But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
Yesterday Tim and I got talking about how good it is to have something to fight for! From the beginning of our lives, we both learned how to fight quickly so we just do not know life without a fight. And now that life is good for both of us, we see ourselves fighting again, in lots of different ways, for lots of different things. And it wasn’t till yesterday that we stood still and realized the blessing of a good fight. We just can’t imagine living life without having something to fight for.
The blessing is that the fight is hard, and we can’t fight alone. We are required to spend time with God daily to get our focus, our strength, wisdom, to get care for our heart. And that is such an amazing thing. Any fight is hard, and painful, and a great source of stress. It takes energy and to sit in my car last night being filled with God’s presence is such an amazing thing. I just can describe it, you have to live it to understand. And all I could do was praise over and over again: God, thank you for being faithful to my heart!
I write this post in honor of my friend Vicky , who fights a good fight. Her fight, like so many, is pretty unfair, yet, she won’t tell you that. Vicky only speaks of how good God is in the fight!!
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There are things in life I want. When when I say things, I mean THINGS. Like a coffee at Starbucks, not to mention that awesome new mug they now sell. Like a bike. A better tennis racket. A coffee maker. That awesome Nikon 85mm 1.4 lens. Cowboy boots. Bird feeders for the yard. A big dining room table and chairs to go with it. I can go on and on.
But we’re in the mission field… and we so clearly see what we have, and others don’t. We see the things we want, and we see how mothers can’t feed their families, we see children running around naked because there are no clothes, we see men working their land with a spoon, a spoon people?!
As of now, us doing non profit work brings with it financial limitations for ourselves. And yet Tim and I feel we are still able to buy things when we want it. And we want to be more conscious. More conscious of our spending, more conscious of our wants, more conscious of what others do not have, more conscious how we can help out in that, and we certainly want the things we buy to be a very conscious choice.
And so, we started our ‘Project Can’.
Ever since I got to the Sates, I have really missed having a bike. I miss being able to jump on my bike for a errand. I would so love for us to ride bikes together, for fun and as a way of transportation (I know, not very American like). It was time to make it happen. It was time to start making choices. If we want one thing in life, we may have to pass on the other. And that is what we did. We decided to turn my Dutch can, given to me by my grandmother, into our ‘Bike fund’. Every time we wanted to do something like go to a Union game, or get a Starbucks for it was convenient, or a dinner out for that matter but we decided not to do it, the money we would have spend would go into our ‘bike fund’. It was very interesting how many things we could pass on for something better, for a bigger purpose. We also started to sell stuff we had around the house but could do without. I sold clothes. And soon enough we had the money to buy our first bike. I had the first pick. I picked a bike that is similar to the bikes we ride in Holland, and I am trying to pimp it up with Dutch things like a bag and bell (Can someone tell me why bikes in the States do not come with a bell? Instead of a bell people yell :” On your left, on your left”. It really does not make sense to me.) In any case, having this bike has such worth to me for we had to save for it, we had to leave other things out for it. We are on to saving for bike number two…
I found Sarah’s blog today. Her family is in a 3 month trial to be intentional about their spendings, all for the goal to give away. They feel blessed with what they have, they longed to give away but felt they could give away if they would just have a little more first. Well the little more came, and yet their spendings stayed within the family. Until Sarah awaked. They are blessed with financial stability, they want to bless others with what they have been given. Her two posts about this are awesome. It didn’t just change her way of thinking, but even her little girls are making conscious choices. If you feel God blessed you with much, and you want to share with those who have little, certainly go over to read her post! It really is encouraging!
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Tim and I just came back from a VERY good month abroad.
We both feel that this might have been the best month of our marriage so far. We enjoyed being together 24/7, we enjoyed working together, we enjoyed traveling and adventure, and we certainly enjoyed our overdue trip for Tim’s non-profit. I think the best part was working together. I love working with Tim on his work and he certainly is very talented when it comes to my work. I love how it overlaps and how we do not have separate lives. I realize that this is a blessing from God.
When Tim started to talk about going to Burkina, he mentioned me coming along. My mind quickly went to finances. We could not afford me coming along. I couldn’t just tack along for gigs and giggles, there had to be a significant reason – a job for me to do. Tim didn’t share my opinion, he felt strongly about me coming along. He said: “You are my wife, it’s time you start seeing what I, what we, do. You are part of this, you need to come.” One thing I find important in our marriage is that I know when to follow Tim, this was one of those times. I trusted he had wisdom I didn’t have and we booked tickets for the both of us.
We were really excited and at the same time we were a bit nervous because we just didn’t know what to expect doing this as a married couple. We tried to talk about expectations beforehand but one can just not prepare something that is unfamiliar territory. Well, any ‘worries’ we had were gone quickly once in Burkina because we turned out to be quite the team!
It was amazing seeing Tim at work and juggle the sum of activities. He was translator to many, often at the same time 😉 .
He led different organizations, explaining constantly about Burkina’s situation. He held meetings every day trying to connect organizations and their work. He built strong relationships with the Burkinabé. And of course there was me, his wife… he wanted to make sure I was doing well and at the same time I demanded a lot since I was filming. Tim juggled all those responsibilities and everyone’s different needs, without any sign of stress. He was like a fish in the water and, seeing that, I came to a stronger conviction that this is what Tim needs to do. As we visited his cousin, as we even got to see his brother Pete in Burkina, I also realized how for generations, this is what the Brokopp – Arnold clan does. This non profit work, to contribute to making the world a better place, is Tim’s DNA!
I had a great time working in Burkina. At some point I had to laugh… often people have mentioned how I would be a great asset to Tim’s ministry with my filming. I always laughed it off because I would not see myself do that. And here i was filming and photographing. Like God would ever let my years of experience in TV go to waste, why on earth would I think that?! So I was pleasantly surprised by what I was doing in Burkina. And here too, Tim and I turned out to be quite the team. Tim ended up doing most of the interviews as I filmed and he was so very good at it. At the end of the two weeks we had both grown a ton in this area. In the coming months it is my turn to juggle responsibilities and commitment and over time I will be excited to launch our Amoveo video.
My heart status
Going back to Tim’s wisdom about me coming along. Yes, I found myself a job while in Burkina but I am convinced that even if I did nothing… I needed to be there.
Someone pointed out to me that we sacrifice by doing what we are doing. Missionaries sacrifice money and the ability to buy what you want when you want it, or more so, to buy what you need. It’s a sacrifice we both bring and this friend pointed out it is good for me to see why we sacrifice. Looking back I couldn’t agree more. If I am so sure this is what Tim needs to be doing, than this ‘sacrifice’ comes with it. And is it really sacrifice? I feel God started a new process in my heart while in Burkina. Because aren’t we all called to a life of sacrifice?
With Tim, I started to see that this is a lifestyle, our lifestyle. We want to live a life of sacrifice to God. God made me into who i am, He created me with purpose, and I want to give to Him who I am and what He has given me. None of it belongs to me and it is my desire to look around me and sacrifice. In my daily living, with the people around me, if I make money I know it should go towards people, not towards things. Let’s just say that I came on board with Tim’s ministry like never before. I don’t have a picture yet of what that means concretely but I know God will show the way.
Some of Amoveo’s concrete results of this past month:
1. Amoveo received it’s first grant. A solar company donated a $ 100,000 solar system and the financing to get it to Burkina.
2. Money came in to buy more land for the agriculture center.
3. The first stone for this agriculture center was laid. What perfect timing since I got to film it.
4. We visited a beautiful but secluded village. Once a village of thousands, it is now home to only 200 people. People are leaving because there is no water, leaving behind the little they have to start all over again. Pretty disastrous. After hearing this story, one of our partner organizations has agreed to finance a well in this village.
5. Tim connected with many different organizations and is working hard for all of them to see how important it is to address of of the needs in a region simultaneously. So far we have water, schooling and food sustainability on board in regions in Burkina. Health is being worked on. It’s time for more project money to come in so we can go full force.
We give all glory to God for all this. We ourselves an do nothing, we merely give back to God who we are and what He has given us.
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