It’s been a while…

Summer is halfway done and this blog has been embarrassingly quiet for far too long. 

Brian’s trip to Ireland has come and gone. It went very, very well. Brian and his teammate, Matt, got a lot accomplished while at Castledaly Manor. They did some pretty intense work that the board members and other missionaries simply did not have time for before camp began. To hear more about his trip, be sure you are signed up to receive our e-newsletters, which will go out the beginning of next week.

While Brian was gone, my big job was to keep the house running and the kids occupied so they wouldn’t notice Daddy wasn’t home. We visited friends, went to the library and playgrounds, and did activities at home. They were actually pretty tired by the time Brian returned.

The week after Brian returned, I directed Vacation Bible School for our church. I began the work back in February and it was amazing to see it come to fruition. It went off without a noticeable hitch. I had amazing volunteers who did SO much work. We ran 50+ kids all 5 days. I count it as a success.

Brian jumped back into work at MRF within a day of being home. Summer is our busy time, so we have lots of change-overs in short amounts of time. He has a few large projects he is trying to finish before fall as well – another topic to read about in our newsletter. 

Next week, I am “missionary of the week” at a CEF Day Camp here at MRF. I look forward to sharing with the kids about BCM around the world. 

Elena went with me to VBS and had a blast. She was so good and enjoyed the time SO much. The kids are enjoying a giant backyard and new sand pit that friends made for us. It’s been a beautiful summer and they are soaking up every minute of the sunshine. 

Again, watch for our newsletter next week. Thanks for praying for us while Brian was gone. Want to join him as he goes to Lima this fall? Contact us! We’d love to have you experience overseas missions first-hand.

Home Not-Quite-Alone

We are Day #7 out of 12 of Brian’s trip to Ireland and so far, so good. Only one call to poison control, one almost broken toe, three meltdowns, and one fever. *phew* :)

No, but in all seriousness, things are going really well here at home. I thought the kids would have more problems with Daddy being gone for such a long period of time, but things seem to be going fairly smoothly. Occasionally our little boy looks up at me with his big blue eyes and goes, “Da Da?” I tell him, “No, buddy, not here.” He shrugs his little shoulders and wanders off. Again, *phew*.

We changed our phone plan and now, we can connect to WiFi with our cell phones, so Brian is able to use the WiFi in Ireland and call me occasionally. We text a few times each day as well. I wasn’t sure how often I’d hear from him, so it’s nice getting this much communication. Things are going very well; they’re getting a lot of work done on the campground before camp begins Sunday night. They are both totally confused on what time it is, and what day it is, so they keep ending their work days at 11pm. But, they’ll be okay. They’re getting quite a bit done and are really enjoying their time.

Here at home, I’m finishing up prep for VBS. This is a HUGE undertaking for me and I’m incredibly grateful for the people who have stepped up to help out and direct different areas. However, the last minute details are going to make my hair fall out, I’m just sure of it. I’m looking forward to the week. I’m also looking forward to it being done. :) Just pray for us! Thankfully, God is a God of details and He won’t let them go untouched. It’ll be fine. It might even be great. :)

Thanks for praying for our little family during Brian’s trip. Continue to do so – it’s not over yet! Pray him safely home for me!

Ministry/Vacation Trip

P1030775We have been wanting to get up to Vermont since we returned to the States in 2012, but timing just was not coming together with beginning new ministries, moving, small baby, etc. So – finally – this past week, we made a quick trip up to visit my sister, her husband, and the church I grew up in, which is also one of our first supporting churches. We stayed a week and had an awesome time. It felt like a mini-vacation with two speaking engagements thrown in. I think we all needed it.

Wednesday evening, the church organized a fellowship time with us and then a time for us to share. Tanya (my sister) kept saying, “You may have 20 people – you may have 120 – I really don’t know!” We were incredibly excited to see about 100 people come to hear us share in the evening! What’s really ironic is that not only has UBC (click to check out their website) supported us for seven years, but they have supported MRF for… Oh, I don’t even know how long! At least as long as my parents have been there, which was since the mid ’80′s. Years ago, the church ladies sent quilts down for the beds… some of which are still floating around! But, no one has been able to go up there and give a ministry update in quite some time, so with a whole new generation of families at UBC, many didn’t even know what MRF is or what all we do here. As well, the church is very well aware of BCM, but really only in regards to the work  in Peru, so we were able to broaden it a bit and share about the work BCM does internationally. The response from the evening was VERY good. The best part for us was at the end when they spontaneously came around us and spent time in prayer for us.

Sunday morning, we shared again, focusing mainly on MRF. It was very well received again and we had a lot of feedback afterwards, which was super encouraging to us.

What struck me most this time around was the fact that this is how the church should function. I grew up there – in that school, youth group, and church body. They were really the ones who taught me and helped me grow during my formative years. To be able to stand there, with my husband, and share about our ministry and how they support us just feels like coming full-circle. A church should be raising up their young people and sending them out to do missions, then supporting them as they do so! They should be involved, not just in prayer and finances, but with contact and missions trips and practical help. UBC does all of that for us and we are very grateful to them.

The last time we were in Vermont, Elena was just a peanut, about 4 months old, and it was the dead of winter, so we didn’t do much.

Elena, last time we visited VT - Feb. of 2011!

Elena, last time we visited VT – Feb. of 2011!

This time, the kids were bigger and the weather was gorgeous, so we did a bit of sightseeing when we could. It was a blast taking them into Franconia Notch, NH, and doing some family hiking.

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My sister and I did some yard saling and Brian helped with a few projects around their house. My sister has a giant dog that the kids absolutely LOVED, Joseph especially. She also has chickens, which Elena would talk to and feed to her heart’s content.

We got home Monday evening and jumped back into ministry here. We finished our Wed. evening program for the school year a couple weeks ago. Parents were invited to join us for the evening and we had an amazing turnout!

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We gave out some prizes, played games, sang songs, and ate (way too much) ice cream. It was an awesome way to close out the year and makes us look forward with anticipation to the fall.

I have worked for almost two months on setting up the summer schedules for the children’s ministries and it still doesn’t seem to be completed! I’m also preparing a VBS for July, but that’s slow-going, too. You can be in prayer for these two areas over the next few weeks.

Here at MRF, the homes are full, but minor repairs are still constant. Pray with us and the board about the possibility of expansion; it’s so hard to hear of people needing housing and having nothing open to offer!

The next edition of BCM World is coming out, Lord-willing, next week or the week after (it’s all up to Brian now and his design expertise!). I have two articles in there – hope you enjoy them! I’ll post the link when it’s published.

Brian leaves in just a few short weeks for his 10-day trip to Ireland: June 19-30. If you would like to help finance his trip, you can send funds in, marked “Brian Biegert Ireland Trip” to BCM Int’l – that would be greatly appreciated! Pray with our family as this will be a stretch, not having daddy for 10 days is a LONG time when you’re little! Pray for me as I will have lots to accomplish while he’s gone, but being mom & dad will be first priority. Pray for Matt, the guy from our church going with him, that this trip will impact his life as well and open his eyes to missions.

Brian’s last trip of the year will in October, back down to Lima, Peru. This trip is still open, but filling up quickly – which is awesome! Contact us if you’re interested in joining him!

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In Short:

Woa. I have become quite the slacker when it comes to this blog! Here’s what’s been going on since Easter:

  • Immediately after Easter, I held my first ever “Training & Recognition Day” for my children’s ministry volunteers. I have a total of 40+ volunteers in the children’s ministry and 26 of them showed up for the day. It was not the number I was hoping for, to be honest, but I’ll still take it! We began the morning with some recognition time, specifically thanking certain individuals, and then I talked about the upcoming changes to programs. We enjoyed a catered brunch and then did three hours of training using BCM’s In Step with the Master Teacher program. I taught two hours; my director in teacher training, Stan, taught three (we taught two of those hours simultaneously). It was a successful, blessed day and I look forward to the 2nd Annual Training & Recognition Day in spring 2015!
  • Yesterday, Wednesday the 14th, was our last Pioneer Clubs for the 2014 school year. Parents were invited to come out and we had a FULL house! I was ecstatic with the number of kids with their parents who made it! We played games with the parents, passed out prizes, and enjoyed ice cream with all the toppings you could possibly imagine. And then watched the kids literally run in circles while they waited on parents. :)
  • This Sunday, we end the school year children’s church program. We’ll begin a different summer program beginning June 1.
  • Also this Sunday I have my first planning meeting for something I have participated heavily in before, but never directed: Vacation Bible School! So excited – and completely terrified! Just praying for a good turnout of volunteers!
  • We will be in Vermont next week in order to visit my sister and her husband and represent BCM and MRF at the church I grew up in – Union Baptist Church. We haven’t been there since E was 4mos old! Looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and sharing about our ministries with a church body who has faithfully supported us this entire time.
  • Brian has been doing almost constant web design work. I don’t get it, but he keeps telling me it’s “relaxing.” To each his own, I guess! :)
  • We had quick turn-overs of guests here at MRF which meant quick updates, fast cleaning, and hasty repairs before the new residents moved in. We are enjoying getting to know a couple of the families who have been here for awhile. One of the young teen girls adores our kids and babysits whenever she’s able, which is a HUGE blessing. We have a family who was here last summer who has returned for a couple of months, so we’re looking forward to reconnecting with them as soon as they’ve settled back in.
  • With spring in full-swing, that means more work outside for Brian. “Improvement” seems to be his constant motto.
  • Brian heads to Ireland June 19! Can we all just say, “Ahhhhh!!!!” with me for a moment? Ten days with no daddy in the house just sounds…. not even remotely fun right now. Pray for me.
  • We battled a flu-bug a week ago. That was not fun and laid us up for much longer than we anticipated. Thankfully, Baby J was spared.
  • The kids are loving – LOVING – the warmer weather and could literally live outside 24/7. Getting them to come inside is difficult, which is a good thing… or so I’m told.

And that’s about it! We’re kept plenty busy, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Pray for us. The flu really knocked us out for about a week, which makes us both feel very behind in the work we absolutely must get done. Pray for safety and a good trip next week and that the kids would handle the week well.

Thanks for standing behind us. It’s through your prayers and support that we are able to do what we do every day.

Happy Easter!

Easter is such a beautiful time of year and we’re excited to be spending it with our church family this year. Last night was an incredibly awesome worship/communion service that just set the tone for the entire weekend. Tonight, our church is showing Billy Graham’s video, “The Cross”, in hopes people can invite in their friends and family to see it. And then Sunday is the sunrise service, breakfast, and worship service celebrating our risen Lord. We just love the true meaning of Easter and are having a blast sharing the truth with our children.

We wish you all a blessed, joyful Easter – Resurrection Day!

“Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing that we can be born again! Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing Christ is risen from the dead! The angel up on the tombstone said He is risen just as He said! Quickly now, go tell His disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead! Joy to the world! He’s risen! Hallelujah! He’s risen! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

April Sunshine!

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Yeah!! Spring has finally sprung in NE PA!! Man, it feels good to be outside again. Granted, both kids have already face-planted in the driveways and Joe looks like he’s been in a fist-fight, but hey – builds character, right?! The kids could live outside constantly and thankfully, I have stocked up on stain remover, so the mud stains don’t matter much. They’re tired at night – that’s all I care about right now!

ImageBCM’s e-zine, BCM World, is out with another edition! I am BEYOND privileged to write for this every time it comes out AND to be edited by Jeanette Windle. Google her. It’s pretty sweet to have her be my editor. She is wonderful to work with and I’ve learned a lot about missions journalism already. Please read this e-zine! This time, there’s articles on the DR Congo, Kenya (mine), camping in Peru, work in France (actually,in  the city of Toulouse which just happens to be where my parents were missionaries years ago, though not with BCM), and profiles on the new BCM North America candidates (also mine). You can sign up to receive this directly to your inboxes when it comes out again in just another couple of months. Pass the link to friends and family and enjoy!

I have to tell you — Brian is the graphic designer. This involves so much more than just simply uploading a Word document. He’s worked almost non-stop on this for the past few weeks. It involves designing numerous pages and emails and links and then the actual layout – it’s a lot of work. For someone with no graphic design background, I think he does a phenomenal job. If you think so, drop him a note; I’m sure he’d appreciate the encouragement.

 

What sacrifice?

I remember sitting in my sixth grade class at school and being asked the inevitable question: What do you want to be when you grow up? I listed off, rather quickly, my top four choices:

  1. Archaeologist. I had a current obsession with Indiana Jones. It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered what an archaeologist really does and realized I did not have the patience for that.
  2. Teacher. Thanks to my Sadie Rose books (anyone else read those?) and Laura Ingals Wilder, my deepest desire was to teach in a one-room schoolhouse, even though I knew that was probably a pipe dream.
  3. Missionary. Yes, my unspiritual sixth grade self listed that goal third. 
  4. Christian author. I remember distinctly clarifying that I would be a Christian author. As if a believer would ever truly be a secular writer. Somehow I thought the clarification sounded more elaborate.

Obviously, I have never become an archaeologist, but like I said, once I found out Indiana Jones archaeology doesn’t truly exist, I gave that one up.

When I was in high school, I more fully gave my life over to the Lord for full-time ministry. I was aware that would mean future sacrifice, but I had no idea what that meant. “Sacrifice” was such an abstract concept at that point in time. I also figured that “missionary” would truly mean cross-cultural, probably in some remote part of the world, single, with a plethora of long skirts in my suitcase.

I had no idea how God would take the deep desires of my heart and transform them into something beyond what I could dream… and all because I made the conscious decision to follow Him when I was still a kid.

Point in case: I got my one-room schoolhouse. A beautiful one-room schoolhouse with the best kids on earth. They stole my heart and I will never, ever be the same thanks to those four years.

I learned Spanish – a bucket-list sort of goal I had set for myself in college.

I became a missionary. I got to do the “overseas thing” and now I get to do the “State-side thing.”

Also part of my “bucket list” was training children’s ministry workers. In case you weren’t aware of this, this is one of the main reasons we were so excited about joining BCM – the fact that they had a program specifically for training children’s ministry workers. Now, I get to do this on a fairly regular basis and I love – simply LOVE – every single second of it.

Now, I get to do #4 on my “what do I want to be when I grow up” list. I write. Let me clarify this: When we were first married, I was extraordinarily bored, lonely, and home way more often than Brian was, so I had time on my hands. So, I did the natural thing: I wrote. Well, I joined a gym… and THEN I wrote. A lot. I told Brian, “I don’t want to just write floopy stuff. I want to write stuff with meaning – with purpose. I want my writing to make a difference.” Then, we sold all we had, moved to South America, had two children, and writing was put on the side in the form of this blog and some newsletters.

We’re back in the States now and one of the thing I get to do is write for our mission board. Meaningful, purpose-driven material. I get to “be” a journalist even though I purposefully never got a Bachelor’s (in anything) because I knew God wanted me on the mission field immediately, so I forefeited the four-year degree. Somehow, God is using my uneducated self (similarly to how He used me to teach for four years with no teaching degree) to write articles.

Nope, they’re not the award-winning novel of my dreams. They’re not in a huge publication and my name will most certainly never be in neon lights for them.

But… they’re out there. And they’re mine. And there’s purpose behind them. I get to share with the world what our great and awesome God is doing in the world – at this very moment.

I never would’ve had this chance if I hadn’t told God to use me, take me, let me be His full-time – no matter the cost, no matter where it takes me.

When talking about missions, the word “sacrifice” is used an awful lot. I won’t deny that that’s true. We gave up literally everything to move to South America. I’ve said goodbyes before – the big, emotionally draining, life-altering, heavy-sobbing goodbyes that still make me tear up to think about. I’ve had two kids in foreign clinics with doctors I didn’t understand with no mom by my side. I’ve had shingles, gross reactions to bugs, and major illnesses. We’ve had to start over – twice – with barely any possessions to our name. We live on a tight budget and “fun shopping trips” for me consist of not just going to Aldi, but getting to go to Walmart, too!

But, honestly, when I think about our life, the word “sacrifice” isn’t even in my vocabulary. I think at least once a week for the past few months, Brian and I have looked at each other in total excitement to say, “Who gets to do this?! For their career??” So many opportunities – for both of us – that we never would’ve gotten to do (at least not the way we get to do it now) if we weren’t serving the Lord full-time.

What sacrifice? It’s much more a blessing than a sacrifice to serve the Lord!!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -Ephesians 3:20-21