Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A New Chapter has Begun

Hello World,

Just as the title says, a new chapter has begun for us. Somewhat surprisingly, we have landed in a most beautiful and peaceful location! The story on how we got here is quite amazing and it involves the Lord heavily. We're all so thankful to be here.

In case you missed what this last year has looked like for us, let me try to put it in a nutshell.... April 2013 we left Ensenada, Mexico. We drove across the U.S. to Illinois where we stayed for the summer and I had our 4th baby girl there. Six weeks later we continued the journey south to Florida where we got on a plane and moved to Haiti. Our plan was definitely to be there for the long haul....to settle and minister and do life there, but there were clearly some major things that had to be worked out.....away from Haiti. So 8 months later, we went to Puerto Rico to be with my family and to pray and seek the Lord about what was happening and for His guidance on what has felt like a crazy emotional and spiritual roller coaster ride....all the while trying to hang onto our marriage and our 4 little girls. Let me tell you....it's been a really LONG year. Without the consistent and stable fellowship we're used to and all the confusing movement, we got extremely worn out, extremely stressed out and extremely burnt out. About everything. Thankfully, the Lord is faithful and never abandons us even in our weaknesses. He is so good and led us out of our mistake. Our summer in Puerto Rico was beautiful. Since I left Puerto Rico as a baby, I had never spent a chunk of time with my own father apart from this summer. They were always short visits and I didn't know how awesome it would be to be around him along with my step mom, sister and grandparents on both sides. My husband and daughters really got to know them, and just love them like I do. I got priceless pictures of my grandmothers (both of them, separately) brushing and braiding the girls' hair.....them with their great- grandmothers! Again, so thankful for a chunk of time for everyone to get comfortable and close enough for moments like those despite a lifetime apart.

As planned, our stay ended at the end of the summer. The Lord made a clear and powerful provision for us to move to Melbourne, Florida and it's where I'm writing from now. Our home spot is just perfect for us right now. It truly is a gift from God to be here. Again, so thankful.

We have spent the last 3 weeks searching for jobs for Theo to pick up but many doors are closed. On the financial side of things, we're in that tension of trusting the Lord for provision as always, but now with an added financial stress. We have been praying about and feeling strongly for Theo to go to the fire academy and EMT school and the classes begin October 28th. We need to have the full amount a week before classes start and the cost is $2,200 for EMT and $3,800 for fire academy. Because the school is a technical school, there is no financial aid or scholarships available. We are asking for help for Theo to get equipped and trained for what we believe will be an amazing career. We are forever grateful to those who have loved, given and literally been used by God to keep our heads above water throughout our journey. You know who you are. We are now excited and so looking forward to this transition into a marketplace career that Theo will thrive in and be able to support our family.

 As Theo works during the day, he will go to school at night to hopefully finish all classes by next summer and get hired as a fireman/EMT, ASAP. This position will allow continued family time, it will allow time and funds to help some of our own family members as well as our future hopes for a church plant and discipleship ALL THE WHILE  being able to pay our bills. It doesn't seem so hard to attain, but we need your help to get the ball rolling. Its a funny thing....sometimes, it just takes money to make money. And in our case, it takes money, to go to school, to make money. So if you could pray and consider supporting us through this new chapter of our journey, we would be eternally grateful. You can give through our missions organization, the Malachi Network {www.malachinetwork.org}which pays us once a month {15th} OR you can give directly to our paypal account at theosteinhauer@yahoo.com .

We are also getting to know our new neighborhood and getting into routine here with the girls. All of us are doing well and ready to be back in steady fellowship with other believers and simply finding our groove here. Theo and I have started reading Francis and Lisa Chan's new book called 'You and Me Forever' {Marriage in Light of Eternity}. Its such a solid book...not only for marriage but for how God calls us each to live in light of His eminent return....which directly effects and produces a joyful marriage and life! So awesome.

If you have any questions or would like to connect with us further, you can find us on Facebook, whatsapp, or on our emails. Theosteinhauer@gmail.com and Melissasteinhauer@gmail.com
Feel free to ask for our numbers as well and we can catch up directly!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another Move

Within the last 4 months since I posted last so many things have happened! It's incredible how unpredictable life can be. My last post was written from Haiti where we moved and hoped to settle down long term. We had plans to be there, close to family and for Theo to work in construction with his dad. I would continue to be home with the girls. We would start and help facilitate Christian community. We felt good about it. Now fast forward a bit. We left Haiti on May 19th and came to Puerto Rico to be with family for a while. We left Haiti for many reasons, some we can share openly, some not. But we've been in Puerto Rico with my {Melissa's} family here and it's been sweet. Sweet to see my grandmothers' and grandfather and extra sweet for my 4 girls to get to know them. It has been so good for all of us. Right now we're in this time of decision for where we should land long term. Re-writing our plan for our family. All about where God would have us and what's best for our little crew. We're spending our time praying, enjoying family for the summer, Theo is working and we're meeting new people here. I'm learning more of my 'native land' and I don't remember it ever being so beautiful. We're all thankful for so many things...for our time in Haiti, for our time here. For whatever God has for us next, because we know it'll be good. His plans for us are good. It's good to trust Him. For all who have asked, here's as much info as I can give. Haiti was a fairly short lived venture for us.... not what we expected at all, and that's ok. We make decisions that sometimes don't go as planned...and I believe that whatever way things turn out in our lives, it's because the author and finisher of our faith has better plans for our lives than we could ever come up with for ourselves. We also see through rose colored glass so often. We are praying a lot about what our future should look like, where it should be and how it should happen. God is in control, and we trust that process.

If you want to talk to me more about it all, you can email me or contact me on facebook.
love and blessings!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Is it possible to change your destiny?

As I type, I'm humbled that God gives me another breath to live. He owes me nothing. Yet He loves me. Loves me enough to continue to give me life. And a great life, at that. So what's this about changing your destiny? Well, about a year ago, while we were still living in Ensenada, I went through this incredible experience with the Lord. Basically, I had this long and lingering feeling deep down on the inside of my being that something bad, death to be exact, was looming. I felt like the heaviness of me passing away was about to become a reality and I couldn't shake it. I'm not talking about depression. I wasn't depressed. I was really happy and joyful actually. But it was unimaginably difficult to endure. I looked at my amazing husband and my beautiful girls and thought, this is just horrible think about, but I can't not think about it! It's not like it was just constant thoughts in my mind, but more of this inner reality of what was about to take place and there was nothing I could do about it. I told my husband a few times about it as I would just burst into tears, and he would pray with me.

Then, as I cried out to the Lord consistently...He revealed things to me that I would've never thought related to this gloomy feeling on the inside. God showed me I was lazy. Yes, lazy. I thought, ok....well, that's definitely something to repent of and turn from. But I never knew what the Bible says about a lazy person. See Proverbs 21:25 and 18:9. There was a clear explanation for what I was going through and as soon as God opened my eyes to my deficiency in this area and I REPENTED sincerely of that, things incredibly changed. Truly, my mind and heart were set free and things were different. I never again had those 'impending doom' anxieties. You can go back and read my post on that titled, "I've been delivered from Death!"

Well, recently for about 3 days, the thoughts were back. I was really feeling like something was up again. I felt like my heart was stirring deep down and to prepare {however you can!?} to experience death. My death to be exact. What a difficult, to say the least, thing to try to wrap your mind around. How do you prepare your heart for this? Lord, My husband and kids....I love them so much and as much as I genuinely can't wait to meet You face to face, I'm not ready to leave them yet. I want to be here to raise them and teach them Your ways. I want to be partnered with my husband in this life together.....to live for your glory....together. I don't want to leave these girls motherless, and leave Theo a widower. Father in heaven, Help! I don't know what this is, but it's just too much to bear.

On February 9th, I wrote this...

"I feel like something is brewing. Not sure what, but I want to be ready. If it is about my death, I KNOW it's my good God's will. His timing. His way. It's His mercy, and love, though it may hurt. We are surrendered to our Father's will and we know Him to be so loving and faithful. Death sucks, but everyone passes from these bodies. Everyone has a turn.

I know that although I want to live a long and fruitful life with my husband and kids, I also want my bodily death to glorify God and release power for the praise of Jesus. I don't just want it to be another sad death, which of course it would be sad. But for it to be clear for me, and those who know me to truly celebrate my joining and meeting my King face to face, more than mourning my passing away.

I pray that my daughters will be fully, 100% convinced and filled with total faith to live for and choose The Way of the Gospel all their lives....by the time it's my turn to go. I pray that all of the godly influence and love I can pour into them will be had before I go.

I pray for the hearts. Mine in particular. My hand trembles as I write this. That my thoughts would be at peace. That my earthly love, Theo, would be kept at peace and strengthened in Christ. That all our friends in the Body would support him and the girls with every ounce of prayer, hugs, tears, joy and remembrance in the Word that we'll all be together again one day. In Paradise at that.

1 Corinthians 15:50 says- 'What I am saying dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.'

Then verse 55 says ' O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'"

After writing all of that, I had this thought that seemed to come from nowhere, but it really came from Heaven. I continued to write....

"The thing is.....Ephesians 6:2 says 'Honor your father and mother.' This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, things will go well for you and you will have a long life on the earth.'

And so I wonder how that plays into my life?.... For a long time I didn't exactly honor my mom and dad, but now I do. And I want to. And I believe God's promises."

That night, I repented to the Lord for not honoring my parents then I got on Facebook and sent my mom a public message honoring her virtues and telling of how thankful I am and how much I love her. I believe 100% that God let me feel the tangible weight of NOT honoring my father and mother in order to bring me to that point of true repentance about that. And when I felt it, it hurt. And I could sense the darkness of the consequence of that sin. And when I acknowledged it and repented of it, literal Life came into my heart. I also felt the weight of being kinder to my daughters especially in disciplining them, so that they in turn could honor me and live long lives! I thought of
Colossians 3:21 that says "Parents, don't provoke your children in a way that ends up discouraging them." There are others along those same lines. But I realized that if I'm too hard on my kids, I'm just making it harder for them to truly honor Theo and I.

The next day, Feb. 10th, I wrote again...

"I feel a tangible change in my heart and mind from last night. I feel the importance of honoring my father and mother and to turn up the kindness and love for everyone around me. Especially my kids. I feel literal PEACE. Thank You Lord!"

Since that day, I haven't had those out of nowhere thoughts and deep feelings of impending death. I have felt life. Truly... I feel so ALIVE. I believe the Lord once again let me see the weightiness of a sin that I was not clearly seeing in my own life. Both the laziness last year, at almost the exact same time of the year, and the lack of honor to my parents, were not these blatant or really outward issues. I didn't sit around all day and do nothing or cuss out my parents, or anything so dramatic. But on the inside I was definitely a lazy person with excuses. Being a mom of 3 young kids I was clearly tired. But then the legitimate tiredness would blend into the laziness and I couldn't tell whether I was just tired and needed to rest, or just being lazy! The Lord so kindly showed me what it was. And now again, I got to see that God really truly cares about the command to actually honor our fathers and mothers.

If any of you are struggling with anxiety or fear, or any other thing, PRAY. Ask our good and gracious Father to show you what's up! Only in the true understanding and weight of our darkness will we repent and be set free. Jesus took our sin to the cross and we were crucified with Him there. Let's not continue to sin. Let's be ever so repentant for the darkness that looms inside our hearts and minds. We still totally need renewed minds people! He's given us His Word AND His Spirit to guide us!  He is so worthy of our repentance and love and devotion. He gives such freedom, here and now. Not only in our eternal destiny. But He WILL change things in your life on this earth if you seek Him and ask for Light in the deepest parts of your heart. Praise God!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What's been happening with us?

     I can't believe how long it's been since I sat down to update. A couple of months for sure. I guess that moving the family to a new country and trying to settle has been taking up all my moments. But alas, I found just a bit of time to write!

     We've been living in Haiti for about 4 months now. The adjustment time has ebbed and flowed and thankfully I haven't experienced anything so severe that I want to pack up and leave. Actually, I don't know of anything that would make me want to pack and move again right now! :)   I am definitely at the point of total excitement to enjoy the beauty and wonder of this island anyways! There is SO much to explore from caves, to waterfalls, underground lakes, beautiful hikes and gorgeous beaches and surf. Not to mention the beautiful and kind people here. Haitians are absolutely resilient and creative. I'm learning creole and love to see their smiles when I get it right!  :)

     Today we got our van which actually arrived here 3 months ago. Yes, that was a long 3 months. And yes 8 of us have sardined ourselves into a 5 seater pick up to go everywhere. And sometimes, even a dog was in there with us. So the rides were just interesting. But as the Lord so often does, He gave us constant reminders to be thankful for that pick up we were riding in. The pick up that has A/C, that has tinted windows to block a bit of the hot Caribbean sun, and the radio we could listen to if we wanted. And to be thankful that it was our own family sitting on our laps and taking all the space. Because every single day, we drive along with tap-taps filled overflowing with people. Car rides so full that back bumpers are nearly dragging on the ground as they drive. The heat can be unbearable sometimes and these people literally sit on each other and are squeezed so tightly together, just to get to where they have to go. Sweating. Can you imagine? And they have to PAY money for that ride! Or if you have a little bit more money, you can hop on the back of a motorcycle taxi which is a lot faster to get around and a little more spacious. Often though, you'll see 3 or even 4 people on a motorcycle which obviously isn't advised. :)

     So all that to say, the 5 seater pick up was AWESOME! And maybe you see how incredibly wonderful it is to receive our own ginormous van today!

     I'm thankful and confident that we heard clearly from the Lord about moving here. That single handedly is the most comforting thing for me whenever I do experience difficulty here. I know we have purpose here and that helps ease whatever discomforts we come across.

     So what does life look like for us? Well, now that we've been living in our house for about 2 months, we're finally getting into a routine. Monday-Friday, I homeschool Stella and casually school Naya who is in preschool. We're still working on coordinating school hours and naps and normal life into a schedule that works. Theo is gone at whatever work sites he and his father have contracts for. Monday nights are designated to be "Marriage Monday" where Theo and I try to be intentional about serving our marriage. We like to listen to a sermon on marriage, husband and wife roles, etc. Fridays are "Family Fun Night" which obviously is the girls' favorite night.  We like to watch a movie together, play a game, eat goodies, etc. Theo has also been invited to play soccer at his old school on Friday nights. This is in part, to disciple and mentor some of the high school athletes that play. The rest of us join him at the school where there is a playground for the girls to play and their cousins who live across the street join in to play too.

     Saturday as always, is prep day for church. We are now in full swing of house church and we have a handful of English speaking foreigners who attend each week. There is word of several others who are also interested and will hopefully join in soon as well. This one day a week is the bulk of why we felt led to come here. To 'feed the sheep.' The 'sheep' are those who are already believers in Jesus and we feel the call to help edify and serve them while in this country. Pray for us as we build relationships with new people and some of Theo's old friends here.

    In a chain of events starting with us moving into our current house, we also now feel led to open our home for our friends living in the states and abroad who will be coming to Haiti. We will not be running a team or guest house from here. We simply want to use our extra bedrooms to host our most loved friends and visitors for a small donation.

     Our desire is to share the experience of Haiti with all those who have loved us and poured into our lives...and for friends of those friends. :) The vision is for a homey, family friendly and welcoming atmosphere while visiting or working in Haiti.  Whether it's your own family, a couple of friends, or a small church group wanting to come to Haiti and need a place to crash, we'll host you! For $60 a night, you will get a comfy and clean bed, 24/7 electricity {that's a luxury here!}, wifi,  laundry service if needed, AND a great breakfast, lunch and dinner. We can accommodate airport pick up and drop off for a small price {for gas} as well.

     We've had about 15 guests stay with us within our 2 months of living here and we love it! Please contact us via facebook or email if you'd like to stay with us. For security purposes, we are only accepting friends or direct personal referrals to camp with us. :)

     We so sincerely thank all of our friends and family who have and continue to pray for us and the work the Lord has called us to in Haiti. There is absolutely nothing like the prayer and love of the Body of Christ, and the friendship of the like-minded is definitely cherished.

     If you would like to support us, you can do so easily through The Malachi Network.
Go to www.malachinetwork.org. Click DONATE, then scroll down to our name {Steinhauer} under the 'CHOOSE YOUR MISSIONARY' option.

     We also have PAYPAL if you prefer immediate and non-tax deductible donation, under the email theosteinhauer@yahoo.com

Love & Blessings,
The Steinhauers