Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The adventure begins...


The Beginning of our Journey to Kansas City, MO.  Richard and Graham and Annie the dog :) drove in the Budget truck.  The other 5 children, Tigger the cat, and I rode in the Suburban...



Our home....in a box...on wheels...

We have been in Kansas City for two months today.  Since we pulled out onto the rode to drive out to become intercessory prayer missionaries and to pour ourselves into evangelism and justice service here, I have been trying to get my heart into words...I haven't yet so let me just write some impressions down to share where we are today...

We are awed beyond words at HOW GOOD it is to listen to God's voice carefully and then to jump up to obey with what we call among our family "first time obedience".




Well, in the photos above you can see us leaving sweet Tennessee that has been our home for the past 16 and a half years...we are excited and joyful...and HOT...oh, so HOT --just drippy and sore and tired from packing--we are EVER grateful to the Bonner,Pedicini, Couch, and Chaney families for loaning us your strong men!! and to Maria Lee and Eliana  for packing and encouragement and ALL the Dubois family for your incredible service and love, hugs, and cookies :) THANK YOU!!!!!  YOU just made our moving experience possible!! We just were OVERWHELMED  with friends and family that literally went beyond themselves on those HOT humid August days--I don't think I've ever been warmer--it was QUITE uncomfortable weather to work with!! But the guys were incredible--they jumped into the truck and got things organized and in a couple of hours it all was packed.  Heart-sickness of a very sweet but painful variety came on me as the packing made moving off to our new calling so real and now--seeing sweet Sarah and her precious children at my picnic table on that steamy days made the tears begin to flow--a picture of precious family that Christ has made for us faithfully and lovingly in the Nashville area--and having to say goodbye to so many sisters and brothers and littles that we love so dearly--it was tough--those last hugs and blessings...seeing those beautiful ones through tear- filled eyes...And like Dorthy....(in the W of Oz) it boils down at the end to the last goodbyes...to the "tin men"," the scarecrows",and the "lions" of your life--you know who you are, my precious ones!!--no ruby slippers to "click" me back now...

...and yet this over-riding, STRONG realization --I can just feel it--almost SEE it--of the golden-paved road we are all on together as believers on that road--bringing us home to the Kings' land...we are only separated for moments in our individual journeys until that day...

All packed, clothing absolutely SOAKED with perspiration and no clothing left to change into --its all packed!! Run into the house for a final look through...and to find an odd, forgotten (dry!) shirt of Richard's to pop on--he's so tall it drops to my knees...  Hug one last dear, dear friend, sister, and neighbor in the driveway...And then pack up all the excited littles and exhausted Ashley and Graham and Richard, our cat, our dog, and I into the car and our truck...we drive over to Tracy's home to say goodbye to family friends and our compadres in the adoption world...so many more we would have wanted to hug as well if time had allowed...Tracy and Jimmy so beautiful even in jammie wear :) greet us with hugs and lay hands on our overheated backs(bless them!) --they send us off with prayer--and Tracy in her gentle, wise way speaks life over us and ends with, "This has glory all over it. I feel like you all are getting into boats and going up to Jerusalem."  At that point my heart "pops" and the tears start flowing--they are unstoppable now...

"Sweet" grief--when you are in God's pocket and willingly laying something down for the wonder that He has placed before you-- is different than the pain of other grieving I have done through the years-sweet and salty...high and low, major and minor notes combining to make melody in the heart...

We spend the night at my parents' home that night--more precious people to say final goodbyes to...the next morning we awake to a birthday breckfast  #41 at my mother's table complete with balloons, and homemade necklaces and lays from the kids--how funny!--I'm decked out with them all as we walk out to the truck...Hard to squeeze parents goodbye who have moved to a region to be with you~ who have served and loved and cheered over every stage of our life in Franklin,Tn~ to be far away again....we already know what this pain is like...

We pile into the trucks and head down the road--the trip is smooth and cheerful.  The tears come again...for about the first 500 miles, as I watch Tennessee disapear sign post by sign post and then say goodbye to the Kentucky region...God presses image after image on my heart of all that He did in our journey in this area--faces, events,more faces,promises, promises fulfilled, scripture, sweet reminders, go before my eyes...so thankful  for the growth...for the pain..for the mundane and the joys... that made us who we are today...for the place where God brought two newly married, immature man and woman and brought them up so well ...I am overwhelmed, I am thankful, I am in pain... and I cry and I cry and I cry--"Its o.k. kids, Mommy's o.k....these are thankful, joyful tears..."  and they really are...

...It is now really dark...it is 3 am in the morning...We arrive in Kansas City, Mo...now expectant...really joyful...incredibly exhausted..hungry...without clothing--in all the packing my carefully packed overnight bags have been placed and locked in the big truck...and curious with a lot of excitement...a piece of a verse of scripture runs over and over in my head as I press out the tiredness of my hands on the wheel..."Here we are, Lord, "send us...in the name of your book it is written of us...we delight to do your will..."

We get out our stapled mapquest maps and direction notes and wind- down neighborhood streets in the ultra quiet of the early morning hours.  I am very aware of how loud the truck must be to the slumbering people we are passing by...

  We have been unable to make final contact with a real estate agent who has arranged our rental home for us--we have only seen it online and was hard to aquire--not many were available and phone tag has not gone well--it actually has been a very frustrating experience with such lack of detail and no one to just walk into an office and make things happen for us. Even while stopping at rest stops we have been trying to make contacts and it just has felt like running into a high obstacle ... its weird to experience this in the middle of so much confirmation that God is calling us out to Kansas City...

We arrive at the house and fumble for keys, for lights... and try to not wake the louder of the littles who would announce our presence and awake the block--or the one who just might wander off as we are checking things out inside....ack!;)..try to keep the animals from bolting too...

At this point...exhausted and now covered in OLD sweat and grime...as we open the door to our unforseen home...we are blasted with a STRONG odor of mold...

uh oh....

Richard and I each avoid eye contact as we bring the children in one by one and check out a home that is nothing like it was represented online..

.uh oh....

becomes

OH, NO!....

it doesn't have closets...the basement is open to the garage...it is not finished...this room is not heated...this place is DIRTY...and my throat is BURNING...the children that have had allergies and Asthma in the past begin to cough...we look at the truck...and look back at the house...

OH NO.....Lord,

what...WHAT are you wanting us to DO?...

We bring in the animals--poor Tigger is SOOOoooo stressed out---he meows a loud complaining cry over and over as he stalks around on the kitchen counter --picking his paws over sticky,dusty spots on the tan linoleum...my heart is crying in the same way, Tigger...!!

We drag in blankets and try to make clean beds on the floor--the kids all lined up like sleepy dominos in little lines all over this dreary floor...Rich and I squeeze onto a bit of blanket and hold hands and attempt to look at one another...our eyes are saying the same thing...

My husband who could sleep on a coal pile in the bright light of day--he can sleep anywhere, easily at any time--lies there wide eyed...

"I'm not going to get ANY sleep tonight, Gill--this is awful."

I can only cough--by this time my eyes and lungs are REALLY burning--"I'm going to only say awful things...we better pray instead of talk..." (to confess, all I am thinking is ...my birthday has just arrived --August 7th and here we lie in the grim of something else to deal with--' Crappy Birthday to me'!!) Yep--isn't that TERRIBLE?!  ....it was a necessary thing to keep the mouth shut....and to tell the heart to be quiet too--it can be so unfaithful and such a liar--especially when the body is weak and tired...

We start to pray and feel God's Presence come gently to us, we are calmed...we are able to think clearly....we make a plan for our escape from this home AND praise God that all the details for it dropped through and did not happen so that we could be saved from having to pay rent on something that would be dangerous for our family.  We make ourselves lie down for a LOOONG two hours and then hastily gather the family up and scoot out and shush the loud questions of the kids outside... before the neighborhood wakes up and maybe wonders about this truck "camping out" at the rental house down the street...

For the next 5 days...we are living at a hotel...searching during the days for a house to rent...life is complicated on two fronts...Tigger and Annie are still with us--we can't leave them in the hot weather --Missouri is hitting 100-110 heat index this week and so it is a constant problem to find them shade and to re-aircondition the car by driving it around--plus the fact that the dog LOVES the cat but the cat hates the dog...we are dealing with a cat box in the over-packed car (yikes!) plus the aromas of wet dog food in the heat ...I also am getting sick...I have cut myself on something on moving day on my arm and my leg and both cuts are getting very red and hot and a rash that looks like poison ivy is spreading all over my leg and arm--it is swollen and gets worse in heat until the tissues ache underneath--no escape from heat right now!!...

The kiddos are hanging in there SO well but are going stir crazy in the car...We are living off of snacks and fast foods and the breckfast bar at the hotel...and all our clothing has "run out"--its all packed in the big truck...really ready to settle...

We are spending all our time searching for a place to live...By night number 4 we consider looking for house farther away from the missions' base but this seems off for God has called us here to be a part of the IHOP ministry and to be far away from it would not make sense....  The eight of us kneel down between the hotel beds and lay it all out before God who has been so very present in this whole time and talk to our loving Father about our needs.  One of the children declares that we will have our answer in the morning.

  On the 5th morning Richard awakens and goes out of the hotel room to pray.  He comes back in the room , eyes bright. "God just told me to not look for houses far away from the missions base.  We are to look one more time."  (we have looked at newspaper and Craigslist ads many times each day--there's been nothing on there that we have not looked at) He tells us he is going down to the hotel computer and will be right back.

Remember the miracle when Jesus told the tired fishermen who had been fishing all night to lower the nets AGAIN..ONE MORE TIME...and they complain BUT they OBEY?...

We Looower... the nets ....ONE more TIME..not knowing why...just obeying God's word to us...and...

  Richard returns only 15 minutes later with a twinkle in his eye and a Craigslist rental listing in his hand.  This listing was put up a week ago but did not show the whole time we have been here!  And we know this for we have scoured these sites OVER and OVER...

  It looks perfect for us--and Richard reports that as it came up on the computer screen he got a holy stomach ache--"butterflies"--and knew in that moment God was handing us our new home--

and like that net bursting full of blessing, our good gift is overflowing with what we not only need but have desired--in fact if we had a wish list for everything we would desire in a smaller home--this one would have it and it is RIGHT in the heart of all of the action of the missions' base...  We look at it within 30 minutes and LOVE it--it is cottagy and warm and full of light...it will be PERFECT for hosting college seminary interns or a variety of people who come to IHOP to receive refreshment or to go to a conference...it has a large yard for the kids and we can divide the kids easily into the bedrooms--it is CLEAN and is freshly painted in all the colors of our poccessions in our Budget rental truck...the only catch is that we are to have a phone interview with the owner who only will allow people to live in this house that could be a real asset to the International House of Prayer Ministry.   Believing this is us, we have our interview with this incredible missionary who helped to start the missions' base,who helped to get 24/7 intercessory prayer started here, and who is involved in the specific ministry to help make a HUGE dent in human trafficing that Richard's heart has been strongly drawn to...
He says he needs to pray over this for a day...by the end of the day..he calls us back with joy,

"In prayer, God laid your family very strongly on my heart--you are the family for this property--and accepting you is making me so joyful that I'm giddy--I can't stop laughing--this is going to be a wonderful thing..."

the owner of the property then shares with us that there is a prophecy on this home--several times in prayer he and his wife have received word that whoever lives in this rental home on Grandview Road is going to be part of a grand vision of God's work in His Kingdom...and will be an integral part of the missions' base here in Kansas City...its a prayed over, launching pad for missionaries,used only for ministry through the years--we've been drawn into a legacy of service for Jesus here--Praise God for all the road blocks that narrowed the road to this point!  ....

We have to wait another half week until we can move in and in this time I am alone with the kids at the hotel while Richard has to go on a business trip.  My leg and arm get hotter and more swollen--the living in the car is getting past old...we are told by the hotel staff that morning at breckfast --me alone with all the kiddos-- that the police will be called on our animals and our trucks--and we immediately  drive off to find an animal kennel -- the first one we find has availability AND we are greeted at the desk by a joyful vet who loves Jesus and treats us like family--he gives us all the skinny of the area and proclaims the sweetness and goodness of God over us and sends us on our way--this adventure is so surreal--I mean, just walking into a vets office and having God-encounters!!--surely God's hand and favor is ALL over this move even in the midst of the itchy, the hot, the uncomfortable, the frustrating...there's a clear joyful Presence of God dancing all over this!!

We move into our cheerful cottage several days later and have such full,thankful hearts. ..No time to rest...Richard has to go back to work in Nashville--we have two homes to sell and a job to continue on in until God brings work here for Richard or another kind of support as we dive into ministry...and school has started at a missionary school called, The Daniel Academy...but that's another story to be shared...

.We are blown away...the ministry -side of our adventure has truly begun ...and it is SO much bigger than what we even expected--no wonder there has been great struggle to arrive here--this is huge stuff  Kingdom-wise --for EACH of the members of our family....but we will continue that part of the story in the next post...

Blessings to you all!!

Love, Gillian

4 comments:

Marianna said...

WOW. Incredible in so many ways. Thx for the update!!!

America meets India said...

Praising God for holding your family in the palm of HIS hand.

Gillion said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
everybitterthingissweet said...

A friend sent me a link to your blog. We moved our family here from Virginia just a few weeks after you arrived here and we, too, have two little ones from Ethiopia.

Though SO HARD to leave our amazing community in Charlottesville, we have found the IHOP community warm and welcoming.

I can so relate to your post ...what an awesome journey!