Archive for 2014

Dragoste este....Love is....

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tonight I had the complete privilege of starting our two month (or so) Bible Study on Love.   I have been researching and studying and we have been so busy lately, and I just felt grumpy tonight when I came home to do my last minute preparations.  My sweet, patient, and kind husband (the BETTER half of Team Jones), could see my frustrations and quietly sat down at the table with me and opened his Bible.  I was looking through my notes and laughing (rather sardonically) at God for the topic that He chose for this week-when, at that moment I was quite "unlovable".  You know when you just want to be mad about something.  Like you are grumpy and you just need to be grumpy?  That is where I was.  Then I began reviewing my notes of what love is (as defined in 1 Corinthians 13 and others).  My tense shoulders started loosening.  Brian wrote down a few verses and notes for me to consider adding to the Bible Study tonight...and I felt my grumpiness melting away (sure...five minutes before I was holding on to the grumpiness with all that I had).  But, Then I looked across the table at my man epitomizing what Paul says love is.  He was being patient....and kind...and unselfish.  He was loving me even when I was really being quite a stinker!  My heart melted and the verses Brian chose for me were just beautiful additions.  One of the verses was from Song of Songs 8:6-7.  On the page he handed me, his lefty chicken scratch said: " These verses were written about a young couple in love...but it is an allegory (it mirrors)God's never ending relentless love for us".  I love that man, y'all.  These verses got me so excited about Bible Study.  I reviewed the plan with Brian and I just couldn't WAIT to get to Bible Study with our girls.  I was busting at the seams to share what God had revealed to me.
  In Bible Study, we talked about what we think love is and what true love is and how the world changes our view of love.....then we looked to God's instruction book for our lives.  I know you have probably heard 1 Corinthians 13 at more weddings than you can imagine (we had those verses read at our wedding as well), but tonight it hit me.  These verses aren't just about marital love...they are about the loving "others" that He COMMANDS us to do.  God expects us to be patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud or arrogant,  to endure even in the uncomfortable times, and to chose love.  He expects us to behave that way with OTHERS.  Not just those in our immediate circle.  Yes, these verses are important for marriage...but they are important for all relationships.  You probably already "got" that message....but it hit me tonight.  After sharing scripture and discussing the attributes of love according to God, and how much God loves us and that His love is the blueprint for how we should love others.  I ended with the verses from Song of Songs 8:6-7...this is how my Bible(NLT) reads:

Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
its jealousy as enduring as the grave
Love flashes like fire
the brightest kinds of flame
Many waters cannot quench love,
nor can rivers drown it.  
If a man tried to buy love
with all his wealth,
his offer would be utterly scorned. 

You may not find this is as  amazing as I did.  But my Savior pursues me!  His love for me is relentless...even when I am grumpy and fail miserably....even when I am selfish with my time and my gifts...He pursues ME!  Even when I am just plain awful....My God chases after me.  Nothing can separate me from His love.  He is patient and kind and doesn't keep records of any of the mean things I have done.  He loves me....and He wants me to love HIM....and He wants me to show His love to others.  Y'all.  This was good stuff for me.  We talked about the importance of understanding His love for us and what His love looks like.  If we don't have His love...we can't be love.  We can't share love.  Without love, We are just noise....we have nothing and we are nothing.  Paul told the Corinthians that LOVE is the most powerful gift God has given us!  I cannot wait to dig deeper into this with our girls next week!  Friends, I hope you know that God loves you.  Like HE LOVES YOU...not like you love Chick -Fil-a or how you love SEC football...HIS LOVE iS SOOOOO MUCH BIGGER THAN ANYTHING OUR BRAINS CAN FATHOM!  
That is good stuff y'all.  I hope you know that God loves you and I do to!!!


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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hello friends!
   I haven't had a chance to share this with you just yet!  Our friends Ken and Emily have recently started a new business.  They are designing and making some awesome mouse inspired shirts like these:

Aren't these shirts amazing?  I really want one...but to ship it to Moldova would be a bit much:)

Each month they will be giving part of the proceeds of their sales to a favorite missionary or cause.    Our friends chose Team Jones in Moldova to support this month!  Yeah!!!   They have a write up about us here.  Please take a moment and go check out their amazing designs and consider supporting us by purchasing some AWESOME shirts!!!  November is Team Jones month!!!  Go check out Wear A Happy Thought today and do some Christmas shopping:)

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Bucolic Surroundings

This morning as I was walking down the dusty gray dirt road to our big van, my ears were filled with the sounds of dogs barking, cows bellowing, roosters crowing and chickens clucking their morning greetings.  These sounds are part of my life every day, the sound of gravel crunching, dust settling, and creaky iron gates opening mix with the sounds of animals and make for a beautiful symphony of country living.  When I look out of my window, I see herds of cows and goats and a beautiful walnut orchard.  All of these sights and sounds blend  and just overwhelm me sometimes.  Who am I that God thinks I belong here....working in this beautiful country with these beautiful people?  Who am I that God thinks I am capable and competent enough to be a part of the lives of some of the most amazing young people in the world?   When I look at the smiles and laughing eyes of our girls and guys here...God just stops my heart.  He just overwhelms me with how amazing He is.  When I am with  our guys and girls, I  feel like my heart might literally burst with all the love I have for them.  They are so amazing...and God chose me and Brian to be here.  Of all the people in the world, God chose us.  I am rambling, but God just overwhelms me with His love and goodness sometimes. I pray that my ears and eyes never tire of the beautiful sounds and sights of our bucolic surroundings...I pray that they never become so common that I take the beauty for granted. I pray that my heart always feels overwhelmed with love....and that I never ever forget the miracle that is the lives of my family here.

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Strangers and Smiles

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hello dear readers.  This morning before our Romanian class, we had our usual before class breakfast with our friend and fellow missionary, Lauren.  Yesterday I had purchased what looked like pre-made pancakes....this morning I learned they were a sneaky substitute version filled with jam that tasted like medicine.  It was a wee bit disappointing.  But we still had our bacon that we had saved up for, so all was well.  On the way to class we took our usual walk up the hill to wait for our bus to the city.  This morning was cold for this southern girl.  It was a brisk 23 degrees Farenheit.  Brian and I felt so thankful for the amazing coats that we bought on sale at Kohls in the spring of 2013. (You know they have good sales at Kohls).   We only had on one of the layers of our jacket "systems" and they kept us so warm.  But, it was still quite cold and windy.  The ground was frozen when we left so yesterday's mud did not stick to our feet.  It was an invigorating walk to the bus. 

Today we had our first real test in our Romanian class and I think we aced it (well...Brian aced it and I did well). Afterwards, we stopped for a snack and then headed home.  While walking through the city (just FYI-when I say the city I am always referring to Chisinau, not our town where we live)....anywho.  While we were walking through the city, we were stopped by two strangers who wanted to say hello and speak to us in English.  It was so refreshing to be greeted with a smile and for someone to want to actually interact with us and not gawk at us.  (We get a LOT of rubber necking here-people are always staring or doing double and triple takes at us).    This young woman and young man stopped and spoke to us for a very long time.  Then, after we got on our bus, we were chit chatting and being silly at the back of the bus and a young man began speaking with us in English.  We talked and visited with him for two bus rides.  He is an aspiring writer, like our friend Lauren and he knows several Peace Corps volunteers that are from America that live in our town.  We hope to connect with them through him.  He was just lovely and we thanked him for taking the time to be kind and speak to us and we told him how much that meant to us.   He said he knew that Americans like to smile and greet each other.  (I like that stereotype A LOT).  I hope that we are able to invite him to our church in the near future. 

While it is cold here, God always sends moments that warm our hearts....through unexpected encounters with strangers....hugs from our girls.....and the first snow of the season (there were snow flurries last night- YIPEEE!!!).  God is good all the time.  Love y'all!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

We have 30 followers now!  Wooo Hoo!  For some of you, that is a small number....but across the pond it is entirely magical to know that we have 30 people who are intentionally reading our blog and want to know what is going on in our corner of the world.   
Let me catch you up.  We have had a very busy few weeks here in Moldova (that just seems to be our new normal...and I like it).  We have had guests come to visit and we have had intensely beautiful fall weather that is about to take a nose dive.  The high for the next few days is 40.  That will be a bit of a shock for this old southern girl.  I have a coat and we have a space heater and we say bring it on Moldovan Fall/Winter!

As I type, the weather outside our window is gray and cold and misty.  My curtains are open and I can see all of our Stella's Houses right before me eyes.   This brightens the dreary a lot for me.  Because I know what these homes mean for our girls.  If you didn't read my blog about Straseni Orphanage, then you should.  I have been back to there twice since my initial visit and it still breaks my heart.   I hope God never lets me become complacent about this orphanage....that I never forget that my girls lived there and that I don't forget that I am personally connected....that it is real. 

This week when we visited, the weather was gray and chilly.  The kids were huddled in the classrooms learning and staying warm and dry.  There were some teachers who smiled at us and put on a good show and then the girls would tell us ghastly stories about the cruel treatment they received at the hands of these women.  Our girls say it so matter of factly.  Like it is some distant memory that happened to someone they don't know.  They are detached from it now. 

This visit, after greeting some of our new friends (remember SPider Man and Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi?), We actually got to tour some of the dormitories where the kids sleep...and they were cold and damp and lonely and my heart cracked open all over again.  The group of rooms we entered into was actually the home for three of the dearest boys I know.  They spent their entire adolescents inside those walls.  We walked into a room with a crumbling ceiling, cold flooring, and beds that had seen better days.  There were five beds in one small room and all of the belongings for all five children all fit into a small closet.  I took a picture of the room with my phone, because I wanted to show you the stark cold feeling of the place.  It was not a place full of love and warmth.   When I looked at the picture on my phone, I felt like my camera was trying to deceive me like the teachers had.  When I looked at the screen, light poured through the one window in the room and cast a warm artificial glow.  I looked from my phone to the actual room several times, perplexed by how the room could fool my phone.  I spent some time in prayer for the few teachers who watch over all 140 children at night.  I pray that God will our out His warmth and His love on them and that they in return will share His love with the kids who call Straseni Home.  If you think of it, pray for the staff there and for all of the dear children who live there and call that orphanage their home.  Pray that God will put teachers, adults, and friends in their lives who will truly show them the warmth and the love of Christ. 

While visiting and forming relationships at Moldova's orphanages often leaves me overwhelmed and broken,  I know this is all part of His plan for me.  He is breaking my heart for the things that break His and I know He will show me what He wants me to do in these situations and with these feelings.  When God breaks our hearts, He shows us how to love His world the way He loves it.  If seeing children in an orphanage without a family, or without warmth or kindness from adults breaks my heart into a million pieces and makes me feel like I am carrying ten thousand tons on my chest and that the floodgates that hold back the tears are at flood level......imagine how our heavenly Father feels when He sees the least of these going unnoticed and unpraised and unloved and forgotten by society.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

As I sit here trying to reflect on the last week to share with brain is a blur. So many moments occurred this week that took my breath, brought a smile, or broke my heart. I think this Monday stands out the most for me, though. We took our guests to Straseni (sounds like Strah shane) orphanage. This complex once "cared for" over 300 children. Now, there are over 100 there. Many of our girls and guys came from this orphanage. Some of the most precious people in my life grew up here and Monday was my first time to visit. I had heard about it-but seeing it first hand was so different.
Several of our girls from our house went with us to Straseni.  These girls are family to us. All three of these girls had grown up there. 
We entered through the gates and I was overwhelmed with how much this place reminded me of something out of a scary novel. There was no life there, just concrete buildings surrounded by trees that seemed to mourn the fact that they were there. Everything seemed concrete and gray...but then we stepped off the bus and were swarmed by this humming buzzing packs of kids who wanted to see the Strainii (foreigners). The group of about 40 kids that surrounded us consisted of children mostly 9-13. They were timid and yet curious all at the same time. They were longing for interactions with others but not quite sure how to approach us. Brian instantly made friends with a little chap named Vasille. His choclatey brown eyes lit up when Brian started using his Romanian skills to speak with him. Several kids came up and as we asked them (in Romanian) "what is your name?" They got creative:) Would you believe that Michael Jackson, Spiderman, Superman, IronMan, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Messi (futbol players) all live at Straseni? 
After spending some time just visiting and talking with the kids outside, we stepped into the halls of the Straseni Orphanage School. My sweet, strong Liuba lead us on a tour. It was the saddest school I have ever been in and I was struggling to reconcile how that energetic group from outside was the same group that filled these cold classrooms. We walked from room to room and spoke to the children. The teachers rarely smiled at us or the students. When we walked into one of the classrooms, an 'afternoon" teacher walked through us and one of our girls visibily shrunk in size as this woman passed by. The girl's eyes went cloudy. She whispered to one of us that this teacher used to beat her regularly. Guys, it is probably good that I was not made privvy to that until after we left that woman's room-I was ready to take off my jewelry and take it to the mats with that woman. I was filled with a righteous anger ,guys.
We continued on through the school and entered more classrooms.  One of the girls then wanted to show us the library.  This girl is so dear to my heart and she loves to read just as much as I do.  We went into the library and she lit up and spoke with the librarian who had been there for a long time.  She then told us that she had spent so much time in there.  I am sure it was a haven for her.  The girls joked that she had read every book there.  I said a prayer of thanksgiving to God for that library and that librarian.  I thanked Him for letting me see a place of sanctuary in the cold and drafty building.
We then toured the buildings where the younger children (ages three to five) went to school and lived.  My heart broke thinking of three year olds living there without a momma to hold them.  I was so over whelmed thinking about my girls (because these girls are our family) being there in that place for most of their lives.  My dear sweet spunky girls.  I held back the tears and I stepped outside away from the group and I prayed that God would rain down His love and His spirit on that place in such a mighty and palpable way.  I thanked Him for bringing our dear girls and guys through this place and for using it to make them stronger in Him.  I thanked Him for allowing me to see it and for breaking my heart...and burning His holy fire in me.  I should tell you about the conditions in the bathrooms and kitchen.  But, I won't.  It would make your stomach turn.  Its so unbelievable some of the things that exist in this world...that we don't realize.  So many children live in conditions like this or worse.  They are pushed aside, forgotten, and liven in subhuman situations.  I want you to feel a righteous anger for the disenfranchised of the world...whether it be in Africa, Asia, Moldova, or in your very own community.  People still feel voiceless.  People are still oppressed.  People are still lacking hope.  I just want to open your eyes up to it...ask God what He would have you do.  

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Missing out

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hi Friends!  It has been a while since we have talked.  We just got Internet in our flat yesterday, so we are excited and hopefully I can blog a little more regularly.  We are officially legal in Moldova now.  We received our residency decision a few days ago.  Something REALLY beautiful happened as we were leaving the Residency office (and all of its craziness) -as we were walking down the bustling streets of Chisinau we heard familiar music...when we slowed down to hear was Hillsong's Oceans playing on the outside speaker of a cellphone store!  You can read more about God using that song in our lives on a regular basis here.  He just poured that music into the speakers and into our hearts.  It was such a lovely feeling of peace and assurance that washed over us.  Brian and I both laughed as our group walked ahead of us....we got a little teary eyed that God let us hear it and used it yet again to confirm our journey here.

So anyway,Yeah for RESIDENCY!  We will have to reapply in July, but we have that first one under our belt!  We have had some pretty busy and amazing weeks.  (Tomorrow is our official two month anniversary here and Moldova is definitely home).  We are learning the sporadic public transportation here.  We are learning the language (Brian is the teacher's pet in our class-seriously-she calls on him all the time and says Bravo Brian!  Super Brian!)  Anywho, our days are filled with a variety of things and time is passing by so fast.  Today we had an amazing mission service at our church (which is lead by our girls and guys).  It was such an encouraging message and it just spoke to my heart.  Afterwards, we did our usual visiting and Brian did some math tutoring.  Sundays are fun.  We were invited by some of our boys to tag along to an "adventure park" -i think it is like an old soviet amusement park with a Ferris wheel, carousel and maybe go carts.  Anyway, we had a lot to do for supporters at home, planning our English classes for the week, studying Romanian, and watching our church back home online:)  So-we decided to stay at home.  I'm not going to lie, I felt like I was missing out.  When I saw the group laughing and smiling at the bus stop, I felt like I was missing out...and I longed to go with change my plans.  But, I didn't and I am so thankful that I didn't go.
   Halfway through watching our church service online, we had a knock at our door.  It was one of our sweet girls.  After about ten minutes, another one of our girls came to visit.  The work we had been doing, and the sermon all took the backseat to time with these girls.  Because our preacher was speaking on John 13:34 today and loving one another....we decided to love the ones who were right in front of us.  We had a lovely visit and one of the girls stayed for quite some time.  We could tell she wanted to talk but was struggling to decide if she would talk or not.  She eventually shared her heart about things that are challenging here right now.  We spent time just listening and looking at scripture....and just reminding this sweet, beautiful, and amazing young woman how much we love her and how much Our God adores her....and that she has done NOTHING to earn that love....and that is OK:)  Brian and I held this girl's hands and we cried out to God on her behalf.  Then we wrapped our arms around this girl and reminded her of all the love she has in her life.  As she closed the door to walk back to her room, I thanked God for not letting me "miss out" on being a part of this girl's life....for not letting me "miss out" on being an ear to listen and arms to hold.  Nights like tonight leave Brian saying..."that is what it is all about"  Impromptu prayer times with the girls are the treasures we store up in our hearts.  So thankful we didn't miss out on the journey here.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Long time, no see devoted friends and readers!  Brian and I have been in Moldova for over six weeks.  The time has flown by.  Our days and nights are full and so are our hearts.   Once our girls and guys returned from Camp, we hit the ground running preparing for the new school year.  Here is a quick update-  I had the opportunity to take some of our new girls shopping at the piata (which is kind of like a tent shopping center with various wares and goods).  Brian and I had the opportunity to attend a Moldovan wedding.  It was an amazingly beautiful ceremony and the food was spectacular.  The food in Moldova is generally delicious to us.  We celebrated Brian's birthday.  I think it may have been one of his best birthday's yet.  If you follow us on Facebook, you already know his favorite part of his day was spending prayer time with some of the girls and guys.  We stepped outside a busy restaurant in to the cool, dark and busy streets of Chisinau and we held hands and we prayed in two languages.  God was there in the warmth of our hands as we prayed and the cool breeze on our cheeks and the sounds of the city that seemed to lean in towards us and want to know more.  It was a really beautiful experience. 
Two nights ago, we moved in to our new flat.  It has a kitchen and a room that doubles as bedroom and living room and it has its own bathroom.  It is lovely.  It has the best view of all of our ministry houses here.  Like I have said before, God has ordained every single step of us getting here.  Especially this lovely home.  It is an over the garage apartment and there is a lovely garden full of roses and gerbera daisies and honeysuckle.  It is just amazing.  At night, we sleep with the windows open and the breeze (which is now cool) laced with the smell of flowers is blowing settles our minds and our hearts.  God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
Yes, there are trying times and frustrating moments, working with people is never easy because we are all flawed.  But, in the trying times, He whispers to me in the sparkle in the girl's eyes and in the beautiful ringing sound of their laughter and always with the breeze (whether it is laced with flowers or burning trash:) ).  Ha!!

My prayer for Team Jones is that God keeps our eyes open to the opportunities to show His love-whether it be here in Stella's House or out in the country.


Glimpses of Glory

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

So...I have a secret.  I have been wearing the exact same clothes for the last five days.....and they are COVERED in paint.  We have been painting from early in the morning to late at night for the last week.  We are doing some repairs and much needed upkeep on one of the houses while the girls are at camp.  We have a LOVELY team from the UK here helping us.  They love my accent (I don't think I have one)...and I of course have adored their accents.  Interestingly enough....we speak the same language but find ourselves having to figure out and translate.  I have spent the last few days in confined spaces with this group and they have just poured love and encouragement in to me.  They were our first official group to help host here in Moldova and they have set the bar so high.  They love this ministry.  It shows in everything.  After long days of painting and construction, they load up and ride an hour to spend time with the kids at camp only to load back up and ride another hour back.  They go to bed late and get up early and do it with smiles on the faces and love in their hearts. 

We have had the opportunity to ride with them to camp a few nights.  Let me tell you about this camp.  This camp is being done by our girls and guys.  They are leading worship, leading workshops, feeding people. and loving people.  They are using this to reach out to their friends who are believers and to the ones who are not.  The first night we were able to join them, our guys did a complete passion play throughout the camp.  It was so incredibly moving.  The crowd of campers was quiet and reverent as they moved through Christ's life all the way to His death on the cross (His resurrection was the next night).  It was powerful.  My favorite night at camp so far was last night.  We arrived and some of our kids that we have known for at least three years greeted us.  One in particular is a young man we have known since He was about 12.  He has grown in to such a warm and wonderful young man.  He talked with me and told me (in Romanian) how glad he was that we were in Moldova and that He was ready to learn English with us.  He then caught us up on his summer and his life.  Later in the evening, he asked us to sit with him at worship.  We did and God just spoke to me in such a beautiful way.  I love when He just washes over me.  We were under the chapel tent and the air was cool.  We began singing a worship song in English.  As I closed my eyes to sing, I heard this precious young man's voice singing beautifully  (and with perfect English pronunciation) about his love for His savior.  I said a prayer of thanksgiving that God gave me that moment and that He gave this country a place for amazing young men to come to know Him.  Y'all this young man's parents abandoned him when He was young.  Her survived on sugar and stale bread.  He and his two younger siblings have been in an orphanage as long as they can remember.  He has never known the love of His earthly father....but He KNOWS His heavenly Father loves him.  He has a heart for God.  I am so thankful that God is letting me watch this young man grow.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself.  God wants us here.  He thinks we are worthy to be a part of the lives of some pretty amazing kids.   He shares these beautiful glimpses of His glory with us.  I pray that my eyes stay every open to moments like these.

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Rainy day courage

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It is almost eight o'clock in the evening here.  Although it has been raining this evening, it is still bright out.  The hillside out our window is beautiful and gray and misty.  When I open the window, the smell of rain and chamomile blow in.  It is so peaceful.  Over the last few days we have been so busy so I am just soaking up this moment of peace and quiet.  I am sure in a moment I will hear a knock at our door and some sweet girl will want to play a game.  So, while I have the time, I want to catch you all up. 

Brian and I have both driven in Moldova now, its been short distances...but we are proud.  Today I drove in the rain and remembered the path to our deposit.  I was very proud of myself as were the two sweet girls we had with us.  The rain storm today came up rather quickly but it was a welcome relief from the heat.  The last few days have been the hottest this summer.  Sunday was a squelcher, so on Monday we went to the Metro (discount club similar to but also very different from Sams).  We purchased 18 fans for the three for every bedroom.  The girls  and guys were so excited.  We bought ourselves a fan for our future home as well.  Speaking of future homes, we may be moving into our permanent residence some time in the next two weeks and we are so very excited.

This Sunday, I was asked to share a word of encouragement for the church.  The topic was courage.  Y'all, that is NOT a word I would use to describe myself.  I am not fearful...but I also don't think I am courageous.  I felt rather ill equipped to discuss the topic.  But then I read the passages from Esther that would be the topic of the sermon and it made me think.  Sometimes courage is acting even when you are scared...or nervous...or unsure.  I used the example of a recent zip linning "adventure" Brian and I went on.  Brian and our friend, Kimmie enjoyed the zip lines tremendously.  They loved every minute....and I thought I would.  But, apparently I am afraid of heights...more specifically I am afraid of hanging from a line high above the ground.  It was the first time I have ever truly felt fear of something.    It was terrifying for me...jelly legs...heart racing...stone in the pit of my stomach terrifying.  At the very last zip line (which was also 80 ft. in the air), my husband and friend encouraged me to climb up with them.  I did.  I got to the top...and I felt paralyzed with fear.  I was on all fours on a platform 80 feet up in the air.  I wanted to just get in the fetal position and make it all go away.  But, I knew that ignoring the problem was not an option at all.  I HAD to act to move on from the fear....and that act took courage.  I had to step off an 80 foot platform and trust that I would live to tell you this story.  Courage is like isn't lacking is acting in spite of fear.  I used the passage in Mark 6 when Jesus is on the land praying and he looks out on the water and sees the disciples in the middle of a treacherous storm.  He can see their fear.  He can feel it even from far away.  He then goes to them, and as soon as he is near...their fear is gone and the storm is calmed.  He is the one who gives us courage.  When we cling to Him, He helps calm our storms and our hearts.    He helps us move through our fears of failure or heights or inadequacies or whatever it is.  That was so profound to me....He doesn't say I have to be courageous.   But, He knows that I can be.  As I finished sharing this story, I looked in to the faces of literally the most courageous people I know. Children of God who had the courage to keep on living, even when their family didn't know or care that they existed,.  Sweet girls who have the courage to be different from others because they want what God has planned for them and not what the world has planned.  Young men who have the courage to be passionate about their creator and about serving others even when they live in a ego-centric world.  These kids have the courage to get up every day and face it with grace and strength and patience.  They are courage...they are so much more like Esther than I every will be. 
I am so stinking blessed to be a teensy weensy part of the lives of these dynamic young people.  They are teaching us so much already. 

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Laundry and Laughs

Friday, August 1, 2014

We have been in Moldova almost two weeks!  I cannot believe it!  In the last two weeks we have completed so many different jobs and spent so much time with the kids.  We are awake until at least midnight everynight...and while we are physically exhausted, our hearts are so full.  

God is amazing.  He reminds me of His love every day, today it was while I was hanging our laundry on the line. The linens smelled so good and it mixed with the smell of chamomile hanging in the air....and then the laughter of the girls drifted on the breeze....It was a beautiful moment.  God reminded me, I am here...and even when you have no idea what I am doing....He knows EXACTLY what He is doing,  That is good stuff y'all.  

As some of you already know, last night we had a lovely Moldovan dish called Tocanita.  It is tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and peppers.  Yummo!  It was served with these small strangely shaped white ovals which sweet sweet Moldovan friend told me they were pigeon eggs and that I should try them. Well, I am determined to at least try everything. So, with great trepidation, I did try them and my friend laughed and laughed and asked how I liked the eggs. It was mozzarella balls y'all.  These girls LOVE to play tricks:)  

We have started our visa/residency process and it seems to be going well.  We actually got to spend about an hour on US soil at the US Embassy today.  It was a lovely time.  Brian and I both passed the criminal records portion with flying colors.....although there is a Brian Jones somewhere in Mississippi who is up to now good.

As we speak, Brian is having a guys night with the boys of Simons House and I just got finished cleaning up the mess I made making milkshakes for all the girls here:) Pray for us as we hope to begin language classes soon.  We desperately want the girls to know how much we love them and respect them.  Learning the language is an important part of that for us.  Tomorrow we have cleaning and such today and then next week will be very very busy.  Please pray that we can rest some:)  We love y'all!!!

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Visas and Housework

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Well hello friends!!! We have had a pretty productive few days.  Brian got to sharpen his handyman skills yesterday.  He replaced the toilet seat in the apartment where we are staying....and he replaced some light bulbs:)  Baby steps.   He is rockin it! 

Today we made a LOT of progress towards our "Visa" (Residency) applications.  We got our paperwork and the morning went very smoothly.  Several of you, my sweet friends, were praying.  It helped.  We had lovely people helping us all day today.  We were oh so thankful that the only medical exam we needed was a blood type test.  Our friend Mia took us to a nice international hospital for the blood tests.  Then we went on to make all the gajillion copies of our documents that we had to make.  It was a pretty smooth day if I do say so myself.  Our little team of four had a wonderful day of bonding. 

We are so incredibly grateful that we get to be here and be a part of this ministry.  Please continue to pray for our "Visa" process and that we maximize our time with our sweet sweet girls and guys here.  We are daily learning from them.  Continue to pray that God will open up our eyes to every single moment.  Sorry for the short post, but I want to go spend time with the girls!  We love y'all!

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Music, Italian food...and ice cream

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today was a good day.  I am still struggling to adjust to the late nights.  It doesn't get dark here until like 10 at night it seems.  We woke up and took care of a few little things around the house.  Brian "cut" the grass at both houses with an electric weedeater and did a WONDERFUL job.

We began working sorting through items that are donated.  What a blessing it is to have people donate to this wonderful ministry.  Believe me, your gifts are important.  The ministry shares your donations with the girls and guys here and with children at other orphanages.  It was such a treat to see the support people have offered in so many different ways!  The deposit itself is a cinderblock building that is rather warm:)  We stopped and got a treat of Moldovan ice cream on the way back from our toils.  Moldovan icecream is sooo very delcious.  The one I chose is actually made here in Ialoveni.  Actually right up the road.  It does not look like a factory that makes delicious ice cream, but indeed it is:) It looks more like a run down old Army Post...they have guards in Fatigues.  Apparently protecting the Moldovan Ice Cream recipe is the real deal.  It makes me nervous whenever we walk past the place it also makes me think of Slugworth in Willie Wonka.  But, they make good stuff behind those walls.  If I could send you all a box of Moldovan Ice Cream, I would.

This afternoon, I spent time with one of the girls who is studying for the music academy.  She and I sat in the church and sang and I listened to her play the piano...and I could hear how much she has learned just since last summer.  She is amazing.  It was such a special moment to be in the church listening to her play.  God is so big and He always shows up and shows out for me through music.  After talking with this sweet love about my musical past (french horn in high school, marching band, drum major, etc).  I felt the need to really show her what a marching band is (apparently they only do marching bands for funerals here).  I pulled up the Auburn University pregame show and I may have even been singing War Eagle with the crowd!  She thought it was very cool.  It was fun to share something I love with her.  Thank you Jesus for helping me connect.  Please pray that God continues to reveal ways for us to connect with the share common show them that we love them sooo much!!!!

This evening we got to share dinner with two sweet girls from the house.  We went into the city to an "italian" restaurant.  The girls loved it and so did we!  We all brought home leftovers and lots of laughs.  My goal tonight is to be in the bed by midnight...but it is already 11:00 and I have several more things to accomplish....but I want you to know...Moldova is feeling more and more familiar and comfortable.  We are adjusting to some of the things that are unique to this culture (i.e.-not smiling at people on the street -its tough for me.) We have been complemented many times by the girls saying "that is very Moldovan of you".  I pray that we can assimilate in to the culture here and yet still be who we are.  You can join us in praying for that as well.


Many of you have asked for an update...this is too much info...but my brain is still processing.

Well....We have been here  a week and it has been a whirlwind!!!!  We have Moldovan Phone numbers now (that was pretty exciting but it made all my imessage stuff go crazy:(.  Here is a brief and simple recap of our time here so far.

Tuesday-We arrived to the open arms and smiles or our beautiful Moldovan friends.  When we arrived at Stella's House the girls had decorated the gates for us.  It made us feel so welcome and so at ease.  There were pictures posted all the way up the hall to our room.  It was lovely!  Later that night, our friend Mia took us to KFC in the Malldova.  (That's right, the Mall in Moldova is called the Malldova.  I just love that).  KFC in Moldova is delicious because they serve a yummy garlic Mayo with everything.  It makes your breath stink....but it is good.  After dinner, we were both so exhausted...but we still stayed up until two in the morning visiting and processing:)  (I also burned some strawberry cupcakes within my first few hours and gas ovens and celsius are not pals yet.

Wednesday-  We went on an adventure in the city with a friend who needed to pay a parking ticket.   Our friend laughed when I brought my umbrella (there was an 80% chance of rain).  I brought it anyway....we could not find the place to pay tickets and ended up walking about a mile to the office and the sky got darker and darker and darker.  At the ticket office, the bottom fell out and it began pouring with no end in we decided to just go for it.  We walked about a half a mile to the place we needed to go to get our new SIM cards.  That's right-we have Moldovan phone numbers now.  After walking about another mile in the rain we boarded a bus to head back to the car.  It was like monsoon season here.  It was crazy.  We were so soaked...I cannot even remember what we did the rest of that day.  No clue.  I just remember being soaked.  Oh and that I still couldn't get myself asleep before three in the morning:) 

Thursday- On Thursday morning we did a tour of the two new homes and some basic shopping.  Thursday evening, I lead a Bible Study for the girls.  We talked about one of my favorite characters in the Bible, Ruth.  I shared some of my most favorite things about the book of Ruth and what God has taught me from Ruth.  Then we discussed how Ruth and Boaz are heroes and that lead in to a whole discussion of the heroes in our life.  Several of the girls shared different people who had inspired us....many of us shared that our brothers were heroes to us.  I guess that is not that strange....but we all have been inspired by our brothers...I guess girls are just built to understand the importance of the older brother figure. 

Friday- Brian was very excited on Friday because we got to spend the day doing some mapping of the new homes.  He got to use Excel.  A day with an Excel spreadsheet is a good day for him:)  We spent a good part of the day doing that and then we got to go to Youth Group with the girls.  It was a small group because most of the kids are working camp out at Providence.  At Youth Group we again discussed heroes and their profound impact on our lives.  One of the pastors shared a beautiful story of his mother and all that she went through as a Christ Follower under Soviet Rule.  She was oppressed and mistreated and still called on God daily.  She won so many people to Christ and was such a wonderful doctor that eventually the Soviets realized they just needed to leave her to practice medicine and follow her god.  We then talked about people we may affect in gets you thinking....we are in a place now where every decision we make can impact the lives of some amazing can be a good impact or a bad impact....I am praying that God gives me the strength to make every decision count for Him and for others.    Friday night our friend Mia made us some delicious Mexican food.  It was wonderful and we shared a game time with a dear Moldovan friend.  Moldova already feels like home.

Saturday- We spent the day out at Providence (aka-one of our favorite places in the world).  It was water/mud day for the kids.  I ended up being the videographer and escaped the mayhem.  Brian was covered with water and mud but had the biggest smile on his face.  He rocked the wheelbarrow race and was very proud of himself.  Of course, his team won.  Here is a picture of him at water day....You can't even see how muddy he truly is...He said and I quote... "I have mud in my teeth".  Up until yesterday I was still cleaning the mud from his ears.  It was a wonderful day spent with wonderful people.  The Simon s House Boys are amazing at coordinating the fun activities.  They have a heart for the kids.

Sunday- We worshipped with the girls (which is our favorite place to be).  We then spent the remainder of the day celebrating our friend and fellow missionary's birthday.  We had a lovely day.  Went to a Moldovan pool....went bowling (they don't really oil the lanes) and then we shared dinner with friends.  Our dear friend Sergiu is now back in Moldova so he spent the day with us and invited Brian to his home while we were off having girl time.  Brian was spoiled and told Sergiu and his mother that she has southern hospitality:)  Lovely day.  We ended the day very late eating a strawberry cake that I made (and did not burn)for the birthday girl.  The girls were all silly and laughing and it was a beautiful end to the day.

After today I won't give you a play by play of everything....but just wanted you to see all the things our first week here entailed.  We had an amazing team meeting last night and made a to do list that was a mile long.  Hope you are all well!  Te Iubim!!!  We love you!!

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Travel Time

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Well....the day finally arrived when we would load up all of our belongings and head to Moldova.  The last six months have been so busy, Brian and I haven't had much time to process.  We have both felt like we were watching all the events and time with family we were onlookers.

So on Sunday, We rode to the airport in rainshowers all the way (Brian in the car with his parents and me in the car with two precious friends)....we waited in the ticket line forever....we were given special baggage rates (thanks for praying for that friends)....and then we said goodbye.....and it still didn't seem real.  Our friends and family left the airport...  and we waited for it to start feeling "real".  We still had to rush about to get to our flight and grab a bite to eat.  We boarded the plane and then we waited for it to feel real....

Somewhere half way over the Atlantic Ocean, it finally processed through our brains.....This..Is....REAL.  Then I began to cry.  I cried because it finally hit me how much I am going to miss all of those amazing friends that I told you about.  I cried because I was thankful that God gave me those friends.  I cried because I realized I wouldn't get to hug my momma or my best girl friends for over year.  It got real at 30,000 feet in the air. I am sure the people around us were wondering what all the sniffeling and ugly cry faces were about.  We cried and we let the tears flow....and then....we felt that peace that only He can give.

After being awake for over 30 hours straight....I feel certain I could cry about anytthing right now.....and I know that I will have sad days and long for the love of my family and friends in the U.S.  But I will continue to hold on to the promises of the One who loves me.

We arrived in Munich 30 hours after our original flight (we had a 19 hour layover in Munich)....We spent a rainy day with our dear friend Raegan, sight seeing and attempting to stay awake:)  The weather was very wet and cool....but the company was wonderful....and the German food did not disappoint.  Brian had Schnitzel and I had Spaetzle.  All yummy.  We then headed back to the Hotel and we passed out.  (Brian fell asleep in two different churches in Munich during our sight he was ready for rest).

Today, we arrived in Moldova...and came through customs and were greeted by by dear dear dear people.  They had signs and letters and flowers for us.....but most of all they had warm open arms.  Nothing like a welcome home hug...and that is where we are now....home.  Its strange....but true.  We are both exhausted right now...but wanted to take a minute to let you all know how things are.  We will post pictures soon!  We love you our friends.  Nopate Buna Si Vise Dulce!!!!  (Good night and sweet dreams!!)

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

This week it is real.  For the last six months I have felt like I was simply an onlooker to all the changes God is making in our lives.  But this is all so real.  My brain is sleep heart is all mixed my apologies if this does not make sense.

We had a time of prayer/time for goodbyes with our friends and family on Thursday night.  We were so incredibly touched by all of the folks who came out to pray with us.  My sweet PKS work friends came out, our nearest and dearest chosen family (our amazing close friends), family, mentors, and just other precious people.  They all came together to come show us love.

I closed my eyes and steadied my heart and tried to tune everything out but the Holy Spirit moving in the room.  He pressed down on my spirit and let me feel the love emanating off of our beloved gathering.  He spoke to me in the whispered "amens" and sniffles.  God has always shown Himself to me in the most beautiful and powerful ways in the people in my life.  I have never felt more aware of His beauty, majesty, and power then when I am looking into the eyes of a dear friend and sharing a special moment without words.  (Or laughing til I cry at a shared memory). Our God is so amazing...If you don't know that then you need to look around you....or come and meet my friends.  (I digress).

Actually, perhaps I am not digressing...perhaps I am just filled with awe at the beauty of our Creator and how incredibly talented He is at making each person such a unique work of art.  It may sound corny...but we all know I am not great at truly conveying overwhelming moments.  I am in love with our Creator...and I love His creation...the world around me....especially my friends.

Speaking of being of our friends prayed the most beautiful of prayers....I had told her that we were feeling a little overwhelmed....and her prayer was something like this....
       Lord where there is anxiety...OVERWHELM them with your peace
                where there is fear....OVERWHELM them with your presence
                 where there is sadness....OVERWHELM them with joy.

    Do you see how amazing our friends are?  That makes goodbye a whole lot more difficult.  Over the last few days we have said goodbyes...or see you laters....We have all kept it together quite well....Today I just had to have my own little come apart in the closet.  I literally went and locked myself in the closet in the guest bedroom at Brian's parents house and I experienced some emotions....I felt crazy...I felt anxious....I felt sad...I felt out of whack....and then after some sad times....God turned those ashes into beauty....He reminded me of how much He loves me...I need that...He is my heavenly Father and even though the family we chose for ourselves will be here and we will be way over there.....Our Heavenly Father promises He will be with us....that doesn't take all the sad away.....but it provides a warm embrace and a place to shed tears.  He is good all the time.   All the time I tell you!!! 

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Last Days

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Last days are both wonderful and horrible. I don't care what cool quote or sentiment you put with it(Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened,i do love that one:) etc)-there is still some sadness. They are just a big ole crazy mix of emotional highs and lows. Brian and I have had several "last days" over the last few weeks. We are so humbled and excited to be following God's plan for us in Moldova...but we are saying goodbye to friends and family...and well, that part is tough...because we have some wonderful friends and family. Brian has been a Quality Engineer at small company in Montgomery for the last thirteen years. He is a hardworking, smart, and kind man and they, of course will miss him. I am so glad they celebrated him for this last two weeks. They took him to lunch, had a surprise lunch for him, and just generally loved on him and encouraged him. They took the time to share their respect for and appreciation of him. That makes this girl smile. If you don't know my husband, you should. He is quiet, incredibly witty, generous, kind, driven, loving, and thoughtful...(he is also incredibly cute-but I digress-I can talk about Brian all day long). Because Brian is a man, his "last day" wasn't quite as crazy emotional as I was. He felt loved and that was that:) Crazy emotional Kathryn on the other hand....My going away party at work was at the end of May (I am was a special education teacher at an all Kindergarten school..its like Disney world....with 500 five year olds). My coworkers friends did an amazing job surprising me. If you are my friend on facebook, you saw all the pictures and felt the love, I am sure. It was such a joyous feeling to be loved on and surprised like that...but ya'all, I did the ugly cry for real ( and my goal has been to NOT ugly cry in front of others...but ALAS, a rock star party did it to me). I was so overwhelmed with emotions for my sweet friends I even tried to leave my own surprise party...they kept turning me around and sending me back in. I wanted to have my ugly cry in peace:) It was an amazing party and given by people who know me so well. It was a beautifully up lifting "last day". My actual last day of teaching was a struggle. So much of who I am has been tied up in being a special education teacher and I'm not gonna lie, it was another ugly cry kinda day. But, this time I got to ugly cry by myself :) We have so many "last days" ahead of us over these next 17 days. Each "last" moment is beautiful and sad. I am praying that God helps me store them all up as treasures in my heart. So that when I am feeling sad, alone, forgotten, frustrated....I will remember that I am loved by Him...and one of the ways He shows us love is through the love of friends and family.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The tickets are purchased...time is drawing closer. After three years of praying, planning, and believing-Team Jones is finally heading to Moldova. Please pray for us over the next few weeks as our time is short and our to-do list is LONG. Our blog will be changing soon to include more information on our story, how to support us, and how to pray for us. Keep watching and consider "following" our blog. You can click on " follow" over on the right hand side of this page------>

Countdown Clock

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Secret Agents and Vacation Bible School

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Greetings Agents- Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read this blog about the COOL things that happened to us this week:)

We were invited to share with TWO special churches this week and I want to share the experience with you.  I am "spying it up" a bit to match the Lifeway VBS theme they were both using:)

Monday-1800 hours.
Destination-Heritage Baptist Church Prattville, Alabama
Code Name- Penny Wars
I was invited by my awesome friend(and coworker from Prattville Kindergarten), Tammy Horton, to share with her church's VBS crew.  She has rallied behind us and has encouraged her church to support us prayerfully and financially.  As part of their VBS time, the children took up an offering called "penny wars".  It was a competition between the boys and girls to see which team could accumulate the most weight in currency (coins weigh more).  On night two when I spoke they already had a total of almost twenty pounds in currency.  AMAZING.  I got to worship and share with the AWESOME and ON FIRE kids who were learning about how to be an agent of the One True God!!  Their worship service was amazing and their skit was priceless...seriously-Lifeway should hire the two guys that did it to write their was hilarious-but I digress.  I got to share a little bit about our mission with the kids...and teach them a little Romanian (the national language of Moldova).  I reminded them that as Agents of God...they needed to be able to share HIS love and remind others that God loves them NO MATTER WHAT.  To hear 75 kids shout DUMNEZEU TE IUBESTE (God Loves You) was awesome!!!   I felt so welcomed and loved by this sweet church.  Thursday night, my friend Tammy called and shared the total with was amazing that they raised such a HUGE amount in coins! The special agents at the church shared so generously and helped pave the way for us to make it to Moldova.   Thanks Heritage Baptist Church!!!
Here are some pics from their "penny wars".
Boys bringing change and filling up the bucket for Team Jones in Moldova!!
The Girls are winning!!!!

Friday-10hundred hours
Destination: Santuck Baptist Church, Santuck, Alabama
Code Name: Pie Face
This Friday, Brian's parents' church invited us to share at their VBS end of the week ceremony.  Their mission spotlight for their VBS offering was none other than TEAM JONES IN MOLDOVA:)  Apparently, all week long during their worship gatherings they shared our names, our mission, and pictures of us with the kids attending their spy themed VBS.  I got to worship with them to the awesome spy themed music.  It was such an energizing time of worship and praise with the kids.  Halfway through the service, the children's director, Mrs. Amy invited me on stage.  But before she did, she asked all two hundred children what their mission for the week was....Oh my was soo cool to hear them shout MOLDOVA ( a country that I personally did not know existed until six years ago)!  Then she asked, who are we praying for and raising money for?  They all shouted BRIAN AND KATHRYN JONES!!!  It was so neat.  Not one of those kids had ever met me, but they knew my name and they were praying for us.  That is so incredibly humbling.  I got up and shared a little bit about our calling and taught them a little Romanian as well and thanked them for their generosity and for praying for us.  Then Mrs. Amy shared their grand total of the week.  It was dumbfounding how much this VBS crew gave to help us get on our way to serving and loving in Moldova.

Side Note-Because they reached their monetary goal for the week all of the ministers got pies in their faces!!

SUNDAY- 1900 hours
Destination: Home
Code Name:  Grateful

We are sitting here tonight....with hearts so full of gratitude for these two churches....and for the friends and family we have who are stepping up and saying....Hey, God...I want to help these two follow the dream that you placed on their hearts....That's humbling people.  Its no secret- We love Jesus...and we love the people He has placed in our lives.

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Going Forth

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Today is one of those days that I truly wish that I could clearly convey the beauty of moments with my words.  I have waited four days to blog about our "going forth service" at church in hopes that my brain would suddenly realize how to tell you all how truly incredible this service(s) was.  But, alas my brain is still incapable of communicating how immense and beautiful and powerful it you just will have to forgive me.

This Sunday, our church (Frazer UMC) had a going forth ceremony for us and another missionary family.  (In case you are not up to date-we are moving to Moldova in July to work as missionaries alongside Stella's Voice.)  We spent the morning running back and forth between six services.  At each service, we had the opportunity to share a little bit of our story with our Frazer Family and Friends.  My sweet, shy husband was incredible.  He generally does not enjoy speaking in groups larger than three....and he was holding a microphone and addressing between 100 and 500 at each service.  That is a God thing.  God has done so many cool things in the life of my wonderful husband over the last four years...him speaking to hundreds was just icing on the coolest cake ever:)  As usual, I am getting off topic.  My apologies :)  Anyhow, at each service, after we had finished sharing our hearts with our church, our pastors invited our church family to come up and lay hands on us and pray for us.  We circled up with our new friends the Stevens (who are moving to Haiti-you can read more about them here.)  Then our church family proceeded to leave their seats and come pray for us and with us. 

This is the part that I wish I could truly convey.  At each service, when our church family came forward to lay hands on us.  I felt so overwhelmed with peace.  Their warms hands on my back and shoulders radiated God's love, their sweet whispered prayers felt like the most beautiful sound my ears had ever heard.  I truly felt like our church family was one body and that one body was wrapping us up in the most wonderful embrace ever experienced.  It was humbling and overwhelming.  To have my family and Brian's family join us in this embrace made it even more incredible. 

At our very last service, our friends rushed to be near us during this time of prayer.  One of my dear friends, Kimmie, ran to join hands with me.  We were truly surrounded by some  dear friends.  One of my amazing prayer warriror friends was holding my hand and another friend had her hands on my shoulders.  During the prayer, I stilled my heart and my spirit and just opened up my heart to the amazing experience God was giving us.  During the prayer, I again heard the whispers of my friends lifting our names up in prayer.  I could feel God embracing me and holding me in the middle of our church.  In the midst of this beautiful moment, I felt a drop on my hand....then another.  The drops were tears from my friend Kimmie's eyes.  God was giving me this incredibly sacred moment with my friend. Her tears felt like rain from Heaven washing over me.  I was surrounded by hundreds of people....and yet I felt like it was just me in a supernatural embrace with the creator of the universe....and He decided to share his beauty with us and His peace and His strength and He flooded us with it.  Then these beautiful tears of my friend reminded me how much God loves me...and I heard these lyrics to one of my favorite songs:

Let it rain, let it rain.
Open the floodgates of Heaven.

We feel the rains of your love
We feel the wind of your spirit
And now the heartbeat of heaven let us hear

I heard the heartbeat of heaven in so many ways this week.  But it was potent and powerful as our church prayed over  us to "Go Forth" and live in His love and His call for our life.  I hope you feel His rain and the wind of His spirit today.



Monday, April 28, 2014

I love helping people.  Ya know? It feels so good to hold a door for someone, to take dinner to someone (even if I just picked it up at Zoe's) or carry a burden for someone.  Brian is that way too.  He is at his finest when he is serving others.  Doing things for others just feels so natural.  Its this warm and wonderful niche that God made for us.  Interestingly is incredibly difficult and uncomfortable for us(Team Jones) to allow someone else to serve us.  It just feels weird.  I don't even feel right when people want to bring food to my house just for fun.  My issue with this must be pride related. I can remember when my Grandfather passed away and my family had a very rough week with transitioning my grandmother into a nursing home and grieving and everything that happens with the loss of a loved one.  Two of my dearest friends brought me food....because....well they knew me and they knew that even though I was smiling that I was literally exhausted.  It was LITERALLY the one time in my life that I felt being served was acceptable.  I felt broken and weary...and well...I needed someone to stand in the gap for nourish me-not just physically -with a yummy meal...but emotionally....with support....the sight of foil wrapped casseroles was like a balm to my heart. 
It should't take grief to break down my pride.  I want to be that broken and open and allow others to pour their love in to me...and not be prideful and say...I can do this.  I am not 100% sure why I have always had an "I can do it myself" kind of attitude (I blame my favorite book as a child- Sesame Street's "I can do it myself")...but I think of the thousands of times that I have blocked the servant hearts of others because I was proud or uncomfortable.  I  know that God is seeking to change that about me (and Brian).  With all that is going on in our lives, we are having to allow others to serve us....if we are to accomplish all that we need to accomplish before our big move....we have to do what is uncomfortable...we have to not only allow people to help us....but (gasp).....we must ask for help.  That is the scariest thing about our upcoming move.  Following God's call on our life isn't scary.  It is necessary....its like air or water...we need to follow His call to live.  Allowing other people to help us follow the call....well, that is just where God is bending and stretching and stretching and bending us....and I know it will be good.  I know God has it all under control.  But, that doesn't mean that it isn't uncomfortable.  Pray for me to just take this pride off.  I cannot do it myself.  I need HIM every moment of every day...and I need to allow Him to use other people to see His plan for my life come to fruition!


Lyrics to Live By

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Things are changing in our life ever so quickly.  Really.  I mean it is crazy.  At any other point in our faith journey, Brian and I would not have been able to make it through the day to day with the amount of uncertainty that lies ahead of us.  But, right in this moment, we both feel more calm about our future than we ever have....and we have NO IDEA what it holds or should hold.  In case you don't know, the ONLY way we are peaceful about the future is because we know WHO holds it.  Brian said it best (recently in an article our church did about our love for Moldova-You can read it here.)  What he said was, he (Brian) first went to Moldova to protect me (if protecting people and keeping them safe was a love language-it would be his y'all-seriously)....but somewhere along the way he realized...he wasn't the one protecting me....HE was.  The Great I am...the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  When you realize, truly understand in the depths of your soul, who holds the future....the future seems to not be quite as scary as it once was.  I'm not saying all fear is gone...Im saying the fear doesn't cripple you...Knowing Who holds the future means that you know WHO to call on when things get crazy...when the waters are rising.....Anyway, I say all that to lead into a song.  I am sure you have heard it.  They play it on K-LOVE and WAYFM and all the cool Christian stations.  This song has been in my heart for almost a year now.  Of course, the first time I truly listened to the song was in every single time I hear it...I "hear" it being sung in heartfelt worship with beautiful Moldovan accents....what a beautiful way God lets me connect with my family and friends in Moldova...Now this song ALWAYS brings Moldova to mind for both of us-for so many reasons.  The song is "Oceans" by Hillsong United.  You can listen to it here.  Let me tell you what the lyrics mean to us...and how God is using this song to offer us peace for our journey...God uses this song to calm us and confirm us.  This song washes over peaceful waves....and it helps us truly focus on resting in His embrace and finding Him in the chaos and the storms of life.  He is calling us to places that are unknown, where we may fail miserably...but we know He is there....waiting for us to step out of the boat.      Listen to it...but truly read the words...these are lyrics to live by:)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed, and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours, and You are mine
I am Yours, and You are mine

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Craciun Fericit!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello Friends!  I haven't spent any time on my blog in a VERY VERY long time.  I would hang my head in shame....but right this minute I have no shame about it....because I have been living life.  The life that God has given me and there is no shame in that.  It has been TWO YEARS since my last blog entry.  I must do better.  Do you mind if I show the highlight reel of the last two years?  Two weeks ago they celebrated Christmas in Moldova with all of our sweet friends...In honor of their Christmas celebration, I think I might just use part of our Christmas Card because I didn't send those out the last two years either:)

Here is what our Christmas letter said (for the most part-a few details both minor and major will be shared with you later).  Mind you, the letter was on super cute Christmas themed paper with peppermint stripes and green polka dots...I feel that is important for you to know:

In the past two years we have not sent out our Christmas cards, so we decided to do the infamous "Christmas Letter" this year (cue awesome Holiday music).  I hope this letter finds you and yours doing well!  So what in the world has been going on in our lives that might require a Christmas letter to communicate it?  I'm glad you asked.:)  Here is a small snippet of our story.

In the spring of 2008, I heard a man speaking on my local Christian radio station on my way to work.  He was talking about a place called Moldova and educating the audience about what happens to children in this tiny country when they "age-out" of the orphanage.  He talked about the reality of sex-trafficking and the lack of value placed on the lives of children.  I won't tell you every detail, because quite frankly it breaks my heart every single time I hear their stories.  But, what I will tell you is what God is doing in this tiny country and in the hearts of Brian and Kathryn Jones.

After much prayer and discussion, we talked with our missions pastor at church and convinced him that I needed to go to Moldova.  God was just breaking my heart for these kids over and over and over.  Everywhere I turned, he was pointing us to Moldova.  This seemed an unlikely thing, because before I hear that man on the radio I never even knew Moldova existed.  So after three years of prayer, Brian and I finally made the trip to Moldova in June 2011.  Believe me the process leading up to the trip was a miracle in and or itself.  You will hear about that someday too.  :)  Anyway, we made our first trip to Moldova in June 2011, and our lives have NEVER EVER EVER BEEN THE SAME.

A lot has happened in between that first trip and now.  But we just want to give you the highlights.  This is very difficult for me because I really want to tell you every single story and miracle and amazing whisper from God that we have experienced.  Here is the short story.  We went to Moldova.  We fell in love with the country and her people.  Our hearts were BROKEN by the lack of hope and love.  God began to move mountains in our hearts and in our path.  

So, I bet you are thinking-Kathryn and Brian are about to adopt from Moldova.  Well, that is not entirely out of the picture.  However, right now God is calling us to really follow James 1:27.  "Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  He has placed an extremely loud and clear call on our lives that we have been sifting through since we first set foot on Moldovan soil in 2011. 

(The rest of the letter goes on to share some details from our trips with our families....We will share all of that with you soon.    We have so many loved ones in Moldova now and we want to share about them with you too.)

The letter ends by saying.

I could literally fill pages and pages and pages with awesome stories from the last two years...but I know you are busy preparing for the holiday season.  We would love your prayers as we continue on this journey.  This Christmas season, we pray you remember the true reason, but we pray that you also truly feel His presence and His direction in your life.

Merry Christmas or Craciun Fericit!!!!

(This is us at Orheiul Vecchi)
A monastery built into the cliffs in the countryside in Moldova.

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