The first big move

On Labor Day, we decided it was time to start the major purging that had to be done before we go overseas. So we emptied our attic…..

Once we got everything in some sort of order we decided to do a yard sale and just get rid of most of it. It was so freeing to know what had been lurking up in the attic and to have it gone.

During the process of getting ready for the yard sale, we realized that a lot of energy and time had to be exerted just for the logistics of moving our family. So we decided that we needed to move to somewhere temporary so that our final weeks could be focused on seeing friends and family and saying good bye well instead of on moving logistics.

Some of our friends have a beautiful home and several months ago decided to use their basement apartment as a gift to others. A few weeks ago, they offered to house our family there as soon as we needed it and we jumped right on the offer. The bonus is that it is about so much more than just having a place to stay, we are getting to live with some folks who we love and admire so much. They have 2 little girls, a huge backyard, and lots of toys. The kids cannot stop asking when we are actually going to live there.

We are all really looking forward to moving there and living among our community until we leave.

More than Money

When we went to our initial training for support raising, one of the speakers said something to us that really rings true today. She told us to pay attention as we meet with people in an effort to bring them on our “support team.” She said that we are being called into ministry not just on the other side of the world, but right here….right now. Every opportunity we have to share our story and our hearts and ultimately invite someone to join our team is an opportunity to be silent and listen to what He has in mind. We heard those words but honestly what rung louder was the fact that we had to raise nearly 10K dollars per month to live and do ministry in Austria.

But it has happened. Right before our eyes, we have become intimately connected with a group of supporters. Over the past several months of raising support we have hurt with others, rejoiced with others and asked why with others. We’ve attended funerals, held babies, laughed hard and cried silently for others. It’s been a beautiful thing, one that we could not even imagine.

I was one of those people who did not want to raise money to go overseas and somehow God has given me the ability to view this through His timing and His calling of who’s to be on the “support team”. When we started off, I only used the term support team becasue that’s what I was told to do. Today when I say that, I realize that this truly is a beautiful team of supporters. Cheering each other on to the finish.

So here’s a big shout out to our awesome support team. We would not be here without you and we are honored to do life with you.

A broken bone

In case you missed the news, our little Asher broke his leg on Jude’s birthday, August 16. I was changing his diaper and he got his leg stuck in between the slats. When I went to pick him up….yowzers! He screamed a really weird way and within 30 minutes we were off to Children’s Healthcare to get him x-rayed. After about an hour there, we found out that something was not right but the doctor on call was not entirely sure and said we needed to see an orthopedic the next morning. So they put him in a splint and we were off to Waffle House (Jude’s birthday request).

In the splint.

The next day we arrived at the orthopedic and as soon as the doctor walked in she said he has a buckle fracture and will need to be in a cast for 4 weeks. Sad times. Within days of having the cast on, he learned how to walk in it.

Getting his real cast.

Overall, he has been a great sport and it hasn’t seemed to bother him. This Wednesday is the big day that we get it off! Can’t wait to see him back on his own two feet.




Took the Plunge!!!!!

Thank you so much for being a part of our summer “Take the Plunge” giving campaign. We saw thirty new partners join us as we head to Austria. We are so incredibly grateful for God’s faithfulness on this journey. We made it to 70%!!!

Diving In

At the beginning of the summer we kicked off “Take the Plunge.” What seemed to be a silly little challenge has actually been a huge encouragement to our family and evidence that God is always in control. God showed up in a big way and as of today we are officially at 70%.

Thanks to all of you who are partnering with us, who joined during this campaign and who continue to pray for us on this journey. We are amazed at how God continues to work this all out according to his great plan!

I’m going to mentally prepare now for jumping in the deep end. I promise there will be plenty of pics and video too.

Our 2 first days of school this week

On Monday we started school via K12, which is a virtual public school that gives families the option to educate their kids through the school system from home. All summer long I ignored the signs telling me that maybe we should rethink the decision to educate her this way. For instance, when the boxes of K12 curriculum arrived, I wanted to run in a corner in the fetal position and cry. As I told people what we’d decided to do the word excited was never a part of my vocabulary. So I did what every responsible person does when they need to make a major decision, I waited. I waited until the last possible minute in fact to really dig in and figure out what my requirements were as her teacher. I also prayed that God would give me the energy and desire to do this, but honestly it just wasn’t happening. Fumbling through books and rearranging phonics tiles just frustrated me. But….I forged ahead thinking it would all just work out. After pulling some late nighters to try to make some order out of the curriculum, Monday arrived and we dove into her books. After about an hour, I got a horrible feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach and I knew…..
I realized that educating Ellison while parenting a four year old and toddler was going to really eat a lot of my energy and time. And most importantly I knew that I had zero joy in doing it. It was time to talk about all those warning signs and what we believed God was telling us for this season.
As Ian and I discussed things, I shared that I really like where God has me in my ministry role of getting us overseas. I don’t mind tinkering in excel or blogging or corralling receipts because I love why I’m doing it. When this whole Austria thing was birthed, God spoke to both of us and gave both of us the desire to be a part of His story in Austria. When I left my job at North Point in January it was to serve my family well in this season. I realized that one of the major ways that I am serving my family well in this season is working to get us towards Austria. It’s what I’m passionate about and it’s an important job to do and I love doing it. In order for me to maintain this role we did the grown up thing and made a decision.
Ian and I decided as a team to let someone else act as her educator in this season. Our involvement with her education is very much a top priority, but that doesn’t mean that we have to make it all happen from start to finish.

So on Wednesday morning we took our little girl to what felt like a great big elementary school where she knew no one. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done but I knew at the same time that it was the right thing to do. When we told her on Tuesday what we’d decided, she danced and danced and smiled from ear to ear. I suspect that she had a little bit of dread in her tummy as well.
I am overjoyed at my new role in her education. I am bringing her name before our great God and verbally placing her in his care as I think about her at school. I told Him that I trusted Him with Ellison and that I knew, as a dear friend wrote to me last night, He’s got the whole world in His hands, including out little daughter. When the clock finally hit 2:30 on that first day I couldn’t wait to see her face and hear about her day. Nervously I asked her how it was, and without any hesitation she said “It was awesome mommy. This is the best school ever.”

Stone Mountain

We got to spend the afternoon at Stone Mountain this past weekend. As Brittany said she got to “Check one thing more off of her bucket list,” for Georgia that is… We hadn’t been to Stone Mountain in quite a while, but we enjoyed a chance to get a lot of time outdoors. We were surprised at how well the kids did waiting until the laser show started at 9:3o. Once the show started and things got really dark we had one who just couldn’t keep his eyes open….Jude. He is definitely our little sleeper. Here are some pics from our fun times.

Boys doing somersaults.

Asher-What’s in a name?

Asher turned 1 at the end of April and we had so much fun celebrating him.

Grandma, what is that strange noise you're trying to make?

Before Asher was born we thought he would be named Luke. Luke was honestly a name that we settled on becasue we felt like Asher was popping up everywhere. After he came and we held him for the first time Luke just didn’t feel right. He was an Asher. The name Asher actually means happy and blessed. What I love is how he has really grown into his name.

Just before he turned 3 months he started to smile.

And ever since then he has not stopped.

Asher makes us all a little happier. Whether it’s hearing him squeal with delight at the sight of Ian’s car at the 5:30 mark or saying Mama just when I need to hear it most, he fills us up with joy! He loves to pant like a puppy (learned that from the older ones playing puppy all the time), he loves to rub heads and faces with his brother and sister, climb up stairs, and plays with any ball that you throw his way. But what really has us all happy is his big decision to do this….

An Austrian talks about Austria

Our sweet friend Annemarie wrote this for us for our June newsletter. We loved it so much that we wanted to post it on our blog too. Hope you’ll enjoy reading her words on life in Austria and the need that exists for people to be aware of the way that has been made for them to have a relationship with their Heavenly Father. Happy Wednesday!

When people think of missionaries they tend to think of Africa, Asia, South America …far away places, “unreached people”. Missionaries to Austria almost seems a little funny. Austria is a beautiful, modern country with a rich history and lots & lots of churches. Most people born in Austria are Roman Catholic and they have the birth certificate that says so. There is no separation between church and state and being Catholic is part of most people’s tradition. The kids have religion in school & most of them go to church until they can decide for themselves.

The most unfortunate reality of Austria’s “religious system” is that it is a tradition, something we all do, part of who most of us are.

My name is Annemarie Livingston. I was born & raised in Oberndorf, Austria, a little town outside of Salzburg a city you may have heard of in Sound of Music. Oberndorf is actually famous in its own right as it is the place where “Silent Night” was written and first performed in 1818.
I had the privilege of growing up in a wonderfully idyllic town, where everybody knew everybody and life was lived at a slower pace. Most of my friends married somebody they went to elementary school with and still live within a few miles from where we all grew up. Growing up in Austria was a blessing. Life was slower & relationships deeper. I may have known less people but the people I knew, I really knew. We went to the butcher for our meat, to the baker for your bread and to the farmer for our milk. Apples & plums came from Opa’s garden. Family was close by and most big issues were discussed over a cup of coffee & cake. Austrians REALLY love their cake. I miss the cakes, the coffee, the fact that we don’t drink coffee we “have coffee” – it’s and event you know… I miss the slower pace, the mountains, the appreciation for nature and most of all my friends and family.

For the past ten years I have lived in Johns Creek Georgia with my husband Adam and our two girls Grace & Emily. We are members of Northpoint Community Church and I pray that one day Austrians will hear about Jesus the way we do at our church. I love Austria and so many things about it but I am very concerned for Austria’s future and for the future & beliefs of the next generation.

The catholic church missed the boat, their message – or better the way they present it – is no longer relevant. The churches are empty and people have grown weary of the church and its hypocrisy. Religion & church rules have gotten in the way of the truth.

Beth & Ian asked me if there was a message that I could give to Austrians what would it be. What would it be?

I would love for them to know that they can have a personal relationship with their heavenly Father and that salvation does not depend on our deeds and how “good” we are. The fact that Jesus died for our sins and that the only way to eternal salvation is through Him, seems like a strange concept to most of my friends & family as I am sure it does to most Austrians. Most own a Bible, few ever read it.

When I first heard about Ian and Beth and their heart for Austria I was in tears. Their mission is so very, very important. Nobody thinks of the need of missionaries for Austria and yet the need may be greater than in most other countries. The churches are empty, the people are skeptical, the message has been distorted and the misconceptions about salvation are many.

Mama came to my rescue

A few weeks ago, Ian traveled to Europe for a couple of weeks leaving me alone and destitute….ok that is a bit dramatic but I was on my own. Almost as soon as the trip was planned I began thinking through how I could get my mom’s help. At first I considered going to my parents, but this go round that was not an option. The next best thing was to bring Mama to me and I’m so glad that she came. My mom was an absolute gift during the week that she was here, both physically and emotionally. During our time together she laughed with me, cheered me on, encouraged me, prayed with me and gave me room to breathe when I needed it. It was so sweet indeed.

There were impromptu dance parties

Walks down the block

Discovering fireflies

Skype calls with my brother in South America

A day at the movies to see Kung Fu Panda 2

And my favorite, a night out on the town for the girls!

The week with my mom was a time I will always treasure! My absolute favorite site was seeing her sit each and every morning with her coffee and Bible…listening for wisdom from our sweet Savior. My life is blessed because of her….So incredibly blessed. Were it not for my parents and their lives of unquestioning obedience, I would not be where I am today.

Here’s a huge shout out to my mom for her unfailing love for me and her unconditional support for our family. And…thanks to my sister and dad who gave her up for a whole week to come help me out!