Saturday, October 18, 2008

Performance vs. Purpose

Dear Family and Friends,

Current Events:

1) Our support level is at 95% (we are estimating the support level of a couple of churches that may come in lower or higher than we have estimated). This means we have $200.00/month left to raise.

2) We will leave Iowa for Chicago on Oct. 28 and stay with my (Lisa’s) cousin that night. We will fly out of Chicago for Managua on Tues., Oct. 29 at 10:00 am. Tickets to Nicaragua from Cedar Rapids are $800/person and from Chicago are $360/person!

3) We are working this next week on trying to pack as much as we possibly can into plastic tubs and luggage. There are many last minute details like documentation we need to establish residency in Nicaragua, etc. that we are also working on.


1) The opportunity to spend a day in solitude with the Lord. He showed me some things that I didn’t put together before. Dan and the kids spent that rainy day hanging out and playing games. I think we all ended the day refreshed.

2) We now have a used refrigerator, a dining room table with 3 chairs, and two end tables that the school had in storage and are loaning us. The director and his wife are also planning to buy a stove, beds, and household items for us before we arrive. We have a possible vehicle too, but are thinking this through as we would really like to look at something like this when we arrive.

3) For God’s amazing provision.


1) I was thinking tonight about how the USA is a very independent nation – corporately and individually. My prayer for the USA is that the breaking down of our economy would lead people to pursue and gain the riches of fellowship with God and other people as we help each other through this. One of the missionaries in Nicaragua told me about how there was a food shortage in Nicaragua not long ago. The church members all pooled their resources making sure that everyone had enough to eat. I pray that this kind of community and fellowship is soon known in the US nationwide.

2) For the health of our family. Dan is fighting a respiratory illness right now. Will is having some reactions to the Typhoid oral vaccination. And Rebekah pulled some muscles in her neck while wrestling with Will. We pray we will all be on the mend by the time we leave!

3) Please continue to pray for our arrival and the details of adjusting to life in Nicaragua. We know there will be bumps in the road (figuratively and literally!). Our prayer is that we would trust the God who allows difficulty knowing that all things are under His control, for our ultimate good, and for His glory.


Our time with my parents is quickly coming to a close. The time we have had together has been one that we have all grown from, appreciated, and enjoyed. I understand God’s wisdom in giving us this time – we have had lots of opportunities to talk about this change, not only for us, but for my parents as well. It has been a very healthy time of communication and my parents have been a huge help and support to us. I am thankful once again for Dan and my families and for their sacrificial and unconditional support throughout the past four years that we have been listening to God to discern this calling.

I thought I would share something a little bit on the lighter side today, but related to kind of a theme of “family”. I’m recognizing that our family traditions will need to be adjusted as we make this move to Nicaragua. One of those traditions was our own variation of Halloween. This tradition involved our kids and myself driving out to my home town, Wellsburg, on Halloween afternoon while Dan handed out candy to neighbors at home in Cedar Rapids. My Mom was the organizer of this event and would take us around to trick or treat at my Grandma’s low income apartment complex, at a retirement home in Grundy Center, and we would visit several other elderly relatives and friends in the area. We would take a picture with each one of these people and would talk with them for 20 minutes or so before moving on. The kids enjoyed answering the door for the other trick or treaters while Mom and I talked with the people. A couple of years ago, I asked the kids about whether they would want to do something with their friends instead, but they both said they wanted to continue the tradition.

This year we will leave the country before the 31st, but we are not letting the timing of our departure break tradition. My Mom is calling friends and family asking them to be available for the kids to stop by in their costumes (Rebekah is a pizza delivery person and Will plans on being a scientist) on Monday night. My great uncle (who is one of the people we visit) stopped by for tea the other day and said, “Well, I guess you won’t be stopping by this Halloween.” We were so glad to let him know that the plan was still on!

The thing I love so much about this tradition is that it involves service and it has inspired me to think of ways to create/notice opportunities to serve with each holiday. I began my parenting years very focused on our kid’s performance – What are they able to do? How much are they able to do? How well are they able to do it? How do they compare to others? Nine years later, I’m much more focused on “purpose”. Do our kids live their lives with purpose? Do I see a tenderness in their hearts for each other and for the well being of others? Are they able to extend grace by giving up their agenda to serve someone else? How do they handle losing; being wrong; being corrected? Is their purpose to glorify God or to gain glory for themselves? Can they forgive and love unconditionally? Are they more apt to help the weak or to follow the crowd? Focusing on purpose has made their conflicts with each other and poor choices an opportunity to teach as opposed to an annoyance and a disappointment. After they fail, I’ve found it to be so much more healthy for my relationship with God and with them to say, “Lord, thank you for letting me see that character flaw in him/her and help me to know how to address it.” rather than condemning the child or condemning myself as a bad parent.

What I have come to realize is that this is how our Heavenly Father parents us. He is far less concerned about how much we can do in a day or how good we are at it. His focus and concern is about who we are and who we are becoming. Am I living my life with purpose today? Whether it is Halloween or when we are in the middle of vibrant ministry or dealing with difficult circumstances . . . it is a question that can lead us to freedom - transforming the day, our relationships with God and others, and helps us to live a life of grace, joy, and peace. Have a purpose-filled day my friend.

Peace to you,
Lisa (for Dan, Rebekah, and Will)