Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sometimes numbers mean a lot!

 Some of the numbers that made up our deputation journey:

4,000+ miles driven/ridden (we took turns driving and napping J ).
Spent give or take 64 hours in the truck.
Stayed somewhere between 1 day to 2 weeks in 12 different states (KS, MO, ID, IN, IL, CO, FL, NC, OH, PA, MD, TN)
Drove through/in an additional 7 states (AK, SC, GA, MS, AL, KY,  DC )
We were blessed by the hospitality of 15 different hosts who opened up their home and blessed us during our deputation time.
We were blessed to share in 16 different services/meetings/camps.  And hear the stories of countless Christ-followers being faithful to what God has called them too!
Received the love and support of countless friends and family. 
Some days it felt like we would never reach June 26th but here we are less than 2 days away. 

If you are reading this then chances are good that you are among the ones who poured out your love and support on us and for that we are very thankful!  We have been so blessed by the amazing people in our lives who are loving us, praying for us, and thinking of us.  We are also doing the same for you (we have over 17 hours on a plane on Thursday/Friday and we will have lots of time to pray J )! 

God has richly blessed us and our hope is that we have been and will to be a blessing to those we come in contact with. 

As we embark on our journey overseas, we leave overflowing with love, sad to say goodbye, but at the same time excited to say hello to our new friends and family on the Africa South Field. 

Until next time…remember when on stage don’t miss the very important last step off the stage.  Although I will say that it gave Joe and I lots of laughs as we watched me ungracefully miss the last step on stage on the webcast of the service (don’t worry I didn’t actually fall). 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The single digit count down begins... 8 days till take off

It is hard to believe that in 8 days we will be boarding a plane and 17 and 1/2 hours later we will be arriving in our new home Johannesburg, South Africa.  We have spent months preparing and planning for that day.  Now the only things that stands between us and South Africa is a few days, one more checked suitcase and our carry ons to pack, our VISA arriving, one more road trip (from PA to MD), and some goodbyes.  We are very much excited about this new chapter in our lives but wish it did not have to come with some many hard goodbyes. 

We have been blessed over the last 2 or 3 months to spend lots of time with friends and family and count our times together as a huge blessing.  We have been able to share meals together, laughs together and makes lots of memories.  We have reconnected with family and friends and made new friends as well.  Every week or so we have found ourselves in a different place sharing life with a different group of friends or family.  We have loved our time with each and everyone of you that we have gotten to connect with and have been overwhelmed by the amazing people we have around us supporting, loving and praying for us.  

Over the last two weeks we have spent time with family and friends in North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and now Pennsylvania.  We also got to spend the week making new friends with the awesome staff and teens of the Missouri District.  We have had some great adventures and are looking forward to many more adventures!  We even got to have our name in lights as one Church welcomed us on their church sign!  

If you are reading this then you are a part of the blessing!  Thanks for loving and supporting us and for reading about what we have been up to.  

Until next time remember you are only as young as you feel and when you are surrounded by teenagers you will feel pretty old (even if you are not! :) ) 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Feelin' the NC Love and Flat Framily

Well Joe and I made it to North Carolina safely and have had a great week spending time with my family.  We got to spoil my nieces and nephew and spend some great time with our friends and family.  We also had the awesome privilege of sharing our story in the church that I grew up in as well as in the church where my parents now attend.  We were overwhelmed by the love and support that we received from our church families in NC.  It is a huge blessing to have several church families who love and support us.  We would not be who we are without them!  We are very thankful for the love and support of all our church families and friends.  We have been blown away by the ways that God continues to provide for us through our family and friends.

We also wanted to take a few moments to explain a little bit about the Flat Framily pictures you may have seen popping up on our facebook wall.  We stole the idea from a book called "Flat Stanley" by Jeff Brown.

Here is a little synopsis from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Stanley
"Stanley Lambchop and his younger brother Arthur are given a big bulletin board by their father to display pictures and posters. He hangs it on the wall over Stanley's bed. During the night the board falls from the wall, flattening Stanley in his sleep. He survives and makes the best of his altered state, and soon he is entering locked rooms by sliding under the door, and playing with his younger brother by being used as a kite. One special advantage is that Flat Stanley can now visit his friends by being mailed in an envelope. Stanley even helps catch some art museum thieves by posing as a painting on the wall. Eventually, Stanley is tired of being flat and Arthur changes him back to his proper shape with a bicycle pump."   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Stanley

As we were preparing to leave Kansas City I was trying to think of creative ways that we could stay connected with our family and friends (our Framily).  A friend of mine mentioned that she had received a Flat Stanley from a student and that he had gone with them to a Festival.  Which got me to thinking hey what if we could have Flat Heath's and decorate them and leave them here and we could let our framily decorate a flat version of themselves and so the idea was born.  Then another friend of mine and I did some searching and found some Flat "Stanley" templates that we could use to make our own Flat People.  

Unfortunately a bicycle pump will not pump up our flat framily but we did think it was a great way for some of our family and friends to come along with us as we journey to South Africa and begin our lives there.  It is also a way for us to be a part of our friends and families lives here in the states.  While we can't be at all the cookouts, or ball games, and can't be at Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner the Flat Version of ourselves can be there.  It is nowhere near the same but it is small way to be a part of what is going on.

So if you are reading this and say I want to be a part of that you can!  Go to http://bleieracademy.blogspot.com/2012/02/flat-stanley.html to download the Flat template decorate it and then attach a cut picture of your face.  Then take a picture of it and tag us (if you are on facebook) or you can send us an email to find out the best place to mail it to us if it is before June 26th.

Here is a picture of the Flat Heaths hanging out on the Owens' fridge waiting for the next adventure.

Until next time remember to be present in the moment that you are in and enjoy it as much as you can.  Because time keeps marching on and before you know it your baby nephew is getting ready to go to Jr High School.