April 27, 2012

Take the 1% Step Challenge

If you're anything like our family, there's a chance you've enjoyed some amazing mountaintop experiences and then slid a long distance down that mountain to hit some deep valleys.  These highs and lows may have been experienced physically, emotionally or spiritually.  We all walk unique paths in which God is continually guiding, teaching, loving and caring for us.

Through the past "almost" 21 years, we've had our fair share of deep valleys.  We've shared some of them in previous posts - Answering the "Why?" :: Part 1 and God is Still a Healing God.  Beyond the struggles with our health, we have also walked through financial valleys... and ultimately spiritual valleys.  It became easier to throw up our hands and give up than it was to keep going and keep growing.

When there was more expenses than income, we allowed our fears to take over and held on to what little we had rather than give it for God's use and glory.  We knew that God taught that He would pour out blessings to those who give.  It was just too hard to actually give.

Have you had those days?  those years?  All the instant, day-to-day needs seems so overwhelming.  Although God asks us to give FIRST to Him 10% of what we receive, it can become easier and easier to make excuses, prolong the giving, decrease the giving and possibly altogether stop the giving.

In recent years, we've been learning to live within our means.  That in itself was and is so very difficult.  We then challenged ourselves to give out of our firstfruits to God and then live within what was left.  Although we struggle to do this, God has been proving Himself faithful.

We came across a challenge that a pastor in a Texas church gave to his congregation.  He asked them to take the 1% step challenge.  We LOVE this concept!  If you are giving 10% to God's work, challenge yourself to give 11%.  If you are giving 5% to God right now, challenge yourself to give 6%.  If you are not giving anything to God right now, challenge yourself to give 1%. 

It doesn't matter where we currently are in our giving... it's more about challenging ourselves to take just ONE STEP of faith and increase our giving by 1% to further God's kingdom in our church, in our community and around the world.  Can you just imagine how much of a kingdom impact would be seen if everyone takes just one step forward?!

We've decided to take the 1% step challenge this past week... will you?

If you'd like to give to our ministry to Lyon, you can find out more information HERE.  Thank you so much!

April 13, 2012

Great Blog Post: Misfits

As we continue to make preparations to live in a different culture, it can seem a bit daunting.  So many things will be different.  We will be different.  Just the fact that we will be foreigners in a foreign land will make us different.  I have enjoyed following this particular missionary family who have been serving in Paris, France for the past few years with Greater Europe Mission.  It is so refreshing to read her posts about life in France.  In this post, she explains this phenomenon so well... enjoy the read - Four for France :: Misfits!

April 6, 2012

KnockKnock...who's there?

In order to protect the identity of the guilty bird, this is merely a stock photo.
No actual Angry Birds were harmed or shot in the writing of this blog,
although Easton did make mention of an airsoft gun.  Come to think of it,
I haven't heard the bird since he left for Atlanta.  Hmmmm.
For the past week, we've had the pleasure of hearing a cardinal tap on three different windows of our house.

over... and... over... and... over... and... over.

He goes to one window.  tap.tap.  Then another.  tap.tap.  Maybe he's lonely. Maybe he's enamored with the red wall in our dining room and thinks that there's a whole flock of his own kind waiting for him to play on the other side of the glass.

Maybe he's just not at the top of the class in bird school.  I'm not sure what my fine feathery friend's deal is, but I do know that every time I hear him hit our window (and let's just say that it's been happening a lot), it makes me think that I'm supposed to do something.

April 3, 2012

Vision Trip Memories

Wow!  Can it seriously be one year ago that we were heading to Lyon for our vision trip?  At times it's amazing that time has flown by so fast, and at other times it seems as if time is standing still. 

Our vision trip was designed to provide an opportunity to get to know the Lyon City Team, the ICCL church family and the city of Lyon.  It was important to have a taste of what it will be like to live in France as a family.  Although the first 24 hours seemed overwhelming for the kids, they soon were won over by the ICCL church family.  We were so thankful for the timing of the church weekend retreat at the start of our time in Lyon.  God knew it would be important for the kids to connect with others.  After 10 days in Lyon, all of our family felt a peace about moving to Lyon and working with the Lyon City Team and the International Christian Community of Lyon.

Now, 12 months later, we continue soaking up all that God is teaching us, and we are so grateful for His leading, confirmation and strength.  This scripture passage in Colossians says it so well:

As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.
Colossians 1:10-12 (MSG)

Since we miss Lyon and long for the day when we will begin our ministry there, we thought some pictures could give you a glimpse into the heart of Lyon and the Lyonnais people.

At the Lyon airport, having just arrived after many hours traveling from Chicago.  Side note:  All 4 kids are now TALLER than Chris!

So thankful the kids connected so quickly to the families from the ICCL at the retreat our first weekend in Lyon.

A couple filling up their water jugs along the street.

One of the many Catholic churches now boarded up and closed.

Many Christians were tied to the post at the far edge of the ring and beat to death because of their faith while many watched. 

With only 0.2% Evangelicals in Lyon, many churches are mostly enjoyed as tourist stops.

Yikes!  We got off the bus one stop too late!  Had a nice (long) walk back to the DiGenas' house!

Street view in Lyon

Our trip to McDonald's with "Refuge" - the young adult group from the ICCL

Please pray with us that God will provide a way for us to return to Lyon yet this year.  May God's Spirit lead many to partner with us in this ministry!  If God is challenging you to give to His work in Lyon, we'd love to hear from you.  Click here to learn more!