Thursday, September 23, 2010

September Update

"You are going to Cambodia to do this great work, and you will fail. And God will do miracles. We look forward to hearing about it!"

"To God, success is measured in faithfulness."

These are two recent quotes from pastors we've met on our road trip. Both are very humbling quotes as we sit in the middle of such a big transition and our normal measures of success and productivity are non-existent. At the moment we are measuring our lives in a great variety of numbers - percentage of funds raised, monthly partners, miles traveled, states visited, new friends, e-mails per day, presentations given, and number of days left on this long journey. We get the feeling that when we begin working in Cambodia, it will be futile to measure our success in some grand number of lives changed.

"This week, 10 girls were helped!" But what are the stories behind the numbers? And what about the countless others who haven't been reached and continue to be abused? We must trust that Emmanuel, God-With-Us, is indeed who He says He is in the midst of terrible evil. We will respond to Him in faithfulness and keep looking to Him each day, even today, as He gives us new mercies. It is easy to say, but a little harder to do.

On a lighter note, here are some of the numbers from our last two months on the road: 11,000 miles traveled by car, 22 states visited, 602 friends on our update list, 25 homes stayed in, and 35% of our funds officially raised!

We have been carried by your faithful prayers and contributions to this work. Thank you!

Kimberly, Rachel and Becki

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Midwest

Our most recent excitement is that we have almost completed 2/3 of our journey! We have been on the road for about nine weeks and we have around six more weeks to go.

Please pray for our continued strength and joy in this intense time of travel. We currently have 25% of our support team and we hope to buy our tickets to Cambodia soon. We are planning to leave the States January 5th!

We are blessed to have so many great friends around the country and around the world. Everywhere we go, we get to see old friends and make new friends. Here are a few pictures of our recent reunions in the Midwest.

Hu Laoshi was Kimberly and Becki's Chinese teacher last year. She and her husband have recently relocated to the Chicago area.

Kate and Rachel went to Calvin together. Kate was working on a farm in rural Illinois and Rachel had the privilege of touring a nearby organic farm with Kate and her fellow farm hands during her visit.

Erin taught in the high school at Tianjin International School. We got to see her cross the finish line at the Chicago Half Marathon! Here we are loading up on carbs the night before.

Beth and Rachel taught together in Wuxi, China four years ago. Beth joined us on our tour of the Indianapolis capitol building.

The Pollocks are a family from our Tianjin years. We visited them in rural Kentucky at their beautiful retreat housing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Michigan and Ohio

The last few weeks have found us in many states. Here's an attempt at catching up. Our last post was while in Michigan three weeks ago. Michigan was a good time of speaking to several churches and small groups and seeing Rachel's Calvin College connections.

After Grand Rapids we headed to Ohio to spend time with Rachel's sister and brother-in-law. We had a great opportunity to speak and connect with their church youth group. Another highlight - seeing the Hicks family from Tianjin!

From Ohio, we went to a retreat center northwest of Chicago. We spent six very restful days enjoying the beauty of creation around us and just BEING without all the fundraising craziness. It was refreshing and we thank God for how he provided for us to be able to take this time away. And again - a highlight was seeing more Tianjin friends who were in the area.

Chicago was next. You'll have to wait until the next post to hear about that adventure! More to come.

Going out to lunch with good friends of Rachel's from her Calvin years. Yay! for great friends and good Korean food.

We had an afternoon to see the capitol in Ohio and went to German town. We ate at a restaurant called "Schmidt's" - it felt like Kim was back with her family in Germany! Not really, but close.

Rachel enjoyed a flag at the capitol.