Life in the FLL: What do we do??

Well, this might be a loaded question…everyday is different…in good and bad ways.  We are in such a unique place in our journey here b/c we are together almost 24 hrs a day AND learning language.  We have a limit of one of us being gone max 7 days in a month.  Here’s a “normal” day for us:

  • We usually get up, get ready and take Maddie to school…IMG_3826
  • Then, come back and have an hour each of language class.  We have language helpers that will help us along in our studies and will go out with us if we need to practice in the community.  At this time, Will and I usually switch off watching Bug for the time being…
  • We go and get Maddie, come back, eat lunch (remember, here is what we eat everyday), and the girls take naps (and I do too!)…Will usually tries to get some work done during nap time and rests a little too…
  • After naps, we usually play for a bit, let the girls watch a short movie, have Art time and cook/eat dinner.
  • Then, we give baths, have Bible story time and put the girls down…
  • There’s not much time for just Will and I these days after the girls go to sleep…our days are so different, the girls’ bedtime has become 8:30 or 9 p.m.  This is one adjustment I wasn’t ready for, but we’re doing our best and trying to have date nights when we can.

When either Will or I go on trips, here’s kind of what a day would look like:

IMG_4817

  • Leave out for the destination either by car, train, or plane (sometimes)…
  • Eat on the road…
  • Arrive at training site and chat for a bit…
  • Start a training (on time or not…) with believers on why we share, where do we share, who do we share with, what do we share, how do we disciple, and *hopefully* how to start fellowships among their people or people who have never heard before…
  • Tea Break…
  • Start training again…
  • Eat lunch and chat with folks in Hindi…(can you spot the white girl in the picture below? ha!)
  • Start training again (and do some fun things to keep these folks awake!)…
  • Tea Break…
  • Finish up that day’s training and allow these people to put into practice what they’ve learned.  This is so important to allow them to obey what the Lord has426512_10151761575675130_1358223377_n called them to do as believers!  They usually come back that evening and give a report to how their practice went – this is a fun time of encouragement and tangible way to pray.
  • Chat and rest with everybody…
  • Eat dinner around 8 or 9 (or later!)…and then go to bed and get ready to do it again for 1-2 more days.  Whew!

So, what do you think?  hahaha…interesting, huh?

Life in the FLL: Things we love about ‘ol S. Asia…

Ok, so, in my (Beth) last post, I mentioned that we love certain things about South Asia…now, we’d like to share them with you so you’ll get on a plane and come over ASAP to enjoy with us…ha!  Well, can’t say I didn’t try…

Top Ten List of Awesome things about South Asia:

10. Transportation is pretty easy to get around, but we hope being crammed into a small space w/ others doesn’t bother you. As they say around here – How many people can you fit into a car?  Always one more!
9. The food is pretty good…you know how we roll…momos, tandoori, dal bhat & subji, naan, coke with REAL sugar and milk tea…bring it!
8. Openness…you can talk to pretty much anyone, anytime, about anything…talking about the Gospel isn’t hard, but sometimes falls on deaf ears…
7. The pace of life here is really slow…no one really gets bent out of shape if you’re late.  Just remember this phrase, “Please don’t mind.” and you’ll be golden…
6. Things are pretty easily found in the local market…with that being said, you have to go to the market and play a “scavenger hunt” to find things…so, I guess that could be good or bad. ha!
5. That at the movie theater, you buy a seat…not just a ticket where they might oversell tickets and you get stuck sitting on the floor…but an actual seat (i.e.  K10-K11) and sometimes that seat is a huge, sweet recliner…for $10 total you can get 2 tickets, popcorn and 2 cokes!  Take that couponing!
4.Things here are pretty inexpensive…except the Domino’s, KFC, Baskin Robbins and Subway…but we’ll take those any day.
3.Hindi Movies & their songs!  Some of our newer favs…Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Jab We Met, Kahaani, Don 1 & 2, and we recently saw Talaash – sooo good.  See here for our last post about our love for Bollywood movies…
2.Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol

And…

1.Modesty in most of the dress here!  (Saris and Salwar Kameezes are beautiful and very modest)

Oy Vey! Namaste!

Well, Kathmandu sure has changed since we’ve last been here (but Mt. Everest in the picture to the left hasn’t!).  But we had a blast with our peeps here and especially with Chuck and Abigail.  It’s been adventurous for sure!   Crazy traffic (even worse than FLL), the same meal for 3 days for lunch and dinner, and wearing “funny clothes” that Abigail swears she’ll wear everyday in the US.  HA!  We were greeted by them w/ a 70lb suitcase full of American goodies!  Thank you all who contributed!! (The Hendersons, The Chungs, Abbie R, Scott & Marcie, Abbie and Mrs. Ronna and anyone else I forgot!)

We went to a village and did a training there (yes, with the girls) and it was a good time to see what

Will will be doing in the future once we are finished w/ full time language learning.  I hope to be able to go back w/ him either by myself or w/ the girls (when they’re a little older!).  The receptivity of the folks that attended was really encouraging and humbling.

When we got back to the city, we visited w/ friends, ate some

good food, encouraged one another, and played a little too!  They have a McDonald’s play place-ish place here and it was a BLAST for the girls!  We met a new American friend here and played in the ball pit, rode the train, swung, and ran around with her.  It was a nice break for the girls to get out and of course it ended w/ ice cream 🙂

During our time in the ‘Du, we were able to see an old friend.  I (Beth) was actually with her in KTM in ’05, and she was also in S. Asia when Will J was here too.  They are about to move and we wanted to visit w/ her, her husband and her little boy.  The girls LOVED playing with him (and his cool toys).  Haha!

There are some cool shops there and there just wasn’t enough time to go in them all.  I will be looking for some wall tapestries the next time when we go back.  You know how I feel about white walls!!  I was able to do the Dew in Kathmandu and it was so liberating.  HA!  We had a great trip, but we’re glad to be back in ‘ol FLL!

Unto us, it has been appointed

Well, it’s now official (or was 2 weeks ago), we were appointed with our new agency to go and serve in Funny Lady Land (FLL).  Beth and I went to Orlando with others from our company for 4 days of meetings and meals.  It all concluded with a wonderful appointment service that we both will remember forever.  We were very blessed to have 5 families from our church in Louisville and my parents drive down to attend this special night with us.

We then took a few extra days to hang out in Orlando and go to Disney World!  Beth and I have been together for over 6 years and this was our 3rd trip to the Magic Kingdom.  It was also Mahaney’s first trip!  By the time all arrived, we had a group of 20 trotting around, getting pictures, and riding the rides.  Open to close for the Jackson fam!  Here’s a few pics of all of us gathered around Mickey and Minnie.

Life’s been crazy over this past month.  We will be posting many short updates over the next few days to get caught up!

Closing Time

One of my favorite lyrics from this song is “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”  (If you’re trying to remember the tune, click here).  Yesterday, Beth and I closed on our house.  What?  Closing on house?  Are you moving?  Yes and Yes.  About 4 years ago, seminary was getting close to ending and we really started the process of discerning what was next.  Through this process, God showed us that the call to missions was one that both of us had strong leaning towards.  So in January 2009, we sent our initial application to our mission agency.  Little did we know that the economy would collapse and the agency would go through a sending freeze AND a reorganization causing us to have to sit and wait, and wait, and wait.

So 3 consultants and 2 kids later, the time has come.  Last week, Beth and I (and the girls) were recommended for appointment!  We will head to Orlando in September to meet with the trustees of the mission agency.  Pending final approval from the entire trustee board, we will be leaving for South Asia in January!  South Asia?!?  That’s far away?  Where are you going?  I’m glad you asked.  While we aren’t saying exactly where we are going (at least not on the blog), I have decided to call the place “Funny Lady Land”.  What are you going to do?  Well, we will be working with the local church planters and pastors, helping train them on how to plant churches and disciple their believers.

Over the next few months, we will be sojourners in the States going to visit family, some vacation, and 2 months of training in Virginia.  We promise to try to be more diligent in updating the blog with stories of our journey as we work towards moving to “Funny Lady Land.”

Busy bees…

Ok, so, since my (Beth) birthday, we’ve been on the move!  We’ve been to Disney World and the 2010 Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, FL, celebrated Daddy’s Day and back to my ‘ol college roots, Florence, SC for a dear friend’s wedding.   Maddie’s continuing to grow and learn more signs (yes, we’re teaching her sign language so there’s more signing and less whining) and words (she’s got momma, dadda, ball ball, dog dog, bubble, la la for banana so far).  Mahaney is growing too!  I can feel her kicking away all throughout the day and I’m actually starting to show (now that I’m 24 weeks pregnant!).  The summer is half way over and I cannot believe that school will start in the 2nd week of August.  Man. 

To be perfectly honest, at first, I was kind of nervous about being home with Boo all day everyday after being home only part time, but I really do love it.  We’ve been too busy for me to be bored or to be puzzled on what to do with a 16 mo old.  Ha!  Maddie’s discovered bubbles, coloring with crayons, reading books, where her tummy and facial features are, and funny faces with Daddy.  I have another confession, I ALWAYS said that I would never take my kids under the age of 7 to the Magic Kingdom (the happiest place on earth and possibly, my favorite place on earth).  But I have been proven wrong yet again.  It was great!  We got there a little after it opened and she walked around, soaked all of the sites in, rode fun rides, took 2 short naps on the stroller….we had a blast!  I would totally take her and Mahaney when they’re younger b/c they can’t point and say they want everything in the stores we go in to cool off.  Ha!  Anyone up for going in Jan or Feb?  hahaha….

And we’re back!

Whoa…we didn’t realize that it had almost been a month since we last posted…a lot has been happening!  Maddie turned one (you heard from the post below this one), we prepared for our trip to India (pictures below), March Madness ended up with Duke winning the championship (I’m sure there will be a post about this by WillJ soon), and Maddie got her first tooth (finally!).
During our visit to India, we got to visit with the family that we will possibly be working with…in case you didn’t know, we are in the application process to serve as “teachers” over in India, beginning in summer 2011…so, it was a wonderful trip full of insight to how life will look for the Jackson 4 (yup!  I said 4 – we’re due w/ boo#2 on Oct. 25).  Check out the Flikr page for more pics from Maddie’s bday and India.

A Weekend w/ the Alexanders and C.J. Mahaney

Well, ok, we really didn’t spend the weekend w/ C. J.  However, we did hear him preach at Cornerstone Community Church in Knoxville with our friends the Alexanders.  Walt is a pastor there, and Beth has been friends w/ his wife Kim since they were back in Jr. High.  Waaaaayyyy back in the mid-90’s.  They were wonderful host treating us well over the weekend.  It was a pleasure to spend time with them chatting, playing cards, and talking about spiritual matters.  Walt just graduated from the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College so we had a good time comparing notes between there and Southern.

On Sunday, C.J. was preaching at their church and it was a blessing for us to hear him.  You can download his message at their website, and I recommend that you do.  Here are a few of the quotes that I wrote down from his sermon on Acts 4:32 – 6:7:

  • “Any offense to God’s swift judgment shows our ignorance of His holiness and our sin”
  • Speaking about Ananias and Sapphira, “Ask not ‘why they died’ but ‘why are we still alive?'”
  • “The persecution only highlighted [the apostles] joy.  This is an unstoppable gospel”
  • “God’s favor results in growth which results in change.  Changes were required; sacrifice was necessary.”
  • “Turn your attention away from exclusively your heart and toward the hearts of others”

Thanks Walt and Kim for a great weekend!!

A Tale of Two Christmases

We’ve been back about a week from Nepal and I have been reflecting on the trip.  One of the first things that struck me was Christmas Day.

You see, until just a few years ago, Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom; there was no celebration of Christmas.  But for 2008, the new interim government declared Christmas an official holiday.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Everywhere we went, all the people were wishing us a Merry Christmas (only many spelled it “marry” but oh well).  However, the deeper you looked, you realized that they had no idea what was going on.  While my Nepali wasn’t great, I heard on the radio the DJ’s explaining what Christmas is.  And with the huge tourism industry in Nepal, they and the local newspapers would give details of what goes on in the different countries of the world.  When it came to the USA, the emphasis was more on Santa Claus than Christ.  All around the city you would see trees decorated and pictures of Santa Claus (or Saint Nick if you wish).

On Christmas day, I and the team were heading from our hotel to spend the afternoon with some of the missionaries their in town.  We had a great day of eating a big meal, talking, laughing, and sharing Christmas stories.  As we were leaving, our taxi driver told me that around our hotel, they were getting ready to have a big Christmas program.  (Now, “program” is the English translation and can mean anything from an official ceremony to a party.)  I thought it was interesting that the Christmas was getting its own program.  In my Western, Judeo-Christian mindset, I envisioned one thing.  When we returned that evening, we found something completely different. . . The Christmas program was actually a massive street dance party thrown by a local beer company.  I am not great at estimating, but I would bet there were about 3-5,000 people dancing and grinding and celebrating Christmas (many drunk beyond belief) in the middle of the street.  Our taxi let us out right by the stage and we then had to push our way through the masses to get to the street our hotel is on.  Luckily, being 6’5″ helps in this situation, but the sadness till weighs on my heart.  This country that has been locked in Hinduism for its entire existance is finally “free” to celebrate Christmas and here are 5,000 of the next generation in a giant street rave. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of town earlier in the day, one local church publicized that they were having a Christmas fellowship.  They were expecting about 200 people to show up and their last count had over 400 people!  So here in Nepal, the same name was given to 2 Christmas celebrations, yet they could not have been more different.  I remember laying in bed that night just burdened for this younger generation who could care less about Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism.  They seem to only be concerned about their own image, wants, and desires.  One of the pastors that we met even called this age group agnostics.  The Devil doesn’t let go of them easily; he just moves them from one lost cause to another, from worship of false gods to worship of themself as god, from tradition to rebellion.  Lord, may You draw these people to Yourself.

May the numbers continue to increase in the church outreach and decrease in the street raves.