OVERWHELMED: [oh-ver-hwelm-d] to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything.
"'God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I'm going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I'm going after my sheep. I'll rescue them from all the places they've been scattered to in the storms. I'll bring them back from foreign peoples, gather them from foreign countries, and bring them back to their home country. I'll feed them on the mountains of Israel, along the streams, among their own people. I'll lead them into lush pasture so they can roam the mountain pastures of Israel, graze at leisure, feed in the rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I'll go after the lost, I'll collect the strays, I'll doctor the injured, I'll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they're not exploited. Ezekiel 34:16-18 (The Message)
We are fully aware that the context of the above passage has to do with the nation of Israel. However, we also cannot ignore that our life experiences this year correlates with the sheep experience with the Shepherd.
We have seen the shepherd rescue us from storms, fed us and bring us into lush pasture. He gave us rest, doctored the injured and built us up when we were weak. This verse exemplifies last year. We are OVERWHELMED by God our Great Shepherd.
We are OVERWHELMED by the lessons we learned this year:
- God is our Great Master and Shepherd
- God continues to seek us and pursue us even when we lack faith
- God rescues us
- God feeds us
- God gives us peace
- God leads us
- God gives us rest
- God restores our health
- God builds us up when we are weak
- God doesn’t want us to be exploited
We were OVERWHELMED during our Christmas furlough. We started with a much needed week of R&R at LinkCare in Fresno. This is a retreat center for missionaries and pastors. This was a wonderful gift from our dear friends Pat and Michelle Evans and New Harvest Church. We started our Christmas Furlough refreshed and redirected.
We traveled up to the Bay Area and spent an early Christmas with Jeff's mother, sister and niece. What a wonderful time with Family!Thereafter we hit the road to Oregon and spent a wonderful Christmas with Hannah and Tim and Ineke's sister and brother-in-law in Portland. We especially enjoyed hearing Hannah and Tim lead worship at Imago Dei....*sigh*....we sure miss our kids! Our biggest joy was seeing our children serving the Lord.
We jumped in the car again and headed to Reno to visit Ineke's mother and many dear friends. We were spoiled by Ineke's mother with many favorite dutch foods! We were also able to share with many groups in both Reno and the Bay Area about all the amazing things that is going on through Agua Viva Ministries.
We returned to Mexico for a few weeks and then went back up to Oregon for a medical mission's conference. Then up to Seattle for another open house and reconnected with many old friends.
Our whirlwind tour is over and we are very happy to be back in Mexico (and in our own bed). Our furlough was bitter-sweet. We were OVERWHELMED by everyone's generosity, compassion and accommodations for our family! Thank you Trudy and John, Pat and Michelle, Brian and Andrea, Mike and Anita, Frank and Jeannette, Greg and Nancy, Russ and Sally and Wendy for opening your homes to our family! Thank you all for coming to our open houses in Reno, the Bay Area and in Seattle! We are overwhelmed with many new supporters. MUCHAS GRACIAS! We however, were sad to say goodbye to our family and friends once again.
Spring is in the air!
The hills surrounding Rancho Agua Viva are a beautiful emerald green, the wildflowers are beginning to bloom and we are gearing up for a crazy-busy spring and summer of American guest missionaries coming to serve in the Ensenada area. We are settling back into our routine of visiting pastors, assessing community needs, corresponding with group leaders, getting construction estimates, taking lots of pictures, getting our translators and group coordinators lined up and the Agua Viva staff is sprucing up the camp.
Next week we will host 45 FNP students and doctors from Concordia University in Michigan (can you see Ineke smiling?). We will have 4 large medical clinics, health classes and counseling in the agricultural areas where health care is rare.
We are planning on having a 5 week "spring break" where many churches and youth groups are coming to serve with VBS (children's programs), medical clinics, women's programs, building a church, prep-work for construction of a woman's half-way house after prison, sports clinics and construction projects at the ranch. We are OVERWHELMED that we get to be here in Mexico and do what we do! We are ready for the fun to begin!!!
So....What is happening with Hannah and Tim?
Hannah: I am soaking up the freedom of being a college grad. I am filling my time scooping delicious gelato in the Pearl district of downtown Portland to make rent. I'm also enjoying my role at Imago Dei Community as the new Worship and Arts intern. I'm playing and leading lots of music, investing in the community and learning great leadership skills.Follow Hannah's BLOG for details on her Cambodia mission trip: http://bananaflavor.wordpress.com/
Tim: I have been doing quite well in the last several months (despite getting sick and having lots of homework). Like before, I have been very involved in my church with music and now I'm going to be playing for the college group as well. I'm hoping to work in Alaska this summer; but that's only if I get a job. So keep that in your prayers. Thanks a million, TimPrayer Requests:
*Health, endurance and focus
*studies at Multnomah University for Tim
*Hannah's internship at Imago Dei
*Job for Tim for the summer
*Continue to be OVERWHELMED by the Lord.