Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fully Supported on All Fronts

Whew!  It's only been a few weeks since my last post here, but there's so much to share about!  I do apologize for not updating this blog a little bit more regularly.  My personal goal is to do it about every 2 weeks.  I know that there are some out there who write every other day, but I figure that for me every couple of weeks is good.  But I digress...

Christmas.  For so many people there are so many thoughts and emotions that come to mind when Christmas is mentioned.  For myself there are several memories that spring into focus when I think about Christmas.  Good memories.  For me, Christmas was never about Santa or that mystical land of imagination.  Right from day one it was always made clear to us children that Christmas was the time of year when we celebrated the birth of Jesus.  This isn't to say that we didn't enjoy getting presents or that presents weren't a huge source of excitement and anticipation every year.  They were.  One particular Christmas springs to mind.  I would have probably been about 12-ish years old.  Not so old that the super super fun fun energy energy mode that grips so many children at Christmas had begun to leave me, but old enough to have several great memories of Christmas's gone bye to stoke my fire.

For us, Christmas Eve was a great evening when we would all pile into the vehicle and drive the 5 1/2 miles into town to attend our church's Christmas Eve service.  If I'm being honest, for me attending the service was a little bit of a necessary evil.  Not that I thought it was evil (I actually really enjoyed those services), but I was always so psyched for what came after the service that it was hard to slow down my raging thoughts and extreme excitement and focus on the service.  After the service it was always an excited wait in the church foyer as my Dad insisted on saying "Hi!" to every last person who had attended the service that evening.  Once Dad had tortured us enough in this cruel fashion, we all piled back into the Suburban and headed home.  On Christmas Eve our tradition was always to invite another family over for the evening and we would often enjoy skating out on my parents dugout by bonfire light, followed by hot chocolate, candy, baked goodies and board games until late in the night.  The purpose of this was twofold.  First, to enjoy a fun time of food and fellowship with friends, and two, to get us kids supremely tired so that when we were put to bed we would almost immediately drop off to sleep.  If my parents were lucky, we would be tired enough that our excitement would not awaken us the next morning until at least 7:30 - 8:00 and they would get to sleep "in".

The Christmas that I am thinking about, this tactic utterly failed me.  I went to sleep late that night, and woke up a few hours later, wakened by the frantical excitement that was raging through my small body.  I remember getting up enough to look at my clock (we weren't allowed into the living room until everyone was up) in the desperate hope that I had indeed slept in and I was the last one to awaken.  Alas it was not so.  My clock read something like 5:30am.  To say that I was hugely disappointed by this news is a mammoth understatement.  This meant that I had to come up with a way to pass the next hour and a half silently lying in bed as I waited for the household to awaken, but not allowing my excitement to vibrate my small body off the bed and break a bone or something.  In my 12 year old wisdom, I decided to count.  First, I did some basic math.  60 seconds in a minute X approximately 90 minutes = 5400 seconds.  I started counting.  To take my mind off of the thought of presents downstairs waiting for me to come and claim, I focused on counting at one count per second so that my math would work out.  5400 counts later, I turned my head to check my clock again (I actually didn't cheat and look at it earlier in all that time).  7:07!!!!  Hooray!!!  My Mom brings up this story at least twice a year whenever I comment on the excitement level of my kids on Christmas Eve.

For me, Christmas is a time filled with really good times and fun memories with my family.  This year was a little bit different, but in a good way.  This year our thoughts were very much on our support level for MAF as Christmas approached.  It didn't look as though we would make the elusive 100% mark before Christmas, but good things were happening and we were feeling encouraged about it.  Then things really started to happen.  About one week before Christmas, we received an email from MAF which contained information about the state of our financial support.  When I input the new numbers, the little box in the corner said "100.3%"  My heart did a little flip inside my chest and I read it again.  100.3%.  I called Karen over, and we had a great little impromptu celebration in front of our computer.  This news really was a great early Christmas gift for us.  It allowed us to be able to slow down and take the time to really enjoy this last Christmas with our families.  This isn't to say that there wasn't an emotional time or two over these last days, because there was.  On Christmas morning, I went to give my Mom a hug a wish her Merry Christmas.  As I hugged my mother tight it struck me that next Christmas I won't be able to do that.  Tears were shed, a moment was taken to compose ourselves again, and on we went with our day.

As we now turn our thoughts and efforts to all of the little things that need to be done before we leave for Uganda, it feels a little bit like another insurmountable mountain.  Deciding what to store here, what to get rid of, and what to package for shipping is one task.  Setting up our house in Rycroft with a good renter is another.  All the little things.  Oh yeah, there is one thing more that I should mention.  All throughout the past year, our outgoing support has lagged behind where we imagined that it should be.  The last few months have been amazing in that regard as well, and just today I got another of those emails, and after the latest numbers were punched in, our outgoing fund is now just over 100% as well!  Praise the Lord, we are fully supported!  These numbers do include pledged support that has not yet been received, but up to this point we haven't had even a little bit of trouble with that.

As we ponder last year and consider what the year to come has in store for us, there are a lot of unknowns.  We have read and learned a lot about Uganda and what our life there may be like.  On the other hand, we know that everything that we read is from the perspective from others, and our own perspective will probably be a little different.  We are moving to the other side of the world ("The Flip Side" if you will), and none of us have ever set foot in Africa before.  All these things translate into something that could be quite intimidating and a little fearful if it were not for one thing.  We serve a great God.  He has called us to do this and He will be there with us all of the way.  Because of this, we look forward with nervous excitement to the year that is to come!

My 12 year old Christmas???  I don't remember anything else about it, but I do know for sure that it was worth the wait!

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