Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Listening is so HARD!

We just returned from two weeks of training, evaluation and orientation in order to go overseas.  The last two weeks were intense to say the least.  It was definitely information overload and I keep asking myself, "What was the main thing we learned?"
We learned a lot about transformation, peacemaking, marriage, singleness, language learning and much much more.  However, I (Kristin) think the one thing that we learned the most about was listening.  Most of my friends would probably say I am a good listener, but I am talking about listening to God.  So many times when I pray, I come with so much talking and lists of what I want to "tell" God.(as if he doesn't know)  I have been reading and thinking about Romans 8 especially this part:

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Growing up Southern Baptist and currently being a part of a Reformed church, I find myself being a little bit skeptical and even afraid of the "Spirit".  As soon as people start talking about the Holy Spirit, I get pictures in my head of people running around yelling and making people pass out.  This is extreme and un-biblical.  These past two weeks I felt stretched and even uncomfortable at times, but I also began to realize that I was in a way trying to control God by limiting what I believe about Him.  God can't be controlled and I can't change his character, but my belief and understanding were lacking and therefore wrong.  God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are a beautiful mystery.  I want to know that beautiful mystery more intimately in spirit and in truth.  I am practicing more listening in my prayer life and more dependence on the Spirit.  He intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will, I definitely want to be a part of that!  Please pray for Ryan and I as we learn to listen more and talk less in prayer.  I pray that this will stir you to also become a better listener :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Life as we know it.....

We have decided that a blog is the perfect way to share all the new things we are learning and experiencing right now.  We believe that God has been and continues to write a beautiful story of bringing us out of captivity and death and into life.  Our story is just a very small part of this beautiful script that has been written since creation.  We hope you enjoy it :)  

This is the beginning of "Our Story"

Kristin:   While living in Greece, I became really close with a couple (about my parents age...YOUNG!) Tracy and Mary Marks.  They were my family away from home.  During the summer of  07 their daughter Amy came to Greece to visit for a few weeks.  One night we were talking about boys (of course!) and Amy said, "Mom, do you know who would be so perfect for Kristin?.....Ryan Hartsfield!"  Mary said, "YEAH!"  So Ryan and I became friends on facebook; however, I didn't even think twice about it because I thought there was no possible way I would ever really meet this guy.  

  After moving back to Texas from Greece and a lot of crazy decisions that didn't make any sense, I ended up moving to Austin, Tx.  I loved Austin and knew there were refugees there so I moved!  On November 25, 2008, Amy Marks was in Austin and invited me to go out to eat.  I thought it was going to be just me and her; however, she had invited quite a few other people.  One of those people happened to be Ryan Hartsfield.  Because of my experience in Greece I have a really huge passion for refugees and Ryan just happened to live in apartments with refugees.  So funny how that works out!  That night we talked mostly about refugees in Austin.  A few days after meeting, I sent Ryan a facebook message asking him if they were doing English classes or anything with the refugees.  He responded by answering my questions and asking me to go have coffee/tea with him.  We began to teach together and drink together and quickly fell in love!!!