We enjoyed our first Christmas morning in Arkansas. The afternoon, evening, and 4 days that followed without power are and adventure we'll never forget.

Here's our annual orchestrated chaos of unwrapping the presents video.

A special thanks to the Hopkins who sent extra funds specifically to buy the kids some gifts, and to the Reapers Life group who sent an unexpected surprise package full of gifts for the whole family. Your faithfulness and obedience to God in your generosity towards us is amazing and helped make this Christmas special.

AuthorAbraham Lara
update:  added contact info for sending in financial support

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i'm pleased to announced that i've added deborah as an author to this blog. and as her first post we like to share something she wrote this past week to some facebook friends. enjoy:

25 things that'll blow your mind!

1) We're moving to Little Rock, Arkansas!

2) Last week (from June 17- June 21, 2009) my husband, Abraham, and I spent time at the ministry of FamilyLife in Little Rock, AR.

3) My mom, Rebecca Berghoff, took care of our 6 lovely daughters for the time we were away.

4) My mom took our girls tent-camping for part of that time- accompanied only by a 10-year old cousin (our oldest is 8 and our twins are 14 months); they all survived and had fun eating marshmallows and taking hikes.

5) While at FamilyLife I shook hands with both Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

6) FamilyLife hosts Weekend to Remember Conferences each year; in 2008 there were 155 Weekend to Remember Conferences with more than 87,700 people in attendance and 2,973 reported salvation decisions.

7) FamilyLife also produces a daily radio program, distributes resources to many ministry channels,has developed HomeBuilders- a Bible Study for families, has international ministries, and reaches out to orphans through Hope for Orphans.

8) In February of 2008, Abraham & I attended our 3rd WTR; it was there that we attended their staff opportunities meeting and indicated we were interested in joining their staff.

9) Staff with FamilyLife are essentially missionaries; they raise both financial and prayer support; they uproot their families and move to the foreign field of Arkansas; the focus of their ministry is "to build godly marriages and families who will change the world, one home at a time".

10) After a year in the application process and jumping through figurative hoops we were invited to come to Little Rock to preview the ministry.

11) I spent 5 days away from my kids; I didn't change one diaper or get any food spilled on me.

12) Our time with the staff at FamilyLife was extremely affirming and validating; by the close of our time with them both Abraham and myself felt confident that this is where God wants us.

13) "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

14) Upon completion of this interview process, we were asked to come on staff with FamilyLife.

15) When we came home and shared the news with our kids they were all- mainly the older three- extremely excited.

16) Before we can report to work, we must attend two additional staff trainings and build a team that will come alongside us to monthly support our ministry to marriages and families.

17) The first one will be held September 12-19, 2009 in Orlando Florida.

18) During this week of training we won't even be taken to DisneyWorld.

19) The approximate cost for Abraham and me to attend these trainings total just over $6000.

20) "And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others." 2 Corinthians 9:8

21) At this point, I want to appeal to you to partner with us to meet this special need. Would you prayerfully consider giving $500, $300 or$100 to cover these expenses? (I throw out those numbers to encourage you to think big:o) Undoubtedly, we would gratefully accept any amount that you could donate.)

22) I am really excited about what God has in store for my family at this season in our lives! I know that He is a BIG God; He already has all the details of our lives worked out!

23) If you feel that God has equipped you to help us at this time , you can send checks directly to us. (For a tax deduction, make checks out to Campus Crusade for Christ- or CCC).

24) Whether it is giving financially or simply by praying for us, know that we care about you and appreciate your interest and investment in our lives.

25) "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4 :19

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If you have any further questions or comments please leave them here, email me, twitter me, or call me. I look forward to hearing from you!!

Until the whole world hears,

Deborah Lara

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if you'd like to send us financial support you can mail checks to:

503 Concord Ave.
Grandview, WA 98930

make checks out to: Campus Crusade for Christ

after we get our missionary acct. # assigned we'll put it in the memo of the check and then send it in to Campus Crusade for Christ.

once we get our acct # if you'd later like to send in on going support directly we'll have an address to give.

faithful readers/followers will know that over the course of the last year Deborah and I have been on a journey seeking God's will about the possibility of joining the staff of FamilyLife in Little Rock, AR. if you're a new reader (or listener of the podcast), you can read about the ministry of FamilyLife and how we would become involved in this previous post.

what started as checking a box on a postcard at a conference indicating that we had "interest" in learning more about the staff opportunities with FamilyLife has brought us to this past weekend where we actually visited the campus.

i'll get to the "nitty gritty." long story short; we can't tell you yet. let me explain.

all of the applicants at the Ministry Preview were given a decision from FamilyLife about whether or not they were accepted to join on as staff.

[btw: there were 9 couples and 2 single ladies that were a part of our ministry preview; including us.]

the decisions given ranged from: yes, no, or wait. if a couple/individual was given a yes, then FamilyLife asked them to go back home and pray about the decision and then they would follow up with them on thursday to find out if the couple/individual would receive the invitation. if given a no; they were told why they didn't feel that FamilyLife was a good fit for that couple/individual. and if given a wait; they were also given a reason why and a timeline of how long they should wait and areas of growth that would need to happen before continuing the process again.

all of the applicants found out on satuday afternoon where they stood in terms of FamilyLife's decision. saturday morning we had a time of sharing about what God had shown/taught us through the weekend. we were given some time to say goodbye to the various applicants and staff that we had connected with over the weekend. and then we were then called on one at a time by the various evaluators to be given our decisions. after that we were taken away off campus by host families that we'd be staying the night with and going to church with.

so after the morning time of sharing/good-byes we didn't have a chance to talk to the other applicants about what decision was given to us. in fact we were asked not to email/call or otherwise contact each other and talk about our decisions until after July 1st. this is to allow every couple/individual to process the decision they were given and also not allow the decision/thoughts/feelings of another person/couple to influence their decision.

for some people this process (and in particular this weekend) was a very stretching experience. we were challenged in our faith, we were stretched in our emotions, and we were spent physically (long travel, late nights). if given a "yes" answer, some people were confident that God was also leading them to join FamilyLife. still others had to think, pray, and wrestle through the decision.

and the same goes for a "wait" or "no" answer. some were feeling the same leading from the Lord from their end of things. and others had to wrestle over that decision given to them.

and so for this reason i won't post anything publicly here on this blog (either text or audio podcast) on FamilyLife's decision until after july 1st. locally, you're welcome to come by and we'll share with you what God has brought us through on this application journey. for those of you who aren't local and would like to know before the 1st, give us a call and we can spend some time talking about it.

i do plan to write more about our time in Little Rock this past week, and some of the thoughts/emotions that we experienced. and i'll do that even before july 1st. you can hear a taste of what we were feeling when we were actually in the middle of our weekend preview process on the podcast that deb and i recorded. (for those of you who lovingly labored through our 1st podcast - this one's MUCH better!)

we'll we're just about to head out on our trip to Akansas, so i thought this would be the prefect time to update my blog and web hosting.

actually the real reason i did it was so that i could get with a webhost that offered unlimited space and bandwidth. last week deb and i recorded our pilot podcast. so i wanted a place that would host it all.

i'll still have to figure out how to upload the podcast and make it itunes and rss compatible, but watch the site for updates. hopefully i can get it all worked out today and be able to post updates and a new podcast episode while on our trip.

we'll be covering life, faith, marriage, parenting, our journey with FamilyLife Today.

we're heading out on our trip tomorrow morning at 4am. a huge thanks to grandma rebecca for taking ALL 6 kids for us this week. plus she's taking them and cousin cathy camping for the first part of it! send lots of prayer her way. here they are just about to pull out of the driveway.

AuthorAbraham Lara
familylife staff

in my recent post about “the Waiting” season of life our family is in I discussed our application to FamilyLife Today to work on staff. in the comments a reader asked what I would do there. I was simply going to respond in the comments but then it got to be longer than i would like for a comment. and plus the fact that i figured it’d make a great post on it’s own. so here’s the answer to the question.
what would your role on staff be?

from what i've been told/learned my staff role would be determined probably closer to when we actually move there.  they had us take a "strengths evaluation/personality profile" test to kinda determine what we/i would be good at.

FamilyLife is a big organization (i think some 350-400 employees).  since the fundraising stage takes so long they don't really place you anywhere since they don't know exactly when you'll be coming.  they're always looking for people. you can visit their website here under "staff opportunities" at the bottom of the page (here's a direct link: http://is.gd/kTv). on the left side there's a "where would i serve?" section.

basically they're always looking for people to help with the radio broadcast production, coordinators for their Weekend to Remember conferences, website design/content, promotions, finance dept., human resources, writing their small groups material and other content, etc.

right now i could see myself working either as a writer, or a conference coordinator, or maybe graphic design or video production.  although i enjoy that last area i haven't ever received any formal training so i don't know the "professional' apps that much (but i'm a quick learner).

but like i said all that would be determined later. one of the reps i talked to said that when we would be invited to a “ministry preview” (which essentially is the step right before where we are now) they would ask us where we see ourselves working, they assess what’s needed, and where they think would be a good fit for us. he said that they like it if we could see ourselves working in 3-4 different areas. because if we only see ourselves as a good fit in the finance department (or whatever else) and then we go through all the fundraising process and at that moment in time they don’t need someone in finance, then it’s kinda tough for them.

he said they’d much rather us feel comfortable in several different areas, and then when we get to about 90% of our fundraising goals then they asses what’s still needed and the department leaders get to “fight over you”. (seriously, those were his words. he was kinda joking, but apparently they’re always looking for more staff.)

so what exactly will i be doing? i don’t know, i’ll know more probably by the end of next summer or christmas ’09. we’ll keep you all posted.

// today i'm thankful for:
1. the ability to write
2. being able to walk
3. being able to talk
4. being able to use the restroom on my own
knowing where i am at all times

(all those above are related to another post i’ll be writing about at a later date)
AuthorAbraham Lara