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Our itineration travels have really picked up over the last few weeks. During a span of services and pastors’ meetings over 10 days, we spent one night at home and every other night in a completely different place. As crazy as it sounds, we love traveling together as much as we can. We are so excited that God has called the 3 of us to be missionaries that we all want to be a part—even in the craziness.

Like I said, we’ve been traveling fools. We have met so many incredible pastors and made so many new friends. That’s the lovely side of it all. And now, from a mother’s heart. Most days I feel so alone in what life hands me as a mom. I just continue to encourage myself in the idea that other moms have moments of insanity, too. So if you feel otherwise, there’s no need to share. I’ll just continue to find peace in the lie I’m telling myself! 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve written some of the comedic side of our lives. This beautiful March Monday is the absolute perfect day for some giggling!

1. At the beginning of the last week of our travels, Ben and I both caught the flu. There’s absolutely nothing worse than being sick in a hotel that’s 3 hours from home. Thankfully, we caught it at different times so we could each take turns taking care of the other one and Oliver. No, Oliver didn’t catch it. He was bathed in some intense prayer!

2. I googled the actual definition of this bullet point and it’s very similar to how I want to use it personally! Blowout: a sudden rupture or malfunction of a part or an apparatus due to pressure, in particular the bursting of an automobile tire.

This is my definition. Blowout: a sudden rupture or malfunction in the bowels of Oliver due to pressure, in particular the bursting of everything inside him coming out EVERYWHERE. Y’all, I’ve never cleaned so much poo in my life. I have stripped Oliver down completely naked to wash him down with baby wipes in so many different church bathrooms and hotels. Let’s not forget to mention having to carry him into a pastors’ meeting facedown because poo bursted through the diaper, is leaking down his leg, and their first impression of me is needing a bathroom. To so many pastors, I am, “that missionary who’s always cleaning her poopy child.”

3. Ever have those moments where you are in a quiet situation and so desperately don’t want to be disruptive, but you keep thinking of something funny that happened? You bite your lip and do your best to think of an orphan puppy or anything that you hope will make you sad. Yeah, this is mine. We were in a meeting with a pastor before service was starting and Ben was holding Oliver. In his words, “I noticed that my pants had gotten wet, so I shifted Oliver a little thinking somehow the bottom of his shoe was damp.” About 5 minutes later, he looks down and realizes Oliver has once again pooed through his SUPER THICK overalls and onto Ben’s lap on his light green pants. Y’all, he was preaching in 10 minutes. I tried to contain myself while the pastor kept talking and I carried Oliver out like he was superman again. We made it to the bathroom and I had to change him on the counter, stripped him down, and put him in his little misfit, “this is when I’ve pooed through everything else” outfit. So yeah, during service I found my lips quivering from wanting to just burst out in laughter at the thought of Oliver pooing on Ben.

And now comes story-sharing time for you! I know I’m not alone in the craziness that life brings (at least I hope not!). I’d love to hear the moments of your life that made you step back and say, “Did that just really happen?”

  • March 21, 2016

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to do great things for God. At a young age, I remember thinking I would do whatever it took for people across the world to hear about the life of Christ and how to have hope through Him. In the 8th grade, God asked me if I would be willing to give my life as a missionary and I said yes.

When I was in school at Central Bible College, God continued to confirm how He had created me to give my life in overseas missions. My heart burned with passion for those who had never heard of Jesus. The thought, “if I don’t go and tell them, they will die without knowing” continually ran across my mind. At times, I felt guilty because of having experienced the love of Christ on a daily basis while others were living in desperate and scary situations with no chance of receiving what I had. And though I don’t believe God would place guilt on me for having experienced His love and power (since He freely gives it!), I do think it was a good reminder to not allow myself to be comfortable and forget that others deserved the same chance.

Though I was confident in God’s purpose for my life, I had several moments of being afraid to do it alone. And you know, in college everyone is at the age where you start “looking” for someone to spend your life with. Let’s just be real, the thought of being single and going across the world alone sometimes distracted me from keeping my eyes completely on Jesus—knowing He had everything under control. Sometimes I found myself not wanting to go into missions without being married. I’m sort of a romantic and it was easy to allow myself to dream of what I wanted instead of what I knew God was asking. What was it that He was asking? Simply that I be willing to follow His voice and do whatever it took that others would hear the Gospel of Jesus.

In chapel at CBC, I had this beautiful realization. The fear of not finding someone to spend my life with was crippling me. I wasn’t created to fall in love, get married, and live in a Disney movie the rest of my life. No! God created me so that I could enjoy His presence, He could enjoy mine, and that I would know Christ and share what I knew about Him! Early in life, I had experienced feeling physically safe in the presence of Jesus. I knew what it was like to be insecure and find worth in Him. At CBC, I really began to understand why Jesus—who lived a perfect life—chose to die for all of mankind who was so far from perfection. The God who encounters nothing too big or impossible, the God filled with love and compassion for a people so undeserving, the God I had given my life to as a young child promised to empower me as a witness of all of these things to all people. I made a declaration that day. No longer was I going to put God’s perfect plan for my life on hold because of thinking I had planned it better. No longer was I going to sacrifice that others would know Jesus because of my own desires. I had chosen to give my life over to Jesus and there really was nothing more I wanted than to live completely in His plan. Besides, He knows me better than I know myself. Wouldn’t He take care of my desire to get married? I left chapel that day declaring I would go overseas alone and do whatever it took that others would know Jesus and I meant it.

Be encouraged as you strive on in the life God has for you. More often than not, He asks us to sacrifice our desires for the sake of His purpose for our lives. I’d love to hear how God is leading you. Have any similar situations? Maybe God is asking you to let go of something and trust Him.

  • March 14, 2016

I haven’t started off a post this way, but I feel the need to this time. Below is a Scripture from the Bible that has totally been my life recently. I have the Scripture listed and then my explanation will be underneath that.

In the book of Romans chapter 8 and verses 5 and 6 it reads:

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

How many of us would raise our hands in saying we don’t think evil thoughts? That our sinful nature doesn’t control our minds? I’d probably be the first in raising my hand, however, the Lord has really been revealing my sinful thoughts to me lately. Our minds run at a capacity that we can’t actually keep up with. Have you ever had those moments where your thoughts are so far out there and you can’t figure out which train you took that led you there in the first place? Sometimes we allow our minds to say that something is happening or that someone is thinking a certain thing about us when it’s not even true or that we are the one thinking evil thoughts about someone else. Our thoughts really can be so tricky and truly drive us crazy.

What the Lord has been showing me is that every one of my thoughts has a motive. Now, looking back at the verse, we see that either our sinful nature controls our thoughts or the Holy Spirit. It’s one or the other. So if I’m not thinking about how I can bless others, looking for the good in people, or just simply being positive, then my thoughts aren’t pleasing to God which makes them evil thoughts. Something I have begun to do is question my motive for every thought I can capture. Was my motive to boost my self-esteem or try to get someone to do something for me? If my motive isn’t pure, then something about my thought has to change. And check this out! While analyzing my thoughts and doing my best to keep them positive, that helps to control what comes out of my mouth! It’s just this great cycle of being uplifting to those around me, and keeping myself in a positive mood. Just like the book of Romans says, “letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

Any thoughts? Experiences you’d like to share? I’m all ears! Thanks for reading.

  • February 22, 2016

Y’all, I don’t know what my deal is lately. I have fallen 3 times in the last month. That’s more than I have fallen in like a 10 year span.

The fall that started it all:

A few weeks ago after putting Oliver to sleep for the night, we headed downstairs and my feet decided to fail me. We have a total of 12 steps. My foot slipped off of the 2nd from the top and I did not stop sliding until I hit the 9th step. Please tell me how it is possible to have so much momentum from a slow-paced walk?! It sounded like a dinosaur was running down our stairs. The only thing missing was hearing a Referee yell “SAFE” and feeling accomplished in scoring the winning run of the playoffs for my softball team. Sadly, I’m not on a softball team and there was no Ref. I did have a bruise the size of a softball for about 2 weeks, though. At least I had a battle wound for the fall I’d taken!

About a week later, we were picking my mother up to run some errands. It had just snowed majorly and her driveway was pretty icy so we couldn’t make it up in the truck. I decided to hop out and get my mother while leaving the guys in the truck. As we were headed down the driveway, my mother said, “Why didn’t you come all the way up?” To which I began to respond, “Under the snow is solid ice…” I didn’t even get the full sentence out of my mouth and both of us fell and slid maybe a foot down her driveway! Thankfully, we weren’t hurt at all and had a great laugh. I’m 100% jealous of Ben who watched it all from the truck like a comedy movie.

Just 2 days ago we were headed out to have breakfast at my mother’s home. Ben took Oliver to the car (don’t blame me for not trusting myself to carry the carseat outside with my recent record) and I was carrying a heavy laundry basket filled to the top. After making it down our steps and to our sidewalk, something happened and the next thing I knew I was on my knees in the snow bending over my laundry as if it had asked me for prayer. I chuckled thinking maybe this was God’s humorous way of saying I need to spend more time with Him.

I’ve accepted that my legs are very similar to a newborn lamb’s. That’s all for today. I hope my wobbly moments from the past month bring a smile to your Monday. And of course, fall stories are my favorite! Do you have any? I’d love to know I’m not the only hazardous one!

  • February 15, 2016

You know, I’ve never thought of myself as a pumpkin fan, but recently I’ve just really grown to love it! There are certain things Ben will hop into the kitchen for and whip up and this soup is one of them. It’s just plain tasty.

You will need:

300 grams of pumpkin squash

3/4 liter of veggie broth

1/2 liter of milk

1 medium sized potato

1/2 of a medium onion

Parsley, salt, and pepper to taste

Let’s do this:

Combine milk and broth; boil lightly on medium heat. Peel and cube the potato, squash, and onion. Add to boiling liquid mixture. Let boil until veggies are cooked and soft. (If a film of milk forms on the surface, just scoop that off and toss out.)

Once veggies are cooked, pour mixture into a blender and blend to desired consistency. Pour back into the pot, add spices, and simmer 15 minutes.

Pair this soup with a fresh salad or biscuits and you’ve got yourself a phenomenal meal for a wintery day, sick day, or just a soup day! We’d love to know what you think and how you tweaked it to make it to your liking!

  • February 8, 2016

The title of this entry is not going to be your usual thought of “unexpected blessings”. Bear with me.

Living close to my family currently, we try to have family nights once a week. This past Sunday night we had scheduled to get together. My mother was going to cook and we were all going to her house for dinner and games. Well, just this week we have started the phase of “Oliver needs to be comforting himself at night—so just let him cry until he does”. We’ve been pretty strict at putting him down at 8 until he gets the hang of nighttime. This particular Sunday night I was feeling very adamant that we should host everyone at our house instead. That way Oliver could be in his normal routine, have a bath, and be down in his own bed at his regular time. Everyone was fine with it. My mother brought food over, my brother came along, and my friend Nicky even joined us for the evening. Talk about a house full of great people!

As the night went on, we got Oliver down in bed and decided on dessert and some games. Almost immediately after we’d begun playing (Phase 10 for those of you who are curious!), something in me began to feel pretty uneasy. I tried to push through and continue playing, but the feeling just got stronger. I gave up, gave into the feeling in my stomach, and excused myself from the game. Boy, was I grateful I left when I did! Only minutes later did everything I ate resurface. It was pretty ugly. All of the guests left pretty quickly once they realized the events happening and Ben was my hero (as always) in taking care of me.

Where in all of that was the blessing part? When has a nasty stomachache ever been considered a blessing? I’ve said this forever and I’ll say it again, I’d rather be sick in any other way for way longer than have to deal with an upset stomach for an hour. But remember I said to bear with me for the blessing part?! Here goes:

 

  1. I was so adamant about being in my own home for the night to make sure Oliver could get used to his new night routine. Could you imagine having to be sick in another home with your husband to take care of an exhausted baby and also drive home with a wife who couldn’t even leave the bathroom? I was able to be sick in my own house, crawl my way to the couch, and sleep there for the night.
  2. Oliver had already been tucked away for the evening. He was safe, sound, and asleep in his own room. He was completely taken care of already.
  3. My mother cooked and brought dinner over so there was very little clean up involved.

 

Obviously getting sick is never a blessing. However, the Lord helped me see past my inconvenience and see how He blessed me and took care of the situation that He knew was coming. So you say, “If He knew you were going to be sick, why didn’t He just stop it and let that be your blessing?” And you know, I’m not 100% sure why God allows certain things to happen. But I do know that you can always find His love in the midst of chaos. Instead of stopping it, He allowed me to see the ways He brought comfort during my body needing to purge all that went into it. Be encouraged today. It may not be a stomachache that is plaguing your day, but know that in the midst of chaos, sickness, hurt, frustration, God’s hand is there. His love is there. Be on the lookout for His blessing and the way He takes care of those who trust in Him.

Ever experienced “unexpected blessings” during the midst of chaos and turmoil? Please do share! I’d love to hear how you’ve seen God’s hand and felt His love during the not-so-happy times.

PS – Soup is always a great choice when one is “under the weather”. Click here to find the recipe to a tasty pumpkin soup Ben made me while I was recovering.

  • February 8, 2016

When we moved to PA, we were in our new home for only one week (well, more like 5 days) before we headed out for our Christmas travels.

First stop: Kentucky

Our dear friends were getting married and we were so happy to celebrate with them. Ben saw tons of his friends that he grew up with in Spain and I was able to put faces with all of the names I’d heard. Oliver enjoyed himself, too. He “whipped and nae-naed” at the reception like there was no tomorrow!

Second stop: Branson, MO

Almost the entire Bock family was able to get together for Christmas! This was a HUGE deal! With Ben’s parents living in Spain, a cousin in Cambodia, and family spread across the nation, reunions are a bit tough. We rented a giant home for 14 of us and spent 10 days together. It was truly joyous. We got to meet our niece Addie. She and Ollie became quick friends as they cooed and enjoyed time on their play-mat together. It was here that Ollie learned how to hold and use his hands. I sat around laughing and soaking in our time with family. As a little girl, I always prayed for a big family. I find it so special that the Lord will not only make sure we have what we need, but that He sometimes will give us things we just hope for because He’s that great of a father.

Third stop: Louisiana

Our next destination was southern Alabama, but on our way there, we were able to continue some of the Bock Christmas by stopping at Ben’s sister and husband’s house. His parents were there, too, which was great to spend a few more days with them before they headed back to Spain. Once again, Addie and Ollie played and we relished in our last few moments together.

Fourth and final stop: Alabama

Bringing in the new year, we had a few services in my home town to share our heart for the Balkans. My mother had just sold her house to move to PA, but didn’t have to be out until the day we were headed back home, so we were able to stay in my childhood home with her! It was great and our services were such a joy. We saw some old friends and had tons of southern food and sweet tea. THE LIFE!

Ending our trip, Oliver has slept in 5 different places including beds, closets, floors, and hotels. He’s quite the traveler! We saw so many of the Lord’s blessings along the way. Though we are happy to be back home, it’s always sad to see such good times end. However, I think it’s when things come to an end that we begin to find joy in looking forward to them happening again.

  • February 1, 2016

Well, hello! I suppose you’re reading this to know a little about me. For the shortened and condensed version: I’m a wife, a mom, and a missionary currently living in PA (soon to be eastern Europe!). I drink coffee consistently and I love treats (like when you’re proud of yourself for working for an hour straight so you treat yourself to an ice-cream or something). I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and I not only believe, but have experienced the power of his death and resurrection and live specifically to tell of the hope found in Him.

Now, for those of you who need a little more.

I grew up in southern Alabama so don’t be alarmed if you read “y’all” a couple of times. Growing up in church, I knew the love of Christ at a very young age. When I was in the 8th grade, God asked me if I was willing to give my life as a missionary and go wherever He asked to share the good news and hope that is found in Jesus. I had always wanted to be a missionary, so I couldn’t believe He would ask me to go! Without hesitating, I said YES!

A few years after graduating high school, I went to college at Central Bible College in Missouri. It was the best 3 years of my life. The friendships I made were incredible. Some of the best people I’ve ever known were my professors and my classmates. The absolute BEST person I met while in school is Ben, my husband, who also attended CBC. Though he grew up in Spain as a missionary kid, God was asking him to continue in that and be a missionary for life. Ben grew up under the ministry of his parents, Ontheredbox. You should check it out online. It’s incredible.

We met Ben’s first day on campus and he asked me out on a date 3 years later. Our first date was in February 2013, we were engaged in April, and married in September. Yes, it was all in the same year. Yes, it sounds crazy, but that’s part of the joy of following Christ. No, I wouldn’t trade our timeline for anything!

Just a few weeks after getting married, we were asked to be student pastors at a church in Delaware. After praying about it, we packed up our home in Missouri and moved to the east coast by the first of January 2014 (Ben and I with our students is pictured above). During our next two years in Delaware, we encountered a number of situations that required intense trust in God. We had situations come our way during those two years that many times caused us to want to run from where God had us. Although we knew that missions was our longterm goal, we knew it wasn’t time to pursue it at that time. God had us in ministry in Delaware and that was where we stayed.

During those 2 years, our darling Oliver was born and shortly after that, God let us know that it was time to pursue missions. We stepped out of student pastoring in December of 2015 and began as full time missionaries in January 2016. For the next year, we will be traveling to different churches throughout PA and the states to raise our support in order to move to the Balkans (southeastern Europe—countries such as Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, etc) and share the Gospel across that area. You can always check out our Facebook page for more info and sign up for our newsletter: facebook.com/benandjessi

All of this is to say stay faithful to what God is asking of you. He hasn’t forgotten about the desires He’s placed in your heart. Stay faithful, stay joyful, do your part while trusting in God and He will do His part. He always does. He’s always faithful.

  • January 25, 2016