Monday, December 8, 2008

BIG NEWS!




Last week I was given the gift of taking a two day break from work and life to slip away to the mountains of North Carolina for a guided silent retreat led by one of my dear friends Buddy Odom. Since leaving Young Life staff, I have not had the luxury of a boss and committee encouraging me to create space like this for God to speak into my heart. It was a wonderful 30 hours or so of wrestling with God and his question posed to me from John 13:12 (MSG). After washing the disciple’s feet, he asks, ”Do you understand what I have done to you…”? For a good 8 hours I struggled with that question. For a while I reflected on the “tenderness of God” from Isaiah 43. I thought of how God has shown His tender heart towards our family over the past year (read that passage of scripture if you want some great hope!). But about 9pm, as I was sitting at the top of a hill overlooking the little town we were in, it hit me. I said out loud (which is legal on a silent retreat as long as you are not talking to someone) “NO! I don’t understand, but I trust you!” I repeated this over and over again as I walked back down the hill, laughing like a little boy. It was the first time in a long while that I felt a total freedom. Freedom from the stress and burden and gravity of moving our family across the globe into a strange land just because we are stirred by this mysterious God we serve. It was a beautiful time that is hard to put into black words on a white page.

Well, if you have hung with me this long, you will hear the latest. This morning I prayed that God would let us know today (I almost never do this!) what our next step would be. (We have really been praying that God would deny our Visas if He does not want us to go.) When I walked in the door tonight from work, Katie told me that Amelia from the Spanish Consulate called and that my Visa has been approved!!!!! We are still waiting for Katie and the girl’s, but they should follow soon.

There are so many things and emotions swirling through our heads, but here are our prayer requests for now:
• We are all—in the words of Alice, our 8 year old: “Scared to death and excited all rolled up into one. Like the turkey wrap I had for lunch at school today!”
• Still need $10,000 annual to be released by Young Life
• Katie and the girls visas still need to be approved—just a matter of time
• Wisdom on when to pull our kids out of school and actually move—technically, we have 90 days to get to Spain once the visas are approved
• SO MANY details to be worked through as far as the logistics of the move

We are so thankful for your journeying with us through this long process! It is so near now!

Isaiah 43
When You're Between a Rock and a Hard Place
1 -4 But now, God's Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel: "Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.
"So don't be afraid: I'm with you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Alice's first motorcycle ride!

video

Fun with Friends!

Sure had a great time last weekend with a day trip to Maryville and this weekend to the farm with the Sowinkis and Browns!



Monday, November 10, 2008

Trip to Europe...



Madrid Staff with Jeff Munroe (Western Europe Regional Director)
Front Row: Kate Sanders (Intern), Tallulah Whitmire, Jim McNamee and Chase
Back Row: Anna Carter (Intern), Jeff Munroe, Katie and Barbara McNamee


WOW! After close to 30 hours of traveling without sleep and with an infant, Katie and I were ready to get home last night (Sunday)! Thank you all so much for your prayers that covered us during our time. I cannot imagine it going any better. Here are the highlights…

•Regional Meeting in the Netherlands:

o We arrived in Amsterdam Tuesday morning where we took a train to a little town near Utrecht, Netherlands. We stayed in a national forest in an old “mansion”, as they called it, which is owned by a Christian organization. What a wonderful time to meet the folks who are in our region. They are doing Young Life both to Nationals and International School communities in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain, and Portugal. One of the highlights was worshiping our creator with people from all over the globe. It was great to meet and get to know Jeff Munroe --the new Regional Director over Western Europe-- who will be my boss. We were encouraged to hear his vision of Young Life ministry in Europe being led by Nationals --which is already the case in much of the region…

•Time in Madrid:
o Our first day in Madrid we had a meeting with a FEDERE lawyer who specializes in helping evangelical churches with the ins and outs of Spanish law. Carolina was so helpful in answering questions and telling us important info that we will need to know. We walked away from the time feeling encouraged about getting into life and culture in Spain. One of the things we were most concerned about was getting the girls into Spanish public schools which she assured us would not be a problem. Barbara McNamee was our hero through all these meetings being our interpreter. Without her we would have been really confused and lost!

o Meeting with Jésus in Pozuelo: Yes, the director of one of the public Spanish elementary schools in the pueblo (or town) where Jim and Barbara live is named Jésus. (Always good when the guy in charge has that name!) He, too, reassured us that our girls would not have trouble getting in to one of the local schools, and he seemed to think that they would all be able to attend the same school. Also putting our minds and hearts at ease was the fact that each pueblo has a few bilingual schools, which in essence means that there would be an English speaking staff member and some of the classes would be taught in English --although Jésus did not speak English himself… Again, thank you Barbara!


o Katie and I also drove around several areas of Madrid looking at possible locations to live. We both felt a real sense of peace over a particular area we looked at called Aravaca. This is the area of Madrid where the American School is (International School where YL is currently going on).

o We also had a wonderful time with the current staff in Madrid, firming up a vision for our family and how we would fit into what God is doing in the International School ministry. It was so much fun hearing the hearts of the current interns (Kate and Anna) and sharing with them our desire to care for them when we arrive.


o Our final night, in typical Spanish style, we stayed out late and ate dinner with several committee folks who are the heart of YL in Madrid. It was so good to meet and fellowship with those who will be a part of our family when we arrive there. After getting to sleep at about 2am we rose early at 5am to start our journey home.

•Needs:
o We are still in need of roughly $10,000 in annual support to fund our budget. YL will not let us go until this is in place!

o Pray for God’s will to be done in our family. Apparently, as of late, many “Religious Visas” have been denied by the Spanish Government as they are feeling like we might be taking away jobs from Spanish folks. Pray that God would use the Visa issue to confirm His call of our family to Spain!

Monday, October 27, 2008

October Fun!


Well, October is always a fun month for us! Katie, Chase and Alice all celebrate birthdays and the arrival of fall is always exciting. We are two months into our visas being applied for; this means we have one to four months remaining on our approval process! Katie, Tallulah and Chase will travel to the Netherlands for a Young Life Regional retreat and then to Madrid for one last advance trip to look at locations for housing and school. Please pray for wisdom discernment and safety while we are away and a part from the other three girls...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Orleans

It is hard to believe that our Visa paper work has finally been turned in! Thank you Jesus! We had a fun time being in New Orleans as a family and were all excited to get out of work and school for a few days. Our Visas will be sent to Madrid for processing which takes 3 to 6 months. Will join with us praying for the 3 month range? We would love to be moving around the first of the year...


Family Camp @ SharpTop Cove

First Day of School!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Week At the Beach with all 14 of us!

Madrid Update...

Quick update on our journey to Madrid:

We received Tallulah’s birth certificate from the State, and we sent off for her passport today! YEAH! We feel like things are moving along. Praise God! We should receive her passport in the next couple of weeks. Then we are on to New Orleans to meet with the Spanish Consulate and apply for our Visas. The Visa application process is supposed to take 3 to 6 months. Please pray with us for the 3 month range!

Financially we are getting ever closer to our annual goal of $125,000. We are still lacking about $1500 a month in support. At this rate we need 60 families to give just $25 a month, or 30 families to give $50 a month. If you have not yet given that would be a great way to join us. For those who like a visual, here is what the Graph looks like…



Wow! We are so close!

Additionally, we are in need of start up cost. This includes things like moving our house (about $20,000), a vehicle for our family and ministry there (about $35,000 USD), language school, advanced trip in November to look at housing and schools for the girls ($6,000), driving school and licenses ($600), deposit on an apartment of 6 months rent and the agent fee (Roughly $18,000). Along with some other small miscellaneous items, the figure comes to $80,000. My goal has been to raise the annual budget first and then focus on the start up costs. To date we have raised $35,000 towards these costs, so we have a bit further to go here. If you would be interested in helping with these one time expenses please let us know!

Thanks for your continued support of our family. We are grateful,

Chase, Katie, and the girls

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tallulah June Whitmire 6-27-08

Wow! Katie did it again! What a champion! God was very gracious in giving her a smooth--although not without a lot of hard work--delivery of little Tallulah June. Here are some of the details:
Born June 27th at 6:01pm
7lbs 12oz
19.5 inches long
Thank you Jesus!

Trip to the Zoo! 6-25-08

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weekend in the Mountains

We had a great long weekend in Cobbly Knob with the Beenes-- complete with long days at the pool, Splash Country, Bluegrass music with Brad, and Fireflies at Elkmont.