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Matt is at the car graveyard again today picking parts.

It wasn’t just the battery that stranded us yesterday. Armed with a brand new battery last night we drove down to say goodbye to our sweet friends who are moving to Pittsburg. And, the battery light started flashing again a half mile down the road. HUH?

Matt’s diagnosis: probably the alternator. UGH.

Interesting isn’t it….took a long time to get the police checks, they had gotten “lost” in the shuffle. But, they finally arrived and we re-planned our visa trip. Now, we’re planning to go tomorrow morning to DC to get our visas and we’ve got car trouble that “suddenly” cropped up. We can’t make the trip until the car is fixed.

If we don’t get our visas, we can’t leave to go. So, why not make getting our visas really really tough? Seems like a pretty good battle tactic…

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
~Ephesians 6:12 NLT

Thankfully, we both have total peace…Matt has gone down to the car parts place to look for an alternator, and he’ll work on getting that fixed today (again, so so so thankful for him!), and I am going to try to attack a disaster of a kitchen and pray with each dish I wash for God’s glory to be seen so clearly in the midst of this battle!

Please pray for these visas! And for continued peace! And for Matt to have an easy time fixing the car! And against any discouragement that threatens to creep in!!

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.
~2 Thessalonians 3:3 NLT

You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
4Trust in the LORD always,
for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.
~Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV

Cutting a watermelon is definitely a little tougher when the only things not packed are a pizza cutter and butter knife...

Cutting a watermelon is definitely a little tougher when the only things not packed are a pizza cutter and butter knife…

John just used brute force and the chicken conceded...

John just used brute force and the chicken conceded…

I am going to miss this woman very very much! Such a sweet and thoughtful friend!

I am going to miss this woman very very much! Such a sweet and thoughtful friend!

We've enjoyed so many fun nights with these guys...never sitting on the kitchen floor though!

We’ve enjoyed so many fun nights with these guys…never sitting on the kitchen floor though!

We’ve got certificates flying all over the place right now!

It’s OFFICIAL! We got our DEPARTURE CLEARANCE from WorldVenture last week!

What does that mean? It means that each of the departments at WorldVenture have signed off on the requirements they have of our family in order to leave. It means we’ve finished all our bible credits, gotten our shots, raised all our support (all but that last $100/month), filled out all the paperwork, read all the books, finished all the reports, completed all the trainings, jumped all the hurdles and passed through all the hoops!

It means once we’ve got our visas, we can go ahead and book the container, purchase our tickets, and GO!!!!

PHEW!!

Last Sunday was a special day at our church here. Ebenezer Bible Fellowship Church, held a COMMISSIONING service for us. Basically, it was a time for the church body to affirm God’s call on our family, and commit to support us as missionaries while we are on the field. It was pretty powerful to look out and see so many faces we’ve come to love affirming us, loving us and shedding a tear or two with us (well…me at least).

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Afterwards, we enjoyed a wonderful fellowship lunch with so many from the church and lots of our camp kids who also came to support us!

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It was a time to say goodbye even though officially we still don’t have a date…

We’re CLEAN though! Those pesky police checks finally arrived Friday in the mail! The kids were checking and checking each day for us (we were checking too!). It sounds like they are excited to go explore Washington, DC a bit once we’ve got our visas (Elijah declared the other day that he thought it would be cool to go ride ATV’s around the White House), and they are more than ready to get to Ecuador too! Oh, and in case anyone wondered…no records!

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So, the plan . Next week we’ll go and try and get our visas. We’ll be checking and rechecking our paperwork this weekend to make sure everything is in order!! There is a chance of a small glitch with some of the papers, something outside of our control, but we are hopeful that God will smooth the road before us!

The plan is to drive down to Washington on Tuesday and get the visas. If all goes well, we’ll be able to book our container Tuesday or Wednesday and once we have a date for the container, we’ll be able to book tickets! GULP!

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Yes, there are tons of boxes around here and we’ve been starting to say goodbye, but tickets in hand will be a GAME CHANGER! We’re almost ready to move to Ecuador!

We called the police department this morning. Our Police Checks are completed. Hooray! But, they haven’t gone to be notarized yet. In fact, the officer Matt talked to was very surprised that they were still sitting up in a pile and hadn’t gone to the next step for “some reason”…

They were taking them to be notarized today and then hopefully they’ll get put in the mail (they won’t permit us to go pick them up), and will be on their way to us soon.

Thanks for praying with us that they are notarized quickly and arrive here in the next two days so we can go get our visas this week!!

We are still waiting for our police checks to come.

This Tuesday will be 2 weeks. We were told they should take 2-3 weeks. They should be coming soon. We’ll be checking on them Monday.

Here’s a small wrinkle though:
We got a note from Leo and Lulu our teammates in Loja. Some of the Ecuador paperwork expires at the end of August. If it expires before we get our police checks, we might run into trouble getting our visas.

We are confident in God’s perfect timing, and want to ask you to pray for the police checks to arrive this week so we can go down to Washington to get our visas and move to the next stage of getting ready to go!

Thanks for praying! And, thanks for walking this path with us!

My facebook status the other day was the excited announcement that we’d packed 50 boxes! Woo hoo! 50 boxes packed AND cataloged for the manifesto (content list) that needs to accompany each box. No mean feat (but made so much easier by our” super book packer” Stephanie, and the Brimer, VanWinkle, and Nanny babysitting teams!!)

So, I was getting myself off to a super productive start Thursday morning and with JJ asleep, I went downstairs with Elijah and Taylah to grab a few more boxes of clothes to finish off.

The night before there had been some crazy rains…

There was a puddle at the bottom of the stairs… just a small one. No biggie. We’d all just avoid it until I could get it wiped up.

But, there was also a puddle a little further away…a BIG one…under our boxes. That was a biggie.

I have to confess the first words out of my mouth weren’t so lovely as I started to look at our pile of 50 boxes and the obvious soakage of some of them, imagining the worst . Then somewhere in the midst of picking up a box, which the soaked bottom actually fell out of dropping all the contents on the floor, I heard my voice say to Elijah and Taylah “let’s stop and pray and give thanks”. The voice was mine, but the impetus was only of the Holy Spirit…and thankfully so. We stopped and prayed (and praised), and began to work on opening the boxes that were soaked not sure what we’d find.

Definitely felt like we were going the wrong way in our packing efforts!

Definitely felt like we were going the wrong way in our packing efforts!

Elijah went and got towels for us while we tried to figure out what to do!

Elijah went and got towels for us while we tried to figure out what to do!

After we prayed, I started to really look at the “situation”. Of our 50 boxes (many many of them books), I realized that there were only about five that were soaked through. There were only 8 or 10 actually in contact with the ground…Matt had put many of them (including all the boxes of books) just slightly off the ground (yep, definitely my superhusband!), and they were all dry!!!

As we looked through the damaged boxes, I found myself singing praises…not because I was reacting amazingly well, but because I had a peace that was well…just there inspite of me, a peace in my soul that just needed to praise God.

All Taylah’s clothes totally fell out the bottom of one box, and when I picked them up the water was running off….I guess they were already pre-soaked for the washer. No biggie! I opened up a box of toys and several boxes of puzzles were beyond soggy. But when I opened the boxes themselves, the puzzle pieces were still in plastic bags. Definitely no biggie! There was a kitchen box, a big one…yet when we opened it, there were only a few very sturdy things that were wet. No biggie again. I didn’t want to open the craft box. I had packed two boxes of craft stuff…in one we had put all my craft paper on the bottom and I was anticipating a clump of paper-mache. But I opened the box up and did a little dance…it was NOT that box, but instead a box with different craft supplies IN plastic boxes! Not even close to a biggie!

Yes, we had to repack 5 boxes…well, we still have to repack them as we’ve been letting some things dry out, but of all the things that could have gotten soaked (very old and special books, our homeschool materials, photos etc…), nothing that got wet was something that couldn’t get wet!

It wasn’t a big deal at all. But, in our exhausted, over-stretched state right now, it might have just been the drop to overflow the bucket (pun intended). Thankfully, instead it was a chance to be reminded that God is in control of all things, and that we can rest in that.

There were some WET boxes!

There were some WET boxes!

I spent much of the day thinking about people who have lost everything in real floods. Lifting a soggy box off the floor and watching everything drop out of it was one thing, but I can’t even imagine what it has been like for people whose homes have flooded 3 and 4 feet deep and everything has been completely ruined. I can’t imagine the trauma of that. I am always so amazed at the beyond bleak situations that people have to walk through in this life, and yet those who know Jesus are praising and exhibiting such supernatural peace.

Truly, no matter what is going on in our lives, we never have a reason NOT to give thanks to God when we consider what the alternatives could be!

So, we’ve got all of the boxes off the ground and we’ll be re-packing numbers 45-50, and we’ll continue to give thanks for the God that goes ahead of us in all things.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (or frustrated when your packing efforts get a little soggy)
~ John 14:27

Cleaning up...

Cleaning up…

Funny....Seems I was doing the same thing when we first moved into our Guatemala house back in 2011!

Funny….Seems I was doing the same thing when we first moved into our Guatemala house back in 2011!

Just for kicks here’s that post: <a href="http://alittleelbowgrease.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/hadnt-expected-an-indoor-pool/ “title=”Hadn’t expected an INDOOR pool!!”>

There are just moments when you have to shake your head and admit, “well, we botched that one”. We had one of those moments last week.

Our paperwork all arrived from Ecuador a week ago Friday. Woo Hoo! It seems we might not need the one last document to apply for visas, and we had hoped to go down to Washington to get our visas last week. All we needed on our end was Matt’s resume and our police checks.

Perhaps a downfall to having lived so many places is that although we are so aware that regulations are different everywhere, we sometimes forget where we are living and try to apply regulations from somewhere else to our current situation. Evidence #1 Police Checks. Other places we’ve lived, you just go down to the local police station, submit an application, and in a matter of minutes, you’ve got your police check in hand. La di da di da di da!

We live around the corner from a local police station, so police check always made it onto the to-do list, but would be low priority because we knew we could just run over and grab them one morning.

Or not.

In Pennsylvania, you don’t just “run down to the police station”, you submit paperwork to Harrisburg and wait a few weeks for them to process it through the system, one painful day at a time. Insert the above statement “well, we botched that one” here.

So, Monday morning we got the paperwork all completed and hurried it on it’s way to Harrisburg. And now, we pray. We pray that it landed on the desk of someone that would process it through quickly, and that it gets sent back our way speedily! Once the police check is in hand, THEN we’ll head down to Washington for our visas, and then we can get this leaving train back on track!

We’re still waiting for our official departure clearance from WorldVenture before we can officially book the container and tickets, but we are hoping that is coming very soon as we’ve finished up all our pieces and are only needing 2 more partners at $50/month to be FULLY supported!

In the meantime, we are packing and packing and packing, and giving thanks for the meals and help with the kids that the Lord is providing so that we can get all our things ready!

Isaiah 26:3-4 has been frequently in my heart these last weeks:
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock

We continue to trust!

17 in one week!!!!

Two weeks ago we had a busy week! Between the 7 of us, it took 5 hours over 3 days, and we got 17! PHEW.

17 WHAT??

As I thought about the week, rubbing my arm, I kept thinking of a Mickey Mouse movie I’d seen when I was little. He was a poor tailor who unsuspectingly made the claim he’d killed 7 GIANTS in one swipe when he was actually referring to 7 flies!

giant

It would have been really exciting to have announced that God provided 17 new partners in one week! But, we don’t need 17 partners anymore! In order to be fully supported 100% (like the fully supported we need to be to get final departure clearance), we need 2 more partners at $50 dollars a month!! We praise God for that!!!

Nope, much like Mickey’s claim, it wasn’t anything spectacularly fierce or exciting…but an accomplishment for us. The Messick Crew got 17 shots in one week! OUCH!

Part of getting ready to go is getting caught up on some of the vaccinations we needed, so it was a big week at the doctor’s office getting everyone checked out! The folks at Dr. DeFranco’s certainly got their Messick fix! And, our kids paid a huge compliment to Miss. Kim, the nurse, asking if she could please please come down to Ecuador next time they needed shots so that she could give them! Taylah blew my mind as she skipped down the hallway of the office singing “I love getting shots” the SECOND time she was there!

We’re thankful for the way God made even getting physicals and shots into an opportunity to see His grace, His provision and His love. But, I hope we NEVER have a 17 weeker again!

The staff at Bushkill Family Practice were so GREAT with our family!

The staff at Bushkill Family Practice were so GREAT with our family!

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