Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Promised One Has Come



One of our favorite parts of the Christmas story in Luke is when Jesus is presented to Simeon in the temple. A man who was promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he saw the Christ. Simeon blessed Jesus and cried out to God saying,

"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."
Luke 2:29-32

Joy to the World, the promised Savior and redeemer of all people has come!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Time Keeps Ticking Away

Have you ever had a continuace thought bounce around in your head for a while, but you can never really put your finger on what it is? I have been experiencing this feeling recently, and it wasn't till today that I was able to really name what it is, and gain some perspective about it. I wrestle with the concept of time, and how there never seems to be enough of it. I always remember as a child hearing my dad say, "Well when you get older time just starts flying." Well he was right and I don't like it very much. I am always late, and I always think I can get ready in less time then I actually can. I get excited when it is 8:00 a.m. and I think it is so early and before I know it it is 11. Sometimes it just feels like the days fly by, and I find myself grumbling about how it is almost over. I often feel like this when Drew and I get to spend the day together. I cherish every single moment that I get to spend with Drew, and always feel sad when our day together has to end. Needless to say, I don't like this way of thinking.

I don't enjoy these feelings of sadness or anxiousness about time. I long to see everyday as a gift and opportunity to see God's work in creation, my life, and the lives of others. To see each day as another opportunity to serve him and continue to spread his redemption. I don't want to keep looking back or looking forward in a spirit of fear, but I would rather seize the opportunity that is in front of me with a spirit of joy and thankfulness.

Time is not my enemy!

I was reading a post today by Margie Haack that was originally published in Ransom Fellowship's newsletter, but posted on Art House America. Here is what I read that helped me gain a little perspective.

" In The Good Works Reader Thomas Oden writes about the Lord’s Prayer and the larger meaning of receiving our daily bread: “Ultimately the bread we most pray for is the clarity and truthfulness of our own purpose and destiny.” That is what I crave, I’m hungry to understand my purpose, to believe that human finiteness is okay, and to know and believe when God made us to live in dailyness He said, “It is good.” I’d like to live with a certain clarity that though the day inevitably comes with suffering, it’s still good, and I would like to gratefully receive that day with all its shuffling and waiting as a gift."

She later says,

"f I am busy considering either my body or time as enemies, then I have succumbed to a limited perspective informed by my senses and, more subtly, by cultural pressures that determine whether we are good, successful, disciplined, worthy people — thanks to iCalendar, diet, and proper exercise. Both body and time are gifts that enable me to serve God in holiness and righteousness “before Him (embodied) all our days.” That means being contented with 24-hour days — where God says it’s good to live — from babyhood to the end of life."

God has ordained all my days before me, and he is called me to live faithfully in them!

-Lindsey


Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Book Review


Our friend Wes Vander Lugt has written an excellent review on the book The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry by Andrew Root and Kendra Creasy. One of the goals of GYFM is to help youth pastors think more deeply and theologically about ministry to young people. As Wes states, the Theological Turn in Youth Ministry is a great help in asking good questions and starting the conversation on how to have a theology of youth ministry, and then how that theology is practically played out. Check out the review!

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The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry (IVP, 2011) is not your average youth ministry book. Rather than a pragmatic manual, Andrew Root (professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary) and Kendra Creasy Dean (professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary) have put together an engaging work of practical theology. As such, the goal of this book is to resource and re-imagine youth ministry as Christopraxis oriented toward existential and eschatological horizons.

Youth ministers might think they can escape theology, but this is impossible. Every ministry is enacted theology and every theology is ministerial. The goal of practical theology is to make more intentional connections between theological reflection and ministerial action, which continually inform one another. Root explains theology as the process of attending to God’s revelation and ever-changing contexts, letting God’s revelation answer the questions arising from our encounters with particular people and situations. In addition, Dean notes that the youth themselves are intuitive theologians, and by doing ministry with youth, we can craft theology and ministry attentive to their actual needs and desires.

Theology constructed with youth, as Root articulates, is theology that begins by acknowledging and articulating the crisis of reality, and then recognizing God’s act and being within it. Youth ministry as practical theology takes seriously the mix and tangle of real life (the apologetic element), while always situating these complexities within the overall biblical drama (the kerygmatic element). The relational-social dimension of ministry should never be separated from the biblical-theological element. Because of this, youth ministers should not presume that theology always provides simple answers to questions arising out of complex relationships and situations. In fact, a robust theology of God’s presence and absence allows ministers, along with young people, to be patient with honest yearning and to persevere with the suffering while rejoicing with the healed.
While the first half of the book is a deep exploration of theological themes, the second half unfolds how ministry practices might be affected by this theology, whether conversations about sin, sexual issues, summer camps, nature trips, short-term missions, and mentoring relationships. In fact, it is in these practical issues that the pay-off of practical theology is most clearly seen and where it is easiest to register and articulate my agreement and disagreement with the proposals.

For example, I wholeheartedly resonate with Root’s concern to orient mission trips away from accomplishment and toward accompaniment, focusing more on being with and partnering with one’s hosts rather than doing something for them. Seen in this light, the purpose of a mission trip is learn more about God’s kingdom and to build relationship with Christians around the world rather than accomplishing something that makes us feel good but maybe does more harm than good. In addition, I applaud Dean’s identification of desire as the foundation of spirituality, and her insistence that youth ministry cannot divorce sexuality from spirituality. The ongoing challenge of the youth minister is to affirm the structure of desire while providing pastoral guidance regarding the direction and expression of desire, and this requires us to expel “the corset of modern rationalism.”

At other points, however, the practical suggestions reveal my disagreement with the authors’ theology. For instance, by identifying evil as nothingness and sin as flirting with death and non-being, I think Root makes conversations about sin more convoluted than they need to be. Much more helpful, in my opinion, is describing sin as Cornelius Plantinga does—“not the way things are supposed to be”—which includes both the objective brokenness of the world and our complicity in breaking it. In addition, because of his strong Barthian theology, Root claims that nature is inert and does not reveal God in his beauty and grandeur. On the contrary, a stronger view of general revelation and a more robust theology of creation leads me to believe that no element of creation is inert and every creature is a full participant in the drama of creation and re-creation. As a result, outdoor trips are a time to experience longings and brokenness, but they are also a time to encounter God. Furthermore, while I agree that a youth minister should be a “captain of the company of companion doubters,” I disagree that “Christianity has nothing to do with certainty.” It is true that Christianity does not offer hard, rationalistic certainty, but there remains, as Newbigin maintained, a “proper confidence” rooted in the reality of Christ’s resurrection and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. “Faith seeking understanding” can dispel some doubts while learning to live with others. Finally, while it is necessary to keep theology and ministry rooted to the “crisis” of reality, our starting point and ultimate point of reference needs to be the abundance of God in Christ and his creation. Even though Root maintains that theology and ministry should always maintain a tragic and comedic element, his theology and practice tips toward the tragic. “Healing is wonderful, but it’s weird” is a tragic perspective; a comic perspective claims that although wonderful healing may be sporadic, it’s actually the way things should be.
Even though I disagree with the authors’ theology at times, overall I am encouraged by this “theological turn in youth ministry.” The best youth ministry arises from and leads to robust theology. As my theological critiques reveal, however, there will always be “theologies” of youth ministry rather than “a theology” of youth ministry. Divergent theologies result from different conclusions regarding what God has communicated in Scripture and creation, different conversations partners within the Christian tradition, and doing ministry in different contexts. Consequently, if the theological turn in youth ministry is going to spread and mature, youth ministers intentionally need to bring their theology into conversation with other theological traditions. The goal is not to blend all theologies into a nebulous amalgam, but to realize how our own sin, cultural situation, and human finiteness have blinded us to some aspects of God’s truth, goodness, and beauty. The theological turn in youth ministry, therefore, is also the global turn in youth ministry, because the collective reflection of the global church serves as a corrective to particularly theological and ministerial deficit disorders. It is exciting that Root and Dean were courageous enough to begin these theological conversations, and it is even more exciting that this is only the beginning.

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After serving in youth ministry in Mexico and the USA, Wes now ministers to young people in St. Andrew’s, Scotland, where he is a PhD candidate in Theology, Imagination and the Arts. Check out his blog at: http://theatricaltheology.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How Good

The ever so brief Psalm 133 describes how good it is when brothers live "in unity." This weekend Lindsey and I attended a team meeting back in Missouri, and we got a tast of the goodness that the psalmist describes. It was wonderful! In the past few months many of us on the team have been through a number of painful and trying circumstances, and this meeting provided a beautiful opportunity to band together. We spent good times speaking, listening, and praying with one another, offering grace and encouragement, and generally shoring each other up to return the work we are all engaged in. It was wonderful.

Lindsey and I in particular have faced some difficult challenges this last month, and the counsel and encouragement that we have received from friends in St. Louis, here in Annapolis, and on our GYFM team has been invaluable. This weekend came as a wonderful reminder that we are not alone, that we have dear friends and supporters who love us deeply, and are excited to step in and offer us the care we need. Thank you all so much for being there for us. We love you - thank you for supporting us in both our professional work and in our personal lives.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.
(Psalm 133 ESV)

- Drew

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wow, What an Amazing Prayer!

Ephesians 1:16-20

"I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places."

I read this this afternoon and was struck and encouraged by three of the things that Paul prays for for the church in Ephesus.

-That they may know what the hope is to which God has called them.

-What the riches are of his glorious inheritance in the saints

-What is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe. A power so great that it raised Christ from the dead.

These are such great reminders of who we are in Christ and the blessings of being united to him. I pray that my eyes would be enlightened to these truths everyday!

-Lindsey

Monday, November 21, 2011

Asia/Pacific Area Retreat 2011!

The Malaysia trip was pretty incredible. With this trip we finally completed our circuit of the globe and have spent time with the students from all of the areas MTW is in. What a privilege! This retreat had about 50-60 students, and it was awesome to get to know them and their different contexts. As the students came in there was a degree of hesitation, each of them wanting to test the waters to see how the group would feel. Some dove right in, some held back, and some were determined to be unimpressed - one student even walked in saying "so raise your hand if you think being here is lame." However, as the week went by, it was beautiful to see how everyone gelled as a group. By the time the week was over even the student who polled the lameness of the group was heard walking out the door saying, "look dad, I got all the phone numbers of my new friends!"

Twice throughout the week we took time to pray out loud together, and each time the most commonly repeated prayer was "thank you for this youth group." This might be a common thing here in the US, but for these student scattered over a dozen countries throughout the East, to be a member of a cohesive group is a unique and profound experience. This connection and unity they felt is a major piece of work we are doing, and hearing them voice their gratefulness in this way was a huge encouragement and blessing.

The small group times, which are the heart of our time with the students, can sometimes prove challenging as it can take some time to open up, but even in these it was exciting to see how quickly the students grasped the opportunity to engage. One of the things we were most excited about was the ability to connect with several students who will soon be coming back to the US for university. It was AWESOME to hear how excited they all were to know that we would be here waiting for them, especially those that will wind up in Chattanooga at Covenant College!

Drew's small group

Lindsey's small group

The whole group!

On the final evening of the Asia/Pacific Area Retreat, after we had said all our goodbyes, we walked out the doors of the youth room and saw written on the windows in the humid Malaysian condensation, “In 4 years! 4 now, Bye!”
Four years is far, far too long.

Thank you so much for all of the prayers while we were there and since we have come back. Please continue to pray that our support would be raised quickly so that our team can begin to shrink those four years.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Wedding and LOTS of Family Time!

After Malaysia I caught a terrible cold that had me out for about two weeks. After getting over the cold we hit the ground running with our jobs and support raising. Drew had the privelage of meeting with our friend David Diaso who is a fellow MTW missionary. He is very experienced at raising support and we found a lot of encouragement from him.

On November 5th Drew's brother Chase married his beautiful bride Cait. It was a wonderful celebration. Drew had the privilege of officiating the wedding. Cait asked all of the sister-in-laws to be honorary bridesmaids so all of the family was able to participate. We had a blast spending time with our family laughing, sitting around the fire making smores and drinking warm tea, and visiting Gettysburg PA for a day!

We are working on a post to show more of our experience in Malaysia as well as working on our November update. Here are a lot of pictures to show you what we have been up to!



So beautiful!
I love this photo!
So thankful to have such wonderful sister-in-laws!
Drew and his niece Lucy hiding from Grandpa
All the Wilkins Men!
Beautiful Gettysburg
It was such a beautiful day
In a conversation with Abe Lincoln, Abe stole Drew's hat!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Team


One of the things that we love about the area retreat is working with such a wonderful team of youth leaders. It is a blessing to come together and watch all of our gifts compliment each others. It is awesome to be encouraged by one another, and to see how much we really do need each other as we work to serve. Drew and I always feel so sad at the end of the retreat not only because of having to say goodbye to the students that we have built relationships with, but also having to say goodbye to many of our dear friends who are on the team but live in different parts of the U.S. This past week was filled with lots of laughter and memories!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And Back Again.

Well we finally made it back from the Asia/Pacific Area Retreat! We had a wonderful time getting to know the different MTW families, and it was a joy to work with all the volunteers and teammates that make these trips possible. It was AMAZING!

Over the next few days we will fill in with more specific information about what we did there and how it all went over, but for now I'll just toss up a few pictures to give a small taste of the adventures we had.


The view from a Detroit Airport window, reflected in the coolest fountain in the world!


Sunrise over one of the buildings on the hotel campus in the Malay forest.


Students during a youth meeting


Some amazing flowers on the hotel campus


Linds and me in front of Singapore's famous Merlion!


Sunday morning worship with all the missionary families


Me on the flight back over the Pacific


It was an awesome trip, and we have been extremely encouraged by the relationships we built and the responses we received from the families we worked with. Thanks so much for all your prayers during these last two weeks - we are very much aware that though Linds and I are able to be the ones on the ground, the work that is being done is an extension of your love for these students as well. Thanks again for keeping up with us and supporting us in this ministry!

-Drew

Friday, October 14, 2011

On to Singapore!

I have been leading worship this week and have really enjoyed hearing the voices of all the leaders and MK's singing praises to our King. Yesterday we took some time to pray out loud as a group and lift up words of praise to God. We heard multiple students praise God for "this youth group!" These words are particularly significant to us because for many of these students this week is their one opportunity to be around leaders and other students who "get them." The uniqueness of this event is something that can add a lot of pressure and insecurity for some students - however, we have already heard several turn-arounds from students here with us who came in expecting to not fit in and to be treated poorly but who have expressed to their parents how much they are loving their time here. One mother last night approached us with tears in here eyes talking about how dark many of the challenges of their location have been, and how much it has meant to her that she can see her son laughing and feeling included! We were so excited to hear these things and really do praise God for what he is doing through our team, and how we are able to love and encourage these students this week.

Yesterday during worship Drew and I had a chance to share a testimony about how God has been working in our life. It's always a joy to take time to reflect on what the Lord has been teaching us and then to be able to share that with others. Two of our other teammates shared as well.

Last night we had a retreat wide line dancing party. It was so much fun! There was lots of laughter and more connection to students. It's amazing how some young people will allow themselves to be silly when they see adults running around acting crazy! This is definitely one of my favorite parts of the retreat!

Today we all have a day off and many of us are going to explore Singapore. We have to drive over the border out of Malaysia and into Singapore so you know what that means, more stamps in our passports! :)

We are really looking forward to taking some time soon load up a bunch of our picture so that we can post them on here to share with all of you!

Many of you have contacted us letting us know that you are praying for us and we so appreciate it! God is answering prayers!

-Lindsey

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today It Begins!

This morning all the families will be trickling into the resort, and we are feeling the all the anxiety and excitement that goes with it! Tonight we host the Open House in the youth area we've set up, in which all the students and their families are invited to come by to hang out, get to see a little of who we are and what we'll be doing, and even get to see a little of who they are as a group! It's easy to think about this as though all the students already know each other and have pre-existing relationships, but in fact because they all live in different countries around the continent, they are all coming into this pretty new themselves! Please pray for us today that
- we would be able to easily remember lots of names and faces
- that the whole group would be able to gel pretty easily
- that we the leaders would be able to create a safe, fun, and welcoming environment
- that the students would be ready to invest in the time as well.

Thanks guys!

-Drew

Monday, October 10, 2011

So Far So Good

We did it! As we climbed off the final airplane after 27 hours of travel and noted how swollen our ankles were it finally began to dawn on us that we are really here on the other side of the globe and that this event that Linds and I look forward to every year has finally come: the Area Retreat! For us, this is almost better than Christmas :)

We love these retreats for many reasons, and in the last day or so that we've been here we've already experienced many of them. We love our team - it is always a privilege to be able to work with like-minded people who are able to complement each others' gifts and abilities without any jockeying to the spotlight but with a delight to put others first. We love tasting a new culture - experiencing the different nuances of how life works and what values and priorities are held always reflects God's creativity uniquely, and by getting to know his creation in a new light we also get to know the Creator in a new light as well. We love our tasks - the opportunity to help design and build a youth ministry experience during this week draws out much of our own creativity (just wait till we post the videos we are making for this year)! We love all of the people that work for this organization - the opportunity to meet together with so many amazing men and women who are using the gifts and lives that God has given them is always so humbling and encouraging. When we are here it is a wonderful reminder that even if it isn't always making headline news, God is working constantly and powerfully through his people in his world.

But most of all, we are excited about meeting all of the students! Only a couple have arrived so far, but over the next few days the families are going to come pouring in, and on Wednesday we will get to start meeting them all face to face, playing games together, getting to know one another, meeting in small groups, worshiping together, and simply just plain ol' hanging out together. We love it, we are so excited, and we are incredibly thankful for all you who are praying for us while we are here and who have helped make it possible for us to come. Please pray for us today as we begin meeting as a whole team (the first time in person) and planning what the week will look like.

Thank you!

-Drew

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Illustration of Hope

This morning I taught a lesson on the hope of redemption. I set the stage for the conversation with a movie clip from the Shawshank Redemption. What a powerful movie! I showed the part where Andy receives books, records, and a grant to provide a library for the inmates. He puts on one of the records and hears music for the first time in 6 years. It brings him so much joy that he can't help but share it with the other inmates in the prison even though he will get punished for it. As he blasts the beautiful sounds of a woman singing in Italian the other inmates stop what they are doing. The sound of the music captivates them and as one of the other characters says, "It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cave and made those walls dissolve away. And for the briefest of moments every last man at Shawshank felt free" It's such a powerful scene as all of the men stop in their tracks allowing the music to take them to a place that they had not been in a long time.

Later Andy is talking to his friends about his little stunt with the music after he is released from isolation. Even after two weeks in the hole Andy has a joy and peace about him. Andy expresses that the music was with him even as he spent time in isolation, but his friends don't get what he is talking about. Andy explains what the music does for him, it reminds him that there is something outside of the walls of the prison. The the sound of the music brought him hope and allowed him to hope for something more then his present circumstances.

What an awesome illustration of how the beauty around us gives us hope and reminds us of God and his promises to one day make all things right. It reminds us that there is a Creator whose has blessed us. It reminds us that there is something inside all of us that longs for so much more then sin and brokenness because we have been made in God's image.

I am currently sitting at Starbucks looking outside the window while I write this post. I see beautiful yellow pansies outside, my empty mug next to me that contained a delicious Americano, the empty chair of my dear friend who was here with me just hanging out, the great music playing in my ear, and the clock showing me that in just a few hours I will be able to hug my husband again once he gets off work! I am so thankful for the beauty around me that reminds me of the hope that I have in Christ!

-Lindsey

Friday, September 30, 2011

August/September Update!

On October 8th, we face twenty-seven hours of travel, including one thirteen hour flight, only to dive into the midst of 50 adolescent students from all over Asia and the Pacific Islands. Clearly, we are gonna need your prayers!

But before we get to into that, we moved to Maryland! Mid August we sold off much of our furniture, clothes, and junk, loaded up a mostly functional Budget truck, and booked for eighteen hours across 5 state lines to arrive in Annapolis, MD. We chose to move out here because this is where Drew grew up, and because it is here that we believe we will have the greatest networks to draw from as we continue to build our support team to work with Mission to the World's (MTW) the Global Youth and Family Ministry (GYFM).


And now back to the adventure! Come mid October, we will be traveling to Malaysia. Why are we going there, you ask? Because that is where MTW is hosting the Asia / Pacific Area Retreat. These Area Retreats function as MTW's version of hospitality, and are held every four years for each continent, giving all the missionaries throughout the regions a bit of a break from their work to relax as a family, attend seminars, and generally pursue some mental, relational, and spiritual health. Each year GYFM brings a team of youth workers from around the U.S. to put on a program (picture: crazy games, worship, hilarious video skits, and a time of talking aout God's word), but most importantly to spend time with students in small groups building relationships and encouraging MKs. This will eventually be a huge part of our job once we are fully funded, but for now we have the privilege of volunteering! Please pray for us as we go!

Raising support feels like a daunting task, but an exciting one nonetheless. We continually trust in God's care and provision for us, and we are thrilled to see the ways that this is being manifested through you! We believe that each person is called to live missionally in this world bringing the gospel of reconcilliation to those who are hurting. We know that all of you have ways that you are spreading God's kingdom already, and we would like to invite you to prayerfully consider supporting us as members of GYFM as another way to further God's kingdom! By supporting us monthly through financial giving and/or through prayer you enable us to be the hands and feet that personally bring love and care to missionary kids around the world as well as to bring training to global and domestic pastors on how to reach the next generation! We would ask you to consider giving a monthly gift of $50, $75, $100 or more. We need your partnership in this! There are many ways that you can give!

MTW has online giving. Go to www.mtw.org or you can mail a check to MTW PO Box 116284 Atlanta, GA 30368. Please include our names and our account number 18294 in the memo line.

We love you! Thanks so much for keeping up with us as we launch this endeavor together!

- Drew & Lindsey

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

God's Provision

Yesterday we met with the missions committee at our church. We were really excited to share with them our vision for our ministry with GYFM and express to them how they can partner with us! Many of the people on this committee remember Drew as one of those "crazy Wilkins boys, " so it was fun for him to go in and see familiar faces of people that have loved him and his family for many years! As we sat in the board room waiting for the meeting to start we were surprised when another familiar face walked into the meeting. It was another missionary who is part of MTW coming to share what he and his family are up to while they are on home mission assignment since our church supports them. This was God's provision for us because we knew this missionary and had even ministered to his sons at an area retreat that we attended a few years ago. Drew was his oldest son's small group leader. So as we sat and explained our ministry our friend was able to express to the committee how important our ministry is and how impacted his own children have been by it. We could not have asked for anything more! He was so supportive of us and we found encouragement from hearing what he had to say. We think the committee really caught the vision and now we continue to pray that they would like to join us! God truly does provide and I love how it is often in unexpected ways!

-Lindsey

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sorry For Our Absence

It is often very hard to understand what God is doing. All of our previous posts before this one talked about how thankful we were for God's provision of a place and a home for us here in Annapolis. It's amazing how quickly I was able to lose sight of that thankfulness when our apartment started making me sick due to allergies and we came to the conclusion that we had to move. I have felt discouraged, frustrated, and overwhelmed many times these last 10 days. I have found myself saying, "It's all going to be OK and God has a plan," to "This makes no sense and I am so tired of this and just want to move back to St. Louis" In the end all of this is not really that big of a deal, but sometimes it has felt like a huge mountain standing in the way of our plans. So we are in the process of moving everything that we had settled into the apartment back into Drew's parents home and working to make a place for ourselves here. We still have lots to be thankful for, but still wrestling through all the changes. So God's plans were different then ours so we keep pouring out our hearts to him, resting in him, and trusting that one day our support will be raised. I was encouraged this morning by David's words in Psalm 61:6-8:

"He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us."

-Lindsey

Friday, September 2, 2011

Post-Scholastic Life?

When you are in school there is always the thought that one day, one sweet day, all our studies will be done. It is especially tempting during the last few years of school to let that glorious day of graduation be the day of 'arrival,' of having 'made it,' of being 'done' with learning. We have certainly felt tempted by those thoughts and have even given into them at times, but now that we have moved our tassels and received our hoods we are beginning to feel just how wrong we were. The surprise for us has not so much been that there is still more to learn, but rather how much we miss being pushed to learn it.

So what do we do? Well, we are learning that we are just going to have to sit our butts down dive back into books again. There are no more book lists, nor more required readings, and not even any more particularized fields of study that we are restricted to. Linds and I were talking about it this morning, and we decided that we need to constantly anchor ourselves in thoughts that will stretch us, grow us, and mature us, and so to begin this we are going to go back to some of the books that laid the foundation for what we believe is true and right about God, Man, Creation, and the relationships between them all. The photo below depicts some of books that have formed or are currently forming us, and that we are thinking through and reflecting on.

They are:
- Michael Williams, Far As the Curse is Found
- Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart
- Vigen Guroian, Tending the Heart of Virtue
- James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small
- Christopher Wright, The Mission of the People of God
- Kathryn Stockett, The Help
- J. K. Rowlings, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


(The chair in the above is an Ekornes chair, and if you have
never sat in one then your butt has never truly rested)

What books and thoughts have helped to form you and your approach towards life? How do you find yourself living out of these ideas in the everyday?

We are excited to revisit our past literary loves and future discoveries as we go along, and we'd love to interact with you about yours as well!

- Drew

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thankful

Mondays are our days off and we have declared them our Sabbath since both of us have to work on Sunday. We spent the day discovering parts of the area that we live in and trying to find a place for breakfast since most of Annapolis is still without power. The only coffee shop near our house that is open looked like a tornado went through it. I guess in the midst of natural disaster coffee is still a priority in most people's books. Well let's be honest it is a priority in mine. While we were driving around we saw this sign in a restaurant window:



In the afternoon we went for a 6 mile run/walk on this new favorite route near our house. As we were walking I was brought to tears out of thankfulness for how God has provided for us. We live in such a beautiful location and it is truly by God's grace and provision that we have this spot. We prayed for a place to live in Annapolis while we support raise and the Lord provided. Here are a few snap shots of the views that we get while we exercise in the neighborhood down the street from ours.





The view is spectacular and we found ourselves thanking the Lord for the beauty that surrounds us. The houses in the neighborhood are also beautiful and we always enjoy dreaming about what it would be like to live in one and own a sailboat! It makes for fun conversation while we run or walk.

Here is one of my favorite spots along the road,

I was really excited to drink from this today! :) Thank you kind neighbors!
-Lindsey

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Move!


So we made it! On the 14th of this month we packed off and/or packed up all our worldly belongs, hopped into a somewhat questionable Budget truck, and made the long drive East. It wasn't exactly a breeze, but the car didn't fall off the trailer, we avoided all collisions despite the malfunctioning tail lights and dash lights, the cat peed ONLY in the litter box during the drive, and we managed not to hydroplane off the Blue Ridge Mountains as we weathered a monsoon in the dark night of WV! Seriously, the trip was pretty rough, and we will certainly be thinking twice before we use Budget or accept "sure, we just checked 'em and all the lights are working fine" from any rental agent. But with a little help from a number of good friends, we were able to unpack the van, stash all our stuff in various basements, and begin the process of transitioning to a new address, a new context, and a new season of life.








(We even managed to make it through the exuberance of my dad upon our arrival back in MD. Yeah...he's weird, but we love him anyway)







And so we are here. Linds is getting into the groove at the church she is working at, I am getting the swing of things at my new Trader Joe's location, and life is slowly falling into place. It's fun to explore all the old haunts of Annapolis and see many old friends (they were all young friends when I left), and get to relearn the nautical culture that is so deeply seated into the veins of the city. We like it here, and we are beginning to get rather excited about the opportunity to make this our home base to being our efforts at building a team of supporters to help initiate our work with the Global Youth and Family Ministry.

We have spent the first week crashed at my parents' house up near the headwaters of the Severn River, and I don't think we'll ever get tired of the view. Each picture we took was only the best until another two minutes of sunset added more color - truly glorious!


And so it begins! We've got a lot to accomplish while we are here and we are now beginning to start strategizing ways that we can engage the challenge of support raising well, but as we are committed to keeping our readers in the loop, we need your prayers to make it all possible. The biggest "next step" for us at the moment is a trip we have scheduled this October to help host the adolescent side of things for MTW's Asia/Pacific Area Retreat in Malaysia. It's a pretty large project and we need a lot of help to get it going, but we have been fully satisfied in God's provision for us every step of the way so far and excited to follow through to see the next steps he has for this trip as well. We'll be filling in more details about this trip in the near future, and we are excited to explore ways that you all can partner with us to bring it all together!

Thanks for keeping up with us in all this, we are thrilled to have you be a part of our lives as we walk together the paths that God has laid out before us!

Much love from Annapolis!


- Drew

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Team!

So last night, for the first time, we had a Global Youth and Family Ministry team meeting! Linds and I have been volunteering and then officially working with GYFM since the spring of 2009, and since then the ranks have been doing nothing but growing. It was so exciting to be able to look down the table and see so many people that we are so excited to be working with. The term "dream team" comes to mind very often as we continue getting to know one another and spending time learning each other's personalities. Linds and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to be part of such a skilled and invested team, God has blessed us very richly! I think the word "Stoked" is probably the best way to describe our feelings.


In this picture we have:
- Global Youth & Family Ministry Team leaders Eric & Rebecca Larsen and family
- Global Youth & Family Institute Guru John & Saras Chung and family
- Ministry Assistant and TCK Ninja Ruthanne Burch
- New Team Members Jonathan and Katherine Taylor and family
- Future Asia/Pacific representatives (in Nagoya, Japan) Brooks & Riva Cain
- Future Latin America representatives (in Bogota, Columbia) Andrew & Laura Kate Lupton and family
- Future College & University representatives (in Chattanooga, TN) Drew & Lindsey Wilkins - That's US!

This is a lot of team mates, and there are even more being added to the list! We're making headway with this GYFM thing, and if you couldn't tell, we are SOOOOO excited about it! Thanks so much to all of you who are partnering with us through your friendship, encouragement, financial support, and prayers as we keep pressing forward. We love you!

- Drew

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Escape from Routine

Well let's be honest this summer has been anything but routine, but that's what summers are for, right? Drew and I escaped a few weeks ago to spend some time together, reflect on the last four years of seminary, six of marriage, and what the future might have for us. It was wonderful to get away. We turned off our phones and left the computer at home. We even unplugged the clock in the room we stayed in. It was awesome! We stayed at a really cute and relaxing B&B in Augusta, MO called the Apple Gate Inn. Augusta, MO is a little town right off the Katy trail and it is surrounded by vineyards in the middle of Missouri wine country.

Grapes ready to be picked!
Our B&B that was built in the late 1800's
Augusta is such a cute and quaint little town.


Some of the highlights of the trip were playing an entire game of monopoly - which I am not sure if anyone has ever done that before ever. I (Lindsey) beat Drew and definitely landed on Park Place three times. We also visited a few wineries and had a great time sitting on our deck enjoying the peace and quiet and reflecting together. We were celebrating our 6th anniversary a little early, and continue to fall more and more in love with each passing year! Here are a few more pictures from our time.

Drew of course could not let any of the brie go to waste and we only had one more piece of bread.
Wine on the back deck at a winery overlooking beautiful green hills and fields
Drew insisted on stopping at the Daniel Boone Memorial/grave site
On our way to the wine! :)
Yummy quiche
Those cinnamon towers were AMAZING!
A little ice tea on the deck
An unattended fruit/veggie stand outside a store. Take your veggies and leave your money in the jar.

We highly recommend an escape from your normal routine!

-Lindsey