Preparing the Soil

September 21, 2014
by Janet
7 Comments

What’s Next for the Phillips

We’re home from our trip and are slowly getting settled into the missionary home in North Carolina. It’s been a good (but crazy) summer and we are glad to have a place to call home for a while. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to posting the rest of the photos from our trip. I promise.


But today, something special. It’s long, but please read. It’s important.

Let me ask you a question:

If someone came to you and asked you,

“What can I do to strengthen my walk with God? How can I grow closer to Him?

What would you say?

Really, stop and think about it.

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I’m guessing your answers were something like this:

“You should read your Bible regularly.”

“You should pray more.”

“You should get involved in a Bible believing, Bible preaching church.”

“You should join a Bible study.”

“You should listen to worship music.”

 

Am I right? Was your answer something like the ones listed above?

If we want to grow in our walk with the Lord, the Word of God is imperative. You just can’t grow without regular time reading scripture. You won’t grow without being able to pour out your heart before the Lord in prayer. God’s design was for believers to come together for worship and teaching. Worship music aids us as we learn to focus on Him and His word.

But what if the person you were talking to, desperate for a closer relationship with God, said to you in response,

“Well that’s fine and good, but I don’t have a Bible. In fact, there isn’t even a Bible in my native language. Because there is no Bible in my language, studying the Bible with my church or friends isn’t possible. We don’t have worship music based on Scripture. I can pray, but I don’t know much about this God I am praying to. What is He like?”

January-1

What would you say then?

If you are anything like me, you wouldn’t know what to say. After all, I am not shy about telling people they need the word. I’ve told you you need the word. I told you it was the most important resolution you could make.

The reality is, though, there are around 1900 languages in the world that are still waiting on a Bible translation in their heart language. That’s 180 million people waiting to hear the word. Waiting to know more about God. Waiting for the living and active words to minister to their hearts.

Can you imagine? Really. Try. For those of you who are Christians, imagine never once hearing one word of the Bible (including in church and in songs) in English. Not once. What do you think the status of your relationship with God would be?

 

These are the questions that plague me.

 

If Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, what does that look like? If I see the Bible as a necessity just as much as food, water, and shelter (and in playing the stranded island game, my Bible would definitely be one of my three items!), then doesn’t loving my neighbor mean that I think he should have that necessity as well?

I do. And I can’t think of anything I would rather give my life to than loving my neighbor by helping her get access to the Word of God in a language she understands.

And that is what’s next for the Phillips.

After a long process, as of September 1, the Phillips are official missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

But wait, we aren’t translators. Oops.

No, not oops. If God has taught me anything in the last two years it is that missions isn’t done by one person. It is done by a team. It takes many people with many skills to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth and to bring the Word of God to every language. We might not be translators, but we sure can’t wait to be part of the team!

We have been invited to be part of the translation team in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. Jason will be doing what he does best: teaching. And I will be doing what I do best (for now): being home with our kids and pitching in anywhere my skills and gifts are needed (hopefully to include helping with educational therapy, now that I am an official educational therapist — more on that another day).

We will be living on a large missionary compound that serves the translators. There are many, many support roles on the compound. We all have different jobs, but we all have one goal: a translation project started for every language in the world by 2025.

We will attend a two week training session in October at the Wycliffe headquarters in Orlando, and then we will begin our first assignment: Partnership Development. Just like the translators can’t do what they are called to do without people like teachers, administrators, mechanics, pilots, and doctors helping them, we can’t do what we are called to do without people helping us. We will spend the next year or two gathering like-hearted individuals who want to do their part in helping bring the word to every tribe, tongue, and nation. We’ll be looking for people to join with us in prayer, in emotional support, in wisdom and guidance, and in finances. No one can do this alone. But together, we can do a lot.

There is so much more to this story…a beautiful testament to God and His faithfulness to us as a family. This is an instance where God made the path clear for us. We’re excited and scared all at the same time. God’s doing powerful things and we can’t wait to declare His goodness.

Here is some information for those who are interested:

About Papua New Guinea

About Ukarumpa

About Ukarumpa International School


I am sure that I will have much more to share with you as time goes on, but I don’t want to overwhelm you right now.

Would you pray for us? This is a scary time for us as we embark on something totally new and also as we learn to trust God in new ways. I would especially appreciate prayers FOR boldness and AGAINST fear. 

September 4, 2014
by Janet
0 comments

Mt. Rushmore

The kids were most excited about visiting Mt. Rushmore. We’ve been working on memorizing the US presidents in school and they were excited to visit this historic monument.

I visited as a kid, but I don’t remember being able to walk down and around the monument. I loved getting to see the carvings from various angles, as well as see a model of what Mt. Rushmore was originally supposed to look like.

My favorite two parts of our visit:

1) Listening to Bethany (age 3), point to her postcard and ask everyone, “What your favorite kid? I like Winc-on!”

2) Watching my kids interact. Not sure what happened, but they seemed to all break into partners and they were so sweet with each other. Lots of holding hands and being buddies. It wasn’t planned…and those are the best moments!

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I love that little girl!

I love that little girl!

Every. Single. Time.

Every. Single. Time.

See, I did go on this trip!

See, I did go on this trip!

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I love that this captures her personality so well!

I love that this captures her personality so well!

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Sweetness

Sweetness

Buddies

Buddies

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He thinks his family is crazy... I think he might be right!

He thinks his family is crazy… I think he might be right!

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My two green-eyed, straight haired kids.

My two green-eyed, straight haired kids.

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This is what Mt. Rushmore was supposed to look like.

This is what Mt. Rushmore was supposed to look like.

I am so very blessed!

I am so very blessed!

September 3, 2014
by Janet
0 comments

Starry Night

From what we learned, star-viewing locations are rated on a 0-10 scale. 10 is the worst (too much light pollution) and 0 is the best. Badlands National Park is rated a 2.5, which means that it is a pretty great place for star viewing.

Now anyone who knows me well knows that I do NOT like to stay up late. In fact, I usually go to bed by 9:00 pm. The problem is, stars don’t come out that early. So, I had to let go of my normal bedtime (and that of the kids!) so that we could take advantage of seeing the beautiful stars on a clear night. And I am SO glad I did.

It was truly amazing. We made our way to our spot before it got dark, and then we just waited. We had been told that we would be able to see the International Space Station that night and the kids not-so-patiently looked up, waiting for it to cross the sky. It happened a few mintues before we were expecting it, but it was so cool to see this bright light cross the sky!

Then, we waited for the rest of the stars to come out. It was amazing. There are no other words. I really had no idea the milky way was so visible. The longer we waited, the more the stars filled the sky. From one angle, we could see the pink hues of the milky way. From the other direciton, we were able to watch a lightning storm off in the distance. One view was black sky, the other blue.

I really had no idea what I was doing photography-wise. I was so, so impressed with photos by Dave Forney last year that I knew I wanted to at least give it a try. I had tried to look a few things up on my phone, but with a poor connection, I wasn’t able to get very much direction. But, I fiddled with my settings as it got dark and finally found some settings that were working. Mine are nothing like Dave’s, but they weren’t too bad for my first try, especially without a wide-angle lens. I can’t wait to go again!

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The lightning storm was BEAUTIFUL!

The lightning storm was BEAUTIFUL!

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Some hikers were off in the distance and their flashlights helped make this picture look incredible!

Some hikers were off in the distance and their flashlights helped make this picture look incredible!

©Janet Phillips_august20_2014_web-162

Accidently captured a shooting star. I just wish I had gotten the outline of the Badlands. Oh well!

Accidently captured a shooting star. I just wish I had gotten the outline of the Badlands. Oh well!

September 2, 2014
by Janet
2 Comments

Badlands National Park

I apologize in advance.

I have a lot of photos from the Badlands…and I am not even including phone photos in this post (which at times, due to my phone having a wide angle lens, are even better than my good camera photos).

When I was twelve, my parents took my younger sister and I on a three week trip out west. My dad had meetings in Portland and Lake Tahoe and so they took us along, showing us many sites along the way. We visited Badlands, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Redwood Forest, Death Valley, and the Grand Canyon. It was an amazing trip. However, my parents are more of the “drive through and take a picture to prove you were there” type of travelers, and so we rarely did more than just get out of the car and look at a few sites.

I remember being at the Badlands and so wishing we could stay longer. I wanted to walk around! I wanted to see more!

And so, when we were planning our big trip, I knew that the Badlands were high on my list of priorities. We made plans to spend two nights there before heading on to Mt. Rushmore and then to my parents house in Montana.

It was AMAZING. I loved it. All of it. Well, maybe not all. I did not enjoy the 95˚ heat in the afternoon. But other than that, we had an incredible experience and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Here comes the onslaught…and check back tomorrow for pictures of our first star-gazing and photography experience. I don’t have the best equipment for night sky photography, but I captured some amazing photos anyway!

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The water fountain was a little too powerful!

The water fountain was a little too powerful!

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My sweet girls

My sweet girls

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It was so windy, but he was content sitting on the picnic table playing with a water bottle.

It was so windy, but he was content sitting on the picnic table playing with a water bottle.

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Early morning coffee date

Early morning coffee date

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Breakfast is cooking!

Breakfast is cooking!

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This guy liked the syrup left over from our banana pancakes

This guy liked the syrup left over from our banana pancakes

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The best little dish washers!

The best little dish washers!

Geology talk

Geology talk

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A family photo

A family photo

Don't be too impressed...the trail was only about half a mile!

Don’t be too impressed…the trail was only about half a mile!

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I loved that the kids were allowed to climb and play

I loved that the kids were allowed to climb and play

So, so, SO beautiful!

So, so, SO beautiful!

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I couldn't stop taking pictures of the amazing views

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the amazing views

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Bison crossing

Bison crossing

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Taking photos of bison

Taking photos of bison

This mama bison was watching us with lots of suspicion!

This mama bison was watching us with lots of suspicion!

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Mountain goat crossing

Mountain goat crossing

We loved watching the prairie dogs run around and play

We loved watching the prairie dogs run around and play

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We left our camper in Michigan (that was planned) and now this is our way out west. One suburban plus a "back porch."

We left our camper in Michigan (that was planned) and now this is our way out west. One suburban plus a “back porch.”

September 1, 2014
by Janet
2 Comments

Palisades State Park (South Dakota)

We left Madison and started making our way to the Badlands in South Dakota. We knew it was too long of a drive for one day, so we decided to stop and camp for a night at Palisades State Park in South Dakota. It was a small (but beautiful!) park and we loved our short time there. Plus, it was our first night tent camping and although I was a bit worried about how it would go, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. In fact, in many ways, it is easier than camping with our pop up. It confirmed to us that we made the right decision to leave our camper in Michigan (we decided it wasn’t worth bringing since it slows us down so much, keeps us away from pretty overlooks, and makes us lose about 4 miles to the gallon).

It was a great night and made us even more excited to get to the Badlands!

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I am amazed at this boy's ability to climb rocks. I have to do very little to help him (other than stand behind him in case he slips).

I am amazed at this boy’s ability to climb rocks. I have to do very little to help him (other than stand behind him in case he slips).

©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-7 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-8 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-9 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-10 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-11 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-12 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-13 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-14 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-16 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-17 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-18 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-20 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-22 ©Janet Phillips_august18_2014_web-24 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-1 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-2 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-5 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-6 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-9 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-14 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-15 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-16 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-19 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-20 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-21 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-22

Dad explains a little of the geology of the area and gives the kids certain things to look out for.

Dad explains a little of the geology of the area and gives the kids certain things to look out for.

©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-25 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-28 ©Janet Phillips_august19_2014_web-29

The geology major loves looking at rocks!

The geology major loves looking at rocks!

August 29, 2014
by Janet
0 comments

A Weekend in Madison

After leaving Wheaton, we headed to Madison, Wisconsin to spend the weekend with my sister and her husband and two beautiful girls. It was such a relaxing time after a busy two weeks. We lingered long over coffee, had a great time at a nearby lake, enjoyed four-wheeling at my brother-in-law’s parents’ house, and soaked in the beauty of their new home and land.

The last time we saw them was when Zachary was born (as in, they arrived just hours after delivery) and so it was good to spend time with them at a time when I was a little more “with it.” I so enjoyed watching my sister be a mom and seeing the cousins play. We are so thankful for and blessed by their generous hospitality.

He loves his new camera

He loves his new camera

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Waiting for the ferry

Waiting for the ferry

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Future ball player

Future ball player

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Could she be any sweeter?

Could she be any sweeter?

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My beautiful sister

My beautiful sister

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Love her little smile!

Love her little smile!

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Sweet girls.

Sweet girls.

My brother in law treated us to ice cream at the ferry.

My brother in law treated us to ice cream at the ferry.

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Here comes Mr. Z!

Here comes Mr. Z!

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Alaina and Avery were best buddies for the weekend.

Alaina and Avery were best buddies for the weekend.

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She's growing up right before my very eyes.

She’s growing up right before my very eyes.

She loved getting the chance to drive!

She loved getting the chance to drive!

©Janet Phillips_august16_2014_web-91 ©Janet Phillips_august16_2014_web-92

 

August 28, 2014
by Janet
1 Comment

Cantigny Park (Wheaton, IL)

After leaving Grand Rapids, we headed to Wheaton, IL to catch up with some dear friends of ours. We worked with Scott and Debbie when we lived in Malaysia and they were instrumental in helping us shape our view of family and parenting. Even way back then, when I just had two little ones, I knew that they were a wealth of wisdom. I soaked it all up and all these years later, we are still living out many of the ideals we saw in their family.

One of my favorite things about this particular family is that they shatter the view that there is only one right way to parent. They have three kids, have never homeschooled, and Debbie has worked for much of the time she has had kids. And yet, their commitment to family surpasses almost anything I have ever seen. The sacrifices they have made for their children are humbling. We hadn’t seen them in five years and their once-little boys are all grown up now, but once again, I soaked in all they had to offer and was reminded of what happens when we take this parenting thing seriously.

(I’m so sad we forgot to get a picture of all of us!)

We spent the following morning with Debbie and one of the boys. They took us to Cantigny Park in Wheaton. The kids had a great time climbing on all the tanks, learning more about wars we have touched on in school, and visiting the museum.

©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-2 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-4 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-7 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-9 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-11 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-15 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-16 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-18 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-21 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-22 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-29 ©Janet Phillips_august15_2014_web-30After Cantigny, they treated us to a yummy lunch (my first Chipotle experience) and then they took us to the “Little Popcorn Store” in Wheaton, a TINY store created in an alley. The kids loved picking out (and eating!) candy.

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August 27, 2014
by Janet
0 comments

Romulus & Grand Rapids

After camping at the beach for the weekend, we spent a few days with Jason’s parents in Romulus. It was nice to have a few down days (and a few clean days!) The kids always love to be with their grandparents. We’re thankful for their willingness to help us get whatever we need done (and there were a lot of things that needed done!)

We also got to spend a few hours with my sister and her five kids. They were visiting from Texas and our paths crossed for just an afternoon.

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Zach loved playing with toys from when his daddy was little

Zach loved playing with toys from when his daddy was little

After leaving the Detroit area, we headed to Grand Rapids to visit some good friends of ours. Jen & Adam were good friends with Jason during college and we have continued to see them every time we are in town. We even buried a time capsule together on December 31, 1999 and we look forward to opening it in just over ten years! We enjoyed a great few days playing in the pool, eating amazing food (Jen is such a good cook!), and hiking and swimming at Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

After waiting for WEEKS, Katie's wiggly tooth finally came out.

After waiting for WEEKS, Katie’s wiggly tooth finally came out.

©Janet Phillips_august13_2014_web-3

They've both got holes

They’ve both got holes

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Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

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It was so fun to see this beautiful young woman. I still remember her as a two day old infant. She is a beautiful and sweet spirited girl with amazing artistic talent.

It was so fun to see this beautiful young woman. I still remember her as a two day old infant. She is a beautiful and sweet spirited girl with amazing artistic talent.

©Janet Phillips_august13_2014_web-21

August 26, 2014
by Janet
0 comments

Sterling State Park (Lake Erie)

After leaving Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio, we traveled to Jason’s parents house, just outside of Detroit. We spent one night there and then headed just a half an hour away for a wonderful weekend of camping in Sterling State Park on Lake Erie with friends of ours from Indonesia. Although is was a very different camping experience (no trees and lots of wind!), we had a great time at the beach. We did lots of playing in the sand and water, a bit of walking, and a lot of wonderful catching up with beautiful like-minding friends. It was such a blessing!

She's such a beautiful mama!

She’s such a beautiful mama!

Nothing like french toast on a windy morning.

Nothing like french toast on a windy morning.

Bird chasing!

Bird chasing!

What a beautiful family!

What a beautiful family!

©Janet Phillips_august10_2014_web-20

We're so thankful for a friendship that started six years ago as we all moved to Indonesia (except their were 4 less of us then!)

We’re so thankful for a friendship that started six years ago as we all moved to Indonesia (except there were 4 less of us then!)

Early morning sun

Early morning sun

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The kids LOVED to chase the seagulls!

The kids LOVED to chase the seagulls!

Daddy-daughter moments melt my heart

Daddy-daughter moments melt my heart

Apparently Zachary likes hummus, A LOT.

Apparently Zachary likes hummus, A LOT.

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Sweet Luisa

Sweet Luisa

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S'more experimenting

S’more experimenting

Alaina's s'more invention

Alaina’s s’more invention

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Sun-burned Alaina and Luisa had a great time together!

Sun-burned Alaina and Luisa had a great time together!

©janetphillips_august9_2014_web-114

August 25, 2014
by Janet
0 comments

Why We’re Road Tripping

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We’ve been without internet (other than on my phone), so there haven’t been a lot of updates about our trip. However, we’ve spent the last few days with my parents in Bozeman, MT, and the dreary and COLD weather has given me a chance to get photos downloaded and edited and ready to share. We start camping again tomorrow, but I’ve got posts scheduled to catch you up on our trip so far. It’s hard to believe we are halfway done. It’s been AMAZING and I am excited to see what the next three weeks bring.

Before the onslaught of photos, I thought I would point you to a post I wrote over at The Daily Digi about why we are road tripping. This is definitely not the extent of our whys, but what I wrote shares the biggest part of my heart as it relates to this trip.

WHY WE’RE ROAD TRIPPING