Posts Tagged ‘patience’


The Taste of Grace

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

One of my required reads for mission preparation is Philip Yancey’s ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace’.

I am an avid reader.  The #2 definition of avid being: Marked by active interest and enthusiasm.  I love to read and taste new things with my mind.  I love to learn and feel so blessed when it is something that changes my heart to see Jesus just a little better.  I often feel like a I walk through life knowing full well that I only get a tiny speck of what the Lord is trying to convey to me, but I press on and thank Him for what he does allow me to “get”.

Back to the book.  I am loving it.  But in a bitter sweet way.  Like you take a bite of something sweet and delicious to only discover it has gone bad and taste horrible in your mouth.  You still love the dessert, but that particular piece was not the taste you expected.  I find this to be true of this subject and book because it speaks the truth that we often don’t want to recognize, but feel all the same.  We have been given the gift of grace, by God, and yet we are poor conduits of this in our own Christian walk.  We see a homeless person on the side of the road and we frown and think, ‘go get a job’.  We see a mom yell at her kids in the store and we think, ‘get a grip’.  We see our spouses or children make silly mistakes or forget things and we get angry and irritated, ‘Can’t you do anything right?’  Yet, God sees all our sins, hurts, and mistakes and he offers us grace.  Grace for us to give would be looking through God’s eyes at our world.  Looking at that homeless person and giving them a sincere smile and wave or hello and saying a prayer.  Helping if we can.  Looking at the mom in the store and realizing that we all have breaking points and do things we wish we would not have.  Praying for her and maybe offering a helping hand or a look of understanding.  Seeing our children’s silly mistakes or our spouse’s forgetfulness and applying the grace we received that made us realize God’s love when we did not deserve it.  “Oh honey, it’s ok.  We all make mistakes.” or maybe holding our temper at the forgetfulness and just repeating it for the 10th time out of love for them.  I don’t know.  But I know that I am not good at it and God is giving me a bitter bite of something good so that I can remember what it is suppose to taste like without taking it for granted.  Back to reading…

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God’s Growth Chart

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

I think I remember growth charts unfondly because they represented either being sick, or being too short to get on a ride growing up.  I am reflecting on that today for a couple of reasons.

First, my kids wanted to get measured on the door frame.  Something I have been doing for almost 19 years.  As soon as Ryan could stand he was up against the wall with a pencil on top of his head.   Now it is only the two youngest that care.  The Ryan is done growing and Bree is pretty sure she is done.  Andrew and Gabby, on the other hand, are growing like weeds.  Since October both of them have grown almost 2 inches.  The days of pants too short, and clumsiness (due to being off balance from the growth) are upon us.  I am glad that I started this tradition with my kids.  They love looking back through the years ( I transferred the information every time we moved.) and see how much they grew and when one passed the other.  They are only 22 months apart but the Gabby has come close to Andrew a couple of times.  I think those days may be over now, but they still do a good job matching up growing spurts.

Today this seems significant because of the other reason that has been on my mind.  I read today about another missionary family in Peru that sounds like a sister family.  We both are living in barns, turned homes.  We both have bugs, though I have no doubt theirs are bigger and scarier, and we both home school children that would not be classed as your “seen and not heard” children.  Normal in so many ways but, speaking of my own children, some learning difficulties that we have had to hurdle along the way.  I laughed and sympathized with much of what they had to say in their blog. 

My heart is so divided between here and Peru.  But I started thinking about how I would have handled living as they are without the time to grow in contentment.  There are many types of growth.  And as people, from the time we can express it, cannot wait to grow up.  When we are grown up we cannot wait for other things and often run ahead blindly.  We make mistakes, we learn, we grow in wisdom.  I started looking at where we were when the notions of being missionaries first hit us.  Oh we were spoiled.  Not by American terms maybe, but by most of the world’s standards.  Nice home, nice income, got what we wanted, ate what we wanted…. the list could go on.  There was much we claimed as our own.  And most would see no problem with that.  We worked hard.  We got what we worked for.  We had much growing to do before we could see God’s will for us as missionaries.  We needed to see that none of it was ours.  When we gave our lives to Christ and committed ourselves to serving Him it meant coming to terms with the whole truth, not just the parts that sounded nice.  Not just the parts that felt good.  But everything we have is God’s and we have to not just be will to reluctantly surrender it, but be willing to give it all to him if we are to truly serve Him.

This learning process has taken time.  Not time we wanted, but time God used to grow us to this point.  And I know that if there is delay in us going to the field that it is a delay that God is using for more growth.  Either for us or for others.  I am not a patient person by nature.  Once I know what I am suppose to do then I want to “get er done”!  But God did not exercise a lack of patience with his creation and I look at the time that he took so often to teach his people.  Sometimes he required much sacrifice from them and sometimes little.  But always with great wisdom and purpose did he plan out their lives and I cannot help but realize that truth in my own life.

We wanted to be to language training by the beginning of the year; this year!  We went to training last July with a time table that rushed us where we wanted to go.  I just about died when they told us that we would more than likely project going January 2011.  I think I was almost depressed about it.  I wanted to go then…not wait a year and a half.  Now, that we are 2/3 of the way to that date, I can see why, in all wisdom, they would tell us that.  There was, and still is, much to do.  Most of what we can focus on is schooling and fundraising, but I see what God has on his agenda for us to accomplish too.  One funny thing was us living in this barn/apartment.  We are living more simply than we ever have and are forgoing luxuries that we would have considered necessities at one time.  We did not plan this as training, but God did.  We have had so many vehicle breakdowns and needed to depend on God for the answers that we would not have planned out, were it our choice.  Yet God deemed these good experiences for our training. 

The one that is heaviest on my heart right now is the fundraising.  I know that God is able to provide for all our needs according to His will.  And we are confident that His will is for us to be missionaries in Peru.  For what ever reason he has deemed us to wait.  The funds are not coming in by our time table, yet we are doing all that we have learned to do.  What is God waiting for?  I don’t know.  But my faith and my heart tell me that God is teaching someone something and this is a growing time.  Maybe he has spoke to someone, or many someones, that they are to give big and He (and we) are waiting for their obedience.  Maybe there are more life lessons that He sees us needing.  Maybe there is someone or something that needs us here before we go.  We just don’t know. 

But we wait in faith and we keep our eyes on the growth chart.  Marking off the new growth and know that we are on our way to being tall enough for the ride.  Praise God for His divine wisdom.  Help us in thanking God for this and for how Great He really is.  Pray for our paitence and for God speed to always be the speed we grow at!

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Uncharted Territory

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

The part of this journey we are on involves steps in faith where we have not ventured before.  Going to people we do not know.  Sharing our passion for God’s call.  And asking people to support us.  I do not believe there is any fail safe way to do this, other than follow God’s guidance and know that if we are taking the steps, and we let Him, he will guide the way.  We have had good visits, and we have had ones where we felt like intruders.  We have gone on visits to churchs 3 days now.  Ron is taking one day a week off to be able to devote to missions preparation.  I am terribly impatient in this process.  And I need to surrender that to God.  I remember thinking last summer that a year seemed like forever when they told us that it would take that long to do this part of the process.  Now I feel like the months are slipping away and we are not able to keep up.  This forces us to deal with a lot of emotions.  We know God’s call.  But we do not have the calendar of His time line and ours is often drawn up with impatience.  We would like to petition you to pray for us during this process.  Prayer for patience for me.  Prayer for God’s will to be fulfilled.  Pray for the finances to come in His perfect time.  Maybe there is something we still need to learn before we go.  God, thankfully, knows it.

We are doing well in our homeschooling.  I cannot believe we are down to just 14 weeks of this school year.  It has really been smooth and enjoyable.  We have all learned many new things.  I am already collecting curriculum and books for next year.  Thinking ahead saves money because I can get many things used and save hundreds of dollars.  The blessing with the curriculum that I use, Sonlight, is that it fills in the gaps in what I know.  I have been so impressed because, really, it is teaching me too.  We get excited as a family as we learn new things.  The kids will say something and I am just so impressed with what they are getting out of this. 

I am on my 4th theology class.  It is a New Testament Survey Class.  I do not quite know why they call it that, at least the survey part, but I like it.  It goes over the logistics of the New Testament and I find that very interesting.  I am a logistics person.  I like to know how things tick and run and why.  I have also started a disciple journal that I found at the Goodwill.  I find the neatest things there when I least expect it.  It is a small three ring binder and it approaches your spiritual life like  you didn’t have one before.  It has tabbed sections for prayer, goals, biblestudy, worship, and discipleship.  I love it!  It calls to minds things that may escape me and it enhances my devotion time by posing the questions that I may forget to ask.  it also makes me think about things that I had never thought of before, like what does a scripture touch me, am I remembering to praise God in my prayer time, what is God saying to me in the silent moments when I am done.  All Good stuff.

Ron just finished up his first and is half way through his second (it is longer).  He has spent 2+ years doing school and working.  I am often blown away at how he can even function with all of that.  He has late nights and long days and just keeps going.  I am very proud of him for that.  He has been leading our small home group with the material from one of his classes.  It is part of his assignment.  I am really challenged by it.  I think our small group has never had such meaningful and targeted discussions before.  It is almost exausting to be touched by God so much.  Ron is a really good teacher and the Lord is teaching us both much through this.  I love it that I am not a part of the teaching.  I get to see Ron in action and I really like how he teaches.  He has such a big heart and cares for people so much and it shows in his teaching and his ability to have so much patience.

We are starting a marriage Sunday school class and are enjoying it very much.  We realize that after 20 years of marriage that you never stop needing encouragement in your life relationship.  Sometimes you can get that from each other, sometimes it helps to get it from good examples and wise couples who have traveled on the same path.  Preparing for the mission field puts all kinds of stress on a marriage and relationship and anything we can do to strengthen it will only be serving God better!

Blessings and have a great day!


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