Monday, July 29, 2013

I Surrender All

Three weeks before my husband left for Africa, God got a hold of my heart. He told me I needed to say  "yes". Problem was I didn't want to say "yes" if I didn't know what it was for. So I did what people normally do (and by people I mean me), I argued. Until He asked me to surrender. Then, I said "yes". Tears streamed and peace flowed. The call was for missions. I didn't share with Joe because I didn't want him going to Africa with any preconceived notions. I knew if God was calling me He was also calling Joe. So I waited on God.

During the trip Joe would send me texts via Facebook. To say he loved it would be an understatement! Then one night after they were already back on base Joe called at 7 a.m. his time 1 a.m. my time. I knew what he was calling for. On the other end of the line Joe was trying to explain to me that we were going to have to move to Africa. I answered simply, "I already said yes." He was shocked. He was like, "What are you talking about?" So I told him the whole story. By the end of the phone call we were both in tears. God was moving! 

Here is an excerpt from his journal while he was there:

"What an amazing testimony to God, I've felt the call again, He broke me, my heart!! He is doing a mighty work in me and my family. I will step out and trust Him. People have prophesied over me, I feel the Spirit all up in me. I will take the step and trust God with all. Surrender is what it's about."

Answering the call means saying "no" to life as we know it. We could not be more excited though. Right now we have submitted an application for advanced missions training. If we are accepted we will be leaving in May for three months in Africa. During that time we will be trained in 17 subjects that are a mixture between classroom learning and practical field exercises. We will spend a lot of time in the villages, going on 3 expeditions as well as staying with the villagers and sharing God’s Word. We will experience a unique and challenging missionary training course that will prepare us to handle anything. Once we graduate, if God is still calling us to serve, we will discuss full time missionary work.

We are ready to surrender it all. Between the two of us we have never known a greater peace than we feel right now. Please be in prayer for us. Pray that we don't try to do God's work for Him. That we continue to surrender and let Him do all the work. We covet your prayers! 

In His Amazing Love, 
Joe and Jennis

Monday, July 22, 2013

Salty sweet

Yesterday at church, our Pastor and his wife announced they were answering God's call to a new church. People say bittersweet, but I don't care for that word. I say salty sweet. Salty because there were a lot of tears and sweet because they are going where they are called trusting God every step of the way. Rejoicing with them their new assignment brought back a rush of memories I wouldn't trade for anything.

  • When Pastor first came to town seven years ago he met Joe at the Caffe. Joe waited on him and PJ invited him to church. Not long after they met, Joe went to church there. It started a friendship with eternal glory.
  • Two years later Pastor married us. His sweet wife said I looked just like Carrie Underwood on my wedding day. 
  • After that, we walked through the darkest time of our lives to date. We were pregnant and Joe was desperately struggling with drug addiction. It was after our daughter was born at the height of Joe's addiction and selfishness on both our parts that Joe and I separated. Even after Joe tried to commit suicide, accepted the Lord in the back of an ambulance, and going to rehab they were there. They kept speaking Truth into our lives. 
  • There were many days and hours for a full year that you would find Joe and PJ at a round table in the Caffe talking about the Bible. Joe asking Pastor questions on page after page of legal pads.
  • Being baptized. 
  • Recommitting our marriage.
  • Dedicating Kendall to the Lord.
  • Taking over the children's ministry and investing in the lives of our kids. Including their sweet daughter.
  • PJ ordaining Joe as a pastor.
  • Praying for their daughter as she had heart surgery, and praising Him as she was healed!

Those are just the highlights! They were there walking, praying, and dreaming with us every step of the way. It is with full hearts and a lifetime of friendship ahead of us that we rejoice for their new adventure  with God in front of them. His plans are perfect! We are praying for them and their new church family! We love you!

In His Amazing Love,
Joe and Jennis

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Where's the bread?

So food in my house doesn't last very long in general between my husband, daughter, and our Great Dane Gracie. Things are always disappearing and I have to go hunting for them. This past Monday it was a Chick-fil-a  Chocolate Chunk Cookie. If you haven't ever had one, drop what you're doing go and get one and come back. It's worth it. I'll wait...

Yum, right?

They are my favorite as of late, especially with some sweet tea, and my sweet mother-in-love had bought me one at dinner that night. I was saving it for my "me" time after Kendall had gone to bed and it disappeared. Wrapper and all. IT was on top of the fridge... As soon as I asked out loud where my cookie was my Gracie girl went and hid in the corner. Hmmmmm.... As a result Kendall and I tried a hand at making our own Chick-fil-a cookies! They were yummy but not quite the real thing! The recipe definitely helps the craving though!

Then last night I was making some of this bread from The Small Things blog for a friend's birthday party who LOVES it. Yum! If you haven't had the bread before- make it! Sooo good! Ahem, I digress. Loaf of  bread goes on the fridge. Fifteen minutes pass and the bread is gone... Except this time the wrapper is in Gracie's corner with her blankets.

Tonight, I had an entire package of pita go missing and the wrapper was again in Gracie's corner. My girl has graduated from counter and pantry "surfing" to refrigerator "surfing". I guess I should be glad she can't open the fridge or the microwave because then there would be no more safe places to hide things from her. I would say the oven but I am a bit afraid of what would happen when I forgot something was already in there and went to use it. Nevertheless I have been asking "Where's the bread?" a lot lately! I'm going to have to get ahead of the curve with this pup!

Do your pets eat unexpected things? Did you find a good way to handle that problem?

Hope you're having a great weekend!

In His Love, 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

God's Work

We picked up my husband Tuesday night from the airport! It was a fun reunion after two weeks. We really missed him and it was mutual. :)

As soon as He saw us his adventure with God started spilling from his lips. He described his flights, the sights, the accomodations, and the people he met. When we sat down for dinner he told us amazing stories of bonfires blazing, baboons stealing, hiking miles in dusty terrain, being robbed, waterfalls, laughter, dancing, elephants trumpeting, soup slurped, and feet kissed. 

What I saw was a joy I've never seen before. He glowed- literally. You hear people say "shine for Jesus" and he encompassed every word of that phrase. He spoke with a passion that radiated through every story. Mainly,  he talked about God, beautiful things He accomplished there, and the way God worked through and in him. Blind people seeing, lame people walking, and redemption for someone who robbed them. They were His hands and feet. Through them God illustrated the Bible in real life for all to see. Night after night droves of people heard the Gospel and came forward to be saved and healed. Or how a goat stew (1 goat) fed several hundred people. I wept tears of unabashed joy just listening.

Joe came home different than before. God changed him in ways that can't be quantified. These last two weeks God worked in his life. He broke his heart, placed a greater passion for reaching people for the Gospel, redefined the way he looks at theology, and lodged a call in his heart. Things will never be the same. 

This is just the beginning.

Joe at Victoria Falls in Africa.

Thank you to all of you that supplied for this trip with money or prayers. You invested in the Kingdom of God! We were blessed! 

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." 
Matthew 10:39

In His Amazing Love, 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Princess

Today was this girl's 5th birthday! She had a great day! She woke up getting to talk to her Daddy and him singing her Happy Birthday from Africa! She got to have a mini birthday party with cake, petit fours, ice cream, and balloons! She got to watch her new Strawberry Shortcake movies and wear her favorite dress. We did a fun interview that we started last year. I hope you enjoy!

How old are you? 5, today!
What makes you happy? When you share your food!
What is your favorite animal? A doggie and a cheetah.
What is your favorite thing to eat? Pancakes, frosting, cake, and ice cream! I love cookies!
What is your least favorite thing to eat? I don't like green beans, pickles, or carrots!
What is your favorite thing to do? I like to play in my room with my stuffed animals.
What is your favorite TV show? Strawberry Shortcake
What are you really good at? I can color really good! I'm really good at coloring!
What is your favorite movie? My Little Pony because Twilight Sparkle is an alicorn.
What is your favorite color? Pink and purple!
What is your favorite song? Can't Get Over You by Anthem Lights
Who is your best friend? Dylan
What do you and your mom do together? Celebrate my birthday and have fun!
What do you and your dad do together? We watch movies and color!
What is your favorite sport? Basketball
What is your favorite team? I like to be on Daddy's team.
Where is your favorite place to go? Chik-fil-a
What is your favorite book? I Love You This Much
What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher!

I am blessed to be her mommy! She is my sweet precious girl and I am so glad God chose us to be her parents!

Friday, July 5, 2013


This morning my husband Joe and the rest of his team left to do ministry in the Dwadwa Village in Zambia with Overland Missions for the next eight days! They will be led by a local villager and the Holy Spirit. As they travel to that village, they will be crossing three riverbeds, driving through difficult terrain, and cutting down any profuse greenery. Basically anything that gets in the way. ;o)

Joe's prayer is that the Gospel would be presented clearly, the people they meet would have open hearts and minds, their focus would be on God, the Spirt to lead, for unselfishness, and that God would be magnified.

"We are not called to be microscopes, but telescopes. Christians are not called to be con-men who magnify their product out of all proportion to reality, when they know the competitor's product is far superior. There is nothing and nobody superior to God. And so the calling of those who love God is to make his greatness begin to look as great as it really is." - John Piper

Joe posted this before heading out today:

"It's neat being set aside for God's work and not worrying about life around you! I wonder why we allow ourselves to get so distracted and off course! Maybe when He said set your sights on things above seeking His Kingdom first all these things would be added to you! He really meant focus on Me, live like Jesus, share that wonderful news, watch Me change lives. What a call to have put on your life! In the bush for the next 8 days, pray for us but also go be the light you were called to be."

It's beautiful... God has written each of us a beautiful story. We just get to live it. Thank you Lord for everything.

 I am so excited to hear about what God is going to do this week! Pray for the team today and this week!

In His Love, 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

We've been planning, prepping, and praying for so long and the day finally came. 

On Sunday we fit in everything fun Joe could possibly think of. Church, Five Guys, Yogurt Mountain, a movie, and bowling. He wanted everyone he loved around him as long as possible. It was awesome. 

Funnily enough, we got up at 4:00 yesterday morning to bring him to the airport. Only to find out his flight was for that night. We got some good laughs, a dry run, and breakfast out of it. He sang "Leaving on a Jet Plane", really just the chorus from Armageddon, all day. 

Then yesterday night we sent off Joe for Africa. It was bittersweet. Just because we will miss him. We are so incredibly excited for what God is going to do there and what he has already done. To be able to see God's hand on this trip has blessed us both. He is God's and whatever happens is in His hands. I'm not afraid for Joe. Whatever is in store God is already there. There is so much peace in that. Thank you God for being You. You are amazing and I am awed. Please pray for them the next two weeks, the people they meet, traveling mercies, and safety!

"You have to be brave with your life, so others can be brave with theirs." -Katherine Center