This is the outreach report from our missions trip to Clermont-Ferrand, France. The pictures and quotes are from our team- including us! You may have to click on the image of the page to see it more clearly.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
It's very surreal to announce that we'll be leaving for France one week from today! God has been so good to us. We have raised $10,000 in a few short months, gotten our passports, booked our flights, hotels, and trains. So many people contributed to this miracle, and we are grateful beyond words!
We'll have three days in Paris and the rest of the time we will be in Clermont-Ferrand. The last few weeks we've been reading travel books, devotionals, studying French and trying to keep it all in perspective. We don't just want this to be a great vacation, or to get lost in a whirlwind of events. We desperately want God to move in our hearts- in us, our kids, and in the people of France.
Please pray for us over the next few weeks- for protection, for all the details to come together, and especially that God would do an amazing work in and through us (and in spite of us!). We are so excited to watch this journey unfold before us, and we can't wait to see what God has in store!
On top of the Eiffel Tower in 1996, my first trip to France
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
We wanted to let everyone know where we stand right now:
1. We have 87% of our budget so far. This leaves us $1290 left to raise in 2 weeks!
2. We leave in a little over 2 weeks! (July 18th)
3. We are really excited!
It seems like all we can do and think about right now is this trip to France. We have been in communication with our team there and with the family we will be staying with. We even have a list of worship songs in French to practice! For some more details, visit our website: www.liveconnectgrow.com.
This past week has been a real roller coaster ride. We have both felt very heavy at times and random problems seem to arise- like one of the windows on our truck shattering, our dryer going out, and the couple who hosted our party on Saturday was in a serious car accident on Friday.
Yet despite all of these efforts to distract and defeat us, we can feel our faith and our intimacy with God growing. I love seeing the amazement in our kids' eyes as they hear about God's miraculous provision day by day. They pray with such simple faith and sincerity for courage to share the Gospel with the children in France. And their child-like faith is a great reminder to us that our heavenly Father has not brought us this far to leave us undone.
Please continue to pray for us as we prepare to embark on this adventure that He has laid out before us. We ask you to specifically pray for:
* Our hearts and minds to be prepared to minister, and for the people we will be ministering to
* Unity with our entire team (we'll meet for the first time in Clermont-Ferrand)
* ALL of the logistical details to come together- hotels, trains, misc. things that we will probably forget :)
*Opportunities for our kids to see how God wants to use them in a real way
* The rest of the financial support that we need for the trip to come in
For those of you that have given, thank you!!! For those of you that still want to give, now is the time to be part of our miracle! As God keeps reminding me, "Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it" (Heb. 11:1). Thank you for partnering with us in prayer and support!
Ted, Michelle, Emily, Daniel, Timothy & Judah
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
With less than one month before we leave for France, there is so much going on!
1) We have raised 45% of our total budget!
2) We have a (semi) active website that you should totally check out if you haven't already! You can see our upcoming House Show dates, videos from the kids about our trip, and weekly postings about our progress: www.liveconnectgrow.com
3) I've been busy creating some art pieces and jewelry to sell. I'll post them on my Etsy site as soon as they're ready. All proceeds from my Etsy shop will go towards our missions trip, so check it out!
4) We now have two ways to make a donation- through the Paypal button on this site, or for a tax-deductible donation, send checks to: Emmaus Church 316 South Goliad #207 Rockwall, TX 75087.
Now, enjoy our sweet Daniel's video:
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
***Update: Wow! Thanks to some amazing people, we are now at 40% of our budget for our family missions trip! We currently have enough to buy 2 tickets to France, so we still need to raise enough to buy the other 3 tickets. But God has shown His faithfulness and people have shown their generosity over and over, so I have full confidence that He will provide all that we need!***
I wanted to share something God spoke to me a few days ago. I was reading in John chapter 2 about Jesus' first miracle- water into wine. His family was at a wedding and suddenly there was no more wine for the celebration. Jesus asked some servants to fill six huge jars to the brim full of water. And when the master of ceremonies tasted it, he was shocked to discover the groom's family had "saved the best" for last.
Then I read the short devotional in my Bible on the next page. It asked a simple question- What do you want from Jesus? If He stood before me and asked, what would I say? After some reflection, I realized my answer would be "more of You." I have pain that needs healing, faults that need fixing in me, dreams that I want to see fulfilled. But more than any of those things, I realize what I need is more of Jesus. I want Him to fill me to overflowing. Then, nothing else will matter, and everything else will fall into place- healing, transformation, fulfillment. Yes, I want God to fill me to overflowing with more of Him.
Then I read my devotional in Streams in the Desert: "Each of these
is God's way of providing vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill... the Lord is saying to you, 'Bring them here to me.' Firmly hold the vessels before Him, in faith and in prayer. Remain still before Him and stop your restless working until He begins to work... Allow God time to work and He surely will. Then... will become God's opportunity to reveal His grace and glory in your life, in ways you have never known before" (Streams, 211).
In John 2:11, I had underlined this- "He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him." Jesus' first miracle, turning the jars of water into wine, caused the disciples to believe in Him. So I felt like God was saying to me, to bring my empty jars, filled with ordinary stuff, or even pain and longing, and He would do a miracle- He would fill me to overflowing with Himself. So that it would reveal His glory and I would put my faith in Him and believe.
"What a source- God!... It is your heavenly privilege to trust all your needs to His glorious riches, to forget all your needs in the presence of His riches, in His great love... Go in and draw upon Him in simple childlike faith and you will never again have the need to rely on anything else" (Streams, 210). Just like the woman at the well, I can draw on God's supply of living water from the vessels He has filled within me. And I pray that God's glory would be revealed in my life and that many would believe in Him!
Monday, May 7, 2012
Missions is a calling that includes our children. That is why we have chosen to go on a short-term missions trip with our kids this summer, living out our calling to be a missionary family. They have been very involved in this process. We’ve talked about why it’s important to tell people about Jesus and give up our comforts in order to serve and love people as He did. We have studied maps and learned about people groups, reading about different cultures’ beliefs and customs. And we’ve talked about which countries would be interesting to visit.
Our kids are excited because they will be able to directly participate in evangelism to other children, so we asked them to share why they want to go:
“I want to tell them about God so that they will tell other people about what we told them. They need to know about what God did for us. He sent down his son, Jesus to die on the cross for us. It seems fun to tell people about God, like talking with them and teaching them.” (Daniel, 9)
“It’s important to tell people about God because then they can tell more and more and more people. God can do anything and He has powers and He can snap His fingers and destroy people, but He doesn’t want to destroy us. He tells us things in our hearts that we’re supposed to do, like clean up, and help other people that don’t have any food or if their car is broken. I’m excited that we get to do the puppets and do preaching and stuff because we need to learn about God because that’s really important. And I’m excited that we will do a band. Mommy will play the piano, and Emily will play the guitar, and Daniel will sing, and Daddy will do the drums, and I will dance.” (Timothy, 5)
“I want to go to help people learn more about God, because He wants us to share it with them. And He equips us with knowledge to give to other people, because they need to know God. I love France, and I’m excited that I’ll get to be with other people and help them learn about God. I’d love to do music and talk to little kids about Jesus. I’d tell them God rocks.” (Emily, 12)
We can’t wait to share the Good News with this community in France! But in order to get there, we need help. The total cost for the trip, flights, and passports for the kids is around $10,000. Our deposit of $1086.00 is due on May 23rd. It seems almost impossible that we could raise such a big amount of money in only two months, but we have seen God’s faithful provision for our family many, many times. In less than a week, we have already raised over 10% of our funds! We strongly believe He is calling us to go, so we are stepping out in childlike faith. We are so excited that our children will see this faith in action, and will witness God’s faithful response to our obedience.
If you would like to donate to our trip, please let us know. We are working on the logistics of paying for the trip and for flights separately. Regardless if you can give or not, we would ask that you join with us in prayer. This missions trip is an adventurous challenge for our family, so please pray for God to prepare our hearts and the people we will minister to. Pray that the Lord will help us raise all the money we need, keep us safe, and that He will challenge and use each member of our family greatly in this work. We want to leave France knowing and resembling our Savior even more.
Thank you so much for your help!
Ted, Michelle, Emily, Daniel, Timothy & Judah Wallace :)
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Ok, it has taken me a really long time to get back to this series. Sorry about that. :) In Silencing Depression Part 1, I shared a little bit of my story. In Part 2, I talked about how God Leads Us Into the Desert. This next part really helps me hold onto hope when all I can see is desert ahead.
God Has a Purpose for the Desert
Our Father is more interested in shaping our character than making us happy. The lessons we learn in the desert will be necessary for our future. The desert is often a time of pruning, because He wants us to grow and be fruitful. Jesus says in John 15:1-2, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
It's interesting that every branch is pruned, not just the dead wood. God isn't simply content with purifying the obvious maladies in us. He continues to prune even the healthy vines so they will bear even more fruit. When we first come to Christ we realize how sinful we truly are, and as we repent God shapes us into His image. We think there's nothing left to prune, until God slowly reveals other areas that need some work- like being a little lazy or selfish, spending too much, being irritable or indulging a little too often. Every time we think we're fine, that's usually when the Lord will reveal another layer of vines in need of pruning.
In Alicia Britt Chole's book, Anonymous, she shares a similar analogy about trees in winter.
What the plenty of summer hides, the nakedness of winter reveals: infrastructure. Fullness often distracts from foundations. But in the stillness of winter, the trees' true strength is unveiled... In spiritual winters, our fullness is thinned so that, undistracted by our giftings, we can focus upon our character. In the absence of anything to measure, we are left with nothing to stare at except for our foundation. Risking inspection, we begin to examine the motivations that support our deeds, the attitudes that influence our words, the dead wood otherwise hidden beneath our busyness... The Father's work in us does not sleep- though in spiritual winters he retracts all advertisement. And when he does so, he is purifying our faith, strengthening our character, conserving our energy, and preparing us for the future.
Just as a tree's true form is revealed during winter, we are exposed during a desert season of life. But although the desert may leave us vulnerable, it isn't meant to shame us. God has a purpose in mind.
Discipline Creates Character
God uses the desert seasons to discipline us and impart character traits that we desperately need. When the pruning becomes painful, I constantly remind myself that, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Heb. 12:11) Some character traits are only learned from discipline- like perseverance and endurance. Discipline requires practice. And practice doesn't make perfect, but it does make progress.
After I had our fourth child, I really struggled getting household chores done. My sweet husband came up with a great solution- the kids needed to help. We wanted them to learn how to do different chores, so he created a chart that listed everything that needed to be done and assigned each of the kids to complete daily, weekly, and monthly chores. At first, they rioted. It wasn't fair. We were so mean. They wanted to watch tv and play. None of their friends had to do chores. They fought over who did what and refused to work together. It was hard on everyone, and I for one considered just letting things go back to normal. But Ted was persistent. He patiently taught them how to do each task and gave them feedback after they tried. He checked their progress and wouldn't allow them to rush through it or play until it was all finished.
I'm really proud of the kids. They eventually started getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays, just so they could finish their chores and play as long as possible. They work together and will trade off just to be nice to each other. Daniel recently told me after finishing his list, "I feel really sorry for my friend at school. We want to grow up and share an apartment. But the only chore he knows how to do is to play video games." We both laughed. :)
Lessons from the Desert
God does more than just shape our character in the desert seasons. He teaches us total dependence on Him. When you're desperate, God will provide. Whether it's manna for the Israelites, or money to pay your bills, the Lord takes care of His children. I can't even count the number of times someone anonymously sent us a check in the mail, we got an unexpected refund, or just found cash out of the blue (an old birthday card, pile of papers, even in our egg carton?!).
God teaches us that He is faithful and can be trusted. He will fulfill His Word. Even if it takes years, like it did for Abraham and Sarah. Many times we give up before we see the answer, or we forget what we prayed for, so we don't notice when God does answer our prayer. Throughout the Bible, God instructed His people to remember what He had done, by writing it down, going back and reading the stories, even constructing visual reminders (stones of remembrances). When we remember how God has been faithful in the past, our own faith is strengthened and we trust Him more. Every time I go back and read my journals, I can't help but be encouraged that God is faithful. I've been challenged lately to write down my prayers so that I can see more clearly when God answers them.
Another lesson we learn in the desert is that our hope comes from Him alone, not our circumstances. How many times have we complained that if we just had this or that, we would be fulfilled? That dream job, more money, the perfect figure, a soul mate, fewer responsibilities, a more exciting life,... does it ever end? I'm definitely guilty of it. It's so easy to get into that "if only" mentality. Then resentment seeps in, gratitude fades away, and our eyes turn their focus from God to our perceived "lack." Our circumstances dictate our happiness. But Jesus wants our eyes to be fixed on Him alone. Then we can say with Paul, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:11-13)
In the desert, we learn compassion for others. After we experience suffering, we can empathize with people in pain. We understand the difficult seasons of life, and if we have grown from them, we can offer encouragement. But one of the best things about sharing another's hurt is that we can rejoice with them when it's over. When several friends lost their jobs in the recent recession, we understood because Ted had lost his before. We prayed fervently with them, and were overjoyed when they were later hired. Being in true community with others means walking with them through difficulties, but it also means watching God restore and heal them. When we share in Christ's sufferings, we can share in His healing power and hope for ourselves and others. And it's beautiful to see that God can use everything for His glory and for our good.
In Wendy Blight's book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, she recounts the painful story of being raped and the subsequent questions about why God allowed it to happen. But as she searched God's Word for answers, she found His peace. After all she had been through, she was able to say:
Our suffering is not meaningless because God has a plan. He asks us to trust in that plan, and we can because we trust in Him... He intends to use every gift, every talent, and every life experience, good and bad, for His purpose and His glory... God alone knows exactly what you and I must endure in order to form His character in us. It is in our trials that God refines us and removes our impurities... The tough question for us as His children is this: Are we willing to accept His refinement?
God has a purpose for the desert. We usually can't see it while we are in the middle of the desert season. But as we continue to journey forward and fix our eyes on Jesus, we can learn to trust that He has planned our path for a reason.
Part 4: God Orders a Season for the Desert, is next!