Wow! I can't believe it's Spring. I know it's that time of year because my trees outside are beginning to explode with intoxicating fragrances and vivid colors, and I am beginning to sneeze!. The birds chirping outside my windows are promising me that warmer weather is just around the corner. March is always a special time for our family.
We enjoyed attending our church's missions conference last week; greeting old friends we have prayed for over the years, and having the opportunity to hear what the Lord is doing in their midst. Exciting times. Dr. Michael Oh was our keynote speaker; one of those rare men whose love for the Lord is truly contagious and life changing. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, don't let anything hinder you!
Evan was honored to attend a short portion of OneHundredFold's first staff meeting, held last weekend, here in Birmingham. OneHundredFold is a new mission endeavor seeking to use technology to advance the Gospel. Evan worked with other programmers and designers from around the world to design and build a website that assists some missionaries and targets a particular people group who are resistant to the Gospel. At the staff meeting he was able to gather with the other men to network and share ideas. He hopes to be called on again to assist in bringing God's Truth to the world through digital means.
Evan has recently taken several free-lance jobs to help pay for his upcoming mission trip with Mark to New Zealand March 27-April 10th. Pray that the Lord would provide, and that He would use these two weeks to draw Evan even closer to Himself as he serves alongside his dad.
Graham TraversAny CPA knows that March is crazy, work-wise. This is Graham's second "busy season" working as a Certified Public Accountant. He works long hours in the office and is amazingly disciplined. (I don't know where he gets that.) He faithfully arises early enough to spend time with the Lord and then off to the office he goes, arriving before 6:00 a.m. and working until late in the evening. Somehow, he still finds time to pursue his new hobby, bouldering (at a local climbing gym), several nights a week; something he enjoys doing with Evan. We all look forward to the end of tax season and the return of "normalcy" for him. Please pray that he would be strengthened by the Lord during this taxing time, no pun intended.
Christopher is in the middle of mid-terms, finishing his last semester at Jeff State, and looking forward to graduation in May. He is a hard working man, holding down a full time job by day and making excellent grades in college by night. Sometimes he leaves our home at 6:00 a.m.; works all day in the freezing cold doing construction, and then drives an hour to school to take classes in Construction Management, returning home again at 10:30 at night. And then he has to study!
Recently, he fearlessly gave an excellent testimony to a crowded college classroom while delivering his first public speech. His dad and I were moved to tears when afterward, we read the speech he gave -amazing. His schedule right now has eased a little bit, but we would still appreciate your prayers for his safety at work and as he travels and strength as he finishes his coursework and discerns what the Lord has for him in the future.
Michael is studying, finishing up his Senior year of High School, while working with Christopher, doing construction here in Ashville. Right now they are helping dear friends finish siding their new home; their previous home being destroyed in the April 2011 tornado. He and Christopher are quite the dynamic duo; hard workers, dependable, talented, and really funny (or so I hear).
When they aren't covered in stain, hanging from rooftops, or hoisting heavy timber framing into place, Michael always has one of three things in his hands. He will either be paging a good book, pumping iron (he's also very disciplined), or plucking his guitar strings.
Michael is also a tremendous help to us at home, discipling the younger boys here in our midst. Last night he patiently worked for an hour with one of the twins to help him learn to play the guitar. He instructs them with their workouts, and is often seen answering math questions late into the evening. Please pray for him as he awaits hearing from college about scholarships and as he prays about what the Lord has for his future preparations.
Beth Anne TraversBeth Anne, just celebrated her sixteenth birthday on the 8th of March. We were able to celebrate with our family all weekend long and I think that Beth Anne would say she felt honored and loved. Her daddy gave her a special string of pearls and tearfully read to her a letter he had written to her encourage her of the Scriptural symbolism of pearls and to challenge her to see God's purpose for her life.
Beth Anne can do anything and everything. She prepares many of our meals... and cooking for seven brothers isn't easy! She serves our family with joy and is indispensible in keeping our home running smoothly. She has a lovely voice and often sings while she works - an added benefit. She keeps us fed, clothed, clean, and laughing!
John Luke TraversJohn Luke is in his 13th year, rounding the corner to 14! He has grown up so much in our eyes. Physically he is taller in stature, but even more, he has grown to be dependable and disciplined, a real learner, and an encourager with a joyful spirit. He is following in his older brothers' footsteps and has taken to writing daily in a spiritual journal. He is the youngest in our family, but his maturity seems to make the age difference disappear. He shows great initiative by faithfully attacking his school assignments on his own and it is wonderful to watch him enjoy learning.
Daily, he thoughtfully offers to make me a smoothie; his own recipe of love. "Mom, would you like a smoothie?" He blends fresh strawberries, a kiwi, with some plain yogurt, taking joy in serving me this special beverage we enjoy as an afternoon break. When our family entertains guests or travels to minister, the younger children flock to John Luke. He kindly plays with them and tries to encourage them in the Lord. John Luke has sacrificed a lot this year, and it has been hard; and yet we can see the blessings of Christ-likeness that these hard times have produced. Please pray for Him to continue to humbly seek the Lord, and that the Lord would continue to transform him into a man of God.
Beth Anne, Christian, and ChristopherWe have had two young men (14 year old twins) living with us this year. Christopher and Christian are polite and well spoken. They are working hard in their studies, and seem eager to grow in the Lord. Mark and I homeschool them, along with our children, and so our days are very full - full of love and God's grace, that is! Please pray that God would give them direction and that they would know and follow His purposes for their lives.
Mark and Darby TraversI'll finish out this long post by asking you to pray for Mark. This is his "busy season" too. On top of all that is regularly scheduled, he squeezes in as many opportunities as he can to share the Truths of the Gospel with others. Whether meeting with others for counseling, teaching a Bible Study, or demonstrating a Passover Seder, Mark's heart is to point others to the Lord. This weekend he will be in Kansas speaking at a family camp. Next weekend he will be in Nashville, TN sharing at several churches. Two days later he leaves for New Zealand, with Evan, to share and teach in churches located in four different cities across the nation. The next few weeks will be exciting, exhausting, and filled with opportunities to be a channel of God's grace. Please pray for Mark's strength, safety, and health as he travels great distances and speaks many times in the upcoming weeks. And, if you think of it, please pray for the remaining Traverses as we will greatly miss him. :)