Greetings from Nicaragua!
Recently Yader’s added a couple of new words to his vocabulary: soldiers and earthquakes. He learned about soldiers through reading the story of David and Goliath with Timothy, but we had to explain to him that not all soldiers fight; some just guard. Then he happened to learn about earthquakes firsthand, and hasn’t failed to mention that Mommy’s afraid of earthquakes every time he talks about them to someone.
Yes, it’s true that we’ve been experiencing some pretty strong earthquakes during this past week in Managua. On Thursday, we experienced a 6.1 quake, on Friday a 6.6 quake, and on Sunday night a 5.6 quake (highlighting the stronger ones). All of these were accompanied by lots of aftershocks. Needless to say, we’ve all been a little on edge recently. Thankfully we are all fine and no damage occurred on the house. We know no one personally who was affected by the quakes either. In Nicaragua about 38 people were injured in total, and two people around the time of the earthquakes, but perhaps not directly due to them.
This week marks Holy Week, which is largely celebrated in Central and South America, although not exactly for the purpose of lifting up Christ in remembrance of His death and resurrection. It’s often a week to celebrate through drunken revelries (there is a high mortality rate related to alcohol consumption during this week). I wonder how the timing of the earthquakes has influenced their celebration plans.
On Friday, I read to Yader the Easter story from a new children’s book I’d purchased. He absolutely loved it. Then I came to the part of the story after Jesus had been buried in the tomb:
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.”
– Matthew 28:1-4
Now this is one part of the story that Yader got. I hadn’t really intended to read him the story in light of his two new vocabulary words. Those guards didn’t even have a chance to fight. Our recent experiences allowed us amazing insight into the action of Jesus’ resurrection! God is great!
The earthquakes also got us thinking about Christ’s return:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only…”
– Matthew 24:36
One thing about these earthquakes that literally caught us by surprise was how sudden they came on, and how quickly they went away. Our expectation was that they would begin mild, then continue to get stronger and stronger – all of this lasting over a period of maybe 30 seconds. Well, that wasn’t exactly how it went. They more lasted 10 seconds, but you could compare it to being a little toy on a sheet and someone takes the corners of the sheet and shakes it really quickly. Thankfully we didn’t go flying like that toy would’ve though.
“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
– Matthew 24:44
The whole concept of “being ready” took on a whole new meaning. We’ve realized that it’s quite comical what would be required for us to be prepared for a strong earthquake, now that we’ve been through 3 pretty nice ones. Ultimately it would require us to camp out full time in an open field for the rest of our lives. Thankfully we can have the confidence of knowing that even if we were to die in an earthquake, we are His.
Happy Easter from the Crabtree’s in Nicaragua!
Timothy, Jessie, & Yader
Many moons ago in a land far away there were 11 motos bought.
It has been two years since God started working in me about helping Nicaraguan pastors get to where they need to be in order to do ministry work outside the church. In the past two years we have had a few falls, a few “accidents”, and few broken parts but all in all a very good ministry. If you add up all the trips they have done you’ll get over 100,000 miles! That is just amazing if you ask me. Most of the these miles are on the type of roads that baja races are run on.
I have been asking the pastors how the moto ministry has been. I have gotten a resounding “super good” report from them. I have been impressed by a few of them for their work in the country and a few of them for their love for one another. Two pastors are now bi-vocational and are currently buying themselves motos. The two have told me; “these motos that we have can be passed on to another pastor that needs it.” Needless to say I have been blessed. Thank you all who pray for our pastors and that have gave to the ministry. Blessings to you all.
This post is somewhat of a sequel to To Be A Missionary: The Highest Calling in Life…
Recently someone said to me and Timothy, “Who knows what things God is calling you as a family to.” Now, we think this was said with all good intentions, but we both kind of felt our jaws drop a little. What? We’re still waiting for God’s calling?!
It got me thinking. What do I sense God leading me to do? Have I verbalized the work and change that God has done in my heart through time and circumstances? Maybe I should take time to share about my past and present…
When I was 14 and through a missions focus time at a local summer church camp I attended, God laid the foreign mission field on my heart. I had no idea what that meant; none of my family had ever gone on even short term mission trips. The notion was seemingly out of thin air. I call myself an Abraham: I knew God was calling me, but where and how, I didn’t know. I just knew to keep taking steps in that direction. It’s amazing to reflect back now and see the ways God was shaping me then. God is sovereign, and He delights in calling children to Himself.
Anyway, it wasn’t until Timothy and I got together that I felt I had bit more direction as to where and when we’d go on the mission field. If I could tell you now what I envisioned the mission field to look like then, it was to be outside in the shade helping and teaching people. That was the extent of the “vision.” Now, it is true that what is envisioned that the mission field looks like doesn’t exactly match with reality. Sometimes — a lot of times, there aren’t smelly good roses all around, but instead lots of stinky sweat and dirt that likes to stick to it.
Missionaries are far more human and flawed than you could ever imagine possible.
We need Jesus too. And very badly.
That said, trusting God’s calling has been an ongoing process. The call He placed on my life has remained the same—the primary call He placed on my heart was not to be a missionary, but to be His forgiven child, a recipient of the righteousness made possible solely because of Jesus.
That changes everything.
If you compare me to supermissionaries, I’m going to miss the mark, people. Majorly. But, where in the Bible does it say that I’m supposed to do that? Since I’m not that, is God displeased? Oh wait, Jesus is my righteousness! What follows is just an outpouring of my relationship with Him!
So anyway, back to the calling we’re waiting for…. er…. scratch that.
There are a few major adventures I’ve experienced in my life. One of the most recent and most impacting was through the adoption of our son, Yader. I already knew that adoption was Scriptural and blessed by God, but upon receiving Yader into our home, the Bible came alive with passages related to adoption! This adventure has truly been an amazing inspiration. I’m so grateful to God to experience adoption this way.
That said, one of the focuses that has strongly been on my heart is adoption care. Through our experience with adopting Yader in Nicaragua, we’ve crossed paths with other families internationally adopting children in Nicaragua (they generally come from the States). This often is a very stressful and challenging time (adoptive families have to live in country for three to six months). They need loving. Also, we’re often asked by fellow missionaries questions about adopting here, and we know many who are currently in the process of adoption. I love talking about adoption! The Nicaraguan children who are being adopted also have a lot of transitioning to do themselves. That said, one of the focuses I have already fallen into this year is anything adoption for the purpose of helping other families to receive the fatherless into their home. My heart is also focused on women’s ministry, which tends to fall right into this as well since oftentimes the mother spends the majority of the time in Nicaragua to finalize the adoption while the husband is back home working at his job.
God is so good to call His children to an eternal life that begins now. So it is with confidence that I know I’ve received my calling, in many ways and on many levels. Adoption care is just one of my focuses for the year.
This post might be a bit confusing to some who are trying to understand what it means to be called by God to do something specific. I challenge you to do a word search about God/Jesus calling believers. It’s pretty amazing the amount of Scriptures dealing with this.
“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” – Romans 8:30
Saludos a Todos!
March 3 we returned to Nicaragua! In 10 hours we went from negative temperatures to the 80s!
It’s been so nice settling back into our Nicaragua home. Yader is excited about getting to run around and play outside so much because of the warm (er…sometimes hot) weather. He’s also enjoying getting to go swimming!
Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to so far since being back:
We sent out a newsletter just as we returned to Nicaragua… hopefully you received one!
Unpacking and taking things out of storage! Buying food! Eating and sleeping! Catching up with friends and coworkers!
Timothy’s already had a chance to look at two motos for pastors and the paperwork has begun to purchase them! They will be used for pastors involved in ministry in the country where distance and terrain are big challenges to arriving at the ministry location.
We’ve enjoyed seeing the Moudy family here, who are the newest missionaries to Nicaragua with BMDMI! Yader’s going to love playing with they’re two kids! We’re excited the family is here and pray that we’ll be a good support and encouragement to them as they transition onto the field.
Just today we turned in a request to renew our residency status in Nicaragua.
Tomorrow Jessie is going to meet with Aurora to go over Project Life updates.
Last night all of the Nica BMDMI missionaries had dinner at our house! We had a great time visiting, singing, and having a Bible devotion. Here are a couple of pictures from last night:
After months of talking about our Colorado trip, we’re finally here!
Here’s a picture of us squinting in the sun at Garden of the Gods.
Here’s what we’ve been up to so far:
We flew into Denver on saturday evening, spent the night in a hotel, and were picked up by a BMDMI team member and taken to Ken Caryl Church. There, we saw our own Jack Ogden as well as close to 10 other people we know through the Nicaragua team trips! We think that’s pretty good for being in this area for the first time! In the afternoon we did a little touring before heading for the Mission Training International’s (MTI) program site.
Upon arriving at The Hideaway (where we’ll be for the week), we quickly reconnected with old language school friends, Chip and Meredith Jones! It was great to catch up!
We’re only into day two of the program, but it has been humbling and awe-inspiring to be in the same place as missionaries from diverse backgrounds (no two are alike), who have been on the field anywhere from 2 years to 46 years, and who have been serving in countries all over the world! I suppose we shouldn’t take this special time together for granted. We’ve gleaned so much from a lot of them simply from hearing where they’ve been and where they’re going. So many people who are quite human still (despite a somewhat popular belief) and in need of spiritual renewal. This is a holy place; not because of who is here, but because of the God we serve Who brought us all here!
Our prayer and desire is to be encouraged, renewed, and have a renewed vision for how God would have us to love and serve Him.
The program ends on Friday noon and that evening we’ve reserved a room at a local Pizza Hut to get together with many of our friends and supporters who happen to live in the area! We’re looking forward to it!
Yader’s application was approved on December 3, 2013! Praise God! On December 6 (one day after our 1-year anniversary of having him in our home) we returned to the States. God is so good! We’re so glad to have a chapter of our lives come to a close. From start to finish, our journey in finalizing Yader’s adoption took 2 1/2 years!
December went by like a breeze. We enjoyed spending time with family and friends. Although we didn’t speak at any churches, we spent lots of time catching up with many of our supporters informally.
We will be speaking at a couple places shortly:
Jessie will be sharing at a Ladies Conference on Saturday at First Baptist Church, Republic, Missouri, January 18, 8:30am-11:30am (http://www.fbcrepublic.org/index.html). RSVP by tomorrow, January 15 by calling Linda at 417-732-1827.
We’ll be speaking at Maness Memorial Baptist Church in Cabool, Missouri on Sunday, January 19, at 6:30pm. Join us afterwards at El Rancho to visit and eat!
We are registered to attend the Mission Training Institute in Colorado January 26-31. Our travel time to Colorado will actually be January 25-March 2. On Friday the 31st, we will be meeting at Pizza Hut in Parker, Colorado at 6pm to eat and visit with friends and supporters.
We barely missed the Marriage Retreat in early December. We were actually able to reschedule and go to the retreat in Tulsa, Oklahoma February 14-16! We’re looking forward to going and spending some time with friends and supporters in Oklahoma!
We just applied for Yader’s US passport. Once we get it in the mail we’ll purchase our return tickets to Nicaragua! We plan to return in early March!
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,…
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.Psalm 65:5-8
Greetings from Nicaragua!
We returned to Nicaragua on November 4. Prior to that we spent just about eight weeks stateside, primarily in Missouri! The main focus of our time in the States was allowing Yader to get to know his family for the first time, working on his US citizenship application home study and paperwork, speaking at a few churches, and visiting with friends and supporters. It is always encouraging to hear how the Lord is working among our family and friends. We had a wonderful time, but it flew by!
What’s the Plan from Here?
Here’s the plan: …Interesting Question!
We are now on a new phase of Yader’s application where we are waiting to hear from the US Embassy. Once we hear from them we’ll need to gather some more paperwork together, get a health assessment for Yader done, then go to an interview at the Embassy. We’re hoping the timeframe for all of these things is within the next two weeks.
As long as Yader’s US citizenship application is approved, we’re going to take advantage of a special 90 day furlough stateside. BMDMI allows an extra 90 days (over the normal 3 month/year furlough any missionary has) for adoptions or births. We’re looking forward to this time. We’re guesstimating this time will be from about Mid-December through Mid-March.
What’s Happening in Nicaragua?
Currently we’re not in the BMDMI team season, so the pace of work has significantly decreased. In the last week we’ve taken advantage of spending time reading great books: The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken, Well Done, Good and Faithful Mommy by Megan Breedlove, and Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel. We’ve also begun a Bible study with another family from David Platt’s Secret Church: Old Testament Survey. It’s great spending time specifically focused on getting re-centered and re-focused after such a busy summer and early fall.
What Will Happen Stateside?
We hope to attend the Family Life Weekend to Remember marriage retreat in St. Louis from December 6-8. God has provided the means for us to attend this retreat, and we’re very excited about it!
From January 26-31, 2014, we are excited to make a trip to Palmer Lake, Colorado, in order to attend the Mission Training International (www.mti.org)! MTI offers a special one-week course for missionaries at various stages of their ministry. God has provided the funds for us to attend this program! Our purpose in going is to receive some immersive training that deals with all the challenges missionary life can bring with it. We know a few people who have attended this program and they have wonderful things to say about it!
In addition to those to events, we plan to speak at churches and spend time with family, friends, and supporters during our furlough.
Thank you for your continued prayers, support, and encouragement. God is good!
Timothy, Jessie, and Yader Crabtree
Recently I’ve been struggling with putting into words various thoughts and emotions going through my being. Well, now that I mention it, I think this started a little less than a year ago with the arrival of our son. Life as mommy trumps all else, it seems.
As the newness of motherhood has worn down, a growing sense of insecurity of my roles in life has come to the forefront. “Wait,” I say, “I’m supposed to be a missionary here! Staying home for most of every day and doing the most casual household chores are ruling my life!” Yes, I may work on some projects here and there that are indirectly related to mission work, but how can I claim to be a missionary if I’m not going out and serving the Lord by serving the people of Nicaragua in some way (Timothy and I used to travel a lot)?! Yet at the same time and at this point in my life, if I were to attempt to juggle mommyhood and ministry outside the home, I have discovered that I suffer, and more importantly, Yader suffers.
To be frank, this really is something I’ve been dealing with.
In a way, it became a lose-lose situation in my mind: I lose as a missionary if I focus on mommying Yader the way he needs, and I lose as a mommy if I try to use my energy to work outside the home in ministry.
That said, I’ve pretty much felt like a bit of a loser recently.
Moving on…. I discovered that this rub between mommyhood vs. missionaryhood was just a symptom. A deeper issue probably began during my early teenage years.
One of the things I am most grateful for having as a child and teenager is my exposure to missions through church, church camp, Christian school, and books. When I was 12, Jesus became the Lord of my life. Two years later, God laid the mission field on my heart, and there has been no going back since. The missionary life was my main objective.
To be a missionary.
From the point of feeling led to go to the mission field, the majority of my energies revolved around that end—that is, loving God by striving to go to the mission field. God certainly did a work through every season of life, molding me into who I am today. It was wonderful to reflect back on my life since 14 and see how God was gearing me to be a missionary. Even the most insignificant things that I enjoyed and did have become useful ways to grow relationships with people here.
…However, somewhere in the mix, some ideas got a little skewed.
Especially once I reached mommyhood. How could God so clearly call me to the mission field, allow me to live and serve here, but then I trip over myself once needing to be home more? Isn’t being a missionary the highest calling one can have (er… next to mommyhood, then marriage?!)????
“I’m not being obedient to God if I’m not being a missionary! If I can’t be a missionary among the people, then I’m destined for eternal damnation!” was my thought for quite a few months, if not years and years. How can I end my life being nothing other than a missionary? But wait, is that true?
So I began asking God some hard, honest questions. Am I being disobedient by being at home and not outside the home as a missionary? Am I being disobedient by being outside the home as a missionary and not being at home?
Lord, what is Your standard?
And God revealed something vitally important to me. It’s about my highest calling in life. …It’s not to be a missionary or a mother (or a wife or anything else, for that matter).
My highest calling in life is to be a child of God, a believer, a follower of Christ!
To be His child.
How could I miss something so simple? I’d been throwing out the essential part of my being for the sake of keeping missionary life and mommyhood the main thing. The greatest commandment that we have been given was not to be a missionary; it is to love the Lord with all our being and to love others as well.
We do this sometimes, though. We focus on the “serving God” part of Christianity and forget the “loving God” part. Producing fruit becomes the main thing versus the growth of the plant and its connection to life-giving water and nutrients.
So, I’ve been retracing some steps. I’ve got to. My ultimate goal in life is not to be a missionary and end life as a missionary. I’m getting back to the basics…again (God does this, you know?). Scripture says to set our heart on eternal things. My sights were set a bit lower for awhile (yes, I’m referring to being a missionary as my end goal in life), and I’m grateful that God has revealed what matters most. My prayer now is to be His child, and allow fruit and ministry to come from that.
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:14
Six weeks down and two weeks to go on our Stateside visit! Although sadly we haven’t been able to see and spend time with everyone who we wanted to, we did have the opportunity to see a nice number of great folks who have partnered with us in the ministry in Nicaragua in one way or another! In addition to spending great time one on one with these people, we also have had the privilege of sharing part of this year’s journey with Unity Baptist Church in Fayette, MO, and Hopewell Baptist Church in Springfield, TN. We have been greatly encouraged in the work the Lord is doing all around us Stateside and in Nicaragua.
One of the activities that has taken quite a bit of our time during this trip to the States is getting things together for Yader’s citizenship application. Thankfully everything was put in order, and we’ve mailed in the application. All that’s left Stateside is for us to go to an appointment to get fingerprinted. After that, the US Embassy in Nicaragua will take it from there. By this point we will have gotten back to Nicaragua.
Jessie had the opportunity to attend a wonderful women’s retreat this last weekend with Hopewell Baptist Church. The theme of the retreat was on thanksgiving and slowing down to enjoy the life that God has given us (we watched a video series from the book, “One Thousand Gifts”). This has been such a recurrent theme of our ministry, and the retreat allowed for a good reminded of that! God is really good, and we are really loved!