Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Being Thankful

We have so much to be thankful for as we close out this year.  While not everything has been joyous or easy, the blessings have outweighed the not-so-blessings.

Things We Are Thankful For:
ELIANA ANAI BOOK-SATTERLEE - our incredibly beautiful little girl.  We are thankful that she is healthy and growing.  Her smile brights up a room.  She is evidence of God's incredible gifts and grace.

Place to Stay - thanks to Lillian, Dan and Lawrence.  We are thankful for family who has taken us in and the many family and friends who would also be willing to do so if there had been a need.  We're blessed to be able to pursue our calling as intensly as we are able thanks to this blessing.

Spiritual Growth - lifegroup, new friends, connections with old friends.  We have been blessed this year to keep up with friends and family across the world, each of you has helped us to grow spiritually and fortify our continued running towards our call.  We are blessed by our Marrieds lifegroup and those who help pour into our marriage and family on a weekly basis.

Support - we're moving on up.  We have a goal to be at 20% of needed funds by Christmas.  While this goal seemed a bit tough, we've been moving closer and closer and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet.  We're so blessed by the generosity.  Aside from committed support many churches and individuals have agreed to meet with us to consider partnering in our ministry.

Freedom - country and religion.  We can only be truly freed to minister internationally because we've been given the gift of freedom.  We can prepare and pray openly without fear of persecution.  We are thankful for this blessings (and remember those who are not so fortunate).  We are prepared well due to education in which we've been granted the economic freedoms to pursue.  We do not take these liberties lightly, and want to thank all that provide for these freedoms as we strive harder and harder to become servants of the Lord's Kingdom.

Good News - Gospel and calling.  We remember this Thanksgiving that we are to live in worshipful thanks.  Give thanks to the Lord! must be our cry.  As we live trying to be thankful for all we have, we are freed to serve the Kingdom proclaiming the Good News with our lives.

Let us know how you are thankful this year, that we might pray for these things and celebrate with you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Little miracles: learning to live in God's gracious provision....

When Kevin and I made the decision to become full-time missionaries we knew that we were going to learn how to rely on God's provision in ways we never had before.  The transition to raising support full-time was a bit of a challenge.  We were just coming off a year of serving in Mexico City where we had seen God move and felt his guidance quite clearly.  Now we had a direction, a destination (Spain), but really no idea how we were to arrive there.  It really felt like living in limbo.  We were unsure of where to live, how to provide for ourselves, and how to communicate the vision that we felt God had given us for our future.  We had to plant some kind of roots here as we were at the same time moving towards being on the field.  Little by little we felt ourselves inching forward with our exploratory trip to Spain and our acceptance as long-term missionary candidates.  God graciously gave us a place to live through my aunt and uncle (huge blessing) which relieved the burden of providing for ourselves in a significant way.  We made plans that we thought would make for a smooth path towards Spain, but God has given us many surprises along the way.

One of the best surprises was the birth of our daughter, Eliana, and one of the ways we have seen God's gracious provision most clearly.  We thought it made the most sense to wait till we moved to Spain to start our family, but God gave Eliana to us on his timing rather than ours!  With the advent of living and providing not only for ourselves but for a child as well we knew that some things would have to change, we just weren't sure how to continue going full force todwards our goal of moving to Spain, while also finding a job to support our expanding family.  After a wonderful summer in Mexico City, Kevin was offered a temporary paid position with our mission, LAM, working in mobilization.  We felt overwhelmingly thankful for this opportunity, it fit with our overall goal of moving to Spain perfectly, plus it was something Kevin really enjoyed doing.  During our summer in Mexico we were able to save for Eliana's hospital bill, which we knew would be significant.  After her birth we realized we would need to expand our health insurance to include her as well, but felt a little overwhelmed by the added monthly cost.  We knew we had one month to figure it out as Eliana was covered on my (Leah's) policy for 30 days.  We decided to seek aid through applying for MediCal, a state funded health insurance program.  When we went they informed us that the money we had saved up for Eliana's hospital bill would probably disqualify us for any aid.  We tried to explain our situation and they cautiously advised us that perhaps there might be an opportunity for Eliana to be covered even if we were not.  We walked away feeling discouraged, but slightly hopeful.  On Monday we realized that our 30 days were almost up, and we had no idea how long it would be till we heard from MediCal to find out if Eliana would be covered or not.  We made plans to go ahead and purchase private insurance, even if we weren't sure where the money would come from, especially knowing that soon Eli would be receiving her first round of vaccinations.  Then today, Eliana's one month birthday we got a letter telling us that our claims were denied, but that Eliana would be covered!! 

Eliana's name means "God has answered," and her middle name, Anai, means gracious.  I feel like with our precious daughter God has answered our needs in an incredibly graciously every step of the way.  He first gave us the blessing of her birth, he blessed me with great health during my birth including our time in Mexico, he provided a way for us to financially provide for her, and now, in exactly the right timing he has answered our need for health insurance.  How amazing is that?!  As we continue on our journey towards Spain as a family I am constantly learning how great our God is.