Ready Or Not, Here It Comes

I’m not ready!

I knew this day would come, but that was almost 13 years ago and just like that, “SNAP!” the time has come and I’m not feeling ready.

I guess I hoped that time would slow down and I’d be able to prepare myself for what lies ahead.  That’s the problem; I didn’t exactly prepare, so obviously, I’m not ready, yet how do you prepare for something like this?  When are you really ready?

It sneaks up on you and before you know it, your little girl becomes a…a…I can’t even say it!  GULP…This gigantic lump in my throat keeps getting in the way of me even being able to say the word.  If I say the word, then its like everything up until this point will disappear,vanish, change and I don’t want it to.

But, it doesn’t matter what I want.  No amount of hoping, wishing and praying will stop this train in motion.  That’s what it feels like; a fast moving train that’s picking up speed and zipping down the tracks, blurring the view and making me feel dizzy.  I’m heading towards a long, winding, tunnel of…”The Great Unknown.” Okay…I might be slightly over dramatic here…lol.

Honestly though, this parenting thing has got me in a heap again.  Another transition, another phase and another season of celebration and challenge.

On April 10, 2016, my girl is going to become (insert a deep breath here) a…teenager. There, I said it.  It shouldn’t be a big deal because I already have one teenager, phew, I said it again.  Somehow this is a big deal because its my daughter.  Don’t get me wrong.  I had some struggle when my son turned 13, mostly because it meant I was getting old 😉 but this is time its different.  I know what its like to be a teen girl, not a teen guy, so I guess I feel more angst.  Perhaps its because my son wasn’t as keen on becoming a teenager as my
daughter is.  She can’t wait to be legit, 13, an official teenager…I, on the other hand, can wait.

Here comes the “It feels just like yesterday” comments.  Seriously, it’s true…it does feel just like yestejen_moved_these_over_115[1]rday when all she talked about were ponies, puppies and princesses.  Now, all she talks about are pimples, periods and prom dresses.

It seems like yesterday that I was teaching her how to tie her shoes, write her name and comb her hair.  Now, I’m teaching her how to do her laundry, text responsibly and shave her legs.

It feels just like yesterday that she sang silly songs, skipped through park and snuggled with me until we both fell asleep.  Now, she sings radio songs with her headphones on, strolls through the mall and…wait a minute, come to think about it, she still snuggles with me, but now I’m the one who falls asleep.

Maybe all won’t be lost.  Maybe this change won’t be so bad after all.  Maybe I should be thankful that she is talking to me about what matters to her.  Maybe she can teach me to do things I haven’t done before.  Maybe she and I can still have fun and spend time together.

I can gain encouragement from Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She knew that her baby boy would change the world, but she didn’t know exactly what was in store for him.  When Jesus was born, Mary experienced many wonders and felt great joy, yet at the same time, I suspect she knew those moments wouldn’t last. Perhaps that’s why the Bible says, “Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and often thought about them” (Luke 2:19).

Even though I have to let my little girl grow up, I don’t have to let her go. Maybe I will just quietly treasure all these things, and let her be my little girIMG_8793l in my heart, while embracing the beautiful young woman that God is shaping her to become. Maybe I am more ready for this than I think.

 

 

Missions

handsHere we are again.

To be honest, I don’t even know where to start this time… other than to simply say that Tyler, Hannah and I (Rod) will be participating in a March Break Mission Trips once again.  This time in very different ways, but still short term missions.

Once again, we have to surround ourselves with prayer support and raise some significant dollars.  More about that later.

The Ask

I’m not sure where to start in “the ask” this time because, to be honest, I know I ask often.  This has caused me to reflect and seek why God would once again ask me (and Tyler and Hannah) to participate again.  Doesn’t God know that people get tired of being asked to pray for and financially support others doing missions (locally or cross-culturally)?  Doesn’t He know that people are busy, our economy is battered, and people don’t want another thing to add to the list?

I was sharing this with someone the other day, someone I didn’t know well.  He said something that has echoed thru my thoughts since.  What he said was not new to me, but his conviction (I think) stood out to me.  He simply reminded me that, “God calls some to go and gives the rest the opportunity to support those that are called to go.”

I’ve heard that said before in a variety of ways.  In the past I often cringed at it because for many it is used as an excuse to not go.  I would hear this most often when talking about our family’s ten month mission trip to Bolivia.  So many saying, “We could never do that!” would make me want to push back and say why not?  I agree, not everyone could, but to dismiss it without a look is not the right answer either.  Too many times we said the same thing before Bolivia… “We could never do that!  How can we take the kids out of school for a year?  What about our house, we can’t sell it and we can’t raise donations to pay the mortgage in our absence!  We have to raise $55,000?!  In four months?!  We could never do that!”

We had so many opportunities to back out of the Bolivia trip, but chose to seek God’s direction each step.  And, being honest, many times did not know how God was going to take care of some ‘big’ details till His timing.

Yet, here we stand, with our Bolivia trip already over two years behind us.  We still have conversations and ‘ah ha’ moments about the incredible impact on us individually and as a family.  We have a deeper prayer life and understanding for long term missionaries and our kids have an educational experience no school, public or Christian, could give them.

God is good.

Back to the earlier comment.  I felt as I was hearing it again, that maybe it’s ok to be the one called to go.  I feel, as I reflect back, I always wanted to be the one who supported the one called to go… that, in my warped sense of pride, there is something great about saying, “I financially support X number of missionaries!”  It just sounds nicer, again, in my pride, than saying “I have had to depend on $$$ of support.”

My new friend in the above conversation was unknowingly giving me, perhaps for one of the first time, a glimpse of that pride in my life and the reverse side of the coin.  You see, he also showed me that others were doing what I was doing to them.  While I was secretly wishing I could be proud that I was supporting a bunch of missionaries, he (as someone supporting missionaries) was secretly wishing he could be the one God called to “go” to the mission field and was somewhat envious that was the one going.

I guess, in all of this, I am saying that God seems to have it all figured out.  In His Kingdom economics, He has us where we need to be… that the real challenge is more about listening to his calling in our lives.  You see, I am confident in my call to “go.”  I am confident in our family’s call to serve others, locally and cross culturally.  Just as confident as my friends call to financially and prayerfully support those who were called to go.

One more thing before I wrap this up.  As I typed this, I ended up revisiting a bunch of our Bolivian posts.  Check out our Merry Christmas from Bolivia video here.  Our kids look sooo young!

A few Details

This year, Tyler will be going back to the Dominican Republic LightHouse Projects with Compass Community Church.  Hannah is joining the Junior High Mission Trip to Windsor to help with a VBS style week and some community work with at risk kids.  Finally, I (Rod) am leading the CBOQ (Canadian Baptist of Ontario and Quebec) Youth Mission trip to the LightHouse Project as well (Tyler and I will be on the same trip, but with different teams).

If you are able to financially support one of us, we thank you.  If you are able to support each of us, it is a bit complicated.  Because we are essentially on three different teams, you’d have to send three different supports.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact me via email at rod_vis@hotmail.com.

Lastly, but most importantly, we covet your prayers.  Our family is able to do missions because of the prayer support we have had over the years.  I know God has a reason for these rich experiences in my children’s lives and He will use them in significant ways as they become adults, so your prayers are needed.

TylerSupport for Tyler:

Iteams International – click here.

HannahSupport for Hannah:

Compass Community Church – Mail a cheque to (Put Hannah’s name and Windsor Mission Trip on the cheque), Compass Community Church, P.O. Box 86, Orangeville, Ontario, L9W 2Z5

Support for Rod

Iteams International – Click here.

 

 

For everyone following us travels to Coc

For everyone following us travels to Cochabamba, we made it safe and sound last night. Everything went as smooth as could be and it looks like our luggage also arrived in good shape. We praise God and thank Him for our safe arrival and look forward to the adventure He has planned for us. Thank you to everyone who has helped us get here! We will post more details after we have time to get a bit of rest and a sense of what is next.

It is official… We fly out of Miami on

It is official… We fly out of Miami on Monday night! We will begin our journey to Bolivia Saturday AM as we drive to Florida. We will post a more detailed update soon. For those who were planning to become a financial supporter but haven’t yet, we are still short about $2,500 and would still appreciate any support to help us close this gap. Watch http://www.visandthat.com for future updates!! AND Thank you to everyone who have helped make this journey for our family a reality. Be Blessed!

Trusting in His timing.

I’m a husband and a father, but most importantly I am a follower of Christ.  I’m passionate about helping others to excel in their God given giftedness and strengths.  I believe that education is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty that can plague many people in developing countries and this is why I have served and led teams on mission work to build schools,  improve communities and share the Good News of Christ.

As a family, we have been called to the mission field with SIM, Serving in Mission (www.sim.ca).  We will be going to Carachipampa Christian School (www.carachipampa.org) for one year in Cochabamba, Bolivia to serve as teachers and leaders to both Bolivian children and missionary children.  The opportunity to invest into the lives of children from around the world is incredible at CCS.  We will be able to model Christ’s love and grace to Bolivians and provide support to missionary families so they can focus on their call from God on the mission field.

It is vital that we are able to get to Bolivia as soon as we can.  The school year starts August 13th at CCS and every day we are not there we miss out on a potentially life-changing conversation or relationship.  As adults we know how fast our childhood flies by, so it is our desire to go to Bolivia as soon as we can so we can engage with the students and staff quickly.

Right now the only hurdle we have left is finances.  As a missionary with SIM we are required to raise our own support.  Our budget is about $60,000.  This includes all our travel, food, medical and accommodations.  As a family of 6, this is about $10,000/person for a whole year.

Are you able to partner with us on this amazing journey?  As a financial donor you will receive a tax receipt from SIM Canada.  Support can be as a one-time donation or a monthly pledge.  Visit http://www.SIM.ca/givenow and put Rod and Jen Vis in the missionary box with our number 039312.

As a supporter we also promise to keep you up to date on our journey over the year through emails, pictures and video and also through our website at http://www.VisAndThat.com.

CCS is able to teach and model God’s love and grace to children.  Helping these children improves families, which impacts communities and creates stronger societies which lead to a better world for everyone.  It all starts with one child, one family.  Please join us.