Saturday, August 30, 2014


Hello friends, this is Amanda here. This is a real, raw, honest and vulnerable post. Bear with with me here.

A few days ago Matt and I were driving home.  I was having a particularly hard time thinking about leaving our home, moving to New York, moving to Indonesia, taking Grace to a third world country.  As we were driving, tears started filling my eyes I felt that tight ball of anxiousness build in my chest as I spoke.  "Matt what are we doing? These people love us, this is our home. This is just crazy!" As I continued to speak the tightness got worse, and my words got more fearful, they just poured out. "Everything in Indonesia is poisonous, I don't even KNOW the dangers there, here I know what bugs are dangerous, what plants will leave a rash, here I know what to eat and not to eat.  I don't know ANY of the dangers there!  I won't have any friends over there! It is going to take forever to make one meal with food that might make us sick!  What if we get malaria? What if GRACE gets malaria, or something even WORSE! It seems so irresponsible to leave people who love us and invest in our lives! Our parents, Gracie needs to grow up with them near!"   Matt has a way of staying calm in the midst of a storm or under pressure. He sat there listening, and would interject truth in where he could. But I was not listening. I was scared, frustrated, and I didn't want to be told it was okay.  I was letting myself go there. To a place where I didn't see how God could take care of us, where I wasn't trusting Him.  That is a dark place to go.
We got home, it was late at night. Grace was asleep in her car seat, so we sat there talking (or bawling) in the driveway. I continued stating all my fears, crying, breathing fast and feeling completely fearful and out of control of my life.

In the background we had the local Christian station playing.  I wasn't even listening.  Matt heard the first few lines of a song he had never heard before. He told me "I think this song is  going to be good for you. Let's listen to it."   I sat there quietly with a hard heart for the first few lines, still thinking about all my fears.... but then the words gripped me and I started to cry all over. But not from fear. Cleansing tears. This song was for me, from Jesus, and He knew I needed it right NOW in this moment.

"I stand before you now.
The greatness of your renown.
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you. 
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As your love, wave after wave crashes over me. 
For you are FOR us, you are not against us. 
Champion of Heaven, You made a way for all to enter in. 

I have heard you calling my name.
I have heard the song of love that you sing.
So I will let you draw me out beyond the shore into your grace!


You make me BRAVE! 

As we sat there listening tears were streaming down my face. Lots of them. But more than that, as I listened to these words of truth something happened in my soul, in my heart.  It was cleansing. I felt that tight ball of fear and anxiousness deflate.  Jesus was using this song, these words, breaking through my crowded, fearful heart to tell me the TRUTH!  I sat crying, in wonder with each new verse of the song because I KNEW that this song was for ME.

I was believing lies, I was wanting to be in control of my life, I was clinging to control because I was scared to give it to God. I was screaming in my heart "God follow MY plan, keep ME comfortable, don't rock MY boat, I don't trust you with my daughter, her heath, her life, I don't trust! I don't trust, I don't trust!"

But as these words penetrated my soul, and the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit rocked my world, my life came into clearer focus.

And you know what? Even if my worst fear becomes reality... it's okay.  God is in control.  He made me, He made Grace. He is in America, He is in Indonesia. He is MUCH bigger than the box I put Him in.  The truth is I am not in control. Not at all. And I am learning to unclench my hands, stop trying to make God stick to MY plan.  Because my plan is weak, and pathetic, and all about ME.  God has BIG plans, plans to grow me, plans to make me more like Him, plans that will call me BEYOND the shore and into the WAVES. Beyond the shore and into His GRACE.  Is there really any place better than that?

And I am not brave.... but He wanted to tell me,
HE makes me brave.
No fear can hinder the promises He makes.


I believe. I trust.
Thank you Jesus for your grace.


Listen here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Life!

On August 10, 2014 Calvin Gregory Barnes (our newest nephew) came to meet us!  He was born in Bellevue WA and is super cute!  Mommy is doing good and so is Calvin!  This is Gabe and Cristina's first child and what a blessing children are!  We are excited to see Calvin grow and pray that Calvin is used mightily for God's kingdom!  Enjoy the photos!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Grace got to meet Grandpa and Grandma Jones

Back in May we were able to take a week and visit Grandpa and Grandma Jones in Hawaii!  This was the first time they got to meet Grace! We were a bit nervous about flying for 5 hours with an infant, but it was good practice before our big plane ride to Indonesia!  She did really good!  We actually knew the pilot, so when we landed Gracie got special treatment on the way out.  She really liked all the cockpit lights.  Once we were on the ground Grandpa was there and very excited to meet his little grandchild!  It is amazing the amount of power God gives to children!  They can melt peoples hearts very quickly!  We all got in the car and drove to the opposite side of the island where we would spend the rest of our time.  In the mornings we would all hang out and swap stories, drink coffee, and just be together which was very nice.  Most days we would end up at a beach somewhere and snorkel around to see what God made underwater!  We got great videos of sea turtles, crabs, and even an octopus!  Grandpa loved babysitting while Amanda and I got to swim.  He enjoyed praying over her and just being able to bond!  

It was fun having him show us around the island, and seeing all the things they have to adjust too!  They moved from Alaska to Hawaii, so we got to see all the fun fruits and sites that they love.  One of our favorites was getting young coconuts to drink and eat!  Sure is tasty after a long day of swimming!  We are looking forward to having those in Indonesia when we get there!  I think Matt will be living off of coconuts and passion fruit!  Amanda fell in love with the most gigantic avocado she had ever seen!  It was a very exciting moment for her knowing that avocados could get so large!  Our other mission was to spear some fish!  Dad and Matt went out first and speared a few small fish.  Amanda was determined to spear a fish before she left Hawaii, and after a few days of trying, she emerged with a victory!  Unfortunately there was only enough for Grace on this fish :)
Our trip was very relaxing!  We had a great time of fellowship with family and got to know some local people!  Life is always an adventure and we had lots of those on this trip!  It was nice to get away from the daily grind and just rest and reconnect!  We loved the scenery in Hawaii and it was so fun to see God's creation especially underwater!  The sunsets He painted most nights were amazing!  On our way back home dad took us to the YWAM university of nations campus.  While we were walking around we came to a fountain that was surrounded by the flags of the nations!  Also around the flags were rock pillars holding up Bible verses.  Matt began to look for the Indonesian flag, but a pillar caught his eye first.  The verse was the verse God used to call him into missions!  After he was done he looked up and directly above the pillar was the Indonesian flag!  This was a "goosebumps" moment for us!  God met us at YWAM and was confirming to us that this is His path for us!  We left YWAM very encouraged and blessed!  It is very cool to see how God can speak to us!  What an amazing God we serve!     
                    Matt, Amanda and Grace
Indonesian Flag!

Grandpa Mike, Grandma Susan, Amanda and Grace