Monday, November 16, 2009

"Heading Home" or Heading to Austin

In less than 30 hours Pat and I depart for Austin. We are excited about returning for the holiday season. It will be great to see our sons, daughter-in-law, grand kids, and of course our church family. I was looking at our calendar and there are not too many empty places. So we know that the time will really fly by. In the past couple of weeks I have been writing to folks about "heading home." As I began to think about "heading home," I realized that in a big way we were not really "heading home," but heading for Austin. Why would I think that? Simply said home for me is a place that is our own, not necessarily that we own, where we go for peace and security.

Several days ago, I talked with Pat about what I was feeling and thinking about regarding "heading home." As we talked about it we both came to the same conclusion. We are excited about going to Austin to visit and we know that we are going to enjoy our time. However, in June of 2008 we believe that God called us to Turkey to help couples strengthen their marriages without having to leave the country. We sold our home and car and felt total peace about moving to live in a foreign country. For the past 11-months we have lived in a house that we now call home. It is a home that is about a quarter of the size of our former home in Cedar Park. We traded our car for riding a Dolmish, mini bus, or walking around town. With that said I can honestly say that I am not complaining, because Pat and I truly have experienced "the peace that passes all understanding." We have been very content and filled with His peace. As we talked, we decided that we are going to Austin for the holiday season to enjoy family and friends, but when it is time to leave Austin, we will be" headed home" to Turgutreis, Turkey which we believe will be our home for the next 5 -years at which time we will return to Austin where we will once again be at home. If you are ever in the area, please stop by you are always welcome at our home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Haven of Hope Turgutreis, Turkyie

It is so hard to believe that 9-months have elapsed since our arrival here in Turgutreis in January 09. It has been an amazing year. Upon our arrival, we wondered how long it would take for us to get networked so that the word would get out for those needing help. It did not take long, the first week we were here, I attended a regional conference where I met a couple that indicated that they would contact us soon. In February we were contacted by that couple letting us know of their desire to come to us for a "Marriage Intensive." Since that phone call, we haven't looked back. We have been busy every since! We count it great joy to be able to help couples that are hurting. We also have been able to provide Pre-marital counseling for 2-couples. God is so good.

The couple that we worked with are connected with a sending agency out of Canada, and because the couple had good results from their intensive they let their home office know about their positive results. We were contacted by their home office and asked to consider being available for 17- couples that are spread around the Eurasia area. Their leadership likes the idea that their couples in crisis could leave their post and come to Turgutreis to receive care. We will be speakers at their "Euarasia Conference" in Tunisia during the first week of November. We will return to America 10-days after the conference to visit family, friends and to raise support for 2010. We already have an Intensive, a Marriage Workshop, and Marriage Conference on the calendar.

We love you and appreciate your prayers and financial support. We can't do what we do without you.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Haven of Hope Turgutreis, Turkyie

We have been in our home for almost 3-weeks, and we are still trying try to get acclamated to everything. For example it has been cold and rainy for the past week. The first morning it rained, we discovered that we had two windows that leaked around the frame, and we had a lot of water in a bedroom and dining room. We need to get some silicone around the frame, but until we do, we know to put a towel down under each window when it begins to rain. Pat has already had to treat the window frames for mildew.

Pat has had a more difficult time adjusting to the cold. In the states, many of you know, Pat was always the one that was hot, and I was the one that was cold. Since we have been here she hasn't been able to adjust to the cold. And I have been able to adjust just fine. We dress in layers for the day and especially at night in order not to utilize a lot of electric for heat. We have a bed warmer to warm up the sheets & jammies.

Our diet has changed the most. Although there is beef and frozen food available, the price is too much to eat on a regular basis. So we go to the Pzar on Saturday to purchase fresh vegetables and fruit and buy other food items from the grocery store.
Pat has been doing a wonderful job cooking from scratch for our evening meal. Although on some evenings, she asks me if I would like chicken or chicken,

We began Turkish lessons on Monday and will have a class 3-times per week. We really have a desire to connect with our neighbors, our Turkish brothers & Turkish sister at Grace Bodrum,and other Turkish people that we come in contact with. Pray that we can learn quickly. Pat and I study together, and she is really doing great.

One of the Turkish couples that are our neighbors speak English. His wife is the manager of a bank here in Turgutreis. When I have seen him, I always greet him in Turkish. Today I saw him leaving with his fishing pole. So when he came back, I asked him if he caugh a baluk. He said I want you to talk to me in English. I said really? I was thinking that I was killing the Turkish. He replied yes, "I travel abroad and lots of people speak English, and I am forgetting words. So you can help me." So pray that Pat and I can form a good relationship with he and his wife.

Last weekend we hosted our first couple on Friday & Saturday. This couple are in ministry and actuall pastor a church. She told us that she had no hope. Can you imagine being in full time ministry and not have hope? Can you imagine being a Chrisian and not have hope for your marriage? Wednesday evening the wife called us on SKYPE and said she now has hope. Praise the Lord and thank you everyone that caught our vision and has supported us in prayer and financially. You are a part of this ministry.

I have begun to try to do some networking with churches to try to begin to build a realtionship with them so that will know who we are and that we are here to serve their church or home church.

We are both upbeat and haven't woke up and said to each other "what in the world are we doing here? "We really know that God has called us here and can hardly wait to see what God has in store.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Haven of Hope Turgutreis

Tomorrow will mark our first week of living in our new city and new home. It has been an amazing week. Because our new church family, from Grace Bodrum Church, came and unpacked boxes, cleaned, washed dishes, and set furniture in place it gave us a running start on Tuesday, and Ethan and Rachelle Trout helped us by taking us to all the places we needed to go to purchase things. Because of their help,as I write we can say that for the most part our house now looks like and feels like home. We are ready to begin ministry, and minstry will begin this week.

Friday I went to the Agean Region prayer time in Kushadasi with Ethan Trout,the Pastor of Grace Bodrum Church, along with 6 other men, 5 of which are Turkish believers. I was able to reconnect with one of the Pastor's in Kushadasi. By the end of the day, one couple indicated that they would like to come and go through the 4-day Intensive with us, and another Pastor has asked us to come and speak to Turkish married couples by way of a translator. We came to Turkyie believing that initially we would only be working with English speakers,but God truley is the one that makes the plans. Last night while on SKYPE, I connected with a Turkish brother that I met in Austin. He is now back in Izmir and is beginning to make plans for marriage. He wants to go through the 8-weeks of pre-marital counseling that we want to provide for couples preparing for marriage. This week we will resume working with a couple that we met in May of 08.

Thank you for your prayers and support, we are certain of God calling us here Pray that we can learn Turkish quickly, as we want to form relationships with our neighbors in our "Site" and others that God sends our way.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

From Istanbul to Turgutreis

It is hard to believe that we left Texas one week ago today. It has been a fast paced week. After spending 21/2 days in Istanbul we left Monday, Jan 12th for Turgutreis. Ethan and David were waiting at the airport to pick us up. When we arrived at our home, Rachelle and the boys was waiting for us. There was a lot of excitment. Ethan and Rachelle took us to what will be our home for the next season of our lives.

What a surprise awaited us. Ethan brought members from the Grace Bodrum Church to the house on Sunday after service, and they unpacked all the boxes, and washed dishes, cleaned, put books away and set up furniture. Rachelle had flowers all around the house. Also, Ethan let us know that the 4 boxes of summer clothes that we mailed had arrived. We also had another surprise. There was a 5th box also waiting for us, and it was our very first "care package" from a couple on our Marriage Team at NWF.

The weather has been cold. Our first night here, Pat woke up in the middle of the night shivering, and she has actually been cold since arriving. For those of you who know her, you know it has to be cold for her to say "I am cold."

We have now been in our home for 72 hours and the house is starting to look like and feel like home. We went grocery shopping this afternoon. So Pat was able to cook a home made meal (from scratch) this evening. We have only hit one little bump since being here. Our credit cards were shut down sometime on Tuesday. Actually our ATM card was deactivated. We were finally able to get them restored late last night our time. The lesson to be learned is if you are planning to leave the country and use your credit card, notify your bank and credit card holders that you are doing so.

We will begin ministry with couples next week. Pray that God will either make us aware of couples or couples will contact us that are in need of enrichment for their marriage.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

From Austin to Turkey

We arrived in Istanbul on Friday night at 11:30PM. We were delayed going out of Austin; consequently we had to be rerouted through Houston. We were able to get to our room by 1 AM.

On Saturday morning a Turkish friend and his wife that we met when we were leaving in June 08 came to the hotel to take us sight seeing. However to do any real sight seeing, you must walk, because their are not places to park and there are a mass of people walking around. This citie's population is around 18 million. We went to the Ayasofya. It was the largest church in the world built in the 5th century. We also visited the Blue Mosque that is located across the street from the Ayasofya. We would pronounce it the Hiya Sophia. You can see both on line. The mosque is second only in size to the one in Mecca. By the end of the day we walked about 5-miles. Needless to say because of a long trip Thursday and Friday along with all the walking, we were in bed at 7PM and slept most of the night.

We were able to contact a couple that came to the marriage conference in May of 08.They had a freind of their's meet us this morning and we attended Union Church. They meet in the Holland Consulate chapel built in the 1800s. The church is pastored by someone from South Africa. We met the Pastor and told him of how God had called us to come to Turkey. We also was introduced to the Chineese pastor of that church. We too told him about what we were going to be doing in Turkey. He told us that they were going to have an OM (Operation Mobilization) conference at the end of the month in Turkey. He said that he was going to pass the information along and possibly they might invite us to speak to the English speaking attenders. Finally, we had dinner with the Asian couple that attended the conference. They have been continuing to try to practice doing some of the things that we taught about, and allowed us to do some mentoring. They also asked about doing a retreat of some type for their workers.

Praise the Lord! God helped us to do some networking during or stay in Istanbul. We did not meet with the people that we had in mind, but God knew who we were supposed to meet.

Tomorrow we will leave for Bodrum and begin to settle in to the place that we will call home for the next season in our lives.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

From Texas to Turkey

As early Thursday morning draws near,there are a million thoughts in my head, maybe not a million. It is hard to believe just a little over 6-months ago we returned from Turkey with the certainty that God had called us to return to Turkey to serve the workers that are giving their lives away there, and we are still certain of that call today.

It has been an amazing 6-months, and we have seen our God open every door that needed to be open including 6 local churches and 1 Marriage Ministry Org. encouraging us, praying for us, and offering financial support. We also was able to sell our home at a time when real estate sales has been moving very slowly.

Leaving your family, your church and friends isn't easy. However, we rejoice in the fact that our church family understood that we had been called. So on Sunday our church family went all out to celebrate what God is doing. Sunday is a day that neither Pat or I will ever forget. Thank you for all of the love you poured out NWF.

We are now packed and ready to begin the journey. We will enjoy breakfast with our sons in the morning and then fly to Newark for a connecting flight to Paris and to Istanbul. We are spending 3 day in Istanbul to try to network and attend one of the churches in Istanbul. Please pray for good weather, good connections, and a safe flight until we get to our destination in Bodrum on Monday. Thank you.