Friday, December 31, 2010

Bye Bye 2010

Christmas has passed, but the tree is still up.  We are going to have to get used to the 13 days of Christmas when we go to Spain, letting Christmas ring in the New Year.  In Spain, they celebrate King's Day.  King's Day is a Spanish holiday and is often the day that children open their presents.  It is kind of nice to be able to let Christmas trail into the new year.

2010 was a good year for us, but in terms of getting to Spain, our preparation will be trailing into 2011, and even past King's Day.  While we won't be opening up our King's Day presents in Spain this year, we are confident that next King's Day Eliana will be speaking 2-year old Spanish and be opening King's Day presents with her little friends.

We have seen an incredible increase in support in the latter half of 2010, we have been given a city of placement by our organization - Granada, and in two weeks we'll have the paperwork in hand to apply for our residency visas.  Eliana has been blessed to spend time at the Book Farm with lots of family, has made numerous trips to Cupertino to spend time with family there too.  We've grown deeper with our friendships in Chico, making it harder to leave, but their support launches us well into the new phase of our life.

2010 has seen some big events and the economy still seems to weigh on peoples' minds.  Everyday NPR asks some economic analyst whether or not they expect the economy to bounce back or drag.  Some people will claim it to be one of the best years of their lives and others, sadly, one of the worst.  We have had a good year, but we look expectantly to 2011.

Today is December 31, 2010, and we fight the temptation to be anxious to get to Spain.  The Lord tells us not to worry about tomorrow.  So today we reflect on the year, let the twinkle of Christmas lights and ornaments gleam on our faces and watch as friends with new babies ponder Christ as a 6-day-old.

Goodbye 2010...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rain, Advent and Preparation

It is a dreary day in Northern California with an onslaught of rain to come.  The weather for Granada, Spain is almost identical today.  That is one little similarity in where we are and where we are going that reminds us that God's plan is congruent.

Advent has gone by quick this year, as it seems to every year.  The advent festivities almost always overthrow advent contemplation of Christ's birth.  For us, this advent is a time for celebration, contemplation and preparation.  We are able to celebrate God's hand in getting us closer to Spain.  Our support has gone up consistently in November and early December.  It is time for us to contemplate the effects of the move in a few short months.  And it is time for preparation.

Preparation:  Kevin is headed to Granada in the middle of January to meet with ministry mentors there and finalize paperwork for the long-term residency visa.  There he will be doing some leg and camera work, exploring Granada for areas to live, and understanding practical things like transportation.  In that time, he is going to go schedule a prayer walk, that God would guide us, prepare us and begin preparing our ministry there.

Contemplation:  Just over fourteen months ago on a day much like today, the rain came down hard, the wind blew and we missed it as we stared at our new little baby girl.  The effect of seeing an infant in our arms has not worn off, and this Christmas we think again of Mary and Joseph as they held their little baby boy.  God did so much with so little.  We look to see how He will use us in his ministry continuing from that day and before.  Even more, we look forward to seeing how God will use Eliana in ministry.

Celebrations:  We thank God for Christmas, for Jesus, for family.  We have been severely blessed over these last two and a half years.  We celebrate those who have been around to support us with physical needs, emotional needs and spiritual needs.  Each person, whether they believe it or not, has a little bit of Emmanuel, God within them.  Christ walks in the hearts and actions of others, and ministers through those who do an do not know him.  We've felt Emmanuel - Christ with us and we celebrate.

Merry Christmas from the Book-Satterlees.  Celebrate.  Contemplate.  Prepare.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Still here...

So it has been more than a month since we posted on our blog -- oops! In the last month we have:

-- Almost collected all of the necessary documents for our visas (yea!)

-- Shared about our journey at two churches

-- Taken Eliana for her one year check up and shots as well as her first eye exam - because her right eye turns out. (She's doing well overall though we will need to visit a pediatric opthamologist in January -- but she also has developed a strong dislike for strange men in lab coats even though both her doctors were very nice!)

-- Taken on about 10 hours/week of recruiting for LAM (Kevin)

-- Met up with several different ministry partners

-- Traveled to Santa Barbara for a wedding

-- Celebrated Thanksgiving on the farm with family (Katie, Brian, Jack and Emma joined us from FL!)

Eliana has changed a lot in the past month.  At the end of October she was walking, but she would choose to crawl if she ever wanted to reach something in a hurry.  Now she never chooses to crawl -- even though it only takes a small breeze to cause her to fall over when walking!  Her walk reminds me of a mixture of someone who is in the late stages of pregnancy, and someone who has been riding a horse all day long!  Nonetheless, she perseveres and is quite quick!  We are slowly transitioning to a one nap vs. two nap day (which I have mixed feelings about!) and her vocabulary is growing.  Besides "mama" her best word is probably "shoes".  This is fitting because she is constantly on the go.  She enjoyed the visit from her cousins, holding baby Emma and playing (and fighting with) Jack. 

Time seems to be going quite quickly and slowly all at the same time.  Looking at our visa process it seems as if we will have a visa in hand by the end of March (at the latest).  That gives us around 4 months to complete our partnership team -- we have about 25% of our monthly need left to raise.  We are encouraged and challenged by this.  The next step in this journey is becoming more and more clear, yet at the same time there are a lot of little things that need to fall into place.

In November I (Leah) attended a Women of Faith event.  One of the keynote speakers spoke about trust.  She shared that she felt for years that our greatest call in life was to love God -- but now she feels that even beyond that is learning to trust God completely, and from trust comes unfettered love for and obedience to our father.  I was really impacted by what she shared.  Little by little God has been teaching us to trust him, but when we feel as if we might have "arrived" life happens and we realize what areas we have been holding back for our own control.  When confusion and panic are swooping down, threatening to overwhelm us, God is beside us, holding out his hand, simply asking us to trust him yet again.  In my quiet time I have been reading  through Proverbs and Romans.  Romans 12 is one of my favorite passages.  I want my life to look like the challenge Paul is laying before the believers in this chapter, and I feel like the more I trust God, the more he can give me his strength to be the person he created me to be.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beginning Work Today

I (Kevin) have done some recruiting for LAM in the past while we have been in the fundraising process.  This has allowed us to stay connected with our organization and allows us to lay the foundation for the program we will be instituting in Spain.  Today I begin working for them again, having taken the summer off to work solely on fundraising.

We are blessed to be able to work for LAM, and I'm thankful to have had a skillset in recruitment and strategy that allows for me to be employed part-time.  Not only does it give me added focus, but we have the opportunity to be even more proactive about our time in Spain before we even get there.  This for us is an incredible advantage.

The urgency to get to Spain is still high, however.  Working is not easing the way, but rather makes it all the more apparent to where we are called and our desire to get there continues to grow.  We are projected to be at 70% of our support goal currently, which is fantastic.  About 60% of that is coming in, but the other 10% is promised.  Tomorrow we set the foundations for visa acquisition in a meeting with LAM's new Vice President of Ministries.  We have already begun the FBI background check required for the visa process.

Departure is next to immanent.  We do not have a departure date yet, however that is coming soon.  We need to raise the additional 30% of our needed funds and obtain the appropriate paperwork.

Please be praying with us as we push forward that the funds will come in and that the paperwork process will go smoothly.  If you know of anybody who might be interested in meeting us and our ministry, we are always looking for partners.  Please be praying for any people in your life that might wish to partner with our ministry, and to be a part of shaping and developing university students from the US, Spain and all over the globe to recognize God's call in their lives and pursue His Kingdom.

We are very excited, very motivated, and feel the blessings of urgency in our departure.  Thank you for your support, be they prayer, financial, referral or all three.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Year!

On October 12th Eliana celebrated her first birthday.  I know everyone always says it, but I really truly cannot believe how time flies!  Friends of ours had a little baby at the end of September, and looking at her compared to Eliana I am beyond amazed at all the changes that happen in such a short amount of time.  One year ago Eliana was dependent on us for EVERYTHING!  She became, more or less, an extension of myself.  Now, one year later she still depends on us for many things, but she is quickly and assertively finding her independence!  On her birthday Grandma Joy gave her a little baby doll.  The minute she saw it she reached out her arms to hold her close and began making soft cooing sounds as she snuggled her doll close.  It is crazy how she takes on that motherly role even as she herself is just a baby.  In Florida we visited her new little cousin, Emma, and Eliana also enjoyed holding, hugging and kissing her, although she definitely needs to be highly supervised as the gentleness factor hasn't sunk in quite yet!  She takes teetering steps on her own, is constantly exploring, and crawling even quicker when she knows she is about to get into something she shouldn't. :)  I treasure the times when I can sit and snuggle with her since she hardly ever stops.  She loves to laugh, play peek-a-boo and be tickled.  She finally is begining to love mealtimes, and beans seem to be one food that is always a hit with her.  I love being her mom and am so thankful that God chose to bless our lives with our little Eliana Anai.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

There We Go A-Travelin'

Christmas is gearing up for the commerce-side of things, which makes me (Kevin) think about rushing Thanksgiving to make sure it doesn't get overtaken.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so back from our trip to Houston, here are some thanks and updates.

Thankful for:
-Some new one-time donors coming on board.
-Some new monthly donors coming on board.
-Great trip down to Cupertino and LA in September (good friends, family and contacts)
-Great trip down to Cupertino (Kevin), Florida (Leah & Eliana) and Houston (all of us - good friends, family and contacts)
-The upcoming 1st birthday of Eliana (who is a great traveler!)

We are projected to be just over 70% of our goal.  We have begun the FBI background check for our resident visas in Spain.  We are learning patience and staying excited for what God has for us.

Things to be praying for:
-Eliana's 1st birthday
-The remaining 30% to be projected and start coming in
-Upcoming travels
-Partnership organization in Spain
-Visa process

As we return from Houston, we sing (to the tune of "Here We Come A'Carolin') There We Go A'Travelin' and we are very Thankful for where God has us.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


September is a month of traveling and support-raising.

We'll be in the Bay Area and Los Angeles starting today for over a week.  Then we will spend the remainder of the month planning our trip to Texas and Leah & Eliana get to go see our new niece in Florida.

Thanks for your prayers!

Waving My Hands in Impatience

Patience, they say, is a virtue.  A patient person is certainly more pleasant to be around.  Since Eliana is cute, and nobody could blame her, let's take her as example of impatience.

As a wee one, when Eliana is impatient she waves both arms up and down and voices her protest.  It is like she is flying, and the longer she desires something like food or a toy and doesn't get it, the more violent the flapping of her hands like wings.  When carrying her to someplace she wants to go, she'll all but jump out of your arms as though you couldn't possibly be walking fast enough.  Little does she realize that if you put her down she doesn't really get there at all and she becomes even more upset.

August was a rather impatient month for us.  I (Kevin) felt much like Eliana feels when she is impatient.  While praying I'd all but wave my hands, trying to fly into ministry and fly to Spain.  I'd even protest some.  Then, whenever I felt God carrying us a bit closer (as indeed he has been doing) I was flapping my arms and trying to jump even further ahead.

Sometimes when Eliana gets too impatient, we will let her have her tantrum on the ground.  She has trouble regulating emotion as is her age (and apparently it is still difficult to regulate impatience as an adult), so we let her cry it out for a bit and begin again.  August was that way with God.  Momentum slowed considerably in our efforts to get to Spain.  And it was a little frustrating.  So God let me have my prayer tantrum.

I'm happy to be able to take it to God in prayer and that he'll listen.   I love Eliana deeply and he loves me even more than I can love Eliana.  When I can calm a bit or at least really turn back, then he picks me up again and keeps going (and I'm still flapping my wings as violently as possible.)

August was a month of retooling, of understanding and of letting God provide the work.  No matter how much arm-flapping Leah or I did, (or Eliana for that matter), we had to be patient.  And patience truly is a virtue.  It will be a lesson that we will continue to learn, I'm sure, but one that will carry us much further in our ministry than if we just flapped our wings and got whatever we want when we want.

So August was a tougher month for us (in terms of getting to Spain).  September, however, is turning out to have a great deal of momentum, and a great deal of travel.  I am thankful that God has not let me had my spiritual tantrum for too long and is again carrying us forward.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not Entitled, Gifted

I (Kevin) have been learning lately that we are not entitled to be missionaries, but that this call is a gift.  Sure it is in line with what we want, and God has blessed us by giving us an opportunity to serve him in this capacity.  Sure we've worked hard to get here, and have more work to go before we actually make it to the field, but all that work happens because we were gifted the opportunities to work.

Sometimes I'm impatient, and want to be in Spain NOW, but remembering that I'm not entitled to being in Spain, but that it is a gift allows me to step back, release the anxiety and impatience and continue working all the more in great confidence.

Monday, August 2, 2010


As I sit in bed and listen to my sweet baby's breathing as she sleeps I long to sweep her into my arms and hold her and never let go.  I feel overwhelmed with sadness and find myself fighting back irrational fears of what might happen to my family.  Over the weekend missionary friends of ours lost their nearly two year old son as he died suddenly in his sleep.  I feel numb and broken, unable to even begin to think of all the emotions that our friends must be facing right now.  They had just come back to the States after a three year term in a very challenging country, weary and heavy laden, needing rest. Now this.  Please join me in praying for their family. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Buying to Dress Spanish

Today is sale day at JC Penny's and we happen to have a beloved cousin who works there with extra fun discounts.  Today we also researched typical wear for life in Spain.  One thing that is astronomical is the clothing cost in Spain, sometimes up to three times as much!  So we decided to aprovechar (take advantage of) the local, cheaper consumerism.

In Spain, unless we're on the beach...
...Kevin trades flip-flops for leather shoes with rubber bottoms (so every site advises).  Check (already owned).
...Kevin trades t-shirts for collared shirts - polos, short-sleeve and long-sleeve button downs.  Check.
...we trade shorts for slacks (Kevin) or skirts (Leah)...not the other way around.  Check.
...we keep jeans on more relaxed days.  CHECK (phew).
...we trade in windbreaker jackets for something nicer...fur coat (Leah) and leather (Kevin).  Sucks to the animals.  No Check.
...we trade cute baby clothes for the very same cute baby clothes (sometimes 3-4 times more).  Check.

Our work in Spain will put us in the position of meeting a diverse mix of people... students - (probably) nerds, budding anarchists, entrepreneurs, and the who knows what I want to do folk.  For this group:  younger wear, but not too young.
...older folk (as in older than university students) - ministry professionals, business professionals, professors, shop owners, immigration and other government officials.  For this group:  nice shirt, slacks and possibly a tie (Kevin), elegant and "autumn colors" dress or skirt and top (Leah).
...multi-cultural - North African Muslims, Latin Americans, West Africans, Romanians, Russians, Western Europeans, USAmericans, and probably many others.  For this group:  nicer clothes rather than casuals.

And those vacations to the mountains, something active.  To the beach - FLIP-FLOPS & SHORTS!!!  (Boy will we miss those!)

So after today, we didn't get everything, but hopefully enough to begin fitting in.  We won't have the hottest Spanish brand names, but as long as they fit well, then we should be just fine.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Water Skiing, Driving a Stick, & Getting Started in Ministry

Sometimes it is hard to think that we're just getting started in our missions career.  Our feet have yet to plant down in Spain as a place we are going to live and minister, yet while we have barely just begun, we are also well within our missions career.

Preparation for new ventures, practice and good training are all necessary.  Currently we are with Leah's grandmother on the Sacramento Delta.  At grandma's we go water skiing.  Leah grew up skiing, and so it is not too difficult for her to pop up and begin skiing away.  (It is a bit difficult for her to want to get in the cold water though.)  Kevin, however has been water skiing one time before this.  Last time he got up two times out of many, many attempts.  He's no expert, though he's had good training, learned how to persevere through frustrations and keep going.  If he had all summer to water ski, he'd be up in a flash.

It is kind of like driving a stick for the first time.  The fluidity of the car is jerky at best and stalled out many times at worst.  Kevin remembers when he saw smoke billowing from the first truck he ever attempted to learn a manual on.  The most frustrating thing is from idle to movement.  Lurching and lurching, a new driver looks like their listening to a bad heavy metal song in the car.  And the person along side him or her has one hand on the dash and the other holding their eyes from popping out of their head.  Kevin has little problem driving a manual now.  The investment of learning paid off.

Such is the life of starting with missions.  It is bumpy and rocky at first, especially for one's faith and motivation.  But as we have learned, going through it is a normal process.  Instead of being career missionaries in a year, we're approaching year two.  We are encouraged by the fact, like when recounting stories of "when I first drove a stick...," missionaries tell us that their missions career was not some fluid thing right off the bat.  Few people begin water skiing by popping up out of the water in the first crack, and few missionaries get to the field that way.  Those however, that continue through the bumps trials and practice well tend to have a skill for life that accomplishes future bumps down the road.

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup Champions

We are very excited and proud of the Spanish soccer team.  It was very exciting to see our future homeland win the world cup, the first time they'd ever done so.  They are a patient team, passing (almost incessantly) around their obstacles, setting up some good shots.  When they miss a shot, they continue their game, trying not to be phased.  The Netherlands phased them a few times, and for short periods Spain's game was off, but eventually they went back to the fundamentals and continued forward.

It was a blast to see the Spanish royalty standing and celebrating.

(Before proceeding, we are very sorry to have seen the US team come home early.  They played hard, and they will - for Kevin at least - be the World Cup choice.  In four years, let's move to the quarters boys!)

As I write this I see our Lord and King standing and celebrating. 

Patience in getting to Spain, in getting into the ministry there can be quite draining.  The process has been two years since we came home from our year in Mexico.  Small obstacles have slowed us, sometimes ourselves being the very obstacles we have had to overcome.  We've learned how to work together more, work with our organization better and work with those in our lives who care for us and want to see our cleats in Spanish soil.  This is very encouraging and little by little, we move on towards the goal, confident.

Spain had to go into overtime to beat the Netherlands.  We ourselves are approaching overtime minutes, but we have not let it get to us, but rather are allowing what we've learned before assist us in what we do now.  Unlike the World Cup Final game, overtime is for as long as God decides.  No shoot-out and no loss.  We win as we are patient.  The Lord is more than our monarchy cheering us on from the stands.  He is our coach, directing us.  He is our captain who muddies his cleats alongside of us.

We are pressing ever-forward and are looking at about being 60% of the way there.  That is a big increase for us in the past months and the horizon looks bright.  Where the sun dropped in South Africa for our Spanish team, the sun is rising all the more on us, and the future looks brighter in regards to our departure.  We don't know yet how far off the light at the end of the tunnel is, but we're running and it is in sight.

The Spanish team returned home to a fanfare and incredibly warm welcome.  We know we are being sent off in the same fashion.  40% to go, and it is getting closer to 100% every day.  Then, we as a family, will arrive on Spanish soil, just a few months after the Spanish soccer team brought home with them the golden World Cup.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Food

My nephew Jack enjoying some delicious strawberries!

For those of you who received our latest newsletter, you might have noticed that one of my updates was about the delicious summer garden that we are privileged to partake of living here at the farm.  Although my dad is a farmer, his green thumb does not seem to have been handed down to me.  I have not had nearly as much luck in my attempts to grow things (though I admit those attempts are few) as I would have liked.  However, one of the many things that we are blessed by living here on the farm is fresh produce provided by two amazing gardners, my aunt and my father.  I am in charge of cooking meals on the week days, and during the summer my menu is mainly decided by whatever we have the most of in the garden.  One of my most difficult tasks, however, is deciding what to make.  I look at all the good ingredients and have a hard time deciding how they should all go together.  So...if anyone has ideas about yummy summer meals that include things like eggplant, summer squash, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, cucumber, corn or lettuce pass them my way! 

And on the eating track...Eliana is really not very interested in food, she's all about the nursing.  Thus far the only two things she really enjoys are bananas and yogurt.  I have been trying to introduce her to different foods, but she almost always rejects them by her overactive gag reflex -- should some of that food actually make its way into her mouth (I make and test the foods before I give them to her, they taste good to me) -- or by simply turning her head away.  I really don't want mealtime to be a battle.  If anyone has any ideas about enticing a 9 month old to eat I am also open to those ideas!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The summer heat has finally set in, and after spending the last two summers in Mexico City where the average temperature tends to be in the 70s with rain almost every afternoon, the Book-Satterlees are in adjustment!  One element of the heat that Eliana is, however, thoroughly enjoying, is pool time.  Though she wasn't a huge fan of the beach, she really likes the swimming pool.  Kevin, as a former swim teacher, is excited that his daughter likes to swim.  Recently Grandma Joy (also a former swim teacher) has been coming to take her for after dinner dips. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ministry, World Cup and Faith

Leah, Eliana and I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with Leah's sister Stacy and our brother-in-law, Nick, at their YoungLife camp ministry in Eastern Oregon.  It was a delightful time to just hang out with family and get to experience their ministry, but on top of that, I grew all the more excited to jump into ministry.

And this morning, as I write, I wait for one of my most awaited World Cup games to begin.  Spain verses Switzerland.  I was not a huge soccer fan before going to Mexico, however enculturation and ministry necessitated a growing interest in futbol or soccer.  Now I'm hooked, which is good, because it is just as important in Spain, if not more, than it is in Mexico.  I now root strongly for 3 teams, the US, Mexico and Spain.  (If the US plays either Mexico or Spain, I'll continue rooting for the US).

Such a small thing as a World Cup game brings me all the more closer emotionally to the country in which God has called us.  Little by little, nostalgia grows for a country and people I barely know.  With every kick, potential goal, and (hopefully not) loss, I grow a bit closer to the culture.  It will be a reference point for which I can begin conversations and build relationships with.

Now the problem is getting there.  The Lord has seen it fit for us to be able to watch the entire outcome of the World Cup before we get to Spain, which means we will not be able to celebrate with Spain or grieve with them, depending on their outcome in the tournament.  So we wait, patiently (and not so patiently) in action.  We are preparing our hearts, growing more excited and also releasing more of our family's life to Him who guides us. 

This proves to be difficult, as our own ambition and excitement sometimes elbows faith out of the way, but this growth in patience and trust will also be such an asset when we minister in Spain and especially as we mentor and guide future missionaries in the Spearhead-Spain program.

So where are we at?  Our plan is to push on fundraising until the end of July, and evaluate where we are at that point.  If we are at 80% we are close to going and can begin the visa application process and make some firm dates for leaving.  Currently we are projecting to be at about 54% and growing with about 35% coming into LAM at this time.  This very day our boss is meeting with a Spanish ministry who could be our potential sponsor.  We hope the partnership can be formed.  If it is, we should know soon which city we'll be headed to and can begin to dream further.

As the Spanish soccer players stand, hands folded behind their backs, singing the national anthem of Spain, I embark in preparation (fun preparation!!) to connect all the more with the people that we will be ministering with.  And for this next hour and a half, ministry, the World Cup and faith all get wrapped into the life of preparation.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Daddy, do I live anywhere?"

So of course Eliana cannot actually ask this question yet, however, sometimes, as we strap her in her car seat or sit her on our laps in the plane, her eyes ask this very question.  "Daddy, do I live anywhere?"  "Daddy, is my life always going to be this mobile?"  Poor kiddo.

We've had a voracious travel schedule the past few weeks and a busy month beginning in the end of April that will carry on mid-way through June.  And Eliana has championed her car-seat throne, the laps of both mommy and daddy on the plane and braved the new beds.  We've been in the Bay Area at least 4 times, she's been to D.C. to meet a future "P-girl baby friend" and she got to meet her Mexico family in Cancun and D.F.  Tio Saul came out for a visit to San Francisco and the farm, and soon we head to Lodi for her Grand-Pop's funeral (he lived to almost 91).  She'll meet Aunt Melanie, Uncle Mark and will adore her cousin Lexi.  Currently her Aunt Katie and Cousin Jack are here visiting and we'll all be heading up to Oregon (7 hour drive or more) to see Aunt Stacy and Uncle Nick at family camp.

In this time, if she could count, Eliana will have slept, at the minimum, in 12 beds (usually she transfers from the bed she's in by herself to the one we are sleeping in).

Eliana has had spring weather that changed to winter rain instead of summer heat.  Then she found incredible humidity at the coast of the Yucatan, and great heat to boot.  In Mexico City, she endured an uncharacteristically warm time there, where we all tried to sleep without sweating, to return to the Bay Area and Chico where it is cold and rainy.

"Daddy, do I live anywhere?"  What a question to try to answer, and in ways the poor little one can understand.  She is in our arms through the change, and she rides each change out incredibly.  We've been blessed with a flexible daughter.  Eliana begins her life, before we even reach the field, as a missionary, but what, at least we hope, sustains her through the many changes is the incredible amount of love she receives in each place and the comfort of her mommy and daddy's arms.

"God, do I live anywhere?" I have to ask.  We have a place we call home in Chico, but we know that it is only very temporary.  Lately we've spent more time away from Chico than we have at it.  We are very comforted by the loving reception of our friends and family and by the secure arms of our God who guides us and holds us through the changes.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two Big Milestones for Kevin

This past week I (Kevin) have had two big milestones.  I completed my Master's Degree, pending a good grade on my paper and the $4 library overdue fee I garnered.  And I will be recommended for the next stage in the ordination process to happen in the first weekend of June.  These two things have been very encouraging and I wanted to thank everybody who has been there supporting me through it.  A number of people have been involved in my 6-year education venture and others have been involved in my ordination process.  Thanks for the support!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The "Swing" of Following the Call

Leah and I just watched a Bones episode where my favorite character - Hodgins - takes another character - Angela - out on a date to the park for a swing ride.  How fun.  Swings are fun.  They get less exhilerating as I get older, but there is still some silly fun to be had.  Up and down and up.  Momentum is built by a push and others by sheer work of pumping your legs.

The time of support-raising is like a lengthy swing ride.  We have our ups and our downs.  At times we feel like we are soaring, not even having to move our legs and other times it seems that the hinges of our knees don't create enough momentum to pump.  Sometimes it feels like we have an incredible cosmic push and other times like a cosmic weight teathered by a cosmic force of gravity.

Some days it feels like both!

No matter how much you are swinging, however, the view remains.  Sometimes its a view from 10 feet up in the air, which you catch for a momentary gleam and others it is the view from below.

The swing is the beat of life with its starts, stops and ups and downs.  Life is full of ups and downs and weights and freedom.  We have the opportunity sit in the swing and see the view from whatever angle.  We are called, and whether swinging at the top or sitting low at the bottom, we see the Kingdom we've been called to and we gain experiencing in trusting God in the incredible ride, and trusting God even more in patience as we sit and wait at the bottom of the swing.

So God has taken us on a date to the swing.  And like in Bones, a swing for a date is just a very fine date indeed.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter from the Book-Satterlees

The life, death, resurrection and God's sending of the disciples is why we go to Spain.  We've been called to vocational ministry as missionaries.  While we're not yet in Spain we got to enjoy Easter Sunday with family here.

I, (Kevin), was thinking that every Sunday is an Easter celebration.  What a great thing to be a part of week after week.  And we have been charged to go into the world and make disciples.  For many that charge is within their local work environement.  For us that is in Spain and we are ever mindful of that call as we hope and pray and watch God bring us closer and closer.

An increasing agnosticism in Spain means that Easter is increasingly irrelevant there.  I'm reminded again today, however, that Easter is not irrelevant.  And we look with great anticipation to be working alongside believers in Spain to show that what a resurrection people look like.

He is Risen...The Lord is Risen indeed!

On a related note, our friends in Spain have finally gotten their gas turned on 6 weeks after having moved into their apartment.  6 weeks!  That is normal from what I've seen.  Madrid winters aren't harsh, but they definitely require heat.  That said, we are reminded, even from this little anecdote, it is best to move in the summer.  We of course are ready to go as soon as possible.

Please join us in prayer this month to see the support come in abounding and that relationships on the other end of the pond (the Atlantic) would be formed and solidified that we could go in enough time to where if we have to wait for the gas to come on, that we wouldn't freeze and Eliana would not have to take frozen baths.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finding Our True Natures

Recently I (Kevin) gave a seminar at Biola regarding the Spirituality of Mission.  In it, I used Teresa of Avila (a Spanish mystic) and her book Interior Castle also known as Mansions.  The premise of the book is to go deeper into self to find God truly at the center.  Therefore the true self is a God-centered and directed self.

Paul talks about wanting less of me and more of Him, which is essentially moving "self" as percieved in our own importance out of the center to make room and ultimately find God at the center.  Effectively, people place their face and their self-understanding in the center like pasting a picture over God's face.

The move from self is disorienting, and often called the Dark Night of the Soul - a piece coined by John of the Cross (one of Teresa of Avila's proteges).  The transition of self as the center to recognizing God as the center and really understanding the true self is like culture shock.  The very image of self that was built up is altered and often not so recognizeable.

Yesterday hit a moment where Leah and I recognized our own frailty in the plans of God.  It was disorienting and a bit depressing.  We felt "out of control" in the whole support-raising and life thing.  Our nature of our selves was pulled from the center and God exposed his true nature, but that isn't always easy.

Isaiah was petrified to enter the presence of God.  The glory of God is awesome and amazing, but also a bit scary.  The lack of control one really gets to see is also scary.  We, like Isaiah, were brought to our knees.  "God, why is this taking so long?"  "Did we hear you right?"

Indeed we did.  Every support-raiser knows the cycle of excitement, joy, anxiety and a testing of faith.  It is a place where we can explore God at the center rather than our own image.  Too often when we get comfortable we begin to put our self-importance first.  It takes trials and joys to remember who truly is at the center and who God really made us to be.  He has made us to be missionaries, but not ones that goes with our own success.

Mother Teresa is noted to have not truly felt the presence of God for a number of years.  Her Dark Night was extensive, yet she was secure enough in who God was at the center that she continued to follow.  She loved because that is who God made her to be, but she still had to adjust to that person.

I cherrish the moment of disorientation because, while it doesn't feel good, I like to be reminded of my frailty.  God's call on our lives is much more important and daunting than Leah's and my call on our own lives.  While they may look the same, the call to be missionaries to Spain is much deeper in God's call and he needs us to go deeper to find him and find who he has truly made us to be.  And then, here's the cool part, out of our frailty God works and uses us to complete the deeper calling he has.

Without times of frailty, without disorientation, without some frustrated expectations, Leah and I would be tempted to follow the Spain call that we put on ourselves.  Yesterday reminded me that we get a chance to participate in the Spain calling that God has for us.

Points of prayer:
- The 31st is the day Kevin's contract runs out for his job.  We need wisdom in the type of employment for an income that will be sufficient for paying the bills.
- Time management.  We need wisdom to get normal tasks done amidst the deregulating travel schedule.  We are learning to be more and more flexible, but have an innate desire to rooted and order.

Points of praise & thanksgiving:
- We have been taken care of up until now and have faith God will continue it.  Conventional wisdom suggests that we need to build a nest egg.  This is wise, but true hope is not in the nest egg, but God's provision.  We've been provided for along the way.  Special praise and thanksgiving for Dan, Lillian and Lawrence who have graciously accepted us into their home for even longer than we'd all thought.
- Support is coming in, and while our projections for support looked different than the actual, we are very blessed by the generousity of so many people.
- Eliana is a champion traveler, making the disordered lifestyle much more manageable.
- God is moving within our family deepening Leah, Kevin and growing Eliana.  Family will be our main ministry wherever we go and we give thanks that God loves us enough to challenge us and let us celebrate.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lenten Reflections - Close to Home

We are in the season of Lent - a time of preparation of our Lord's death, and also a time of hope because of his resurrection.  We fast and do without (or at least some do, I missed it this year), in understanding the austerity of the life of God born Man and his sacrifice and redemption.  We take this time to lean more on him.

Reflections of death are a little too close to home this year for comfort, but then again Jesus did not ask us to be comfortable.  Today, March 23, 2010, should have been my father's 57th birthday.  It was Easter of last year, Resurrection Sunday, that he passed away riding his Harley.  He went doing what he loved, and nobody else was hurt, he didn't even have an accident.  For that we are thankful.

In this time of Lent, and on this day, I (Kevin) reflect upon death in a new, confused yet hopeful light.  In the Eucharist, we remember Christ's death and resurrection.  So Lent is a time of reflection, and while death is deeply disturbing to our very souls, resurrection is hope.

I take this day as a day to remember my father.  His death is deeply disturbing to my soul, but his memory and the man whom he was in his successes and failures gives me good hope.  I can be sad, but still rejoice.  This to me is the tension of Lent, now brought a little too close to home.

It is the tension of the Gospel - hope through death, joy in a contrite spirit, the loss of loved ones but being secure in the memory of who they are - that spells out the Kingdom of God clearly.  It is for this reason that we celebrate Lent in reflection, and for us, as cross-cultural missionaries, it is our vocation to live this reflection daily to proclaim the very Kingdom of God that turns the world upside-down.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Absent but Not Absent Minded

February and March have been big months for us.  Hence the neglect of the blog.  For those following along with our journey here, forgive us.  Know that good things have come and are in the works!

We've been focusing very hard on the support-raising process, and have been speaking at some churches.  We've spoken at an Episcopal Church and our home church in Oroville.  This Sunday we'll be speaking at a church in Upland, CA.  Good responses have been very encouraging.

Some of you might want to know where we are at in the support-raising process.  We're at a place in the hand of God.  ( wanted to know the percentage?  We are projecting about 45-50% currently)

Support-raising, for most missionaries, is the least enjoyable part of the ministry.  For us, I would say it is also the least enjoyable part of the ministry.  But, if the least enjoyable is as fruitful as it is spiritually, then bring on the fun stuff.  You see, in hard economic times, who knows where the money will come from, let alone for Spain (God, couldn't you have called us to a place where we could live off of a few bucks a day, not to where the Euro is dominating the dollar?), but we've been in a place to see God truly provide.

It's not like everyday is some peaceful day at rest in the palm of God, but 5 out of 7 days of the week truly are days of rest and anxiety-free.  We do our part, we act and work as we are able, fervently connecting with folks and speaking at churches, but God has directed.  It is amazing to walk into a church, of course hoping that some people will support you, and yet being at peace that God will have it taken care of, even if nobody is willing or able to support.

It is a time of great blessing and great stretching, and both times are generally anxiety free when we are resting on Him who has sent us.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hoping everyone has a fun day, and gets to spend it with the ones they love! :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggity jig...

Well, we are finally back from our LA trip, thanks for all those who prayed for us.  We had a fabulous time connecting with old friends and supporters.  Eliana was a star, for the many, many, many hours we drove she really only had two small melt downs, and one of them was during the last fifteen minutes on our way home.  Thanks to all those who took time out of their week to hang out with us, it really meant a lot to be able to connect with those who really formed our first community as a married couple.  Here are a few pics from the week...

This is just a smattering of our trip, there were many more beautiful faces we got to see.  To all of you we love you!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Leg, Check!

Thanks for your prayers, the first part of our journey went well, Eliana was an excellent passenger!  We will be spending a lot more time in the car and with friends this week, so please continue to pray! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

On our way to LA!

This morning Kevin, Eliana and I will be embarking on a 10 day adventure to the Los Angeles where we will be visiting friends and support raising.  Please pray for a happy baby since she is going to be getting a LOT of car time, and peaceful parents!  Please also be praying that the other details of the trip will work out -- and that we will have safe travels.  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pray for Haiti

My heart is burdened for the nation of Haiti, a country that is already suffering physically, spiritually and emotionally.  Please pray for the people of Haiti, for those that have yet to be rescued from the rubble, from the families who are separated, for the aid workers who will be helping, and more than anything that God would be especially present during this difficult time.  My prayer is that his comfort will be offered and felt in a way that it never has before.

Monday, January 4, 2010

1st Benchmark Met

After reviewing monies coming in and monies recently promised, we are glad to announce that just a bit after our Christmas goal we can account for 20% of our needed pledges in order to go to Spain.  This is fantastic and an incredible blessing.

Our next benchmark is a biggy.  We'd like to be at 70% of our needed pledges by the end of February.  This is another ambitious goal, but we are pressing forward and watching God's provision and timing.  We have some opportunities to share with churches over the next two months.  Please be praying for these fruitful times.

February contains Valentines Day, a day of celebrating love.  We would like to put out a challenge for pledges as a Valentine's Day gift in loving Spain and God's work there.

If you are considering giving financially, would like to learn more about or ministry and the vision God has given us and/or are willing to make a once a week commitment to fast a meal for us, please let us know.

Also, we are trying to raise up a team of intercessors for Spain.  If interested, we'd like those committed to prayer to give up one meal a month in prayer for God's work in Spain.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Eliana had a great first Christmas, she was able to celebrate with her Satterlee and Book families -- it was a time we will treasure because hopefully at this time next year we will be in Spain! Smiling little Santa!

The day after Christmas Kevin headed to Urbana -- a huge missions conference held every 3 years.  This year it was held in Saint Louis.  He helped represent LAM and had a chance to hear some amazing speakers.  It was a very confirming and inspiring time.  Eliana and I had a more low-key new year celebration, we played some games with my family and then went to bed early -- still it was nice, we were glad to have Kevin home safely the next day though!