Archive for September, 2008

On My Way Back Home!

Hey, Siestas! I have to type fast because I don’t have long before we board! I am now sitting in the A Terminal at the Nashville Airport getting ready to head back to Houston. The wedding was fabulous! Rich was so handsome and Gretchen was gorgeous. So glad to be getting married. The sweetest faces looking at one another you’ve ever seen. Really tender wedding. Girlfriends, let me tell you that IN MY LIFE I have never heard a preacher bring an exhortation to a bride and groom like theirs did. His name is Reverend Carter Crenshaw and I’m telling you he was up in their stuff. Leaned into them and looked them dead center in the eye while he told them what faithfulness meant. Nothing pre-canned about it. It was fantastic. PROFOUND. And with such a sweet heart. I saw him pat on Rich’s arm over and over. I thought to myself that every married person in that room needed a copy of that message. He was so good that Travis, Paige (another good friend of ours who was singing with Travis) and I couldn’t even cut up during the service. Not that in a million years we ever would have. After all, our good friend, Ron, who does security at the events, was looking straight at us and that alone makes us behave.

There was one funny thing though. We were sitting on a side pew by the piano and there was a little piece of shag carpet right in front of us about the size of a welcome mat. It had some kind of hole under it with air puffing up through it. The church was gorgeous church so I know it had a really important acoustical purpose of some kind. I just wasn’t familiar with it. Like a magic carpet of some kind. With every sound from the microphone or loud chord from the piano, it rose (fairly dramatically) then dropped like it was breathing. You can imagine it nearly did a flip when Travis hit some of his notes. I’m not kidding you. It reminded me of that really hairy dude on The Addams Family. What was his name? “Cousin It”? (I have to tell y’all that AJ edited that sentence for me because I told her on the way home in the car that it had occurred to me on the plane that it was the Addams family instead of The Muensters. BUT then it took Moose Mama to tell me that I had mistaken a kind of cheese for The Munsters. Laughing my head off. Are you sure you’re not from Wisconsin?)

I know I’m jumping here but, again, I only have a second. I’m not after the Nobel Peace Prize here. I’m just trying to blog. The reception was so great. Travis sang a Harry Connick Jr. song while Rich and Gretchen danced and it was so romantic! Now, Gretchen, that girl can shake a leg. (If anything I’m saying means anything bad, I don’t know it so forgive me.) She’s the one that taught me the Cha Cha Slide.

As I live and breathe, the woman at the Continental counter just called for passenger “Shoestrang” (yes, strang) to check in at the desk. I sure hope I get to see that dude. He may be really skinny though.

We’re boarding! Gotta go! Oh, and all five Cottrells did pick me up! I had the best time at their house!

No time to proof. You know what comes next…so deal.

I LOVE YOU!!

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On My Way to the Wedding!

Hey, Siestas! Well, I’m sitting right here in Terminal B at George Bush International in Houston, Texas about to head to Nashville, Tennessee to Rich’s wedding! Those of you who are not familiar with Rich may not realize he’s one of our all-time best Miestas. He’s the one who prepares all our slide shows from the events. Glance down a couple of posts and you’ll see a picture of him and his bride-to-be. My sweet, sweet relationship with that young man is one of those kinds of things only God could contruct. YEARS ago the event team at LifeWay realized they needed all hands on deck and could use somebody whose entire job at events was to get me where I needed to go. At that time, one of the event team members had a little brother (he seemed about 15 at the time but that’s a slight exaggeration) that was available for a little part time job. That was my dear Rich. I cannot even express what a fun friendship developed between a middle-aged Bible-beating woman and a young man still trying to figure a few things out.

I have watched Rich grow up. Laughed my head off with him. Prayed for him. Worried over him. Celebrated with him. Mothered him. Mothered him. And mothered him. (He’s got a fabulous mom. I’m just a maternal hormone waiting to happen so I’ll happily even mother the well-mothered.) Was around when he got serious about his first real Bible study. Was around when he first got his heart broken. Was around when his beloved grandmother went home to be with the Lord. Was around when God began to start making a photographer out of him. Was around when he first used the “L” word about a young woman named Gretchen. I nearly died. I knew he was serious when he DIDN’T tell me not to get overly excited about it.

I love this boy.

This man.

And his gorgeous, smart, godly bride. I so approve. Not that I had to – he was dead set on marrying her – but I’m blessed to say Rich would have wanted me to.

And I will have the privilege, along with my good buddy, Travis Cottrell, to be part of their wonderful, blessed wedding ceremony tomorrow. The Cottrells (all of them I hope) will pick me up at the airport and I’ll stay in their blast-of-a-home just like Trav stays in ours when he can.

I got a text from Rich early this morning. I just pulled my phone out and propped it on my lap so I can dictate it straight to you since it involves you. It says, “Thank you for your prayers from your family and siestas. This week God has put a calm on everything. He is so good.” Yes, Rich, He is. And He has so often been good to many of us through you.

If you heard my phone ding, that was Travis sending me a text. We’re getting pretty excited. They’re just about to call passengers on Flight 2474 to Nashville to board. I loved spending these few minutes in the airport with you. I hope the onions weren’t too strong on my Schlotzsky’s Medium Original.If this post seems a bit disjointed, I have stopped and started a lot while having the privilege to say hi to several people. And then I realized I had the continent’s biggest fleck of pepper between my front teeth. I hate myself.

Y’all know good and well I love you. No time to proof. Deal with it.

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Our LPM Ambassador to India and Other Updates

Hey, you sweet things! It’s me! Your long lost Siesta Mama! Well, not too long lost but I feel like I’ve lived six months of life since the last I checked in with you. I so hope you’ve been in the throes of active relationship with Christ Jesus and that He’s giving you (and me, please, Lord) eyes to see Him at work. Ears to hear Him speak. Everything to me. Everything.

We are so busy in this city right now we can hardly think straight. Everybody’s on overtime one way or another. I so loved AJ’s post (just before this one) and nearly cried reading it because the Ike aftermath is just so with-us here. You can’t drive three blocks without seeing it. Trees have been cut up and wood stacked in yards awaiting removal who-knows-when. Same with fences. Tarps on tons of roofs. Many streets lights are still out. So eerie to drive at night in an area that’s less familiar because it’s so easy to drive right through intersections that are supposed to be treated like four-way stops. Great way to have a bad wreck. Tens of thousands of hot meals are still being served by emergency vehicles in especially hard-hit areas of Houston. Curfews still in effect. And we were the fortunate ones. Galveston is in profoundly worse shape. Just keep praying but that’s all I’ll say for now. We’ll try to keep our posts mixed with other things as we can well understand that it’s not the big thing on everybody’s radar. All of you have your own personal and regional crises but what a tremendous balm to be able to share those things here.

Here are a few other tidbits of information around here:
*I TOTALLY LOVED BILLINGS. I mean LOVED IT. LOVED THEM!!!! LOVED JESUS ON THEM! Thank you for praying for us. I will remember them for a long, long time.

*Melissa and I have had our second night of Bible-intro class (we missed one night over Ike) and we are getting to know our young women and love them. We’re working their tails. You know what I mean. Brains. We’re asking them to do homework and a fair amount of memory work. They’re proving up to the challenge. Melissa and I had a blast putting stickers on completed homework assignments last night. Don’t think for a moment we’re using stickers because we’re treating them like ten year-olds. Any time I have the size class I can interact with one-on-one, I use silly incentives for one very good reason. They WORK. I don’t care if it’s a sixty year-old or a sixteen year-old. She wants her sticker. And I want to give it to her. Makes me so happy. Here are four figures about the Bible all our class members can tell you off the top of their heads today: [written over roughly] 1500 years, 66 Books, over 40 writers, 3 languages. And they can tell you what those languages are, where they are found and how impossible they are to read. Grin. I’m so proud of them.

*Living Proof Ministries put our beloved Curtis Jones on an airplane to India today to minister there for the next week. He’s been on many mission trips so I’m thankful to be able to say we are not sending a novice that far from home nor are we sending him alone. His best friend, Jerrell Altic, one of the young ministers at our church who is neck-deep in missions is partnering with him. We have been involved with various organizations and efforts in India for 10 years since having the privilege to serve on that beautiful and tragic soil but I’ve been so preoccupied with Africa the last number of years, I haven’t had a chance to return. Missions are big to us so I was elated when the opportunity arose for Curtis. I also deeply appreciate and respect Amanda’s courageous and giving heart to bless her man to make this trip to the other side of the world. When you have a potty-training two-year old all-boy and a baby girl on the way, that’s an offering God highly esteems. I’m going to cut and paste a little synopsis about Curtis’s mission to India from an email he sent me so you can hear it in his own words. I think you’ll be moved to care and to pray. He writes…

-We are partnering with Charasia, a ministry based in southeast India. Charasia (www.charasia.org) rescues children who were born in the sex slave industry in India and gives them a home in their multiple orphanages. They also have excellent schools where the children learn about Christ through the Bible and English. In India if you do not know English you have very little chance to ever make it above the poverty line. We will be speaking and teaching these sweet children. The staff of these homes are women who were previously trapped in prostitution, but have been set free both physically and spiritually. We will be giving Living Proof’s resources to these sweet ladies. Charasia also sponsors many churches in their local area. Jerrell and I will be encouraging these pastors and giving them copies of my devotional journal. We will also have various opportunities to preach in the local churches. You can find information about sponsoring a child on their website and also a more detailed description of what they do.

Back to Beth: Can you imagine a more important reason to travel to the other side of the globe? I pray God astounds them with His power, Presence, and favor. Curtis promised me he’d come back with plenty of pictures and stories and we’ll be sure and share some of them with you.

OK, I better get off of here! AJ and the Mister are on their way over here to eat dinner with us and I have NO IDEA – I do mean N-O I-D-E-A – what we’re going to eat. I’ll cast my eyes to the clouds and squint with all my might until I see my favorite super hero: It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, IT’S SUPPERMAN!!!!!

Love y’all so much. Stay in the Word!

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God of This City

Sunday morning my little family slept a little later than usual, swung by Shipley’s Donuts and headed to church. Sunday school had been cancelled, which is totally a bummer because I love that part. I’m such a fellowship person.

We entered the sanctuary and it was slowly filling up. Two weeks ago our church had just started meeting in the sanctuary again after a five-month exodus into the chapel, fellowship hall, and gym while it got a much-needed renovation. That first Sunday back in the new sanctuary was incredible. It was so exciting and there was a wonderful spirit of praise and thanks to God. We sang Chris Tomlin’s “God of this City” and proclaimed that “greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city.” We sang it loud and proud.

The very next Sunday there was no church because of the hurricane. Then there was Sunday, September 21 – only our second service in the newly renovated sanctuary. I cannot adequately describe how different the mood was in the service this week. Quiet. Somewhat broken. Sweet. Humble. Sober. Unsure. Pastor Gregg poured his heart out to love on us and shepherd us. His sermon was directly related to the hurricane and he talked about what we can learn from it. Three things will stick with me. For some people, this was a correcting storm. For others, it was a perfecting storm. And God wants to use it to shave the silliness off of our lives. When Curt and I went to the mall last week to get Baby’s two little outfits after the ultrasound, I can’t tell you how ridiculous and obscene it felt. Were we really at the mall when there was so much devastation everywhere? I think that is what a lot of us are feeling right now. I’m sure it will wear off for most Houstonians, but hopefully it won’t wear off for the Church. I certainly don’t want it to wear off for me. I really need it. This is something I feel God has been doing in my life for the past little while and I want to see the work made complete.

I remember when we were in England how different the elderly people were from everyone else. They had survived The War. Many had been shipped off from their parents when they were kids to live in regions of England where they would be safe from the fighting. They had been through a ton in their young years and they were not caught up in the silliness of the present-day culture. They made do with little and they didn’t need extravagance. This way of being was not attractive to me at age 24. I wanted very much to project a certain image and to have as much as I could of what the world could give me, while having the things of God, too. (I’m not talking about things that are plain sinful as much as things that are permissible, but not beneficial.) I so appreciate God’s patience with me at every stage of life. I also appreciate that He changes me. I am getting ever-so-close to my thirties and I’m happy that in 13 months I’ll cross that line with a different heart and mind than that of my 24-year-old self. I will say the same as I enter my forties, I’m sure.

Pastor Gregg exhorted us let this storm do its work in our lives – to let it be more than the inconvenience that it’s been for most of us. Honestly, I haven’t even been inconvenienced all that much. As he asked the congregation how many were still without power, the vast majority raised their hands. I was stunned. My cross to bear has been a tiny one. Still, He has allowed me to take a look at my own life and see the silliness, and to gaze at what matters. I want to learn this lesson.

That morning we sang “God of This City” again. We did so loudly, not as proudly, but full of faith. As we sang, images of our damaged region flashed across the whole front wall of the sanctuary. Our words went up as a prayer to God. While we worshipped in our lovely new sanctuary, we knew that only a few miles away Second Baptist Church was meeting outside. Part of the dome at the top of their beautiful sanctuary had been ripped away during the storm and the damage was extensive. They are out of their sanctuary indefinitely. The body of Christ in this town is having a moment with the Lord, y’all. How I pray that the fruit will be sweet and that everyone who lives here will get a taste…and see that He is good.

God, You are the God of this city. You’re the King of these people. We feel broken by You but loved at the same time. Like today when I had to give Jackson a spanking for locking me out of the house while I fetched the groceries, but he clung to me for a long time afterward. I know You love us. You are not done with this city. Strengthen the remnant. Build up Your Kingdom here, Lord.

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A Miesta’s Getting Married!

Someone very near and dear to all of us is getting married this weekend! Can you guess who? It’s none other than our incredible Living Proof Live photographer, Rich, and his beautiful fiancee, Gretchen. Let’s be praying for them this week as they get ready to join their lives together and celebrate with friends and family. Rich and Gretchen, I am praying for lots of joy and lots of peace for both of you. Blessings to you guys!

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Living Proof Live – Billings, Montana


Living Proof Live Billings Montana from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

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Thinking Pink and Seeking Prayer

*UPDATE*
Guess who has power? God does! And so does our office! Praise Him!

“God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good.” (Gen. 1:3-4)

Yippee! It is good indeed! Thanks for praying, everyone. The staff will be back in action tomorrow.

Thanks for being excited with us! We are so surprised and thrilled to be having a baby girl. My first waking thought this morning was, “It’s a girl!” Then I had to call mom and talk about it…again. You should have heard us carrying on when we had a minute to ourselves yesterday. I said, “Mom, we’ll have dress-ups and purses and shoes and…oh mom…you’ve only begun to spend money!” We died laughing because it is just so true.

We all drove home from the ranch on Monday after hearing that my house had power. My parents spent the night with us since they did not have electricity until last night. Mom babysat Jackson while Curtis and I went to my OB appointment yesterday morning. After we got the fun news, we ran over to a nearby Macy’s and bought these sweet things for Baby Girl.

We put them in a gift bag and when we got home we let my mom open them. That’s how we told her what we were having. She totally freaked out. We sent a picture of the clothes to Melissa’s cell phone and she called us bawling. My dad has this memory of Melissa and I wearing our dressy red coats when we were little girls and I told him we would be sure to find one for our princess. Curtis’ whole family was rooting and believing God for a girl and they were thrilled. Curt said his dad was giddy and I know my sweet mother-in-law is excited to pay a visit to the pink side of our favorite baby boutique in her hometown (Jelly Beans in Springfield, MO). I had a blast calling my friends Sunni and Janelle, who both have little girls born within a month of Jackson. Knowing and loving their precious daughters makes me so excited about getting to have this experience, too!

It’s pretty surreal that we actually got to have our doctor’s appointment yesterday (and even shop at Macy’s), given the state of this community after Ike. There are some areas in very bad shape. Gasoline, ice, and groceries have not been easy to acquire and a ton of people still do not have electricity. (Things are getting better in some areas.) Galveston residents are not even being allowed into their city right now. My understanding is that it is basically unlivable. There are so many things to pray for. One huge praise is that God sent a cold front this way and we have had MUCH cooler temperatures. We praise Him for His mercy! Houston is generally very unpleasant in September. Please pray for the great weather to continue and for God to meet the Greater Houston Area’s electricity, gasoline, and food needs. Pray that the poor and those without homes to return to will be provided for abundantly. We know of some people who cannot locate loved ones who were living in Galveston before the storm. Please pray that they will be found safe and sound. Most of all, pray that God will use this situation to humble us and prime this city for spiritual awakening and revival.

We do have a couple of prayer needs directly related to LPM. Our office still does not have power, but we are eager to get back to serving! Will you all please ask God to restore our power, even today? Most of us got together for lunch today to fellowship and go over the game plan for the rest of the week. One of my co-workers was able to peek into her work email account and she already had 400 emails waiting for her. We all have lots to do! Will you also ask God to power up our ministry director’s house? I believe she is the last one of us to lack electricity. Thank you so much, sisters!

Bethie will get on an airplane and head to Montana tomorrow. She will speak to some women at a prison on Thursday night and then have the Living Proof Live event on Friday and Saturday. I’m not sure if our prayer memo will go out to our prayer warriors this week, so I wanted to be sure to mention this prayer need to you, too.

May God bless each one of you today and may you have a keen awareness, as many of us in Houston do right now, of God’s faithfulness to provide every single thing you need to live and breathe. He is always at work caring for us. We praise Him with you today.

Love,
Amanda

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Little Miss Princess Siesta

It’s a GIRL!!!! A G-I-R-L!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are beside ourselves. Out of control. Come mid-February we will have a brand new little Siesta. The crowd at the mall better part like the Red Sea. Let me to some pink.

Thank You, Father. We’d have loved another boy like crazy but You had a woman-child on Your mind. You have flipped two families. Thank You.

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Quick Check

Hey, Darling Things! I just have the quickest moment to post an update. The Moores and Joneses are six hours from Houston in our Cactusland and far from cell/internet service. We came into a nearby town to worship today and right this moment we’re in a delightful little restaurant where we – and the entire community’s Lutherans, Methodists, and Baptists – are grabbing lunch. From what we hear, our properties and those of our staff members are either fine or have sustained minimal damage, may the Lord be praised!! Keith and I learned that our fence is down and we lost a couple of trees but our home is ok. The ministry building, which is surrounded by tall trees, is untouched. We were floored and so blessed. Many, many Houstonians – friends and loved ones included – took serious hits. The home of one of my dear friends was completely flattened. Several of our big churches also sustained considerable damage. We are among several million Houstonians who still don’t have power so we’re sitting tight until we get a green flag to head home. This is a great time for control freaks to exercise surrender. Needless to say, we are hoping for a green light soon. About half of our staff members stayed in town and trust me when I tell you that Houston/Galveston is NOT where you want to be this time of year with no electricity or fresh water. Please pray for them. For Heaven’s sake, pray for everybody in this part of the country. So many lost so much. We also thank God so much for not allowing Ike to have all the power he wanted.

We don’t know about Bible study Tuesday night. Doesn’t look promising at this point but we’ll keep you posted. Things could happen fast, God willing. I will DEFINITELY head to Billings, Montana, this weekend, so no threat there.

We love y’all like crazy, care about you so much, and thank you with all of our hearts for your prayers. We will ask God to spread them lavishly all over our region.

We hope to be back in touch very soon!!

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I No Like Ike

Hi everyone! The LPM blog is going to be on hiatus for a few days while the Moore-Jones clan attempts to travel to the ranch for the weekend. I say “attempts” because I am so nervous about the traffic! My parents were already planning on going and we have decided to join them in view of Hurricane Ike heading this way. FYI, LPM and all our staff are located a safe distance from the coast, but the danger for those of us on this side of town, assuming it hits close to Houston, will be high winds. I think most people are riding it out. Everyone on the Texas coast appreciates your prayers. We love you girls and we’ll be back soon!
Love,
Amanda

PS – Bible study went great! We are really excited about our group. Thanks for praying on Tuesday!

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