Prayer Letters: a monthly blessing

I find one of the personal benefits to writing prayer letters is we’re regularly forced to think about what God has been doing in our lives. We don’t want to be on deputation forever – just until February 2014, Lord willing – but we get so many experiences of the Lord’s grace. Having to write them down lets us ‘count our blessings’ and see that we can’t put them all into a letter, or the letter would get much too long. So we have to select highlights or summarize. We look forward to more of the same benefits when we get to write prayer letters from Taiwan.

Enjoyed visiting the Nathan and Katrina Bate, starting a church in Roseville, CA

Enjoyed visiting the Nathan and Katrina Bate, starting a church in Roseville, CA

Friends gave our children a trip to Funderland in Sacramento, CA!

Friends gave our children a trip to Funderland in Sacramento, CA!

Awed by God's amazing creation. "When I consider.... What is man?"

Awed by God’s amazing creation. “When I consider…. What is man?”

Another advantage to prayer letters for us has been the constant challenge to articulate the ways we want people to pray for us. Since people are praying for us, we want to suggest biblical, significant, and timely ways they can pray for us. We want our requests to be simple, clear, and specific. For example, I’ve been asking people to pray the Lord will give us effective ministry in churches. Putting that in a prayer letter forces me to ask myself, what do I mean? What will an effective ministry look like? Good questions, and I’m glad I have to think through them. God is growing us, and He’s using things like writing prayer letters to do it.

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Coining Words Like Crazy

I suppose most children share our children’s ability to make up words when they need one. But that has spread to us parents. So now we make up words to make something easier to say. That gives our family a special (though perhaps odd) vocabulary. If we ever visit you, you may hear us use some of these words that have appeared in our family during the past month.

Our children have now spent most (all in the case of our younger two) of their youg lives on deputation. Bella captured the kind of life she’s used to by coming up with a word for people who don’t do what we do. Traveling is what we do all the time. Staying somewhere for several weeks at a time is welcome, but a little unusual. So the place we spend the most time is actually our van! But of course lots of you have an opposite experience: you stay at home most of the time, and only occasionally travel. Did you know you have a name now? You’re a houser.

Sometimes words get coined or commandeered just because we want a shorter way to say something. For a week in April we stayed at Wolf Mountain Camps near Sacramento, California. It’s a beautiful camp in the mountains. We saw quail, turkeys, deer, horses, a coyote, and lots of spiders. Our children loved it. Especially playing in the two creeks near the housing unit we stayed in. Since they kept getting in the water to play, we wanted to regulate when they did and what they were wearing so we didn’t have 3 sets of wet clothes every day. So we made a vocal shortcut, and planned times for them to go creeking.

Creeking

 

Creeking 2

When you go creeking as a child, one of the highlights is throwing rocks into the water. The bigger the rocks, the better they are for throwing in. No one was content to throw little pebbles unless that’s all that was available. They wanted to find the biggest ones they could pick up and drop in. For a reason probably not quite clear even to her, Bella christened these big rocks everlastings. Since Emmett currently uses the number billion to indicate something really big (for example, the next number after 100 is a billion), a really big rock that they’d like to throw in the creek but can’t pick up is a billion everlastings.

Rocks + Water = Splash!

Rocks + Water = Splash!

 

Some of these words will eventually drop from our family vocabulary, but I expect a few will stay around for a long time. They’ll give our family conversations a special flavor from all the time we’ve had together.