July 28, 2011

Great Blog Post: Don't Complicate the Missionary Call

Who will go?  Who will send?

A few friends recommended this blog post, and I have to agree it is a great post to read, so I'm passing it on to you...

Don't Complicate the "Missionary Call"

July 21, 2011

If You Come to the Party, I'll wave a Flag

I remember waiting on the front porch of our home on Linwood Avenue on July 4th one year while growing up in California. This was going to be special! Our family friends were coming over for the afternoon and evening to swim, eat and 'do' fireworks. My middle brother, Marc most-likely provided the fireworks for his little brother (he was always doing nice things like that for me), and no-doubt mom had been working hard getting the food ready. I can't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure it would have been her amazing chicken for the BBQ, or her even more amazing shish kabobs. There's good reason to suspect that we would have already worked hard cranking the vanilla ice cream, and it would have been hidden in the chest freezer (with the squeekly lid--that darn parental-alerting-lid that would announce when we were stealing quick pre-dessert time tastes). Everything was ready. The house was clean, (yes, my room too), and Dad would have made sure that the pool was spotless, the breezeway was swept, and the 'cool deck' around the pool was washed down. Everything was perfect. Yep. And so, there I sat. Waiting. Waving my little American flag. Hoping they'd come soon, so that when they came in the driveway I could mark the perfect beginning to the perfect party for the perfect Independance Day.

I'm like that, you know. I really do like things to be perfect. And so I waited for a perfect two hours. Burned in my memory. It might as well have been 2 years. Two hours is a long time to wait when you're trying to make sure that you're ready to wave the flag, just right when they drive in the driveway. But arrive, they did, and I think I did wave the flag. At this point I can't remember, and I suppose that's the point--so much of my life I live in this realm of "wouldn't it be perfect if?", and it never is. I'm learning to live with the reality more than the perfect these days. 45 years later, I'm getting pretty good at it. I’m learning how to trade my perfect for His perfect.

In the days following our acceptance with ReachGlobal, we were told that God would teach us so much during this time of support team building.  They spoke the truth. We do seem to be in the fast lane of all that God wants to do in our hearts and minds as we journey toward Lyon, France. Some of it is amazing. Some of it is painful. Some of it is humbling. Some of it is I'll-never-go-back-life-changing.

I suppose one of the hardest things so far is coming to the realization that the journey won't be ‘perfect’ by any stretch of the imagination. And so we've had to put away our 'wouldn't it be perfect if we were able to raise the support needed in a very short time and make it all fit in our neat little world?' tendency and come to grips with the actual reality that we are now looking at being here for another 12 months.

Although we would love to packing, sorting and doing all the steps needed to move to another country, we are not yet near that part of our journey. ReachGlobal has lots of great training requirements for each family unit heading to the field. We’re not able to attend some of these training events until we have a certain percentage of our support raised. One of these crucial sessions is meant to help prepare us for the cross-cultural changes we’ll face on the field and are best attended as close to departure to the field as possible. There are 12+ weeks of online sessions that lead up to this 10-day live session, which is only offered two times a year. Due to the current level of our support, we will not be able to attend the live session until next April 2012. With this in mind, we’ve decided the kids should stay and complete the school year.

It’s hard for us to live in two worlds – continuing our jobs & schooling here while preparing our hearts & minds for serving in France. At the same time, we’ll just trust in HIS perfect plan:  Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. (Prov. 16:3)  To choose His way over my way reminds me of a song that we used in a Christmas production a few years ago

"If I had my way about it..." 
If I had my way about it I'd dance in grassy fields and fragrant meadows.
I would rise up in the morning to hear the robin's lovely melody.
I would live in the wide spaces far away from hurting places
I would bear a cross that asks much less of me.
I'd never sail in troubled winds or on the raging seas
If only You had left it up to me.
But if I'd had my way I might be wading through the rivers
When You wanted me to walk upon the seas.
And if I'd had my say with all of my wants and whims and wishes
You know how weak, how shallow I would be.
If only You had left it up to me.
And if I'd had my way about it I would only know Your majesty and glory.
I would pass my cup of sorrow to someone far more willing to receive.
I would pen the grandest phrases, I would sing such lofty praises
I would sail above my own humanity..
The wounded would never die and hearts would never bleed...
If only You had left it up to me.
But if I had my way I might be wading through the rivers
When You wanted me to walk upon the seas.
And if I had my say, with all my wants and whims and wishes
You know how weak, how shallow I would be...
I trust Your wisdom over mine because You've proven over time
That in my narrow way of seeing things I leave the best behind sometimes...
I might not have stayed close to You, Lord
If I'd had my way.

I'm trying to give up my way for His way.  It seems to be better.

July 9, 2011

Morgan's Final 4-H Project = A Salon Print

It's Morgan's 10th year in 4-H.  Wow!  Where has the time gone?  We remember how exciting it was to have our first child begin 4-H.  Her first year included projects in food, clothing, fashion revue, and sheep.  As a 10-year 4-Her myself (Chris), it was quite fun to live back in my home area during the kids' 4-H years so they could also enjoy the 2nd largest county fair in the U.S. - our very own Elkhart County 4-H Fair!

With Morgan spending much of her summer in Thailand, she decided to not show sheep this year.  So, the easiest project to complete was to turn in a salon print... one single photo that she took in the past 12 months.  It seemed most reasonable to turn in one that was taken while in France.  Here were some of the top choices:

Which one of these do you think we should pick?

Well, Morgan decided instead to send us a cute picture of a couple pre-schoolers in a local daycare that they've enjoyed helping in a few times while in Phuket, Thailand.  I'm guessing you think I'm now going to post that picture, huh?!  Sorry... if you'd like to see the picture and you live in the area, visit the ECCC building at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair and look for it.  After the fair, we'll post the picture along with some other cool Thailand pics.

July 8, 2011

Great blog post: Comfort vs. Calling

As a way to glean valuable insight into missions life, French living, and spiritual growth areas, I've been following various blogs of missionaries living in Europe, and especially France.

I liked this post so much I just had to pass it along to you.  The writer offers some great points to ponder and challenges us to ask the question, "Do we assume that if God is going to ask us to do something He is going to make it easy?"  Wow!

Enjoy the read... Comfort vs. Calling

July 6, 2011

God is Still a Healing God!

We were expecting our first child when it hit… the utter despair, emptiness, deep pit of blackness… Steve couldn’t find a way out of the depression that overtook his life.  During a time when all should be exciting for a young couple, we were desperately trying to hang on and make sense of it all. 

Crying out to God for healing and joy continued for two years… then God did it!  While on a ministry weekend in Southern California, a small group of deeply caring friends laid hands on Steve, encircled him in the hotel room and prayed their hearts out on behalf of him to our heavenly Father, requesting release from this deep pit and to be completely healed.  God heard their cries and answered them in a way we had never personally experienced before – complete and sudden healing!  Praise and glory to God!

I called out to you, God; I laid my case before you.
You did it:  You changed wild lament into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I'm about to burst with song;
I can't keep quiet about you.
God, my God, I can't thank you enough.

~Psalm 30:8, 10-11 (The Message)

It was August 2001… we flew to Turlock, California for Steve’s Grandpa Hackett’s funeral.  My (Chris) hands and feet felt numb… heavy… very strange.  It wouldn’t go away.  At first we thought it was from the flight and the change in weather.  After a month of feeling like my feet were as thick as 2x4’s and constant numbness and tingling in my hands that began to creep up into my arms, we decided to seek help.

After multiple doctor visits, various tests, needles, scans, and 2nd opinions, the news came back – Multiple Sclerosis.  Thus began seven long years of treatments, flare-ups, and tests.  More than the medical issues, I experienced inner struggles with God about what this would mean for me, for our family, for our future ministry dreams.  We decided it was best to stay near family for the kids’ sake.

During those years, we also faced business failures, chronic health issues for Steve, as well as additional health issues for Chris.  Needless to say, all future ministry plans that we had hoped God would use us in – stateside or internationally – were quickly squashed in our minds.

God has an amazing way to bring us back to Him; to remind us that He is God, our Healer!  In 2008, as I searched to be part of a drug trial, my case was thoroughly reviewed by two leading neurologists.  I was disappointed to learn that I didn’t qualify for the drug study, but was thrilled to learn that it was because they believed I was misdiagnosed.  The new diagnosis given to me was called Devic’s Disease (Neuromyelitis Optica).  And, better yet he believed I was in remission.  As of December 2010, I am still in remission – Praise to God for His blessings!  Steve’s health issues have also improved immensely over the past year.

God very clearly reminded us that He was the God who heals and that we should join Him in His work.  We honestly don’t know when or if our health issues will flare back up.  We believe God has healed us – even if it’s for such a time as this.  We have a renewed passion to serve Him wherever He leads us… and know that He has led us to serve Him in Lyon for this next phase in our lives.

You're blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You're blessed when you follow His directions,
doing your best to find him.
That's right—you don't go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road He set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now You expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course You set;
Then I'd never have any regrets
in comparing my life with Your counsel.
I thank You for speaking straight from Your heart;
I learn the pattern of Your righteous ways.
I'm going to do what You tell me to do;
don't ever walk off and leave me.

~Psalm 119:1-8 (The Message)

July 2, 2011

Starbucks anyone?

Say you enjoy a cup of Starbucks coffee each day. This may easily cost $3-$5 (or more), depending on what flavor, size, extra shots, etc.

Now let’s say God is nudging you to give to His work overseas, but you don’t know how much to give. Well, how about becoming a “Starbucks” giver – give about $3 a day! As a “Starbucks” giver, you would be giving around $100 each month to missions! Awesome!
For our family to begin ministry in France, we need THREE new Starbucks Givers per week to join our monthly support team. Is God calling you to share a Starbucks with someone in Lyon? Consider giving to reach those who still don’t know the love & forgiveness that Jesus offers!

Check out the "Support Team" tab for more details or click this link to begin giving online directly to EFCA ReachGlobal - online giving for the Dahlgren Family