Tired, but still Inspired!

Today was one of those days where one feels a little overwhelmed by life:
  • 3 meetings
  • errands down the street
  • laundry piled up on the couch to fold and put away
  • sink & counter full of dishes that need to be washed
  • a floor that is in desperate need of a mop
  • need to prepare for Bible study tomorrow
  • teaching next week in DTS -- all morning long, all week long, need to prepare for that
  • Titus contacts to e-mail
  • Titus applicants we need to write and accept
  • Titus teams to continue arranging
  • Titus outreaches to organize
  • meetings to arrange
  • kids have their mid-semester exams this week and need help studying the next few evenings
  • family is hungry -- need to make meals
  • Michael's thumb is broken -- I get to do the dishes for 6 weeks straight :-)
  • not sure I have enough clothes to wear for teaching for a week -- may need to go shopping
  • We have seriously run out of space in our 850 sq. foot apartment -- we pretty much have clutter everywhere -- but I have no idea where to put everything anymore
  • youth group to prepare for Friday night
  • Michael preaching the next two weeks at a church in Taipei
  • and... we want to spend quality time with our kids and be discipling and inputting into their lives each day!
So, we cleaned up after dinner, the girls helped with some dishes, and Michael played Legos with the kids while I sat down at the computer for a few minutes of down time before I tackle a bit more on the house.  As I was praying for a renewed burst of energy, I re-read the following and was both blessed by God's goodness and grace as well as re-inspired to keep giving absolutely everything we've got.  One of my favorite verses is from Col 1:28-19, "Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ.
For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me."

Need a little boost of energy or re-inspiration?  Read this! :-)
From Titus Montana
(I tried to upload a few times earlier this year, but only got it to work tonight...)

Titus Times Montana 2011


Decision Dilemma

Over the past several months Titus applications have been trickling in -- until we reached the deadline the beginning of this month, at which point they flooded in!  The current grand total? = 36!

As far as I know, this is the most applicants we've ever had for one program.  It is exciting but also frustrating:  The other night, as we had the applications stacked up on our coffee table and were reading through a few I got tears in my eyes.  We were reading various answers to the question, "Why do you want to do Titus?"  with answers like:
  • I want to teach the Bible more than anything else 
  • I realize the importance of knowing truth from the Bible and want to share that in places where they are hungry and in need 
  • I want to give what I have learned to other people 
  • I want to see people saved and lives transformed 
  • I want to learn how to teach the Bible effectively so that I can teach it to those who have never heard before...
Would YOU turn down any of the above?  Of course not!  Yet, with the high number of applicants we have, but only a small number of staff, that is what we are somehow going to have to do (hence the frustration).  Because of the nature of Titus -- we try to go into the more remote/harder places and bring Bible teaching to those who otherwise may never have the opportunity to get Bible training -- we need to keep our teams small.  Small teams with that many applicants means lots of teams, and we just don't have that many staff to go around.

This morning we had a very long staff meeting, laying out the names of each applicant on our coffee table, where we prayed over, re-arranged, prayed again, switched people around, prayed again, etc.  We are really seeking God for wisdom as we continue to make decisions through the acceptance process and form up the teams.  Although frustrating/sad that we can't take on everyone this upcoming January in Taiwan, the good news is that there are several Tituses running all around the world, and if they can't join this one, they can come this next June (we'll run again) or join another one of our Tituses around the world! :-)

May God's Word continue to go forth by His grace and in His power!

(And) Please join us in prayer for more long-term Titus staff! :-)


Oh Joy for this Toy!

(aka: Saga of the Sprain / Spotlight gets off the ground) 

It was an hour past midnight, and the whole house was sleeping soundly, when Michael & I both startled awake from a very loud thud followed by whimpering coming from the youngest three kids' room. Immediately thinking Nathan had fallen out of his top bunk, we both bounded out of bed. I bumped into Michael, causing him to actually fall off rather than jump off the bed and hit his head. I made it into the hallway first, where I tripped, landing full body weight on ankle. I didn't really realize I had injured myself yet at that point, as the only thing I was thinking about was making sure Nathan was OK. Once inside the kids' room, we discovered all three fast asleep -- Nathan still in his bunk! The culprit? Kenna had fallen asleep with a large toy piano on her bed and knocked it off when she rolled over. About the same time we discovered Nathan hadn't fallen out of bed, I realized I had split the skin open on my ankle bone and that it was in excruciating pain. While the kids slept soundly on, I spent the rest of the night with ice packs trying to numb the pain enough to fall back to sleep. I spent a week going back and forth between crutches and wheeling around the house on an office chair, then a couple weeks of limping, and now over two months later just an occasional wince.  (I honestly didn't know sprains could hurt so bad or last so long -- maybe I'm just a complete wimp?)

The main thing I'm thankful for is that as laundry and floor dirt piled up, extra time at the computer allowed me to finally get our "Stevens' Spotlight' off the ground!  Consistent communication has been a goal of mine for so long, I really feel a bit of a load lifted off my shoulders, yay! :-)

P.S. Not on our mailing list but want to be? Sign up at right.


Philippines Photos

We led a Titus outreach to the Philippines last year... and I've finally got around to posting some pictures.  We'll let THEM tell a bit of the story:

(By the way, we were a bit nervous about taking our whole family on outreach -- but the kids loved it, and would go again any time!)


I write the best Blogs ...when I'm falling asleep :-\

Yes, it's true.  The minute my head hits the pillow, my mind is off and running.  Ideas, ideas, and more ideas!  While my body starts to gear down, my brain keeps going -- I love envisioning things, dreaming up all sorts of plans and possibilities, thinking, brainstorming.

While trying to sleep, I also go through a mental check-list of things I wasn't quite able to get to that day... or past month... or past year...!  One of the main things that has constantly been on my mind the past several years that I just can't quite seem to find enough hours in the day for is ... more personal communication!

And so, while trying to drift off, I also write.  A lot!  I've written literally hundreds of brilliant blog posts, sent out the nicest newsletters, and compiled clever videos -- all on my way to la-la-land (aka sleep).  The problem is my computer -- it unfortunately (or fortunately for you, whatever the case may be) doesn't have one of those mind-to-computer transfer devices.  By the time I've thought through and re-worded several times over whatever it is that I am mentally writing about, my body is usually well-and-truly gone, with my mind generally following soon thereafter.  If I actually did have the capacity to drag myself out of bed every night, we might have a much better, oft-updated site then!  (I'm hoping it's wisdom though, knowing also my need for sleep, that keeps me in bed most nights)

At any rate, (haha, I sound like a typical amateur blogger lamenting about not writing often enough, with promises to write more), know that it at least is on my mind, and maybe one of these days, I might get myself out of bed like I did tonight, write a few more posts (although they probably won't be as good as the ones I dream about), and publish my half-written saved drafts.  Except that if I get up, although semi-awake, I'm also semi-asleep, and tend to get more random and incoherent as time goes on!  I think now might be my signal to hit the pillow again.

P.S.  Last week, I completed the first page (2-sided) of a newsletter update.  I've got a few drafts saved in Mail Chimp for something new we're going to try out soon (it's just taking me a long time to enter all the e-mail addresses), and of course I've scads of ideas for more things... so now with the kids back to school, you might actually (?!?) hear from us "soon"! :-P


Titus Times! (Taiwan, 2011)

Here it is: the latest edition of our Titus newsletter with news from our Jan-Mar & Feb-Apr programs. Enjoy! :-)

Taiwan Titus Times 2011


Titus Cambodia

We are so excited & blessed as we see Titus multiplying around the world, and more Bible teachers trained up and sent forth!

In a few days, Michael has the privilege of going to Cambodia for 18 days to help them run their 2nd annual Titus there. Two other of our Titus Taiwan staff will accompany Michael, and they will be doing staff training, helping with the final preparations for the program, and then teaching most of the training time lectures.

Following is a short clip sharing how the Khmer have been excited to study and now take God's Word forth!


Titus Nepal!

My heart has been so full this year hearing all the reports from Titus Project world-wide.  Titus Nepal now brings us up to 7 operating locations around the world.

I don't know what kind of things touch and inspire you, but watching Titus videos generally brings the tissue box out for me.  I am inspired by the lives of the individuals I see (several whom we also personally know).  I'm encouraged to keep going each & every day, giving everything I've got.  I am challenged to live a life of faith and obedience as I see the incredible Faithfulness of God over the years.  God's Word is alive and active and we are all blessed to be part of bringing it to the nations!

This video was put together by our dear friend and Titus Montana leader (who was in charge of pioneering Titus Nepal), Kerry Neve.  The one thing that especially struck me from this video is the joy I see on these guys' faces.  The photos are of the 3-wk Training Time before they are all sent out on outreach to go teach & preach! :-)