boat nap
boat glasses
miles mighty jack
Well, here we are at the New Tribes’ Mission
Training Center
in MO.  It’s absolutely beautiful.  Vacation has been wonderful.  We spent some good days at the lakehouse (pic above), and
now Andy’s speaking at the youth part of the Refresher Course here.  It’s a requirement for missionaries every
other furlough to attend.  We knew we’d
enjoy our time here, but I didn’t know how much I’d be learning…or how many
people I’d know!  Many of the people I
know only through stories from Andy’s childhood…or some from my time in PNG…and
the NTM rep for Cambodia
is here, so we’re looking forward to talking with him.  Andy’s sessions are in the a.m. and then we
have the rest of the day for whatever. 
It’s right on a beach and has canoes and caves and trails all
around.  So I was pumped about that.  But, looking back over the past few days,
that’s not at all what sticks out to me. 
There’s something about being around these people that I’m so refreshed
by.  We’re here to serve, but I’ve been
so blessed by the conversations I’ve had…a truly significant one was yesterday
I got to meet Gracia Burnham.  If any of
you aren’t familiar with her story, you can find her story here.  Basically, she and her husband Martin
were on an anniversary getaway when they were kidnapped and held hostage for 13
mos. by the Abu Sayyaf muslim group in Philippines.  Martin was killed by crossfire in a rescue
attempt by the Philippine army and Gracia was rescued.  She’s written 2 amazing books about their
journey.  But, I followed their story so
closely, prayed and cried a lot for them, read her book…and today in the
cafeteria, Andy goes “There’s Gracia.” 
She heard and looked up, I went over to her, she stood up and gave me a
hug.  Telling about it sounds strange,
but it was a kindred spirit kind of moment. 
I was fighting back tears the whole time I was talking with her.  God has used her story powerfully in my
life.  There have been times I’d need
refocused on what really matters in this life (and still are), but her
testimony would speak to me to strengthen my faith.  So, I’ve always wondered what it’d be like
meeting her—it all happened so fast for me to pre-meditate anything.  But, it was such a sweet conversation.

The HS group is absolutely amazing.  Today we were talking about David and what
are the “giants” in our life—it’s not the typical struggles with curfew,
sports, siblings, etc. that you might see among teens.  This group has 5 teens of different families
whose dads have been taken hostage and killed for the sake of the Gospel reaching
people who otherwise would never hear.  Their
stories of what it is to obey and honor their parents is so humbling to me.  They have every “right” to be bitter or
resentful…and yet, they’re praising God. 
I have a feeling this is going to be a very emotional week for me as God
grips my heart on what it means to follow Him no matter the cost.  Just interacting with these people, it’s
awesome to see “without faith (risk), it is impossible to please God.”




We celebrated Jack’s 3rd birthday Tuesday with some of our real NTM relatives (although I think we’re all strangely related to everyone in NTM omehow) here for the Refresher Course, Grandpa Dan, Grandma Becky, Tia Jean, Tio Bill, Uncle Tim and Aunt Betty.  Jack was pretty pumped about his lion
cake.  I was thankful it transported
safely.  We got him a little pool with a
slide.  I laugh at these pics of the lake
and boat in the background, and they were content (and preferred) the
pool.  I want to write the sweet memories
I’ve had of our little Jackson Paul, but I’m spent and 6.30 is coming all too
..and xanga’s being really weird, so later.



9 thoughts on “

  1. filledeparis

    So glad for your time of refreshment, friend (especially that you could meet Gracia). The cake looks GREAT! Soak up every sweet moment of your vacation. Love, Holl

  2. SinginMama

    That lake looks like so much fun. I bet your boys are in heaven with all those fun things to do around them!  I was especially touched to read about your encounter with Gracia. Miah and I just started reading her book together…what a story.  I’m looking forward to getting through it and understanding her whole journey.  What an honor for you to have that special conversation with her, a warrior for God. 

  3. tsdg

    Wow, the struggles you described for the teens are —-I don’t even know how to put it into words. I’m sure they are mature beyond their years in so many ways. I read Gracia and Martin’s story several years ago, I sense a kindred spirit just typing it—what a blessing to meet her and see God’s grace and mercy and peace so evident in her. Praying for you this week.

  4. spies_likeus

    This looks like a great bee-cation 🙂  Sara, the cake looks fabulous!!!! And the story about meeting Gracia, I don’t know why but it brought tears to my eyes. How awesome… I can’t even imagine.


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