Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Going!!! With JOY!!!

My Uncle Dan's and Auntie Diana's 50th wedding anniversary celebrations was a few months ago.  When my uncle, who has been a pastor and missionary his whole life got up to speak, he recounted the the day the Lord called him to go to Uganda on a mission trip.  It was years ago, before I even knew what Uganda was.
  I was struck and encouraged by his testimony. 

 He is quite crippled now, and as he was giving his testimony about his life and his walk with Jesus, he said many things, but the thing that stuck in my heart was he said that if he was called to Uganda today 
(then he paused, not hesitated, just a reverent pause) 
he said, 
 This has stuck with me from the moment he said it. Because I felt a prick in my own heart of, WOULD I?  

I mean yes, I will go when I have all the proper attire and preparations, but would I go without all the conditions I (try to)  put on God when he calls. 
 I feel a little closer to saying I would.
  Because even in my current "condition" and I am still going.  haha. 

**I can at least say I am going with 
 in me!**

 I still have a ways to go, before every move I make in obedience is not a complete struggle for me, but I'm glad the Lord is patient and will continue to work in me.

I was thinking of all that we are preparing to do and how crazy it must seem, because it seems a bit crazy to me honestly. 
 And I was again checking in with the Lord, asking Him for confirmation to know that this is Him and not me working this all out.

  He brought to my mind the shepherds in the Christmas story. 
 They were just out in the field minding their own business working away when Jesus was born.  God sent angels to them, the lowly SHEPHERDS to announce to them, of all people, the birth of His Son.   They were the poor and the smelly of society because they were always out in the field with the sheep.  They dropped everything and went immediately to go and see the baby Jesus.  To think a bunch of poor smelly shepherds walking in to see a precious newborn, the SON OF GOD.
 Why wouldn't God just announce to the people that were staying in the Inn right across the street and have them get out of their comfy beds and  come and see His Son? 
 I don't know!!!  But, that is how He did it. 
 Those people in the Inn probably slept through the entire event while the shepherds got the announcement and came. 

Luke 2:8-20English Standard Version (ESV)

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,

    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[a]
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

So, I don't know why God has allowed us to go and do what we are doing, but I'm done (for the moment) asking Him, and I'm just going to go and see and serve and learn and then we are going to return and glorify and praise God for all we have heard and seen.

Isaiah 41:9-10English Standard Version (ESV)

you whom I took from the ends of the earth,

    and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
    I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sweet Blessings!

There have been  times in my life when I am caught off guard with something unexpected and so sweet and simple that Jesus did, and in all His wonder and goodness allowed me to be a part of it.

He just touches my heart in a fresh way and I'm humbled by His goodness!

In the last couple of years Charlie and I have prayed that the Lord would allow us to be a part of something He was doing.
 We were weary of asking Him to be a part of things we thought we wanted. 

Once we changed from our focus from being on us and what we wanted.....and turned to Him and His will, He just opened the flood gates of opportunity to be BLESSED in ways we could not even know to ask for!!!

The other night we got to hear clips of people's testimonies of how God brought us together. 
 As a group, we gathered to give God glory and give testimony to what and how God  has brought us together to be part of something He is doing.
  It was fun to hear the testimony of each individual and how God has worked in our lives to bring us to this point, at this particular place and time.

One of the projects that God has allowed Charlie to be a part of this year has been to help build our church building. 
 He has been honored by the privilege.
  I think he would say that hands down, it's been the most meaningful thing he has ever had the opportunity to build.
  To think that God would let him use the gifts and talents that He has given him, to build a building where we gather as a church body, to worship our Lord Jesus, is pretty sweet indeed.

Now to end the year and start the new year, we get to go to Uganda and be a part of some crazy BLESSED ministries and people that God has allowed us to be a part of,  on the other side of the world. 

 We are BLESSED and humbled, by the opportunity to GO and to bring a lot of our family and a few friends to share the experience with.

 He has poured out His blessing to allow us in all our flaws  and weaknesses to be a part of
 some really cool stuff that He is doing here and there!

Matthew 5:14-16English Standard Version (ESV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I'm HORRIBLE at Packing!

God loves to use us in our weakness.  

2 Corinthians 12:9English Standard Version (ESV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

One of my MAJOR weaknesses is packing.  I can not go on a 3 day weekend without forgetting something major.  I will pack 5 shirts and no pants.  I'm horrible at it!!!  
So OF COURSE the Lord would see fit to put me in charge of packing 8 people and 1800 lbs worth of stuff to take to Uganda.  He has an incredible sense of humor.

On top of THAT I am taking a few of us to Montana before and after our time in Uganda, so I'm praying I don't end up in Uganda with snow pants and have sundresses for our time in Montana.

Here's how good our God is ONCE again!!!!  A beautiful lady named Carol from Gresham showed up last weekend and brought MANY MANY things that are packed and ready to go for CSI.  This is the ministry that we will be spending our first week in Uganda with, and they are putting together a crusade and many of the things they requested Carol was able to bring right to our door ready to go. This is just another testimony of God's provision!!!

We have about another 150 lbs to pack!  I have a list of various items that have been requested by Redeemer House.  I have had minor (or major) anxiety about getting these last things together.  It's ridiculous because God always provides EXACTLY what is needed.

I'm going to post a list of the items requested and leave a drop box outside my front door and at our church.  Whatever ends up in those boxes is what the Lord intends to GO.....anything not in those boxes by Thursday afternoon will not be needed.  :)

girls underwear and sports type bras - teenage girls size
socks (red if possible - this is what they need for school)
children's books - for all ages
DVD's( RH is  getting a TV for Christmas)
Any new toys(building blocks, big trucks/cars, etc.)
bath towels, hand towels and wash clothes
school supplies of all kinds
cooking utensils (serving spoons) and eating utensils of any assortment.
organization bins. - the cloth type like the one pictured below are the easiest to pack.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

He Funds What He Favors

This is one of my most dreaded topics. 
 The finances of a mission trip, especially one that involves taking 7 of our family members across the world. 
There is nothing that seems to raise eyebrows faster than when people think of the cost of a trip like this.

I had to search my heart and make sure I was not writing this post to
 "explain ourselves". 
 I don't feel like I need to do that as much anymore. 
 *trust me, that alone took an act of God*

I have felt like the Lord was asking me to testify, to give encouragement and a testimony of what He has done.


 Nobody should disqualify themselves for doing what the Lord lays on their heart because He is faithful to equip us with everything good that we need to do His will!

Hebrews 13:20-21English Standard Version (ESV)

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us[a] that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (emphasis added by me)

The way to sum up what I have learned through this journey of stepping out in faith for adoption or missions is that
 "God funds the things He favors."

We have NEVER had the money just sitting in our account waiting for us to decide what to do with it.  I hope someday God chooses to do it this way, but so far, with us, we feel the "call"  long before we ever  have the money to do it.

I remember the first time this was soooooooooooo clear to me. 
 When we knew Esther was our daughter and we just needed to adopt her. 
 We happen to be in the midst of the WORST financial wreck we have ever experienced.

 I told the Lord we would adopt her as soon as He cleared up our financial situation. 
He, thankfully was patient and did not wipe me off the planet for telling Him what to do, but instead He impressed on my heart even stronger that we were to adopt NOW in the midst of the financial situation. 
 It was an impossible situation, but not impossible for HIM!     

I have learned that we may not have any extra money, but our heavenly Father has it all, and He loves to pick up the tab when we are acting out of obedience.

We are still not a pretty financial picture, according to the world, but I can tell you I would rather use every dime
 rather than trying to figure out how to provide for ourselves. 
 We have tried that, and it never turns out well. 

I won't give specifics of how He provides because there is no formula, it has been different every single time.
I will say that He has been completely faithful, and every time He does it totally different and  His provision always comes after we have stepped out in faith and said YES in some way. 

 I know this is to remind us that it is HIM, and we have NOT cracked the code somehow.

Hebrews 11:29English Standard Version (ESV)

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

We know better than to ever take this lightly and we must seek HIM every single time, not just
 "jump in"
 on our own.

  His provision may be different every time, but He is faithful and NEVER changes.
The mission may be different every time, but His purpose is ALWAYS the same.

*********HIS GLORY*********

Romans 11:36English Standard Version (ESV)

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.To him be glory forever. Amen.

If the only "mission" we do there is to allow God to open our families eyes and hearts to more of HIM and His world and His people and to grow closer and in more awe of Him,

  I think it is the most amazing thing God has ever allowed me to be a part of and I can't wait to share it with my kids.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Our Team to Uganda 2014

Charlie and I!
This will be Charlie's 6th trip.  He loves it in Uganda.  His first trip there was in May of 2010 with my brother in law, Justin, and Lashae and a team of people.  God did a work in Charlie on that trip that his forever changed him. 
 His heart was broken and encouraged in crazy ways.
  He fell in love with the people and the land and the culture on his very first trip.  He often talks about how the people don't have all the material things, but when they know the Lord they are rich and they know it.
They know the true meaning of living by faith.

This is my 4th trip to Uganda.  I have good friends there, that I love so much.
I love the weather and the people and the simplicity of life.   I love going there and feeling like anything I do can make a difference.
 I love the feeling of "being on mission" and letting the Lord lead the way on a moment to moment basis. 
 There is such a realization of how small we are and how big God is when I am stepping out in faith and getting out of my comfort zone and fully depending on Him.
  It's a strange thing to me because I have yet to feel good when I'm there,  I just don't travel all that well I guess, but my heart just keeps drawing me back.
 I'm praying already that I feel good this time, which would be such a God thing because I'm also going to be 7 months pregnant. 
This is Brenda.  She is a sweet friend of mine.   Brenda and I did a Bible study together this Fall with our church.  On the very last week of our Bible study series Brenda told me she wanted to go to Uganda.
  I could see it in her eye that she was serious, she has a mission that God is calling her to. 
 The very next day she called me and she bought her ticket and was on her way.  The Lord has been confirming to her in many ways that it was totally His prompting that has led her to go and she has stepped out in faith in a big way, and He is already blessing her obedience.

Charsie is ready to GO!
She was ready the minute we landed back at home 2 years ago.
  She went with Charlie and I, 2 years ago and she is ready to roll.  She loves everything about going.  She loves Jesus, she loves sharing Him with people all over the world,  and she loves loves loves kids and has a gift with people.  Charsie loves to travel and she is not timid about stepping out of her comfort zone.

This is Maddie.
  This is a sweet sweet Montana girl that our family has fallen head over heals in love with.  
Maddie is the same age as Charsie.  Lashae has been friends with Maddie since the day they moved to Laurel. 
 Lashae has been discipling Maddie and they have both grown in the Lord through their relationship.  Lashae's mission on this trip is to keep Maezie for us, and to help Maddie get ready and pray for us. 
 Lashae has an incredible gift of prayer and that girl is ON MISSION with us in a huge way.
Maddie has a giant heart and I can't wait to see what the Lord is doing with her on this trip.
Good thing we are going where it is warm because she already blesses our socks off!!!

Esther is our Ugandan daughter.  She came home to be our daughter 3 1/2 years ago, and this is her first trip back to Uganda.  She is excited! 
 She looks forward to the food and the friends she left behind at Redeemer House.
I know she is excited to go, but I also know she will be very excited to come back home.  :)  She has been rooted deeply in her family and friends and community here and I'm so thankful to know that she can visit, but know that this is where the Lord has brought her.

Luke is excited to go!  Luke is a trooper and a helper and a will participant 100% in everything we do.
   Luke will do great there and has been looking forward to his turn to go!! 
 He is excited to experience and see all the things and meet all the people that we talk about so often.

Mik is excited to go to Africa.  
He knows it's going to be different than where he is from, but excited for the chance to go.
He is hoping the next time we GO, we get to go to Ethiopia.
  He will be so good at keeping the "team" accounted for.  He never loses track of where people are, and I appreciate that gift in him so much.
Reece is full of the Holy Spirit and he will tell you all about it.  He knows his life changed when he got baptized this year. 
 He doesn't quite understand it all, but he will let you know that he has been "bathtized" and he is pretty much an invincible superhero now. 
 In his young mind and heart He knows Jesus and he prays with faith!!!

This is Simon.
  He will be with us from the moment we land until we fly home again.  He is our Ugandan son. 
 This kid gave his life to the Lord on Charlie's first trip there and then 2 years ago Charlie got to baptize him.  We have been able to support Simon through school the last 4 years. 
 We love this kid and we are so proud of him. 
 When I offered to bring whatever he needs to bless him the people in his life, he gave me a few ideas and then he said, "Mom, people mainly need the Word of God". 
That's what we all need.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

He Proposed After 25 Years of Marriage

Happy Anniversary!
25 years ago today.

Charlie was very sweet and had a surprise all ready for me on Sunday morning. 
 As I arrived at church, 24 people each handed me a red rose (I had no idea what was going on), and  at the start of the service, Charlie got up to do announcements and handed me a white rose and called me up to the front and made an official public proposal down on one knee.

 It was very sweet and embarrassing. 
 It's a good thing I have 25 years of maturity in this relationship because I do not like these kinds of things, but I've grown up a little and I wasn't even mad.  
I was touched and embarrassed, but mostly touched for his courage  and thoughtfulness.  
I love my man!!! 
He's a bit on the wild side, but I love him for it.

Song of Solomon 5:10-16The Message (MSG)

The Woman

My dear lover glows with health—

    red-blooded, radiant!

He’s one in a million.

    There’s no one quite like him!

My golden one, pure and untarnished,
    with raven (silver)black curls tumbling across his shoulders.
His eyes are like doves, soft and bright,
    but deep-set, brimming with meaning, like wells of water.
His face is rugged, his beard smells like sage,
    His voice, his words, warm and reassuring.
Fine muscles ripple beneath his skin,
    quiet and beautiful.
His torso is the work of a sculptor,
    hard and smooth as ivory.
He stands tall, like a cedar,
    strong and deep-rooted,
A rugged mountain of a man,
    aromatic with wood and stone.
His words are kisses, his kisses words.
    Everything about him delights me, thrills me
        through and through!
That’s my lover, that’s my man,

    dear Jerusalem sisters.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Anniversary!! Years 20-25

Happy Anniversary 

Years 20-25

I would sum up these years as the "pruning" years.

We got pruned in every way known to man...Charlie even got physically pruned.
But, after the physical pruning (hand injury) and during the "everything else pruning"  we have been bearing children fruit.  

When Charlie cut his hand, my brother-in-law Justin said,
"Well, he didn't cut it off, so he must be bearing fruit." 
And he sent this verse:

John 15:2 English Standard Version (ESV)

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

That happened about a month before our 20th wedding anniversary.
Since the last 5 has been a crazy amount of pruning and fruit bearing.

Our fruit usually comes in the form of more people.  :) 

We experienced A LOT of firsts in these 5 years.

First kid to graduate, first adoption, first married child, first grand-baby.
Once we did the first of all these things...we quickly got seconds
 (except for the married child, we still only have 1 of those).

In February of 2011(I was pregnant with Maezie and was keeping it quiet) and  we went to Uganda to go to court to adopt Esther.

In March of 2011 Charlie brought Esther home.

July 2011 Charlie walked Lashae down the isle and gave our daughter in marriage to our wonderful son-in-law, Chaney.

In September 2011 we had Maezie Ann-Grace Brewer.

In 2012 Kole graduated from high school and went away to college.

When Kole came home for Spring Break in his first year of college he brought home his best buddy from school.
 Kole and Claiborne called each other 
 Claiborne, naturally became one of ours.  

May 2013 we adopted Mikiyas William Brewer.

In 2012 Lashae and Chaney had our first grand-baby, 
Maubry Ann Bowen
 and in 2014 they had our second grand baby,
Shawnie Grace Bowen.
I LOVE all our fruit peeps so much.

None of this would be possible without the complete and continuous grace of God.
He gives us what we don't deserve every single day.

The thing I know about "bearing fruit".  It has nothing to do with is God who makes it happen, all we can do is abide in Him and He creates fruit in our lives that we can

John 15:4English Standard Version (ESV)

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

We are celebrating 25 years with another baby on board and we are