This is Gabriel's chart, he is still saving up his stickers for a big prize.
Their charts live in the den on the wall under the kitchen counter where they are seen constantly and remind them to keep their eyes on the prize...literally!
Anyway, these routines have helped us, but God has held us tightly in His hand and the wind and waves around us haven't rocked our boat this week! We enjoyed dinner at one of the elder's houses this week where we met some missionaries staying with them who train church leaders and especially youth leaders. They have worked with, and are friends of Paul and Amy Hansen! They discovered this by having a conversation with our children and eventually pulling out of them where we went to church, then came inside to meet us. Paul and I immediately recognized their faces, but had no idea why. Luckily, our children had already connected the dots and we had a great time getting to know each other! It was so fun to meet someone who knew the people we love! It was a special blessing that we have not enjoyed since moving here and never expected to enjoy!! Another way we saw God's hand directly this week was yesterday. Paul asked me what was for dinner around 11 am because he didn't see anything thawing in the sink. I told him I planned for BLT's (our favorite meal!!). He noticed we had no tomatoes...oops, left that off the grocery list. He reminded me there was a farmer's market and I sent him straight there to get tomatoes since they closed at noon. He got there by 11:30 but they were closing up shop. He stopped and spoke to a woman putting her things away and she told him they closed down when everything was sold even though the hours are officially 9-12. She wanted to know what Paul was looking for and he told her he needed some tomatoes. She reached into her things and pulled out a bag of 4 farm fresh tomatoes and refused to allow him to pay her for them! We already ate 2 of them, but you can see they are GREAT! In case you can't tell, I LOVE summer tomatoes! I am sure I could live on them!
And this is what was handed to us this morning at church by someone Paul has spoken to only briefly who wanted to show his support for what Paul is doing. He handed an envelope to Paul after church today saying only something along the lines of, "This is for you and your family, for what you are doing." Now, I wish I could tell you I was surprised to see the contents of the envelope. Paul said when we got into the van that someone handed him an envelope of cash at church, and I knew instantly how much was in there without seeing it. I wish I had said it out loud! But, Paul wasn't surprised either. We both knew that we had been talking about a certain need in our budget that just simply isn't there right now. It is the need that drove me to anxiety and fear and worry last week (causing me to forfeit much ground to Satan and much peace). It was the need that we created a new line in our budget for and said we would allow this much for things like: toilet cleaner, laundry soap, hair cuts, socks, school supplies, etc, basically all those things that are not food, utilities or rent. I was still not sure where those funds were going to come from and had a conversation with Paul about it again yesterday, reassuring him that I was not worried, but was that coming out of our personal savings (i.e. the equity we had in our house that we hope to use to pay cash for our next house when we have saved up enough)? Yes, it was. Okay, God can work that out even though that doesn't allow us to save up at all. So, when we were handed an envelope of cash, it didn't surprise me at all that it was the exact amount we had budgeted for those items. Once again, here we were in the church parking lot sobbing in awe of God's unfailing love and provision for our family. That family had no idea what we needed, but were obedient to follow God's lead in giving generously.