Archive for the ‘Kate’s Posts’ Category
Hello friends! We could use your prayers if you have a few minutes to spare. We so appreciate your time!
—Residency! We have started the process of applying for residency here in NZ. This is not citizenship but we are pursuing the opportunity to stay longer past what our current visa allows (our official time here expires Feb 2014). If we gain residency status, we would not be limited to how long we can stay in the country. This is a selective and long process and we would love your prayers for favor with the government and that we do everything accurately that we need to do (paperwork).
—Kate’s health. It’s been poor since we arrived in 2010 and she’s been fighting off junk constantly. Though she’s learned through the trials and drawn closer to God, please continue to pray for a new season. A season of health and vitality!
—Ministry. We have two major ministry opportunities on the horizon that we are praying about and planning out. We would love your prayers about these. Pray for wisdom, timing, team mates and open doors. Thanks!!
—Financial Supporters. Not yet, but soon we will transition into fulltime reliance on donor support. (For now, keep those freelance art jobs coming to Noah). We currently have a handful of faithful supporters. Noah has been carrying the brunt of the financial responsibility for the last three years here, however we feel God opening us into season of more full-time, hands-on ministry opportunities that would not allow Noah much time for graphic arts jobs. More on this coming soon; for now please pray for an influx of supporters, and please pray about your personal support of our work here in the future! We know there are thousands of causes to give to, so we won’t be hurt if your heart is drawn elsewhere. We’d love to hear from you if you feel led to start partnering with us.
Keep an eye out for more details in the future.
Recently we received a great question on our blog post, “Do you pray… with your spouse?” The question was from a woman wondering how to initiate praying with her boyfriend, who she believes will become her husband at some point down the road. I thought this was a great question and wanted to post my response to her here in hopes it might encourage anyone else who may be wondering the same thing. I added more thoughts on it below and welcome all your comments if you want to offer your advice to her and any other readers who might need some insight on this topic.
“Over the last 8 years we slowly cultivated our prayer life together. Each person approaches God differently, so we’ve noticed that we don’t exactly pray the same way or at the same frequency. We’ve had to learn how to pray together… so I encourage you to remember it takes time, depending on your personalities. Some couples find it easy right away, others find it harder. I know of some couples who have had dynamic prayer times together right away… while others have been married 25 years and still struggle. It just depends on each other’s openness.
Obviously there are different ways to pray and approach God. Generally we both pray throughout our days alone in a sense (you know.. as things happen, as things come to mind)… but we try to intentionally pray together whenever we feel pressed to…about things like our relationship, about decisions, about health concerns, praying over our child, praying for friends, etc.
How To Initiate: If both are keen, just find a good time where you are both able to sit down and give a little concentrated time. I usually initiate and ask Noah if it’s a good time later that day to sit down together to pray. Sometimes he initiates and also asks if I am free to do so later. Whomever initiates usually starts the praying. Then the other jumps in after awhile. It just depends on your heart, mind space, personality, etc. Whatever works for you guys.
Vulnerability: Praying is a vulnerable thing and it might take time to feel comfortable doing it in front of one another. It can be easier to be authentic and vulnerable with God when you’re alone and it’s just you and Him… when you’re not concerned about being judged. But at some point you just gotta dive in and be vulnerable and pray together. For dating, engaged and married couples, it’s important for people to come to the father together. Don’t comment on how one another prays. Be loving and supportive.
Taking the Plunge: My best advice is to just try it out. Even just taking turns praying over one another. “Hey God.. wow, thanks that we can have a relationship with you and can come to you for every need. Thank you that you love us. I want to bless my husband and just lift him up to you right now… I pray you give him strength today and wisdom in everything he does. May He feel your peace and be at rest in your presence…..” etc. and take it from there on a more personal level. (Just an example of how to start). Then have him pray for you.
Once you start doing that for awhile, it will get easier and easier. Maybe spend some time before praying listening to worship music.. and picture God there with you. How would you talk to him?
Open Ears: Once you get comfortable.. it’s great to really also listen to God together, since prayer is a two way street, not just us talking at God. A beautiful thing about being married to another believer is that God is the center and He actually talks back. It is vital to keeping our marriage intact because we agree that God knows best and we follow Him… so when he gives us direction or insight into something, we then are on the same page and there is way less room for conflict. We both get convicted of things, or we both agree on important decisions… it’s amazing when Noah gets a vision for me, or a word… God wants to speak through people to encourage and guide.
Recommends: The Power of a Praying Wife, Red Moon Rising, Practicing God’s Presence…
I remember that when we were dating, we didn’t pray a ton together, but it really happened more often once we were engaged…then throughout our marriage it has grown and grown. xx”
Every YWAM school at the Oxford base does a weekly afternoon teaching session that is dedicated to preparing them for outreach. Throughout the 12 weeks of lectures, the students learn about various topics (hearing God’s voice, studying the bible, the father heart of God, etc.) but the outreach prep teaching sessions are soley dedicated to prepare them for going out into other nations.
Last week Noah and myself shared with the “Around the World in 80 Days” DTS. I enjoyed sharing with the students and staff about team dynamics (specifically helping the students identify if they are an introvert or extrovert… and helping them look at how introverts and extroverts can get along in a team setting). Noah shared on the topics of Luke 10 (Jesus “recipe” for outreach) and he talked about cultural sensitivity. Here are photos from the cultural sensitivity bit where students gathered into their outreach teams and had to eat foreign foods. Love some of those faces, but so proud of them for going for it!
In less than a month we will be visiting Kate’s parents.. in Hawaii! Her dad has a conference there so they generously offered to fly us out for a visit. We are looking forward to seeing them and for Sparrow to see her Nana and Poppa Goodell! After our time with them, we will be heading over to the YWAM Kona base for a week-long conference and networking. We have been establishing a connection with some schools and contacts there and we are looking forward to getting together to brainstorm ideas. We’ll share more on this topic soon. For now, we’d appreciate your prayers!!
- –For our travels with Sparrow. We have an 8-hour day flight and an 8-hour night flight with her.
- –We also could use your prayers in regards to wisdom we are seeking lately related to some ministry ideas here in the city. We’ve had a few ideas brewing for some years now and are sensing it’s time to launch into some of them.
As always, thanks for reading and thanks for supporting!
I wanted to tell you about a new ministry initiative we are heading up!
Name: We Are Chch (Christchurch)
Basics: Essentially it’s a photojournalistic project that creates the opportunity to meet and reach locals through conversation and pray for them if God leads.
How: Currently the main focus is to interview locals, take their photo, and put a brief story about them on the instagram feed… and Noah is working on building the website that will feature that photo feed and more (see below.)
Who: Kate has been spearheading this effort and guiding a team of YWAM students on Friday nights who are participating in this project. (We help the YWAM schools outreach to Christchurch and Oxford each Friday night. This project is one we specifically lead while other teams are sent to various other opportunities around the city with other ministries.) We meet on Friday afternoons in various locations around town.
Purpose: 1.To spread hope, positivity and love through hearing people’s stories and affirming them in who they are. We aim to love them, ask engaging questions, and encourage them with prayer if God leads us/students to do so. 2. We try to jot down whatever stands out to us about them so that we can encourage them with that when we post their photo (contagious laugh, calm spirit, positive outlook, kind-hearted, etc.). We hope that when they go online to look at their story they feel loved and valued. 3. We also see the website/instagram feed as a connection point for other locals to “meet” one another through the stories, feel a sense of unity with fellow “Christchurchians” and feel HOPEFUL during this new season in Christchurch. 4. The other main purpose is to give YWAM students an opportunity to build confidence in talking with strangers, engaging in conversations and praying for others.
Details: The purpose of the website is to feature in-depth stories (articles highlighting various ministries, outreaches, creative initiaties, and people around Christchurch who are making a change in the city), short stories (the instagram mini-stories), and links to events and opportunities around town. The whole point is to be a positive voice in Christchurch. We are hoping to have the website up and running soon!
Inspiration: A few years ago I stumbled across a blog in Denver called “I Heart Strangers”. The blogger’s goal was to meet and interview someone he came across each day and then blog about this person. When we moved here I really felt pulled in the same direction—to do something like that here in Christchurch. Especially after the quakes, we felt it was an open opportunity to talk to people while they are more open to chat aout more meaningful things with strangers!
Ps. We started this initiative a year ago with one of the YWAM schools. This year we evaluated how the last attempt went and have streamlined the project and given it more direction and purpose. We are hopeful that it’s going to gain momentum now.
So as you know if you’ve been reading here recently, Noah has been involved with a coding club in a nearby low-income area at an outreach center. He’s been assisting his tech-savvy friend launch and teach the course to interested youth.
The first session of free classes are finished and we are entering upon another session of classes starting up soon. The coding club made the news on several occasions because our friend heading it up asked his company to partner with the initiative. Here is another recent news article featuring The Code Club: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Will.I.Am and other tech giants join forces to make coding cool.
Noah is also hoping to pioneer a session of classes targeted at youth interested in graphic design in the near future.
This weekend Noah and I sat down together to pray. Quite honestly we found it much easier before baby to pray together spontaneously for whatever length of time that God might lead. We now seem so busy with life around work, ministry, and fitting in time for fun and friends, that we’re noticing we need to be more consciously active in carving out concentrated prayerful time together. It’s basically been since last month that we made time for a few hours praying and worshiping together.
But that’s not what this post is about. I can tend to get off topic… What this is about is something that God laid on my heart during our prayer time together over the weekend—that often life is about the journeys and not the destinations.
As we sat in the living room, we were reflecting and praying about our last three years here as well as the next however many*. We reminded ourselves of the words God gave us before arrival and throughout the last several years here. Some of the words we have seen come to pass, some of the words we are still waiting on. We have found it can be tempting to be downcast when you don’t see something fufilled right away. We try to remember that the best approach is trusting God and faithfully waiting to see Him do whatever it is He said He would do.
In the midst of that is the temptation to “count” the fruit, usually the “end results”… and if your personally-constructed or God-breathed “end result” hasn’t been fulfilled it’s easy to get negative, discouraged, and apathetic. Whenever God gives vision, it’s so important to hold on to that vision and remain true to His calling or end goal until one sees it fulfilled But what we should NOT do is measure our success in whether or not it’s happened yet. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that success is measured in faithfulness, not numbers. It’s not about us anyway, it’s about God’s glory and our obedience to His direction.
In evaluating our time here thus far, I felt that God reminded me that we must also count the things we’ve learned along the way as important things to include in “successful outcomes” of our time here. God often grows and teaches us immensely through the journey.
We’ve both grown a lot.
We’ve grown through the process of moving here and being the only person for one another to rely on. From being forgeign in a foreign land and learning to really observe and take in the ways of others. We’ve learned what it means to really trust God and trust each other, and rely on a new community of friends. We’ve each gone through distinct seasons of trials and tests that have grown us. We’re learning a lifestyle of hospitality and serving. We’ve gained new ways to approach life that are different from the American dream. We’ve been stretched and refined in our character and personality. We’ve gone without and also have had seasons of abundance. We’ve seen relationships with relatives and friends strengthen despite the distance, while also watching other relationships fall by the wayside. I could go on, but the point is that this journey has so much fruit indeed and we are grateful for God bringing us all the way over here to walk us through life-changing experiences.
As we continue to embrace the culture, love our neighbors, strengthen friendships and partner with various ministry efforts, we are blessed by each new day and each new opportunity to practice faithfulness and be reshaped by the grand Potter.
*We are often asked by both friends here or friends from the States how long we will be here. We still don’t have a conclusive answer for you! Sorry!! We too wish we knew but we don’t. God has been silent on the issue, only letting us know it will be awhile and to go at a marathon pace not a sprint. Our plan is to obtain residency (please pray!) and continue along the path God has carved for us here until He says our work is done. (He did say that when our work is done we shall return home. That’s all we have to go on!)
Learning to pray together has been a journey. In each season of our relationship it’s looked a little differently.
The first phone conversation I ever had with Noah we talked for over four hours. (Looking back, that’s quite the feat as we cannot do that now. Not even close.) But what really stood out in that first conversation was that it ended with Noah asking if he could pray for me. That blew my mind. Every time I tell someone that story I emphasize the prayer part and how it impressed me so much. No guy had ever done that. After that I knew he was different. Someone like that doesn’t come along often.
Now, almost 8 years and thousands of prayers later, we’re living missionally here in New Zealand, have a child and have been through a roller-coaster journey of learning and growing together. We’ve slowly cultivated a lifestyle of prayer together as a couple since that first phone conversation. We’re still continuing to learn how to blend our differences since we each see, worship and approach God a little differently (as male/female and also as different personality types). It’s not always easy, but we have come to value keeping God in the center of our relationship. We’ve seen how important, necessary and amazing it is to create a relationship based on not only His love but also His guidance and provision in our lives. Creating that together means:
1) each having a personal relationship with God
2) praying together on everything
This results in being in unity together on decisions and keeping our relationship at a harmonious level.
I often ponder how difficult relationships are when couples do not have these things as their foundations. I know we struggle from time to time and if we didn’t have God’s guidance, peace, discernment at our core… we would not still be together.
The basic idea is this—God wants to interact with us and lead us into our purposes. Too often marriages lack that basic understanding and are very susceptible to instability. God’s love and guidance is an unbreakable foundation if both people rely on it while fighting for their marriage.
Fight for Harmony (oxymoron!?) //
I often wonder why people just can’t get along. Why are there countries at war? How come this world can be so violent? It’s a simple issue. Hurt and offended people hurt people. When forgiveness, kindness and understanding are absent, anger/revenge/malice rules. When Noah and I argue I then get it: Oh yea. Fighting can spring up so quickly. If we can’t manage to get along, and we’re committed, I guess I understand why countries/leaders can’t get along when they have no commitment toward one another. But in all of that, I’ve been seeing over the years how easy it actually is to bring a tense situation back down quickly. Humility is all it takes; humbling ourselves, letting go of offenses, praying and asking God to bring peace into our marriages and then both walking in that peace. We gotta fight for harmony. Be the person who makes the first step. Or if you’re the one who holds the grudges, let them go!!! I know it’s hard, BUT happier moments are just on the other side when we let go of anger and move forward. I’m trying to make it a habit to resolve things quickly, often praying for the ability to have a forgiving heart. God is more than happy to help you live in harmony with one another. The real healing part it seems is that when we pray, we enter into a state of humility and genuine love. We are each softened as we “stand before the Father.” Grudges melt away, a peace seems to enter the room, and soon you’re offenses seem so silly you just want to laugh.
I’ll Go Where You Go //
When God puts couples together, they are called into the same journey, whatever that looks like for them. There should never be a division where they disagree on where to move, what job to take, where to serve, how many children to have, how to approach raising the kids, etc. We are all different and have different passions and desires… but when we prayerfully submit our lives to God, He will walk us (couples) into a harmonious unified vision for the here and now and the future. If you and your spouse are not seeing eye to eye, sit down and pray together, asking God to reveal to both of you the answer for the situation. If you both hear from God, you will both have the same sense from Him. Don’t make a move until you’re in agreement. Of course there are little things you have to learn to compromise on. Give and take is so important (like choosing a restaurant, where you’re going camping for the weekend, what bank you want to bank with, what movie to watch, etc.) but the guidance for major decisions should come from the hand of God. Unity of vision is so important.
Praying For Each Other //
There is nothing sweeter than a husband and wife who take time to pray for each other. Alone as well as together. I’ve seen God do some cool things in our lives when we pray for each other. There’s been occasions where instead of complaining to Noah about something he does, I pray about it first. When I do that, I am allowing God to do the work. And I’ve seen Noah change in an area that I didn’t even need to mention. I forget to do this every time though. Need to work on that! It’s also been amazing to watch healing prayers come via Noah’s prayers over me. Headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness—whatever it is—God has healed me as soon as Noah prays. It’s amazing. I love how God wants to help us be dependent on one another in that way. And when things are just tough, it’s so comforting to have your life partner lift you up in prayer to God when you’re going through something.
If all this is new to you, but you’re keen to cultivate a life of prayer, we’d love to pray for you. Get in touch!
I was praying the other day, thinking about God’s love. I don’t know about you, but I certainly have gone through lengths of time where I am either intimately close to God and or somehow drifting away from understanding the closeness He wants with us and start to question how He (perfection) can possibly love me, us, being so fallible.
Since Sparrow came into our lives, God has showed me many things about Him through the parent-child relationship. Before children, Noah and I often talked about how when you become a parent you really experience a new depth particularly when it comes to understanding God. This has certainly been the case.
As I prayed I felt like God reminded me of a few things.
1. I often think about God being disappointed in me or that He can’t possibly actually LOVE us when He’s perfect and we can never measure up. Even though Jesus’ sacrifice covers our guilt, shame and sin… I still have a hard time believeing God’s LOVE for us. Like, does he really LIKE me? Well…. He reminded me that it was His idea to love. It was His idea to create the family circle, relationships and love. Whenever I doubt His love for me, He wants me to remember that there is no point in doubting how MUCH He loves me when He created love. Humans are the only ones who lack the ability to fully love. God does not. In that, He reminded me that I only love Sparrow because He created it to be that way. When I think about loving Sparrow, I love her regardless of her crankiness, her biting, her tantrums. My love is unconditional. I am her momma. So when I’m spending all this time with Sparrow, I feel like God reminds me that what I feel for her he feels for me. And in that, what I feel for Sparrow is just a glimpse of what He feels for her. She was HIS idea! This continues to humble me and astonish me as I look at my daughter. One day she came into being. It’s miraculous. Each life is a miracle. Each life is designed. Even if you were “an accident”…. your SOUL—your personality, your gifts, your passions… they are from the Creator and you are CHOSEN and you are LOVED.
2. God also revealed to me something very special along those same lines. In creating you and me, He has invested in us. He is invested in our life, in our development, in our talents, in our character. Every good thing in us is a reflection of His character. Every good thing is something He is proud of beacause He is the potter and we are the clay! Are we not invested in what we spend time on? In that, He is invested in how He wants to use us. And He LOVES who He invests in! When I look at Sparrow, spend time with her, teach, provide and comfort her, I am deepening my bond with her, investing my heart and soul into her. God showed me that it’s the same with us. And in that, He delights in our desire to engage with Him and realize that He DOES uniquely love each of us. We are all precious in His sight. It’s not just words. It’s truth. I’m allowing it to settle in my bones. Imagine if after putting all my time, love and care into Sparrow and she someday were to reject me. It brings tears to my eyes to picture. That’s how God feels. He loves each of His creations, His kids. But not everyone opens themselves up to Him. How painful that must be.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. (Jesus, in Matthew 18: 12-14)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. (Jesus, in Matthew 23:37)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Don’t let fear or what-ifs hold you back this year.
May you shine in your goals this year.
Change your “I can’t” and “What if I fail?” to “I only live once…. lets do this!”
Here’s a short, good read from Lara Casey : Goal Setting Part 1