Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Directed Focus...A Call to Love

We were blessed to be able to spend a little over three weeks in the States in September.  It was a time of rest, rejuvenation, and reflection.  We not only were able to meet and spend time with family and friends, but also seek counsel on our family's future as long-term missionaries.  We felt so loved, supported and encouraged by our immediate family, our Family at AAC, our Missions' Team and the C&MA that we knew God was pouring into us through His people.  Our cup overflows! We are strengthened to keep running the race marked out before us...allowing God to use this past year to shape our next steps and define more clearly the race He has marked specifically for us.  We cannot boast enough about YOU...thank you for the outpouring of love, prayers and support felt by our family both while we were home and throughout this past year.  We are motivated by that love to persevere and keep fighting the good fight with our eyes fixed on what lies let nothing hinder us from running that race in which the enemy wants to thwart.

What do we do with our overflowing cup?  Equally important, what do we do when our cup runs dry?The more we allow God's love to infiltrate every part of us, the more we are able to fulfill the will of God and be an imitator of that love to those he places in our is our call...a call to love.  God is teaching me a lot about love lately.  To love without condition, to love without excuse, to love without expectation.. to love open handedly hanging merely to the fact that we've been loved first with an indescribable, undeserving, unfailing, transforming love...nothing we do matters if we have not loved!  The power of love changes lives!  Wherever I am and whatever I do, I want to finish well!  To finish well means to love well!  So, I must let love guide me.  Love can empower me to feel hurt without being a person consumed by that hurt...I can feel offended but I don't have to be offended...I can feel insecure, but I don't have to act insecure...I can feel angry, but I don't have to respond in anger.  That's the choice love makes.  Not so easy right?  Fighting for love can only be won at the foot of the cross...humbly surrendered to the One who is Love and to the One who loved us first!  You know where I am spending a lot of my time lately :)  Oh God, help us to choose love for the sake of the cross!  Let us allow love to take us by the hand and empower us in each and every situation especially where we don't know what to do.  Do the next small thing, the right way, right away... all for the sake of love.

Enjoy the pics from our recent trip home!  Please continue to pray for our family as we seek to obey that which He calls us to do...a call to love...and where He calls us to go!

At the foot of the cross,
The Schuenke's

"For loves sake, He became poor..."  2 Corinthians 8:9
Friends and family greeting us at the airport
Some of our Care Team Friends
Breaking Bread Together!
Like old times!
Oh how the world seems so big yet so small
Brianna and Skyler
Tori and Skyler
A Schuenke Family Gathering
Sisters gone "Loco"
The Best of Friends
Surprising our dear friend Pastor Bill
The Karate Girls Together Again!
Reuniting with our Karate Family
Where are the monkeys?
My mom, brother, and sister-in-law at one of our favorites
"Orange Leaf"
Our favorite Mexican restaurant "El Azteca"
Skyler participating in youth group again (Greenhouse)
Catching up with old friends at youth group
Catching up with Makai's old spanish teacher Mrs. W
Connecting with some family members at church
The world of "selfies"
James and Skyler eating pudding through stockings at AWANA
Raeleigh and Makai joining in game time at AWANA
Old friends getting reacquainted
Girl Time!
Celebrating the believers baptism of Josh Petsche
Can never have too much girl time!
Watching friends play high school football at Hortonville
Lucas and Makai catching frogs
We are in it together!
Consoling a heart
The road yet to travel...
More than blessed!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Part of a Bigger Team

The summer has been met with many visitors from the States as we have been in the busiest season of the ministry here with short term teams.  We each have roles to play from "La Mama" (cleaning the Wired site and taking care of those not feeling well) to "Under Cover Brother" (coming alongside the team doing ministry as one of them) to "Point" (responsible for organizing and carrying out the teams trip from beginning to end) and many more roles in-between.  No matter the role, we all work together as each member is part of the body, not one greater than another, to accomplish God's plans here in El Salvador.

Although the summer is short for the kids compared to the States (only 2 months), it has been a great experience for them to have more involvement with the teams and participate in the activities and ministry they come and do.  Skyler has even had an official role with the groups which she loves...leading worship, a little translating, and doing ministry alongside the teams to name a few.  We had a team visit from St. Croix, Wisconsin!  And of course currently a team from Appleton Alliance is here visiting!  I also lead a team from Montana this summer that was a huge blessing to the people here.  Being connected with new as well as old friends reminds me of the greater connection we have in the Body of Christ that no distance between us can ever seperate.

There was still time amongst the busy group season to enjoy some rest, relaxation and fun.  Below are some pictures that include some of those activities as well as the groups we served.  We had some important days to celebrate as well.  James and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary on August 16th!  We also hit our one year anniversary since we left our home to follow God's call here to El Salvador at the beginning of August!  Hard to believe that a year ago August 4th we opened up to a new chapter God has written for us.  Like our first year of marriage, our first year in El Salvador has been met with many blessings as well as hardships.  We've come face to face with persecution in unexpected ways teaching us a deeper dependence, a walk of humility, and a strength to persevere being reminded our suffering is not in vain (But even if you suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed...1 Peter 3:14).  At times it feels like we are in the wilderness.  Navigating unfamiliar circumstances is a prime opportunity to become more familiar with our heavenly Father.  He wants to bless us in spite of our insecurities over new surroundings.  Our desire is to seek God during our wilderness experience.  Have to admit, it is so difficult at times.  It is hard not to become weary.  But as our faith is tested, we persevere.  As we persevere our trust in the Lord matures and we become complete in Christ.  We don't lack anything because we have everything we need in Him.  Our wilderness is His blessing.

We have been beyond blessed this past week with a team from our very own church back home in Appleton, Wisconsin.  A construction group of 11 guys are here serving the ministry and the people of El Salvador.  God is loving us through these guys who have poured out their prayers, support, and encouragement to us while they are here.  Thank you God for providing just what we needed at such a time as this!  Don't think we've laughed or cried this much in a long time.  It feels so good!

Lots of pictures from the summer!  More from the AAC group to come.  Enjoy!

Serving In His Name Together,
The Schuenke's

Made out of shells from the beach
Fighting for the Broken
Abandoned Infants
Impoverished Families, Gang Members & Ex-Prisioners
San Salvador's very own American Football Team - The Jaguar's
James and Alex (a deportee from the States involved in the football league)
Backup Quarterback for San Fransisco 49ers (who is Salvadorian himself) visiting the field
Our very own home grown coffee line to support the Broken Ministry
Raeleigh's new school shoes made by the men (ex-gang members/prisoners) at Metamorfosis)
Worshiping with the team from Wisconsin at our church
Raeleigh participated in the summer basketball camp at school
Mom and daughter enjoying some ice cream after camp
Makai had to have his first tooth pulled to make room for those  grown ups :)
Makai supporting Team Argentina for the World Cup
Our missionary friends celebrating their youngest boy turning "1"
Skyler, Stephanie and Maddie
Dads embarrassing their daughters on a girls night out
Raeleigh bit on the legs 31 times by mosquitos
Raeleigh in an art camp this summer
Raeleigh and her friend Tori built their own play house with wooden boxes
"Girls Night In" in our pajamas!
Tori, Raeleigh and Felice having a cucumber facial!
Surprise love notes from my kids
Staff dress alike without planning it
St. Croix Alliance Church in Wisconsin visiting this summer
The vision of the Broken Ministry given at what the Salvadorians call "Puerto del Diablo"
The Montana group doing VBS with the Alliance Church in San Salvador
Sports Ministry Camp in a nearby community
Skyler and Ashton (from a recent group) loving on some girls during VBS
The girls can't help but reach out to the little ones
Karate Ministry at a Sports Center in San Salvador
Evangelism with the parents outside the Karate Center
Makai and I serving dinner to the team
Raeleigh and Felice helping the construction group with painting
Makai using a sander!  Where are the parents?
AAC Construction Team with some of the Wired Staff!
Nestor serving lunch to the AAC Construction team
AAC Construction Team building a wall for a storage area at Metamorfosis
Amazing progress!
Construction Team at Wired finishing unfinished work
Construction Team cleaning waste out of the ditches at Metamorfosis

Praise & Prayer Requests

Praise God for His provision in bringing our family home for a visit

Praise God for the encouragement the AAC construction team has brought here

Praise God for his continued hand of guidance on this ministry as new ministries/partnerships are acquired making the Broken Vision come to life

Praise God for the lives being touched with God's grace and Good News through the start-up church (Hungry).

Pray for a smooth transition as Vinculo de Amor and Projecto Metamorfosis become part of Envision Wired

Pray against the enemy's strongholds and schemes and for God's strength to persevere in pushing back the darkness here in El Salvador

Pray for a much needed time of rest, connection and clarity during our family's visit home