Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It looks like my two previous blogs repeat each other. Even though they do, its what I've clung to the last week. Since we made the decison to stay longer, its been a roller coaster. Read on...
This week the world turned upside down, with the news that my mother in law has cancer, again.

I won’t go into details, but its grim.

And so the questions we all ask roll through our minds. Why? To what end?

The accusations and anger boils as we say to ourselves, hasn’t she given enough of her herself for the kingdom? Isn’t 25 years in the bush in Africa enough? Can’t she find some grace, some mercy in it all? WHERE IS THE JUSTICE? Where is the healing?

I have taken rest in an unusual passage. A friend pointed me to it this summer.

For those of you rusty in your Old Testament history, Elisha has some friends. This childless couple builds him an extra room and he camps out there, perhaps for a long period of time. He wants to bless them, he promises a son, unasked.

This woman has the son, and one day he dies. Calmly, she saddles her donkey and goes into town. As Elisha sees her, he send out his servant to discover what’s wrong.

And all the woman says to the servants penetrating questions is, “Everything is alright.” Or as in some versions, “It is well”. In good modern vernacular we would say, “Its all good.”

Her son has just died and “It is well.”

My friend told me about this, and it took me three times to read the story to find it. It’s such a small statement, its easy to miss. But I think it’s a major point of the story. My addition to this story is this.

We don’t know if she asked for the son or not. But, God gave her a son. I believe she knew It is Well, because God was the one who gave her the son, and whatever happened, everything was His to begin with.

I didn’t ask for my ministry in Spain. It was given to me. And the error of my thoughts is the in the first sentence in this paragraph, its not my ministry. My mother in law isn’t mine, she’s God’s.

Many of our gifts come unbidden, unasked for. But we develop this powerful attachment and when things change or go “wrong” we suddenly think they are ours to have always.

So, I take rest in that, “Everything is Ok”. And I take rest in knowing God owns all the cattle on a thousand hills, and is in ultimate control. I take rest knowing that an all powerful, all sovereign God knows what is best for me, my mother in law and so much more. It is well.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We had to make one of the most difficult decisions we've had this year, do we stay or do we go?

Our tickets back to Spain were orginally scheduled for August 19th, this past Tuesday. Last week realized slowly that we were still 885 dollars undersupported, that we needed more support, and that we couldn't do it in just a weeks time.

I was exhausted beyound all recognition. I had been traveling every week for 7 weeks, living out of a suitcase. I have been on 8 plane flights this summer, driven over 39 hours on road trips and been in 8 states. I've slept in too many beds and woken up at least one night wondering where in the heck I was.

It was so hard as a result to process through all the facts and make a logical decision. Clouding my judgement was the fact that I just wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed before things got insanely busy back in Spain.

I love what I do. I love living in Spain, speaking Spanish, leading worship, teaching English, translating songs, writing a book, seeing the world through European eyes, weeping with, laughing with, caring for my friends, my husband, my co workers, and my students, both International and Spanish.

And so, making the decision to stay here, to continue to hit the pavement to tell others about our ministry, to talk about our ministry until we are exhausted and long to return to it, didn't sound like fun to me.

On top of it, I knew I was exhausted when I went to talk to different people, and a two hour long conversation drained everything from me.

Enough complaining. God was faithful to give me some good friends to encourage me. One friend reminded me of the Shummamite woman and Elijah. Her son dies, she doesn't freak out, she says, everything is ok.

I had to read the passage several times to find that statement. But she did. She said it was ok. I don't know where she took her peace from, but she knew that son was from God, and He was going to take care of the situation. She didn't even ask for him, but he was given to her, and God was going to take care of him.

I didn't ask for all this, this ministry. I didn't ask to be in worship, to write a book, to teach English. I didn't ask to go to Spain, to live in Granada. God gave it to me, He gave it to Andrew and me. Andrew didn't ask to be a youth leader, run sound, dream big dreams, develop a church, counsel a pastor, pray for impossible things, live in a loud university town. God gave it all to us.

And when He wants us to return, He'll give it back. Everything is Ok.

Monday, August 11, 2008

So, I'm back on the blogging board...back to some demand.

The reason the blog has remained fairly empty is that I am writing, just not on my blog. I've reverted back to my college days and gotten an old fashioned 50 cent journal from Walmart and I'm writing my book in it. Its a modest, red, cardboard covered journal that really did cost only 50 cents.

It somehow been very inspiring to pick up pen and use paper for the first time in a very long time. I've had a great time laying out the book and now slowly working out it. I'm also finding airplanes to be a great source of inspiration.

So, I'll try to put some excerpts up later this week. I"ve got a ton to do...so I'll my best.
Andrew wrote this today, and I thought I'd post it.

Dear Friends and Family,

Hi from Chicago! After a whirlwind trip through Atlanta, Mississippi, Kentucky and Houston, Texas, we are back in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. We've spoken in churches, met with financial partners, been to a wedding, a family reunion and have seen God provide for us all the way.

In Chicago, a wonderful couple from Naperville EV Free Church has given us their basement apartment to use for as long as we need it. Another couple have loaned us their car while we're here too. A business man from Houston pledged to financially partner with us and then introduced us to a few of his friends and business partners! Some of them have also decided to partner with us! What a blessing!

When we first returned to the States in July, we had been under-supported by $1300 per month for the previous eight months. We even had to borrow from our mission's emergency fund to meet our needs. Since we've been back we have received $2430 in one-time gifts. This has been a huge blessing and it is helping us to pay back what we owe the mission.

Thus far $160 has been pledged as NEW monthly support. This leaves us under-supported by $1140 per month. A few people have committed to financial partnership with us but have not yet told us how much they will contribute monthly. If the amount is within the normal range of our monthly gifts ($26-$52 per month) we will still be significantly under-supported.

Our tickets to return to Spain are on the 19th of August and are unchangeable. We are praying about purchasing new tickets to return to Spain sometime in September in order to give us more opportunities to speak in churches and meet prospective financial partners here in the Chicago area. We need to bring our monthly financial support up to, or close to the 100 percent mark.

The rub is that each ticket costs $900. We have two options:

1. We fly back to Spain on the 19th of August under-supported trusting the Lord to raise our support while we back in Spain.
2. We spend an extra $1800 on plane tickets to stay in the States for another month trusting the Lord will help us raise our support level through our contacts in the Chicago area.

Please pray:

-That we will hear, this week, from those that have pledged support, how much they will be contributing on a monthly basis.

-For the $1800 or donated air-miles to purchase new tickets back to Spain at the end of September if that is the Lord's will.

-For patience as we wait on the Lord's provision.

-For peace in this time of uncertainty.

Thank you so much for all your prayers, gifts and encouragement.

Love in Christ,

Andrew...for both of us.

Andrew and Jamie Leonhard

U.S. Phone: 630-217-5649

Action International Ministries (ACTION), PO Box 398,
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043-0398

Phone: (425) 775-4800

Web: www.actionintl.org