shaking hands with the enemy

But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Luke 6:35

The sweet aroma of citrus blossoms waifts into our truck as we drive through Dinuba, past acres of orange groves. It’s a smell that brings us twenty years into our past when we lived in Redlands, CA–a town steeped in a rich citrus heritage. I’m sure that if smells could heal, sickness would be abolished in the Central Valley of California each spring.

PREDICTABLE PRECISION

Pulling onto the property of Gleanings for the Hungry, the familiar comfort of returning to a location for a second time greets us. We are here for the week, excited to serve, ready to learn.

On Monday morning, much of the routine we remember repeats itself with predictable precision: morning devotions, bountiful meals, and fulfilling work. However, this time around holds the bonus of familiar faces and friendships that were forged on our first visit that we now get to build upon.

RESTORATIVE MISSION

As the week begins we delve into the tasks at hand: processing walnuts and dried persimmons, making quilts and cleaning bathrooms. Energy is high and sleep comes easily each evening. Continue reading “shaking hands with the enemy”

our Heavenly Father is not a Grandpa

Our Heavenly Father is not a grandpa and there is no Jr. Holy Spirit. Our children have the same access to God’s heart as we do.” The words rolled off her tongue and the truth sank deep into my heart during a recent discussion with an Instagram-turned-real-life-friend. I’d been sharing a crossroads decision our family was facing and her wise question, honed from real-life experience was, “Have you prayed about this as a family?” Although we had brought the decision to the Lord as the family in a general sense, as she asked the question I knew she was simultaneously giving me the answer—God was waiting to reveal His heart for our future through our children.

AT A CROSSROADS

Our crossroads decision dates back over a year ago when our family served at Gleanings for the Hungry in Dinuba, California. If you’ve not yet read my post or seen Trent’s video about this location, I encourage you to click over and do that now (or watch the video below).

Serving at Gleanings has continued to be a highlight for our family, so much so that we are making plans to return in the next month to serve again. This Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base serves a dual purpose.

  1. It’s a hub for California’s fruitful central valley creating a streamlined opportunity for what would be unused produce allowing it instead become usable dried fruit and soup mixes to be distributed to those in need through local, on-the-ground missionaries around the world.
  2. It’s a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with students of all ages participating in three months of specific, focused training in areas of Biblical Discipleship followed by two months of overseas outreach.

During our initial stay in 2017, we talked with several students attending the DTS program. Over and over the story was the same: God was transforming the hearts of the students and doing amazing things in their lives.

After Trent and I talked with a family attending the DTS and learned that there are specific Discipleship Training Schools geared toward families and that these families followed up their training with a two-month international outreach, God lit a fire in our hearts to explore this option more. Continue reading “our Heavenly Father is not a Grandpa”