Holy Fire

"The Holy Fire of God is burning, you will walk through and not be burned. You will come out a pure vessel if you let the Lord have his way."

These words, penned in the 1980's and based on Isaiah 43, are so true. God uses "fiery experiences" to purify, teach, and train.

Today is the one year anniversary of when we received James and Jerard. These two little guys have been a 'fiery furnace' for me, and I think, for our whole family.

Biblical truths are so much more real and true to me because of experiences we've had this past year parenting these two boys.

"Do not be afraid, He has called you. He has called you by name, You are His. Though you pass through many waters, they'll not overflow for He is with you."

Truths that have sunk deep in my heart....

*He is with me - in every situation. (Isaiah 43:5)

*He guides and directs our lives - so very true.(Jeremiah 29:11)

*My real food is His word. My life blood is prayer and worship.
(Matthew 4:4; John 4:24)

*He is our provider - that reality has sunk in deep here on the mission field. Throughout Jerard's surgeries, hospital stays and medical tests funds have always appeared to pay for these. Clothing, diapers, formula, toys have been richly supplied.
God has been faithful to supply our needs. (1 Tim 6:17)

*Love is a decision, not a feeling. (Luke 10:27; 1 Cor. 13:4-8)

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We came over here on 'official' ministry. But God has opened up so many opportunities for us in 'unofficial' minisry. James and Jerard are our #1 'unofficial' ministry.

James 1:27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress...

Just as God adopts us into his family, we are adopting these two boys into our family. God has and continues to teach us so much about His love for each of us as we love and parent James and Jerard.

Yes, there have been hard times this past year. But oh, I am so thankful for the lessons God has taught me. The boys are a joy to us.

These two boys are our sons. We look forward to the day when the country of the Philippines grants us adoption and we can get new birth certificates for them with the last name of "Symanzik" on them.
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Thank you for all your prayers for us, for James and Jerard. Please pray that this year, as we start filing for adoption, the process will go smoothly.


James and Jerard on the night we received them. Jan. 5, 2008.


James this morning after breakfast!


Jerard this morning after breakfast!

Hebrews 12: 28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire."

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Through The Love of God Our Saviour - Mary B. Peters

Through the love of God our Savior,
All will be well;
Free and changeless is His favor;
All, all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us;
Perfect is the grace that sealed us;
Strong the hand stretched out to shield us;
All must be well.

Though we pass through tribulation,
All will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation;
All, all is well.
Happy still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Holy through the Spirit's guiding,
All must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow;
All will be well;
Faith can sing through days of sorrow,
All, all is well.
On our Father's love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Or in living, or in dying,
All must be well.

New Year's Eve Fun and Reflection

We had a game night at our house on New Year's Eve. It was fun having many friends over, playing Monopoly, Mexican train, Pit, Dutch Blitz, Boogle, etc.


The guys playing an intense game of "Robo Rally."


Ben and some of his friends playing warrior games.


An intense game of "Dutch Blitz."


Jerard enjoying cuddles with Ate Bebe.


Kirsten and Kristie playing "In a Pickle."

At midnight we blew our noise makers (with the rest of the neighborhood) and prayed, thanking God for all He is and does.

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As I looked around at some of our many friends at our house that evening I was counting my blessings and thanking God for all He does.

I tend to think in hymns, so bear with me as I share my thoughts by the pen of another.....

"I lift my heart today in praise
To Him Who loves me so,
Whose mercy crowneth all my days,
And makes my cup o'erflow.
O have I loved Him as I should
For all His blessings free?
Praise God Who giveth naught but good,
For He is good to me!

I'll count my blessings--
Count them o'er and o'er--
I'll tell my Father's goodness--
I will love Him more,
I'll count my blessings, bountiful and free--
Yet I can never count them all--
So good is God to me!" Carrie Breck

Charles Wesley wrote this great hymn for the new year.
It fits my prayer that each moment I live be to His glory and that I do all He wants me to.

"Come, let us anew our journey pursue,
Roll round with the year,
And never stand still till the Master appear,
His adorable will let us gladly fulfill,
And our talents improve,
By the patience of hope, and the labor of love,
By the patience of hope, and the labor of love.

Our life is a dream; our time, as a stream,
Glides swiftly away,
And the fugitive moment refuses to stay,
The arrow is flown, the moment is gone;
The millennial year
Rushes on to our view, and eternity's here,
Rushes on to our view, and eternity's here.

O that each in the day of His coming may say,
"I have fought my way through;
I have finished the work Thou didst give me to do!"
O that each from his Lord may receive the glad word,
"Well and faithfully done!
Enter into My joy, and sit down on My throne!"
"Enter into My joy, and sit down on My throne!""

Thoughts for the New Year 2009

My daughter asked me today how to figure out how many hours, minutes, and seconds are in a year.
That got me thinking.
All our days are numbered and directed by God in His providence.
There are, on average, 365 days a year.
Times that by 24 hours and there are 8760 hours in a year.
Times that by 60 minutes and we get 525,600 minutes per year. Times that by 60 seconds and there are 3,153,600 seconds per year.

"O Father, may we each use each second of every day that You have ordained for us for Your Glory. May we each seek first Your Kingdom and Your righteousness all the days of our lives (Matthew 6:33); studying Your Word, meditating on Your word day and night (Psalm 1), and working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is You, O God, who works out Your good will in each of us. (Philippians 2:12,13)
Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).
May we remember always that You are, have been, and always will be our dwelling place (Psalm 90:1). From everlasting to everlasting, You are! Our times are in Your hand. Help each of us be strong and take courage in You for the tasks You've called us to. (Psalm 90: 15, 23, 24)
Thank you for Your love for each of us.
In Christ, and for Your Glory, Amen and Amen."

Last Day of 2008

Well, it's been quite a year for us.

We thank God for all His provisions, the lessons He has taught us, the opportunity to be full-time on the mission field.....

Thank you to each of you who support us in prayer and financially. We appreciate it more than words can say.

Our prayer is that we will continually seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, that we will continue to grow in His wisdom and grace, and that the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in each of our lives.

Happy New Year!

Christmas

Most Filipinos here stay up Christmas Eve most of the night.
They usually have a meal around 10p.m. which includes pancit or spaghetti, ham or pork, salads, etc.
They play games, sing, have a lot of fun. Some of our friends were up til 2 or 3 a.m. Christmas morning. Then Christmas day they slept til noon or so!!!


One of our 'little friends' enjoying the Christmas lights!

We, on the other hand, had our traditional Christmas Eve time. Most churches here do not hold Christmas Eve services so we held our own. We sang many of the traditional Christmas hymns, each child presented either memorized scripture or a song on their instrument, I sang a solo, Kurt shared a Christmas message. It was really good...maybe I can get him to post it on the blog!

Then we had dinner that the girls made. It was very good. They've been enjoying making recipes from the "Redwall Cookbook" based on meals talked about in the Redwall book series.
Then we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" and went to bed.

Christmas morning, for the first time ever, one of our children was up before us. Usually we have to wake the kids up!!!! But this year Ben was up and waiting for us!
We had a fun morning of opening stocking gifts, having breakfast, lighting the advent wreath candles, opening gifts.

In the afternoon we had friends over for ham, mashed potatoes, salads, cookies, ice cream, etc....It was a fun day.

We feel blessed and thank God for His love for us that He was willing to send Jesus to earth for us.
May the true meaning of Christmas stay with each of us every day of the year.