Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Continuing the Visa Saga....

Hey All--

So, when the visa didn't show up before I left to help with a weekend women's retreat down near the cities, I found a way to be in touch with the consulate where I sent my app in. They were able to inform me that my paperwork is STILL IN SWEDEN! (They send it over there for the immigration board to make a decision on whether or not I can be granted a visa, and then they send the decision back to the consulate here, they put a visa in the passport, then send it on to me)...

They gave me a phone number to the information centre in Sweden, which I got up very early on two different mornings to call and wait on hold for. The second time I got through and was promptly given a phone number of the office handling my case. But the phone number didn't work!!! I was calling from my tracphone and it's like it wouldn't recognize the number...

So, last night I called Mike and Brona (the founders of and my hosts at Rescue Mission Ministries in Goteborg) and explained and now Mike is on the case! He'll be calling the Immigration Board and seeing what can be done.

I have to fly out of MSP by the 8th in order to make it there by the 9th when Caleb's fiance, Danielle, will be flying in regardless of whether I'm there or not!!! So, that's only a week for bureaucracy to take some action....

What I'm hoping is that I'll just be able to go over now on my passport (Americans can stay for up to 3 months as tourists) and they can finish the visa decision process and then just put the visa directly into my passport once I'm already over there! Because by the tiem they reach the decision, send it back to New York, New York gets around to putting it in my passport, then sending it on to me in MN.... that will take more than a week!

Please will you join me in praying for swift decisions, and helpful case workers!? Please pray that I will be able to book my tickets and make it back in time for Danielle to fly in from England. She booked her tickets to spend Easter weekend with me months ago in faith that the visa would come through in 6-8 weeks like they said....

Thank you for being concerned and following this! Visas are such a pain. I'm pretty much all packed up, I've already told work I was leaving (so being back this week is just a little perk), and after this weekend of ministry at the women's retreat I feel more ready than ever to get back to ministry in Europe!

Please join me in praying for a bureaucratic miracle this week!


Thursday, 26 March 2009

Visa Update

So, still no visa today-- as I head off to the cities to take part in and share at a women's retreat there, expecting to fly out from the cities straightaway after...

So I got a hold of someone at the Swedish consulate in New York (praise the Lord!!) and discovered the reason why it hasn't arrived.... my case is still in Sweden at the minute!! A decision has not even been sent back to the NY consulate yet, so my passport isn't even in the mail!

Somehow, I doubt I'll be there by Easter... Thankfully my friends will take Danielle in whether or not I'm there to show her around.... But I so want to be...

So, he gave me a number if the information center in Stockholm but with the time difference I can't call til very early morning tomorrow and even then I wonder if they'll have any way of telling me how much time I can expect to wait... If it's too much longer, I must try to get them to change the start date to after the weddings in August so my year-long visa will last from Aug '09 to Aug '10 instead of April '09 to April '10...

Oh Lord, I just need to know where to make plans for. Whatever way, I'll accept it as Your will. But I feel so... frustratingly suspended this way... Show me, Lord. And may I desire what You desire above anything else.

Thank you all for your prayers....

Monday, 23 March 2009

You Are Loved

Hey All--

So, some good news to break up all the bad or no news lately!!!

I have made a cd to fundraise with :)

I don't know how it happened, really! I don't know how the songs happened, or why ya'll like to listen to them (but I'm glad!), or how He brought a lovely little lady called Fran into my life who was just such a joy to work with as she recorded my 6 songs to cd. I know this has to be God because these are not doors I have ever knocked on or pushed against myself. Just ones He's flown open in front of me and asked me to walk through...

So, my little cd-- performed by a girl who can't play an instrument or read a note, playing on an old antique piano in her parents' dining room, singing words laid on her heart by the Lover of Souls-- is for sale to support my work with Rescue Mission Ministries in Goteborg, Sweden for $5.00 or a donation of your choice and capability.

(Abby playing the lovely old piano when she was 1 year old :))

The track listings on the cd entitled 'You Are Loved' are:
1.) Awaken the Dawn-- based on Lam. 3:22-26, Ps. 56:8, and Ps. 61:4
2.) You Are Loved-- based on Rom. 8:35-39
3.) Speak to Me (I am Yours)-- based on Zeph 3:17
4.) You Are His (Song of Songs 4:7)-- based on Eph. 1:4-6, Isa. 41:9b, Isa. 43:1b, Isa. 49:15b-16a, Song of Songs 4:7
5.) Compelled (Missionary Song)-- based on 2 Cor. 5:14-15, Rom 10:13-15
6.) You Will Always Be Mine-- based on Isa 43:1-3 & 10-13

These songs came out of a frustrating season of waiting on Him. A time of deep uncertainties and many "what ifs." But every time I turn fear-filled eyes on Him and ask, "But, Lord, what if...?", He answers, "If ________, then you are still Mine. I am still your God." And so these songs were born from fingertips treading softly over piano keys foreign to my touch, but known to His, as He spoke hope and healing into my heart through His Word. I desire for them to speak the same hope and healing to yours.

Please get in touch with me to let me know if you'd like one (or more!). I will happily send them to you. And thank you in advance for your interest and your care and your patience and graciousness to take what little I have and encourage me to keep on with it!

(Get in touch by email with your address if you'd like one sent, and feel free to pay by check or via paypal: His_poiema@yahoo.com)

Friday, 20 March 2009

Another Road Bump

Hey All--

A few pleas for prayer:

1.) NO SIGN OF THE VISA yet! Will you please pray with me that it arrives soon (6 to 8 weeks of processing from the day the consulate received my passport and application was the 9th to the 25th of March) and that it arrives approved!

2.) If it doesn't arrive approved, please pray that the Lord makes it very clear what He'd like me to do about that. I assume then that I would stay in Park Rapids til the weddings I'm meant to be a part of in August. But then would I reapply for Sweden and work with Rescue Mission? Or would I take another route and look to another area of ministry in Europe?

3.) URGENT! I've just discovered I was misinformed by the accountant back when I first started checking into things regarding support and taxes! I am trying not to panic, as God saw this as much as He's seen every other step in this crazy life He's called me to. But it means I only have a few days to get things sorted before leaving town-- if my visa comes back approved by the 25th! I have to find a way to have my support given to me via a non-profit organization in the states so that the gifts will be tax-deductible for the American supporters. I'm checking with my home church, which would be ideal. If the gifts could be made out to the church and delegated to me, then I could send out the tax-deductible receipts from the church at the end of the year. Otherwise, we have to try to find a way to have all my support be given straight to Rescue Mission Ministries in Sweden, but it's so complicated to get American money converted to Swedish money and there are all kinds of fees attached which would probably use up half the support each month anyway, and it's all just such a hassle!!! PLEASE PRAY that I will be able to have this set-up through an American institution-- preferrably my home church! And it has to be sorted out SOON!!!

He is Lord. He knows, He sees, He has it all in hand. Thank you for committing it all to Him along with me over and over and over again! What would I do without you??


p.s. I'll have news on my CD fundraiser soon!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

MoSaIc CrEaTiOnS!!!!

Hey All,

[Ali is pictured here (in the red) making chocolate balls with our friend Adelina :)]

I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine. Ali is a dear friend in ministry whom I met at Redcliffe and God has taken her on quite a journey lately culminating in a move into producing art! I've had the privilege of watching her work in the process-- every time I'd go around to her house my last year in England, she'd have a new piece in the process. It was fascinating and inspiring to see! She is selling her work as prints, notecards and postcards-- which is SUCH a fab idea :) Maybe you'd like to check them out and hang a new piece of art in your home or restock your stationary drawer in a way that supports God's ministry in the world?? Her pieces are almost as powerful as her story... You will be blessed by your contact with this amazing woman of God.

Check it out at: http://www.mosaicreations.co.uk/

Let her know that I sent you :)


p.s. STILL awaiting the visa... time is short now and all of life is put on hold. Please pray for a speedy delivery of an APPROVED residency permit!!!!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Odds and Ends

Hey All,

I just want to keep everyone updated on a few things.

1.) My freelance writing career is FINALLY off the ground! A piece has been accepted by an Indiana-based publication called Evangel for the 2010 line-up! I wish there were adequate words to say how excited I am. This is a dream come true, even if it's not a great piece in my opinion or a big time publication. I am still officially a freelance writer, serving Him in writing!!! And I couldn't be more thrilled, nor impressed with the ease of the editing process! PRAISE THE DREAM-GIVER AND GRANTER!

2.) I am meeting with a local musician tomorrow to properly record my original songs to sell as a fundraising tool for my ministry!!! This is not so much a dream come true, as a surprise side-effect of pursuing the Biggest Dreamer of All :) I'm nervous and very very very aware of my non-skills. But I'll follow Him in this til He puts a stop to it, trusting that where I am weak, His strength is made perfect. I'm so excited to be able to share a bit of my passion and His heart in writing and singing these songs, despite the stark nature of them. Maybe someday some real musicians will take them on :)

3.) My visa application is supposed to return to me either accepted or rejected between the 9th and 25th of this month!!! Which makes for a pretty intensified waiting time... If all goes well, I will be back in Goteborg at the beginning of April-- which will be perfect timing since my future-sis-in-law Danie has ALREADY booked her tickets to come spend her Easter Break with me in Sweden (she'll be on a semester abroad in England). Faith, faith, faith. It is such a harder thing to practice than it seems...

4.) I am very actively working on building up my mission support team now. I've read all the books, done the workbooks, talked to other missionaries a bit further down the road than I am, and written and organized all my material. I have so far only officially approached ONE couple that I felt strongly about asking... But I'm praying for the courage to approach many more of you and explain what He's doing here and ask if you'd like to be a part of it! So, if I don't contact you somehow in the next few weeks and you wish I had, please let me know!! I'm praying for you... So far He has sent along 3 supporters I would have never expected who came to ME and said they'd been praying about being a part of my team-- just as I've been praying these months that He would do :) So, He's always sending just enough encouragement to keep me on this road as I need it.... Such a good God...

Watch this space!!!! He is such a ceaseless adventure-- and He is yours. And mine! How can this be?!


Tuesday, 3 March 2009


I can't help but burst out and share!

I was having such an awful night. Again. Worried and feeling lost and alone and doubting everything. All it takes is a conversation with someone and I'm just tossed on the sea of confusion. Because it's all so hard, it's so easy to feel as if I've gone all wrong (like they suggest) and shouldn't be living sold out completely to God afterall...

And then, sheer craziness, a lovely lady I don't even know decided to work with me on recording my songs to cd and she will be here on Thursday morning for our first session!!! I am recording a cd of original songs. WHAT?!

THEN-- I checked my writing email account, which I don't do very often because it's usually empty, and I had an email from an editor interested in a piece I'd written! She's edited it and asked me to make the suggested changes and wants it back by Wednesday! WHAT?!

And it was like God is just saying, "Look up, baby girl. I'm bigger than you let Me be. See these dreams you've had and some you never dared to dream? I shaped them into you. They began in Me and they will end in Me. Press in, press in, and know that when all is said and done, I am all you need."

(Praise You, Abba God!)
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