Monday, May 30, 2011

Mrs. Barbie Smith....Wife of the Week


Husband’s Position- Pastor of Tri-City Baptist Church in Vestal, NY
How long have you been married?  8 years on the 14th!
How many children do you have? How old are they? 3 children: Selah-5, Sam-2, Elliana-1 and one to come in 2 weeks!!

1. Where/How did you meet your husband? I met Matt when I was 11 years old when we moved to Syracuse Ny and became members of the church his dad pastored....for me it was love at first sight...but for him I was just an annoying 11 yr old (he was 14)...we started dating when I was 15 and he was 18.
2. When did you get saved? I was 6 years old
3.  Can you share your testimony? I was saved when I was 6. I sort of strayed a little in Jr High and the beginning of High School, but at 15, when I was in 10th grade, I rededicated my life to the Lord and have not looked back.
4. How long have you been in the ministry? My husband was a Youth Pastor at a church the first year we were married, which was during our last year of Bible College, so it will be 8 years in August
5. How did you know the Lord wanted you in the ministry? Was it hard for you to submit to that or did you know 100% sure right away that this is what God wanted for your life? When I was little, I always wanted to be a missionary. As I became a teen ager, I lost sight of that and wanted to be a dancer or some kind of athlete....I also really wanted to be an undercover cop, lol....When I turned 15, I surrendered my life to the Lord to be in full time service.
6. How old were you when you your husband first held a position of leadership? I was 19 when he became a youth pastor and I was 22 when he became the Pastor of the church we started 
7. And if you were young, did you have a hard time adjusting because of your age? Did you feel “ready” to be in that position? Did you feel you had a harder time being respected or taken seriously because of your age? I did have a hard time, and still do occasionally. I was only 19 when my hubby was the youth pastor, so it was a little weird being only a year older than some of the teens! It didn't help that I looked the same age as them! As far as being a Pastor's wife at 22, I felt very inadequate. I still have moments when I feel like I have nothing to offer because of my age (I just turned 27). I don't have tons of life experience yet, but I have come to realize that it does not matter. God called me to be Matt's wife, and Matt happens to be a Pastor, and He will equip me to be the servant to others that I need to be. When I first became a PW, I felt like I had to have something to say anytime someone sought counsel...In the past 4 1/2 years I have learned that that is not true...Sometimes ladies just want to talk, and all we need to do is listen. I have also learned that I have no wisdom on my own, and the best thing I can do is quote Scripture to someone.......and I love how te Lord always brings the right one to me just when I need it
8. Once you had children did you find you did less in the ministry and was that hard for you? Yes and YES! Right before I had my 3rd baby, I was feeling very down and even a little depressed in my role. I felt like I was missing out on everything that was happening in the church. Before I had kids, and even when I just had 1, I did EVERYTHING with Matt, and I loved being able to be involved in everything! Well, the more kids that came along, the more difficult is was for me to be involved in everything, and I was just so miserable when Matt would go off to a meeting that did not provide nursery, or when I could not go door knocking, or help with things at the church. I just felt really left out. I vented a bit and sougt some counsel from some wonderful PW's and through them and prayer, I understood more that my role is first as a wife and mother and it is ok for things to go on without me there. Now I can finally say that I am ok with being a mommy to my almost 4 babies and am content in the role God has given me. I know as they get older I will able to be more involved in the church, but for now, my main ministry is to my wonderful family and I do my very best to help my husband where he needs me in the church.
9. What are some ways you included and involved your children in the ministry?
a. Baby…lots of visits to the older people...they love babies!
b. Toddler…having them greet people and making sure I teach them to help clean up in the nursery. Also, teaching them to be quiet and respectful while mommy & daddy are talking...easier said than done, of course =)
c.  School age…Selah, my 5 yr old helps a lot by watching my kids in the nursery during the song service when I cannot be in the nursery. She helps clean up and greets people. She also occupies the younger ones if we have to counsel with anyone                                       
10. Do you ever worry that your children will resent the ministry and what are some ways you tried to make it fun for them? We try to teach them that we don’t “have” to go to church but, we “get” to go to church. I try to teach them to be servants and to think about others. Also, not getting upset when they are just not in the mood
11. Are you naturally a submissive person or do you sometimes have a hard time easily following your husband? lol, not at all. I never have a problem following a final decision my husband makes, BUT....for some reason I feel the need to make my opinion very known before that decision is made. I have a hard time just keeping my mouth shut and letting him talk to the Lord about it....I am working on it, though...no, really, I am ;)
12. What do you do to encourage your husband when he is discouraged with the work? I try to give him extra attention. Sounds dumb, but ordering pizza & wings makes him happy, lol, so I'll suggest that on a rough night. If I feel the same way, and am frustrated also, I try to keep my mouth shut because me "venting" along with him just makes it worse...(learned from lots of experience;)
13, What would be the best thing you would tell a mom who is raising her children in the ministry? Put them first before ministries (not before the Lord, but "church things"). Neglecting your children is a sure way to ruin their outlook on the ministry and even on Christianity itself...they are our first ministry
14. How do deal with any criticism toward your husband from others? Not good. This is very hard for me because I know my husband and see all of the work he does and the love and compassion he has for people. He is so genuine and amazing...to see/hear people criticizing him...I could punch them, lol. But so far I have refrained. I really have to pray. However, any time people have come to me directly about my husband, I always make it very clear that I am his wife and I stand behind his decisions 100% and if they have a problem, they need to go to him and not to me. I hate when people try to use me as a "middle-man"...Once they come to me once, it never happens again, lol.
15. How do you deal with personal criticisms? It depends who it comes from. Some people I just ignore and then some I really take to heart. I can deal with personal criticisms way better than I can those about my husband. I don't know why, but I can. I haven't had to deal with too many, but when I do, I try to look at it and see if it is something I really need to change and pray about it. I always want to be teachable and never so dead set in my ways that I miss out on someone trying to help me. 
16. Do you set aside date nights/days with your husband? We go out alone once a month and usually have the kiddos in bed around 8 every night so we can spend the evening together. Laying in bed at night is my favorite time where we just talk for hours about all kinds of things.
17. What is the biggest thing you have learned about being married to a man in the ministry? My first and most important job is to be his wife. I need to make sure his needs are met and make sure I am available to help him where he needs it. I have learned that he is called by God to serve others is a very special way, and I have to be flexible with my schedule to allow him to be at his full potential fot the Lord. I cannot try to squander all of his time, becuase he will not be happy unless he is in God's will, and that means giving his life for others.
18. What are some ways you protect your husband from “those” women in the church? I make sure his physical and emotional needs are met at home. I brag on him to others so he has no need to look anywhere else for love, respect, and attention. I never put him down or criticize anything he does or says in public (still working on the at home part ;) If I see a girl or lady with any "suspicious" (lol) behavior, I go right over there and stand around until she gets the picture. This is very serious to me...I have seen too many ministries ruined by an unsuspecting man. I will not allow that to happen to us. I also pray daily for Matt that the Lord would protect his mind and heart from any temptation...I figure if I wear him out at home he won't have anything left to give to some lady trying to steal him away from me;) He needs to know I think he is the strongest, most amazing man on earth. If he feels that from me, he won't be looking for it from any one else.
19. Do you and your husband have devotion or prayer time together daily? Not like I would like
20. Do you have a hard time sharing your burdens with your husband in fear that it will discourage him? Yes
21. What do you do to encourage yourself in the Lord? Having Scripture memorized has been a big help to me.  Also, I love to sing, and everytime I amd down, the Lord puts a song in my heart for that moment. I sing all day long, and find that it is hard to complain while you are praising Him!
22. What is your favorite Scripture? Isaiah 43:2 is one of my favorites...I have SO many, though!
23. Do you have a favorite song? I have SO many!! "We're It Not For Grace" is near the top...I just love songs about God's grace
24. What is your biggest struggle in the ministry? People...I love people, but they are so frustrating sometimes. It seems like the ones you do the most for are the ones that hurt you the most. But, we are all sinners and none of us are perfect. I think the hardest is trying to teach people to be faithful. So many people are up one day and down the next....It is hard to help people like that.
25. Do you have find that you are not able to have close lady friends in your church? I try to spend individual time with each lady and make them all feel like they can come to me. I do not have any favorites and do not share any personal details about my husband or any one else in the church with them and I think it that is wise.  
26. When you are discouraged, do you feel like you can “show” that feeling to ladies in the church? Or, do you feel like you always have to portray the “perfect” happy Pastor’s wife? I do not show my discouragemnt for the most part. I make sure I am always happy on the outside, even though sometimes I am struggling on the inside. I am not saying that is right, but I strive to be the best example I can be I do share prayer requests and one time I did open my heart at a ladies meeting and lost it emotionally (not yelling, lol...just crying) but that was only once. I felt a little funny after, so I try my best to keep it together
27.Have you ever made a big mistake or offended someone, and if yes, how did you go about restoring that relationship? No main situations come to mind, but I am sure I have. I would absolutely apologize and try to mend the reationship.
28.Do you have other lady ministry friends that you go to for counsel and “venting” purposes? ABSOLUTELY! God has blessed me with some very good ministry friends.
29. Other than praying, what is the most encouraging thing ladies in the church can do for you? Just be faithful!! Offering to watch my kids for a couple hours is always nice, too!
30. What is your favorite way to serve the Lord in your church? I love to sing and play the piano. Ladies meetings are fun, too!
31. Do you currently have special Ladies Bible Study, meetings, or fellowships? We were doing a monthly "LIFT" (ladies in fellowship together), but we have not in a few months...it's been a crazy time for us
32. What ways to you encourage your ladies to get involved in the work of the church? I just ask for help. We are a small church, so help is limited, but they don't know they are needed until you ask.
33. What is the most important thing you pray to pass down to your daughters? To love their husbands & children. to love others and always be compassionate and unselfish
34. In all of your business, how do you fit your personal time in with the Lord each day? This is an area I struggle with. I always plan on having a set time, but with the little ones it is hard. Some days I squeeze it in just to say I have done it, even though that does not please the Lord. Shamefully, there are some days my Bible goes unopened...but I do find that when I rise early before the kids I have my best/most meaningful time with the Lord.
35. Out of all that you have learned being in the full time ministry, what is the most important thing you have learned? I am not any more special than any other woman. Being a Pastor's Wife does not make me any better than a plumber's wife....it just means the Lord allowed me to marry a man who was a Pastor. I am to be a humble servant, not someone walking around expecting those in the church to bow to her because she is married to their Pastor.
36. How would you describe the “perfect” Pastor’s wife? One who puts the Lord first. One who is the best wife she can be to her husband; the best mommy to her children. Someone who is not afraid to admit they do not have all of the answers, but they know the One who does. Someone who is willing to do anything, whether it be giving an elaborate devotion to 1,000 ladies or cleaning the toilets when nobody one knows.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A work in progress....

Do you ever have those days when you just feel overwhelmed!? I am so feeling like that today. I am normally a "go with the flow" person, but this has been a tiring and trying week!
As you know I am blessed with a fantastic husband! He is seriously amazing. He helps me do anything and everything....Well, Tuesday night he was playing basketball and he dislocated his knee and tore a tendon, which means he has not been able to do anything, literally! He cannot help carry the kidsaround  or help get them in the car. He can't walk upstairs to our bedroom so he is currently sleeping on the couch. He has a super hard time going in a store because it is so hard for him to walk, even with the crutches. It takes him 5 minutes to get into the car, and just all of the little things are nearly impossible right now.
I am not trying to complain, even though I am complaining, lol, but just feeling very overwhelmed. Normally, these things wouldn't bother me, but being a 36+ week preggo mommy of 3 (who via the Dr is supposed to be getting lots of rest), I am having a slightly hard time adjusting to this.
I understand that some of you are military wives/mommies or single who do everything by yourself all of the time, but for me, a spoiled wife blessed with a hardworking and helpful husband, I am just worn out! Funny thing?? It has only been 3 days!!
Today we found out he has to have surgery next week, which means 6-8 weeks for recovery and physical therapy. Again, normally, not so bad, but all my mind can picture is me with a needy husband, a newborn, and a 1, 2, and 5 year old...I may possibly just lose all sanity.
Now, I do feel awful for him...this really isn't all about me, and I know that. I don't know how he'll be able to stand there and preach 4 times a week at our church! Plus, he is now the interim Pastor for a church 45 minutes away that we drive to after our own services on Sunday, which we are very excited about! But, I am just not thrilled with the timing of all of this!
It really makes me wonder why God doesn't allow us to schedule our trials? Maybe because I never would, haha. This has just been a crazy year for us. Neither of us have ever had any health problems or any kinds of injury, but all of the sudden we are breaking bones, having crazy pregnancies, and all of this other stuff....does that mean we are getting old? hmmmm....?
Anyways, I'd appreciate some prayers, especially for my husband. This is even harder on him, I think, because he is such a hard worker. He can't sit down for 5 minutes without getting up to do something. He feels so helpless and I hate that he feels that way. He is still amazing in every way to me, though <3
So, anyways, this is the end of depressing post, haha.
I will say one thing, though. I know that the Lord has a plan for our lives, and through these little trials He is sending our way, there is something He is trying to teach us. And obviously, I am not learning quickly enough because He is feeling the need to pile them up at once...saying, "Trust Me." "I will take care of this." "Give me your burdens." and for some reason, I feel the need to say "I do trust you, but I'll handle it my way"....So, tonight is the night I am giving it all back. I don't want to deal with any of it. I have no reason to worry about how I will handle the stresses of being a mommy of 4, because God is the one who gave me the 4! He is surely going to take care of my husband and He will give me the peace I need when I am discouraged that the laundry is piling up or when I just feel like I am not able to work at my full potential of wife & mommy....He knows. and knowing He knows, and that He planned it makes me feel good. It shows me that He isn't quite through working on me. He sees something that he can mold into a finer vessel for Him. I am SO not close to ever being perfect, but I know that if I allow Him to give me trials, and I allow Him to change me through those trials, I will become more and more like Him.
It makes me think of the children's song...
"He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be!
 It took him just a week to make the moon & stars
The sun and the earth and Jupiter & Mars.
How loving and patient He must be!
He's still working on me."
Amen. I am so glad He is!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wife of the Week!! Mrs. Debbie Dunham


Husband’s Position- Pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Vail, AZ
How long have you been married? 30 years
How many children do you have? How old are they? 4 children: Danny-28, Anthony-27, Melody-25 and Harmony-almost 24
1. Where/How did you meet your husband? I met Dan in N.C at a Shoneys Big Boy restaurant. I went to visit my sister and he and a friend came to the restaurant to meet me.
2. When did you get saved? I made assurance of my salvation at the age of 13 in Denver, Co.
3.  Can you share your testimony? I was born and raised in a Baptist home but church was not priority. My parents did make sure though, that as teens, we attended the youth activities. After hearing an Evangelist preach on hell and the unpardonable sin, I decided that I would make sure of my salvation. My mom had always told me that I prayed the sinners prayer but, I wanted it to be something that I could remember.
4. How long have you been in the ministry? All my married life and even before. We worked with a Pastor in PA while finishing our 1st year of Bible college and then we got married that summer and have worked in the ministry since.
5. How did you know the Lord wanted you in the ministry? Was it hard for you to submit to that or did you know 100% sure right away that this is what God wanted for your life?
1 year after I was saved, I surrendered my life to the Lord for whatever He wanted. There was no question in my mind that God wanted me to be a Pastors wife…Never a doubt! I was excited and wouldn’t date any guy if he wasn’t interested in the ministry.
6. How old were you when you your husband first held a position of leadership? I was 19 when he was on staff in PA as youth pastor. I was 25 when he started as Assistant Pastor in Syracuse, NY and then 36 when he surrendered to church planting. I was 43 when we came here to Vail to start this work.
7. And if you were young, did you have a hard time adjusting because of your age? Did you feel “ready” to be in that position? Did you feel you had a harder time being respected or taken seriously because of your age? Not really. Some adults would challenge my husband as to decisions and how he would handle certain situations because they said that we were so young but, the Pastors always supported us or if they felt wrong decisions were made then he would help with that.
8. Once you had children did you find you did less in the ministry and was that hard for you? The hardest part was not being able to attend Pastors meetings especially when they were a long distance away. I loved hearing from seasoned Pastors wives and glean from them. Most of the time we would take our kids with us or we always had it set up where a parent could watch the kids.
9. What are some ways you included and involved your children in the ministry?
a. Baby…Always at church, in the nursery. Including visitation
b. Toddler…This is when they learned how to sit quietly in church. Because I was involved in the music ministry, I couldn’t work in the Sunday p.m. toddler class so the kids always sat with me.
c.  School age…Made sure they attended activities. If I had work to do at the church I would bring them and let them help or they would play and then learn the importance of cleaning up and respecting the church building. As teens they always knocked on doors with us and helped us with the 2 churches that God allowed us to start in upstate NY. They were involved In the music and Jr. churches as well.
10. Do you ever worry that your children will resent the ministry and what are some ways you tried to make it fun for them? Always a concern about that. We would try to teach them that we don’t “have” to go to church but, we “get” to go to church and ALWAYS a listening ear. I never got angry when they would ask “why” but would try to encourage them in the Lord.
11. What would be the best thing you would tell a mom who is raising her children in the ministry? LISTEN to your children. We don’t always feel like going to church or visitation…who’s going to yell at us about that? Show understanding and spend as much time with them aside from church. HAVE FUN!! LET YOUR HAIR DOWN SOMETIMES! My daughters remember how silly I would be at the mall or in the store. Show them your fun side. Individual time with each as well.
12. Are you naturally a submissive person or do you sometimes have a hard time easily following your husband? Extremely submissive. I don’t want the responsibility sometimes, of making decisions.
13. What do you do to encourage your husband when he is discouraged with the work? Give him my ear. I don’t try to give advice. If he’s stubborn, I ask him “when was the last time you took it to God” We have spent some nights just talking and sharing concerns and burdens and of course PRAYER!
14. How do deal with any criticism toward your husband from others? I tell them to pray for their pastor and that they should talk to him about it.
15. How do you deal with personal criticisms? I say “thank you” and then I ask God to show me if I need to work in that area.
16. Do you set aside date nights/days with your husband? Not really. We should though. With all the kids grown it’s a little different than when they were young. Years ago, yes.
17. What is the biggest thing you have learned about being married to a man in the ministry? Keep my mouth shut! Words can do much harm.
18. What are some ways you protect your husband from “those” women in the church? I have a serious talk with the Lord and then carefully talk to my husband about it. Sometimes they just don’t see what we do.
19. Do you and your husband have devotion or prayer time together daily? Our schedules are so messed up. When we are together we do, most of the time.
20. Do you have a hard time sharing your burdens with your husband in fear that it will discourage him? Yes, sometimes and then when I do talk to him about it I find out that he has the same burden and then there is that special time of prayer.
21. What do you do to encourage yourself in the Lord? My prayer life is so important to me. I have spent hours audibly crying out to God and WOW! I can’t imagine life without my Bible and prayer.
22. What is your favorite Scripture? Prov. 3:5,6
23. Do you have a favorite song? Many…”It is well” is on the top of my list
24. What is your biggest struggle in the ministry? With the church…peoples faithfulness, for myself…finding time to clean my house LOL! True though.
25. Do you have find that you are not able to have close lady friends in your church? No, I try to spend individual time with each lady at some point. Easy to do right now with a small church.
26. When you are discouraged, do you feel like you can “show” that feeling to ladies in the church? Or, do you feel like you always have to portray the “perfect” happy Pastor’s wife? I tend to wear my feelings on my sleeve but, I am careful about it. I guess it depends on what’s bothering me too.
27.Have you ever made a big mistake or offended someone, and if yes, how did you go about restoring that relationship? There have definitely been times that I have said something or done something that offended or hurt someone. Usually I cry first and then I ask that person for forgiveness. There have also been times that I have been accused falsely and I will kindly and gently inform that person that it was a terrible misunderstanding. Sometimes they see it and other times they won’t accept that and it takes time to restore that relationship. PRAYER is the best thing!!
28.Do you have other lady ministry friends that you go to for counsel and “venting” purposes? ABSOLUTELY! God has blessed me with some very good ministry friends.
29. Other than praying, what is the most encouraging thing ladies in the church can do for you? Just love me for me and attend the ladies meetings. I just vented a little J
30. What is your favorite way to serve the Lord in your church? Planning ladies meetings and studies.
31. Do you currently have special Ladies Bible Study, meetings, or fellowships? No Bible study right now. I try to have meetings once a month for 8-9 months.
32. What ways to you encourage your ladies to get involved in the work of the church? I ask them to do things that are needed. I will tell them that I can’t nor do I want to do it all. I want them to be in on the blessings as well.
33. What is the most important thing you pray to pass down to your daughters? To teach their children (my grandkids) to love the Lord and to be faithful to HIM.
34. In all of your business, how do you fit your personal time in with the Lord each day? My time is in the evening. I love going to bed with the Lord on my mind.
35. Out of all that you have learned being in the full time ministry, what is the most important thing you have learned? Wait on the Lord. Bring ALL to Him.
36. How would you describe the “perfect” Pastor’s wife? One who’s not afraid for others to see that she’s not perfect.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mrs. Mandy Winkle *Associate Pastor's Wife*


Name- Mandy Winkle
Husband’s Position- Associate Pastor, Choir Director, Bus Captain
How long have you been married? 13 years
How many children/grandchildren do you have? How old are they? 5 children – 10, 8, 6, 4, 3
1.Where/How did you meet your husband? After a brief time in N. Carolina, my husband had moved back home to Texas and decided to visit his sister’s new church (my church!).  His story goes like this “I passed by the nursery and caught a glimpse of a beautiful girl I had to get to know.” (Hee hee!) Being 5 ½ years his junior, I tease him about getting his wife from the nursery – robbing the cradle as it were. J
2. When did you get saved? May 1985 – 7 years old.
3. Can you share your testimony? Shortly after my brother and I started riding the bus to church in February 1985, my dad got saved and we became a church-going family.  I was saved during a revival meeting in May of that same year. I can’t tell you what the preacher preached, but I can still remember the literal tug I felt in my heart to go forward. I tugged on my dad’s arm in return and told him I needed to go down to the front. I didn’t know why, but he did.  I was saved that night and baptized that next Sunday with my cousins that also got saved that week.  When I was 14, my dad was called to start a church in a town NW of Houston called Tomball. We were there 2 years before the Lord moved us back home to Fort Worth.  At the age of 16 at the Pot O’ Gold Youth Ranch, I responded to the Lord during an invitation and fully gave Him the reigns of my life. I told Him I would do whatever He wanted me to.  Due to the nature of this old sinful flesh shell I live in, I have had to rededicate that promise to the Lord (a time or two!) through the years.  I am thankful for the continued grace my Heavenly Father has shown me.
4. How long have you been in the ministry? I would say since I was 7!  We began serving on the buses as a family soon after we started going to church, and I have been involved serving the Lord in ministry ever since.
5. How did you know the Lord wanted you in the ministry? Was it hard for you to submit to that or did you know 100% sure right away that this is what God wanted for your life?
As I stated earlier, I surrendered my life to the Lord when I was a teenager.  I believe when you accept Christ as your Saviour, you are inducted into His service.  To be in service IS to be in ministry.   Am I 100% sure that the Lord wants me to serve Him to the best of my ability in whatever capacity He chooses? ABSOLUTELY!
6. How old were you when you your husband first held a position of leadership?  I was teaching Sunday School when I was 15 in our fledgling church in Tomball. When I got married, my husband was a bus captain, I was 20 then.  I was 22 when my husband accepted a Youth Pastorate and we moved to a new church. The position at that church has changed through the years, but the church has not.  Eleven years strong. J
7. And if you were young, did you have a hard time adjusting because of your age? Did you feel “ready” to be in that position? Did you feel you had a harder time being respected or taken seriously because of your age?  No I never did have a hard time adjusting to the ministry.  Serving the Lord with my family as a child was excellent training in serving the Lord as I became an adult.  Much ado is given over ‘feeling ready’ and age.  Moses was 80 years old when he was peddling excuses to God about ‘being ready’ for service! You will probably never feel ready for service, and if you do, you probably will learn quickly how ready you are not!  The Lord uses those who are WILLING. It’s a heart issue.   As for being respected or taken seriously, I leave it to the Lord. He knows my heart. 
8. Once you had children did you find you did less in the ministry and was that hard for you? Oh just those few precious months when I nursed each of them did I really “do” less.  Sometimes I would just give ‘em a little ‘snack’, go teach in my spot, and return to finish.  It was more of a challenge to fit everything in around the nursing. 
9. What are some ways you included and involved your children in the ministry?
a. Baby… Oh well you know those sweet little senior saint ladies who can’t be as active as they would like – they LOVE little babies!  I would always ask one of them to hold my newborns for me during choir practices, etc.  They are serving the Lord by being a blessing to me, and my baby helped them to serve.  (That may be a stretch – but it’s true!) J
b. Toddler… A great place to teach toddlers to serve is in the nursing home ministry.  Mine always loved going and shaking hands and singing songs. The nursing home folks love that too. I always teach my toddlers that picking up trash off of the church ground is serving the Lord too.
c.  School age… By the time our kiddos are school aged, they are helping on our bus (singing, passing out candy, visitation).  We teach them to always help in picking up chairs etc. after a fellowship.  This is a good age to teach boys to hold the door open for ladies.  Not too long ago, three of my school agers were on top of the church roof delivering shingles to their daddy and the other men as they reroofed the church. (That was their daddy’s idea, not mine!)
10. Do you ever worry that your children will resent the ministry and what are some ways you tried to make it fun for them?  We rejoined the bus ministry this past year with the sole intent on having a ministry our whole family could serve together.  Knocking doors, singing, befriending the bus kids, praying for them, all things my children have learned so far. If you knew us personally, you would know that anywhere we go; we bring the fun with us!  My prayer is that each of my children will grow to have their own personal relationship with the Lord.  It’s what is missing among so many of my PK counterparts that are off in the world right now. Mercy me, there are so many.  We serve together, pray together and make sure our attitudes are in check.
11. What would be the best thing you would tell a mom who is raising her children in the ministry? Be consistent. That’s with anything!
12. Are you naturally a submissive person or do you sometimes have a hard time easily following your husband? Umm…no…I am not a naturally submissive person! I fight for control of my flesh on a daily basis.  (I hope someone can relate to that!)  But I do find when I am in line with the Lord; it’s easy to be in line with my husband.  Although as a wife, I am required to be submissive whether I find it easy or not! The easiness of it, dear ladies, lies within my attitude. J
13. What do you do to encourage your husband when he is discouraged with the work? The best thing I can do is pray for my husband and TELL him I’m praying for him.  If he knows you are on his side, it can be a great encouragement. 
14. How do deal with any criticism toward your husband from others?  I have been blessed to have never heard criticism of my husband.  If they are criticizing, they know better than to tell me, I guess!
15. How do you deal with personal criticisms?  I quack!  It’s best to be a duck about those kinds of things.  As water rolls off the oil of a duck’s feather, so should a criticism roll off of you.
16. Do you set aside date nights/days with your husband?  Yes!  We have to consciously set aside time for each other each week.  In addition to being the associate pastor at our church, my hubby works a secular job too.  Time together is essential.
17. What is the biggest thing you have learned about being married to a man in the ministry? That he is God’s man. Sometimes the Lord may be dealing with him about things that I know not of! I am sensitive to his moods and I know when something has changed. It is my nature to want to fix things – that always makes things worse.  I have to let him deal with the test or trial that he’s been given. 
18. What are some ways you protect your husband from “those” women in the church?  Double barrel shotgun. Just kidding!  I always tell my husband when I sense some distance should be made. He trusts my instincts – I trust the Holy Spirit! I also pray the Lord keeps our hearts knit together and to put a hedge of protection around us so when temptation comes lurking it doesn’t have a way in.  We should not be ignorant of the devil’s devices.
19. Do you and your husband have devotion or prayer time together daily?  No – with my husband working nights and sleeping during the day, it’s hard to do consistently on a daily basis.  We do however, pray as a family several times a week and have devotion most every night with the kids before they go to bed and he heads off to work.
20. Do you have a hard time sharing your burdens with your husband in fear that it will discourage him? No, not at all. My husband is many times, my source of encouragement. He knows just what to say and I depend on that.
21. What do you do to encourage yourself in the Lord?  I put on good Christian music. Nothing goes to your heart faster than music. Make sure it’s the right kind!
22. What is your favorite Scripture? I have so many! I especially love the book of Proverbs.  One that my mom gave me in a situation when I was a teenager has stuck in my heart through the years: Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
23. Do you have a favorite song? He Lives, Higher Ground, Love Grew Where the Blood Fell
24. What is your biggest struggle in the ministry? Honestly, it’s balance.  I feel like I have to say yes to everything and everybody.
25. Do you have find that you are not able to have close lady friends in your church?  I have learned many different lessons about that very subject, even one so recently.  We are a close knit church family so there is a sense of sisterhood among our ladies.  I am the SAME friendly to all of our ladies. It’s too easy for someone’s feelings to be hurt or the devil to use a friendship to cause strife and division. I try to stay away from ‘exclusive’ conversations in front of folks.
26. When you are discouraged, do you feel like you can “show” that feeling to ladies in the church? Or, do you feel like you always have to portray the “perfect” happy Pastor’s wife? You shouldn’t show your discouragement to your ladies. You should, however, teach them by example of how to bear ye another’s burdens.  Let your ladies know about a need and help you pray for it, using discretion, obviously.  People can see right through a “perfect” fa├žade. Be real – it’s okay – they know you are human too! They need to see how real humans deal with things with God’s grace.
27. Have you ever made a big mistake or offended someone, and if yes, how did you go about restoring that relationship? Oh my, yes! As soon as I learn of it, I humbly go to them and beg forgiveness.  You learn what people’s sensitivities are – I don’t want to be a stumbling block to anyone.
28. Do you have other lady ministry friends that you go to for counsel and “venting” purposes? Yes, two dear ones. Both are current pastors’ wives whose husbands went to Bible College with my husband.  They are oft times a life line to me. 
29. Other than praying, what is the most encouraging thing ladies in the church can do for you? Give an encouraging word or tell me of an answered prayer. It’s exciting to see the growth in new Christians – that is a big encouragement.
30. What is your favorite way to serve the Lord in your church? Singing – in the choir, as a special, in the congregation. I love it.
31. Do you currently have special Ladies Bible Study, meetings, or fellowships? We meet on the second Tuesday of each month for a Ladies Bible study fellowship.  Our pastor’s wife (my mom) gives a lesson, we eat, sing and pray. A good time of fellowship that I look forward to.
32. What ways to you encourage your ladies to get involved in the work of the church? BE EXCITED ABOUT IT YOURSELF!  If you get excited about something, your ladies will too. Also, promotion, promotion, promotion.  Be organized and planned out. People don’t want to get involved with something that is sloppily put together. 
33. What is the most important thing you pray to pass down to your daughters? A love for the Lord, the Bible, their church, their husbands, their children.
34. In all of your business, how do you fit your personal time in with the Lord each day? I have learned that if I do not put it in FIRST it doesn’t get fit in any other time.  
Proverbs 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
35. Out of all that you have learned being in the full time ministry, what is the most important thing you have learned? That you have to use what the Lord gives you. Okay so maybe that person doesn’t have all the skill needed – teach them!  Be a part in helping them be all they can be for the Lord.  Many times, a person is too afraid to raise a hand to volunteer.  You go to them – maybe they’re waiting to be asked.
36. How would you describe the “perfect” Pastor’s wife? That would be someone who loves her ladies.  Someone who doesn’t order you into the trenches, but jumps in first to lead by example. Someone who realizes that she is a part of something bigger than just her husband and her kids. She’s the example to the women of the church on how to be a godly wife and mother and servant of the Lord.  As a matter of fact, I have that very example in my own pastor’s wife, my mother.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby Update #4....almost 34 weeks!

We had a great appointment today!! For the first time I left feeling great! First we got weighed....not my favorite part!! And we are holding at 20 pounds for this pregnancy...better than 21, lol. Then we had our non-stress test....AND.....we passed!!! Yahoo! Baby looked fabulous....ok, not fabulous, but way better! Enough to pass! I am once again dehydrated, so her "variability" wasn't at its best. I really need to drink more.
Anyways, then we saw Dr. Kassis. I will be 34 weeks on Thursday and I am measuring 36cm...not that that really means much, but I'm not gonna lie, I would be thrilled if baby decided to come at 37 weeks! (3 more weeks!) My 24 protien test came back great (other than the dehydration), and guess what!? NO signs of preeclampsia!! My blood pressure was great and my Dr was happy. She did say we will "evict" baby at 39 weeks, so I will be holding my baby by June 17th!!
Then we had our biophysical profile ultrasound, and my breech baby has officially flipped into her birthing position! And we are praying she decides to stay there=) She looked great on the ultrasound, and everytime I see her little face I see Ellie....but then again, all of our kiddos look alike=) So, that's about it!
Also, we only have to go twice a week now since she is being a good little girl. So I am one happy mama! Now, I just want to meet her!! Just 3-5 more weeks!!!! It is getting so close!
Thanks again, friends, for your prayers!! They are obviously working!

Monday, May 9, 2011

**Missionary Wife** Mrs. Kendra Barnhardt


Husband’s Position-Missionary
How long have you been married? 3 ½ years
How many children? How old are they?  1 child, Klayton-6 months
1.      What field are you and your husband going to? Norway
2.      Did you feel the same call as your husband to that specific location, or did you just feel the call to follow your husband?  When I was a junior in college, I told the Lord that I was willing to be a missionary wife or a pastor’s wife if He thought I was capable.  I didn’t even know my husband at the time.  When Joseph and I had met I was willing to follow him because I was already surrendered in that area of my life.
3.      How long have you been traveling on deputation? 3 years, technically 2 complete years together. Last year we hardly traveled because I had some complications with my pregnancy, followed by my son being hospitalized and me having surgery.
4.      What is the hardest thing about being on deputation? As a wife and mother I have the desire to “set up” my home and create a home, however that is pretty much impossible to do while on the road.
5.      What do enjoy the most about being on deputation? Seeing sights I would not be able to see otherwise and crossing paths with friends.
6.      How do you keep your children excited about being a “missionary” with constant travel and being in church all of the time? Well, I don’t know necessarily have to work on this one right now as Klayton is only six months; but I will say he has been a little traveler since he was 3 weeks old.  It is hard on him though after we have had many long travel days in a row; but I still think he does better at the traveling thing then I do sometimes! Ha!
7.      Do you feel the burden of having well behaved children at all times? Even though he is an infant I do.  We keep him with us at all times, we don’t put him in the nursery. Klayton is a very happy and content baby; but sometimes I feel people are still judging. He’s been teething and was having a particularly rough day and a lady in a church says to me, “what a fussy baby you have”.  Every time he even whimpered she would say this to me, I just felt more pressure to make sure he was “behaved” even though in my heart I knew I shouldn’t feel that way.
8.      What is the most encouraging thing that a Pastor’s wife could do or say to you regarding your children?  Let me know that they see the good behavior in my child.  Even though Klayton is an infant it thrills my heart when I am told what a good baby he is. Point out the good and if my child is acting up relate to me, don’t act as if YOUR child would never do that! Lol!
9.      Do you always have the option of a Nursery in churches or do you sometimes have to take children who are not ready yet into services? And for those churches where there is no nursery, do you wish they would make a special exception for your family while you are there?  I noted this above; but we don’t put Klayton in nursery.  This is our personal preference.
10.   What is the best thing (other than prayer) that a church can do for your family or give to your family? We have a church in Alaska that cannot support us at this time; but every birthday and holiday and sometimes just because they send us a card and we love it!  Its nice to know that we have not been forgotten, especially when we are always on the go and feel out of the loop!
11.   What are some things that churches do for you that may not be a help to you? It is nice when churches think of us and give gifts.  However, our space is limited and so baskets are not always a good plan for us.  Unfortunately, we have had to condense baskets in the past and toss some. 
12.   Do you prefer to stay in a hotel, mission’s apartment, or the home of a church member? I would much rather stay in a hotel first and my second choice would be a missions apartment.  Staying in peoples homes is fine; but I don’t feel as I can relax.
13.   What is the best thing a Pastor’s Wife can do to make you feel comfortable in her church? Introduce herself and talk to me.  I have been in many churches where I never met the pastor’s wife.
14.   What is the best thing that the ladies of the church can do for you?  Just be themselves and feel comfortable to visit with me about anything-they don’t always have to talk to me about Norway!
15.   What is the biggest pressure you have visiting a new church for the first time? Not knowing what they expect or not knowing what the pastor is like.
16.   Do you ever feel that you have to be “fake” at a new church to be accepted as a missionary? (For instance, do you feel the need to always smile, be social, and be positive about every aspect of your ministry and deputation) Just so you know I am trying to be open, honest, real, transparent in this…lol, so I will go ahead and admit yes.  We are at these churches to share our burden for Norway and be as much of a blessing as we can be.  But, also when we are at a missions conference we know that at times not every missionary will be taken on so we need to do our best to stick out from all the other missionaries so when the churches votes as to who to take on they will remember us.
17.   What kind of church makes you “feel at home”?  The churches that are like my home church. Churches where the pastors wife comes and gives me a hug. Churches where I feel free to laugh and be myself, where everyone is friendly. The churches that have a sincere love for missionaries and don’t love them out of obligation.
18.   Who are your best friends and what do they do that encourages you? My husband is my best friend.  I have several best girl friends, who will simply send me a text on the road to check on me or randomly call me on the phone.  My best girl friends let me wear my hair down and cry if I need to and simply listen.
19.   Any “horror “stories you’d like to share? Haha! We once stayed in a home, where the one working bathroom had two doors, one led to their childrens bedroom but was broken so they could see right into the bathroom. And that same house had a heating system that was condemned by the state for carbon monoxide; but they still ran the heat…I think out of fear of dying from carbon monoxide poisioning neither of us slept!
20.   What has been the biggest blessing so far about being “on the road”?  Mmm, this one is tough.  I have had many blessings…material would be my purse fetish, someone gave me my own Coach bag.  Relationship wise, strengthening our family unit.  Spiritually, seeing God provide for us in ways we could never have imagined.
21.   Do you ever get worried that your children will resent the ministry and the fact that you took them from America, away from their family and friends? No.  I choose not to worry about this, we believe that we are in God’s will and we are trusting Him to work out the details as we do our best to raise Klayton for God’s use and glory.
22.   What are your biggest fears and challenges about raising your children in a different culture? I am hoping that God gives us at least one more child so that Klayton has someone to grow up with.  I don’t want him to grow up “alone”…
23.   How do you plan on managing the lonely times (holidays, etc) without your family and friends in the States?  Mimicing holidays as if we were in the states.  I plan on bringing all my scrapbooks so I can look through them during lonely times…skype as well! But, I guess I won’t really know until I get there.  When I get lonely on deputation, I cry to my husband, pray for God to give me grace and hug my baby A LOT!!
24.   What do you do to encourage yourself in the Lord?  I pray A LOT and remind myself that since we believe we are in the center of God’s will that HE WILL take care of us. 
25.   Do you have a hard time sharing your burdens with your husband for fear of discouraging him? Sometimes.  I feel as if I keep my burdens to myself that I am protecting him…however, most of the time the day draws to an end and we start praying with Klayton then the tears will come and I end up telling him; but I still try to sugarcoat it and act like its not that big of a deal, even though I’m crying!
26.   What do you do to encourage your husband when he is discouraged with the work?  Remind him that I think he is doing a good job and try to love on him a little more than usual.
27.   What is your favorite Scripture? Luke 1:38, “…be it unto me according to thy word…” What a heart of humility.
28.   What is your favorite song?  Little is Much When God is in it…
29.   How do you fit in your personal time with the Lord each day?  On travel days its easy because I just do it in the van.  When we are not traveling I usually do it at night before bed.  I am not a morning person and I’m still working on grasping the schedule of mommy and baby in the mornings.  I feel I get the most “meat” when I do it at night.
30.   What is the most important thing you have learned so far about being in the ministry?  My expectations are too high! We can’t please everyone and not everyone is going to like us, so I need to place my expectation in the Lord, only, and do my best in resting that I am in His will.