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Dana on our trip

Our 2012 ministry among Afghans refugees

When I first heard my parents talk about going to Europe, I really didn’t want to go. But, once we were there, particularly in Greece, I didn’t want to come back. I had such a great time with all the Afghans and the interns that I met.

The first day there I went out with some interns to meet Afghans ad share about Jesus; after that I was excited to go out with them every day. I really enjoyed getting to know them, learning about why they were here, and learning from them how to share my testimony. They inspired and encouraged me to come closer to God and pray a lot more.

It was fun to get to know some Afghans and learn about them and how they live. In the two weeks we were there I met a lot of them and really enjoyed their openness to talk to anyone that comes up to them. I was able to help serve Afghans tea at a local ministry and it was so interesting to see how they interacted with each other and how happy they were to get tea.

One of the nights, I met a 13 year old Afghan girl named Behishta, she could speak English quite well. Her and her family had been in Greece for about a month when I met her, they were on their way to Germany. I have stayed in touch with her by email and she and her family are now in Germany. They have been given a place to live, but they are still there illegally, so waiting to find out if they can stay there or not.

I am glad I had the opportunity to go because I loved meeting new people. I learned how privileged I am to live in the USA and how difficult life is for people in other countries. I hope I have more opportunities to meet, help and share about Jesus with people around the world.

September 17th, 2012

Ten years ago, God provided a reliable van for our family in a wonderful way.

Through prayer and counsel we determined back then that a minivan was the most fitting vehicle for our growing family.
We researched the reliability and resale values of various models and listed exactly the features we were looking for.
And through a combination of savings and donations we determined that we could spend $13,000 on a van.

After some weeks of searching, Jackie told the Lord one morning how tired she was of shopping for a car and asked if He would just lead us to the right van that day. Within the hour, one of the dealers we had contacted asked us to come see a vehicle he thought we might be interested in. We went down to see it, but it didn’t appear to us to be the van God had for us.

Then across the street, we noticed a two year old Nissan Quest with 40,000 miles on Jeep dealer’s lot. We took the Quest for a test drive and it had everything we were looking for. But it was listed at $18,000 and the dealer wasn’t about to knock $5,000 off the price. And we didn’t feel led to go into debt for a car.

However as we tried repeatedly to excuse ourselves, the dealer kept coming down on his price until he finally let us have the van for what we had felt led to spend!

With regular maintenance and normal repairs, this van served us well through a number of cross-country trips as we added 180,000 miles to it over the past ten years. Then two weeks ago the transmission went out (as described below), launching us on a new round of prayer, research and seeking counsel.

Through this round of car searching we have already received four great blessings:

  • Contact with the leader of a local church-base ministry to help people with their car needs.
  • Rediscovery of MATS – Missionary Automotive & Transportation Service.
  • A donated 1994 Volvo station wagon suitable for Joelle’s new transportation needs.
  • And an unexpected large gift toward what we are hoping to be able to spend on a van!

God has certainly proven faithful as we have put our faith in Him and followed His leading!
We expect Him to provide just as faithfully now, whether through a similar deal or something totally unexpected.

At present, it appears to us that the best value for our needs will be a 2010 or 2011 Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey with about 40,000 miles on it.

We invite you to pray about helping us with this purchase in these ways:

  1. Pray for God’s guidance and provision for us as we acquire our next family vehicle.
  2. If you know someone preparing to buy new who might like to sell us their used van for cash rather than trade it in, put us in touch with them.
  3. And ask God if He would have you give a tax-deductible monetary gift toward our purchase, using any of the avenues listed at the right.

Thank you!


September 5th, 2012

Monday morning our van’s transmission failed at the end of three movies at the Whidbey Island drive-in.

It was a long night.

Even though the maintenance is all up to date, at 220,000 miles we question the wisdom of investing another $2,500 to $3,000 in a van we no longer have confidence in for interstate travel.

Do you know of anyone near Mount Vernon, WA with good use for the old van as is?

We have been on the lookout for a newer van for more than a year, but now with Joelle on the verge of driving to college every day, we need a second car in the family sooner rather than later.

The funds we had been setting aside for a replacement van largely went to self-funding our ministry this summer. So we spent Tuesday looking at vans we can’t yet afford, and praying for God’s guidance and provision.

As an interim measure we are now considering a low cost older sedan which our girls could eventually take over.
We would want something inexpensive and reliable for local travel.
This could carry us until we can afford a van suitable for longer road trips.

So here are the range of options we have thought of within our means:

  •    $500 to check whether a simple outer part has failed.
  • $1,000 to fix just an outer part if that might get it going.
  • $2,500 to $3,000 for a full transmission rebuild with a 24,000 mile warranty.
  • $2–3,000 for a used sedan which could be shared with our daughters as they are starting to drive.
  • $5,000 for a 2002 Toyota Prius with 84,000 miles.

All of these only provide temporary patches against our longer-term need for something suitable for long, cross-country drives.

Tuesday and Wednesday we also looked at a variety of other options, all outside our immediate resources:

  • $14,000 at a Honda dealership for a nicely kept, higher end 2005 Toyota Sienna with 107,000 miles.
  • $25,000 for a new low-end Dodge Caravan.
  • $30,000 through Costco for a new low-end Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna.

We welcome your prayers, advice and leads.


Belated thanks to those who prayed and gave for our time in Greece!

Just in the last few days I have received a great report of continuing impact from our time among Afghan refugees in Europe. Unfortunately I can’t share details because of the security issues.

Just know that God is multiplying disciples in new ways there, both among the Afghans and Europeans we worked with.

Thanks again for your prayers!

Keep praying for this troubled land, and for the upcoming Nov/Dec issue of Mission Frontiers which will draw attention to the tremendous opportunities among the immigrants that surround most of us.

It is truly an exciting time to be watching and participating in God’s work among the nations!

Our whole family will be in Europe from June 8 to July 13, primarily to work among refugees in one gateway city.

Please join us in three prayer focuses:

  • Impact among Refugees and Immigrants
  • Strategic Insights to be Gained
  • Lasting Impact for our Children

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Praying HandsAs of May 20th, with less than three weeks until our departure, here our top prayer concerns as we head to Europe for ministry among Afghan and other refugees:

We’ll update these requests as things develop.

Progress thermometerAs of May 25th, with two weeks until our departure, we have 17% of the funding for this trip in hand and a clear sense of leading to press ahead.

Advice RequestThis will be our first time in Europe.

Along with your prayers, we welcome your tips and suggestions.

One friend directed us to Rick Steves’ “Europe through the Back Door”, which answered a lot of our questions. But perhaps you have a few more tips for us, especially regarding what our kids might find most meaningful and how to make use of local transportation?

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Joelle & Dana at a Speech and Debate Competition

Joelle & Dana at a Speech and Debate Competition

While there are important strategic dimensions to this trip, we are equally interested in maximizing the benefit to our two daughters.

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