Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Drumeții [Hiking]

 Remember last March when Mr. & Mrs. Toews took two weeks off of work & traveled to Romania? What a blast! We had so many adventures: hiking, climbing, caving, roadtripping, etc. Wow! Well it is almost a year later, and I just finished editing another video (yes ME! -- not Kameron, though he is working on getting one out as well...).
Here is a video of us hiking a mountain called Piatra Iorgovanului. The sign at the top says elevation 2014m. We hiked it in March. In the winter. In snow as deep as my knees. Brr! It was hard hard hard hard hard! I swore like a sailor for the last third. (&I never swear). My legs were sore & did not want to move, so they could barely be lifted off the ground - which is a problem because the snow is up past my knees...

You can read my lips when we're sitting on the top. "This is the worst day of my life."

Kameron secretly filmed this adorable message to me, that I only discovered last week while editing this highlight video. Isn't he the best? & notice my pitiful trek through the snow...

The next day I couldn't lift my legs 2 inches off the ground. (& we were suppose to go caving that day. NOPE!)

But it was an awesome hike, & looking back 10 months later, I'm glad I did it.

Click here to watch our caving video.
Click here to watch our climbing video.
Click here to read more post about our trip to Romania.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Hike: Centennial-Flume Trail (Upper Spring Creek Trailhead)

This past week, I went on a solo hike in the Black Hills. The Hills were calling to my adventurous spirit, and I could not resist the opportunity to find a random trail and enjoy the outdoors! I left my sister's house and just drove deep into the hills looking for a sign pointing to a trail. 
The trail I found is part of the Centennial-Flume Trail. I found the Upper Spring Creek Trailhead off of Sheridan Lake Road, parked, and just started walking. I took some pictures with my iPhone. I listened to some podcasts. I basked in God's beautiful creation. I overcame some fears. I had a great time!
Like I said before, I had to overcome some fears on this trail. I discovered that I have a fear of heights, or maybe a fear of falling. I learned that in Romania while caving in a deep cave and climbing a cliff. 
Along the trail there were several foot bridges. Really just planks of wood crossing the river. No hand rails. No stability. And rarely were they straight. Wobble wobble. 
& I was terrified!
I almost turned around when I saw the first one. But I crossed it & survived.
I almost turned around when I saw the second one. But I crossed it & survived. (But first I slid on the ice before the bridge & fell on my butt).
I SERIOUSLY almost turned around when I saw the third one. But I crossed it & survived.
--- then I had to turn around and do it all because it was time to go home....
But I survived!
There was a bunch of different terrain: ice, snow, rock, & wood foot bridge.
There were some awesome views, as you can tell. And for the middle of January, the weather was lovely! I wore yoga pants & a sweatshirt & earwarmers & my new headphones from Christmas. I'm so glad I was able to take this solo adventure & take this winter hike. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Five Tips on Fundraising

Wow. We've made it. 100% funded and 100% done by God's mysterious doings.

Time and time again God decided to prove that He's got this whole adventure under His mighty wing. We doubted and God provided. We doubted again and our support jumps 20%. We get frustrated with the whole process and God humbles us and gets us to that fully funded milestone.

We thank God that the fundraising part is done. There have been hurdles, but I think what we'll take away the most are the stories of God's provision and the joy He brings in the search of bringing His Body together in unity to impact the world for His name.

By no means are we expert fundraisers; far from it. But we did learn a thing or two along the way. So as we're at the end of the trail, here are some reflections that might help those who just strapped on their hiking boots.

1. There will be highs and there will be lows. Keep a cool head through it all because in both God's put you in that circumstance at that time for a reason. Praise Him through it all.

2. Do the work, but don't stress out. Ultimately God is in control and has chosen to bless us by letting us be a part of His Kingdom work. Can I get a woot woot! It is OK to veg out and watch Netflix sometimes -- just don't binge watch too many seasons of Parks & Rec between fundraising appointments.

3. Spread the load. Looking back, I wish I done more of the paperwork side of things, instead of relying on Erin to do it. Take the time to both know what needs to be done and when. You'll have a better sense of unity through the process and things will move quicker and smoother.

4. Always carry something to give away. Our organization, TEAM, provided us with prayer cards, giving brochures, business cards, pens, and we printed newsletters. Way more materials than we need, but there were times when someone asked about Zimbabwe and we didn't have anything to give them.

5. Never turn down an opportunity to share your story. We had the opportunity to share this crazy Zimbabwe adventure to a church of hundreds one week, and a church of ten the next. We Skyped with couples, and drove across South Dakota to meet with folks. In each conversation, we were able to share Karanda with eager ears. How exciting! Not every meeting resulted in a check written out, but most ended with people excited about what God is doing and more people praying for the people of Zimbabwe. In fact, some of those at the smallest churches ended up being our biggest financial partners. As missionaries, we have the opportunity to bless those in the Body eager to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Please don't deny them the opportunity to jump on board the awesome things God is doing. As our pastor loves to say, "the most exciting thing happening on this planet today is what God is doing through His church!"
With so many amazing friends, family members, and even people we don't know supporting the work in Karanda, Zimbabwe, we've been challenged to reexamine our mission statement, especially first line.
We've been entrusted with $65,000 and a year in Zimbabwe. We pray that we live a life worthy of peoples' finances and time given. We pray that we can use our time at Karanda to the fullest of its potential to let Christ be known.

This is what we've learned on our journey through the uncertain and humbling task of fundraising. If you have any more tips, please leave them in the comments.

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