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April 7, 2010 1:32 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Hildebrand’s Jar of Manna

This jar is a reminder to our family of God’s provision. All through the Bible God encouraged His people to remember His wonderful works. Throughout this journey to the mission field God has shown His hand to us in truly miraculous ways. Each item in the jar represents a way God has revealed His plan and provision to us. Each item has a numbered puzzle piece attached so that you can look up the details on this sheet of God’s specific provision.

  1. Photo of Tim and Lori Myrick and their family: We have been praying for years about the possibility of moving onto the mission field. God blessed us with developing a friendship with this family while they were home for a year on furlough. As we began hearing of their new location for ministry in Kijabe, Kenya, and the school their sons were attending, God used them to tell us that now is the time and Rift Valley Academy is the place that He wanted us to go.
  2. Reckless Faith by Beth Guckenberger: Sue Vogt handed us a copy of this book, knowing the heavy life-changing decisions being bathed in prayer at this very time in our lives. This book was perfectly timed as we were inspired by every page of Beth and her husband Todd living life with a reckless faith in Monterrey, Mexico. God helped us to overcome the fears we faced in our journey to Africa, and He gave us the courage to step out in faith.
  3. Three Bible verses: In the beginning stages of our journey, God used three verses to encourage us. Psalm 5:3, “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Mark 2:1-12 is the story of the paralytic who was brought to Jesus as He was teaching in a house. The four friends of this crippled man could not find a way to Jesus but rather than give up, they got creative and broke through the roof. In these economic times we knew that we would be tempted to give up, but instead God gave us creative ideas in raising our finances.
  4. A flashlight: In a conversation with Tim Myrick, Jennifer told him that one of the things keeping us from going on the mission field was fear. Tim’s response to her was that God will not illuminate the entire path before, us but will be faithful to show us what we need for that time. The more steps we take, the more God shows His faithfulness as He continues to light our way.
  5. Streams in the Desert devotional book: in the early stages of our prayer for this journey, a friend would send quotes of what she had read that day from this devotion book. Totally apart from these email conversations, another friend ordered a copy of this devotion book for us. We have been greatly blessed as we include it in our morning quiet times with the Lord.
  6. Woods Chapel family: to truly begin this journey, our family had to attend “Candidate Week” at the New York office for Africa Inland Mission. This was going to cost far more than we could afford. During this time God used our church family to give us the courage to obey Him in this HUGE step of faith. In less than two weeks, our church family provided enough money to cover the trip and use what was left over to start the process of raising our finances. Throughout this journey our church family has prayed, encouraged, and given of their time and finances as they have walked with us. We are truly thankful for our church family.
  7. Our first prayer card: one of the first things we needed to begin raising support was a prayer card. Linda Morgan is the best family photographer we know and she quickly squeezed us into her schedule to take a group of photos we could use.
  8. A Gideon Bible: Two months after we were accepted as missionary appointees, our church had a guest speaker booked to preach in the Sunday morning worship service. This Gideon could have been from the U.S., or from anywhere in the world. God is far bigger than that! Tito Musyoka lives only two hours away from where we are moving! His wife is a doctor who has served AIM missionaries and will probably work with our family! Coincidence? If God knows when a sparrow falls from the sky, and how many hairs we have on our heads, how much more does He care about us?!
  9. Family Farm Day: God put on the hearts of Jennifer and a good friend a couple of non-traditional fund raisers. Everything in this outdoor carnival was free because of generous donations from community groups within our church and many other friends and neighbors. After 50 volunteers had assembled and were ready to begin, we received word that an anonymous donor was willing to match up to $5,000 any donations given that day. At the end of the day $5,700 was received and the matching gift brought the total to $10,700! Praise the Lord!
  10. Holiday Homes Tour: In December we invited the community to tour six homes beautifully decorated to display the joyous celebration of Christmas. Four of the six homes were from Woods Chapel families, once again showing their great support. Over 60 volunteers helped as more than 300 people attended either Friday or Saturday. A combination of ticket sales, bake sale, and raffle brought in $6,600. We have also seen this event help raise awareness regarding our move to the mission field and we have received several new ministry partners as a result of this fund raiser.
  11. Purchase of a completely furnished home: How do you furnish a home on the mission field? There is only so much room in a suitcase! Our minds were set at ease when God brought along this opportunity to purchase complete furnishings all in one package from a family who is heading back to Canada this summer.
  12. Laura’s Run: Shortly after “Family Farm Day” we were hit hard by the news of the death of a close friend’s daughter. On Halloween night 16 year old Laura was killed by a drunk driver. Her mother is one of Jennifer’s closest friends and was very involved in helping with our fund raisers. Within a few weeks, Laura’s older sister envisioned having a 5k walk/run in memory of Laura that would aslo raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. Jessica and her mother where talking about what good cause they should support with the money when they realized that Laura would want it to help us on our journey to the mission field in Africa. The morning of the run, eight inches of snow tried to rob us of our joy, but more than 600 registrations and several hundred braving weather showed great support. Approximately $15,000 was raised by this event.
March 29, 2010 10:21 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

The way God has been bringing our support team together is truly amazing.  We need to keep working to reach our goal.  To do this we need 200-20’s.

200-20’s is very simple.  We need two hundred commitments of $20 per month.  That is it.  That will complete our goal for monthly finances and enable us to minister in Africa.

Most people can afford $20 per month, some $40 or even $60 or more.  A friend who commits $20 per month will help us with 1-20, and another friend who commits $100 per month helps us with 5-20’s.

Have you made your commitment?

March 23, 2010 2:03 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

We woke up at 5:00 am to three inches of snow on the ground.  The day before and the day after were both sunny and beautiful.  But this day was special, it was the day of “Laura’s Run”, and we ended up with eight inches of snow when the storm finally ended.

The weather was one thing that we could not control, and it was the one thing that did not go as planned.  In spite of our own plans, God brought forth a beautiful day that was absolutely wonderful.  The Reynolds family learned that their friends are not the “fair weather” type!  This is what Jessica Reynolds wrote on the Laura’s Run Facebook page:

“The Reynolds Family would like to thank everyone for their love and support. Thanks to all the runners and walkers who fought the horrendous weather to come to Laura’s Run. The day wasn’t what we had envisioned , but we improvised and brought the event indoors. It worked out and still hundreds of wonderful people show…ed up. We had over 600 people register! And we raised over $15,000 for the Hildebrand Family’s mission to Kenya, Africa summer 2010. Our beautiful Laura would be so happy. She touched so many lives and continues to touch people in many ways. We continue to miss her and we will always love her. Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The Kansas City Star reported on the run and has some great photos you can see by clicking on this link: Kansas City Star article on “Laura’s Run”. And if you are a Facebook user, you may find Laura’s Run at this link: Laura’s Run.

March 13, 2010 4:27 am
Published in: Uncategorized

It is 3:00am and I can’t sleep.  Anxiety.  So much going on, so many decisions to make, so much more support to raise, Laura’s Run only a week away, and so much more floods through my mind.

My brain is reminded of Philippians 4:6-7,

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

My brain knows this, but my heart is lagging behind!

God brings a song to my heart, “Hosanna”, by Brooke Fraser of Hillsong United.  The first verse draws my attention to the throne of our Lord:

I see the king of glory
Coming on the clouds with fire
The whole earth shakes
The whole earth shakes
I see his love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing
The people sing

Hosanna in the highest

As the second verse begins, God reminds me of my call to youth ministy, and more specifically, the students I have poured my life into at Woods Chapel and the ones at Rift Valley Academy that I will soon meet:

I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith
I see a new revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We’re on our knees
We’re on our knees

My heart is beginning to experience comfort during this time of personal worship.  The song goes into a bridge:

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

Jesus, you are deserving of our praise.  Thank you for soothing my heart this early morning.  It is now after 4:00am and I think I am ready for bed again.

I love you Lord!

March 1, 2010 11:49 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Laura holding nephew Max in the middle, her mom on left, sister-in-law Laurel on right, Jennifer on far right

This morning I was in a courtroom awaiting the next step of justice for the family of Laura Reynolds .  I began talking with a young man who was waiting to go before the judge.  Six months earlier he had been driving while intoxicated, went  off the road and totaled his car.  Fortunately no other people were involved.  I told him he received a rare warning.  Many drunk drivers aren’t given that type of frightening wake up call from which they are able to walk away without hurting anyone.  As we continued to talk, I shared the gospel with him and prayed that God would continue to draw him to salvation.

Looking around the room, I saw many men and women who were waiting to talk with the judge.  The choices they had made were dangerous to society and these people needed to change.  Our justice system attempts to change behavior from the outside.  Sometimes it works, but I overheard the judge remind one man that he had been guilty of eight previous DUI’s.  True change, lasting change comes from the inside when Jesus Christ transforms a heart resulting in a change in behavior.  There is no greater joy that Jennifer and I have than to see Jesus take hold of a young person and change his life from the inside out!

Just before I left the courthouse, Laura’s sister Jessica said there are only 19 days until “Laura’s Run”!  She also told me that over 200 people have registered already.  If you haven’t registered, go to www.lbrun.com

Please continue to pray for the Reynolds family.

February 18, 2010 2:45 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

A Full House

How do you organize moving a family of six to Kenya? What can we possibly take? How do we afford to purchase all our appliances, furniture (living room, bedrooms, dining room, and more), rugs, curtains, entire stock of kitchen items (cookware, utensils, storage containers, etc.) and everything else to move in and begin living in our new home? This should give a taste of some of our prayerful planning. It creates a lump in our throats every time we think about it! We just received news from RVA that a family is moving back to Canada this summer, and they would like to sell their whole household package! They are including all of the items I mentioned before and much more. The family gave us a detailed list and many photos (I have included some below). Many of the appliances were new in the last two years. For $4,800 we are receiving a great bargain plus peace of mind. On July 20 we arrive in New York, and then board the plane to Kenya on July 22. When we move in, all we will have to do is unpack! Praise the Lord!

February 4, 2010 12:33 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Jennifer took our youngest two boys to the library to check out books about Africa and Kenya.  “Look mom!  The okapi has a tongue that is so long it can clean out its ears with it!” exclaimed Landon with excitement.  As they continued to flip through the book, both Landon and Trevon began to dance with excitement as they found out there are lots of peanuts in Africa (our family loves peanut butter!).  “It’s because there are so many elephants!” our five year old deduced. You have to have peanuts if you are going to have elephants, don’t you?  Well, perhaps in the circus!

We are thrilled to see what our boys are learning, and it doesn’t all pertain to Africa.  Just last night I was teaching our church youth group, which included our two oldest boys.  One has been actively telling friends and classmates about Jesus for years.  He has led several to Christ.  Last night, my other son asked us to pray for a classmate who needs to know the Lord.  This morning he prayed for this boy’s salvation again on our way to school.  I love to hear my boys praying for the salvation of their friends!  I also love to hear them pray consistently and regularly for our good friend Glenna Reynolds, and our close missionary friends from our church: the Myricks (soon to be our neighbors in Kijabe, Kenya), and the Prices (missionaries to Bosnia), and the Morgans (missionaries to athletes).  Keep praying!

January 25, 2010 10:28 am
Published in: Uncategorized

All praise to God who continues to do “immeasurably more than we could ask for or even imagine!”  Our van broke down last week and the repairs were more than what we wanted to pay since we were planning on selling it in the spring.  We just assumed that we would need to get by with one van or buy some hunk of junk.

But we serve an amazing God, who gives us more than we can imagine.  God put it on the hearts of several incredible friends to let us borrow one of their extra vehicles and one of them was a van! The van is so helpful since we drive youth and our own boys around to different events. Today we praise the Lord for yet another way we have seen His hand at work as we prepare for Africa!

Psalm 5

1. Listen to what I say, LORD!
Carefully consider my complaint!
2  Pay attention to my cry for help,
my king and my God,
for I am praying to you!
3  LORD, in the morning you will hear me;
in the morning I will present my case to you and then wait expectantly for an answer.

4  Certainly you are not a God who approves of evil;
evil people cannot dwell with you.

And then we see how the Lord answers in the final two verses:

11  But may all who take shelter in you be happy!
May they continually shout for joy!
Shelter them so that those who are loyal to you may rejoice!
12  Certainly you reward the godly, LORD.
Like a shield you protect them in your good favor. (NET Bible, underline mine)

January 19, 2010 10:47 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I’m not saying that I will give you a penny if you will tell me what you are thinking.  I am asking you to think about a penny.  What can you buy with a penny?  They aren’t worth carrying around, so if you are like me, at the end of the day my collection of pennies ends up with previous days’ collections until I put them in the penny offering each summer for VBS.  I don’t even bother stooping to pick one up off the pavement anymore.

As Jesus and His disciples sat down in the temple, they watched people dropping money into the offering box.  A widow slowly walked up and dropped in the equivalent of one penny.  I am sure the disciples thought “what good will that do?! It’s just a penny!”  But Jesus made a powerful point: most people give what is comfortable, while this widow gave the only thing she had to live on.  Like the faith Abraham showed when he was willing to offer the life of his son Isaac on the altar, this woman was willing to give the only thing she could use to make it through the day.  She was willing to say “God, I completely trust you, even to provide my daily bread.”

Not long after reading that this morning, I received news that one of our minivans was beyond repair.  As we prepare to move to Africa, I had plans of my own for that van.  Plans for how it would serve us over the next six months and then what we would do with it before we leave.  Not too long after that news, I felt as though God spoke to my heart. He was asking me if I was willing to sacrifice my plans, which at this time seem to be the only way that we can operate.  Am I willing to let go of my security as this widow let go of her penny, and trust God?

January 14, 2010 12:35 pm
Published in: Uncategorized
Bill, Jennifer, Braden, Preston, Trevon, Landon (clockwise from top left)

Bill, Jennifer, Braden, Preston, Trevon, Landon (clockwise from top left)

Romans 12:1-2  “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

If you and I truly spent any time thinking about it, we would not need any prodding to give ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.  It would be the only worthy thing we could do in response.  Think about it, He is our Creator, He has redeemed us from our sin, He sustains our lives, He gives us a hope and purpose to live for, He loves and cares for us.

Thinking about who God is puts my own thinking back into sync.  Some people go to the chiropractor to get “realigned”, sometimes our computers must be “rebooted” to work correctly again (although sometimes I think our computer just simply needs to be “booted”).  The cares and anxieties of my life are realigned and rebooted when I spend time with my creator and in His Word.

What a wonderful God!