Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Once Upon a Courtship (part 3)

It had been a long and life-changing six months in Bolivia, overflowing with both trials and blessings. On January 3rd, however, I was at last on a plane bound for Texas! I couldn't wait to see my parents again, to breath the air of America, to revel in the beauty of our lovely house, to eat favorite foods, and to play our piano to my heart's content! Soul-weary and in need of refreshing, I was excited beyond words to return home. Truly, there is no place like it!

My first day back was just like I had dreamed it would be every day while so far away in South America. Mom and Dad met me at the airport where there was much hugging, picture snapping, tear wiping, and the usual non-stop chatter that accompanies such a joyful reunion! Then, while Dad returned to work, Mom and I spent the day at home catching up on all the news as well as much needed rest in the form of afternoon naps for both of us.

After dinner that evening, Dad announced that he and Mom had something to give me and asked me to join them in the living room. "Does this gift have to do with Christmas?" I asked, since the holidays had so recently come and gone. "No," my dad replied. "This has nothing to do with Christmas. It's something that's been in the works now for about two and a half months."

My curiosity was immediately piqued by this description of the gift. What could he mean by two and a half months? I didn't have to wonder long because Mom soon came in carrying a giant scrapbook. On the cover were pictures of flowers and on each page inside she had glued special memorabilia of milestones from my life and people I had touched. Suddenly, I understood my dad's description! For the past couple of months, Mom had been cleaning out closets and de-cluttering the house in preparation for home renovations like new carpeting and a fresh coat of paint on the walls. In the cleaning-out process, she had come across all this memorabilia and wanted to preserve it for me in a meaningful way.

I was quite touched by her sweet efforts and enjoyed paging through the book, oohing and ahhing over each item she had thought to include. She followed the flower theme all the way through, decorating each page accordingly, based on a special conversation we had had while I was in Bolivia. When I reached the last page, there was a letter with my name on it tucked inside a pocket of paper. Naturally, I assumed the letter was from my parents, although I did find it strange that it said Miss Katrina Rebsch in computer calligraphy since my parents never use my last name when addressing a letter to me. I also thought it strange the way they were smiling at me. I couldn't exactly put my finger on the reason why, but their smiles prompted me to think that something mysterious was going on...

I slit the envelope open and immediately noticed that the letter was not from my parents. The handwriting was completely unfamiliar. It began with these words:

"Dear Katrina,
You do not know me, but I hope you won't let that stop you from reading further."

Well, I did stop momentarily, but only because I was so utterly stunned! In a flash of understanding, I realized that the letter I held in my hand was from a young man. A quick glance down the page revealed his name: Nathan Britton. My dad's comment about this gift being two and a half months in process, my parents' smiles...it was all starting to make sense. A handwritten letter from a young man like this presented in such a way by my parents could only mean one thing in my household.

I gulped and kept reading.

Dear Katrina,

You do not know me, but I hope you won't let that stop you from reading further. You never know what you might find with the next stroke of the pen (and I actually am using a pen!).

Let me introduce myself. My name is Nathan Britton. I am just a regular guy with a spectacular God. For as long as I've known them, my parents have been involved with ministry in Michigan where they raised me, my four brothers, and three sisters. I moved to Texas in August of 2009 to work toward a Master in Theology degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. Yes, they have a Houston extension site. Oh, and I am single. :-)

Currently, I continue the studies while working full time at First Baptist Church of Katy as assistant to the pastor. My desire is to serve the Lord with every aspect of life; to be wasted for the purpose of His glory. I have a call to ministry, specifically as a pastor, and one day would like to train pastors in places where they do not have easy access to such training.

Enough about me, I want to hear about you! Unfortunately, the paper isn't talking back to me. I suppose, though, you're wondering why I'm writing you; perhaps you're even asking why I even know who you are? Well, that's simple. You're famous! And besides that, I go to church with the Hebert family who decided that I should meet you and, thus, put me in touch with your dad.

Since then, I have been so encouraged by all of the things that I have learned about you (fyi: your blog is quite good!). Your heart for missions is truly inspiring, and your desire to live a life of ministry is very rare these days. The display of Christ in you is very evident, and the character of God beautifully shines forth in your life. Though I have never met you, it seems as if I know you, at least a little, and have been praying for you often.

Let me be blunt. I would love to meet you, Katrina! I have nothing further to ask in this letter, but that you would prayerfully consider allowing me to be another flower in your life whatever that may look like (in the end, it is in the hands of our God).

Katrina, welcome home! I pray that the Lord will richly bless you with an ever-growing understanding of Christ Himself, and that He will keep you safe as He leads you forward.

I hope to meet you in person soon! (From all I've learned, I know you'll be way more interesting to talk to than this piece of paper.) :-)

Sincerely and in His Grace,
Nathan Britton

P.S. You can thank your sister for the gerber daisies

At that point, my mom hopped off the couch where she had been sitting beside me and hurried out to the garage. Within seconds, she came in carrying a vase that contained four, beautiful pink gerber daisies; a gift from Nathan to accompany the letter. (The post script indicated he had been in touch with my sister in regards to my favorite flowers - and delivered accordingly!)

To describe to you how I felt in that moment and all the thoughts that were racing through my head as I scrambled to process what was happening...well, I'm just not sure there are words to do it justice. A young man like this was interested in me? And he had already been in touch with my dad? And he had taken the time to write me a six-page, handwritten letter of introduction on parchment paper and buy me flowers?

I was having a hard time taking it all in. Excited, shocked, blessed, curious, speechless; those might be a few words to describe the experience. It's a good thing I like surprises, because this was the biggest one of my life!

As soon as I found my voice again, I plied my parents with questions! And they, still grinning from ear to ear like Cheshire cats, were most happy to oblige!

It had all started three months previously around the dinner table at the home of mutual friends, the Hebert family. They had invited over two brothers from their church to share a meal and fellowship. During the conversation that night, the younger of the brothers, Nathan, was questioned about his relationship status. When he replied that he was "sadly single," they asked why he didn't have a girlfriend. He said that he had not found the right girl yet; someone who shared his love for the Lord, his desire for a life of full-time ministry, and his conservative beliefs/values. Upon hearing this, the Heberts immediately thought of me and said to Nathan, "You need to meet Katrina!" He mentioned that he was all in favor of meeting people! "The only problem is, she's doing mission work in Bolivia right now. But we'd be happy to put you in touch with her dad!" Nathan agreed that contacting a girl's father first was a good way to do things, and was more than willing to take that step.

At that, Mr. Hebert, who is not only a cunning matchmaker (as we have now learned), but also my dad's boss, wasted no time in dashing off an email to him - right then and there!

"How old is Katrina and when is she coming home? We found her a husband.
Stats: 25 years old, 6' 1", one of 8 home schooled kids. BA in Political Science from Hillsdale, currently doing a ThM at Dallas Seminary. Looking for a conservative woman, open to Christian work, home schooling, large family, theologically conservative."

(*Note - when I read this email much later in the story, I couldn't help but laugh! If that doesn't sound like an ad for a mail-order bride, I don't know what does! Let me assure you it was more a reflection of Mr. Hebert's humor than Nathan's chivalrous way of stating things!)

My dad immediately emailed back a favorable response with a request for more information. And so it was, that the young, handsome, and sadly single Nathan Britton left that night with the blog address of a girl in South America, the contact information for her father, and a glimmer of hope in his heart.

It wasn't long before he contacted my dad and they arranged to meet for breakfast. Dad was quite impressed with Nathan that first conversation; he seemed to be a young man of character with a good head on his shoulders and a striking amount of commonalities with the daughter down in Bolivia. However, before proceeding forward, my dad asked Nathan to seriously pray over the next two weeks and seek God's will about the possibility of pursuing something further with me. He also encouraged Nathan to read my blog and begin getting to know me as much as possible through that means.

I had signed an agreement as part of my volunteer covenant with Casa de Amor that I would not engage in any romantic relationships during the six months term of service to which I was committed. My dad informed Nathan of this fact and explained that he would therefore have to hold off from having any form of contact with me personally until I returned home, but that he was more than welcome to interact with my family in the meanwhile.

Nathan did as my dad asked. After two weeks of earnest prayer and many, many late nights spent reading every word of my blog, he was more than ready to move forward by getting to know my family. My dad made arrangements for him to come over for a meal so he could meet my mom and my sister, who, it turned out, had surprised everyone by flying into town for November birthdays and Thanksgiving. A good friend of mine was also present for that lunch. They all enjoyed meeting Nathan, and bombarded him with dozens of questions during lunch (naturally!). They liked what they learned and he, in turn, enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with my family.

Somewhere in this process, my dad had another private conversation with Nathan during which time he asked him all the tough questions he asks any potential suitor. It's part of his screening process and gives him a good indication of where a young man stands morally and if he has the ability to support a family or not. Nathan passed this part of the "Dad interview" with flying colors!

The next challenge my dad issued forth was for Nathan to make phone calls to various close friends of our family to ask questions about me and continue getting to know me indirectly until the time would come when we could meet in person. Never one to back down from a challenge, Nathan did as my dad suggested. Perhaps a peek into their email exchange at this point will give you a glimpse of what was transpiring, while I was busy caring for children in Cochabamba!


Sounds like you have been on the phone. Pastor Taylor and Jim Loo mentioned your calls when I saw them at church. Not sure who, if anyone else, you have talked to but I hope you are discovering new things about Katrina. Doesn't hurt for others close to our family to get to know you also. My wife and I continue to pray for God's direction in your life.
Mr. Rebsch


Mr Rebsch! Yes, I have been learning all kinds of wonderful new things about Katrina. Everyone that I've spoke to thus far has given a glowing report of Katrina and your family. I spoke with Cindy Powell, Pastor Taylor, and Jim Loo. I left a message with the Riddell family, asking for Tara's number, but I have not heard back from them yet.

I've had some wonderful conversations. I really appreciated Mr. Loo and his thoughts and insights. It is nice to see that you have such committed and God honoring friends!

I continue in prayer! I will not move without the Lord going before me, and, of course, your permission. With that said, I certainly believe that getting to know your family and close friends is healthy and the right thing for me to do right now, and so I will continue under your guidance. Thank you so much for the prayers!


It wasn't long before December had arrived and with it, Nathan's younger sister, Elizabeth, in town for a Christmas visit. My parents invited the three Brittons over for a meal, allowing them their first meeting some of Nathan's family. To say they had a wonderful time would be an understatement! A few days later, my parents were, in turn, invited to a Christmas celebration the Britton siblings hosted for a few close friends. At that party, they had the opportunity to see Nathan's fun-loving side on full display as he led games for the event. They were also quite captivated with the musical talent that was evident in his family as the evening included much singing and impressive piano playing ability demonstrated by Nathan's brother, Joel. My mom was especially excited to see this musical side shine forth as she has always prayed that God would bring me a musical husband!

All was going wonderfully well. Nathan's Godly character, solid faith, fun-loving personality, and likeminded views on life had convinced my parents, after several months of interaction and prayer, that he might very well be God's man for me. However, they knew nothing could be certain until we had had the chance to meet and spend time getting to know one another in person!

So then the fun began of figuring out the best way to introduce his existence to me upon my arrival home. After everyone (including my sister and her husband who had remained in contact with Nathan via email) went 'round and 'round with a host of ideas, the decision was made by joint brainstorming contributions that the old-fashioned, romantic side of Katrina would love to receive a handwritten letter. Nathan thought flowers would be a nice touch as well.

And so it was that I now found myself sitting on the living room couch, listening to this incredible story that had been unfolding for three months completely unbeknownst to me, and trying desperately to believe this was really happening!

Surreal doesn't even begin to describe it. I had never felt so honored as I felt that night. Honored, first of all, that a young man of this caliber was interested in me, without even having met me! Honored that he willingly approached my dad first, of his own initiative, in order to make his interests known. Honored (and blown away) by the fact that he was willing to call perfect strangers in order to ask questions and get to know me better. And honored by the chivalrous way he had gently introduced himself into my life. Did these kind of stories really still happen?
It was so much to absorb!

After much talk in our living room that night, including a phone call with my sister, my parents showed me pictures of Nathan, emails he had written them, and sermons of him preaching. The more I learned about this young man, the more impressed I was with him.

I went to bed that night, my thoughts spinning. I think the only reason I slept at all was due to sheer exhaustion from international travel...otherwise, I'm sure I would have laid awake all night! As it was, I spent a lot of time that evening and the next morning processing this incredible turn of events and the fact that a guy like Nathan Britton still existed in the world. Hope had been re-awakend in my heart, and I was completely in awe of God.

The next logical step was to meet this amazing young man who had waited so patiently for my homecoming and find out if he was the one for whom I had been waiting and praying all these years...

(To be continued...)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Once Upon a Courtship (part 2)

In August of 2010, I packed my bags and headed down to the Rio Grande Bible Institute for a year of intensive Spanish studies at the missionary language school. Those of you who follow my blog may remember that my year at RGBI was one of the best of of my life. However, what many of you probably don't know is that it was also a season of testing in an area of life in which I had never been tested before: relationships with young men.

I had exhorted teenage girls in areas of purity, how to deal with premature attractions/crushes, the importance of waiting for the right guy, and many such similar topics. But as I was about to find out, I was really quite naïve and untried when it came to actually living out these principles.

For a girl who's never had anyone "like" her in a special way before (at least, that she knew about) it's a very powerful and flattering feeling to have a handsome, Godly young man come along and sweep her off her feet with attention, compliments, and the obvious desire to marry her as soon as possible. But just because this happens, doesn't mean that it's God's will.

I can say with all honesty that I wanted God's will and sought for it carefully. Nevertheless, infatuation can have many blind spots. Such was the case in my life when a fellow student at school made his interests known.

He was a seminary student from South America, saved from a troublesome past and walking closely with the Lord in a bright present, with future plans to be a pastor back in his home country. His kindness caught my eye and his immediate attentions made me dizzy with hope at the possibility that maybe this was the man I had been waiting for!

To keep the story somewhat brief, it wasn't long before we entered the beginning stages of a get-to-know-you relationship with serious intentions. My parents had come down to meet him, and while they gave me their approval to continue forward, they had legitimate concerns in a number of areas. I valued their counsel, but after a week of prayer and fasting and feeling like God had given a green light to proceed forward, I blissfully assumed all would work itself out in time.

However, as he and I engaged in more discussions (all in Spanish mind you, so sometimes the help of a translator was necessary for my faltering language abilities) it became evident that we were very different in several key areas of belief. At the beginning, it had seemed we were similar enough to make things work, but as time passed and I asked more specific questions, I grew more and more uncomfortable with what I was learning about him. It became obvious that if I were to marry this guy one day, I would have to compromise convictions in areas of theology, worship, and family life.

Around the time I began to notice the growing discomfort and unrest in my soul over this relationship, counsel was given by a number of trusted advisors, including my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and close friends. Some of this counsel I sought out and some of it was voluntarily given to me at their own initiation. All of it was the same and included major red flags.

Despite everything, I still wrestled. A battle raged between my emotions and my logic. Questions flooded my mind all the time. What are convictions vs. preferences? What are factors that are unreconcilable and what are differences that can be worked through? Am I being too close-minded about various issues? Would he be willing to change his mind on certain things? Wasn't it God who had led into this relationship? Why would He now be leading out of it? What if we do call things off and nobody ever wants to marry me again? Is it better to go forward with this guy and make things work or stay single forever?

On and on the whirlwind continued. I barely slept for a week and ate very little. The knots in my stomach increased in intensity and the unrest in my soul mounted.

Finally, at the end of that miserable week, after a lot of time spent talking to the Lord and to my parents and thinking about the multitude of counsel I had received, I knew what I had to do. I had to surrender this man and this relationship and all the hopes and dreams attached to it. Even though I didn't know what the future would hold, it was a matter of trusting God. He was undoubtedly leading this relationship to an end and testing my willingness to make a sacrifice out of obedience. The story of Abraham and Isaac was on my mind a lot that week.

Calling things off with this young man was one of the hardest decisions I ever made, yet I knew it was the right one. And afterward, the peace and relief that flooded my soul was indescribable!

One of my worries when things started to get rocky in our relationship was the pain that was sure to come if we broke things off. I had developed this idea that pain and hurt was to be avoided at all costs and that guarding your heart and waiting for the right guy was the way to live pain-free in the relationship department. What I failed to understand is that even while getting to know someone with the purpose of discovering if he is the right guy, one's heart/emotions inevitably become involved to a certain degree, and that pain is not an evil to run from.

Yes, there was pain. But there was also much, much growth. And wisdom gleaned. And a need to be healed that drove me closer to the Lord. So in this case, pain produced good things.

As for my heart, it was sad but not broken. It had been touched by a kind man but not trampled.

And so life moved on. My studies continued. Friendships abounded. Wonderful memories were made. And I learned a new degree of contentment as a single girl continuing to trust the Lord with my future.

However, the tests were not over.

Throughout the year 2011, I crossed paths with a number of fine young men who came forward expressing *interest.* While I did not enter into relationships with any of them beyond friendship, and while my dad was involved as much as possible in every situation, it was still emotionally taxing to go through the excitement-because-he-likes-me/now-I-need-to-evaluate-him/never-mind-this-is-not-the-guy-for-me process.

After several closed doors, I was growing discouraged and even a bit disillusioned with the whole relationship department of life. It was much more complicated than I had envisioned as an idealistic teenager! I really started to doubt if there was anyone out there who shared my passion for Jesus Christ, who was likeminded in beliefs and convictions, who had a testimony of moral uprightness, and who was committed to the same family dreams I held dear.

In the wake of another closed door and dashed hope this past September, I knew the Lord was once again asking me to surrender to His plan for my life. I didn't know if it included marriage or not, but I had reached the point like never before where I just wanted what He wanted and nothing else. I let go of my dreams for a Godly husband and children of my own. I told the Lord I was willing to never get married. I just wanted to love Him and live for Him and walk with Him in single-hearted devotion.

If only I could have seen the Divine smile that must have lit up heaven in that moment. Because what I didn't know is that the Author of Romance was busy at work in ways I never could have imagined scripting a story that would take my breath away with its beauty.

(To be continued...)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Once Upon a Courtship (part 1)

As I sit here at my computer to compose for you the story of what God has been writing for years, I close my eyes and pray. Where to start? What to say? How to convey into words the beauty of the Author of Romance? Is it even possible?

I so desperately long to do justice to His amazing grace, His undeserved favor, His mercy outpoured, His protection, His leading and guidance every step of the way. Yet...I flounder in knowing what to say. Perhaps it is because I remain so overwhelmed by the goodness and love of God right now. Truly, it is underneath me and all around me. How does a tiny little fish describe the majestic ocean in which she swims?

Perhaps it is best to begin with words from the Author's mouth Himself:
"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him." Lamentations 3:22-25

As I sit here in awe of the Lord's faithfulness, my one desire is to share this unfolding story in such a way that it will be a testimony to His goodness and an encouragement to all who read it to keep seeking HIM!

And now, to the very beginning...

It was my 16th birthday. My parents and sister made every effort to prepare a special dinner complete with scrumptious food, a white tablecloth, and background music. We laughed. We talked. They shared special words as is our custom around a birthday meal table. And then, it was time for gifts. That night, my parents presented me with a beautiful, dainty silver ring. In the center was a heart and in the center of the heart was a cross. "This ring is to represent two things," my dad said. "Your love relationship with the Lord Jesus and your commitment to purity. As your father, I have covenanted with you to guard you and watch over you, to help evaluate any young man who might come along who is interested in you in a special way, and to give you my blessing when it is time to enter into marriage with the right fellow. Now I am asking you to give me your heart, to trust my wisdom, and to walk in purity as you wait on God's best in a life partner."

This isn't the exact ring, but it's close!

With tears in my eyes, I could only nod and smile. How many girls were so blessed as I to have such a father? Someone who loved their daughter so much they would desire to be involved in this way? He slipped the ring onto my finger and we finished the evening with prayer. I went to bed that night a very happy 16-year-old.

Time passed. I continued to grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ and to serve in a variety of ministries as He opened doors. Young men were not even on my radar screen for a number of years. Every now and then, I would notice a kind fellow or a Godly guy, but the Lord taught me to yield such passing attractions to Him and continue forward undistracted. I loved the verse in Proverbs 31 that says, "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her...She doeth her husband good all the days of her life." That was my desire, even as an unmarried woman!

When I reached my early twenties, the desire to be married and have a family was stirred in a new way. I was older now, and many of my close friends had already gotten married. I had joyfully watched God write beautiful love stories for them, and I wondered with eagerness when it would be my turn, but I rarely fretted over the matter. There just wasn't time to pine, as Kingdom business filled my life with purpose and took me on a global adventure serving the Lord!

Let me pause a moment here and say that while contentment as a single girl came rather easily for me (by God's grace!) I was by no means perfect. I had my share of struggles with discontentment and impatience, and even wrestled with the willingness to surrender to God's will if marriage was never in His plan for me. But I am grateful to say that these struggles were not constant and the Lord was always faithful to encourage my heart when they did come, such that they did not weigh me down nor rob me of the joy I experienced serving Christ as an unmarried woman! I personally believe that while it is important for girls to value and desire the noble calling of wife and mother, that should not be the all-consuming focus of their lives. Jesus Christ should be. But now, back to the story.

I prayed often for my future husband-to-be, assuming it was God's will for me to one day get married. I prayed for his protection, for the strength to walk in moral uprightness, for his relationship with Christ. I also prayed for the Lord to build in him many qualities that I desired in a future life partner. Eventually, this list was summed up as:
- A man of God
- A man of character
- A man whom I could respect and follow

Throughout this time, I also prayed that the Lord would form and fashion me to be the helpmeet I would need to be one day for this man.

Despite the fact that I traveled the world doing ministry, including various ministries right in my own hometown, and met many wonderful people along the way, there were no potential husbands on the horizon in any direction! I knew Godly young men who loved the Lord and walked with Him had to exist somewhere - after all, a number of my friends had married some! And granted, I had met a few guys here and there whose upright character impressed me, but for one reason or another, they were not marriage partner possibilities.

So there I was, 25 years old, never having had a "significant other" (or even a significant interest!), waiting on the Lord, and wondering about the future. Was marriage part of God's plan for me? If so, with whom? When? Where were the Godly guys? Would I meet someone at language school? On the mission field? When I was 30? or 40? Or was it God's plan for me to stay single and start an orphanage like Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward, and Lillian Trasher?

So many questions. So few answers. Yet, I knew God's plan was best...whatever it was...and I remain surrendered to His leading one step at a time.

Little did I know that this surrender was about to be tested in a big way...

To be continued...

The Bolivian Adventure

This is a little video presentation I put together for my church family of my experiences in Bolivia. Hope you enjoy! :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How do you spell *BLISS*?

Two words:

(story coming soon!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas in January

Since Katelin and I were both gone from home for Christmas this past December, we decided to have a belated celebration with all the family in January when we would all be together. It was a sweet time with everyone!

Melissa meets Zoe the Zebra

Papa all decked out in red

A belated birthday for Melissa, too! (Her birthday is only five days before Christmas)

She LOVES books!
(I think she takes after her Aunt Katrina)

A new baby doll too! How perfect!

Aunt Nora demonstrates how to rock the baby.

Time for presents!

Katelin and Nathan are very excited with their new Food Saver machine. It will allow them to preserve fresh produce for long periods of time...a big help in Ukraine where produce does not have a long life span and certain foods can only be purchased at certain times of year.

Love in the winter years....priceless!

My sweet grandparents

Nathan liked the finger puppets I brought back from Bolivia for Melissa!

He also liked his new alpaca socks!

And his Nebraska hoodie from Mom and Dad!
(I think he's set!)

Mom and Aunt Nora model their alpaca ponchos for us. Don't they look smashing!

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of my wonderful family!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jewels from Jeremiah part 3

"Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord...
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord and whose hope the Lord is."
(Jeremiah 17:5, 7)

I love this contrast. We have a choice. We can either choose to trust in ourselves or to trust in the Lord. One person is cursed; the other blessed. O may it not ever be said that our hearts depart from the Lord by trusting in ourselves! Only God alone is worthy of our trust!


"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for Thou art my praise." (Jeremiah 17:14)

God is the Healer. God is the Savior. God is my Praise!


"Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord: for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of the evildoers." (Jeremiah 20:13)

There are many similar verses to this one all throughout Scripture and every time I read one, I am blessed by God's heart for the poor. Especially after being in Bolivia and seeing so many poor and oppressed people, and hearing so many sad stories about our little children's backgrounds and the evil they experienced, verses like these give me great hope that God still knows and still cares. Shall the Judge of all the earth not do right?


"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His Name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

What a powerful description of our Lord Jesus Christ!


"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 23:4)

Yes, He does fill heaven and earth! In fact, the universe cannot contain Him! How great is our God! We would do well to remember that His eyes are in every place beholding the evil and the good. Be sure your sin will find you out. We cannot hide from God!


"Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land...and I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord..." (Jeremiah 24:5-7)

I love the reminder in this prophetic verse about Judah that God's chastening is always for the good of His people. The Israelites were taken into captivity as the consequence for their sin against God, but this consequence was for their good in order to bring them to a point of repentance and restoration with the Lord. So it is with chastening and correction in our lives. I also love to always see God's longing for His people to know Him. He is such a personal, relationship-oriented God! How privileged we are to know Him because of His grace!


"And ye shall seek Me and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)

Even though this promise was written specifically for the Jews following their period of captivity in Babylon, I believe that the principle behind it applies today as well. Let us seek the Lord with all our hearts! He is worthy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Look Who's Here!

We praise the Lord for the safe arrival of Katelin, Nathan, and Melissa last night and are having a wonderful time with them!

Melissa getting re-aquainted with the family.

Grandmommy loves to sing to her baby!

So big!

Such a cutie!

Playing with a napkin from Grandmommy

Kisses, kisses...

...and more kisses!

Big smiles

We are going to have fun this month!

Home At Last!

With my mom at the Houston airport on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thank You Lord For...

401. Safe travels home to the United States

402. The waiving of my penalty fees for overstaying my Bolivian visa by 3 months (a $300 savings!)

403. That my luggage was not over the allotted weight limits and that I made it home with all bags in tow - nothing lost along the way!

404. Protection on the escalator in the Miami airport as I took a backwards tumble and fell down a number of moving stairs unharmed besides a few minor bruises

405. My parents' big smiles and warm hugs at the airport in Houston

406. The clean, fresh smells of America!

407. The beauty of our home

408. A hot bath/shower

409. Delicious chicken pot pie

410. Pink gerber daisies

411. The joy of playing the piano once again

Monday, January 2, 2012

Final Post from Bolivia - A Few of My Favorite Faces

Farewell Bolivia. I will always carry your children in my heart.

Photos courtesy of Alexis Rix.