Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pt 2 Packing Up

It has taken me longer than planned to get this next post written. We had some great things going on here with ministry and concerts and time flew by. I was also eaten alive inside as I started to think back in my mind about the past 10 years. Why is it that so many amazing things can happen in life and yet we are prone to remember the negative! The negative that just eats alive at your very core and wants to render you useless, helpless, causing you to doubt your calling, your effectiveness. To keep our eyes on Jesus, to cite Philippians 4:8 over and over again until those thoughts just flee. I hate them-I really do because Satan would desire to rob, kill and destroy all that God has done and so often I found myself entertaining his thoughts rather than those of my Heavenly Father. Oh how we need you Lord Jesus!
It's interesting how when you think back on things what you actually remember. In July 2000, we were on vacation at our favorite place for a couple weeks-Capistrano Beach. We rented a house right on the beach for a few summers and it was the best!!! I remember one day my Mom was visiting and I don't know why or what we were talking about but she asked me 'would you want to give up all this?' We were doing the bible study at our house that summer Living Water and Mom was coming to it so maybe we were discussing something from the study. It is interesting to me now because at that time of my life I had no desire to move or no thought that Jim would ever go into full time ministry. We were completely content in the ministries we were serving in. I remember telling my Mom that 'yes, we would give it up if that is what the Lord wanted'. Again, I am curious to remember what it was and why we talked about such things!
I do find it amazing that we can answer questions like that when we don't necessarily see being asked to actually do those things in the future.
That same summer, in August, we were travelling to San Francisco. We were dropping Marla off to spend some time with her sisters and Jim and I were going to do some sightseeing since I had not been to that part of CA before. We were also going to pick up some checks from contractors for jobs that Jim was doing. I remember driving and chatting about how after 5 or so years of working so hard that it was finally paying off. We were now going to be completely in the black-no more red. Jim did things honestly and ethically and as you know, in construction, it is hard to get ahead when wanting to do things the right way. That weekend was one I will always remember. We also went to a small Calvary Chapel in Livermore. Jim had attended there a couple times while he was working up that way. I was so impressed with how the pastor and his wife were so hands on-the wife did the childcare, the people seemed to be pretty in need there. It wasn't a big church, didn't even look like there was a lot of extra money to spare.
We went out to dinner and I remember talking about how so many people would want to be a pastor of a huge church and not many would want to be like this pastor and his wife who pretty much had to do everything. Again, thinking back on it, it was interesting what stood out to me.
In my mind, it was just conversation. I wasn't ever imagining that Jim would be a pastor one day. He was asked to take some classes with Pastor Rob on pastoring, but to me it was just to equip him in the ministries he was already doing-never thinking that he would pastor a church one day.
In Jim's heart, now that the business was going to be on its feet, he wanted to spend even more time helping out at church. He would tell me he would just go janitor, help out with the school, if that is what they needed. That is the heart of my husband. Honestly, he would take the lowest position somewhere and he would never think twice about it. Sorry to boast, but so many people see him as this big burly guy and don't bother to know the heart of this man as I do. He has never been the type to want to make a name for himself. To me, he is a description of a humble servant. Ok, back to topic :)
Here we are in Sept and suddenly one, two and then three contractors bail on us!! Bankruptcy, unethical, and some other things-all the same result though....none of them were paying the money they owed us. We are talking about government buildings involving lots and lots of money. Materials already bought, roofs already put on, payroll to meet, office bldg rents to pay, etc. What we one month ago thought was the begining of the good times was now a time of horror and great disappointment.
In the meantime, in Oct, our landlord of 7 yrs or so informed us that his son and daughter in law were getting divorced so he needed our house. Ok-sure, we will move!!! Our world was crumbling before our very eyes. How could we move, where would we move? One thing on top of another and inside I was so confused.
We ended up buying a home-that's a whole different story... but atleast we had a roof over our heads. I was content, happy with the possibilities of what we could do with our new home and we had a great yard. Jim was away a lot, working on the jobs himself since he had to lay people off. During that time, our good friend Chris stayed on and became an even closer friend-he really stuck by Jim and that was amazing! I was at home trying to pretty up the place, my Dad would come over and plant some cactus bushes for us, we entertained a lot at the new place. Work was still a problem but we just trusted God to work it all out.
On to Feb when Pastor Rob asked Jim to pray about moving....now that we have a background on what was going on in our lives prior to being asked to move. Could it be that the Lord was allowing all this business stuff to go on to prepare us to let go and move on to a different call?
Rob wanted us to go to Hungary with him and Howard to meet the church and to pray. I didn't really feel it necessary to go because if Jim would know to move there then of course I would move too right???!!!! I also was afraid that I would hinder him if I was there. I had no clue what to expect in Hungary-the buildings, bathrooms, food, people, etc. There was a fear in me that those things would bother me and I would ruin the trip for him. Rob told me I needed to go since I would be living there too and he thought it would be good for me so I did.
The scariest thing was before we left for the visit, we filled out a form which was sort of a will but mainly to have someone watch over Marla in case something happened to us. We sat down with our friends and asked them if they would be her guardians should anything happen-that was really difficult! Thankfully, nothing happened :)
It was April 2001 and we headed to Hungary with Pastor Rob and Howard. Not knowing what to expect, all I could do was pray. It sounds funny, but I prayed about the toilets, the showers and the coffee. I suppose they are my priorities!!! Yes, I prayed for the trip as a whole, but just that those things wouldn't bother me. They proved to be doable-I had packed my little creamers so even if the coffee was bad, the creamers disguised the taste.
We arrived in Hungary-I now understood what the word jetlag meant. We went to Vajta, Kaposvar and then to Baja. In Baja, we met the congregation, Jim taught that Thurs night and again on Sunday. I had not remembered in my life a time of being looked over by so many people :) Sunday night Jim was asked if he was going to move there and he still didn't know. I think some were getting restless at that point. Monday morning, Howard and I walked around the town so he could get some souvenirs for Lucia and the girls and we left Jim alone in the hotel. When we got back, there were tears in Jim's eyes and I knew that meant 'yes, we are moving to Hungary'. Psalm 45 was the one the Lord used to speak to Jim at the Sugovica Hotel. That night was prayer at the church in Baja and he made the announcement to those who were there. I think I was in such a blur-I tried looking at the faces of these people, taking it all in, realizing that they were now my new brothers and sisters in the Lord. This church building I was sitting in would soon be my new church. The city I walked around in would soon be our new home.
Of course with all this going on, there was Marla back in CA. Imagine being 12, and in a few months turning 13 and hearing that you are going to be uprooted and moved to another country! Wow!! I could write about it, but perhaps it would be best told by her one day to get the full effect of what was going on with her. If you ever want to feel like the worst Mom in the world, take your daughter away from family and friends for her teenaged years!!! I do have to say she was amazing through it all. Yes, normal teenage drama and stuff, but we were completely blessed by Marla's attitude (most of the time lol)
We flew back to CA with the news to share with everyone. It was May and we were to move in July! We had two months to pack up our belongings and prepare to move to Hungary! My oh my. Pastor Rob asked Jim to make a two year committment. We knew in our hearts that we were going to be committed to however long God would have us there.
Looking back, I believe the Lord couldn't have given us any more time because it would have been too much time to think about what we were doing and it wouldn't have made any sense to me. Had I had more time, I would probably not have wanted to move. This way, there was no real time to think about it. My focus had to be on packing up the house, preparing things to move away. We were blessed to be able to have all our things shipped over to Hungary. Having an 40ft trailer at our house for a week while trying to decide what to keep and what to give away, boxes suddenly taking over every square inch of our house and still the day to day work, what to do with the house while we are gone, etc.
There was an excitement within me. Perhaps it was the unknown, perhaps it was that the Lord would actually turn our world upside down like this. We all know ourselves, we know our weaknesses, our pasts, our struggles and to know that despite these things, God Himself desires to use us. To me, it was beyond amazing. That thought carried me through the next couple of months of getting ready to move. There was no real time to sit and ponder what was actually going on. No time to grasp the fact that we would kiss friends and family good-bye and not know when we would see them again. There was also the fact that some dear and close friends would be going to Hungary in Aug for the family camp so I would see them soon. Our daughter Christina would also be coming out in Aug so it wasn't quite like having to completely say good-bye. We would be able to prolong some of the good-byes for a bit.
A friend of mine was on the mission field in Scotland at the time. The were home for a visit and came to our going away party. She reminded me that at their going away party I came to her after everyone had left and said 'I don't know how you can do this, I could never move away from CA' Isn't it just like God to take what we think of as an impossibility and make it a reality. Even though I was born on the east coast, I was a CA girl!! I think inside I was born to be a CA girl :) The beach, the smells, I don't know what it is, but it is me! Does that sound funny? I couldn't fathom living anywhere else.....but God!!!
Next post we can talk about arriving in Hungary.....
I leave you with a song-one that people might think is a bit cheesy, but I still love the song. I recently read something someone wrote that Americans aren't very good at being friends-well, they must have the wrong kind of friends. I have been blessed beyond blessed with the friends I have had. Some say they lose friends when they move to the mission field. For whatever reason-only God's grace, I gain friends through the years. Not only aquaintances, but true, loving, we are here for you, type of friends! I love all of you!!!!

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