I am NOT a missionary

My identity, the core of who I am, should not come from my desire to do mission work. I am a sinner justified by God through Christ, now adopted as a true son, and given the Holy Spirit as a deposit in part which one day I will experience in full. My home is no longer here, I belong the King and await a coming glorious kingdom. That’s who I am.

I think the title of missionary sounds cool. Let’s be honest, it’s like Bull Fighter or Jet Fighter Pilot (at least to me it sounds like that, but I have been known to dabble in fits of grandiosity). You are the person who is on the “front lines” going to exotic locals like a Bible totting James Bond.

None of that I think is even remotely true, but nonetheless it does sound nice when I consider myself in the profession of missionary. But the good news of the gospel is that I am no longer defined by that. My job isn’t what is important – its who I am called by, Jesus the Christ, my Redeemer and Savior.

Now if I could only remember this… everday.

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Creamy Vegan Potato Soup

potato soup

Wait a minute. This is a missionary blog, right?

Right. But even missionaries need to eat!

In all seriousness, I tend to stress myself out too often about making sure that my blog posts stay within the parameters of whatever the theme of the blog is. But as a result, I never post anything, because I talk myself out of posts that are swimming around in my head because they don’t “fit.” Well, no more! Bring on the random and completely unrelated posts! (Sorry Michael).

This is hands-down my favorite soup recipe. I love creamy soups, and I love loaded potatoes, but our new way of eating doesn’t really allow for those things. Or so I thought. If I didn’t tell you, I guarantee you that you would have no idea that this is a whole-foods, plant-based, nutritious, healthy soup. It’s lusciously creamy and indulgent, without any of the pitfalls that come with those qualities. The magic ingredient that makes this possible is raw cashews.

Yep. Raw nuts can make all your creamy soup dreams come true.

I’ll go ahead and admit right up front that I’m using a Vitamix to blend the cashews, which definitely helps me achieve the velvety creaminess that makes this soup so delectable. We could pretend that a Vitamix isn’t really superior to other blenders, but as Dolores Umbridge carved into our hands heads, one mustn’t tell lies. But if you don’t have a Vitamix (I’m sorry), just blend the cashews in a regular blender on high speed for a few minutes and hope for the best. It will be fine.

I’ll leave you with the recipe while I go repent of the sin of blender pride.

Creamy Vegan Potato Soup (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil (or 3 tbsp water if omitting oil)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

2 large ribs of celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp dried thyme

3 cups diced potatoes (I use baby reds)

4 cups vegetable stock

1 cup raw cashews

3 green onions, chopped (optional)

1/2 tsp smoked salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat (omit if water sauteeing).

2. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until soft, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.

4. Stir in sea salt and thyme.

5. Add vegetable stock (I used 4 c water + 4 tsp Vogue VegeBase)

6. Cover pot and bring to a boil.

7. Add potatoes, lower heat to medium low, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

8. Remove from heat.

9. Leaving potatoes in the pot, pour as much broth as possible into a high-power blender.

10. Add cashews to the blender, cover, and blend until creamy.

11. Return cashew cream to the pot and stir to combine.

12. Add smoked salt and green onions if using.

13. Enjoy!

The Joy of the Cross

Often times evangelism is something we should do, but don’t want to. It’s akin to the badly prepared vegetables – we’d rather have the cheeseburger. However, there is a joy in Christianity that I think we can convey much more easily than our standard “Gospel Presentation.”

What if, instead of the subjective – the standard find forgiveness for your sins in Jesus we exalted the objective. (This isn’t to say that it is wrong to speak of the subjection – the Bible shows that this is a viable way to present the message of the Gospel). It might be easy to explain it this way: the Gospel is the announcement of Jesus. The secondary consequence to what the Gospel is, is that those in Jesus find true forgiveness and acceptance. But that only happens if the underlying event is true. So Christianity is the story of God redeeming his people through Jesus Christ.

In a sense, who doesn’t want the story of the Cross to be true? In it we learn not only of a creator-God, but a God who entered space-time to be like his creation. No longer is God distant in the heavens above, but he has broken the heavens and come down, being made like us humans in nearly every way. Think about the religions of the world – they teach about either a god so distance you may never met it or a god so present it can’t do any good. Christianity says what we all feel, something is wrong in what should be right. It says we need to be rescued and we need to be righted.

The Cross shows a God who is experientially aware of suffering and overflowing in love. The Cross shows us that true restoration and acceptance can be had, the Cross displays for us what all what we yearn for. Christianity is a religion about an event, not an idea [1]. At this event, death is defeated, life proclaimed, liberty for the captives, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

[1] Alister McGrath The Mystery of the Cross.

Rom. 7:16-20 A modern translation

With explanatory notes:

16 Now if I do what I do not want (eating Cheetos), I agree with the law, that it is good (Thou Shalt Not Eat Cheetos). 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me (causing me to eat Cheetos). 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my [Cheetos-eating-]flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right (not eating Cheetos), but not the ability to carry it out (sadly). 19 For I do not do the good I want (abstaining from eating Cheetos), but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (i.e., eating Cheetos). 20 Now if I do what I do not want (again, eating Cheetos – I think I have a problem), it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me (in other words, Satan made me eat Cheetos, well Satan in conjunction with Frito-Lays).

I may have had a small problem at work.

Highlights from our Twitter Feed

(A great place to find out quick news about us @somethingspain)

So… why Spain? (Part 2)

See Part 1. We left off with me finishing up my Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Erskine Seminary.

Now, the biggest choice was whether I wanted to pursue a Th.D. or head to the mission field. Seminary was great and I would readily council anyone entering the ministry to go through it (or at least something comparable). However for me it was also a bit soul destroying. It’s hard when your nose is so far in the Bible that you start measuring the width between words or are so far back looking at all the interesting connections of the unfolding plan of God’s that you forget that the story is ultimately the answer that we all yearn for.

Anyway, as you can guess I decided to go with option number #2, the mission field. To be fair it wasn’t really an either/or choice. The Th.D. would allow me to teach on the mission field with the appropriate credentials – something that I really do want to do. But still, doing active ministry seemed so much more satisfying now than did more research.

So we approached our agency, World Witness, the mission board of the ARP and began talking about where to send us. Because of certain physical constraints we would want to work in places with a harsh climate. Secondly because of a young son we’d want it to be relatively safe. The obvious choice seemed Germany – our agency had been doing great work there, so it seemed settled.

Then like a curve ball a good friend of ours, who was than going to Spain simply asked if we would like to join them. It seems innocuous enough. But somehow, from that point things have been coming together that defy any explanation other than providence. Through their friendship, God was working through Laura to get her ready for international mission work. It was one fateful weekend where we crammed 4 adults and 3 children into a tiny two-bedroom town home, that at the end of it, Laura was ready to go.

That, in a nutshell, is how we decided on Spain. Though it does appear as if Spain chose us.

Weekend Roundup (#2)

This last week was an eventful one for our family. Here is a quick recap of everything that’s been happening!

Travel Plans
We have purchased our plane tickets for our vision trip! Now that this big step is out of the way, we are working to raise the rest of the funds ($1700) and preparing for travel!

Board Meeting
World Witness recently held a board meeting, and on Tuesday October 1, we met with the board’s Personnel Committee. At this meeting we shared our testimony and a bit about ourselves. The board graciously confirmed us as pre-candidates.

Mission Conference
On Saturday we attended a small missions conference at First ARP in Statesville. We had a great time of fellowship and enjoyed hearing from World Witness missionaries. It’s encouraging to see how God is moving among Wales and Germany. It isn’t flashy or fast. In many ways it isn’t much different than faithful work done here in the States. As one of the mission interns said in his presentation, God works in inches, not in miles. We’re grateful for the work of these faithful laborers in bringing the Gospel to Europe.

Western Avenue Baptist Church
This church has some important ties to our lives. In sixth grade, as a member of the Western Avenue youth group, Michael gave his life to Christ at a church camp. We were also married there in 2005. This weekend we met with a wonderful Sunday school group there and were able to share with them how we got to this point and what our vision is for ministry in Spain. It was a great encouragement to us.

God has been very good to us through this process, much better than we deserve. Amazing grace! We are thankful to Him and all of you.

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