, we took some pictures until our battery died, we stopped in the air and space museum and saw just how many copies were in there from articles and artifacts about the Wright Brothers hailing from Michael's homeland.

And now we're tired. But very excited, we get to see our friends Nick and Suzanne today and hopefully see the UK-UL game tonight! Go Cats!

Swahili word for the day is sponji, which means sponge.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

football time

So what's new? Not too much with us... We're still in VA, still working on many preparations to head overseas. We've had a little bit of fun this week: Michael is playing on a flag football team here on campus, has won every game and should be playing in the championship tonight (but rain is looking to be pretty inevitable). Last week in a game he jammed his thumb and it turned black and blue, but is getting better. Monday night we managed to get off campus and watched the Bengals-Ravens MNF debut, turned out to be a great game, good way to start the season, WHO-DEY! Can't wait for UK to beat Louisville on Saturday...

We've enjoyed some great trivia fun during lunchtimes brought to you by our local chef. Here's one to mull over: What can you find in over 40% of American households that is only used by 9%?

Swahili word for the day is mvua which means rain.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Praying for all Peoples

Have you ever made a decision or a commitment to pray for an hour a day, or 30 minutes, or 3 hours, or 15 minutes, and found that your mind went blank and you just didn't know what to pray for? If so, you're not alone.

And so, we offer a tool:

Compassionnet is one way to find out about prayer needs around the world, and we promise you'll never run out. There are many more tools out there and many more needs in the world, but this is a way to pray for the gospel to affect lives around the world. Take it as you like!
Pray for your family, pray for your neighbor, pray for your country, your leaders, anyone in need around the world. While at it, pray for the college students of Tanzania if you don't mind!!

Swahili word for the day is rehema, which means compassion.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Korean Worship Epilogue

Something I did not mention in my previous post about our Korean worship service on Sunday night deserves mention. That night, near the end of our time together, our Korean friends shared with heavy hearts the story of a group of 23 students that had travelled to Afghanastan for relief and medical aid this summer. All 23 were abducted by the Taliban on July 19th, and two later killed, 3 released early on. The remaining 19 were captives held by the Taliban. On Sunday night, we saw the last picture of this group from before they had left South Korea and together we joined the nation of South Korea and prayed for their safety and their release.

So guess what? (Big smile) Wednesday we received word that 12 had been released. As of today, all of them are free and en route to South Korea.

Why? CNN says negotiations finally got through, MSN claims the Taliban had a rush of "humanitarian feelings".

There may be a 3rd option intermingled, you can judge for yourself.

Check it out:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Joe Joe!!

Today has been a day of celebration!

Swahili word for the day is Sherekea, which means celebrate.

Sherekea Joe Joe!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Worship with the nations

Last night we had a worship service led by a group of native Koreans among us here at the international learning center. Many people have heard of the immense South Korean Christian church, in fact Korea is even the 2nd largest sender of missionaries in the world today. Much of the worship in Korea has followed the lead of the US, and they've taken many of our traditional hymns and songs and translated them into Korean, with the same message and same music that we are used to. We find this as perhaps a sad occurrence that has lost some of the beauty of Korean culture in what they may have created themselves, but tonight it gave us a glimpse into heaven.

We had the pleasure to sing some hymns which were led in Korean. Because they are the same music of hymns that we already know in English, we all (300+ people) could sing along in whatever language we knew.
As we sang, holding back tears was more than difficult.
To stand next to so many people who are truly giving their lives up for the nations, who have the love of Christ inside them, and who are singing all together the same thing in different languages, all worshipping Jesus our Savior, was and is a beautiful thing.
I had never before heard the words coming out of the mouth of my brother in Christ standing next to me, but I knew what he was saying and my heart was in line with his.
Maybe we felt for a moment what it was like on the day of Pentecost.
Definitely we felt a bit of what eternity in heaven will be! One day, we will be standing around the throne of Christ, singing of His glory in thousands of languages (probably millions!), and we will all understand, we will all know one another and know our Creator. One day...

As an aside to this post, some of you are reading this and do not know if you will be with us in Heaven, side-by-side with the God of the universe. If that's you, and if you want more than doubt and uncertainty, please e-mail us and we will get to a phone the moment we get it. The only thing that would make worshipping with the nations better is to have you there with us too. We love you, our friends, and realize that in leaving the country we may have missed our chance to share what means more to us than anything. We may have failed to share hope before, but don't let our blatant blind and muteness keep you from knowing a loving God for eternity. Please!!
(Michael – mkharr1 at gmail dot com, Joe Joe – rjharr at gmail dot com)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

World Domination

Nothing intelligent today, just some sweet shots of little green men (Michael was mother-of-pearl, Joe Joe was green). Yeaaaaaaahhhh!!!

Swahili word for the day is ushindi, which means "victory".

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mmm... burritos

Things in VA are going well. The weather has cooled off a bit, we're growing, learning, moving. We have met some incredible people and are encouraged about the state of our world! We are of course anxious and excited, but also humbled. Please pray that in the coming weeks our hearts will truly be broken for the people of Tanzania, specifically the college students of Mzumbe. It's easy to get excited and to read and learn, but this is much more than simply an adventure. Nothing can truly prepare us to work with people. Is there anything greater? I do hope that before landing in Africa, my heart breaks and we fall on our knees daily for people that we do not yet know!! To share with them hope, true hope in Christ...

So yesterday we made it off campus for a bit to make a run to the pharmacy, and while out, we found a Chipotle! Michael = happy. Also nearby we discovered a Red Robin, TGI Friday's, Cheesecake Factory, and Chili's. All favorites, all not good for our efforts to back off of usual foods and prepare for the coming African cuisine.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Up in a Tree

A note from Michael:

So I spent some time sitting up in a tree today...
I watched ants busy at work, saw a bird hunting for worms, a spider building its web, ducks swimming in the lake, a bee searching for pollen, a butterfly fluttering (it seemed to be doing laps around the tree, must have been working out), and plants, well, growing... I guess. A tick came hunting for blood, but poor guy had to go hungry today. I heard a goose honking near the lake and bugs all around, a gun shot rang out in the distance. God reminded me that I'm a part of something much bigger than myself. I have this selfish pride I like to hang onto that sometimes makes me headstrong, and I almost think I'm the only thing out here, but there's so much more!!
It's been hot all week, but last night a storm rolled through and cooled the place off, today's been overcast all morning. While sitting in the tree, I turned on some music and sat back to think. I realized that not only am I a tiny part of something that goes way beyond me, but God is SO MUCH BIGGER and more powerful than all of us. Think through history: Nations and kingdoms have risen to power and fallen from power relatively faster than a trump card gets played in a game of euchre. Nations rise and fall, but God presses on. He works through all of those to press on His message and love. It's never been about any nation, any person, and it never will be.
So I was thinking through all of this in the tree when a new song came on my mp3 player: Sting's “After the Rain has Fallen.” The chorus said “After the rain has fallen... there will still be love in the world.” True dat. As if I needed anymore confirmation, right as the song winded down on this overcast day (that rained through the night), the sun came out, shone directly on my face, and it was really stinkin' hot.

No matter what, there will still be love in the world.

Swahili for love is -penda.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Landed in VA

Hello friends. Just a quick note to let you know that we have made it to Virginia and settled in for some time of preparation. We're still getting caught up, trying to make this feel like home, and trying o breathe amidst a blanket of heat, but doing very well and moving full speed ahead!! We've already begun to see some friends we met back in April and meet some new people. In fact, the first couple we met (on the bus from the airport) knew my [michael] childhood babysitter (who's now in Oklahoma).
[Hi Stephanie, Carrie, and Linda if you're out there!!]

I of course, only needed a babysitter until I was 5, she then quit when I began roundhouse kicking everything in sight.

Swahili word for the day is mtoto, which means baby (or child).

Friday, August 3, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nature Center

Yesterday, we went to the nature center in LBL. Check out the hawk, lots of fun with the animals. Saw a purple martin sanctuary and wished we could pack it up and take it to Africa with us! It was proven that Michael can talk to animals because barely had the words "Hey Coyote, come over here" made it out of his mouth when the 100 yard away coyote walked straight up to him. Did you know that the Red Wolf is actually a very friendly animal? Poor guy is misunderstood thanks to that Little Red Riding Hood.

Swahili word of the day is ndege, which means bird.

(ndege is the same word in Swahili for airplane interestingly enough)

Monday, July 30, 2007

KY Lake

We're visiting Joe Joe's family now, having a good time in Western KY. This morning we sat out by the lake and dreamt/thought/prayed about what's coming. Because I (Michael) don't do so well with things like sympathy and empathy, I'm a little worried about what I'll say and do when faced with extreme suffering and issues like AIDS and severe malaria. We read a story from the book of Job this morning which helped to prepare us a bit... Job was a godly man that was brutally attacked and stripped of everything (family, possessions, health) but his life. When everything went down and he began grieving, his friends came and for 7 days wept and mourned with him (way to go friends). But then they failed as friends and told him that he'd better shape up because he had obviously done something wrong. Job basically told his friends what he needed from them, and this is where we can learn how to talk to people in suffering (if we feel the need to talk at all). He asked them to share hope, kindness, and not to presume guilt (job 6:11-30)... for me, that's a great start, thanks Job!!

Did we mention the lake is beautiful?

Swahili word for the day is ziwa which means lake.
Pretty ziwa!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cedar Point

Yesterday, we took a trip to Sandusky Ohio to visit Cedar Point. Great fun, rode many rides, wore some sweet goggles to protect our new eyes from the 120 mph wind whipped up by some crazy coasters.

Happy 50th Daddy H!

Swahili word of the day is upesi which means fast.
I wanna go upesi!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thank you for your prayers

We can in no way say or do enough to thank each of you that are praying for us as we prepare for the next step of our journey, but we do want to note and thank the churches that have partnered to support us and covenanted to pray for us.

The River, Lexington, KY: To each of you that are a part of the River, you know the special place you hold in our lives and you know that in no way would we be where we are today without you. Your prayers keep us going daily, the memories of the times we’ve shared inspire us when we need it most. Thank you for jumping to meet every need we have. Thank you for investing in us as we have walked with you.

Church at Tatesbrook, Lexington, KY: Each of you at Tatesbrook has had a part in forming us and reshaping our lives and our thinking. Your generosity has blessed us along the way and we are thankful for the people of the body of Christ at Tatesbrook that have taught us, worshipped with us, cried with us, fed us, and now pray for us. You are a wonderful body, keep doing what you do in preparing and sending others out as you have us!

Aurora Baptist Church, Aurora, KY: Thank you for loving us as your own and for taking such a deep and die-hard interest in the work of Christ across the globe. We covet your prayers and know that not a single need will arise that you have not already covered in prayer. We know that with you we will never be forgotten. Thank you for loving us as you do!

Far Hills Community Church, Dayton, OH: Thank you for caring about the world and every aspect of it, thank you for your brokenness in prayer, thank you for proactively seeking to meet our needs before they arise. It is a true gift to consider ourselves a part of your body and to receive the love and support of such a dear group of people. Thank you for believing in us as we believe in you!

Immanuel Baptist Church, Lexington, KY: To Nick, Ashlee, Jeremy, and Karissa, thank you to each of you for the role you have played in getting us to where we are. It is in large part because of the lives that you have led that we seek to serve a world that needs much more than we can give. Each of you has inspired us, our conversations have humbled us, and your commitment to prayer with and for us energizes us, thank you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

First Leg of the Journey

Today was a little bit of a sad day... we left our home. Today was our last day in the home we have been in for our first two years of marriage. It is a little bittersweet. We feel like this is a marker of the life we are leaving behind, but also the beginning of this new great calling. We have made many wonderful memories here and shared many special times with family and friends, but we are overjoyed at the opportunity to share the gospel, to reach the nations, and minister to students halfway around the globe. We just have a little traveling to do first.

Michael's mother came to Lexington to pick us up to take us back to Springboro as we now have no cars. We will be here until July 28th. We are very excited about spending time with family before we leave. We are also very excited about our lasik surgery on Thursday. Please be in prayer for us as we recover from that. From here we will be going down to W. KY to stay with Joe Joe's family for a week. They will be bringing us up to Lexington for a commissioning service on August 5th. (If anyone is interested it will be at the Church @ Tatesbrook on Appian Way at 10:30 am.) Then on August 7th we will be flying to Virginia for our orientation. This will last two months before we leave for Tanzania.

We have a lot to anticipate over the next few weeks, but we have many questions. It's weird how okay with it that we are. It just seems to be getting easier to have many questions but live in faith that we don't have to have the answers. I know this is only a taste of how life is like in Tanzania. We are trying to learn to be flexible and uncomfortable but find peace and solace in the unexpected. Pray for our transition that we will be flexible and teachable!

Swahili word for the day is Duma which means cheetah!