Thursday, September 5, 2013


The last trip of Summer 2013 was to Salt Lake City, Utah for Antioch's US Church Planters conference that happens every other year. Josh's brother lives in Utah, so we planned to stay after the Yellowstone trip and drive down to spend a few days with him, his wife, and our niece before the conference started. Sadly, he was deployed on very short notice to Afghanistan a few weeks before we arrived. We were still thankful to crash in their house for a few days in between vacation and the conference and Hope loved playing with her cousin's toys!

The conference was a blast. Some of our very best friends who are now church planting in Houston were there, so it was fun to reconnect with them along with many old friends from college. There were 300 people at the conferences, representing 30 Antioch church plants all over the US. It was so encouraging to hear what God is doing across our nation through this movement and hear fresh vision for where God is taking us as a people. We were stirred, challenged, and re-envisioned for the road ahead.

The conference was "no kids allowed" but our childcare fell through after we had purchased tickets, etc., so the conference staff was gracious enough to let Hope crash the party. She enjoyed getting to hang with all the adults and was pretty well-behaved throughout it. Either way, by the time it was over we were more than thrilled to be home for good - sayonara suitcases!

Summer 2013, you were good to us. Can't wait to see all that the Lord will do this fall!

We go wayyyyy back. 

Love getting time with my bestie!

Hope enjoying the mountains.

Love these two.

Hearing from Jimmy is always a highlight! So thankful for this man!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


On the way to Thailand we made a pit stop in Dubai to see my parents. We were so grateful to have found a ticket to Thailand through Dubai for the same price as flying directly! When my parents moved to the region a few years ago, we never expected to see them as often as we do. It has literally been the kindness of God! Hope loves spending time with her grandparents and enjoying all special toys at their house. It was a memorable week and we were thankful to spend some special time together as a family.

One fun aspect of our time there was that a team of young adults from our church came to work with the long-term team here and it overlapped with our time. It was crazy seeing two worlds colliding but fun to spend time with them and share in what God was doing in and through them!

Unfortunately I never seemed to have my camera during this trip (I blame jet-lag...) but here are a few pics from our time.

So fun to spend time with one of my best friends on the other side of the world!

Hope had quite an obsession with this bucket. 

Loving time with grammy!

Banging the table with Granddad was one of her favorite pastimes.

She loveeeeeddddd this car!

Catching Up: Yellowstone Part 2

The last 3 days of the trip we stayed actually in Yellowstone National Park. Did you know that Yellowstone is BIGGER than the state of Delaware? That is quite an important detail when planning a trip to Yellowstone because everything you see is 1-2 hours drive away - even when you stay in the park! Although we had a lot of quality time in the car, we definitely cannot complain as literally every mile you drive is filled with amazing sights: mountains, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, geysers, buffalo, elk, deer, etc. Every picture you looks like it could be on the cover of a coffee table book on Yellowstone. Ridiculous.

Funny story: On the way home (driving back to Salt Lake) Josh had to leave early in the morning with his cousin (who had to catch an flight), so I drove our car back with Josh's 2 sisters and Hope. About 30 minutes into our trek out of the park we got a flat tire. Have I mentioned Yellowstone has horrible cell phone reception?! We had no service and were literally stranded. After fifteen minutes of 2 girls fumbling with the tire and a feeble attempt to use the tire jack, a few kind-hearted 60 year-old men stopped to help us. Needless to say we were VERY thankful! 

Either way, it was a memorable trip and we were thankful for a fun week in the midst of a crazy summer. Until next time, Yellowstone!

Old Faithful 

Vacation with kids....always a crazy adventure! 

Love my little girl. 

This is a very common occurence 

Hope got a little sick halfway through the trip...needless to say this was not her best moment. :) 

Josh's dad, his brothers, and their sons (minus a few!) 

Catching Up: Yellowstone Part 1

At the end of July Josh's entire family (including uncles, aunts & cousins!) met up in Yellowstone National Park for a family reunion. We spent the first few days in Jackson Hole, WY exploring Grand Teton National Park. It was absolutely breathtaking! We spent time hiking, exploring the sights, and even got to go white water rafting (thanks nana!)! Hope enjoyed seeing all the sights from her hiking backpack - she was a trooper! It was fun to spend the week as a family and see an area of the country we've never seen before. The pictures below were from a hike in the Grand just don't do this place justice! Hope we get to go back again some day!

 Love living life with this guy and all the adventures we share!

Josh's family - missing 6 members! 

 She thought every one was getting too much attention so she had to come and steal the show.

 Napping on Nana

 One of the most beautiful hikes I've ever been on!

Sadly, Josh's older brother Jeremy got deployed last minute to Afghanistan a few weeks before our trip and could not join us. We took this picture to make sure he knew he was being thought of often!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Catching Up: Thailand!

Wow. It has been a while. That is an understatement. 

This summer was jammed packed with traveling: vacation, mission trips, conferences, retreats, etc. and we are finally feeling like life is getting back to normal as we settle into the fall here in Norman. It's hard to even unpack all that happened this summer, but here's a quick glimpse at our trip overseas to Thailand!


In June our family of three headed to Thailand for a month. We lead a team (along with our amazing friend Torree) of 16 young adults from Antioch Norman for the first 2 weeks. During this time we partnered with Antioch's long-term team there and focused mainly on the universities in CM: sharing the gospel and helping to start lifegroups on campus. We also connected with believers on campus and got to encourage and strengthen them. It was awesome! 

One of the first days there I randomly met the leader of the "Christian Club" (98% of the country is Buddhist, so this was definitely a divine appointment!). Me and a Thai friend from the church spent several hours hearing her testimony and getting to encourage her when she needed it most. Over the next few weeks, I spent a lot of time with her encouraging her in her leadership and the way God wanted to use her on that campus. I also got to attend the club with some other friends from our Thai church. We worshipped Jesus while the Buddhist Club was chanting next door...definitely not something you experience everyday, but wow, the presence of God was there and it was such an honor to worship with this small, but mighty group.

During these two weeks our team also had the opportunity to go to Burma for 2 days. We stayed on the border and got visit and partner with various ministries that are working with orphans & refugees in the area. Burma was unlike any other place I've been before...a country so familiar with suffering and devastation, yet on the brink of a new day. God is moving there and it was so exciting to see opportunities opening up before our eyes.

A few days before the team left our lead pastor, Chris, arrived and joined Josh & I for ten days. Since we have always had a heart for Thailand and Southeast Asia and know God is calling us there long-term, we asked our leadership to come and seek the Lord with us for what he has for us and our church in the region - and how we get there.

During this time we got to meet with several significant leaders in the region and hear their stories, their advice, and their insight into what God is doing in the region. Josh and I loved every minute of it. One of our favorite times was meeting a missionary couple who had been serving in Thailand for 50 years. We sat in their living room - full of grandchildren running around - as they recounted stories of trekking on elephants for days to get to unreached villages because there were no roads....say what?! Then they asked US to pray a blessing over them before we left (Ya know, after they signed several copies of various books they've written and sent them with us). Their humility and love for the country of Thailand inspired us and gave us fresh vision for what God can do with hearts that fully say YES to Him!

Another highlight of our time was getting to partner with Antioch's church and long-term team in CM. When we went to Thailand two years ago the team was in the process of moving to CM from the south, so it was so exciting to see all that has happened in the last few years and see a church established. Everyday we went out to with Thai believers from the church (many of them new in their faith) to share the gospel. They challenged us daily as they walked out in faith and obedience to Jesus. They are truly changing their country!

The last Sunday we were there they asked Josh to preach. There were about 100 people crammed in the church that day as Josh shared a message on "living in hope". People responded in an amazing way and the presence of God was powerful. It was such a sweet way to end our time there and an amazing reminder that truly "the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few".

We are excited to continue seeking the Lord for his perfect timing as we look towards moving overseas in the next few years. We know he is - as cheesy as it sounds - "preparing a place for us" and we know he will answer every question on our hearts in his perfect timing. One thing is for sure: he loves Thailand and he is on the move there!

And the munchkin - wow, what a trooper. Hope did great. Thais LOVE LOVE LOVE kids. She was the center of attention every where she went. Seriously. She adored all 16 of her teammates and they kept her thoroughly entertained every minute of every day. Her favorite song at the time was "the wheels on the bus" so every time she would start to cry our entire team would spontaneously erupt into a round of it and she would immediately smile. Hilarious! She also quickly learned the traditional thai greeting ("sawadee ca" with a bow). It was quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. Her favorite word at the time was "hi", so everywhere we went in the sung-taos (the local transportation) she would wave at the motorcycles going by and yell "hiiiiiii" until they would wave back. Oh, and the girl loves, LOVES rice. So, living in Thailand will obviously not be a problem for her. :)

It wasn't perfect though. Traveling with kids is no walk in the park and Josh and I had some hilarious/senile moments where we would just try to laugh and tell each other that we were "making memories". By the end of the month we were totally worn out but so thankful Hope was with us the entire way. Josh and I know that whatever God calls us to, he's called us to as a family. We want our kids to join in the adventure of following Jesus with us - no matter where that takes us.  Hope opened doors to people's hearts in Thailand that we would have never been able to open ourselves. She was a tangible picture of the HOPE that Jesus brings to a lost and hopeless world - exactly why we named her that. We were so thankful we got to share the experience with her. Nevertheless, we will never take for granted the luxury of a high chair, car seat, or crib ever again! God's greatest inventions! :)

 Overlooking Chiang Mai
Our incredible team!

I love this picture: It perfectly captures Hope's goofy personality and Aunt Torree always looking out for her. Hands-down best co-leader we could have EVER had! 

Tree of Life Church

A squatter community on the Burmese border

Got to bring hygiene supplies and food for each family.

The many adventures of eating with Hope! 

Hope bonding with Burmese villagers

Kenah sharing a word with the Burmese village

Hope spent a few hours being toted around by this monk teacher. He loved her!

Precious burmese kids 

She preferred sink-baths in Thailand...

Us and our little trooper 

Ended the trip with some waterfall fun!