The Bucher's are having another baby! The first trimester was a doozy dealing with morning sickness in Alaska, but Kirsten is feeling better now at week 18. The due date is February 5th. We'll let you know soon if Simon is getting a brother or a sister!
Visit Kirsten's Facebook profile to see her posts.
In other life-changing news, we'd like to ask you to pray intentionally for our future location with Cru. We have been invited to attend a vision conference in New York City October 6-9th. Our leadership has asked us to consider moving to the Big Apple to help pioneer and lead new campuses!
We'll give you a moment to pick your jaw off the floor...
So how did this come about? With our first few years on campus behind us, this spring we began discussing how our legacy with Cru might look. Would we move overseas? Would we move to another region of the country, or would we stay in Montana? Neither of us felt like a new location was on the radar, so it made sense to stay in Montana. We began surveying the housing market and envisioning our future in the Big Sky Country.
A month went by and life carried on when Kirsten mentions she had seen a house she really liked. It was the first time she told me something had caught her eye. The reality of this moment carried a new weight, as if a decision could be made. Would we move forward on our plans of planting our lives in Missoula? The lure of a bigger space and place to truly call home was palpable.
At the same time, our church had been preaching through Hebrews and a sermon in chapter eleven hit home regarding our life of faith. The idea of buying a house and settling down appealed to our desire for comfort and security. It seemed like our plan to remain in Montana was mostly motivated by this act of self-preservation. The very next day this process changed as God spoke through a phone call with our regional leadership director.
“We’re not trying to get rid of you. You have the freedom to say no to the NY trip entirely,” He said. But that wasn’t the feeling we were experiencing. What we mostly felt was fear. Who actually dreams of raising a family in the city? Regardless, the idea of new ministry possibilities excited us and the timing of the call was of no small coincidence. Is this what God sounds like?
Looking back at our lives, God has made big changes in our direction through local preaching and through the voices of our leadership. From my year in Venezuela, to Kirsten moving to Las Vegas for teaching, to us both joining staff with Cru, God has used influential people to speak his will into our lives. In many ways this is the voice I was waiting to hear regarding our future.
So the question becomes, will we stay or will we go? We don’t think staying is wrong, or that buying a house in Missoula would be selfish. We think God will use this process to purify our motives and solidify our longterm direction as a family. He could use this trip to change it up or he could use it to strengthen our resolve to invest more years at UM. This is why we are sharing this with you now. We want to invite you to begin praying for us. Ask God to give us wisdom and discernment about our direction. And, feel free to call or email us with your thoughts!
We expect to learn a lot more at the conference. At this point we are cautiously optimistic. What we do know is that other staff from around the country are looking into it too and there are more students within the five boroughs of NYC than the entire Northwest. The need is great, the laborers are few, and the Lord of the harvest has asked us to pray for more laborers (Mt. 9:37-38). Please join us in that prayer!
Simon turned ONE last Friday, and I have been reflecting on this past year. I sure do love this boy, and am learning to cherish the moments while he is little. I am growing into motherhood and definitely don't have it all figured out, but this is where my heart is at…
As a mom I have a choice to make every day: to engage fully, invest time and energy, be intentional, enjoy the small special moments, instruct and teach, extend patience and grace, to love unconditionally, OR not.
It is easy to half pay attention to Simon; to supervise, but not really be present. It is hard to lay down my life, my desires, my time, my expectations, my to-do list, my preferences...to unselfishly offer myself today and every day. Being a mom means I must die to myself. Not begrudgingly or bitterly, but willingly, with joy even!
In Luke 9:23, Jesus tells his disciples that if they want to follow Him they must pick up their cross; it is a road to death of self. Paul says a similar thing in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live I live by faith in the son of God who gave himself for me.”
Do I really believe the Gospel of Christ meets me here, as a mom? I find myself wanting to escape the responsibilities and expectations of motherhood for fear that my dreams and freedom will die. I need to learn to daily run, not away from, but towards the cross and lay down my desire to be recognized, my irritation at not being able to do what I want when I want to do it, et cetera.
I want to walk with integrity in my home. I do not want to be duplicitous, to say one thing about Jesus and to live another way. This is the hardest place to do it, with family, with those who know you and can drive you nuts the most. But I want it, even if it means I must die so that Christ can live in me.
For me, in this season, living by faith means that as I reach my capacity I need God to be bigger. I need to rely on His limitless resources as I exhaust my own. I need to believe that Christ is sufficient. I need the Holy Spirit to empower and equip me for service. I need to be filled with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
In laying down my life I hope Simon will experience a reflection of the Gospel. If I don't live it he will never likely believe it. I hope to point him to the cross, to Jesus, full of grace and truth, willingly dying so that He could offer us life. And for me to do this in the small things, the daily stuff of life, I know that I need Christ's life in me!
FAMILY PHOTOS AND PRAYERS FOR HEALTH
We have pictures and videos posted of Simon’s big day as well as lots of recent candids. See them at bit.ly/SimonWesley. Also, please pray for our health. We've been down with colds and other bugs and it’s been hard to keep up with work.
Trusting In Him,
With the celebration of our first Mother’s and Father’s Day, I have been reflecting on the past three months since Simon was born. There is much in our lives that is different now that we have a child, such as considering a full night’s sleep a luxury, mountains of laundry that never end (yes, we’re using cloth diapers!), and scheduling outings around nap times.
As stretching as parenthood can be, it has brought so much joy into our lives and we are grateful that God has given us this amazing gift! Becoming a parent has deepened my experience of God’s grace and helps me understand the way he views me as his child.
Before Simon was born I knew one of the hardest changes for me would be sleep deprivation, because I thrive on a full night’s sleep! Getting up multiple times at night is rough, yet in the morning when Simon looks up at me with his big blue eyes, how can my response be frustration or anger? I can’t help myself; I just love him!
Simon does absolutely nothing to deserve or earn my affection (even though he’s pretty cute), and even forces me to sacrifice my precious sleep. But, I love him anyway. This is a picture of the way God loves me unconditionally and gives new perspective to these verses, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Spiritually, I am like a baby. I’m powerless to help myself and improve my standing with God. My failures are much worse than Simon’s crying in the night; they actually separate me from the Father. My sinfulness makes it impossible to be in relationship with a perfect, holy God. Seeing this, I am incredibly thankful that Jesus sacrificed not just his comfort in Heaven, but his very life, so that I might experience the love and forgiveness of his Father in Heaven.
I trust that Jesus has paid the cost for my sin and I can be confident that when the Father looks at me he is never angry, but through his perfect Son now sees me as his daughter and even takes delight in me. There is always more love; it never runs out; it is not dependent upon my behavior or performance.
As Simon reflects God’s grace to me, Ivan and I hope to raise our son so that he would experience God’s unconditional love through us. Please pray for Simon and us, that we would grow in this grace and truth as a family.
Summer Project Update:
We are in full swing here in South Lake Tahoe, California. So far we have seen four people receive Christ through our efforts to initiate spiritual conversations in the community!
A TEXTBOOK PREGNANCY
Kirsten’s doctor appointments have been encouraging. She will report, “He said I am doing great and on track like a healthy momma.” Health-wise, we couldn’t be happier with the pregnancy.
Our second bedroom has been transformed into a nursery. The solid-core door that we use as a desk is now half changing table, half computer station. On the wall, a paper vine with three smiling monkeys hangs above the crib. Beside that is a glider and a nightstand. Kirsten’s nesting instinct is satisfied and we have made a welcoming space for our little boy!
In January, we took birthing and infant care classes at the hospital. Over four weeks we learned about packing a hospital bag to various swaddling techniques to car seat safety. It’s been an anxious time too, with the reality of becoming parents right around the corner, yet we are really excited as well.
READING THE BIBLE TOGETHER
A couple at our church recommended that we use our mornings to read the Bible aloud together and discuss the content. We knew it would be hard to adjust our routine, yet we gave it a try at the beginning of January, as a sort of New Year’s Resolution. Even though our job allows us to spend time in the Bible with students, it’s still easy to personally neglect. Nonetheless, we have kept it a priority each week and it has added a wonderful depth to our daily lives. Our closeness as a couple and with God has increased as a result.
Over Christmas break our region asked us to share the Operations Director role for the 2013 Lake Tahoe Summer Project. We prayed and discussed the position with other Cru Staff and felt like it would be a great fit for us.
After Cru Conference we flew to Denver for training. We spent six days with 300 others who will be leading Summer Projects around the world. Our role involves setting and managing the budget, arranging housing, coordinating project activities and local partnerships, and much more. As part of the leadership, we help to ensure that students and staff are able to realize the project’s vision and goals. We’re excited to be heading to Tahoe again this summer!
Baby Bucher is due March 16th, yet the doctor has commented that Kirsten’s labor will probably begin either right on time or sooner, despite new moms typically going longer. Pray for a smooth delivery and that we all adjust well!
Ivan and Kirsten
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