It's necessary that I update you on Satan's losing battle in raising funds for Chris and I to serve in Zimbabwe in less than 6 weeks!

Since my last post, we have been blessed with friends who have stepped forward to support us. Not only am I aware of many prayers going up on our behalf, but we have had $640 dollars pledged to us ($250 specifically for our bills in October), and an additional $100 check given to us for our travel insurance since then. One of my past bosses here at work also told me on Friday that she was going to try and rally funds for us through people I work with and with those in her close circle of friends. Though we still have a ways to go, I fully believe that God is going to bless us with the means to go. We're still hoping and praying that Chris's health insurance kicks in before the second rounds of shots, saving us around $200.

We had the wonderful opportunity of spending a fair amount of time this past week with the group from Wichita, Kansas that we'll be joining forces with over in Zimbabwe. It was my first time meeting them, and based on how bad my stomach muscles hurt from laughing, I'd say it's a good match. They are all such sweet and loving people, and seem to share in my desire for a sense of humor in dealing with life. It only got me more excited to serve over there with them.

In other news, Chris and I both got this weird bug on Saturday. He woke up in the middle of Friday night, vomiting. He thought it was the pizza he had had for dinner the night before. Throughout the morning, he developed a headache, and still felt nausous, but eventually began feeling better slightly after lunchtime. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, I started vomiting....but I hadn't had the pizza from the night before. I then got a headache and felt nauseous. But 12 hours later, I was fine again. It was the weirdest thing.

As another update - I've lost 22lbs. total since I started my "Fathead"!. I've plateaud the past month or so, but I know all I need to do is get my butt on the treadmill to jumpstart it. I've kept my eating on track, and continued taking my vitamins. Saying (and thinking) I need to lose 53lbs. is a lot easier to deal with than 75lbs, though. Slowly, but surely!

Please keep praying for us as we prepare ourselves for the upcoming mission!
The devil is a nasty little thing. He works through the thoughts in my mind and on the strings of my heart in ways I easily turn a blind eye to. Ways that make evil seem like a natural reality.

We have exactly 46 days before we leave for Zimbabwe. Mine and Chris's first mission trip opportunity as a couple. I wondered if we'd ever be able to do something like this together, as marriage tends to lead quickly towards having kids, who tend to suck all your time and money, which tends to leave little opportunity for fulfilling God's work beyond the boundaries of your home. But we've been blessed with this amazing opportunity to serve in an African country. Training over the past year has overflowed with information about the country, the culture, and hypothetical situations we should be prepared for. Emotionally and spiritually preparing ourselves (if that's even possible) for the poverty we are about to witness and the everyday reality of yet another child dying from AIDS or malnutrition. And now we're down to the last 6 weeks. My heart starts racing faster everytime I think about how close it's getting.

So where's the devil in all this? He makes me forget that Jesus was able to raise the dead. That God spoke to Moses in a burning bush. That miracles do happen. He's allowed the stress of the financial aspect of this trip to burden me to the point of tears. To make me question if we should be going at all. To feel bitter about the letters we sent out to friends and family asking for support twice - and not getting a single response. To underestimate God's power and ability to work it all out. I mean....realistically...Martha lost hope when Jesus didn't make it to Lazarus' bedside before he died. And was already placed in a tomb. But that didn't matter. And I haven't lost faith that God can and will provide the money for us to do His work.

We originally had to raise $6,000 for the trip, which was due in full last night. Through the support of my immediate family, our church's mission budget, and our own money, we have raised $3,200. Our tickets were bought at $2016.30/each. So without looking at any other aspect of the trip, we now owe $922.60 for the flight alone. The devil tells me it'll never happen. God tells me to trust in Him.

I sat down last night to add up the bare minimum we will need outside of that amount. Including 2 rounds of shots for both of us, money for visas, food, TSA locks for our luggage, emergency money for the "just in case", and travel insurance - we're looking at another $1,200. The devil tells me it'll never happen. God tells me to trust in Him.

Unfortunately, Chris will be missing out on 2 paychecks while we are away, as he has no paid vacation time available at his job. So we also have to have extra money in the bank at the end of September to cover the bills in October we'll still have. At the VERY least - $250. Ideally, $500. The devil tells me it'll never happen. God tells me to trust in Him.

The women are required to wear skirts that come to their ankles during the trip. I have 2. Which means I have to go buy several more. Our team, as a whole, is planning on leaving the majority of our clothing behind when we come back. Chris will also need to purchase clothes to take and leave in Africa. Purchasing 2 weeks' worth of clothes at a thrift store for both Chris and I will be at least $100. The devil tells me it'll never happen. God tells me to trust in Him.

I haven't lost faith. I know God can provide for us to go on this trip. And I know I can't just sit back and wait for Him to perform a miracle. My biggest fear is coming across as a desperate beggar. But I can't allow the devil to crush my faith in God for the next 6 weeks. Matthew 7:7 tells me that I should "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." If you have a heart for missions, and are able to join us in this effort, please visit and click on the “donations” tab at the top. Or, if you have further questions, feel free to email me at .

I will continue to keep you updated on the mission, and are so thankful for the continued love and support you provide. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue preparing for our time over there!

My wonderful husband had the misfortune of losing his wedding band before we even hit our 1 year anniversary! He lost in the ocean one day we were at the beach, and the reality of having to replace his wedding band multiple times over the upcoming years (being realistic and all) was financially frustrating! He's not allowed to wear his ring at work, as it's a safety issue. So IF he wears it to work, he has the potential of losing it there. And obviously, when he's not at work....well....we know about those possibilities.

I may be old-fashioned and all, but I'm pretty strong on the opinion that wedding rings are necessary, not optional, in the world of psycho women today. So it was really important that we got him a new one as soon as possible.

One Wednesday night at church, someone told him about another guy who had gotten his ring tattooed on his finger. I'd heard of it before - but Chris apparently never had. He was highly intrigued and began looking into it. It would solve all our problems! It was cheaper, didn't create a safety issue at work, and he would never be at risk of losing it! And that was pretty much the end of our discussion. Unfortunately, the detail in his original wedding ring was too fine to tattoo on his finger, so he had to decide on another one he wanted. He's always really liked this Christian fish motorcycle symbol. He said it would combine his three greatest loves into one!

So I called him on my way home last night, and ask if he wanted to go check into getting it done. I thought a weeknight would be faster to walk-in without an appointment and get it done. The guy we met did not seem at all thrilled about the idea of doing a ring tattoo. He began telling us that there was no point doing it on the inside of his finger, because it would rub off rather quickly. He then let us know that the top would probably wear off, too, as much as someone typically washes their hands. We were well aware of all of this, and knew that there would probably need to be refreshers in the future. He just wanted to make sure his butt was covered! After we convinced him we understood it all, and had no problem with it, he finally set his station up.

He initially though Chris just wanted the symbol outline on top of his finger, but we told him we wanted it to look like an actual band. I couldn't see any of what was actually being tattooed while it was going on, so I hoped that the guy understand what we were wanting. He got down as far on the sides of his finger as he could, then said he couldn't go any further, do to the lack of space for the needle in-between Chris's fingers. That made sense. So it's not all the way around - not even past the point in you see in the picture, really - but we both love how it turned out! Even with tip, it was cheaper than replacing his old wedding band, and we were both so excited about it! Yay for lifetime commitment!!!

VBS and I have a love/hate relationship. It takes over my life for about 2-3 weeks every year. And by the time it actually starts, I'm ready for it to be over! Although we didn't have an earth-shattering attendance to constitute the extravagency of it all, we still managed to go above and beyond our efforts from the year before.

Last year we held VBS on Friday night and Saturday. We felt our efforts would pay off even more if we held VBS over a 4 day period. So Wednesday-Saturday was dedicated to sending kids 3 to 11 years old through a time warp, back to Nazareth when Jesus was alive. As soon as they entered "Nazareth", they were greeted at a tent, where they were assigned to a Tribe. Once in their tribe, they met for celebration time in the "main" part of Nazareth. There were sheeps, roosters, and hay galore (not pictured)!!

The rock wall pictured was the bain of many people's existence. Not only did it takes hours and hours of labor - but then fell apart at least twice before VBS actually began. I guess the good part is that it stayed together during VBS!

From celebration time, they either headed to the Marketplace, where they spent their coins to purchase food or "authentic" Nazarian souvenirs that they helped create, outside for some Nazarian games, or into my (virgin Mary's) house for some reminiscing about Jesus in the good ol' days. My nosy neighbor, Eunice, would often "interrupt" my storytelling to tell the tribes that she didn't believe any of my stories. This gave the kids an opportunity to tell her why they believed in Jesus and why they loved him. It was a ton of fun, but totally exhausting every night. I had the fortune/misfortune of doing the same skit 4 times every night. I was a pro at the end of it, for sure!! Bring it on, Babylon 2012!