Friday, March 30, 2007
Another Piece Falls Into Place

As you may know, we've been working out of Orlando for the last year. While it's been an incredibly stimulating and relationally rich time, it was always a temporary arrangement... we have been waiting for a variety of pieces to fall into place. And now one of the big ones has.
The organization we form part of, OC International, has just assigned us to the IMT (for more information on what this means for us, click here)

For the next few months this new assignment won’t greatly effect our ministry projects. We’ll continue to coordinate the Spanish youth workers website – which is growing daily (we provide well over 20,000 pages of materials and published 64 new resources in the last two months) – we continue to be in touch with and support youth leaders around Latin America nearly every day and we’re preparing for our contribution to the upcoming youth workers conventions in Chile, Guatemala and Argentina. But the IMT provides us the freedom to focus more on opportunities and less on geography. As to where we will be living…that will be revealed in a future communique.

Sunday, March 18, 2007
Out of the Driver's Seat

Until two weeks ago our 93 year old grandmother, Bethel Smith, (Annette's mother's mother) was driving and living on her own. Then a pain in her leg made it hard for her to walk and promoted the family to find someone to spend time with her. Last Tuesday she had a partial hip replacement and is recovering in a nursing home.

As I sat with this fiercely independent woman whose life will never be the same, I was reminded of Jesus' statement to Peter in John 21:18, I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. Henri Nowen brought this verse to my attention in a chapter called "From Leading to Being Led" in his book IN THE NAME OF JESUS: REFLECTIONS ON CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP where he explains,

The world says, "When you were young you were dependent and could not go where you want, but when you grow old you will be able to make your own decisions, go your own way, and control your own destiny." But Jesus has a different view of maturity: It is the willingness to be led where you would rather not deeply in love with Jesus that [you] are ready to follow him wherever he guides [you], always trusting that, with him, [you] will find life and find it abundantly.

Every time I've ever been in a nursing home I think, "I never want to live somewhere like this." Walking alongside Grandmother this past week reminds me that when Jesus says, "...where you don't want to go..." he meant it, literally.

I'm grateful for the chance to be part of this transition in my family's life.
And for the chance to step out of my activities and remember the big picture.

Monday, March 05, 2007
Full House | Full Life

The last 10 days have been full, chock-full, of airport runs and welcoming hugs, of incredible conversations and heart-warming laughter, of suitcase packing and long goodbyes. For the first time in our year in the U.S. we filled every one of the 4 bedrooms and 6 beds here at the fantabulous apartment that has been loaned to us.

If you're the don't tell me, show me type then take a look at the latest photos in our 2007 - A Year in the Making series (click a photo if you want to read its caption).

Not a Bad Week

Highlights from last week: I got to see my whole family for the first time in a year; my mom still laughs out loud at my jokes; my nephews got to ride Chase's motorized skateboard; Felix & Sara loved Annette's biscotti and my homemade caramel machiattos; and we finally got to introduce our Spanish teammates to our Orlando teammates.

But my personal favorite was the surprise thaat Felix (at center in the photo) had orchestrated for us. His latest book was just published by Zondervan. Even Felix hadn't held one in his hands yet. So when a box of them showed up here, we couldn't wait to open it up. As Annette was flipping through the book she suddenly said, "Oh...." It wasn't said quickly or loudly but rather like the "Oh" that might come out of a child when she opens a present that contains a gift of previously unimagined worth. Her eyes had picked out her own name and mine. Felix had honored us by dedicating the book to Annette and me. She read it out loud,

I want to dedicate this book to my good friends Tim & Annette Gulick.
- For the good times we have spent together serving Latin American youth leaders.
- For the wonderful times we have invested in dreaming about how to better serve God and this generation.
- For the fun times we have shared enjoying life together.
- For your generosity that has inspired me to give out of grace, because from grace I have received.
(translated from the original which is in Spanish)

That should help keep us afloat during tough times.

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