29 December 2007

We Have Become Skypers

Have you heard of Skype? Well I hadn't until I began reading blogs of missionaries and learned of this wonderful, free downloadable software. It allows computers to connect to one another (much like email) but has text, voice and video capability. Robert purchased a web-cam with Christmas money. My parents and in-laws have just purchased web cams as well. And now, we can call each other and see each other live on our computers as we're talking. That may not be amazing to some of you, but it just about knocks my socks off.

What this means is that when we are in Brazil we will be able to SEE and talk to our loved ones all the time through our computers, for FREE! Blessings abound! If you have a skype account and want to add someone else with skype to your list of contacts, all you need is their email address.

My very old computer will not do the video, and it only has a 50% success rate with the audio. But Robert's laptop works great and it works well for our family. However, my computer does very well with text messaging, so if you want to try it out, my email address is kerrihamilton@cebridge.net. Robert's is roberthamilton@cebridge.net.

Happy Skyping!

Another Good Soup Recipe

We're having taco soup tonight. Another one of my and Robert's favorites. Kids?--not so much. They're having Wacky Mac, pineapple and baby spinach.

Here's the recipe (and it's EASY!):

Taco Soup
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion
2 cans Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 can Rotel
1 can corn
1 can cream corn
2 cans Ranch Style beans
2 cans Great Northern Beans
1/4 c. taco seasoning

Chop onion and brown with ground beef in skillet. Drain off the grease. Blend Mex. stewed tomatoes & Rotel in blender, then pour into pot. Add meat, corn, crm. corn, Ranch Style beans, Northern beans, and 1/4 c. taco seasoning. That is IT! The longer it cooks, the better. It's done when the flavor is rich and it has a thick soup/stew consistency. You can eat it with cheese on top and tortilla chips or with cornbread. It's great both ways. Fritos and a dollop of sour cream might be good too, if you like those things. (You could actually use almost any type of bean you want, but the recipe as is, is very tasty, and very easy.)

26 December 2007

A Wonderful Christmas!

This was a wonderful Christmas for me and our family. If we stay on our current schedule, it was our last Christmas in the states for quite a while, but it couldn't have been better.

Here's some things I loved about it:

  • that God loved us so much He became one of us, lived a perfect life and then chose to pay the price for our wrong-doing in giving His life
  • Christmas Eve with church family whom we love
  • Christmas Day with my parents who are so beloved and precious to all of us
  • Christmas Eve day of children opening gifts from our loved ones in Alabama
  • Christmas cookies that we made and decorated
  • how we did gifts . . . our family of six drew each others names and every one put a lot of thought into the gift(s) they purchased for their select recipient
  • our time together
  • the blessing of many friends who are so dear to us
  • hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • "What God Wants For Christmas"
  • hay ride and the chopping down of our Christmas tree
  • the loveliness of the tree all decorated and lit
  • the wonderful Christmas card given to Robert and I by my parents
  • Christmas cards we received from friends (especially the ones with pictures)
  • our family privately shopping for Christmas angels
  • our church family shopping for Christmas angels
  • our Advent wreath and the times we celebrated the first advent of Christ together
  • the Christmas pageant at our church
  • reading our Christmas books
  • my dad's steaks
  • learning about the "turducken" (a partially deboned turkey stuffed with deboned duck, stuffed with deboned chicken stuffed with stuffing) that my in-laws cooked for their Christmas dinner in Alabama . . . intriguing, isn't it?
  • the excitement of children at Christmastime
  • our children's expressions of love for God in their prayers, their songs and their art

Our Willingness to Just Be Relational

God works through our relationships in drawing others to Himself. Here's a Christmas story of salvation called "An Awesome Christmas Gift". It is a story of God blessing our willingness to just be relational with other people. I hope you are blessed and encouraged by it.

Let's make investments in relationships . . . it's really why we're still here on earth and not home in heaven yet!

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Cor. 4:6

24 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are . . .
I John 3:1

May you and your family be overwhelmed and blessed by the love of our Lord!

23 December 2007

Very Funny!

Take a close look at this magnetic nativity book set. What about this is just wrong?

No, it's not the wise men . . . although the wise men were never at the manger. Jesus was actually toddler age when the wise men got to Bethlehem, and I doubt Mary and Joseph lived in the stable during all that time!!!

This is even funnier . . . something definitely out of place.

Scroll back up and look again.

Did you find it?

Here it is:


20 December 2007

Tah Dah!

We have done it! We have requested a job assignment with the International Mission Board that has been reserved for us. Knowing where we are going gives feelings of relief, privilege, excitement, sobriety and love.

After running the long, arduous course of education on the lostness of so many parts of the world, we have settled on one place in particular. This has been difficult. Our hearts have been broken for so many regions and people groups in this process.

Before going on with the specifics, let me encourage everyone: educate yourself on the lostness of our world . . . places like South Asia that is referred to as the "heart of darkness" and the thousands of people groups (over 6,000) who await someone to come and tell them about Jesus.
The lost are everywhere. Right now our world population is 6.61 billion. The population of unreached people groups is 2.72 billion. That's 41%. Unreached means they don't have the gospel. Staggering, isn't it?

Visit the Joshua Project or People Groups .Visit the International Mission Board and read about opportunities to go . . . short term, long term, ministry teams from your church (from teenagers to retirees), your family vacation, so on and so on. Give to the Lottie Moon offering that goes to support over 5,300 missionaries who are already engaged with lost people groups.

There are lost here in the U.S. - - everywhere, and ministry in the culture in which we are a part is so important. We are blessed to know so many who pastor, teach, lead, foster, adopt, do prison ministry, counsel the unwed pregnant, share Christ with neighbors, co-workers, grandchildren, and the list goes on. But God has asked us to go, and we've said yes. Finally, we know where!

Here's the whole scoop! We are going to Caxais do Sul in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, South America. There is much we don't know, but here's some things we do know:

  • The city of Caixas do Sul is the center of Italian culture in Rio Grande do Sul, and in southern Brazil. It is also the least evangelized city in the state. It is located in the northern mountainous region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
  • Brazilians of Italian descent are one of Brazil's least evangelized cohesive people groups. Due to their isolation and density of numbers (about 540,000), Italians in the state of Rio Grande do Sul have proven to be particularly resistant to evangelization, in a state that is known for being the most resistant to evangelization (southern Brazil is one of the biggest challenges)
  • Brazilian Portuguese will be the primary language of use and study, but we will be learning Italian as well for the evangelization of the smaller rural communities where Italian is still the "heart language" of the people. Language study and cultural acquisition will take approximately one year.
I am overjoyed to have an assignment reserved for us through the IMB. We still have many steps to complete prior to actually engaging this group of people known as the Gaucho. Thanks for your prayers.


19 December 2007

Our Meeting Yesterday

This second meeting with our IMB Candidate Consultant went very well.

We were asked a lot of questions based on the written materials we have submitted (life sketches, autobiographies, and Christian belief statements) medical questionnaires, etc.

We talked in detail about the rest of the process and about the job assignments we are contemplating.

We are choosing between two jobs: one is in Brazil and another is in South Asia . . . opposite sides of the world to be sure.

We will be doing much research in the next several days. Please keep us in your prayers as we are continuing to seek God.

Let me share a blessing: The friend I had lined up for childcare ended up needing to tend to her sick child. I called another dear friend of ours at about 8:00 a.m. She tweaked her plans for the entire day to stay with our children. It was a tremendous blessing, and our children had a wonderful day. We drove 2 1/2 hours both ways to a meeting that lasted 2 1/2 hours. She cared for our 4 children ages 7 and under for 7 1/2 hours. (It was very hard for me to not share our news with her. But we're close to being able to share this with everyone, and I'm pleased about that!) I'm thankful for dear friends who will sacrifice to help a friend. If you ever read this Tamara, thank you!

"O Katherine! My Katherine!"

She hears this occasionally from me . . . and one day, when she's a little older, I'll read her the poem that I loosely take it from. (written by Walt Whitman in homage to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln after his assassination: "O Captain! My Captain!") I hope she likes it as much as I do.

Today is my Katherine's birthday.

Wow, I cannot believe my girl is seven years old. She was just close enough to 5 pounds when she was born . . . close enough for the hospital to let us take her home. She was born just a couple weeks early, but I had pre-eclampsia and she had lost weight prior to her birth. She was born fast, beautiful, healthy and as tiny as a baby doll.

Katherine is intelligent, reserved, enormously helpful, service oriented, creative, artistic and very conscientious. Did I say artistic? That is an understatement!

She also is brave when she wants to be, loves any kind of adventure and can run longer (without tiring) than anyone else in our family.

She is a writer of love notes . . .to everyone in our family and to God.

She is a reader . . . 7 years old today and starting her 4th chapter book (she's reading the Magic Tree House series, a chapter each school day.) She reads the Beginner Bible as well in conjunction with where we are in our Bible study and then various other books.

She accepted Christ as her Savior on September 26, 2006 at the age of five. She has a hunger for God's Word and delights in the Bible training she receives.

She struggles with mothering her siblings and employing honesty in all circumstances, but has grown leaps and bounds in these areas and continues to grow.

She is burdened for the lost and continues to pray daily for a boy she met at Chick-Fil-A named Sebastian that does not know God.

I'm blessed to have her for my daughter.

I love you Katherine! Happy Birthday!

(sorry for all the changes in font . . . editing trouble)

18 December 2007

Join Me For a Cup of Hot Chocolate, part 1

As I sit here enjoying my marshmallow laden cup of hot chocolate my thoughts are many. I'm thinking about the privilege it is to be God's child . . . adopted by Him at such a high price. That, in and of itself, is an outstanding reality that necessitates other mentionable blessings to be listed separately.

Those blessings would be many such as family, children, friendships, the surrounding beauty of God's creation, innocence, laughter, music, balloons, a cozy bed, a comfortable couch, water for bathing and drinking and swimming, a good cup of coffee, an icy cold diet coke and, yes, a marshmallow laden cup of hot chocolate. We enjoy these things because God has made us capable of enjoying them.

So here's my question: When is it that we become consumers rather than just recipients of God's immeasurable graciousness? It is when we turn our eyes on ourselves instead of keeping our focus on God. We are intended to live the Christian life with an eternal perspective. Living our lives most definitely IN the world, engaged IN the world, but never OF the world. It is a complex calling that is ours. Our citizenship is in Heaven. We have to be purposeful in our lives . . . moment by moment, looking for every opportunity.

Jesus said “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.” This means we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. When we do this, we see things as God wants us to see them. When we do this, others are drawn to Christ as we are full of His light.

These are the things that matter most: knowing God, time in His Word, talking with God, and people who are dying every day and do not know Him.

Heb 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

17 December 2007

Change of Date, Change of Heart & Coveting Your Prayers

Our in-depth interview with our IMB Candidate Consultant will be tomorrow instead of Wednesday. It just happened that this change worked better for him and works for our "babysitter" as well. As you pray for us, please pray for our dear friend Pam who will have our children. Caring for four children ages 6 and under all day is no small task!

As you know, we have been intently looking at opportunities in the South Asia region. As we learned more about this area, often referred to as the "heart of darkness", our hearts were broken for the predominance of lostness in this area. We've reviewed a host of people groups and IMB job descriptions. But we have yet to find the one group of people that God tells our hearts "YES! - I want you here." In case we are confusing just a general burden for the lost with the specific area God wants us to go, we are beginning to include other parts of the world in our search. Please pray for us. God has told us to go, and we've said yes. But in choosing where we will go, we are seeking God's clear voice and a God-given, inexplainable, deep love for a particular people group.

After prayer and much conversation we have sent off for some other job descriptions. One of them is to the unengaged, very secularized Jews of Brazil. Those of you who know us very well know that we already have a strong love for the Jews (many stories about the history of this, but must wait until another time). We will be considering as well a couple of opportunities to share Christ in the Pac Rim region to animistic catholics, an opportunity to the Italian-Brazilians in Brazil and another to non-muslim South Asians who are in the UK.

One of my original prayer requests was prayer for where in the world God wants us to go. Partner with us in continuing to pray as we feel God prompting our hearts to be in tune with His in finding the place He would have us to go.

12 December 2007

Sore Throats and Winter Recipes

It's another "sick day" for us . . . school continues to be out. The 3 oldest have sore throats and sporadic fevers. The doc determined it was viral, not strep. So we're waiting it out with Motrin & Tylenol as needed.

We did make some hot chocolate mix today. This is the best hot chocolate EVER! Here's the recipe:

3 2/3 c. Nestle Quick
10 2/3 c. dry milk
3 3/4 c. powdered sugar
4 2/3 c. dry coffee mate

Heaping 1/3 c. mix to one coffee cup hot water. Top with marshmallows (of course) and enjoy!

Tonight, by special request, we're having chicken and dumplings. It is very good. But I'm looking forward to potato soup. Last year I trial and errored until I came up with this recipe. It is very good.

1/2 onion chopped very well
1 clove garlic minced
6 c. chicken stock (can use broth if no stock)
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
diced potatoes to desired amount (depends on the size of your pot!)
chopped baby spinach leaves (to desired amount)
2 c. half and half

Cook onion, garlic, butter and potatoes with salt and pepper in stock until done. Take some stock out, add 2 T. flour to it and then add back in. Add chopped spinach and cook a little longer. Add 1/2 & 1/2 at the very end and serve.

Nothing about either of these recipes is low in calories, but oh, are they tasty! Enjoy!

11 December 2007

School's Out!

Second day of no homeschool this week . . . sick kids. My guess is strep throat. I'm taking the sickest (Elizabeth) to the doc this afternoon to see if he will confirm my hypothesis. If so, we'll get meds for all 3. Elizabeth & Joseph have fever and soar throat, Katherine, who started symptoms later than the others, is sure to follow suit.

(We'll do some Bible and read favorite books, but that's about it!)

Samuel is doing better with ear infection. It is my understanding that 18 month olds don't get strep, but I'm not certain about that. The earliest any of the others had strep was 3. If you know different, let me know!

Exposure: would have to be Target or Toys R Us . . . shopping for Christmas "angels"

And now for something completely different: Huckabee is climbing up in the polls. I'm excited about that. He's actually the only candidate with a shot at the Pennsylvania Street address that I would be able to vote for. (I could never vote for anyone who is pro-abortion or someone who is married to a cultic religion . . . casting a vote for the lesser of two evils is not something I feel comfortable doing.)

Share Christ's love with someone today!!!

10 December 2007

My Long Hiatus.

It's been a month since my last entry. I have so many ideas for blogging, but so little time. There's much to tell of kids, our progress of becoming missionaries through the IMB, and my current personal thoughts on God's revelation of Himself through Elijah (the kids and I are currently studying him, and he's about to pass the baton on to Elisha).

I have one with ear infection and two with mystery high fever at the moment so this will be sketchy at best! (make that 3 - - Katherine has fever now as well). Poor kiddos!

  1. Thanksgiving was wonderful . . . our last in the states. My parents, brother & his family along with Robert's parents, his sister and daughter were all here. It was a blessing to have everyone together.

  2. We're meeting with our IMB consultant on December 19th for our first in-depth interview. We've both written and submitted autobiographies, life sketches, Christian belief statements, reference forms for us and our children, and transcripts from universities and seminaries.

  3. Our family has stumbled on the opportunity this Christmas to shop for 30 children who have been designated as needful this Christmas season. That has been a blessing to all of us. Our church shopped for a total of 80 and for a local crisis family center.

That's us in a nutshell . . . please pray for our 4 kiddos who are sick with high fevers at the moment.