Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ministry as a Family

This morning in church, Tim and I shared about our upcoming trip to Bulgaria with our church family.  We also provided special music for the offering.  We chose the song "People Need the Lord" which has such a powerful message of which each Christian needs to be reminded. We decided that since God has called our family to be missionaries, that we should sing together as a family.  To hear the audio of our song put to a video, click on People Need the Lord.

One of our church family members sent us a couple of pictures that she took of us as we ministered through music.  I thought I'd share them with you.

"People Need the Lord" lyrics:

Everyday they pass me by,
I can see it in their eyes.
Empty people filled with care,
Headed who knows where?

On they go through private pain,
Living fear to fear.
Laughter hides their silent cries,
Only Jesus hears.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door.
People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
When will we realize, people need the Lord?

We are called to take His light
To a world where wrong seems right.
What could be too great a cost
For sharing Life with one who's lost?

Through His love our hearts can feel
All the grief they bear.
They must hear the Words of Life
Only we can share.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord
At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door.
People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
When will we realize that we must give our lives,
For people need the Lord.

People need the Lord.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Bulgaria is a beautiful country located in southeastern Europe.  It borders the Black Sea, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia.  Sofia, located in the central-western part of the country, is the capital.  This would be where our ministry will be based, if this is where God calls us to serve.  Bulgaria has a Parliamentary democracy and has good relations with the U.S.A.  There is religious freedom, but many Bulgarians don't practice religion.  If they do, it is often empty.  There is a lot of skepticism and mistrust regarding religion or even accepting friendships there because of the influences of the communistic state the Bulgarians came out of.  Despite all of this, MTW's work over there is being blessed by the Lord, and the ministry is growing.  Right now, the team over there is in the process of trying to purchase a large building to be used as a ministry center.  The team works with two local churches to help strengthen the believers and share the Gospel with the unsaved in the area.  A new work, Daughters of Bulgaria is a ministry that reaches out to the many prostitutes in Sofia.

Here are some demographic facts about the country taken from the U.S. Department of State website

Area: 110,910 sq. km. (slightly larger than Tennessee).
Major cities: Capital--Sofia 1.3 million.
Others: Plovdiv--379,493, Varna--352,674.
Terrain: Bulgaria is located in South Central Europe. The terrain is varied, containing large mountainous areas, fertile valleys, plains and a coastline along the Black Sea.
Climate: Continental--mild summers and cold, snowy winters.

Population (July 2009 est.): 7,204,687.
Population growth rate (2009 est.): -0.79%.
Ethnic groups (2001): Bulgarian 83.94%, Turkish 9.42%, Roma 4.68%, and other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar).
Religions (2001): Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Roman Catholic 0.6%, Protestant 0.5%, others.
Language: Bulgarian 84.5%, other 15.5%.
Health: Life expectancy (2009 est.)--male: 69.48 years; female: 76.91 years. Infant mortality rate (2009 est.)--17.87 deaths/1,000 live births.
Work force: 2.67 million (2008 est.). Agriculture--7.5%; industry--35.5%, services--57% (2007 est.).

Black Sea
One of many mountain ranges

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Renewing the World

Since Tim and I were dating, we started the habit of doing devotions together as a couple.  Since marriage, we've made that a daily commitment in addition to our personal devotions and now, our family devotions.  We've been reading through the entire Bible over and over again by reading together a chapter a day then read the daily reading from Tabletalk (If you have never heard of this devotional magazine, we HIGHLY recommend it. The daily and weekend readings are so full of the richness of God's Word and challenge us regularly.).

Last night during our devotional time together, we read Isaiah 61 which talks about the Messianic preacher who obviously was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  The richness of the first 3 verses (read them below) really stood out to me as I meditated on them and realized that just as Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy and through these actions, renewed the world, we too are called to follow Jesus and do the same.  It excited me to think about the fact that not only do I need to carry out this responsibility on a daily basis with the people God brings across my path as I go about my daily routine, but God is calling me to carry out this mandate in a country where God is not known or His Word regularly proclaimed.  What a responsibility!  At times, it seems overwhelming to think about, but then other times, I feel so inadequate of such a responsibility.  I praise the Lord for choosing to use this weak and broken vessel called "Christine" for His purposes and ultimately, for His glory!  I accept this calling with joy and am willing to take the mountain top experiences as well as the valleys that will come along with it.    

God has been using moments like this to reaffirm His calling for my life.  Sometimes it comes in passages of Scriptures like this one.  Other times, it's a song that I hear.  A few times, it has been something someone has said to me or something I heard.  At times, it was something one of my children said or did.  No matter how God chooses to work, He is at work changing my heart of stone into flesh and confirming His will in my life.  What a comfort!

Isaiah 61:1-3: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor; 
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First Steps to Answering the Call

We invite you to join us as we walk the path to answering God's call.  We've provided links to our story to give you a background to how we got where we are now.  We intend to use this blog to allow you to walk with us, pray with and for us, and to remain up to date with how God is working in our hearts and lives.  

Where we are now: 
After getting medical clearance from the medical director of Mission to the World (MTW), the mission board we are planning to serve with, we have started the lengthy process of applying for service in long-term missions with MTW.  We have been in conversation with an MTW recruiter about serving long-term possibly in Bulgaria.  We have also been in communication with the Bulgaria team leader.  After much prayer and many conversations, Tim and I have decided to take a Vision Trip to Bulgaria to spend some time with the team, view the area, check out the local hospital, and discern if that's the place God wants our family and in what capacities He is calling us to serve.  Our trip has been planned for April 21-29, 2011.  We will be going without the boys in order to be solely focused on our task at hand. The boys will split their time with both sets of grandparents while we are away.

  1. That God would use this trip for His purpose and glory. 
  2. That He will direct us in knowing whether or not He is calling us to serve Him in Bulgaria.   
  3. That God would direct us to know in what ways He wants us to serve Him.  Tim especially is seeking God's direction in this area.
  4. That God would provide the necessary funds for this trip.  It will  cost us $2,000 for the trip.
  5. That God would keep us safe while we are away from our boys.