Thursday, September 16, 2010

Full Circle

Two weeks from today we will be in Ghana.  That’s a big deal on more levels than I could ever blog.  Twenty years since I’ve been there last.  Asia has been our focus for many years now yet here we are about to go back where our overseas ministry started in the first place.  I still remember how it was…like it was just yesterday.  The excitement of it all.  What it felt like to set my feet on the African continent.  It was there I found my watershed and could never look back or settle for my little life here in the place I’d known all my life.  Now I make this circle complete not just alone but brining my family with me.  My dear Joseph said one day I would return with my “Precious” and just as he said so prophetically here I am about to return there with Lovely.  Will it open the eyes of my children as it did me?  I believe so.  The word I’ve had from childhood is that my ministry would be greater than my parents but that must be passed on to my children now…they will surpass me and I’d have it no other way. 


There have been some nasty flu symptoms we’ve now fought through this week.  I am just glad it didn’t come up right before we got on the plane.  I’ve traveled overseas while deathly ill and I have no desire to do that ever again.  There are also some visa issues with the people who are coming with us from Canada that need to be ironed out…prayer…oh how I value the power of prayer!  I feel that my heart is already in Africa, things here seem less real then they did even a day ago…I know this will change our lives forever.


Still we're not gone yet so I must keep my head together.  I have some pictures left to share of our Yellowstone trip still so let’s get to that.  We stayed in a cabin not far from a burned out forest it was hard to tell how far this fire had burned until we drove to check it out.  I was shocked at the destruction and again the theme of life refusing to give up I saw very little life at first of the animal persuasion .  there was actually a solemn feeling here .  I could feel that it was hallowed ground somehow.  The further we followed the road up the mountain we could see that whole mountainsides had been devastated in this fire.  My lens seemed drawn to the contrast of green grass and blackened tree trunks Life and death was everywhere but as we went up higher and higher the life seemed to become stronger .  Here the elk Thistle was everywhere unlike the Stillwater where we were before were it was not as common.  Higher still we went and then I spotted one of my favorites!  Indian Paintbrush .  It felt like seeing an old familiar friend…okay more than one old friend perhaps .  Fact is there were many friends all standing defiantly where death hand reigned not that long ago…life refused to give up !  The barren peaks stood as silent witness to the circle of life Scarred trucks stood as a silent army…holding their breath in hope Maybe this silent dead army was wondering if it would live again too I believe it will live again though death’s obsidian armor be strong and though the scars run deep…life will break through again like the blue sky finally exalting in it’s freedom from the grey dawn .  With this testimony we began to descend once again.  Realizing that death’s roar would be drowned out in the triumph of life .  somehow the dark sadness couldn’t hold it’s sway as it did on the way up the mountain though it was more perspective that had changed than anything else .  This hope began to change to a nervous excitement.  We noticed many birds now and suddenly there was a large muledeer doe in the forest who sprinted off quickly.  Then lopping down the road came a large black bear!  Defying the reports of low berry count and many unhealthy specimens.  This bear was fat and healthy.  He or she looked at me curiously as I called to it.  The bear was running but stopped and looked at who was calling out .  The bear continued up the hill some but turned again as I spoke .  I have never been more thrilled in my life!  It’s not just the bear…we saw more this year than ever before however this was God.  I knew it, I’ve heard the still small voice before.  This whole trip was a lesson and this was the black bear cherry on top!  We watched as the bear departed.  the bear may depart…but God and this lesson will not. 


  1. "smiling".. you have indeed been blessed by this trip to Yellowstone Joe.. its like going on a retreat.. through God's backyard.. I love your outlook on death and life that goes on .. wisdom follows when one finds that peace on the trails of life.. this full circle journey will be filled with amazing wonders and lessons .. and to know that angels will be about..puts one at peace.. what a fantastic journey Joe are you about to take. That wonderful feeling that starts to swell and overflows.. came when I read your words.. God bless you and your wonderful family..
    keep in tough if possible. and know there will be a candle lit until your return once you leave.
    soft hugs
    oh and I really like your new background..

  2. You know I appreciate it Hope, thank you so very much!

  3. You took such great pictures of the devastation and then the beautiful flowers that emerged. You will make a difference on your mission Joe. I know that.

  4. Thanks so much dear Beth! Prayers will hold us up as well of that I have no doubt.

  5. Liking the new background!~

    praying for you trip. Keep the updates coming. It helps to remind.

    Also....straight from my mama's mouth:

    3 things the whole team should have:

    1. Packets of emergen-c. Vit C/Electrolytes. Bonus round = Makes bad water taste good. great immune booster AND easy to carry.

    2. Oscillococcinum. Homeopathic vials that are incredible for kicking flu-like symptoms. Even doctors recommend this. Very small little beads that taste like sugar. Excellent for kids. I DO NOT travel without this and it has saved my bacon. I know people who just take one a day in flu-season and since doing that they do not come down with any flu symptoms. You cannot OD on these things - SO take 1 a day for maintenance. But if you are feeling compromised health wise take more.

    3. Life Shield by New Chapter. This comes in a small spray bottle (2 oz so perfect for plane). Comes in mint or cinnamon. I can even get my kids to take it. It is a mushroom mix (sounds weird, but works) that is sprayed into the back of the throat. My mom read a gov't study that indicated a few years ago the gov't called for products from alternative medicine sources to be submitted that were claiming to deal with swine flu. Gov't tested all of them and Life Shield came out on top as a product that actually killed the virus. Tests also showed that it killed antrax.

    It does not taste incredible, BUT does not taste bad. Ever since I started using this stuff when I travel - I have noticed that I do not get sick.

    blessings brother!


  6. Wow Marcie! That's a huge wealth of information and I appreciate it! I will pass this onto mom and see what we can do! Thanks so much for your prayer, knowing you've traveled the mission field many times makes me all the more confident in your prayers.

  7. AMAZING... simply amazing.. Loved the whole thing and hope your trip to Africa is all that you want it to be and more. Your children are so lucky to have you to learn from. You are a great teacher for us all. Safe travels and many prayers.. : )

  8. Much as the forest will regenerate life, you to will bring new life with the word of God. A journey that will grow with the woods as you have shown. God's creation will not perish but it will revive.
    Those who seek the strength of God will be like the forest, scarred, bent, tattered and worn but life is still there to reveal the glory of God's creation.
    May you journey be filled with the fount of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  9. John, that is truly awesome! I totaly invest my faith in that!

  10. Carol, you remain a friend indeed, I cannot thank you enough. All of you, I'm really overwhelmed!

  11. You have taken the Yellowstone trip and you walked with your eyes and heart and soul open to His word. You magnified His name in this blog and you will do so again in Africa. It is meant for you to go and all will be well and good in the lessons you bring to them.

    It will be awesome for you knowing that He is within you and surrounding you and guiding your every thought and way. You will be and are His disciple.

    God bless.

  12. Well Carole you know one of the greatest blessings of all is to share the adventure with any and all who are interested. Having the hopes and prayers of so many with me is a tremendous comfort. He truly never leaves us nor forsakes us.

  13. I think I got chills as you said "Fact is there were many friends all standing defiantly where death hand reigned not that long ago…life refused to give up" It reminds me of the verse, 'Even the rocks cry out....' God is truly everywhere....amazing isn't it! I am getting excited for you and your family, the trip that is ahead...will keep you in my prayers for sure...
    grace to you
    ps love the background...fits you...

  14. There's no doubt that nature testifies of God's greatness however I don't intend to make it shout out because I won't! Thanks very much Michelle for stopping by, your friendship has been a treasure!

  15. Joe Im keeping you all in my Prayers. Your excitment about your journey back is one I can not explain yet clearly the words you speak and write here from your heart are a gift from God.
    God is sending you with all the others. Your children will come away so very blessed. I believe there is a reason for each tree that was burned , chared ending that life putting much needed food back into the soil so that there can be new life. Each will grow into something beautiful ,plentiful and the wildflowers, berries and bark of the trees will once again provide food for what ever needs it.
    Somethings have to be torn right down to be build right back up .
    Loved your blog. Im excited for you all Joe.
    Very Much So.

  16. I believe you're right about this Lisa. Life has many things that are circular and this is one of those things. It's been a blessing to be a part of a circle of our own and might I say again that I want to include all I can in this circle even if it's simply through the net. God bless and keep you my friend, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  17. Hi Joe

    May Our Lord's light shine before you, I know it will, as you undertake this journey and mission for Him and to His Greater Glory. I pray protection and blessing for you and all your family, in the name of Jesus. amen

    Loved your story about the bear, think you can be well assured that God will never depart from you on your journey.

  18. Thanks Nita, I absolutely depend on God on this trip through and through. Glad you enjoyed the story about the bear...really one of the most beautiful ones I've seen all year.

  19. You are wonderful person Joe that we nedded to more person like in this world. you are going back for the twenty years thats a long time ago.. I guess that first of you will get surprise to see so much change in the last time your visit?
    The fat bear look at you curiously "Big Bears". How is Gabby's behaved with the bear?
    I likes your words "Life will break through again like the blue sky finally exaiting in it's freedom from the gray dawn".
    I will kept in my hearts Joe, Thank you so much that I learnt from you Joe.
    Please take care of all your family and safe trip and come home.
    I will keep you in my prayers.
    Big Hugs,

  20. How wonderful to hear from you Michiko! 20 years is a long time indeed. My dearest friend there tells me I won't recognize the place...we shall see. I loved that bear! Gabby didn't seem all that interested...maybe because we looked at so many bear pictures in books before heading up there...who knows? Thanks so very much for your friendship!

  21. When I think of the bear running away from you, and your family, I think of the Authority, God has given you to speak His Word,and the ememy will flee. God has equipped you, and all those who go with you on this Missionary Trip. Expect good things to happen as God uses you and the rest of His Team, to accomplish great and mighty things in Africa. Many who are spiritually dead will hear the Gospel, and receive New Life In Jesus. God will turn the ashes into Beauty, and Life, and Produce Fruit in these lives that were devestated by the the enemy of their souls. If God is for you , who can stand against you. Go forth in the Power of His Holy Spirit.
    This is so exciting Joe. I and many others will be holding you up in Prayer. I pray for protection upon you, your family, and all those who go with you.
    God Bless you. I am looking forward to hearing good things in the days to come.
    Your Sister in Christ Jesus
    Dianne :)

  22. Speaking of authority there's plenty in what you say Dianne and I'm very thankful for it. There's a definite power in this trip and not just this one but the one to come. we've really felt that another trip will follow shortly after this one...not sure exactly where that one will be but I know it will be important. The prayers of those staying here are a powerful thing. I've witnessed this power ever time I've gone abroad before and I know it will be no less potent this time. Thank you so very much!

  23. Yes even after the fires the seeds of nature start life all over again. The cycle continues. As your return to your starting place. I soo can feel your excitement. Mostly I felt your excitement at seeing that bear and not turning tail and running away. Instead you stayed and faced him and got some incredible photos. you have many new things ahead that you will have to face and stand your ground against and always remember God is by your side giving you that strenght to hold your position. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful photos from your vacation, try keep those visions in your mind to help balance what may lay ahead. Have a wonderful week Hugs Carrie

  24. Thanks Carrie, I have to agree on standing my ground. We had our final meeting about this trip and so many of the people going are s overy green...some have never been abroad ever and then there's the other side of those that have gone but rely on information from 20 years ago. kingdom for some balance! Good to know that God is always in control!

  25. You and your family are always in my prayers. You are like family to me. Reading your post I am excited for you and feel your concerns too.
    Wonderful photos and your writing always makes me feel I am right there experiencing it with you. Stay positive my friend for all shall go as God planned for you.

  26. Truly there are many times when I feel closer to you guys here on-line then others right here next to me. Thanks very much Toodie, you're a gem!

  27. After a fire nature correct itself Joe
    i know exactly how u feel going to Ghana
    u feel good and now back with ur family special aint it.
    I wish u so much wonderful days..and tears of happiness

  28. Marijke, I know you understand overseas travel for sure, this is a big moment for us as you well know, I can't wait to share it all once we get back!

  29. Just stopping by to say hi to all of you way over there in Ghana.. Thinking about you all way over here in Canada. Hope all is well Joe and your having a great time.

  30. Hi back at you from the dark continent Lisa! Things seem to be going well enough though the net is slow as I've ever had to deal with...too slow to blog really but we do have it and for that I'm thankful!