Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Weaver Five will fly

Today, March 14th, I booked our one-way tickets to Germany.  In the olden days of missions, people boarded ships sailing to their destinations and packed their belongings in a coffin.  They were diehard.  Well, we are not packing our things in coffins nor are we probably never going to see family and friends again.  But, yes, it did feel very strange to book a one-way ticket to the mission field for our family of five.

Missions looks a little differently now in 2013 than it did 90+ years ago during the Student Volunteer Movement, when thousands of young people gave their lives to foreign missions.  We have skype, viber, internet, email, texting, airplanes, cell phones, GPS and many other amazing gadgets of technology that make missions and missionaries' lives different and not so isolated.  Today again, thousands are answering the call to preach the good news of real hope and salvation through Jesus all over the world -developed countries and underdeveloped countries. I count it a privilege to be counted among them again.
Brian at the Berlin Wall

God is doing something in Germany.  We keep hearing about it. We keep sensing it. We keep meeting people who know people who know people (if you know what I mean) who are doing something or being sent to Germany at this time.  What is this Kairos moment for Germany? I don't know. But I do know that all of the confirmations, signs, words, connections and God-things that have happened since we said YES to the call have reaffirmed over and over again that we are supposed to be in Germany and not staying here in our wonderful church, house and life.  So while this has been a huge process for us, me in particular, I am peaceful in my heart and my expectations are huge.

I should have been blogging all of the amazing things that God has done in the last year to get us to this moment.

I will tell of one: the housing God gave us to land in the first 8 months in Germany.  It doesn't get any better than this!

Brian was in Germany February 14th (yes, Valentines Day) to February 28th visiting with various ministries, friends and contacts and making plans for our upcoming relocation to Germany.  On his way home, he asked God, "Could you just find us a furnished place that we could land in for season with our young kids and NOT have to land into an empty apartment?"  The next day, he gets an email from our friends there telling us that they know of some Christians who are leaving for 8 months and want to rent out their apartment in city center Karlsruhe (45 minutes south of Frankfurt).  Turns out they have 3 kids the same ages as ours (so they have all the kid stuff and toys and kid-friendly furnishings), a 5 bedroom apartment with a parking place, a fenced in backyard, walking distance from a Christian kindergarden, stores, doctors office, zoo and other great things, a SPOT for Abigail in the Christian school (this is huge) and a car sharing pass!!  We could have passed out!  And the price was right!

So for the first 8 months, we can focus on language and acculturation while slowly gathering the necessary peices to furnish our own apartment, look for the right place to live and hear from God as to what specifically he wants us to put our hands to.  We feel soooooo blessed.

Abbie thinks Pastor Cheryl
loves her the most!
Some folks may ask, "Is that really suffering for the gospel? Shouldn't missionaries suffer?"  My answer to this is simple.  We WILL suffer for the gospel.  It is inevitable when you step out, do missions work, and make a dent in enemy territory.  We will feel the spiritual warfare, have to fight some major battles, and experience hardship.  It is par for the course.  But what we don't have to do is suffer needlessly.  My children are very important to me.  I want them to fall in love with Germany and Germans.  I want them to have the easiest landing possible so as to acculturate well.  They will suffer too. They will miss English schooling, English cartoons on TV, grandparents, friends, our church's children's pastor and kids ministry.

They will miss driving to Nana and PopPop's or going to the beach with Bibi and Babu.  They will HAVE TO learn another language.  They will have to leave most of their belongings behind in America and watch them be sold in a garage sale. This is not easy. There are many tough things to saying YES to God's will. But I know that every part of this will be worth it to feel the pleasure of God in my heart and to know that I am raising my children exactly where God wants them to be.  I have to trust God with the rest.

The most important Weaver missionaries
So, as I re-connect with the blogging world, I thank you for taking the time to read this, for loving our family and for committing us to your prayers.  Good night.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Trimesters, Toddlers, and Travel

Those three things put together are a recipe for insanity.  What is it like to itinerate and travel with two small kids while pregnant in the heat of the summer.... hmm... do you really want to know?  Well, it consists of lots of potty stops and getting our "wiggles" out.  It means that mommy wants to sleep all the time.  The toddlers want everything out of reach in the back seat ALL THE TIME!  Abigail would watch 8 straight hours of videos if we let her. Nate repeats "I come out, Mommy!" until everyone in the car is almost crying.  Brian drives and drives and drives and knows where ALL the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are along the East Coast.  Mommy gets out of her seatbelt over and over to pacify, entertain, feed, coddle children in the back seat.  Mommy always has to go potty when Nate is asleep.  I wish I had tracked the miles we have traveled in the last 5 months, but I think I would freak out if I knew.

The weekend travel also makes for a short week at home.  Coming home on a Monday only to turn around on a Friday again.  So Tuesday=laundry/food shopping. Wednesday=life, friends, paperwork, Thursday=see Brian's parents/prep for travel again. These quick turn arounds have made me an incredibly efficient packer. Ask Brian, it used to be so difficult for me to pack. It would take hours, if not days, to pack for a trip.  Now, I can pack all three of us (me and kids) in one suitcase in 1 1/2 hours!!  That usually includes shoving a sleeping bag and pillow in that bag!!  So, (tongue sticking out) BEAT THAT!!  LOL.  Brian says I am better at getting ready, packing, and out the door NOW than I ever was before kids. I don't know how that happened but it is true. I take 1/2 an hour to get done, shower to makeup now when it used to take me an hour alone!  And for some trips, I have awakened at 7am, fed/dressed kids, showered, packed and got out the door by 9am!  That again is miracle-working power from GOD!  God has certainly given me a grace to do what we've done -- even in the middle of first/second trimesters of pregnancy.

And now to give kuddos to the kids: The kids sleep so much better at home BUT to their defense, they are amazingly adaptable.  They eventually settle in wherever we are  They have become much more adept at eating anything that comes our way - from organic and fresher to foreign and cooked.  They have stayed in homes without kids, homes with kids, hotels, relatives' houses, pastors' houses, basements, small rooms, big rooms, other kids rooms... they are incredible children.  And yes, they drive me crazy in a car, but they are really REALLY great about all the travel and all the churches and all the different situations we have put them in.  Abigail is a steller traveler!  She should win gold medals in travel!  Nate...well, Nate is two.  And he's a boy. And he wants to be able to touch me all the time.  So, Nate is a little tougher to travel with. BUT he is such a joy wherever we go, making people laugh and fall in love with him everywhere. So, you really can't fault him for hating the car.  He kinda always has.  

I am so proud of my husband. I honestly don't know how he does all that he does.  While I complain, fall apart, fall asleep and fidget in the car, he drives.  And he drives. And when I sleep, he is still driving. And when we arrive somewhere, he preaches, prays, helps with kids, has all kinds of wonderful conversations and pours himself out.  He keeps going when I am toast.  He wakes up earlier and stays up later.  He has a grace that I don't know of on my side of the itineration job. I don't think I could get up and minister after a whole day of being in the car with the kids. I am worn out.   But he finds strength and goes for it.  And goes for it with his whole heart.  

As tough as all this is, I am watching Brian come alive again.  I see his passion stirring again, his missions fires getting stoked, and his missiological motivations push to the forefront again.  He is happy when he is preaching, sharing his burden for Europe and Germany, and ministering to people.  It is a joy to be in this with him.  We are in unity. We are excited. And we are moving forward little by little on many fronts preparing for this big overseas move and relaunch into full time missions.  Brian is building our website and working on our finances when he is not ministering on weekends and working with our network of churches during the weekdays.  I am writing newsletters, emails, e-newsletters, thank you notes, my blog and trying to keep our correspondence in order and updated.  Lots to do yet. I wish we had a personal secretary! LOL.

This has been a crazy-paced season but grace-filled and unforgettable as a family.  We've had so many wonderful visits with close friends and incredible ministers.  We've seen God go before us.  I've been so happy to see our friends all over America and introduce them to our children.  I've loved the hours of God-conversations we've had with pastors, friends and family!  My soul is happy even if my body is exhausted.  It's all been worth it and it will all BE worth it.  As we head into the fall, and I, my third trimester, I am hanging up my travel boots for a season --till little man Weaver comes along and I am healed.  But don't think that prep for Germany has stopped.... oh, no, it just switches gears for me. Maybe not for Brian, who may be traveling solo for a while... but for me and the kiddos, we are grounded for a while.  sigh...yeah.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The next level of missions motherhood and me...for real

It has taken me months to come to terms with the fact that God was taking my "Missions", "Motherhood", and "Me" to a whole new level.  When I found out that in the midst of itinerating for Germany, transitioning our lives, packing a house, selling possessions that I was PREGNANT AGAIN, I went into a serious season of FREAKING OUT. Yes, I don't think I handled this information the best. Yes, we wanted a third child. Yes, I love my children. But, NO, I hate being pregnant.  And I know what pregnancy means for me-- exhaustion, nausea, hips going out of place, sleeplessness, millions of midnight trips to the bathroom, exhaustion, aches and pains, getting big all-over again, tiredness, fatigue, being uncomfortable... did I mention exhaustion?!? Anyways... the idea that God thought it best to throw this curve ball at me in THIS season of life just floored me.  For a few weeks, I think I was in a funk.  I couldn't blog about it.  I was like, "Why now? Why me? Why in the middle of all this?"  Then, my husband and God gave me an attitude adjustment.  LOL.  I had just started this blog, hadn't I? And God was saying, "Yes, this season is VERY MUCH about missions, motherhood and, Janine, don't you know that I know what is best?"

So, here I am. 5 months into this pregnancy and finally writing about it.  I think now that I feel better (out of the 1st 16 weeks of yuck) and my brain is back for a short season (until month 8 hits and is gone for the first 10 months of my babies life), I feel ready to talk about missions again, motherhood again, and me.

The first piece of news will deal with motherhood:  We are having another BOY!  Isn't that wonderful?  As I posted on Facebook, I am always completely wrong about what I am having. I thought Abbie was a boy, Nate was a girl and this one was a girl too. So, you can imagine my shock when we got a full view of "the boy" living inside of me! LOL.  Legs Indian-style, arms thrown back behind his head, this little man was kicking' it in my belly lazy style!  So adorable. Reminded me of Abbie when she sleeps.  I told Brian in the ultrasound, that because Abbie and I are just strong ladies, it is probably all for the best that we will be outnumbered in the house. I think we will still hold our own and be a force to be reckoned with by the males in the family. ;o)

On the motherhood news, my little Nate has decided that he wants to be potty trained.... something I was totally not ready to do yet and have no clue how to do. My mom and Missy (sister-in-law) pretty much potty trained Abbie when she was 26 months old at my mom's house with me in 3 days. They were so on top of it and made it fun.  I think I basically watched from the sidelines. Now, in my own house, on my own, I am forced to deal with a wee-wee wielding 25 month old little boy who pulls his diapers off, tells me "somethings coming" but it never does, and wants so badly to figure out how to make his pee pee go in the toilet on command.  I wish I could just flip a pee pee switch for him, but I can't.  We had one success and two failures today.  But tomorrow is another day. Luckily for me, he is mortified when he wets his underwear or the floor, so I think the mortification will work to my advantage.  If you think of me, pray for sweet success.

And for my sweet, strong-willed Abbie, wow... what can I say? She sends me to the drawing boards of motherhood and to prayer. How do I get this strongly opinionated angel to mind me?  Hmm... some days, I think we have made major progress. Other days, mama mia, I need Super Nanny to help me figure it out.  But she continues to surprise me with her deep thoughts, boldness, and artistic creativity.  The other day while visiting a church, the pastor called all the kids to the front and asked them what "love" is. Abbie was the only one to raise her hand. She said, "Love is giving someone a hug."  I was so proud of her!!  Our little girl did not care that she was the "new girl!"  She was bold. I love that about her.

After all, this, I am so blessed by all that God has given me: 2.5 beautiful children, a husband who loves Jesus and is a great husband, friend and father, an amazing future in Germany serving the Lord and the nations, and great parents who have led the way in the things of God. I am so undeserving of all that God is doing and has blessed me with.  Lord, make me able, wise and strong to live above myself and my failures and to live in YOU, drawing from YOU and for YOU.

I will write about out recent Germany trip soon... just know that 11 days without kids but with my husband traveling around in Germany was awesome, refreshing and life-giving. I am a better mom for it. :o)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Our latest update for missions:

Thank you Thank you Thank you for holding us up in your prayers over the last two weeks as Brian travelled to Mtwara, Tanzania.  Thank you for your prayers for his health and safety, along with your warfare prayers.  

Brian's trip was a mixture of intense spiritual warfare and attack while also walking (hobbling) in the favor, wisdom and supernatural grace of God.  Brian's foot ended up being a soft tissue issue which he must have injured during the run he took his first full day in Mtwara. It was not gout. Praise God!  He continued to hobble around most of the trip, but his foot progressively got better and better until the end of the second week the limp was hardly noticeable in his gait. He is doing much better now.  His voice cleared up after about 3 days- Praise God!  But, on the last day of teaching, Friday, he felt incredibly weak in his body and sick. He told the students, "I'm sorry, but I can't go on teaching. I have to sit down. Will you pray for me?" They told him that they've noticed that every time he visits he gets attacked physically.  The pastors/students prayed for him and within the 1/2 hour, he felt completely recovered and strong!  That's when you KNOW that you are dealing with intense warfare and spirits that are trying to sabotage the plans and purposes of our God. If we are discerning, we will fight with our spiritual tools and be victorious!  

During this trip, Brian and I needed a direct word from God/confirmation as to what our future involvement would be in Mtwara and Moshi.  With the Bible college graduating most of its students we were not sure if we should continue or close down shop.  The pastors in Moshi are standing strong, leading with authority and moving forward. We also wondered if there was any need for further partnership in their eyes.  We love them so much and are so proud but never want to suppose anything that they may not be desiring for the future.  God was good!  We had the "word from God" we needed for the future of our involvement in Mtwara, the Bible college, Moshi, and the Education project and Moshi. We had good reports on all and clear words from God to continue to pour into Tanzania. The pastors/board of the Bible College are determined to see the Bible college continue, saying that it was birthed by God and will continue in the power of God. 

The graduation was a breakthrough day for the Bible College. NEVER had there been a bible college graduation of any kind in the whole state of Mtwara! WOW! The Bishop of the Lutheran Church (who is the regional head of the unity of pastors) and the Head of the Pentecostal Church (assitant to the unity movement) attended and endorsed the school. That day, there were 3 people who asked to sign up for the next term of the Bible college! Graduation was such a celebration!  People said, "You have brought something to Mtwara that we have never seen before.  This is wonderful!"  Some of those pastors who graduated had never graduated from anything ever before in their entire lives --not high school, not college, nothing! Imagine being 30, 40, 50, 60 years old and wearing your first cap and gown, holding your own diploma! Awesome! The Bible College was birthed in a word from God in 2008 and will be continued in faith, knowing that there is a passionate group of fiery pastors in Mtwara who are determined to win the south of Tanzania and Northern Mozambique to Christ!  The Pastors in Moshi want us to continue in fellowship and partnership with them.  Our hearts rejoice! We are hoping to have a building team to Moshi in the next 12 months to build the church building and the Bible College board in Mtwara are seeking land to purchase and build a permanent facility for the school. We will be raising funds for this as we secure a good location at a great price.

And finally, we received an amazing report on the impact of the Elimu Education Initiative:
 The testing scores for the secondary schools in Mtwara came out for the first time ever HIGHER in their science track than their math track! The Regional Education Officer attributed it to the inovative teaching and empowerment of the Elimu Initiative on the teachers! How exciting and wonderful! What a testimony to the power of a short term mission trip and focused ministry to one sector of society I can't wait to tell the teachers who travelled over with us about their fruit!

There are many more stories to tell, but I wanted to keep this letter fairly short.  (well, its not that short. )

Thank you again for praying for us and standing with us.  Abigail and Nathaniel are doing well. We surprised my father John Cava by staying longer at my parent's house to see him return from an overseas mission trip to China and Thailand.  He was happy to play with some grandchildren!  The Weaver parents (Brian's parents) are making plans to reconnect in Tanzania this summer, re-reaching out to the two unreached tribes that they made inroads with for the gospel 7 years ago and teaching in Bible colleges.  Keep them in your prayers too. Both sets of parents are amazing men and women of God going to the nations and discipling people wherever they live! Pray for their health, finances and effective ministries.

We will give you an update on our Germany plans and upcoming itineration soon.  We will keep you informed.  

We appreciate your love and prayers. Thank you for standing with us in this exciting and transitionary time of our lives.  We can't do this without the Body of Christ doing warfare for us.  We know that.

Much love to you.  Giving Him our all for His glory,

Brian, Janine, Abigail and Nathaniel Weaver
Strategic Global Impact

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Living in the Paradox

Almost 9 years ago, I blissfully, willfully, and excitedly went to the mission field full time as a 6 weeks bride to a veteran missionary Brian Weaver of Tanzania, East AFrica.  With my 5 trunks and 4 suitcases, I loaded all my important worldly possessions onto one of 4 aircraft that would take me to my new home in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  I hardly noticed I was leaving parents, friends and my whole world behind to follow this wild God-loving man half way across the globe to become an instant pastor's wife, missionary team leader's wife, missions team member, and foreigner Mzungu in Africa.  I was in love. I was head-over-heals in love. I was living my dream.

For three years, we worked in Tanzania together as husband and wife, along side a diverse missions team.  We each had our niche'.  I enjoyed discipling women within our city church and doing women's conferences.  Brian was raising up church planters, worship leaders and leaders.  In 2006, we realized that God was calling us to turn over all the works there to indigenous leaders and return to the states for some retooling, reorientation and retraining. We knew there would be another mission field, but we didn't know where or when. We thought we'd relocate after one year, but God had two degrees, two children and two ministry roles in mind before he'd release us again.

Fast forward...

From December 1st until February 16th, I have lived in the paradox of having made the decision to be full time missionaries again and the wrestling with why the heck we are leaving a great church and ministry here in the States.  I really don't have the words to explain the inner chaos, ambiguity, stress and "are we going crazy?!?" feelings of the last few months.  Ask Brian, I am not one to loose sleep over life's issues.  I love sleep so much that I don't let my daytime life cross over into my nighttime bliss (only my children are allowed to disrupt it, but even then, it is the mercy of God I can respond to them in kindness at night). So for me to be waking up at 2, 3, 4 in the morning and my heart is racing, my mind is overwhelmed and my body is tense shows me how stressed I really was. I was waking up with headaches because I was clenching my jaw at night. This too is not like me.  

I had so many questions. Why us? Why now? Why Germany? What would we do? Where would we go? Why would we go? Why can't we stay? What will Abbie think? How will she respond?  What about my in-laws who live here in Virginia Beach now? Why would we go when we just bought our first house last year? ... all of these questions ran circles in my mind.  There was no rest for my heart until we made our final, and I mean FINAL decision to keep moving forward on Germany.  Since that moment, oh, peace!  Not that all my questions are answered, but I am content to know that we are not straddling two worlds any longer - the what if we stayed and what if we go worlds.  We're going. We're going. We ARE going.  For better or for worse, we are going.  We're excited. We're scared. We're crazy.  But we're going.