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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
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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
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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
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