Monday, March 10, 2014


Redefining success
I sat listening as a Zulu pastor unburdened his ministry challenges. He is a well respected community leader and an excellent testimony for the Lord. God has greatly blessed his ministry. But while listening I realized something: many of his upcoming decisions could make or break the ministry. They were sink or swim.

My next thought hit me like a mortar. For so long I have been focused on the success of “my ministry”, but here was a ministry on the verge of collapse. If his ministry failed it will be a huge blow to the spread of the gospel. The most important thing I could right now was to do was lay aside “my ministry” and focus on building up “his ministry”.
By empowering this pastor, his ministry would continue to succeed long after I am gone.  It would succeed in culturally relevant ways that I never could. And if ten pastors like him could be empowered, then their success multiplies, reaching far more people than I ever could. Enduring. Culturally relevant. Multiplying.  

As we launch into Zulu pastoral training, how I define success is very important. Will I define success by what I accomplish (how many pastors I train) or by what others accomplish (seeing pastors succeed)? I realize that my thinking needed to change. I need to redefine success. I used to define success as: seeing my ministry flourish. Sure, I was happy when others succeeded, but my success was not connected to their’s. But now, as I pour all of my energies into other pastors' ministries, their success is my success. 

Flagship vs. Submarine Ministries
To redefine success, my pride takes a direct hit. It is nice to say: "look what my ministry accomplished". There is always a strong temptation in ministry to have a flagship ministry.  Just as a naval force’s flagship is the most well known and important, a flagship ministry is the highly visible ministry that everyone sees. This is not to say that flagship ministries are wrong! They are needed. But if there is an existing flagship, a second one just gets in the way. 

In our area, more submarines are needed, not more flagships. A submarine ministry takes a different approach: empower the flagship. Just as a naval flagship has multiple submarines offering support, so submarine ministries offer support to the flagship ministry. Rarely seen. Always empowering. It exists to help the flagship succeed. That is success. 

Pray that God blesses these pastor's ministries and helps them to succeed. Pray also that I will be a faithful submarine!


Missionary Gary Strange teaching Zulu pastors

Friday, March 7, 2014


Birthdays are fun in our house.  March 4th is no exception!

Emily loves the days leading up to her Birthday celebration and constantly changes her mind as to what to have for dinner and dessert.  I never know what she will choose.

And that's what I love about Emily.

She's creative.  Funny.  Loves everything deeply.  And feels everything even deeper.

Her relationship with God is lived full force and the questions she asks always get me thinking.

She's constantly building something and "creating".  Her mind is always whirling.

Maybe that's why she changed her mind about a thousand times for her birthday dinner!

She settled on chicken and egg fried rice and ice cream sundays.  It was all yummy :)

What a blessing she is to our family!

 She sure loves her dog Duchess!

 Very surprised by Abby's gift

 Ice cream sundays with carmel sauce

10 years ago :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Every year, we try to go out to eat and celebrate God bringing us to live/work in South Africa.

Feb 28th marked seven years.  It doesn't feel like that long.  Time has gone by so fast with lots of incredibly memories.  Our children have lived here longer than in the States.  Kyle and I have lived more of our married life, here than at "home".  But, even after these 7 years there are still some days when we feel like we don't belong or don't have a clue as to what we are doing!  So, we try to take time out as a family and talk about this "journey".  It impacts each of us differently.  There are so many joys, but also a few heartaches.

I'll share some of the things we talked about:

Question #1- What to you is extra special about living in South Africa?
        Kyle- Going to the game park.  Traveling to places on my motorcycle
        Heather- traveling to some beautiful places in the country
        Abby- participating in Rhythmic gymnastics
        Emily- being a part of the Rhythmic gymnastic team
        Natalie- warm weather to swim

Question #2- What do you not like about living in South Africa?
        Kyle- the crime and being away from family
        Heather- my answer was the same as Kyle's
        Abby- lack of safety and so many different language barriers
        Emily- seeing so much suffering
        Natalie- didn't really have one :)

Question #3- What do you look forward to in this next year?
        Kyle- building into other people and pastors
        Heather- there are lots of events coming up like, my parents visiting in April, a trip home in July, Regional Conference in Oct
        Abby- making new friends
        Emily- making new friends and helping new pastors
        Natalie- playing

At Mugg N Bean waiting for our sandwiches.  We thought we were going to enjoy a nice cool lunch, but it was sooooo hot outside that the air conditioners for the mall couldn't keep up.  It was so sticky in that booth :)