Aly & Tim Neufeld: Marriage, School, and Life

This post has been a long time coming. I originally planned to have these two as quests on my blog in December, but life has been busy/exhausting these last couple of months. Anyways here is my post about Aly & Tim.

A little background on my relationship with these two. Alyson is my only sister, and we have been through a lot. There were years where we were very close and there were years that we were very far apart. Although our relationship was rocky at times, I believe that we have come out the better for it. I think God used those rough years to teach us both valuable lessons. Tim and I don’t go as far back, but I think we have become good friends in the shorter amount of time. We worked together at McDonald’s for a number of years, and had similar hobbies throughout high school which allowed us to build a strong friendship. I asked Aly & Tim to answer a few questions and here are their responses.

Q: What is one hard thing about being newlyweds
A: I wouldn’t say that there is a hard thing about being newlyweds, it’s a learning experience and it is a lot of fun. I remember lots of people being shocked that we were newlyweds and going to school because they thought it was going to be extremely difficult to do, but it hasn’t been difficult and I am glad that we can help each other out and work together. One thing that isn’t fun about this semester at school is how little we see each other on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that is definitely something we are going to have to work with.
T: Learning to use the word ‘we’ instead of the word ‘I’ is a new change for my vocabulary. As long as we keep our minds open and respect each other, the learning experience Aly mentioned really is a lot of fun. We share a whole life together and we learn to take on the world as a team.

Q: What are some things you guys are currently learning about at Briercrest?
A: A lot. We are learning about all sorts. I am completing a certificate in Biblical studies so I have been taking a lot of bible courses. This semester I am taking Gospels, Intro to Psych II, History of Christianity II, Intro to Christian Theology and General Epistles.
T: Well, I learn Greek, South Asian history, Foundations in youth ministry, Geography (To fill my science requirements), and Exodus. I have taken mostly Bible, History, Theology, and TESOL classes so far.

Q: What have you learned about married life after being married for 9 months?
A: It is a lot of fun, I love being married to my amazing and cute husband. It feels so good to come home to someone you know loves and care for you. I can’t imagine my life without my wonderful husband. Married life is not a piece of cake though, we both have to work through things together and sometimes we have to make difficult decisions.
T: I have learnt that we have created a new family by stepping out of our birth families and uniting into one of our own. I think this is important because it helps us put each other first. I have learnt that married life is great. It is all around a good time. You get to do everything together! Ad she listens to my rambling… which is very important for a rambler like me.

Q: How do you incorporate God in your marriage?
A: We always make sure to pray together and out loud. Often when I am getting frustrated or annoyed I get told to pray or read the Bible. We both find it very important to have God in our marriage and we both try to read the Bible and pray often. In our marriage counseling they talked a lot about communication with the Lord and asking for his guidance on our marriage.
T: Probably one of my favourite times of the day is right before we sleep. For us, this is a time to debrief the day with each other and with God. We encourage and exhort each other to live strong biblical lives, as we are an example to many other couples here who are dating, engaged, or married. We continue to give thanks for the provisions God has granted us, we pray over decisions, and continually ask for guidance in future things.

Q: What are some funny/amusing differences or habits that you learned about each other since being married?
A: I know what Tim is going to say when he answers this question. You will often see us speed walking around Caronport because Tim always like to be on time whenever we go somewhere and I am always okay with being a little late so we often struggle with that difference. For the most part I would say we work with our differences, Tim used to never put away his jacket, now he does, that sort of thing. We are both pretty honest when it comes to things that annoy each other so we work to fix them.
T: First, I don’t think Aly knows how to close a closet door. To her, they must just be holes in the wall. Second, light switches. What are they for? She will never know. Lastly, Aly does not think the action of sitting can be done without another action. This second action can be anything from destroying cup lids to playing with a pencil. We joke about these things, and we have a good time. A wise man told me not to worry about the little things, and he was right. Things go a lot smoother when you just don’t worry about the small stuff.

Q: If you look back on you time that you dated, what are some things you would do differently? the same?
A: Something I really liked about dating is that we spent a lot of time together, I felt like I really got know Tim during this time. While we were dating we also prayed together and read couple’s devotionals together and talked about God and the future a lot. Something I would do differently is do things. We often would watch TV and talk and not do much else. We both did work full time jobs and were pretty tired after a long day’s work and didn’t really want to do much.
T: Aly nailed it with her answer., We were both quite tired after work during that time, but I too wish we would have wasted less time on TV. I think intenionality was a big deal for me, and I made that known. Getting to know someone takes time, so if you want to know someone better, spend more time with them. That part was not rocket science. Sharing dreams and aspirations was something I think is also important. Devotionals, prayer, and spiritual encouragement are great things that worked well for us, and I’d encourage anyone in a strong relationship to do the same.

Q: How have you been reaching out to those around to you to inspire, encourage and love them?
T: Aly & I try to be good examples in how we conduct ourselves in class and among our friends here at Briercrest. We are trying to get more out of our shell this semester and both do some volunteering. Last semester I worked at a local church on Friday nights teaching English and running short bible studies with the immigrants.

Q:Did you have to make any lifestyle changes since moving to Caronport? If so, what and why?
A: Well since we are going to school that is very different from the work lifestyle. I actually have to schedule what my week/dy is going to look like and be disciplined with myu time which I didn’t do at all when I was working because it was the same thing every day. We have a dog so we have learned how to her in our day. We really learned and enhoyed our time here so far and hope to continue doing that.

Q: Are there any verses or words of encouragement that have gotten you through tough times at any point in life or during married life?
A:I have always enjoyed Paul and his letters, especially his letter to the Philippians. His words are encouraging and direct.
Philippians 4:4-9 “rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

T:I have five verses right above my computer. They focus me. This smattering of Scripture is to remind me why I am at school, what good my degree will do, how I am going to get it done, and who it is all for.

  1. Micah 6:8 -He has told you, O man, what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justice, to love kindness,
    And to walk humbly with your God?
  2. Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
  3. James 1:5-8 -But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
  4. Philippians 2:13 – For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
  5. Luke 10:2 – And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest that he send out workers into his harvest.

The rules to marriage are simple 1. love God 2. Love each other 3. love others. Marriage is not always simple, but God has provided guidelines in the Bible as to what it should look like. I think Tim and Aly understand these rules and if they follow them they will have a marriage filled with Joy, it won’t always be easy, but it will be joyful!

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Matthew: Build your foundation

Have you ever run into a situation where you feel called to talk to someone about Jesus and salvation, but you back off because you are worried they will have questions you can’t answer? I sure have; we as humans will never fully understand everything, but God gave us the Bible as a guide and the rest is faith.

The Bible is our guide, it helps us build a foundation that supports our continued faith. Last week I was reading through Matthew 13 “the Parable of the Sower” and it clicked how important a foundation is. Our faith is a living thing, and like all living things if it does not have a proper source of sustenance (foundation or the Word) our faith will die. To use another example, if you built a fire and the fire represented your faith and oxygen/wood represented your foundation what would happen if you took the wood or oxygen away? You would no longer have a fire, the same is true with our faith.

This Bible passage also brought another thought to mind. I have often thought about people that get baptized right after hearing about Jesus for the first time, and Matthew 13:5-6 made me think about this. I don’t think that baptizing someone right after they hear about Jesus is wrong, but it always worried me. Now I know why it did, these people are like the seeds that fell on the rocky soil, they have a large “rush” of Jesus, but quickly fall back to their old ways. Like I said before it is not wrong to baptize people right after they learn about Jesus, but my warning to the people that are baptizing others is that you should make sure that the person has someone who can give them support and teach them the foundation after. I like to think of it as transplanting the plant to the good soil.

It is always important to have a proper foundation, so please if you are new to having a relationship with Jesus, ask someone to guide you through some of your questions, and build up your foundation.

Our responsibilities as Christians is to build our foundation so we can step out in faith, and start a new foundation for somebody else. By talking to that person on the street or at work you are doing this!

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31a

Matthew: Pray For Our Enemies?

I am going to be starting a new series of posts, my goal with this series is partially selfish, but also not. A couple of Saturday’s ago my church’s two awesome youth pastors Corey and Autumn put on a seminar type thing for youth leaders. It was focused a lot on where we are at and how that affects our youth (or at least that is what it was like for me). One of the questions was “Are you excited about the Gospel? Why or why not?” Wow, what a question, I had not been thinking about that at all, and after praying and taking time to think about it, I came to the disappointing conclusion that no at this point in my life I was not excited or anything about it. So my goal with this new series is to keep me focused on reading through the Gospel and to push me deeper. The other side of it is I want to hopefully help people to understand things in the Bible better, and also to challenge them to go deeper with their time in the Bible. Now onto the actual post!

With everything that has been happening with ISIS and the attacks on Parliament and numerous other things, I have been thinking a lot about the action we take on ISIS, as well as terrorists inside Canada. It has been a hard subject for me to think about, because my initial thoughts are that we need to fight back, that we need to boost security and take action! On the other hand I don’t condone murder. This has been extremely hard to think about as I have been reading through Matthew the last couple of weeks. Matthew 5:43-44 says that we should love and pray for our enemies. When was the last time you prayed for ISIS or the KKK or any other terrorist or extremist group that threatens the safety of both Canada and countries around the world? I can tell you that in my memory I can not remember a single time that I have ever prayed for either of those groups.

When Jesus says that we should pray for our enemies what does He mean? Well, He is not saying that we should pray them out of existence, instead we should pray that they would be changed by the Holy Spirit, and find trust in the Lord. Now obviously this does not mean we stop defending our nation as well as helping nations that are not as developed as Canada, but it does mean that we have to pray for these people. We also need to pray for the leaders of our country as well as the leaders of other nations. We need them to make the right decisions, to not endanger innocents, and to free those being persecuted.

Please join me this coming month and pray for people that are a part of these organizations. That they would have a change of heart, that the Holy Spirit would do a work in their lives like non-before. Is their any better Christmas present for these men and women than to be prayed for and find salvation in Jesus Christ? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” Romans 3:23-24

Mel, Walter, Jolee, and Kenna: Their story

My Earliest memory of the Friesen family is from the couple of times I went to Winkler Bible Camp. I only met Walter (according to my memory) and all I remember was that he was hilarious! Since that time they have added family members (Jolee and Kenna) and have continued to encourage and inspire me in my walk with God.

Over the past 4 years I have had the amazing opportunity to get to know their family, and they have become like family to me. We joined the Jr. Youth program at Grace Mennonite Church in the same year, and have been working together to inspire youth ever since. Some of my favourite things about this family is that they are honest, loving, crafty, handy and all around awesome people.

Earlier this month I asked Mel and Walter if I could do a blog post about them and they agreed! I created some questions to ask them, and my goal with these questions were to challenge them to think, but also to use the answers to help teach, encourage and inspire the people who read them. See the “interview” below:

Me: What is one word that describes your family?
Family: Crazy, Artistic, Creative, Loving, Special. We couldn’t narrow it down to one.

Me: What is something crazy/funny that has happened to your family?
Family: Trying to have a sleepover in a snow fort in the coldest part of winter, with a windchill between -45 and -50. Mel didn’t try, she just prayed hard. The girls and Walter lasted an hour or two.

The next set of questions are directed towards Mel and Walter.

Me: What was the best and the hardest part of being newlyweds?
Mel: That was 14 years ago so it’s so hard to remember what being a newlywed felt like… I think the best part of being newlyweds was starting our own unit, our own home, meshing our similarities and differences into our home. The hardest part of being a newlywed is we each brought our own baggage/background to the home and had different thoughts on what marriage was, or completely different expectations and selfish motives on what we would “get” out of it.
Walter: The adventure and excitement of a new life together!

Me: What was the best and the hardest part of being new parents:
Mel: The best part of being new parents happened for us 11 years ago. Jolee brought a whole new dynamic to our lives – a family instead of a couple. We were completely scared and excited that we were parents – in charge of this tiny human!! The responsibility made us mature and think beyond ourselves, so that was awesome. The hardest part was feeling so inadequate and finding that others around us place so much pressure in parenting to their expectations and standards. We need to find our own path in the chaos of being new at the whole parenting thing.
Walter: The best part was having a beautiful little baby that you could snuggle with and the excitement of being a family, not just a couple. The hardest part was the scariness of the small life you hold in your hands and the weight of responsibility of bringing up a child.

Me: What was the best and hardest part of the girls starting school?
Mel: Each girl was different. So here goes: THe best part of sending Jolee off to school in Kindergarten was seeing her socialize with other kids her age. We had lived a somewhat sheltered life before that as we were at camp and didn’t join in on the usual parent/child things like soccer/baseball/dance/gymnastics. So seeing her interact with kids was great. The hardest part? Letting go. Walking away from the school, we were both feeling pretty close to tears. Our little girl was growing up! It was hard to trust people other than us to take care of her needs. With Kenna, it was completely different. She is a social bug. She loves doing interactive stuff, she craves it. So the best part of sending her off to school was seeing her become a leader in her class, someone who thrived in the environment and excelled. The hardest part of sending her was it was our last child, the house was empty. No crazy Kenna schemes for a few hours each day.
Walter: The best part would be the girls’ excitement for learning, and the prospect of Mel having a little less stress in her life. The hardest part was trusting others with our precious children, where there’s lots of opportunity to make life difficult for our kids (from teachers/students). teachers may be influencing our kids in areas we don’t want them to be influenced.

Extra note from Mel: When Walter mentioned the stress in my life, I had completely forgotten how stressed out I was with two young and ver different daughters in the house at the same time. They fought a lot back then. I was definitely pulling hairs out, and found myself angry a lot in their earlier years. I’m So glad that God has chiseled some of that away.

Me: What would be one piece of advice you would give a couple about to be married?
Mel: Marriage right now for you is a destination. It’s what you want, crave, and think will be so much easier than dating, but it’s not a destination – it’s a journey. It isn’t temporary, it’s not always awesome (hate to break it to you). Some days you will feel like throwing in the towel, but don’t ever let yourself think it’s even possible. The days that are rough – when they come – will make you a stronger couple if you stand together in the thick of it. When the days of joy come, it will be even sweeter. Love each other through it all.
Walter: Jesus first. When you are first married, it’s easy to be less selfish, but it won’t take long before selfishness wants to creep in. Give selfishness the boot.

Me: What would be one piece of advice you would give a couple soon to be parents?
Mel: Parenting can seem scary. The responsibility towards a little baby to keep them healthy… it can rock your world when you finally hold him/her. First off, enjoy the moments you have now as you wait for your baby to arrive. Sweet moments together as a couple, planning, dreaming, and waiting. When baby arrives, know that things will change and you may be tired in all of the transition, but it’s worth it. Take time for each other as well in the chaos of parenting. Your child will crave seeing his/her parents love each other.
Walter: Don’t be afraid. It’s not as scary as it seems. Pray lots.

Me: Are there a couple of verses that have pulled you through hard times?
Mel: It’s weird to think back on what verses have impacted us in hard times. I can’t remember some of them, but in the moment when we need clarity for a decision or just encouragement to keep going, God has a way of bringing the right verse to mind. Right now with all that has transpired over the last few months (Jolee’s lyme disease and subsequent medical issues), James 1:2-6 has been playing in my head. Pure joy never made sense to me until we went through this trial. Also, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 has been a favourite of mine for several years, reminding me to keep on, know that all that is happening is temporary.
Walter: Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Corinthians 9:24, and Ephesians 4:29.

Me: What is one way you can currently see God moving in your family?
Mel: Right now? I see God changing us, making us more joyful and present in the moment. More compassionate towards those hurting or needing help.
Walter: He’s building our trust in Him, and teaching us to dig deeper in a relationship with Him. Giving us the opportunity for hospitality towards others, and being faithful where He has put us.

The next set of questions are for Jolee and Kenna.

Me: What is one thing you appreciate about each of your family members?
Kenna: I like that Daddy is good at biking, I like that Mommy is good at washing dishes, I like that Jolee draws good.Jolee: I like that Daddy fixes computers, I like that Mommy is crafty, I like that Kenna is funny.

Me: What is one of your favourite things to do with your parents?
Kenna: Go on tripsJolee: I like to walk or ride bike to school with Mommy.

Me: What is your favourite Bible verse?
Kenna: John 3:16
Jolee: 1 Corinthians 13:13

Me: What would you tell someone who is nervous about starting school?
Kenna: You’ll get better at it when you practice it more.Jolee: I’d tell them that they will get used to it and they will have lots of fun.

I love this family and their story. They are always willing to be open with me and have so much more wisdom than can be shared in a blog post. Please take a little time to pray encouraging things for them.

I hope and pray that these answers help someone who is going through a difficult or a new journey in life. As an added bonus, Alyson and Tim Neufeld will be next months focus family!

Jordan Lee Froese

Pumpkin Carving!

On October 26, 2014 Sam, Mikaela,Tyler, my Mom and I carved some pumpkins. See pictures attached 😀 Not all pictures were taken by me, but all were taken with my camera.

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Find Rest My Soul

God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you. – Augustine

Until a few years ago when I thought about God giving me “rest” or “sheltering me in the storm of life” I thought of it purely in a physical sense. This lead me to a lot of disappointments in God, I was not happy, because I thought that he was going to make life easy, but I was wrong. God’s plan for us is not an easy life, in fact he says other wise in the Bible, but God promises us a different type of rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (emphasis mine).

What Jesus is talking about there is a rest for our souls. God has given us the Bible for a couple of reasons, to get to know him, to understand that Jesus died for us, and to know that we have eternal life just to name a few. Out of all the things I read in the Bible, most of it is comforting. The New Testament is all about Jesus; what He did, What he is doing, and What he will do. He was born, He lived as a human man, and died on the cross for our sins. Then, He sent the apostles out to make more disciples. The most comforting of these is that He died for us so that we could have eternal life in Heaven, if that is not comforting to you I can’t think of anything that would be.

The comfort and rest that Jesus offers us is not one that will fully be available in this world, we will get a taste of it for sure. An example of that would be, if you would lose your job, but continued to have faith in Jesus, you would find peace and rest in knowing that He has more plans for you, you just need to listen and follow His lead. We will fully receive this reward in Heaven.

Until that time lets remember Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

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