Miracle Week

In the last seven days, Michael and I have received over $3000 towards our time with Titus this coming Winter/Spring. It’s been a miraculous week! It started with a cheque from friends, continued with $1000 in our mailbox at YWAM Turner Valley, and ended with our church taking up an offering for us on Sunday. To date, we have nearly $13,000 of the $14,700 we need! Yay God!

In addition to the finances given, after asking for prayer at church for healing from my food intolerances (which would be a major inconvenience while on outreach), I was approached by others with the same struggles. I received encouragement and advice, and am being given enzymes and probiotics by a woman who felt God prompting her to gift the things that have helped her, to me. It had never occurred to me to pray for such things, and they’re certainly not included in our outreach budget. What an example of God providing even that which we do not know to pray for!

On top of all of this, as we visited Edmonton a couple of weekends ago, we received gifts specifically for our travels – Euros for our time in Germany, an amazon.ca giftcard to load up our Kindles for long journeys, and mini colouring books for those times we’ll spend in airports around the world.

Thank You, Lord, for a miraculous week! To Him be the glory! And thank you to all who so generously gave. We are blessed to be sent out by such a community of friends, family, and fellow-believers.

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A Trifecta of Awesomeness

This video features the beautiful lyrics and voice of Karla Adolpe, the filming talents of Jonathan Monkman, and scenes from YWAM Turner Valley’s property in the foothills of Alberta.

“All Your Glory” is from Karla’s Christmas EP, Lingering, available here. Enjoy!

What to Feed A…

‘Tis the season of entertaining, and whether you have family or friends coming for Christmas day or staying for Christmas break, chances are one or more of your guests will have a food intolerance or preference. Here are a few ideas for what to feed some of your guests:

What to Feed A Vegetarian

  1. Veggie burgers are probably the most classic, well-known vegetarian food out there. The trick is finding a recipe vegetarians will love, but carnivores will also devour. Earlier this week I made and served Our Perfect Veggie Burger by Oh She Glows, and they got great reviews. I don’t usually expect to hear praise for vegetarian food, but these burgers were well-loved, and many seconds were had. You can bake, pan fry, or barbecue these veggie burgers – I used the oven baking method. Just be gentle when you flip them over. These are also easily made gluten-free: just make sure you use GF breadcrumbs, GF soy sauce, and certified GF oats, if necessary.
  2. Quesadillas. Sure, you could just make a simple cheese quesadilla for your vegetarian family member/friend, and include meat for everyone else, but why not try these lentil quesadillas from Pinch of Yum (pictured below)? Another popular vegetarian quesadilla I often make is Eating Well’s black bean quesadilla. Of course, these are not vegan because of the cheese, and they’re a bit difficult to make gluten free because GF wraps are a major pain. The filling for the lentil quesadillas makes a great meal in and of itself, however.

  3. Pasta with tomato sauce is vegetarian…but it’s not very exciting. Why not try tossing pasta with pesto from thekitchn.com? You can use any greens you have on hand, and you can leave out the parmesan for any vegan or dairy-free friends/family members. This butternut squash and spinach lasagna recipe from Julia’s Album is not dairy-free, but it’s a vegetarian version of lasagna so different from tomato and beef based lasagna, no one will be thinking about the “absent” meat. Both recipes are easily made gluten-free, by using GF pasta.

What to Feed a Gluten-Free Guest

  1. Aside from the ideas above, which will come in handy if you have a guest who is both gluten-free and vegetarian, if your guest is a carnivore, a simple roasted chicken is a great gluten-free meal when paired with roast potatoes and veggies. There are many methods for roasting chicken, but I love the Kitchn’s “How to Roast the Perfect Chicken” guide. It’s way easier than you think. If you’re making gravy, make sure to use cornstarch as a thickener instead of flour, and if you need chicken stock to amp up your gravy, be sure that’s gluten-free too.
  2. When I was in Edmonton last week, the friends that introduced me to Food Wishes made Chef John’s turkey cocktail meatballs for Michael and I when they had us over for dinner. So yum. The recipe is not gluten-free as is, but they left out the Worcestershire sauce, and used crushed rice crackers as the crumbs, and they were delicious. Roast potatoes and veggies are another go-to side for this dish.
  3. If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic and spicy, I highly recommend Chef John’s chicken tikka masala. This is pretty much my go to entertaining dish now. You’ll need a well stocked spice cabinet for this meal, but it’s wonderful served with basmati rice, which is of course, gluten free. Make sure your chicken stock is gluten-free (chicken stock often contains barley, which is glutinous).

What to Feed a Sweet Tooth who is Gluten & Dairy-Free

  1. It becomes difficult to leave out dairy and gluten when it gets to the dessert course, but dessert is a pretty non-negotional part of Christmas entertaining, for most! Meringues are a great option. Duchess Bake Shop is pretty much the most magical place in Edmonton, and they shared their dark chocolate meringues recipe with Western Living Magazine. I’ve made them a couple of times, and to be honest, I’ve had trouble with the chocolate melting into the meringue mixture (resulting in the piped meringues looking a little like, um, poop), but you may want to leave the chocolate out anyways, especially if your guest has a severe lactose allergy. You could incorporate crushed candy canes into the mixture for a fun seasonal treat.
  2. I love ginger snaps, but I find baking cookies that are both gluten and dairy free to be pretty challenging (they spread everywhere and become one big cookie, which is less awesome than it sounds). Enter Cloud 9 All Purpose Baking Mix (which I purchased at Costco). I’m so impressed with this flour. Their ginger snaps recipe is gluten-free and dairy free, and they don’t spread everywhere while baking in the oven! P.S., this GF flour makes awesome gluten-free bread.
  3. I love this chocolate buckwheat cake from Smitten Kitchen. It does contain butter, but this might be okay for your dairy-avoiding guest – but be sure to ask. Dust with icing sugar, as pictured, or serve with coconut milk “whipped cream” by putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, scooping out the thick creamy stuff that rises to the top, and whipping as you would cream, with a touch of icing sugar (Thai Kitchen coconut milk definitely works – not all brands do, especially not anything on the lighter side).

I hope these ideas help you as you entertain this Christmas season. Are there any other types of allergies/intolerances you would like to see covered in this list? Do you have egg-free guests? Nut allergies? Friends/family who avoid soy? I’d be happy to do a round-two of “What to Feed A…”!

Waiting and Trusting in the Space Between.

"Waiting time !" by Craig Sunter on Flickr.com.

“Waiting time !” by Craig Sunter on Flickr.com.

Waiting and trusting feels counter-intuitive. We love to have a plan, to have all our ducks in a row, to know what’s coming and when. This is probably partially part of our Western mentality, but to top it off, Michael and I definitely lean towards thinking ahead, rather than “going with the flow.” Waiting and trusting isn’t always easy for us.

Though it might not be our preference to wait and trust and let go, it’s pretty Biblical. Over and over again throughout the Bible, we see examples of God’s people waiting and trusting (with varying degrees of doing this well!). Think of the Israelites in the wilderness. As they left Egypt, they trusted God would provide for them. They waited for direction in the form of a cloud leading them by day, and fire leading by night. They waited for food as they trusted that the manna that came today, would come tomorrow too. They trusted God would protect them and lead them to the Promised Land.

Another (seasonally appropriate!) example of waiting and trusting for the next step is found in the nativity – the birth of Jesus. Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wisemen – all of them trusting the Lord as they engaged the coming of Messiah. Mary trusted the Lord for the necessary wisdom to raise God-with-skin-on. The shepherds trusted that this newborn among livestock, was more than just the child of young impoverished parents, far from home. The birth of Jesus was the culmination of centuries of waiting and trusting that God’s promises would be fulfilled.

When Michael and I jumped back into YWAM a little over four years ago, we felt it was important to commit to never putting anything on a credit card that we couldn’t pay for. This is a bit of a delicate balancing act of waiting and trusting. When we have the finances for a flight, but not necessarily the finances for ground fees in the country we’re flying to, we book the flight and trust God will take care of the next step. In these last months, so often we feel that God is providing for us one step at a time. We currently have all of our flights (including our flights to Central Asia from Ukraine), as well as our ground fees for Kyiv, and even enough for our ground fees for Taiwan. So while we are debt-free in the sense that our flights are paid for, we are trusting God for the next step of having the finances for shelter, food, translators, transportation, etc., in Central Asia. We have what we need for now, but we wait on Him for what we need next.

Trusting God for the next step is also a reality as we simply plan our outreach. Our contacts in the first nation we’re heading to are expecting us and are preparing for us to come, but we have less information about the second nation we’re going to, and continue to wait for contacts to get in touch with us. We’re told this is normal for the countries we’re going to, but again, it puts us in a place of trusting God for the next step.

How is God calling you to trust in Him today? What are you waiting for as you look to Him in your next steps? While waiting and trusting may feel uncomfortable, we can trust our God in the space between His promise and calling, and the fulfillment of that promise/calling.