Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yeah Sean!!

As of this Saturday, Sean will officially be a college graduate! After 4 1/2 years he is done. We are both very excited! No more homework and tests for him! He has enjoyed relaxing the last few days. Work has really slowed down for him because of the weather. He is still leading worship at our church. We would appreciate your prayers as he looks for a job after we get back from Christmas.

We are done visiting churches for the year and we are enjoying a few weeks off. On Sunday we are headed to New Jersey for a few days, then to Florida to spend Christmas with my family. After that we're heading back to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to spend a few days with Sean's family in a cabin. We are so excited to spend time with all of our family. We're thinking it will be our last Christmas in the United States for a few years so want to spend as much time as we can with them.

We are looking forward to a few relaxing weeks and we'd appreciate your prayers for safe travels and the Lord's direction for what to do next when we come back. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our God is Greater

We are officially 43% funded as the year is coming to a close and I just finished calling our last set of churches. We have learned so much in the last few months about God's faithfulness. God has provided in ways that we did not even know were possible. The last few months haven't been without their challenges, but we are learning an entirely new way to rely on the Lord.

Still, our goal is to get to Australia in February. We still have a very long way to go before then though. We're still trusting that all of our funding will come in whenever it is supposed to--even if that means after February. I had a long car ride last night and I was listening to one of my favorite singers, Chris Tomlin. One of my new favorite songs by him is called "Our God" and the lyrics are so powerful. They say:

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, our God, our God!

And if our God is for us, than who could ever stop us,
And if our God is with us, than what could stand against?

We are at a place in our fundraising where we do not know the next steps take. We have called an entire list of churches-almost all of the Wesleyan churches in Indiana and now we're done. We do not know where to go next. Who do we call? How do we find more churches to visit? We have no idea. Thankfully we have churches to visit up until the first week of March, but after that we don't know what to do. As I was driving though last night, I was reminded of God's incredible power. He is greater. He is stronger. He is on our side. I turned the music up loud and sang out to the Lord, praying that he would lead us and continually remind us of his greatness and power.

Remember today that our God is great and powerful and mighty. Remember that he is your Savior and trust in him. He is so good. His plan rarely looks like what we think it will, but it is so much better. Trust in him today!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let Your dreams come true through us...

This week we got to stay close to home and visit Brinker Heights Wesleyan Church which is just 10 minutes away from our house in Marion. I (Sam) had the privilege of meeting with the Pastor a few months ago. I really enjoyed getting to know him and sharing our passion for Australia. He shared with me that the church has a huge heart for children's ministry which was very evident today.

We started off the morning by going to the college/young adult Sunday school class. The woman who led the class actually was a missionary kid in Australia when she was in high school! It was so neat to be able to hear what she had to say about her time there. After that we headed over to the church for the worship service. It still never ceases to amaze us how wonderful it is to be able to worship with other believers all around the United States.

Today marks our last church visit of 2010. To sum it up, these last few months have been challenging, rewarding, scary, difficult and we're out of our comfort zone the majority of the time. I remember one time that someone told me that you know you're doing God's work when you are out of your comfort zone. Oh boy, we really have been! But it's all been so good! I think we've learned more about the Lord's faithfulness than we ever had and we're learning to trust in him in ways that we never have before.

One of our newest favorite bands is called The Rend Collective Experiment. I highly recommend looking them up!! One of our favorite songs right now is called "Broken Bread" and it talks about being completely surrendered to the Lord and allowing yourself to be used by him to make his dreams come true rather than your own. It's so hard to want to take control of fundraising and think that it has something to do with us, but we're learning it's a daily surrender. It's our desire to simply be used by the Lord. We do not want to pursue our own dreams, we want him to use us to accomplish his. We cannot wait to see what this new year has in store for us and we seek to follow the Lord.

Below is a link to one our favorite songs by The Rend Collective Experiment so we can get a little taste of who they are :) Unfortunately, the song above is not on youtube.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


When I think about the Christmas season the first word that comes to mind is JOY. This time of year fills me with so much JOY!! I love almost everything about Christmas. The lights, the music, the decorations, the snow! It's all so wonderful. Sean and I hung up our Christmas lights over the weekend. I couldn't wait for it to get dark so I could go outside and look at them. I absolutely love putting up the christmas tree and looking at all of the ornaments. Today was also the first time that it has snowed and actually stuck to the ground. It took almost all of my self control to stop myself from calling Sean and waking him up to tell him to look outside. I think this is one of the most wonderful times of the year. If you talk to me in a month I'll probably be ready for the cold to end and the snow to go away but as of right now I am enjoying it to the fullest!

When I woke up this morning I was thinking about all of the joy that this season brings to me and then I stopped and thought that it does not even compare to the joy that I have in Christ. The joy that I have goes so much deeper and has so much more meaning than simply Christmas lights! I have a Savior who died for me, who took my sins away so that I can be beautiful in His eyes. I have a relationship with the Creator of the universe. I have a Friend and Counselor who loves me for exactly who I am. I am so joyful because of my relationship with my Savior. Sean and I cannot wait to go to Australia and tell people about this joy that they can find in Christ but we also want to remind you of that today. If you have a relationship with the Lord praise Him today! Continue to seek Him and the love and joy that ONLY he can bring. Share this love and joy with those around you. Remember what this season is about. If you do not know the Lord, please talk to us or another believer about Him so that you can come to understand the beautiful joy that he gives and how you can have this incredible relationship! I cannot imagine what life would be like without him.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 63 and I want to share just a little bit with you. It says,

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands."

I hope that you can all experience Christ's love that is better than life and the immeasurable joy that only He can give!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Update from Yeppoon, Australia

Below is an update that we recently received from the church we are going to in Australia. This is a letter from Pastor Ron to us:
Hi Sean and Sam
Just wanted to let you know that God is preparing the hearts of the people here and we had a wonderful day on Sunday with four more of our people coming forward for baptism and 14 coming forward to confess and ask for God's forgiveness for some disobedience in their life. This number represents about 12% of our total congregation for that day. Praise the Lord. We have also had a number of people give their hearts to the Lord who are working through discipleship stuff at the present. Please pray for these young men and women and those who were baptized on the weekend. This week has been and intense week already for at least one of them but they are strong.
Pastor Ron

**Above is a picture of the people who were baptized. Pastor Ron is on the right**

**This is a Sunday School class who sent out shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse**

We can't wait to get to Australia to partner with them!!

Home Sweet Home...

**The whole family together last weekend**

Home Sweet Home...well, at least for me (Sam) that is. Last weekend we got to travel to New Jersey where I am from. Sean actually lived there for a summer as well, so he really enjoyed being back. We had the privilege of being able to speak at my home church, Sparta Evangelical Free Church. Wow! What a blessing!! So far we haven't spoken at a church that we have both attended. So this was the first time that we could stand before a church and say thank you for the impact that they had made on both of our lives. I started attended SEFC as a new believer in 10th grade. The church took me in and discipled me. In so many ways they helped me to become who I am today. I went on countless youth trips where God confirmed in my heart His call on my life to do missions. In high school, I was constantly at the church either at youth group or helping out in some way. It was there that I met two of my best friends along with many other dear friends. I was so close to the church staff while I was there too and they genuinely invested in my life and I am forever grateful for that! As I mentioned before, the summer that Sean lived in NJ was wonderful! That summer we both got involved in the Jr. High youth group and Sean helped out with the worship team. It was so neat to talk people after the service and share with them the impact they made on both of us. One of my favorite things about SEFC is the church body. I think that they really know how to love as the bible calls the Body of Christ to love. We were greeted by so many familiar hugs and kind words. Boy do we miss that church!!!

It worked our perfectly that we were home the weekend before Thanksgiving so we could celebrate with my family a week early. My sister and her boyfriend came home so the entire family was together. It was such a great weekend to be home and to see family and friends.

Continue to pray that God would touch the hearts of the people at SEFC and pray that they would partner with us as we raise our support to go to Australia. Also, we are still waiting to hear from Eastview (we were at their church 2 weeks ago) to see how they will support us. We're praying big!! We have a long way to go before February but our God can get us there if that's when we wants us there!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hebrews 10:35-36

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." Hebrews 10:35-36

Isn't it wonderful when God gives you the verse you need when you need it? I do love that God of ours :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's not about us...

Every Saturday night before we speak at a church we always get really nervous. We go over things in our heads to make sure we know exactly what we're going to talk about. We have all of our papers printed and put away that we need. We have a stack of faith promise cards and prayer cards ready to go. Sean recently has been leading worship at the churches as well, so he has his music stuff packed and ready. No matter how prepared we are, we always have that little pit in our stomachs and we wonder; what if something goes wrong? What if they don't like what have to say? What if they don't believe in our ministry?

Things have been kind of slow the last month. We are discovering that the majority of our funds have come from people that we know personally and not necessarily from churches or people that we have met at churches. Knowing this, we're constantly wondering if we need to change something about our presentation or if it's just the norm. Don't get me wrong, God has been incredibly faithful and our friends and family have been wonderful in the way they've supported us. We have met some very generous individuals from the churches we've visited. Also, we have incredible prayer support from all the churches we've visited. At times though, it is very easy to be discouraged because we've been around 30% for a while now.

I (Sam) was talking to an amazing friend the other night, Miss Amy Wilson, and I was telling her how overwhelmed I was by it all. I was telling her how I constantly wonder if we're doing enough, or if we need to do something differently. But Amy reminded me that it's not about us. It's not our words that are going to touch the hearts of the people we speak to, it's the Holy Spirit. When we make it about ourselves and what we're doing, then we lose focus. Of course we need to try our best, but in the end we can do every trick in the book and get no where. Amy reminded me to just give it to the Lord and the funds will come in when they need to. It's something that we both know, but it's good to be reminded sometimes.

So right now we're doing okay. We really enjoyed our time at Eastview on Sunday. We are finding out this coming Sunday how much they are going to donate. Please pray that God would touch the hearts of the people in the church.

Below I'd like to include a poem that I read recently and it was exactly what I needed to hear

He is Able
He is able, more than able
To accomplish what concerns me today
He is able, more than able
To handle anything that comes my way
He is able, more than able
To do much more than I could ever dream
He is able, more than able
To make me what He wants me to be

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Off to Ohio!

This past weekend was really good! We are so very blessed to have amazing friends who are willing to help us throughout this journey. Two of these wonderful friends are Courtney and Darren (among many others). Courtney and Darren have been very helpful by giving us churches to contact and hopefully speak at! This past weekend we had the privilege of speaking at the church that Courtney's dad pastors in Ohio. Well actually, he pastors 2 different churches, one of which has 2 services and then he so wonderfully set us up with another church. So we spoke at 4 services in 1 day! Oh goodness....I must say we were very tired. But it was so good! It's really neat to be able to share our hearts and passions with so many people :)

The morning went really well. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay too long at the first service because we had to scoot on over to the other church we spoke at. The second and third services were really nice as well. My favorite conversation after church was a little boy that came up to Sean. This is how the conversation went:

Boy: "Hey, um...excuse me."
Sean: "Hey! What's up?"
Boy: "So, I was wondering...have you every seen the show Scooby Doo?"
Sean: "Yeah, I used to love that show! I watched it all the time when I was little."
Boy: "Well, you look like Shaggy!"
Sean: Laughs, "Thank you, I think!"
Boy: "No, that's a good thing. He's really funny."

We got a good laugh out of that conversation :) We also got to meet a lot of other people and had a lot of encouraging conversations. Then, we headed back to Courtney's parents house for a delicious lunch and to relax for a bit. Then, we headed off to the last service!

To be honest, on the way there, I was started to get discouraged. We were just talking about how we were doing fundraising and wondering if we were doing everything right and just kinda being hard on ourselves. Well God definitely heard our prayers and answered immediately! The last church that we went to was out in the middle of no where...or at least it seemed. Just to give you a picture, as we were driving Sean said, "I don't think I've ever been this far in the middle of nowhere as I am right now!" But we got there and immediately we felt welcomed! It was a little country church and the people were so friendly! We truly enjoyed our time of worship with them. The people in the congregation shared a few special songs and they shared testimonies of what the Lord was doing in their lives. It was very encouraging. Sean and I were talking afterward and we feel like they really understood what it means to worship the Lord with their whole lives and what it means to be the body of Christ. They did this beautifully! We felt so uplifted when we left that night!

Anyways, it was a wonderful weekend in Ohio and now we are back in Indiana. We have this weekend off so we are excited to carve some pumpkins, help at the Halloween Outreach event at Converse Church of Christ and spend time with family!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Keeping Up With the Schwarzes!!

We thought we would share a little bit about what is going on in our lives outside of our missions adventure :) Sam has been subbing and really enjoying it!! Her favorite ages are kindergarten through 2nd grade. Today was a bit of an adventure in the 6th grade but she survived! She doesn't like it when the kids are bigger than her so you get any older than about 3rd grade and she's in trouble. Subbing has been good for her because it is pretty flexible which gives her time to work on missions stuff. I have been keeping pretty busy with working at Meshingomesia Country Club, planning the worship service at my church and finishing up my last semester of college! I sure am ready to be done :)

We are speaking at about 3 or so churches a month. All of the churches we have visited so far have been so welcoming and encouraging and we have no doubts the rest will be the same! We also enjoy the weeks off that we get to spend worshipping at our home church with our church family!!

When we get some free time, we always enjoy playing games and being outside! Last week, we went to the park because Sam really wanted to take some fall pictures. It was a lot of fun walking around the park, playing in the leaves :) Life has been pretty busy lately, but we try to make time to relax and get away from everything as well as make time for family and friends before we embark on this new adventure. Well...that's about it for now! We will keep you updated on what's going on with fundraising!

Oh! We have officially received 100% of our cash need and are at 30% of our faith promise need. This means that we have raised $18,000 in cash (which is what we need to go) and we still have to raise $40,000 a year (for a total of $80,000) in commitments. We've come a long way and still have a ways to go!! But He is faithful :) Thank you for all of your love and support. Please continue to pray :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Moving right along

So it is the beginning of October and we have raised 22% of our money. If you combine the cash gifts we have received and the faith promise's it is a total of about $45,000. So pretty much, in about 2 months $45,000 has come in. I must say, God is pretty good! And you all are pretty amazing for supporting and prayign for us! Also, right now we have 9 more churches lined up before January. Last weekend we went to a church in Rossville, Indiana where Sean's dad pastored at before he pastored the church he is at now. It was so nice for Sean to be able to see some old faces and for me to be able to meet new people as well as see a little bit of his childhood. I feel like each time we speak we're learning more and are figuring our how to present our hearts better. Again, this past weekend we left the church feeling incredibly encouraged and supported by the people. It was wonderful :)

It is amazing though, how while feeling so encouraged and supported you can also feel discouraged and overwhelmed. Right now we have a renewed confidence and trust in the Lord that we have never had before. At the same time though, we have faced a whole lot of rejection from churches and things that we think will work out and fall through. I don't know if I've ever felt both emotions so strongly before at the same time. Right now we are also at a standstill of what to do next about contacting more churches.

We open up our hearts and share this with you all so you can get a glimpse of what's going on in our hearts as well as so you know how you can pray for us. You can pray that the Lord would continue to teach us as we travel to different churches. Open the hearts of the people we meet and place a burden on their hearts for Australia the way he has touched our hearts. Also, pray that the Lord would give us continued guidance as we look for the next steps to take.

In Isaiah it says, "O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in your perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1. This perfect faithfulness is what we are trusting in right now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Change of perspective...

** Above are pictures of the 2 churches we visited **

Wow! God is so faithful! In a little over a month, we have raised 20% of our money and have booked 13 churches! This time last month, we weren't even close to that! The past two weeks we have traveled to North Carolina and Michigan. To be honest, Sean and I have never felt so welcomed in a church. Both churches welcomed us with open arms even before they knew we were the speakers. After we spoke, both churches surrounded us with prayer.

I titled this post, "A Change of Perspective" because I feel like in the last few weeks God has completely changed my perspective on fundraising. To be honest, in beginning, I was not a very big fan. I thought it was so intimidating and so difficult. I know some other denominations don't require missionaries to raise 100% of their support like Global Partners does, and I have secretly hoped that we didn't have to!! But!!! I can honestly say now, that although it is difficult, it is so worth it. Never before have I felt so encouraged and supported. I couldn't imagine going to Australia without this kind of support and we've only been to 2 churches! At this point, I am not really worried about the money. We are confident that if the Lord wants us there in February, or whenever, he will get us there and provide us with the money. We are just so blessed to have the prayers and support of those around us!
We ask for your continued prayers :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How you can pray for us

When we were at camp a few weeks ago we attended a missionary prayer breakfast. One of the other missionaries created this acronym to share with people how they can pray for the missionaries. I thought I'd share it with you all so you can continue to pray for us!

Ministry-the specific ministry and vision we are called to

Income-faithful financial support for the ministry God has called us to

Strength-physical, emotional and spiritual strength

Safety-protection in travels, from unforeseen dangers and spiritual warfare

Insight-wisdom to learn and adapt to the culture

Opportunities-to share Jesus through words and actions

Nationals-national church leaders and fellow believers

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Family Camp

We don't have too much to share today, but we just want to keep you updated on what's going on!

Monday was the first day that we have ever spoke in front of a group of people. We think that it went pretty well for the first time! We got the privilege to share our story at the north district Wesleyan church family camp. There were a few hundred people there. We were so nervous! But I believe that the Lord spoke through us! We have been able to connect with some people and hopefully we will be able to make connections to get into churches. Sean and I have both been able to spend time helping in the children's program which has been really fun. The camp goes until Sunday, so we will keep you updated on how things are going :) Keep praying!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Time to jump in!

We just recently received our budget and our prayer cards (the 2 things we were waiting on) so we are now ready to jump in full force to fund raise. We also are in contact with the church we will be working with in Yeppoon, Australia and we have been given more defined roles of what we will be doing. Yeppoon Wesleyan Methodist church has about 100 people with ages ranging from 6 months to 80+ years and the average age is 43. The town has about 15,000 people and is near Rock Hampton. There is already a children's ministry in place but they are lacking the leadership to coordinate everything and they want someone to start building relationships with parents. So, I (Sam) will be coming alongside the people who are already running the ministry and begin leading. I can't wait!!!

Right now the church is trying to start a new youth venue. Currently they have a youth service once a month at night. They would like to increase this with Sean's help. Sean will mostly be working with building a worship team for that and leading discipleship groups with the youth and young adults. We're working with the Pastor of our church in Australia to fine tune his role a bit.

Our budget is between $65,000-66,000 a year. Right now we are calling churches and trying to set appointments with churches to come speak and raise money. We are also thinking of having a golf tournament and a massage day to raise money. We would really appreciate your prayers during this time. We know that we serve a faithful God and he has not let us down yet. If you have any ideas of churches who we can contact or any other ideas we'd appreciate your thoughts. You can email us at

Well...that's it for now! We will continue to keep you updated as we find out more information.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Beginning....

**Above are a few picture from orientation**

As many of you may know, Sean and I were appointed as missionaries through Global Partners to Australia. We have been praying for this for a long time and it is so neat to see the way the Lord has led us to where we are today. So far nothing to exciting has happened, but we will fill you in!

In May, right after graduation, we headed down to Indianapolis for the week for missions orientation. That week we learned all about how Global Partners works, the financial aspect of raising a team and step by step, how to raise your support team. Boy was it a lot of information! It went really well though and we met some great people while we were there.

We found out that we will be heading to the North Queensland area of Australia and helping replant a church. In this area, churches have been planted but have slowly died because they do not have people trained in specific ministries to really feed the needs of the people. So Sean and I will be coming in with worship and children's ministry and helping start a church again. We can't wait! We have more information to come on checking your mail boxes!
So right now we are in the very beginning stages of the fund raising process. We are currently trying to talk with churches and set dates so that can travel around to build a support team. We have one more week of training in January so we are hoping to head out sometime next Spring!

We would appreciate your prayers during this time! The Lord has already provided in ways that we didn't even think of but if you have any connections that would be helpful for us, please let us know!