Thursday, October 18, 2012

Final Update

 
We flew back to the states on July 18th.  Since that day, we have been in a whirlwind of moving and big decisions.  We apologize for not having sent any sort of update or explanation for how the Lord has directed our lives.  We will try to sum up the last 2 months with this little email.  Due to the extensive amount of transition that has made up the past 5 years of our lives, as we arrived in the states, our hearts were set to find a place to settle rather than prolong our transition with intermediate housing and location.  As a result, we began pursuing an open door for a long-term solution, but the clock was ticking, as we knew we could only live out of a suitcase for so long.  We needed to make a huge decision that would affect the church we attended, the education of our children, the community in which we would invest, and the place we would call home.  Although we got real close to going crazy in the process, God has been profoundly gracious in helping us answer each of these questions.
            The answer to these questions are as follows.  We found a house a ranch house on a couple of acres outside of West Lafayette, IN.  This means that we will be attending church at the Apostolic Christian Church of West Lafayette and we will be investing our lives in this community.  The kids have started school, Drew at the local public school and Truitt in Kindergarten at a private school.  Kirk is working on behalf of the Apostolic Christian Church’s mission outreach in an effort to coordinate the support of the missionaries who are serving overseas.  Keri is faithfully making sure all of these moving pieces are going in the same direction.  Again, in spite of the weight and difficulty of these decisions, we are shocked at the faithfulness of God over this past month.
            This was not my first attempt to write an update, the words just haven’t been able to get from my brain to the paper.  I am interested in telling the story, it is just hard to get it in a nutshell.  Therefore, I am going to save it, I hope to save it for our next conversation, maybe by then I will be able to express it in a way that does justice to our experience.  So, if you are interested, please don’t hesitate to ask.  And, until we have that conversation, please know that we are eternally grateful for your love, support, and prayers.  Again, words wont come, but please know that our hearts are profoundly humbled by your expressions of love over the past 5 years.  May the Lord bless you for all you have done on our behalf.


P.S.  Actually, there was another missionary family who was returning to the states about the same time as us who had spent about the same amount of time on the field.  They did a much better job putting this sentiment into words and so please see their explanation of the time after they returned to the states.

I'm just a little stunned by the gravity of it. Unable to tell you how hard it was to leave or how wonderful it was to arrive. Unable to paint a picture of how my heart is both broken and restored. Unable to say anything, really, because it feels irreverent to do a bad job telling this story; the Story of how God is moving in my life, and in the world.

Maybe better words will come. Or maybe they won't. Maybe this last crazy month is a treasure I won't feel compelled to share. Maybe all of this trial and error, clinging and letting go, all the kneeling down and growing up... maybe it's just for us; me and my little family of men, to hold onto for ourselves. Maybe we'll look back and say,“Remember that one month? The one where, somehow, we all lived?”

And maybe we'll just sigh and leave it at that, because now we understand a little better that to follow God is hard, but we'll live. And that's enough. “

Fully Alive - A book review

 
I wish I didn’t like books like this.  I wish I didn’t need books like Fully Alive.  I would rather say that these books are below me and therefore not necessary.  But, for me it isn’t true.  I call it a “kick in the pants” book.  Fully Alive by Ken Davis is a book that discusses living out the passions we know God has placed in our hearts.  And, this is the problem, I know those passions, I have a desire to effectively live them out, but I don’t.  This is the disconnect.  Therefore, sometimes I need a reminder in the form of a book like, Fully Alive, to remind me of that call on my life.
            Fully Alive is a memoir of sorts recalling the author’s story.  A testimony of the atrophication of faith slowly over time and its subsequent awakening.  The story is largely told around the context of the author’s physical health.  While not exactly a weight loss book, the context of the loss and revival of life is told around the story of weight gain and loss.  The parallels are significant when viewed in the context of a scripture like “throw off every weight.”  The book is a call to lighten up and live fully alive.           
            Would I recommend this book?  Well, I hope you don’t need it.  Ultimately, I hope you don’t have to read this book.  But, if you need a little “self-help” type motivation, this may work for you.  Ultimately, the author would not accept the “self-help” title and so it more appropriately should be categorized as a reference for how to walk in the Spirit and live out the life God has called us to live.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Post #500 - time

Time is crazy.  This is post #500 on this platform.  Granted, we spent almost a year doing this blog through iWeb and so we probably passed 500 a few months back, but it is still a milestone.  And, that is what we have been thinking about lately.  Capturing moments.  Milestones.  Our time is ticking fast.  We have 3 days left in Jamaica.  Our hearts are in shambles and we dont know what to think.  We hosted a great team last week and we are mostly packed up, but that doesn't make the emotions go away.  Today was our last Sunday in church.  After church, we said goodbye to our friends at the local infirmary.  And, we know these last 2 days of cleaning a packing are going to be a whirlwind.  I am sure the randomness of this post is "case in point" for how our brains are functioning.  We are confident in moving forward and therefore we are on the roller coaster, but it doesnt look like this ride is going to end any time soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

June Update

Plattner Family Jamaica Update - June 2012

    If we took all of the “greetings and farewells” from the letters of the Apostle Paul, what would we find?  I started thinking about this in relation to our saying goodbye.  I have not done the full study and scoured each example, but as I think over the example Paul provides, I think of some themes that bubble to the top.  I am sure there are more, but I see Paul focusing on three things; giving thanks, sharing the longing heart he has for the people, and the sharing of foundational truths that he wants them to always remember.  While I am not saying we are sharing Paul’s heart exactly, we are experiencing this feeling in a profound way.  First, we must give thanks.  Thanks for the sustaining grace of God and for all of the love that has been shared with us from our friends here in Jamaica.  God has been good to us and we can’t find the right ways to fully express our gratitude.  Also, we will deeply miss our friends and coworkers.  Our hearts long for ways to be able to shrink the miles and continue these relationships, but just as Paul knew, the calling of God meant that the fellowship would be different.  And third, our hearts have been bursting with a desire to see the foundational truths of our God indelibly marked on the hearts of the believers in Jamaica.  As we considered our final chapel messages to the students, we wanted to leave them with a Pauline type treaty to remember the truths of our God.  Because, we know that it is only through the grace of God that we can have the hope that these relationships and goodbyes are not final.
           
Our past month has been like nothing else we have experienced.  While it has many similar characteristics to our time leaving the states and moving to Jamaica, it feels different.  Similarly, we have experienced the profound joy of pursuing a new opportunity that we believe is right.  But, this has been followed simultaneously with the deep sorrow that many of our relationships will be difficult to continue at the level that we wish.  And, the thing that is different is the feeling that we know we are leaving work “on the table.”  So, the combination of both the greater finality in the closure of relationships combined with a strong sense of work remaining to be done in Jamaica makes this transition different and difficult.  But again, we don’t say that in any sense of despair, as we are excited and confident in the new work that the Lord has provided and in the Lord’s provision for the continuing of the work in Jamaica.
          
 The details of our transition remain fuzzy, but are becoming clear.  Lord willing, we will be flying on July 18th and will be hitting the ground on the run.  After arriving back in the states we will be continuing work on determining our long-term location.  This will be combined with some initial meetings as well as family gatherings.  Therefore, after arriving in the states, we will be on the move for at least the first three weeks.  We are looking forward to catching up with many of you and sharing in fellowship.
          
 Our family is adjusting to everything well.  The kids share our mixed emotions.  They have been processing the idea of moving back.  One time, they will loath the idea of moving and express a desire to just stay in Jamaica.  Then, a little later, they will process the idea of Grandma’s house and cousins, then that changes everything.  I think it will similarly take them time to grasp the ramifications of this move.  Jamaica is all they know and they have adapted quite well, but we pray for God’s grace in filling the gaps of their heart in this move.
          
 As we mentioned above, gratitude has been a side effect as we consider our move.  And, a significant aspect of that gratitude is for all of your love, support, and prayers.  There is no way for us to fully understand and comprehend the fullness of love shared with us over the past five years.  Thank you so much and we pray that we can pass that blessing on in the future.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Claudine

Claudine's Family

 Claudine has been a part of our family now for three years.  Soon after Daisha was born, she began helping us everyday with the kids.  She came as a student and helper and she has since become a friend and a daughter.  Our hearts are torn, knowing our time here is short and our goodbyes are coming.  Claudine has shown a genuine love and care for our children and a respect for our family.  Likewise, our children have attached themselves to her.  On occasion we've had opportunities to meet her family.  This past Sunday we were so honored to be their guests.  It was special for us to see where Claudine grew up, meet her Grandparents, and spend time with her family.  We were touched by their love and generosity.  It's a unique opportunity, when different culture and backgrounds combine, and we praise God for it!


 Please pray for Claudine as she will no longer be with our family.  We pray that she will continue to stay positive and seek God's direction in her life.  We are hopeful she will find good employment this summer.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Father Hunger - a book review

Father Hunger, subtitled, “Why God calls men to love and lead their families,” is a profound book on fatherhood.  The book is a foundational look at the roles and responsibilities of fathers.  The book uses significant theological, ideological, sociological, political, and economic arguments for the importance of fatherhood.  With candor and authenticity, the thesis is laid out as to the high calling of fathers as being fully responsible for their families.  This calling of fathers is also then contrasted with the trends and status of fathers at-large in society today.  In all, the call on fathers for their families is a sobering and humbling truth that we must commit fully to the sufficiency of God’s grace.
         
   Father Hunger is not your everyday book on fatherhood.  I have read many books on fatherhood and this one is different.  This book contains no five easy steps to having better conversations with your children, no heart-warming stories.  This is a foundational type book.  And, that is not to say that it is not practical, it is simply a different kind of parenting book. For example, the book begins by noting from the account of Jesus’ baptism, the approach of the Father.  First, the Father was there.  Second, He made His presence felt by sending the dove.  Third, He made His presence known by expressing identification with the Son.  Fourth, He expressed His love for His son.  And fifth, He expressed His pleasure in His Son.  What a profound look at our role as Fathers.
          
   The book covers the broad spectrum of fatherhood and related issues.  This is the point at which I had the most disagreements with the book.  I appreciated the overview of such significant social issues, but the approach felt too broad and scattered.  I do fully believe that fatherhood is foundational to every aspect of society and I do believe it is a crisis.  Also, I do believe that it starts with the Church and remains the responsibilities of followers of Christ to hold out the standard for society.  And, I pray that many of the treatises in this book are heeded and fatherhood in America becomes the God-honoring institution to which we were called.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blogging happens in the Margins

We only blog in our margins. And as you may have noticed, over the past two months we have gone from posting almost 3 times/week to posting 1 time/week. Thus, our margins are gone. Generally, we try to be intentional with our time and manage well what is left around the edges. But, all of the transition of the past 2 months has been overwhelming. Actually, it has not only been about not having the time, but also about not having the emotional margin to even think about any kind of extra writing.

 In regards to an update, we do not really know anything more. We have not bought tickets and we still dont know where we will land. But, our transition is off to a good start. The "goodbyes" have been hard and have been ongoing for the past 2 weeks. This week, the students and teachers will be leaving. What a huge goodbye! We were responsible for chapel duties this weekend. Our hearts exploded as we thought of trying to leave the students with strong resounding message of the cross. It is hard, but it is right.