Thursday, March 1

Jeff is being transformed before my very eyes. He has taken the mantle of leadership in this family. I can see Jesus working through him. It is absolutely incredible.

These last several weeks, as the children and I have traveled Tucson, going to the museum, attending homeschool events, Jeff has stayed at home, reading, listening, learning and changing. He is growing into a godly man, a man who controls his home and family with a gentle but firm hand of power. He has stepped up to the plate.

At Last.

He has particular ideas about how things should be in our home. It rankles my pride, but it thrills my soul. I command myself to obey his instructions. And afterwards, I find my love for Jeff and for God, growing into something bigger than I knew existed. My submission to his will, sometimes is simple, sometimes is burdensome, but it always is best for this family.

~~~~~

Jeff and I feel that our home is under attack by the enemy right now. Just two days ago, Beaudry RV told us the parts for our RV repair are shipping this week, they are ready to go. Today, we hear that the parts will not ship for another six to eight weeks. We are planning to be in Oklahoma City for the FMCA conference on April 3-6... How ever will we make it?

Other attacks have come in the form of criticism about the website we have, about our Adventure. Some say it is too “way out” Christian. Too… extreme. Others say that we offend the people we love by writing about our interactions, our lives together. I am sure there are those that enjoy reading it as a soap opera. I pray that God blesses some through my heartfelt written expressions.

The journal is an outlet for my soul. I cannot be the only woman in the world that has these feelings, fears, confusions or joys. To publish my soul, on our website, is my expression of The Great Commission. I pray it has value.

More attacks by the enemy. Yesterday none of us could stand being together. Ohhhh, how we struggled. We barely made it through breakfast, and the rest of the day was not much better. It was as though we were walking through thick soup. Our feet and souls being dragged down.

We went to Wednesday night fellowship at the church we are attending here in Tucson. As we sang songs of praise and worship, tears coursed down my face. They were hot against my skin. I had no control over these tears, they were not of sadness but of joy. I could barely contain the love I felt pouring out of my heart for Jesus. My tears flowed as the room was filled with His presence. Even Jeff was singing.

God is miraculous.

When we left church, we were all laughing and smiling and loving each other again!

~~~~

Today a photographer for the local paper here in Tucson, came out to take our photos for a story the LA Times is doing on people who RV and stay at Wal-Mart. It was fun. The photographer was a very nice fellow, about 24 years old. He was bright and had a good heart. I told my sister about the photos, she reminded me that we should have talked to the writer first. What if the Times is writing something yucky.

Oh Well. I just cannot worry about everything. God is going to have to take care of this one.

~~~~

Tonight as we were getting ready for bed, Jeff asked if the “potty smell” has dissipated or have we just gotten used to the aroma!! I hardly dare to answer!!

Tomorrow I turn 42. great.

Friday, March 2

At 10:36am I will officially be old…er! Ha! What a great day this has begun to be!

I woke up early, rested and feeling good! After my morning “stuff”, I sat down to read emails and received a GREAT testimony from a woman named Becky, about having gone through the same mess we are wading through!! Her story lifted my heart.

Then I received an email card from my sister, Julie. Ha. It brought such a smile to my heart!! Her card said:

Happy Birthday Christa, No matter how old you’ll be…. I’ll always be younger!!!

She makes me laugh. I wish she were right here, I could just squeeze her… she is such a great sister, I do love her so much!!! Sisters are great. Especially when they know just how to make you laugh!!!!!!!

Eve made me giggle last night. She and Grace were working on a “surprise” for mom’s birthday! Eve says, “ Mom I made you a birthday present… you can have it tommallow!!” Then she looks at me with the seriousness only a three year old can have and says, “ Did you make me a present for my birthday too?? Can I have it tommallow?” Sweet.

This is going to be a great day!

~~~~

And so it was a Wonderful day! We spent today on holiday, swimming, laughing and just hanging out together. The children made breakfast in bed for me (I had to go back to bed to get my breakfast!!!) and they sang and generally made a fuss over me today.

In the afternoon, a very interesting thing happened at Beaudry RV. Since we have had so much conflicting information regarding the repair work, when the parts would be in, what the timeline will be, and so on. I asked the General Manager here at the Beaudry Resort for advice on who to talk to over at the Beaudry Dealership Service Department.

Well, he gave me a name, and I went over to talk to the fellow. It was not a great experience. The fellow at the Dealership got quite angry with me, and was very rude. Of course, I burst into tears, dumb!!!!

Well, after returning to the Resort and sharing with the manager my experience, things really started moving here. I have got to say, the Beaudry companies know how to take care of customers. Not only did the rude fellow personally come over to our site to apologize, he also treated us to dinner at the wonderful restaurant here at the resort. In fact, all the head mucky mucks came by our site to apologize and make sure that we were happy customers.

It takes a big man to apologize, I was so very impressed. Obviously the Beaudry family is of high character as they certainly have all their staff, both the “important” people and the general employees, live out a philosophy of customer first.

Everyone is human and makes mistakes, Jeff and I were both so impressed that Beaudry RV took time to fix this one, and to make us, virtual nobodies in their world, really happy … we came to a very good conclusion and will end up being very happy customers!

I wish all companies could operate like this one.

~~~~

After a marvelous dinner (prime rib) at the restaurant…. (who ever heard of a great eating experience in a RV park???) ….. We all went out and rented a movie, ate popcorn and I fell asleep! I couldn’t even stay up for my own “hoopla”. I must be getting old!!!

Saturday, March 3

Hey!!! We made the front page of the LA TIMES!!!  Wow!!!

Tuesday, March 6

I am reading a book called Liberated through Submission, God’s Design for Freedom in All Relationships, by P.B. Wilson. This book reminds me that submission is not reserved for women alone. All of us, man, woman, grandparent, child, pastor… are required to live our lives in obedient submission to God. His word is our path, and off that path we must not stray.

What does this mean to the husband? (And Oh boy, am I glad that I am not a husband!) The author cites Ephesians 5:22-28 and 1 Peter 3:7. In these passages it describes the responsibilities of both the husband and the wife in marriage. For the Wife:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands as unto the Lord.   (Ephesians 5:22)

That’s it. That’s all there is to it! Then for the Husbands:

Husbands be the head of the wife (final decision-maker).   (Ephesians 5:23)

Husbands, love your wives.    (Ephesians 5:25)

Husbands, dwell with them according to understanding, giving honor unto the wife (understand her unique spirit and gifts)    (1 Peter 3:7)

Husbands, as the church is subject unto Christ, and He gave everything for it, so should the husband sanctify and cleanse the home, that it should be holy and without blemish. (Be the Spiritual Leader of the Home).                          (Ephesians 5:26 - 27)

Okay, I am THRILLED that I was born a woman. Our role is so simple. What we do not see anywhere in the scripture is that submission means to lead a life of slavery, or that a husband is to lead a life of leisure, with the wife waiting on him hand and foot. The author makes a valid point by stating:

“Submission without Faith is Slavery, Submission with Faith is Power”

Oh my goodness, this makes so much sense. I must have faith in God that he will lead my husband along the good path. I must have faith that God has placed into my life, a man that I can trust and believe in. I must have faith that through my husband, God will provide for me.

In this manner, although I may not always agree with Jeff, I must go to God with my questions and fears. I must trust that through my obedience to God (submission to His word, which includes submission to my husband), He will make all things right in my life… in His time. This takes faith. Submitting to my husband is a step of Faith.

The other point that the author makes in her book, is that the wife must have reverence for her husband;

And [let] the wife see that she reverence her husband.                 Ephesians 5:33

Reverence? What does this mean to me? Reverence is to have “deep awe or respect”. Do I truly respect my husband? I do not have to agree with his decisions to respect his position as husband. Just as both sides of the aisle in the Congress do not agree with the President, they all respect his position, standing when he enters the room. Or in a company, all the staff does not necessarily agree with the CEO, yet they all respect his position as their leader.

So, do I have to stand when Jeff enters the room? No. But my spirit should. Does my spirit have awe or respect for my husband? No. I can honestly say that most times, my spirit is in quiet rebellion. What would change if I were to genuinely revere my Jeff? Have I ever really considered the position that God placed Jeff into, in my life? Had I ever considered the responsibilities that this man took on, for me. No.

I resolve that from this day forward, I will revere my husband. His position, his responsibilities and his power. I regret that I have had an irreverent spirit towards my darling Jeff. I pray that God will help me to never again feel irreverence towards, Jeff. And that if I EVER find myself being disrespectful thought word or deed, that I will have the courage to go to Jeff and apologize to him directly.

P.B. Wilson points out in her book, that submission, reverence, meekness… this includes sharing with my husband my thoughts, feelings and impressions. That I not hide my opinions. It is up to Jeff to take in my opinions, his opinions, and all relevant facts to make a final decision. This is where his submission to God comes into play. If he is in submission to God, then God will lead Jeff to the right decision.

So, what if Jeff makes a mistake? And he will. Should I remember and relive those mistakes? Jesus tells us to forgive “seven times seventy times a day”. Is this forgiveness unlike the forgiveness that God has shown me, His Grace. Through Faith, salvation and grace are mine. Okay… here goes.

Faith.

Thursday, March 8

We have been here in Tucson a really long time, since early February. Wow. Jeff and I both feel the need to move on, see what else God has in store for our family. However, we have decided that the prudent plan is to stay here in Tucson until the 19th of March. At that time we will attend a Pastor/Leaders Conference at Calvary Tucson.

Some of our favorite bible teachers will be at the conference. Jeff feels really strongly about attending this meeting. He would make a great “listening” pastor. It has been such a joy to watch Jeff over the last several weeks. He is really growing in his walk with Jesus. Before my very eyes he becomes a more godly man, the leader of our family.

Recently Jeff has begun to add to our daily prayers (at mealtime we pray together as a family), his request for either a job or a business opportunity. This is good. He is actively seeking a means of supporting the family that will allow him time and space to serve God. I am so excited to see what God has planned for my Jeff.

In the meantime, our reserves are depleted. Funny, I have no fear about the situation. I know that my siblings and parents worry. I know they think I am nuts not to run out, get a job and support the family on my own. They worry tremendously about my “shopping freedom”. I wish, however, that they could feel the peace I have regarding our financial needs. I am sure that with God’s help and guidance, Jeff will make sure we have plenty.

This is good.

~~~~

I have instituted a new procedure at school for Kurt and Grace. Every Monday we sit down and the kids and I go over the lesson plan for the coming week. They each note their assignments and due dates onto a weekly calendar. I am no longer bugged with “what’s next?”, “what else?”, “am I done?”. It is fantastic!

Yesterday Kurt got done all his assignments in about one hour (ah ha! So he can do more when he works diligently!!). It was wonderful! I was able to give him additional “fun work” like art and some reading. I have started Kurt on Algebra. Arrgh. Algebra is not my strong suite! (In fact I recall that Mom and Dad hired a tutor for me as a result of a C in High School!)

I am trying to keep ahead of him in math, but this will not be possible much longer. Thank goodness for the Saxon Math Curriculum. What is neato is that I am learning along with Kurt. That is kinda cool!

~~~~

We have met a number of the other campers here in the park. Quite a few have stopped by the RV and introduced themselves, having read our website. That is great. It always makes Jeff and I feel really good to meet the people that read our “stuff”. There are a lot of wonderful people in this country!

Beaudry RV Resort is having a “fiesta” here this weekend. They have mariachi bands, dancers, food, food and more food. Eve is having a blast watching the dancers!! Kurt is totally enjoying the food, Grace and I are spending our time sewing, sewing, sewing. I am determined to finish the two quilts I have in my bag. One is for my niece (her first birthday) and the other for my niece that will be born sometime this month!

I have been talking to the staff here at the Resort. They seem so happy and fulfilled by their jobs. The common factor is their boss, Neville. He emigrated here from Zimbabwe, Africa in the 70‘s or 80‘s. Neville is very proud of his African heritage. He tells me he is fourth generation white African. Funny, it never occurred to me that an African-American could be white! But here he is!

It is really cool to see how a good employer, leader and mentor can really motivate his employees. People want to work for Neville. And I haven’t heard one word of frustration or dissatisfaction from anyone who works at this place. Isn’t that nice, to see people who enjoy their work. Motivated to perform for a great boss.

What would America be like if all of us had bosses like Neville? What if everyone enjoyed serving a good leader. Hmmmmm. Sounds like a great idea?!!!!!!!

Okay, I am procrastinating. I have to write my outline for the MOPS speaking engagements (here’s hoping some come soon!!). They want to see what I have to say before inviting me to talk to their groups!

Stop procrastinating… get to work!!

Friday, March 9

Quilting.... all day.

Saturday, March 10

More Quilting.  Am I obsessed???  <grin>

Wednesday, March 14

It is all about obedience.

Everything in God’s lexicon is about becoming obedient to Him. Period. It is not just about being obedient to Jeff, he is my “yard stick”, the measurement of my obedience to God.

Last night more layers of the onion were peeled away. We had dinner with a family that we met through the PE that the kids attend, through a local homeschool group here in Tucson. The mother, Joyce, is an amazing and godly woman. She and her husband Eric have an incredibly powerful witness.

One of the beautiful things about this couple is their willingness to obey God. They jump when He speaks. Joyce and Eric have adopted four children (in addition to their own three boys) and have taken in various troubled teens and others over the years.

Their current household includes, the youngest son, five adopted children, one nephew and a niece. All of this in a four bedroom home in Tucson. I have never seen such a peaceful environment as this home. The children are all homeschooled and incredible disciples.

After dinner last night (of London broil, pasta, greens and yummy bread), we adults sat at the table and talked about our favorite subject… God. This wonderful couple are great teachers and mentors. They pointed out that God wants more for us than just salvation. Salvation is just the beginning of His gift. His grace is waiting for us to unwrap and participate in to a much fuller extent.

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call."                                                                                                                                  Acts 2:38

Okay, what does this mean? Repentance is just the beginning. Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. This brings forgiveness … Salvation. The next part says that after this forgiveness we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. So, what is this?

In 1 Corinthians 12:4-10, Paul describes these gifts. He also lists the gifts in Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:11. In each of these passages, the gifts are promises from our Lord Jesus. Jesus says:

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.                                                                   John 7:38-39

Ah ha, so this (Holy) Spirit is something given to those who believe in him. Okay. What’s next? The Holy Spirit is a gift from the Father, how do I get it? And what does it require on my part?

                        “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth”.                           John:4-24

I think I understand how to worship in truth. That is to worship God through the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, His son. Jesus is our true means of accessing the Father. But what is it to worship in spirit? This will take some research and prayer.

Okay, last but not least. The Scripture tells us to:

 “ Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts….”                 1Corinthians 14:1

The way of love… okay, we are specifically instructed in the way of Love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Our instructions in 1Corinthians 14:1 go further and tell us to eagerly desire the spiritual gifts.

Oh my goodness. Eagerly desire?   You mean to be obedient to God, I have actively seek these gifts (prophecy, tongues, healing, wisdom… etc.) and to fully participate in the gift God has set before his children?!! Oh boy, this is going to take a major step in faith. That little mustard seed is going to have to grow into a tree and start supporting life. I am going to have to set “me” aside and fully accede to the will of God.

To get more of God, there must be less of me.

I crave to be obedient to Him.  

~~~~~

At 2:00am I heard the wailing, the hacking, the cries. As I lay there beneath a fog of sleep and dreams, I struggled to rise, fighting my way through a blanket of weariness. I slowly waded through the dark hall towards that hacking, dry cough. It was my little Eve.

As I approached her corner of the motor home, I saw my Jeff kneeling beside her, tenderly ministering to her cries. I turned and made my way back to our bed. As I settled under the covers I saw him turn the light on in our miniscule bathroom, potty Eve and hold her tightly to his chest. He was praying.

Eve continued to cough like a seal, hacking and barking sickness from her little body. Jeff stood still in the bright light of the bathroom, staring at his arm wrapped around her straining little body as she coughed into his chest. Again, he stared down at his arm, moving quickly towards our bed, he handed our sweet Eve into my arms. And then my Jeff went back into the light, looked at his arm and spoke.

“Christa, we are under attack. I noticed on my arm an ugly brown spot with a black center. I looked at it twice… it was there, and now it is gone. I was not going to say anything until Eve was okay, but it is gone now. We are under attack. Pray.”

So we prayed. I wrapped my arms around her little body, fervently praying for healing and the promise of her salvation. Jeff sat next to me, pressing his hands on her chest, praying. At first she relaxed under our ministering, then her little body began to struggle. She cried, she coughed, she fought us. We quickened our prayers, petitioning God for her healing and safety. Eventually her body began to quiet. I rolled over and fell asleep, confident that the battle had been won. Secure in the knowledge that the cancer that had appeared on Jeff’s arm was miraculously gone, forever.

We are victorious through Him.

Thursday, March 15

I love Jesus.

Saturday, March 17

Well, it is Jeff’s birthday today! I am married to an old man, 45 years old…. That’s Ooooooolllld.  Te he!! Our plans today include finishing up taxes and just hanging out! We know how to do it wild! I have been saving some money for awhile and used it to purchase Jeff a new bible. He has really outgrown his “seekers” version. I am excited to give it to him!

It has been an interesting week. On Wednesday morning I woke up and had a piece of toast, did some writing in my journal and then…. Something interesting began. I felt God calling me to fast. So I did. I began my fast Wednesday, right then and there in the middle of my toast, it continued through Thursday and I broke fast Friday at dinner.

What a wonderful experience, fasting.  I was not hungry, I was so satisfied and full, the entire time. I drank coffee, water and ice tea when I felt a need, otherwise I ate and drank nothing. I felt the presence of God all around me, it was just amazing. Wednesday I just prayed and talked to God and Thursday I basked in His love. Friday afternoon it was over, God became still and I felt hunger. It was awesome.

Several things came out of my fast. One, I asked God to help me die to myself so that there would be more room for Him in me. I cannot do this without His help. He also confirmed in me that my instructions are to obey and follow Jeff, to learn meekness and a gentle heart. Finally, I fed a great hunger for His word. I could barely put the bible down.

What an amazing and wonderful three days. I know that there is more in my heart that I learned, I just feel so … I don’t know … kind of raw, new, tremulous. I wonder what is in store for us in the weeks ahead! I seek His face.

Another interesting part of this week has been the increasing of our territory. Jeff and I both have prayed a version of this for the last month or so:

                                                    Father, thank you for this life;

                                                                        Please bless me,

                                                                        Increase my territory,

                                                                        Keep your Spirit upon me,

                                                                        Protect and guide me.

We discovered this type of prayer in the Prayer of Jabez (in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10). God does listen and answer prays. His has most definitely increased our territory (area of influence for Him). We have been on the front page of several newspapers this week, the Philadelphia Enquirer, The Modesto Bee, St. Petersburg Times, West Hawaii Today, to name the ones we are aware of today.

Our website has gotten lots of visitors and we have received many emails of encouragement and blessing. It is so amazing how He answers prays.  Then, as a result of our media exposure and the suggestion of our new friends Eric and Joyce Small, we purchased 100 bibles and 100 Jesus videos, to use in an effort to spread the Gospel in our travels. We used our tithe money… God’s money.

What a week.

Thursday, we had our new friends over for a barbeque and swim. Eric and Joyce, their six children and Sherrie, with her two girls, all came over for hamburgers and hot dogs! It was wonderful to fellowship with these great people and to be able to be the host. After dinner Kurt and the Small teenagers went to a concert of Caedemon’s Call at a local church! Kurt then spent the night at the Small’s on the West side of Tucson.

Kurt has made a wonderful friend in Bryant Small. He is a very godly young man and is a great support to Kurt. It is nice to know that you are not the only teenager that loves Christ. Sometimes I think Kurt feels rather isolated, he felt a part of something with Bryant and Lacey (Joyce and Eric’s kids).

Grace had a wonderful time with Mariah (Sherrie’s oldest girl). She and Grace have connected quite well. They all met at the PE Homeschool Group we have been attending this last month, here in Tucson. Grace, Mariah and Joanie (Joyce and Eric’s adopted daughter), spent the evening Thursday, giggling and painting each others fingernails! They were really sweet.

In the meantime, Joyce and Sherrie and I, had a wonderful evening sharing with each other and bonding in the special way that women do!! Jeff and Eric spent a long time in quiet counsel. It is a blessing for Jeff to have a strong, Christ-centered male friend. He and Eric made a wonderful connection.

What a week.

This coming week promises to be just as much as last. On Monday we (Jeff and I) are attending a Leader/Pastor Conference at Calvary Chapel Tucson. The teachers are Chuck Smith, Gayle Erwin, Jon Courson (my favorite!!!), Skip Heitzig, Mike Macintosh and Raul Ries!! What a line-up! The conference begins Monday at noon and ends Wednesday at 9:00p.

Kurt, Grace and Eve will be staying at the Small’s house for the three days. Joyce and Eric have offered to host the kids so that Jeff and I can really focus our energies and attention on learning whatever God has in store for us! What an amazing blessing! I feel so rich.

What a week.

Now I had better be off to make Jeff’s birthday a special one! Got to find him some GOOD cheesecake…. Hope there is a Cheesecake Factory here in Tucson!!! Their cheesecake is the best…

Yum.

Sunday, March 18

I ended up buying the cheesecake from Fry’s (grocery store) and it was just wonderful! We had a wonderful day yesterday, just hung out together and did absolutely nothing. It was a great day! The kids had a lemonade stand and earned some cash… they had a fabulous time!

The only bummer yesterday was that I messed up our web page. We have this wonderful guest book, it really ministers to me! People who visit our web page sign the guest book and say such amazing things about life and themselves, their hopes and inspirations. I love to look at the guest book… it reminds me that God is in control.

Anyway, I deleted the month of February and March. Waaaaa!!  I lost all those entries into the guest book. I tried all day to find a copy, yes, I forgot to make a back-up. Could not find a copy anywhere. Bummer. Oh well, the messages ministered to me then…. I will have to just hold on to that in my heart.

Tonight we are going to hear a band that Skip Heitzig (Albuquerque Calvary Chapel) plays with, at the evening worship service. Can’t wait, it is a “beetle” band and we get to hear Skips testimony. It should be a great evening.

Need coffee.

Must wake kids and start the day. Need coffee first!

Monday, March 19

It is almost eleven pm. Jeff and I spent the day at a Pastors and Leaders Conference sponsored by Calvary Chapel Tucson. The kids are staying the night (Monday and Tuesday) at the Small’s home in East Tucson. They were all thrilled at the prospect of time away with Joyce and Eric. After dropping the kids off, Jeff and I headed over to Calvary Chapel…. We went to the wrong church!!

Fortunately we had enough time to get to the correct location (another Calvary waaaaay across town!). After registering, we found our seats and were treated to a wonderful worship time with amazing music. The first speaker up was Skip Heitzig. All the speakers are teaching on the book of Jonah, the most reluctant and bigoted prophet in the scripture. He was a really dis-obedient preacher, that Jonah! Instead of going to Nineveh, he went two thousand miles in the opposite direction!!

The next teacher was Raul Reis and after that was Gayle Erwin. All of them were awesome. In the evening Raul was up again, he taught on the topic of Jeremiah 7. He had everyone’s attention, you could have heard a pin drop in the room. Very anointed.

At one of the breaks I called Joyce to check on the kids. She told me that Grace and Janey (one of her daughters) had spent the afternoon going door to door preaching the gospel and praying for people. I was shocked. Grace? My quiet little Grace? My goodness still waters run deep.

Eve got on the phone and asked when I was coming to pick her up, I said in a couple of days. She replied… good! She was having too much fun for me to come right now. What a hoot! My three-year-old is just fine without mommy…. What a blow!

I am really tired. Have lots to think about after listening to Raul this evening but am too tired to go any further…. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, March 20

Tonight I learned about the love that God has for us, His children. His love is intense and powerful, His heart breaks from the volume of love that courses through His Spirit. Our God is an awesome and amazing God, who loves us without reserve. He loves us and forgives us, all He asks is our repentance and our Obedience.

My heart is full to the brim from the mere idea that anyone could love me this much. I am truly loved. His heart is full of me and so it is for you. God loves us so very very much.

I don’t think I ever understood that quite like I do tonight. His Spirit overwhelms me with amazing love and sweet mercy. How can I ever hope to measure up in His sight? I don’t even have to try, His mercy covers me. His blood saves me, His life redeems my spirit.

I wish that I could just shout from the rooftops to every woman on this planet… GOD LOVES US. It is so simple, so pure and so easy to claim His love. We just have invite Him into our lives. Simple. My God loves me so much, despite my failings and imperfections.

I want to write a love letter to my Jesus, My God, My Redeemer. I want to tell Him how much I love Him, how grateful I am that He would consider me, that He would Love me… me! His love is powerful and my whole being aches with love for this mighty God.

Who could imagine that a King would love me so much that He would die for ME???!!! My King did…. He died to atone for MY sins. And yours. Oh, He is wonderful. We are His creation, meant for His enjoyment and worship. Oh Mighty God, that I could worship you as much as you are worthy. You are so worthy.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for shedding YOUR blood for Me!! To obey You is my greatest pleasure. I long to do Your bidding. Thank you Lord God, Jesus the Christ, my King. Thank you.

Thursday, March 24

Yesterday was another amazing day in the Kingdom!! After the conference ended, we picked up the children from Joyce and Eric and went home to nap. We were exhausted! What a week. Three days of Jesus, in our faces. Wow!

Yesterday evening we went to church, Gayle Erwin was the guest speaker. He is wonderful! After the service Jeff met Dan and Ann, missionaries from Mexico. We brought them home and shared our story with them.

Dan is a Calvary Pastor, who has been ministering in the hinterlands of Mexico for twenty three years. He and his wife have a ranch where they take in abused children and through the love of Christ, redeem them! They showed us their website…. What an amazing life story. What an amazing testimony to Jesus.

Two other interesting things happened. One, we received an email from an expatriate in southern Spain, requesting an interview for his radio program. Apparently we were in an article in the local paper… in Spain. Huh??? Spain??? Holy Cow.

The other GREAT thing that happened is that one of the women here at the Resort asked me about Jesus!! I am meeting with her today at three to share the Gospel. Boy howdy, when God works, He works FAST!!!

God is GREAT!

~~~

I am still having trouble with my obedience to Jeff. When we had Dan and his wife, Ana over last night, I found myself hogging the spotlight. Telling them our story… really my story… of redemption and life in Christ. I couldn’t shut up!!

I struggle with the question… as an obedient wife how do I share my story, share my enthusiasm and love for Christ without shoving Jeff behind me. I just jump to the front of every conversation and take over…. This is not following Jeff. I continue to struggle with submitting myself. In my enthusiasm I just take over every conversation. I know that to be a submitted wife doesn’t mean that I have to become someone that is quiet and has no personality. Yet, meekness is part of the call God has on me. I must submit my will to Jeff, to Christ. This is hard to do… I continue to struggle and to fail.

Thank God for forgiveness.

Friday, March 23

We are preparing to leave Tucson on Sunday after church. I am both happy and sad at the prospect. I will be glad to move on, finding whatever God has in store for us, but it is bittersweet. This place has become a home to us all. Kurt and Grace have both made friends. Jeff and I have made friends.

Our lives have been blessed and enriched by Joyce and Eric Small. I feel as though Joyce and I have been sisters for years!! Her heart is so generous and her love for Christ is so much a part of her being. When she speaks, it is as though the heart of God speaks through her and into our lives. I will miss her immensely.

Jeff and Eric have also become fast friends. Never have I seen my husband enjoy the company of another man so easily. There is no pretense or falseness in their friendship. They are both brothers in Christ and brothers in the world. It is so good to see Jeff having a real relationship with another man!

Tonight we ate dinner at the Small’s. After dinner we just sat and chit-chatted until it was eleven o’clock! We were all surprised at the time! As we drove home, to our little trailer in the desert, Jeff remarked that we have never had friends like this before in our marriage! Friends to just “hang” with, to share our fears, our blessings… our lives without any pretense.

Tucson has been a good place for this family. All of us have grown spiritually. We have all stepped out further on our walk of faith. Each in his or her own manner, even little Eve. Our spirits have been fed in this place.

Kurt has developed a marvelous friendship with Bryant Small. They are about the same size, age and interests! Both are godly young men, and are still the terror of their little sisters!! Kurt has never really had a friend like this before! I love to watch them.

Interesting thing happened yesterday. We were interviewed on a radio program that is broadcast in …. SPAIN!! Can’t believe it! The Wal-mart camping story was in a newspaper in Southern Spain, where there are lots of ex-patriots living in the sunshine!! The interviewer was an Irish fellow named Maurice Boland. His show is broadcast daily to approximately 600,000 English speaking residents of the area. Amazing!

Apparently the Wal-mart story has been in a great many newspapers around the country. We heard the other day it was in Philadelphia, Indiana, Florida… incredible places. I pray that lots of people find our website through the articles and are led to Christ or deepened in the walk.

Tomorrow is cleaning day! My big event before we start out on the road… one last serious vacuum, lots of Murphy’s soap, and elbow grease!! As it is nearly midnight, I will toddle off to bed now…..

Sunday, March 25

I have a great clanging inside. My innards are swirling… thoughts are flying through my brain and heart. I can barely keep all the varied worries, thoughts, thrills, knowledge and excitement contained in my body. I just feel like exploding…

Some of the things on my mind are:

 I am so sad to be leaving Tucson. God has done a great work in us during our stay in this desert city. Tonight we had one final dinner with the Small family. Met their pastor and learn lots about digging deeper into the Word and finding what the Holy Spirit has in mind for us. 

 

 I am still questioning the gift of tongues.  As I read it in scripture, the gift of tongues is used to edify the church, and is only of value when someone is able to interpret. However, there is a mention of praying in the Spirit or the “private language” of the Holy Spirit in I Corinthians 14:14-15. I need to understand what praying in the Spirit  is all about. I am not convinced yet, that tongues is for all believers and without tongues you cannot pray in the Spirit. But I really don’t know. I really don’t know.

 

I do believe in the gift of Discernment (of spirits) and Healing.  Since the end of the conference last week, my “radar” has been clanging…. I keep wondering what God is doing with me.

 

We are now truly living on the Lord’s provision. I should be scared, but I am not. I think God is teaching me something here. Tonight as we left the Small’s house, they loaded us up with a box full of food and supplies, and a check. That check will pay for the gas to get to Oklahoma. Amazing.

 

It was REALLY hard for me to accept the gifts. If I had not been obedient to Jeff I would have refused their gifts. My life has been all about living in Orange County, California… shopping at Nordstrom’s… doing or buying anything I want.  I chose not live this type of yucky life again. I have renounced the sinful spending ways of my former life.

 

What I mean is… I am not bothered by having very little cash, and yes, I would like to be able to shop anywhere I please, but … ONLY with cash and ONLY if we could afford and needed the purchases. I don’t want to shop with impunity, just be free from the worry of debt and bondage so that we may live a life of obedience to our amazing and awesome God.

 

I am not sad at loosing my “shopping freedom” (as my darling sister calls it!!), I am just finding it hard to rest in Jesus and accept the gifts from His storehouse. My pride is in the way. I know that God would have me put my pride aside. I pray that I can. I pray that He gets me through this next learning period.

 

Funny, but I am so concerned that my extended family will find out that we are living on God’s provisions. I just hate dealing with their contempt. Although, the contempt is probably just something that I have in my mind, all-the-while they are most likely just expressing concern.  I am heartbroken that my extended family does not know Him.

 

I love my God so much. I want all He has for me. I want to serve Him and know Him. I want my kids to know and serve Him. I hope to live my life in His shadow and love.  I love Him so very, very much.

~~~~

So many wild and rampant thoughts running through me… I need some quiet, private prayer time….

He is a great God…. And tomorrow He is sending us to Oklahoma!!

Yee Haw!!

Monday, March 26

We leave today at 1:00pm (at least that is the plan!!). Tonight we are traveling as far as Show low, Arizona. Then our route takes us to Albuquerque, Roswell, Amarillo and into Oklahoma. Lots to see and do in one short week.

I feel so much better today! A little bit of sleep, good solid sleep and I am fresh and ready to face whatever challenges He has for me today!  A couple from the Navigators just stopped by, they share this verse with me:

"Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account."      Philippians 4:17

The significance is not lost, when people share with you their resources, they participate in your fruit, they become a part of your ministry and God takes that into their eternal account.  How wonderful, how generous is God.  Receiving the giving then is an important aspect of ministry as it produces fruit to be credited to the givers account.  That is lovely.

I will miss having my internet connection on demand! This has been a wonderful little RV park for us. I received an email today from a friend who reminded me of the concept of the Oasis. This RV Park and the Small family have been our oasis here in the Sonora Desert! And what a wonderful desert experience we have had as a result.

The Calvary Chapel here in Tucson has taken 24 of my keepers for their two stores! (YEAH!!!) I hope they do well. I need to remember that my original instructions were to make these to God’s Glory, not for the world. I will focus on that and begin to make more… God will make them sell!!! The Chapel Store manager also suggested that I make some necklaces, they sell well in her store. Okay… I can do that!!

How exciting. Life with Jesus is a little like a great book that you can’t put down… You don’t know where it is going next and you are thrilled at the journey!! It is fun, scary and wonderfully exciting…

I’m off to do that last load of laundry, then pack and GO!!!!

~~~~~

What a hoot! We left the RV campground at 2:30 pm, went to the bank, the grocery store, stopped to send a FedEx and then to make a quickie dinner! It is now 7:45 pm and we haven’t even left the city of Tucson!! Ha! Jeff is re-wiring the VCR so the kids can watch a video in the back while we drive.

Our goal is the town of Show Low, Arizona. It is about four hours from Tucson… who’s betting we’ll get there!!

… just had a cheap date with my honey!!! We strolled into the courtyard (with fountain!!) in the office complex that we parked in for dinner! Ooooooohhhhh. Life is Grand!!!

Tuesday, March 27

What an adventure we had last night!! As we were driving towards Show Low, through the mountains of Central Arizona, we were going down a very steep hill (8% grade). I was SO TIRED!! It was about one in the morning (how and why we were driving that late still escapes me!), when CRASH!! My sugar jar slammed across the counter and on to the floor, sending white sugar cascading over the floor!

As Kurt and I valiantly vacuumed the mess up, I felt the coach begin to descend into a hard stop. Jeff pulled into a rest stop with a groaning of the brakes. Something SMELLED!! So Jeff, the darling man, went outside to check out our brakes - which were probably smoking due to the heavy use they just got going through the canyon.

“GET OUT, EVERYBODY GET OUT!”, Jeff yelled into the coach. I ran to the back shouting at the kids to MOVE! Get out! We all ran outside, the girls in their nighties, Kurt struggling to hold Eve and run at the same time!

The smell was BAD! As we ran across the parking lot, we both felt and saw flames of fire spewing out from under the RV. Jeff grabbed a fire extinguisher and raced around the coach, shooting the chemicals at the undercarriage.

After several pregnant moments, the fire was extinguished. The smell was AWFUL!! We stood shivering in the parking lot, cold, tired and amazed that we were alive! The brakes had actually burned! BURNED!

After ten minutes of cold, Kurt and I jumped back into the coach to grab blankets and jackets for the girls.  The stench was overwhelming... hurriedly got out of the coach gagging and coughing from the fumes.  Meanwhile,  Jeff paced around the RV, checking for fire, watching the glow of our brakes. I got the girls safely ensconced in the Isuzu and went to help Jeff.

Grace was frightened. I assured her that God had our future in hand and promises our safety. I asked her to get out her bible, pray to God for His Word to comfort her, and open her bible. Later I found out she heard a little voice in her head telling her to open the bible to John 1:14 … her comfort had been given to her in a mighty way!

Fortunately we had landed in a developed rest stop, in a real parking lot, not just a dirt pull-out. Jeff tried the cell phone… no signal. We took a flashlight and hiked up to the restrooms, looking for a payphone…nothing.

As we searched for a phone and praised GOD for making the sugar spill, alerting us to stop, we watched as three more vehicles pulled into the parking lot with smoking brakes… no fires… just smoke!!! Each car or van waited a few moments and then took off again. Then a van pulled in, MAJOR smoke billowing from the undercarriage. We tried to help, the driver only spoke Spanish, we had a short conversation and walked back to the RV.

Then it dawned on us! We had the Isuzu! We could drive to the next town for help. So, we unhooked the truck, parked the Coach and drove up the mountain. And drove, and drove, and drove. Nothing.

We were in the middle of nowhere! Our best bet seemed to turn around and spend the night in the parking lot. Everything would look better in the morning!

When we finally got everyone to sleep it was well past two o’clock in the morning!

This morning we awoke to a lovely bright day, the sun is shining and the air is crisp! I made coffee and stepped outside to find that we were parked in a beautiful spot on the Salt River, the boundary line between the White Mountain Apache and the San Carlos Apache Reservations.

After a yummy breakfast, we all prepared to hike down to the river edge and spend some time in God’s presence and admire His creation. The colors are fantastic! The hillside is a rich ochre with splashes of purple, yellow, green and white. I feel as though I am in the midst of an incredible painting, colors intense and mesmerizing.

At the muddy waters edge, we sat down and the children worked in their sketch books, trying to capture the feeling and the moment, writing their observations while listening to the roar of the rapids. We watched as several brightly colored rafts full of men and women valiantly racing down the rapids, oars in hand, shouts of joy from their mouths!

We gathered in prayer, thanking God for our salvation, His creation, and His provision in our lives.

~~~~

We made it to Show Low… about forty miles from our little incident. Jeff has been calling and calling the Good Sam Club to find a mechanic in town to inspect and repair our brakes. Nothing. Finally they sent us over to the local Ford Dealership. They suggested that we drive to Holbrook (loooonng way away!) for someone to repair our brakes. Then as I stood there staring with a gaping mouth at the service technician, he said in an offhand manner, that there was a little RV repair shop in town, just behind the dealership … perhaps we could try them.

Okay!

Off we went, followed the directions the service tech provided, and saw just ahead…. (music please!!) a REPAIR SHOP. The sign said RV’s, brakes and…. There was a FISH on the sign. Thank you Jesus… a Christian Shop.

We pulled in and met the owners wife, she had someone look at our brakes. Uh Oh! We are metal to metal and need repair on the rotors (or something like that!). We have to stay here, we cannot drive another inch. The repair shop has us hooked into their electricity and we are parked in the back of their gravel lot.

Tomorrow we will find out if there is hope. It is five o’clock and they can’t get any information about parts.

~~~~

I am so, so, so saaaad. I don’t know why this funk has settled over me. Thus far, through this little adventure, I have been happy, confident in God’s plan and provision for our family. But I find myself sobbing now.

Jeff suggests I find the local Calvary or Non-denominational church. It looks like we’ll be here awhile and tomorrow is Wednesday… church night. Jeff also suggests I find a Christian book store.

Wow, does he know me or what. Within ten minutes I am happily on a mission, finding churches, bookstores and camping grounds. My darling man makes dinner and holds me in his arms. I am safe.

Wednesday, March 28

It is thirty degrees outside… so says our window thermometer. Holy Cow, that’s cold! Today we find out our immediate future and if we will make it to the FMCA Rally in Oklahoma. Pray!

~~~~

Nope! We are going to be stuck here for at least one week until the parts arrive. Cost…. Two Thousand Dollars. Holy Smokes.  This has got to be given over to God, because there is no way we can do this alone!!!

Thursday, March 29

God is amazing and this has been one amazing day. We spent the day learning about purified water at the White Mountain Purified Water and Ice Company. Suzanne Brown, one of the owners, spent nearly two hours with us, teaching the kids (and me!) all about fluoride and chlorine in the water systems. It was fascinating.

Afterwards we drove around town and happened across a building for sale that would be PERFECT for a Christian Coffee shop/bookstore! It just jumped out at us!! Of course, there is no way we could afford to purchase or set-up a bookstore, but wow…. It was a very cool spot! And this town REALLY needs some Holy Spirit filled places!!!

In the afternoon, I took Kurt to the doctor to have his ingrown toenail removed. I had made an appointment yesterday at the first doctor’s office we found, God sent us there…. For sure!! We had to wait quite a while and I had the opportunity to meet the receptionist. Her father is the Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Show Low. They moved here two years ago, on a leap of faith!!

This town is mostly LDS (Mormon) and it is a hard row to hoe if you are not Mormon here. This Pastor and his family have apparently made HUGE inroads here in Show Low. The Spirit of God is moving in this community through this church. Mariah (the Pastors daughter and the Doctor’s receptionist) is nineteen and an incredible witness! She shared that one of the greatest things in her life thus far is how she has positively seen God move in the lives of her parents. She was just the most touching teenager I have ever met!

We talked a little about submission and her understanding of the whole deal is so much deeper than mine! She understands that it is not submission of “Self”, but submission to one greater than self, Jesus Christ. Her simple and unwavering understanding of our Savior is so inspiring.

That’s not all! Then we met the Doctor…

Dr. Paddy Garver. What an amazing man, what a wonderful life story! He came from a poor family, married a widow with one child while he was in school, put himself through medical school as a boxer (National Champion 1956) and was a Navy Fighter Pilot over Guam. He and his wife, Marie, had seven children. One was hers from the first marriage, five were theirs together and the last one they adopted.

It gets even more amazing. Dr. Garver was widowed in 1976. Marie succumbed to cancer and died when she was only 37 years old. The Doctor then raised all seven of these kids himself, and was the ONLY doctor in town for years. He delivered over 5,000 babies, treated cancer, neurology issues, pediatrics, and everything else under the sun. He is the quintessential small town doctor. And…. HE IS 71 YEARS OLD. Still working a FULL day.

Dr. Garver is one of the gentlest men I have ever met, and one of the most opinionated! He adamantly opposed abortion, Clinton and has a faith in God that surpasses anything I have ever been honored to witness. He took Kurt and I into his office (we were his last patient of the day!) and shared his pictures of his kids, grandkids, boxing championship and bomber jet. He told stories of how he raised all those kids, by himself and shared with us the amazing love he had and still has for his wife, Marie.

Paddy Garver touched my heart. He made God present. He embossed himself on my heart forever.

~~~~

But the day gets even better! This evening we went to bible study at the local Calvary Chapel. Again… the hand of God moves in our lives.

We barely made it by 7:00pm and I was HIGH from the afternoon with Dr. Garver. As we rushed into the church, trying to get children into kids programs and make it back to the sanctuary for worship, a woman called out to me… Hey Don’t I Know You??

No, I replied and quickly went through the process of getting the kids settled.

After the worship music, the Pastor gave a very nice teaching on Psalm 96 and 97. It was very good! During the fellowship we introduced ourselves and shared with the Pastor that we had just come from the Southwest Calvary Pastors and Ministers Conference in Tucson. He was there as well as a number of his parishioners!!

Then the woman that was sure we had met, exclaimed that she and I met at the conference!! What is amazing is that we had a conversation about her husband selling his business, her fear of the whole thing and the difficulty of submitting to her husband in this issue. I told her at the conference, just go with it!!

We spent several GREAT moments talking with her and her husband. He said that he was sure this stop on our trip was orchestrated by God. Duh!! Amazing.

Then, the Pastor asked Jeff to help with the sound system and another fellow offered us a place to stay if needed. Amazing…. WOW!!!!!!!

So, what’s Gods plan here???? I am so excited to see what He brings tomorrow!!!

 

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