Thursday, June 5, 2014

...And On We Go

As you all know, life is busy!  So much has happened since I last updated our Blog. The snow has melted—the long, rough winter which felt endless is now a memory. In fact, today we went for a jog on the beautiful Rock Island Trail on a perfect 75 degree day! We are so thankful for the change of seasons that remind us of God’s grace and mercy to His creation.

Our niece, Nora Jean Kitibwa Mitchell was brown on February 16th. She was born by an emergency C-section, which was not anticipated. Although she was tiny and had some feeding issues she is now doing much better! She is beautiful and we can’t wait to meet her in person.
 
“Baby Tour” trip to CA was a total success. Although it was quick, and we missed visiting a few people this time around, we were thankful to catch up with friends and to meet many of their precious little ones. My dear friend Sandi and her husband Allan were sent off to the mission field in the Philippines, so I was thankful to see them one last time, say goodbye, and to meet their new baby, Noah, before they left. Josh was able to celebrate with his long-time friend Steve, as he married his bride, Katie. The wedding was beautiful! 




 We’ve seen the Lord answer specific prayer—providing me with a car and a steady job. For the last several months I’ve been working as an aid in a Pre-K class at Peoria Christian School. What a blessing it’s been! The school year came to an end over a week ago, so I’m on summer break. I’ve already celebrated by taking the train to Chicago for the day with two of my sweet girl friends.

In just a few days we are leaving for summer camp with the high school group. Josh has put a lot of time and effort into planning camp for about 180 attendees. We expect God to do great things! Camp also marks one year since we moved to Illinois and just over two years of marriage. We’ve enjoyed looking back on the past year and recalling how God has guided and lead and answered prayer so graciously. 


The past several months have also brought some trials to our family, but again, God’s hand is evident and we trust His plan as things continue to unfold. Josh’s dad was experiencing pain in his chest when exercising and the doctors thought there was a blockage that could require open heart surgery. After an angiogram, they discovered there was no blockage, but he was born with a heart “defect.” He is now on a beta-blocker medication to keep his heart rate down—this will help avoid a heart attack.

My brother-in-law is currently in the states in Indiana. He became so ill in Uganda, he was forced to return. He his in the hospital with malaria and is still fighting with his autoimmune issues. Please pray that my sister can work out some visa/passport issues so the family can all reunite in the states. (The rest of the family is still stuck in Uganda).

Just yesterday I turned in all of our paperwork to become foster/adoptive parents. It’s already been a long journey which has barely begun, but we are excited to see what ministry opportunities God will bring about through this new open door—hopefully we will be parents soon!

Time is too short to fully express all the Lord is doing and teaching us. I hope to Blog more often so I can avoid the “update” style—filling in many details in a short time. I’d much rather Blog more often and be able to share our hearts. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you all the low-down when we get back from camp. Until then, thanks for praying!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Below Zero

While January brings harsh frosts, chilly, snow stormy, winter winds, and below zero weather, it also brings our annual Snow Camp with our church youth. It was an incredible weekend! Not only was there snow, good food (even for camp food), fun, and wonderful friends, the teaching from God’s Word on evangelism was convicting and instructive. Small group time with the students was vibrant and productive—they asked some great questions and seem to be thinking deeply about Scripture’s teachings on witnessing. We returned home exhausted after a late night out (or should I say early morning) out with the senior class who will soon be graduating. We heard how the Lord is working in their lives and what he has been teaching them over the past year—definitely a highlight! We are extremely excited and encouraged at what the Lord is doing in the youth group at Bethany Baptist.

We are constantly in awe of the Lord’s faithfulness. He has sustained us though sickness, tiredness, continual adjustments to a new home and new weather, and scheduling puzzles (we are still working with one car). We know God works through His people and pray we will be willing to sacrifice to that end. God’s timing and call is perfect, and we look forward to seeing how He will orchestrate the events of our life here in Peoria for His glory. I have been reading through the Old Testament and it never gets old to see God’s hand unfold throughout history—the grace and faithfulness He showed to David by fulfilling His promise of the throne gives me hope for His fulfilled promise of heaven!

Baby tour 2014 is officially a go! We will be visiting California at the end of March to meet the many babies that have been born in our absence and look forward to loving on these little ones and catching up with dear friends. It will be a quick visit and Josh will be participating in his buddy Steve’s wedding. While time will be tight, our hope is to see as many of our friends and family as possible.

Just for Fun:
Here are the top ten ways I spend my time when the cold weather is too much for me to handle (in no particular order):

1. This American Life (radio show)

2. Al Mohler, The Briefing

3. Word with Friends

4. Spirit Empowered Preaching (Book by Azurdia)

5. Alias

6. YMCA

7. Art Azurdia (sermons)

8. 24

9. Juicing for a meal substitute (green goodness)

10. Keeping up with all of your baby pics on Facebook

Some fun pics/highlihghts from Snow Camp 2014:




 


 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!


Dear friends & family,

It's been a wonderful year full of exciting changes for the Beakleys! Right after Josh's graduation from seminary we finished up with a class together--The Pastor's Home. Then we jumped into our Honda Civic and drove 2,000 miles to our new home in Peoria, IL. We love the church body at Bethany Baptist, and Josh is greatly blessed with his new job as the youth minister. I've been substitute teaching part-time at a local Christian school and enjoying getting involved at church and pouring into new relationships.

This Christmas Josh's brothers are staying with us for a few weeks during their winter breaks from school. We are all enjoying the holidays together, and Janea is getting a quick lesson on how much food two teenage guys can eat!

Fun news! We are planning a visit to CA in April and can't wait to see many of you! We are excitedly expecting the birth of our next nephew/niece in February. We are also thrilled to start classes to get our foster care license in January. We know God has amazing things in store!

We pray your Christmas and New Year will include a time of reflection on the gift of Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers through His death. May your lives daily demonstrate the great gospel!

Much love to you from a cold and snowy Illinois!

The Beakleys






 



Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankful in Peoria



As I type this update, I’m sitting in Starbucks, milking a homemade green juice which I’ve accidentally camouflaged in a Starbuck’s cup. I’m waiting to meet with one of the high school gals in our youth group. And I’m filled with a deep sense of thankfulness. Now I know it’s November and everyone is writing Facebook posts about what they are thankful for—and I think that’s great! But without trying to sound pious, the gratitude I feel right now is much more grounded than “thankful for caramel latt├ęs."

I’m beginning to see more and more how every single day is a lavish love gift from the Lord. Every moment I enjoy with my husband, my family, my friends, and my church body is simply a testament to God’s grace. Health can decline over night, a healthy church can crumble before your eyes, political turmoil, natural disaster, and persecution could be the mark of days ahead. If and when any of those things happen, I know God will give me the grace to see those trials as a love gift as well. He will help me to worship and praise Him as He deserves and to experience a different type of gratitude that is just as important. But not right now. At this moment, I am comfy, healthy, and by all comparisons care free. I don’t deserve that and I don’t want to scuffle around God’s grace unaware of my flippancy.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been listening to Al Mohler’s, The Briefing, where he gives a daily analysis of headline news and points believers back to the biblical principles we should draw out of them. The world could collapse into chaos in mere months, weeks, or days, but today God’s grace has withheld His wrath for another time. That's something to rejoice about. I’m confident this perspective is part of what has contributed to the great gratitude I’m now experiencing.

Through various sermons and some of my own personal reading, I’ve been struck with our responsibility as the church to pray for the Holy Spirit to work in our midst as we gather together on Sunday mornings, or any time God’s Word is being preached. Without the enlightening work of the Holy Spirit, a sermon, though true, is simply a theological talk. But when the Spirit works, those same words have the power to convert souls and change lives! I need to pray more for my pastor. I need to pray more for my husband. I need to pray.

Will you join me in praying for our nation, our churches, our families, and with thanksgiving present these requests to our great God? And together stand amazed as the peace of God that makes no logical sense protects our hearts and our minds in Him.
 
"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." --John 14:16

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cultivating God's Heart


In the past few weeks, Josh and I began attending an orphan care class at our church. Now, no one is going to scoff at that, right. Every believer will nod their heads in agreement when the topic is brought up about caring for the orphan. But let me tell you, this class has opened my eyes to a much more biblical view of orphan care.

There are non-believers who will, and can skillfully care for, love, and provide for fatherless children. But the motivation for a believer to do orphan care in any form is much different--it is the glory of God! Yes, most people will feel compassion when they see a picture of a poor, malnourished, dirty-faced child from Africa, but my compassion should be fueled by a passion for the glory of God!

God has a special care for the orphan, widow, foreigner, and the poor. He is their advocate, protector, and He is passionate for justice!  I want to reflect Jesus' heart by seeking to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the life of a fatherless child.  

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation."
--Psalm 68:5

Please pray for Josh and I as we begin this journey of faith and obedience to God's command to love the often forgotten in our society. We haven't yet figured out exactly what our part is--foster care, respite, adoption...but we are confident in God's call, and look forward to discovering exactly what He has planned for our family. Right now, our initial plan is to begin foster care classes through the state of Illinois in January and then go from there.

To God be the glory!

Friday, August 23, 2013

We Are Family

We couldn't be more thankful for our family. And we praise God this summer has been filled with family time. We had some great time with Josh's parents before they headed back to South Africa and I (Janea) have already been able to see my sister three times! We met up in Chicago, I drove to Indiana for Nate's 4th birthday party and last week, they came up to Peoria to see our lives. You may have seen the zoo pictures on Facebook. :)

As I write this, Josh's best man, Matt, is here visiting for a few days and we are having a blast! Josh and I are showing Matt some Peoria "hot spots" that we have yet to visit ourselves, so we are all experiencing them together for the first time! In a few weeks my dad and Patty are coming to visit and we'll all see my sister off to Uganda. I'm also planning a visit with my dear friend, Sandi who will be coming out for a few days in the middle of August. As I said, lots of visitors! WE LOVE IT.

There has been more exciting news on the family front. Earlier in the summer we found out some of the most wonderful/miraculous news I've ever had. We found out that my sister is pregnant! For those of you who don't know why this is "miraculous," I'll give a quick sum-up.

My sister and Caleb have been married for sixteen years without any pregnancy. They never felt God leading them to explore infertility options, especially after an initial appointment when the doctor said that things seem to be fine and he didn't know why they weren't getting pregnant. They left it in the Lord's hands and were content with my two adorable adopted nephews. So imagine all of our surprise when my sister found out about this new addition to the family. We are rejoicing with them as my sister's belly grows (slowly, but surely). :)

We are rejoicing at God's great goodness in the lives of our family. We are greatly blessed!



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Transition

"Are you feeling settled?"

I can't tell you how many times we've been asked that question both here in Illinois and from people back home in LA. It may sound like a simple question, but really, it's not that easy. How do you "settle" quickly after leaving a lifetime of memories, friends, family, and an amazing church home? It takes time.

We LOVE Peoria, the people, and the church here! And we long to be at a depth of friendship and ministry with people that can take 10 years to build. But God has been gracious. Kind people are reaching out to befriend us, and Josh continues to grow in his preaching. It's a a big adjustment to start preparing two sermons a week. But Josh is a champ and is bringing the Word faithfully. He's definitely busy...there have been lots of church events, including a trip to Six Flags.

All the boxes are gone out of our new apartment and pictures are hung. I (Janea) have been having a blast trying out new decorating ideas and I've discovered that you can find some pretty cool things from the Salvation Army  and Good Will. :) I've pinned some pics of our new apartment. If you're on Pinterest, check it out. I got to visit my sister and her family for my nephew's 4th birthday party, which was a very special time. I also just volunteered to help write content for our church website. They are revamping the entire site and thought my skills would be helpful in the process. I'm excited to start a fun project like this. We've decided to visit the idea of me working part-time, but we'll make that decision in September. For right now, I'm busy as you can tell.

We just got back from an overnight retreat with the graduating sr. high students. They call it a "transition retreat." It's a time to prepare the students for challenges they might encounter in college. We discussed picking a church, and even practical things like study tips. The ironic part about the transition retreat is that all of the leaders are themselves in the midst of big transitions--Josh and I moving here and settling in, and the other leader Dan and his wife Mandy just had a baby a few weeks ago (their second). So, we had fun "transitioning" together. Lots of junk food, good conversations, and we even figured out how to start a pontoon after conquering some battery issues. 

We are so thankful for how God is working here, and we know we are where God wants us, but we still do miss CA for sure! We're excited for what God has planned, that we have yet to discover.



 Pics: Me with Dan and Mandy's oldest--she's such a cutie.
Josh with some youth group guys at Six Flags.
My nephews and their cousins at a Tin Caps baseball game.