Monthly Archives: November 2013

I Could Never Do That…


We have some new neighbors a few doors down the street. They have four kids and they are all sweet. Adelina and Jeremiah had fun playing with them in the drainage ditch by our house. They were picking cattails and shucking them so all of the seeds made a huge pile that looks like snow. Onh, the father, delivers bread and works extremely hard. He is from Thailand and has an interesting life story. One of the times he brought us bread from work he learned we are going to serve as missionaries. He shook my hand and said, “Wow, thanks for doing that. If it wasn’t for people like you I wouldn’t be here. I could never do that but I am grateful that you are doing it. That is awesome.”

It’s not awesome; It’s just obedience.  Anyone can do that.

We heard a great message this weekend at Summit. (I would encourage you to podcast it if you haven’t already heard it!) The core of the message was to refuse to live by fear and instead live by faith. The idea is, we often get “stuck” looking at the problems in our life that hinder what we can do and where we can go for God. The solution is to believe God is who He says He is and to expect God to solve the “huge problems” so we can live the life He intends for us. As Christ’s disciples, there is nothing we cannot do by the grace and power of God. There is nowhere we can go where God will not go with us and before us.

Our prayer for all of our friends is that, together, we would dream big ole crazy God-dreams for our lives.  That we would trust the words of the One who sends us.  And that we would obey, plain and simple.  Our prayer too is that, just as your lives encourage us, our lives might be an encouragement to you.  That our lives might give you courage to run, run, run after Jesus!

If you pray for us, please pray for our remaining support needs.  Please also pray for faithfulness and fruitfulness in our lives.  And, of course, please keep praying for the country assignment we will receive at MAF this January.

With Gratitude,

The Vanas






Sharing The Vision…


One of the things I (Phil) love most about our adventure is sharing it with others! There are a number of reasons for this but I will tell you about three. First of all, it is fun to share with others because it opens up a door to share about Christ as well. Many people ask, “Why are you moving overseas? Are you taking your kids? Why would you do that?” I tell them why we are going and what we hope to accomplish and how we think it will be a great thing for our children to experience and be a part of our ministry. Some people understand and others don’t, but we are excited trusting that He will use our story to draw them to Himself.

The second reason it is fun to share with others is how it encourages us. We are reminded why we are going and a reminder the call we have received from God. It reminds me of Philemon 1:6 where Paul speaks about how the sharing of our faith gives us a fuller understanding of all we have in Christ. We tell others about what God has done and it encourages us as well. Last weekend, we had the opportunity to share our story with some people from Summit Christian Church. We had some videos from MAF and shared how we got to this point and where we are headed. I have watched the videos almost a dozen times but I was getting pumped as I watched them again. I am so excited to get to work and get serving! So cool!

The third reason we love to share is that it encourages others. I have had several conversations with my boss about what we are going to do and he can’t believe it. He is very excited and always shakes his head and says, “That is so cool.” The fact is, we are nothing special. I think of what Jesus said in Luke 17:10, “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” We know we are simply doing our duty. It is amazing how God uses our ordinary to do extraordinary things.

Thank you so much for keeping up with us and praying for us and loving us. It is such a blessing to have you in our corner.

Just a quick update on how our financial support is going. We are still in need of approximately $2,500 of monthly support. We are hoping to have most if not all of our monthly support committed before we head to MAF on January 13th so we can go straight into our training with MAF and get on the mission field as soon as possible. We have received a few more donations to our one-time outgoing fund and have over 85% of the $40,000 needed. GOD IS GOOD!!!

If you interested in supporting us with a one-time gift or committing to be a part of our monthly support team, please contact us at or click here for more information. Thanks and God Bless.

Quick Update and A Cool Story…


First the cool story:  Okay, so, this really is just too cool and just too sweet, and just too much like Jesus for words but, here goes. There is a family preparing to serve with MAF.  They are in the same boat we are: close to having their support all the way raised, but not quite there.  The sooner they get their support raised the sooner they get to go to work! They are making crazy sacrifices for the kingdom and although they have a family of their own they are being financially conscientious missionaries and choosing to live with in-laws as they support raise.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, those two crazy missionaries sent us a super-humbling, crazy-generous, way-unexpected donation toward our outgoing expenses with MAF.  One would ask,”Why did they do this when they have their own support to raise?”  The answer: Jesus.  The family of God works in some of the most beautiful ways and there is nothing quite like the missionary seat to see those inside-outside-upsidedown-kingdom principles at work.  Every time we think about those guys we can hardly believe it.  Thanks, God.  You are too good for words.

Ok. Update Time: We really are almost there.  We are so close to our MAF candidacy with just a few steps ahead of us.  In terms of support we are still in need of approximately $2,600 monthly and approximately $7,000 for our one-time outgoing expense.   So many precious people, friends and family, have given truly sacrificially and we are humbled…big time.  We just can’t thank you guys enough.  We want to make every gift, and every prayer from you count for the kingdom.  We want to serve so beautifully and shine so brightly that all of you supporters are filled to the brim with the joy of God’s goodness. Thank you for partnering with what God is doing through us.  I am reminded that our coming King will return and reign on the earth perhaps soon and very soon.  And so, it is with true urgency that we press on toward serving in the most effective capacity possible.  

Please pray for the following:

1.  For the country assignment we will receive in January.  That we will sense and know God’s call to a location and people group.  

2.  For our time at MAF headquarters in Nampa, Idaho January 12 – February 8.  Please pray that we would find good friends and build lasting relationships with the family at MAF.

3.  Please pray for our kiddos who will be spending a whole lot of time with strangers that month between babysitters and new friends.  Please pray for God’s grace to carry each Vana through in their own special way.  

4.  Please pray for the remaining financial support to come in surely and swiftly so we can move straight into standardization (where Phil will learn to fix and fly the MAF way).  

5.  Please pray that Father God will raise up faithful, faithful, faithful prayer partners to cover our work, lives, and relationships in prayer.  

Thank you friends for remembering us and for being the reflection of our Father in our lives.  We seriously love you and are blessed to call you friends!


P.S. Aforementioned family above, you know who you are.  And yes, you are too sweet for words!



Poured Out For The King…


We have met a number of different missionary families during our time at SMAT, the Technical Evaluation with JAARS, and the Technical Evaluation with MAF. I love receiving blog posts, email updates, and Facebook pictures. It is so much fun to join in on their journey and share their highs and lows. I was reading a particular post from our friends Joel and LaReina King who are serving with AIM Air in Kenya. I got more and more excited as I read their update letter. I am excited for them and all that God is doing, and I am excited for the day when we will be on the mission field. I can’t wait to live in another culture, eat different foods, communicate in a different language, see things I have never seen, smell things I have never smelled, and do life in a way different than what I am used to doing. I know for some this may be terrifying or paralyzing, but I am super excited! And, the best part of all is that we get to do all of this and be poured out for our King, Jesus Christ!


Two more months!!! Wow, we only have two more months and then we will be on our way to MAF, getting a country assignment, and starting our official MAF training!!! I think of Proverbs 13:12 and it fills my heart with joy! “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” We are so close and we seem to be running downhill, time is speeding up and we will be there before we know it! Thanks for joining with us and cheering all the way!!! God Bless you all!