January 29, 2008

Grandma to the rescue.

So with almost 3 weeks under our belts, we still have roughly 2 weeks left to go here in Daytona Beach. It's funny how things change. When we first got here, I set to work frantically covering the carpet in our hotel room with spare sheets, so Zion wouldn't touch it with his hands. He has since learned to crawl, so keeping him on a sheet is not possible. Just yesterday, I noticed him sucking on a loop of the carpet that was sticking up. Yum, yum.

And just when our schedule here was about to get REALLY crazy, my mom flew in from Michigan to watch the kids. They are loving her, we are loving her, and she is very much enjoying her grandkids and the warm Florida sun. I think it was something like 6 degrees in Michigan last week. Brrrrr. My mom is wonderful. We couldn't be surviving this without her.

Now I get to toot my own horn...I made a 95% on my Doctrine Survey final. Hooray!!! It was good to be a student again for a while. I really do love to learn (I sound like a dorky fourth-grader. Oh well:)

January 24, 2008


Yesterday I got my nose pierced. I was inspired by my new "hippie" deodorant. We walked down A1A to Generation X, and Jimmy pierced my nose. (Jimmy is pictured with me here). It was so good to be there, talking to people like Jimmy, who we would otherwise never run into. The general manager was an Israeli Jew named Avi, who has only been in the States for eight years. We got to hear him speak Hebrew (a great treat for Daniel). Though a tattoo artist himself, he has no markings on his own body, because he is a Jew. He was fascinating. His eyes filled with tears of passion when he talked about the Song of Solomon. "It is a book about the love between G and his people," he said, "and about what it will be like when the 'anointed one' comes."

I highly recommend getting your nose pierced. I was surprised at how little it hurt. There was some pressure, but no real pain. And it didn't swell or turn red. My mom wasn't too thrilled, but Daniel loves it.

January 23, 2008

Poem by Kayla, Photo by Daniel


Tonight the moon
is swollen and glowing
like a pregnant woman
at a ball,
embodying elegance
and raw nature
all at once.
And now
a veil of cloud blows
across her face
spraying her light down
over the ocean,
rousing the waves below,
which seem to be showing off
for her,
savoring her attention
as she bestows
her beauty to them
She, like a diamond necklace
resting on the breast
of a dark and lovely queen,
and they, like silver beads,
rolling around in the drawer
below her.
- Kayla Rupp

January 20, 2008

Burger King, more than fast food...

Sunday was an interesting day. We had been planning all week to go to a Korean House down the road. So we got all geared up for the hike, fully outfitted the stroller, and went down stairs only to find an extremely cold, unseasonably wintry, Daytona Beach.

We only lasted a few minutes in the wind and returned home disappointed. You may know how it is when it’s a Sunday and for what ever reason you don’t go to House and then the rest of the day seems weird. Not to mention that unsettled feeling is compounded when you’re in a weird place, with no car, and now you’re stuck in the hotel room all day because it’s way too cold to go outside.

Kayla made some jambalaya for lunch which really lifted our spirits, but by evening we were still ready to break free and get out of here. We borrowed a car and hit the road. Our first idea was the mall, which turned out to be closed. So, we stopped at a gas station to see where something fun for Bright might be. Craziest thing was, the lady behind the counter was crazy (or possessed) and literally cussed Kayla out and gave her not one, but both fingers on the way out!!! We had to just laugh because it was so absurd…

Though neither of us said it, the whole day had just left us wanting to come home. After driving for a while we found a Burger King with a big kid’s area inside. There was one woman, about 65 or so, with two young boys. As Bright played with them she introduced herself to us. She had taken the boys from their adult text study so a single mom could get some quality time – and maybe more so Kayla and I could receive some much needed encouragement from Dad.

Her name was Karen, and for the next thirty minutes her presence was like a big hug for us. She genuinely loved Dad, was full of the HS, and encouraged us as she would have her own children. Only Dad can connect people like that, if you’ve experienced it then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You feel like family even though you’ve known each other for all of 35 minutes.

At the end of our time she chatted with us and I had to stop because I would have started weeping (which isn’t too uncommon for me, but can weird some people out when I first meet them – Lee Harper…) Just when I was starting to think, “Why are we doing this?”… Just when I was starting to lose my joy and gratitude because the day had not been convenient to me… Just when I was starting to feel sorry for myself and get all in a bad mood… Dad showed up at Burger King and refreshed my heart. I needed it. I can’t wait to spend eternity with people like Karen.


Two days ago was a big day. Here are the highlights:
1. Zion learned to crawl
2. Zion turned 8-months old
3. Bright got a stomach virus and threw up all evening (very pathetic)
4. I turned in my first seminary project for my Doctrine Survey class. I’m LOVING the class
5. I got stuck in the elevator with a group of large, sequin-clad women

In other news, we have started to feel more “at home” here and have met some awesome people. Annie and Brandon, Marisa and John, Jen and Paul, Heidi and Drake, Robin and Andre, the list goes on. The kids, Bright, Zion, Tristan, Isaac, Isaiah, Collin, Summer, Aralyn, Nadya, and others can be found running around the hotel together. Bright is going to hate to leave all of his new friends. It is wonderful to be around so many people who love J with all their hearts and want to see the nations come to him.

Changing the subject, Bright has caught on to the fact that he sleeps in the bathroom and does not appreciate it. The other day he said, as we were putting him in bed, “There’s no bedroom for me at this house.” Poor thing.

And yesterday we hit the streets for our first day of real EV. I had never done that before. I was nervous and excited. As it turned out, I was able to explain the G to an interested woman, but she did not PRC. Seeds were planted. I’m going to keep praying for her. Her name is Maryann. Also yesterday, the day after Zion learned to crawl, he pushed to sit AND ate his first bowl of solid food. He liked it so much he was licking it off the table. It has been a big week!

January 14, 2008

Washing, Filling, & a Free Apple Pie.

Yesterday morning we were determined to go to House. However, we have no car, no knowledge of the immediate area, and one rather complicated bus route map. I called a number of Houses, looked up what I thought was our route, and we headed out in a hurry... Only to miss our ride by a few minutes. Thankfully, there were a few other company people down in the parking lot who knew of a house close by that we could walk to.

Then our journey began. North on A1A Beach Front Avenue, Left on Silver Beach Road, over a draw bridge (that actually raised up for a ship to go under which greatly impressed Bright), Right on Martin Luther King Blvd, Left on International Speedway Blvd., Right on another street, then a Left, and then a final Right. One full hour and 3.1 miles later we found ourselves on the doorstep of Greater New Zion Primitive House .

I'll admit, had my wife not been there I probably wouldn't have done any of it. Don't get me wrong, Daytona Beach is a beautiful place, but we are in a deteriorating part of town, far from home, and have two babies with needs and nap times. If a person ever had an excuse to stay home on a Sunday morning it might have been us.

Feeling somewhat emotionally taxed, my heart was swelled when the doors opened and African American G Hymns washed over me. After a few songs, announcements, some testimonies, two offerings, and some more really good songs, the leader asked everyone to make sure and greet the visitors during the welcome time. Well, if anyone ever stuck out it was us.

I don't think I've ever been to a more friendly place, we were literally showered with sincere hugs and handshakes. One of Elder Laurence's main points was walking in fellowship with the HS, to not grieve Him with man-like thoughts and worries. It touched me on a number of levels, both because of our transition and to be reminded once again that a people totally unlike me can be and are full of the same Fire that resides in all Believers.

As we walked up to the local Rally's, a group of young guys walked by and said, "They in a bad neighborhood..." I might be naive, but I disagree as we have family just around the corner at Zion. In fact, as we ordered our 2 Big Buford's for $4, the woman taking our order kindly put in a free apple pie for us.

As we ate, Bright asked out of no where, "Why did we leave the car at home?" I had thought that would be a good idea and then we began the 3.1 mile journey home. Rain clouds gathered, we quickly retreated to the Walgreen's where some extra large trash bags and moving tape quickly converted our stroller into a mobile shelter. Kayla and I both felt exhausted for sure, but we also felt like we had risen to the challenge and conquered some of our own insecurities in a new place. As we came back down A1A, walking past empty building after empty building, seeing vacant person after person, the rain began to fall. And I was thankful that we belong to the One who both washes and fills.

Hopefully He'll use families like ours (the Rupp's, yours, and Greater New Zion) to wash and fill our communities as well.

January 10, 2008

A Report From Training Camp

Today I learned that I am a green (or not-ripe) apple. I WANT to be ripe, but I can’t wish myself into ripeness. I can’t perform myself into ripeness. The only thing I can do is stay connected to the branch. J said, “I am the vine." If I hang here connected to Him long enough, I will mature.

I also learned why I am reactive. I’ve always known that I am reactive, I just haven’t known why. By reactive I mean, for example, getting mad when I stub my toe. After 27 years on this earth, you would think that toe-stubbing would no longer surprise me. But it does, and I react in ways that affect those around me. (Toe stubbing is just one example. Another would be spilling spaghetti sauce on a white shirt. I could go on and on). Today I learned that when I react in such circumstances, I am protesting the fall. I am refusing to accept reality. In order to be rid of this nasty behavior trait, I need to be reconciled with living in a fallen world.

So, maybe someday I will report that I am a reconciled red apple. But for now, I am – literally and figuratively – in training.

Now I must go. I have a balcony date with my husband. We plan to heat up some instant decaf mocha in the microwave and step out onto our balcony to watch the waves in the dark.

January 09, 2008

Sun, sand, and one unpleasant bucket

We are at NST for the company, here in Daytona Beach. The white sunshine and sultry Atlantic air are like medicine. And we’ve needed it. Zion came down with RSV just before we left. We all have a nasty cold, in fact. Surprisingly, it was Daniel and I who had the most trouble on the airplanes. During the descent into Atlanta, I was clutching my ears and bawling like a baby. Humbling.

We are staying at the El Caribe. It is reminiscent of a giant lime popsicle sticking up out of the sand. We have an ocean-front room, with a balcony, the view from which I have posted here. The sleeping situation is interesting. Zion sleeps in the bedroom with us, and Bright sleeps in a pack-n-play in the bathroom. Using the toilet is not an option after he goes to bed. Therefore, we purchased a beach pale at the Winn Dixie, and we fill it with a little water and do our business. It gets emptied into the toilet in the morning, and it really isn’t all that bad. Ask me in four weeks, and I might have a different perspective.

I have to put the kids in daily childcare for the first time in their lives. It is a huge and scary step, but it is going to be good for me. Sometimes I think I hide behind the home a little, so I won’t have to do things that make me uncomfortable.

This is certainly an adventure. Peeing in a bucket. Living in a hotel. Dropping our babies off at a make-shift daycare on the 2nd floor. But the rewards are great. We will hear speakers teach on the HS, take classes on NT Survey and text Study Methods. We will train and practice EV, study Life Group structures, and learn how to effectively build our support team. Add swimming in the ocean and watching the shrimp boats from our living room window…and you’ve got a pretty awesome package. We’re uprooted for sure, but it is good practice for our big move this fall.

And when you boil it all down, we are doing this because we love Dad. And that makes it perfect.

January 02, 2008

Freedom to Comment!

Just a quick note: We've had a few people who have been unable to comment in the past and now we've changed the settings to make commenting possible. That includes you, Marcy :)

Also, I just wanted to say that the guy's voice in our current song totally sounds like our buddy, T.L. Holt. We miss you, T.L.!!! (And I'd love to hear you sing)

January 01, 2008

Finding Closure

New Year's Eve was bittersweet. Sweet because we spent it with awesome friends, Matt and Darci Long, who live on the other side of our wall. Sweet because we watched "High School Musical" and made ourselves sick on pizza-rolls and bon-bons. Sweet because we got into their kids' dress-up clothes and created rock-stars and rednecks and (in Daniel's case) Napoleon Dynamites out of ourselves.

And bitter because we will be on the other side of the world for New Years Eve next year. My friend, Laura, who now lives in India, advised me to, "Find closure in as many things as I can." And so last night, each time I applied a stick-on tattoo or poured another glass of sparkling pink Catawba grape juice, I noted that it would be my last for a while. And in doing so, I was able to embrace and release the moment at the same time. Happy New Year!