Saturday, November 18, 2017

DO THAT

25 days
Over 2200 road miles
9 cities
8.5 flight hours
7 home-away-from-homes
Countless cups of coffee and chicken nuggets...
(I wish now we would have counted them just to be able to document it!)
One amazing trip!

The turbulent but beautiful view coming over the Rockies

As you may or may not know, our family embarked on a (crazy) support raising and friend visiting adventure in October. We drove to Boise, flew to Southern California, drove to Southern Nevada (and then back to Southern California), flew to Denver, flew back to Boise, and then finally drove back to North Idaho. 

It was a lot (a lot a lot a lot) of driving, a lot of flying, a lot of wrangling 5 children through airport security, and a lot of fast food :/  It was also a lot of praying, a lot of sharing, a lot of hugging, a lot of crying, and a lot of wonderful times with both old and new friends. I have trouble even picking highlights from the trip because every visit and every day was truly incredible. Xander, Zoe and Jordan got to go on special dates with their godparents. Both Xander and Zoe were reunited with their dedication buddies--- it was amazing to see the unique bond that the Lord has given Xander with John and Zoe with Mila that transcends time and distance.

One of the biggest blessings for both Nik and I was to get to spend time with almost all of our old youth students. To see them as adults, following their dreams and living out their faith, was the fulfillment of many years of love and tears and prayers and throwing potatoes at their heads when they were being stubborn. I really can't describe how thankful we are to have gotten to be a small part of their big journeys and to know them now as friends and brothers and sisters that encourage and uplift us more than we could ever say.

I wish I could share with you every moment of every day of our trip. Meeting amazing new friends at the YWAM Los Angeles base (community meals! I've missed them so much). The Lord literally giving me strength to make it through a day while I was VERY sick. A random homie approaching us at the park, talking and crying with Nik while sharing his struggle with sin and judgment and the church and his love for the Lord. Meeting a friend from facebook for the first time and feeling like our families have been best friends for years. The time we were able to give diapers to a mom in the WalMart parking lot. Our friends who welcomed our chaos into their homes and made us feel truly welcome as parts of their families. Jordan and John playing and laughing and wrestling on the floor.  Hearing about the crazy God dreams in every one's hearts and being able to say "DO THAT!"  All the coffee and ice cream and lunches and dinners and Thai food dates where we left feeling encouraged, uplifted, and honored to be able to have each and every one of these people in our lives.

The purpose of our trip was to raise financial support for our time in the Philippines, but what ended up happening was so much deeper and more significant than a dollar amount. We came home feeling refreshed, encouraged, inspired, and challenged. We felt the hand and the love of the Lord in every second of every day.



I will close with this--- as we traveled we felt this question come up, over and over, and it is a question I want to ask you--- what crazy dream has the Lord put on your heart? What crazy idea do you have that you can't let go of? It might not be "big" by the world's standards. It might not be "flashy" or "daring." Or it might be. It might be something as simple purposely loving the children you see at work every week or as complicated as starting a non profit that offers services to hearing parents who have deaf children. It might be as local as being intentional about growing a huge garden so you can give away fresh produce or as global as becoming part of the college student community in Japan. It might mean starting with the "one" through adoption or with the "many" through a podcast. Whatever it is--- DO THAT. Don't let doubts that it isn't enough or is too much stop you. Don't let comparison with what others are or are not doing stop you. Don't let yourself be talked back into normal or distracted by average or dissuaded by fear. DO THAT.

Could we take this first step together? We would love to encourage you and pray for you and your "crazy" idea. Leave a comment, tell us what is brewing, and let's all start dreaming together.

Be blessed and be a blessing
Beka (With contribution from Nik and the small humans, of course)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hello Strangers!

Hello Internet!

Sorry it's been soooooo long! We had very limited Internet access (only on our phones) which made it very difficult to update the blog.

Not to mention, we were quite busy, travelling the world and all :)

If you haven't already heard, our family has some big changes coming up:

We are moving to the Philippines!

Outreach was such an amazing, life changing experience. We fell in love with Butuan---- the places and the people and the amazing ways we saw and continue to see the Lord move there. Spending all day, every day meeting new people, fostering new friendships, and serving alongside the incredible staff in both Butuan and Cagayan De Oro was a time we will never forget. We loved it so much we couldn't wait to do it again, which is why we are going back!

Our "launch" date is January 2018--- at which time all 7 of us will be on a plane across the Pacific Ocean to our new home on the island of Mindanao. We will be serving in the children's and youth ministries that YWAM Butuan has already established, along with helping in the orphanage and street kids programs. Since we left Butuan, the two children's ministries we served at have more than doubled in size--- from 50 to now over 100 children (EACH!). These are kids that come from all over the city and are shown the love of Jesus and given a warm meal every week.

The vision and mission that the Lord put on our hearts during DTS and Outreach was for us to be a family to those who have none--- the children spending their lives in orphanages or on the streets--- and to encourage, equip and empower local families to serve together and walk out God's unique calling on their lives. During our VERY first ministry day, Beka was able to share a testimony to a group of women at a parent's ministry while the rest of the family played games and did face painting for their children. What a way to start! We are so excited to see how our vision grows and develops in the Philippines and how the Lord continues to use us in this beautiful country.

Right now we are at home in Idaho doing the hard, sometimes tedious, very emotional work of selling (almost) everything we own and preparing to say goodbye for now to our local family and friends. We are spending these next few months enjoying the time we have, making new memories, and also travelling around to reconnect with people we haven't seen in a while (and some people we have never met face-to-face!).

As YWAM Missionaries, we are 100% volunteer--- meaning we are responsible for raising our own support to cover ministry costs, travel, living expenses--- everything :) We are learning the joy and blessing that can come through building and having a team of friends supporting us through their prayers and financial gifts every month. There is a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks but we are already seeing the steadfast goodness of the Lord in this time as He uses us to share His love for the Philippines and uses others to bless us with their support and encouragement.

Stay tuned--- we will do our very best to update more regularly and will be sharing some stories close to our hearts from our time on Outreach over the next few posts :)

Be a Blessing!!
The Smith Family

If you haven't already, please join our FB Group!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/outnumberedsmiths/

Saturday, June 3, 2017

21 days to go!

In exactly 3 weeks we will be on a plane to the Philippines!

Visa applications are done, outreach meetings have begun, and we are learning to juggle and face paint :) It seems like a trivial thing, but if you have small children you know the giggles and joy that come from small acts of fun and sillyness.

We currently have $14000 of the $19000 needed for outreach, which means we are $5000 from our goal.

We would love it if you would consider financially supporting our family on this adventure in any way possible. Every dollar really does count.

Your contribution will help us and our children be able to spend 8 weeks serving and loving the people of Cagayan De Oro and Butuan and uplifting the local church in the Philippines. We will be doing one on one ministry to families in both communities as well as serving in the local churches as needed, helping out in orphanages, and doing whatever is needed by the people we meet. We are so excited to be able to share God's love through soccer games, piggy back rides, and sharing a cup of tea.

If you would like to contribute to our outreach:

Our PayPal address is
Mrthefishdude@yahoo.com

Or you can mail cash/check to:
Smith Family #208
75-5851 Kuakini Hwy
Kailua Kona, HI
96740


We love you all!
Be blessed and be a blessing!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Outreach!!!

This is real life :)
We are so excited to announce that as the second part of our Family DTS we will be travelling to Mindanao Island in the Philippines for an 8 week missions/outreach trip! We leave at the end of June and will be there until Mid August. It is going to be a great time of love, service and adventure for our family. We are looking forward to our kids being able to play with the children in the Philippines and hug all the aunties and uncles and show them love (cultural lesson of the day: auntie and uncle is a sign of respect to elders, much like how we say "Miss" or "Mister" in America.) I am excited to be able to say "God loves you so much that he sent me here to show that love, no strings attached. Just because you are valuable to him."


Our team is 6 families: 12 adults and 17 children. Our kiddos are aged infant to 17, and we have families with 0, 2, 5, 4, and 5 kids. We represent America, Korea, Singapore, Burkina Faso, and Puerto Rico. We love our team members and are thrilled to be on this amazing adventure with them!

By the grace of God our Hawaii portion of our training has been paid in full. Through lots of prayer, selling things, generosity of my parents to allow us to live with them and save our mortgage money, and "doing everything possible", we had a beautiful zero balance by the time we arrived. Our outreach portion, however, is not.

As you can imagine, it is not cheap for a family of 7 to travel overseas for 2 months. I was hesitant to share the full amount (I don't really know why...), but we estimate that the cost is going to be around $20,000. As with ALL of YWAM (yep, even the doctors and lawyers), we are self-funded missionaries, which means we are responsible for raising the funds for our trip.
We would be honored if you, our friends and family, near or far, would consider financially supporting our journey in any way you can. Every dollar really does help, as does sharing our story with your friends, church, co-workers, etc.

If you would like to contribute financially, you can send money via PayPal to mrthefishdude@yahoo.com (It should come up as Nicholas Smith).

As always, even more than dollars, your prayers are coveted! We look forward to sharing the amazing things that are going to happen on this journey! Whether you are able to support us financially or not, we feel that we are bringing a part of each of you with us to the Philippines and are thankful for your love, support and prayers :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Who are you?

Hello from the tail end of Week 2 of Family DTS!

It... has been a week. A HARD week. A challenging, questioning, ugly crying, beautiful kind of week.

This week our theme was "Identity, Destiny, and Legacy." In foundation school, our big three learned all about how special they are because God created them and loves them. Jordan is memorizing Psalm 139:14: I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it well." She made a little book all about herself and said she wants to be a Mommy when  she grows up, and wants to visit Venus and Star Wars.

To the hard stuff: What I really want to share with everyone is that we believe a lot of lies about ourselves. And about God. And about other people. Maybe they come from how we are raised, or something someone said about us once and we internalized it, or a way we were treated for years. Maybe we were being taught by people that just didn't know any better.

You are not who others say you are.

You are not the faults that other people put on you, the rejection others send your way, or the crappy things their actions imply.

You are valuable.
Your words have power and they need to be heard.
Your love is healing and it needs to be shared.
God speaks to you and it is enough.
You are HIS masterpiece.
The way you relate to others is unique and important.
The way you hear from the Lord is sufficient in the most complete and perfect way possible.
You have not been forgotten.
You are likeable.
You have not missed your boat.
You are not beyond repair.
You are able.
You are not the sum of your mistakes.
You are not a burden to God or to others.
You are the evidence of His grace, mercy, and love.
You are a VITAL piece of His creation.

YOU are loved. You ARE loved. You are LOVED.





Sunday, April 9, 2017

First Impressions

Hello from beautiful Kona, Hawaii!

I can't believe we are actually HERE. It seemed like it would never happen... I actually had myself convinced the plane was going to crash in the Pacific and I'd be evading smoke monsters and hiding from The Others for the next 3 years...

But we are here! It has been a crazy 3 days (which started with a 4 hour delay in Seattle, which led to us. Sing the VERY last of 600+ people to arrive) and my brain is TIRED. We start classes tomorrow but we've already met a bunch of people- including someone from Rathdrum. What the what? INW is representing at DTS this quarter!!

Some highlights: Jordan and Zoe have already met their best friends, and leave it to my little socialites to find girls from two different countries- Zoes BFF is from Canada, and Jordan's is from South Korea.
We made it to the beach today... it was 1/2 a mile of highway hiking, but we made it!
Hawaiian culture- I'm obsessed. I had to stop myself from stalking the islanders in a Walmart (yes, made it there too--- 3 mile hike round trip) and asking them to adopt me.
Everyone being so welcoming and friendly to our family.
Currently hearing 3 different languages being spoken outside my window (Korean, Norwegian, and English).
Being able to learn in-person from Lauren and Darlene Cunningham (the founders of YWAM)
Not having to prepare, cook, or clean up after a single meal. And the food is GOOD.
The three bigs loving their school (they had a half day Friday.) They didn't even want a weekend, they wanted more foundation school!!
Spending time with our awesome cousin/nanny.
So. Much. Jesus. :D

Love from all, to all!!!
Xoxoxo
The Smiths

Thursday, March 16, 2017

FAQs

Aloha again our friends!

We are T-Minus 3 weeks to saying goodbye (for now) to the INW and Aloha to beautiful Kona, Hawaii. Jordan and I decided it would be a good time to sit down and answer some of our most frequently asked questions for everyone, so here goes.

Where will you be staying?
Jordan: At an apartment in Hawaii.
Beka: We will be staying at the YWAM campus in Kona. Think university dorms/suites, but without the shared bathroom.

How long will you be gone?
Jordan: 3 months. Then I have no idea, but we're going to different countries!
Beka: We will be in Kona for 12 weeks of "classroom" training, and then 8 weeks of international outreach.

Where will you be going on outreach?
Beka: The short answer is, we don't know. The long answer is, our leaders have been and will be praying about outreach locations and then will let us know the options a few weeks in, at which time our family will get together and pray about it and then submit our list in order of preference, and then the leaders get together and select the final teams for each location. Some areas we know they have gone in the past: The Philippines, Uganda, Norway and the U.K., Mexico.

What about your house?
Jordan: People are renting it.

What will the kids be doing?
Jordan: We will be going to missions school. We will be learning about Jesus and eating cake. (Now she's begging me "please just erase that! Don't write that! Moooommmm!")
Beka: Jordan, Zoe and Xander will be in Foundation school where they will be learning the same stuff we are. Silas and Rachael will be with our nanny, Nik's cousin Kym. We will be doing family outreach once a week in Hawaii, as well as family worship with our school, all-campus worship, and family days every week with Foundation school.

Are you excited?
Zoe (who just walked in): Yep. Well... I'm just excited. Hawaii. HAWAII! The beach!
Jordan: Yeah, very excited! But a little nervous. I'm excited to see all the trees and giant snails, I'm excited about learning and going to lava tunnels. I'm hoping to do lots of worship, I expect God to do lots of miracles, like heal people and make them feel Jesus.
Zoe: I'm also excited about going to the school and making new friends.
Beka: Yes. We are excited. And ready. And also aware that with growth comes growing pains, so I guess it's fair to say my excitement is a little tempered by knowing that ;)

Was it expensive?
Beka: Yes. Hahaha. Relatively, no. But yes, getting 8 people to Hawaii and paying for room and board is not cheap. It has emptied our pockets and cost us more than everything we have. God has been so good to providein ways we never thought possible, and it has helped build our faith to trust Him to continue to provide for the rest of the costs coming up.  Just last night I felt the Lord telling me "It cost me everything I have to love you, it's ok if it costs you everything you have to follow me." I feel a lot of peace about selling everything to buy the field, so to speak (see Matthew 13:44).

What will you miss the most?
Jordan: Nonnie and Papa. And Rachael and my brothers and sisters when I'm at school.
Zoe: Nonnie and Papa, ok?
Xander: Nonnie and Papa and my friends.
Silas: Volcanoes! (He's got a one track mind. He heard Hawaii and went straight to volcanoes).
Beka: My parents, my friends and my church. And Paul Bunyan burgers!

What are you going to do after?
Beka: Again, the short answer is: we have no idea. I believe the Lord has a vision and a plan for us and am trusting that during this time of slowing down and spending extended time with him, He will reveal those things to us in a clear, distinct way which will allow us to really focus in a way we haven't been able to. But I have no idea what that will look like or what steps that will lead is to once we are done.

How can we pray for you?
Jordan: I would like you to pray that we would have a safe trip and that our trip is fun. I would like prayer for when we meet people that don't know Jesus to meet Jesus and know him.
Silas: For Jesus!
Xander: That everyone will be ok.
Beka: That Nik and I and the kids adjust well. That we are able to be honest and genuine with ourselves and others. That we keep the Lord and who he is as our focus always, and that we are able to remember the gifts are tools but giving glory to the giver is our ultimate and only purpose. That everything here in Idaho runs smoothly while we are gone.

If there is anything we didn't cover... feel free to ask!