Friday, 20 December 2013

Prayer Requests

As you know, we continue to need constant prayer for our ministry, our support raising and our journey towards full time work with eMi Canada.  We humbly ask that our supporters in prayer join us in praying for a few people we love.

- A close friend of ours was rushed to the hospital with dangerous blood clots that required heart surgery.  She is thankfully now out of the hospital and recovering well.  Please pray for her continued healing and thank God that she is ok.

- Another close friend passed out and had a seizure while teaching a class of students.  The problem is unknown at this point, but please pray for her health going forward

- Liz's Dad recently underwent tests that determined he has prostate cancer.  The doctors have advised that he should have surgery, which is scheduled for January.  Please pray for his health, for our family and for the doctors advising him and performing the surgery.

- Braden's cousin was in a bad car accident and is in the hospital in life-threatening condition.  Miraculously, he has no broken bones or massive blood loss, but suffers from brain injury.  The doctors are unsure of his prognosis.  He remains unconscious, but is showing small signs of improvement.  Please pray for his immediate family especially, as well as our extended family.  Pray that God's grace, love and mercy would be evident, and that ultimately he will make a full recovery from his injuries.

- Braden's brother broke his jaw in two places in a hockey game earlier this week and now has his jaw wired.  Please pray that it heals quickly and that he will feel relief from the pain.


Pray that in everything, those affected can remember to trust God completely...




The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths 
for His name's sake.
Even though I walk 
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your road and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.



Thank you in advance for your prayers for us, our friends and our family. We are so grateful to have so many supporters, encouragers and prayer warriors.

Blessings to you and your family this Christmas!



Love,


Liz & Braden


ACDP Conference Houston

Below is another delayed blog post. Sorry again!

November 21, 2013


I've had the good fortune of having a couple of opportunities to escape our horrendous Calgary winter so far.  The first was Mexico in late October.  The second was Houston in mid November.

ACDP stands for the Associations of Christian Design Professionals.  In short, it is an organization consisting of eMi staff as well as former and current volunteers, interns and supporters of eMi interested in learning more about designing in the developing world.  Each year, a conference is held somewhere in the US with workshops, worship and connecting time.

Now that I am actually working in the eMi Canada office, I went to this year's conference in the much-more-agreeable climate of Houston.  I had the privilege of attending workshops, reconnecting with other eMi staff and integrating myself more into eMi's ministry.  I was also asked to lead worship for the weekend.  I was so blessed to be able to contribute in this way along side two other eMi staff, and eMi intern and a conference attendee fairly new to eMi.

Worshipping at the ACDP Conference (I'm in the red shirt by the piano)

























I learned a lot during the weekend, and had some amazing, encouraging conversations with other staff and volunteers.

More than anything, I was blessed and encouraged by the passion this group shares (myself included).  We were reminded of God's love for the poor and the broken.  The "Beatitudes" from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount say:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.



A Canadian eMi volunteer helping to assess water needs
in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan 
When I look at those Jesus say are blessed - the poor in spirit, the merciful, the peacemakers and so on - every single one has been encountered on eMi trips multiple times.  We have mourned with victims of Typhoon Haiyan and the earthquake in Haiti.  We have served with peacemakers in Africa and the Middle East.  We have helped bring water to those who have been persecuted because they follow Jesus.  We have met some of the most meek, merciful, pure in heart servants of God.  And we strive, as a body of believers, to be men and women that hunger and thirst for righteousness.




To have so many people who share such an intense passion for this work in one room was incredible. We came together not as saints, not as perfect people, not better than any other human being - but as a group of people God has called to serve him in a very specific and rewarding way.  It makes me even more excited to continue on our journey towards full time work with eMi, and Liz and I are both so thankful that God has called us to serve him in this capacity.



Braden






Mexico

Below is a delayed blog post. Sorry we've been so bad at keeping up to date!

November 7, 2013









Never have I felt taller than I did during my time in CamalĂș. Or younger for that matter (ok I guess I've felt younger, but not this much in a while).  I travelled with 10 other men (all over 50 years of age) to the small, mostly indigenous town along the west coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.  Our job was to build a roof on the expansion of a small church in a new neighbourhood.  I don't think I met one person at this church that was less than half a foot shorter than I was (and I'm only 5'10") - but, maybe ironically, I didn't meet one person I didn't look up to in some way.

"Church life" in a new, small community in rural Mexico is a lot different than here in Canada.  The pastor's house was literally two steps from the Sunday school room that was being built.  Almost all labour was being done by church members - men, women and teenagers who took
time off of work and school to help lay blocks, mix concrete, prepare food and clean up for the multiple services each week.  Without "vacation time", "banked hours" or large savings accounts, the sacrifice of taking time off work is that much greater.  Despite this, each volunteer seemed happy to be there - excited to do their part in helping build God's Kingdom here on earth. 

The roof after day 2


Our team was down there to help finish off the addition to their existing church building.  The walls were up when we arrived, but a roof was still needed.  

Since the Mexicans have much less experience working with wood than Canadians (most of the wood and shingles were actually manufactured in Canada), this was a great way for us to help.



Unlike the two other trips I've been on to Mexico, we actually worked along side the members of this Mexican church.  We showed them a bit on how to work with wood, they showed us a bit on how to work with concrete block.  

We didn't show up in a whirlwind, do our
work, and leave in a rush.  We spent time together.  We learned to communicate despite language barriers.  We broke bread (tortillas) together.















As expected, we got the roof done (with time to spare).  The specifics of how everything got done seem much less important now.  In reality, the roof isn't really the "product" of the trip.  I think we all, Mexicans and Canadians, experienced one important thing.  Our many differences - cultural, language, height and otherwise - are insignificant compared to the faith we have in common.

Our "hermanos y hermanas" (brothers and sisters) greeted each other and us with "Dios le bendiga".  God bless.  And he certainly did on this trip.


I could share a lot more stories - how our first rental van blew a wheel bearing, about the amazing local food we had, and about the missionaries we stayed with.  Feel free to ask me about it if you want.  More than anything though, I will remember the feeling of all of us coming together as ONE church, ONE body filled with ONE Spirit.  I'm especially blessed - I get to look forward to experiencing this many more times on eMi trips.  SĂ­, Dios me ha bendecido.

Here's a few more pictures...



























































Adios!


Braden

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Summer Update

Hey Everyone!


Liz and I apologize for the lack of updates on here.  Please know that we intend to update our blog more frequently this fall.

It has been almost four months since I started working two days each week at Engineering Ministries International.  Each week has been a constant confirmation of our calling to this ministry.  It's been such a blessing to feel EXCITED to get to work on Thursdays and Fridays!

In these last few months, we've had our summer interns come (in May) and go (earlier this month).  We had four amazing girls interning as architectural and civil-structural-environmental engineering students. Part of my job here has been putting together their orientation, teaching them to run survey equipment and spending time with them in and out of the office.  I learned a lot from them, and they reminded me that our intern program is a large part of our ministry as I saw each of them grow in their faith, their relationship with God and their calling in addition to their professional experience.



Braden with three of the four interns (left-to-right: Susan, Andrea and Kari) 
in Banff during a staff/intern trip in June





















The fall promises to be a busy but exciting time for us as well.  We really hope you'll join us in prayer as these things happen between now and Christmas:

Two new interns will be arriving after the September long weekend.  They are currently attending orientation in Colorado Springs and will have more orientation to our Canada office when they arrive here.  They will be travelling to Ecuador in October with Kevin for their eMi project trip.

I will also get to do some travelling this fall.  I will be on a trip to Mexico with some of the men from our church for a building project from October 25th to November 3rd.  I will also get to attend the annual Association of Christian Design Professionals (ACDP) conference in mid-November in Houston.  This conference involves multiple workshops on professional architecture, engineering, surveying, disaster response and cross-cultural ministry within the context of Engineering Ministries International.

Please continue to pray for us as we raise support towards full-time work here.  God has been so good to us and he continues to reveal his call for us at eMi Canada every day.  He reminds both of us of this promise frequently:


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7


Love y'all!


Braden and Liz

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Milestone!

Dear Friends,

Today is a huge milestone for Braden and I and we are very excited to share. Today was Braden's first day of work at eMi. Praise God! He has started half time there and will be in the office on Thursday and Friday's.

When we began this journey in 2011 I'm not quite sure we realized what it would completely entail. The ups and downs that we have experienced have honestly been amazing. God has shown us SO much about his love, mercy and his plans for our life. He has reminded us through it all that HE is the one in charge. We can make our plans, and we can make our decisions. But at the end of it all, He will be the decision maker. He will choose the outcome and the timing. 

There is something so beautiful about surrendering your life to Christ. There is also something so absolutely terrifying about it. I know I've mentioned this in previous posts, but God has really challenged us in every aspect of our life. We cannot simply choose the portions of our life we are going to let Him in on. He has challenged us to surrender it ALL to Him! From our finances, to the sale of our condo, to the purchase of our home! In so many ways life could be easier if Braden and I just chose what we were going to do without His guidance. It would make sense for Braden to continuing pursuing a secular career. He is incredibly intelligent and has the ability to make a 6 figure salary. But that isn't what God has called us to. He called us to do something different. Something that has been hard for us. But something that has been so absolutely beautiful and rewarding.

Today, Braden was able to start working for eMi because of God's amazing plan. He was able to begin because we have had an amazing group of people rally around us. People who have supported us financially and prayerfully. Thank you so much if you are reading this. Every prayer and cent that has been poured into us has gotten us to where we are today.

I want to ask specifically that you would pray that Braden would receive full funding within the next few months. It is incredible that he has begun half time, but the goal is still to get him to full time there. We have a ways to go - but we know God will provide it. 

God, you are SO good. You have been faithful to us. You have been merciful to us when we have doubted your plan. You have been there through it all. Thank you Father for your beautiful path for us. Thank you for continuing to bless Braden so that he can bless this ministry. 

A certain Chris Tomlin song has been playing through my head recently.
"And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?"

Please continue to pray for us. We are so thrilled about where God is taking our journey.

Love,
Liz

Monday, 4 February 2013

While I'm Waiting

This morning I've been listening to our local Christian radio station. I heard a song that was new to me and the lyrics really struck me. Search for it on YouTube. I feel it is so perfect for the place Braden and I are at right now in our eMi journey. 

Here are the lyrics.


John Waller - While I'm Waiting
I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting

I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord
- - - 

I love how our God is so faithful. And I love how He asks us to worship Him even in times that are difficult. Our God is so good! 

"Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise." James 5:13

If you are reading this today, Braden and I pray that you would find peace in knowing that God is always taking care of you. Praise Him today whether you are confused, sad, broken, happy or excited. 

Love, 
Braden & Liz

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Happy New Year!


I cannot believe how much I have slacked on this blog. If you have checked on here at all since MARCH - then I apologize! Our lives got crazy busy.. even more busy than we thought it could have! This post will be a recap on 2012 from where I left off!

At the end of April last year I (Liz) left my job of three years. It was time for a change. Since I'm young now (and want to eventually be a stay at home mom!) I figured it was time to move around and find something else. God put that restlessness in my heart and I needed to follow that! I went to another job for a few months and soon realized it was also not the right place for me. That turned into 5 months of unemployment. It was a very important season of my life. I had some health issues and needed to re-strengthen my relationship with the Lord.This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
In August we were preparing to drive down to Colorado for eMi New Staff and Intern Orientation. We were super excited to have some time together and make some new memories. We love going on road trips together. It would be a very long drive but we were looking forward to turning it into a vacation. A few days before we were supposed to leave, Calgary got a brutal hail storm. Since we were living in our condo, with no underground parking, I sat inside while I watched the golf ball sized hail pummel into our little car. It was a 2004 Mazda3 Hatchback that we had only had for exactly one year. I was praying that it wasn't actually doing any damage. As soon as it let up Braden and I walked into the parking lot. Immediately we knew it was bad. The entire parking lot was filled with other residents that all had a somber look on their faces. Our little car was absolutely covered in dents. There were dents in the dents! Every inch of the car! Roof, doors, side panels, hood - everything. And our windshield had several cracks. We could NOT believe it. We were supposed to be driving this car several thousand km in only a few days. The very next morning I called our insurance company at 630am and they arranged an appraisal of the damage - 2 days before we were supposed to leave. We pulled into the bay where the company was located and both of the men's jaws dropped. We knew it must be bad. The appraiser stopped adding up the damage when he got to $11,000 worth. He told us on the spot that our vehicle would be written off on insurance and that we would receive a lump sum of the value of the vehicle. We were devastated. It was an incredibly reliable vehicle. We told the man that we were taking the car on a road trip down to Colorado in 2 days. He told us to go ahead and take it anyways and that we would work everything out with insurance when we returned in 2 weeks. That was a huge answer to prayer for us.

We went ahead with our vacation/roadtrip/orientation and it was an incredible 2 weeks. We loved every moment of being with our eMi famliy. It was great to meet more of the staff. Everyone had heard about us and was excited to meet us. No one could believe how young we were. It was really exciting for us to tell our testimony about how we had gotten involved with eMi. It never ceases to amaze us how God calls so many of us so differently to the same ministry. We truly did feel that these people were our extended family. We still talk about our time with them and how much we miss everyone. We can't wait until our next get together. It was a huge affirmation of where God has called us.

We had lived in our condo for 2 years and had very quickly outgrown our tiny 500 sq ft condo. In the fall we spoke with our incredible Realtor and decided it was time to put our condo up for sale. Within ten days we had our first showing on the condo and got our very first offer on it. We were over the moon! The next day we were excited to start looking to put an offer on a home. That same day we found out that our pre-approval amount on a new place was significantly lower than what we were told. We were so confused and frustrated. There were already hardly any properties that fell into our budget. Now cutting that down we thought there was no way we would find a house in the part of Calgary where our jobs and church are.

There were tears. A lot of tears.. We were both so upset. How would we find a home? With our condo conditionally sold we were starting to panic! I stood up to take Mellie out  and as I was walking down the hall to the stairs I very clearly heard God's voice. "Trust in me. I will provide. I will provide you the perfect house within your budget." Immediately my tears stopped and I could not stop praising God. I kept repeating "Thank you, Lord for your peace." I was immediately filled with joy! I wanted to dance! I ran out with Mellie and ran back inside to tell Braden the good news. He knows that I have the gift of discernment - but in such a difficult moment it wasn't easy for him to jump on the bandwagon. I texted our Realtor and told her that we were ready to keep looking.

The very next day, our Realtor called me. She told me that there was a brand new house in a brand new community (only 7 minutes from where we already were. It was important for us to stay close as our whole family is within 10 minutes). The list price of the home was over our budget. She called the list Realtor and explained our situation. She told her that she was not even willing to bring us to look at the house if they would not bring the price down for us. She hardly hesitated and told us they would take the lower offer. That evening we drove out to the house and fell in love. We made an offer. They accepted it. We were conditionally sold on the house!

Within that next week we were on an emotional roller coaster. We knew that the condo sale could potentially fall through - there is always that possibility. Sure enough, the sale did fall through. We were told that the house sale would now also fall through since we couldn't buy a house without selling the condo. In our hearts we knew that was our home. We should have let go right at that moment... but we really knew that was our house. We kept praying and asking God that if it was meant to be our home we would sell the condo and the house would still be available to us. A few days later we had another showing on the condo. We received another offer.. we accepted it! The house was still available and we made another offer. Many other things happened that were unbelievable. Every single time we started to doubt, God reminded us that he was in control and that we NEEDED to trust him. We would pray and regain our trust in him and he would take control again. It was the most incredible experience of our lives. Our emotions were SO up and down every single day. But God was there in every moment reminding us that HE is the Lord of all. We had stepped out of the boat with our eMi journey. Why shouldn't we have to step out of the boat with our home purchase? (And every other part of our life!)

I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned. In awe of the one who gave it all. I'll stand, my soul Lord to you surrendered. All I am is yours!

On November 23 we moved into our beautiful new home. It is such a complete blessing from God. 

During the process of selling our home we also found a replacement for our hail damaged car. That is also a blessing from God. 

Our Realtor has been a huge influence in our lives in this season. We have known her family for many years as they used to attend our church. Her husband is a Pastor and she gave us some great insight on how God was molding us through our home buying journey. We loved every moment we spent with her. She and I spent some time together because her assistant told her that she was pregnant and would be leaving on maternity leave at the end of December. I was offered the position. It is ANOTHER answer to prayer! I am in love with my job, my hours, my boss, the location of my office. I've been working there since December 2012 and I am beyond happy!

Braden is still working at his same position doing new home survey work. We have had a lot of eMi fundraising meetings and are excited to share that we are around 45% fundraised. Over the last year there have been times when we have questioned God's timing. We know God has called us to eMi - but yet Braden is not actually IN his new position there. We were confused. We truly believe God has used all of the experiences in the last year to show us that he is in control. He has a plan and is working behind the scenes to sort out all the loose ends. As much as Braden would love to start working in the office at eMi tomorrow - we know that God's timing is the perfect timing. The last few months of fundraising have picked up. We would love to 'forecast' when Braden will be in his new position. But again, God has reminded us that there is no point in that. When it is time, it will all work out. So we are trusting Him and doing all we can to get Braden fully fundraised.

I know that this has been an incredibly long post. If you have made it to the end - congratulations! We will work harder to keep posting more regularly so you don't have to read a novel each time! If you are a supporter of ours - either in prayer or in finance - thank you so much. God has called you here for a purpose and we thank you for listening to his call! We would not be where we are today without your support. If you are not a supporter - please pray about the possibility of joining our support team - again - prayerfully and/or financially. We are looking for people who have prayerfully taken time and have felt God's call to this ministry. The same way we have. 

To God be the Glory, for He is Good. Amen!

Love,
Liz and Braden