Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Vacuum of Cumberfield

I live in Cumberfield.
Well, not all the time.
It's kind of like a seasonal retreat, though the word "retreat" isn't exactly how I would describe Cumberfield. Nevertheless, as much as I dislike Cumberfield, somehow I get sucked right back into in like a Cheerio into a vacuum.
That's it. Cumberfield is a vacuum and I am a Cheerio.
Unfortunately, I am a Cheerio that seems to position myself in the line of suction of the Cumberfield vacuum.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Furlough Fitness Part 6 (Serving, Victories, Go Bag, Bucket List)

Exercising Servanthood


On furlough, we do a lot of sitting. Sitting in the car, sitting in a pew, sitting in a desk, sitting at the table for a meal.

It's difficult to find ways around all the sitting, but every now and then I can get a little creative and sneak in some exercise in the craziest of ways. One of my favorite ways also incorporates one of my favorite loves: serving others.

Sometimes during missions conferences, a meal is served in the church fellowship hall. Everyone goes through the line, picks their favorite foods, sits down, and eats. Usually the missionaries are the first to go through the line. Since they are the first through the line, they are typically the first ones finished too. That opens up a perfect opportunity.

When I finish and have had sufficient time to fellowship with those sitting at my table, I get up and get moving. I use the opportunity to scout out people around the room who are finishing up their meals, and I take their empty plates to the trash can for them. It often surprises them that the missionary is serving them in such a way, but I quickly reassure them with a smile that they are doing me a favor by allowing me to walk around the room collecting plates for the exercise. With a friendly grin, and satisfied that I enjoy what I am doing, they give in and allow me to remove their plates.

In this simple gesture, I am accomplishing four things:

1. Exercising and moving instead of sitting
Face it. We have to grab every opportunity we can no matter how small.

2. Enjoying fellowship with more than just those at my own table
I often stop for a brief moment and chat with the people. It isn't a cardio workout, but simply getting up and moving. While I am moving, I am not just zipping through like a whirlwind, but looking for opportunities to have a connection with the people of the church. As a missionary, the more contact I have with the church family, the better. I want them to know I care about them, and I want them to remember me so they will remember to pray for our family and field.

3. Serving others
I can't help it! I am addicted to loving on others.

4. Setting an example for my children
They are watching me, and the last church we visited I turned around to discover my children were also walking around and cleaning up plates.

Non Scale Victories

Victories come in many forms, not just numbers on a scale. Celebrate each victory. I ran 5k in under 40 minutes! A personal best for me!

My Go Bag

If you see me out and about, you probably have seen my little blue cooler. It's my lifeline. When I head out the door, I grab it. Why? It has my snacks, water, and a couple of items that just might come in handy to keep my eating under control as much as possible.

This is a typical day time go bag. I carry a late morning snack and a late afternoon snack. Some of my favorite snacks are peeled mini carrots, cucumbers, bananas, Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt (80 calorie), grapes, unsweetened applesauce, celery sticks, and occasionally nuts.

I also carry at least two extra bottles of water.

I carry light ranch dressing with me in case we end up at a restaurant that doesn't have a light dressing option for their salad. Yes, I have retrieved my dressing from the van for such situations. The light mayonnaise is for similar situations where some form of sandwich is served. Most restaurants do not carry a light mayo.

Packing these items helps to keep me from getting too hungry between meals. It also helps me to tweak meals to make them as healthy as possible.

Furlough Fitness Bucket List

It takes a little creativity to have an exercise routine while travelling. (The word "routine" certainly is loosely used in that sentence.) I have done some crazy things to burn a few extra calories! So I have a challenge for you. While on your next furlough, see how many of these items you can get accomplished. I have marked the ones I have done (*).

  • Hotel fitness center *
  • Hotel Stairs
  • Walk/jog a mile in the church gymnasium*
  • Hotel pool*
  • Workout in the car using resistance bands or other car-friendly equipment*
  • Exercise at a park while the kids play and stretch their legs*
  • Head to Toe Fitness in hotel room or prophet's chamber*
  • Rest Area workout*
  • Playground obstacle course
  • Go for a walk/jog/hike with a pastor's wife*

Let's get moving!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna

This Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna was originally posted here. I have been wanting to make Chicken Cordon Bleu but am trying to get away from some of my more time consuming meals since making everything from scratch demands lots of time in the kitchen as it is! For me, using lasagna noodles that do not require pre-cooking can help cut the time required to make this meal down and I making it into a lasagna makes it a more filling meal for my two teenage boys who simply can't get enough food!

Cordon Bleu 


9 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions (I use the kind that does not require pre-cooking)
4½ cups cooked and chopped chicken, grilled or rotisserie chopped
1½ cups cooked and diced ham
1½ - 2 cups cooked and chopped bacon
3 cups Swiss cheese, grated ( I use Gouda or Tilster as Swiss is not easily available for me)

½ cup butter
½ cup flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
16 ounces cream cheese, softened

In a large saucepan melt butter and add flour. Cook for 1 minute and then slowly add milk. Add garlic powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Stir with a whisk and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir in cream cheese and continue to stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (350 degrees F).
Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray or grease lightly with margarine.

Place 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan.
Layer ⅓ of the chicken over the noodles.
Next layer ⅓ of the ham.
Pour ⅓ of the sauce over the ham.
Next sprinkle ⅓ of the cheese over the sauce
Finally sprinkle ⅓ of the bacon over the cheese.
Repeat 2 more times.
Bake at 160 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 45 to 60 minutes.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Third Culture Adult Identity Crisis

Yours truly at the amazing Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Thirty-two years on the field and I don’t know who I am, where I belong, or how to think only in English. I’m the most confused person on earth . . . and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Our first ten or more years, I tried so very hard to be Spanish—to talk like they do, gesture like they do, express myself using idioms, and understand their jokes. Sometime our third term, I realized it was impossible to be Spanish. People would walk up to me—in Spain—and speak to me in French. (Yes, I look French but I’m not.) I realized I’d never fool anyone—ever! What a rude awakening!

Then I tried to figure out who I was. I gave up shortly afterwards. I mean, a girl born in one state, transferred to another at age three, to another at age eleven, back to a different part of my second state at age thirteen, and on to college at seventeen—in a different state, of course! I only knew a slight handful of people at college but fast made lots of friends. My sophomore year started out with meeting a handsome man with a deep voice . . . . “But I digress.” (I got that phrase from my English professor, a supporting pastor today.)

I graduated and married at twenty-one, and life’s adventures really kicked in. Our car blew a rod that first year. We would spend the next three years under cars . . . . My husband got mono, too, so he dropped out of grad school and used the time to recover and study for his ordination, memorizing hundreds of verses. After that, he did two years of graduate studies while I worked. After he got his master’s, we both worked to pay off school debts while searching for God’s will. We knew the Lord wanted us in missions, but we didn’t know where—and the world is a big place! My foreign language background was in French . . . . In God’s humor, He sent us to Spain, where we’d both start off at zero. Who am I? Very funny; I can’t even say “hello.”

Two little children, a new church plant, our fifth house move on the field . . . . Life is interesting, to say the least.

We often talk about third culture kids. (They’re the ones with the passport that says one thing and their life experience says another. They’re the ones who aren’t really understood in their home country and aren’t totally accepted in their life country.)

But, how about us “old” missionaries? We are so third culture, we don’t even know where we belong! Should we retire? Should we not? If we retire, do we move near our kids or stay where we invested our lives? 

When we go back to our home church, a lot of people don’t even know us. (Let’s cut them a break; we’re not there very often.) They look at us like we just landed from Mars. (Maybe we did! Jet lag will do that to you! A little bit green and “take me to your leader” . . . .)

Where do you belong? Where’s home?

Please don’t ask me those questions. I have no idea!

My third culture, mixed-up identity turns to the Bible, where I read: By faith he (Abraham) sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. . . . These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-15).

What a perspective!

I think it’s especially important for every missionary woman to know:
  • That she’s following God in his “land of promise,” even if it’s a super “strange country.”
  • That heaven is our future. God prepared it for us.
  • We can cling to God’s promises.
  • We are “strangers and pilgrims” on the earth, because we believe in Jesus. It’s completely normal to see our ministry as temporary and purposeful.
  • God has prepared for us a city where we really belong. Praise Him!

What are some of God’s promises for missionary women?
  • For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD (Psalm 27:5-6).
  • Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:24).
  • That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen (Ephesians 3:16-21).
  • Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).
  • Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).

 . . . Of course, there are many more!

So, who am I? I’m a sent one, a pilgrim in a strange country—even if it’s my own—and a messenger of the gospel of peace and Good News. (I can even claim beautiful feet!) Where’s my country? In the heavens, prepared especially for me, walking on crystal streets of gold, enjoying the river view. I look forward to seeing you there, too. God bless your faithfulness!

And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
As it is written, How beautiful are the feet
of them that preach the gospel of peace,
and bring glad tidings of good things!
(Romans 10:15)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Guest post by Sarah LeClercq -Guam


Hospitality is a word that is only used four times in the New Testament. Two times it is referring to a list of qualifications for the bishop and deacon. The other two times is is a command given to Christians.

Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Given to: pursue, press towards

hospitality: entertain strangers

1Pe 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

hospitality: fond of guests

grudging: grumbling, murmuring

As you can see hospitality is not just an idea or a suggestion, it is a command. Imagine my surprise when I learned that you did not have to be in the ministry to practice hospitality or be hospitable.

One of the most hospitable people I know is my mother in law. She has been in the ministry for over 20 years. She would stand in the back of the church after church and invite everybody over to play games. Her kids friends were always welcomed. She opened her home to a cancer patient who needed to to be near a hospital. My husband said that all of his friends wanted to come over to his house because it was so much fun. She is one of the best examples to me in the area of hospitality.

I have had to learn a few lessons in hospitality since being on the field. I loved having friends and family over. Entertaining strangers, that is leaving my comfort zone. Here are a few things I have learned so far:

1. Hospitality is as much an attitude as it is an action.

Being friendly, smiling, talking, laughing is all part of being hospitable. People need to feel welcomed and loved in your homes.

2. Not everything has to be perfect.

In our home I operate under, everything is decent and in order. That is how I try to train my kids and myself. If we have made plans to have company over I will take the time to due deep cleaning. However, for unexpected or last minute I can relax knowing at least everything is decent.

3. Use what God has provided.

God gave us the command to use hospitality and to be hospitable. Some Sundays I have enough to feed our guest dinner. Then there are weeks when I can only make muffins and coffee.

4. Remember this is not my home.

I know, and I believe, that our homes are to be a safety place for our families. However, we need to remember why we are here, who we serve, and where our final home is.

Hospitality is one way God wanted us to show love to the strangers amongst us. Pray that God will send you the people he wants you to minister to and then do it.

Sarah LeClercq, Guam

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Leaving the nest to study in a "foreign land"

I started this blog post a month ago, however, due to my own daughter embarking on her own journey of heading off to college as an MK, our lives came to a stop. We concentrated much on getting her ready for the big changes that were approaching quickly. Going off to college is a big event in any young person's life but as an MK leaving the nest to study in a foreign land which everyone around them would consider to be their "home", it poses an even greater life change.

We praise the Lord that in our situation with our daughter heading off to college, many tears were shed by nationals who dearly loved her and could almost not bear to say goodbye to her. She is missed tremendously, not only by her family, but by those for whom she was burdened and desired to see come to Christ; by her Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who loved her sweet spirit and enjoyed sweet fellowship with her over the years.

Teens who have become friends.

Other MKs, some of whom have known her all their lives.

Children who love and admire her.

And most of all, special "Grandparents" who have been a "ministry" of our daughter's, for years.

Some people who have never had to leave their children so far away from home do not and will not understand what our families experiences as their children grow up and move on to college in their "foreign" homeland. With these posts we hope to shed some light for those who do not realize how much this change affects these families and help those families who are about to embark on this journey by providing personal experiences, sound advice, and helps to make the MK college transition much smoother for both students and families.

As we begin this new theme for weekly posts, we would like to start out by introducing a new idea here on the BMW blog. I asked the BMW ladies some weeks ago to send me a list of their children who were attending colleges throughout the US this fall semester 2016. My goal was to have their names listed together somewhere so we could all more easily pray for them and the parents. Another wish of mine was to be able to ask you, our readers, to "adopt" an MK college student for this fall semester. I am talking, of course, about those readers who live in the United States. One of the favorite things to receive as a college student is mail and care packages. But, being away on a foreign field makes sending care packages to your children a little more challenging. Chocolate chip cookies that have traveled across the Atlantic just don't taste as fresh! Know what I mean?!
This gives you the opportunity to be a blessing to an MK and help support them through the tough transition into college life and moving back to the US.

For privacy's sake, we will not post the names of the students publicly here on this blog. However, if you are interested in "adopting" an MK, please feel free to contact me through Facebook Messenger or by e-mail ( and I will get you connected with an MK. If you share what state you are in, I might even be able to locate a student who would be within driving distance of you which would make it even easier to be an encouragement to them. I am so excited about these posts and especially this part of seeing our readers be a blessing to our children in our absence. May God bless you richly for your participation!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Cauliflower florets (you can buy them already cut or buy a whole one and cut it yourself)
Olive oil (enough to lightly coat the cauliflower)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Other seasonings (optional)


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower florets, olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you want to add. Place the florets on a cookie sheet so that none of the pieces of cauliflower are touching each other. Bake for around 25 – 35 minutes until part of the cauliflower florets are a nice golden brown. You can make them as dark or as light as you want them.